November 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday: What's Happening?!

Since I haven't been blogging as of late, I decided to follow Alissa's lead from Breaking Up With Captain Crunch and share a few things with you. There are lots of great gluten free things happening in Chicago and online, so let's break it down, shall we?

1. The 4th Annual Gluten Free Week at Wildfire is winding down and I just found out about their partnership with for raising money for celiac research at the University of Chicago Celiac Center. Not only that, I didn't even know Wildfire products could be purchased through Peapod!

It’s Gluten-Free Week and two Chicago businesses -- Peapod and Wildfire restaurants – have teamed up to help fight Celiac Disease.
Through Friday, Nov. 8, Peapod will donate 25% of all purchases of Wildfire gluten-free items to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.
Also this week – there are still a couple days left! -- Peapod is offering 15% off on all Wildfire gluten-free items.  To find Wildfire gluten-free selections – including new brownies and cookies –  as well as Peapod’s wide variety of  all gluten-free items, go to and type “Wildfire gluten free” or just “gluten free” in the search box.

Eat or shop away, my friends!

2. Yesterday, my favorite cupcake place in Chicago, Swirlz, announced their Holiday flavors: 

They are super-dupa gluten free and vegan friendly. Not sure if they can make all of these flavors gluten free or vegan gluten free (that cheesecake might be a vegan challenge), but I've never been disappointed in any flavor of their cupcakes, so you'd be good to go with whatever gluten free cupcake is available. I wish there was an eggnog flavor in there...maybe I'll be surprised come December.

3. For those of you that are never able to attend one of the big celiac or gluten free conferences around Chicagoland or the nation, good news! The Gluten Free Summit is an entirely free online conference November 11 - 17th bringing you loads of info on the gluten free diet.

Experts and leaders in celiac and the gluten free lifestyle will be interviewed or giving presentations that can viewed online at your leisure. Listen to top experts such as Alessio Fasano, Mark Hyman, Melinda Dennis, Peter Osborne, Cynthia Kupper, and many more!

Just register online (all they need is a name and email) and you'll have full access to the conference. Need more info? Check out this little video:

October 8, 2013

Fallin' Into Autumn With My (Current) Favorite Things

September has been a crazy month! Birthday central (including my own!), babies gettin' born, old friends gettin' married, apple pickin', ALS Walk 4 Life, and work craziness.

Betty's Bunch; Dave and Megan's wedding
Apple Picking at County Line Orchard; Besties at Three Dots and a Dash

Let me fill you in on what I've been lovin' as of late:

Three Dots and a Dash skull hallway entrance
Amy and Jess
Delicious drinks!
Three Dots and a Dash
One of the newest Lettuce Entertain You restaurants, Three Dots and a Dash is the coolest place in Chicago.  This underground tiki bar has the most delicious tropical cocktails. Its laid back atmosphere, exotica music, and waitresses in floral dresses make you feel like you're in a speakeasy paradise...and I love it. The food menu is very limited and its gluten free status is questionable, but who needs food when you have "Tall as a Tree and Twice as Shady"?

Fudge Brownie and Vanilla Bean Pound Cake
Cinnamon Apple Cake
 Beer Bread (mini burgers!)
Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Mixes
Yeah, you heard me. Tastefully Simple has launched a new line of gluten free mixes. They were kind enough to send me samples of the new Gluten Free Fudgy Brownie mix, Gluten Free Vanilla Bean Pound Cake mix, Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake mix, and Gluten Free Beer Bread mix. Let me tell you, everything was delicious. I had a few friends over this past weekend to taste everything and the votes were unanimous: Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Mixes are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. That's from both gluten free and gluten full eaters.

My favorite was the Cinnamon Apple cake. I added walnuts as the mix suggested and it was the perfect compliment to my morning coffee. The Fudgy Brownies were so moist and chewy, not to mention filled with chocolatey goodness. They were definitely the best gluten free brownie mix I've ever used. The Vanilla Bean Pound Cake was vanilla to the max. As I was preparing it, the batter was just bursting with tiny specks of vanilla. Once baked, it had a great flavor and texture. Last, but not least, the Beer Bread delivered. I've never had beer bread before going gluten free, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. I didn't have gluten free beer on hand, but since the directions said any carbonated beverage or soda could be used, I substituted Woodchuck Pink Cider, which made it a little sweet. I used the mix for mini buns for my take on White Castle burgers - recipe coming soon! Bottom line, find the first Tastefully Simple representative and order the new gluten free mixes!!

Udi's Gluten Free Harvest Crunch muffins
Pumpkin Latte coffee
Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle
 Fall Flavors (aka Pumpkin Everything)
'Tis the season for everything to be pumpkin, cranberry, and maple flavored. From drinks to baked goods, pumpkin is king. I'm diggin' my daily pumpkin latte coffee and found some other delicious fall goodies such as Udi's Gluten Free Harvest Crunch Muffins and Garden Lites Pumpkin Spice Souffle. Yum! Fall is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, warm sweaters, the colorful leaves, the smell of bonfires, and crisp air. Good times...

What things have you been enjoying lately?

