Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rudi's Gluten Free Cooking Contest!

Oh yes. I feel like I am ready to put my gluten free cooking skills to the test. I was tickled when I recieved an email from Rudi's telling me all about the new Gluten Free Cooking Contest they are launching! A thousand thoughts ran through my head. Oh the opportunities, the recipes, the taste testing! I knew I needed to get started right away. Also because the contest began on April 18th. Times tickin' till June!

Here is the lowdown:
Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, maker of unbelievably good gluten-free baked goods, announced the Unbelievably Good Gluten-Free Recipe Contest on April 18th. Inspired by the passion and creativity of gluten-free foodies everywhere, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery fans are encouraged to share their gluten-free culinary masterpieces in the Unbelievably Good Gluten-Free Recipe Contest for a chance to win a free trip to Boulder, Colo., star in their own online cooking show and be featured in a national media advertisement for Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery!

April 18th through May 20, aspiring gluten-free chefs are invited to visit the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Facebook page and click on the recipe contest tab to enter. Rudi’s wants fans to get creative with gluten-free bread and some ter-RUDI-ific gluten-free recipes. There are only two recipe requirements:

1. The recipe must be gluten-free.

2. The recipe must include at least one product from the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery line (Original, Multigrain and Cinnamon Raisin Breads, Multigrain Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Rolls, and Original Pizza Crusts).

All types of recipes are welcome, from kid-approved options to fine dining fare. Along with the recipe, Rudi’s wants to hear why gluten-free cooking is important to the aspiring chef.

“We created Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery to help people suffering from celiac disease and gluten intolerances enjoy great tasting, healthy baked goods that have the same taste, texture and appearance of regular options,” said Doug Radi, vice president of marketing for Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. “We’re continuously amazed by the culinary creativity, passion and inspiration within the gluten-free community, and we can’t wait to see the exciting ideas our fans cook up. We’re looking forward to meeting the top three finalists in June for a gluten-free recipe showdown and celebration.”
Recipe submissions will be accepted until May 20, 2011, and online voting will continue through June 6, 2011. The top 10 fan favorites, determined by the number of Facebook votes, will each receive a $250 gift card to Williams-Sonoma, an assortment of Rudi’s products and swag, and a chance for their recipe to be chosen as a top three finalist.

From the top 10 fan favorites, three finalists will be determined by a panel of judges including:

· Chef Jeffrey Barbour, Restaurant 4580

· Martin Hammer, owner of Restaurant 4580

· Chef Dan Kohler from Renegade Kitchen and Alternative Appetites

· Jane Miller, CEO of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery

The top three finalists will receive a trip for two to Boulder, Colo., home of Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery, where they will compete in the Final Recipe Cook-Off at Restaurant 4580 on June 24, 2011. The grand prize winner will star in a National Foundation for Celiac Awareness – Alternative Appetites cooking show with Chef Dan Kohler of Renegade Kitchen and be featured in a national media advertisement for Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. For complete contest and prize details, visit the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Facebook page and click on the Recipe Contest tab.

Dates to Know:

· April 18 – May 20: Recipe submissions accepted on the recipe contest tab on the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Facebook page

· April 18 – June 6: Online voting open to the public

· June 7: Top 10 fan favorites announced

· June 7 – June 13: Top 10 fan favorite recipes reviewed by panel of judges

· June 13: Top 3 finalists announced

· June 24: Top 3 finalists compete in Final Recipe Cook-Off at Restaurant 4580 in Boulder, Colo.

A bit about Rudi's...

Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Inc., founded and headquartered in Boulder, Colo., is the only nationally available brand offering a full line of certified organic bread and baked goods. Rudi’s Organic Bakery has a long history of baking bread a better and brighter way, by using simple organic ingredients that contain no artificial ingredients, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup or trans-fat. Since 2005, Rudi’s Organic has been a part of Charter Baking Company, Inc., a portfolio company of Charterhouse Group, Inc. Rudi’s Organic is a premier organic brand with distribution throughout the U.S. in both natural foods stores and mainstream supermarkets. Founded in 1976, Rudi’s Organic offers small batch organic artisan breads, sliced sandwich breads, wide pan sandwich breads, hamburger and hot dog buns, wraps and a popular line of organic spelt breads, buns and tortillas. In July 2010, Rudi’s Organic Bakery launched a new line of natural gluten-free products under the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery brand. Follow Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery on Facebook, Twitter, and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Blog, Baked on the Bright Side.
If you want to learn more about the contest, company or products, you can visit them online at http://www.rudisglutenfree.com/
I am very excited to concoct some gluten free goodness in my kitchen and enter my recipe! I will be leave for Europe in a couple days and cannot WAIT to bring back some recipe souvenirs ;) Hope to have all your support in my endeavour and I look forward to providing you with a delicious new recipe!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Let’s Flake Out

"Just a spoon full of nutritional yeast can make the vitamins go down...I'll show you the most delightful way!"

