Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mac N Cheese Faceoff!

Now that I'm back on dairy, I've dabbled into my old mac n cheese ways. I've tried lots of gluten free pastas throughout my journey and I really like the quinoa blends the best. They have a firm texture and mild taste (some of those brown rice pastas make me want to barf!) So in searching for the best gluten free mac n cheese, I knew I wanted to go with a brand that used quinoa pasta. There's not too many out there and they can be hard to find. My local Whole Foods doesn't carry them so I had to go to the downtown store, which I suppose is a good thing, it's dangerous for me to have mac n cheese too close!

I love Ancient Quinoa Harvest gluten free pastas, I always have a box in my pantry! So naturally when I discovered their mac n cheese, I couldn't wait to try it. First of all, the "little elbow" noodles they describe on their website is all wrong. The noodles are almost penne size, not elbow. 

The "mild" cheese sauce they talk about however, is very true. The packet of cheese is about half the size of your average mac n cheese packet. That, combined with the bigger noodles, leaves you with a very bland bowl of mac n cheese. On the bright side, it's organic and since it's a corn blend pasta, that's very important (corn is the #1 GMO food, always buy organic!). While I love this brand, I do not love their mac n cheese and most likely will not buy it again. Kids would probably like it, but I'm very particular about my mac n cheese!


The other brand I came across (by accident) is Simply Shari's. This caught my eye because it's different than a box, why it's in a resealable bag, I have no idea, but it does definitely stand out. When I bought it, it was on sale for $2.99 which is a very good price when it comes to gluten free pastas. I was nervous about trying it based on my other bad experiences, but I was pleasantly surprised. It has your average size and shape mac n cheese noodle and a strong cheesy, salty sauce. The only thing I recommend with the sauce is that with other natural cheese sauces, they're hard to blend evenly in the noodles, so I like to whisk the powder and milk separately and then mix it into the noodles. Like I said, I'm very serious about my mac n cheese! Simply Shari's also makes pizzas and baked goods. If you don't know of a store that carries the brand, the website has a store order form that you can bring in! They say my Haight Street Whole Foods carries it, but I haven't seen it. I really want to try the pizzas! 

For my next challenge: 

I found this mac n cheese powder at Fresh and Easy. It's just the powder, so you can use any pasta you want! It's a smart idea and I can't wait to try it!

Peace, love and mac n cheese!

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dear Dairy,

Nope that's not a typo, that says DAIRY! In January of 2011 I decided to give up gluten and dairy. I was strong for a few months and felt great for the most part. Here's the other part: it would be 2 am after a night of drinking and I think it's a great idea to order pizza or the caprese panini on the menu just looks to good to pass up or I have a headache and "must have" mac n cheese; yeah I have a lot of excuses. The problem is that I was about 98% dairy free (except for these situations that happened maybe once a month) and so when I would slip up, it would wreak havoc on my system (I'll spare you the details), but it was to the point of nearly blacking out in pain. So I decided let's be real, I am obviously not this super dairy free being and I need to find a balance. In a perfect world these 5 items I'm going to talk about would be the only dairy I consume, but surprise! I'm not perfect.So by eating these dairy options that my system can handle, it helps me to tolerate the ones I cannot when I slip up.

1. Greek Yogurt 

I love the Fage! It's obviously zero fat AND low in calories and packed with protien. I always get the plain version and add either french vanilla stevia or agave nectar. The major downside to the greek yogurt revolution is that the flavored ones have about as much sugar as ice cream, so find creative ways to blend them with honey or fresh fruit when feeding them to the kiddos.

2. Siggi's Icelandic skyr style non fat yogurt

As I mentioned above, I never buy pre-flavored yogurt, until I discovered Siggi's (thank you Sandi)! Over at Siggi's they had the same issue with yogurt as I do, it's too sweet! They use fruit and a minimal amount of agave nectar in their flavored varieties, still only adding up to 9 gram of sugar per serving (totally within my rule limit). Like greek yogurt, Siggi's has a no fat, high protein, and low calorie content. The label also comes off easily to be recycled separately, if necessary. The only down side is that it can be expensive, so I typically only buy it when it's on sale. 

3. Trader Joe's Lactose Free Coffee Creamer

This stuff is great! It comes in a big bottle and a very reasonable price. It's lactose free (which is what usually upsets stomachs), contains no artificial flavors or hydrogenated oils, and only has 4g of sugar. It's also great to make homemade ice cream with or use in baking recipes. I ALWAYS have a bottle of this in my fridge!

4. Kefir or Tart Frozen Yogurt

I really like the Kefir brand frozen yogurt because it contains probiotics and comes in a variety of flavors. However, it runs about $5 a pint and has 16g of sugar, kind of against the rules for me. Fresh and Easy's mango tart yogurt is much more cost effective, I think around $3 for 32 oz AND only has 11g of sugar. The downside is that they only have mango and plain flavors AND I may or may not eat the entire carton :)

5. Mild, Soft Cheeses

Cheeses like brie, ricotta, cream cheese, and sheep's milk cheese are all ok with my system in moderation. Cream cheese on a rice cake, ricotta in gluten free ravioli's, all good. However, the 2 baked bries on my birthday...not ok. 

Always keep in mind that with any diet/food choices, it comes down to balance. Unfortunately, eating a brick of pepper jack cheese in a 12 hour period will never ever be a good idea. 

Peace, love & lactose, 

K. McGrubbin

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Pin it!

You all may or have not heard of a little phenomenon us crafty people like to call Pinterest. Well I put on my smart pants and added a "follow me on Pinterest" button right there in your right hand corner, above the "follow on Facebook" button (which you should also click). 

To specifically follow the Kendra's McGrubbin on the Daily board, click here:

you can have access to past posts and repin posts to your own boards! 

Pinning and Winning ;)

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