Recipe: Gluten Free Rhubarb Coffee Cake

A few years ago I bought my mom a couple rhubarb plants for Mother’s Day.  In the Dakotas it was a plant that was everywhere so we made everything with it:  coffee cake, rhubarb desserts and so much more.  But rhubarb plants produce a ton and so you end up freezing it so you can make things with it in the fall and winter.  Mom and dad were on vacation so I helped myself to some of it and then thought “now what?  What should I make?”  That sent me on an internet search for something yummy that I could share with my co workers.

When I saw this recipe, I thought “this can’t be this easy” but it really is!  Here is the recipe, courtesy of and with my slight modifications.

Gluten-free Rhubarb Coffee Cake
Author: Jeanine Friesen
Ingredients for Coffee Cake
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups Flour Mix, I use Jules GF Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Jules GF Flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix margarine and sugar together; beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Mix in dry ingredients followed by milk, then finely chopped rhubarb.
  4. Combine topping ingredients & set aside.
  5. Grease a 9×13-inch pan, pour batter in pan and top with topping.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes. When a toothpick is inserted, it should come out clean.

This cake was moist for days after I baked it.  It was AMAZING and I WILL be making this again…

Review: Feel Good Foods Egg Rolls

Heaven…I’m in Heaven…

Yes, that song is dancing through my head tonight.  You see, last week my parents went through Fort Collins and, finding that there was a Whole Foods there, asked them to stop by.  Why?  Because they carry Feel Good Foods brand and I was hoping that they would carry their egg rolls.

While Feel Good Foods is carried here in Grand Junction, they only have the Vegetable Dumplings at the locations where this brand is carried.  I’ve requested the egg rolls but…no luck yet.  I’m pretty persistent so it won’t be long but I wanted to try them anyway.

I held off for a week.  Between my schedule and wanting to pair the egg rolls with an actual meal, it took until tonight for me to try them.

They are much easier to make than the dumplings.  You can do the oven version (bake for 20-24 minutes) or nuke them in the microwave which makes me cringe.  Maybe they are ok that way but I feel like it’s disrespecting the egg roll.  Yup, the egg roll has a hierarchy.

I decided to make the egg rolls with a chicken and veggie stir fry which is one of my co to foods.  It’s easy and fast and healthy.  Until I pair the egg rolls with them.

I had the chicken and vegetable as well as the vegetable egg rolls.  I made the chicken and veggie ones.  The egg rolls were AMAZING.  Just like the real deal.  They were light and flavorful and turned a beautiful brown.  I savored every bite and wasn’t sad that I ate two of them.  I still have 2 1/2 boxes in my freezer and, sorry fellow Grand Junction GF peeps, I won’t be sharing.  I will be savoring them!

Feel Good Foods Chicken and Veggie Egg Rolls

Feel Good Foods Chicken and Veggie Egg Rolls

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I’ve been tired for about a month.  Exhausted tired.  The kind where you could fall asleep anywhere, anytime and if you just closed your eyes, you’d be out.  Going to bed at 8:30pm and you’ve fought to stay awake that long.

I can check WebMD and so much more to self diagnose (I’m every doctor’s nightmare, really) but I did the right thing and finally went to the doc.  We ran a CBC with an iron test, checked my thyroid and did a metabolic panel.  All came back normal.  Normal…sigh…

So then I go to things like “Are my meds gluten free?”  “Am I accidently getting glutened?”  “Is it the weather?”  And all kinds of other questions.

It has been a crazy year with the changes at work, taking on more with Lions, writing more and so much more.  I know for the last six months I haven’t been sleeping well because my neighbors weren’t the quietest people.  They are moved out so I’m sleeping better.

Or maybe this is my body’s way of saying “slow down, take it easy”.  I’ve been trying to listen, to go to bed even if it’s early, to step back from things if I have to.  To say “no”.  Our bodies tell us when it’s time to take a rest, to fix ourselves and to just take it easy.

I think it’s that time.

Starting the Journey

There’s a reason why Celiacs aren’t always in for a social event.  Think about it, every social event has food: employee lunches, dinner with friends, birthday parties, and picnics. They all have the same element: eating. When that goes away, what do you do? All of a sudden you are either the outcast and people don’t invite you out anymore, or the world revolves around you and your disease. Both of these give you attention that you don’t want or need at most times.  I mean, I live with Celiac Disease, and it’s one of my biggest platforms, but I don’t always want to talk about me, me, me.  (Que the Toby Keith song).

Here are some tips for those that are starting on their gluten free journey, to make social events much more positive:

