Fun News

Do you like KIND snack bars as much as our family does? Gluten free or not, I think they are hands-down some of the best snack bars on the market. In fact, I published a Blog post not too long ago about their different types of bars -- all of which are incredibly delicious. I love their wide range of flavors, and they keep introducing NEW ones all the time. Hitting stores this week are two new varieties from their popular Nuts & Spices line of bars, which is their line of naturally low sugar bars (5 g or less per bar). One of the new flavors is Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt, a sweet and salty combination of pecans, almonds, and peanuts covered in maple syrup with a touch of sea salt. It contains 5 g of fiber and 6 g of protein. The other new variety -- for all you advernturous chocoholics -- is Dark Chocolate Chili Almond, a sweet and spicy blend of mixed nuts drizzled in chocolate with a trio of cascabel, ancho, and habanero chilies. It provides 7 g of fiber and 6 g of protein -- all with only 5 g of sugar.... Read more →

You may remember that each year GlutenFreeTravelSite anoints one particular location with the title of "World's Most Celiac-Friendly Destination." It's based on the number of reviews GlutenFreeTravelSite receives for each geographic area over the previous year. This year, we're happy to announce that the state of Pennsylvania received top honors. This is due in large part to the many, many Philadelphia-area restaurants that have undergone training through the GREAT Kitchens program run by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The GREAT Kitchens program was created to rigorously train restaurants and their staff in the safe preparation of gluten free meals. The NFCA program provides a "Train the Trainer" course for chefs and food service managers, which gives them the knowledge and tools to educate their entire kitchen staff on safe gluten-free food handling. You will find many GREAT Kitchens trained restaurants within the Pennsylvania section of our site. To search more specifically by zip code, town, or city (i.e. Philadelphia) for GREAT Kitchens restaurants and other reviews, simply enter a town or zip at the top of our Search Reviews page. You'll find reviews from many other areas of Pennsylvania as well. And if you're interested in reading about the... Read more →

Looking for a FUN, yet reasonably priced, Holiday gift for a gluten free friend or family member? Looking to show off your Celiac and gluten free pride in a way that helps build awareness? If so, check out our GlutenFreeTravelSite store...we're having a big closeout sale on our remaining mearchandise with the slogan, "These Buns Are Gluten Free!" prominently (and tastefully) emblazoned on the back side. We have T-shirts (both standard unisex fit as well as a narrower "ladies fit"), ladies shorts, and unisex sweatpants. Our prices have always been great -- which is why these cute items have sold so well. Now, with a 30% off SALE, they're an even better deal. Take the sweatpants, for example -- a high quality weight with side pockets. A comparable pair would easily sell for at least $45 or $50 in stores. Ours are under $25! And the T-shrits and shorts are now priced from $15 - $17.50! Best of all, 5% of sales go to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to support all their wonderful programs. So get your Holiday shopping started early for any gluten free hard-to-buy-for folks on your list, and I'll guarantee your gift will get a... Read more →

I first met Lina Lodico online back in 2008, several years after she and her daughters -- and my own son -- were diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She had organized an annual walk on Long Island to benefit the Celiac Sprue Association and their efforts to raise funds for Celiac research, and she is a stalwart advocate for Celiac awareness. I was fortunate to finally meet Lina in person at the Celiac Sprue Association's Annual Conference, which just wrapped up -- and coincidentally took place on Long Island this year. It was like meeting an old friend, as it often is when personally connecting with people in the Celiac community. We all have so many similar stories to share -- often involving years (or months that feel like years) of struggles with health issues and delayed diagnosis. We've all been fortunate, however, to finally receive a proper diagnosis for ourselves or our family members: Celiac Disease. Many, however, still aren't as fortunate. There are still MILLIONS of people with Celiac Disease that remain undiagnosed. In fact, estimates of undiagnosed Celiac Disease range from 83%-95% of the 1% of the population that has it. (If you've been properly diagnosed, consider yourself... Read more →

