Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunday Brunch: Gluten Free Waffle Sundaes with Whipped "Cream" and Strawberries

Sunday mornings I often make homemade waffles with tons of toppings. My homemade waffle recipe only has two tablespoons of sugar so I don't mind if the kids make waffle sundae's using whipped cream and fruit. My daughter has regular whipped cream on her waffles--and I serve soy whip or rice whip for my son who can't eat dairy. Pile cut strawberries on top of the waffles and then put whipped cream and a whole strawberry for an easy and exciting breakfast treat for kids.

After breakfast, I freeze the extra waffles in a single layer on a sheet tray. When the waffles are frozen, I transfer them into plastic ziplock bags and place them back in the freezer so we can enjoy waffles during the week. 

Related Posts:
Homemade Gluten-Free, Dairy Free Waffle Recipe
Homemade Frozen Waffles and Our Gluten Free Family Vacation

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gluten-Free Kosher Bakeries that Sell Challah!

Challah is a traditional braided egg bread. Here is a list of gluten-free, kosher bakeries that sell challah. 

Taffets challah was, by far, the winner of our gluten free family's challah taste test. Compared to the others, Taffets is freshly baked and soft--even after traveling overnight from Philadelphia to NYC. 

All the challah we tasted was better when we microwaved it to soften it up. For a full loaf of challah, warm it in the microwave for a minute or so. For a slice, 15 to 30 seconds works well. Or you can pop it in the oven until warm. But, according to Lynn at G-Free NYC (and in our experience) the microwave works the best.)

Taffets Gluten-Free Challah (from Philadelphia Bakery)
Available special order on Fridays from G-Free NYC or you can order directly from Taffets. Taffet's challah is freshly baked on Thursday and sent to G-Free NYC on Friday--but you need to special order it in advance from G-Free because it is only available by customer request. Taffets also has delicious bagels that you can special order directly from Taffets.

Heaven Mills Challah
Heaven Mills has oat challah available in several different sizes. They also carry egg-free and sugar-free challah. Heaven Mills was our second favorite after Taffets. But it is a prepackaged product that travels well but, unfortunately, it does not have a fresh challah taste.

Katz Gluten Free-Challah
Katz's has a small rice challah, oat challah or a large braided challah that are all gluten free.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Peanut/Nut Free in NYC!

 Q: My 2.5 year old son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. I am finding I need cakes and cookies more regularly for all the parties and it's been hard.  If you happen to know of any brands or shops that might be good, please let me know.

A: It is very hard when kids are young and there are so many different parties and events revolving around cupcakes! I promise it gets easier as they get older. Here are some other options for Peanut/Nut Free in NYC from parent Melanie S.

1) Eleni's (NOT GF)
Chelsea Market Store (cookies are also sold at Fairway)
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Cookie Concierge: (888) 435-3647

2) School Safe (NOT GF)
Sold at Whole Foods around the city.

And a few more options from parent and food allergy advocate, Liana...

3) Divvies (Not GF)
They deliver. Everything is amazing!
700 Oakridge Common
South Salem, NY 10590
(914) 533-0333

4) Donut pub  (Not GF)
Delicious & affordable donuts which supplies donuts to the Food Allergy Initiative Luncheon. They say they are "nut aware" but recommended by peanut allergy experts.
203 West 14th Street (at 7th Avenue)
New York, NY 10011
(212) 929-0126

5) Izzi B's Allergen-Free Bakery
Free of most allergens including gluten. Order them fresh from Izzi to get best products--they are not as good when frozen.

Here is my favorite place to find GF/nut-free treats for kids...

6) G-Free NYC
G-Free has some delicious nut-free baked goods including Main Line Baking Company's Coconut Bliss Cupcakes.
77A West 85th St.
(between Columbus and CPW)
New York, NY 10024

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Is Sushi Gluten Free? and GF Sushi in NYC

Traditional sushi made with rice vinegar is naturally gluten free--if you avoid the soy sauce. I have taken several sushi making classes and have made sushi rice and sushi and they all suggest rice wine vinegar. But there are some ingredients used to make sushi in restaurants that you have to watch out for if you are on a gluten free diet.

I ALWAYS call ahead to restaurants and tell them "My child has a severe allergy to gluten--can you tell me exactly what is used to make your sushi and if it is gluten free?" I always make sure to find out what type of vinegar they use.

 The following ingredients are problematic...

