Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Gluten Free For Life Expo - St. Petersburg, Florida

This was the very first Gluten Free Expo I have ever been too. And I have to tell you, if you've never gone to one, you really need to get out and hit up the next one that comes near your home. 

Why? You may ask.

Well for one you will most likely get to try a lot of the products you have seen but didn't want to spring and buy because you didn't want to be stuck with something you really didn't like. 

And look at all these wonderful samples we got on Saturday along with awesome coupons to help us save on our next purchases.

Total Bonus!!!!

Just look at all the
G-L-U-T-E-N    F-R-E-E    B-O-O-T-Y 
we scarfed up!!

We got to try all kinds of stuff we had seen and wanted to try and many many more things that we had never even heard of.

It was trully a fantastic day spent with my sweet cousin and my
{Best Gluten Free Friend Forever} 
We had a blast learning, tasting new foods and meeting some really awesome people along the way.

Do you think I need another bag???? haha
Because we met so many awesome folks and tasted a ton of great food. I'm going to split this post up into a couple of postings. So there will be more mentions and even more reviews of the goodies we got!!

So let's get going and take a look 
 at some of the awesome finds we came across.

Of course...
The first booth that blew my socks off was
I tried and loved their Hamburger Buns.
{This company is quickly becoming a favorite at my house}
 I can just imagine what their buns would taste like with a big juicy burger on it with some delicious sharp cheddar melted on top and of course piled high with my favorites. 

This has got me to thinking...
You know what?
 I'm totally going to share with you my ultimate burger one day.
I'm a total Burger Girl
and I love my burger
Just wait till you see that post! 

Okay back to the Expo Booty... 

Other yummies tried at the Kinnikinnick booth were
The Chocolate Glazed Donuts - Gingersnaps - Animal Crackers -
And the Chocolate and Vanilla cookies

 [The cookies are like Oreos!]

Everything I tried here was amazing!
(And I will buy more of their stuff)


are so
And I can not stress YUM enough here folks.
And when they say crunchmaster they aren't kidding.
These things are packed with crunch and wonderful flavor.

Listen to me
If you haven't tried these you've so gotta!!!
Trust Me
You will not be disapointed.
(P.S. I am not being paid for this endorsement either.) 

And if that's not enough to get you rolling
How about this...
They have a $1 Off coupon on their site right now!!
Click Here for Crunchmaster Savings!! 


Oh have you tried 
Outback Steakhouse's
Chocolate Thunder From Down Under??? 
Ever heard of it??

 Well I have to tell ya I had never heard of it 
some will think I live under a rock after that comment
But honestly when I go to 
it's about all the steaks, salad and veggies I can get!

Dessert never makes it to my table.
 there is talk at times of dessert but I'm usually so stuffed 
the mere thought of sweets just turns me off.
 I may be saving room for dessert the next time I visit
My cousin, Tracy, and I tried this at 
Outbacks Booth
It was a heavenly hunk of chocolate love that just 
floated and landed in my mouth. 

And when they handed me a coupon for a free one upon my next visit


i also have to say...
Thank you so much Outback Steakhouse for all you do to make
Gluten Free dinning stress free and delicious for those of us who must live Gluten Free!!
We truly appreciate your efforts. ;) 

ps They have a $10 dollar off two steak and lobster meals on their site right now!
So hit em up by clicking here!

I have seen the Udi's Cookies in the freezer section of my Publix store but hadn't tried them yet.
(See this is what I'm talking about. Trying new stuff with out a huge commitment)
And I gotta say the Udi's Chocolate Chip Cookie tonight after dinner was so yummy!!!
It was thick, soft and filled with lots of chocolate chips.

And O-N-E was

However, the one they gave us at the Expo was huge compared to the cookies you will find in your freezer section so one may not be plenty.
{keep that in mind}

Udi's also has some new Gluten Free Products they were touting at the Expo.
Like their new
pizza crusts
 and they also have a
new bread
and looks like they now have
Muffin Tops
and that just makes me laugh hysterically.
{If you're a Seinfeld fan you totally get it! haha}

Check out their new line under their New Products Section!
Pirate's Booty White Cheddar Popcorn was really
light and cheddary
{Yeah I know that's not a word but hey sometimes you have to improvise}
I really liked these and so did the kids and I will get them again.
I've been passing them for a while in the chip isle and I know for sure I will pick
up a bag at some point.
Maybe even to take to our next neighborhood get-together. :)
I Got Hooked!!


