Monday, September 19, 2016

Frustration ahead....again!

In light of the Jimmy Kimmel's Emmy, if you'll call it a joke, about Gluten Free & Peanut Allergies being annoying, I had to put my thoughts out there.  Trust me, I get that he is comedian, and is just joking -however, he shouldn't joke about something that is so seriously, and especially since the vast majority of allergies are life threatening.  He so could have knocked the FAD gluten free diet instead, and called that one annoying -but, for those of us that HAVE to be gluten free or allergic to other foods, it's not a joke by any means. Jokes like this one make it SO much more for those of us who HAVE to live the allergy lifestyle seriously.
Photo Credit:
When I was diagnosed with Celiac 13 years ago, it was a challenge because the GF market was slim and not many options.  You'd think now, 13 years later it would be much easier -however, it is oh so much more challenging.  Don't get me wrong, there are many more food options -however, SAFE gluten free options, being taken serious, and being respected are so much more challenging. 

Going out to eat, or for that fact eating anywhere, brings me so much anxiety.  So, my apologies to anyone who has to deal with me for being, as Jimmy Kimmel says being "annoying".  When I get contaminated, I am down for the count for a good 2 weeks...and takes even longer for the damage done to my guts to heal.  Simply a crumb of gluten and my guts freak...yes, a pesky crumb.  Within hours of the contamination, my stomach with blow up and I look like I'm 6 month pregnant -so, imagine how much damage that causes.  In addition to the huge belly bloat, I typically get a headache that often turns in to a migraine, extreme nausea, and a major case of brain fog...that last for days!  Needless to say, when I get contaminated, I am no fun to be around.  Not only do I suffer when I get contaminated, so does my family.  I'm literally a bear to be around for days...especially because of the brain fog, and being so frustrated that I can't remember anything.   
Photo Credit:
So...I'm ANNOYING about the food I put onto my body for a very good reason.  

One piece of advice I that I can pass onto anyone who loves someone with Celiac, an allergy, or any food restriction...please respect them fully.  If you kindly made something gluten free or free of any allergen, and we politely decline -but, please don't get offended.  We appreciate the gesture, trust me -but, we have A LOT of fear with food, and all the precautions needed being done correctly.  We know it can be annoying, frustrating, and everything in between -but, its our health that is at risk, and our health trumps upsetting you...sorry.  Lastly, if your  loved one is anything like me, and they feel like an annoying inconvenience, they may pull away.  So, please respect your love ones, and remember, we didn't choose this life.  And...its not funny, and far from a joke.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Celiac Frustration

I'm long overdue for a blog post and apologize for falling off the face of the earth!  Instead of writing blog post, I've been just sharing helpful information on FaceBook.  As I've mentioned, I'm not always the best at putting my thoughts into words -but, time to work on that!  Guess there is no better time that this month for Celiac Awareness Month, right?!?!

Lately, I've had a lot of Celiac Frustration.  

Photo Credit:  Pinterest
I'm that person who just pulls away from people and stays in my safe haven at home.  From time to time, I get crushed that I'm not included in things since people assume I won't go because of all the anxiety I get out when I'm out of my safe haven    Most times, I would decline an invite to play it safe -however, on the other side it hurts dearly when I hear of a function I wasn't privy to be invited, and tough not to feel it's because of my inconvenient Celiac.

Photo Credit:  Pinterest 
Another one of my frustrations is always having to take food to functions...especially family functions.  I'm sure this is crazy for thinking -but, believe family should at least attempt to accommodate or respect your wishes...after all family will do anything for you, right?!?!  

Photo Credit:  Pinterest
Don't get me wrong I don't expect them to fully accommodate but at least respect what makes us feel comfortable whether it's bringing our own food, helping to cook to ensure from being contaminated, or whatever else.  It's always nice when you don't have to ask about food being whats being served that they let you know, too!  

Some days it doesn't bother me when others eat the gluten filled food I'd love to eat but then other times it really bothers me. Is it that way with you too? Then on the other hand, it also gets very tiring always have to in a sense packing up your kitchen to go to functions.  Not to mention, by the time you pack your meal and travel, when it comes time to eat it, it's far from as good as fresh from the oven...just like take out!  Lately, I've stated to eat before going or leaving when it's time to eat to head home to eat or grab a safe bite out to eat on the way home, and taking a snack to eat there.  Truly, it just all depends on the day!   

Photo Credit:  Pinterest
I'm hoping I'm not the only one -but, each day I feel differently on how I'd like things to be handled. I'm thinking my new live motto needs to be "It truly depend on the day!"  One day things don't bother me, and the next it truly bothers me.  The more I think of it, it truly comes down to respect.  If I feel you respect my Celiac, I'm not as sensitive -but, if it feels like I'm not respected, it bothers me.   

