December 17, 2012

Words Won't Do

November 9, 2012

#FollowFriday - GFree Connect

This week I'd like to introduce you to one of my favorite companies, GFree Connect.  GFree Connect is a gluten free "care package" company that started last year and provides a giant bag of gluten free goodies, coupons, and brochures three times a year.

These days there are oodles of product subscription services, with quite a few gluten free subscription services. What I like about GFree Connect is the amount of product that you receive. A large shopping bag is filled with about 25 gluten free products. Some of the products are sample sizes that you would receive for free if you attend an expo or vendor fair, like Bob's Red Mill quinoa or cereals. Others are full size bags of products, like my GFree Connect favorite, Bhuja Snacks. A folder is also included, packed with coupons for free or heavily discounted products like Pamela's Products, Amy's Kitchen, and Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery, as well as company brochures, pamphlets, and other handouts.

This is a wonderful way to discover new products, save money (helloooooo coupons!), and learn about the latest gluten free and celiac hot topics. The price is pretty reasonable, with your first bag being $30 ($20 for the bag, $10 for shipping) and each bag with shipping afterwards running about $40. Once you sign up, you can opt out of the program at any time, but it also pays to be a subscribe. They have a loyalty program - receive 8 consecutive bags, get the 9th free. Not a bad deal!

Here's a sneak peak into what I received in my November Care Package:

I encourage you to check out GFree Connect. You can visit them on their website and on Facebook.

November 2, 2012

#FollowFriday - Goodbye Gluten Bread

I couldn't wait to share this week's Friday Follow. When I was contacted to try Goodbye Gluten bread, I had no idea I was about to get my mind and taste buds blown away. Another bread? Sure, OK, whatevs.... BUT NO! This gluten free bread is in a ballpark all its own.  I've never had a gluten free bread soooo soft and delicious right out of the bag. It's life changing.

The new gluten free kid on the block, Goodbye Gluten is starting to pop up on store shelves across the Midwest, but it's still hard to find. I have to admit, this was another product review that went to the wayside. After my sample supply ran out, it took me months to finally find a store that carried them....31 miles away! 

The breads are available in key retailers such as Giant Eagle, Jewel-Osco, Cub Foods, Roundy’s, Kowalski’s, Lunds & Byerly's, Super One and Hornbachers across the Midwest in the first phase of the Goodbye Gluten brand launch, but not all of those stores' locations are carrying them just yet.

But let's talk about the bread! Goodbye Gluten currently offers two products: gluten free white bread and gluten free multi-grain bread. It's made from the usual gluten free suspects such as white rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, etc. There is cornstarch, eggs, and soy for those avoiding those allergens. 

I could not get over how soft and fluffy this bread was. It's squishy like gluten bread. Over the years gluten free bread has evolved so much that it's no longer crumbly, but eating it fresh out of the bag is still a challenge. Only a few can do it and Goodbye Gluten is one of them. The slices are a decent size as well, comparable to "real" bread.

How does it taste? Great! I find it works wonderfully for deli sandwiches. I was able to put together a sandwich at home in the morning and it held together until lunch. 

Did I mention they are Gluten Free Certified? Because they are. 

Hopefully a nationwide roll-out will happen soon. In the meantime, be sure to check out their website and like them on Facebook

October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat! 2012 Gluten Free Candy List

Happy Halloween!  

Before you dig into those bags of candy, don't forget to make sure you are eating gluten free treats. Being glutened is not a fun trick!

Here is a very comprehensive list of candy from The National Foundation of Celiac Awareness and The NFCA also has some tips to help you embrace a gluten free Halloween. (It's totally not hard at all!)

For more Halloween fun, why not make a delicious Ghosts in the Graveyard dessert?

October 19, 2012

#FollowFriday - The Butterfly Bakery

From time to time, I will get companies generously offering me their gluten free products to review for my blog. This is great because I love finding new gluten free products and sharing them with my readers. What is not so great is my ability to blog on a regular basis. {cue the sad trombone}

Anywho, I figured I can stick to the fun Twitter trend of Follow Fridays. #FF or #FollowFriday if you will. So every Friday, I'll feature an awesome company I think you need to follow.

The first up: The Butterfly Bakery!

Many moons ago, The Butterfly Bakery asked if I was interested in trying their gluten free products.  How could I say no to cookies and muffins? Plus they have the most adorable fun is that music?

