Gluten free meal preparation

This post is long overdue. I've been meaning to share some of our family's near misses -- and one actual "glutening" episode -- for a while. All have been a result of wonderful gluten free products whose packaging just happens to look almost exactly like the same company's non-GF version. I want others to be aware of these products so we can all be super-vigilant as we rush through our favorite grocery stores quickly loading up our carts with our favorite gluten free staples. I'm also hoping that bringing this blog post to these companies' attention might get them to reconsider their packaging choices. Don't get me wrong...all these companies and their products are favorites of ours, and we are so grateful they have chosen to offer gluten free varieties. But the mistake is easy to make when grocery shopping, and I'm sure our family wasn't the first to experience these "near misses." Exhibit #1: Annie's Mac-n-Cheese varieties Annie's makes some wonderful varieties of mac-n-cheese. They have different shapes of pasta, both yellow and white cheese sauces, gluten free and regular pasta, and even vegan gluten free and non-gluten free varieties. It's easy to think you're grabbing one thing on... Read more →


I have a ton of cookbooks...and I tear out recipes from all the gluten free magazines I read each month. I also have several binders full of recipes, including a lot of old family favorites that I adapt to make gluten free (like my husband's and my favorite lasagna recipe). So another cookbook is not necessarily something I desperately needed. But am I glad to have gotten a copy of Carol Kicinski's new Simply Gluten Free 5 Ingredient Cookbook! The premise is that all the recipes include only 5 ingredients (not including things like water, oil, salt, and pepper) and take only about 15 minutes to make. For a busy mom juggling a business, that's music to my ears. I make dinner most nights, and sometimes it can take an hour or more to prepare. So I like the sound of easy, as long as it's healthy and my family will eat it! So I opened the cookbook and started paging through it. The difference between this cookbook and others is that I dog-eared about every third page! Everything sounded so delicious -- and there were some really cool and creative recipes. Since I wanted to enlist the help of... Read more →


As I brainstormed ideas for this blog post, I pondered over what was happening in our family's "gluten free life" right now. It dawned on me that a big part of my own gluten free planning right now centered on working with our son Ryan to plan what food he would pack for a few upcoming camps and camping trips this summer. This isn't our first rodeo...our son has been to overnight boy scout camps for the past few summers, a week-long hockey camp, and many boy scout weekend camping trips in which they prepare their own food. While it's always more work for Ryan to take his own food, we're all getting it down to a science. So I thought I'd share some tips and thoughts, especially with those of you who are doing this for the first time. First off, my recommendation: If you have a choice of where to send your gluten free kid to camp, you may want to peruse our list of summer camps on our CAMPS page on GlutenFreeTravelSite. Each year we add to the list and update the information for the current year. What started as a handful of camps willing to work... Read more →


Whenever our family dines at our local Chinese restaurant, we take along a bottle of San-J's gluten free, low-sodium Tamari Sauce. The chef is happy to use it and knows to make our order in a clean wok using the tamari as a substitution for traditional soy sauce. The taste is indistinguishable. (The cool thing is that San-J also sells individual-sized travel packets of their gluten free tamari, which is perfect when you don't want to -- or can't -- haul your own bottle of tamari around. A while back, San-J also came out with a full line of gluten free cooking sauces that make creating an Asian-inspired meal at home a breeze. I've used their Orange Sauce and Thai Peanut Sauce before, both as a dressing/marinade for chicken -- with great results. Last night, I decided to use their Mongolian Sauce to make Mongolian Beef, which I figured would be a hit with my family. The "recipe," if you even want to call it that, is right on the back of the bottle of San-J Mongolian Sauce. All told, I used 7 ingredients to make dinner: Asian stir-fry oil, corn starch, beef pre-cut for stir fry, the Mongolian sauce,... Read more →


