Friday, August 22, 2014

Celiac Bucket List

Lately, I've been debating on giving up blogging or keeping it going.  When I started, I never anticipated how tough it was to get your words literally out there.  But, today, I got quite a bit of motivation, and thought I'd share a bit of my Celiac Bucket List.  It was truly an honor that Jennifer Esposito gave me some props today, and passed my blog on.  Jennifer is a true inspirational Celiac  and voice for so many of us...not to mention a hero!  With that said...let's get started onto yummy goodness that every Celiac should try whether placing an online order, or visiting in person, I've heard rave reviews of all that I've mentioned.  

Do you live in an area that has a lot of fresh, gluten free options?  Surprisingly the Pittsburgh area, and especially the area I live has very few options.  We aren't big traveler s -but, thanks to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, I get to see lots of yummy options and makes me wish even more to have places -such as, Jennifer's Way BakeryBabyCakes NYCP. S. & Co..  So, as you can guess, all of them are on my Celiac Bucket List!

Jennifer's Way Bakery is located in NY, NY and owned by the amazing Jennifer Esposito who is a true voice, and advocate for Celiac...and is a Celiac herself!  Jennifer's Way Bakery is a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Organic, Allergy Friendly Bakery!  In addition to the bakery itself, you can also purchase cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and chocolate chunk) and pancake mix online.  Jennifer's Way Bakery offers "good, clean, delicious products that had integrity, nutrition and simple ingredients".  In addition to the bakery, Jennifer also wrote a book titled "Jennifer's Way:  My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Docotors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again."  

BabyCakes NYC is located in NYC, LA, and Orlando and owned my Erin McKenna.  BabyCakes NYC goodies are Refined Sugar-Free, Gluten Free, Wheat-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan, and Kosher.  In addition to the bakery, there BabyCakes NYC has an app and 2 books: BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery, and BabyCakes Covers the Classics...with a 3rd in the works!  I have been lucky enough to visit the Orlando location in Downtown Disney several times before the location closed -but, the selection doesn't compare to the NYC selection so I hear!  So, I've partially filled my Babycakes NYC bucket list -but, not completely! 

(Donuts I made using BabyCakes NYC recipe)

P. S. & Co.  is located in Philadelphia, PA, and owned by Andrea Kyan.  P. S. & Co. is an organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher parve cafe.  Last year, I was lucky enough to win a contest P. S. & Co. offered, and got to try their amazing sweets. The PBJ Crisp was to die for!  
One day, I'm just going to have a do a road trip, and visit them all...and pack comfy cloths for room to expand from all the yummy goodness!!!  

Locally, we do have a few yummy goodness options:

The Gluuteny is a dedicated gluten free, dairy free bakery where everything is made in-house, from scratch, by hand, daily.  They offer cakes, cookies, pizza crust, cupcakes, mixes, and more!!!  You bet each year, they make our birthday cakes!!  

SunnyBakes is a Cafe located in SunnyBridge Natural Foods.  SunnyBakes is a dedicated gluten free bakery and cafe.  Anytime we stock up on gluten free foods from SunnyBridge, Miss J without a doubt needs a sweet SunnyBakes treat, too!  
We are very lucky to have a few places to get our yummy goodness, gluten free fix -but, wish we could move Jennifer's Way, BabyCakes NYC, and P.S. & Co. here too.  A Celiac girl can dream, right?!?!?  The biggest comfort of them all is being 100% safe food for Celiacs.  Not to mention, they are all a small business...always have to support the little guys!   

Where are your favorite gluten free places?  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Safe Eats

Is it just me or have you also found it more difficult to eat out lately?!?!  In the past, when a restaurant had a gluten free menu, they knew to take precautions due to Celiac.  Now, when I request a gluten free menu at the very few restaurant choices that I have, they seem to fluff me off -so, I stress several times we have "allergies".  It so frustrating that the fad diet now makes it difficult for those of us that need gluten free to get safe, gluten free food.  

