World’s Easiest Cookies {Bake Around}

World's Easiest Paleo Baking Cover 600

Elizabeth Barbone (Gluten Free Baking) has done it again, this time with her latest cookbook “The World’s Easiest Paleo Baking” which is loaded with recipes that are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and no refined sugars!

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth a few years ago at the Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus, NJ. She is simply amazing, funny, and beyond talented. When this latest book was released (January 2016), she asked if I would like to be part of the “bake around” for it along with a handful of other bloggers, of course my answer was YES! I am not paleo (however some of my recipes just happen to be paleo), I do have celiac disease and a dairy allergy so these recipes are perfect for me and anything to support Elizabeth.


(in true “Jenny” fashion, my eyes are closed)

The recipe we were asked to make and share with all of our readers is accurately named “World’s Easiest Cookies”, I kid you not, these are the world’s easiest cookies…except for those that you buy in a package, but why would you do that when you can make these?? They are delicious to top it off. Light and fluffy bites of goodness. I made the batch and Bryan proceeded to eat more than half of them. I was lucky enough to grab a few for myself.

Elizabeth is kindly letting us share this recipe with all of you and is also giving away 5 copies of her new book. So check out the recipe below and be sure to enter Elizabeth’s giveaway here: GIVEAWAY

World’s Easiest Cookies

World's Easiest Cookies _ World's Easiest Palelo Baking _ Elizabeth Barbone
Active Time: 5 minutes
Bake Time: 12 minutes per pan
Yield: 16 cookies

170 grams (1 1/2 cups) finely ground almond flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, homemade (see recipe below) or grain-free

100 grams (1/3 cup) dark maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk the almond flour and baking powder together in a medium mixing
bowl. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla
extract. Stir until a sticky dough holds together.

Drop dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced
about 2 inches apart. For crisp cookies, press down the dough lightly
with the at bottom of a drinking glass or measuring cup. (If the glass
sticks to the dough, lightly wet bottom of the glass.) For softer
cookies, don’t press down the dough.

Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for about 3 minutes, then
transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Allow the baking sheet to cool, and repeat with the remaining dough.

Grain-Free Baking Powder
Most commercial baking powders contain a grain-based starch.
Thankfully it’s easy to make your own!

Active Time: 2 minutes
Yield: about 6 tablespoons

1/4 cup cream of tartar

2 tablespoons baking soda

1 teaspoon tapioca starch

Whisk the cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch together in
a small bowl.

Store in the pantry in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

See how easy these cookies are? And did I mention DELICIOUS?!? Be sure to check out all the bake around posts on Elizabeth’s website; Gluten Free Baking

*all comments and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you Elizabeth for including me in this “bake around”

Gluten-Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Official Blogger {Ticket Giveaway: Secacus, NJ}

unnamedIt’s that time of year again…the Gluten-Free and Allergen Friendly Expo is coming back to Secacus, NJ.  I am  excited to be invited back as one of the Official Bloggers for the event. Being an official blogger allows me to attend the event (for free), tweet/post/and share all of the awesome products and companies, but it also gives me the opportunity to give some lucky readers a FREE TICKET to one day of the expo. The expo is October 3-4th this year and I hope to see you all there!  Entry will be easy, but there are a few things I want to share about the expo before we get to the giveaway part so keep reading.

Not familiar with the Gluten-Free and Allergy Friendly Expo? Learn more by visiting their website, facebook, twitter, and instagram pages and be sure to follow me on faceook, twitter, and instagram to get live posts from the event!

Here is what you get when you come to the GFAF Expo:

  • Entry into the vendor fair with over 100 brands
  • Valuable coupons at the vendor booths
  • FREE samples from the vendors
  • Discounted products available for purchase
  • Informative classes related to the gluten free and allergen-friendly lifestyle
  • Free reusable bag to carry your goodies
  • Meet your favorite vendors, authors and bloggers

gfaf expo 2This is the third year that the GFAF Expo will be at the Meadowlands in Secacus, NJ and this is my third year attending as official blogger. Below are some of the shots from last year. I promise you, you do not want to miss this! Its fun, the people are great, you get to try many of your favorite products and even try some new items that haven’t hit the shelves just yet. Its a celiac’s (gluten intolerant) dream.

In addition to incredible food and treats the GFAF Expo also offers some great classes…check out the class schedule below for more information on the topics to be discussed but also the presenters.

Class Schedule

Saturday October 3, 2015

11:00-12:00 Jenna Drew

“Essential Oils for Digestive Wellness” Join a fellow Celiac to discover the six most effective essential oils to support digestive wellness and boost immunity – and how to use them!

