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A Yummy Gluten Free Treat Falling From the Sky…

snow logo

Snow Coming Down in Raleigh!

Children around the Triangle are definitely excited waking up today.  A couple of good inches of snow to play in and eat.  And of course, snow and snow cream are totally gluten free!  So enjoy!

Here is a basic snow cream recipe:

Basic Recipe

1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
large bowl of snow (about 3 quarts)

Blend milk, sugar and vanilla. Stir in enough snow to make snow cream to
an ice cream consistency.

Variations – There are many variations for snow cream. For example,
substitute canned cream for milk for a heavier flavor. Add Nestles Quik
for a chocolate snow
cream, or use instant cocoa mix. (check to make sure variations for their gluten free-ness). Another variation is to add plump
raisins and cinnamon, or add a beaten egg for a nog taste. Puree an
overripe banana and add to
the mixture. Get creative – you know your family’s tastes.

Gluten Free Cookbooks

Gluten Free Cooking...With Some Help!

Gluten Free Cooking...With Some Help!

Besides the web being a great source for gluten-free recipes, we definitely advise any Celiacs to purchase at least one cookbook.  We try to find a variety, that including many different and unique recipes.  While many books exist, and surely many are of just as high a quality as the ones to follow, we’ll just review the one we own.  Many exist though.  A simple ‘gluten free cookbook’ recipe search on Amazon revealed four pages worth.  We will definitely need to take a look at some of the others.

Hagman’s ‘The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy’ probably is the one we were destined to find.  We shared the Cheese Cracker recipe (Goldfish replacement) in another Cel-Kids blog post.  A yummy cracker that tastes just like regular cheddar crackers.  When first diagnosed, our oldest ate the Spinach Quiche based on the recipe in this book regularly.  We actually made this for some various gatherings, and no one could tell the difference.  Plus, we could make them in muffin pans and refrigerate some for later meals.  Before the Betty Crocker GF mixes, we routinely used the Brownie Pie recipe.  We still use it for a great treat.  Definitely a large variety of useful recipes.  Find her cookbook at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Gourmet-Cooks-Fast-Healthy/dp/0805065253/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1264296085&sr=8-18

Substitute For Goldfish Crackers

Goldfish Crackers

Homemade Gluten Free 'Goldfish Replacement' Crackers

How we loved buying the big jug of Goldfish crackers for our girls prior to their Celiac diagnosises.  Or diagnosi.  Not sure about the plural form of that one.  Anyway, I do not think you could find a quicker snack, with at least a small amount of nutrition.  Taking Goldfish to the beach is a time honored tradition for us, as well as loading baggies full for car trips.

Of course,  Goldfish contain wheat, so that eliminates that possibility, or did until we discovered a quick and easy recipe for making crackers similar.  And what about the critics?  After trying many varieties, we found that our girls liked these most of all.  We like the convenience of how the recipe below allows for many ‘batches’ to be prepared at once.  Each batch can be cooked separately, while storing additional batches in the refrigerator.  Many also use small cookie cutters to cut the crackers into shapes, but we did not yet try that.

So, you want the recipe?  It comes from Bette Hagman’s ‘The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy’ cookbook.  We will review gluten free cookbooks soon, but we use this cookbook routinely, and definitely recommend its purchase.  You can find it here:http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Gourmet-Cooks-Fast-Healthy/dp/0805065253, and for $12.92 (as of this date), you really cannot do better for a 350+ page cookbook!

Cheese Crackers

  • 1/2 cup magarine or butter, softened
  • 2 cups loosely packed sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup GF Flour Mix (a rice/potato starch/tapioca mix)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt

Cream together the margarine and cheese.  Add the flour and seasoning salt and mix together until the dough forms a ball.  Divide the dough into 3 sections and roll each into a roll 6″ long and 1 1/2″ in diameter.  Wrap in wax paper and chill until firm.

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Cut dough into 1/8″ slices and place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp and very slightly browned.  Makes about 4 1/2 dozen crackers.


source:

Hagman, Bette. “Cheese Crackers.” The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000. 203. Print.

