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Monday, October 31, 2011
Hold The Gluten Episode with Gluten-Free Fun
This is what happens when you are sick with autoimmune diseases and have a foggy brain... you forget to post exciting things like being featured on the popular webcast, Hold the Gluten.

At the end of September, I attended the PIX11 Health and Wellness Expo here in NYC. Before I left, I was thrilled to chat with Maureen from Hold the Gluten and Vanessa from Delight Gluten Free (and Maureen's new HTG sidekick!) This was less like an interview and more like just chatting with the girls. They are fun, engaging, and ask really great questions. Please click the link below to listen to my Gluten-Free Fun interview with Maureen and Vanessa.

Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 36 – PIX11 Health & Wellness Expo

You can also find Hold the Gluten on iTunes by clicking here. (This will launch your iTunes application.)

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Thursday, October 27, 2011
Gluten-Free on Dr. Steve This Weekend
Last month, I attended the PIX11 Health and Wellness Expo at the Javitz Center in New York City. Although the gluten-free contingent was small, I did get to see some old gluten-free friends including Vanessa from Delight Gluten Free and Maureen from Hold the Gluten. I also reconnected with Nicole from Gluten Free on a Shoestring, Karen from Three Dogs Bakery and Dominic from Gluten Freely. I also had the honor of meeting the "EL" from El's Kitchen (You must eat her snacks!) and Pam from the soon-to-open, gluten-free bakery Flour Buds. I love seeing so many people I know in one place at one time.

Also at the event was Dr. Steve Salvatore. Although I didn't meet him, he did meet with some of the gluten-free attendees to film an upcoming episode of his syndicated show, Dr. Steve. His gluten-free segment is airing this weekend. Set your DVRs! See the table below for local air time.

Gluten-Free on Dr. Steve

PIX 11’s healthy lifestyle show Dr. Steve is a must-see on Sunday October 30th for sufferers of food allergies and celiac disease, and for those that must live on a gluten free diet. Tune-in (or set your DVR) to The Dr. Steve Show on WPIX, Channel 11 in New York this Sunday from 6:30PM – 7:00PM, for a special gluten free informational segment that will help to alleviate many of the common concerns of gluten-free cooking and eating! (see below for a list of additional markets that televise The Dr. Steve Show)

Nicole Hunn, the author of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, a cookbook and guide to making gluten-free eating enjoyable and affordable, will join Dr. Steven Salvatore in this special segment. Nicole aims to dispel widespread myths surrounding gluten-free eating -- like the beliefs that gluten-free food has to be expensive; that it's too specialized and inaccessible to make yourself; and that eating gluten-free means your life will never be the same again.

Nicole has been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times and the Daily News, and has appeared on television and radio programs such as ABC News New York, and the nationally syndicated Michael Smerconish Show. She has also written feature articles for Living Without Magazine and Gluten-Free Living, and her next cookbook is due out in late 2012. Nicole is a former practicing lawyer and a mother of three young children. She provides gluten free recipes and tips every week on her blog –, and is also a blogger on

Joining Nicole on the October 30th program will be Dominic Alcocer, the Marketing Manager from Gluten Freely, a community and e-commerce website with many different resources for gluten free and celiac awareness, which provides a wealth of information on living a gluten free lifestyle. A wide variety of products are offered in their online store and the site also provides a growing list of easy to make, gluten free recipes. In the Gluten Freely Community Section, users can read blogs, comment on them, join a conversation, ask a question and even share their own stories. Gluten Freely, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Brand Journey Venturing, LLC which works closely with General Mills, Inc., in the development and operation of the website and e-commerce business.

Gluten Freely will host a section on the Dr. Steve Show website ( featuring special gluten free recipes from the world famous Betty Crocker Kitchens, and various interactive elements. The Dr. Steve Show is televised in the following 17 markets, and the program segments are posted on his website for continuous viewing.

