Saturday, May 31, 2014

10 Gluten Free Foods that Will keep You Fat

                                     Gluten Free desserts that pack on pounds

There I've said it. No one likes to hear the word FAT, but I knew it would get your attention. There seems to be a misconception that if you eat a gluten free diet, you will lose weight. Sorry, In order to lose weight, you have to follow the same guidelines for any weight loss program. After all just about anything that can be made with gluten free safe flours and ingredients ( bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, ice cream, soda etc.) and regardless if they are gluten free , they still have the same calories or more.

Most likely, whatever you weighed before starting a gluten free diet, you will probably maintain the same weight while eating a gluten free if you continue to eat pasta, pizza, cookies, cake, pancakes, etc..  If you were overweight before you started a gluten free diet, you will probably maintain the same weight if you don't change your eating habits

Why?  A Gluten free diet  is not that much different than a regular food diet except for the elimination of wheat, rye, and barely products- which are in breads, crackers, pasta, cakes, etc. However, each of those products can be made or purchased as gluten free. The products are just made using gluten free grains like  rice, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, etc. The calorie content and carbohydrate content is similar in most grains..

If you shop the processed ready to eat packaged gluten free isle in the supermarket, the gluten free packaged foods are highly caloric, high in sugar and starch. Or if you do your own baking using gluten free ingredients, the recipe may be healthier, but equally caloric.

10 Gluten Free Foods that Can Keep You Fat ( If you are trying to lose weight) 

  1. Gluten Free Baked Goods- ( cookies, cake, breads, rolls, pie ,crackers, donuts )
  2. Gluten Free Packaged goods ( pretzels, corn chips, Pirate Booty  etc.) 
  3. Fried foods ( french fries, potato chips, ) 
  4. Chocolate Candy ( M and M's, mints, peanut butter cups, etc.) 
  5. Ice cream
  6. Soda 
  7. Diet Soda ( artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite and fool the brain to trigger hunger) 
  8. Salad dressing ( can be very caloric and very high in fat)  
  9. Gluten Free Pasta ( rice pasta, quinoa pasta-) - pasta is all starch 
  10. Gluten Free Pizza - very tasty, but high in carbs and calories
To lose weight on a gluten free diet , one must follow the same guidelines as if they wanted to lose weight on a regular diet. .
  • Eat real food ( food that is a close to nature as possible )
  • Evaluate portion sizes- don't overeat
  • Exercise daily- at least a brisk 45 minute walk or go to the gym to exercise
  • Eliminate junk food- snack on real food like fruit, vegetables, hard boiled egg, yogurt

10 Gluten Free Real Food Snacks that won't pack on the pounds

  1. Jicama sticks ( jicama speeds up metabolism) - nice and crunchy and low calorie
  2. Cut up vegetables ( carrots, red pepper, celery, tomatoes, radishes, mushrooms) 
  3. Hard boiled egg - take it with you only 60-70 calories
  4. Cheese stick - low fat has only about 60 calories
  5. Fresh Fruit- ( apple, pear, banana, orange, strawberries, blueberries )
  6. Handful of almonds ( 8-10) I soak mine first
  7. Celery and a tablespoon of raw nut butter ( almond, peanut, etc) 
  8. spaghetti squash ( love it ) - use this to replace regular pasta
  9. plain yogurt and fresh cut up fruit
  10. Water, herbal tea, Green Smoothie
A gluten Free diet is not necessarily a weight loss diet unless you make healthy choices and stay clear  of the Gluten Free isle in the supermarket which is mostly processed packaged caloric foods.

What are your favorite healthy snacks? How do you deal with weight on a gluten free diet?

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

GMO- what you don't know can hurt you

Large salad buffet of greens and vegetables
Are your vegetables genetically modified?
If you are angry about Genetically Modified Food, you should be.
If you are not familiar with what genetically modified food is , educate yourself !
GMO's are affecting your health and the health of your children
What you don't know can hurt you! We can't ignore them any longer.

salad greens and vegetables on buffet table - GMO sign

If you want to know more about genetically engineered food,  watch the
YouTube video that I've posted at the end of the post. It's recorded by a mother and
she presents some valuable information in a very simple format

The other day I was visiting a blog called Natural Well Nest . Josefa posted a very
informative post about genetically modified food and many links to other resources to
 find out more information. In addition, she posted a number of informative You Tube
videos . All the videos were good, but I found one in particular outstanding that I posted below.

