Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Revolutionary Soup (Charlottesville)

Posted in travel on February 3rd, 2012 by Betsy – 2 Comments

One of my favorite (re)discoveries last fall was Revolutionary Soup in Charlottesville.  As a college student, this was one of my favorite lunch spots on the Downtown Mall.  Ten years later, they now have a location on the Corner, closer to Grounds, and they are great about labeling allergens in their various items.

When David and I visited Charlottesville this fall, (pre-morning sickness), we ate twice at Rev Soup.  It was a cold and rainy weekend, so their hearty soups were a perfect lunch for us. The lamb curry soup was deliciously spicy and meaty and the salad rounded out the meal nicely.  On our second stop I enjoyed the peanut tofu soup, one that I surprisingly loved.  The best part is they let you sample the different soups so you know which one you really want.  Rev Soup also labels soups that are vegan and vegetarian.

What are your favorites at Rev Soup?  Sadly, the grilled cheese is not gluten free.

Peanut Tofu Soup...delicious!

Revolutionary Soup:

108 2nd Street SW (Downtown Mall Location)
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 296-SOUP (7687)

104 14th Street Northwest (Corner Location)
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 979-9988



More GF Options in Norfolk: Carolina Cupcakery

Posted in bakery, dessert, GF product, travel, Uncategorized on August 7th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Another place I checked out while in Norfolk was Carolina Cupcakery.  This delicious sweet spot, on Colley Avenue, makes a variety of cupcakes to accommodate special diets (vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, etc.)  For their gluten-free cupcakes they use a rice and tapioca flour blend.  The woman I talked to was extremely knowledgeable about gluten-free and told me that they make their GF cupcakes at their Chesapeake location and they have a designated area of the bakery and equipment to use for these items.  They arrive at the Norfolk store already packaged individually so no cross contamination to worry about.  Good work, Carolina!

After a day of unpacking boxes, everyone deserves a treat, right?  I tried the variety with vanilla cake, chocolate chips and chocolate icing.  So yummy!  I love icing but it was a lot of icing, even for me.  My brother will love this place once he arrives.  I really liked the texture of the cake and the taste of icing and cake…it wasn’t a fondant type of icing.  (I’m not a big fan of fancy cake…I want something that tastes freshly made, for a high school bake fair, not an “over the top” wedding reception, if you know what I mean.)  They have multiple varieties so it’s nice to have choices!

I really enjoyed this sweet treat and I’ll absolutely be returning to Carolina Cupcakery when I head back to Norfolk for a visit.





Carolina Cupcakery: Colley Ave.

Carolina’s Cupcakery – 2019 Colley Ave. #102 – Norfolk, VA – 757.531.1548

Gluten Free in D.C.

Posted in travel, Uncategorized, Virginia, Washington DC on May 26th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment
Living Without's June/July Issue

Living Without's June/July Issue

As some of you know, I spent a significant part of my life calling the DC area “home.”  When I was diagnosed with celiac, I was living in Alexandria, Virginia, so my gluten-free journey started in our nation’s capital.  I recently had the opportunity to write another article for Living Without Magazine about traveling to Washington, D.C., in honor of the 4th of July.  This article (found in the June/July issue) highlights the festivities unique to our nation’s capital on this patriotic holiday, but is also useful for navigating the city any time of year.

My Article!

My Article!

Check out the restaurants and activities for yourself!  Doesn’t it make you want to take a quick trip to DC?  If you don’t have time to pick up a copy at Whole Foods, you can read “Happy Birthday America: Celebrate the 4th of July in Allergy-Friendly Washington, DC” online by clicking here.

We love DC: David and me at Obama's Inauguration

We love DC: David and me at Obama's Inauguration

Which of these restaurants and sights are favorites of yours?  Anything I left out?

Cupcakes, Cozy Dinners & Chris Rock: Another Day in NYC

Posted in bakery, travel, Uncategorized on May 24th, 2011 by Betsy – 1 Comment


David and I continued our trip through New York City on Saturday afternoon with a stop at Tu-Lu’s Bakery.  I’ve written about Tu-Lu’s before, when she first opened, a year and a half ago.  What began as a bakery with a few cookies and brownies, has exploded into panninis, coffee cakes, muffins, cakes, croutons, cookies, and other treats. Tu-Lu’s bakery offers vegan and dairy free options as well, but everything is gluten free.  Owner, Tully Lewis, is gluten free herself and she understands the need for delicious gluten-free products.

