Europe Days 5-10: Italy, France, & Spain

Ok guys, I suck and I’ve completely procrastinated writing my next Europe post (I really have a good excuse, I’m getting ready to head off to college!), so to avoid even more delay, I’m gonna just knock it all out in one post. Prepare for a very long European food whirlwind.

So after our leisurely day at sea, the week of back-to-back ports began. First up was Sicily, Italy. We chose the Taormina On Your Own cruise excursion, so we took about a 45 minute bus ride to Taormina (with beautiful views) and were able to just wander around town. This was such a beautiful little place, with stunning scenery. I mean look at this:

Seriously, just amazing. Taormina was very close to being my favorite place, but not just for the scenery. We went to lunch at a nice little restaurant called La Botte. Our tour guide told us they have gluten free pasta, and when we got there and told the waitress I would be ordering gluten free, she said it would be a little longer because they have to boil new water (which means they didn’t cook it in gluten-y pasta water, yay!!). I ordered Penne ala Norma, which was GF penne with tomato sauce, aubergines (aka eggplants), ricotta, and basil, along with the necessary bottle of house white wine for everyone to share.

First impression of the dish when they placed it in front of me: what are these french fries doing in my pasta???  But I soon remembered they were eggplants, and when I took a bite, I think I went to heaven. This was the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in my life. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and I have no idea what they make their GF pasta out of in Europe but it tasted like I was eating regular pasta. There was some toasted parmesan around the edge of the plate and I could’ve eaten that straight out of a bowl. Everything about this was perfect, and I was so sad that I was too full to finish it!😦 We of course had to end the afternoon with a delicious chocolate gelato pop from a cute place on the street, where all the pops are “senza glutine”!

For dinner that night back on the ship, I got vegetable spring rolls and seared tuna as appetizers (two appetizers is a necessity on cruise ships), veal parmesan with spaghetti as my entree, and of course, chocolate melting cake for dessert! It was all delicious, except the seared tuna was a tiny bit bland.

Next day: Naples. We did a scenic drive of the Amalfi Coast and spent about an hour and a half (which was definitely not enough time) in Sorrento.

This was also a really pretty town! Now, we knew with only an hour and a half, eating somewhere would eat up (haha) most of our time. But we were in Europe, so we were going to eat. So we went to Ristorante Tasso for some gluten free pizza! I got the Calabrese pizza, which had tomato sauce, mozzarella, and spicy salami. It was so good! A little soggy, so I had to eat it with a fork and knife, but undeniably amazing. I didn’t finish it, but I brought it with me and finished it in the cruise terminal, where I also bought a cappuccino and a bag of gluten free Italian pasta to bring home! We also of course got more chocolate gelato while we were in Sorrento.

Dinner that night I was a little wild. As my first appetizer, I got braised ox tongue. Sounds gross, I know, but it was actually really tasty! The sauce was ridiculously flavorful. My other app was broccoli cheese soup, which was amazing. Closest I’ve ever gotten to Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup, so I was very happy. My entree was salmon cakes, which were very tasty and herby, and a s’mores parfait for dessert, which was more like just a glass of chocolate mousse and marshmallow. That night we also enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the ship!

Next up was Rome, the crazy busy day. Rome was not our favorite place. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful and the sights were amazing, we just didn’t really get a chance to enjoy it because we were rushed way too fast through it all. We saw the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Coloseum. It was just a lot to do in such a short period of time, and we didn’t get enough time to appreciate it. For lunch, we went to Ristorante Naumachia, and I got a Caprese salad, which was very good. Not a lot of gluten free choices here, but we were pressed for time.

Dinner that night featured a cruise staple: escargot. Those delicious, buttery lil balls of flavor along with fried shrimp were my appetizers, and my entree was a seafood pasta dish with calamari, salmon, mussels, scallops, and shrimp. For dessert I ordered cheesecake, but instead I was given bananas and strawberries in a caramel sauce (I thought they maybe couldn’t make the cheesecake gluten free for some reason).  I missed my cheesecake, but this was pretty good too.

escargot

Stay with me here, only three more days to get through! The next day was Florence, which was the consensus favorite of the whole trip. Especially after being in such hustle bustle type city like Rome, Florence was just calm and beautiful and relaxing. We did a little walking tour for about an hour, then we were off on our own to shop and wander. We went to lunch at a restaurant our tour guide recommended called Casa Toscano. I got GF penne with mushroom sauce and bacon. I was expecting a white or brown kind of sauce, so I was surprised when it was a tomato sauce. Either way, it was delicious! We spent the rest of our time just walking around and buying some souvenirs, and obviously eating more gelato.

