Tag Archives: living gluten free

Question and Answer: Gluten-Free Near the Hyatt Downtown

Question: I happened upon your blog when looking for GF restaurants in Jacksonville, where I will be for a week the end of the month. I will be attending a conference for work at the Hyatt Regency downtown. Can you offer any suggestions close to the Hyatt as I will not have a car? But other suggestions for dinner would also be welcomed or anything else I shouldn’t pass up!

Answer: While there are not many options too close to the Hyatt there are some that are a either a long walk or quick cab ride. You may want to contact the hotel ahead of time to give them a heads up about your gluten-free needs, they are pretty good at accommodating a gluten-free diet.  The Hyatt is located in Downtown Jacksonville right on the St. Johns River.  It is conveniently located close to charming neighborhoods such as San Marco, 5 points and Riverside/Avondale all either a long walk or short cab ride away.  Here are some of my recommendations:

Downtown:
Indochine (walking distance)- thai food,  great for lunch or dinner
Cafe Nola inside MOCA (walking distance)- great for lunch or dinner, check their website they are not open every night
Koja Sushi at the Landing (walking distance)- open for lunch or dinner.  No gluten-free soy sauce but sushi is pretty good.
Chart House (cab or long walk)- good place for dinner, mostly seafood, they have a gluten-free menu
Olio Market (walking distance) – good lunch spot
Pho A Noodle Bar (long walk)-  gluten free options available, good lunch spot

gluten free roast beef sub european street jacksonville, fl

European Street Roast Beef Sandwich on Gluten-Free Bun

San Marco:
bb’s (cab or long walk)-  gluten free menu, good for lunch, dinner or brunch on weekends
European Street (cab) – gluten free bread for sandwiches from Cookie Momsters, gluten free beer and good happy hour 
Taverna (cab) – Chef has a gluten- allergy, they are very knowledgeable.  Good for dinner, somewhat fancy
Pulp (cab) – smoothie shop
Hightide Burrito (cab)-  fast food mexican locally owned and fresh

Avondale: 
Mellow Mushroom (coming soon) (cab): gluten free pizza and beer!
The Brick (cab): gluten free menu

Riverside:
Sweet Theory Bakery (cab)- they close every night at 6 but it is worth it, there is nothing like it in Jacksonville. They are gluten-free and dairy free.

Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwich with vanilla frosting in the middle sweet theory baking co

Chocolate Chip Cookie sandwich with vanilla frosting in the middle from Sweet Theory Baking Co.

5 points:
Larry’s Giant Subs (cab)-  is a local chain sandwich shop with a few locations and gluten free sub rolls from Cookie Momsters and wraps
Sushi Cafe (cab)-  pretty good sushi, no gluten-free soy sauce but delicious none-the-less
Black Sheep (cab)- best roof top in town, farm to table concept
Grassroots Natural Market (cab)- plenty of gluten-free snacks, prepared foods, smoothies, etc. Convenient to center of 5 points.

Food Trucks:
Corner Taco (location varies)- make their own corn tortillas and use cornmeal for fried foods. Blog post

tempeh and carnitas tacos from Corner Taco

Tempeh and Carnitas tacos from Corner Taco

Special events:
Riverside Arts Market- Almost every Saturday
The Cummer- Free Tuesdays and First Saturday of the Month
Art Walk- First Wednesday of the Month
Museum of Contemporary Art Free Saturday and Sunday for Bank of America Card Holders

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Gluten-Free Apple Cinamon Quinoa Pancakes

I love lazy Sundays!  Lounging in pajamas, surfing the web, drinking coffee and making a BIG breakfast!

gluten free jacksonville pajama sunday breakfast

Don’t tell anyone, but recently I discovered that Big Lots has Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free products at a HUGE discount!!!  I recently loaded up on gluten-free: pancake mix, pizza dough and corn muffin mix. So one Sunday morning I thought I would get creative with my Sunday morning breakfast and make a huge batch of pancakes.bobs red mill pancake mix gluten free jacksonville

Lately I have been having fun trying new things in my pancakes to add some additional nutritional value. I had some quinoa in my pantry and because of its high protein content and versatility I thought I would add some to my pancakes.

