Friday, July 31, 2015

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Favorite Products: July

July brings lots of foodie fun as summer hits its stride. This month brings lots of farm-fresh veggies, peak season sweet summer fruits, and plenty of fun opportunities to share good eats with others through cookouts, potlucks, and patriotic get-togethers.

This month, I am pleased to introduce four awesome products that have earned a spot on my month-end round up of products that deserve a tip of the hat. Ranging from breakfast to dessert as well as both sweet and savory, each of the four products have definitely earned a spot in my rotation of products I buy on a regular basis.

Corner Taco Review

Whenever I travel, I do not leave home without gluten-free snacks to tide me over on the road or the Find Me Gluten-Free app, which allows me to make on-the-go decisions about where to stop for food along the way. Knowing I'd be heading up to Jacksonville this past week for a meeting, I used the latter to seek out gluten-free eats to check out while in the city. 

As it happened, I was immediately drawn to one particular listing: Corner Taco, a farm-to-table taco joint with foodie flair. The overwhelmingly positive reviews I read blew every other restaurant listed out of the park and the prospect of an uber gluten-free friendly dining spot sealed the deal, and proved to be a perfect combination. Located in Riverside, one of Jacksonville's more prominent foodie destinations, I couldn't wait to see if the hype surrounding Corner Taco was well earned.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Enjoy Life Foods Baking Mix Review Preview

Of all of the "big" companies out there that make gluten-free food, Enjoy Life Foods ranks high as one of my favorites. I love that their commitment to the food allergy/restriction community spans eight dimensions, as all of their products are free from the top eight allergens and made in a facility dedicated to allergen-free production. 

I know I am not the only one who jumped for joy when Enjoy Life Foods made the amazing announcement that the latest additions to their product line-up are five baking mixes that would allow gluten-free folks to enjoy everything from brownies to pizza without limits. In their excitement over the new product release, the good folks over at Enjoy Life Foods sent me a sample of all five of the new mixes, and tasked me with baking, tasting, and review each one. While those reviews are underway, I wanted to highlight just how great these mixes are in the meantime.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

iPho Noodle House Review

Those who have followed my blog and/or instagram for a while might have picked up on the fact that I am a huge fan of pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup that is my go-to comfort food come winter weather or rainy day.

Orlando has a unique neighborhood called Little Vietnam where pho restaurants abound, but for my recent pho excursion, I decided to head north of town to Lake Mary instead of the heart of the city. On a particularly dreary day, I decided there was no better time or place to check out iPho Noodle House, a restaurant that's been on my "to eat" list for a while. 

Garden Tonic Natural Tea Recipe

Since returning home to Orlando for the summer, one definite change I have noticed since moving away last year is that I am a whole lot more intolerant to the heat and humidity than I was before. In addition to my food intolerances, I also have several autoimmune conditions, which have flared up a lot more this summer thanks to Orlando's unique brand of inferno-like heat.

Luckily, one way I can combat the toll the heat takes is through hydration. Because I have no tolerance for sugary sweet sodas, sport drinks, or other "thirst quenching" concoctions, my drink of choice is plain old water. Inspired by the garden tonics served up at Dandelion Cafe (see more here), I decided to rethink water as a blank canvas on which I could experiment with flavors. In the process, I've had fun playing with herbs to create new flavors, as well as add health-boosting additives such as salt and electrolytes that help me stay hydrated without overthinking what I am drinking. While it may not be as storied as the Butterbeer served as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, my recipe for garden tonic packs its own healthy magic.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Two Foodies Gluten-Free Kitchen Pizza Crust Mix

This review has been a long time coming. I first discovered Two Foodies Gluten-Free Kitchen back in March at the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Charlotte, NC. At first bite, I knew I would be coming home with a box of pizza crust mix that would be put to the test in my own kitchen.

What is really cool about Two Foodies, is that Jen and Chris, the foodies who engineered the mix, proved that necessity is really the mother of invention. Chris, diagnosed with gluten intolerance and a wheat allergy, knew that he wanted to eat real pizza that is not only gluten-free, but does not compromise in taste or texture.

What emerged from these two masterminds is a pizza dough mix that is top 8 allergen free (and made in an allergen-free facility), certified gluten-free, and needs only water and olive oil to bring it to life. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Tabla: Indian, Chinese, Thai Review

Since starting my blog, I've had encounters with many different dialects of ethnic food; Turkish, Tibetan, and Salvadorian are all cuisines I've acquainted myself with. While I have eaten cuisines from around the globe, I have never made it out to an Indian restaurant. 

