Sunday, December 19, 2010

"So you can eat pasta, right? No? Uhm, so you can't have chicken?"

Wheat. (and Gluten, of course)

Name the three foods you like the most.. now, how many of them are free of those five key ingredients? Yeah, none? That's what I thought.

I was blessed with an impeccable immune system. So great in fact that it wards off not only the common cold and flu but.. everything I try to eat! Yes, you heard me right. My immune system seems to believe that peanuts (along with dust mites, pollen, and pet dander) are a dangerous threat to my health and must be destroyed at all costs. Costs which include stomach aches, sleepiness and constant itching.

And that is why I no longer eat the foods we all know and love.

I'm sure you've all seen a label or two at Giant proclaiming "gluten free"; or maybe just the "natural choices" aisle which offers organic foods and healthy allergy-free alternatives for those like me.

I do much of my shopping in those two aisles (and at a variety of local health stores.. but honestly, they're a bit too much for me) but every now and then I venture outside of them for 'normal food'. The foods that I love and enjoy that are already allergy-free. Fruit by the foot. Tuna fish. Uncle Ben's 30 Second Rice. Caramel Crunchy Mini Rice Chips. Yeah, the good stuff. But occasionally, I'm surprised. Ocassionally, my old favorites turn their recipes gluten free and their labels catch my eye. Well tonight's trip to Giant was full of surprises.

We had heard the news on the internet - Bisquick was going gluten free. Hard to believe, even harder to find in stores. We've been searching for months. Reading reviews about how it was a cheap, tasty baking option.. perfect for pancakes, just add a splash of vanilla. Well tonight, my friends, the myth became reality when this gem was sitting on the shelf of the baking aisle.

Behold, Gluten Free Love in a Box.

Yes, I was so excited that I whipped out my little point-and-shoot camera and took this. That is after I grabbed it, screamed, ran across the aisle and did a little dance. No exaggeration. Really. Ask my mom.

If you aren't one of us, you wouldn't understand.
No offense, I promise, you really don't want to understand.

I also found gluten-free hamburger helper cheesy hashbrowns. Delicious but full of soy.

But a few aisles down, while searching for Cinnamon Toast Crunch (which I miss terribly), we found another treasure find. While I knew that Corn Chex was safe, the flavored varieties have never been safe for me. Chocolate Chex make the best snack bars. I found all other ingredients for the bars - gluten free pretzels, soy-free chocolate, you name it but the chex weren't safe. Well, not anymore. I mean, I even picked up the cinnamon variety for a quick breakfast option. Delish.

It was a wonderful shopping trip full of gluten free suprises. The only bad part? Try shopping with this little guy. His incessant cart-steering-mishaps and "I WANT THIS" gasps are enough to turn an hour long trip into one that lasts an eternity.. or somewhere past two hours, at least.

The best part was when he grabbed an entire gallon of milk and threw it into the cart. THUNK. He literally threw the milk. Into the cart. It's a miracle there wasn't a call for "clean-up-in-aisle-15."

But all the adventures (and mid-aisle dancing) aside, it was a typical trip to Giant but with a surprise ending. As I was leaving the store, I ran into my boyfriend. Yeah, really. Right in the little foyer filled with gum-ball machines and shopping carts. I, of course, proceeded to stand there blocking the entrance with my shopping cart loaded to capacity.

"JEN. You are not taking my picture."
"It's for my blog!"
"Fine, now your hand is going on my blog."

This is all the proof I have of the encounter but I promise you, it was a great little surprise before heading home to clean my room and my hamster's cage from top to bottom and much needed laughter after spending all day washing-drying-folding-and-rolling clothes to pack in my luggage for France.

But let me just say, I'm all packed and ready to go. (except for a few odds and ends, bien sur.)
A week early.
Yes, you heard me.
I packed and it was not the night and morning into the trip.
Miracle? Maybe.
Excitment for the trip & pure Sunday boredom? More likely.

Stay tuned this week for my anecdotes on packing, baking Christmas cookies, Kasey visits and girls night. And to help me reach 1,000 pageviews by New Years Day!

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