Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bull City Burger Gluten Free Visit

Over the weekend all five of us loaded up in the car and headed to Durham for dinner.  We decided to go to Bull City Burger and Brewery because a facebook buddy said they have killer burgers and Gluten Free buns.   With all three kids I wasn't sure how family friendly it would be so I took snacks to keep them busy.  Once we got there I was pleased to see that they had high chairs and we saw a number of young families.

Bull City Burger and Brewery or BCBB as they call themselves is an order at the register, get a number, sit down and they bring out the food kind of place.  They brew lots of different kinds of beer and have a Gluten Free beer available by the bottle: Omission Pale Ale from Widmer Bros.

There are a couple of pretty fun things about BCBB.

One - you get to drink out of mason jars!
Two - there are facts on the number cards about Durham, NC so make sure you read yours!
Three - there is a self serve wine machine called a Enomatic, it looked super fun!
Four - they use LOCAL products, 100% pasture-raised NC beef, and almost everything is made from scratch!
Five - they have weekly specials that use products from the local farmer's market

We had a great experience at BCBB.  The hubby got a cheeseburger and the "dirty fries" and the toddler got the grilled cheese with fries.   Both were happy with their selections.  I ordered a cheeseburger with a GF bun (Udi's - I saw the bag and it is $1.50 extra).  The fries aren't Gluten Free so I went with the special Cece's Bowl of Pickled Stuff.  It was pretty tasty.  The cucumber and carrots were my favorite.
The burger was excellent!  The flavor was great, the toppings were fresh and it was just pink enough to  keep it from being dry.   We will defiantly add this to our good Gluten Free restaurant list!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Veggie Mac N Cheese

We continue to struggle to get out toddler to eat her veggies.  Not sure why but this seems to be a universal problem.  I think there is a kid code somewhere that says don't eat your vegetables!  So I decided to create a dish that would combine veggies and one of her favorite things - Mac n Cheese!

What You Need:
1 box GF mac n cheese - I used Annie's
   1/4 cup milk
   2 tbsp butter
1 zucchini chopped
1 yellow squash chopped
1/4 cup of chopped carrots
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper

How to Make It:
Heat oven to 350.  Cook the mac n cheese according to the instructions on the box except don't cook the pasta the full time recommended.  I only cooked mine for 8 minutes.  Continue to follow the box and add the butter and milk and cheese packet to the noodles.  Combine veggies, milk and half the cheese in a casserole dish.  Mix in the prepared mac n cheese and cover with remaining cheese.  Cook for 30-40 minutes.

It worked!  The toddler ate 2 bowls and didn't complain about the veggies!  I wonder what else I can mix with mac n cheese so she'll eat it...

Post Linked to Gluten-Free Homemaker.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Namaste Foods GF Muffin Mix

I picked up a bag of Namaste Foods Gluten Free Muffin Mix at the grocery store last week.  I have seen the mixes before but never grabbed one.  This trip I had a coupon so I went for it!  During play time this morning I was getting hungry and decided to whip up a batch.  Which was actually pretty easy even with twins crawling all over the place.

The instructions are super easy and all you need is 2 eggs, 1/4 cup oil and 1 cup water.  There are also instructions on the bag for adding fruit and various other things.

Here is what I added to the mix: 3/4 cup frozen blueberries, 1 tbsp ground chia seeds, 3/4 cup / 1/4 cup apple juice subbed for 1 cup of water.  I also made a brown sugar crumble topping with 1 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tbsp GF flour mixed together.  Add the crumble half way through the cooking process.

RESULT: moist, tasty muffins!  The texture was good and they had a good flavor.  They were not too sweet so the crumble topping helped.  I plan to freeze half for a later GF muffin craving.   The nice thing about this product is that it is a good base, you could add your favorite fruit and nuts to make almost any type of muffin.  One bag only makes 12 muffins and it is over $4.50 a bag without a coupon.  It is a good mix to keep in my pantry for special breakfasts but a little pricey for frequent use.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Product Spotlight

I have found some new Gluten Free products that I wanted to share.

For our road trip to Myrtle Beach I wanted to get some good road food.  I found these at Target!  Annie's Gluten Free Snicker Doodle Bunny Cookies. They are very tasty and more chewy than crunchy.   I kind of ate the whole box by myself in 2 days - oops!

At the Gluten Free Expo I grabbed two sample bags of the Bakery on Main Gluten Free granola.

