Moving on out…

My dear readers, this will be my last post on my much beloved blog, celiac kiddo (sniff!), but you can still find my gluten free recipes, and my musings on writing, kids, and life in general, on my new blog, Writing at the Table. If you’re following this blog, you won’t receive many more alerts, but you can follow me over there, if you’d like.

I hope you know how much I appreciate you reading my words here, and perhaps, over there, but either way, I’ll always be grateful to you for visiting this blog and making me feel like I wasn’t writing into a void. I’ve made such lovely and heartfelt connections and friends during my three+ years here. 

endingsI will miss this space, but part of life is knowing when to move on. When I first began this blog it was on instinct. Bunky was diagnosed with celiac in 2011 and it felt like my life was crumbling (faster than 1970s gluten free bread). It didn’t, of course, and that was in part from the support and comfort I received from you. Living gluten free will always be part of our lives, but it’s no longer my sole focus. Also, my dear girl is growing up (as is my little guy!) and I would like to respect her privacy more and not focus on her life with celiac.

A pic from our holiday photo shoot 2014

A pic from our holiday photo shoot 2014

 

My childhood dream, one that continues to follow and haunt me (in a good way), is to write. That’s what I’ve done here, and will continue to do on my new blog.

Feeding my dream and my family is my new tagline. I’m claiming my title as a writer more firmly now, but I’m still a mom, and my gluten free family needs to be fed. A lot.

Wishing you a happy and peaceful New Year. See you in 2015!

 

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Chocolate Peppermint Bark revamped!

*Congratulations to Yolanda, winner of Stephen King’s, “On Writing.” The last book I’m giving away is one of my favorites: “Women Who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D. The winner will be chosen at random from Writing at the Table’s email subscription list. Sign up now to be eligible. The results will be posted on December 30.

So, as you are probably aware, it’s holiday crunch time. My daughter’s class party is tomorrow, there are teacher cards to write, last minute gifts to buy, and chocolate bark to eat, um, I mean make. Well, both.

peppermint pretzel bark

This is one of the easiest and fastest homemade holiday treats and you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry already. If not, I’m betting you have to go back to the grocery store anyhow. I know I do.

I posted a version of this recipe here a couple years ago, but added some new pics and modified the directions a bit. 

This time I added marshmallows just because. Mini would’ve been easier because cutting them with a knife was a rather sticky and frustrating experience, but the good news is, it is possible.

Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Bark with Marshmallows

peppermint bark close up

For the full recipe and the rest of this post, go to Writing at the Table, my new blog.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrate. We do it all around here.

dec 2014 kids

Recipe: DIY Starbucks Kale + Veggie Salad

*First of all, congratulations to Carolyn, winner of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird! Thank you to everyone who signed up for my newsletter. If you haven’t signed up yet, go now! I’m choosing winners at random from my entire email subscription list.

Next up to give away is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, a clever and entertaining book filled anecdotes about his life interspersed with practical advice.

onwriting

I had it in my collection for years, but for some reason it took me almost a decade to pick it up. Big mistake. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re in for a treat. 

The results of this random drawing will be posted here and on Writing at the Table on Tuesday, December 23rd.

Now for the post…

During the thirteen years I lived in Brooklyn, I never went to Starbucks. Why would I? I lived in the land of Quirky Cool Coffee Shops (that’s a direct quote from the linked article, by the way, I’m not trying to be a snob), and besides, the closest Starbucks was too far of a walk.

But I love writing in cafes, and the closest one to me in Brooklyn was a little sliver of a cafe called Steeplechase, which had the most delicious cinnamon chip scones (alas, not gluten free). I used to go there once a week when my son had a sitter. 

When we moved to New Hope, I knew I’d have to find a place to write. Sure, I had a whole house instead of a tiny apartment, but the thing is, I like the background noise of coffee shops. Plus, I love coffee.

I tried seeking out a cute little independent shop, but seating was a problem. The local Starbucks, however, has some rather comfy armchairs. And did you know they now offer a blonde (light) roast? It’s pretty tasty and far less intense than their dark roasts. Just my personal preference because I know plenty of people who can’t get enough of their regular sludge, I mean coffee.

Anyway, I was also pleased to see that they added some healthy and hearty food options to their menu. Including this awesome salad, which to my knowledge is gluten free (though not labeled as such):

starbucks kale salad

(Yes, it’s sitting on my dashboard because I was too hungry to take it home for a proper photo shoot.)