To Prepare Quinoa
Prepare quinoa as directed on the box.  Boil 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water, let simmer until water disappears.  Add 2 tbsp agave (or honey, brown sugar) and 2 tsp of cinnamon. After fully cooked set aside and allow to cool just a bit.

To prepare pancakes

Pancakes

1 ½ cups of Bob’s Red Mill ®Gluten-Free Pancake Mix
1 large egg
¾ cup milk (cow, soy, rice,almond)
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Combine Bob’s Red Mill ® Gluten-Free Pancake Mix, egg, milk and vegetable oil. Blend all ingredients in blender, mixer or whisk vigorously in bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add quinoa, blend until distributed evenly throughout the batter. Let batter stand and pre-heat nonstick griddle to medium high temperature. Lightly oil or spray griddle with cooking or baking spray. For test pancake, pour scant ¼ cup batter onto griddle and cook until top is bubbly. Turn and cook until golden brown. Adjust the temperature as needed. If necessary adjust batter by adding more pancake mix or milk one tbsp. at a time. Continue with remaining batter. Makes eight 4-ince pancakes. Serves four (2 4-inch pancakes per serving).

I made the entire package which means you just need to double all of the measurements that are on the package. I used almond milk instead of regular milk.

gluten free pancakes bobs red mill gluten free jacksonville

To prepare apple compote:
I noticed on the side of the package a very, very easy recipe for an apple compote. I had the ingredients so I thought I would make it. Sometimes it is nice to add something other than syrup to your pancakes.

2 medium apples, diced
¼ cup of sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tbsp cornstarch
Dash of sea salt
½ tsp lemon juice
1 cup water

Place the diced apples in a saucepan. Add the other ingredients, except the water, and stir over medium heat. Cook until the mixture becomes thick and the apples are soft. Slowly add in the water a littleat a time, allowing the mixture to thicken. Add enough of the water to make sauce the consistency that will run over the edge of pancakes.

Instead of sugar I added agave nectar and instead of cornmeal I added rice flour. It did the trick, however, the agave and water made it a little runny so I may have had to add a little more rice flour than the recipe called for.

gluten free apple compote pancakes gluten free jacksonville

Everything was delicious! The pancakes were thick and hearty and VERY filling while the compote was light and perfectly sweet. One thing, I may peel the apples next time. I made a huge batch of these and was able to freeze them in individual serving size zip lock bags. I grabbed a bag each morning this week to warm up when I got to work. Because of the protein in the quinoa it held me over until right at lunch time.

bobs gluten free pancakes quinoa apple compote gluten free jacksonville

What is your favorite Sunday tradition?

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Goodbye Gluten Wraps

goodbye gluten wraps gluten free jacksonvilleRecently I was asked by the makers of Goodbye Gluten Wraps to try out their plain and multigrain gluten-free wraps.  I usually just purchase corn tortillas to make wraps or tacos since they are usually pretty cheap and easy to find at any store.  However, I guess there are times you need to make a larger wrap and these would come in handy because they are very similar to regular flour tortillas.

goodbye gluten free wraps gluten free jacksonville

Unlike many gluten free baked goods, there is no need to refrigerate.  However, after a few days the tortillas became a little dry and broke apart when I tried to fold them.

goodbye gluten wraps recipe gluten free jacksonville

I decided to make a wrap with ground turkey, some fresh veggies (squash, greens, edamame and tomatoes) with an asian inspired sauce that consisted of a mixture of garlic, olive oil, gluten-free soy sauce, and ginger.

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The outcome was quite delicious, however, you can see where the wrap broke apart a little when it was folded.  The tortilla tastes great so I didn’t mind that it broke apart a bit. I began wrapping with tin foil so it helped the wrap stay together.  Each wrap was 150 calories. That is a little high considering 2 corn tortillas are around 80-90 calories for both.

