Gluten Free Blog Posts
J&M Diner Reopens!
The J&M Diner was one of 11 businesses destroyed by a 3-alarm fire on March 11, 2017, at the Old Path Village Plaza on Concord Street. The Diner reopened on November 27th to huge crowds. We decided to wait a couple of weeks and checked out the new place.
We were fortunate to be served by the owner of J&M. She told us that a lot of people were very excited that they were back in operations. She told us that they had a large Marathon Day following, apparently people that run the Boston Marathon like to treat themselves to a breakfast when they travel to Boston for the Marathon. (Just a heads up that there may be busy around the 3rd week of April.)
Same great Food and Company
The new restaurant has a much larger dining room and kitchen. We still had to wait for 15/20 minutes to be seated at 10:30 am. At least in the new location, you can sit and wait for your name to be called.
The food was good as we remembered. Sure you can get breakfast anyplace in the MetroWest, but there's something special about ordering a meal that's named Ooowy Googy. They do put a lot of creativity in their food.
The other nice thing is that J&M now accept credit cards! In their old location, it was a cash-only business. While they did have an ATM machine in the back - it had a $3 surcharge. We like it because we don't really carry that much cash around.
Gluten Free Options
While J&M Diner was constructing their new location, we asked if they were going to have any gluten-free options. In particular, we saw all the waffle machines they had lined up and wouldn't it be great if one of them was dedicated to making gluten-free waffles!
They told us that they were working on getting the store up and running. Once things have calmed down, they would consider having gluten free options.
We'll keep an eye out and will update on delicious gluten-free options at J&M Diner in Framingham, Massachusetts.
J & M Diner is now located at 50 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702.
Nespresso is a really good single cup coffee. If you haven't tried it yet, stop by one of the Nespresso stores and try one of their coffees. You can't get a free coffee, but its certainly worth the investment. A basic cup of coffee cost a bit less than one that you get at Starbucks.
Nespresso coffee shops offer all sorts of different drinks and for the most part, they are all gluten-free, with the notable exception of the Smores drink. Each drink can be made decaf - so your children can try the coconut peanut butter drink.
The people at the Boston, Newbury Street store are very friendly. They offer great one on one service. So if you have an allergy they will make sure that there's no cross-contamination.
Meanwhile at Home
When you do get your own Nespresso machine, here's a great drink-mix to try: Nespresso Mocha
- 2 scoops of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
Put the Swiss Miss in the cup and then add the coffee - obviously, make sure that you're using a mug that can handle the mix.
This is a great winter morning drink. You won't need to add any sugar or cream to this drink. (Ya I know there's plenty of sugar in the Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate)
Target Holiday Commercial
Did you see this Target commercial before Thanksgiving, titled "Target Holiday 2017 - Thanksgiving":
Kind of cute, right? Well, what you may not know is that the last line in the commercial was said by the Fad Barbie. This sort of implies that eating Gluten Free is a fad thing.
This is a bit insulting to those that have celiac because it implies that eating "Gluten Free" is just a fad diet. While many people have jumped on the "Gluten Free" bandwagon, it's certainly not a fad for millions of celiac users.
What do you think? Was the Target Commercial in bad taste?
Chocolate Pretzels Recipe
Its always hard to find the right dish to bring to a potluck. You can't go wrong with a gluten-free chocolate dessert treat. The good thing about this recipe is that it doesn't take much time to prep, and you don't have to worry about it.
Gluten Free Pretzels have more of a crunch, and would certainly recommend using gluten-free pretzels than regular pretzels. In addition, gluten-free pretzels tend to hold the crunch longer when in the refrigerator.
- Bag of Gluten Free Pretzels
- Hershy Hugs
- M&M (Seasonal Colors)
Top a pretzel with a Hershey's hug and put it in the oven for 5 mins. Take it out and place an M&M on top of it. Put in the Refrigerator to let it cool for a few minutes.
Download the complete Instructions.
Things I learned
We have been making this for years, even so, there are a few things I learn this time around:
- It takes about 2 bags of Hershey Kisses (16oz) to top all the pretzels in a 16oz bag.