Camp Kanata

Camp Kanata

Gluten Free Week at Camp Kanata

Once again, Camp Kanata in Wake Forest will provide a Gluten Free Camp Week this summer.  The YMCA sponsored camp will run from June 27th through July 3rd.  According to the YMCA Camp website (http://www.ymcatriangle.org/kanata/news.html):

During the week of June 27-July 3, 2010, Camp Kanata will provide a gluten-free menu to kids with Celiac Disease who are on a gluten-free diet. The “gluten-free” campers will participate in the full program with the rest of the campers, but will be provided with delicious food that is all gluten-free.

Last year, one of the Raleigh Cel-Kids Board members visited Camp Kanata during the Gluten-Free week.  While the camp also enrolls regular campers during the GF week, all the food preparation for the gluten-free meals and snacks is done at a separate kitchen.  They keep all items separated, so risk of contamination is minimal.  This will mark the 7th year of the gluten-free camp, so the Camp Kanata staff definitely is familiar with the needs of Celiac campers.

Because gf campers come from all over the Southeast to this camp, space goes fast.  Visit the website above to enroll your camper and find additional information.  We applaud the YMCA and Camp Kanata staff for bringing these opportunities to our children.

Gluten Free Lunchables (Homemade!)

So we knew this day would come.  We feared it for years.  Once one of our girls saw the Lunchables in a friend’s lunch, we knew they would want them.   Then what?  The crackers were wheat, so what would we do?  Ok, so I exaggerate a little, but we did worry about what happens when the girls see all the different lunches their friends bring to school.  Of course, we would not want them to ever feel left out, so what to do?  Well, one day, our oldest did come home and asked for a Lunchable for her lunch.  With a gluten-free lunch needed, my wife got quite creative.  She went out to the stores, found plastic, individualized food containers, and makes GF-ables for the girls a few times a week.  She uses gluten free ham/turkey lunch meat, cheese, and of course, a small treat.  We know we cannot always meet every non-gluten-free request, but we do try hard to make lunch and other meals as normal as possible for the girls.

Cel Kids Event at Earth Fare–February 27th

We hope to see you at the next Raleigh Cel-Kids event on Saturday, February 27th from 2pm-4pm at the Brier Creek Earth Fare.  Parents can discuss a variety of topics, while we welcome children for some creative activities.

More information will follow, but please mark your calendars now.  Directions to Earth Fare can be found using our Cel-Kids Google Map here: http://tinyurl.com/raleighcelkids

Every Parent of Celiac Children’s Nightmare…

In yesterday’s News and Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/health_science/story/295478.html), we learned of a Raleigh company that was selling food labeled gluten-free that actually contained gluten.  We heard some of the stories from this past fall’s State Fair, citing Great Specialty Products sold and marketed bread with gluten by labeling it as gluten free.  Wow!  Scary stuff.  Who can you truly trust when you cannot trust professional manufacturers of goods?  What concerns me, is that Celiac Disease is not like a diet.  Sure, in a diet, if you eat something that may have a few more calories, no big deal.  But with gluten, we talk about side effects such as rashes, illness similar to allergy symptoms, nausea, and even worse things.

So what can parents do?

1. As always, please, please, please always take our and all blog/website posts with a grain of salt.  None of us are experts in nutrition.  I have no doctorate degree.  Take what we say and use other resources, and make your own decisions for your families.  All bloggers and web journalists try to report on products and information to the degree we can, we all have ‘horses in the race too,’ and we will not intentionally provide false information, but it can happen.

2. READ AND UNDERSTAND LABELS.  Look for the good labels (like what Wal*Mart has started to do) that say GLUTEN FREE and other phrases like DOES NOT CONTAIN GLUTEN, MADE ON DEDICATED EQUIPMENT, and WHEAT FREE.  If in doubt, or are not sure of all the ‘additives’ in the label, avoid that product.  Better safe than sorry.

3.  Use the web, but do not let that be your only resource.  Lots of great information on here, but unless it is a professional/corporate website, take the advice from #1 above to heart.  Many factors go into things.  For a forum board, for instance, some of the posters can post from other countries.  While they may give a product known in their country to be gluten free, in your country the ingredients may be slightly different, even under the same brand name.  Always take that into consideration.  Also, pay close attention to dates.  Just because someone posted a cereal was known to be gluten free in 2006, that does not mean it still is gluten free in 2010.

