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September 28, 2012

Highlights of a Glutenfree Girl's Week 9.27.12

The past couple of weeks have been full of gluten free surprises that have caught me off guard in a good way! Brace yourself, I get pretty emotional :) 

Enjoyed another delicious meal at True Food Kitchen! Our server was so well versed in the gluten free language; it was such a refreshing dining experience.

A few weeks ago I blogged about a gluten free snack pack with CrunchMaster Crackers on a JetBlue flight. I was overjoyed last Wednesday morning when I received an email from Twitter stating Dana Vollmer, mentioned my blog. Dana is a gluten free Olympic gold medalist, currently holds the world record for the 100 meter butterfly and is a spokesperson for Crunchmaster. I was so ecstatic when I saw that my blog was mentioned on her Twitter feed! It’s great to see the gluten free community coming together and supporting one another. I love it!

Last Saturday I watched one of my best friend's marry the man of her dreams. The celebration was nestled in the rolling vineyard hills of Arroyo Grande. It couldn't have been a more perfect day, the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and love was definitely in the air. It was such a joyous occasion, all my best girlfriends back together again with our significant others to celebrate under the stars. 

After enjoying several delicious appetizers, my favorite being the  prosciutto wrapped asparagus, and sipping on Chardonnay it was time for dinner. I knew the meal was catered by Mama's Meatball, a famous Italian eatery located in San Luis Obispo who cater to the gluten free diet. The meal was served family style and after several main dishes were brought to our table I had a panic moment. I looked to Mark and said, "I don’t think I can eat anything here." Then all of a sudden I hear Bri, the stunning bride say “this girl is the gluten free one!” I couldn’t believe it, I literally bursted into tears. I was so overwhelmed with happiness! On their special day, Joe and Bri specially picked a meal just for me! 

Mama Meatball had made a separate plate just for me. I enjoyed the Risotto con Funghi e Spinaci- Tender Arborio rice with porcini mushrooms in a vegetable broth with spinach and Parmesan cheese.

What would I do without my best friends? They are so amazing! I feel so blessed and loved! Thank you Mr. & Mrs. Armstrong!

September 26, 2012

Chocolate and Caramel Dipped Apples

Saturday marked the official start to Fall and I wasted no time in ringing in the new season! Although it was 90+ degrees outside and the air conditioner was on full force,  I spent the morning getting into full Fall mode. I have been anxiously awaiting to make Chocolate and Caramel dipped apples after reading an article titled Dipped & Covered Apples by Maureen Stanley & Gabrielle Hoffman in Delight's Gluten Free Magazine.

One of the great things about this fall treat is that it is naturally gluten free! Crisp apples covered with caramel and chocolate coated in a variety of sweet toppings. As expected, I couldn't decide on one type of delicious sugary combination so I decided I would try them all!  

Dark Chocolate with Pistachios
Dark Chocolate with Crushed Cashews
Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt
White & Chocolate Drizzle 
Vanilla Chocolate with Pumpkin Patch Sprinkles
Caramel Vanilla with Cinnamon Sugar
 I used Granny Smith and McIntosh apples.
In the past I have had a hard time with the chocolate and caramel layers staying on the apple, although this year I learned an expert tip. Dip an apple in boiling water for 10 seconds, this will ensure the chocolate and/or caramel will stick to the apple.

My favorite combo (by far) was the caramel vanilla dipped apple with cinnamon sugar!   
Once dry,  I tied a light orange ribbon at the top of each popsicle stick to give it an extra touch of fall.

September 24, 2012

Gluten Free Mac & Cheese with Tall Papa Bread Crumbs

This past week I had an appetite for Macaroni and Cheese and knew the boxed version was not going to curb this carving. I was envisioning a creamy, cheesy creation with a little spice, and a crispy breaded surface. I was lucky enough to have recently received a shipment of Tall Papas seasoned bread crumbs to try and knew the Italian Seasoned Multi-Grain Bread Crumbs would make the perfect, crisp golden topping. 

