Archive for Product Advisory
Explaining Celiac Disease to a child (and even adults!) can be difficult. So, when I was recently introduced to a new children’s book that explains Celiac Disease, I was anxious to read it and see how the author approached this subject with her own child. My son was so young (18 mos) when he was diagnosed, that I didn’t need to tell him a lot about it in the beginning. His knowledge about Celiac Disease has grown gradually, as he got older and was better able to understand it. It gave me time to understand it myself, and think about how to approach the subject with him. By the time my daughter was born, a few months later, we had already switched our household to being completely gluten free.
As my kids got older, we did have conversations (and still do) about Celiac Disease, gluten, and how to deal with school, friends, restaurants, and other outings dealing with food. For us, the acceptance and understanding of being gluten free was a natural process because we dealt with it as new situations were presented to us. My children don’t know any different. We don’t lament over it, we just deal with it as a natural result of our intolerance to gluten. They are not embarrassed or uncomfortable about it. And I’m happy to say that they feel confident enough to tell friends about it and to ask about the gluten content in food before eating it. So, I don’t think that part of being diagnosed has been difficult for us.
I have, however, known other families who were diagnosed when the kids were older. They had already developed favorite foods – favorite gluten foods. Before the diagnosis, they were able to eat any snacks, lunches and treats at any party, event or restaurant without having to question the ingredients. For these kids and their families, I think the transition is more difficult. The parents are often overwhelmed by the experience. They are immediately forced to face it all: explaining it to family members, teachers, friends, cafeteria, restaurants, etc. This new book may be the first step to helping families accept the diagnosis and treatment, and see it as a happy alternative to an otherwise unhealthy life.
“Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” by Katie Chalmers is a children’s book that is beautifully illustrated and written as a dialogue between a mother and daughter. And to be honest, at first I was a little uneasy with the dialogue format. I read so many books to my children, that I guess I was expecting a story book. But, instead, I found this book to be a thoughtfully written suggestion of how to introduce and explain Celiac Disease to a child. Perhaps it will help you and your family members better understand Celiac Disease. It includes questions and answers about what Celiac Disease is, what gluten is, what it does to the body, and what that means for the family. As I read the book, I was drawn in by how the mother creatively explains Celiac Disease to her daughter in a language and terminology that a young child can easily understand. I was surprised by the detail that was put into describing the physical effects on the body. But, it is not a medical book. It was all explained in language that is appropriate for young children. And best of all, it is written with a very positive, loving voice that embraces the diagnosis and sees it as an opportunity to thrive.
My final thoughts? I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to explain Celiac Disease to a child 3-10 years. I think it’s probably too detailed for a younger child to understand. However, even if you have younger children, it would be a good book for parents to read. It certainly gives you ideas about how you can continue to explain the disease to them as they get older. Older children may also be interested to read it as a first step to understanding the disease. I feel like it is written for younger children, with analogies to nature and playground equipment. So, older children may not find the references to playground equipment very exciting, but they will be able to relate and easily understand the comparisons.
Buy the book. If you have children, grandchildren, or other young people who are curious about Celiac Disease, you can buy the book at Katie Chalmers’ website. Buy one for yourself, for friends, and maybe one to donate to your school’s library and the public library. It would be an easy way to introduce friends and classmates to Celiac Disease, and hopefully, help them gain a good understanding of what gluten free means. Perhaps it will even impress upon the teachers how important it is for children with Celiac Disease to remain gluten free. It isn’t just a diet of choice. For Celiacs, it is a necessary diet for a healthy life. [I do not get a commission for these sales. I simply think it is a worthy investment for increasing awareness about Celiac Disease.]
Gluten Free Holiday Giveaway x10! Not ready to buy the book? Or, maybe you like the idea of having multiple copies to give to other family members. The author of the book, Katie Chalmers, has put together a fabulous giveaway with fabulous gluten free products. Celiac Family and 9 other blogs will be hosting the same giveaway over the next two weeks. One winner will be chosen from each blog. You may enter the giveaway on each of the blogs to increase your chances of winning, but you can only win once. Several companies that make gluten-free products have donated items for the giveaways. Just take a look at all the good stuff in the giveaway.
Giveaway Goodies. Contents may vary slightly, but each winner can expect to receive the following:
- Signed copy of “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?”
