Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2014: Trading in Candy!

Happy Halloween!

I have to confess, I love candy and so do my kids. And, I do let me kids eat the gluten free candy they collect at Halloween. We have so so many things that are off limits that I want them to feel an abundance of the things they can eat. We have a tradition where the kids can turn the candy they can't eat in for candy they can eat.  My daughter does have to give away her twizzlers, twix and the random candy that is not gluten free. My eight year old, who is gluten and dairy free has to trade in all his gluten free and dairy free candy which includes tootsie pops, blow pops and chocolate candy.

They usually each end up with a large bag of candy to sort and trade. I am not very good at throwing things away so we usually give our extra candy to the doorman or we put it outside our door in a bowl for late night trick-or-treaters.

Here are some ideas of things we trade in candy for...

Trade in
Twizzlers licorice (not GF/contains wheat) for Candy Tree Organic Cherry Twists (GFCF)
Nestle's Crunch bars (not GF/contains barley malt) for Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom Ricemilk Crunch Bars (GFCF)
Blow Pops (GF/contain dairy) for Dum Dum Lollipops

Here is a link to company pages to see gluten free status of candy...
Dum Dum Lollipop (all are GF and dairy free)
Wriggly 1-800-974-4539 (all GF except Altoid Small Sugar Free Peppermint and all dairy free except Strawberry Cream Savers contain dairy) including
Skittles (GFCF)
Starburst (GFCF)
Lifesavers and Lifesaver Gummies (GFCF)
Doublemint Gum (GFCF)
Hubba Bubba (GFCF)

Here is a picture of the candy I bought for my kids to trade in for...All the candy was purchased at 
1347 1st Avenue @72nd Street
(212) 396-3780

Thank you to The Healthy Apple for telling me about Matter of Health!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Pumpkin seeds are delicious roasted with salt and oil. For more adventurous eaters, you can transform them into a spicy snack. There are two ways to go about making them--either you just pop the seeds in the oven with oil and salt or you can boil them in salt water, drain and then roast them. Boiling them infuses the whole seed with a salty flavor--it is an extra step but it can be worth it if you have the time. I have included both recipes below.

Pumpkin seeds are the nutrient dense part of the pumpkin so they are full of protein and minerals--making them a great snack with candy which is often lacking in nutrients.

Make roasting pumpkin seeds a tradition. If you feel overwhelmed by the mess of carving the pumpkin just put all the pumpkin seeds in a bowl or ziplock bag to roast the next day.


  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 lime

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine pumpkin seeds and oil in a small bowl.
Spread the pumpkin seeds on the parchment lined baking sheet.
Squeeze half a lime  on the pumpkin seeds and sprinkle with salt.
Roast the pumpkin seeds in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
While the pumpkins are in the oven, combine the  spices together in small bowl. 
When the pumpkin seeds are roasted, remove them from the oven and prinkle the spice mixture over them. Stir to combine.
Let cool for 10 minutes before eating.


2 cups pumpkin seeds
8 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons oil

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
1/2 lime

Combine 2 cups pumpkin seeds with 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a kitchen towel to dry them off.  Toss in a bowl with oil. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Squeeze half a lime on the pumpkin seeds. Roast for 20 minutes in the oven.

While pumpkin seeds cook, combine spice mixture in a small bowl.  When the pumpkin seeds are golden brown remove them from the oven and sprinkle spice mixture on them. Let cool 10 minutes before eating.

Related Post:
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Recipe

Saturday, October 26, 2013

GF Hash Browns Recipe from Your Personal Foodie

Jill Hopler is the owner of Your Personal Foodie in NYC.  Jill prepares homemade, healthy and tasty food in your home for busy New York families. She has become an expert on gluten free meal preparation and cooks regularly for several families who are gluten free. When I have a party or a holiday dinner and need help Jill is always the first  (and only!) person I call for help. 

Jill helps me every year with my son's birthday party. This year she made hash brown potatoes to go with the pigs in blankets and sliders. I didn't tell anyone that I didn't make them when they were oohing and aahing over the potatoes because I wanted everyone to try them. Afterward, I fessed up  that Jill had made them. "Just don't commit potato fraud" my husband advises me now. Here is her recipe for hash browns which can be served with breakfast or dinner.

