Herbed Salt is My New Solution!

Herbed salt is my new solution to several of the recurring dilemmas of fall. I love it when the air turns crisp, the sky seems especially blue, and streets are lined in yellow, orange, and red. It means it’s time to think about bringing in the plants, my plans for the holidays, and whether to rake the leaves or compost them.
fall leaves

I decided a few years ago that I wasn’t good at finding a place to put all the pots of herbs inside the house without things feeling haphazard, crowded, or me feeling just plain annoyed. Of course I don’t want to waste any tasty leaves, but it just doesn’t work very well for me to try to preserve the plants over the winter. I feel better all the way around starting over each spring so I allow myself the luxury of buying new plants when the weather turns warm.

Before I let the stems wither, I must face the dilemma of what I will do with those last lovely green leaves as we approach the first freeze of the year. Luckily, I had lunch with my friend Angele this week who mentioned that she used the last of her basil to make basil salt. Thanks Angele! I think you just solved a couple of problems.

Not only can I make basil salt, I can make rosemary salt, sage salt, thyme salt, parsley salt, mixed herb salt, lemon thyme salt, oh yeah. This sounds fun. All I need is some cute containers and these will make great holiday gifts or stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, and holiday party gifts.
cute containers

Perhaps you’re needing a similar solution. If so, here’s how easy this is:

Herbed Salt
1/3 cup tightly pack herb leaves
1 tbsp of a 2nd herb
1/3 cup kosher salt

Place herbs and salt in food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Spread the mixture in a baking pan lined with waxed paper. Dry at room temperature for 24 hours or bake at 225º for 15 minutes, stir and bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool and pulse again. Store for up to 4 months.

What a great way to use the last of this year’s herbs and get a head start on the holidays. I love it when a plan comes together.

Have a fall solution you want to share? Tell us in the comments below.

Man cannot live on bread alone…or here’s what I learned last week!

Man cannot live on bread alone…or only food for the body for that matter. Our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being are closely intertwined. Starving any one of those will result in an imbalance that affects our quality of life.

Nonstop work has been wearing on me, but last week provided an interesting mix of lectures, documentaries, and presentations around here. I attended enough of them, I should be a lot smarter than I was two weeks ago. Am I? Probably not, but at least I enjoyed some interesting distraction and I can share with you what I took away from the events:
Dr. Rodney Ford
Tuesday – Dr. Rodney Ford presented the story of his journey to believing that gluten-zero is the best alternative for many, if not most, of us.
Observations: His tone and approach have softened in the two years since I last visited with him. Always informative and able to present complex medical information in an audience friendly way, Dr. Ford brings compelling evidence from his pediatric practice that many patients who test high in Anti-Gliadin Antibodies (AGA) improve on a gluten-free diet even if they are not celiac and yet the medical community and many parents remain resistant to adhering to the regimen.
Takeaway: Dr. Ford poses the question regarding our beliefs about the importance of socialization vs. the importance of health when it comes to making decisions for our children. It’s a subject that we focus on often here at Cooking2Thrive. We love his bravery in asking the tough questions! He’s done it his whole career and his patients are better for it. I’m better for it having read his books.
Comment: At Cooking2Thrive, we continue to observe that it is rarely a lack of information that keeps us from making healthy choices. It’s not even necessarily a lack of desire to be healthy. More often, it’s a lack of social and emotional support for a healthy choice in a given moment that leaves us with the overall feeling that being healthy will mean giving up too much.
Wednesday – Rebecca Darwin, CEO of the Allee Group and a founder of Garden & Gun magazine spoke on the advent of the magazine, the organization’s expansion into books and events, and the importance of dedication to quality content and thinking big.
Observations: If Ms. Darwin had not been willing to leave her high profile New York job as marketing director of Fortune magazine and move with her husband who had decided to attend the seminary, Garden & Gun would not exist.
Takeaway: Dedication to quality content and thinking like a big player can take you far.
Comment: Sometimes we become so focussed on what we’ve achieved, we are afraid to let it go and move on to something different. It is inspiring to know that Rebecca Darwin resisted that temptation and the result was an incredible new publication.
Hoop Dreams
Thursday – Arthur Agee, Jr. (one of the subjects) and Gordon Quinn (artistic director) discussed the making of the 20-year-old documentary Hoop Dreams.
Observations: This lecture was held in the same room as the Garden & Gun lecture. The crowd was much smaller and the discussion more intimate, moving, and compelling.
Takeaway: Arthur Agee, Jr.’s desire to do his parents proud brings him to tears and makes it easy to understand why he can support himself with a role model foundation. Gordon Quinn’s extraordinary story of how the producers of the film voluntarily, without legal obligation, cut the subjects in on the profits once the film made money shows that some organizations do the right thing just because it’s right.
Comment: The display of authentic goodness in the room was the feel good story of the week!
Just eat it
Sunday – We made a quick drive on a beautiful, crisp morning to a screening of the film, Just Eat It.
Observations: In the film, a couple lives for 6 months on only food that has been discarded. While some of the food comes from dumpsters, they’re kind that are parked behind food wholesalers and filled with thousands of packages of unexpired hummus, not the kind full of partially eaten scraps. The couple rescues enough food ($20,000 worth) to let their friends come shop from their pantry.
Takeaway: The waste built into our farming and food distribution system is so huge as to boggle the mind. Part of the waste is because of our expectation of uniformity in fruits and vegetables and our failure to understand freshness labeling.
Comment: I live in a state where 19.7% of households experience food insecurity. There has to be a way to rework our expectations and reroute perfectly safe and edible food away from dumpsters and into homes where it is needed.

