Thursday, June 10, 2010

Buddy's Gluten Free Pizza/Caraba's Italian Grille Review


I finally had the chance to head to Buddy's Pizza to try their gluten free pizza. My son and I walked through the doors with our mouths watering. It has been awhile since we've been out to eat, and especially for pizza. It was going to be a treat for sure.

I ordered the cheese and pepperoni because I wanted to taste the crust to see if it was as good as I remember Buddy's pizza to be. I guess I was waiting for something that I just couldn't make at home and I was so disappointed. I found the pizza was expensive at $8.49 for a 8x10 pizza. The crust was no better than what I can make at home much cheaper, and the pizza overall was very blah. Not impressed and I should've been since it was something I was really looking forward to trying.


I also tried Carrabba's. Not that my food was bad, but it was just nothing. They actually have a gluten free menu and all it consists of are items that are naturally gluten free excluding any of the flavor and extras that other people get with their "normal" dinners. It's a shame.

My main peeve with these and other establishments that offer gluten free food is that shouldn't the prices be lower for our gluten free dishes? You're saving money on half of the items that go on top or into the dishes that you have designated for us. Why should I pay the same amount or more for a salad without most of the toppings? Gluten free eaters shouldn't be considered "specialty" customers that you can jack the price up on.

And for Pete's sake, if you claim to be an Italian restaurant that offers gluten free food, why wouldn't you make gluten free breadsticks?!?!?! Everyone else at the table has breadsticks to eat while waiting for their dinner and I have to sit and wait. Course, I realize they would have to be an additional $18 added on the bill, but occasionally it would be worth it to partake in on the appetizers like everyone else.

Not impressed with my last two dinner outings, so I'm seeking better!














Wednesday, May 12, 2010

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA SPUDS



GLUTEN FREE PIZZA SPUDS

As my gluten free journey continues, I find myself always trying to come up with different ways to make our old family favorites. I told you about my Cheeseburger Spuds, and I took my concept one step further to make Pizza Spuds. Potatoes are a great gluten free vessel and they're economical to feed my family, so I often use potatoes in place of many items. I usually make my own gluten free pizza crust, but didn't have any on hand so we baked up our potatoes and came up with this creation:


GLUTEN FREE PIZZA SPUDS


8-10 medium sized potatoes
4 cups Italian shredded cheese or any kind you have on hand
8 ounces Pepperoni
1-2 jars pizza sauce (make sure it's gluten free)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter or margarine

Salt, pepper and garlic powder for taste




Bake the potatoes at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes or until tender


Cut the baked potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the middle and place in a large mixing bowl


Place the skins on a cookie sheet


Mix in the sour cream, butter, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 2 cups of the cheese into the mixing bowl with the insides of the potatoes

Mix until well blended. Slowly add the pizza sauce until the consistency is just about playdough. You don't want to get this mixture too wet or it won't stay in the skins well.

Place a teaspoon of pizza sauce on the bottom of the potato skins, place pepperoni on top of the sauce, add a scoop of the potato mixture on top of the sauce, and top with more shredded cheese.


Place these twice baked gluten free pizza spuds back into the oven until the cheese is melted.


This a quick, easy and delicious gluten free meal. It takes the place of traditional pizza, and my kids loved them because they could still pick them up with their hands and we ate them while we watched a movie.


Best wishes for a happy gluten free day!
Susan :)
The Celiac Shack

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Gluten Free Cheeseburger Spuds

GLUTEN FREE CHEESEBURGER SPUDS

Thought I'd share another gluten free creation from my kitchen that was a huge hit with my kids. I had a taste for a cheeseburger, but I haven't been able to find any good gluten free hamburger buns, so I did the next best thing. I mixed my cheeseburger with my fries...TAH DAH...my cheeseburger spuds were born!



This meal literally takes no time at all and it satisfies that craving for a burger like no other I've found.
GLUTEN FREE CHEESEBURGER SPUDS
(All of my recipes are created for feeding a family of six, so adjust it accordingly for your family)


8-10 medium sized potatoes
2 lbs. ground meat

2-3 packets of Gluten Free Cheese Sauce ( I use our Cheese Sauce by Full Flavor Foods - Amazing product and it's on sale right now on our SALE page)
1 large onion
1 large tomato
2 cups of chopped lettuce
Mustard
Ketchup
Dill pickle slices or dill relish
Salt, Pepper & Garlic powder


Bake 6 potatoes @ 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until tender

Brown the ground meat (I use ground turkey to make it healthier) Add garlic powder, salt & pepper to the meat for taste


Prepare the Cheese Sauce according to the package directions (Again, our Cheese Sauce is SO easy to prepare and it literally takes 5 minutes to make)


Slice the baked potatoes and top with the browned ground meat and cheese sauce. Top with all of your favorite cheeseburger toppings. ENJOY!


