Monday, March 31, 2014

Guide to Gluten Free Flour Blends

Admittedly, I'm a Betty Crocker kinda' mom. Well, since the Celiac diagnosis anyway. I really haven't experimented much with flour blends, and have found it easier to buy pre-made brownie and cookie mixes. But, I thought this infographic was interesting. Lots of cool recipes for yummy gluten free flour blends.

Have you experimented with any flour blends? Would love to hear of your experiences! Leave me a note in the comments below.

Guide to Gluten-Free Flour Blends
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Easy To Understand Gluten Free Infographic

Here's a great infographic to share with kids and other people who maybe don't quite understand where gluten hides, and really what it is.

The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Choose Hershey's For Emergency Gluten Free Candy

In my house, there are 5 "candy holidays" ranked in the following order:

  1. Halloween
  2. Easter
  3. Christmas
  4. Valentine's Day
  5. St. Patrick's Day


St. Patrick's Day? Why St. Patrick's Day, you might ask?

Well, I'll tell you why. Somewhere along the line, some super-dee duper parents decided to make up a new tradition. Apparently, they got bored somewhere between Valentine's Day and Easter, and decided their kids needed even more candy. So they created a new "tradition" that goes a little something like this:

Leave your boot by the front door on St. Patrick's Day Eve and leprechauns will fill it with candy while you sleep.


The first time I heard about this was when Celiac son was about five years old. One St. Patrick's Day Eve, I was cleaning up before bed, and I noticed only one of his snow boots in the doorway. Picking it up and putting it away didn't phase me, as cleaning up and putting things away is part of my every day routine. The next morning, he came running down the stairs, and almost immediately began sobbing and crying…..something about….. leprechauns? I had NO IDEA what he was talking about. When he calmed down enough to explain to me "how it works" I quickly realized that I was the leprechaun and it was my responsibility to fill this boot. 

I mumbled and I grumbled and I called all my girlfriends and asked if they had heard about this new "tradition." Some of them had heard about it from other school moms, some were going along with it, and others in my circles were boycotting the leprechaun. I decided right then and there that I was going to boycott it too.

Stupid made up tradition.

I was never going along with it.

But if there's one thing I've learned as a mom, it's never say never. The following St. Patrick's Day Eve, I had forgotten all about the leprechauns, but Celiac son had not. At about 8:00 that night, he not only set up an inflatable mattress so that he could camp out by the front door in hopes that he could catch a glimpse of his leprechaun, but he also set up an elaborate trap to catch his leprechaun.

So now here I was, having to rush out to buy candy on St. Patrick's Day Eve, as well as green feathers, fake gold and other leprechaun paraphernalia to make it look like he almost caught the leprechaun. Fantastic. Now celiac son is going to go to school, tell all his classmates that he almost caught a leprechaun, and that his leprechaun left him candy. And now all the other moms are going to hate ME for introducing this new "tradition" to their already crazy busy lives. 

Well, here we are in 2014, another St. Patrick's Day Eve, but this one our first "Celiac" St. Patrick's Day Eve. It's 8pm -ish, and what do you know? I've forgotten about the damn leprechauns again. Celiac son is placing his boot in front of the door. I call hubby, who is driving peanut allergy son home from hockey, and tell him they need to stop and pick up some candy. He asks a reasonable question "what candy do you want me to get?"


I have to figure out which candies are gluten free, and I have to HURRY, because hubby is not happy about this added stop after a long weekend. 

So what's a Celiac mom to do?


I google "Hershey's gluten free candy" and I get a complete list of Hersheys' gluten free candy options, as well as a shout out about certain candies that are not gluten free (for examples, did you know that Rolos are gluten free, but Rolos 'minis" are not). 

Thank God for Hershey's! Not only was I completely impressed that I had this information at my fingertips in seconds, but I am dually impressed by Hershey's Gluten Free practices. Thank you, Hershey's, for making so many gluten free candy possibilities for my Celiac son!

Finally, if you are reading this and you have heard about the leprechaun tradition, I apologize for my participation. The leprechaun is parental peer pressure at it's finest!

Leprechaun Image Credit:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Top 10 Kid Approved Gluten Free Products

Celiac son would like to share his Top 10 Kid Approved Gluten Free products with you.

Keep in mind, that these products must be eaten within a well balanced, overall meal plan. We learned the hard way (umm, literally) that too many processed, gluten free products consumed together can bind a person up. So space them out, and enjoy them as he does. I have images for most items, but some of them were munched on before I could get the shot!

1. Glutino Cheese Pizza

2. Bell & Evans Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets (Whole Foods and Market Basket)

3. Bionaturae Pasta (see my previous blog post review on this yummy pasta)

4. Snyder's Gluten Free Pretzels (he was so excited to eat pretzels again!)

5. Udi's bread (he is not a big sandwich kid, but loves his toast, as you can see I'm almost out!)

6. King Arthur Muffin Mix (you can add fruit like bananas or cranberries, but we love them as a sweet treat with chocolate chip bits)

7. Applegate Farms Bacon (Shaw's, Market Basket, Whole Foods)

8. Pillsbury Cookie Dough (can be found in the refrigerator section, near the puddings and Pillsbury cookie rolls)

10. Udi's cinnamon sweet rolls, snickerdoodles, and oatmeal raisin cookies (okay, this is 3, but we couldn't resist, they are all yummy!)

How about you? Do you have any gluten free items you would add to the list? Celiac son loves to try new things!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Recipe Review: Warm Autumnal Rice and Vegetable Salad

Much of being a Celiac mom has to do with food. I guess that's true about being a mom, in general, though. Feeding our young is one of the primary functions of motherhood (along with loving them, clothing them, and providing them with shelter). My children would probably add things like: getting me an Xbox, driving me to Dick's Sporting Goods, and taking me to Walt Disney World to the list, but I digress.