Unfortunately, we only have a handful of choices of where we can eat out, and of that handful only 3 do I feel confident of getting a safe meal.  Locally, we have a BnDz (Burgers and Dogs) who are extremely knowledgeable, and have delicious food.   We had our first visit the other day, and truly impressed.  You can order off the menu or create your own.  My daughter who is 4 was tickled pink that they gave her a sweet treat; which was gluten free (labeled that way too)!  They also have a dedicated frier for their fresh cut fries, and gluten free buns!  
Upon placing our orders and saying we needed gluten free, they asked if we were Celiacs.  That is honestly the first time I'v been asked that in a very long time!  The owner has a medical background, and wanted to create a safe place for all to eat...that he sure did!  

Another comfort out to eat spot is PF Changs.  One of my biggest comforts with our PF Changs is Gluten Free meals are served on a different style plate -so, when you are handed your plate you aren't wondering if its the correct meal.  It would be nice if all the other places that offer Gluten Free menus would do something similar.  Or even put a Gluten Free flag on it!  

Last but certainly not least, my 3rd favorite comfort to eat out is Mandy's Pizza.  There are 2 locations to get Gluten Free yummies:  West View, and the newest location is in Squirrel Hill.  The owners son has food allergies -so, they take every needed precaution.  Mandy's Pizza offers a fantastic selection of yummy goodness, too!  I've tries all they have to offer, and have never been disappointed!  The Squirrel Hill location is actually across the street from a dedicated Gluten Free Bakery:  Gluuteny.  That right there is just a Celiacs dream to be able to get a delicious Gluten Free Pizza, Fries, Hoagie...and then go across the street for Dessert!  

I'd love to hear of some of you favorite safe, Gluten Free spots in Pittsburgh...or any other area for travel ideas!  

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Struggles with Celiac and Anxiety

I've debated a long time on writing a blog post about the anxiety that comes along with being a Celiac...and I'm finally doing it!  This may not be with all Celiacs or those with food allergies -but, it certainly is with me!!!  I've always been a very anxious person, and not fond of social setting -but, always managed to pull it together and no one ever realized.  As I've gotten older, being diagnosed with Celiac & Crohns my anxiety has heightened.  I've noticed that I am quicker to pull away from people because so many just don't understand the life of a Celiac, and how every social setting revolves around food -so, for me it's easier to go into shut down mode.  To be honest, most of my family & friends don't know this about me.

For a little bit, I went through an "oh well if I get contaminated"...and then I got contaminated.  Well, this contamination was the all mighty contamination!  I haven't been that sick from a contamination in a very long time, and I certainly am no longer in the "oh well if I get contaminated" mindset.  My guts freaked out so badly that I almost passed out not once -but, 3 times! The contamination feeling oh so quickly refreshed my mind why I'm typically so anal with food preparation, and usually stay away from eating out or food prepared by others.  You bet I'm now back on track, and being strict!  Sadly, now that I've been contaminated at a place I've always trusted, I'm back to being my old anxious self sticking to just eating at home!  Oh the life of a Celiac or living with a food allergy, right?!?!

I've always been the type of person who is anxious to please other, and I've finally realized I need to stop!  All the anxiety is wearing on my body more than celiac & crohns -so, it's time to make some changes in my life, right? This year, I finally realized enough is enough, and have been trying my best to put me first.  After all, if I don't take care of myself I can't be the best mom for my baby girl, and wife/daughter/sister/friend!  It can get pretty challenging for me at times -but, could never get through it all without my extremely supportive husband, family and friends.  I'm truly blessed...especially since my nearest and dearest friends accept me for me...anxiety & food issues and all!  This winter, great friend introduced me to hot yoga; which is perfect outlet to help to better myself, and relieve some anxiety.  If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it.  The hot yoga may not be for all -but, believe yoga in general is amazing.

I'm hoping this post hit home with some of you, and mainly just lets other know they aren't alone.  I'm hoping by me finally putting this out there it lets someone know they aren't alone!   Hoping you appreciate my being honest, and no judgement.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Amazing Simple Sugars Products

Do you have a favorite gluten free skin care or makeup product?  I'm a big fan of local small businesses, and have to share a great local, gluten free product:  Simple Sugars .  You may have even seen this "sweet" product on Shark Tank, too!  

