Special Treatment

banquet eventsIt’s that time of year again. End of the year banquets, formals, and most importantly weddings (Countdown is currently at 5 days) are officially in season.

With each of these events popping up on the regular, aside from worrying about what to wear, I, unfortunately, have to worry about the food as well…

So far, I’ve been lucky that each of the banquets on the invite has either put me in contact with the person planning the menu or it has allowed me the option to make a request for a gluten free meal at the specific event.

But even then, you need to be weary or so I learned the hard way this past weekend at my Senior formal.

I made my request for a gluten free meal, and still managed to get sick along with the other celiacs in attendance. It’s probably my fault though, because I should have known better than to risk it by tasting the potato side paired with the chicken and vegetables.

That being said, even though there may be an option provided to you at these events, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you think it could potentially have gluten in it, I’d recommend you avoid it.

I know I will from now on after bearing that burden yesterday.

It doesn’t hurt to also bring a snack with you or even eat beforehand too, if you think you might not be able to eat, especially if the invitation doesn’t offer any accommodations up front for dietary needs. And if that’s the case, don’t be afraid to reach out to the host and ask about it. It may seem a little awkward, but in reality it’s probably less awkward than being sick at the event itself…

Here’s to hoping this weekend at the wedding I don’t get sick. I know my sister has gone to great lengths to ensure I’ll be okay, but frankly after this weekend I’m not sure I’m willing to risk it.

Maybe I’ll sneak in some food of my own..

Fed Up

For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to go home this weekend for the wedding, (Current Countdown: 13 days) so I’ve actually had a little more time than normal to lay low and relax a little, so what did I do….watch a documentary.

I lead an exciting life I know.

Anywho, I saw the film when it came out, but completely forgot about it until it popped up in my Netflix account this week, so naturally I had to watch it.

Fed Up came out last year, and if you haven’t heard about it, the film touches on a wide range of topics, including obesity, sugar consumption, fast and processed foodfood advertising, and basically the lack of education America has for the crap they put into their bodies every single day. (So clearly right up my alley…)


Since the film addresses so many different issues surrounding the food we eat, I’ll stick to just the one that I find the most interesting, and frankly, most relevant: Sugar.

It’s in everything, and finds a way to disguise itself on our food labels in the guise of a million different names.

Seriously though, grab anything out of your pantry with a nutrition label, and check out the percentage daily value for each of the ingredients.

Notice how sugar mysteriously doesn’t have a percentage by it. There’s a reason why, because if it did the numbers would floor you.

For example, in 2012, Americans consumed an average of 765 grams of sugar every 5 days – about 130 pounds per year (aka the body weight of a person).

The other issue is that the stuff is addictive.

In fact, according to the film, it’s 8x more addictive than cocaine. Scary, right?

As a celiac, I keep food journals all of the time to gauge what kinds of foods make me sick, and I know for a fact that the days I grabbed a granola bar or even had some GF instant oatmeal, I tended to eat more and more kinds of processed foods that day, let alone that week, compared to the days I ate things that were all-natural.

Even eating the supplemental GF stuff, like gluten free bread and pasta I would have tendencies to crave all kinds of sugary-sweets especially things not gluten free, which I now believe is why I used to cheat so much as a celiac early on when first starting the diet.

It’s no wonder America is obese. We can’t break away from the stuff, because we’re hooked.

Cue my pitch to eat better.

Ever since I cut dairy out of my life, limited the supplemental GF food, and added more fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet I’ve noticed my cravings for junk decrease even more, and I feel a million times better.

Now I know this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I figured some food more thought couldn’t hurt you know.

Craving more? Enlighten yourself. 

World’s Best Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies – Recipe

Oatmeal. Peanut Butter. Chocolate Chip. 

Three ingredients that comes together to form perfection in the form of a cookie.

Oats are a tricky thing when maintaining a gluten free lifestyle. You see, they actually are naturally gluten free, but when the crops are raised and even processed/packaged alongside other non-gluten free foods, the odds they become contaminated grows tenfold.

But thanks to the gang over at Trader Joe, life just got a thousand times easier for a celiac.

