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Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Posted in Baking

Peanut butter might be one of my favorite foods.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I eat it all the time.  It’s a great snack and goes well with many different foods: honey, jelly and of course, chocolate!

I love this cookie recipe, not only because it includes my favorite ingredient, but because it doesn’t require a mixer or fancy flour.  This recipe only requires four ingredients, and they’re all items that you might have in your pantry without having to make a trip to the store.  This recipe  makes at least 2 dozen cookies and are a huge hit with both gluten-free and non gluten-free eaters.  Perfect to take to a holiday event.  My friend, Ellie, always made these when I would come over to her house so they remind me of her!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg & 1 egg white
  • ½ cup (or more) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix peanut butter, sugar, baking soda and eggs until thoroughly combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Refrigerate cookie dough for 12 minutes.  Scoop chilled cookie dough into small balls and place on a greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until top begins to brown.  (They may seem a little soft but will harden once they cool.)

Peanut Butter Cookies with Hershey’s Kisses

There are a few versions of this recipe.  One that my students loved used Hershey’s Kisses instead of chocolate chips.  Just make the batter and roll each dough ball in sugar.  Squish down balls with a fork.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and put a Hershey’s Kiss on top of each cookie.  Put in the oven for another 10 seconds.  Let cool.  (When making this recipe, sometimes I use a 1 teaspoon of baking powder in the mix.)  You can also make this recipe without Hershey’s Kisses and just have a peanut butter cookie.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Bacon

I also found another twist on this recipe by Joy the Baker.  This one calls for cooked, diced, bacon.  Sounds a little weird when you first hear about it, but these two foods are a great combination.  My grandmother introduced me to this flavor combination as a child.  She microwaves Ritz crackers, peanut butter and bacon and it makes a great appetizer.  I’m thinking about trying it with Glutino crackers because it was such a part of my childhood and a great snack!  Seriously, try it.

Check out Joy the Baker’s post for peanut butter bacon cookies.  It’s almost exactly the same as the previous recipes except with bacon instead of chocolate.

Enjoy!

Tully’s Bakery: Young Chef Creates Delicious Gluten-Free Treats

Posted in Bakery

Last week I had the opportunity to sample some delicious gluten-free baked goodies made by Tully’s Bakery.  Tully is an up and coming young female chef in New York City, originally from Memphis, TN, so she’s a gluten-free southern girl at heart.  Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008 and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, TX Tully’s made it her goal to create yummy gluten-free cookies and brownies that actually taste like cookies and brownies.  I love seeing young women out there, making their celiac diagnosis into a positive life change.  Tully has combined her culinary gift with a desire to serve and bring quality food to others with celiac and gluten allergies and intolerances.

Not only are Tully’s cookies and brownies delicious, but I love Tully’s logo, website and the wrapping that she uses for her products.  I got to taste Tully’s dark chocolate brownies and both varieties of her cookies, chocolate chip and oatmeal, cranberry, white and semi-sweet chocolate.  All of her products shipped well and tasted fresh upon arrival.

David and I enjoyed and savored all three varieties, but could not come to a consensus on our favorite.  He said that Tully’s brownies were the best gluten-free brownies he’d ever tried and I agree.  I’m definitely biased about my favorite Tully’s product though, and prefer the oatmeal, cranberry, chocolate chip cookie.  I love a ‘trail mix’ combination of ingredients in a sweet treat.  I’m always trying to put gluten-free oats into my food so I applaud Tully for doing just that.  Part of what makes Tully’s cookies so good is that she bakes with milk and egg products and she doesn’t shy away from quality baking ingredients, as long as their gluten-free.  She doesn’t try to fit every dietary need into one cookie and I’m confident Tully’s way makes for a much better cookie.

So now that you’re salivating just thinking about these baked goodies, you may be wondering, “Where do I get Tully’s treats?”  Well, sadly for us Georgians, the only locations Tully sells her products are coffee shops and bakeries in New York, but you can order them online at her website.  Tully’s prices are very reasonable for a made from scratch baked good.  I’m hoping to get Tully’s into some Atlanta stores in the future, so I’ll keep you posted.

On Tully’s website, she writes, “Eating gluten-free allows you to explore grains, seeds and starches you may never have tried before.”  That’s what I’m talking about!  It’s so much better to embrace the foods that we can eat as opposed to focusing on what we can’t have.  Thank you, Tully, for contributing to the gluten-free community, creating delicious, flavorful sweets.  (Also, I froze one of Tully’s cookies last week so I’m looking forward to enjoying my last Tully’s cookie sometime soon!)

