Teal Pumpkin Project

Teal Pumpkin Project

‘Tis the season for trick-or-treating! How are we already approaching Halloween?! I typically don’t repeat blog posts, but I feel strongly that you all should know about the Teal Pumpkin Project, and for everyone new to my blog I feel like I owe it to you! If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw I posted this picture a few week ago. Micheals stores officially have teal pumpkins in stock!

If you’re unsure about the Teal Pumpkin Project, then you’re probably confused on why they’re selling blue pumpkins! Don’t worry I’m going to break it all down for you!

What is the Teal Pumpkin Project?

In 2014 the Teal Pumpkin Project became a national movement after Food Allergy Research & Education expanded the idea that was started by a mom in Tennessee. The teal pumpkin outside a house represents a sign to trick-or-treaters that there is a non-food treat available at that house.

Why is this important?

According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), it’s estimated that 1 in every 13 children (under the age of 18) has a food allergy. That’s about 2 in every classroom!

Not only are food allergies and conditions like celiac disease a very serious medical issue, but they can also impact a child’s social and emotional development when they feel they’re left out due to their allergies/illness.

Every child deserves to experience the fun of trick-or-treating on Halloween and not feel excluded due to their dietary restrictions. The Teal Pumpkin Projects asks for participants to offer a non-food treat.

What can I pass out on Halloween?

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project, you can simply go to the dollar store, dollar section of Target or even a party supply store that sells little prizes in bulk.

Some ideas include:

  • pencils, erasers, crayons
  • bracelets, necklaces, glow sticks
  • hair clips or accessories
  • bubbles
  • slinkies
  • kazoos or other noisemakers
  • bouncy balls
  • yo-yos
  • spider rings
  • vampire fangs
  • stickers
  • pencil toppers
  • mini coloring books
  • rubber stamps
  • mini army men

*Be careful with Play-Doh as it contains wheat 

*I found bulk prizes here! 100 items included for under $20!

So I can’t pass out candy?

You absolutely can still pass out candy, but make sure you do it safely! What do I mean by safely? Keep your candy in one bowl and your non-food treats in a separate bowl. The purpose of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to make trick-or-treating as inclusive as possible, so we want everyone to have fun together!

When trick-or-treaters come to the door, you can either ask who has food allergies or tell them to pick from either bowl (this way they don’t feel like they stand out). Most kids with food allergies are very aware of them and will know to select the non-food option or many times parents will be with them to make sure.

How can I participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project?

  1. Mark your house as an allergy-friendly spot for trick-or-treaters by either placing a teal pumpkin outside (you can paint a pumpkin teal or I just saw plastic teal pumpkins at Michaels Craft Stores!) OR you can simply download a free printable sign to place outside your house. I also found this cute garden flag to place in your front yard!
  2. Buy non-edible treats (along with candy treats if you’d like).
  3. Have fun passing treats out!

To learn more, check out the Teal Pumpkin Project website! 

 

*MsModify is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

 

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Delicious Living Magazine Feature

Happy Thursday friends! I hope you’re all having a fantastic week so far! My week has been busy busy busy! For those of you who don’t know, I teach online grad school courses, which takes up a lot of my time but, is also a flexible job so I can put time into my passion… MsModify!

Talk about a crazy week… Monday we had a big fire in my city (thanks to the Santa Ana winds here in Southern CA), so we evacuated our apartment and headed to my parents’ house. That night I had to submit all my grades from the last term, so I was up late trying to get those done. Luckily our area was safe and we were able to go home Tuesday, but many in our city lost their homes, so I’ve had a heavy heart all week.

Yesterday, my new session started for classes, so I’m trying to get ahead on what I can because this weekend we’re heading to Hawaii!! This is a much-needed vacation after a hectic week!

Something else happened that is very exciting and I have to share with you! My recipe is featured on the cover of Delicious Living Magazine! 

The editor emailed me a while ago saying my recipe was going to be featured in the magazine, but I had no clue it was going to be on the cover!! Needless to say, I’m pretty darn excited!

