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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Living Without's Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest - Indianapolis

This weekend I'm heading back home to my beloved Hoosier state for Living Without magazine's Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest

I will be sampling yummy gluten-free goods, chatting with vendors and networking with some of my favorite people amongst the gluten-free community.

This Sat. and Sun. from 10am - 4pm, come on out to the Indiana State Fairgrounds - Exposition Hall for some gluten-free FUN!

5 REASONS TO ATTEND THE GFFAFest in INDY:
  1. Sample gluten-free products from over 80 exhibitors - from Udi's, Glutino, Enjoy Life, Pamela's Products, just to name a few!
  2. Check out the list of Presenters! From Physicians to Chefs, these presenters have lots of information to share with you about living gluten-free!
  3. Location. Indianapolis is a wonderful place to visit! Check out the Indianapolis Zoo, the Children's museum, awesome Downtown or biking on the Monon Trail.
  4. Awesome Restaurants with gluten-free menus!
  5. Lastly, and most importantly, I'll be there! ;)

Make sure to check out this great article - "Visit Indianapolis!" - for gluten-free friendly restaurants, places to visit and more - it's a great resource for this weekend when you come to the GFFAFest!

Well, off to get my ducks in row and get packing for the weekend! I'm bummed I'll miss Jack's first baseball game of the season, but I promised him, I would make up for it, by bringing home LOTS of gluten-free goodies for him to enjoy.

Purchase Tickets HERE

Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest
AUGUST 23rd & 24th - 10:00am - 4:00pm
Indiana State Fairgrounds

Monday, August 4, 2014

JACK'S BIRTHDAY & BACK-TO-SCHOOL GIVEAWAY!

Jack's 7 years old - WOOHOO! On August 1st, our family was blessed with this sweet boy! Born at 6:20am, weighing in at 7lbs 3oz, this sweet boy has brought our family so much joy.

With celebrating Jack's birthday this past Friday and starting school today, you know I just had to have a GIVEAWAY!


Originally, it was just a Back-To-School giveaway, but I had to throw in something special for Jack's birthday - so I'm giving away 5 CUPCAKE 2-GO(s)!! These are perfect when bringing a gluten-free cupcake to a party or school.


2 WINNERS will each receive a Cupcake 2-GO Container. 


3 WINNERS will each receive the following prize pack below: the Cupcake 2-GO container, Chex's NEW Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Sistema snack/lunch container, Ian's Chocolate Chip Cookie Buttons and Lucy's Chocolate Cookies.





















Alright my friends, you know the drill! REMEMBER, 5 WINNERS will be randomly chosen! 

THIS GIVEAWAY ENDS: SUNDAY, August 10th @10:00pm. Winners will be announced on Monday, August 11th.

GOOD LUCK!

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Dear Teacher, My Son Has Celiac Disease...

(UPDATED July 28th) - Since writing this post, I have researched the 504 plan. I feel instead of just writing a letter (which I will still include the letter below in is 504 packet), it is in Jack's best interest to create a 504 plan. Find out more HERE about the 504 plan. Every child is different, every teacher and school is different. It's really what you feel most comfortable with and what you feels needs to be put in place to ensure your child is safe from gluten. 

The most important responsibility for a parent when it comes to their child's well-being at school is COMMUNICATION. Especially when your child has a special need, like living a gluten-free lifestyle due to celiac disease.

Jack's entering 1st grade in just a couple of weeks and it's that time of year, where this momma gets everything gluten-free ready in preparation for a great school year.  Next week at school registration, we find out who Jack's teacher will be and from that point, I will make every effort to make sure his teacher understands his gluten-free lifestyle and the importance of avoiding gluten at all costs.

The letter below, is what I plan to email to Jack's teacher and school principal.  I will also give a
copy to his teacher in person and discuss it in further detail.


Dear Teacher,

This letter is to inform you that our son Jack has celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that when gluten is ingested, it wrecks havoc on his body. For the past 5 years, Jack has been living a gluten-free lifestyle. Gluten-free living for celiacs, is like insulin for diabetics. It’s what keeps Jack healthy.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten is found in a wide variety of foods - from cookies, breads, pastas, cereals, candy, snack foods and more. Because celiac disease is not an allergy, Jack WILL NOT be in immediate danger, BUT if he ingests gluten due to cross contamination or accidentally eats something that contains gluten, he will likely experience stomach discomfort/pain, as well as fatigue, diarrhea and headache.