August 30, 2013

FridayFollow - KIND Healthy Snacks + a Giveaway

For gluten-free on the go, snack bars are a savior. Easily transportable and filling, bars are a good option for filling that snack void. If you're like me and find yourself in a Starbucks looking for an accompaniment to your latte, that little stash of KIND bars near the register feels like it was put there just for you.

KIND started their little nut bar business back in 2004 with 8 different flavors. Their mission was to make a healthy AND tasty snack, and they have succeeded!  Today, they've grown their snack bar line to include 22 nut bar varieties and 6 granola flavors.

The goodness doesn't stop there. Since they believe there's more to business than just profit, they started a movement, Do The Kind Thing. Do The Kind Thing is a commitment to making the world a little kinder, one act of kindness at a time. Share your acts of kindness on Twitter and Instagram tagging it #kindawesome.

This past June, they debuted 2 new flavors to the Nuts & Spices line of bars.

The Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt bar is a sweet and salty combination of pecans, almonds and peanuts covered in maple syrup with a touch of sea salt. It provides 5g fiber and 6g protein with only 5g of sugar. 

The Dark Chocolate Chili Almond bar is a sweet and spicy blend of mixed nuts drizzled in dark chocolate with a trio of cascabel, ancho, and habanero chilies. It has 7g of fiber and 6g of protein with only 5g of sugar. 

I've always been a fan of KIND bars (and granola...nom!), so I knew I would enjoy these new flavors. The Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt bar was very flavorful with the three different nuts and just a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup. I loved that I could really taste the sea salt in there too! The Dark Chocolate Chili Almond bar kicked it up a notch with those chilies! Not to worry if you're not a spicy food lover, the heat was very mild and paired perfectly with the rich dark chocolate. Both of these flavors are great options if you're looking for a little something more in your snack bar.

Want to learn more about KIND? Follow them! 

Psst! KIND is giving away a CASE OF SNACKS on their Facebook page. Don't forget to go over there to enter!

August 27, 2013

Jalapeño Parmesan Crusted Chicken

When I was growing up, my mom would make chicken for dinner fairly often. Her number one go-to recipe was a breaded chicken. It was quick and simple, and we all loved it. At the time we weren't gluten free. We didn't even know what gluten was. Store bought bread crumbs with a little seasoning worked just fine for us.

Once I (and eventually Babs) went gluten free the recipe fell to the wayside. We opted to grill our chicken, which was not only gluten free, but also healthier. I hadn't had a gluten free version of the childhood favorite until recently when we made some for the Breaking Bad premiere. It was our version of Los Pollos Hermanos.

When Kitchen Table Bakers sent me samples of their Jalapeño Parmesan crisps, I wasn't sure if I should incorporate them into a recipe or eat them straight up. After trying one crisp, I definitely felt the heat. I knew I couldn't handle them alone, so I decided to crush them up and use them as the "breading" in that old breaded chicken recipe. I opted to bake them completely in the oven instead of lightly pan-frying first which was how I was originally taught.

The result was juicy chicken with a hint of cheese and a wonderful zip of heat. Not crazy spicy, but just the right amount of kick to update a typical breaded chicken dish. I served it with broccoli, which is an odd choice, but I'm nearing Old Mother Hubbard territory and am using up the remnants of my fridge. I would recommend serving with Spanish rice, in a taco salad, or with a sweet potato.

Jalapeño Parmesan Crusted Chicken


  • 4 thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup rice flour (or all purpose gluten free flour, corn starch, etc.)
  • 1 package of Kitchen Table Bakers Jalapeño Parmesan crisps*
  • Canola oil (or your favorite cooking oil)

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Using the cooking oil, grease a shallow oven-safe baking dish
  3. Crush the Jalapeño Parmesan crisps to a consistency of breadcrumbs. (I threw mine in the NutriBullet)
  4. Set up 3 bowls, filling one bowl with flour, beaten egg in another, and crushed crisps in the last
  5.  For each chicken breast, dredge in flour, then let soak in egg, and finally coat with the crushed crisps
  6. Lay each piece of chicken in the greased dish evenly apart so they are not touching
  7. Bake 8-12 minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), flip and bake an additional 8-12 minutes until thoroughly cooked

*This recipe will work just as well with any of the Kitchen Table Bakers flavors of crisps.

How do you prepare your gluten free breaded chicken? GF prepared breadcrumbs? Crackers? Potato chips? Share your tips in the comments below.

August 23, 2013

FollowFriday - Honest Tea

This #FollowFriday share is long overdue. I was given the opportunity to sample a variety of Honest Tea beverages back in the spring, but somehow I failed to follow through with my review. To be "honest" (get it?) I usually drink water most the time. I kept forgetting to grab a bottle of tea instead, but I'm glad I finally did, because there were a lot of flavors of Honest Tea that I really enjoyed!

I sampled the following teas and ades:

The teas were great, but I think it was the ades that won me over. I do like to have a tall glass of ice cold lemonade in the summer and I found the Honest Tea ades to be refreshing and not at all sugary or sweet like some lemonades can be. The flavor combinations of pomegranate, blueberries, and grapes as well as orange and mango worked well together. I'm going to have to go out and try the other ade flavors, they look mighty tasty!

The Pomegranate Blue Honest Ade might have been my favorite!

