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 – Mushroom Cap Pizza

Happy Friday Everyone!!

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I’m very happy to share this little Gluten Free meal we made a few weeks ago.  This whole thing came about after finding gluten free mini pepperoni by Hormel. Yay!  They are so cute!  Now it’s time to make mini pizzas with a twist….no crust.

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Don’t they look amazing??

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Ingredients:

  • Baby Bella mushrooms
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza toppings of your choice

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Directions:

  • Remove the stems from the mushrooms.  Feed them to your hungry kid.  Place the caps onto a cookie sheet, with the hole facing up.  I covered my sheet with foil, and gave it a shot with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Put a small dollop of pizza sauce into the mushroom cap.  Skylar asked for hers without sauce, and that worked well too.
  • Top with cheese and your choice of topping.
  • If you are like me and realize at this point that you thought you had Mozz cheese, but didn’t, you can always take string cheese (a staple in my house) and grate it. 

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  • Bake in a 400 degree oven until cheese is slightly browned.  Approx 10 mins.
  • Remove carefully, as the sauce is hot and can be runny.

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We ate ours as a meal, but these would make amazing appetizers too.

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I hope you enjoyed this twisted, gluten free, take on pizza!  I would love to know from all you other GFs out there, how have you gotten your pizza fix?  Do you have a crustless pizza?  Have you found the perfect GF crust recipe?  Please share!!

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Have a great day everyone!!

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Lizz

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Wanna pin this on your Pintrest page?? Well then, click this button ,baby!!  

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

Gluten Free Friday – GoPicnic

Welcome to Gluten Free Friday!!

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I have a really awesome product to share today, but let me backstory for a second…

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Did you read my post about the awesome Celiac Center Fundraiser at Wildfire?  No?  Well, check it out *here* if you missed it.  I’ll wait…….Okay, so one of the best parts from that night was chit chatting with the other folks at our table.  There was lots of tips being traded, and I did promise you that I would share them with you as I tried them out. So…

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One of the lovely ladies I met was Charlotte, who’s been writing a cute little blog called A Gluten Free Journey Through Motherhood/Wifedom.  One of her recommendations was a product called GoPicnic, that she discovered while on a layover in the airport.  She described it as a lunchable for grownups.  I was intrigued enough to look it up as soon as I got home.

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GoPicnic meals are literally a meal in a box.  And just as Charlotte described, they are very similar to lunchables, but with a few major differences.  First of all, they are a healthier, more natural meal choice.  I also noticed that they did not need to be refrigerated, a huge bonus in my eyes.  While not all of their meals are gluten free, they do have 6 GF options.  They also have vegan, vegetarian, and kosher meals.  Awesome!

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Now, it’s a little hard to see in those small pictures, but the top left-hand corner of the box is where you will find those all important words, “Gluten Free”, if that particular meal is as such. (or vegan, or kosher, ect.)

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After getting all excited over the possibility of a quick on-the-go meal for Skylar, I checked the store locator to see where I might find them.  To my surprise…Target!!  I thought for sure it was going to be a hard to find, but nope. 

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And check out that price tag!!  $3.99!!  My biggest complaint about GF foods is how expensive they can be, and these puppies aren’t much more than a regular lunchable.  I stocked up, and brought them home to show Skylar.  She was so excited, and we even used one to eat in the car on our way to the circus.  (To be honest, it wasn’t her favorite, but she did choose the hummus one first, which I think requires a bit of an adult palate.  I am very confident that she will like the other two, as they are things she eats on a regular basis).

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I have really missed the ability to just run over to the nearest fast food joint to grab a quick bite.  These things are great to keep in the car for emergencies, since they don’t require refrigeration.  (Although, this is Chicago, and our winter temps will keep anything frozen in a car!!)

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So, have any of you found a great on-the-go meal option yet?  Care to share?  Leave a comment and let us know what you’ve found.  Let the recommendations flow!!

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Have a great weekend everyone!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – Halloween Revisited

As I am currently in sunny Florida for a conference, and was unable to do a Muffin Tin Meal before I left, I thought it would be fun to show you our Halloween MTM from last  year.  This way, if you were looking for some fun ideas for this year’s tin, this might help!

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This was and still is one of my absolute favorite tins we have ever made. 

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Top Row (Left to Right): Forked Eyeballs, Noodle Brains, Worm Burgers

Bottom Row (Left to Right): Spider Web Soup, Mummy Pizza, Monster Mouth

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Eyeballs – coat doughnut holes with melted white chocolate.  Add a milk chocolate chip for the pupil.  When cooled and hardened, use a tube of red decorating gel to create the veins. 

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Brains – These are simply Ramen Noodles.  I never make them as soup.  I drain the water, leaving just enough to keep them moist, add a little butter and the flavor packet.

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Worm Burgers – These were very simple.  Nilla Cookies, dark chocolate frosting, and gummy worms. 

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Spiderweb soup – tomato soup, right out of the can.  The web is made with sour cream.  Put the cream into a ziplock bag, and snip a very small piece of the corner.  Using the bag like a piping bag, make a very small circle, another circle around that one, and a third around that.  It should look like a bullseye.  Hold a tooth pick in the center of the bullseye, and pull outwards through all 3 circles.  Do this all the way around.  The end result will be a perfect looking spider web.  This is much easier to do than to explain.

