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Esther Sparhawk

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About Esther Sparhawk

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    I write novels.
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  1. As the end of October approaches, my garden is finally full of those long-awaited tomatoes. Time to make salsa! Let's share our salsa recipes, shall we? Ingredients: 4-5 mangoes (firm, not quite ripe) 4 Serrano peppers (more or less depending on how spicy you want it 1 Jalapeno 10 cloves of garlic 6-7 firm avocados 10 firm roma tomatoes 1 cup chopped cilantro 2 limes squeezed throughout 1 tsp of olive oil 1/2 of a red onion Dash of salt Chop mangoes up first in medium sized chunks, then add the diced red onion and squeeze half a lime over it. Let this marinate for an hour. Dice the tomatoes, add chopped cilantro/peppers/garlic to the tomatoes. Squeeze half of lime over and let marinate for an hour as well. Halve the avocados right before you are ready to serve it, and cut them up in cubes. Pour the olive oil and squeeze a half of lime over avocados before adding the other two bowls. Finally combine three bowls, lightly mix it all together and squeeze another half of lime over entire dish. Lastly add salt as needed. I'm curious to see other folks' recipes. Feel free to recommend your favorite gluten-free chips as well!
  2. Here's what Kroger said about their imitation extracts and food colorings: "Thank you for your patience with the response for your inquiry. None of the extracts contain gluten ingredients. The food colorings need to be further researched." I haven't had a chance to call about the star-shaped sprinkles. Hopefully I'll have time tomorrow.
  3. One of my kids is allergic to orange juice (and oranges) and grape juice. The other is allergic to nuts and chocolate. Imitation is the only option. Yep, that's my problem in a nutshell. I live in a very small farm town in Idaho. And I'm out of time to order it online. I work from 7AM to 5PM Mountain time, Monday through Friday. I suppose I could have called on my lunch break, but I didn't think of that. Today's her birthday. It's Saturday, so it's impossible to call Kroger now. I guess we'll just have plain ol' Pamela's vanilla cake again. I liked the idea of the pudding, but our small town grocery store doesn't usually carry any other puddings besides vanilla and chocolate. They carry quite a few jell-os, but I don't think that will be the same. I have to drive 100 miles to get to a larger grocery store. One year we tried to add fresh raspberries and put jam between layers. It turned out awful! (I'm a working mom, and not a very good cook.) This year I bought two vanilla cake mixes, just in case I ruin one of them. That's our usual routine. Of course candy sprinkles are nice. We use those every year. We were hoping to use the candy stars this year, but it looks like that's out too. I can't find any confirmation on that product either. We've had gluten-free birthdays for ten years. That's a lot of vanilla cakes. Candy sprinkles are nice, but as she is entering her teen years, we were really hoping to try a new flavor. We did pumpkin cake last year. I'll take the Kroger extracts to work with me on Monday, call Kroger on my lunch break, and post the answer myself. That way the next person to search these forums will have an answer to the question. Furthermore, I'd really appreciate it if the three of you who commented would give me a positive rating. Over a year ago, I posted a statement that some handi-wipes contain gluten (a statement which I believed to be true, having called the company). Someone had discovered contrary information and a bunch of people slammed me with negative ratings. I would really like my ratings to come back up, if possible.
  4. Hi everyone, Kroger has some new imitation flavorings on the market. (I had never seen them in my supermarket before today.) They are imitation almond flavor, imitation coconut flavor, and imitation vanilla butter & nut flavor. I'd like to try these on my daughter's gluten-free cupcakes, so we're not stuck with plain old vanilla for her birthday again. (She has a chocolate allergy, so we're usually stuck in Vanillaville.) However the label on these flavorings says "propylene glycol," which is likely a form of alcohol. If it's a corn-based alcohol, we should be fine. I've googled the products, and I guess they're so new there's no info on them yet. But I've been told Kroger is a "trusted" company. Still, I'm not sure I should trust them for this upcoming birthday party. My daughter hasn't had a gluten accident in about three years, and we really want to keep her on a winning streak. New products make me nervous. So I'm hoping another celiac has heard news about these imitation flavoring products. Anyone? Another product we'd like to use are the Betty Crocker Decors "Stars," but the label says, "mono- and diglycerides," which can mean gluten (or at least, it used to be a read flag). Does anyone have news about the Betty Crocker Decors "Stars"? Are those gluten-free? I've seen some lists in the forums with the Betty Crocker sprinkles and frostings, but I haven't seen the "Stars" appearing on any of those posts. However the posts are older. Maybe things have changed. We'll probably do our baking on Oct. 10. No point in posting responses after that date. Thanks.
  5. People with DH get a skin rash, and it often occurs on the lower back/buttocks and knees. DH stands for Dermititis Herpetiformis, and it's a form of celiac disease that manifests as a skin rash. The rash can be very unpredictable. I was recently diagnosed with DH, and I find that the rash sometimes happens after eating wheat, but sometimes it just doesn't. You can't predict it. But you can prevent it. That's the good news. Now that I'm gluten-free, the rash never comes back. It's gone for good! But as people often remind folks on celiac.com, don't take your child off of wheat until you've had the tests. Otherwise, you'll get a false negative test result. BTW: there's a forum for people with DH here on celiac.com. Another thing to remember about the dairy thing is this: many celiacs are lactose intolerant until they get on the gluten-free diet. Once on the diet, a lot of people find their lactose intolerance disappears.
  6. We use Yummy Bears vitamins. They have a multivitamin and other supplements. Vitafusion says it's gluten-free, but my daughter is super-sensitive. She got sick one day right after we started her on Vitafusion, so we haven't used them since. It could've been something non-vitamin-related that made her sick, but there's no way to know.