The best part of Honest Tea products is they way they are made. They use real, unaltered ingredients and safe, honest practices to produce their drinks. Here's the good stuff:

I appreciate Honest Tea company's mission to provide healthy and organic beverages to the world. Too many drinks on the market today are filled with chemicals and added sugar. Having this healthy alternative is a great choice for tea, juice, and soda lovers. Cheers!

To learn more about Honest Tea, follow them! 
They can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
Visit their website to download a coupon &

August 22, 2013

Good Times With a Side of Gluten Free

Living in Chicago has its pluses and minuses, but summer in the city is definitely a plus. The weather is nice and there is something to do every single weekend. Being gluten free in Chicago is equally awesome since there are so many places to enjoy great food. This past weekend, a couple of friends and I decided to go out  and have a little bit of fun. Nothing crazy, just visiting a couple of Chicago's finest businesses.

Alissa (of Breaking Up With Captain Crunch fame) decided it was high time she check out Cassava, so I was more than happy to join her.  The only word to describe Cassava is "phenomenal". Everything is gluten free and who doesn't love a cheesy bread? Once Alexandra got wind of a Cassava lunch, she headed up there as well.

I opted for a Sun-dried Tomato & Basil cassava roll and a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Empanada. One of the best meals ever.  Both Alissa and I wish we could get empanadas everywhere. Everyone would love them. Just swap out those regular ol' gluten filled bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for these bad boys and the world would be a very happy place.

After our nice long lunch catching up with each other, we headed over to the west loop where the Threadless T-shirt Company headquarters is located to see what was going on at their Annual Threadless Family Reunion. We were able to get shirts silk screened and hear from the artist Jeremyville.

We were a little bummed we missed the games and prizes, but we still had a good time. Threadless is an awesome company and it is pretty neat that they open their doors to the public once a year to party with them. Go buy their shirts and artwork! I have a couple prints hanging in my living room that I just love and can't wait to get more.

My weekend wouldn't be complete without seeing my family. Every Sunday I head "back home" to visit with everyone, do laundry, have dinner, and of course, watch Breaking Bad with them. I have my packages sent there too since my apartment has little tiny mailboxes along the sidewalk fence and I don't trust FedEx or UPS shipments to be left outside the front door of my building. I was beyond thrilled to see my recent Red Apple Lipstick order had arrived and my niece and I decided to have a little makeup party in the living room.

Little miss thang did all of our makeup and we looked beautiful. I hadn't shared my Red Apple goodies with my family before and my mom was really impressed with the quality. She was rockin' the Firestorm lipgloss, and said something along the lines of, "Wow! This stuff is really on!" One swipe of the rich color and you're good to go. The firestorm gloss has that bronzey undertone shine that makes your lips gleam. I've been wearing the color all week and have gotten compliments saying my makeup looks really pretty.

My week has continued to be busy filled with good times with a side of gluten free. I saw a preview for Austenland and got a gluten free sandwich at Hannah's Bretzel for dinner. (a silly, but cute movie!) I had lunch with my parents and then hit up the Chicago History Museum. I had some sushi and cocktails at Hot Woks Cool Sushi (they have wheat-free tamari sauce, yo!) with my bestie before we went shopping on State Street (that great street) where we ROCKED it, both getting dresses and shoes for a wedding all on the first go.

What have your good times with a side of gluten free been lately?

August 21, 2013

Back to School! Tips on Keeping the Kids Gluten Free in the Classroom and on Campus

The Betsy books were my mom's favorite series growing up.
She also loved the name Betsy so much, obviously. 
The past couple of days my Facebook feed has been filled with everyone's adorable kids smiling happily with backpacks strapped to their backs. That means one thing: Back to School time.

I dawned on me that I've been out of school for ten years now. Not counting the time I got kicked out of school. I kind of miss it. I always loved going back to school. It was a fresh start. Not to mention my love of shopping for new clothes and school supplies. How fun was picking out a TrapperKeeper and Lisa Frank folders? I remember calling all of my friends to see who I had classes with each year after registering for elementary and high school. In college, I couldn't wait for the semester schedule to be released so I could start planning my courses. (Nerd Alert!) The one thing that was never on my mind was worrying about my gluten free diet.

If you remember my story, I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 18. I had attended The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana for one month shy of a semester, but dropped out because I was so sick with undiagnosed celiac disease. It wasn't until a month and a half after coming home that I found out my stomach woes were celiac and instantly began a gluten free diet. At that time I was attending community college and then transferred to Columbia College in downtown Chicago and lived at home through my college years. Access to gluten free food wasn't a problem. I usually ate my meals at home, prepared by myself or Babs. When I was out with friends, I read labels on the crap I bought at White Hen and ordered a lot of salads and burgers with no bun at restaurants. I was fine and seriously never even worried about a thing. I was feeling a million-bagillion-zagillion times better and can't remember really ever being glutened during college. Except for the Leona's "it's not breading it's seasoning" incident of 2000. Man, I wish blogging was a thing back then. I would have loved to look back on my newbie gluten free self.

With all of that being said, since I didn't have to deal with a gluten free diet at classroom parties, school cafeterias and campus dining halls, not to mention snacks or meals at school teams/clubs/dances/sleepovers I can't necessarily tell you how I managed to get through them. I can, however, share with you the tips and information passed along by teens, moms with gluten free kids, and experts in the field of gluten free and celiac disease.

