Archive for August, 2014

snackbarThere are lots of tasty gluten-free snack bars on the market these days. But, if you don’t like the price, or the extra ingredients that may be in them, consider making your own.

With six simple ingredients, this recipe is easy to adjust to your own taste. I just used up what we had in our pantry. The whole family ate these up in no time. (Chocolate gets them every time!)

Enjoy these for a snack, a quick breakfast on-the-go, a protein burst after school, or even a sweet treat.

Cashew Cherry Chocolate Snack Bars

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup Almond Butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
3/4 Cup Honey (or agave)
1-1/2 Cup Cashews (I used roasted but not salted.)
1 Cup Dried Cherries
4 to 5 Cups Gluten-Free Crispy Rice Cereal (Kellogg’s GF Erewhon’s Cereal or EnviroKidz)
3/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks (Use Enjoy Life to make it dairy-free.)

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond butter and honey together in a pot over medium heat on the stove. Stir until well blended. Take off the heat and let it cool while you continue with the recipe.
  2. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. It doesn’t need to be perfectly lined, it just makes shaping the bars and removing the bars from the pan easier. You can also use a jelly roll pan, or simply a sheet of parchment paper on the counter.
  3. Place the cashews and dried cherries in a food processor, and give it a whirl until they are chopped into pieces. (Or get out a knife and cutting board, and chop by hand.) Pour it all into a large bowl.
  4. Add the cereal and chocolate chunks to the large bowl of ingredients. Then, pour the nut butter/honey mixture on top of the ingredients in the large bowl. Use a spatula to mix all the ingredients together. (If the honey mixture is hot it will melt the chocolate. If you want the chocolate chips to remain as chips, make sure the honey mixture has had enough time to cool.)
  5. Press the mixture into the lined 9 x 13 pan with a spatula, or use a sheet of parchment or wax paper on top and press it with your hands.
  6. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for an hour to set.
  7. Once set, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut the bars into the size and shape you want. Makes 18-24 depending on how you cut them.
  8. To store these yummy treats, wrap the bars in plastic wrap or place in a sealed container. They don’t last longer than a week or two at our house on the counter. If you plan to keep them longer, you may want to store in the refrigerator.

Additional Notes:

  • I’ve made these with a variety of ingredients: almonds, dates, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc. Choose your favorites or try a mix of nuts and dried fruit. Macadamia nuts with dried apricots is yummy! I’m trying Sunbutter next.
  • Don’t be afraid to press these into the pan very firmly. They will stay together better if you do.
  • I like to use the mega chocolate chunks because the warm almond butter and honey will partially melt them (as in the picture above).

This post is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays, where you’ll find more ideas for eating gluten-free!

Comments (4)

BacktoSchooldinner2We’re on our final week of Back-to-School Meal Planning. This week’s theme is Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Meals for those busy school (and work) nights.

Quick and easy meals at our house start with leftovers. That means checking the refrigerator for what didn’t get eaten the week before. Our family loves to be able to pick out their favorites and put them together how they want.

After clearing out the leftovers, it’s time for meal planning. Check your calendar for those really busy nights, and decide how you’re going to make it easy on yourself:

  • Prepare as much of the meal in advance — chop veggies, mix spices, thaw meat, etc.
  • Frozen Meals — Make double batches of dishes when you have the time, so you can put one in the freezer for those busy nights. Or, purchase ready-made frozen meals at the grocery store (GF pizza, burritos, casseroles, etc.).
  • Slow-Cooker Meals — Easy, quick prep in the morning is all you need for a ready-made dinner in the evening.
  • Picnic Foods — Sandwiches or lunchmeat, raw fruits and vegetables, cheese, crackers, salads, etc.
  • Quick and Easy Breakfast foods for dinner — Pancakes, bacon, and eggs all cook up very quickly, and fill you up, too.
  • Restaurants — Pick up fast food or order ahead from your favorite restaurant and just pick up on your way home. Choose the restaurant carefully, so that it works for all your diet restrictions.
  • Grocery Stores Prepared Food — Pick up Salads, Roasted Chickens, etc. at your grocery store or local deli. Just be careful about ingredients and cross-contamination issues.
  • Make it easy. — Meals don’t have to be elaborate. Just because it has to be gluten-free, doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Simple meat and veggies is just fine for a safe, nutritious, and tasty meal.