- One 1 lb bag of M&Ms is enough for 3 bags of Pretzels
- Better off getting a 16oz bag of Snyder Gluten Free Pretzels than two 8oz bags Glutino's Pretzels. (Cheaper!)
- The Snyder's Pretzels are a bit smaller and are perfect for this project.
- Hershey Hugs are better than typical Hershey Kisses because you get a nice color swirl
- Once completed, I kept the finish product cold all morning, and it was a nice and cold treat.
- This easily could be made several days in advance.
Quick and Easy to Make
The nice thing about this is that there's no prep ahead of time. You don't have to wait for the microwave or mix ingredients at the last minute.
Simply store the container in the refrigerator and take it out when you're ready. A great idea for anyone who wants to contribute to a potluck but may not have time during the day.
Best Hot Chocolate
Marshmallow Fluff and Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate are the perfect combination for a treat on a nice cold day. Have you tried it yet?
Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix
The large 58.4 oz container of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix is great to have in the pantry. You never know when you have to make a large batch of Hot Cocoa when company comes over. Once open the container is good for a year.
If Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix isn't strong enough chocolate, you can always put a Hershey Miniatures in the cup. Simple drop in the mini and stir the mix before topping it off with Marshmallow Fuff. The hot water will melt the Hershey Mini for a nice boost of chocolate flavor.
Typically you would top off the hot chocolate with standard Marshmallows, but the melted Marshmallow Fluff is an excellent way to sweeten your drink. I have found that the Marshmallow Fluff has a more taste than a standard marshmallow. In addition, you can pack more fluff in a cup than you can with typical marshmallows so you get a slightly sweeter cup of Hot Chocolate.
Dehydrated Cereal Marshmallows
If you're not into Marshmallow Fluff, try Dehydrated Cereal Marshmallows instead of standard Marshmallows. We have found a 2 lbs bag of Hoosier Hill Charms Original Cereal Marshmallows is great for the entire winter season.
Yes, both Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate and Marshmallow Fluff are all naturally Gluten Free. There's no need to look for a gluten free container in the Natural foods section.
The Hershey Miniatures may contain gluten. Your better off using Hershey's Nuggets Milk Chocolates. Check out the Hershey's Gluten Free page on which products are gluten free.
Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brew Co
This past summer we visited several attractions in the White Mountains, including Story Land and Santa’s Village. On our last day we stopped at the Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brew Co for dinner. It was a great experience and we’ll certainly be going back!
We accidentally discovered Moat Mountain Smoke House because we stopped at the Local Grocer thinking that we could get a good Gluten Free meal there. We arrived too late and they had already closed the kitchen. They don’t open for dinner. We did a quick search and surprise to find that the highest rated Gluten Free restaurant, on Find Me Gluten Free, in North Conway was right next door.
Good Gluten Free Options
Moat Mountain Smoke House & Brew has a great selection of Gluten Free options. Which was a nice change of all the different places that we tried in North Conway.
The server was very helpful with the choices that my daughter could have. The server appeared to be not only knowledgeable about how things were prepared in the kitchen, but also cross contamination issues.
My daughter selected the gluten-free cheese pizza. She was happy to have so many choices and even delighted to have cheese pizza on vacation.
The pizza was excellent, and as I recall she ate most of it. Which is a rare thing for her to do? Usually, she just has a couple of bites and says she’s full. So the pizza must have been that good to want to eat a lot in one sitting.
I did have a bit of one of the slices and it was good well and nice and crispy.
We’ll Be Back
All out meals were really good, and it was a nice family restaurant. They actually have quite a good selection of micro-brews. We’ll certainly be back on our next adventure to North Conway.
We were lucky that we didn't have much of a wait, as we left we could see that the wait to sit down was going to long wait. I can tell you that it's definitely worth the wait. Especially if you want delicious gluten-free food.
Finding Moat Mountain Smoke House
Moat Mountain Smoke House Co. is located on historical White Mountain Hwy. It's about 4-minute drive North from the 5 and 10 store. The address is 3378 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH.
