Archive for June, 2010

Summer Squash Casserole

Posted in cooking, recipe, side dish, vegetarian on June 29th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

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Summer squash is a favorite of mine.  I love the different colors, textures and shapes.  Squash can be roasted simply but I also use it in squash casserole.  Yes, ‘squash casserole’ sounds a bit funny, but I promise, it’s delicious.  This is my grandmother, Dot’s, recipe and even though I never actually ate her version of it (because I was too young to appreciate squash casserole), it reminds me of her.  This recipe also makes me think of my mom because she always makes it in the summer, when I’m around.  My dad doesn’t like squash so when I’m in town, there’s someone else to enjoy it with her!

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IMG_1282 I found myself with a bounty of squash and onions this weekend so I made squash casserole for a dinner group.  You can bake it before hand so it transports easily.  I posted this recipe last summer, but I realized when making it on Sunday, and following my blog recipe, that I forgot to mention that you should melt the butter.

Oops.  It still turned out alright but I had to laugh at myself for messing up my own recipe.  (It looked a little funny but tasted yummy.)

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Dot’s Summer Squash Casserole

Inngredients:
3 pounds summer squash, chunked
3 medium onions, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
Parmesan cheese (the original recipe also calls for crumbled crackers on top but we just skip that step now to make it GF! Instead I sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top)

Directions:
Cook squash & onions with water, sugar, salt and pepper until mashable (about 45 minutes).
Beat two eggs lightly.
Add milk to eggs and mix well with squash. Add butter and mix.
Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes. (With 10 minutes left in cooking, remove from oven and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.)

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Perfect for a 4th of July cookout!  Transports with no trouble and reheats easily.  You make make it and freeze, and just reheat before serving.  Happy cooking!

Peach & Blueberry Crisp

Posted in Atlanta, baking, cooking, recipe, Uncategorized on June 24th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

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It’s hot in Altanta.  Really hot.  I’m sure there are better ways to describe this weather, but the only word that comes to mind is brutal.  The heat hasn’t broken either.  Despite the mini-rainstorms, it hasn’t been enough to side track these crazy temps.  It continues to be hot…and brutal.

On Monday, after a sweaty afternoon of running errands  (Who knew it could be so sweltering just to run errands??), I came home to find a bag full of Georgia peaches outside my door.  My wonderfully generous friend, Maury, left me this beautiful treat.   What is a better answer to heat and high temperatures than making a peach crisp?

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Is it a crisp?  Is it a cobbler?  I’m not really sure.  I tend to use those words interchangeably, but I’m sure there’s a proper distinction.  (I do know, however, that it’s not a pie.)  I created this recipe on the spot and I made sure to write down what I did so I could share it with you.  I love the combination of GF oats and chopped pecans.  It’s the perfect crunchy duo with the soft, tender peaches.  I’ve found in the past that it can be difficult to find the proper ratio between fruit, crisp topping, and butter.  Too much flour and oats, makes it too dry, too much butter makes for a soggy crisp/cobbler.  Sort of like Goldilocks, I want it to be just right.  (Our girl, Goldilocks was eating porridge…Crisp is much better!)

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Peach & Blueberry Crisp

  • 8 peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • (Really, any combination of fruit works.  These are what I had on hand.)
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ T. cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup gluten-free oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 T. cold butter, chopped into cubes

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter an 8 x 8 pyrex dish.

In a bowl, mix peaches, blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice and sugar.  (I add the sugar last to eyeball just how much I need.)

In another bowl, mix flours and brown sugar.  Add oats and pecans and mix.  Then add butter and mix with dry ingredients.  (A food processor can be helpful for this step but I was feeling a little lazy.

Pour fruit mixture into Pyrex dish.  Spread evenly throughout dish.  Add flour mixture on top of fruit.  Spread evenly.  (It will look like you have too much but you want it to be thick.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until fruit starts to bubble.  You can make this ahead of time and then just reheat for 10 minutes before serving.  (I think it gets better over time.)

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Serve warm.  Of course everything tastes better with vanilla ice cream.  Mmm…just right.

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We Saw Rock City

Posted in event, Restaurants, travel on June 22nd, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

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This weekend David and I visited our friends, Cindy and Andrew in Chattanooga.  I can’t believe that this was my first trip to “The Noog” since their wedding six years ago.  We had a great time and loved getting to meet the newest, and most adorable, addition to their family, Wells.

