Month: January 2016

Tofu and Tamari: San-J Review

One of the quick, easy Brianna-safe meals I’m famous for making is stir fry. I mean, really, what’s easier than grabbing two pans, a couple bottles from the fridge, and a few cans that have been in the cabinet since the last grocery run, and giving it some heat? I am very excited to review my favorite Asian sauce brand, San-J.

So, last week, I invited some friends over for a night in of card games, movies, and stir fry (hello, who needs bars and clubs when you can have a night like that!?) While they played the first round, I grabbed Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu, San-J Low Sodium Tamari, San-J Szechuan Sauce, and spinach from my fridge and stuck them on the counter. In true small apartment style, I crawled up on a chair to the over-stocked, hidden cabinet of non-perishables for my canned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots, and headed over to my media cabinet under the TV, which actually is my storage cabinet for all things cooking and baking and grabbed one large and one small pan. [Reminder: I am very allergic to soybean oil, but not soy–so tofu is a staple for me!]

I drained, cubed, and cooked the tofu in the Szechuan sauce, and the spinach + water chestnuts + bamboo shoots in the tamari. I grabbed my bowls, portioned it out, and brought it to the crowd. Now, I usually love my stir fry left overs for lunch–so I needed to be sure my non-GF crowd was going to devour this stir fry. With San-J sauces, I knew it wouldn’t even be a concern.

The tamari is a staple of mine–I don’t even know anything else in terms of “soy sauce” like sauces–and the low sodium doesn’t miss out on any of the yummy flavor. While I’ve had the Mongolian and orange sauces in the past, I’d never had the Szechuan. It had a nice after-kick, and wasn’t overly spicy to serve to a crowd. I haven’t had Szechuan sauce in general before, so I was a bit concerned that the flavor would overpower my tamari and veggies, but it was a perfect balance to have on the tofu.

San-J made for a perfect Brianna-safe night with great friends. I’ll continue to buy San-J for decades to come, and look forward to trying other varieties that may come out in the future.

Now, it’s only 8:36am, but I’m definitively craving stir fry.

 

Tell me your favorite stir fry recipe and sauces in the comments! I’d love to change it up over here.

 

Take it easy, but take it [this girl is under 100 days to graduation!]

Brianna

 

*San-J provided product in exchange for my honest review.*

Allie’s GFG Review (+ Special for ADSG Readers!)

With a mission like “No Child Left Out,” who couldn’t get on board with the fabulous baking happening at Allie’s Gluten Free Goodies in New York?

Allie’s GFG is a gluten free certified (yes!), dairy free, nut free, certified Kosher, AND Pareve bakery cranking out tons of special goodies from bagels to challah to chocolate chunk cheesecake brownies (and there are vegan options!)! When I was given the opportunity to get a box of these delicious treats sent all the way to Michigan in exchange for a review, I was thrilled.

An adorable box arrived at my door last week, filled with yummy treats and paper confetti (which, of course, I got all over my apartment when I excitedly ripped the packaging open). The treats arrived in small, sealed packages and in absolutely perfect condition (not a single broken cookie). Amazingly, these goodies have a 4-6 week shelf life (cookies) and can also be put in the fridge/freezer (what I was instructed to do with my cheesecake brownie, which still awaits me!) While this T1D hasn’t gotten around to all the delectable treats just yet, I have been munching away on several cookies…

  1. Oatmeal Raisin: a perfect cinnamon flavor completes this adorable crunchy cookie, with just the right amount of raisins and is not overly sweet. I chowed the two in the package in a matter of minutes (I just couldn’t help myself!)
  2. Dairy Free Chocolate Chunk: the fact that the name itself uses “chunk” instead of “chip” to describe the chocolate content should tell you this girl was absolutely satisfied. the cookie was ideal–had a nice buttery flavor, crunchy outside but with a bit of a softer inside. Plan for next time is to give it a zap in the microwave, because I know those chunks would be ideal warmed up. Again, finished the package too quickly to even consider my options.
  3. Dairy Free Chocolate Chocolate Chunk: now we’ve got double chocolate and chunk in the name, ready for any chocoholic! Though the crunchiest of the cookies I’ve tried from Allie’s thus far, the chocolate chunks gave a nice texture, and of course, who doesn’t love chocolate.

