Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Website! Gluten Freedom

I hope you'll check out my new website, Gluten Freedom. It's got recipes, restaurant and product reviews, as well as gluten-free advice. Thanks for all of your support!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Whole Foods Gluten Free Pie Crust: Two Ways

This weekend I created two meals using Whole Foods' Gluten Free Bakehouse pie crusts. I had not yet used this product and it did not disappoint. We’ll be eating the leftovers tonight!

Both of these recipes are two of my favorite meals from my pre-celiac days and they are naturally gluten free, except for the pie crust. The Whole Foods crust worked perfectly with both meals and my non-celiac friends couldn’t tell the difference.

Tomato Pie: This pie is perfect for Atlanta right now, since you can get gorgeous tomatoes at your local farmers’ market. You should not make this pie unless you have great tomatoes…grocery store tomatoes will make for a mediocre pie. This meal is a family favorite from growing up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. As you’ll see, this is an incredibly simple, yet delicious recipe.


- Cook GF pie crust at 350 for 15 minutes and let cool
- Peel four large tomatoes and cut into thick slices (have extra tomatoes in case you need more)
- Put first layer in cooled pie crust (use small pieces of tomatoes to fill in gaps), and sprinkle with chives, basil, salt and pepper
- Repeat for second layer
- Mix one cup of Hellman’s mayo and one cup of shredded cheddar cheese and spread over top of tomatoes
- Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes (the mayo/cheese layer of the pie will start to brown)

Quiche: A great meal for Sunday brunch entertaining, I made the quiche in the morning and then reheated it for about ten minutes once our guests arrived. I served it with a simple mixed green salad and strawberries. Nothing too complicated, but looked pretty on the plate.


- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook 4 oz. of Hormel bacon , cut into ½ inch pieces. Remove from heat and drain grease.
- Glaze pie crust with egg yolk.
- Stir together 4 lightly beaten eggs, 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 cup cheese. Add ½ t. salt and ¼ t. pepper.
- Add bacon to mixture and pour into pie crust.
- Cook for 35 minutes, or until the top starts to brown.

Notes about the crust: The crust tasted great and very much like pie crust, but it did seem a little salty to me. I have not yet used this crust to make a sweet pie so I’m not sure what it will taste like with something sweet baked in it. Also, the edge of the crust did not ‘brown’ as much as I would like (even when basting it with egg yolk) so I might adjust the temperature a little bit in the future. Two pie crusts come in a package and the sell for around $5.99. I think this is a very reasonable price. The crusts keep in your freezer indefinitely, but you want the crust to get to room temperature before you start baking. The crust also reheats well when eating leftovers.

Thank you Whole Foods for making a pie crust to help us GF eaters make yummy, quick and savory meals!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Washington Post Article About Celiac

Celiac Disease is getting more and more publicity, which is great because I believe it will help get more people diagnosed. Today's Washington Post featured an article about Celiac.

Check it out! 'No Wheat, No Rye, No Barley: No Problem!

Things I Love: Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats

I love oats and Bob’s Red Mill now produces oats that are certified gluten free. (Make sure you purchase the GF oats…it’s clearly labeled on the bag.)

What I use them for:
- Making homemade granola (recipe still to come…mines not as good as my mother-in-laws)
- Making Monster Cookies
- To add to a topping for a fruit cobbler

- A hearty breakfast in the winter

Why I love it: While oats have been controversial in the past in regard to their gluten content, Bob’s are certified and good to go. Oats were one of the foods I missed the most when first diagnosed and now I don’t have to miss out on them anymore. When following a recipe using oats, you don’t have to change it at all. They cook the same as any other oats.

- More expensive than non-certified gluten free oats, but unfortunately that’s not unusual in the GF world.
- Sometimes can be difficult to find in stores. Good news! Kroger on Howell Mill Road carries them as does the Buckhead Whole Foods.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gluten Free Meals From non-GF Bloggers

More and more people are making gluten free meals! Check out this blogger and the gluten free summer dinner party she created. (Just skip the bread!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No More Bodo's: Gluten Free Trips to Charlottesville, VA

David and I’ve gotten to partake in some great trips together this summer and shared many delicious meals. Once David finished the Bar in July, we decided to meet up for a few days in Charlottesville, Virginia. Both graduates of UVA, David and I love Charlottesville. For those of you that have been to Charlottesville, unfortunately many of the places we loved so much in college are based around bread…Bel Air sandwiches, Bodos’ bagels, and Take it Away bread ends with house dressing are just a few of the places I can no longer go…well, I still go there and just watch David eat our old favorites!

