Feb 27, 2009

Terrific Things - New Toy: Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery

Here are some quotes from the press release, "JAKKS Pacific Secures Duff Goldman from Ace of Cakes for Girl Gourmet® Cake Bakery Line":

"Duff will be featured on JAKKS’ new Girl Gourmet® Cake Bakery product line. JAKKS continues to innovate in the food play category with the Girl Gourmet™ Cake Bakery, the sweet sequel to the award-winning Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker, which was nominated for the Activity Toy of the Year Award. With the Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery young chefs can create elaborate mini 2-tiered fondant cakes after baking them for just 30 seconds in the microwave."

"The Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery ingredients are gluten and wheat-free, trans-fat free, and are produced in a nut-free facility in the U.S. Many children who suffer from Celiac and nut allergies are now able to safely participate in the art of baking with Girl Gourmet. JAKKS is expected to launch the Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery product line at major retailers nationwide in the Fall. For more information on the entire Girl Gourmet line, visit www.mygirlgourmet.com."

Please note that it is not manufactured in a dedicated gluten free facility, so I recommend contacting the company to evaluate the risk of cross contamination. Ingredients for the other Girl Gourmet products currently available can be viewed on their website. It appears that some of them do not contain gluten. It is wonderful and innovative that this product is available for kids with Celiac Disease!

Feb 26, 2009

New Recall - Glutenfreeda Peanut Envy Cookie Dough

I just found out about this recall from Amy Leger at the Savy Celiac. She blogged about it this morning before I had a chance to check today's list of recalls. Thanks Amy! Here is the info from the FDA press release:

"PEANUT ENVY will be found in the freezer case in a 1 lb. (454 gram) ice
cream style oval paper tub. The package features a young woman holding a cookie
on a gold background and under the label states, “Glutenfreeda’s REAL COOKIES
Peanut Envy”. UPC code is 5824600101 on product tubs, 5824600106 on all USA case
boxes and (01)08582460010185 in Canada, all dates are affected. This product has
a one year shelf life. Products with “Use By” of 2/24/09 and prior are included
in the recall and should be removed from store freezer shelves. Consumers who
have purchased the product should check their freezer for the product and
expiration date."
So it appears that if it is still in your freezer, it would have just expired with the use by date of 2/24/09 or earlier. I could not find any mention of this recall on the Glutenfreeda Foods website. Remember to return your recalled products for a full refund. Please click on the review label at the end of this posting to read my other postings about gluten free recalls.

Feb 24, 2009

Compare Prices - Save Money

My best tip for saving money is to compare prices, so you can discover the cheapest store to purchase items not on sale. Save your receipts, so you have a handy reference for comparing prices on the things you bought. I look at weekly circulars, clip coupons, shop sales and stock up on sale items, use store club cards, take advantage of double and triple coupons offers, and always check my receipt to make sure sale prices are correct. It is hard to find good deals in stores on gluten free items, but comparing regular prices helps.

Here is one astonishing example. Envirokidz Gorilla Munch cereal (10 ounce box) costs $2.89 at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Most other stores in my neighborhood sell it for around $4. I just discovered one store, Bloom, where it is $5.29! The boxes had an expiration date of only one month from now, so hopefully this is a sign that people realize it is overpriced and don’t buy it. I did email Bloom about this. I wonder what the response will be. I often hear complaints that Whole Foods is too expensive, but they do have some low prices as this example proves. Whole Foods has what I call “surprise sales” – sales that are not listed in their circular. While it is frustrating that all the weekly sales aren’t advertised, it does make for some great surprises while shopping!

I was surprised at Bloom to discover that they carry the Kinnikinnick white sandwich bread. The price tag said $6.09. The next closest store in my area that sells it is a good 20 minutes away, so in this instance I chose convenience over price. While at the self-checkout, I realized the price displayed on the register was $6.99. I found a nearby store employee and asked him to check the price. It turns out the price tag was wrong, and he gave me the bread for free! I was shocked! The employee pointed to the tiny sign by the register which explains that the store’s policy is to give you the item for free if the price is wrong. Bloom’s slogan is “Shop Happy”, and I did today when I got my free bread and some items at a great sale price.

