Archive for category Hold the Gluten Blog

Gluten-Free Holiday Frenzy – Episode 76 Hold the Gluten

The latest episode of Hold the Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 76 “Gluten-Free Holiday Frenzy” Features:

  • Hanukkah gluten-free – latkes & brisket!
  • Cheers to gluten-free alcoholic bevs
  • Wholesome Chow‘s Gluten-Free Vegan Baking Mix
  • Mike’s Hard Lemonade now gluten-free
  • Maureen’s gluten-free holiday frustrations & pie crust debacle
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

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And here is the direct download

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Your Family Can Have a Spooktacular Gluten-Free Halloween!

I remember “Trick or Treating” as a child.  We ran house to house visiting neighbors who filled our pillowcases with Halloween treats.  When our pillowcases were too heavy to carry, we knew it was time to head back home and assess our loot.  Truth be told, I usually snuck a candy bar (or several) along the way.  

Since my daughter Emma’s diagnosis with Celiac Disease this year, we’ve worked to keep special events and holidays as “normal” as possible.  A little pre-All Hollows’ Eve planning and communication with your child is all you need!

I Want Candy!

Who doesn’t want candy?  If I could eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I certainly would!  Halloween is a free for all of sugary goodness; some safe, some off-limits.  Most importantly, you need to sit down with your child a few days before Halloween to talk about your Halloween game plan:

  • Arm yourself with a 2012 Gluten-Free Halloween Candy list.  This can be found online as is an immense resource.
  • Reinforce the fact that absolutely no candy can be eaten until an adults checks the ingredients to make sure they are safe.  This means no sneaking treats like I did in the “old days”.
  • Talk with your child about how they will get some unsafe treats while Trick or Treating.
  • Get your kids involved in baking Halloween treats – do they want cupcakes with icing spiderwebs or spooky brownies for their class party?

Trick or Trade:  Out with the Gluten – In with the Fun!

It’s inevitable that your child is going to get treats that are not gluten-free in their bag and you’ll need to remove them.   One way to help kids from feeling upset or deprived is what we like to call “Trick or Trade”.   Prior to Halloween night, buy a bag of gluten-free candy that your child likes.  Keep it on hand to trade out the gluten-filled candy.  Another option that your dentist will surely love is to have inexpensive items to trade (think of things that you would put into a birthday “goodie bag”).

Halloween Class Parties – Gluten-Free Style

Schools LOVE to have Halloween parties – especially in elementary and middle school.  Baking up some ghoulishly delicious treats for the entire class is oh-so-easy!  GlutenFreely’s Recipe Section is full of  fun Halloween-themed treats including Creepy Mini Eyeballs cupcakes,  Halloween Buddies aka Halloween Chex mix,  Marshmallow Mummies  made from Fruit Roll-ups and marshmallows.  Other kid-approved options are Meringue GhostsPeanut Butter Pumpkins (adorable pumpkin shaped candies made using peanut butter chips, pretzel twists and vanilla frosting),  Scary Spiderweb  Cupcakes or Spooky Brownies!  Check out the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo’s Halloween Pinterest page for more ideas – totally inspiring!

One word of advice, be sure to check with the teachers and room parents on the party activities and if the day will contain any gluten-filled games.  One popular class activity is a “No Hands Donut Eating Contest”.  Picture glutinous donuts tied to strings and the student attempting to eat said donuts with their arms behind their backs.  Yes, gluten will be flying everywhere….  So stay in touch with the school so that you (or your child) don’t encounter a unpleasant party surprise.

Halloween is a fun, creative, and tasty time of the year!  Equipped with these gluten-free tips, you can make this Halloween memorable!

Happy Gluten-Free Halloween from my family to yours!

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Gluten-Free Tailgating – Episode 64 Hold the Gluten Podcast

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 64 “Gluten-Free Tailgating” Features:

  • Summer’s over – bring on Fall sports!
  • How to prep for a gluten-free tailgate and sports events
  • Goodbye Neil Armstrong – enjoy your gluten-free space ice cream
  • Life on Mars – could we go back to eating gluten?
  • Aramark offers gluten-free in stadiums
  • Tons of stadiums offer gluten-free menus items and dedicated booths
  • Gluten-free beer, hard cider, naturally gluten-free munchies
  • School sports – how to handle post game “snack” aka Snack Mom or Snack Dad
  • The Commish of Tailgating
  • What do YOU think of the HTG Podcast? Leave your feedback wherever you download this.

