Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving if You’re Gluten Free

Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving if You’re Gluten Free

Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around food, which can be stressful for those of us with celiac disease. When I first got diagnosed with celiac and had to face my first holiday season being gluten free, I dreaded it… I’m talking major anxiety! What am I going to eat? What am I going to tell people? Am I going to be starving all night? I don’t want to be different, but I don’t want to get sick! This was the internal conversation I would have with myself. I would go, try to eat what I felt was safe and then play the waiting game… to see if I got sick. Now how is that fun? It’s not!

Fast forward 5 years and I now never have party anxiety because of celiac! I always plan ahead and follow these tips, so I never worry about getting sick and can just have fun!

Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving if You’re Gluten Free:

Host it: If you’re up for it, hosting Thanksgiving at your house is the only real way to 100% avoid cross-contamination since you control what food is coming in. You may think you’re not up for the challenge, but if you give it a try you may find out you love hosting holidays! I know it’s expensive to host Thanksgiving and provide all the food for your guests. I’ve done this before and since everyone in my life knows about my celiac, rather than them bringing a dish, they often offer to chip in financially for the meal. If someone insists on bringing something, I have them bring wine/soda/alcohol/etc or packaged desserts/ice cream!

Eat Ahead of Time: That’s right! I know it sounds crazy going to Thanksgiving dinner with a full stomach, but trust me you’ll thank me later! You never want to go to a party hungry just in case there are no safe gluten free options. The last thing you need is to be starving and feeling bad for yourself… or even worse…you don’t want to get tempted to try something!

Pack Your Own Meal: This is what I do 100% of the time if someone else hosts Thanksgiving. If you don’t think there are safe gluten free options for you, just pack your own meal!

Bring a Side Dish or Dessert for Everyone: Even if the host says you don’t need to bring anything, bring something! This way you know you can safely eat and I guarantee everyone will love that you did. I always bring a gluten free dessert to parties and I’ve never had a host be upset about it! Chances are people will be pleasantly surprised and say “wow this is gluten free?!”.

Avoid the Cutting Board: Don’t eat anything that has been cut on a wood cutting board, or even if it’s just being used for cheese and fruit. 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.

Be Aware of the Turkey: If your host stuffs the turkey with gluten-containing stuffing, then the turkey has been contaminated and there is a good chance you will get sick! I recommend you kindly ask your host ahead of time if they will be doing this and explain why you’re asking.

Pass on the Butter: Even if you know the butter is gluten free and you’re eating a gluten free dinner roll, chances are the butter at someone’s house (a non-gf kitchen) contains bread crumbs on it even if you can’t see any. Always ask for a new stick of butter.

Serve Yourself First: If they’re serving buffet style, always be in the front of the line. I know this sounds rude, but really who cares! It’s strategically planned so that you know your food is safe and doesn’t get cross-contaminated. You need to worry about not getting sick and this is important so that you can use clean serving utensils for gluten free items first and not have to worry about them being used on gluten items. You can always avoid the buffet line altogether and set aside a plate of food before everyone else touches it.

Don’t Make It a Big Deal: I’ve learned if you don’t make it a big deal, no one else will either. Chances are you’re way more uncomfortable with the precautions you need to take than those around you. Yes, you’ll get asked questions and although we want to spread celiac awareness, don’t dwell… let’s just briefly talk about it and then move on and have fun!

If you’re new to celiac this may seem overwhelming, but I promise if you get used to doing this on holidays it will become a way of life! Most importantly, you don’t want to get sick and ruin your holiday!

Oh, and if you’re looking for some last minute ideas on what to make for Thanksgiving, I’ve got you covered here!

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Deep River Snacks: Give a Chip

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Deep River Snacks. All opinions are 100% mine.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again…chips are my weakness! After getting diagnosed with celiac disease I was so excited to learn that I wouldn’t have to remove potatoes from my diet since they’re gluten-free, so that meant I could still snack on my favorite crunchy, salty treat! My excitement quickly faded away after I began diving deep into my gluten-free research… so many chips contained unhealthy additives, often with gluten!

