Happy Holidays!

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving! As a college student, I hold my holiday breaks as a sacred time for family, sleep, and food! As the weather begins to get cooler day by day, seasonal flavors are popping up at restaurants across the country from pumpkin to maple pecan and the Christmas flavors like peppermint and hot cocoa.  I absolutely love these holiday flavors and especially enjoy these festive holiday treats when they are gluten free!

For Thanksgiving this year, we are going down to my grandparents house to celebrate and eat lots of food. My grandma was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease recently so almost all of the food for the holidays is gluten free. Here are some of our traditional Thanksgiving delights that we serve every year:

  1. Turkey! – What would Thanksgiving be without turkey?! Luckily this staple is naturally gluten free as long as it is cooked with gluten free seasonings.
  2. Sweet Potato Casserole – This is by far my favorite food at Thanksgiving! My grandma makes this with a praline pecan topping that is absolutely delicious! (And gluten free!)
  3. Roasted Veggies – This is such a treat on Thanksgiving and they are naturally gluten free. You can chop up any seasonal veggies like Brussel sprouts and squash and roast with oil and spices for a healthy side.
  4. Pumpkin and Apple pie – Who could just settle with one holiday pie?! My mom usually makes the apple pie while my grandma makes the pumpkin pie. Both use a great gluten free pie crust recipe that I included in the recipe section! These are holiday essentials that are just as delicious made gluten free!
  5. Turkey Cookies – These are a unique holiday treat that my other grandma used to always make with us and now we carry the tradition ourselves and make them for every Thanksgiving. These simple cookies include a rolled chocolate cookie base cut with turkey cookie cutters. Once they are baked, they are topped with a bright pink frosting glaze. These are my favorite holiday treats and I can easily eat 30 of these cookies before our Thanksgiving meal even begins!

I hope you enjoy some of my family holiday treats and hopefully your holidays are filled with lots of delicious food and memories!

Check out the recipe page for my mom’s recipe for the delicious gluten free pie crust. It can be used to make just about any pie that you desire including pumpkin and apple which are classic favorites in our family.

I hope you all have a great holiday and you enjoy plenty of time with family and friends and lots of food! Enjoy your holiday break!


(Gluten) Free Pizza girl

Gluten, Gluten, Everywhere!

Hey friends! I hope you are all having a great week and are especially excited that it’s starting to feel like Fall!

Speaking of Fall, I absolutely LOVE the Fall drinks at Starbucks and I also found out they have Gluten Free breakfast sandwiches which literally makes my life 1,000 times better. My roommate and I went to get breakfast there last Friday and I was screaming with joy (internally, I’m not a crazy person) when I saw these new options. Plus, they store the sandwiches in separate packaging to reduce the risk of cross0contamination. Overall, Starbucks receives a 10/10 in my books.

Anyway… this week I’m going to talk about some of the surprising sources of gluten. I’ve told you about how it can be in almost every food, but it can also appear in products like makeup, sunscreen, building supplies, and even Play Dough! (My inner child is crying)

Anything that touches my skin can be absorbed into my bloodstream in 20 seconds. WOW. So when makeup companies use gluten, it can be just as dangerous as if I ate gluten itself. Don’t worry though, there are many companies that formulate their product without gluten so I look slightly less frightening in my 8am classes. I made a list ranking my top 3 gluten free makeup brands that I have researched and use myself.

  1. Tarte Cosmetics – This is by far my favorite! I mainly use their mascara and Amazonian Clay blush and tinted moisturizer. It feels really good on my skin, especially without the gluten, and the company is certified gluten and cruelty free for their product testing. The biggest downside to using Tarte is the fact that it is SO DARN EXPENSIVE!!!!! I try to ration my stash of this stuff because any new purchase is a real blow to my bank account!
  2. E.L.F. – This is a close second, mainly because it is so convenient to buy and very cheap. Unlike Tarte, it is sold at Walmart and other grocery stores so I can get some gluten free makeup in a quick pinch. E.L.F. is also certified gluten free and cruelty free.
  3. Arbonne – This is a much less known cosmetics company but I really enjoy their gluten free products! I found out about this company at last year’s Gluten Free Expo and I love using their moisturizers. However, it is also pretty expensive and can only be ordered through a consultant or online.