My gluten-free cinnamon roll bread is one of my favorite things I’ve created and I’m really proud of it! I think it’s fair to say those of us with celiac miss bread most! I don’t know about you, but I miss Cinnabon too (even though I rarely ate it- a case of I want what I can’t have!). When coming up with this recipe I wanted to recreate a cinnamon roll into light, fluffy bread… and I think I did it!

A little fun fact- this recipe is my most re-pinned recipe on Pinterest!

I know I’ve said this before, but when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I had a really hard time coming to grips with my life changing forever. I was in denial at first, then sad, then angry… then finally I decided I would take control of my life and not let celiac define who I am. That is when and how I created MsModify…just modifying all of my favorite things to fit with my new gluten free life! MsModify and the celiac community has been such a blessing to me, so THANK YOU for being a part of my journey!!

 

 

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Cauliflower Rice “Tabbouleh”

This Cauliflower Rice “Tabbouleh” is a gluten free version of a classic favorite salad! All the same bold flavors, without any grains, makes this a healthy vegetarian lunch or side dish!

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh

Before getting diagnosed with celiac disease, tabbouleh salad used to be a favorite of mine. Since traditional tabbouleh is made with bulgur (wheat), it is no longer an option for me.

I then decided to modify tabbouleh salad using quinoa and it was delicious! However, recently after trying Whole30 and realizing I don’t tolerate quinoa very well, I’ve been eliminating it from my diet. Oh great, one more thing to not eat!! I didn’t let this stop me, I just decided to use riced cauliflower in place of the quinoa/tabbouleh… and you know what?! I don’t miss the grains at all!

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh

The first time I made this with cauliflower, I didn’t tell Erik what it was and just put it on his plate… and he didn’t even notice the difference until after I told him!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz riced cauliflower or 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juice of
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

If using a head of cauliflower, add florets to food processor and pulse until it looks like rice. You may have to do this in a few batches depending on the size of your food processor. Make sure you pulse and not puree.  

Heat skillet over medium heat and drizzle a little olive oil, add riced cauliflower and saute for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow cauliflower to cool completely.

Once cooled, place cauliflower in large a bowl and add your chopped vegetables and parsley. Mix until everything is evenly combined.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over “tabbouleh” and stir to coat.

Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking, you can also add more lemon juice if needed.

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh

Enjoy!

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Gluten Free Restaurants in New York City

Gluten Free Restaurants in New York City

Planning ahead is key if you’re gluten free. Everything from grocery shopping and having to read labels, attending parties, buying cosmetics and especially traveling! Unfortunately, those of us with celiac disease can’t just pick up and be spontaneous, however that doesn’t mean we have to miss out!

Traveling when you’re gluten free can be stressful since you want to make sure you have places to eat, yet not get sick! If you research ahead of time and feel confident in your decisions, that will really allow you to enjoy your trip and not feel anxious.

Before we even booked our hotel in New York City I researched gluten free restaurant options since I knew we wouldn’t have a car and didn’t want to have to walk 5 miles to go eat or spend a bunch of money on Uber! I used my favorite “GF Restaurant Finding” App and set the filter to “dedicated facilities” since I didn’t want to take a chance getting sick! To my surprise, there are SO many dedicated GF options in NYC!

Once I read reviews and looked at menus I narrowed down a few that I was interested in. From there, I mapped out how far each one was to different things we planned on seeing. This really helped when we were there so we didn’t have to plan our day around food (which unfortunately happens often when you’re GF and traveling!).

Here are my picks for some of the best places to eat at in New York City if you’re gluten free:

Every place I’m recommending here is a dedicated gluten free facility! 

The Little Beet: 

This is a great place to grab a quick bite. You go up and choose your base for your bowl (salad, gf grain, or rice), then your protein, veggies, sauce, and garnish.

There were so many options that I asked the guy taking my order for his suggestions. I just told him I wanted salad and no legumes, and then let him surprise me!

I’m not exactly sure what sauce it was, but it was delicious! Since we were in NYC for my sister-in-law’s wedding, I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat the food at the wedding, so I planned ahead… I packed a lunch box and Tupperware. We went back to The Little Beet (they have many throughout the city) the morning of the wedding and asked them to pack everything separately and then transferred it into Tupperware (so it wouldn’t get soggy). It worked out perfectly!

