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Thursday, March 31, 2011
Long-Overdue FDA Labeling Regulations Could be the Icing on World’s Largest Gluten-Free Cake
1in133.org - Support Gluten-Free Food Labeling
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 29, 2011 – Prominent members of the burgeoning gluten-free community announced today a collaborative “1in133” event on May 4 to bake the world’s largest gluten-free cake as part of an effort to draw attention to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) delay in finalizing standards for gluten-free food labeling. The name is derived from the fact that one in every 133 people in the U.S. suffers from celiac disease or a gluten intolerance issue.

To kick-off Celiac Awareness Month – globally recognized in May – the 1in133 event is being hosted at the Washington, D.C., Embassy Suites Convention Center on May 4 and will culminate with a V.I.P. reception for federal lawmakers, concerned members and friends of the gluten-free community and gluten-free food manufacturers. With pre-eminent guest speakers and information on a petition advocating for the FDA to take action on determining a gluten-free food-labeling standard, the 1in133 event will reinforce the need for such standards and pressure the FDA to take action.

“This is a very serious autoimmune disease,” cautions Dr. Alessio Fasano of The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research. “It deserves equally serious food labeling laws.”
Fasano, one of the world’s leading researchers in celiac disease and a leading proponent of a federally mandated gluten-free standard, will attend as the 1in133 event’s guest speaker.

Four years ago the FDA was tasked with developing and implementing such standards as part of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA). The delay in implementation and lack of labeling rules has left millions of Americans with celiac disease and gluten intolerance at risk of illness from contaminated food.

Currently, U.S. food manufacturers can claim “gluten-free” on product labels without appropriately informing consumers if a product is truly free of all potentially harmful ingredients. As a burgeoning market – $560 million in sales in 2004 and projected sales of approximately $2.6 billion in 2012 – gluten-free food products have brought many newcomers to the space claiming gluten-free status on their labels while not necessarily removing all potential allergens. Other manufacturers are reluctant to label their products “gluten-free” because there is no accepted standard. This disparate situation leaves consumers who eat gluten-free to guess which products are actually safe for consumption.

FALCPA was passed to protect food-allergic and celiac patients from having to decipher ingredient labels through sometimes-harmful trial and error efforts. The law, which requires the top eight allergens to be clearly listed on ingredient statements, did not require disclosure of barley or rye, the other grains that are toxic to those with celiac disease and other gluten sensitivities. The 2008 mandate for the FDA to develop and implement gluten-free food labeling requirements would fill that void.

The 1in133 event is the brainchild of Jules Shepard, noted gluten-free author, baking expert and celiac community advocate, and John Forberger, a winning gluten-free triathlete and active blogger. Event sponsors include Whole Foods Market, The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America and others. Event coordination is contributed by Aaron E Flores, Executive Chef, Embassy Suites D.C. Convention Center and Aleatra Jones, Executive Chef, “Eat What I Want Hospitality!”

For more information please visit http://www.1in133.org or contact info@1in133.org.


CONTACT:
Jules Shepard and John M. Forberger
Info@1in133.org

Interested in supporting the cause? Click here!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Celiac Kid
I recently was sent a copy of a new book called "The Celiac Kid" by Stephanie Skolmoski. This is a fully illustrated book explaining what it is like to be a kid with Celiac disease. It talks about what it is like to have friends who don't have celiac, what foods you can eat as a kid with celiac, and even gives a light scientific explanation of kids with celiac disease.

I think this would be an excellent book to bring to show-and-tell in the classroom of a child with celiac disease. It would not only educate the teacher, but also give your child's class a kid-level explanation of why your child can't eat what the other kids are eating.

Although I haven't shared this book with any kid yet, I plan on reading it to my gluten-intolerant nieces and passing it along to a mom of a celiac very soon.

To learn more about this book, please visit: www.celiackidbook.com




Update: The Celiac Kid is now available at a reduced price of $6.50 (regularly $7.95) on their website. They also offer discounts on large orders.

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Monday, March 28, 2011
Peanut Free Day with the Long Island Ducks
Although I can eat peanuts, I like to support allergen-free events such as this "Peanut Free Night with the Ducks." The Long Island Ducks are a minor league baseball team who play on Long Island, NY. Tickets are now on sale for the May 7th Peanut Free game. I hope next year the Long Island Ducks can host a gluten-free night, but in the meantime for only $9.00 you and your family can enjoy a peanut-free night. 

See flyer below for more information.



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Friday, March 25, 2011
Recipes of the Week: Chicken Saltimbocca and Roasted Veggie Risotto
Last week I missed my recipe of the week since I was busily planning my trip to Prague. I believe I more than made up for missing the posting by making two amazing dishes on Saturday night. Seriously, this could easily have been the best meal I have ever created. One of the reasons I think this dish turned out so deliciously was because of the fresh ingredients. Although I use fresh produce almost daily, most of my other ingredients tend to come pre-packaged. This includes meats, cheeses, and spices. Although I like to cook, I also like convenience and quick meal preparation; hence the pre-packaged groceries in my cabinets.