What I got was Chocolate Chip Cookies and Blueberry Muffins, good old American favorites.  What's different about The Butterfly Bakery's gluten free products is that they are made with teff flour. I don't come across that ingredient often in packaged cookies and baked goods. Teff is a great gluten free alternative because it's packed with fiber and protein. It's also a bit sweet, so lots of sugar isn't needed when baking with it.

The result? Delicious. The chocolate chip cookies were light and buttery. A bit crumbly, but in that "melt in your mouth" way. Everyone I shared them with agreed.  Even Marlow from Gluten Hates Me chimed in when I posted them on Instagram.

The blueberry muffins were a bit dry for me, but not bad. They are mini muffins, which are sometimes hard to find gluten free, so if you are watching your portion control, these are great!

The Butterfly Bakery bakes out of Clinton, NJ and sells their products all across the nation. More importantly they have an online store, so you can purchase straight from them. Hello, freshness!  They currently offer gluten free cookies, cream cake slices, and muffins.

For more info on The Butterfly Bakery check out their website, their Facebook page, and their Tweets.

*Disclosure: The Butterfly Bakery provided me with samples of their product to review for my site. All opinions are entirely my own.

September 26, 2012

Gluten Free for the Win.

I've been neglecting my little corner of the internet. I know I promised lots of new and exciting posts, but alas time has gotten away from me. Before I continue to my regularly scheduled blogging, I must share this exciting event taking place THIS. VERY. WEEKEND!!!

For the very first time ever, my Chicago White Sox are having a Gluten Free and Celiac Awareness Night! This couldn't have happened without the magic of Gluten Free Calendar's involvement. Gluten Free Calendar didn't just stop right there, nope. They went ALL out and are throwing a post-game party at Bacardi at the Park from 5-8pm. With national gluten free vendors as well as local favorites, this party is 100% free to the public and you can come whether you bought tickets to the game or not. 

You'll be greeted by yours truly, have the opportunity to chat with Dr. Stefano Guandalini from the University of Chicago Celiac Center, as well as meet Stasie Johns, author of the children's book, The Gluten Glitch. There'll be raffles, giveaways, music, and loads of fun. 

 Time is of the essence, people. Get your tickets now

August 21, 2012

How I spent my summer vacation.

At the rate I'm posting, you'd think that I just up and left good ol', but it's not true! All summer long I've been composing posts in my head with all of the fantastic gluten free things I wanted to share with you, but getting them knocked out has been the hard part.  Between all of the summery activities, beautiful weather, and some health issues, coming home to blog all about it is the last thing on my mind.  I'm sure you understand.

To prove I'm wasn't laying dead in a ditch somewhere here's some highlights of how I spent my summer:

  • I became a purely elizabeth. Ambassador! If you haven't heard of purely elizabeth. you are missing out! I remember finding her blog on Blogger in 2009 when I first started blogging. I loved that we shared a name and were both gluten free. She just started a line of gluten free baked goods that were different than all of the rest in that they were gluten free and vegan, organic, low-glycemic, and made with real ingredients (millet! flax! teff! hemp! chia!) I didn't get my hands on a box of blueberry muffin mix until years later and it was love at first bite. When I saw they were launching an Ambassador Program, I jumped at the chance. I was thrilled to be chosen to represent such an amazing company and can't wait to turn all of you guys on to them as well.
  • I lived the dream of the 90s in Portland!  I rarely get to go on vacation. My trip to Vegas a couple years ago only happened because of my cousin's wedding.  This time around I had the chance to have a "Sniecesters' Getway". My mom and her three sisters have sisters' weekends every year and this year they invited their daughters (the nieces) and it was one, big, happy time. I don't see my aunts and cousins as much as I would love to due to the geographic locations of all of us, but when we do it's filled with lots of laughter and sharing/making memories. I'll recap in another post because Portland is one of the most gluten free friendly cities in the US of A and it deserves your full attention.
My poor little adrenals.
Photo credit 
  • I've been battling Adrenal Fatigue. This has been an ongoing health issue for the last couple of years, but this year I reached my breaking point. I can't sleep, I have zero energy, I ache all over, I can't focus or concentrate, and I'm gaining weight like crazy. I've been trying to pinpoint exactly what has been going on for quite some time with no avail until I went back to my go-to natural health center, Trager Healing Center.  I started seeing Dr. Kim in 2000 when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease for general aches and pains. I go back every few years for whatever ails me. This time around I saw Candace for some nutrition help and she's been slowly getting me back on track. I feel noticeably better. I'm definitely not 100% yet, but give it some time and I think I can feel alive again. I've been reading a lot of books on the subject and have a great one for the Gluten Free Betsy Book Club
  • To end on a high note, last but not least, there was a Hello Kitty birthday party for a particularly awesome 3 year old. Who decorated for her own party. And of course no Hello Kitty party is complete without Pin-the-Bow-on-Hello-Kitty.