Although I have dabbled in Indian flavors at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge's Sanaa, I really wanted to go to an more traditional Indian restaurant to get an authentic experience. When Katie, from Adventures by Katie posted in the Gluten  Free in Orlando Facebook group about her experience at Tabla, I knew that this would be the perfect place to for aunt and I to enjoy a dinner out on her recent visit. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Nutty Crunch Review (Paleo/Grain-Free)

Right off the bat, I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of granola. My breakfast usually consists of cereal, bagels, or simply fruit and nut butter. However, a recent trip to the Lake Eola Farmer's Market changed my mind, as I discovered a vendor I had not seen before: Nutty Crunch. 

Offering gluten-free, grain-free, paleo granola, I was drawn in by the prospect of a healthy paleo snack that would help me satisfy my "snack attacks" in a healthier way that not only would taste good, but be really good for my body too. I was literally in love with it at first bite, and came home from the market with three bags of this delicious concoction, eager to share my find with you, my readers.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ben and Jerry's Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Sorbet Review

It's really hard not to like Ben and Jerry's ice cream. After all, with cute flavor names, a socially conscious philosophy, and commitment to making really delicious desserts, it's no wonder they're one of America's favorite ice cream purveyors. 

Recently, Ben and Jerry's announced that they are working on dairy-free ice cream flavors made with coconut and/or almondmilk. Unfortunately, this review is not covering those yet-to-be released creations. Instead, this is a peek at what gluten and dairy-free options are available in Ben and Jerry's scoop shops now. Update: Since publishing this review, Ben and Jerry's have released their non-dairy flavors. Read all about them at this link.

I stopped by the Ben and Jerry's on International Drive after checking out the new I-Drive 360 complex that includes Madame Tussauds, the Orlando Eye, and Sea Life Aquarium. Needing a pre-dinner treat to beat the heat, my friends and I piled into the store.

Gluten-Free Guest Chef Bob Aungst at The Bistro on Park Avenue Review

Photo Credit: Jim Hobart/Macbeth Photo
As a gluten-free diner with a dairy-free as an added component of my dietary restrictions, I have to jump through hoops to make sure restaurants I visit are both safe and understand what protocols. Rarely do I get the chance to enjoy a night out, complete with several courses of food that's both delicious and safe given my two dietary restrictions.

Given that, the moment I found an email in my blog's inbox about a gluten-free guest chef experience in Winter Park, I knew I could not pass up the opportunity. Hosted by Chef Bob Aungst, a local chef and gluten-free entrepreneur, at the Bistro on Park Ave, I was sold, and began counting down the days until the night arrived.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Scratch and Grain Gluten-Free Cookie Mix Review

Anyone who's followed my blog for awhile knows that I love to bake, but not necessarily baking from scratch. Being gluten and dairy-free, I find homemade recipes either to costly to curate lengthy ingredient lists, or too complicated for my liking. Luckily, I've found just the product to meet my Goldilocks-like gluten-free baking needs.

Enter Scratch and Grain Baking Company, an innovative company that merges the magic of baking from scratch with the convenience of mix-like efficiency. The game changer here is that each ingredient is individually packed so that customers can customize their baking experience while minimizing the mess. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Aramouni's by Nature's Healthy Gourmet Review

Recently, I've fallen head over heels for falafels in a big way. First tasting this Middle Eastern delicacy in Annapolis this Spring, I've since become a huge fan of this naturally gluten-free dish. 

 While checking out the Winter Park Whole Foods Market, I stopped by the prepared foods case and found a goldmine of gluten and dairy-free friendly foods from Aramouni's by Nature's Healthy Gourmet. This Port St. Lucie company was specially curated as a part of Whole Foods' effort to source local products unique to regional stores. Among the many gluten and dairy-free options were tabouli, and falafels, all gluten-free, dairy-free and calling my name.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Daiya Cheezecake Review

In the heat of summer, baking is simply not enjoyable. The oven heats up an already hot house, and I'm simply too tired to clean up the massive mess afterward. Luckily, a new product hitting store shelves is the perfect antedote to the high temps of summer: Daiya's new line of cheezecakes (that's right, with a "z"). These premium, indulgent desserts promise to bring back the luxury of cheesecake to both gluten-free and dairy-free diners, with four fun flavors that are sure to please kids and adults alike.