Photo Credit:  Pinterest                            
I can't go without giving my girlfriends some props!  I've truly been blessed with some amazing friends who accept me 100% for who I am...Celiac, anxiety, and all.  My girlfriends never make me feel like an inconvenience, and gladly eat at my select few safe out to eat places on our girls night out, and I'm ever so thankful for that, and them.  

With all that said, I'm thinking it may be time to put together a "Celiac Wish List" compiled of what we wish people knew or respected about the life we HAVE to live.  Let's help spread Celiac Awareness together...and build a  Celiac Wish List together.  
I'll start:

1.)  I wish non-GF respected someone GF 100% and put themselves in our shoes...basically treat others how you would like to be treated.  

Please comment below or on the Facebook post  on my Pittsburgh Celiac Page.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Guest Blog Post...from my Mom!

For our family New Years Day get together my mom made a perfect Strawberry Pretzel Dessert...even the gluten eaters went back for seconds it was that good!!  Since there were several likes of the picture I posted on FaceBook, I asked her to do a guest blog post, and share her recipe.  

My mom isn't too Internet savvy, and never read a blog (other than mine) -so, her goes her post!  

I remembered that the Strawberry Pretzel Dessert was one of Melanie's favorites before her Celiac Diagnosis, and going GF -so, I revised the recipe. It's a really easy dessert and so yummy. No one realizes it's GF!😉
1 and half bags of gf pretzels (used Snyders of Hanover) chopped/crushed 
3/4 C melted butter 
1 Tbsp sugar mixed & pressed into 9x13 glass pan. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes & 

Cream one 8 oz cream cheese & 1 C sugar. 
In separate bowl beat 1 pint whipping cream & 1 tsp vanilla until fluffy. 
Then blend the two mixes together. 
Spread over cooled pretzel crust. 
Chill layers while jello mixture is made and thickens (approx 40 mins).

TOP LAYER: Jello Mixture
Dissolve 6 oz strawberry jello & 2 Cups boiling water. Add 10 oz frozen strawberries. Chill until thick then spread over whipped cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if desired. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A New GF Adventure

 Lately, I've felt like I need to be doing more in the Gluten Free world, and low and behold, Miss J got her Generation GF magazine from GIG in the mail.  What I had been looking for was literally in my hand.

This blog was originally started in attempts to help other Celiacs or those Gluten Free.  I'm not the best at posting blog post, find it a challenge to truly express my feelings, and put it into words -but, always try to post finds and such on FaceBook, and spread awareness. 

That day the magazine arrived, it dawned on me that there isn't a Generation GF branch in Pittsburgh -so, I jumped into researching what needed to be done to start one!  

This summer during a visit to Natually Soergel's, Miss J spotted a little girl wearing the same Gluten Free bracelet she has, and ran to play with her.  Let me tell how excited she was to meet another gluten free little girl!  As an adult, a Celiac or Gluten Intolerance diagnosis is a challenge -but, as a child it's even more...especially since they don't often meet anyone gluten free, and their age.

However, now we can make that happen.  I've officially started a Genertation GF Pittsburgh Branch, and brain storming functions, and fun stuff! 

I'm so proud to be 1 of the 7 Generation GF branches!  So...stay tuned for more news of this exciting new adventure!

For more information on Generation GF, please check out this link:

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Gluten Free Disney Vacation: Part 2

For the second part of our vacation, we continued in the magic, and headed off for a short visit to Walt Disney World! Let the magic continue....
Day 1:
We literally dropped our bags and headed off to Disney Springs formerly known as Downtown Disney.  As soon as we arrived at Disney Springs, we filled our bellies with goodness at Splitsville.  This was our first visit to Splitsville to eat, and no doubt won't be our last!  My husband thoroughly enjoyed the Fantasy Roll; which is Gluten Free!  For me, I thoroughly enjoyed the Fiesta bowl, and Miss J had a burger with fruit since they don't have a dedicated fryer for French fries.  


After a quick visit to Disney Springs, and filling our bellies with gluten free goodness, we headed for our annual stop at Erin McKenna NYC before heading off to Magic Kingdom!  At Erin McKenna NYC, we all enjoyed sharing a Kitchen Sink; which is a cup full of donuts, brownie bites, and frosting!  We also, stopped back for a  2nd visit before our trip ended, to get our Donut fix, and also tried a Cinnamon Roll.  During our 2nd visit, we stopped right at the calm before the storm, which gave us the pleasure of chatting to the employes for a bit, too!  Erin McKenna NYC is truly a dream since everything is Gluten Free!  