According to the Vidoe: 
7 Reasons You Should Be Concerned About Genetically Engineered Food ( GMO's) 

  • There has been a major unnatural change in our seed supply that is used to grow agriculture here  in the US since 1966 
  • The new seeds have been genetically modified ( mostly by a monopoly company called Monsanto that puts pressure on all big farmers to use them) 
  •  European countries feel that the new seeds may be unsafe because there is no way to really test the results except long term; Most European countries  and ban the use of these seeds.
  • There has been an unusually huge rise in allergies in the US since the 1960's 
  • The rate of cancer in the US outnumbers the rate of cancer in any other country
  • 1 in 10 cancers in the US are traced to genetic origin ( passed through genes of family) 
  • 9 out of 10 cancers in the US are traced to environmental origin ( from our food supply, pesticides, toxins, radiation,  etc.) 
  • In Europe large corporations like  Kraft comply to European standards and they sell products that do not contain GMO's chemicals, dyes, etc t. BUT in the US we accept the food with the dyes, chemicals etc. so its cheaper and that is what they cell us. 
  • GMO's are some of the most basic food that you eat- If we keep buying it, they will keep making it. We can't fight Monsanto- it's BIG-- we we have the power to say no and just don't buy these products. Watch the video.. it will help you understand. 
The quality of our food and water does affect us! 
We can not ignore it any longer- what you don't know can hurt you.

This You Tube is Great! Take the time to watch it.. you'll thank me 

Additional Articles.

Are your kids eating Genetically Modified Food ?
Find Non GMO Choices
Highest Risk Crops in US for GMO's
Resources regarding GMO's
To Grow a Non GMO garden ( you must get NON GMO seeds)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Food and Plastic Don't Mix

There is no doubt about it, using plastic makes our lives easier, but at what health expense and the expense to the environment

We use plastic storage containers, plastic baggies, plastic water bottles, plastic wrap,
etc. But studies are continuing to reveal that all of this plastic contains harmful chemicals
 that leach into our food and liquids.These chemicals can mimic estrogen. Plastic exposes
 us to some potential risks, especially when we use plastics to store food and beverages.

What's the concern about plastics?

Plastic containers contain chemicals that break down in response to temperature, causing harmful chemicals to leak into the very food or beverage the container is holding. These chemicals
are not intended to be ingested and are not safe for anyone, but especially not safe
for infants and children.

Two of the chemicals, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates can cause disturbances in
the body chemistry because they mimic the hormone estrogen and trigger hormonal
 imbalances. They may also interfere with the endocrine system which can lead to
 insulin resistance, lower sperm count, and belly fat.

These chemicals that may cause hormone and endocrine imbalances are becoming increasingly concerning since the use of plastic is so commonplace and Americans store food in plastic containers, coverfood with plastic wrap, drink water from plastic containers, use juice and soft drinks that
have been stored in plastic bottles, freeze food in plastic and microwave in plastic containers.

In the past few years, when the research indicated that BPA ( bisphenol A) was turning out in
 breast milk, in urine samples, and other tests, manufacturers were pressured to try to stop
 using BPA and we began to see plastic containers that said , BPA-free. We all thought that
 this made our plastic containers safe. Not so. Although the BPA was indicated as removed
from some specially marked plastics like plastic baby bottle nipples, pacifiers, and
 specific plastic containers, there are many other chemicals still in the plastic which
are still potentially harmful.

What can you do?

