Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Resources

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Dec 9 2015

Review: Carrabba’s Italian Grill

It has been a long time since I last ate at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. There is one close to us, but for some reason I never think about going there. A couple of weeks back I heard that they expanded and updated the gluten-free menu, so I made it a point to go last weekend. 

The gluten-free menu is quite extensive with choices that are sure to please just about anyone. There are appetizers, soups, pastas, salads, chicken, fish and steak options. After changing my mind several times, I finally decided on the Johnny Rocco Salad. The salad is made up of wood-grilled shrimp, scallops, roasted red peppers, olives, ricotta salta, romaine lettuce and mixed greens tossed in an Italian vinaigrette. I asked them to leave off the ricotta and chose a different dressing since I am also dairy-free in addition to gluten-free. 

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This salad was out of this world! The shrimp and scallops were plentiful and cooked to perfection. The balsamic vinaigrette went perfectly with the ingredients. This is definitely a salad I would order again. 

Carrabba’s Italian Grill has locations across the US. They take their gluten-free menu seriously, consulting lead dietitian, Maria Carafe, when designing the gluten-free menu and dishes. I highly recommend giving Carrabba’s a try if you haven’t yet. 


Dec 7 2015

Review: Sunny Street Cafe + A Letter to All Restaurants

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of having breakfast with a good friend at Sunny Street Cafe. This friend is also a dietitian that just so happens to specialize in Celiac Disease and writes for Gluten Free Living. We chose Sunny Street Cafe as our meeting place because we knew they had a gluten-free menu which also happened to include bread from one of my favorite places, Eban Bakehouse.

As per usual, I let our server know that I needed to eat gluten-free and dairy-free and asked about cross-contamination issues. Our server assured me that she would let the cook know and they would take all necessary precautions – cleaning the grill, changing gloves, etc. At first I was a little concerned, as the gluten-free menu was dated “2010.” Given that they serve breakfast and lunch and there probably isn’t much that changes with the gluten-free menu, I brushed it off. Turns out I probably shouldn’t have.

I ordered hash browns, bacon, and the cinnamon-raisin bread. When my plate arrived and the bread was toasted, I double-checked that it was made in a dedicated toaster. Imagine my surprise to hear that it was not! They toasted it in the same toaster they toast all of the bread in. I asked to speak with the manager-on-duty and was told that while they offer a gluten-free menu, it really isn’t gluten-free or something along those lines. I don’t remember her exact words because I was shocked by what I was hearing. I understand there are risks when dining out gluten-free, but come on! She went on to tell me that I should have let our server know so she could notify the kitchen staff. I told her that I did that and was assured my food would be made with caution. She offered to remake my food, which I did have her do after asking her to use a clean, separate pan, new gloves, and a clean knife to cut my bread. I also asked for the bread to be left untoasted.

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While the food was very good when I finally received it, I would not dine here again. I am at the point with restaurants that if you can’t safely offer a gluten-free menu, don’t offer one. So, here is my letter to all restaurants offering a gluten-free menu:

To Whom it May Concern,

Thank you for including a gluten-free menu in your offerings. I appreciate you taking any and all precautions in your establishment to keep me and my family safe. However, if you overlook some of the following basic, common-knowledge facts concerning serving gluten-free food and how to avoid cross-contamination, please don’t bother to insult me. Educate yourself and your staff. This is not a fad diet for most people, this is our life. We don’t choose to eat like this.

  • If you use a common fryer, your fries are not gluten-free, and neither are your tortilla chips
  • This also goes for common toasters, ovens, utensils, etc
  • Picking the croutons or bread off of the salad is not acceptable
  • Change your gloves before touching any food that should be gluten-free
  • If you are using condiments with a utensil that has touched gluten, you must use new, uncontaminated condiments and clean utensils
  • If you cook gluten-free pasta in the same water as non-gluten-free pasta, it isn’t gluten-free
  • If you steam vegetables with pasta water used to cook non-gluten-free pasta, those vegetables are not gluten-free
  • If you dust the cake pan with regular flour, your cake is no longer gluten-free (I’m looking at you Cheesecake Factory)
  • If you thicken your omelettes or eggs with pancake batter, they are no longer gluten-free
  • Most soy sauce is not gluten-free, so dressings, sauces, and marinades made with soy sauce are not gluten-free
  • Beer is not gluten-free, so if it is used in any dish, dessert, etc, said dish is not gluten-free

Of course accidents do happen, but an accidental cross-contamination is much different than one that results from blatantly ignoring the items listed above. I choose to accept the risks of accidental cross-contamination and do so willingly so that I can have a social life.