Great news! Chuck E. Cheese's has announced in a Press Release that they will be test marketing a gluten free pizza and gluten free cupcakes at their Minnesota locations -- and will consider a nationwide rollout if all goes well. Unlike Domino's Pizza, which has been met with VERY mixed reactions over the past week based on the introduction of their own gluten-free pizza (which, by their own admission, is NOT Celiac safe, due to the very real potential for cross-contamination), Chuck E. Cheese's will use gluten-free pizza by Conte's Pasta, which comes frozen in a pre-sealed bake-in-bag that remains sealed when cooking and will be served with a personal pizza cutter at the family's table. Done correctly, this reduces any potential for cross contamination. Gluten free chocolate cupcakes from Fabe's All Natural Bakery will also come in pre-sealed, single serve packaging. I, for one, am thrilled. While I can only tolerate the noise level at Chuck E. Cheese's so often (!), it is great to know my husband and I might be able to take BOTH our sons there -- or send them to birthday parties there -- knowing our younger son with Celiac Disease will have something safe... Read more →

If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for this Blog's feed (just enter your email in the box in the left column) so you always get alerts when a new post is published. I'm always blogging about new developments you won't want to miss in the gluten free dining and travel world, and the next weeks are no exception. In honor of Celiac Awareness Month, I'll be participating in a 10 Days of Gluten Free "Blog Hop" each day for the next two weeks. In each post, I'll be covering a differnt aspect of gluten free dining and travel...the tip of the day, if you will. There will also be a giveaway on each Blog, and you can enter to win each day. I'll be linking to the other Bloggers in the Hop, too, so you'll have a chance to get to know some new personalities in the gluten free world -- bloggers you may not have stumbled upon yourself. So please forward this post to your gluten free friends and family to encourage them to sign up for our feed as well...and if you read something over the couple weeks that resonates with you, post a comment... Read more →

Well, I finally bit the bullet and sat down to set up a Google+ page for GlutenFreeTravelSite. I have to say I do like their signature feature of being able to add different people to different "Circles" of your friends, family, online buddies, gluten-free friends, neighborhood friends, professional contacts. But like anything else, it will take a bit of time to get our "Page" where I want it and set up various circles of contacts. I plan to share LOTS of relevant gluten-free dining and travel stuff on this Google+ much as we share on Facebook -- maybe even more. So PLEASE, if you've already signed up for Google+, +1 our page! Apparently, Google+ pages for businesses, websites, or brands can't add people to their Circles until the page is added first by others or mentioned. So I need YOU to add GlutenFreeTravelSite, before WE can add YOU to our Circles and keep you in the loop about what's happening with great GF dining and travel news. We'll share links to great new reviews submitted to GlutenFreeTravelSite...of GF-friendly restaurants, hotels/resorts, markets, bakeries, and cruises. We'll keep you abreast of any enhancements to the functionality of our website. We'll... Read more →

I recently learned of an amazing Gluten-Free Getaway being planned by Jovial Foods. If you aren't familiar with Jovial Foods, you'll be interested to know they make what I consider to be one of the best -- if not THE best -- gluten-free pasta. I first had the opportunity to try this Organic Brown Rice pasta this past summer at Camp Celiac in Rhode Island where my son was a camper and I volunteered as a parent counselor. Jovial Pasta looks, tastes, and feels just like the "real thing." Now, Jovial Foods is hosting a spectacular 7-day/6-night Gluten Free Getaway from May 27-June 2, 2012, in Lucca, Italy -- the heart of Tuscany. It benefits the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, with 25% of the proceeds of bookings going to NFCA and its fantastic programs to build awareness about Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity. You'll stay in an 18th century Tuscan villa and participate in three hands-on cooking classes with noted author and blogger Shauna James Ahern (a.k.a. Gluten Free Girl) and her husband, chef Danny Ahern. How fun! Imagine...being able to relax in the beautiful Italian countryside and learn gluten-free cooking techniques and tips from this dynamic gluten-free duo!... Read more →