Gluten Free Vendor Fair

Posted in Atlanta

Imagine rooms filled with cookies, cakes, chicken fingers, bread, pies, beer and pizza.  Sounds like a food court, right?  Even better, though, it’s all gluten free!  This weekend I attended the Gluten Free Vendor Fair in Roswell, Georgia with David and my gluten-free buddy, Anne, and I got to sample (for free!) all of the gluten-free food I could ever imagine.

Organized by the Atlanta Metro Celiacs and Jennifer Harris of the Examiner, this event brought in national and local businesses, that are all trying to offer us gluten-free eaters, more delicious food.  While I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first walked into the Doubletree, I gradually made my way through the crowds (there were over 900 people in attendance!) and found many yummy, new foods to sample.

What a great way to spend a morning, eating food (and not having to worry about contamination!) and talking to people who understand what gluten-free is and who are passionate about making it taste good.  One of the highlights of the day for me was meeting Lee Tobin, the founder of Whole Foods’ Gluten Free Bakehouse. Lee was diagnosed with celiac in 1996 and has created a delicious line of baked goods; my personal favorites are the pie crust (which I sampled on Saturday with a mushroom quiche) and the apple pie.

I thought I’d give you some of my personal favorites from the day.  Now this list does not include everyone that I loved sampling.  There wasn’t a bad taste in the place and even David enjoyed all of the food and he’s a gluten eater.

Favorite Cookie: The Connor Cookie Company

The owner of this company, June, bakes these absolutely delicious cookies because her granddaughter, Connor, has celiac.  She makes brownies, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies and they are so good.  David says they’re some of the best cookies he’s ever had, including those with gluten!  I bought a package of June’s chocolate chip cookies but it was a tough decision because the brownies and peanut butter cookies are so good too.  You can freeze them also so you don’t feel like you need to eat them all at once.  After all of the cookies I ate on Saturday morning, I did not think that I would be dying to buy more cookies, but June’s were just that good.

I don’t believe June has a website, but you can email June at juniesweets@gmail.com or call 404.323.1427

Favorite All Around Fried Food (and Most Creative T-shirt): Roswell’s Outback Steakhouse

The folks from the Roswell Outback came totally prepared for the Vendor Fair.  This particular Outback has been incredibly supportive of the Atlanta Celiac Group and works hard to make their restaurant gluten-free friendly.  The Outback crew made awesome “Our Buns are Gluten Free” (see above) t-shirts and were so enthusiastic.  They had gluten-free bloomin’ onion samples, as well as gluten-free beer AND gluten-free doughnut balls.  They don’t sell these doughnuts in their restaurant, but I hope they will soon.  They were absolutely delicious.

(770) 998-5630
655 Crossville Rd.
Roswell, GA 30075

Favorite Pizza: Bella Monica

This restaurant in Raleigh, NC has made a delicious gluten-free pizza that they sell as a frozen pizza in stores.  I could not believe that Bella Monica’s pizza was gluten free.  I particularly enjoyed the mushroom, spinach and tomato pizza but the classic cheese pizza was delicious too.  I talked to Bella Monica’s founder, Trevor Chambers, and he was enthusiastic about gluten-free eating and that we should be able to eat good food.  Trevor has successfully made a pizza that does just that!  It tastes like a restaurant pizza but you don’t have to go to a restaurant to find it.

Best (and most creative) Cakes: A Bountiful Harvest

I must say that I was very impressed by this Chattanooga based bakery and the impressive cakes they had.  A Bountiful Harvest was serving samples of their ‘Uga’ cake and even though I’m not a huge fondant fan, the cakes itself was absolutely yummy and so were their other icings.  This would be a perfect place to order a cake for an event.  They also have all kinds of cakes and pies as well and they use a dedicated gluten-free bakery, which I love!

To order cakes online: www.abountifulharvest.com

Check out some of their many cakes they’ve made: www.customcouturecakes.com

Best Chicken Fingers: Allergy Free Foods

While these chicken fingers aren’t yet in stores, they were so good.  Allergy Free Foods’ chicken fingers tasted fresh, crunchy and like a chicken tender you would get at a restaurant.  Not soggy or mushy.  I can’t wait until they start to have these chicken fingers in stores.  These folks also serve all the allergy friendly food at Disney World.  The people I talked to at their booth also were really committed to and passionate about making delicious, allergy-friendly food.