***If meal planning isn’t your thing, or you just want a change, you may want to consider eMeals, a meal planning service. eMeals just announced that they are offering a new 30-Minute Meal Plan to keep meal prep to less than 30 minutes. They have other plans, too: Gluten-Free, Paleo, Kid-Friendly, Diabetic, etc. Through the end of August, Save 20% with code SCHOOL on any eMeals Meal Plan.***

What is your family’s favorite quick and easy meals? Don’t forget to check below our menu for more gluten-free menus, meals, and ideas for Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Meals.

Celiac Family’s Quick and Easy Menu This Week:

Nachos with Guacamole

Nachos with Guacamole

Rainbow Apple Salad

Rainbow Apple Salad

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Monday – Allergen-Free Rotisserie Chicken (picking up from Sam’s Club), Mashed Potatoes (potatoes cooked in the morning for final prep in the evening), Roasted Broccoli (cut up in morning or purchased florets already chopped)

Tuesday – Chicken Nachos (Put chicken in slow-cooker so it’s ready to go at dinner time.), Guacamole (fast recipe with help from Frontera’s mix)

Wednesday – Frozen Pizza (Daiya pizza for dairy-free and Freschetta for the real-cheese eaters), Rainbow Apple Salad (made quickly while pizza is baking)

Thursday – Pancakes (using Namaste Pancake Mix), Bacon, Tropical Fruit Salad

Friday – Frozen Gluten-Free Battered Fish (StarFish brand), Sweet Potato Fries (Ore-Ida brand), Green Peas

Saturday – Grilled Flank Steak (marinating in the morning), Broccoli Salad, Rice Pilaf

Sunday – Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork, Corn on the Cob, leftover veggies or salads

Gluten Free Menu Swap Roundup

The Gluten Free Week: Gluten-Free
Find new quick gluten-free dinner ideas on Pinterest: Lori’s own Pinterest board of Gluten-Free Dinners and Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures – Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas. Lori’s menu this week is all about quick and easy…and looks yummy, too! Chicken and Spinach QuesadillasBok Choy Stir FrySlow Cooker Pulled Pork TenderloinTurkey and Squash PastaLentil Soup, and Pulled Pork Sandwiches.

The Peaceful Mom: Simple Gluten-Free Menu
Kimberlee has a few meals planned for the week that I would consider quick and easy: Spicy Chicken Thighs (easy prep but hour to cook), Pizza with pre-made gluten-free crust, and Turkey Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese.  The remaining meals may take a little more prep time: Meatloaf, Pasta Alfredo, Steak and Peppers, and Taco Salad.

The Girl Who Couldn’t Eat Anything: eating without Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts, Oats, or Meat
Elisabeth is celebrating her birthday this week! Easy meals for a birthday week sounds like a great plan. :) She’s been working on doing a lot of the prep work for cooking in advance of evening meals. Vegan Nachos, gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles, Pintos and Rice, Fish in a Pan with Potatoes, Tuna Fish Sandwiches, Pumpkin smoothie with popcorn, and Pizza.

Check back later to see who else will be sharing their gluten-free menus, recipe links, and ideas for Quick and Easy Meals.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?

  • For this week’s roundup, email your menu link to celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Or, simply put your menu link in the comments below.
  • Join us again next week at CeliacFamily for sharing gluten-free menus and ideas for Gluten-Free Italian Dinners.
  • The Gluten-Free Menu Swap Page has the current schedule of themes and hosts. If you’d like to host a future week, please send me an email (celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com) with your preferred date and theme.

Need more menu ideas?

  • smallbuttonLaura at OrgJunkie.com hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

 

Categories : Menu Plan
Comments (3)

BacktoSchoolBreakfastSince writing about Gluten-Free Breakfasts a few weeks ago, I’ve had a couple more ideas I wanted to share with you.

Don’t forget to take your vitamins!

I’m surprised I didn’t even think about vitamins when writing about Back-to-School Breakfast ideas. So many people take supplements or vitamins in the mornings, especially kids! I neglected to mention it, probably because we haven’t been taking vitamins at my house until recently. With my kids getting so busy in sports, I realize that I really need to make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need.

HKvitaminI was intrigued by Hakuna Matata, a chewable multivitamin and natural fruit and veggie supplement.   Healthy Pride Supplements was nice enough to send me some samples to try out on my kids. (I hate paying big bucks for vitamins, just to find out the kids won’t eat them!) I tried the vitamins, too. I prefer the chewable vitamins because I think they’re easier on my tummy.