The grocery chain known for their Hawaiian shirts and high spirits sells bags of 100% Gluten Free Rolled Oats in all of their stores.


According to the brand, the oats are grown from pedigree seed and their supplier controls every step of the production process, from the fields to the mills and the packaging to the transportation.

Cool, right?

Even cooler is the cookie recipe on the back of the bag that changed my life.


This cookie recipes is a staple in our household, because celiacs and non-gluten free folk alike always sing its praises after taking a bite into these chewy, gooey, chocolatey, nutty wonders.

So here’s what you’ll need to make just about 2 dozen of these bad boys:

  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 oz semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups Trader Joe’s Rolled Oats


First, you’ll preheat your oven to 350°F. Unless, of course, you’re at the Kubik household.

[I’m not sure what it is about our oven at home, but when I bake there versus at school I always bake at 325°F, because it just gets way too hot, and all baked goods burn.

Anyways, I digress. Back to the recipe at hand…]

Then, you’ll melt your stick of butter and mix it together with your eggs and the white and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.

From here, add the vanilla, baking soda, and salt, ensure the batter is completely blended and smooth.

Next, you’ll scoop in the peanut butter. (The messy part…)

[We typically buy Better ‘N Peanut Butter for snacking on, but for baking I always go with Jiff. However, if you are wanting to bake for a nut-free friend I’d opt for Sunbutter.]

Lastly, you’ll stir in the oats, nuts, and chocolate chips.

[To be honest, when I bake this recipe, I usually leave out the nuts altogether, but if you do decide to use some, go for pecans.]

[Also, as far as the chocolate chips go, this most recent time around I tried Enjoy Life’s Dark Chocolate Morsels which are dairy, soy, nut, and gluten free, and let me tell you they were the bomb. I am definitely buying this brand from here on out when I bake!]


After you’ve finished crafting the dough, let it refrigerate for at least an hour. I learned about this trick from Gluten Free Girl in a blog of hers about hydration.

Then, scoop up the dough into rounded balls on top of parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for about 10-12 minutes, and voila! You have the world’s best GF cookie!

P.S. You’re welcome.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Opening Day has finally arrived, [Praise Jesus Alleluia!] and no matter who you root for (Yanks and Cards), we all can agree that there is nothing better than hooting and hollering for your favorite team at the game.

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We’ve all been to at least one in our lifetimes, and can pretty easily recall the physical experience of it all.

You know the feeling…

The sun is beating down on you, and the crowd is going bonkers after the runner scores in the bottom of the 5th. Advertisements and endorsements are everywhere.(unless of course you’re at Wrigley…)

And then, there’s you. Just sitting with your feet up on the bleacher seats, soaking it all in, with a hot dog or nachos in one hand, and the other is slightly wet from the condensation of your iced cold beer…

Yeah, well minus the above food and beverage selection, this has typically been my experience, and let me tell you it’s been the highlight of my summer year after year, regardless of these additives that supposedly make the game that much better.

There’s a reason it’s called America’s Pastime.


Not only is the game itself nostalgic, but it’s filled with processed food and you guessed it—gluten, a staple on the typical “American” menu.

But as we’ve all come to learn, many of our traditions change and evolve to fit with the times.

These days, ballparks are going to great lengths to bring in “high” quality food, creating a restaurant-like atmosphere to stadiums across the country.

It’s not just the nachos, peanuts, popcorn, and hot dogs anymore people.

They’ve got it all (for gluten-eaters).

Chinese, Mexican, Pasta, and more are now available at your local stadium, and like the traditional menu, it’s all available for a pretty penny and still served up with a side of wheat and cross contamination.

To be frank, food is not our friend at the ballpark (well, minus the popcorn, peanuts, and Cracker Jacks – YUM!), but the alcoholic beverages now available will finally make us gluten free folk look relatively normal for a change.

That’s right. No more overpriced boxed wine served in a Dixie cup for us.

Enter hard cider.

That’s right, it not only looks like beer, making us blend in, but it isn’t too much more expensive than any of the other drafts on tap at the game either.


And guess what it tastes better, too!