Needless to say, I’m always on the hunt for a healthier version of chips without having to sacrifice flavor so I was thrilled to learn about Deep River Snacks chips! As someone with celiac disease, it means so much to me and the gluten-free community to not only see the words “gluten-free” on all of their bags but to see the “certified gluten-free” logo on every bag! This means not only do they use gluten-free ingredients in their chips, but they also go through rigorous testing to ensure no cross-contamination has occurred!

Deep River Snacks uses only real, simple ingredients.

Deep River Snacks are all:

  • Certified gluten-free,

  • Made with non-GMO ingredients

  • Cooked exclusively with sunflower oil

  • Made in a nut-free facility

  • Vegetarian (many are vegan!)

  • Kosher

  • *Soy-free (*except their Baked Crisps)

  • Cholesterol and trans-fat free!

Another reason I love snacking on Deep River Snacks is that their kettle chips come in so many unique flavors! My go-to flavor with chips is always Jalapeno, and let me tell you… their Zesty Jalapeno definitely exceeded my expectations! It has just enough kick to get my mouth watering! I admit it, I sampled many different flavors and enjoyed every minute of it!

 

I was a little skeptical at first to try the New York Spicy Dill Pickle flavor, but since I’m a big dill pickle lover I gave it a try. First bite in, I was sold and am a big fan! If pickles aren’t your thing, I say give it a try because the pickle flavor wasn’t overbearing and you could really taste the dill.

 The Kettle Chips Come in 13 Different Flavors to Choose From:

  • 50% Reduced Fat
  • Aged Cheddar Horseradish

  • Black Truffle

  • Mesquite BBQ

  • New York Spicy Dill Pickle

  • Ninja Ginger

  • Original Sea Salt

  • Rosemary & Olive Oil

  • Salt & Cracked Pepper

  • Sea Salt & Vinegar

  • Sour Cream & Onion Krinkle Cut

  • Sweet Maui Onion

  • Zesty Jalapeño

“Give a Chip”

Besides Deep River Snacks commitment to using only simple, non-GMO ingredients they also are a mission-driven brand that “Gives a Chip” about the quality of their product as well as uses their brand to give back to their community.

On the back of every bag, you will find a charity being featured. Each charity partner has personally affected and touched the lives of an employee and Deep River Snacks is committed to donating 10% of net profits to charity each year. They feel strongly about raising awareness for these causes, and their hope is that everyone eating a bag of chips will take a few moments to read about the charity.

Charity Partners:

  • American Liver Foundation

  • Caroline’s Miracle Foundation

  • Chris Klug Foundation

  • Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

  • Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

  • Curable

  • Feed The Children

  • PSC Partners

  • Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation

  • The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism

This is something that means a lot to me personally. Aside from blogging, I am also a Behavior Analyst specializing in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and have worked with hundreds of individuals and families impacted by ASD. Not every family has access to resources, so learning about The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and all they do is really incredible. This foundation, in particular, helps individuals with autism get access to services, lead more active lifestyles and grow towards adult independence.  

 

I’m proud to be partnering with Deep River Snacks since they “Give a Chip” about everything they do!

Want to try Deep River Snacks yourself? You can simply order them from Online (Amazon, Boxed.com) or in store – Find one near you and be sure to grab your coupon offer!

Now I want to hear from you! What do you “Give a Chip” about? 

Visit Sponsors Site

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Favorite Gluten Free Thanksgiving Products

Favorite Gluten Free Thanksgiving Products

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is a holiday centered around food! Rolls, pies, bread stuffing, gravy… ahh, it sounds like a celiac’s nightmare to me! Yes, most Thanksgiving meals are filled with gluten, but I have narrowed down my favorite gluten free products in order to modify your Thanksgiving favorites!

If you’re going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, then you need to read my Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving if You’re Gluten Free! If you’re hosting it, I say serve everyone a gluten free meal (that’s what we do and no one ever notices!).

My Favorite Gluten Free Thanksgiving Products:

1. Williams-Sonoma Gluten Free Stuffing:

Is it just me, or is everything better from Williams-Sonoma? This year the box says it comes from Mariposa Baking Co. which makes me even more excited because I’ve been to Mariposa Baking Co. in San Francisco and they’re a dedicated gluten free kitchen and SOO good! I can’t say I’ve tried this stuffing if it’s different than years past, but I have complete faith in Williams-Sonoma and Mariposa Baking Co.

