Category Archives: Daily GF Living

Judy’s Saturday Lunch Favorite


Noodles and Company sign

Every Saturday my mom and I run errands and go shopping. We like to stop to get some lunch so it’s usually Noodles and Company. I don’t really like different types of pasta sauces; I really just prefer butter.  I am so happy they can accommodate my needs and tastes. When we are there I always get gluten-free fusilli noodles with shrimp, butter, Parmesan cheese, and seasoning. It’s so delicious!

noodles and company gf fusilli buttered noodles


Delicious Da Luciano


We had a wonderful birthday celebration for Jennie at one of the best restaurants that cater to the gluten-free world. Da Luciano, an Italian restaurant located in River Grove, Illinois, has an extensive gluten-free menu. It has a lovely atmosphere and the food is delicious. It is very rare that we can find decent-tasting Italian food, but Da Luciano has mastered the art of cooking Italian specialties gluten-free.

We ordered a variety of appetizers: fried calamari, pizza bread, and fried mozzarella wedges. I personally do not like calamari and therefore did not try it, however all the calamari-eaters at the table loved it. Judy and I enjoyed the pizza bread and the fried mozzarella wedges. You would never have known you were eating gluten-free appetizers; they were cooked to perfection and tasted amazing.

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There were nine of us at the table and five of us ordered  off of the gluten-free menu for our main entrees. We first ate salads. I enjoyed the gluten-free creamy garlic dressing, it was quite tasty. My sister and Mary G. ordered eggplant parmigiana, Judy ordered pepperoni pizza, Katie ordered spaghetti with meat sauce and I ordered veal parmigiana. I tasted some of Jennie’s eggplant parmigiana and I have to say that both the eggplant and the veal were incredible. They were served with gluten-free rotini noodles on the side with marinara sauce. The server brought the girls gluten-free garlic bread to eat with their meals and they were so happy. The dinner was outstanding.
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For dessert, I tried the Italian spumoni, Jennie had a birthday homemade cannoli, Judy and Katie both ordered cream puffs, and Mary G. sampled the tiramisu. It was a quiet dessert time as everyone thoroughly enjoyed these delicious desserts. The smiles on the faces of Mary G., Judy, and Katie were truly priceless as soon as the server brought them their gluten-free desserts. They were in “gluten-free heaven”.
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I highly suggest dining at Da Luciano. You will not be disappointed; you will leave wondering when the next time you will return. Thank you Da Luciano…thank you for the amazing gluten-free birthday celebration that all could enjoy.

Happy birthday Jennie! 🙂

Birthday Memories

Mom and Dad


Today is my birthday. I have never been one to hide my age or worry about getting older. My parents both died way too young, so my family celebrates every year!

Birthdays are a time of reflection.  I remember the wonderful birthdays I had as a kid.  Mom always made our favorite meal for dinner.  My favorite – both then and now – is pizza. Mary and I were born in rural Georgia, and at the time it was not easy to find good pizza.  My parents took my request on as a challenge.  Over the years, they perfected homemade pizza.  They made the dough and let it rise perfectly and cooked delicious sauce all day (pork sausage in the sauce is the key!).  Dad topped the pizzas with vegetables he grew all summer in his garden.

I appreciate the pizza they made me more now as a parent myself than I ever did as a kid. To think they simmered, stirred, kneaded, and baked all day in the hot early September kitchen amazes me.  It was an act of pure love.

Since my parents are sadly gone, I have tried to follow their recipe.  I laugh every time I get to the part my Mom wrote down that says, “This is a big mess, but well worth the trouble.”  I have to admit, it is tough.  They were pros.  Now that my children have Celiac Disease, making the dough gluten-free is challenging, but one of these days I will get it! Until then, my children enjoy their grandparent’s delicious sauce made from scratch and store bought gluten-free dough.

Each and every time I make homemade pizzas I fondly remember my childhood birthdays.

What are your birthday traditions?

Back to School!

Jennie and Mary

Welcome to The Celiac Pack! This is our very first blog entry. 🙂

It is the first day of school for many children across the country. This can be a hard time for many children and many parents, especially those children with dietary restrictions and in our case, Celiac Disease. In addition to purchasing school supplies, clothes and shoes, we are also shopping for kid-friendly, gluten- free lunch box items. We stroll the grocery store and pass the cookie aisle, pass the bread aisle, and pass the snack-sized cracker aisle (Goldfish and Cheez-Its) and there is an immediate sadness that we feel when we know our children cannot eat all those fun things. It is funny the things they miss. Mary would do anything to eat Twizzlers, even though they were never her favorite before she was diagnosed. Katie loved Cheez-It crackers and still drools as we pass the cracker aisle. And oh Judy just loved those chocolate-chip mini muffins!

It is a definitely a challenge, however, thankfully over the last several years more gluten-free (GF) products have come out and the lunch-making process is easier. We have to really plan out our children’s lunches to make sure all the right GF products are available in the pantry. Our children do eat quite healthy with plenty of fruits and veggies, but it is a daily goal to make these lunches fun. We are constantly on a mission for kid-friendly GF food! We always incorporate a small piece of chocolate or candy, because we know they are looking across the lunchroom and see their friends eating their old favorites. It’s amazing what a couple of Hersey kisses in their own lunch boxes will do…

We are so blessed with these beautiful girls. We are lucky they were diagnosed when they were younger and live healthy lives. They are all very active with sports, school, and in their communities. As moms, we constantly think about what could have happened had they had not been diagnosed. Undiagnosed Celiac Disease can have harmful long-term complications. We accept our lunch-box woes as a challenge knowing that gluten-free foods are the “medicine” our children need.

Happy Back to School everyone! Enjoy your year! 🙂