  1. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to bring your own food. Don’t be afraid to speak up when someone says “let’s go to restaurant xyz” if you know you can’t eat there. I do this a lot and while it does attract attention, it’s fair that you get to eat too!  Also, don’t be afraid to ask your hostess what they are serving.  I did this for a birthday party I was going to last night, got the menu as well as the name of the BBQ sauce they were using, etc.  I was able to eat it all and if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have known!
  2. Be strong. Going gluten free isn’t easy, for sure not in the beginning. I would tell you it is, but you’d be disappointed. It gets easier. Shopping gets easier, eating out gets easier and, hopefully, your friends and family will become sensitive to your needs. You will need strength to not bend and eat that pizza that you used to love. It will pay off if you stand strong  because your body will thank you for it as it heals from the damage that gluten has caused.  Always remember that!
  3. Ask for help.  If you don’t know where to shop, what to shop for or what brands are better than the next, just ask.  Find a group online or a local gluten free group and ask people their opinions.  As people that are GF, we have plenty of them!  In Grand Junction, we have an online Facebook group called Gluten Free Grand Valley Gluten Free Grand Valley but have people from all over so if you need support, just join our group.  We love to help!  Don’t want to ask in a public forum?  Email me.  I’m more than happy to help someone via email.
  4. Take the attention. Hopefully that means that people care about you and want to do what’s best for you. If they ask what restaurant you want to go to it means they want to hang out with you and keep you safe. I know that’s why my friends ask and I’m so grateful for their care. If it’s negative attention, take it as an opportunity to educate them on why it’s so important. Sometimes people just don’t understand and when they are told, it changes their opinions.  And with people saying that GF is just a fad diet, it’s a great time to tell them that not all people use it that way.
  5. Wear it proud.  Yes, being a Celiac isn’t easy and isn’t always fun but we are different and have a lot to offer the communities we live in.  We can show people that having an autoimmune disease doesn’t mean that we can’t still LIVE.  I love it when I’m introduced to a little girl with Celiac and get to tell her all of the things I do even though I have this strange, food related disease with a funky name.  I wear the Celiac ribbon a lot and get asked what it’s for.  Educate the public!

Things get easier as you get rolling and as more people understand, your life will get easier as well.

Letting go

I spent the 4th of the July weekend in beautiful Ouray, CO.  For those of your who have never been there, it’s been dubbed the “Switzerland of America” and they do Independence Day up right.  From the parade and jet flyover to water fights between fireman and ending the night with gorgeous fireworks, it was a good weekend.

Eating out proved to be a little bit of a challenge but some of that was my fault in not wanting to try overly hard to find a place that would accommodate my needs so I kinda lived off of potato chips.  Yup, the picture of health!

This morning I woke up at 6am, about two hours before anyone else was stirring.  It gave me time to think.  This last month has been a hard one for me and I can’t really put my finger on what is going on.  I want to blame things like meds being off or the heat or just too much going on, and that might have something to do with it, but…I’m not sure.

I know I’ve been harboring bitterness in my heart and the more it festers, the more frustrated I get with life in general.  It builds and then explodes.  Not a good scenario at all.  So this morning I decided to just let it go, let the frustration and bitterness go because it’s not doing any good.  Not for me or anyone else.

Also, last night a lot caught up with me.  My mom and dad are visiting family in North Dakota and part of me wanted to be at the family picnic last night so badly.  I have relatives that have had health issues and you just never know when the last time might be.  I took a little walk, cried a bit, and went back to the festivities.  I love my family dearly and, as I age, I realize how precious that time is.  Time to not be wasted on bitterness or frustrated or regrets or anything like that.  You gotta just savor the moments, make memories and laugh a lot.

I saw this today and it is true.  I needed this weekend, even though there were rough patches, to clear my head and move past things:


Gluten Free Travel Tips

I’m going to be traveling again in a few weeks for work which means staying in hotels, flying and eating out. For some of you summer means visiting family and friends and still trying to maintain your gluten free lifestyle. Do you throw caution to the wind and eat the things you shouldn’t? What do you do when there is nothing you can eat? One word: prepare.

There are some things that you can do when traveling to stay gluten free but have fun as well! First, if you are traveling by airplane, it’s easy to throw in some Kind bars (make sure you don’t get the ones with chocolate on them as they melt) or Glutino’s breakfast bars. Both of these are great for eating on the run or if you want to avoid the airport restaurants. You can also pack some crackers like Nut Thins or Mary’s Gone Crackers. Both of these have many great varieties to choose from. Other great snacks for on the go could be nuts, dried fruit or trail mix or make your own protein bars

Are you hitting the road? Taking items that are gluten free is easier and packing a cooler may be the way to go. This way you can take items for sandwiches to eat so you don’t have to try to find a fast food or sit down restaurant that is gluten friendly. It’s also easier to eat healthier with packing a cooler as you can have your veggies and fruits handy for an on the go snack. I also like it for staying in hotels so I can just chill out and have my dinner in my room.

If you know your destination, I recommend calling ahead to find out if there is a restaurant nearby that has a gluten free menu. This way when you arrive at your destination you already know where is safe to eat. There are also many apps to download to your phone that will show where gluten free restaurants are and what they have on their menu that is gluten free. Also, if a long stay will be involved, it may help to ask if you can have a room with a mini fridge so you can stock it with foods that you know will be safe to eat. Some hotels may have small suites with kitchens so you can prepare your foods which can save you money from eating out so you can spend it on other fun things! There are hotels that will provide a fridge to a room if you have an autoimmune disease, even if they don’t typically do that. Just call and explain your situation, they are usually accommodating.

Some people are heading to a reunion or some other gathering this summer so call ahead to see what the menu will be for the event. It never hurts to talk to the person in charge (if there will be a caterer, give them a jingle) so you can see if a gluten free menu is available. My parents are on their way to a family reunion as I write and the committee was extra accommodating, making sure that gluten free buns were available and that the taco seasoning is gluten free. Just ask!

Work ahead on food stuff and enjoy your vacations. That’s where memories are made!

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