Food Find Friday // Enjoy Life Crunchy Cookies: Part Deux // and a GIVEAWAY

(*giveaway is now closed, winner notified via email.)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away... I reviewed Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Cookies for the first time. Since then, Enjoy Life has done some sprucing on all of their packaging and requested that I review them once more. So here we are! 
There are four flavors in the crunchy cookie line, all using the same great recipe as before--just with a different outer look!
The flavors include: Sugar Crisp, Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate and Vanilla Honey Graham.
Each distinctive flavor is free of the eight common allergies (gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, shellfish and fish) and are also free of potato, casein, sesame and sulfates. They are made in a dedicated gluten free facility, and are free of artificial ingredients and GMO's. Pretty great right?!

Now that we got that business out of the way, lets talk about each flavor and what you can do with them. Obviously you can just eat each cookie as is, but I like to make  things more complicated for myself, and make them into other things. All of these recipes are incredibly simple, and only require a few ingredients. 
Click on over to my previous review for flavor breakdowns of each crunchy cookie flavor.

The Sugar Crisp cookie hass a pretty classic sugar cookie taste to it. They have great snap to them, and a delicious sugar coating.

With this cookie, I combined the magic of Enjoy Life's semi-sweet chocolate chips and a gluten free sugar cone to make this tasty Halloween treat.

You can get that printable recipe, here

If you have extra melted chocolate, and cookies left; dip half of the cookie in chocolate for a little black and white cookie situation.

The chocolate chip cookie is in a gorgeous new blue box. 
It is nice and crisp cookie, with a hint of both sugar and salt-and the perfect ratio of chocolate to cookie. Who doesn't love a good chocolate chip cookie?

With this one, I sorta made a allergen free cookie, full of allergens by adding peanut butter. oops.
But, you can certainly use a different butter if peanuts aren't your jam. Sunflower, almond, cashew or whatever else is out there these days.

Here is the printable recipe for these little peanut butter sandwiches.

Next, the Vanilla Honey Graham cookie. This one is like a new and improved graham cracker. The great graham taste, with a hint of vanilla bean all wrapped up in a shiny little cookie.
The possibilities are endless with what you could do with these. S'mores, graham cracker crusts, etc.
But I made them into a tasty holiday treat. The great cookie taste, with a little sugar crunch coating. 

See the recipe here.

Last but not least, the Double Chocolate Crunchy Cookie. As the name implies, it has double the chocolate with a chocolate cookie and chips. 

For this one, I added banana ice cream and melted dark chocolate to create a delicious ice cream sandwich.

Recipe can be printed from here.

Now that we have talked about each flavor, and fun new recipes; shall we have a little giveaway?

How would you like to have all of this:

Sounds good, doesn't it?!

Enjoy Life Foods has generously offered to send a package of their new crunchy cookies to one lucky reader!

Enter the giveaway here, for a chance to be the lucky winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*winner will be chosen at random through rafflecopter giveaways. Winner will be contacted by email, and has 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.
*This is not a sponsored post, and no monetary compensation was given. All opinions are my own.


Pecan Chews

When I first was diagnosed with Celiac, I was just starting a new job in the healthcare industry that was located right next door to our towns local health food store. It was quite convenient for me, having my store a few feet away. I would often pick up a little something-something for lunch, and was able to get my grocery shopping done after work without having to drive anywhere. There was that one time that I set off the offices alarm, and every store patron next store came to gawk at me-but thats a story for another day.
During my time working in that area, I would often stop by to get a little treat from the bakery. While they had an assortment of baked goods, some gluten free and some not- my favorite treat has always been the pecan chew. A cookie with the perfect balance of crunch/chew and sweet/salty. They also have a chocolate chew, which is just as delectable but far less special. You can find those anywhere. Near the end of my time in that occupation, this store moved into a bigger location which happens to be closer to my home. So it all worked out quite well for me. What doesn't work for me, is that it recently got bought out by Whole Foods, and no longer carries half of the things that I need. And the layout is all wonky now, so if they do have what I need, I have no idea where to find it. 
 So a few months ago (yes, months!) I finally decided to make my own pecan chews. It was a bad idea. I think it might be better for my health to pay two dollars for one giant cookie, then make a million cookies and eat them all. I mean, having nuts in it does not counteract the sugar high this cookie gives. Major rush.

