Thursday, August 30, 2012

Self-Advocacy: Building Your Case

Have you not been feeling well and glossed-over visits to the physician's office aren't helping you get to the bottom of your problem? Do you suspect you may be suffering from an autoimmune disease, but are not sure how to go about getting tested?
These days it is absolutely necessary that you be your own health advocate and be proactive about your health needs, especially when it comes to the management of an autoimmune disease or trying to diagnose one you suspect. 
The following is a list of tips and steps you need to take to get the health system working for you so that you can be healthy and well!

Know your insurance coverage…whether is privatized or state-provided

a.      This might sound silly, and if it does you probably don’t have insurance; because if you do, you know how difficult it can be to track your coverage.  Regardless, this is the first step you can take to ensure positive outcomes at your healthcare visits. 

b.      If you need an exam or test that is not covered by your insurance, know that ahead of time and start saving to pay for it yourself.

                                                               i.      Call the office’s billing department and let them know your situation.  Request a payment plan structure even before you are billed for the service.

                                                             ii.      Also consider looking in to a Health Savings Account (HSA).  These personal savings accounts are tax-exempt and are meant to be used to pay for health services (and sometimes products) that your insurance will not cover.

Document all of your symptoms, even the ones you think don’t matter. Sometimes people mistakenly think that a symptom is unrelated to the disease about which they are concerned, so they never mention it to their physician, which can be a big mistake.  Celiac, for example, can be the root of a number of symptoms that people often overlook because they do not fall in to the always talked about Gastrointestinal-upset category.

                                                            iii.      If you start noticing clusters of symptoms that occur together or in a particular order, make note of that too.  For example: Each day or most days you wake up with headaches, upon trying to get out of bed you feel nauseous, you feel lightheaded soon after being up and around, etc.  Try to document these trends and patterns.

                                                           iv.      Take that record in to your physician to use as evidence as to why they need to pursue a particular disease or cluster of diseases.

Know your health history

c.      When you’ve been feeling ‘under the weather’ for a period of time or just come down with a really aggressive short bought of the flu, it’s easy to lose track of the days during which you were sick.  Take a minute between naps or trips to the bathroom to punch the dates, the season, and the diagnosis (if you got one) in your phone or write them directly in your personal medical record.  You might look back and see that you’ve had strep-throat 4 times in 6 months or that every year during the month of August you come down with a ‘random’ cough and very dry throat.

Know your family health history

d.     A family history of a disease and/or health issue is one of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to getting the services and ‘attention’ you need.  In regards to autoimmune diseases (and a host of other chronic diseases) Physicians and insurance companies cannot deny their genetic component.

e.     Be specific and give as much information as possible: their disease diagnosis, your relation to the relative(s) (1st cousin, great-aunt, maternal grandmother, etc.), year of their diagnosis, any event or illness that occurred as a result of that disease, and if they are no longer living – the cause/year of their death.

Know what to ask for

f.       Know the steps that a physician would take to diagnosis the disease.  In regards to Celiac: a blood test is the first diagnostic tool, if the results indicate Celiac Disease, an Endoscopy is performed to confirm the diagnosis and to evaluate the extent of the damage. There is also a genetic test available for Celiac, but insurance providers often do not cover this test.

g.      Also note that a good majority of people with Celiac Disease are deficient in (their bodies do not make) one of the antibodies (IgA) that labs use to diagnose Celiac via a blood test.   In those cases their blood test results will come back "negative" for Celiac Disease but that does not mean that they don't have it! Another test can be run to determine if you are IgA deficient. Genetic testing is your best option in this case.


h.   Ok, so now that you’ve done you’re homework and have comprehensive information that supports your desire to pursue testing for a particular disease, etc. then your next step is to: ASK to be tested for it! If you provide enough credible information that demonstrates why you should be tested, your physician and insurance company will have a hard time trying to convince you otherwise.