I figured that since I was trying out "fancy" recipes for a special dinner, I wanted to buy the best of the best. I had remembered reading about Sorriso Italian Salumeria years ago on a food blog about Astoria, NY... then I forgot about it. All I have to say is that I will never EVER forget this place again. This little slice of heaven is less than five blocks from my apartment and in the six years I have been living there, I have never been! What was I thinking?! From the hottt!! and helpful counter guy, to the amusing banter in both Italian and English, to the freshest mozzarella I have had since my trip to Italy I have seriously been missing out big time by not shopping here! The Sorriso cases were filled with amazing looking sausages, cheeses, prepared salads, and more. Although probably 50% of the case was gluten-filled foods (chicken parm, rice balls, etc.), the rest of the fresh meats and cheeses were all calling my name. I purchased mozzarella cheese and melt-in-your-mouth prosciutto for my recipes. I also picked up my first ever package of Aborio rice for risotto and I was ready to go.

I never made risotto so I was a bit intimidated by the recipe I chose. I actually got my recipe off the back of the Geisha brand gluten-free vegetable broth I picked up for a dollar a few weeks ago. I remember reading that you want to take your time with a risotto dish... this was not the 5-minute brown rice that I am used to. Patience isn't always my strong suit, but I wanted to prepare the dish correctly so I took my time. First, I roasted the veggies and then started the risotto about twenty minutes into the roasting. Timing is another thing I am not that great with when making big meals, but some how I managed to pull this off. I did have some liquid courage in the kitchen (ahem... wine) and a friend that was able to pull things off the burner when it was getting close to done and I wasn't paying attention.

Like I said, this dinner turned out wonderfully. Delicious flavors, perfect risotto, good wine, great company, and brownies with Nutella for dessert make for a vary successful Gluten-Free Fun recipe of the week.

Chicken Saltimbocca from Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 oz., lightly pounded to an even thickness
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup all-purpose flour***
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp. dried sage, plus 4 sage leaves for garnish (optional)
2 large slices prosciutto, not paper-thin, trimmed to fit chicken breasts
1/4 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced and trimmed to fit chicken breasts
3/4 cup dry white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Spread the flour on a plate and dredge each breast, coating evenly and shaking off the excess. Set aside.
  2. In a large fry pan or sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil until very hot. Add the chicken breasts and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over and continue to cook until they feel firm when pressed in the centers, 4 to 6 minutes more.
  3. Reduce the heat to very low. Sprinkle the breasts evenly with the chopped or dried sage. Top each breast with a piece of prosciutto, then divide the cheese slices evenly among the breasts. Cover the pan tightly and cook until the cheese is melted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil, being careful not to allow the foil to touch the cheese.
  4. Increase the heat to high. When the pan is sizzling, add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck on the pan bottom. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter.
  5. Spoon an equal amount of the sauce over each breast, then garnish with a sage leaf. Serve immediately.
Modifications:

Roasted Spring Vegetable Risotto (not the exact recipe I followed, but this is pretty close)

Ingredients:
1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 cups whole baby carrots cut in lengthwise quarters
6 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium assorted peppers (yellow, red, green), cut into 1-inch strips
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into diagonal slices
1 cup halved fresh medium mushrooms
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 1/2 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/3 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray 17x11-inch roasting pan with cooking spray.
  2. Mix asparagus, carrots, onions, peppers, squash, mushrooms, rosemary and 1/4 cup broth in prepared pan.
  3. Roast 20 minutes or until done, stirring once. Prepare risotto while the vegetables are roasting. 
  4. Heat oil in saucepot. Add rice. Cook and stir for 2 minutes Add 1/2 cup broth and cook until broth is absorbed. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until all broth is absorbed before adding more. (Total cooking time: 25 minutes)
  5. Add vegetables and cheese. Heat through. Serve immediately.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011
Joan's GF Great Bakes on TV
Joan and Ken Popkin, of Joan's Gluten-Free Great Bakes, were recently featured on a local Verizon Fios TV station, MyLITV.com. This is a fun glimpse into the heart and soul that goes into all of the gluten-free products from Joan and her team. I have known Joan and Ken almost since the launch of Joan's GF Great Bakes three years ago. They are a wonderful family-run business that makes some of the best gluten-free products around. Additionally, they have always been a wonderful supporter of the gluten-free community on Long Island, New York City, and beyond. Even if you aren't located in New York, you can enjoy Joan's GF Great Bakes through mail order and through her ever-expanding list of stores carrying her products.


Meet the Joan of Joan's GF Great Bakes and her son Ken!




Joan's GF Great Bakes Makes Pizza




Thanks Joan's GF Great Bakes. You know I am one of your biggest fans!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Czech Out Gluten-Free Fun
You may or may not have noticed that last Friday I missed my first recipe of the week since the beginning of 2011. I am disappointed that I missed my weekly recipe posting, but I will make it up by posting two recipes this Friday. Last week I was not only busy, but majorly distracted.

Dear readers, I am excited to announce that I am going to the Czech Republic three weeks from today!

I love to travel and when I get the urge to go somewhere it is just a flurry of fast and furious planning to get out of New York City as fast as possible. I'm not sure why I plan my vacations this way, but I have been doing this for the past 6 years. My best trips have been my solo trips that I plan in less than a month. This month, the travel bug buzzed in my ear again and I was ready to pack up and take another vacation as soon as possible. Then last week, I took the plunge and booked my tickets to Prague.

