tinyB chocolate {Review}

tinyB chocolate

Brigadeiro – Brazil’s national dessert, a truffle which you will find at all of the major Brazilian celebrations.

tinyB chocolates are hand made in San Francisco at a family-owned artisanal company. The owners of tinyB chocolates are not themselves gluten-free, however their quest to make the tastiest, highest-quality chocolate just so happens to be naturally gluten-free! Here is a one minute video that shares the story behind tinyB chocolates: https://vimeo.com/141495718


I was sent a box of 15 chocolates to review which included the following flavors: coconut and cream, dark chocolate, dark chocolate and almond, pistachio, and milk chocolate. These are not dairy free (they are made with cream) and I tried a small piece of each flavor and shared with the family (who are HUGE chocolate fans!). Bryan’s mum tried the milk chocolate first and her only comment was “perfection”. They are the creamiest truffles I have ever tasted, perfect balance of flavors and texture. I loved them all and it is really hard for me to pick a favorite out of these five flavors. In addition to the flavors I received, there are an additional five flavors that are available upon request which include: dark chocolate mint, Brazilian coffee and chocolate, passion fruit and white chocolate curls, raspberry and white chocolate, and spicy dark chocolate.

A box of the tinyB brigadeiros would make a lovely gift for a birthday, celebration, party favors, or hostess gift! You can order different size boxes on their website.

Be sure to check out tinyB chocolates on social media as well:

Thank you again for the incredible samples! These are out of this world delicious.

*I received samples from tinyB chocolates – all comments and opinions are 100% my own.

Gluten Free Things {Review}

Have you heard of Gluten Free Things before? I hadn’t until I was contacted by the owner asking if I would like to sample their products and write about my experience with them. I looked at their website to view their offerings and was excited to respond yes. In the last year or so I have had to cut dairy out of my diet as well, which has been a little more difficult than I had imagined. Mainly because I sometimes would forget that I could no longer have it. I was pleased to learn that their bread products are now VEGAN which means I can eat them. I do not however have an dietary issues with eggs, but sometimes it is easier to find a vegan version over a non-dairy version of certain items.

Additionally and most importantly, everything is prepared in an 100% gluten-free bakery! The selection of products include; breads, crackers, mixes, cookies and biscotti, muffins, dough’s, etc. I was sent the following items to sample and review: a hoagie roll, English muffins, croissants, chocolate chip cookie, a peanut butter cookie, and pita bread.


Since being diagnosed in 2008 with celiac disease I’ve tried my fair share of bread products; several of which have impressed me and a good amount of them have not. The items we tried from Gluten Free Things were very impressive even more so because they were both gluten free and vegan. We made breakfast sandwiches using the English muffins and both of us enjoyed the texture and flavor of them. They toasted up nicely, with a good crunch, and a chewy texture in side. Everything we tried was fantastic; out of the two cookies the peanut butter was my favorite (only because I’m a sucker for peanut butter and prefer it over chocolate any day of the week). The croissants were so delicious I toasted these up and smeared on some delicious raspberry jam and had a nice cuppa tea with it. The hoagie roll was spot on, I used half of it to make a sandwich, and the other half I toasted up and served along side a big bowl of gluten-free pasta to soak up the sauce.

I think my favorite item however, was the pita breads! I hadn’t had a gluten-free (and/or vegan) version before and they reminded me so much of the real thing I forgot that they weren’t. I tried these untoasted and toasted and both were great. I put these to use as a post hike lunch by loading them up with some Boars Head chicken, mixed greens, and edamame hummus.


Overall we were highly impressed with the products we received and would definitely order from them. If you are looking for a gluten-free, vegan, egg, nut, and soy free bread option, I recommend giving Gluten Free Things a try! Thank you John and the rest of the Gluten Free Things team for such great products!

*I was sent products for review, however all comments and opinions are 100% my own.

World’s Easiest Cookies {Bake Around}

World's Easiest Paleo Baking Cover 600

Elizabeth Barbone (Gluten Free Baking) has done it again, this time with her latest cookbook “The World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” which is loaded with recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and no refined sugars!

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth a few years ago at the Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, NJ. She is simply amazing, funny, and beyond talented. When this latest book was released (January 2016), she asked if I would like to be part of the “bake around” for it along with a handful of other bloggers, of course my answer was YES! I am not paleo (however some of my recipes just happen to be paleo), I do have celiac disease and a dairy allergy so these recipes are perfect for me and anything to support Elizabeth.


(in true “Jenny” fashion, my eyes are closed)

The recipe we were asked to make and share with all of our readers is accurately named “World’s Easiest Cookies”, I kid you not, these are the world’s easiest cookies…except for those that you buy in a package, but why would you do that when you can make these?? They are delicious to top it off. Light and fluffy bites of goodness. I made the batch and Bryan proceeded to eat more than half of them. I was lucky enough to grab a few for myself.

Elizabeth is kindly letting us share this recipe with all of you and is also giving away 5 copies of her new book. So check out the recipe below and be sure to enter Elizabeth’s giveaway here: GIVEAWAY

World’s Easiest Cookies

World's Easiest Cookies _ World's Easiest Palelo Baking _ Elizabeth Barbone
Active Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per pan
Yield: 16 cookies

170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free

100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing
bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla
extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced
about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly
with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass
sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer
cookies, don’t press down the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then
transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch.
Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in
a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

See how easy these cookies are? And did I mention DELICIOUS?!? Be sure to check out all the bake around posts on Elizabeth’s website; Gluten Free Baking

*all comments and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you Elizabeth for including me in this “bake around”

Diced {100% Gluten-Free Meal Kit Delivery}


Looking to try a meal delivery service, but need it to be 100% gluten-free? We FINALLY have an answer…Diced.

Diced was created by Tinsley Meloy’s who was diagnosed in 2008 with Celia Disease.  She, like myself and many others out there had to learn to how cook and survive in a whole new world; the gluten-free world. Diced was created out of her desire to create a successful, gluten-free lifestyle to make the gluten-free world easier to navigate and tastier to eat.

Diced is based out of Brooklyn, NY and everything is prepared in a 100% gluten-free facility so there is no need to worry about cross-contamination! Amen! Seriously, knowing that was a huge thing for me as I have noticed recently that I’ve been getting ill after even the smallest amount of cross-contamination.

Here is how it works: Visit MyDiced.com and check out their Weekly and Core menu options. Choose your meal(s) –> trust me you’ll want to order more than one! Then click the checkout button when you are ready to purchase. Meals are delivered next day (Monday-Friday)!

Tinsley and the awesome team over at Diced kindly provided us with three meals (of our choice) to sample. I can’t even begin to express how excited I was to try this service. We’ve talked about trying other services in the past however none were 100% gluten-free and didn’t want to risk it. Bryan and I went through the list and picked the Takeout Style Chicken and Broccoli with Rice, Quinoa Chili, and Salmon Nicoise Salad. Bryan doesn’t normally eat cooked fish (he’s much more of a sushi guy, so the last one was really for me), however he loved it! All of the meals were beyond easy to make…they come with recipe cards with pictures for you to follow. Everything is pre-measured out and neatly packaged. These meals are perfect for those that are in need for a quick and easy dinner on busy nights. I normally plan out a weekly menu, so this took some of the guess work out of it for me. I will 100% be purchasing meals from Diced again.

