Archive for August, 2010

Out West: Quick Update

Posted in travel on August 30th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Greetings from the west!  David and I are having an amazing time, every day greeted by new scenery and amazing views.  We spent four days in Wyoming, exploring Jackson Hole and the Tetons.  We hiked, horseback rode, fished, and rafted.  My friend, Beanie, taught me how to fly fish and I even caught my first fish in the Snake River.

Retrieving my catch

Retrieving my catch

On Saturday, we headed into Montana, on one of the windiest roads I’ve ever been on, where we met up with our friends, Gamble and Jason, in Red Lodge.  We camped, hiked and got caught in a thunder/hail storm.  Exciting and a bit scary.  Yesterday we headed to Bozeman, stopping at a goat ranch on the way.  I’m taking tons of photos but haven’t uploaded them yet.  Stay tuned!

We miss everyone on the east coast, but I’ve gotta admit, it’s pretty darn awesome out here.

Going off the Grid

Posted in Atlanta, baking, cooking, recipe, travel on August 24th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

We’re moved into our new house and have an amazing opportunity to travel for a few weeks before David starts his new job.  I’m sad to leave our home but excited for the adventures that lie ahead in the next few weeks.  Life is rough, right?  We’re leaving today to head west, where we will spend a couple of weeks camping, exploring and seeing friends in Wyoming and Montana.

porch

Our new porch!

I’ve decided not to take my computer with me, which will be weird but I’m happy about it.  I think it will be good (and freeing!) to get off the grid for awhile.  (Who am I kidding?  David will have his fancy new computer and I’ll still have my Iphone so ‘going off the grid’ might be a bit of an exaggeration.)  That’s all to say that I probably won’t be updating the blog very often for the next few weeks, but don’t worry, I’ll be taking lots of photos and eating yummy meals that I’ll be ready to report back on in late September.  In the meantime, here are some recipes from the last year if you’re looking for some cooking ideas:

Savory Bites:

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Black Bean Chicken Chili

Roasted Pork Loin Wrapped in Pancetta

Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts

Baked Butternut Squash

Lentil Soup

For Your Sweet Tooth:

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blondies

Cinnamon Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies

Granola

See you soon!

Ethiopian Cuisine in Richmond, VA: Nile Restaurant

Posted in meals, Restaurants, Richmond VA, travel, vegetarian, Virginia on August 23rd, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Last week David and I were up in Virginia, visiting friends and family before moving into our new home in Atlanta.  While we were in Richmond, we discovered The Nile Restaurant,  an amazing, delicious and 100% gluten-free restaurant.

Thanks to our friends, Lee and Nancy, who were inspired by a recent episode of Top Chef that involved Ethiopian cuisine, for finding this great Richmond spot.  They decided to look for an Ethiopian restaurant in Richmond and stumbled upon The Nile Restaurant, which also happens to be 100% gluten-free.  I kid you not: every dish in the place is gluten-free, even the bread (yes, bread!) that you use to pick up your food.  That’s right, no silverware needed in this restaurant.

eth sign

The ‘injera’ bread is made with teff flour, making it light and spongy.  The bread is basically used as your utensil so you grab your food with the injera.  So delicious!  Warning: Not all Ethiopian restaurants are entirely GF.  Our server informed us that a lot of restaurants use part teff flour and part regular flour in their bread, as a means of cutting costs because the teff is expensive.  This makes it not ok for us celiacs.

Delicious injera bread (100% teff flour)

Delicious injera bread (100% teff flour)

When people ask me what I miss most now that I’m gluten-free, they usually expect me to say cake or pizza, but that’s not my response.  Honestly, I can make all of those items, and I make them pretty darn well.  For me, the thing I miss the most from my ‘gluten’ days is sharing experiences with people.  At wedding receptions, birthday parties, and events, I usually have to bring my own food.  At restaurants I can never ‘just have a bite’ of someone else’s dish because I don’t know what’s in it or it might be contaminated.  The Nile was a lovely break from my celiac-imposed dining restraints and I could dig in with the rest of my group.

At Nile, they serve the food communally, and I could enjoy and partake with everyone else.  I didn’t have to worry about contaminated utensils. (Oh wait, there were no utensils!)  No separate plates for me.  We all enjoyed every bite of our meal.  I think this might be one of the best dinners I’ve eaten all summer.

