Posts tagged ‘holidays’

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Tips: 3 Scenarios

[We’ve been on the hunt for the best gluten-free holiday tips. Naturally, we asked NFCA volunteer Annsley to share her advice. Here’s how she stays gluten-free at Thanksgiving, no matter what’s on the table.]

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year because it speaks to cool, crisp air, falling leaves, harvests, family gatherings, and lots of food.  This all sounds great!  Then the reality of the situation hits; my imagination runs wild and I see a playground for gluten: The slide is a big wet lasagna noodle, the swings seats are plump, cushy pumpkin muffins, the dirt is stuffing giving way under the shuffle of feet as animals, adults, and kids slurp and slide all over, smearing gluten from one play structure to the next.

Then the chilly fall air blows across my face and I’m back to reality – gobs of friends and family hovering over the food, fingers picking, serving spoons jumping from one platter to the next. . . This could end up as a regular old disaster, but I then I take hold of my imagination and decide to control the situation with ORDER.

Tips for Thanksgiving when you have TOTAL control:

  •  If it’s up to you, make all dishes gluten-free. That way, you’ll have no cross-contamination issues!

Tips for Thanksgiving when you have PARTIAL control:

  •  Make sure there are some gluten-free dishes that are available to you.
  • Ask to be the first one served and/or make your own plate before all the guests are served.  Take enough for seconds, because once the dishes are touched by others, it could be a slippery slope.
  • Set the gluten-free dishes on a separate table or a separate section on the table.  They should be the first dishes in the line-up.
  • If you’re feeling brave, make a little note next to the gluten-free dishes that says:

This dish is gluten-free and may become contaminated if brought into contact with other dishes.  Please use only this serving spoon with it.

 Tips for Thanksgiving when you have ZERO control:

  •  Bring your own food.
  • Put your food on one of the plates that everyone else has and bring it out to your place when everyone else sits down to eat.

– Annsley Klehr
Gluten Freedoms, LLC

More from Annsley:

November 15, 2011 at 11:56 am 3 comments

Gluten-Free Halloween: Are You Prepared?

I always start thinking about Halloween in August, then completely forget about it until – “Trick-or-Treat!” – it’s right at my doorstep.  I cobble together a costume from whatever’s in my closet, and grab a quick bag of candy in hopes that kids will come, but not so many that I run out of supplies.

Annsley Klehr

Annsley Klehr

I could take a few pointers from our volunteer, Annsley. In her latest article, she offers some tips for making trick-or-treating a fun, not frustrating, experience:

  • Establish a plan way before heading out to trick-or-treat. This is even more effective when you and your child can establish a plan together.
  • Communicate the plan before trick-or-treating and explain why.  Kids do better when they understand the reason. I always tell my daughter that X will make you very sick, and that seems to work. 

For more of her tips, check out her How to Embrace Gluten-Free Halloween in the new Articles section on Kids Central. While you’re there, download the Gluten-Free Candy List 2011 from the Guides section and browse around to see all that Kids Central has to offer (

Other helpful articles:

October 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

Staying in Command

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our newest volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experience throughout the 2011 Phillies season.]

Staying in Command

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

Lee’s game is no longer about the comeback.  He’s back and looking un-Be-LEE-vable! Last night, Philadelphians gave Cliff Lee a standing ovation as he flawlessly led the Phillies to a 5-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox and historically pitched his third consecutive complete game shutout.

This time, Lee brings with him three powerful C’s—curveballs, confidence and command. Pitching three consecutive shutouts is no easy feat, and Lee falls into the ranks of baseball Hall of Famers, including Grover Cleveland Alexander and Robin Roberts.

It has been an un-Be-LEE-vable month for Lee, as he also led the Phillies to a 4-0 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals last Wednesday night in his second consecutive game shutout.  Lee was completely in command on the pitcher’s mound, when he allowed simply 6 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk and 3 strike outs.

For me, it’s no longer about being the comeback gal. I recently had two consecutive successful follow-up GI appointments. I too rely on my curveballs, confidence and command on my journey to a happy, healthy gluten-free life.

When Lee is in command, the pitch he throws is the pitch he intended to throw.  Staying in command is a challenge worth Phightin’ for both Phillies fans and everyone who has food allergies or intolerances.

