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What do you get the person who’s allergic to everything?

What do you get the person who’s allergic to everything?

stocking-stuffersGluten and dairy and sugar, oh my! The holidays are an allergen nightmare for those of us who deal with everything from Celiac disease to Candida, but they can be an even bigger nightmare for their loved ones who want to make them feel special and included. Overjoyed cries of “I can eat THAT?!” are music to my ears, and they can be to you too. Here’s a list of a bunch of gift ideas you probably haven’t thought of for the Temperamental Tummies in your life.

Stocking Stuffers

Made On: – This company is primarily run by just one gal, who is passionate about and fantastic at what she does. She makes hard lotions, bug block, baby rash lotion, hair butter (a favorite!), soaps, lip balms and tinted lip balms that are 100% natural, hand made, and fragrance, allergen, and preservative free! Around the holidays, she has a lip balm called Vanilla Dust that is a favorite in my family! It’s got a slight sparkle and a delicious sugar cookie smell. Her customer service is top notch, and every repeat customer gets to choose a free product with their order! It’s called Made On: because every product comes hand-labeled with who made it and on what date, so you know it’s always fresh. She even has mechanic soap for guys with fresh pine needles to get those hard-working hands clean, and shaving soap too! Check out her website here!

Red Apple Lipstick– A lot of people don’t know that makeup can contain gluten and all kinds of toxins! That’s not a gift, that’s a curse! This Red Apple isn’t poisoned, however. It’s just the opposite, and it’s completely gluten free, so it’s safe for the Celiac in your life! Their product line specializes in fantastic lipsticks, glosses, and eyeshadows, and they released a mascara that has rocked my world. They’re all high grade, and made by my friend Jay and his lovely wife Andrea especially for Celiacs! Check out my review of their products here! Check out their website here!

Surf Sweets– Christmas candy is notorious for containing allergens like corn, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and dairy. For your little kids, or even your big kids, they have some of the best tasting gummy bears and jelly beans on the market! You’ll have to hide them from everyone else! Check out my review here! 

Lovely Candy Co–  They have the most incredible caramels, licorice, and fruit chews I’ve ever tasted, and they’re gluten free, kosher, NON-GMO(!), no HFCS, and no artificial anything! Gotta love the care that comes with buying from a small family business! They’re available at Target, and a few other stores.

Other great stocking stuffers include: hypoallergenic earrings (check Etsy for great options!), fuzzy socks, a new day planner (TJ Maxx has them for $5!) and fun pencils/stickers/etc, tea (The Republic of Tea is certified gluten free!), a candle (try finding a local candle company!), or a great scarf (just check to make sure they don’t have any textile allergies, like I do!).


A pound of coffee (here’s a list of gluten free ones!) and a great new travel mug! (I just received this as a present and it’s awesome)

Skincare! (shameless plug for L’BRI- it’s a local company here in Wisconsin. Aloe vera based, truly natural skincare that’s incredibly affordable!)- Here’s the website, and here‘s a link to see which products contain things like soy or honey if you’re vegan. But really, if you’re getting them skin stuff, check ingredients!

A monthly subscription box! I’m a fan of ones for tea, personally, but here‘s a link with 12 different gluten free food subscription boxes!

Gift cards to places like health food stores, whole foods, etc so that we can buy ourselves gluten free treats we normally wouldn’t spring for!

Look for a local gluten free cafe and buy them a gift card to that place! Try using to search your area!

Gluten free treat mixes, like brownies and cookies- they’re not cheap, but really nice to have around.

A nice lunchbag set, because us allergic people ALWAYS have to bring our own food, but why shouldn’t it be cute?!

Bath salts…baths are great when you’re hurting from a reaction.



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Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo 2015- Chicago! Ticket giveaway!

If you remember, last year I was invited to participate in the GFAF Expo out in Schaumburg, Illinois. Here’s the post from last year so you can see some of my pictures. I got SO MUCH stuff! This expo is HUGE! All the gluten free, allergen free vendors you can possibly think up, and some you’ve never heard of before! Samples everywhere, classes, giveaways, free product, product for sale, you name it! Well, I’m here to give you all the information, as well as some FREE TICKETS! The whole event is sponsored by Glutino and Udi’s, so you know it’s going to be good.