Gohan:

This is a cute, little Japanese restaurant that was packed! The entire time we were there, there was never an open seat and people kept coming!

The owner was so sweet and brought us into the back to see the kitchen, which was a cool experience! I asked her what she recommended we try and she suggested a few sushi rolls and the chicken vegetable curry.

 

Before I ate anything, I decided to test the chicken vegetable curry dish with my Nima Sensor. And guess what…

My Nima found gluten in the dish!! Ugh… this is not what I was expecting or wanting to see. I called the owner over and explained to her what I found. She didn’t know about the Nima Sensor, so I was happy to explain it to her. She was extremely concerned and apologetic since they pride themselves on being a gluten free kitchen. After testing everything separately, we determined it was either the rice or beans (I tested them together). So needless to say, I didn’t eat the sushi either.

She then brought out a veggie side dish and chicken dish (made separately), so I tested them each. Yay! The veggies came out gluten free! When I tested the chicken it came back with an error message. Ugh… I must have put too much in since I was so eager to eat! I was pretty darn hungry at that point and didn’t have another test capsule on me so we asked them to pack it up and I took it to the hotel to test. It came back gluten free (sorry I was too hungry to take a pic!) and it was delicious!

Just last week, once I was back home, I received an email from the owner saying that she followed up with all of their suppliers and it turns out the beans that come from Japan, come from a facility that also has wheat in it. She apologized again and thanked me for bringing this to her attention.

This just goes to show, just because it’s a gluten free kitchen doesn’t necessarily guarantee it to be 100% gluten free. I would absolutely go back to Gohan now that they’re aware of cross-contamination in facilities. I want to give a big thank you to them for caring so much and following up!

Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery: 

Hello gluten free baked goods! Tu- Lu’s is a small dedicated gluten free bakery in a cute neighboorhood.

You know you’re in good hands when you see this poster on the wall! I spoke to the staff and they were extremely knowledgeable about food allergies, cross-contamination and specific ingredients used.

My first donut in years and let me tell you… it did not disappoint!! 🙂

We tried donuts, brownies, cookies and coffee cake…everything was incredible! Erik loves taste-testing with me! Ha

Wild: 

The West Village was one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city, so I was excited to try Wild there!

The weather was perfect, so we sat outside on the patio.

Yay! I love seeing “100% Gluten Free”!

Our server recommended I try their berry sangria and I’m SO glad I did!

We started with the Avocado Salad and I’m sad to report… my Nima Sensor detected gluten! After I re-tested everything separately, it turns out the corn was the item with gluten! I was in a little shock, so I honestly forgot to take a picture with the Nima in it. The staff here was so wonderful too! Erik ate it and loved it!

Then we got our BBQ Chicken Pizza and…. yay!! Gluten Free!

Erik caught me mid-bite with a pic! Needless to say… I killed the pizza! 🙂

Senza Gluten: 

I’d like to introduce you to the king of all gluten free restaurants in NYC… Senza Gluten!

Senza Gluten is an Italian restaurant that’s 100% gluten free and is very well known! When I asked everyone on Instagram for suggestions on where to eat in NYC, this was hands down the most recommended place.

*We sat outside and it was dark, so I apolgize that my pics aren’t the best!

We started with a basket of bread and the Caprese Salad. Yum!

Since I’m typically unable to eat at Italian restaurants, we decided we would split everything we ordered! For our entree, we had the Lasagna and Penne Al Pomodoro. I’m still dreaming of that Lasagna!! SO GOOD!

You don’t go to a gluten free Italian restaurant where Tiramisu is on the menu and not order it… so we did!… of course we had to order 2 things, so we also got the  Biscotti e Cioccolato.

Our server had to take the plates away before we licked them!

Seed + Mill: 

We happened to just stumble upon Seed + Mill when we were in Chelsea Market.

We tried the coffee and chocolate/orange halva. I have to be honest, it’s different than I was expecting but still really good! I couldn’t eat a big piece, but it’s a great treat to split with someone. I didn’t even know what halva was, so the sweet girl at the counter explained to me that they make their halva by mixing tahini (sesame butter) with sugar at a high temperature and then hand stirring through our individual flavors.