Over the course of our weekend, we managed to stop by Tu-Lu’s twice.  Yes, twice!  I showed no restraint while in the Big Apple.  On my first trip, David enjoyed a chocolate chip cookie, and I bought one of their special cupcake flavors: chocolate chip.  It combined two of my favorite things: cake and chocolate chips!  Tu-Lu’s mix of rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour makes for a great base, but each of her goodies has been perfected and tweaked for the best flavor.  There are no funky after tastes with these treats and I would absolutely recommend Tu-Lu’s if you’re visiting New York City.  If you live in New York, consider ordering one of her beautiful cakes for a special, gluten-free occasion.  And of course, I purchased some treats to go, as well.


Tu-Lu's Chocolate Chip Cupcake...yum!

Since we enjoyed a late breakfast at Friedman’s and an afternoon snack at Tu-Lu’s, we skipped lunch on Saturday.  We also knew that we would be eating dinner on the early side because we were going to see a show that night.  (I love all things plays and musicals, so I couldn’t fathom being in New York and not buying tickets to a Broadway show.  David nicely complied.)

Il Buco

Il Buco

On Saturday night, we went to Il Buco for dinner.  This Mediterranean inspired restaurant feels warm and cozy on the inside, with pots and pans hanging from the ceiling.  I love the combination of rustic, yet elegant and I immediately fell in love with Il Buco when we stepped inside.  As I mentioned, we were early diners because we were seeing a play at 8:00 so we got to see the restaurant transform from a quiet hidden gem, to a bustling restaurant, full of good people watching.

Il Buco: So cozy

Il Buco: So cozy

Even during Il Buco’s transformation from quiet to hectic, over the next two hours, we were the recipients of amazing service the entire time.  I was so impressed by the attention we got and how much our server communicated with the chef about our orders.

While a significant amount of Il Buco’s menu involves some form of pasta, there were plenty of appealing options for me.  We started with the olives marinated in lemon zest, basil and rosemary that were meaty and delicious.  This mix of three different types of olives, was a perfect commencement to the meal, especially since I can’t enjoy the typical bread served at the beginning.

Olives marinated in lemon zest

Olives marinated in lemon zest

For an appetizer, David and I shared the beef carpaccio which I had never tried before but every bite was lovely. This dish included Niman Ranch grass fed beef fillet, marinated artichokes, and salmoriglio (whatever that is!).

As an entrée I branched out and tried the wreckfish with a tapenade and grilled artichokes, that came highly recommended by our server.  I tend to be a little nervous about ordering fish that I’ve never tried before, but I wanted to be a little more adventurous, and had enjoyed a fairly meat-heavy dinner the previous night at Perilla.

Il Buco's Wreckfish

Il Buco's Wreckfish

Il Buco was such a lovely dining experience and I will absolutely go back here the next time I’m in New York.  Even though it’s not a restaurant that advertises “gluten-free,” they were so hospitable and accommodating, that it’s definitely worth the trip.  You should make reservations, as it’s a very popular restaurant and not a large space.

After our dinner, we hopped back into a cab, and back to Broadway to see a production of The Mother F**ker with the Hat.  (Yes, you read that correctly.  That’s the name of the play.)  This intense, 90 minute show, stars Chris Rock and four other actors.  Recently nominated for a Tony for Best Play, “The Mother F-er with the Hat” is not the comedy you’d expect from Chris Rock.  It’s dark, emotional and quite depressing but David and I would both agree that we’re glad we saw it and it was very moving.  I grew up watching Chris Rock in Saturday Night Live and it was fun to see him on stage.  The other actors were gripping in their roles and I was definitely entertained.  (Note: While I loved the play, I would not bring children to this show or my in-laws, who I love dearly, but don’t think think it’s a great fit.  So, decide for yourself if it’s right for you.)  Get your tickets now because it’s only showing on Broadway for a limited time.

After the play finished, I made David wait outside the theater’s side entrance so we could watch the actors leave.  Nicely, David complied.  (David’s compliance is a theme, in case you can’t tell.)  For 45 minutes, we watched the actors leave one-by-one, and interact with the fans as they departed.  I’m not a big autograph person, but they signed autographs and thanked everyone for coming to the show.  I was quite star struck.

I couldn't help but snap a photo of Chris Rock!

I couldn't help but snap a photo of Chris Rock!

We then went out for a drink at a swanky hotel bar and called it a night.  Such a great (gluten-free) day for us in this fun city!  Stay tuned for our final 24 hours in NYC.


