Thai Kitchen and McCormick

Did you know that Thai Kitchen is owned by McCormick? You know, the spice people.

Well, I’ve been wanting to try a few of the Thai Kitchen products that are labeled gluten-free, but have been hesitant because I got sick once when eating it — YEARS ago. But I finally got around to calling.

Apparently McCormick has lots of products that could be considered gluten-free because all the ingredients are gluten-free but that aren’t labeled as such because they’re not made in a dedicated facility. So if a McCormick (and, by extension, Thai Kitchen) product says “Gluten Free” on the label, it means that the product is made on dedicated lines in a dedicated facility.
So, yay! Thai Kitchen products, here I come!

Jones Dairy Farm Certified GF

Every Thanksgiving I used Jones Dairy Farm sausage in my Grandmama’s Stuffing, but never really thought about using it for the rest of the year. Not sure why… it was always super yummy and I never had any gluten contamination issues.

But now that Jones Dairy Farm has gone to the trouble to have the majority of their products certified GF by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO – which has a standard for testing gluten-free products that is TWICE as strict as the FDA standard), I’ll definitely be checking out more Jones products.

They’re now advertising that they offer a wide array of products that are Certified Gluten-Free: all-natural, gluten-free sausage, Canadian Bacon, ham, traditional bacon and liver sausage. They’re all readily available for purchase in grocery stores and online.

Here’s what they say about their Gluten Free Products:

Jones Dairy Farm Gluten Free Promise

Have you used any Jones products? What other brands do you trust?

Gluten Free Snack and Party Foods – Downloadable List

GlutenFree Snack/Party Foods

Looking for a list of easy to find, mainstream gluten free foods? Look no more! Here’s a free downloadable, printable page that is chock full of family friendly snack and party foods that are safe to eat while on a strict gluten-free diet.

Gluten Free Snack and Party Foods

Fall is upon us again and so the parties begin: Halloween… Thanksgiving… Christmas and New Years. So many parties, so much food to research to stay safe and gluten-free. Everyone’s always asking “what can we bring” or “what can I have on hand?” So I finally got around to making a single sheet handout list of all the easy-to-find mainstream gluten-free brands and specific products safe for our Celiac kid. You can find a free downloadable list here: Gluten Free Snack and Party Foods. It’s full of family friendly brands that you can find at a grocery store near you.

Our 6th grader is having his Halloween party at school on Friday, so I also updated his Gluten Free Halloween Candy List. Since I’m doing all the legwork, I figured I may as well put all the links here in one place for anyone to use with ease.

Snack on!

When people ask what they can bring to a party, Lay’s is always our easy Go To; Lay’s will put “gluten free” on the back of their bags only if it’s not on shared lines. It’s familiar, easy for people to find/buy and the snacks come to the party in a safe, unopened bag. Yay!

has lots of great gluten-free chip options

Makers of several snack popcorns: Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock, Crunch ‘N Munch and Act II, as well as Swiss Miss pudding and hot cocoa

From cheese and dips to marshmallows and whipped creams, I just love, love, LOVE Kraft for their easy, reliable allergen labeling. If it doesn’t say “gluten” on a Kraft label anywhere in the ingredients or “manufactured in” warning, then it’s safe for Celiacs.

Yum! Chocolate. Hershey is like Kraft; they’re great at clearly labeling. There are so many classics that can be on a Celiac’s shopping list.

Oh, how kids love gummies and juice…! Good news: most of Welch’s products are gluten-free EXCEPT Welch’s Filled Licorice (Strawberry and Grape flavors!) which DO contain wheat.

Potato Sticks are gluten free

—-Frozen Novelties & Ice Cream
Nestle Outshine
Buyer’s Ice Cream
Hood Ice Cream
Whole Fruit

—-Chewing Gum

— Popcorn
Jolly Time
Conagra (Jiffy Pop, Act II and more – see above)

Apple and Eve

Milk boxes and GF Mac-n-Cheese

Remember to check out the download to view a great big list of GF food for your next snack or party!

Do you have a favorite Go To Product for your parties? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list! :)

Gluten-Free Cheerios Recall

Boxes of Gluten Free Cheerios are being recalled because wheat flour was accidentally mixed in with the GF oat flour. One one hand, it’s awful that the contamination happened. On the other, it’s good that General Mills caught it and are recalling the potenatlly contaminated boxes. But it’s now Oct 6th.. and they’re just discovering this now (Perhaps because people were all getting sick?)! I don’t know about you, but I’m VERY hesitant to try GF Cheerios now or any time in the future. Large mixed facilities scare this super-sensitive celiac.

