Author Archives: Laurie Clark

Easy Gluten Free Sausage Chili

Easy Gluten Free Sausage Chili
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb bag dried red beans or 3 cans cooked red beans
  • 2 rolls Gwaltney or other gluten free mild sausage
  • 2 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can rotel tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 green peppers
  • 2 jalapenos or chiles deseeded and diced (optional)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ⅛ tsp smoked paprika
Instructions
  1. Rinse red beans and cover with 2 inches hot water in the bottom of your stock pot. Bring them to a low boil uncovered for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and cover pot. Leave covered for around an hour. This will quick soak your beans for cooking in the chili.
  3. Fry up the two rolls of sausage.
  4. Open the cans of tomatoes and Rotel.
  5. Roughly chop the onion and green peppers.
  6. Deseed and finely dice the chilis or jalapenos.
  7. Throw everything except the spices in a large stock pot on the stove. (I like to save the spices for the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking so the flavors don't get lost.)
  8. Bring pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer covered for around 2 hours stirring occasionally.
  9. Around the 2 hour mark test the beans for doneness. If they are to your liking go ahead and add the spices. Simmer for an additional 15 to 30 minutes.

 

Easy Coconut Flour Mashed Potatoes Recipe Gluten Free and Low Carb

I used to LOVE those just add water packages of mashed potatoes. I would add milk instead and feel oh so gourmet. I know that Idahoan brand is still gluten free (as of the writing of this post) but the list of ingredients is staggering and no longer as appealing to me. I am still struggling with finding out what other foods I may have intolerances too. With no insurance that is not an easy task. I have narrowed it down to corn and possibly rice that are the offending stomach ache inducers. My favorite stand by Idahoan potatoes contain corn so I went on a quest to find a good substitute.

I have fallen in love with coconut flour and try to incorporate it into just about everything I make. In an effort to use up the foods that I can no longer eat I made Alan a packet of Idahoan. They smelled incredible. I tried to think of a good substitute for my raging craving and realized I was out of anything even resembling a potato. I knew coconut flour would have a similar consistency from using it in my brownie breakfast cereal. A few big questions remained. Would my Nutiva Organic Coconut Flour be adaptable to a mashed potato flavor? Would coconut flour really make a fitting substitute or just become a gross mess? I think you know the answer since it would be silly for me to write a detailed post about a disaster.

Ok I’ll indulge you… My first attempt at creating coconut flour mashed potatoes smelled terrific. I popped those babies out of the microwave and quickly turned to set the overly hot dish on the counter. Little did I know that at that exact moment my kitchen rug and my little feet would decide to go to war. I tripped on the rug and sent hot potatoes flying all over the floor, my leg, the washing machine, the dryer, the walls, and the refrigerator. I even found some lingering inside a cabinet later that evening. The tiny speck left in the bottom of the bowl was amazing! I promptly cleaned up the mess and tried again. Within minutes I was eating the best mashed potato substitute I could ever dream of.

 

I Am More Than Just A Gluten Free Girlfriend

Hi everybody! I have been away for way too long. My health has changed drastically as have my allergies.

When I began my Facebook page and my blog I had recently been diagnosed with Celiac. That diagnosis was a three year long road full of multiple wrong and a bevy of specialists.

I began to feel better immediately after going on a gluten free diet. That lasted about 6 months and then the horrible stomach aches, brain fog, and body pain came back.

Since that time I have been taking my healthcare into my own hands. I have a distrust of doctors after the arduous road to my celiac diagnosis.

I narrowed my new issues down to a corn intolerance. At first it was just any ingredient with the word corn in it that I could not tolerate. Then as corn intolerance’s usually do I became more sensitive.

Today, I can not have any corn products or derivatives. Things that seem benign to many people wreck my body. Vinegar, dextrose, xanthan gum, etc. all send me into excruciating stomach pain and affect my mood. If I can not buy it from the perimeter of the grocery store I can not eat it. Even the perimeter is tricky due to some meats and cheeses containing hidden sources of corn.

