This Week Only: Donate $2 (Or More) To Help Send Children To A Gluten-Free Summer Camp!

Posted on December 19th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Holidays/Special Events | Comments Off on This Week Only: Donate $2 (Or More) To Help Send Children To A Gluten-Free Summer Camp!

If you or your child has ever been to summer camp, you have memories of the playing in the outdoors and making new friends. But what if your child couldn’t go because of his special dietary needs? Fortunately, special camps are popping up around the U.S. and this summer the Celiac Disease Foundation is starting a new one in southern California.

In the spirit of the giving season, I am hoping that you will help provide scholarships for children to attend this gluten-free summer camp. This week, giving just $2 will go a long way…

Through Sunday, December 25, Gluten-Free Saver has partnered with Van’s Natural Foods to raise money to send children to next summer’s CDF-sponsored summer camp, and Van’s is matching all donations up to $1,000!

The goal is to raise $2,000 – and when you donate $2, you’re really contributing $4.

You can read more about the fundraiser here: www.glutenfreesaver.com.

The summer camp will be held in San Bernardino in Southern California from July 30 to August 3, 2012, and it’s open to all 7-15 year old gluten intolerant and gluten-sensitive children – not just those diagnosed with celiac disease.

I hope you will join me in giving $2 (or more if you wish) so children can attend a camp where they don’t have to worry about the food, and they can just enjoy being kids. Please help reach the goal of $2,000. Every $2 helps. 100% of all donations will go directly to the Celiac Disease Foundation.

YES! I want to help send a child to a gluten-free summer camp and donate $2 right now!

Thank you!


Finding or making your favorite holiday foods – gluten-free, allergen-free

Posted on December 13th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Dairy Allergy, Egg Allergy, Holidays/Special Events, Peanuts/Nuts Allergy, Recipes & Cooking Tips | Read 4 Comments - Add Your Own »

For people who are gluten-free or have food allergies, the holidays can be a reminder of what we can’t eat. Gluten and other allergens are everywhere, and because we are more social at this time of year, this fact becomes more obvious as we attend holiday parties, share meals with family and friends, and are tempted by sweet treats all around.

But you don’t have to go without your favorite foods! You may not be able to indulge in everything, but think about what food would make you feel the most emotionally satisfied — is it pie, is it stuffing? Is it a box of chocolates, matzoh ball soup? Which one holiday food would give you the greatest pleasure? Then, make it happen! If you can buy it, treat yourself! If you have to make it yourself, do it. If someone else wants to make it for you, great! If you don’t have to stop at one food, by all means, don’t! If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the things you can’t eat, let’s simplify it.

I hope this short list of suggestions can help, and if there’s something else you’re longing for, let me know, and I will use my resources to try to find you the enjoyment you deserve!

GLUTEN-FREE / ALLERGEN-FREE GINGERBREAD MEN OR HOUSE

Buy it: Oops, we’re past the deadline already for ordering an allergen-free gingerbread house kit from A&J Bakery, but now you know for next year. Sensitive Sweets in southern California is also making an allergen-free gingerbread kit for purchase.

Make it: You can make this. Seriously, you can. Read my post “I made an allergen-free gingerbread house!

ROLL OUT SUGAR COOKIES

Buy it: I haven’t found any gluten-free shaped sugar cookies you can buy in stores that are gluten-free, and many of the sugar cookie mixes don’t make cookies that hold their shape.

Make it: I am very excited this year that I found a GREAT recipe for roll-out sugar cookies that are free of gluten, dairy, eggs and nuts! The recipe is from Heidi at Adventures of a GF Mom. (The recipe calls for almond extract which I replace with vanilla.) Cybel Pascal has a recipe for sugar cookies that is also free of the top allergens.

PIE OR PIE CRUST

Buy it: Whole Foods’ Gluten-Free Bakehouse brand has a pie crust, and you can find finished pies or tarts from Katz Gluten Free, Crave Bakery, and Christine’s Upper Crust Pies.

Make it: There are actually tons of gluten-free pie and pie crust recipes out there if you want to make it from scratch. Some of the sites that have recipes are Whole Foods, Simply Gluten-Free, Living Without Magazine, Elana’s Pantry, and Gluten-Free Girl. You can also use commercially available flour blends to make a crust, which saves you some steps. King Arthur shows you how, and if you want a really easy with video instruction, Pamela of Pamela’s Products shows you how to make a gluten-free pie using her mix (is also egg-free and can be dairy-free). Jules of Jules Gluten Free also shows you how to make pie using her flour blend.

