Living Free Expo

What can I say? Another great Living Free Expo in Jacksonville, Fl!

It is always a wonderful time, being able to meet up with friends and colleagues to help spread awareness and knowledge about food allergens. I truly enjoy getting to meet local vendors and see what is happening in and around our community when it comes to food allergens. Being in the restaurant industry, I always try to stay on top of taste and regional trends to help influence how I create my recipes.

At the Living Free Expo, it was great to see the local meal service company Kathy’s Table. They are a meal service company that is dedicated to gluten-free and dairy-free meal plan options that are tailored to your nutritional dietary needs. Drawing upon seasonal influences and fresh produce options, their meal plans offer delicious varieties that cater to your dietary needs.

I always enjoy seeing Your Pie here in Jacksonville, Fl when I come to the expo. They are a pizza shop that truly goes out of their way for patrons with allergies. They even have a separate room where they will prepare your pizza for you to ensure no cross contamination with gluten on your pizza. If you are ever in the Jacksonville, Fl area, you must give them a try!

A wonderful edition to the expo this year was Glutenberg Beer. In 2012, Glutenberg won all three medals in the “Gluten-Free Beer” category in the World Beer Cup. It offers quite a variety of options for beer lovers that just don’t love the gluten. I must say, after sampling these, I have been inspired to create some dishes I thought I would never eat again. Glutenberg you have given me back some flavor in my food.

M.Y.O. Cookies is a wonderful home-based bakery that truly showcases a passion for baking. Whether you choose to purchase pre-made or containers or dough to make your own at home, you are sure to find some amazing flavors to keep you wanting more. They offer Gluten-Free and Vegan options, as well as can work with your specific needs. M.Y.O. Cookies is definitely a company after my own heart.

With the belief that you should not have decide whether you want to eat something that is healthy or something that tastes good, Smart Baking Company created a line of products to accomplish just that. While these products are Gluten-Free, they are not Dairy-Free, so I could not try them. However, my son Alex loved them. He has sensory issues and it was great to hear that they tasted and felt just like a regular muffin to him. So to me, that means that it was not gritty, or chewy, or sandy, like some Gluten-Free products can tend to be. All in all, I would say if you can, give them a try.

Meal-kit and meal delivery services are becoming very popular these days. Hello Fresh is one of the leading services and they also have Green Chef that has a meal plan line for Gluten-Free.

Always a wonderful and welcome sight is the Gluten & Grain Free Gourmet. Creating a line of products that are free from Gluten, Grain, Soy, and Dairy, these are definitely treats you indulge on. The passion she has to inspire and teach others what she learned on her journey is wonderful and I love every time I get to meet back up with her.

A mom who worked to hone her skills in making sweets for her sons with food allergies, began to get rave reviews. At the encouragement of friends and family, she decided to start a business and Dolci de maria was born. Offering delicious treats and mixes, there is sure to be something for everyone. My personal favorite…. you take the blondie… heat it up for a moment.. add a scoop of dairy-free ice cream…..mmmmmmmm.. try it!!

Traveling with allergies can be a very scary thing. Especially if you are going to a country that speaks a language that you do not. Language barriers and communication barriers can cause very dangerous situations when it comes to food. In the Latin speaking countries, there are several words that are just an accent away from being a very different word. A simple pronunciation can change a word and can cause you to be put in harms way. Enter in Allergic Traveler International Dietary Alert Cards. You take the guessing out, the pronunciation errors out, the communication barriers out, and you put back in piece of mind. These cards are essential also for parents of kids that are non-verbal with conditions such as autism. These tools can be the difference that can potentially save a life. I urge and encourage everyone to reach out to this wonderful company and get a set of cards today.

I love learning and growing each time I meet with these wonderful vendors. Having such a passion for educating the community and growing with each other to develop new products, better procedures, and so much more. I cannot wait for the next one!

Hope to see you too!!

The 21st Annual Family Cafe

In just under 2 weeks, thousands of families from around the State of Florida will travel to Orlando, Fl to attend the 21st Annual Family Cafe & Governor’s Summit on Disabilities from June 7-9, 2019. This conference brings together Florida residents with varying disabilities and allows them the chance to gather information, network, have fun, and most importantly, not feel alone. The Cafe is an amazing opportunity for families to network with other people who are going through similar similar experiences. To share from their own triumphs and not so triumphant moments and motivate. The Cafe is packed full of special events including specialty entertainment, adaptive recreational activities for kids, sensory rooms, keynote speakers, exhibitors, free medical and dental screenings, breakout information sessions, and much more.