Here’s what they said:

General Mills is voluntarily recalling several days of production of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios cereal produced at its Lodi, California facility on certain dates in July of this year because of an undeclared allergen – wheat – with potential adverse health effects. Because this recall relates to an undeclared allergen, this is a Class I product recall.

Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced on these dates at the company’s Lodi, California facility are being recalled because an isolated incident resulted in wheat flour being inadvertently introduced into the gluten free oat flour system at its Lodi facility. As a result, the products may contain an undeclared allergen – wheat – in products labeled as gluten-free.

General Mills will recall and retrieve affected cereals produced on those dates from customer warehouses and store shelves. Consumers with wheat allergies, celiac disease or gluten intolerance should not consume products bearing the affected code dates and should contact General Mills for a replacement or full refund.

This voluntary recall includes four days production of original (yellow box) Cheerios, and thirteen days of production of Honey Nut Cheerios at its Lodi, California facility with the following “BETTER IF USED BY” code dates and the plant code LD which indicates the product was produced at Lodi, California:

Honey Nut Cheerios Honey Nut Cheerios Honey Nut Cheerios Yellow Box Cheerios
16JUL2016LD 17JUL2016LD
22JUL2016LD 23JUL2016LD
25JUL2016LD 14JUL2016LD
Products containing wheat can cause illness or severe reactions for individuals with wheat allergies or celiac disease. Products containing wheat can also cause illness or discomfort for individuals with gluten intolerance.

General Mills is transitioning five varieties of Cheerios to gluten free. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios cereals produced at General Mills’ other facilities, or on dates other than those noted at the Lodi, California facility, are not impacted. General Mills’ other gluten-free Cheerios varieties – including Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios and MultiGrain Cheerios – are not impacted and are not being recalled. No other General Mills cereals are affected.

Consumers requesting refunds or calling with further questions should contact General Mills Consumer Services at 1-800-775-8370.

Dessert Girl to the Rescue!

Oh, how I love this from-scratch, restaurant quality Caesar Salad. So do my friends and family. As a matter of fact, it’s my BFF’s birthday request every year. Instead of going out, every year she wants to come over and have IMG_3529me make this salad! :) It’s sooooooo good. Homemade croutons… fresh garlic… crisp romaine… freshly grated cheese… grilled chicken… YUM. But it’s not for the faint of heart; this Caesar is very robust with tangy, sharp, acidic, garlicky and salty tastes all in one bite. Intensely DEEEElicious!

While putting myself through college, I worked as a waitress in a fine seafood restaurant. So when I say “restaurant quality” I mean it literally: I learned the basics of how to make a Caesar from scratch there. Every once in a while the “Dessert Girl” for the night wouldn’t show up. (Desert Girls were usually 16-17 year olds who are too young to waitress with alcohol yet.) So the manager would beg and plead for one of us to do her job: roll out the little dessert cart and put on a little food show next to the diner’s table. Cherries Jubilee… Bananas Foster… all kinds of Crepes… and Caesar Salad. Well, all of these things rank RIGHT up there on my Top Food Hits, so I volunteered to learn how to make these delectable (and many flaming!) treats. Besides, it was putting on a show – and I’m always up for that! So while I didn’t give up my waitressing shifts (which made better tips), I often volunteered to get my flame on as Dessert Girl for a Day.

Not me in the video… just a random “How To Make Cherries Jubilee” video I found on Vimeo! :)

And boy, did I put on a show. I would add so much extra Kirschwasser I’d create HUGE flames. Oooohs and “whoa!” that would spread through the large open, dimly lit dining room like, well, cherries on fire. (I found a direct correlation between how much Kirschwasser I added to the size of the tip I’d get from the diners. So… glug glug glug! The flames kept getting bigger and bigger!!) Each night, as soon as I made one Cherries Jubilee (or Bananas Foster), there’d be a rash of orders that was hard to keep up with. It was really fun.