GRAVY

Buy it: You can purchase gluten-free gravy mixes. Here is a list of search results for gluten-free gravy on Amazon. Mayacamas is another company that makes gluten-free gravy mixes.

Make it: Instead of flour, use a gluten-free starch. Here’s a little primer on wheat-free thickeners from FitSugar. Ali at Nourishing Meals explains how to make gluten-free gravy. A chef from Whole Foods shows in a video two ways to make gravy, and The Family Chef shares her easy steps.

STUFFING

Buy it: Look around — gluten-free bread  crumbs or croutons are available, but if you can’t find them, you can buy gluten-free bread like Udi’s or Rudi’s to use in any traditional stuffing recipe.

Make it: You can make a loaf of gluten-free bread to use in stuffing recipes. That’s what I do because I can make the bread dairy and egg-free also for people with multiple food allergies in my family. This recipe for Harvest Stuffing always turns out. If you don’t want to use bread, opt for a rice dressing, which will be naturally gluten-free. Make sure any broth you are using is gluten-free. If you have nut allergies, watch out — many stuffing recipes call for nuts.

MATZOH BALL SOUP

Buy it/Make it: You buy the mix to make your own matzoh balls. They are really good and I love the name: Mock-Zah Ball Mix.

POTATO LATKES

Buy it: Hmmm… nope, you’re going to have to make these.

Make it: Easy to make gluten-free, just substitute an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend for the flour called for in traditional recipes. Need to be egg-free too? Don’t worry, I figured this one out for you: Gluten-Free Egg-Free Latke Recipe

CHOCOLATES

Buy it: See’s Candies is still my favorite boxed-chocolates. They have an allergen list, so depending on your allergy, you might be able to find something you can have!

Make it: You can easily make chocolate lollies and shapes by following these steps:

  1. Buy candy molds in holiday shapes, like snowflakes or snowmen or Christmas shapes or Santas.
  2. Buy Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Chips or Mega Chunks – they are free of the top 8 allergens.
  3. Temper the chocolate in the microwave by heating the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, at power level 5 or 50% for 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula in a gentle sweeping motion,  stir the chocolate, even if none of it has become liquid yet and return the bowl to the microwave oven for another 30 seconds. Remove, stir, and repeat until about two-thirds of the chunks become liquid and about one-third are in soft lumps. Continually stir to cool the chocolate until the soft lumps disappear and the chocolate has cooled a little.
  4. Pour the chocolate into the molds, or use a spoon or spatula to put it in, and let it set in the refrigerator.
  5. When chilled completely, wrap the chocolates with colored foil or clear wrap.

What else is tugging at your tummy this holiday season?


How to navigate Halloween with food allergies

Posted on October 13th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Holidays/Special Events | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

My little beeHalloween is an exciting time for kids, but can also be a tough one for kids with food allergies and sensitivities, and a very stressful time for their parents. So, how does a gluten-free mom of a daughter with severe food allergies handle Halloween? Let me share some of my strategies for coping with this scary season!

First, let me say that I’m not an advocate of candy. In fact, I think it’s terrible for our health and I wish these candy companies didn’t exist to manufacture crap that is contributing to the obesity and illness in our society. Plus, my kids turn into crazy wild animals at the sight of candy and nothing else but that morsel of sugar seems to matter to them.

So, now that I got that out (whew!), I will say that I am also realistic and want my kids to have the same fun as all the other kids. We go to Halloween parties, we decorate our house and get dressed up, and my kids get to trick-or-treat for candy. We just need to do it a little differently and carefully.

Know what is safe ahead of time

No matter what the Halloween activities, you will find them much more enjoyable if you know what candies and foods are safe for your child ahead of time instead of in the middle of the craziness. Use my Halloween Safe Candy Lists to guide you!

Also, listen to the radio show I did as a guest of Jules Dowler Shepard. We talk about the candy lists, food labeling and what those allergen statements really mean.

Listen to internet radio with Jules Gluten Free on Blog Talk Radio

School Parties

I always sign up to bring a treat to the class party. Always. Do I always want to? No, I don’t. But, I know how important it is to my kids to get to have a treat at the party. Don’t have time? It doesn’t Pumpkin face cookieshave to be fancy! Don’t put pressure on yourself to be Martha Stewart. Your kids will be happy with whatever you come up with. If you can’t think of anything, there’s always rice crispy treats (make in the shape of a ghost if you want to go crazy!) Last year I made chocolate chip cookies and then decorated them like pumpkins. My point is, I didn’t have time to roll out and cut sugar cookies, so I went with chocolate chip instead. The kids loved them!

