The DC GF Expo was last week and was even more fantastic than last year. Each year it truly gets bigger and better! There were tons of awesome new vendors and products. I'll be writing about them in more detail here in upcoming posts.
There were also some extremely interesting educational sessions,
including one on GF Travel Tips by yours truly. :) I'm attaching the video here so you can watch for yourself. There's one on GF baking, GF pantry products, some scientific Celiac updates. I'm at the one hour mark btw. www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXSFQsHzITc&sns=em
I'm also giving a talk at the Wildfire GF dinner and wine pairing next Thursday June 23rd. Here's the link and info if you're interested in attending. They always provide a fantastic meal and great conversation! Hope to see you there! wildfirerestaurant.com/events/gluten-free-wine-dinner-4/
Had such a great time in NY last week. One of my highlights was my amazing gluten-free NYC food tour with Lynn Mendelsohn. We had a ton of tasty treats around the city, but my favorite part of the day was definitely the dairy and gluten-free ice cream along with gluten-free waffle cones! Read more about my fantastic experience in my upcoming article in Delight magazine this fall.
Sorry, I've been out of commission lately. We're going through the nine month sleep regression here. So if anyone has any tips for a cranky baby who's boycotting sleep both day and night, I'm all ears.
I did want to write about one of my favorite places though. Whenever someone asks where I want to meet for a meal, I now automatically suggest the Mosaic District. I feel it's the one place in the NOVA area where's there's enough selection to make me feel "normal".
There are too many fabulous gluten-free friendly places there to single one out as a favorite, but that's what makes the area so great. There's True Food Kitchen where almost everything on the menu is gluten-free and fabulous. Then for a casual lunch place there's Taylor Gourmet with their tasty gluten-free wraps. Matchbox has great salads and an amazing gluten-free pistachio and cherry cheesecake. And the list goes on and on, Cyclone Anaya's, Lost Dog Cafe.... Overall, it's refreshing to finally go someplace where you don't have to feel limited and instead can actually fulfill any craving you may have.
So next time you're looking for an enjoyable, stress-free meal out- try the Mosaic District.
So my 8 month old is now in the self feeding stage and I wanted to get him some on the go snacks. I keep getting differing info and opinions about introducing him to gluten, so for now I've decided to wait and keep him gluten-free as well.
However, finding gluten-free snacks for babies that he likes has proven to be difficult. I have yet to find gluten-free Cheerios or other appropriate sized cereal. And so far he doesn't like any of the rice cereal options. I did come across these gluten-free rice Happy Puffs and teething crackers at Target. I also found these Rice Rusks teething crackers at Walmart. He ate them for about a day before discarding them as well.
I think he unfortunately is letting me know that he's not a fan of rice. Has anyone found any other gluten-free baby snacks? I'd be open to any suggestions at this point. Thanks.
The DC Gluten-Free Expo was a blast yesterday. There were the fabulous educational sessions that covered topics ranging from how to best set up your kitchen to upcoming advancements in gluten-free healthcare. There were also a plethora of vendors offering tons of gluten-free goodies like cake pops, sauces, cookies, chips, pretzels and more. There were even new gluten-free entrepreneurs debuting new inventions like apps that will convert recipes to gluten-free offerings.
My favorite part of the day though was meeting celebrity chef Jilly Lagasse. Most know her for her Food Network chef father, Emeril Lagasse, but Jilly has been climbing the ranks in the gluten-free industry and is now debuting a new gluten-free cookbook with her sister, Jessie Lagasse Swanson.
Big Flavor, Bold Taste - and No Gluten covers a wide range of cuisines incorporating their time living all over the world. There are British comfort food recipes from Jilly's time in London, a bunch of Southern comfort food recipes honoring their upbringing and even some fun New Orleans inspired recipes.
Overall, I am beyond excited to try some of these recipes in my own kitchen and I can't wait to share my efforts with you in more detail soon. I also want to thank Jilly for taking time in the midst of the craziness yesterday to meet with us. It was so much fun comparing our gluten-free journeys and sharing stories about East coast winter transitions. To try the Lagasse Girl's book for yourself click the link here for more information.
Earlier this month I had the honor of touring the Celiac Ward of the Children's National Medical Center. And I have to say it truly was an honor. This hospital exceeds any expectations one could ever have for the care of their child. From mind-blowing research projects and technology to simple touches like stickers to decorate the children's oxygen masks, this hospital thinks of everything.
