Archive for August, 2011

Earlier this month, I mentioned in my review of Mi-Del cookies that I give my kids’ teachers a small care package of gluten-free snacks at the beginning of the year for them to store in the classroom for my kids. These are not meant to be the snacks that my kids get to eat everyday. (I send my kids to school each day with gluten-free snacks and lunch.) The snacks in this care package are there for backup reasons because sometimes snacks and treats are offered in the classroom that aren’t gluten-free. And having these in the classroom makes sure that my kids are not left out of any last-minute activities involving gluten. For example:

  • Probably the most common situation: A classmate brings in cupcakes, cookies, or treats to share with the class for their birthday. My son chooses a package of cookies out of his gluten-free package.
  • The class earns a reward (popcorn) for good behavior or reaching a class goal, but the teacher isn’t sure if it’s gluten-free. My son gets a bag of popcorn or chips out of the gluten-free package.
  • The teacher creates a project that involves building something with pretzels or crackers, but forgets to tell us in advance. My daughter gets out her gluten-free pretzels or crackers to use instead.
  • My daughter’s snack or lunch didn’t make it to school and the cafeteria doesn’t offer anything gluten-free. My daughter can eat from her GF care package if I’m unable to bring it to school.
  • It is perhaps unlikely, but should an emergency situation arise and the school is on lock-down, I know my kids will have something they can eat without getting sick.

What’s in a Gluten-Free Care Package? I like to choose self-contained, single-serve, small packages of gluten-free items that won’t spoil in the teacher’s cabinet or desk. I also try to present it to the teacher in a small container that is easy for them to store. A large zip-style bag, or medium size plastic container clearly labeled Gluten-Free for my son or daughter seems to work well. Here are some items that we have used for this purpose:

Sweet Treats:

Salty Snacks:

Fruit Snacks:

Rice, Granola, or Energy Bars:

Communicate with the teacher! It’s been my experience that most teachers are familiar and comfortable with this arrangement. However, I  strongly suggest that you discuss it with the teacher before sending a small care package of food to school. This may not work in all classrooms or for all teachers. Along with the package of food that I provide to the teacher, I like to attach a brief note to remind the teacher what it is for, and to please let me know if at any time during the year it needs to be replenished.

Make it easy on yourself. Our family is fortunate to live in an area with gluten-free snack items available at our grocery stores. If this isn’t the case for you, you can order some items online. A single box of the Schar sandwich cookies with your student’s name clearly written on it would do the trick. Or, perhaps a small bag of your child’s favorite candy would work for you.

More occasions to use a gluten-free care package. All of these items would also be great gluten-free additions for a gluten-free lunch, a gift to send to college students, and for a travel pack.

Do you do something similar? Please feel free to add any other ideas in the comments.

 

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Aug
21

Menu Plan August 22 – Melon

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The Gluten Free Menu Swap is here this week, and the theme is melon. I don’t have a lot of recipes that call for melon. We simply love melon raw, fresh, and juicy: fruit kabobs, fruit salads, smoothies, or simply with a spoon. Cantaloupe, Honey Dew, and Watermelon are the usual favorites, but we’ll try any variety we can find. With them being so bountiful right now, I thought I’d see what else we might do with them. I found a few tempting ideas from some gluten-free sites.

Have anymore ideas to share? Link up or share them in the comments. Check the roundup below to see what other bloggers are doing with melon this week.

Celiac Family’s Menu This Week:

Fruit Kabobs

Simple Asparagus

Hamburger Buns

Monday – Corn Dogs. My son has been begging me to make these for at least a couple weeks now. I’ll serve them with Kale chips and Fruit Kabobs with honey dew and cantaloupe.

TuesdayGrilled Chicken, Baby Potatoes, and Asparagus.

Wednesday – Leftovers

Thursday – Hamburgers, Green Beans and fresh Watermelon.

FridayGreen Chile Pork Tacos

Saturday – Eating out

Sunday – Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli.

