Cutting some corners here and there can make all the difference during the holiday when it comes to being frustrated or being festive. Translation? It’s ok to buy the pre-packaged gluten-free cookies – especially when they’re from Dr. Lucy.
Lucy’s cookies are gluten-free and great for those who have food allergies or intolerances in addition to a gluten-related disorder. Lucy’s products are made in a dedicated bakery and are free from gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. The cookies are now out in different holiday flavors: Pumpkin Patch, Holiday Sugars and (my favorite) Chocolate Mint. These are perfect for bringing to your company pot luck or sending to school with your gluten-free kid.
If you’ve been watching the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ (NFCA) Gluten-Free Baking Hacks campaign, you’ll know we’re fans of making life easier whenever you can. You can serve these cookies as-is at your holiday party, or you can take it a step further and jazz them up with your own gluten-free icing and sprinkles.
For more information on all Lucy’s products, head to www.drlucys.com.
I think it’s a rarity to find a crunchy snack with a hint of saltiness that you don’t feel guilty about eating, but that’s exactly how I feel about The Good Bean’s Chickpea Snacks. They are crunchy, tasty and quite versatile.
We had a few bags of these snacks around at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office. They disappeared in a short amount of time as many of the team members enjoyed the roasted chickpeas. I liked snacking on these right from the bag in the afternoon when you just need that little something to hold you over until dinner. I was surprised that the Mesquite BBQ flavor was my favorite, since I usually tend to not like barbecue flavored snacks. I snacked on these by themselves, but also tossed them into my salad to give it that little something extra. This is definitely a great crouton alternative – gluten-free and not loaded with calories.
The Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper varieties are perfect for tomato soup instead of using gluten-free crackers. I usually add my own pepper to tomato soup, but these Chickpea Snacks have enough flavor on their own. No extra seasoning required!
The folks at The Good Bean say they set out to replace their favorite chocolate cereal with a gluten-free, healthier version – hence their Chocolate Chickpea Snacks made with sweet cocoa and vanilla. I wasn’t sure about chocolate and a chickpea at first, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I gave it a whirl.
There really is a Chickpea Snack flavor out there for everyone. Others include Sweet Cinnamon, Smoky Chili & Lime and Thai Coconut. For more information on the snacks and ideas for how to use them, head on over to The Good Bean site.
Rachel Rieger, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Patient Education Manager and I have been trying out McCormick’s gluten-free seasonings mixes. I tried out the turkey gravy mix a few weeks ago and Rachel is getting ready to try the brown gravy mix. Last night, I went ahead and tried McCormick Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning Mix.
I should preface my review by letting you know that I love spicy food. In fact, I gained spicy-food-fame in high school after winning an unofficial hot pepper eating contest with my friends (true story!). Because of this love of spicy food, I was excited to try out the Chili Seasoning Mix. It combines two of my favorite things: convenience and spicy flavor.
I decided to play it safe and stick with the suggested recipe on the back of the packet instead of trying out a new creation of my own. It called for just 4 ingredients: a pound of lean ground turkey, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of beans-of-choice and (of course), McCormick Gluten-Free Chili Seasoning Mix. Since I’m not a big bean fan, I decided to forgo the beans and add in some extra tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves instead. In about 15-20 minutes, my chili was done and ready to go.
I’ve talked before about my love of The Perfect Taco Bowl – a rare “As Seen on TV” product that actually works. I decided this chili was as good a reason as any to pull out the wraps and make an edible bowl. I shared my creation with my friend and we both agreed that this meal was as tasty as it was easy to make. Since my friend is a spicy-food-lover too, we added some cayenne pepper and garlic powder to kick it up a notch. We didn’t think that the mix was lacking flavor, though; we just wanted that little extra heat. Whether you’re into burn-your-mouth spicy food or if you like a milder heat, this mix is perfect for you. You can please the different taste buds in your family by adding (or not adding) extra spices once the chili is dished out.
I also love how versatile this mix is. You can use it to make a quick frying pan chili like I did, try it in a slow cooker, or make your own tacos and pile on the toppings of your choice.
