Red Apple Lipstick presents: The Lash Project (with a giveaway)

Next week, our friends from Red Apple Lipstick launch THE LASH PROJECT: a gluten-free lash conditioning mascara. Basically the product I’ve been waiting for my whole mascara wearing life!

My lash envy has gone on for years — I have girlfriends whose eye lashes look long and full BEFORE they even put on their mascara.

Here are my sad little lashes without mascara.

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I have spent years asking which mascara they are using, running out to buy it at Target, Sephora, or a department store only to end up with clumpy lashes that leave me with raccoon eyes by afternoon. I toss them into the “rejects” drawer in hopes of trying them again someday to pull off the look I saw on a friend. (never happens) I have spent a ridiculous amount of money on mascaras that don’t work for me. I pull out lashes trying to get the gunky mascaras off — they make my eyes itchy, watery, yet I keep buying new ones in hopes of finding the one that works.

For my wedding I let someone talk me into a tube of mascara that was over $30. Big mistake. Spidery lashes. Smudging. Another reject. (into the drawer)

See the pattern here?

The Lash Project mascara is unlike any other mascara I have tried. Sometimes when you hear claims like that, they sound fake or overused, but I honestly feel that way about this product. (and you guys know I’m 100% honest about products I try, if I don’t like them, believe me, you’ll know!)

Full disclosure: I was gifted a tube of The Lash Project mascara to try out, share with all of you, and even give away a gift set that also includes a Red Apple Lipstick color. Jay and Andrea are super generous in that way and I have never seen anyone stand behind their product (or get as excited about it) like they do. Knowing how much I have loved all of their other products, I will tell you I still had doubts about this one at first.

It’s $42, my friends. And for some, that may seem like a deal breaker at first thought.

But my lashes want you to know….it is worth every single penny and I will be continuing to use it for the rest of my mascara wearing life!

It’s that good.

Here are just some of the highlights…

The Lash Project 2-in-1 (conditions and brings beautiful color) formula is: Gluten Free, Paraben Free, Corn Free, Soy Free, Vegan (synthetic beeswax, not the stuff from real bees), Cruelty Free, Dairy Free, Plasticizer Free, GMO free, Glycol Free, Nut Free, & SLS free

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They have solved:

Clumping (my biggest mascara pet peeve)
Spidering (gross)
Smudging (hello humid Wisconsin problems!)
Flaking
Eye Irritations: itchy, scratchy watery eyes (then I rub them and it gets worse!)
Puffy and red eyelids (ouch!)
Short, stubby lashes (totally me, notice the first photo)
Lashes that grow in weird directions
Lashes that fall out (all.the.time)
Mascara that’s hard to remove (now you can just use coconut oil or soap and water)

And if you try it out and aren’t as impressed as I have been? They will give you up to SIX months to get your money back or exchange it — that never happens with cosmetics!

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One coat would give me the look I would wear to work each day. And if we want to go with a few coats, we’re ready for a night out!

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I have been using it for about a week now and my lashes are stronger already! This shot is from this morning, no mascara.

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But don’t just take my word for it, try it out for yourself!

I’m giving away a little prize pack: 1 Lash Project conditioning mascara AND a lipstick color of your choice. (I’m currently loving Vogue and New York)

Thanks to RAL, this prize can be YOURS! The giveaway runs until July 31st which is THE launch date — so you can wake up on the morning it launches and know if you’re a winner!

 

But what if you don’t win?

No worries!

You can use my code: CITC to save 22% on your order from RedAppleLipstick.com!!!

This is the highest discount you will see during their launch campaign, so stock up on lipsticks, glosses, (love me some Mint 2 Be in Honey Badger) and eye shadows — I have never been disappointed with their high quality products. (and they always offer that six month unheard of return/exchange policy)

Then do yourself a favor and become a VIP with Red Apple Lipstick and they will send you coupon codes to use each month, so you will continue to get a discounted rate on The Lash Project mascara as well as any of their other products.

Your to-do list:
  • Enter to WIN the prize pack below — just CLICK ON the “a Rafflecopter giveaway” link where you’ll have FIVE chances to win! (cross your fingers and toes that you win!)
  • Go over to RedAppleLipstick.com and become a VIP and sign up for an email reminder to get your Lash Project Mascara on their launch date, July 31st.
  • Use code CITC to save 22% on your order of $50+ to stock up on RAL goods.