Since the parks were a little crazy due to it being the last night for Trick or Treating, we headed back to our resort to eat dinner, and have a relaxing evening!  Since our bellies were still full from lunch, I decided to have Buffalo Chicken Dip, and a Salad.  However, I forgot to take a picture of the food...but, did remember to take a picture of the Allergy-Friendly menu for The Turf Club Bar & Grill at Saratoga Springs. 


Day 2:
Every morning, we typically enjoyed breakfast at our resort.  Our fav is simply Bacon, Eggs, and...Mickey Waffles, of course!!  


After breakfast, off to Hollywood Studios we went!!


Since we had planned on an early dinner, we didn't eat at Hollywood Studios.  Instead we had a snack lunch of fruit, and granola bars I packed.  After much fun at Hollywood Studios, we took the boat over to the Boardwalk area to eat at Beaches & Cream before heading to Epcot.  


While waiting for our seat at Beaches & Cream, we had a blast at the arcade next door!  The wait for Beaches & Cream was well worth it...we had an amazing experience!  We had counter seats; which Miss J loved being able to see all the action of sundae making, and the chef cooking on the grill!  Ironically, my hubby and I both orders the Beaches Chef Salad, and enjoyed every bit of it!!  You can't go to Beaches & Cream and not have dessert!!  Miss J and I enjoyed every spoonful of the Brownie A La Mode made with a Gluten Free brownie.  Needless to say, we left with very happy bellies, and ready to venture to Epcot!  


Since the heat was kicking our butts (it was in the 90's during our stay), and we were still so full from our dinner, we didn't eat anything during our Epcot visit either. 

Day 3:  
It was another HOT day, and we were off to Animal Kingdom...after quick granola bars for breakfast.  For a morning snack, we sure didn't go with a healthy option:  Dole Whip and a GF Rice Crispy Treat from Starbucks.  Guess you can say the heat was starting to affect my brain -but, then again, anything goes in Disney, right?!?!


Once again, we didn't have much of an appetite for lunch, and planned to have an early dinner at Yak &, we were all saving room!  We headed off to the Rainforest Cafe; where we ran into friends from home!  It's truly a Small World after all!!  We love the Rain Forest Lava Nachos for Two; which is perfect since we didn't want to have a big lunch to save room for dinner!  Since they don't have a dedicated fryer, they substitute the corn chips with Potato Chips...oh so yummy!! 


Our animal lover, little girl was in her glory with all the animals, and continuing to soak in all the Disney magic!

After lots of Animal Kingdom adventures, we took a break to enjoy dinner at Yak & Yeti where were seated upstairs and enjoyed the view...and people watch!  Not only did we have a great view at Yak & Yeti, we also had a delicious appetizer, dinner, and dessert:  Lettuce Cups to Two, Lo Mein, and New York Cheesecake.  Once again, our bellies were very happy, and full to the brim!


Day 4:
Our last day of vacation had arrived, and heading for home in the morning!  We of course had to get our fix of Mickey waffles for breakfast before heading off to Magic Kindgom!  For our last day at the park, I had made reservations to do the Family Magic Tour; which I highly recommend.  So I don't give away any of the surprises, I'll simply say that the tour is a scavenger hunt around the park guided by a Cast Member!  

Since the tour lasted until afternoon, and we had a 3 PM dinner reservation, we just had a snack lunch again!  Dinner was at The Plaza.  During our visit last year, I truly enjoyed the Cheese Steak Sandwich, and specifically went back to enjoy it again this trip.  While looking over the Allery-Friendly Menu, I noticed the Cheese Steak Sandwich wasn't noted Gluten Free...and then came the huge disappointment when our waitress informed me that it's no longer Gluten Free.  Here's to hoping our next visit it's back on the menu!  For this visit at The Plaza, I went with the Angus Chuck Cheeseburger, and to drown my sorrows of no Cheese Steak Sandwich, a Banana Split for Dessert!  


When we arrived at Disney, the parks were decorated for Halloween, and the day we left, all was in full swing for Christmas!  Those Disney elves sure work magic!!  


During this trip to Walt Disney World, the majority of the places we dined offered Allergy-Friendly Menus, and we to ordered directly with the our waitress without speaking to the chef.  They still give the option to speak to the chef -but, now that the menus have been ruled out, the chef doesn't automatically come to the table.  Of all the places we ate, the only 2 that the chef automatically came out was Roanforest Cafe, and Yak & Yeti since they are Landry owned not Disney owned.  All the wait staff was very educated, and I felt very confident placing my order with them, and didn't have a single issue.

