Trader Joe's Finds!

Trader Joe's is like THE place to go! Their foods are yummy, cheap and they clearly list all ingredients - thanks, TJs! :D

Some of my favorite things there are:

Almond meal. All Natural. Yum. Not the blanched kind, but still yummy and at a great price! In case you can't see, each bag is 16 oz, 1 pound - for only $3.99! It says right on the bag, great for baking and breading - and they're right! I often use this to bread some chicken breasts for faux fried chicken and it's delicious in my Almond Torte ... which reminds me ... I haven't made that in a while! Why not! Oh, I need to get on that!

Orange Peach Mango Juice. Need I say more? Delish! Half a gallon for $2.69.

Orange Juice. Hubby wanted me to post this. He loves this orange juice. Me? I think it's a bit too sweet and still prefer Simply Orange. But, I guess I gotta give in on some things as long as they're safe! ;) Anyway, this is only $1.99 for half a gallon.

Ridge Cut Potato Chips. These are AWESOME!! The ingredients - unpeeled potatoes, oil (sunflower or safflower) and salt. How cool is that?! The taste great and are really good for lots of different applications - munching on, with sandwiches, oh and GREAT for dipping - we particularly love them with tuna salad. I get a 1 pound bag for $3.29.

Pound Plus Chocolate Need I say more? hahaha These are 500 grams, which is over a pound, thus "Pound Plus." And for only $3.99? Super score! They have 72% and 61%. I actually usually get the 61% because I think it tastes less bitter. But then, I'm still getting used to non-milk chocolate! ;) Anyway, I think that one comes in a brown wrapper? I'll get a photo of that one next time. Just stay away from the blue wrapper one. That one is milk chocolate!

Gluten-Free Pancake and Waffle Mix - 18 ounces for $2.99. This stuff tastes pretty good, but to be honest, I still prefer Ginger Lemon Girls Master Mix Pancakes (except I use 1 full cup of hemp milk), but what I really love is that TJs offers this. I LOVE that I can tell people that there is a commercially available gluten free product that is easy to use and tastes good!

Gluten Free Brownie Mix. 1 pound for $2.99. Again, I like these brownies but I don't find this mix as good as brownies that I can make myself (especially Elanas Brownies), but again, like the Pancakes & Waffles Mix, I LOVE that I can tell people that there is a commercially available gluten free product that is easy to use and tastes good!

Ahi Tuna. Hubby and I love this stuff. It comes pre-marinaded so it has instant flavor, and it's so easy to cook! Just thaw and cook! In the summer, Hubby will throw it on the grill (I especially like when the ends get a bit crunchy) and in the winter, I just broil it in the oven. At $5.49 a pound, we're happy campers!

Almond butter! I usually get crunchy, unsalted for general eating and for this recipe but sometimes I also get smooth unsalted and make these. It's all natural and only $4.99 for a 16 ounce jar - can't ask for much more than that! :)

Other great things they have are:

  • I have seen that some Trader Joes carry GF breads, but so far, all the ones I've seen have yeast in them. So, I can't comment on them!
  • I have heard that Trader Joes makes a brown rice pasta that is supposed to be pretty good (though not as good as Tinyaka by some reviews), but the TJs that we go to doesn't seem to carry it, so I can comment on those either.
  • Vitamins/Suppliments - Again, I haven't purchased any of these, but several are listed as GF.
  • A GF Flourless Chocolate Cake - This has dairy in it, so I haven't tried it, but it looks awesome!
  • Rice Drink. I forgot to ask for a picture of this. This is the first non-dairy milk that I actually liked. This is NOT the Rice Dream rice milk. This is in the refrigerated section and comes in 1/2 gallon containers. It is TJs brand and the vanilla container is beige and purple. This milk is thinner than the other drinks in my opinion which, for me, makes it easier to actually drink straight. I get unsweetened vanilla and it's great on cereal too or in recipes and bonus - it's cheaper. Can't remember the price right now but I know it comes out cheaper than the quart boxes and I think it tastes much better! :) I'll take a pic at a later date so you'll know what I'm talking about!

*** Many thanks to my darling Husband for these photos. Lately, he's been doing all the TJ runs and he took all these nice photos with his camera phone just so I could do this blog post. Yup, he's a keeper! ;)

Costco Finds!

Believe it or not, Costco is a great place for people with food intolerances! Seriously! I will show you some of my favorite Costco finds:

Remember this post? Well, here is a picture of this awesome stuff! 1 whole pint of Pure Vanilla Extract for only $5.99!!! Woo Hoo! Love it!

