Candy Hearts Blog

It's a sweet adventure full of gluten free goodies!

Candy Hearts Blog - It's a sweet adventure full of gluten free goodies!

The GF&AF Expo is coming to Phoenix…I’ve got your coupon Code!


Get excited, Phoenix!

The Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Expo (#GFAFExpo) is coming on January 17, 2015!

Sugar and I attended this event the last time they were in town and had a blast!


I would HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to sample a TON of gluten-free stuff while filling your new reusable shopping bag (included in ticket price) with a bunch of *free* goodies and coupons.

I mean who WOULDN’T recommend that, right?

Lucky for you, I’ve scored a couple coupon codes to make your day even better!


You can get a 15% discount by using coupon code ADVANCE from December 17th, 2014 through January 16th, 2015.

HERE is the link to purchase tickets.

Last, but not least, be sure to stay connected and share your experiences!

  • Twitter
    • Follow @gfafexpo & tag any Expo tweets.
    • The official Twitter hashtag for the Expo is #GFAFExpo
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
    • Follow @gfafexpo & tag Expo pics 

Photo-A-Day: Proud

dmpad 4It’s not easy having Type 1 Diabetes.

It’s not easy having Celiac Disease.

But…ya know what?

It’s not easy being the sibling of a kid with a chronic diagnosis either.

When you want to take gymnastic lessons, but the budget can’t budge because of test strips, co-payments, and gluten-free groceries.

When you’re in the middle of a super fun bike ride, but have to stop because your sister has a low blood sugar.

When you can’t wait for a stop at the ice cream store, but find out your sister’s blood sugar is super high, so you have to wait a little longer.

It’s not fair.

And, yet, these little girls are patient. They don’t complain. They are willing to do anything asked of them in support of their sister.

By the age of 3, they each knew how to call 911 to report an emergency.

By the age of 4, they each knew how to test her blood sugar themselves.

They’ve retrieved countless juice boxes over the years.

They’ve walked miles upon miles alongside her to raise funding, awareness, and hope for a cure.

They’ve accepted their roles in this life with a gracious smile.

I am proud of them for a million reasons.

The way they support their sister is just one of them.

Photo-A-Day: Snacks

dmpad 3 snacks


Oh how I love thee.

I’m not a perfect Pinterest mom…far from it, in fact.

But I do make sure there’s a hearty snack on the table when my kids get home from school (ehum, most of the time, anyway).

My life is much easier when they’ve been snacked up as soon as they walk in the door.

That dinner hour? You know the one…when you’re in the kitchen trying to get dinner on the table with kids coming and going, then standing over your shoulder with their whining and “I’M HUNGRY…WHEN’S DINNER…I’M STARVING”……..

Well, I’ve just learned that snacks can make or break our after school hours over here.

Shared from my Instagram, here’s a pic of one of our favs for Diabetes Month Photo-A-Day (#dmpad)!

End of School…Start of School…Repeat…

It’s the end of the school year here…which always means it’s time to gear up for the next school year. I just sent off this email, and thought I’d post it, just in case it makes life easier for you to copy, paste, and tweak it to fit your needs.

Hey…I’m always interested in finding ways to makes life easier.

(For more helpful tips and information about how we manage Sugar at school, click HERE.)


It’s that time of year again.  The end of one school year means it’s time to begin preparing for the task of sending {Sugar} to school with both diabetes and celiac again next year.  {Sugar} has matured quite a bit over the years, and is now able to be more of an active participant in her self-care.  She still doesn’t possess the critical-thinking and decision-making skills that are necessary to insure her safety and well-being, but this past school year we’ve definitely seen her confidence soar in both areas of medical management. 

Prior to the 1st day of school next year, we will need to sit down to discuss her 504 accommodations, develop a routine for visits to the Health Office, and clarify any concerns/questions.  In order to meet these goals, there are a few bits of information I’ll need when we meet:

  • Lunch Time
  • Recess Time(s)
  • P.E. Time(s)
  • Routine for classroom parties (time of day, types of foods typically offered, frequency of parties.)

I’ve compiled some resources that may be helpful for school staff to better understand both Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.  Please feel free to share these resources with anyone who will be interacting with {Sugar} throughout the school day:

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes in School – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)
Safe at School – American Diabetes Association (ADA)
Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed — National Diabetes Education Program via the CDC


National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)
Letter to Educators from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign via the NIH

I hope these resources will be helpful in better understanding the medical issues {Sugar} lives with.  As her parents, it is our goal to help her succeed, despite the challenges.  We believe we have a responsibility to educate school personnel, and advocate for her throughout her education experiences.  We are always available to answer questions or address concerns, and want to maintain an open dialog at all times. 