How was your summer?

June 28, 2012

Summer in the *Gluten Free* City.

It's well into summer - time sure flies, eh?

I've been busy. Just in June alone I "ran" the Color Run, took in some White Sox Baseball, hit up Movies in the Park, biked to work during Bike to Work Week, got my books on at the Printers Row Lit Fest, laughed my ass off at Just for Laughs, ate local with my Farmers Market fare, brunched with old friends, and drank lots and lots of Woodchuck Cider at a Gluten Free Cider Dinner.

Comiskey Dogs has gluten free hot dog buns, there's my badass bike, some delicious elote, friends, Rebecca Skloot & David Prete at the Lit Fest, Pee Wee's Big Adventure in Millennium Park, & The Bloggess herself, Jenny Lawson.

The Woodchuck Cider Dinner was outstanding - everything was so delicious, especially the pizza - corn, prosciutto, & fresh basil. Yum!

I'm exhausted. Literally. The funny thing is, that's not even a fraction of what's been going on in this awesome city. Summer is the "love" part in my love/hate relationship with Chicago. The weather is great, there is a handful of festivals every weekend, loads of things to do during the week and lots plenty of sun shining days.

With that said, there's no slowing down. More festivals, birthdays, Sox games, BBQs and good times are on the way. I'll be sure to share all of my gluten free findings - so far there has been plenty!

What's your favorite part of summer?

June 11, 2012

Green Giant Giveaway Winner

What a whirlwind weekend! More on that later, but I wanted to announce the winner for the Green Giant Giveaway. 

Using, #5 Hannah is our winner!

Hannah said...sweet corn on the cob for me! grilled or steamed in a big ol pot either way...oh and preferably from iowa :)

Congratulations Hannah!

June 6, 2012

Whoopsies! The Winner for the Rudi's Gluten Free Giveaway!

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner for the Rudi's Gluten Free Giveaway for Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

Without much further ado, the winner is #3, Catherine Agnes!

Catherine Agnes said... I follow Rudi's on twitter as c_agnes

Well done, Catherine! I'll be emailing you for your mailing address soon. 

Thanks for all who entered! 

P.S. Today is the last day to enter the Green Giant giveaway

May 30, 2012

Working out with Gunnar Peterson. Plus a Green Giant Giveaway!

Last week I started a new fitness challenge, The Gunnar Challenge. It's an 8 week online program crafted by Gunnar Peterson, personal trainer to a bunch of Hollywood stars. The program features a daily videos from Gunnar, a meal plan, exercise routines, a diary to to track food and exercise, and a forum to connect with other challenge members.

My new personal trainer.

I'm one week into the program and really enjoy it. The exercises are great and the videos from Gunnar are motivating. I am not following the meal plan because there are a lot of meals that include gluten, but I am still following the dietary recommendations as best I can.

Lots of salads, grilled chicken and fish, and of course vegetables. I usually eat raw veggies or steamed, but I was given the opportunity through MyBlogSpark to try their Green Giant frozen vegetables. Almost all frozen vegetables are gluten free, but some varieties with sauces or rice are not always gluten free. Here is a list to help you out with that.

Additionally several of the Green Giant vegetables have been endorsed by Weight Watchers. If you're counting points, the choice is simple as the points plus values are listed right on the front of the box. Easy Peasy. Literally.

If you're looking for ides for what to do with those veggies, check out some of these recipes.

In the spirit of fitness and nutrition I have a wonderful giveaway from Green Giant and MyBlogSpark! You could be the lucky owner if this prize pack:

This includes the following items:
  • (1) VIP coupon for a free box of Weight Watchers® endorsed Green Giant Boxed Vegetables any variety
  • Water Bottle
  • Insulated Lunch Bag
  • Mini Ice Pack to keep those veggies frozen!
  • Mini Nutrition Tracker notebook
  • Lunch to Go Kit
  • A Fancypants Solar Powered Pedometer
To enter, please comment below with your favorite vegetable dish. Asparagus? Broccoli? Sweet Corn? Tell me!  Don't forget to leave your email or another way for me to contact you if you win.

Good luck! Giveaway closes in 1 weeks on June 7th...hurry!

Don't forget, tomorrow, May 31st, is the LAST day to enter the Rudi's Gluten Free Giveaway. Spread the Bread!