When we were back on the ship and dinnertime rolled around, I got alligator fritters (may sound weird, but very delicious) and lobster bisque (WOW this was fantastic) as appetizers. For my entree, I got chicken cacciatore, which was pretty good but not great. For dessert, I got the melting cake, AND apparently the night before (when they brought out the wrong dessert to me) we had left before our waiter found my actual dessert.  He had brought my cheesecake out but we were gone! So he kept it in the refrigerator over night, and I got two desserts.🙂

The next day we were in Marseille, France, and we did a bus tour with some free time to walk around. The town was beautiful; I really loved it. Again, I just wish we got to spend more time there! We didn’t end up eating lunch here; we just went back to the ship and I headed up to Cucina del Capitano for some GF spaghetti with pomodoro, grilled chicken, eggplant, onions, and peppers (the same thing I got on the first day at sea that I loved).

My appetizers at dinner that night were clam chowder and crab cakes, which were both amazing. Continuing with the seafood theme, I then got jumbo shrimp as my entree. And for dessert—surprise!—melting cake. (Why didn’t I take any pictures of my food this night???)

Our final cruise day was spent in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. This was the surprise stop, because we didn’t think we were going to love it as much as we did! It was really beautiful, and we had a great time just walking around town. We went to a restaurant called Sa Casa for lunch, which had gluten free items marked on the menu. This was a tapas restaurant, so we all shared what we got. My mom and I split the zucchini carpaccio and goat cheese salad, and I gave my dad’s chorizo and mussels a try. Everything was amazing! Palma turned out to be an awesome place.

For my last cruise dinner, I ordered frog legs and steamed mussels. It was my first experience with frog legs, and it was actually very good! For my entree, I got prime rib, which was so juicy and delicious. My last dessert of the cruise was carrot cake, which was kind of a toss up because I’d never had it before, but I loved it! I ended our last night off later with a piña colada and a comedy show.

We were so sad to wake up the next morning to have to get off the ship and get on our plane. But we had a short layover in London to hang out and eat lunch in the airport. With this came the challenge of finding something for me to eat. But there was a little cafe that had some pre-made meals, so I got mushroom risotto. It was surprisingly good for airport food! When we got on our plane to take us back to America, we also got a meal. This time we called far enough ahead to get me a gluten free meal, so I had chicken with gravy, potatoes, carrots and green beans, a salad with Italian dressing, a fruit cup, and a really super delicious and soft gluten free roll! My experience with airport and plane food was better than expected.

Overall, this was a seriously amazing trip. I am so thankful to have been able to have this incredible experience, and I hope I get a chance to go back at some point! Hopefully, if you’re ever visiting any of these fantastic places, I have given you some good options to try out and enjoy.🙂

Europe Day 3 & 4: First Day of Cruise + Day at Sea

carnival vista

On the morning of July 1st, we got ourselves out of bed, into a cab, and off to the Barcelona cruise port! We went through the whole process of checking in and getting our Sail & Sign cards (your room key, credit card, and boarding pass all in one!). I love the feeling of stepping onto a cruise ship on the first day. It’s so magical and exciting! We went straight to our cabins to check them out and put our stuff down. Our next stop obviously was the buffet. Well, my next stop was to Cucina del Capitano, a restaurant one deck above the buffet that has gluten free pasta! I had been to this place on another Carnival cruise a couple years ago and loved it, so I was very happy when I found out it was on the Carnival Vista too. They give you a little slip of paper with plenty of pasta, sauce, and topping options. I got gluten free spaghetti (the only gluten free pasta available) with bolognese and onions. It was really good! The meat seemed like it was a weird texture, but I only noticed it when I got a bite of a big piece. The nice thing about this place is that they don’t offer regular spaghetti, only gluten free, so I could be sure I was getting what I was supposed to. And then, after our meals, we of course needed to get some frozen yogurt (24 hour frozen yogurt and ice cream…can you say heaven??)

