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Gluten-Free Desserts Delight

When I became gluten and dairy- free back in 2008, there weren’t many options available to me as far as bakery items was concerned. But as time went on and the need presented itself more and more, products began to flood the market and more happy eating days began to present themselves, especially here in Hicksville. 

 

On a recent excursion through Hicksville, I came upon “Allie’s GF Goodies”, a new custom gluten-free bakery that is tree-nut free as well as kosher.

 

Each item that peered up enticingly from behind the glass looked better than the next, and soon, my husband was spending a few bucks on some “Sneakydoodles”, a gluten-free, vegetarian version of a Snickerdoodle.

 

Allison Luckman had the brainstorm for Allie’s late in life, at the age of 48. Having been ill for most of her life with ulcerative colitis, the disease took its toll 14 years ago and she underwent surgery for the removal of her colon. Luckman’s young daughter, who was diagnosed at age 9 with Crohn’s Disease, required strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. If that wasn’t enough, her son was born with an egg allergy (which he has since outgrown) and had to follow an egg-free diet. 

 

After her surgery, Luckman still did not feel quite right. It was then that her physician discovered a brain tumor. She underwent surgery and retains a titanium plate in her skull as a souvenir. 

 

Luckman’s recovery from the tumor coincided with her daughter’s dietary change to a gluten-free diet, and she spent a great deal of time at home. It was during that time that baking became a creative outlet, her personal form of expression. Because the gluten free products on the market had a less than desirable taste, Luckman’s daughter would beg her to make them taste better.  It was this request that prompted Luckman to do some research, as well as to force herself to think differently about food that was not just better for their own personal health, but tasted a whole lot better than what was available. 

 

As a mom, Luckman’s concern was that everyone present had something to eat, not just those who did not have allergies. When her son was a child, she learned to bake egg-free, so that he wouldn’t feel

left out at a party. Her ultimate goal with Allie’s GF Goodies is for nobody to ever feel left out.

 

Luckman is set out to build her business “from the ground up.” She points out that she has never owned a business prior to opening Allie’s GF Goodies, nor does she have a culinary background or any formal culinary training. An art therapist by trade, she was forced to retire when she became ill. As she states, “I’m a mom, not a chef.” And therein lies the heart of the business.

 

“I’m coming at this from the Baking School of Mom,”  she beams. 

 

Upon entering Allie’s all patrons are required to use a hand sanitizing station in order to prevent cross-contamination. The bakery maintains a tree-nut free, peanut-free, Kosher, gluten free environment; there are even some items that are vegetarian (dairy free) in the glass case. The store also carries products baked out of house. Luckman has tried every one of those items, and she notes, “If I can’t have it, I don’t make it. And if any child cannot have it, it is not in this store.”

 

Allie’s has weekly cookie and cupcake decorating days with themes, as well as weekday story times with cookies and drinks. Luckman refers to the bakery as her “playhouse,” which lends to the entertaining energy within. 

 

Luckman also uses her baking talents for numerous charitable works. She has donated her wares to the bake sale at Catholic Charities, and recently baked goods in Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s

“KidPic Day.” She also works with Autism Awareness, as well as the CCFA Foundation. 

 

Allie’s Gluten Free Goodies is certified gluten free by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), and OU Kosher dairy products are used. She is currently working on having one of her ovens certified Kosher Dairy, but for now, she just has dairy free items available that are made with Kosher ingredients. It’s been a learning experience for her, and she says she isn’t sorry for the knowledge base that she has gained from it. The bakery held a soft opening June 18 and since then they’ve already been flooded with orders. 

 

“I sometimes feel like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. If you bake it well, they will come,” says Luckman. “I feel honored and privileged that so many people have become regular patrons in such a short time, and that they trust me and my staff to help make their cravings come true!”

 

Allie’s GF Goodies is at 18 West Village Green in Hicksville. For more information visit www.AlliesGFG.com or call 516-216-1719.


News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com