Enjoy Life Brownie Mix

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As some of you might know, I am quite the fan of Enjoy Life Foods. They are an Allergy Friendly brand, free of the top eight allergens, and have a large variety of products. I have previously tried the muffin mix and recently made the brownie mix.

I have tried a variety of mixes since making the change over to gluten free. They all have one thing in common, 8×8 or 9×9 pans. I don’t know why we can’t have a normal sized cakes and brownies.  I always end up with leftover icing when I bake.  Then I end up eating the icing or having way to much icing on the baked good.   I honestly was really tempted to make these brownies in a muffin tin. Why you may ask? So I could tell myself that they were Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Brownie Muffins and eat them for breakfast. Apparently it is not the healthiest thing to have brownies and a glass (or two) of chocolate milk for breakfast (The things people expect from you as an adult).

I followed the instructions on the box, however I was really tempted to use applesauce instead of oil.  I am glad I decided against that idea after see how moist they were.  The brownie mix smelled really good and mixed well. I used my stand mixer on the lowest speed, counted the rotations  and then used a spatula to scrape down the sides and incorporated that into the mix. It took no time at all.  I decided to use my stand mix instead of manually mixing the batter for a variety of reasons, mostly I was feeling lazy and I was tried from my day at work.   The batter was quite thick after getting everything incorporated, to me that is always a good sign of the brownies to come.

I greased the pan and then used the Enjoy Life Flour to coat the pan, which made it super easy to remove the brownies from the pan.  One of the things I dislike about brownies is that they can be so hard to neatly and successful remove them from the pan in the original size and shape that you started out with.  My brownies took the minimum time to bake. I allowed them to cool in the pan for five to ten minutes; I’m not quite sure how long. I was trying to get a picture of them and answer a few text messages.

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I originally thought to use chocolate icing on them.  The baked brownies held together well after being flipped out the pan and then back over. I couldn’t make up my mind if I should ice them or not and well they held up. I have had brownies before that crumbled when trying to move them. I am so glad I didn’t ice them, they were so tasty without the icing.  The box states that there are 14 serving, I obviously didn’t cut mine properly however, I never do. It never stops me from eating them either.    I shared the brownies with my family and the kiddos I nanny.   They all approved, then I told them that they were allergy friendly.  I had to show them the box. They didn’t believe me, the brownies are that good.

You can follow Enjoy Life Foods on: TwitterInstagramSnapchat, and Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy Life Muffin Mix

Two muffins were in the oven, one muffin turns to the other muffin and said, “Man, it’s hot in here!”  The other muffin turns and shouts “OH MY GOODNESS A TALKING MUFFIN!!”    That is one of my favorite jokes.  I personally love the “laugh taffy” style jokes.   What do jokes have to do with me telling you about an awesome allergy friend muffin mix you may ask yourself,  The answer is I had two other jokes I was debating on using.    I’ll save the others for later.

As some of you might be familiar with Enjoy Life Foods and know that they are allergen friendly.  That they are made in a dedicated nut and gluten free facility, and one of my favorite brands.    If you are unfamiliar, feel free to check out a previous post about the brand here.

They recently introduced a line of baking mixes which includes a pizza crust mix, waffle and pancake mix,  an all purpose flour, brownie mix and a muffin mix!  Recently I purchased the mixes from their website since I could not find them in any of my usual shopping areas.

IMG_4197Since the mix is allergen friendly, you do not need to add eggs or an egg replacement along with any dairy or dairy replacement.  All you need to add is oil and water,  along with any type of add in you want.   I choose to make chocolate chip muffins using the Enjoy Life Mini Chips.    I would have made cookies with the mini chips, however I have been told that cookies should not be eaten for breakfast.  If I can’t eat cookies for breakfast. why in the world did I grow up? 🙂

Along with being allergen friendly the mixes have 5g of protein, are developed with probiotics, and are Non-GMO verified.

IMG_4200The mix is super easy to incorporate together, I used my stand mixer on the lowest speed and counted the rotations.   The instructions state it take ten stirs, and not to over mix the batter.   I then added the Mini Chips, I used a cup which is almost a whole bag.   I am not sure if you would call that too much or too little chips.