Good luck from my lashes to yours!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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homemade rhubarb liqueur

Each year my mom gives me fresh rhubarb from her garden — and each year I vow to use it up quickly. (and then it ends up in the freezer)

But not this year!

It was muffins galore for a couple of weeks.

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And when there was still rhubarb left… rhubarb liqueur seemed like a great idea.

 

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(my GFGF Katie made that fun jar for me — it’s had all kinds of uses!)

 

Grab your extra rhubarb and let’s go!

 

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DIY RHUBARB LIQUEUR

2 lbs fresh rhubarb, chopped (extras from the freezer work too)

3 cups Tito’s vodka (any vodka will work, next time maybe raspberry Smirnoff?)

½ cup Triple Sec

¼ cup water

½ cup simple syrup

 

Add all ingredients to large canning jar or container with tight fitting lid and stir — if you are using a canning jar, just put on the lid and shake, shake, shake! Leave jar on the counter for 2-3 weeks, it will become a pretty, deep pink color. When it’s time to strain, grab a pitcher and a fine mesh strainer. Pour contents of the jar through the strainer, into the pitcher, smashing down the rhubarb to get all of the liquid out.

Return the liquid to the canning jar or other container. Mine stays in the fridge for storage and has been my go-to cocktail starter this summer.

 

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Cherry Rhubarb Sparkler

2 oz rhubarb liqueur

Club soda or 7up

Fresh or frozen cherries

Ice

Add all ingredients (muddle the cherries a little for extra flavor!) over ice — stir and enJOY!

 

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Summer in the City (thanks to Gluten Free Betsy for the name!)

2 oz rhubarb liqueur

1 oz vodka

Splash(es) of DRY Vanilla Bean Soda, cream soda, or Sprite

Raspberries, fresh or frozen, muddled

Basil or mint to garnish

Ice. Booze. Berries. Muddle.Soda. Stir. Sip. Summer.

 

Cheers, from our balcony to yours!

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super supreme pizza quinoa salad

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It’s no secret I could eat pizza pretty much everyday.

Lately, we’ve been spending a little too much time at Transfer for GFGF (gluten free girlfriends) dinners — I wouldn’t say I’m getting sick of pizza (impossible!!!) but my waistline might be in need of a break.

Instead of giving up my pizza, I just shift it to other arenas….like quinoa salads!

My sister-in-law asked me to bring a quinoa salad to my niece’s graduation party recently– CONGRATS, CELESTE!!! — last time people weren’t quite sure about it (one nephew said he wouldn’t eat something he couldn’t pronounce) but this time, when you throw in the word PIZZA, there were more willing to try it.

Grab your favorite pizza toppings and let’s do this!
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SUPER SUPREME PIZZA QUINOA SALAD
 

SALAD:

4 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
1 cup pepperoni, sliced
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 cup scallions, sliced thin
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup packed, fresh basil, chopped

 

DRESSING:

1/2 cup Italian vinaigrette salad dressing (I used Cindy’s Kitchen Barcelona Vinaigrette, which I love for its very few ingredients and no sugar added, but Annie’s also has some good ones or make your own!) 

1 clove garlic, minced (use your garlic press!)

1-2 tablespoons Penzeys Pizza Seasoning (add 1 and see what you think, I love that stuff and can’t get enough, if you want it super pizza-y, keep adding a little until you get the flavor you want — know that the flavor will intensify as it sits in the fridge!)

PREPARATION: 
1. Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Prep toppings and combine in large bowl with quinoa.
3. Pour dressing onto salad and stir to combine. Refrigerate until serving.

 

 

Sarah’s Notes

  • For measurements: you don’t have to follow mine, I often use leftover quinoa from another dish the night before for this salad. Just add your toppings to your liking until you have the ratio you’d like, then add dressing bit by bit until it’s coated.
  • Substitute less or more of any of the ingredients to make a salad that works for you! (you can also chop the toppings in larger pieces to make them easier to take out for picky eaters.)
  • Dairy-free: just skip the cheeses
  • Vegan: no meat or cheeses needed, add more veg!
  • Make your quinoa in advance! You need to allow time for it to cool, this salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for several days after as well. (the flavor gets better each day, and I keep adding more toppings each time I eat it!)
  • ANY of your go-to pizza toppings will work: mushrooms, artichokes, banana peppers, jalapeños, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, avocado, asiago or feta cheese, Canadian bacon, plain ol’ bacon, sweet roasted garlic, you name it!
  • This doesn’t have to be a cold salad either, you can serve it warm as a meal!

