It was a busy weekend around here in Chicagoland, and there's plenty more in store as the 4th of July holiday is just around the corner. Here's your Gladly Gluten Free News N' Nibbles for this week.
Kicking Off Outdoor Summer Fun with OFF! and Jeanne Benedict
I had the opportunity to attend OFF!'s Backyard Entertaining Blogger Event last Thursday evening with DIY Diva, Jeanne Benedict. Lincoln Park's Conservatory and Garden was an idyllic setting for great decorating and backyard entertaining tips from Jeanne along with some great OFF! freebies to help keep the bugs away.
With the 4th of July holiday right around the corner, Jeanne and OFF! provided us with terra cotta pots, red, white, and blue artsy accents, and flowers for creating our very own patriotic, potted plant masterpieces. We also decorated glass vases for the upcoming holiday while chatting with Jeanne about easy ways to pull together a great gathering.
Some of her tips included using a garden setting for instant atmosphere and color and keeping a cohesive theme throughout your gathering - right down to decoratively designed mosquito repellent. OFF! now makes 4th of July inspired American Flag and Vintage American Flag OFF! Clip-On Mosquito Repellents in time for your fireworks show, along with camouflage and floral designs.
I clipped mine on the other night while sitting on the deck watching the kids catch lightning bugs in the yard, and it worked like a charm. I had the opportunity chat one-on-one with Jeanne Benedict, so stay tuned for my post later this week including more of her great DIY ideas.
Check Your Labels: Kraft's Stance on Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Spices
Kraft has always been very forthcoming about their labeling. Across the board for their many products and associated brands, the top 8 allergens are clearly indicated on ingredient labels. However, after recently contacting Kraft foods regarding the gluten free-ness of a Trident gum flavor, I was left a bit confused. Although Trident's website states that it does not contain gluten, the customer service representative I spoke with informed me that as of January 2012, any product containing natural flavoring, artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, or spices cannot be guaranteed as gluten free. This is because these ingredients are coming from different suppliers and cannot be guaranteed to be free from gluten containing grains. Suppliers are only required to label for the presence of wheat. Bummer. Kraft did say that there are a small number of products solely manufactured by them that will state "gluten free" right on the product. Examples include Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, Tang, and Country Time Lemonade products. So, always check your labels.
Schar Opening a Dedicated Gluten Free Facility in the States
Schar is well-known throughout Europe for their gluten free products, including breads, rolls, pastas, and cookies. They were my savior when traveling in Italy a few years ago. It was just announced last week that have opened dedicated gluten free bread manufacturing facility in New Jersey and will be coming out with several new products this summer: plain and cinnamon raisin bagels as well Honeygrams graham style crackers. These will be perfect with some Ghirardelli chocolate and a Campfire marshmallows as gluten free and dairy free s'mores.
Naked Pizza: New! in Chicago
Heading out of the city on Diversey the other night (and starving), I past Naked Pizza. Hmm. The name sounded interesting and the tag line, "all natural pizza you can smile about", sounded like something that might be made for a gluten free and dairy free girl like me. Naked Pizza's premise is to offer pizzas made with all-natural, whole food ingredients including whole grains, fiber, probiotics, and yes, gluten free crusts.
The menu and wide variety of toppings are displayed right on the storefront wall in catchy graphics, including a vegan option with Daiya dairy free mozzarella. I thought I had arrived in pizza heaven until I found out that the gluten free crust contains milk. Bummer. I ended up ordering a perfectly delicious spinach salad with chicken with Brianna's blush vinaigrette dressing instead. Love Brianna's dressings!
With 20 locations nationwide, the Naked Pizza concept is taking off. Chicago's shop just opened two weeks ago and offers carry out as well as delivery. They have already received several requests for a gluten free and dairy free pizza crust, so hopefully, we will see that on the menu soon too!
New! Apple Cinnamon Chex
With its array of gluten free flavors from Cinnamon, to Chocolate, to Honey Nut, Chex has now added Apple Cinnamon to the mix. The kids and I picked up a box and gave it a try out of the box, crumbled over ice cream, and with milk. The kids immediately tasted the apple flavor and loved its sweetness. When topping a scoop of So Delicious coconut vanilla ice cream, the sweet cinnamon and hint of apple flavor made me feel a little like I was eating apple pie a la mode! With only 130 calories per 3/4 cup serving, it is less of a calorie investment than the real deal.
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