Have you missed me? I have missed you! Whether you noticed or not I had taken a bit of a break. We all need to get away sometimes to focus on other areas of our life and I am happy to report my little break was to plan my wedding to this man!
On Nov 14, 2015 I married my boyfriend of nine years. It was the best day of my life and I am excited to go from Ms to Mrs! It can’t be easy to love someone with Celiac Disease but he does and he is so supportive.
We got married on the beach at the Sawgrass Country Club and had our reception at the Sawgrass Golf Country Club. While our event was not 100% gluten-free I worked with wonderful vendors that could easily accommodate a gluten-free diet. There can be challenges when you are planning events and need to accommodate dietary restrictions without breaking the bank. For instance, a gluten free cake for 180 people can run you close to $3,000 however if you do regular (gluten-containing) cupcakes and pair it with an 8 inch round gluten-free cake you can spend less than $500!
So here are my gluten free vendor successes:
Cake: Sweet ‘N’ Flour gluten-free and dairy-free marble cake with vanilla bean icing. Tiered cupcakes by Publix in Ponte Vedra, FL at Sawgrass Village these had gluten in them and were a huge hit without breaking the bank. We did a mixture of chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and strawberry filling all with white icing shaped like a rose.
Rehearsal dinner catering: Tacolu they do a great job and bring their own decor and it is always a crowd favorite! We had the Carne Asada and Banging Shrimp. Both were gluten-free and corn tortillas were available. Paired with some Margarita’s it was such a festive night!
Bridesmaid luncheon: The Lodge in Ponte Vedra is just beautiful! They can accommodate any dietary needs and their terrace view cannot be beat!
Wedding reception: Sawgrass Golf Country Club we did chicken parmesan for everyone and they were able to make a special dish for those that are gluten-free or have other needs.
We had the best team for our wedding. I seriously loved all of our vendors so much. I highly recommend a day of planner to help you enjoy your day. Other vendors I worked with:
Day of Coordinator: Rhea Harris
Hair: Gerald at True- Blue Hair Studio
Makeup: Kimtasha Pro Makeup Artist
Flowers: Publix Sawgrass Village
Videography: Siberian Pictures, John Wolfe
Photography: Emily Martin Photography
Centerpieces: Rockaway Gardens
Decor: Soulshine Rentals
Ceremony Decor and Rehearsal Dinner: Ambre Goff at Coastal Occasions
Floral: Publix Sawgrass Village Event Planning
Have you had a gluten-free wedding? How did you do it? Who did you work with in the Jacksonville Area?
Lots of exciting things happening and coming soon in the Gluten-Free World in Jax Beach!!!!
Native Sun is Coming September 4th!
Whole Foods is coming in Early 2021 to Pablo Plaza, 1822 S. Third St.
Do you know of any other gluten-free openings soon? I for one am happy that I can get my gluten-free/Dairy-free oatmeal cream pie from Native Sun very soon!
Filed under Events, Shopping
Recently I was asked to review Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs. Let me first start off by saying I LOVE CORN DOGS! I miss them terribly. I especially miss having one at Suns Baseball games. So when I was asked to review a new brand of gluten-free corn dogs I said yes right away.
These are the easiest things to prepare. They only need about 40-50 seconds to heat up. Which makes them a great convenience food when you are in a hurry. They recommend you cook them for 40 seconds but I needed to heat them a little longer because it was cool in a few spots.
These corn dogs are delicious. They are made with honey but there is a subtle sweetness and the hot dog is not too salty, rubbery or dry. The hot dog is actually chicken which makes them relatively healthy. Each corn dog is only 180 calories and 9 grams of fat. Try one with a little mustard it pairs perfectly with the honey taste in the corn dog.
I shared them with my gluten eating mom and dad. It was one of those cool winter afternoons so we paired it with some home made gluten-free chili. My advice: hide them from your gluten eating family because these babies do not taste like they are gluten-free and they will be gone quick.
My dad said: “Tastes like a regular corn dog to me, chewy.”