12:30-1:30 Silvana Nardone

“I’m Gluten-Free, But I Still Don’t Feel Great. Now, What?!” After cooking—and baking—gluten-free for her son, Isaiah, since his diagnosis eight years ago and writing her best-selling cookbooks, Cooking for Isaiah and Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen, Silvana received email after email from readers who even after going gluten-free were still tired and bloated. Other readers couldn’t eat rice or potato. She decided it was time to get back in the kitchen and experiment. Her new mission? To develop a grain-free flour blend and mixes that could deliver great texture and flavor—just like her wildly popular gluten-free flour blend. Silvana will share her insanely addictive grain-free, refined sugar-free chocolate chip cookies along with revealing the powerful health benefits of eating both gluten-free and grain-free.

2:00-3:00 Jen Cafferty

“Gluten Free 101: Get All Your Questions Answered” If you have been gluten free for less than a year, this is the class for you! You will learn all the tips and tricks to having a successful gluten free and allergen friendly life.

Sunday October 4, 2015
 11:00-12:00 Peter Green, MD

“Gluten Related Disorders” Discussion of celiac disease as well as the newly emerging entity of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. What causes these conditions and management issues.

12:30-1:30 Amy Fothergill

“Gluten-Free Pastas and Sauces” If you think making fresh gluten-free pasta or creamy dairy-free sauces is impossible, think again. Amy Fothergill, author of The Warm Kitchen gluten-free cookbook, will share her best tips and tricks for cooking perfect gluten-free pasta. She will provide recipes to teach you how to make gluten-free pasta and gnocchi. She will also discuss how to make super simple and delicious sauces. It will all be “molto bene” (very good)!

2:00-3:00 Carol Kicinski

“Learn how to successfully live gluten free wherever you are!” Carol Kicinski, founder of Simply Gluten Free, will share her tips and tricks to living gluten free at home, on the road, out to dinner and at parties with friends.

gfaf expo 1As I mentioned above, I will be giving away tickets to three lucky readers – tickets are good for ONE day only of the expo.To enter the giveaway please leave a SEPARATE comment for each item you complete below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday September 13th – each winner will be selected using and will be notified via e-mail. Winners will have 48 hrs to respond and will be sent an online code to claim their tickets (each code can only be used one time!).


  • Why do you want to attend? Have you recently been diagnosed or know someone who has? Share below
  • Read the Class Schedule above and let me know which class(es) you would like to attend…remember there are two days
  • Which day would you attend?
  • Share this post on your social media sites and be sure to come back here to leave the link. When sharing on social media sites please don’t forget to mention/tag both CCGF and the GFAF Expo using these:
    • @Creatively_GF (twitter)
    • Creative Cooking Gluten Free (facebook)
    • @CreativCookingGF (Instagram)
    • @GFAFExpo (twitter)
    • @GFAFExpo (Instagram)
    • @GFAFExpo (facebook)
    • Use the hash-tag #GFAFEXPO
    • Social media posts can be done daily, just be sure to come back and comment saying you did so and include a link.
  • Who would you take with you?

If you are not one of the lucky winners we can still help you get there by offering you 20% off your tickets simply use this click on the image below and enter the promo code: ADVANCEgfaf expo 20

Changing the Conversation with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

NFCAWe have all heard it a million times now…the gluten-free diet is considered a “fad diet” and little of the conversations and media reports actually include the real reason behind a gluten-free diet…CELIAC DISEASE. Not only does this frustrate those with celiac disease when we try to bring the conversation but it also leaves a negative impact on those that are actually living with the disease and and the severity of it. This is not a dietary choice, there is no cheating, this is necessity, it is our ONLY treatment, and it needs to be taken seriously.

During the month of June the NFCA is helping to change the conversation to what it should be about…celiac disease! Check out their first video HERE (or click the image below). Keep checking back from more information and videos throughout the month of June. Please share and be part of the change!

nfca_cc1.pngDon’t forget to check out National Foundation For Celiac Awareness on these social media sites:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest     YouTube

Celiac Awareness Month Round-up {Awareness, NFCA PSA, and New Product Spotlight}

Celiac Awareness Month Round-up

I apologize now for an extremely long post but I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases for this round-up including spreading awareness to current and future dietitians, PSA from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and new gluten-free products.

