Thanksgiving 2020

Gluten Free Thanksving www.healthygffamily.comThanksgiving is looking very different this year.  Instead of a big family gathering — last year I hosted 20 of my favorite people, this year it’s going to be just the 4 of us.  While I am obviously sad and will miss my family a lot, I am trying to be grateful and embrace our smaller, cozier holiday. Sharing here all the details of what we’re making, along with some tips if this is your first gluten-free Thanksgiving. Continue reading “Thanksgiving 2020”

Thanksgiving Countdown!

Gluten Free Thanksving www.healthygffamily.comNovember arrived and suddenly I am in a mad rush to prepare for Thanksgiving and the holidays! Anyone else? Let me clarify…  Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday but we are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time! I host almost all the other holidays and birthdays and big events… but Thanksgiving has always been my Mom’s holiday to host.  So we are in full on planning mode over here and I’ve decided to share the controlled chaos with you! I’m starting with week one and our preliminary menu and will update each week as we go along. Continue reading “Thanksgiving Countdown!”

Behind the Scenes on our Italy trip: all your questions, answered.

behind the scenes gluten free travel italy While on vacation this summer in Italy, I didn’t post to my main feed on any social media platform but I did post to Instagram stories everyday, and had so much fun! I shared where we were going, what we were eating and I was messaging with so many of you! It was a blast to share my vacation! At the end of our trip, I answered all your questions. So today I am sharing highlights from the trip and your questions as seen on IG Stories. Continue reading “Behind the Scenes on our Italy trip: all your questions, answered.”

Is your Sushi Gluten-Free?

Is your sushi Gluten-Free? If you’re like our family, sushi is an easy grab and go meal, takeout dinner or fun party dish. It packs well, stays fresh, is easy to eat and readily available. But not all sushi is gluten-free. So how do you determine if yours is? We’ve compiled a list of things we look for/ questions we ask when ordering sushi now that my son must follow a strict gluten-free diet since being diagnosed with celiac disease. Continue reading “Is your Sushi Gluten-Free?”

Simple Meal Strategies while “Staying at Home”

Simple Meal StrategiesToday marks Day 21 of  “Staying at Home” for our family.  3 weeks ago today, with little warning, our schools closed indefinitely and our world changed dramatically. Suddenly our entire family of 4 was living/working/schooling from home all day, every day. And everyone was eating at home, all day, every day.  And we were no longer going to the grocery store multiple times a week. 

We suddenly had to be really strategic about what we cooked and ate, thinking about what food was in the house and what was going to go bad soon. It is a work-in-progress, but after 3 weeks, we have a bit of a routine working for us. So sharing all our best meal strategies for minimizing waste, maximizing pantry items and staying sane while feeding a family of 4 (including 2 teen boys, one with celiac disease), and still eating healthy and delicious food! Continue reading “Simple Meal Strategies while “Staying at Home””

How to plant a Patio Vegetable Garden

planting a patio garden #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.comSpring is one of my favorite times of year for so many reasons, but especially because we plant our patio garden! We’ve been planting a patio garden for 12 years and it is the most inspiring experience! I love how quickly the little seedlings we purchase at a local nursery grow into the most productive and amazing greens and herbs! And there is nothing better than heading into your backyard to pick lettuce to make a salad, or Swiss chard to make a quesadilla, or herbs to make a salad dressing or season a sauce! It’s such a powerful experience to grow your own food and it tastes fresher than anything you can ever imagine!

The last few years, I’ve shared the journey of growing our garden from planting to harvesting on Instagram stories and after more requests than I can count, I’m finally sharing the how tos and our best tips here! So I hope you join us and grow a patio garden this year!

Continue reading “How to plant a Patio Vegetable Garden”

Our Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide 2020

Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide 2020 #glutenfreerecipes Kicking off the holiday season our 2nd Annual Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide! These are all products that we literally use allllll the time in our kitchen. It’s the kitchen appliances and gadgets you see me using on Instagram Stories or the website, everyday.  Some are big ticket items but they are brands and products that I can personally attest to using, and some of them have been in our kitchen for 25 years (!), so a good investment! Others are fun-to-have and stocking stuffers. And no better time than the holidays to grab one of these for yourself and ask for one as a gift because so many sales are happening now! Continue reading “Our Kitchen Essentials Gift Guide 2020”