I also tried the multigrain wrap and it was much less dry and easier to fold.
goodbye gluten multigrain wrapI liked the flavor of both but being able to fold the wrap and hold it in my hand with out it falling apart gave the multigrain flour tortilla an advantage. I didn’t try steaming or heating the wraps in the pan, perhaps that may have helped the plain wrap become a little more malleable. The multigrain tortillas have about 160 calories. Both have great flavor though.

*Update: These wraps can be found at Publix.

Do you have a favorite alternative to bread or tortillas?

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Product Review: J. William Culinary Prepared Meals

I discovered J. William Culinary about two weeks ago when the Chef, Jay, commented on my Facebook post abut Ovinte. I went online to check them out and discovered they make meals in perfect portion sizes and specialize in fresh ingredients. They also have gluten free, dairy free and vegan offerings. I was intrigued and reached out to Jay to see if I could try some of their meals and share with my gluten-free friends. I was pleasantly surprised when they called saying they would deliver 5 meals for me to try.  My boyfriend helped out with the tasting, however, he is the easiest person to cook for. He likes EVERYTHING!

After learning about J. William Culinary I reviewed their website and  Facebook page; I seem to be living in the dark ages. They have been around for months and this is the first I have heard of them. Here is what I know of them from their website and Facebook page:

What They Offer: Wraps, protein bars, and meals for lunch or dinner (chicken, beef, fish, meatballs).

Nutrition: The wraps and protein bar are 240 calories, the fish entrees 300, chicken entrees 440, beef entrees and turkey meatballs 500, and the pork entrees are 480.  They only use lean meats and don’t use dairy, so everything is low fat. Everything is gluten-free except the beef meatballs and wraps. They use no refined sugars, only honey, on occasion.  And, there is no salt added to the meals. Everything is between 35-45 grams of protein, 25-40 grams for carbs, low fat and dairy-free.

Price: Meals range from $4 (protein bars, snacks, wraps) to $10 (Mayport Shrimp). Most are $6.50. They have free delivery to all of Jacksonville within the Duval County Limits, Monday through Friday for orders of $100 or more. For orders of less than $100, there is a $5 delivery charge. The ingredients containing gluten (couscous, bread crumb, wraps) are stored separately from other materials.

Preparation: The meals are fully cooked and vacuum-sealed. They can be microwaved for 2 minutes or simmered in water for 10 minutes to reheat. The meals are typically delivered fresh (unfrozen), but because of the vacuum sealing, they freeze very well. They will remain good in your freezer for at least six months. J. William culinary can arrange for meals to be frozen and left in a cooler for you or they can deliver them to your work.

Menu: The menu changes weekly, typically on Friday. Here is a link to the most recent menu.

Location: If you want to pick up your meal at their store, the address is: 2103 San Marco Blvd., Jacksonville, Florida.  Their phone number is (904) 899-2062.

In the news: http://www.news4jax.com/news/Gourtmet-meals-on-the-go/-/475880/18561440/-/h8hpjuz/-/index.html

The meals I tried included:

Roasted Turkey Breast with Spiced Butternut Squash and Corn Black Bean Salsa

This meal was amazing.  I am a salt addict, but, I held off on adding more salt so I could enjoy the freshness of this dish.  I love squash and it was sweet but not too sweet.  It came with two generous slices of turkey.  It was so tender I didn’t even need a knife.  The salsa added a nice touch and there were green beans for some extra added veggies.  I cooked this for 2 minutes in the microwave after making a small hole at the top. It came out piping hot. I couldn’t believe how much food fit into the plastic packet.

DSCN1515

DSCN1519

This is how it came out of the bag.  Seriously.  I did nothing to move the food around.  I cut the top off and I just slid the food out and it looked this good!  This paired nicely with a glass of Vinho Verde, my new favorite spring wine!prepared gluten free meals turkey with corn salsa J. William Culinary