Here are some simple changes you can make  to reduce the amount of chemicals
you are exposed to.
  • Use glass containers to store, freeze, and heat food ; avoid plastic at all costsTemperature changes, both hot and cold, can break down the fibers in plastic and make the plastic chemicals more likely to continue to leak into your food. Purchase glass containers that are made to store, freeze, and microwave food. ( mason jars are great for storage too) 
  • Take Out- When you order take out food from a restaurant, do not accept hot food or soup  in plastic containers ( styrofoam might be better and remove it asap)  The plastic will melt right into your  food or soup and expose you to high  levels of estrogen-like chemicals that play havoc with your hormone balance and insulin. If you like to take out dinner from restaurants, why not bring your own containers and ask them to put your take-out into your glass or metal container. I've brought a covered pot for soup when we've ordered enough for four in a neighborhood Chinese restaurant that we frequent. I know it's awkward, but it better for your health.
  • Do not put plastic in the dishwwasher-  The heat of the dishwasher and the detergents may cause plastics to break down faster ,which may cause these  harmful chemicals to leak into your food more easily next time you use it.
  • Learn the Plastic Codes- Plastic containers are coded with a number on the bottom of the container  - According to the Environmental Working Group, which is a non profit organization that does independent reseach for environmental safety, plastics with a number of 1, 2, 4 and 5 are considered a little safer than plastic with a number of  3, 6, 7 which contain the most harmful chemicals. ( you will see the number on the bottom of a water bottle for instance) Also, any containers maked with the letters  "PC" means that it contains even additional harmful chemicals.
  • Don't Drink Bottled Water that comes in plastic containers- This daily exposure really adds up and the estrogen like effects can become cumulative in your body.   I
  • If you must microwave-Use paper towel or glass plates to cover food  in the microwave, never never use plastic
By cutting down or eliminating plastic containers, you are reducing a health risk for your family and 
helping the environment. 

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For additional information about BPA-Free plastic and why it still is harmful read: 

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Fresh Fruit Sorbets- Healthy and Easy

Three flavors of sorbet

It's officially summer, and it's hot, really hot. So what could be more refreshing than a cooling fresh fruit sorbet. No need to visit your local ice cream parlor because you can make your own much healthier version in literally minutes. You won't need an ice cream maker either.
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Caramelized Beets in a Balsamic Glaze

roasted beets and carrots in a vinegar glaze

Beets are one of my favorite vegetables, and I'm always looking for a new way to make them . I was visiting a blog called Vegansaurus   and I saw this recipe with the most appealing picture. A picture is worth a 1000 words. One look at her photo and I was convinced  that I had to taste them immediately! . Her photo was so rich and inviting, it got my beet juices flowing.  I made the recipe for dinner that night , and I wasn't disappointed. The caramelized beets were the best beets I ever had.

 you can cook the greens too; they are delicious

I happened to have some fresh beets in the refrigerator . The recipe calls for Balsamic vinegar, but I had have two gourmet flavored vinegars in the closet that I wanted to try: cranberry pear and orange champagne. I decided to try the cranberry pear vinegar that I had just received as a gift from our good friends Melissa and Stu. It has a sweet delicious mild taste.  I also decided to add carrots to the recipe as well.

roasted caramelized beets in a balsamic glaze

2 lbs organic beets, peeled and sliced into 3/4 in chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil or organic coconut oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar + extra for drizzling and or dipping
Optional: Use a flavored vinegar instead of balsamic ( I use cranberry pear)
Optional: I added 2 cut up organic carrots in large chucks.

Prehead over to 375 . Cover a cookie sheet ( rimmed ) with parchment
Coat beets with oil ( can put in bag and shake or just drizzle over the beets) 
Roast for about 50 minutes, turning after 20 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, drizzle the vinegar over the beets until they are coated and continue to roast. 
These taste great warm and I dipped mine in a little bowl of cranberry pear vinegar as I ate each one. Fabulous! 
beets and carrots with dip
caramelize beets and carrots with a little bowl of dipping vinegar

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

10 American Foods Banned in Europe

corn on the cob in its own jacket in a bowl

Did you know that some of the foods we eat in America are banned in other countries ? It's a shame because many Americans are just not informed about the dangerous chemicals, dyes, hormones, etc. that we and our children are eating in everyday foods like milk, cheese, turkey, bread, etc. . Although these products contain additives and chemicals that are permitted in the United States, many other countries find these products unsafe and ban then from being sold in their country.