As Lee has so beautifully exemplified over his past three games, staying in command takes true grit and supportive teammates.  Last night was no exception, for he had great offensive support from Dominic Brown and Shane Victorino as they scored two-run home runs.  Let’s not forget Lee’s own RBI sacrifice fly that sent Dominic Brown home in the fifth inning.

Completely in command, I continue my restaurant, dish and product reviews, which are on the following baseball-inspired scale:

Single– Fair
Double– Good
Triple– Very good
Home Run– Must try
Grand Slam– Sublime

Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet- Double

A good gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free summer dessert purchased from Trader Joe’s.  It resembles the light consistency of water ice, but has richer dark chocolate flavor.  The finish leaves a slight, but noticeable aftertaste.

The result:  A dark chocolate calorie-friendly treat with great potential, if there was no aftertaste.

Recommendation: Pairs nicely with an assortment of fresh seasonal fruits. Serve this for a BBQ dessert or a beach day snack.

Note:  For Trader Joe’s “No Gluten Ingredients” list, visit

Soyatoo! Rice Whip- Home Run

A must-try vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and cholesterol-free condiment purchased from Whole Foods.  It’s soft and fluffy, with just enough firmness to hold a swirl.  Both the lightness and hint of sweetness nicely absorb the textures and flavors from other foods.  However, preparation time is needed to get the optimal results. As noted on the container, store upside down in fridge and sit out for 10-15 minutes prior to eating.

The result:  Looks exactly like dairy whipped cream, and tastes even better.  Follow instructions on container prior to use – it is worth the wait.

Recommendation: Delicious finish on top of baked goods, sorbet sundaes, and pairs nicely with fresh seasonal fruits.  Can prepare on July 4th with fresh berries for a sweet and patriotic treat!

Santa Cruz Chocolate Flavored Syrup- Triple

A very good organic and gluten-free labeled chocolate syrup purchased from Whole Foods.  The sweet and dark chocolate flavor can stand on its own or be a supportive ingredient in a sundae.  The container is microwavable for a warm alternative to the classic chocolate syrup.

The result: Definitely for dark chocolate lovers, but can be drizzled over desserts for all to enjoy. Thick texture makes it difficult for chocolate syrup to ooze out of container.

Recommendation: Place upside down for a few minutes prior to use. Though microwavable option is nice, it tastes best at refrigerator temperature.  An extra oomph of chocolate sweetness that can be added to any July 4th  holiday treat.

Sautéed flounder in olive oil with roasted baby potatoes and baby peas at Oyster House- Grand Slam

A sublime dish, and one that I look forward to replicating in my kitchen.  The perfect portion of fresh fish was executed with just the right amount of olive oil and seasoning. My favorite fish dishes are cooked with a slightly crisped top and moist inside and this sautéed flounder was no exception.  The flounder was surrounded by soft and well-seasoned roasted baby potatoes with baby peas.  Note: This was the chef’s gluten-free alternative to sautéed flounder on menu.  

The result:  A balance of beautifully cooked fish, paired with pleasantly cooked vegetables.  The different levels of soft textures on the plate complement each other from the juiciness of the fish, the softness of the potatoes and the mushiness from the peas.

Gluten-free fish dinner at Oyster House

A Grand Slam! Sautéed Flounder at Oyster House

The scene: A double date at the Oyster House on Saturday night.  As the Phillies were losing against the Oakland Athletics, we were enjoying a meal that one of the diners in our party said tasted fresh from the ocean.  In fact, the Oyster House changes its menus daily based on the freshest fish.  Since there is no gluten-free menu, I made sure to clearly articulate my food sensitivities and inquire about dish ingredients.  Our table started with an assortment of fresh oysters and then each ordered our own entrée.  To my excitement, the chefs were able to adjust a few ingredients and maintain the integrity of the sautéed flounder on the menu.

Fresh roasted turkey on top of romaine lettuce at Main Line Pizza- Double

A good dish, and one that I have replicated in my kitchen.  The fresh roasted turkey is plainly seasoned, extremely fresh and properly prepared. Each hand sliced piece of turkey was cool, moist and paired nicely with the soft crunch from the romaine lettuce.  Note: This was a quick on-the-go alternative to the Romaine Turkey Wrap on the gluten-free menu.  

The result: A healthy, easy lunch cooked to just the right tenderness.  Simple flavors, simply cooked well.  At Main Line Pizza, you can eat this as a lettuce wrap or on gluten-free bread.

