Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fall is approaching....

hello everyone -- not sure if there is anyone left reading! It's been quite a long time since my last post, but as I assumed, summer has been nuts, and with only three weddings left, I'm almost through the madness that is summer.

I had almost every weekend for about 8 weeks planned! Also, when it's warm out here, I don't tend to cook so there hasn't been too much to report on. It is starting to cool off slowly here in the Northeast though, and I'll be back in the kitchen soon scouring the internet for gluten-free recipes.

It got down to about high 50's the other day and I immediately found myself thinking about finding the perfect bread recipe. Cooking will be a bit harder for me now - as I am working much longer hours and not getting home until almost 8. I'll certainly be looking for quick & easy recipes.

So - hope everyone's summer is winding down nicely... I am SO excited for Fall, it is my absolute FAVORITE time of year, and I'm sick of all my summer clothes!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anyone ever tried this???

I just stumbled upon this brand of beer doing some random google searching.. has anyone tried it?? Is it good? I have had RedBridge (www.redbridgebeer.com) before, and I enjoy it, but some variety would be nice. So this Shakparo is brewed by Sprecher Brewery (www.sprecherbrewery.com) and it looks like they also have another gluten free option called Mbege, both made from Sorghum & Millet...

Would love to hear your thoughts! THANKS...

Ok - another thing, I'm having issues trying to post links -- when i put a link, it cuts off whatever is after it - i did a ton of searching & cannot find an answer - any help?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Too much going on to blog....

Life has been NUTS for me lately -- and I don't think it's going to let up until Fall.

First -- I got a new job!!! Hooray for me. I'm extremely excited to start something new and this is an excellent opportunity for me to really advance my career. I'll be sad to leave my old job, but really cannot wait to start in my new position.

Second - I was away in Europe for a week. An AMAZING vacation -- had a great time. We (me & the boyfriend) started in Prague for a quick visit with friends -- then headed down to southern Italy for 4 days. We went to Capri, Positano & Sorrento. It was GORGEOUS. When I was in college I lived in Florence for 4 months, so I have a soft spot for Italy already, and was very excited to travel south to places I had never been (and to get to speak Italian again)!

Regarding food here -- I must say, I didn't eat breakfast or lunch for 5 of the 7 days I was there. A big part of this was a weird side effect of jet lag where I was just not hungry at all (why, oh why can't that be the case at home?!). And of course, the other problem - most Europeans have bread or pastry for breakfast (esp. on-the-go, same as here) and that was all that was available 90% of the time. So I enjoyed cappuccinos & alot of gelato (aahhh, gelato, i love you...) instead. I also had a small stash of Larabars & some nuts/seeds to nibble on.

Dinners I seemed to get pretty lucky with. I also got to eat A LOT of caprese salad (being in Capri and all) - which was, as you can imagine, SO FREAKING GOOD... ughh, why can't tomatoes, basil, fresh mozz & olive oil taste like that here???

No stomach issues of note, but again - I seem to have a rather high tolerance for gluten and it doesn't affect me as badly as many. When we were in Positano I managed to ask a grocery store owner if they happened to have any "bread without flour" (as my meek translation came out).. and he actually brought me to a package of grissini (bread sticks) that were made from rice! I was quick to purchase along with a to-go package of Nutella & a bottle of wine. Snacking on those later with a glass of wine & overlooking the Amalfi Coast was great - it was just too bad the rice sticks tasted like cardboard. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

While in Sorrento we actually found a card advertising a restaurant that had many gluten free options! But when asking the concierge about this place he said it was "OK" and recommended another spot that was more popular with the locals and he said they had a lot of gluten free options like risotto & plain baked fishes from the region. So we went there & I got the risotto & fish - YUM.

Such a lovely trip -- only slightly depressing that I couldn't eat any of my old favorites. After living there for a period of time and knowing just how good pasta/pastries/pizza really are there -- it was very hard for me. Matt was good though - he saved me one day when we were taking the ferry from Capri - Positano. I said I'd just had enough, how bad would one slice of pizza be? and reached for it with every intention of eating the whole thing -- but he gave me a look that said "Do you really want to do that?" -- and I knew the answer was no.

