December 16, 2010

We have a winner!

Thank you everyone for entering the Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? Giveaway Galore on my site. There was an overwhelming response and after reading all of your comments, I wish I could give away a copy to everyone. Your comments and stories about your little celiacs were so sweet and I'm happy this book is finally available for them. It definitely makes them understand and feel special about their gluten free diet.

Unfortunately there could only be one winner. Without further ado....


Congratulations to Sarah Schwartz, number #84! She left the comment:


This is absolutely perfect for my daycare provider! She has celiac disease
and her 3 yr old was recently diagnosed. She would be able to share this
information with all the kids in her daycare and teach them about it!
What a wonderful way to share this gift! Thanks for entering, Sarah! Check your inbox, I'll be contacting you soon.


If you weren't a winner for this giveaway you can still purchase Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? from Katie Chalmers' website. It'll make the perfect stocking stuffer goodie!

December 1, 2010

Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? GIVEAWAY GALORE!!

"Mommy, what is celiac disease?"

How many parents had to answer that question? How do you explain everything that celiac disease entails to a young child? There are dozens of books that list symptoms, foods that are safe and those that should be avoided, recipes, tips for traveling, etc., but can you think of any that are geared towards children? Drawing a blank?

Luckily new author, Katie Chalmers, fills that void with her new children's book, Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? The story of a little girl and her mother playing at the park while talking about celiac answers the common questions that kids may have when they first learn they've been diagnosed with the disease. Which snacks are OK, can they still eat cake and ice cream at birthday parties, and what about sandwiches and fried foods? They all get answered.

The scientific aspects of gluten also get discussed. What gluten is, how it effects your body, and how to follow a gluten free diet are all mentioned. The book ends with a resource page and Chalmers' favorite gluten free go-to products.

I thought this book was adorable. Not only is the quizzical little girl darling, but the story explains celiac disease in the simplest of ways. While reading I thought to myself, "This book would be great for adults too!" I've had several encounters with people that just didn't get it. Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? breaks it down, making it understandable for anyone.



Now for the moment you've all been waiting for! As promised, I've teamed up with some really wonderful gluten free bloggers to bring you the "Gluten Free Holiday Giveaway Galore"!

Enter here and at any of the other blogs to win 1 of 10 holiday gift bags with a signed copy of Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? You can only win once no matter how many times you enter, but the more blogs you visit and enter, the greater your chances are of winning!


ALL TEN PRIZES WILL CONTAIN:
• A signed copy of Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?
Schar 123 Milly PlayMais- dice game & biodegradable natural toy activity brick set
Schar products: Cheese Bites, Chocolate -or- Vanilla Sandwich Creme Cookies, Hazelnut Wafers
• Pamela’s Products: Single Serve Pancake Mix, Single Serve Brownie Mix, Dark Chocolate
Chocolate Chunk Cookie two-pack, Tablespoon/teaspoon measuring spoon, kids sized t-shirt- color will vary
• Nature’s Path: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs & crispy rice bars- flavors will vary, $1 off coupons
• Mary’s Gone Crackers: one of the following: box of cookies -or- crackers -or- Sticks & Twigs
• Snyder’s of Hanover: bag of gluten-free pretzel sticks
Chebe: pizza crust mix -or- all purpose bread mix
• Bob’s Sweet Stripes: one bag of soft peppermint candy sticks
• Stuffed teddy bear: colors will vary
• Holiday pencils, eraser, holiday notepad, plastic snowman cereal bowl & star decoration
• Large holiday gift bag, small holiday gift bag & tissue paper- will need to be assembled to give as gift
* Contents may vary slightly as described above.


To enter
Mandatory entry - Please tell me why you'd like to win this book and gift bag. You MUST include your email address, twitter handle, or any means of contact. If you don't, I will not be able to notify you if you've won!

Additional entries
If you enter these ways you must come back and tell me what you did!
Enter at the other Blogs
To increase your chances of winning, visit these other great gluten free blogs and enter their giveaway!