Gluten Freely will host a section on the Dr. Steve Show website ( featuring special gluten free recipes from the world famous Betty Crocker Kitchens, and various interactive elements.  The Dr. Steve Show is televised in the following 17 markets, and the program segments are posted on his website for continuous viewing. 

DrSteve_logo  The Dr. Steve Show
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Chicago, IL
Philadelphia, PA
Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
Washington, DC
Houston, TX
Seattle-Tacoma, WA
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
Portland, OR
Indianapolis, IN
San Diego, CA
Hartford and New Haven, CT
Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA
Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Bttle. Creek, MI
New Orleans, LA

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Monday, October 24, 2011
Cafe Giraffe: Allergen-Free Food Coming Soon to NYC
If there is one thing we are lacking in this wonderful city of New York, it is a restaurant that is 100% gluten-free. Of course there are bakeries and many great restaurants that have gluten-free menu options, but nothing is entirely gluten-free. If you have never been to a restaurant that is entirely gluten-free, you are missing out big time. It is almost like a holy experience walking into a place where you can eat EVERYTHING on the menu. From what I can remember, I only had this experience very few times in my 30 years of living gluten-free; once at Barenaked Bakery on Long Island and once in Vancouver at Panne Rizo.

Amy Kohtz, a fellow member of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me about her new project to open a restaurant in NYC that is entirely gluten-free. Cafe Giraffe will be 100% gluten-free. In order to tackle this endeavor, Amy has launched a Kickstarter project and is asking for funding contributions.

Here's Amy's plan:

Convenient, delicious, allergen-free food is coming soon to NYC. 
The food at Cafe Giraffe will always be free of gluten and will always be mostly free of peanuts, fish, and shellfish. Our delectable offerings can also be customized to exclude the remaining top 8 food allergies and intolerances, including milk, egg, tree nuts, and soybean. 
Our elegant, family friendly venue will literally be a place that has something for everyone. Modernist burgers and sandwiches with hand-crafted sauces, tempting desserts, and delicious drinks will appeal to customers who do not have food allergies but want to try something “better than home cooking” at a great price. 
Cafe Giraffe will open our doors in NYC in spring, 2012. We plan to expand to a city near you within five years. Our EatNo8 (trademark pending) and No-8 (trademark pending) line of sauces will be available for purchase through mail order and on Amazon. 
We first started planning Cafe Giraffe in December, 2009. We're seeking seed funding to secure leases for a retail space and equipment, commission expert help including kitchen design and real estate brokers, and to take the final step toward full financing. 
Your support will help revolutionize the restaurant landscape for people with food allergies. 
Thank you!

Click here to learn more and to make a donation towards Cafe Giraffe.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Mini-Hiatus for Gluten-Free Fun
Hello Dear Readers,

I wanted to let you know that my posts will be less frequent in the next week or so. In the spirit of being a true New Yorker, I am running myself ragged and need to step back from something. Unfortunately, that something has to be this blog for the time being. I have more than 12 "draft" posts ready to go for you all, but I just don't have the time or the mental energy to finish them up at the moment.

With a full-time job that is getting busier by the minute, a successful Meetup group that feels like a second full-time job, more social media accounts than I can count on one hand, and oh yeah... another freaking health issue shaking its ugly head in my direction (not mold related), I need to take a mini-hiatus from my beloved Gluten-Free Fun.

But not to worry, I will be back soon enough.

If you know me or have been reading my blog for the past 4 1/2 years, you know I can't stay away for long. I miss writing, miss reading your comments, and so much more. This blog has truly become an extension of me more than I could have ever imagined. My thinking cap has been on for months and some of my "big ideas" will come to fruition soon enough. It's going to be exciting times, but for now I need to listen to my body and my head and take a step back.

Please continue to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, I'll be there. I can't go cold turkey now, can I? :-P

Thank you for all being so faithful.