  7. Did you know PlayDough is made from wheat? And a kid can't help but get that gunk under their fingernails. Once it's under their fingernails, it's going in their mouth, sure as shootin'! Tonight I visited with a lady whose child had recently been diagnosed with celiac. Like most of us when we first start out, she wasn't aware that PlayDough could be a problem. I mean, who eats PlayDough, right? But the problem isn't usually one of intentional ingestion, it's about little kids whose fingers go from their nose, to their mouth, to God-knows-where. Kids can be pretty messy. So I thought maybe it was time, once again, to post the non-food items we parents need to be careful about. Feel free to add to my list, but here's a starter: school glue (we use Elmers, but we also wash hands after use) nail polish remover (none are safe, so we wash with a nail scrubber after use) lotion (contact the company--Vaseline is a no-no) Chapstick and other lip balms (we use Kiss My Face) sunscreen (last summer Coppertone was fine) PlayDough (Colorations makes one that's gluten-free) finger paints (I haven't been able to find any that are safe) other kinds of paints (we wash hands after use) crayons (Crayola are safe--or were last Sept.) wet wipes (we avoid them) hand sanitizer (I haven't found any that are safe) topical medicines (we avoid stuff like Cortizone) lick-ables (like the glue on an envelope--we use self-sealing envelopes) shampoo (Suave for Kids is safe) soap (we use Ivory or Dove, but I haven't called the companies in a while) laundry detergent (ALL is safe) dish soap (we use Dawn, but I haven't called the company for more than a year) cat food/dog food (we don't let Annie feed the pets... EVER) toothpaste (we use Crest, but some others are safe too--call the company to make sure)
  8. Contact your oral surgeon and ask him/her to check to make sure all medications are gluten-free. Also remind him/her that some toothpastes are not gluten-free and the alcohol that is sometimes used to cleanse equipment can be harmful. Give your oral surgeon plenty of time to prepare. He/she is responsible to take care of you, but it's a good idea to put everything in writing for your own legal protection. Write a formal letter to his/her office. Keep a copy for yourself as well. That's what I'd do.
  9. With my daughter, I've found it's helpful to make gluten-free food look pretty. For a lunch snack, try making an "appetizer" platter with a ring of gluten-free rice crackers around the outside, lunch meat cut into squares (Hormel has a number of gluten-free choices) lined up next to that ring, and cheese slices in the middle. You can do the same with apple slices, cheese, and a pretty bowl of raisins. When kids are young, appearance is everything. Another trick is to cut peanut-butter-and-jelly gluten-free sandwiches into shapes with cookie cutters. Baked potatoes look yummier if mommy makes it fluffy inside (like those fancy pictures you see in ads on TV). Then let him add his favorite toppings: grated cheese, sour cream, gluten-free Hormel ham diced up, etc...
  10. I always mention my daughter's diagnosis with our pharmacist. And I'm adamant that we not purchase drugs/medicines until gluten-free status can be verified. It's funny, too, because we always have to remind medical doctors as well. They've sometimes prescribed meds that had gluten--then we reminded them, and they went, "Oh yeah. Right. I guess I need to call and see if that's gluten-free first." It's funny how easily people forget what they're dealing with, even in the medical community. So be vocal about your child's diagnosis. Remind, reiterate, and refuse to walk away until people call to confirm the gluten-free status of prescriptions.
  11. As I understand it, meds that contain alcohol (like Niquil) frequently have gluten. In the US, they're really hard labels to understand as well. Two summers ago, I spent several days calling companies of all the stuff I had in my medicine cabinet. Now keep in mind, that was TWO YEARS AGO, so it's time to call again. But here's what I found for my youngster... gluten-free: Liquid Tylenol and Children's Tylenol Meltaways Bubble-gum Flavored or Grape Triaminic Daytime and Nightime Liquid Formulas Tums Chewable Children's Liquid Claratin GAS-X Burt's Bees Lip Balm Kiss My Face Lip Balm Badger Balm Not gluten-free or could not verify gluten-free: Vicks Formula 44 Niquil Benadril Bean-o Dramamine (but we have used it with no ill effects--it may be one of those companies that's afraid to say yea or nay for fear of law suits) Chapstick Remember, though, my news is two years old. Things may have changed for some of those companies. I plan to do another call-around this summer, when I have some time off. If anybody knows of a change in any of these products, please post a comment and correct me! Thanks!
  12. Envirokids makes some gluten-free cereals. My daughter likes the Leaping Lemurs, but it's shaped more like Kix.
  13. Just today, I discovered two new items to put in my little one's lunchbox: Post Fruity Pebble Treats Betty Crocker Fruit Gushers They're both labeled with "gluten free" on the front of the box. I'm glad more and more companies are starting to label products as gluten-free! I do worry, though about cross-contamination in the assembly lines. I'm going to try these out w/ my kiddo this week and see how things go.
  14. Yeah, I probably should've put quotation marks around "LUNCHABLES" because they're our own, home-made "Lunchables". I pack them in a Hello Kitty divider lunchbox, so they look fun, like the real thing. Sorry for the confusion.
  15. We buy "Nutty Cranberry Maple Granola" from Bakery on Main, but it's not cheap. It's fantastically yummy though. As a fair substitute, you can make your own (as other users noted) and Chex cereals are now labeling some of their products gluten-free. They are, of course, a handy grain product to easily mix with raisins, nuts (if you're not allergic), and other dried fruits.
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