Wednesday, October 24, 2012

There's The Quick, And The Hungry

Hello everybody! Sorry I have been MIA as of late! School has been beyond busy for me this month. I've still been looking for new and fun gluten free goodies though!

On that note, I would like to talk about something that used to be a huge inconvenience in my life. Running around like a madman trying to get things done is stressful for anybody. It can be more stressful if you are gluten free, and can't pick up fast food at any old restaurant while you are running errands. So what do you do? Power Snack. I like to keep a stash of power snacks in my locker on campus. Here's a list of some of the things I like to keep in my stash:

1. Nut Clusters
While grocery shopping last month, I discovered True North Cashew Crunch. They are clusters of cashews and rice crisps that are lightly sweetened and salted. These things are addicting. I go through about 2 bags of them a week in my power snacking. True North makes other combinations of nut clusters, but I am quite partial myself to the cashew ones. From the display I saw, they are all gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and free of trans-fats, preservatives, artificial colors, and cholesterol. Be careful of these if you have fillings in your teeth! The sweet coating is quite sticky!

2. Microwave Popcorn
If you have access to a microwave where you are, this stuff is fantastic. I love sitting the the library during a study session on a cold day with a pipping hot bag of popcorn! Just make sure that you bring some napkins with you, especially if you are eating the buttered kind.

3. Apples and Oranges
Always an easy and healthy snack. I love apples, especially this time of the year. They stay fresh for a decent amount of time (unlike a banana) but you still want to make sure that you keep an eye on them if you are storing them somewhere. You don't want to find an old moldy apple in your stash! Yuck!

4. Water and/or Other Drinks
Keeping your fluids going down on a busy day is vital. When you are running around everywhere you don't always realize how thirsty you are, or how long it has been since you have had something to drink. I like to keep a few bottles of water in my stash, and a few cans of ginger ale, in case I find my stomach isn't feeling too well, or I want to replace some electrolytes.

Now these are just the items I keep in my stash. There are tons of options, depending on your taste and dietary needs. Just make sure that you keep an eye on expiration dates if things are sitting in there for a long time.

Here's hoping that November will be slightly less busy!!! If I don't post before then, I hope you all have a safe and Happy Halloween!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Celiacs Awareness Month 2013

I know it seems like it's a world away, but National Celiacs Month is about 200 days away, and I am hoping to get together a program for the blog. I wanted to plant this int he back of your minds now because
1) The holiday season is going to fly by soon, and that will take a big chunk of planning time away
2) Some of the project I am putting together requires some planning, and I am hoping for some feedback from my readers.
3) I hope with enough advanced notice, all of you will be able to participate in my project.

For the month of May in 2013, I am planning on the following activities:
1) Gluten Free Prizes. I would really like to put together some kind of prizes for my readers to win, wither it be in a raffle form, or in some kind of competition. I think we could have a lot of fun with it.
2) Celiacs Information. I would like to fill this blog with information about what Celiacs Disease is, what the symptoms are, how to get tested, and what to do when one is diagnosed.
3) Finally, I would like to issue a Gluten Free Challenge. For one week (Probably May 5-11th) I would ask that people who wish to support their friends and family with Celiacs attempt to live a gluten free life for an entire week. There are a lot of national groups that challenge the entire month, but I feel like that is a huge commitment  and a week is a more reasonable time frame.

If you have any suggestions, any piece of information to share, or would like to help out with running this event with me, please let me know! I would love to hear from you!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Happy October!!!

Hello everybody!!! It's finally October, which means it's time for my favorite holiday of the year!


I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I love the costumes, I love the spirit of going out and causing mischief, and most of all, I LOVE THE CANDY!!!  For those of you with gluten free children, or who are looking for some gluten free candy yourself, I would like to refer you to my post from earlier this year: The Candy Man Can. There you will find a complete list of safe candy, candy to be cautious about, and candy to stay away from. I am quite a fan of this list, and I often refer to it myself when I am shopping for candy at the store. One thing I really like to do is offer an allergy friendly bucket of candy, not only that's gluten free, but one that is peanut free. I even let the kids who have allergies exchange some of the candy they are allergic to for candy they can eat. The parents love it because they don't have to take away as much candy when they get home, and the kids love it because, well, it's candy!

This month I am going to try and post a few spooky treats that are fun, tasty, and of course, gluten free. If you are looking for something specific, like a treat that is geared towards kids, (or even one that's for adults!) please let me know! I would be more than happy to try and help inspire some spooky celebrations in your life!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Organic, Gluten Free, and No Added Zombies!

Hello Everyone!

A week and a half ago I attended ROOTSFest! For those of you who have missed my previous excitement for the festival, ROOTSFest is an annual festival held by ROOTS Natural Foods, the local health food store in my area. It's what they like to call their "customer appreciation day" and let me tell you, did I fell appreciated!

I attended the festival with my boyfriend Andrew, and my good friend Chante. Chante is from Jamaica, and attends college with me. She brings a whole new culture into the world around her. The morning started with a mini sound bath. It was such a lovely experience! I loved listening to the singing bowls she had out. After that, we started with the outdoors area. We soon came to a table with, in my opinion, one of the best signs I had ever seen. It read as follows:


Oh good! I always worry that my food has added zombies in it! This sign was at a table for a company called Little Duck Organics. They make little organic fruit bites for kids. They are so tasty! They practically melt in your mouth! I am a fan of using them in my cereal. 

We wondered more and more both indoors and outdoors and tried all sorts of teas, butters, chocolates, veggies, honeys, and much much more! I got to see all the usual friendly faces I see each week when I visit ROOTS, and I even purchased a t-shirt with their new logo on it!

(Photo from ROOTS Natural Foods Facebook. Check them out!!)

Around noon time, it was time to line up for the free BBQ! YUM! The staff and volunteers of ROOTSFest were up half the night the day before preparing the food for the BBQ and it was all FANTASTIC! I loved the potato salad I tried! There were burgers, hotdogs, pulled pork, salads, fresh watermelon, homemade hummus and more food than I could fit on my plate! All of the food was well labeled, which was fantastic because between me (gluten free), Andrew (vegetarian), and Chante (exotic taste buds), we can be a group of picky eaters! 

They day was absolutely perfect, and I had lots of fun learning about new products, and tasting new things. About a week later, I got an email letting me know I won a gift basket in the big raffle they had at the festival!! I was attending King Richard's Faire that day, but luckily Andrew was able to go and get my basket for me. He had won one as well! He got a gift basket filled with all sorts of chocolates and treats! ( made out with a bag of lemon macaroons from his basket (he hates coconut!). My basket is a fantastic collection of bath products from Dr Bronner's! I have not tried a lot from the basket yet, but I promise to report back asap about the wonderful things in it! I will also be posting about some of the new products I discovered at the festival in the next few weeks!! (can't spoil all the findings in one post!) 

I hope all of you are enjoying the fall weather! Keep on living Gluten Free!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Off to the Festival!

Hello there!

It has been a crazy week going back to school! I have made some amazing new friends, learned some fun things, and had an amazing college experience so far. I look forward to spending my weekend blogging about it. But before i can get to that, I must go attend Roots Fest 10!

If you live in the Leominster, MA area, make sure you stop by Roots Natural Foods for their annual customer appreciation day festival. There will be over 50 venders there sampling and promoting their organic foods, there will be live music, and tons of kids activities too! The best part is all the food is organic, and a lot of the companies will be there with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free food! I hope if you live in the area, you will take the time to stop by today and check it out. I will be taking pictures, trying foods, and gathering information so i can come back and let you know about some amazing new products! I will also be meeting with the owner of the store in a few weeks so she can tell her amazing story of how the store came to be what it is today.

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Easy School Morning Breakfast

Hello again!

As a commuter student in college, it is often hard to find the time in the morning to get up and make breakfast. And, of course, most quick breakfast foods, such as muffins and bagels, are not gluten free. So how does one get a healthy breakfast on the go? Make sure you have some breakfast foods ready to go in the fridge! Here are some of my favorites.

1. Yogurt and Fruit
This requires very minimal preparation. Like to invest in some single serving gladware containers, and mix my yogurt in that. If you are going to be mixing your own yogurt cups, it will save you quite a bit of money if you buy a large container of yogurt instead of the individual servings. I like to get the Stony Fields plain yogurt. It makes it easy to change the flavor with whatever fruit I may want to add. Simply take 1/2 cup of whatever yogurt you chose, and mix it with a hand full of wherever fruit you desire. If it is something like a peach, make sure you cut it down to bite sized pieces. Make sure you mark the expiration date on the container!