Jill Hopler's Hash Browns
  • 1 lb potatoes (whatever kind you prefer--about 2 large potatoes)
  • 1/4 onion small dice (either yellow or red)
  • I clove of garlic minced
  • 2T earth balance (or butter) divided
  • 2T olive oil divided
  • paprika

Boil potatoes whole until 3/4 way done
Dice potatoes.
In the meantime, add 1T of earth balance and 1T of olive oil to pan, add onions and sauté until soft, add garlic and sauté until fragrant, add potatoes sauté for 5 minutes and lightly mash with a potato masher or the back of a spatula. Once potatoes start to brown, flip potatoes some will brown and some will stay soft. Brown until desired doneness and sprinkle with paprika.

For help with your family dinners call...

Jill Hopler
Personal Foodie
Homemade, Healthy and Tasty in your home

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Gluten Free Bakeries in NYC: 2013

A friend emailed me to ask "Do you know of a place that does gluten free event cakes?" There are quite a few gluten free bakeries in NYC--here is a list...

1) Pip's Bakery 
Two locations in NYC so you can try slices of cake before you order to pick a flavor. Best selection of cakes, cookies and pastries. Best for gluten free/dairy free cakes. Most impressive packaging by far! ***We special ordered a gluten free/dairy free chocolate cake with chocolate chips for my eight year old's birthday from Pip's!
1729-31 First Avenue
(Between 89th and 90th St)

127 East 39th Street
(39th and Lexington)

2) The Little Cakes 
Free delivery--these are the best cakes if you are gluten free. No store but you can sample cake pops to try cake flavor at G-Free NYC. You can order cakes directly from The Little Cakes or pick up at G-Free NYC on the upper west side. The cake pops are perfect because they are mixed with frosting but they are not overly sweet. Cakes are a little grainy but excellent--and the favorite among our picky gluten-free tasters. ***We ordered my twelve year old's birthday cake from Little Cakes!
New York, NY
(347) 644-8081

Downtown dedicated gluten free bakery with locations in Dallas too. Tu-lu's has mini cupcakes available and dairy and vegan cupcakes Fridays and Saturdays or anytime by special order.
338 E 11th St  New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-2227

Downtown dedicated gluten free/dairy free/soy free bakery.
Super clean ingredients are used--they prefer to decorate cakes with coconut, chocolate, and chocolate covered strawberries.
I have never been there but if you need a cake that is gluten free/dairy free/soy free and free of refined sugar  
and probably less sweet than most gluten free cakes.
263 East 10th Street
(between 1st Avenue and Ave A)
New York, NY 10009
Delivery between Battery Park and 85th Street

5) Crumbs Bake Shop - The Village/Gluten Free
Super sweet, extra largecupcakes--fun for kids. 
Small selection of cakes can be be preordered--Carrot cake/red velvet/chocolate raspberry mousse cake can be ordered in advance for pickup. You can try smaller version in store in store or order big version)
37 E 8th St
New York
(212) 673-1500

Other places to find gluten free baked goods...

G-Free NYC
A gluten free store with a large selection of gluten free baked goods on the upper west side. They have a Fresh Baked Schedule of bread that is delivered fresh daily Monday through Friday.
77 West 85th Street (between Columbus and CPW)
New York, NY 10024

By the Way Bakery has the MOST delicious cherry morello mini cakes which are available at G-Free NYC. They are opening a store in NYC after Thanksgiving.
2442 Broadway (at 90th Street)

Babycakes NYC 
A vegan bakery that does have gluten free items. But, they use spelt in some baked goods so it is not a dedicated gluten free bakery.
248 Broome Street (between Orchard and Ludlow)
New York City, NY 10002
(855) 462-2292

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gluten 101 with Geri Brewster in NYC on October 23, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
6:30 pm-8:30 pm

Rebecca School
40 East 30th Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 

NAA NY Metro is hosting  a special event this Wednesday evening on Gluten 101: Allergy, Sensitivity and Intolerance with Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, CDN.

An entire evening devoted to talking about gluten and all it's hidden sources!

If you have a special needs child then you may have heard about the gluten-free diet and how it has helped many children.  You maybe wondering if a gluten-free diet could help your child or if you need to get your child tested first to see if he or she has a gluten allergy.  Some of you may have tried the diet and it just didn't help that much and you may be wondering if you did it right. All of these questions and more can be answered by this informative event.   

