Archive for October, 2010

Experimenting with a New Granola Recipe…Success!

Posted in baking, recipe, vegetarian on October 28th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Fall reminds me of many things:  My Dutch oven, Roasted Veggies, Chili,  and all things Pumpkin

But the cool weather also makes me think about granola.  Don’t ask me why I make the connection between a specific season and granola because I pretty much eat this yummy snack year round.  I heart granola, in a big way.  I’ve had my go-to granola recipe for awhile, but while David was away last week, I was itching to try out a new recipe.

granola finished

I found a granola recipe in Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day cookbook that implements a distinctly different cooking process than Mark Bittman’s, which I’ve followed in the past.  I was intrigued by the use of maple syrup, and cooking the ingredients on a baking sheet instead of the roasting pan.  (I didn’t feel like digging the roasting pan out of the back of the cabinet.)

granola honey

This recipe might be my new favorite and I plan on making a big batch when David’s family comes to Atlanta for Thanksgiving.  Perfect for a simple breakfast on a day where there will be much eating in the later hours.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, but stuck to the basic methods.  It is delicious, crunchy, and the coating of oil, syrup and honey worked really well.  I’ve been putting my granola in my cereal, on my yogurt, and my new favorite: on Breyer’s Dulce de Leche ice cream.  Amazing!

gran close up fin

Granola Version 2 (Inspired by Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day Cookbook)

Makes about 7 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (sweetened is fine too)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds, cashews, pecans and sunflower seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup dried raisins

Preaheat oven to 275.

Spread the oats, coconut, and almonds on a large baking sheet with sides.  Sprinkle with salt and bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly toasted, but not darkened.  Stir occasionally while cooking.  Remove from oven and transfer ingredients to a large bowl.

granola pre

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray pan with PAM.  Stir maple syrup, honey and oil together in a small bowl and pour over oat mixture and toss to coat evenly.

gran liquid

gran mix

Spread granola greased baking sheet and bake for 22-27 minutes, until the granola is crispy and golden brown.  Stir several time throughout cooking process.

gran baking

Let granola cool completely on the baking sheet, breaking up large clumps before it cools.  Once it has cooled completely, add raisins and cranberries and toss.  Store in an air tight container or freeze.  Enjoy!

Ridin’ Solo

Posted in GF product, meals, Uncategorized on October 27th, 2010 by Betsy – 3 Comments

This past week, I was home alone, without my partner in crime, David.  I must say, it was totally weird not having my companion with me.  (Getting married a month after you graduate from college will do that to you!)  Especially in the last few months, we’ve spent a lot of time together, so it was an adjustment to be without my man.  I stayed busy though and I began to figure out what “meal planning for one” looks like.

ridin solo3

Friends and family made the week much easier and of course, being the planner that I am, I had many things on my calendar.  My mom came to Atlanta for a visit at the beginning of the week so I made a big batch of chunky lentil soup.  I love this recipe, but after eating leftovers all week, I don’t want to see chunky lentils again for at least a few weeks.  (I did freeze some for future solo dinners.)  I also made a batch of super easy pumpkin bread, using Pamela’s Baking Mix.  (I consumed the whole loaf, with the help of others, but you can put half in the freezer or freeze individual slices to save for later.)

ridin chunky lent

Chunky Lentil Soup

Mmm...pumpkin bread

Mmm...pumpkin bread

I was a little nervous about the weekend sans my main source of entertainment.  Surprisingly, it flew by with activities like power yoga, cleaning out my dresser, making granola (stay tuned for my delicious new recipe), football watching, wine tasting, and skyping with my sister-in-law and nephew in Japan.  (I know…I lead a wild life.)

On Sunday morning, it was particularly unusual to be by myself in our home.  Usually David and I make some kind of breakfast (hopefully David’s specialty: pancakes).  Of course on Sunday morning there was no one to make me pancakes while I brewed coffee…

If you know me, you know that I love treats; I love any excuse to treat myself to a treat.  So on Sunday morning, I treated myself to a morning outing to Starbuck’s with a detour by Kroger in search of gluten-free bagels, a pitiful replacement for homemade chocolate chip banana pancakes.  The Kroger on Howell Mill has  quite a decent selection of natural foods and gluten-free items.  They don’t have Udi’s bagels which I’ve heard rave reviews about, so I went with Kinnikinnick cinnamon raisin bagels.  They are dairy free, which makes me a little nervous but pickings were slim.