Hu Kitchen:

Hu Kitchen was my favorite place in NYC to grab a quick bite.

 

No: gluten, soy, canola oil, refined sugars, preservatives, cane sugar or “natural” emulsifiers… yes, please! When you walk in and see this, you know they mean business!

I ordered a bowl with their root vegetable mash topped with “Hu Joe (100% grass-fed ground beef) with tomato, carrot, garlic, onion, paprika, chili flakes. It also came with a piece of grain-free bread. This was delicious! I’ll be honest, when I got home I tried to recreate this bowl!

“Hu” stands for “Food for Humans” and is a high quality/low-processed real food casual kitchen and market. If you’re paleo, this is a must go!!

One last thing about my trip…

This guy! My sweet hubby, Erik, is the best travel partner ever! Traveling with someone that’s gluten free isn’t always easy, but he truly makes me feel better about it. In this pic, it was late… we took a red-eye flight the night before, walked around the city all day, finally got to dinner and he patiently waited for me to test everything with my Nima Sensor… when it came back as “gluten detected” he was very concerned, waited to test new items before he would eat anything because he didn’t want me there sitting watching him eat. I know I’ve said it before, but he lives the celiac life with me (even though he doesn’t have it)! If you’re new to my blog, you should read the interview I did with him about being married to someone with celiac. He’s a keeper! 🙂

Be sure to get a copy of my detailed Gluten Free Travel Guide where I provide you:

  • Basic Travel Tips
  • Road Trip Tips
  • How to Stay at Someone’s House
  • Airport and Airline Travel Tips
  • How to take a Cruise

Gluten Free Travel Guide

 

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Review: The Nima Sensor

A small portable device that tests for the presence of gluten in food…Is this a dream come true?!

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Nima gave me the sensor to try and review. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Those of us living with celiac disease have to follow a strict gluten free diet and are unfortunately often at the mercy of others when it comes to our health. The only way to know for certain that what we’re eating is gluten free is to stick to a whole foods (fresh veggies, fresh fruit, meat, etc) diet and to prepare it ourself in a kitchen free of gluten.

In theory, this is great, but the reality is this scenario is unrealistic. Any time someone with celiac disease eats at a restaurant or packaged food, there is always a chance of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can occur where the food is manufactured, packaged or prepared…so it’s really easy to happen!  Everyone is different, but for me personally, my body is so sensitive that the slightest trace of gluten will make me sick!

I’ve dreamed about the day where I could have peace of mind knowing if my food has been contaminated by gluten, and it’s finally happened! I’d like to introduce you to the  Nima Sensor, a small portable device that tests for gluten in products.

Here’s how it works…

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

The Nima Sensor is a portable device that tests for the presence of gluten in food.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Along with the actual Nima Sensor, each time you test something you need a one-time use capsule to put your food sample in.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Nima Sensor-Gluten Detecting Device

Once you put your pea-sized sample of food into the capsule, you screw the lid on until you feel it pop and cannot see the green line.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Then you place the capsule into the sensor and click it into place. Once you turn on your Nima, you will click the button again to begin the test.

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Next, the motor in the Nima will mix the solution in the capsule with your food sample. It uses an antibody designed to attach to the gluten protein, which will trigger a reaction on a test strip within the capsule.  While this is all happening, you will see a flashing sun symbol and hear the Nima really doing some work! After about 2-3 minutes, you will either see a happy face (gluten free) or a wheat symbol (gluten detected).

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

Here you can see the Nima detected gluten! *It clearly displayed the wheat symbol, it just didn’t show up fully in my picture. 

 

Nima Sensor- Gluten Detecting Device

The Nima has an app which you should download beforehand and then when you test your product, sync the sensor to your phone. Once the results are in you will get a notification on your app and can then log your results and build a catalog for yourself!

The Nima is tuned to detect at 20 ppm (The FDA requires that any product labeled “gluten-free” contain a maximum gluten content of 20 ppm). However, according to their website, “Based on internal testing, Nima has detected gluten at levels as low as 5 ppm. If Nima detects gluten at any level, the “Gluten Found” message will appear on the device.”