Once again, we had yet another magical trip to Walt Disney World, and are already excited for our return next year!  See ya real soon, Disney!!  


Monday, November 9, 2015

Gluten Free Disney Vacation: Part 1

As you all know, we are a Disney loving family!  Our slight Disney addiction started when we took our honeymoon there 12 years ago...just weeks after being diagnosed with Celiac.  Disney quickly opened my eyes and showed me gluten free food can be as delicious as gluten filled foods.  During our first visit, numerous times, I double checked to see if the food was safe because it was so amazing...and you bet it was 100% safe! After that first visit, Disney quickly became our second home!!  


This trip, we started our adventure at Disney Vero Beach, and feel in love!  A Disney resort on the beach...what isn't to love?!?!  


We decided to play it safe, and stick to only eating at our resort since we knew it was safe.  Disney Vero Beach has 4 dining options:  Shutters, Sonja's, The Green Cabin Room, and Bleachers Bar & Grill.  We ate at all of them except Sonja's; which is fine dining.  After playing at the beach & pool all day, we weren't up for fine dining -so, maybe we will try it our next visit!  They even offer a character breakfast with Donald Duck and Goofy on Saturday mornings; which was perfect!  

Disney + Beach = Amazing 

Just like when visiting Disney Parks, you mention "allergy" to the hostess, and the chef comes out personally to go over the menu.  We actually had a chef from the Kittanning area, too!!  As always, every chef was amazing -but, I favored the PA chef of course!!  We found touches from home everywhere...even Steelers was already written in the sand dune wall!

Go Steelers!                                      

During our Vero Beach stay we had a lot of Gluten Free goodness: Chicken Tenders, Sandwiches, Burgers, Pasta, French Fries, Salads, Omelet, Grits (corn based, not pictured), and  Toast.  They even have Dole Whip at Bleachers Bar & Grill which is located by the pool.  We truly enjoyed every single meal, and every one simply hit the spot!  In addition, the dining staff were all amazing, and always went above and beyond.  

Gluten Free Vero Beach Goodness 

Disney Vero Beach has much to offer, and truly provides and adventure for the kids.  There is a little miniature golf course by the pool, billiards, ping ping, tennis, and so much more!  They offer a special for miniature golf...$5/person, and you can play unlimited for your stay.  Check out our little friend we met while miniature golfing one evening!

Our Miniature Golf Friend, Mr. Crab
Since the resort isn't as big as the other Disney resorts, and our visit was during an off season, the cast members all quickly got to know us...especially Miss J; which she loved!  

Eb & Flo Schedule for the Week 
We had the perfect mix of relaxation, and fun activity. Check out the is fun filled schedule the resort had to offer for the week of our stay pictured above.  

Enjoying some R & R 
We celebrated Halloween during our stay, and will most likely do it again next year since we had so much fun!  Miss J loved every second...and even went to her first little haunted house.  The cast members put together a perfect Disney Friendly haunted house at one of the cottages on property.   Our little Snow White is still talking about it!  

Snow White at the Haunted House 
Can't say enough how much we love Disney in every aspect, and love it even more that they are so amazing with food allergies.  

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our vacation at Walt Disney World.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Gluten Free Kids Birthday Party

This week Miss J turned 6...and it's certainly has been the fastest 6 years of my life!!  Originally, she wanted to have a roller skating party -but, sadly the only roller skating rink close to us closed a few months ago!  So, we started to brain storm!  Miss J came up with a great idea...a movie party...and I ran with it!

We both agreed on having all to our home to watch Home!  Luckily, Miss J's dad willingly agreed to share his man cave for the event!


For the Movie themed menu we enjoyed Hot Dogs (no buns), Nacho's and Cheese, Boov Milkshakes, Popcorn/Candy Bar, a Veggies tray, and of course Miss J's fav...Pickle Dip with chips!  


Instead of making a cake, we made cupcakes in the shape of a unicorn.  It made it so easy to literally just grab and go!  Since the kids had Boov Milkshakes while watching the movie, (vanilla ice cream, blueberries, mini marshmallows, and orange sprinkles), we didn't have ice cream with the cupcakes.  And...surprisingly no one noticed!  


After the party was over, I realized this was the easiest food prep party we have had!  The most difficult thing to make was the "cake" -but, luckily my mom pulled it off for me!!


Other than making the cupcakes, the only other food I had to make was the pickle dip; which I threw together the night before.  As for the rest, it was so easy to throw together right before everyone arrived.


To end the day, we did a unicorn piñata...filled with gluten free candy,  of course!

If I could get Miss J to go along with it, if agree to have this party this every year...but, know the chances are slim!!  

What are some of the themes you have you done for your little ones birthday parties?