Archive for March, 2010

Spring Break 2K10 Continues

Posted in advice, cooking, travel on March 9th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

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Sun, books, writing, cooking, and rest. Glorious vacation. After a few days in Naples, Florida with Jen I’m feeling totally relaxed and in the groove of vacation. We wake up with no alarm, eat breakfast with a beautiful view of the water, gather our things and head out for a few hours of writing. Yes, it’s a total nerd fest. We spend most of the morning writing and drinking coffee. Around noon we head home for lunch, and then an afternoon of sun and books. The big decisions of the day include, pool or beach and which book to read? Lots of great conversation during and in between all of these. A late afternoon “wog” (walk/jog) followed by cocktails, appetizers and delicious gluten-free dinner. Perfect day.

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Our gluten-free menu this week:
“Smorgasbord” of appetizers including hummus, Farmstand carrots, dates & parmesan, chips & salsa

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Gluten-free pizza (Bob’s Red Mill) with pears, goat cheese, rosemary and caramelized onions

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Farmstand salad mix with watermelon radishes, pears, red onions, & dried cranberries

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Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Chicken with onions, rutabegas & sweet potatoes

GF Fusili pasta with tomato sauce, garlic, ground turkey, onions and oregano

Betty Crocker Gluten-free Brownies

Tonight’s my last night in Naples. So sad. For the final night, we’re going out on the town for dinner in Old Naples at Café Lurcat. So we’re not being totally anti-social this vacation. We even went to hear live music at the beach club the other night. We didn’t dance, but we enjoyed watching the odd (and most likely drugged) man dance. (See photo below.)

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Each gluten-free vacation gets easier and easier for me. I continue to learn more about traveling gluten-free and how to stay healthy away from home. Of course it helps to have a gluten-free travel buddy who likes to cook just as much as I do.

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Name that Beer…

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on March 8th, 2010 by Betsy – 6 Comments

Last Monday night David and I went to 5 Seasons Brewing Company, Westside location, to sample their new gluten-free beer.  While I generally prefer wine, it’s so great that a restaurant is serving a house-brewed GF beer.  First, I must provide the disclaimer that I don’t know anything about beer tasting, but this particular beer brought back memories of Blue Moon beer for me, as it’s lighter and more of a citrus flavor.  Crawford Moran, the beer guy at 5 Seasons, told me that he made this GF beer from sorghum and roasted buckwheat.  He used gluten-free yeast and Cascade hops (whatever that is).  Crawford described it as a very hoppy gluten-free beer.  While I’m not a beer expert, I do know that to be a gluten-free diner and be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage under $5 is a rarity and a treat for my wallet.  Wine tends to hike up the check when going out to dinner!  I’m already looking forward to watching March Madness at 5 Seasons, while enjoying a cold, g-f beer and a slice of pizza.  Check out  their GF pizza with andouille pork, sausage, asparagus, onions and tomatoes below.  Yum.

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As I mentioned last week, all of the specials on Monday nights at 5 Seasons are gluten-free, even their pizza special.  They use a housemade pizza crust and 5 Season’s topping selection is always unique.  This Monday’s special pizza was ‘Roasted duck, eggplant puree, spinach, red onions, cashews and tomato.’  Yum!  I wasn’t in the mood for pizza this week since I’d just made pizza (pear, goat cheese, and sautéed onions…yum!) at my friend, Jen’s, on Friday night.  I ordered the Braised Red Angus Beef ‘Little Plate’ (with carrot salsa and cheddar grits) and a side of brussel sprouts.  Delicious and plenty of food for me.  I just can’t seem to get enough Brussels sprouts this year.  Other items on the ‘specials’ menu that looked yummy were the Duck Tostada and GA Pork Loin with organic greens, caramelized apples and smoked tomatoes.  The daily vegetable plate is always a personal favorite for me.

5 Seasons gluten-free beer is officially on tap, but does not yet have a name.  Can you think of a catchy/thoughtful/clever label for this brand new brew?  Post a comment with your thoughts.
5 Seasons Brewing Company Westside on Urbanspoon

Spring Break 2K10

Posted in advice, travel on March 6th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Yesterday, my friend Jen, and I drove from Atlanta to Naples, Florida for spring break.  In case you’re wondering, this drive takes about ten hours.  Nine hours and 50 minutes of the drive takes place on I-75.  Beautiful?  Not so much.  I can’t take too much credit since I didn’t do any of the driving but it was a pretty painless day of travel through scenic Florida.