After researching the Nima and testing it out myself, a big concern I had was that if you’re only testing a pea-sized sample of food, then it’s not testing your entire plate. This is something that bothers me particularly when I eat at restaurants since we all know that cross-contamination can easily occur anywhere on your plate.

Their website provides tips and tricks for this issue such as:

  • Wipe your sample piece all over your plate, touching all the food.
  • Take a sample from the edge of cut marks (ex: from a sandwich or pizza) because cross-contamination can occur from the knife/pizza cutter.
  • If your food has grill marks on it, take a sample from that section to test if cross-contamination occurred on the grill.

They have many other tips that I found helpful!

My final thoughts are that the Nima Sensor is a great tool to help me make informed decisions as to what I eat, however, I still am and will always be aware of what and where I’m eating in order to stay healthy. If I’m uncomfortable in a situation and feel my food was not prepared correctly, even if the Nima says it’s “gluten free,” I still will not eat it because I follow my intuition. Everyone needs to do what’s best for their own body and situation, so I’m thrilled to have the Nima help empower us as we make those personal decisions!

Make sure when you order your Nima Sensor enter the discount code: MSMODIFY for $15 off your starter kit!


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Gluten Free Hot Dog & Sausage List

gluten free hot dog and sausage list

Are hot dogs gluten free? This is a question I get asked a lot… probably one of the most in regards to specific product lists.

Unfortunately, sometimes wheat is an ingredient you will see on the back of a hotdog or sausage package. This is why reading labels is so important!

With this being Labor Day weekend, I imagine the grills will be fired up and hot dogs or sausages are in your future! I’ve put together a list of large brands that offer gluten free hot dogs. As always, if you have celiac disease, please read labels first and if you’re unsure call the manufacturer.

Aidells: “Aidells products with gluten are Teriyaki Meatballs and Sweet and Sour Meatballs. All other products are gluten free.”

Applegate Naturals: Hormel, the parent company states, “Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs.”

  • Beef Hot Dog
  • Beer Bratwurst
  • Bun Length Beef Hot Dog
  • Chicken & Cheddar Sausage
  • Gluten Free Beef Corn Dogs
  • Jalapeño & Cheddar Sausage
  • Peach Jerk Sausage
  • Stadium Beef & Pork Hot Dog
  • Turkey Hot Dog
  • Andouille Sausage
  • Chicken & Apple Sausage
  • Fire Roasted Red Pepper Sausage
  • Spinach & Feta Sausage
  • Sweet Italian Sausage
  • The Great Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dog™ brand
  • The Great Organic Uncured Chicken Hot Dog™ brand
  • The Great Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dog™ brand

Bar S: “Most Bar-S products are gluten free with the exception of Bar-S corn dogs. Corn Dog products contain wheat flour.”

Boar’s Head: “All Boar’s Head Brand Meats, Cheeses and Condiments, as well as Hans Jurgen Pickles are Gluten Free.”

Dietz & Watson: All their hot dogs are gluten free and are certified gluten-free by the Celiac Sprue Association.

Hebrew National: “Our foods labeled as ‘gluten-free’ undergo rigorous ingredient and preparation review, along with testing to validate that claim. We start by reviewing the label and our recipe to determine which ones should not contain gluten and then talk to our ingredient suppliers. Next, we review our preparation and cleaning steps. Finally, we test the food to make sure it contains less than 20 ppm (parts per million) gluten.”

Hormel Natural Choice: “Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs.”

  • Apple Gouda
  • Jalapeño Cheddar
  • Spinach Asiago
  • Sriracha chicken

Jennie-O:  Hormel, the parent company states, “Although our products are labeled in compliance with government regulations, it is always necessary to read the labels on the products to determine if the food product meets your required needs.”

  • All Natural Turkey Sausage
  • Lean Turkey Bratwurst
  • Turkey Sausage (Lean Hot Italian, Lean Sweet Italian, Hot All Natural)

Nathan’s Famous: “All of the hot dogs sold in supermarkets and club stores are gluten free. They are clearly marked as such on the nutritional panel.”

