Friday, January 30, 2015

Gluten-Free Mystic, CT: Somewhere in Time Cafe

My husband and I were recently in Mystic, CT to see a comedy show at Foxwoods Casino. We didn't stay at the casino (although we were told it does have gluten-free food). Instead, we stayed at a lovely little Hilton that was within driving distance of some good restaurants with gluten-free options. Today's post is about our gluten-free breakfast at a local place called Somewhere in Time Cafe.

On the day we went, one of the specials was gluten-free French toast! That's not what my husband ordered, though.

Instead, he had an omelet with a gluten-free English muffin and home fries. He said the gluten-free English muffin was very good, as was the rest of his breakfast.

For those of you not eating gluten-free, I had the City Scramble (scrambled eggs with bacon, cream cheese, and spinach), home fries, and wheat toast. Also very good!

We were so excited to find a place where my husband can breakfast! Usually, when we are on the go and need a good breakfast place, we order off the gluten-free Bob Evans menu, but if there's not a Bob Evans in the area, we are kind of out of luck. So kudos to this little restaurant for delivering a delicious breakfast that my husband could enjoy!

(Note: As with any restaurant that isn't exclusively gluten-free, there is always the chance for cross-contamination in the kitchen. If you don't feel safe eating at a restaurant like this, then by all means don't!)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift Idea - Songs of Love Mix CD

Need a Valentine's Day gift for someone but don't know what to get or don't want to spend a lot of money? One of my favorite gifts are mix CDs. And here I've got a Songs of Love playlist that you can use as inspiration for what songs to put on your mix. These songs are suitable for a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, or even just a friend.

There were a few songs that I couldn't include on this mix because I couldn't find them on Grooveshark, so if you want a few more options:

"All You Need is Love" - The Beatles
"Let Love Rule" - Lenny Kravitz

And to really complete the gift, how about a DIY CD cover? Just cut out stuff from magazines or use papers from your scrapbook stash to make a love-themed collage on a piece of paper that's been cut to fit inside a CD cover. Here's a simple example:

Who do you have to buy gifts for on Valentine's Day? Do you have a favorite Valentine's Day gift? Share in the comments!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gluten-Free Recipes in Rachael Ray, Real Simple, and Other Magazines

The key to gluten-free in Everyday with Rachael Ray
Readers of Real Simple, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and even Fitness magazines may have noticed that some of the magazines' recipes are being listed as gluten-free. Each issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray even lists all the recipes at the front of the magazine with a color-coded key so you can easily find fast (30 minutes or less), vegetarian, freezer-friendly, and gluten-free recipes.

However, out of the December 2014 Rachael Ray issue's 59 recipes, only 20 are listed as gluten-free. And in a January 2015 "Easy Dinner" feature in Real Simple, three of the five listed recipes are labeled gluten-free.

As delicious as Steak with Cauliflower Puree and Crispy Quinoa sounds, what if what you really want is the Noodles with Flaked Salmon and Crispy Bok Choy Slaw?

Well, just because a recipe isn't listed as being gluten-free doesn't mean that you can't make it gluten-free!

Gluten-free recipe in Real Simple
Gluten-free eating is not about limiting what you can eat. It's about adapting.

Most of your old favorites can easily be made gluten-free with a few substitutions. You just need to know how to make those substitutions. (It might take you a few tries to find just the right substituted ingredients to get that same flavor you remember.)

For instance, the only reason why Real Simple's Baked Chicken Parmesan is not listed as gluten-free is because one of the ingredients is country bread. But if you use two slices of a gluten-free baguette (Against the Grain makes a nice one), you've instantly transformed this recipe into a gluten-free recipe.

And if you want the Noodles with Flaked Salmon and Crispy Bok Choy Slaw, make sure your teriyaki sauce is gluten-free (like the kind from Kikkoman) and use a thin gluten-free pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine.
Here's what Baked Chicken Parm
looks like gluten-free.

Sometimes changing up a recipe is as easy as using a gluten-free brand of chicken broth or soy sauce instead of the recipe's recommended brand. It's all about reading product labels and gradually becoming familiar with gluten-free brands.

If you've just been diagnosed with Celiac disease, the Celiac Disease Foundation and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offer great resources, and there is a LARGE community of gluten-free bloggers that is always keeping those with Celiac updated on the latest gluten-free products.

Bottom line: don't cancel your magazine subscriptions because the recipes aren't gluten-free. With just a few substitutions, you can turn your favorite recipes and the ones you see in magazines into gluten-free recipes.

