Monday, August 30, 2010

I Attended the Opening Party at the 2010 International Food Blogger Conference AND My Special Announcement!

International Food Bloggers Conference 2010

I received an invitation to attend the the Opening Party at the 2010 International Food Blogger Conference held in Seattle last weekend.  They were going to announce the winners of the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, and much to my delight I was informed I was a finalist.  Because I am local to the Seattle area, Barnaby Dorfmann, the founder of Foodista (The Cooking Encyclopedia Everyone Can Edit)  thought I might like join in the fun.  He was right, and join in the fun is precisely what I did!!

From The Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond Washington
The 2010 International Food Blogger Conference was a whirl-wind 3 hour experience that I will not soon forget.  Multiple rooms at the lovely Hotel Monaco in downtown Seattle were peppered with vendors from many different aspects of the culinary world.  Restaurant owners, such as the kind people from The Pomegranate Bistro offered up tiny plates piled high with tempting delights for the nearly 300 food bloggers from around the world in attendance.  I sampled the phenomenally delicious grape tomato salad over watermelon ice with handmade mozzarella strings; the cool sweet flavors of the watermelon paired beautifully with the acidity of the juicy ripe tomato and the mild undertone of cayenne pepper (photo above).  The Pomegranate Bistro informed me that although they do not have a formal gluten free menu in print, they do make several dishes in their restaurant that are naturally gluten free.  I told them I would be happy to come and sample the menu to review it for my readers!

Beecher's Handmade Cheese from Seattle
Roaming from room to room I was continually tempted by platters of artisan delights such as handcrafted cheese from Beecher's Handmade Cheese in Pike Place Market (Seattle), and handmade fair trade chocolates from Seattle's own Theo Chocolate.  I sampled a salted caramel with a little chili powder on it named  "Ghost Chile Caramel", and it was fabulous!  Theo Chocolate offers tours of their Seattle chocolate factory 7 days a week; I would love to take my kids there sometime and share our tour experience with all of you!  You don't live near Seattle?  No worries! Theo Chocolate can ship your favorite chocolates to your home (these would make super Christmas gifts).  Both varieties of Theo Chocolates I sampled were gluten free, and one was dairy free as well. Delicious!

Ghost Chile Caramels from Theo Choclate in Seattle
I learned how endive is grown (quite more involved than I could have imagined), sampled delectable gourmet olive oils from Spain (did you know Spain is the world's #1 olive oil producer?), and sipped wines from the Columbia WineryChateau Ste. Michelle, and several wineries in Walla Walla Washington (we have fantastic wines in Washington)!  The POM company sampled its ant-oxidant rich 100% Pomegranate juice by serving it up in the form of POM Cocktails, which I must say were extremely easy going down!  As you can imagine, my belly was very happy visiting all of the different food and beverage tables!

I had the chance to meet several amazingly talented cookbook authors, and have a review lined up for one of them which I particularly loved ( I will post the review very soon, so stay tuned)!  The theme for most of the cookbooks at the conference focused on fresh, regional, organic ingredients which I was very pleased to see.

Heidi Kelly (Adventures of a Gluten free Mom) and me.
One of the highlights of my evening was getting to meet one of my favorite gluten free bloggers face-to-face: The beautiful, warm-hearted Heidi Kelly, author of the inspiring Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom blog (photo above).  Heidi was nicer in real life than I could have imagined, which really made me wish she didn't live in a different state (I would love to hang out and bake up gluten free delights with her!).  What fun!

Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook 
The next biggest highlight of my evening was finding out that I was actually a winner in the Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook Contest!  Woo Hoo! :)  For all of you who voted for my Gluten Free Pumpkin Doughnuts and Vegetarian Spring Roll Recipes in the contest last spring, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!  It is a huge honor for me to have a recipe published in this unique cookbook; I look forward to handing down a copy to each of my kids so someday when I am getting older they can share it with my grandchildren and great grandchildren (you get the idea).  The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook goes on sale this October; I will definitely be reviewing it and hosting a giveaway for it as well.  Chances are that most of the recipes in the book are not gluten free (although like any recipe, you can adapt them by substituting GF ingredients to make them gluten free), so I will run the giveaway on my Freebie Fairy website as opposed to on Gluten Free Taste of Home.  If you are interested in entering, be sure to sign up via e-mail for my Freebie Fairy blog so you don't miss out on the announcement.

