truly safe gluten-free oats (and helping our farmer friends!)

I need your help, friends.

Well, I need your help to help our farmer friends.

I usually don’t ask for help. I’m not so good at that part. But this, this is important. And I can’t do this one myself, so we need to band together as a gluten-free tribe and do this one together. If there is one thing I pride myself on, it’s being part of THE most amazing gluten-free community and the way we come together when one of our own needs us.

We need to talk about OATS. Don’t freak out. I know there has been a LOT of talk lately about gluten-free oats. You’re probably getting sick of hearing about it. (me too) But until I can be sure that all of those big name packages labeled “gluten free” truly are gluten free and people are no longer getting sick from them, I’ll have to keep talking about it. It’s my job as a safety monitor. ūüėČ

I won’t take up your entire day talking to this point, but will direct you to some recent postings with more in depth information:

  • Tricia from Gluten Free Watch Dog is the go-to person to the most up to date information on all things gluten-free oats.
  • Johnna started us off with this post earlier today and is behind this oat buying extravaganza campaign — her post is FULL of information stated so beautifully, that I won’t reinvent the wheel here — READ IT! (then go buy oats!)
  • Gluten Dude explains the difference between purity protocol (clean, real-deal GF oats) grown oats compared to mechanically sorted (people are getting sick) oats.

So… you’ve heard me talk about GF Harvest’s certified gluten-free oats in the past. They are the only oats I use now. There was a time when I would buy Bob’s Red Mill oats, but a few people in our local group were (sensitive celiacs like me that tolerated gluten-free oats in the past just fine) getting very sick from them, so I stopped eating them and vowed to only buy from a company that not only has celiacs in their own family that runs the business, but cares about us enough to be absolutely sure through a¬†very strict inspection and testing process¬†that their oats are indeed gluten-free.

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I was lucky enough to meet Forrest several years ago — his story impressed me. He started their company as an FFA project in high school. Yes, you read that right. A high school student, who just so happens to be a fellow celiac, started their company out of their home when he was in high school. They have grown as a company offering quite the selection of products, and like I mentioned earlier, are THE only oats I eat.

I recently shared this article on our local Gluten Free in Milwaukee Facebook page¬†that Gluten Free Watch Dog had shared with her readers. It’s about our friends at GF Harvest. Then ones I want us to help — take a moment to read that article so we’re all on the same page.

When I read the article, I wanted to cry. It made me sick to my stomach. The idea that their 2016 crop may be put on hold because they are losing to the big companies who aren’t following purity protocols, the ones using mechanical sorting…that didn’t seem right.

Not fair. Not right. Not sure what I’d do without my GF Harvest oats! (let’s hope I never have to find out!)

My friend Johnna and I text often about all things gluten-free, bourbon, coffee, and donuts, so I wasn’t surprised to get a message from her shortly after. She was thinking the exact same things as me… but in her true Johnna fashion, had already rolled up her sleeves and was working on a plan!

That’s where you guys come in…

Let’s BUY ALL THE OATS! Cash mob style.

Our friends at GF Harvest have set up a starter pack that includes:

Three packages of their most popular products.

  • 20 oz Traditional Gluten Free Oatmeal
  • 20 oz Traditional Gluten Free Quick Oats
  • 40 oz Traditional Steel Cut Oats

BONUS: ¬†Order Now, and they will include YOUR CHOICE of either one of our trendy “I Make Gluten Free Look HOT!” shirts, or a GF Harvest plastic travel cup. (while supplies last)

All of that for just $29.95, shipping included!

I ordered mine this morning and already had an “your order has shipped!” email by this evening.

I shared this story at our Gluten Free Get Together dinner tonight and one of my favorites, the lovely Melissa said, “I don’t do oats really in general, but I will still buy some, you’ll just have to tell me what I can make with them.” (LOVE that she was already on board and ready to CLICK & BUY!)

Ideas for your new GF Harvest oats when they arrive:

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Buy for you. Buy for your gluten-free friends. Buy up these oats so they can get started on their next crop! Then ASK FOR THESE OATS at your local grocery story — just take this form to the store and ask nicely.

(By the time I had finished the story tonight at our event, there were cheers of, “SAVE OUR FARMER FRIENDS!” followed up by, “SAVE FORREST!”)

They need our help, friends. Please help me help them. Help me SAVE FORREST! ūüėČ

 

GF Harvest didn’t ask us to do this — this is the generous work of my girl Johnna reaching out to a company we love and want to support and¬†asking what WE could do for THEM. I’m not getting compensated. There are no affiliate links here. I just want to do the right thing and need your¬†help to do so. THANK YOU in advance!¬†

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday Photos

Welcome to¬†Friday Photos, a weekly feature here on Celiac in the City ‚ÄĒ you can read how it all started by clicking¬†HERE.