Now that our bellies were full, as they constantly should be on a cruise, we went to explore our home for the next 8 days. The ship was really fantastic. It had all the good stuff that all cruises should have: an amazing deck, cool lounges and theaters, and lots of places to just hang out and relax.

So now that we had seen just about every inch of the ship, we were ready to go back to our cabins and get ready for dinner! Our dining room was beautiful; I would show you but apparently I was too excited to take literally any pictures on the ship (the ones above were taken by cruise family member and fellow vacation photographer Lauren). We found our table and started to check out the menu. When our waiter came over, I asked about the gluten free options (we couldn’t make any special dietary requests for the first night), and I found out my choices were a little limited. For my appetizer, I got shrimp cocktail and strawberry bisque. The shrimp cocktail is a cruise dinner must, and it was delicious! I also almost always order the cold fruit soup, so the strawberry bisque was a no-brainer. It tastes like melted strawberry ice cream, or a strawberry milkshake. It was so yummy! For the entree, I got grilled chicken with a baked potato and vegetables. It was good, not great. I wouldn’t have chosen it if I could’ve picked anything on the menu, but it did the trick. And for dessert, two scoops of chocolate ice cream. For some reason, ice cream on cruise ships is so much better than at home. So now that the staff knew I have celiac, this night and every night for the rest of the cruise the waiter would bring me the menu for the next day and I ordered ahead of time so they could make the meal gluten free. It was cool to be able to be ahead of everyone and know what’s for dinner the next night! So once we were done, we went up to the pool deck and watched one of the dive-in movies. They were playing The Intern, which was adorable. We loved it so much we didn’t want to miss the end and skipped the Welcome Aboard show. Later we went to a comedy show, which was pretty funny. And by the time that was over, we were exhausted and ready for bed!

Fast forward to the next day: when I woke up, I headed up to the buffet to meet everyone for breakfast. Breakfast at the buffet is fairly easy; I just had some peaches, cantaloupe, and a peach yogurt. Then I was off to do whatever fun stuff I could find on the itinerary! One of my favorite things is the trivia, so I go to that whenever I can. The day was basically just full of wandering around looking for things to do, and eventually trying out the gym. I also had to throw some lunch in there at some point, which is when I headed back up to Cucina del Capitano for GF spaghetti with pomodoro sauce, grilled chicken, eggplant, peppers, and onions. This was seriously amazing. I loved it a lot. If I wanted, I could’ve also had the chef show me around the buffet and tell me what I could eat, but why would I choose that over pasta??? This was the first formal night of the cruise, so by 4:30 my wandering time was over and I was in the cabin getting ready for our 6:00 dinner—yes, I need an hour and a half to get ready, and really, I could’ve used two hours. I like to take my time ya know? Also, formal night always coincides with lobster night, one of our favorite nights of the cruise. We can appreciate even more now being served an already cooked, opened lobster tail after the serious debacle we had trying to have our own lobster night at home. Picture lobster juice everywhere, two girls not wanting to touch the things, and a lot of screaming. So when we got to dinner, I didn’t have to order since I had already done it the night before. For my appetizer, I got the fried oysters. I really didn’t think they were actually going to bread and fry them (I thought to make them GF they would just give me some plain ones), but I was pleasantly surprised when my waiter put a plate in front of me with nice crunchy oysters on it! They really were tasty. Now my trick to make sure what I was getting was gluten free was to make sure that the gluten-y version looked different, since at least one other person at the table usually ordered the same thing. And with this one, we were safe. Next up for my entree was, of course, the lobster tail. It came with garlic shrimp and orzo, but to make it gluten free they gave me mashed potatoes. The lobster tail was really good, but to be honest, I actually thought the shrimp were even better. Great flavor, really juicy, just awesome. And how can you go wrong with mashed potatoes? Okay, and now for dessert. The cruise staple. The chocolate melting cake. Yes, gluten free. Eating this was like being in heaven. So warm and gooey and decadently rich. I am in love. (P.s.- I didn’t take pictures of every single thing I ate at dinner, so you’ll only see pictures of the really good and/or really pretty things)

Since it was formal night, after dinner we went to take some pictures while we all looked nice and fancy. We didn’t do much for the rest of that night, except go to another comedy show later. We were very excited to get to our first port in the morning, Sicily! I will leave you this time with a nice picture of us children of the cruise family on formal night.🙂

IMG_1730

Up next- Day 5 & 6: Sicily and Naples!

