Food and Drink

It's been a few months since I've shared a recipe, so I thought it was time for another family favorite. I first came across this recipe for Lemon Thyme Pasta way back in 1998. I think a friend passed it's from Country Home magazine, which is no longer published. It was a recipe I made regularly when my husband and I were first married, and I often made it for friends as well. Because all the ingredients are gluten free, with the exception of the pasta, it was easy to adapt once our son's Celiac diagnosis necessitated a gluten free diet. Last night, I made it with RP's Pasta gluten free fettuccine (I mixed one package of the regular variety with one package of the spinach). RP's is a favorite of ours, and because it's fresh pasta (found in the refrigerated section -- at stores listed on their website), it cooks up in only about 3 minutes. However, you can use any gluten free pasta. Our other favorite is Jovial Foods gluten free capellini (or other shapes). Jovial is a line of brown rice-based pastas made in Italy. Their pastas are extremely low in levels of arsenic, which, as... Read more →

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've been a fan of KIND bars since I first tried them a couple years ago. My favorite varieties have always been from their "original" Fruit and Nut line: the moist and chewy Almond Coconut and Almond and Apricot bars. These "whole food" fruit and nut bars are amazingly tasty and also give you plenty of protein, fiber, healthy fats, calcium, and iron. They''re non-GMO and ALL varieties are gluten free. And now they've launched several new lines of bars -- as well as a line of six gluten free granola "clusters." First, a run-down of the various varieites of KIND snack bars... KIND NUTS AND SPICES includes tasty varieites such as Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan, Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt (both my favorites), Cashew Ginger and Spice, and Madagascar Vanilla Almond (good, but not much vanilla flavor, in my opinion). There's also a line of KIND PLUS bars, which are packed with an extra "nutritional boost" of things like flax, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and in some cases...extra protein. Flavors include Almond Walnut Macadamia + Protein (10 g of it and loaded with 50% of your daily value of vitamins A, C, and E, too!), Almond Cashew + Flax... Read more →

I just have to share one of our family's long-time favorite recipes -- Gluten Free Garlic Chicken. It was originally passed on 15+ years ago by my husband's aunt. Of course, the recipe isn't intended to be gluten free, but back when our younger son was diagnosed with Celiac exactly 8 years ago, it was one of the easiest recipes to merely required substituting regular breadcrumbs with gluten free breadcrumbs. Here it is, served with gluten free angel hair and stir fried kale, carrots and tomatoes. I hadn't made the recipe for a while -- I've been trying a lot of new recipes lately. But I made the Garlic Chicken again last night and was reminded how easy -- and delicious it is. I will be reminding myself to make this more often! You can vary the dose of garlic, depending on your family's tastes! INGREDIENTS: 1 package chicken cutlets (1 -1 1/4 lbs. or 5-6 pieces). 1/2 stick of butter or equivalent amount of margarine (1/4 cup) 3-4 cloves of crushed or chopped garlic 3/4 cup gluten free Italian breadcrumbs (I typically use Aleia's, but there are many other brands, and you can even make your own) 1/3... Read more →

If you haven't already over-indulged in Holiday treats -- and if you're looking for a fun gluten free dessert to take to a party or bake with your kids -- I have just the thing: Gluten Free Whoopie Pies. And it couldn't be easier. Basically, what I did was buy Betty Crocker's gluten free chocolate cake mix and follow the directions on the back of the box, as if I were making a cake or cupcakes. But instead of spooning the batter into a cupcake pan, I used a new Whoopie Pie baking pan I recently purchased through a fundraiser at my son's school. I had been so excited seeing this cool gadget in the catalog. I had thought, "How fun! Now I can make my own Whoopie Pies so that my son can FINALLY have one that's safe for him to eat!" Although the Whoopie Pie pan did not come with baking instructions, I merely reduced the baking time from what was detailed on the Betty Crocker box. If you don't have a Whoopie Pie pan (I don't expect many people do!), a simple Internet search turns up plenty of places to buy them. has Wilton nonstick one... Read more →

Those of you who regularly read my Blog know that I like to sample and review gluten free snack bars. They're the perfect on-the-go snack whether you need a quick boost between meetings, are running the kids to and from activities, or traveling. Take them on a plance, keep a few in your car, pack them as an emergency "back up" snack or meal on a trip... In the past, I've tried Luna Protein bars, Soy Joy, and most recently NuGo bars. Recently, I had the opportunity to try Kit's Organic Fruit and Nut Bar by CLIF. Kit's Organic Fruit and Nut bars remind me a lot of Larabars, which are also gluten free. Kit's bars are made from just a handful of simple ingredients: dates, nuts, and -- depending on the specific flavor -- fruit, unsweetened chocolate, coconut, coconut oil, and sea salt. As a discriminating, health-conscious mom, they are a home run in my book, because they're not only GLUTEN FREE, but also all-natural, organic, GMO free, and rice free. Rice never used to be something I was concerned about, but given the recent news surrounding arsenic in rice, I have to say I'm particularly alarmed, given how... Read more →

It seems one of our family's hobbies lately is tasting -- and rating -- all the new Gluten Free Snack Bars that have hit the market in the past few years. It's a tough job, but we enjoy doing it! Although we try not to "overdo it" with snack bars, they do come in handy when in a rush, on-the-go, or as a "back up" snack or meal replacement when traveling. Our latest culinary trial involved the NuGo line of snack bars. One caution: Many, but not all, are gluten free, so read labels carefully! Here's the complete list of the Gluten Free NuGo varieties. What I like is that all their bars are all-natural, and use real dark chocolate -- not fake, trans-fat laden "chocolatey coatings" like some other bars. The NuGo Dark line, loaded with 10 grams of protein, has several gluten free offerings, and they're dairy free and vegan as well. Our absolute favorite -- hands down -- was the Chocolate Pretzel. At first bite, it was a surprise...I was not expecting the saltiness. But the addition of sea salt to the pretzel and chocolate combination is pure heaven. We cannot keep these bars in our house...they... Read more →