Film Maker & Food Activist Morgan Spurlock (L)
The evening ended with great big goody bags full of cool kitchen gadgets and bakeware courtesy of Sur la Table, and an interview with guest speaker Morgan Spurlock, food activist and filmmaker (Best known for his film Super Size Me).  Morgan was on of the funniest people I have ever listened to, he had the crowded room full of bloggers laughing at his jokes, but also managed to keep us all engaged in a conversation about what food bloggers can do to help spread the word about eating the right foods.

My only regret?  That I didn't know about the 2010 International Food Blogger Conference earlier!  I would have loved to stay for the full weekend long conference to take all of the interesting blogging workshops being offered (and eat some delicious chef prepared meals with a lot of super nice food bloggers!)  Oh well, there's always next year!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was not compensated for this post; all bloggers in attendance at the IFBC received a complimentary goody bag containing a selection of kitchen gadgets from Sur la Table as a conference gift.  I received a bottle of Olive Oil courtesy of Olive Oils from Spain, as well as a sample pack of chocolates from Theo Chocolate, and a cookbook courtesy of Chateau Ste Michelle Winery; all were conference gifts available to every attendee. The opinions I have expressed are solely my own; I was not required to post a review for any gifts received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Review: Healthy Top Non-Dairy, Gluten Free, Non-Soy, Shelf-Stable Whipping Cream from MimicCreme

Since my last review on MimicCreme's fabulous gluten and dairy free shelf-stable cream substitutes a few months back, MimicCreme has addded a new and very exciting pruduct to their line up called Healthy Top.  I absolutely LOVE the taste, ease of use, and storage benefits of Healthy Top, and wanted to share it's arrival with you.

About Healthy Top:

Healthy Top is the first totally Non-Dairy, Non-Soy, shelf-stable Whipping Cream. It is made from a healthy blend of organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Almonds, Cashews, Sweet Almond Oil and natural cane sugar. Healthy Top is gluten-free, contains no hidden caseinates and is produced using only non-GMO ingredients.  Healthy Top is also cholesterol-free, kosher-parve, contains no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no polysorbate 60. Chill as cold as possible, whip and enjoy!


Click here to find the retail location nearest you selling MimicCreme products, or click here to  purchase Healthy Top and other MimicCreme products directly from the MimicCreme website.

Let me know how you like it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was not compensated for this post; I received a complimentary Healthy Top sample for review purposes courtesy of MimicCreme. The opinions I have expressed are solely my own; I was not required to post a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flour-Free Eating

If you are curious about how to eat without using wheat flour, this book is for you.  Some people, like my daughter, have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance and cannot safely ingest wheat flour (or barley, rye & contaminated oats). Others chose to avoid wheat flour to  help control their blood sugar levels, and improve other health problems associated with the ingestion of wheat products.

No matter what your reason is for avoiding wheat, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flour-Free Eating will offer expert advice on how to successfully achieve this goal.

I made the gluten free Hungarian Noodles with Cabbage recipe for dinner the other night, and it was so tasty!  My husband commented on how much he enjoyed it, even though it was a meatless dish.  Even my kids who normally don't care for cabbage liked it!  I am looking forward to trying more of the recipes from this useful book.

For those with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance, please note:

None of the recipes in this book contain wheat flour, although there are a handful of recipes that contain other gluten ingredients.  However, most of the recipes are gluten free, and are clearly marked as such.


"The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Flour-Free Eating has all the information readers need to easily and comfortably get on, and stick to, a healthier eating plan. It explains to readers what they can eat and what they should avoid, including important guidance on how to identify hidden flour in processed foods and how to stay flour free while eating out." 

•Includes more than 150 flour-and sugar-free recipes 

•Diabetes now affects over 18 million Americans, and since flour = sugar, eliminating flour is a must to help combat these and other illnesses


here to purchase The Complete Idiot's Guide to Flour-Free Eating  from Penguin Publishing (retail price $9.99).