I did it.

Checked another item off my 2012 list — I taught a gluten-free class!

And it was THE best experience.

I’ll be writing more about it soon… I’m still basking in the good vibes of meeting such a wonderful, interactive, positive, group of gluten-free friends. The perfect crowd for this first timer.

This is going to be hard to believe, but I didn’t take one photo.

Not a one.

But luckily there was a fellow blogger in the house — someone who takes photos of everything she eats too, so I did score this one from her, via Twitter.

Thanks, Heather.

Go check out her blog, Picky Eater Confessions.

Like what you see? It was a little sampler: grandma’s monster cookies, apple streusel chex mix, beer dip, and blueberry muffins from The Cake Mix Doctor. (I’ll be posting the other recipes soon when I recap the class.)

I will tell you that the apple streusel chex mix has some of this brand spanking new cereal included in the recipe…

(And I’ll also tell you that the regular cinnamon chex are still at the top of my list.)

And these cookies will always be there too.

Grandma G’s Monster Cookies

Preparing for the class, I did a little inventory of my gluten-free cookbooks — I guess I have a few.

Do you have any of these?

Last weekend I ventured out of Milwaukee for a dear friend’s bridal shower — she’s a little ray of sunshine and she’s all about supporting the gluten-free folks. They had plenty of options for me, clearly labeled.

A gluten-free brunch: fruit, crustless quiche (from Sendik’s) and Udi’s muffins

More venturing out landed me in the midst of our family garden (you can see more here¬†and here¬†— ever had kale chips? go check them out.)¬†to check on this year’s progress.

Lookin’ good, lookin’ real good.

garden fresh tomatoes = salsa, capreses, BLTs, pasta sauce

Most days, I come up with a coffee creation at home, but there are days (when it’s 90 degrees) when I just want someone else to make me my morning java — I think I found my new go-to coffee place. It’s close to home. A little local spot called Roast.¬†

Iced Coffee with milk — a tad bit of honey.

Walking has been my exercise of choice lately — any time I can get outside and soak up the rays, I’m all for it. But I did get my bike out and dust it off this week too, so who knows where I might end up.

What are you doing these days to work off the sweets? And what are your plans for the weekend, are you celebrating all the dads out there with a cookout? 

saying farewell to 2011 — with a plan for 2012

Here we are.

The final day of 2011 — a year full of planning, more friends and family time than a girl could ask for, THE best day of my life when I married my best friend, and enough head tilting laughter to carry me into 2012.

What are your plans for today?

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Did I tell you my husband is one of ten children? It makes for a big partay any time we decide to hang with the fam — we’re talking 40ish people (with the 21 nieces and nephews) for the holidays. A family that size lends itself to one heck of a New Years Eve shindig. That’s where we’re headed tonight, to fill our bellies with gluten-free goodness: 3 different soups, appetizers galore, leftover Christmas cookies and these garlic cheddar biscuits.

My Google Reader is jam packed with fellow bloggers getting in their last posts of the year . Some with recipes for tonight, others with their resolutions for 2012, and one sharing what she learned this year. Love the idea, so I’m stealing it from¬†Kelle Hampton’s blog.

What I learned in 2011:

1. Old school recipes are in. Sometimes I try to be so creative and struggle to come up with new ideas for the blog, but then I realized I have some of my all time favorites in my recipe box, from my family.


You know my Grandma G’s Monster Cookies are at the top of my list. (and others’ lists too — get the request for them often) But that’s just the tip of the family recipes iceberg, definitely more to come in 2012.

2. There needs to be more time for reading. I didn’t put it on my “List for 2012” because I do make time to read, but not nearly enough time. And I’m not saying it has to be a book either, not everyone loves to cozy up on the chaise lounge with a cup o’ java and read the day away.

What I did put on my list was to open up all those cookbooks I’ve been gifted, some of which haven’t had their pages turned yet. Some are filled with the most amazing stories, not just recipes. I want to dig into those this year, and I will. (it’s on my list, so it will happen) And I want to share them with you — something new for the blog in 2012.

So whether it’s your monthly copy of Real Simple, catching up on your Google Reader, (you should really subscribe to Celiac in the City too, don’t miss a post!) or your own stack of “to read” books — make time for reading.

These two sure do.