I’d also like to mention that Nurse {C} and {Sugar} have a solid history of working together to effectively manage both diabetes and celiac in the school setting.  Nurse {C} is an outstanding resource to {Name of School}, and I am confident in her ability to troubleshoot, problem solve, and address any issues that may arise.  Nurse {B} is also very knowledgeable and capable of helping however necessary to insure {Sugar’s} well-being.  I consider this amazing team of school nurses to be one of the most consistent attributes to {Sugar’s}success at school thus far. 

Please let me know how I can be of assistance in getting her 504 meeting scheduled.

We are looking forward to a healthy, happy 4th Grade year, and hope everyone has a wonderful summer!

Dear Food Processor,

I owe you an apology.

You have been under one of my cabinets for years.  Your parts have been pushed around, crammed, and shoved into the nooks and crannies of a plethora of other kitchen appliances, bakeware, and cutting boards.  I know it isn’t pretty under there, but you have waited patiently — untouched and unloved — without causing me much of a headache.  (Well, aside from all those parts that kept getting in the way.)

Mr. Rose picked you up several years ago.  I’m not even sure why at the moment, but none of that matters now.  Over the past four years, I’ve poured over thousands of gluten-free recipes, always in search of something new, yet familiar, to offer my family.

Whenever a recipe would read anything to the effect of:

“In the bowl of a food processor…”

I would quickly close the recipe, turn the page, or simply decide to take my search in a different direction altogether. The idea of digging through the cabinet to find all your parts, drag them out, and then have to wash them afterwards just felt like too much work.

Until yesterday.

I’m sorry.  I judged you (and. all. your. freaking. PARTS!!!) unfairly.  It was wrong.  I know that now.

You see, last night I made a chicken pot pie for dinner.  In the olden days, I would have had a ready made pie crust on hand to slap over the top of my baking dish.  But, in these days…these GLUTEN-FREE days…that’s not possible.  

If my family is to have a chicken pot pie for dinner, I have to make the pie crust myself.

I’ve tried a few recipes.  I know the basic ingredients: flour, butter, salt, sugar, water.  I’ve tried to use a few different gadgets (and even resorted to just using two knives) in order to cut the butter into the flour.  I’ve tried to use my stand mixer.  I’ve tried every possible way to avoid using…YOU.

Yesterday I decided to search for some tips.  You know tips to help me incorporate the butter better and tips to help me improve my pie crust technique.  I found THIS article, and immediately cut up my butter into bits to put in the freezer. I threw some ice in my water too.  

And then…there it was…

“Combine the flour blend, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.”


But I was determined to make the best gluten-free pie crust possible, so I did it.  I found you (and YOUR PARTS!!!!), dusted you off, and plugged you in.

Oh, Food Processor.  You really delivered.  I will never doubt your ability to help me in the kitchen again.



It’s true.  

I overcame my food processor anxiety, followed that article’s advice to a T, and ended up with the best gluten-free pie crust I’ve ever made in the past 4 years.

Except, I’m not a very good “roller”.  

In fact, I’m a horrible “roller”.

But…I’m really good at smooshing dough and using cookie cutters.  

(This was a flower cookie cutter and I sliced each one in half.)

Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie

1)  FIRST, read this article, pull out your food processor, make a pie crust, and throw it in your fridge.  (P.S.  I use Jules Gluten Free Flour Blend.)


1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup gluten-free flour (Such as Jules Gluten Free)
1 cup milk
1 cup chicken stock
1-2 (or 5-6) splashes of white cooking wine
2 cups cut up cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
Half a bag of frozen corn
(Can also add dried herbs, salt and pepper, or whatever else you want to enhance the flavor)

Saute onions and celery in sauce pan, remove and place in large bowl.  Add chicken and corn to sauteed veggies and mix well to combine.

Melt 1/3 cup butter in sauce pan.  Sir in flour and let cook over low heat for 1 minute.  Slowly add milk, stirring constantly.  Add chicken stock and wine, stirring constantly.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour sauce over chicken and combine well.  Spray casserole dish with non-stick spray, and add chicken mixture.

Top with pie crust — OR pie cut outs, if you’re anything like me 😉

Brush pie crust with thin layer of milk (no puddles!), and bake at 350 for 50 minutes.  Cover with foil if crust becomes too brown during cooking process.


Gluten-Free Thanksgiving 2012: The Leftovers.

