Disneyland the Gluten Free Way

Disneyland California

No trip to Disney would be complete without hugs from your favorite character

The idea of heading to Disney for family vacation made me quite fearful.  Last time we went, I was sick as a dog and barely enjoyed any of our adventure.  That was PRIOR to being diagnosed with celiac disease.  Now we are aware that at least 3 out of 5 of us must medically live a gluten-free (GF) lifestyle it was time to do some research to find out what would be safe to eat on our trip.

The Boardwalk at California Adventure

I began by sending emails to Disneyland and several places in Anaheim that had GF menus.  Places that would be near our lodging accommodations and had online reviews of their GF offerings.  Fortunately, there is plenty of research by other bloggers and a multitude of information on Disney’s website about dining in the Anaheim area.  Thank God for the internet!

In order to make sure we arrived in CA healthy and happy, we made 8 hours worth of sandwiches, snacks and other GF goodies and planned to stop every 2 hours for potty breaks.  We didn’t think the kids (yep, let’s blame them) could go 8 hours without stopping.  Since the GF people on this trip were outnumbered by the “regular people” in our party of 7, labeling everything GF was essential to avoid cross-contamination.

Arriving late in the evening we sought out the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company http://www.bubbagump.com/ located near our lodging at the Anaheim Gardenwalk http://www.anaheimgardenwalk.com.

Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

They had assured us via email that they could accommodate not only those who needed to eat GF but also my daughter that is dairy free (DF).  I was quite saddened to see such a limited selection on their GF menu but was able to speak to the manager and have my favorite dish altered and made GF.

The following morning our brood of 7 decided to head to Disneyland.

Our “party” of 7

Upon entering, we went directly to Disney’s Town Hall to obtain information as I was instructed to do via email.  We were very impressed with Disneyland’s several page print out of “Celiac Offerings” which listed each place that we could safely eat GF by area within Disney and California Adventure.  Many of these venues would even have you speak with the chef to give you confidence that your meal would not cause any harmful reaction.

Disney took these extra precautions to show us that they DO realize the GF diet is not a fad but a serious necessity.

If you have special dietary concerns, please see this link for guidance.  http://disneyland.disney.go.com/plan/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/

Within 2 hours at the park, hunger struck.  We went to Tomorrowland Terrace for GF burgers and fries.  When we ordered, the chef came out to greet us and to assure us that she would personally prepare our order.  She even brought it up to us in the front.  The burgers were wonderful and the GF buns were the best the kids have ever eaten.  If I hadn’t been vehemently assured by the chef herself, I would have thought the buns contained gluten.  They were airy and held together until the burger was completely devoured.

California Adventure

The younger children had their favorite rides on the pier.

The following evening my family went to the parks without me.  I wanted alone time with my fibromyalgia pain.  No worries as my husband is wonderful about making sure that our kids eat safely.

He took them to Award Wieners where they were served John Morrell hot dogs with a side of fresh fruit.  The kids said that the GF hot dog buns were not crumbly but soft and fluffy.  Although we always expect our 10 year old to polish off her meal, our 5 yr old son ate the whole entire hot dog including the bun with delight.  At home, he would have passed on the bun so that says a whole lot.

We skipped the next day at the parks to check out our lodging and what GF goodies we could find in Anaheim.  At lunch, we dropped by Fire+Ice (http://www.fire-ice.com/ ) whom I had also corresponded with prior to our visit.  Fire+Ice is also located in the Anaheim Gardenwalk.


Upon arriving, our party met with the owner and we were again reassured that we could dine safely GF/DF.  We were so pleased that we went to this establishment twice during our week stay.  See Dining out in Anaheim for more information.