Europe Day 1 & 2: Barcelona

Now that I’ve been home for a over a week and I’ve had time to relax and mourn the fact that my amazing vacation is over, I am ready to tell you all about my trip!

So on June 28th, after a crazy busy week including my UDel orientation the day before, we packed up our van and drove off to the airport! We flew out of JFK Terminal 3, which actually had a decent amount of gluten free food options. I didn’t end up eating anything from here (except a bag of the necessary kettle cooked salt and vinegar chips and a mocha latte from Starbucks), because I was able to eat the salad that came with the meal on the plane (we waited too long to call about a full gluten free meal and couldn’t get one). The flight was long to say the least. 7 hours of trying—and failing—to get some sleep. So because of the 6 hour time difference in Barcelona, we left New York at 5:30 pm and landed in Barcelona at around 7 am. We were told that it’s bad to just go to sleep when you arrive in the morning, because it’ll throw you off for that night. Plus, we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3. So we just wandered around for 8 hours, which was fun. We just explored the area, and went to this nice little market called La Boqueria Market.

This place was so cool! There was meat, cheese, fresh fruit, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I had this awesome little coconut banana juice that was delicious. I also had some fruit and tried some of the salami that my dad got. It was some good stuff.

So then we just walked around and explored a little bit more around the main road. We ended up over at the Maremagnum, a mall right on the water. We ate lunch here at a place called Kurz & Gut. They had gluten containing items marked on the menu, which caused some confusion because I thought the things that were marked were the gluten free things. Once I realized that was not the case I had a much smaller selection to choose from. I got a salad that had mozzarella stuffed chicken on top with some oil and balsamic vinegar as the dressing.

kurz & gut salad

Overall a pretty average salad. The chicken was pretty good but not anything super special. Not the greatest first meal in Europe, but there were plenty more to come! After lunch we did more wandering, and ended up sitting in the little hotel courtyard waiting to check in. This is also where we took our mid-day nap. So finally 3 o’clock rolled around and we settled into our hotel room. But not for long, because then we needed dinner! We went to a cute little place called Allium Restaurant. This was one of the places that we found in our preliminary restaurant search, and I wanted some authentic Spanish food! To start off I got some gluten free bread. They topped it with tomato, olive oil, salt and pepper and it was delicious! We also ordered a pitcher of Sangria for the table (drinking age in Europe is 18, yay!) and that was very good. As a main dish, my dad and I split the Paella. I was very surprised when the plate arrived to me with four giant shrimp staring back at me. Yes staring, with their little beady eyes. Needless to say I made dad get the meat out of them for me, because I was not touching those things! The paella was very tasty and had a very strong seafood flavor—my only problem was that I think it needed a little more seasoning. Maybe just some salt and pepper; it just seemed like it was missing something.

I then of course had to get dessert from somewhere. So we went to a gelato place right near our hotel called La Squisita and got some chocolate and hazelnut gelato! The man was so nice, when we asked what flavors were gluten free he pulled out a list and read them all off to us! With how many were gluten free he might as well had just told us the ones that weren’t. The gelato really hit the spot. After this, I was ready to go into a full on coma. At that point we had been awake for waaay too many hours. So by 7:45, we were all in bed fast asleep.
la squisita gelato