Seared Chicken Breast with Spiced Sweet Potatoes and Spinach Cashew Pesto

The cashew pesto really stole the show.  Normally pesto has cheese in it, however, since his meals are dairy-free this is a vegan alternative to a cheese pesto.  The chicken and sweet potato flavors all worked together so nicely.  I took a nice bite of the chicken, sweet potato and some green beans and the flavors took my breath away.  This was my favorite dish out of the five.
prepared gluten free meals seared chicken breast  J. William Culinary

prepared gluten free meals seared chicken breast  J. William Culinary

Braised Chicken Thighs with Red Potatoes with Lime Garlic Sauce:

I was in a hurry when I needed these.  I had these stored in the freezer and didn’t feel comfortable putting it straight in the microwave so I stuck it in boiling water for about 15 minutes.  It came out great.  This was probably my second favorite.  I loved the chicken.  The flavors were fantastic, I really thought there was going to be a problem with no salt added.  The chicken and potatoes went so well together.

Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of the prepared dish.  But believe me it looked good!!!prepared gluten free meals seared chicken breast  J. William Culinary

Seared Chicken Breast, Spiced Black Beans with Charred Tomato Salsa.

This one I boiled in water too.  Black beans and salsa is my favorite combo. I eat it A LOT! I liked the chicken thighs a bit better; I just really liked the tenderness of the chicken thighs.  I also felt like this was something I could throw together at home.  But it was good, satisfying and a huge portion.  I can’t believe these are 500 calories!prepared gluten free meals seared chicken breast  J. William Culinary

prepared gluten free meals seared chicken breast  J. William Culinary

Slow Cooked Beef with Grilled Vegetables and Smokey Barbecue Sauce.  

This is a meat lover and/or paleo dream.  There were no potatoes or starch ingredients.  Along with the huge chunks of beef there were huge onions, peppers and zucchini.  You definitely need a knife and some floss on hand.  I kinda wish there were a few more vegetables because I felt that it was A LOT of protein. But it was a very lean cut of beef, I didn’t see one bit of fat.  The flavors were delicious.  In the future I may dress it up with some hot sauce.

prepared gluten free meals slow cooked beef  J. William Culinary

This meal was enjoyed during my lunch hour so excuse the disposable plate :).
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The thing I like best about these meals is they are easy, convenient and the type of meals I would spend an hour or so making at night.  The packaging is not bulky and there is not a lot of waste after preparing these meals.  They were super easy to heat up and you really can’t beat the price. The meals I tried, though not positive, should have fallen into the $6.50 range. For something that is made with fresh ingredients and healthy that is not bad at all.

The one major challenge with celiac disease and eating gluten-free is convenience. Chef Jay has made gluten-free/dairy-free food convenient. I especially like that the store is not too far from work so I can stop by for lunch or on the way home.  I am really looking forward to some of their fish meals.

What do you think?  Have you been here before?  What is your favorite convenient gluten-free food?

*this post was written prior to J. William Culinary being a sponsor of our blog.  The opinions expressed here are my own. This blog post was written in April 2013 and J. William Culinary became a sponsor November 2013.

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Ovinte: Gluten-Free Brunch

ovinte gluten free brunch
Recently I joined some of my friends for brunch at Ovinte Wine Lounge. Ovinte is the new wine bar at the Town Center. It is located in the same space as the old Original Pancake House. It in no way resembles the old space; it feels like a mixture of Napa Valley and New York City. I was excited to try it out because I knew they were gluten-free friendly.


ovinte gluten free brunch town center

They are known for their wine and tapas and only recently started serving brunch on Sundays from 11-4.
ovinte gluten free menu brunch town center

Their brunch menu consists of a varity of breakfast foods from omelets, cheese grits, pancakes, fritattas, platters and lots of yummy stuff. While they don’t have a separate menu, they do have all of their gluten-free items nicely marked on the menu. Some of the highlights included:ovinte gluten free brunch town center chocolate covered baconchocolate bacon (not sure if this is gluten-free)
ovinte gluten free brunch town center

the salmon/lox platter, (gluten-free without crustini)

ovinte gluten free brunch town center Frittata Giorno- (gluten-free). This is what I had. It was delicious. I was tempted to get the gluten-free pancake; it is on the menu as a throwback to the Original Pancake House.
ovinte gluten free brunch town center

Sunday Brunch also features $20 bottles of Prosecco with orange juice or cranberry juice. Perfect for sharing with your friends…
ovinte gluten free brunch town center

Everyone that was at our table loved their food. I was very envious of the Salmon platter, I think I am getting that next time without the crustinis. Ovinte has thought of every detail. I just love their glasses for wine and for water. The water glasses are actually the bottom of wine bottles. They are so cool!