Many of the products that were served at the GF Vendor Fair can be found at Return to Eden, which was one of the sponsors of the event.

My only regret from the day is that I was so busy talking to vendors that I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to other celiacs like me.  I hope everyone enjoyed the day and I would love to hear from people what their favorites were!  Thanks to everyone who made the event happen.

Rosebud Atlanta

Posted in Atlanta

I recently went to Rosebud, a restaurant located in Morningside, just outside of Virginia Highlands. Rosebud describes its food as a ‘Creative fare of American cuisine with a bit of southern inspiration.” When a friend sent me a list of restaurants to choose from, I was particularly intrigued by Rosebud because of its mission to be an ambassador for local farmers and products. I’ve learned that when restaurants promote local fare, it means they’re creating fresh, flavorful food and Rosebud did just that! It also means that they’re aware of everything that goes into their meals, making it more likely that they’ll accommodate me, the gluten free diner.

I met up with my friend, Allison, at Rosebud and even though I had already looked at the menu, I still had trouble deciding what to order because there were so many delicious items on the menu that seemed like great flavor combinations. I informed the waiter that I had celiac and he confidently assured me that I should be able to have most things on the menu, but most likely not the sauces that come with the entrees. He told me the chef could just make me a special sauce. That sounded great to me! As you know, I love it when a restaurant tells me to pick what I want and they’ll make it work.

I chose the braised lamb shank for my meal and it was so delicious. The menu changes frequently, depending on what’s in season, so my meal was a little different from the lamb shank entrée currently listed on the online menu. Mine came with fingerling potatoes, sun dried tomatoes and olives. It was a great combination of strong flavors and the lamb was so tender it practically melted in my mouth. (No need for the fancy sauce!)

While I went with the lamb shank, there were definitely plenty of potential options for me at Rosebud. The crab and corn risotto and seared scallops also appealed to me. Allison ordered the shrimp and grits, which she said were delicious (and most likely GF but I didn’t ask).

I highly recommend Rosebud and I will be going back! When we ate at Rosebud it was a Wednesday, which is known as Big Salad Wednesday. They have a special entrée salad menu on Wednesday nights. I was more interested in lamb shank that night but am eager to try one their beautiful, fresh, local salads. I also want to try the homemade pimento cheese…I’ll let you know if it’s gluten free.

Rosebud
1397 North Highland Ave
Atlanta, GA 30306
404.347.9747
Rosebud Website

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken, Potatoes and Tomatoes

Posted in Cooking

While the name of this dish  isn’t all that exciting, I find Jamie Oliver’s “Chicken Potatoes and Tomatoes” to be a delicious and flavorful meal to share with others.  My sister-in-law, Alden, and I made this delicious meal when I visited them in Newport, RI a couple of weeks ago.  Both Alden and my mom discovered this Jamie Oliver recipe in The Week Magazine a while ago.  I appreciate that my family members are always on the lookout for naturally gluten-free recipes to make.

I love that there are so many meals and recipes that don’t need any changes made to make them gluten-free and this is one of those meals.  It seems that more and more in the cooking world, chefs are realizing that gluten-free food is better and more flavorful.  So when you’re looking for recipes to make, don’t feel like you have to look for meals and recipes labeled gluten-free.  I use ‘real’ cookbooks all the time and I’m always amazed at how many dishes are naturally gluten free.

This is a great recipe for entertaining because all of the hard work can be done in advance so when your guests arrive, the meal’s in the oven and most of the dishes are already done.  I also like this meal because it’s truly a ‘family-style’ dinner.  One dish in the middle of the table that everyone uses to serve themselves.

When Alden pulled out the recipe card, she described the recipe as easier than it looks and she was definitely right.  It seems like there are a lot of steps, especially browning the chicken in the dutch oven and boiling the potatoes before you bake, but it’s really pretty simple.  Don’t be intimidated!  I made this meal again last week once I got back to Atlanta and I was able to recreate it mostly from memory.  When I made it most recently, David was late getting home so I had to let the meal sit for a while before I baked it and it didn’t affect the dish at all.

Jamie Oliver’s Chicken, Potatoes and Tomatoes (Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1 ¾ lb. new potatoes (I used small red potatoes and cut them in half)

12 chicken thighs, skin on (I left the bone in because I think it makes for nicer cooking…a little messier eating but that’s alright)

1 ½ lb. cherry tomatoes

Fresh oregano (I’ve used rosemary instead both times I made this and it was delicious)

3 T. Olive oil

1 T. Red wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat over to 400

Boil potatoes until cooked.  Cut each chicken thigh into 3 strips.  (Again, I left the bone in on one of the strips so mine weren’t evenly cut…it didn’t seem to make any difference).  Place in a bowl and toss with 1 T. olive oil, salt and pepper.