I thought channeling Mary Poppins might help you read on and not shy away from what I am about to suggest you add to your food.Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. A lot of people I know like to sprinkle it on hot popcorn, garlic bread, or create a “cheesy” pasta sauce.

Nutritional yeast is also a reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you're vegan, it's a good idea to add some to your food regularly. They say to not add more than 3 tablespoons a day. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk foods or supplement section of your health food store. I bought the big jar of the whole foods brand. You can look for either nutritional yeast flakes or powder, but be sure you don't get brewer's yeast by mistake, as it's quite similar in appearance.

I am not going to lie to you dear readers, I was a little scared of the flakes and it wasn't because of the flake in the name. It was the yeast part. Yeast?? Oh a word that had such a negative connotation in my vocab. Why do I need to be eating yeast? I had all sorts of thoughts and worries about if it was something I needed to add to my diet. So I read. And researched. And read some more. And I figured, hey it couldn't hurt to try right? That's what this blog is about! I would like to share a little about what I found out.

Soooo…What IS it?

“Nutritional yeast is a tasty product you can find in natural foods markets. These yellow flakes are a pure strain of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In the same family as edible mushrooms, yeast has been used in food and beverage production for more than 5,000 years. Today, the same strain is used to brew beer, make wine, and leaven breads as well as develop the nutritionally-rich food called nutritional yeast .

Each batch of nutritional yeast is grown on a mixture of cane and beet molasses for a period of seven days. B-vitamins are added during the process to provide the yeast with the nutrients it needs to grow. When harvested, the yeast is washed, pasteurized, and dried on roller drum dryers before it is ready for market. It is then used by food manufacturers in food products, added to boost the nutrient levels in pet foods, and simply packaged for sale in natural foods stores.

Vegans (strict vegetarians) have used it for years as a source of vitamin B-12, an essential nutrient found primarily in animal products. Health seekers who strive to eat primarily a whole foods diet use nutritional yeast because it tastes really good with certain foods and adds extra nutrients to their diet. It can be added when you cook quinoa in quinoa recipes, in salad dressings made with flax seed oil, or even sprinkled on top of free range chicken.

Unlike active baking yeast, nutritional yeast is grown solely for its nutritional value. It should not be confused with brewer’s yeast, a by-product of breweries and distilleries. nutritional yeast is a low-fat, low-sodium, kosher, non-GMO food that contains no added sugars or preservatives. The cane and beet molasses used in the growing process does not make nutritional yeast sweet and is not a source of simple sugars.”

Soooo...What do I DO with it?

Well, my husband jumped the gun and stirred it right into his soy milk. Just writing that makes my stomach turn. He won't touch the stuff now and quite frankly I don't blame him. I may not have if I had a bad first experience either. Patience is both a virtue and a food experience saver. I warned him to not dive head first into these flakes if you haven’t had them before. Men. Maybe I will sneak them in when he isn't looking a tell him after.

These are meant to be mixed in with food but I wouldn’t just dump it immediately into my drink. I added it to my sautéed veggie sandwich the other day and I LOVED it! It really does give a cheesy flavor and helps thicken your dish.

I have a macaroni and “cheese” recipe that I cannot wait to try out and share with you. Will these flakes flake out on their tasty goodness when starring in my dish? Stay tuned…

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Overnight Oatmeal Bliss

I love oatmeal. It is so versatile. But I don't have a ton of time in the morning to fix it. Between working out, getting ready, getting my son ready, making his lunch, taking care of the dog, and getting my husband and son fed...Whew! You can see I don't have time to spend 15-20 minutes on my own breakfast. On my Friday's off I truly cherish this time and sit and prepare something scrumptious and time consuming.

