Monthly Archives: May 2010

Review and Give-away: Yoplait Greek Yogurt

yoplait_greek_logoYogurt is not something I usually get excited about. In fact, I rarely eat it unless it’s frozen and chocolate flavored. To save on calories and fat, I sometimes use plain yogurt to make tuna salad, but that’s about the extent of my relationship with non dessert yogurt. Recently, that changed when General Mills announced that the new Yoplait Greek yogurt was labeled gluten-free. In fact, over 100 Yoplait yogurts are now labeled gluten-free.

The fat free Yoplait Greek yogurt is much thicker than I remember regular yogurt being, which is the draw of Greek style yogurt. I used the new plain yogurt to make delicious tuna salad. I’m not a mayo lover and didn’t miss having mayo in the tuna salad. I used the yogurt to replace half the mayo in potato salad and that was tasty as well. People who really love mayo might not like using yogurt in its place, but I love having the option to save fat and calories without giving up the creamy taste the mayo offers. The Greek yogurt worked perfectly to that end!

I bought the new Yoplait yogurt before I found out it was part of a MyBlogSpark promotion. Therefore, I received my free yogurt coupons – and the rest of the spark promotional items – after I already knew how much I liked the product. When the Yoplait MyBlogSpark box arrived, the items inside were intriguing to say the least. There was a pair of spa slippers, a small terry spa towel, several spa tools and a fabulous plush terrycloth Velcro wrap. Oh, and there were two coupons for free Yoplait Greek yogurt, of course. If you want to print a discount coupon for the product, please click here.

The spark theme is about getting in touch with your inner (Greek) goddess. Pamper yourself and treat yourself to some Greek yogurt from Yoplait. And there is a tie in for the new movie “Clash of the Titans”. Too bad they didn’t include passes to the movie in the spark. Even so, this is by far the nicest spark I’ve participated in. Because the coupons were in the very bottom of the box and there was no paperwork in it, I thought the UPS guy left the box at the wrong address. Finally, I saw the two coupons for Yoplait yogurt and everything clicked. There are 12 grams of protein in the yogurt – twice that found in leading yogurts. Yoplait Greek  is available in four flavors – Strawberry, Blueberry, Honey Vanilla and Plain.

General Mills owns Yoplait, Progresso, Betty Crocker, Larabar and many other product lines. About every two months, the Live Gluten Freely website adds some new gluten-free products. Did you know that most of the Betty Crocker canned frostings are now labeled gluten-free? Here is the updated list of gluten-free labeled products from General Mills. Click on the logo of the line shown on the left side of the page to see the full line up from that brand. I’m hoping they’ll add some Progresso soup cups to the line up soon.

OK – back to the yogurt. If you like Greek yogurt, you might want to give the new Greek versions from Yoplait a try. If you want to try it for free, please tell us (in a comment below) how you get in touch with your inner gluten-free goddess. Deadline to enter is May 14th and the winners’ address must be in the contiguous U.S.

UPDATE: Congrats to LuAnn who won the Yoplait Greek Yogurt give-away!

*Thanks to Yoplait and MyBlogSpark for my spa kit and coupons and for sponsoring this give-away for our readers!

Recipe Roundup: Gluten-free Summer Salads

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress.com

When it’s cold I love eating soup and lots of it. When it’s hot, I like to avoid turning on the oven and love refreshing salads. When I was first diagnosed with celiac, I remember people telling me that dining out was risky and if I had to do it, I should order a plain salad with no croutons or dressing. Thankfully, I found out eating out was possible and could be quite delicious as well. I am happy to order a creative salad when dining out – as long as it’s not the only safe choice. It’s not as enjoyable if you feel like you didn’t have any choice when ordering your meal. Dining destinations like those in the Restaurant Guide make it easier to avoid that feeling.

It took me a couple of years to find a gluten-free pasta that I like in cold pasta salad. The corn and quinoa blend from Ancient Harvest works fine, but the Andean Dream pasta tastes fabulous in pasta salads. The rice and quinoa blend together to create a very wheat like pasta. People often tell me they use plain rice pasta for cold pasta salad, but we definitely don’t care for it. The first time I made a cold pasta salad, it was for a dinner party. The cold pasta was like a brick even though there was olive oil in it. I quickly whipped up a potato salad to replace the inedible pasta salad. Later, a restaurant server offered me a taste of their cold gluten-free pasta salad – made from plain rice pasta. I found it inedible as well.

Here are some of our favorite summer salads. Only one requires a gluten-free replacement item – the pasta salad.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of cooked gluten-free pasta (your preferred brand)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (to taste)
  • Crumbled feta cheese (to taste)
  • 1/3cup of diced roasted red peppers (from a jar or home made)
  • 1/2 cup of sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2 t. Medditerranean Spice blend (we use Alchemy Spice brand)
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts *optional
  • Touch of sea salt

Instructions:

  • Cook, drain and chill pasta (add olive oil to keep it from sticking).
  • Once pasta is chilled, add all other ingredients except pine nuts (if using).
  • Let salad chill for an hour (or more) before serving.
  • Add pine nuts at the last minute if using.

