GF product

Where Have I Been? (And Recent Favorites)

Posted in favorite things, GF product, local food, meals, Mexican Restaurants, product, vegetarian on May 31st, 2012 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Well, it’s been awhile.  I apologize for my absence, and I wish I could say that I’ll be back at my frequent posts, but I’m not sure that is the case.  The school year finished up at its normal, crazy pace, allowing little to no time for blog posts.  My creative juices also haven’t been flowing as much as I’d like because at the end of the day, I’m wiped, and would rather watch an episode of “Ellen” or “Around the World in 80 Plates” than write.

A photo of the baby bump from a sweet baby shower hosted by friends a month ago

I’m 35 weeks pregnant so we’re in the final stretch.  Baby Girl Metcalf is healthily growing and I’d like her to keep baking for at least a few more weeks.  It’s a relief to get to this point though because if she made her debut today, she would be just fine.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite things in the last couple of months.  I’ll give you more in the next few weeks but here is just a “taste”…

Talenti Gelato: This gelato has been my go-to weeknight dessert.  They clearly label which of their gelatos are gluten free.  It is creamy, delicious and a fun splurge.  My personal favorites are the chocolate peanut butter cup and sea salt caramel.  Check out all of their flavors here.

Verde Taqueria: Verde has existed in the Atlanta area for awhile but in the last year they’ve opened one close to us.  Verde notes all of the items on their menu that can be made gluten free.  My favorites include the Verde Salad with grilled chicken and the veggie taco.  Just make sure you clearly explain your dietary needs.  If you’re in the mood for chips and guac (which are delicious), just check with your server to see when they were prepared that day.  Usually they fry them first thing in the morning before the fryer gets contaminated.  While I love Taqueria del Sol, Verde has a bit bigger menu (i.e. the salad option) and you don’t have to wait in line.

Burge Organic Farm CSA: I participated in this CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) in the fall and renewed for the spring and summer.  Getting these weekly veggies has revived my cooking and creativity, making me experiment with produce that I wouldn’t necessarily pick out at the store.  I enjoy swiss chard once I make it, but it’s not at the top of my culinary list.  If you’re feeling like you’re in a cooking rut, you should definitely think about joining a CSA.  What better way to welcome summer, than cooking with the veggies that are the freshest?

Palmetto Pimento Cheese: This amazing pimento cheese has become a staple in the Metcalf household.  We discovered it via our friends, Peyten and Stan, and were thrilled to find it in our local Publix.  I’ve always liked pimento cheese but this brand stands above the rest.  They were recently out of Palmetto at Publix so we went with a different brand and there was no comparison.  We didn’t even finish the container.  And, all three of their varieties (orginal, jalapeño and  bacon) are gluten free.  They use Hellman’s mayo, which is gluten free.

 

What are some of your favorite things right now?

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.)

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!

Perfect Weeknight Supper: Kettle Cuisine Soups

Posted in GF product, Uncategorized, vegetarian on February 22nd, 2012 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Recently I had the opportunity to try some delicious soups made by the folks at Kettle Cuisine.  I love making soups and stews in my own kitchen but there are times when the husband’s out of town, or I’m getting home late from a lacrosse game, that I just want an easy dinner that involves minimal work on my part.

Kettle Cuisine makes yummy, hearty soups, in many varieties, that only need to be heated before serving.  Perfect for a solo weeknight dinner or a Saturday lunch.  Most of Kettle Cuisine’s soups are high in fiber and lower in calories than your typical frozen dinner.  More importantly, ALL varieties (including their chicken noodle soup) are gluten-free!  Kettle Cuisine’s founder, Jerry Shafir, started producing entirely gluten-free soups in 2006.  Jerry’s daughter, Kate, was diagnosed with Celiac 20 years ago so he knows how hard it can be to find tasty, healthy, frozen meals that are gluten free.

Some of my Kettle favorites include the chicken soup with rice noodles, chicken chili with white beans, and Thai curry chicken soup.  These soups are filling and won’t leave you hungry. They don’t skimp on the good stuff, like meat, veggies and beans.  When eating one, you don’t feel like you have a bowl of broth in front of you.  I let David try the New England Clam Chowder and he devoured every bite.  He said it was one of the best clam chowders he has ever tasted.  (I’ll have to take his word because I’m not a huge clam chowder fan.)

Kettle Cuisine’s soups can be found all over the country.  Click here to find a location near you.  In Atlanta, you can find them at Whole Foods, Return to Eden, and even at the Kroger on Howell Mill Road.  Check them out for yourself!  You won’t regret sampling this perfect weeknight dinner.  (Warning: These meals will make you wonder why you’ve spent so much time in the past making soups from scratch.)

What I ate…

Posted in advice, favorite things, GF product, pregnancy on January 26th, 2012 by Betsy – 10 Comments

The first trimester of pregnancy can be a little rough.  At least it was for me.  That’s what I get for thinking morning sickness doesn’t really exist.  I had to learn the hard way that yes, in fact morning sickness is real.  As you know from my last three years of posts, I love vegetables, whole grains, freshly baked desserts, and fresh food.  During my first 16 weeks of pregnancy, however, my routine eating habits were thrown out the window, due to constant nausea, exhaustion and a general apathy towards cooking.