Record & follow-up

i.        Perhaps most importantly, you MUST follow-up after having tests done.  Again, know what you have been tested for and what results you are waiting on.  After having a blood draw for potential Celiac Disease, I called to follow-up about my results. The staff informed me that my levels were only “slightly” indicative of Celiac. What? What does that mean? I knew something wasn’t right, so I asked them to send a paper copy of the results. When I received them in the mail I noticed that they had only sent 2 of the 4 markers.  When I called to inquire they realized that the other 2 markers came in later from the lab (which can sometimes happen) and reported that, in fact, my levels were “off the charts”…a Celiac Diagnosis. Could you imagine how I’d be feeling today if I didn’t follow-up and know what I was looking for?

Build your case, be knowledgeable,be diligent & ask for what you need.

Be well,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Party Like a Rockstar: Gluten-Free-Style!

I thought it might be fun (and encouraging) to share some pictures from a surprise birthday party I recently threw for my husband, Austin.  Austin does not have Celiac Disease, but he eats gluten-free at our house 100% of the time.  A lot of people I talk to that have Celiac or know someone who needs to be gluten-free are intimidated by the thought of undertaking a whole gluten-free event, but since my brother, two of our close friends and myself all have Celiac, it made the most since to make the whole event gluten-free!  In fact, regardless of how many other people are gluten-free, I always make all of my parties/events gluten-free…anyone can eat g-free without harm!

Gluten-free parties can be simple & fun!
A little background about Austin
Austin turned 25 in August.  He is a professional drummer and loves music (between his ipod, record player, and constant hand/foot beats there is never a quiet moment at our place!). He is probably the kindest person I’ve ever known, he loves his friends and family, and his smile is the first thing you notice about him…and since I love playing tricks on him and surprising him, a surprise party was the best way to celebrate this ‘Quarter Time’ event in his life!
A little background about the party
Since Austin loves music and is a drummer, I did the party in a drummer/music theme. I created a party rider (like a concert rider a musician would send to a venue before playing a show) that explained the menu, games & music. I kept the food simple, fresh & gluten-free: grilled chicken ‘drumsticks’ with a dry spice rub, corn salsa salad, watermelon & potato chips, coca-cola and water to drink, and cupcakes (from Betty Crocker and Wegman's brand gluten-free cake mixes!) for dessert. We went for a laid back (just like Austin) picnic-style event at a beautiful state park near our apartment. Not only was the party a surprise, but some of Austin’s family from Phoenix, AZ surprised him by coming in to see him too!
We made the cakestands out of glass bottles and old records
My sister Laurie (who also took these beautiful pictures) and my niece Addysen (in the piñata photo) helped put the party together (planning, food, decorations, set-up, etc.).  My friend Jen (author of the blog: Jen Loves Kev) handmade the Quarter Note piñata which was filled with gluten-free candies and goodies for the kids (and lets face it, most of the adults too!). A big thanks to Jen’s husband, Kevin, who, as a friend of Austin’s, was able to get him to the party!
Be well,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Smoothies 101

Smoothies are one of my favorite things to make for a number of reasons:

1.       You can make them in to a snack, meal, recovery drink after a workout, a boost of nutrition when sick and solid food isn’t appetizing…the list goes on

2.       Smoothies are the epitome of the “everything but the kitchen sink” saying.  They are a great way to use fruits and vegetables that are a little more than ripe.

3.       You can adjust the nutrition and calories based on what you add to the smoothie.

4.       They can be made gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, etc.

5.       If you have a picky eater at home you can bring-out certain flavors (usually fruits) that will help mask others (like vegetables that might not be their favorite).

6.       Fiber tends to be that elusive nutrition component that people find hard to incorporate into their diet; smoothies are an easy way to boost fiber!

Here are some of my favorite smoothie tips and ingredients:

1.       For concentrated nutrition: instead of adding ice for texture, freeze the fruits or vegetables that you will incorporate.

2.       For more of a dessert smoothie: instead of using ice cream, cut the fat and sugar by using nonfat yogurt.  Nonfat Greek yogurt provides more protein than regular yogurt and non-flavored (plain) yogurt cuts a good amount of sugar.

3.       Swap out the peanut butter for silken tofu to save calories and fat.

4.       Buying frozen fruits/vegetables can save you a lot at the register, especially when those items are out of season.