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David and I met up with Cindy and Andrew at Greenlife Grocery, in downtown Chattanooga, for lunch.  This high-end grocery store has a great selection of fresh foods and the shelves had plenty of gluten-free options for me.  The prepared items looked yummy but the folks working there recommended that I avoid those items as they were concerned about contamination.  While I was disappointed not to be able to try some of the dishes I had been eyeing, I appreciated their knowledge about contamination and their efforts to keep me safe.  They said they’re working on getting more GF options.  For my lunch, I enjoyed yogurt, a peach and delicious hummus and crackers.  (This is always a great go-to lunch option for me if I’m getting lunch on the run and limited to a grocery store.)  David went the glutenous route for his lunch, choosing the pesto pizza and the pesto tortellini.  (That’s what happens to gluten-eaters who live in a gluten-free home!)

After lunch, we walked around by the water where there was lots of action.  A rubber duck race on the water, bands playing and lots of folks outside.  The weather here has been brutal recently, but a huge thunderstorm cooled things off temporarily.  (I love that I now consider 85 degrees ‘cool.’)

The highlight of the day though, was going up Lookout Mountain, to ‘See Rock City.’ A must see if you’re in the neighborhood, Rock City is full of great views of seven states, as well as cool rocks and plants.  Andrew works at Rock City so I felt like we got the VIP tour.  Along the one mile path, there are many things to look at, including nature, rocks, gnomes, and dioramas of every nursery rhyme you could ever imagine.

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Just one of many amazing views to be seen

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Who knew a swinging bridge could be so much fun?

"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick..."

"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick..."

Our hosts, Cindy & Andrew

Our hosts, Cindy & Andrew

For dinner, we went came back down the mountain to Chattanooga and went to The Meeting Place.  (The Meeting Place is next door to its fancier, brother restaurant, St. John’s Restaurant.)  This lovely venue was perfect for a Saturday night out.  Everything on the menu called out to me and I had many gluten-free options from which to choose.  David and I shared the Roasted Beets Salad with goat cheese and a light vinaigrette, as a starter.  For my entrée, I went with the lamb tenderloin, served over shredded Yukon gold potatoes with brown butter.    I toyed with the idea of getting the duck confit or the scallops (both gluten-free) instead, but I just couldn’t resist the lamb.  I was not disappointed and it was seared and cooked perfectly.  I ate every bite of the potatoes too.  At the end of the meal, we were too full to order dessert but the chef sent out an assortment of housemade sorbets.  A perfect finish to a meal on a hot, almost summer night.

After a busy day in Chattanooga, we headed home to sleep in our own bed.  What an easy day of travel, less than two hours each wayl!  Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain are a perfect day or weekend trip if you’re looking to get out of the ATL this summer.

Besides time with friends and good food, the drive was worth it, just for this photo opp…

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Gluten-Free Event at Shaun’s Restaurant:

Posted in Atlanta, event, Restaurants on June 21st, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

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This Sunday, Chef Shaun Doty of Shaun’s Restaurant will be hosting his monthly ‘Celiac Dinner.’  Many of his dishes from his nightly menu are GF,  but each month he creates an entirely gluten-free 4-course dinner for only $45.

Here’s the menu for this Sunday, June 27th:

  • First course: Arctic char tartar with Marcona almonds and spicy chili oil
  • Second course: Heirloom tomato gazpacho with Dijon mustard ice cream
  • Entrée: Grass-fed Georgia beef with local arugula and romesco sauce
  • Dessert: Pineapple carpaccio with flore de latte ice cream

Sounds delicious!  The regular menu will also be available.  If you haven’t yet, check out Shaun’s new restaurant, Yeah! Burger, serving burgers on gluten-free buns and gluten-free French fries.

Shaun’s Restaurant -1029 Edgewood Avenue Northeast – Atlanta, GA – 404-577-4358

Play Ball!

Posted in Atlanta, event, GF product, travel on June 18th, 2010 by Betsy – 5 Comments

On Wednesday night, I finally went to my inaugural Atlanta Braves’ game with our friends Ross and Jen.  Thankfully, the weather cooled off nicely and we got a great lightning show in the background of the game.

DSC02441 Not only was the game fun (and the Braves won), but I got to try out the gluten-free food stand, located at section 106.  I ordered the hamburger, which comes with a bun made with tapioca and rice flour. It’s hard to believe that in the same week, I got to eat hamburgers with gluten-free buns at two different places in the ATL.  Ridiculous.