2. Cup4Cup:

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, then you know Cup4Cup flour is my absolute favorite. This is something you will always find in my pantry and for Thanksgiving, it’s an absolute lifesaver! I make all my dessert with it, and it’s perfect to make gravy with too! I promise if you use this flour no one will know it’s gluten free!

3. Whole Foods Baked Pies:

If you follow me on Instagram then you may have seen I shared a pumpkin pie from Whole Foods on my Instastory a few weeks ago. You guys, it’s SO good! I found it in the refrigerator section and all you have to do is let it thaw out before serving. I also tried their apple pie and it too was delicious! If you’re not one to bake, then I highly recommend these pies! To top it off, they’re made in a dedicated gluten free facility!

4. Schar Rolls:

I personally am not one to serve dinner rolls on Thanksgiving because I think we have enough carbs in the meal… but I know rolls on a table are a staple in many houses. If you are a bread person, then I highly recommend Schar Ciabatta Rolls! The test is always what my gluten-eating family and friends think… and these always get two thumbs up!

5. Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Creamer:

Hello pumpkin spice! You can never have too much pumpkin on Thanksgiving and coffee creamer is no exception. I found this Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Creamer at Whole Foods and I’m obsessed. I love how this creamer is sSoy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, carrageenan-free, non-GMO, kosher, vegan and is flavored with real pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. If you live in Orange County, CA and try to find this just know there is a great chance they’re all in my fridge! HA

6. Brazi Bites:

Have you tried Brazi Bites? They’re frozen little balls that you pop in the oven and about 20 minutes later you have fluffy cheese puffs/balls. They are so light and fluffy with a cheesy center. They come in many flavors, but my favorite is the Garlic Asiago and this Thanksgiving I will making my Spanakopita Bites with them! I always find them at Costco, but you can find them at most grocery stores!

7. Gluten Free Alcohol Guide: 

MsModify Gluten Free Alcohol Guide Cover

Be sure before you head to your Thanksgiving dinner you know which alcohol options are gluten free and grab yourself a copy of my Gluten Free Alcohol Guide!

There you have it, some of my favorite gluten free Thanksgiving products that I will be using this holiday! What’s your go-to product for Thanksgiving?

 

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

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Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

These moist pumpkin muffins are grain-free, refined sugar-free, and dairy-free… making them the perfect healthy treat this fall!

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

‘Tis the season for pumpkin! I’ve learned that people feel very strongly about pumpkin… you either love it or hate it. I’m for sure a pumpkin-loving gal!

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

If you’re a lover like me, then you’re in luck today and I have a special treat for you! I’d like to introduce you to these cute little pumpkin muffins! Best part, they’re healthy! If you follow a gluten free or paleo diet, then these calling your name. If you’re not gluten free or paleo… I bet you’ll love them anyway!

Don’t expect dense muffins with these… they’re soft and moist. Think more of pumpkin pie meets muffin!

Paleo Pumpkin muffins

Ingredients:

(Makes 12 muffins)

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil (or ¼ cup melted grass-fed butter)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with liners.

In a  bowl, add almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. Stir so everything is combined.

In a separate bowl, add your canned pumpkin, melted coconut oil (or butter), eggs, vanilla, and honey. Stir until everything is evenly mixed together.

Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, mixing until smooth.

Spoon batter into muffin liners. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over each muffin.

Bake for  24-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let muffins cool for a few minutes before serving.

*Muffins are best when stored in the refrigerator after 24 hours. I also love freezing them!

Paleo Pumpkin Muffins

Enjoy!

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Where to Stay & Eat in Maui If You’re Gluten Free

This post is all about my recent family vacation to Maui, Hawaii! I’m sharing all the details on where we stayed and what we ate. As you know, traveling with celiac disease can be challenging… but totally doable! It’s all about planning and preparing ahead of time, and Maui is no different. I have to warn you I have lots of pictures, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

 

This trip was a family vacation that my mom had planned for a while for my parents, my brother/ his girlfriend and Erik and I. Unfortunately, at the last minute my brother and his girlfriend couldn’t come due to work obligations, but we (my parents. Erik and I) still went!