 

 

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The box states that the batter would make 10 muffins, I was able to get 12 muffins.  I am not sure if my muffin pan is not standard or if the chocolate chips effect the amount of batter in each well of the muffin pan.

My muffins took the full 20 minutes to bake, I started with the least amount of time and check them every five minutes after that.   After letting the muffins cool in the pan for five minutes then moved them to a wire rack to cool per the instructions.  The bigger muffins were a little fragile, I’m sure it was due to the size of the “muffin top”.

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I would suggest storing the muffins in the frig since they last longer. The box has the guidelines of how long they will last depending on where you store them.  I did reheat mine a little since I choose to keep them in the frig and they were amazing!  I usually don’t  have a problem with my baked goods going bad since I love baked goods of all kinds and I  usually share the awesome goods I am trying out with family and friends.  Needless to say, the muffins were enjoyed by all who tried them.

If you would like to try them for yourself, you can purchase them on Enjoy Life Foods website, along with amazon and many local stores.  There is a product locator on the Enjoy Life Foods website as well.  Also don’t forget to follow them on Twitter, Snapchat, Instragram, and Facebook.

 

 

Enjoy Life Foods

When making the switch from the everyday “no worries what is in my food” diet to “I can’t eat this or that” diet, it can be quite overwhelming and challenging.    It was quite stressful for me, five plus years ago when I had to make the switch to gluten-free.

During my switch, I tried some of the “Enjoy Life Foods” brand products.  If you are unfamiliar with Enjoy Life Foods, their products are free from wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, shellfish and also made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.   Along with being made in a dedicated nut and gluten-free facility.   For those with multiple food restrictions companies like this are awesome, no chance of a cross-contamination accident.

Honestly, I was leery to try them at first.  I will blame this on two things: the not so tasty gluten free options that I had tried during the initial change over and not know about how in the world you made something with out eggs, dairy, wheat, and the other allergens they are free from.   Remember, I was still very new to the food restriction game and did not know about all the ingredients you could use in place of others.

Enjoy Life products are some of the best things I have found, from the soft baked and crispy cookies to the plentils.   Their product line includes but not limited to baking mixes for pizza crust, brownies, muffins, pancakes and waffles along with an all purpose flour.  Baking chocolates includes mini chips, soft and crispy cookies, a variety of bars, Seed & Fruit mixes (a trail mix like product), and plentils (a potato chip like product).   They have snack packages in some of them as well.

You can follow Enjoy Life Foods on:

TwitterInstagramSnapchat, and Facebook.

 

The Warm Kitchen CookBook

I am going to be perfectly honest with you.  I can’t really cook. I can bake but that is about it.   I was just starting to try to learn to cook when we discovered that gluten and I were no longer BFFs.  Having to learn about all the different gums, flours, and hidden sources of gluten can be over whelming.  I also tend to get distracted while cooking causing me to either omit an ingredient or adding to much or forgetting to set a timer for whatever it is I am trying to make (uncooked Mac and Cheese is not a great dish) or having the stove top set at too high of a temperature and burning the items.  When I nanny, the children refer to items that are a little burnt as “Ms. Sarah Style.”

If you are thinking at this point that I should be a contestant on a popular cooking show on a certain network for people who lack the skills to cook, I have tried.  They found out that I am a food blogger in my part time and well, that was that. There is a difference between eating food and making the food (no one ever wants to eat mine).

I would love to be able to enter a kitchen with confidence and make a wonderful homemade dinner, or just not burn whatever it is I am trying to cook.  To have the knife skills to know I am not about to cut my fingers while chopping vegetables or know what spices meld well with others.  Shoot, I would love to just know I am not about to waste a lot of time, energy, and money on a dish that I either mess up or end up not liking.  Along with the fact that I really don’t want to explain to the fire department that I was just trying to make dinner repeatedly, it’s a small town people talk, I really don’t want to be the woman who uses her smoke detector as an oven timer. Capture

That is why I personally love this cookbook, The Warm Kitchen.

I had the pleasure of meeting Amy Fothergill at the GFAFFest Austin in 2016.  She was nice enough to give me a copy of her book.   I honestly feel quite intimidated when looking at cookbooks let alone trying to use one.