EnJOY!

News Flash: finds & photos

Gluten-free tidbits hit social media or are sent to me each week — things I want to share with you, I mean to share them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. but it doesn’t always work out that way. Life happens. (I won’t bore you with all the ways things don’t always go as planned… everyone has their days!)

So I’m going to try something new, NEWS FLASH to be exact. With new finds and plenty of fun photos.

Sometimes they’ll be short and sweet. And other times they’ll have some heft to them — like today’s post where I interview a local GF young lady you’re going to want to stick around to meet!

But first a few things I’ve been meaning to share…

These chips are addictive. (don’t say I didn’t warn you — we have Mamasita to blame.)

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Have you tried the Figgies & Jammies from Pamela’s yet? If you’re missing fig newtons, go get these today!

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How often do we get to have gluten-free pizza?

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Okay, fine. For me, it’s pretty often, BUT….

 

How often do we get to have it DELIVERED?

 

Last weekend in Coon Rapids, MN we had pizza delivered from Sammy’s to our hotel after a long road trip — and it was AHmazing.

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(truth be told, it got a bit soggy on the way over, but the mountain of toppings made up for it and it was good cold, which is always the test for GF pizza)

 

Know what would make the perfect ending to a pizza dinner?

 

Some of these GLUTEN-FREE CUT OUT COOKIES from Miss Abigail of Abigail’s Originals!

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I met Abigail right before our holiday cookie exchange — she was in the middle of fundraising for her upcoming (JUNE 21st!) trip to Europe and reached out to see if I’d be interested in trying them. HELLO! Cookies? Yes. Me. I’m in!

 

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To raise funds, she decided to tackle the perfect gluten-free sugar cookie dough and then decorate them for the season. People went bonkers for them. Several people had placed orders prior to the party to take home for their family celebrations and those who didn’t order extra were wishing they had!

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They have also done them for other celebrations — check out these love birds!

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I had to chance to catch up with Abigail recently and talk all about her trip…

 

CITC: How long have you been gluten-free?

A: Five years, since third grade.

 

CITC: How did Abigail’s Originals get started?

A: To raise money for my summer trip we started with the cookies but then added some crafts too.

 

CITC: So why cut-out cookies?

A: Well, you can usually find gluten-free snickerdoodles or chocolate chip mixes at the store but not really sugar cookies.

 

CITC: Tell me more about travel abroad this coming summer with the People to People Ambassador Program.

A: Teachers can nominate you and you get a letter that says you have been invited to participate. The trip that I have signed up for will take me to Italy, France, and Spain over the course of nearly three weeks. My experience there will take me to the Roman Colosseum, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Monaco, Cannes, Barcelona and many more places there as I explore the Mediterranean region with my group.

 

CITC: Where are you most excited to visit?

A: Italy, I have always wanted to travel to there. That’s the country we’re doing the home stay in, I’ll be staying with a family.

 

CITC: What about eating gluten-free there with a family you haven’t met?

A: My mom called and asked about that and she said when they scan the area they have to make sure that the family knows what gluten-free is and make sure they can feed you safely.

 

How are you preparing to travel gluten free?

A: I plan to pack plenty of snacks, chances are there won’t be many snacks provided on the plane. Definitely pack a lot of snacks.

 

Abigail is right, snacks are key — we all know that one, right!? And what better snack to have around this summer than some of her cut out cookies? (my celiac sista and Chef Carter will vouch for the cookies, as well as the GF Get Together crew!) And they will ship them right to your door or if you are local to the Milwaukee area, they will coordinate delivery or pick-up.

They’re just $6 for a dozen and you can place an order online HERE.  Or you can contact her through her Facebook page to place an order as well.

She has done all of the fundraising for her trip and I’m proud to say we have supported her in the GF community by collecting donations and purchasing cookies, if you would prefer to just help her out with a  donation for her trip, you can click HERE for her fundraising page.

She has just under $600 to go before reaching her goal of nearly $7,000 — she has done ALL of the fundraising herself, so impressive! I think we can help her get there, yes?