Low-fat Red Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of red potatoes, skin on, cooked and diced
  • Non fat plain Greek yogurt (to taste) *Yoplait is labeled gluten-free
  • Spicy brown mustard (to taste)
  • 3 T. of mayo
  • 4 t. of sweet pickle relish
  • 2 chopped boiled eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together and let chill for at least one hour before serving.
  • Using a small amount of mayo gives it a traditional flavor without adding the traditional amount of calories.
  • Sour cream can be subbed for the mayo if desired, though that will add more calories than using mostly yogurt.

Watermelon Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of chopped watermelon (seedless)
  • 1/2 crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup slice kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup minced green onions
  • Sea salt if desired (add when serving)

Instructions:

  • Gently blend all ingredients together and chill for at least one hour before serving.
  • This unique salad sounds strange but it’s refreshingly delicious.
  • Don’t knock it until you try it!

You might have noticed that these recipes don’t make a huge amount of food so feel free to increase the ingredients to suit your personal needs. Check out this great list of gluten-free salad recipes from Teri Gruss at About.com too!

Help Get Gluten-free Lunch Programs into U.S. Schools

imagesThe Gluten Intolerance Group is asking the youth in our community to help with a very worthwhile cause. They are asking kids to print this petition and ask people sign it to bring attention to the need for gluten-free lunches in the public education system in the U.S. This is a retro style petition – it must be printed and signed the old fashioned way and can not be done online. The completed petition pages will be presented to House Representative Betty McCollum at the GIG Annual Education Conference in June, in Minneapolis.

Sometimes I get annoyed that I have to always know where my next meal is coming from. Living gluten-free requires one to be more organized than the average person has to be. But I can’t imagine how Mothers with celiac or gluten-free kids deal with having to constantly worry about feeding those kids safely – day in and day out. Every meal and snack and birthday and pizza party requires pre-planning and extra work that other Moms don’t have to do.

Now add to their chores having to pack a gluten-free lunch every day for school. Most schools in the U.S. do not offer gluten-free meals to students that need them. This isn’t slightly surprising, of course. The medical community is still not caught up with much of the rest of the world on the issue of celiac disease or food allergies and intolerances in general. Why would anyone expect schools to understand the needs of kids that can’t just eat whatever the lunch ladies put on their trays?

Hopefully everyone will share the petition campaign information with everyone that needs to know about it. There are just a few weeks to get petitions signed and get them sent into GIG. Our community as a whole can do more than any one person could ever do alone. That’s something people need to keep in mind when they think they can’t make a difference. It’s about making a difference as part of a larger group – a large cause. It’s way past time for U.S. schools to offer safe meals for all kids that walk their halls. Together – we really can make a difference!

Shelton’s Gluten-free and Casein free Meats

shelton26-0979When I started reading food labels, I realized that all the bacon and sausage we normally purchased contained nitrates. Because I didn’t know back then that way more bacon was gluten-free than contained gluten, we switched to bacon brands that were labeled gluten-free. They also happened to be nitrate free and delicious.

Eventually, we found Shelton’s brand turkey sausage at Whole Foods and our health food store. Shelton’s gluten and dairy free products are all free of nitrates. The brand offers both turkey links and patties and both are delicious. The sausage is not particularly low in fat or calories, but it is lower in both than most pork sausage, of course. The main reason we eat a lot of turkey is that it’s easier to digest than red meat.

The turkeys used in Shelton’s products are raised without antibiotics in a barn-yard like setting. There are no additives or fillers, which are present in many mainstream sausages. The products are minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. The taste of Shelton’s sausage is wonderful and the spices used in them make for a terrific flavor! We also enjoy several of their gluten-free soups. I’d really love to try their Turkey Jerky, which is sold on Amazon.com, but it’s kind of pricey. I’ve tried a couple of gluten-free beef jerkys (not made by Shelton’s), and have not liked any of them.

shelton2829-0551Over the last few years, we’ve had trouble finding ground turkey that had much taste to it. It seems like some of the brands we used to eat changed somehow. Eventually, we found Shelton’s ground turkey at our health food store. It’s not cheap, but it tastes great which makes it worth the extra cost for us. We use ground turkey for burgers (seasoned with spices and Worcestershire sauce) and to make lasagna, meatloaf and one of the Mrs. Leeper’s gluten-free meals that call for ground beef.

If there is something we can all appreciate, it’s the fact that we know what we’re putting in our bodies because we have to read food labels. Most people have no idea the food they’re eating is full of chemicals, preservatives and additives that many agree are not necessarily that suitable for human consumption. The color used to make Twinkies golden colored is actually a poison – approved for use in food by the FDA. Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a story abut fake food on his CNN show once, and a food scientist explained that the dye in the famous crème filled snack cake is poisonous, but that it would take a whole lot of to make someone sick. More than would be reasonable for one person to consume.

Being on the gluten-free diet led us to make better choices for all types of foods. We eat better quality meats and dairy products as well. When our budget allows for it, we buy organic produce. It’s wonderful that there are many companies trying to do right by U.S. consumers. Shelton’s is definitely one of those companies!

*The Triumph Dining Grocery Guide lists many gluten-free bacon and sausage brands!