Raising Awareness

For the last several years I have celebrated Celiac Awareness Month and raising awareness of Celiac Disease by hosting giveaways on this site. This year however, I wanted to do something different. While giveaways are awesome, fun, and it gets people involved I wanted to focus more on the awareness aspect of this month and help educate those around me. As many of you know I am currently pursuing my dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian and am honored to be completing my internship at NewYork-Presbyterian. In case you didn’t know, NYP is one of top six hospitals in the country and number one in New York. NYP is connected to two incredible medical colleges; Columbia University and Cornell University. Columbia is also home of one of the best Celiac Research Centers in this country, Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. While my awareness event has no direct connection to the center, it is amazing to be in connection with them through the hospital.

I debated on offering giveaways for quite a while leading up to this month and finally decided that I think it would be more beneficial to spread awareness and knowledge to those around me…current and future dietitians. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t have a dietitian available to me and my doctor wasn’t the most knowledgeable in the area of celiac – she saw my results, said what I had, and said no more pasta or bread. That was all. Everything I learned, I learned on my own by way of Google, books, and some amazing bloggers out there. They were the ones that kick started my desire to start Creative Cooking Gluten Free and then to pursue the filed of Dietetics. I wanted to help people understand they can have these items, just more creatively. I also have the desire to help not only those with celiac but with other gastrointestinal disorders, food allergies, etc. I love the challenge of creating meal plans and recipes for those with multiple food allergies. My degrees in Culinary Arts and Culinary Nutrition go hand in hand with my studies in Dietetics…you can’t have one with out the other (at least that is my philosophy). I wanted to share with those pursing this field and also have a desire and passion for helping people gluten-free resources including educational materials and samples for them to try and be able to give a 100% honest feed back to a patient when they ask “do you have any suggestions on products?” “what is the best gluten-free…on the market”. We need to know these things because despite what some say, celiac disease is real, not a fad, and not going away.

Each month in our internship we have a Class Day, where all 32 of the interns come together and we have various sessions on topics in dietetics. May being celiac awareness month was the perfect month for me to share with this captive audience. I reached out to about 50 gluten-free companies, explaining what I wanted to do and who my targeted audience was, and asked if they would be willing to send some samples to be included in the “swag bags” that would be given to the current and future dietitians. Several responded that they had received too many requests, which is no surprise being that it was celiac awareness month, however the responses I received were overwhelmingly generous! I received samples, full sized products, educational materials, coupons, and more. This celiac community and their desire to help educate and raise awareness continually blow me away.

I recruited some help from a few of the other interns to help me put the “swag bags” together – we made a total of fifty to share with the current interns, our directors, and current dietitians at the hospital. The response was overwhelmingly positive and many great conversations were started because of this.


(Celiac Awareness Month Swag Bags – ready to be handed out to current and future RD’s)

IMG_5777(NYP’s 90th & 91st Class of Dietetic Interns)

Thank you to all who helped make this event possible – I couldn’t have done this with out you and your extreme generosity.

Check out these mail deliveries I received! I seriously couldn’t even sleep in my room after the last shipment arrived.

It is always a pleasure to work with all of you on my blog over these last several years and I love that I have had the privilege to meet many of you at the last two Gluten Free and Allergy Free Expos in Secaucus, NJ. Looking forward to working with all of you again, and hopefully seeing you soon. Without you, none of this is possible!

Seriously, Celiac Disease – PSA from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Celiac Disease is serious…seriously it is! It is an Autoimmune Disease, not just a diet. It is not a fad diet created by Hollywood to make you lose weight. The gluten-free diet is the ONLY treatment for those with Celiac Disease. There is not cure. There is no magic pill to take. This is real life.

Do you have celiac disease and trying to figure out how to talk to your family members about being tested? Head on over to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ site for important information, tips, and talking points and watch their PSA called Seriously, Celiac Disease HERE.

talk. tell. test.

New Gluten Free Product Spotlight

Here are some new gluten-free items worth checking out:

New from I Heart Keenwah: Quinoa Puffs (featured below, Aged Cheddar and Sweet Chili) – delicious little bits of goodness and loaded with 5 grams of protein per serving.


Snyder’s of Berlin: Variety of Gluten-Free Chips – great for all the summer BBQ’s that are coming up.

Walkers – Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies. I remember this brand of shortbread cookies from when I was little. Learning a few months ago that they had come out with a gluten-free line of them, I was rather excited as it brought back some childhood memories of a hot cup of tea and shortbread cookies with my grandmother. The gluten-free line comes in three flavors: Chocolate Chip, Ginger & Lemon (sounds amazing to me!), and Pure Butter (below).