Buticha Roll (garbanzo bean paste appetizer)

Buticha Roll (garbanzo bean paste appetizer)

Ayib Tikl (spicy cheese roll app)

Ayib Tikl (spicy cheese roll app)

We had no idea what we were doing since it was our first Ethiopian experience but the waiter was so friendly and helpful when it came to guiding us in our choices.  We went with a couple of appetizers, two ‘Nile Special Combination Plates’ (where you get a little bit of everything), and one entrée.  Everything was phenomenal.  We were all very satisfied at the end of the meal.  It was a lot of food but I felt refreshed and energized at the end, not overloaded.

The main event, the special combo plate...so good

The main event, the special combo plate...so good

Our main dishes came out on one large communal plate.  The photos do not do the meal justice.  It was amazing.  Take my word for it and if you’re in Richmond, check it out for yourself.

I highly recommend Nile, regardless of whether or not you are gluten-free.  There are many options and all of their veggie dishes and injera bread are vegan friendly too!  Next time I’m in Richmond, I’ll definitely be back.

Does anyone know of any other 100% gluten-free restaurants?

meal 2

The Nile Restaurant – 309 N. Laurel St. – Richmond, VA 23220 – (between Broad & Grace St) 804-225-5544

Google What?

Posted in Atlanta on August 20th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Google

It’s hard to believe that just ten years ago no one really knew what Google was.  Now it’s our ‘go to’ tool when searching the world wide web.  In fact, much of my blog traffic comes from Google searches.  Thanks to my ‘Blog Management’ program, I can see how many people have visited my blog and how they got to Gluten Freedom.  If they found me via a google search, I can see what they searched to get to me.  I’ve been keeping a running list of some of those searches.  I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the funny ones, some that make sense and some that don’t make sense.  Everything from “CDC” to “Bachelor Final Rose” to “Local Food” to “gluten free.”  I guess this blog serves more audiences than I thought it would.

How did you get here? Favorite Google Searches:

How to host a bachelorette tv shoow party

Drew brees and celiac

Glutten free

Gluten free Atlanta

Awesome koozies

Dharma

Top Chef

Lost Finale why know reunion between Claire and Aaron

Science Fair Projects and celiac disease

breaking the curse – say yes to the dress: atlanta itunes

Ode to my Lunch Box

Heidi Swanson

Barefoot Contessa

How much is quiche at Whole Foods?

Gluten free college

Eating swiss chard causes gas

Graeter’s ice cream gluten

What happens to contestants on Top Chef when they get kicked off?

Make and freeze summer squash casserole

Southern living Serenbe farms

Starbucks

Celiac trendy

Hmm.  Do these google searches represent me?

Moving Day

Posted in Atlanta, local food, meals, Restaurants on August 18th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Our bags are packed and we’re ready to go…

You might have noticed that there hasn’t been a whole lot of cooking in my home recently.  I’ve cooked on the Eastern Shore, in Richmond, in Alexandria, but not in our little Atlanta apartment.  That’s because our apartment looks like this:

photo-2

Yup, we’re moving.  We only have two bowls, two spoons, and two glasses that haven’t yet been packed.  We initially moved to Atlanta for just one year, but we’ve decided to make Atlanta our permanent home and we couldn’t be more excited.

In the last few weeks, however, we’ve been dining out a lot more than normal since our kitchen and entire apartment are in a state of chaos.  Boxes are everywhere, we’ve been in and out of town, and well, it’s just been easier to go out to dinner.

photo-1

Check out some of the meals I’ve enjoyed while my apartment is full of boxes:

Miller Union

IMG_0048

Veggie Plate

Remnants of Feta Snack

Remnants of Feta Snack

Urban Pl8

steak

Yeah! Burger

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Taqueria del Sol

taqueria

So today we move into our new home.  So long, one bedroom apartment.  You’ve been a great home for the last year but I must admit, I’m excited to have a little more space…a bigger kitchen, a dining room table that we don’t have to pull out from the wallwhen we have guests over, a fireplace, a fenced in backyard.

Our life has had a lot of transition in the last few years so I’m excited to be here, in our new space, cooking away, and enjoying our life in Atlanta.

As my grandmother says, “Home again, home again, quick as a jig.”