My kids never eat baked potatoes because they don't like the skin, but they ate these! Skin and all!! They got all the nutrients from the potatoes, enjoyed ground turkey without any complaints, and devoured lettuce, tomatoes and onions!! This is an amazing dish people!!


From our home to yours, best wishes for a happy gluten free day!


Susan :)
The Celiac Shack

Saturday, May 1, 2010

SPRING BLOWOUT SALE!



While we're working on our new website, we are making room for all of our new inventory.  We're hosting our Spring Sale right now on our temporary Sale page, so click on the SALE link above and save a lot of money on some really great gluten free products.  Everything must go so we have room for all of our new product lines!

Happy shopping and best wishes for a happy gluten free day!

Making gluten free fun one day at a time!



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gluten Free Shopping Survey

Gluten Free Shopping Survey

In the midst of getting our new site ready, I was proposed with a few question that I'd like to get your opinions and feedback on.  We all know that shopping for gluten free items is more time consuming and definitely more expensive than buying "normal" food. (Which drives me nuts to say the least!)

1)  Would you be more apt to buy your favorite gluten free products in bulk or by the case of you could pay a wholesale price? 

2)  Would you be willing to pay a minimum membership fee in order to be able to purchase your products at wholesale prices? 

As a mom, I am always looking for the products that I use on a regular basis at discounted prices, and I know that I would by a case of a favorite product if the price was right.  I'd love to get your feedback and you will be helping us to give you the best products at the best prices. 

From our home to yours, we wish you a happy gluten free day!

Susan
The Celiac Shack

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gluten Free products that rock!


Gluten Free Items I've found outside of the "Gluten Free Sections"

I'm always looking for items in the grocery store that used to be on my shopping list that I can use now.  I was VERY pleased to discover that two of my favorite staples are GLUTEN FREE!  This is a feeling that only a person with a gluten issue can possible understand.  I used to go buy whatever I wanted without one thought of what the ingredients were in my favorite products.  I just liked them, and that was all I needed to know.  Now however, I am constantly scanning labels (which I've gotten pretty good and fast at doing, I must say) and when I scan over my old favorites and find that they're safe....pure heaven! 

Okay, ready for two of the items that I've found?  Here they are:

Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix
Fabulous product indeed!  Love it as a salad dressing, but also use it in many of my recipes to add flavor. I like to add it to green beans, veggies, meat loaf, hamburgers, dips, chicken, and the list goes on.  I called Kraft when I first looked at the label, as it has undefined spices listed on the label, and they assured me that it's gluten free.   Clearly a win for Susan on this product!

Alouette Soft Spreadable Cheese
My mouth waters every time I think of my Garlic & Herb cheese spread with my favorite gluten free crackers. YUM!  I used to buy this product pre-gluten free, and I can still buy it now.  It's usually on sale at Kroger, and when it is, I stock up.  I also use this product on a variety of dishes since I know it's safe and delicious.  I use it as a dip for my crackers, veggies, in place of mayo on sandwiches, on chicken, on pasta, etc...

I'll continue to share my "normal" foods that I find to be gluten free.  I find new ones everyday and love sharing my information with all of you.  If you have any questions, please drop me a line and I'll be happy to help you if I can. 

From my home to yours, I wish you the best gluten free day ever!

Susan :)
The Celiac Shack ~ Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What is wrong with society?

When did we just give up on what we put into our bodies? When did we, as a nation, decide it is just okay to advertise, solicit, promote, and push crappy food? I just saw an advertisement on the boob tube for Wendy's. I watched in complete disbelief and disgust that they are now offering a "VALUE" meal for the low low price of $2.99. This comes complete with a fat loaded burger on a wheat filled bun, a medium sugary drink, and an order of fries! WOW...thank you so much Wendy's for offering a crap meal for such a value. What would we possibly do without you offering all of us food that has made our nation fat, unhealthy, and full of food issues.
I know I sound like a complete preacher here, and I admit that at one point in my past life, I used to be one of those people that would've seen this deal as a VALUE! Amazing to me how my view has changed. I now see this deal as the worst thing any fast food restaurant could ever offer it's patrons.
Instead of charging less for your unhealthy food, you should do all of us a favor and raise your prices so only the elite consumers can afford your product. This way, when their arteries fill up with you fat, when they stroke out, and when they gain an obscene amount of weight and dependency on your crap food, they'll be able to afford the doctor and hospital bills to cure their ailments. Spare the rest of us your "VALUE" meals and call them what they actually are..."High sugar, high fat, high calorie, gluten filled slop"!
Back to my complaint...I can drive my car through the drive-thru window at Wendy's twice a day, and spend less then I do on healthy food. I am on a budget, and it's difficult to buy fresh fruit and veggies for my family, but I do. I find it insulting that buying the food I NEED to buy for my family is so expensive, and Wendy’s can offer slop food at deep discounted prices. What is wrong with this picture? It's not like I'm out buying crazy food. I'm buying healthy choices for my family, which should be the norm! It's like our society sees fresh fruit/veggies, lean meat, natural choices as being the "Alternative" way to eat. Again, I'm buying the food that my kids need to grow and be healthy. I'm doing the responsible thing by watching my children's fat intake. Watching the snacks and calories on a daily basis. Yet, I end up paying out the nose for being responsible. I just don't get it.

