Laughing Glass Margaritas: all-natural and delicious!

Posted on June 17th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

I like a good margarita, and by that I mean a real, fresh margarita, not one made from a corn-syrup-sodium-benzoate-yellow-5 mixer. Besides the fact that the ingredients of most commercial mixers are ones I don’t want to put in my body, they simply don’t taste good to me. The downside to preferring a fresh margarita is not having a personal bartender to squeeze limes and mix my drink for me one on command — I need to add one to my staff, right after I hire a maid, butler and driver. ;)

Laughing Glass Cocktails is a new company that creates a read-to-drink margarita. It has all the ingredients of a fresh margie already mixed, so all you do is pour over ice. I recently brought it on a girls weekend (see photo), and we all loved it!

Laughing Glass Margaritas

Regarding ingredients, the company states:

  • We begin with a proprietary, super premium blanco tequila they developed (Blanco tequila is not aged in the oak casks that can cause allergic reactions in some people).
  • We source only the best organic Agave plants (or pinas) from the lowlands of Mexico.  After being picked at the peak of their maturity, they are slowly steam cooked, mashed and fermented, then distilled in stainless steel barrels for a concentrated, pure and clean spirit.
  • We add delicate all-natural citrus flavors and add their own unique twist, a hint of carbonation.
  • Nothing artificial is ever considered.

Laughing Glass is currently available in northern California, but a nationwide launch is scheduled for the fall of 2014.

For more information, you can follow them on Facebook.

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Cybele’s Free-to-Eat™ Cookies are Allergen-Free

Posted on May 2nd, 2013 by Alison | Read 23 Comments - Add Your Own »

It seems everyone is coming out with a gluten-free cookie these days. But for those of us who have multiple food allergies, or whose kids do, a gluten-free cookie isn’t enough — it needs to be free of other allergens as well. And don’t forget about taste… even kids with food allergies can be picky!

Cybele Pascal learned about allergen-free cooking when her son was diagnosed with severe food allergies. She has since written three cookbooks and has most recently launched her line of allergen-free cookies, called Cybele’s Free-to-Eat™ cookies. The cookies are gluten-free and free of the top 8 allergens: dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. Cybele’s Free-to-Eat™ packaging features colorful icons that illustrates “Free of the Top 8 Allergens”. The cookies are also non-GMO, vegan and kosher.

I have had a chance to sample these cookies on many occasions, and the best news of all is that they taste great! The cookies come in three flavors: Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chunk Brownie, and Oatmeal Raisin. Kids will love them, and grown-ups will probably sneak a few. ;) Cybele's Free to Eat Cookies

Would you like to try them? Enter this giveaway!

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Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin June 2013 Meeting

Posted on May 1st, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

gigofmarin1

TRAVELING GLUTEN FREE

Just in time for summer traveling, GIG of Marin’s next meeting on Tuesday, June 11th will feature Laura Emmerson, creator of the blog Gluten Free Traveller.

Originally from Scotland, Laura now lives in San Francisco.  Bit by the travel bug early in life, she refused to let her celiac diagnosis in 2009 curtail her love of exploring the world.  Laura will be joining us in June after having spent the month of May in New Zealand.

Says Laura (who, being from the UK, favours British spellings): “Staying safely gluten free can be difficult enough when you’re at home in your crumb free kitchen never mind when you’re travelling somewhere new. Each country has their own unique gluten free labelling laws, different gluten free products and varying levels of awareness of coeliac disease and gluten free dieting. Travelling is arguably the most arduous area of gluten free life for coeliacs hence my decision to start my website. I’m writing it for you. I want you to spend your time making wonderful travel memories, not searching in vain for something safe to eat!”

Also featured at the meeting will be free samples related to travel so you can take them on your next trip!

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Gluten-free backlash?

Posted on April 1st, 2013 by Alison | Read 9 Comments - Add Your Own »

The other night I went out with a group of people to a new restaurant called Salito’s in Sausalito, California. I hadn’t looked at the menu ahead of time, but rarely do I have a problem eating out gluten-free these days (unless it is a Chinese restaurant). Restaurant awareness has grown tremendously since I was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago, and especially in the last few years. If you haven’t heard of gluten-free by now, you are living under a rock. But after this dining experience, I wondered for the first time if there could actually be a backlash happening in some places.

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Gluten-Free Nut-Free Kettel Krakkers

Posted on March 1st, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Kettel Krakkers gluten-free crackersI recently attended the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo, put on by the wonderful Jen Cafferty. It was the first time it was held in San Francisco and it was great to reconnect with some of my gluten-free peeps! There were many food vendors of course, and one that was new to me was Kettel Krakkers, based in San Francisco. If you are gluten-free, you know that good gluten-free crackers aren’t plentiful. Most are very hard and crunchy, which I actually like (or I’ve gotten used to!), but I was happy to find a cracker that is softer, but still has some crunch from the seeds added in.

According to the company, the crackers are “handmade at our dedicated gluten-free facility using organic, locally-sourced ingredients of the highest quality.”