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While my burger wasn’t anything fancy, it was ballpark cuisine and it’s fun to enjoy greasy, made 2 hours ago, food at a baseball game.  It’s all part of the experience, right?  And we, celiacs, should be able to partake in the experience, and enjoy a cold beer (Redbridge) if we’re feeling parched.

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The total cost for a Redbridge beer and a GF hamburger was $13.  So just like everyone else at a professional sports event, I paid too much for my food, but it could have been worse, considering we’re used to spending more money on gluten-free food.  All part of the ballpark experience!

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Other items on the menu include: hot dogs, chicken sandwich, popcorn, potato chips, macaroons and even cupcakes made by American Gra-Frutti.

Make sure you get to Turner Field this summer and keep the gluten-free stand in business.  Hopefully even more professional sports teams will serve gluten-free options at their concession stands.  Do you know of any others?  Please share!  Here’s a list of some of the other professional sports teams I’ve found:

Washington Nationals: Gluten-Free Pretzels & Redbridge Beer at Noah’s Pretzels in Sections 106 & 318

Minnesota Twins: Angie’s Kettle Corn – Sold on Target Plaza and vended in the stands

  • Farmers market – Section 141: Whole fruit, Carrots with Ranch dipping sauce, Gluten Free Nut snacks
  • Veggie Kabobs – Section 133
  • Shrimp Skewers – Section 133
  • Turkey Leg – Sections 133,311
  • Pork Chop on a stick – Section 133
  • Fruichi Smoothies – Vended in the stands
  • Talenti Gelato – Sections 141, 302
  • Red bridge Beer – Sections 116, 124, 325
  • Bunless Grilled chicken – available throughout Target Field
  • Bunless Hot Dogs – available throughout Target Field

Philadelphia Phillies:

  • Gluten free snacks and gluten free hotdogs and buns (South Philly Market behind section 128)
  • Red Bridge Beer (concession stand by section 139 – near the Schmitter, behind section 204 on the Pavilion Level, behind section 323 on the Terrace Level, and Brewerytown stand on Ashburn Alley)
  • Bull’s BBQ food (Ashburn Alley): All meat product, Bull’s barbecue sauce, cole slaw, beans

Colorado Rockies: Gluten-Free Concession Stand at Section 147 serving hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, cookies, brownies and Redbridge beer.

June = Reality TV at its best

Posted in TV on June 16th, 2010 by Betsy – 7 Comments

David and I love watching sports.  All kinds of sports.  A good weekend involves some type of athletic competition and at least one “S.I.N.” (a “sports induced nap”).  I prefer college basketball; David would probably say his favorite is college football.  We have an ongoing debate in our family as to what the greatest month of sports is.  You know, the best combination of athletic events found in a one month period.  David’s favorite month of sports is April because you have the NCAA Final Four Tournament, the Masters, NBA playoffs, and the start of baseball.  I tend to go with January because you gt the tail end of the college bowl games, NFL playoffs, and you can find college basketball on your TV almost every night.  (And really, I just want lots of college basketball…March is a close 2nd for me.)

strasburg The summer months tend to be a bit of a drag for me in the wide world of sports.  I really could care less about the NHL and baseball is such a long season.  Fortunately, Strasburg is now pitching for the Nationals and the World Cup will make this summer much more exciting.  In fact last Sunday I felt like it was football season again as I watched Germany handed it to Australia on my friend Chris’s flat screen, while David took a “S.I.N.” on the couch.  (Remember, we don’t have a TV this year so we mooch off of our friends.)  Weekends revolving around sports are the best.

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Since Wilbon and Tony don’t have a ton to talk about on “PTI” in June, besides the ever-changing Big 10, my media focus moves to the reality TV genre.  I’ve decided that while January is the best sports month, June wins the award for the best month of reality TV in 2010.  Why?  Good question.

The Bachelorette” is in full swing and Ali is finally down to just 10 men so I can actually tell the difference between each of them.  There’s not a whole lot of diversity in the group on first glance so you have to get to know them.  I now have my favorites and my least favorites.  I’ve chosen my predictions for Final 3: Chris L., Roberto and Frank.  You clearly know at this point who is crazy (can we say Kasey with a “K”?) but it’s not too far into the season that Ali has finally convinced the producers to get rid of the whackos.  (Well, the weatherman did leave this week.  It was time.)

