Friday, August 31, 2012

G-free Protein Packed Smoothie

Mmmmm.  What a delicious way to start the day. Bolthouse Farms Chocolate Protein Plus protein shake is packed with whey and soy protein - 16 grams per 8 fluid ounces.  The additional yogurt and almond butter makes this a protein rich start to your morning! 

Chocolate Protein Plus Smoothie

1 1/4 cups Bolthouse Farms Chocolate Protein Plus
3/4 cup Organic Vanilla yogurt
2 TBSP  Justin's Maple Almond Butter
3 ice cubes

Pour your ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.
Pour and delight in the hint of maple, creamy protein packed smoothie!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Product Review: Orgran Dinosaur Wholefruit Cookies

I always like to focus on the positive, so, I'm disappointed to say that my family found these Orgran Dinosaur Wholefruit Cookies to not only be gluten free, nut free, soy free, dairy free, egg free and yeast free - but also taste free.  The cookies are soft, chewy and mealy with a lot of currants.  Sadly, no-one approved.  They are more palatable when cold, so we are storing them in the fridge.  Unfortunately, I ordered these online and thus had to purchase a case - sigh:(  So, I'll send 2 boxes into the school nurse for "emergency" snacks, 2 boxes for the after school care program and the remainder will to to our local food pantry.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cracker Jacks

The original Cracker Jack is manufactured by the Frito Lay Company.  Although Cracker Jacks do not contain any gluten containing ingredients, they are manufactured in a shared facility on production lines that manufacture other products containing wheat and/or gluten.
I am impressed by the Frito Lay website and their comprehensive lists of their U.S. - Gluten Free Products and U.S. Products Not Containing Gluten Ingredients.  Frito Lay provides a clear description(disclaimer) of the U.S. Products Not Containing Gluten Ingredients stating,
The Frito-Lay products listed below do not contain wheat, rye, barley or oat ingredients (we include oats in this list as a precaution as oats are often commingled with gluten-containing grains).  Please note however, some of the products listed below may be manufactured on the same lines as products that contain gluten.  Although our lines are cleaned between production runs, Frito-Lay has not tested these products for gluten content and the ingredients in these products may have come into contact with gluten-containing products prior to manufacturing.  Individuals who are sensitive to gluten should take these factors into consideration in consuming these products.
Please note: The information provided pertains only to products made and distributed in the U.S. Products sold in other countries under similar brands may be made using slightly different recipes and ingredients to accommodate local needs and preferences. 

In 2011 we reformulated Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips to remove wheat from the recipe. While some older packages may show "wheat" on the ingredient statement, please be assured that all Doritos Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips currently being sold in the US do not contain wheat.
So, if you are gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant - enjoy your Cracker Jacks!  If you have Celiac Disease check out this link and have fun making your own Caramel Popcorn!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Delight gluten free Magazine

The Summer 2012 issue of Delight: gluten free was the first delightful issue I have read.  Delight was included as part of the care package my little guy received from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.  Delight is described as, "the magazine for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, food allergies and sensitivities".
Features in this issue include: Beer Bites, Cooking with Watermelon, and Culinary Genius: Chef Ming Tsai.  Each issue offers content categories such as: Enlighten, Indulge, Healthy Living and Travel and Leisure.
Delight's editor is Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod, author or Beyond Rice Cakes and the gloriously gluten-free cookbook.  I absolutely love the layout of the Recipe Index - a quick guide that reveals which allergens each recipe is free of!
The informational content on Celiac Disease health issues, travel information, recipes, easy-to-read format  along with beautiful photography throughout, make this delightful magazine a must-have for any CD family!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Frozen Yogurt Obsession

Since discovering silicone molds, which are primarily used for baking, my kids and I have had a lot of fun this summer creating naturally gluten-free frozen yogurt pops.
For our latest version we used vanilla yogurt, gf chocolate cookie crumbs from Kinnikinnick, and banana yogurt. 
Simply fill 1/3 of your mold with vanilla yogurt and freeze for 15 minutes.
Then, add a layer of gf cookie crumbs, top of with banana yogurt and insert your popsicle stick.
Put the mold back in the freezer for an additional 15 minutes and enjoy:o)
The Kinnikinnick Cookie Crumbs are great as a yogurt topping, frozen yogurt or ice cream topping, or for making your own ice cream cake!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Naturally Gluten-Free Roasted Russet Potato Wedges

A tasty way to transform naturally delicious russet potatoes.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with heavy duty tinfoil.