- Schar 123 Milly PlayMais- dice game & biodegradable natural toy activity brick set
- Schar products: Cheese Bites, Chocolate -or- Vanilla Sandwich Creme Cookies, Hazelnut Wafers
- Pamela’s Products: Single Serve Pancake Mix, Single Serve Brownie Mix, Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chunk Cookie two-pack, Tablespoon/teaspoon measuring spoon, kids sized t-shirt- color will vary
- Nature’s Path: Peanut Butter Panda Puffs & crispy rice bars- flavors will vary, $1 off coupons
- Mary’s Gone Crackers: one of the following: box of cookies -or- crackers -or- Sticks & Twigs
- Snyder’s of Hanover: bag of gluten-free pretzel sticks
- Chebe: pizza crust mix -or- all purpose bread mix
- Bob’s Sweet Stripes: one bag of soft peppermint candy sticks
- Stuffed teddy bear: colors may vary
- Holiday pencils, eraser, holiday notepad & plastic snowman cereal bowl
- Large holiday gift bag & small holiday gift bag & tissue paper- will need to be assembled to give as gift
Where to Enter. Be sure to visit each website below for another chance to win the fabulous prize pack! (But remember, you can only win once.)
Accustomed Chaos – hosted by Devan
Adventures of a GF Mom – hosted by Heidi
Be Free For Me – hosted by Kathleen
Celiac Family – enter below in the comments
Gluten Free Betsy – hosted by Betsy
Gluten Free Easily (gfe) – hosted by Shirley
Gluten Free is Life – hosted by Kim
Gluten Free Philly – hosted by Michael
Gluten Free Taste of Home – hosted by Cinde
Simply Sugar & Gluten Free – hosted by Amy
Finally – How to Enter the Giveaway!
- Simply leave a comment on this post telling me about the gluten free product that helped you the most when you first started on the gluten-free diet. (It can be a food, a cookbook, book about Celiac Disease, or maybe even a friend.) Or, if you aren’t on the diet yet, just tell me which of the prizes interests you most.
- 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 additional comments 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.
- The giveaway will run from now until Dec. 15, 2010; 10 pm EST. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. The winner should respond within 24 hours after being contacted by email. If I’m unable to contact the winner, another winner will be chosen. We’d love for the winner to receive the prize before Christmas, so that you can enjoy the goodies during the holiday.
- Good Luck!
Additional Rules for the Gluten Free Holiday Giveaway Galore x10!
- All 10 of these contests are open to residents of the USA. Only the Accustomed Chaos and Gluten Free Easily contests are also open to Canadian residents.
- All 10 contests begin on Wed. Dec. 1, 2010 and will end on Wed. Dec. 15, 2010 at 10pm EST.
- Entry requirements will vary between bloggers. Please follow their directions to enter.
- Entrants can only win once total within all 10 giveaways. If anyone is chosen more than once as a winner, another winner will be chosen so everyone only wins once.
- One winner per household.
- Winners with valid entries will be selected at random. The winners will be announced and notified via email and must reply within 24 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen, in order that all prizes will arrive before Christmas. So please remember to check your email on Dec.16th.
- If any of the 10 prizes do not arrive before Christmas because of any unforeseen holiday mail rush problems, the USPS, Katie Chalmers and hosting bloggers will not be held accountable.
I hope everyone (in the US) had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. I know we did. I may go out later this weekend to shop for holiday gifts, but for now I am avoiding Black Friday shopping. For those of you who have decided to brave the crowds at the shopping centers this weekend, you may want to try Orgain meal replacement drinks. I was sent some samples of the Creamy Chocolate Fudge and Sweet Vanilla Bean, and they were certainly filling enough to give me energy for shopping.
I don’t usually use these types of drinks. I really would rather eat a nutritious meal. But, I have to admit that this time of year is so busy, I will often go for the quick and easy meals or snacks just so I can fit more activities (like shopping) into my day. For me, this is great for lunches. I can eat breakfast with the kids and dinner with the whole family. But for lunch I’m often on my own, so it’s a perfect time to get things done. Grabbing one of these Orgain drinks and heading out the door is very convenient. It’s much better than grabbing a sugar-filled soda, and more filling than a bottle of water. Since it’s high in protein (16 grams) and low in sugar (13 grams), I know it’s going to keep me going longer, so that after shopping I still have the energy to come home, help the kids with homework, and get a nutritious, home-cooked dinner on the table.
