Friday, November 20, 2015

Parenting The Gratitude Habit by Wendy Meg Siegel

My lifelong friend, Wendy Meg Siegel, is always an inspiration for me. She lives life with joy, gratitude, love and a sense of purpose. I first introduced you to her, three years ago, when she published The Gratitude Habit, a  "gratitude journal and workbook that can be used in just minutes a day to help train your mind to keep things in perspective and focus on the many gifts and blessings that fill each day." This journal has helped 1000's of people find a way to embrace the concept on gratitude and explore the idea of being thankful for the little things in life.

Today, I am pleased to announce that Wendy Meg Siegel has now published her 2nd gratitude book and this time it is for parents.  "Parenting the Gratitude Habit is a 365 day gratitude journal for parents with space to record their appreciations and support for fostering gratitude in their children. It is filled with prompts to develop a personal relationship to gratitude, ideas for family activities, and suggestions for making gratitude an everyday part of their family experience.  In just minutes a day, a parent can develop a powerful habit and become a grateful role model. Read more about it and order a copy at Amazon."

Parenting The Gratitude Habit

Check out Wendy's newsletter, The Shared Easel, to read more about her books. Just click on Fall 2015 Newsletter and enjoy her beautiful writing. I especially appreciated the article, Some Thoughts On Goals.  

Make an impact on your children's lives by helping them to see life through the eyes of thankfulness and gratitude. It has changed my life for the better and I hope it will change you and your children's lives also.   This journal,  Parenting the Gratitude Habit, will also make a fabulous gift for parents.

Take a Look Inside: Parenting The Gratitude Habit


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Reducing the Stress: Gluten-Free Holiday's

Reducing the Stress: Gluten-Free Holiday's

There are many articles, blog posts and articles about the Holiday’s and Gluten-Free Food. So when challenged with the idea of writing an article for the Holiday’s presented itself, I pondered what I should write about.

Food is an integral part of the Holiday’s, therefore being on a restricted diet during the holiday’s adds a lot of stress during an already stressful time. I reflected on my gluten-free/dairy-free journey and realized that I have come a long way. 

My first holiday was Thanksgiving and I was going to family, who was making the meal the "traditional" way. I made an entire gluten-free/dairy-free meal to bring with me, since 4 of us were now gluten-free and dairy-free.  It was a tremendous amount of work and truthfully the food was just okay.  I was tired and a little disappointed.  Not only did I have to eat food that was just average but I had to endure the unsolicited comments from one of the non- gluten-free members that tried the food and was a little unkind about the taste. It hurt my feelings and I become anxious about cooking for others. 

Five holiday seasons later, I have become a much better gluten-free/dairy-free cook and baker. When planning what I will cook/bake, I think about what foods gives me that “feeling” of the specific holiday; I am cooking/baking for. This way I am not overworking by reproducing the entire meal. For example, I don’t care about certain Thanksgiving traditional foods but I love the stuffing and gravy, so I focus on making the best gluten-free and dairy-free stuffing and gravy, I can. To me pumpkin pie is just okay but I love a good apple pie, so that is what I make. 

Though I have tried to please everyone in my “food issue group” it has not worked because it becomes overwhelming. If others in my “food issue group” want a certain food that I am not making, I now let them figure it out rather than trying to do it all for everyone. This way on the day of the holiday I am not burnt out and too tired to enjoy the gathering.

Family and friends now know that there are 2 sets of foods, regular and gluten-free.  The gluten-free is in a separate location that prevents any cross contamination, especially with serving utensils. Believe me when I tell you, it is heartbreaking when you have cooked/baked for days and someone proceeds to take the serving spoon from the regular stuffing and sticks it in the gluten-free/dairy-free stuffing, rendering it uneatable, for those of us who can not have any cross contamination. The first time it happened to me, I cried. 

I no longer care what others think about my cooking or my food choices. If they don’t like it then they don’t have to eat it. I have let it be known that I am not interested in a critic unless I ask for it. Setting boundaries with family and friends helps reduce the stress. It is essential for me to take charge of my food issues and stand proud that I am taking care of myself.

Instead of reproducing some already excellent information, I have listed several places for you to find gluten-free recipes and baked goods for the holidays. These are only a fraction of the options now available to us.