With a day or two of rest in between, the children were ready to visit Cars Land.  Sure, it was just the kids who were dying to go there.  Adults don’t watch cartoons (at least we don’t usually admit that we are willing).  Ka-chow!  This area was just recently opened so it was quite crowded.  Even though we got a late start, had a dinner reservation at 8pm, our kids just had to eat something while at the park.   And of course, it had to be in Cars Land so we visited Flo’s V-8 Café for kids meals of sandwiches, fresh fruit and zesty coleslaw made with mustard vinaigrette.   These sandwiches came on a darker version of a GF mini-roll.  Ciara had roast beef whereas Colin and I both ate the turkey.  This was a refreshing little meal.  Of course, the children cared more about the souvenir car lunch box and the drink cones than the food.

Colin with his prizes from Cars Land

We had a three day park hopper and because of Disney’s preparation, managed to eat safely.  It is so nice to say with sincerity that Disney is the most magical place on earth.

Thank you Disney for taking our dietary requirements seriously!

Cheers to New Planet Beer!

New Planet Beer

New Planet Gluten Free Beer

Cheers to gluten-free (GF) beer that has its own personality!

New Planet Beer (newplanetbeer.com) manufactured in Boulder, Colorado was developed out of necessity for those who drink GF beer due to Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Intolerance and don’t want to sacrifice taste in order to share a cold brew with their friends.

For many of us who like beer – especially when it’s 110 degrees outside – the first taste of GF beer is enough to make us gag.   It sure isn’t what you would expect beer to taste like when you used to drink Coors or Budweiser.  New Planet will change that gag reflex into a smile.

In 2003, the company’s founder, Pedro Gonzalez discovered that he had Celiac Disease.

For many newly diagnosed Celiacs and gluten intolerant people, finding out that they must give up their regular beer and pizza can be quite a shock.  The reason why they must do this is that beer usually contains several forbidden sources of gluten such as wheat, barley and rye.

Pedro decided to pursue making a GF beer that tasted much better than those on the shelves in 2008.  Through trial and error, Pedro created one that could truly be enjoyed by many fellow beer consumers.  New Planet made its debut to the public in 2009.

Developed out of necessity described above, New Planet has come out with three flavor varieties.

 Off Grid Pale Ale

New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale

Love amber and darker beers?  This one’s for you.  With the inclusion of 3 varieties of hops, Off Grid Pale Ale provides you with the accustomed amber coloring, a nice citrusy flavor and has an appealing aroma.  Even if you weren’t an amber lover before going GF, this is definitely worth a try.

Tread Lightly Ale

3 choices – you can’t go wrong with

For the traditional beer drinker this is a terrific light tasting beer without the undesirable aftertaste of most sorghum based beers on the market.  It tastes so much like “real beer” that you wouldn’t know that it’s GF unless someone told you.

3R Raspberry Ale

3R Raspberry Ale

Why would you want to drink yet another sweet, fruity beer?  Surprisingly enough, this isn’t a wine cooler dressed in a beer bottle.  This beer has just the right amount on fruit flavor without being too sweet.  3R Raspberry Ale is absolutely amazingly crisp and refreshing.

I must add that 3R is my favorite to keep on hand for lounging around the pool.  It’s my personal favorite summertime beer.

Available in at least 33 states, New Planet Beer has made it easy to find in a store near you by adding a store locator to their website.  newplanetbeer.com/where-to-find-us/


City of Roses Certified Gluten Free Creamy Mustard

Tired of your boring sandwiches with mayo and mustard?  Even if you tend to use Dijon mustard, we’ve found something even tastier.

Time to toss out that bright yellow liquid mustard and try something new!   That would be all of the varieties of City of Roses Certified Gluten Free Creamy Mustard.

These products can be purchased in stores and online at http://www.rosecitydelicacies.com .

City of Roses Cerified Gluten Free Mustard

So, what’s the big deal?

First, their products are actually certified gluten free (GF).

Second, they are so creamy that they can be used as a veggie dip, on crackers, as glazes, for grilling and not just limited to sandwiches.

Third, City of Roses is GMO conscientious as indicated on their packaging.  For me – that is pretty impressive.

Fourth, my son strongly dislikes anything containing yellow mustard BUT he likes all four flavors.  When our kids like something, we try to keep it on hand.

