Monday, September 23, 2013

a little detour

Hi, all!

We finally have a winner for the LUNA Protein giveaway: Distracted Debra.  Woohoo!

I tend to not post that much about my personal life, and I'd much rather be writing about food, but Mom was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on Thursday.  It was a surprise to all of us.  Please keep her in your thoughts & prayers.  On the bright side, I'll have more food in the Columbus area for the next 4-6 weeks.  And the hospital staff is wonderful with Mom's gluten free diet.

Thank you, and happy eating :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

eli's bbq

Hello, gluten-free friendees!

A couple weeks ago, Scott & I tried Eli's BBQ on Eastern Avenue for the first time.  It's a pinkish, unassuming building with a couple white tents off to the left.  The first time you see the tents, at first glance, it almost looks like a family reunion is going on.  It's just so cozy.

You might not know Eli's by name, but if you're in the Cincinnati area, you've probably seen their pig sign.

Inside is a funky, eclectic mix: a record player, alphabetized records, and currently a display of artwork of historical figures that has a very Western feel.
They get out into the city a LOT.  Here's their weekly schedule of appearances:
The menu is written on the wall, and the place is cash or checks only (or Reds tickets) -- no cards!!  Here are close-ups of their menu items, for your viewing pleasure.  
So, if you're gluten free, what can you have?
  • They call the hickory-smoked pulled pork without a bun "pork-with-a-fork".  Cole slaw comes on it free of charge, if you'd like.  
  • The cole slaw, jalapeno cheddar cheese grits, and mashed potatoes -- which are mashed then fried on the grill* -- are the safe side items.  
  • $5 buys a sandwich, $8 buys a sandwich & 2 sides.  
*Nothing gluten-containing is cooked on that grill.  

The BBQ sauce and baked beans are not gluten-free at this time; both have some soy sauce.  A manager informed us that they are working on changing to a wheat-free soy sauce.  (I'll update when I know this has been implemented.)

The drinks available are Mexican Coke (with real sugar), Orange Crush (with real sugar), and Ale 8 One, all in 16-ounce glass bottles.  Diet Coke is in cans.

They're very easy going.  We were told there are customers who bring in drinks, vegetarian pizzas, salads, their own barbecue sauce -- the list goes on!  

When you order, you can choose to sit inside or out.  If you eat in, you're handed a little pig sign stuck inside a glass Coke bottle.
The food was awesome.  Here's my meal: pork-with-a-fork topped with yummy (onion-free) cole slaw, mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese grits, and a Mexican Coke.  Hiding behind my paper is Scott's sandwich-topping cole slaw that he requested on the side.
They're all about eating local.  The restaurant got its start at Findlay Market about 10 years ago.  Now it's really "where the music, the FOOD, and the people simmer together and create a great atmosphere."  In June of this year, Eli's was named to Travel & Leisure's "America's Best New BBQ".

Basically it's our new favorite barbecue joint.  That's saying a lot.  As in, when we have a big catered event, they'll be at the very top of our list.  That yummy.  And I'm hoping that writing this post means we'll go again this week!

Happy eating :)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

original gino's pizza in toledo

My boyfriend is in a National Guard unit based in Perrysburg, Ohio, located just outside Toledo. Earlier this year for his unit's Viale Memorial Ball, I joined him for his drill weekend and found a yummy treat: Original Gino's Pizza. I tried delivery as I prepped for the ball.

It was so tasty, I picked up another from the North Dixie Highway location the next day for the drive back to Cincinnati.

I originally found Gino's via Urbanspoon's handy Gluten-Free Friendly list.  The restaurant has multiple locations in the Toledo area, online ordering, and a smartphone app.  The website doesn't actually make mention of the gluten-free option, but it's there in the Crusts section when you visit the store-specific online menu.  Like many pizza places, the gluten-free crust is only available in one size, large.

The website doesn't actually make mention of the gluten-free option, but it's there in the Crusts section when you visit the store-specific online menu.  A little button pops up asking, "Xtra?" to access additional options: light, extra, xxtra, or side. There is a $2 upcharge for the gluten-free crust.