The great thing about these vitamins is that they are gluten-free, wheat-free, and egg-free, with no artificial colors or sweeteners. They also do not contain meat, yeast, starch, or preservatives. And, check out the natural sources of all the vitamins and minerals:

  • FRUITS AND BERRIES: strawberry, banana, raspberry, melon, pineapple, black currant, apricot, cherry, tagerine, kiwi, grape, apple, tomato, peach, papaya, guava, and mango.
  • VEGATABLES: broccoli, carrot, spinach, beet greens, asparagus, onion, garlic, alfalfa, barley grass, artichoke, peas, and summer squash.
  • ALGAE: spiralina blue-green algae, klmath blue-green algae, chlorella, kombu green algae, and cytoseira green algae.
  • Other ingredients: Dextrose, orange juice flavored crystals, natural flavors, stearic acid, turmeric color, magnesium stearate, silica, citric acid, alfalfa juice and carmine color.

So what was our final analysis? We like them! They aren’t bitter, and don’t upset our tummies. I LOVE all the natural ingredients. I like to think that my family is eating healthy, but sometimes I worry that we aren’t getting enough of the good stuff.

Where can you buy them? You can order the vitamins online or through a select group of stores and pharmacies. For more vitamin options, check out the list of the Top 100 Children’s Vitamins, as reported by Vitamin-One.com.

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ChexOatmealx

Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal

I happened to notice in the grocery store this month, a new arrival — Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal. I grabbed a box to check it out, then noticed another shopper grabbing a box. She said it was really sweet and her kids loved it. So, I bought it, and took it home. My kids never did get to try it. My husband and I ate all of it.

The shopper was right: It is sweet. Maple Brown Sugar sweet. Just like the packages of instant oatmeal we used to eat when we were kids. Each box contains 6 individual packages. You simply pour the cereal into a bowl, add 2/3 cup water or milk, and microwave for 90 seconds. Yum!

I have only seen the Maple Brown Sugar variety in the stores. However, I found Apple Cinnamon and Original flavored varieties at Amazon, if you’re interested.  You may find them in the cereal aisles at your store. I’ll be watching ours to see if they arrive. A variety pack might be nice. :)

Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavor. Each pouch/serving: 170 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium, 12 g sugars.

Categories : Food, Product Advisory
Comments (0)

BacktoSchoolSnacksWe made it through our first week back to school. Boy, are we tired! My kids are allowed to have extra snacks at school, which is helpful for keeping up their energy at school. But, they also need snacks after school to fuel them for sports and homework before dinner.

This week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap theme is Gluten-Free After-School Snacks. These are some of our favorite snacks. Some we eat at home, and some on the road on our way to other activities before dinner.

  • Fruit. The easiest snack for us is usually fruit. It gives the kids a quick burst of natural sugar. It’s sweet and juicy, and usually a welcome snack. Some of their favorites: fruit kabobs, apple slices, watermelon, grapes, bananas, oranges, pears, applesauce…. Don’t forget dried fruit, fruit leather, fruit snacks, and fruit rollups, too.
  • Popcorn. I usually pop it myself from kernels, but lately I’ve been buying it already popped. Skinny Pop and Angie’s Kettle Corn come in large bags and convenient, individual-serving size bags, too. We’ve also recently enjoyed trying Clean, Lean and Savvy brand of Air Popped Popcorn.
  • Pretzels. I’ve had many gluten-eating friends tell me that they prefer the taste of gluten-free pretzels. We enjoy Glutino brand pretzel sticks and twists, and Gratify’s pretzel thins. We’ve also been trying Clean, Lean and Savvy’s Mini Slim Pretzels.
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins. These little gems are nice because they’re so filling, and the chocolate chips make it such a treat.
  • Yogurt. We enjoy non-dairy yogurt at my house, so we don’t buy the yogurt sticks. But, I’m going to try making my own with these Slim Snack Containers.
  • Trail Mix. We always love having this for a snack. The kids can make their own, and is sometimes as simple as little marshmallows with Chocolate Chex. I like to make it a little more nutritious with nuts and dried fruit, but I usually add Chocolate Chunks.
  • Smoothies. These are a great way to get some extra vitamins and minerals into your kids, and make sure the kids are hydrated at the same time.
  • Energy Bars. Lately, I’ve been making my own with a variety of nuts and dried fruits. But we also enjoy Kind Bars, and find them easily at most grocery and convenience stores.
  • Cookies. I try not to offer these too often, because I’ll eat them along with the kids and I really don’t need them! For quick and easy options, you may want to check out the reviews I wrote about Gluten-Free Animal Cookies, Mi-Del Cookies, and Pillsbury Gluten-Free Cookie Dough.
  • And more! The snacks above are the ones we’ve been eating recently. You’ll find even more gluten-free snack products listed at this post I wrote about School Snacks and this one about Gluten-Free Care Packages.