This recipe is pretty easy, only five ingredients, and about five minutes of hands on time. Easy-peasy.

Here is the recipe:

2 1/2 Cups Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp Salt
1tsp Vanilla
6 cups pecans / coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Egg Whites 

Preheat oven to 350degrees. In large bowl, combine first four ingredients and beat at low speed with electric mixer. Once combined, slowly pour in egg whites until mixed thoroughly. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat for 4-5 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed. 
On greased cooke sheet, drop 1 inch balls 3 inches apart. Flatten cookies slightly with spoon.
Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are slightly browned. Remove from oven, and immediately transfer from hot pan to cooling rack. 
Let cool completely before eating.

yield: 2-3 dozen. (varies by cookie size)

Also, click here for a handy-dandy printable recipe!


Caterpillars, a Beagle and a Party

Over Labor day. we had a surprise birthday party for my parents 60th. Technically speaking, my dad turned 60 last year-but between a wedding and a funeral last summer, a party just didn't happen for him. 
I did pretty much nothing for this party, except make cupcakes and take pretty poor quality photos.
Turns out when you are lightheaded and have blurry vision, your pictures may not come out completely in focus. Also no natural light in this building. oh well. 

My sister did the majority of the work, and made these awesome signs. (the party was a fifties diner theme)

All of the littles where trying really hard to suck something out of the straws, with no such luck. The original plan was to have a little something-something in the middle of the cupcake, but I had other things to do that day. Like have my closet collapse, and take my little flea-bag to the vet.
Speaking of the flea-bag:

Turns out she's allergic to fleas. Hence why the last two summers she loses half of her hair and is stuck in a cone of shame for weeks on end. She's on the mend now though, thanks for asking.
And as far as critters in the yard goes....

We had a boatload of monarch caterpillars in the garden last week. They ate through that milkweed and disappeared. Seriously, I cannot find a one anywhere. Maybe they ran away with the fleas. hashtag the bugs life movie.

Remember to follow along on instagram (@carinamcreations) for more current events!


Gluten Free Beauty Products

As a Celiac, I am extremely cautious about letting gluten near my body. I check food labels, watch carefully as others cook, and wash my hands religiously. I know the effects that it can have on my body, and try to avoid that pain at all costs. That said, one must be careful to avoid poisons on their body, as well as inside it. So, today we shall discuss gluten free beauty products.

While some studies have shown that, because Celiac disease is based off of the effects of gluten in the intestines, gluten absorbed topically has no ill side effects.
That said, if something is poisonous to ingest, why would you slather it all over your body? Surely that can't be good for you. Also, how often is it possible for your soapy shampoo water to enter your mouth? Or you touch your made-up face in between eating your lunch? There is the possibility of ingesting external products without directly consuming them.  In addition to the possible contamination, some may find that wheat containing products irritate their skin, causing break-outs or rashes. Wouldn't it be nice if your acne problem could be cured by simply switching foundations?

Besides avoiding gluten in my products, I try to look for brands that are hypoallergenic for my sensitive skin, and do not contain all of those other harmful chemicals.  The majority of the products I   use do not contain parabens, sulfates or synthetic fragrances.

A couple of things about me before we get started. 
I am not a makeup/hair/skin expert, this is all personal experience. 
I have never been one to fall madly in love with a single product, I find things that work-and keep buying them; but that doesn't mean that there is not something better out there. That said, I am still constantly on the hunt for better things-I may share some completely new products with you in a couple of months.
I am extremely sensitive to smells, I do not like heavy floral smells, I prefer subtle and sweet.
 I have pretty good skin. It is practically translucent in color (porcelain they call it) and pretty clear. I only occasionally get breakouts-and its almost always food related. Hence the major reason why I do not eat dairy products. Because my skin aint so bad, I do not need heavy coverage from foundations and I am perfectly content to go without makeup somedays. I like soft, subtle makeup that enhances my features, rather then creating a completely new face.
Last but not least, I do not buy super fancy expensive things. I also don't buy dollar store shampoo. All of these products can be found at your local Target or drugstore. 
Now that we are all set: 