bowl of cut up papaya
GMO Papaya is sold in US, and banned in Europe

I have a real bone to pick with this issue. I was a high school teacher for 25 years. During that time, I worked with many students who were labeled ADHD, others who had difficulty focusing, and yet other bright kids who struggled with learning disabilities, allergies, asthma, etc.  I have always believed that diet and the environment  impact on the nervous systems of these sensitive individuals either positively or negatively. Is there such a thing as ADHD or is it exposure to unsafe chemicals that affect fragile nervous systems.

colored candy in a bowl
Artificial Dyes and Coloring known to be harmful 

 I compare it to alcoholism. Some individuals are just very sensitive and one drink can lead them into addiction. Yet, other people are able to drink and never become addicted. I feel that there are children who are sensitive to chemicals, insecticides, sugar, etc. and these students are highly affected by food that is not in a natural state and other environmental toxins. Unfortunately, the numbers of children affected are growing and many children suffer with headaches, inattention, fogginess, inability to pay attention, impulsiveness, etc.difficulty reading , etc.
grapes in a bowl

The question is why do we in America allow known toxins in our food supply that are banned in other countries because they are considered an unsafe health threat?

 I saw a disturbing article on Twitter this week. I took the time to read it, re-tweet it ,and I still felt like I wanted to blog about it! In an effort to have a greater awareness of healthy and unhealthy foods, I've been doing some research. Below is the partial list of foods that are banned in other countries! I also included the original article. You can read the article to find out the reasons and more in-depth information. The link is at the end of this post.

Trader Joe's parking lot with cars
I find safer foods at Trader Joe's and the prices are reasonable


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Easy Chinese Eggplant

Chinese eggplant dinner on a plate

Chinese eggplant makes a great side dish. There is something about the long thin purple Chinese eggplants that I really love. They are tender and sweeter than traditional Italian type eggplants and cook faster. Eggplant and garlic is one of my favorite dishes when we eat at a Chinese restaurant . Actually, if I hadn't been introduced to this interesting vegetable in the Chinese restaurant, I doubt I would ever have tried it.

I've been shopping in an oriental type produce market lately, and they carry many of the ethnic vegetables of all cultures. They carry the traditional large purple eggplants, tiny little round eggplants on stems, and the long slim light purple Chinese variety that I used for this recipe. I made the recipe as a side dish for two people and used 3 eggplants. The eggplants are the size of a fat carrot. You eat the eggplants with the skin, so that makes the recipe even easier to make.

In the past, I've made the more traditional Chinese eggplant in garlic sauce, but today I wanted something a little different. I did not want to make a sauce with cornstarch. Instead I used garlic, balsamic vinegar and red wine. All of the alcohol cooks out, and the wine imparts a lovely flavor into the eggplant.

The side dish was very tasty sprinkled with some ground cumin. It brings out the flavor of the eggplant!  After all ,Mediterranean recipes always mix cumin and eggplant so I thought I would give it a try in this Chinese version. I guess you could say I made a very un-traditional Chinese eggplant dish. It worked great; the recipe was delicious. If you do not care for the taste of cumin, leave it out and season with some Chinese seasoning of your choice.


3 Chinese eggplants ( they are small about the size of a carrot)
2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped
1 small onion, cut into 1/2 moons
1/4 balsamic vinegar
1/4 red wine
1/4 cup red wine
freshly cracked pepper
salt to taste
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1/4 cup of chopped green onion ( scallion)
3 small chinese eggplants on a plate

chinese eggplant sliced
These are the 3 eggplants chopped

eggplant cooking in pan
Eggplant before I put in the balsamic and wine

Slice each eggplant down the center lengthwise, then cut on a diagonal into 6 or 7 large chunks depending on the size of your eggplants. Saute eggplant , garlic, and onions in skillet in coconut oil stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup wine and continue to cook until almost soft. Turn temperature up a little higher and add last 1/4 of wine and allow to cook out. Sprinkle with ground cumin powder and garnish with scallions.

chinese eggplant, tomatoes, and green onion on a plate with a container of cumin

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grain Free Tabbouleh Salad

Tabbouleh Salad on Plate with red onions

Tabbouleh salad is a lemon flavored Middle Eastern salad that is traditionally made with bulgher wheat and finely chopped vegetables. You have probably seen it on menus in Lebanese restaurants, Moroccan restaurants, and Greek restaurants. It is frequently served on mezza platters ( appetizer platters)  with stuffed grape leaves, humus, baba ganooj, and other Middle Eastern delicacies. It has a very seasoned but mild taste and the emphasis in on the parsley.