I have always heard wonderful things about Prague and had two friends that have lived there at some point during their lives who continue to rave about the magical city even many years later. I started researching Prague and the Czech Republic in the beginning of March. I got every guide book I could get my hands on out of the library and started casting a really wide net over the Internet looking for resources. I am always determined to get all the information I can before traveling somewhere new, especially as someone on a gluten-free diet. So I spent the first two weeks of March researching this dream destination and then two interesting things happened to me.

At a book launch party for Allergic Girl here in NYC, I met a girl who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease right in the middle of a round-the-world trip. First of all, I always admire people that take this enormous plunge to travel THE ENTIRE WORLD. (Side note: next to blogging and reading about Celiac Disease, I am obsessed with reading travel blogs.) Second of all, this girl was literally put in the hospital for three weeks in the middle of her trip only to get a diagnosis of Celiac Disease and then kept right on traveling!! Although I only spoke with this girl for about 5 minutes during a slightly chaotic event I was more than inspired by her story and can't wait to get together with her soon to learn more about her travels and diagnosis.

The next thing that happened was that I posted on FB the following question: "Does being gluten-free stop you from doing things you did pre-diagnosis like socializing, traveling, dining out, etc.?" The answers were heartbreaking. So many of my dear readers shared their emotional struggle with going gluten-free. They drastically changed their socializing habits, felt ostracized by friends and family and basically stopped dining out and traveling. This really broke my heart, especially as someone that grew up as a Celiac and not diagnosed as an adult. I went home that night dejected and thinking a trip to Eastern Europe was more than I can handle and that I was making the wrong decision to go to Prague.

When I woke up on Thursday, I realized a few things. In my almost 33 years of life, I have almost never let Celiac Disease stop me from doing anything. Why was I going to let something stop me now? Next, I knew I had already done a ton of my travel homework downloading Czech translation cards about Celiac Disease, learning about the gluten-free diet in the Czech Republic, and finding local supermarkets in Prague. Additionally, I contacted at least two Czech Celiac organizations and found Facebook pages that were more Euro-centric when it came to gluten-free dining in Europe. I was basically looking for excuses NOT to book my ticket (my sister is sick, my job needs me...they don't, I can't afford it, etc.) but I really had NO good excuse not to go. It basically came down to me pushing myself so far out of my comfort zone that I was freaking out. As a last-minute traveler, this has happened to me before. I simply called my mom and a few supportive friends for a pep talk and I was on my way booking a direct flight from JFK to PRG.

Now, I am beyond excited/nervous/freaking out to announce that I am going to the Czech Republic just five days after my 33rd birthday. This is probably the craziest birthday present I have ever bought myself but I am really happy that I am doing this trip. I will probably continue to freak out until the end of the trip, but at least I will be doing so in Prague! I will be struggling with an utterly foreign language when trying to order my food, trying to figure out currency on the fly, and navigating a formerly communist country. Am I crazy? Maybe. Am I letting Celiac Disease stop me? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

I will most definitely share my Czech tips, photos, and resources with you readers when I return but until then wish me luck and feel free to send me any additional travel tips you might have. Thanks!

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
CDF Annual Education Conference & Food Faire
Celiac Disease Foundation presents their Annual Education Conference & Food Faire
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hilton Hotel
Los Angeles/Universal City
555 Universal Hollywood Drive
Universal City, CA 91608

REGISTER NOW

CDF Annual Education Conference & Food Faire 2011 will provide you with a greater understanding of Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, dietary compliance, future therapies, associated conditions and the effect on family members. Network with other people following the gluten-free lifestyle. Meet with exhibitors, sample and discover the latest gluten-free foods and services. Join us for an exceptional day of gluten-free food, facts and fun!

FEATURING TOP INTERNATIONAL SPEAKERS

Alessio Fasano, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics Medicine, Physiology,
Director Mucosal Biology Research Center
University of Maryland School of Medicine,
Medical Director, Center for Celiac Research (CFCR),
University of Maryland

Martin F. Kagnoff, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Emeritus,
Director, Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology,
Director, William K. Warren Medical Research Center
for Celiac Disease, University of California San Diego

Robyn Karlstadt, M.D., MACG
Vice President, Scientific Leader, Gastrointestinal Business Unit
SHIRE - a global specialty pharmaceutical company

Danna Korn
Respected authority on the gluten-free diet
Motivational Speaker and Author of numerous books including
Living Gluten-Free for Dummies 2nd Edition
and Gluten-Free Kids 2nd Edition
Founder R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids)

Carol Fenster, Ph.D.
President/Founder Savory Palate, Inc.
Internationally-recognized expert on gluten-free cooking
Award-winning Publisher and Author of gluten-free/allergy-free cookbooks and other helpful resources for people with food allergies, Celiac disease, autism, and other medical conditions
that require a special diet

GUEST APPEARANCE
Frank Baldassare
www.themissingingredienttv.com

Q & A
Alessio Fassano, M.D. and Martin F. Kagnoff, M.D.

The Art of Gluten-free Bread Making
Carol Fenster, Ph.D.