None of the cookies had any semblance of grittiness or aftertaste from the flours, and were absolutely enjoyable. And to sweeten the deal for my readers, Allie’s has been kind enough to understand my frustrations with shipping costs for college/young professional/specialty diet budget individuals looking for a special GF treat. So, all of you can use the following code to get FREE SHIPPING ON ANY SIZE ORDER! [first-time orders only] Trust me, I’m about to take advantage of Allie’s kind offer (those bars are calling my name!), and I hope you do too. It’s unique bakeries like this that our community should continue to support so they know how much it means to us to get a special baked good, from an actual bakery and not a box.

Code: ADSG16

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

PS- Find me and Allie’s GFG at the GFAF Expo in Chicago this upcoming May! I’m excited to announce I’ve been selected as an official blogger for the event, and I cannot wait!

Islet Cells and Hash Browns- Path of Life Brand Review

So, I’m a big fan of the Twitter hashtag YDMV–your diabetes may vary (Thanks, Bennet!). The more time I spend on social media engaging in communities with other similar individuals, the more I realize that everyone has at least one crazy phenomenon that is absolutely unique to them. Or in my case, as I found out on Twitter, a phenomenon shared between a few people (despite an endocrinologist, reproductive endocrinologist, second endocrinologist, gynecologist, you name it-ologist all telling me they’d never, ever seen anything like it.)

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Found my diabetes/everything twin on Twitter. Hi, Ally!

Well, thanks to hormones (*cue eye roll*), I get the odd experience of stretches of low BGs for several days without any explanation. They just drop down there, and I keep on eating, and nothing happens. Nothing. While this may seem like a total dream state for a type 1 like myself, let me assure you that the low symptoms are pretty much 24/7 for about 4-5 days, and the only way to NOT be low is to live with very mediocre BGs for that period of time–because even 0.2u sends me back into the gutter. If you don’t already follow me on Twitter (@briwolin), these are the times where my tweets become rather entertaining–a combination of confusion, curiosity, and crazed eating. I think of myself as entertaining in general, but you can be the judge of that!

Well, this time around, my oh-so-curious experience coincided with a fantastic product delivery to my door. A long time favorite, Path of Life Foods, creates “simply good, clean food” with their line of frozen quinoa based dishes, frozen veggies (and full veggie side dishes), and even chocolate covered fruit frozen desserts. While primarily advertised as a side dish, let me tell you–throw a little chicken into that Mediterranean Quinoa and you have a quick winner dinner. New to their line of products, and to my doorstep, is Organic Hash Browns, complete with quinoa+spinach+cheddar cheese.

There I was in my apartment, battling endless lows, and had my eureka moment! “Woah, that can’t be true,” I told my overactive brain. Could I really sit for a plate of hash browns at 9am without BG spike consequences? Is that even possible? With my preceding days with ratios somewhere around 1u:60g carbs, I was pretty intrigued and began my little experiment.

Let me tell you–once I got those hash browns in my mouth, I couldn’t stop. I had an entire plate (no BG consequence, what!) and made them again the next day. One of my foodie “resolutions” of the year is to make hot breakfast more often–though I do love my yogurt on the go. I started it off in the best way possible with this delicious new product–perfectly seasoned, easy to make, great combination of ingredient textures, an all around winner.

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Breakfast Day 1: POL Hash Browns, scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and COFFEE.
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Breakfast Day 2: POL Hash Browns, scrambled eggs with mozzarella cheese, Dannon Light and Fit Greek Blueberry Yogurt, and COFFEE.

Thank you to Path of Life for sending some of this delectable product my way; I’ve already been giving little Ziplock baggies of it to friends as a ‘must-try!’

And with regard to my weird islet cells: my 4.5 day stint as a non-diabetic (yes, I still had my basal running on my pump, but hey, a girl can pretend) is now over, and it ended as quickly as it set in. I’ve had glucose tolerance tests to see if maybe, just maybe, there was a sleepy islet cell that decided to wake up, but nope. Your girl is a true type 1. Minus these few curious days. Feel free to share your own odd diabetes phenomena in the comments–would love to hear about it! And, go get yourself some POL products and I promise you, not a single product in their line is anything but delicious.