Luna & Clif Bars – in case you missed it ALL Luna bars are now Gluten-Free!! Check out the new offerings from both companies below…the dark chocolate almond from Clif is so delicious and perfectly fits in my lab coat pocket!

Jennifer’s Way {Book Review}

You won’t find many non-cookbook book reviews here on Creative Cooking Gluten free, however when a good book comes along I am more than happy to write about it and share with all of you.

photo 1(this is not the actual cover – it has changed since I received my review copy)

Jennifer’s Way is written by none other than Jennifer Esposito, acclaimed actress (who just so happens to have celiac disease) turned celiac/gluten-free advocate and bakery owner! Jennifer,like many of us, myself included, went years being misdiagnosed, a huge problem for those with celiac disease. With celiac disease having over 300 symptoms it can be difficult for doctors to know to test for this, especially if the individual is showing signs and symptoms that are less well known.Celiac disease is not a pretty disease, especially if you are misdiagnosed for many years.

Jennifer’s Way is a brutally honest summary of her journey to being diagnosed with celiac disease and her path to health and wellness in all areas of her life. Additionally in her book she shares some of her delicious recipes and you can find even more on her website. Once I cracked the cover on this book, I couldn’t put it down. So many parts of this story, I myself could have written. I would take some quick pictures with my cell phone and send them to Bryan of different sections and just say “this was me!!” and he would agree. Like Jennifer, I am also Italian (although not fully, I have more characteristics and qualities of that side of my family), I was always in love with food…it represents so much to me, and amongst other things I was diagnosed later (age 26) with many years and visits to the doctors, only to be told that it was only in my head or my favorite one…”she is just looking for attention”. Let me just say, IF I was looking for attention, going to a doctor’s office would probably be my last choice!

I was constantly sick growing up, I am short in stature (many of my family is as well, but my dad is 6’1″, I’m 4’11!!), my weight was always low,and every time I had blood work, my doctor would say that he sees something (which he called a virus), but couldn’t quite figure it out. Granted when I was younger, celiac disease was not on anyone’s radar like it is today. I actually had to bring it to my doctor’s attention to test me for it because I was so sick of being sick.

I laughed and cried while reading Jennifer’s Way. It was refreshing and heartbreaking to read the words penned by Jennifer, knowing that I and millions of others are not alone in this struggle, because it was a struggle,and some days it sill is. It is also frustrating to constantly have to defend this disease…trust me I did not ask for this, I mean who would want a DISEASE? This is not a fad for those who truly need it. The only treatment (note: not cure!) for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet. There are no cheat days, yes, there is the occasional sadness of “I miss Italian bread” or “I miss tiramisu” but you learn to adapt and be creative when reformulating your favorite recipes.

Jennifer, thank you so very much for writing and sharing your beautifully honest journey with all of us, I can imagine it was not easy to do. I am so appreciative of your determination to get answers, stand up for yourself, and find the health and happiness that you so deserve, and fighting for awareness for others in similar situations. You are amazing, talented, and I can’t wait to move to NYC next month and finally visit your bakery! My mouth waters every time I see a picture you post.

(images of an article in Simply Gluten Free Magazine July/August Issue)

Watch Jennifer’s interview with John Stewart of The Daily Show:

Dining Out While Gluten Free


As many of you know, with the rising awareness of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, demand for gluten-free dining options has grown by leaps and bounds over the last several years. Everyone is jumping on board and offering gluten-free options to their guests. I mean why not…this is a huge market right now, especially with many celebrities going gluten-free (not all of which are for medical reasons). While this is a fad for some people, this is real life  (and a real serious for that matter) for everyone who has celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

However, this does not mean that every restaurant out there that offers a gluten-free menu or gluten-free options is 100% gluten-free in their preparation of their menu items. There is always the risk of cross contact.  Many restaurants are working on new and improved menus that include a wider selection for those following a strict gluten-free diet. In addition to the improved menu options, restaurants are working on training staff (both front of the house and back of the house) on preparing safe dishes and avoiding cross contact.

A great resource currently available to Chefs and those in the food service industry is the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens program. This training program can be completed online, and includes 5 multimedia-learning modules and many downloadable resources. The GREAT Kitchens program emphasizes that while it is easy to put out a gluten-free menu there is much more to it. They go into detail about what celiac disease is, where gluten is found, how to prepare foods that are gluten-free safely, avoid cross contact, and discusses potential issues and solutions in both the back and front of the house. For more information about GREAT Kitchens please visit their website.