Parents of Celiac Children
Danna Korn
Founder R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids)

CDF Connections and Chapters
Meet Support Group Leaders and Members

Young Adults & Teens Get Together
Ryann Fraser
CDF Ambassador - Elite triathlete, NYU student, Wilhelmina model
Carrie Willoughby
U.S. Paralympic cyclist and former U.S. Paralympic swimmer

Ask the Dieticians
Alicia Calvo, MPH, RD, CDE
Evette Richardson, RD, MS, CFT
Registered Dieticians with specialty in Celiac disease,
gluten sensitivities and the gluten-free diet
Certified Diabetes Educators

Presentation of the CDF
2011 Champion of Celiac Disease Awareness Award

Meet the Authors, Video Hosts and Bloggers

Book Sales & Signing
Danna Korn - "Living Gluten-Free for Dummies 2nd Edition"
Carol Fenster - "100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes"
Elizabeth Kaplan - "Fresh from Elizabeth's Kitchen"

Download CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT for more details!

REGISTER NOW

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Monday, March 21, 2011
L.A. Times Celiac Awareness Supplement
This weekend there was a really great supplement about Celiac Disease in the Los Angeles Times. You can download the whole supplement at the website Not Even a Crumb, a website run by actor Wil Wheaton's mother Deb Wheaton. This supplement does a great job interviewing a variety of gluten-free people, highlighting gluten-free products, and discussing Celiac Disease in a clear and understandable manner. Please visit Not Even a Crumb for more information and to download the supplement.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Naked Pizza in NYC
Naked Pizza is coming to NYC this spring! The first and only time I tried the gluten-free Naked Pizza was in South Beach Miami last summer.

The concept behind Naked Pizza is to start with a "naked" pie and build your pizza with sauces, cheeses, and toppings. They have some really fun icons on their menu to represent "flora (you know, plants)," "fauna (for the carnivores)," cheese, and crust options. The gluten-free crust is a rice-based crust and in Miami was only available in a medium size pie.

By this summer, there will be not one but TWO locations of Naked Pizza in New York City. You can follow the progress of Naked Pizza NYC on Twitter and Facebook.

Naked Pizza NYC COMING SOON:
954 Third Avenue, NYC, NY 10022
150 East 14th Street, NYC, NY 10003

Stay tuned for some exciting news including an NYC Celiac Meeutp at Naked Pizza as opening day at Naked Pizza NYC approaches.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Gourmet Gluten-Free Soft Pretzels
A few weeks ago I read a press release announcing new gluten-free soft pretzels from Kim & Scott's Gourmet Pretzels. I was very interested to learn about the production process since they do produce regular pretzels and their customer service team has been really supportive in answering all my questions. Although I haven't tried these yet, I would definitely consider buying them when I find them in my local supermarket. They sound really delicious!


Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Ingredients: Gluten Free Flour Blend (Tapioca Flour, Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Granulated Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Sorghum Flour, Millet Flour, Quinoa Flour, Amaranth Flour, Teff Flour, Baking Powder and Quar Gum), Eggs, Filtered Water, Canola Oil, Yeast, Soda. Contains: Egg

Individuals with food allergies: Made in a facility that processes foods containing wheat and milk. Kim & Scott's is a nut-free facility.

Here is what they had to say:
Gluten Free pretzels are produced on clean and sanitized equipment as first product of the day. All gluten free packaging materials and ingredients are segregated from standard stocks. No additional production is initiated until all GF is packaged. 
Also...
  1. Ingredients for the gluten free items are stored in sealed containers.
  2. All ingredients, hand tools, gloves, hairnets, etc. used for other items are either cleaned and sanitized or removed from the production, baking, and packaging areas.
  3. The production, baking, and packaging areas are washed down with particular attention given to the product contact areas.
  4. Personnel are routed from the personnel areas to the production areas so that they do not come in contact with ingredients that might contain gluten.
  5. Only the sealed containers of ingredients for the gluten free product are brought into the production areas after the area has been cleaned.
  6. Production, baking and packaging areas are kept sealed off until the gluten free product is produced and packaged.
  7. To assure results, finished gluten free products are randomly sampled and checked for possible gluten contamination.

To learn more about Kim and Scott's Gourmet Pretzels, visit their website at http://www.kimandscotts.com/products/varieties/gluten-free/ or find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Kimandscotts. Visit their pages today to download coupons!

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Monday, March 14, 2011
Happy Pi Day!
Today is 3.14 (March 14th) better known as Pi Day. Pi is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. What better way to celebrate Pi Day by eating gluten-free PIE!

A few weeks ago I met Andrea Sorkin, the founder and owner of Pi Gluten-Free, a NYC-based gluten-free baking company. I learned about Pi Gluten-Free from a gluten-eating friend that raved about a gluten-free products she had at a party in January. After emailing with Andrea for a few weeks to learn more about the company, I finally met up with her for dinner in NYC. Dinner with Andrea flew by; once we started talking we didn't stop for hours... literally. She is one of those people that I wanted to be friends with immediately! Her passion and drive to not only bake delicious gluten-free food but to also spread awareness about public health is apparent from the second you start talking to her. Pi Gluten-Free was launched after Andrea and her colleague decided to enter the Baruch College and Merrill Lynch Entrepreneurship competition together and they won! Pi Gluten-Free was "born" about six months later. In addition to launching her company, Andrea has produced an original documentary project to raise awareness of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Andrea's dedication to her company's mission comes from her own personal struggle with endometriosis and chronic fatigue/immune dysfunction syndrome. Andrea eats an entirely gluten-free diet to help with her autoimmune disorders which is another reason she started a gluten-free company.