You can check out McCormick’s other gluten-free seasoning mixes here. Enjoy!
By Mary Buhring, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Office Manager
When a box of gluten-free corn dogs from Foster Farms showed up at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), I knew my three sons would be more than willing to give them a try. A mother’s instinct is never wrong – they loved these corn dogs (especially when the alternative option was meatloaf!).
I can go on and on about how much my boys loved these corn dogs, but I’ll let them tell you for themselves:
Tommy, my youngest: “Mom, can you make these every week?”
Bobby, my middle son (with a mouth still full of food): “Tastes great!”
Billy, my oldest who has celiac disease: “No way that this is gluten-free!”
“Mayo Clinic Going Gluten-Free: Essential Guide to Managing Celiac Disease and Related Conditions” by Joseph A. Murray, MD
From the internet to news sources, conflicting information about managing celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) is frequently circulated, causing loads of confusion for people trying to follow a medically necessary gluten-free diet. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Luckily, there are experts out there who have earned the trust of the gluten-related disorders community by sharing evidence-based information that is grounded in science and research. One such expert is the renowned Joseph A. Murray, MD of the Mayo Clinic and member of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Scientific/Medical Advisory Council. He just released a book called Mayo Clinic Going Gluten-Free, which covers gluten-related disorders from start to finish.
Mayo Clinic Going Gluten-Free has a whopping 276 pages and 18 chapters of reliable information. Don’t be intimidated by the length of this book! Dr. Murray has done a fantastic job of keeping this resource light, yet informative. It is incredibly reader friendly – no medical jargon here! Even without fancy medical terms, this book clearly and intelligently describes celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and the gluten-free diet, but in a way that is easily understood by those of us without a medical background.
There’s a lot to love about Mayo Clinic Going Gluten-Free. My favorite part, though, is the final summary chapter, entitled “Moving Forward.” It covers learning to accept your diagnosis and how to take care of your whole self, not just treat a disease. Dr. Murray completely understands his audience; there’s so much more to living with a gluten-related disorder than just eating a gluten-free diet. His compassion and attention to other aspects of true wellness makes this book different than the others on the market.
Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been diagnosed for years, you’ll learn something new from this book. And, since it’s written by such a renowned expert, you know you can trust the information you’ll read. Check out the names of the chapters to learn more about what you’ll learn.
- Introduction: The Gluten Story
- Chapter 1: Understanding Celiac Disease
- Chapter 2: Signs that Something’s Wrong
- Chapter 3: Do You Have Celiac Disease?
- Chapter 4: Getting the Right Diagnosis
- Chapter 5: Coming to Terms with Your Condition
- Chapter 6: Managing Celiac Disease
- Chapter 7: When Treatment Doesn’t Work
- Chapter 8: A Spectrum of Disorders
- Chapter 9: Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
- Chapter 10: Other Wheat-Related Disorders
- Chapter 11: Choosing to Go Gluten-Free
- Chapter 12: Gluten-Free Basics
- Chapter 13: Reading Food Labels
- Chapter 14: Restocking Your Kitchen
- Chapter 15: Cooking without Gluten
- Chapter 16: Eating Away from Home
- Chapter 17: Handling the Bumps
- Chapter 18: Helping Your Child Eat Gluten-Free
- Summary: Moving Forward
You can check out the book here on Amazon. Happy reading!
Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Slider All Natural Cooking Sauce is my new favorite thing. Seriously, if you’re a barbecue-meat-lover, you have got to try this cooking sauce.
I’m normally not into barbecue sauce. I’m more of a honey mustard kind of girl. Stubb’s, though, takes barbecue sauce to another level. You can use the product either in a skillet or in a slow cooker. I opted for the skillet.
