Tag Archives: living gluten free

Amazing Foods For Health Pancakes and Cinnamon Raisin Cookies

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes and cookies

On a lazy Sunday I decided to do some gluten-free baking. Recently Amazing Foods For Health sent me gluten-free pancakes and gluten-free oatmeal raisin cookie mix. While I try not to eat too many carbs and processed foods, after running the Gate River Run I had a few extra calories to spare and my husband absolutely loves oatmeal raisin cookies so I had a willing assistant to help with the taste testing.
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

Gluten Free Pancakes

I started the morning with some pancakes. The ingredients were easy and things that I almost always have on hand.  Nothing is more annoying than weird ingredients that I have to make a special trip to the grocery store for. gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

We are dairy-free as well we we used So Delicious almond milk instead of regular milk and added in some extra flax seed for added fiber.gluten free jacksonville so delicous almond milk

The pancakes batter came out thicker than I usually make so I added in some water .gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

I followed the instructions on the box and they still came out pretty thick but they cooked really nicely and were delicious! I paired it with some turkey bacon and a cup of coffee and it was a nice little breakfast!

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods pancakes

Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

While I had the mixing bowl out I figured I would go ahead and make the cookies too! Again the ingredients were easy and the only real pre-planning was to leave the butter out to soften.

gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

I used Earth Balance instead of regular butter. gluten free jacksonville earth balance
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

While the box stated that it made 30 cookies this batch only made 18 cookies and take note they don’t get much bigger than the size they are when you put on the cookie sheet.  Also they came out a little dry, I may substitute coconut oil instead of the Earth Balance next time so they come out a little more chewy.  But they were delicious and I can honestly say that half of the plate below was gone within 10 minutes!
gluten free jacksonville amazing foods oatmeal raisin cookies

All in all they were both delicious.  I don’t think you would even notice that they are gluten-free.  They cooked easy and tasted so yummy. Looks like the only place to purchase these items in Jacksonville is the Walmart Supercenter on San Pablo Road S.

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Gluten-Free Dining in Italy

In November of 2015 my husband and I went to Italy on our honeymoon.  Everyone thought I was crazy going to Italy with Celiac Disease.  There is pasta, bread, pizza EVERYWHERE.  So I did a little research and it turns out every child is tested for Celiac Disease by the time they turn one.  Food is such an important part of their lifestyle that it is in their law that every restaurant has to accommodate a gluten-free diet.

It didn’t matter where we went they always had gluten-free pasta, crackers, meats, cheeses or veggies to choose from.  If you were really lucky you got bread or PIZZA!

We ate a lot more than this but here are a few of my gluten-free Italian favorites. Oh and by the way, yes I know my husband is the cutest :):

Florence, Italy: 
gluten free jacksonville italy vino trallalla

Cacio Vino Trallalla

This is the Italian dream restaurant.  Reservations are definitely recommended there are only 4 tables.  The owners speak a good amount of English and they have a small menu each day.  We shared the worlds largest plate of meat and then my husband had lasagna (not gluten-free) and I had steak with truffle oil. It was so wonderful!  We didn’t want this meal to end so we decided to stick around for an after dinner sweet wine.

gluten free jacksonville italy la giostraLa Giostra

This place came highly recommended by locals and other travelers.  They are known for their Florentine Steak.  We went at lunch so I think we missed the liveliness that this place offers.  We enjoyed steak, a delicious meat plate and wonderful local veggies.  I particularly liked that they gave us a welcome glass of prosecco.

Ciro and Sons

This was our first gluten-free pizza experience in Italy and it was awesome. The restaurant had many gluten-free options and they were very knowledgeable about what I could have and what I could not have.  They had cozy outside seating which was great for people watching. We were a little late to lunch but they were very welcoming (in Italy locals never eat lunch after 2pm).

gluten free jacksonville italy lucca

Lucca

We just loved this cozy quiet little town.  1 hour from Florence and next door to Pisa, it is quaint and a great place to rent bikes and tour the city.  We love riding bikes so this was right up our alley. But before biking we stopped for a bite to eat.

gluten free jacksonville italy lucca buca di sant antonio

Buca di Sant’Antonio

This place had some of the best pasta!  My husband had fresh hand made tortellini that we watched being made by two non-English speaking Italian women (not gluten-free).   I was able to have some gluten-free crackers and a delicious gluten-free pasta dish that was to die for.  This restaurant was very romantic, candles, low light and very warm and cozy.  It was a chilly and rainy day and this was a nice little respite tucked away off a side street.

Montepulciano

DSCN2980You must stay at La Locanda San Francesco in Montepulciano and you must eat at Osteria Acquacheta when you go to Montepulciano.  I absolutely loved this town and the views from our room.  There are many wine bars and restaurants in the area that you can visit but you can’t miss Osteria Aquacheta.

12285816_10207331507982586_1593787768_ngluten free jacksonville italy montepulciano osteria aquachetaOsteria Aquacheta

This place is known for their owner and for huge pieces of steak (oh and they only give you one glass for wine or water). While steak is their main focus they have great sides including pasta dishes.  They actually searched to see if they had gluten-free pasta but they had run out so I settled for some yummy fresh veggies. Their menu is small and changes with the season. There are two dinner seatings each night and reservations are a must.  We got a huge steak to split, some fresh veggies, apples and pecorino cheese and a $6 liter of Un Bottella de Vino Rosso de la casa (a bottle of House Red Wine we said this a lot). We lingered a little to finish our wine and watched the cross table conversations and the staff sitting to enjoy a family style meal at the end of the night.