They also have a handy order tracker so you get a better idea of when to expect it to be delivered: 

After we returned home, I contacted the company to learn more about their dough, their process, & other gluten-free offerings:

Thanks for your email. We have been offering gluten free crusts for years now. We are constantly testing to try to improve the taste, quality and overall presentation of the crust. The crust is a gluten free crust that comes with its own pan. The training of staff on this process is detailed to prevent cross contamination. We use separate utensils when preparing and cutting the pizza. We have different gluten free items at different times. Currently we do have a gluten free cookie that we will be offering. These items do go fast. We expect to have more gluten free products very soon.

This is my first weekend back in the area since the ball, and I'm looking forward to grabbing another :) 

For tipping purposes, you may want to note that $1 of the $3 delivery charge goes to the driver.  

Happy eating! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

celiac awareness day & a luna protein bar giveaway

Happy Celiac Awareness Day!!

Yesterday I received an adorable package of LUNA Protein Bars.

Haven't heard of LUNA Protein? Here is an overview: 
  • A whole nutrition bar for women
  • Less than 200 calories
  • 12 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber
  • Core 4 nutrients: calcium, iron, vitamin D and folic acid
  • Available in five gluten-free flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Chocolate Peanut Butter, & Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
(Photo courtesy of LUNA)

I tried 3: Mint Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, & Chocolate Peanut Butter. They're all cloaked in chocolate like a candy bar. 

Before I'd even finished the Mint Chocolate Chip, I texted my recently-diagnosed gluten-free mom to give her a heads up that she'll want to try these. The flavor is similar to my very favorite Girl Scout cookie. There are teeny chocolate chips in a chocolatey nougat with a hint of peppermint. It's it a little crunch that is satisfying. And it's not grainy!! 

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is very tasty too. I don't know how they make a gluten-free cookie dough that yummy, but I'm sold. It's not very often we get to have cookie dough flavored anything, let alone something that also has good nutritional value. 

I was going to save the Peanut Butter for later but gave in & ate it on a road trip to Toledo. Oops. It's drier than the other two - of course, it's peanut butter - but there is a hint of vanilla & almond that makes it more interesting to my tastebuds than a peanut butter cup. It's a good balance...but my favorite is the mint chocolate, hands-down. 

LUNA was the brainchild of the founders of Clif Bar and Company with a mission focused on "a dedication to quality, community, sustainability and a balanced work place".  

In my pre-gluten-free days, I really liked the convenience and nutrition of a Clif Bar. Since my diagnosis, I've been pretty skeptical of gluten-free protein bars; so often they're grainy and tasteless, and the tasty ones seem to only be available on specialty shops at a premium price. I'm a nursing student on the go. If I had time to track them down, I wouldn't have as much need for them, you know? Fortunately LUNA Protein Bars are available at a number of retailers: Kroger, Target, Walmart, etc. Check out their handy store locator here

So here's the really exiting part: 
LUNA has offered me the chance to run a giveaway!!   

I've chosen to do so using Rafflecopter so it's fair for everyone. What's the prize? A box of LUNA Protein bars in a flavor of your choice!

How to enter:

  1. Click this link to access the widget or scroll down a teeny bit.
  2. Log in with Facebook or your email address. (The winner's info - and only theirs - will be shared with LUNA for shipping purposes.)
  3. Complete the steps of your choice to earn entries!
  4. A winner will be randomly selected at the end of next week & notified via email!
 Good luck, and happy eating!!

Full disclosure: 
The goodies were sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review to help celebrate Celiac Awareness Day. Beyond the samples shown above, I received no compensation of any sort.  The opinions expressed in this post are mine & mine alone. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

celiac awareness day is coming!

Hello, friends!

It's been months.....  I got into nursing school, and summer courses started immediately.  Between classes & working (too much!), I've been running in circles chasing my tail!

But tomorrow (9/13) is Celiac Awareness Day, and exciting things are coming :)

In the meantime, here are some items from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness:
  • They're hosting a webinar on September 18 to discuss the new FDA's gluten-free labeling rule.  I held off making a post on this fantastic news to make sure I knew what it entails.  The NFCA is a great resource for information on the rule.
  • If you Pinterest, there is helpful back to school board here.
Happy eating!!