If they use malt vinegar instead of rice vinegar, the sushi will contain gluten. Malt vinegar is made from barly and it is not distilled so you need to avoid it if you are on a gluten free diet.
Some sushi restaurants sprinkle this powder on the sushi rice which makes the rice plump and glossy.  Because it is impossible to know the source of this chemical rice enhancer I would skip any sushi that has added powder--although it may or may not be gluten free. Haru in NYC uses miola powder--although I have a friend with celiac who recommended Haru I would not recommend it.
Skip the crab because it can contain gluten. We never order crab just to avoid confusion.
Traditional soy sauce contains wheat and is not gluten free. This is usually on the side--just check that soy sauce is not used as an ingredient in any sushi you order. We call ahead to see if they have gluten-free tamari--or bring your own. My kids like sushi so much they will eat sushi without soy sauce if gluten-free tamari is not available.

By far, the main thing you have to be concerned about is the type of vinegar used in the sushi. I thought I would do a post because the miola powder is something I just found out about.

The following are restaurants where my kids eat sushi (and I have confirmed they use rice vinegar and not malt vinegar.)

Lilly and Loo's NYC
Yuka (all you can eat sushi!)
Dean and Deluca Madison Market Location @85th Street/Madison Avenue
Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza (Request gluten-free soy sauce. Do not have shrimp tempera.)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Q&A with ourGF family about CANDY


Q: My kids crave candy and sweets what can I do?

A:  My kids love candy and sweets, too! I don't make it completely off limits because my kids are older and we have so many other food restrictions. Completely eliminating foods  can sometimes lead to an unhealthy relationship with food--and make kids want the food more. Also, one day my kids will go off to college and I don’t want them to feel deprived and go crazy with junk food!  That being said, I have very, very clear limits about candy. 

My kids can not have any candy or sweets that contain gluten. In addition, my son cannot have candy that contains dairy.  If candy with these ingredients is given to them (on Halloween or Valentines Day) I allow them to trade it in for a candy they can have.  I NEVER give my kids ANY candy that they have a strong reaction to. This is really, really important. A bad reaction to candy  could be caused by candida(yeast overgrowth), low magnesium, a reaction to dye, or the sugar in the candy. I have noticed that my kids react better to candy if they have had a  nourishing meal with some protein and vegetables so
I make sure that that candy and sweets are with more nutritious food.

If my child is given candy at school or in a goodie bag, I often tell them they can have it on Friday after dinner. I think the process of waiting to eat candy also teaches them that they can have treats but not every time someone hands them something. If they desperately want it so much and can't hold off on eating it, I sometimes will try to find them a healthier option that has some nutrients but is still sweet. 

The Natural Candy Store allows you to search for candy that is free of gluten, dairy, gmo's and dyes!  We like Enjoy Life chocolate, Jelly Belly Superfruit Mix and HariboHappy Cola which are gluten-free, dairy-free and free of artificial dyes. 

Of course, every kid is different and every situation is different—try to learn from your experiences what is best for your child!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wendy in NYC at Camp Experts

The Camp Experts and Teen Summers
Wendy Marks
Phone: 212-452-CAMP

Service is free and confidential for parents!

General camp or specific requests for kids with food allergies and special needs!
Camp experts will steer you to right the camp that is a perfect fit for your child! Wendy, in NYC, has personally visited the camps she recommends so she  knows the camps well and what they offer. This is a great service for families of children with allergies.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Things We've Learned about Food Allergies

by Lauren Wu

When we first found our son had allergies, he was allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, soy, wheat, avocado, banana, oats, sesame and beef. I'm sure there other things I've forgotten. After 3 years, we are down to peanuts, tree nuts and egg.

Here are some things we've learned:

1) Develop a support network. Join FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education.) We just got a lifetime family membership. They send out helpful information regularly. I am also part of a Facebook SF Food Allergy Network group. There is likely something similar in your area.

2) For dairy allergies, it's not enough to avoid things that contain milk. Check ingredient lists carefully and avoid butter, cheese, casein, whey, etc. If you want a milk substitute to drink you can go with hemp milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk. Your child is over 5 so technically rice milk is okay but given it has high arsenic levels I would drink that sparingly as well.

3) It is tough to find snacks that don't contain wheat! My son used to eat rice crackers nonstop. Depending on the brand and ingredients, they are safe. Dried seaweed is also popular with him which is shocking given how picky he is. The brand Seasnax is great because they use olive oil and they make individual packets.

4) Find Enjoy Life brand foods. Try are free of the top 8 allergens. My son loves the Rice Milk Crunch which tastes just like a Nestlé Crunch chocolate bar but doesn't contain milk etc. Enjoy Life also makes a line of cookies and all sorts of snacks.

5) Namaste makes a line of pasta that does not contain wheat. They have a pasta called Say Cheez that tastes great. It doesn't contain dairy yet is close enough to Mac n cheese that kids will eat it.