I love weeks that leave me feeling inspired, challenged, and a bit more informed. If you have recently learned something exciting, please share the source with us in the comments section.

For more information, visit these sites:

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be god for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Enjoy These Gluten-Free Candies on Halloween

Enjoy these gluten-free candies on Halloween and avoid the consequences of an auto-immune response. If you’re Celiac or Gluten Intolerant, there’s no need to feel limited on Halloween. Below, we’ve listed more than 75 candies that are gluten-free to help you navigate the candy isle at your local store. For your convenience, we’ve also listed items to avoid.
Halloween Candy
You can also use this list to sort your child’s candy haul once you’re back home. Let’s face it, there’s too much sugar in that cute pumpkin shaped bucket to turn any kid loose with it sans supervision. As a parent setting boundaries, you can determine the best way to approach the task of removing harmful items.

If your child is very young, you may not even want to mention gluten. You can simply focus on yourself as the keeper of all sugarfest items and establish a schedule that you will follow for doling out the treats. Once you’ve set that expectation, dispose of the harmful items and distribute the others as promised.

You will have successfully set your child’s expectation, and although they may put up a fuss in the beginning, if you stick with your plan they will soon give up in recognition that fussing is futile. Yes, some kids will require being told no over and over and over again, but the simplest solution to such behavior for the long haul is to stick by your plan.

Each time you enforce boundaries and show the kids you mean what you say, you reinforce the idea that defiance will not result in a change in your plan. Setting this standard early will be useful as your children mature and you must help them understand that you will not allow them to have gluten-filled pizza no matter how much they whine that all their friends get to eat it.

If your child is older, you may want to have a conversation about which candies are gluten-free so that they can make good choices when at a friend’s house or in the convenience store.

Now let’s get to that candy list so you can move on to the task of finding or finishing the perfect costume!

From Hershey’s
Almond Joy (except Almond Joy Pieces)
HERSHEY’s Milk Duds (all)
HERSHEY’s Nuggets
HERSHEY’s Nuggets Milk Chocolate with Almonds
HERSHEY’s SPECIAL DARK Dark Chocolate with Almonds
HERSHEY’s Nuggets Extras Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Almonds
HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bar
HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds
HERSHEY’s Air Delight
Heath Bar
Milk Chocolate Kisses
Caramel Filled Chocolate Kisses
Cherry Cordial Creme Kisses
MOUNDS (all)
PAYDAY (all)
REESE’s Peanut Butter Cups (except for unwrapped minis and seasonal shapes)
REESE’s PIECES (all except REESE’s PIECES Eggs)
ROLO Caramels (all except Minis)
Scharffen Berger
Skor Toffee Bar
YORK Peppermint Pattie (all except YORK PIECES, YORK Minis and YORK Shapes)

Almond Joy Pieces
HERSHEY’s Extra Dark Chocolate
HERSHEY’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Bar
HERSHEY’s Milk Chocolate Drops
HERSHEY’s Miniatures
HERSHEY’s Special Dark Bar
Mr. Goodbar
REESE’s Peanut Butter Cups unwrapped Minis and seasonal shapes,
ROLO Minis
Symphony Bar
Kit Kat
YORK Minis and YORK Shapes