It is quite exciting to have so many places offering gluten-free options but for an individual who has celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity this can be tricky to navigate if the restaurant is following proper procedures in ensuring that the meal being served is actually gluten-free. Not only does the staff of a restaurant need to be educated and trained properly, the customer does as well. Knowing and understanding as much as you can about celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity is key to living a healthy and happy life.

Tips for eating out

Educate Yourself

  • Know your stuff…there are so many great resources out there including websites, books, videos, etc. – utilize them.
  • Have a handy list of what you can and cannot eat. Just remember having a list of what you CAN eat will help you feel more “normal”. I remember being diagnosed five years ago and only being told what I could not eat, but nothing of what I could eat. Knowledge is power.
  • Dining Cards – I have awesome dining cards in 10 languages from Triumph Dining. These have helped me so much over the years and have given me the ability to eat at more places that I ever expected. When you hand a server or chef a card in their native language it makes all the difference in the world.


  • Searching for a restaurant online can be a huge help. Use Google, Facebook, Yelp, Urbanspoon etc. to see if they have gluten-free options, a gluten-free menu, and to read reviews.
  • Call the restaurant directly and ask as many questions as you can to ensure it is safe to eat there. Some may even have you speak directly with the chef!
  • Ask them about any certifications the restaurant or chefs may have.

Be your biggest advocate

  • You are your biggest advocate. If you don’t stand up for yourself, no one else will. You know what you can and cannot have. If you are unsure about something or have questions – ask.
  • Communicate with the hostess, servers, and the chefs about any concerns or questions you may have regarding the preparation of your meal and potential cross contact with gluten containing foods.

Show Appreciation

  • While I do cook about 90% of our meals at home, I am always very thankful and grateful when I get to enjoy a nice meal out. I’m sure many of you feel the same way.
  • Show your appreciation to the hostess, servers, and chefs. Thank them for any special requests, accommodation, and double-checking of ingredients, preparation methods, etc. I promise you, this appreciation goes a very long way.

For a list of restaurants that offer gluten-free menu options or menus please visit my Restaurants Page (continually being updated with more options).

Celiac Awareness Month

May is National Celiac Awareness Month and sadly it is coming to a close in just a few days. There have been so many great people raising awareness this month including, but definitely not limited to, Erica of Celiac and the Beast, Brandy Wendler (Mrs. Northwest) of A Spoonful of Wellness, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Rebecca of Pretty Little Celiac, Mr. Dude of Gluten Dude, and EA of The Spicy RD. Again these are just a few of the wonderful bloggers and organizations out there that have shared delicious recipes, informative posts, and have been advocates for Celiac Disease not just during the month of May but all year-long.

There is so much that I wanted to accomplish on CCGF this month but sadly, life got in the way. I finished up another trimester of school and now only have one year left! I was awarded The Feinstein “Enriching America Award” for the community service that I completed while doing my internship and AmeriCorps, from The Feinstein Community Service Department at JWU. Our club, Sans Gluten was awarded Best New Club of the Year – there were 11 new clubs this year, and we have over 60 members with bi-weekly production meetings that consist of recipe research and development. I also completed my AmeriCoprs Scholarship For Service and in addition to that was awarded the Founders Award from JWU (with a lovely 5,000.00 scholarship!!!), and was inducted into the Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Plus, B graduated from law school!! So on top of final exams, the award ceremonies, and family in town for his graduation this month just got away from me. With that said, I do have some wonderful products and cookbooks that I will be reviewing and posting about soon – I promise!

Every year I stress out so much on how I am going to pay for school for the following year but thankfully I don’t have to do that this year. I was awarded over $20,000.00 in scholarships and grants for next year alone! This is possible by some very generous people and my hard work and dedication. Some of my favorite quotes that have gotten me through all the stress, long hours, and sacrifices (not seeing family much) are:

“Your dream is not big enough if it doesn’t scare you.” (Matthias Schmelz)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. “(E. Roosevelt)

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” (Harriet van Horne)

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” (Buddha)

With all of that going on, I still wanted to raise awareness this month especially as an Udi’s Campus Ambassador. In order to do so I had to incorporate it into my school schedule so for my term projects for Anatomy & Physiology and Technical Writing, I presented about…you guessed it…Celiac Disease! Both projects included a written paper and a PowerPoint presentation. In one PowerPoint I included an amazing infographic on celiac disease symptoms that Gluten Dude posted – everyone in the class thought it was great (well done Gluten Dude!). For the A&P project we had to research a disorder, discuss which systems of the body it affected, signs, symptoms, treatments, etc. and then do a 5 minute PowerPoint presentation to the class. My Technical Writing project was a bit more intense. My project was on Celiac Disease vs. Wheat Allergy. The final project was a total of 37 pages and included 2 appendices one of which was a sample menu to be used in our culinary labs on campus that lists the top eight major allergens plus gluten and also included resources for substitutions.  In addition to the 37 written pages I also had to present a 15 minute PowerPoint Presentation to the class. I also handed out samples of Udi’s Gluten Free Granola and Red Apple Lipstick to my classmates.

