Pine Bros. Throat Drops…Certified Gluten-Free and Delicious!

Pine Bros. Throat Drops ReviewA little over a month ago, I was contacted by Pine Bros. and asked if I wouldn’t mind doing a review of their throat drops, which also happen to be Vegan and CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE…in particular, their two newest flavors: Sugar Free Cherry & Vitamin C Orange. Um, of course! In my book, anyone who goes through the effort, both in time and expense, to actually become certified with the GFCO (Gluten-Free Certification Organization), deserves a little time and effort on my part to give an honest review. And their timing couldn’t have been more perfect…

img_4765As many of you know, in addition to running the “Gluten-Free In Las Vegas” blog and website, I am also a working jazz singer & performer here in town. At the end of November, I got the opportunity to travel to China for a singing gig (performing for a gala celebration at the Peninsula Hotel in Beijing in honor of the first-ever direct flights from Beijing to Las Vegas…pretty dang cool). The trip was amazing, and the gig itself was fabulous, but between the 30+ hour travel days (unfortunately the performers didn’t get to take advantage of those awesome direct flights…wah!!!), the 16 hour time difference, making me WIDE-AWAKE at 3:00am every single day, and the difficulty and stress of needing to eat gluten-free in a country that seems to have NO understanding of what that is (even when I had a card written out in Chinese explaining all of it), meant that I came back exhausted and horribly, terribly sick. Within 2 days of being back, I had completely lost my voice (not such a great thing, when that’s how you make your living). SO, coming home to find these yummy, soothing throat drops in the mail was a total blessing!!

They are unlike any other throat drops I have tried before. First and foremost being that they are made with ALL-NATURAL ingredients, and have been for the past 140+ years!!! Here’s a little history behind the product:

Ulysses S. Grant was President and the population of America hovered at 39 million, when in 1870 J. Herman Pine hung out a confectionery shingle on 8th Street above Walnut in Philadelphia, and sold his first batch of what he called ‘Pine Brothers Glycerine Tablets.’ In an attempt to relieve his own sore throat, Mr. Pine, a former German confectionery maker, combined the soothing natural qualities of plant glycerin with the healing properties of gum acacia into one softish drop. By doing so, he discovered that he had created a product that could sooth and mitigate the mild discomfort of a sore throat. Add in some natural flavoring and sweetener and Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops were born. “I have discovered something,” Pine wrote, “which will give quick throat relief to thousands afflicted as I was.” He added,”Perhaps I won’t make much money out of this. But I can make people happy, and that’s more important than money.” Mr. Pine was being unduly modest, as his “discovery” would become one of the most effective, most delicious and most unique throat lozenges in the world. Nor has the recipe changed appreciably since it was first introduced to the public over 140 years ago. ~ http://pinebrothers.com/about/

They are seriously YUMMY, and I love the gummy-like quality they have. I can tuck one between my cheek and my teeth while I sing, and it will actually stay there (without the fear that I might choke on it, unlike most throat lozenges). Plus, because they don’t contain any “medicine,” there is no worry about eating too many. I used them constantly while I was sick, and they really helped!! When I first opened the package, I was a little surprised that they weren’t individually wrapped, but I also kinda LIKED the fact that they weren’t wasting a bunch of paper and creating more trash. I just kept a little ziplock filled in my purse, and then I grabbed one whenever I needed it. I really, really like the taste and consistency of these Pine Bros. throat drops, so now I keep them with me all the time!

I also offered a few samples to some of the members of our Las Vegas Celiac Support Group, when we had our December luncheon…here are their completely unedited comments::

“They’re very mild and they have the texture and taste like gummy bears. I had no problems with them.” ~ Lise D.

“I liked the flavor of the Pine Bros. throat drops and I liked that they were not too sweet.” ~ Carol S.

“Not much flavor but they seemed to work.  Although, I would not buy the product off the shelf since the front of the package did not indicate it was gluten free.” ~ Arlen H.

“I was surprised that they weren’t individually wrapped and there was not a way to close the package once it was opened. The taste is pleasant, not medicine-y and it lasts a long time in your mouth. The effect isn’t very strong, I wouldn’t use it for a sore throat. However it works well for a tickle in the throat or a dry mouth.” – April M.

