Archive for Product Advisory


Gluten-Free Corn Dogs are a Treat at my house. A treat for the kids because they love them. A treat for me, too, if they are pre-made and frozen, so I can offer them for a quick meal at my house. ;)

I have made my own gluten-free corn dogs. They turned out very tasty, but took some time and effort to get them just right. It seems simple enough: You dip and coat hot dogs with cornbread batter, then deep fry. But, sometimes it takes a little practice at getting the batter to stay on the hot dog, the hot dog to stay on the stick, and frying it with the stick.  Anyway, that’s another story. This story is about the new Foster Farms Gluten-Free Corn Dogs you can find in the freezers of your local grocery stores.

FFCornDogBoxI was recently contacted to try the new Foster Farms Gluten-Free Corn Dogs. In case it isn’t clear by the Foster Farms brand name, these corn dogs are made with chicken franks. The chicken franks are “double-dipped in a honey-crunchy” cornbread batter. And, Yes!, they are as good as they sound. I baked them according to the directions on the box. From frozen, 18 minutes at 350º F. (For faster results, you can microwave in 40 seconds or deep fry for 9 minutes. Those are times for cooking from frozen. If thawed, cooking times are even faster.)

FFCornDogHow did they taste? Great! The hot dog was tender, not too chewy, and had a good flavor. The cornbread coating was lightly crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. The cornbread coating is also lightly sweetened. Really yummy. My daughter was a little hesitant to try it, but once she did she wanted another one. So did my son. They had to stop at two corn dogs each because I didn’t cook the whole box, which contains 12 corn dogs.

Now for the ingredients. Like I mentioned, these corn dogs are made of chicken. There are no added hormones or steroids. No trans fats. And, each corn dog contains 7 grams of protein and 180 calories. Each corn dog also contains 530 mg of sodium (22% of the recommended daily value). You’ll find sodium phosphate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and the dreaded sodium nitrite on the ingredients label. Also contains soy and egg.

Would I buy them for my family? Yes, on occasion. I’m not going to go looking for them to add to our menus on a regular basis. However, it would be nice to have in the freezer for those crazy nights when I really need something quick and easy for dinner. Something my kids could fix for themselves. And, wouldn’t this be an easy item to cook for a kids’ birthday party or a play date? Something everyone could enjoy. You don’t even need to tell your guests that it’s gluten-free because they won’t know the difference.

It is important to note that these are Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Foster Farms also makes Gluten-Free Breasts Strips and Gluten-Free Breast Nuggets now, too. If you’ve tried any of them, I’d love to know what you think.

 ***The Foster Farms Corn Dogs were sent to me free of charge to share my honest opinion with readers.***
Categories : Food, Product Advisory
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Ghost Meringue Cookies

It’s officially fall! I love the cooler weather, the festive times, and the promise of family gatherings for the holidays. It’s also that time of year for ghosts and goblins and witches…Oh, My!

These Meringue Cookies are a favorite for holiday parties. And, I’ve submitted them to SavingStar for their recent recipe contest. They compiled recipes from 20 bloggers and are asking all readers to vote for their favorite. Check it out and vote for my Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Festive Meringue Cookies. >>>Be aware that the recipes in the contest are not all gluten-free recipes. But, go ahead and vote for my Gluten-Free Meringue Cookies. ;) <<<

Win a $50 American Express Gift Card.
Vote for Your Favorite Recipe
to Win $50 American Express gift card! — 20 Favorite Recipes from 20 Food Bloggers @SavingStar. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the SavingStar post to enter your vote. You have until the end of September (2014) to place your vote.

(For full disclosure: If my recipe wins, I get a gift card, too.)

Want to see what else you can make with meringue?

Snowman Meringues


Christmas Tree Meringues

Christmas Trees

Meringue Duckies

Meringue Duckies


Categories : Giveaway, Newsworthy
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I was recently contacted by Christi Silbaugh, one of the authors of “Gluten-Free Made Easy” and asked if I would review her new gluten-free cookbook. Just reading the title “Gluten-Free made easy” made me anxious to read it and give some of the recipes a try.

At First Glance.
This cookbook is a paperback book with at least a dozen gluten-free recipes in each category of Breakfast, Finger Foods, Pasta and Pizza, Main Dishes, Sides and Sauces, Soups and Salads, Breads, and Desserts. There are plenty of recipes to tempt your taste buds.

This book begins with lots of good information and resources about being gluten-free: answers to common questions, flour blends and cake mixes, easy ingredient substitutions, favorite products, where to shop, etc.

The cookbook is well-organized and features many recipes with full-page, 4-color photographs. Sometimes I receive cookbooks to review, and only find a few recipes that I really want to try. Not so with this cookbook. It is full of gluten-free recipes for everyday eating. Many of the recipes have few ingredients and simple instructions. Love that!

The Recipes.

  • The Mole Chicken was a nice change for our family. It wasn’t too spicy, and we enjoyed the chocolate flavor.
  • The Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken was deliciously crisp and moist.
  • Pollo Pasta Primavera and Linguine Carbonara are on our menu this week. Can’t wait to try them!
  • Simple Spanish Rice and Mexican Black Bean Chili will be on our menu next week.
  • My kids have requested Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Holes and Banana Snickerdoodle Muffins, so we’ll be making them soon, too!

