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! 🙂

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Recipe: Spaghetti with White Clam Sauce!

spaghetti with clam sauce

What a surprise, Anna’s writing another recipe post for a pasta dish. I can’t help it, I have a problem. Some part of me must be Italian. That would make a lot of sense. Anyway, one of my favorite meals to order at Italian restaurants is linguine with clam sauce. It just tastes so fresh and delicious. So I decided that I wanted to make it for myself! The flavorful, brothy sauce, the chewy clams, perfectly cooked pasta…soooo delicious! Full disclosure: I got this recipe off the side of a can of Bumble Bee chopped clams and made just a few changes.

What you’ll need:

  • 12 oz brown rice spaghetti
  • two 6.5 oz cans of chopped clams, drained, reserving liquid
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (I used a garlic press)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • one 8 oz bottle of clam juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (plus a little extra for topping if you want)
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • a little bit of pepper to taste
  • shredded or grated parmesan for topping (optional)

How to make it:
spaghetti with clam sauce

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions.
  2. In a large pan, heat your oil and add your garlic until brown and tender.
  3. Put your reserved clam liquid, bottle of clam juice, parsley, basil, and pepper in the pan. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add your clams to your pan (these are already cooked so you just have to get them nice and warm).
  5. Toss your cooked and drained pasta in the pan with the sauce, then scoop it into a bowl (make sure you get plenty of that delicious sauce in there!) and top it with as much parmesan and extra parsley as you please!

This was so amazing, and also really simple! We appreciate a quick, easy recipe in my house. My cat also appreciated this meal because it meant she got to eat some clams. This tasted exactly like I was sitting in an authentic Italian restaurant eating dinner. Pair it with your favorite gluten free bread, baguette, or breadstick (I like Chebe’s Breadstick Mix, review coming soon!) to soak up all that delicious sauce and you’re set! 🙂

spaghetti with clam sauce

Wild Bamboo

wild bamboo

I am a sucker for a good bowl of pad thai. It’s probably one of my favorite dishes ever. As I’ve said, I had the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten at Chaang Thai in West Virginia. But unfortunately, I can’t drive six hours to WV whenever I get a craving. So I have made it a personal mission to find the best gluten free pad thai in New Jersey. So far, Wild Bamboo is the top contender. But it’s not just the pad thai that’s good, everything else is too! They have a pretty decent sized gluten free menu, covering all the bases—appetizers, soups, salads, fried rice, curry, pad thai, “chinese classics,” and desserts. Here you can see the full menu, but you’d have to visit to see the full extent of gluten free offerings, since they aren’t all marked on the main menu. This is one of those places that I was so excited to find, and even more excited to eat at when I realized how delicious the food is! It’s in Pier Village right on the beach—what a great spot to be in! You could spend the day on the beach then pop in and get some lunch or dinner. In the warmer months, they have some outdoor seating so you can enjoy the nice weather with your meal.

lettuce wraps and chicken satay

First up is the appetizers. We ordered the Chicken Satay. So, I’m not really sure what happened, but our waiter said something was wrong or something happened and he brought us Chicken Lettuce Wraps and said the Satay was on the house. We didn’t really understand why, but hey, we got some free food so I won’t complain. The most confusing part was that the Lettuce Wraps weren’t on the gluten free menu, but he assured us that it was gluten free (which was confirmed by the fact that I didn’t feel like I was dying the next day). So the Lettuce Wraps were awesome, I loved them. I think they were even better than  P.F. Changs’ lettuce wraps, which I also love very much. The Chicken Satay was pretty good too. I liked the peanut sauce a lot, but the chicken was coated in some curry flavors, and I’m not a huge lover of curry.

mandarin salad

The first time we visited I wasn’t that hungry, so I got the Mandarin Salad and added grilled chicken. It was so yummy and really refreshing. I loved the little pops of juicy mandarin throughout the meal. The dressing was pretty tasty; it didn’t say what the dressing was in the description of the salad but I think it was the ginger dressing. There are only two things I would like to change about it. First, I wish the chicken was diced rather than sliced, because, as I’ve said before, I like to get a little of everything in each bite, and the sliced chicken makes that hard. Second, if I got this again I would get it without red onions. I’m really not a fan of red onions but I forgot to ask to omit them, and the flavor kind of took over the dish.

pad thai

Now onto the most important part. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. The Chicken Pad Thai! This is some seriously awesome Pad Thai. The flavor is amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I still have to say that Chaang Thai’s pad thai is better, but this is definitely the next best thing. I think my favorite part about a pad thai (besides the flavor of the sauce of course) is the peanuts on top. It gives it a great crunch and a little contrasting texture. One of the best things about this Pad Thai is that it’s just as good left over. It reheats so well you would think it was freshly made. And I appreciate that in a meal, because that means I can eat it again and it will taste just as delicious!