Have you seen any recipes in a magazine or on Pinterest you'd love to make but don't know how to make it gluten-free? Let me know in the comments, and I'll show you how!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DIY Instagram Picture Frame

I normally don't do New Year's Resolutions, but I did make a resolution of sorts for this year: Go through my Pinterest boards and actually DO some of the things I've pinned. At least one new thing a month. So here is this month's Pinterest project: a DIY Instagram Picture Frame

I pinned this one to my Get Crafty Pinterest board, courtesy of the website U-Create Crafts. I thought it looked cute, but I had no idea when I started just how easy it would be and all thanks to Michael's! This is actually a project idea on Michael's website, and not only does it give you the steps to create this easy picture frame, it also lists ALL the supplies you will need and you can get them ALL at Michael's for not that much out-of-pocket cost. This is an easy and inexpensive project!

You can either order the supplies online or do what I did and write down the list of supplies (don't forget paintbrushes!) and then buy them in the store.

Gather your supplies!
This was a super easy project to complete. It did take some time because I let the paint dry in between coats. I gave everything two coats just to make sure I really got the color on there. If you're doing this project with kids, it's pretty easy for them to do themselves, but you'll definitely want to supervise and you may even need to help out with some of the little details (i.e. the camera lens on the front).

The Instagram Picture Frame is listed as a Father's Day gift idea on Michael's website, but because you can write anything you want on the bottom of the frame (#Friends, #vacation, #puppies, #hashtag), this could be a gift for Valentine's Day, a birthday, or for yourself!

The frame comes with a little peg stand so it stands on its own for display, but you can remove the peg stand and hang this on a wall using 3M Strips, which is what I plan on doing.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Meal Plan Monday - January 26

Another week is upon us, and it has come to my attention that we really need easier and faster-to-make meals during the work week. So that's what I'm going for with this week's meal plan:

Sunday: baked chicken parmesan

Monday: noodles with flaked salmon and crispy bok choy slaw

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: on our own

Thursday: pizza

Friday: on our own

Saturday: grilled cheese and fries

What are you eating this week?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gluten-Free St. Louis - McAlister's Deli & The Blue Owl

Finding gluten-free restaurants when traveling can be difficult. Not every state (or country) has restaurants that cater specifically to gluten-free eaters, and if they do, sometimes those restaurants are not always open when you arrive. Take our experience with a closed-for-vacation gluten-free eatery in Paris and a more recent experience with a gluten-free restaurant in Hannibal, Missouri being closed for good!

When that happens, sometimes you have to go with the second best option. On our last trip to St. Louis, we discovered two regular restaurants with gluten-free menus: McAlister's Deli and The Blue Owl.

Keep in mind, these restaurants are NOT exclusively gluten-free. There may still be the potential for cross-contamination in the shared kitchens, so if you know this isn't safe for you, then don't take the chance to eat at either place. I asked my husband how he felt about eating out at these two places, and he didn't mind because he's never had a problem at restaurants like these.

McAlister's Deli has a pretty good "gluten-sensitive" menu that consists of GIANT baked potatoes with a variety of different toppings, ALL salad dressings, four different soups, nachos, and a few sides. My husband had a salad and baked potato. The verdict? Very good and no evidence of having been glutened.

There are multiple McAlister's locations, which is good for us if we're ever in a bind when it comes to stopping for food in the St. Louis area.

(I do have to point out that the gluten-sensitive menu does say that because of cross-contamination, it's not recommended for people with Celiac disease. It's more for people with minor gluten sensitivities and those who avoid gluten for nutritional reasons. Again, use your own discretion before dining at this restaurant or any restaurant with a shared kitchen.)

The Blue Owl in Kimmswick, Missouri has quite a following, so if you're going with a group of 5 or more, you'll want to make a reservation. It gets crowded there!

The gluten-free menu here is not listed on the restaurant's website. You have to ask for it when you get there. It's not very big, but there was enough to satisfy my husband's appetite. I didn't get a picture of his salad, but I did save the menu, which you can see on the right.

The verdict: my husband enjoyed his Tossed Strawberry Salad and also had no evidence of having been glutened.

All things considered, our gluten-free eating in the St. Louis area was a success. It was nice to find some new places where my husband can eat and break free from our Red Robin-exclusive mode.

Not that there's anything wrong with Red Robin!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Summertime Scrapbook Pages

It's been non-stop scrapping over here! I've got three more pages to share with you today.

"4 the Win":
These are pictures from a 4th of July minor league baseball game we went to last year. The background paper is patterned with soda bottle caps, which I thought was perfect for a summer and baseball layout.

"Iron Pigs":
Here's a two-page layout I made for another minor league baseball game we went to last summer. They had gluten-free food there!!

"Try the Toasted Ravioli":
I wrote about this place on the blog after eating the toasted ravioli there last summer. Not gluten-free (sorry, guys!) but still delicious for those of us who can tolerate gluten. A great St. Louis gem!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at what I've been working on!