I turned 30 last week and had the most fabulous birthday of my life. Jim (better known as “the man!”) threw me a lovely party with some of my closest friends at Henry’s in downtown Portland. He made wheat-free cupcakes (delish!), a rockstar poster that everyone signed and a gorgeous collage. Friends from high school, present day and even my dad made an appearance. After the party, a few of us (and you know who you are) headed over to Aura for some serious (and sexy) purse dancing. Who knew 30 could be so wonderful?!

I truly believe in the power of celebration. For the day leading up to the party, I treated myself to some of my favorite things – a new hairdo (caramel highlights!), pedicure and manicure with one of my closest friends, a massage (courtesy of Jim, my dad, Amanda and Alison – two of my sisters) and a night’s stay at Hotel Monaco, one of Portland’s shee-shee hotels. The actual day of my b-day, March 23, I spent in Oceanside, Ore. – my favorite beach.

Whether or not you have a birthday celebration, an anniversary or you just snagged a gig from a publication you’ve been eager to write for – celebrate. And make it big! It’s so important to enjoy these moments in our lives. They DO matter and who we share it with is even more valuable.

Thank you to everyone that celebrated the big 3-0 with me, and a gi-normous shout out to Jim who truly made it my best b-day ever.

Much love & happy writing!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I LOVE the crock pot – it’s the best way to “cook,” so I was thrilled to create this wheat-free, dairy-free dish. Feel free to experiment with seasoning on this one (not my specialty).

10 oz. brown rice pasta, boiled for 8 min. (so not fully cooked) and drained. (Try Trader Joe’s.)
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 T garlic salt
3 T Tofutti cream cheese
8 oz. rice milk
2 cans Albacore tuna

Boil rice pasta for 8 minutes, drain and place in bottom of crock pot. Saute onion, celery stalk and olive oil. Add 1 T garlic salt. Once golden grown, add rice milk and Toffuti. Stir until Tofutti is mixed in. Add tuna. Mix well. Pour mixture on top of pasta in crock pot. Add 1 T garlic. Heat on low for 3.5 hours. Season as necessary.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

For finals week, Portland State University presented a startling scene in the South Park Blocks. From far away, they looked like white and red flowers, but as you moved in closer you noticed that they were actually small white and red flags. There were thousands more white flags than red. And with these small flags, decorated on a beautiful lawn, PSU students brought the reality of the Iraq war to Portland, Ore.

Each red flag represented at least 5 Americans killed in the war. And each white flag represented at least 5 Iraqi’s killed in the war.

I stood in silence and said a prayer for all of these people who never asked for any of this. In addition, I prayed that 1/20/09 would arrive sooner, rather than later.

If what’s happening in Iraq is “freedom” bringing and the glory of “democracy,” we’re in big trouble. Thanks a lot George W.

Oh and by the way, I wonder why our economy is struggling? Check this out.


Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Recently, I had to fly into the Windy city to cover a tradeshow. Long hours and a long flight typically equals no possible way to eat wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar. Especially on the airplane. You’re lucky if you even get water when you’re at 30,000 feet.

So, this time I decided to be prepared. I packed snacks, snacks and more snacks, and guess what? I survived both the flight there and back, and had food left over. Since eating while working the show was out of the question, my snackage also came in handy. One tip: make sure you pack enough Odwalla or Cliff bars, I didn’t anticipate that there would be no time for breakfast, so I could have used more of those.

Here’s a list to get you started for your next trip:
Cliff or Odwalla bars for breakfast or meal replacement
Luna or Larabars for snacks and “dessert” πŸ™‚
-Trail mix – I make my own since I’m picky. Go to the bulk foods section and get a fruit mix and then add the nuts of your choice.
-Almonds or other heart-healthy nuts (cashews are another fave!)
-Corn and flax chips – discovered these in the bulk food section of Winco. The best! Any type of small corn chip (no trans fats though) will do, these had a healthier punch with the flax.
-Homemade chocolate chip cookies. Yum!

Do you have a “must” when it comes to travel food? Leave your comments here with tips for our readers.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Maybe someday we’ll have a wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar summit, but until then there’s the Gluten-Free Culinary Summit April 5-6 in Denver. Can you imagine – two days filled with new recipes, gourmet dishes and hundreds of like-minded souls? Sounds like a lot of fun to me (esp. the eating part). If you attend, please let me know how it was. And bring back yummy recipes.

Check out this recipe for gluten-free fruit muffins (from the chef at Canyon Ranch!).

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I’m headed out early tomorrow to do press at GlobalShop 2008 in Chicago. Display & Design Ideas magazine (staffed by the coolest editors ever!) is one of the sponsors, and who I’ll be writing for while there.

Be sure to stop by the Retail Design Diva blog daily (sometimes twice daily) starting Tuesday the 18th to get my play-by-play coverage on innovative products, speakers and events. I’m even covering Chocolate in Retail (yum!).

Happy Writing!
-Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Just received my copy of TriumphDining’s The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide. It’s in its 3rd Edition! How cool is that?

Besides the listings – which do clue me in on gluten-free offerings I didn’t know about – there’s also helpful information about eating out gluten-free. Even for those of us that have been eating this way for years, there are some great reminders and checklists included in the guide.

There’s also a beautiful four-color section of ads from gluten-free vendors. But, I’d love to see coupons in the back next year! Hint, hint. Wouldn’t it be cool to have an entertainment book filled with gluten-free, dairy-free and low-sugar coupons? Someone needs to get on that…

I also received some of their cool dining cards, for eating out internationally. You can hand your server or hostess (upon entering the restaurant) a card explaining – in their native tongue – that you cannot eat gluten-free. I’m headed to Paris in September and can’t wait to use my French card. Have you used the dining cards – what’s been your experience? Leave your comment here.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I’m a girl who loves her brownies. In fact, forget about the birthday cake, I want a stack of moist brownies with vanilla rice ice cream on top.

So imagine my glee when I discovered Trader Joe’s gluten-free brownies. Yummy! And the best part, they’re super easy to make – only add 1 egg, oil and water. One note – be sure to make them in an 8×8 pan, otherwise they’re pretty thin. Oh, and don’t be afraid to add walnuts or carob chips.

BTW – if you live near a Trader Joe’s, always go there first for wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar foods. You’ll get the best deal and the staff is always uber helpful.

Happy Eating!
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Looking for inspirational music to get you through the Monday’s?

Check out Laura Berman, one of the most amazing artists you’ll find today. Her lyrics are positive, inspiring and passionate. I had the pleasure of seeing Laura perform LIVE at a Neale Donald Walsch event, and it was mind-blowing! Her music (performed with husband, Craig) immediately shifted the energy in the room, lifting the vibration to an out-of-this-world level. When I struggle with getting into writing, I’ll play Laura’s music and instantly my attitude and energy is increased.

Stay tuned for information on Laura’s next Portland gig, coming up the first weekend in April. In the meantime, join her MySpace community and order or download her CD.

Oh, and check out my favorite song – You and I. I get chills everytime I listen to it!

Happy Writing (and listening!)
Heather πŸ™‚

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

Just discovered this handy resource and wanted to share it with you – Gluten Freeda. While, wheat intolerance foodies can still enjoy spelt and sprouted grains (unlike Celiacs), we can still benefit from gluten-free resources. Check this out and let me know what you think. I dig the site design, but I’m still trying to figure out what “freeda” means. Maybe it’s Greek for something. πŸ™‚


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