Happy National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!!

September 13th is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!!

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I am so glad that more and more information about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance is getting out there, because (LISTEN UP PEOPLE!!) this is more common than you think. While it may seem like eating gluten free is a fad (okay, admittedly in some cases it is), there are so many people out there that are in for a lifetime of GF living. If a fad means that more and more companies are opening their eyes and making products that are safe for my family, then I say bring it on!!

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Crazy right? Most people who have Celiac don’t even know they have it. There are hundreds of symptoms, and it’s not always the obvious cause for someone’s issues. That’s why awareness is so important, because one quick little blood test might change someone’s whole quality of life.

So, what is one to do on this day of awareness? Well….

  • You could brush up on your current events. Did you know the FDA just passed a ruling regarding Gluten-Free labeling? I found a webinar happening on the 18th that will go over all the details. Check it out *HERE*
  • If you don’t have Celiac, but know someone who does, maybe today is a good day for a big hug. We Celiacs deal with a lot on a daily basis, but love and kindness is always gluten free. =)
  • You can dole out some information about non-food gluten issues (which I will now do). Many people don’t realize that Celiacs have to be careful about gluten in medications, toothpaste, and even make-up! Thankfully there are places out there trying to take care of us in this area too, like Red Apple Lipstick (my new fav makeup company). I had the privilege of meeting them at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, and not only are their products AMAZING, (and they got me to wear lipstick. RED lipstick) they are basically the sweetest people ever. Check out all the really interesting information on their page. Even if you are not GF you will probably never buy regular makeup again after reading what’s in it. You can thank me later.
  • You can share your favorite GF food with people who have never tried it before. I will be bringing in a treat for my staff, who always complain that I talk about the GF foods I make, but never bring anything in. Well, perhaps they will like this…….

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Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting!!!

I found this recipe on Betty Crocker’s website (This could also be a good thing check out today…Betty has a massive list of amazing GF recipes). I’ve made these cupcakes a few times with great response from everyone that eats them, and I found that The only deviation i make from the recipe is that i use a box and a half of the cake mix. I was immediately draw to this, because we love brown butter around here. If you don’t know how to make brown butter, *this recipe* describes how to do it.

So tell me friends…..What are you going to do for National Celiac Awareness Month?

Lizz

Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, Chicago 2013

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Hello again Friends!!

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I am so excited to announce that I have been given the opportunity to be an Official GFAF Expo Blogger!!  The Gluten & Allergen Free Expo will be in the Chicagoland area on April 20th & 21st at the Schaumburg Renaissance Convention Center. I attended this Expo last year, and I have never seen anything like it.  So many amazing vendors, so many amazing products, and so many amazing people sharing in their gluten free-ness.

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As many of you know, my kiddo was diagnosed with Celiac just under 2 years ago, so we are pretty well versed in the gluten free lifestyle.  As luck genetics would have it, I myself have just recently received my own Celiac diagnosis.  So my return to blogging is kick-started a combination of my need/desire to learn how to go GF as an adult and an amazing expo filled with answers.

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I think I am most excited to check out some of the classes being offered this year.  There are some really great topics this year, ranging from eating out safely to cooking for teens to autism and ADHD.  For a full schedule of classes at this year’s Expo, CLICK HERE.

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So….Who’s with me?  GFAF Expo or BUST!!!

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I missed you all, so happy to see you again…

Lizz

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P.S.  Be sure to check back here after the Expo for a special Gluten Free Friday with my review of the weekend.

Gluten Free Friday – Rock Candy

Happy Friday Everyone!!

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Just because you have to eat Gluten Free does not mean you can’t have a sweet treat now and again.  Rock candy certainly fits the bill!  Skylar and I decided to make our own one day, and we had a great time watching our efforts grow into a yummy crystal candy.  This project requires some advanced planning, as the candy will take about a week to grow.  Check it out…

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(Remember, if you children are helping here, make sure they are aware that this is very very hot, and to be careful not to splash when mixing)

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You will need to start by making a sugar solution.  Boil half a pot of water and slowly mix in sugar until it is fully saturated and the sugar will not dissolve.  You will have a clear liquid that is the consistency of thin syrup. (Beware:  This is going to use a lot of sugar {shutter})

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Drop a few drips of food coloring into a glass jar, then pour the sugar solution into it.  Be VERY careful!!  I used a funnel to make sure I didn’t accidentally pour hot sugar all over the place.