I always assume that there will be candy at school, so I am being proactive this year and will give my Allergen-Free Candy Quick List out to my kids’ teachers and other central school resources. For example, my school has a Facebook page now, so I posted the link to the list on there. Usually teachers and parents are grateful to know what to buy so that every kid can partake.

Trick or Treating

Trick or Treat!You might be able to control the candy that your child receives at school, but when trick-or-treating your child is going to have every kind of candy being dropped in their bag. What to do? The first couple years it was difficult to explain to my child that she couldn’t eat certain candies until I checked them at home. She was also young enough that I could steal the unsafe candies out of her bag without her knowing. There’s no way I could do that now! But, she’s also old enough that she understands we need to check the questionable pieces of candy and that if she can’t have it, she gets to choose a different candy from my stash of safe candy (usually it’s the same candy we are giving out at the door). The trade policy works really well for us, because she feels it is fair, rather than just having to throw away candies she can’t have.

I think most parents agree that they don’t really want their kids eating all the candy they get, so some clever parents have devised creative ways of getting their kids to give up the candy. One idea I have heard is the Candy Witch or the Switch Witch. The kid leaves the candy on Halloween night (or subsequent nights) and the Witch leaves a present or money in exchange. My kids think gift cards are the coolest thing ever, so maybe the Witch will leave one of those!

We also have a local dentist who pays kids for candy and then sends the candy to our troops overseas. Pretty nice idea.

Have fun!

Don’t forget to remind yourself and your kids that Halloween is not just about taking candy from strangers. It’s also about gory cut-off body parts, creepy spiders and weirdos walking around town with masks on. hee hee hee!


Allergen-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2011

Posted on October 4th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Candy, Holidays/Special Events, Products | Read 17 Comments - Add Your Own »

THIS INFORMATION MAY BE OUTDATED. PLEASE SEE THE NEW 2013 LIST.

This is a quick list of allergen-free Halloween candy for 2011. This list includes candies that do not contain gluten or the top 8 allergens (wheat, milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish or shellfish) as an ingredient. I have included the allergen statement if it mentions any of these.For the complete listing of allergens and statements see the Halloween Candy List Gluten-Free Allergen-Free 2011. For a quick list of candies that are gluten-free, see the Gluten-Free Halloween Candy Quick List 2011.

Note: Please, as always, double check ingredients. This list is meant as a guide only.

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NOTE for bloggers/organizations/media: Please do not reprint this list without my permission. Linking to it, however, is just fine and dandy! Printing is encouraged for personal use or for schools, etc. I appreciate your consideration of my work.

ANGIE’S ARTISAN TREATS

  • Kettle Corn

 

BAZOOKA (located in New York, NY 800-489-9149)

  • Ring Pops, Push Pops, Baby Bottle Pops

CE DE CANDY (located in New Jersey 908-964-0660)

  • Smarties (only USA, not Canada), Giant Smarties, Mega Smarties, Candy Money, Love Hearts, Smarties in a Pouch, Tropical Smarties, X-TREME Sour Smarties, Easter Smarties, Smarties Parties, Smarties Double Lollies, Smarties Mega Lollies, Smarties Pops, Giant Smarties Pops, Candy Necklace
    • Check if it has been re-bagged for allergen info. If the UPC number on the packaging begins with “0 11206”, you can be assured that the product was packaged in one of Ce De Candy’s manufacturing facilities, and is allergen-free

FARLEY’S AND SATHERS (located in Minnesota 888-247-9855)

  • Brach’s Candy Corn and Gummi Candy Corn(not flavored candy corns)
    • “Packaged on equipment that processes milk, egg, and soy. Milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy may be present in the manufacturing or packaging area.”
  • Brach’s Mellowcreme Pumpkins
    • “Packaged on equipment that processes milk, egg, and soy. Milk, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and soy may be present in the manufacturing or packaging area.”
  • Heide candies – Jujyfruits, Jujubes, Red Raspberry Dollars, Red Hot Dollars Wild Cherry, Heide Gummi Bears
  • Jujyfruits, Jujubes
    • “Packaged on equipment that packages products containing traces of milk, wheat, egg, peanuts, tree nuts and/or soy protein.”
  • Super Bubble and Super Bubble Blast
    • “Manufactured in a facility that manufactures products containing traces of eggs.”
  • Trolli Gummi Bears, Trolli Sour Brite (Frite) Crawlers
    • “Packaged on equipment that packages products containing traces of milk, wheat, egg, peanuts, tree nuts and/or soy protein.”

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