Tag Archives: happy gluten free

Native Sun Jacksonville

gluten free jacksonville native sunThis past month, I had the opportunity to meet with Native Sun Natural Foods Market to discuss their celiac safe bakery, gluten-free product vetting, and more. As background, Native Sun opened its first grocery store in Jacksonville over twenty years ago. Since then, it has grown to three neighborhood stores and is known around town for its all organic produce selection, health minded and organic deli, delicious juice and smoothie bar, and the best celiac friendly bakery in town. They are truly Jacksonville’s neighborhood grocer!

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native Sun

Whether you were recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease or are trying to prepare a gluten free meal for a friend or family member, I highly recommend making a trip to Native Sun. After meeting with their team, I really believe that they are the number one resource in the JAX community for products and tips on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle. Ginny Nehring, who is Native Sun’s Manager of Research and Education, is just one of the many resources available to you when shopping at Native Sun. Ever since her middle son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease twenty years ago, Ginny has been researching gluten-free products and spearheading Celiac Disease community education around Jacksonville. I admire Ginny for her dedication to our community and the 1:1 time she spends with newly diagnosed gluten-free families. One of the services she offers at Native Sun is hosting tours to those newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Tours can include education on Native Sun’s color coded in-store labeling, recommending some of her favorite products, and can provide much needed comfort to those who are trying to navigate a new lifestyle and diet. Ginny shared with me that people often hear, “Celiac Disease” and fear that they can never eat their favorite foods again like pizza, pasta, or cake. When she walks them through the aisles and shows them donuts, fritters, muffins, pizza crust, pasta and breads that are celiac safe, it can open a whole new world of enjoyable options!

Native Sun’s new product vetting process is also impressive. As the Manager of Research and Education, Ginny contacts every single gluten-free product manufacturer and researches their cross-contamination practices. As a result, Native Sun will not label a product gluten-free unless it has passed a rigorous process that ensures it is Celiac safe. Ginny shared that some products will be labeled by the manufacturer as “gluten-free” but after researching cross contamination practices, Native Sun will discover that they do not meet their gluten-free labeling standards.

It was Ginny’s idea to create the dedicated gluten-free bakery at Native Sun. She had perfected many of the recipes in her home for her son and wanted to share them with the community. It’s important to mention that when I say, “gluten-free bakery,” I mean 100% gluten free Celiac safe bakery—it’s dedicated gluten-free. Their bakery items include my favorite oatmeal cream pie made with purity protocol oatmeal, carrot cake, banana bread, and even a pecan pie.

In addition to what we put in our body, I had the opportunity to talk to Ginny about the cosmetics and skincare products that we often use. Ginny shared with me that we need to be concerned about the cosmetics we put on our skin and in our hair. One of her favorite products is a skincare line called Derma E—all items are gluten free. After our meeting, I tried one of the Derma-E face serums and absolutely loved it! I had to get used to the sunscreen type consistency, but it has done wonders for smoothing out my skin! Ginny assured me that not all their products share that consistency!

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native SunSome of the items Ginny shared with me that I really want to highlight are these new Udi’s bread you do not need to toast! This is a game changer!

Lastly, I compiled some of my favorite gluten-free items that are available at Native Sun! If you are looking to set up a meeting with Ginny you can contact the store by phone and request a store tour or stop by and complete a Product Knowledge Enhancement Tour form and she will contact you, usually within 24 hours to set up a time to meet with you at your convenience.

Italian night! This gluten-free pasta tastes just like the real thing and the recipe for Manicotti is already on the box! The pasta is made in Italy. I also suggest pairing the cheesy bites. You might even trick your gluten eating friends.

Gluten Free Jacksonville Native SunMexican is the easiest to eat gluten-free and you can feel safe doing it at Native Sun even this margarita mix is safe!

Have you been to Native Sun? Have you ever taken one of Ginny’s tours?

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Gluten Free Delights

Recently, Kristy Luschen the owner of Gluten Free Delights Florida reached out to me about trying some of her gluten-free desserts.  She recently started her gluten-free dessert company and wants to get the word out to those following a gluten-free diet as well as restaurants who are looking for a gluten-free option at their restaurant.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Kristy brought me a strawberry cream cake, chocolate cake with salted caramel frosting, and a cheesecake topped with dark chocolate.  They sounded (and looked) delicious! Since her desserts also have dairy (I am dairy free too) I had to rely on my go-to taste tester: my husband!