It's official that I am now that crazy activist Mother on a mission to keep her kids healthy!

That's it for now...Have a great gluten free and HEALTHY night!

Susan :)
The Celiac Shack ~ Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gluten Free Chili Mac to die for!


Here is another one of my recent creations that was a huge hit with my kids. I used to make a cheesy, gooey, absolutely delicious chili Mac that leaves my mouth watering. I had to come up with a VERY close runner up to that recipe to fill my chili Mac void, so here is my gluten free substitute: (Keep in mind that I try very hard to keep all of my food low fat and healthy, but if you're one of those lucky people that don't need to watch their calories or fat intake, then please feel free to buy regular items ~ and don't even think that the rest of us calorie/fat counters are secretly hoping you get fat one day...HA-HA) joking


Gluten Free Chili Mac ~
From the kitchen of Susan Jones (The Celiac Shack)


2 lbs Ground Turkey ( I use the 85/15 blend because I find turkey breast is too dry for my taste, but you also can use ground beef if that suits your fancy)


2 cans diced tomatoes
1 large onion (chopped)
1 green pepper
4 tablespoons oil
1 16oz fat free sour cream
2 cans unseasoned black beans
2 cloves of garlic to taste
Chili powder to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
Cumin powder to taste ( I use a lot of cumin!)
1 family sized bag of gluten free noodles ( I really like Tinkyaya noodles, but I use whatever I have on hand)

Cheddar cheese to taste


Brown the meat, chopped onions and green pepper in a large pot with a little oil. I add my cumin powder, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper at this point. Once this mixture is nice and brown, add to tomatoes and black beans. Simmer until everything has melded together. Add seasoning if needed to your taste and add the sour cream.


Cook your gluten free pasta noodles according the package instructions and drain.


Add the noodles to the chili mixture (I heard that you should always add noodles to sauce and not sauce to noodles...not sure if it's true, but it's what I do now)


Top with the cheddar cheese and serve with a nice salad or gluten free bread.

Delicious, easy to make, and completely gluten free. Hope you guys enjoy it, as this recipe makes enough for my family of 6 and I always have leftovers for lunches the next day. Cut it in half if you don't have an army to cook for ;)

Susan :)
The Celiac Shack ~ Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Monday, April 5, 2010

SPRING is a great Gluten Free time!


I've have a renewed excitement in cooking, baking and living gluten free! I consider myself to be a pretty good cook (and yes, my family would agree...I hope!) I was getting into my winter cooking blahs, but now that Spring is here...watch out!


I'm not one to follow recipes exactly. I'm a busy Mom, and I "fidget" recipes to work for me in my day. I like to experiment, and sometimes my creations work...sometimes they're not requested again, but this is how I run my kitchen and I like it this way. Some of my family's favorites have come from me combining two different recipes, or just experimenting with ingredients. I also lack the desire to actually write down my recipes, which drives my husband nuts! He thinks I should have a book of recipes that the kids love, but I say, "Who has time"?? All of my cooking knowledge is in my head, which can be a pretty chaotic and scary place, depending on the day. Some days my chili has a tad more cumin than others, but this is okay in my world...my time is too precious to worry about the small details - ha-ha


This new blog format will serve multiple purposes. It will allow me to share my everyday cooking experiences with you, and it will also make my husband happy because I will actually be documenting my recipes for future use...blah blah blah. I'm joking, because I am really excited to share my trial and errors with all of you and document my successes so I look like a really good gluten free cook! :)


This is one of my creations that I used to accompany my fruit salad on Easter day.

HEALTHY GLUTEN FREE FRUIT DIP/TOPPING
Ingredients:
1 8 oz package fat free cream cheese
6-12 Strawberries (dependant on your taste- I told you that I fidget recipes!!)
1 banana
Approx. 1 cup low fat Cottage cheese
Approx. 1/2 cup fat free Plain yogurt
Honey - as much as you need for sweetness
1/2 teaspoon Gluten free vanilla


Add the first 3 ingredients into a blender and slowly blend until slightly smooth. Slowly add the remainder of the ingredients, watching for consistency. You don't want your mixture to get too runny, so if you need to cut back on the yogurt and cottage cheese, please do so. Blend all the ingredients together, and serve with any fresh fruit you have on hand.


Simple, easy, healthy, and it is delicious. I'm not a big fan of adding extra calories, especially to fruits and veggies, but this is a nice healthy alternative to get cottage cheese and yogurt into my kids' diets.


I will be posting more fabulous gluten free recipes everyday, so check back!


