Gluten Free Blog Posts
|May 24, 2016|
Make Popcorn Awesome Again
Everyone loves Popcorn!
Popcorn is a great snack since for the most part it's free from the top 8 food allergies - soy, milk, eggs, citrus fruit, nuts, fish, peanuts, shellfish and wheat. The following suggested recipe does contain nuts (coconut) and milk (butter).
Healthy Disclaimer: The following recipe is awesome for those times when you want an extra special movie night. This isn't a healthy solution for everyday snacking.
Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn - Sure you can get the store brand for slightly cheaper, but if you want the best tasting popcorn it starts with the right popcorn kernels. Store brand popcorn contains generic kernels that don't have much flavor. Orville Redenbacher's has strict quality control, which means you get a better batch of popcorn. Newman's Own kernels is another brand that produces excellent popcorn. If you haven't had good popcorn at home, it's probably because you been using cheap popcorn kernels. (3/4 cup)
Coconut Oil - Popcorn tastes better with Coconut oil. Movie theaters had used it before the lawyers at the "Center for Science in the Public Interest" forced them to change in 1994. There's no particular brand to use here, get whatever is available in the store. (3/4 cup)
Red Palm Oil - Use this if you want your popcorn to have a little yellow look - just like it came from the movie theaters. This has an added benefit of some additional vitamins to your snack. (One Tablespoon)
Powdered Salt - Don't use table salt, use a more refined salt. This way most of the salt doesn't end up on the bottom of the bowl. Salt to taste.
Kerry Gold Butter - A naturally soft Irish butter and has a great taste. Forty-five seconds in the microwave is all you need to melt it down. (1/2 stick)
Cooking with WhirleyPop(TM) Popcorn Popper
I use the WhirleyPop Popcorn Popper as I find that it makes the best popcorn at home. Someday, I hope to have a Classic stand alone Popcorn Machine. You can find it at Bed Bath and Beyond and online at their store.
Turn the stovetop on to medium. Add the Coconut and Red Palm Oil first. Wait until it starts to bubble, then add five popcorn kernels. Stir slowly. Once it starts popping, add the remaining kernels.
The whole process should take less than 10 minutes.
After the popping is done, I take the popcorn and pour it into a bowl and add butter and salt to taste. I take a table knife and stir the popcorn around.
I let the popcorn sit for a bit before serving. This is so the butter has a chance to be absorbed by the popcorn. Then it's time to sit and watch the movie.
Popcorn is a great naturally gluten free snack! Try the above recipe and make it the way you like it.
|May 17, 2016|
Fenway Park (Gluten Free)
Fenway park is Gluten Free and for the most part celiac friendly. The best place to find Gluten Free food is at the ‘Home Place Concourse.’
You can get Gluten free Hot Dogs, Ice Cream, and Whoopi Pies. Fenway Park does offer gluten free pizza but the "word on the street" is that it isn't celiac friendly because its bake unprotected in the same oven as regular pizza.(Need Verification)
There is a gluten free cart, but it isn't clear on what is available in there.
Don't forget to stop by the peanut cart near Gate ‘A’ That’s where you’ll see Nicholas “Nicky” Jacobs selling them. The family has been selling peanuts at the same spot since 1912.
Bring Food into the Park
You can bring your own food into the park. There are some limitations that you should be aware of:
All persons, bags, and personal items are subject to inspection before entering Fenway Park. No bag or item larger than 16"x16"x8" will be permitted inside the Park.
The following items are also prohibited: hard-sided coolers, cans, bottles (except sealed water bottles of 16 oz or less), glass containers of any kind, alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, firearms, noise-making devices, flag poles, selfie-sticks, sign poles, brooms (or any other similar props that may be dangerous or cause injury to other fans), knives, box cutters, tools of any kind (including Leathermen), or any item that could be used as a weapon, any commercial audio/visual equipment and any sign, costume, clothing or item that may be deemed offensive.
Your best best is to eat before coming to the park and enjoying a small snack during the game.
Back Bay Restaurants
If you're arriving at the park early, you do have some choices from nearby Back Bay restaurants that offer Celiac friendly menus. We have eaten at all of these and can vouch that they are worth stopping at.
Great Food. Huge Beer selection. Usually quiet than most places. Very Celiac friendly will let you know your options and answer any concerns you may have. Every time we go the staff seems to be very knowledgeable about the topics.
Lots of Gluten-free healthy options. Biggest downside is that it can be crowded. Kitchen can be busy, so if your in a rush don't stop here.
