GF Life Hack #9

This hack is simple to do and can help make a world of difference in avoiding cross-contamination!

GF Life Hack #9 Label reading doesn’t just mean reading the manufacturers labels. Find fun ways to keep your food safe!

This hack has a little bit of a back story and will actually tie into another hack down the road. But for now let me say…

I am the only person in our house with Celiac Disease and while they all eat what I make gluten-free, there is gluten in my house for the rest of my family to enjoy without me. I’ll share more about how cohabitation of the two diets works for us in future posts. For the purpose of this hack I’ll share that there are two different jars of peanut butter in our house. One for me, and one for my husband and kids. (By the way added benefit of food allergies- you don’t have to share!) Usually our solution to keeping the two jars separate is to keep the gluten infested jar in the gluten cupboard and mine in my cupboard with the other gluten-free food. But a recent accidental mixup prompted my husband to write the following on their jar.

I love that after all this time we still can have a sense of humor and that he still works so hard to keep me safe from cross-contamination. The subsequent peanut butter lids have all had different variations of this same theme, but have been slightly different. It’s been fun to see and read the labels that are there to keep me healthy!

Find ways to label your food, but don’t be afraid to have fun with the situation and keep eating as joyful as possible.


GF Life Hack #8 Celebrity Chef, Jamie Oliver and Gluten Free Certification: Why knowing your labels is important!

Not 5 days ago I posted about the importance of labels and gluten-free certification in my blog post To be or not to be Certified Gluten-Free. What does that mean? (That’s our question.)

When I was surfing the internet for new gluten-free information I ran across several headlines about Jamie Oliver and his company labeling items GF that are not necessarily gluten free.  Here’s a family friendly article I found during my search Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef Grub Street article

It is astounding to me that the Gluten Free certification label was treated like the gluten containing donut you were just handed at brunch!

My family loved watching Jamie Oliver on his Food Revolution show.  He would go to school cafeterias and help the cooks serve healthier options for lunch that kids would actually eat.  Being a teacher I enjoyed seeing healthy fresh options be devoured instead of scorned.  I could not believe what I have read on several different sites.  The TMZ article I read was particularly harsh-but not necessarily family friendly.  If you read the article by Grub Street it talks about how callously Jamie Oliver and his company are treating the GF logo-here’s a side-by-side comparison from that same article.

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It just further emphasizes several of the hacks I’ve shared already.  Be your own advocate, know and read labels and if you are unsure-ask! Be sure to leave a comment below about what you think about this news.  Watch what you eat and keep your gluten-free hacks close!  Here are some family favorite certified gluten-free items we have in our cupboard.

Krusteaz Gluten Free Brownie Mix

Krusteaz Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffin Mix

Pamela’s Gluten-Free Pancake and Baking Mix

Namaste Gluten-Free Perfect Flour Blend


My #1 Secret Hack for Avoiding Gluten Cross-Contamination!

Most people don’t realize one of the major sources of cross-contamination in their kitchen is their toaster!  Think about it, if you are moving your kitchen over from 100% gluten to gluten free there are so many things you have to buy-food, baking utensils, who wants to, or has the money to buy a new toaster?  Or if you live in the real world, like we do, the majority of the family is not gluten free, but I am.  And quite honestly it is just too expensive to buy gluten free for everyone, I’ve tried and the kids don’t mind it, but it’s just not affordable.  So you could do several things;

  1. Give up toast.
  2. Buy two toasters
  3. Make the gluten eaters give up toast

I don’t know about you, but those don’t really work for me!  So one day while I was exploring ways to get one of my favorite gluten free brands online (otherwise I had to drive 1/2 an hour away to get it) I discovered these!  I have to say it was one of the most liberating days in my gluten free journey!

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Toaster Bags!  I had never heard of them before!  It was amazing!  I can still use a toaster that all those other gluten eaters around me use, but I won’t get sick!!!!  So here’s some of my favorite features about them!

  1. They are reusable!!!
  2. They are very inexpensive!
  3. You can toast; sandwiches, pizza, make grilled cheese, bagels, waffles, and moreAND it doesn’t make a mess!
  4. Dishwasher safe
  5. Transportable

I pack my bread for my sandwich in it for work and sandwich fixings separately.  I put my tuna melt together at work, put it back in the toaster bag and use the toaster at work.  Voila-I have a safe for me sandwich, the mess is contained and the bag can be thrown in the dishwasher and used again!

Here is a link for the toaster bags that I use.  The bags are good for roughly 50 uses, or when you start to notice excessive wear.

I love this hack, it has made my gluten free life so much easier!


GF Life Hack #7

One of the great things about becoming gluten free is the discovery of your favorite new gluten free bread. (I understand that if you didn’t have to live gluten free you wouldn’t have to find a “favorite new gluten free bread”, but the fun is in the discovery.). The bread that you can make sandwiches with, and take for lunch to work or school so you almost feel normal. Something to toast for breakfast or make garlic bread with on Italian dinner night.

I have discovered my new favorite several times since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Each time there have been very similar downsides to my the new favorite. I have found that most gluten free breads either dry out quickly or can mold just as quickly. It is so frustrating to spend extra money to eat gluten free just to throw it away.  It has caused me years of trying to figure out a solution. Some breads freeze well, but then you have to think ahead to thaw it out. Another problem with freezing besides planning ahead is that unless it’s completely thawed out the bread breaks apart and is no longer big enough for your sandwiches.

So I came up with an idea that I am completely excited about and I can’t believe it took me so long to think of! It’s so simple it’s ridiculous. My gluten free hack for dealing with gluten free bread is to package serving sizes in ziplock bags. What I love about this is when I need bread for my lunch I just grab a ziplock baggie out, throw it my lunch box with my sandwich fixings and make my sandwich at work.

I’m sure you probably already came up with this hack- but just in case you didn’t…

And yes- my new favorite is Franz gluten free bread! 😊


GF Life Hack #6

There are so many things to think about when you go from eating gluten to living gluten free. Even more so if it is because you have an; allergy, intolerance or straight up celiac disease. Once you enter one of this realms it becomes necessary to be concerned about cross-contamination. And it is in that vein that the topic from this hack comes from.

#6. When turning from a life of gluten to gluten free- wood utensils and cutting boards are NOT your friend.

In other words do not use a wooden spoon you used to use to stir gluten containing macaroni in your pot of Annie’s GLUTEN FREE macaroni. This fun fact we learned during our “conversion period” was mind blowing to me. Wood opens up when heated and contracts when cold, sealing in anything that got in the wood when heated- like gluten. So then when you use that same utensil the next time the wood opens back up and releases whatever it was holding on to until it’s cold again making whatever you are currently making have an unintended effect on the gluten intolerant.

Now if you do not have severe issues with gluten this is not a problem. But if you do, or if you cook for someone who might- avoid wooden spoons, rolling pins and cutting boards if at all possible. We actually got rid of all of ours and bought some new.  For most things we decided to use plastic or metal rather than wooden.  At my mom’s house she has a wooden spoon marked clearly gluten free so we know which one to use when there. So there are different options, do whatever makes sense for you and your situation. We do it several different ways at the different houses we eat at- just make sure to be clear about what you need to be able to eat when not doing it yourself.