Accustomed Chaos | hosted by Devan
www.accustomedchaos.com

Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom | hosted by Heidi
www.adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com

Be Free For Me | hosted by Kathleen
www.befreeforme.com

Celiac Family | hosted by Heather
http://celiacfamily.com

Gluten Free Easily (gfe) | hosted by Shirley
www.glutenfreeeasily.com

Gluten Free is Life | hosted by Kim
www.glutenfreeislife.com

Gluten Free Philly | hosted by Michael
www.glutenfreephilly.com

Gluten Free Taste of Home | hosted by Cinde
www.glutenfreetasteofhome.blogspot.com

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free | hosted by Amy
www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com



Rules & The Fine Print
• All 10 of these contests are open to residents of the USA. Only the Accustomed Chaos and Gluten Free Easily contests are also open to Canadian residents.
• All 10 contests begin on Wed. Dec. 1, 2010 and will end on Wed. Dec. 15, 2010 at 10pm EST.
• Entrant requirements will vary between bloggers. Please follow their directions to enter.
• Entrants can only win once total within all 10 giveaways. If anyone is chosen more than once as a winner, another winner will be chosen so everyone only wins once.
• One winner per household.
• Winners with valid entries will be selected at random. The winners will be announced and notified via email and must reply within 24 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen, in order that all prizes will arrive before Christmas. So please remember to check your email on Dec.16th.
• If any of the 10 prizes do not arrive before Christmas because of any unforeseen holiday mail rush problems, the USPS, Katie Chalmers and hosting bloggers will not be held accountable.

November 28, 2010

Live Gluten Freely Giveaway Winner and a New Giveaway Coming Soon!

The winner of the Live Gluten Freely product box is #26 - Christy. Christy said:
I would LOVE to win this gluten free product box. My 10 year old was diagnosed with Celiac disease just a few days ago and having a product pack like this right before Christmas would be a Godsend. The only product listed that we have eaten before was the Honey Nut Chex and the Fruit by the Foot. I'd have to say our favorite (kids choice) would be the fruit by the foot and gummies. I would love for us to have the opportunity to try the dessert mixes and pancakes too. It's awesome that products like these are becoming more mainstream.
Congratulations, Christy! I'll be contacting you soon for your mailing address.

If you weren't a winner for this giveaway, you'll be happy to hear that I've teamed up with 9 other gluten free bloggers to help Katie Chalmers, author of Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?, give away 10 holiday giftbags loaded with gluten free goodies and treats, including a signed copy of her book. The giveaway doesn't start until December 1st, but here's the official press release:


Win 1 of 10 holiday gift bags loaded with gluten-free goodies & treats for Celiac children, plus signed copies of Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?

Katie Chalmers, Author and Illustrator of the unique new book, Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? is offering (think: perfect gift!) the “Gluten-Free Holiday Giveaway Galore x10!” to 10 lucky winners.

Photo of prize will appear on Dec. 1st. Expect it to include her family's favorite gluten-free foods from Schar, Pamela's Products, Nature's Path, Chebe, Snyder's of Hanover, Mary's Gone Crackers, plus some fun & sweet surprises for kids.

10 popular gluten-free/celiac bloggers will be graciously hosting these giveaways on the following websites from Wed. Dec. 1 - Wed. Dec. 15, 2010:

Accustomed Chaos | hosted by Devan
www.accustomedchaos.com

Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom | hosted by Heidi
www.adventuresofaglutenfreemom.com

Be Free For Me | hosted by Kathleen
www.befreeforme.com

Celiac Family | hosted by Heather
http://celiacfamily.com

Gluten Free Betsy | hosted by Betsy
www.glutenfreebetsy.com

Gluten Free Easily (gfe) | hosted by Shirley
www.glutenfreeeasily.com

Gluten Free is Life | hosted by Kim
www.glutenfreeislife.com

Gluten Free Philly | hosted by Michael
www.glutenfreephilly.com

Gluten Free Taste of Home | hosted by Cinde
www.glutenfreetasteofhome.blogspot.com

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free | hosted by Amy
www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com
Contest Rules:
• All 10 of these contests are open to residents of the USA. Only the Accustomed Chaos contest is also open to Canadian residents.
• All 10 contests begin on Wed. Dec. 1, 2010 and will end on Wed. Dec. 15, 2010 at 10pm EST.
• Entrant requirements will vary between bloggers. Please follow their directions to enter.
• One entry allowed per blog. Entrants can only win once total within all 10 giveaways. If anyone is chosen more than once as a winner, another winner will be chosen so everyone only wins once.
• One winner per household.
• Winners with valid entries will be selected at random. The winners will be announced and notified via email and must reply within 24 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen, in order that all prizes will arrive before Christmas. So please remember to check your email on Dec.16th.
• If any of the 10 prizes do not arrive before Christmas because of any unforeseen holiday mail rush problems, the USPS, Katie Chalmers and hosting bloggers will not be held accountable.

