Start the New Year with Udi’s Gluten Free–Enter Giveaway Today!

The Udi’s Gluten Free “care packages” arrived just in time for the College Celiac’s Christmas Break. It’s been a rough four years, trying to adapt to life with celiac disease while being away from home. Okay, truth be told, it’s been harder on me than him. I worried if he was eating enough nutritious foods.

So I was thrilled to introduce my son to new foods from a company I trust. These burritos were a hit. He added Cholula Hot Sauce. What is it with college boys and Cholula?

Udi's Gluten Free has eight varieties of burritos. Allergens: Egg, Dairy, Corn

Udi’s Gluten Free has eight varieties of burritos. Allergens: Egg, Dairy, Corn

Based on the dirty dishes I woke up to on several mornings, the Udi’s Gluten Free Plain Tortillas were also quite good.

These tortillas come in small and large. Dairy, soy and nut free. Allergens: egg.

These tortillas come in small and large. Dairy, soy and nut free. Allergens: egg.

For those of you who are regular readers, you know I’m not much of a baker. Thankfully, Udi’s provided the College Celiac with treats this holiday: Snicker Doodle Cookies and Dark Chocolate Brown Bites (both soy and nut free). I have no photos because they disappeared so quickly.  And someone only left one  Double Vanilla Muffin.

Who ate all the Udi's Gluten Free Muffins?!

Who ate all the Udi’s Gluten Free Muffins?!

My plan was to add berries on top of the muffins with some whipped cream.  In fact, I’d planned on creating several of the terrific ideas Udi’s Gluten Free pinned on Pinterest, but then the other hungry son with food allergies came home.

For Christmas dinner, I served Udi’s Classic French Dinner Rolls. Even my husband–the Eater of Everything–said they were delicious.

New French Roll from Udi's is dairy, soy and nut free. Allergens: egg and corn

New French Roll from Udi’s is dairy, soy and nut free. Allergens: egg and corn

Udi’s also has a new French Baguette that I’m planning to serve with split pea soup this evening. The boys are rallying for baguette pizza.

When I post Instagram photos of  my meals using Udi’s foods, I’m often asked where followers can buy Udi’s. Udi’s started in Colorado and I live in Colorado, yet many of my stores don’t carry the foods Udi’s offers.  If you go to their website catalog, there is a link to either order the products or find a store near you that carry the items. I suggest you ask the manager at your favorite grocery store to start carrying Udi’s; sometimes there is a form you can fill out.

Okay, so now that I have your mouth watering, I bet you’re wondering how you can enter to win one of Udi’s holiday prize packs or coupons for free product. It’s quite easy–just click here.

Good luck. And may you have a happy, healthy gluten-free New Year.

Udi's Gluten Free Giveaway

 

Start the New Year with Udi’s Gluten Free–Enter Giveaway Todayfirst appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

Some Restaurants Shouldn’t Have Gluten-Free Menus

Ten days ago I posted a photo on Instagram of an awesome gluten-free pizza using Udi’s Gluten-Free crust that I enjoyed at Flatiron’s American Bar and Grill in Colorado Springs. I hadn’t eaten at this restaurant for over six months because all I could ever order was salad. You all know what that’s like.

Some Restaurants Shouldn't Have Gluten-Free Menus

So imagine my surprise when I learned Flatiron’s now had a huge gluten-free menu that could also accommodate my dairy and soy and corn allergies. We’d just picked the College Celiac up from the airport and I was thrilled we went to Flatiron’s because he could eat safely. I even tweeted my appreciation. The restaurant is locally owned and I like to support neighborhood businesses.

Last night I was craving that pizza. So my husband and I went to Flatiron’s and I ordered the exact pizza I ordered ten days earlier: Veggie pizza but substitute the poblano peppers and garlic for pepperoni. I clearly stated that I was celiac and needed the pizza to be as clean as possible.

The pizza arrives with cheese, which was entirely my fault. I sometimes forget pizza typically comes with cheese! I send the pizza back and the next one arrives with no cheese and no pepperoni. Overcooked, barely any sauce, it tastes awful. And I know that Udi’s Gluten-Free pizza crust tastes good when cooked correctly.

I whip out my camera and show the ten-day-old Instagram pizza photo to the manager who says matter-of-factly, “That doesn’t look like our gluten-free crust, it looks like our regular crust.”

Here’s a photo of the one I got last night. The only difference I see is this one is overcooked and lacking sauce and pepperoni.

Bad Gluten-Free Pizza at Flatiron's

I turn to my husband. “So I guess I can eat gluten now.” I was being sarcastic. It was late and I was hungry.

The manager says, “Maybe you’re not allergic anymore, I’ve heard that can happen.”

I just stared at my husband with my mouth wide open. Here is a manager of a restaurant with a huge gluten-free menu–they even advertise 20 percent off gluten-free items on Thursdays–who clearly has no understanding of celiac disease or a wheat allergy.

I should have said something like, “Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease with over 300 symptoms and it is not reversible. The only cure is to not eat gluten.” But at that point, I just wanted to go home and get in my jammies and heat up a can of soup.  We left cash to cover our wines and bolted out the door.

Of course, as soon as I got home I tweeted about my bad experience.

People jumped to my defense and were appalled by the manager’s ignorance.  I just love my Twitter friends.

So here is what I woke up this morning thinking: If a restaurant is going to offer a gluten-free menu, every single employee must be educated and trained. They must understand what celiac disease and food allergies are, and why preventing cross-contamination is so important. They must understand that one wrong ingredient can be life-threatening. They must take their customers’ health concerns seriously.