Tinsley and team is offering Creative Cooking Gluten Free readers a special discount…use DICED<3sCCGF at checkout to receiving 25% off your order!!

Be sure to check Diced out on social media as well: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram And don’t forget to check out my posts and reviews on Instagram too! Use #getdiced

I tried my best to take pictures of each of the meals, but completely spaced for the quinoa chili and just inhaled it before any pictures were taken; sorry about that! Below are images from the other two meals we chose though!

*A coupon code for free meals was provided by Diced – all comments and opinions are 100% my own.


Gluten Free Classic Snacks {Review + Giveaway}

Classic-Snacks-e1436337195890This giveaway has now closed

Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring is one of my favorite gluten-free cookbook authors and bloggers. The woman is a genius when it comes to taking your favorite gluten-filled recipes and reformulating them to be gluten-free and she hit the nail on the head again in her latest cookbook, Gluten Free Classic Snacks. With 100 recipes (YES 100!) for everything from cookies, brownies, snack cakes, and pies to buttery crackers, cheese crackers, pretzel rods, candy bars, and licorice–along with helpful tips and tricks for easy prep, extensive information on ingredients and substitutions, and basic recipes for homemade flour blends– Gluten-Free Classic Snacks will help you to bring back all the flavors and fun of the treats you remember. In the last two months I have had to change my diet a bit and am now not only gluten-free but also dairy free. I was please to see that Nicole included easy substitutions for her recipes. I made one recipe from the cookbook without any substitutions and had other try it out…the response DELICIOUS and then we tried a few others with substitutions and again the response was DELICIOUS. Bryan has a handful of his own food intolerance including quite a few FODMAP’s, OAS, and a wheat intolerance. I had him go through this cookbook (like I do with many that I receive in the mail) and had him mark which recipes he wanted to try first…I would say that more than 80% of the book was marked. To me that is always a good sign. I was given a list of recipes to choose from to review and without any hesitation we decided on the Kellog’s frosted strawberry pop-tarts toaster pastries. Probably one of the best decisions we’ve made recently (at least food wise). They were delicious! The only ingredient I didn’t have was gluten-free sprinkles. I can’t wait to make these again, and a bunch of the other recipes in the book. I have a lot of baking to do in the near future and I am okay with that.


Gluten Free Kellogg’s Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts Toaster Pastries

Prep time: 1 hour 40 minutes    Cook time: 10 minutes    Total time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Author: Nicole Hunn from Gluten-Free Classic Snacks    Serves: 12


For the crust:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg at room temperature, beaten
  • 4–6 tablespoons milk, room temperature

For the filling:

  • ¾ cup seedless strawberry jam or jelly

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, plus more by the half-teaspoonful
  • Multicolored gluten-free nonpareils for sprinkling


  1. For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar to combine well.
  3. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, vanilla, egg and milk, mixing to combine after each addition. The dough will be thick. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth, adding more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and dust it lightly with flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Roll out the dough to ¼ inches thick and slice it into 3 ½ x 4 ½-inch rectangles (there should be at least twenty four rectangles). If the dough becomes difficult to handle at any point, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the freezer to chill briefly.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of strawberry jelly on the center of the half rectangles of dough, and spread it into an even layer, leaving a ¾-inch border clean on all sides of the rectangle. Cover with the remaining rectangles of dough and press all around the clean edge to seal. Using a sharp knife, pastry or pasta wheel, cut off about ½ inch of dough around all sides of the pastry. Place the pastries 2 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Dock the pastries by piercing them randomly on top with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the pastries are very lightly golden brown around the edges and just set in the center, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove the pastries from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely.
  7. For the glaze: In a medium-sized bowl, mix the confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of the water until a thick paste forms. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to create a thickly pourable glaze. Spread the glaze thickly on top of each cooled pastry and sprinkle them lightly with nonpareils. Allow them to set at room temperature before serving.
  8. The finished pastries can be stored in a sealed glass container at room temperature and should maintain their texture for at least 3 days. For longer storage, wrap them individually in freezer-safe wrap, and freeze them for up to 2 months. Defrost the pastries at room temperature or unwrap and defrost them in the toaster.
IMG_6917From Gluten-Free Classic Snacks by Nicole Hunn. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, 2015


In addition to being able to share this recipe with all of you I am also giving away THREE copies of this incredible cookbook – get ready for some childhood food memories to come rushing back. Please read the giveaway instructions carefully! Giveaway is open to both residents of the United States and Canada!! How to enter – please leave a separate comment below for each entry! There is one mandatory post and all others are optional! Giveaway ends on Friday July 24th. Winners will be chosen using random.org and will have 48 hours to respond, if no response is received a new winner will be chosen. Good luck to all who enter!

  • Visit this page and leave a comment below telling me what you would make first (MANDATORY POST)
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  • Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook
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  • Post about this review and giveaway on social media and be sure to include both Gluten Free on a Shoestring and Creative Cooking Gluten Free! Leave a separate comment for each social media site that you share on and be sure to include the links!!

Gluten-Free Corn Dogs by Foster Farms {Review & Giveaway}


Foster Farms, the producer of the nation’s number one selling corn dog product who has been in the chicken business since 1939 has released a certified gluten-free option! Yes, I said certified gluten-free (by the Gluten Intolerance Group/GIG). Their new gluten-free corn dog is made with a chicken hot dog that is dipped twice in a honey corn breading that has a delicious flavor and crunch. They come in boxes of 12 and make a great snack meal for you and your little ones. These would also be perfect for Super Bowl Sunday! My favorite way to enjoy them is baked in the oven (you can also cook them in the microwave, but the crunch is worth the oven baking!), and then dipped in some spicy brown mustard. These new corn dogs join the line of other gluten-free chicken products by Foster Farms including chicken breast nuggets and chicken breast strips. Want to know if these items can be found near you? Send the lovely folks over at Foster Farms an e-mail: questions@fosterfarms.com. Even though we do not have children – Bryan and I enjoyed these quite a bit!

Foster Farms wants to share with you! Read below on how to enter for your chance to win 1 of 5 coupons for a FREE box of their new Gluten-Free Honey Crunch Corn Dogs. While these are both gluten-free and dairy free they do however contain soy and egg.

How to Enter:

1. Like Foster Farms on Facebook – leave a comment below saying you did and your Facebook name

2. Tweet about the giveaway using #FFGlutenFree and @Creatively_GF – leave a comment below with the link

3. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook – leave a comment below saying you did and your Facebook name

4. Follow Creatively_GF on Twitter – leave a comment below saying you did so and your Twitter name

Giveaway is open to US residents only. Each winner will receive a coupon (sent directly from Foster Farms) for ONE FREE box of their new Gluten-Free Honey Crunch Corn Dogs. Giveaway begins on Monday December 29th and will end on Sunday January 4th at 11:59pm. Please leave a separate comment for each entry to ensure the maximum number of entries per person. The winners will be chosen via Random.org and will have 24 hours to respond, if no response(s) is received another winner(s) will be chosen. Good luck to all who enter!