6) There are cheese substitutes but they won't melt properly in the oven or microwave. The best one we've found is Daiya but it's still a little lacking. They make a line of "cream cheese" and pizza which I haven't tried yet but gets decent reviews.

7) 10% of people allergic to dairy are also allergic to beef so watch out for that and observe carefully.*

8) Make sure you're seeing a great allergist. It took me 3 tries to find a good allergist.

9) If you did IgE blood tests, have them redone once a year so you can see the trend. That's how we were comfortable enough to do a food challenge for dairy this year.

10) Make sure your kids have enough vitamin D and zinc. There is a link with those deficiencies and food allergies.

11) How is your child sleeping? It turns out my son has environmental allergies and his sleep apnea is partially due to that. That's a whole other long discussion.

12) The is a lot of cross contact in foods. So if you eat oats for instance, make sure you specifically get gluten free oats.

13) You have to be a strong advocate for your child. If s/he goes to public school, have a 504 plan in place. Make sure his/her school has provisions to keep him/her safe.

14) I suggest a medical alert bracelet for children who have an IgE allergy. We use Allerbling.

*Milk Allergy Diet by Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library Online

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream is my new favorite obsession. The secret to making a silky smooth cashew cream is soaking the cashews overnight in cold water. Cashew cream makes vegan and dairy-free foods taste buttery and rich. I love using it to make macaroni and cheese or to give a creamy flavor to tea or coffee. It’s also quite good poured over granola or berries for a not too sweet but satisfying dessert.

  • Put 2 cups whole organic cashews in a 4 cup glass bowl or large jar
  • Cover with cold water
  • Cover the bowl or jar
  • Let sit overnight
  • Strain and rinse cashews
  • Put in a Vitamix or high speed blender
  • Add 1 cup of water
  • Blend for 2 minutes until creamy
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Refrigerate

For a sweet cream add 3 soaked dates and blend or 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
Or leave the cream unsweetened so you can use in savory or sweet dishes. You can sweeten the cream as you use it depending on the dish. If you want a thinner cream--just add water.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Favorite Gluten Free Restaurants in NYC and The Hamptons 2014

by Ansley Lester

These are Ansley's favorite gluten-free restaurants in NYC and The Hamptons in 2014...

Risotteria  (Gluten Free Menu)
270 Bleecker Street
(212) 924-6664
The breadsticks are amazing! With a cheese tasting party planned, I didn’t know what to do about bread. I stopped by Risotteria and got a dozen  for $18, a little price--but the breadsticks are very long. I sliced them in half and had 12 for the party and then froze the other half. They freeze easily and are great heated up.

Lili and Loo  (Gluten Free Menu)
792 Lexington Avenue
(212) 421-7800
Chinese delivery when I am on the UES. They label everything GF on the packaging and it always satisfies my cravings for Chinese food.

Jennifer’s Way (Gluten Free Menu)
263 E 10th Street
(646) 682-9501
This place is great! EVERYTHING is Gluten Free and many things are Vegan. I am not Vegan, but my boyfriend’s father is on a no egg/dairy free diet and this was our go-to for his birthday sweet! I have taken many of my friend’s here and later tell them that everything is GF/DF and they are so surprised! My favorite things are the Sea Salt bagels and chocolate cupcakes. Both happen to be Vegan too!

Chipotle (Gluten Free Friendly)
Many Locations
My go-to fast food restaurant! I get them to change their gloves before preparing my food. It is so satisfying and filling. Usually, I request that they to change gloves "because we are allergic to wheat". To see the list of allergens, go to the Chipotle: Special Diet Information.

Dana’s Bakery (Gluten Free Menu)
For Valentine’s Day, I got the Valentine’s Day themed macarons. They were so cute and were a huge hit with my boyfriend whom grew up in Paris.  I think that says it all!  They are a perfect gift for anyone gluten free or not. Call or visit online to order.

Wei West (Gluten Free Menu)
235 Murray Street
So many options! There is a gluten free menu and non-gluten free menu. I was so excited about Tangerine Beef and General Tso Chicken. Delivery was so quick and delicious! This is one of my top delivery places.

Most of the time I am with people that are not gluten free. Because of this, I am always going to restaurants that don’t necessarily have GF menu, but are accommodating to me. Here are my favorites:

Tacombi at Fonda Nolita (Gluten Free Friendly)
267 Elizabeth Street
I love this place for the cheap good food and fun atmosphere. They do not have a GF menu, but they can tell you everything on the menu that is GF. I had no problems enjoying chips and guacamole, and tacos.