Let’s be honest, Folks: For me, unless it’s Bodo’s, a bagel is just a vehicle for cream cheese and homemade jam.  My toasted Kinnikinnick bagel was not the easiest bread item to swallow, but it toasted well and did the job for my solo Sunday morning.  (It’s no Sally’s Bakery cinnamon raisin English muffin, for sure.)

So I sat at our table, and enjoyed the quiet of the morning, missing David, but content with a day of rest, a good cup of coffee, and a lot of cream cheese.

ridin solo bagel

Bakery on Main Giveaway

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Yesterday I wrote about Bakery on Main’s Gift Set.  As you read, you were probably thinking, “Gosh, that sounds like a great assortment of goodies.”  Well, Readers, today is your lucky day.

bakonmaingran

If you comment on my “Bakery on Main: Delicious Granola & Snacks” post OR become a fan of Gluten Freedom on Facebook before 6:00 p.m. on Thurssday, October 28th ,  your name will be entered in a drawing to be the recipient of a free Bakery on Main Gift Set.  I will announce the winner on Friday morning.  It could be you!

Bakery on Main: Delicious Granola & Snacks

Posted in GF product, online shopping on October 25th, 2010 by Betsy – 7 Comments

While I love making my own granola, a girl doesn’t always have time to bake from scratch.  When I am craving a crunch in my yogurt and have depleted my own stash, my default is Bakery on Main.  Their motto, “Good Things Come From Small Batches” is adorable and clever, and however they’re making it, it’s turning out right.

Bakery on main logo

Recently I had the opportunity to try their Bakery on Main Gift Set, which includes a variety of granola snack packs, that are perfect for taking along in your lunch or carrying in your purse.  These snack sizes are essential for plane travel, as they add more nutrients and substance to a yogurt when stuck in the airport.  While I had enjoyed their granola flavors before, I had never tried the Fiber Power granola that uses GF oats.  (Fiber: another important component of travel!)  I highly recommend trying both the Fiber Power and their regular granola.  I like to mix Bakery on Main with my Mesa Sunrise cereal in the morning to add more flavor.

bakonmain fiber

bakonmaingran

The gift set also includes Bakery on Main’s granola bars, which make for a great afternoon snack.  They remind me of the granola bars I ate as a child, not the ones that can be so dense, and full of calories and carbs.  (My personal favorite is peanut butter chocolate chip.)  With your gift set, you also receive a handy reusable shopping bag, which is always essential, as well as a coupon for your favorite granola of choice.

gf granola bar

The folks at Bakery on Main are also about to release “Soft & Chewy Gluten Free Granola Bars” made with real, certified gluten-free oats.  I can’t wait to try them!  Their three flavors are Peanut Butter & Jelly, Chocolate Almond, and Apple Cinnamon.  Yum!  Stay tuned for more details on those.

You can find Bakery on Main in many natural food stores and you can order online.  This gift set is a perfect present for someone you know that’s gluten free.  (We, celiacs, don’t often get food given to us by others so it could be a rare treat.)  I love supporting small businesses that are making delicious, gluten-free food, and Bakery on Main is doing just that.  Check it out for yourself!

AND, if you comment on this post OR become a fan on Facebook by 6:00 on October 28th, you will be entered in a drawing for a free Bakery on Main Gift Set.

“World’s Best Gluten-Free Beer” is Coming to America

Posted in GF product on October 21st, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

It’s hard to find good gluten-free beer.  Really hard.  While beer’s not my usual beverage of choice for cocktail hour, there are certain occasions, where I find myself thinking, “It would be nice to have a cold beer right now.”  Boating on the Chesapeake Bay, watching football on a Saturday afternoon, or grilling in the backyard.  Mmm, yes.  Beer please. daura

Needless to say, my attention was captured when my friend Brittanny (who’s an expert on all things beer) sent me this Beer News article about Estrella Damm DAURA, which apparently has received the label, “Best Gluten-Free Beer.”  (Of course my first thought was DAURA sounds a lot like Dharma Initiative.)  Produced in Spain, at the Esrella Damm Brewery, DAURA has won this title at the World Beer Awards in 2008 and 2009.