What do they taste like?

Well since they come in 4 flavors, I will describe each one separately.

Grand Marnier – My kids adore this mustard enough to eat it with spoon!  With the undertones of orange zest, my daughter has dubbed it the sweet mustard.  This would make a wonderful glaze for almost any type of pork product such as ham.

Ciara just loved the sweetness of the Grand Marnier and wanted to eat the whole jar!

Mazama Infused Pepper Vodkamy personal favorite.  This one packs a nice zing while not being overly spicy.  In our house, this will be the grown-up mustard.  The usage for this zesty mustard is endless.  While it would be great for grilling, I can’t wait to try it with roast beef!

Oregon Pinot Gris – While this is the most comparable to Dijon mustard, it doesn’t leave you feeling the nose burn of horseradish.  I recently used it as a coating for baked salmon.  It came out tasteful and moist.  My son really liked that!  He loves salmon but this made it a special treat for him.

Colin wanted to taste this zesty mustard before I baked the salmon.  (Pinkies up!)

Oregon Pinot NoirThink wine!  We decided to pair this one with cheese and crackers along with a bottle of Pinot Noir.  Delish!

Try these extremely tasty mustards are versatile mustards today.  Don’t miss out on flavor just because you are GF!

These products are Certified Gluten Free (not just naturally GF) which takes away any worry.

(Although I was furnished with these products by the company, I was under no obligation to give a favorable review)

Conference and Health & Wellness Experience in Seattle


What an amazing experience I had in Seattle.  I was invited to attend a GIG Leadership Conference by a friend of mine who happens to be a GIG Leader.  The bottom line is that we all share the same mission which is to help others once they are diagnosed with either Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance.  Let’s face it, being gluten free (GF) can be challenging but when you surround yourself with others with the same dietary issues (not to mention a plethora of autoimmune disorders) – you are among friends.

Not knowing what to expect was a true blessing in disquise.  I learned about team building and met some new life long friends.  They aren’t just Celiac but also have the same plethora of health issues that I do.

I met Mrs. Alaska and my inspiration to try to bake again, Kyra of the Crave Bake Shop in Portland, OR while on my way to the Tailgate Party and Mariner’s ball game.  How terrific is that!

What I didn’t know before heading to Seattle was that the last day of the conference was a Gluten Free Expo.  Always on the lookout for GF, non-GMO and dairy free products, I made my way through the booths and found some terrific NEW items.  Well, new to me at least.  Here are my FANTASTIC FIVE:

ELS http://www.elskitchen.com/ – How heart-broken were you the first time you went to a party and had to pass on the Chex Mix because of all the gluten containing ingredients?  A solution is now available with these crunchy mixes!  In my opinion, traditional Chex Mix pales in comparison.

WOW Baking Company http://www.wowbaking.com/ – First time ever that I have said WOW when biting into a cookie was when I tried their Lemon Burst cookies at the Expo.  These delights made me want to give up gluten – oh wait, I already have.

Rose City Delicacies http://www.rosecitydelicacies.com/ – 4 types of delicious Certified Gluten Free creamy Mustard that have alcohol and butter included in the recipe.  These don’t have to be used on a sandwich.  They were all so yummy that they could even be used as dip!

Zing Bars http://www.zingbars.com/ – Until this event, I had never seen a Zing Bar.  I tried them all.  Couldn’t find one that wasn’t just melt in your mouth flavorful.  Oh how I love these!

Kay’s Naturals http://kaysglutenfree.com/front/ – Kay’s provides those who need protein but don’t like the taste of meat or eggs with the protein of three eggs.  These crunchy bites come in a variety of flavors.  My kids like the cookie bites the best but I prefer the jalapeno honey mustard.

Let me just add that I tried Garlic Jim’s Pizza http://www.garlicjims.com/home/ and begged them to open a place here in Tucson.  They offer GF and GF/DF pizza.  Super delish!