5 Russet Potatoes
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
3 cloves crushed garlic
1 stem fresh rosemary - chopped
3 stems fresh basil - chopped
2 TBSP fresh chopped chives
1/4 t each of dried: curry powder, cumin, cardamom, turmeric
coarse sea salt & crushed black pepper

Quarter each potato lengthwise.

Place in a large bowl and coat with olive oil, fresh herbs and dried spices.
Place on foil lined pan, skin side down.
Roast for 35 minutes.
Transfer to a serving plate and enjoy.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gluten-Free Lunch Box Tag

My little guy, who has Celiac Disease, is entering 2nd grade this year.  In an effort to make him some "cool" CD awareness tags, I purchased 3 soccer themed tags for two dollars each at our local Michael's Craft Store.  I simply inserted a Living Without Dining Card that we already had, and sealed the bottom with the Gluten Free labels I ordered from Label Your Stuff several months ago.   Find a fun tag in your child's favorite color, sport or motif.

 I use the green Gluten Free labels to identify pantry and refrigerator items that are g-free.  Our  gf cooking utensils, colanders etc. are all green.  Color coding and labeling reduces cross-contamination risks and makes it easier when my parents are kid sitting or my daughters' teenage friends are over.
I will attach 1 tag to my little guys lunch box, 1 on his backpack and have an extra tag for the inevitable loss or destruction of either of the other tags.
I recognize that non-traditional allergy-aware tags are not a viable option for every family.  However, for our needs and considering my little guys understanding of his disease and dietary requirements, along with the safety pre-cautions we already have in place at his elementary school such as a 504 Plan,  and teacher/staff training in CD, we are comfortable with these tags as an extra reminder.  
For severe and life threatening allergies please visit Label Your Stuff to find a wonderful variety of allergy aware labels.  LYS has waterproof, temporary paper stickers, buttons and bag tags.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center

Founded in 2001 by Dr. Stefano Guandalini, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center aims at raising awareness, education and improving diagnosis rates.  The University of Chicago website is full of information for medical professionals, parents and caregivers, screening information, resource guides and a truly fabulous gluten-free care package program.
I learned of both the Center and the care package program about a month ago.  Upon learning of the program, I registered my little guy for a care package.  He was so surprised to receive such a big box in the mail and was absolutely thrilled to find such amazing gf treats.
Not only was the care package full of fabulous gf treats for him, it was also full of helpful guides for grocery shopping, an allergy free passport, invaluable coupons, a DVD, gluten-free grocery notepad, magazines and a book for my little guy!
The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center provides a wonderful resource for the Celiac community.  Please visit their website and support them with a donation!
A special thanks to all of the gluten-free companies who generously donate their items for these special care packages!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Gluten-Free Elementary School Resource Guide

It is essential at the start of every school year to provide your childs' school with a gluten-free resource guide.  Whether your child is newly diagnosed or his/her diagnosis has been part of their school journey, administrators, cafeteria staff, school nurses, librarians and classroom teachers change often. Listed below are my favorite teacher sites, children's books and resources.  The links are live and are also provided for you to forward or share with your child's teacher.  Have a great school year! 