I love Thanksgiving.  I love the food, the friends, the festive atmosphere in the air…the cooking, the prepping, the planning.
I love it all.
But I especially love the leftovers…
I’ll get to those in just a minute…

First I want to tell you about how we had two delicious feasts this year.  We spent Thanksgiving Day with Heidi and her beautiful family.  We love these people.  Seriously. Spending Thanksgiving with them felt like we were hanging out with our own extended family.

Heidi is one of those friends who loves to cook…and I’ve never, EVER, eaten anything from her kitchen that wasn’t absolutely AMAZING.  But, aside from that, Heidi knows that our family has to deal with that pesky celiac disease “thing”.  Toting celiac along to holiday meals can be a pain.  Sometimes it seems like there’s gluten in everything, and it’s hard to be the “problem child”, always asking about ingredient lists for all the dishes and whatnot.

Except, we never have to worry when Heidi is cooking.  She keeps some GF flour on hand, and happily modifies anything she can.  I never asked her to…she just does it.  And she doesn’t make us feel like we’re being picky or hoity-toity, because we need something gluten-free to eat.  Some of the best gluten-free stuff to ever pass these taste buds have come straight from her kitchen…and no one in her family even needs it!!!!  From appetizers with GF crackers, to the BEST GF streusel topped sweet potatoes, to chocolate torte and pecan pie…she just made it work.  If I’m honest, THAT fact is what really made our Thanksgiving so special:  The fact that we have friends like Heidi and her family in our lives.

On Friday, Mr. Rose and I cooked up a feast of our own!  My father and step-mother, along with her father and a cousin joined us for dinner.  We had planned to eat at 6:30, but dinner didn’t actually make it to the table until 7:30.  OOPS!  Such is life when you only have one oven and three littles wandering in and out of the kitchen all day 🙂

So what DO you serve for a gluten-free holiday feast?

You might be surprised at how easy it is.

Here…let me break it down for you:

  1. Mashed Potatoes — potatoes, butter, milk, salt.  Nope!  No gluten!
  2. Stuffing — I used some random GF bread that had been in the freezer for awhile, along with some Udi’s and made THIS recipe.  It was DELICIOUS!
  3. Cranberry Sauce — From a can, but I added the juice of 2 clementines and some chopped pecans to make it look fancier.  I’m the only one who eats it…but I want to make a fresh batch one of these days anyway.
  4. Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans — I just made up my own recipe, but I guess it’s kind of like this one, except I like more sugar and don’t add the garlic salt.  Again…no gluten! 
  5. Gravy — I was always afraid of making gravy before going gluten-free forced me to start making my own sauces, creamed soups, and gravies.  With Jules Gluten Free Flour, it’s just a matter of substituting the GF flour for regular flour, and moving on.  Again, it’s in my head, but here’s a recipe that should work for you 🙂  PS — My gravy got great reviews this year!
  6. Pecan Pie — Heidi sent us home with some of her GF pecan pie.  She tells me this is the recipe she used, along with a GF pie crust from Whole Foods Market.  All I know is that is was SCRUMPTIOUS!!!!
  7. Sweet Potatoes — Okay, mine weren’t as fancy as Heidi’s.  But they were still mighty delicious 🙂  I used Kraft Marshmallows, because #1) They’re my favorite and #2) They’re GF…though I have to admit that I’ve never found a marshmallow that wasn’t GF.
  8. Marshmallow Salad — Speaking of marshmallows…this is a dish I grew up with…but we add walnuts and maybe some other stuff too.  Bottom line:  My holiday table wouldn’t be the same without it.  This year, my dad brought it along…every time I eat it, part of my heart is transported back in time to when I was a little girl.
  9. Turkey — OF COURSE!  We aren’t turkey professionals, but our bird was pretty fantastic this year, if I do say so myself 🙂  PS — Here’s a list of GF turkeys.
Oh, but there was more!!!!
Fried Rice — ?????  WHAT????  Yes.  Have I ever mentioned that Mr. Rose is half Japanese?  Well, when I asked him what Thanksgiving dishes remind him of his childhood, he started rattling off things like “wontons” and “duck” and “fried rice”…….so…… there ya have it.  His fried rice has been one of the most popular dishes at our Thanksgiving table for as long as we’ve been married.  His recipe is top secret (and DELICIOUS!!!!!)  I do know, however, that he uses San-J GF Soy and Teriyaki Sauces.

Ham — Yeah, we had a GF spiral ham in addition to the turkey.  More leftovers 🙂

I should also mention that I made some of these GF crescent rolls, except I forgot about them so they didn’t actually make it onto either plate.  I ended up using the dough to make cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning.

And, of course, we had REAL whipped cream to top our pie 🙂

(Hey, I never said our feast was healthy…just that it was gluten-free!)