 My  tabbouleh recipe is grain free as it is made using riced raw cauliflower as a base, making it gluten free, low carb and low calorie!! Using cauliflower as a base is not only easy , it's nutritious. Cauliflower is one of the cruciferous vegetables that is touted to provide antioxidants that help prevent cancer. It is a great vegetable to include in your meuns.

 In addition this recipe is a raw recipe which makes it a little crunchy .( if you are not into raw, you can saute your cauliflower for a few minutes and drain well before assembling with the remaining chopped vegetables.

Tabbouleh Salad in a large bowl

I especially love this recipe not only because  it is delicious and nutrient rich,  but I also love  it because it won't pack on the pounds. It's also perfect for a warmer night because it doesn't need any cooking,  And you could bring it to a BBQ and everyone will love it.
riced cauliflower in a bowl
riced cauliflower

Cauliflower is versatile. It lends itself to mimicking other starchier foods but without the calories.If you are looking for more raw recipes or just something a little different, give this cauliflower tabbouleh salad a try! ( Remember you could always saute the riced cauliflower first in a little olive oil spray)

vegetarian burger, jicama slices, and tabbouleh salad on a plate
yes, the rolls are gluten free from a bakery
3 cups of riced cauliflower ( see below how to rice the cauliflower )
1 cup of diced tomatoes
1 cup of diced parsley
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 cup of diced cucumber ( diced very small)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
Lemon dressing:
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and clean a cauliflower and cut in half. Divide into flowerettes. Place in the food processor with the metal blade and pulse on and off very quickly  2 or 3 times until the cauliflower looks like rice.Place on a colander to drain for 10 minutes and then add remainder of chopped ingredients and toss well.

cauliflower in a food processor

You may like riced cauliflower pilaf which is a cooked pilaf

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Why You Can't Lose Weight!

It seems we are an overweight nation and everyone feels they want to lose a little weight. 
Do you try to lose weight but you can't? Do you lose and gain it back?  Do you exercise, restrict, cut out, but constantly lose the battle?

It turns out it really may not be entirely your fault. It turns out that we may be losing the battle because of our food industry..

There is a new movie/documentary called " FED UP" in theaters in big cities that explains why our food  manufactured food supply is addicting and designed to make us gain weight. Our manufactured food supply which is attractively boxed, wrapped, and packaged stares you and your children in the eye in every supermarket, pharmacy, convenience store, gas station, etc. etc. is actually the prime contributor to the growing epidemic of degenerative diseases that are so prevalent in America, outweighing genetics! These highly processed foods ( not just snacks) are laden with sugar which puts unrealistic demands on the liver and pancreas which can eventually lead to insulin resistance and diabetes. Weight gain sets us up for insulin problems and that can spell eventually- diabetes. Adult onset diabetes is no longer an adult disease. It's affecting kids now and it is mostly blamed on what we are eating!

I don't usually like to be an alarmist. I don't usually like to dramatize, but this is serious stuff.  Your health is at stake, your children's health is at state, our nation's health is at stake. Martha Stewart just tweeted about this new movie, Fed Up, and how excellent it is and why it is a must for everyone to see.

If we want to reclaim our health and our bodies, we need to demand real  food. Poor food quality has become epidemic. Our food industry has been compared to the tobacco industry of 30 years ago. No one wanted to say the truth.about the damage that cigarettes were doing to the health of smokers and the health of those who were ingesting second hand smoke. Finally, warning on the labels of the cigarette boxes had to state that :  Cigarettes cause cancer. How long did that take? How long were Americans kept in the dark about the real dangers of smoking.