This giveaway is now over.

May 21, 2012

Land O' Lakes Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to commenter #2, Ray for winning the Land O' Lakes All Natural Eggs prize pack.

Ray said his favorite egg dish was...
Scrambled eggs with avocado and tomato topped with shredded mozzarella cheese!

YUM!!! Ray, since you didn't leave your email address please email me your mailing address so we can receive your prize.

Thanks for all who entered. Don't forget enter the Rudi's Gluten Free Giveaway that closes at the end of the month.

May 18, 2012

Important Business! #DitchAmber. A follow up to my Domino's Pizza Post

Update - We did it!

I previously voiced my thoughts and concerns about Domino's "Gluten Free" Pizza. Earlier this week, launched a Health Petition to Ditch NFCA's Amber Designation. Naturally I signed and I encourage you to do the same.

This is not to say that I don't think the NFCA is doing excellent work promoting celiac disease awareness, because they are. They have wonderful programs, education materials, newsletters, and so much more! I've even participated in several of their fundraising events such as the fun as ever Cupcakes Party.

BUT I just can't get my mind around how they could promote an item that the manufacturer declares is not safe for celiacs, the exact issue they are trying to spread awareness for! Does this make any sense to anyone? I could possible see if another organization promoted it, but even the Gluten Intolerance Group is telling gluten intolerant and gluten sensitive people to stay away from the new Domino's "gluten free" offering.

If you need more information before you make the decision to sign, please visit
Be sure to follow Ditch Amber on Facebook and Twitter for all of the latest updates!

And just for fun, have a laugh!

May 12, 2012

Word to Your Mutha! A Mother's Day Giveaway.


Happy Mother's Day to moms, grandmas, godmothers, and aunts everywhere! Especially to my gluten free mama, who I lovingly refer to on this blog as Babs.  My mom was diagnosed with celiac a year after I was and we're the only two in our family that follow a gluten free diet. Yep, we're a split household as far as food goes, so we know a thing or two about cross contamination.

This Mother's Day we're doing the Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk and then coming home and having brunch. This year it's all about the crêpes. I've been on a kick since I discovered gluten free (buckwheat) crêpes at Flip Crêpes a couple weeks ago.  Last weekend I practiced making some with the sample baking mixes I received in the CDF Celiac Conference goodie bag.

Since my niece and nephew spent the night and love my cake pop maker, we made Cinnamon Sugar donut holes with XO Baking Company's Pancake and Waffle Mix for breakfast the next morning.  I followed the instructions on the bag and made them using unsweetened almond milk and coconut oil.  After they were baked, I browned some butter to dip them in, and then rolled them around in my cinnamon and sugar mixture. Divine!

For the crêpes, I used the Pure Pantry Organic Buckwheat Flax Pancake and Baking Mix. Again I just followed the instructions on the bag and used almond milk and coconut oil while preparing them.

Unfortunately I didn't have any fresh berries to top them with, or even Nutella, but I did have Peanut Butter & Co. Chocolate Peanut Butter and some cherry preserves that made for a yummy cherry chocolate crêpe. Another variety was a chocolate peanut butter banana crêpe.

Now how about a giveaway to celebrate moms?  

With Mother's Day brunch right around the corner (literally), I'm sure eggs will be on the menu. Land O'Lakes Farm Fresh All Natural Eggs are a great choice for your egg dishes.  Here's why:
  • They come from hens that are fed a vegetarian diet of whole grains with no added hormones, antibiotics, or animal by-products
  • The eggs are gathered at the peak of the hen's egg laying cycle, so they are more nutritious and delicious
  • Land O'Lakes All Natural Eggs are produced using industry leading quality and safety standards
  • Their eggs are packaged in pulp carton made from 100% recycled materials that can be composted or recycled after use
Sounds good, eh? Would you like to win this?

  • Coupon for Land O'Lakes Eggs
  • Mini Frying Pan
  • Mini Muffin Tin
  •  Egg Tray
To enter leave a comment below with your favorite egg dish or recipe. Please leave your email so I can contact you if you win! I'll draw one winner by random generator based on the number of comments received on Sunday, May 20th.

Don't forget the Rudi's Gluten Free Giveaway is open until the end of the month! Enter that one too!

Good luck!

Disclosure:  The gift pack, coupons, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by Land O’Lakes through MyBlogSpark.

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to #2, Ray for winning this prize!

May 11, 2012

Domino's Gluten Free Pizza. Neither a Domino, Nor a Gluten Free Pizza. Discuss.