#FFL12 – Warm Fuzzies Wear Glasses

Have I mentioned Sugar’s recent retinal exam?

The one she had at the 2012 CWD Friends For Life Conference?

You know…the one where I was completely fascinated by this…

Right.  That one.

Well…there was another finding we learned that I sort of glossed over.

Nothing major.  {Easy for *me* to say!}  No diabetes complications, or anything.  

Just that the doctor suspected she would need to be evaluated for glasses.

She heard him say it, and whipped her head around to look at me with panic written all over her face.  I kept a smile, and told her not to worry about it…we’d have her doctor check things out when we got home.  I didn’t want to let it ruin the rest of our trip.

So…fast forward to a few days ago, when she failed the vision screening at her annual well-visit.  And then, the following day, when we got her in for an eye appointment to get a final verdict.

She was none too pleased.

“No one will think I’m pretty.”

“What if someone tries to bully me?”

“What if they make fun of me on the playground because of having a pump AND glasses?”

I tried to tell her that nothing can steal her beauty.  I tried to reassure her that a bully would never be tolerated. I tried to say all the right things…  



But she was right.

I found myself at a loss for words.  All I could do was shut up and hug her.

I posted something on Facebook — you know — because when a mom doesn’t know what the heck to do with a situation, she turns to her friends to see if they’ve ever dealt with something similar.  I was looking for something encouraging to share with her, words of advice, someone to listen.

By the time we returned home from her appointment a short time later, my Twitter feed and Facebook notifications had exploded.  Soon a personal message from Tom Karlya arrived.  Reassuring comments, pictures of people with their pumps AND glasses…and chatter of Sara, Kim, and Jess collecting pictures for “a little video”.



Because I really can’t find the right words to explain what happened…


All I can say is…

Well, I don’t know what to say.  Thank you doesn’t seem to cover it.

Watching it reminded me of what it felt like to be at FFL just a few short weeks ago.  The warm fuzzy feeling of community, friendship, and family.  The sense that everyone around you “gets it”.  Smiling faces, silly faces, video snippets, and ROCKING dance moves {here’s looking at you, Alecia}.  

I want to reach through the computer to hug each person…and each person who sent a pic that wasn’t shown…and each person who wanted to send a pic, but didn’t see the message in time…and each person who even thought they MIGHT have a pic to send…and each person who has watched it and commented somewhere.

Warm fuzzies.

I just want each of you to know how incredibly touched I am.  How touched WE are.

So…here’s a peek of what last night looked like on our end…

I hope you can see the joy.  The unspoken words of sisterhood. 

(Also, if you happen to see a basket of unfolded laundry and shoes scattered about, just ignore them.)

Sugar takes things in quietly, and reflects on them by herself before sharing her feelings about something.  Tiara…well, Tiara is a firecracker who expresses herself with as much drama as possible at any given moment.  Tink is a comedian who finds any reason to laugh FIRST and then allows deeper emotions to emerge.

You may want to keep those personality traits in mind while you watch this.

From the bottom of our Candy Hearts…

Oh…PS…The “Beautiful” video was published on 7/25/12.  Sugar was diagnosed with T1D on 7/25/05.  Seven years of memories, thanks to insulin…and a million more memories to come, thanks to awesome friendships found in the DOC!

#FFL12 – Dr. Fasano. Onward.

“It doesn’t matter how I answer that question.  No one can really ever know, and you can’t go back.  You can only move forward.  She’s healthy and happy.  With proper attention to her diabetes, along with correct management of celiac, she can live a long, fulfilled life.  Nothing I say will ever take that away.”  Dr. Alessio Fasano

I nodded my head and looked down at my hands.  I tried to smile, but felt the familiar clutch in my chest, and swallowed hard to fight back tears.  Aside from one or two people, the room was almost empty now.  I looked up again, and thanked him for taking a few minutes to talk to me.  He smiled,  and I moved out of the way so the next person could have their turn.

When Celiac entered our world in 2008, I began searching high and low for as much information as I could find.  Along the way, I consistently came across the name of one prominent researcher:  Dr. Alessio Fasano.  For YEARS, I’ve kept up with the events happening inside the gluten-free (GF) community; and for years, I’ve valued his position on issues ranging from obtaining a confirmed Celiac diagnosis to using 20 ppm as the standard for a U.S. gluten-free labeling law.

So, when I learned that he would be presenting a session at the 2012 Children With Diabetes Friends For Life Conference, I could hardly contain my anticipation.  If I only had the opportunity to ask him one question, I already knew what it would be:

Had I known to eliminate gluten when she first began showing signs of celiac, could I have stopped the autoimmune process that ultimately led to the destruction of her pancreatic beta cells ?