November 21, 2010

Live Gluten Freely Giveaway

Did you know that General Mills offers over 300 affordable gluten free products with most, if not all, of them found right in your local grocery store? It's true! And not too long ago General Mills launched Live Gluten Freely, an online community dedicated to providing customers with gluten free product lists, news, and more.

The site lists all of the gluten free products in the General Mills family, offers recipes using those products, and even includes recommendations such as gluten free books, associations, and advice from bloggers.

You can even interact with them on Facebook and sign up for their monthly newsletter for the latest gluten free news and information.

Recently Live Gluten Freely sent me their gluten free product box AND one to give away to one of my readers. This box was filled with several of the gluten free products they offer. It's great for anyone who is new to the gluten free diet or if you're looking for a gift to give your favorite gluten free foodie.

My favorite item included was the Betty Crocker brownie mix. It's one of the best gluten free mixes I've had and it's sooooo good!! If you haven't had it yet, you must! Perhaps even make these Peppermint Patty Brownies!

To enter to win the Live Gluten Freely gluten free product box, please leave a comment below telling me why you'd love to win this and what your favorite gluten free General Mills product is. YOU MUST LEAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS WITH YOUR ENTRY. How else am I gonna let you know you won?

For additional ways to win, you can get one entry for each of the following:
  • "Like" Live Gluten Freely on Facebook, then come back and leave a comment saying you did so.
  • Sign up for the Live Gluten Freely monthly newsletter, then come back and leave a comment saying you did so.
  • "Like" Gluten Free Betsy on Facebook then come back and leave a comment saying you did so.
A winner will be selected at random on Sunday, November 28th. Good luck!


November 17, 2010

What's on Your Menu Today?



A couple months ago, I was offered the chance to try out some of the gluten free frozen meal options from Meals to Live. Providing healthy, nutritious and diabetes friendly meals, Meals to Live is also a great option for easy gluten free meals for one.

Their product line contains 10 frozen entree choices, with six of them being gluten free. The gluten free options are:I don't usually go the frozen entree route, because there are few choices that are available in grocery stores or that the ones found in specialty stores are expensive. Not to mention that some frozen meals are just not very good. I found the meals from Meals to Live to prove all of that untrue.

Meals to Live frozen entrees are currently available at Ralph grocery stores and with a national roll-out at favorite retailers like Walgreens, Rite-Aide and Foods For Less throughout the new year, they will be widely accessible and affordable for everyone.

As far as tasting good and being good for you, I found the butternut squash in the Slice Turkey meal to be delicious! I also remember thinking, "I could eat these potatoes everyday" while enjoying the Grilled Chicken entree.



I also saw that the ingredients are natural and was amazed at the amount of tasty food I could eat for a mere 230 calories. I was happy about that since I'm *trying* very hard to eat real foods and not chemicals. These meals helped me accomplish just that. Yum!

November 3, 2010

Gluten Free Wine Dinner Week at Wildfire



I can't tell you how much I look am looking forward to next Monday. I know Mondays are never fun, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel next week, because I'm going to the first of five Gluten Free Wine Dinners at Wildfire.

Together with the University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center, they are presenting a Gluten Free Wine Dinner Week November 8 - 12. Each Wildfire location in Illinois will host a night of wonderful gluten free meals with each course complimented by wine chosen by Wildfire's Wine & Spirits Director, Brad Wermager.

In addition, a guest speaker will begin the night with a short presentation on celiac disease during each evening's reception. Dinner will be served at 7pm, its menu created by Executive Chef, Moreno Espinoza.