This is a sponsored post – all opinions and photos are my own. Thank you Foster Farms!

Udi’s Gluten Free Eat, Drink, Be Merry!

Over the years, I have worked with Udi’s to promote many of their products and even though the sponsor many of the posts I do for them, I do truly buy their products! They offer such a wide range of products for families including bread items, oatmeal, cookies, tortillas, frozen entrees, and more. This year Udi’s wants to celebrate with not only myself and other bloggers but you as well! Their #EatDrinkBeMerry promotion is a HUGE giveaway with incredible prizes! Look at what I received for being part of this event and helping spread the word:


Our freezer is full of these awesome products! Bryan and I were torn on what to try first because many of these items were new to us. So We each heated up one of the non-breakfast burritos and then split them. Yummm. Such good flavor and spice in these. We were both impressed. Next up was the baguette – I brought these up to my dad’s house for an early Christmas celebration and made homemade meatballs subs on them (with some delicious Cabot Cheese) – just heat them up in the oven while still frozen and they held up great with the meatballs and sauce (not something you get very often with gluten-free products).


Don’t forget to enter HERE for your chance to win a #EatDrinkBeMerry prize pack from Udi’s!

Here are my favorite ways to EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY:

EAT – Savory items over sweet! Cheese, olives, prosciutto, and warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

DRINK – A glass of really good Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, OR

BE MERRY – Taking time to relax and enjoy those around me

What are your favorite ways to EAT, DRINK, and BE MERRY?

Click HERE to enter for your chance to win some awesome prizes from Udi’s Gluten Free! You don’t want to miss out on this!


Bread Stuffing {Gluten, Dairy, & Onion Free} & Giveaway from Rudi’s!

IMG_3193One of my favorite holidays is quickly approaching and I am already starting to plan the menu. Last year it was Just Bryan, Penny, and I and I tried my hardest to scale down a “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner, but who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers? I did cut out some of the extra items, and many of the desserts but there are a few things that I just can’t scale down, or not make at all; turkey, my grandmother’s homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato souffle, green beans, and of course stuffing!

I have always loved stuffing…but not so much when it is in the bird. Stuffing made in a baking dish has both the crunchy and soft textures that I love. Since going gluten-free I have struggled a bit in the stuffing department. I have used pre-packaged mixes and even attempted my own, but mastering the spices, herbs, and meeting both mine and Bryan’s dietary needs is always tricky. Bryan has a whole list of intolerance and allergies in addition to my Celiac, but two of the biggest ones are lactose intolerance and onion allergy. Onion is found is more items than you may think it is. We have recently learned that he can not tolerate honey, high fructose corn syrup, agave, and a few other items as well. These are all in addition to his oral allergy syndrome!

When people learn of all these restrictions the first question that is asked is, “what do you eat?”, and often followed by “oh I could never do that!”. When it comes to either being healthy or being ill all the time, we choose being healthy. Yes, things don’t always go as planned and he will get sick, but thankfully it is not life or death, it is more bloating and uncomfortable. As for what do we eat…a lot. A lot of real foods: meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, etc. We have learned to limit more processed foods to the best of our abilities and make adjustments when needed. Granted it is much easier for him to avoid these items when I am around and able to cook but he does what he can when I am here in NYC.

When I was asked by Rudi’s Gluten Free last week if I would like to be part of a recipe creation project with them using their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls, I immediately said yes. Rudi’s has yet to disappoint us with their products and they are both gluten & dairy free, and to top it off…ONION Free. I knew right then and there that I would try to make stuffing out of them for Thanksgiving. I did think of making an appetizer with them, but slicing the rolls about 1/4 inch toasting them up and then topping them with a delicious treat but, stuffing kept coming back to me.

The stuffing is pretty simple to make. You can do the first few steps the night before and then assemble and bake the stuffing the next day. It is a traditional bread stuffing (or gravy, however you wish to call it), with carrots and celery in place of the onions, and loaded with flavor!

As I mentioned above, I have made gluten-free stuffing from scratch before, but the ciabatta rolls have hands down the best texture to them for making stuffing. Both Bryan and I agreed on this. He is not 100% gluten-free because he doesn’t have to be, so I value his opinion greatly and take his feedback to heart. For someone who isn’t gluten-free to say that something that is gluten-free is delicious means a lot to me.

The ciabatta rolls are delicious on their on and ready for your family dinner table in about 8-10 minutes, these crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside rolls are a great side dish to any entrée or holiday meal. They are available in two flavors, Plain and in Rosemary Olive Oil, these bake – at – home rolls will make your kitchen smell awesome!

Keep reading below the recipe for your chance to win the same package Rudi’s Sent me and more chances to win on Rudi’s Gluten Free’s Facebook Page!!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Onion-Free Traditional Bread Stuffing

IMG_3201(*please see note to include onions)

  • 1 package of Rudi’s Gluten Free Plain Ciabatta Rolls (sliced and cut into 1/4 inch cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Bells Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Spread (I used the stick version)
  • 1 Cup sliced Celery
  • 1 Cup Diced Carrots
  • 1 – 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock (Homemade if preparing this onion free)
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a large baking sheet with either aluminum foil pr parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl combine the bread crumbs, olive oil, parsley, oregano, bells seasoning, salt, and pepper, toss well to combine.
  4. Transfer seasoned bread crumbs to the baking sheet and bake for about 10 – 15 minutes checking often, and tossing as needed. Make sure that these cubes do not burn. You want them to be nice and crunchy like a crouton though.
  5. Remove from oven, let cool and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Reduce oven temp to 350°
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the earth balance, celery and carrots – season as needed with salt and pepper.
  8. Cook vegetables for 5-8 minutes until soft.
  9. Transfer cooked vegetables to bowl with seasoned bread cubes.
  10. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  11. Starting with 1 cup of the stock, slowly add it to the bowl of seasoned bread cubes and stir until seasoned bread cubes or moistened.
  12. Transfer stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Baked covered for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

*Note: if you wish to make this with onions, simply add 1/2 cup small diced onion to the celery and carrot mixture and use store bought or homemade stock with onion. IMG_3200GIVEAWAY!

  • Giveaway is open from 8:00 am EST Tuesday November 4th and ends at 11:59 pm EST on Friday November 14th, 2014.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry to receive the max entries.
  • Giveaway and prize pack open to US residents 18 years and older.
  • Winner will be chosen using random.org
  • Winner will be notified via e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen.

As mentioned above Rudi’s has offered to give one lucky reader the same gift pack that they sent me which includes the following items:

  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta Roll
  • One bag of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Plain Ciabatta Rolls
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Apron
  • John Boos 18-by-12-Inch Reversible Maple Cutting Board
  • Spectrum Organic Mediterranean Olive Oil
  • Spectrum Organic Balsamic Vinegar
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Oven Mitt

Ways to Enter – enter by just doing one, or by doing them all, but make sure to leave a separate comment for each one:

Want other ways to win prizes from Rudi’s Gluten Free??