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Then, we dipped bamboo skewers (with the sharp tip cut off) into the liquid, and rolled it in granulated sugar.  This is important as it will get the rock candy started.  Gently place the skewer into the liquid.  Be careful not to shake it too much, or the sugar will fall off the stick.   Then we used large clips to keep the stick set up.  Make sure the stick is not near the bottom of the jar (give it about inch or two), or it will eventually become attached when the crystals start growing, and you will not be able to get it out.

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Set the jar aside and wait.  For about a week.

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Day 1

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Day 3

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Day 7

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Finally ready!  Use a knife to help break up the layer of crystal that has formed at the top of the jar.  Be very careful not to hit the stick, or you will break up the rock candy.  If everything goes as planned, you will be able to pull the stick out easily.  About half of mine were stuck to the bottom, and I couldn’t remove them without breaking them.  Glad we made so many!!)

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Set them aside to dry a bit.  Then they can either be eaten right away, or wrapped up for gifts.

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We had a lot of fun making these, and watching them grow.  They were pretty darn tasty too!

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Hope you all have a great weekend!

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Lizz

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Would you like to pin this on Pintrest? Click here:

St Patty’s Revisit

Since we did so many St Patty’s Day projects last year (and I couldn’t finish my project for today’s post!), I thought I would show you some of those projects again. If you are looking for a fun last minute project, we have lots for you to try!

(just click the photo to see the original post with instructions)

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Make your own St Patrick’s Day shirt using freezer paper

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Make a leprechaun sundae

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Make a leprechaun trap

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Enjoy a St Patrick’s Day muffin tin meal

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I hope you found something you might want to try!

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Make sure to come back tomorrow for a special St Patrick’s Day themed Gluten Free Friday!

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Have a great day everyone!

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Lizz

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For you Pintrest fans out there, if you are loving what you see, click the link below to pin your favorite project(s):

 
Make a Shamrock t-shirt

 Leprechaun Sundae

 Leprechaun Trap

 St Patrick’s Day Muffin Tin Meal

Rainbow Fruit Skewers

This past weekend, Skylar and I were invited to a St Patrick’s Day party.  We love a good themed party, and we were really excited to join in the festivites.  When I asked what dish I could bring, I was given instructions to bring whatever.  Oh, the possibilites are endless!

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I knew there would be a lot of kids at this party, so I opted to make something on the healthy (and gluten free) side that everyone would enjoy.  And, of course, it must have a St Patty’s theme!  Enter Rainbow Fruit Skewers…

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Don’t those just make you feel like there’s a pot of gold somewhere close?!

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After choosing our fruits of many colors, I cut them into similarly sized pieces, then laid everything out for a bit so it wasn’t super super moist.

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I put them onto the skewers, and Voila!  A beautiful rainbow of a healthy treat!

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Stay tuned for more St Patty’s Day fun!!  If you want to see the fun things we came up with last year for this jolly green holiday, Click Herefor all of our St Patty’s Day posts.

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Have a great day everyone!

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Lizz

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If you would like to add this post to your Pintrest page, Click here to Pin It

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes – Improv Cooking Challenge

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a recipe with you that I made for the Improve Cooking Challenge!  Every month, two ingredients are chosen and all of the participating bloggers create a new recipe that includes the two chosen ingredients.  Then we all post our recipes at the exact same time.  So Fun!

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The ingredients for our November Improv Cooking Challenge were….

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Pumpkin and Cream Cheese!!!

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And…My chosen recipe is Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes!! (Gluten free for us, of course!)

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Super easy.  Super Yummy.  This dense pumpkin flavored cupcake with whipped cream cheese frosting was a delicious instant hit.  For the cupcakes, I used an awesome recipe that includes just 3 ingredients.

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Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix, 18.5 ounces (in our case, the gluten free cake mix only had 15 ounces, so one and a half boxes was required)
  • 1 can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup of sugar (optional)

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Directions:

Mix everything together until well incorporated.  You will not need to add anything else that the box mix asks for (eggs, oil, ect.), but getting this well mixed may take a little muscle.

Line a muffin tin tray with cupcake liners.  Fill each cup almost full.  I find that these cupcakes do not rise much, like regular cupcakes, so you can fill each cup a little more than normal.  (I’m not sure if that’s a gluten free thing, or a pumpkin thing)

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Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Set aside to cool completely.

