Archive for September, 2011

Amazon Prime

Posted in advice, GF product, online shopping, Uncategorized on September 29th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

I’ve recently been converted to the world of Amazon Prime.  My sister-in-law, Blair, convinced me that Amazon Prime is the way to go, as it diminishes the frequency of shopping, which for me is a huge plus.  Basically, I hope to buy all of my food, toiletries, etc. (except meat and veggies) through Amazon Prime.

For those of you that don’t know about Amazon Prime, it’s truly genius.  You pay an annual fee of $79 and you get free two day shipping on all of your purchases (that qualify for Amazon Prime, which is most items). Not only will I be buying things like toilet paper, laundry detergent and trash bags, but even groceries.  (And of course there will always be the book impulse buys.)

Did you know that Amazon has an amazing selection of gluten-free products???  Some of my favorite GF items are on Amazon.  This is a great option if you live in a small town and don’t have access to a Whole Foods or natural food store.  Or if you’re like me, and the thought of going to Costco or a shopping mall makes you break out in a sweat.

Mesa Sunrise Cereal

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bars

 

bionaturae fusili Pasta

Peanut Butter Panda Puffs (Enviro Kids)

Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

 

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats

 

Jif to Go

Bye bye Costco membership, hello Amazon Prime!  Just make sure you recycle all of the Amazon boxes you’ll start to accumulate!

What do you like to order on Amazon Prime?

American Gra-Frutti: Product Review

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on September 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

You may have seen American Gra-Frutti at your Atlanta Whole Foods or perhaps at a Braves game, in the gluten-free concession stand.

Did you know they’re a local, Atlanta company?

Did you know they are a 100% gluten-free bakery?

Did you know they make a variety of vegan treats?

Well, now you know!  You should check American Gra-Frutti’s website out and learn more.  Recently, they sent me a bunch of treats that I’ve been thoroughly enjoying.  And the ones I can’t yet get to, like a loaf of bread, I just stuck in the freezer for a later date.

This isn’t your typical bakery folks…sure, they have cupcakes, breads, and muffins but just wait, there’s more.  American Gra-Frutti makes two of my favorite items that I have not had since I was diagnosed with celiac FOUR years ago!

#1: Cheese straws: If you grew up in Virginia, like me, or anywhere in the south, you probably share my love for cheese straws.  I freakin’ love cheese straws.  They remind me of the holidays, of the gift baskets my parents always received from their students, and of course, they remind me of cocktail time.  American Gra’Frutti’s cheese straw crackers are so good, I had to keep a close watch on them because David wanted to devour every single one of them from the moment the package was opened.  They’re that good.  Perfectly cheesy, crispy and with a spicy kick.  Just the way I remember them.  And reasonably priced!

#2: Graham crackers: These crispy, sweet treats can be enjoyed a variety of ways (peanut butter and nutella?) but they are best when used for the sandwich of a s’more.  Since we got our package of graham crackers, David and I have started making s’mores all the time.  They’re the perfect dessert, especially now that we’re heading into the cool weather months.  We’ve been cheating a little and just heating up our marshmallows over the grill.  Still delicious!  American Gra-Frutti’s graham crackers hold together perfectly with s’mores, and yes, you can fit two jumbo marshmallows between two of them.

You can order American Gra-Frutti through their website or at the Buckhead Whole Foods.  Where else have you found these treats?

Next time I’ve got my eyes on the carrot cake!  Thank you, American Gra-Frutti for safely making delicious gluten-free food.

PS: Their flat bread with hummus is currently my favorite afternoon snack…

Italian Dining in Decatur: No. 246

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants on September 21st, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Last night David and I had a date night at No. 246 in Decatur.  This new, Italian-inspired restaurant is owned by the same folks that own the Westside’s JCT Kitchen.  I love the décor inside No. 246, but similar to its sister restaurant, No. 246 is quite loud inside.  (Translation: I won’t be taking my parents here the next time they’re in town.)  The service was great at No. 246, as we felt like we got really good attention from our server.  She was very communicative with us and answered all of our questions.