Good Gluten-free options. Chinese may not be on your mind going to baseball games, but it's there if you're hungry for alternate to burgers and you don't want to wait for the Cheesecake factory.
137 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
The burgers are slightly cheaper than Five Napkin. Very casual. Closer to the park than other places. This isn't a fast food restaurant but your food will be served faster. There is limited seating. Burgers are good.
This is a bit fancier than the other places. Good Gluten-free options. You are a long way to get to Fenway after a meal. Your best bet would be to grab a taxi to get to Fenway Park. It will cost about $10.
We'll be visiting the park on June 19th and I'll post an update on our experience on the 21st.
|May 10, 2016|
Tates Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Last week, while I was waiting in line at Shaws, I spotted a bag of Tates Gluten Free Chocolate, Chip Cookies. I thought it looked very interesting and we hadn't seen that particular brand before. So I purchased a bag and brought them home to try out.
They are an instant hit and barely lasted a whole weekend. I don't think we have tasted a better batch of gluten-free box cookies like this before. Yes, they are dangerously delicious.
What makes them really good is that they are very thin and crunchy. While the cookies might be small, they do pack a lot of taste with each bite.
You can find Tates Gluten Free cookies at Shaws or online at Tates Bake Shop. They have a retail shop in Southampton but it's a 4-hour drive via ferry from Framingham. We probably won't be going to that retail store anytime soon.
What we will do is head back to Shaws and pick up another batch of yummy Tates Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Have you tried them?
|May 3, 2016|
Happy 70th Birthday La Cantina
Every now and again we seek for some good Italian food. This is challenging when you have to eat Gluten-Free as many fine Italian restaurants don’t have much to offer.
La Cantina in Framingham does offer a good selection of Gluten Free foods, include a tasty Gluten Free Pizza that my daughter loves to eat every time we eat in or use their take out. It's a 10” Gluten Free thin Crust pizza, a perfect size for one person. When my daughter orders it, we have some leftover for her to enjoy another time.
My daughter is also into Mac & Cheese. Do you know of a 5-year-old doesn’t want to eat that every day? At La Cantina, a good alternative is the Alfredo Gluten-Free penne. She tells me at its the best Mac & Cheese treat when she eats out. She likes it that she has a choice between yummy Pizza and Mac & Cheese.
Other dishes that can be made Gluten-free include: Chopped Sirloin, Veal Cacciatore, Veal Saltimbocca, Baked Penne Parmigiana, Penne Oil Garlic & Broccoli, Pasta Deyve, Grill Chicken Tenders, Roast half Chicken, Seafood Saute, Risotto con Frutti di Mare,
Today is the 70th birthday of La Cantina. It opened it’s doors back in 1946. Back then, Waverly Street was a busy Italian district with restaurants and grocery stores. They have a special roll back menu for today, unfortunately, they are not offering any gluten free dishes.
Check out the menu that I posted on July 22, 2008. The day after our first visit to La Cantina.
La Cantina is located at 911 Waverly Street in Framingham Massachusetts. You can reach them at (508) 879-7874.
|April 30, 2016|
If you're doing some early morning errands around Natick, and happen to be near the Christmas Tree Shop and looking for a breakfast spot that has really good gluten free options. We know of a good place to go. It's Zaftigs Delicatessen, which is located a couple of doors away from the Christmas Tree Shop in the Sherwood Plaza.
On a recent Sunday morning we stopped at Zaftigs for a quick breakfast. We were very pleased with the service and quality and quantity of food. This is certainly a place we would go back again and again.
On Sundays, the restaurant is scheduled to be open at 8am. But when we arrived a few minutes before 8, we saw the door was open and a few people sitting down enjoying their morning coffee. We figured that it must be the regular Sunday breakfast crowd. By the time we left, most of the seats in the restaurant were taken.
When we placed our order, we told our waitress of our daughter's need to eat gluten free. The Waitress let us know what items they could safely be prepared gluten free. (They even had gluten free bread and bagels!) She told us that after she put in the order, the manager would come over and talk to us.
The manager came over to our table to explain how serious they take food allergies. They have a dedicated toaster, with a label letting everyone know what it's for. Before cooking any eggs, the cooks make sure the grill is completely clean. She answered all our questions and was very knowledgeable on the cross contamination issues.
The food was really good. Our daughter ate most her food; An extra cheese omelet with some side fruit and toast. Based on our taste experience, we think they use Udi's Gluten Free Bread. She really liked the food and loved the choices that they had.
The prices was reasonable, the kids omelet was $7.95, $1 more for the cheese and they did add a $1 surcharge for the Gluten Free white bread. We wouldn't eat here every Sunday, but it's a nice treat for special occasions.