Watch out USA, because DAURA is hitting the shelves in the land of the free and the home of the brave.  What better way to celebrate October: National Celiac Awareness Month by tasting this “new to the USA” tasty adult beverage?

Have a any of you tried DAURA yet?  Thoughts?  Reviews?

Check out this article for more information on DAURA’s arrival: U.S. Beverage Brings Estrella Damm Daura to U.S.

Two More Gluten-Free Spots in Charlottesville

Posted in Restaurants, travel, Virginia on October 20th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

During my recent visit to Charlottesville, I did not get to check out two eateries that have recently been put on my gluten-free radar.  One of my former students, who’s a first year at UVA (I’m so jealous!), goes to Rise PizzaWorks, a new addition to the Charlottesville restaurant scene, that offers gluten-free pizza crust.  Most of their toppings are GF, as well.

risepizza

Also, while in town, a friend informed me that there’s a hot dog place on the downtown mall that’s gluten-free friendly.  I haven’t been there yet, but here’s the info:

The Downtown Hot Dog Company – 112 W. Main, Charlottesville, VA 22901

Have any of you tried either of these yet?  What’s the scoop?

Am I missing any other great gluten-free spots in Charlottesville that have gone under my radar?

Going Gluten-Free in a Fredericksburg Strip Mall

Posted in meals, Restaurants, travel, Virginia on October 18th, 2010 by Betsy – 11 Comments

This weekend, I was back up in Virginia, for the wedding of my friends, Nancy and Lee.  More specifically, we were in Fredericksburg, a small town between Washington, D.C. and Richmond.  I’ve been so spoiled by my time in Virginia this month.  I’m convinced that October is the best time to be a Virginian.  (Don’t worry, Georgia: You, too, have a special place in my heart.)

Flowers in Downtown Fredericksburg

Flowers in Downtown Fredericksburg

What a gorgeous fall weekend for an outdoor reception!  The wedding was in a quaint historic church in Loretto, Virginia and the reception was in Nancy’s family’s backyard.  It was a beautiful event.

The interior of Vauter's Episcopal Church from my seat in the balcony

The interior of Vauter's Episcopal Church from my seat in the balcony

My favorite date and me outside the church

My favorite date and me outside the church

At the rehearsal dinner on Friday night, the caterers wonderfully made me a gluten-free dinner, for which I’m always so appreciative.  (I enter into wedding weekends with the expectation that I won’t have any food options aside from what I bring for myself so I’m always grateful when I can enjoy something beyond peanuts and Lara Bars.)  So I enjoyed the filets and mashed potatoes with everyone else.  (Of course I still snacked on my peanuts too.)

On Saturday, I planned ahead, to enjoy a large lunch, to hold me over during the reception, so I wouldn’t be tempted by gluten foods at the reception.  (It’s hard to resist crab cakes and a pad thai station, but it’s worth it to stay healthy, right?)  The question then became, “Where to go for lunch?”  Normally, I am eager to try a local spot when I travel, and our hotel was in the middle of Fredericksburg’s downtown area which has many awesome shops and cool food spots.  We enjoyed coffee in the morning at a Hyperion Espresso but after walking around downtown, it was clear that there wouldn’t be too many gluten-free friendly options for me.  Lots of bakeries and sandwich places that looked delicious, but not gluten-free.