Tu-Lu’s Bakery – 338 East 11th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenue) – New York, NY 10003

Il Buco – 47 Bond St # 1 – New York, NY 10012-2450 – (212) 533-1932

Mother F**ker with the Hat – Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre – 236 West 45th Street (Between Broadway and 8th Avenue)- New York NY 10036

Cecilia’s Bake Shop

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, GF product, Uncategorized on December 14th, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

cecilias cooked

A local, Atlanta bakery, Cecilia’s Bake Shop offers gluten-free and vegan desserts to their customers.  Their treats are also dairy-free and egg-free too.  Last night I tried their chocolate chip cookie dough and these cookies were amazing.  So chocolatey, perfectly gooey, and no weird textures or after tastes.  David devoured two!  I didn’t tell him until afterward that they were dairy and egg free, in addition to being GF.  He had no idea.

cecilias cookie dough

cecilias label

Also, when I ate that remaining, lonely, cookie this morning with my coffee, it still tasted delicious!  It didn’t harden overnight and again, no weird aftertaste.  These might be some of the best GF chocolate chip cookies I’ve tried, which is crazy, since they’re free of so many other things.  Good work, Cecilia’s!

I love supporting local businesses, so if you’re in the Atlanta area, you should definitely check out Cecilia’s.  You can find their cookie dough at Whole Foods and Sevanandah, or you can order directly from them.  If you call ahead, you can stop by their store too.  Cecilia’s sells cookies, cakes and ‘raw pies.’  I’m itching to try their gluten-free carrot cake.  Yum!  Check out all of Cecilia’s offerings by clicking here.

cecilias tin

A pack of cookie dough would be a great last minute holiday gift for a gluten-free friend!  Always a treat for us gluten-free folks to easily bake something that requires no prep time: just preheat the oven, put dough on cookie sheet, and bake.  Tastes like homemade, because it is!

A Little Thanksgiving Help From Sally’s Bakery

Posted in Atlanta, bakery, event, GF product on November 16th, 2010 by Betsy – 1 Comment

Are you hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving this year?  I am!  David’s family is joining us in Atlanta for the holiday and we can’t wait to have a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast in our new house.  While I’m going to make most of the items myself, I’m looking to Sally’s Bakery to supplement my own culinary goodies.  I’ll be ordering their pecan pie and some dinner rolls for our feast and of course sandwich bread for turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving.

Sallys Bakery Logo

Don’t be daunted by the thought of gluten-free holiday entertaining.  Check out what Sally’s is offering for the holidays and make your special orders:

Sally’s Bakery Holiday Menu:

9” Pumpkin Pie – $12.99 – As a holiday staple, this favorite will round out your Thanksgiving meal or make a great breakfast the next day…if it lasts! – Our pumpkin pie is gluten free and soy free.  Contains dairy and eggs.

Owner, Sally Owings, showing off one of her amazing pies

Owner, Sally Owings, showing off one of her amazing pies

9” Pecan Pie – $14.99 – Our best ever pecan pie is a must have in our house.  No one will ever know it’s gluten free.  We’re using fresh south Georgia pecans to top this pleasantly sweet southern favorite. – Our pecan pie is gluten free and soy free.  Contains dairy and eggs.

Cornbread – $9.99 8×8 square – Our cornbread is a gluten free version of our grandmother’s old-fashioned southern recipe made with eggs and buttermilk.  The only thing missing here is the iron skillet!  It’s perfect for making stuffing or toasted with warm soup. – Our cornbread is gluten free and soy free.  Contains dairy and eggs.

Yeast Dinner Rolls – $5.99 package of 6 rolls – These classic yeast dinner rolls will be a great addition to your holiday menu and are sure to melt in your mouth. – Our dinner rolls are free of gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs.

These additional offerings will be available from Monday, November 15th through Wednesday, November 24th by special order.  Place your order by phone, via email, using the contact form, or in person!

And…perhaps some muffins for breakfast later in the weekend:

Chocolate Chip Muffins – $5.99 – These moist muffins, made with an applesauce base and a hint of cinnamon, are perfect for anyone who likes a little chocolate in their life.  Vegan chocolate chip so these muffins are dairy free. – also free of gluten, and eggs.  Contains soy lecithin.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – $5.99 – If you’ve had our banana bread, then you’re sure to love these muffins.  They’re made with the same moist and flavorful batter but we’ve added vegan chocolate chips to spice things up! – free of gluten, dairy, and eggs.  Contains soy lecithin.

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins – $5.99 – These muffins are similar to our chocolate chip muffins but are more decadent with the addition of good old-fashioned cocoa powder.  Chocolate for breakfast… yes please! – These muffins are free of gluten, dairy, and eggs.  Contain soy lecithin.