You can quickly see how my world became a limited and scary place.

Sometime during the corn elimination process I began having heart palpitations and then extreme lethargy from my morning black coffee. I could no longer have any form of caffeine. Good bye chocolate!

Then I began noticing that sugary foods were causing extreme lethargy and the need to sleep soon after eating them. Good bye sugar!

I thought fruit was still my friend. My one source of sweet foods. Wrong!

One morning after eating my breakfast banana I was shopping alone in Walmart.  I got dizzy and fell to the floor. I had to call Alan to come help me. I was seeing stars and the world was moving yet I was sitting still.

I tried bananas again before shopping at Walmart we RV and often stop there for breaks from driving. Ten minutes after eating them I could not form words. I became a stuttering mess. I could not get my thoughts from my brain to my mouth and out. It was the scariest thing I have ever had happen to me. Goodbye fruit sugar!

Since February 2016 I have adopted a low carb high fat diet. At first I did it in an attempt to lose some weight. I quickly found that I felt better than ever before on this grain free diet high in meats, dairy and veggies.

As most of my food journey has happened thus far, I was soon feeling ill again. This time it was dairy. I had never been a big cheese eater before LCHF way of eating. Now I was quickly realizing that dairy was also my foe bringing on bloating, stomach pain, and constipation. Goodbye to most dairy!

At this point I have a very limited diet.

I never know how I will feel from day to day.

I have many pain issues as well. I was born with a club foot which threw off the mechanics of the whole right side of my body. This lead to back spasms and spine pain that leave me in tears. My corn intolerance keeps me from taking anything but Goody’s powders as corn is a major ingredient in almost all medications.

During our last two years on the road, both Alan and I have developed fragrance allergies and sensitivities to chemicals. Everything is more difficult when avoiding scents. Perfume, shampoo, laundry scents all cause symptoms for both of us. We often can not enter stores or go to events because of this. Headaches, burning eyes and nose, burning itchy skin, sore throat, and breathing problems are some of the symptoms that fragrances and chemicals give us. Because of this I make many of my own all natural fragrance free products.

Alan and I travel fulltime in our RV and have been on the road for almost two years. We love it! But, travel and healthcare do not get along.

I am not a rich woman by any means. To get a healthcare plan that works in all 50 states is near impossible to find and totally impossible to afford.

We just became residents of the state of Florida where we spend every winter. I look forward to beginning my journey back to health once I get there. But navigating the healthcare system also frightens me. I know how hard it was to convince doctors something was wrong with me for three years before my Celiac diagnosis.

I am sure I have left out many major details here, but you get the picture. I am really truly awfully sick and I don’t know what is causing it. It seems as if my body is creating new intolerances faster than I am able to weed them out.

This brings me to the real point of this blog post. I have not posted here in about a year. My Gluten Free Girlfriend no longer feels authentic to me. I am so much more than that. I would love to continue this blog to include my healthcare journey, my travels, and to highlight my new allergies. I would like to take this blog away from being just recipes and reviews. t can be so much more!

Is my medical journey and my fight to find out what is causing these scary food issues something you all care to read about? Will you follow me through a name change etc?

I love you all and hope you do.

 

Best Grocery Apps For Saving Money On Gluten Free Food

This post is for the busy people. People like me who love to save money but do not have time to clip coupons. This post is also for the avid coupon clipper who just wants to save even more money on groceries. This post is for celiacs. This post is for everyone who has a food allergy or intolerance and loves to save money. This post is for, well… everyone.

Lately I have been traveling fulltime in my rv. That makes trying to keep up with which stores have the best deals tricky and makes finding and matching coupons impossible. Thankfully some amazing coupon apps have come along. I have tried many over the last three months.  A few were great and some were downright time wasters. I have compiled a list of the best ones and am happy to share them with you.

I challenge you to try a few of these apps and let me know how much you saved over the course of a month!