Lucky Charms Shake
Perfect drink for a Post-Trick or Treat evening, also delicious as a Saturday Morning treat. Try this mix some time:
DIY Lucky Charms Shake
It’s a homemade version of Burger King’s Lucky Charms Shake. At least when you make it home, you know it will be gluten free.
Lucky Charms Still Gluten Free?
Lucky Charms are still Gluten Free. I have seen some Facebook posting about how Lucky Charms is not safe. All the information I have found out over the last few days are quite the contrary. The FCC hasn’t posted any warnings and there’s nothing about it on the General Mills website.
Fact is that Lucky Charms is still Gluten Free and currently meeting the US guidelines of being gluten free.
In 2015, there was a change.org petition titled, "Change testing and production of gluten-free Cheerios to be safe for all.” While not directly related to Lucky Charms, the Cheerios testing would have impacted testing and certification by General Mills. Oddly enough the petition failed to pass by one person.
Halloween Candy 2017
Its Halloween season, time to start thinking of gluten-free candy.
Several bloggers have put out their annual list of gluten-free candy. Rather than duplicating their work, here's a link to verywell.com website. It's a good list of popular candy that and if it safe for celiacs.
There are some big changes in what's safe for celiacs this year. The biggest surprise is that there are many Hershey products are no longer safe.
We are going to be handing out both gluten-free candy and non-candy goodies. We got our non-candy goodies from Oriental Trading. Don't forget your Teal Pumpkins.
Hopefully we distributed the right amount of candy and toys and we don't get eggs on our cars.
This past summer we saw Phantom of the Opera at the Boston Opera House. We searched around looking for a great place to eat Gluten Free. We found some great reviews with Back Deck and thought it would be good to check out.
Brief description from their website:
Hardwood charcoal is made by partially burning oak and maple with limited oxygen which eliminates the more volatile components, like trapped hydrogen, methane and tars, allowing for a more predictable, even burn and much less smoke than wood. At the same time, we feel it gives you some advantages over grilling with gas.
Besides the pleasant smoky flavor it imparts, charcoal gives you higher, more intense heat. Charcoal can produce temperatures 100 degrees higher than gas which means foods sear better, delicate food like fish stick less, and the "grilled" taste, which is a product of the hot grate searing the surface of the foods, as well as the smoke produced by the fire, is enhanced.
If you are skilled in charcoal grilling, in some ways burning hardwood charcoal allows you more control than gas. A charcoal fire has many levels of heat, unlike a gas fire, so that if you can read the fire you can adjust the temperature under a piece of food by simply moving it to a hotter or cooler spot.
Gluten Free Options
They have a dedicated fryer for their french fries. Which isn't all that important for adults but its good news for a six-year-old. My daughter order the usual Cheeseburger.
They have a separate Gluten Free menu with lots of options to select from, check out the Dinner menu online.
The waitress was very knowledgeable about their gluten-free options and how the kitchen is set up to prevent any cross-contamination.
The Flourless Chocolate Sundae was yummy and highly recommended.
It was actually a good experience eating at Back Deck. We had an early dinner, which was good since we could take our time and not feel the rush to make the show.
Note: We tried to get a reservation closer to the 6 pm show time but they didn't have anything available. If you do eat early and have sometime before the show, there are a couple of nearby coffee shops where you can sit and chat. Caffe Nero is direct across the street from the Boston Opera House.
The Downtown Crossing area isn't a fun shopping experience as it was back in the 80s and 90s. It's not as fun to walk around and browse the stores. (Hasn't been the same since Barnes and Noble left.)
As we were leaving the restaurant was getting busy - clearly from the theater crowd.
We certainly will be going back to Back Deck for our next show at the Boston Opera House. The food was delicious and they had great gluten-free selection.
Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub
Muddy Moose is located in the center of the busy North Conway Shopping area. Tourist visit here because of the location and the food. It's a very popular location.
If you arrive during the typical lunch or dinner hour, expect a 20-30 minute wait.
Gluten Free Options
The Muddy Moose has a separate Gluten Free Menu. Be sure to ask for it when they call your name. (or as you see them collect the menus as you walk to the podium.)