General Gluten Free Kids Information

Gluten Free College Living

Good news! Jack Daniels is gluten free.
Drink responsibly college kids,
and not until you're 21 of course

Blogs from Parents and Gluten Free Young Adults

There is so much information online today that will help you sort out the difficulties of social activities for kids. I'm sure if you've landed on this page, you're already an awesome parent since you're looking for answers. Being proactive by speaking to teachers and school administrators is the best step. 

Have a great year, kids!

August 20, 2013

Gluten Free GNO at P.F. Chang's

Confession: At some point near the end of May I got super sick. I'll save you the details, but it involved my GI tract and lasted about two and a half months. Lots of tests and procedures, thousands of dollars and a heavy dose of antibiotics later, this past week I finally got my appetite back and could enjoy food again. Obviously that was cause for a celebration. Friday after work, I grabbed my gluten free bestie, Alexandra, and we headed to our local Chang's in downtown Chicago for a much needed girls' night out.

Recently P.F. Chang's graciously sent me a gift card to use towards their new Summer Seasonal Menu. Chef Yuji Iwasa created a handful of new dishes using the wonderful fresh vegetables that summer brings. Think summer squash, heirloom tomatoes, and mango. Out of the six new summer items, there is only one gluten free option, the Summer Vegetable Quinoa "Fried Rice". This dish is lightly toasted red quinoa with sunburst squash, mango, grape tomatoes, snow peas, and topped with a fried egg. Check it:

Summer Vegetable Quinoa "Fried Rice"

While it sounds delicious in theory, we both though it could have used more flavor.  Our quinoa dish didn't have as many vegetables as I had hoped, and I couldn't taste any mango. The quinoa was a little too bland for my liking. I usually like to cook it in a gluten free chicken or vegetable broth to give it a bit more flavor. The egg was a bit too over-fried as well. I might try and create this dish at home to see if I can add some pizzazz to it, P.F. Chang's shared the recipes for the summer dishes. It looks like most of them can be made gluten free if you substitute soy sauce for gluten free soy sauce or tamari sauce.

Despite the summer quinoa dish falling a little flat, it didn't ruin our meal in the least! We indulged in some summer cocktails; I went for the seasonal Long Island Rum Tea and Alexandra went for the classic Yuzu Ginger Mojito. Sugary, boozy sweetness.

Yuzu Ginger Mojito and Long Island Rum Tea

Gluten free chicken lettuce wraps were had and we opted for trying a new mainstay to the gluten free menu, the GF Shaking Beef. Fantastic! Tender flank steak with broccolini, tomatoes and red onions served on a bed of mixed baby greens with a zesty lime vinaigrette. I will definitely order it again.

GF Shaking Beef

We couldn't pass up one of my favorite menu items, the GF Chang's Spicy Chicken. It's heavenly. Lightly battered juicy chicken pieces with a sweet & spicy sauce, it's pretty much a sophisticated chicken nuggets dipped in sweet & sour sauce and I highly recommend it.

GF Chang's Spicy Chicken

Not being able to finish the entrees, we skipped dessert, but I can't not tell you about the flourless chocolate dome. When you visit P.F. Chang's make sure to save room for this beautiful work of art:

Flourless Chocolate Dome (photo credit: P.F. Chang's)

It's so decadent!

Have you dined at P.F. Chang's before? What's your favorite gluten free menu item?

*P.F. Chang's sent me a gift card to purchase items for this review. All opinions in this post are completely my own. P.F. Chang's has a high standard of gluten free kitchen practices. If you're nervous about dining out, here are my tips to help you!

August 19, 2013

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Pizza

Everyone loves pizza. Very rarely will you find someone that doesn't. I'm thrilled that my gluten free world has evolved to the point of being able to order pizza from a handful of places (gluten free lady's choice!) and have it delivered!

It's also fun to make pizza at home every once in a while. While I love making veggie pizzas with the typical tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, it's fun to jazz it up a bit too. That's where some BBQ Chicken pizza comes in. The sweet tang of barbecue sauce, tender chicken, caramelized onions, a cheesy blend of sharp cheddar and mozzarella, and the freshness of cilantro. Anything but ordinary.

My family has been making this recipe since my pre-celiac days when we'd use a Boboli pizza crust. To gluten free this up, there are several different pre-made gluten free crusts to choose from such as Udi's, Rudi's, or Schar. Since you don't have to prepare the crust, it's pretty easy to put together and doesn't require a lot of prep work other than cooking the chicken.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

1 pre-made gluten free pizza crust. (I used Schar)
¼ of gluten free BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
1 cup of cooked chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
½ cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small sweet onion, sliced in rings
1 tsp oil
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

  1. Cook your chicken breast! You can bake it, boil it, pressure cook it, grill it. Once fully cooked, chop into bite sized pieces, about 1 cup total
  2. Preheat oven to temperature listed on package of pre-made gluten free pizza crust
  3. Slice up your onion, heat up your pan, coat it with oil and caramelize those onions until they are a nice golden brown
  4. Spread your BBQ sauce all over the pizza crust; if you like a saucy pizza feel free to add more!
  5. Evenly distribute chicken pieces over sauced up crust
  6. Sprinkle cheeses on top
  7. Add those caramelized onions over the cheese
  8. Sprinkle cilantro on top of everything
  9. Pop into the preheated oven and bake per directions on the crust, usually about 12-15 minutes. You'll know when it's ready when the cheese is nicely melted
  10. Once out of the oven, cool for a few and then dig in!
What are your favorite pizza toppings?