2. Egg Muffins
As much as I am not a fan of the South Beach Diet, they have some fantastic gluten free recipes. Egg muffins, by fare, are the best of these recipes. It's exactly what it sounds like, a muffin made from eggs. For each muffin you would like to make, simply whisk in a bowl, 1 large egg, 1/2 tablespoon cream or milk, and 1/2 tablespoon of each of the veggies or meats you would like to add to your muffins. I like to chop mushrooms and peppers for these. You can also add any cheese you may like to these. Bake them in the over at 350 for 10-15 minutes, until they no longer wiggle when you shake the pan. Use a knife to help pop them out of the pan. You can either eat them right away or put them in baggies and store them in the fridge. I microwave them for just a few seconds to warm them up the morning I eat them.


3. Hash Brown Cups
These are super easy, and super tasty too!! I am a huge hash brown fan, and these are just fantastic, and pair great with the egg muffins. Simply grate a potato and dry out as much as the moisture as possible. Salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. oil a cupcake pan generously, and in each well, fill about half way with hash brown mixture. Cook in the oven at 350 until brown. (Usually 10-15 minutes, keep an eye on it!!) Like the egg muffins, they can be stored in baggies in the fridge and quickly heated the morning of. 


I hope you enjoy these simple recipes! They are a great way to get a good breakfast when you are sick of eating cereal every morning. 

Happy Back To School!!!

End of Summer Blues!

Hello Everyone!

I know I kind of dropped the ball with the celebrity week. It's been a long week with some family being sick, and getting ready to go back to school. Good news is, I got some really awesome deals on my back to school supplies and some awesome new recipes for packing lunches!

If you or your child are already back to school, then yay! It's the start of a new and wonderful year!

I hope that all of you have taken advantage of the low prices of fish this summer. If you have not, there is still time! Fish prices have plummeted this summer due to the mass amounts of fish that have been pulled in by fishermen this summer. Even the price of lobster has dropped! The beautiful thing about seafood is that most of it needs little to no seasoning for it to taste fantastic!

Also, thanks to back to back to school time, the stores are full of easy to pack things for lunch. There is such a variety of single serving food that there is something for even the pickiest eater! My brother is quite fond of gushers and smart food.

And big news!! ROOTs Fest is on September 8th!! I will be posting all sorts of information that I get from the festival on the blog. Also, the owner of ROOTs has agreed to let me come in and talk to her and the staff about the benefits of local healthy foods. Be sure to keep an eye out for that post!

Enjoy that last gasp of summer!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

Living with a gluten intolerance and/or Celiacs disease is no easy task. For those who were raised eating glutenous food, it's a complete lifestyle change. It can be hard, and the support someone needs is not always there. Especially if you are like me, and live in a very small town. A majority of the people I know had never even heard the word Gluten until I got sick. When we are faced with a challenge in life, and need a little extra support, people often look to somebody they can admire. This can be a relative, a teacher, or for some people, a celebrity. This week I will be writing posts about celebrities who live a gluten free life, and are still able to leave an impact on the world.

The first celebrity I would like to talk about is the beautiful and talented Miss Zooey Deschanel!


Name: Zooey Deschanel
Age: 32
Profession: Actor and Singer
Best Known For: New Girl, 500 Days of Summer, Elf
Special Diet: Gluten Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free
About Zooey:
I have admired Zooey Deschanel for quite a while now. She is a very talented actress, and she has a beautiful singing voice. I watch her show "New Girl" every week! She is so quirky and fun, and it was only recently that I read a post in her blog where I found out that this lovely lady and I share a common disease. 
Once a Vegan, Zooey has many food allergies, one of the biggest being gluten. The loveable actress gave up her vegan diet after being diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. ".. it was very difficult to eat and get enough calories. It was even impossible to eat at a vegan restaurant." commented Zooey in an interview about her gluten free lifestyle. And who can blame her? There are a lot of people on the internet who are Vegan who are upset that she gave up a vegan lifestyle, and say she's not a good influence, but let's face the facts: Not being able to eat any gluten, soy, eggs, or dairy cuts a lot of things from her diet! Everybody needs to have an essential amount of nutrients to survive and that can be very difficult on such a limited diet.
Zooey is a smart and funny person, who is very talented and beautiful. She is an idea person to model a positive outlook on gluten free life after. She sees everyday as an adventure and makes the best of each situation. 

Alcohol: How to Stay Safe and Still Have Fun

So, as an end to my college themed blog posts, (not that there will not be loving advice during the school year) I thought it would be appropriate to take the time to talk about something that every college student will face in their college career:


Regardless of where you go to school, it is a known fact that college students are notorious for getting their hands on alcohol. I am, first, going to start off with the following statement:

I DO NOT IN ANY WAY ENCOURAGE UNDERAGE DRINKING. IF YOU ARE UNDER 21, YOU ARE UNDERAGE.

On that note, even if you are under 21, you will probably be offered a drink while you are at school. Since you are no longer living at home, your parents will not be there to tell you "Drinking is bad! Don't do it!" and the decision is 100% your responsibility. Some students will be responsible and wait until they are 21, but many others will not. If you are a person who is living a gluten free life and you drink alcohol that is not gluten free, then you can get EXTREMELY sick. I am speaking from experience here. You think a hangover is bad? Try having a hangover where your small intestine feels like it's getting stabbed by 50 knives. It makes things a lot worse. Not to mention that alcohol gets absorbed into your body a lot quicker and a lot deeper than most things you ingest, so it will take a lot longer to get out of your system.

ON THAT NOTE, for those of you who decide to drink (hopefully you are 21!), you want to make sure you have some gluten free spirits at your disposal. Some liquor stores have staff who know exactly what is and isn't ok for you to drink. Others may have no idea. So for your convenience, here is a list of alcoholic
beverages that are ok to drink:


Armagnac (it's made from grapes!)
Beer: Before I list gluten free beers I would like to point out that although a beer may say it's gluten free, it may not be 100% gluten free. It is your responsibility to check the label to see what is says. Some beers are brewed without gluten, and some are passed though a filter that tries to extract the gluten.
        Bards Tale Dragons Gold, Bard's Tale Beer Company
        New Grist, Lakefront Brewery
        Passover Honey Beer, Ramapo Valley
        RedBridge, Anheuser-Busch
        Sorghum Molasses Brown, Outer Banks
        Tread Lightly Ale and 3R Raspberry Ale, New Planet
Brandy
Champagne
Cider: Like beer, is not always safe. Read labels!
        Woodchuck Brand Cider
        Old Deadly Cider
Cognac (again, made with grapes!)
Gin
Grappa
Kahlua
Kirschwasser (cherry liquor! yum!)
Margarita Mix:
        Jose Cuervo
        Mr & Mrs T
Martini:
        Club Extra Dry Martini (made from corn and grapes!)
        Club Vodka Martini (again, corn and grapes!)
Mead (distilled from honey for all you renaissance fair people out there!)
Mistico:
        Jose Cuervo Mistico
Mixes & Cooking Alcohols:
        Club Tom Collins
        Diamond Jims Bloody Mary Mystery
        Spice Islands - Cooking Wines - Burgundy, Sherry and White
Ouzo (made from corn and anise)
Rum
Sake
Scotch Whiskey
Sherry
Sparkling Wine
Tequila
Vermouth
Vodka
Wines

Ok, so after reviewing the list I would just like to emphasize that YOU MUST READ LABELS. Special brews of alcohol and different brands that come out may use gluten in their drink so PLEASE do your research before you drink. I have yet to meet a wine in my life that has ever contained gluten, so my key is: When in doubt, buy Miscatto!

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!!!!
DON'T BUY ALCOHOL FOR MINORS!!!!
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!!!!!
DESIGNATED DRIVERS ARE ANGELS!!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Move In Day: Starting A New Gluten Free Life

I thought I would start off my week of college blogging with the way all students start their college career; Move In Day! Every year students pack their parent's cars full of everything they need to survive a year of school (and a little more!) and drive great distances in the wee hours of the morning to try and get to campus early. The streets around campus will be packed (I try to stay miles away from any college on move in day) and there is a certain excitement in the air that can only mean the start of not only a new school year, but for a lot of students, the start of a new chapter of life. Some will adapt very well to college, but others will struggle with the lifestyle change.

When you are packing your essentials up for school, it will suddenly hit you that you are going to be 100% on your own, without your parents, for the first time in your life. It's a scary, empowering, and thrilling feeling. For those of you who are on a gluten free diet, this may present a little more of a challenge that the average student. A lot of gluten free children grow up with their parents preparing all of their food for them, and unless their parents took the initiative to teach them to cook, they are in for a culture shock. Here's what you can do to make your transition into your new life easier:

1. Pack Some Gluten Free Basics
Crackers, bread, instant rice and other basics are essential to any sort of move. You want to make sure that whatever you pack at first are non-perishable food items. My advice is to buy a crate (which will become your new favorite storage tool) and pack that will some gluten free essentials. Everybody has their favorites when it comes to brands, and things they eat often. make sure if you have roommates, you label ALL of your food, or some of it might disappear!