IMG_3528Since leaving that waitressing job I’ve made a few Cherries and Bannanas desserts for special occasions. But not often. It’s the Caesar — oh, the Caesar! — that’s stayed with me all this time. Over the years I’ve made this fabulous salad from memory and have played with it, modified it and made it my own. And since I found out about my Celiac, I’ve been modifying it to make it gluten free. I’ve researched and found all ingredients that are free from all gluten, including contamination. And to accommodate my milk (casein) allergy, I cut out the original butter for frying the croutons (using healthier oils instead) and only use raw, super-aged cheese.

So many (many!) years later, here is my current recipe for a Gluten Free Chicken Cesar Salad. It’s crisp romaine lettuce tossed with yummy homemade croutons (big hunks of fried, cheesy Bread), freshly made dressing and topped with grilled chicken. Who wouldn’t love that?!

IMG_3534 RotatedI made this for a dinner party last night, hence the post this morning. But writing all this is making me sooooo hungry…! All I can think about right now are the (fairly soggy) leftovers tempting from the fridge. Hum… Is 8:30 too early for garlic breath? Nah…!

So whip up this salad (or even better; ask a BFF make it for you!), take a bite and close your eyes to be transported to your own little restaurant. And if  you just so happen to find a place that actually makes a Gluten Free equivalent, tell us about it (in the comments below so we can all enjoy!).

And remember: always tip your Dessert Girl well for the show. :)

Gluten Free Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

Traditionally, Chicken Caesar Salads ordered at restaurants are highly susceptible to gluten contamination. Of course there are the “regular” croutons to avoid, but there’s also grated cheeses with filler, seasoning mixes, IMG_3534 Rotatedcontaminated oils (unsafe brand made on shared lines with wheat germ oil), non-US Worcestershire sauce, unsafe marinades, chicken cooked on a shared grill or contaminated salad tossing bowls….  Phew! There are so many more things to think about than simply asking for “no croutons” when ordering this to be gluten-free at a restaurant.

So here’s a recipe of my Caesar Salad Recipe to help you have a fun restaurant experience while safely at home! I’ve taken the guesswork out of the prep and listed all the brands I know and trust or marked a “Gluten Free” before the food to indicate you should check the ingredients for potential contamination.

Click here the printable/downloadable PDF of the Gluten Free Chicken Caesar Salad recipe

Gluten Free Chicken Caesar Salad


Depending on preferences, you can add more or less of both garlic and anchovies… but 4 fresh garlic cloves and two anchovies make a nice, even, garlicky base. Do yourself a favor; don’t skip the anchovies. I detest fish but LOVE this salad with these two little anchovies!  For a table-side, restaurant style experience, prep all ingredients beforehand – including fully baking croutons and chicken – and put ingredients in separate ramekins or bowls. Wrap lemon half in cheesecloth to hold seeds when squeezing. Shave off a few large curls of parmesan cheese before grating to use as garnish.


3 cups 1″ cubes gluten-free bread (or rolls)
1/4 cup safflower oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, halved
2 TBSP Italian Seasoning – or basil, oregano & thyme (I use McCormick Gourmet)
3 TBSP Gluten Free Parmesan, finely grated

2 flat anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained (I use Cento brand)
4 garlic cloves, medium, fresh
1 large egg yolk
1/2 lemon fresh lemon juice (about 2 tsp)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (Lea and Perrins is GF in USA)
1/2 teaspoon Dry mustard
to taste Freshly ground black pepper
to taste Kosher or freshly ground sea salt
1⁄2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (cold pressed organic is best. I use Newman’s Own)
1/3 cup GF Parmesan, finely grated

4 boneless chicken breasts, trimmed
as needed GF Italian marinade (Drew’s Italian Marinade is GIG Certified)

3 heads romaine lettuce (about 10-12 cups)
as needed Extra Parmesan, for serving


  • In an airtight container, marinate chicken breasts in refrigerator (for at least 30 minutes).
  • Rough tear or cut gluten free bread into 1-inch cubes. (A lot of GF bread will crumble if torn, so I prefer to cut it.)
  • Rinse lettuce, spin dry. Cut or tear into bit sized pieces.

Croutons may be made 1 day in advance and kept in an airtight container.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.IMG_3524
  • In large frying pan, heat safflower oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic halves & bread cubes.
  • Turn heat up to Medium and stir fry bread until it just begins to turn light brown.
  • Add Italian seasoning. Stirring constantly, evenly lightly brown bread on all sides.
  • Spread bread mixture onto baking sheet. Remove chunks of garlic.
  • Sprinkle 3 TBSP grated Parmesan cheese over croutons
  • Bake croutons in the middle of the oven, for 10 minutes, or until golden. Set aside.