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Once cooled, it’s time to make the awesome Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting.  I didn’t take any process photos, but it’s really easy.  I slightly modified a recipe I found at Not so Humble Pie.  It was being used to top cinnamon rolls (Yum!), and sounded like a perfect light and fluffy way to top these cupcakes.

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Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 16oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2  teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream

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Directions:

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  In a separate bowl, make whipped cream (my first time ever!).  Simply whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks are formed.  Then scoop the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.  Quickly beat to combine, but don’t overdo it.

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I used a ziplock bag with the tip cut off to pipe some frosting on top of our cooled cupcakes.  A little orange sugar sprinkled on top, and check out the fabulousness….

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And of course, the ultimate test of a good gluten free recipe…Did Skylar like it?

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“It was great.  Then excellent, and very very very good”

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I will take that glowing review!

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I would like to extend a huge thank you to Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for hosting this Improv Cooking Challenge!

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Improv Challenge

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If everything goes as planned, you should be seeing all of the other recipes from this month’s cooking challenge below. (If you are reading this in an email, you will need to click *here* to see this page online)  Please feel free to click on any of the links and check out some of the other amazing recipes.

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Thanks for stopping by!

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Lizz

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Wanna Pin this on Pintrest? Just click here:Pin It

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It seems that my blog doesn’t want to work properly with the party link, so in order to see the other fantastic recipes for this month, just click on the cute frog face below.

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Gluten Free Friday – Apple Cobbler Surprise

Welcome to Gluten Free Friday!!

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After our little apple picking adventure, I realized that we have a lot of apples now.  And one can only eat so many apples.  Time to get cooking.

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I called up my baking guru, Mara, and asked her to share with me her recipe for cobbler topping.  We had made this together once, and it was really good.  And easy.  My favorite combo.

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She calls this topping Cup Cup Stick:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of butter

Mix until crumbly

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See? I told you it was easy!!

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Now it’s time to create some cobbler!

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First, gather stuff.  You will need your Cup Cup Stick ingredients, and in our case, that meant grabbing some gluten free flour.  I decided to give Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix a shot here.  I’ve already made awesome pancakes, so it seems like a good choice for a pre-mixed GF flour.  You will also need whatever you want to go on the inside.  I needed apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, and raspberries.

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First I peeled and chopped up the apples.  I mixed half with a brown sugar/cinnamon mix.  There’s no special measurements here.  Just go until it tastes good to you.

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I decided to use a large cup muffin tin (does it look familiar?  See I do use it to cook too!) so I could create 2 different kinds of individual cobblers.

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Since I knew this would be cooking for a long time, I re-thought putting those raspberries in right away, and removed them for the first bout of cooking time.

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I put those into the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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in the meantime, I put together the Cup Cup Stick

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After the half hour was done, I added the raspberries back in, and covered each section with the crumbled topping.  Back into the oven for another half an hour.

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So, at this point you may be wondering what exactly is the “surprise” part of this recipe.  Here it is…

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SURPRISE!!!  It’s a disaster!!

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Just when the kitchen was starting to smell good, and I could hear some sizzling, I thought I would check on my creation.  What I found was a far cry from the lovely crumbly browned cobbler I was seeing in my head.  And that sizzling sound was coming from the bottom of my oven, which was now burning, smoking, and stinky.

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Cobbler Fail.

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So why would I show this to you?  Why would I dedicate a Gluten Free Friday to a mess of a dessert?  Well, there are 2 reasons.

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First…I have read in so many place that gluten free baking is very difficult.  I jumped into this dish thinking I was going to figure it out, no problem.  What I have failed to understand is that GF flour is not wheat flour.  It doesn’t act the same.  There has to be some trial and error.  I have made several batches of cookies that have bombed worse than this dish, and I get upset every time.  I’m finally realizing that I need to learn how to bake gluten free, and remember that it’s a whole different ball game.  I hope that by showing you my ah ha moment, you will not be hard on yourself if you come across the same problems.  But I hope you don’t =)

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The second reason for showing you this is that even though it looked all crazy and messy, this dessert tasted pretty darn good.  I’m not entirely sure what happened with my (non-)crumble, but it turned into something that tasted almost like caramel.  So even though it wasn’t really cobbler…or pretty…

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…when everyone says they love it, and gobble down their share, I call that a modified win!

