Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gluten Free Vacation in Mexico

The hubby and I had the awesome opportunity to go to Mexico for a mini vacation through my work before Thanksgiving.  It was a four days and three nights trip to an adult only all inclusive resort in Cancun.  The resort is called Secrets Maroma Beach.  It was absolutely beautiful and the service was amazing!  The best part was I had a ton of Gluten Free options and didn't get sick once!  I have so much to write about so this is Part One. 

Pool side
Our room

Before we went I let the travel agent know I had Celiac Disease and would need to eat Gluten Free.  She emailed the resort and let me know they are professionals at serving Gluten Free guests and that I would be fine.  To be honest I was a little skeptical but professionals is the right word for them.  I did not have a single problem and was able to eat anywhere and have lots of options!  

When we arrived I reminded the travel agent that I needed Gluten Free food and she said she would let our concierge know and he will take care of it.  Shortly after we got to our room our concierge knocked on the door with these awesome little cards.  

He said he had already notified all the restaurants about my Gluten Free needs and all I had to do was present this card to our waiter.  

Our first night we headed to the french restaurant, Bordeaux, for dinner with the card in hand.  Once I gave the hostess our room number she said, "Ah, Mrs. Jordan you are Gluten Free!  No problem.  We'll take care of you."  Talk about service I didn't even have to say anything and they already knew!  I had the card on the table for the waiter to see as well.   He was very reassuring and said I could order anything I wanted and they would make it safe for me.  He said, "No limitations.  I'm a professional."  After we ordered some wine, our waiter brought me a basket of FRESH GLUTEN FREE BREAD! 

The hubby had an assortment of bread to pick from that looked beautiful.   We shared a cheese plate for our appetizer.  For my main course I had the filet mignon and creme brulee for dessert.  It was a completely amazing meal!  Everything was perfect, tasted fantastic and Gluten Free!
Cheese plate

Filet mignon - they made a special sauce just for me!

Creme Brulee

The next day we stayed around the hotel and enjoyed the beach and the pools.  I had a number of fruity adult beverages and they were all very good and GF.  In the afternoon they set up a couple of snack stations to enjoy before dinner.  The corn tortillas chips and guacamole where my favorite!  They even had some white chocolate macaroons to snack on.  
Snack time
This day also happened to be my birthday!  Our concierge decorated our room with balloons, streamers,  roses and a bottle of champagne!   

For dinner we went to the Italian restaurant, Portofino.  Again it was a great experience with everyone already knowing I was Gluten Free.  They had a Gluten Free menu but they also had Tinkyaka rice pasta that I could have with a number of different sauces.  The waiter even brought out the unopened Tinkyaka bag to show me!

For dinner I enjoyed more fresh Gluten Free bread with a formase cheese dip, a caprese salad, GF pasta with red sauce, chicken and asparagus.  For dessert I had a chocolate moouse. 
Cheese dip and GF bread

Caprese salad

GF pasta dish

At this point I am going to stop and finish the rest of the trip in a second post.  There is so much more to tell that it will take too long to do it now.

The bottom line is that it is possible to have an amazing GLUTEN FREE vacation at an all inclusive resort especially at Secrets Maroma Beach!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chicken Skillet Dinner

One dish meals are my best friend!  I just love them.  As a mom they are a great way to save time and get veggies in a dish.  They are also great for cleaning out your fridge of leftovers!  This recipe was inspired by this recipe.   

A trick I have learned is when we are baking or grilling chicken is to cook an extra breast.  That way I can make a quick meal with it later in the week.

What You Need:

1 cooked chicken breast, chopped (could use leftover rotisserie chicken)
2 cups of veggies, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp oil
1 GF chicken bouillon cube
1 cup water
1/2 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper

1 bag boil in bag rice

How To Make It:

Boil water and cook rice.  While that is cooking heat oil in a skillet and add veggies.  Cook on medium high covered while the rice cooks.  Add chicken, chicken bouillon cube, water, seasoning and rice to the skillet.  Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.  Take off the cover and add cheese.  Stir in and serve!

This is a hit in our house.  Cover veggies with cheese and they seem to go down faster!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only two days away!  I am admittedly very behind this year!  Mostly because I have just left this.  Ahhhhhh....  Focus Pam!