Almond Carrot Muffins – $7.99 – These muffins are the only item on our menu completely free of any refined sugar.  They’re similar to carrot cake but much healthier!  With just the right mixture of almond meal, agave, and a hint of cinnamon, they are sure to please your palate. – Our almond carrot muffins are free of gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs.

Stay tuned for more details on what I’m making for the holiday!

Lotus Cafe: Dining in Jackson Hole

Posted in bakery, GF product, local food, Restaurants, Thai, travel, vegetarian on September 23rd, 2010 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Normally, when I travel, my anxiety levels rise, as I’m far away from the restaurants I love and the safety of my own kitchen.  While we were out west, however, I didn’t find myself worrying about food.  Everywhere we went in Wyoming and Montana, people knew about gluten and were willing to accommodate me if they didn’t already have their gluten-free items listed on the menu.  We also didn’t feel limited to only eating at really nice restaurants, as there were plenty of more casual restaurants that had a wide range of options for me.  Particularly in Jackson Hole, I don’t even feel like we began to tap into the dining world, but we did get a great sampling of the yummy (and gluten-free) flavors Jackson Hole has to offer.

lotus exterior

On our first afternoon in Jackson, we took a stroll around the downtown.  I spotted the Lotus Cafe immediately and was hopeful that there would be options for me at this quirky spot.  Fortunately, my hunch was right.  Serving everything from Pad Thai to burgers to Indian food, Lotus’ huge menu indicates every item that can be made gluten-free. Basically everything on their menu can be ordered gluten-free, and I really mean everything.  (Their website indicates 99% of the menu can be made GF.)

lotus interior

Many GF treats greeted me in the glass case!

After enjoying drinks at Spring Creek with my friend Beanie, (and attempting to adjust to the altitude) we returned to Lotus for our first dinner in Jackson.  I was immediately overwhelmed by the plethora of options…what a rare treat!

One of my favorite menu items was the gluten-free samosas with spiced peas and potatoes.  This dish, which is basically a large breaded dumpling, is always a no-no for me.  At Lotus, however, they use a combination of brown and white rice flour in their samosa recipe.  Delicious!  The sauce accompanying the dish is amazing too.

lotus samosa

GF Veggie Samasos

For our entrees, David and I decided to share, since I could actually know for sure that his meal was gluten-free too.  He ordered the chicken tikka masala (one of our family favorites) and I went with the ‘Fiesta Bowl’ with bison.  The fiesta bowl consisted of a mix of bison, cheese, lettuce, corn chips, lentils and other yummy goodness.  I always like to combine everything on my plate so this dish was perfect for me.  The tikka masala also received positive reviews from both of us and I loved getting to reach across the table and grab a bite off David’s plate and not worry about contamination, gluten, etc.  It’s the simple pleasures in life, right?

Fiesta Bowl with Bison

Fiesta Bowl with Bison

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala

What a meal!  Oh, and the best part is that Lotus also serves breakfast and lunch.  All of their sandwiches can be prepared on their homemade gluten-free bread.  The whole time I ate my dinner I was planning when we could return to try their other food!  Unfortunately we never got back to Lotus for lunch but we did go for coffee and breakfast a couple of times.

GF & Vegan Zuchinni Muffin (even David loved it!)

GF & Vegan Zuchinni Muffin (even David loved it!)

If you’re in Jackson, Lotus is the perfect place to go just for a cup of coffee.  We brought our books and would make a morning of it until we got motivated to start moving and hiking.  (More about the hiking and reading later.)  All of Lotus’ baked goods (cookies, muffins, etc.) are vegan, making them dairy free and egg free.  Many of their items are also gluten-free.  Fortunately, I didn’t realize the muffins were vegan until after ordering.  (Usually I shy away from foods that are missing milk, eggs, and butter!)  These muffins were delicious!

lotus cashew rasp

Raspberry Cashew Muffin

I have a much more positive attitude towards vegan items now that I’ve sampled these amazing treats.  During our time in Jackson, I enjoyed Lotus’ raspberry cashew muffin and zucchini muffin.  So good.  One morning I also ordered the ‘Maya,’ steamed quinoa with apples, cinnamon candied walnuts and organic milk.  Sweet quinoa is quite possibly my favorite culinary discovery while out west.

