Archive for February, 2009


Are Necco Candies Really Gluten-Free?

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*****Product Update Feb. 2010 This year I found just the opposite of this post (originally posted Feb. 2009). The packages I found this year of Necco Sweethearts Conversation Hearts (both in individual boxes and bags) did not have the allergy information statement they did last year, so they appear to be safe. However, the Wonka SweeTart Conversation Hearts did have this statement on the packages I found this year: “Made in a facility that also processes egg and wheat.” So, I have moved the SweetTart Conversation Hearts to the Unsafe Valentine Candy List.*****

Today I was reminded why it is so important to continue reading labels! After almost four years on the gluten-free diet, I feel like I know what products have gluten and which ones don’t. I’ve read labels, called companies, and checked websites numerous times. As I stated in my post on Jan. 27 I considered Brach’s Conversation Heart candy to be unsafe for Celiacs, but Necco Sweetheart valentine candy to be gluten-free. There is nothing in the ingredient list for Necco’s to indicate it contains gluten and the Necco website states: “We make the following products which do not contain gluten from wheat, rye, oats or barley: Necco Wafers, Mary Janes, Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts (Valentines only), Canada Mint & Wintergreen Lozenges, Haviland Thin Mints and Candy Stix….”

So, I was surprised when I went to buy them for my daughter’s preschool class today and saw the following statement on the back of the bag of Necco Sweethearts Conversation Hearts: “ALLERGY INFORMATION: This product is made in a facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, wheat, oats, soy and milk.”

We’ve never gotten sick from eating Necco candy, but we aren’t as sensitive to gluten as some Celiacs are. It doesn’t appear that they’ve changed the ingredients, which I still believe to be gluten-free. So, why did they change the labeling? Did they actually change manufacturing plants? Or, is this just a way to avoid possible future lawsuits? Whichever, I’m disappointed. And just to be safe, I won’t be giving them to my kids. This year, they’ll be getting Wonka’s SweetTart Conversation Hearts, which ARE gluten free. Not exactly the same, but still a very tasty candy.

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Gluten-Free Baking Class in NY

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The Culinary Institute of America and Chef Richard Coppedge are offering a Gluten-free Baking Class at the CIA Hyde Park Campus in New York. This one-day, all-day (Sat., 9 am – 7 pm) class is a hands-on course to demonstrate how to create sweet and savory breads and pastries. The class includes gluten-free breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an autographed copy of Chef Coppedge’s just-released cookbook, “Gluten-Free Baking.”

If you live in New York (or are willing to travel), this looks like a great opportunity to learn hands-on from an expert gluten-free baker. The classes are scheduled for Feb. 7, Feb. 28 and Mar. 14. For more details and to register for the class, check out the CIA website.

Categories : Newsworthy
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Taking a Break from Plain Chicken

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If you’re looking for an idea for dinner tonight, check out What’s for Dinner? Wednesday hosted by Linda at The Gluten-Free Homemaker. She’s got some great ideas for transforming a dry roast into something moist and tasty. I’m submitting this post, which I’ve updated with some additional notes about cooking it. I also want to add that my daughter has decided that she likes this fish now. My son still not interested in trying it.


I was starting to get into a food rut this month, and was tired of plain chicken, plain rice and plain vegetables (the one meal I know my kids will eat). So, I decided to try something new and different: Broiled Fish with a Parmesan sauce. If you’re not familiar with Tilapia, it’s a white fish with a mild flavor and medium texture. And, one of the cheaper fish at the market. So, I thought it would be a good one for the kids to try. To be honest, my kids weren’t crazy about it. My son wouldn’t even try it. My daughter tried it and said it was good, but would only eat two bites. (My kids aren’t good about trying new foods, but I keep hoping that will change as they get older.)

But enough about the kids. My husband and I loved it! The sauce has a really nice cheesy flavor that was also great on the rice and asparagus we served with it. This was such a quick and easy meal, I will definitely make this again. The kids can eat leftover plain chicken. 🙂

Broiled Parmesan Fish


1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 Cup Butter, softened or melted
3 Tbsp mayonnaise
2 Tbsp lemon juice (or lime juice works, too)
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp celery seed
4-6 fillets (1.5 – 2 lbs) Tilapia or other medium textured fish


  1. Line broiler pan with foil and spray with oil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Add in basil, pepper, garlic salt and celery seed. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Place fillets on the pan and broil a few inches from the heat for 3 minutes. Carefully flip over the fillets and broil for another 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the fillets with the sauce. Broil for 2 more minutes, or just until the fish flakes easily with a fork. For a tender fish, don’t overcook.

Additional Notes:

  • I usually put a little seasoning on the fish before broiling. A sprinkling of salt and pepper, or Old Bay seasoning.
  • I don’t usually cook more than 3 fillets, so I always have plenty of sauce.  In the picture above, I have spooned on some extra sauce after broiling. I even had plenty to drizzle on the rice and asparagus.
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