With Jack only being 7 yrs. old, we are still learning the signs and symptoms of accidental gluten exposure. We just need to make sure that Jack avoids gluten at all costs.

With all that said, I want Jack to have a great school year and I have no doubt, you do as well. I want to just share a few things with you that will help you in the classroom and the information that you provide me, will help me prepare for upcoming school events:

  • First, Cross Contamination - From gluten crumbs, to art supplies/crafts, and Playdoh (which contains wheat) - it is important to be aware of Jack's surroundings and work surface. For Playdoh, I would like to provide some Crayola Model Magic which is gluten-free and some of his own tools/cutters to keep separate from the others. With cross contamination, please be aware of wheat products in the classroom and I encourage a lot of hand washing! (Last year, Jack would come home from school with filthy hands).
  • Restroom Breaks - Jack needs to be excused to use the restroom on a “as needed” basis. Jack may have an urgency to go and when he says he needs to go, he needs to be excused...no holding it, when it comes to celiac disease. And sometimes, he may be in the restroom a little longer than most - that’s just how Jack’s system works.
  • Birthdays - Please let me know how you plan to celebrate birthdays - whether once a month or if children will be allowed to bring in cupcakes on their birthdays. This will allow me to prepare accordingly and have something for Jack on the days that special treats are brought in. If children are allowed to bring in treats on their actual birthday, could you please provide a list of birthdays for me?
  • Special celebrations - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, pizza parties, etc. - let’s make sure to communicate - I’ll always provide something for Jack. I also like to make gluten- free cookies and cupcakes for the whole class when it comes to celebrations.
  • Field Trips - Please provide information in advance of any field trips: What activities will be taking place (crafts, etc.) and if special treats will be had, so I can provide something gluten-free if needed.

Lastly, if you ever have any questions about Jack’s diet or have a question about eating a certain food, please don’t hesitate to call me. (Provide Phone Number)

If you would like to know more about Jack’s story and celiac disease, please visit


Thank you so much for working with me to make Jack’s school year gluten-free friendly! 

Sincerely, 

Jack’s Mom

This letter is just a start, to open up the lines of communication.  I will be involved as much as possible in the classroom and party planning.  I may take on the task of "Room Mom", which would give me a heads up on upcoming parties and school activities - but we shall see! I don't want to commit to the task just yet.

Here's to a great GLUTEN-FREE school year!



Monday, July 21, 2014

Gluten-Free Biscuits & Homemade Sausage Gravy Recipe

My friends, you can still enjoy biscuits and gravy! I've always enjoyed making homemade sausage gravy and popping open a can of Pillsbury biscuits, BUT, things have changed...FOR THE BETTER!

I have been able to adjust my homemade sausage gravy and biscuits to an awesome gluten-free recipe.

The only substitution for my sausage gravy is the thickening agent - Before, I used wheat flour, but now I use Pamela's All Purpose Artisan Flour. (Artisan is just a fancy name - it's really just an all purpose flour)

Let me share the recipe with you!


Step 1: 

Prepare gluten-free biscuits. 

I used Pamela's Biscuit and Scone Mix and followed the recipe for "Country Biscuits" on the package. You could also use her Pancake and Baking Mix and follow the recipe for "Drop Biscuits". Both biscuits have a different texture - so depending on what you prefer - try them both - they both taste delicious. Drop biscuits may be fluffier, while the country biscuits are more dense.



Step 2:  Start Sausage Gravy.

Ingredients:

1lb of sausage
1 half stick of butter (you can use less)
2 Tablespoons of GF Flour
2 1/4 Cups of Milk


Step 3: Brown Sausage.

I use a whole package of rolled sausage, which is 1 lb. I have always used Bob Evans Pork Sausage - we enjoy the flavor. You really gotta work the spatula to break it up in smaller pieces - we like it even smaller than pictured below.



Step 4: Add Half Stick of Butter (I know, just read more below)

After sausage is fully cooked, push to one side of pan and add butter. Yep, I'm like Paula Deen, but she probably would have used a full stick! ;) OPTIONAL: This sausage didn't have very much grease to add flour to, so I added some butter. I used what was left-over from making the biscuits - so there you have it! You don't need to use this much butter - you could definitely use less butter! But I have to say, the flavor was FABULOUS! 



Step 5: Add 2 Tablespoons of Gluten-Free Flour.

