Monday, April 30, 2012

Expect Gluten in Your Gluten-Free Meal on Delta Flights

A few years ago, I heard a comedian tell a joke about flying with Delta: "Delta stands for Don't Expect Your Luggage to Arrive". So true. I gave up flying with Delta after a similar situation. They "lost" my luggage by sending it to Paris instead of straight to Manchester, England as its baggage tag said. Not having flown with Delta in years, I was unaware that they were serving gluten-free meals on flights. Or so Delta says.

I came across a blog post the other day on Gluten-free Mom about a woman who flew with Delta and had reserved a gluten-free meal. The only problem: the meal came with Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Uhm, Kellogg's Corn Flakes are NOT gluten-free. The "malt flavoring" ingredient contains gluten. When the woman complained to upper management, well, the response was not what she expected. Here is an excerpt of the blog post:


Much like a parent feels when a teen breaks curfew to help a friend, I wanted to believe that Delta’s irresponsible policy was based in good intentions – that, once the company knew what was happening, they would readily, eagerly, make the necessary changes to provide safe food for their passengers. The first response to our complaint was unacceptable, so we posted another complaint and started climbing the veritable food chain. To our shock, in the weeks, now months, since this incident, Delta’s response has not changed.  Here’s what one Delta Customer Care Coordinator wrote:
“I am genuinely sorry you were dissatisfied with my response.” (Note, no apology for serving us poisonous food). “I understand you feel I did not adequately address your concerns. Further, I recognize that you are dissatisfied (dissatisfied?!) with the products that were included in the gluten free (gluten free?) meals you and your family received.
Again we recognize that passengers may have different requirements depending on individual gluten sensitivity. Passengers are encouraged to refrain from ingesting any product if they feel it does not fit within their dietary requirements, and select other food products included in the gluten free entrĂ©e served…”
Now, I would have no problem with Delta telling us that they cannot accommodate a gluten-free meal. It would be disappointing, bordering on pathetic in this day and age, and most certainly backwards ... but it would be tolerable. What is NOT tolerable is to serve a product publicly identified (by the manufacturer!) as containing gluten in a meal that is clearly labeled Gloten [sic] Free.
I did some research (i.e. Google'd "Delta gluten free") and came across several different Celiac Disease community forums and blog posts about flying with Delta and not receiving the specified gluten-free meal. This blog post is from February of this year. Here's another one (start reading about the middle) about flying on Delta and receiving gluten foods. And apparently, even if there is no gluten, the gluten-free meal makes even the worst airline food look almost edible.
I've flown Southwest recently, and after reading the ingredients for the peanuts they pass out (one of the few airlines to still pass out ANY type of snack on short flights) those peanuts are NOT gluten-free. After visiting United's website, they do claim to offer gluten-free meals ("gluten-intolerant" meals) on certain flights, and you can request one up to 24 hours in advance. American Airlines also serves gluten-free meals on some of its flights. And JetBlue's PopCorners Popcorn Chips and Terra Blues Potato Chips (two of its complementary snack options) are naturally gluten-free. (However, the website states that not all snack options may be available on all flights, so...)
It's great that so many airlines want to make flying more comfortable for people with special diets. However, it doesn't help when the flight staff or the airline itself doesn't really understand the diet. Essentially, if you are flying and need a gluten-free meal or snacks, bring them yourself. Because you never know. Some people have complained that they've ordered a gluten-free meal but the airline (again, Delta) forgot to put the gluten-free meals on the plane!
Has anyone with Celiac or a gluten-intolerance flown other airlines and eaten the gluten-free meals? I'd love to hear about your experiences! My husband and I haven't done a long-distance flight since his diagnosis, so we've never had to bother with ordering meals. I'm curious to see how other airlines measure up against Delta.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Progresso Gluten-Free Soups!