We are having two family Thanksgiving gatherings this year.  One is at the Hubby's Grannie's house and the other is at our house with my side of the family.   I plan to do a lot of cooking for both events.  I lean toward side dishes and desserts for major holidays.  The turkey and ham are not normally my focus  during large family gatherings.  I am all about some awesome side dishes and desserts.  As a Celiac I have to come armed with GF dishes that taste so good no one will know the difference.
A couple quick tips:

  1. Be prepared and bring enough food to fill you up if there is nothing else available on the table that is safe
  2. Ask questions - people will want to make sure there is food available that you can eat, but know that well meaning relatives can still make you sick on accident.  Ask questions like what sauce did you use?  What brand of dressing is this?
  3. Relax but have a protein bar in your purse.  Sometimes well laid plans go to crap and there just isn't anything you can eat if you aren't in a position to bring a dish.   You can pre-eat or carry a GF protein bar.

Here are some of the dishes I plan to make this week:

Side Dishes:
Easy Hot Spinach Salsa Queso Dip - Prepared in a small crock pot served with GF tortilla chips
Sweet Potato Casserole - Use GF flour
Cheesy Ranch Potato Bake - Use GF ranch

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you survive with full Gluten Free tummies!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bacon Cheeseburger Puffs

I found this awesome recipe on Pinterest and had to deviate from my planned menu.   I'm sure you are all so surprised!  There was very little adjusting to make the recipe Gluten Free.  This isn't exactly a healthy dinner, but the kids loved them so in the end I won.  They would be great as an appetizer or to take to a pot luck meal.  They remind me of the traditional sausage balls but have a fun twist with the bacon!

What You Need:
1/2 lb ground beef
1 tbsp chopped onion

3 pieces of cooked bacon chopped up
1 1/2 cups of GF Bisquik 
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup of milk - may need a splash or two more

How to Make It:
Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Brown beef and cook onions.  Drain fat.  Mix together all the ingredients except the milk.  Slowly add in milk until you get a mixture that will stay together but you still want it kind of dry.  You aren't looking for pancake batter consistency. 

Scoop into small balls and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Makes 20.

We loved them and will make them again!  If you wanted to be healthy I'm sure you could add veggies or something like that.  However they are awesome as is.  I even dipped a couple in ranch because it is my go to dip.

If you make these and add anything fun let me know!

This post linked to Gluten-Free Homemaker and Kelly's Korner SUYL.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Menu November 12th

You can tell by my lack of blogging that November is as crazy as I thought it would be.  The good news is we survived the last week!

This week we have the twins actually 1st birthday, we leave for Mexico and my birthday.  I'm trying a couple new recipes this week that I found on Pinterest.  I'll try and let you know how they go if I can keep my head above water.

Monday - Taco Pasta Bake - use GF noodles and GF taco mix 

Tuesday -  Sausage and peppers with GF pasta 

Wednesday - Chicken, Bacon, Tater Tot slow cooker.  That just sounds awesome!

Thursday - Left overs to clean out the fridge

Friday - Monday -MEXICO!

We are staying at an all inclusive place and I've been told they can accommodate a Gluten Free guest.  

Some advice I have received is:
  • Avoid the buffet - cross contamination nightmare
  • Avoid mixed frozen drinks
  • Stick to the basics - meat and veggies
  • Bring snacks
I'm armed with Gluten Free protein bars, GoPicnic boxes, peanut butter and crackers.  I will survive!  Any other suggestions for the trip? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekly Menu November 5th

November is about to kick my face in and we are only five days in!!  The hubby and I were going over our calendars yesterday and November is beyond full!  I won't bore you with all the little stuff but the highlights are: twins turn 1, twin birthday party, hubby and I go to Mexico (I can't express how excited I am.  Only 10 more days then its just my honey and me on the beach for four days!!), my 32nd birthday, and Thanksgiving.  It is possible we won't survive the month and the chaos.   

In an attempt to pretend I have it all together here is our menu for the week.  

Monday - Pasta Bake loaded with veggies

Tuesday -  Chicken Stir Fry without the eggs so babies can eat it

Wednesday - Church event so Chick-fil-A

Thursday - Pork chops - not sure what kind.  Any ideas?

Friday - My company Christmas party - catered dinner and since I planned it there will be stuff I can eat :)

Saturday -  Twin's Birthday party at lunch!  Baked chicken for dinner

See - week one of November and we are running around like crazy people!

PS - check out my new head shot on the top right corner!  Tracey from Spotlight Photography took it and I love it!  She also did some family portraits for us that turned out so sweet.      
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