Susan :)
The Celiac Shack ~ Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Great Gluten Free Day



Hey everyone!

It's been awhile since I've taken my head out of the computer, so I thought I'd drop a quick line to let everyone know that The Celiac Shack is well on it's way to being new and improved in the VERY near future!  We've been working feverishly on every aspect of The Shack, and I think all of you will really enjoy the results when we do our re-launch! 

We're coming up with some great new contests and additions so get your "fun" ready!  As always, we'd love to hear from you and get any comments, suggestions and input you may have, so feel free to drop us a line if you think of anything you'd like us to add to our site or community.

While I'm here, I wanted to tell you what I made for breakfast this morning ~ It was AWESOME!

GLUTEN FREE BREAKFAST PROTEIN SHAKE
3 cups skim milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 banana
1 cup cooked rice
1 tablespoon vanilla
sugar to taste
ice

Blend all together for a delicious quick breakfast.  I usually add gluten free oats to our shakes for some "bite", but the rice was a really nice addition.  Plus it used up my leftover rice from last night....love it when I can come up with new ways to save money! 

Keep in touch ~ Until next time...Have a happy gluten free day!

Susan :)
The Celiac Shack
"Making gluten free fun one day at a time!"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bob's Red Mill

Good Deeds Go Noticed!


It was so refreshing to read the article stating that Bob Moore, age 81 and owner of Bob's Red Mill , turned his company over to his employees.

I've included the link if you haven't head about this kind deed yet.  It makes ya just wanna go out and do something nice for someone! 


I wish you a fantastic gluten free day!

Susan :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Celiac Shack: working hard and accepting gluten free samples



So I'm working non stop on the new and improved Celiac Shack and in the meantime, I'm being mom, wife, chauffer, chef, maid, reader, tutor, mentor, counselor, snow shoveler and head zoo keeper. In all of this stress that I call life, I had a giggle today when I downloaded my photos from December to my computer and saw my daughter, Margaret, wearing her fruit snacks well. Ahhhh, the small things in life ARE what's important!

Okay, status report on The Celiac Shack: I'm recreating our layout for a more user friendly site. I'm working on choosing and adding new products to our site. I'm really excited about this step because The Jones Gang are happily taste testing everything that is being sent to us. Some have been hits and some items have been immediately declined. It's been a great experience and a lot of fun for them. When else are they going to eat gluten free cookies every night! Wooo hooo! haha
Back to the purpose of my post. I would like to extend an offer to all of you out there that produce, manufacturer, or package gluten free foods to send your samples to us for review. If they pass the Jones Gangs' test, I'll be happy to add them to our site for sale. This is the perfect time to get your product added to a site with a ton of members and customers from all over the world! Send me a note and I'll give you our shipping address.
That's the update folks. I am wishing all of you a happy gluten free day!


Susan :)
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!
theceliacshack@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Favorite Gluten Free Sweet

No big secret that I love, and when I say love, I mean LOVE Tootsie Rolls. They are the perfect sweet morsel. They come in a number of sizes and each one is consistently awesome. I prefer the classic sized Tootsie Rolls because I can monitor my munching status when they're smaller! Although I do admit that I get so excited when I come across those mambo ones that come in the full candy bar size packages - my mouth is watering just thinking about them! The best part is...They're GLUTEN FREE! They were my favorite candy before and I didn't have to give them! Score for Susan!

Now that I've shared my dirty sweet secret, I'm curious what your favorite gluten free sweet is. What tiny or huge confection do you get excited to see and even more ecstatic when you have it in your mouth? I know I'm not the only one out here that has a weakness for a favorite sugary treat!
So open up and spill your gooey gooey goodness favorite! Oh, by the way, I'm also looking for your replies so I can build my own personal candy list! ha-ha ;)

Best wishes for a happy gluten free day!
Susan :)
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Website Designer Wanted!


I have the most fabulous distributor that is more than willing to work with The Celiac Shock. I have TONS of new gluten free products to add to our site that are awesome and fabulous. I have support of so many great members, friends, my community, business contacts and my family, but what I don't have is an updated website. The one thing that I need and want the most.


The Celiac Shack launched in May 2009 and we were new to the online world as far as owning a business. I have learned so much in the past year about our business and the workings of a website, and my goal is to update our site to make it more user friendly for all of you. I have come to a cross road and I am waving my white flag.


I NEED help on my website because I just do not have the time, or I should say, uninterrupted time, to do what needs to be done.


So here it is, I am seeking a website designer to incorporate all of my e-commerce, information, and social sites onto one silver platter. I NEED search engine optimization and I really want input for a new and fresh approach.


Sounds like a great plan, eh? Well, here is the kicker...I need it done for a REALLY low price :D


I'm the Mom of four kids...I really need a guardian angel that believes in what I'm doing to help me out. In my life, I always say that I make one change daily to be the change that I wish to see in the world, and I am really in need of someone to practice this philosophy for me.