Ibotta

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This is my favorite grocery rebate app. It is simple to use, has great rebates on items I actually use, and has saved/made me a ton of money (95.00 so far in a little over 2 months). My favorite things about this app are the “Any Brand” rebate offers. I am able to save cash on things like veggies, fruits, meats, cereal, and bread, sauces, etc. Since I can use them on any brand I like, I save money on gluten free items that usually do not have coupons available. Ibotta has rebates on alcohol as well. The wine and liquor rebates are on popular brands and are often 3 to 6 dollars off per bottle. Ibotta has many beer rebates as well which helps me save cash on Alan’s non gluten free beers. The amount of rebates and variety of stores available is expansive. Right now at Walmart alone there are over 250 available rebates. Ibotta has a social aspect where your Facebook friends that use the app are on a “team” with you. This helps you complete extra bonuses for even more cash faster.
This app is incredibly simple to use! Just scan the barcode on the item, snap a photo of your receipt, and that’s it! Once you build up 10 dollars in savings Ibotta will transfer your cash to Paypal or you can turn that money into gift cards at tons of stores.

You automatically receive 2 dollars for signing up and redeeming your first rebate within 10 days of signing up for Ibotta.

You can download the Ibotta app here.

OR

Download it straight from the Google Play Store or App Store and use referral code 6ef7zq

Berry Cart

berrycart-logoThis app is fantastic for saving money on gluten free goodies. It is full of name brand rebates from places like Sunbutter, Kind, Cup4Cup, Pamela’s Gluten Free, Beanfields, and many more. Most rebates are between fifty cents and 3 dollars off. For anyone who shops regularly at Whole Foods, World Market, Fresh Market, or Target, this app is a must have. It has saved me a ton of cash on usually expensive gluten free brands.

This app works similar to Ibotta. Scan, snap, and that’s it. After you have redeemed 5 dollars in rebates, you may transfer you earnings to PayPal or use the money to buy gift cards from top retailers.

Shrink

shrink-147x150

Shrink combines the best of both Ibotta and Berry Cart. This app is definitely one to have in your grocery arsenal. Shrink does exactly what the title says, it helps shrink your grocery bill. There is a section titled “Shrink Exclusives” that contains “Any Brand” rebates on milk, eggs, fruit, and veggies. The best part about using Shrink along with the other apps covered here is the ability to overlap the savings. If Ibotta has 20 cents off tomatoes and Shrink has 25 cents off tomatoes you can use both apps on the same purchases. That means you have saved 45 cents on your purchase. All of these grocery apps can be overlapped and I often get free products this way.
Besides “Shrink Exclusives”, Shrink also has rebates for brands like Smart Flour, Purely Elizabeth, Dr. Praeger’s, and more.

You can download shrink here. Don’t forget to use referral code OOCHPR in the Shrink Exclusive section of the app for exclusive deals!

Savingstar

SavingStar-Shopping-Cart-Icon-e6ed626bc67e80319bf26095e2556abf

SavingStar gives rebates on a few “Healthy Offers” a week and offers a “One or Many” style rebate that is easy and fun to use. With the “Healthy Offers” you can save even more money on fruits and veggies by stacking the offers with other apps.
The “One or Many” offers are unique. These offers are cumulative. Example: You can save 5 dollars when you purchase 30 dollars’ worth of SC Johnson Home Care Products. Most of us don’t plunk down 30 dollars on cleaning supplies at once. But with this app you don’t have to. You have a time limit, usually 30 days, to reach that goal. Anytime you purchase an SC Johnson product, you just scan your receipt. Once you have hit the 30 dollar mark the 5 dollars will be added to your account. You can cash out to Paypal when you have redeemed 5 dollars in rebates.
SavingStar also has many rebates on single items that most of us use every day.

 

You can download Savingstar here.

 

Shopmium

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Shopmium is a newer grocery rebate app. Although they do not currently have a large variety of rebates, I still save money and even get free products using this app. Shopmium often has completely free products available. I got a free Chocolate Bar just for signing up. I have also gotten free dish soap and a free bag of salad mix. Often times the Shopmium rebates are the same as ones in the other grocery apps. That means you can double your savings by using both apps on the same product!