The scene: A quick lunch with my sister and mom before a GI follow-up appointment last week.  My sister is on a search to find the perfect gluten-free pizza, and we were happy to try Main Line Pizza with her.  As the car pulled up to a spot off Lancaster Avenue, I first noticed an inviting sign that specified serving gluten-free pizzas and pasta.  To my surprise, the owner explained his gluten-free training and his certificate from NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program. My sister and mom loved their fresh gluten-free pizza with mushrooms, broccoli and fresh roasted pepper toppings.  They even took an order of gluten-free spicy chicken wings to go, which they also thoroughly enjoyed.

June was a memorable month, as Lee made history and I made progress on my journey with support from my family team.  We are back, we are in command, and we are Free to Be Gluten-Free!

– Nadina

*Learn more about gluten-free training through GREAT Kitchens.
*Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies is sold out! Thank you all for supporting the cause. We’ll see you there!

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

June 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Chip, Chip Hooray for Gluten-Free (Plus, a Giveaway!)

One of the best things about holidays is having an excuse to celebrate at the office. From my first day in the workforce, I always looked forward to ‘food days,’ when everyone brought in snacks and swapped recipes for their famous cakes, casseroles, and crumbles.

When I started at NFCA, I quickly realized that ‘food days’ aren’t so easy among the gluten-free.  At the NFCA office, we default to gluten-free so everyone can participate in celebrations.  But at other offices, and parties in general, gluten eaters may be less welcoming to the idea.

Fortunately, one thing I’ve found to be universally pleasing among celiac and non-celiac crowds are gluten-free chips. Here’s why:

  • They’re portable. For party purposes, there’s nothing better than tossing a bag in your tote. If you’ve ever tried to stack cupcakes without messing up the icing, you know how valuable that can be.
  • They’re versatile. Depending on whether they’re packed with flavor or just dusted with salt, you can eat them right out of the bag, dunk them in a gluten-free dip, or crumble them on top of a salad.
  • They’re gluten-free, but not obviously so. They look like chips, they taste like chips, and they often are chips that just happen to be gluten-free. I’ve never heard someone say “This chip tastes gluten-free,” and few will be able to pass up a taste.

Now, when you bring a crowd-pleasing food, there is the risk of cross-contamination. People who can eat gluten may be happy to try your gluten-free chips and dip, but their hands also may be rife with gluten-y crumbs.

Gluten-Free 4th of July Guide

Gluten-free tips for your 4th of July celebration!

To help you keep gluten-free items untainted and make your party an overall blast, we created 4th of July Fun, a new Printable Guide sponsored by Blue Diamond. Available on NFCA’s website, this tip sheet covers all of your party-planning quandaries, from invitations to cross-contamination.

Download 4th of July Fun at

Win Blue Diamond Baked Nut Chips!

To get your party started, Blue Diamond is giving away NEW! Baked Nut Chips to 5 lucky winners. These new gluten-free chips are made with whole-grain brown rice and almonds, and they meet all the requirements for a party-appropriate snack. Plus, they’re delicious.

Blue Diamond Baked Nut Chips

Get these for free!

Winners will receive a bag of each Baked Nut Chips flavor: Sour Cream & Chive, Sea Salt, and Nacho (that’s 3 bags total!).

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us your 4th of July plans and why free Blue Diamond Baked Nut Chips would pump up the party. Winners will be selected randomly and announced on Friday, June 24.

(Visit our Gluten-Free Hot Products blog next week for another chance to win!)


June 22, 2011 at 10:49 am 36 comments

A Blogger A Day: Silvana’s Kitchen

A Blogger A Day, the Gluten-Free Way logoName: Silvana Nardone

Blogs at:
Tweets at:
Friend her at: Silvana Nardone on Facebook
On the bookshelf: Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meal. A second cookbook is in the works, and a digital gluten-free food & lifestyle magazine called Easy Eats will launch in the fall.

Why we’re fans: As a published cookbook author and former editor in chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray, Silvana has a lot of clout in the food industry. But she also is just a mom looking for good food to feed her kids. Her Mini Mac & Cheese Cakes were a hit among all age groups at Appetite for Awareness 2010, and recipes for important foods like birthday cake ensure that gluten-free families don’t miss out on life’s little (or big) celebrations.

Silvana Nardone

Silvana Nardone

Silvana’s Story: My now 14-year old son Isaiah was diagnosed as gluten intolerant 4 years ago, which changed the direction of our lives forever, like so many other families.