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Kristy went gluten-free a while back when she thought she may have had gluten-sensitivity or Celiac Disease.  During that time she experimented with different gluten-free desserts and other recipes. While her kitchen is not designated gluten-free she makes every effort to clean, make sure all gluten-containing ingredients are out of sight and avoid cross contamination.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delights Chocolate salted caramel

My husband found this one tasty- the icing had a salty taste which really balanced out the chocolate cake.  The cake could be a little bit more moist (this is always a challenge with gluten-free cakes) or just pair with a glass of milk or add a bit more icing 🙂 He loved the flavor of the icing.

gluten free jacksonville gluten free delightsStrawberry Cream Cake
This was my husband’s favorite so far and overall.  He said it was SO GOOD. My husband stated that it reminded him of the strawberry cake that they have at French Pantry that is so delicious.  It has a nice fruity creamy strawberry taste and has real strawberry chunks.  My husband said it tasted really fresh.

Chocolate cheesecake

While my husband is not typically a cheesecake fan he said the cheesecake and graham cracker flavors tasted amazing together. I know as far as gluten-free options go it is usually quite hard to find a good graham cracker crust. It was so tasty it may not even need the chocolate part or maybe a little less.

I highly recommend that you try out Gluten Free Delights. Visit her website and place an order. It is always nice to support local people trying to do good things in our community. And no matter what diet you are on you always need to allow a splurge every now and then. For more information visit her Facebook page: Gluten Free Delights on Facebook

What are your favorite desserts? So you normally order gluten-free dessert if it is available? Who has the best gluten-free dessert?

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Celiac Support Group; Jacksonville, FL

jacksonville celiac support group gluten free jacksonville

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead

Newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease? Have you been living with Celiac Disease and want to share some of your experiences of living gluten- free?  Then join the Celiac Support Group of Jacksonville.

The support group is very informal and is a way for fellow friends living with celiac disease to get together and share ideas on where and how to maintain our gluten-free diets. Or you can just commiserate on how frustrating the diet can be at times. We all understand. If you need more information, you can e-mail Mark Basch at basch.mark@gmail.com.

The Celiac Support Group of Jacksonville meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6:00pm at the offices of Windsor Assisted Living and Memory Care Welcome Center at 6331 Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 7 (in a strip mall alongside a Target store, just north of NAS Jax.)

Upcoming meetings:

September 17th at 6:00pm
October 15th at 6:00pm
November 19th at 6:00pm
December 17th at 6:00pm

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My Gluten-Free Trip to Target

gluten free items at target

I am hesitant to write this post, for fear the shelves will be emptied, but it is my duty to share this with you. Today during a quick trip to Target off Marsh Landing Parkway I found some very reasonably priced gluten-free items. I typically like to make everything myself, but occasionally I need a quick option. Here is what I got and how much I spent.

gluten free jacksonille evol burritos

I found evol. burritos (Love backwards, how cute) in the frozen foods section and each individually wrapped burrito was only $2. These are delicious. However, they are best paired with a little salsa because they can come out a little dry.

gluten free jacksonville belgian style cider wood chuck
I found a Belgian White cider by WoodChuck. This is the first I have seen of this cider and with Labor Day approaching, I had to try it. This is not a deal, a six pack was $9.49.

gluten free jacksonville vans gluten free waffles
It is hard to find Van’s Waffles for under $3.50 but I found them for $2.99. I love these waffles; they are the closest to the real thing I have found.

gluten free jacksonville vans gluten free waffles
Thai Kitchen noodle dishes are so delicious for a quick lunch option. Occasionally I will add extra veges or some chicken to it for an extra kick. I usually see these in the $4 range. At Target only $2.34.

Thank you Target! I hope this is just the beginning!

