A couple weeks ago a recipe in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye (this is my all-time favorite publication, and, yes, they do occasionally have recipes!). They called it Smoky Strata, and it's a fairly simple recipe combining bread, eggs, tomatoes, onions, milk, ricotta and Parmesan. I decided to adapt it to be gluten free, of course...and also added chicken sausage for extra protein and flavor. I also omitted harissa, so my version isn't really "smoky" or spicy. It's a bit like a lasagna but with bread instead of lasagna noodles...and a lot more eggs than a lasagna would have (however, it's not an eggy breakfast dish, but rather a hearty lunch or dinner). Most of these ingredients you will probably have on hand already, and the others are easy to find. Here is my adaptation of this rustic, tasty meal that is sure to please everyone... Ingredients: 3 Tbsp butter 1 large Vidalia (sweet) onion, finely chopped 2 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 tsp paprika 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained 2 large chicken sausages (or 6 smaller link style sausages), diced or crumbled. You can also use pork sausage if you prefer. 1/3 cup... Read more →


Like many of you, our family has been trying to support both independent local restaurants -- as well as our favorite restaurant chains -- during the pandemic. Obviously, as in most areas of the country, we don't have the option of dining out restaurants right now. But after a couple weeks of exclusively cooking at home, we longed for some of our favorite restaurant dishes and felt the risk of virus "contamination" from takeout food was low, based on the reports we were hearing. While we are still preparing most of our dinners ourselves, as we've always done, we try to get takeout 1-2 times per week in order to give business to all the places we know and love -- and who have served our gluten free community so well over the years. We want to do what we can to help them stay in business during these challenging times. Restaurant ownership is a tough business, even without a pandemic to navigate around! Perhaps some of you have been shying away from takeout if you deem it too risky. That's certainly an individual decision, and I encourage you to stick to what's within your comfort zone. Perhaps another way... Read more →


Recently I had the good fortune to try Reason to Bake's "cookies with heart." These are gluten free, made-from-scratch, artisan cookies available only through the company's website. That's because they are baked and shipped fresh, without preservatives like most cookies you find on store shelves. The best thing about Reason to Bake is that they are a company with a heart-warming mission: to hire and train intellectually disabled adults...and foster entrepreneurship among them. The company was founded by Elise Sampson and her daughter Carolyn in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. There are currently 3 varieties of cookies: Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Oatmeal, and Spicy Ginger (my favorite...like ginger snaps or gingerbread). They also occasionally offer other seasonal varieties, and you can order gift boxes and variety packs. My husband, son, and I absolutely LOVED these cookies. They were so fresh, were the perfect consistency, and each variety had an amazing flavor. If you did a "blind" taste test, you'd never know they were gluten free. They are a very high quality product, too. Reason to Bake cookies are all natural and non-GMO. They ship anywhere in the U.S., so you have no excuse not to try them! I can't... Read more →


I've been working with Lesley Hayden-Hock at Travel Leaders for about a decade now. I've used her personally to plan many of our family's trips (domestic, international, and cruises), and I've referred countless gluten free families to her over the years. Lesley has mastered the questions to ask resorts and cruises when booking clients who have special dietary needs, whether they be gluten free, dairy free, or have other sensitivities. She works with the Food and Beverage Directors directly and has developed great working relationships with a wide range of high-end resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean where service is top-notch. Many of these resorts are also what's called "gourmet all-inclusive." Lesley's clients always get special VIP treatment. The resorts understand how to keep gluten free diners safe, and they aim to please. They even go so far as arranging for new dedicated gluten free toasters -- and bake a special cake or cupcakes for a gluten free child's Birthday. It ends up being a vacation for everyone! After all, in today's "do it yourself" world, we all often try to juggle too much. If you're like me, you may find there just aren't always enough hours in the day... Read more →


Our family is lucky to have some good options in the Washington, DC metro area when it comes to gluten free dining. Whether we're venturing into DC for a show, game, or a day at museums -- or staying closer to home out in the Virginia suburbs -- there are a good number restaurant chains, as well as many independent restaurants, that "get it" when it comes to preparing delicious and safe gluten free meals. Not Your Average Joe's is one such restaurant chain (with locations in 8 states) that we've relied on over the years. We hadn't been there for a while, so we chose it for my mom's birthday celebration last weekend. The challenge is always finding someplace that pleases adults and teenagers...and where our son can have some interesting choices from a well-thought-out gluten free menu. Not Your Average Joe's, as the name would suggest, meets those criteria. Nothing is average or bland here. Their menu is huge, and you'll find there are tons of gluten free options, listed under their "Fit-For-You" part of the menu, which denotes gluten free, vegetarian, kept, paleo, vegan, and "Signature Joe" items. (When you click on their Menu page, you first... Read more →


Well, we're a month into the New Year...a challenging time for many of us who had good intentions to once again eat healthier this year, only to find preparing healthy gluten free meals is easier said than done on most nights. Whether you're rushing home from work, taking the kids to a practice, or attending a meeting in your community, dinner plans can get squeezed. You may find you don't always have time to plan and shop for your menus, much less prepare a variety of nutritious gluten free meals each week. And if you're trying to lose weight or achieve other health goals (build lean muscle, reduce body fat, lower blood pressure), you're probably wondering how you should change your dietary habits to achieve your various goals. It can be frustrating, but believe me, you’re not alone. Sticking to a healthy, gluten free eating plan isn’t always easy. But the good news is that, no matter where you live, you can now access the help of a trained professional who can remotely guide you in your health, fitness, and dietary goals. The Follow My Nutrition Plan lets you work remotely with a trained professional to create a custom meal... Read more →


Speaking from experience, London is one of the most fun -- and most gluten-free friendly -- cities for families. Our own family visited there over Christmas 2013. Even though our boys were only 10 and 12 years old at the time, they really got a lot out of the experience and still talk about the things we did while there. So I was especially excited to hear that one of our travel partners -- Ellen Morse of Gluten Free Travel-Us -- was planning a 6-day small group tour of London in July 2020, especially geared to gluten free families. She handles all the details, so you won't have to stress about planning anything -- either before the trip or while you're there. And if for some reason you aren't interested in traveling with a group (or the date doesn't work for you), Ellen can certainly plan the same trip for you at another time of your choosing. As with any of her itineraries, you can customize it according to your family's interests and preferences, budget, and time frame. If you plan to go on your own (not the group trip), you will have your choice of either a high-end hotel... Read more →