Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Mentionables

Ah February: the month of groundhogs, love, and all too soon comes to a end after 28 days. After the whirlwind that was January for me, February has proven to be a test of time as the winter weather had me snowed in much of the month and the endless demand of academic work and other obligations has me racing from commitment to commitment. 

While I was not able to get out and explore as many restaurants as I would have liked, I did get the opportunity to check out new products that caught my eye after spending a month back home in the Sunshine state. Of the many perks of going to college out of state, one of the best for this collegiate foodie is getting to taste and try many regionally exclusive products not found in one state or the other.

This month's round-up of gluten and dairy free products that caught my eye were specially selected for their versatility and easy of preparation as I transitioned from dining hall dependence to cooking 100% for myself every meal of the day. While it hasn't been easy, I've noticed that I'm a lot healthier, happier, and free from the stress and worry of not knowing what I can eat or if it's truly safe.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pizza Studio Review

Us gluten-free folks have all too often become accustomed to super expensive, sub-par pizza options when dining out. Usually these cardboard-like imitations of the pizza pies we once enjoyed without worry are watery, gummy, undercooked, and/or too flimsy to support toppings of any substance. Throw in a dairy intolerance, and your options are even more limited as pesto, cheeses, and other pizza toppings are dangerous landmines of potential cross contamination.

Always on the lookout for a great gluten-free pizza, I have eaten around Orlando and Baltimore and have found that gluten-free pizzas are a hit-or-miss gamble. While I've found neighborhood joints that I feel comfortable with, as a busy college student, I default most often to homemade pizza because I can completely control the making of it. 

Not giving up on the prospect of a budget-friendly, downright delicious pizza, I was super excited to get an invitation to check out Pizza Studio, a new pizza joint opening in Baltimore's Charles Village on March 6th. Despite the threatening snow, sleet, and rain, I braved the trek south, near Johns Hopkins, lured by the prospect of complementary pizza and getting a firsthand look at the protocol and processes behind their gluten-free pizza.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wholesome Chow Baking Mixes Review

When it comes to the art of gluten-free baking, let's just say that my skills and expertise are a little lacking. I heavily rely on prepackaged mixes and local bakeries to help me out when I'm craving baked goods and have avoided playing around with different ingredients and prep methods off-recipe. 

Although I've had them in my dorm pantry since August, my newfound confidence in the kitchen from winter break prompted me to break out my supply of Wholesome Chow baking mixes. I found these, and other mixes in their product line, at Home Goods in Orlando and was intrigued by the prospect of wholesome baked goods that would be (somewhat) nutritious as well as delicious.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Disordered Eating: National ED Awareness Week

I don't remember exactly when food became the enemy. It was sometime in the second semester of my freshman year of high school. Just as I was hitting my stride, growing confident in my abilities and interests, and forming friends who understood me more than ever before, my world came crashing down.

But no one knew. 

Because I wouldn't- or couldn't- let them. 

See, that's the problem with eating disorders. They arrive unannounced and unwelcome, and proceed to torment and warp their victims silently until they are a shell of their former selves.

In a break from this blog's typical programming of gluten and dairy free restaurant and product reviews, I wanted to confront my journey with disordered eating, well, my eating disorder, in recognition of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week that runs from February 22nd-28th. This year's theme is "I had no idea," which is supremely applicable to the range of eating disorders and my own unique demon which went diagnosed, untreated, and threatened my health, happiness, and future.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Event Preview and Giveaway: Living Without's Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest

When it comes to being gluten-free, there's nothing that I love more than connecting others who share the unique experience of having dietary restrictions. While I have had opportunities here and there to meet up with and make friends with other gluten/dairy free folks and fellow bloggers, I have been waiting for an local opportunity to come along.

Sure enough, my wish for a Central Florida based gluten-free event that aligned with my school schedule came true when I received an invitation to join the bloggers' both at Living Without's Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest (GFFA Fest). This national event is coming to Lakeland- halfway in between Orlando and Tampa- and is shaping up to be a not-to-be-missed affair. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

7 West Bistro Review (w/ Order Up Towson)

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With the arrival of Order Up Towson to my home-away-from-home in Maryland, I practically salivated at the possibility of getting delivery from gluten-free restaurants right to my doorstep. 

Once the platform was live, I was happy to see many restaurants I have eaten out at have partnered with Order Up. As much as I wanted to order from these tried-and-true restaurants, my adventurous side took over and sought out a restaurant I haven't been to before.

After considering the limited number of restaurants with gluten-free options, my best bet appeared to be 7 West Bistro, a restaurant that showcases the best of Mediterranean and American culinary specialties. 

Order-Up Towson: Gluten-Free Delivery Options

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In my time spent in Baltimore, I have used buses, light rail, and even depended on my own manpower to discover Baltimore's many gluten-free options. As the chill of winter set in, my ability to get off campus has been limited, leaving me mainly to cook for myself or depend on the dining hall, the latter of which I have been reluctant to do. 

Luckily, there's a new kid on the block, who's about to make eating gluten and dairy free a whole lot easier and convenient: Order Up. Serving both Baltimore and its northern suburb of Towson, this innovative company's goal is to revolutionize the food delivery experience. Sold at the prospect of gluten-free delivery service, I quickly raised my hand to be an early adopter. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Ejji Ramen Review (Belvedere Square)

Plunging head first into the semester, I have not had a moment to breathe, much less get off campus for fun in the first three weeks.

As my workweek wound down leaving me with a wide-open and forcasted to be beautiful weekend, I knew that I'd have to remedy my cabin fever and escape for an hour or two.

Fitting the bill for my Saturday adventure was Belvedere Square Market, one of Baltimore's many markets that bring local purveyors together for a hodgepodge of shops, eateries, and fresh-from the farm goods that celebrate and showcase the local community. From the lengthy list of merchants, I quickly identified Ejji Ramen (pronounced "edgy") as my main attraction because they had an expansive menu with marked gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options. Excited and hungry, I set off for the noodle shop with the highest of hopes.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Simple Mills Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo Muffin Mix and Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Review

In my journey into paleo-friendly baking, I've become comfortable with simple almond-flour based recipes with few ingredients. While these have been easy enough, my plunge into a super busy second semester had me dreaming of a paleo-friendly mix to streamline my frequent baking for breakfast and between-class snacks. 

Enter Simple Mills, a company passionate about clean, healthy baking that also happens to be allergen-friendly and as tasty as they are good for you. Featuring easy-to-pronounce ingredients and requiring little additional ingredients, these mixes result in a week's worth of treats in close to a half hour from start to finish. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

January Mentionables

A beautiful Orlando sunset.
January proved to be a simply delightful month as I found myself back in Orlando for most of it. Able to kick back and relax after a stressful semester, I loved having more time and energy to devote to cooking, researching restaurants, and blogging. 

Just as I got into the swing of things, my siesta in the sunshine state came to an end as I headed back up to Maryland to embark on my second semester. 

Easing back into the semester, I've made sure to stock up my dorm with enough treats and eats on hand to allow me to minimize the trips to the dining hall. After all, I don't really want to brave the winter weather to get a meal I could just as easily cook in my dorm (which my version probably tastes better anyway). This blog highlights a few gluten and dairy free products that caught my eye this month.