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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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 heredon’t forget to use the FREE candy bar code kcuchfmm!
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!
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
All in all I really enjoyed Mandy’s and definitely recommend their pizza and subs for those with allergies.
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.
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
2 tbsp = 14 Grams (0.5 oz)
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
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.
Birch Tree Cafe Dedicated Gluten Free Restaurant and Bakery Is Absolutely DeliciousAt least once every road trip I search out a special gluten free treat. This time I had a strong craving for a cupcake. That craving led me to the Birch Tree Cafe Delaware’s only gluten free dedicated bakery and cafe. While enjoying my lunch, I had the pleasure of chatting with Cathy, the owner and a fellow celiac.
The Birch Tree Cafe is located inside Good Earth Grocery in the pretty beach town of Clarkesville near Bethany, Delaware. If you are in the Ocean City area it is well worth the drive to this magical little place. The drive inland from the coast is pretty and peppered with nifty little shops.
We arrived just before the lunch hour and had the small cafe all to ourselves. This gave me the opportunity to chat with the friendly and knowledgeable cashier.
We ordered chicken salad on Birch Tree Bakers homemade gluten free bread. We also ordered a BLT on Birch Tree Baker’s Gluten Free Rye bread. Both sandwiches were dairy free as well as gluten free. Cathy uses Veganaise and other healthy natural ingredients to increase nutrition and eliminate many allergens from her menu.
While we waited for our sandwiches we drooled over fresh-baked gluten free cupcakes, brownies, and muffins.
We were going to get our food to go as we had our dog Gypsy with us, and were pleasantly surprised that we could eat our food out on the patio with our pooch. Eating good food on a sunny day on a patio surrounded by a magical organic garden was the perfect accent to our day. Gypsy loved getting to see the live chickens that roamed the property as well.
The owner Cathy was out on the patio finishing up some labels when we sat down to devour our sandwiches. She was eager to speak with us about our blog, our life on the road, and her passion for wholesome gluten free food.
Cathy really understands how important nutrition is to a gluten free diet. So many gluten free breads and bakery items are made with an abundance of starches and lack whole grains. As the chef of the Birch Tree Cafe and creator of Birch Tree Bakers breads and desserts, Cathy bakes foods with great taste, texture, and nutrition.
Our lunch tasted fantastic. The Birch Tree Baker’s breads were soft and full of flavor. The mock rye was my favorite as I have been aching for a good rye style bread since my diagnosis. The Original Gluten Free Bread was some of the best I have tasted too. The texture is soft and light unlike most heavy crumbly gluten free breads available commercially.
Cathy was so amazing at answering questions about ingredients too. I was afraid I would not get my cupcake when the cashier informed me of confectionaires sugar in the icing. Cathy only uses Wholesome Sweeteners in her baking and took time to double check its corn free status. She really knows her stuff! She was able to verify that the confectioneries sugar in the icing was corn free and I got my cupcake wish!
We left The Birch Tree Cafe with full bellies and happy souls. We also left with tons of baked goods for snacking. We purchased four luscious muffins, two gluten free chocolate pecan brownies, and my chocolate cupcake with white icing.
I of course went to town on that cupcake as soon as I was settled in the van. It was heaven. I have not had icing since going corn free and it was everything I remembered. The cupcake was moist and richly chocolate-y. Alan took a bite and let me inhale the rest.
We saved the muffins for breakfast. They were hearty, filling, and delicious. Alan chose chocolate chip as his favorite, while I liked the lemon poppy seed best.
The brownies may have been even better than the cupcakes. I am a huge pecan fan and they set off the fudgey flavor exquisitely.
I highly recommend visiting the Birch Tree Cafe. It is a not to miss spot for anyone who lives in Delaware and has a passion for great gluten free food. Don’t live nearby? Cathy can ship you some of her awesome breads and goodies to devour as well. When you do stop by take some time to say hi to Cathy for me and tell her I sent you.
