Friday, April 25, 2014

Gluten-free websites that rock!

Finding unique and interesting information on all things gluten-free can be difficult if you don't have many hours to surf the 'net. Here are some places on the information highway you might like to 'land on' and enjoy for their original content, variety of products talked about, and originality.
One website that is the foundation for a magazine (and a blog, too) is Simply Gluten Free. Their link to this feast of information is: Carol Kicinski, who first published the magazine in November 2011, describes herself as, "...a professional recipe developer, television chef, magazine founder and editor-in-chief, freelance writer and cookbook author. I cook. I write. I travel. And I do it all gluten-free!" Carol also provides an enormous amount of recipes in every category you can imagine for ease of finding inspiration in one place. Click on the 'Recipes' tab and be prepared to be pleasantly overwhelmed.
Looking for a gluten-free vacation where you will not only be pampered, but have fun learning how to re-create the foods you love at home? Visit Jovial Foods at: You will learn about their story, the purity of their foods (they have a great product line), but also one interesting twist - they also have a travel site.
Several times throughout the year you can travel to Italy with co-founder, Carla, " experience first-hand that great Italian food can, indeed, be gluten-free and delicious. With nearly twenty years of experience as an organic food manufacturer, she also has a deep understanding of food, nutrition and cooking. Spending a week together with Carla will open your eyes to authentic Italian cooking with a New World sensibility,as she shares the secrets she has learned from her life in Italy. You will travel home feeling nourished and refreshed, with a vast assortment of einkorn, fish, heritage meat and seasonal vegetables dishes that you have mastered in hands-on classes."
And, just one more suggestion... visit to share in her blog and really get to know Shauna Ahern (a former English teacher) and follow her on a journey from undiagnosed pain and suffering to diagnosed with Celiac disease and now a 'Gluten-free Girl'. It is uplifting, encouraging, and interesting because in addition to the recipes, she also posts videos. Also, take a moment to review FAQ's - and if what you're looking for isn't there, you can email her. What a concept!
Have fun exploring these websites and please feel free to email me with yours. I would love to include them in a future column. Happy reading!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gluten-free guilty pleasures :)

For many of us who must eat gluten-freebecause of an intolerance or allergy to gluten, every now and then it’s great to indulge in a treat that gives you the satisfaction that only certain comfort foods can bring. Here are a few worth considering that are local and virtual...
First on the list are real, authentic 'Philadelphia Cheesesteaks'. There are those that say the roll is as important as what is inside it, but if you have great sliced steak meat and an abundance of cheese, the roll only plays a supporting… role! There is no better cheesesteak in Plano (or North Texas) than Fred’s Downtown Philly Cheesesteaks. Fred, a native of Philadelphia, ‘imports’ all his authentic ingredients and his team cooks it up on a flat top grill in the traditional style. Fred’s will take all that tender and tasty goodness and make you a ‘Cheesesteak Salad’ with no gluten products in it. Go. Eat. It will change your life.
There are lots of bakeries out there that claim they have gluten-free goodies to purchase. Sometimes, they don’t bake them every day. Sometimes, the stuff is plain nasty. However, there is one bakery (a national chain) that always is baking gluten-free red velvet cupcakes with sinfully rich frosting. That bakery is Sprinkles. There is only one location in Dallas on Villanova Drive off of Preston Road. Take a road trip if you must to this location or any of the others across the country that are near you – and I promise you will find a moist, chocolate-y red velvet cupcake generously frosted, gluten-free, and freshly made.
If you can't find it, make it. One of the best websites for gluten-free recipes that includes a hefty dose of humor is Writer Mellissa Sevigny creates terrific recipes out of easy to find ingredients. Make her ‘Cream Cheese Pancakes’ for a special breakfast or just everyday, and delight in knowing there is no flour in them and the protein is excellent. It takes 4 ingredients: eggs, cream cheese, sweetener (like Stevia or Splenda), and cinnamon. Rich and luscious topped with maple syrup and some sliced berries, this gluten-free dish will make everyone ask for more. Here’s the link to save you some time:
No one out there today has as wide a variety of amazing gluten-free recipes better than Mellissa and her blog I breathe… I’m hungry is a hoot!
Have fun this weekend. Whether trying out a new restaurant or recipe, everyone can enjoy eating a guilty pleasure food that is also gluten-free.

