Archive for March, 2012

Lululemon is coming to the Westside

Posted in Atlanta, favorite things, GF product, Uncategorized on March 22nd, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

This is dangerous.  A new Lululemon store is opening on Howell Mill Road, in the Westside Provisions District.  I just saw the sign this weekend and I immediately snapped a photo to send to David.  He already knew of this news but he (smartly) had elected not to share it with me.  The store is scheduled to open this summer and I’ll need to avoid making eye contact with the store during my (probably frequent) trips to Yeah Burger, as I survive my final month of pregnancy.

If you aren’t familiar with the brand, Lululemon, you should check them out.  I wish that I had invested in them.  I’m not someone who’s into name brands, expensive clothing, but Lululemon’s workout pants are worth every penny.  These yogaesque pants are flattering on anyone’s butt and thighs…even a pregnant woman.  (They don’t make maternity clothes but I bought a size up for the coaching season.  Again, totally worth it.)

Miami Spring Break 2K12 & Ola Restaurant

Posted in favorite things, meals, Restaurants, travel on March 20th, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Bienvenido a Miami: The view from our hotel room

David and I spent a restful five days in Miami during early March. We stayed at the brand new St. Regis hotel in Bal Harbor, enjoying his accumulation of hotel points in the past year.  We had the best time, relaxing, reading, and eating.  Always my perfect trip.  The folks at the St. Regis of course accommodated my GF diet and even had GF bread in one of their restaurants that they toasted for me for breakfast.  (Unfortunately I didn’t learn about this until the last day.)  One of my favorite meals was the quinoa salad at the pool restaurant.  I ordered it with chicken in order to get some extra protein.

One night, David and I went to a Miami Heat game to see LeBron and Dwayne Wade in action.  And of course, Duke alum, Shane Battier.  We wanted to explore dining options closer to the arena so the concierge recommended Ola Restaurant.  We called ahead to make reservations and they said that they could accommodate a gluten-free diner.  Well, let me just say that this was an understatement.  Ola had many delicious options for me and I didn’t feel restricted at all.

This Latin American cuisine restaurant, located in the Sanctuary Hotel in Miami Beach, is run by the internationally acclaimed Latin chef, Douglas Rodriguez.  The restaurant is cozy and we received amazing service.  Our waiter knew immediately what gluten was and he was well informed about what items on the menu are gluten free.  Regardless of what you order, you should inquire about whether any items in the dish are fried because they do only use one fryer for both gluten and gluten-free items.

Pan de bono=delicious

The meal started off with some of the most amazing bread I’ve ever eaten.  It is called pan de bono and it is made with tapioca flour, sugar, eggs, and cheese.  There might be some other ingredients but no gluten, at least not at Ola.  It was incredible!  The texture and the flavor were like nothing I’ve ever eaten before.  I couldn’t stop at just one piece.

My salmon entree

For my main course, I ordered the popular Panella Salmon, which is cured and seared, and is served with creamy quinoa, broken black olive vinaigrette, and jicama salad.  The salmon has a nice sweetness to it that goes surprisingly well with the quinoa and black olives.  The flavor combination was pretty amazing.  I also couldn’t resist a side of the mashed plantains with bits of bacon.  So good!  David’s dish, Puerca Asado (braised pork), was also gluten free as long as you ask them to not serve it with the piece of fried pork.  This slow cooked pork, served with steam yucca, was also packed with flavor, and tasted so different from my order.  (David’s beer braised short rib empanadas, sadly, were not GF.)

Overall, we had a great gluten-free experience at Ola and had some of the best service I’ve ever received at a restaurant.  I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to splurge on a Latin-inspired dinner while vacationing in Miami.  It is truly worth the price.  Enjoy!

And of course, the Heat game was great too..they wooped Chris Humphries and the NJ Nets.

 

 

 

Spring Reading

Posted in reading, Uncategorized on March 13th, 2012 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Thanks to a wonderful spring break trip to Miami, I had a little time to do some good reading.  I’m trying to take advantage of quiet moments, without a crying baby that needs my attention.  Word on the street is that life changes a lot once baby enters the world.

The President and the Assassin, Scott Miller: This biography documents the lives of President William McKinley and the relatively unknown anarchist who assassinated him, Leon Czolgosz.  If you were a fan of Erik Larson’s writing style in In the Garden of Beasts, then you will enjoy this read.  I love feeling like I’m reading a story but unknowingly digesting a big chunk of history.  McKinley is a president that we don’t hear about all that often and tend to brush over in U.S. History classrooms, but under his leadership, U.S. foreign policy changed entirely, as we became actively involved in China, Hawaii, Cuba and other foreign countries.  Also, the theory of anarchism is fascinating and Miller does a nice job explaining the ideas behind the anarchist leaders at the time and painting the picture of the clash between unions and big business at the turn of the 20th century.  All you history lovers should pick this one up!

Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Before we moved to Atlanta, I taught African Studies in D.C. and Baltimore.  This historically rich continent often goes unnoticed in our classrooms, yet there is so much to learn about it.  This novel takes place in a politically unstable Nigeria and is told through the perspective of a 15-year old girl named Kambili.  While this book is fiction, Purple Hibiscus offers a personal illustration of the long term effects of colonialism on many different aspects of an individual’s life, including religion, politics, business and wealth.  Even if you don’t know anything about Nigeria, this book is an easy read, full of beautiful prose and unique characters.  If you read Things Fall Apart in high school, check out Purple Hibiscus for another representation of the western world being haphazardly transplanted onto the continent of Africa.

I am the Messenger, Markus Zusak: I chose this young adult book because I recently devoured and loved The Book Thief, written by the same author. While The Book Thief was one of my favorite books of the last year, I am the Messenger was not as brilliant to me.  (I have now vowed not to pick up a book by the same author immediately after reading one of his/her other books.  I think it sets me up for disappointment.)  I found the story to be a bit far fetched, the main character being a 19-year old cab driver, who, after witnessing a bank robbery, is ordered by an anonymous person to do things for other people.  I just had a little trouble believing this one or suspending disbelief.  An interesting read, with a thoughtful message, but not at the top of my list.

Do you have any recommendations for me?  Of course I’m already putting together my (pre-July 3rd) summer reads wish list!  My sister-in-law, Alden, sent me Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing up Bebe, so that’s next on my list.  It’s the first child-raising book I’ve dared to read and it’s very amusing and useful.  (Of course, the snob in me, loves the fact that she used to write for the Wall Street Journal.)

Gluten Free College Experiences

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2nd, 2012 by Betsy – 1 Comment

I need your help!  I’m writing an article for Living Without Magazine about being gluten-free in college.  Since I was not GF when I was in college, I would love both parents’ and students’ thoughts and anecdotes about their own personal experiences.

  • How did you choose your college/university?
  • How did you investigate beforehand?
  • Which school did you pick and how has it lived up to your expectations?
  • How have you been surprised?  Disappointed?
  • Is there anything that has changed since you’ve been at school?
  • What are your favorite dorm snacks?
  • Parents, how did you best support your child while not being overbearing?

Thanks for your help!  Feel free to leave your insights in the comment section on the blog or email me directly at betsymetcalf@gmail.com.

 

Yummy Spoonfuls Baby Food…yes, I’m writing about baby food

Posted in Atlanta, GF product, pregnancy, vegetarian on March 1st, 2012 by Betsy – 4 Comments

I’ve never thought much about baby food before but now that I am going to be bringing a life into this world, I guess it’s something I need to think about.  I worry about what I put into my body so it’s only fitting that I should be concerned with what my baby gets in her body.

When I heard from the folks at Yummy Spoonfuls, I thought this could be a great opportunity to learn a little more about baby food.  (It’s a thrilling topic, I know.)

Yummy Spoonfuls makes organic baby food in 25 flavors and is committed to, “providing premium, organic, nutritious and fresh baby food that tastes good to even the most finicky baby.”  Each container of their food is made from scratch with all natural ingredients. Their products are free from salt, preservatives, gluten, dairy, additives, sugars and/or fillers. Sounds pretty healthy to me.  But will the little ones like it???

Connor pondering over how he feels about this new food.

Since my daughter is not yet here, I asked my friend, Meredith if she would be willing to try out Yummy Spoonfuls on her 7-month old son, Connor.

Here’s what Meredith had to say about Yummy Spoonfuls: Out of the three flavors (apple, pear, and butternut squash), Connor loved and gobbled down all of them, but I’d say he had a special liking for the butternut squash and was squealing for more after each bite.  I tasted all of them too and hands down they taste better than Gerber organic or earth’s best…definitely more flavor and less watery tasting.

Success! Connor wants more!

Looks like Yummy Spoonfuls isn’t just healthy but also appealing to little ones’ taste buds.  Have any of you fed Yummy Spoonfuls to your child?  What was their reaction?  Click here to find where you can get your hands on some Yummy Spoonfuls.

*Special thanks to Meredith, Scott and Connor for sampling and documenting Yummy Spoonfuls!