I was honored to be asked to speak this year at the Cafe and discuss “Navigating the World of Gluten-Free and Sensory Diets” and what they mean to us. I am humbled beyond compare and cannot wait to share my knowledge and passion with everyone. I will be posting my slideshow from my presentation right here on my blog after the conference. Here is to the future and helping make the world Delicious, Nutritious, & Allergen Free!

Mrs. Claus’s Sensible Rolled Sugar Cookies

Every Christmas Eve, my kids and I set out to make cookies for Santa. We have always waited for that day, so Santa could get extra fresh cookies and special hot chocolate to keep him warm on his journey. My children have always wanted to make sure that Santa kept warm so he would not get sick riding through the snow. Of course we can’t leave out the reindeer who are working so hard to help. So, we leave them a bowl of water and carrots to enjoy and boost their energy back up. Coming up to the holidays, I knew I just had to find a recipe and adapt it so we could keep our tradition alive and enjoy making cookies for us and Santa.

After several attempts with my willing family elves, I finally found got the recipe just how it needed to be. Never fear! These sugar cookies are just what Mrs. Claus asked for. So let’s start by gathering the ingredients.

Mrs. Claus’s Sensible Rolled Sugar Cookies

  • 3 cups Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Vegan Butter, unsalted

Notes:

  • You can substitute for the egg in order to make this recipe Vegan as well (I would lean towards using Banana as the substitute as it will add creaminess)
  • If you do want to eliminate the almond extract, you can just substitute with vanilla extract or another flavored extract that can add some extra flavor, for instance lemon extract
  • You can ice these cookies any way you desire, or just add sprinkles for a festive holiday look

Alright, so now that we have all our ingredients together, let’s get the hot chocolate warmed up and get started

1)Preheat the oven to 350F

2) Bring together the butter and sugar. Place into a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy.

3) Add in the extracts and egg into the mixing bowl. Mix until combined.

4) Bring together the baking powder, salt, and gluten-free flour. Place into a bowl and mix together.

5) Add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl a little at a time

6) Mix until thoroughly combined.

7) Place dough onto slightly floured surface and kneed until smooth and together.

8)Roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness onto a lightly floured surface.

9) Using a cookie cutter, cut out your favorite shapes.

10) Place onto cookies sheets, separated by about 2″.

11) Bake at 350F for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden brown. (This time depends upon your individual oven settings)

12) Cool completely on a wire rack.

13) Once cooled completely, decorate your cookies with icing.

14) Let icing dry completely.

15) Enjoy!


Sneaky Slider Crawlers

Okay, I admit it. I am not a fan of spiders…. PERIOD! However, I do enjoy getting into the spooky holiday spirit with my kids and thought that making some creepy sliders would really get people into the spirit. It is truly a basic slider recipe that you can create into your own fascinating twist. Let your creative spark go wild. For now, lets gather our ingredients.

Sneaky Slider Crawlers

1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey

4 tsp Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

1 tsp Onion Powder

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Gluten-Free Rolls

Toppings for Sliders as Desired

French Fries

-Depending on what kind of creature you were wanting to make, you can change the kind of rolls you use for the sliders.

-You can also adapt the toppings and extra pieces depending upon the creature you make

Alright now that we have all of our ingredients together, Let’s get started!!

 

1)Gather up all the ingredients for the sliders.

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2)In a large mixing bowl, combine the Turkey, Worcestershire Sauce, Gluten-Free Breads, Onion Powder, Salt, and Pepper. Mix together thoroughly with your hands.

3)Using a scoop of your desired size, scoop out balls of the meat and place on a sheet pan.

4)Heat up a griddle pan over medium heat. While that is heating up, slightly flatten down the balls of meat to form small patties for the sliders.

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5)Once the griddle is heated up, cook the patties on each side for about 3-5 minutes, or until they are browned and cooked.

6)Once they are thoroughly cooked, place onto a draining rack to help drain off all the excess fat.

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7)Now it is time to assemble your sliders however you would like. Make sure to add any and all toppings to make it extra special that you desire.

8)Sit back and enjoy you Creepy Slider!!

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