The Gluten Free Bar (GFB)

Who’s tired of gluten free bars that just leave you feeling hungry?

We are!

Gluten Free Bars come in multiple flavors

Recently we came across some gluten-free bars that even those who can’t eat dairy in addition to being GF can eat.  The Gluten Free Bar (GFB) is available in stores throughout the U.S. (although not in AZ as of yet) and also online at http://www.theglutenfreebar.com/.

As you may know, our household has more than one food intolerance so gratefully these bars can be had by everyone and we don’t have to deny our daughter yet another product.  The bars are also full of organic ingredients.  For those of us that are GMO conscience, that is an added bonus.

Gluten Free Bar Facts

Available Flavors:

Cranberry Almond – This makes a great snack but can also fill in for breakfast.  Not overly sweet but definitely our household favorite due to the texture and addition of cranberries.

Peanut Butter Chocolate – Who doesn’t like this combination?  Our 10 year old daughter certainly loved the fact that she could have chocolate without worrying about the inclusion dairy.  She actually called it perfect.

Peanut Butter – For the peanut butter lover in your life, this is a terrific fit.  Again, not super sweet but both creamy and crunchy.  This yummy bar can definitely double as a snack or breakfast.

For nutritional information please go to: http://www.theglutenfreebar.com/products.html

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar

All of these bars make  for an energizing snack break or even a substitute meal.  The best part for us is that they travel extremely well and we look forward to taking them on the road with us soon.

Phoenix Gluten Free Expo

(Sorry for the tardy post but many things have been happening in our world since April of 2012.)

Gluten Free Expo in Scottsdale, AZ  April 21, 2012

We knew the event was to be held at a beautiful location so after we looked up the venue online and verified that the resorts facilities had gluten free dining options, we decided to make a weekend of it.  This worked out in my favor since I am NOT a morning person!

As usual, we were running late (even though we were already at the venue the night before.)  From the other reviews I have read, my lack of morning effort was a true blessing.  We missed the lengthy lines in the beginning and were able to being enjoying our expedition from the very start.

Instead of giving you a play by play on each product, I’ve decided to share with you our Fab Four Picks.

1. This well written book by Rhonda Peters has gorgeous food photography to accompany her sumptuous recipes.  Her recipes are so tasteful that you will forget that you are eating healthy.

Why would I want such a book?  There are so many people in my circle of gluten free friends that have developed multiple food sensitivities. This book takes out some of the panic when they are coming to visit.

Among the food issues in my own family are gluten (which is contained in wheat, barley, rye and some oats), two of us also can not have dairy and one can’t have eggs.  Well worth your time to read!

You can review the book and read what inspired Rhonda to write it at:http://rhondascooking.wordpress.com/so-what-can-i-eat-now-cookbook/

2.  The Sauce Goddess –

Sticky Sweet Grill Glaze

Until we attended the Expo, I had never heard about these products.  Now that I’ve tried them I don’t want to think about not having them as a pantry staple!  Among the array of items they offer are several varieties of cooking sauces, spices, and snacks.  We purchased Devil’s Bite and Moroccan Twist popcorn!  What a delicious and devilish surprise we got when we ate them.  They weren’t joking about the heat flavor in the Devil’s Bite!  WOW!  My kids needed a glass of milk, but my husband and I really enjoyed the hellfire heat.

Since it’s getting challenging to keep families interested in eating their veggies, we bought a variety of spice rubs to make veggie dips.  We also purchased several of their grilling sauces but zoomed in on the Sticky Sweet Grill Glaze.

Once I use these products, I will let you know how things turn out and perhaps share a recipe or two.  Waiting for the pool to warm up so we can BBQ and spend quality family time outdoors.