So, I saw this need for a guaranteed GF meal, as an opportunity to please David as well.  He’s always begging me to go to Outback Steakhouse.  He can’t resist the bloomin’ onion and they do have a great gluten-free menu.  (As I’ve mentioned before, the Outback in Roswell, GA goes above and beyond the national menu.) I totally applaud any restaurant that’s willing to create a GF menu and accommodate their diners with dietary restrictions, but I’m not always dying for chain food.  (Sure, you can call me a food snob, if you want.)  But, since my options were limited, I was relieved to type Outback into my iPhone and find a location in Fredericksburg, just off I-95, of course.  And, Outback was the perfect location since the bride and groom are heading to Australia for their honeymoon!

outback-logo

Perfect.  “No Rules.  Just Right.”  A happy husband, college football, and a full belly, all before any vows were exchanged.  Well, we headed to a strip mall off the highway, in pursuit of the Outback.  As we drove up, the parking lot looked unusually empty.  Much to David’s dismay, Outback doesn’t open until 2:00 on Saturdays (4:00 on weekdays).  Who knew?  Note to self: Outback Steakhouse, not a good lunch option.  After this heartbreaking discovery, and with my stomach beginning to growl, we broke out the iPhone again and I began to search for other chains that I know to be gluten-free.

bonefish

We learned a Bonefish Grill was located in the near vicinity.  Bonefish also boasts a gluten-free menu at all of their locations.  Ok, I thought.  This situation can be redeemed.  Thank goodness for strip malls, and Fredericksburg had plenty.  It took us ten minutes to find Bonefish. (I kid you not: there were about ten strip malls in a 1-mile radius.)  We passed a Noodles & Co. on the way so we knew there would be a back up plan.  (They have GF rice noodles and a variety of GF sauces.) noodles logo

As we pulled up to the Bonefish Grill, I began to feel like I was having a serious case of déjà vu and saw that they too, don’t open until 4:00.

Shoot.  Time was running short.  But the chain restaurant Gods were smiling on me yesterday because there was a Cheeseburger in Paradise located right next to the Bonefish.  I had never been to a Cheeseburger in Paradise before but I knew from my gluten-free research that they have a GF menu.  Great.  Table for two, please.  We sat at the bar and the manager proceeded to bring me a gluten-free menu with many options.  While they do not offer GF buns, most of their burgers (sans-bun) are gluten-free AND their French fries are gluten-free, made in a separate fryer from all of their other items.  Hurray!  Ravenous at this point, I ordered a side of fries and the citrus chicken salad (substitute grilled chicken for the roast chicken).  I was very pleased with my choice and everyone who served us was super careful about my order, and very pleasant.

cheeseburger-in-paradise-logo

My delcious gluten-free French fries

My delcious gluten-free French fries

What a relief to have food options this weekend, and when Outback didn’t work out, there were other options for me.  While I sometimes turn my nose up at a chain restaurant, I’ve got to eat my words on this one.  I’m very thankful that there are restaurants throughout the country where I can walk in, and know that I will have options.  And yummy options too.

National chains are great for this exact reason: You’re in an unfamiliar place and unsure of the food options, so you know you can look up one of the following restaurants to find safe food.  Make sure you still remind your server and talk to the manager about your needs.  (Some of the locations might educate their employees more than others, so you just want to double check.)

National Restaurant Chains with Gluten-Free Menus:

  • Outback Steakhouse
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise
  • Bonefish Grill
  • P.F. Chang’s
  • Ted’s Montana Grill
  • Wendy’s (Who doesn’t love a Frosty?)
  • Chili’s
  • Carraba’s

What have I missed?  What’s your go-to gluten-free dining option when in a bind?

Also, I’m obsessed with my new iPhone for many reasons (I definitely drank the Apple kool-aid), and this weekend was a perfect example of why the iPhone can come in handy for those of us that have to put a lot of thought and research into where we eat.  Thank you, iPhone.  I’m so glad to have you on the journey.

Get Ready Virginia Highlands…here comes YEAH! Burger

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants, vegetarian on October 14th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

I’m a bit biased to Atlanta’s Westside, but I do love Virginia Highlands.  Murphy’s, Paolo’s Gelato, MetroFresh, and all of the quirky boutiques are just of the few reasons to leave the Westside and head across town.

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But, now there’s a new excuse to head to Virginia Highlands: a new YEAH! Burger is opening for business on Thursday, November 4th, right in the heart of VA Highlands.  This opening is great news because YEAH is one of my favorite, quick dinner places and I’m confident, each time I go that they will take care of my gluten-free needs.