However, this is not the case with The Warm Kitchen. I sat down with it one night after getting back home from Austin and honestly, it is one of the best cookbooks. I felt like I could go into my kitchen and make whatever it was I wanted out of this book.   There are basic recipes for sauces, broths, and then there are tips! Then there are recipes for more “difficult” items  (OK, so they may not be difficult to most, but it very well could be for me)  along with Egg, Dairy, and Sugar Free options!

I honestly feel like it would be a great gift for anyone. From the beginning, level person who is afraid they will burn the house down or cut their finger to the person who knows what they are doing. That is why I am giving away one copy of The Warm Kitchen!   Amy has been nice enough agree to sign the winner’s copy as well!
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Girl Meets Baseball Season

Springtime, for many people that means the start of baseball season. The sound of the ball hitting the bat, the smell of the concessions, and let’s not forget the seventh inning  stretch.  It can be memorable event for those attending.    I like baseball season and enjoy going to a game when possible .  For many people, like myself who deal with food restrictions, this can be a  source of stress.   Many stadiums  will not allow outside food or drink.  Then most of these places that cannot even provide an allergy listing on the foods that they offer.   I have experienced this while visiting Austin, Texas and going to couple of Austin Spur games.

I had the img_4113.jpgpleasure of attending an event this last spring at Dickey –Stephen’s Park, where our local minor league plays. For those who are not familiar with the state of Arkansas, we have local team whose mascots are unique as the University of Arkansas’s mascot.   The Arkansas Travelers mascots are Ace, a horse and Otey, a “swamp possum.” I personally do not know what the different is between a “swamp possum” and an opossum is, but they made a point of saying he is a “swamp possum”.  I will give you a minute to wrap your head around that and look it up.  I will even give you a link to the website to make searching easier, here along with a link for the official site.    I was not a fan when we changed mascots; however, they have grown on me as you can see in the photos below.

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(I was lucky enough to be in an elevator with the mascots and well, I was like a small child at an amusement park. )

 

I knew of the event in advance, so I had time to put together a plan for my food and snacks.  Since it was an evening game, there would be food provided and well, I would have to eat.  No one likes a “Hanrgy” Sarah.    I had asked the person who planned the event if they could find out anything for me.  Then I tried to see if anywhere on the website offered any food allergy listings.   After getting nowhere with those two options, I called the park.

I called the number for the event-planning department and explained why I was calling and what I needed.    Upon calling I was able to speak with the event planner.   She was super nice and very helpful.  She informed me of the food choices for the event, and asked if they were going to be a problem.   I asked my standard questions regarding marinates, seasonings, and if the grill was a shared surface with any bread items.

trav’s game 2016. thankful for that experience and that I have trimmed down since then.

She checked on the food and all of my concerns.  She then let know that she would make sure my food was marked for me. Now I had a plan for my food and snacks!

When I arrived to the event everything with my food was as planned.    I had no worries about it  since I was able to call ahead. Therefore I had a wonderful stress free evening not having to worry about my food options.   Of course, not knowing about the food from concessions, I avoided those options.   I know this will not always be the case when attending an event or going to a game.    I hope that it will start to be a trend, so those with food restrictions can enjoy more freedom at events and outing.

It’s Amazing What All Can Change In A Year


The picture on the left was last year at the Gluten Free Allergy Fest in Austin, TX. I had to buy clothes to wear to the show. I had just been wearing jeans that wear too big my boyfriend (who now is my ex) and oversized baggy shirts.  I cried when I had to get a size larger than my usual “fat jean” size.  I was so uncomfortable in my own skin.  I hated it.  I had avoided the scales, but when I broke down and stepped on, I was shocked and disgusted with myself.  I did not even want to post the pictures from the expo because of the weight I had gained.

The middle picture was a fundraiser for the Special Olympics of Arkansas in July. I had already started to try to lose some of the weight.  Cutting out sodas, fries, and sweets along with reducing the amount of sodas (regular and diet), I drank.  The jeans from the first picture were starting not to stay up on me if I wore them twice without washing them.   I was still very uncomfortable and honestly, very unhappy with myself.

