Tuesday, March 27, 2012

guest blog post!

Check out my guest blog post for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) and their Gluten Free in College series!  How nice of them to think of me :)

Happy eating!

P.S. It's sponsored by Kettle Cuisine, makers of all-natural, gluten free soups.  Full disclosure: none are onion free and, thus, not Jessi-friendly, I did receive this promising email from an Associate Brand Manager:

Hi Jess!

Thanks so much for your support and taking the time to contact us.  I can help to answer any questions that you might have about our soups.   I’m afraid that I have bad news today.  All of our soups do contain onion :(
I’m sorry that we don’t have something for your to try today but what I can do is let our chefs know and hopefully we’ll have something for you to try in the future!


Friday, March 23, 2012

boston mmmarket

Tonight Scott took me to Boston Market for the first time.  He ate there last night while shadowing a police officer for his criminal justice class.  My mom had recommended it to me before my diagnosis, but with all the homestyle goodness, I was absolutely shocked when he told me they have gluten free options!  The best part: GRAVY!

Shown here:
  • 1/4 rotisserie chicken (you have the choice of 3 piece, 1/2, or 1/4 chicken)
  • Cinnamon apples
  • Garlic dill new potatoes
  • 1/2 ramekin of poultry gravy

Not shown:
  • 2 1/2 more ramekins of poultry gravy!
  • Sweet tea
It was delicious with a nice price tag :)

As you can see from the menu, entree options are rotisserie chicken and roasted turkey breast, and there are a number of side dishes.  Be sure to stress no bread.  Initially I was given cornbread anyway and had to send the plate back.  My server made sure the next plate was free & clear of bread.  It was a success.  Happy belly, happy Jessi. 

I clearly have a new go-to restaurant when I'm willing to lose my parking spot at lunchtime.  (There are two in the Greater Cincinnati area.)  After all, a gal can only take so many salads.

Happy eating!

Boston Market on Urbanspoon

Sunday, March 18, 2012

gluten free st. patrick's fun

Yesterday I had the pleasure of taking three of my favorite people to their first kegs & eggs.  I was delighted to see that our first stop - Molly Malone's - had Magners Irish Cider on tap.  I hadn't tried it, but I'd heard great reviews.  By the end of the day, I had taste-tested a few new gluten free drink options!
Magners has less bite than most hard ciders and is made with 17 varieties of apples.  It's like apple juice mixed with champagne.  The alcohol content is 4.5% - higher than that of beer, which is generally 3.5-4.2% - and it's much sweeter & easier to drink.  If you try it, I suggest only having one :)

Fun fact from the Magners site: cider has the same number of antioxidants as wine.

In an effort to get one of the first 100 free t-shirts, we arrived at 6:45 yesterday morning for the 7 o'clock event at Molly Malone's.
We were among the last folks to get shirts.  Score!
Around 8:30, we headed to Holy Grail at The Banks for a 9:30 reservation.  Holy Grail is across from Great American Ball Park where the Cincinnati Reds play and near U.S. Bank Arena, home of the Cincinnati Cyclones.  Scott & I stop there on occasion before games.  (Sidenote: Reds Opening Day is just 18 days away!!)

Prior to yesterday's festivities, our group had already verified that Holy Grail didn't have a gluten free option (yet!).  We were given permission for me to bring my own, and they kept it cool for me.  In advance of St. Patrick's, Scott had picked up a Woodchuck Hard Cider Private Reserve Barrel Select and a 4-pack of new, gluten-free Dogfish Head Tweason'ale (brewed with strawberries, sorghum, and honey).   My choice yesterday: Barrel Select.
Woodchuck Hard Cider Private Reserve Barrel Select is a hard apple cider that is handcrafted in very small batches, using bourbon barrels.  The first and most noticeable taste is apples, followed by vanilla and bourbon.  But do make note that it is 6.9% alcohol by volume - nearly twice that of some beer. 

Tweason'ale has a nice flavor, with a hint of strawberries and honey.  It's sweet without being overpowering, and it's still beerlike.  I enjoy it more than Redbridge but less than Bard's.  It's fun & different, like Shakparo Ale (a West African style) from the Sprecher Brewing Company.

The eggs option was a breakfast burrito, and I was able to get it without the tortilla.  Because of my inability to eat onion, I couldn't have the potatoes, so they gave me pretty orange slices.
The owner of Holy Grail happens to be the cousin of one of the members of our party, and he's now looking at gluten-free options :)

Not knowing what the breakfast might include, I had stuffed my purse full of Fruit Roll Ups and Snyder's of Hanover Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks just in case.
We enjoyed the Cincinnati St. Patrick's Day Parade through downtown and headed home until that evening.  I tried Hoosier Momma Bloody Mary Maker, which is gluten free.  Unfortunately most bloody Mary mixes are NOT gluten free - a real shame since there isn't really a need to add gluten.  This is a pretty spicy mix, so I cannot imagine how the Hoosier Momma Spicy Bloody Mary Maker is!  Much to my surprise (because it didn't give me the usual symptoms), it has ginger puree. 
This is the selection Scott picked up for me.  These items are all available at Party Source or from the companies' individual websites.