From November 4th-10th, Rudi’s will be celebrating the launch of their new Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls through a giveaway on their Facebook page, in which they will be giving away 100 oven mitts every day! To enter visit: http://www.rudisbakery.com/ciabatta-promo/


Rudi’s provided me with product to create a recipe using their new cibatta rolls. The recipe and opinions are 100% my own.

Veggetti {Review & Giveaway}

VeggettiI know veggie noodles are all the rage right now…trust me I am 100% on board with this food trend. There are many gadgets that you can use to make veggie noodles, some more expensive than others, but they all pretty much achieve the same final product…veggie noodles! When I was contacted by Veggetti® to do a review, I jumped right on that.

Veggetti® is a handheld device that makes for a quick and easy way to turn your veggies into veggie noodles/pasta. Veggie noodles offers a healthier, lower-carb alternative to regular pasta. All you have to do is choose which veggie(s) you want to have and twist away. Some that I love are zucchini, summer squash, carrots, cucumbers, and sweet potatoes! You simply cut off the end of your chosen veg, insert it into either the thick or thin strand side of the Veggetti® and twist away to create strands of delicious veggie pasta or noodles. There are so many delicious recipes for you to make with veggie noodles…you could toss your noodles in a marinara sauce, bolognese sauce, some light salad dressing, or make your own vinaigrette. All you need is to be creative! As I mentioned veggie noodles are a great alternative to regular pasta, especially for those that are gluten-free and/or diabetic!

In addition to the Veggetti® I was also sent a $25 VISA gift card to buy ingredients to be used in the creation of a dish. I decided to create a Greek Salad, using cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, and summer squash. I really wanted to make an extremely colorful dish, as my food mantra is “eat the rainbow”. Below is my recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

This is a great little kitchen gadget to have…the size is perfect, it fits into your kitchen drawer without a problem, and you can easily take it with you (vacation, camping, etc.). I actually took mine with me to my younger cousin’s graduation party and made my own meal, everyone was a bit jealous and looking for more of it. Had I known that people would be so into it, I would have made a big dish of it.  The Veggetti® is sturdy and has two ends that you can choose from: thick and thin.

You can find the Veggetti® on Amazon or at many fine retailers nationwide including Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Walgreens, CVS, and more.

Keep reading for your chance to win a Veggetti® and a $25 VISA Gift Card!

Veggetti® Greek Salad

photoServes:  2 as an entrée or 4 as a side dish

Salad Ingredients

  • Cucumber                                      1 small
  • Zucchini                                         1 small
  • Carrot                                            1 large
  • Summer Squash                             1 small
  • Cherry Tomatoes, quartered             1/2 cup
  • Red Onion                                      1/2 cup (1 small onion)
  • Olives, Kalamata, halved                  1/4 cup
  • Feta Cheese                                   2 tablespoons

Dressing Ingredients

  • Lemon Juice, fresh                          1/4 cup
  • Vinegar, white                                 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, grated                                  2 cloves
  • Basil, fresh                                     1/2 tablespoon
  • Mint, fresh                                      1/2 tablespoon
  • Oregano, fresh                                1/2 tablespoon
  • Black Pepper, fresh                         1/4 teaspoon
  • Feta Cheese                                   2 tablespoons
  • Olive Oil                                         3 1/2 tablespoons

Method of Preparation

  1. Wash all vegetables well
  2. One at a time, twist each vegetable at time into a bowl
  3. Quarter the tomatoes and set aside
  4. Thinly slice the red onions and set aside
  5. Halve the kalamata olives and set aside
  6. In a food processor or blender add all of the dressing ingredients blend until smooth
  7. Taste dressing for seasoning and adjust accordingly
  8. Add 3/4 of the dressing to the bowl of veggie noodles, and toss to coat
  9. Top the salad with the cherry tomatoes, onions, and olives, toss well
  10. Sprinkle with feta cheese
  11. Serve with remaining dressing on the side

*Optional – top with grilled chicken breast if serving as an entrée.


Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Cutter        

The Veggetti®, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Ontel – Thank you for this opportunity!

Entry is really simple…

Leave a comment below telling me what you would make first if you won this.

That’s it…one simple entry, is required but if you would like additional entries please leave a separate comment for each of the following:

  1. Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook
  2. Share this post and giveaway on social media and be sure to share the link below (you can do this daily)!

Entry is open to US residents only…no P.O. boxes. Giveaway ends on Wednesday August 20th, 201 at 11:59pm EST. Good luck to all who enter!

Jennifer’s Way {Book Review}

You won’t find many non-cookbook book reviews here on Creative Cooking Gluten free, however when a good book comes along I am more than happy to write about it and share with all of you.

photo 1(this is not the actual cover – it has changed since I received my review copy)

Jennifer’s Way is written by none other than Jennifer Esposito, acclaimed actress (who just so happens to have celiac disease) turned celiac/gluten-free advocate and bakery owner! Jennifer,like many of us, myself included, went years being misdiagnosed, a huge problem for those with celiac disease. With celiac disease having over 300 symptoms it can be difficult for doctors to know to test for this, especially if the individual is showing signs and symptoms that are less well known.Celiac disease is not a pretty disease, especially if you are misdiagnosed for many years.

Jennifer’s Way is a brutally honest summary of her journey to being diagnosed with celiac disease and her path to health and wellness in all areas of her life. Additionally in her book she shares some of her delicious recipes and you can find even more on her website. Once I cracked the cover on this book, I couldn’t put it down. So many parts of this story, I myself could have written. I would take some quick pictures with my cell phone and send them to Bryan of different sections and just say “this was me!!” and he would agree. Like Jennifer, I am also Italian (although not fully, I have more characteristics and qualities of that side of my family), I was always in love with food…it represents so much to me, and amongst other things I was diagnosed later (age 26) with many years and visits to the doctors, only to be told that it was only in my head or my favorite one…”she is just looking for attention”. Let me just say, IF I was looking for attention, going to a doctor’s office would probably be my last choice!

I was constantly sick growing up, I am short in stature (many of my family is as well, but my dad is 6’1″, I’m 4’11!!), my weight was always low,and every time I had blood work, my doctor would say that he sees something (which he called a virus), but couldn’t quite figure it out. Granted when I was younger, celiac disease was not on anyone’s radar like it is today. I actually had to bring it to my doctor’s attention to test me for it because I was so sick of being sick.

I laughed and cried while reading Jennifer’s Way. It was refreshing and heartbreaking to read the words penned by Jennifer, knowing that I and millions of others are not alone in this struggle, because it was a struggle,and some days it sill is. It is also frustrating to constantly have to defend this disease…trust me I did not ask for this, I mean who would want a DISEASE? This is not a fad for those who truly need it. The only treatment (note: not cure!) for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet. There are no cheat days, yes, there is the occasional sadness of “I miss Italian bread” or “I miss tiramisu” but you learn to adapt and be creative when reformulating your favorite recipes.