 Well we are up again against big business industry again- but this time it is the food industry. This film helps expose how addictive sugar is and how much sugar in pumped into our food supply. The sad news is that in tests, sugar lights up the neurons in the brain in the same way that cocaine lights up the neurons in the brain, making sugar a substance that is highly addictive. Industry does not want you to know how bad sugar by 56 different names  is for you.

3 year olds are addicted to sugar, 5 year olds are addicted, 15 years olds are addicted, 50 year olds are addicted. It's in all manufactured products - but by different names. In order to get off the stuff, you will go through withdrawal! Do you know how difficult that is. That is why most people can't get off it. That is why kids prefer it. It's an addictive substance.

This film is exposing it and what you as a consumer need to know about your food supply.

The movie came out May 9-  
After watching this movie you will have a new perspective on what you are buying from the supermarket and what you are eating. Our food industry is finally being challenged because people are becoming fed up with the little regard that manufacturers , our government and marketers have for our health. You can watch the trailer for the movie below. We need to wake up!!

Watch the Trailer! 

                            or go to YOu Tube Fed Up

It's playing in Philadelphia at the Ritz 5
poster with 56 names for sugar written on it

What do you think?
Please leave a comment especially if you have seen the movie!

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Gluten Free Taco Bar

taco bar with bowls of vegetables, refried beans, bean, and salsa

We had an amazing gluten free Mexican Taco party that was enjoyed by all- those who were gluten free and those that were not.

From the photo, you can see I chose a Mexican theme. It worked for everyone , and the great thing about real food is that it is naturally gluten free. Nothing has to be altered to make it gluten free. This meal is also mostly vegan.

This is what the guests had to say!!

Rena (Not vegan nor Gluten Free) - "I love this food- can't get enough"

Dave ( Meat Eater- not GF) " The Sweet Potatoes are fabulous, How did you make them?"

Valerie ( Meat Eater not GF) - Amazing Meal.Loved everything

Wendy- ( Meat Eater not GF) - Had so much fun- great meal

Vicki- ( vegetarian not GF) I am stuffed- so good

Appetizers :  I kept the appetizers easy by purchasing them at Trader Joe's
  • Cilantro and jalepeno humus - BEST humus ever !!!! LOVE THIS HUMUS- you will too
  • Tri Color humus - 2nd best humus ever - 3 layers of humus in one container - 
  • White Bean Dip - great !! Made from beans very tasty
  • Guacamole- we made our own - so simple
  • Corn Chips ( Trader Joe's says that they only use  NON GMO corn in their products) 


Frozen Watermelon Smoothie in a wine glass

Frozen Kiwi Mojito in a tall glass


Make your own Taco Bar
Lots of fun and everyone served themselves. 
I cut up tomatoes, red, yellow, and orange peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, tomatillas, all in separatebowls, homemade salsa, guacamole, Greek yogurt, re- fried beans, shredded cheese ( from

Trader Joe's - no hormones in their cheeses) mango salsa. I put it all out on my counter and let everyone help themselves. ( I had corn tortillas - crunchy and soft
small bowls of chopped cucumber, tomato, onion, and parsley
cutting up ingredients for the taco bar 

corn chips in a basket

    Rice and beans in a bowl
    sweet potato fries on a plate with a lime

  • Mexican Dirty 
  • Rice and Beans - fabulously simple but unbelievable tasty recipe


  • Dirty Rice and Beans
  • Roasted Sweet Potato Fries - This was the biggest hit. I cut them up in advance , put into a flat wide Corning-ware and kept warm on a hot plate during the party. ( the recipe link is for Cajun sweet potato fries) but I made them for this party differently-
  • Make them this way
  •  I made my fries without seasoning at all, just tossed with coconut oil. They were sweet and delicious.
Bowl of guacamole with people dipping

  • Cheese Quesadillas - corn tortillas and cheese ( made by Wendy) no pics !

    • We were 25 people and only 3 were gluten free,  yet everyone raved about the food!
      If you use real food, it's easy to be gluten free ( just watch any processed or packaged foods you add - must be labels.)

      Gluten Free Tip: Wheat , Rye and Barley are never gluten free and sometimes oats are not
       Are oats gluten free? Yes and No - For more understanding read about oats.

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