Real Jules, Real Good Giveaway

Real Jules - REAL GOOD Giveaway



Note: There is a giveaway at the end, so don’t rushing off.

Most of us know Jules Shepard, if not personally, then through her advocacy she’s done for the gluten-free community through 1 in 133, her Blog Talk Radio show – Gluren-Free Radio, or her gluten-free products. She started her own company in 2007 and left the company ten months ago. In leaving the company, she had to leave her company name behind as well. If you want to know more, read Shirley’s post here.

Jules has re-launched her products under a new name, gfJules™. With that re-launch is some confusion about where you can buy her products from her and not her former partners. If you’re one of the confused remember this, look for her smiling face (pictured above). If it’s not on the website or the box, it’s not her.

When Jules contacted me to be part of her Real Jules, Real Good Giveaway, I knew my answer would be yes. My only problem (other than real life getting in the way) was her flours and mixes all have some type of corn in them and I still have to avoid corn. Luckily, she has gfJules Instant Gluten-Free Oats – “certified tested” before arrival for processing, upon arrival, and after processing.

gfjules4The oats arrived while I was out of town and it was another week and a half before I laid eyes on the adorable box that Chaz left next to the coffee table. The box says, “Open me. Happiness is inside.” Okay it doesn’t really say that, it just says that to me. Here’s some of the happiness created by the contents of the box:

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Oat Sandwich Cookies

Peanut Butter Oat Sandwich Cookies

Blueberry Oatmeal

Blueberry Oatmeal

I did grind some oats into flour to make gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, but I a substitution in the recipe that flubbed the batter and what I got wasn’t quite pancakes…or photo worthy food. It was still good though.

See what some mutual friends shared about Jules for the Real Jules, Real Good Giveaway:

Shirley Braden (gluten-free easily) – Real Jules, Real Good Giveaway & Free Gluten-Free Holiday eBook

Johnna Perry (In Johnna’s Kitchen) – Gluten-Free Cut Out Cookies: Do You Want to Build A Snowman?

Linda Etherton (Gluten-Free Homemaker) – Real Jules, Real Good Giveaway + Free Thanksgiving eBook

Thanks to Jules, 2 winners will win 1 box (2 pounds) of gfJules Instant Gluten-Free Oats each. Just comment below to enter. For more entries, follow Jules on one or more of her social media sites: gfJules FB page,@THEgfJules onTwitterPinterest BoardsGoogle +Instagram and/or free weekly recipe email. At the end of your comment, tell me which site(s) you are following her on. The giveaway will close at 8pm EST January 14, 2015.

Gluten-Free In Anaheim: True Shabu

True Shabu 4Sometimes your brain works in mysterious ways. I was sitting with Dr. Cuz and Auntie Jude, talking about stuff while taking a break from cleaning out Auntie Boogie’s condo. Somehow I remembered my friend, Hordus, who I found and reconnected with after my trip to L.A. in August, was living in Southern California again. I couldn’t remember exactly where so I pulled out my phone and started going through our texts.


We were in the same city. So of course I texted him to tell him I was in town.

Mind you, it was twenty-five years since I last saw him. I can’t remember when the last time I talked to him was though. He was still living in St. Louis and Chaz and I were still in Louisville.

Does that really matter?


What matters is that Hordus was like another best friend to me.

We met in church in high school. For a long time it was him, Jerm, and me that made up our Youth Group. Which was fine with us most of the time. We did enough together that it didn’t really matter. Sure some people would show up every summer to join us for Summer Camp, then we wouldn’t see them again. But that’s okay too. The three of us stuck together.

Hordus loves his puns and to most people he might have appeared to be a young hot-headed teenage football player. Sometimes he was. But he was also someone I didn’t need words to communicate with. He understood me in a way no one else did and I never really appreciated it until I moved back to Hawai`i. I have no other friend like him on this Earth and I couldn’t imagine anyone else being like him.

There was a time when the adults around us thought we were dating. No. Nope. Never happened. Not even once. Just good friends who could make each other laugh, smile, and feel better when things were shitty. That’s all it ever was.

So, having the opportunity to see him again for the first time in decades was not to be wasted. Yes, we had lots of work to do, but we all needed to eat. Right?

Our reunion was…the longest hug in history. How do I know? I just know. And in the midst of grief and stress, he was a perfect ray of sunshine. Exactly what I needed to relieve the darkness.

Hordus, being the great friend that he is, researched places where I could safely eat. Turns out his girlfriend has food allergies too and she’s still learning what they are and what she needs to avoid.