Gluten Free Menu Swap Roundup

Angela at Angela’s Kitchen shares a couple great ideas for melon this week: adding it to savory salad combinations, and freezing cubes of watermelon to make Watermelon Slush. She also has lots of fresh melon planned for additions to their meals this week. She’s making chicken thighs with lime and cumin, hamburgers with rosemary oven fries, a Zucchini Melon and Chicken Salad, and Southwestern Spaghetti Pie. Sounds good to me!

Lisa at My Extraordinary Life is working on ways to send her kids to school with hot lunches: corn dogs, pizza, and chicken nuggets. For dinners this week, she’s planning on Crock Pot Roast Beef, Breaded Chicken Fingers, Corn Muffins, Taco Pizza and more. Check out her site for the full menu this week.

I’m happy that Emily at Our Frugal Life is joining us this week. She, too, has burgers on her menu this week. She’s also planning on Monterey Chicken with Roasted Potatoes, Cheeseburger Pie, and Pizza Chicken, which I must try some night soon. Stop by her site to take a look at her full menu this week.

Thanks to two nights of leftovers, Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness has a menu light on cooking this week. What she is cooking looks wonderfully light and healthy: Quinoa with Kalamatas and sauteed mache and arugula, Nightshade Stew, and White Beans with Pesto and Broccoli.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?
Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness manages the headquarters of Gluten-Free Menu Swap. There you will find the rules, the current and upcoming schedule, and links to past roundups. For this week’s roundup, email your menu link to me at celiacfamily AT gmail DOT com. Or, simply put your menu link in the comments below.

Need more menu ideas?

  • Laura at OrgJunkie.com hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.

 

Categories : Menu Plan
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Aug
20

MI-DEL Cookie Winners Chosen

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The three winners of MI-DEL cookies were selected, contacted, and confirmed.

Congratulations to

Thanks for entering the giveaway. Your MI-DEL cookie coupon is in the mail!

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This giveaway is now closed.

We have a little more than three weeks before my kids head back to school this year. So, thoughts of packing snacks and lunches for my kids is on my mind. I’d like to tell you that I only make homemade gluten-free cookies and snacks for my kids. But the truth is I also purchase gluten-free snack products at the stores. Sometimes we just need something quick and easy.

Mi-Del sent me some coupons to review their gluten-free cookies. Mi-Del gluten-free cookies are not new to my family. In fact, Mi-Del’s Arrowroot Animal Cookies were the first gluten-free cookies I purchased when my son, a toddler at the time, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. With no gluten-free goldfish or graham crackers to eat, we used these arrowroot cookies for snacks on a regular basis. Then, after moving to a new state, we couldn’t find them in the stores near our house, and so we adjusted to other cookies and brands.

Last year, we found something new from Mi-Del: We found this cute little box of individual packs of S’mores Cookies. We love these! The box contains five individual 90-calorie packages of little bite-size cookies. They are chocolatey and crunchy with a little marshmallow flavor baked in, too. It’s really nice to have some snacks that you can just grab and go, but it’s even better for having shelf-stable treats that the kids’ teachers can store in their classrooms for unexpected needs. (Unexpected classmate birthday celebrations and class food projects that aren’t gluten-free do come up during the year.)

Since Mi-Del sent us some coupons, the kids and I went looking for some different Mi-Del cookies to try. We wanted to try the Chocolate Caramel and the Chocolate Sandwich cookie varieties listed on the Mi-Del website, but never found them in our local stores. We did, however, find the Pecan Flavored Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Ginger Snaps. And the kids were happy to be the taste testers. :)

My son’s favorite was the Pecan flavored cookies. This was my first time trying Mi-Del’s Pecan flavored cookies, and my first thought about them was that they reminded me of vanilla wafers. They certainly aren’t the same as Nilla® Wafers (which aren’t gluten-free), but if you are looking for a gluten-free substitute, I suggest you give these a try. They are about the same size, but perhaps not as crisp, and a little darker in color with a mild taste of pecans and molasses.  They make great cookie sandwiches. Just add some peanut butter, frosting, or ice cream between two of them.

I knew that my daughter’s favorite would be the Chocolate Chip Cookies. Like me, she is a lover of all that is chocolate. Honestly, these are not my favorite chocolate chip cookies, but we do buy them on occasion. I prefer to make my own chewy chocolate chip cookies.