So, after buying it several times, I decided to make it myself. It’s a bit labor intensive, but it makes a week’s worth of lunches (unless someone in your household steals half of them…)

DIY Kale, Brown Rice + Roasted Veggie Bowl

IMG_3999

For the recipe, head over to Writing at the Table

Time for a Change!

Oh, it’s been on the horizon for months now, I’ve hinted at it, and now, FINALLY, it’s happening. Please don’t panic, I’m not going anywhere – well, not entirely true, I’m going somewhere, but I do hope you will come with me to… dum da da dum…

My new blog!

Writing at the Table, writer + mother feeding my dream and my family

writing at the table screenshot

For three and a half years now I’ve been blogging here at celiac kiddo. Recipes and rants, I used to say, but it’s been more than that (I hope so anyway!). I wrote from my heart about having a child with celiac, about living a gluten free life in a gluten loving world. Over the years I grew a small but solid band of readers, and I am so grateful to every single one of you.

flickr photo credit, shimelle laine

photo credit: shimelle laine via flickr

I hesitated to make a change for a while because I didn’t want to lose anyone, and let’s face it, change is scary. Well, it is for me.

But I’ve been shifting and drifting on the blog for a while now, as you may have noticed, writing more about my life and less about celiac. I’ll still be posting gluten free recipes because feeding my family (body and soul) is as much a part of my life as writing is.

I am a mother and a writer.

ivyland railroad kids and mom

Part of the reason I’m starting this new blog is to show how the two can be integrated, how for some of us, they have to be.

I hope you will join me in as I turn this corner of my blogging life. But if not, please know that I appreciate the time you spent here! I realize that you can’t please everyone, or write for everyone, so I’m letting go of my fear and leaping into the future.

photo credit: Brian Smithson via flickr

photo credit: Brian Smithson via flickr

I’ll be posting weekly here and on Writing at the Table for the next month or so, to ease the transition, but I would be SUPER psyched if you subscribe to my email list and/or follow me there. 

CONTEST! WIN A FREE BOOK!

As a fun little incentive, I’m having a month-long contest running the first four weeks of December. Each week I’ll randomly select one person who subscribes to my email list to win one of my favorite writing books!

Enter to win, the first drawing will take place and be announced on Tuesday, December 9th!

 

The first is “Still Writing” by Dani Shapiro, an incredibly inspiring and practical book that helped reinvigorate my writing life.

still-writing

If you’ve already read it, you can gift it to a friend! It is the holiday season, after all.

*This contest includes my entire email subscriber list, so if you’ve already signed up you’re eligible!

Thank you dear readers for all your support over the years, and please let me know what you think of my new blog!

(Also, I’d love any advice or tips on transitioning from one blog to another from those who’ve done it before, since this is quite new to me.)

Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie

IMG_4319

Another day, another smoothie. I can’t help myself. I’ve made this pumpkin smoothie several times and it’s delicious. Creamy, healthy, filling, and well, pumpkin-y.

The other day my husband politely inquired if all baked goods from here until spring would be pumpkin flavored. Not entirely fair since I made this AMAZING apple cinnamon oatmeal bread the other day (I subbed Cup 4 Cup flour for the gluten kind), but understandable since pumpkin is my favorite, not his. Luckily the kids are on my side.

You can make this smoothie in a high powered blender or a Cuisinart. I adapted this from a Whole Foods recipe, but mostly this came straight out of my pumpkin flavored brain.

Creamy Pumpkin Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold water or milk
  • 1/2 heaping cup yogurt (full fat will make a thicker shake, fyi)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree (more puree = thicker + more pumpkin flavor)
  • 1 ripe banana (frozen or not)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, or a dash of nutmeg
  • a glug of maple syrup or honey, if you like things sweeter (I’ve enjoyed it both ways)
  • a handful of ice IF you have a high powered blender (please don’t put ice in your Cuisinart, at least it never worked for me)
Some of the players.

Some of the players.

Directions:

Dump everything in, and whirl away! Taste test and adjust seasonings/sweetenings until you’re satisfied, and then enjoy. Whipped topping optional. Can you imagine it, though? YUM.

IMG_4318 (1)* Update on the popularity of Smoothies in my home, the green kind in particular…

Green Smoothie POPS!

green smoothie pop

I froze some extra smoothie I made from a delightful blending of kale (yes, I said kale! for a children’s ice pop!), yogurt, pineapple, banana, and honey. Recipe coming soon.

Below is one satisfied customer. Bunky ate TWO for breakfast the other day and then asked for more after school.

I call this, "smoothie face."

I call this, “smoothie face.”

What are your favorite kinds of smoothies? I’m always on the look out for MORE.