Zaftigs Delicatessen is located in Natick at the Sherwood Plaza, where Joan & Ed's Deli use to be. They have another location in Brookline, a couple of blocks from the Coolidge Corner Theater.
|April 26, 2016|
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that if not treated right can damage the villi in the small intestine. The proper way to treat the disease is to eat foods that do not contain any Wheat, Barley, Rye or Oats.
If you been eating gluten free for a while, experts recommend taking vitamin supplements to make up for some vitamin and mineral missing in some gluten free foods.
This is because many gluten free substitutes are not enriched and have lower amounts of the vitamin found in many wheat-based products.
When looking for vitamins, make sure to look for high concentration of the following:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
We have been using Dinosaurs MultiSaurus chewable. It's available at Whole Foods, Amazon, and other Online stores. The good thing about these is that they taste like candy and they are gluten free. Kids will be happy to get their daily treats
We add more fiber in our diet by taking fiber chews, which taste exactly like gummies. Who doesn't like gummies?
If you're eating gluten-free, make sure to add vitamin and minerals to your diet. Just double check the labels, make sure that its gluten free. (We were surprised how many name brand multi-vitamins are not Celiac friendly)
|April 19, 2016|
Perfect Gluten Free Pizza
The best place for good tasting gluten free pizza is Bills Pizzeria in Newton & Natick. They do an awesome job with making sure that you don't miss out on having a delicious pizza.
When you place your order, make sure to mention that you want the gluten free pizza. If it's for an allergy, make sure to mention that so they take extra care and prevent any cross contamination.
Recently we ordered a gluten free pizza at the Natick store and decided to eat it at the store. It was really good. As we enjoyed each bite we kept talking about how the pizza quality is above anything else that we have tasted. (We tasted a lot of gluten free pizza this past year.
The weird thing about Bills Pizzeria is they have lots of information about a yearly 5k race that they sponsor. Something you wouldn't see from a typical pizza shop. Then again, if your eating gluten free - you'll learn that it isn't a typical pizza shop.
Bill's Pizzeria is located on 135 in Natick (East Central Street), right next to the Dunkin Donuts. If you don't have a car be sure to stop by their Newton Centre location it a few blocks away from the MBTA Green Line "D" Branch.
|April 12, 2016|
If you're looking for a good Gluten Free snacking food, you can't go wrong with Jelly Belly brand jelly beans. Sure carrots and grapes are healthier for you, but nothing beats the yummy flavor of a Jelly Belly.
You can create a mixed variety at just about any pay by the pound candy shop. Not every shop is the same, so some places will have bigger selection than others.
In Boston, Sugar Heaven is your candy source for a large selection of bulk Jelly Beans . You don't have to live by the standard 42 flavors. You can pick which flavors work for you. Another good place to go is Yankee Candle in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
For the ultimate combination you'll have to go to the factory. In Fairfield, California the Jelly Belly Factory has the largest selection of bulk flavor Jelly Belly beans. You can even mix in some of their newest flavors with your favorites.
One of the nice things about the factory is they have Jelly Belly flops bags. Basically, they are selling factory rejects jelly beans. They get rejected because some beans might have stuck to other beans or not in the perfect jelly bean shape. You never know what flavors they have in the bag but they are still Jelly Belly so it will still be yummy. (Perfect for any office candy jar)
If you do visit their Fairfield store, celiacs should be aware of the following:
We make over 150 different candies and a few of our products use gluten-containing ingredients. These items include Chocolate Malt Balls, Chocolate Deluxe Mix, Seasonal Malt Balls, Licorice Bridge Mix, and Licorice Pastels.
Jelly Belly jelly beans are free of gluten ingredients.
|April 5, 2016|
Delicious Gluten Free Cookies
Just because you have to eat gluten free does not mean that you have to eat blah cookies or be a master chief at mixing flour-like ingredients. Thanks to the 'Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix' by Betty Crocker, you can make delicious yummy cookies at home.
We have tried other gluten free cookies and some of them come out good. What makes Betty Crocker better is that its Betty Crocker. It tastes the same as any other batch of cookies that we use to make from Betty Crocker. Nobody will ever know that they are gluten free. In fact, I would recommend getting two boxes because these cookies will disappear very quickly.
You can find a box of the "Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix" at most major supermarkets; Stop and Shop, Market Baskets, Shaws, and Wegmans. It's usually stocked in the regular baking aisle. Some stores will put them on the top shelf.