The recipe on the package called for 1.5 pounds of ground beef, but I decided to use ground chicken I had in the freezer instead of making a special trip to the grocery store. Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Slider All Natural Cooking Sauce comes with three packages: the spice rub, the cooking sauce and the finishing sauce. All you need to do is shake on the spice rub and add the cooking sauce while your meat browns. I was amazed to see that the chicken completely sucked up the cooking sauce, which resulted in a whole lot of flavor in each bite. Stubb’s also provides you with the finishing sauce for an extra burst of flavor and to keep the meat moist.
All in all, it took about 15 minutes to make. So easy! I loved the brown sugary-sweet taste of the sauce, which was followed by a little kick of spice with a whole lot of flavor. The sauce was even surprisingly low in calories. I can see this being a great way for busy adults to serve up a delicious meal for the family in only a short amount of time. Just add your meat of choice made with Stubb’s cooking sauce and put it on your gluten-free bread/roll of choice.
To learn more about Stubb’s certified gluten-free Bar-B-Q Slider All Natural Cooking Sauce, head here. They have other skillet and slow cooker friendly sauces: Chili Fixings, Hatch Chile, Smokehouse Bourbon (all certified gluten-free).
I love everything about Thanksgiving. The family, the friends, the football and of course, the delicious food that only comes around once a year. I have to confess though – I really don’t like turkey. Believe me, I want to like turkey. I feel like I’m missing out on this secret delicious food that miraculously tastes even better on Thanksgiving. Every few years, I’ll give turkey another chance. Each time, I ultimately decide to head for seconds of my grandmother’s amazingly sweet yams instead.
What I do love about turkey is the gravy. Sure, I never put turkey gravy on the actual turkey, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find other ways to enjoy it. It’s the ultimate topping, perfect for the foods that tend to accompany the bird – potatoes, gluten-free bread and stuffing, whatever.
I gave myself a mini Thanksgiving preview the other night by trying out McCormick’s gluten-free turkey gravy mix. It really couldn’t be any simpler to make. Add water, microwave for a minute. Stir. Repeat two more times. Piece of (gluten-free) cake! If you’re more of a stove-top cooker than a microwave cooker, you can toss this on the stove and have turkey gravy in just a few minutes. I topped my roasted Yukon gold potatoes and onions with some of the gravy and I wasn’t disappointed at all. To me, turkey gravy is one of those things that just really doesn’t need to have the gluten in it. McCormick, you’ve proven me right! The mix creates a savory gravy that is the perfect consistency – not sludgy thick or watery thin.
Keep your turkey gravy efforts simple this Thanksgiving and give McCormick’s Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy Mix a try. Not only is it super tasty, but it’s also certified gluten-free through the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP), an NFCA-endorsed, rigorous certification system.
Here’s wishing you and your family and a perfect gluten-free Thanksgiving!
By Claire Baker, Director of Communications and New Media for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)
I grew up in rural Oklahoma, land of wheat. As a kid, my brothers and I caught the bus at what seemed like an ungodly early hour (though now that I’m getting my kid to school by 7 for early rehearsals, I’m thinking that it’s no different now. But I digress…) We were very self-sufficient in getting ourselves up, washed, dressed, fed and out the door to catch the school bus, all without parental intervention.
Our breakfast was always cereal. Mine, Cheerios. Danny, Wheaties. Glen, well, come to think of it, Glen probably made himself bacon and eggs. Anyway, like many little sisters, I thought that my big brothers hung the moon. When I would run out of Cheerios and venture to the land of Wheaties, it was like entering the secret realm occupied solely by Danny. Wheaties had an awesome ad campaign back then — The Breakfast of Champions, complete with endorsements from 1976 Olympic Decathlon winner Bruce Jenner. Danny was my Bruce Jenner. When I ate Wheaties, I was rubbing elbows with a champion.
I hadn’t given much thought to Wheaties in the last 25 or so years, except that time, post-celiac disease diagnosis, when I cataloged all the things I could no longer eat. And then I ate a bowl of Erewhon’s Gluten-Free Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal. It has the same rugged, earthiness to it that I remember from my childhood Wheaties. Plus, its flake was much more durable and didn’t get soggy right away, which is a big bonus, especially if a person wants to savor her cereal. If you are missing your Wheaties, you should definitely give these a try. As the old slogan goes: Good tasting, and good for you.
