Another big holiday, a lot more holiday candy. Once again the stores are inundated with all of the marketing and holiday candy aisles. So what are some safe gluten free options that you can add to your kids Easter baskets (or enjoy yourself)?
Cadbury Creme and Mini eggs- Although they are technically gluten free, in that they do not contain any ingredients that have gluten, they say there is a strong risk for contamination in their factories. So eat at your own risk.
Dove chocolate products- Like the Valentine's products, Dove is again a really safe choice. All of their chocolate products are gluten free so there is little risk of cross contamination as well. So find those Dove chocolate bunnies and enjoy!
Easter themed M&Ms- All the M&Ms (except for the pretzel kind) are gluten free.
Hershey's chocolate kisses- The plain milk chocolate kisses are gluten free.
Reese's- The Reese's pieces Candy Carrot and Reese's Pieces Pastel Candies are confirmed as gluten free. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup eggs contain no gluten ingredients, but are produced in a facility with wheat. So there is potential for cross contamination. Eat at your own risk. I know I did already this year and enjoyed them immensely :)
Jelly Belly jelly beans- All of the Jelly Belly beans are gluten free including all of their specialty Easter candy packages.
Starburst candies- All of the Starburst jelly beans and Easter wrapped Starburst products are gluten free.
Tootsie Rolls- All of the Easter themed Tootsie rolls and Tootsie roll products including: Tootsie pops, Charms Blow pops, and Dubble Bubble Easter egg shaped bubble gum.
Peeps- All of their marshmallow treats are gluten free.
Easter Candy that is NOT gluten free-
Brach's Speckled Jelly Bird eggs
Cadbury's Creme eggs (See note above)
Cadbury's Mini Eggs (Again see note above)
Cadbury's Chocolate Bunnies
Ghirardelli chocolate Easter eggs
Hershey's Chocolate Bunnies
Hershey's Easter egg candies
Jolly Rancher's jelly beans
Lindt Chocolate bunnies
Russell Stover Chocolate bunnies
Whopper's Robin eggs
Hope this helps. Unfortunately, the conflicting information online about some of these candies and cross contamination does not help. So just to be safe if you know you are quite sensitive you might want to steer clear of the Hershey's products since that seems to be where most of the speculation comes from. Just to be clear in the US that means
Ener-G is a Seattle based company that has devoted itself to making products for customers with dietary restrictions since 1962. They have developed their baking line to make not only gluten-free, but dairy free, egg free, soy free, yeast free, and nut free products. Not only do their products meet the needs of a wide range of customers with special diets, they also taste quite tasty and close in taste to the original product! I have to say this bread is the closest bread I've found to "normal" tasting bread. And they've also created a vacuum sealing process that doubles the shelf life in a natural way for all of their products. Overall, I strongly suggest checking out the Ener-G product line for yourself. You can order their products offline or find them carried in Whole Foods. Enjoy!
This book is AMAZING! Enough said. No, seriously though this book comes equipped with tons of great information that can help anyone navigate their way to a better lifestyle. Whether you want to go completely Paleo or you just want to actually understand more about what the differences between buying locally organic or commercial really are, this book has the answers and is extremely helpful. It even explains in detail how eating real and unprocessed foods helps people with autoimmune diseases. It even offers meal plans for people with specific autoimmune diseases.The best part about this book is the language. It's explanatory and informative without feeling boring or overwhelming with big words you can't understand. Overall, I'd definitely recommend checking out this book.