3. Every single day is a gift. 

I know, it’s semi-cliche. But oh-so-true. For the most part, our year was full of life, love and light — but there was also loss for several family and friends. So as we start our new life together, and a family of our own in the near future, it’s a good reminder to start and end each day with gratitude. A friend once told me, after her little guy last his battle with cancer, that when the little things in life start to bug us to embrace it, it means LIFE. To be thankful for each day we have on this earth… we only have one go at this, so let’s make it worthwhile. A wise soul.

4. Sunday afternoons were made for cooking. 

Sometimes simple meals for the game, like these venison-bratwurst patties.

Or this “15 minute stew” we whipped up before Mark’s surgery to stock the fridge.

We stick to the recipes sometimes too — like this Moroccan Chili from our America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution book.

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The list could go on, (I also learned: Norwegian, that I’m not very good at yoga, how to sew an actual project, that running is hard) but I want to keep you here long enough to tell you about my new list for 2012. Last year I admitted that I had never really stuck to resolutions — or even put pen to paper and wrote them down. Then we got all crafty about it, and a new tradition was born.

This year, my theme was BE.

As in:

In 2012 Sarah will…

  • Be creative – learn how to use the freakin’ cool camera we got
  • Be in touch – send snail mail at least once a week (continued from last year, our favorite carry over item)
  • Be a teacher – teach a gluten-free class in Milwaukee
  • Be a crackerjack organizer – stop with the piles of stuff everywhere, reduce, donate, no more clutter
  • Be well – to start things off, a detox — the ¬†10 Day Food Challenge¬†starting January 3rd, also¬†use that rockin’ Wii Zumba game, workout at least 3x/week and run another 5k
  • Be a chef – open those cookbooks, share recipes with y’all
  • Be ready – (for starting a family) read up, ¬†make my body a more baby safe place (hence Be well)
There. I’ve shared them. They are out here for all to see — and that somehow helps me stay accountable — and the crafty little page of plans doesn’t hurt either.

Care to share your plans for the upcoming year? Tell me about them in the comments below!

Here’s to 2012 — a year of whole hearted living¬†and head tilting laughs.

happy, happy new year my friends!

xoxo

Sarah

Friday Photos: yes, we eat salad too.

 

Welcome to Friday Photos, a weekly feature here on Celiac in the City ‚ÄĒ you can read how it all started by clicking HERE.

 

 

I know it seems like the only thing we eat around here is whoopie pies, pumpkin spice cookies, and monster cookies… but there are a few other things we chow down on too.

Simple breakfasts. Like a bowl of Glutenfreeda oatmeal, with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Chicken chili with beans and quinoa pasta for lunch.

Simple salads for dinner.

Followed by full-of-flavor enchiladas from Cocina DeLeon in Brookfield. 

Sometimes we get adventurous — bear steaks at the farm.

So it’s not all sugar and desserts. (although it seems like it — and it’s fun to post about the baking and sweet treats!) We are just as happy with a fresh salad topped with a homemade vinaigrette.

Ok, and a Crispin cider. 

So what do YOU think? Are you tuning in for sweet treats… or do you prefer to see recipes for the everyday meals? Or a combo of both?

Cookies For Kids’ Cancer Bake Sale & Silent Auction

Tomorrow is a day of gratitude.

A day to give of myself. Help others. Create awareness.

Give.

In the morning, I will run my first 5k with Team Gluten-Free. All of the proceeds will go to the Celiac Disease Foundation, who in turn, send kids with Celiac Disease to summer camp. (wish they had one for adults) Fifteen of us will hit the pavement tomorrow morning for this important cause.

And after the race, instead of heading home to pass out on the couch — I’ll be rounding up as many friends as I can to check out the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Bake Sale & Silent Auction event happening down at Best Place at the historic Pabst Brewery.

I was honored when Peef and Lo from Burp! Where Food Happens sent out the call for bakers for this cause, which holds a a special place in my heart, and included me on their list. Such a simple way to come together as a community and make a difference.

As soon as I read the email, I knew I was in. And I knew the cookies to make — Grandma G’s Monster Cookies.

I lost both of my grandmas to cancer, as well as numerous other family, friends and little kiddos over the years. It’s heartbreaking. So this is my opportunity to give a little. To put a little extra love into these batches of cookies for tomorrow, and share them with the community. Spread awareness about the need to support research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancers. All of the proceeds go to the Cookies for Kids’ Cancer organization.

When you’re out and about tomorrow, running errands, grocery shopping, getting your hair done — take just a few minutes to stop in at this event. Grab some cookies. Take part in the silent auction. Be part of the community, standing together for this cause.

Give.