  • Over a medium fire (approx. 375°), grill chicken for 5-6 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 160°
  • Remove and loosely cover with foil. Set aside (internal temperature should raise to 165° upon resting)


  • In a large bowl, mash garlic cloves. Add anchovies to make a paste. (Hint: use two crisscrossed forks to mash for a smooth paste with few chunks. This is one of the most time consuming parts, but for some reason it MAKES the taste!)
  • Add egg yolk, juice from half a lemon, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Mix until smooth.
  • Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream, whisking continuously until dressing is thick and glossy.
  • Whisk in Parmesan until combined.


  • Slice chicken breast into strips.
  • Gently stir croutons into dressing. Briefly toss to coat.
  • Add half of romaine, toss to coat. Add remaining lettuce and combine well.
  • Garnish with parmesan curls (or extra cheese)
  • Serve with grilled chickenIMG_3532
  • Enjoy!!

Click here to download my Gluten Free Caesar Salad Recipe

Babycakes is Back!

The Babycakes we know and love has finally reopened at Downtown Disney! YAY! Under a new name and in a (slightly) new location, “Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC” still has all the yummy gluten-free goodness that makes it worth navigating the tourist crowds and parking of Downtown Disney.

Where is Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC at Downtown Disney?

While the Bakery is not in the official “Marketplace” anymore, it’s still in Downtown Disney not far from it’s original location. From the original location next to the T-Rex cafe (a great place to get an Omnivore Salad that’s GF and SUPER YUMMY!!), face the water, head left, go over the little walking bridge. Go past Fulton’s Crab House (you know, the big Paddle Boat on the water) and it’s right near Raglan Road (which, btw, is another great place for a GF meal!! I love being gluten-free at Disney!! They make a Celiac feel right at home and safe. Ahhhh..)

Or you can always park near Planet Hollywood and walk from the other direction. But because of all the construction, there’s currently no way to quickly get there.

For more information on Babycakes… I mean Erin’s…! yummy goodies and why they’re so great, check out my other Babycakes post here. To see what other people are saying about it, check out Yelp or Find Me Gluten Free.

Enjoy your gluten-free yummy goodies!


Pizza Hut’s New Gluten Free Pizza

Hum… not too sure how I feel about this. But Pizza Hut just partnered with Udi’s and been certified by the GIG to now offering two “certified gluten free pizzas” – one cheese and one pepperoni and cheese. (All other toppings are not certified – so if you’re Celiac, they’re off the table. Or… off the pizza. :) ) Here’s what Pizza Hut says:

“The Udi’s® Certified Gluten-Free crust is stored in a separate container, on a separate shelf in our fridge. The cheese, marinara sauce and pepperoni are stored in a gluten-free designated kit, and every gluten-free pizza is freshly baked on designated parchment paper in our ovens.
In addition to these storage techniques, team members who make your gluten-free pizza wear gloves and even use a designated gluten-free pizza cutter to cut your pizza to perfection.”


pizza2 RetouchedSo they’ve hit all my favorite buzz words “Certified”… “GIG” … “separate”… “designated.” But wait – that’s designated, not DEDICATED. I still have my (serious) reservations about this. It just seems too scary to contemplate going into a place where flour is flying around for regular pizza crusts. Wait. Maybe they don’t make the crust from scratch so it won’t be flour… I’ll have to look into this. But also, I don’t know about your local Pizza Hut, but the one that I grew up going to was staffed by an ever-revolving crew of young adults. And they don’t say anything about the GIG training the Pizza Hut staff, just that they “wear gloves.” Well… that doesn’t mean anything. What if they wear gloves, make a regular pizza and then a GF pizza? Contamination. Simply “wearing gloves” has nothing to do with gluten-free safety. Changing gloves… ensuring fresh gloves are used… those would instill more confidence. And the statement “they even use a dedicated pizza cutter” is nice, but where are they cutting it? On a dedicated cutting board? And the pizzas are “freshly baked on designated parchment paper in our ovens” – which means regular pizzas will be right next to it? Hum….

