Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Resources

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Jul 31 2014

New Products From Van’s Natural Foods

Van’s Natural Foods has been making quality waffles since the 1970s. They brought those waffles, including a gluten-free version, to local grocery stores in the 1980s. Today Van’s has expanded their product line to include multiple gluten-free products with several news ones just hitting the shelves of local grocery stores.

Some of those new products include:

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PB & J Bars

  • Blueberry & Peanut Butter
  • Strawberry & Peanut Butter

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Gluten-Free Pasta

  • Ultimate Cheddar Penne
  • Creamy Herb & Garlic
  • Rotini & Red Sauce

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Gluten-Free Granola

  • Cranberry Almond
  • Blueberry Walnut

Gluten-Free Chips

  • Mighty Good BBQ
  • Nacho Nacho Man

Gluten-Free Cereal

  • Cinnamon Heaven
  • Honey Nut Crunch

Most of these products can be found on the shelves of your local mainstream grocery stores. The picture above were taken at my local Walmart store. Have you tried any of the new products from Van’s Natural Foods? If so, please share your thoughts below.

Jul 30 2014

Tonya’s Gluten-Free Kitchen Soft Pretzels

Gluten-free soft pretzels are not easy to come by. I have seen one or two different brands over the years in my local health food store, Raisin Rack, but they have been so expensive, that I have never purchased them. When I say expensive, I am talking over $15/package. When I ran into Raisin Rack yesterday to grab some protein bars, I quickly went down the frozen gluten-free aisle and spotted a new gluten-free soft pretzel made by Tonya’s Gluten-Free Kitchen. I was thrilled to see that these were priced at $10.99/box in the store.

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I didn’t buy any right then because I wasn’t going straight home, but I plan on picking up a package the next time I am in the area. The soft pretzels are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization and come in four different varieties:

  • Original Soft Pretzels
  • Original Soft Pretzel Bites
  • Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzels
  • Cinnamon Sugar Soft Pretzel Bites

More about Tonya’s Gluten-Free Kitchen:

In 2002, Tonya Bernard’s daughter, Cailie was diagnosed with celiac disease after suffering extreme malnutrition and weight loss. Shortly thereafter, Tonya was also diagnosed with celiac disease.

Like many people with celiac disease, Tonya began searching for gluten free bakery foods that tasted more like their gluten equivalent. She quickly became frustrated by what she found and set out to create her own recipes. “I wanted my 3 year old to have the same treats as other children. I was also determined to bake bread that didn’t have to be toasted to taste good and didn’t crumble in your hands.”

“By the time Cailie entered Kindergarten, I had succeeded. One thing Cailie and I missed was a buttery soft pretzel. My parents and I were experimenting with different recipe combinations and stumbled upon a product that reminded us of that famous aunt’s soft pretzel. With a few modifications and months of experimenting, we came up with a soft pretzel that we are very enthusiastic about!”

As friends with celiac disease tasted her creations, they asked Tonya if they could buy these foods from her. Encouraged by the response, she started baking in 2008 from her home kitchen and selling to fellow celiacs at various support groups in the Lancaster and Harrisburg, PA region.

As demand increased, she started selling to grocery and health foods stores in the area and eventually outgrew her home kitchen. In the summer of 2010, Tonya started a gluten-free bakery in Newmanstown, PA.

Tonya’s Gluten-Free Kitchen Soft Pretzels can be purchased directly from the website or found in over 238 stores in 23 states.

Have you found a gluten-free soft pretzel you like? Have you tried making them at home? 

Jul 29 2014

Grocery Shopping, Shelf Labels & More

I did our weekly grocery shopping yesterday evening, fully intending to get right in and right out. I don’t know why, but that never seems to happen. If I would just go down the aisles that have the items I need, I could probably cut 10-15 minutes off of my trip. I think part of the reason I “wander” is that I like to discover new gluten-free products, as the gluten-free section seems to be continuously growing. As I was browsing the gluten-free section yesterday I noticed the following:

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At first I thought Annie’s changed their box/label, but upon closer inspection, I saw “wheat flour” on the label. Not only does the shelf label below clearly say “GF” and “micro mac”, but this is part of a huge gluten-free section.

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Obviously, this is a mistake and whomever stocked the shelves wasn’t paying attention. So what does one do in this situation? I considered moving all of the boxes to the proper section of the store, about 6 aisles away, but decided against that. I have tracked down store employees in the past only to have them look at me like I am crazy, not understand what the problem is, promise to talk to the person in charge of that department and the product remains in the incorrect location. Finding and talking to the store manager is probably the best way to solve the problem quickly.

What I really want to impress upon you is this…read labels each and every time you buy and eat a product that could potentially contain gluten (or any other ingredient you must avoid). It is unfortunate that we have to do this, but mistakes happen and you are responsible for your diet, or the diet of your gluten-free child.

Jul 28 2014

Review: Great Value Gluten-Free Cookies

Just a little over a week ago I purchased several of the new Walmart brand, Great Value, gluten-free products. We have been working our way through them and today’s review will focus on the cookies. There are three different varieties of gluten-free cookies in the Great Value line-up:

  • Shortbread Cookies
  • Vanilla Sandwich Cookies
  • Cocoa Sandwich Cookies
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The sandwich cookies are just like their non-gluten-free counterparts…they taste great, have a wonderful texture and are great to dip in milk (especially vanilla almond milk!). The Shortbread Cookies are very good, however 2/3 of the package was crumbled or broken. I am not sure if that was in isolated incident or a problem with that cookie. If it turns out to be an ongoing problem, they would still be good as ice cream toppers or used as a crust for a pie or cheesecake.

All products are certified gluten-free by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Gluten-Free Certification Program. Walmart has locations across the US – check here for the location closest to you. Have you tried any of the Walmart brand gluten-free products? 

Jul 26 2014

Review: Freschetta Gluten-Free Pizza

Success! I found the Freschetta Gluten-Free Pizza I mentioned the other day in this post and made it for dinner last night for Jon. I checked the store locator to make sure the Kroger store I was planning on going to did indeed carry the line, as not all Kroger stores do. I needed to pick up some Lara ALT Bars as they have the best selection and are often 10 for $10. Freschetta makes two different varieties of gluten-free pizza, but the Kroger I went to only offered the 4 Cheese Medley variety. The pizza was $9.99 and was not included in the sale that did include the other Freschetta Pizza varieties.

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The pizza is easy to cook…heat the oven to 450 degrees and place pizza on a baking sheet. It was done in roughly 10 minutes. The crust is thin, so it is important to keep a very close eye on the pizza so that it doesn’t burn. The instructions recommend taking it out once the cheese is melted and that is exactly what I did.

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This pizza is full of flavor and the crust has a great texture. Jon made quick work of it and it was gone before I knew it. As far as size goes, the pizza box said there are 4 servings in the pizza. I would venture to say more like 2-3. I would absolutely buy this again!

Have you tried the new Freschetta Gluten-Free Pizza?