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Mummy Pizza – Take half of an english muffin, and cover with pizza sauce.  Place olive slices (with a bit of green pepper in the center), where you want your eyes.  Use a mozzarella cheese stick to create the bandages.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the cheese is nice and melty.  (Next time I would leave a little more space between the cheese strips in order to see the bandages better)

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Monster Mouth – This is an apple quarter with the center cut out for the mouth.  The teeth are almond slivers.  Very simple with a big result!

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Since I already posted this tin last year, I will not be officially submitting it to Muffin Tin Mom’s site.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t go check out all the awesome things going on over there anyways!

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Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

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Have a great week everyone!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – Finger Foods

For this week’s muffin tin, it felt like we really needed something simple and easy.  We decided to make a meal of all things you can eat with fingers or food picks.  It was fun to figure this one out.  Here’s what we came up with:

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Top Row (left to right): cucumbers with ranch, frozen black cherries, watermelon gummy rings

Bottom Row: GF barbeque almond nut thins, pepperoni and mozzerella picks, grapes

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Skylar ate every single bite!  Success!

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The crackers she had were new for us, and they were really tasty.  These almond nut thins come in a variety of flavors, and make a great crunchy snack for anyone who needs a GF treat.

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I hope you enjoyed this quick and easy tin.  To see some of the other great tins that were made 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 week everyone!

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Lizz

Apple Picking 2011

It’s official!  Fall is here!!

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And this year, we were determined to be on top of the apple picking.  We always seem to get there at the last minute, or even after the apples are already gone.  Not in 2011 my friends!!  We chose the first weekend of Fall to take care of business.

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We went back to an orchard we really enjoy called Woodstock Country Orchard.  We like this place very much because it’s simply an orchard.  It doesn’t have all the rides and games and petting zoos, ect.  Some of these other bigger places nickel and dime you to death.  They charge you to park, charge you to get in, charge you to ride said rides, charge you (a lot) to go apple picking… Sigh.  Pretty soon they are going to start charging for the bathrooms, and charging to leave.  Woodstock Country Orchard has free parking, and reasonable upick prices.  Plus donuts and locally made honey.  Love it!

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So, here’s a ton of pictures showing some of the things we did that day:

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We were surprised that they had raspberry picking, but took advantage and picked us some fine red berries!

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There were lots of bees milling around the raspberry bushes, but we also found some other friends.  Can you see him?

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Some of us got to sit back, munch, and take a ride…

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…while some of us did all the work!

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These kids were picking apples faster than we could get them into the bags!

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“Skylar, point at that apple again.  Don’t make it look obvious that I asked you to do it again.  Uh, okay, good job.”

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The best apples are at the top of the trees.  I recommend shoving a small child up there in order to reach them.

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We found lots of lovely (empty) nests.

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She had such a good time!

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My favorite shot of the day.

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After apple picking we found this random upick vegetable farm.  Check out all those peppers!

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I’m not sure I’ve ever held an eggplant before, let alone picked one off the vine.

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This was an amazing score!!  This whole basket cost a whopping …(brace yourselves)… $9!!!!

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These guys were so proud of all the hard work they did.

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Such a fun day.  I highly recommend doing any sort of upick adventure you can find.  Not only is it a ton of fun, you come home with so much fresh food and a new appreciation for how it gets to your plate.

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Have a great day everyone!!

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Lizz

Muffin Tin Monday – Pretty Flowers

Happy Muffin Tin Monday!!

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After a crazy Saturday of Apple/Raspberry/Pepper picking, Skylar and I were determined to have a quiet easy Sunday.  We even wanted a quick and easy muffin tin meal.  We opted to go without a specific theme, but we used our silicone flower cups on a plate to change things up a bit.  So here is one of the fastest muffin (non-)tin meals I have ever made:

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Clockwise (starting at bottom left): Carrots, Cracker Jacks, Pistachios, GF Pretzel Sticks, Raspberries (freshly pick by us!)

Center: Buttered GF Penne Noodles

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There is really no explanations needed for this tin, but there are 2 gluten-related things I want to say: 

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First, I know there is some controversy over caramel, and is it gluten free or not.  Here’s my reasoning:  I read though the ingredients, no wheat.  Cracker Jacks (like many companies now) give allergen information (Including if it’s processed in a facility with allergens), and it doesn’t mention containing wheat either.  I even checked the website (*here) and they say no gluten ingredients.  So my vote is that it’s okay.

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The other thing I wanted to share is that we have finally stumbled upon a really good tasting GF pasta!  That penne we used for this meal was from Schar.  It was, to date, the best tasting GF pasta we have tried.  It tasted exactly like regular pasta!  We had gotten a sample when we got our gift basket from the University of Chicago (If you missed that post, *click here* for information on that amazing program).  I’m so happy we finally tried it!  We recently tried a Schar product that we didn’t care for, so I’m learning that not all products within a company’s GF line are created equal.

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Make sure you check out the other amazing muffin tin meals over at 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