According to Silvana: The most unexpected part of going gluten-free was that Isaiah was open to trying so many new foods, which expanded his whole eating experience beyond his classic white foods diet.

A taste of Silvana’s Kitchen:

For more of NFCA’s Celiac Awareness Month celebration, visit

May 25, 2011 at 9:22 am 1 comment

A Blogger A Day: Gluten Free Mom

A Blogger A Day, the Gluten-Free Way logoName: Jamie Eppenauer
Lives in: Woodinville, WA

Blogs at:,
On the bookshelf: Nothing yet, but working on one!

Why we’re fans: Going gluten-free is one thing, but being a parent of a gluten-free kid adds a whole other level. Jamie skips the jargon and tells parents what they really want to know. What candy can my kid eat? How do we prepare for road trips? Will our family traditions ever be the same? Jamie doesn’t have the only answers, but she does know what works for her family – and that can be the reassurance parents are looking for.

Jamie Eppenauer

Jamie Eppenauer

Jamie’s Story: My oldest daughter, the Gluten-Free Teen, was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2005.  I have the genes for celiac disease, but after feeling good for the first time ever in my life, I declined to get back on gluten to have the endoscopy.  I am also allergic to dairy.  My middle child is gluten intolerant and has a dairy allergy.

According to Jamie: The most challenging part of raising a Gluten-Free Teen may be the “teen” part!  In all honesty, even though the diet is challenging, I can say that my Gluten-Free Teen is totally “normal.”  She went to prom, has a boyfriend, just got her driver’s permit, hangs out with her friends constantly, plays volleyball and has straight As in school.  It required some extra work, but we have traveled all over the world – Mexico, Hawaii, Ireland, London, Paris, and both coast of the US.  My Gluten-Free Teen is a great cook, and we have a very healthy diet.  Yes, there are moments when it is challenging (especially when traveling) but all in all, we have been blessed with a happy healthy lifestyle.

A taste of Gluten Free Mom:

For more of NFCA’s Celiac Awareness Month celebration, visit

May 22, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

A Blogger A Day: Gluten Free Betsy

A Blogger A Day, the Gluten-Free Way logoName: Betsy Thompson
Lives in: Chicago, IL

Blogs at:
Tweets at:
Like her at:

Why we’re fans: Betsy is a sharer. She writes about local gluten-free events and online giveaways, but more importantly, she brings readers through her own gluten-free experiences, whether it’s attending a swanky gluten-free dinner or explaining why a certain product she tried is too good to pass up. Betsy proves that it takes one to know one, and she’s posting her knowledge for all gluten-free newbies (and not-so-newbies) to benefit from.

Betsy Thompson

Betsy Thompson

Betsy’s Story: I was diagnosed with celiac disease in January 2000 and have been gluten-free ever since.  It’s been a world of difference.  I wrote why I started my blog in a post called “Starting from the Beginning…

According to Betsy: The toughest part of going gluten-free trying to come up with alternatives.  When I went gluten-free, there weren’t nearly as many gluten-free alternatives as there are today.  I remember some terrible cookies and crumbly bread.  Luckily I’ve improved my baking skills a bit.

A taste of Gluten Free Betsy:

  • Gluten Free Girl Scout Cookies – Samoas:  This one is from March of last year, but I still get many hits on it.  I decided to make my own “Girl Scout” cookies, since I couldn’t eat the ones from the Girl Scouts.  I found a similar recipe online and adapted it to make it gluten-free.  The comments really made my day, especially the one from Teresa whose daughter was a Girl Scout but never tasted their cookies.
  • Gluten-Free Chicago Potluck: I’m part of the Gluten-Free Chicago group on Gluten-Free Faces. I loved meeting other gluten-free people in Chicago and having a potluck with them!  There’s very few options for me at potlucks, so being able to taste everyone’s dishes was great!  It was such a fun day.
  • Oh Thank Heaven for 20-11: This was my first post of 2011 and where I announced a new feature on my blog, a gluten-free book club.  I love to read, and I read a lot of books on the celiac/gluten-free topic, everything from cookbooks to memoirs to educational pieces.  Since more and more people are being diagnosed with celiac or are going gluten-free, I thought it might be a great place to find the right book they are looking for.  Looking for facts?  Someone’s story to relate to?  Need a collection of great gluten-free recipes?  They’ll find it here, and I was so excited to start that new feature.

For more of NFCA’s Celiac Awareness Month celebration, visit

May 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm 1 comment

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