Finding Restaurants when Traveling Gluten-Free

Gluten-Free Travel and Dining Out, Finding Restaurants while Traveling Gluten-Free #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfreeliving www.healthygffamily.comWe just got back from Italy and had the most amazing trip!  We explored some of the most beautiful cities and ate some of the best gluten-free food ever! Throughout our trip, one of the most commonly asked questions I received via Direct Message was “how do we find restaurants when we travel?”.  I answered so many people on Direct Message that I wanted to write a blog post about it. Continue reading “Finding Restaurants when Traveling Gluten-Free”

Gluten-Free in Florence, Italy

gluten free Florence Italy www.healthygffamily.comWe had the most amazing family vacation in Italy this summer and Florence, Italy was a dream! We toured, we shopped and we ate some of the BEST gluten-free food ever! In fact, we are still talking about some of our meals and places we ate at. Everything was so fresh tasting, prepared impeccably and importantly it was safe for my son with celiac disease! So sharing our favorites here. Continue reading “Gluten-Free in Florence, Italy”

I don’t pack lunch: How we worked with the school district to get celiac-safe, gluten-free lunches.

gluten free lunch #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.comWhen my son was first diagnosed with celiac disease, it never even occurred to me that he could one day order a safe gluten-free lunch from school. But I no longer pack lunch for my son. He purchases a celiac-safe, gluten-free lunch at school and has for the past 5 years. How are we so fortunate? Do I really trust that is it safe? I am asked these questions and more all the time… so in this long overdue blog post, I am finally sharing how we worked with the school district to get safe gluten free lunches provided at the school. Continue reading “I don’t pack lunch: How we worked with the school district to get celiac-safe, gluten-free lunches.”

Our Top 5 Tips for Easy Meal Planning

Our Top 5 Tips for Easy Meal Planning #glutenfree #glutenfreerecipes My objective here is to take the overwhelm out of meal planning. We cook a lot. We’re feeding a family of 4, including 2 teen boys with voracious appetites, one of whom must eat gluten-free due to Celiac Disease. But we are also very busy and things get hectic, especially during the busy after school and dinner hours. So I’m sharing our Top 5 Tips on how to meal plan for a healthy and delicious week of eats even, or especially when, you think you don’t have time! Continue reading “Our Top 5 Tips for Easy Meal Planning”

The Young Celiac Chef

My son loves to cook and I couldn’t be happier. Not only because I love having a partner in crime in the kitchen but also because it will make living with Celiac Disease easier for him.

My son has always been interested in food and always wanted to try everything. He’s the kid who eats for pure enjoyment, not just fuel. He’s the kid who would rather enjoy 5 bites of his food than scarf down an entire lunchbox during a short school lunch.  He’s the kid who even at a young age wanted to sit at the family table and have good conversation over food. Continue reading “The Young Celiac Chef”

Glutened at Day Camp

cheeseburger on paper plate4 weeks after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and starting a gluten-free diet, my 5 year old son started Summer day camp. He left on a bus in the morning and was there all day. Most meals were easy — we packed them — but the camp had “Pizza Wednesdays,” “Cookout Fridays” and made S’mores periodically, so we were instantly thrust into the world of learning how to work with camps and feed my son safely.

It was smooth sailing until one day they called to say he had been accidentally given a hamburger on a regular (ie full gluten!) bun. Silence on the end of the phone. Continue reading “Glutened at Day Camp”

Gluten in Medicine

Gluten in Medicine? It is probably something you wouldn’t think of unless you have Celiac Disease or another medically prescribed gluten-free diet. But, if you have celiac disease, you need to consider hidden sources of gluten in just about anything, including medicine. And if you’re not feeling well and a doctor prescribes medicine, the last thing you want to think about is whether the medicine that’s supposed to make you feel better will make you feel worse… because of gluten. Continue reading “Gluten in Medicine”

Our favorite Gluten-Free pastas

If you’ve followed me a while, you probably know we are BIG fans of pasta! Both my and my husband’s family are Italian, so we grew up eating an assortment of classic Italian pasta dishes, and over the years we have tried so many new combinations of pasta sauces we’ve lost count. Today, pasta makes a weekly appearance in our house for the obvious reasons… it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s crowd pleasing, the pasta/sauce combinations are endless, and it is just delicious!  So naturally one of the questions I am most often asked is… What is our favorite brand of  gluten-free pasta? Continue reading “Our favorite Gluten-Free pastas”