The picture after that is this past St. Patrick’s Day. I had previously not been able to wear that tank top. The events that happened between the fundraiser picture and St. Patrick’s Day mind blowing to me.   I had my heartbroken more times, than I would like to admit.  Broken and forgotten promises along with huge misunderstandings and a relationship with a person I was planning to spend the rest of my life with ending.  I will not go in to all the details but it was hard on me.  My co-workers, friends, and family saw me walking around very much broken.  They all knew I was holding it together but barely.  I had joined a gym late last year, and started to go to help me deal with all the stress.

The picture on the most right, this was the other day, after going to gym with my mom. My older jeans that I have had since I was in college are starting to fit again.   Jeans that use to be my “fat jeans” when I was smaller, so I know I have a little bit more to go to be back at my “normal” size.

I have not starved myself nor did I try a trendy new diet.  I have been eating better, exercising more.  By eating better, I mean healthy fresh foods and reducing the amounts of added processed sugars.  Sleeping eight hours a night and drinking plenty of water along with working on letting go of stress, anxiety, and anger.  I started exercising to help this.  Break-ups are hard, and I knew that if I was not careful I would find myself depressed. Celiac’s are more prone to depression and I had already done battle with depression once.  Once was enough.  I did not start going to gym to get thin it was to get healthy.  I have a 50% chance of becoming a diabetic due to genetics being overweight increases that risk to 90%.  I had to do something.  I can handle being Gluten-Free, not sure how I can handle adding blood sugar issues.  .

When I started working out, I did not get on a treadmill or an elliptical.  I choose the bike.  I still have not even tried to run on the treadmills however, I have started to work on the elliptical some along with weights.  I am not expecting to look like a supermodel.  I am however starting to feel like one and honestly more like myself.

Change is hard, challenging, and rarely something welcoming.  However, we should not fight it.  Change is inevitable. It is going to happen if we like it or not.  Nevertheless, keep this in mind.  Without change, there would not be any butterflies.

 

 

Kember’s Gluten Free Donut Mix 

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Way back in April of 2016, I attended the GFFAFest in Austin, TX.   As some may know, I met Marilyn from Kember’s Gluten Free there.  She had an awesome assortment of mixes and spices there.  She was also sampling her Donut mix there.  I seriously could have ran off with her samples and eat them like Homer Simpson does donuts. 

They were tasty, actually I’m not sure that word does them justice.   She gave me some of the mix to try out for myself along with telling me where to find the pans to bake the donuts.


I have been nervous about trying to make these honestly.  I am not sure why, I am thinking it might be that the ones at the show where so very good, and I am not sure I could make anything that lived up to that standard.

The mix was super easy to mix up, didn’t require a lot of extra ingredients or odd measurements.  I used my stand mixer with a flat beater.   I had a little trouble filling the pans the first time.  I wasn’t sure how full to fill the pans, since gluten free products don’t always rise like other ones.


After baking them, I let mine cool and then realized that I didn’t have everything to make the chocolate glaze! So I storage mine with parchment paper.  I am not sure if that effected how moist mine where or not.  Next batch I make I will make sure I have everything.


I made the chocolate glaze and it was awesome.  I had trouble dipping the donuts in the glaze.  The glaze is hot and I am not graceful.  I think the next time I make them I will just pour the glaze over them instead of dipping.    I had extra glaze left over from trying to dip them, so I am pretty sure I could just pour the glaze over the donuts.  The glaze cooled quickly as well.

I bought some over to my mom’s house for all them to try since the brownies went over so well.


The Non-Gluten-Free members of the village approved!

On the package there is an option for donut holes along with a vanilla glaze.  I can’t wait to try those as well. I’m thinking it would be awesome on their pumpkin bread!

You can find the mix at some stores depending on where you live along with on Amazon and Kember’s website.

Kember’s also has other mixes and some seasonings that are awesome!

 

Zucchini Pizza Bites

I am always looking for ways to eat healthier.  It can be a battle for me for a variety of reasons.  One of them is that I still think I am in my twenties when could eat anything I want and it not affect my weight like it does now.  Then there is also the fact I love pizza, cookies, cake, and candy.    I have a desk drawer, that should be used for files, however it is filled with snacks.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like healthy foods as well.  I will eat vegetables with no problem.  I love broccoli and squash.  I just also really like junk food.  That being said, when I find a recipe for a healthier version of something, I try it

Recently, I was on Facebook and one of those videos with the recipes popped up.  I noticed it had something to do with pizza, and they used zucchini squash as the crust.  I like both of those things and it was pizza, bite size pizza in fact!

