Friday, March 30, 2012

4 Ingredients Gluten-Free Cookbook

I was at Whole Foods this week for a cooking demo and book signing by Kim McCosker of 4 Ingredients.  Kim McCosker and Rachael Bermingham started their cookbook series 4 Ingredients a little over 4 years ago.  The concept is simple: hundreds of recipes with four or less ingredients.  Recently, Kim and Rachael realized the need for a gluten free version and voila, here it is.

I love the concept of this book.  The recipes are pretty basic, but sometimes that's just what you need to get dinner going.  There are over 400 recipes in the gluten free version including condiments and dips, breakfasts, appetizers, light lunches, sides, mains, desserts, drinks, and recipes for kids.

It was fun to meet Kim at the event.  She was very nice, engaging, and gave lots of tips.  I was able to try her BBQ beef stir-fry, guacamole, chocolate covered marshmallows, and another dessert I don't remember the name of.  I'm looking forward to trying the Chicken Tikka Masala made with just chicken, tikka masala paste, condensed GF tomato sauce, and plain yogurt.

The only question I had in the book was about the ingredient gluten free self rising flour.  Apparently, this is something they have in Australia where Kim is from, but not really in the US.  When I asked her about it, she told me to just add a teaspoon of baking powder to a regular all purpose gluten free flour blend to make it "self rising".  Easy.

I've been in a bit of a cooking rut lately and I hope this book is just the jump start I need.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Genius Gluten Free Bread

I've heard a lot of hype recently about Genius Gluten Free bread.  Particularly their sliced white bread.  I've pretty much given up on eating gluten free bread, but I like to try new brands from time to time.  I saw the sliced white bread in Whole Foods today and decided to give it a try.

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I did not like it.  It tasted like...nothing.  Not only did it taste like nothing, but the nothingness concealed the flavors of the sandwich contents.  Maybe I should have tried their brown bread instead since I like grainier breads these days, but there is something nice about a simple white loaf for sandwiches or toasted with some butter.

Has anyone else tried this bread or their other flavors?  Thoughts?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Main Line Baking Co.

Ok, so my last post was about eating healthy on the road, and this one is about a bakery...oops?  But everyone needs some sweets in their lives, and this is just what I got at Main Line Baking Co.  I have tried a few of Main Line Baking Co.'s treats at G-Free NYC, but this was my first time visiting.

The bakery is very simple and located inside the Wynnewood Train Station in Wynnewood, PA outside of Philly.  They have cupcakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, pound cake, coffee cake, and they even cater.  Everything they have is gluten free and dairy free.  There is nowhere to sit, but it's a great treat for people commuting into Philly - gluten free or not.

I tried a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting.  The cupcake was very light (compared to many gluten free cupcakes that are often too dense) and the frosting wasn't too sweet.  I also got a piece of coffee cake to take with me.  They were both very good.

If you aren't in the Philly area, Main Line Baking Co. treats are also offered at other locations in PA, NJ, and NYC.  Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Eating Gluten Free AND Healthy on the Road - Is it Possible?

I'm on the road again for work.  I try to have most of my meals planned out ahead of time, but there are always a few that I have to figure out on the fly.  This isn't usually a problem, and as I've mentioned a few times, when things get bad I always resort to french fries, although I really prefer not to.*

Even if I've done my due deligence and found restaurants to eat at along the way with gluten free menu items, these restaurants usually highlight gluten free pizza or pastas.  Which is great, but not always so healthy.  My problem these days is eating gluten free AND healthy on the road.

Many gluten free people bring along gluten free snacks when they travel: nuts, gluten free bars, etc.  This is a good idea, but I have this problem where if I have food around me, I eat it.  Knowing this about myself, I tend not to bring extra food along.  If you have more self control than this, I highly suggest you bring some snacks.  But the problem of eating healthy remains.  Yes nuts are good, but wouldn't you like some fruits and vegetables?  I know I would right about now.  Some people even bring a cooler along with these kinds of food.  Also a great idea, if I could just manage not to eat it all at once.  You also have to make sure you are staying at hotels with fridges if you go this route, which is not always possible.

Yesterday I had to figure out all my meals on the fly.  It did not go well.  It started off ok with a nonfat plain yogurt and some fruit at the train station in New York.  Then I took the train to Philly and from there a three hour drive to North Central PA.  By then I was starving and had no ideas for lunch.  I stopped at a rest stop with some of the usual options - burgers, french fries, pizza, pretzels, and coffee.  There was also a sandwich place that offered some salads, but when I checked them out it was brown ice burg lettuce, unripe tomatoes, and weird looking deli meet.  Not exactly my idea of a good lunch.  So, french fries it was.

And then it was time for dinner.  I am in rural PA and there were no restaurants in sight.  More french fries for dinner.  I felt gross, and still hungry.  Sad times.