August 18, 2013

Gluten Free Betsy Book Club - Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten Free

So remember my book club I started and kinda left hanging? Well it's back. I don't remember if I hadn't read any gluten free/celiac books in the past couple of years or what the deal was.

Anywho...I started following April Pevetaux's blog, Gluten Is My Bitch, a couple of years ago and was thrilled when she announced she was writing a book. She's hilarious as all get out, so naturally I was all over that pre-order. When I finally got the book this spring, I dove right in and it was just the book to bring the GFB Book Club back in session.

First off, there are soooooo many gluten free books nowadays. Everyone and their mother is writing a book about gluten free and usually they are all the same. The symptoms, what to eat, what to avoid, recipes, etc. Finding the right author to deliver this information to you is key. Do you want a doctor or celiac expert to provide the clinical medical advice on going gluten free? Would you rather have a chef or baker tempt you with their mouthwatering gluten free recipes? How about a funny lady telling you what's up? That's what April brings to the bookshelf with Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free.

Since I already reviewed this book on Goodreads, I'm going to share that review here:

I loves me some gluten free reads, and this book delivers on so many levels. Number 1, it's hilarious! April Peveteaux educates with a sassy spin and leaves nothing out. Like most "going gluten free" books, she covers the basics like what you can and cannot eat. Tips for eating out, traveling, kids on a gluten free diet, cross-contamination, and advances in celiac research. Recipes included!

What I like about this book is that it's not a textbook clinical bunch of gobbley-gook. She's not medical professional "with all the answers", heck, she even admits to some downfalls and confesses getting glutened. She feels timid asking the dude at Chipotle to change his gloves too and she craves "real" food like cupcakes and donuts and pizza crust.

I think this book would be a great resource to give to a friend or family member that just doesn't get your celiac or a gluten issue. There are sections where she mentions "maybe you're not gluten free, but providing for someone who is" this book explains it way better than a scientific explanation. We gluten free folks have all dealt with "there's just a little bit of flour in it" or "it's fat free/low fat/lite/sugar free/low carb" or "what's gluten?" before...this is the perfect answer to their questions...and it will humor them.

As an added bonus, April was in town during the Printer's Row Book Fest this past June and did a little demo and signed books. I was able to meet her, get my book signed, and pick up a F*ck Flour button. Woot!

Why, yes I will keep kicking gluten ass, thank you very much!

Want more book gluten free book reviews? Visit the GFB Book Club page!

August 17, 2013

Public House's Upcoming Gluten Free Beer Dinner

Fancy dinners paired with alcohol are always fun, right? Unfortunately they aren't always plentiful for gluten free peeps like us, with the exception of Wildfire's Annual Gluten Free Wine Dinners or Woodchuck Cider's restaurant takeover for Gluten Free Cider Dinners. Now, thanks to Public House, one of the first ever gluten free BEER dinners is on the books for next month.

Public House is a gastropub in the River North area of Chicago that has a pretty extensive beer list. Over a hundred beers available and even taps at some tables and on the walls. There are also six cicerones (the equivalent of a sommelier) on staff.  Hi. They're obviously serious about beer. 

Public House has hosted beer dinners in the past, but never a gluten free one. Since they already have a gluten free menu and they're all about they beer, they thought why not? This event will mark their very first gluten free beer dinner.

The six-­course pairing menu from Chef David Blonsky & Chef Jeremy Tannehill was created to complement the hand-­picked gluten-free beers:

While most of the beers chosen are gluten free, some are gluten-removed which some gluten free or celiac diners might be wary of. Public House will gladly substitute one of the other gluten free beers on the menu for those who ask.  Public House also has a high level of preventing cross-contamination in their kitchen, using separate food prep surfaces and separate utensils, along with following their gluten free kitchen guidelines.

The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. on September 18th and is $35 (not including tax and gratuity) per person. Tickets are limited and are available in advance at I already bought my ticket, so I hope to see you there!

August 16, 2013

FollowFriday - Liz Lovely Cookies!

If you haven't had a Liz Lovely gluten free cookie, then you've been missing out. The little Vermont bakery has been churning out the most delicious vegan gluten free cookies for almost ten years now. With flavors such as Triple Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Fudge, and Ginger Molasses, and Chocolate Chip you really can't go wrong.
Liz Lovely deliciousness!
They know I'm a huge fan, so they kindly sent me some cookies to tide me over while they announced this exciting news:

Awesome, right?! Another dedicated gluten free bakery in the house! They've always been super careful with their cross contamination process, even sharing their test results with customers.  Can't wait for those new flavors!

You can follow Liz Lovely on Facebook, Twitter, and their blog. Don't forget to join their Fan Club to get exclusive news and discounts!

Have you tried Liz Lovely cookies? Which is your favorite flavor?