Maya: Hearty Quinoa with a sweet crunch

Maya: Hearty Quinoa with a sweet crunch

Sadly, I did not get to try nearly as many things as I would have liked at Lotus, as we were only in Jackson three short days.  Other dishes that stood out to me on the menu included:

  • The Deluxe breakfast sandwich (David ordered this but got it with glutenous bread…he’d done enough sharing at that point.)
David's Deluxe Breakfast Sandwich (can be ordered on homemade GF bread)

David's Deluxe Breakfast Sandwich (can be ordered on homemade GF bread)

  • Pad Thai
  • Chicken Mango Spring Rolls
  • GF espresso chocolate chip cookie

I guess I’ll just have to go back to Jackson to sample the rest.  When I started this post, I thought I would write about all of the restaurants where we ate in Jackson, but clearly I’ve got a lot to say.  The others will just have to wait.  Lotus definitely deserves an entire post to itself.  Thank you, Lotus Café.  I hope to see you again soon.

PS: Lotus also has gluten-free tamari/soy sauce on every table.  Even labeled!  Who doesn’t want a little soy sauce on their raspberry cashew muffin?

lotus gf tamari

Lotus Café -145 North Glenwood Street in downtown Jackson

lotus exterior 2

Savory Millet & Sweet Potato “Polenta” with Smothered Peppers & Onions

Posted in Uncategorized on December 15th, 2009 by Betsy – 4 Comments

I love meat but I’m trying to make a more conscious effort cook more vegetarian dinners in our apartment.  David’s not always thrilled about this idea, but I recently made a delicious dinner that stunned even David by how little he missed meat being on the table.


One of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks is Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen.  Berley clearly takes into account seasonal cooking, as each of his chapters contain sections for every season.  There are no fancy pictures in this cookbook but the food speaks for itself.  His combinations don’t necessarily go with my culinary instincts but the recipes still grab my interest, I experiment with them, and end up thinking they’re delicious.  Unfortunately, a good number of the recipes contain gluten and are difficult to modify, but it’s still a handy and useful cookbook, even for those of us that must avoid gluten.

Recently I made Berley’s Savory Millet and Sweet Potato “Polenta” with Smothered Peppers and Onions.  It turned out to be delicious and a very filling vegetarian meal.  This recipe is also great if you’re cooking for vegans or vegetarians.  Millet is a delicious gluten-free grain, with lots of nutrients and good flavor.  The two components to this dish (the polenta and smothered peppers) go well together, but the polenta by itself is delicious and the peppers would be great with gluten-free pasta or on a pizza.

Savory Millet and Sweet Potato “Polenta” (4 to 6 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped sweet potato
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup millet, rinsed and dried
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Smothered Peppers & Onions

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 bell peppers (yellow, red or even purple), cored, sliced into ½-inch strips
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Black Pepper

To make the polenta, warm oil in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.  Add the sweet potato and onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent browning.  Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the water, millet and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring vigorously several times during the course of cooking to help release the starch from the millet and to prevent sticking.  Remove the millet from the heat when it’s soft and creamy.  (For me, this only took about 40 minutes.)  Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  Set the millet aside to rest, covered for 5 minutes.

Lightly oil a 6 to 8 cup baking dish.  Pour the polenta into the baking dish, smoothing the top with a spatula (like you would if you were putting brownie mix into a baking pan).  Set aside to cool at room temperature, then refrigerate uncovered, until fully set, about 40 minutes.  (I made these earlier in the day and just took them out of the fridge when I was ready to make dinner.)


Meanwhile, prepare the peppers and onions.  In a wide, heavy sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil.  Add the onions, bell peppers, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Raise the heat and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring to prevent browning.  Add the thyme, wine, and vinegar and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, until the peppers are meltingly tender.  Uncover, raise heat and reduce the pan juices until they form a syrup that covers the vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Slice the polenta onto a cutting board and slice into ½-inch thick pieces.  In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.  Fry the slices for 5 to 7 minutes per side, until crisp.  This might take a couple of batches.


Serve the polenta topped with smothered peppers and onions.


As you can see from the recipe, this meal is a bit of a process but it was perfect for putting together on a Sunday afternoon.  These cakes were a different way of using gluten-free grains and filled up our bellies.  We had lots of leftovers so I just reheated them throughout the week for lunch.  I would sprinkle them with a little parmesan cheese when I reheated the cakes.  You can also save some to fry later to make them crunchy and fresh when you serve them.

I would have taken more photos of the final product but right after I took this one, I spilled my glass of red wine all over our white carpet, breaking the glass.  Sadly, my lack of depth perception put an end to the photo session, but David was able to salvage our carpet.