Needless to say, we’ve had to explore new options when we go to Charlottesville now. While it was tricky at first, we’ve found some yummy, gluten free alternatives and rediscovered old places with our new gluten free perspective. Sadly, I don’t think Bodo’s will ever be gluten free!

So I arrived in Charlottesville, eager to meet up with David who is coming from Roanoke where he took the Bar. For dinner that night, we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants from our college days, Duner's Restaurant. Located on Route 250, five miles west of Charlottesville, Duner’s is small and does not take reservations, but it is totally worth the potential wait.

I was amazed at what a large menu they had and the wait staff was extremely friendly and encouraged me to decide what I wanted to order. I made my selections and the waitress told me that the chef would definitely be able to produce gluten free versions of my choices. Not only did she ensure that my meal would be gluten free, but she also said they could make David’s gluten free as well. For those gluten free eaters out there you know what a treat it is to be able to eat off of someone else’s plate at a restaurant!

The meal was absolutely delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed everything I ordered as well as David’s! We shared grilled sea scallops for our appetizer that were prepared with a summer squash salsa on top. For my main course I chose rack of lamb with sun dried tomato pesto. The menu listed the rack of lamb as ‘parmesan crusted’ so the chef just left off the crust and sprinkled some parmesan on top. It was perfectly prepared and the sun dried tomato pesto went perfectly with the lamb. David ordered the grilled ribeye steak and it too was perfectly flavored. The chef put the sauce for the ribeye (which was not gluten free) on the side for him so I could try it. I personally think I out ordered David but both meals were unique, flavor and delicious! The wait staff was very knowledgeable about gluten and definitely willing to accommodate their gluten free customer.

The next morning David and I ventured out for our morning coffee. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease, I’ve discovered a Charlottesville bakery called Baker's Palate that makes gluten free muffins. My personal favorite are their pumpkin muffins, but they also make banana muffins. Located close to the Downtown Mall, we stopped in to stock up. They keep their gluten free muffins in the freezer, so they’re not freshly baked each day but they’re still delicious. I would suggest heating them up before you dive in. The owner pointed out to me that she makes the gluten free pumpkin muffins with raisins. Note: if you are ever at Baker’s Palate and they serve you a pumpkin muffin without raisins, it’s NOT gluten free. Just a heads up!

Baker’s Palate also sells their gluten free muffins at Java Java coffee shop on the Downtown Mall (421 E. Main St.), but sometimes they’re sold out and they never have more than a few. In the past I’ve gotten a bunch of muffins at Baker’s Palate and stuck them in the freezer. They freeze really well; just reheat them in the oven.

As any good vacation goes, by the time you finish coffee and breakfast, you’re thinking about your next meal. Lunch is tough in Charlottesville with no more Bel Air or Take it Away, but we’ve discovered (thanks to Gluten Free Bird), The Flat Creperie on the Downtown Mall. At The Flat you can order buckwheat crepes that are gluten free. They serve both sweet and savory crepes at this crepe stand.

While delicious and filling, The Flat is not a fine dining experience. It’s often very busy and the only potential seating can be found on benches outside. Being that there are cramped quarters in the kitchen, I do worry about contamination but they wipe down the crepe makers before they make a buckwheat crepe and all of their ingredients you can get inside the crepes are gluten free. I’m very sensitive to gluten, but in the three times I’ve eaten at the Flat, I’ve never gotten sick. My personal favorite is a buckwheat crepe with chicken, spinach, cheddar and tomatoes. Yummy! Once I get my crepe I like to take my food and sit on the Downtown Mall. The Flat tends to be quite hot a crowded in their front yard eating area.

Now I’ve saved the best news for last about our trip to Charlottesville. Arch's, the popular frozen yogurt spot, is gluten free!! Hooray! I indulged in this dessert twice while on our three day stay. Sadly, you must stay away from all of the toppings (major cross contamination with all of the serving utensils and open area where the mix ins are located) so you can’t get an Archer. I brought my own M&Ms and homemade granola to add to my peanut butter and chocolate swirl frozen treat.

Another fun afternoon treat in Charlottesville are the many vineyards nearby. Our personal favorite is King Family Vineyards, located off of 250 in Crozet. The grounds are beautiful and the UVA polo team plays on the fields on the property. There is plenty of seating outside and they don’t mind at all if you bring your own food. The vineyard also sells cheeses on the premises but you’ll want to bring your own gluten free crackers.

So even though I’ll no longer have a Zazu’s wrap or a Bel Air picnic at Beaver Creek, David and I have found many gluten free alternatives in Charlottesville as we stayed well fed during our Charlottesville visit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gluten Free in DC Heads South

This summer has been a time of change and transition for David and me. In May David completed law school and in June I finished up teaching for the summer. While David buckled down to study for the Bar, I prepared for our move to Atlanta. Yes, that’s right. We’re heading south! We’re moving to Georgia for a year and then the plan is that we’ll be back in DC in September 2010.