2. Find Out More About Your Living Situation
There are many different ways you can move to a new college. To start off, dorm rooms are small, and have the very basics. Some of them provide you with a micro-fridge (a fridge with a microwave built into the top) and some don't. Make sure you figure this out before you plan your food supply so you don't get caught off guard. Some dorm buildings have shared kitchens. make sure you find out what this consists of as well. I have had friends move to a new school where the "kitchen" is a wall of microwaves and a counter and sink. If you are living in on-campus apartments, you are significantly more likely to have what you need. These places are usually old apartment houses that the school bought from a neighboring piece of property and have dressed up to look new again. There is usually a full kitchen, but again, please call your school and make sure. Lastly is off campus living. If you get a single room apartment or a full apartment with friends, you need to figure out what you will have access to.

3. Get To Know Your Dining Services
Every campus has a dining services area, and if you are living on campus, it is very likely that you will be required to have a dining plan. As soon as you know this situation, contact the head of dining services for your campus. Although I personally had a bad experience with the dining services at my school, I promise that not all schools are like this. Most dining programs are more than happy to work with you. How much they are willing to work with you is what you need to find out. Some places ask that you bring your own bread and pasta and they will prepare it for you. Others will fully provide food for you to eat. This is why it's important to contact your dining services and see what they are willing to do. You are paying hundreds of dollars to them to eat, and they are there to serve you, so don't let them cheat you!

4. Get To Know The Area
There are two ways to do this. 1. Go to the area with a friend or family member before school starts and explore the area. This is a very fun way, but it's not always the most efficient. If the city your school is in is big, you might not know where to go, and if it's small, you might need to go to a neighboring town. 2. Make friends with a local and ask them. I am active on the Fitchburg State University new students Facebook page right now so I can make new friends, and help those who are new to the area find what they need. I have met two lovely girls so far who are gluten free and I have been telling them about our local restaurants and stores where they can find food. The best part about knowing a local is that they know the little hidden gem stores that might not be hugely popular.

I wish everybody who is starting school this fall the best of luck on their new adventure in life. It's scary and exciting and will definitely have a big impact in you. The good news is, there are thousands of you going through the same feeling who are all there to support each other. The friendships you make now will be some that you will have for the rest of your life.

Again, I would love to hear about your college experience. Please feel free to e-mail me at ad4458@gmail.com with your story.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Celiacs and College: A Cautionary Tale

Back in the fall of 2007, I was a wide eyed college freshmen who couldn't wait for my own chunk of independence. I was away from my family for the first time, all the way across the state, and felt empowered that I was in charge of my own life. My first few years had its ups and downs, some very very bad, and others very good. All of them life changing.

In the summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. For those of you who have experienced this, you know that it's hard news to take. Any news that means you have to change your lifestyle permanently and immediately is hard for anybody to take. I spent the remainder of my summer learning about celiacs disease and gluten free living, trying to prepare for a fall semester without being home.

When I arrived at school that fall, I immediately set up an appointment with the head of the food services department at my college so I would be able to eat. Being a residential undergraduate student, I was required to have a meal plan. The manager of food services was very helpful, and very understanding. He himself did not know a whole lot about gluten free lifestyles, but was willing to listen to my suggestions for meal ideas. The first few weeks of school I saw things like a veggie and hummus bar once a week, or gluten free pasta offered at the pasta station. The first few weeks were fantastic, and I ate well and healthy. As the semester progressed, the gluten free items were offered less and less. The staff were saying that they were not popular, so they would only be offered certain times a week. I pointed out to them that celiacs disease is not something that comes and goes for a menu, and I have to stay gluten free all the time. They would normally shrug it off. During the lunch hours when the manager was on duty, I would always be able to get a good meal, but at dinner service when it was just the night staff, I would get served breaded food and get told to "just pick off the bread stuff". Needless to say, I became very ill that semester.

Me in 2009


After about a school year of being fed food that contained gluten at school, or being lied to about gluten content, I had become ill to the point that I was missing classes every week. I ended up failing most of my classes for the semester, and got suspended from the college. I decided that fighting to get back into that school just to be sick again was not worth my while. There had been other issues I had with the school as well, but this was the major thing that moved me to transfer.

In the spring of 2010 I stared my academic career at Mount Wachusett Community College. I was able to live at home, where I could cook my own food and still attend classes. I just graduated this past spring with a 3.4 GPA and an acceptance to the English Literature program at Fitchburg State University. Taking charge of my diet and how I wanted to live my life was something, I feel, made me a stronger person. There are so many people with a diagnosis with Celiacs who either ignore their symptoms, or just deal with it because they don't have access too the food they need. People should not have to settle when it comes to health matters such as this. For the next week, I will be blogging about ways that people with celiacs who are going to school this fall can empower themselves and make sure they do not have to leave school the way I did because of a lack of support.

Me today, over 50lbs lighter, healthy, and doing well!


If you have a story about dealing with celiacs in college, please e-mail it to me at: ad4458@gmail.com. I would love to hear from others about their experiences. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Better Safe Than Sorry!

For those of you who live in Massachusetts, you probably remember the unusual weather we had last summer and fall. A lot of us were without electricity for quite a while, and some who lost their homes in the tornado had to go to shelters. Unlike other states that are prepared for this kind of weather, we in Massachusetts have not been trained in the same way. We do not have emergency supplies for bad weather stocked up in water proof boxes, and we don't always think to have any kind of emergency plan for things like tornadoes. If you have celiacs and went to a shelter, most of them did not have specific gluten free food put together, and might not be able to supply a group of people with celiacs. After all the things that happened in Massachusetts last year, it might be time to start considering these types of things. Here is some advice for preparing for living gluten free with no electricity or in a shelter.






Pack An Emergency Supply Box!

The Box:
First off, make sure that the box is waterproof. You don't want to be evacuating from your house in a storm and have a cardboard box fall apart in your hands. Also, make sure that it's a reasonable size. Each household will be slightly different due to population and needs. Make sure it's big enough to store the essentials you need, but not so big that you will have trouble leaving with it in a hurry. You want to make sure that it is airtight too as you will be storing some food in it.

Non Food Essential Items:
Flashlights and extra batteries are a must. When the power goes out, you want to make sure that these are easily available to you, and you know exactly where they are. If you lose power for a number of days, the extra batteries will definitely come in handy. I also packed an extra USB battery charger in my kit. It stores 12 hours of power for anything that can be charged via a USB port. This is great for your cell phone of you need the extra power. A first aid kit is certainly essential in this kit, as you never now what kind of situation you are going to run into. Make sure you have the ice packs that don't need to be kept cold, and plenty of bandages, gloves, cleaning materials, dust masks, pain killers, and anything you might need like an emergency inhaler or an epi pen. If you talk to your doctor about an emergency kit they are usually more than happy to prescribe you an extra epi pen or inhaler for your kit. Also make sure you have any personal sanitation items you may need packed. If you have an infant in the house, make sure that you have extra supplies packed in the kit for them, OR you make sure that there is a diaper bag ready to go with you with everything baby will need. Pack a whistle that is really loud, or some other item that can easily attract attention if you are in any danger. Having some cash in there is a good idea. If you are able to find a store that is open, but is only accepting cash, it will come in handy. Local maps are a good idea to have as GPS systems have a hard time communicating during the bad weather, and you want to make sure you can find where you are in an emergency. A battery powered radio is also key for listening for any weather alerts or other information you might need to know. And lastly, glow sticks, to make sure you and your love ones can be seen in the dark by any vehicles or emergency response teams. Glow bracelets are great for kids as they do not have to hold onto them for a long time and they stay right on the wrist.

Essential Food Items:
Like I mentioned above, if you are traveling to a shelter in an emergency, the shelter you arrive at might not be equipped with the supplies to provide a gluten free community. You need to take some initiative and have some food stored in your emergency supply box. In mine I have a box of gluten free granola bars, a box of gluten free cereal, a pack of gluten free crackers, gluten free cookies, peanut butter, and a few cans of easy-open gluten free soup. You need to keep in mind when packing your food in this box that things like gluten free easy mac will not do because if you have not power, you can't cook it, and there may not be someplace to prepare food at the shelter you are going to. Soups can sometimes be alright if you are ok eating them cold. They are a nice change of pace from eating crackers and granola bars. Just make sure the cans are easy open, or you have a can-opener in the supply box.Also make sure you have some plastic silverware packed in the kit so you can eat whatever you packed. Water bottles are essential. You want to make sure that you have a supply of water in case you don't have access to water for a little while. If you are traveling an evacuation route with everyone else in the county, it's going to take some time, and you want to make sure you keep well hydrated.