Café Sage  (Gluten Free Friendly)
108 John Street
(212) 925-7440
Does not have a Gluten Free menu, but is very knowledgeable about GF allergy and helps me choose naturally GF options or options that can be GF. My favorite is the Green Curry with white rice or Drunken noodles.

Cowgirl Seahorse (Gluten Free Friendly)
259 Front Street
(212) 608-7873
This is a place I visit a lot because of location and casual atmosphere. I started going here when I was not gluten free and loved it. When I became GF I was scared that I was not going to be able to enjoy one of my favorite restaurants. I was SO wrong! They were so nice and went through the menu with me to help me figure out what I can have. It is hard to find restaurants that accommodates allergies and inexpensive. I am super impressed! My favorite things are the grilled chicken wings and nachos!

Barbalu (Gluten Free Friendly/ Gluten Free pasta)
225-227 Front Street
Went here with a bunch of people---no one was gluten free. The owners are from Italy and take great pride in having gluten free options. They have gluten free pasta that you can substitute in for any dish. It was so great!! All my non-GF friends loved their food. My favorite thing was the eggplant and mozzarella appetizer (natural gluten free).

Hearth  (Gluten Free Friendly)
403 E12th St.
(646) 602-1300
This was the first restaurant I went to when I became completely gluten free. I was so nervous, but my fears were quickly dissolved after my phone call with the hostess. One of the chefs spoke with me over the phone before my reservation going through everything that was GF or could be GF. It was beyond accommodating. Once there the waitress also was knowledgeable and was happy to help in any way. Coming with a party of ten, I was nervous that my allergy would be overlooked and I would get sick. This was not the case!

Antonucci’s  (Gluten Free Friendly/ Gluten Free Pasta)
170 E. 81st Street
My parent’s favorite Italian spot on the UES--Very traditional dishes with naturally gluten free options and gluten free pasta substitute for pasta dishes. My favorite thing is a seasonal salad. Can’t wait for summer to be here to eat the corn, avocado salad.  Beware of the breadbasket it is so tempting. I usually bring my own bread so that I can dip it in the marinara sauce with cheese. 

The Hamptons

Townline BBQ (Gluten Free Friendly)
I love BBQ and this is perfect place to fill that craving. My boyfriend use to work here, so I know all the ingredients that goes into everything and how it is prepared. The wings are gluten free and are fried in their own fryer. The smoked salmon and chicken are juicy and perfectly prepared.  The brisket is gluten free and dairy free.  They also have free popcorn to snack on while waiting for your food. All the pulled meat I would stay away from because the sauce might contain gluten!

Fresh Hamptons (Gluten Free Friendly)
203 Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton
(631) 537-4700
Everything comes a la carte and everything is made with simple  ingredients. I love this place for that sole reason. You are able to choose that way you would like your meat, fish and veggies prepared.

Bay Burger (Gluten Free Friendly, Gluten Free Fries and Hamburger Buns)
1742 Bridgehampton Sag Harbor Turnpike
They have gluten free buns and fries. Not the best bun I have ever had, but ask them to heat it in the microwave and then put it on the grill—this helps tremendously

Friday, February 21, 2014

NOT so Gluten-Free at the Ocean Club Beach Bar and Grill in Key Biscayne

Every year we travel to the Ocean Club on Key Biscayne to escape the cold weather of NYC. The Ocean Club is a beautiful condo complex and private club on the beach between the Ritz Carlton and the state park. Before we had to go gluten free seven years ago we enjoyed many meals at the two lovely restaurants. 

For the last six years, we went to the Beach Bar and Grill with the kids and would try to order gluten-free meals for lunch. It was always a struggle and there really weren't many options for the kids. The kitchen at the poolside restaurant is super busy and very small which made it even harder. I would usually order a salad with shrimp or chickpeas and the kids would have a burger no bun. Ordering was always a huge negotiation with the staff and, curiously, my son always got sick when we were in Florida. Finally, a friendly remark that "Your son is always sick on vacation" made me realize we ended up in urgent care every time we went to Key Biscayne. So this year I told everyone we were going to try not eating at the Beach Bar and Grill at the Ocean Club for lunch. Instead we went home for sandwiches, salads,  cold cuts, gluten-free mac and cheese, chips and fruit. (I am happy to report Winn Dixie now carries Organic Applegate Farm products and gf mac and cheese.) So, I am happy to report this year no one got sick and we had an amazing vacation.

Turns out the best way for Our Gluten Free Family to be gluten free at the Ocean Club is to NOT eat at the Ocean Club.

(I tried to contact the Ocean Club by phone for a response and they weren't able to give me one. I am hoping by writing this that one day they might have a few options that are truly gluten free for their members who have celiac and gluten intolerance. If they ever do, I am happy to let people know!)