Gluten Free Blog Posts
Framingham Beer Works
This past weekend we stopped at Framingham Beer Works for a nice dinner. The restaurant was fairly quiet because it was Independence Day weekend. We didn't have to wait for our table when we arrived.
We asked for a menu that had gluten free options, the door hostess informed that just about anything on the menu could be made gluten free.
When we placed our order we mentioned that our daughter needed to eat gluten free. The waitress was very helpful in letting us know what are options are.
Nachos Not Gluten Free
My daughter was really hungry and we wanted to order an appetizer. We thought that the corn nachos would be good option, but were told that we couldn't order it because the nachos are fried and there could be cross contamination issues.
It was nice to hear a waitress say "cross contamination" clearly they understand allergy concerns. We were impressed with that.
Gluten free pasta
We asked if they had any gluten free pasta since my daughter loves mac and cheese. We were told that they didn't have any. Which was a bit surprising since they told us that just about anything on the menu could be made gluten free.
My daughter got a cheeseburger and asked for chips. We didn't get a chance to ask if they had a dedicated fryer for french fries.
The food was very good and I asked my daughter how her dinner was and she said yummy. She would give it two thumbs up but had the hamburger on the other hand. The kids burger was $6.50, which was reasonably priced.
We would certainly be going back again. I think Smash Burger makes better burger, but at least she can go to a nice restaurant when we have company.
Gluten Free S'mores
Yes, it's possible to enjoy the great outdoor treat - Smores - gluten free!
Thanks to Kinnikvnnick Foods, you can have a yummy summer night treats by the fire. Kinnikvnnick Foods manufactures gluten-free graham style crackers - called S'moveables. You can find these in just about any major supermarkets, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Whole Foods for about $4.99.
The S'moreables graham style crackers don't have that much as much flavor in Smores comes from the chocolate and marshmallows. The graham size is a bit smaller than the Nabisco brands. We recommended not to use the jumbo size marshmallows as it will make a big mess.
Try a little variety to your Smores by making Reese's Peanut butter cup s'mores:
Cook the marshmallows until they are browned outside, and soft all the way through, approx 2 to 4 minutes. Place the marshmallows on top of one of the S'moreables graham cracker squares. Place the peanut butter cup on top of the marshmallows. Top with the last S'moreables graham cracker square. Enjoy!
Think about other candies that might make a great compliment to your summertime treat. York Peppermint Patties and Snickers are good to try.
S'moreables vs Nabisco Honey Maid Cinnamon
I was checking the nutritional value of S'moreables vs Nabisco Honey Maid Cinnamon and was surprised to find out that S'moreables has more calories and sodium than Nabisco Honey Maid Cinnamon per serving.
|Nabisco Honey Maid Cinnamon||65||80mg|
Gluten Free Cart at Fenway Park
This past weekend we visited Fenway Park and got a good hands-on view of all the gluten free options.
The best place to get gluten free foods is from a cart near Fenway Park Gate D entrance. This is important to know if you have bleachers seats. Gate D is right behind home plate, this is otherwise known as the Home Plate Concourse.
At this location, you will find gluten free hotdogs, cookies, and brownies. Other concession stands around the park will have naturally gluten free foods such as peanuts and popcorn.
There isn't a visible marking for the gluten free hot dog stand. You can find it directly across the HomePlate store. There is a small beer stand right next to it.
The gluten free cart only accept cash! Just about every place in the park accepts VISA/MasterCard.
There is a Bank of America ATM inside the park. The ATM will charge you a $3 "convenient fee" if you don't have a Bank of America card. (Make sure to bring plenty of cash) there are 5 Bank of America ATMS inside Fenway Park. ATMs are located at (1) Gate E/3rd Base Concourse; (2) Gate A/Yawkey Way; (3) Gate D/Homeplate; (4) The Big Concourse; (5) Gate C.
The gluten free hot dogs cost $5.25, the same price as regular Fenway Franks.
The Gluten Free brownie cost $5 and the gluten free cookie is $4.75.
At the regular concession stands you can get souvenirs drinks for $8 with free refills throughout the game. Get a couple of refills to get your money worth. Not drinking that much soda? Share the container with someone in your party. They are great cups for water at your desk.
At one of the concession stand, we saw black bean dip by go picnic, which is gluten free. Didn't see how much that cost.
Independent Street Vendors
Be sure to support the street vendors! In particular the peanut cart on Yawkey Way. The cart has been run by the same family since 1912. If your Grandfather visited Fenway chances are he got peanuts from the same cart.