Don’t forget to check below our menu for more gluten-free menus, meals, and ideas for Gluten-Free Snacks.

Celiac Family’s Menu This Week:

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns

Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns

Parmesan Tilapia

Parmesan Tilapia

Monday Parmesan Chicken Nuggets, Jicama Watermelon Salad, Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday – Chicken Fajitas, Guacamole, Cilantro Rice

Wednesday – Hamburgers, Corn on the cob, Green Beans

Thursday – Spaghetti & Meatballs, Spinach Salad, Toasted Garlic Bread

Friday – Eating Out

Saturday – Baked TilapiaSpaghetti Squash, Broccoli

Sunday – Rotisserie Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts

Gluten Free Menu Swap Roundup

The Gluten Free Week: Gluten-Free
Lori is trying to keep the snacks healthy at her house. They like to eat carrot sticks with hummus, frozen fruit, apples and hard cheese, yogurt, granola, popcorn, or fruit and nut bars like Kind Bars or Larabars. Dinners at her house will be Turkey Chili, Pork Souvlaki, Baked Salmon, Almond Chicken Pesto, and Chili Nachos. Check out her full menu plan and a slide show of her family’s favorite healthy snacks.

Mom’s Plans: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free
Melissa and her family finally got to move into their new house! For snacks this week, she’s making Banana Bread (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free), Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Chia Seed Pudding. For dinners, Melissa is planning Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls, Hot Dogs, Chicken Pot Pie, Paleo Crockpot Chili, and Ground Beef Goulash. Stop by Mom’sPlan for more recipe links.

The Peaceful Mom: Simple Gluten-Free Menu
Kimberlee has some fun Tie Dye Waffles on her menu this week. She also has Very Blueberry Smoothies and Easy Cheese Quesadillas, both of which would also be yummy after-school snacks! For dinners this week, she’s planning BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Tostadas, Cheeseburger Pasta, Shepherd’s Pie, Spicy Chicken Thighs, Slow Cooker Mojo Pork, and GF Pizza. Find more meal ideas and recipe links at her full menu.

The Girl Who Couldn’t Eat Anything: eating without Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts, Oats, or Meat
Elisabeth’s daughter usually eats apples and gluten-free pretzels for snacks. She also likes to eat muffins and trail mix with nuts, dried fruit, pretzels, chocolate chips. Elisabeth also has on her menu this week Banana Bread and Paleo Chocolate Breakfast Cookies that sound like yummy snacks to me! Her dinners this week will be Pancakes with Cinnamon Apples, Tex-Mex Shepherd’s Pie, Lentil Sloppy Joes, Chef Salad, Meatloaf, Vanilla Cream Mango Milkshake with Popcorn, and Pizza.

Thanks for joining us this week. Check back next week when we share Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Meals for busy nights.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?

  • For this week’s roundup, email your menu link to celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Or, simply put your menu link in the comments below.
  • Join us again next week at CeliacFamily for sharing gluten-free menus and ideas for Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Dinners.
  • The Gluten-Free Menu Swap Page has the current schedule of themes and hosts. If you’d like to host a future week, please send me an email (celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com) with your preferred date and theme.

Need more menu ideas?

  • smallbuttonLaura at OrgJunkie.com hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

 

Categories : Menu Plan
Comments (6)

BacktoSchoolLunchMy kids go back to school this week, so I’ve got to start thinking a little differently about meals! This week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap theme is Packing Gluten-Free Lunches.

For those who are new to the gluten-free diet and are accustomed to eating sandwiches for lunch, packing a gluten-free lunch can seem like a difficult task. But really, it just takes a little bit of planning. There are lots of options! We usually pack some kind of protein with a fruit, vegetable, snack, and drink.