Erin, Gluten-Free Fun

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011
A Response to Crunchmaster Crackers and Confusion
My first post today was an honest look at Crunchmaster Crackers and a confusing website. Within 2 hours of my blog post going live, I received a response from the Director of Marketing from TH Foods, Inc., the parent company of Crunchmaster.

A concerned supporter sent me your blog on our Crunchmaster crackers this morning. I tried commenting on your blog, but for some reason it would not accept my response.

Thank you for your honest feedback on our Crunchmaster products. We are glad that you enjoyed them and appreciate you bringing our attention to the conflicting information on our website. After the introduction of our new Crunchmaster multi-grain line last year, we should have noticed that this caused conflicting information to appear. We will work to correct it as soon as possible.

If you have any future questions, please feel free to contact me directly. If I can not answer it, I will have our Regulatory Manager follow up with you.

Best Regards,

Jim Garsow
Director of Marketing
TH Foods, Inc.

I do applaud TH Foods, Inc. for being responsive to my post but still stand by my original post. Hopefully TH Foods, Inc. and Crunchmaster will accurately address the issues that I brought up in my post Crunchmaster Crackers and Confusion.

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Crunchmaster Crackers and Confusion
I have blogged about Crunchmaster Crackers before*, but truth be told, I never tried them until last month when I was sent free samples by the company.

The Crunchmaster Multi-Grain Crackers come in three flavors and I was sent the White Cheddar as a sample. I did try eat some of these crackers even though "oat fiber" is an ingredient. These White Cheddar Multi-grain crackers and all Crunchmaster products are certified gluten-free, but I usually make it a habit of not eating oats at all. In all honesty, I didn't actually notice this "oat fiber" ingredient until after I already ate a few crackers. This was careless on my part since I usually obsess over ingredients before trying anything new. The website and the packaging all said "Certified Gluten-Free" and I took their word on it. I hoped for the best but expected the worst, luckily I had no noticeable oat-based reaction.

Even though these crackers tasted good, I will not buy them again due to this ingredient. Please note, my choice to not eat oats is a personal preference after more than thirty years of never eating oats. Many people have no problem whatsoever with "gluten-free oats" but I choose not to eat them. This is not a reflection on Crunchmaster products, but again is my personal choice. I have lived without oats my entire life and don't feel that I am missing anything by not eating gluten-free oats. My PR contact for Crunchmaster did check with the parent company and said "that they use a certified gluten free oat fiber that is a bit more expensive, but worth it to Crunchmaster as it adds more fiber and nutrition to their products." More expensive doesn't put me at ease, but at least they are using a certified oat fiber in their product.

What I did find really interesting about this oat question was the confusing information on the Crunchmaster website. On the "Go Gluten Free" page, the very first sentence says "Gluten is a natural protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and oats." But on the "Grown For You" page, the middle paragraph says "Several studies have shown that amaranth seed, like oats, may be of benefit for those with hypertension and cardiovascular disease." To someone new to the gluten-free diet, this could be really confusing especially if their doctor told them to avoid oats. I think Crunchmaster should address the "oat issue" on their website and be really open and honest about their use of gluten-free oats.

On the flip side, Crunchmaster does address the question of certification on their FAQ page. They state "All Crunchmaster products are Certified Gluten Free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization. GFCO standards are met through a rigorous process of third-party audits and frequent product and ingredient testing at the manufacturing facility. The GFCO sets strict standards that finished products may not contain more than 10 ppm gluten, twice as strict as the proposed FDA and Codex definitions for gluten free. Every production run of our Crunchmaster products are tested prior to shipment for added assurance that they meet our high standards."

Quite honestly, I don't like to be so confused when trying to get information about the products I am eating. From a non-oat eating point of view, I think Crunchmaster could improve their FAQ section by specifically addressing gluten-free oats vs regular oats. Then again, this is one of those controversial topics in the gluten-free community so it might have been a business decision to specifically not address the nature of the oats. Again, as a life-long Celiac this is something I want to pay attention to in ALL of the products I eat.