Van's Gluten Free French Toast Sticks
My daughter's favorite morning breakfast is the Van's Gluten Free French Toast Sticks with a small dab of Nutella on the side. She asks me to make the French Toast for her while she slowly wakes up to whatever is on the Disney Junior Channel. It's a great morning routine.
Van's Gluten Free French Toast Sticks are really good. Usually, one French Toast Stick is just enough for my daughter, there are 6 french toast sticks in the box. The only time that she doesn't have them is when she wants leftover scramble eggs.
She loves to dip the French Toast sticks in the small pile of Nutella that I put on her plate.
There are 95 calories in 1 slice of Van's Cinnamon French Toast Sticks. You'd need to walk 25 minutes to burn those 95 calories. She'll easily burn off those calories before her class starts.
We buy the large size container of Nutella. We go through a lot of it. I am very careful to make sure that there's only a small amount of Nutella on her plate. Anything she doesn't eat, I enjoy as a morning snack.
You can find the Van's Gluten Free French Toast Sticks in the specialty frozen food section in most supermarkets. Usually, they are with the other frozen gluten free foods. They are available at Stop and Shop and at Wegmans. We'll stock up when they go on sale since they are a bit expensive - about $3.99 for the box.
Sam Mills Deluxe Mac and Cheese
A good gluten free replacement for Kraft Deluxe Macaroni and cheese is Sam Mills Deluxe Mac and Cheese. Sam Mills is available in most major supermarkets. In our area, Wegmans seems to be store that has it in stock.
Its very simple to make a great tasting Mac and Cheese meal. The total cooking/prep time is about 20 minutes. While the microwave versions might be quicker, at least with the Sam Mills version, I know that there will be leftovers.
This bigger box size (11-Ounces) is a bit deceiving, as you don't get as many elbows as a standard 7-Ounce box. What you do get is large soft cheese packet. The extra cheese does make the meal taste a lot better. It’s certainly a hit in our household.<2>What about Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?
Did you know that the cheese mix in Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is Gluten-free? Did you also know that you can buy the cheese packets separately on Amazon?
You can simply buy a box of gluten free elbows - we recommend the Barilla Gluten Free Pasta variety. Then make your own version of Mac and Cheese. This is a good option if you have a Mac and Cheese addict in your household.
Since Mac and Cheese last a while, We have found that you can never have enough Mac and Cheese in stock.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill
Uno Pizzeria & Grill has a great selection of Gluten free foods. While they might be known for their pizza, their gluten free pizza didn't always equal in taste. That is until we ate at the Westboro location.
We have always eaten at the Framingham location since it's very convenient to our house. The place is always busy and the food has been so so. The Westboro UNOs was better.
When we arrived at 5pm on Sunday, we were surprised that there weren't many cars in the parking lot. As this was our first visit to this location, we thought that it was because people didn't like to eat here.
We told the server that our daughter needed to eat gluten free and ordered the Gluten free pizza. We did ask that the to be cooked a bit longer, as our past experience with UNOs is that it tends to be a bit soggy.
The pizza arrived a few minutes later. It looked and smelled very yummy. It was nice and crispy. The pizza also tasted way better than the one we get at the Framingham location. While the pizza was cooked longer than normal, there was something else different that told us that we will be going back to this place again.
Important Side Note
At each table is a Ziosk Tablet where you can request drink refills or call your server to the table. There's also a bunch of games that kids can play. However, there is a $1.99 surcharge to play the games.
We didn't know about the surcharge before our daughter took control of the machine. Before, the surcharge only applied to certain games. There might have been a warning but my daughter must have clicked 'ok' to approve it.
We noticed the charged on the food bill. We didn't dispute the charges because we did see the sign on the device but didn't take any action until its too late
Ziosk should require a credit card swipe in order to approve the charges. This way an adult would know about the charges.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill
Westborough Uno Pizzeria & Grill is located at 225 Turnpike Rd, Westborough, MA 01581. They are located right in front of the Westborough AMC theater, making it a perfect place to have a dinner and a movie.
Make Popcorn Awesome Again
Everyone loves Popcorn!
Popcorn is a great snack since for the most part it's free from the top 8 food allergies - soy, milk, eggs, citrus fruit, nuts, fish, peanuts, shellfish and wheat. The following suggested recipe does contain nuts (coconut) and milk (butter).
Healthy Disclaimer: The following recipe is awesome for those times when you want an extra special movie night. This isn't a healthy solution for everyday snacking.
Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn - Sure you can get the store brand for slightly cheaper, but if you want the best tasting popcorn it starts with the right popcorn kernels. Store brand popcorn contains generic kernels that don't have much flavor. Orville Redenbacher's has strict quality control, which means you get a better batch of popcorn. Newman's Own kernels is another brand that produces excellent popcorn. If you haven't had good popcorn at home, it's probably because you been using cheap popcorn kernels. (3/4 cup)
Coconut Oil - Popcorn tastes better with Coconut oil. Movie theaters had used it before the lawyers at the "Center for Science in the Public Interest" forced them to change in 1994. There's no particular brand to use here, get whatever is available in the store. (3/4 cup)
Red Palm Oil - Use this if you want your popcorn to have a little yellow look - just like it came from the movie theaters. This has an added benefit of some additional vitamins to your snack. (One Tablespoon)
Powdered Salt - Don't use table salt, use a more refined salt. This way most of the salt doesn't end up on the bottom of the bowl. Salt to taste.
Kerry Gold Butter - A naturally soft Irish butter and has a great taste. Forty-five seconds in the microwave is all you need to melt it down. (1/2 stick)
Cooking with WhirleyPop(TM) Popcorn Popper
I use the WhirleyPop Popcorn Popper as I find that it makes the best popcorn at home. Someday, I hope to have a Classic stand alone Popcorn Machine. You can find it at Bed Bath and Beyond and online at their store.
Turn the stovetop on to medium. Add the Coconut and Red Palm Oil first. Wait until it starts to bubble, then add five popcorn kernels. Stir slowly. Once it starts popping, add the remaining kernels.
The whole process should take less than 10 minutes.
After the popping is done, I take the popcorn and pour it into a bowl and add butter and salt to taste. I take a table knife and stir the popcorn around.
I let the popcorn sit for a bit before serving. This is so the butter has a chance to be absorbed by the popcorn. Then it's time to sit and watch the movie.
Popcorn is a great naturally gluten free snack! Try the above recipe and make it the way you like it.
Fenway Park (Gluten Free)
Fenway park is Gluten Free and for the most part celiac friendly. The best place to find Gluten Free food is at the ‘Home Place Concourse.’
You can get Gluten free Hot Dogs, Ice Cream, and Whoopi Pies. Fenway Park does offer gluten free pizza but the "word on the street" is that it isn't celiac friendly because its bake unprotected in the same oven as regular pizza.(Need Verification)
There is a gluten free cart, but it isn't clear on what is available in there.
Don't forget to stop by the peanut cart near Gate ‘A’ That’s where you’ll see Nicholas “Nicky” Jacobs selling them. The family has been selling peanuts at the same spot since 1912.
Bring Food into the Park
You can bring your own food into the park. There are some limitations that you should be aware of:
All persons, bags, and personal items are subject to inspection before entering Fenway Park. No bag or item larger than 16"x16"x8" will be permitted inside the Park.
The following items are also prohibited: hard-sided coolers, cans, bottles (except sealed water bottles of 16 oz or less), glass containers of any kind, alcoholic beverages, illegal substances, firearms, noise-making devices, flag poles, selfie-sticks, sign poles, brooms (or any other similar props that may be dangerous or cause injury to other fans), knives, box cutters, tools of any kind (including Leathermen), or any item that could be used as a weapon, any commercial audio/visual equipment and any sign, costume, clothing or item that may be deemed offensive.
Your best best is to eat before coming to the park and enjoying a small snack during the game.
Back Bay Restaurants
If you're arriving at the park early, you do have some choices from nearby Back Bay restaurants that offer Celiac friendly menus. We have eaten at all of these and can vouch that they are worth stopping at.
Great Food. Huge Beer selection. Usually quiet than most places. Very Celiac friendly will let you know your options and answer any concerns you may have. Every time we go the staff seems to be very knowledgeable about the topics.
Lots of Gluten-free healthy options. Biggest downside is that it can be crowded. Kitchen can be busy, so if your in a rush don't stop here.
Good Gluten-free options. Chinese may not be on your mind going to baseball games, but it's there if you're hungry for alternate to burgers and you don't want to wait for the Cheesecake factory.
137 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
The burgers are slightly cheaper than Five Napkin. Very casual. Closer to the park than other places. This isn't a fast food restaurant but your food will be served faster. There is limited seating. Burgers are good.
This is a bit fancier than the other places. Good Gluten-free options. You are a long way to get to Fenway after a meal. Your best bet would be to grab a taxi to get to Fenway Park. It will cost about $10.
We'll be visiting the park on June 19th and I'll post an update on our experience on the 21st.
Tates Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Last week, while I was waiting in line at Shaws, I spotted a bag of Tates Gluten Free Chocolate, Chip Cookies. I thought it looked very interesting and we hadn't seen that particular brand before. So I purchased a bag and brought them home to try out.
