Monday, November 28, 2011

Update on the Gluten-free oats offer

Do you remember the post below? One of my support group members asked if the focus group was still open and even though it is not, Debbie sent me an update! The responses to the new oats is 98% positive and the landing page for their new site is up too: It is still under-construction, but getting there. However, its exciting to know that their is another option out there for those who need a GF diet and still have issues with GF oats.
Can you tolerate gluten-free oats? It’s estimated that 4-8% of gluten-free consumers cannot tolerate gluten-free oats. My friend, Debbie Wheaton of the Not Even a Crumb™ Foundation, found a company in Montana (Montana Gluten-Free Processors) that grows, harvests, mills and packages a different species of GF oats that are very low on the allergen scale (and consistently test out at 1 ppm). She started eating them a month ago - with NO issues. The company is getting similar testimonials from around the country. They, (Montana Gluten-Free Processors) have asked Debbie to facilitate a nationwide focus group to determine if this is truly the Holy Grail of gluten-free oats.
If you or anyone in your group has had issues with gluten-free oats, I would love them to be a part of this focus group. The Processors will send free product and specific protocols for the group and they’ll also do a huge giveaway at the end. Check out their site to see their entire line of amazing GF mixes

Monday, November 21, 2011

A note about Conte Pasta

John Libonati from sent this message to one of my fabulous support group members, Theresa. She passed it along to me and I thought I would share! See below:

Hey All!

I just got off the phone with Judy Sabella, Conte’s Pasta’s VP of Operations. She told me Conte’s gluten-free pastas and microwave meals are now made in their new 100% dedicated gluten-free, SOLAR-powered facility. Their products taste awesome and yes, I will be enjoying them for Thanksgiving. :)

Frozen Pastas:

Cheese Raviol, Cheese Stuffed Shells, Spinach & Cheese Ravioli, Potato & Onion Pierogi (GFCF), Potato, Cheese & Onion Pierogi, Gnocchi (GFCF), Mushroom Florentine Pizza, Margherita Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil

Microwave Meals:

Cheese Lasagna, Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, Gnocchi with Marinara Sauce (GFCF)

Conte’s pastas, pizzas and pasta micro meals are certified gluten-free through the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Visit Conte’s website for more information and to find retailers in your area.

You can also call as the list may not be up to date - call Toll free: 1-800-211-6607

Happy Thanksgiving!

-John Libonati

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CDF Anchorage Gluten-free Support Group Meeting

Please join me this Thursday, November 17th, for the Anchorage Gluten-Free Support Group from 6-8pm at Natural Pantry on Old Seward Hwy. Enjoy Life Foods has graciously offered to send us samples for the meeting!! 
See you there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bistro Red Beet

Recently one of my support group members stopped by Bistro Red Beet in Wasilla.Red Beet specializes in fresh Northern Fare. Their meals are prepared from exclusively from fresh resources specifically Alaskan produce and Alaskan wild harvest with a little bit of fresh fare from around the globe added in their goal is to provide a wide variety of fresh foods that are pesticide free, herbicide free and organic. Their menu does change with the seasons but they offer gluten-free options all year round! They also offer catering and private dinning to maximize your experience with their menu items.
My support group member did mention that some of the food choices were odd but she thought the potatoes were awesome and she would recommend the meat sandwich with potatoes. If you are not used to organic and an earthy fare you may feel the same way. She did however, really enjoy the beet and raspberry smoothie and said that it could become "addicting"! She was also of the opinion that the price may be a little steep for some but, for a gluten-free meal sans cooking, it may be worth it once in a while. If you have tried this place, I would love your opinion as well.
For more information visit

Sunday, November 6, 2011

National Kidney Foundation Screening

The National Kidney foundation has a program called Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) which is a free screening program offered for individuals who may be at risk for kidney disease. It is a great way to for people to figure out their risk factors and get counseling on how o avoid problems in the future. Their goals are to raise awareness about kidney disease especially among “high risk” individuals, provide free testing for people at increased risk for kidney disease, encourage people “at risk” to visit a clinician, and follow the treatment plan recommended. They also provide educational information so these “at risk” individuals can prevent or delay kidney damage, provide clinician referrals for follow-up care, if needed, and provide ongoing information and support. Prevention is always more cost effective than treatment and the National Kidney Foundation does a great job at increasing awareness in the community. So, of course, I was eager to help and participate in this screening when they contacted me!
In my work life, I am a board-certified Nurse Practitioner. So I was able to help support the KEEP goals by providing education to each individual after they had completed the screening process. There were 6 stations at the screening. Station #1 was a urine screen, #2 a blood pressure evaluation, #3 waist measurement, #4 blood draw, and #5 was where I sat with the other clinicians who volunteered their time. It was wonderful to meet all the participants and talk to them about why they visited the clinic that day. It was also wonderful to be able to provide medical support free of charge to people who could not afford it otherwise. At the end of the day, we were able to screen 159 people. Of those, 64 learned they may have a new problem such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, or high cholesterol. Those people could now make small adjustments in their lifestyle to decrease their risk factors and live a longer, healthier quality of life! I am honored to have been invited to participate in this worthy cause!
Being a nurse is a rewarding profession. It gives a person the chance to give back, but in doing so, you gain more than you could possibly imagine in return.