So, what does a New Celiac Mom do at the beginning of her Celiac journey?

Look up new recipes.

As a blogger, I've looked to other bloggers in the gluten free space for yummy recipes that my whole family will enjoy. I've come across some amazing blogs (check out Blogs I Follow) including this one: A Girl Defloured.

Image Credit:

I love this blog! Not only is it so pretty to look at (am I right?), but A Girl Defloured has categorized her recipes into super fun categories like Ladies Who Lunch, Meatless Monday, From the Sea, and Mommy Needs A Drink (I will be checking this one out soon!).

This week, I tried one of her recipes for dinner. The recipe is Warm Autumnal Rice and Veg Salad. Yummy! Unfortunately, my picture isn't as pretty as the picture she has on her site (I think she must be a professional photographer as well as a yummy recipe maker), but I had to show it and to tell you how easy this recipe was to make.

Other than telling you that this salad was a big hit with Celiac child, there are other things you should know:

  • A Girl DeFloured says prep time is 10 minutes.
    • Prep time actually took me about 20 minutes, mainly due to chopping vegetables. Also, I couldn't find pre-cooked brown rice, so my rice took 20 minutes to cook. 
  • I thought this would make for a great leftover lunch the next day. If you plan to get two meals out of it, do not combine all of the rice with the salad and the cooked vegetables. 
    • Keep the parts separate for your leftover meal. If they are combined, you can't heat it up the next day. Otherwise you will either eat warmed up arugula (yuck!) or cold rice. 

Overall, Celiac son and I give this recipe an A! It was easy to make, looked fantastic, tasted yummy, and hit some major food groups!

Friday, March 7, 2014

How to bring your Celiac child to a weekend hockey tournament

Kids’ lives are so different today than they were when we were growing up. I certainly don’t remember being as active and as involved as my kids are. Every kid I know plays sports or is active in boy scouts/girl scouts or other activities that keep them busy—and often require overnight stays.

My family’s sport is ice hockey.
Kids getting ready to take the ice
You could insert your child’s sport/activity into this blog. Tournament weekends all follow a similar pattern whether it’s gymnastics, karate, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, boy scout/girl scout camping trips, etc.

These events have always been a source of excitement for our family. It’s a blast getting together with teammates and their families for a whole weekend. Typically there are 3 or 4 games in a weekend, lots of time together at the hotel pool, many meals shared together at restaurants, and pizza parties.



Yes I said restaurants and pizza parties.

So, how does a Celiac Mom pull off this challenge? Well, our family recently participated in an ice hockey tournament weekend, our first since the Celiac diagnosis. I had to put some thought and planning into it ahead of time, but I assure you, it went out without a hitch.

So if you have an upcoming tournament weekend with your Celiac child, here are 5 tips to help it run smoothly:

  1. Plan ahead. If you are new to Celiac, I’m sure you are quickly realizing that there is really no such thing as winging it anymore. Any event including birthday/holiday parties, sporting events, day outings, and vacations require careful planning. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but you really do need to prepare a meal itinerary and make sure that your Celiac child will have what he/she needs for the weekend.
  2. Play Team Manager. Our ice hockey teams tend to have at least one pizza party (typically
    Image credit:
    around the hotel pool or in the hotel lounge) during tournament weekends. This allows the team to get together in a more relaxed environment with no formal restrictions (like worrying about good manners at a restaurant—always hard to pull off with 13 boys running around!) Offer to make the arrangements for the pizza party. Research pizza joints in the area, and see if you can find one that makes a
    true gluten free pizza (ensure that they use best practices to cook the pizza, and don’t just offer a gluten free dough). Collect the money from the families and order the pizza yourself. I did this for our recent hockey tournament, and learned that 6 people in our party were gluten free!
  3. Upgrade to a room with a mini kitchen.
    Image credit: Holiday Inn Express
    I know this can be pricey, but you may be surprised to hear that it doesn’t have to break the bank. We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express,
    and the suite with a mini kitchen only cost us $14 more than the double room. This room had a mini refrigerator, a sink, and a microwave. If the price is astronomically higher, call and explain your situation to the reservations manager. They may be willing to supply you with a mini fridge and a microwave at no extra charge.
  4. Cook meals ahead of time. My Celiac son has an appetite. He doesn’t just eat 3 meals a day and little snacks. After a hockey game, he is looking for a meal. It doesn’t matter if it’s 9 in the morning or 9 at night, a snack isn’t going to cut it. I made a full sized pan of baked ziti (gluten free of course!) ahead of time, brought 6 portioned microwaveable containers, and heated them up whenever hunger struck. I also brought him sliced ham, which he likes to eat cold with a little bit of mustard for dipping. These were great protein fillers that tasted great and got him through to his next meal. Of course, I also brought lots of fruits and veggies and other snack options, but those mini meals really got him through.
  5. Research area restaurants and find gluten free options. Tournament weekends typically take place in cities with lots of chain restaurants. Call ahead and make sure that you are comfortable with the restaurant’s best practices regarding the management of gluten free foods. The 99 Restaurant, OutbackSteakhouse, and Pizzeria Uno are three chains that we have had luck with.

Not allowing this disease to change Celiac son’s quality of life is at the top of my priority list. He had a great weekend and didn’t feel singled out at all. Sure, it was more work for me, but a wise man once told me “anything worth doing is worth over-doing.” He sure is worth over-doing!

How about you? Do you have any great tips you can share regarding preparing ahead of time for a weekend away with Celiac? I'd love to hear from you!