Fast forward to the next morning: we woke up very refreshed from the extremely long sleep. My mom went over to a cafe that appeared to be a chain called Pans & Company to get some breakfast for her, my dad, and my brother. She also brought me back a decaf coffee to have with my breakfast, a Whenever Bar. Once we were all fueled up and ready to go, we set out to see more of Barcelona. When time came for lunch, we went to another restaurant we found on Find Me Gluten Free called La Lluna. This place was AMAZING. I could not believe how incredible this restaurant ended up being. First of all, it was a three course meal—appetizer, entree, dessert, and a glass of wine—for only 15 euros. I’ve never seen a price like that anywhere. The gluten free options were marked on the menu, so it was very easy to order. For an appetizer, I got the White Bean Salad with Bacon and Basil Pesta. This was sooooo delicious! I loved it a whole lot. The flavors were just perfect. I also tasted my dad’s appetizer, the Potatoes with Poached Egg. It tasted like breakfast, and it was so good. For my entree, I got the Dogfish Gratin with Creamy Spinach Mascarpone. Again, I loved this so much. The melted cheese on top of the fish made it so flavorful, and the spinach was smooth and creamy. I tried my mom’s pork dish which was covered in this amazing gravy; I was dipping my bread in it non stop. OH, I almost forgot to tell you about the bread!!! This was the best gluten free bread I have ever eaten in my life. It was crunchy on the outside and really soft and fluffy on the inside. I wanted to order 200 and take them home with me. So for dessert I got the cheesecake, and it was great! I was a little nervous about it because it had what they called a cinnamon crumble on top, and while it certainly could be made gluten free, and was marked gluten free, I had a funny feeling about it. But I ate it anyway, and didn’t get sick from it so my feeling was wrong! I also tried my mom’s Homemade Coconut Soup with Sorbet (tasty, but the soup and sorbet definitely needed to be eaten together and not individually to get the full effect) and my dad’s Soft Catalan Cheese with Honey and Nuts (not a huge fan of this, but my dad enjoyed it). I wish I could eat here every day of my life. I would say this was the second best meal I ate on this trip (you’ll have to wait til a little later for the best!)

So after this, my dad and brother went with the family who went with us on this trip (otherwise known as our cruise family) to Camp Nou, the Barcelona soccer stadium, for a tour. My mom and I aren’t very into soccer and weren’t interested in seeing this, so we went shopping instead. We had a great time just walking around and buying things, and eventually found our way back to the hotel to figure out dinner. We decided on a tapas restaurant that we had passed on our way back from lunch called El Pintxo de Petritxol. I was a little iffy about this place when we sat down and the waiter didn’t seem too knowledgable about gluten free options, but then I talked to another woman who seemed to know a lot. I ended up ordering the grilled squid tapas and the cheese plate. I didn’t know if I would like the squid, but I actually loved it! Whatever sauce they had on it was great. I think it was some kind of herby olive oil thing. The ends of the tentacles were crispy and crunchy and awesome. I loved it so much, I ordered a second one! The cheese plate was also delicious. Really, can you go wrong with a cheese plate??? I could not tell you what kind of cheese was on this, but whatever it was, it was good (except the bleu cheese, ew). They also gave us some free shots for some reason at the end of the meal—I think the waiter had a crush on Lauren (member of cruise family). So I took my first shot ever, of what the waiter told me was their version of Bailey’s Irish Cream, and I discovered that I do not like the way it feels to take a shot. But it was an interesting experience!

We then made the walk back to our hotel and hung out there for the rest of the night. We went to bed very excited to get on the cruise the next day!!

Up next- Day 3 & 4: First Day of Cruise and Day at Sea!🙂

Graduation!

Guess who’s high school’s newest graduate? This girl!

graduation

I’m so happy to finally be done! I am free. I made it. It doesn’t quite feel real yet; it’s still sinking in that I am now a college student, not a high school student. I have New Student Orientation at UDel in less than a week. I keep having to stop and remind myself that this is actually happening and I’m not dreaming!

Anyway, after the graduation ceremony, which was very nice, I was faced with the difficult decision of where we would go for our celebratory dinner. Actually, it wasn’t that difficult—kind of a no-brainer really—Earth Pizza! I got the Four Cheese Sundried pizza, which had their special cheese blend, goat cheese, parmesan, sundried tomatoes, and (extra) roasted garlic. And let me just say, pizza is the best celebration. It was delicious! I also mixed it up and got the Chicken Tenders as an appetizer and those were awesome. But since I’ve already reviewed Earth Pizza and shared my dear love for it, we’re gonna talk about the delicious food we had at my graduation party.