Our Favorite Gluten-Free Bread

Favorite Gluten-Free Bread #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.comThe two questions I am most often asked is “What’s our favorite gluten-free pasta?” and “What’s our favorite gluten-free bread?” I answered the pasta question in a blog post about a year ago (and will update with some new ones!) and am finally answering the bread question today.  Can’t wait for you to read and let me know your favorite gluten-free bread too! Continue reading “Our Favorite Gluten-Free Bread”

My son doesn’t eat everything I post, and I’m ok with that

One of the questions I am often asked on my Instagram feed is, “Do your kids eat everything you post?” The short answer is no, they don’t, and I’m ok with it. Another common question is “Are your kids vegetarian?” Again, the answer is no, and I’m ok with that too.

The reason I started the Healthy Gluten-Free Family is that my son needs to eat a gluten-free diet (hello Celiac Disease) AND because he’s always loved trying new foods and the dining experience (see The Young Celiac Chef). He’s the kid who always wants to try new foods and flavors or variations of his favorite dishes. But with Celiac Disease, we need to make sure his food is prepared free of cross contamination, so he doesn’t have the option to just walk into any restaurant or deli and try anything he wants.  Continue reading “My son doesn’t eat everything I post, and I’m ok with that”

All things Celiac

Happy Celiac Disease Awareness Month! For the Month of May and hopefully beyond, I am going to share a number of blog posts on my website with a behind-the-scenes look at our experiences with ALL THINGS CELIAC.

Those who know me personally know I am passionate about All Things Celiac. I get easily worked up about food labeling, drug labeling, restaurant cross contamination, awareness within the medical community, self-diagnosis, reluctance to be tested, screening and testing, ability for my son to socialize easily… are you getting the picture?  Continue reading “All things Celiac”

You can never assume…

 It’s National Gluten-Free Day and it seems like the perfect time to share our experience dining out last weekend because there were two valuable reminders: first, never assume and always ask questions, and second, there is always an opportunity to educate others. Here is the back story…. Continue reading “You can never assume…”

Sisters Spin for Celiac

I’m starting a series featuring incredible kids bringing attention and awareness to Celiac Disease.  I couldn’t be more excited to start with this amazing young woman: Tori Bergstein, a high school Senior in Vermont who created Spin for Celiac, a fundraiser taking place on September 17th in Vermont with all proceeds benefiting the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. Continue reading “Sisters Spin for Celiac”

Dining out in Napa

What we ate while in Marin for 36 hours

Before heading to The Big Island of Hawaii last month we spent an action packed 36 hours in Napa with a large family group attending our cousin’s wedding. We arrived late on a Thursday evening and had only Friday to show the kids a taste of Napa before the ceremony. It rained, or rather deluged, the entire time, but that didn’t dampen our fun! We showed the boys the rolling hills of Napa, visited the Mondavi winery, and dined out at several delicious restaurants with gluten-free options. Continue reading “Dining out in Napa”

Dining out on The Big Island of Hawaii

A gorgeous location with gluten-free options all around

We just returned from an amazing vacation to The Big Island of Hawaii. It wasn’t just that we were traveling with great company (my parents and my brother’s family) or that the weather was perfect, or that the island is absolutely gorgeous. The icing on the cake is that it was really easy to dine out and eat well gluten-free! As anyone with food restrictions knows, dining out on the road can be a real challenge. Menu options are often limited, and many restaurants aren’t able to prepare food safely at all. Continue reading “Dining out on The Big Island of Hawaii”

Nima goes to Hawaii

Love me a smiley face!

If you’re unfamiliar with the Nima, it’s a portable testing device that detects gluten in food. It’s a bit like a small chemistry set: you put a pea-sized sample of food you want to test into a capsule, place the capsule in the Nima sensor and about three minutes later the device signals if it does or does not detect gluten. A cute little smiley face on the screen means “no gluten,” and that’s a great thing to see when Nima-testing your food! Continue reading “Nima goes to Hawaii”

nima sensor hawaiian restaurant

The joy of dining at a gluten-free restaurant

Worry-free eating out: what a treat!