I moved our stuff to Atlanta in mid-July while David took the Virginia Bar. I flew back up to DC after the Bar and we’ve had some great mini-trips with lots of delicious food between then and now. I’ll be blogging about some of these feasts throughout Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia soon.

My plan for the next 12 months is to continue updating on Gluten Free in DC as both of our families and many friends are still in the Washington area so we’ll be making trips back to the District and the Commonwealth of Virginia throughout the year.

While in Atlanta I’ll also be blogging at a new address:

Please check out the new blog and pass it along to friends that in the Atlanta area.
Thanks for continuing to follow Gluten Free in DC!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pete's APizza in DC Offers GF crust

On Sunday night, David and I had dinner with our friends, Chris and Molly at their DC home. Molly and Chris are always eager to try new gluten free options and they had discovered that Pete's New Haven Style Apizza (located near the Columbia Heights metro) offers a gluten free crust.

When we called to ask about the preparation of the crust and pizza, they were very knowledgeable about contamination, telling us that the pizza crust is cooked halfway in a separate oven and then when a GF crust is ordered, they put it in the oven with the other pizzas, but on a special baking stone for just GF orders. (It always makes me feel better and more confident in the food when the manager clearly understands the need to be cautious in preparing the food, not just the ingredients.)

The pizza was delivered to Molly and Chris' house and we thoroughly enjoyed the crispy crust. Pete's gluten free crust is a thinner, crispier crust with a great crunch. The only problem is there are so many topping options to choose. The only toppings that contain gluten are the fried eggplant and meatballs, but the rest are gluten free friendly. David and I shared the Nighthawk pizza which is topped with basil pesto, grilled chicken, wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and mozzarella. Delicious! I look forward to trying the New Haven Green (artichoke hearts, oven dried tomatoes, sauteed spinach and olives) next time!

Pete's New Haven APizza

1400 Irving Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-332-PETE (7383)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Cooking with Summer Squash

One of my favorite summer foods is squash. You can find squash easily and in great quantities during Washington, D.C. summers. Last summer I shared a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with my sister-in-law, Alden, and we were blessed with all of the squash and zucchini we could imagine.

If you love fresh vegetables and fruit, a CSA is a great idea for the summer. You get a delivery each week from the same farm of whatever vegetables are growing on that farm at that moment. It forced me to cook and experiment with unfamiliar produce such as bok choy but I also learned to make my own pesto (due to the unlimited basil we received for a few weeks) and gluten free zucchini bread. I would recommend sharing a CSA with a good friend because then you don't feel as if you're wasting food when you're out of town on vacation and it's a fun excuse to cook together!

When joining a CSA or going to a local farmer's market, you're guaranteed to encounter plenty of squash. There are many ways to cook squash but today I wanted to share two delicious squash dishes that are family favorites. Both of these dishes are great for entertaining because they don't require much hands on attention once the cooking process begins.

Simple Roasted Summer Squash: This dish is very simple, easy and flavorful and you can make it in small or large quantities (sometimes a CSA will only give you one piece of squash which can be difficult to find a recipe and use for just one).

Summer squash, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
Onion, sliced
Olive oil
parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Slice squash into 1/2 inch round pieces. (If it's a larger squash/zucchini, I then cut the rounds in half.)
3. Slice up an onion.
4. Place onion and squash on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on top. Mix up onions and squash in olive oil. Lay onions and squash flat on cookie sheet.
5. Cook for 15 minutes then using a spatula, flip onions and squash and cook for another 15 minutes.
6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for another 2 minutes.
(Note: I like the squash to be nice a browned before taking them out of the oven, but they also taste good when not browned.)

Dot's Squash Casserole: This recipe is my grandmother, Dot's, old recipe. My mom made it last week and I'm going to make it today using squash from my in-law's garden in Linden, VA that is overflowing with summer vegetables right now!

3 pounds summer squash, chunked
3 medium onions, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
(the original recipe also calls for crumbled crackers on top but we just skip that step now to make it GF! I think it tastes better without it anyways)

1. Cook squash & onions with water, sugar, salt and pepper until mashable (about 45 minutes).
2. Beat two eggs lightly.
3. Add milk to eggs and mix well with squash. Add butter and mix.
4. Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes.
This recipe freezes well also!

Enjoy the abundance of squash during the last month of summer! Feel free to add your own squash recipes.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cherry Blossom Cakes

This cake maker was featured yesterday in Daily Candy and in May's Gluten Free Examiner. The cakes look yummy and they got rave reviews from non-gluten free eaters as well! I haven't yet tried one of these cakes but hope to soon. I'm always thrilled to see more gluten free options in the DC area.