I have only sampled two quiches and one knish from Pi, but they were all delicious. I especially liked the knish because it is very rare to find a potato knish that is gluten-free. (Go figure, especially since it is potato!) I am really excited to try additional products from Pi Gluten-Free including their sweet apple pies. Andrea and her team work tirelessly to get their products just right so they are always experimenting in the kitchen. Pi Gluten-Free does produce all of their products in a shared facility, but they spend many hours prior to production to ensure their kitchen space is safe to start making their gluten-free products. Andrea understands the issues with cross-contamination and although they do not have a 100% gluten-free facility yet, they would love to eventually bake all of their products in a completely safe environment.

I think Pi Gluten-Free is a company to watch in the next few months. With a strong social mission and an outstanding leader at the helm, I can almost guarantee Pi Gluten-Free will be a huge success in the months to come. Keep an eye on Pi, they have some exciting things in store for the gluten-free community!

Help celebrate Pi Day by visiting Pi Gluten-Free's website today!
http://www.pi-glutenfree.com
http://www.facebook.com/PiGlutenFree
http://twitter.com/#!/piglutenfree

Here is some more information about Pi Gluten-Free from their website and e-newsletter:

PI GLUTEN FREE "is a socially conscious, dedicated gluten-free kitchen that is revolutionizing the market. Too often this developing market is limited to unsavory substitutes for junk food. Pi’s focus on pies, which they define as anything that has an outer layer and a filling, allows them to offer a comprehensive menu of sweet and savory dishes. Their unique focus has the advantage of showcasing fillings that are naturally gluten-free, rather than featuring an empty shell."

Pi's mission is simple: Pi Gluten Free promotes public health by offering a comprehensive menu of foods that are suitable for people who avoid gluten--without sacrificing taste, quality, or convenience. Pi also fosters public health through partnerships with outreach organizations.

FOODSHED FARMERS' MARKET
Pi Gluten Free is now selling Pi at the Foodshed Farmers' Market, located at 388 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The market is within blocks of the Atlantic Pacific stop on the B, D, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4, and 5 trains, and just a few blocks away from the C train at Hoyt and the F and G trains at Bergen Street. The market runs from 11am to 5pm. We had our debut on Sunday, February 20th and the response was unbelievable. Thanks so much for those who came out to show some support.  If you would like to order some products in advance, please drop us a line: info@pi-glutenfree.com. We accept orders until Tuesday.

HOME DELIVERY IS COMING!
Pi Gluten-Free is gearing up to begin home delivery service for NYC and tri-state area residents! Very soon, Pi will begin sending out test shipments to consumers in the area to help prepare for the launch of this service. They expect to be ready to accept orders by the end of the month. Stay tuned!! If you are interested in signing up for this service, please email Pi. Type, "HOME DELIVERY" into the subject line. They will add your contact information to their list and they'll notify you as soon as they're ready to go!

POTPIES ARE COMING
That's right! First it was dessert pies, then quiche, and then Pi brought out vegan knish and triple temptation cupcakes. But just when you thought it couldn't get any better, they decided to bring you vegetable and vegan potpies. And, no surprise, their potpies will feature seasonal and local, organic produce.

Happy Pi Day to Pi Gluten-Free!!

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Friday, March 11, 2011
Recipe of the Week: Erin's Mediterranean Chicken
My week flew by and before I knew it, it was Thursday morning and I had no recipe completed for the week. I put out a Twitter plea of HELP yesterday asking for some suggestions of what I could do with the two defrosted chicken breasts in my fridge. I got a few good ideas and one great idea that I am saving for a future Recipe of the Week feature, but then I got home late last night and needed to throw something at the last minute. With inspiration from the Roasted red pepper and chicken wrap recipe on the Mayo Clinic website, I put together what I am calling "Erin's Mediterranean Chicken" recipe. I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen and this was ready in less than 15 minutes. I would love feedback if you try this or make something similar.

Erin's Mediterranean Chicken

Ingredients
1 large chicken breast
2 tbsp. of your favorite hummus
1/3 jar of roasted red peppers
1 cup of frozen spinach, defrosted
1/4 cup of mozzerella cheese
1 gluten-free wrap (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook chicken breast on the stove top and defrost spinach in the microwave at the same time.
  2. Once chicken is cooked through, cover with hummus.
  3. Add roasted red peppers and spinach on top of the chicken breast.
  4. Add mozzarella cheese on top of the layers and let the cheese melt.
  5. You can turn this into a wrap or a sandwich very easily if you are in the mood.

No modifications to this recipe since it was kind of a slapped together success!

