I heart vacation. I love reading, eating, drinking, parking myself by the pool, and time with my hubby.
I think this will be the perfect place…
I heart vacation. I love reading, eating, drinking, parking myself by the pool, and time with my hubby.
I think this will be the perfect place…
Last week I spent time in Norfolk with my sister-in-law, Alden, as she gets settled into her new home in Virginia. We unpacked, entertained my nephews, Pete and Chip, watched Bachelorette (of course), and did some good eating. Alden even taught me how to cook tofu and we made delicious tofu Pad Thai. I’m even willing to say it’s better than chicken pad Thai
We also ventured out for lunch with both boys to Taste Unlimited, a yummy (and very popular) spot, just down the street. Taste Unlimited’s Hampton Boulevard location offers a large gluten-free sandwich menu and they use a separate sandwich making station and utensils for all gluten-free orders, to prevent cross-contamination. Their sandwiches are delicious (reminiscent of my gluten-filled college days spent frequenting Bel Air and Take it Away) and I’m a huge fan of their house dressing. I got their Northender sandwich, which includes the amazing combination of turkey, havarti, bacon and avacado. The sandwich gods were looking down on me because they put practically an entire avocado on my sandwich. I went with the house dressing in lieu of the aioli mayo because I just can’t resist the stuff. (You can buy their house dressing by the container too…this would be way too dangerous for me.) All in all, my sammy was a messy, delicious masterpiece.
Taste uses Udi’s sandwich bread (a personal favorite of mine) and you can also buy it by the loaf at the store as well. (They even sell Udi’s muffins and a brand of gluten-free ice cream sandwiches in their freezer section.)
Also, if you check Taste Unlimited’s website, they tell you which of the daily prepared foods are gluten-free. (They make take out foods like chicken salad, ribs, cucumber salad, etc.) A perfect weeknight dinner when you don’t feel like cooking OR if you’re going to be entertaining someone with a gluten allergy and feel overwhelmed by the task. Taste Unlimited is a great option.
Save room for dessert because Taste Unlimited offers glow gluten-free cookies, in multiple varieties, and Tate’s Bake Shop GF chocolate chip cookies. I bought glow’s chocolate chip cookies and they were yummy. They don’t skimp on the chocolate chips, which is key for GF baking! I love their packaging…looks similar to a Chinese food take out box. There are enough cookies in a box to share with your group. (If you’re feeling generous!) Their other varieties include snickerdoodle and ginger snap. You know me, I can’t resist chocolate!
Right now Taste Unlimited offers their gluten-free menu at their Newport News location and this fall they’ll roll it out at their new (and bigger) location in Virginia Beach. I contacted the folks at Taste to get more details and it turns out that one of their co-owners was diagnosed with celiac in 2009, hence the efforts they’ve gone to in order to accommodate customers with gluten allergies or celiac. I feel reassured when I know that someone personally involved with a restaurant has celiac because it means they get it, and they’re not just serving GF bread for their sandwiches. Taste Unlimited is taking all necessary precautions to ensure my safety, for which I am grateful. AND they make delicious sandwiches!
Taste Unlimited - 6464 Hampton Blvd.- Norfolk, VA 23508 – 757.623.7770
Yum…so easy but so good.
Sliced local tomatoes and cucumbers with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese, S&P
Grilled swordfish: If you haven’t tried this fish, you’re missing out. It’s meaty, not fishy, and worth the financial splurge. Just a little olive oil, some herbs and lemon juice make the perfect marinade. This time we used a tequila lime rub.
Grilled corn on the cob: shuck the corn, wrap each ear separately in tin foil, with a little butter, S&P, and put on the grill.
My kind of food! Simple, fresh, easy and highlighting the naturally delicious flavors. What are your favorite easy suppers?
Here are a few of my recent faves from 2011:
I’m always in search of gluten-free bread products. I don’t use gf bread as a major component of my regular diet, partially because it’s a hastle and because I just don’t find it to be that good. As you know though, I’m always looking for good bread/bagel products for the occasional cream cheese and jam breakfast. A few weeks ago, I purchased Whole Foods’ Cinnamon Raisin bread and I’m pretty pleased with the recipe they’ve created. I would say it’s up there with a Sally’s cinnamon raisin English muffin or an Udi’s bagel.