I Heart Roberto.

I Heart Roberto.

“The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat II” aired its final episodes this month.  For those of you that didn’t watch (and I’m sure that includes most of you), the exiles were insane and the final challenge involved climbing a mountain with ice picks.  Lots of whining and F-bombs were also present in the final episode.  Not as much drama as usual though.

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The final reason why June marks the greatest month for reality TV this year is the premier of “Top Chef: DC.”  Premiering tonight, I’m eager to see where they filmed, what they’re doing, and who are the next big stars in the culinary world.

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What are your thoughts on the reality TV world?  Is it a dying genre or do people like me keep it in business?  Am I the only one still watching?

Yeah! Burger Makes a Solid Start

Posted in Atlanta, bakery on June 14th, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

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Last night I enjoyed my first dinner at Westside’s newest burger joint, Yeah! BurgerAs I mentioned previously, this causal spot offers gluten-free buns, made in a gluten-free facility so there is no worry about contamination.  All of the burgers are cooked in a separate area of the grill from the glutenous buns and they use separate utensils.  The cooks have also received instruction from gluten-free expert, Jennifer Harris, on contamination and how to be ‘safe’ in the kitchen.

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I have been eager to try out this new restaurant since I learned about Shaun Doty’s new restaurant months ago.  My inaugural visit to Yeah! Burger last night did not disappoint!  The atmosphere at Yeah is very casual and not as fancy as some of the other trendy burger boutiques in the area.  You order at the counter and they bring your meal to your table.  Beverage options include “help yourself” fountain soda and an assortment of beer, wine and cocktails.  Envision nicer, fresher, fast food with a much cooler vibe. IMG_1271

You can choose from, beef burger, bison, turkey and grilled chicken.  (There’s a veggie burger too but I’m not sure if it’s gluten-free.)  Upon the recommendation of my friend, Meredith, I ordered the bison burger.  Sometimes bison can be really dry, since it’s a lower fat meat, but this burger was very juicy and perfectly cooked.  I added American cheese, tomatoes, grilled onions and lettuce to my bison patty.  (They were out of cheddar at 6:30 on Sunday so I’m guessing they had more business than anticipated this weekend…the American cheese option was pretty darn good too.)  It was a delicious combination, especially the grilled onions.  Besides the cheese, those particular options were free.  You can also add ‘special’ toppings for an added cost, such as chili and avocado.

IMG_1276 While there’s an extra charge for the GF bun, this bun is totally worth the cost.  The bun is not too thick and you don’t need copious amounts of water to wash it down.  The folks at Yeah toast the buns in a toaster dedicated to cooking just the gluten-free buns.  If you don’t feel like paying extra for a GF bun, you can get a lettuce wrap instead.

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Of course there’s nothing better when enjoying a gluten-free burger in one hand to munch on French fries in the other.  The GF fries at Yeah! Burger are hand-cut and made in a special, gluten-free fryer. The fries taste very similar to Boardwalk fries if you’ve ever tried those.  Fresh, delicious and nicely salted.  So good.

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There was some confusion among the management regarding the sauces that Yeah offers.  You get one sauce free with your order of a burger and they all sounded interesting.  Initially the woman taking my order told me that none of the sauces were gluten-free.  (Side note: I would always rather someone tell me that nothing’s gluten-free at a restaurant than say, “Oh, I’m sure it’s fine.”)  I did inquire further with the manager and he thought none of the sauces were gluten-free either, but when I asked about the honey mustard, he pulled out the list of ingredients and all of the ingredients were GF, so I ordered some.  (I enjoyed the honey mustard, but there was definitely a spicy kick to it.)  It would be great to have a little clarification on which sauces are gluten-free or if they do recommend staying away from them entirely.

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It’s clear that Yeah, Burger is still working out some kinks, but I thoroughly enjoyed my delicious meal.  While I likeWestside’s other fancy burger spot, Flip Burger, a lot, these two places are pretty different.  Yeah, Burger is a little bit cheaper, more casual and family friendly.  Yeah, Burger focuses on the ‘build your burger’ idea whereas Flip emphasizes the unique versions of burgers created by the chefs (i.e. lamb, venison, etc.) Flip is one of my favorite neighborhood spots but the music is so loud there (Yes, I know I sound like an old woman.)   I don’t have to have a GF bun when I eat a burger, but the GF fries put Yeah, Burger ahead in the burger boutique competition for me.