I will also be volunteering at Hasbro Children’s Hospital with one of my professors in the Allergy and GI clinic. My professor asked for me to send her my research report on Celiac Disease vs. Wheat allergy and we will be going over it and refining it over the summer while we are working together.

Also, back in April I was asked along with the former President of our Sans Gluten Club and one of our Chef Advisers to film some gluten-free segments for the cooking show that JWU does called Cooking With Class (Check your local listings). I was BEYOND nervous to do this and on top of it my seasonal allergies kicked in and I had almost no voice but I did it anyway. You can view it online (please ignore the credit information – it is incorrect and they were supposed to be fixing this. This is my original recipe that I shared). Below are the links to all five our of segments for Celiac Week which aired the first week of May. Chef Lavornia does not have Celiac Disease however his wife and children do and has been creating delicious gluten-free recipes for years. We hope to do more videos for next year’s awareness month and will be hosting cooking demos for local families who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Island Coconut Shrimp by Chef Michelle:

Sweet and Spicy Chicken by Chef Jenny:

Raspberry Crumble Bars by Chef Lavornia:

Lemon Pound Cake by Chef Lavornia:

Dinner Rolls by Chef Lavornia:

You can also view my video below (Thanks to B for putting my site on there):

Cooking with Class from Jenny Manseau on Vimeo.

What have you done this month? Please feel free to share your stories below!


October – Celiac Awareness Month

Last month we celebrated National Celiac Awareness Day on September 13th and now its October – Celiac Awareness Month (also Brest Cancer Awareness Month!!) I just wanted to take a few seconds to put this post up and share with you some great resources for celiac disease, including some of my favorite blogs.  There are so many great bloggers out there and a fantastic gluten-free community on facebook and twitter.  Please take a few moments to check out the Special Report on Celiac Disease posted by The Chicago Tribune.

Websites and Blogs to check out for great information on Celiac Disease, Resources and Amazing Recipes (many are also dairy free, egg free etc.):

Celiac Central

Celiac Disease Foundation

Celiac Disease – Mayo Clinic

Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom

Art of Gluten Free Baking

Celiac Teen

Elana’s Pantry

Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

Gluten Free Easily

Cook It Allergy Free

Simply Gluten and Sugar Free

Simply Gluten Free

Gluten Free Goddess

The Whole Gang

Triumph Dining

She Let Them Eat Cake

Celiac Scoop

And Love It Too

I Made Toast

Gluten Free Home-Maker

My Journey

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”~Harriet van Horne

Today is National Celiac Awareness Day – so what better way to celebrate and spread awareness then to share my own story of my gluten-free journey.

I have always been a food lover.  I love cooking, trying new foods, recipes and even enjoy baking.  I’m much more comfortable with cooking than baking though.  The  reason is, you don’t have to be extremely precise when cooking, but with baking – you better follow those directions and measure accordingly.  Growing up and learning to cook with my Grandmother it was always “a pinch of this” or “a dash of that” – no real measuring going on, plus you could taste along the way where baking you have to (for the most part) wait until you have the finished product out of the oven and keep your fingers crossed that it tastes good. And I was one of those people who would always say – “Thank God I don’t have a food allergy, I have no idea what I would do if I couldn’t eat…”

In June 2008 I was finally diagnosed with having Celiac Disease.  Ever since I was little I had digestion issues and was told I was lactose intolerant and had irritable bowel syndrome so I did my best to avoid cheese.  Mind you I love cheese so my best wasn’t really that great – I continued to eat lasagna, cheese sticks, mozzarella sticks, cheese and crackers, pizza and cheesecake.  Is anyone else seeing a pattern here?  Well it is something that my doctors have missed all of those years – it wasn’t the cheese that was making me have these issues, it was everything I was eating with the cheese!