You can sign up for Shopmiumfor Android here and IPhone here don’t forget to use the FREE candy bar code kcuchfmm!

SNAP by Groupon

snap-by-groupon

This app can save you large amounts of money, but there are a limited amount of each rebate available so sometimes you need to move quickly. The rebates are on popular products like Wonderful Almonds, Coca Cola, Clorox, etc. Most rebates are over a dollar savings each.
The payout is not as convenient as some other apps. With Snap you need to redeem 20 dollars in rebates before cashing out. The cash out comes in the form of a check as well. But the fact that the rebate amounts are over a dollar a piece makes this app worth using.

You can download SNAP by Groupon here. Make sure to use referral code fa8cb9886f97f573

Receipt Pal

receipt-pal

This app is very different and one I use every single day! With Receipt Pal all you need to do is snap a photo of your receipt after you buy something and you earn points towards gift cards. You only need to snap photos of 16 receipts a week to get your points. Anything after the first 16 receipts gains you entries into a weekly drawing of $250. This app is great because you can use it to make cash from your everyday shopping trips.

 

 

 

I have saved so much money and had a ton of fun in the process of writing this post. I hope you will try all of or at least a few of these apps to cut the cost of your gluten free grocery bill.

Are you up to the challenge? Try a few of these apps and drop a comment with how much you saved in the first month!

If you have any favorite money saving apps that are not listed here, please post them in the comments below. I would love to try them!

Thick And Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes

Who doesn’t love large fluffy pancakes every once in a while? I have tried many recipes for gluten free and even grain free pancakes. I actually came across this one on complete accident.

I have never been a great pancake maker. Mine come out oddly shaped from cramming too many in a too small pan. We like to call them UFO cakes around here. I was searching out a sorghum based pancake recipe since the Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Flour I had lying around was mostly sorghum based. The recipe I found sounded perfect. The title boasted easy tasty no fail gluten free pancakes or some such wonderful sounding wording… Everything was going swell until I had finished mixing the ingredients and got to the end of the recipe. The blogger had put a “cute” little note at the bottom saying that they did not come out as expected and were tasty but crepe like. This is obviously not what I was looking for. Not wanting to waste all of those ingredients I added to and altered what was in my bowl noting my changes for later.

The pancakes turned out way beyond my expectations. I remade them the next morning to see if I could duplicate that success, and once again they worked! These pancakes Are light, thick, fluffy, and perfectly pancakey. plus they are a cinch to whip up!

I served them to Alan three times that week alone. I had trouble getting any because he liked them so much he couldn’t stop eating them. You should have seen his “I love pancakes” grin!

I served his with pure maple syrup and mine with my favorite pancake topping mashed bananas microwaved for a minute or two.

Have you ever had a similarly frustrating recipe attempt turn into something magical? I’d love to hear about it.

Thick And Fluffy Gluten Free Pancakes
Recipe type: Breakafst
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Gluten Free Cafe Gluten Free Flour Blend or Arrowhead Mills Gluten Free Flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ to 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Mix together all dry ingredients.
  2. Mix eggs, coconut oil, and ¾ cup of milk.
  3. Add wet to dry ingredients.
  4. If batter is too thick add milk in one tbsp increments up to ¼ cup total extra milk. (I usually stick with the ¾ cup milk, but due to variances in measuring the flour it may need a bit more.)
  5. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. You may add more coconut oil to the pan if yours is not nonstick already.
  6. Pour pancakes into pan. These are easiest to flip in smaller sizes, but I have carefully managed some monster pancakes with this batter as well.
  7. flip when bubbles just begin to form towards middle of pancake.
  8. Eat with your favorite pancake topping.

