CPK Gluten-Free = The Real Deal

It is such a relief to sit down in a restaurant and have the entire staff understand what eating gluten-free truly means.  In order to safely offer a gluten-free menu, each and every employee that is involved in the process must be educated about that process.  California Pizza Kitchen has done just that by partnering with the GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) to take gluten-free pizza to a whole new level. 

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From the October 16, 2013 press release:

The four gluten-free pizzas are prepared using strict procedures set forth and approved by the GIG, including a certified gluten-free crust and other ingredients verified by California Pizza Kitchen’s suppliers as gluten-free. GIG will also conduct regular site inspections and audits to ensure all guidelines are being met.

“We are excited to expand our product offering to provide delicious and flavorful pizzas to guests who are affected by Celiac Disease or may suffer from gluten sensitivities,” said Brian Sullivan, SVP of Culinary Development for California Pizza Kitchen. “Through this partnership, we can now offer guests the opportunity to dine with confidence and an understanding that we have followed the strict guidelines set forth by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Over the past several months, we’ve unveiled several new initiatives that are all part of the next chapter at California Pizza Kitchen and the addition of our gluten-free pizzas is another great example of the culinary direction in which we are headed.”

The Gluten Free Food Service (GFFS) certification logo, an industry program of GIG, will be displayed on all California Pizza Kitchen menus to indicate the independent verification of quality, integrity and purity of food preparation policies, education and standards. Any of California Pizza Kitchen’s pizzas may be made on a gluten-free crust for an additional $2.00, but due to current kitchen space, only the pizzas listed above can be prepared using GIG’s certified procedures.

“We look forward to partnering with California Pizza Kitchen as the company is committed to maintaining strict policies to ensure that guests are served quality pizzas that meet our gluten-free guidelines,” said Cynthia Kupper, Executive Director, Gluten Intolerance Group.

It is important to note that currently only four CPK pizzas are on the GIG certified menu.  Those pizzas are:

· THE ORIGINAL BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA – Our legendary BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda, red onions and cilantro. Add Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon for even more flavor.

· PEPPERONI – A combination of rustic and spicy pepperoni, fresh Mozzarella and wild oregano. Add white truffle oil to incorporate a unique element to America’s favorite pizza.

· MUSHROOM PEPPERONI SAUSAGE – Cremini mushrooms, rustic pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, torn basil, Mozzarella and wild oregano.

· MARGHERITA – The classic. Italian tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella, basil and Parmesan.

I have had the new gluten-free pizzas several times over the past few weeks.  I have been really impressed with the staff each time through the entire process.  When the pizza was delivered to the table by the staff member, I was assured that all precautions were taken to prevent cross-contamination.  The first couple of times the edges of the crust were a little crisp, so the next time I ordered, I made sure to mention it to my server so the kitchen staff would keep a close eye on the pizza as it was cooking.   


First visit

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Most recent visit

The pizza came out just perfect!  The server explained that the gluten-free pizzas take a little longer to make, so if they are too close to the center of the pizza oven, the edges may burn.  The pizza didn’t just look perfect, it tasted perfect, too!  Perfect crust, perfect toppings.  I am thrilled with the lengths CPK has gone to for the gluten-free community.  They obviously take “gluten-free” seriously.

Hopefully more establishments will take note and go to the same lengths.  Kudos California Pizza Kitchen…this is the real deal!

Gluten-Free Halloween 2013

Every year around Halloween there is that one candy that the kids just have to have.  It’s all the rage and this year that candy seems to be these Caramel Apple Pops.

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The concern, of course, is are they gluten-free?  Do you see the little circle in the bottom right-hand corner?  It says “peanut-free” and “gluten-free”!  Awesome! I really, really love these companies that clearly label the package “gluten-free”, but always read the ingredient list to double check. 

Keeping track of the gluten-free status of Halloween candy can feel like a full time job.  Thankfully there are websites like MyGlutenFacts.com that update their lists for each big candy season. the 2013 Halloween Candy List can be found here.   

What is your favorite Halloween candy?

Holiday Gluten-Free Sampling at Raisin Rack

The holidays are right around the corner.  You can deny it all you want, it won’t stop it from happening.  Instead of dreading the holidays and all of the meals that come along with them, try embracing them.  I have been there…navigating the holidays gluten-free can be challenging, but knowledge is power, right?  Plan and prepare.  Feel empowered. 