If you are a web designer, or know of a web designer that is looking to work and grow with us, please let me know. I'm looking for a long term working relationship with this person, and I promise that I will do everything in my power to make our relationship beneficial for all parties involved.




I'd appreciate any input or contacts you may have - I don't ask for assistance very often, but I'm definitely in need right now.




Have a wonderful gluten free day!


Susan :)
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rants & Raves of Susan


Feeling The Stress!



For the next month, I really want and need to share with all of you my daily events, trials, failures and successes regarding The Celiac Shacks' new launch.


I've been working for the past month on everything from adding new products, gaining ground on creating our new website, and keeping up with all of my contacts, customers, vendors, and communications. I've also been non-stop interrupted by my four lovely children and life in general. I REALLY need another ME at this point just to accomplish what I want to accomplish!


After working for over a month, I've realized that I am spinning my wheels on many sections of my progress and I'm beyond frustrated. I know any of you that have a business or have worked in a business understand this frustration. I am constantly taking two giant steps back for every baby step I take ahead. My first and foremost priority is my family, and let me tell you that they take a LOT of time! Geeesh...some days I cringe at hearing the word "Mommmmmm"! But at the end of the day, I know that they come way ahead of anything I'm working on and I do what I do with love and compassion...or at least I'm trying to!


I am working on adding new products to our site, which brings me to my question for all of you:

Are you guys looking for frozen and refrigerated food items? Do you purchase pre-made meals that you can pop in the oven? If the replies are yes, then I will incorporate those items into our inventory...if the replies are no, then I want to know what types of items you're looking for and using everyday. 

 I really want to carry items that are going to prove helpful to all of you at a low cost, so I'm really asking for your input here. Your input would greatly help me out. I'm trying to stop spinning the wheels over here and hopefully keep some of my sanity at the same time!


Ok...enough ranting and raving for now. There will be more to follow! ;)


From my crazy home to yours, I wish the best of gluten free days!

Susan :)
The Celiac Shack

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kids Corner

It's been a few days since I've blogged, and I wanted to tell all of you what my kids made last night for dinner. (I was actually very impressed that they wanted to make this dish, but all of them loved it and had a lot of fun making it)



Gluten Free Mujadarrah
(For those of you that don't know what Mujadarrah is, it's a lentils/rice/onions dish that is REALLY easy to make and quite nutritious and delicious!


1 bag of dried lentils
1 bag of rice
3 sliced onions in rings (I use a lot cause I love onions but you can use less based on your taste)
Minced garlic to taste
Salt/Pepper to taste
About 1/2 cup of olive oil - again, I prefer my mixture to be a little moist so you can use less olive oil if you prefer


In a large pan, put about 1/4 cup of the olive oil and heat slowly
Slice the onions so they're in rings
Place the sliced onions and garlic in the pan and sauté until just past the point of being caramelized. They should almost look like they're about to burn, but just a medium shade of brown.
Put this pan aside
Rinse your lentils and place in a large pot. Cover with just enough water to cover them a simmer until the water is absorbed.
Place the rice on top of the lentils and cover this mixture with just enough water to cover all of the rice. Simmer until all of the water is absorbed.
At this point, you should have a beautiful mix of fluffy rice and lentils. Take off the heat and pour the rest of the olive oil and the onion mixture. Mix gently as not to crush the lentils.

Serve with plain yogurt, cucumbers, diced tomatoes, and pita bread. The combinations are endless. I've even added grilled chicken before to this mix to make awesome pita sandwiches.


My kids had a lot of fun slicing the onions (They think it's fun to see who cries first! ha-ha) It's a great dish that is easy to make and doesn't require any measuring, so the kids think it's really neat to be able to just make a dinner for everyone so easily. This dish is a great source of protein and is a great option for vegetarians.
Have fun ~ Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.


Susan :)
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids Corner



Birthday Treats At School

If you have kids, I know you've received the acceptable birthday item list that kids can bring into the class to celebrate their birthday with their classmates.  Most of the items are not gluten free, so when my son had his last birthday, I asked the teacher if it'd be ok if we made up our own goody bags to bring in.  It was a great way to bring in all of his favorite items, and to have him share some knowledge with his friends that he can in fact eat awesome stuff too...just not some of the same things they can. 


In case you aren't aware, most schools have peanut allergies, so you do need to be careful not to include candy that contains nuts, but here are some options that you can pack up into little baggies and give away:

M&Ms (not the Krispy kind)
Dove Chocolate bars
Hershey Kisses & Bars
LifeSavers
Rolos
Skittles
Starbursts
Three Musketeers

It's a great way to have your child feel like he is the one handing out great goody bags instead of the one that can never have anything other people bring in.

Susan :)
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Travel & Leisure



GLUTEN FREE VENDOR FAIR!

As always, I've been checking out what events are coming up in the gluten free world, and I wanted to share with all of you that there is a gluten free vendor fair taking place in the Chicago area in Lisle, IL.

