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March 2014

Do you like to cook? Would you like to learn how to cook traditional Italian foods -- including delicious pastas and breads -- GLUTEN FREE -- from someone who's lived in Italy for 25 years? What if I were to say this opportunity is availalble to you -- all while staying in a beautiful 18th-century Tuscan Villa in Lucca, Italy? Check your calendar for June 21-28, 2014. It promises to be the perfect gluten free Getaway...a travel opportunity where you can leave your gluten-free worries at the door! Jovial Foods, maker of fine gluten-free pastas, sauces, and other Italian specialties, is once again hosting a wonderful week of cooking classes and relaxation -- with the opportunity to explore neighboring towns like Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terra, or Siena (all accessible for day trips by car, bus, or train). It's really the perfect balance of "getting away from it all" in this beautiful part of the world...while also learning new skills you can take home and recreate in your own kitchen. Carla, the Founder of Jovial Foods, will personally lead three hands-on cooking classes and share her knowledge of the Italian lifestyle, seasonal foods, and traditional Italian recipes (without the gluten, but... Read more →

I wanted to share this easy, tasty recipe for Pumpkin Muffins (good any time of year!), adapted to be GLUTEN FREE from a recipe my older son made in his Family and Consumer Science course in Middle School (the modern-day term for what we called "Home Ec" back in my day!) I love the assortment of gluten-free flour blends on the market now -- so many good ones to choose from. Substituting them cup-for-cup for "regular" flours makes adapting recipes like this so easy. We used King Arthur gluten free multi-purpose blend, since it's easy to find in stores near us, but you can use another favorite brand of your choosing. Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins Ingredients: Dry: 1 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend (we used King Arthur's GF multi-purpose flour) 1 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice Wet: 1 cup pumpkin 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup orange juice 2 teaspoons vanilla 2 eggs Topping: 1 Tablespoon Turbinado sugar or confectioners sugar Directions: 1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2.) Line muffin pans with 12 paper liners and spray lightly with non-stick spray (or spray non-stick spray directly in muffin... Read more →

Travel agent Ellen Morse from Gluten Free Travel - Us has been gluten free herself for decades, and she delights in arranging gluten free tours for her clients. She has many suggested itineraries that can be customized depending on your group's size, interests, and desired travel dates. Her latest itinerary is a 6-night GLUTEN FREE tour of SPAIN, with stops in Madrid and Barcelona. The trip can be created for as few as 2 persons or as many as 6 persons. Pricing will depend upon number of passengers but includes 6 nights' accommodations in centrally-located hotels, round trip private transfers by English speaking drivers to and from the airport, tours with English-speaking guides, entrance to museums, many meals, two private cooking classes, and transport on a high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona. Call Ellen at 312-337-9235, anytime day or evening, for pricing. Highlights of this incredible trip include: A private half-day guided City Tour of Madrid with visits to the impressive buildings surrounding Plaza de Cibeles, Plaza de Colon and Puerta de Alcala. Visit to the Prado Museum, the largest and most important museum of Spanish masterpieces -- and one of the best museums in the world. Permanent exhibitions include... Read more →

Summer sleepaway camp is a rite of passage for so many kids, but up until recently, the option just wasn't available for kids following special diets. Fortunately, things are changing. Some of you may recall me mentioning our family's own experience with gluten free summer camp. My son has been attending one for the past three summers, and I've had the opportunity to volunteer as a parent counselor (as with so many kids' activities, this camp depends on volunteers to help all aspects of camp run smoothly, even though they have paid camp counselors running the daily activities). It's been such a rewarding experience for both my son and me that I wanted to get the word out about the growing list of summer camps that either dedicate a week to gluten free campers -- or are able to safely accommodate gluten free campers with special meal preparation. The list of recommended camps now covers most regions of the United States, so it's likely you can find one near you -- or perhaps even near family or friends who you may be looking for an excuse to visit! With many families I've met, dropping the kids off at camp is... Read more →

Once upon a time, traveling was a real challenge if you were gluten free. Not so anymore. The website I launched almost 6 years ago, GlutenFreeTravelSite, hasn't wavered from its original mission: to help the Celiac and gluten free community dine out and travel without worry. Fortunately, over the years, there have been many restaurants, hotels, inns, resorts, cruise ships, and travel compaies that have also joined in sharing that mission. Gina DiPrima founded one such company that I want to share with you today. Much like myself, Gina's inspriation for starting a business to help the gluten free community was one of her children's diagnosis with Celiac at a young age. After spending over a decade in the travel industry working for a luxury tour operator, she decided to channel her experience toward planning itineraries for families (or adults only) needing gluten-free friendly accommodations and meals. Gina's company, GF Journeys, has planned a phenomenal trip to Italy from October 14-20, 2014, with stops in Tuscany, Florence, Parma, and Rome. If you've always dreamed of visiting Italy (or are looking for an excuse to visit again), this is the perfect way to see it. Six nights lodging and virtually all... 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 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 →