Otherwise, don’t even bother offering a gluten-free or allergy-friendly menu.

I’d rather order that boring old salad than risk getting sick. I certainly don’t want my youngest son with celiac disease and my oldest with dairy and egg allergies to think they are ordering safely when they aren’t.

Ten days ago, I thought I’d re-discovered a restaurant I could eat in. Obviously I was wrong. Just because a restaurant has an extensive gluten-free menu doesn’t mean you should eat there. I’m pretty sure this restaurant, like so many others, jumped on the gluten-free diet movement to make a profit. If they are serious about serving their celiac and allergic customers, they’ll immediately remove the gluten-free menu while they get proper training for the waitstaff and the chefs and the managers. This experience makes me question every restaurant’s reason for offering gluten-free choices–unless I see a certification from a third-party or talk to a manager who clearly “gets it,” I won’t feel safe dining out.

Here’s the other thing that bothers me about this whole experience. As a blogger and social media guru, I recommended this restaurant to my celiac and food-allergic brothers and sisters. Less than two weeks after doing so, I realized this is not a safe restaurant to eat in. So should I stop reviewing restaurants and posting food photos on Instagram? I’m still trying to figure this one out.

Oh, and by the way, I did get sick the next morning–even after eating one small piece of the pizza.

Some Restaurants Shouldn’t Have Gluten-Free Menus appeared first on Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

Friends gathered for Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving without the Turkey

Last weekend I hosted my first Friendsgiving. According to Urban Dictionary, Friendsgiving is “the celebration of Thanksgiving dinner with your friends. This usually occurs on the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, since Thanksgiving is usually reserved for family gatherings.”

I’m sorry but who wants to eat turkey and stuffing before Thanksgiving?  And personally, I don’t want to serve my leftovers to my friends.  Maybe when I was in my twenties, but not now.

Thanks to an idea from Udi’s Gluten Free Foods, I hosted a Friendsgiving with untraditional Thanksgiving dishes.  In part, this was because I used the wonderful Udi’s foods  mailed to me in a meal for a bedridden woman with celiac disease.

Friendsgiving

Thank you Udi’s for helping a woman with celiac disease this Thanksgiving!

Of course, being an allergic foodie, everything I served was free of gluten, soy, dairy, and corn–and if I do say so myself, it was all delicious!

Friendsgiving

I had as much fun researching the recipes as I did following them!  Thank you to Oprah and Rachael Ray for the Pomegranate Martini Recipe, Garnish with Lemon for the Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese recipe, Simply Blissful Life for the slow-cooked carrots recipe, Udi’s Thanksgiving Recipes for inspiring the Cranberry Granola Crisp, and for my husband for picking out the wine.  I’ll be posting my slow-cooked short ribs recipe next week as it’s one of my family’s favorites.

I think Friendsgiving will become a new tradition in our house (thank you, Udi’s!).

Friendsgiving without the Turkey first appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie.

Thanksgiving with Friends

A Thanksgiving Story That Will Give You Chills

It’s been a bad week.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve seen my rantings about a proposed cell phone tower being erected between our house and our beloved mountain view. The cement had already been poured and it seemed likely that I’d spend my next thirty years staring at this iron monstrosity as I cooked dinner.

So I delayed blogging because this is supposed to be an upbeat blog about coping with food issues. I did not feel upbeat.

Being an allergic foodie, one of the things I do when I’m upset is eat. I just happened to receive not one but two packages with gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods in the mail.

Don’t think that’s the chilling part; keep reading.

The first one was from Tasterie.  Started by a pediatrician and mother of an allergic child, Tasterie is a mail order food company for those of us with CD or food allergies.

Tasterie deliver GF food

You can order a TasterieBox, like the one pictured above, tailored to your specific needs.  I ordered the Top 8 Box, which included a few brands I hadn’t found on my grocery store shelves yet, like dairy-free mozzarella, pie crust mix (perfect for the holidays), and pancake mix for when my GF college boy is home for his Thanksgiving break.

Then yesterday, the FedEx guy interrupted my angry tweets by delivering a large cardboard box from Udi’s Gluten Free.  Inside were lots of fixings for gluten-free/dairy-free/soy-free Thanksgiving dishes.  If you’re cooking this holiday, you must check out  Let’s Feast!  Udi’s Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu!  The idea is to use these recipes and host a “Friendsgiving.” How fun is that!

I loved getting all this yummy food especially during this stressful week, but I also felt kind of guilty. There are so many other people who are unemployed or housebound who could use this food.

I began blogging about my idea to cook some of Udi’s Friendsgiving dishes  along with Tasterie‘s pumpkin pie crust and share them with someone less fortunate who has celiac disease . . . but I didn’t know how to find such a person.

This is the chilling part.

My phone rang.  My friend Judy wanted my advice for a meal she was preparing for a woman with celiac disease. The woman has serious multiple sclerosis, has been bedridden for a long time, and has a 12-year-old son. I couldn’t believe it.

Chills, right?

So Judy and Ky are coming over on Saturday to help George and me prepare a Friendsgiving for this woman and her son using the Udi’s and Tasterie foods I received this week.

I’m feeling a lot less angry. I don’t have an answer regarding the cell tower, but something tells me the phone will ring with good news soon.

A Thanksgiving Story That Will Give You Chills first appeared in Adventures of an Allergic Foodie