It looks like there is going to be 50 different vendors with education tables for adults and children.  Also, there will be a Kid's area with lots of fun activities and treats.  Sounds like a great time if you're going to be in the Chicago area or want to take a road trip!
 Below is the information and the link in case you have any further questions:

Don’t miss the largest Gluten Free Vendor Fair in the Chicago area.


50+ vendors
Children’s Gluten Free Area with Activities, Education and Treats
Sample and Purchase Gluten Free Products, Books and Services
Ask the Doctor Table
Ask the Nutritionist Table
Ask the Chef Table

The Wyndham Hotel, 30000 Warrenville Road, Lisle, IL
Open to the public April 17, 2010, from 9am-12pm
Open to the public April 18, 2010, from 11am-3pm
Purchase Tickets at the Door
Adults $15
Children under 12 are free

We're always looking for more great gluten free events to post, so if you know of any, shoot us an email and we'll spread the word! 

Best wishes for a happy gluten free day!

Susan
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ready to take off your gloves?


The gloves are off and I'm ready to rumble!


Up until now, I've been really politically correct with my blogs. I've tried to see what the general consensus is among our members, but now I'm ready to let my words fly! Watch out...I apologize in advance if I offend anyone, but honestly the only people I could be offending are the people that deserve to be offended. So stiffen up sissy butts and let the opinions of Susan roll! I think I've gained some trust among many of you and it's time we start tackling the tough issues that ARE the 400 lb. elephant in the room. Today, I'm beginning my new blog format with my complete and honest opinions. As all of you know, I am the mother of four amazing kids, a wife, and a generally liked and respected woman, but first and foremost, I'm an educated individual with many issues and a desire to make changes in my life and the world in general. I've decided it's time to open the flood gates and begin a series of discussions among all of you, and hopefully, we can come up with some solutions instead of regurgitating the same old poop over and over again. Ya ready? GOOD!

I'm hearing some frustration regarding Doctors and the way most of them practice well-being and health. I believe that Doctors are just now starting to view people as a whole instead of treating symptoms. If you're anything like me, you have plenty of symptoms, but not enough support to dissect those symptoms. I've been on countless medications since I've been 21. I'm only 37 now and I feel like I'm 90! I got tired of hearing the same old answers every time I went to a new Dr. I always left feeling like most of my problems were in my head and self induced. Or worse yet, I had issues that just had no resolve, and I would just have to find a way to grin and bear them. My husband's worried since my warrenty has expired and he didn't purchase the extendo plan! ;)

I began investigating gluten and the effects of it when I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I've had psoriasis since I was 21 and it was getting worse with each passing year. I had red, itchy splotches over 90% of my body, I was in constant pain because my skin always felt like it was going to literally break apart. My self esteem was lower than it had ever been, and to top all of this off, I began gaining weight and always felt bloated and exhausted. Nice combo for anyone to have to deal with.
I was on thyroid medication for my hypothyroidism, was constantly rubbing prescribed steroid creams all over myself to ease the discomfort of psoriasis, and was constantly having joint pain. I got to the point where I couldn't even pick up my own baby girl anymore because of the pain I was enduring. I finally had to go see a Rheumatologist who placed me on Humira. I am going to tell you that Humira is a wonderful drug that eased my joint pain, and also cleared up my skin 99%. I was delighted with this injectable, but at the end of the day, it is still a drug that was lowering my immune system and putting me at risk for illness. There had to be a better way to solve these symptoms!

See what I mean here? Not once did any of my Doctors acknowledge that perhaps I had an allergy that was the root cause of my problems. Not once did any of them even think to run blood tests except to allow me to begin a new medication. Not once did I ever hear that perhaps all of my symptoms were related as all three are autoimmune disorders. Not once did I ever get any positive answers or solutions. All I ever received were prescriptions for more drugs! I grew tired of Doctors telling me that most of my symptoms were in my head and if I tried yet another medication, I would feel better. My last Doctor actually placed me on an anti-depressant to help me deal with my issues. Are you kidding me?? ENOUGH! My cupboard looks like a pharmacy for Pete's sake! This is not even including all of my ointments, lotions, and herbal concoctions. Nor is it including the fees that I spent on acupuncture based on a suggestion from one of my many Dr.s It was worth a try, right? No, it wasn't!

Okay, okay...enough of my personal ramblings about the lack of holistic practices from the medical community in general. I guess medicine is a big money maker, and it is in a lot of people's best interest to keep patients coming back for refills, check-ups, and constant ineffective care. I just am at a loss for any other reason why most health care providers would continue such practices if it isn't for the big green buck!

I truly believe as patients, we need to speak up to our Doctors and insist that they listen to us. I'm firm on my position that YOU know your body better than anyone else. YOU know when you don't feel right, and YOU know what is right for you. We're our own best advocate and we need to stand up against modern medicine and the drug companies. Wake up people...Pfizer doesn't have your best interest in mind.