4. When in doubt about something, don’t take the risk.  Chances are, it may not effect you much if you consume small amounts, if you continue to consume, you can expect larger side effects.  We continue to see more and more products each week labeled as gluten free, so you can definitely find lots of products without taking many risks.

Hope that helps!  We must continue to stay vigilant and work together to share information.  Celiac Disease, as we personally found out, and how many of you found out, does not mean a life sentence to bland food.  Living with Celiac may pose some challenges, but you can do it!

Starburst GummiBurst

Starburst GummiBurst

Starburst GummiBursts

Recently when cruising the candy aisle at Food Lion, we searched for some new, unique candy.  My oldest daughter picked out a pack of Starburst GummiBursts, which we later found to be similar to the Gushers fruit snacks.  My oldest, 5 years old, reads pretty well, so I always instruct her to see if she can find ‘wheat’ in the ingredients or ‘gluten free.’  Sure enough, she showed me Gluten Free.  Great!  More gluten free candy, and this was tasty!

Not sure if I think it is great for more candy, but great that my oldest can begin to identify foods that are gluten free and those that are not.  Definitely an important tip for all parents.  No child is too young.  Our two, almost three year old, which we thought would struggle with identifying gluten free, does an awesome job asking, ‘Is it Gluten Free?’

Spangler Circus Peanuts

Spangler Circus Peanuts

Spangler Circus Peanuts, Gluten Free!

Not all circus peanuts are made alike! Definitely evident when trying to find those of the gluten free variety! We did find some today, though, at Food Lion. My youngest wanted them, and sure enough, they were Spangler brand. If you forget, this past summer, we did a review of Spangler brand candy canes, and found their awesome website with a matrix showing the allergens found in their candy (previous post on Spangler: http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?p=195). On the circus peanuts today (yummy, nice and soft/fresh), we found the disclaimer:

This product does not contain peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, or gluten.  It has been manufactured on dedicated equipment.

Why can’t all do it that way?  What a great way to be clear in what is included, I believe someone mentioned the ‘Big 8′ allergens manufacturers are starting to label their packaging for.  If some can already do it now, why are all not forced into properly labeling their foods?  I definitely encourage all of you to push for this type of labeling.  I know I will begin to look into it myself.  If they can label products for tobacco, they can just as easily do it for foods, especially when allergens can also hurt consumers as well.

In the meantime, bravo to companies like Spangler who are already making the labels more consumer friendly!  We will be sure to purchase more products from these gluten-free friendly companies!

Post Pebbles Cereal

Pebbles Cereal Box

Pebbles Cereal--Could Be Contaminated!

I grew up a huge fan of Post Pebbles Cereals. Cocoa and Fruity, I would down a bag at one sitting. After looking through the ingredients list, and not seeing any gluten or gluten-derived ingredients, and seeing no mention at all to contamination, I figured I would email Post Cereals. On many of the Celiac forum boards, I often see many Celiacs consuming Pebbles cereals, but I wanted to check to make sure. Here is the email I received back from Post:

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your inquiry regarding Post Fruity Pebbles Cereal. There are no wheat, oats, barley or rye formulated in Post Fruity Pebbles & Cocoa Pebbles Cereal. These products are produced on a dedicated line. However, they are produced in a facility that contains wheat so there is a slight chance of contamination.

Post Foods, LLC does not warranty any of our cereal products to be gluten free. While we are very focused on food safety and have established comprehensive HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) systems, supported by formal Allergen Prevention programs, it is possible that trace amounts of gluten may be present in transportation vehicles and storage devices. We hope you find this information helpful.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Leslie Spaes
Consumer Response Representative

So, according to that, I think we will keep Pebbles out of our girls’ cereal bowls for the time being. Hopefully, though, with all this attention, including that from General Mills and their GF Chex line, Post will get on board and provide dedicated lines to produce their Pebbles. Surely someone in Bedrock has Celiac…Maybe Barney. He is rather short and pudgy!