I’m going to place my order for red, white, and blue patriotic stars for summer celebrations (they freeze beautifully!) and I know Chef Carter would love me to show up with some on my next visit — he says they are the best cookies he has had and asks for them for breakfast. ;)  Don’t worry, her mom is taking over as “head baker” until she returns from her trip so the cooking baking will continue and even after her trip, she’s going to keep it up, so we’re all in luck!

Let’s help Abigail reach her goal — if you’ve already tried her cookies, leave a comment and let others know how much we are all loving them!

 

 

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake Muffins (for the mamas!)

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I created this recipe for the March Muffin Madness event with Shirley over at Gluten Free Easily — do yourself a favor and pin the final post with ALL of the muffin recipes from the month.

And now I’m sharing it with you here.

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Go make them for your mama this Mother’s Day weekend — if she is anything like my Mamasita, I bet you count your blessings daily.

Or if you have a supermama sister like me who has been blessed with a bundle of boys (all of which I somehow gave food related nicknames!), she would love these. Maybe your BFF is the most patient, kind, loving mama to her two bees and she should have them. Have a soul sister who is “Auntie Diva” to more lucky kiddos than you can count and takes care of her own mama every single day without complaint, even though watching her battle a cruel disease can often break her down physically and mentally? I bet she would love them too. What about another bestie who faces the challenges of motherhood with baby boy #2 with determination and the strongest of wills, and knows that sometimes it’s okay to just be human and know that what you’re doing is enough? Take them over to her with coffee and a listening ear. (or let her sneak in a shower!)

And for all those women we know who would give anything to be a mama — the ones who dread Sunday with their whole being but somehow find the strength to get out of bed, face the world, put one brave foot in front of the other and celebrate the mamas in their lives that they look up to, are inspired by, and hope to be just like one day … these muffins, a coffee date with head tilting laughter, and just a little “I’m here. I love you.” message could mean the world.

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Happy Mother’s Day — let’s celebrate all of the women in our lives who deserve a little sweetness!

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Coffee Cake Muffins

INGREDIENTS
for the muffin batter
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour mix (see notes)
  • ¾ cup Greek yogurt (see notes for dairy-free options)
  • ⅓ cup oil of choice
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon guar gum or xanthan gum (optional)
for the streusel topping
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour mix (see notes)
  • ⅛ cup (2 tbsp) coconut sugar (or cane sugar or brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter (see notes for dairy-free options)
for the glaze (optional)
  • ¼ – ½ cup powdered sugar
  • several tablespoons water or milk
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Let’s make muffins!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with liners and set aside.
  2. For the streusel topping, add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until combined, but small pieces remain. (Don’t turn it into a paste.)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour mix, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and guar gum. Add Greek yogurt, oil, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla and stir until well combined.
  4. Fill liners ⅔ with batter, then top each muffin with a spoonful of topping. There will be enough topping to generously cover the tops of the muffins. Press down lightly on the topping to ensure even coating when they rise while baking.
  5. Bake at 350 for 18-21 minutes. Allow to cool a few minutes before removing from pan, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While the muffins are cooling, prepare the glaze if you choose to use it. (You should!) In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and cinnamon, and add a few drops of vanilla. Slowly add a small amount of water/milk at a time to get the consistency of a good glaze. Drizzle glaze over muffin tops.  Makes 12-15 muffins.

 

Sarah’s Notes

  • These muffins are perfect warm out of the oven, but give them a little time to cool before adding the glaze. For the next morning you can just warm them slightly to enjoy them coffeehouse style.
  • Be sure to check the flour mix you are using – some GF flour mixes have baking soda, baking powder, or xanthan/guar gum included already. If your mix already has those ingredients, you do not need to add them again for the recipe.
  • The guar gum is not required if you cannot tolerate gums. I have made these muffins with and without gums and have been happy with both results.
  • Baking time may vary depending on the size of muffin liners you use and how full you fill them. I like to use these larger flower liners, which make 12 larger muffins and take a bit longer to bake.
  • For those who are dairy free, you can use a dairy-free butter substitute for the streusel topping or coconut oil will work as well. For the Greek yogurt, you could substitute dairy free yogurt, either plain or vanilla.
  • For the gluten-free flour mix, I’ve used Pamela’s, Mama’s Almond Flour Blend, and Cup4Cup, as well as a mixture of my own all with success.