Jennifer, thank you so very much for writing and sharing your beautifully honest journey with all of us, I can imagine it was not easy to do. I am so appreciative of your determination to get answers, stand up for yourself, and find the health and happiness that you so deserve, and fighting for awareness for others in similar situations. You are amazing, talented, and I can’t wait to move to NYC next month and finally visit your bakery! My mouth waters every time I see a picture you post.

(images of an article in Simply Gluten Free Magazine July/August Issue)

Watch Jennifer’s interview with John Stewart of The Daily Show: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/h8l3h4/jennifer-esposito

Gluten-Free Buyers Guide {Review & Giveaway}

indexWhen I was first diagnosed in 2008 I felt completely lost, frustrated, and overwhelmed by trying to find decent products, restaurants, and information in general. Thankfully though, over the years more and more information is available (sadly, not always correct), more products (that thankfully taste much better), and resources in general (both in print and online). Additionally there are some lovely people who will do a lot of the work for you now-a-days…like Josh Schieffer of The Annual Gluten-Free Awards! Every year for the last 4 going on 5 years, Josh, has put together the Annual Gluten-Free Awards to bring you the best of the best  in over 40 categories that sum up this ever-growing gluten-free world. The winners are then compiled into The Gluten-Free Buyers Guide; a compact book that is convenient to take to any store with you! It is not bulky, but straight to the point with all the information you need from The Best Gluten-Free Bagels to the Best Gluten-Free Vacation Destinations! Please understand however, that this guide is not filled with every single gluten-free item, blog, website, magazine, etc. on the planet, as it was not designed for that. It does contain what over 2,500 people voted for their favorites in these categories in the 2014 edition!

Josh, a fellow National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Hero, was kind enough to send me a copy of the 2014 Gluten-Free Buyers guide to review. He was also kind enough to offer two of my readers a chance to win a copy of this great resource. Thank you Josh for taking the time to create such a great resource, especially for those who are newly diagnosed.


How to enter:

  • Please leave a separate comment for each entry – this will give you the maximum number of chances to win!
  • Giveaway will run from Friday July 25th – Friday August 8, 2014 (11:59 EST)
  • Two winners will be chosen using Random.Org and will be given 48 hours to respond. If no response is received, a new winner will be chosen
  1. Like “GFREEK.com” on Facebook
  2. Follow “GFREEKcom” on Twitter
  3. Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite Gluten-Free Product is
  4. Follow “GFREEKcom” on Pinterest
  5. Tweet about the giveaway – you must include @Creatively_GF and @GFREEKcom

Grilled Fruit Salad {Fresh Fruit Bowl – Review & Giveaway}

photo 1(1)This giveaway is now closed…thank you to all who entered. Our lucky winner is Birdiebee!

Summer has officially hit! I’m not a huge fan of heat and humidity but I love the natural Vitamin D, fresh summer fruits, and of course grilling. So why not combine all three of these into one? This is a quick and delicious fruit salad that you can easily adapt to your liking and perfect for your summer cookouts (or BBQ’s as my California friends say). Each Sunday I make a meal plan for the 21 Day Fix program that I am doing and then head to the grocery store. I have two servings of fruit ever day and I love doing mixed fruit with a bit of plain Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey…just the right amount of sweetness. This week I picked up some champagne mangos (the little yellow ones…my favorites next to the green mangos found in the Philippines), pineapple, watermelon, and nectarines. Fruit is so naturally sweet to begin with, but when you grill them a whole new flavor profile comes out. The Greek yogurt dipping sauce is just lightly sweetened with honey, so it adds a tangyness to the sweet grilled fruit. This is sure to be a summer favorite!

The Fresh Fruit Bowl (available from Bed Bath and Beyond) is awesome for any salad…fruit or not!. It is a three-piece set (bowl, strainer bowl, and cover) which helps to keep the juices away from the fruit so they keep fresh longer. This bowl is HUGE. It is 7 quarts, so make sure you’ve got some room in that fridge of yours and load it up with lots of fresh fruit. It also offers an easy pour spout to help drain the juices that have collected at the bottom of the bowl.

Be sure to check out below how to enter for your chance to win one of these Fresh Fruit Bowls!

Grilled Fruit Salad with Greek Yogurt Dip

photo 2(1)


  • 1                                 Medium Pineapple
  • 1                                 Small Watermelon
  • 2                                Champagne Mangos
  • 2                                Nectarines
  • 1/2 cup                     Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp.                 Raw Honey
  • 1/8 tsp.                    Ground Cinnamon

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat Grill to medium-high heat
  2. Remove the rind from the watermelon and slice into “steaks”, place into fresh fruit bowl
  3. Remove the rind from the pineapple and slice to remove the core, and slice into long “steaks”, place into fresh fruit bowl
  4. Keeping the skin on the mangos, slice along either side of the pit, and place the halves into the fresh fruit bowl and discard the pit
  5. Cut nectarines in half, remove and discard the pit, and place halves into the fresh fruit bowl
  6. In a small bowl combine the plain Greek yogurt, honey, and cinnamon, mix well. Cover and keep refrigerated until ready to use
  7. Place the fruit on the preheated grill and grill until desired doneness
  8. Remove from grill and place back into the fresh fruit bowl
  9. Serve the fruit pieces whole or cut up and top with yogurt dip and fresh mint leaf

 Want to win a Fresh Fruit Bowl?

Entry is simple…There are several different options, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry so you can be entered in the appropriate number of times!

One (1) winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Winner must live within the continental United States. Winner will also be given 48 hours after notification to respond or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway begins on June 23rd and will end on July 30th at 11:59pm EST.

Ways to Enter:

1. Leave a comment below telling me why you want to win this Fresh Fruit Bowl

2. Follow Good Cook on Facebook (leave a comment below with your FB name)

3. Follow Good Cook on Twitter (leave a comment below with your twitter handle)

4. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (leave a comment below with your FB name)

5. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (leave a comment below with your twitter handle)

6. Share this post on your social media sites – you must include  #freshfruitbowl and #BBBProduct (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) and be sure to share the link to that post!

Good Cook Contest Rules:

  • One prize per household for each Good Cook event. For example, if someone wins on 2 or more blogs, they – or their family members – will only receive one prize from that event.
  • If a household has won a prize in a previous Good Cook event, they are not eligible win again for 6 months.
  • If a household has won more than one prize in a previous Good Cook event (prior to the one-win-in-six-months rule), they aren’t eligible win again for 12 months.
    Good Cook Bloggers and Good Cook Kitchen Experts are not eligible to win prizes in Good Cook sponsored events, whether or not they participated in the event or not.
  • Good Cook will confirm that winners are eligible and will disqualify anyone who has won more than once.
  • Prizes ship from Good Cook and can take 8-10 weeks after the contest ends, unless otherwise stated. You must be 18 or older to win. US shipping addresses only.
  • Good Cook reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value if sufficient inventory is not available.