Overall, these three options are great for maintaining a strict gluten free lifestyle. They are all certified gluten free along with other benefits. Ensuring all of my products are gluten free does take some extra effort, but I hope you find this post helpful if you were curious about gluten free makeup options.

If you could care less about makeup, sorry about the long post and I will make it up to you with a recipe for yummy peanut butter cookies in the recipes section. You’re welcome.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your week, and seriously, check out Starbucks. They are killing the Fall game.


(Gluten) Free Pizza Girl

A Day of Free Food

Like I’ve said before, there are few opportunities for me to snag free food, mostly because it’s not gluten free. So when the opportunity comes, I go ALL IN.

In the beginning of November every year, the Penn Stater Hotel holds the Central Pennsylvania Gluten Free Expo for all gluten-free enthusiasts in the area. My friends all chuckle when I rave about this event, but it is truly one of the best days of my year. My mom and I set out early in the morning, prepared with our empty stomachs and bags in hand. Each year, there are signature vendors that line the conference hall floor with tons of free samples and new products. We race to fill our bags and our mouths as gluten free goodies as the day goes on. When we return after our long day of fun, I always fill our entire kitchen table with the free snacks we received throughout the day.

This day is always so special because I get to spend it with my mom and for the first time I don’t feel different. For the first time, I’m surrounded by people just like me for the whole day and nobody looks at me like I’m eating some strange alien food. Yes, I love the free food, but I especially love spending time in a place where I’m the same as everyone else.

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I went through a period of minor depression that I still fall into from time to time. I would start to feel so sorry for myself that I couldn’t eat like everyone else of be like everyone else, that I would just burst into tear at the thought of even eating out at a restaurant. I thought that no one understood me. I remember walking around the kitchen shortly after my diagnosis and marking up almost all of the food in our pantry with a bright red X.

Instead of focusing on what I could eat, I could only see all of the red marks in my cupboard and couldn’t understand why this would happen to me.

This is why the Gluten Free Expo is so important to me. Amidst my periods of food depression and feelings of self pity, I think about how much I treasure this day with my mom and all of the free food, but especially not being scared of not finding something to eat. Not being scared that people will judge me for my gluten free food.

Not being focused on the negative aspects of my life; this is why it is so special.

Bad things will always happen, but the way you choose to think about the bad times can change your entire life. I have lived a much happier life now that I can appreciate all of the great food I CAN eat, and the free food that will always await me at The Penn Stater.

Instead of having a recipe for this week, I’ve attached a link for the Gluten Free Expo, feel free to check it out if you’re curious! Lots of free food is never bad for college students!

Have a great week!

(Gluten) Free Pizza Girl

“I didn’t choose the gluten free life, the gluten free life chose me.”

Hey all who have chosen to join me in my discussion for my second blog post! I’m going to begin by talking about some common quarrels I have daily with people in my daily life while being gluten free, and hopefully educate you enough so you won’t be tempted to ask a stupid question about me being gluten free.

  1. This is not a choice. As my title above states in a humorous way, I didn’t choose to skip the free pizza or cake at my friends birthday parties! (Who in their right mind could choose to pass these up as a kid!) Once again, I have a disease by the name of Celiac Disease and my intestines will literally be destroyed if I ate gluten… not a choice, more of a will to live.
  2. It is not in any means a healthier way to live (unless gluten would kill you…  *me*) It pains me when I hear people saying they’re on a “diet” and not eating gluten, dairy, wheat, etc. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye: avoiding it will get you nowhere. A common misconception is that eating gluten free can help people lose weight, and believe me, I can eat as many cookies, cakes, pizza, and junk food while remaining on a gluten free diet so It wouldn’t do much good. A better way of going on a diet would be to limit your simple carbohydrates and eat less junk food. Gluten is found in some of these foods, but is definitely not the source of weight gain.
  3. My food does not taste like cardboard. Another common misconception is that all gluten free food tastes bad. Believe me, I am a great baker and I have gone to the state baking competition several years in a row without the judges even suspecting my brownies were gluten free. Most people shrivel up their noses if you say something is gluten free but most of the effect is simple because of the name.
  4. It’s pretty serious. Not going to lie, having Celiac Disease is really hard sometimes. In addition to simply avoiding foods with gluten in them, I also have to avoid foods that may have even touched something glutenous (I have now created a new word). For example, If I order a salad and I ask for no croutons but croutons are still added on top, I cannot simply pluck them off with a smile and carry on with my day (that sounds lovely). Instead I have to ask for a new salad (as the waitress rolls her eyes). So please, If you take anything away form this post, be considerate and understanding if you happen to be that waitress. Like I said, I didn’t choose this life.