Oscar Mayer: “Kraft Foods products are labeled with very specific ingredient information to help you make accurate and informed choices. If a Kraft Foods product has an ingredient that is a source of gluten, the specific grain will be listed in the ingredient statement, even when present in small amounts.

**This list is for the US. If you’re in another country, please contact the manufacturer first.

I hope you all enjoy your 3 day weekend and have a wonderful Labor Day!

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

This healthy sweet potato breakfast bowl is simple to make, perfect for those following Whole30 or are paleo, and is sure to hold you over since it’s packed with protein!

sweet potato breakfast bowl

Breakfast is the meal I have the hardest time with. I never know what to make and it’s challenging coming up with new ideas that meet my dietary restrictions. I try to avoid sugary cereals, limit my grains and I’m one of those with celiac disease that can’t tolerate oats… so needless to say my options are limited!

A few months ago I did Whole30 and was researching breakfast ideas, and sweet potato bowls kept popping up, so I thought I’d give it a try! What’s so great about sweet potato bowls is that you can modify them by adding in your favorite things! 

sweet potato breakfast bowl

Since getting diagnosed with celiac and often struggling to keep my vitamin levels up, I always say when it comes to food I try to get the “most bang for my buck”. What I mean by this is, I try to make sure each meal is filled with nutrients and try to avoid empty calories. This sweet potato breakfast bowl definitely is packed with lots of nutrients!

You can either bake a bunch of sweet potatoes ahead of time and store them in the fridge or cook them each day you make this. Eat this hot or cold… it’s delicious both ways!

Ingredients:

(Serves 1)

  • 1 small sweet potato, pre-baked
  • 1 small banana, cut into slices
  • ¼ cup of blueberries
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • Cinnamon
  • Almond butter
  • Chia seeds

Instructions:

Scoop sweet potato out of skin and mash in a bowl.

Sprinkle some cinnamon in and stir until evenly mixed with the mashed sweet potato.

Layer banana slices, berries, scoop desired amount of almond butter, top with more cinnamon and sprinkle in chia seeds.

*You can substitute with any type of berries or your other favorite fruit!

Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

Enjoy!

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Round-Up: Gluten Free & Paleo Lunch Ideas

Gluten Paleo Lunch Ideas

Happy Friday! I hope you all are having a great week! My hubby has been traveling for work ALL week, so I can’t wait for him to come home today!

I’ve decided I officially love routines. Actually, I’m pretty sure I knew this… but this week it was confirmed when Erik was out of town and I didn’t do what I normally do. Our life is pretty boring during the week, but I love it! When I’m done working I cook dinner every night and as soon as Erik comes home we eat and then go for a long walk. We live in a hilly neighborhood so it’s good exercise and quality time together to share about our day without our phones, tv, computers or other distractions. I actually look forward to our walks every day…so needless to say I missed them (and him!) this week!

Since I’m a rigid, I mean routine person I love to plan ahead. I’ve shared with you before that my meal prep game is pretty strong if I do say so (I’ve shared some on Instagram), but some weeks unfortunately I don’t have time to meal prep so I have to make lunches the night before or each morning (and by making lunches I mean for Erik and I)!

I’ve searched Pinterest for some new inspiration for lunch ideas. Many of these can be planned ahead of time so you don’t need to rush in the morning, and they’re great for adults to take to work or kiddos to school.

Some of these are paleo, and all are gluten free!

Italian Sub Roll-Ups (Grain Free) via Our Paleo Life

 

Apple and Peanut Butter “Sandwiches” via Bless This Mess 

Spinach and Bacon Mini Quiches (Grain Free) via MOMables

Mason Jar Healthy Taco Salad (Paleo) via Food Faith Fitness 

Paleo Steak Salad with Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette via Paleo Newbie

Banana chips and dark chocolate chips, string cheese, grapes, turkey roll ups, almonds via Celebrating Sweets

Hummus Vegetable Wrap via Emilie Eats

Thai Chopped Chicken Mason Jar Salad with Chili Vinaigrette via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen 

BLT Summer Roll Recipe with Avocado via Avocado Pesto 

I hope you found these healthy, simple meal ideas inspirational for when you’re packing lunches for work or school!