Heat a large frying pan or dutch oven on medium high heat and brown chicken, skin side down.  Turn chicken so you brown both sides.  This should take about 8-10 minutes total.  Remove and put chicken in oven safe dish.  (You might need to cook chicken in two batches if it doesn’t all lie flat in the pan.)

Drain cooked potatoes and lights mash them.  Add to chicken.  Add tomatoes.  Mash oregano/rosemary with salt and olive oil and red wine vinegar and pepper.  Pour over chicken.  Toss.  Make sure that you use a big enough dish so that all of the ingredients should fit in one layer.  I used a Pyrex casserole dish.  (Jamie Oliver uses a dutch oven, but it would have to be a huge dutch oven.

Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve at table.  We also served a simple arugula salad with a homemade vinaigrette at our dinner table.  You don’t need to worry about making lots of side dishes with this one.  Chicken, Tomatoes and Potatoes is a hearty meal but very light and healthy.  It feels like ‘comfort food’ without the post-dinner discomfort.  We had lots of leftovers both times I made this and it’s great for lunch the next day.

A versatile, easy and yummy meal…if only we could just come up with a better name for it.

Atlanta Braves and ARAMARK Announce New Gluten-Free Concession Stand at Turner Field

Posted in Uncategorized


Great news for gluten free baseball fans. One of the only gluten free concession stands in the country is at Turner Field. No longer do I have to watch everyone else enjoy a cold beer and a hot dog, while I’m eating a protein bar. Take me out to the ball game!

From Aramark: The Atlanta Braves and ARAMARK, the exclusive food and beverage provider at Turner Field, have announced the opening of a dedicated gluten-free concession stand for fans with Celiac Disease. The location opens Friday, Sept. 4, behind Section 106, and will feature all-beef franks, sirloin beef burgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, popcorn, brownies, cookies, soda, water and gluten-free RedBridge beer.

“In response to increasing requests for healthier and gluten-free options from fans, the Braves and ARARMARK are proud to unveil this new concessions option at Turner Field,” said Ron Ranieri, ARAMARK General Manager at Turner Field. “The gluten-free stand is part of the Braves and ARAMARK’s overall commitment to offer menu options that allow all fans, regardless of dietary restrictions, to enjoy the ultimate ballpark experience.”

Check out the Atlanta Braves website for their game schedule.

Lunching at Legal Sea Foods

Posted in Atlanta

If you have not yet been to Legal Sea Foods, you must check it out.  I ate lunch yesterday at their Atlanta location with Jennifer from The Examiner and I enjoyed every bite.  (And I have lots of leftovers for lunch tomorrow!)  Legal Sea Foods might be the most professionally I’ve ever seen gluten-free food produced at a restaurant.

Legal Sea Foods has a nice gluten-free menu that is clearly written and organized.  The wait staff and management were extremely helpful and friendly, making me feel very well looked after.  I felt like I had a dialogue with our waiter about what to order, what was safe and how things were prepared.

There were many highlights of the meal for me, but the best part was the fried calamari.  Yes, I ordered gluten-free fried (and battered!) calamari.  Legal Sea Foods has a dedicated gluten-free fryer so you can get any of the fried things on the menu.  They use chickpea flour for the batter and it was delicious.

Legal Sea Foods also serves warm gluten-free rolls while you wait for your meal.  What a rarity in the world of a celiac!  For my entrée I ordered the Jasmine Special, which is a bowl of rice, steamed shrimp, broccoli and melted cheese.  While this appears to be a meal of simple components, it was flavorful and the ingredients worked well together.  Next time I think I’m going to try the scallops.  Jennifer ordered the lobster salad and they served it on top of gluten-free rolls.  (They’re getting GF buns soon!)

There are many options on the gluten-free menu including clam chowder, many types of fish, crabmeat salad and filet mignon.  Definitely something for everyone!  They even have a gluten-free children’s menu.  On the GF menu, they also list some things that do have gluten that you might think would be GF, such as their cocktail sauce and balsamic vinagarette. I felt comfortable and confident eating at Legal Sea Foods as everyone was knowledgeable and understand my needs as a gluten-free diner.  It looks like pretty much all Legal Sea Foods’ locations have a gluten-free menu, so even if you’re not in Atlanta, hopefully you can find a location near you.