I also was sent a box of 7 Ancient Grains Hint of Sea Salt crackers. These were good and I felt much more at ease eating these crackers because the ingredients were much more simple and had no oats. The ingredients are "brown rice flour, potato starch, safflower oil, sorghum flour, quinoa seeds, sesame seeds, millet, flax seeds, amaranth seeds, and sea salt." They are all easily identifiable gluten-free seeds and grains. I ate these plain but could see these pairing really well with both cheeses and dips. I would buy these again and could see myself serving these at a party to all of my gluten-eating and non-gluten-eating friends. They are definitely one of those cross-population types of snacks.

Overall, although the Crunchmaster crackers were good the confusion about the oats left me less than impressed. I do understand these crackers are widely popular with the gluten-free community and are even advertised on the NFCA website but I will probably choose to stay away until some of the website and possibly packaging verbiage is clarified.

* As a new rule here at Gluten-Free Fun, I will only blog about products and recipes that I have actually personally tried and consumed. I recently learned that some gluten-free bloggers never even taste the recipes they are posting or the products they are "reviewing". This baffles me so much. How can you give honest opinions when you don't taste your own food? Going forward ALL of my reviews and recipes will cross my gluten-free lips before being posted to this site. I want to remain an honest and integrity-driven blog and in no way want to deceive my readers or even worse, post an untruthful review. Thank you.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Expo East Wrap-Up: Part 2
As I mentioned in my first Expo East post last week, there were more vendors then I even had time for at the Expo. After day 2, I was so tired and happily full of gluten-free food that somehow I slept right through a friend's dog barking incessantly as her father used one of those noisy blowers to inflate an air mattress. Although exhausted and probably 5 pounds heavier, I left the Expo happy to have met as many gluten-free vendors and bloggers as I did. I was also really hopeful to meet everyone, bu there weren't enough hours in the day to cover the entire Expo East floor.

A big highlight of my gluten-free days at Expo East were trying products that were new to me. These are products that I either read about on other gluten-free blogs or Twitter or companies that I always heard about but never actually met in person. This list is my summary.

Gluten-Free New-To-Me List

  • Genius by Glutino Gluten-Free Bread: I had been reading about this bread since it's state-side debut at ExpoWest but I hadn't tried it yet. Genius is one of Europe's most popular gluten-free breads and through a partnership agreement, Glutino is now selling the Genius bread in the United States. This bread was really good as a grilled cheese sandwich. I think the true test of gluten-free bread is eating it right out of the package without topping or toasting. We all know that many gluten-free breads need toasting to taste "right". I would like to try this bread again plain, so I am keeping my eyes peeled here in NYC. 
  • Mareblu Almond Crunch Bag: I mentioned Mareblu Naturals Almond Rice Pops last week as a new product, but this company was entirely new to me. I loved their Almond Crunch in a HUGE 28oz bag. "Clusters of dry-roasted almonds lightly sweetened and held together with a blend of tapioca syrup and evaporated cane sugar" hit the spot the first day of Expo East. I also tried their Pistachio Trail Mix which has pistachios, cashews, and almonds. As a big nut fan, I would definitely buy this product again. 
  • TrueBar: Back in June, Bakery on Main launched TrueBars, a new fruit and nut bar for people on the go. These TrueBars come in 6 flavors including: Hazelnut Chocolate Cherry, Walnut Cappuccino, Fruit and Nut, Raspberry Chocolate Almond, Coconut Cashew, and Apricot Almond Chai. They are now available for purchase on the Bakery on Main website and should also be available on your favorite stores shelves. 
  • Hilary's Eat Well Burgers: A few months ago I read about the gluten-free Veggie Burger and Adzuki Bean Burgers from Hilary's Eat Well. At Expo East, I actually ate these for breakfast on the second day of the Expo and I was not disappointed. It is rare to find a gluten-free veggie burger and these were good. What made my sampling even better was meeting the lovely Hilary, founder of the company. Although  not yet available in local stores, Hilary's Eat Well burgers are both available on
  • GoPicnic Ready-to-Eat Meals: I have been reading about GoPicnic meals forever. With 6 gluten-free, pre-made meals, these are a great box to pick-up when traveling or on the go. I was most excited to learn about the Sunbutter and Crackers GoPicnic meal which is co-branded with EnjoyLife Foods. 

