grandma claus

Each year I become Grandma Claus and invite my kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids, along with their spouses, to my home for a Christmas party. I always have treats for each person, in addition to refreshments and party fun.

07724101232This year, I’m giving out chocolate bars. I was concerned about what I could give to my daughter, who follows a gluten-free/casein-free diet. I was so pleased to discover these dairy-free, gluten-free Sweet Chocolate Dream bars at my neighborhood grocery store!

Happy Holidays to all, and especially to my beautiful daughter, The Gluten Gal!

Margaret Slack


by Christine Roach

So, I can’t tell you how annoyed I am when people ask me if I think my kids can be cured of autism or when I see a fundraiser or organization that is raising money to help “find a cure” for autism. In my opinion, autism isn’t something that can be cured. Autism is a part of who someone is. It is a part of their genetic makeup. That would be like saying, “Let’s find a cure for depression.”

That being said, I don’t think a diagnosis of autism is the end of the world for a child. Just like with depression, you can get therapy to help you cope and see the world in a more typical way, autism has many therapies to help a child learn to cope and see the world in a different way. Just like there are medications to manage symptoms of depression, there are medications out there to manage some of the symptoms of autism. Not all medications work for all kids. Isn’t that how it is in the real world with other medications? There needs to be a process of trial and error to find just the right medication for your child…if that is a path that you even want to take. There are ways to treat the metabolic problems that many children with autism face, whether with vitamins, diet and other various therapies. Just like with diabetes, being on a special diet can greatly improve the symptoms in one child and do nothing whatsoever for another.

Managing the symptoms of autism is a long, difficult process and can take years, but it can help the child and those that love him/her deal better in this world that can seem intrusive to them. As I said before, I don’t think there is a cure for autism. That is just silly, to try and cure a part of someone that is just who they are. But, there are ways to manage the symptoms that can hinder their progression in this crazy world.

I, personally, don’t see why you would want to cure someone of the unconditional love, self awareness and honesty that comes from a person with autism. They are blessed to see the world in an amazing way and to find joy in the little things. All of us could use a little bit of that kind of “autism.”

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It’s possible to make wonderful gluten-free pies and I have done so many times. But, this year, because I am eating gluten-free AND casein-free, it means no more cream pies at our house. We’ll still be having delicious desserts, though. We’re having COOKIES!

We’ve decided on two of our favorites: GF/CF Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and GF/CF Christmas Sugar Cookies. Of course, you can make the sugar cookies into any shape. Turkey-shaped cookies are always a favorite with my grandkids.


I’m also going to try a new recipe this year from Christine:

GF/CF Golden Yam Brownies

Golden Yam BrowniesBrownies:
1 can yams
1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon guar gum
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons water or casein-free milk substitute
1 tablespoon lemon juice (can use other flavoring, lemon juice cuts the sweetness)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with shortening or cooking spray. Mash yams with a potato masher. In large bowl, cream together yams, oil, brown and white sugar, eggs, guar gum, and vanilla. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir into yam mixture just until blended. Spread the batter in baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Mix together powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk. Spread over the brownies while they are still warm. Some of the glaze will soak into the brownies.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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by Christine Roach

Halloween is always a fun time of year for kids, especially the anticipation of all the candy they are going to get when they go Trick-or-Treating. It can be tricky when your child is on the GF/CF diet, which is why we wanted to put together a comprehensive list of candies that are safe for this diet. This is a list of candies typically found in your child’s trick-or-treating bag, but there are also many GF/CF options in organic/specialty stores.

GF/CF Halloween Candy List:

Airheads (bars)
Big Hunk
Bottle Caps
Candy Lipsticks
Candy Corn (Brachs or Gummi original)
Charm Pops
Chewy Runts
Circus Peanuts
Dum Dums
Fruit Leathers
Gummy Bears
Gummy Worms
Fun Dip
Hot Tamales
Jelly Beans
Jolly Ranchers
Kidz Rings
Laffy Taffy
Mary Janes
Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses
Mellowcreme Pumpkins (Brachs)
Mike N Ike
Now N Laters (original)
Peeps Pumpkins and Ghosts
Pixy Stix
Riviera Spooky Candy Rings
Shrek Ogreheads
Sourpatch Kids
Spongebob Gummy Krabby Patties
Spree Chewy Candy
Sunkist Gems
Swedish Fish
Sweet Tarts
Talking Pumpkins
Tart N Tinys







We grew our own pumpkins this year. When they were about the size of an orange I carved the names of our grandchildren in them.

This is the first year that my oldest granddaughter, Joscelyn has carved her own jack o’ lantern. The pumpkins from our garden were surprisingly easy to clean, since they had less slime. Joscelyn did a great job, and cut hers by herself! I guess 6-years-old is a great age to start!

We prepared the seeds to roast together, as a fun project. Gavin was on hand to help too! To do this we did the following:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Wash pumpkin seeds under spray nozzle in strainer. Remove any strings or chunks of pumpkin. Dry seeds on dishtowel or papertowel. Pat dry. On baking pan pour 4 Tbsp olive oil. Place pumpkin seeds one layer deep. Using brush, mix seeds to coat with oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt and seasoning salt. Bake for 25 minutes. When done, Remove from pan onto a plate covered with a paper towel.

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