So, I know it's possible to eat gluten free, but is it also possible to eat healthy on the road?  I'm sure it is, but I haven't quite figured it out yet.  I think for my next trip I need to not only research places with gluten free food, but also restaurants in general that may have some healthy vegetables and protein.  There are probably restaurants around that could give me a decent meal, but I just don't know where they are.

On my last trip I was actually able to construct a healthy dinner out of food I found at a gas station:  Yogurt, fruit and cheese (meant for children...), and veggies and dip.  I tried to find something like this last night but couldn't.

Anyone have any tips on healthy gluten free traveling (besides the obvious answer of gaining some self control and bringing food along)?  Help please.

*Note: Many people choose not to eat fast food french fries for cross contamination and gluten in the oil reasons.  People have gone back and forth on this issue.  Unless french fries are coated in gluten, I personally eat them and have never had a problem.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Wild Tomato

Today is my "blogiversary", as the kids say.  For those of you not so hip and with it, that means I've had this blog for a year today.  That's a pretty long time.  But at the same time, being gluten free is such a part of my life these days that sometimes it's hard to believe I've only been gluten free for a year and a half.

But anyway, I digress from the point of this post.  I'm back in Pennsylvania for work again and I stopped by The Wild Tomato in Harrisburg yesterday.  I learned about it a few months back when I was doing my initial research on gluten free restaurants in Pennsylvania.  I didn't actually need to be in Harrisburg this trip, but I had to drive through the area and was deciding between stopping at The Wild Tomato or Pizza Sorrento in Hershey. Then, I was reading my new issue of Delight Gluten Free Magazine on the train here and they coincidentally had a small blurb about The Wild Tomato from someone in the area and I just had to go.

The Wild Tomato is a small family owned and operated restaurant that does take out, delivery, and catering.  They specialize in pizza, grinders, and pastas.  97% of their menu can be made gluten free.  I tried the Little Italy gluten free pizza.  It was great.  What I especially liked about it was the tomato sauce.  I'd also be interested in trying the Sausage and Peppers pasta and one of the sandwiches.

For those of you that only like to eat at certified gluten free restaurants, this place is certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and seems to really understand and care about food allergies.  Between the good food, friendly staff, and gluten free assurances of this place, I would definitely come back. I suggest you try it too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mile End Bakery

Now's the time for my BIG REVEAL: my friend Mallory over at Total Noms and I have started our own cookie company!  Mile End Bakery offers gluten free cookies as well as cookies made with wheat flour.  We have chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, ginger, oatmeal, nutella, and peanut butter cookies for your enjoyment.  If you can't choose we also offer a sample pack of all six.  They look like this:

Clockwise: Ginger, Snickerdoodle, Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Nutella

Mallory makes our regular cookies and I make our gluten free cookies.  Our gluten free cookies are made in a different kitchen with dedicated gluten free utensils and quality gluten free ingredients.  You can order these delicious cookies on our Etsy store.  We ship anywhere in the continental US.

Mallory and I met in college at McGill in Montreal, Canada.  Stemming from our love of Montreal, we decided to name our company Mile End after a cute neighborhood in the city.  I am very excited about this new venture and I highly suggest you give our cookies a try!

You can see us on Facebook here or follow us on twitter here.

And now for a shameless plug: My man friend and I were feeling ambitious at the same time and while I was starting a cookie company, he started his own personal training company.  If you find you are eating too many cookies and need some help to balance it out, check him out at


Sunday, March 4, 2012

All Inclusive Resorts - Gluten Free

This was the view from our room.  It's ok to be jealous.
I just got back from a week in Jamaica.  It's relatively warm in New York City this winter, but compared to the 85 degree days and 75 degree nights of island life, I'm sitting here wrapped in blankets and pouting profusely.  Gone from Saturday to Saturday, it's a good thing I had today to pull myself together before heading back to work tomorrow.

Last year my man friend and I went to Mexico.  It was my first vacation gluten free and I was kind of nervous about it.  I quickly realized that with so many options available at a resort buffet, eating gluten free was easy.  I had a similar experience this year, which is why this post is about eating at all inclusive resorts, rather than Jamaica.

Whether the resort is big or small, they are feeding so many people that there will always be gluten free options.  I don't mean gluten free pasta or bread. That you certainly won't find.  But there will always be a plethora of fruits and vegetables, along with fish, meat, and rice.  This covers lunch and dinner, and for breakfast there are always eggs, potatoes, fruit, and yogurt.

This trip I didn't knowingly eat any gluten or take nearly as many chances as last time.  I still let a few things slide that I wasn't positive on like jerk chicken and curry goat (the sauces being the potential problem), but I didn't get sick once.  I can't speak on cross contamination, and while I'm pretty sensitive and was fine the entire time, this might be a cause for concern for some.  However, the staff at these places are usually pretty great, and if you want to take the time to ask, I highly recommend it.

All in all, with all the food options at all inclusive resorts, eating gluten free is easy.  You might not always get what you want to eat, but at least you aren't going to starve.  Have some lunch and go drink a pina colada on the beach.  No problem.