It easy to make the cookie dough, simply add a stick of soft butter, an egg and a teaspoon of vanilla to the cookie dough. The only tricky thing with the Betty Crocker baking mix is remembering the vanilla extract. Many other cookie mixes that we used didn't require that.
We add a couple of things to make the cookies really special. Some tips:
- We use unsalted Stop and Shop brand butter. I soften the butter stick by putting it in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
- To mix the dough, it's much easier to just roll up your sleeve and use you both hand to mix it up. I find that it goes much faster and mixes better than using any stirring device.
- To add some addition flavor we wrap some of the cookies around Hershey's kisses. Basically, you take a Hershey Kiss and make it the center of a dough ball. The chocolate melts very nice in the oven.
- There's nothing special about cooking it in the oven, it takes about 13 minutes to cook. Parchment paper works best and what most bakeries use when they make cookies. We have had delicious cookies using Pam sprayed on a regular cookie sheet.
- Clean up is easy and quick.
A box of Betty Crocker makes about 18 medium size cookies. They are best when eaten minutes after taking them out of the oven.
|March 29, 2016|
Traveling with a Celiac
This past weekend we visited our relatives in Connecticut for an Easter Celebration. On the way, we stopped at Stop and Shop to get some coffee and snacks for the trip. For us, stopping at a supermarket was a necessity because you can't get a gluten-free snack at a regular Dunkin Donuts.
That brings up today Gluten free topic: Always be prepared when traveling.
Having Celiac doesn't always limit your food choices, but it can limit on where you can eat. There are lots of celiac safe substitutes for many common foods. However, they aren't available everywhere. You need to plan safe snacks in advance.
Whether it's taking an early morning flight or spending a couple of hours in the car, you need to think about food options that will be available. Will you need to bring food and will there be any gluten free options where you are going.
We have found that it’s best to play it safe and have a box of gluten-free Mac & cheese (Annies is great!). Just in case that there wasn't any good gluten free options. Lucky for us, they had gluten free Mac and Cheese and a lot of other naturally gluten free options.
Everyone was happy and had a great time. They even had some gluten free cupcakes made, but my daughter was too full to eat anymore.
In addition, the Wow Baking Company' Gluten-free Chocolate Chip cookies and fruit snacks were the perfect tag along for the trip. They help fix those instant hunger cravings during any long road trip.
Boston Logan Airport Food Planning
It can be tricky when catching a 6am flight out of Logan International Airport. We have to arrive super early, which usually means no breakfast at home.
Many of the restaurants don't open super early at Logan Airport. The few restaurants that are open don't have any gluten-free options. Good luck trying to find something to eat at Dunkin Donuts that doesn't contain gluten.
For this, we have found that the fruit snacks and a couple of gluten free breakfast bars do the trick.
Jet Blue has a gluten free snack option on board, so we can use that if she is hungry mid-flight. All of their chips that they have are also gluten free.
It helps to plan ahead and always be thinking of creative ways to feed the hungry needs. Simply stopping at McDonald's, Burger King or Dunkin Donuts is not an option. It doesn't hurt to pack a snack, as it could save lots of time in the event that the trip takes longer than planned.
|March 22, 2016|
Corned Beef and Cabbage
The good thing about the traditional American-Irish dinner (Corned Beef and Cabbage) is that it's gluten free. Yes, then corned beef and cabbage meal is gluten free - for the most part.
Last week we made our traditional Irish dinner in the crock pot. Basically, throw everything in putting a few cups of water set it on low and 12 hours later you have a wonderful meal. The meat is perfect, a simple cut of the meat and then it breaks apart with a fork.
The Food Network has a good version of the recipe. We just set up ours once and didn't touch it all day. This is perfect to make when your not at home, because after a few hours you can start smelling the meat - and it smells really good.
One thing that we always struggle with at the store is which cut to get. Typically you have two choices - Brisket or Uncured Flat Cut Brisket. We got the Brisket and it was really good. The only downside is that you do get a lot of fat on the regular brisket.
Some versions of the Irish Dinner may not be Celiac friendly because some restaurants may pour some Guinness in the pot to add flavor to the meat. We use to do this and found it was a good way to flavor up the meat.
|March 15, 2016|
Gluten Free Pizza
I like to consider myself somewhat of a gluten free frozen pizza expert at this point. Kind of a silly title. But it's true, over the past year we have tasted almost every type of frozen pizza made for the East Coast market. We have found a clear winner - Freschetta Gluten Free Four Cheese Pizza.
The Four Cheese Pizza is great because you can put any topping that you want on it. You pizza is your canvas in tonight's dinner.
