Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! With exams looming ahead and “group project season” among college students, it’s a difficult time filled with coffee and tears. With that being said, Thanksgiving will be a much needed break from the stress of school.

I’d also like to mention that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. A whole day revolved around food, family and being thankful? Best day ever. I’m excited to spend it with my family.

My mom, grandma and aunt are all gluten free for various reasons, so when we get together around the holidays we can get pretty crazy with our Thanksgiving meal.

My favorite dish? Sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows on top- a big hit in my family. Of course, I love the gluten-free pies we make together and enjoy with our family.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving recipe/tradition? I find it is very freeing to have a completely gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner. How difficult is it for you to enjoy Thanksgiving with a family that doesn’t understand gluten intolerance?


Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Best Regards,

The Gluten Free College Girl




Gluten-Free Almond Joy Brownie Bites

So this weekend I had the chance to visit my friend’s grandma in Bay City for the weekend. She presented me with a copy of a recipe for Almond Joy Brownie Bites that looked insanely delicious and, of course, full of flour.

But I was in dire need for a chocolate kick and I had the materials to make this wonderful recipe gluten free for my personal enjoyment.

She thought I could make this recipe gluten free. I thought, “Challenge accepted”.

So, here we go. My take on Gluten-Free Almond Joy Brownie Bites.


1 (16 ounce) Betty Crocker Chocolate Gluten-Free Brownie Mix
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (14 ounce) bag sweetened coconut (Note: Can have gluten due to processing on shared equipment . If super sensitive, buy shredded coconut labelled gluten-free.)
1/4 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips, melted (optional)
1/4 cup almonds, chopped fine (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line 20-24 muffin cups with paper liners. Use cute ones (Okay, that’s optional). Anyways, don’t forget this important step- They will stick if you don’t use them. Then your brownies will look messier than me on a Wednesday morning (But no, seriously).
2. Follow the directions on the package of the brownie mix. This is pretty easy- even a college kid can do it. Don’t make that your excuse for not trying this awesome recipe.
3. Scoop mix into muffin liners until they are about halfway full. DO NOT OVERFILL. I did this by making 18 brownie cups instead of the directed 24. Lesson? Follow directions. Put these into the over for 12-14 minutes, until they are generally cooked.4. While those beauties are cooking, mix the condensed milk, coconut and milk together in a bowl. It will look like a lot of mix. But who doesn’t love coconut?

5. Remove your brownies from the oven and scoop generous spoonfuls of the coconut mixture on top. Be sure to push it down a bit into the brownie. Refrain from eating it now. That’s an order.

6. Return brownies to their homeland and bake an additional 14-16 minutes. The coconut at the top should begin to brown.

7. Remove from oven and allow them to cool before removing the cute paper liners you just bought. Add on the optional toppings if you so desire. I was too lazy to melt chocolate, but the almonds on top added a nice aspect to the overall flavor of the brownie.

So, I had a few issues transforming this recipe into a gluten-free snack. The flavor was definitely there. The visual appeal? Not so much.


But it was definitely a party bus in my mouth and worth the time and calories.


On a side note, I also have a minor egg allergy so I try to avoid putting them in my baked goods. I find that using egg substitutes with this brownie mix works well. Unfortunately, I do not know how to make these dairy free. Maybe one day I’ll try?

Also, if you have never worked with the Betty Crocker mix before, these brownies can be finicky. They will look really goopy, but that does not mean that they are not done! It is really easy to mistake these brownies as undercooked, and then they are burned. There is a fine line to walk and nobody likes burned brownies, especially since they are a bit more expensive than a normal brownie mix would be.

Thanks Grandma Dalton for this wonderful recipe and treat! Other than that, enjoy! Tell me how yours went 🙂

Oats for the Gluten Free

Oats are a breakfast staple that I simply just can’t do without. Whenever my sailor, Tom, is home from his duty station, our favorite thing to do is go to Coney Island for breakfast. While my boyfriend’s stomach is equivalent to the Man of Steel’s, I’m the one with the gluten intolerance and egg allergy, making breakfast (especially in a restaurant) a difficult meal for me to eat safely. I’m always scared to order oatmeal in a restaurant, not sure how it will hurt my stomach later.

Breakfast shouldn’t be perilous, even if my stomach is like the wimpy Lois Lane.

That being said, I’m sure there are many gluten-sensitive people out there like me who love to have oatmeal with their bacon and coffee in the morning. But is it gluten free?

The short answer is yes, oats are gluten free. But like any other food product in the world, contamination is always a huge issue. This is especially a problem with oats. Most of the commercial companies who produce oats also produce wheat, barely and any other gluten-containing particles that could be potentially hazardous to your health.

So what does that mean for someone who is gluten free?

