The holidays are almost upon us, but there is still time to shop....especially for those that are harder to buy for this time of year. Having celiac disease and being pregnant, I know I can be a difficult person to Christmas shop for....clothes are a little iffy because of my ever expanding belly and the standard bath & body items or sweet treats can wreak havoc on my system if not gluten free.
So, I've put together a list of "Rachel's Favorite Things" (not nearly as pricey or elaborate as Oprah's) in case you need some ideas for that gluten free gal in your life or mommy-to-be. Most all of these stocking stuffers are practical items or little indulgences to make her feel special. I may even pick up a few things to stuff my own stocking this Christmas. Happy Holidays!
Last Minute Stocking Stuffers for Gluten Free and/or Preggo Friends & Family - i.e. Rachel's Favorite Things
Bellaband: If the preggo in your life doesn't already have one of these, she needs one. I first discovered the Bellaband in my second pregnancy and have been extending its life all throughout this third pregnancy as well. It is an ingenious way to get some extra wear out of pants that fit down below but just won't button over your burgeoning belly. I like it as an added layer of warmth under more shear shirts this winter too!
Vosges Chocolates: With so many exotic flavors (including Chocolate with Bacon, Black Pearl with Sesame Seeds, and Red Fire), it's hard to choose. Most, if not all, chocolate bar varieties are gluten free (check the website for latest ingredient information), and several are dairy free as well. I love the Peppermint Candy Cane bar at Christmastime (gluten free and dairy free). and they've recently introduced a limited edition Gingerbread Toffee Chocolate bar for the holidays as well (gluten free).
Caribou Coffee Gift Certificate: Caribou has many delicious offerings that are gluten free. Their beverages can also be made dairy free if substituting soy milk for cow's milk. During this pregnancy, I have splurged many-a-time on their Decaf Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte with soy milk. Rooibos is a great option for pregnant women, since it is naturally decaffeinated and touts several health benefits including boosting the immune system, easing stomach aches, and containing various minerals.
Lettuce Entertain You, Gluten Free Restaurant Gift Certificate: The Lettuce Entertain You chain has done an amazing job of educating its staff on accommodating dietary allergies. Most of the restaurants in the chain have dedicated gluten free menus. If LEYE is not your thing, check out my ever expanding list of gluten free restaurants in Chicagoland and contact one of them for a gift certificate. Mommies-t0-be will also love the vacation from cooking!
Pottery Barn Candles: There are so many candles out there from cheapie Walmart ones to Yankee Candle and Gold Canyon. I have to say, the ones I love the most are Pottery Barn's. They burn beautifully and come in a variety of styles for every room. I recently received one from their Homescent Collection as a gift from a friend. Each time I light it, it's like having a mini-spa in my bedroom.
Beauty Basket: Anyone gluten free has to be extra careful when it comes to makeup, bath, and body products. Gluten can be lurking in the most unexpected places. Add pregnancy to the mix, and it can be hard to find products to help you look your best. Lack of sleep, stretching skin, and hormonal changes can test anyone's natural beauty. Here are quite a few products that I've LOVED throughout this pregnancy to help keep me from looking bleary-eyed and accentuate that "pregnancy glow". You can find these at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Put them in a pretty basket, tie them up in a bow, and you are good to go! Need more ideas? Here are some additional gluten free hair and make-up products.
- Virgin Coconut Oil: Yes people, you can cook with it and slather it on your body and hair. Coconut oil is a very healthy cooking substitute for traditional canola oil and olive oils. Be aware that when you purchase it, it has a solid consistency. You need to warm the oil to its liquid state. I also use it as a natural skin moisturizer, as well as in my hair for a deep condition treatment. A little dollop will do.
- Aquaphor: This stuff is thick but works wonders on dry, cracked hands from washing all those dishes, and changing those soon-to-be infant diapers. I have little tubes stashed everywhere - in my desk at work, in my car, under my kitchen sink, and in my purse. Of course, it's gluten free.
- Under Eye Concealer: This is the one product I cannot do without. I put a little on each morning and I instantly feel and look more awake. I am really going to need this when Baby # 3 arrives! Two brands that are cheap and free from gluten are Neutrogena 3-in1 Concealer for Eyes (I love that it has SPF built-in) and Maybelline's Cover Stick.
- Buxom Lips: Bare Escentuals makes a great line of cosmetics (most, if not all free from gluten), and their Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish make me instantly feel glamorous. Shimmery, dark, and complete with a tingling sensation, I channel my inner Angelina Jolie each time I apply.
Gluten Free Goodies Basket: Anyone living gluten free knows how expensive gluten free groceries can be. Getting a nice assortment of certified gluten free snacks, beverages, and baked goods/mixes is always a welcome treat. I personally am a little leary of anything someone has prepared themselves, as I don't know if it may have hidden gluten or was prepared in a contaminated kitchen, etc. So unless you know the ins and outs of gluten free baking and prep, I'd recommend going the store bought route for a gluten free loved one. Here are a few gluten free snack ideas and candies to get you started. Riceworks are my most recent favorites in the gourmet crisp/chip department. Both Spangler's and Brach's brand candy canes are great gluten free sweet treats to sneak in the gift basket for the Christmas holiday.
Pancakes and Syrup: This is an easy DIY gift that is sure to please. Fill a glass jar with either a pre-made gluten free pancake mix (e.g. Pamela's, Bisquick gluten free) or dry ingredients from one of my gluten free and dairy free pancake recipes, tie a ribbon around the lid with the pancake recipe handwritten on a tag, and give with a bottle of Grade B Pure Maple Syrup. A delicious recipe for a Sunday breakfast for that gluten free mommy-to-be.
Bling!: You can't go wrong with a cool piece of jewelry. I love something with a personal touch, like IsabelleGrace personalized charm necklaces. There are also several artisans on Etsy selling comparable necklaces. One charm for each child. Simple, sweet, and stylish.
Pimp My Stroller: Lastly, if money is no object....Why not pimp her soon-to-be baby's ride? The Origami stroller by 4moms is the Bentley of strollers. This thing certainly puts my $70 Graco model to shame. It's power-folding, self-charging, comes complete with LCD dashboard and daytime running lights. How fun would it have been to be on the product design team for this? With its $850 price tag, I wonder if it walks the baby for you too?
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