I also asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind trying them out for a few days while working one of his big tournaments (he works as an emcee/announcer for several major casinos here in town, hosting their high-end baccarat & slot tournaments), and here’s what he had to say:

“I am a professional announcer and singer. My voice is my life. With all of the talking and singing I do, I have to keep it in good shape. If I start to get a scratchy throat, I must react quickly. These Pine Brothers lozenges are wonderful. They are flavorful and soothing. I can stick one in my cheek and feel the effects in a very short time. I also love that they are natural and gluten-free. I am gluten-intolerant, and I love having a very important product for my career that I know is safe. Thank you Pine Brothers!!” ~ Ron Smith, http://emceelasvegas.com

So I’d say, overall, pretty awesome reviews from everyone! You can find Pine Bros. on the web at http://pinebrothers.com/ and in the throat lozenge aisle at most drug stores, like Walgreens, CVS, etc. Right now, you can find these newest flavors at Harris Teeter, Harmon, and ShopRite (SF Cherry), and at Kinney Drug Store (Vitamin C Orange)…and hopefully everywhere else SOON! 🙂

**As per FTC guidelines, I received this product in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Only compensation I received is the product(s) mentioned above. All opinions are my own and your usage/results may vary.**

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Recap of 2016 CDF National Conference & Gluten-Free Expo!

IMG_2575 2Last weekend, mom and I attended the 2016 CDF (Celiac Disease Foundation) National Conference and Gluten-Free Expo in Pasadena, CA…what an incredible experience! I honestly don’t even know where to begin? The conference itself featured dozens of speakers throughout the morning and afternoon (I swear, just about every single one of them had either an MD or PhD at the end of their names!!), and the topics addressed by these experts included everything from “The Science Behind the HYPE” of Celiac Disease and the possible links between Celiac and “Depression, Anxiety and ADHD,” to the current “Trends in Gluten-Free Nutrition” and whether “Strict Adherence to a Gluten-Free Diet is Enough.” My head was literally spinning (and my brain was completely exhausted) by the end of the day! It was a lot of information to process, but it also made me realize how much we truly DON’T know yet. One of the biggest, and most recurring messages of the day was that there is still a huge need for much more research to be done. We are only beginning to understand this disease and everything that it means for us.

icc-goal1Which is precisely the reason that CDF is launching iCureCeliac, “a patient-powered research network dedicated to enhancing and accelerating research efforts to better understand and ultimately cure celiac disease.” If you have Celiac Disease, I HIGHLY recommend you take a moment to read about this incredible study, and make the decision to participate in the online survey. It takes a bit of time to answer all the questions, but it is SO worth it.

As for the Gluten-Free Expo that accompanied the conference, all I can say is, WOW!!! So much gluten-free goodness in one place! More than 100 GF products were featured at the expo (many of which are brand new and haven’t even hit the shelves yet), and I think we brought home samples of just about ALL of them…plus, I’m pretty sure I gained at least 5 pounds just from all the free tastings we got during the expo!

PictureOne company that really stood out is a gluten-free bread company called Bread Srsly out of San Fancisco, CA. I seriously wanted to CRY when I tasted their sourdough dinner rolls. Honestly, they tasted just like the dinner rolls I LOVED as a kid…before I was diagnosed. So, so good!! And could these ladies be any cuter?!?!? I know, right? 😉 Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the best part…ALL of their products are free of not only gluten, but also dairy, egg, soy, nut, potato, tapioca, and garbanzo. HOW do they do it? I have no idea. But I don’t really care, just as long as they keep doing it. 😉 As of right now, they don’t have a location here in Las Vegas that carries their bread, but you can order online with just a $5 flat-rate shipping fee. Woohoo!! Seriously (SRSLY…get it???), you just GOTTA check out this company!! http://www.breadsrsly.com

 

IMG_2614 copyOh, there was one more super-awesome-totally-cool thing that happened this weekend…mom and I were invited to attend the Bloggers’ Dinner hosted by Enjoy Life Foods at Real Food Daily. We arrived on Saturday evening, shortly after the conference ended, and knew immediately we were in for a great night. First of all, the restaurant was incredible. Real Food Daily features an amazing organic, plant-based menu that you would never know is also healthy, because everything tastes so dang yummy! LOL There are tons of gluten-free options to choose from. Mom and I enjoyed the Not-Chos, Seaside Fries, and Mexico City Tacos…all completely vegan, gluten-free and super delish. We even got to have a big ‘ol slice of GF chocolate fudge cake for dessert! But the best part is that we got to spend the evening with Scott Mandell, the CEO/founder of Enjoy Life Foods! I have LONG been a fan of Enjoy Life Foods, with their huge array of delicious GF products, and it was truly an honor to meet the man behind it all and hear his story. A big thank you to Scott, Jamie Siegel & Kathleen Shannon of Enjoy Life Foods, and to Gillian Entin from CDF, for organizing such a fantastic event!!!!

This blog post first appeared on our companion website, Gluten Free In Las Vegas, HERE!

THE GLUTEN FREE CHEAT SHEET…On Sale Now!!

Hey everyone!

9780399172991I am super excited to let you know that April Peveteaux’s new book “THE GLUTEN FREE CHEAT SHEET: Go G-Free in 30 Days or Less” was officially released TODAY! Woohooo!!!