They have an inside and outside space. Both include places to lounge on a couch with a glass of wine or sit at a table. Both have a totally different feel to them. We sat outside during brunch because the weather was so nice. The view is not much to be desired because you are looking at other buildings in the mall, however they have it designed really nicely; there are shrubs that give the feeling you aren’t in a big mall and they have a Bocce ball court. Kinda reminds me of lazy summer days on the beach. Their prices are reasonable and the portion sizes are under control. I definitely recommend this place for a gluten-free brunch. And though I have yet to try their tapas I have a feeling they are pretty good too.

Have you been here yet?  If so what have you tried?
Ovinte on Urbanspoon

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Gluten-free Pizza in Jacksonville: Your Pie

gluten free pizza your pie fleming islandThere is a new gluten-free pizza place in Fleming Island, it is called Your Pie. Headquartered in Athens, GA this franchise is a cross between a fancy Subway and Mellow Mushroom. You actually stand in line and tell them what you want on your pizza and then they cook it in the brick oven pizza and have it out to you at your table within 10 minutes (give or take a few). gluten free pizza your pie fleming islandYour Pie is based on the concept that we don’t all like the same toppings on our pizza so instead of compromising on toppings you can order your own. All of the pizzas are personal size,10 inches, and, according to founder Drew French, most are under 700 calories. For the indecisive diner, they also have some “favorites” on their menu you can choose from..

My favorite part about Your Pie is that they offer gluten-free and dairy-free options. Many of their sauces and toppings are gluten-free and they offer a gluten-free crust made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. They also take necessary precautions to avoid cross contamination. The concept of Your Pie was inspired by a trip founder Drew French took with his wife during their honeymoon to the island of Ischia in Italy.

gluten free pizza your pie fleming island

Owner, Drew French shared the precautions they take for people with food allergies. They take 2 different approaches to gluten-free. If someone comes in without a severe gluten-free allergy they will just make it with gluten-free crust but process it on the same line with the other pizzas. If someone comes in and notifies them that they have a severe allergy (celiac, etc.) the staff will change their gloves and the pizza will be made in the back.. To avoid cross contamination in the brick oven they prepare the gluten-free pizzas in a special metal tin to avoid cross contamination (like in the photo above).

gluten free pizza your pie fleming islandThere is a $2.50 up charge on gluten-free pizza crust, however it still only comes out to around $10.

The atmosphere is lively and energetic and it is family friendly.  But don’t fear- they still serve wine and beer in this family friendly environment.  They also have free wifi- sweet!  In addition to this location the franchise owner Mike Sims plans to open three other locations, one of which is scheduled to open in Tapestry Park in June.

gluten free pizza your pie fleming island

The Lineage Pizza. This one can be ordered from their favorites menu. It includes traditional marinara sauce, mozzarella, green bell peppers, black and green olives, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and sausage. There were a TON of ingredients on this pizza. gluten free pizza your pie fleming island
My favorite is the BBQ Chicken gluten-free and dairy free pizza. It was tangy with a nice flavor boost of fresh cilantro. I am a HUGE cilantro fan. In addition to chicken, BBQ sauce and cilantro they also added red onions. I really don’t have much to compare this pizza to besides Mellow Mushroom, since there are not many gluten-free and dairy-free pizza places. I really liked the fact that Your Pie makes all of their own sauces. The flavors of the sauce and gluten-free crust blended well together. I didn’t need to add salt or any other seasonings. The crust is thin and chewy and I loved it!

Even though I failed to get a picture of it The Nat is one of their most popular favorites. The ingredients include fresh basil pesto sauce, mozzarella, feta, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and grilled chicken.