My mom said: “I like them, I like the consistency. Good flavor. Easy to fix and convenient.”
I am not quite sure where these can be purchased, but once I know I will update this post. I highly recommend these corn dogs based on taste and convenience.
Have you had these before? What are your thoughts?
A new restaurant is in town, Whiskey Jax Kitchen and Cocktails. Located near Baymeadows and 9A their menu includes salads, burgers, seafood and of course Whiskey cocktails. The space is very warm and welcoming and the staff is very friendly. While they do not have a dedicated gluten-free menu at this time, their kitchen staff is knowledgeable of steps to take to avoid cross contamination and they offer gluten-free bread.
I ordered the burger with egg and bacon with a side of their roasted fingerling potato medley and whiskey pickles. I am usually fine ordering a burger without the bun, but since they had gluten-free bread I thought I would give it a try. The burger was HUGE and delicious. I loved the potatoes, the portion wasn’t too large and they were nicely seasoned. Another option for a side, instead of the potatoes is the kale salad. Other menu options that the chef mentioned they could do gluten-free included the Southern Atlantic Salmon, Bourbon Salmon, the Pork Chop, or any of the salads.
Because they don’t have a dedicated gluten-free menu, you need to let the server know of all of your gluten-free needs. They cook their burgers on the flat top, but for the gluten-free burger and the potatoes, they used a separate skillet to help avoid cross contamination. But you have to let your server know prior to ordering.
Some other cool things:
- they have live music most nights during the weekend
- they have a great happy hour Monday-Friday from 5pm-7pm
- they have USB chargers under the bar to charge your phone
- they have a Sunday brunch with bottomless mimosas
- they have a great Old Fashioned
Have you been yet? What do you think?
A few months ago I was invited to the coolest dinner party. Jason, from Fresh Jax, invited me and a guest to attend an all natural, vegan, gluten-free, healthy, delicious food tasting. My good friend Marika joined me for this Vegan deliciousness. My boyfriend had an event that night and honestly I am not sure how long he would have lasted without meat. The dinner was a nice time for she and I to catch up and to oo and ah over cashew cheese and quinoa stuffed red pepper like health food nerds (don’t worry we had some wine to complement our healthy food). Jason, along with his wife Hilary and Chef Johnny Vines created an amazing dinner that was purely plant based and nutrient full.
You may recognize Jason and Hilary (pic above: aren’t they cute? seriously they smile like this all the time), for the past 2 1/2 years they have been frequenting The Riverside Arts Market Downtown and most recently Jaxson’s Night Market the third Thursday of the month Downtown.
They specialize in hot sauce, pastries, spices and most recently they came out with a Quinoa Cookbook. My favorites are the Everything Sauce and Coconut Bacon.
Hilary and Jason met while they were both working in the corporate world as design specialists. Their idea to create Fresh Jax started at their wedding. Their infamous hot sauce was actually a gift to attendees at their wedding. People loved it so much they suggested bottling it. The rest is history. Hilary is also a yoga instructor. Their dream is to open up a storefront where they will have GMO free, gfree and dairy free healthy foods to go Monday thru Friday, a yoga studio and farm to table dinners once a week. Until then, check them out at the Riverside Arts Market or Jaxson’s Night Market. Not only is their food delicious, they are super nice people too.
On November 15th, the first gluten-free expo in Jacksonville will be held at the Hyatt Riverfront in Downtown Jacksonville from 10am-3pm. The event will feature national bloggers, doctors, dietary experts such as:
- Julia McRae: Certified Nutritionist. She herself suffered with Ulcerative Colitis in her youth.
- Desire Anderson: brings 10 years of experience as an outdoor educator and has worked at various camps and educational institutions throughout the nation. She has a wide and adventurous background, in travel, art, woodworking, science education and outdoor, off-grid living and cooking.
- Jen Eccleston: author of the blog “my BIG FAT grain free life” and owner of Jen Tilly Tea. Using humor and quite frankly, crybaby moments, she seeks to deal with food allergies, bowel health and autoimmune disease while retaining her belief that allergen free food really CAN taste delicious.