August 2, 2013

It was a good day! FDA defines gluten-free for food labeling

Today the FDA FINALLY set some regulations on gluten free labeling. This is huge news considering it's taken this long to get it done.

This new federal definition standardizes the meaning of “gluten-free” claims across the food industry. It requires that, in order to use the term "gluten-free" on its label, a food must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. The rule also requires foods with the claims “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten” to meet the definition for “gluten-free.”

Click on image to read the entire ruling

For all the details and answers to questions you might have, please visit the FDA's Q&A page.

I also recommend reading Jules Shepard's blog post on this issue. She, John Forberger, and the American Celiac Disease Alliance were instrumental in getting these standards set in place. In 2011 they founded to spread awareness on the importance of gluten free labeling. You may have remembered the World's Tallest Gluten Free Cake they constructed to pressure law makers on finalizing gluten free labeling standards that were promised in 2007 to be done within five years. A little late, but hey, better late than never!

July 24, 2013

Congratulations, Red Apple Lipstick! GFREEK's 2013 Best Gluten Free Cosmetics Award Winner!

If you haven't already heard the results of this year's GFREEK Awards, I'm thrilled to let you know that Red Apple Lipstick has won the best gluten free cosmetic award!

Way to Go, RAL!

The GFREEK Awards highlight the best of the best in categories ranging from Best Gluten Free Awareness Event to every type of food you can think of. I'm looking at you, Best Gluten Free Comfort Food. They even have a Best Gluten Free Vacation Destination. Go check out the winners and start submitting your favorites for next year's award nominees.

Now on to the Red Apple Lipstick makeup! This past spring I bought some of their new(ish) eyeshadow shades, Silver Lining and Blue Jay, which I absolutely love. Just like their lipsticks and glosses, the Red Apple Eyeshadow is allergen free. Plus, like the lip products, they took out all the harmful chemicals.

Red Apple Lipstick is just lookin' out for ya!

The fun, or maybe the best, part of the eyeshadow is that you can apply it dry or wet and create two completely different looks.

I love their products....I rock either the Cabernet Kiss or Nude lip gloss everyday. My lips feel naked without them. Paired with the eyeshadow and my face is made. Whaddya think?

Red Apple Girls, are ya listenin?!
You can get your very own gluten free cosmetics at Don't forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and their Blog for makeup tips and tricks.

July 14, 2013

Black Bean Salsa

I think it's safe to say that summer is officially here. The temperatures in Chicago are heating up after it's been a comfortable start to the season. Barbecues and picnics are all the craze right now and what's a better side to serve than a fresh salsa?

I made this flavorful black bean salsa for the Fourth of July and it was a hit. It's been a favorite recipe in my family for years and a hot summer day is the perfect time to enjoy it. It's delicious with corn chips, jicama slices, or as a topping to grilled chicken or fish. Did I mention it's a breeze to make?

Black Bean Salsa

2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of sweet corn, drained
4-5 plum tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped

Dressing Ingredients
4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend the dressing ingredients together in a smaller bowl and pour over bean and vegetable mixture. Combine to coat evenly.

*If you are making this the day before you are serving it, wait to add the avocado until right before serving.

 What's your favorite fresh salsa to make? Fruity, spicy? I want to know!

June 25, 2013

Old School Potato Salad - Perfect For Your Gluten-Free BBQ

Summer is officially here and BBQ season is upon us. At my cook-outs, there's always some type of glorious meat on the grill whether it's burgers, chicken, ribs, or steak. While the focus is usually on that main meat, the side dishes are just as important! Potato salad is a popular choice, and that store bought stuff just doesn't cut it. Homemade is where it's at, and my family's recipe is so loved that I still hear stories about it to this day.

My mom grew up on the south side of Chicago and had relatives that lived on the north side of the city. The exact north neighborhood is unknown since that family was lovely referred to as "the north sides". As the story goes, the north side aunt made THE. BEST. potato salad in the world. Like nothing you've ever had before. When I called Babs to tell her I was making THE potato salad and to confirm the recipe (I hadn't made it myself in a while), I could hear the praise in her voice when she told me, "Oh, that potato salad was so good. She made the best potato salad. It was pink!"

All the south side ladies in the family would try to replicate the recipe. As I'm told my Grandma made a fantastic version for which she would get oodles of compliments. She would add onions and celery and got it down just right. Growing up with five picky eater children, my mom dropped the onions and celery and just made a creamy potato goodness. Our family would fight over who got the last spoonful.

Like my mom's recipe, I've also omitted the onions and celery (I hate raw celery) and let the other ingredients shine. This recipe is very easy and versatile; you can add whichever veggies and herbs you want if you want to pump up the flavor.