Dining out is something my son loves and something I love to do with him. It has become our “thing” whenever we get some extra one-on-one time. He loves the entire experience and he loves trying new foods and different versions of old favorites. However, his having celiac disease makes dining out a little less of a spontaneous experience for all of us as it requires some planning. Whenever we travel, even day trips, I research restaurants offering gluten-free fare and call ahead to ask about menus and preparation to help me decide if the food is safe enough for our son. Continue reading “The joy of dining at a gluten-free restaurant”

Papa John’s: Almost gluten-free doesn’t cut it

I generally try to keep the Healthy Gluten-Free Family space positive and upbeat but the recent flurry of news articles surrounding Papa John’s launch of a “Gluten-Free Pizza” has me all worked up.  It’s not the first time I’ve felt this way, and unfortunately it probably won’t be the last, but it’s the most recent, so here goes… Continue reading “Papa John’s: Almost gluten-free doesn’t cut it”

How we learned our son had Celiac Disease

Seemingly random complaints finally explained 

I am often asked how we learned our son had Celiac Disease. We figured it out in the most random way, but in the hope that telling our story will help other families, here’s what happened to us. At age 4, our youngest son was generally healthy. He met his pediatric milestones and was consistently in the 75th percentile for height and weight. He did however have some random complaints that seemed just a bit “off.” He constantly had a mouthful of canker sores. He seemed to have a low grade virus (i.e. cold) quite often. When he was tired, he said his legs hurt. He didn’t sleep well.  He had a long history of fluid buildup in his ears. Continue reading “How we learned our son had Celiac Disease”

What we’ll be eating in January…

Cheers to fresh, flavorful and simple food!

If you’re like me, you ate a lot of food over the last few weeks. While there were definitely some sweets involved, it wasn’t so much that it was “bad” food (I personally don’t believe in deprivation or good and bad foods), it was that it was A LOT of food. After a month of holiday get-togethers, cooking and baking, we sat down to the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve, which, as it sounds, includes many courses. Then we woke up the next morning and after our favorite Christmas morning Cranberry Bread, began the task of setting out appetizers: an antipasto course and a lasagna course for 12 of my favorite family members. Continue reading “What we’ll be eating in January…”

Tips for Dining Out Gluten-Free

I wanted this to be a simple “Top 5 Questions We Ask Restaurants” but realized it’s a bit more complicated than that… so here are my best tips for how we screen a restaurant and dine out.

My son loves to try out new restaurants, and being almost 13 now, he’s starting to go out on his own with friends.  But needing to eat a gluten-free diet, free of cross-contamination, it’s not the carefree experience so many of us associate with dining out.  Each and every time he eats out, he needs to determine if the restaurant can accommodate his needs.  Continue reading “Tips for Dining Out Gluten-Free”

Why we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family

How we rally behind our son with Celiac Disease

raising a child teen celiac disease gluten-free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.comOriginal post May 2017. Updated and reposted May 2020. The short version is that we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family because of this sweet boy. Ten years ago this month (ironic that it’s Celiac Disease Awareness Month), our youngest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease just weeks before his fifth birthday.

Celiac is an autoimmune disease whereby the body cannot digest any amount of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. In fact, if gluten is ingested, the body responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of nutrients. The only treatment is to adhere to a strict gluten-free diet. And so our journey began… Continue reading “Why we are the Healthy Gluten-Free Family”

Enjoying the Holidays, Gluten-Free

Our Top 10 Tips

If you’re like my family, food is a big part of any gathering, but especially over the holidays! There are tons of holiday food traditions, and being celiac and having to eat gluten-free can pose a whole set of potential stressors. Being the mom of a celiac child, I go above and beyond to make sure my son never feels left out and can participate and enjoy any gathering. The key is being organized, planning ahead — and being proactive! Last minute and winging it do not always work so well if you want to enjoy food at an event or party. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way, and live by… Continue reading “Enjoying the Holidays, Gluten-Free”

Holiday Cookies!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…

sugar cookiesWhen Christmas and Hanukkah are around the corner, I look forward to sharing our special holiday cookie recipes over the weeks leading up. They are all family recipes that we’ve been making forever. Some date back to my grandmother and her great-aunt — and each has a story. We also have an annual Cookie Baking Day, and it’s one of my favorite days of the holiday season! Cookie baking with longtime friends and family on this special day has been a tradition since I was a kid. Continue reading “Holiday Cookies!”