After butter melts, add 2 TBSP. of Pamela's Artisan Flour to the melted butter and stir. (This flour contains GUAR GUM, which is why I think, it makes it so much like how I used to make it with regular wheat flour). Continue stirring on medium to low heat - it will thicken quickly and you don't want lumps.



STEP 6: Add 2 1/4 Cups of Milk.

Immediately add 1 C. of Milk and continue stirring. As it thickens, continue to add Milk. NOTE: It depends on how much gravy you like to the amount of sausage. I like more gravy, so I probably would have done 2 1/2 cups. As you can see below, it thickens and becomes a lovely sausage gravy! Another NOTE: Do not Salt and Pepper until you taste gravy. I like salt, but as you know, sausage has a lot of sodium, so I didn't even need to salt or pepper this gravy.

Simmer on LOW heat.

Look how thick and delish it looks!! Ready to serve over biscuits!

Step 7:

DIG IN! Enjoy! The gravy is truly delicious and tastes just like I used to make it. Served with roasted red potatoes and cheesy scrambled eggs.










Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Gluten-Free Egg in a Hole - Share the Love

What a special way to start off your child's morning or your hunny's with a Heart-Shaped Egg in a Hole!  


Step 1: What you need - Gluten-Free Bread (We use Udi's), Egg and Heart Shaped cookie cutter.



Step 2: Cut shape out of bread.



Step 3: Fry up your egg - you can fry it (which we prefer), make it over-easy or sunny side up!


Step 4: Toast your heart piece in a toaster oven and add your child's favorite jam! I topped the heart egg with shredded cheese too.



ENJOY! :)



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Celebrating Gluten-Free Independence!

July 4th is full of gluten foods, but this 4th of July, I want to celebrate GLUTEN-FREE living and share my RED, WHITE & BLUE GIVEAWAY with YOU!

John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about this glorious day back in 1776 (Adams prediction was off by a couple of days):

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

Now, I love John Adams' ideas, but where's the "delicious food" part?? ;)

Don't worry John, I got you covered! To help celebrate this 4th of July, I would love for you to have a chance to enjoy some goodies from Pamela's Products on me! You know, her products are my FAV!

I enjoy having giveaways, especially when I have more than 1 winner! I would send ALL of goodies if I could, but I can't afford the shipping. :( So in turn, I have giveaways to make it fair and use random.org to pick the winners. So in other words, a giveaway is my way of saying "Thank you for tuning in, to Raising Jack and here's a little something I think you would enjoy."

SO, ON TO THE GIVEAWAY!!

3 WINNERS will receive (2) packages from Pamela's Products!




2 Winners will receive:

(1) Dark Chocolate Frosting Mix

(1) Classic Vanilla Cake Mix


1 Winner will receive:

(1) Strawberry Figgies & Jammies

(1) Blueberry Figgies & Jammies






Wait...with it being the 4th of July, it makes sense to have   4 WINNERS, right? 

So, I'm going to include Pamela's Biscuit and Scone Mix along with an individual Pancake and Baking Mix

You can make my Patriotic Strawberry Shortcake with this biscuit mix!

There you have it! To Enter the Giveaway, simply click on the Rafflecopter buttons below! Good Luck!

Before I sign off, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and/or friends! Be safe, eat lots of yummy gluten free foods and enjoy you Independence Day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Freedom Foods is Coming to a Store Near You!

Just in time for Independence Day, Freedom Foods has landed in the United States! Based in Australia, Freedom Foods is bringing their tasty gluten free foods here to the states. I've had an opportunity to sample their cereals on a few different occasions at gluten free expos and I'm happy   to report they have landed in a store here in Tennessee.

Returning from a visit to Indiana, I went grocery shopping this past Sunday and was delighted to find Freedom Foods products in the gluten free section at my local Kroger grocery store.

I've sampled their cereals - Maple CrunchtropicO's and PRO-TEEN

Maple Crunch: Tastes maple-y and may remind you of eating some gluten-free pancakes.

tropicO's: Maybe their most popular among the kiddos - these taste like Fruit Loops.

PRO-TEEN: Made from Chickpeas!! These provide protein and your kiddos would never know they were actually healthy for them. ;)

The also have oats, pancake mixes and Smudge Cocoa spread - which sounds DIVINE! I haven't tried any of these, but looking forward to doing so.

So keep an eye for these products, I think you'll be pleased with their cereals and having a new option for your gluten-free kiddo & you too!

If you have any questions and would like to see if Freedom Foods are available in a store near you, contact: customerservice@freedomfoodsus.com