Mareblue Naturals' Blueberry Pomegranate Trail Mix Crunch

When I saw this, I was so excited! It says gluten free, wheat free, dairy free right on it! And, it's soy free too! Woo hoo! I picked up this beauty - 20 ounces for $8.99!! It's great to leave at work to munch on or even grab a handful when I'm running out the door!

Tostitos Scoops
Warning: These chips do contain SOYBEAN OIL

I love these chips. They're perfect with salsa, guacamole, chili, Natalie's Black Bean Salsa and tuna salad! Yum! I'm able to get a 22 ounce bag of these for only $4.59!

Yum! What's not to love about this? It is GF/DF/SF and is delicious! My Costco sells these in packs of 3-16 ounce containers for only $8.69!! Wholly is right! ;)

Snow's Chopped Clams

I love having these in my pantry! I keep these around to make Ginger Lemon Girls Creamy Clam Chowder or to throw into a quick Seafood Pasta. At the grocery store, I pay anywhere between $1 and $1.50 for a 6.5 ounce can. But, at Costco, I can get 6 cans for $5.69.

Generic Zyrtec! 300 tablets for $14.99!!! Note, this isn't completely dairy free. It does have lactose in it. However, I've been taking these for months with no side affects, so there must not be too much in there.

Other great things they have are:
  • Meat in bulk (sometimes a good buy, sometimes not!). I found a leg of lamb there before for $3.99 a pound!
  • Fresh fruits and veggies - also sometimes a good buy, sometimes not.
  • Juice - if they have a kind you like, their juices usually come in pack of 2 for a reasonable price.
  • Vitamins - several of which are labeled GF (and DF or SF)! Nice!
  • Contact Lens Cleaner - I don't remember the price exactly on this, but it's CHEAP. I get 3 huge bottles and then I am set for a LONG time (hence why I can't remember how much I paid. I think like $10 for all 3 bottles - but don't quote me on that!)

Breakfast: Thai vs. Australian

Growing up with a Thai mother and an Australian step-father made meals at our house interesting. There was a large variety of different foods and actually. For dinner, one night we'd have stir fry and the next we'd have roast lamb and veggies. It was great. There was usually something different and new to look forward to. For breakfast, there was also a big difference.

Here is what one version of a traditional Thai breakfast looks like:

This is just a plain egg with white rice ... that was topped with just a couple splashes of fish sauce (start with 2 or 3, taste, and work your way up - this stuff is potent!). I know that this might sound strong and salty and unappealing to some of you - but it's not! I promise. Don't believe me? Ginger Lemon Girl tried it and liked it!! ;) It's so simple, so naturally GDSYWP-free, and so delicious. Something about the rich egg yolk with the salty fish sauce is just heavenly and comforting. There are two tricks - 1) The egg must be over easy - you want to try to get a really crispy egg white and yet keep a runny egg yolk and 2) Your fish sauce must be fresh. If it's a translucent light brown color (sort of like tea) with a light fishy odor, then you're good. If it's dark brown or even black and very strong smelling - toss it now!!! It's old and yucky.

And here is one version of an Australian Breakfast:

Just a bit more food than the Thai breakfast, huh? :) This is just fried eggs over toasted bread with bacon, baked beans and grilled (well, mine were fried) tomatoes on the side. With one change, this is easily gluten free, and with a few other tweaks, it's pork free! To make this gluten free, just use gluten free bread and to make pork free, use turkey or beef bacon and use vegetarian baked beans (these are my favorite). What I love about this is the mixture of the rich yolk with the sweet baked beans and the crunch of the toast and then a few salty meaty bites of bacon. I actually usually forgo the tomatoes, but thought I'd include it here to be true-to-the-food.

I know that for some of you, these dishes might be stepping out of your comfort zone, but trust me, it's worth it! They're pretty quick, tasty, and with just a few minor tweaks, GDSYWP-free - what more could you ask for? :)

Stay Tuned!

I'm sorry I've been a little MIA lately! Things have just been nuts around here. Two weeks ago, a big project at work dropped into my lap and I'm only just now getting a handle on things, I had Salmonella poisoning all last week, Hubby had a business trip, been doing a bit of spring clearing-out and ya know, just general life getting in the way of things!

But - I've come up with a couple of good post ideas and even a few recipes to share, so stay tuned! :)

Quote Tuesdays

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” ~Dale Carnegie

I have been thinking a lot lately about confidence.