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Celebrating Mother’s Day

At times, it’s hard for me to remember life before the title of “Mom”.   I have many other labels – wife, daughter, sister, and friend, but “Mom” feels most special.  Being loved unconditionally is a pretty amazing thing.  There’s nothing like your son telling you how pretty you look when in all reality your hair looks like a bird’s nest and your sweat suit attire should have been packed away five years ago.  I did get my son Ryan’s eyes checked after his adorable statement but his peepers were just fine.

My daughter Emma just turned 10 and my son Ryan will be 7 next month, so I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating many a Mother’s Day.   No matter how you choose to celebrate, the most important part of the day is being together.  With that said, presents, flowers, and sparkly objects will not be turned down…

Happy Mother’s Day from one mom to another!

Breakfast in Bed

I love to sleep.  I think it’s because I was sleep deprived for the first five years of my kids’ lives.  In my humble opinion, there is nothing better than being served breakfast in bed.  Well, an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii would totally be better, but that’s comparing apples to oranges.   Why not treat mom to a delicious gluten-free breakfast?  Don’t forget to clean up the dishes afterwards – that’s sure to score you bonus points.

There are so many gluten-free breakfast options!  Open up your box of Gluten-Free Bisquick to whip up some PB&J Waffles or a Coffee Cake.  Check out my hints to serve up mom a creative & tasty breakfast!  Than brew up a fresh pot of coffee or pour her a glass of OJ and start mom’s day off deliciously!

Picnic in the Park

Picnics are fun for the whole family.  Pack a picnic basket with mom’s favorite foods and head off to celebrate Mother’s Day while she relaxes on a blanket reading her favorite book or magazine.  Rain in the forecast?  No worries – bring the picnic indoors!  Set up in your living room and put on some of mom’s go-to music.

Picnics are all about easily transportable foods.  Pack up a container of Tomato, Mozzarella & Roasted Red Pepper Salad or White Bean Hummus with some carrots and celery.  Go Picnic has ready-to-eat meals for your picnic-themed jaunt. Want a sweet treat for mom?  Bring along some of Lucy’s Sugar Cookies and Chocolate Peanut Butter layer bars.  Mom’s belly will be full after your gluten-free picnic eats, so let her doze off for a bit (remember my comment on sleep deprivation?).

Dinner Fit for a Queen

Mom will truly feel like royalty has you prepare her a delicious Mother’s Day dinner.  If she loves “comfort food”, bake up a Glazed Meatloaf or a Bard’s Beer Chocolate Espresso Chili.  Surprise mom with a fine dining feel with Coq Au Vin.  Bake up a gluten-free Carrot Cake or a Gluten-Free Devil’s Food Cake with a Rich & Creamy Cherry Frosting.

Don’t forget to give your mom a big hug and a kiss.  Those moments will be forever treasured!

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Gluten-Free Globetrotting – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 51

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 51 “Gluten-Free Globetrotting ” Features:hold the gluten podcast

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

And here is the direct download

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Get hopping! Easter’s on its way!

Get hopping!  Easter’s on its way!

Looking for an egg-cellent (and tasty) activity to make with young ones?  I bake this adorable Easter bunny cake each year with my kiddos.  What a perfect finale to your egg hunt party or holiday meal!

Easter Bunny Cake with Cream Cheese & Coconut Icing

2 (15-ounce) boxes of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix
2 sticks (1 cup) butter (softened)
4 teaspoons vanilla
6 eggs
1 1/3 cups water
3 containers of Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Gluten-Free Cream Cheese Frosting
3 (14-ounce) bags of sweetened shredded coconut
Pink food coloring
Blue food coloring
Gluten-free jelly beans
Gluten-free gumdrops

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans with butter or olive oil spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mixes, butter, vanilla, eggs, and water with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour evenly into pans.
  3. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Place one cake in center of large platter for bunny’s head. Place other cake on cutting surface; cut two football-shaped pieces from each side of cake to use for ears. Place ears on top of bunny’s head. Place remaining piece under bunny’s head for bow tie.
  5. Reserve 3 tablespoons frosting. Frost entire cake–except insides of ears–with remaining frosting. To reserved frosting, stir in 1 drop pink food color; frost insides of ears with pink frosting.
  6. In a small food-storage plastic bag, shake 1/2 cup of the coconut with 1 drop blue food color. Carefully sprinkle blue coconut over bunny’s bow tie.
  7. Sprinkle remaining (un-dyed) coconut all over bunny’s head and edges of ears, leaving centers of ears pink.
  8. Make whiskers, eyes and mouth with jelly beans.  Use gumdrops for the nose and bow tie buttons.