On a recent Saturday morning, when my resident pancake maker (David) was out golfing, I had a rare morning to myself (with no commitments). In the absence of my weekend chef, I was looking for a “more fun than cereal” weekend breakfast so I decided to break out the cinnamon raisin bread and indulge in a little cream cheese/cinnamon raisin toast. The Whole Foods Bakehouse bread is perfectly delicious toasted. It’s got more flavor than plain bread and makes you feel like you’re enjoying a bagel. There aren’t specific toasting instructions on the packaging but I heated it at 350 for about 5 minutes on each side. (We don’t have a toaster in our house so we’re limited in our toasting options.)
I devoured both pieces of toast and of course enjoyed my breakfast accompanied with a cup (or two) of coffee. Why do cinnamon, cream cheese and coffee go so perfectly together? Not sure, but it’s awesome.
I couldn’t help but think about my brother, Rob, as I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee from my Yokohama Starbucks mug. I received a postcard in the mail the day before from Rob sent via Okinawa, where his ship was in port at the time he sent it. I can’t read a word of Rob’s handwriting so it can be a bit of a project to decipher his thoughtful cards (hence I was finally reading it a day later). I haven’t seen Rob since March 12th, when his ship was sent out to do tsunami relief. I miss him a lot. I savor the occasional phone call from him from across the world and I only wish they could be more frequent. You would think at this point I’d be used to my big brother being a world traveler (he’s lived in Japan, China,Turkey, and Bahrain), but I’m not.
It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago I wrote this post (“Blueberry Muffins and Childhood Memories”), which is one of my favorites. A lot changes in a year. Since then, Rob and Alden have had a baby, I’ve been to Japan (twice), we’ve both survived an earthquake, and Rob continues to serve our country, alongside many others whose families bear a large burden for their spouses’ hard work and service. The families truly serve us too.
Rob’s going to be back in the States (hopefully) as of August. I can’t wait to see him and have him back in the same time zone. I know he’s eager to be home too. You’re greatly missed, Rob. Hurry home!
On our recent trip to Nashville, there were a few other spots that I felt worthy of a mention. I love Atlanta but I could really see myself living in Nashville. Great neighborhoods, family, fun coffee shops and ice cream. What more could a gluten-free girl need?
Bongo Java Coffee: This east Nashville coffee shop is a great spot for a morning get together. They have large tables with plenty of space to spread out, and park a large stroller! My iced coffee was one of the best iced coffees I’ve ever had. Wonderfully smooth and refreshing after a long walk. They roast beans in the shop so prepare to take the scent of coffee with you when you leave. It was so good we went again for breakfast on Saturday too…
Fido: Gluten-Free Muffins: Fido, another local spot, makes gluten-free muffins that they also sell at Bongo. I tried their strawberry banana gluten-free muffin and it was a great alternative to the glutenous bagel “bombs” (which look delicious!) that everyone else enjoyed for breakfast. They also have a coconut variety of muffin that gets rave reviews. They only use rice flour (not a flour blend) but it was pretty good, despite being a bit misshapen. I’m always appreciative when breakfast places have items I can enjoy, not limited to a plate of eggs.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: This delicious ice cream shop in East Nashville is worth the $4 for two half scoops. Many of their flavors are GF including my personal favorites, salty caramel and pistachio & honey. Yum! Their sorbets (such as Riesling poached pear) look refreshing too but it’s hard for me to resist fancy ice cream.
Bongo Java – 107 S. 11th St., Nashville, TN 37206 – 615.777.EAST
Fido – 1812 21st Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37212 – 615.777.FIDO
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream – 1892 Eastland Avenue, Nashville, TN 37206 – 615 262 8611
Last weekend, David and I drove to Nashville to meet our new niece, Anna. We have three nephews so it’s fun to add a niece to the mix!
I got to spend most of Friday, hanging out with my sister-in-law, Blair, and sweet little Anna. They live in East Nashville and of course Blair had scoped out her neighborhood for GF goodies for me.
We went to lunch at The Green Wagon, which can be described as an environmentally friendly general store. Lots of “green” cleaning products, alkaline water and other products. Their goal is to minimize businesses’ and consumers’ carbon footprint. The most exciting part about The Green Wagon though, is Aunt April’s Cafe, in the back of the store. Aunt April’s is totally, 100% gluten free and she makes lots of baked treats. You can also enjoy a sandwich or panini for lunch, made on April’s delicious, homemade bread. There aren’t a ton of sandwich options but I was a very satisfied customer.