Non-Essential, But Very Handy Items

These things are not needed as vitally as the above items, but if you have the room in your kit, they cab become quite handy in an emergency situation. Some of these things can also be essential depending on who is in your household. Remember that this is a loose guide, and the needs of each household vary. Sweaters for each person in the house are good, especially if we get a freak snow storm in October that cuts the power like we did last year. I was quite grateful for my sweaters I had unpacked before the storm. If you have children in your home, you might want to consider packing some form of entertainment for them. handheld devices are one option, but they either need to be charged, or they will suck up your battery supply. If you choose to pack these things make sure you pack extra batteries specifically for the toy. Books are a great idea, or any kind of traveling game. I have a dice game that my friends and I love and it's stored in a cup and you don't need anything else to play! A deck of cards can be handy too for passing the time. A blanket or two can come in handy, and my mom keeps a battery powered lantern in our kit. It helped light up the area we were all in when we had no power. .

Things To Have At Home, But Not In Your Kit
We have a few things that we keep around the house that really came in handy when we had no power. We had little Sterno containers that we could light and cook a small amount of food in my old mess kit from girl scouts. This was good for heading up a can of spaghetti-o's or some water for some tea or coffee. These should not be stored for a long time though or in any place that they might be a danger. Make sure you read the warning labels on the can for proper storage instructions. We also have an emergency plan for our cats. I would never be able to leave my cat behind in an emergency. Make sure you do some research and see what your community's evacuation plan is for pets. Most of the time there is a designated shelter for the pets to go to where they can be safe, and be fed, and you can retrieve them safely from when the danger is over.

I hope that this inspires you to have a kit prepared for an emergency. You don't want to be caught off guard and end up in a bad situation!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wisdom Teeth and Soft Foods

Like most people around my age, I have reached a time when I am in need of having my wisdom teeth removed. Unfortunately it took my wisdom teeth growing in sideways and cracking a molar open for the dentist to go "Ok, this needs to be done now." So tomorrow, I will be going in to get my 3 wisdom teeth removed (the 4th one never developed apparently!), 2 root canals, and I need a bone implant in my upper jaw. I have been on pain killers for the past week for my cracked open tooth, and have been eating all soft and bland foods. For those of you who are on a gluten free diet, you probably know how hard it is to find soft gluten free foods. In case you are ever in need of soft gluten free foods, here are some of the things I have been eating during my dental problems.

1. French Onion Soup
Progresso makes a fantastic gluten free french onion soup. If you purchase the glutano gluten free bagel chips and get some mozzarella cheese, it tastes just like the stuff at the restaurant! The baking of the bagel chips in the soup makes them super super soft, and easy to swallow, and the cheese is just fantastic! Simply pour half of the can of soup in an oven safe bowl, layer some bagel chips on top, and sprinkle with a layer of cheese. Bake in an oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes (until the cheese is melted) and enjoy! It's bland and soft, and super tasty!

2. Mashed Potatoes
Pretty self explanatory. I didn't do anything fancy with it like add garlic or cheese, just a little bit of butter, and a pinch of salt. It was quite nice and comforting on a rainy night.

3. Soup, soup, and more soup
Honestly, I feel like I have spent most of the week eating soup. Thankfully the line of Progresso gluten free soups were on sale at Shaws Supermarkets this week, and I was able to stock up. I was especially a fan of the broccoli cheddar this week, and as mentioned above, the french onion soup.

4. Chocolate Pudding and Cool Whip
The medications they had me on to prevent an infection in my broken tooth left me with a very bitter taste in my mouth all week. This wasn't so pleasant with all the soups I was eating, so I was definitely craving something sweet in a matter of days. I tried a bite of FroYo we had in the fridge and that was a BAD IDEA with a broken tooth. My mom ended up bringing home some chocolate Snack Packs that I kept out of the fridge so they were at room temperature, and some Cool Whip for a nice topping. I was disappointed to find out that Jell-O brand jello is not gluten free, but the pudding seemed to hold me over just fine.

I hope none of you have to go through the tooth pain I have been though this week. Needless to say, I will not be posting for the next few days as I will be in surgery tomorrow, and recovering for a day or two afterwords. I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Coffee: Friend or Foe?

Coffee is one of the top consumed beverage in the United States. Many people rely on it to function in the morning, and some people can't go a few hours without a cup. But for those with Celiacs Disease, it might be something you want to cut from your diet.


According to recent studies by Dr. David Clark, the most common cross-reactor to gluten is coffee. When somebody with celiacs drinks coffee, it can cross-reacts with gluten antibodies. So what does that mean? It basically means that when you ingest coffee, your immune system may mistake these antibodies in your system are gluten, and therefore your body will react as if you have eaten something containing gluten.

I have personally found that these finding are very true to me. Before this study, I had always just thought that I was allergic to coffee as every time I would drink it, I would become violently ill. My allergy tests at the doctors office though would never show an allergy to coffee, but I stayed away from it regardless. These new findings have given me comfort in knowing that my body wasn't reacting to something else, and I will continue to keep coffee out of my diet.

There are ways that your doctor can test you to see if you have this reaction to coffee, but it's extremely expensive and takes time. Most experts just recommend that if you have been diagnosed with Celiacs, that you try and cut coffee from your diet. For those of you that this is asking the impossible, make sure you are cautious of how your body is reacting to the coffee you are drinking. Even though there are no traces of gluten in coffee, if your body is reacting in a negative way, you are causing some major harm to your immune system and your intestine. It's doing the same damage as eating gluten would.

Tea is an excellent substitute for coffee, and is offered in a variety of flavors and styles. I like to treat myself to some good quality, loose leaf teas from Teavana. It's a bit pricey, but the quality is fantastic and worth every penny. Also, they make a coffee like drink from cacao beans that is quite tasty! Make sure to check out your local health food store for some good quality tea and cacao drinks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Caprese Salad

I know I have posted about salads before, but I feel like Caprese salad didn't really fall into that category, and it often gets forgotten.

What is Caprese Salad? it is a wonderful mixture of tomato, mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper. It's super simple, and this time of year when the tomatoes are fresh, it's super delicious! You can combine these ingredients in any form that you would like to make your salad to taste. I like mine with a little more tomato than cheese. It's great to use for a party too! Here are some creative ways to serve it:

Traditional:
Slice the tomato and mozzarella into disks and form a pretty pattern of them around the plate. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sprinkle with basil. Simple as that, and super pretty!


Appetizer Snack:
Use cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls for this one. Cut the tops off of the cherry tomatoes and hollow them out. Stick them on the tops of the skewers. Roll the mozzarella balls in vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and stick on top of the tomato. Sprinkle with shredded basil.


Salad Bowl:
I couldn't for the life of me find the picture that I had of this one, so this version will be without a pic. Use beefsteak tomatoes for this one. Cut the top off of the tomato and hollow it out to make a bowl. Fill your tomato bowl with mini mozzarella balls. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with shreds of basil. Enjoy!

I have tried all three of these and they are all fantastic! They are great at parties! Your guests will be so impressed with your creativity of making these different versions of the salad. Please let me know if you try one of these! I would love to hear from you!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cupcakes That Truly Kickass!

This past week, I have played host to one of my best friends, who is a native to NYC. Since I live in the Boston area, and it was Harborfest this week, we thought it would be fun to explore Boston. We visited the USS Wasp, which was one of the ships docked in Boston this week, and had lunch at Fresh City (that's a post to come later...). After a long day of walking, we needed a sweet fix to get our spirits up, so I decided this was the perfect time to try a new bakery I had been hearing so much about!


Kickass Cupcakes, located in Somrville, MA, is a modest little cupcakes shop that you may miss if you blink walking down the street. But don't let it fool you, it's definitely one of the best bakeries I have visited in a long time. This bakery carries regular glutenous cupcakes of many MANY flavors, cupcakes for pets, and a selection of gluten-free cupcakes.

The woman behind the counter was extremely friendly, and was very helpful in our selection of cupcakes. I purchased the 3 gluten-free cupcakes of the day: chocolate, vanilla, and mojito. My friend purchased some for himself, and for people waiting back home. They were kind enough to pack the gluten-free cupcakes separately, and even label the packages so we could tell the difference.

The first round of cupcakes we had purchased, didn't even make it back home. My friend and I immediately broke into our treasures as soon as we got to the car. He enjoyed a Cinnamon Chai Pecan Sticky cupcake, which he devoured in about 5 seconds. I enjoyed a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, and let me tell you, I was in heaven. First off, finding a bakery that has gluten-free cupcakes on had, that you do not have to pre-order in bulk was already amazing, but the fact that these cupcakes were so fluffy and moist, I found it hard to believe I was eating a gluten-free cupcake! I will admit that I was a little bit of a pig and enjoyed a second cupcake later that day. My boyfriend and I split a mojito cupcake. It was a little strong for my taste as far at eh mojito flavoring goes, but the texture of the cupcakes was just as satisfying as the first. I enjoyed the vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting yesterday. Just as heavenly as the first.