1.       Silken tofu – this kind of tofu has a creamy consistency which is perfect for smoothies, as opposed to its firm or extra firm counterpart that imparts a grittier texture.  Nasoya brand is made from organic non-GMO whole soybeans. It’s a plant protein, cholesterol free, and gluten-free. It contributes only 45 calories for 1 (91 gram) serving, and 4 grams of protein.

2.       My nephew, Jonah, doesn’t love the flavor of bananas, but likes the milkshake-consistency they contribute to smoothies.  The fiber in flaxseeds gives them the ability to bulk-up the consistency of liquids to which they're added.  I always add ground flaxseeds or flaxseed meal to his smoothies.
a.      Flaxseeds (or linseeds) are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil actually contains twice as much omega-3s as fish oil. Flaxseed meal also packs 4 grams of fiber for every 2 tablespoons.
b.   Remember to always purchase already ground flaxseeds (flaxseed meal) or grind your own whole flaxseeds before using to wreap their nutrition benefits.
c.   Always store your flaxseed meal in the freezer to avoid the rapid onset of rancidity (going bad) and your whole flaxseeds in a cool dark place.

3.       Greens, of any kind, are one of my all-time favorite smoothie ingredients.  People often recommend adding avocado to smoothies.  Avocados are a great source of nutrients, but since they are pretty expensive I savor their addition to salads and have a hard time juicing them down.  Instead, I love using leafy greens.  We never finish a whole bag of greens, whether romaine, boston, butter, spinach, etc. because we simply just get sick of salad.  I never want to throw them out though, so I always add them to smoothies. I also buy my beets with the greens still attached. I often use the greens in my smoothies. You can never have too many leafy greens in your diet.

4.       I could eat berries all day, and I usually do, so I stock up on them when they’re in season.  They are so simple to freeze to use throughout the winter.  My dad has a bunch of blueberry bushes and I am more than happy to bring back baskets full of them. Once I get home I rinse the blueberries, lay them out on a baking sheet, and put them in the freezer. Once frozen, I store them in 1 cup portions in Ziploc bags with the date, and use them as needed for smoothies.  Berries, especially blueberries, contribute great color to your smoothie!

5.       I’ve found that the more ‘tropical’ flavored fruits are a great addition to any smoothie to mask some of the bitterness that greens may impart. Kiwi is tart and is perfect for an all-green smoothie. Pineapple is sweet and its juicy consistency helps to thin out smoothies that may get thick. You can find frozen Mango pieces at most grocery stores and supermarkets.  Their unique taste adds layers of flavor to any smoothie.

6.       I have a dairy sensitivity/non-anaphylactic allergy so I do my best to avoid it.  I miss the dairy component in my diet, though, so I usually use Almond Milk as a substitute. The consistency is not overly thick and the subtle nutty/earthy flavor is a welcomed addition to the often fruity-flavored smoothies that I make.

Hope you get a chance to try some of these in your next smoothie…Enjoy!

Be well,


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mindfulness & Diligence: Be Your Own Advocate

I thought I might deviate from my usual blog post format and just free write about some things that have been on my mind recently, not just about Celiac Disease or Graves Disease but living-well in general.  So often, and just this week, I was reminded that because there is so much misinformation circulating about living a ‘healthy’ lifestyle, basic and correct information regarding ways to prevent disease and manage already existing diseases well, is lost in the shuffle. 
This misinformation, I believe, has contributed to the serious lack of awareness about autoimmune diseases.  Even some of the most educated and well-respected practitioners, with whom I have had the pleasure of working, have caught me off gaurd with completely inaccurate statements about autoimmune diseases specifically Celiac.  For a long time I had little patience for health practitioners in ‘prestigious’ positions who are uneducated about such topics, but I’ve come to realize that there is a whole host of reasons that contribute to their (and our) lack of knowledge in these areas.
 While there are a number of reasons that contribute to poor health outcomes (from the natural environment to the environment we’ve built, lack of research, lack of resources, etc.), I believe that one of the most significant ways we can impact our ‘health’ culture (and subsequently our health outcomes) and the wellbeing of future generations is to spark discussion and encourage an ongoing dialogue about it. 
The following are 10 points I hope you’ll keep in mind in your daily living, but also when approaching friends and family during times of illness, as well as in situations that require a visit with a health practitioner.
1.       This may sound funny but, be mindful of your body, mind and spirit. When is the last time you stopped and thought about how you were feeling or how you are breathing? What is on your mind? Take a minute to sit-up and breathe…be mindful of these things everyday, you will be astonished at what a difference this makes in your demeanor, and what you will discover about your overall health both physical and emotional.

