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Check out the DC Healthy Bites event at Mad Rose Tavern on March 12th at 6 pm. Go to http://www.facebook.com/DCHealthyBites for more info and to get tickets. All proceeds from the event go to fund research for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association. There will be speakers about following a healthy lifestyle and offering nutrition plans. Come enjoy a night of delicious healthy food, speakers and support everyone you know with an autoimmune disease while you're at it! Hopefully, I'll see you there!
I went up to NY to see my parents this past weekend. And as I mentioned their house was flooded in Sandy, so they've been living without a kitchen for the past four months. So I decided to cook them a nice home-cooked meal down here that I could bring up to them. And it included dessert :) My dad loves crumb cake so I was excited to find this mix that I could enjoy as well. It could not have been easier to make, literally just open add butter and water, mix and stick in the oven. One thing I would suggest is that if you're not allergic to dairy you might want to substitute milk for the water. As good as the cake was, it was a little dry. So next time I'd splurge for the milk instead. But definitely a good addition to the pantry. Enjoy!
In the mood for Mexican? Uncle Julio's has four locations here in the DC area. They are in Arlington, Fairfax Corner, Reston Town Center, and Woodbridge. The thing I really liked about this place is that as opposed to the usual heavy feeling Mexican options, Uncle Julio's offers some lighter variations. For instance, I got these amazing fish tacos last night that were actually grilled and stuffed with light fresh veggies and homemade salsa instead of the usual fried variation. I also was able to have a fabulous frozen sangria that had fresh fruit pieces even in the frozen mix. Overall, it was a nice change to be walking out feeling satisfied and without the usual bloated gut feeling I usually get from walking out of a Mexican restaurant.
I was also impressed with the way Uncle Julio's handled my gluten free needs. Despite an overeager and flirtatious waiter (I was with a group of my girlfriends. Picture a late teen to early twenties male waiter who I'll give points to for persistence despite his apparent obliviousness to wedding rings) I will at least have to say he checked everything about my order with the kitchen staff and even sent the manager over to my table who double checked everything. I do have to say I felt quite at ease and comfortable enjoying my meal. So if you're looking to check out a healthy Mexican option, I'd definitely suggest trying Uncle Julio's.
In general, I'm always a fan of Neighborhood Restaurant Group. They're usually quite attentive to the gluten free population's needs. And they have such a variety of great food options. So overall, any of their restaurants are usually a good pick.
For Valentine's Day last night, my husband and I decided to check out Rustico. We had a fabulous dinner and were extremely happy with our choice. For starters, they had a great collection of gluten free beers to choose from. I got a yummy pale ale from Spain called Estrella Damm Daura. Definitely, a good choice. My food choices were excellent as well. For my appetizer I got mussels in a woodchuck cider with blue cheese and bacon. And then for my dinner I ordered the Greek pizza on a chickpea crust. Again, a hit! A delicious olive paste coating on the chick pea crust then layered with a light Greek salad. Overall, it was a wonderful meal and I would recommend Rustico to anyone looking for a great selection of gluten free choices.
I don't know about all of you, but this has always been my favorite time of year. And not because of all the romance and flowers and Cupid stuff. Although, that is nice too of course. But it's always been my favorite time of year because it is the time where my favorite man comes front and center. Yes my friends, there will always be one man who will have my heart. And that man is Russell Stover :) This is the one time of year where it is not frowned upon to sit and stuff your face with tons of chocolate.
So being gluten free how can we still enjoy the free pass for chocolate? What Valentine's candy actually is gluten free?
Dove chocolate- Almost all Dove chocolates are gluten free. Dove is manufactured by Mars Chocolate (the same as M&Ms) and they guarantee that all of their chocolates are gluten free except for their milk chocolate cinnamon graham and their cookies and cream flavor. So you can feel reasonably confident purchasing any Dove chocolate products for Valentine's Day. Of course still check the ingredients just to be sure.
Hershey's Kisses- All of Hershey's kisses are gluten free regardless of the color wrapper. So they're safe for any holiday season. However, not all Hershey's products are safe so make sure you're checking labels. For instance, the Hershey's Hugs which come out around this season are not gluten free. Also only the Hershey's milk chocolate kisses are safe, not the ones with the fillings. So make sure you're checking ingredients if you decide to go rogue.
M&Ms- Like the Dove chocolates, all M&Ms are gluten free except for the pretzel filled ones. However, I recently heard about warnings on the mint and coconut flavored ones that read may contain wheat. So again still check those labels to be safe. But the normal milk chocolate M&Ms are definitely safe. And they still come in those small bags so gluten free children can hand them out in school as well.
Starbursts- Are all gluten free. Safe Choice :)
Sweethearts conversation hearts- As long as you stick with the original Necco brand these cute little hearts with their sweet sayings are safe. Just stay away from the Brach's and Mayfair brands, they are NOT gluten free.