And, while I wanted to hear a definitive yes or no, I’ve come to learn that nothing in life is ever definitive.  There are no do-overs.  You learn as you go, and do the best you can along the way. So, I suppose that, if a top-notch celiac researcher tells me not to look back, but instead to keep moving forward…then…ONWARD we must go!  He’s right.  The “yes or no” answer I keep seeking is of little relevance to the life we’re living.

His session was incredible.  I was completely absorbed by the information he was presenting, and couldn’t seem to take notes fast enough.  Here’s a list of a few things I remember:

  • First of all, I’m not exactly sure where or how I thought the immune system functioned, but I was stunned by the HUGE role the intestines play through a process commonly known as “leaky gut“.  When combined with an environmental trigger and genetic susceptibility, leaky gut sets the stage for a Celiac diagnosis.
  • Just published in March 2012, THIS study demonstrates that delaying gluten exposure until after 12 months of age can reduce the immune response to gluten. All of my girls were exclusively breastfed for the 1st six months of their lives, and introduced to solid foods in the form of pureed fruits and veggies after that.  Their first gluten exposure was in the form of pick-up cereals and “puffs”, along with teething biscuits around 7 months of age.  If I could go back (and I realize I can’t), I would NEVER have introduced gluten before the age of 12 months.  I wish I had known then what I know now.
  • Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease share many genetic variants, while others are distinct — read more HERE.  Of note, I wanted to share this statement…

Our results support further evaluation of the hypothesis that cereal and gluten consumption might be an environmental factor in type 1 diabetes, leading to the alteration of the function of the gut immune system and its relationship with the pancreatic immune system.

Could that be the “yes or no” I’m looking for?  Onward.

  • Finally, something I found incredibly intriguing is that cesarean delivery is associated with Celiac Disease.  It has something to do with the initial bacteria introduced into the gut…operating rooms are sterile environments…you’ll have to read the rest, because I can’t explain it as well as the study itself.  Anyway, none of my girls were born via cesarean.

When asked if he, himself, avoids gluten, Dr. Fasano gave a little chuckle.  “I’m Italian. Avoiding gluten would be quite difficult to say the least!”  He responded that he eats gluten in moderation, and he believes it’s a good guideline for everyone to follow.  Isn’t that what we hear for everything?  “All things in moderation.”  For some reason, the idea of eating bagels for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta at dinner, and cookies or crackers for snacks in between seems “normal” in the American diet…but, the truth is, it’s too much!

There’s so much more!  If you EVER have an opportunity to hear Dr. Fasano, I would highly recommend his session!

In closing, I wanted to share that both Tink and Tiara had endoscopies three days after we returned from the conference.

They’ve both been symptomatic for awhile, so I requested some bloodwork from our pediatrician.  The labs were negative, with the exception that they’re both positive for the DQ8 genetic marker (which means they’re genetically pre-disposed to the risk of developing Celiac).

As I’ve explained before, Sugar’s celiac screenings were negative for YEARS, despite obvious symptoms.  With this in mind, we proceeded with a GI consult, who agreed that an endoscopy was an appropriate next step.

Last week, we got the call that both girl’s biopsies were negative for Celiac Disease. The recommendation by both our local GI doctor and Dr. Fasano (because I had a second chance to pick his brain at the conference!) is to have them tested again if their symptoms worsen.  Otherwise, they should be re-screened prior to puberty, because untreated Celiac during that critical time can lead to a host of problems.

And so, it brings us full circle to that “yes or no” question.

Do we eliminate gluten for both girls in hopes of preventing further autoimmune disorders, including another T1 diagnosis?  Or have the cards already been played since they were both introduced to gluten prior to 12 months of age, and they both have confirmed genetic susceptibility.

Do I impose a LIFELONG expensive dietary restriction without any evidence to support the reason?  Is that something they would really appreciate later in life?  Or, would it be an example of their mother making a reactive decision based on their older sister’s experience?

It’s hard to know what to do…if one/both of them were to ever develop T1, and we don’t eliminate gluten, the guilt would be overwhelming. At the same time, the idea of forcing a GF diet feels like it could potentially impose a lifelong burden. And what if we do eliminate gluten, but they decide not to continue being GF as an adult of their own free will…could that cause a worse autoimmune response later? So much still unknown.

This is when I choose to rest the burden and pray that God’s plan will be honored, no matter what. I will pray for an obvious answer, and keep pressing ONWARD in moderation for the time being.

Onward.  Thank you for sharing the journey.

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