 

Mandy's Pizza Squirrel Hill Allergen Free Pizza

Mandy’s Gluten Free Pizza And Subs Review ~ Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Have you ever been on a really long road trip and gotten tired of eating out of a cooler? Well that’s how we ended up at Mandy’s. Alan and I took a three week road trip in our van. We brought the Coleman stove and ate well, but sometimes you just want the comfort of a hot meal you don’t have to cook and clean up after.

We sought out gluten free pizza in Pittsburgh PA. Mandy’s intrigued me because I noticed it is corn free as well. Actually Mandy’s accommodates  corn free, egg free, nut free, casein free, dairy free ,soy free , and vegan diets. Their new Squirrel Hill location had just opened that weekend which made it all the more appealing to the blogger in me.

We unfortunately arrived to hear some terrible news… they were out of gluten free pizza crusts. This was frustrating since it had not been easy to find street parking for our behemoth of a van that was close by. We almost gave up the quest for gluten free pizza out of frustration and by that point ravenous hunger.

Google maps and a few quick calls led me to their original location in West View. We decided the pizza sounded so good that it would be worth the twenty minute drive.

The shop is small and plain with only a handful of booths. Many of the tastiest places I’ve eaten in the ‘burgh are similarly skeptical looking though.

I did not question there dedication to gluten free in the least. The owner created a gluten free pizza for his son when he was diagnosed with a wheat allergy. They have since expanded to selling their own brand of allergen free baking mixes as well.

Mandy's Pizza Allergen Free Baking Mixes

I was particularly intrigued by the offering of gluten free hoagies. We ordered a gluten free Hawaiian pizza and a gluten free steak hoagie. It was priced in line with other gluten free restaurant fare. We double checked with the cook that he understood gluten free to which he gruffly answered “I don’t make people sick.”

Mandy's Pizza Gluten Free Menu Allergen Free

The pizza was one of the best gluten free pizzas I have tried. The crust was a good combination of crispy and chewy. Most gluten free pizzas lack the chewy gooey where the cheese and sauce meet the crust. This pizza had that. It reminded me more of the texture of a normal pizza.

Mandy's Gluten Free Hawaiian PizzaMandy's Gluten Free Hawaiian Pizza

Mandy’s does not skimp on toppings for their pizzas either. The cheese was stretchy and abundant, the sauce was just enough, and the ham and pineapple were plentiful.Mandy's  Gluten Free Hawaiian Pizza

The gluten free sub bread was thick and chewy. I believe it would have made fantastic garlic bread or french bread style pizza. For me it was a bit heavy for a sub. Don’t take that the wrong way I loved the bread. The flavor was great I am just a dreamer and could see so many other possibilities that would suit it. The meat on the sub was adequate, but the large thick bread hid the flavors a bit. Next time I’m in the area I’ll try an Italian and see how the stronger flavors come through.

Mandy's Gluten Free Pizza Pittsburgh, Pa Gluten Free Steak Hoagie

All in all I really enjoyed Mandy’s and definitely  recommend their pizza and subs for those with allergies.

Coconut World Banana Bread Mug Cake

Coconut Flour Baking Guide And Comparison With Nutrition Facts

In September of last year I put together a coconut flour guide highlighting 7 different brands of coconut flour. I tested each brand using my Best Coconut Flour Chocolate Mug Cake Ever. Since then I have had many people email me asking if I had tried their favorite brand. Once I got enough responses like that I knew I just had to do another coconut flour roundup.

I love testing new products and sharing my results with you all. I have been making my Low Calorie Banana Muffins for breakfast most mornings, so I decided that I would test out the new brands using that recipe. These days I only make the chocolate one on occasion for dessert as it is incredibly rich and decadent.

I originally planned to test these flours using my 108 calorie banana mug muffins, but my diet has changed and I have adapted the recipe to fit my new dietary needs.  Over the past few months I have had to cut out all added sugar and sugar substitutes. Sugar has been making my heart race and then making me incredibly sleepy until 20 minutes after consumption I’m out like a light. I believe it may be reactive hypoglycemia. If any of you have experienced this I’d love to here from you in the comments. I’m still looking for answers and gave up on doctors a long time ago.