Starting with shower products, I have been using Organix shampoo and conditioner for a couple of weeks now. At first, I didn't think it was all that special-my wet hair actually felt slightly dry every time I used it. But, as time has gone on, my hair has become softer and healthier. Turns out, I just had never had a conditioner that didn't leave a slimy coat on my hair after I washed it out, thus giving the illusion of moisture rather then actually seeping in there.
For a body wash, I use Shea Moisture argan oil and raw shea wash. I have fallen in love with Shea Moisture products. They use natural, safe ingredients in all of their products so there is no worry in using them. It smells great, and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth.
My skin tends to get rather dry, and I literally have to slather up with lotion the second I step out of the shower, no joke. My face starts to hurt f I don't. I have used various lotions/moisturizers over my lifetime, and while some are better then others-they too often left me still feeling dry. Just adding moisture to the surface of my skin. Coconut oil has been the saving grace. I know, coconut oil has become the new fad-but it works! I slather it on my face, my lips and the rest of my skin every night, to wake up to soft smooth skin. Its wonderful! The only problem, sometimes my hair gets into contact with my skin after I apply, and my hair looks a bit greasy. So, I would recommend to put your hair up before application!
At night, I prefer to use makeup wipes to wash off my makeup. I have used a few different brands, some of which have left my face dry or red, some that just smell awful. Say Yes to cucumbers face wipes smell great, wash well, and leave my skin feeling soft and moist.
Last but not least, Jonathans Dirt Texturizing paste. This, has been my favorite hair product for years. I have this issue with clean hair, as most people do. It never cooperates right after I wash it, it won't hold a curl, and it gets all fluffy throughout the day. I put this dirt paste in when my hair is almost dry-but still slightly damp, and it gives my the perfect second day texture. I love it!

On to face makeup.
Foundation has been my hardest product to replace. I used covergirl something or another for years, and it was the right color, a good texture, and provided great coverage. But, as it goes the brand is less then forthright about gluten containing products.
I found this Pacifica BB cream at Target, and decided to give it a try. It is more of a tinted moisturizer then a foundation, but it leaves my face even and smooth after application. I use this on days when I don't really want to wear makeup... but still put in a little effort, you know-just in case! BB creams are all the rage these days, and I don't really get them, but whatever. Also, this is a good primer to use under foundation-if your into that, which I'm not really. 
Again, Shea moisture products are perfect. This foundation is the right color, texture all that jazz. Works great.
I am still not sure what I think about Boots No7 foundation. I keep using it, so I guess theres that. It is very thin and runny, which I don't love. But it applies well, and give great all day coverage. I top it off with a powder to reduce the dewey look it gives, but it feels light and fresh all day.
The powder and concealer I have are both from Physicians formula. The powder, works great to top off my foundation, and look how cute it is! The concealer, works well but is a little dark for my complexion. They don't have many color options, so this is as light as it goes. I prefer my concealer to be a shade lighter then my foundation (which is not always possible when I have the lightest foundation color as well) and this one is almost darker then the other products I have. So, I will still keep looking for a good concealer.

For the eyes, I have mostly Physicians formula products. They are one of those brands that label gluten free, and don't contain other harmful ingredients. I love a good liquid eyeliner, and a large lash. Mascara for me, often causes eye irritation and flaking-which has not occurred with this one! What isn't from Physicians Formula, is from Pixi. I emailed the company for a list of gluten free products, and they sent me a good sized list of products I could use; which contained the mineral eye shadow palette, brow duo, and eyeliner pictured above. 

I also got the phMatchmaker Lip gloss from Physicians Formula, just for funs. I don't know about all that ph matching business that they are into, but I like it as a good subtle lip gloss.

And thats that! As I continue to look for great, healthy beauty products-I will keep you updated!

What are your favorite gluten free beauty products? Any I should try?


*disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All products discussed were bought and tested by me personally. Products are all either labeled as gluten free, or were confirmed gluten free through email to the company. As always, thought and opinions are my own!



As you can see, some changes are happening around these parts! Carina Bean Creations is now Carina M. Creations! Why? because I am sick of being Carina-Bean. Sooo... new name, new look and very soon some new recipes! Stay tuned!