Friday, March 11, 2016

I'm offering gluten free weekly meal plans (gluten optional!) - try one FREE!

Good Morning!

Eating gluten free is too often talked about as if it's difficult and disgusting but it's not!

People ask if you spend all day shopping and in the kitchen, of course not!  I spend less time than most people I know, actually.

I have been gluten free for 10 years and found it to be way easier and yummier than how I ate before.  Many people ask me how I handle it so gracefully and simply, I have a plan.

Every week I plan several meals that range from instant to those that take more prep work and pick the one that fits my busy day the best every night.

I've decided to share these weekly plans for $5 on Fiverr along with options for other dietary requirements as well.  If you or anyone you know could benefit from a weekly menu plan, please go here:

Cocoa's Weekly GF Meal Plan

None of the meals require specialty gluten free products - just normal food you can get at a grocery store - and most take about 15-20 minutes to prep (not always including cook time).

Another great benefit is that there are no strings attached.  Most meal planning services require a membership fee but I'm offering these a la carte, much cheaper.

If you would like to try a week for free, come like me on Facebook: and I'll send it to you ASAP.
Also, if you refer someone to my Fiverr gig and they purchase I'll hook you up with a second week, with any of the options you desire, totally free as a huge Thank You!

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I hope this will serve you all.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

What companies have gluten free wine?

I was reading an interesting discussion in a Celiac forum about people having a gluten reaction to some kinds of wine.  

I won't go into all the details here but the basic concern is that some wine is fermented and/or aged in barrels sealed with wheat paste, potentially contaminating it with gluten. The other side of the coin is that wine is filtered before bottling to remove contaminates.

So, I did a little research because I figure, better safe than sorry.  Also, if there are companies who are specifically conscious and caring toward those of us with Celiac and willing to supply unquestionably gluten free wine, I want to know who they are!

Here are my results based on wines that I wanted to try:

Frey Vineyards is one that specifically states that their wines are gluten free (and vegan!) on their website here:

Fish Eye Winery advises us to check with our doctor (this rubs me the wrong way, how would my Dr. know Fish Eye's production practices?!?)

Then, I took to email for a couple brands that interested me, here are their responses...

Pepperwood Grove (

Thank you for reaching out to us. Given the nature of our winemaking, we cannot guarantee that any of our wines are gluten free. I doubt that our wines have gluten in them due to our limited use of oak barrels. If there were to be any in the wine, it would end up being filtered out. However, our winemakers do not guarantee our wines to be entirely gluten free. Thank you.
 Assistant Brand Manager, Foundation Wine Collection
Don Sebastiani & Sons
Nexux Wine Brands (, I was specifically interested in Cara Mia Pinot Noir:
Thank you for the following. The wines are fermented and held after fermentation in Stainless steel. No barrel aging.

These wines do not carry any sort of gluten free certification. 

Thank you.

Nexus Brands, LLC

I hope this helps you, if you're also looking to find wines that are committed to gluten free recipes too!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Phase 2: the Vlog

Hey everybody!
Ok, so my blog is now turning a page and I'm starting to do videos! I got the bug...
My blog is going to have to be more than just a gluten free hangout since my food adventures are few and far between now.  Yes, I get my box of produce from Door to Door and I'm living on it. How many times can you stand to see me wash kale and roast potatoes? Exactly.

Today's topic: Power Productivity Program from
I'm so excited about it - it's just what I needed at this point in my life when I'm struggling with finding the time to do anything but just subsist! I will set up some systems and routines to make my repetitive tasks brainless and hopefully faster so that I can set some goals and accomplish them!

Here's my Vlog for the day:  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

You you're a sugar addict when...