The expo is May 2-3, 10 am – 4 pm at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, 1551 Thoreau Drive North
Schaumburg, IL 60173

There’s free parking everywhere, and several extra lots. It fills up fast so come early!

Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12, and you get a FREE one-year subscription to Delight Gluten Free Magazine ($24 value!) with a ticket purchase! Use code “ADVANCE” until 5/1 to get 20% off your ticket!


There will be 4 classes every day, held upstairs in the Euphoria room. Classes range anywhere from “Learn to be free of chronic allergies” to “The Celiac Project”, and they’re taught by presenters you don’t want to miss- experts in their fields and living the allergen free lifestyle themselves. You have no better advocates! Check out the class schedule here!

The vendors I’m most looking forward to are Canyon Gluten Free Bakehouse, Dr Praeger’s Gluten Free, Garden Lites, Freedom Foods, and of course, Red Apple Lipstick.


When you leave your comment on this post as part of your entry, make sure you enter an email address so I can get a hold of you when you win! The contest ends on April 29th, so enter quick and share with your friends!

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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Reviews


Living NOW Gluten Free Mixes and All Purpose Flour Review

I’m sure you’ve heard of “NOW” brand things; protein powders, personal care, and especially vitamins, but did you know they’ve got a whole line of gluten free flours and mixes? Not only that, but they’re produced in a dedicated 8-allergen free facility, gluten free certified, kosher, packaged in 100% recycled material, and are vegetarian/vegan? That’s a whole lot of TLC going into their products. I was fortunate enough to have some sent to me to try! They also sent me some Sprouted Brown Rice Protein and Pea Protein to try. I preferred the brown rice protein for the lack of “protein flavor”, but the pea protein blends in really smoothly, which is great, plus it comes in a variety of flavors. They also offer egg-white protein, whey protein, and soy protein in various flavors. Check it out here!

These mixes are dairy, wheat, soy, nuts, and egg free!

LivingNow Gluten Free All Purpose Flour

One of the best tests of an all purpose flour is cake; it’s a recipe that easily shows if a flour is up to the task. It’s made with white and brown rice flours, tapioca flour, potato starch and flour, and cellulose (dietary fiber). They supply a chocolate cake and pizza crust recipe on the back, but I decided to use my own, and this flour did a fabulous job! Even non-allergic people were sneaking slices though there was a regular cake available! I also used the leftover flour to make a batch of Gluten Free PB Chocolate Chip cookies that were met with unbridled enthusiasm. Check out the recipe for those here! I used the very last of my flour to make some Gluten, Dairy and Refined Sugar Free Double Chocolate Banana Muffins, and I was sad to see the last of the flour go, but it made some delicious muffins (really cupcakes in disguise, but who’s checking?).



LivingNow Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Mix-

If you’re like me and always have a couple of bananas go soft on you, this is the mix to have on hand. Two bananas and you’re on your way to a great breakfast/snack/dessert. Fresh out of the oven, this easy mix delivers great taste without the banana flavor blowing you away. The chocolate chips taste great, too! I had it out on the counter and half a loaf disappeared almost instantly. It even has chia and flax in it for an extra healthy boost!



LivingNow Gluten Free Organic Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix-

This is a very dark chocolate brownie with good flavor, although it’s somewhat crumbly, although I was at a higher altitude when I baked it, and that may have contributed. It’s supposed to be baked in an 8×8 pan for 35 minutes, but I baked it in a 7×10 pan for 20 minutes and it was done. The place where we were vacationing had limited pans. It’s very easy to make, and includes a substitute option for the 1 egg it calls for. It was actually better the second day (we were up in the mountains and the air was super dry) once it sat overnight and got a little more moist. It uses non-gmo corn starch and it’s sweetened with organic turbinado sugar, which is a definite plus. It also lasted longer than a lot of gluten free brownies do without getting dry or moldy (in the fridge- I was hoarding it.).