And now for my man, Russell- Russell Stover Inc. produces Russell Stover boxes, Whitmans and Weight Watchers by Whitman's. They report to the best of their knowledge all of their products are gluten free, except for products containing cookies, such as their S'mores or Cookies and Cream flavors. However, there is a catch: "Be aware that products containing wheat are produced on equipment that's also used to make other products. So we can't completely rule out the possibility of cross-contamination, despite efforts to prevent it," Russell Stover says in its statement. So basically, you need to gauge your own sensitivity and buy at your own risk.
Boxes to definitely STAY AWAY FROM:
- Anything by Brach's candy corporation
- Ghirardelli products (They are all made in a factory that produces wheat, so although they do not all contain wheat there is definite cross contamination. Again, depends on your sensitivities)
- Lindt Lindor truffles (All contain barley)
So I hope this helps you satisfy that sweet tooth this year. I know for me, it's just not Valentine's Day without some chocolate.
My friends and I decided to establish a regular Couples' Night every month or so as a New Years resolution to make sure we see each other more often. To make it more fun we decided to make them thematic, tied to different countries to establish the food choices for the night. My husband and I kick-started our events last night by hosting German Night at our house. I have to say it went off quite well. We had some great food choices (mostly all German themed) and just had a good time. I'm going to post some of the German gluten free recipes we came up with. I'm lucky to have some really awesome friends who are doing their best to experiment with gluten free cooking for me as well. I got homemade gluten free sausages from Local Market in Falls Church. My husband grilled them on the barbeque for us and they were delish. And I made a sauerbraten and red cabbage recipe that my Aunt Jean gave me. I just made a few minor alterations to make it gluten free. My friend, Laura also made an amazing German potato salad that I will be hounding her for the recipe. Overall, it was a good time and I hope you take a look at the recipe page to get some ideas for yourselves. Can't wait till Irish night on St. Patty's day. If anyone has some good gluten free Irish soda bread recipes, I'm all ears.
Looking for a great snack food with a crunch? Check out the Food Should Taste Good brand. With tons of variety in flavor they are made of all natural ingredients and ALL of their chips are gluten free! They are also packed with a good dose of dietary fiber. So not only do these chips taste good, they're good for you too! Sold in most grocery stores and online, they're easy to find and are a good staple to keep in your pantry. I've gotten myself addicted to the multi-grain ones. They're awesome with hummus. There's also sweet potato, blue corn, olive, jalepeno and tons more. There's definitely a flavor to fulfill every taste bud's need. So next time you're at the grocery store take a trip down the snack food aisle and grab a bag to try. You won't be disappointed.
Looking for another place you can go for a quick, yet tasty lunch? Panera can now be considered a safe option. They do not have a gluten free menu available to show you when you arrive, but they do have a big book of allergy information that they will pull out to help you place your order. They also have available gluten free lists on the internet. Safe bet, their classic salads and their black bean soup. Not only gluten free, but low in calories also ;)
During the winter it is still equally if not MORE important to make sure you're eating your fresh veggies every day. We need those extra vitamins in those green leafy veggies to help us keep those yucky flu germs at bay. They also allow you to have a more healthy and balanced gluten free meal each day keeping those pounds from collecting at our waist lines. However, grocery stock during the winter can definitely be disappointing. And the plethora of farmers' markets available during the warmer months are not available. Falls Church however, provides some great alternatives to that wilting grocery stock.
The Falls Church City Farmer's Market is available year round. Metro accessible from the East Falls Church station and right off of 66, the market is easy to get to. It also has plenty of parking available nearby. Set up in the City Hall parking lot, it is open from 9 am to noon during Jan - March. Once the warmer weather returns in April, it starts even earlier opening at 8 am.
Not a fan of braving the cold weather to get fresh veggies on a Sat morning? Try out The Local Market in Falls Church instead. Located at 246 W. Broad Street it is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. They have everything you'd find at a farmer's market and even more. You can get fresh farm milk, cheeses, homemade sausages and even homemade soap products!
So don't use that cold weather as an excuse to settle on less than worthy veggies. Take that drive over to Falls Church and treat yourself to some nice, crisp greenery instead!
Pizzeria Paradiso has three different locations. There are two in DC in Georgetown and Dupont and then one in Old Town Alexandria. I have been to the one in Old Town. Right on King Street it is centrally located and has a great atmosphere with tons of natural light and family friendly decor. Pizzeria Paradiso offers a variety of specialty pizzas, any of which can be made with a gluten free crust. They also offer an extremely extensive beer and wine list and again cater to the gluten free population by offering a choice of at least five different gluten free ciders! So there is definitely something here to meet everyone's taste buds. Overall, if you are looking for some great pizza and a cold gluten free beverage, you need to check out Pizzeria Paradiso!
I'm a stay at home mom and writer who has been living in the NOVA area for the past nine years. I love to shop and I love good food. I'm hoping that combo will pay off as I seek out the best gluten free food in the NOVA area. Enjoy!