I had all the symptoms of a person with lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome – which is what I think clouded my doctors diagnoses.  I was very much on the sever end of the symptoms for both of these.  I was always tired (also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), and at the age of 15 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  I am now 28 so 13 years ago, it was very uncommon for someone my age to be diagnosed with such a thing. I went to at least five different doctors and it was always the same result “Oh, she is just looking for attention” or “There is nothing wrong with you, it is just in your head”.  I don’t know what 15-year-old would want to be in that much pain, and trust me if you don’t have this, I hope you never are diagnosed with it.  There were many days that I couldn’t get out of bed.  Being in high school, that isn’t a good thing – I missed way beyond the max days of school both my junior and senior year.  I have been on and off of muscle relaxers ever since.  I do my best to stay healthy, exercise and maintain a healthy diet to avoid taking these as much as possible.

Over the past two years since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease I have done quite a bit of reading on the connection of all my previous diagnoses with Celiac Disease – it is pretty amazing that they are all tied together some how.  It made me wonder for quite a while how my doctors over the years could have missed this connection.  But I am not here to dwell on that, I’m just here to share my journey with you.

So what is Celiac Disease?

Definition By Mayo Clinic staff

Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.

Eventually, the decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) that occurs with celiac disease can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment. This can lead to other illnesses and stunted growth in children.

No treatment can cure celiac disease. However, you can effectively manage celiac disease through changing your diet.

Symptoms By Mayo Clinic staff

There are no typical signs and symptoms of celiac disease. Most people with the disease have general complaints, such as:

  • Intermittent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating

Sometimes people with celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Celiac disease symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn’s disease, parasite infections, anemia, skin disorders or a nervous condition.

Celiac disease may also present itself in less obvious ways, including:

  • Irritability or depression
  • Anemia
  • Stomach upset
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Skin rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
  • Tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy)

Some indications of malabsorption that may result from celiac disease include:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
  • General weakness and fatigue
  • Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily
  • Stunted growth (in children)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Anemia

Another gluten-related condition
Dermatitis herpetiformis is an itchy, blistering skin disease that also stems from gluten intolerance. The rash usually occurs on the elbows, knees and buttocks. Dermatitis herpetiformis can cause significant intestinal damage identical to that of celiac disease. However, it may not produce noticeable digestive symptoms. This disease is treated with a gluten-free diet, in addition to medication to control the rash.

When to see a doctor
If you notice or experience any of the signs or symptoms common to celiac disease, see your doctor. If someone in your family is known to have celiac disease, you may need to be tested.

Seek medical attention for a child who is pale, irritable, fails to grow, and who has a potbelly, flat buttocks and malodorous, bulky stools. Other conditions can cause these same signs and symptoms, so it’s important to talk to your doctor before trying a gluten-free diet.

So with no medicines to try (which I was very excited about, I hate taking pills!) I changed my diet.  It wasn’t the easiest of things to do.  Like I said before I love food and at first I got really nervous that things wouldn’t taste good.  I cleaned out all of my gluten containing food items and brought them to work to give away.  When I came back home I realized I had nothing left!  It was mind-blowing to me where gluten was actually hiding in these food items. Soy Sauce!? Really!! I went to whole foods and about had a panic attack right in the store when I ever saw the prices of everything.  I picked up a few of the basic things and decided that for now I would just eat fresh foods (veggies, fruits, non-marinated meat) and will eventually teach myself how to bake gluten-free.  I searched and searched the web to find blogs, articles, recipes etc.  The first one I came across and is still one of my favorites is Elana’s Pantry.  Reading her site and trying her recipes helped me realized that this isn’t so bad.  You can bake and cook gluten-free and it still look, smell and taste wonderful.

I started this blog shortly after being diagnosed for several reasons.  To keep track of my journey, my recipes (both created by myself and those that I have adapted to be gluten-free), my experiences and to potentially help others that were in the same boat as myself.  It has been an amazing two years.  I have learned so much, yet there is so much more I have to learn (for example how to blend flours to bake with).  Changing my diet and lifestyle to be gluten-free wasn’t nearly as bad as I was first expecting it to be.  I realized I just needed to be creative with my cooking (hence my blog name).  There are so many wonderful recipes out there that are naturally gluten-free or are easily adaptable to become gluten-free, you just need to think outside the box a little bit, be creative and realize that somethings aren’t going to look, smell or tastes exactly the same.  I love it – even if I could eat gluten again, I don’t think I really would (maybe some french bread though).  I have found many great recipes to replace my favorite gluten containing foods. I’m happy, healthy and feel great.  Since eating gluten-free my fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and ibs have been under control.  I rarely get flare ups and it is such a wonderful feeling.  I’m not saying that this works for everyone but for me this diet has helped in so many wonderful ways!!  I don’t have to take my muscle relaxers as much, and for the most part only the weather has affected my fibromyalgia -ahhhhh relief.