Urban Pl8′s Revamped Gluten-Free Friendly Menu

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on August 16th, 2010 by Betsy – 4 Comments

As you know, I love the Westside’s Urban Pl8 and the delicious food they serve.  Well, my friends, it just got even better.  Chef/owner Betsy Pitts has completely revamped their entire menu, making pretty much everything gluten-free friendly.  She is now making all soy sauce in-house and completely gluten-free.  Bread crumbs are made with rice Chex so anything breaded is GF too.  Yes, that means we can indulge in crab cakes at stir fryat Urban Pl8.  Pitts also uses gluten-free bread, upon request, for any of her sandwiches and burgers.

I think my new favorite item comes from Urban Pl8’s brunch menu: blueberry almond meal griddle cakes with maple syrup.  Delicious!  While Pitts has many great egg dishes, it’s such a treat to be able to order non-egg items for brunch.

David and I went to Urban Pl8 twice last week (once for brunch and once for dinner).

For brunch, I indulged in the almond cakes and roasted sweet potatoes.

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sweet potatoes

For dinner, I went with the chipotle rubbed hanger steak with sweet potatoes (of course!) and asparagus.

steak

We also shared the beet and goat cheese salad and the Vietnamese chicken wraps for appetizers.  The wraps were delicious, with a perfect crunch.

goat cheese

chicken wrap In addition to being gluten-free friendly, Urban Pl8’s new menu also caters to those following the paleo diet.  Many of their items are paleo-friendly too and are indicated on the menu.  Check out Urban Pl8′s new menu online.

Meals from a Gluten-Free Kitchen

Posted in local food, meals, recipe on August 12th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

I’m excited to announce my latest article just came out in Atlanta’s Finest Dining Magazine. Not only am I happy that I’ve gotten published again (woohoo!), but I’m also thrilled that a mainstream magazine is committed to giving attention to the gluten-free community.

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Please check out my article, “Enjoying the Seasonal Bounty.”  Isn’t “bounty” such a great word.  I have to give my friend Mary Stuart credit for the use of bounty associated with local food.  We get to share in the bounty of what our local farmers harvest, even in these swelteringly hot summer months.

Thank you, Farmers (Paige, Justin, Joe, Judith, Nicholas, Gretchen, John, Ashley, Stephanie, and many others), for working your tails off so we can eat your delicious food.

Meals from a Gluten-Free Kitchen: Enjoying the Seasonal Bounty

IMG_1290

Introduction to Scoutmob

Posted in Atlanta, event, local food on August 10th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

scoutmob

Attention Atlantans and NYC friends:

I would like you to meet Scoutmob.  This awesome website offers great deals on uniquely local spots.  Some of my current favorites include:

- 50% off at Cook’s Warehouse

- 50% off at B.Braithwaite (Looking for a baby gift?  Perfect stop on the Westside)

- 50% off at Shaun’s (they have a GF menu!)

- 50% off at Savvy Snoot (great used furniture place on the Westside)

ScoutMobiphone

Why do I love Scoutmob?

  • It’s totally free and you get all kinds of amazing deals.
  • Each day you get fun/quirky write ups about each of the places that are featured on the daily deals.
  • I get to use the cool ScoutMob App for my new Iphone that makes me feel trendy.
  • You don’t have to have an Iphone to use the deals.
  • Daily emails that tell you about cool, local goings on, that are unique to Atlanta.

Check it out for yourself.  I just wanted to make the introduction.  Click here to visit their website: Scoutmob

For those of you that have already drank the Scoutmob Kool-Aid: What deals have you used?  Any NYC feedback?  We love it in ATL?

ESVA Crab Cakes

Posted in local food, meals, recipe, travel on August 9th, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

plate of food

One of the best parts about being on the Shore (besides lots of reading), is the cooking and eating.  During the summer months, there are so many fresh veggies that meal prep is pretty minimal.  Last week we enjoyed many laid back dinners, but one of my favorite meals involved homemade crab cakes.  I can never get crab cakes at restaurants because they’re breaded, so it’s an extra special treat for me to enjoy a summer crab cake.  We happily ate them for two dinners.  (Side note: Urban Pl8’s crab cakes are GF!)

Gillian's Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

Gillian's Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs

We bought fresh crabmeat at Edward’s Seafood in Onley.  When you buy the best crabmeat, you don’t want a lot of filler in your cakes, but you do need enough to bind it together.  I bought Gillian’s Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs at Herbal Instincts Natural Food Market in Onancock (141 Market Street).  They have an amazing selection of gluten-free goodies, including Udi’s bagels, Pamela’s cookies, quinoa as well as organic meats.  A great place for Mom and me to stock up.