 This was one of my favorites from the expo the grape seed oils from Wildtree.
They have so many different dipping oils and party dip mixes that are out of this world.

And after I heard all the health benefits of using grape seed oil in your cooking
I had to spring and get the Mediterranean Balsamic oil and I'm so glad I did.
I drizzled it over my asparagus we had with dinner earlier in the week and it was so delicious!

Wildtree has an awesome product listing and I'll be posting more about this lovely company in the up and coming months.
So stay tuned!


 I tried the Dutch Chocolate Macaroon and
it was so dang good.
But when I saw the calories I about passed out!
310 Calories in this little number.
So be careful and watch the calories in the gluten free yummies you make and buy.
The Registered Dietician at the Expo also gave us a word of caution on this and
suggested we remember that when companies remove one thing they compensate with another and 
a lot of the time it ups the calorie content. 
 So snack wisely.
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheesecake Masterpiece

I have to explain the title of this post -  Cheese Cake Masterpiece.
The only reason I say this is because this is literally the best cheese cake I have ever made.
And if you follow the directions to a "T" you will have the same luck
and emerge from the kitchen
 looking like a


Before we move forward let me give you a little background on myself.

You probably don't know this about me
I have a major thing for Cheesecake. 
Pinky promise you won't tell anyone??? 
It's kinda embarrassing how much I love it. :) 

For example...
You know how you remember your first kiss?
Well it's really funny because that is how remarkable my first taste of cheesecake was.
I'll never forget it.

We were visiting family in Miami
and when I heard the mention of cake after dinner I got super excited!
However, when they handed me my plate adorned with this tiny delicate sliver of chocolate cheesecake
{being the kid I was}
I thought to myself,
Is This All I Get???

After I tasted it I thought again
Is This All I Get???

The taste was so amazing that I couldn't control my manners and I quickly walked over to the table and asked most politely

May I please have another piece?

I was very politely told
by my


So I left there that day only having one sliver of yumminess.
But the love affair was on and in full swing.

Now fast forward about 30 years - give or take a few.
I've been told  
No More Gluten for You!

Yeah Yeah I know what you're thinking...
Cheesecake is just cheese and sugar and egg and vanilla and
all those things are gluten free anyway.

So what's the big hoopla about here??

Well as you can see
 this light creamy heavenly sweet delight is at the center of my heart when
it comes to desserts so when I was told
No More Gluten
I thought it was all over for me.
{Of course I was very new to the gluten free diet then and had no idea what all I really could have}

The Graham Cracker crust would normally make this oh-so-delicious treat a no-no
for someone like myself with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance

however I have a little secret hidden up my sleeve...

I have discovered
Gluten Free Graham Crackers! 

Don't tell me I can't have a slice of cheese cake!
Nope - Don't you dare say it.
and I want you to know that
This baby is 100% Gluten Free Heaven in your

Go ahead - get as close to the monitor as you can.

If you could just taste the creamy loveliness your knees would buckle.

Trust me!

Your knees would

 - H O N E S T L Y -
I actually had fully glutenized folks
for take home containers of this little doll of a cake!

Simply Put
it was
2 DIE 4.

And the other big deal is
I wanted a cheesecake that had a GF graham cracker crust that tasted amazing
and that's exactly what I got with this recipe!

{The End}

Well, not really the end

You want the recipe, right???

Then let's get to sharing why don't we....



For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cups Kinnikinnick Gluten Free graham cracker crumbs (I placed mine in a ziploc baggie and let the rolling pin to do the work)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • Large chocolate dipped strawberries 
  • Cool Whip


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F.

To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.

Place strawberries on top and you can pipe dollops of cool whip between each one to fill in empty space and add some extra pretty to the top of the cake!

Cut with a warm knife wiping after each cut keep from tearing your cake slices apart.

Serve and Enjoy

As always I must give credit where credit is due.
This recipe is the master full work of Ina Garten and it's the best cheese cake I have EVER made. 
If you would like to see the wonderful reviews of this cake visit this link!
Thank you Ina! You are the best!!

And I also must thank my little Sissy for sharing this recipe with me.
She told me it was so totally worth the effort and pressed me to give it a try.
So glad I listened.
Thank you Mindy!!

Take care and I hope to hear some wonderful responses on your baking experience with this lovely little number.