Want to enjoy some great gluten free pizza while you give back to a great cause? Well, here's your chance! Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation is responsible for saving the lives of thousands of animals from euthanasia in the NOVA area and placing them for adoption in loving homes. The picture to the left is my little Gatsby who was found in a sewage treatment plant with his 8 brothers and sisters. We adopted him at 2 months old from one of Lost Dog's adoption fairs. They spay and neuter all of their animals prior to adoption sparing families the cost. As you can see, I believe strongly in this foundation and all of the good that it does. I was fortunate enough to live around the block for awhile from the Lost Dog and Stray Cat restaurants up in the Westover area of Arlington. They became two of my favorite local hang outs. Lost Dog specializes in some of the best pizza, sandwiches and beer selections in the NOVA area. And their gluten free pizza crust is outstanding! Definitely one of the best gluten free pizzas I've had in the area. Stray Cat offers awesome sweet potato fries and great salads and burgers all with entertaining and clever names. Make sure you try the Cobby Cat salad! Don't miss out on your chance to experience these restaurants and all of the great food they offer. Check out the giveaway page on Date Night on a Dime today and enter to win a $25 gift certificate to any of the Lost Dog or Stray Cat restaurants. You won't be disappointed, and our furry friends will thank you.
I'm happy to report that ALL of the Great American restaurants have gluten free menus! This is interesting news because for some reason they do not advertise this information. And not only do they have gluten free menus, their gluten free menus are quite large and even have options that are not on the regular menus! So we're even spoiled :) Celebrate a little because this opens up a variety of great restaurants for you to choose from! You can check out their website at http://www.greatamericanrestaurants.com/ In case you're not familiar with this chain all of these restaurants are included:
Coastal Flats- (There's Two)
7860-L Tysons Corner Center
McLean, VA 22102
Fairfax Corner 11901 Grand Commons Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22030
Mike's American Grill-
6210 Backlick Road
Springfield, VA 22150
Sweetwater Tavern- (There's Three!)
Merrifield 3066 Gate House Plz
Falls Church, VA 22042
Centreville 14250 Sweetwater Lane
Centreville, VA 20121
Sterling 45980 Waterview Plaza
Sterling, VA 20166
3260 Old Lee Highway
Fairfax, VA 22030
4000 Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206
11927 Democracy Drive
Reston, VA 20190
11880 Grand Commons Avenue
Fairfax, VA 22030
7052 Columbia Pike
Annandale, VA 22003
I just wanted to talk about last night's event in a little more depth and how much it meant to me. It's kind of ironic that I found out about this event in the midst of some more startling discoveries about my own health. I believe I have mentioned before that my health issues began when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid a few years ago. I recently switched endocrinologists because I hadn't been happy with how I was feeling. I'm so glad I switched doctors because I've now discovered how much my previous doctor had missed in my care for the past few years. It had been mentioned in passing that I had Grave's Disease and that was what had caused my hyperthyroid, but it was never explained to me what that would mean for my future health. I didn't realize that my gluten allergy was necessarily related to my Graves. Or that my new allergy to mango could be related. Or my sleeplessness, or my migraines, or my reproductive issues, the list goes on with symptoms I've unfortunately been experiencing. My new doctor has informed me that not only do I have Grave's, I also have Hashimoto's. He also finally explained to me what having an autoimmune disease means. And how EVERYTHING can be related. I've started doing more research myself now about autoimmune diseases and possible treatment options. This was how I discovered the Paleo diet which you know I've mentioned recently.
Last night's event featured AARDA, which is the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association and other speakers who have all suffered with autoimmune diseases and have used dietary choices to manage them. I am not pushing any of you to necessarily buy into the Paleo diet. To be perfectly honest, I'm still on the fence about it myself. I did however, order a book from Amazon today that will explain it in further detail for me. And I do think I'll be experimenting with some recipes. I will however, encourage all of you to check out the AARDA website and do some further research yourselves on autoimmune diseases. If you have Celiac, you have an autoimmune disease. And there could be other symptoms you might be experiencing that are connected. I also encourage you to check out the DC Healthy Bites facebook page. There is a lot of information there about the Eating Real in a processed world movement. We are what we eat. And if any of you are like me and have been suffering from poor health with unexplained symptoms, it might be time to pay closer attention to what we are eating. If any of you want any further info on my research and what I'm finding, or if you just want to ask me any further questions, feel free to e-mail me at Joyana@glutenfreenova.com
Mad Rose Tavern is located in Arlington. Across the street from the Clarendon metro station and with street parking right out front it is easily accessible. They were the gracious hosts of the DC Healthy Bites event last night. I cannot begin to say how impressed I was with their food and service. I had eaten at Mad Rose before and loved the fact that their menu clearly marks all of their gluten free options. Last night, they were even able to cater to the Paleo population. So not only were things marked as gluten free, but also dairy, legume and completely grain free. Overall, I was excited to see that not only were they able to handle these requests, but everything the kitchen produced was deliciously satisfying. Their bar also has a wide variety of cider and other gluten free beverage options. I will definitely be returning to Mad Rose Tavern again in the future and I hope you also take the time to check it out next time you are in the Arlington area.