I forwarded the message along to a friend this afternoon and her words were, "you had me at wood burning oven pizzas." I've dined at Wildfire several times and it's beyond delicious! If I were you, I would make sure to attend a night. Priced at only $75 per person, tax and gratuity AND a $25 donation (tax deductible) are included. For 4 courses and 4 glasses of wine, it's a steal!

Schedule is as follows:
  • Monday, November 8th - Chicago
  • Tuesday, November 9th - Oakbrook
  • Wednesday, November 10th - Glenview
  • Thursday, November 11th - Schaumburg
  • Friday, November 12th - Lincolnshire

To reserve a spot at any location, call Shannon Ryan at 312-787-9000.

To see the great measures Wildfire has gone through to provide safe, gluten free/allergen free meals, check out this post from the Chef's Corner archive. From reading this blog post, you'll see how serious Wildfire is when accommodating their guests. They weren't just jumping on the gluten free bandwagon, guests requested gluten free meals and even the President has a friend who's daughter has celiac. They definitely know their stuff.

Again, I've many enjoyable gluten free meals at Wildfire and encourage you to do so as well!

November 1, 2010

Gluten Free Bisquick Winners



Thank you all for entering my Gluten Free Bisquick giveaway. The dishes you plan to make sound fabulous!

Without further ado, the winners are:

#7 Linda Carr who said,

I'd like to make the Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie. I grew up on Bisquick, before being diagnosed with celiac disease. I can't wait to find this in a store in my area. Thanks for the information. I love reading your newsletters.
and

#3 Lisa who said:
What I love the most about GF Bisquick is that is gave me back so many *ideas* of food I used to eat before going gluten free. GF Bisquick opened up so many possibilities! I dug out a bunch of old Bisquick recipes (or you can check their website) and cooked up a storm. So far I have made: garlic cheese biscuits, Bisquick's famous "impossible" cheeseburger pie, impossible ham and cheese pie, chicken fingers (can you say "breaded"?), pizza crust, and of course pancakes. If it's been years since you looked at Bisquick recipes-- or if you never made these old standards in the first place-- their recipe web site will be an inspiration.

October 28, 2010

2010 Gluten Free Halloween Candy List

Make sure you and the kiddos are eating gluten free candy this year. Since manufacturers may change their ingredients from time to time, it's always best to read labels and do a little research.

The National Foundation of Celiac Awareness compiled an updated list of safe Halloween candy. Make sure you print yourself a copy and read it over before you dig in.

If you are avoiding other allergens, check out Sure Food Living's candy list.



A Few Tips for Gluten Avoiders

Avoid anything with malt or barley such as:
- Milky Way (Milky Way Dark Midnight and Milky Way Caramels are gluten free)
- Zero Candy Bars
- 100 Grand
- Whoppers
- Caramel Creme (Bulls-Eyes or Cowtails)

Avoid anything with cookie crisps such as:
- Kit Kat
- Butterfinger Crisps, Sticks, or Snackerz (Regular Butterfingers are gluten free)
- Twix
- Whatchamacallit
- Hershey's Cookies & Cream Bar

Avoid anything with pretzels such as:
- Take 5
- M&Ms with pretzel (new product in blue bags)
- Pretzel Flipz

Avoid the gummy candy with wheat flour such as:
- Twizzlers
- Good & Plenty
- Sour Punch Products (Sour Punch Straws, Bites, and Twists)
- Airheads Extremes (apparently the traditional Airheads are gluten free, must have changed the recipe since I started being gluten free, they used to contain wheat flour.)

Check non-candy items carefully such as:
- 100 Calorie packs (many contain gluten)
- Mini bags of chips (flavorings could contain gluten, but there are also mini Halloween pretzel bags or Goldfish Halloween bags to watch out for)


Hopefully they'll be some stickers, free bowling coupons, spider rings, and other non food fun items. Although I did see these at the store the other day...


Scary Baby Carrots...now that's a healthy Halloween Treat!

October 25, 2010

I'm back...with Bisquick!



My apologies for the lack of blog posts, during Celiac Awareness month, nonetheless! I've tried lots of new gluten free products this past month, one of them being the new Gluten Free Bisquick. I've heard all about this product, but hadn't yet given it a whirl. Luckily my friends at MyBlogSpark and General Mills offered me the opportunity to try out the product and host a giveaway.