You can check out Erewhon’s Buckwheat & Hemp Cereal and other Erewhon cereals here.
My coworkers are always eager to volunteer to be my official Gluten-Free Hot Products taste testers. I love when they pitch in with a review, especially because they tend to be more inventive when it comes to tasting the products. I tend to try the products as-is, to get the full taste of the product. My coworkers, however, always have an idea to jazz up any food that comes through the NFCA door.
As predicted, the ladies of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) were excited to try out Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Ciabatta Rolls. My plan was to defrost the rolls as directed and dip it in my vegetable soup that I eat just about every day. Claire Baker, NFCA’s Director of Communications and New Media, had a better idea. She recruited myself, NFCA Patient Education Manager Rachel Rieger and Director of Development Kimberly Moyer to do a double product review – Rudi’s Gluten-Free Ciabatta Rolls topped with Cabot Creamery Co-Op cheeses.
I’ll start with the Ciabatta Rolls. Claire popped a few into our dedicated gluten-free toaster oven. We tried the Plain Ciabatta Rolls and the Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta Rolls. As they were nearing completion, we started to wonder if the rolls would be too hard to eat. From poking the top of the rolls (a truly scientific method), it seemed as if that would be the case. We cut the rolls, however, and were so excited to find a fluffy inside that wasn’t dense in the least. I went on to dip my Rosemary Olive Oil Ciabatta Roll in my soup as planned, loving the initial crunch of the Ciabatta Roll, followed by a warm, soft inside. The rolls left nothing to be desired and are very comparable to gluten-containing ciabatta rolls. Since ciabatta rolls tend to be on the smaller side anyway, it didn’t feel like eating a mini version of an old favorite food.
My coworkers opted to melt the Cabot Creamery Co-Op Cheese on top of the rolls. The New York Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese added a kick to the Plain Ciabatta Rolls and the Mild Cheddar paired well with the flavors of the Rosemary Olive Oil. We love Cabot Creamery Cheese at the NFCA office and recommend their products to people who can tolerate dairy. Their products are delicious! Plus, we love that the products come from 1,200 dairy farm families located in New York and New England, just north of the NFCA headquarters in Philadelphia.
So what’s the final result of our taste test? You have to try the Ciabatta Rolls and Cabot Creamery Cheese. Just think how delicious these will be as a sandwich made from your Thanksgiving turkey leftovers!
I love everything about snack bars. They’re great for that 3 p.m. pick-me-up, a snack before dinner, the kids’ lunchboxes, an emergency option for your desk drawer… the list goes on. Certified gluten-free Breeze Bars meet all the requirements for a good snack bar – including great taste and non-crumbly texture.
There’s a Breeze Bar for every palate; Original Peanut Crunch (my favorite), Chocolate Cranberry, Maple Almond, Cocoa Espresso and Nut-Free Sunflower. The bars are pretty sturdy and won’t fall into pieces when you peel open the wrapper – an important characteristic of any good snack bar, gluten-free or not. Breeze Bars have a unique flavor that combines the crunch of crispy brown rice with a mild sweetness that will satisfy your sweet tooth without over-doing it. Despite their crispy brown rice ingredients, the bars manage to pull off a somewhat chewy texture that reminds me of the classic Quaker Chewy Granola Bars (which are not gluten-free).
Athletes in particular will be pleased with the taste, texture and nutritional punch packed into each Breeze Bar. In fact, Breeze Bars were developed by registered dietitian Breeze Brown, who began to make the snacks when her younger sister was diagnosed with celiac disease. She began to share the bars with her athletic friends, who were happy with the taste and even more thrilled that bars sat lightly in their stomachs and didn’t weigh them down.
Whether you’re an athlete, looking for a healthy snack or are just into great tasting gluten-free options, Breeze Bars are worth a try in my book. For those of you who deal with dairy issues, too, you’ll be happy to know that all Breeze Bars are dairy-free as well. Learn more about them at www.breezebars.com.