I’ve also tried their Thai Pineapple Fried Rice, and my dad has gotten the Massaman Curry. I love the fried rice—pineapple in fried rice is one of the greatest ideas ever. It’s just so fantastic. My dad enjoyed the curry, but I can’t really comment on it because I was too focused on my pad thai to try it. Now, they also have some desserts, but I’ve never gotten around to trying them. Usually if I’m in the mood for dessert after my meal, we walk down a couple doors to The Corner Cafe & Bistro for some gelato. Overall, I love Wild Bamboo, and it is now my go to restaurant when I’m craving pad thai!

Have a restaurant suggestion for my next pad thai taste test? Tell me about it in the comments so I can give it a try!

(Also, make sure you like Gluten Free Deliciously on Facebook! 🙂 )

Recipe: Beef Stroganoff!

beef stroganoff

This is one of my all-time favorite meals. Its so amazingly delicious, but yet so simple! Are you surprised that yet another one of my favorite meals includes pasta?? This Beef Stroganoff packs so much flavor into so few ingredients. It’s one of those things that, if it never ran out, you could just keep on eating it forever. The sauce is my favorite part; its just sooo tasty! I always say that I could eat just the sauce out of a bowl like soup. It’s that good. I wish I had an endless supply of it.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb any kind of tender steak (we used ribeye), sliced into thin strips
  • 16 oz brown rice spirals
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
  • one 16 oz container of sour cream
  • 3 beef bouillon cubes
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • a couple drops gravy master
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • parsley for topping (optional)

How to make it:

beef stroganoff

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package directions.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and cook your onions until they’re soft and caramelized. Then add your sliced steak and cook until it’s brown, but leave it a little rare inside (it will cook more later in the sauce).
  3. Remove your steak and onions from the pan and put it aside. Add your bouillon cubes in about 3/4 cups of water to dissolve, then add your sour cream and combine.
  4. In a separate cup, combine the arrowroot with a couple tablespoons of water and stir well. Then pour this mixture into your pan and whisk it thoroughly. If it’s too thin, add more arrowroot, and if it’s too thick, add a little extra water.
  5. Add your steak and onions back to pan with the sauce. Add a couple drops of gravy master and then simmer for about 15 minutes.
  6. Put your pasta in a bowl, top with the steak, onions, plenty of sauce, and a little bit of parsley, and enjoy!

This may not be the prettiest dish, but it’s not about what’s on the outside; it’s what’s on the beautiful delicious inside. I dare you to resist eating all of this Beef Stroganoff yourself. It’s very hard. The tender beef, the amazing sauce, the sweet caramelized onions, all over a nice bowl of pasta…it’s ridiculously addicting. I’m never not in the mood for this meal. It’s one of those things I could just eat forever and ever and ever. For those of you who don’t have the same passion for pasta as I do, this could also be served over something like mashed potatoes. Whatever you serve it with, I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do! 🙂

beef stroganoff

Recipe: Sesame Noodles!

sesame noodles

About a year ago, I discovered my love for sesame oil. I love it. It makes me sad that I had never tried it earlier. I could have been living a whole life full of sesame oil. Anyway…this recipe brings together my favorite things: noodles, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Man I love Asian noodle dishes; I could live off Asian noodle dishes. This one is one of my favorites, and I make it all the time. The flavors are just so amazing! But I won’t waste time talking about it, let’s just get right to the recipe!

What you’ll need:
(As with a lot of my recipes, I made this just for myself so these amounts are only for one serving)

veggies

  • about 4-6 oz brown rice spaghetti
  • little handful of carrots
  • little handful of broccoli slaw
  • 1-2 thin slices of onion, diced
  • 3-4 sliced of zucchini, cut into strips
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • about 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • about 2-3 tablespoons sesame oil (use more or less, depending on your love for sesame oil)
  • as much soy sauce as your heart desires (which for me, is a lot)
  • feel free to add any protein you like—I’ve used chicken which is really good in this
  • sesame seeds for topping

How to make it:

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil to a wok or pan. When it’s hot, add your veggies (excluding the green onions and garlic) and cook until soft (if you’d like, you can add a little soy sauce to the veggies for it to absorb the flavor). Make sure you don’t start this step too early, otherwise you might overcook your veggies while you’re waiting for the pasta to be done (yes, I know this from experience). Just plan your time wisely so your veggies and pasta are done at about the same time.
  3. Once your pasta is cooked and drained, add the garlic and green onions to the wok and sauté for another minute or so. Then, add your pasta to all your veggies and add as much sesame oil and soy sauce as desired.
  4. Put it into a bowl, top with sesame seeds, and enjoy!

This recipe is so yummy. It’s definitely one of my go-to meals, and it’s so easy! It’s one more pasta recipe in my pasta arsenal (which, by the way, is very full). For having such simple ingredients, this dish packs a whole lot of delicious flavor. And as usual, feel free to personalize as you like and use different veggies and proteins. I’m so happy that me and sesame oil were brought together. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I do! 🙂

sesame noodles

Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Before I get into the review, I thought I’d let you know what’s going on in my life right now. So I’m a senior in high school, and it’s about that time to be hearing back from colleges! I am happy to say that I’ve been accepted to all the schools I applied to! So exciting!! I got into Rowan University, University of the Sciences, Pace University, The College of New Jersey, Stockton University, and most recently, University of Delaware. So many choices. I will let you know my final decision when the time comes!