Growing up, my mom made almost everything from scratch, although every once in a while we did have a box of Bisquick in the house. I only remember making pancakes from mix, but they were delicious.

When I received my sample of Gluten Free Bisquick, I was amazing at all of the meals you could whip up. First thing I made was pizza crust, and yum! I happened to be babysitting my niece and nephew that night and we made mini pizzas. Nathan made a plain cheese and I went for the works. Each pie turned out beautifully. Thick, flaky crust that browned up perfectly. I hate when my gluten free pizza crust is golden brown on the edges, but then mushy underneath and everything slides off and crumbles. Not with this crust.



The following week I made pancakes for breakfast using the skillet and pancake pen that came with the Bisquick set I was sent. Little silver dollar pancakes, light and fluffy. I followed the recipe from the back of the box, and they were tasty.


Now here's the best part. I have 2 Gluten Free Bisquick packages to give away courtesy of MyBlogSpark and General Mills!



To enter, visit the Gluten Free Bisquick site and tell me which recipe you'd like to make. You MUST include your email address with your response. (If you win, how else will I be able to contact you?)

Giveaway ends Sunday, October 31st! Trick-or-Treat!
Winner will be announce Monday, November 1st.

In the meantime, go download a printable coupon for $1 off Gluten Free Bisquick Baking Mix!
http://www.myblogspark.com/uc/main/8b49/

September 29, 2010

New products from Glutino


If you haven't heard the news already, Glutino introduced gluten free chocolate covered and yogurt covered pretzels! Yum...I was finally able to get my hands on some last week and they were divine! Some of the non-celiacs in my family chowed down as well, saying they couldn't tell these chocolate covered pretzels were gluten free.


Another discovery - Glutino's Table Crackers. If you loved/miss Saltines or similar thin, crispy crackers, these are them!


Yet another newbie on Glutino's product list is Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza. I couldn't find it online to buy, but I'm sure it will be popping up soon.


They didn't stop there. They introduced 3 new breakfast cereals. Their Sensible Beginnings are a corn rice flake cereal that comes in Original, Frosted, and Berry. I haven't had a chance to try these yet, but if you have, what did you think?



I've always been a fan of Glutino's, so I'm always happy when they roll out something new. What new products would you like to see from Glutino?

September 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes

Last week I had a hankering for pancakes. I love making chocolate chip pancakes on the weekends. My favorite gluten free mix for pancakes is Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. It's simply the best!

I kind of deviated from the recipe printed on the side of the bag, that is usually followed to the T. I added a bit of vanilla yogurt and a scoop of peanut butter instead of oil. I tossed in some bananas and chocolate chips and it was a flavor explosion. Topped off with a little maple syrup and breakfast was served!



What's your favorite weekend breakfast?

September 13, 2010

Sorry for the delay - we have winners!!

The winners for the Smart Treat are:



#26, CDM who wanted to try the chocolate almond joy cup.
#6, GFree_Meil, who's following me on the Twitter (and now Facebook!)
#11, Jane, who wanted to try the Chocolate Oatmeal cookies.

Congratulations!

BUT!

Since I was late posting this and everyone was in suspense the entire weekend, I picked two more winners!



#16, Diane Gallegos, who thought everything looked good. (Me too!)
#8, Jenn Sutherland, who wanted to try the cranberry walnut bread.

Congratulations everyone and please remember to check out Smart Treat. Their products are wonderful and if you spend over $40, you get free shipping AND a free item. That free product offer has been extended until 10/15/2010. Just enter code BETSY40FREE1 in the shopping cart comments field. Happy shopping!

September 9, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza Party!

About a million years ago I used to make pizza crust with a package of cream cheese, a couple of eggs, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. I hadn't had pizza in years and when I came across the recipe in a Suzanne Somer's cookbook and saw that flour was not used, I was too excited. First bite was heaven.

I made that pizza a few years later for a party I had and one of my friends said it was "disgusting". Granted, he was not gluten free, so it was a traumatic pizza experience for him. A few more years passed and I decided to throw a pizza party. I remember being in a TGIF mood and wanting to relive childhood memories of watching Full House and Family Matters while eating a frozen pizza in my best friend's basement. So I made about 8 different gluten free pizzas and invited some friends over.

