Gluten Free blog postings

Gluten Free Postings

Earliest: June 2, 2015Latest: October 17, 2017Total: 100

May 3, 2016

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.

La Cantina

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.

April 30, 2016

Zaftigs Delicatessen

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.

Zaftigs Foods

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.

April 26, 2016

Vitamin Supplements

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.

Dinosaurs MultiSaurus

When looking for vitamins, make sure to look for high concentration of the following:

  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Folate
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • 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?

In Conclusion

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)

April 19, 2016

Perfect Gluten Free Pizza

Bills Pizzeria Logo

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.

Bills Pizzeria Gluten Free

April 12, 2016

Jelly Belly

Jelly Beans Bag

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.

April 5, 2016

Delicious Gluten Free Cookies

Betty Crocker Gluten Free

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.

Actual Baked Cookies

A box of Betty Crocker makes about 18 medium size cookies. They are best when eaten minutes after taking them out of the oven.

March 29, 2016

Traveling with a Celiac

This past weekend we visited our relatives in Connecticut for an Easter Celebration. On the way, we stopped at Stop and Shop to get some coffee and snacks for the trip. For us, stopping at a supermarket was a necessity because you can't get a gluten-free snack at a regular Dunkin Donuts.

That brings up today Gluten free topic: Always be prepared when traveling.

Having Celiac doesn't always limit your food choices, but it can limit on where you can eat. There are lots of celiac safe substitutes for many common foods. However, they aren't available everywhere. You need to plan safe snacks in advance.

Whether it's taking an early morning flight or spending a couple of hours in the car, you need to think about food options that will be available. Will you need to bring food and will there be any gluten free options where you are going.

Easter Weekend

We have found that it?s best to play it safe and have a box of gluten-free Mac & cheese (Annies is great!). Just in case that there wasn't any good gluten free options. Lucky for us, they had gluten free Mac and Cheese and a lot of other naturally gluten free options.

Everyone was happy and had a great time. They even had some gluten free cupcakes made, but my daughter was too full to eat anymore.

In addition, the Wow Baking Company' Gluten-free Chocolate Chip cookies and fruit snacks were the perfect tag along for the trip. They help fix those instant hunger cravings during any long road trip.

Boston Logan Airport Food Planning

It can be tricky when catching a 6am flight out of Logan International Airport. We have to arrive super early, which usually means no breakfast at home.

Many of the restaurants don't open super early at Logan Airport. The few restaurants that are open don't have any gluten-free options. Good luck trying to find something to eat at Dunkin Donuts that doesn't contain gluten.

For this, we have found that the fruit snacks and a couple of gluten free breakfast bars do the trick.

Jet Blue has a gluten free snack option on board, so we can use that if she is hungry mid-flight. All of their chips that they have are also gluten free.

Final thoughts

It helps to plan ahead and always be thinking of creative ways to feed the hungry needs. Simply stopping at McDonald's, Burger King or Dunkin Donuts is not an option. It doesn't hurt to pack a snack, as it could save lots of time in the event that the trip takes longer than planned.

March 22, 2016

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Irish Dinner

The good thing about the traditional American-Irish dinner (Corned Beef and Cabbage) is that it's gluten free. Yes, then corned beef and cabbage meal is gluten free - for the most part.

Last week we made our traditional Irish dinner in the crock pot. Basically, throw everything in putting a few cups of water set it on low and 12 hours later you have a wonderful meal. The meat is perfect, a simple cut of the meat and then it breaks apart with a fork.

The Food Network has a good version of the recipe. We just set up ours once and didn't touch it all day. This is perfect to make when your not at home, because after a few hours you can start smelling the meat - and it smells really good.

One thing that we always struggle with at the store is which cut to get. Typically you have two choices - Brisket or Uncured Flat Cut Brisket. We got the Brisket and it was really good. The only downside is that you do get a lot of fat on the regular brisket.

Some versions of the Irish Dinner may not be Celiac friendly because some restaurants may pour some Guinness in the pot to add flavor to the meat. We use to do this and found it was a good way to flavor up the meat.

March 15, 2016

Gluten Free Pizza

I like to consider myself somewhat of a gluten free frozen pizza expert at this point. Kind of a silly title. But it's true, over the past year we have tasted almost every type of frozen pizza made for the East Coast market. We have found a clear winner - Freschetta Gluten Free Four Cheese Pizza.

Freschetta Pizza

The Four Cheese Pizza is great because you can put any topping that you want on it. You pizza is your canvas in tonight's dinner.

How we make it better

We cook our pizza using a pizza oven pan at 450 degrees. The pan makes the pizza have a bit more of a crispy taste than if we were to use a standard cookie sheet.

We usually make 2 Freschetta pizza's on Friday nights, and end up with some leftover to snack on over the weekend. So it's very handy to have two pizza oven Pans available - you can find them at most Super Stop and Shop and Wegman stores.

How Freschetta Makes it Better

Freschetta now makes a single size portion Four Cheese Pizza and Pepperoni pizza! Whoa, this is huge! Now we can make a single serving size pizza for my five-year-old daughter, So now in between Macaroni and Cheese cravings she can have her favorite Four Cheese Pizza.

March 8, 2016

Charlie Cupcakes in Natick

Charlie Cupcakes

The Natick mall is a great place to go if your eating Gluten free. You have the option of getting a gluten free pizza at California Pizza Kitchen, pasta at the Cheesecake Factory or Gourmet Chinese food at P.F. Chan?s. There?s are a lot of choices for those that need to eat gluten-free.

Your not out of luck if your wondering around the mall looking for a gluten free snack. You should stop at Charlie Cupcakes. Located in the middle of the Natick Mall, where Crumbs bakery was, is one of New England's best cupcake company - Charlie Cupcakes.

On the top of their cupcake case is a small display of gluten free Cup Cakes. They are in a small dish, with a pudding stirred in with a cupcake. They actually looked better than the regular cupcakes. They currently cost $2.50 each, which seems reasonable to premium cupcake prices.

When you check out you'll also see some gluten free chocolate chip cookies. These are nice and big! There's two cookies per bag and certainly will help overcome any snack attack while shopping at the mall. The cookie bag cost $5 and look too good to pass up.

The cupcake was very good, and we'll certainly go back for more. The lady behind the counter told me that they get a fresh batch every Friday. I was disappointed that they didn't have any chocolate cupcakes, but perhaps those go really quick.

So now we know a great local place to get some gluten free dessert.