Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rolling with the Tides and Just for Me Gluten Free in Haverhill, MA

One of the biggest things that we all have to learn in our gluten free journey is how to deal with change and  roll with the tide. Some of us embrace the challenge head on and dive into learning, cooking and enjoying all that the gluten free life has to offer while others may take some time to warm up, no judging here- we all cope with this journey differently. Often times these lessons learned in gluten free living can help us deal with other areas of life as well.

These days I'm rolling with the tide and shifting gears a bit. It's a big step and the magnitude may not really hit until the snow flies next winter but I'm ready for the next phase of life. Camp Chaos (my home) has traditionally been in the mountains and this year we're moving to the ocean. We'll always be skiers and the mountains will always be our love but we're not solely defined by one thing or where we rest our head at night. We're opening up our lives to the next adventures and discovering that life can also feel good with a bit of sand between your toes (or on your tennis ball as in the case of the pups)  

This also changes my gluten free game as I'm now within striking distance of PF Chang's and Whole Foods. Seriously- this is big. It doesn't mean I'll hit each weekly but now I could as I'm less then 30 minutes from either. Last week I took a little field trip to Haverhill, MA and hit up a new-to-me store which I happened to feel right at home in...

I thought you might too. Just for Me Gluten Free is a small boutique that I found via a google search and since I *had* to go to Haverhill anyhow to go to Target I figured I should swing in.
There were so many of my favorite gluten free goodies but I was on a time crunch and couldn't linger. I quickly found some English Muffins that my younger sister loves and a few Liz Lovely treats.

Foods By George makes one fat english muffin and I actually thought the hearty four pack was a six pack at first. I kept them in the freezer and would let it defrost on the counter for a few hours. There's not dedicated gluten free toaster for me so I sliced it in half and fried it up in a pan with a bit of Earth's Balance before loading it with strawberry jam. I have to say- I'm impressed with George. These were thicker then the ones my Gluten Free English Muffin dealer supplied me with this winter and had a more "classic" appearance with all the delightful air pockets that became perfect little homes for the jelly.

My Liz Lovely finds were a real treat,I've been a fan of the vegan bakery since my friend first shared their gluten free goodies with me on a road trip in 2009. While I lived in Colorado I would order a case of cookies for special occasions (really- it was the best shipping deal- I had to get a whole case...thankfully they let you mix it up!) so it was fun to just pick up a pack or two. I also got to try a new product...
the new gluten free and vegan Liz Lovely Oh's. These little bad boys come in packs of 8 and are thickly coated in chocolate.
Love at first bite... I hid them in the back of the fridge but that was mostly from myself and not from Dave...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Walt Disney World- the Disney gluten free dining plan

On the morning of our first full day in Disney I had this for breakfast... a banana, a cup of strawberries, an apple juice and a protein bar from my stash... notice Dave's plate of a great filling breakfast in the background. I was feel very unfulfilled and when I'm hungry- I get grumpy. 
The dining hall at Port Orleans was hard to navigate that morning so I pieced together a small breakfast to carry me through miles of walking in the Magic Kingdom. I wasn't feeling like I was on the happiest place on earth... I was worried that my snacks were going to last through the vacation.
So I sent an email to Disney Dining and complained.... then I went to the concierge. You might remember that I had tried to be proactive and asked a few questions before we hit Florida via email.
The concierge was hesitant... she was a cast member from another country and she stumbled through my conundrum but then did the best thing for both of us... she asked for help. Ray, her fellow concierge stepped in and quickly gave me a game plan. The best thing I could do was to ask for a chef at each dining place... this didn't make me needy but would ensure my needs were met. Dave and I walked back to the dining hall and met Chef Laura. It was mid afternoon and she gave us the rundown of options I had... they weren't limited at all!  She had so much information and the Disney Chef's are very well trained in food allergies... I love them. They had a dedicated fryer and this camper could enjoy gluten free french fries and chicken fingers... so many options and this is what I wanted most.

 In fact I had those a few more times. Except at breakfast... then I enjoyed gluten free waffles with Mickey's smiling face...
I couldn't help it. It was the best kind of comfort food and that brownie? OMG it's gluten free..it isn't good for me but I figured it wasn't going to kill me with all the miles I walked through the park and it was a really yummy goodbad treat. Obviously as food blogger I love food and it's a huge part of memory for me. I can still remember all the fresh fruit I ate when I went to Disney back in 1989 and now 23 years later I'm in love with gluten free waffles and gluten free comfort food. If I could have found the Mickey Mouse waffle iron I most likely would have bought it so I could enjoy my own gluten free Mickey waffles at home...