(Photo from DC Gluten Free Examiner, May 2009)

Cherry Blossom Cakes

Thursday, July 9, 2009 A new way to shop for Gluten Free Foods is a website that has over 30,000 products and lists their 'gluten free safety status.' The website has four categories to label foods: labeled as gluten free, contains gluten, appears gluten free, and may contain gluten. When you click on a product, it will tell you the status as well as provide you with products that are similar and gluten free. claims to be very up to date on the latest information regarding celiac disease and the gluten free diet.

There is a monthly subscription fee to and I haven't decided yet if I want to pay for the subscription, but the website is definitely worth checking out. They let you access some of the website without paying the fee so you can get an idea of what it's all about.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Farm Table Celebration at Evening Star

When David graduated from law school this spring, we wanted to find a place to celebrate with our families and share a delicious meal together. The owners of Evening Star in Del Ray (one of our favorite restaurants) also own a wine shop next door, called Planet Wine. This shop is beautiful, with dark wood shelves and wines displayed throughout and covering the walls. The owners have put a huge table in Planet Wine, naming it Farm Table. You can reserve the Farm Table for a night and get a special meal created by Evening Star chef, Will Artley, composed of seasonally fresh and local food.

David and I decided to see if we could get a gluten free Farm Table meal for our family during his graduation weekend. I contacted Clare Parker, who organizes reservations for Farm Table and she assured us that Will would be happy to create a gluten free meal for our law school celebration. Clare was super friendly and helpful throughout the reservation and menu planning process.

On Saturday, May 16th we arrived at Planet Wine with parents, brothers, sisters and spouses, and shared an absolutely delicious meal. Even though the meal was over a month ago, I remember it so well. The flavors came together perfectly and we had a great evening of food and togetherness. I have to tell you about the food itself, but just writing about it, will not sufficiently explain just how good it was.

We started with champagne and a canapé of Virginia Oysters on the half shell and beef tartare with spicy jicama and crispy yucca. I must admit that I was a little nervous about beef tartare but it was delicious and the different flavors and textures were perfect. The jicama and yucca acted like a crisp cracker that held the beef tartare.

After the canapé, we sat down and Chef Will Artley came out to chat with us and introduce the meal to us. The first course was a bibb salad with grilled asparagus, caramelized shallots and pancetta deviled egg. Wow! The deviled egg flavor was strong but went perfectly when combined with the asparagus.

For the main course, diners had the two options: grilled sea scallops with spring succotash and carrot emulsion or forever braised lamb shanks with fava bean ristotto. mushrooms and green peppercorn sauce. I went with the lamb shanks and it was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Will did a nice job of providing two very different options, so that everyone could find something they would enjoy.

The best part of the meal was dessert, which was of course gluten free! The baker at Buzz made strawberry rhubarb shortcake with vanilla ice cream. What a great finish to the meal!

So now that David’s buried in his study for the Bar Exam, I can’t help but think back to what a fun night we had at Farm Table. A meal made of fresh, delicious, gluten free food and our families together in one place. I love how food brings people together and Farm Table provided the perfect back drop for an evening of celebration.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thai Shirlington Offers Many GF Options

Thai Shirlington is another wonderful discovery in the gluten free dining world! The other night I decided to call the restaurant and see if they were familiar with a gluten free diet. Tthe manager I spoke with on the phone told me that they had many gluten free diners and she assured me that they could accommodate my diet.

Thrilled by this news, my friends and I went to Thai Shirlington that evening and the manager was so helpful. She took me through every item on the menu and told me what I could and couldn't have. This was so helpful and it allowed me to know what all of my options were from the beginning. I went with the Panang Perfect and it was delicious as well as naturally gluten free. This meal comes with rice, but their rice noodles are also gluten free. She also knew that soy sauce has gluten in it. Some of the other gluten free items on the menu that I'm eager to try are the green curry chicken and chicken pad thai.

If you go to Thai Shirlington, and I encourage you to do so, just ask for the manager to help you through the menu. They're extremely friendly and the manager assured me that once the waiter took my order, she would follow up with the kitchen.

My friends have gone to many restaurants with me since I started my gluten free life, and one of my friends who was at dinner with me commented that this was one of the best and most helpful restaurants she'd been to with me and she's right! I highly recommend Thai Shirlington if you're in the mood for yummy (and reliably gluten free) Thai food at a very reasonable price!