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was not compensated for this post; I received a complimentary copy of  this book  for review purposes courtesy of Penguin/Alpha Books . The opinions I have expressed are solely my own; I was not required to post a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cookbook Review: 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes By Carol Fenster

Popular gluten free cookbook author Carol Fenster, has just released 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes which compiles "The most basic and vital recipes from her previous cookbook": 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes. In 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes, you will find a well-rounded collection of Carol's scrumptious gluten free favorites, complete with beautiful color photos. 

If you have been missing your favorite comfort foods since going gluten free, you will be thrilled to find recipes for such delicacies as Pepperoni Pizza, Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce, and Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms, Banana Bread with Chia Seeds, Fresh Chive Flatbread with Dipping Oil, and Chiles Rellenos (to name a few)! 

100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes features completely updated recipes as well as five brand new recipes!  
One feature of this book that is especially useful is the detailed introductory section with valuable information on gluten free shopping guidelines, understanding food labels, and how to effectively cook using with gluten-free ingredients.
I appreciate that Carol Fenster added icons on each recipe in the cookbook that highlight vegetarian, kids' favorite, and quick recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less! 

100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster will make a wonderful addition to every gluten free household, as well as a thoughtful gift for a gluten free friend or family member; I highly recommend it! 


Visit your local bookstore, or click here to order online.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blog Carnival - Barbecue Bash Hosted by Gluten Free Frenzy!

My fellow gluten free blogger Chandice, author of the Gluten Free Frenzy blog is hosting Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten-Free, which is a monthly blog carnival started by Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Each month has a different host with a different theme, but all recipes are gluten-free.

This month's theme is: Barbecue Bash!

Here is the link to Chandice's post about the event, with all the information on how to send her your recipe and picture!

Have fun!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gluten Free Pamela's Products Launching Single-Serve Packs of Baking & Pancake Mix and Microwavable Chocolate Brownie Mix this Fall

Great news just in time for back-to-school!  Pamela's Products, whom in my opinion makes some of the best gluten-free baking mixes available, are introducing single-serve packs of their delicious Chocolate Brownie Mix and Baking & Pancake Mix!

Pamela's Products says: "By early September consumers will be able to find these two popular mixes, in their new convenient sizes, on store shelves. Created specifically for grab n' go ease, the single-serve packs makes a stack  of four pancakes, or one microwave brownie in about a minute. Complete with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and made of all natural ingredients the single-serve packs are ideal for busy families, college students, and anyone looking for portion-control."

My kids thought it was wonderful that they could prepare the Pamela's gluten free single-serve brownie themselves (they only needed me to help them safely remove the hot dish from the microwave oven).  I love that this mix is also dairy free, so my daughter can safely eat it. Pamela's Chocolate Brownie Mix is the #1 selling Brownie Mix in its category of all Natural Foods (according to SPINScan Data); one taste of these warm, fudgy, gluten free brownies, and you will know why!

I used the single-serve package of Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix to whip up some gluten free pancakes for myself recently when my husband was out with all of the kids.  It made four pancakes, which was just the right amount for me; they were absolutely delicious!

Where to buy:  Available this Fall at natural food retailers and, the single-serve packs will retail for about $1.99 each.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was not compensated for this review; I received complimentary single-serve packs of Pamela's Products Chocolate Brownie Mix and Baking & Pancake Mix for review purposes courtesy of Pamela's Products. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Udi's Gluten Free Foods

It all started with the bread... Udi's gluten free bread came into my families lives last year, and changed our lives for the better. That may sound a bit dramatic, but eating soft, pliable bread that did not need toasting and tasted delicious WAS dramatic! My family really missed bread after going gluten free; there is something to be said about the simple act of eating a good sandwich. I believe that until the simple things are taken away, you never know how valuable they are to you.

I have tested many gluten free breads for review on my blog, and tried some that were not even good enough to qualify to be reviewed on my blog. In all fairness I have tried a couple of pretty good tasting gluten free breads in the past, but I can honestly say that none have come close to Udi's gluten free bread. I LOVE that a whole package of Udi's gluten free bread can be thawed to room temperature, and eaten soft (directly from the package). The mandatory gluten free bread toasting days are over! The chiseling off of one slice of bread at a time from a rock-hard frozen loaf are over! Udi's Gluten Free Foods makes soft, FANTASTIC tasting gluten free breads (yes GREAT!) available to all who want it, in both whole grain and white varieties!