I have found Safeway and Bloom to generally have the highest regular prices. However, they do offer some of the best sales. Shoppers and Target have the best regular prices in my area. I do not live near Wegmans, Harris Teeter, or WalMart, so I can’t comment on their prices. I have noticed that Giant recently raised prices by about 30 cents on many items, including milk, Gatorade, and shampoo. I was glad to see that Giant added a gluten free section to the weekly circular last week, but it did not contain it this week. Even if it is only occasionally, I am happy for any gluten free savings! For more on everyday low prices, please see my earlier posting.

If you would like to subscribe by email to this blog, I have added a subscription box on the top left.

TwitterMoms - Celiac Disease Awareness Group

TwitterMoms is a wonderful social network of almost 9,000 moms. There is an article about it in this month's Redbook. I recently joined, and I am impressed with the many groups (over 225), discussions, and blog posts. I am confident you will find groups that interest you or you can start your own group. Click here to browse the groups. I joined more than 10 groups. You can customize and add more applications to your page than you can on Twitter. There are detailed profiles of each person’s interests, which can easily be searched to connect with others. Here are two sample pages to view: Megan Calhoun, founder of TwitterMoms, and my Maryland Celiac page.

I just started the second gluten free group on TwitterMoms. My group is called “Celiac Disease Awareness”. The other gluten free group is “Mom Cooks Gluten Free”, lead by Karen Fine. She is the author of the children’s book “How I Eat Without Wheat” and has started the "Gluten Free Foundation". There are gluten free people on TwitterMoms, but not nearly as many as twitter or facebook. I hope that will soon change. Amy Leger from the Savy Celiac is also on TwitterMoms.

I encourage you to join TwitterMoms and this group. If you are not a mom, you can still view all the discussions and comments in the group, but not post. I would be happy to post any information you would like, especially links about awareness articles and events. Just let me know by posting a comment here or sending me a tweet. Please read the awareness ideas in the group discussion, so that you can do your part in increasing Celiac Disease awareness. I hope that the discussion “awareness articles and events” will become a useful listing of many celiac events, including walks and other fundraisers. A complete list of celiac walks in different locations can be found at Making Tracks for Celiacs. Please help make this TwitterMoms group an awareness resource for the entire celiac community! If you would like to display the group widget, you can find it on my blog, currently at the top left.

Feb 20, 2009

Terrific Things - Helping People In Need

Here are some great articles about providing gluten free food to people in need.

Angel Food Ministries Announces AllergyFree Foods(TM) Grocery Packages
The box costs $25 and contains "1 lb coated chicken tenders, 1 lb coated breast fillet, 1 lb coated nuggets, 1 lb coated chicken wings , and 1 lb coated cubed steak (chicken fried steak)". To view this gluten free box and the others available from Angel Food Ministries, which provides food to more than 300 thousand families each year, visit their website. Interestingly, anyone can order these discount boxes, not just those in need. They also accept food stamps.

Warm-Hearted Gesture, Just In Time For Valentine's Day
Here is a quote from the article.
"Just in time for Valentine's Day, Snack Alliance shows its heart and donates an entire truckload of 15,000 bags of its popular Sweet Chili riceworks® Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps to the Daily Bread Food Bank"

Spurred by bad economy, Florida group offers help with GF groceries to those in need
Here is a quote from the article.
"The Palm Beach County Celiac Support Group's new Gluten-Free Food Assistance program will provide a $25 monthly credit voucher to South Florida residents who have celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis and are living at or below the poverty line. The voucher can be used at designated stores to buy gluten-free items."