Before we even booked a hotel, I researched gluten free restaurants on the island and can you believe there is only ONE! Well, technically there are two dedicated gluten free facilities, but one is a bakery. Even though I heard from others that some places took gluten free serious, I really didn’t want to take a chance of getting sick (especially since I’ve been dealing with some health issues- I’ll share about this another time). So, that’s when we decided to stay somewhere with a kitchen. This is the first time I’ve traveled and had a full kitchen (besides when staying at someone’s house) and let me tell you… it was a lifesaver! A MUST!

Hotel

Honua Kai Resort and Spa

When I typically think of places with kitchens in Hawaii, I think of renting condos but Honua Kai is an actual resort with studios, 2 bedrooms, and 3 bedroom villas with full kitchens! I love how this hotel had the feel of a condo but all of the amenities of a resort. I highly recommend it!

We literally saw at least one rainbow a day!

The resort had direct beach access and also a boardwalk that went past other resorts. We would wake up each morning and go for a 2-mile walk down the beach (Ka’anapali)  in front of our hotel.

 

 

Our view one morning!

The kitchen in our room!

Food

Homecooked Meals

Right across the street from the airport there is a Costco, Target, and Walmart. As soon as we got our rental car we headed straight to Costco to stock up on food for the week. We also went to Walmart and bought a new (cheap) pan since I didn’t know if the resort had non-stick (and gluten stays on those) pans, spatula, and wooden spoons. All of that came out to less than $20 and really gave me peace of mind. There is also a grocery store right accross the street from Honua Kai Resort!

I did not use the toaster in the kitchen since I’m sure lots of gluten was in it! I also only used the wooden spoons and spatula we bought.

Here are a few things we made:

We ate breakfast and dinner in our room every day (besides two times) and we would pack lunch with us each day to take to the beach or pool.

Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

I heard so much about having to try Hawaiian shave ice before we went, so I researched if any were gluten free. All of Ululani’s fruit flavor syrups are gluten free… and made with 100% pure cane sugar and fruit juices.  It was SO good! We went multiple times while on our trip!

Maui Sugar Shop

Maui Sugar Shop is a really cute dedicated gluten free bakery right off the main street in Lahaina.

I got the veggie quiche and tested it with my Nima Sensor… and YES, it was gluten free!

The cinnamon roll passed the Nima test too!

Lemon bar with passion fruit glaze

Breakfast sandwich.

Overall, I enjoyed Maui Sugar Shop. The flavor and texture of everything was great, however, the portions were really small for the price. Erik and my dad both got the breakfast sandwich and they were still really hungry when we left. It was the size of a small muffin with probably one egg in it!

Maui Brick Oven

This is a place that many people recommended to me on social media when I asked about eating out in Maui. In fact, Maui Brick Oven was recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives!

Here Guy is on their wall!

We all ordered different things and I tried a little bit of everyone’s meal!

I love seeing those words!

Apparently they’re known for their pizza and yes, it was good!

Erik ordered the Chicken Breast stuffed with Mango & Goat Cheese and it was delicious! In my opion that was the best thing I tried!

I order the Chicken Parmesan and enjoyed it.

I tested my meal with the Nima and it passed! I took a small piece of chicken, cheese, and spaghetti and rubbed it all over my plate. I limit the amount of dairy I eat, so I took off all the cheese before I ate it (that’s why it’s not in the pic!).

My mom and Erik love cheesecake and our server recommended this raspberry cheesecake with a macadnia nut crust, so we had to try it! Since I don’t really eat much dairy I only took one bite but it was delicious!

We also ordered the Apple Pie filling topped with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce. Served with Homemade Shortbread Cookies. I didn’t eat the ice cream, but let me tell you… the rest was incredible!

Overall, we really enjoyed Maui Brick Oven. Our server was incredibly personable and knowledgeable, and the food was great! I know that everything in Hawaii tends to be on the pricer side, but in all honesty, it was pricey considering how casual it was. The price was more in line with a “fine dining” establishment.

Normally when I travel I have a certain level of anxiety since I eat out for most meals and no matter how much I plan ahead… eating out is always a risk when you have celiac. This trip was SO different since we had a kitchen and cooked/packed meals with us! I highly recommend if you’re in Maui you get a condo or hotel with a full kitchen!

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

Questions:

  • Have you been to Maui? What was your experience regarding food?
  • When you travel, do you try to stay somewhere with a kitchen?

 

 

 

 

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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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