And what about the Ginger Snaps? Well, Mi-Del makes really good ginger snaps. My nieces and sister-in-law (who don’t follow a gluten-free diet) love them. I think the flavor is a little too strong for my two cookie eaters’ sensitive taste buds. I personally think these, as well as their Cinnamon Snaps, are great for making crusts for pies, tarts, and cheesecakes. Just crush them up and use them in your favorite recipes.

Allergens and Ingredients. Mi-Del states that their “Gluten-Free products are routinely tested using the ELISA method to ensure gluten-free status as determined by the World Health Organization.” I know many Celiac Family readers are also sensitive to other grains and allergens, so you may be interested to know that the gluten-free flour used for these cookies is a mixture of corn flour, soy flour, potato flour, rice flour, corn starch, potato starch and xanthan gum. The Chocolate Chip and Pecan Flavored cookies also contain egg and milk. The Ginger Snaps contain egg, but have no dairy ingredients listed.

My final thoughts on the cookies. These small cookies are perfect for snacks. They aren’t chewy nor too crispy, but somewhere in between with a tender crumb. They don’t break too easily, so you can pack them in lunches without getting a lot of broken pieces. And the price is reasonable for purchasing gluten-free cookies in the stores. The S’mores bite-size cookies are a little more pricey because of the extra packaging. If you are not familiar with Mi-Del cookies, please be aware that Mi-Del does make cookies that are not gluten free. So, make sure you are purchasing the cookies that are clearly marked “Gluten-Free” on the packaging!

This giveaway is now closed.

FREE Cookies Giveaway. So, now that I’ve told you what my family thinks of them, what do you you think? Do you want to try them yourself? Mi-Del gave me some coupons to offer to Celiac Family readers. Each coupon is good for one FREE Mi-Del product. Mi-Del’s website also has a product locator that can tell you where to find their products near you.

  • To enter, simply leave a comment below saying which product you would purchase with the coupon. Check out Mi-Del’s gluten-free products on their website to see all the varieties they make gluten free.
  • You can receive bonus entries for letting your friends know about the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Just be sure to come back and leave an additional comment below letting us know where you mentioned it.
  • Make sure when you’re leaving a comment, that you put your email address in the appropriate box so that I can contact you if you win.

Three Winners will be chosen using a random generator. Each winner will receive one coupon to redeem at your local store for any Mi-Del product up to $4.00. All comments/entries must be received no later than 11:59 pm EDT, Friday Aug. 19. The winner should respond within 48 hours after being contacted by email. If I’m unable to contact a winner, another winner will be chosen. Good Luck!

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Aug
08

Menu Plan August 8

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Back to School is the theme for the Gluten Free Menu Swap this week. Angela is hosting the roundup at Angela’s Kitchen, so be sure to check it out. I know many kids across the country are going back to school this month. My kids have another month to go, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it.

This will be a busy week for us, so a simple menu with little cooking is what I have planned.  I’m putting the slow-cooker back to work with Shredded Mexican Chicken. It’s a popular choice at our house for easy, delicious meals. Perfect for school nights!

On Celiac Family’s Menu This Week:

Chicken Tacos

Baked Balsamic Salmon

Chicken Pizza

Monday – Chicken Tacos with shredded chicken, refried beans, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, and shredded cheese with corn tortillas

Tuesday – Salmon with a Balsamic Glaze served with rice and asparagus

Wednesday - Taquitos. Using leftover chicken from Monday to make taquitos. Serving with guacamole and leftover rice from Tuesday.

Thursday – Eating Out – not sure where yet.

Friday - Grilled Steaks, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli

Saturday – Roasted Chicken, spinach salad, corn

SundayPizza. Everyone gets to build their own with their favorite toppings.

Want to join Gluten-Free Menu Swap?
You’ll find the rules, as well as the current and upcoming schedules, at Gluten Free Goodness. Thanks to Cheryl for her continued efforts at keeping our menu swap going.

Need more menu ideas?

  • Laura at OrgJunkie.com hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. You’ll find links to hundreds of meal plans (not necessarily gluten-free) there.
  • Or, check out some of my past menu plans.
Categories : Menu Plan
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