Want to know what's even cooler about this store?? The have a CUPCAKE TRUCK! How cool is that?? They drive this awesomely decorated truck to different locations around Boston to deliver fresh and tasty cupcakes! Also, if you place an order with them, they will deliver them to you! Yay! I know what I am doing for my next party!

If you live in the Boston area, or take a trip out to Boston someday soon, it is a definite must that you check out Kickass Cupcakes. The prices are fantastic, the cupcakes are super tasty, and if you are playing host to people who are not all gluten free, you can mix and match flavors so there is something for everybody to enjoy! I recommend calling them before you head over to check their gluten-free flavor selection for the day. Here is their information:

Kickass Cupcakes
378 Highland Avenue 
Davis Square, Somerville, MA. 
1 (617) 628-2877

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chicken Tarragon

Chicken has become a staple food item in my household. Some nights, it seems like the only food we can all agree on. Here is a recipe of mine, that is on the newer side. I made it the other night and it was fantastic! The leftovers are tasty too!!

12 oz of boneless chicken, your choice in cut (I use chicken tenders)
1/4 C veggie oil
Salt and Pepper
4 tbls gluten free all purpose flour
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 C dry white wine (I like to use a Riesling)
2 1/4 C low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 C chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 C Dijon mustard
2 tbls unsalted butter

In a large pan, heat the oil over a high heat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and 2tbls of the gluten free all purpose flour. Cook the chicken in the pan, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. (note: if the chicken is browned, but not cooked through, it's ok, we are going to cook it a second time!) Remove the chicken from the pan, and set aside.

Lower the temperature under the pan to a medium-high heat. Add the onion to cook, and make sure to season with salt and pepper. Cook onions until softened. Add the garlic to cook for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic becomes aromatic, and turn up the heat to high. Add the wine, and use the liquid to deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. (Make sure it's wood!) Return the chicken pieces to the pan, and slowly add 2 C of the chicken broth and the tarragon. Bring the mixture up to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and let it all simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan, and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 C chicken broth and 2 tbls gluten free all purpose flour until smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the simmering pan. Gently whisk in the Dijon mustard, and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the 2 tbls of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the sauce over chicken, and garnish with tarragon.

The first night I cooked this dish, I served it over rice, and it was divine. The second time I made this dish, I served it over gluten free pasta, and it was like eating a whole new dish! Everyone has their preference, I enjoy the pasta, where my mom enjoys the rice, so make sure to try both!

Happy cooking!

Long Overdue Post, and A Surprise!

Hello everyone! I am sorry I have been MIA. My summer class and my new job were a little overwhelming last month, so my productivity outside of that was at a minimum. On the bright side, I am now done with summer classes and ready to blog!

Although I have not been working directly on my blog, I have been working on a new project. I have decided to write my own gluten free cookbook! This cookbook will feature not only some of my favorite recipes, but guides to eating gluten free, like the ones you have seen featured on this blog. I am going to be posting some of the recipes from the new cookbook here, and I would love for my readers to try a few of them! If you try and of the recipes I post on my blog, at any point, please please please let me know how it turns out! I would love to get feedback from all of you about what I am writing.

I hope summer is treating all of you very well. I have a few recipes to post this week, along with a restaurant review of a new (to my area) Mexican Cantina. 

Keep cooking!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Happy Egg Day!

June 3rd is National Egg Day! Eggs are one of the most versatile foods in the world. They are involved in almost every culture's cooking, and best of all, they are super tasty! However, like any food, there are pros and cons depending on your diet:

The Pros: Eggs are a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Protein and Selenium.
The Cons: Eggs are high in Saturated Fat, and very high in Cholesterol.

The good news is, by eating egg whites (removing the yolk) you can keep the health benefits, and get rid of a major amount of the bad stuff. But unless you are eating a dozen eggs a week, or are on a very strict diet for your health, I don't find it to be much of a problem.

So now, in honor of National Egg Day, I am going to share with you my top 5 favorite ways to prepare eggs!

5. Hard Boiled
Hard boiled eggs have been one of my favorite food for as far back as I can remember. I was that weird kid who collected the hard boiled eggs in the Easter egg hunt so i could eat those. I still picked up chocolate, but I had a lot more real eggs in my basket then plastic ones. Anyways, here is my fool proof way for cooking a hard boiled egg. Take your desired amount of eggs, and put them in the bottom of a sauce pan. Cover the eggs with water until there is at least an inch of water on top of the eggs. Place the pan on the stove, uncovered, and bring to a boil. When the eggs are at a boil, remove from heat, and immediately cover. Let the eggs sit in the water for about 12 minutes. Make sure you rinse the eggs in cold water before you crack them, to avoid burning your fingers. I found that this is the best method because sometimes when I am letting things sit, I forget that they are there. If you use a method of leaving the eggs on a low burner, you're more likely to overcook them, whereas I have left the eggs in a pan for up to 20 minutes before, and they were still not overcooked.

4. Deviled Eggs
I know this is a style of hard boiled eggs, but really, they have their own flavor, and many many ways of mixing them, so I decided they deserved their own category. You are going to start by preparing some hard boiled eggs. Remember that how ever many eggs you prepare, there will be twice as many deviled eggs in the end. Once all your eggs have been peeled, you want to cut your eggs in half the long way (like a hot dog, not a hamburger!) and remove the yolk. Put all the yolks in a mixing bowl and place all the egg whites on the plate you will use for serving. Be careful not to tear your egg whites as we will be adding the filling into them later. In your bowl of egg yolks, you are going to add about a tablespoon of mayo for each egg you boiled. I find that this is a good start for my mayo, especially if I am going to add something like pickles to my mixture, as I do not want it to get too runny. Season your mixture with salt and pepper, and at this point you can add or not add whatever you would like to the mixture. I like to chop up a dill pickle (or two, depending on the day) and mix that in. I also mix in some chopped dill at this point. Once your filling is to your taste, you want to put it into a disposable pastry bag. If you don't have one, you can always use a freezer bag. Cut the tip off of your pastry bag, and gently squeeze the filling into the empty eggs. You can serve as is, or you can do what I do, and sprinkle them with a little paprika.

3. Fried Eggs
Fried eggs are one of the easiest things in the world to cook, and make a great meal. I have found over the years that there are 2 key elements to making the perfect fried egg. The first is your pan. I have a pan that is non stick, and I use nothing but soft utensils in it to make sure the surface is completely smooth. The second thing you need is good lubrication for your pan. I find olive oil or unsalted butter are the absolute best for this. So now that you have your tools, preheat your pan on a medium heat, and add your lubrication to the pan. Crack your egg directly into the pan, and cook until the whites are white. If you are concerned with bacteria, you can cook your yolk till it's solid, but I enjoy a little more runny yolks, so I never keep my egg in the pan long. When your yolk starts to get a darker orange, that's when it's cooking through. Serve alone, with corned beef hash, with toast, or on a toasted waffle. There are so many ways to eat a hard boiled egg! You can't go wrong!

2. Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are usually the first thing we learn how to cook on the stove. Kids love them because you can cover them with cheese, and adults love them because they are quick, easy, and taste really good. Here's my favorite way to prepare scrambled eggs. In a small bowl, crack two eggs and mix with a fork. add about a tablespoon of cream or milk, and mix well with the fork. preheat your pan, and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a super thin layer. Pour in your egg mixture, and immediately add any kind of flavorings/cheeses you would like. I find it's best to add the salt now, because adding salt to the raw eggs too early will change the consistency of the eggs. with a spatchula, continuously scrape the cooked eggs from the bottom of the pan, and mix it with the uncooked eggs. When eggs are fully cooked, serve on a plate, and enjoy! You want to eat the eggs ASAP as scrambled eggs are best when warm.

1. Omelets
Omelets are wonderful because there is an endless amount of things you can add into them. I love having leftovers from holidays because I always get up before the family the next morning and making omelets from the leftovers. It's become a tradition at the family holidays. I start off by mixing my eggs the same way I did with the scrambled eggs, and heating the pan in the same way. I pour the egg mix into the pan and tilt the pan so that the entire bottom of the pan is evenly coated in egg. Let the egg cook enough that you can gently slide your spatchula under the eggs, and the layer doesn't tear. take your filling, and line it down the middle of the eggs. Then, carefully, flip the edges of the eggs over the filling to wrap your omelet. This can take some practice, but one you get it, it's super easy! Serve warm and enjoy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wegmans: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

As you may have seen in my earlier post, I made a lovely venture with my mother and brother to Wegmans this morning. Now that things are unpacked, I have a tummy full of sushi, and my socks are finally dry (it's pouring rain here!) I figures I would let you all know how the trip went.