Geri Brewster, RD, MPH, CDN, will speak about the differences between having a gluten allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance.  She will address the best way to implement the diet and how to figure out if it is effective.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gluten Free Homemade "Subway" Sandwich

This gluten free homemade "Subway" sandwich I made for my son looked SO good that I made a second one for myself for breakfast. 

Schar baguette bread is what makes this gluten free sandwich a really tasty copy of a classic  "Subway" sandwich. The unfamiliar European style packaging of Schar bread can be a little surprising, but it is actually a wonderful baguette for an American style "Subway" sandwich with a hint of sourdough flavor. When you heat it up and let it cool to room temperature it makes a great sandwich to send in a lunchbox for a gluten free kid who wants a "regular" looking lunch. (Or for a mom who is super hungry from a morning of making breakfast, packing lunch, walking kids to school and walking the dog.)

Ingredients for a "Subway" style sandwich...

1 gluten free Schar baguette
3 slices Applegate Farms organic ham (or thinly sliced turkey or salami)
shredded iceberg lettuce
sliced olives
sliced red onions
jalapeno peppers
Helman's mayonnaise (which is now labelled gluten free!)
salt and pepper

To make the "Subway" hero:
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut Schar baguette in half. Reserve one half in the fridge sealed in a ziplock bag for another time. Place one half baguette in the oven on a sheet tray for 5 minute.
  • Shred a cup of ice berg lettuce. Slice olives. Chop up jalepenos.
  • Remove the baguette from the oven and slice in half. Let cool.
  • Spread mayo or mustard on the inside of the bread.
  • Place 3 slices of Applegate Farms organic ham (or turkey or salami) on the bread.
  • Add shredded iceberg lettuce, olives,  red onions and salt and pepper.
  • Wrap in parchment paper or saran wrap.

Serve with chips and a cookie and a drink for an authentic "Subway" experience.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Celiac Disease Center of Columbia 12th Anniversary Gala on October 17, 2013

The Celiac Disease Center's Gala is the one dinner where I can actually eat the food which is 100% gluten free.  The dinner at the Mandarin Oriental is always memorable but this year's gala is going to be especially fun because Jon Stewart is hosting. And, Free Bread Inc. is donating their amazing whole grain rolls. (I am equally excited about both--which would only make sense to someone who hadn't eaten real bread in 7 years who recently sampled Free Bread Inc's dairy free Moxy rolls.) 

There are a few tickets left if you want to join us in raising money for the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia--a non-profit that  does research on celiac disease,  provides medical care to patients and gives nutritional support to families and individuals affected by celiac. It's a pricey ticket but it is an amazing evening and a great cause.

Research on celiac and support for individuals with celiac is lacking because there is no drug treatment for this disease. In our family, despite years of symptoms, symptoms of celiac were overlooked by many doctors including gastrointestinal doctors, neurologists, several pediatricians as well as a few internal medical doctors. A patient of Dr. Peter Green's had given me Dr. Green's book on  celiac disease which I had on my shelf when the fourth pediatric GI doctor we had seen called to say they had discovered my son had two genes for celiac. When I read the book it was a crazy listing of all the symptoms our family had been dealing with for years. And it was the former nutritionist at the Celiac Disease Center, Anne Lee, who finally told me a month later, "Your done--your kids have celiac." Years of running to doctors and hearing "everything was fine" FINALLY made sense when I read Dr. Green's book that explained that Celiac Disease goes undiagnosed for years in many case because it is such a complicated disease.

To buy a ticket to the gala and to support the center, click here or go to the Celiac Disease Center's NEW website to read more about the support and research they provide to families affected by celiac. 

Read Dr. Green's book Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic to learn more about the symptoms of celiac disease.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kid's Weekly Menu...

My eight year old was inspired to create his own weekly menu after seeing my list of meals for the week on the kitchen counter. The truth is, he was sick of my making the same meals each week.

meanu for the week
chicken nuggets
soop (soup)
burger & fries
toacas (tacos)

I make pretty kid-friendly meals--but it is fun to see a super kid friendly menu. On the back of his menu he added a signature line and made me sign it to promise I would make all the meals. A promise is a promise. Shrimp today. Soop on Thursday.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Planning a Weekly Menu...