 

Tropical Blueberry Smoothie

Ah, Vitamix, you Christian Louboutin of blenders…

I heard the rumors. I read the blog posts. But I ignored them. I avoided recipes that required liquifying kale. Instead I worked my decade old Cuisinart into the ground and dreamt about making smoothies that didn’t have green bits floating inside of them. Then one day something arrived at my doorstep…

No, not Little Guy.

vitamixIt all started when I left my kids with their dad and mine to attend a day long writer’s conference at Rosemont College. While I spent the day luxuriating in writerly stuff, my family spent the afternoon in Target where they were wooed by a Vitamix demonstration. Frozen desserts, green smoothies, ice cream, hot soup. Apparently it was quite the exhibition because they couldn’t stop talking about it.

Then my dad came to visit a few days later with one in the back of his car. WOW. I was totally shocked, in no way expecting such a generous gift.

So, of course I made him a smoothie right away. A green one.

first smoothie

The best part was that Little Guy loved it. In fact, he insisted on drinking the rest of ours.

lg drinking

Life with the Vitamix has been pretty fab. Especially the clean up. Not even kidding. It’s so easy! You may remember me complaining about the torture of having to scrub out the Cuisinart crevices, which made me less likely to use it. The awesome thing about the Vitamix is that it cleans itself (sort of). You add warm water and a dash of soap, give it a crazy whirl, and bam, done. (Unless you make something very sticky or oily, but still, you get a head start with the self cleaning.)

Not a big deal to clean. Srsly.

Not a big deal to clean. Srsly.

What we’ve learned so far: As a Vitamix novice, it’s best to follow a recipe. At least until you get the hang of it. Now I’m able to play more, but in the beginning, every time we (as in my husband, a notorious rule breaker) tried to wing it, disaster ensued. It was too watery, too thick, weird texture (pear issues), or just plain gross (carrot + pear + cinnamon + ice = yuck).

Luckily, Vitamix gives you a huge binder filled with recipes, plus there’s a recipe finder on the website.

Two weeks in, we’re practically experts. Here is my debut recipe, which you absolutely do NOT need a Vitamix to make. Use your blender or Cuisinart. You may need to slightly thaw your fruit first since less powerful machines can’t pulverize frozen stuff without busting up. I know this from experience, unfortunately.

Final thought/warning: the Vitamix is crazy loud. Like, terrifyingly loud. The first time I put mine on the Smoothie cycle I literally thought it was going to launch itself into space. Luckily, it didn’t.

Tropical Blueberry Smoothie

Tropical blueberry smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 heaping cup yogurt (full fat will make a thicker shake, fyi)
  • 1 ripe banana (frozen or not)
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh pineapple

This recipe is kid approved. And super healthy. Bunky drank hers down in seconds. She was unfazed by the fact that there is NO added sugar. Not even a drop of honey. And that’s a pretty big deal considering she has a serious sweet tooth.

*If you have a high powered blender, you may need to add ice if most of your fruit is room temperature. Nothing less exciting than a lukewarm smoothie. But that could just be me.

If using a Vitamix, add liquids first, then soft fruit, and frozen stuff last. I put mine on Smoothie cycle. If you need to tweak it, feel free to add more fruit/yogurt/water/ice as needed and hit the cycle again.

Bird's eye view.

Then drink it up quick before your kid tries to steal the rest of yours.

bunky pink smoothie

Do you have any favorite Vitamix/blender smoothie recipes? If so, please share! I’m seriously addicted. Next up: homemade chocolate almond butter, YUM.

Gluten Free Product Review, Autumn Edition

fall in PA

Fall has become one of my favorite seasons. I used to be a real sucker for spring, and in a way I still am. But as much as I love flowering trees and the promise of summer, I feel a special kinship to the spicy warmth of autumn. I like the idea of hunkering down, cozying up, slowing down. Winter bums me out, but fall, with all its crackling fire smells, flame red leaves, and pumpkin recipes, is my kind of season.

So, in honor of fall (at least on this side of the hemisphere!) here is a round-up of my family’s favorite gluten free foods, which of course can be enjoyed any time of year.

First up, is this: (please pay special attention to the box on the bottom)

O M G - Pumpkin Spice Waffles are you kidding?!?

GF Pumpkin Spice Waffles OMG!

The other week my husband asked me to please buy some gluten free waffles that were NOT Van’s brand. No offense to Van’s, but we are a wee bit tired of their waffles. I blame it on my husband who introduced our kids to HOMEMADE waffle-maker waffles and frankly, Little Guy has never been the same since. Unfortunately, our waffle maker broke, and so we have been in a bit of of a waffle funk. Until now.