"We believe everyone should eat delicious, good tasting food. At Udi's Gluten Free, we take the guesswork out of looking for the best tasting gluten-free food for you and your family.Our bakers have set the standard for the best tasting gluten-free products and are committed to baking our breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls and pizza crusts naturally without artificial flavors, colorings, preservatives or other synthetic additives.Our baked goods are not only gluten-free, but also dairy free, nut free and soy free. Rest assured, Udi’s Gluten Free Foods baked goods are made in a 100% dedicated gluten-free facility."

Udi's Gluten Free Foods has branched out beyond only bread, and has created a whole line of mouth watering gluten free baked goods that rival even the tastiest gluten containing foods!

My family had the pleasure of sampling the following Udi's Gluten Free Foods, and would like to share our feedback:

Whole Grain Bread Loaf: I think I made my family's love affair and dedication to Udi's bread pretty obvious in the paragraphs above, although I would like to add that we prefer the whole grain loaf because it offers superior nutrition and has a wonderful flavor that appeals to our whole family.

Lemon Streusel Muffins: These had a fresh, light lemony flavor, and a wonderful streusel topping. These muffins are extra large, and very satisfying. These were a favorite of my daughters and I.

Blueberry Muffins: Just like the lemon muffins, these offered a fresh fruit flavor, with a moist crumb. I am a blueberry fan and thought these muffins were simply wonderful!

Double Chocolate Muffins: These muffins are so decadent that I almost felt guilty eating them for breakfast! To me, they are like a delicious giant gluten free chocolate cupcake, that I would love to eat for dessert as much as for breakfast or brunch. Of course my kids went nuts for these!

Pizza Crusts:
I am always on the hunt for good gluten free pizza crusts; my whole family agreed that the Udi's gluten free crust was among the best that we have tried. I baked the pizzas directly on the rack, which resulted in a delightful crispy crust. I will definitely use these again!

Cinnamon Rolls: That's right... Cinnamon Rolls! Can you believe it? And these babies are so good! I adore Udi for bring cinnamon rolls back to my family, especially my son who missed them terribly since our household went gluten free. Complete with an ooey-gooey icing packet, these cinnamon rolls are everything a cinnamon roll should be... and gluten free to boot!

Plain Bagels: What a wonderful gift it was to be able to offer my daughter with Celiac Disease her first great tasting gluten free bagel in nearly 3 years (other brands of GF bagels we tried have not been good)! She missed bagels so much that she used to poke a whole out of her gluten free toast and pretend it was a bagel at breakfast. Udi's gluten free bagels are big, fluffy, toast up golden brown, and taste wonderful with cream cheese! Although they aren't chewy like the deli bagels I grew up eating, their soft bread like texture was still a hit with my family; we agreed that these were the best gluten free bagels we have ever had. They are regularly stocked in our freezer now!

We all hope Udi will consider selling gluten free hamburger and hot dogs buns soon, which would be a dream come true! Pretty please Udi? :)


Visit the store locator on the Udi's website to find a retailer selling Udi's Gluten Free Foods. You can also order directly from the Udi's Gluten Free website.
Recieve a $1.00 Udi's coupon when you register for their e-mail newsletter!


Follow Udi's on Twitter, and "like" them on Facebook.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was not compensated for this review; I received complimentary gluten free foods for review purposes courtesy of Udi's Gluten Free Foods. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Giveaway: $25.00 Kroger Family of Stores Gift Card

Visit my Freebie Fairy giveaway blog for a chance to win a $25.00 Kroger Family of Stores gift card!

Giveaway Winner: Annie's Gluten Free Foods

And the winner is:

#27 lv

Congratulations! You were e-mailed on 8/3/10; please reply to my e-mail within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen.

Special thanks to Annie's Gluten Free for sponsoring this giveaway!
Button and signature by Blogger Boutique.