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Thursday, March 10, 2011
Pleased to Tweet You: Gluten-Free Fun
Last week, I was honored to be featured in the NFCA's Celiac Central March Newsletter. They have a relatively new featured called "Pleased to Tweet You" which features a prominent gluten-free "Tweeter". For those of you unfamiliar with the social networking site Twitter, a "Tweeter" is someone that posts regularly on the website via "tweets" which are brief 140-character conversations.

I was very late to the Twitter game and only joined at the end of September 2010 after being convinced by Dan of Renegade Kitchen and Jill of Glow Gluten-Free that this was THE tool to use on the Internet. They were 100% correct. In only one month of using Twitter, my blog readership jumped by more than 50% and my Facebook fan page nearly doubled in size. Clearly I had a been missing out on an entire gluten-free audience that I never knew about before joining Twitter.

Since September, I have connected with some really amazing gluten-free people and companies. I even attended the awesome Food Fete event last week that I had no clue about before reading a post on Twitter. For those of you bloggers or readers not on Twitter, I suggest you join today. I was afraid to get sucked into another social media website, but this is really an amazing and powerful tool. There are lots of symbols and abbreviations like @, #, and #FF that take some time getting used to, but you will quickly get the hang of it. Hopefully you will realize, like I did, that there is a wealth of information that can be expressed in 140 characters or less.

Here is my "Pleased to Tweet You" interview that I did with Cheryl of the NFCA last week. You can also find it on the NFCA's Celiac Central March Newsletter page.

Gluten-Free Fun on Twitter

Pleased to Tweet You

Each month, "Pleased to Tweet You" will highlight an individual who chatted with @CeliacAwareness on Twitter. If you’d like to be featured, follow @CeliacAwareness and say hello!

Name: Erin Smith

Find her on Twitter: @gfreefun

Tweeting since: September 2010

1. How long have you been gluten-free?
I was diagnosed with celiac disease as a toddler in 1981 so I am celebrating 30 years of being gluten-free this year!! I like to think of myself as a Celiac Disease veteran.

2. What do you like to tweet about (events, recipes, news articles, etc.)?
Every morning, I tweet about my daily blog postings on Gluten-Free Fun (which has been around since January 2007). Throughout the day, I tweet about interesting gluten-free articles and blogs I read, gluten-free events, and also general tweets to friends I have made on Twitter. As the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, I also tweet about all of our upcoming events.

3. Why do you follow NFCA (@CeliacAwareness)?
Besides thinking the staff of NFCA are all awesome, I think the materials that the NFCA provides free-of-charge on their website are really outstanding and thorough. Whenever @CeliacAwarness posts a new tweet, I go directly to the website to learn more. I can spend hours on the NFCA website looking at the both educational and entertaining materials including gluten-free tax tips, fun videos like “Sex and the Celiac,” recent celiac disease news items, and upcoming events.

4. What's your favorite gluten-free dish?
I have so many gluten-free favorites, so this is a tough question. I love to cook but lately two of my favorites are Gluten-Free Bisquick Bacon Pie and homemade gluten-free lasagna. When I go out to eat in NYC, I love the Nutella galette at Bar Breton, the socca at Nizza NYC, and the nachos at Heartland Brewery Midtown West.

5. What's one thing you can do now that you couldn't do before going gluten-free?
Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease at such a young age, I don’t know anything else other than being gluten-free. Over the past few years, I have accepted my disease more than ever before and I am much more open to actually talking about having celiac disease. I used to be embarrassed and not want other people to know why I was avoiding eating in social settings, why I had different bread, etc. In the past 5 or 6 years, I have fully embraced my gluten-free lifestyle so I spend more time being an advocate for celiac disease rather than being embarrassed and hiding who I am.

6. In 140 characters or less, why should others join the gluten-free community on Twitter?
The gf community on Twitter is knowledgeable, passionate, and a great support system. I love "meeting" new people every day!

* Erin’s blog, Gluten-Free Fun, is in the running for Women’s Health "Blogs We Love" 2011. Learn how you can help her get noticed and spread the gluten-free message.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Be the Face of Celiac Awareness!
Submit Your Photo to NFCA’s Celiac Mosaic

Whether you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant or know someone who is, help the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness spread awareness by participating in NFCA’s mosaic.

In May, NFCA's Facebook page will feature a collage of photos submitted by the celiac and gluten-free community. The mosaic will put a face on gluten-free needs and bring supporters together in solidarity. The NFCA will encourage those who submit photos to tag themselves in the mosaic to show their pride and draw attention to the cause.

They are starting to collect photos now so the collage will be big and beautiful by May 1st. To join the effort, email your picture to photos@celiaccentral.org today. Please send your photo as a jpeg attachment.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Pamela's Organic Cookie Review
I got a package of Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Pecan Shortbread cookies sent to me at work a few weeks ago. My coworker and I dug right in. We both liked the cookies but they were much smaller than I remember from a few years ago. The cookies were a bit dry, but there was a nice balance of sweet and salt in each bite. I stopped at one cookie since I knew I was going out to dinner that night, but I definitely plan on eating more cookies again. I think it would be a nice snack with a cup of tea. My coworker (who eats gluten) agreed. I don't normally buy cookies, but I will definitely enjoy the rest of the box with him.

