We recently traveled from the Boston Area to Hershey, Pennsylvania for vacation. We decided to avoid the area around New York City since we didn't want to stuck in any traffic.
About halfway through our journey, we got a little hungry and looked for some places to eat and take a quick break for the kids in the car. We found a cute restaurant just off of I-84 called "184 Country Store."
This is a cute place to stop for kids. There are a few things outside where they could explore. The restaurant has a nice type store inside where you can find all sorts of unique General Store things.
This is a good place to stop for not only for food but also to browse around and shop for things.
The general setup is that you place your order at the register and then sit down at a table and wait for them to bring the food over to your table.
Gluten Free Options
The menu featured lots of popular sandwiches. We asked about Gluten Free options and the cashier didn't really know what was available. She checked with the chief to see what foods were available for my daughter.
The only option they came up with was a Cheese Omelet, which they would happily make even though they didn't serve Omelets for lunch.
When the cook delivered the meal, he told us that he makes sure that the grill was completely cleaned before cooking the Omelet.
My daughter liked her meal and ate a lot of it. I think she ate a lot of the snacks in the car beforehand and wasn't all that hungry.
In addition, I think she was a bit distracted will all the store merchandise around that she didn't really want to sit and eat.
The 184 Country Store was a great stop over place. It would have been nice if they had better gluten-free options, for example, it would have been nice if they could have done a Philly Cheese Steak with no bun.
After eating, we had a fun time browsing around the store looking at various things. The kids had fun checking out the dollhouse and fake jail outside.
This is certainly a better stop than going to a fast food restaurant and would recommend it to anyone heading on I-84 in Pennsylvania. The place gave everyone a chance to stretch their legs for a bit.
Finding 184 Country Store
The 184 Country Store is located in Greentown Pennsylvania, 101 Creamery Rd, Greentown, PA 18426.
We highly recommend checking out the new Wegman's in Natick and stock up on Gluten Free foods. Keep in mind that the prices are a bit more than Market Basket or Stop & Shop but the selection is second to none. It's worth visiting to see the latest products in Gluten Free eating.
We have tried generic French fries, from Stop & Shop and Market Basket, and they have been good. However, for the best fries, it's best to go with the Lamb Weston brand - particularly the Super Crispy type.
Five Simple Tips
Cooking at 400 degrees for 19 minutes for 1/2 a bag seems to be the best combination.
The french fries will be very hot when done - wait a minute before eating.
You don't need to add any oil to the bottom of the tray!
The french fries are delicious as is - no reason to add salt!
If you do use the "generic brand" I recommend cooking a little bit longer for an extra crispy taste.
If you're looking for a great Gluten Free Bakery near Framingham Massachusetts, I would highly recommend Gerardo's European Bakery in Westborough. They have a lot of great Gluten Free options and make a great gluten-free cake.
Check out this cake that was made for a 7-year birthday party:
None of the kids at the party knew it was gluten-free and they all ate up their large slice of the cake. Even some of the adults at the party wanted to know where the cake was made.
They did a great job making the cake and having it taste great. We did provide the bubble gum balls and the glasses on top. They were easy to work with and make sure that we were satisfied with the cake before leaving.
Gerardo's European Bakery is located at Gerardo's 232 Turnpike Rd in Westborough, MA 01581. You can call (508) 366-1845 and place your order.
Since 2015, my daughter has put out a good selection of cookies for Santa Claus. He is happy because all the cookies are made at home and are gluten-free.
I would argue that gluten-free cookies are much better than "regular" cookies. Gluten Free cookies have more crispy taste and they stay crispy longer than regular cookies.
Cookies and carrots that was left for Santa last year.
HOLIDAY DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Classic Hershey Cookie recipe that has been updated using King Arthur Flour (Gluten Free) - one of the best Gluten Free Flour available. Anyone that taste these cookies will have no idea that they are gluten free!
1-1/2 cups King Arthur Flour (Gluten Free)
1/2 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Holiday Candy Coated Baking Bits, divided
Heat oven to 350 F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In large mixer bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, blending well. Stir in 1 cup candy-coated bits. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Press 8 to 9 of remaining bits on the dough before baking. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until cookie is set. Do not overbake. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3-1/2 dozen cookies.
The J&M Diner was one of 11 businesses destroyed by a 3-alarm fire on March 11, 2017, at the Old Path Village Plaza on Concord Street. The Diner reopened on November 27th to huge crowds. We decided to wait a couple of weeks and checked out the new place.
We were fortunate to be served by the owner of J&M. She told us that a lot of people were very excited that they were back in operations. She told us that they had a large Marathon Day following, apparently people that run the Boston Marathon like to treat themselves to a breakfast when they travel to Boston for the Marathon. (Just a heads up that there may be busy around the 3rd week of April.)