This company offers quite a selection of GF/DF products, so I think we’ll be shopping from their online store frequently!  http://www.saucegoddess.com/

3.  Think Thin Bars – Not all GF bars are created equal. 

My family enjoys these bars and it gives me a little more peace of mind to learn that they contain less sugar than their #1 competitor.  This company also has a few GF/DF options, so my whole family can enjoy.  For those who only worry about eating GF, there are a plethora of bar options.  All of Think Thin’s bars at this time are gluten free!  My son, who can eat dairy, LOVES the “Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nuts” bar and thinks of it as a candy bar.  Little does he know that mom is giving him 10 grams of protein and 70% less sugar than other GF Bars that would taste similar.

You owe it to yourself to check out the selection of bars on their website and learn more about what you think you are eating when you purchase a “power snack” from other companies.  You may be pleasantly surprised.


4. New Grains Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies –

Brownie Cookies by New Grains

When it comes to baked goods – our family rarely agrees that something is nearly perfect (as though gluten would make it perfect).  Well, that was until we came across these precious gems!  Whether eating GF or not, these chocolate delights were moist and didn’t have the aftertaste of most GF baked goods.  My kids enjoyed these goodies so much that we had to buy two boxes before leaving the Expo.   That says a whole lot about these irresistible cookies!


We can’t wait to see what next year’s Gluten Free Expo will bring us!

Ciara’s 4th of July Macaroni Salad

What an unusual 4th of July here in Tucson!  Although it is monsoon season, no one could have predicted that we would receive nearly 3 inches of rain during the course of the day.  What a bummer!  NOT!!!!

I decided that I would experiment in the kitchen a bit.  Since I didn’t really feel like standing in there chopping and cooking, I enlisted the help of my immersion blender, a 9 year old and some handy gluten free (GF) products.  Some of them were even labeled non-gmo.  To me – that is more exciting than fireworks!

Ciara and I decided to use the Goldbaum’s Brown Rice Pasta and the City of Roses Grand Marnier City of Roses Certified Gluten Free Creamy Mustard.

Ciara really loves this mustard

Ciara really loves City of Roses Creamy Mustard

She said she would like to try to make a crunchy version of macaroni salad.  We knew right away that only the two of us would truly enjoy our creation.  So, off we went in search of ingredients in the fridge…..


1 pkg – Goldbaum’s Brown Rice Pasta (awesome energy conserving instructions) – labeled non-gmo

Goldbaum’s Brown Rice Pasta

4 hard boiled eggs

2TBS City of Roses  Grand Marnier Creamy Mustard – labeled non-gmo and Certified Gluten Free

1 cup pre-shredded or diced carrots

1/2 red onion – diced

1 orange pepper – diced

1 yellow pepper – diced

Miracle Whip Light to texture preference (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup sweet relish

We mixed all of these ingredients together, chilled it  for a couple of hours in the fridge and came up with a very satisfying side dish to accompany dinner.

Macaroni Salad

Ciara’s Macaroni Salad

Goldbaum’s Ice Cream Cones

We had just returned from a wedding in NJ and our flight out of Newark Airport was delayed during the plane change.  While it was a tremendously moving experience to watch my baby brother (now a ripe old 35) marry his long time fiance, I could not wait to return home to the desert.  I was actually dreaming of kissing the dirt when I returned.  We felt like we had been to another planet as NJ (the area that I was in) didn’t have nearly as many gluten free (GF) options as we do at home in Tucson.

Shocked is how I felt when I check my email upon returning to Tucson and had a request from Goldbaum’s to try their GF products.  The person who emailed me was from Newark, NJ.  At first I thought it was a joke or my accounts were hacked.  Boy did I ask them a ton of questions before providing my mailing address.  We even check out their website to make sure it was a legit company.  Paranoid?  Maybe.  You see, while we were traveling Linked In was hacked and so I was a little more leery than usual.

Found on their website (http://www.goldbaums.com/) were a plethora of handy. GF products which also happen to be DF and non-GMO.

What reeled us in was the Ice Cream Cones!  They offer a variety of GF and dairy free (DF) cones.  SCORE for my poor child that lives in the desert and can’t have an ice cream cone (not to mention regular ice cream) during the summer.  Little did I know that GF my son had never even known about ice cream cones.  He is only 4 but GEE did that make me feel awful.