Children's National has been consistently ranked among the top pediatric hospitals by U.S. News &World Report. I understand why after my tour. Some of my highlights were witnessing a 3-d printer in progress and holding a miniature printing of a child's heart that was made for surgeons to plan their approach in a surgery. In a research and technology lab, I saw them building physical therapy robots that will help children practice their exercises at home and a facial recognition program that will be able to determine from a photograph of a newborn child if they will have any markers for a disease later in life. I felt like I was walking through some science fiction world and yet these amazing people were making these fantastical ideas true to life.
I felt immediately at home during my time spent in the Celiac Disease Program wing. We were cooked an amazing lunch in their beautiful kitchen and were walked through the comprehensive services a newly diagnosed patient would receive. They treat each child with a five part approach which consists of 1. Treating the child's medical needs 2. Meeting their psychological needs 3. Educating and training healthcare providers to better diagnose and treat celiac disease 4. Providing community outreach and advocacy and 5. Conducting research to better diagnose and treat celiac in the future. By addressing all of these components the program takes a comprehensive look at the disease and the needs of the children and their families.
The Celiac Disease Program has developed an expansive collection of resources for the children and their families. They have nutrition and cooking classes which help improve knowledge and compliance of a gluten-free diet. The classes consist of topics like Gluten-Free 101, Nutrition and Gluten-Free Baking, School Lunch Safety, and Traveling while Gluten-Free and more. For more information and to view a schedule of classes go to www.ChildrensCookingClasses.org.
They also provide a Getting Started Handbook and Kit to each newly diagnosed child. The handbook and kit walks the families through every aspect of managing the gluten-free diet including preventing cross contamination, going to school, taking medications and much more. They also have educational forums for schools, mentorship programs, support groups and an annual Gluten-Free Expo. Through these fantastic outreach programs the Celiac Disease Program has been able to not only build a supportive community for their patients, but they also provide valuable information for enriching the children's lives moving forward.
I was beyond impressed by all the Celiac Disease Program does. To be diagnosed with Celiac will never be a pleasant experience, however by the great work and support of the amazing staff at the Celiac Disease Program, it no longer needs to be a frightening and depressing experience. They demonstrate every day that life will go on and you can even still thrive.
For information on how readers like you can support the Celiac Disease Program continue reading below.
Some fun ways you can make a difference.
When it comes to living with allergies, there can be nothing more frustrating then trying to navigate the candy world. During Halloween, school or birthday parties, trying to read the ingredients on a candy package can feel like playing a game of Russian Roulette. But there is an easy answer that will not feel like a sacrifice.
I would describe Sun Cups as an allergy friendly Reese's cup. However, they even beat out the Reese's cup by coming in FAR more fun flavor combos. Made with chocolate and a roasted sunflower seed butter they mix in a number of additional flavors ranging from caramel to mint chocolate. The result? A tasty nut-free, gluten-free treat for everyone! Some are even dairy, egg, soy and corn free as well. So load them in your purse or send them in to keep in your kid's classroom and next time there's a questionable allergy scenario there's an easy answer that will still end in a smile.
Flavor Offerings: Milk Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Caramel, Dark Chocolate Mint, Dark Chocolate
Go to http://suncups.com/ for more information and to find selling locations near you.
One of the food items I find myself missing the most being gluten-free is a good old fashioned meatball. Unfortunately, meatballs are also one of the most difficult gluten-free items to find. Almost ALL meatballs seem to have bread crumbs in them.
So imagine my excitement when I stumbled across these all natural, nut free, gluten-free pesto meatballs from Nature's Promise. Perfect for most food allergy sufferers! They come in other flavors as well, but ALL of them are gluten-free. I immediately scooped them up and treated myself to some meatball sandwiches this week with some fresh mozzarella and pasta sauce. Not quite as good without the usual sub bread, but a gluten-free bagel sufficed. Might not look the prettiest, but they definitely hit the spot. Bon Appetit!
Were you aware that May is Food Allergy Awareness month? In 1998 the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network now nicknamed FARE created Food Allergy Awareness Week to educate the public about food allergies and how they are potentially life threatening conditions. This year's awareness week falls this week on May 10th- 16th, but I will be celebrating it with special posts for the rest of this month. Here is the link to the FARE website for more information on their organization and ways you can become involved and celebrate with them. 2015 Food Allergy Awareness Week (FARE)
So to launch off our educational fun here is a delicious dessert recipe to enjoy this summer.
For the crust:
1 cup pitted dates
1 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Sliced fresh fruit - 1/2 cup each of strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, blackberries and kiwi
1. Blend all crust ingredients in food processor at high speed until a paste forms
2. Press into pie pan and chill until ready to add fruit
3. Arrange fruit on top of pie
4. Cool for one hour before serving
Picture of what the crust should look like.
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