For Classroom Teachers

Books for the Classroom and/or School Library
  • Adam's Gluten Free Surprise by Debbie Simpson
  • Eating Gluten Free with Emily by Bonnie Kruszka
  • Amy Goes Gluten Free:  A Young Person's Guide to C.D. by Hilarie Staton
  • The Gluten Free Kid:  A CD Survival Guide by Melissa London
  • No More Cupcakes Tummy Aches by Jax Peters Lowell
  • Barrett's Unusual Ice Cream Party by Michelle King
For the School Nurse
Children/Celiac Sprue Association -
Helping Children Love Living Gluten-Free!

Celebrating Without Food!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Beyond Rice Cakes

Just as the title suggests, Beyond Rice Cakes: A Young Person's guide to Cooking, Eating and Living Gluten-Free, by Vanessa L. Maltin is a wonderful resource for young people with CD heading out on their own.  
Beyond Rice Cakes provides helpful lists and definitions of both safe and unsafe foods.  The most helpful page for me is the GF Measurement Conversion Chart.  I plan on making a copy and hanging it in my pantry.  Lists of chain restaurants and markets that carry gluten-free foods is a helpful guide for those shopping for their own groceries for the first time!  These guides are essential for young college students living in a new city, for a young person embarking on a journey in a new town, or for any CD young adult living on their own for the first time.
Simple recipes will make gf cooking easier and more enjoyable for a novice cook.
Beyond Rice Cakes makes a wonderful gift for a gf college student or for any young adult moving out on their own for the first time.

Purchasing a large pasta pot or colander and filling with with color co-ordinated silicone cooking utensils(that can be designated g-free), measuring spoons and cups and a copy of Beyond Rice Cakes will provide the young adult in your life an invaluable gift as they establish their very own gluten-free kitchen.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Not Your Average Joe's!

I felt pure excitement when I found Not Your Average Joe's gluten-free menu online and their 15 Massachusetts locations!  Viewing a full gf menu online, not just a few items on a "regular" menu, was like a dream come true for our traveling gf family.  I finally felt like we could dine in a restaurant with relaxation and without fear.
Our second day in MA, we headed to the NYAJ's in Acton.  What a treat for my son and husband to be served a piping hot loaf of gluten-free onion bread with a separate dish of olive oil dipping sauce.  Yes - that's right - 2 loaves of delicious hot bread with 2 dishes of an olive oil/red pepper/Parmesan dipping sauce!  No questions asked - no explanations needed!
Another first - a gluten-free kids menu!  Usually, we have to order something for our little guy from the adult menu.  Not Your Average Joe's has 3 gf kids entrees, grilled chicken, a classic burger with gluten-free bun, or grilled salmon.  Our little guy chose the salmon - the presentation was superb and he gobbled up every last bite.
The staff was friendly, helpful and seemed confident and knowledgeable about the gf menu.  The manage was courteous and gracious.  Everyone loved it so much, we decided to check out a 2nd location after our visit to the truly fascinating Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester.  The only complaint I have about the Acton location is that we were seated next to a giant air conditioning unit.  No visible a/c units in the Westborough location and everything was just as yummy.
With 15 locations in MA and 2 near DC, Not Your Average Joe's is a g-free dining delight!  I'm hopeful that they will continue to expand!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Frozen Honeydew Monster Pops

4 cups diced honeydew melon
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup light agave syrup

Combine in a blender.  Pour into ice pop mold.
Freeze and Enjoy!
makes 6-8 pops
We made monster pops!  However, we only have 4 monster pop molds, so we poured the extra into plastic cups.  After 2 1/2 hours the cups were frozen enough that we were able to stick in popsicle sticks and let freeze for another 2 hours.

A healthy and refreshing treat!


Our journey to Boston brought us to one of my new favorite cities, Cambridge, Mass.  A thriving, creative, funky, architecturally magnificent young and hip small city!  I discovered Wagamama's while searching online for restaurants with a gluten-free menu in Harvard Square.  Wagamama's proved to be an absolute treasure and a different dining experience for our family.  Long bamboo tables with benches, lots of televisions tuned into the Olympics and a wall of windows looking out into Harvard Square.
Kids meals average around $6 including a drink and entrees average between $10-$15.  It was somewhat awkward as dishes were served individually, but they do warn you online that service is indivudualized and to "dig in and share".
Wagamama restaurants are located in 18 countries aside from the US - so if you're traveling abroad - be sure to look into their locations.