There are several recipes in this cookbook that are similar to our own family favorites, so I know we’ll enjoy the many new ones we find in the book, too.

The Tips.
I love all the tips scattered through the book: Make Your Own Pancake Mix, Snacks in a Snap, Lunch Box ideas, Purchase or Prepare (tips for saving time and money), Making Treats for a Gluten-Free Friend, and more.

There are a lot of great gluten-free recipes in this book! It would be a great cookbook for anyone on a gluten-free diet. And, it gives a lot of information that would be helpful to someone new to the diet, as well as someone who wants to cook for their gluten-free friends and family members. The only downside for me, is that a lot of the recipes call for dairy — butter, cream, milk, etc. — which my body can’t tolerate anymore. Of course, I’ve gotten pretty good at making substitutions, but it would be nice to have recipes that had already been tested with dairy-free alternatives.

Where to Find It.


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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


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
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Yes! There’s still time to order last-minute Christmas gifts!  All of these cookbooks are available on Amazon, and can be shipped in time for Christmas. In fact, if you are a Prime Member on Amazon* (as I have been for several years), you can get free two-day shipping and still get your packages there by Christmas. You just need to order your gifts by Sunday (Dec. 22, 2013)! So, on to the cookbooks….

The 163 Best Paleo Slow Cooker Recipes: 100% Gluten-Free
If you’ve been interested in trying a Paleo diet, but were worried about how much time and effort it would take to do it, this may be just the cookbook you need to get started. Who doesn’t love the convenience of a slow-cooker dinner? This cookbook has a variety of intriguing meals to try. Try recipes for Spicy Tamari Almonds, African-Style Chicken in Onion Gravy, Mussels in Lemongrass Tomato Broth, Chinese-Style Braised Pork, and Chocolate Flan with Toasted Almonds.

Easy Everyday Gluten-Free Cooking: Includes 250 Delicious Recipes
Heather Butt and Donna Washburn put together another fabulous gluten-free cookbook. This large, and very thick paperback cookbook is filled with 250 recipes including Breakfast, Quick Breads, Soups, Salads, Main Entrées, Bread Machine Recipes, and Desserts. I love the format of the book, with each recipe including tips and nutritional values per serving in the margin. I’m looking forward to trying the Almond Sponge Cake!

Gluten Free Goes Gourmet
In this beautiful hardback cookbook, author Vicky Pearl creates elegant recipes that are Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Corn Free, Low Glycemic, and Kosher. I LOVE that each recipe includes a full-page photo of the finished product. I love to see how a recipe is supposed to look, and also get ideas for a nice presentation. There’s nothing missing from this cookbook: Drinks, Salads, Soups, Meat & Poultry, Fish, Sides, Breads, and Desserts. I am personally excited to try out the  “Magnificent Mock Dairy” recipes.

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread: (Biscuits, Bagels, Buns, and More)
This paperback book was written by Nicole Hunn, author of her first cookbook Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap and website blog of the same name. This cookbook gives great details to help you recreate the mouth-watering breads pictured in the book. It also includes information about different flours to use, and a whole chapter on what to expect from gluten-free bread. I just got a copy of this in the mail, and I can’t wait to give it a try!

Green Smoothies for Every Season: A Year of Farmers Market–Fresh Super Drinks
This small hardcover book would be a great gift for someone who likes to detox after the holidays and make healthy New Year Resolutions. The book begins with an introduction to drinking green smoothies, the health benefits, and the importance of rotating the greens you eat. The variety of recipes is incredible, and is organized by the season you can find the produce. Try the Strawberry Fields or Star Fruit smoothie in the Spring or the Pomegranate Pop in the Fall. There are also recipes for the Stomach Soother, Brain Booster, Honeymoon Healer, Lemon Liver Cleanser, Heart Starter, Bone Builder, and some many more!

Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free: Allergy-Friendly Vegan Desserts: 100 Recipes Without Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, or Refined Sugar
This paperback cookbook is comprised entirely of sweet treats made without gluten, eggs, dairy, or refined sugar. Author Ricki Heller also shares recipes at (formerly Diet, Dessert and Dogs) and in her last cookbook called Sweet Freedom: Desserts You’ll Love without Wheat, Eggs, Dairy or Refined Sugar.

Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes
Elana Amsterdam has created another wonderful cookbook for the gluten-free community. And this one is also grain-free, dairy-free, and perfect for a paleo diet. Like her past cookbooks, it is a smaller paperback book, but full of wonderful recipes. You’ll find a variety of recipes for Breads and Breakfast, Vegetables, Entrées, Desserts including pastries and cookies, and drinks. The Rosemary Lemon Chicken has been a winner at our house, and we’ve even modified it to make Cilantro Lime Chicken.

Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle
Author Kyra Bussanich is a pastry chef and owner of the gluten-free bakery, Kyra’s Bake Shop. She was also the first gluten-free contestant and winner of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. This hardback cookbook begins with a guide to the ingredients, and discusses possible egg and dairy substitutions in her recipes. It also reviews the different gluten-free flours, and offers some baking tips. Besides all the wonderfully sweet recipes, I appreciate how this cookbook  labels each recipe as one of three different levels of difficulty: easy, intermediate, and advanced. Most of the recipes are either easy or intermediate, so you’ll have plenty of practice time to work up to the advanced recipes. :)

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Categories : Books, Product Advisory
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