LivingNow Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix-

Words cannot contain the rave review these cookies got, especially from the non-allergen crowd! I even had my cousin’s daughter steal two right from under my nose. They’re a little crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, hearty and chocolatey, just as they should be. I simply substituted the called-for stick of butter with an Earth Balance vegan buttery stick and they still turned out perfectly. You’ll definitely want to form little balls with it and then smoosh them down a bit to get a good cookie shape, as is typical of gluten free cookies. These were definitely a fan favorite!

I have a confession to make…these cookies were so popular, they were gone before I even had a chance to take a picture!


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Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Reviews


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Smart Flour- a wise decision

Smart Flour Foods, with their mod label and cute, nerdy mascot, may seem a little too trendy for the “serious” gluten free crowd, but when it comes to food, it’s no joking matter. This company has taken ancient grains and given them a modern twist that has the masses calling for more. I was the lucky recipient of pizza crusts, a frozen pizza, pancake/waffle mix, hamburger buns, and all-purpose flour, and I was incredibly impressed by all of it! Their products are free of gluten/wheat, egg, soy, and rice. Their original pizza crust is free of dairy, casein, and nuts as well.


Let’s tackle the pizza first. My system can’t handle cheese, but luckily, it’s my husband’s favorite food. The Garden Margherita Pizza disappeared in record time, and for a man who can eat all the gluten he wants, he was very impressed, and I was happy to know the milk is hormone-free! It definitely made the house smell amazing. You can even get it in flavors like Classic Cheese and Uncured Pepperoni (vegetarian fed!). I made myself a pizza with goat cheese, and I was beyond thrilled to put one of the tastiest gluten free crusts I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a LOT…pizza is a staple in our house) in my mouth. I was a little stunned to feel like I was eating “real pizza” for the first time in a long time. I probably ate an entire pizza myself, without shame. They come in a frozen 2-pack, and that’s the way it should be. You’ll want more than 1 crust.



Their gluten free hamburger buns are impossibly light and fluffy, and I used it for a tuna sandwich and felt like I was eating “real” bread! Not sure how they do it, but I wish I were a fly on the wall in their kitchen. I’ve been saving my other one for a special occasion.



Pancake mix- I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of pancakes, but waffles are another story entirely. I went online to look up their recipe for using the mix for waffles (it involves whipping egg whites), and made (hands down) the most fluffy, non-weird-tasting, delicious gluten free waffle I’ve had since going gluten free. No other mix I’ve tried has even come close. Do be warned; there is milk powder in the mix, but it didn’t bother my stomach, which rocked.



Today, I made gluten free chocolate chip cookies (our secret family recipe) with their all-purpose flour. It’s a signature composition of sorghum, amaranth, and teff flours, which offer a higher nutritional profile than traditional gluten free flour combinations, so you know you’re not just eating empty calories. The cookies turned out extremely tasty, not gritty or “bean-y”, but the cookies were quite fragile, so be careful (although it could be because these are shortening based cookies)! Definitely bake any cookies on parchment so they release easily, and cool completely before removing.



You can get any of these products online, at these locations, and even order a combo kit to try a bunch of different things! You can even check to see if your favorite restaurant uses their products!



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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Reviews


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Let Them Eat Foods brownie review and giveaway!

Honestly, under-bake this brownie by a few minutes and you’ll understand why I’m salivating just thinking about it. This is a tiny little company I met at the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo, and the founder, Heather, supplied me with this mix to try. There wasn’t a sample I tried that I didn’t like, but their Chicago Style Brownies? Heaven. Gluten free, dairy free, it’s like a chocolate IV. If you’ve got an aversion/allergy to soy, they’ve got a soy free version too! This is several POUNDS of chocolate in that pan. They recommend baking it in a 9×13 pan, but I rebelled and put it in an 9×9, because…smaller piece, still more brownie, and you don’t look like a pig. Until you do this:


This, my friends, is marshmallow fluff (yes, it’s gluten and dairy free), peanut butter, and dark chocolate chips on top of a still-hot brownie. It was extremely rich, and worth every calorie, and I don’t say that often.

I developed this recipe because I love brownies and missed them. And all the other products just didn’t taste like the real thing. They are ”Emergency Brownies” for when you’ve had a hard day, for when you get a raise, or for any day that ends in Y.