Okay, for those who don’t happen to know who April is (maybe you are a gluten-free newbie, or you’ve had a serious case of gluten-induced brain fog the past couple of years), allow me to explain. April Peveteaux is one of the the bomb-diggity-est coolest bloggers in the gluten-free world…she also happens to be the author of one of my other favorite GF books, “GLUTEN IS MY BITCH.” Seriously, if you don’t already follow her BLOG, you really should! She posts tons of tips and advice for those of us relegated to this wonderful (eh-hem) gluten-free lifestyle, and she also happens to be freakin’ hysterical! Her NEW book is filled with incredibly useful info for GF newbies and veterans alike, and includes TONS of different gluten-free recipes for things like Hushpuppies, Crab Cakes, Coconut Flour Tortillas, Parmesan Popovers, Sugar Cookie Cheesecake, Deep-Fried Chocolate Cream Cookies, and much, much more!!!

“In addition to 100 delicious and simple recipes, The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet is the gluten-free consumer’s guide to survival, tackling issues like myths & facts about gluten and how to eat safely out at restaurants as a celiac.” ~ Keely B. Platte, Penguin Random House Publishing

Here’s a rundown of the chapters included:

  1. The Problem With Gluten: Who What and Why
  2. A Quick Lesson in What Foods to Avoid and What to Eat Instead
  3. Can’t Someone Else Just Cook For Me
  4. Depression, Anxiety, and General Crankiness
  5. How To Rock Your First 30 Days
  6. Basic Gluten-Free Cooking Methods and GF Pantry Essentials
  7. Your 30-Day Meal Plan
  8. Recipes, Recipes, Recipes!!

It also includes a huge list of resources at the back of book (support group info, gluten-free brands you can trust, list of GF conferences, other gluten-free books, a list of gluten-free restaurant chains, etc), PLUS an entire section listing gluten-free bloggers and websites you can trust…and GUESS WHO got listed. Um, we did!!! That’s right, OUR WEBSITE is the recommended site for Las Vegas, NV! How totally cool is that!?!?!? 🙂

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On top of that, I was able to get an advance copy of the book, which gave me the opportunity to field test a couple of the recipes!!! We decided to try out one of the dinner recipes and one of the drink recipes. Oh, did I forget to tell you she also includes several “adult beverage” recipes in the book? Oh yeah…does she ever! Recipes for a Hibiscus Gimlet, Limoncello, Jalapeño Margarita, The Perfect G&T, Lillet Blanc Martini, and a Raspberry Vodka Refresher (which is what the hubby and I decided to make).

RASPBERRY VODKA REFRESHER
The world’s easiest summer cocktail that also has next to zero calories. I put this together when I was bartending in New York. It’s fizzy, fruity, and boozy. A winning combination on a hot day!

PREP TIME: 5 minutes
MAKES: 1 serving

  • crushed ice
  • 2 ounces Raspberry Stoli
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 ounces seltzer
  • raspberries for garnish
  • lime wedge for garnish.
  1. Fill Collins glass with crushed ice. Pour Raspberry Stoli over ice and add lime juice and seltzer. Stir once.
  2. Serve with 2 to 3 raspberries dropped in glass and lime wedge.

drink

This is a picture of how our drinks looked…just before we downed them…in about 3 minutes. LOL It really is the perfect summer drink. And truth be told, we didn’t splurge for the Stoli Vodka, but I’d say the brand we got was just as YUMMY!

As for the DINNER, we decided to test out April’s recipe for gluten-free Asian Pork Chops…

ASIAN PORK CHOPS
A quick, easy, and flavorful dinner that you’ll go back to again and again, these pork chops are a winner whether you fry, grill, or broil.

PREP TIME: 5 minutes + 30 minutes marinating time
COOK TIME: 10 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings

  • 4 center-cut pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. At room temperature, marinate pork chops in wheat-free tamari and sesame oil for at least ½ hour before cooking.
  2. Preheat grill for 5 minutes on high, or turn on broiler.
  3. Before you transfer pork chops to grill or slide into broiler, sprinkle with powdered ginger, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook pork chops 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

We decided to pair it with our own recipe for Asian Sauteed String Beans and Mushrooms, along with some Garlic Mashed Potatoes…and it was complete awesomeness on a plate!!!

pork chops

I honestly cannot WAIT to try out some of her other recipes from the book…they all look incredible and, most importantly, EASY-TO-MAKE. Thanks, April…for the new book, and for everything you do for the gluten-free community…we really do love you. 😉

THE GLUTEN FREE CHEAT SHEET by April Peveteaux is available NOW on Amazon.com...order your copy TODAY!!!