Check out what the other Good Cook Bloggers are up to with their Fresh Fruit Bowls:

An InLinkz Link-up

*I was provided the Fresh Fruit Bowl from Good Cook and Bed Bath and Beyond for the purpose of this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Roasted Beet & Nectarine Salad {Cookbook Chat: Silk Road Vegetarian}

silk-road-vegetarian-9780804843379_lgCreative Cooking Gluten Free is now six years old! I can’t even believe it!! Over these last six years I have had the pleasure of sharing with all of you my creations, adaptations, giveaways, product and cookbook reviews. Thank you for allowing me to share with love of food with all of you. During this time it has been a privilege to work with so many great companies, organizations, and cookbook authors. Last year I was invited to join an online group called 37Cooks, you have heard me mention them a time or two on here for various cooking challenges I have participated in. However, recently a new type of challenge has been offered up to the 37Cooks called “Cookbook Chat”, where there are a limited number of certain cookbooks available to the bloggers and it is a first come first serve basis. The blogger receives a copy of the book and is asked to pick a recipe or two (depending on the challenge), then recreates the recipe, putting their own twist on it, and reviews it. The first cookbook offered up was one called “Silk Road Vegetarian: Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten-free Recipes for the Mindful Cook” by Dahlia Abraham-Klein. Of course I signed up..it was gluten-free! Lately I have been eating quite a bit of plant-based dishes so this book seemed right up my alley.

The book is beautiful and filled with recipes from Central Asia, covering from China to India. It includes bases & condiments, appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, side dishes, rice dishes, and desserts. In addition Abraham-Klein also includes a spice pantry section and information regarding basic preparation. As I flipped through this book I quickly realized it was going to be very difficult to pick one recipe to make. I finally decided on two recipes, a salad and a dessert. The salad I adapted per the 37Cooks Challenge and the dessert I followed the recipe exactly. I decided on two because I was having dinner with some dear friends and wanted to bring something to share. I chose the Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad, which is perfect for the summer. Both the beets and nectarines are available this time of year, and it required few ingredients. Then I decided to make the Peach Cobbler, one because peaches are in season and readily available at a good price, and I had never had a peach cobbler before. Actually I don’t really eat peaches because I can’t get past the fuzz on the outside…I always opt for nectarines instead. Again, like the roasted beet and nectarine salad, this recipe also called for few ingredients. I sadly didn’t take a picture of it because we pretty much just dove right in and served it with some vanilla bean ice cream…needless to say this dessert was a HUGE hit. It asked for very little sugar, but it has the perfect sweetness with the fresh peaches. I will make this again for sure. Now on to the salad…get ready its beautiful and delicious!

I’m a huge believe in the “you eat with your eyes first” theory…its true. My photo did not quite capture the beauty of this salad as I had hoped that it would but I promise you if you were to serve this to guests, it will be a conversation piece. We talked about this salad quite a bit last night for several reasons, one none of us thought to ever put nectarines and beets together, and two its just stunning to look at – it is so vibrant and equally delicious. I followed the recipe quite closely but changed a thing or two up from her cooking methods and then added a few toppings myself. Below is my adaptation of DahliaAbraham-Klein’s beautiful salad.

37-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine-Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau-337-Cooks-Roasted-Beet-Nectarine-Salad-Silk-Road-Jenny-Manseau_1(Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad – to serve top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese)

Roasted Beet and Nectarine Salad

Adapted from: Silk Road Vegetarian {Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten Free Recipes for the Mindful Cook} by Dahlia Abraham-Klein page 99


  • Beets               2 Bunches with the greens attached (about 4-6 beets, depending on their size), Red, Gold, or a mixture of them
  • Nectarines     4, peeled, pitted and then sliced thin (about 1/8-1/4 inch)
  • Red Onion     1/4 cup, finely diced
  • Olive Oil         1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic              2 cloves, minced or grated
  • Pine Nuts       1/4 cup toasted
  • Nutmeg          1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt                  To taste, kosher
  • Pepper            To taste, black – freshly ground
  • Feta Cheese  1/4 cup, crumbled


  • Oil                   3 Tablespoons. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil or other neutral flavored oil
  • Garlic             2 cloves grated
  • Lime              1 Juice and zest
  • Sugar            3/4 Tablespoon Organic, Unrefined
  • Salt                1/2 teaspoon, kosher
  • Pepper         1/4 teaspoon, black – freshly ground

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Rinse beets and beet greens very well to remove any dirt (you may need to do this several times, especially for the greens).
  3. Cut the beet greens from the stems and rinse in a colander, let drain
  4. Cut the stems from the beets and discard the stems.
  5. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place directly onto the oven rack.
  6. Roast for 1 hour, remove from oven and let cool
  7. Peel, pit and slice nectarines, place in a medium bowl and set aside.
  8. Peel and dice onion, place into bowl with nectarine slices and toss, set aside.
  9. While the beets are cooling, chiffonade the beet greens by placing them neatly on top of each other, then rolling them up tightly (into a cigar shape), next using a sharp knife cut across the “cigar” into 1/4 inch slices (you can go larger or smaller, depending on your preference)
  10. In a medium sauteé pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and sauteé garlic for 30 seconds before adding the beet greens – these will cook down similar to spinach. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  11. Once the beet greens have wilted, let them cool. Once cooled toss them into the bowl with the nectarine slices and red onion, toss to combine.
  12. When the beets have cooled, unwrap them one at a time, and peel the outer layer from the beet (I recommend wearing some plastic gloves!) and discard the foil and outer layer of the beets.
  13. Slice each beet in half, and then into 8 slices.
  14. Toss the beets in to the bowl with the nectarines, red onions, and beet greens.
  15. Next, prepare the dressing: simply add all ingredients in the order listed above to a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
  16. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to evenly coat.
  17. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  18. Prior to serving, in a small sauteé pan add the pine nuts, and nutmeg, and toast over medium heat until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  19. To serve, place salad into a serving bowl, top with toasted pine nuts and crumbled feta cheese.
  20. Enjoy!

Last night we served this alongside some baked salmon that had delicious herbs on it, brown rice with crumbled dulse, and of course the delicious peach cobbler for dessert. A light and delicious meal perfect for the summer time.


The cookbook was provided to me from the publisher for this review. All comments and opinions are 100% my own.


My Signature Dish {Good Cook Build Your Kitchen Drawer}

If you read Creative Cooking Gluten Free on a regular basis you could probably guess that my signature dish would include something Asian…and you have probably seen this dish on here before and possibly on TV! It is of course my Sweet and Spicy Chicken. It is simple, delicious, and easy enough for the beginner cook to make. It consists of few ingredients and takes only about 30 minutes to make (including prep time).