I found THIS recipe and was convinced it would be "quick and easy" after reading the ingredients list and preparation steps. I chose De Boles Corn Elbow Style Gluten Free Pasta and 35 minutes later was enjoying a bite of homemade Mac and Cheese that met every expectation. Tall Papa's bread crumbs were the perfect sprinkled additions that are filled with flavor and taste. Check out their website HERE, where you can order all 3 flavors- Cajun Spice, Citrus Lime and currently my favorite- Italian Seasoned Multigrain!  It has been years since I have enjoyed a gourmet Mac and Cheese with bread crumbs that didn’t just taste like grains of sand. Thank you Tall Papa for delivering a delicious bread crumb product to the gluten market! You have The Gluten Exchange’s stamp of GF approval!

September 19, 2012

Gluten Free Allergen Free Cooking Demo

Starting tomorrow Natural Twist Bakery & Toovaloo Gluten Free have team up to provide FREE Gluten Free and Allergen Free cooking demonstrations at various Albertsons locations throughout San Diego!
Natural Twist Bakery & Toovaloo, both San Diego based gluten free companies, will show some quick and easy ways to cook pizza, pasta and cookies! I am very excited for this event as I have yet to try Toovaloo's product line of pizza crusts, flatbreads and tortillas and Natural Twist Bakery's ready-to-bake cookie dough balls! Perhaps I can continue my bad habit of leaving the spoon in the cookie dough container? I have to admit most of the time I enjoy cookie dough without ever turning the oven on. Am I the only one that is guilty of this? I think NOT! :)

Gluten free cookies & pizza, sounds like a Celiac's dream! See you there!

September 14, 2012

Highlights of a Glutenfree Girl's Week 9.14.12

Happy Friday!!! I hope everyone has something fun planned for the last few weekends of summer. I'm headed to San Luis Obispo for a best friend's wedding. I am looking forward to seeing my girl friends from college and meeting one of our BFF's new bundle of joy. In the meantime, here are a few gluten free highlights from the past few weeks! 

First meal on Oahu! The Kalapawai Market in Kailua was happy to prepare this delicious, gluten free & eye appealing dish, grilled chicken, fresh tomatoes & mozzarella and a drizzle of balsamic dressing. 

Look what came in the mail, the Fall 2012 issue! I've already started planning our trip to Italy after reading the first couple articles! Click HERE to subscribe to one of my favorite gluten free magazines. 

Enjoyed a quick bite to eat at Whole Food's outside patio with my BFF. Brown rice sushi with my very own soy sauce purse packet, San J, they always come in handy!

Happily surprised to see a gluten free option while traveling on JetBlue, The Shape Up Box. An affordable in-flight snack for only $5.99! (Fine print- only available on flights longer than 2 hours) 

Tasting/Reviewing 2Good2B Bakery & Cafe in Encinitas, CA. If you missed my review from earlier this week, click HERE to get all the delicious details of this amazing gluten free eatery.

September 13, 2012

Happy Celiac Awareness Day!

Today, September 13th marks National Celiac Awareness Day in honor of the birthday of 
Dr. Samuel Gee, MD, British physician and pediatrician. Dr. Gee is credited for publishing the first description of celiac disease and stressing the notion that the only effective treatment is a life long adherence to a gluten free diet. One of Gee’s famous quotes on celiac disease is “if the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet.”

Even though I have transitioned my diet and live a gluten free lifestyle, it is always beneficial to hear new tips on maintaining a gluten free diet from fellow celiacs and nutritionists. 

Tara DelloIacono, LUNA's in-house nutritionist, was happy to provide her top tips for gluten free eaters. 