I put it on top of my Chex cereal to take it to the next level.  I really liked the large flakes.  It helped make the cereal last a little longer so I wasn't hungry as fast.

I had a coupon from Jovial so I picked up some cookies this week. The cool thing is the box has 6 packets of 2 cookies.  So they are perfect for throwing in your purse or in a lunchbox.  The taste is pretty good, but they are kind of dry.  If you are a coffee drinker they would be good dipped in coffee.

There you go!  Happy shopping.

I finally started an Instagram account for I'm a Celiac - ImaCeliac.  Come follow me - I need friends:)

Disclaimer: I wasn't compensated for any of these comments they are my own.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Raleigh Gluten Free Expo

The first Gluten Free Expo was held in Raleigh this past weekend.  I have gone to the one in Charlotte for the past two years and have loved it!  It is a great opportunity to try GF products, taste food from local restaurants, meet other GF people and get coupons.

There were a TON of people there!  When I got there the line was wrapped around the side of the building!  Luckily I had bought my ticket online so I walked right in.  There were 40 vendors and over 700 attendees at the event.

Some of my blog friends were there.  Carrie from GingerLemonGirl was a vendor promoting her upcoming GF slow cooker cook book!  Love her!

I finally got to meet Jenni from Spoonful At a Time.  She was representing Triumph Dining.

There were a number of my favorite vendors there like Bella Monica Flatbread, Against the Grain Pizza, Whole Foods, Rudi's, Udi's, 123 Gluten Free and Bakery on Main.  I loaded up on samples and coupons!

The pizza powerhouse at the event was zpizza.  I have eaten there a couple of times and love their Chicken BBQ pizza.  The quality of their ingredients sets them apart.

The cake winner at the event was Celiac Cakery.  This girl could bake!  I sampled my share of her goodies and man were they good!  Great texture and flavor.  She is a 3rd generation Celiac and has a teenage son with Celiac Disease.  She cooks out of her home and also does cooking lessons.

The event was fabulous, the food was great and the people amazing!  It is such a good feeling to be able to walk around an event and be able to eat ANYTHING you see.  I'm used to walking by tasty samples but not at the GF expo!  It is all fair game and I left full:)  Can't wait for next year!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gluten Free Wine Dinner at Bella Monica

Last Saturday I had an absolutely amazing experience at Bella Monica Restaurant in Raleigh, NC.  With the Raleigh Gluten Free Expo on Sunday Trevor from Bella Monica planned a dinner for Saturday night.  Sixteen of us Gluten Free eaters and their family members sat down for a four course meal with amazing wine pairings.  

The crowd was so much fun!  Jordan and Vanessa from Delight Magazine were there, Jose and Jayme from, and Nikki Everett who runs the GF Expos.

We started out with assorted bruschetta.  I get so excited whenever I can eat actual fresh bed!
Doesn't that just look amazing!

Then we had a Caprese Heirloom Tomato Salad.  It was a very fancy salad with very fresh tomatoes and pickled onions.  The onions were a first for me and man were they good!
Then came out the famous GF focaccia bread.  Looking at it makes my mouth water.  I could go to Bella Monica and order the focaccia bread and the house red sauce or  "Nana's gravy" and be happy!
For the main course we had Portobello Mushroom Lasagne, Lobster Risotto, and Veal Meatballs with Fontina Polenta.
Lobster Risotto

Veal Meatballs with Fontina Polenta

Portobello Mushroom Lasagne

My plate - and yes I did eat it all!
The lasagne and the polenta were my favorites!  The flavor was amazing and everything tasted so fresh.  You could really taste the various flavor layers for each dish.

We ended dinner with Tiramisu and Creme Brulee.  Fantastic!  I was just sad the portion of the Creme Brulee was so small.

On top of the food there was a different wine with each course.  They even had someone come in and describe all the wines, where they came from and why they chose them for each course.  Since I had to drive home 45 minutes I had to stop earlier than I would have liked.  My favorite was a 2010 Greco that come with the entrees.

