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Have you ever had to find gluten-free items in your grocery store? No. Well, try it one day. NOT EASY.

Well, unless your grocery store is kind enough to LABEL their gluten-free aisle, it can be an adventure. I am a recent gluten-free eater. NOTE: This may be TMI. My senior year of college I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. That in-and-of-itself is a pain (if anyone out there is feeling sluggish, loosing their hair, gets out of breath going up a flight of stairs, and has dizzy spells – ask to see your TH levels). I rely on a tiny pill each day to regulate my metabolism and nutrition intake. However, I didn’t quite understand why it had happened. Why wasn’t my thyroid working right?

Simple answer. My body was murdering it. No joke. After a mysterious case of hives which would have rivaled even Dr. House’s brain power, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an autoimmune disease which has convinced my white blood cells that my thyroid is evil…..thanks guys! It is slowly killing my thyroid. An unfortunate side effect of autoimmune diseases (Celiac’s is one of them as is RA) is that I’m sensitive to my diet. Womp womp.

SO (promise, I’m getting to the menu item this week!), my Dr. advised that I eat a more gluten-free diet – no wheats, rye, or barley based products. Do you KNOW how many products have one of these?! A LOT!

This new diet request posed a new challenge to a girl who LOVES to cook – especially PASTA! I had to find a way to eat GOOD tasting gluten-free pasta. I did a little research online and scoped out my local Shaw’s. Finally, I found something that would work:

Tinkyada Pasta Joy, made of brown rice.

I had a Crock-pot Lasagna recipe from (guess!) Real Simple that I was dying to try! My little Crock-pot and I have a long history. I love it sooooo much! I’ve made stew, roast, BBQ, etc. but never pasta….I just had to try.

Spinach & Ricotta Lasagna:

It is SUPER simple and lots of fun! Just mix up your ingredients!

Layer it up with uncooked (don’t worry, I wondered too) lasagna – gluten-free!

And cook it up on LOW for 4 hours.

Dinner is DONE!

RECOMMENDATIONS:

It turned our wonderful! I had no idea it wasn’t wheat based pasta! YEA! Though, I would tweak the Real Simple recipe a bit. For one, don’t cook it toooooo long! The pasta on the bottom was a bit soggy – but even re-heated, I didn’t notice. Also, it doesn’t call for much seasoning. Granted, I used a jar of marinara sauce which came seasoned. BUT I wish I had added some more basil, salt, and pepper. Simple, but could have really pumped up all the spinach.

All in all, definitely recommend this! Great to freeze and have on hand for lunches.

Side note – gluten-free isn’t that bad after all! I’ve found great tasting chocolate chip cookies AND realized that my fave – Pirates Booty – is gluten-free! I still eat wheat, but not as often. I’m trying to cut back and have noticed a slight difference in how I feel. I’m sure with time, I’ll learn…. in fact, I also discovered that they make gluten-free cake mix…. yea!

Best wishes,

Erin

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