Feb 18, 2009

Review - Foods by George Plain English Muffins

First, let me start by saying Foods by George Plain English Muffins are my favorite gluten free food. Second, these are not like traditional gluten English Muffins. They are thick and fluffy! Third, these are mainly sold in stores East of the Mississippi River, but can be found in some stores in the Dakotas. They can be shipped to the West Coast, however since they are shipped frozen in a cooler, they must arrive in two days.

The English Muffins are free of lactose, casein, dairy, corn, and soy. One muffin is only 210 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. They are made in a dedicated gluten free facility. George makes other wonderful products. I like the blueberry muffins and brownies.

These English Muffins are a true staple food for me. I eat one almost every day: with cream cheese for breakfast, with peanut butter for lunch, or to make pizza for dinner. Since they are thick, I don't use them for sandwiches, but you could. They cost $5.49 at Whole Foods, and there are four in the package. I defrost them first in the microwave for three minutes, slice, then heat on high for 40 seconds, and then toast or bake in the oven. Even if I by some miracle I could eat gluten again, I would still eat these!

I also like the cinnamon currant flavor, which is great with cream cheese. The Whole Foods I shop at only carries the plain ones. My daughter loves both flavors too, but I only sometimes let her eat them - I guess I'm not good at sharing my favorite food with others who can eat gluten!

If you need more convincing about how good these are, checkout this quote. I just discovered it this morning thanks to a blog article from Nancy Lapid. It is from an interview with Silvana Narvone, the editor of the Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine, who is talking about cooking gluten, dairy, soy, and peanut free for her son Isaiah.
"We’ve tasted many breads on the market with not much success. The only
bread Isaiah will eat is Food by George’s English Muffins for sandwiches and the
Cinnamon Currant English Muffins for French toast. I’ve been trying to crack the
code on bread for some time now. I’m getting closer!"

Feb 16, 2009

Review - Vaseline Products

According to phone customer service reps in 2009, Vaseline products do not contain gluten, except for the Total Moisture Lotion (yellow bottle) which contains oats. I was told gluten would be clearly listed on the label as wheat, rye, barley, or oat if a product contains it.
Update 2017 - Vaseline Intensive Care Healing Serum contains gluten according to a customer service rep. The Cetearyl Glucoside is derived from gluten and was not listed on the label as containing gluten. Call customer service to check if a product is gluten-free.
I just realized that I have seven different Vaseline products in my home and most of them are used regularly. Preparing food or eating would be problematic if a hand lotion contains gluten. Unless you have dermatitis herpetiformis, skincare products do not have to be gluten free, except when they come in contact with your mouth. For more information, see Nancy Lapid's posting, "Can Gluten Be Absorbed Through Skin".

Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Lotion – It is hypoallergenic and unfragranced. This is my lotion of choice for kitchen activities since it is light, not greasy, absorbs quickly, and has no scent. This is the only body lotion my daughter will use. She has tried many other brands of body lotions. Her complaints about the others were always one of the following: greasy, sticky, doesn’t absorb quickly, or it smells. I keep a pump in the kitchen and one in my daughter's room.

Vaseline Intensive Rescue Healing Hand Cream – This is my favorite hand cream. I have tried many brands of hand creams and lotions and this one seems to work the best. It is also hypoallergenic and unfragranced. It is thinner than most hand creams and absorbs quickly. It is what is on my hands now as I am typing this.

Vaseline Aloe Fresh Hydrating – This is my favorite body lotion. It feels wonderful when applied. The aloe and cucumber are very soothing. It does take a little longer to absorb.

Vaseline Clinical Therapy – This lotion is intended for the body. I tried it only on my hands. It is more moisturizing than the Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking lotion, but I like the hand cream better.

Vaseline Deep Moisture Creamy – This lotion is a petroleum jelly cream. It also has Vitamin E. It is greasy – too greasy to use during the day. I sometimes use it on my hands before bed.

Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly – This is a household staple for any skin irritation.

Vaseline Lip Therapy – When my daughter was in preschool, she referred to this as “the shiny stuff” and loved how shiny it made her lips. The only negative is that it does not contain SPF.