2.       Engage others in conversation; ask them questions; listen. Again, this may sound silly, but you will often learn that what you thought was ‘normal’ actually isn’t or that what you thought was something no one else could relate to is actually something so many can!

3.       Write things down! My mom is a Registered Nurse (and a very good one at that!) and I’ll never forget, after having moved out on my own, unpacking the “Lacey’s Medical File” folder she gave me.  Not only was it another reminder that she loved and cared about me enough to be actively engaged in my health (modeling good health behaviors is the BEST gift you can give your children), but it narrated my health history in a way that allowed me, as an adult, to look back and see (for myself) my health history.  Since then, I write everything down and it has made trips to the doctor much more efficient.  I, too, love when I meet with clients and they have a journal or a file…I can do my best work then; I rather have too much information than too little.

One of my mom's handwritten notes that I found in my file. You can see that her work and diligence lead to both of my diagnoses. Pay special attention to her notes on the allergy testing she performed: milk & wheat!
4.       I have met a number of people that suffer from what I call the “One & Done Autoimmune Syndrome.” They are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and put all of their effort in to managing that disease and never give a second thought to other potential issues.  If you’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you have a greater chance of developing other autoimmune diseases. For instance, Thyroid Disease (Graves or Hashimotos) is very common in people with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, and Celiac Disease is common with both Thyroid Diseases and Type 1 Diabetes.  Be aware of other autoimmune diseases and their symptoms as well; Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. Always be mindful about symptoms that may not clear after proper management of your disease and aware of new symptoms that occur.  Keep record of these things in your file and update your physicians about them at each visit.

5.       Because autoimmune diseases effect homeostasis (the ideal/balanced state of the body) they all share a number of the same non-descript symptoms; Thus, they are often misdiagnosed. For example, Celiac Disease is often misdiagnosed as Crohns Disease.  While both are autoimmune and require changes in the types of food one eats, managing a diet for Crohns does not require gluten to be removed. People are often frustrated that symptoms do not subside and damage from the unmanaged Celiac continues. Again, be aware of your symptoms, record changes or symptoms that do not change; discuss with others and your physician.

6.       Physicians are your partners, not your parents.  By that I mean you are the ultimate decision maker when it comes to your health, so take that responsibility seriously.  Ask your physician questions…if you go for a doctor’s visit and leave without having asked one question, you either know everything there is to know about the human body and disease or you just aren’t actively engaged in your own health and wellness; I’d be willing to bet it isn’t that first one.  If you think they’ve overlooked something and you would like them to investigate it, tell them…they work for you!
As I got older and was able to drive myself to appointments, my mom and dad always requested that I bring home a note from the physician. That was a smart move because I always forgot something they would tell me!
7.       Be honest and open with your practitioners. They are required by law to keep all of your information confidential.  There is also no need to be embarrassed about symptoms that you may feel uncomfortable talking about. You are not the first patient to tell them about the diarrhea you’ve had or the skin rash that’s spread to your ‘bits-n-pieces!’ You know yourself best, so please share any and all information about your health, health history, family history, etc. with your health professionals.  The best practitioners will take all of that in to account to get the most comprehensive view of who you are and can make the most accurate diagnoses that way.

8.       Be honest with yourself about how you are feeling.  It is very easy to overlook symptoms because you write them off as your ‘normal.’ While fear of ‘what it could be’ often prevents people from being aware of these issues and checking in with a physician, the consequences of not being diligent about these matters are much worse than managing them in the early stages.

9.       While the body is often described as a machine, its NOT.  Your ‘parts’ cannot be replaced like a cracked iphone screen and expected to rebound and move-on with no repercussion or consequence.  Do not place unreasonable restrictions or demands on yourself and your body, but do not neglect or ignore it…Garbage-in, Garbage-out!