It was a fun and memorable day, and I'm happy to report that on the same day, my parents' Old Homestead Farm Market had a wonderful third week of business.  My mom has a variety of gluten free goodies to help those in the underserved community and increase awareness.  I'm looking forward to working at it next Saturday!

Happy eating :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

gluten-free in college series

Are you gluten-free and in college?  Or a recent graduate?  Check out the Gluten-Free in College Blog Series, presented by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and sponsored by Kettle Cuisine.  (And yours truly is a contributor.)

Check it out.  There's good stuff for those with a gluten intolerance as well as for parents.

Happy eating :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

be happy bars

Tonight following a meeting at Coffee Emporium with the Mayor's Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet (YPKC) Health & Environment Committee Subcommittee on Healthcare Access & Obesity, I needed a snack. It was one of those difficult to eat enough days already. As I was perusing their menu - Coffee Emporium has some salads that sound delectable - I noticed this gluten free snack bar sitting on the counter by the register.

Made by the local company Be Happy, Be Healthy, it hit the spot. The agave nectar seems to hold it all in place for the most part. Like many snack bars, it's a bit crumbly but worth it. The sesame & sunflower seeds give a nice crunch, and the raisins and cranberries have the sugar my body craved. I didn't really notice the coconut but might when I buy one again - which will be soon :)

Happy eating!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

gluten free apps & ideas

My Blackberry was a nightmare.  It was lovely in midnight purple, but the battery life was unpredictable - to the point that it died as my boyfriend was having outpatient surgery.  For Valentine's Day last month, he bought me an iPhone.  I've had a blast finding apps for it and being my nerdy self by doing things like reading how to optimize your smart phone home screen. (For one, it suggests naming folders verbs instead of categories.)  If you're gluten free and don't have an iPhone, you might want to consider switching when you get a chance. 

Today I came across Dish Freely after reading an article on Mashable.  The app just came out on February 22, and it's in the infancy stage.  For example, there's nothing listed for my area - yet.

If you like Urbanspoon -- I love their food slot machine -- then check out Find Me Gluten Free, which is free. Gluten Free Registry is similar and is $1.99.  iCanEat OnTheGo has fast food options if you also have one or more dietary needs with gluten, wheat, eggs, fish, milk, peanuts, treenuts, and soy.  Each is free and uses your location (but there is another iCanEat app for $2.99 that adds corn to options).  Is That Gluten Free? Eating Out is similar but only deals with gluten and is $3.99.

I've read good reviews for Is That Gluten Free?  My boyfriend added it to his phone, but I've never used it much.  Plus it's $7.99.  Gluten free food is expensive enough. However, it's updated frequently and verified.

Do you travel?  Check out Gluten Free Restaurant Cards from Pepper Stuff and CeliacTravel.com.  (Also free!)

Interested in gluten free magazine apps?  Delight Gluten-Free & Easy Eats each have a free app.

My biggest challenge:  I have a fast metabolism.  Annoyingly fast.  Despite eating four meals a day, I have a really hard time maintaining my weight.  Since January, I've lost 8-9 pounds completely on accident.  I've come to the conclusion that my diet just isn't working.  To combat this, I recently added a calorie counting app.  I'm aiming to get 2,500-3,000 calories a day, but it's very difficult when you cannot eat regular bread and don't enjoy gluten free versions on a daily basis.  I'm basically eating 2 dinners each night.

My second biggest challenge: recipes for all those meals!!  My boyfriend (who is a little bit picky) doesn't generally suggest meals.  Tired from work and needing to tackle assignments for my anatomy & physiology class, I tend to let myself get frustrated.  I like my Betty Crocker, Rachael Ray, and other cookbooks - my favorites have pictures that tantalize the tastebuds - but most I find for gluten free focus on baked goods.  I don't want cake - I want something hearty!  Gluten Free in the Kitchen is a promising recipe app with photos for $1.99, and I just bought Elizabeth Hasselbeck's cookbook Deliciously G-Free: Food So Flavorful They'll Never Believe It's Gluten Free.  (It should arrive on Monday, and I'll be sure to review it.) 

Big Oven is helpful for recipe ideas, but I'm trying to get myself on track with menu planning.  Unfortunately, that tends to require a larger stockpile than I have, more time than I'm generally willing to give, and freezer space.  The boyfriend and I plan to househunt this summer, and he's promised that the first addition to our place will be a chest freezer, the upright kind so I don't accidentally fall in head-first :)

Happy eating!!

 My budding cookbook collection