Sunday, March 9, 2014

biaggi's italian restaurant

Hello, gluten free friends!

When I was in Toledo recently for my boyfriend's drill weekend, I came across Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano via the Find Me Gluten Free smartphone app, and I was quite impressed.  I just wish this weren't the only location in Ohio!

The staff is GIG trained.  If you're not familiar, this means that the employees have gone through training and learned management practices from The Gluten Intolerance Group.  You can learn more about that program for the food service industry here.

When I was there, they had just started using a new pasta vendor.  For a while, they didn't have any gluten-free pasta, as they're previous vendor had gone out of business, and they didn't want to serve an inferior product.  They were after something of a high quality with a good taste and texture.  They found it!

I placed a to go order at the bar and was handed an official gluten-free menu (read: not a menu printed on copy paper).  I chose the Pasta di Mare: gluten-free pasta, large shrimp, scallops, and calamari sautéed in a spicy tomato-vegetable sauce and topped with mussels and Little Neck clams.  They're right: it is a spicy dish but very filling and satisfying.

The pasta is a different size than their non-gluten-free choices, and the spaghetti is green in color.  The bread you see below is a $1 up-charge and totally worth it.  It has a slightly sweet taste with a sprinkling of sea salt & black pepper. I set aside a piece for my boyfriend and had to fight him away from eating the rest of it!

If you're in the area, I highly recommend checking them out.  They're located in Perrysburg outside Toledo in Levis Commons, an area mall.  I will definitely be going there again soon.

Happy eating :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

frozen waffles at kroger

Hi, gluten free friends!

It's been way too long since I last posted.  So sorry about that!  Between working at my new job, taking classes at two universities to be able to start the next phase of nursing school in the summer, and family stuff, I let myself get bogged down.  On the bright side, Mom finished her 3-month treatment for leukemia.  Now we wait on additional results and the next plan.  It's also pretty apparent that I've got yet another food sensitivity going on to add to my list.  I don't want to further restrict my diet, but a person shouldn't have daily headaches and feel terrible every time they eat.  Today I visited a new allergist and will soon have allergy testing (again & more thorough).

I'm pretty bad about not eating breakfast, but I enjoy a good quick waffle almost as much as I like pizza.  Fortunately, I recently stumbled across some delicious gluten free frozen waffles.  While Van's Natural Foods, Kinnikinnick Foods, and Nature's Path each offer a frozen waffle, none really offered the flavor of the good old Eggo I missed.  Many gluten free varieties are sweetened with fruit juice.  I love that it's more health conscious...but it's cloyingly sweet to my sleepy tastebuds in the morning!

Until I found Simple Truth Gluten Free Waffles last month...
They toast pretty evenly, have a nice flavor, and don't have that same sweetness of the other gluten free options.  They come in a pack of 8, and they're found in the organic section at your local Kroger.

Simple Truth is a relatively new in-house brand of organic and/or natural products at Kroger.  

Enjoy, and happy eating :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

old spaghetti factory

Hello, gluten-free friendees!

A few months ago, Scott surprised me with carry-out from Old Spaghetti Factory in Forest Park.  It was delicious!

They have a defined gluten-free menu available.  There's a 75-cent upcharge for gluten-free pasta.  In our world, that's not too bad.  I'm generally pleasantly caught off guard when the mark-up is under $2.

I had the baked chicken and a side salad.  The presence of croutons on the salad made me hesitant, but Scott had gone over & over my allergies with the pasta folks.  Fortunately, it was safe & yummy. 
Baked chicken may sound unremarkable, but no...  The chicken is marinated in lemon juice & garlic, seasoned with oregano, baked, and served with Mizithra Cheese & browned butter and marinara sauce over pasta.  Read: amazingness.
Not familiar with Mizithra cheese?  I wasn't either.  It's a Greek cheese that pairs incredibly well with my beloved browned butter.  It gets kind of melty in the dish, sprinkled on top.  I'm salivating just thinking of that combo.  Who needs the marinara, anyway?

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Happy eating :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 ccsg cookie exchange details!

It's time for the Cincinnati Celiac Support Group Annual Holiday Cookie Exchange!

Saturday December 21st 11 AM - 12:30 PM
Lane Library
1485 Corydale Drive
Fairfield Ohio 45014

Bring your GF cookies to share and also a container to take all types home to enjoy for the holidays!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

mediterranean snacks

Hello, friends!

I don't know what it is about that late fall/early winter weather -- whether it's watching big games on TV or snacking around a bonfire -- but it makes me want dips.  Hummus, ranch, queso, black bean (simply delicious recipe coming soon), guacamole...the more, the merrier!  As much as I loooove plain old tortilla chips, they don't always hit the spot.

Mediterranean Snacks has some yummy new HummuZ Crackers.  They're all natural and gluten free.  Their crunch is lighter than a cracker but more substantial than your typical chip.  They come in three flavors:
Photo via Mediterranean Snacks website
Photo via Mediterranean Snacks website
Photo via Mediterranean Snacks website

The folks over at Mediterranean Snacks were at the 2012 Celiac Awareness Tour at Xavier University in Cincinnati and graciously sent me one bag of each flavor to sample.  Unfortunately I took one of the bags (roasted red pepper) to a get-together, and the whole bag was tossed into a bowl with unfriendly, gluten-filled crackers.  I didn't get to try a single one, but  I didn't want to write my review until I had.  I didn't know it would take quite so long to locate them, but I finally have!!

They're all tasty and light, but the olive tapenade flavor is my tastebuds' favorite.

A bonus: they have since come out with Tapaz 2 Go, a portable mini-meal of hummus and sea salt lentil crackers.  The packaging is really cool & simple: the box flips over & turns into the perfect plate for the hummus!

These also come in three flavors:
So who is Mediterranean Snacks?  They've been around since 2005, and their philosophy is based around Living Snactive -- combining a healthy attitude with an active lifestyle and nutritious snacks.  Many of their products are legume-based and have been certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).  If you have other dietary restrictions, there are more details here, and many of the products are GMO-free.

Check them out and find a new cracker/chip choice for yourself!  Another bonus: visit their website for a link to a $1 off coupon!!  (You need to have Java enabled.)

Happy eating :)

Full disclosure:
The HummuZ Crackers were sent to me free-of-charge (longer ago than I'd like to admit) from Mediterranean Snacks in exchange for an honest review.  At the time, they were called HummuZ Crispz.  Beyond those samples, I was in no way compensated.  The opinions expressed above are mine & mine alone.