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I guess when life throws you a destroyed cobbler, you should make a caramely/apple-cinnamony/raspberry-y treat!

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Have a great weekend everyone!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – Dessert Dip

Skylar and I had the pleasure of a day without a plan this weekend.  We decided that we would watch a movie that I used to love as a kid (Does anyone remember Bugsy Malone? Gangster movie with all kid actors from the 70’s…Scott Baio, Jodie Foster…splurge guns that shoot cream…)

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Since we were doing a movie afternoon, we thought it would be fun to try a different kind of muffin tin.  Instead of a regular meal we opted for a dessert tin!

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I had seen another muffin tin that was made to be like a fondue and I’ve wanted to try it ever since (If it was you, please tell me, I can’t remember what site I saw this on!).  Skylar’s eating restrictions made this is little difficult, plus she refused to have strawberries, a natural choice for chocolate dipping.  I don’t get it, but okay.  So here’s what we came up with…

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Top row (left to right): Gluten Free Shortbread cookies and pretzels, chocolate sauce, cherries

Bottom Row: Apple slices, butterscotch sauce, bananas

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Skylar and I had a great afternoon sharing a dippy muffin tin, snuggling up, and watching all those kids get hit with cream pies.

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To see all the other cute muffin tin meals created this week, go over to Muffin Tin Mom’s Site.

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 Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Have a great week everyone!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – Backyard Fun

Happy Labor Day Everyone!  I hope you are all enjoying a day off from work.  I know we are!

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Skylar and I were talking about how we live in an apartment, which means that we don’t have our own backyard.  We talked about the sort of things you might find in your own backyard, and decided this would make a fun MTM theme.  Here’s what we made:

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Top Row (left to right): Babybel Ladybug, Butterscotch Pudding Flower, (GF) Butterfly Toast

Bottom Row: Salted Cucumber Grass, String Cheese Stem with Apple Leaf, Apple Sandwich Tire Swing

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We have made the ladybug before, but it was fun enough to do again.  I just cut out the shapes, and used a food safe marker for the black dots.

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The apple sandwich was new for us.  I sliced an apple horizontally and used a circle cutter to remove the core.  The I added peanut butter and a few chocolate chips.

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This whole meal was a huge hit.  Skylar ate almost every bite!

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If you would like to see what the other amazing moms created for MTM this week, check out Muffin Tin Mom’s site.

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Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Have a great Labor Day!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – We’re Back!

Oh, Muffin Tin Monday!  How we have missed you!

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For those of you that are re-joining us, and wondering just where we have been all this time, allow me to fill you in…My little muffin tin eater was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in June, and can longer eat gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley).  This has seriously changed our eating habits around here, so we took the summer to get used to all of this.

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Skylar asked if we could do muffin tins again, and I think we are ready to give it a shot.  We didn’t go with a theme for this one, but just went with a few things we have been eating lately.  Some are new things and some are old favorites, but they are all tasty!

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And so I give you our very first gluten free muffin tin!

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Top Row (Left to Right):  Edamame Hummus with Edamame Crackers, Sandwich Kebobs, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip with Chocolate Animal Crackers

Bottom Row: Salted Cucumbers, Sandwich Kebobs, Apple Slices

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Are asking yourself “What is Edamame?”  Well, it’s our favorite veggie here!  Basically, it’s soy beans.  We buy ours in the frozen veggie section at our favorite store, Traders Joe’s.  This hummus, and the crackers, were also found at Trader Joe’s.  So yummy! 

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The chocolate chip cookie dough dip was a really fun treat.  It doesn’t have any eggs in it, so it’s safe to eat as is.  If you want the recipe, we posted it *here* as part of our Gluten Free Friday segment.  The cookies are gluten free animal crackers, made by Ian’s (a great company that makes tons of kid-friendly GF foods)

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Okay, sandwich kebobs.  I thought these turned out adorable!  For those of you who are paying attention, you might be saying, wait…she can’t eat bread!  Oh, but she can eat GF bread.  This week, we used Udi’s…

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For GF bread, it’s quite good, and Skylar loves it.  She had so much fun eating all of her sandwich bits off off the skewer.  I used a cookie cutter to make round bread pieces, and stacked those with rolled up ham, rolled up lettuce, and sting cheese.

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So, what do you think of our first GF Muffin Tin?

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We will, of course be posting this to Muffin Tin Mom’s site.

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Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Have a great week everyone!

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Lizz