  • Drinks — juice or water bottles, or both
  • Protein — ham rolls, chicken nuggets (or leftover chicken from dinner cut into bite-size pieces), nut or seed butters on crackers, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks
  • Fruit — apple slices, clementines, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, applesauce…whatever we’ve got in the house
  • Vegetables — usually carrot sticks, but sometimes celery, snap peas, or spinach leaves
  • Snack — chips, gluten-free pretzels, popcorn, Mini-Muffins
  • Treats — not always, but occasionally I’ll include a gluten-free cookie or a piece of candy
  • Lunch Bags – The Pack-It freezable lunch bags have worked well for us, but after two years of use, the velcro isn’t holding it closed very well anymore. So, I’m looking at ordering some  of the new Pack-It Freezable Lunch Bags with Zip Closure and Strap. I’ll keep the old ones as back-up in case the kids accidentally leave the new ones at school.
  • Containers — I like to use these reusable Sistema Containers. I also found these cool Slim Snack Containers that look like they would work great for smoothies, applesauce, yogurt, etc. And this 5-pack of 10 oz. water/juice bottles works great for drinks. Fill them all on Sunday night, and just grab them to put in your lunch bag each morning.

What do you like to pack for lunch? I don’t bother with sandwiches, but if that’s what you like, you might want to check out past articles on Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread and Sandwich Bread Alternatives. And, of course, there are now gluten-free bread options in the grocery stores.

Don’t forget to check below our menu for more gluten-free menus, meals, and ideas for packing lunches.

Celiac Family’s Menu This Week:

Cilantro Rice

Cilantro Rice

Beef & Veggie Kabobs

Beef & Veggie Kabobs

Seven-Layer Salad with Dill Dressing

Seven-Layer Salad or Wraps

Monday – Chicken Taquitos, Guacamole, Cilantro Rice

Tuesday – Beef Kabobs, Sweet Potato Wedges, Roasted Broccoli

Wednesday – Seven Layer Salad with Creamy Dill Dressing or ingredients in a lettuce wrap

Thursday – Teriyaki Chicken Tenders, Rice, Green Beans

Friday – Grilled Salmon, Spaghetti Squash, Simple Asparagus

Saturday – Hamburger Stroganoff with gluten-free egg noodles, Spinach Salad

Sunday – Trying new gluten-free pizzas: Freschetta and Daiya

Gluten Free Menu Swap Roundup

Mom’s Plans: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free
Melissa’s homeschooling family doesn’t need to pack lunches for school. Instead, they are busy moving into their new house. Melissa will be making quick and easy meals to keep them fed during the chaos. Their meals this week will be Chicken Pot Pie, Paleo Crockpot Chili, Crockpot Chicken Soup, and Ground Beef Goulash. Check out all the recipe links on her full menu.

The Girl Who Couldn’t Eat Anything: eating without Gluten, Dairy, Peanuts, Oats, or Meat
Elisabeth packs several snacks for her kindergartner when a lunch is needed. It may include trail mix with chocolate chips, crackers with nutbutter, a fruit stick, a cookie or lollipop, lunchmeat, and sometimes just a regular nutbutter and jelly sandwich. She also sent her some mac ‘n cheese with leftover chili in her old Star Wars Thermos. (yum!) For dinner this week, she’ll be having Waffles, Cauliflower Alfredo, Broccoli Bacon Tomato Pasta Salad, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Milkshake with Popcorn, and Pizza. Check out her full menu for more breakfast ideas, and recipe links.

The Peaceful Mom: Simple Gluten-Free Menu
Kimberlee has some fun Apple Sandwiches on her lunch menu this week, as well as Turkey Lettuce Wraps and Tuna Salad. Her dinners this week will be One Pan Chicken and Mushrooms, Super Easy Hot Wings, Baked Tacos, Pork Chops, GF Pizza, and GF Waffles. Check out her entire post for more lunch and breakfast ideas, and recipe links.

The Gluten Free Week: Gluten-Free
Lori says they like to eat leftovers for lunch, but also shares ideas for making and packing wraps. She uses Gluten-Free Rice Tortillas to make California Wraps and Hummus and Veggie Wraps. Dinner for her family this week will be Pork Chops, Simple Weeknight Chicken, Beef Stew in the crock pot, Pork Stir-Fry, Turkey Burgers, and Chicken Nuggets. Stop by GlutenFreeWeek for all the recipe links.

Thanks for joining us this week. Come back next week for more gluten-free menus, recipe links, and ideas for gluten-free snacks.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?

  • For this week’s roundup, email your menu link to celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com. Or, simply put your menu link in the comments below.
  • Join us again next week at CeliacFamily for sharing gluten-free menus and ideas for Gluten-Free Snacks.
  • The Gluten-Free Menu Swap Page has the current schedule of themes and hosts. If you’d like to host a future week, please send me an email (celiacfamily[AT]gmail[DOT]com) with your preferred date and theme.

Need more menu ideas?

  • smallbuttonLaura at OrgJunkie.com hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

 

Categories : Menu Plan
Comments (3)