In this season of giving, I wanted to share some news about something very near and dear to my heart.... The Celiac Disease Foundation, Gluten-Free Saver, and Van's Natural Foods have teamed up to raise money for a scholarship fund to benefit kids that would like to attend a gluten-free summer camp in the beautiful San Bernadino mountains of Southern California from July 30-August 3, 2012. The camp is open to all 7-15 year old gluten-intolerant and gluten-sensitive children -- as well as those diagnosed with Celiac Disease. All is takes is just $2...YES, $2, to make a donation that Van's Natural Foods will match, dollar for dollar. So your $2 gift is really like donating $4, and a $10 donation is like giving $20. The goal is to raise $2,000 to use towards partial and full scholarships to give kids that might otherwise not be able to afford camp the opportunity to participate in this wonderful childhood experience. The fundraiser runs now through December 25. Please take a moment to make a quick tax-deductible donation. (I just did it, and it's very user-frienly...and takes just a few minutes.) I say this issue is very near and dear to my... Read more →

How would you like to spend three nights getting away from the stress and responsibilities of everyday life…relax in a serene setting…attend complimentary classes and seminars geared to health and wellness…be pampered with spa treatments…and have gluten-free menu selections readily available? If your body and soul could use a bit a of pampering, you’ll be especially excited to hear that this three-night all inclusive Gluten Free Getaway will take place at one of the world’s most renowned spa resorts – Canyon Ranch -- May 3-6, 2012. Set in the elegant Bellefontaine mansion in the serene town of Lenox, Massachusetts in the Berkshires -- and just a short drive from New York City or Boston -- Canyon Ranch health resort and spa has set the standard for luxury spa resorts from the time when the original location in Tucson, Arizona opened in 1979. GlutenFreeTravelSite is proud to promote this incredible weekend organized by Lesley Hock, a travel agent with Travel Leaders who has helped many GlutenFreeTravelSite clients plan gluten-free friendly trips. She has now worked closely with the entire team at Canyon Ranch to put together this fantastic weekend geared specifically to gluten-free guests (don’t worry if you’d like to bring... Read more →

As some of you may remember, each January we tally the prior year's gluten-free dining and travel reviews submitted to our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite. We then name the location with the most reviews from the prior year the "World's Most Celiac-Friendly Destination." In 2009, when we first started the contest, the winner came as no surprise: New York. As most of us know -- whether we've visited the Big Apple or not -- New York City is fast to embrace food trends, although using that word sometimes makes me shudder, since we all know that gluten-free diets are not a choice -- and a lot more than a "trend" -- for many of us. Nonetheless, New York City was among the first cities to give gluten-free diners dozens of safe restaurant options. Many of these restaurants are NON-chain restaurants...independent, neighborhood restaurants who may have initially been motivated to create gluten-free choices (and safe practices) for a family member, employee, or regular customer who was suddenly diagnosed with Celiac. In the contest's second year, Florida was bestowed with the honor, due to the Disney theme parks and resorts -- and the surrounding Orlando area -- emerging as a gluten-free diner's magical paradise.... Read more →

Gluten Free Expo in Washington, DC -- First Annual Show a Great Success

I had the opportunity to attend Washington, DC's Gluten-Free Expo last Friday at the Embassy Suites Convention Center hotel. It was a great success -- and an opportunity for me to meet new GF friends and re-connect with some old. Over 600 people attended this first-annual event, and proceeds went to the Celiac Disease Program at Children's National Medical Center. Although I didn't have the opportunity to leave my own booth for very long, I did a quick lap through the hall of 60-or-so vendors, most of whom were sampling delicious sweet and savory gluten-free treats. Amie Valpone, of The Healthy Apple blog, was handing out samples of Rudi's delicious line of gluten-free breads. Glutino was also on-hand with samples of their new sandwich bread, which looks, smells, and tastes so much like "real" bread, you can definitely be fooled. Bloggers Diane of The Whole Gang and Bernice from Wheatless and Meatless were there, as were some of my favorite local baker Marion of Marion's Smart Delights bake shop and Maureen of One Dish Cuisine (FANTASTIC gluten-free crabcakes!). In the booth beside me was Tonya's Gluten Free Kitchen, sampling their amazing gluten-free soft pretzels and pretzel bites (worthy of ballparks!).... Read more →