Question:

  • What’s your go-to lunch that you pack most often?

 

 

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20 Places Gluten Hides in your Kitchen

20 Places Gluten Hides in your Kitchen

If you’re newly diagnosed with celiac disease, then I’m sure you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much your life is changing! I don’t mean to throw a wrench into things, but I believe strongly that knowledge is power… so the sooner you’re aware of certain things, the quicker you will feel better and take control of your health again!

Cross-contamination is something I’m so passionate about (I know I say that often!) because unfortunately no one told me about it (yes, not even my doctors or nutritionist) and I learned the hard way.

I went over a year thinking I was working so hard to be gluten free, yet still sick and couldn’t figure out why… which was beyond frustrating! As soon as I learned about cross-contamination I was able to make big adjustments and regain control of my health (and life)!

When we think of cross-contamination most of us think about eating at restaurants or at other people’s houses… yes, this is true… but let’s start a little closer to home… YOUR kitchen!

20 Places Gluten Hides in your Kitchen:

Wood Cutting Boards: The reason for this is because wood is porous, so no matter how much they’ve been scrubbed small amounts of gluten can stay in them.

Butter: Even if you know the butter is gluten free and you’re eating gluten free bread, chances are the butter contains bread crumbs on it (if there is a gluten eater in your house) even if you can’t see any.

Toaster: All the breadcrumbs from gluten containing products will get you sick, even if you try to scrub it clean. Make sure you have a separate toaster deducted to gluten free items only.

Plastic Utensils and Silicone Spatulas: Gluten can stay in the handle or in small scratches on the surface, which can’t be removed.

Non-Stick Pans: These items get scratched easily, therefore they harbor gluten. No matter how much you clean them, you run the risk of getting cross-contaminated.

Colander: The little holes in colanders are hard to fully clean and can hold traces of gluten. So if you’ve ever used your colander for pasta that wasn’t gf, then cross-contamination can occur.

Wooden Spoons: The wooden spoons are porous; therefore gluten can remain inside them.

Oven: If you have a self-cleaning oven, use that. If not, then make sure you really clean and scrub all surfaces really well. Don’t forget to really scrub the racks and the drawer under the oven that harbors crumbs.

Microwave: I learned this one the hard way. I got very sick one time by using the microwave without a lid on my food after gluten was in it. If I go to someone’s house I bring the lid or heat my food with the Tupperware lid on it. In your own kitchen, be sure to clean your microwave very well, especially the vent inside. I recommend using a plate spatter cover when microwaving your food.

Jars of Condiments: Just like your butter, your condiments most likely have cross-contamination if you have gluten in your kitchen. I highly recommend getting your own dedicated gf condiments and label the jars so everyone knows not to use them on gluten-containing items. I also love squeezable condiments because then you don’t have to worry about a knife with bread crumbs going into the jar (just be sure whoever is using it doesn’t touch the tip onto their food).

Rolling Pins: If your rolling pin is made from wood and has ever been used on flour, then it most likely is harboring gluten. Remember… anything wood is porous and gluten stays in it!

Non-Stick Baking Pans: Just like your non-stick pans, I’m sorry to tell you that these probably contain gluten on them if they’ve ever been used for non-gf baking. Non-stick products scratch easily and gluten sticks to them. 

 

Silicone Baking Pans and Muffin Tins: These are similar to your non-stick baking pans, where gluten can stay in small scratches, which can’t be removed.

Sponges: Soap doesn’t remove gluten. If you clean a dish that has gluten it’s only seeping into the sponge and will contaminate other dishes. If you must share a kitchen that contains gluten, always have a separate sponge for washing gluten free dishes.

Sifter: You shouldn’t reuse a sifter that’s been used with gluten-containing flour, even if you wash it you won’t be able to remove all the gluten molecules from it.

Plastic Bowls and Tupperware: This concept is the same as plastic utensils, gluten can stay in small scratches on the surface, which can’t be removed.