Even more gluten-free finds coming up in Part 3 next week!

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Thursday, October 6, 2011
New Products from Applegate Farms
I was thrilled to be sent a free sample package of not one but SIX new gluten-free products from my friends at Applegate Farms. This was the bonanza of gluten-free samples especially since it wasn't carbs. It is rare that I sample actual new protein-based items, so I gladly accepted this package of treats.

For those of you unfamiliar with Applegate Farms, they produce "antibiotic free products made from minimally processed natural and organic whole muscle meat." They also have a really firm understanding of the gluten-free dietary needs and they clearly address this on their website. Applegate Farms "meat products do not contain any fillers. Therefore, all Applegate Farms products are gluten-free, with the exception of those made with traditional breading and/or pastry, such as our chicken nuggets, strips and patties, and our pot pie." But fear not! Applegate Farms also produces gluten-free breaded products including one of my favorites, Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets.

In my sample box of new products from Applegate Farms, I had:
  • Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Breast Tenders
  • Natural Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
  • Natural Southwestern-Style Grilled Chicken Breast Strips
  • Natural Wheat-Free Beef Corn Dogs
  • Organic Uncured Thick Cut Bacon
  • Natural Barbecue Chicken Breast

I was most excited about the Natural Wheat-Free Beef Corn Dogs, although I was confused why they were labeled "wheat-free" and not "gluten-free". After reviewing the website where another customer asked the same question, I learned "[The Natural Wheat-Free Beef Corn Dogs] are indeed Gluten Free corn dogs, but please know we are limited as to what we can put on packaging by not only USDA & FDA, but also sometimes per retailer." Since these are currently only sold at Whole Foods, it appears they have a restricted label. Believe it or not, as a lifelong Celiac this is one of those foods that I never ate IN MY LIFE. Yep, that's right. It took me 33 years to actually eat my very first corn dog. These Corn Dogs did not disappointed. I liked the sweetness of the corn batter even if it was a little bit crumbly. I was already a fan of the Applegate Farms hot dogs, so it was a nice treat to have that as part of my dinner. I would definitely buy these corn dogs again. They were good!

I was also a big fan of the Organic Uncured Thick Cut Bacon. I mean who doesn't love bacon, especially when it is thick and cooked up really crispy. Although a little bit saltier than I normally like in my bacon, I still loved this bacon and it was definitely some great eats for a Sunday morning!

My final fave was the Natural Grilled Chicken Breast Strips. Another naturally gluten-free meat product from Applegate Farms, I really enjoyed the light seasoning on these strips. The size of the strips easily lends itself to being tossed on top of a salad or using in a quick stir-fry meal. Although I usually like to cook chicken breast and season it myself, this is a nice option for people who really want a quick and easy meal.

Unfortunately, my least favorite item were the Natural Gluten Free Chicken Breast Tenders. As I said, I love the Applegate Farms gluten-free chicken nuggets so I had high hopes for these gluten-free, breaded tenders. Unfortunately, I felt the flavor fell a little bit flat. I also got a tender that had some chewy tendon in in. I know that is the nature of chicken, but it wasn't that great. I will continue to eat the Natural Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets but probably wouldn't buy these tenders again.

Thank you Applegate Farms for such a delicious treat. My freezer is well-stocked with your gluten-free, all-natural products!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Kicking4Celiac Guinness World Record Take 2

Do you know Craig Pinto? Well, you should! 