They are an instant hit and barely lasted a whole weekend. I don't think we have tasted a better batch of gluten-free box cookies like this before. Yes, they are dangerously delicious.
What makes them really good is that they are very thin and crunchy. While the cookies might be small, they do pack a lot of taste with each bite.
You can find Tates Gluten Free cookies at Shaws or online at Tates Bake Shop. They have a retail shop in Southampton but it's a 4-hour drive via ferry from Framingham. We probably won't be going to that retail store anytime soon.
What we will do is head back to Shaws and pick up another batch of yummy Tates Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Have you tried them?
Happy 70th Birthday La Cantina
Every now and again we seek for some good Italian food. This is challenging when you have to eat Gluten-Free as many fine Italian restaurants don’t have much to offer.
La Cantina in Framingham does offer a good selection of Gluten Free foods, include a tasty Gluten Free Pizza that my daughter loves to eat every time we eat in or use their take out. It's a 10” Gluten Free thin Crust pizza, a perfect size for one person. When my daughter orders it, we have some leftover for her to enjoy another time.
My daughter is also into Mac & Cheese. Do you know of a 5-year-old doesn’t want to eat that every day? At La Cantina, a good alternative is the Alfredo Gluten-Free penne. She tells me at its the best Mac & Cheese treat when she eats out. She likes it that she has a choice between yummy Pizza and Mac & Cheese.
Other dishes that can be made Gluten-free include: Chopped Sirloin, Veal Cacciatore, Veal Saltimbocca, Baked Penne Parmigiana, Penne Oil Garlic & Broccoli, Pasta Deyve, Grill Chicken Tenders, Roast half Chicken, Seafood Saute, Risotto con Frutti di Mare,
Today is the 70th birthday of La Cantina. It opened it’s doors back in 1946. Back then, Waverly Street was a busy Italian district with restaurants and grocery stores. They have a special roll back menu for today, unfortunately, they are not offering any gluten free dishes.
Check out the menu that I posted on July 22, 2008. The day after our first visit to La Cantina.
La Cantina is located at 911 Waverly Street in Framingham Massachusetts. You can reach them at (508) 879-7874.
If you're doing some early morning errands around Natick, and happen to be near the Christmas Tree Shop and looking for a breakfast spot that has really good gluten free options. We know of a good place to go. It's Zaftigs Delicatessen, which is located a couple of doors away from the Christmas Tree Shop in the Sherwood Plaza.
On a recent Sunday morning we stopped at Zaftigs for a quick breakfast. We were very pleased with the service and quality and quantity of food. This is certainly a place we would go back again and again.
On Sundays, the restaurant is scheduled to be open at 8am. But when we arrived a few minutes before 8, we saw the door was open and a few people sitting down enjoying their morning coffee. We figured that it must be the regular Sunday breakfast crowd. By the time we left, most of the seats in the restaurant were taken.
When we placed our order, we told our waitress of our daughter's need to eat gluten free. The Waitress let us know what items they could safely be prepared gluten free. (They even had gluten free bread and bagels!) She told us that after she put in the order, the manager would come over and talk to us.
The manager came over to our table to explain how serious they take food allergies. They have a dedicated toaster, with a label letting everyone know what it's for. Before cooking any eggs, the cooks make sure the grill is completely clean. She answered all our questions and was very knowledgeable on the cross contamination issues.
The food was really good. Our daughter ate most her food; An extra cheese omelet with some side fruit and toast. Based on our taste experience, we think they use Udi's Gluten Free Bread. She really liked the food and loved the choices that they had.
The prices was reasonable, the kids omelet was $7.95, $1 more for the cheese and they did add a $1 surcharge for the Gluten Free white bread. We wouldn't eat here every Sunday, but it's a nice treat for special occasions.
Zaftigs Delicatessen is located in Natick at the Sherwood Plaza, where Joan & Ed's Deli use to be. They have another location in Brookline, a couple of blocks from the Coolidge Corner Theater.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that if not treated right can damage the villi in the small intestine. The proper way to treat the disease is to eat foods that do not contain any Wheat, Barley, Rye or Oats.
If you been eating gluten free for a while, experts recommend taking vitamin supplements to make up for some vitamin and mineral missing in some gluten free foods.
This is because many gluten free substitutes are not enriched and have lower amounts of the vitamin found in many wheat-based products.
When looking for vitamins, make sure to look for high concentration of the following:
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
We have been using Dinosaurs MultiSaurus chewable. It's available at Whole Foods, Amazon, and other Online stores. The good thing about these is that they taste like candy and they are gluten free. Kids will be happy to get their daily treats
We add more fiber in our diet by taking fiber chews, which taste exactly like gummies. Who doesn't like gummies?