There are lots of excellent Gluten-free options on the menu, including Burgers and Sandwiches on gluten-free bread. They don't have a separate fryer, so french fries are not available.
My daughter ordered the Trailside Burger with a side of white rice. She was happy to get the rice since she actually likes that when we go out for Chinese.
The person taking the order was educated about the Gluten Free options and make sure to put that it was for an allergy.
My daughter liked the Trailside Burger but didn't really like the rice. While she did like the thought of getting rice, I think she was disappointed because other children had french fries with their order.
If you do go to Muddy Moose, my daughter would recommend getting the Baked Potato as the rice wasn't that good. Otherwise, it wasn't a bad place to go. It was a good casual restaurant that seemed reasonably priced.
Directions to Muddy Moose
The Muddy Moose is located at 2344 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH 03860. Directly across the street is the 1768 Country Inn.
A few months ago we tried getting to the 110 Grill and found that it had a 40 minute wait. On the next attempt, we arrived early and we were seated within a few minutes of arriving.
Allergy Friendly Resturant
From the top of their menu:
Here at 110 Grill, we pride ourselves on our commitment to accommodating all guests’ allergen needs. We do this through preparing dishes to order in our scratch kitchens, utilizing allergen picks and only having management deliver allergy-safe dishes. Our management teams have current certifications for Food Safety and Allergen Awareness, and all employees receive extensive allergy awareness training to ensure guest safety.
Gluten Free Bread
Most places don't have any gluten-free bread as an appetizer while waiting. 110 does have it. The waitress was very helpful in making sure that my daughter had a Gluten Free bread. Which is nicely toasted. When one didn’t arrive, she ordered another one.
My daughter was delighted to get two pieces of fresh warm bread. (I suspect that its frozen dough and they warm it up in the oven.)
110 Grill has a separate Gluten Free menu with lots of choices. (You can see the menu on their site.) My six-year-old daughter was excited to order Fish and Chips.
We were delighted that they were able to make a kids size portion of the meal. It was the perfect amount. She loved the Fish as well as the chips.
For dessert, 110 Grill actually have a Gluten free cake. This is a perfect option if you're looking to do a cake to celebrate a birthday or any special occasion. I got the Caramelized Banana Flatbread, which isn't gluten-free, and it was delicious. I wasn't able to finish the whole thing and had to take it home.
Finding 110 Grill
The 110 Grill that we ate at is located in Hopkinton, Massachusetts - just off of exit 21 on 495. As mentioned earlier, this is a very popular restaurant, we highly recommend having an early dinner - especially if you have hungry kids.
There are locations in Berlin, MA, Braintree, MA, Chelmsford, MA, Haverhill, MA, Hopkinton, MA, Leominster, MA, Nashua, NH, Rochester, NH, Wayland, MA.
Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery
In North Conway is a small coffee shop located directly across the street from the old '5 & 10' store is The Metropolitan Coffee House and Fine Art Gallery.
From their website:
The Met Coffee House has been a destination in downtown North Conway, New Hampshire for over fifteen years and is proudly locally owned and operated by Larry and Diane Flaherty.
Stop in for a refreshing hot or cold specialty latte, a quick bite, or a piece of delectable desserts. Whether you're in town or from far away, Meet Me at The Met for Coffee, Comfort, Culture and Community.
Really Good Coffee
We stopped in to get some coffee after a long day at Storyland. The store was pretty quiet as it was very close to closing time. The service was awesome. We didn't feel rushed.
They worked with us to make a very good coffee. We wanted a delicious low-calorie coffee. They knew exactly what would satisfy our taste buds Almond Coffee with sugar-free caramel.
Wow were they right!
Try the SugarFree Caramel Coffee with Almond milk - its way better than what's offered at Starbucks. (Not sure why there's is better. )
Gluten Free Snacks!
In the refrigerator are some gluten-free snacks to enjoy. We saw brownies, cookies, and other treats. Perfect snacks to fill you over until lunch or dinner.
We love Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks but there's something special about trying the local flavor. People that get hired to work at a local shop go out of their way to satisfy their customers.