Feb 12, 2009

List of Blogs & Websites with Gluten Free Reviews

Browsing gluten free product reviews is an excellent way to discover more gluten free foods to buy. Most importantly, reviews are an essential resource for saving money and not wasting it on trying products that can’t be returned. Whole Foods has a satisfaction guarantee, meaning that you can receive a full refund after a product is opened. Restaurant reviews provide reassurance about the safety and quality of gluten free food and aid in locating new places to eat.

Many gluten free blog writers review products and restaurants. On my blog, you can quickly find all my reviews by either typing “review” in the google custom search box or clicking on the “review” label found in my label list at the bottom and at the end of any review posting. Every blog labels reviews differently. On some, the label is food, products, or eating out. On other blogs, it is difficult to quickly locate all reviews. Consistent labels are a great feature in blogs, allowing the reader a fast way to locate all postings on a specific topic.

Here is a list of some great places to find gluten free reviews. Please post other sites in the comments.

Product Reviews

Bon Bon Gazette

Book of Yum - Great Veggie Burger Review

Celiac Underground

Crispy Cook

Delightfully Gluten Free

Gluten Free Blog

Gluten Free Food Reviews - The entire blog is detailed reviews, with descriptions, ratings, and pros and cons.

Gluten Free Girl Recommends

Gluten Free Hub

Gluten Free Mall powered by Celiac.com

Gluten Free Optimist - Given the title and focus of the blog, only reviews that are mostly positive will be posted here.

Gluten Free Post

Mom Cooks Gluten Free

Naturally Dah'ling - beauty products

No Gluten, No Problem


Restaurant Reviews
Celiac Chicks – New York

Celiac Princess - DC

GF Road Warrior – travels every week

Gluten Free Baltimore

Gluten Free Globe – food around the world – This site is new and you can submit your own reviews of restaurants and products.

Gluten Free Portland

Gluten Free Raleigh (also has grocery store reviews)

Gluten Free Reporter - New - Blog writer lives in Chicago and is requesting reviews for restaurants throughout the country.

Gluten Free Restaurants

Gluten Free Travel Site

Gluten Freeway- LA

Katie Gluten Free in DC

More Gluten Free Options – Minnesota

Sure Foods Living - California

If you are looking for a specific review and are having trouble finding it, try posting a message on twitter, your local Celiac yahoo group, Silly Yaks yahoo group, or one of the other celiac forums. Please remember that everyone has different opinions and tastes, so reviews are only a guide. Experiences at restaurant chains may differ greatly depending on the location, so always be cautious when eating at a new location.

Update 9/20/09 There are now Gluten Free Examiners in many cities. The Gwinnett Gluten-Free Food Examiner maintains a list of all the Gluten Free Examiners on the bottom sidebar of her page.

Feb 11, 2009

Amazing Awareness - High School Student Receives Volunteer Award

On May 4, 2009, 10 youth volunteers will be named "National Honorees". They will be selected during a trip to Washington, D.C. from a group of 102 Prudential Spirit of Community State Honorees. Colin Leslie, 17, from New York is one of these amazing volunteers.

Here is some information from the press release. "Colin, a junior at Rye High School, has raised more than $150,000 for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University over the past three years by organizing an annual walkathon in his community. When he was 14, Colin began experiencing excruciating joint pain and migraine headaches. After four months of visits to many specialists, he was finally diagnosed with celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by eating gluten from wheat, barley, or rye. The difficulty that doctors had in diagnosing his ailment convinced Colin that something needed to be done to increase awareness of celiac. He decided on a walkathon."

For more information on the Colin Leslie Walk for Celiac Disease, which will be held again in Fall 2009, please visit the website. Colin partners with the Celiac Disease Center at Colombia University and the Westchester Celiac Sprue Support Group to organize the walk, now in its fourth year. One year, Colin helped to get more than 60 people diagnosed by having a blood screening at the event. He is expanding the walk this year to include a gluten free lunch, presentations, and a larger vendor fair.