— Heather, co-founder of Let Them Eat Foods

Help me support this incredible small business, because I want to see their products go nation-wide, and because these are the brownies you’ve been looking for! Order HERE! There’s even a code for $1 off! You can pick them up locally in La Grange or Orland Park, Illinois, or have them shipped to your home. Trust me, it’s worth every penny. Check out their Facebook page, too, for news and giveaways!

How about I give YOU some brownies right NOW!  

Here’s what you’ve got to do:

“Like” their Facebook page

“Like” my Facebook page

“Share” my original Facebook post with your family and friends

Comment below telling me what you all completed! 

Thank you all for your entries! Haley H. is the winner!

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Posted by on July 10, 2014 in Reviews


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Seeds- not just for the birds

With the rise of nut allergy awareness, many people are turning to seeds for that roasty flavor so imperative to foods like granola, cookies, butters, and muffins. People have even begun getting super creative due to the interesting properties of some seeds. Ever tried making pudding without milk? It’s hard. I’ve broken down the health benefits and even included some recipes to help you get the benefits of these seeds in your diet without feeling like tossing it to the birds.


Chia seeds– The crowning glory of the seed world, in my opinion (yes, this is a thinly veiled Chia Pet reference). Is there anything these little guys can’t do? Other than make something similar to peanut butter, anyway. They’re packed with fiber and calcium, and they gel up nicely in liquid. If you’ve ever had a Mamma Chia drink, you’ve tasted that in action. They can also be put into cookies and muffins to act as egg substitutes. For a homemade version of the chia drink, I put two tablespoons of chia seeds into 10 oz of water, stir thoroughly, and leave over night covered on the counter. The next day, I add a 10-12 oz of mango nectar and 10-12 oz of coconut water for a great post workout rehydrating drink. You could do it with any juice that tickles your fancy, though. Imagine the possibilities! For pudding, simply put 1 cup of whatever dairy milk substitute you prefer into a bowl, 3 Tbsp raw honey or sweetener of choice, and add 4 Tbsp chia seeds and a dash of vanilla extract. Cover and shake, or stir vigorously. Chill for 20-30 minutes and eat cold.

Flaxseed– Flax is a favorite of mine, and not just for the huge amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in a single ounce of these babies as well as blood sugar regulating fiber and possibly even able to help lower bad cholesterol! Flax can also be used as an egg substitute because it does gel somewhat, though not as intensely as chia seeds. Flax meal can also be used in recipes that call for things like bran. I never make granola without flax seeds (check out my recipe!). I sprinkle the seeds on oatmeal and include them in muffins and cookies too, for an extra healthy boost.

Hemp seeds– I’ve been using hemp protein for awhile in my morning smoothies, but had no idea it was secretly helping with my inflammation problems! You can get this awesome benefit, too, but if you’re loyal to your protein powder, try sprinkling hemp seeds onto the top of your smoothie, salad, or oatmeal, or even include them in pesto as a sub for pine nuts. It’s got a ton of amino acids, too! For pesto, just blend fresh basil with some olive oil, garlic, hemp seeds, and spinach in a food processor for a great sandwich spread, baked chicken seasoning, or a cool summer spin on pasta, hot or cold.

Pepitas, or Pumpkin Seeds– With twice the protein of black beans and a bunch of zinc, pepitas are always a good idea. These are another essential seed in my granola. After all, if I’m eating what is essentially honey-toasted carbs, I’d better get some good health benefits from it, and protein is a must. They’re a great snack, too.

Sesame seeds– My go-to use for these little beauties is toasted and sprinkled liberally on my homemade sushi. They’re loaded with iron and can help lower bad cholesterol, too. One of the first recorded “dessert” recipes in the ancient times was straight up sesame seeds and honey. They’re also used liberally in Asian-inspired marinades since they add that toasted nuttiness that really rounds out the sharper flavors of soy sauce and rice vinegar.

Sunflower seeds– My dad’s all-time favorite snack. “Spits”, as we call them, are essential to camping, road trips, and sitting around a fire in the back yard. Good thing, too, since they’re loaded with Vitamin E and selenium. I love them sprinkled on a salad, in carrot muffins, and in cowboy cookies. Blended up, they’re a popular substitute for peanut butter, too.