It’s only 8:00 and I’m already thinking about my leftovers for lunch today!  Check out Legal Sea Foods’ gluten-free menu.

Legal Sea Foods
275 Baker Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30313

Phone: 678-500-3700

Richard Blais’ Flip Burger

Posted in Atlanta

Last spring David and I came to Atlanta to check out the city, as we knew we’d be moving here this summer. While on this trip, I had the opportunity to check out a couple of different restaurants. As a huge fan of Bravo’s Top Chef, the place I was most eager to see was Flip Burger, which is owned by Richard Blais, a contestant on Season 4 and personal favorite of mine. For those of you who’ve seen the show, Richard always used molecular gastronomy in his cooking and has a bit of a mini-Mohawk.

It’s clear from the name that this relatively new restaurant does burgers. They’ve got all kinds of burgers (turkey, faux lafel, salmon and lamb, to name a few) and they do them well.

Before we went, our friends called ahead to see if Flip Burger was willing to accommodate gluten free customers and they said they definitely could. Located right on Howell Mill Road, Flip is in an up and coming area on the Westside and it is filled with customers.

When we got to the restaurant we sat outside and could not have had a friendlier waiter. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable, she told me to pick what I wanted and they would see what they could do. I decided to go with the turkey burger which comes with avacado, alfalfa sprouts and pomegranate ketchup. The cook wrapped my burger in lettuce since I had to go sans bun. Definitely a thoughtful touch! We also decided to share the Caesar salad (without the croutons of course). Everything I ordered was delicious and looked beautiful. The presentation and menu creativity are some of the best parts of Flip besides the food.

The highlight of the evening for me was actually getting to meet Richard Blais! Like I mentioned earlier, I loved him on Top Chef. He was friendly and nice to us and I thanked him for being willing to make gluten free burgers. He said of course they accommodate the GF customer and that he realizes what a large population is becoming gluten free. He even mentioned that on the side he’s working with a friend to try to create a delicious gluten free pasta. I’ll keep you posted if I hear anything more about that.

Flip was a fun and unique first dining experience for me in Atlanta. I was definitely star struck but also enjoyed the delicious food. Many of the burgers themselves are gluten free (if you leave out the bun), but you might have to make some modifications to the toppings. Sadly you’ll need to avoid fried things (fries, onion rings, okra, etc.) but the salad was yummy and they have a beet and goat cheese salad that looks good too. The potato salad and five bean salad might also work, but I’ll have to check.

The other component to Flip Burger’s menu are the liquid nitrate milkshakes. Full from my burger, I did not try or ask about the shakes. My guess would be that you need to stay away from the Krispy Kreme shake, but the others (Georgia peaches ‘n cream, foie grois, and spicy chocolate mole to name a few) are probably GF.

If you go to Flip, and I suggest that you do, remind your server about being gluten free and also ask them to clean off the section of the grill/pan that they’re going to use to prepare your burger in order to avoid cross contamination.

Enjoy! And maybe you’ll get to meet Richard too! (It’s still worth it even if you don’t have a Richard sighting.)

Thai Shirlington Offers Many GF Options

Posted in Uncategorized

Thai Shirlington is another wonderful discovery in the gluten free dining world! The other night I decided to call the restaurant and see if they were familiar with a gluten free diet. Tthe manager I spoke with on the phone told me that they had many gluten free diners and she assured me that they could accommodate my diet.

Thrilled by this news, my friends and I went to Thai Shirlington that evening and the manager was so helpful. She took me through every item on the menu and told me what I could and couldn’t have. This was so helpful and it allowed me to know what all of my options were from the beginning. I went with the Panang Perfect and it was delicious as well as naturally gluten free. This meal comes with rice, but their rice noodles are also gluten free. She also knew that soy sauce has gluten in it. Some of the other gluten free items on the menu that I’m eager to try are the green curry chicken and chicken pad thai.

If you go to Thai Shirlington, and I encourage you to do so, just ask for the manager to help you through the menu. They’re extremely friendly and the manager assured me that once the waiter took my order, she would follow up with the kitchen.

My friends have gone to many restaurants with me since I started my gluten free life, and one of my friends who was at dinner with me commented that this was one of the best and most helpful restaurants she’d been to with me and she’s right! I highly recommend Thai Shirlington if you’re in the mood for yummy (and reliably gluten free) Thai food at a very reasonable price!

Thai Shirlington Website

THAI in Shirlington
4029 Campbell Ave
Arlington, VA 22206

703.931.3203