Elizabeth Petry lives on a farm in Minnesota. She is only 16 and has started baking and selling gluten free pies. She sold out of her pies at a farmer's market and had requests for more. Here is a quote from the Inforum article.

"Indeed, her Dutch apple pies – which boast cinnamon-spiked apples and a
sweet, buttery streusel over a delicate, crumbly crust – prove you don’t need
gluten to make a mighty fine pie. That’s good news for people with celiac
disease, a genetic condition in which gluten triggers an autoimmune response
that can damage the small intestine."
Elizabeth also makes gluten free bread from organic blue corn. Her mom has food allergies. Are you inspired by Elizabeth? How about baking and selling your own gluten free goodies at a school bake sale and handing out flyers about Celiac Disease?

Feb 10, 2009

Recall - Trader Joe's Frozen Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

On February 9, Trader Joe's recalled it Frozen Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, which is sold in stores nationwide. The recall also includes other cookies from their private label, which are not gluten free. Here is a quote from the press release.
"Customers who have purchased any of these items (any date code) are urged to
return them to any Trader Joe’s for a full refund. Customers with
questions may contact Trader Joe’s Customer Service at (626) 599-3817.
A complete list with pictures of recalled products sold at Trader Joe's can be found on their website. For other recalled gluten free products, please see my two earlier February posts.

Feb 8, 2009

Recall - Glutino Chocolate Peanut Bars

Glutino Organic Chocolate Peanut Bars (lots 0358A, 0368A, 1338A, 1968A, 1978A, 2548A, 2558A, 2908A, 3368A) have been recalled. This is not listed on the FDA site, since these are made in Canada. This is the first recalled product that I actually had in my pantry! For a complete list of recalled Canadian products, click here. Please see my post from last week for other recalled gluten free products.

Terrific Things - Pre-order Gluten Free Books on Amazon

Checkout the many new gluten free books which can now be pre-ordered on Amazon at a reduced price (20-35% off ). Most of them are eligible for the free super saver shipping if your order is at least $25 and have a pre-order price guarantee. There are also several gluten free books that have been released in the last year. What are your favorites? Which ones are the best for beginner cooks? Do you have a gluten free book that is not on Amazon? Mention it in the comments here!

Feb 7, 2009

Review - thinkThin Brownie Crunch Bar

I just recently discovered thinkThin protein bars after reading a press release from thinkproducts about the launch of thinkThin bites. I was happy to see thinkThin bars at Whole Foods yesterday and eager to try one. The wrapper clearly says gluten free, but I hadn't noticed them before. I spent ten minutes deciding which flavor to try and eventually decided on the Brownie Crunch Bar.

Here is some information from their website about the all natural thinkThin bars.
Gluten Free
20g Protein
0g Sugar
No Cholesterol
Fortified with 18 Essential Vitamins & Minerals
No Transfat

The Brownie Crunch bar was good. It is shaped like a candy bar - a rich brownie coated in chocolate. There are only a few almonds. The almonds are very tiny, so I hardly tasted them. It is hard to believe that this bar has 20g of protein and 0g of sugar and tastes like a candy bar! I did not think thin when I ate this. I was impressed with this statement in the story on their website.

"thinkproducts puts its money where its food is: the company donates up to $250,000 per year to the following organizations that are working to find a cure for many of today's epidemics - The California Diabetes Foundation; The University of Southern California Childhood Obesity Research Center; Autism Research Institute in San Diego, California; The William K. Warren Celiac Center at the University of California; and the Susan G. Komen Fund for Breast Cancer Research."

