Archive for March, 2013

Gluten-Free Friday 3/29/13

Friday, March 29th, 2013
 

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We’ve made it! My original intent was a 6 week gluten elimination trial and today marks 6 weeks! Wow! The thing is we are going to continue because we have seen improvements. There is a certain degree of irony in it all for me! You see I started writing gluten-free Friday when no member of my family was actually gluten-free. My good friends at House-54 merely asked me to write them and I agreed. As I wrote some posts and thought about it it occurred to me that my youngest son Evan may actually be intolerant. He was suffering stomach pains, he had constipation issues since birth and he is anemic. Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance also has a higher occurrence rate among people with Down syndrome (which Evan has). All of these are symptoms. So the 6 week elimination diet began and my son improved. His Pediatrician agreed that it seems too much of a coincidence and she ordered a blood test for Celiac this week. We went to the lab and unfortunately the technicians were unable to get a blood draw (blood draws are tricky on people with low muscle tone). My poor baby was stuck several times and I felt terrible but no luck! :( :( We will have to try again however since he needs a number of tests (not just for Celiac). Typically you would want the test while still consuming gluten but the Pediatrician feels that 5-6 weeks is not enough time gluten-free for Celiac to not be picked up in the blood draw. We will hopefully get a successful blood draw soon and some answers. Even if the test is negative however we will stay gluten-free because we feel it is working!

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Over the past 6 weeks I have become quite an expert researcher. There are still many things I am still not clear on but I learn something new almost every day! The whole certified gluten-free versus “no gluten ingredients used” still trips me up…. is it gluten-free or not? The internet has probably been my number one tool. I can access it at home or even on the go from my iPhone. The thing is you can’t always believe what you read on the internet (shocking I know lol) but I try to use reliable sources. Celiac.com I consider reliable since it is a website devoted to helping people with Celiac live a happy healthy gluten-free life. You can look up gluten-free foods, get recipes, shop and even connect with other gluten intolerant folks in their forum! I also downloaded an app called find me Gluten-Free where you can put in your location and get a list of gluten-free restaurants and eateries near you along with helpful reviews. Finally I have been getting some lovely advice, suggestions and encouragement from people reading this blog. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I really do appreciate it!

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This blog, as you can probably guess, is all about lunch packing however! I believe in packing healthy and balanced lunches for my family using little to no artificial ingredients. Evan’s lunches are no different because he is gluten-free. I just challenge myself to work harder to be sure he has delicious AND balanced offerings. It has become easier as I go along but for awhile I did begin to feel like I was packing the same safe foods again and again! To combat that I decided to purchase some lunch menu plans for inspiration. MOMables Gluten-Free Menu Plan to be exact! For only $12.00 I was able to purchase 8 weeks of suggested menu plans which even included shopping lists. The premise of MOMables is to show parents that they can pack a healthy lunch for their children quickly and at a reasonable cost. The turkey and cheese sushi rolls in the photo above were inspired by the ham and cheese sushi roll from my MOMables gluten-free menu plan and it was a big hit with Evan! I know if I need more inspiration still I can visit the blogs of some dear friends who also have gluten-free children and focus on healthy lunch packing. Check them out:

Keeley McGuire Blog

Biting the Hand that Feeds You

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Lunch #1 in Glit & Brillia container: blueberries, cheese stick, Perdue Chicken shortcuts and baked banana split pancake muffins.

Lunch #2 in Glit & Brillia container: mini cucumbers, strawberries, Leapin Lemurs GF cereal by Envirokidz, and GF bagel pizza made with an Udi’s bagel

Lunch #3 in Nibble Tray container by Zak Designs: nectarines, strawberries, Leapin Lemurs GF cereal by Envirokidz, Almond Thin crackers by Blue Diamond as well as turkey and cheese sushi (wrap a cheese stick up in your favorite lunch meat and slice). This recipe was inspired by the hame and cheese sushi lunch included in the MOMables Gluten-Free Menu Plan. The deli at my grocery store was kind enough to wipe down the cutter before slicing our gluten-free meat to avoid cross contamination.

Lunch #4 in a Leaflet Tight container: veggie mix including peas, carrots and zucchini, Van’s Say Cheese crackers, sliced cheese stick (one of Evan’s favorites as you can see), hard boiled egg chicks. I was inspired after seeing this idea on Pinterest from just jenn recipes! Do note that I used a gluten-free flax seed for the eyes and I used cooked carrots for the beaks (since I had them from my veggie side anyway)! So which did some first, the chicken or the egg?

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So I’m beginning to feel like a pro already so I hope I can in turn offer some advice now to my friend Jessie over at Chaos and Confections! She recently learned her adorable 3 1/2 year old son Beaker has multiple food allergies among them gluten. I would love if you would stop by and offer her some encouragement! Have a happy week. I’ll be back next week with another Gluten-Free Friday recap!

 

Sincerely,

Products used in this post:

Another 1,2,3 Lunch to go!

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
 

Recently I wrote a short post about the idea of 1,2,3 simple lunch packing. This is really my fall back lunch plan on most days! If I have leftovers I start there but I actually wanted to save last night’s dinner leftovers for dinner tonight so I had to scratch that. So I went with the ultimate lunch fall back… the sandwich. I did have a pound of turkey in the fridge after all! The basic premise of 1.2.3 packing is well, there are 3 compartments in my trusty Easylunchboxes container, I just fill them!

1. Main course (protein and grain)- Many a day this would be leftovers but today it is a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.

2. Veggie/Fruit – today’s mix is nectarines and mini cucumbers.

3. Crunchy snack – Cheese and crackers today (leftover from a weekend event).

Short sweet post today! I seem to have caught a bad cold from my little ones!
Sincerely,

Products used in this post:

Baked GF Banana Split Pancake Muffins

Monday, March 25th, 2013
 

Today is my youngest child Evan’s second birthday. These past 2 years have flown by in the blink of an eye. Since today was a normal day of school and work for my family, yesterday I wanted to make Evan a special breakfast in advance. I happened to have a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pancake Mix in the house. I am still very new to the gluten-free realm (just 5 weeks in) so I like to have known “safe” options on hand! I wanted to spruce it up however to make it special for my little man. The idea of a banana split pancake muffin came to mind. When I think banana split I think of the three scoops of ice cream: strawberry, chocolate and vanilla all on top of a split banana! I wanted to incorporate all these flavors into my pancake muffin but use my “safe” gluten-free mix!

So this is how I did it:

 

Baked Gluten-Free Banana Split Pancake Muffins

(makes 20-24 mini muffins)

  • 1 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pancake Mix (or your favorite brand)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 3/4 Sweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Mashed Ripe Banana
  • 1/4 diced fresh strawberry
  • 2 TBSP of mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your mini muffin pan(s) with cooking spray. Mix all ingredients listed together. Fill each mini muffin cup approximately 3/4 way full. Bake mini muffins for 10-15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean and/or muffin top bounces back to the touch.

 

Since I had so many left I packed some in lunch for my husband and I today. Served in an Easylunchboxes container, this lunch included:

  • Baked Gluten-Free Banana Split Pancake Muffins (recipe above) served with syrup
  • Naturebox Roasted Kettle  Kernels and Honeycomb Sunflower Kernels (Naturebox Snacks are not certified Gluten-Free)
  • Fresh Nectarines and blueberries
  • Cheese and crackers

Sincerely,

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