My only concern is cross contamination with-in the facility. Even though they prepare the pizza in the back, those with severe allergies should proceed with caution and make sure to notify the staff of your severe allergy. I didn’t have an immediate reaction, however everyone responds differently.


Almost all of their sauces and ingredients are gluten-free. However the meatballs contain bread crumbs so they are not gluten-free. They have a full link on their site dedicated to their allergy information. Check it out.

gluten free pizza your pie fleming island

In addition to pizzas they also serve paninis, salads, sorbet and gelato. The sorbet is gluten-free and dairy free and when I was there the favors were lemon, raspberry, and blood orange. From what I have heard the sea salt caramel gelato is pretty amazing. Other flavors of gelato they usually have include Tiramisu and Butterfinger. The gelato is made with milk instead of cream so it has less fat and more flavor than ice cream..

gluten free pizza your pie fleming island
I tried the raspberry sorbet. It was AWESOME.

I am excited that Jacksonville is getting another gluten-free pizza place that really cares about providing a safe product for those of us with gluten issues. Is this some place you would try with your family?

Your Pie on Urbanspoon

Your Pie- Fleming Island
1545 County Road 220, Suite #125
Fleming Island, FL 32003
(904) 375-9771

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Gluten-Free Running

gluten free jacksonville running

Last month I ran the Donna Breast Cancer Half Marathon. I have run half marathons before, however, I had not run one since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I started noticing a difference in my energy levels about 1 year before my diagnosis while running. I would just feel so tired during and after running.  Now that I have my Celiac disease under control (some-what) I have started running again and it feels great. Whenever I am feeling sluggish or moody from being glutenated, a run almost always helps me feel better.

gluten free jacksonville running
I felt amazing after the Donna. Ok, I felt sore on Monday and Tuesday afterwards but nothing out of the ordinary. I really tried hard to prep correctly the week of. I took some steps prior to the race that helped me so I thought I would share with the hopes that you will share some with me!

  • Find a training program that fits you. I cannot run more than 3 times a week. I am 5 feet 11 and my body just can’t take running two days in a row. There are a ton of resources online to help you come up with a training program. I like programs that include a little speed work one day and cross training on other days. I like to do Yoga once a week while I am training for a long race, it helps strengthen and stretch muscles that get overused during long runs.
  • Avoid eating at new restaurants up to 2 weeks before the race. Try to make as many meals at home so that your body is healthy and stores up energy prior to the race. I can always tell when I have had gluten from cross contamination, the run is extremely hard and I feel terrible afterwards
  • Hydrate with water and sports drinks 2-4 days before the race.
  • The Day Before:  No alcohol; drink plenty of water and sports drinks;  Carbo-load (gluten-free of course) early in the day; layout your outfit; set out your race number and put the safety pins already on the number to make pinning it on easy; make a music playlist that keeps you motivated while runninggluten free jacksonville running
  • Day of:  Get up no less than 3 hours before race time; drink 16 ounces of water right when you wake up; eat foods you are familiar with (I like a banana and peanut butter toast). I think the goal is around 300 calories 2 hours before race time. Try to eat and drink with plenty of time to use the restroom (#1 and #2) before you leave and leave with plenty of time to get to the race – traffic is almost always an issue arriving at races.
  • During the run: Have fun- talk to people cheering; give high fives to spectators; take pictures of your surroundings; take water breaks at every single water station to help you stay hydrated and give yourself a little break; listen to your body and walk if you want to; set a goal for you not someone else; and start slow- real slow.
  • After the run: Stretch and cool down- ice bath optional; Enjoy the free beer (I have never seen gluten-free beer) or champagne at the end of the run
  • Don’t forget: Congratulate yourself!  You did it!  Smile!  There is no better feeling than finishing a race you trained months for.  No one can take away the fact you set a goal and achieved it.
  • A few site links that have offered me help:
    a. Jeff Galloway
    b. Healthy Tipping Point
    c. Runners world

This weekend I am running the Gate River Run. Are you? Do you do any of these things to prepare? What are some of your tricks and tips?

Congratulations to Lindsay for winning the Tuttorosso Giveaway!

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