EnJOY!

xoxo

Rallying the Gluten Free Community — Support gfJules (formerly Jules Gluten Free)

I recently attended the Gluten Free Living Conference in Orlando — and as much as I want to share all of the fun photos from that weekend, there’s something else we have to talk about first.

If there is one thing I know about the gluten-free community is that when we need each other for support, people come together like I have never seen before. We rally behind those in need, give them a voice, or just allow their voice to be heard loud and clear.

So that’s why we’re here today. To clear the air. To let you know what’s been going with my friend Jules from Jules Gluten Free, now gfJules.

I know some of you are already big fans of her flour mix — it was one of the first flour mixes I experimented with when going gluten free in 2008. She is also one of the founders of the 1 in 133 campaign. Because of her hard work, the gluten-free labeling standard has passed and will go into effect in August! (She has helped everyone who is GF!)   I have had the chance to get to know Jules through her annual GF Cookie Contest and finally got to meet face to face in Orlando just weeks ago.

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Here’s a brief history of how Jules started and how we got to where we are today:

  • She started her company in 2006 after publishing her first book, set out to learn all things related to running a GF business and started selling her products in 2007.
  • Her business was booming and as we all know, “it takes a village” to get things done, so she took on business partners (investors) in 2008 to help run the daily operations — unfortunately in recent years it became quite clear that her vision (as a member of the GF community that she advocates for, educates, and holds near and dear to her heart)  and the vision her business partners had for the company were not the same.
  • Things went downhill from there with her partners behaving in a way that makes my blood boil and would take an entire blog post to discuss, (not paying her for her work, preventing her from communicating with OUR community through her business, and canceling the order for flours for her own wedding cake in just a few weeks) but instead of focusing on all of the negative (Jules wouldn’t want that!) I am here to rally our community to focus on the positive…

 

Jules is starting over…

  • She has resigned from her old company and is starting a new company, gfJules
  • Plans are in the works to bring her products back (and much more!) as quickly as possible, but as you know, this will take time and money. (I cannot even imagine the funds she has already put into this legal battle.
  • She’s a FIGHTER and is NOT giving up! See that smile on her face in the photo? That’s the one she wears every single day, even when times get tough, even when people she trusted turned into something they should be embarrassed of themselves for, even when it would have been easier to just call it a day and give up — not Jules, she’s more dedicated than ever to the gluten-free community!
  • The community was confused as to what exactly happened, which is why we need to rally together and get the word out about her new company, gfJules – and we need to come together to support our friend when she needs it most!

 

How we can help:

  • While you’re there, read the amazing comments of support and love from our community!
  • If you can, give a gift to Jules to help her rebuild her business and continue to do what she does best — GIVE to our community. There are gifts for giving  or maybe something more creative. I’m giving and hope you can too, any amount helps!
  • If you are interested in giving as a group, I for one would LOVE to see a recipe for our GF Get Together Group, something Milwaukee-style — I’ve raised over $4,000 in the last four years for the Celiac Disease Foundation, so I KNOW we could get together the $300 for this gift… if you’d like to join in the fun for this gift, let me know!
  • SHARE this post. Even if you are unable to give at this time, please considering passing this post along to others who may be able to help.
  • Send Jules some gluten-free-style love — your kinds words of support are what is keeping her going!

Not only will I be giving to her fundraising efforts, but I’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops — I can honestly tell you that she is a kind person with the most generous heart. After being on the expert panel at the conference, she made time for each and every person who waited in line to talk with her. I snuck in for a quick hug goodbye before I hopped on my plane, and there she stood, holding the delicate hands of an elderly woman, listening to her tell her stories of learning to bake gluten-free. It was the most touching moment. She’s the real deal, my friends. She loves this community and would do the same for each and every one of us.

Let’s rally!

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Honored to be part of this gluten-free world! From left to right: Andrea from Rockin’ Gluten Free, Anna from Gluten Free Jet Set, Chrissy from Glam Without Gluten, (me!) Amie from The Healthy Apple ,(in front) Johnna from In Johnna’s Kitchen, THE lovely Jules from gfJules, Linda from The Gluten-Free Homemaker , and Shirley from gluten free easily.