What are these drinks? The Orgain website describes it best as an “organic, ready-to-drink nutritional shake.” They have 255 calories (60 fat calories) and are full of vitamins and minerals. It is comprised of a protein blend, complex carbohydrate blend, vitamin blend, vegetable blend, fruit blend, and an antioxidant blend. The protein blend relies heavily on whey and milk proteins, so this is not for those who have trouble with milk products. It uses brown rice components for the carbohydrate blend. And just look at all the fruits and vegetables that were combined for these drinks: blueberry, banana, acai, apple, raspberry, kale, beet, spinach, carrot, tomato. Pomegranate and green tea extracts were added for antioxidant benefits. I’m impressed by all the organic nutritious ingredients used in these drinks because it just tasted like a thick chocolate milk to me.
How did they taste? They were good. The Creamy Chocolate Fudge was my favorite (no surprise there). It has a nice smooth chocolate taste, with just a slight grainy texture at the end. (I guess I didn’t shake it up good enough.) The Sweet Vanilla Bean was even smoother, but my husband and I both agreed the flavor of the chocolate was better. (Oops! We drank up the Creamy Chocolate Fudge before I got a chance to take a picture.) They really were very filling. I have trouble finishing an 8 oz. glass of water in one sitting, so an 11 oz. energy shake was more than sufficient to fill me up.
Will I buy Orgain? Yes, on occasion. However, milk is not always my friend, so I would not drink these on a regular basis. My husband, on the other hand, enjoyed taking these to work. Perhaps the real drawback is the cost. You can buy a case of 12 of these online at Orgain for $42 or at Amazon for $45. I guess $3.50 isn’t too much to pay for a meal, but still seems like a lot to add to the grocery bill. I will buy ours at Wegmans, where I can get them for $2.89 each. If you’re interested, you may want to check Orgain’s website for other local retailers, so you don’t have to worry about shipping.
- Several different varieties of pancakes were mentioned – apple, banana, blueberry, chocolate chip, peanut butter, pumpkin
- Cheese Balls – Sausage Cheese and Cheese Garlic varieties
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
- Hearty Chicken Pot Pie
- Impossibly Easy Cheeseburger Pie
- and so many more….
The winner of the Bisquick Pancake Prize Pack, who was chosen by Random.org, is Gretchen (comment #116). I love that Gretchen was thinking about making gluten-free Russian Tea Cakes for her mother-in-law. Bisquick Gluten-Free is a great product for people who want to bake gluten free for friends and family. But, as a precaution, please be careful to avoid any cross-contamination if you are baking in a kitchen that also uses any gluten-containing ingredients. I would recommend using parchment paper for lining baking sheets and pans. For mixing, I would also recommend using metal spoons and glass bowls that have been thoroughly scrubbed of any possible traces of gluten.
Other Giveaways. I wish I could send samples to everyone who entered, but of course I can’t. You can however, enter another contest. But enter quick as these two are expiring soon!
I had seen the new Bisquick Gluten Free Pancake and Baking Mix at the grocery stores, but didn’t buy a box. I checked the price ($4.49 at my grocery store), the size of the box (16 oz.), and decided to wait until I needed a gluten-free baking mix. (I usually keep my pantry stocked with Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix.) Then, I received an email offering me a free sample of the Gluten-Free Bisquick mailed to me with a fun prize pack from Bisquick. I was happy to try the baking mix, but was impressed with the prize pack that came with it, too.The cast iron Swedish pancake pan looked interesting, but I haven’t actually tried it yet.
Instead we had fun making a variety of fun shapes with the Tovolo Pancake Pen. This is a great kitchen gadget for letting the kids join in on the fun. It really makes it so easy to create any shape you want. Since it was close to Halloween, we decided to make fun jack-o-lanterns. We used chocolate chips on some and cut bacon pieces for others. It was an instant hit! My husband got in on the act, too, and made ghosts, spiders, letters, etc. I can’t tell you how many pancakes it made because they were all so oddly sized and shaped. I made a double batch using 2 cups of the mix, and it was enough to feed my family of four.