In fact, I was at Busch this weekend with my dad watching the Women’s National Team play, and they had at least one cider on draft at every concession stand in the stadium, and even bottled options were available, too.


The Peoria Chiefs are even with it. I remember going to a game last year, and they had bottles available – on dollar bottle night, too! (Talk about a homerun!)

As the tides continue to turn for us Celiacs, I can only hope that the food selection will improve for us food-conscious folk in attendance at the old ballgame.

Maybe someday they’ll serve up brats on gluten free buns in a separate kitchen, that way we can experience the game like it was supposed to be.

If not, that’s just fine, too. After all, it’s the game that draws me to the stadium not the food!

Time to See What All the Buzz was About!

For the readers who read last week’s post, I know they’re anticipating a recap of the Bridal Shower I hosted for my sister this weekend, and guess what…you’re all in luck.

I’m posting a little later than normal I know, so I apologize. I have an excuse though!

(Well sort of..)

You see, it turns out I’ve become quite the little “Celiac Celeb” on campus.

I actually spent a good chunk of my week working with another Bradley student on a project for her COM 360 class. I was interviewed about my knowledge of Celiac Disease and the Gluten Free lifestyle, especially as a college student living on my own. We even did some video shoots at the grocery store and in my apartment cooking a G-Free meal for her, so I’ve procrastinated quite a bit, but in a good way!

But I digress…here’s the info you really want to see/care about:

The shower itself was a great success! We had a lot of fun, and everyone really seemed to dig the “bee” theme which was definitely exciting.

Guests showed up at 11 on the dot, and we ate before we began any of the actual shower shenanigans.

As I said last week, we had two egg dishes, an array of muffins, fresh fruit, and biscuits with honey and preserves to follow suit with the theme.


The egg dish on the left was dairy-free, gluten free, and paleo! It was made up of egg whites, coconut milk, spinach, zucchini, squash, broccoli, mushrooms, and turkey sausage. It was my personal favorite! It was light and had some of my favorite spring veggies in it.

The dish on the right was much more hearty than the other, but also gluten-free! It contained hash browns, cheese, tomatoes, peppers, sausage, green onions, and Vidalia onions with a hint of salt, pepper, basil, and parsley!

Both were a hit!

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To pair with the eggs we cooked up some cranberry orange and lemon poppy seed muffins, along with my mom’s famous chocolate chip banana bread – always a crowd pleaser.

We originally were going to do blueberry, but my mother wasn’t too impressed with recipe and opted for the cranberry orange.

None of the above were gluten free, but seeing as I was the only one there with allergy needs I didn’t mind. [let’s be real I was running around the whole time anyways!]

I did however load up on the fresh fruit – on its own and in my mimosa…


After the brunch portion of the day, we headed downstairs for some shower activities. Notice I say activities and not games. I hate shower games.

Instead, I thought a craft would be fun, and it also served as part of the favor so a double win for me.


Guests were given a mug filled with a mini jar of honey, tea bags, and a bag of “bit-o-honey” candies that they could decorate with paint pens. I provided them with stencils and examples so they could have an idea of where to start. They all turned out great. The Duncans [my mom’s side of the fam] are apparently closeted crafters. Who knew?

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Aside from the mugs, guests could also fill out an activity card. This was a hoot. The card had marital advice, tips, and even got the gang drawing pictures of the bride and her fiancé.


We also had a date jar and the guests came with recipe cards to give to jen, as well!


One of the best parts of the day is that we got to include my New York side of the family into the mix. My mom and sister skyped the gang, so they got to see what we were up to and what my sister got gift-wise.

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After the opening of the presents (and breaking 6 ribbons – good thing she wants a big family), the family and friends chatted for a bit over my honey vanilla cupcakes, and then parted ways.


The cupcakes turned out great, by the way. I used less powdered sugar than I did in my trial run and it was so much easier to work with. I even brought some back to campus, and shared them with a few friends and got rave reviews.

All in all, I’m so glad everything went well, and that my sister had such a great time.

Only 31 more days til this bride-to-bee says “I do”, and I can’t wait!