As part of the Good Cook Build Your Kitchen Drawer event bloggers were asked to choose 15 items to build their drawer. When picking the items I took the approach of “what would a beginner cook need” and went from there. My reasoning behind that idea was during this time of year students are graduating from high school and college and moving out on their own, so why not help them (or any other beginner cook) with suggestions on what they need to get started. There are so many awesome kitchen tools and gadgets out there (trust me I have quite a few), but there are essentials as well, and are often overlooked. Little did I know that I would be asked to use as many as these items as I could to create my signature dish…but I did it and used 9 out of the 15 items! At the end of the post you can read more on how YOU could win some amazing items from Good Cook, but for now, check out my signature dish…

Sweet and Spicy Chicken



  • 2 chicken breast – boneless, skinless
  • 1/4 cup corn  or potato starch
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Garlic Powder (optional)
  • 4 tablespoon veggie oil


  • 1/2 cup honey (You can also use Agave instead of honey, or half honey and half agave)
  • 3-4 Thai Chili peppers finely chopped (keep seeds in for even more heat…adjust the amount of peppers depending on your spice level) *Dried or fresh chili peppers work well in this recipe
  • 2 Tablespoons of Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Oil (optional)

Method of Preparation

  1. Mix honey, Thai chili peppers, water, and chili oil. Set aside.
  2. Cut up chicken in to 1 inch cubes.
  3. In a medium bowl add the corn/potato starch, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (optional), and mix well, then chicken.
  4. Coat well and shake off any excess corn/potato starch.
  5. In a large skillet or wok heat 1 tablespoons of oil, add half the chicken and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Place chicken on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with second half of chicken and additional tablespoon of oil.
  6. Heat the sauce in the microwave for 30 seconds and mix well. This helps it “loosen” up a bit and makes it easier to pour into the pan or wok
  7. In the same skillet add the honey – chili mixture and bring to a boil for two-four minutes until the sauce reduces, thickens slightly and turns a nice caramel color.
  8. Add chicken back to the pan and coat well. Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  9. Serve over white or brown rice.
  10. Its a bit sweet with a nice spicy finish.

Chef Note: For a vegan option, used firm tofu that has been drained and 1/2 cup of agave nectar in placement of chicken and honey.

Now for the drawer items…I named this drawer “The Beginners Guide to Kitchen Tools & Gadgets”. Again, I had the beginner cook in mind when picking these items. In 2012 I graduated from Jonson & Wales University with my associates degree in Culinary Arts and last week graduated with my bachelors degree in Culinary Nutrition. I began cooking at a very young age and haven’t stopped since. I love food and making people happy with it. I remember getting my fist place by myself, I was 17 years old and my grand mother and grandfather gave me my first set of pans and knives along with a few other essentials. So if I was to do the same for some one this is what I would give them to build their kitchen drawer…remember I had to pick 15 items (I could have picked more, but that was my requirement)…

The Beginners Guide to Kitchen Tools and Gadgets…what you need to get started:306(The image above shows both the 5 items provided to bloggers from Good Cook and then 15 items that I chose)

Measuring Cups, 5 Piece – The five piece set includes 1/4, 1/3, 1/2. 3/4, and 1 cup measuring cups, which is perfect for those recipes that call for an odd number measurement and all you have are even-numbered measuring cups. They are all connected on a ring and are color coordinated measurements.  These measuring cups are designed to be used for “dry” ingredients – flour, sugar, etc.

Measuring Spoons, 6 Piece – Like the measuring cups, these also have additional handy measurements that are often found in recipes including: 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, and 1 teaspoon along with 1/2 and 1 tablespoon. This helps take out a lot of the guess-work for the beginner cook or baker! Also connected on a ring and color coordinated measurements.

Measure From Above, 3 Piece – This set comes with a 1 cup, 2 cup, and 4 cup liquid measuring cups to be used for liquids such as water, oil, etc. You can read the measurement line by from the side and from above…makes life pretty easy to read it from above and not have to hunch down to make sure it’s correctly measured. Very sturdy and stack well inside each other for easy storage.

Prep Bowls, 5 Piece Set – I love these little bowls – they stack inside one an other, and have measurements inside of them…the top is the larger measurement and part way down is the second measurement (ex. 1/4 and 1/8 cup) – even if you do not use them for measuring they are perfect little prep bowls and make your mise en place nice and neat! AND they are made from a BPA free plastic.

Peeler – This little guy is often overlooked, but can be a huge help, especially if someone does not have great knife skills to peel vegetables and fruits. Can be used for potatoes, apples, mangos, kiwis, zucchini, pears, and can even be used to peel the zest of citrus fruits or ginger! The tip of the peeler is great for removing the “eyes” of the potatoes as well.

Meat Thermometer – I never owned one of these until I went to culinary school, but this is a very important little gadget that everyone should have. This instant read thermometer comes with a case. Thermometers are used for precise cooking – for example poultry and leftovers  should be cooked to an internal temp of 165*F and beef , pork, roasts, seafood, lamb, and veal steaks should be cooked to an internal temp of 145*F and egg dishes and ground meats (beef, pork, lamb, and veal) should be cooked to an internal temp of 160*F (for more information visit this handy information sheet from JWU).

Fine Grater – Everyone needs a grater…or two! I chose the fine grater because I think it is pretty versatile. You can use this to grate hard cheese (like Parmesan) or citrus zest. This is a great product and I’ve been using it quite a bit since receiving it. It come with a protective cover so you don’t scrape you hand while reaching into your drawer looking for something. The cover can also be clipped to the back so when  you grate, it catches it!

Tongs – Stainless Steel and Silicone tips – great for non-stick pans, as it won’t damage them. They lock, which prevents them from flipping open in your drawer meaning you can fit more items in there.

Ladle – I again chose a lade that was both stainless steel and silicone based because it works so well in both stainless steel AND non-stick pans. This ladle is 12 inches, which means you can use it in your big stock pot and get everything out.

Silicone Whisk – This 10 inch whisk is great…can be used to bake and cook with. It is a silicone whisk which makes it great for non-stick pans, but also gets a great scrape when whisking in a bowl, its light, and feels good in your hand, and easy to clean (who doesn’t love that!). The head of the whisk is heat-resistant and can withstand heat up to 400*F.

Large Nylon Flex Turner – This turner is a great size and very sturdy. Perfect for if you have non-stick or stainless steel pans. Everyone needs at least one turner/spatula: flipping pancakes, making eggs, etc.

Silicone Spatula: 2 piece – Heat resistant silicone, the heads remove for even more detailed cleaning. Great for scraping bowls when baking. Great for many uses like using the smaller one for getting the last bits out of a jar!

And now there are three remaining items…I just want to take a second to talk about these as a whole. If you have noticed that so far I have been going in order of the picture above and the three remaining items all happen to be knives. I love knives and I have quite a few of them. However, what it really boils down to is when you are starting out (or in general) you REALLY only need to own two knives, you just have to work on your knife skills! So many get boggled down by buying these huge blocks of knives, but when they really stop and think about it there are two, maybe three knives that they ALWAYS use from that block and those are: a paring knife, a chef’s knife and possibly a bread knife. The two main ones are paring and chef knives…those are your two basics and you should become very familiar with them. I chose three knifes for this drawer, a paring knife, a 7″ chef knife, and a bread knife…

One additional note about knives – keep them sharp! A dull knife will do more damage than a sharp knife.