Definitely avoid all instant oatmeal packets and try your hardest to find oats labeled “gluten free” on the front. Bob’s Red Mill is a great brand for gluten-free oatmeal. If you’re looking for instant flavored oatmeal, GlutenFreeda is a great brand with a variety of flavors and certified gluten-free oats.

As for eating oatmeal in a restaurant, this should be avoided at all costs unless you want to play Russian roulette with your stomach. It’s more than likely contaminated, but it’s up to you if you want to take that risk. Just don’t forget where your kryptonite might be hiding.

This really sucks for those of us that love the Quaker brand or getting oatmeal in a restaurant. But like everything else, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

There’s also a shitty plot twist when it comes to oats- not all people who have gluten sensitives or Celiac disease can even ingest certified gluten-free oats. Many Celiacs have a hypersensitivity to oats and cannot stomach them at all.

So what do those unfortunate souls who cannot process oats whatsoever use as a replacement?

Quinoa is always a great option for hot cereal. I’ve never personally tried it as hot cereal, but there are many recipes that make it look simply delicious. Another great alternative is Cream of Rice, a gluten-free hot cereal from the makers of Cream of Wheat. As a kid, Cream of Wheat was the best thing on the planet (not to mention Coco Wheats) and I thought Cream of Rice had the same great flavor.

Regardless, there are many great options for hot breakfast cereals for us that don’t have a Man of Steel stomach.

I think my boyfriend might be sticking to his superior oatmeal making skills at home from now on.

Is Coffee Gluten Free?

I love coffee.

Like any other sleep deprived college student out there, I need something to keep me going.  With all the time taken for meetings, work and classes, a cup of coffee is the closest thing I get to “me” time.

 But the big question for us who can’t have gluten: Is coffee gluten free? Essentially, yes. There is nothing in coffee that supposedly contains gluten. On the other hand, flavored coffee may be a problem if you are really sensitive to trace gluten. Having a cup of Joe shouldn’t be a problem.

But what if you are one of those college students that like Starbucks, Java City or anything few and far between that involves a barista and a need for a specialty drink? I’ve done some research and this is what I’ve pulled:

Starbucks: The only thing Starbucks can guarantee to be gluten free (or under the 20 ppm rule) is their already-bottled beverages they sell. This is a bummer for those of us that like the whole Starbucks experience. 

However, that does not mean that everything at Starbucks contains gluten. The real threat with the coffees would be cross-contamination when the baristas are making it. I’ve gone to Starbucks numerous times and have not had a problem with their coffee. 

Below are some resources on what is and is not gluten free at Starbucks. Make sure to always use your best judgement when buying a coffee. And unless it’s a completely clean blender, blended drinks are usually off limits:



Also, make sure to watch out for changing ingredients. In the comments on one of these pages, it was discussed that the soy milk they used changed and now contains gluten, which raises the chances of cross-contamination.

Java City:

A lot of people don’t completely utilize the Java City here on campus. Like anyone, I usually prefer Starbucks. But while Starbucks has very blurred lines in what is in their ingredients, Java City has more of an outright stance on what contains gluten here.

However, it is always important to note that the Java City cafes on campus do sell food items directly from Campus Dining. It is important to note that this food information is not disclosed on the Java City website. As always, use your best judgement and when in doubt, check the ingredient label.  Personally, I might be getting more Java City from now on.


Regardless of what is gluten free and what isn’t, make sure you take it easy on the coffee drinking if you have a weak stomach. Coffee is acidic, and it is best to not drink too much of it regardless. If your stomach starts to get upset, it’s time to put the coffee down and find another alternative to jumpstart your mornings. Tea is always a great alternative.

Even if you really like to drink coffee, don’t do it if it makes you sick. We all have to give up our favorite gluten-filled foods, so this should be no different. It’s the cold hard truth, but even I had to hear it:  I’m definitely cutting back on coffee from now on, and if I drink it I will stick to brewed coffee. My stomach will thank me for it later.


Happy Gluten-Free Halloween!


Halloween is around the corner! It’s that time of year when highschool students try to scam their neighbors for free candy and college students get another excuse to host slutty costume parties. The fun never ends. Not even when it’s typical Michigan weather and raining on your parade- leaving you standing outside in black fishnet stockings with eye-liner whiskers slowly smearing off of your face, ruining your makeshift “cat” costume.

Regardless of your stance on slutty Halloween costumes, it’s always good to know what you’re eating before gluten jumps out and literally scares the shit out of you-  no “Boo!” necessary. Here’s a list of gluten-free tricks and treats to watch out for this Halloween:

1. Halloween Candy- Trick or Treat? 

Like any potentially gluten-filled foods you receive, asking the person who gave it to you is never enough. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to Halloween candy. Do not ingest any candy that does not have a label on it, as well as anything that someone might give you as a Halloween treat unless you absolutely trust that it’s gluten free.