Thai Shirlington Website

THAI in Shirlington
4029 Campbell Ave
Arlington, VA 22206


Monday, May 11, 2009

Making Trash with Gluten Free Chex

Good news! Rice Chex are now officially gluten free, as General Mills has replaced barley malt with molasses in the recipe. Chex also mentions on their website that they actively prevent cross contamination and have tested their Rice Chex for gluten. Thank you, General Mills!

While it’s always nice to have yet another cereal option, I’m even more excited about the fact that I can make one of my favorite and easy to makesweet snacks: Trash.

Yes, the name is a bit odd, but it’s oh so good! You may remember this chocolate, peanut butter, crunchy treat from your childhood, but if you’re not familiar with this simple recipe, you should definitely try it.

Recipe for Trash:

1 stick butter
12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter
9 c. Gluten Free Rice Chex
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 white kitchen trash bag (new & clean)

Melt butter, chocolate chips and peanut butter in 3 quart saucepan. Pour cereal into a large bowl. Pour chocolate mixture slowly over cereal. Gently fold mixture over until all the cereal is covered.

In a medium size trash bag pour 1/2 of the powdered sugar. Put cereal mixture on it and pour in the rest of the powdered sugar. Tie top of bag securely and gently shake bag until each cereal is covered with powdered sugar and chocolate. After cooling, place in an airtight container. Will keep for several weeks.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Local Treat: The Dairy Godmother

Today I was craving a delicious frozen treat and I remembered a cute and yummy frozen custard shop in Del Ray called the Dairy Godmother. Since I hadn’t been to the Dairy Godmother since I was diagnosed with celiac, I wasn’t sure exactly what ingredients go into the custard so I decided to email them directly. Within 15 minutes, I had a response from the Dairy Godmother and it was great news!

Here’s the email I received directly from Liz, the owner of the Dairy Godmother:

The custard and sorbets ARE gluten-free.We often have gluten-free cookies such as macaroons and marshmallows that we make.We usually have gluten-free cones as well.

My kids could not have dairy or gluten when they were small so I am very conscious of having something for everyone.

I have quite a few requests for gluten free items. Sometimes the flavor of the day has cake or something with gluten in it so the customer should ask if it has gluten but the gluten is not hidden. It will say "with vanilla wafers" so that people who are used to checking will not be surprised.

Thanks a bunch for asking, Liz

I always love such a confident and thoughtful response! Needless to say I went to the Dairy Godmother last night and it was just as delicious as I remember from my pre-celiac days. I kept it simple, ordering just the chocolate and I brought my own homemade gluten free granola as my topping. While they have M&Ms as a topping I think I’ll just bring my own, out of fear of cross contamination with other toppings. The marshmallows and macaroons looked yummy so I’ll have to go back and try them!

Every day The Dairy Godmother serves chocolate and vanilla custard, but you can check out their adorable website for the flavor of the day. The Dairy Godmother is a great local spot with lots of personality. When you’re looking for a summer treat, The Dairy Godmother is the perfect stop, regardless of whether or not you’re gluten free!

The Dairy Godmother
2310 Mount Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Founding Farmers: Bringing local food to the DC restaurant scene

Having only been open for the past four months, Founding Farmers is already getting a lot of attention from DC diners. I read and heard a lot about Founding Farmers, which boasts its connection to the farmers that harvest the restaurant’s food as well as being a LEED Certified Green Restaurant. When I first learned about Founding Farmers, I knew I wanted to check it out and learn more about their goals as well as sample their potentially celiac-friendly food.

I love the idea of knowing where my food comes from and how an entrée literally gets ‘from farm to table.’ I’m definitely one of those suckers for books like Omnivore’s Dilemma (Michael Pollan) and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) and my dream is to start a restaurant/gluten free bakery in Charlottesville or Linden, VA that only uses local produce and meat. So Founding Farmers is the fancy-urbanite version of my dream life.

My love for things natural and local definitely became much more pronounced after my celiac diagnosis because I immediately began to think more about:

1. What was in my food
2. Where my food came from
3. The flavors of the food I could eat

Upon learning about Founding Farmers, my hope was that they would be able and willing to accommodate my gluten free diet. I figured anyone who cares so much about ingredients and farms should be willing to make adjustments for those with allergies and be knowledgeable about the ingredients in their dishes. Fortunately, my assumption was correct!

David called early in the week to make reservations for Friday night. They only offered 5:30 and 9:00 reservations so we decided just to go without reservations and we were seated in under 30 minutes. We had a drink at the bar while we waited and it was very crowded and a bit difficult to get a drink, but not obnoxiously crowded and everyone was friendly so I didn’t mind too much. All of FF’s wines are organic and they have a lot of fun drinks. They even serve absinthe…I didn’t know if that was gluten free or not. An added bonus about Founding Farmers is that it was easy to find street parking, which is not always the case when going to DC restaurants.