Herbal Instincts Market (Onancock, VA)

Herbal Instincts Market (Onancock, VA)

I’ve written about crab cakes before but I experimented a different recipe here.  I briefly referred to Mark Bittman’s crab cake recipe, but of course I wanted to add Old Bay and didn’t particularly want to use scallions to my crab cakes so I changed it up a little bit.  Here’s what we did:

ESVA Crab Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab meat
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons Gillian’s bread crumbs
  • Less than ¼ cup mayonnaise (depends on how mayo-y you want your cakes)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • s&p
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix crabmeat, egg, Old Bay, mayo, dijon, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs in a bowl.  Refrigerate mix for about 30 minutes.  Remove mixture from fridge and make into tightly packed cakes.  (About 4-6 per pound of meat, depending on how big you want them.  I find them easier to flip if they’re smaller.)

crab cake

Heat nonstick pan on medium high heat.  Add butter and olive.  Let melt and butter bubble.  Once bubbling has subsided, add cakes to pan.  Cook for 5 minutes (until nicely browned) and flip, cooking for another 5 minutes.  Serve warm.

IMG_0034

We enjoyed our crab cakes with homemade deviled eggs, fresh corn and tomatoes, both grown on our road.  A truly local meal!

old bay

deviled eggs

Perfect.  (And obviously, there was wine too, served by our favorite bartender.)

wine

Summer Reads on the Shore

Posted in reading, travel on August 6th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

I’m back in Atlanta after a wonderful week on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with my parents.  Sure, it was no Rhinebeck, New York, but I’ll take Finney Creek any day over the wedding of the century.  The Shore is one of my favorite places, as it’s one of the spots where I feel most relaxed.  No sight seeing, very little social activity, just hanging out.  Fortunately, we had a spell of cooler weather so reading on the dock didn’t involve heat stroke.

shore 9 Most of our time on the shore consisted of boat rides, naps, reading, eating and watching Pardon the Interruption.  During the fall, winter and spring we also watch a lot of football and basketball, but we have trouble getting excited about baseball, so there wasn’t nearly as much ESPN.  While I missed having sports to watch, I found that I had much more time to read without the NCAA tournament or bowl season to distract me.

I read three great books while on the Shore and I would highly recommend all three.  Each was very different but I devoured them.  Nothing could stand in my way of finishing them.

mockingbird1

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee: Charles J. Shields

Having reread To Kill a Mockingbird this year with my 8th graders, I loved learning more about the life of Harper Lee, especially her friendship with Truman Capote.  Lee was his research assistant for In Cold Blood, another story that fascinates me.  A large chunk of the book is about their time in Kansas researching the murder and getting to know the people involved in the case.  As a wanna-be writer myself, it was also refreshing to learn that words didn’t always flow easily for Ms. Lee.  She struggled with her first book (TKAM was initially a group of short stories that her publisher made her tie together) and she never even published a second book, despite tirelessly working on one.  Affirming to know that I don’t suffer from writer’s block alone.

littlebee

Little Bee: Chris Cleave

‘Absolutely riveting’ is the only way I can describe this book.  On the back cover of Little Bee it actually says, “We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book.  It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it.”  That’s how I feel about it.  A powerful, creative story, with great characters, I can’t do it justice by summarizing.  It’s beautifully written but I found myself reading it too fast to even appreciate the writing style because I was so eager to find out what happens and how everyone is connected.

Piano_Teacher

The Piano Teacher: Janice Y.K. Lee

This story takes place in Hong Kong, during and after World War II.  A history teacher, I love books about a small moment in history in an unusual place.  I had never really thought much about what Hong Kong was like during World War II, but the story is captivating.  The combination of a large European population from colonialism, the Japanese takeover, and the Chinese made for an interesting social tension at the time.

hellhounds

Now I’m reading Hellhound on His Trail, (Hampton Sides) a book David recommended, about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the search for his assassin.  The history nerd in me loves this stuff.  Written with a journalistic style, the author tells a great story about the man that killed King, our nation’s political state at the time, and the workings of the FBI.  I’m really enjoying it, but it will take me ten times longer to finish it than if I were still reading on the dock.

Do you have any reading recommendations?  We’ll be in Connecticut with David’s family in September so I’ll be looking for some good reads on the trip.