Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Homemade Advent Calendar 2014

Last year I made a food free Advent calendar for my gluten free son. It was the first year he was interested in counting down to Christmas, and I was having a hard time finding a commercial gluten free Advent calendar. Instead, I made my own version!

I will be making another homemade Advent calendar again this year, although since we're staying with my parents for the holidays and they don't have a mantel, I'll have to make a more compact version.

This post generated some great feedback last year, and several people sent me messages to let show me their homemade Advent calendars, so I thought it was worth another share this year.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Product Review: Sam Mills Gluten Free Products

A few months ago, my mother in law came to visit us in Canada from El Salvador, and she brought along several gluten free products that we haven't seen in Canada before. One company in particular caught my eye: Sam Mills USA. My mother-in-law brought along some pasta and some granola from this company, which specializes in corn-based products.

I'm typically wary of pastas that are made from 100% corn because I find that they don't always have the best consistency, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Sam Mills pasta. It cooked up well, and kept its consistency even after being refrigerated and reheated for leftovers. Like all gluten free pasta it sucked up sauce like crazy, so I recommend making extra if planning on having pasta leftover.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Win Two Passes Gluten Free Garage in Toronto November 9!

I am a big fan of the Gluten Free Garage that's held in Toronto each November. It's a bit different from most other gluten free events I've attended because it focuses on local gluten free products and producers. Rather than being bombarded by all the big international brands, it allows locals to get to know and support smaller local businesses. I've discovered many new products at this event in the past. It's also small enough to walk through in a few hours, making it a great way to spend about a half day eating, drinking, and connecting with others who "get it" when it comes to gluten free living.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Our Halloween Preparations

My son and my niece, ready to face the villains!
My kids are in what I like to call the "Golden Age" of celebrating Halloween. Old enough to participate in crafts and baking, able to walk to trick or treat, and excited about dressing up, but young enough to still believe in the magic of ghosts and witches and to want to celebrate everything with their parents. I know it's only a matter of time before the older one will want to go trick or treating with his friends instead of his parents, or he'll be embarrassed that his mother likes to dress up to hand out candy at the door.

So I'm making the most of it while I can, and enjoying every minute. Kids of all ages can participate in Halloween decorating and treat making, provided the activities are scaled to their ability and interest level.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

10 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween (updated)

I first published this post last year, but I think the content is pretty timeless. I've updated the post with new information and links where relevant, including safe Halloween candy lists for 2014. 

When your child has food restrictions or allergies, holidays that are supposed to be fun can turn into nightmares for parents trying to keep their kids safe. In addition to the usual safety precautions, there are the concerns about what your child can eat, and how to handle the disappointment that can accompany the realization that most of what’s in their trick or treat bag isn’t safe for them to consume. Here are some tips for a safe and happy gluten free Halloween.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The "Switch Witch" is Coming to My House This Halloween

A few days ago I wrote about my decision to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween, which helps raise awareness of food allergies while also supporting allergic children by also making some non-food Halloween items available for trick-or-treating kids. It would be incredible if my son could come home with a bag full of safe items for him, but I know that much of his treat bag will contain gluten-filled snacks that he cannot eat.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

We're Taking Part in the Teal Pumpkin Project

I LOVE Halloween. Everything about it makes me smile, from the decorations to the costumes to the candy.

A few years ago my love for Halloween was tested when my toddler son went on a gluten and dairy free diet.

Halloween became a nightmare. Every piece of candy in his treat bag was a potential danger to him, and he was still too young to understand why he couldn't eat most of it. I spent forever going through each candy in his bag, still too new to the process to have a grasp on what was safe and what wasn't. What should have been a fun night was a scary, stressful one for me.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gluten Free Candy Lists 2014

Each year, a number of different organizations post their updated Gluten Free Candy Lists. Most lists are specific to the United States, but My Gluten Facts offers candy lists for both Canada and the United States, which I find particularly useful. For some reason, some candies that are manufactured to be gluten free in one country may have a different formulation in another country, causing confusion for consumers.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where I've Been: A Blog Update

Hanging out in Nice, France
I've been neglecting you, my readers, for a few weeks now and I feel terrible about it. So what's the deal? Where have I gone?

I'm currently on a six week "vacation" in France, scoping out where I hope to live with my family for the next year. We've been traveling from city to city, mostly in the South of France, to get a feel for each location.

Every few days is a new local, and while it's been a lot of fun, it hasn't left a lot of time for writing. In fact, I have pretty much declined any new freelance work, and struggled to get caught up on outstanding assignments.

We've been to Nice, Monaco (just for fun, not to live!), Menton, Aix-en-Provence, Lyon, Avignon, and we're currently in Montpellier.