Despite it being a busy Friday night, the wait staff was extremely friendly and chatty. I definitely felt good about their knowledge of gluten as well as their understanding of what was in the food. For example, the waiter immediately knew that I could not have the tomato soup. Our waiter(s) encouraged me to choose what I wanted and they would work hard to make changes to it so that it could be gluten free. I always love that response!

For a fancy restaurant, the menu is quite large and there are overwhelmingly, many options from which to choose. The menu also changes frequently so you’ll just have to communicate with the waiter about your options, but I can guarantee you there will be plenty of choices for entrees. (Appetizers were a bit more limited.) I selected the lemon meuniere diver scallops with pumpkin risotto for my dinner and I was not disappointed. The only change the chef had to make was not to use flour when searing the scallops. The sauce was naturally GF as was the risotto! The sauce was full of flavor and it mixed perfectly with the risotto. I ate every bite of my dish but did not feel too full when I finished.

I strongly recommend Founding Farmers as the staff was extremely friendly and willing to provide me with the food I wanted to eat. We had multiple waiters over the course of the evening but they all knew my dietary needs and didn’t seem to mind, despite it being a busy night. Some people have criticized the menu being too big, but I think a lengthy menu is a good thing for gluten free diners because it gives us more options!

And of course the "wanna be, organic farmer/baker" in me loves the idea of natural and simple foods that haven’t traveled across the globe to get to my plate.
Enjoy Founding Farmers for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Founding Farmers:

1924 Pennsylvania Ave, NW (IMF HQ2)
Washington DC 20006
202.822.TRUE (8783)

Friday, March 6, 2009

It's not about what I can't have...

When people first learn about the restrictive diet I must follow due to my celiac diagnosis, they often give one of the following responses: “That’s awful!” or “I can’t think of anything worse!” Even though the diet can be tricky, there are many worse diagnoses than celiac disease and I feel blessed to have my health back (most of the time) and a disease that I can control simply by my diet.

Instead of spending time thinking about the foods that I can no longer eat, I try to embrace the delicious items that I can enjoy that make me feel good!

My diagnosis has made me appreciate food more than I ever did, particularly now that I don’t live in fear of being sick every time I eat. David and I love being in the kitchen and we definitely keep a stocked pantry of naturally gluten free foods. I’m now a firm believer in getting quality foods and ingredients that will provide the most flavor.

Here are some of my favorite foods to have in the house:

Blanchard’s Coffee: There’s nothing I enjoy more than a lazy morning with a good cup(s) of coffee. I’ve definitely become a coffee snob and I love freshly roasted coffee. My favorite coffee brand is Blanchard’s Coffee. They’re located in Richmond, VA and they freshly roast all of their coffee. You can order their very reasonably priced coffee online or if you’re lucky enough to live in Richmond, they sell it in Ukrop’s. The flavor and aroma of Blanchard’s coffee puts Starbuck’s to shame! The Ethiopian Yergacheffe is my personal favorite.

Check out the Blanchard’s Coffee website: Blanchard's Coffee

Blueberries: In the final stretch of winter, I long for the summer farmer’s markets and the fresh fruits and vegetables to be purchased! In the cold winter months, I’m still happy to splurge on a container of blueberries at the grocery store. While the flavor is not quite the same as local produce, I love any snack or meal with blueberries. Yogurt (I use Stonyfield Farms brand) and blueberries topped with granola is a favorite snack, but my all time favorite food with blueberries are pancakes.

I’m inspired to write today because of the blueberry pancakes David made this morning using Pamela’s Baking Mix. The pancakes are delicious and a perfect way to spend a morning on spring break! David has mastered the art of gluten free pancake making and today he made waffles for the first time as well. Of course we enjoyed Blanchard’s Coffee with the pancakes! (If we don’t have blueberries in the house when making pancakes, David adds bananas and chocolate chips to the mix.)

Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts: I love peanuts and I don’t know what I would do if peanuts weren’t gluten free! Aunt Ruby’s peanuts are crunchy, salty and very flavorful. This North Carolina company sells peanuts that are packed with yumminess! Their prices are very reasonable and you can freeze them so they last for a long time if you buy in bulk for the best prices. The Country Style peanuts are a staple cocktail hour snack for us.

Aunt Ruby’s: Aunt Ruby's Peanuts

Feel free to share some of the many foods you enjoy! Remember, it’s not about what we can’t have; it’s about embracing all of the delicious food we can eat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Traveling? Your guide to gluten free blogs!