So -- that was my trip - the rest of my summer will be filled with transitioning to my new job, weddings, bachelor parties, engagement parties & beach weekends....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

An amazing restaurant & gluten free ruminations

Life has been moving and happening so quickly that I've barely been able to get anything done lately, and this blog has fallen by the wayside.

SO much is happening right now, I'm not really sure where to start. Also, I'm feeling more and more that the gluten-free thing is just part of every day, and not something that I'm always thinking about. On the same note, I've been feeling so great and have so much energy, which some people have been pointing out to me, I feel I've really come a long way.

I've also realized, as of late, that compared to some other bloggers I read out there, I just don't think I'm as "careful" as most. For example, eating out for me is not a big huge ordeal, I go, I try to eat whatever is the safest if I'm not already at a gluten free restaurant, and I'm fine. A lot of this has to do with my sister - as I've mentioned before, she's been gluten free for almost 4 years - and she's doing great. Before being diagnosed she was loosing weight, in a lot of pain, and super cranky... so I've seen her transformation, and compared to the things I read online, she is so chilled out about it, which is great. We recently took my parents out for dinner, and she barely asked any questions, she just picked & ordered (and we were not at a gluten free restaurant). Of course there was the "no croutons on my salad please" comment, and we all ate, and it was delicious (ooh i had the most amazing polenta/sundried tomato/roasted red pepper combo) - and we were fine.

So whats the deal here? Are we possibly just less sensitive than others? Is that possible? I'm sure that if any gluten is injested accidentally it's a bad thing internally, but both of our follow up appointments are always positive & great. We're feeling great. All good things... and I would say I tend to eat out at least twice a week, if not more....

I'm sure it has a lot to do with the person, and there are so many different opinions out there among doctors, celiacs, etc, but I've just been wondering alot lately about just how careful I need to be. Don't get me wrong here - I'm not going to go out and eat a pizza and drink beer - and I would never do that just for sh*ts & giggles - but I'm not going to stop eating out in restaurants, at least not at this point in my life....

Which leads me to the most amazing dinner experience I've had in years and years. Matt, myself and another couple went to a super swanky, very well known restaurant in dinner last week. I've wanted to eat at this place for about 10 years, but it's insanely expensive so I never went. But our friends had a big gift certificate and they decided to take us. (WOO HOO)

This was the kind of place where a jacket was required, we had about 8 waiters, and I must say it was the BEST SERVICE EVER. They do a prix-fixe here - so I called ahead to let them know about my diet issues - and they said absolutely no problem. Great. Bring it on.

So we get there and the maitre'd passed along the gluten free info, and one of the waiters spoke to me and basically said order whatever I want - they can do it gluten free. Turns out - this waiters mother has celiac so he is well aquainted with my needs. Great.

I was extremely excited when he recommended the tempura (tempura!!!) soft shell-crab with caviar & pineapple. Oh. My. God.

I looove soft shell crab, and it happens to be in season, and the waiter told me that this was made only with some cornstarch. I don't know what magic the chef did to create this plate, but there are no words for how amazing it was. Oh & this place was also big in bringing out various "amuse bouche" from the Chef. Now here was where I was getting really impressed. Each time they brought these little treats out - mine was on a separate plate, and made specially sans gluten. WOW.

There was also a nice little touch that when the bread was served (and they had a big tray with 6 or 7 different types) one of the waiters had slipped away my bread plate, and the server knew not to ask me. Now THAT is attention to detail.

My dinner was a fabulous sirloin, i sampled the lobster, and there were even a few dessert options - I went for the assortment of sorbets.

I wish I could go all the time, but the dinner for the four of us cost about what I make per week after taxes. YIKES. But worth it...

OK - this has turned into a HUGE post. I'll try to be back more... OH and I never posted about Wagamama. i will do that - but I've been three times now, and it's been great each time!!!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Silly Rabbit... Bread is for non celiacs!

It was Easter yesterday, and my parents hosted the event at their home, which was wonderful.

There was a lot of excellent food, my Mom is an amazing chef - ask anyone I know, dinner at her house is always a special treat. I was spoiled growing up with her cooking, which is what I attribute my need to spend more money than I have on good food & restaurants.