I just think this would be too risky for me. I pay with 5 weeks of pain for a speck of gluten. I just can’t see myself gambling my next MONTH+ of wellbeing into the hands of an angsty teen with authority issues. I know… I know… this is an extreme version of the probably reality. And maybe if I went and spoke to someone at the actual restaurant, I’d feel differently. Perhaps I should try that… go speak to our local manager and feel them out. Because our local Chipotle is a SCARY and unsafe place for Celiacs but our local Red Robin ROCKS and we’ve never been sick. So… maybe this needs further investigation.

Pizza Hut has a spreadsheet of all the locations that offer the Gluten Free pizzas here. They offer it at a restaurant about 20 minutes from our house… But until I look into it more, I don’t think we’ll try it? But that’s just me.

What do you think? Will you try Pizza Hut’s new Gluten-Free Pizza?

Book Review: “Gluten Free Quick & Easy” by Carol Fenster

As a Celiac with a full-time job and a family to feed every night, this simple little cookbook is the one I keep going back to for everyday meals – even after 40+ gluten-free books weigh down my bookshelves. “Gluten Free Quick & Easy” by Carol Fenster is a great recipe book full of simple, straightforward and family friendly weeknight gluten free meals. It’s full of shortcuts, time savers and tips… what to use and what to avoid.
There’s a great intro section with not only short entries on the seemingly requisite “how to navigate gluten free” and “what is gluten” topics but also ideas on how to save time in the kitchen, what to stock in your GF pantry, common GF baking mistakes, maximize meal planning and using “plan-overs” (Carol’s term for a meal plan that saves time by making things ahead – like buy two pounds of beef and brown it all, then use half that night and save or freeze the rest for another meal, like meat sauce or Sloppy Joes, thereby saving time on the second meal). There are sample meal plans – an eight week chart detailing what to have and when, so as to maximize those plan-overs. These introductory chapters only take up the first 50 pages (of 300+) but are packed with good info, regardless of if you’re just starting a GF diet or have been on one for years. And the rest of the 250 pages of the book is packed with quick and easy recipes.

Because this book is a bit older (2007) it predates a lot of the ‘fru-fru’ trends of current gluten-free cookbooks. You know what I mean? Those things that call for 4 different kinds of special-order flours that have to be sifted and refrigerated before use. Who has that kind of time?! While intricate, time and ingredient intensive recipes are nice to make once in a while, this is my go-to guide for some of our family’s everyday basics. Our son’s weekly Friday evening “Game Club” means whipping up a big, ooh-gooey batch of homemade Mac-n-Cheese for the gang of non-celiac 10-13 year old boys. It’s summarily DEVOURED without a word – a huge testament to it’s YUMMINESS! (We use Tinkyada elbows and Kraft Cheddar and add a dash of powdered garlic…)

Whenever we’re craving Asian cuisine, there’s a great Lettuce Wrap recipe (pg 149) that brings me back to those lovely days when we lived near a PF Chang’s (who has a great gluten-free menu and safe food handling practices, btw!). Hum…Now that I’m looking at it, this is actually one of the more time-intensive recipes because of all the veggies, but Carol has some little time saving tips to help minimize prep. And there’s a simple yet AMAZING Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe (pg 233) that will make the even consummate chocoholics drop their forks and roll their eyes in ecstasy. (I’m making myself hungry!)

And one of my favorite features of this book: Carol lists brands! Instead of just saying “gluten-free Asian fish sauce,” she lists “A Taste of Thai” after the ingredient. Not that things can’t change over the years and you still have to check it out by reading the label or calling. But knowing where to start is SO helpful. Newer books seem hesitant to do that, since ingredients change so frequently. But I love these brand listings!

Quick-Easy_GF_BookYummy recipes for things like crepes, drop biscuits, popovers, sauces and tons of Main Dishes will make your copy of “Gluten Free Quick & Easy” stained and worn with overuse. Recipes for Main Dishes like: Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Corn Mango Salsa, Crab Cakes, Salmon Burgers, Pork Schnitzel, Pan Seared Rosemary Pork Chops with Peaches, Sloppy Joe Wraps, Fettuccine Carbonara and Orange-Beef Stir Fry. And the desserts, oh the desserts! Chocolate Bundt Cake, Gingerbread, Pie Crusts, Cookies…! And overall most recipes are fast to make.

Serve these recipes to your non-GF friends and family and they’ll all incredulously say “I can’t believe this is gluten free!!!!” And you’ll smile and think, “And it was quick & easy!” Love this book!