Last October, Craig made it into Guinness Book of World Records by kicking 717 field goals in a 12-hour span all in the name of Celiac Disease. Craig was diagnosed with Celiac Disease more than 11 years ago and he never let his diagnosis stop him. A former indoor professional football player and now Guinness Book of World Records record holder, Craig is going for World Record #2 this weekend by kicking the most field goals EVER in 24 hours. In order to be awarded the world record, Craig needs to kick a minimum of 1,000 field goals in 24 hours.

Since setting his record last year, Craig has founded Kicking4Celiac, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that aims to reach out to people affected by Celiac Disease. This year's event "will be to benefit and expand the Kicking4Celiac Foundation's Scholarship program" and will award scholarships to students with Celiac Disease heading to college.

For those of you on Long Island (NY), you can come cheer Craig on this weekend. The event will be at Theodore Roosevelt Park in Oyster Bay on Sunday, October 9, 2011. It is easily accessible by LIRR directly to Oyster Bay. Parking is also available.

For anyone outside of the NY area, you can donate to the event and help be a part of another world record setting day for Celiac Disease. To learn more about the Kicking4Celiac and how to donate, click here.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011
2nd Annual GFreek Award Nominations

Last year I was thrilled to win Best Gluten Free Website, Blog or Social Site from It's nomination time again and I encourage you to go and cast your ballots. I am once again nominated for Best Gluten-Free Website or Social site. I would love to win for a second year in a row, but I need your help. Please go to the nomination page today and choose Gluten-Free Fun as your favorite website.

Thanks in advance to all of my loyal readers!

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Monday, October 3, 2011
Kinnikinnick Hits Another Gluten-Free Homerun and Giveaway
This contest is now closed. 

I don't know anyone that hasn't heard of Kinnikinnick. From bread to mixes to cookies and even donuts, Kinnikinnick fills that carb void you might feel you are missing when going gluten-free. They are one of those companies that might make you think "Hey... this gluten-free thing isn't so bad." Yes, their products are that good.

One of the cool things about Kinnikinnick is their seasonal items. These are the items you better order before it is too late. Now is that time of year for them to introduce some fall flavors to their product line. The newest release is a Pumpkin Spice Donut. Kinnikinnick was kind enough to send me some free samples of these Pumpkin Spice donuts last week. Let's just say I ate more than one. If you haven't had their donuts before, these donuts are small but dense and really flavorful. They weren't overly spiced and went really well with a cup of coffee. The icing kind of fell off, but it didn't really add or detract from the flavor in my opinion. Because of my lack of willpower, I handed these donuts out around the office. Even the gluten eaters thought these were good. That's one of the best compliments to a gluten-free product.

Here is what Kinnikinnick has to say about their new donut:

Since Fall and pumpkins go together like donuts and coffee, leading provider of gluten, dairy and nut free baked goods, is bringing back its popular, seasonal donut Pumpkin Spice

Available for a limited time until November 30th for purchase via these donuts are made with real pumpkin & spice and are a perfect way to celebrate the season.

So can you guess the giveaway yet? Yep, you guessed it... DONUTS! Not only will you get to try the Pumpkin Spice donuts, but you will get one package of each type of Kinnikinnick donuts! That is a whopping FIVE boxes of donuts. This prize package includes:

  • Pumpkin Spice Donuts
  • Chocolate Dipped Donuts
  • Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
  • Maple Glazed Donuts
  • Vanilla Glazed Donuts

This is no joke. It's a donutpalooza!  Grab your friends, grab a huge pot of coffee, and enter today. You have three chances to win. Here's how:

  1. Leave a comment on my blog (below) telling me why you want these Kinnikinnick donuts. Don't forget to include your email
  2. Leave a comment on my Facebook page and tell me who you will share your Kinnikinnick donuts with... or if you plan to eat all five boxes. ;-)
  3. Tweet me at @gfreefun and tell me why you want these Kinnikinnick donuts.
Each method of entry equals another chance to win. You can enter up to three times! Good luck.

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