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Chicken From BJs

Gluten Free Rotisserie Chicken

Harvestland--GF Rotisserie Chicken at BJs

Ah, how we long for the days where we could stop in a grocery store, pick up one of those quick pre-made dinners, and head home.  No fuss, no preparation on our side, just a quick meal and quick cleanup.  Unfortunately, in the stores, many of these prepared meals contain gluten.

Recently, though, when shopping at BJs, we really wanted a rotisserie chicken.  Many of them, however, contain gluten in the flavoring included.  We sometimes can luck out getting a plain one, but when I only saw a Rustic Herb one left, I figured out of luck.  BUT–wow–right on the label–GLUTEN FREE!  Seems the brand Harvestland (http://www.purelyallnatural.com/) is well aware of Celiac Disease and/or gluten intolerance, so they clearly label their products.   We took home the chicken, and all enjoyed the moist, flavorful chicken we so fondly remember!

Gluten Free With Mickey and Minnie

Cinderella

Can Celiacs Enjoy Disney?

So we’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World in November.  We really cannot wait, as our two daughters, aged 5 and 3, are probably at perfect ages.  They live, eat, and sleep Disney Princesses.  We will use a travel agency, Small World Vacations, since we never went before and wanted as little pressure in finding a hotel, meal plan, etc.  Obviously, we want to use the meal plan, but we were initially concerned about what type of options we would face with the gluten-free need.  As summer ramps up, this poses a challenge every time any Celiac visits an amusement park, historic point of interest, or just travels on the road or by air.

Thankfully, as we began looking at various websites, it looks like this will not be the problem we initially feared.  One of the best sites, All Ears.Net (link below) actually posts many users experiences for gluten-free meal plans.  It seems the chefs will even contact us before arriving to review things:

We received an email containing restaurants that could accommodate us, the GF products carried in Disney World, and a generic food allergy form to be filled out. We were very skeptical about the generic form but we included all of our table service reservation numbers and also sent in the quick service locations we planned on visiting. From there our journey began. We were contacted directly by the chefs and sous chefs of the restaurants we planned on visiting.

Great news!  You can find many other guests’ experience on this blog and much more information.  Definitely a great relief!  I also stumbled across Orlando Gluten Free.  While we will probably stay on the resort’s land the entire trip, many may want to get out.  Orlando Gluten Free lists some resources for gluten free options at Disney and in Orlando proper.  You can find some great places to pick up gluten free products, something helpful so you will not need to pack as many items.  Of course, it always helps to go right to the source, and you can do that from Disney’s link below.  Apparently, when travelling, Disney World is the gold standard for gluten free dining, so they obviously ‘get it.’

This all definitely makes planning our trip a breeze.  We will obviously still take gf snacks, but it will be comforting to know we will not need to load down our backpacks full of gluten free food.  We can enjoy the Princess Breakfast and other Disney restaurants with no worries.  Thank you Disney!  We will definitely post updates during our trip!

Some great resources for eating gluten free at the Big Mouse include:

http://www.allearsnet.com/din/guestceliac.htm

http://orlandoglutenfree.com/

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/

photo used under Creative Commons’ license by flickr user cdharrison

Popcorn For Movie Night

Pop Secret Popcorn

Pop-Secret--Gluten Free!

Kids love movies, and what goes great with movie night?  Popcorn, of course!  A nice, safe, treat, right?  You would think, obviously, popcorn only contains corn and that all popcorn was gluten free.  Not so apparently, as many popcorn brands add a variety of ingredients, including gluten.

When looking at Pop-Secret, however, we noticed they do have a nice website and on the FAQ, you can see below it states:

For gluten/soy, all popcorn is free of glutens from wheat, rye, oats and barley.  However, all of our products do contain corn gluten (modified corn starch).  Our microwave flavor providers have also assured us that our flavorings are gluten-free as well.

So it appears safe.  Do you all take a company’s word for it?  We do, and obviously, monitor our girls as they eat it.  We can say, in this case, we never have seen any side-effects from it in our girls.  Just goes to show, even when you definitely think it impossible, ALWAYS check the label or website.

Popcorn Allergy Statement

Pop-Secret's FAQ on Gluten

Hardee’s Update

Hardees

Hardees Changed Their Image--Literally!

I recently checked Hardee’s website for their gluten free offerings.  About seven months ago, the Cel-Kids blog reviewed their new ‘Gluten Free offerings’ (http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?s=hardees).  At the time, the fine print definitely stood out as less than helpful.  I checked again recently, and found they changed their wording somewhat, to ‘Gluten Sensitive,’ still with that rather large asterisk.  Looking at the fine print they provide the warning that, while they take effort to keep things clean, all products are prepared in the same kitchen, making cross-contamination possible.  While they are making an effort, we will still avoid Hardees for now.  You can get things like their burgers wrapped in lettuce, but that cross-contamination issue definitely weighs heavily on us.  Maybe in the future…

Fruitables–Fruit and Veggies, All In a Juice!