The Good:

  • I got individual packs of gluten free Annie's mac and cheese. It's kinda like easy mac, but better!
  • FRESH SUSHI! OMG it was so tasty. One of the best rolls I have had in forever!
  • Mom got spicy chicken curry salad. She's loving it!
  • It wasn't as crowded as it normally was!
  • There were "Gluten Free" labels EVERYWHERE!
  • They have a huge selection of fresh berries right now. Got some raspberries!

The Bad:

  • Our savings this time were not nearly as good as last time. 
  • I got cut off buy a number of small children, and nearly ran into a few who were lying/sitting on the floor. (where were their parents?!?!)
  • After insisting that she got every single cold item into the freezer bags, the cashier packed some clearly cold items in with some warm and chemical items. Awesome....
  • No gluten free burger or hotdog buns :(

The Ugly:

  • Our cashier packed as many cold items into our freezer bag as she could and a number of items were horribly mangled and/or destroyed when we got home. Poor Gluten-Free pie crust..you never got to be tasty pie...
  • An employee yelled at my mom for pulling towards the curb to grab the groceries.
  • My European candy bars got crushed on the ride home :(
  • I am not sure what it is, but there is something slimy on the outside of my pasta sauce jar...it wasn't like that when it went in the bag...
  • The cans of cat food all got dented really bad, and some of them can't stack. Thankfully, none of the seals are broken on them.

An Early Morning Adventure

So it's a little after 7am here, and I am about to head out the door to go food shopping. Now I know what you are thinking: Why in the world would you get up early ON A SATURDAY just to go food shopping?? I can sum it up in one word:



Wegmans is the bomb-diggity (that's right, I said it!). On a whim last night, mom and I decided to save our grocery shopping for today and go to Wegmans because 1) The prices are AMAZING 2) The food is AMAZING 3) They offer a rather large selection of Gluten Free food. (Oh! And they are AMAZING!).

Now again, I bet you are wondering "But still, why so early?" Well this my friends, is because like any kind of good products that go on sale, like Black Friday for example, there will be crowds full of soccer moms with no mercy shopping in the isles, and well, I would like to park closer than a mile to the store. So off we go! I'll report on my trip when I get back!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Shopping Gluten Free and Buying Local

Ok, so I know buying local isn't something that is strict to eating gluten-free, but you might find that it makes your experience in finding gluten free food a little easier. Not to mention, when you buy certain products locally like eggs, milk, meat, and other animal products, you are taking a stand against animal cruelty in factory farms.

So today is Friday, which means it's pay day! First thing we do with a pay day in my house? Stock up food stuffs. With a boy in the house who has the appetite of a teenager, we make sure we stock up well too, or we can easily go hungry.

Our first stop will be to ROOTS Natural Foods in Leominster, MA (http://www.rootsnaturalfoods.com). I have been going to ROOTS since I first found out I was gluten-free. The staff there are extremely helpful, and some of them are gluten free themselves, and offer their experiences and advice. Everything in the store is local, which is totally awesome, and they have lots of options for all sorts of  diet needs. My boyfriend and I often frequent there when we want to make a dinner together as I am gluten free and he's a vegetarian.
My absolute favorite part of ROOTS is in the summer, they hold a giant festival called ROOTS-Fest! They have all the local suppliers for their store have booths all over the giant lot and into the store. You get to meet the people behind the products, and try lots of new things! Some of them even bring their animals! (Totally cool for chickens and cows, not so much the bees!) They throw a giant BBQ for all those attending, and they make sure there is food for every kind of diet there! Everything is very clearly labeled for all the different diets in attendance, so you know what you are eating is gluten free, or vegan. You can be sure you'll see more info about that as ROOTS-Fest approaches this summer!
So by the end of my prowl through the isles of ROOTS, I usually have 1-2 loaves of gluten free bead, some kind of cookie, and whatever I happen to find in the clearance rack. My mother and I then hop into the car, and off we go to the next store!

Now as I continue this next section, I want to explain. I know that Shaws is not a local store, and they carry many products that are not cruelty free, but my younger brother is not someone who is really proactive about that kind of stuff, and is extremely picky about what foods he eats, so off to Shaws we go!
We start in produce, and usually get a good pile of things there, depending on what is in season, and what actually looks like decent food. (some weeks we get avocado, some weeks....not so much...)
Depending on my brother's mood, my mom will stop at the deli. Some weeks he wants sandwiches everyday, other weeks the meat goes to spoil, so we judge that each trip. We then grab a nice big tub of hummus (YUM!) and head off to, what I like to call, "the rest of the world isle". I love looking at all the flags and symbols all over the isle. For that one section, it's like I'm in a completely different store. I buy LOTS of rices, beans, and corn tortillas (make sure you check the labels!!) On nights that my mom and brother are enjoying a glutenous meal, I often enjoy eating a burrito of some sort.
I'll spare you the middle part of the trip, which involves zombie-like walking down the middle isles, looking for good snacks and sales, and we come to the reduced price items. I wanna to stop right here and point out that reduced price items don't mean they are about to spoil. Sometimes it means the bought WAY TOO MUCH of that product, and need to get rid of it. Once in a while, I get lucky and they have something like gluten-free cookies or donuts chilling there (yay!!), and other weeks, it's Easter candy from 2 months ago....
Then we swoop by dairy so mom can grab her soy creamer (my mother is lactose intolerant) and off we go to the checkout. (make sure you have your reusable grocery bags!!!)

Then we bring things home, because who wants froyo soup??? (ok so I might, but my brother might not...) And depending on the time, one of two things happens. If it's early enough, we go hit up a farmer's market and see what's for sale. I usually like to save this for Saturday mornings, but who am I to ever say no to a farmer's market?? If it's late though, we just make some dinner and try and get all work/homework done before Saturday hits.

Farmer's Markets in my area, unfortunately, are often pretty tiny. Although we live in an area where there are a number of farms, a lot of them bring their produce to the markets in the city, and we have to travel a distance to get to then. Fortunately, my mother has promised me a Haymarket trip in the next month! YAY!! For those of you who are not from the Boston area, Haymarket is a MASSIVE farmer's market where you can find ANYTHING at really great prices!! Julia Child often visited Haymarket when she lived in the Boston area. I will make sure to take lots of pictures and report back to you all on my trip there!

I'm going to be honest, I am not sure how much this post is going to help you if you do not live in my area, but maybe it will inspire you to visit a more local store, or explore a festival nearby this summer! If you do live in my area, I will be posting info about ROOTS-Fest as they announce more info, and I think it would be great if you came down and gave it a try!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Candy Man Can!

Recently, I was talking with a friend from college who is still learning the ropes of gluten free eating. We talked about things like cookies, soup, and other tasty things, and then we started talking about candy. Candy can be a really funny thing when it comes to eating gluten. Things that you wouldn't expect to contain gluten have secret glutenous ingredients, and things that you would expect to have gluten in them, sometimes are actually gluten free. So how does one keep them straight? Well you could spend hours standing in the candy isle of your locan grocery store reading label after label, hoping that one of those chemicals you can't pronounce isn't actually gluten in disguise, or you can go prepared!


Over Christmas break, I spent an entire weekend researching what candies are gluten free, and what are not (all while watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory!). I came up with quite the extensive list. I keep a copy of it on my ipod at all times so that I can always reference it at the store. This list also comes in handy each fall when Halloween rolls around. I always have a bucket labeled GLUTEN FREE CANDY in my selections, and a number of the parents in my neighborhood are quite grateful. I try to give those kids an extra piece of candy since they usually have to get rid of half the candy when they get home. (I also do a nut free bucket of candy)

So here I have for you, a lovely list of gluten free candy. I will list the Gluten Free, Gluten Free but Processed in Facilities that Contain Wheat, and the DO NOT EAT candies. I hope you find this helpful!!