Baskets filled with (gluten-free) Easter joy!

Unsure what candy is safe and what is gluten-filled?  Never fear!  Before you fill those baskets with sweets, stop by for an amazing listing of gluten-free holiday candy.  Their comprehensive directory is even broken down into two categories – jelly beans and candy.

From the Hold The Gluten family to yours, enjoy your Easter holiday!

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My-Oh-My Cherry Pie (Cheesecake)!

April is one of my favorite months of the year. The sun seems to shine a bit brighter.  Yards and gardens are waking up from their long winter naps.  Families excitedly emerge to work and play outdoors.  All is new again.  Hello Spring, welcome back!  Despite Punxsutawney Phil’s chilly prediction, the warm weather has shown up a month early.  March has definitely been more of a lamb than a lion!  In your face groundhog!

celiac coeliac cherry pie

Every year, my family travels to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC for the National Cherry Blossom Festival.  In 1912, Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo gave the gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington, DC. The annual celebration honors the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan.  This year, the world-famous National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of the gift of the cherry trees.

Viewing the cherry blossoms is absolutely breathtaking.  Light breezes blow through the tree branches and create a shower of delicate pink and white petals while our national monuments serve as a stunning backdrop.  An added bonus for visitors is that Washington, DC is a fabulously gluten-free city!  Dining options abound, from casual to elegant. Be sure to save room for a gluten-free dessert (or two!). For more information on gluten-free travel, visit Delight Gluten-Free Magazine’s interactive map of Washington, DC.

In honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival, I’ve created this delectable cherry-themed dessert. Happy spring!

Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Cherry Topping
Who needs a graham cracker crust?  Whip up a delicious Chex Cereal crust for this cherry cheesecake!

Chex Cereal Crust

2 cups of crushed Rice Chex cereal
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a food processor add all crust ingredients and blend until thoroughly combined. Press crumbs against the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes.


3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese , room temperature
1 ¼ cup white sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup sour cream
½ cup of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Gluten-Free Bisquick
1 can (21-ounces) cherry pie filling

While crust is baking, blend cream cheese until fluffy with a mixer. Slowly incorporate sugar until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla extract, and Gluten-Free Bisquick.  Using a spatula, scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to ensure the batter is thoroughly combined.   Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan. Bake in center of oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Place a baking sheet filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness.  After 60 minutes, turn off the oven, crack the oven door, and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, refrigerate cheesecake to chill. Add cherry pie topping and serve.

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Gluten Free Waffles & Waffle Bar!

Our family loves breakfast! Breakfast for breakfast. Breakfast for lunch. Breakfast for dinner.  Who doesn’t love gluten-free waffles?

gluten free waffles

If you don’t have a waffle maker in your kitchen gadget arsenal, stop everything (well finish this post first), run to the nearest kitchen gadget store, and buy one! My waffle maker is one of my go-to appliances. The kids love waffles for our weekend family breakfasts. Since weekdays are absolutely crazy with school, soccer, piano, gymnastics, and other random sports the kids are involved in, I’ll cook up a large batch of waffles and freeze them for a quick breakfast during the week. Waffles are also the PERFECT substitute for bread!  Think BLT, egg and cheese, or (one of my favs) Nutella and Nutella with some extra Nutella on the side (I have a bad obsession with this stuff).

I’m going to share one of my special recipes: PB&J Waffles. I am a self-proclaimed expert on all things peanut butter & jelly since I ate a PB&J sandwich from Kindergarten to High School.  Seriously, I’m not kidding… Why not take this waffle craze a step further and host your own Waffle Bar? Imagine how fun Sunday Brunch will be at your house!

Gluten-Free PB&J Waffles
Makes 4 six-inch waffles

1 1/3 cups Bisquick Gluten-Free mix
1 ¼ cups milk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups of warmed jelly

1. Stir ingredients until blended
2. Pour onto center of hot greased waffle maker, close lid
3. Bake according to waffle maker instructions
4. Remove waffle and serve with warmed jelly in place of syrup

Host Your Own Waffle Bar!
Hosting your own Waffle Bar is SO easy… Here are some topping ideas to include in your buffet. Get as creative as you like, the possibilities are endless to what you can top a waffle with!