So on Sunday, my family and I had a little party to celebrate with everyone. And obviously the ever important part of having a party is what food to serve. Since we all know I have a  slightly obsessive love for pasta, that is obviously what we had to make! We made penne vodka, which consisted of the two very difficult steps of cooking a bag of Tinkyada penne, and pouring Victoria Vodka Sauce over it. A lot of work, I know. My mom also grilled up some chicken and made a nice little salad to have with it. It all was wonderful!

And now, even more important, dessert! My mom made one of my favorite cakes, Strawberry Shortcake. Strawberry Shortcake always feels so summery and fresh and light to me. And it’s always delicious! For the cake, we used Wegman’s Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix. All you need is 4 tablespoons softened butter, a large egg, and 2/3 cups of milk. Then just cream your butter and 1/2 a cup of the cake mix with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes, then add the rest of the cake mix, egg, and milk, and combine it all together.  Then pour it up in the pan of your choosing (we used a big 9×11 pan since we were serving a bunch of people) and bake it for 35-38 minutes in a 350° oven. After the cake is totally cooled, it’s time for the topping! We whipped up our own fresh whipped cream to put on the cake (which is seriously a hundred times better than the stuff in the can). All you have to do is use about 8-10 ounces of heavy cream, about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and powdered sugar to taste and whip it with an electric mixer. I could literally just eat this all day straight out of the bowl. It’s just heavenly. So after you’ve resisted eating it all before it even hits the surface of the cake, spread it all over the top evenly. Then slice some strawberries and lay them all over on top of the whipped cream!

gluten free strawberry shortcake

Another option for this cake assembly would be to make two smaller round cakes and put them on top of each other with whipped cream and strawberries in between and on top. No matter how you put it together, it’s going to be amazing. I am crazy for this cake. I’m literally eating a leftover slice as I write this. It somehow feels like a healthy version of cake, probably because it’s a little lighter with the whipped cream and fresh strawberries instead of a sweet, heavy frosting.

Overall, I celebrated my graduation with some pretty awesome food. And what better way to celebrate is there than with that? I can’t wait for this next chapter of my life at the University of Delaware. It’s going to be so exciting and new and fantastic! And I am so ready for it. I will now leave you with a picture of my decorated graduation cap that I love.🙂

graduation cap

Just to let you guys know, next week I will be heading off to Europe for my cruise (YAY), and I’m not sure if I will be able to post anything in that time, so it may be a while til you hear from me next, but I can’t wait to share my stories from the trip!!

Gold Award Ceremony

girl scout gold award ceremony 2016

On Thursday, I received my Girl Scout Gold Award at a nice little ceremony at The Mill in Spring Lake, NJ! It’s the highest honor a Girl Scout can get, and I am so proud that I was able to complete my project. As I’ve said, this blog is a big part of the project, and I have enjoyed it immensely—even more than I ever thought I would.

So of course, I’ve got to talk about the food that was served at the ceremony! I’m always a little nervous going into banquet type events because I don’t know if they’ll have anything for me to eat. So we called ahead of time and were told that they didn’t have the menu for the night on hand (the woman on the phone couldn’t get a hold of the catering manager), but they would definitely be able to serve me something that would be gluten free. I was also extra comforted by the fact that on their regular restaurant menu they have plenty of gluten free options marked. So even if what they were serving at the dinner wasn’t gluten free, they would have the resources to make me something.

the mill gluten free salad

So while everyone was still arriving and checking out the project displays (you can see mine in the middle picture of the collage up at the top), the servers started bringing out salads to every table. At this point I hadn’t spoken to anyone yet to make sure I got gluten free meals, so I asked a server who then went to confirm that the salad dressing was gluten free, and it was! So I sat down and enjoyed my little salad with what I assumed was some kind of raspberry vinaigrette. I liked it, it was tasty, but just a salad. I found it strange that the pieces of cucumber were so tiny. My mom and I were joking that it seemed like they ran out of cucumber and had to cut it up really small to make sure every plate got a little bit. It made me sad because I love cucumber and I like having big rounds of it in my salad. Otherwise, a nice salad.