10.   Finally, understand that your body is dynamic; always changing, adapting. Challenge your body with exercise and your mind with thought and adventure.  Your life is precious, treat your mind and body that way. 
I found a few of these notes in my file too :) Long waits in the doctor's office warrented my mom's need to scratch down some much needed shopping lists.

Be well,


Monday, August 20, 2012

Summery Orange Chicken & Steamed Broccoli: in the Microwave

Whether you have Celiac Disease or not, are single, married, have kids, or none, work full-time, part-time, are kitchen saavy or completely lost when it comes to cooking: you will LOVE this post!

I'd be willing to bet that you've had (or always have) those days that are jam-packed with work, meetings, workouts, family, friends, etc. (none of which are bad!) that you finally get home and realize you have nothing together for dinner. After long days of work and travel, I completely empathize with the “wish I could pull my car through a McDonalds right now!” But, with Celiac you really don’t have that option, at least not any safe options other than maybe a package of apples or a packet of mayonnaise (McDonalds honestly has that listed on their gluten-free available menu items, makes me laugh every time!). 

During these boughts of desperation, I often turn to my favorite gluten-free foodie blogs for ideas and recipes; but lets face it, while those meals and recipes are delicious and look awesome, some of them require a lot of work and preparation! When I see a recipe with more than 8 ingredients (and 4 of them require a trip to the "specialty" grocery store) it adds to the stress of my already-over-worked day.

Great tasting and nice looking food does not have to be a difficult, even though with gluten-free it sometimes feels that way.  I learned one of the most valuable food lessons from my grandma (she was a caterer and cake maker…I know, ironic), “Great food doesn’t have to be fussy!” she’d always say. She was right, and healthy gluten-free food is no exception!
Now, keep an open mind here: I know the word “microwave” is a loaded term that draws sneers from people, especially in my line of work, but the microwave is a completely prized posession in my kitchen, and is one of the most under-utilized appliances.  Let me be clear, I am not encouraging you to serve your family over-priced sodium-packed already-assembled frozen meals, I am talking about utilizing a piece of kitchen artillery that sits in almost every kitchen (even those of the most novice cook) in order to put together a healthy and balanced home-cooked meal in a pinch; now doesn’t that sound better than the fast-food alternative?
I use my microwave all the time to prepare full meals, and I’m pretty sure even the most critical foodie would sing their praises! Homemade microwave meals are great if you’re cooking for one or two, and can even be adjusted easily to feed four or more (I’ve thrown some of my homemade microwave meals together in a pinch when friends have been in our neighborhood and popped-in!). 
I look forward to sharing many of my favorite microwave meals with you, but for starters try this Summery Orange Chicken and Steamed Broccoli; Its healthy, balanced and (best of all) gluten-free. It was completely prepared in the microwave, and took me 20 minutes from start to finish, you can’t beat that! It’s a light-fare dinner that’s low in calories (about 230 calories for one serving!) but high in protein, vitamins and minerals.  The citrus sauce is perfect for a summer dinner (plus you won't have to heat up the whole kitchen with the oven during those muggy summer nights), you’ll be surprised how subtle and light the orange sauce turns out.  Try it for yourself and see. Enjoy!

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch (I use Clabber Girl)
1 1/2 tsp. instant chicken bouillon granules (Since our diet is very low in sodium, I don't mind using bouillon in recipes every once in a while. When I do, I use MSG. If you are on a sodium restricted diet you should be able to find low/no sodium granules.)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (I use McCormick)
2 chicken boneless, skinless breasts
orange slices to make the plate look nice

1-2 cups frozen broccoli (actually for me, its more like 3-4 cups! Vegetables are 'unlimited' at my table, especially if their frozen and more affordable)

1. In a spouted glass measuring cup (or any other microwave safe dish that won't melt or spark in the microwave), stir together orange juice, cornstarch, bouillon granules, and garlic powder. Microwave, uncovered, for about 3 minutes, making sure to stir every minute or so(you will see the mixture start to bubble and thicken).