Respectfully,

Kim Bouldin

Diagnosed with Celiac Disease in January 2006


Dec 4 2015

Review: All But Gluten Desserts

The other day I shared my thoughts on the new All But Gluten Whole Grain Bread. Today I am going to talk about some of the desserts we sampled. I met a friend for coffee and brought the Chocolate Snack Cakes, Mini Brownies, and Chocolate Cupcakes along. 

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Chocolate Snack Cakes: These are amazing! They are chocolatey and creamy and remind me of a Ho-Ho or Swiss Cake Roll. I would definitely buy these again. These are also offered in Vanilla and Strawberry. *These are not dairy-free.

Mini – Brownies: These had a great flavor, but were a little crumbly and a touch dry. Perhaps that is what they were going for? Probably wouldn’t buy these again. Dairy-free in addition to gluten-free. 

Chocolate Cupcakes: These are rich, decadent, moist, and creamy! These taste like they are full of gluten, but they are not! They are even dairy-free! These are also offered in Vanilla. I would definitely buy these again. 

I can’t begin to express how thrilled I am about these products being available. Kids (and adults) no longer have to feel left out during class or office parties. These are easy to pick up and carry along to make sure everyone has a treat. There is no worrying about homemade gluten-free products possibly being made by someone who doesn’t understand the importance of cross-contamination. You can find All But Gluten products in select stores. Have you spotted or tried any of the All But Gluten products? 


Dec 2 2015

Review: All But Gluten Bread

I did a happy dance the other day in the grocery store. It had been a while since I had done that, but when I spotted some new gluten-free items in the bakery section of our local Meijer, I had no choice. While I had heard of the brand, All But Gluten, I had yet to see it in our local stores. All But Gluten is a unique gluten-free brand, as all of their gluten-free products are found in the bakery section and not the frozen food aisle. I purchased several of their products, but will be focusing on the bread today. 

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All of the products in our Meijer store were priced at $4.99. 

All But Gluten offers three different varieties of gluten-free bread, but our store only had spots for two of those varieties. I purchased the Whole Grain. 

  • Sliced White
  • Whole Grain
  • Cinnamon Raisin

I couldn’t wait to get home and make lunch after I bought this bread! Even though these slices are smaller than the bread I have been eating, there are no holes so it probably makes up for the difference. This bread is delicious and has a great texture. It holds up well to a variety of different fillings/toppings, including tuna salad. In addition to being free of gluten, this bread is also free of dairy. 

More about All But Gluten:

The All But Gluten™ products are made in facilities that have been certified to produce gluten-free products. The North American production facilities are dedicated, gluten-free facilities that have been certified by the Gluten Free Certification Program as endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). The products imported from Europe are produced in facilities that are certified to be gluten free by the country specific Celiac Society.

You can find All But Gluten products in select stores. Have you spotted or tried any of the All But Gluten products? 


Nov 30 2015

Review: Soodles Bake Shop Pumpkin Pie & Dinner Rolls

We have been fans of Soodles Bake Shop since we first sampled their products a couple of years ago. When I ran out of time to make some gluten-free goodies for Thanksgiving, I turned to them to rescue me. Not only are all of their products gluten-free, but they are also free of the top 8 allergens, except coconut. This is music to my ears now that I am avoiding dairy in addition to gluten. I purchased a Pumpkin Pie and Dinner Rolls and it was the best $23 choice I made all week!

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The pie comes frozen, so you need to defrost in the refrigerator before serving. The label said 4-6 hours in the refrigerator, but ours was still partially frozen after that, so I let it sit out for an additional 30 minutes. I can’t even begin to put into words how amazing this pie is! I expected it to be good, but I am talking maybe “Best Ever” good.

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The dinner rolls are also stored frozen and can be defrosted on the counter or heated in the microwave. Both Jon and I fell in love with these rolls! While we served them with butter (Earth Balance for me), they were great on their own or dipped in a little turkey gravy.

Soodles Bake Shop goods can be found in several places around the Columbus area,in addition to their brick and mortar store. They can also be ordered online and shipped to you.