Thanks for reading these misconceptions and hopefully you have learned something about my glorious lifestyle of avoiding gluten! Please keep these in mind the next time you think someone with food allergies is just “making a big deal” out of something. It really is serious. And those people who chose this lifestyle, I have no sympathy (sorry, not sorry).

My advice to you is to eat as much gluten as possible in your lifetime to make up for the loss of gluten from my diet. So take advantage of the free pizza and delicious birthday cake (as long as you understand how lucky you are to have these wonderful opportunities)!

Feel free to take a peek at my recipes page for a recipe for my prizewinning brownies! (And you wouldn’t even know they were gluten free!)


(gluten) Free Pizza Girl



I got you, didn’t I?! There are very few reasons why you would be reading this blog post and one of them is simply because my title advertised free pizza. Now, I’m sorry to disappoint, but reading this blog will not help you obtain free pizza nor does it actually have much to do with pizza. In fact, pizza was one of my least favorite foods in elementary school.

Anyway, so why did I name my site free pizza if I’m not giving away free pizza? If you really are interested, please feel free to read my story and you’ll hopefully understand.

As a new freshman entering Penn State, I have learned some very basic principles of college survival: study hard, get involved, and always take advantage of free food. During the first week, every sign I passed advertised free pizza as their main draw for people to come. Even some churches were advertising free pizza for after their services. Everywhere I looked, free pizza was in abundance and students all around were taking advantage of this bountiful gift.

Except me. I’m allergic to pizza.

Even if you have no interest in joining the Penn State knitting club, jocks and nerds alike will gather if they advertise free pizza. Free pizza has an unyielding power, yet to me, it symbolizes empty hopes and promises. When I see the 100th free pizza advertisement of the day, it starts to really suck.

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease during my freshman year of high school and not eating gluten is pretty much as fun as it sounds (it sucks). For those of you who are unaware, uneducated, or just choose not to care, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye (yes, this means that it’s in bread). But don’t worry, I’m not starving myself to death. I can eat pizza, cakes, cookies, and pies, as long as they are made with an alternative kind of flour such as rice flour. There are plenty of options available, they just aren’t as commonly found (especially at events advertising free pizza).

One of my favorite (yes, it doesn’t suck all the time) things about being gluten free is that I am given a platform in which I can educate people on what gluten is and the truth behind Celiac Disease. There are also some very entertaining stories that come out through these experiences. Here is my favorite interaction with a gluten-eater:


Gracie – Freshman in high school, very ditsy but surprisingly athletic

Me- “sorry, I can’t eat that, it has gluten”

Gracie- “Oh ok, but you can have bread, right?”

Me- “No, almost all bread has gluten”

Gracie- “But it just has flour in it! No gluten!”

Me- “Well, what’s in flour?”

Gracie- “Flour, duh! How stupid do you think I am?!”

Me- (sighs)

And with that, I encourage you to stay tuned to my blog posts as I look forward to telling more stories about everyday life as a gluten free college student (trust me, there are some really good ones!) I will also include a new gluten free recipe with every blog post if you’re feeling curious about cooking gluten free recipes. For today’s post, I included one of my favorite recipes for gluten free pizza! You can find this recipe and others to come in the recipe section of this site.


Hopefully your week is full of much more free pizza, but please just keep those of us who are allergic to pizza in mind!


(Gluten) Free Pizza Girl