From Jelly Belly
All jelly beans are gluten-free and dairy free
Jelly Belly Candy Corn

Any mix containing malt balls
Chocolate Bridge Mix
Licorice Bridge Mix
Chocolate Malt Balls
Licorice Buttons
Licorice Pastels

From Just Born
Seasonal Peeps as noted on package
Mike and Ike’s – Berry Blast
Italian Ice
Jolly Joes
Lemonade Blends
Original Fruits
Tangy Twister
Tropical Typhoon
Hot Tamales
Goldenberg’s Vintage Peanut Chews

Any Peep not labeled GF

From Mars Chocolate
Please read labels on all Mars products

All flavors of 3 Musketeers
Dove Chocolate products other than those containing graham or cookies
Plain M&Ms meet the stringent standards for GF certification, additional M&Ms other than pretzel flavored or special flavors
Milky Way Midnight Bar
Milky Way Caramel Bar
Munch Nut Bar unless noted
All flavors of Snickers

M&M pretzel flavor
Some packages of M&M White Chocolate, Mint, and M&M Coconut flavor
Mars Bar
Mars Combos
Milky Way Bar

Candy Buttons
CANADA Wintergreen
Banana Splits Chews
Mint Julep Chews
Haviland Thin Mints
Haviland Wintergreen Patty
Mary Jane
Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
NECCO Wafers
NECCO Chocolate Wafers
Sky Bar

Clark Bars
Haviland Bridge Mix
Haviland Real Chocolate Covered Raisins
Haviland Real Chocolate Double Dipped Peanuts
Mighty Malts
Peach Blossoms
Red Hot Cinnamon Bat-Wing Wafers
Slap Stix
Squirrel Nut Zippers
Sweethearts Mummy Hearts
Zombie Hearts

From Nestle
Baby Ruth
Original Flavor Butterfinger
Laffy Taffy
Laffy Taffy Rope
Milk Chocolate
Oh Henry!
Rasinets including Cranberry and Dark Chocolate
Wonka Pixy Stix
Wonka Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip

Avoid (some are processed in a facility that processes gluten containing items, read label):
100 Grand Bar
Butterfinger Crisp Bar
Butterfinger Giant Bar
Butterfinger Snackerz
Butterfinger Medallions
Butterfinger Jingles
Butterfinger Hearts
Butterfinger Pumpkins
Chewy Spree
Everlasting Gobstopper
Nestle Crunch Bar
All flavors of Wonka Bars
Wonka Nerds
Wonka Gummies
Wonka Kazoozles

From Sweets
Chocolate Jelly Sticks
Gummy Bears are all certified GF
Jelly Beans
Salt Water Taffy

Candies packaged by Sweets, but not made by Sweets. Read labels.

From Tootsie Roll Industries
All Tootsie Rolls and Charms products with the exception of Andes cookies.
The following Tootsie Roll products are also peanut and nut product free:
Andes mints
Celia’s Milk or Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries
Charleston Chew
Charms Squares
Charms Sour Balls
Charms Candy Carnival
Frooties, Dots
Tropical Dots
Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy
Junior Mints
Junior Caramels
Caramel Apple Pops
Fruit Smoothie Pops
Pops Galore
Tootsie Pops
Tootsie Peppermint Pops
Tropical Stormz Pops
Zip-A-Dee-Mini Pops
Child’s Play Tootsie Roll Assortment
Fruit Rolls
Tootsie Rolls
Sugar Babies
Sugar Daddy
Sugar Mama

Andes Cookies

From Mars Wrigley
Cream Savers

Altoids Smalls Peppermint Mints
Altoids Chocolate Dipped Covered Mints

I must admit it seems a bit ironic to blog about candy immediately following a post on healthy eating, but hey it’s Halloween and I love Halloween so I want you to quit worrying and have as much fun as I plan to!

Happy Halloween!

If you require additional information, you can contact these candy companies at the following numbers:
Hershey’s 800-468-1714
Jelly Belly 800-522-3267
Just Born 888-645-3453
Mars Chocolate 800-627-7852
Necco 800-225-5508
Nestle USA 800-225-2270
Sweet’s 855-772-7720
Tootsie Roll Industries 773-838-3400
Mars Wrigley 800-974-4539

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”