As we all know gluten free foods can definitely be a strain on the budget. So where are some of the cheapest options to load up on some of these pantry needs?
Amazon.com- is definitely probably one of the easiest places to get some of the more well known brands. If you're an Amazon Prime member you also do not need to worry about shipping costs either. Otherwise, you always get free shipping if you over $25 worth of products.
Abesmarket.com- is another great option. The best thing about Abe's Market is that it specializes in all natural foods. So you know that everything you get at Abe's Market is natural and good for you. Everything comes farm fresh and with knowledge backing it up so you know EXACTLY where your food is coming from. Recognized by the NY Times, CNN, Good Housekeeping and Lucky, Abe's Market has made a name for itself as one of the best local farm fresh markets that can bring its fresh goods to you anywhere, any time.
Nuts.com- is known for their HUGE selection of nuts and dried fruit. Family owned, they began as local nut store back in the 1920s. Surviving for generations, they expanded their business and joined the internet age. However, the scrupulous standards they always lived by, have also survived. They buy directly from the growers so you can make personalized orders of amounts. They have also expanded their options to homemade baking mixes, snacks, and candies. Overall, there are tons of options and the best part is they are creative homemade options that come with natural ingredients.
Glutenfreedelivers.com- is a great option because it has the popular brands like Rudi's, Udi's, Schar, and Glutenfreeda as well as new brands to try and expand your go to favorites. Either way it's up to you, and you can get it for a great price delivered right to your door.
So don't spend a fortune and limit your gluten free needs to just what is on the grocery store shelves. Try one of these sites or look for more on your own. Either way enjoy finding all that the gluten free natural market can offer.
Welcome to the world of gluten free beers! New Planet is one of a few companies worldwide and one of the only in the US that has completely devoted itself to making gluten free beer. They now are getting recognition all over for their great tasting gluten free brews. They offer a light, hoppy Blonde Ale that won the World Beer Championship award for 2012. They also have a Raspberry Ale that has won a number of awards for its unique fruity flavor. And then they also have the classic Pale Ale which is again award winning for its great fresh taste. In a factory that only produces gluten free beverages you can know that all guidelines for Celiac safety are being met. These beers can be found in Total Wine and also in The Local Market in Falls Church. With this great weather coming, pick yourself up a pack and enjoy a cold beer while you throw some steaks on the grill. Cheers everyone!
One thing I've noticed about being gluten free is that it has forced me to spend WAY more time in the kitchen than I ever had before. I have become a better cook/baker than I ever thought I could be. Practice really does make perfect (Although, I'm still a long way from perfect...lol) As I mentioned the other day when I posted the brownie recipe, I'd NEVER made brownies from scratch before. I'd always relied upon a box mix, that's just what you did for brownies right? As nice as it has been for my skills in the kitchen to be growing, there's always something to be said for having the option to fall back on convenience as well. I don't want to always be having to make brownies from scratch because I'm gluten free. So I'm excited to report that Betty Crocker has answered our pleas. She has made us gluten free baking mixes. There's cookie, brownie, yellow and chocolate cake mixes. Betty Crocker also makes gluten free Bisquick as well. So now we can again keep a couple of these mixes in our pantries for those last minute requests for baked goods. Need to be at dinner party in two hours and forgot you signed up for dessert. No problem! We can once again throw together a batch of cupcakes or brownies in an hour without breaking a sweat. Thanks Betty Crocker for giving us back the convenient back-up plan :)