By this time, gluten free pizza crust mixes were widely available and I was able to find those without a problem. I had all different varieties from Namaste to Whole Food's 365 Brand, which is sadly no more. As I was pulling the pizzas out of the oven, my buddy who dubbed my previous pizzas disgusting said, "those aren't gluten free, are they?" "Of course not!" I replied. I was the only person there that was gluten free and I know some people have the mindset of gluten free foods being yucky and will not even try them. I was not about to waste 8 pizzas.

After most of the pizzas were laid out, everyone started to dig in. I was still putting the finishing touches on my s'mores pizza (used Crushed Cocoa Pebbles, butter, and cinnamon for the crust), so I had not yet grabbed a piece. When I joined everyone and started eating a slice, my friend stared at me wide-eyed..."WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" "Hahaha...gotcha!" I replied.

In just a few short years my gluten free pizza evolved from "disgusting" to not even being able to tell the difference. Not bad. In case you were wondering the eight pizzas I made that night were cheese, meat lovers, veggies lovers, chicken/spinach/alfredo, reuben, BBQ chicken, S'mores, and "Dessert" (sugar cookie crust, butter cream frosting, mini M&Ms. This was waaaaaaay before my gluten free blogging days, but I did manage to find some pics in the archives...bringing ya back to October 2008. (You can tell I was still a rookie with the camera!)



If that didn't get you craving pizza, you'll be happy to hear that there is an UPCOMING GLUTEN FREE PIZZA PARTY! It's true...
It's TGIF all over again Friday, September 17th at OMG....It's Gluten Free from 6-8pm.

They are having a pizza party to celebrate Chef AJ as he returns home from Orlando, FL fresh from the American Pizza Championship! He was asked to participate by a major gluten-free flour company using the OMG's pizza recipe. If chosen, AJ will become a member of the U.S. Pizza Team and is invited to participate in future culinary competitions. Locations include Brazil, New York and Italy. Good luck, AJ!

They will be sampling OMG pizza and washing it down with gluten-free beer and wine. Freezers and shelves will be stocked so for every $10 you spend, you will recieve a raffle ticket for a chance to win their new OMG gift basket!

September 7, 2010

Gluten Free Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes

A few weeks ago Borders was having a massive tent sale with all items $1.99 and up. After having a marvelous meal at The Cheesecake Factory (The Incredible Grilled Eggplant sandwich sans toasted bun with a side salad), I headed over there with a friend to stock up on back to school reading. Unfortunately there wasn't much of a selection. Fortunately I did find this gem:
The Cupcake Deck.

Since I'm a bit of a cupcake fanatic, it was a definite sale. They weren't gluten free recipes, but I can turn any recipe into gluten free - easy peasy. One of the cards in the deck was for Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes, which sounded amazing! I love bananas AND butterscotch so throwing those two flavors into a cupcake is pure bliss.

Over the weekend, my brother and his bride threw a party to celebrate their recent marriage. (They were wed by Elvis in Vegas...so cool!) Since every party needs to have cupcakes, I did the honor by supplying them. And with Elvis being famous for his love of bananas, I thought why not? (I could go for a fried peanut butter, banana, bacon sandwich right about now...)

I obviously made them gluten free and boy, were they yummy!

Banana Butterscotch Cupcakes
adapted from Chronicle Books

Makes 12 regular cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
1 ¼ cups gluten free all purpose flour (I used Jules)
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 cup sugar
2 medium bananas mushed (use overripe 'naners)
2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup butterscotch chips (I used Hershey's, beware Nestle's Butterscotch chips have barley)

For the Frosting:
¼ cup half and half
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start lining those cupcake tins with baking cups.

In a medium bowl, mix together gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer until blended and creamy, roughly 2 minutes.

Add the banana, mixing until they are blended into the mixture. It's OK if you still see small pieces of banana.

Add one of the eggs, mixing until blended, add the second egg and blend well.

Add vanilla and beat for a minute.

On a low mixer setting, add half of the flour mixture, mixing just enough to incorporate it.

Mix in the buttermilk and the add the remaining flour until the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the butterscotch chips.