I must give my husband, David, credit for this discovery. If you click on the following link, it will show you a map that's marked with the location of gluten free blogs throughout the country. When you click on the link below, it will look like it's just a blank map, but if you click on the map, then thumbtacks will provide you with the locations and you can click on the individual thumbtacks for details.

This is so useful if you're planning on traveling and want to find restaurants, stores, or resources that are accommodating for the gluten free diet. Since I'm going to Atlanta next week, I just found multiple Atlanta gluten free blogs that will help me make my dinner plans!

Gluten Free Blogs across the country

Check it out and let me know what you find!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gluten Free Cupcakes in Shirlington

Great news! The bakery, CakeLove, is now offering gluten free cupcakes at their Shirlington location. This fancy bakery sells four varieties of gluten free cupcakes (chocolate or yellow cake and vanilla or chocolate icing). These cupcakes taste different from Buzz cupcakes as the icing is a bit denser and the texture of the cake itself is different. The cupcakes are also bigger than Buzz, which I like! That being said, I enjoy both stores’ baked goods so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the other.

The people that work at CakeLove also know to put the GF cupcakes in a separate container if you order them with glutinous cupcakes so they are aware of contamination.

Having now sampled all of the flavor varieties at CakeLove, my preference is the chocolate cake with vanilla icing. You should refrigerate the cupcakes until you eat them. I like to take thecupcakes out of the fridge in advance or put it in the microwave for a few seconds. (Don’t microwave for too long because the icing will melt!)

Individual cupcakes cost $3.50 each. You may also order two layer gluten free cakes, but they ask for four days notice. Enjoy!

Here’s what they say on the CakeLove website about gluten free baking:

"Baking without wheat flour, the very foundation of baking, was a real challenge. My goal was to create not just gluten-free* sweets, but gluten-free sweets that tasted just as good as any other CakeLove product. Happily, during the process I produced great gluten-free cakes and pastries, and I became a better baker." - Mary

About Gluten-Free products: Celiac disease, also known as gluten allergy, is a genetic disorder that causes gas and severe pain in the stomach and intestines. Those affected are not able to break down gluten, a protein that's in wheat flour, oats, and barley. The only treatment for this disorder is to totally avoid foods with gluten. Our regular products are made with wheat flour and have gluten. On our Green Label we use our own custom mix of starches and non-gluten flours. Recipes may contain: potato starch, brown rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, rice flour, sweet rice flour or tapioca flour.

Cake Love:
4150 Campbell Ave. Suite 105
(formerly South 28th St.)*
Arlington, Virginia 22206

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Z Pizza in Alexandria Goes Gluten Free

Great news! Z Pizza now has a gluten free pie crust. The crust is light and delicious. While I love the Rustico crust as well, Z Pizza's seems to be more of a rice flour as opposed to the chickpea flour crust at Rustico. The Z Pizza crust is thinner and lighter in texture.

Z Pizza is not serving gluten free crusts at all of their locations yet, but their Alexandria franchise on Duke Street now has it. David and I were particularly excited about this new food option because Z Pizza offers takeout and my family loves Z Pizza. When people invite us over for dinner, I often feel like I don't have good options to tell them of things they can feed me, so Z Pizza is a perfect option, particularly for friends who don't cook much.

We ordered Z Pizza last week and asked all of the usual 'gluten free questions' of the manager. They make and bake their gluten free crusts in a separate part of the store AND they use separate toppings to put on the pizzas. I didn't inquire as to whether all of the topping options are gluten free, so I kept it simple and ordered a pizza with veggies (the California pizza). Z Pizza uses fresh ingredients, many of which are organic. The pizza was flavorful, delicious and I didn't get sick! The pizza also reheated well the next day so I enjoyed it for lunch too.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try any of the other toppings offered at Z Pizza.

Z Pizza
3217 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Honey Mustard Chicken: A simple winter dish

If you’ve ever eaten at my house or my mother’s, you’ve probably enjoyed honey mustard chicken. This dish is so easy and naturally gluten free! It’s a perfect meal for a winter evening, and takes very little prep time. I often serve this when entertaining because once you get it in the oven, there’s very little work to be done.

2-6 Boneless chicken breasts (depending on how many people you’re hosting)
½ stick butter
¼ cup honey
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ -1 teaspoon curry powder

Preheat oven to 325.
Melt butter over low heat. Remove from burner.
While melted butter is still warm, stir in honey until it mixes with butter. Repeat with mustard. Stir in curry powder.
Place chicken breasts in a Pyrex dish. Pour mixture over chicken. Put in oven and let cook (uncovered) for 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes. If mixture gets a little sticky, just add some water.
Remove from oven and serve with rice. Use the sauce from the dish on the rice as well. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Las Canteras: Peruvian Dining in Adams Morgan

In the mood for unique and flavorful food? Check out Adams Morgan’s Las Canteras, a restaurant serving Peruvian cuisine. I went to Las Canteras for my friend, Phil’s, birthday a couple of months ago and had a delicious and gluten free meal, with no trace of contamination.