What do I love about YEAH! Burger?  Here are just a few:

  • YEAH! Sauce (on my burger & fries)
  • Pure Knead’s gluten-free buns
  • The bison burger with cheddar and grilled onions
  • GF French fries AND onion rings (Oh, and you can order a combo if you’re indecisive like me!)
  • October’s burger of the month, the lamb burger, is also GF
  • YEAH’s eco-friendly and organic…yay for being responsible citizens!

What do you love about YEAH! Burger?  What’s your favorite made to order combination?

YEAH! Burger – 1017 North Highland Avenue – Atlanta, GA

Virginia is for (Fall) Lovers

Posted in bakery, GF product, local food, meals, Restaurants, travel on October 12th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Georgia is now home and while I love being an Atlantan, there’s something about Virginia, that I just can’t tear myself away from…especially Virginia in the fall.  I get to spend two weekends in Virginia this month and I feel like one lucky girl.

Even though this past weekend was unusually warm, it still felt like fall in Charlottesville.  Leaves were starting to change; everyone wanted to be outside; I had no responsibilities for the weekend except hang out with college friends.  Beautiful.

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While I miss so many of the gluten-filled places I frequented as an undergrad, Saturday morning was a reminder to me that there are some gluten-free places for me in C’Ville.  Desperate to enjoy the beautiful weather, I wandered downtown to the Farmer’s Market, where of course, you can find table after table of beautiful produce, all gluten-free.  I even unexpectedly ran into three college friends while perusing the market…so fun!

farmersmktcville

It didn’t bother me that the cakes and breads at the market weren’t GF, because I headed right over to The Baker’s Palette and ordered myself a few of their gluten-free pumpkin muffins.  Baker’s Palette also sells GF banana muffins and biscotti, but I always stick with the pumpkin variety.  (They keep them frozen so I had to exercise major patience while I waited for my first one to thaw.  It was worth the wait.)

Baker's Palette: Just a quick walk from Charlottesville's Downtown Mall

Baker's Palette: Just a quick walk from Charlottesville's Downtown Mall

A wonderful, gluten-free, morning.  Sure, when I got to the morning reception I attended, I couldn’t eat the Bodo’s bagels that were set out, but by that time I had my perfectly thawed, delicious pumpkin muffin.

I didn’t have a lot of time to eat out at restaurants this trip because most of my meals were at University events, but on Sunday morning I discovered a new found love of smoothies.  Now, I’ve never really been into the ‘liquid diet,’ but on Sunday morning they looked so good, and it was delicious.  My friend, Nina, and I went to Calvino Cafe, at the Main Street Market, next to one of favorite lunch spots, Feast.

calvino

I inquired about the yogurt Calvino puts in their smoothies and they use the Kroger generic brand, so I didn’t take a risk.  Instead they subbed milk for yogurt and it was so yummy.  (My smoothie still tasted nice and thick, not too icy.)  Calvino also offers soy milk as an option, in case you prefer to go dairy free.  We sat outdoors, enjoying our breakfasts, before taking a walk ‘on grounds.’  (That’s what we, UVA folks, refer to as ‘on campus.’)  A perfect way to end my Charlottesville visit before heading back to my family in northern Virginia.  And, I’ll be back up in the Commonwealth of Virginia this weekend too!

A Different Kind of Doctor

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

lovesick

Whenever I’m looking for fashion tips, love advice, the latest gossip, or just witty banter, I head to Elaney.  I heart Elaney and her daily e-thoughts.  (Of course some of her topics I don’t fully understand since I’m not as trendy as she is, but I love a good e-mum quote or her thoughts on ‘The Bachelor.’)

Recently Elaney welcomed Dr. Love to her blog team for a day of guest blogging.  Dr. Love didn’t hold back when sharing his thoughts, advice and sometimes too clear instructions on love and relationships.  I must admit; I was pretty amused.  If you want a good laugh to start out your week, check out his posts.  (This guy must be unemployed because he blogged at least four times in one day!)  So take your pick, or, like me, read them all: Dr. Love #1, Dr. Love #2, Dr. Love #3, Dr. Love #4

Happy Monday!