They are:

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Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin March 2013 Meeting

Posted on February 12th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

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Beyond Gluten: Identifying and Living With Multiple Food Reactions

Our next meeting of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will take place on Monday, March 4th at 7:00.

Has being gluten-free solved all your problems? If not, you may be experiencing cross-reactivity with other foods or you may have multiple food sensitivities or both! Did you know that foods other than gluten can create antibodies against gluten even though you are gluten free? This could be one reason why you still don’t feel well even though you are vigilant about your gluten free diet.

Come and learn about how foods in addition to gluten may be affecting you or your kids and how to live more easily with multiple food intolerance. Our presenters are our Co-Leaders Sheila Wagner PT, CN and Alison St. Sure who welcome your questions and input!

Also joining us at this meeting will be Natalia Barr from Barr Necessities, offering a variety of organic and seasonal products that are entirely gluten-free, some of which are grain-free and sugar-free as well. Barr Necessities sources high quality ingredients to serve those with food allergies with products that not only meet their dietary guidelines- but satisfy their taste buds in a delicious and guilt-free manner. This product line stands out with its use of bold flavors, wholesome ingredients, and a very apparent artisanal quality.  By using low glycemic sweeteners such as raw coconut nectar and high quality oils such as olive and grape seed, Barr Necessities strikes an uncommon, but sought after, balance: healthful decadence.

Please welcome Natalia Barr to our meeting and enjoy sampling and purchasing from some of her most popular items:

  • Italian Herb Almond Flatbread (grain free)
  • Cherry Chocolate Vegan It’sa Meal (grain & sugar free)
  • Raisin Walnut Vegan It’sa Meal (grain & sugar free)
  • Turkish Coffee Biscotti
  • Triple Ginger Lemon Pear Muffins

We will also be providing gluten-free samples from several other manufacturers as well.

You can RSVP here or on our Facebook page. RSVPs help us plan logistically for the meeting, but if you haven’t RSVP’d, please come anyway! You are always welcome.

Please let your gluten free friends and family know about this fun event. The meeting is free; however, we appreciate a donation of $5 or more to cover the costs of renting the meeting room, printing the handouts, etc.

Whether you have celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or are learning more about gluten free living for yourself, family or friends, we welcome you to the GIG of Marin. New members, friends, and loved ones are always welcome.

The Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin will meet:

  • Monday, March 4
  • 7:00 to 9:00pm
  • Community Room at Corte Madera Town Center (upstairs at PF Chang’s end) 770 Tamalpais Dr. Suite 201, Corte Madera, CA, 94925

We look forward to seeing you!

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New Summer Camp for Kids with Food Allergies

Posted on January 29th, 2013 by Alison | Read 3 Comments - Add Your Own »

I am happy to announce that there is a new summer camp in Oregon for kids with food allergies. As far as I know, it is the only one of its kind. When I told my daughter about how she wouldn’t have to worry about the food if she went to a camp like this, she said wide-eyed, “It would be like I didn’t have food allergies!” Yes, my love, it would. I don’t think she’s quite ready for sleep-away camp this year (she’s 8), but I want to support this wonderful camp so that when she’s ready, she has this option.

Here is the email I received about the camp:

I am happy to let you know that Camp Blue Spruce, a worry-free camp for kids with food allergies, is now accepting campers for its 2013 session, August 18-23. Loads of fun activities and Oregon’s great outdoors will make Camp Blue Spruce the highlight of the summer for children with and without food allergies.

We are excited about holding our first session this summer. Camp Blue Spruce will be like any other summer camp EXCEPT the food will be prepared without any of the top 8 food allergens, gluten or sesame. Up to 56 kids will be able to sit down at the table and eat all the foods that are being served — a simple gift for these children, who are rarely able to eat what everyone else is eating.  Kids attending Camp Blue Spruce will have a true camp experience without the worry and anxiety they experience daily with their food allergies. Camp Blue Spruce parents can be worry-free, too!

There are a few things you can do to help make this summer a success:

  1. Register your child for camp. Visit www.campbluespruce.org for the application. Registrations are arriving already, so sign up today!
  2. Encourage your friends with and without food allergies and sensitivities to register. We have reduced the cost for 2013 to make thecamp available to more kids.
  3. Let us know if you can leave postcards at your doctor’s office, naturopath, favorite food store, bakery, library or school. If you have other ways to spread the word, please let us know.
  4. Make a charitable contribution to Camp Blue Spruce. We cannot launch this camp solely with camp fee revenue. Your tax-deductible contribution will do three important things – promote the camp, provide scholarships to campers who are unable to pay the entire camp fee, and help cover essential camp costs. Donations can be mailed to: Camp Blue Spruce, 3519 NE 15th, #225, Portland, OR 97212.

Thank you for your interest and support of Camp Blue Spruce! Please call or email if you have any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Louise Tippens
Camp Blue Spruce Board President
503-726-8886
info@campbluespruce.org

I really hope this camp is a success!

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Gluten-Free Summer Camps in California 2013

Posted on January 29th, 2013 by Alison | ADD A COMMENT »

Treat your child to a week of gluten freedom at a special summer camp! There are two California camps dedicated to gluten-free campers – Camp Celiac in northern California, and CDF Camp Gluten-Free in southern California.