Montalcino

gluten free jacksonville italy montalcino castello banfiBanfi Winery:

A friend of ours coordinated a tour of Banfi Winery during our Honeymoon.  Following the tour we decided to stay for lunch at their restaurant and enjoy a tasting of their wines.  They too had gluten-free pasta offerings.  This was probably the nicest meal we had the entire trip and one of the tastiest. We had a lot of dishes with Wild Boar in them in the Tuscany Region.  While it sounded odd it was actually quite delicious.  It looked like ground beef but had a richer flavor to it that wasn’t too gamey.

Rome

gluten free jacksonville italy mama eatMama Eat!

This is gluten-free heaven located in my favorite part of Rome: Trastavere! I encourage you to walk around after eating this is such a neat part of Rome.  They have pizza, pasta, beers you name it they have it gluten-free.  They speak great English and it is a very fun lively place.  They even made gluten-free bruschetta for us which was the only place I could get bruschetta and it was awesome; olive oil dripped everywhere! My husband was very impressed with their beer selection too; I had him drinking way too much wine.

gluten free jacksonville italy soffitta renovatioLa Soffitta Renovatio

This was my very favorite gluten-free pizza in Italy. The toppings were fresh and the sauce was to die for.  It was very easy to find gluten-free pasta, but pizza was always a challenge. It is located very close to the Vatican so we went in prior to our tour since it takes an entire day pretty much to see everything at the museums and the Basilica.  This is a nice gem in quite a touristy area.  It is a bit hard to find but well worth it.

12306007_10207346704802497_604099692_n La Carbonara

This place was tucked away in a locals-only area not far from the Colosseum.  They actually discourage TripAdvisor reviews, they want to stay a place for locals only.  Even though we were not locals they were very friendly but do not go if you are in a hurry.  Do not go to any restaurant and sit down and expect to be in a hurry. It was recommended to us by another local restaurant as a place to get gluten-free pasta.  I got the Carbonara Pasta and it was so good- it was made with egg, pancetta, olive oil, and garlic   SO GOOD!

gluten free jacksonville italy rome taverna trilussaTaverna Trilussa

This was our last dinner in Italy. It was wonderful.  They were more than accommodating.  They make their pasta in individual pans so I didn’t have to worry about cross contamination and we had the most amazing roasted artichokes. They were soo good. We ate so much food here and we went to aperitivo before hand.  You will need to make reservations and try to have your hotel do it because they gave us an early dinner time because we were American.  We were fine with eating late.  Most Italians don’t eat until around 9.

Other  tips:

Travel Guides

Do your own research before you go; TripAdvisor and Yelp are a big help and do some generic “Gluten-Free Italy” searches on Google.  I suggest doing research before you go and download the TripAdvisor City Guides. That way you don’t have to scramble to find something to eat last minute you can pull up your City Guide (which works without wi-fi) and see which restaurants you already pre-saved are nearby while you are sight seeing.

gluten free jacksonville italy rome apperitivo freni e frizioniAperitivo

One of my favorite Italian traditions.  It is kinda like happy hour but you pay a little more for your drink in exchange for snacks and appetizer type food.  The very best we found was Freni e Frizioni.  They had a whole buffet.  Then you go eat dinner afterwards.

gluten free jacksonville italy rome gelato gelateria valentino

Gelato

My favorite was around the corner from the Trevi Fountain in Rome Gelateria Valentino they had dairy free gelato too.

Ok- who is hungry?

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Gluten-Free Wedding

gluten free jacksonville weddingHave 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!

gluten free jacksonville wedding
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.

gluten free jacksonville wedding
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!

gluten free jacksonville catering tacolu
Bridesmaid luncheon: The Lodge in Ponte Vedra is just beautiful! They can accommodate any dietary needs and their terrace view cannot be beat!

gluten free jacksonville the lodge
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.

gluten free jacksonville wedding
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
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?

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Product Review: Foster Farms Gluten-Free Corn Dogs

Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs Gluten Free Jacksonville

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.

Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs Gluten Free JacksonvilleThese 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.
Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs Gluten Free Jacksonville

 

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.

Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs Gluten Free Jacksonville

My dad said: “Tastes like a regular corn dog to me, chewy.”

Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs Gluten Free Jacksonville

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.

foster farms gluten free corn dogs gluten free jacksonvilleHave you had these before? What are your thoughts?

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Gluten-free Whiskey Jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

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?

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax
gluten free jacksonville whiskey jax

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Fresh Jax Gluten Free Dinner

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.
gluten free jacksonville fresh jax
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.

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

 

gluten free jacksonville fresh jax

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Gluten-Free Made Easy Cook Book Review

gluten free jacksonville gluten free made easy

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.gluten free jacksonville potatoes au gratin gluten free made easy

gluten free jacksonville tilapia gluten free made easy

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.

Happy Cooking.

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