Planning a weekly menu makes the week much easier. A weekly menu allows you to tell everyone in advance what to expect for dinner--and it allows you to plan meals around ingredients that are already in your fridge. This week, leftover stock in the freezer inspired me to add wonton soup to our weekly menu. I find that cooking Monday through Friday gives us enough food for Friday and Saturday. I have to admit--I tend to make the same things each week. Here is our menu for this week. It's pretty much a variation of the same menu I make every week.

Monday: Homemade pepperoni pizza using Cooking for Isaiah recipe or Udi's crust with a green     salad, artichoke hearts and olives
               (also make almond crackers for snack)
Tuesday: Breaded chicken cutlets with broccoli and salad
               (snack hummus and carrots)
Wednesday: Fish sticks and shrimp cocktail with potatoes and peas and salad
               (snack: almond crackers and fruit plate)
Thursday:Homemade wonton soup with crispy noodles and edamame
               (snack: cucumbers, carrots and green dip)
Friday: Leftovers!
Saturday: Go out or order in. 

We usually make something on Sunday--but because there is more time on Sunday to shop and cook I don't usually plan Sundays a full week in advance.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Safer Sleeping: Buying an Organic Mattress in NYC

Every night, babies and children go to sleep with their faces  pressed against their mattresses and their pillows. Typical mattresses have pesticides, polyurethane foam, flame retardants and formaldehyde which are associated with a host of health problems. Temper-pedic beds made with memory foam are the absolute worst--I heard--although many people love them.

Having a less toxic bed environment is important because we detox at night. Also, according to an article in the New York Times called Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit, poor quality sleep might be a contributing factor for some people with attention problems.

We are still sleeping on the same mattresses we have had for 12 years--only because I was also aware that if you aren't going to buy a non-toxic mattress then an old mattress might be preferable to a new one that is off gassing chemicals. But today, I sprung for certified OMI organic mattresses for everyone. It is a small fortune*--but, I think,  a good investment in our health. I found OMI organic mattresses at Long's Bedding on the Upper West Side in NYC. My friend Lisa researched organic mattresses for years and told me OMI were the best. Lisa isn't an extravagant person. She is quite sensible and the number one priority in her life is her health. (She also has a journalism degree from Columbia--so she is good at research.)

"Everyone who lives  in New York City should have a good mattress and a good pair of shoes." said Terri the salesperson at Long's Bedding, where I bought my OMI mattress. I took the bus home from Long's and calculated  how many cab rides I would have to forgo to pay for the bed--it's a LOT of bus rides. But if you calculate the cost of the bed divided by 10 years and then divided again by the 356 days in the year the cost of an OMI bed at Long's is about $1.62 per night and the cost of the youth mattress with a topper is 52 cents per night. Which is not a bad investment in the present and the future. I don't drink Starbucks coffee--but it is certainly less than buying a Starbucks coffee everyday--which is not even organic.

OMI has a full line of beds, a youth bed  as well as crib mattresses that are endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World. They even have certified organic pet beds "for your furry friends." (Sorry Kathy--you aren't getting an organic bed!)

To read more about this issue read: Sleep Safe in a Toxic World by Walter Bader.

Realistically, many people cannot afford an organic mattress. But if you find yourself in a position where you can spring for one--here is a buying guide at Clean Healthy NY.

Mommypotamus has a great article on How To Buy A Non-Toxic Mattress (And An Inexpensive Alternative.) BabeSafe, which is a mattress cover from New Zealand, is her recommendation to protect infants and babies from toxins in mattresses.  I did read that while the mattress wraps do seal in the chemicals--they are noisy because they are made of plastic. According to HealthyChild's article on Mattress Offgassing, Polyethylene is the safest, most non-toxic plastic available for mattress wrapping. 

*organic mattresses from OMI run from $495 for a crib mattress to $1,395 for a youth mattress to $5,795 for a queen size.

To see the whole line of organic mattresses go to OMI Mattress. To place an order, contact Terri, Judie or Bob Long at Long's bedding in NYC. Long's ship nationwide but best to try out the beds in person. 

121 W 72nd St  
New York, NY 10023
(212) 873-1752