We went to True Shabu, a restaurant that only does shabu shabu. If you’ve never heard of it, think of it as Japanese fondue. You build a broth in a pot and cook your vegetables and meats in it. At the end, you cook the broth down and add the noodles and you have a wonderful soup.True Shabu

Chef Saifon makes her own sauces, a pressed pomegranate and a sesame. They are made in-house, of course, and she knows all the ingredients in them. They both have gluten-free soy, so if you are avoiding soy, you can ask if she can make you some without (which she says she will do even if they are busy). The noodles that come with the vegetables are rice noodles and are naturally gluten-free. There are also other types of gluten-free noodles you can add for an extra charge. The udon noodles on the menu are definitely NOT gluten-free. Don’t go near them.

The chef was mostly well-versed in gluten-free but most of her education is online and she brought up something about mushrooms being controversial about their gluten-free status. This was the first I heard of it and told her I never had problems with mushrooms before and didn’t know why they wouldn’t be gluten-free. Chef Saifon wants to be able to provide every diner in her restaurant with a good experience, believing every chef should be able to do so in their establishments no matter what their food restrictions are.

I may have forgotten to mention this, but right before I flew out to California I was cleared for soy again. So, I did not partake in the soy-free experience. Hordus’ girlfriend, however, did. And somehow tofu got on her plate and into her soy-free broth. This is where, the chef and the staff could have done a better job. The broth should’ve been dumped when she saw it, but it wasn’t. There was also the old saying, too many cooks in the kitchen. We had Chef Saifon helping us along with one other staff and I’m not sure the soy-free needs were communicated between them.True Shabu 6

With that hiccup in mind, I didn’t have any issues. While Hordus ordered udon noodles, they went into his pot and was nowhere near mine. I enjoyed my meal since I’m used to ordering only sushi when we go out for Japanese food and making other Japanese dishes myself at home. This was a great experience with great company.

My caution would be to watch everything carefully. They are very hands on in teaching people who have not been before. This is how the tofu got in the soy-free broth. One of the other guys working came over and was helping out while the chef was in the back and didn’t know about Hordus’ girlfriend being soy-free.

That tofu was good though. It was my first piece of tofu since going soy-free almost two years ago. I stuck mine in the broth at the beginning and let it sit in there until right before I was ready to put the noodles in. Then I let it sit in the pressed pomegranate sauce. So, so good.

Would I go again? Yes. Would I take other people with me? Yes. Would I keep an eye on everything? Most definitely.True Shabu 7

Gluten-Free In Cincinnati: Brown Dog Cafe

Brown Dog CafeThe first time Chaz took me to what is now our favorite sushi haunt in the city, it was when he was commuting and I came up one weekend to visit instead of him driving home. What caught my eye wasn’t the restaurant we were going to, but the one next to it: Brown Dog Café. I made the comment, “Good thing it’s not Black Dog Café” – black dog is a Filipino…delicacy, and the subject of many jokes (no, I’ve never had it). The only thing Chaz knew about the restaurant for certain was you had to have reservations to go. If you don’t have reservations, they won’t seat you.

Chaz did some poking around online recently and found their gluten-free options, which are many, and decided to make reservations. The gluten-free options are marked on the regular menu, there is no separate menu.

The restaurant was not busy when we arrived, which made the slow service a bit of a shock. Our server was taking her time, talking to customers she clearly knew well. I made the comment to Chaz that you must need to be a regular to get good service. Once the place filled up, you can imagine how much slower the service was.

Brown Dog Cafe 2We ordered the Cheese Plate for an appetizer. Three different cheeses with gluten-free crackers (Crunchmaster Original Multi-Seed) and several toppings. I think we both enjoyed the honeycomb the most. And just look at that presentation. Who wouldn’t love that appetizer?

Brown Dog Cafe 3I had the Brown Dog Filet for my entrée. Looks delicious, doesn’t it? Thanks to the slow service, my food was cold when it arrived at the table. I’m talking, the outside of those mashed potatoes were ice cold and the inside was piping hot and the steak was room temperature, if that. I was not happy and I would’ve sent it back if I thought warm food would’ve returned in a reasonable amount of time. The food wasn’t bad, just not the expected temperature when I placed it in my mouth, which for a foodie, kills the joy of good food on the palate.

Brown Dog Cafe 4By the time the dessert menu came, I was excited about the options, but not thrilled with the service. Chaz asked if I wanted dessert. Yes, but no. I told him I didn’t think either of us wanted to wait another hour for dessert. There was the option to order it to go, but who knows how long that would’ve taken either.

Keep in mind that this was on a Monday night. Not the usual weekend nights when restaurants are normally slammed.

Would I go again? Maybe. Just to see if there is a difference in service or if it’s the same. And to get some gluten-free Key Lime Pie to go.