Anyway -- I did a very funny thing. I was slicing the Easter Bread (the kind with the eggs cooked into it)... I had already gotten over my jealousy of the bread-eaters at this point; but it looked & smelled delicious (this was the only non-gluten free thing on the day, well that and some amazing looking deserts, but we had GF cupcakes & cheesecake)... so anyway, I was slicing the bread, and what did I do? I popped a piece of it into my mouth!

This was the first time I've done this... just popped it in, without knowing what I was doing. When I tasted the wonderful bread texture & that sweet taste of easter bread, I realized what I did and sortof yelled out... my cousins & Aunt were standing around and looked at me as I spit out the bread in my mouth, and they laughed when they realized what I'd done.

It was really pretty funny... I think I probably ingested a tiny bit, but I was fine. And I must say, I had that great taste in my mouth for at least a few minutes, and I really enjoyed it.

I guess it just goes to show how the GF diet really isn't affecting my daily life much anymore -- it's just the way I eat now.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


With my renewed vigor for the gluten free lifestyle, thanks to test results below... I splurged on some new gluten free items. Mainly, Glutino brand bagels, breads, snacks and cereal.

I'm assuming most of you have tried this brand before right?

It's excellent. Expensive, but excellent.

I REALLY enjoy their bagels, which I buy once every few months, but I just found their cereal! I started with the Honey Nut and I LOVE it... I really wish it didn't cost so much, but I may try to order on-line for a better price. Perhaps I'll see if I can get my local Trader Joe's to stock it... Anyway, this cereal is great because it's not overly sweet like many others, but just enough sweetness, and I love the texture. YUM.

Kudos to this company for their delicious products!

UPDATE: I found & tried the Apple Cinnamon Cereal. It's good, but not as good as the Honey Nut. Let me add though, that I don't like any kind of fruity flavor in my cereal - so I'm negatively biased.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Diet actually works!!!

Great news today.

I got some 6-month blood work back today & my iron levels (my worst side effect) are WAY UP!!

Here's my levels in the past:

Jun 21 '06, 12:08PM Iron 14 L 30-160 mcg/dl
Aug 16 '06, 18:33PM Iron 18 L 30-160 mcg/dl
Sep 18 '06, 18:15PM Iron 29 L 30-160 mcg/dl

So I was psyched today when I got this:

Mar 19 '07, 10:29AM Iron 201 H 30-160 mcg/dl

WOO HOO!!! 201!! I'm so pumped. My primary care doc said at my age I should be in the hundreds range - so that's good!

It's so great to know that the diet is working for me. What's funny is you'd think I'd be absolutely bursting with energy, but I basically feel the same... I think I was anemic for so long I just got used it -- down the road, I'm sure it would have been a major problem.

Anyway - happy day for me!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wagamama Update

Great news on the Wagamama front. They are opening their first US location in Boston's Faneuil Hall on April 23, 2007!

I emailed with Barnaby Godden - their local head chef - and he wrote the following:

"... It's great to know that there is so much interest building in the opening of our first us site here in Boston.

I am currently working on our allergy table to accommodate as many dietary requirements as possible. When completed it would be great if you could give us feedback in case there are any areas that we may have overlooked...."

He also is sending along an invite to go to one of their dry-runs to try out their dinner & give feedback! I'm beyond excited!
I'll be sure to fill you all in, and I'll post his allergen table as soon as he emails it to me!

(ughh -- tried to upload a cute pic, but blogger wouldn't allow it... ps - I'm making the switch to wordpress very soon, I'll let you all know the new address)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bisquick Blunder

My loving boyfriend decided to make me breakfast in bed this morning - we decided on pancakes and I mumbled something about the new Pamela's Pancake Mix that I just bought, and he was off to the kitchen.

He brought in my mini tower of pancakes and my first thought was that they weren't as good as the Kinnickinnick mix that we had just run out of. I then headed into the kitchen with my empty plate to see a box of BISQUICK on the counter!!!

Yup, you guessed it - my boyfriend poisoned me this morning - completely unintentionally though. I think he just had a brain fart or something - he assumes since I do most of the shopping around there that everything is GF. (I find people get confused, they ask about celiac - I say I can't have wheat, flower, etc. and someone inevitably says, "Wait, but you can eat pasta & cookies right?")