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

PS- A rough blood sugar stint is no match for an adorable doggy visitor! Here’s my little friend James, who I got to babysit all day Saturday. Boy, did he make me smile!

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James has quite the selfie game. 

Product Review: Simple Kneads Bakery

The Simple Kneads Bakery website describes their products in the following way : “Ordinary? No. Extraordinary? Definitely.”

Simple Kneads makes clean label/locally-sourced artisan gluten free breads, which is apparent in everything conversations with their down-to-earth staff to their beautifully packaged products. Though my breads came in a cardboard box, the label/packaging made me feel like I’d just stepped out of a bakery, bread under arm. I was fortunate to receive some loaves of pumpernickel and sourdough gluten free bread (woah! new flavors to me!) in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I am yet to try sourdough (thanks, diabetes dawn phenomenon for preventing carb-loaded breakfast), but I am working my way through my first loaf of pumpernickel. I absolutely loved the flavor! Definitely a unique experience for this celiac. I had the bread toasted, straight from the freezer, with some cream cheese and the pairing was delicious. The bread was not dry, however, it was definitely delicate (didn’t have any ‘give’ or stretch/squish). I think a pinch more xanthan gum in the ingredients would do the trick (in case the Simple Kneads bakers are checking out my post!)

I’m very much looking forward to tasting the sourdough–and will give a 140 character update on Twitter! In the meantime, support this great artisan gluten free operation by ordering on Amazon or their website.

Thank you again to the kind individuals at Simple Kneads for sponsoring this review [especially Nick in marketing!], and I look forward to trying your new flavors when they become available!

Take it easy, but take it.

Brianna

Lucky Start to 2016!

Lucky Spoon Bakery, that is!

I’m back with a review to kick-off the new year in the best way possible. I already have a line-up of product reviews coming your way this month, and am hoping to get a bit better about posting my own recipes/meals (might be a bit difficult as a graduating senior working on her capstone engineering design project, but I promise I’ll try!) as well as taking time to write a bit more about living with diabetes on this crazy pre-graduation rollercoaster.

Back to the topic at hand–Lucky Spoon Bakery is a DEDICATED gluten-free bakery in Salt Lake City owned by a husband-wife team. And let me tell you–with the messes surrounding “gluten-free” items being, well, not so gluten-free [ahem, Cheerios, ahem, Aldi Granola Bars, ahem, Quaker Oatmeal (?)]–dedicated facility labels are oddly satisfying.

My partner-in-crime/sister now attends Tufts University in Medford, MA (go Jumbos!) and has found a small market near her university that seems to stock smaller label gluten free products–and boy, have I benefitted! Most recently, Ellory brought home a package of Lucky Spoon Lemon Poppyseed Muffins over break and I bit into a mini piece of heaven…fine, it was simply a mini-muffin. But, a heavenly one! From the first bite, I knew I had to stock up, but lo and behold, my precious Lucky Spoon was nowhere to be found in the Illinois or Michigan! However, all you hooked readers, you can order the muffins on Overstock and the more requests in your local stores, the more likely they’ll come out our ways!

I was fortuante to connect with Lucky Spoon and was sent a beautiful package of mini-heaven bites in both lemon poppy and cinnamon strusel that I was able to serve (to everyone’s delight!) at my 21st birthday brunch including GF and non-GF individuals! The lemon poppy have a real lemon taste, and are not only the right size, but the perfect texture–noteably soft and airy. Beuatiful. The cinnamon streusel mini, thanks to a late night low BG, was paired with a handful of chocolate chips for the perfect end to a long day–soft muffin+slightly crunchy topping=YUM.

I cannot recommend Lucky Spoon Bakery products highly enough. Not only was the company a pleasure to email (every email back included a smiley face on at least one line!) but their products put a real smile on my face.

Thank you Lucky Spoon, and I’m hopeful my consumption/review (and all my readers who go out and order as well!) will help get your products into every single state!

Take it easy, but take it.
Brianna

 

PS- They make cookies and cupcakes as well!