The great thing about Pamela's Products is that they have been around for so long so they have a good reputation in the gluten-free community. Their products are gluten-free and their organic line is made with over 70% organic ingredients.

Enjoy.

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Monday, March 7, 2011
Gluten-Free Fun on The Top 50 Celiac Blogs
I am really excited to announce that my blog, Gluten-Free Fun, was featured in the Top 50 Celiac Blogs posted on the Healthcare Technicians blog a few weeks ago. Considering there are hundreds of gluten-free and Celiac-related blogs out there, I am honored to be a part of this list. I am in really great company too with some of my favorites on the list, so go and check it out today"

"Who Needs Wheat Anyways? The Top 50 Celiac Blogs" featuring Gluten-Free Fun

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Friday, March 4, 2011
Recipe of the Week: Emme's Tomato-Almond Garlic Soup
I had such high hopes for this week's recipe, since I have been craving tomato soup. When I found a recipe on Vital Juice a few weeks ago for a tomato soup that sounded so easy to make I thought I hit the jackpot. Unfortunately, I think I sabotaged it with too much cheese and water even though included less than what the recipe includes below. Back to the drawing board with tomato soup for me. Do you have any easy tomato soup recipes to sharte/


Emme's Tomato-Almond Garlic Soup from Vital Juice Recipe

Ingredients
3 tomatoes
1 handful basil
1 handful almonds
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste
5 c. hot water
1/2 c. grated Romano cheese

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender on High for 1 minute. Add more water for a thinner consistency. Top with a sprig of fresh basil and serve with rice crackers.

Modifications

  • I used only 4 cups of water, I wish I had cut back to 3 since it was way too watery.
  • I used 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan. I think the cheese flavor was way too overpowering so I would cut back next time.
  • I added two cloves of garlic since I love garlic.
  • I didn't have an basil, but I don't think it would have saved this recipe.
Oh well, I think this and the fava bean Ful for Love were my two biggest flops of the year. I was just happy that I also had some Impossible Easy Bacon Pie in the oven to enjoy for dinner. And yes, I dumped the whole thing down the drain. I wanted to like it but just couldn't do it.

On to the next one...

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Thursday, March 3, 2011
Wild Alice Bars
At the beginning of February Alice Tarachow, of Wild Alice Bars, contacted me regarding trying some samples of her gluten-free bars. I happily accepted these free samples since I am always on the look out for a new snack.

Wild Alice bars are made in Portland, Oregon in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Alice, the founder, is an avid hiker, rock climber, and snow shower with food sensitivities. She was looking for an easy-to-carry snack bar that would keep her satiated until she got to her hiking destination. Through some experimenting in the kitchen, Alice came up with a Cranberry Walnut and Apricot Cashew Wild Alice Bar.

I was expecting something like a Lara Bar, but these were different. They were less fruity and more like a cookie texture. I am sure the rice flour, garbanzo flour, and quinoa flakes had something to do with this since Lara Bars have nothing but fruit and nuts. I have to say, I would have liked a little bit of moisture in the cranberry walnut bar, but I really liked the apricot cashew bar. It had a nice flavor and just the right amount of moisture.

The back of the package gives eating suggestions including eating the bar as is, crumbling into yogurt, or crumbling and adding hot water. Since I was at work, I ate both bars as is and they were fine. It held me over  during my afternoon hunger slump until dinner and overall I enjoyed both bars.

Each bar is just under 230 calories, gluten-free, vegan, and has 4-5 grams of protein. I might opt for a lower calorie snack but these are actually on par with most gluten-free snack bars out there in terms of calories.

Right now, the bars are only sold in a handful of stores in Oregon and Washington. You can buy 8 bars at a time online through the Wild Alice website. The bars are $2 each with $5 for shipping and handling. Please note, PayPal is currently the only method of payment at the online store.

Learn more about Wild Alice Bars and visit their online store today: http://www.wildalicebar.com

Thanks Alice!

Ingredients: dried cranberries (dried cranberries, apple juice, sunflower oil), agave syrup*, quinoa flakes*, walnuts*, brown rice flour, Canola oil, apple juice concentrate, garbanzo bean flour, pea protein, dried apricots*, guar gum.

Ingredients: dried apricots*, agave syrup*, quinoa flakes*, cashews*, brown rice flour, Canola oil, apple juice concentrate, garbanzo bean flour, pea protein, guar gum.
*Organic

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Food Fete Roundup
I first learned about Food Fête a few months ago via Twitter. Soon, I was digging around on the Food Fête website and learned "Food Fête is all about helping food, beverage and kitchenware companies connect face-to-face with top food writers and bloggers." I love meeting new vendors and people in the gluten-free community so these events sounded perfect for me. After contacting Jeff Davis, the organizer of Food Fete, he suggested I sign up for the Food Fête focusing on products for people with allergies. Perfect! This was definitely my type of event and I had the honor of attending this event last night.