2. Arrange chicken in a microwave safe dish (I used a tart dish, you can use a pie dish or any other dish that won't melt or spark in the microwave). I put a couple diagonal slices on the top of each chicken breast to fancy it up a bit :) Pour the orange juice mixture from the spouted measuring cup over the chicken. Cover the dish with a piece of plastic wrap; do not completely seal the edges to allow for some ventilation.

3. Microwave for 5-7 minutes, turning each piece of chicken (rotating the dish if necessary) once half-way through cooking.

4. For the broccoli: in a medium size microwave safe bowl put 1-2 cups of frozen broccoli.  Add 2-4 tablespoons of water to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5-7 minutes, then drain excess water from the bowl.

4. To serve: spoon some of the citrus sauce onto a plate, add one chicken breast and three big spoonfuls of broccoli (I usually add a pinch of salt, here, to the chicken and the broccoli). I put a few orange slices on the plate for more color and a boost of vitamin C!
 One Serving of Summery Orange Chicken & Steamed Broccoli

Be well,


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fish and Shellfish: What's the Difference?

Summer always brings back memories of growing up near the lake, fishing off the end of the dock and sometimes cooking up the fish we caught.  I always make more fish during the summer months than the rest of the year, which has to do with both the availability of fresh fish, but also the fact that if I overcook it I can open up the windows and air our place out J While fish provides a great deal of omega-3 fats, the anti-inflammatory kind of "good fats," that are great for autoimmune diseases that cause chronic inflammation, many people with autoimmune issues also have food allergies and intolerances.
Issues involving the immune system (well, our whole-being, for that matter) do not take place in isolation, but are connected in a number of different ways.  Therefore, having multiple allergies, autoimmune diseases and intolerances is not abnormal for people with compromised immune systems and special dietary needs (SDNs).  Thus, I am often asked questions about allergies and sensitivites.
One question I'm often asked is, “what is the difference between fish and shellfish?” I think it’s a great question because it lets me know that people are being thoughtful about the seemingly delicate nuances between the two, and are taking the matter seriously!
Fish is a sweeping description of any water-living animal, but in most cases is used to describe anything with fins, gills, a backbone and skull (McWilliams, 2012).
Within the broader Fish category, Shellfish is a subgroup that includes Mollusks (shellfish with a protective shell) and crustaceans (shellfish with a malleable and spiky top layer) (McWilliams, 2012).

Keep in Mind:
  • It is possible to have an allergy to shellfish but be able to tolerate other types of fish and vice versa, however, often times that is not the case or people just feel more comfortable avoiding the whole lot.
  • If you have any type of anaphylactic allergy or know someone who does you need to be familiar with this website for The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (click here). It offers research-solid information and tips!

Be well,


Sunday, August 5, 2012

"STICK IT" In honor of the USA 2012 Women's Gymnastics Gold Medal Team!

There are a number of steps I take to prepare for traveling and staying in a non-gluten free environment, whether an hour from our home for the weekend or overseas to watch the Olympics (I'll get there someday!), to ensure that I can enjoy the trip instead of having to focus on keeping myself safe from gluten.  One of my favorite ways to prevent being accidently contaminated with gluten while at a friend’s or family’s house, is to use The Gluten Free Nutritionist’s ‘GF’ sticker template that I created! I often send a handful of these stickers in a “Can’t Wait to See You” greeting card ahead of my arrival to my sister’s or parent’s house.   My niece and nephews love to label all of the un-opened gluten-free products (peanut butter, fruit preserves, etc.) they’ve purchased in preparation of our arrival…sometimes they even just like wearing them!
I would have loved to have been able to travel to London for the Olympics and watch the USA Women's gymnastics team "stick-it" and win Gold...these stickers would have come in handy for that trip too! I will be traveling, soon, to western Pennsylvania, though, to be in my cousin’s wedding.  I could not be more excited for her and her husband-to-be, so I want to make sure that I am healthy in order to help in any way I can.  Therefore, I have begun my gluten-free food planning and preparation, now, so that I am not distracted and scrambling at the last minute to find something safe to eat or am unable to dance all night because of failing blood sugar. 
I belong to a spirited and lively extended family that loves to cook, bake and eat gluten-full food, which always makes for eventful holidays, but it also creates a potentially hazardous eating environment for me and my brother; the only two in the family that have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease (so far!).  Not to mention, there are still a few family members who do not “believe” in the severity of our disease and often discount the effects it has on our health.  That type of social environment can be just as difficult to plan for and takes a lot of good practice and humor! I am not sure these stickers can help solve that problem, although you might try using them to keep their mouth securely closed during family visits J
Feel free to share this template! What creative ways will you use this sticker template? I’d love to hear your ideas!