The recipe on the video and on the website was super easy to follow.  If you would like to see it for your self, you can click here. I added sausage to pizza sauce, I think it would have been just as tasty with out it.

I  decided to just fill the baking sheet with the zucchini squash, instead of making a few at time.  Hindsight: not a super great idea, since as I went the messier these things got since my arm got tired and I was edging on Hangry.    Per instructions i  spread olive oil on each slice and pre-baked.

 

Then I added my topping.  I wanted something more than just cheese, since I’m not a huge pepperoni fan, so I added some ground sausage as well.   If you are going to use pepperoni,  I would suggest chopping the pepperoni instead of what they show in the video.  Or just buy mini pepperoni.     I’m now tempted to try this with other veggies, like eggplant.   IMG_0060

 

Whole Note Crepes

As you may know, I am a huge fan of the company “Whole Note.”  It seems that every product of theirs that I have tried, I love. From their waffles to muffins and now crepes.  I had never had crepes before trying these.  I was always told it was like having a very thin pancake.  So I wasn’t sure what to do with them once I made them. So,  I visited Whole Note‘s website and looked at the recipes on there and concluded, crepes are kinda like the French tortilla.

The instructions are easy to understand, and it doesn’t require tons of extra ingredients.  I mixed the batter per the box instructions and in no time at all I had crepes! 

I will say this, use butter as the box states.  I tried cooking spay on some of them, and I did not on a couple of them, and did not get as even browning as I did with the butter.  If you are not careful with either products and use too much, the crepes do not turn out well.

I also do not have a “crepe skillet,”  I used a normal skillet.  I had asked Paul from Whole Note about this when I spoke to him.  He said that it was fine, to just tilt the skillet around to spread the batter around.

 

 

We made the Fruit and (home-made) Whipped Cream Crepes and Pizza Crepes.

pizza crepe

And we know how much I love pizza.  If you don’t, I really love pizza.  So of course we made a pizza crepe

 

 

 

Also: if you are going to make a batch and them eat them, use a cooling rack or paper towels in between the crepes, the condensation will cause them to lose some of the crispiness as they cool.

So once again, Whole Note as not failed.  I have discovered the love of crepes and now the non gluten free boyfriend has another option for food in my house.   It is a gluten free zone, you know.

 

 

 

Aleia’s Coat & Crunch

Way back in October, while attending the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo in Dallas, Buddy purchased some bread crumbs by Aleia’s.

Fast forward to April.  While at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin, Aleia’s  was there.   I stopped and talked to them, told them how we made eggplant Parmesan with the bread crumbs and how we like it. Found out about some new products of theirs.   Along with, how they take suggestions from consumers to create new products, which I thought was really cool.   Aleia’s makes cookies, panko, stuffing mixes, breads, breadcrumbs, croutons, and the newest item is “Coat & Crunch.” It comes in two varies: “Extra Crispy” and “Crispy Spicy.”

What some or most of you may not know is I do not like handling raw meat.  Ground meats or pieces.   I typically let Buddy do it.    However, I felt that I couldn’t honestly write this if I did not actually cook it.  So,  I decided I would cook the chicken.   We tried both kinds of the Coat and Crunch on two separate days.

Each package comes with two pouches of coating, it is really easy to handle and make.   I did not have any difficulties making it.    We made stripes on day and we made nuggets the other day.  Both times we used a little over two pounds, due to the packages we purchased.   The box states to use two pounds, it will cover slightly over two pounds when doing the strips, however I would not push it.

The spicy one wasn’t super hot, it had flavor to go with the heat and the crispy one was really good as well. There are sauce recipes on the box as well.   Aleia’s is produced in a dedicated gluten free bakery facility and are certified by the CSA (Celiac Support Association), the GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization) and Earth Kosher.  All of their products test at less than five parts per million. The Coat & Crunch does contain eggs.  However, it is Dairy Free, Kosher and Non-GMO.