So back to the oatmeal. I don't like mine runny so it takes a little bit to cook down the liquid needed to achieve my Indie consistency perfection. I had seen "Vegan Overnight Oats" on the Oh She Glows blog and have been contemplating throwing these together to try. I have been good about stocking my pantry with bulk ingredients so luckily I had everything to make them last night! Cold oats? Hmmm. I did make YOU wait overnight for a recipe though so I figured making myself wait overnight to try these oats was only fair. Yes, yes the things I do for you dear readers ;)

I wanted to start with the basic oats and if I liked them, then you and I can have some fun adventures! My husband said that he wanted to try them too so I doubled the recipe. I was hoping that it wouldn't mess it up. Hoping and praying because I relied on this meal for my morning fuel! It doesn't require many ingredients and took only 5 minutes to make!

I pulled the bowl out of the fridge this morning and was very satisfied that I at least already had breakfast prepared! I divided the portions between two bowls and still had some leftover. Yipee!

I forgot to snap a picture this morning but it looked like hers!
Taste test. Oh. My. Gosh. Obsessed. I was leary of eating cold oats but these were AMAZING! Truly! Creamy and the perfect consistency. We both added a tablespoon of almond butter to ours. Maple syrup was also suggested but we didn't have any organic real syrup so we skipped it. It wasn't missed.

Here is the original recipe. Like I said, I just doubled everything but then ended up with extras (not complaining!). I can't wait to add fruit and nuts to these in the future! Besides a bowl of cereal, this is probably the least laborsome and delicious breakfast I have made. Here is the link to the original recipe and comments from Oh She Glows Easy Vegan Overnight Oats

Vegan Overnight Oats

Ingredients for PM
  • 1/3 cup regular oats
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 small ripe banana, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix together all the above ingredients in a bowl and place in the fridge overnight.

AM Directions
Scoop out your desired portion into the bowl. We added one tablespoon of natural almond butter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"A Day Without Shoes"

I awoke this morning with an excitement because I knew that I was going to make a difference today. By not wearing shoes for one day I was going to bring awareness to one big problem. A problem that one company, TOMS, decided it was time to resolve. A problem that one person can make a difference by doing one thing.

Today, I am participating in TOMS campaign “A Day Without Shoes” to drive awareness to the tremendous problem of foot-borne illness in developing nations and what many experience here in the states by going a day without shoes. The company I work for, Inceed, is a supporter of TOMS and their campaign, and challenged everyone in our offices to go one day without shoes. I couldn’t resist writing about the experience, even though usually my blog is primarily about food and living gluten free! I'll toss in an ending recipe for you sweet readers, how about that?

4:50 AM
The bell tolls on my phone to start my day. Bright, bubbly bells clinging together as I cling to the under side of my warm comforter. I throw myself out of bed after a couple stalling stretches, get dressed for my work out ,and head to the gym. Sans shoes. My first reaction when I stepped out this morning into the early morning air? It is frigid out! I haven’t felt the bare, cold concrete on my bare feet for a while. Why did it have to be 30 degrees today?

Driving barefoot wasn’t anything too new to me. I did have to scoot my seat up a few inches to compensate the distance from me heels.

I arrived at the gym and walked across the sidewalk, and onto the rough wooden slat bridge while praying the whole time that I wouldn’t be pricked with a splinter. I have never paid attention the roughness of that before! The trainer looked at me curiously. I explained what my mission was for the day. Although he said it was admirable, and even though I asked nicely (with cherries on top??) they said it was a liability for me to run on the treadmill without shoes. Darn. But hey, the thought that counts maybe? I suppose this one instance will have to slide. I can’t fight with liability. I did run a couple seconds when nobody was looking at the end of my work out SSSHHHH!

7:00 AM
Walking around the house this morning wasn’t too bad. The tile floors were chilly and hard on my feet and I did miss my slippers. I know the floors are clean though. Leaving the house again for work will be a different story.

7:40 AM
Time to get out of my car at work. I pause imminently in the parking lot and listen to my breath slowly inhale and exhale. I peruse the lot for glass, old wrappers, anything sticky… Oh who am I kidding? There is worse stuff microscopically lurking in the bits of pressed tar and concrete.