Phil goes to school with David so I knew that I would not know many of the people attending the dinner. As you know, anytime a large group of people goes out to dinner, particularly at an unfamiliar restaurant, a celiacs’ heart starts to race. All of the fears that accompany going out to eat are heightened: you don’t want to make a scene, but you also don’t want to be the weirdo that doesn’t eat anything either! I sometimes find myself getting stressed out even before the actual dinner. I continue to remind myself, however, that these feelings of discomfort are good, as it forces me to be assertive and try out new places.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous about this restaurant while simultaneously meeting some of these people for the first time. When I got to Las Canteras, a quaint restaurant that’s nearly hidden on 18th Street, I saw on the menu some dishes that could potentially work. While the waiter did not totally understand what I needed, he did not hesitate to get the manager who went through items of interest on the menu with me.

Many of the dishes at Las Canteras have rice and potatoes as the starch so that was comforting. Also, I found that the descriptions of the entrees on the actual menu were very informative. For example, one of the dishes said that beer was in the sauce so I knew immediately that I couldn’t have that. Ultimately I chose between the following three dishes:

Filet Mignion: A class cut of tender beef made with a Peruvian flair. Served with quinoa saute with shallots and grilled asparagus
Quinotto: A risotto-style dish made with quinoa, mushrooms and grated cheese. Served with or without shrimp.
Seco de Carne: Beef stew slow-cooked in a sauce of yellow pepper, paprika, onion and cilantro. Served with garlic rice and beans

I went with the Seco de Carne and I was not disappointed. The meat was so tender and all of the spices mixed perfectly with the dish. The beans and rice were flavorful and added texture. Even more importantly, I felt great after the meal and the following day. Always a victory! Other people ordered the same dish as I did and mine did not have to be modified at all in order to be gluten free. I always love it when people want the same dish I do. It makes me feel like I’m not missing out on something better!

I would recommend Las Canteras if you’re looking for a unique night out in the city. I’m eager to go back to Las Canteras and try the other two dishes that I was eying!

Side note: The wait staff and manager were definitely nice but they did not go out of their way to be overly accommodating and friendly. I’m ok with that though, because the food was delicious and turned out to be gluten free, just like they said it would be.

Las Canteras
2307 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Appetizers, Entrees and More at Carlyle

One of my favorite ‘gluten friendly’ restaurants is Carlyle, located in Shirlington (a neighborhood in Arlington). I’ve always loved the food here and the staff is so helpful in accommodating my needs. The managers are extremely knowledgeable about gluten and where it is found. For example, they know that you can’t have the salmon because it has a soy sauce marinade, which is always a promising sign!

The other night David and I went to Carlyle for a drink and the bartender offered us an appetizer. I told him that unfortunately, I didn’t think there was anything I could eat from the appetizers section of the menu, explaining that I have celiac. He knew exactly what celiac was and got the manager who told me that she could sauté the calamari instead of frying it and that they would also give me a marinara sauce for dipping instead of the salsa it normally comes with which has soy sauce. Hooray! I had just been saying to David that I can never have calamari because it’s always fried. My sautéed calamari was delicious and a great bar snack! The people at Carlyle have always been extremely helpful, but their willingness to create an appetizer for me made my night.

One of my other personal favorites on the Carlyle menu is the roast pork tenderloin. It is the most flavorful pork tenderloin that I’ve ever tasted (well, except when David grills it) and they always cook it perfectly. Unfortunately, the potatoes are not gluten free but the manager always has lots of substitute options for me to choose from and I usually go with the asparagus. Their salads are delicious and I believe the shrimp and grits are also gluten free. Of course you’ll always want to double check with the manager, just in case they’ve changed their menu.

What I love the most about Carlyle is the staff’s willingness to walk through all of the ingredients with you and tell you clearly how they cook everything. I think it’s one of the restaurants that has the most knowledgeable staff so I feel confident going here. No matter how busy they are (and they get very busy), they don’t rush you through your decisions and are always eager to answer questions.

Let me know what dishes you’ve tried at Carlyle! Carlyle is a great restaurant for before or after the movies or before a show at Signature Theater. I just recently saw Les Miserables at Signature with my mom and we ate at Carlyle before the show. And of course, I got the roast pork tenderloin!

Note: Carlyle does not take reservations, but you can call ahead and get on the list in order to lessen your wait time. But of course it's always fun to hang out at the bar too!

4000 28th Street South
Arlington, VA 22206