Ciara loves them both!

Dad saved the day by running out and getting the ingredients to make some GF/DF vanilla ice cream.  HE IS AMAZING!  I don’t even know how to use the ice cream maker.

As you can see in the photos – ice cream melts even more rapidly in the desert – especially at 105 degrees.  Our kids could have cared less as they were over the moon with excitement!

He prefers the sugar cones!

This is MINE!

GF/DF Sugar Cones and Cup Cones 

Goldbaum’s currently offers both cups and sugar cones http://www.goldbaums.com/cones.html.  The children equally enjoyed both types of cones.  Of course, the two youngest just can’t agree about which one is better.  Try them yourself and decide.

See the blog on 4th of July Macaroni Salad to learn about Goldbaum’s Brown Rice Pasta.

Chicago’s Gluten and Allergen Free Expo

Sure, we expected it to be magnificent but we weren’t prepared to be blown away….pardon the pun but after all Chicago is the “Windy City.”   My 17 year old daughter and I flew to Chicago from Tucson to attend both the blogger’s conference and the Expo.  I must say that the organizers certainly knew how to put things together like pro’s!

First we attended the Nourished Food Blogger’s conference.  This first time event was sold out.  I have never in my life seen so many people who share the same love for writing about their “challenges with food” in one place!

We had no idea what to expect.  We nervously walked into our first presentation, found a seat and were greeted by people I had only met through FaceBook and Twitter.  Our niche!  People just like us that are rising to the challenges of having to eat differently than others and are finding joy in doing so.

As for the Expo itself, we have attended many and planned several and they have been very well attended by both vendors and patrons alike.  This year, our support group decided to take a hiatus so we thought we’d go enjoy the fruits of some else’s labor.  DID WE EVER!

Where to start?  No huge line!  No waiting!  People were pleased to be there, happy to talk and share information.  The vendors were also genuine in their belief that they are providing a necessary service to those with food allergies and sensitivities.

There is simply no way that I can tell you about all of the different vendors and their products, so I will highlight only a few of our favorites.  My daughter is 17 and not GF or DF.  She eats like 80% of the other people I know which says – these products are appealing even to those who don’t NEED them.

Chicago Expo information: http://gfafexpo.com/chicago/

More information about the Nourish Food Bloggers Conference and Presenters: http://nourishedfbc.com/

Our Fantastic Four picks:


1.  This kid’s book by Stasie John – is the best I have ever read.  Wonderful and colorful illustrations which accompany a positive explantion to children about living gluten free happily.  For more information, see www.ieatdifferent.com.   I will also be writing a separate blog post on this tremendous story!

2.  Hail Merry’s booth distributed samples of their GF-VEGAN-RAW products which include flavored pecans and a variety of flavorful tarts.  My favorite is the Meyer Lemon tart.  You won’t be disappointed! For more information about their scrumptious and healthful snacks see their website at http://www.hailmerry.com/  or see my review at:  http://glutenfreeinarizona.com/2011/10/25/queen-of-tarts/  

3.  Enjoy Life – We were really taken aback by just how many different options they offer.  All of them were quite tasty and will help me to pack my gluten free/dairy free child’s lunch.  I loved the texture of the cookies as they weren’t crumbly and travelled home well!  Everyone loves a good cookie, especially when you’re GF!



4.  Imagine our delight and  surprise to come across a lipstick company that offers more than just your garden variety gluten free lipstick.  This company also removed the parabens!!!  YEAH!  To learn more about them visit them their website at www.redapplelipstick.com  and sign up for their newsletter.

They are even offering an introduction to their line by trading up your lipstick!  HOPEFULLY I’ll be doing a blog review about this company in the near future.  Can’t wait to hear more about their eye shadow!

I believe we spent the most time at this table!!!!!

(thank you for the photo gfreegal@blogspot.com):

The Spicy Rd


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