the mill gluten free stuffed pepper

The main course was where my concern was. There were three options: chicken, tilapia, and a stuffed pepper. And it turned out the stuffed pepper was gluten free, so no need for a separate meal! Yay! It was a roasted red pepper stuffed with quinoa and served with vegetables. It was delicious! I initially looked at it and thought it was weird that there were golden raisins in the quinoa, which I don’t really like, but as I ate it I didn’t even taste the raisins. Overall, the pepper was awesome. The vegetables were also really good. Only complaint: the carrots were pretty undercooked, some of mine even tasted raw. But the zucchini and yellow squash were very well cooked and very yummy. This was a pretty successful meal.

the mill gluten free dessert

Dessert is always the part of the meal that I expect to just have to skip. But when we were being called up to receive our awards and the cake was being served, I asked my waiter if he could find me something gluten free. He came back with this cute little glass of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. It was so nice! I refrained from eating it until after I was called, because I had this vision of me having berry seeds stuck in my teeth as I’m smiling nice and big for my pictures. But once I got back, I very much enjoyed my little berry glass.

Overall a successful meal and a very successful night.  I feel so honored to have received this award. I’m so excited that all the hours and hard work that went into my project has paid off and I can’t wait to keep it going in the future! I also want to say thank you to all of you who have followed my blog and supported me, and I hope that I have been able to help you all in some way.🙂

Chebe Cinnamon Rolls and Breadstick Mix

Being diagnosed with celiac makes a girl miss some things. Like what, you ask? Here’s a list:

  • Soft fluffy bread
  • Real pizza (although I’ve found some acceptable substitutions, like this and this)
  • Deli subs (it’s just not the same to make my own)
  • Really giant burritos (like Chipotle, just a good ol’ flour tortilla stuffed with a ridiculous amount of food)
  • Freshly baked bagels
  • Broccoli Cheddar soup in a bread bowl from Panera
  • Classic Chinese dumplings (these fill the void, but I miss being able to order them from Chinese restaurants)
  • Ice cream cones

And finally, I miss cinnamon rolls and breadsticks (like good, Olive Garden breadsticks). Which leads us to this post! I was so excited to find both of these from Chebe in the grocery store.

chebe gluten free cinnamon rolls

So cinnamon rolls. The classic ooey gooey sugary roll of goodness that everyone loves. Let’s start off with how they’re made. You combine the mix with 3 tbsp oil, 2 eggs, and 2 tbsp milk. Then you knead the dough all up, roll it out with a rolling pin, and spread it with 1 tbsp of butter and sprinkle a mix of 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp butter onto it. Then you roll it all up, cut it into pieces, and bake them in muffin tin cups for 16-18 minutes or until nice and golden brown. I was told that this process was quite unpleasant and a lot of work (I didn’t make them myself, my lovely mother made them and they were ready when I woke up, which is the best way to wake up in the morning). The mix doesn’t come with any icing to drizzle on top, which is an essential part of cinnamon rolls, so we made our own with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 tbsp milk.

chebe gluten free cinnamon rolls

Please don’t be fooled by the slight ugliness of these cinnamon rolls. They taste much more beautiful than they look! They did end up being much tinier than I expected them to be, just because I always think of the giant gluten rolls that I used to eat. These were more like cute lil bite size cinnamon rolls. They were really good and nice and soft, but just a tiny bit too sweet for me, but let’s be honest, thats how cinnamon rolls are supposed to be.

chebe gluten free breadsticks

Next up is the breadsticks. Not only are these breadsticks, which I miss dearly, but they are garlic onion breadsticks, which makes them ten times better. These were also a little bit of a hassle to make. You combine the mix with 2 tbsp oil, 1 cup shredded cheese (they say sharp cheeses are best, but we used a combo of Mozzarella and Parmesan Romano), and 2 large eggs. Then you blend in exactly 1/4 cup milk, and knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth. I want to emphasize exactly 1/4 cup because it is going to seem like you need more because it looks dry, but trust me, it will come together! Next you divide the dough into twelve pieces and roll them into 7 inch sticks. We also added a step of sprinkling some grated parmesan and garlic powder on top of them. Then you put them into a baking sheet, bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned, and enjoy!

chebe gluten free breadsticks

These are awesome. I couldn’t stop eating them. When I saw how thin I had to roll them I was worried they would be crispy crunchy breadsticks instead of soft fluffy breadsticks. But they ended up being perfectly crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. Not only was the texture wonderful, but the flavor was also fantastic! Nice and cheesy and garlicy and delicious. These are great to pair with a nice bowl of pasta to soak up some sauce. But I was just eating them as a snack because they were so good.