We need get back to basics as a country and it all begins at home. I know, I know, actually taking your own health and diet on is a lot of hard work. Teaching your children about nutrition is hard work. Cooking nutritious meals is hard work. Shouting out to the food manufacturers that you no longer want their crap is hard work. It's all soooo hard! Well, nothing worth while is easy in this world, so get working! Everyday that I spend reviewing products, reading labels, teaching and working with my children in the kitchen, and eliminating gluten from my diet is one day closer to being the change that I wish to see in our lives. Everyday that I veto McDonalds and show my children how many awful things that kind of food contains is one step closer to the life I want for them. Every week that passes that I don't need my Humira injection is one step closer to me telling my Doctor that I don't agree with his practices, once step closer to the drug company not making money off of me when their medicine is unnecessary, and one step closer to my insurance company not having to pay for a completely wasteful trip to my pharmacy. (I have MANY views on insurance companies, but that is an all day sucker! Perhaps for next weeks blog ha-ha) Who knows?? Maybe in a perfect world, I can control my psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, hypothyroidism, fatigue, weight, and hair loss all with MY diet and what I choose to NOT put into my body!!!! *GASP* What a concept! Are you Doctors out there listening?? Pull your script pads out and start taking notes! (I know that was sassy, but it's something I've always wanted to say to my old Doctor!)

I just got a comment on my blog from one of our awesome followers, ("Hello Georgie!"), who's Doctor told her that she should try yoga for her bloated tummy. I'm all for yoga, but seriously? Is yoga going to cure your ailments? To quote Georgie, "*sigh* Um, noooo!!" Still giggling from that...thanks Georgie! (And before I get that comment that tells me yoga has many health benefits, I know! I do yoga...but as a form of exercise, not as a replacement for correct diagnosis!)

Enough is enough people. When are we going to take the wheel of our lives and begin telling our health care providers to stop with the drugs and unnecessary treatments? I used to feel very intimidated with my Doctors. I would always sit there and listen to them and not speak up. Why? I have no idea! I was somehow taught that speaking up against an "authority figure" was rude. This happened until I realized that doctors pull on their pants the same way I do it doesn't matter how many years of medical school they've been to....they're not an authority figure. They work for US! Without US, they would be out of business, so it's our duty to be diligent about our own health. If your Doctor doesn't treat you with respect and make you feel like it is their privilege to work with YOU, kick them to the curb and get another doctor. Trust me, you'll save yourself many headaches!
I have many areas of interest that I will be covering in my upcoming blogs, so stay tuned! In conclusion, I want your comments! I value your opinions, good, bad and ugly. Let's shake it up and see if we can't come up with some solutions. Maybe we can be quicker and more efficient than our Government! Ha-Ha

Peace out for now ~ Susan
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Kids Corner


Easy Gluten Free Kid's Dinner



I was in a pinch for a quick and easy dinner the other night, and I came up with a casserole that knocked my kids' socks off! It was easy, pretty nutritious, and my kids actually asked for it again! Not too bad for a casserole!! ha-ha


Here is my concoction:

Gluten Free Hot Dog/Mac & Cheese Casserole


1 pack of Jennie O Turkey Hot Dogs
1 box of Gluten free noodles
2 packs of gluten free cheese sauce (I used our Full Flavor Foods Cheese Sauce)
2 cups Gluten free crackers crushed
1/2 stick melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional if you use the spinach)
1 package of frozen spinach (optional)


Boil the hotdogs just until warm - slice or chop into bite sized pieces.
Cook the gluten free pasta according to the package
Cook the cheese sauce according to the directions.
In the meantime, I pureed the spinach in the food processor or blender with the olive oil.
Grease an 11x13 casserole dish
Place the pasta in the dish
Layer the hotdogs on top of the pasta
Mix the spinach into the cheese sauce
Pour the cheese/spinach mixture over the pasta and hotdogs


Mix the melted butter with the gluten free crackers and spread evenly on top of the whole mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and the crackers begin to slightly brown.
Enjoy!


I'm all about easy recipes, and this is a really good one when you're short on time and want to get a home cooked meal into your kids!



Regards,
Susan
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Health & Wellness


Going the Distance Fundraiser



I heard about The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center through an acquaintance. She had received a Celiac Care Package from them when her son was diagnosed, and I began researching them online. I think they offer such a positive message for all of us, and I wanted to share some info about them and their annual fund raiser, which is so important as they are a non-profit organization.


The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is dedicated to raising awareness and diagnosis rates nationwide and meeting the critical needs of people affected by celiac disease through education, research and advocacy. The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is the first center of its kind in the nation, offering a comprehensive approach to the disease: including reliable and accurate patient and professional education, expert diagnosis and treatment for both children and adults, ground-breaking bench and clinical research and active leadership in advocacy efforts. The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center is a 501-c3 non-profit organization, completely funded by donor contributions.