Friday, April 11, 2014

And the winner is... Allergy Eats - a website with all you need to know about eating out.

Allergy Eats, the online website that contains over 600,000 allergy-friendly restaurant listings across the U.S., has recently released their 'Best of' list for 2014. By diner feedback (and without restaurant input), here are the winners for the top category:
Large (restaurant chains with over 200 units):
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (4.45 rating)
* P.F. Chang’s China Bistro (4.43 rating)
* Chipotle Mexican Grill (4.41 rating)
Outback Steakhouse (4.35 rating)
Romano’s Macaroni Grill (4.20 rating)
(* personal favorites of this writer who has previously mentioned these chain restaurants in other columns)
In their press release, Allergy Eats (founder Paul Antico) states, "We’re pleased to announce the 2014 list of the Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains in the country. These restaurants have demonstrated a superior willingness and ability to accommodate guests with food allergies. We applaud their exemplary efforts around food allergy protocols, training and education and congratulate them for earning a place on this prestigious list."
For people who must eat gluten-free or have other food allergies, there are many businesses who make the extra effort to see that all their guests needs are met in addition to providing the social interaction of dining out.
Antico goes on to say, “The Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains list – and the growing number of Allergy Eats ratings of all restaurants – help the entire food allergy community make more informed decisions about which restaurants to visit and which to avoid, based on how well (or poorly) they’ve accommodated others’ food allergies.”
To see all of this year's winners visit the Allergy Eats website at: In addition, you will find a variety of pages dedicated to resources, restaurant partners (even Disney World), gluten-free bakeries across the country, and a community blog to share information.
For an all-encompassing stop on the internet highway of information about food allergies and sensitivities, Allergy Eats is, itself, an award winner for variety and volume of resources.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Gluten-free treats for spring holidays and special events (like the NCAA Final Four)

Spring is finally here and the holidays and celebrations that go along with this time of year will bring plenty of social occasions to attend. It may seem like a challenge to provide guests with gluten-free and delicious desserts, but many manufacturers’ websites feature recipes using their regular products that are naturally gluten-free.

The Hershey Company is one such manufacturer – and who doesn’t like Hershey’s chocolate? What may surprise you is that this company which is celebrating its 120th year in operation in 2014 still uses sugar, milk, chocolate, and cocoa butter to make their luscious milk chocolate.  Unlike other companies who substitute in cheaper ingredients, (like corn syrup) Hershey’s is still a high quality product.

Hershey’s website ( ) has many recipes that use their gluten-free products. You can find the whole list of them under the tab of ‘nutrition and well-being’. Although the recipes are written to include gluten ingredients, these candies combine nicely with gluten-free baking mixes to create a dessert that will know the socks off of your guests (just try Bob’s Red Mill Brownie Baking Mix

The classic Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup and the Reece’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups are (thank heaven) gluten-free.  Chop up the big ones and include them in a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix for a crowd pleaser.  Take the miniatures and drop them on top of prepared gluten-free brownie mix before baking and everyone will love you when you take the pan out of the oven. Bring a pan of these around while watching an NCAA March Madness College Basketball game and support the Reece’s sponsorship of this event, too.

For those of you making a flourless chocolate cake or cupcakes, Hershey’s also makes a wonderful cocoa powder and baking chocolate bar that is found on the baking aisle of most supermarkets around Plano – and everywhere, too.

Here’s to wishing you a spring season that is joyful and sweet with friends, family, and gluten-free goodness.