Yesterday, I was getting my Starbuck's and the barista described to the lady behind me what it was and was in it...I'm thinking "oh a little coffee and milk with syrup" was vanilla syrup and 3 Tbs of Caramel and about 12 ounces of whole milk. Candybar in a cup for breakfast... "only people don't give you a nasty look when you're drinking it out of a cup instead of chewing on a wrapper"
Yes, that is what I said. We all laughed but as I was walking away, I thought, "that's kind of wrong..."
I've always known it was akin to a milkshake and didn't think much of it, especially since I don't get one often - once every couple weeks, as a treat.  But, it did set me to thinking about all the sugar I eat, again.
I've been thinking about sugar a lot the last few weeks.
Ok, so here's the scoop. I've never had problem skin, but recently I've found myself getting really bad breakouts.  So, I was thinking about the things that have changed to cause it. I'm using Clinique facial stuff now...that might be irritating, although unlikely since they pride themselves on being the skin gurus. And my cupboards are starting to see an increased amount of sugar. 
If you have heard of Kris Carr or Suzanne Somers, they will pretty much tell you sugar is the devil when it comes to our hormones (second only to artificial sweeteners and dyes) and can really wreak havoc on our health. But ooooh it tastes so good! and it gives a nice little high when you're feeling dumpy. And it's super duper addictive!!
And, here's my point. I've become addicted.
For the last week I've been meticulously tracking my food on Spark People and noticing trends...sugar. Mostly in drinks. 
This troubles me because there was a point in my life, about a year ago when I rarely had any sugar. Of course, I was addicted to Diet soft drinks instead.
But this week...every day I was having 2 cans of Pepsi Throwback (150 cal each), handfuls of mini marshmallows after lunch, rice Krispie treats for breakfast, 3 times I stopped at starbuck's for my Macchiato, and then came the quarts of grape Koolaid I love, and Bailey's on coffee cubes every night. Believe me, Bailey's has SUGAR!

The moral of the story? I'm coming up with a sugar reduction plan. I tried cold-turkey this morning but for 5 hours all I could think about was rice krispie treats and Bailey's and got kind of shaky and seriously mean. I did a little research and because of it's addictive nature, most people have severe withdrawal, akin to heroin my best bet is probably a replace/reduce action plan.
If you have any experience or suggestion - PLEASE leave me a comment. Being gluten free and staying off the artificial sweeteners rules out a lot of the "usual" options like chewing gum and sugar free candies or filling up on whole grains for a slow carb energy spike. 

In case you're curious here are the nutrition facts on my Caramel treat, from

Caramel Macchiato

Caramel Macchiato

Freshly steamed milk with vanilla-flavored syrup, marked with espresso and finished with caramel sauce.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (16 fl oz)
Calories 240Calories from Fat 60
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3.5g18%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 25mg8%
Sodium 0mg0%
Total Carbohydrate34g12%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 32g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Caffeine 150mg**
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
**Each caffeine value is an approximate value.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pinterest recipe - Bailey's & coffee cubes

 Don't let anyone tell you that Pinterest is a huge time sucking waste...just be sure to try out a few of the things you pin!  I decided to try the super easy coffee ice cubes in the Bailey's Irish Cream concoction.
Super yummy!  Looks weird right? I think it is the glasses - highball glasses would probably look  better. Or more square cubes - shaped cubes? If you experiment, let me know what looks best, ok?
When you try it, just a tip - 2 cups of coffee fill a standard ice cube tray, especially if you don't spill it all over.
Another tip - make the coffee strong and add ice cubes to cool it down fast before you put in trays to freeze. 
Follow me on Pinterest, if you'd like. I'll be trying out more projects ASAP!
This was so fun.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Rice Krispie conspiracy

I think the rice krispie people are keeping secrets. Last night I figured out that you can put the butter, marshmallows and then the rice krispies all in a big bowl and microwave it and it comes out the same as following those tedious instructions on the box and the marshmallows didn't boil over the side of the bowl when I forgot to watch them carefully, like they always do. Also, they forgot to put instructions on my box this time. Oh yeah, and you have to use gluten free rice krispies - maybe that's the secret! I hope I have saved you many hours of treat making tedium. 
The End.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Green Juice and Broth