Chebe also has some more dry mixes that I will definitely try now that I know how amazing these were. These cinnamon rolls and breadsticks were able to fill the space of two foods I’ve been missing, now on to finding the rest on my list!

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Brick House

This past week was my brother’s 20th birthday (man he’s old). Every year for everyone’s birthday, the birthday boy/girl chooses their favorite restaurant and we go out to dinner. Unfortunately for Ryan and my parents, I’ve kind of limited their choices since they don’t really get to pick wherever they want—it has to have gluten free options. But that doesn’t mean we don’t go to some great restaurants!

brick house gluten free menu

This year Ryan picked the Brick House for his birthday dinner. I love the Brick House (their deviled eggs are heavenly, but we’ll get into that later), but I’ve had a couple issues with them lately. The past couple times I’ve been, they’ve messed up my order and given me something with gluten on my plate. Which then leads to me feeling very very bad about telling my waiter that they need to take my plate back and make me a new one, although I know it has to be done. I’ll talk more about the problems I’ve had a little later. They do have a separate gluten free menu, which has a decent number of options, ranging from appetizers to salads to entrees to sides. They don’t have any dessert listed, but they do have ice cream, which is always a good end to a meal!

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Every time I go to Brick House, I must get the deviled eggs. They are amazing. Even if my parents go here without me, I always make them bring me back an order of deviled eggs. They’ve got bacon and green onions and paprika on them, and how could anyone say no to that? I could eat a million of these if I had an endless supply, but unfortunately they only give me six of them.😦

brick house gluten free entrees

I’ve tried a bunch of Brick House’s entrees. I’ll start with the picture in the top left corner. This is what I got when we went for Ryan’s birthday, because I wanted to try something different than what I usually get. This is the Black Rum BBQ Salmon. I actually don’t love barbecue sauce that much, which would probably make you question why I would order this, but I did enjoy it! Confession: I may have just ordered this because it came with potato salad and I love potato salad with all my heart. And this potato salad was great! Only comment: I think the potatoes could’ve been cooked a little more, because they were a little bit hard for my taste. Moving on to the bottom left pic, the Drunken Chops. I’m usually not a meat person, but I wanted to give these pork chops a try. And I’m glad I did, because they were great! Very well cooked, very delicious sauce, amazing mashed potatoes. It was just wonderful! Next, top right pic, Grilled Mahi Mahi. This is where my problems occurred. I love this dish; the fish is great and I love love love the little remoulade sauce it comes with. But multiple times I ordered this, even when I specifically mentioned that I was ordering off the GF menu and have a gluten allergy, they served me a side salad with croutons on it. Which, of course, since the croutons are on the plate with the fish, meant I have to get a whole new plate made. Well, one time when I sent it back for a new one, the new piece of fish had a large piece of plastic stuck to it. Now this isn’t a gluten problem, this is a general culinary problem. You shouldn’t serve someone a dish with a hunk of plastic on it. This made me so sad because I love this meal so much, and they messed it up for me numerous times. Finally, bottom right pic, Filet Mignon Salad. This wasn’t my meal—my aunt ordered it and allowed me to try it—but from what I tasted it was very good! She ordered it with a side of bleu cheese, which I don’t love, but she said it was great!

Brick House has 26 locations in Ohio, New York, Texas, Missouri, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and of course New Jersey. I may have had my issues here, but it’s still a great restaurant and have been very understanding and gracious when fixing what was done wrong (and I’ve never actually gotten sick after eating here, so they have done a good job of making sure that the meal I eventually got was gluten free). I think it’s worth giving a chance because the food is genuinely delicious, just make sure you make it very very clear that you are gluten free/have gluten allergy!