A recent discovery has been made: Progresso now has a variety of GLUTEN-FREE soups! This is part of General Mills' endeavor to become more gluten-free friendly. General Mills even has its own gluten-free website listing all of the company's gluten-free foods: GlutenFreely.com. Many of the Progresso soups now say "gluten-free" right on the front of the label. Some don't say it on the front but do say it on the back underneath the nutrition information. So make sure you check the labels! Some of your favorite soups could now be super easy to find in the grocery store. My husband was very excited about the French Onion soup, which is his favorite. He's also trying the Potato, Broccoli, Cheese Chowder and the Chicken Corn Chowder. The soups with noodles are still not gluten-free, but there are so many other soups that are so I don't think you'll miss Chicken Noodle. (I also like that the Progresso beef and chicken broths are gluten-free!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Picnik Alternatives

So it's after April 19 and that means that Picnik, the free photo editing software, is no more. This saddens me because I liked how easy it was to use Picnik to edit my photos and add cool effects. However, apparently there are alternatives. Mashable posted a slideshow of seven free alternatives to Picnik. Take a look through the slideshow and let me know if you've used any of these programs before. I've never heard of any of them, but maybe you have. (Also, apparently you can still access some version of Picnik through Google +? Anyone know anything about this? I don't have a Google + account, but I guess I would set it up if it meant still being able to use Picnik.) And if you have any free/cheap alternatives of your own to share, please do! Help out those of us who can't afford Photoshop!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's Your Pie Face?

It's been awhile since I've made a layout that is not for a challenge, and it felt good! I literally just went through my stash of papers and started layering and this is what I came up with. I received that blue tag as part of a scrap win the other day, and the color fit perfectly with the blue dots in the scalloped circle. These are pictures from a recent NYC outing. Some friends and I ate meat pies at a place called Pie Face. Each pie had a different face on it. My pie's mouth was kind of swirly, so that's what I was going for in the picture. And yes, I saved the sticker that came on my meat pie container so that I could scrap it. I also tied some twine around the bottom of the layout. If anyone has any tips on how best to adhere twine to a layout, please share with me! I never know just what to do. It's not the same as ribbon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Did you know that zucchini is a squash?

I did not know that zucchini is a type of squash because I've never bought zucchini before. But I needed it for this Lemony Fusilli with Chicken, Zucchini, and Pine Nuts, and when I went to the grocery store, the store had it listed as green squash zucchini style.

Anyway, this recipe is from the June 2010 issue of Fitness magazine. I'm really breaking out the old recipes now. I have a whole folder filled with recipes that I ripped out of magazines, and some of those recipes I don't end up making right away. Oops.

For this recipe, I had to do a little adapting. Obviously, we used gluten-free pasta. I didn't use pine nuts, and if you read my post about it from last week, then you know why. Instead of fresh basil leaves, I just used the kind that comes in the seasoning jar. I also left out the scallions.

This was really good! My husband went back for seconds. Something to note: when you make this, use a LARGE skillet, preferably one with sides. My skillet was not big enough, but I didn't realize this until halfway through the recipe. Next time I will use my giant Calphalon saute pan with the sides. Also, I think I will cut down on the salt. I thought the finished product was a tad salty for my tastes. I love salt, but it sort of overpowered the other flavors a bit. Oh, and I didn't peel my lemon rind into strips. I just grated it, and it worked out fine.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cheesy Baked Gluten-Free Ravioli

before baking
I saw a recipe branded "rush-hour ravioli" in Redbook and it looked really good. But finding gluten-free ravioli can be difficult. The brand I used was Conte's. I had purchased it at a local farmer's market that caters to the gluten-free community but it is the off-season for the farm, so I wasn't able to purchase it there. Instead, I found it at Whole Foods where it cost $8.99 for a 12-ounce bag. It's a bit steep (and I think the farmer's market sold it for less than that) so this is not something I would recommend purchasing on a regular basis. However, every once in awhile is okay, especially when I saved so much money at the grocery store this past week!

You can find the original recipe here, but I really detoured from that one to adapt it for our needs. So here's what I came up with:

and baked!
Ingredients:
12-ounce bag of frozen gluten-free ravioli
2 cups of baby spinach
1 1/2 cups of marinara sauce
8 ounce block of mozzarella, cut into slices (I used Sorrento.)

Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Put the spinach in a colander in the sink.
3. Cook the ravioli according to the package directions. When done, drain the ravioli over the spinach to wilt.
4. Put the marinara sauce into a large bowl. Add the ravioli and spinach to the marinara.
5. Lay down enough ravioli, spinach, and sauce to cover the bottom of a 9x1.5-inch baking dish. Lay down half of the mozzarella slices. Put another layer of ravioli, spinach, and sauce on top, and then layer with the remaining mozzarella slices.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Red


I finally got around to painting in our dining room/living room. We have two "frames" on the walls, and I had seen something in a Home Depot or Lowe's commercial where they painted the inside of the "frame" one color and the outside a different color. So the plan is to have the brick red color within the "frames", the trim is going to be a cream color, and the walls are going to be a "latte" color. All of these colors coordinate with a decorative wall hanging, which you can't see in this photo, that my mother-in-law gave my husband when he moved into his first place. 

I think for it being my first time and for working with kind of a difficult color, it turned out pretty good! I did the first coat while my husband was away on a trip, and when he came home he said, "What did you do here?" And I said, "I painted!" And he said, "Did I sign off on this color?" And I said, "The color sample has been up on the wall for months." Literally it had been up since September of last year. And he said, "I don't really care what color you pick." And I said, "That's right!!"

I'm excited to continue painting, but we'll have to hold off on the other two paint colors until I redeem some more credit card reward points for Visa gift cards. 

Disclaimer: I still have the tape up in this picture because I was waiting for the paint to dry before removing it. Also, excuse our mess. Instead of cleaning, I painted. Oh, and those curtains are being tossed in the garbage - unless one of you wants them - but we don't have new curtains/blinds picked out yet. Work in progress!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Beware of Nuts!

I went to the grocery store yesterday looking for pine nuts. I needed them for a salad recipe I'm going to make this week. (Recipe to follow.) Well, I found the pine nuts in the baking aisle where they keep all the bagged nuts, and for some unknown reason, I looked at the back of the bag. That's when I saw this disclaimer: "Processed on the same equipment that processes tree nuts, something else, something else, and WHEAT."

Uhm, excuse me? The big didn't say it was made in a facility that also produces wheat products, which can sometimes be okay. (That's what all Amy's soup products say, even the ones that are still labeled as gluten-free.) It said it was processed on the exact same equipment as wheat products. So that means that the bag of seemingly innocent pine nuts was NOT gluten-free. I don't know if the manufacturer cleans its equipment in between batches or how well the stuff gets cleaned. The fact that the company needed to tell me about this allergy issue sends a signal to me that it probably doesn't clean in between batches. That irked me a little.

I did find a jar of pine nuts with no allergy disclaimer. However, the little jar of nuts was almost $8 compared to $3.49 for twice the amount in the contaminated bag. So we just won't be having pine nuts on our salad.

However, now I'm going to have to check EVERY bag of nuts that we purchase. Do the pecans I use for our Praline Chicken recipe have a similar disclaimer? Now I'm going to have to check.

A lot of people think that being gluten-free and having Celiac Disease means you just can't eat bread, pasta, pizza, and beer. But there are a lot of foods out there that we have to check because you never know how they process something or where they process something. You never know what random ingredient a manufacturer might have added to that can of diced tomatoes or the package of pepperoni. I have to read everything I purchase just to make sure, and if something doesn't seem right, or if it doesn't say "gluten-free" right on the label, I just don't buy it. It's not worth the risk.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Scrapping Returns!

Here is a layout I whipped up real quick today in between painting part of the dining room and celebrating my husband's 29th birthday. It's for a PageMaps sketch challenge, which ends tomorrow at midnight EST. These pictures are from the Macy's Flower Show, which was held the last week of March. It could still be going on for all I know. I usually don't walk past Macy's, but I happened to see a sign for it one day and decided I would stop in on my lunch break. The theme was Brasil. It was very pretty! Short, but pretty. I did get a free perfume sample as I left, so that's always a plus.

I took these pictures with my iPod, so the resolution wasn't good enough to make them 4x6, but the sketch called for wallet-sized pictures, which was perfect! I added some brightness effects to the photos in Picnik, which is closing down on April 19. I don't know where else to go for free (and good) photo editing software. Does anyone have an alternative to recommend?


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Backlogged

I have so many pictures to scrap but not enough time to scrap them! Here are just a few that I can't wait to get down on paper.

eating a meat pie from Pie Face

at the Macy's Flower Show

volunteering with my ladies group

Washington D.C.