As most of you know I have had to cut out corn products and derivatives as well. I am still learning how corn affects me and what products I can and cannot tolerate. So I eliminated my favorite stevia due to it containing dextrose and eliminated vanilla extract due to possible corn as well. If anyone has a good corn free stevia recommendation I’d love to hear it.

So, I will be making these simplified added sugar free Banana Bread Mug Muffins for this test.

Here are the brands you all asked me to compare in no particular order. Coconut World, My Elixir of Life, Nuts.com, Honeyville, Shiloh Farms, Earth Circle Organics, Yankee Trader, and Mercola. I emailed all of the companies but only got responses from the first three. I didn’t want to wait to get this information out to you guys. Here are the three companies that responded. If I get responses from the other companies I will update the post with their information and a test of their flour as well. If you have a coconut flour you would like me to test, or are interested in a comparison of any other gluten free food or product please please let me know. I love doing these tests for you guys and sharing my results!

I began with a control group muffin using my go to coconut flour Nutiva. You can see my results of my last coconut flour comparison here.

I made two cute mug muffins using the Simple Banana Bread Mug Cake recipe I eat for breakfast every day. It is quick, healthy, added sugar free, and uses few ingredients. For the rest of the testing I decided to make the mug cakes as I do every morning; in a cereal bowl. They may not be as pretty, but they take less time and effort than dirtying two mugs or microwaving two separate cakes.

All of the flours in this test came in close and tasted great. Here’s how they stacked up.

Coconut World Organic Coconut Flour

Coconut World Banana Bread Mug CakeCoconut World Banana Bread Mug Cake

2 tbsp = 14 Grams

Calories: 60

Fat: 1.5 Grams

Carbs: 9 Grams

Protein: 3 Grams

Fiber: 5 Grams

Price: Between 6 and 8 dollars.

Overall out of this test I believe Coconut World Organic Coconut flour to be the best. It has a sweeter flavor than the other brands which I consider a plus for mug cakes and added sugar free baking in general. Alan is not a big coconut flour fan. He says it is gritty. He tolerated this brand well and said it was the least gritty of the  flours in this test. I found Coconut World to have the best texture, rise, and flavor. The recipe worked with no modifications to ingredients or time.

NUTS.COM Organic Coconut Flour

Nuts.com Banana Bread Mug CakeCAM00096 

2 tbsp = 14 Grams (0.5 oz)

Calories: 60

Fat: 1.5 Grams

Carbs: 10 Grams

Protein: 2 Grams

Fiber: 6 Grams

Nuts.com fared well in my testing. In fact all of the other brands came in so close that I will be listing them in no particular ranked order.

Nuts.com was the second sweetest out of the flours I tested. It was slightly gritter than the Coconut World flour but not in a way that would negatively affect baking. The nuts. com coconut flour did not need any adjustments in ingredients although I must note that it did take an additional 30 seconds in the microwave. it was not set at the three minute mark. This flour makes a denser yet still amazingly tasty bread than Coconut World or My Elixir of Life. I can see it working well in brownies or other baked goods that need a denser less fluffy result.

My Elixir Of Life Gluten Free Organic Coconut Flour

CAM00092My Elixir of Life Banana Bread Mug Cake

2 tbsp = 18 Grams

Calories: 45

Fat: 2 Grams

Carbs: 11 Grams

Protein: 4 Grams

Fiber: 8 Grams

Price: About $9

My Elixir of Life Coconut Flour was less sweet that the other brands. It would lend itself fantastically to Coconut Flour Buttermilk Biscuits or other savory coconut flour baked goods where sweetness is not as desirable. This flour produced an edible muffin with good flavor. My Elixir Of Life flour produced a muffin that was lighter in color and did not rise as much as the other flours in this test. Alan thought out of the flours tested that this one was the grittiest. I enjoy the texture of coconut flour. While this may have been slightly grittier I still quite liked it.