Normally I wouldn’t be eager to spend date night at an Italian restaurant but No. 246 is now offering gluten-free pasta.  This corn based spaghetti can be served with any of their pasta options that are naturally gluten free.  I enjoyed their Trofie pasta, which is a Bolognese style sauce with chicken liver, pork and beef.  And parmesan!  Yummy!  (Don’t be intimidated by the chicken liver.  There’s nothing to be scared of, I promise!)

Another reason why I love No. 246 is that you can order a “half portion” (which is still quite generous) for about half the price.  I also ordered their arugula salad with lemon-anchovy vinaigrette and shaved parmesan cheese.  The arugula had a nice bite to it but it wasn’t dominating, as arugula sometimes can be.  Other GF options at No. 246 are some of their “Plates” and other salads and soups.

No. 246 is named after the original plot of land where the restaurant sits. (Of course all I can think of is the line from Les Mis, "No, 2-4-6-0-1!"

I highly recommend No. 246 to gluten eaters and gluten freers.  It’s quite a hot spot right now for Atlantans and they don’t take reservations so plan on enjoying a drink at the bar if you go on a weekend night.  We dined at No. 246 on a Tuesday night and didn’t have any wait at all.

Enjoy!  Have any of you been yet?  Let’s support this local spot that’s making efforts to accommodate gluten-free diners!

PS: Their pizzas looked a-mazing!  Maybe someday they’ll be gluten free too…

No. 246

129 E Ponce de Leon Ave
Decatur, GA 30030

Name that Show!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19th, 2011 by Betsy – 7 Comments

I’m beginning to talk with some folks about trying to pitch a show that involves traveling with food allergies/sensitivities to the Food Network and the Travel Channel.  Picture Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations but a little sweeter and not as many f-bombs.

As we begin the planning process, we’ve been brainstorming locations, ideas, and most importantly…what the heck to call the show. We want people to be able to tell the premise of the show by seeing the title.  We just can’t seem to figure out one that’s quite right.

So, I’m enlisting your help on this one…

I would love your ideas for names for a show that involves the following:

  • Travel
  • Gluten free
  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Dining
  • Culture
  • Hiking, site seeing, touring

So give me your ideas, please!

Here are some of the suggestions I’ve gotten so far…

  • “Planes, Trains, and Autoimmunity”
  • “Gluten Tag” (If only we were filming in Germany!)
  • “Fearless Foodie: Traveling with Food Sensitivities & Allergies”
  • “Eating without Fear
  • “Betsy Metcalf: Your GF BFF”
  • “Fork in the Road”
  • “Unrestricted Appetite”
  • “Off the Wheaten Path”
  • “The Gluttonous Gluten-Free Goddess”
  • “Glutenless Maximus”
  • Betsy Metcalf: The Food Savvy Traveler

I love creative minds at work!  Keep the ideas coming.

My Culinary Inspiration...Barefoot Contessa (I think she and I could work well together on the Food Network, don't you?)

Gluten Freedom’s Top 5 Casual Dining

Posted in Atlanta, Restaurants, Uncategorized on September 15th, 2011 by Betsy – 4 Comments

While I’m always up for a fancy dinner, there are times where you want to preserve your wallet and just don’t feel like getting dressed up.  Earlier in the summer, I gave you my Top 5 Atlanta splurge restaurants.  So I thought I’d share with you my favorite casual spots around town.

MetroFresh: A devoted subscriber to their daily menu, I love learning what’s going on in MetroFresh world.  MetroFresh labels all of their dishes that are gluten-free, dairy free, etc. making it easy to navigate and I can know exactly what’s available for me.  MetroFresh now also serves GF muffins each week that are delicious.  Try their new location in the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  At this location they don’t list the specific GF items but you can ask someone working there and they will help you out.