How we make it better
We cook our pizza using a pizza oven pan at 450 degrees. The pan makes the pizza have a bit more of a crispy taste than if we were to use a standard cookie sheet.
We usually make 2 Freschetta pizza's on Friday nights, and end up with some leftover to snack on over the weekend. So it's very handy to have two pizza oven Pans available - you can find them at most Super Stop and Shop and Wegman stores.
How Freschetta Makes it Better
Freschetta now makes a single size portion Four Cheese Pizza and Pepperoni pizza! Whoa, this is huge! Now we can make a single serving size pizza for my five-year-old daughter, So now in between Macaroni and Cheese cravings she can have her favorite Four Cheese Pizza.
|March 8, 2016|
Charlie Cupcakes in Natick
The Natick mall is a great place to go if your eating Gluten free. You have the option of getting a gluten free pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, pasta at the Cheesecake Factory or Gourmet Chinese food at P.F. Chan’s. There’s are a lot of choices for those that need to eat gluten-free.
Your not out of luck if your wondering around the mall looking for a gluten free snack. You should stop at Charlie Cupcakes. Located in the middle of the Natick Mall, where Crumbs bakery was, is one of New England's best cupcake company - Charlie Cupcakes.
On the top of their cupcake case is a small display of gluten free Cup Cakes. They are in a small dish, with a pudding stirred in with a cupcake. They actually looked better than the regular cupcakes. They currently cost $2.50 each, which seems reasonable to premium cupcake prices.
When you check out you'll also see some gluten free chocolate chip cookies. These are nice and big! There's two cookies per bag and certainly will help overcome any snack attack while shopping at the mall. The cookie bag cost $5 and look too good to pass up.
The cupcake was very good, and we'll certainly go back for more. The lady behind the counter told me that they get a fresh batch every Friday. I was disappointed that they didn't have any chocolate cupcakes, but perhaps those go really quick.
So now we know a great local place to get some gluten free dessert.
|March 1, 2016|
Tennessee Real Bar-B-Q
The past weekend I stopped at the Tennessee Real Bar-B-Q restaurant in Framingham. The restaurant is located in the Route 30 Mall on 341 Cochituate Road. As soon as you walk in you know you're not in Framingham anymore, the decor is very south and all you can smell is the fine Bar-B-Q.
I ordered the BBQ Memphis Ribs with three sides - French Fries, BBQ Baked Beans and Cucumber salad. I didn't have to wait too long for my order, I got my drink, found a seat and checked in using Swarm. A minute or so later they called my number and I was ready to enjoy my meal.
The food was scrumptious. I enjoyed the ribs and sides and pretty much ate everything on my plate. I don't eat ribs all the time, but these were juicy and tasty. The sides were 'ok' nothing too extraordinary. The ribs certainly seem to get a lot cooking attention.
While I didn't intentionally eat gluten free on this trip, for the most part, my meal was gluten free. The only thing that I needed to confirm was if the french fries were subject to any cross contamination. Even if they were, there were certainly plenty of other gluten free options to try.
The restaurant wasn't busy for a Saturday night. During my stay, I saw several take out orders being placed. On the way out, I noticed that other restaurants nearby were busy, such as Boston Market and Five Guys, so I was a bit sad to see Tennessee Bar-B-Q not all that busy. Hopefully, it was because people didn't have BBQ on their mind on a cold winter night.
There's nothing like a good Bar-B-Q meal to start thinking of summer.
|February 26, 2016|
How to Scan to Evernote on a Mac
If you do a search around the internet for instructions on scanning documents directly to Evernote on a Macintosh, you'll find that many are out of date. You may think it's no longer possible. Well it still is...and it's very easy to set up.
Here's my simple instructions on how to capture scan images and put them directly into Evernote using Image Capture version 6.7 (OS X El Capitan)
- Open Image Capture
- Click on the "Show Details" button on the bottom right window
- On the pull down menu next to the "Scan To: text, Select "Other..."
- Select the 'Applications' Folder and then find 'Evernote'
- Click 'Open'
- You'll see the EverNote now appears in the pull down menu
Scan file items will appear as individual notes in Evernote. Immediately after the scan, you will have an opportunity to make some notes. This is a good time to comment on why you scan the item.
Evernote recommends to use Color as the "Kind:" and to scan at 72 dpi resolution. (See the example screenshot)
If you have Evernote Premium, the text in the scan items will be searchable. This includes photos. This means if you have a photo with an inspirational quote, you can search for it.
Note: This is backward compatible, which means that if you upgrade to Premium today, anything that you already have in Evernote account will be searchable. Make sure to give Evernote some time to scan and index all your document and photos after you upgrade.