The thinkThin protein bars come in a variety of flavors, which I look forward to trying. They also have other types of bars, including thinkOrganic, thinkGreen, thinkThin Pink, and thinkFruit. Some of these other bars are not high in protein, but they are healthy.
Warning: These bars contain maltitol, which causes intestinal discomfort in some people. You can learn more about maltitol in this article on about.com. Maltitol: Just Say No Why Maltitol is Often More Trouble Than It's Worth

Update - March 1, 2009 - I recently tried two more Brownie Crunch bars (different dates) and they had a weird, almost metallic taste. My daughter thought so too. The first one I ate and based the review on did not taste this way. Has anyone else experienced this?

Update - 2010 - I tried other ThinkThin flavors and couldn't finish the bars because of the metallic taste that comes from maltitol.

Update - 2011 - NuGo Nutrition Debuts the First Almost Sugar-Free Protein Bar Without Maltitol or Artificial Sweeteners at Expo East. NuGo Slim is high in protein and fiber, certified gluten-free, coated in real dark chocolate, and tastes delicious!

Feb 6, 2009

Gluten Free Jokes

I wrote these gluten free jokes. Of course, having Celiac Disease and eating gluten free is very serious, but I thought we could all enjoy some jokes about it. I hope some of them make you laugh! I would love to hear your comments. Which joke do you like best?

What do you call rice pasta stuck to the bottom of the pot?
-glueten free

What do you call someone who puts gluten in your food?

What animal scares Celiacs?

Where do Celiacs never go for Happy Hour?
-Bar Lee

What is the most popular gluten free cake?
-rice cake

What do you call your symptoms when you accidently eat gluten?

Why did the Celiac have bad luck?
-because he didn’t open his fortune cookie

What food do Celiacs crave on Easter?
-egg roll

What do kids with Celiac Disease say on Halloween?
-trick no wheat

What is the best trait of a person with Celiac Disease?

Why did the Celiac kid get sent to the principal’s office?
-because he conned Tami and Nate.

What do you call a gluten free joke?

Feb 3, 2009

Terrific Things - Nancy Lapid's Celiac Disease Blog on About.com

Nancy Lapid's Celiac Disease blog on About.com is a fantastic site for finding a variety of resources on numerous topics related to Celiac Disease. The site is organized into four tabs - Celiac Disease home, symptoms/diagnosis, diet, and daily life.

The information contained in each tab is very comprehensive and useful. For example, in the daily life section, there is information about a variety of social life topics including parties, wedding cakes, and gift ideas. The section for kids and parents is wonderful. Check out her articles on Summer Camps and Invite the Gluten-Free Traveling Bears to Visit Your Child. The diet section has the following helpful topics:
Celiac Disease Treatment: The Gluten-Free Diet
Starting in the Kitchen
Food Shopping
Everyday Recipes
Holiday Recipes
Munchies, Snacks, and Staples

I found her recent article Is Your Hospital Ready for Gluten-Free Patients? very informative. She also has her own forum and you can sign up to receive her weekly newsletter. Thanks Nancy for this terrific site!

Feb 1, 2009

RECALL - Gluten Free Cafe Asian Noodles, Arico, & Lesserevil

The following recall was announced January 31, 2009 from Hain Celestial.

Gluten Free CafĂ© Asian Noodles 9.2 ozUPC code # 70795-03504 lot codes beginning with “WC8”

On January 29, ARICO recalled their peanut butter cookies and peanut butter cookies bars.

On January 30, Lesserevil issued a recall of their peanut butter and choco kettle corn.

For a complete list of peanut related recalls, please see the FDA site. New recalls are added daily and posted in the FDA news updates list of company recalls. Here are some other gluten free foods that are on the peanut recall list:

Clif bars


thinkThin - Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Mudslide

Update - Feb. 8, 2009 - Glutino Organic Chocolate Peanut Bars (lots 0358A, 0368A, 1338A, 1968A, 1978A, 2548A, 2558A, 2908A, 3368A) have been recalled. This is not listed on the FDA site, since these are made in Canada. This is the first recalled product that I actually had in my pantry!

Update - Feb. 10, 2009 - Trader Joes's Frozen Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough was recalled - all dates.