Most of the foods one “craves” during morning sickness tend to be bread, crackers, and other gluten-filled items.  With my new taste buds, I had to entirely rethink my trips to the grocery store and alter my grocery lists.

Here’s a list of what I semi-successfully ate for the first 16 weeks of morning sickness:

Udi’s plain bagels and cream cheese: Normally I’m a cereal girl but Baby Metcalf did not appreciate my morning cereal routine.  Fortunately, I found a good substitute.  Udi’s bagels taste so similar to the real thing.  Toasted, they are delicious with cream cheese.  I think I’ve had at least one every day for the last four months.  I even traveled with my own bagel stash over Christmas.

Chik-fil-a French fries: Chik-Fil-A uses a separate fryer for the fries so I don’t have to worry about contamination.  Their waffle fries are delicious and could serve as an entire meal for me.  Warning: don’t try to steal any off my tray.  (David learned this the hard way.)

Ruffles potato chips: How did I not know before how darn good these chips are?  Deliciously salty, with amazing texture I’ve been converted from kettle cooked to ruffle.  I don’t know if I’ll ever go back.

Lucy’s Cookies: These were the only sweet thing I had any desire to eat besides fruity candy during my first trimester.  I think I liked them because they weren’t too sweet and I could nibble on them throughout the day.  I bought the variety pack on amazon on a very regular basis.

Mike & Ikes: I normally enjoy all things minty: brushing my teeth, chewing gum or enjoying a mint.  Well, mint flavored anything just made me throw up so I resorted to Mike & Ike’s to get bad tastes out of my mouth.  I know.  It’s disgusting.

Spaghetti: I couldn’t eat bagels and chips for every meal so I found that my body really liked spaghetti.  (Thanks to my sister-in-law, Heidi, for that suggestion!)

Canada Dry Ginger Ale: No longer did I want a glass of cabernet at the end of a long day but a fizzy, sugary soda to ease my stomach.  Canada Dry is definitely gluten free.  I’ve had mixed findings in researching other brands.

Fruit: This was the one healthy thing that I could eat.  I loved blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and grapes.  I also drank a lot of orange juice which I’ve never been a big fan of before. (I would get the OJ with extra calcium since I wasn’t really getting it anywhere else.)

The good news is that everyone is right: morning sickness goes away.  I’m thrilled to be (sort of) back to my old ways.  I’m still not cooking up a storm in the kitchen, and I find myself toasting a bagel every morning for breakfast but I have had salad in the last week.  Baby steps, right?

For those of you gluten-free moms out there: what did you eat when you were battling morning sickness.  I never found a gluten-free cracker that tasted good to me.  I tried Glutinos for awhile but got tired of them.  Would love your thoughts.

 

Figo Pasta Introduces Gluten-Free Meatball

Posted in Atlanta, GF product, local food, Restaurants, Uncategorized on November 9th, 2011 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Figo is one of my favorite casual Atlanta spots and I think they have one of the best GF pastas around!  Their gluten-free fusili pasta can be mixed with any of their sauces for a delicious gluten-free meal.

Last week, Figo added a new item to their gluten-free menu: the gluten-free meatball!  Made with rice flour and rice, instead of bread, Figo’s Gluten-Free Maria Meatball also includes a yummy mix of ground beef sirloin, carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, parmesan cheese and an herb & spice blend.

If you don’t feel like pasta, think about trying one or two of their meatballs with a salad to add protein to your meal.

The new GF Maria meatball will be offered at all seven of Figo’s locations so check their website for the restaurant closest to you.  You might have already gotten a sneak peak of the meatball at the Atlanta Gluten-Free Vendor Fair a few weeks back.

 

Atlanta’s Honeysuckle Gelato

Posted in Atlanta, dessert, favorite things, GF product, local food, Uncategorized on November 3rd, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Have you noticed that food trucks are all the rage in ATL?  Well, they are!  Sadly, many of the food trucks serve greasy sandwich type meals that don’t meet the needs of gluten-free diners.  BUT, I’ve discovered a food truck with plenty of GF options!  One of my new favorite things that’s uniquely local to Atlanta is Honeysuckle Gelato.  Native Atlantan, Wes Jones, decided to drop his regular job and start Honeysuckle Gelato with two of his buddies.  I, for one, am very thankful for his decision!  You can find his delicious gelato by following his stylish teal food truck.

Many of Honeysuckle’s flavors are naturally gluten free and so delicious.  Creamy, yummy and overflowing with natural ingredients, not a bunch of chemicals and artificial flavorings.  You might have seen Wes and Honeysuckle at the most recent gluten-free vendor fair.  If you were lucky enough, you tried his ridiculously amazing Salted Caramel flavor.  It is truly divine.  The salty-sweet flavors blend perfectly together and it’s the ideal evening treat!  If salted caramel doesn’t sound delicious to you, what about peanut butter honey or ginger molasses?  Go to their website to see more of Honeysuckle’s signature flavors.