OK, well the gluten free world is a tizzy over Domino's announcement of a gluten free pizza....that is not safe for celiacs.

I am so torn over this issue for a couple reasons.
  1. I've never eaten Domino's Pizza in my life. I was 18 when I found out I had celiac, so I had plenty of chances to do so, but I'm from Chicago. Born and raised, and still here. There was/is no reason for me to eat such inferior pizza ever. Sorry, Domino's, but it's true. There are a handful of mom 'n pop Italian restaurants within blocks of my home, work, friends' houses, etc. 
  2. I want to say something like, "well, celiacs can eat/have eaten safely at other restaurants that do not have "gluten free" menu options and there is the possibility of gluten cross contamination in those kitchens. Even restaurants with gluten free items still serve gluten counterparts. How is this any different?"
I guess what's different is that if Domino's is going to go through the GREAT Kitchens program with an organization named National Foundation for CELIAC AWARENESS and then say, "well this isn't for celiacs", then wtf? 

Yes, it's true that some restaurants will throw a gluten free label on their menu or product with no idea why other than "everybody's doing it". It seems that Domino's was really doing their homework by participating in the GREAT Kitchen program, so they are aware of the reason why; however, gluten intolerance or a sensitivity and wheat allergies are no laughing matter either.

If you try to place an order online you get this message:

Click to enlarge
Take a peek at some screen shots from their gluten free FAQ page:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Did you find any mention about how the gluten free ingredients (I'm assuming a premade crust?) is stored? Or the precautions the employees go through (like washing their hands, changing their gloves, maybe throwing on a quick plastic apron), or how a gluten free order is handled once it's taken?

Watch this short video too and see if there is any indication about separate baking pans, spoons, or pizza slicers.

With all those disclaimers, warnings, red flags, flashing lights, bells and whistles I think I'm more miffed about how those topics are completely ignored!

I know of several great restaurants in Chicago that offer a gluten free menu along side their regular gluten filled menu, but they are more than happy to explain the cross contamination processes and how their gluten free items are prepared and safe for gluten free people of all eating reasons backgrounds.

How could Domino's, after all of that, not even mention one word about the preparation process?

I'll give you a topic: Did Domino's go about correctly with their disclaimers? Or are they wrong because they did not disclose issues like separate utensils, pans, etc.? Do you guys even like Domino's Pizza? Is this a bigger deal than it should be?

While we're on the topic of chain pizza restaurants doing the gluten free pizza thing, I'd like to give a round of applause to Chuck E. Cheese (where a kid can be a kid) for addressing this issue with the info we're looking for! 

Yes, they are using Conte's pizza, but 
  1. Have you had Conte's pizza? It's delicious.
  2. It comes in a frozen bake-in-bag presealed packaging. The bake-in-bag pizza will remain sealed while cooked and delivered and until opened and served with a personal pizza cutter at families' tables by the adult in charge.
Also, they will have cake for those kiddies! 
  • Under the same procedure, gluten-free, chocolate fudge cupcakes naturally sweetened with fruits, vegetables and grains from Fabe's All Natural Bakery will remain in pre-sealed, single-serve packaging through preparation and until opened and served at the table. 
I haven't been to Chuck E. Cheese in a million years, but it was a big deal back in the 80s (when it was ShowBiz Pizza) for classmates' birthday parties, and I'm sure if it's still in business, that's still the same reason.  If I was diagnosed with celiac when I was younger and going to those parties, I would be bummed that I couldn't eat pizza and cake with everyone else. Granted, I was scared to death of the Pizza Theater robots in the restaurant area, but that's not that point. The point is, this is fabulous news for gluten free kids! Thanks, Chuck E. Cheese

So, I really want to know your thoughts on all of this! I've been reading other blogs, message boards, tweets, and facebook posts and everyone has an opinion on this. Discuss! 

Special thanks to Mike Myers for being the fabulous Linda Richman on SNL.
and Tania for magical Linda gifs!!! 

May 6, 2012

Labeling gluten in drug products is almost a reality - We need your help now!

I found out late Friday that labeling gluten in drug products is almost a reality, but your help is needed now more than ever!  
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan and New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey have introduced legislation that will require drug manufacturers to label the source of drugs' inactive ingredients. This is huge! 

To move the bill ahead we need bipartisan cosponsors by May 8! 

All five of the national celiac organizations are united in support of this legislation. We need our congressional members to have that same shared voice and put forward a bipartisan message: The safety of our constituents matters. Gluten in medicine must be labeled so individuals and their healthcare providers can make an informed, safe choice.