- Shannon Ford, Mrs. United States 2011, an advocate for Celiac Disease Awareness. After being diagnosed in 2009, it became Shannon’s goal to bring more attention to the illness and advocate for better labeling of our nation’s food supply.
I am really excited that we will have an entire day dedicated to gluten-free. I look forward to learning and sharing ideas around living healthy gluten-free.
Tickets are only $10 for adults and discount tickets for seniors and military. There will be an expo hall where gluten-free and other allergen free items will be available for sample. Participants include some of my favorite brands: Glutino, Udi’s, Enjoy Life and more.
Are you planning to attend? What do you hope to get out of a gluten-free expo?
For more information and to purchase tickets click here…
Our Sponsor, Naturally Smart Frozen Dessert, is continuing to sweeten up the Jacksonville frozen dessert market. Their founder, Mark Patterson, has really been pounding the pavement. I see him everywhere. Usually I run into him at the local coffee shop early in the morning where he is preparing to continue to spread the word about Naturally Smart. Some places you may have seen Naturally Smart:
1. At one of the many tastings they have participated in…
2. Around town in the Naturally-Smart.com van…
3. At Fresh Market, Winn Dixie, Grassroots Market and Whole Foods….
4. On the news…
Naturally Smart a healthy alternative to ice cream | Gatorsports.com
The “SMART” Dessert | One Spark
Naturally Smart frozen dessert | News – Home – News4Jax
Smart People Eat Dessert
Jacksonville Business Journal
We are very excited for Naturally Smart Frozen Dessert. It is nice to see a local “passion” succeed. Have you tried it? What do you think? Check out our previous sponsor post on Naturally Smart.
While I don’t claim to be a book critic I will say this is one book that I’ll be referring to quite a bit. When I was asked to write a review by Christi Silbaugh, author of Mom, What’s for Dinner I must say I was a little skeptical. Living with celiac disease I wondered how could she understand, truly understand, what I would need someone living with Celiac Disease. But after flipping through the first few pages of Gluten-Free Made Easy I could tell she got it!
Gluten-Free Made Easy is a book for all the gluten-free eaters and health enthusiasts everywhere. It is formatted very similar to other gluten-free cook books I have seen. The book helps explain: what is gluten, where is gluten hidden, where do I find gluten ingredients and how can I fit gluten-free into my budget. In addition there are tips and tricks all through the book such as:
- on pg 49: “The Batter Barrier: Gluten-free batter is sometimes thicker, sometimes thinner and always different than traditional batter. It will take time to get accustomed to the texture of gluten-free flours. For now, trust the recipe.”
- on pg 145: “The secret to moist fish. An over cooked fish is a dry fish. It is best to remove the fish from the oven when it’s jucy and has changed color…. if the fish starts to brown… it is probably overdone.”
- on page 6: “Try restaurants with a large number of gluten-free dishes such as Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic cuisines.”
This cookbook is very easy to understand, the directions are simple and many of the ingredients are things I already had around my house. I also like that the recipes don’t rely on hand making everything from scratch with 10-12 different steps. The recipes reference a lot of really good gluten-free products and they seem like great recipes for children on gluten-free diets.
I made the Potatoes Au Gratin (p158) and Dry Rubbed Tilapia (p142). They were DELICIOUS! and I can’t wait to try the Homemade Baked Tater Tots (p73), Italian Sausage Lasagna Cups (p93) and the Cauliflower Pizza Crust (p99).
The pictures are beautiful; at first glance I was immediately hungry. While I love this book I do have a few critiques:
- The calorie and fat counts are not posted and many of the items seem high in fat and calories.
- Since many people are gluten-free and dairy-free it would have been nice to include some dairy substitute ideas.
- It would be nice to see the overall preparation times at the top so people can pick recipes based on time allotted (It took close to 1 and a half hours to prepare the Potatoes Au Gratin).
The book is available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Books and Things. I recommend it for you and your family.