Blair and I enjoyed delicious paninis at The Green Wagon. (They have seating inside so you don’t have to order to-go.) Mine was composed of turkey, cheddar, tomato, spinach and mustard. Yummy! It was so nice to not have to worry about contamination and know for sure that everything I enjoyed was safe. April’s bread was perfectly textured, with no funky after taste, and it’s clear April has been working on creating the perfect recipe for some time.
I also picked out a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin for dessert and a blueberry muffin that I patiently saved for breakfast the next day. The pumpkin muffin was so delicious and might have been the best flour blend I’ve ever tried. Perfectly pumpkin, with a taste of cinnamon and maybe nutmeg. And of course everything tastes better with chocolate. I only wish I’d bought more.
You can also special order goodies from Aunt April. All of her items are dairy free and can be made soy free, without the chocolate chips. She offers cupcakes, brownies, cookies and other items as well.
I can’t wait to go back and sample more of her goodies! You can also find her treats at other Nashville locations, including The Wild Cow and Edgehill Café.
The Green Wagon & Aunt April’s Cafe
1100 Forrest Ave
Nashville, TN 37206
I’ve had a few comments from Gluten Freedom Followers about the fact that I haven’t yet written about this season of The Bachelorette yet. I’d like to say it’s because I’ve matured and no longer watch such trash. I can’t honestly tell you that. Here’s why I’ve hesitated to write:
1) Could there really be that many people (besides me) watching this season?
2) I do write a food blog so I thought maybe I’d try to be a little more professional and not write as much about reality TV as I have in the past.
3) Ashley annoys me…she annoys me so much, it’s hard to bring myself to write about her.
But, I can’t completely ignore the show because I am watching and continue to be amazed by the ridiculousness of yet another season of The Bachelorette. And since there wasn’t a new episode last night, I thought I’d give you some of my reflections on the season thus far. (Just because it’s a national holiday doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get two hours with Ashley and Chris Harrison but apparently ABC feels otherwise.)
Some thoughts on this season:
If I hear “dot, dot, dot” or “insecurities” one more time, my head might explode. Even once Bentley gave Ashley the official “period,” she still kept uttering that absurdly open ended and meaningless phrase, “dot, dot, dot.”
Oh, Bentley, you are scum. You make Ashley look pitiful and you actually make me feel sorry for her. I hope your “Play Land” business in Utah is ruined.
Way to go, guys, for being ticked off that Ashley was pining away for Bentley, a total loser from Salt Lake City, who even Michelle warned Ashley was bad news. While you were rowing boats for her love in Hong Kong, Bentley just waltzed in and out of Ashley’s life as he pleased. (And, wait for it, still dumped her.) Yes, boys, you should feel like sloppy seconds.
What is up with the fashion on this season? Ashley has managed to wear more combinations of drapey shirts and tight pants than I ever thought imaginable. Whoever is the stylist this season is really into outfitting the guys in shirts with weird lapel thingys on the shoulders (sort of military looking). Does anyone have a name for these? Is this some trend that I’m completely missing? (See photo of Ames for an example of what I’m poorly trying to describe.)
Dear Ames, you are a sweetie. We like you, Ames, but we’re concerned that you live in a bit of a dream world. (On a whim you just decided to go to Thailand for cooking school?) Also, you seem to be an odd combination of Frankenstein and an Oompa Loompa, yet cute.
Chris Harrison seems really annoyed by Ashley. (As am I.) Her high maintenance neediness is too much for this ABC host. He clearly thought the whole Bentley obsession was over the top. Chris attempted to counsel her that “he’s just not that into you” but Ashley wouldn’t accept it.
Is it just me or do Ben C. and Constantine look identical?
J.P., are you too good to be true? We think you’re super cute and you actually seem to like Ashley. You could be the ultimate winner but I don’t know if your life is sexy enough for Ashley. I do have plenty of single women I’d like you to meet if it doesn’t work out with Ashley.
Who is going to make a return appearance in next week’s episode? My money is on Mickey. I don’t think Bentley will come back again. I hope not! Please, ABC, spare us.
For the five of you out there that are watching this season, who do you think is going to win Ashley’s heart? Is it possible for her to move on from Bentley? Are you ask skeptical as me Ashley’s sense of judgment? Do you think there will be an engagement at the end or will Ashley’s insecurities get the best of her?
Will the relationship end destructively like Brad and Emily? (Odds are likely.)
Look on the bright side though…at least we have Bachelor Pad starting August 8th. This season’s cast includes Jake, Vienna and “guard and protect my heart” Kasey (who now dates Vienna). Let the train wreck continue. Thank you, ABC.