Fill the cups ¾ full and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

***While those cupcakes are baking, start mixing up the frosting***

Cool the cupcakes for 10 minutes before removing from tin. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Now to the frosting....

In a medium saucepan, heat half and half and brown sugar over low heat, stirring often until the brown sugar melts. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Pour sugar mixture in a heat safe bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes. (Aren't you glad you started this while the cupcakes were still baking?)

After 45 minutes, using a large bowl, beat the butter and powdered sugar with a mixer on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Add vanilla and the brown sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Frost each cupcake with about 1½ tablespoons of frosting.

Enjoy!!


Feel free to make yourself fun cupcake toppers for these fun cupcakes! :)

September 4, 2010

Annual FREE Celiac Screening - Registration is now open

It's the time of year again! Time for The University of Chicago's Annual Free Celiac Screening.


Annual Free Blood Screening and Ask the Experts Panel
October 9, 2010,
8:30 a.m. to Noon.
There is no charge to be screened, but pre-registration is MANDATORY!
Call 773-702-7593


You are eligible for the Blood Screening if:

  • You have a close family member that has celiac disease or Type-1 diabetes;
  • You have Down Syndrome;
  • You have a related autoimmune condition such as, rheumatoidarthritis or Addison's Disease;
  • You have digestive problems, chronic fatigue, osteopenia/osteoporosis;
  • You have other related symptoms or conditions. (visit http://www.celiacdisease.net/ for more information)

ASK THE EXPERTS!
10:30-11:30
Open to the public!

Bring your questions for a Q&A session with our world-renowned experts in celiac disease. We will also host an exhibit area for our sponsors: samples and information will be available beginning at 8:30 am. The event will take place at the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM) at 5758 South Maryland Avenue. Please click here for directions and parking information.

Advanced registration for the screening is required. Call 773-702-7593 Contact our office or visit http://www.celiacdisease.net/ for more information.

September 3, 2010

Grain Alert: "Freekeh" is wheat!

I received this in an email from the Celiac Disease Foundation and thought I'd pass along:

There is a “new” grain gaining popularity right now called Freekeh (pronounced free-ka).

It is also known as farik or frikeh. It is made of young green durum wheat that has been harvested early while the grains are still soft and full of moisture. The grains are polished, cracked, and roasted which makes them look like their cousins faro, spelt and bulgur wheat.

According to Trader Joe’s Markets “freekeh is higher in protein and fiber than most mature grains like wheat and rice”. There are claims that it contains more proteins, vitamins and minerals than other grains, and can be used as a substitute for rice or quinoa, but make no mistake -- it is wheat and not gluten-free.

So whether you see it individually packaged like rice or pasta, or as an ingredient in ready-made foods such as veggie burgers, do not consume it in any form.

Just a reminder to always read labels and “when in doubt, leave it out”.


Photo credit: LTHForum.com

September 2, 2010

Smart Treat Discount Code


My friends at Smart Treat are thrilled that everyone is so excited with the current giveaway that they are offering a special offer through the month of September.


1 free item with a $40 order (because $40 will get free shipping)


Enter code BETSY40FREE1 in the comments section. Valid with orders until 9/30/10.


Here's how it works: The customer places $40 worth of items in the shopping cart. The customer will ALSO need to place the "free item" in the checkout cart (so that it will end up on our bake schedule). The customer will need to enter the code "BETSY40FREE1" in the comments section. When we see the discount code, we will MANUALLY deduct the price of the most expensive item (that's the one you'd want free, right??) before running the credit card.(Unfortunately, we do not have a way to automatically/immediately show the discount in the shopping cart -- it's a manual process.)


For example, if Suzy orders $42 in product, then adds a "free" $6 item, the shopping cart will show a total of $48. However, when we see BETSY40FREE1 in the comments section, the $6 will be manually deducted, and the credit card will actually be run for only $42.


Happy Shopping! :)

August 29, 2010

Let's talk about Smart Treat...and have a giveaway too!

Last week I shared my cranberry walnut grilled cheese sandwich with you and introduced a new gluten free company, Smart Treat. They are a small, artisan, dedicated gluten free bakery in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Most of their products are also vegan. I was super excited when I first learned about them, because the nutritional information for their products is awesome! Check it out, this is for their Oat Bread:


50 Calories for a slice? Not bad. AND it's not a little itty-bitty piece of bread. It's size a bread that is comparable to glutenous breads. The loaf could be easily confused with that of "real bread" See...