Trevor and Corbitt at Bella Monica know how to do it right!  Thanks for an amazing meal and a great experience!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Gluten Free Trip to Myrtle Beach

We just got back from a week long trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.  Our family of five went with my hubby's mom, brother and his family.  We had a great time, had some good food and enjoyed time together.
Photo Source

Gluten Free eating on vacation can always be tricky.  We were lucky that we were staying in condos with full kitchens.  So the first thing my sister-in-law and I did when we got there was hit Wal-Mart.  I could not find a Whole Foods, Trader's Joes, or Fresh Market but there was a Kroger if you don't like Wal-Mart.  We made a list of what we needed for breakfasts, lunches and three cooked dinners.  The plan was to eat out two nights and cook the rest to save money.   We returned to the rooms with two carts worth of food!  Once the math was done it came out to $3.18 per person per meal.  WAY cheaper than eating out.  We made spaghetti with meat sauce one night - I had my own GF noodles while everyone else ate regular gluten noodles.  We also made this super easy chicken dish and had rotisserie chicken one night. I just made sure I had lots of GF sides and snacks on hand.

There were lots of options for eating out.  I used the Find Me Gluten Free app to find local places to eat.

The following chain restaurants with Gluten Free options are available:
PF Changs
Red Robin
McAlister's Deli
Five Guys
Bonefish Grill

Here are some local / mini chain restaurants with Gluten Free menus:
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
Travinia Italian Kitchen
Sea Captain's House
Cheeseburger in Paradise

For one of our dinner's out we ate at Red Robin.  They have a great Gluten Free menu and take great care to avoid cross contamination.  They have a dedicated allergy fryer so you can eat the fries and they have GF buns!!  I get the bacon cheeseburger and it is so tasty!  Read this post if you want more info on Red Robin.

Another evening we went to Liberty Steakhouse at Broadway at the Beach.   This was not my first choice for dinner but due to kids not getting naps and long wait times this was where we ate.  After talking to the manager I learned that their meats are pre-seasoned and they were NOT Gluten Free.  So it was decided I could have a side salad with oil & vinegar (the only GF dressing), a baked potato and a baked sweet potato.  The twins ate most of my sweet potato.   Not the best meal ever but it got me through till we could get back to our room to eat one of my back up meals.
This does lead to a good lesson - always ask questions and be prepared that you may not get to eat much when eating out.  I'd rather eat side dishes than get Glutened!

For lunch we did make it to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville one day.  They have CRAZY long wait times so go early.  They have an extensive GF menu and care about cross contamination.  The wait staff was very knowledgable and told me about the dedicated fryer for the fries and their GF buns.
I went with the Volcano Nachos (that we all shared) and the Cheeseburger in Paradise.
The nachos were awesome!  They could have been my meal and I would have been satisfied.

The burger was ok but honestly the burger and fries at Red Robin were better and cheaper!

The good news is I had a successful GLUTEN FREE VACATION to Myrtle Beach!

On a non-food related note we took the kids to Wonder Works.  We had an 8 yr, 3 yr and the 9 month twins.  I felt the target age range would be 9-14 yr old.  It was also super expensive and crowded.  The girls only got to do a few things because of the crowd and their age.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

da Vinci's Table - Restaurant Review

As a Gluten Free eater I have grown accustom to driving by Italian restaurants knowing my options would be limited to salad.  So when I drove by a local restaurant last week that said "Gluten Free Pizza & Pasta" on their sign I was intrigued!  With date night with the hubby coming up I knew where we were going to go!

da Vinci's Table is a local Italian restaurant that opened in 2010.  Their menu includes pasta dishes, pizza, sandwiches and they have seasonal specials.

When we sat down I told the waitress I needed the Gluten Free menu.  She said they did not have one but she would get someone to come talk to me.   The chef came out to explain what would be safe for me to eat.  They offer rice flour pasta and a 10" rice flour based pizza crust.  I decided to go with the Spaghetti Mona Lisa without the mushrooms.

It was a very large portion of GF rice noodles with a tasty meat red sauce and vegetables.  I took half of it home for lunch!  My meal also came with a side salad.  After consulting with the chef our waitress said the balsamic vinaigrette would be safe.

Since it was date night I splurged and ended the meal with the creme brulee.

The waitress did say that they normally charge an additional $2.00 for the GF noodles.

I was very pleased with the experience.  We had an enjoyable dinner at a nice local Italian restaurant!  It was clear that they are new to the Gluten Free game but I'm sure that as more Gluten Free eaters visit they will get better at knowing what is safe and how to best care for Gluten Free guests.

So if you are in the neighborhood stop by.  I look forward to trying their pizza next time!

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