Gluten Free Candy

  • 3 Musketeers, 3 Musketeers Mint
  • Altoids (except for Altoids Small Peppermints)
  • Andes Creme de Menthe
  • Applehead
  • Baby Bottle Pops
  • Baby Ruth
  • Blow Pops
  • Butterfinger
  • Candy Necklaces
  • Charleston Chew
  • Cherryhead
  • Circus Peanuts
  • CremeSavers
  • Disney Lollipop Rings
  • Dots
  • Dove Milk Chocolate, Dove Dark Chocolate, Dove Caramel Milk Chocolate, Dove Peanut Butter
  • Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum
  • Dum Dums
  • Good & Fruity
  • Grapehead
  • Haribo Gold-Bears
  • Heath Minis
  • Hershey Bliss, Hershey White Chocolate Bliss
  • Hershey Kisses, Special Dark Kisses, Kisses Air Delight, Kisses Almond, Kisses Pumpkin Spice
  • Hershey Milk Chocolate Bars, Milk Chocolate Bars with Almonds
  • Hot Tamales
  • Hubba Bubba Gum, Bubble Tape
  • Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
  • Jet-Puffed Boo Mallows and Ghost Mallows
  • Jolly Rancher Hard Candy and Hard candy Sticks, Jolly Rancher Doubles, Jolly Rancher Pops, Jolly Rancher Mini-Stix, Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews
  • Junior Mints
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Lemonhead, Chewy Lemonhead and Friends, Tropical Chewy Lemonhead and Friends
  • Lifesavers Hard Candy, Lollipops, Gummies, Big Ring Gummies
  • M&M's Plain, Mint Thrills, Peanut, Peanut Butter
  • Marvel Super Hero Candy
  • Mike & Ike
  • Milk Duds
  • Milky Way Midnight Bar 
  • Mr.Goodbar
  • Necco Wafers
  • Now and Later, Now and Later Soft
  • Pay Day
  • Peanut Chews Original and Milk Chocolate
  • Peeps Pumpkins and Ghosts, Peeps Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Covered Pumpkins
  • Pez, Pez Sourz
  • Push Pops
  • Raisinets
  • Red Hots
  • Red Raspberry Dollars
  • Reese's Cups, Reese's Pieces, Reese's Fast Break Candy Bars
  • Ring Pops
  • Rolo
  • Sixlets Candy Coated Chocolate Flavored Candy
  • Skittles, Skittle Sour, Skittle Crazy Cores
  • Smarties (US only, not Canada), Giant Smarties, Mega Smarties, Bubble Gum Smarties, Love Hearts, Smarties in a Pouch, Tropical Smarties, X-TREME Sour Smarties, Easter Smarties, Smarties Parties, Smarties Double Lollies, Smarties Mega Lollies, Smarties Pops, Giant Smarties Pops
  • Snickers, Snickers Almond
  • Sour Patch Kids, Sour Patch Kids Extreme
  • Star Wars Lollipops
  • Starburst
  • Sugar Babies, Sugar Mamas, Sugar Daddies
  • Super Bubble, Super Bubble Blast
  • Swedish Fish
  • Tootsie Rolls, Tootsie Pops
  • Warheads
  • York Peppermint Patties

Gluten Free but Processes in Facilities that Contain Wheat

  • Bottlecaps
  • Brach's Candy Corn, Gummi Candy Corn, Caramel Candy Corn, Caramel Apple Candy Cirn, Mellowcreme Pumpkin, Indian Corn
  • Everlasting Gobstoppers
  • Fun Dip
  • Jujyfruits, Jujubes
  • M&M's Coconut
  • Nerds, Giant chewy Nerds
  • Pixy Stix
  • Runts, Chewy Runts
  • Russell Stover Marshmallow Pumpkin, Orange Marshmallow Pumpkin, Marshmallow Football, Coconut Cream Pumpkin
  • SpongeBob Gummy Krabby Patties
  • Spree, Chewy Spree
  • Sweetarts, Mini Chewy Sweetarts
  • Trolli Gummy Bears, Sour Brite (Frite) Crawlers

DO NOT EAT

  • 100 Grand
  • Butterfinger Crisp
  • Good & Plenty
  • Hershey's Cookies & Creme Candy Bar
  • Hershey's Minatures
  • Kit Kats
  • Lindt Chocolate
  • Milky Way Candy Bar
  • Nestle Crunch Candy Bars
  • Reese's Sticks Wafer Bars
  • Take 5
  • Twix
  • Twizzlers
  • Whoppers

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Know Your Symbols

Recently, I was visiting my local health food store, and I started seeing signs in food displays that looked like this:



As you may have guessed from the symbol, this means that the product is wheat free. But do not be fooled by this symbol people! If you are on a gluten free diet, these foods might still be harmful to you. I picked up a loaf of bead that was labeled with this symbol, and realized the first ingredient was Spelt. For those of you who don't know, spelt comes from a wheat like plant, and although most people with wheat allergies can tolerate spelt, if you are on a gluten free diet, it will make you quite sick!

If you want to make sure that your food is 100% gluten free, this is the symbol you want to look for:



This symbol is the trademark of the GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization) and it's your key to finding truly gluten free food. The GFCO has set a specific set of standards for a company to meet in order to carry their seal. It is very strict, but that guarantees that you, the customer, will be safe from any gluten contaminates. The GFCO is a program of the GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) and if you are gluten free and have not visited their site before, I highly recommend you do. They can provide you with a lot of information about what to look for when purchasing gluten free food, and can supply you with databases of recipes and restaurants that are certified gluten free. 

I hope this is helpful to you in your shopping, and if you need more information on certified gluten free food, please visit GIG (http://www.gluten.net/) or visit GFCO (http://www.gfco.org/). 

About Eating Out

Good morning blog world!
It is a dull and grey morning here in Massachusetts! I have a long and busy day ahead of me, and that means I can either decide to carry my lunch box around with me all day, or find somewhere to eat out. Most likely, I am going to eat out today. For those of you who are new to eating out gluten free, or just haven't gotten a handle on it yet, here's some tips to keep you going:

1. Always ask if there is a gluten free menu available. My dad took me out to lunch over the weekend to a place in Waltham, MA called the Chateau, and they did not advertise that they had a gluten free menu, but when I asked, they produced a very well put together menu for me! In fact, it was one of the best gluten free menus I had ever seen! And the food was just divine! So always ask! The worst that can happen is they don't have one.

2. On the chance that the establishment you are eating at doesn't have a gluten free menu, immediately let your server know that you have a gluten allergy, and you are concerned about your meal. A lot of the time your waiter will look at you like you have three heads. Unfortunately working in the food industry has not made them more aware of gluten free diets. Thankfully, their first instinct when they hear the key term "allergy" is to get a manager, or a chef. The will comes ask you about your diet, and most of them are more than happy to provide you with a meal you can eat. I have made friends with a number of the chefs in my area because of this, and they love it when I come to visit! Most restaurants have a menu that doesn't change very often, and can often limit the chef's creative skills. Letting the chef of a restaurant create a special dish for you is a welcome change in their workday, and they are often very excited to try a new challenge.

3. Just stay away from fast food. Legit. The only thing you are going to find you can eat is either a baked potato, which you can get at a nicer restaurant for about the same price, or you can get the burger patty without the bun. Believe me, it's just as greasy and disgusting as it sounds. If you are really really in a hurry and just don't have time to go somewhere else, Wendy's has baked potatoes you can eat, but outside of that, you need to be extremely careful.

4. Be careful of gluten free claims. California Pizza Kitchen recently had to recall their gluten free pizza crust because it was being made in the same area as glutenous pizza, and was therefore, being contaminated. A number of people got really sick before the crust was recalled. Domino's Pizza just released a gluten free crust, but they have a huge disclaimer stating that the pizza is made in the same kitchen as the glutenous pizza, and they can't promise that it won't get contaminated. On that note, when going to a chain restaurant with a gluten free claim PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your research!! I'll try and provide more information about these claims in my blog, so you can be more aware of them, but please try and look at a company's website before you eat there.

Alright blog world. I am off into the real world for the day! I'll check out any comments you leave me during my breaks between errands. Happy eating!

Monday, May 28, 2012

PO-TA-TOS

So it's that wonderful time of year again. The flowers are out, farmers markets are starting to come to life, and every night you can open a window and smell the lovely aroma of somebody cooking on the grill. I love cooking on the grill. Cooking gluten free foods is easy and simple on the grill. But every grill dish needs a side. My go-to food happens to be:


Potatoes are an amazing food that are insanely versatile. There are many different kinds of potatoes, and all of them are just so wonderful. Alton Brown has had a number of episodes on his show Good Eats dedicated to the spuds. Here are my 5 favorite ways to prepare potatoes:


5. Home Fries:
At breakfast time, nothing is better in my mind than some fried eggs, and a nice pile of home fries. They are super easy to make, and are, in my mind, one of the best comfort foods out there. All you have to do is pick your favorite potato (I often use Idaho Baking Potatoes) and dice them up to bite sized pieces. Sprinkle your potatoes with salt, pepper, and whatever spices you desire, and toss into a well oiled pan. Cook the potatoes until golden brown on the outsides and enjoy your tasty dish!

4. French Fries:
I know, they are similar to home fries, but I feel that they deserve their own category. Especially since I usually end up using different kinds of potatoes for french fries then I would for my home fries. And just like the home fries, they are super easy! Again, pick your favorite potato (for french fries, I like to use sweet potatoes) and slice them into wedges. I like to make mine on the thinner side as I like them more crispy than squishy. Season your wedges with salt, pepper, and whatever other spices you desire. Toss the potatoes in some olive oil, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Put in an oven that has been heated to 350, and cook until golden. I like to check on them every 10 minutes and sometime give them a little shake to avoid them sticking to the pan. 