I have a feeling that I’ll be enjoying quite a few more summer meals at Yeah.  Let me know what you’ve tried and enjoyed at Yeah, Burger.

IMG_1269Yeah, Burger – 1168 Howell Mill Rd. – Atlanta, GA 30318

Yeah! Burger on Urbanspoon

“My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard”

Posted in travel on June 9th, 2010 by Betsy – 6 Comments

Who needs wedding cake when you can enjoy unlimited chocolate milkshakes?

Here I am loving the milkshakes (photo courtesy of Reader T.Hall)

Here I am loving the milkshakes (photo courtesy of Reader T.Hall)

One of my best friends, Becky, got married last weekend in St. Michaels, MD and I got to enjoy the reception’s seated meal with everyone else.  The folks at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where the reception was held, were great about making sure that I had a gluten-free meal, which included a delicious filet, asparagus and mixed vegetables.  It gave me enough sustenance and energy for the dance floor.

The bride and me at the reception

The bride and me at the reception

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High School girls reunited

BUT, the highlight of the night for me (well, besides the amazing wedding), were the mini-chocolate milk shakes that came out when the cake was cut.  So good and gluten-free.  I drank five, but who’s counting?

Yeah, Burger Opens This Week

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, Restaurants on June 7th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Yeah, Burger is opening up on the Westside this week on June 10th.  Yeah, it’s another fancy burger place but those of you who are gluten free should be extra excited about this new spot.  Located in the White Provisions building on Howell Mill Road, Shaun Doty’s new restaurant will be serving gluten-free buns as well as using a GF dedicated fryer so we can enjoy French fries!

There is a $1 additional charge for GF buns.

I’m out of town this week but will definitely be venturing to Yeah, Burger as soon as I get back to ATL next week.  If you get there before I do, let me know what you think.

Yeah, Burger – 1168 Howell Mill Rd @ 14th Street- Atlanta, GA 30318

Happy Summer!

Posted in event, travel on June 3rd, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Summer’s here!  I finished up school last week and June is a whirlwind of travel for me.  Last weekend I went to Sea Island with some friends and tonight I’m heading north to be in a wedding in St. Michael’s, Maryland.  Becky, one of my best friends from high school, is marrying a college friend of mine, Peyton.  (He owns an NYC suit company, Alton Lane, so it’s going to be one hip and trendy event.)

High School Buddies

High School Buddies

After a weekend of wedding fun on the Shore, I’m staying up north in Alexandria for the week until my 10-year high school reunion the following weekend.  Wow.  Lots of events and time away but I couldn’t be more excited.  Summer means travel, which can mean anxiety for those of us with celiac.

Just remember a few simple tips to make your gluten-free travels less stressful:

-       Plan ahead: Investigate and take the time to research.  I’ve talked to the caterers for the wedding this weekend and they’re going above and beyond to help me out so there are thankfully some meals I don’t have to worry about.

-       “Be Prepared:” Yup, it’s the Boy Scout motto but it works really for us gluten-free eaters too.  Sometimes there’s no option for you at a wedding reception or an event.  Don’t go hungry.  Have plenty of snacks and a cute purse (or your date’s blazer) to carry them.

-       Research the area: Look for blogs by gluten-free writers in the area you’re visiting or even find the chains (like Outback) that always have gluten-free menus.

-       Find Access to a Kitchen (and use it): Last weekend at the beach we had a kitchen and we ate most of our meals in the house.  We made a group trip to the grocery store and divided up the meals by gender.  I trusted the people I was with and it made me feel better to know that David was in the other cooking group so he would keep me safe from glutens.  You don’t need to go out to eat for every meal on vacation and you’re probably safer if you don’t.

The guys' gluten-free dinner at Sea Island.

The guys' gluten-free dinner at Sea Island.

Beef tenderloin, mushroom-asparagus risotto & salad: Delicious!

Beef tenderloin, mushroom-asparagus risotto & salad: Delicious!

-       Explore non-eating activities, such as:

Go for a hike…

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Go to a museum…

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Go wine tasting…

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Walk on the beach, looking for sand dollars…

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or (my favorite) lie by the pool and read.

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All are gluten-free!

Please share your travel advice and tips for those with food allergies.  Safe travels this summer and happy (gluten-free) eating!