Anyway... It was such a shock that this happened! I haven't ingested that much gluten since before the diagnosis! And you know what? I barely had any reaction to it. I was waiting for it all day... I'm sure internally my intestines are being ravaged, and now I have to heal again.. but I can't help thinking - WHY couldn't i have accidentally eaten that mouth-watering slice of pepperoni pizza he had last night? Pancakes are such a waste on this accident. I actually much prefer the gluten free mixes - I think they're delicious & a little sweet.

So, it looks like i'll be asking questions about every meal he prepares for me from now on....

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Gluten Free Cooking Spree - Coming to Boston?

I was bouncing around blogs, websites, forums and saw that the NFCA Gluten-Free Cooking Spree was happening in NYC, and that it is sold out!

Here is some info about the Gluten-Free Cooking Spree:

The Gluten-Free Cooking Spree is an event that joins together the medical and lifestyle aspects of celiac disease. The event began as a partnership between the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, the Drexel University School of Public Health and the Drexel University School of Hospitality Management in an effort to educate people about the wonderful world of gluten-free cooking.

NFCA paired culinary arts students with prominent physicians from nine hospitals in the Philadelphia area and taught them basic lessons about celiac disease and how to prepare gluten-free meals. After the training, the doctors partnered with students to compete in developing gluten-free recipes and preparing the delicious results. George Perrier of Le Bec-Fin and Christina Pirello, host of Christina Cooks, judged the food entries on taste and presentation. The winning team received a cooking lesson from George Perrier.

People who attended the event were able to watch the teams prepare their recipes and enjoyed a variety of gluten-free food and drinks from local vendors.

Here is the page online:

Scrolling down to the bottom I see that there will be cooking sprees in Boston in 2007!

This event will also be taking place in Washington, Philly, Atlanta, San Fran & St. Louis.... I signed up at the bottom, it sounds like a great idea and a lot of fun.

I have no other information right now, but emailed to find out more - I'll let you know what I hear.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bread Dilemma

I need to issue a few questions to breadmakers out there.

As you know I bought the Breadman Breadmaker last week and was very excited to use it this weekend. My bread mix I ordered had not yet arrived, so I went to the store and bought the Gluten Free Pantry's Favorite Sandwich Bread. The problem: this was a 2 lb mix, and the Breadman can only make 1.5 lb on gluten free setting.

SO - do I pick a different setting? How do I modify the 2lb recipe for a 1.5 lb?? It seems tricky, especially with the yeast.

Also, my Pamela's Mix that I ordered last week jsut got here today and sure enough, it's a 2 lb loaf recipe!

Any thoughts greatly appreciated... I'm a novice baker to be sure, and bread-making is a tricky business, I don't want to waste a lot of mix!


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Absentee Blogger

Hello everyone!

I've been a terrible blogger as of late - work has been SO NUTS, I haven't had a chance to do any updating at all.

Update: Thanks to reading Karina's website - I have purchased the Breadman Breadmaker! I got it yesterday, and I can't wait to try it out - let me know if you have any recipes, tips, etc on using this machine. I also purchased some Pamela's Bread Mix and Gluten Free Pantry mix - those have not yet arrived....

Also - I would love to re-design the look of this site. Blogger is very limited in its options, and it's difficult to add my own look to it. As a designer, I have a million other ideas of how to make this site look better - but no way to do it in Blogger (that I'm aware of) - again, I'm asking your advice, any thoughts? This current look is through a third-party site, but I want to make it my own. Help?

Hope everyone doing great... I'll post again soon.. Sunday I'm having an Oscars party with lots of gluten free goodies - I'll give you an update.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Banana Nut Muffins

I was recently browsing the forums at GlutenFreeForums.com the other day, and saw a thread on banana bread. I immediately had a craving for it, and reading through the recipes, Amy gave one for Banana Muffins. The recipe she gave was not just gluten free, but lactose free & vegan (I think, no eggs).

I made a few modifications, added nuts, used real milk & eggs - so I'm not sure if I got the measurements exactly right - I'm sure some of you more experienced bakers out there would know - I'm more of a beginner with baking, I'm usually cooking something salty.