Cast Iron Pans: Iron is porous, so it will hold onto gluten as do other porous items. If you don’t want to get a new pan, I recommend you run it in a cleaning cycle in a self-cleaning oven (it gets around 900 degrees fahrenheit) and then re-season it.

Pizza Stone: Since they’re porous, they will hold in gluten molecules that you can’t clean out.

Airborne Proteins: I unfortunately learned this one the hard way too after baking with my grandma using wheat flour (even though I didn’t eat it)! Flour can stay airborne for several afters after use (this is also why I avoid bakeries or pizza places that make things from scratch with wheat flour). If you inhale the flour, you most likely will get sick.  For this reason I say don’t let anyone bake in your kitchen with wheat flour. If you must, avoid the kitchen for several hours and make sure all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned.

Tiny Crumbs: You can get cross-contaminated by the smallest crumb, so if there is gluten in your kitchen be sure surfaces are always cleaned and drawers are shut. If a drawer is slightly opened while someone is wiping down the counter, crumbs can fall into and onto utensils (or whatever is in the drawer).

Wow! Now that seems overwhelming… doesn’t it?! A rule of thumb to remember is… anything porous or that has been scratched has the opportunity for cross-contamination. I recommend using stainless steel and glass products in the kitchen as much as possible. I promise it’s not as complicated and hard as it sounds. It’s only hard at first when you’re trying to identify where gluten can be. Once you get new items that are strictly for gluten free food, then it becomes second nature!

If you’re new to a gluten free lifestyle and feel overwhelmed or are just realizing you may be experiencing cross-contamination, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for help! Comment below or email me and I’d be happy to help you with your gf journey!

Other posts that relate to this one you may find helpful:

How to Stock a Gluten Free Kitchen

Gluten & Cross-Contamination

How to Make your Kitchen Gluten Free

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here

 

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Weekend Recap!

Happy Monday! I haven’t done a weekend recap in a while, so I thought it would be fun to do it today! I meant to get this posted earlier, but the online class I’m teaching right now ends this week so I’ve been swamped grading papers!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of these pics already.

Friday I spent the day with my sweet friend Taryn and celebrated her 30th birthday! (This pic is form my instastory, so don’t mind my decorations!) We got our nails done, went to lunch and then stopped by Whole Foods for some dessert! She is so supportive of my celiac and made sure we went to places I could eat it. 🙂

We have been friends since we were 12 years old, so we literally experienced the ups and downs of our teen years and 20s together… can’t wait to see what our 30s bring us!

Although I’m trying to limit my grains and sugar intake, I believe in treating yourself from time to time… so I absolutely did not feel guilty about eating a cupcake (okay maybe I had two!).

Thank you Whole Foods for the great gluten free cupcakes that are made in a dedicated gf facility! You can find them in  the refrigerator display with other desserts (make sure you get the gf ones because they have other non-gf desserts next to it).

I’ve been trying to drink more Kombucha since it’s good for gut health and I’ve been hearing a lot about this new flavor… I personally was not a fan.

We spent Saturday with my family and had lunch. If you’re in Southern California, you HAVE to go to Roger’s Garden. It’s technically a nursery, but it’s so much more! They have little stores in it and a restaurant called Farmhouse Cafe.

I packed a lunch with me incase I was uncomfortable eating there. I figured there was a chance I could eat since it was a farm to table type of restaurant, but when we got there it was so crowded and after speaking with our server I decided to eat the lunch I packed.

They didn’t have a gluten free menu, and although she said they could make anything gf, she also said they use the same prep/grill.

It’s the cutest restaurant! My dream would be to have my yard look like Roger’s Garden.

Spending the day with my favorite people!

Sunday was also a family day! It has been a year since my yia yia passed away, so my mom’s side of the family all got together to celebrate her. (Can you tell we’re proud to be Greek?! Ha)

Such a great day honoring such an important person in our life. If you’re new to my blog, you should read the post I did about reliving my wedding day with my yia yia. 

Cousins! With life being so busy and we live all over southern ca, it’s so great catching up! (Ps: The shirt I was wearing is on sale now!)

I had a great weekend with family and now am ready to take on the week! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be attached to my computer grading papers all week! 🙂

 

 

 

 

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