Every year I receive gift cards to local restaurants for Christmas. This year I got one for PF Chang’s. I was very hesitant to go there since I could not find any information on weather they could handle my corn intolerance. I had been there multiple times before and they handled my celiac gluten free meals perfectly. Since needing to go corn free as well I was afraid that there would be nothing I could safely eat.
I went on there website and noticed that all of there meat is listed as marinated with cornstarch. I relegated myself to getting a plain steamed veggies meal and enjoying the company of my family while they ate awesome PF Chang’s goodness.
I let the server know about my celiac and corn intolerance. She immediately told me about the nifty allergy matrix system their restaurants use. They type in your allergens and it spits out all of the safe menu items and items that can be modified to suit your allergy needs. I was excited to hear this.
The server came back a few minutes later to inform me that corn was not in their allergy matrix, but the manager would be right out to help me figure out what they could make me that was corn free.
Before the server even left our table the manager arrived. She was extremely nice and told me salmon and chicken would be good protein options for me. They could make them fresh without the cornstarch marinade.
I chose chicken. She then asked how well I tolerated spicy food, I love medium to spicy foods and told her so. She quickly decided that the Chang’s Spicy Chicken could easily be done corn free and gluten free. She also suggested that I get it with a side of Garlic Snap Peas since the Chang’s Spicy Chicken did not come with many vegetables.
I was so excited to be able to eat a corn free meal at a restaurant! I know the salmon would have been an option too, but the chicken sounded so good I went with her suggestion.
They may have other corn free options as well if you don’t like spicy food. I didn’t ask about other options since the first option sounded good and I was ravenous.
Our food took slightly longer than normal to be brought out to us but I was glad that they were taking good care to keep me safe.
The food was amazing! The chicken was sweet and spicy with a light crunch. They dusted my chicken with potato starch instead of the normal cornstarch to keep it corn free. The beans were a great addition as well. I was told that the beans are not on their regular menu anymore but they always have them and will make them if you ask. I was extremely happy that they went to such lengths to keep me safe and my belly happy.
My server and the manager were friendly and helpful and made the experience of eating out fun for me. So if you need a restaurant that can adapt meals to any allergy PF Chang’s is the place to go.
I love Pb2 and found it on sale at our local Big Lots of all places. I had never tried the chocolate flavor and found this to be the perfect opportunity to to grab a jar. I usually mix Pb2 and coconut oil to use as a dip for bananas. If you haven’t tried it it is divine.
I know the combination of chocolate, peanut butter and bananas is a popular one so I tried my fave snack with the chocolate PB2. I found the chocolate PB2 to be less peanut buter flavored and not as chocolatey as I thought it would be.
I knew I needed to use it up as I hate to waste ingredients. I started out attempting brownies, but ended up with an amazing protein packed chocolate peanut butter cake. I have tried protein cakes before and not cared for them as they were gritty, chalky, dry or wierdly flavored. This has all of the protein of a whole jar of PB2 and all of the flavor of rich chocolate peanut butter. The chocolate flavor really blossoms when more PB2 is used.
This recipe only has 1/4 cup of sugar in the whole thing. I still found it to be quite sweet for me and am sure the sugar amount could be decreased to 2 tablespoons if you like very lightly sweet desserts. Continue reading →
I wanted ranch flavored chicken. I wanted it so bad I could taste it in my head. I have expiramented with making my own ranch powder mixes before. I have used numerous recipes that claimed to taste like Hidden Valley packets but none even came close. I have tried my own spice combinations and still that amazing ranch flavor eludes me. I am beginning to think that the chemicals and ingredients with long names are what makes it taste so good.
On my latest quest for ranch flavored powder I came up with these yummy chicken tenders. I call them buttermilk dill because they too were just not ranch flavored. They were however amazingly good. I love Saco buttermilk powder. I use it in my coconut flour buttermilk biscuit for one. Now I have a new go to chicken recipe and a new use for my buttermilk powder. Alan says he wants this chicken as often as I am willing to make it. Try it and then tell me about your homemade ranch successes and/or failures in the comments section below.