I knew it was an exclusive event based on the website summary, but I wasn't sure what to expect. When I was pleasantly greeted by Jeff at the door and then handed the list of attendees, I knew this was going to be an exciting evening. I immediately saw familiar faces which is always comforting. Sloane Miller, the Allergic Girl, was the first person I stopped by to say hello to when I walked in. Just last week, I realized I got a mention from Sloane in the acknowledgements section of her new book so I had to give her a huge thank-you hug in person. She had a lovely display of Allergic Girl and was also giving out allergen-free lollipops. Too cute! I continued walking around saying hello to friends such as Bruce and Pedro from Everybody Eats, Amie Valpone from The Healthy Apple, and Rachel Begun, RD who was showcasing Enjoy Life Foods with Joel Warady, CMO of the company. I also stopped by to see my favorite gluten-free bread friends at the Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery table. Also manning the table was the always animated Dan from Renegade Kitchen.

Other vendors included General Mills, Chobani, Green Valley Organics, Pacific Natural Foods, Cockspur Rum, Home Free, Pasta Prima, Lucini Italia, Redwood Hill Farm, and Mary's Gone Crackers. You can see full profiles on each of these companies at www.foodfetepress.wordpress.com.

There were some exciting announcements and new products at last night's event. Here are the highlights:
  • General Mills has just relaunched their Live Gluten Freely site as GlutenFreely.com. They are now endorsed by the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research and The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. In addition, they have partnered with other gluten-free food companies to open an online store on their new website. 
  • Enjoy Life Foods is launching three new products next week at Expo West including Chocolate Granola, Crunchy Cookies, and Mega Chunks which are large chocolate nibs to be used in cooking and baking. I also learned that Enjoy Life Foods is also adding celery to the list of their allergens that are not included in their products. Apparently, celery is an allergen that is being added to the "NO" list throughout the UK so Enjoy Life is being proactive and not including it in any products.
  • Pasta Prima hands-down has the most delicious gluten-free ravoli that I ever ate. Right now they are available at Costco on the West Coast, but they are hopeful to expand their product line throughout the United States soon.
  • Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery has just launched gluten-free hamburger and hot dog buns. I had a portobello mushroom "burger" on a new Rudi's gluten-free hamburger bun but ate it too quickly and didn't get a photo. So delicious!!! Rudi's will also hopefully launch some new gluten-free products this fall which sound very exciting. Stay tuned Rudi's fans!
  • Green Valley Organic had lactose-free yogurt and sour cream. At their table, I learned that adding lactase to dairy products helps digest lactose therefore making their products lactose-free. This is great news for those who cannot tolerate lactose. I also loved the Green Valley Organic tag line which is "Peace. Love. Dairy". 
  • I have been a big fan of Mary's Gone Crackers since I met Mary and Dale in 2008. Last night, I tried their N'Oatmeal cookies for the first time and I was not disappointed. These cookies have an oatmeal cookie taste (from what I can assume, since I don't eat oats) but have no oats in the ingredients. Mary Anne, the Mary's Gone Crackers representative, was clearly passionate about her role at Mary's company and was fun to talk to during the event. 
  • My favorite sample of the night came from Lucini Italia. This was a "new to me" company and I am glad I met this company. Lucini Italia introduced the new Cinque a Cinque chickpea frittata mix which was amazing. The only ingredient is chickpea flour. I cannot wait to use this mix ASAP.

Thank you Jeff and his Food Fête staff for including me in such an exciting event. 



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Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Exciting Updates for Gluten-Free Fun
As we enter a new month, I am excited about what’s to come for Gluten-Free Fun this March and beyond.

This is me in 1981, right around the time of my diagnosis.
This year is my 30th anniversary of being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. A 30th wedding anniversary is your pearl anniversary and natural pearls are very rare. I’d like to think of myself as a natural pearl of the gluten-free world. Ok, this is probably the cheesiest comment I have ever said on this blog but I’m going there on this special anniversary. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease before there was the Internet, before there was a blood test, before you could walk into a normal supermarket and buy gluten-free products, and before celebrities were jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon. Thirty years ago, my doctor saved my life. I plan on doing a series of blog postings interviewing my parents and doctors from the past 30 years. I think I have a unique perspective of growing up entirely gluten-free and I plan on sharing this with my readers.

As you may have already noticed, I launched “Recipe of the Week” series in January as part of a New Year’s resolution. “Recipe of the Week”, which is posted each Friday, is my attempt to try one new recipe every week of 2011. So far, I haven’t missed a week. With a crazy NYC schedule, this isn’t always easy but these recipes force me to stop and pay attention to what I am actually putting into my body. This series of postings has gotten a great response from my readers and has really inspired me to move out of my comfort zone and try new recipes. Luckily, my successful recipes have outweighed my flops so I hope to continue this Friday series throughout the year.

I am launching a new topic called “Gluten-Free Fun Investigates”. I often read an article and feel like I am only getting half of the story. I don’t always have the time to dig deeper, but I really want to start doing some serious background checks and investigation gives into products, topics, and trends that I am really passionate about within our gluten-free community. I am prepared to work hard to give you the whole story behind some of your favorite gluten-free questions and topics. This articles won’t always be exactly what you want to hear, but at least I will attempt to give the truth and reality to my readers. If there is any specific gluten-free topic you want me to investigate, please let me know. I’m ready to dig up some gluten-free dirt!

There are two more secret projects I am hoping to unveil by April 1st, so stay tuned this month for clues.

Thank you for your continued support. Stick around to see what's to come!

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