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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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Sweet Theory Baking Co.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville
Today, after being told over and over to check this place out, I finally made my way to Sweet Theory Baking Company.  Sweet Theory Baking Company is a bakery near the heart of the Park and King District near Little Five Points/Riverside area. It is located between Park and Post on King not far from where you can get a gluten-free beer at Kickbacks or Beer:30.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleI was greeted by the cutest little store front on a chilly yet sunny day. I went during my lunch hour so I did not have time to linger long. I quickly found the items designated with a (GF) on them and was overwhelmed with the options.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleI asked the manager what she thought the most popular items were and she pointed me in the direction of doughnuts, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches and whoopee pies. All of these items came gluten-free except the doughnuts. I was a little sad, I have heard so much about these doughnuts but my mind was put to ease when the manager explained that the owner (and head baker) was still working on the right recipe. Good enough for me.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleIn addition to the cakes and cookies and such, I noticed that they had some gluten-free savory garlic and herb biscuits. I can’t tell you the last time I had a biscuit. I decided to try that and a cookie sandwich.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville
The place was a bit quiet, it was a Wednesday during lunch time.  I decided to enjoy my gluten-free garlic and herb biscuit in a cozy spot near the front windows and just chill. They had warmed the biscuit up for me and put on some soy free earth balance vegan butter.  The biscuit was so satisfying. The consistency was different than a real biscuit, but the taste was awesome. It was flaky and at times crumbly, but not dry (definitely a mess to eat if you are on the go.) This southern girl was happy (can we get a gf/df biscuits and gravy?:)).

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville

So I guess I should have eaten a real lunch before my visit, because after the biscuit I was wanting more. So I dug into the chocolate chip sandwich and before I knew it had eaten almost half. Very moist, chewy and HUGE.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville

While the biscuit was not a regular on the menu, the cookie sandwich is along with numerous gluten-free cupcake flavors from peach to root beer.  In addition they had blueberry and raspberry flavored muffins as well.

As I was finishing up my biscuit and half of the cookie sandwich the manager explained that they also make ice cream (they only have vanilla for now, more flavors to come as the weather warms up) and they make a special treat called a Brooklyn Egg Cream which she described as a chocolaty and  unique cold beverage.
sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonville
Everything at Sweet Theory Baking Company is egg, dairy, soy and peanut free. They have some items (a lot actually) that are gluten-free and made in a designated gluten-free area with designated utensils. There is absolutely no dairy in this store. Even when ordering coffee (which is local-Bold Bean), your coffee creamer options were almond or rice milk.

sweet theory baking company gluten free jacksonvilleSweet Theory Baking Company’s sweets were delicious. I like them as much as Cookie Momsters. However, Sweet Theory Baking Company offers what I have suggested to Cookie Momsters numerous times, a place to linger. Sweet Theory is a place I could meet up with friends for an afternoon coffee and have a snack. I felt at home and as if I belonged. Sometimes when I leave Cookie Momsters I feel like I am doing something in secret because I go in, order and leave (usually enjoying my treat at the next red light as I drive back to work or home).  I still love you Cookie Momsters but it is nice to have options in different parts of town.  Now my wish is for a gluten-free/dairy-free bakery at the beach…

I will be back Sweet Theory Baking Company. Thank you for a lovely dessert lunch J

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New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I really hope everyone is enjoying special time with family and friends.  I spent the rest of 2012 up in Chicago with my boyfriend’s family.  It is freezing up here but I have also gotten to see some snow so it is worth it.  The food here is great, and I love being in a big city where almost every restaurant we go to is educated on gluten-free.

(If you are ever in the area, Meli’s is one of my favorite breakfast places.)

While 2012 was full of challenges, I also have so much to be thankful for.  As I look forward to 2013 I can’t help but be reminded I still have so much more to learn and I still need to take steps to reduce the amount of times I get sick.  Here are a few of my New Year’s resolutions and wishes:

  1. I hope to be more prepared.  This means relying less on pre-packaged foods and making more of my own foods from scratch.  This also means less meals out and more meals at home.
  2. I wish that more restaurants knew what “gluten-free” means.  Yes, I can have potatoes, no I can’t have soy sauce, no I can’t have fries that have been fried with battered onion rings.
  3. I will have more willpower over sweets.  Perhaps I can incorporate sweets a little every day so I am not so deprived I go and spend $30 at Cookie Momsters.
  4. I want to exercise more.  There are some days I have been glutened, I am tired, grouchy, my stomach doesn’t feel good, but after exercise I feel so much better.

What are your gluten-free New Year’s resolutions?

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