With much anticipation, Earth Fare is now open in Jacksonville, FL. A cross between Whole Foods, Native Sun and Grassroots Natural Market, this Asheville North Carolina native is FULL of gluten-free options. Here are some of my highlights:
Meat and Seafood: They provide humane meats and keep smaller quantities on hand and order more frequently so that meats and seafood stay fresh. They source their meats and sea food from all over the world but are looking to reach out to local seafood and meat sources.
Family Meal Night: Every Thursday from 4-8pm up to six kids eat free with one adult dinner purchase (only $5) and they will prepare gluten-free meals for your family.
Gluten free Goods: They have distributed gluten-free goods throughout the store rather than having all gluten-free items in one aisle. Look for wood grained shelves and the gluten-free signs. These shelves are HUGE, it is not just one column and one row of gluten-free goods it is rows and columns of gluten-free goodness. They even have some local gluten-free items such as FreshJax hot sauce and Sweet Pete’s. The prices for gluten-free items vary.
Local 100: Look for the signs that say Local 100 this means that the produce came within 100 miles.
Gfree makeup: They have two different brands of gluten-free make up that are also vegan.
Specializing in REAL FOOD, we think Earth Fare is going to be a huge hit. They do their best to avoid foods that contain antibiotics; artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, fats; high fructose corn syrup and bromated or bleached flour. We can’t wait to make this a part of our regular shopping routine.
GIVEAWAY: Thank you for your comments about your favorite gluten-free brand. We have picked a winner and will announce soon.
Join me as we welcome the newest gluten-free pizza joint, V Pizza (not V’s Pizza or Five Pizza just V Pizza). I have been driving by this place constantly wondering what was going on. Not long after seeing the sign “Opening Soon” I got a message from an old high school friend who is now one of the owners, Rudy Theale, wanting me to talk to him and his staff about living gluten-free. I was very impressed about his commitment to doing gluten-free right. When asked to come and take a tour and do a tasting I thought, why not!
With a focus on fresh ingredients V Pizza is taking the gluten-free pizza business seriously. They taste tested multiple gluten free pizza dough products before deciding on their final crust. They were looking for something that had a great taste but would be easy to keep the customer with serious allergies (celiac like me) safe. The pizza dough comes in a metal tin so that the pizza can be cooked in along with the other pizzas without touching the same surface as gluten-containing pizzas. In addition to pizzas, their menu will feature gluten-free desserts and a baked chicken dish. There is a $1-$2 additional charge for gluten-free pizzas.
When I went for the tasting a few weeks ago I was quickly introduced to the kitchen prep team. One of the team members was the chef who has the most wonderful Italian accent. He was really proud of his product and was eager to show me the separate gluten-free area where the pizzas were prepared. They use separate utensils (including the pizza cutter) from the gluten-containing pizzas. Almost all of their ingredients and toppings are gluten-free, including their meatballs. On most menus meatballs are off limits because bread crumbs are one of secret ingredients. At V Pizza, their recipe does not call for bread crumbs. He immediately made a meatball pizza with mozzarella, oregano and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Because I am also dairy-free I had some helpers on hand from Liz Morgan PR taste test for me. They were impressed by how great it tasted and couldn’t believe it was gluten-free.
Next the chef made me a meatball pizza, no cheese and lots of veggies. It was AMAZING! I wanted to eat the whole thing right there but had to play it cool and box it up to take home (don’t tell anyone but I had a slice in the car on the ride home :)).
They are taking multiple steps to avoid cross contamination: educating their staff, separating gluten-containing items in the prep area behind a glass enclosure, using separate utensils and making the gluten-containing dough in a separate room limiting its ability to contaminate the gluten-free pizzas.
I think they will do well. The location is convenient, the space is in an old paint store and they have a cool bar in the back called The Side Car where they are mixing up fresh cocktails and I heard they make a mean Lemon-cello. I can’t wait to go back.
Address: 1406 Hendricks Ave. Jacksonville (San Marco), FL 32207 904.527.1511