Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event Recap (Charlotte, NC)

My spring break was pretty darn good on the gluten-free front. Homecooked meals erased my week-to-week college survival struggles, and the opportunity to attend not one but two gluten-free expo events made me eat well and be super happy.

The second of these two expos was the Charlotte Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event. Promising to bring together local and national brands, local practitioners, and expert speakers to educate and inspire, the event really excited me and was the perfect way to finish off my break with a bang.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Zoe's Kitchen Review

My trip to Charlotte, NC for the Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Event was a jam-packed 48 hour period filled with a whole lot of gluten-free food, one horrible glutening, and having to change hotels mid-day on the day of the event. 

Never one to let trip ups and slip ups get me down, my mom, sister, and I sought out a fun, low-key way to end our last night together before I jetted off back to Baltimore the next morning. We selected Zoe's Kitchen in Midtown, which proved to have something for each of our tastes and was only a few minutes from our hotel.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Schar Pizza Crust Challenge

As a teen who's a college student, pizza is safely one of my favorite foods. It's flexibility and easy assembly is a bonus for me as I often need quick-cooking meals that use the ingredients I have on hand. 

When gluten-free giant Schar reached out to me to taste test their reformulated pizza crusts as a part of their gluten-free blogger team, I couldn't say no to the possibility of finding a perfect pizza crust for my busy lifestyle.

With most store-bought crusts leaving little to be desired in the taste and performance department, I've found limited success with crusts mixes, while good, require a little too much prep time for a practical weeknight meal after classes. Schar's crust, on the other hand, comes fully baked and is ready for a splattering of sauce and scattering of toppings before a short bake time renders it ready to go. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

March Madness: Tampa Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest Recap and Giveaway!

March Madness is a series of fun posts and giveaways I'm planning for March to celebrate my blog's 1st birthday. Join the madness and stay tuned for more fun to come! 

When it comes to gluten-free expos, I've enjoyed discovering this aspect of gluten-free living over the past year, and am lucky to be able to attend the few I find that come to my neck of the woods. When awesome vendors, free samples, and been-there-done-that speakers can come together in one space to educate and inspire, you cannot leave one without feeling reinvigorated and excited about the wider world of being gluten-free.

When I discovered that Living Without Magazine would be bringing their Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest to Central Florida, I knew immediately I wanted in on the action and eagerly signed up as an official blogger for the event once I realized that the event and my college's spring break coincided. 

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant Review (Dinner)

After enjoying a wonderful brunch at Raglan Road, an authentic Irish pub and restaurant in Downtown Disney, I knew I wanted to go back for more and selected it as the spot for my birthday dinner. Besides, my birthday falls on the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, and there's no better place to party in Orlando on this day of Irish-mania.

After a busy day at Living Without's Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Lakeland, the short drive to Downtown Disney was a welcome escape from being in the same convention center for a full day, and I knew I couldn't wait to get real food to eat after nibbling on snack food and sweets all day. Not realizing beforehand that my birthday dinner would fall during their week-long Mighty St. Patrick's Festival, I was discouraged by the hearty crowd, but soon relaxed as the infectious live music and party atmosphere won me over.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC Review (Downtown Disney)

After the closing of the Downtown Disney location of Babycakes NYC last March, I was bummed to think that Orlando would lose the vegan, gluten-free bakery chain forever. As fate would have it, Babycakes stuck around and continued their partnership with Disney as they continued to make custom creations for guests and offered a slim variety of products throughout the resort. Last year, it was announced that they'd make a triumphant return to the waterfront marketplace.

From afar, I longed to visit the Bakery's opening events, but consoled myself by making a point to visit during my Spring Break. After selecting nearby Raglan Road as the location for my birthday dinner, a trip to Erin McKenna's Bakery (Babycakes' rebranding) was in order for the perfect dessert to celebrate. Located between Pleasure Island and Marketplace, the new storefront is easily accessible and loaded with plenty of sweets for every member of your family- and any special diet they may have!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ethos Vegan Kitchen Review

Orlando is coming into its own as a growing foodie town. Increasingly us gluten-free eaters are finding more access at local restaurants, but vegans too are joining in on the fun. 

When it comes to vegan food in Orlando, a good place to start is Ethos Vegan Kitchen in Winter Park. Featuring a 100% vegan menu that can accommodate soy and gluten-free diners, Ethos is a place to be for folks of all dining variety- and even those who are "normal." 

As I made my return home for spring break after an cold, review-restricting semester, I suggested that my mom, sister, and I stop at Ethos after picking me up at the Orlando International Airport for a celebratory lunch that's safe for our varied diets as I am gluten and dairy free and my sister is vegan.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

March Madness: Charlotte Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Wellness Event and Giveaway!

March Madness is a series of fun posts and giveaways I'm planning for March to celebrate my blog's 1st birthday. Join the madness and stay tuned for more fun to come! 

Spring Break is shaping up to be a gluten-free affair for me as I will be attending two gluten-free and allergen-friendly expos in two different states! Such is the life of a gluten-free blogger. When it rains... it pours. 

You may have caught on to the fact that I will be in attendance of the Lakeland/Tampa Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest as an official fest blogger. This event is not the only event that caught my eye though! Enter the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event: This travelling event promises to pack speakers, presenters, and full vendor expo into a single day to bring together the best of the local and national gluten-free community. The event will take place on March 21st in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will be a big adventure for me as I have not been to the state since going gluten-free. Read on for more info and the chance to win a golden ticket to the event! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Annie's Homegrown Gluten-Free Bunny Cookies Review

When it comes to a typical college kid's diet loaded with processed, fried, and greasy food, mine is a bit abnormal as my mini fridge is disproportionately used for storage of fresh fruit and veggies.

Not one to miss all the fun however, I couldn't resist the temptation of Annie's Homegrown new gluten-free bunny cookies while on a Target shopping run. The brightly colored packages were just begging to be bought, and the extra incentive of a "buy four get one free" sale soon had me loading my basket with a good mix of their snickerdoodle and cocoa/vanilla flavors. 

Perfect for kids young and old (and us adults too!), these fun-shaped cookies proved to be a perfect investment, as they successfully pulled me through several study sessions and snow days alike.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Towson Tavern Review

Photo source
This past week has not be the best of Maryland weather. With icy rain on Tuesday, continuous rain on Wednesday, and the whole mess freezing into a winter storm on Thursday, I was battling my own winter storm of sorts.

With my food stores depleted leaving me little fresh fruit and veggies, I realized far to late that I would have to sustain myself for the three day period without an emergency grocery run. By Thursday, fierce snow had me snowed in by mid-morning. Knowing that I had to get "real" food to break my five day streak of homemade pizza, I turned to Order Up Towson, the restaurant delivery service I tried out last month. Despite the wintry weather, they thankfully had drivers on duty, and Towson Tavern was open for business and had a dedicated gluten-free menu.