Nature’s Path Homestyle and Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Hello, beautiful

Hello, beautiful stack of pumpkin spice waffles. You smell like a pumpkin pie and taste as good.

Bring it on Nature’s Path! You rock! Pumpkin Spice Waffles, be still my heart, because you are THAT good. Try a couple with some almond butter smeared in between, and if you live in Pennsylvania, as I now do, use the local syrup. It’s mighty good.

This was my lunch yesterday. Yum.

This was my lunch yesterday. Yum.

The Homestyle ones are good, too. Not that I would know since I am a pumpkin addict.

Next up, Little Guy’s breakfast of champions, Enjoy LIfe Cocoa Loco Bars

enjoy life chocolate barsIs it bad to admit that he eats one EVERY MORNING, and sometimes again after nap?! Because they are fortified and stuff. It’s not actually dessert even though it looks and smells and tastes like dessert. I swear. Little Guy calls them Chocky Bars. Those are the first words he says every morning. No joke.

As grateful as I am to these bars, my true heart belongs to Van’s (see? my loyalty hadn’t been marred by waffle fatigue). Because after three long years, I have FINALLY found a soft and (vaguely) healthy gluten free granola bar for BOTH of my kids. WHA?! No, srsly.

Introducing, Little Guy’s fave, Van’s Peanut Butter Chocolate bars:

vans pb barsI was buying another brand for a while, but they had big chunks of almonds in them and LG kept eating around them (i.e. spitting them out). Since we drive a lot here in PA, it’s not exactly easy for me to catch spit up almonds while zooming by corn fields.

But even more shocking is that I found a bar for Bunky! Even though the kid will not touch peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a ten foot pole (sigh), she loves these bars. Says the jelly tastes like chocolate. Go figure.

vans pbj bars

FYI one of the other flavors, Cranberry Almond, is also delicious. I only know this because I bought them by accident (and I may do so again).

Now, you know as much as I prefer (in a perfect universe where children amuse themselves for hours at a time and gluten free flours abound in my pantry) to bake from SCRATCH, I have a soft spot for box mixes, such as Betty Crocker and Cherrybrook Farm, I recently tried a new mix: Stonewall Kitchen Chocolate Brownie Mix

stonewall kitchen choco brownie mix gfAnd WOW, so good! It was a gift from our lovely real estate agent who gave us an ENTIRE gift basket filled with gluten free goodies when we closed on our new place. (I seriously almost cried it was so nice.)

Well, we didn’t waste much time trying it out.

My beautiful baking assistant.

My beautiful baking assistant.

stonewall kitchens brownie mixThe consensus is THUMB’S UP. All of them.

bunky eating brownies

LG eating brownies

Also in the gift basket were several other goodies new to us, such as these RAD and healthy Orchard Bars.

orchard bars

They are similar in style and texture to Lara Bars, but I have to say, I liked these more. I tried Cherry Almond Crunch – delish and hearty – as well as the very sweet and delightful Pineapple Coconut Macadamia, which was kind of like eating a Pina Colada. Awesome.

According to their website, they are GMO free, all natural, protein packed as well as gluten free, dairy free, vegan, and kosher. My kids didn’t have any (um, because I ate them all) but I suspect once Little Guy gets over his nut chunk issue, he will enjoy these, too.

Another grown up winner? 180 Snacks Pistachio Trail Mix

180 snacks pistachio trail mixThis is basically like candy for adults (or kids with superior taste) but healthy(ish). It tastes like fancy nut brittle. I love that it only has 4 ingredients: nuts, cane sugar, rice syrup, salt. 180 Snacks also carries other kinds of wholesome snacks like nutty fruity clusters and bars. I’d definitely give those a try based on my love of this sticky yum trail mix.

One of the other things in the gift basket was a (not so) secret obsession of mine:

Late July Mild Green Mojo Multigrain Snack Chips (OMG)

late july mild green mojo chipsHave you tried these yet? If not, I highly recommend doing so NOW. They have a wonderful slow burn spice factor that grows with each bite which adds to their addictive quality. I highly recommend. Just beware, you WILL eat the whole bag in one sitting if not careful. I did.

I have to say, after many years of buying groceries from bodegas and the occasional narrow cavernous grocery store, I’m reallly enjoying the Giant suburban grocery store. Not even kidding, it’s called Giant. They have a huge gluten free aisle, so I’m sure we’ll have more favorites soon.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what your current favorites are. Bring it on in comments. My pantry always has room for more (wow, that sounds all WRONG but you know what I mean).