(You can right click on the template above, select 'copy' & then 'paste' it onto a word document to print.)

The sticker template includes:
  • 15 large stickers for the front of product containers and lids that are wider than 1-inch in diameter (mayonnaise jars, etc.)
  • 4 small stickers for containers and lids less than 1-inch in diameter  (ketchup bottle tops, etc.)

You will need:
  • A Printer
           Make sure the paper size is set at 8.5"x11"
  • Sticker Paper
I print the template on Avery brand 8.5”x11” clear finish sticker paper (4383) or Office Maxbrand white full sheet sticker paper (I’ve found that the Office Max sticker paper holds up better).
  • Something with which to cut out your stickers

I use a 1-inch circle punch for a quick way to cut-out the larger stickers and a simple pair of scissors for the smaller stickers.

Be well,


Friday, August 3, 2012

Bananas for this Bread

Bananas have been on sale at the grocery store these past couple of weeks, so of course I’ve picked them up every visit. Needless to say, we have enough bananas to last us a month! When we have a bunch of bananas, too many to eat before they go bad, I make a quick bread.  By the time I get around to making bread the bananas are more brown than yellow, but very ripe bananas are the best for these types of breads so it always works out well! Plus, banana bread is a great addition to the athlete’s diet.  It provides carbohydrates and lots of potassium from the bananas for post-workout recovery.
This is a follow-up post to the sandwich bread recipe I shared the other day.  This is a gluten-free banana quick bread recipe, and it comes from the same baking book - Easy Gluten-Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone.   This banana bread is so good it seems more like dessert than a simple bread. To be honest I really do not love the taste of bananas and have never been a fan of banana bread, but this recipe has changed my mind. 


Loaf pan or muffin pan and muffin liners

Wet Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups very ripe mashed bananas (this works out to be about 2 peeled medium bananas)

½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened but not melted

2 large eggs

Dry Ingredients

1 2/3 cups white rice flour (I get my white rice flour at our local Asian market)

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder (I use Calumet brand)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon xanthan gum (I use Bobs Red Mill brand)

1.       Preheat oven to 350 F. If using a loaf pan, spray it with gluten-free nonstick cooking spray or if making muffins, line the muffin pan with liners.

2.       In a small bowl, mix sugar and mashed bananas, allow to sit for 15 minutes

3.       In a separate small bowl, whisk dry ingredients together.

4.       In a large bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy (Use high speed on a handheld mixer or medium-high speed on a stand mixer). Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Add half of the dry ingredients.  Blend until smooth (se medium speed on a handheld mixer or medium-low on a stand mixer). Add banana-sugar mixture and stir until well incorporated.  Add remaining dry ingredients. Blend batter until smooth.

5.       Pour batter into prepared loaf pan or into individual muffin portions. If making a loaf back for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. If making muffins use a tester to check doneness at 30 minutes.

6.       Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let stand to cool. 

If you make this bread promise me you’ll slice a piece for yourself just after its set but is still warm, spread some butter on that slice and enjoy before anyone else gets their hands on it…because it will be gone soon after! This bread holds up well to freezing.  If I do freeze the bread I take advantage of the stage in which it almost thawed and I cut it in to thin pieces for peanut butter sandwiches.  Once the bread begins to stale, I use it to make French toast.

Most recently I made banana bread muffins and topped them with cream cheese frosting.  I passed them off as cupcakes to my nephews and niece; they gobbled them up and were none the wiser to the added nutrition J Enjoy!


Be well,