Confidence is something I always had growing up - confidence in my abilities, confidence in myself and confidence in my actions. But, somewhere along the way, I seemed to have lost it.

I think gaining weight had a lot to do with it - not because I was fat or unattractive, but because I wasn't myself. Everyone could see it and often pointed out - they said that I was meeker, milder and more quiet. I had retreated in, not feeling understood. I hated being told that I looked "different" or being asked if I was pregnant or that "I would never have recognized you." I was usually fine with the weight that I had put on, but to be told that I didn't look like me was not okay. All of a sudden, I began to not feel like me either. I wallowed in that for a few years, fluctuating in weight, not feeling like myself, trying to rediscover myself only to realize that I wasn't that same person anymore - so then trying to figure out who the new person I has become was - then being hit with the fact that my body wasn't really my body but instead something food had taken over - I had no idea what my body was really like since it was always fighting something. It was just one blow after another. I feared I'd never lose the weight, that I wouldn't ever be myself again and I had no confidence in myself. All that doubt lead to more inaction - more wallowing in my own self pity and laziness - which, not surprisingly, didn't help!

Recently, however, I have begun to have more confidence in myself. I am learning that I am strong, determined and smart. I have confidence in the new lifestyle that I have begun, I am confident in the choices I make and I am beginning to have more confidence in my body. After reading this moving story, I decided that it was time to stop putting off doing/buying things until I have my "better" body. I bought a couple new, beautiful, pieces to add to my wardrobe - splurged a bit on a few pieces of jewelry and decided not to wait anymore for a skinnier body to get some feel-good clothes. And, they are in my newest style - vintagey, feminine pieces. It's not about waiting and longing for the body that I had and want again, but instead about celebrating the body that I have now - a curvy, womanly, comfy body. After all, Real Women Have Curves.

Now, all this is not to say that I'm giving up hope on a skinner body - but I'm not focusing or obsessing over it, either. My main goal is to be healthy, and if getting skinny comes as a result of that - then so be it - if not, then I will survive! I am taking actions to be a healthier person - I'm moving around/exercising more, I'm trying to eat more fruits and vegetables while eating less sweets and I'm just trying to take care of me. I know these actions will only further help my confidence and before you know it, it will no longer be a conscious effort, but instead, a result of my routine actions!

So, what have you been putting off? What do YOU want to do? Well, go out and get busy doing it! :)

Quote Tuesdays

"Courage does not always come with a roar. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day that says 'I will try again tomorrow.' " ~Unknown

This quote really struck me. It is so true in so many ways and for some many reasons.

When I first started this diet, I made a few mistakes, but rather than throwing in the towel, I just said, okay, it was an infraction, but I will try again tomorrow. It worked and I'm now 100% GDSYWP-free and it feels good.

Now, I'm trying to summon the courage to be more active. I want to exercise regularly for both a bit of weight loss and for over-all health. I've never been one much for exercise so it will take a bit of diligence on my part, and some support from my friends and my Hubby! Even if I miss a day or don't do as much as I had planned/hoped, I will not give up but instead remember to try again tomorrow!

Vita-Mix Fridays: Mint Julep

A while ago on my Vita-Mix Users Yahoo Group, a lady named Cathrine posted a success story with a recipe she called "Mint Julep with a Twist." It looked good, so I tried it, but of course, I had to tweak it a bit! Here is what I came up with:

Mint Julep
Inspired by Cathrine from the Vita-Mix Yahoo Group

1 long English cucumber, chopped into smaller chunks
1 1/2" slab of fresh pineapple, chopped into smaller chunks
1 large handful of fresh mint leaves
1 splash of lime juice (I used bottled, but you of course you could use fresh)
1 cup water
2 droppers full of stevia
1 cup of ice

Mix it all together starting on low & slowly increase to high. Once it is all pureed, turn the Vita-Mix down to low and add ice until chopped.

This made A LOT, nearly a whole Vita-Mix full, so be warned. Hubby had a few sips, but wasn't thrilled with it, so I drank it myself over 2 days. This was pretty refreshing, not quite as "summer" tasting as I had imagined, but still quite good!



The opinions and thoughts expressed here are purely my own and are not coerced, swayed or influenced by a company, organization or other person. The information contained here is to the best of my knowledge at the date posted. I am NOT an expert and am NOT responsible for anything that you do with this information. Please do your own research, seek out professionals and read all ingredients yourself in order to ensure that the choices you make are right for your lifestyle.

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