7:45 AM
I tip toe/ hop idiotically across the parking lot to the sidewalk. By the time I get there I decided that I am just going to have to suck it up and do it right. I laid my foot flat on the sidewalk lining our building. Whew. A long breath seeps out. This is going to be stressful. Here is the real kicker though…I was even more grossed out walking into our building. The tiles felt grimy and I grimaced with every step. I was happy to get into the carpeted elevator and up to my office.

Walking around the office isn’t too much a doozy for me. I sometimes do it when my feet are paining from me heels. Plus, I am surrounded by my barefoot co workers! The reinforcement really helped me stay on track. I have my TOMS shoes next to me, but I am now adamant about completing this challenge. I have a choice, those children without shoes don’t. Today, I am not going to give myself a choice.

Oh. No.

No. No. Please No. I didn’t think about this coming up. I have to use the restroom. I have to use the restroom without shoes. No.

Okay, I have to go. I walk anxiously down the hallway, pass the row of elevators, and through the other glass door. As the door shuts I wince at the loud clicking it makes to secure. I feel like it’s the gunshot at the first of a race, prodding me to get going. I open the swinging door and let it close. Once. Twice. I pep talk myself and step in. The automatic light won’t go on where the stalls are located. Great. Barefoot, and in the dark. I think I will hold it for a longer period next go around.

Back at my desk and feeling better. First challenges? Check!

My feet are cold! My office is always cold and my pumps helped pump warm blood through my feet. I would love to soak them in a hot tub right now. With soap! hehe
I am about to head to lunch with my co workers and I am very excited to march in together! Tracy, owner of Cafe Samana, said we could lunch at her restaurant barefoot! How sweet is she? Anyone that visits her restaurant today can dine without shoes. Go support this great cause Tulsa, and if you don't live in the area, make an effort to find a local place to show those cute toes while you eat!

Leaving the building without my shoes on was not as hard this time. The concrete was warm on my feet and it reminded me of running around as a kid all summer without shoes. I never thought twice about it then. Don't worry, I am not losing sight of why we are doing this and I have thought about the children who do this everyday.

Lunch at Cafe Samana with my co workers! We all enjoyed delicious healthy food from Tracy's kitchen without shoes. When my partner Scott and I entered the restaurant we definitely both felt  a little awkward. A little giggle emerged from all of us as we took our seats. I felt silly and almost embarrassed at first. I got a few looks in the parking lot but once we were seated I was comfortable. Cafe Samana will have that effect on anyone... Comfort and Charm.

I started with a cup of chilled carrot soup followed by a delicious deconstructed wrap that she had for the special today. Soft mango strips, roasted red peppers with warm black beans covered a bed of spinach and arugula. Always a delight to eat here!

Back in the office and content from lunch. My feet are happy campers...until I have to visit the restroom again. Not looking forward to that!

Let's break up the afternoon by putting one BAREfoot in front of the other! Check out TOMS site to learn about their mission, and what "one for one" really means: TOMS ONE for ONE <---Click me!

I think I will snack on the rest of my soup to tide me over until dinner. I am really wishing I had shoes or wool socks to keep me warm. Cold feetsies to the fridge!

I am about to run into my first meeting with someone. This should be interesting! I will be ready to do some explaining as to why I am barefoot!

15 min later...
Well, she got a kick out of me being barefoot! It was an impressed reaction versus appalled :)

Well, I am headed to dinner with the family! I will update how the rest of my night went tomorrow morning, and share with you some insight about my co workers day as well! Foot soak tonight!

Met my parents and grandparents for dinner at Chicory and Chives. Have you been? It is great authentic cajun food! Walking across the parking lot wasn't TOO bad...I kind of got used to that today. However, once I walked in to the restaurant I felt my stomach turn. I don't think the customers appreciated my bare feet. I walked quickly to the table and hid my feet. Ah, much better. My parents were not too happy that I was walking around barefoot all day.

Home at last. I rushed upstairs and turned the bath tub fauct to SCORCHING and begin scrubbing my feet. It was so satisfying. My husband came in and said something that brought the entire day into perspective: "Honey do you know how easily you could have contracted something today? Your feet are like a gateway into your body. Remember when we put VICKS on our feet and we could smell and almost taste it within minutes?"
That is exactly the point! If we wear shoes we are protected from those foot borne illnesses. If we could all make an effort to support TOMS, we could help stop the deaths of many children in developing countries.

Tomorrow I will post a recipe for all you dear readers who followed me today!