A GF muffin at MetroFresh

Soup & squash salad at MetroFresh

Taqueria del Sol: While you want to avoid the chips at Taqueria (as they’re fried in the same fryer with breaded items), there are still many options for you.  In fact, you can even order corn tortillas to dip in guac and salsa so you don’t have to totally miss out.  I love their Memphis taco and their veggie taco (with corn tacos, of course).  Yummy, but just prepare to wait in line for a little while.

Tacos at Taqueria

Yeah Burger: One of my “go to” weeknight dinner places when meeting a friend or having a laid back date night, I’ll go here forever, as long as they have the “gluten-free 50-50.”  (Yes, that’s right: a glorious basket filled half with onion rings and half with French fries.)  Recently, YEAH has changed their GF bun from Pure Knead to Rudi’s.  I’m not thrilled about this switcheroo and might go bunless now but I still consider YEAH a favorite because of the fries and onion rings.  Oh, and the YEAH sauce is a-mazing for dipping.

Fuego Mundo: I don’t get to Fuego as much as I’d like, but I heart their black bean quinoa and plantains.  So yummy.  Basically their entire menu is GF so you don’t have to worry at all about contamination.

Bhojanic: Thanks to Mary Stuart, David and I have finally found an Indian place in Atlanta that we love.  Reasonably priced, these dishes have quite a kick and there are many gluten-free options.  The staff is very knowledgeable about their GF items.

What are your favorite places in ATL for a laid back dinner?

Congratulations, Djokovic!

Posted in advice on September 13th, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

What a season for Novak Djokovic!  For those of you that follow tennis, you probably know that he beat Nadal last night in four sets to wine the US Open, his third grand slam title of the year.  Impressive, right?  In the 2011 season, he has gone 64-2.  Wow.

While he didn’t seem like the crowd favorite last night in the third set tie break, I was cheering on fellow gluten-freer, Djokovic.  I don’t think you can attribute all of Djokovic’s success this year to his new diet, but it’s definitely playing a role in his victories.  Since going gluten free, Djokovic has had the year of his life on the tennis court.  I’m not advocating that everyone should go gluten free, but I do think we would all feel better if we took the time to figure out which foods our bodies respond well too and which ones make us feel crummy.

And for tennis champion, Djokovic, keep staying away from the glutes!  Congrats on a great year.

Celebrate National Celiac Awareness Day! (And an Excuse to go to Farm Burger)

Posted in Atlanta, GF product, Uncategorized on September 12th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Farm Burger on a GF bun!

Happy National Celiac Awareness Day!

That’s right, September 13th is officially Celiac Awareness Day.  It’s a day to celebrate!  On this day, I’m particularly thankful for my health and the many resources Atlanta has to offer its gluten-free residents.  Thank you, ATL!

Last week, I enjoyed my first trip to the new Farm Burger in Buckhead (with elaney), and thoroughly enjoyed my cheeseburger with FB sauce (I kept accidentally calling it “Facebook Sauce”) and tomato, as well as my delicious salad (both of their salad dressings are GF).  The burger hit the spot.  Thanks, Farm Burger, for working with Pure Knead, another local treasure, to allow me to enjoy a dinner out, just like everyone else!  A great way to celebrate Celiac Awareness Day if you ask me!

 

My burger featuring “Facebook” Sauce

So, in honor of Celiac Awareness Day, take your favorite gluten-free loved one out for a night of GF goodness.  There are so many choices…check out my Restaurants page for guidance.

 

Gigi’s Cupcakes: Norcross, GA

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on September 8th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Recently I had the opportunity, through the Atlanta Gluten-Free Dinner Club, to sample some of Gigi’s Cupcakes’ gluten-free treats.  The Gigi’s at the Forum, in Norcross, makes gluten-free cupcakes every Tuesday and Thursday.  On those days they always have chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and spice with cream cheese frosting.  Delicious!