 In case you're curious...Here's what my green juice and vegetable broth look least the one jar of broth that I didn't freeze and shatter. I'm always surprised at how the juice separates some to the top and some to the bottom.  So I shookem!
That looks nicer, right?
Since I'm juicing regularly, I'm ending up with quite a bit of pulp and therefore quite a lot of broth.  I'm using it for everything from cooking rice and potatoes to throwing in mixed frozen vegetables for soups.
I feel very virtuous. Ha ha.
You have no idea how easy it is though and how lazy I am. the juicing is the time consuming part with all the washing of the veggies. The soup part is easy - thanks to Crock pot liners and a colander.
In case you're wondering - the green of choice is Parsley. I love the flavor of it but that actual chewing...not so much. It is super good in juice though!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Freezing in glass jars - tips and tricks

If you do something...ahem...dumb like me and try to freeze fluids in glass jars, I have a tip for you.
Once you open the freezer and notice that the jars are cracked, remove them and put them in a paper bag to defrost them.  The liquid will leak out and the glass will stay in the bag for easy disposal. If the bag is clean, you might be able to put the whole thing in a bowl and save the liquid...if not leave it in the sink and there won't be a big mess.
I get smarter every day.
How did I learn this lesson? Well, I've started making green juice ala Kris Carr and feeling bad about all the pulp going out in the trash. Then it occurred to me...I could save some of the pulp for vegetable broth.
So last time I juiced a bunch of parsley, celery, carrots, cucumbers and apples - I saved the first 3 and put them in my crock pot with some onions, garlic and herbs and ended up with a wonderful vegetable broth.
I simply strained it out through a colander to catch the pulp.
Too bad I didn't freeze it in plastic...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Back to Door to Door deliveries!

Hi kids!
Well, I signed up for my Door to Door Organics delivery again! I quit a while back because I found a great selection of organics at my King Soopers (yay!) and thought I could just pick them up when I went for other stuff. worked for like a week and then I ended up living on giant tubs of organic pre washed baby spinach and deli roasts. That quickly devolved into frozen veggies and jello straight from the box over the last couple months. So, it's apparent that I need a little help.
I did pretty good after Thanksgiving with the leftovers and such, but when I came down with the plague (flu for the layman) in December, all bets were off. I lived on Sudafed, throat spray and vegetable broth, sometimes added a few of those frozen veggies if I was feeling like something chewy and on a really good day I might even find the energy and stomach to get a few cheese and crackers in there!
So, well into the new year and no long suffering from the plague, I looked in my fridge and couldn't bear to eat another tub of spinach beside a slice of deli meat for dinner and decided that D2D might help me out again.
Surprisingly, they also carry some new products like the Udi's GF bread I like, for only $.10 more than King Soopers, so I added on and now I have a beautifully nutritious week ahead.
This week's menu includes baby bok choy, ruffly kale, cucumber, blueberries, green onions and more!
Lotsa washing (second reason I quit the farmer delivery) but I have a feeling my health will improve a little more too.
I other news, I saw this at Walmart and was really impressed.
How's 2013 treating you so far?

Friday, January 4, 2013

I always order lunch at work

 I'm actually happy to order food when we have all day meetings at work. It's so much easier than trying to explain to someone how to explain about celiac to someone else...who doesn't care.
Since I work for a..., we often do "Brown Bag" lunches. Panera has done a nice job for me several times. They seem to be conscious of what gluten free means and pack me a nice salad with nothing dangerous in it and lately they even automatically sub out the cookie for a fruit cup. I love that!
The meat is real chunks instead of questionable sandwich slices :)
 This last time I decided to try Encore Catering for a hot lunch. I got a stuffed portabello mushroom with a cute side salad and rice crispie treats: 
 Feta, Spinach, Sun dried tomatoes, bell peppers in a mushroom cap with some kind of sauce:
 Everyone else got a "Street Taco Bar". Although it sounded safe, they couldn't say with confidence that it was truly gluten free so I steered clear of it.

The lady I spoke with to order said she had a gluten sensitivity as well and seemed to know what she was talking about. That was pretty refreshing.
Can I say for sure it was safe? No...because the next day I definitely had some tummy trouble...could have been almost anything though - soy, gluten cross contamination, bell peppers, the feta...I have so many other sensitivities that aren't consistent, I'm never sure and I was a little bit negligent by not asking for a list of ingredients!
I didn't really know how to push it. Any suggestions?