I had the opportunity to try several different items. From rolls to breads, to granola to cookies...everything was phenomenal!



The breads were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. No lie. You do have to toast them a little bit, but I don't mind. One lightly toasted, they are perfect. The rolls and buns were just like you'd get from a local bakery. I even turned the burger buns into hot dog buns! I hadn't had a hot dog in ages, so when my family was grilling them up, I couldn't resist.



Naturally I wanted to know more about Smart Treat, so I interviewed them. :)

GFB: I read on your site that Smart Treat has been around since 1994. Have you always been making gluten free foods this entire time? Why did you decide to make gluten free items?
When Bonnie, the owner/founder, was diagnosed with a wheat allergy, she started baking from her home kitchen (with an old 1960's mixer from her Mom). In 1994, she started selling at local farmers markets.

In the beginning, her products were mainly wheat free, and she did a bit of gluten free on the side. However, due to growing gluten free demand and increasing customer requests, the gluten free side of her business began to outpace the wheat free side. She moved from her kitchen to an actual bakery, and has kept her focus on high quality ingredients and excellent customer service the whole time.

By the time the bakery was moved to the the mountains of Western North Carolina in 2007, Smart Treat was 100% gluten free (with a dedicated facility).

GFB: Do you plan on getting your products on store shelves?
During those early 'farmers market' years, Bonnie developed a relationship with a regional heath food grocery to carry some of her items on their shelves. Based mainly on reputation and customer requests, the 'on the store shelf' side of the business has continued to grow. Currently, Smart Treat items are in a number of specialty and allergen-free groceries here and there across the country.

What are your most popular items?
It's funny that you ask, because Bonnie has seen product categories come and go over the years -- even flavor profiles go through trend cycles.

Right now, our "Brittle Bars" (made from a base of organic sunflower seeds and organic pumpkin seeds, with lots of different yummy add-ins for each flavor) are especially hot. Granola (eaten as a breakfast cereal or as a dry snack) and the Smart Bite Cookies have also been a consistently strong sellers.

GFB: I can see why, the brittle is delicious!


Fruit flavors are big (ie Apricot-Raspberry Krispie Bars, all of the fruit Tartlets, Cranberry-Walnut Granola), and of course (you are a woman, you know this...) chocolate-anything NEVER goes out of style.

GFB: Haha...you are so right!

However, it's the bread (7 flavors to choose from) that we receive the most "WOW" customer comments on. For many families, excellent gluten free bread choices are a weekly staple, and our 24 oz loaves are the biggest/best in the industry. (Most other gluten free breads are 12 oz for about $6, and made in industrial factories.) Smart Treat's 24 oz loaf means that each slice is as tall and wide as a 'normal bread' slice, and at $5.49, the value can't be beat. Let's face it, allergen-free eating can be expensive -- and the excellent value of our bread is very important to many of our customers.

Do you have a good gluten free baking tip you can share with my readers?
YES! Bonnie has found that starting with best ingredients (we use organic whenever possible) is the key to excellent end results. Also, Smart Treat bakes based on customer orders (we are not a mass production facility) so everything is as fresh as possible when we ship it out. Brian, who is trained as a chef, is our Master Baker, and he pours lots of energy into making each item artisan quality.

We also have some customers reporting that they use the Smart Bite cookies (the little addictive ones) as the base for pie crusts. Simple -- smash up the cookies, add some butter as a binder, and press to the bottom of a pie plate.

GFB: That's genius...those cookies a perfect for flavorful pie crusts. Yum!

So now that you know a little bit more about Smart Treat, wanna try some? Three lucky winners will each receive one product of their choice on the house. Here's the rules:

Mandatory Entry - Visit Smart Treat and tell me which item you'd most like to try.

Extra Entry - Join the Gluten Free Betsy Facebook Page
Extra Entry - Sign up for my Email Notifications
Extra Entry - Become a follower of Gluten Free Betsy

Contest ends Friday, September 10th at midnight. Winners will be selected by Random.org