CAMP CELIAC

In northern California at Camp Celiac, “campers, counselors, and junior counselors eat delicious gluten-free food and enjoy traditional camp activities such as a ropes course, rock climbing, zip-lining, boating, swimming, archery, arts and crafts, skit night, and outdoor sports. Three meals a day without having to ask if any of the foods are gluten free is life changing for many campers and staff!” Ages 9-17. Campers ages 16-17 years may choose to volunteer as junior counselors.

There will be two weeks (each with a different group of campers):

Week 1: Tuesday, July 23 – Saturday, July 27, 2013
Week 2: Saturday, July 27 – Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

To register:

All campers from Northern California who register between Feb 1st and Feb 14th will be given equal priority if all four registration steps (see below) are completed by February 14 (and received if paying by mail); i.e. there is no advantage to registering on February 1st rather than February 14th. After February 14th, available space will be allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis after all four registration steps are completed (and received if paying by mail). For more information about how to sign up for this camp, visit the registration page at CeliacCamp.com.

CDF Camp Gluten-Free™

At CDF Camp Gluten-Free™, campers with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity enjoy sports, swimming, arts, and high adventure in a strictly gluten-free environment. Camp is held July 15-19, 2013 at Camp Fire Camp Nawakwa, located in the beautiful Barton Flats Area of the San Bernardino Mountains in CA and accredited by American Camping Association” Ages 7-15.

There will be one week:

July 15-19, 2013

To register:

Camp registration is on a first come-first served basis. To register, you must send your completed camp registration forms, one registration packet for each camper or Mentor, with a $200 deposit to Celiac Disease Foundation. You will receive a letter from Celiac Disease Foundation confirming the camper or Mentor’s spot at the camp. Only campers on the confirmation list will be allowed to attend the camp. Payment in full is due by May 1, 2013. Full fee per Child $450; Full fee per Mentor $550. Call the CDF office at 818.990.2354 or follow the registration steps on the Celiac Disease Foundation website.

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How to Make Gluten-Free Brownie Bites

Posted on January 26th, 2013 by Alison | Read 8 Comments - Add Your Own »

When I thought of how to make gluten-free brownie bites one day, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier. So simple, and so useful! These are also egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free.

There’s really no recipe here, but instead, an idea. All you need is a mini-muffin pan (I use this one) and a gluten-free brownie mix that you like. Because my daughter also has egg allergies, I need to make them egg-free. The mix I have been using for years is Pamela’s Brownie Mix, which has a “Fudgiest Brownie” recipe the bag – the only thing you add is oil and water. Sometimes cooking without eggs or with egg replacer can result in a batter that seems undercooked or takes a lot longer to cook, but because these are made in a mini-muffin tin, they get baked through very nicely.

Tip for Allergy Moms: These brownie bites can also be used as mini-cupcakes – just add frosting and sprinkles. These freeze well, so make extra and store them for a later date. Easy last-minute treat!

Tip for Valentine’s Day:  Use a heart-shaped mini muffin pan to make heart brownie bites for Valentine’s Day. Make sure to smooth the batter in each one as much as possible, and don’t fill to the top so that it bakes flatter. Top cooled brownies with pink frosting and colorful sprinkles! (I just ordered this Wilton Silicone heart mini-muffin pan.)

Which brownie mix to use?
There are many, many (many!) gluten-free brownie mixes on the market, so take your pick (most of these are linked to Amazon in case you can’t find them where you live). After compiling this list, I was shocked at how many there are! I have not taste-tested these, so you will have to make decisions based on your own taste, ingredient preference, price and availability.

Which mix is your favorite? Your 2 cents is welcome here!

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Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo is coming to San Francisco

Posted on January 14th, 2013 by Alison | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

The Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo, which originated in Chicago and will have five locations in 2013, makes its first stop of the year in San Francisco on February 9th and 10th.

According to the event’s website:

The Expo is the premier gluten and allergen free event in the US. Whether you are looking for specialty products that taste great or trying to learn how to cook and bake to meet your dietary needs, the Expo is the place to be!

The best gluten & allergen-free deal in town!

What do you get with your Expo Ticket?

  • Sampling and purchasing from over 100 specialty vendors
  • Membership in the GFAF EXPO CLUB – with exclusive online offers and news emailed to you every month
  • Free lectures about gluten & allergen-free living and cooking
  • The best cookbooks and the ability to meet the authors and get a signed copy of your book
  • A free gift bag to carry all of your loot
  • All products are labeled by allergen
  • Coupons for future purchases
  • Take home samples of of your favorite and new products
  • Purchase hard-to-find products
  • Shop at the new Expo Store – featuring gift products that can only be found at the Expo
  • Kids area

I will be attending this event on behalf of the Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin, so I hope you’ll stop by to say hi and learn more about our group if you aren’t already in the know! (I won’t be there the whole time, but my GIG of Marin colleagues will also be attendance.)

Here are some important links if you are planning on attending the Expo:

General Info for San Francisco Expo

Buy tickets and see which vendors will be there

Schedule of speakers and classes

 

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