Paring Knife – This knife has a non-slip handle that feels great in your hand. A paring knife blade is usually between 2 1/2 – 4 inches in length. It can be used for peeling fruits, zesting citrus fruits, dicing garlic, ginger, or shallots can be used while holding the item instead of always having to use a cutting board (like you would with a chefs knife). Again, this is an underrated and underused item in most people’s homes, but I suggest getting to know it a bit better.

Santoku Knife (Chefs Knife): 7″ – I have several typical chefs knives and over the years I have fallen in love with the Santoku style of them. I love how they feel and cut and this one is no exception…actually it has made its way into my knife kit. Santoku knives have these little indents in them which make the remove of food easy. This knife has the same handle style as the paring knife and is a great starter side. There are many different lengths of these knives, but this is a good middle ground, especially if you are not used to handling a larger knife.

Bread Knife –  The Bread and Bagel knife is a serrated edge knife, which is ideal for cutting breads and delicate ingredients such as tomatoes as it helps the knife glide through without having to put a lot of pressure on the item and in turn squishing it. While you won’t use this as much as the other knives, it is still a very useful knife and tool to have on hand.

So there it is…my picks! I hope that this list helps those just getting started. I know there are a million and one other tools and gadgets out there but these are what I consider the basics to get you going to make some delicious dishes!

So what did I use? Check out the photo below…

New ImageI used the Silicone Whisk, Measuring Spoons, Measuring Cups, Santoku Knife, Paring Knife, Ladle, Silicone Spatulas, Liquid Measuring Cups, AND Silicone Tongs! Yes I used all of that to make one dish…I did not have to but I wanted to show you these items. They are awesome and I have really enjoyed working with them.

Build Your Kitchen Drawer Contest!

309This is what my drawer looks like (minus the liquid measuring cups and prep bowls!)

Starting on June 1, you will be able to build your kitchen drawer with 15 Good Cook tools and gadgets from goodcook.com, all you have to do is choose up to 15 items from the official list of products, and you might just win what you choose! If you are a bit suck on what to choose, you can always choose the same tools and gadgets that I did or any of the other participating bloggers…more info will be provided when the contest begins.

From June 2 – June 7th, Good Cook is hosting a 5-day product giveaway on their Facebook page, plus there will be instant winners. For each drawer that you build, you have a chance to be an instant winner and you can enter once daily for more chances!Read more:

Wondering which products are available? Look for the “ADD ME” icon below on the Good Cook website! Additionally, during this contest, all items on GoodCook.com are 25% off – there is no code needed…just head on over and start shopping. The “Build Your Kitchen Drawer” Contest will run from June 2nd – July 14th.

c1989-addmeBe sure to check out the other bloggers and their Kitchen Drawers!

This post was sponsored by Good Cook as part of the Blogger and Kitchen Experts programs.

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Coconut Thai Shrimp w/ Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0058This time of year is perfect for fresh seafood – especially in New England. Lately I have been consuming about a 75/35 diet…the 75 being vegetable/plant-based meals and the 35 being meat based meals. I am working towards consuming the recommended 8-12oz of fish/seafood per week according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, however my budget does not always allow it, especially when trying to consume wild caught fish/seafood. Living below the poverty line, trying to make ends meet, and living on a tight budget can make things a difficult and frustrating when trying to eat healthy and buy fresh ingredients all the time. I have been living this way for quite a while now, and for the next year, that tight budget of mine just got even tighter! So here are a few little tips and tricks that I have found helpful and put to use:

  • When I find a good deal on wild caught seafood, I buy a little extra and freeze it into appropriate portion sizes.
  • Search the frozen section – some times you can find wild caught pre-frozen shrimp, tuna, or salmon – pick up a piece or two and save it for a raining day.
  • Shop local – small independent grocery stores and farmers markets usually have some great deals.
  • Eat Seasonally – the best prices for items are when they are in season, that should be no surprise.
  • Coupon Clipping – I kid you not, this has helped me so much. I do not clip coupons for items that I can not eat or that I do not use, that would be a waste of money and time. Sign up for coupons from Mambo Sprouts – usually they have lots of great gluten-free related coupons.
  • Frozen Veggies and Canned Goods – I know it is not “gourmet” but you can make one heck of a meal with these items…if buying canned goods, buy them with no or low sodium, and be sure to rinse them well. I buy my beans canned because it is quick and easy and they are full of nutrients.
  • Think of side of the box – instead of spending loads of money on meat proteins, I use a lot of alternative proteins like tofu, tempeh, and beans
  • Whole grains – they fill you up and are very versatile.

Below is a simple, yet flavorful shrimp recipe that can be prepared inside or on the grill and is perfect for this beautiful weather. You can serve it with our without the rice, in taco shells, or however you choose.

I found the Coconut Thai Seasoning at The Spice and Tea Exchange in Newport…I have no idea how I never realized this little gem was so close to me, but it was probably a good thing for me (not them) that I didn’t! I walked into the shop and instantly was in heaven. It’s a small shop, packed with spices, teas, salts, etc. The staff was very helpful and friendly as well, especially when helping me with gluten-free blend options. I picked up a few different spice blends but had to try the Coconut Thai one first.

Coconut Thai Shrimp with Mango Avocado Salsa and Spinach Lime Rice

IMG_0061Coconut Thai Shrimp – Ingredients

  • Shrimp                                                         1/2 pound
  • Coconut Thai Seasoning                         2 teaspoons
  • Olive Oil                                                       1 teaspoon

Mango Salsa – Ingredients

  • Lime Juice                                                  2 tablespoons
  • Lime Zest                                                    1 teaspoon
  • Salt, Kosher                                               1/4 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper                                       1/8 teaspoon
  • Mango                                                         1 – fine dice
  • Red Onion                                                  2-3 tablespoons, fine dice
  • Avocado                                                      1 – fine dice
  • Bell Pepper, Orange,Yellow, etc.            1/4 cup, fine dice

Spinach Lime Rice – Ingredients

  • Basmati or Jasmine Rice                        1 cup – uncooked
  • Water or stock                                             2 cups
  • Spinach, Baby                                             1 1/2 cups
  • Lime Zest                                                     1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro                                                         1 tablespoon, fine chop

Method of Preparation

  1. Peel and devein shrimp
  2. Mango Avocado Salsa – In a medium bowl add lime juice, lime zest, salt, and cayenne pepper – mix well.
  3. Add diced mango, red onion, avocado, and bell pepper, mix well.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  5. Coconut Thai Shrimp – In a medium bowl add, Coconut Thai Seasoning and Olive oil, mix well
  6. Add shrimp and toss to coat evenly, set aside in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
  7. Spinach Lime Rice – In a small stock pot bring two cups of water or stock to a boil and add rice. Stir and cook until done (usually about 15-20 minutes depending on rice)
  8. During the last two minutes of cooking, stir in spinach and stir to wilt the spinach leaves. Set aside.
  9. Right before serving add lime zest and freshly chopped cilantro into the spinach rice and toss to evenly incorporate.
  10. To cook the shrimp – either heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook 2-4 minutes per side or place on a hot grill for the same amount of time.
  11. Serve with spinach lime rice, and mango salsa – top with fresh cilantro and lime wedges if desired.