Old School "North Side Inspired" Potato Salad
Serves 4-6

6 to 8 Red Potatoes unpeeled
3 to 4 Eggs, hard-boiled
¼ Cup Sour Cream
¼ Cup Mayo
1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Dill (optional) to taste
Salt and Pepper (optional) to taste
Paprika for garnishing

  1. Wash your taters, put them in a large pot and fill with water, covering them about an inch or two. Do not peel or cut them. Boil the potatoes until they can be pierced easily with a fork and begin to fall apart. You'll see the skin on the potatoes starting to come off or looked cracked. This is good. If the potatoes fall apart, great, they're ready! Remove from water and let them cool.
  2. Once the potatoes are cool (or able to be handled without burning your fingers), use a fork or butter knife to peel off the skin. Cut or break them into small-ish pieces in a large bowl.
  3. Cut up hard-boiled eggs into pieces and mix together with potato pieces. *If you are adding onions, peppers, celery or other raw veggies, include them in this step*
  4. In a small bowl, mix together equal parts sour cream and mayo. You might need a little more than ¼ cup of each. (I usually eyeball this and dump in 2 heaping tablespoons of each)
  5. Stir in red wine vinegar, dill, salt and pepper to creamy mixture and pour mixture over potatoes and evening coat.
  6. Sprinkle a little paprika on top of the potatoes and chill until serving. If you can't wait, it's also pretty darn tasty warm.
I actually was so unprepared when I made this tonight. I didn't have red wine vinegar or dill and the couple of stores within walking distance (I'm looking at you Walgreens and Aldi) didn't carry either of them, so I improvised. I ended up using plain old white distilled vinegar and Herbs de Provence and the end result was really good, but I would recommend the red wine vinegar.

What's your favorite BBQ side?

June 24, 2013

Epic Move

The silence on Gluten Free Betsy hasn't been another bout of writer’s block. It’s been because something big happened. I moved. And trust me when I say it was big.

Let’s travel down memory lane for a bit of a back-story. I started my blog in 2009 right when I “moved back home”. I had been living in the Ukrainian Village/Wicker Park area of Chicago with my best friends and a random Craigslist dude (not recommended). 2008 was a crappy year. I lost my job (twice), relationships were being tested and were evolving, and I was broker than broke. That fall after both of my roommates lost their jobs and two of us were denied unemployment we had no choice but to break out lease and go about our separate ways. My only option was moving back home with my parents. It was a major adjustment for me. I hadn't lived “at home” for four years. I was used to the late night bars and hopping on the blue line whenever. My friends were my family, in that I saw them every day and ate dinner with them every night. I was used to my routine and moving across the city where none of my friends lived was super hard. The accessibility to people and places was more complicated, and while I tried my best to get into the city as often as I could, it was tiring and expensive (I was still broke, after all). I settled back into suburbia and started this blog to keep myself busy and creative.

My very first blog header. Shared that fancy font with Gluten Free Frenzy!

While it was only supposed to last for a few months and my plan was to be back in the city by that summer, things didn't work out that way. I ended up living with my family for a little over four years. While I love my fam to death and didn't necessarily want to leave, this spring I decided that it was time to be back on my own again. I found a super cute apartment that was spacious and close to transportation and friends.

Unpacking for the last month has been taking up my blogging time. When I initially moved home, I had an entire household that couldn't (and wouldn't) fit into my parents’ house. I rented a storage locker to hold everything until I could move out. Uncovering those treasures has been a mixture of joy and WTF?! Why did I save some of the things that I did? Why did I even own some of the things that I did? If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you saw some of the gems that I found. Luckily my sister-in-law’s family held a garage sale that I piggybacked on and sold a huge chunk of it. The rest of the vintage stuff will make its way to an etsy store I am in the works of setting up.

Packed to the gills.

The only downfall to my new place is that the kitchen is a food blogger’s worst nightmare. It’s small, lacking counter space, and needs a lot of updates. The small, falling in sink is not ideal. The stove is tricky. The knob for the oven temperature is worn out, so heating to a specified temperature is anyone’s guess. I did buy an oven thermometer, but that’s not working out too well either. My recent batch of Kyra’s Crave Bake Shop cupcakes turned out more like pound cake than cupcake, but that’s OK.

Snickerdoodle cupcake, literally!

Despite being back in the city near friends and fun times, I’m excited to continue blogging. I know my posts have slowed down over the past couple of years, but I’m hoping having my own (tiny) kitchen and cooking more meals (already miss Babs’s cooking) will generate more fun stories and recipes. I’m bringing book club back. I want to whip myself into shape again. And of course I want you all to eat out, so I will constantly be updating the Chicago restaurant list. There’s been a lot of change for me lately, but change is good. It’s time.

April 28, 2013

Chicago Gluten Free Expo Recap!

It's been a crazy week! I would have posted this GFAF Expo recap sooner, but I'm in the midst of moving (!!!!!) and have been spending all my free time packing instead of blogging. This expo couldn't go unmentioned, so I took a break to fill you in if you didn't have the chance to attend.

New Planet Beer, Blogger Booth, Sweet Ali's Salted Caramel Cupcakes, Schar Kid's Table making S'mores, with the Gluten Free Bar Sweater (and Biebs), She-Liac, Van's Natural Foods new gluten free cereal, Kyra of Crave Bake Shop, with Blogger Sponsor, Holy Crap cereal.

Last weekend started off with a fabulous pizza party hosted by Schar at D'Agostino's and ended up with me in bed at 8:30pm on Sunday night. I've been having a rough time with my fibromyalgia and was having flare-ups earlier in the week and the expo completely tuckered me out. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast meeting so many awesome bloggers, discovering new gluten free companies, eating delicious food, and reconnecting with old friends. I just wish I had more energy to enjoy it to the fullest.