Going The Distant Fund Raiser Info


Going the Distance for Celiac Disease is easy...this is a do-it-yourself fundraiser! Just sign up for an organized event or make up your own. Walk, run, swim, bike, jump rope--whatever your fancy-- to help support the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and raise funds for Celiac Disease Education, Research and Advocacy! Download your "Fundraising Kit" here to get started or for more information, call 773-702-7593


It's a really great cause and something fun to do with your kids. Teaching your kids not only how to eat gluten free, but also how to be active and to how to give back to the community is the best wisdom you can offer up. Check it out and let me know what you're going to do for your activity. We should start a contest to see who can raise the most money - wouldn't that be fun??


Regards,
Susan
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shack Attack



A Change is Gonna' Come

I was blogging yesterday and it took everything I had to do so. I'm not sure if it's the Michigan Winter weather or just a lack of motivation. I have been blogging on almost a daily basis since May of 2009 and I just came to a realization...I'm full of crap. Though some of my blogs have been thoughtful executed, I have been doing nothing more than echoing what the gluten-free community already knows or spits out on a rigorous daily pace. The information being churned out is mostly carbon copies of blogs past. This is obviously done to stay fresh in everyone's heart and minds and to keep their name churning in the machine of all the large search engines. My information included.

Today I put my foot down and say no more! I want people to stay in touch and visit our website, but at what cost? Does anyone really need another brownie recipe or a shout out about the horrors of gluten? I think not and I'm going to do something about it. My son and I are gluten intolerant but still have yet to make the transition to a lifestyle totally void of it. Why have we not done so as of yet? The two biggest reasons are money and laziness. I am a mother of 4 and sometimes take the easy route for dinner. Though we have seen an improvement in our health, it's time to kick into overdrive.

Starting in February (or close to it) lol, I intend to blog about my families descent into the gluten free jungle. It's going to take my husband and other three children that long to eat the remaining gluten in our home and for me to do a restock of the kitchen.

I hope you will continue to follow us as we make this transition. I want as much 1st hand knowledge as possible so that I may serve my customers with honesty and integrity. So please stay tuned and you will see a marginal cooker reveal her gluten free adventures. I hope you will enjoy our new format and honesty. It's not going to be easy folks!

If you would like to submit a sample or product to our cause, please e-mail me at theceliacshack@yahoo.com. We will work it into our diet, blog about it, and possibly add it to our inventory at http://www.theceliacshack.net/ if the Jones Gang gives it the big thumbs up.

Thank You,

Susan Jones
The Celiac Shack
"Making gluten-free fun one day at a time!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gluten Free Product Info


To Teff Or Not To Teff...That Is My Question

I've been hearing so many great things about Teff lately that I decided to read up on this "miracle" grain. Being the "average" Mom that I am, I haven't purchased Teff before, much less worked with it. I just spoke with a physician yesterday that swears Teff is the ultimate solution to gluten free living. He said Teff is versatile, easy to work with, comes in flour and grain form, and produces amazing products. Well, sign me up!!


After researching Teff, I've come up with some general information that I thought I'd share.


Teff's history goes back thousands of years to the ancient civilizations of Abyssinia. It was a reliable support to our ancestors basic survival. Teff is a fine grain, about the size of a poppy seed that comes in a variety of colors, from white and red to dark brown. Teff thrives even in unpredictable and difficult climates because of it's ability withstand high heat and bright light.


Professional athletes and individuals on special diets are attracted to its delicious taste, gluten-free physiology, and nutritional advantage. Teff grows predominantly in Ethiopia and Eritrea. As such, teff comprises the staple grain of their cuisines.

Teff is also now grown in the United States, primarily in Idaho. Ground into flour, teff is used to make the traditional bread, injera - a flat, pancake-like, slightly sour bread that complements the exotic spices found in the food of the Sub-Saharan region. Teff flour is delicious in pancakes, pastries, or as a thickener in soups and gravy.

Ethiopian Injera Bread!!! One of my favorite things in the world! For those of you who haven't tried this delicacy, please please please go out and find a place get some! There is also a link for making your own Injera Bread, which I'm going to try as soon as I get some Teff!!


Teff is a delicious grain with high quality complex carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and fiber. Teff grain can be eaten as cereal or polenta. Brown Maskal Teff is rich in flavor with a subtle nutty aftertaste. Ivory teff is milder in taste, but equally nutritious.Teff grain constitutes one of the best natural combinations of nutrients and taste to promote endurance, performance, and good health.
I'm going to get a hold of some Teff and work with it in my daily recipes. I'll let everyone know what I think and how it works. Very exciting to bring a new product into my house and kitchen!


If you have any comments, opinions or suggestions about Teff, please let us all hear them.


Regards,
Susan
The Celiac Shack
Making gluten free fun one day at a time!