  • Make sure to eat your vitamins: Women with gluten intolerances are more prone to mal-absorption of vitamins and nutrients such as iron, calcium, B12 and folic acid. LUNA Protein bars are rich in iron, calcium, folic acid, and vitamins D, B12 and more.
  • Eat smaller meals frequently throughout the day: Eating five small meals a day may help relieve digestive discomfort associated with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. I recommends eating a combination of protein and carbohydrates such as fruit and nuts for longer lasting satiation and energy
  • Find ways to get your fiber: Getting your recommended fiber intake without whole grains like wheat and oats can be a challenge, but fiber can be found in many other sources such as rice and fruit. Chicory and rice flour contribute to LUNA Protein bars’ three grams of fiber.
  • Beware of hidden traps: Some packaged gluten free foods add sugar and fat to make up for a bland taste. Make sure to read your labels and do your research to find a healthy medium.

Thanks Tara for your tips!

Click HERE to access Luna's website & the Protein bar line. My favorite- Chocolate Peanut Butter. :)

September 12, 2012

2Good2B Bakery & Cafe

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a gluten free sampling at 2good2B Bakery & Cafe in Encinitas, CA. I first came across 2good2B at the San Diego Gluten Free Expo (click here). I was impressed with their samples and was excited when personally contacted by 2good2B to visit their eatery. The variety of the menu was overwhelming; even more impressive was the flavor and texture of every item. 2good2B is now one of my regular hot spots that even pleases the gluten lover’s palate.  

Among entering the cafe, my eyes were immediately drawn to the large glass display cases filled with pastries, cupcakes, loaves of bread, fresh salads, pies and parfaits that seemed too good to be true, for a celiac.

This cozy neighborhood eatery caters to celiacs and individuals with gluten sensitivities, and carry items that are soy free, peanut free, and sugar free. Half of their customers do not even have dietary restrictions!

From the young children enjoying classic macaroni & cheese to two friends happily deciding on which of the cupcakes to purchase, I noticed 2good2B provided a dose of normalcy for celiacs dining out. The steady flow of foot traffic throughout our visit spoke volumes to the quality and popularity this establishment has in the gluten free community.

My sister kept asking, is this ALL gluten free? I had to reassure her several times, that YES, it is ALL gluten free. Even my critical sister was in shock!
Below is a review of our gluten free feast (aka sampling)

Moist, gooey (a quality rare in a gluten free version), and a rich chocolate flavor without the bizarre aftertaste.

-Chicken Pot Pie-
Buttery, flaky crust filled with shredded chicken, peas, onions, carrots & full of flavor. A perfect comforting delight as the chilly Fall season nears.

-Cinnamon Roll- 
MY FAVORITE, coincidentally one of their best selling items!  The lack of gluten wasn’t overly compensated with additional sugar or frosting. Instead, it was the perfect savory combination for a fluffy baked breakfast treat.

-Macaroni & Cheese-
Cheesy, with a seasoned buttery crunch topping. The noodles withheld their structure and were not grainy in texture.  

I still can’t decide which flavor I liked the most, it’s a toss up between the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and the chocolate cake with vanilla-chocolate swirl buttercream frosting. The cupcake flavors definitely gives Sprinkle’s a run for their money.

2good2B’s breads are made from various blends of rice and tapioca flours. We tasted the cinnamon raisin and rosemary loaves. The bread was crispy on the outside with a chewy, non-dense texture.  Some of their loaves are ½ off towards the end of the day, so stock up on 2good2B’s affordable sandwich essentials.  

2good2B also specializes in cakes for birthdays, wedding or any special occasion. Another great option for party planning and family get togethers is their catering packages. Click HERE to learn more about their different options to impress/accommodate everyone at the party.

2Good2B Bakery & Cafe Contact 

204 N El Camino Real Suite H
Encinitas, CA 92024

Phone: 760-942-2743
Monday-Saturday 7AM-7PM
Sunday 9AM-2PM
Follow 2Good2B on Facebook

2good2B provides delicious food & superior service. I highly recommend adding this eatery to your itinerary when making a trip to San Diego or if you're a local, I’ll see you there!

Thanks 2good2be Bakery & Cafe for having me! I look forward to my next visit as I already know what I'm going to order; a lemon bar, slice of the marble loaf, and the Fromage a trois grilled cheese sandwich! The gluten free options are endless, one of the MANY reasons 2Good2B Bakery & Cafe is at the top of my list.