Sweet Waffle Toppings
Chocolate Chips
Homemade Whipped Cream
Maple Syrup
Cinnamon & Sugar

Savory Waffle Toppings
Crumbled Bacon
Caramelized Onions
Cheddar Cheese
Diced Ham
Sliced Almonds

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Give Your Heart a Gluten Free Hug!

February is American Heart Month.  There’s no time like the present to take care of yourself and your body!

Kick Start Your Day and Heart
General Mills shares with us that “Cereal eaters  consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than noncereal eaters.”

Start your day with a bowl of cereal with sliced fruit.  My favorite cereal topper is a handful of nutrient-rich frozen blueberries. There are SO many amazing wholesome gluten-free cereal options. Serve up a bowl of Orgran’s  Multi-grain O’s with Quinoa or Honey Nut Chex.  Looking for a warm and hearty breakfast?  Glutenfreeda’s Banana Maple with Flax Instant Oatmeal is a perfect choice.

The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

According to the Mayo Clinic, “The healthiest kinds of grains are whole grains. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that at least half of all the grains you eat are whole grains.”

Change out your gluten-free white sandwich bread with these whole grain and multi-grain options.  Your heart will thank you!  Gluten Freely’s Sandwich Bread recipe uses sorghum and garbanzo bean flour.  No time to bake homemade bread?  No worries, there are plenty of whole grain bread options including Udi’s Whole Grain Bread, Glutino Multi-Grain Bagels, and Schar Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread.

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies!

This Homemade Guacamole is not only delicious but avocados can help you meet the American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines because they have both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.  Your body will thank you for eating the “rainbow”… Mix up your servings of all types of fruits & vegetables throughout the day.

Lean Protein

Halibut is truly a nutrient-dense food.  Get your fill of omega-3 essential fatty acids with this fabulous recipe for Mediterranean Halibut.

Changing your eating habits can be daunting.  Take baby steps and continue making those important changes!  Your heart will thank you!

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Holiday Peppermint Bark Trees, Stockings, and Gingerbread Men

peppermint bark

I’ve been racking my tinsel-filled brain trying to come up some little holiday gifts for teachers, friends, and that random aunt who only likes cats and QVC.  Since I didn’t want to give my gluten-free cookies away, the kids and I decided to make peppermint bark.  Traditional peppermint bark is made in sheets and broken up to resemble bark (clever, huh?).  However, being the crazy family that we are, we decided to go off the grid.  I have a slight addiction to Michael’s Craft Store, Joann Fabrics, and AC Moore (I’m like the Norm of Cheers but with a glue gun).  I found these cute silicone molds that we could use for our peppermint bark.  Truth be told, I’d never used silicone baking stuff before as it sort of creeped me out.  But I have to tell you, these molds worked perfectly.  The peppermint bark popped right out (and into our mouths).  One tip – you need helpers to successfully make this recipe.  I made a batch by myself (kids were bored at that point) and the chocolate hardened before I could sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top.

Happy Holidays to my Hold The Gluten family!

Holiday Peppermint Bark

1 bag of Wilton’s white chocolate melts (12 ounces)
1 bag of Wilton’s dark chocolate melts (12 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 teaspoons canola oil
crushed candy canes

Place molds on a cutting board or cookie tray (since they are rubbery, it will be tough to pick them up on their own).  Lightly mist the silicone molds with canola or olive oil spray.  Put the dark chocolate melts, 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract, and 1 teaspoon canola oil in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 45 second intervals at 50 percent.  Stir and continue microwaving until the chocolate is melted.  Evenly distribute melted dark chocolate in molds – filling approximately 1/3 of the way.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let harden for 30 minutes.  While the molds are chilling in the refrigerator, begin crushing the candy canes.  Put candy canes in a large  zip top bag and seal.  Using the smooth side of a meat mallet, gently break the candy canes in to small/medium pieces.  Don’t let your frustrations out on the candy canes or you’ll end up with candy cane powder.  Put crushed candy canes in a bowl and set aside.  Once the dark chocolate has chilled for 30 minutes, melt the white chocolate using the above directions and begin filling molds 1/3 of the way.  Immediately top with crushed candy cane pieces and return to the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.  One chilled, remove from refrigerator and pop the bark out of the molds.  Refrigerate in a container.  Makes approximately 40 small molds or 24 large molds.

These sweet treats would be perfect in a candy gift bag, tin, or holiday themed “take out” box.


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