So in case you're interested, here's the recipe I used:

1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup crisco
2 eggs
1 large banana, mashed
1/2 cup of milk - a little more was added when it was too doughy
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I used Tom Sawyers, see link below)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Crushed walnuts - or any nut of your choice, about a cup

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl sift together all dry ingredients and set aside. In a small bowl mash the banana. In a large bowl cream together crisco and sugar. Add eggs, mashed banana, milk & vanilla. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well (this was where I realized i needed more milk!) Spoon into muffin tins, I used individual wrappers for minimul clean-up.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. About 5-8 minutes before they're done, sprinkle walnuts on top of muffins. OR mix them right into the batter, I think I'll try that next time, because the walnuts taste really delicious with this. Remove from oven. Let cool on rack. They tasted great out of the oven, cut in half, with a little bit of low-fat butter, and for the next day & day after that, microwave, bit-o-butter & ENJOY!

Tom Sawyer's Gluten Free Flour

Monday, January 29, 2007

Nigella is a genius

I caught a few minutes of "Nigella Bites" on the Food Network this weekend. I used to watch her show years ago, and had a few of her cookbooks, she is the best, if you've never heard of her - Google her, look for her, read her books, you will not regret it. She makes amazing food.

So in the few minutes I caught her show, I happened to tune into a quick & easy "working woman" soup which was great, because I wanted soup yesterday and had barely any groceries, and lucky me - it was gluten free (didn't mean to rhyme there, but how cute).

All it is, and you may have done this before, but I think it's genius, is a jar of pasta sauce, I have a tomato basil brand I love - dump it into a pan, add boiling water, and rice - and voila, Tomato & Rice soup.

I think the key here is a really great jar of tomato sauce, since that is where you get your whole flavor. I also added a can of crushed tomatoes, and some chicken stock (because i love salt), and a little extra basil & topped with parmesan cheese. YUM. And it took about 2 minutes to prepare, and 15ish to cook.

Also - Nigella has contributed to "The Gluten-Free Bible.." and has some great gluten free recipes, especially desserts for example see here

Friday, January 05, 2007

A great dining experience

Going out with a girlfriend for dinner last night - the first sushi place we planned on turned out to be closed, shut down forever! I was totally bummed - so we thought of another place around the corner, actually in the Westin Hotel in Copley Square called OSushi. I had been there a while ago, and remembered it was good.

I don't know what has been going on lately, but I have been CRAVING sushi all the time. I really can't get enough. I have my favorites - Tuna, Alaska, Salmon, yellowtail - and especially the seaweed salad. So last night we sit down, it's a cool place, small, and with loud techno, order some Sake, miso soup and for some reason it dawns on me to ask if the seaweed salad has soy sauce in it. Now, I've been eating this for the past month or more, every week, and I just think of this now?! Sometimes I really blank of watching the food I eat.

Then the waitress asks, do I have a food allergy? Yes, I do. Wheat? Why, yes. Celiac? Wow - yes, I do!
(It's amazing to me that people know about this, I don't know why).

This waitress turns out to be the best. Finds some wheat-free Tamari buried in the kitchen. Informs me without asking what I can/can't eat. She was awesome! It turns out her best friend has celiac so she knows all about it.

Back to the seaweed - I'm completely bummed. And, pissed - I've been thinking I've been doing so well and not eating gluten, and it turns out I was wrong.

So - the dinner was so great - Kobe Beef Rolls? Umm, the greatest thing ever... They also have the best miso soup I think I've ever had. If you're in town - go there, look for the short, cute brunette waitress - she'll hook you up.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy 2007!

Hello all... I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday & new year! Best wishes to you in 2007!

So, I found RedBridge soon after posting about it thanks to a comment I received- and I must say it's quite good!! I actually enjoy drinking it. In fact, my boyfriend (not a celiac) STOLE my last two, which was rather annoying actually.

It tastes a lot like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale -- which happened to be my favorite beer pre dx - so this is great!

Also, it looks like the retail locater is working now - so look for it at a store near you!! Now, I just need to convince my local bar to keep it in stock - possibly even on draft?