Honeysuckle Gelato at the GF Vendor Fair

Honeysuckle also offers sorbets which are naturally gluten free and dairy free so there’s something for everyone!  Many of their flavors are naturally GF.  Mmm, chocolate mint or watermelon sorbet, anyone? Check out this southern inspired gelato for yourself!

Don't miss the Honeysuckle food truck!

Recently I asked Wes a few questions about himself and his new business.  Here’s what he had to say:

Gluten Freedom: Are you a native Atlantan?

Wes: Yes, I am.

Gluten Freedom: What do you love about Atlanta?

Wes: My wonderful friends and family and the amazing food! What are your favorite eats in Atlanta? That’s a tough one because there are so many great choices. Hal’s is usually up there and Fox Brothers has been a frequented place recently.  Other than that, anywhere in Decatur.

Gluten Freedom: How did you get interested in gelato?

Wes: My business partner, Jackson Smith, was making gelato in NYC at Il Laboratorio del Gelato and we first kicked the idea around of starting a gelato place here in Atlanta as a joke and before long we had talked ourselves into actually doing it.

Gluten Freedom: Where does one purchase a food truck?

Wes: The same place you purchase everything else…the internet.  We actually found our truck on eBay.  It was a New Orleans Shaved Ice Truck in a small town in Alabama.  We thought it looked cool so we convinced the people to take it off eBay for a couple days so we could come look at it.

Gluten Freedom: Where does the name Honeysuckle come from?

Wes: We we’re having a hard time coming up with something we liked that was catchy, southern and sweet all in one until Jackson had an epiphany. He called me up and said “I got it!! Honeysuckle!”  Before I had time to argue he hung up the phone.  Lucky for me, I loved it and it stuck.

Gluten Freedom: What’s your favorite GF flavor?

Wes: It changes weekly as we make awesome new flavors, but “Dock of the Bay”, our Sea-Salted Caramel, was my first love and I always feel guilty when I name a flavor other that.

Gluten Freedom: Where can we find Honeysuckle?

Wes: That’s the beauty of having a food truck – you can find us all over town! We post our schedule here - http://www.honeysucklegelato.com/contact-us/ – and we also tweet our daily menu and locations at @honeysuckleatl.  Our goal is to be in some specialty stores and select grocery stores in the area next spring so keep an eye out for us!

 

Thanks, Wes, for taking the time to answer my questions!  I hope everyone will check Honeysuckle’s website to find a location nearest you!  This is not just another ice cream place, I promise.

Gluten-Free Vendor Fair Tomorrow!

Posted in Atlanta, event, GF product, local food on October 21st, 2011 by Betsy – 2 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be at the Hilton Hotel in Norcross at the Atlanta Gluten-Free Expo tomorrow.  Price of admission is only $10, which is a total steal considering you get to fill up on unlimited sweet and savory GF food!  Check out the full list of vendors here.

Some of the vendors I’m most excited about seeing are:

I’m sure I’ll discover new brands I love too!  What are you excited about sampling?

More gluten-free buzz in the media

Posted in bakery, baking, GF product, media on October 18th, 2011 by Betsy – 4 Comments

Even NPR is talking about going gluten free!  In this broadcast, Look Whose Going Gluten Free, they discuss a new flour blend created by French Laundry’s pastry chef, Lena Kwak and owned by the famous chef/culinary entrepreneur, Thomas Keller.  Labeled as Cup4Cup this brand is not actually used yet at French Laundry but available for purchase.  Now that a bunch of celebs are going gluten free, it’s only fitting that their becomes a high end niche in the GF market!  You can find C4C yourself at Williams-Sonoma, online and in the store.

Has anyone tried Cup4Cup yet?  Thoughts?

Sophie’s Uptown (Buckhead)

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, dessert, GF product on October 17th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

A couple weeks ago, Mary Stuart and I checked out Sophie’s Uptown, a sweet café in Buckhead, on Pharr Road.  This tucked away bakery/café now serves lunch, including gluten-free options.  The bakery is named after the owner’s beloved dog, Sophie, who passed away a couple of years ago.  If you’re a dog lover, Sophie’s is definitely the place for you.  Dog cupcakes, cookies, and decorations can be found throughout the store.

There are plenty of tables inside, and lots of space, so this is a great spot to meet someone for a lunch date.  The menu isn’t huge but there are definitely some good options.  I went with the gluten-free quiche, which is made with a yummy GF crust, and accompanied with a side salad.  It was the perfect lunch for a gorgeous fall afternoon.  Of course I couldn’t resist trying their huge GF brownie.  (I used good restraint and saved the other half for later.)

Check Sophie’s out for yourself and let me know what you think.

PS: Sophie’s donates 25% of profits to local animal rescue!

Sophie’s Uptown – 54 Pharr Road – Atlanta, GA – 404.812.0477