The Bisquick is certainly different from the usual mix we use, as you would expect just by looking at the ingredients [Rice Flour, Sugar, Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Modified Potato Starch, Salt, Xanthan Gum. May Contain Soy Ingredients.]. The Bisquick is sweeter and has a finer texture. My kids were so excited about the shapes, they didn’t even seem to notice a difference in taste. The one drawback of the Bisquick pancakes is that it didn’t seem to brown very easily. We increased the temperature on our electric skillet to 400° F and it still took a while for it to turn golden brown. My husband did find that using butter to grease the skillet helped with the taste and browning.
Would I buy the product? Probably on occasion. Bisquick is easy to use and tastes good. My only hesitation is the price. I might overlook the price if I felt that it had better nutritional quality or better taste than other options. No matter what, it’s nice to know there are numerous options for gluten-free baking mixes. I’ll probably buy some more so I can try some of the recipes they have on the Bisquick Gluten Free website. I found a couple that would be nice for the holidays: Mushroom-Pecan appetizers and Russian Tea Cakes for dessert.
Giveaway. So how about you? Have you tried the new Bisquick Gluten Free? Would you like to try it? Bisquick has offered to give away the same sample prize pack I received to one eligible CeliacFamily.com reader (legal residents of the US who are 18 years or older). The prize pack includes a 16 oz. box of Bisquick Gluten Free, a Pancake Pen, a cast iron Swedish pancake pan, and a silicone spatula.
How to Enter.
- Leave a comment letting me know what you’d like to try making with the gluten-free Bisquick. Check out the recipes on their website, if you need ideas.
- 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.
The giveaway will run from now until Nov. 10, 2010; 10 pm EST. The winner will be chosen using Random.org. The winner should respond within 48 hours after being contacted by email. If I’m unable to contact the winner, another winner will be chosen. We’d love for the winner to receive the prize before Thanksgiving, so it can be used to make breakfast for guests, appetizers, or biscuits for Thanksgiving dinner.
Find more product reviews of Bisquick Gluten Free online:
- Linda at The Gluten-Free Homemaker tried out the pancakes on the cast iron skillet.
- Kim at Gluten Free Is Life made delicious-looking Blueberry Scones with the Bisquick, yogurt and blueberries.
- Heidi at Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom modified the mix by adding shortening and made a variety of exciting recipes, including Strawberry Shortcake, Coffee Cake, and Chicken Nuggets.
The good folks at POM Wonderful sent me a case of Blueberry Pomegranate juice in the mail last month. It’s very good, and very strong on the blueberry flavor. I can’t drink too much of it straight, but that’s OK because even a small bottle of it is full of antioxidants. That makes this a healthy drink, right?
When I first received the juice, I thought of lots of different ways to use it: sorbets, dressings, sauces, etc. And for some reason (fast and easy, perhaps?), the only way I’ve used it so far is in drinks. I’ve added it to lemonade, other juices, iced tea, even champagne. It added a nice flavor to all of them.
Then, I got this crazy idea to use it in a Cosmopolitan drink. I don’t even drink Cosmos. Anyway, I gave my husband some ideas on the ingredients, and he tried mixing a couple versions. I think we came up with a very yummy recipe. It’s really very good, and very blueberry, despite the red color. So, if you’re looking for a fruity, fun drink for happy hour or girl’s night out, give it a try.
Blue POM Cosmo Recipe
2 oz. vodka, chilled
1 oz. Triple Sec
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 oz. POM Blueberry juice
Blueberries for garnish (optional)
- Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
- Add a few ice cubes, cover and shake the cocktail.
- Pour the cocktail, straining out the ice, into a martini glass.
- If desired, garnish with a few blueberries.
- As you can see, I used blueberries for garnish. To keep the swizzle stick from falling out of the glass, put some blueberries on the end of the stick in the glass, too. Or, just lay it across the rim of the glass.
- There are lots of good-looking recipes at POM Wonderful.
- The origins of the Cosmopolitan Cocktail, according to Wikipedia.
- Pomegranate-Blueberry Albacore Skewers recipe is posted at The Gluten-Free Hippie.
- Reindeer Antlers, an pomegranate alcoholic punch is posted at Gluten Free Easily.
- Recipes for Pomegranate Popsicles and Pomegranate Sorbet are at Gluten Free Gidget.
- POM Glazed Chicken Salad can be found at Gluten Free Expedition.
- Pork Chops with Pomegranate-Mushroom Sauce is posted at Gluten Free Works.
- Pomegranate Marinade for lamb and salmon can be found at Gluten Free Portland Oregon.