I'd never heard of the Butterfly Bakery until recently, when they offered to send me some of their gluten-free goodies to try. Butterfly Bakery is a special bakery founded by Brenda Isaac in 1998 in Clifton, New Jersey. Her dream was to create sugar-free baked goods that her diabetic mother could enjoy. The company has since evolved to serve people on gluten-free diets as well. Brenda offers both a Sugar Free line of products and a Gluten Free line of products (and is working on a line that is BOTH gluten and sugar free!). The items we tried were the Gluten Free Wild Blueberry Mini Muffins, and the Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies. Both were quite delicious. The mini muffins tasted identical (in our opinion) to any "regular" blueberry mini muffins you might remember. And the oatmeal cookies were SO good...I can't quite put my finger on what I liked so much about them, but they had a really nice and unique texture and taste. A bit different from typical oatmeal raisin cookies, but perhaps even better. Brenda uses whole greain Teff flour in her gluten-free recipes, so you are not only getting a product that's great tasting and gluten-free, but... Read more →

We're priviledged to welcome Guest Blogger Judith Sarchielli, an expert on gluten-free Tuscan cooking. Also known as the "Topanga Chef" (based in that area of California), Judith is a chef, food coach, author, researcher, culinary instructor, and speaker. She spent 20 years living in Tuscany and has been able to take the simple and naturally delicious recipes she cooked daily and make them completely gluten-free -- without sacrificing taste or authentic Tuscan quality. Here she shares a favorite memory -- and a favorite recipe that will please any palate (gluten-free or not!) A TUSCAN WINE HARVEST The aroma of crushed grapes reaches me from the distant past, as I daydream in my Topanga Canyon kitchen. I remember the best part of the vendemia, the Tuscan wine harvest--- the delicious polenta casserole. That day in the Chianti vineyards of a Tuscan friend and vintner, I picked clusters of ripe, juicy grapes with small scissors, and tossed them into my hand-woven twig basket. My hands were blistered and sweaty, and muscles screamed from the 8-hour effort under the blazing sun. But the evening meal would be worth it all---a chance to rest and relax under the dark green Tuscan cypress. Back in... Read more →

Good news, Celiacs (and others following a gluten-free diet)! There are more and more snack bars on the market that are gluten-free. They go by all sorts of names: breakfast bars, cereal bars, granola bars, and protein bars. One of the most recent entries into this increasingly crowded market is LUNA, which has offered a line of bars for some time now...but they weren't gluten-free (and their original line of bars still isn't). But their new line -- called LUNA protein -- is indeed gluten-free, and they pack protein, fiber, and nutrients into a bar that is easy to tote in a purse or bag for a quick and healthy "on-the-go" snack. These bars are relatively filling even though they're under 200 calories. They come in 5 flavors, and I sampled 4 of them: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Cherry Almond (the only one I haven't tried is Chocolate.) May favorite was definitely the Chocolate Peanut Butter, followed by the Chocolate Cherry Almond. My kids really liked the Mint Chocolate Chip. To each his own! I liked the Chocolate Peanut Butter in part due to its consistency, which felt "lighter" than the others. I wasn't... Read more →

As you all know, I don't typically review gluten-free products in this Blog...the focus is typically on gluten-free restaurant dining and travel. But recently I was sent some samples of gluten-free products from Goldbaum's, a company based in Brooklyn, NewYork. While I was very familiar with their gluten-free ice cream cones, I had never tried their gluten-free brown rice pasta. First...the ice cream cones... I have to say I've never tried any gluten-free brands other than Goldbaum's, nor can I even recall seeing any other gluten-free brands sold in stores. And that's just my opinion, nothing could come close anyways! Goldbaum's cones are really quite delicious and literally undetectable from "regular" gluten cones. Our family especially loves their Cocoa cones, which are like traditional "sugar" cones but are a slightly darker color and have the wonderful taste of chocolate! They are our new "favorite" cones. Goldbaum's sent us their regular sugar cones, in addition to their larger "Jumbo Cones," which look like their version of waffle cones. Both are equally tasty, and oh how great that gluten-free kids can now feel just like other kids, with ice cream dripping out of a giant waffle cone! Goldbaum's also makes two... Read more →

Fortunately for people with Celiac Disease -- and others following gluten-free diets -- restaurants offering gluten-free menus keep growing in number. But there's a difference between a restaurant offering "stripped down," bland versions of their regular offerings (often resulting in nothing more than a grilled chicken breast, baked potato and steamed veggies) and restaurants that really invest the time in creating amazing offerings especially for their gluten-free guests. Picazzo's Organic Italian Kitchen is an example of the later. With locations throughout Arizona, Picazzo's sets the standard for gluten free dining with their extensive gluten-free menu that includes house-made gluten-free pizza. I had the opportunity to speak with Rick Freedman, the founder, owner, and Executive Chef of Picazzo's, earlier this week. His philosophy centers around offering his guests with the healthiest food possible. The result has been a new menu unveiled in the past year that incorporates more organic, local, and gluten free ingredients. Rick explained, "I'm all about eating healthy. And I want to be able to put bona fide healthy products out to our customers." Currently, 85% of Picazzo's menu is gluten-free. In fact, if you view their menu on their website, you'll notice they don't have a separate... Read more →