Make sure your Halloween candy is a treat, not a trick. The Celiac Disease Foundation updates a  gluten-free Halloween candy list every year. You can check it out here. If you are curious about what you can and cannot eat, this is by far the most trusted resource for gluten-free candy. I urge you to use it.

2. Parties- Trick or Treat?

When in doubt, host your own Halloween party. If you decide to host a potluck, it will be easier for you to have foods at home that you can eat so you don’t get the holiday blues on an empty stomach. If you are attending a family party or a dinner somewhere, make sure you call them in advance and politely remind them of your allergy and what it entails. If you are doubting their skills, eat quickly beforehand to avoid being hungry the rest of the night.

3. Hard Cider (And Other Alcoholic Beverages)- Trick or Treat? 

“Halloween Party-BYOB! ” Too bad you’re allergic. Good news- there are many decent reviews for gluten-free hard cider and beer that could make your holidays easier. This can be a good alternative to beer and other alcohol are parties that are an all-out Halloween trick on your body. This website  has a list of gluten-free beers and hard ciders that will help you get into the Halloween spirit. If you would like more information, http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/GlutenFreeAlcohol/ has an even more extensive list. This way you don’t have to sit out on the party when everyone else is having fun.

Regardless of what you choose to do this Halloween, I hope you have a happy and safe one! If you have any tips or tricks for being gluten free this Halloween, feel free to comment below.


Allergen Free Zone

Coming into college, I was really nervous about my gluten allergy. How was I supposed to survive in the residential restaurants here on campus? While Celiac disease is more common now than it ever has been, it doesn’t mean that it is acknowledged like it should be.

Lucky for me, Central Michigan University now has a “Food Allergy Acknowledgement Zone” in every dining hall on campus.



This is one of the prime reasons why people like me can still get fat at college.  The variety that have is astounding: if I want a bagel, I can get one. They have breads, doughnuts, waffles, cereals and occasionally muffins and cookies. Talk about awesome.

The coolest thing they have isn’t food, however. The allergy acknowledgement zone has its very own allergen-free dedicated convection oven. Since many gluten-free items have to be refrigerated, this oven really helps make things taste like they should.


Campus Dining has been really accommodating towards students that have food allergies. I feel like down the road they will improve in the allergy free zones. A step they have done recently has been to switch to gluten-free soy sauce in all their cooked foods. This helps make it easier for people like me to find a meal that I can eat without heading to the salad bar every day.


Does your college have an allergy-acknowledgement zone? Comment below and tell me about it!


Cookie Monster at Heart

Like I said in my last post, I love sweets. Sometimes, the store-bought baked goods just aren’t good enough. We all find that gluten-free brownie that tastes like cardboard. Or, if you’re lucky, it will taste like chocolate cardboard.

And, well, let’s be honest. Nobody wants to eat chocolate cardboard.

Coming to our second challenge: It’s hard to bake things in college. Whether you live in a dorm room or have zero time to turn the oven on, sometimes it’s just hard to find the motivation.

Well, crisis averted. In my search for gluten-free sweets, I’ve come across a few simple pleasures that are not only easy to make, but taste really good too!

A really simple treat that I’ve made quite often is a gluten-free ice cream sandwich. I usually make this with gluten-free cookies straight from the oven with a decent layer of ice cream in the middle.

Like I’ve said, baking isn’t the funnest thing to do in college.  Nobody wants to sit there and make gluten-free cookies from scratch and have them turn out to taste awful. So, my solution is to turn to gluten-free break and bake cookies.

Surprising, you can find many different options for gluten-free pre-made cookie dough. In many chain stores like WalMart and Meijer, your best bet would be to use Pillsbury Gluten-Free Cookie Dough.

It comes prepackaged like this. All you have to do is spoon it out and put it on a cookie sheet for some fresh cookies. If you want more information on the Pillsbury gluten-free products, check out this link: http://www.pillsbury.com/products/gluten-free

Pillsbury isn’t your only option. Today, I actually used the brand Immaculate. These are jumbo gluten free, dairy free cookies that taste like the real thing. I actually bought this at Green Tree Natural Grocery, a store located in downtown mount Pleasant.

These break and bake cookies are the real deal. While you don’t get as many cookies as you do with Pillsbury, they are thicker and have more chocolate in them.

Regardless of what brand you choose, the cookies come out tasting great! You could eat them plain or go all out with ice cream.

I’m an all-out kind of girl. So yeah, ice cream is going to be smashed in between two cookies.

Surprisingly, many ice cream brands out there are NOT gluten free. it is important to make sure you know what you are eating. Here is a reference for gluten free ice creams: http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/GlutenFreeSnacks/a/Gluten-Free-Ice-Cream.htm

I’ve used Breyer’s and Ben and Jerry’s vanilla ice cream before. Both taste great and are really careful about their labels.

We’re done! Hope you enjoy this quick and easy sweet treat like I did!