 

Yours truly in front of Gigi's

While Gigi’s is not a dedicated gluten-free bakery, they use precaution to avoid contamination.  In fact, on Tuesdays and Thursdays they start baking early so to prepare the GF cupcakes before they make their glutenous cupcakes.

A few Tuesdays ago, Jen (a fellow gluten-freer) and I hopped in the car and made the trek to Norcross.  This was my first ever visit to Norcross (besides my lacrosse team playing Wesleyan) but it was worth the venture OTP.  (Since it is a bit of a trek for those of us that live closer to downtown, I would call ahead, just to make sure they have GF cupcakes on that day.)

These cupcakes were absolutely delicious and the crew at Gigi’s made a bunch of different varieties, beyond just the typical vanilla and chocolate.  Jen and I savored every bite of out THREE cupcakes…

 

Salted Caramel


Peanut Butter Cup

Birthday Cake

And I got two for the road, chocolate and vanilla…

Gigi’s cupcakes are a sweet tooth’s dream!  Amazing icing and delicious cake.  I know that cupcakes are trendy right now but I do think they’re so much more fun than cake.  For indecisive people like me, you can try multiple varieties!

PS: When we got married 7 years ago (!!!!!!!) we had cupcakes, instead of wedding cake.  I guess we were way ahead of the trend!  So cupcakes always have a special place in my heart.

Not every Gigi’s makes gluten-free cupcakes but if there’s one in your area, I suggest calling and seeing if they do.  If they don’t, you should highly suggest it.  Of course they will need to take precaution when  making them in order to avoid contamination.

There’s always room for dessert!

Gigi’s Cupcakes – 4880 Peachtree Corners Circle Ste 1130, Norcross, GA

Charlottesville Travel Article

Posted in travel, Uncategorized on September 6th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

If you went to the University of Virginia, you’re most likely as in love with Charlottesville, Virginia as I am.  We Wahoos can be a little snobby about “The University” and our favorite historical figure, Mr. Jefferson.  (That’s right, he didn’t go by “President” just “Mr.”)

I give Charlottesville credit for a lot of things in my life: a great college education, my husband (who gave me my tour of UVA my senior year of high school), wonderful memories, and my nerdy love of history.

Needless to say, when I was asked by Living Without Magazine to write a travel article about Charlottesville, I couldn’t resist.  Of course I had way too many gushing things to say about C’Ville, even though when I was a student, I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with celiac.  I’ve been back many times since and have learned to navigate the GF world in C’Ville.  I also enlisted the help of two of my former students (who are way cooler than me), Liz and Eleanor.  They are now living the dream as 2nd years at UVA…they also have celiac so could give me the scoop on all of the yummy spots they enjoy.

Check out my article on Charlottesville by clicking here or buy the October/November issue of Living Without at your local Whole Foods or health food store.  While I miss the delicious Take it Away sandwiches and Bodo’s Bagels, there are more and more options in C’ville for us gluten-freers.  I promise!

Farm Burger Buckhead Officially Opens!

Posted in event, local food, Restaurants on September 2nd, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Farm Burger Buckhead officially opens its doors today, Friday, September 2nd.

Here’s what the Farm Burger folks had to say:

Yes that’s right, as of Friday, September 2nd, we are OPEN IN BUCKHEAD! Come on down and taste our 100% local grassfed burgers and farm fixins for lunch or dinner.

OUR HOURS ARE…
Sunday – Thursday   11.30am – 10pm
Friday – Saturday    11.30am – 11pm

3365 Piedmont at Peachtree in TowerWalk…and free parking in the lot next door to us!

Did you know we run our own farms in Athens? Check out Full Moon Farms and Moonshine Meats, our vegetable and animal operations.

We’re thrilled to round up our herd from Decatur and stampede over to Buckhead…same menu, same beef, same seasonal goodness from local and sustainable farms available everyday!

Hello Buckhead…we can’t wait to get to know you better.