If you're gluten free, it's hard to beat the sheer thrill of discovering gluten-free friendly destinations. It's absolute heaven to discover a destination where you can dine on gourmet gluten-free specialties for every meal without worry. If it's in Tuscany, Italy, it's even better…. Some of you may recall the week-long gluten-free culinary events hosted by Jovial Foods (maker of divine gluten-free pasta and sauces) at a historic 18th century Tuscan villa. They hold these events once or twice a year -- Fall and late Spring -- and every time I write about it, it's pure torture. That's because attending one of these unique gluten-free culinary weeks is on my own personal Bucket List. Unfortunately, however, these gluten-free getaways are typically scheduled during times of the year when our kids are in school. But someday, perhaps…. If you're lucky enough to have the flexibility to travel in October, a particularly beautiful month in Italy, you'll want to consider treating yourself to this special vacation. And, in fact, you may not need to treat yourself…Jovial Foods may just treat you to a complimentary visit. Between now and June 30, 2015, you can enter their drawing for a free week (airfare and... Read more →


What type of gluten free traveler are you? Are you the type that likes to dine out when on vacation -- or do you prefer to get a place with a kitchen and do your own cooking? I know people have strong opinions on this…and certainly, there are those of you who prefer to stay safe by handling most of your own food preparation when on vacation. I, on the other hand, enjoy the thrill of finding new gluten-free friendly spots each time we travel. While it does take a bit of time to do the research to find the best and safest restaurants (I always start by reading reviews on sites like our own GlutenFreeTravelSite), I cook all the time at home and like to leave the cooking to someone else while on vacation. With that said, there are certainly times when we've traveled somewhere where there just wasn't anyplace safe for gluten free folks to eat…and also times we've traveled to a place where any restaurant was hard to find. That was the case this past weekend when our family took a ski trip to Timberline in Davis, West Virginia. Our sons' Boy Scout Troop had planned a... Read more →


If you're like many people in the gluten free community, you may be trying to avoid other grains besides just wheat. Or maybe you're trying to adapt recipes to make them more nutrient-dense by using alternative flours like almond flour. And I'm sure most of us would like to reduce the refined sugars in our diet. These are all great dietary goals, but where do you start? How do you make some of your favorite gluten free meals and baked goods without the gluten free flours you've come to rely on in recipes? Consulting a cookbook like Comfort Cooking Without Grains and Refined Sugars is a great place to start. Written by Eleanor Fahey of the Cooking Without Grains website, it contains over 200 recipes (both sweet and savory). I love how the recipes use ingredients like honey instead of sugar. And I especially like Eleanor's use of almond flour, which I've always found lends a wonderful flavor and moistness to recipes (in addition to adding protein, fiber, and healthy fats -- you can't beat that!). Recipes range from appetizers and dips...to breads and muffins...to meat and seafood...to condiments and salad dressings...and even vegetarian meals. I'd like to give you... Read more →


Have you ever experienced the frustration of having a meal ruined by cross contamination from serving spoons used for something containing gluten or peanuts? Maybe you've had this happen during a holiday meal at a relative's house...an item that was indeed gluten free somehow got contaminated by someone using a serving spoon from a gluten-containing item. Or maybe you've prepared two batches of pasta in your own house -- one for gluten-free members of the family and one for non-GF folks. Somehow the spoons for stirring and serving the pasta get mixed up, and the dinner is ruined for the gluten-free people. And if you're dealing with an allergy to peanuts, the need to keep serving utensils straight can be even more important, since people with allergies can have an immediate and anaphylactic reaction. That's why Wendy Krakower, founder of The Food Allergy Kitchenware Company, introduced two special, high-quality stainless steel spoons for families with gluten and/or peanut sensitivities. They have a special stamping on the tip of the handle indicating gluten free or peanut free, helping whomever is cooking or serving your meals keep things safe. I first wrote about Wendy's products back in May, and now she's offered... Read more →


Julie Bourne, our regular Thriving Gluten Free in College columnist and publisher of her own Campus Celiac Blog, checks in this month with an update from her summer in Seattle, where she is employed full-time in an office setting and getting a taste of what life (and meal management!) will be like after college. Summer is in full swing and while school may be out, college students are keeping busy at their various work and internship opportunities. On top of gaining some “real world” experience for future career pursuits, full-time opportunities in particular can provide some insight into a work-focused schedule as opposed to the more static class-focused schedule we are used to. Personally, I’m spending my summer interning full time at a Seattle-based technology agency. My work days usually run from 10 am to 6 pm, meaning there are some necessary preparations that I must take to ensure that I am able to stay fed, energized, and gluten free (of course) throughout the day. My previous work was in floral design assistance where I was on my feet for an entire day, with little to no time to stop for a meal. As a celiac, I found that environment... Read more →