Next time you're walking around downtown North Conway, stop in for a treat. If you eating Gluten-free, you'll be happy to enjoy a snack as you walk through all the small shops.
Nothing like holding a nice hot cup of coffee while walking around North Conway to explore all the outlets.
We tried going back again on our trip but our schedule didn't make that option available. It's on our list for our next trip.
Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub
Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub, located in Glen New Hampshire, is a pub style restaurant well known for their grill food and BBQ sauce. It's a favorite for locals and seasonal visitors. There have live entertainment on the weekends.
They are famous for the BBQ ribs. I remember getting some back in the late 1980s. They were really good and I look forward to trying them again.
On this particular trip I skipped the ribs as I didn't want to spend much money - we were on a low budget trip.
Gluten Free Options
They didn't have a Gluten free menu. Our server worked with us to create a dish that my six-year-old daughter could eat. They do have gluten free buns.
The server did tell us that they didn't have a dedicated fryer so we couldn't order french fries.
We ordered a cheeseburger with no bun and a side of string beans - fortunately, my daughter like string beans over french fries.
We went to the salad bar and got from fresh vegetables to start. My daughter was very tired from a fun day at Storyland. She just ate the salad and didn't touch much of her dinner.
The food was delicious and my daughter loved it. I think she was a bit skeptical about her food because they didn't have a Gluten free menu.
Can't really recommend this place because officially they didn't have any gluten-free options. However, if you're looking for good BBQ this is the place to try. The BBQ sauce was delicious and I would go back just to try the ribs again.
Finding the Red Parka
The Red Parka is located in Glenn, New Hampshire. Just down the street from Storyland. It's a great place to stop after a long day at the park. You can enjoy a nice meal and avoid the traffic through North Conway.
You can purchase the Red Parka BBQ sauce, which is gluten free, at the bar or at Zebs General Store in North Conway.
Ashland Ale House
The Ashland Ale House is a local pub in Ashland, Massachusetts. It's far away from all the busy shopping area near Route 9 and the Natick Mall. It is located in the same plaza as Market Basket.
Five Things I learned about the Ashland Ale House
The place is very popular with the locals, so expect a 20-30 minute wait during the typical dinner hour. If you arrive before 5:30 on a Saturday night, you shouldn't have much of a wait.
The booths are made to sit six adults. On our recent visit with a party of six, we opt for a table. While we had to wait 20 minutes for our table, we made the right choice with 2 kids. It just made things a bit more comfortable.
You can play Mass Keno while you're at Ashland Ale. Learn about the game before you go. You place all bets and collect winnings at the bar. Who knows you may win enough to pay for your dining experience.
Most people visit to try the large beer selection. They have over xxx different types of beers mostly from New England. I tried the Apple Cider from Lookout Farms. It was very good. My advice is if you're trying something new, don't order a large - you don't want to be stuck having to finish off a beer you don't like.
Gluten Free Options
Ashland Ale house has a limited Gluten Free menu. They don't have a dedicated fryer for French fries but will bake the fries. Which tastes just as good as the frier and I would recommend getting those instead of the regular french fries.
My daughter got a cheese burger. She liked it a lot, especially when we cut it in quarters. She ate most of it and we didn't take any home with us.
Finding Ashland Ale House
From Downtown Framingham, take Concord Street all the way to about a 1/2 mile from the Ashland town line.
Orange Leaf - Natick, Massachusetts
Do it yourself yogurt places are coming and going. They all have the same business model, let the customer pick their ice cream and topping and then they pay by weight.
The one place that stands out from all the rest is Orange Leaf. They have a flat rate based on the cup size.
Customers pick the size they want. There are no surprises when you get to pay. Which is good to know!
Allergy Friendly Toppings
If you have any food allergies you may shy away from such places. Such places could be a cross contamination nightmare.
However, Orange Peel has a special section behind the counter. They have special sprinkles containers where you can put on allergy free toppings. There's a sign above them that indicate they are for those that have allergies.
As for the soft serve ice cream, they had a large selection with only one of them that wasn't gluten free. (Cookie and Cream)
You can find Orange Leaf in Natick at the Route 27 / 9 plaza.