Coriander seeds– Heavily used in Chinese, Indian, and European cooking, coriander seeds pack quite the nutritional whallop. Antioxidants, omegas, B vitamins, minerals, vitamin C, dietary fiber, and it helps lower cholesterol. Usually used in ground form, they’re fantastic in stews, breads, and even some sweets.

Pomegranate seeds– Pomegranate juice is widely popular for its health benefits, but what about the seeds? Pomegranate seeds provide roughly 20% of your daily value of vitamin k and a healthy dose of vitamin c. They’re also rich in polyphenols, which may help prevent cancer. If you’re looking for weight management, these little seeds are low in calories but rich in fiber.

Black cumin seed– Also known as Roman coriander, black sesame, black caraway, and onion seed, this tiny little seed has benefits for over 40 different health conditions. It’s even antibacterial against MRSA! It’s known to be pain killing, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral, among other things.


Want to incorporate some of these “superfood” seeds into your diet? Here’s an easy way I’ve been boosting my fatty acid (omegas) and antioxidant intake without nasty fish burps! Coromega non-GMO superfood oil blend contains organic coconut oil, organic avocado oil, organic hemp seed oil, organic black cumin seed oil, and chia seed oil. It’s got a sweet, grassy, coconut-chia taste that makes it easy to take plain, but you can also boost your morning smoothie for on-the-go nutrition! Sweetened with non-GMO pure cane sugar, it’s easy to introduce into your children’s diet as well. I was given a packet of this to try and I even brought it on vacation with me because I love how I feel when I take it!

Use code “bright” at to get $2.00 off! Also explore their website for even more information on the health benefits of coconut oil, avocado oil, and the seed oils!

For a FREE week’s worth sample and a coupon code or $3 off, click here!


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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Reference, Reviews


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Surf Sweets Giveaway!

Some of the best holidays as a child revolve around one thing: getting candy. Easter baskets, 4th of July parade candy, Trick or Treating, and the good ole’ Christmas stocking filled to the brim with sugarplums. For a kid with allergies, holidays fall flat because these treats are off-limits, and for their parents, these holidays can be nerve-wracking. I’m here to tell you about (and GIVE you!) candy that you and your child can safely eat, and it’s delicious.



I have TWO POUNDS of various Surf Sweets products to give away, 1 pound to each of the two winners!

Here’s the deal on the products:

Made with Organic Ingredients

No Artificial flavors or colors

Produced and Packaged in a facility FREE FROM the top 10 allergens! 


Gluten Free

No High Fructose Corn Syrup

No Dairy/Casein

Nut-free facility

Soy free

Vegan and Vegetarian options

Made in the USA (click to find out where to get them in your area!)

Part of 1% for the Planet- they donate 1% of profits to environmental organizations!

They come in a variety of flavors, including:

Sour Berry Bears– these are probably my favorite of all the flavors. Not too sweet, not too tart, just a great balance of flavors. VEGAN

Jelly Beans, regular and spring mix- Make Easter fun again!

Peach and Watermelon Rings– these are so soft, and don’t have that nasty artificial flavoring taste because they’re made with organic fruit juice. VEGAN

Gummy Bears and Worms– in a variety of flavors, these are silky smooth in your mouth; none of that tacky, year old gummy texture here! I actually savor every bite.

Fruity Bears– enriched with vitamin C, VEGAN, and soy free!

Sour Worms– nicely sour, without having the Warheads-style burn in your mouth. VEGAN



So how do you win them? It’s easy! Do any combination of these things that you feel comfortable with, then comment here or on Facebook and tell me which you did, leaving me your email address so I can contact you if you win! Each completed task gives you another entry! Please be honest with your entries. Thanks!

1) Follow this blog via email (see button on top right)

2) “Like” this blog on Facebook so you don’t miss any amazing recipes or giveaways (see button on top right)

3) SHARE the Facebook post about this giveaway with your family and friends

4) “Like” the Surf Sweets Facebook page


Thank you all for your entries! The winners are Jonelle C. and Nate L.!

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Posted by on June 27, 2014 in Reviews


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