Traveling always raises questions and stress for us gluten-free eaters, and anxiety levels start to rise with concerns of ‘Where am I going to eat?’ and “How will I stay healthy?”  Even though I’m traveling without my biggest supporter, David, this week, I feel very safe as Jen, too, is gluten-free.

During our car ride, we ate lots of GF snacks and managed to avoid buying any mediocre fast food along the way.  Here are some of my favorite travel snacks that we ate:

  • Peanut butter and jelly on rice cakes: I use two rice cakes and compose it like a sandwich.  Just make it before you hit the road, put it in a zip lock bag and it’s ready for lunch time.
  • Stonyfield yogurt with homemade granola: just don’t forget to pack a spoon!
  • Popcorn Indiana Kettle Corn: the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and healthy.

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  • Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips: I don’t turn down anything involving sweet potatoes.  And you can find them at Starbuck’s!
  • Bananas
  • Trader Joe’s gluten-free ginger snaps: a great sweat snack for the car or packing a lunch for a gluten-free child.  These are some of my favorite store bought GF cookies

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  • La Croix sparkling water: I prefer the grapefruit and lime flavors

Not only is the food good, but it saves money along the way.  Yes, you feel like you’re carrying a small grocery store in your car but it’s so worth the extra preparation ahead of time, I promise.  When we arrived in Naples late last night, we were tired from traveling, but before heading to bed, we enjoyed a slice of delicious gluten-free chocolate chip cake that my friend, Maury, so sweetly made me for my birthday.  She’s the first non-gluten free person to ever bake me a cake.  Amazing!  Birthday cake and red wine…a great start to spring break.  So, it’s not quite MTV spring break, but it’s perfect for me.

Whole Foods’ Recipes IPhone App Allows You to Search GF Meals

Posted in advice, baking, cooking, GF product, recipe on March 3rd, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Check out this great Recipes IPhone Application that David recently discovered.  Created by Whole Foods, you can search for recipes and there are many filters and categories you can use while searching.  Of course I love it because you can search for only gluten-free recipes.  Other dietary related filter options include low fat and vegetarian.  You can search ‘quick & easy,’  ‘make ahead,’ and ‘budget.’  Best of all, it’s free!

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If a friend invites you over for dinner and they want to cook a gluten-free meal for you, this app is a great starting point and helpful guide to offer them.  Some of the recipes listed even include gluten-free chocolate chocolate chip cookies and cranberry banana quinoa bread!  Let me know if there are any recipes you plan on making courtesy of the ‘Whole Foods Recipes.’

Just Another Weeknight Dinner…

Posted in Atlanta, cooking, local food, recipe on March 2nd, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

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The other night, David and I enjoyed a simple vegetarian dinner brought to us by local farms, Crystal Organics and Love is Love.  Nothing fancy, yet so delicious.  Here’s what we ate:

Roasted carrots, beets and sweet potatoes

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Sautéed Savoy Cabbage

  • 1 lb. head of cabbage, coarsely chopped into strips (cut off the end and any wilting outer layers)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • s&p

Heat butter in large pan on medium heat.  Once melted, add cabbage, turn heat to medium-low and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until tender enough for your liking.  Before serving, add honey and balsamic vinegar to warm pan with cabbage.  Toss to coat.  Sprinkle with s & p

Risotto with sautéed onions and parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup aborio rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

As I’ve said before, risotto can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.  For this dinner, I just chopped an onion, sautéed it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  Add 1 cup aborio rice (risotto) to pan and stir for one minute.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Add one cup chicken broth, stir.  Add broth as it evaporates, one cup at a time, and stir occasionally so rice doesn’t burn.  (You’ll use about 4 cups of broth total.)  If you’re not going to be near the stove, put the heat on low to ensure that it won’t burn.  Add s & p to taste.  Sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese before serving.

Enjoy!

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(We used the leftover risotto for dinner the following night, with cooked sausage.  Just heated the sausage on the stove and added risotto to the pan.  Great flavors as the sausage seeps into the risotto.  It made sort of a sausage-risotto cake.  Pretty yummy for a last minute dinner.)