  1. Blogs: Holiday Recipes can be found on many blogs such as:

  1. Magazines such as:                                                                                                                       Gff Magazine at                                                                                             Gluten Free Living   at                                                             Gluten Free & More at                                                      Simply Gluten Free at

  1. Pinterest: Go to Pinterest and enter gluten-free recipes in the search box and 1000’s of recipes will come up. Pinterest sites such as these have many tried and true gluten-free holiday recipes.
            eZ Gluten-Free Life at
            The Roasted Root at

Local Bakeries: Here in Southern California there are several good bakery options. When going to a gluten-free bakery please ask if it is dedicated gluten-free bakery. Celiac people should not eat baked goods made in a location that could have cross contamination.
            Cookies con Amore/ Glutenetto: Has a large variety of Italian cookies. Read my post                                                                          for further information. 
            Cloud 9 Bakers:
            San Juan Capistrano -  31654 Rancho Viejo Rd
                                                     San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
                                                     (949) 388-8311

            Sensitive Sweets:  Has 2 locations now:
            San Clemente -         362 Camino De Estrella
                                                San Clemente, CA 92672
                                                (949) 388-5764

            Fountain Valley -       Slater Plaza: 17431 Brookhurst St
                                                Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Passover: Yehuda and Gefen are brands that carry gluten-free Passover items. 
Gluten-Free Matzo by Yehuda is really quite good. (I have found this Matzo at Ralphs, Whole Foods, Wal Mart etc. It can be very expensive on line so shop around.)

Amazon has an entire section of gluten-free Passover items. 

If you are up in Los Angeles there are some wonderful bakeries:

            Erin McKenna (once BabyCakes): (Great donuts)
                                                236 North Larchmont
                                                Los Angeles, CA 9004
            Rising Hearts Bakery: (bagels, breads, treats, etc)
                                                10836 W. Washington Blvd
                                                 Culver City, CA 90232

                                                (310) 815-1800

Cartoon via,


Friday, November 6, 2015

Cookies con Amore/ Glutenetto - Italian Gluten-Free Cookies

As the holiday's approach, I wanted to remind you all about these amazing Gluten-Free Italian Cookies by Cookies Con Amore Gluten-free brand, Glutenetto. If you live locally (So. Cal) you can find them at Mother's otherwise check out the website or find them on Amazon. There gift boxes make wonderful holiday gifts. 

I am Italian! So when I had to give up gluten and dairy, I also had to give up so many food traditions and memories. Holiday tables filled with homemade pastries and cookies. When relatives visit in New York they never come empty handed. Usually they would stopped by the local Italian bakery, breathing in the aroma of freshly baked Italian cookies, bread and pastries. 

I have tried to reproduce Italian treats by reworking the recipes so they are gluten-free and dairy-free but they just come out okay. Okay is not good enough considering all the labor that goes into making them. 
So until Sunday, at the Natural Products  Expo West, I just thought that I would never have a chance to taste these delectable treats again.

It was my second and last day at the Expo and we had been there for hours. We were exhausted and ready to leave but decided to go to the 3rd floor where the "newbies" were. Our arms were hurting from carrying the bags filled with flyers, booklets and product and our feet were screaming for relief. We decided to leave. The floor was crowded with people, so we walked around the back of the room. There out of the corner of my eye was 2 beautiful Italian woman surrounded by boxes of outrageous looking Italian cookies.

I look up and was taken back by their sign. It said, "GLUTENETTO CERTIFIED GLUTEN-FREE ITALIAN COOKIES." Being diary-free also, I did not put much hope into the signage. So I asked, "Is there any diary-free cookies also." "YES" they answered. Next question, "Are your cookies baked in a dedicated facility." "YES" they answered.  

I introduced myself to owner Fernanda Capraro of Cookies con Amore and GLUTENETTO. We talked awhile and she gave me 2 types of GF cookies, Pignoli and Ricciarelli . I carefully put them in my bag and took them home. I knew if they were as good as they looked, I wanted to enjoy every bite in the peace and quiet of my home.They were even better then I could have possibly imagined. They melted in my mouth, bursting with memories and flavors I have not had in years.

GLUTENETTO has a variety of CERTIFIED gluten-free cookies, including several that are dairy-free:

For a beautiful description and ingredients, please go to the website.


Amaretti - almond and macaroon flavor


Pignoli- Also flavor of almond and macaroon with pine nuts

Ricciarelli- Tuscan wedding cake style



Rigenette - Sesame and lemon flavor with orange zest

Wedding Cakes

Polentine - Made with corn flour and raspberry jam

Cuccidate Fig -Fig

Gluten-Free Biscotti

Raspberry Linzer- shortbread cookies with raspberry

Nonnine - Lemon Zest Cookie

Monday, November 2, 2015

Outbreak of E.Coli Linked to Chipotle in the States of Washington and Oregon.

I eat at Chipotle once in a while, when I need a fast meal that  know is safe from gluten. Chipotle only has 1 item with gluten, which is the flour tortilla. If asked, the employees will change their gloves and the food ladles to avoid cross contamination. That being said, I will avoid eating there until this issue is resolved.


E. coli outbreak: All Chipotle outlets close in Wash., Ore.

According to Donna Gordon Blankinship from the Associated Press, there has been an outbreak of E.coli in Washington and Oregon that has been directly linked to Chipotle. All 43 restaurants in those states have been closed until this issue is resolved.

As of the writing of the article, 19 people have been reported with E.coli and 8 have been hospitalized. The authorities believe that number will increase. 

Two of those people hadn't eaten at Chipotle so authorized are investigating the companies that deliver food to Chipotle in hopes of finding the source. 

Please read the complete article for further information.