Showering the “Bride-To-Bee” Will Be G-Free

Going home for just a short few days over Spring Break brought to the forefront the reality that is my sister’s wedding.

May 2nd is quickly approaching, and you could sense it at the Kubik household. It finally has sunk in that Jen is getting hitched.


However, even faster approaching is the Bridal Shower I’m planning for my sister on the last Sunday in March (aka less than 2 weeks away…), and there’s so much to do.

Lucky for me, since I’m planning this shower for the “Bride-to-Bee”, (cue obligatory pun to the bee-themed shower), I know there will be food for me to eat, so that’s one less thing I have to fret about.


This bridal brunch will have food for every dietary need under the sun, something I will take into consideration for the rest of my life, thanks to Celiacs.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve shown up to an event and haven’t been able to eat anything there, besides maybe a handful of fruit/veggies (if I’m lucky). With food being such an important part of event planning, especially for a Bridal Shower, I know I have to have variety, because food allergies are the norm these days.

So, to ensure all guests have something to eat, I made sure to look into the list of attendees for dietary restrictions before laying out the menu.

Turns out I have it easy. It’s just me. Go figure.

Regardless, I still wanted to give options. So when planning the menu, I made a point to have dishes that were nut free, dairy free, wheat free, and meat free. The big kicker though is that each item still has substance with at least a slight nutritional value (because you have to treat yourself every now and then, right?).

So here’s what’s in store for the Brunch Portion of the Menu:

  • 2 egg dishes
    • one hearty dish with sausage, veggies, cheese, and hash browns
    • another dish without meat, but loaded with veggies that’s Paleo-approved
  • Biscuits with honey and preserves
  • Muffins
    • one batch of blueberry — (gluten free, nut free, and dairy free)
    • one batch of lemon-poppy seed
  • Banana Bread — (nut free)
  • Fresh Fruit Salad

And for Dessert

I’m making honey vanilla cupcakes with a honey-infused buttercream frosting.


These definitely won’t be gluten free, but that’s completely fine by me, because I gave up sweets for Lent, and am in general trying to cut back on sugar, and boy are those babies full of it.

I tested the recipe over break, and they were a hit with the fam. My dad even brought a dozen to the Bachelor party and he came home empty-handed, so they must have been good.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll recap the showering of our little “bride-to-bee”.

In the meantime, I have a shower to plan with many a decoration to craft.

Pi Day – Celebrated in a G-Free Way.

March 14th has held a special place in my heart ever since I strolled through the carpeted halls of my alma mater.

Nerinx Hall has been celebrating Pi Day for decades, and in a slightly unusual way.

Every year, girls bake inconceivable amounts of baked goods all centered around the concept of 3.14. It’s a math pun lover’s dream come true. [Granted, baked goods were a staple at the hall, but on this particular day, we took it to a whole new level.]


Tables like these filled our already-way-too-narrow halls, each topped with piles and piles of desserts. And we definitely got into the dessert decorating side of it too…




[yes, above is a giant cookie with a girl in a plaid skirt…see the resemblance?]


However, times have changed since graduating from the Hall and making my way to the Hilltop.

Since then, as you all I’m sure are aware by now, I’ve had a complete revamping of my diet, because, as you could imagine, Pi Day definitely was far from G-free. In fact, the amount of gluten at Nerinx on Pi Day could probably knock out the entire Celiac population in one foul swoop.

But just because I can’t have gluten doesn’t mean us Celiacs have to skip out on such a beloved day…There’s so many fun alternatives to try!

Here are some recipes to check out:

If you crave something sweet?


If you savor a pizza “pie”:


The options are essentially endless!

Now, for me. Since I’ll be home for a good chunk of Spring Break, I think I’ll be headed to Pi Pizzeria in STL.


Fun fact – this STL fav actually opened up shop in DC thanks to President Obama. He couldn’t get enough of it, and demanded a location nearby the Oval Office.

I adore them, because they cater to those with diet restrictions, especially Veg Heads, Celiacs, and Primal folk.

And let’s be real…I’d love to treat myself to a nice slice of the East Loop or maybe Lincoln Park? [Decisions. Decisions…]