Fruitables Juice

Fruitables--Fruit and Veggie Juice

While the majority of juices are, by nature, gluten free, we recently found a combination fruit/vegetable juice that our girls love!  Fruitables, by Apple & Eve, come in small juice boxes and combine a variety of fruits and vegetables that contain less sugar than the average juice.  Definitely a good thing!  We recently packed a picnic and headed to Blue Jay Point in North Raleigh.  We took our Fruitables juice, and the girls loved them.  The juice definitely does not contain as much sugar as apple or other juices, but it still tastes good.  It clearly also says gluten free on the side, something that many other juices, even though not containing gluten, do not label their products clearly.

With our oldest starting kindergarten this summer, we will surely feel comfortable packing a Fruitables juice in her lunch.  She may not eat the carrot sticks or veggies we pack, like all kids, but we know she will definitely get a few servings from the juice!

Gluten Free Granola

Mrs. May's Granola

Mrs. May's Fruit Clusters

**Correction** Mrs. May’s products can be found at BJs, and not Trader Joes

Trader Joe’s, as we reviewed in a previous post (http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?p=512) stocks many great gluten-free products.  We really like their granola, and we found yet another yummy, versatile treat: Mrs. May’s fruit clusters.  The clusters, about an inch by an inch, come in a variety of flavors with nuts, fruit, and other ingredients, but all gluten free.   While loose granola does not always make a good snack, these fruit clusters lend themselves to school lunches, snacks, travel, and picnics.

With two Trader Joe’s in the area (Raleigh and Cary), you can definitely stock up with some great gluten free snacks.

A Great Event at Baileywick Park!

cel-kids picnic day

A Great Day for a Picnic!

Thanks to all of you (45+) for coming out this weekend in the heat (95 degrees, and SUNNY) for our Cel-Kids Picnic.  With the largest participation yet, we definitely enjoyed our time together and enjoyed trying all the great gluten free treats.

A HUGE thanks to Mellow Mushroom of Wake Forest (click here for the Cel-Kids Google Map) for donating all the gluten free pizzas for us to try.  Everyone LOVED them, so we hope you all will go to Mellow Mushroom and say thanks for donating to the Cel-Kids event.

Thanks also to Moonlight Bakery for donating a large variety of goodies and for coming out to talk about what they offer.  You can find Moonlight Bakery at the North Hills Farmers’ Market (click here) and at their website (click here).

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming events.  As always, please share any suggestions with us!

May is Celiac Awarness Month in North Carolina!

Governor Purdue-Celiac Awareness

North Carolina Governor Purdue Proclaims May as Celiac Awareness Month

Our Governor proclaimed May as Celiac Awareness Month (website), quite a large deal for our community!  When I think back a few years ago to our first daughter’s diagnosis, the confusion, fear, and other unsure feelings, and then to now, with the information, products, and publicity of this disease, we definitely find ourselves blessed.

This proclamation helps us to spread awareness further, although we cannot complain about the level of awareness currently out there.  We run into people everyday with Celiac or knowing of someone with Celiac.  Mainstream restaurants and stores carry products.  Major manufacturers make gluten free products.

We definitely thank Governor Purdue for being one of the first in the US to make such as proclamation.  We thank all the companies out there helping to provide products for our Cel-Kids.  Thanks to the scientists and researchers working to look at Celiac and help make products for us.  Especially to all the people-resources out there–the support groups, the blogs, the websites, and all those helping us all live with this disease.

Reminder–Cel-Kids Picnic This Saturday!

Baileywick Park

Cel-Kids Event at Baileywick Park!

Join us at Baileywick Park in North Raleigh (directions here: http://bit.ly/dyQq5q) this Saturday from 4-6pm.  Enjoy Mellow Mushroom gluten free pizza, dessert tasting from Moonlight Bakery, and lots of fun outdoors!

Please bring any outdoor games/toys your children may want.  Baileywick has playgrounds, walking trails, and restrooms.  We reserved the main pavilion, right off the playground.  Hope to see you there!

Betty Crocker–All Frosting Gluten Free

Betty Crocker Frosting

Mmmm...My Gluten Free Cake Frosting...

Yup, it always appeared you could get Betty Crocker frosting gluten free.  Looking through the ingredients, we sometimes did purchase it anyway, thinking it would be ok.  No worries now–all Betty Crocker frostings, even the yummy Cream Cheese, can now be purchased gluten free.  You will even see a Gluten Free on the label.

Excellent news, with the existing gluten free cake mixes, all the fruit snacks, and other products.  Also, we have begun hearing rumors of possible gluten free Hamburger Helpers and gf Bisquick.  Kudos to Betty Crocker!