Raisin Rack has the largest selection of gluten-free food in Ohio.  Where else can you browse three large aisles of gluten-free products?  I don’t think there is anything they don’t carry! 


The Holiday Sampling takes place this coming Saturday:

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Westerville and Canton stores

If you live in the Canton or Columbus area, make sure to take advantage of this Holiday Sampling day if you can. This is a great way to taste some phenomenal gluten-free products and get ahead of the game.  Gluten-free doesn’t have to be taste-free!

Jules Gluten Free Thanksgiving e-Book

It is almost that time of year again.  The weather is getting colder and the holiday decorations are starting to make their appearances in stores.  Halloween is a short 12 days away, so there is no better time to start planning your Thanksgiving meal. 

Jules Gluten Free has a special deal through Wednesday, October 23, 2013 offering her famous Thanksgiving eBook for free!  The e-Book has been updated for 2013 and contains 29 gluten-free, dairy-free recipes for Thanksgiving meals.  More about the e-Book:

Thousands of people have turned to Jules to help them make their Thanksgiving celebrations their best ever. Whether you’re hosting guests, or are attending someone else’s affair, Jules will reduce your stress and increase your enjoyment.
Jules’ updated and expanded 60-page Gluten-Free Thanksgiving e-Book has 4 pages of holiday tips, a 6-week planning timeline, a page of bread-baking tips and more than 20 delicious, gluten-free recipes that will please both gluten-free and gluten-full eaters alike.
It’s not too early to start planning! Grab your copy of Jules’ Gluten-Free Thanksgiving e-Book today!

Recipes include:

  • Traditional Stuffing
  • Corn Bread Stuffing
  • Turkey & Gravy
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Apple Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • And many more…

Jules is an invaluable person in the gluten-free community and a wonderful all-around person. If you aren’t familiar with Jules, take a few moments to get to know her.

To take advantage of this amazing deal, visit the Jules Gluten Free Deal of the Day page and scroll all the way to the bottom. 

Weekly Menu Plan–October 14, 2013

Only 6 days to the Nationwide Columbus Marathon & Half Marathon.  This will be my 4th time running the half and I can’t wait!  There is such an amazing atmosphere and crowd support throughout the entire city during the race.  This is one race that I don’t bother with headphones/music…I simply enjoy the sound of my surroundings which includes runner chatter, cheers from the crowd and bands along the course.

Last year’s race. 

Monday – Burgers, baked steak fries and salad

Tuesday – Turkey tacos, black beans, corn and salad

Wednesday – Take out or leftovers

Thursday – Baked Ziti and salad

Friday – Make your own pizza and salad <—trying out a new crust

Saturday – Chipotle (my pre-long run meal)

Weekly Recap:

Roasted Pumpkin Penne

Syder’s of Hanover gets a new look & adds new gluten-free flavors

SO Delicious brings back Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk

Gluten-Free Living Conference 2014 in Orlando, FL

Simple Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Have a great week!


Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Penne

If you haven’t noticed, the pumpkin craze is just a little crazier this year.  It seems that each and every restaurant is offering some pumpkin drink, baked good or dish…most unsafe for those with Celiac Disease.  Instead of sulking about not being able to enjoy these dishes, take control and make your own fall pumpkin dishes or baked goods at home. 

Beth Hillson (Gluten-Free Makeovers) was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1976.  She attended culinary school so that she could understand what questions to ask when dining out…a decision has led to a career making gluten-free food and serving the Celiac community.



In celebration of Celiac Awareness Month (yes…we just celebrated in May, too), Glutino, together with Beth Hillson, have shared this amazing pumpkin recipe below.  I promise you won’t feel like you are missing out on anything once you take your first bite of this dish.

Brown Rice Penne with Roasted Pumpkin, Caramelized Onions, Spinach and Goat Cheese

By Beth Hillson, author, Gluten-Free Makeovers

Serves 6

This recipe is inspired by the array of squash and pumpkin that fills the produce aisle in my local market this time of year, a display that’s reminiscent of a watercolor painting with splashes of vibrant orange, creamy yellow and deep green.  Besides versatility (think roasted, pureed, made into soups or pies), squash is also full of nutrients and fiber, low in calories and very filling.  The biggest challenge is deciding which gourd to use.  This time, I tried sugar pumpkins.  If you are not familiar with these (also known as pie pumpkins), be sure to make the acquaintance.  Unlike the big jack-o-lantern variety, the sweet, tender flesh is great for eating. Roasting brings the flavors up a notch or two, perfect for this flavorful dish.   Adding pasta, spinach and goat cheese makes this as hearty main meal, too.