3. Mashed Potatoes:
Who doesn't love a good pile of mashed potatoes on their plate? Mashed potatoes always remind me of dinner with my grandparents. My Gram always makes the creamiest, butteriest potatoes in the world. I swear I gain 10 pounds from the potatoes alone when I eat dinner with her. The wonderful thing about mashed potatoes is that you can flavor is with many different things depending on what you are eating. Start by peeling potatoes, if you care to (some people enjoy leaving their skins on potatoes, just make sure you clean them off first!). Slice potatoes into large chunks, and boil them in a pot. When you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork, strain the chunks and add them to a large bowl. Then, using your favorite mashing tool, mash your potatoes to desired consistency. at this stage you will need to add some sort of milk, butter, or cream to make it a creamy consistency. At this point you can add many different things, such as cheese, sour cream, chives, or bacon. 

2. Baked Potatoes:
This is probably the quickest way to make a potato, especially if you use a microwave. Simply wash off your potato of choice, pierce with a fork in several areas, and pop into the microwave for about 4 minutes. Some microwaves come with a setting where you can pick your potato and how many you are microwaving. Theses are awesome. When your potato can be easily pierced with a fork, it is ready to eat. Split the potato open and top with your favorite toppings!

1. Potato Salad:
My absolutely favorite way to eat potatoes are in potato salad. On a hot night where I really don't feel like cooking a bowl of cold potato salad is the best thing. Start by picking your favorite potato, and dice them to bite sized pieces. Boil them in a pot until they are tender. drain them and run them under cold water to stop them from over cooking and to cool them down. In a large bowl mix mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, pickles and dill into a dressing to taste. I like to use dill pickles as they compliment the taste of the dill and vinegar. Toss half the potatoes with the mixture, and after that is well mixed, add the second half of the potatoes and mix. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. 

Summer Time Fun!

Hey everyone! School is out for the summer, and it's time for some serious blogging! Here are some gluten-free summer tips for you:

1. It's BBQ season! Make sure when you are invited to a BBQ, that you always offer to bring something to eat. Often times when people who do not have a gluten allergy are hosting a BBQ, they get whatever hotdogs or burgers are on sale, and a majority of the time, those include fillers, and are not gluten free. Also, that potato salad that everyone is raving about that your Aunt made? There is a very good chance she used a spice packet, which 90% of them include MSG (a really big NO NO for those on a gluten free diet). Show how do you cope?? I often offer to bring things like potato salad, or cole slaw, or even bring my own hot dogs. Most hosts are more than happy to throw something of yours on the grill. Make sure you bring enough to share!

2. Beach parties! I. LOVE. BEACH. PARTIES. 99% of the time, the food is gluten free. Why? SEAFOOD! Seafood, for those of you who do not have an allergy to it, is a wonderful summer food (or just food in general). Beach parties often include clam bakes, or lobster boils or all sorts of delicious foods that are simply roasted or boiled or steamed in their natural state! It's wonderful for those who have picky diets, as the only ingredients are the seafood and the pounds of butter you will be soaking it all in.

3. Picnicking in the park?? If you live in the Boston area, there is a wonderful summer event I love to attend called Shakespeare on the Common. It's a wonderful production of a Shakespeare play on the Boston Commons, and the best part is, you get to bring your own food and drinks! This is the perfect opportunity for you to show off some awesome gluten free recipes to your friends! I recommend investing in some Chinese food takeout boxes (I get mine at a local craft store), instead of packing large bowls of things and serving them onto plates. It's less stuff to clean  up, and everyone enjoys getting their own little takeout box to eat from!

I'll post some blog entries this week with some picnic ideas and some more fun summer recipes. Also, I'll be posting about some tasty gluten free summery drinks! Hope you are all staying cool!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

OMG I'm back!!

Hello everyone!!

I know it's been a really long time since I have posted, and I am so sorry! The first few weeks I was actually unable to access my account. Something got messed up with my password and whatever but it's all fixed now!!!

Then the papers started.....oh how I love the end of the semester. I will not be posting often for the next few weeks, as I am in the last of my semester BUT graduation is right around the corner, and there will be lots of blogging to be done!! I planted an herb garden last week that I will update you all on, and of course, I will be letting you all know very soon about my gluten-free adventures at Foxwoods and Cape Cod.

Thank you so much for being so patient with me! I promise there will be some fun things here soon!

Happy Cooking!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vacation is all I ever wanted!


What's the best part about being a college student in spring?? SPRING BREAK! WOO!! I am going away for 3 days with my boyfriend! We are spending a day in Connecticut at Foxwoods Resort and Casino, and then we are heading down to Truro, MA. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the layout of Massachusetts, Truro is on Cape Cod, almost all the way to the end of the hook.

But I know what you are thinking. "It's really hard to eat gluten free! Especially when you go on vacation because you may not be familiar with the area!" Well that's where the research comes in!! I called down to Foxwoods a few days ago and asked if they could recommend a place for me to eat while I was staying there. First the recommended California Pizza Kitchen. While that is all well in good, after recent findings that their gluten free pizza, wasn't REALLY gluten free, and has made a number of people sick, I feel that I would be comfortable eating at another establishment. I was then told that the Veranda Cafe offers an extensive gluten free menu, so there is probably where we will venture to.

As for our trip down to Cape Cod, that might be slightly easier. We will be staying with my grandparents in their house (in which you can see the beach from your dinning room seat!!) and therefore there will be a kitchen made available to me. My grandparents, however, do not eat gluten free, so we will have to make a pit stop along the way. Lucky for me, Cape Cod is one of the highly populated health food areas in all of Massachusetts, so finding gluten free food should not be a huge problem. In fact, we pass a Trader Joe's about a half an hour before we get to my grandparent's house, so we will most likely stock up on goods there. This is handy not only for my gluten free diet, but Andrew is a vegetarian, so we can make sure we both have plenty to eat. We'll probably grab a treat for my grandparents too. Who doesn't love a treat from Trader Joe's??? :)

So for all of you who are on vacation this week, please remember to be safe, and have lots of fun!! I'll report back more on my vacation on Thursday morning!! There will be pictures and everything!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bagel Chips and Bruschetta!

YUM! Two things that I had completely given up hope on. Then I found these super tasty Bagel Chips by Glutino. Although Glutino makes some rather stale products, when a product needs to be stale/crunchy, they are pretty much right on target! The first bag of bagel chips I got, I downed with a container of hummus. One box is exact for 1 8oz container of Joseph's Garlic Lover's Hummus if anyone was wondering....

Then I decided to start cooking with them!! I stayed within my month theme of vegetarian food with it. There were some recipes on the back of the box, and after playing around with one of them in the kitchen, this is my version of it:



Ingredients:
1 box Glutino Bagel Chips
3 Ripe Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Teaspoon Chopped Fresh Basil
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your broiler on high. Arrange the bagle chips in a single layer on the baking sheet. Slice tomato into large sections, and carefully remove the seeds. Dice the tomatoes and add them into a bowl. Mince the garlic, chop the basil, and add to the tomatoes. Add olive oil, and mix well. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the bagel chips. Place under your broiler for 7-10 minutes. Make sure to keep your eye on them, as they can burn really easily! Enjoy warm.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe! I liked it very much, and can't wait to serve it at my next party!! :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Simple Salad

There are just some days that ones doesn't really feel like cooking much...unfortunately, one still has to eat. So what's to do? On a college budget, most rely on fast food. unfortunately, with a gluten free diet, that is pretty much out unless you want a burger patty with some veggies on top (Believe me, it's as disgusting as it sounds). So what to do? Whip yourself up a salad! All you need are a few base ingredients, and you can add whatever you would like to it to make a tasty flavor combination!


Just start with a bed of greens. That's it. You can choose what kind of greens you enjoy. They come in theses handy bags that are all ready to be tossed into your bowl right in the produce section of your favorite grocer!

Here are some suggested topping combinations:

Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, feta, and a vinaigrette
Leftover grilled chicken, parm cheese, Cesar dressing
Eggs, bacon bits, and ranch dressing
Leftover taco meat, tomatoes, cheese, avocado, and ranch dressing

There are an endless amount of possibilities when it comes to salad, and they can be quite satisfying with the right ingredients. It's also a good way to use up some of those leftovers that have been chilling in your fridge. So be creative and have fun with your salad!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

For the Month of March

I've decided to do a new thing, where I will feature a cookbook each month, and try to do a number of recipes from it, but with a gluten-free spin! This month, I've decided to do The Vegetarian Bible: From the Earth to the Table.

I got this book recently at Barns and Noble because my boyfriend, Andrew, is a vegetarian, and my range of vegetarian recipes was very limited. I am hoping this book will be able to provide me with recipes that the both of us can enjoy.

This is something new I am trying out with the blog, so please let me know what you think about it as the month progresses!