Same great Food and Company
The new restaurant has a much larger dining room and kitchen. We still had to wait for 15/20 minutes to be seated at 10:30 am. At least in the new location, you can sit and wait for your name to be called.
The food was good as we remembered. Sure you can get breakfast anyplace in the MetroWest, but there's something special about ordering a meal that's named Ooowy Googy. They do put a lot of creativity in their food.
The other nice thing is that J&M now accept credit cards! In their old location, it was a cash-only business. While they did have an ATM machine in the back - it had a $3 surcharge. We like it because we don't really carry that much cash around.
Gluten Free Options
While J&M Diner was constructing their new location, we asked if they were going to have any gluten-free options. In particular, we saw all the waffle machines they had lined up and wouldn't it be great if one of them was dedicated to making gluten-free waffles!
They told us that they were working on getting the store up and running. Once things have calmed down, they would consider having gluten free options.
We'll keep an eye out and will update on delicious gluten-free options at J&M Diner in Framingham, Massachusetts.
J & M Diner is now located at 50 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702.
Nespresso is a really good single cup coffee. If you haven't tried it yet, stop by one of the Nespresso stores and try one of their coffees. You can't get a free coffee, but its certainly worth the investment. A basic cup of coffee cost a bit less than one that you get at Starbucks.
Nespresso coffee shops offer all sorts of different drinks and for the most part, they are all gluten-free, with the notable exception of the Smores drink. Each drink can be made decaf - so your children can try the coconut peanut butter drink.
The people at the Boston, Newbury Street store are very friendly. They offer great one on one service. So if you have an allergy they will make sure that there's no cross-contamination.
Meanwhile at Home
When you do get your own Nespresso machine, here's a great drink-mix to try: Nespresso Mocha
2 scoops of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
Put the Swiss Miss in the cup and then add the coffee - obviously, make sure that you're using a mug that can handle the mix.
This is a great winter morning drink. You won't need to add any sugar or cream to this drink. (Ya I know there's plenty of sugar in the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate)
Did you see this Target commercial before Thanksgiving, titled "Target Holiday 2017 - Thanksgiving":
Kind of cute, right? Well, what you may not know is that the last line in the commercial was said by the Fad Barbie. This sort of implies that eating Gluten Free is a fad thing.
This is a bit insulting to those that have celiac because it implies that eating "Gluten Free" is just a fad diet. While many people have jumped on the "Gluten Free" bandwagon, it's certainly not a fad for millions of celiac users.
What do you think? Was the Target Commercial in bad taste?
Its always hard to find the right dish to bring to a potluck. You can't go wrong with a gluten-free chocolate dessert treat. The good thing about this recipe is that it doesn't take much time to prep, and you don't have to worry about it.
Gluten Free Pretzels have more of a crunch, and would certainly recommend using gluten-free pretzels than regular pretzels. In addition, gluten-free pretzels tend to hold the crunch longer when in the refrigerator.
Bag of Gluten Free Pretzels
M&M (Seasonal Colors)
Top a pretzel with a Hershey's hug and put it in the oven for 5 mins. Take it out and place an M&M on top of it. Put in the Refrigerator to let it cool for a few minutes.
Download the complete Instructions.
Things I learned
We have been making this for years, even so, there are a few things I learn this time around:
It takes about 2 bags of Hershey Kisses (16oz) to top all the pretzels in a 16oz bag.
One 1 lb bag of M&Ms is enough for 3 bags of Pretzels
Better off getting a 16oz bag of Snyder Gluten Free Pretzels than two 8oz bags Glutino's Pretzels. (Cheaper!)
The Snyder's Pretzels are a bit smaller and are perfect for this project.
Hershey Hugs are better than typical Hershey Kisses because you get a nice color swirl
Once completed, I kept the finish product cold all morning, and it was a nice and cold treat.
This easily could be made several days in advance.
Quick and Easy to Make
The nice thing about this is that there's no prep ahead of time. You don't have to wait for the microwave or mix ingredients at the last minute.
Simply store the container in the refrigerator and take it out when you're ready. A great idea for anyone who wants to contribute to a potluck but may not have time during the day.
This series of posts will cover some tips and tricks that I have learned about my twelve-year-old daughter's gluten-free lifestyle in the Boston area. Gluten-free eating can be challenging in any big city, but especially in Boston due to the high number of restaurants and availability of options. I've been learning what I can to make sure my daughter can still enjoy eating out, and I want to share what I've learned so that other families in the same situation can benefit.