Roasted Pumpkin

1 small sugar pumpkin (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½ -inch cubes (about 4 cups)

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder, optional

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.  In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin with the remaining ingredients.  Spread over the baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until pumpkin is soft and slightly browned.  Set aside. 

To Make the Pasta

8 ounces Glutino Brown Rice Penne Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 ounces baby spinach

1 large onion, cut into thin wedges and cut in half through the length

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 ½ cups gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth

Roasted Pumpkin (above)

3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Coarse salt and ground pepper

(1) In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente (about 7 minutes).   Drain pasta, rinse under cold water to prevent it from sticking.  Set aside.

(2) In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and sauté the spinach just until wilted.  Remove to serving tray and wipe out the saucepan with a paper towel.

(3) Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and add the onion and salt.  Sauté until onion takes on color (about 10 minutes).  Add thyme and broth and simmer 3 minutes.  Add the spinach and the roasted pumpkin and simmer for 1 minute.  Add the penne and bring just to a simmer.  Remove from heat and crumble in the goat cheese and adjust seasonings.  Serve warm.

Note: Sugar pumpkins are members of the gourd family.  Choose smooth, deep-orange pumpkins that are heavy for their size, without cracks or soft spots. For peeling, cut off the top and bottom ends, then use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the skin. For tougher skin, make a few more passes with the peeler.

Bon Appetit!

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New Look, Same Great Taste and a Bonus

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Snyder’s Gluten-Free Pretzels have a brand new look!  I did my grocery shopping on Monday this week and I was thoroughly confused when I went to find the pretzels.  The packaging has been totally re-designed, but the pretzels inside taste as good as ever.  I went straight to the Snyder’s of Hanover website to find out more about the new packaging and found out something else, too…new flavors! 

There are two new varieties of Snyder’s Gluten-Free Pretzels:

  • Hot Buffalo WingIngredients: Corn Starch, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Palm Oil, Water, Cellulose gum, Dextrose, Redhot Sauce (Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, Garlic), Salt, Baking Powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, mono-calcium phosphate), Soy Lecithin, Yeast, Sodium Diacetate, Citric Acid, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Garlic Oil, Soda.
  • Honey Mustard & Onion Ingredients: Corn Starch, Potato Starch, Palm Oil, Tapioca Starch, Dextrose, Sugar, Water, Salt, Cellulose gum, Onion powder, Baking Powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), Soy Lecithin, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin, Yeast, Mustard Flour, Modified Cornstarch, Vinegar, Spice and Herb, Vinegar powder, Honey powder, Spice and coloring (contains turmeric), Natural Flavoring, Soda.

All varieties of Snyder’s Gluten-Free Pretzels are certified gluten-free by the GFCO and are also free of dairy, egg and casein.  Snyder’s Gluten-Free Mini Pretzels are awesome when dipped in spicy brown mustard or peanut butter.  Look for the pretzels in your local grocery store or online

I can’t wait to make Rolo Pretzel Delights with the Mini Pretzels during the holidays.  So good!


Have you tried Snyder’s Gluten-Free Pretzels?  Do you have a favorite variety?

Tim Horton’s Good & Bad

I love Tim Horton’s coffee.  I love that the lattes and fun drinks on their menu are gluten-free, or were, up until now.  Keeping up with the other popular coffee shops, Tim Horton’s added a trio of fall beverages to their line-up.  The new beverages, Pumpkin Pie Latte, Pumpkin Pie White Mocha and Pumpkin Pie White Hot Chocolate are NOT gluten-free per the gluten-free list.  Such a bummer!

Now the good news.  You can have a Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroon that is drizzled with chocolate to go alongside of your coffee, tea or selected beverage that is on the gluten-free list. 


Have you tried the Gluten-Free Coconut Macaroons?  What is your favorite gluten-free Tim Horton’s drink?

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