Well anyway, in honor of getting into UDel, I will be writing about Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, a wonderful place that we stopped in for dinner when I was visiting the campus!

So after our campus tour, we had to figure out where we were going to eat. The place we were planning to go that we’d visited before (Klondike Kate’s) was closed, so we had to change our plans. That’s when we found Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant! This was a pretty great discovery. They have a fairly large gluten free menu, which features salads, appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, entrees, and desserts.

ironhillgfmenu

We decided to go for two appetizers—the Hummus and the Baked Chicken Wings. The hummus was so good; we were expecting to just get a bowl of hummus with some veggie sticks, but there was so much other stuff too! Now that I’m reading the menu again I realize all the additions are actually listed in the description, so obviously we didn’t read the menu very well! Anyway, it came with carrot and celery sticks, diced cucumbers, olives, tomato-pepper relish, and feta. I loved it! The hummus was so flavorful, and it was fun to mix it up and pair it with the different things. As for the chicken wings, I think I’ve said in a past review that if I go to a restaurant and they have GF chicken wings, it’s almost guaranteed that I will be ordering them. These wings were really good, and the buffalo sauce tasted great! If I had a comment, I think they could’ve been a little crispier, but when you’re baking them it’s hard to really get the outside good and crunchy.

Iron Hill Brewery gluten free appetizers

As for the meal, I got the Santa Fe Turkey Burger. This had on it guacamole, tomato, bacon,  pepper jack cheese, and ancho-honey mayonnaise. And it was on a gluten free bun! It was sooo yummy. I loved the flavor combination. Very Santa Fe-ish. I wish it had more of the ancho-honey mayonnaise though! It was delicious and I wanted more! The only real problem I had was with the bun—it tasted good and the texture was soft, but it was really crumbly and kind of fell apart in my hands. Otherwise, it was awesome!

Iron Hill Brewery gluten free burger

We skipped dessert since the only options were Creme Brûlée (which I’m not a fan of) and Ice Cream. Instead, we went down the street and got some gelato from Caffé Gelato, which was amazing. Who doesn’t love gelato?

I digress…back to the point. I really enjoyed Iron Hill. From beginning to end, it was wonderful. I would absolutely go back and try more of the items on that nice long gluten free menu! It’s actually a small chain with 12 locations in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—visit their website to see if there’s a location near you!

It’s good to know that if I end up at UDel, I’ll have a great restaurant to go to. 🙂

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili!

snow

When you’re snowed in with blizzard conditions, everyone wants a nice warm bowl of something comforting. For us this weekend, that bowl was full of Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili! We got about two feet of snow, so were desperately in need of warmth. I got the idea for this recipe from Skinnytaste.com, but changed a couple things according to what we actually had in our pantry. It was different from your typical chili, mostly because the chicken is shredded instead of ground, and the taco seasoning gives it a little bit of a different flavor. We always love a Crockpot dinner in our house because all you have to do is pop some stuff in the pot, turn it on, and dinner is ready for you in the evening! It was so delicious, easy, and most importantly, warm!

What you’ll need:

  • 24 oz (3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can Cannellini beans
  • 1 15.5 oz can black eyed peas
  • 1 29 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (I used Old El Paso)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

How to make it:

  1. Combine beans, onion, green chiles, tomato sauce, chili powder and taco seasoning in a slow cooker and combine well
  2. Add the whole chicken breasts and completely cover them. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 6 hours (we did it on high because we didn’t start making it early enough)
  3. 30 minutes before serving, take the chicken out and shred it. Put your chicken back in the slow cooker and stir it all together to cook for the last couple minutes. When it’s done, scoop it into a bowl, add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

crockpot chicken taco chili

This chili was so easy and so so yummy! I topped mine with cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, and some chipotle hot sauce. My mom opted for diced tomatoes instead of hot sauce. When we were all topping our chili, my mom and I got into a bit of a presentation war to see who could make their chili prettier. As much as I hate to admit it, I think she might’ve won (although I argue that she tried way too hard).

crockpot chicken taco chili

Me vs. Mom

The nice thing about this chili is you can put whatever kinds of beans or additional ingredients you want. We used those three kinds of beans because they were all we had, but you could use black beans, pinto beans, whatever you like! You could also add corn, or put the diced tomatoes we topped with into the chili, or add some peppers. You also don’t have to just eat the chili out of a bowl; you can serve it over rice or even as a dip for some tortilla chips. No matter how you enjoy it, it will be delicious and will keep you warm! I can’t wait to use up our leftovers. 🙂

In the meantime, we will continue to dig ourselves out of the snow!

IMG_0854