I love the huge gluten-free (dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free etc.) community that I have found.  Granted I have yet to meet any of them in person their blogs, wisdom, recipes, funny stories, generosity, and kind hearts have helped me on this amazing journey that I am on. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being the wonderful people who you are, for sharing your experiences and always sending encouragement along to others.

Along with all of the wonderful gluten-free bloggers out there I have to thank Bryan for being my wonderful taste-tester!  Even though he isn’t gluten-free he eats all the gluten-free meals, snacks and baked goods I put in front of him.  He is truly amazing and the most wonderful man in the world.  I have no idea where I would be without him, he truly is my best friend. (and I am slowly turning him into a foodie).

If you haven’t been tested for Celiac Disease please do so, especially if someone in your family has Celiac Disease!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes over the last two years:

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Mashed Cauliflower

Thai Chicken Soup (Elana’s Pantry)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Apple Crisp

Bacon Cheddar Scones


Happy Celiac Awareness Day – What are you doing to spread awareness??

Business Cards – A Great Resource

Yes I am that weird annoying person who takes photos of my food…all the time! At first Bryan would shake his head about me but he has gotten used to it. Not only do I bring my little point and shoot camera with me to the restaurants, I also bring one of my favorite little note books…the moleskines! So whenever we are traveling we are constantly on the search for new places to try, especially cupcakes places.  In the past month or so we’ve been to quite a few places and several of the waiters have seen me writing in my notebooks and hearing Bryan and I talk about the different dishes we’ve ordered etc.  They asked what I plan to do with these notes, and I simply explain that I have my own Gluten-Free blog that not only has recipes on there but when I try new places I write about them.  That last part seems to get their attention real good!  Once they hear that they ask if I have a business card…which I didn’t but now I do!

Bryan helped design these for me and I think it is a great resource for all gluten-free, allergy-free bloggers to have! Now I carry them with me and hand them to the waiter if they ask or leave it with our signed check.  We also looked up facts about Celiac Disease on The National Foundation For Celiac Awareness’ website to include on the reverse side of the card along with their website.  So here they are:

Front Side

Reverse Side

Special Report on Celiac Disease – USA Today!!

It’s here!!!  Pick up your copy of USA Today or download the report from The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness website.

USAToday.CD.May2010 – pdf version

Faces of Celiac Disease

Another Gluten Free Blogger – Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom posted this on Facebook yesterday…when you have a chance please check out this video and her blog!

I was diagnosed almost two years ago now with Celiac Disease. “Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.”  The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, but it’s often inherited. If someone in your immediate family has it, chances are 5 to 15 percent that you may as well.”

Since I was about ten years old (if not younger) I always had problems with being sick especially after eating.  Around that time I was diagnosed with being lactose intolerant.  For many years I went dairy free but still was getting sick…ALL THE TIME.  Little did I or my doctors realize that it wasn’t the dairy making me sick, it was everything I would eat with it.   At fifteen years old I was diagnosed with both IBS and Fibromyalgia.  The Fibromyalgia was very uncommon for someone my age at the time and still is.  The IBS was no surprise because many of my family member either have that or  Crohn’s Disease.

After twenty six years of eating pretty much anything I wanted: Pasta, Breads, Pizza, Chinese Food, Soy Sauce etc it was a hard change for me to switch my lifestyle to be completely gluten free.  I’m not going to lie its a challenge, but honestly having a good attitude about it, a great support system of friends (none of which are gluten free but made every effort to cook/bake gluten free so I can enjoy it also) and being forced to be creative with my cooking (hence my blog name) it hasn’t been that bad.  There are a few days where I miss the texture of real Italian/French bread but besides that, the joy and feeling of not being sick all the time is truly amazing.  I can enjoy almost all the food I truly love with out fear of getting sick.  I cook at home most of the time and have learned to recreate my favorite gluten filled meals to be gluten free with all the taste that one could hope for.  These past two years have been a journey for sure and I’m sure all the years to come will be even better.  I have an amazing boyfriend who is willing to eat gluten free meals (he can go out and get real food, but at home it will be all gluten free).  He is extremely well at looking out for me and reading labels on products.   I’m very thankful for him.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and I would strongly encourage you to get tested if you have symptoms of Celiac Disease (especially if someone in your family has Celiac!-hint hint to my family members)

Thanks Heidi for posting this.