Saturday, April 7, 2012

No Silence!

"No Silence!" was the title of my Bible devotion for April 3. To honor that, I'm posting a religious-themed layout I completed recently. I've decided that this year I'm going to scrap/journal about the devotions in my devotions book, One-Minute Devotions for Women. Each devotion starts with a Bible verse, and if I like the verse or have an opinion on it, then I will scrap about it for my Book of Me. I'm also looking up the verses in my regular Bible so that I can get a little more insight into the passages.

So anyway, here is the Bible verse I scrapped:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven." - Matthew 6:19-20

The journaling on the front of this layout is taken from my Living Water New Testament Bible. What I like about that Bible is that it chooses certain passages and does more in-depth sidebars on them. I basically just journaled what the sidebar said. Here it is so you can read it:

1. We must watch how and what we store. The idea is not simply saving, but stockpiling. Jesus is not condemning saving your resources or providing for your family. He is condemning the accumulation of possessions to flaunt or to impress others. We need to be able to enjoy what God has given us without making those possessions our primary ambition.

2. We must keep our vision clear. While we can enjoy what God gives us, we need to understand that the material things of this world are only temporary.

3. We should not worry about material things. You can only worry about your future, your job, your health, or even about what others think about you. But Jesus tells you to stop worrying because God will always meet your needs. Worry is a waste of your valuable time as His servant on earth.

4. We must put God first in our lives. Our primary pursuit should be seeking the reign of Jesus Christ in our lives above all else. It makes a lot of sense to place your temporary needs and worries in the hands of an eternal God.
If you lift the flap on that journaling spot, I did personal journaling underneath. I don't normally type my journaling, but I did on this one because I knew I had a lot to get down! I just measured the size of the text box that would fit within the 6x6 patterned paper square on the layout and altered the margins in Microsoft Word so that I could make sure my text fit within my measurements.

This was actually based on a Studio Calico sketch, but I didn't submit it for the challenge because I got lazy. :) Oh well.

The picture that I used was one I took on my iPod Touch when I was at a train station a few weeks ago. The light was coming through the glass ceiling and it looked really cool, so I couldn't resist taking a picture of it. I knew it would come in handy for something.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's All About ME!

I was recently chosen as the winner of the March All About Me challenge. Apparently I was also the only participant last month. Ha! There was no prize, only the excitement to be the winner, no matter how I came by that win. You can click on this link to see my layout and find out what April's challenge is going to be. (April has a prize, so you might want to play along.)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Feel Like We've Had This Before

After we ate this Chicken Tortilla Soup, my husband and I both went, "Haven't we had this before?" Yes, I'm pretty sure we've made something similar to this but not this exact recipe. I think the version we made before was cooked in a slow-cooker. This was cooked on the stovetop, and we even baked our own tortilla strips using corn tortillas, oil, ground cumin, salt, and pepper. I found this recipe in the October 2010 (wow, that was a long time ago) issue of Fitness magazine. So this is probably a healthier version of whatever it was we cooked before. It's got a lot of color and fresh veggies, although we left out the jalapeno. This soup was easy to make. I pre-cut the corn tortillas, onion, and green pepper the night before, as well as laid out all the ingredients we would need, except for the stuff that needed to stay in the fridge. So when I got home from work on Friday night, we were pretty much ready to go. We just needed to cook everything! Just how I like it.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April!

Happy April! I can't believe that we are already in April. My husband is on spring break (man, I miss those) and hopefully we get some more of that warmer weather we had a few weeks ago.

Here is another layout I created recently. It was for last month's PageMaps sketch challenge. I used a bunch of scraps and embellishments from my stash on this. I like the little flag with the flower on it.

This picture is from karaoke and dinner last month. We went to a restaurant called Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar. I really like it. Good paninis and good chocolate. Then we hit up Wow! Karaoke and enjoyed Red Mango frozen yogurt for dessert. Nothing like a night out in Koreatown!

Do you guys karaoke? Do you have a specific karaoke song? Mine is "Gloria" by Laura Branigan. Although, I think I pulled an Adele and John Mayer singing it last month. That's what I get for not singing with proper technique. I think doing Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All" may also have contributed to my sore throat. But it was fun!