If you're eating gluten-free, make sure to add vitamin and minerals to your diet. Just double check the labels, make sure that its gluten free. (We were surprised how many name brand multi-vitamins are not Celiac friendly)
Perfect Gluten Free Pizza
The best place for good tasting gluten free pizza is Bills Pizzeria in Newton & Natick. They do an awesome job with making sure that you don't miss out on having a delicious pizza.
When you place your order, make sure to mention that you want the gluten free pizza. If it's for an allergy, make sure to mention that so they take extra care and prevent any cross contamination.
Recently we ordered a gluten free pizza at the Natick store and decided to eat it at the store. It was really good. As we enjoyed each bite we kept talking about how the pizza quality is above anything else that we have tasted. (We tasted a lot of gluten free pizza this past year.
The weird thing about Bills Pizzeria is they have lots of information about a yearly 5k race that they sponsor. Something you wouldn't see from a typical pizza shop. Then again, if your eating gluten free - you'll learn that it isn't a typical pizza shop.
Bill's Pizzeria is located on 135 in Natick (East Central Street), right next to the Dunkin Donuts. If you don't have a car be sure to stop by their Newton Centre location it a few blocks away from the MBTA Green Line "D" Branch.
If you're looking for a good Gluten Free snacking food, you can't go wrong with Jelly Belly brand jelly beans. Sure carrots and grapes are healthier for you, but nothing beats the yummy flavor of a Jelly Belly.
You can create a mixed variety at just about any pay by the pound candy shop. Not every shop is the same, so some places will have bigger selection than others.
In Boston, Sugar Heaven is your candy source for a large selection of bulk Jelly Beans . You don't have to live by the standard 42 flavors. You can pick which flavors work for you. Another good place to go is Yankee Candle in Deerfield, Massachusetts.
For the ultimate combination you'll have to go to the factory. In Fairfield, California the Jelly Belly Factory has the largest selection of bulk flavor Jelly Belly beans. You can even mix in some of their newest flavors with your favorites.
One of the nice things about the factory is they have Jelly Belly flops bags. Basically, they are selling factory rejects jelly beans. They get rejected because some beans might have stuck to other beans or not in the perfect jelly bean shape. You never know what flavors they have in the bag but they are still Jelly Belly so it will still be yummy. (Perfect for any office candy jar)
If you do visit their Fairfield store, celiacs should be aware of the following:
We make over 150 different candies and a few of our products use gluten-containing ingredients. These items include Chocolate Malt Balls, Chocolate Deluxe Mix, Seasonal Malt Balls, Licorice Bridge Mix, and Licorice Pastels.
Jelly Belly jelly beans are free of gluten ingredients.
Delicious Gluten Free Cookies
Just because you have to eat gluten free does not mean that you have to eat blah cookies or be a master chief at mixing flour-like ingredients. Thanks to the 'Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix' by Betty Crocker, you can make delicious yummy cookies at home.
We have tried other gluten free cookies and some of them come out good. What makes Betty Crocker better is that its Betty Crocker. It tastes the same as any other batch of cookies that we use to make from Betty Crocker. Nobody will ever know that they are gluten free. In fact, I would recommend getting two boxes because these cookies will disappear very quickly.
You can find a box of the "Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix" at most major supermarkets; Stop and Shop, Market Baskets, Shaws, and Wegmans. It's usually stocked in the regular baking aisle. Some stores will put them on the top shelf.
It easy to make the cookie dough, simply add a stick of soft butter, an egg and a teaspoon of vanilla to the cookie dough. The only tricky thing with the Betty Crocker baking mix is remembering the vanilla extract. Many other cookie mixes that we used didn't require that.
We add a couple of things to make the cookies really special. Some tips:
- We use unsalted Stop and Shop brand butter. I soften the butter stick by putting it in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
- To mix the dough, it's much easier to just roll up your sleeve and use you both hand to mix it up. I find that it goes much faster and mixes better than using any stirring device.
- To add some addition flavor we wrap some of the cookies around Hershey's kisses. Basically, you take a Hershey Kiss and make it the center of a dough ball. The chocolate melts very nice in the oven.
- There's nothing special about cooking it in the oven, it takes about 13 minutes to cook. Parchment paper works best and what most bakeries use when they make cookies. We have had delicious cookies using Pam sprayed on a regular cookie sheet.
- Clean up is easy and quick.
A box of Betty Crocker makes about 18 medium size cookies. They are best when eaten minutes after taking them out of the oven.