My daughter who is 4 years old has very sensitive skin, and she loves the Raspberry Body Scrub.  By using this product, I can even skip putting location on her since it moisturizes so well, too!  No tot mention, it makes her smell even sweeter than she is!!  So far, I've used the eucalyptus-body-scrubcoconut-body-scrub,vanilla-body-scrub...and LOVE them all!  With my slight addition, I'm sure I'll be trying the rest of them before I know it!!  

My new favorite find of Simple Sugars is green-tea-with-tea-tree-facial-scrub.  I have bad breakouts, and have noticed a huge difference since using this amazing product.  I love that it's all natural, and works SO well!  Definitely a must try!  

So...get to your local Giant Eagle if you are in the Pittsburgh area...or head over to Simple Sugars website!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rinse Bath & Body offers Gluten Free

Have you ever heard of RINSE BATH & BODY?  During my trip to Disney this winter...yes, Disney of all places, I discovered their product.  I'm a huge user of peppermint oil for headaches, and always in the search of a more "natural" deodorant.  Low and behold, I spotted both while in Epcot!  Not a singe natural deodorant has ever work for me -however, this is all I use now!  It has even held up ALL day.  On their website, they list, Gluten Free, Vegan, and 100% Natural.  When I find a great Gluten Free product, I like to pass it onto others -so, be sure to check them out!

So far I have tried the following, and loved them.
deOdor Stick
Peppermint Roll-On
mango Pucker Stick

Please note, this product information is simply because I'm a fan of product, and by no means did I get paid to say so!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Celiac Awareness Month

Happy Celiac Awareness Month...a day late!  If you haven't seen it already, Celiac Central page has lots of useful information to help spread awareness, and share each others stories.  Be sure to stop by The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness!  

It's so hard for me to believe that I was diagnosed almost 11 years ago!  Times have certainly changed with gluten free foods, and availability.  I remember there not being many good tasting gluten free product, and now there are so many delicious ones...and even better so many you can't tell are "gluten free."  It's a bit heard warming when people say "wow, you can't even tell this is gluten free."  So many assume gluten free foods are gross -but, in reality most are quite delicious.

A perk of Celiac Awareness Month is that many local stores are offering a discount.  With the price of specially gluten free food, it sure is great to get a discount...even if it's once a year!  So, keep an eye out for those discounts this month! 

I'd love to hear of some of your favorite Gluten Free products!  

Here are some of ours:
Pizza:  Udi's
Bread:  Three Bakers
Cookies:  I've become a cook snob, and only like to make my own...of course using BabyCakes NCY Recipe!  If you use Bob's Redmill they have the recipe on their bag, too.  
And...of course we load up on lots of fresh fruit & veggies!  
Chicken Tenders:  Bell & Evans

Do you have any must have favorites?  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BabyCakes NYC...pure goodness!

Have any of you ever heard of BabyCakes NYC? If you haven't...your missing out for sure!  I'm 100% addicted!  When I was pregnant, a friend gave me a BabyCakes cookbook so I could make myself the gluten free goodies I was craving.  At a glance, I was intimidated by all the different flours!  Then, during one of our Disney trips, we had the privilege to try their goodies at their Downtown location.  It was all over from there on...I was hooked to their pure deliciousness!  As soon as I got home, I went straight to my cookbook drawer, and ran to the store to get all the ingredients.  Let me tell you, I shouldn't have ever been intimidated by the ingredients...ever.  The recipes are so easy, and now my family & friends are hooked too!  This morning, I tried a BabyCakes NYC recipe I had yet to try, and you bet we loved then!  For breakfast this morning, we had waffles sticks using BabyCakes NYC recipe and using a babycakes (not babycakes NYC) waffle stick maker!  Mmm good...and you bet I'll be making them again!

Here is the link to the waffle recipe: sure to check out the BabyCakes NYC cookbooks!

*Please note...this post was all on my own, and I'm just a huge babycakes NYC fan!