Here's what was totally awesome about this year's GFAF Expo:

Alissa of Breaking Up with Captain Crunch and Mel of Geekily Gluten Free

Alissa, Mel, and myself. Charlie's Angels style.

These girls rock the house. I met Alissa via our blogs about a year ago and then in real life a few weeks ago at a Chicago Gluten Free Meetup at Tweet for some seriously amazing gluten free brunch. Then we hung out the entire weekend at the expo. First off, her blog is hilarious and a great one to be reading. Second, we get along famously. You'd never know that we just met, it feels like we've been friends forever.

Mel is another Chicago celiac friend that I met last year briefly at a group dinner at Senza. Then again briefly at the Gluten Free Calendar White Sox game. I finally got to spend some quality time with her last week since we split a hotel room. Just like Alissa, Mel rocks! She writes a blog, rocks heels while being six feet tall, and is also a gluten free superhero, She-Liac. Plus she's super sweet and fun.

New Gluten Free (and non-Gluten Free) Discoveries

Gluten free products have taken the market by storm. Years ago a new sandwich bread that was tasty and wouldn't crumble was what one could dream for. Maybe a cupcake or some cookies. Nowadays there are numerous soft and delicious breads on the market. Tons of cookies and plenty of cupcake mixes. Today we think outside of the box in writing up our gluten free wish list. Croissant? Pita bread? Phyllo dough? Gluten free companies are starting to make everything possible.

There were a couple vendors that announced that their gluten free bread was the best ever (no, it wasn't) or their cookies were amazing because all the other gluten free cookies taste like cardboard (Really? have you tried Wow Baking Company's gluten free cookies? Or a bunch others that are really good and not at all like cardboard?) Regardless of those false claims, I did find some new "Shut UP! I can't believe it's gluten free!!!" products. Which are:
  • Kiki's Gluten Free Foods - Their tag line is "Simply Awesome!" They couldn't have written truer words. I was blown away at just how awesome their Spinach and Feta pockets were. So much so that on Day 2, Alissa and I immediately walked into the expo and headed right to their booth. Their desserts were out of this world as well. Blueberry FreakCake and Malibu Madness were most definitely freak-out madness incredible. Four restaurants in Chicago carry their products, and you bet I'll be visiting them soon.

  • Teri's Gluten Free - I know Teri from way back when her business was Mixes From The Heartland. She started up a new company, Teri's Gluten Free, and I'm thrilled that her products haven't changed in taste. She's still delivering one of the most amazing gluten free desserts on the market today. I sampled her Sweet Potato Brownies and Coconut Cream Pie which I immediately bought. She has everything from soups and casserole mixes to breads and dessert mixes. She also carries Gluten Free Emergency Kits which I think is the most genius idea ever. With kits prepared for 24 hours to 1 year, this is a wonderful life-saver. Look at events such as Hurricane Sandy, which left many gluten free people struggling to find safe food to eat. Even for a quick one day getaway, a kit could have you prepared.

  • The Eating Well - Their veggies burgers were really good. Alissa and I each ordered one fully cooked and ate them for lunch on Sunday. 
Veggies Burgers from The Eating Well.
  • Red Apple Lipstick - I met Jay and Andrea of Red Apple Lipstick at the previous GFAF Expo and love their lip gloss. I couldn't wait to get my hands on more makeup, since they now have eyeshadow! I picked up a new tube of lip gloss and some eye shadow in blue and purple. Colors I wouldn't think I could rock, but apparently I do! I even got my first compliment (ever in my entire life) on my eyeshadow yesterday, so thank you, Red Apple Lipstick. This booth was constantly mobbed during the expo, but luckily Sunday morning Mel, Alissa, and I got to play with make-up and make our purchases.
  • CNB Naturally - OK, there were a lot of weird booths going on at the Expo. There was a psychic and a few window salesmen. Then there was a booth with these wooden boxes. Alissa and I were very skeptical and joked about them all Saturday. Then Sunday we bit the bullet and tried them out. Whoa. I take back every snarky comment I said the day before. They were Far Infrared Thermal Therapy (F.I.T.T. System) boxes. AKA...a sauna seat. And I want one. Badly. It was amazing. After my week of aches and pains from fibromyalgia, this was a welcome relief. I'm saving up for one.
Alissa and me in "the wooden boxes"

The Bloggers

I love meeting bloggers, especially gluten free bloggers. We obviously have something in common and I love hearing their stories of being gluten free. Picking each other brains about blogging is always interesting. I met several new bloggers at the Expo. Here are a few of them:

Another favorite of mine, Kyra from Crave Bake Shop was at the expo. If you're not familiar with Kyra, she has celiac disease and opened an entirely gluten free bakery in Portland. She's a two time champion of Cupcake Wars.  She recently launched a line of boxed cake mixes so you can make her award winning cupcakes at home. She was selling them at the expo and they were selling out like hotcakes. I quickly snatched up three boxes of Snickerdoodle cake mix (the only variety available since the chocolate and vanilla sold out).

Kyra and her amazing Snickerdoodle Cake Mix!

Did you attend the Chicago Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo? What was your favorite find?