Dining GF at the Channel Cafe, Boston

So far, I have chosen to only review recipes, products and places that I have a favorable opinion of.  However, I was aware that this journey to Boston with a family of 5 would present some gf challenges.
I spent at least 2 hours researching restaurants online that offered a family friendly gf menu, were located near our travel destinations and were affordable - not an easy task.  On the day of our arrival we dined mid-day at the Channel Cafe in South Boston.  The Channel Cafe offered a variety of gf dishes and specials on their online menu.
The atmosphere was unique and hip as the cafe is located on the basement level of a main street South Boston arts building, but has an open 2 story ceiling.  Light pours in from the large upper floor windows.  The space houses and is connected to art galleries from painting to photography to woven rugs.
Unfortunately, the hostess and waitstaff seemed somewhat unclear and confused about which selections were indeed gluten free and were unable to answer specific questions with clear and confident responses.  The printed menu did not indicate which items were gf, only the chalkboard with daily specials indicated 2 items as gluten-free.  I offered our Living Without Dining Card to our waitress, which she read, but assured me that the "cook" didn't need to read it - extremely disappointing.
Our food was absolutely delicious.  My son wound up having a burger with sweet potato fries as that was the only kid friendly gf selection.  My husband had 5 spice salmon salad without the tamari dressing.  The waitress kept insisting that the tamari was gf even as I questioned her persistently.  After we placed our order, she returned indicating that the tamari dressing was not in fact gf.  Exasperating, frustrating, disappointing.  When our meal finally arrived it was all absolutely delicious - both the gf and regular lunches.  However, I can't recommend this cafe with complete confidence to the CD community.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Gluten Free Hotel Stay - Almost

We packed up our family of 5 and headed to Boston to visit college campuses.  We chose to stay at the Residence Inn by Marriott because it's affordable for a family of 5, has a suite with a full kitchen and offers free breakfast as a perk.  Staying at a hotel with a kitchen suite makes life a lot easier when traveling with CD.  We packed 2 grocery bags full of gf items such as granola bars, cereals, crackers  and a full sized cooler serving as snack central for the 5 hour journey as well as holding fresh fruits, cheeses and yogurts for our stay.  Thankfully I had packed several boxes of Chex Cereals and gluten-free Rice Krispies because the breakfast provided was a gluten filled nightmare. Regardless of being a gluten overload, the food choices were not healthy aside from the 2 varieties of fruit offered and 2 varieties of light & fit yogurt.  Breakfast consisted of white/wheat bread, bagels, 2 kinds of gooey muffins, English Muffins, 4 types of "regular" cereal, pancakes, french toast, biscuits with gravy and a scary look vat of scrambled eggs that I wouldn't dream of touching.  So, we grabbed a bunch of bananas, some fresh milk and headed back to our room.  We had fresh fruit and gf cereal in paper bowls that we brought from home to avoid cross contamination. Its always nice to hope for the best but plan for the challenges of gf dining.  Our plan was to have a nice breakfast at the hotel, a large mid-day restaurant meal, and a light evening snack back in our hotel room.  We accomplished that but were disappointed in the lack of healthy breakfast choices.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Frozen Fruit & Yogurt Star Pops

My kids and I were at it again having fun creating frozen fruit and yogurt pops!  Such a simple, fun and creative way to get kids involved in the kitchen and creating a healthy dessert.  
The necessary ingredients, tools & supplies are simple.  Fresh strawberries, organic strawberry yogurt, a cutting board, strawberry slicer, popsicle sticks, a tiny star shaped cookie cutter and most importantly a fun silicone mold.  If you'd like more specific directions, please visit one of our other frozen yogurt posts. 
Cool and healthy on a steamy summer day!