November Recipe of the Month

Ever since I was a little girl, Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I think I have always preferred it because that was the holiday when all the family was together. Christmas was always hit or miss when it came to gathering everyone together but Thanksgiving always seemed to be just right. I am not sure how 27 people always fit in my grandma's kitchen but somehow we made it happen. Not only did we fit but we feasted! We feasted for what seemed like hours. Everyone told stories and laughter filled the room. Then, depending on how much turkey we ate, we all laid around the living room and napped.
Now that I am married, I have had to learn to start cooking, my favorite dish to cook for Thanksgiving has been green bean casserole. Below is a recipe I adapted Martha Stewart.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance non-dairy, non-soy)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and slim slices
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut (I used fresh not canned)
  • 6 tablespoons of Bob's Red Mill All-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use Manchego since I am allergic to dairy)
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs (I toast bread and crush it for a quick version)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 shallots, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rings


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onion, and saute until it begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and mushrooms, and cook until softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare an ice bath: Fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside. (not necessary if using canned green beans) Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans, and cook until bright green and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, and plunge into ice bath to stop cooking. When cooled, toss drained beans with mushroom mixture; set aside.
  3. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup flour, whisk constantly until mixture begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in milk, and continue whisking until mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in cayenne, nutmeg, and the remaining teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Pour over beans, and toss to combine.
  4. Butter or grease a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking pan. Spread half the green-bean mixture over the bottom. Sprinkle on half the grated cheese, and spread with the remaining green beans. Combine the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs, and sprinkle over casserole. Cover with foil, and refrigerate until just before serving.
  5. This is my favorite part - Heat canola oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. *Toss shallot rings with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Fry the shallots in batches, turning frequently, until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Place in an airtight container, and set aside until ready to serve.
  6. Heat broiler, positioning rack about 8 inches from heat. Cook casserole, covered, until mixture is bubbly and heated through, about 10 minutes. Uncover, and cook until top is golden brown, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle fried shallots over top, and serve immediately.
*I had to double the shallot amount because my dad and husband sneak behind me and eat a few when I am not looking

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gluten-free Awards

Have you ever found yourself thinking that you wish there were awards to recognize people and products in the gluten-free world? Well, your wish has now come true!  The 2nd Annual Gluten-Free Awards from the producers of GFREEK radio have arrived! The nominations have been made and the finalists are now listed on their website. Voting is simple. Just visit their website at and scroll to the bottom to find a link says "Vote now for the 2nd Annual Gluten Free Awards". You will automatically be taken to the survey where you can cast your votes! Simple, easy, FUN!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Product of the Month

I think one of the hardest things about being gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free is finding baked goods that don't taste dry, grainy, or like they are going to fall apart with the first fork placement. As I was strolling in the grocery store the other day (actually, I was wandering and my husband was doing the shopping) I literally almost ran into a fridge full of French Meadow gluten-free goods! (Seriously, though, I cut the corner too quick and almost hit my shoulder on the edge.) The first the that caught my eye was the gluten-free tortillas because I need more if I am going to make more sweet potato and black bean burritos. However, as it dawned on me that the whole refrigerator was gluten-free a little tiny box caught my eye. I had to stand on my tiptoes to see what was inside but it was worth the effort.

It was the cutest little cake! Not only was it gluten-free but it was dairy and soy-free too! The best part? It came with a coupon!

As soon as we returned home, I was very tempted to have my dessert first and my dinner afterward, however, my husband  made sure that I dined in the right order. The serving size is 1/3 of the cake and with good reason, it contains a lot of fat, so be aware of that fact. The cake did not crumble and the icing was soft. The first bite was amazing and it only got better from there! The bread portion was soft, not too heavy, and tasted just right! I am thrilled to know that for special occasions (or maybe times when I crave a slice of cake) I have a tasty new option!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Willy O's Gluten-free Pizza

Willy Olund has made it his passion to develop great tasting pizza. He used to give his siblings pizzas for Christmas gifts, however, when they became allergic to the majority of the grains he used, he had to figure out a way to make a different type of crust. His wife, Carla, who owns their store Willy O's Pizza and Grille in South Haven, MI, decided to open Willy O's Gluten-free products (a dedicated gluten-free USDA facility) in Holland, MI. With her help, Willy was able to produce a fabulous gluten-free pizza! So fabulous, in fact, that the gluten-free version has won several international awards. In 2010, The International Pizza Challenge held in Las Vegas voted his pizza number #1 in the United States and #2 Internationally and the Trofeo 2 Mari in Lecce, Italy voted his pizza #1 in America and he received the highest scores by any American as well.

The best part about Willy O's pizza? Even if you are not close to their store in South Haven, Michigan, Willy is happy to ship you some pizza! He even sent me a few in Alaska! They arrived looking perfect and they tested even better!

For more information about Willy and his amazing pizza check out