A Gluten-Free Red Robin Experience

On this last trip, Buddy (my non-gluten-free-boyfriend) and I stopped at a Red Robin to eat dinner after the GFFAFest in Austin.  We visited one in Dallas, while attending a different Gluten-Free/Allergen Expo, this past October.  The Dallas experience was nice, so we decided to try it again.

Instead of having a separate gluten free or allergen menu like most places, Red Robin has a QR code in the menu that will take you to the interactive one.  You can select the allergen(s) you need to avoid and then the menu will tell you what options you have and what you need to change on the items you order.

QR CodeI found this neat and frustrating at the same time.  I don’t like to have my phone out while eating.  I would rather have a conversation than stare at my phone.  However, this was much faster than navigating through several pages to figure out if I can truly eat something.

Our waitress in Austin was wonderful.  After we let her know that I was gluten free, she assured us that she would flag our meal and that she had a relative that was gluten free and understood the seriousness of it.  She was  patient and understanding as we tried to figure out which appetizers I could eat and why I could not eat the corn chips.  She even went and asked the manger about it, to ensure it was or was not safe for me.  Turns out, the gluten free fryers are only for fries, so we asked for fries instead. They accommodated my  substitution with out any issue. It was so refreshing that she understood the seriousness of me being gluten-free, which was awesome!  Since I find myself feeling like a pain, in the gluten free bun so to speak, when eating out.  I know it is a hassle to deal with food restrictions, but I have no choice.

Our waitress also let us know that since my meal was flagged, that it may not be her bringing out our meal, it would probably be the manger.  To ensure that it was handled correctly.

Our meal came out, my gluten free bun had an extra purple toothpick in it, to signal that it was gluten free.  The manger assured us as well that it was gluten free.  He even checked on dipping sauces for us, so I could try them with my bottomless fries.  Yes, that is correct.  Bottomless gluten free fries.

Now, I could not eat any of the desserts but that is OK, since my stomach was so full from the bottomless sweet potato fries.  Overall, I would recommend Red Robin.  Every visit has been good.  I have not gotten sick from eating here, the service has been wonderful, and the staff and mangment are courteous and understanding.

My only complaint it that there is not one in Central Arkansas where I am located, however on second thought, that might be a good thing due to the bottomless fries.

Kember’s Gluten Free Brownies

Kember's Gluten Free Brownies

 

Kember's Gluten Free Brownies

One of the cool products I recently got to try was Kember’s Gluten Free.  Kember’s was at the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin, TX  and I am so glad they were there.  I got the chance to meet Marilyn, owner of Kember’s.  She is super nice, friendly, and knowledgeable about the products she developed.  They have a variety of mixes that include: pizza crust, crepes, pumpkin bread (which is clove free), donuts (which I sampled at the expo), waffles and oh course, brownies.  I recently made the brownies for “Family Dinner Night.”  I thought it would be nice to have a freshly made dessert, and who doesn’t like, or in my case love, freshly made brownies?

 

Directions and Needed ingredients

The mix does not require many additional ingredients to make the brownies, so that was a plus.  I made these at my mom’ s house since we had dinner there.  To be honest the brownies may not have made it to Mom’s if I made them at my house.  So I ran home, grabbed the needed ingredients and baking pan.  Or at least what I thought was the needed pan. You see, it calls for a 9×9 pan, I grabbed a 12×9 by mistake.   More on that later.

So I started by mixing all the wet ingredients together first and then added the mix.  I thought it might be easier that way.  You can omit the egg yolk and reduce the cooking time for a more fudge like brownie, I will try that next time.  The mix is a fine powder, that has a very wonderful smell.  Once you have incorporate the mix to the wet ingredients it makes a pretty thick batter.  I enlisted the help of a spatula to ensure I got all of the brownie goodness out of the bowl.

Now, you are suppose to place the batter into a 9×9 pan, greased.  I had grabbed a 12×9, so my batter made thin brownies.  The edges were chewy, and not as moist as the center ones.  I think it was due to the pan.  They were still very yummy.   My mom said they were very similar to a name brand mix, which is her favorite.  My dad, who usually will not eat anything I make that is gluten-free because he has had a few bad cakes when I was first going GF, came back for seconds.  The non-gfbf thought they were the best ones we have had as well.  I obviously like them, or I would not be writing this.  The only thing I wish I would have done different,  besides grabbing the correct sized pan, is adding nuts to the brownies.  However, these brownies are great with any extras, such as nuts.  Let’s face it, we all know of a mix or two that needs help and we end up adding extras to make them tasty.  Kember’s does not need extras to make them tasty.  Kember’s brownies are delicious!

 

Nutrition Facts and IngredientsThey are Gluten Free, Dairy Free,  and Soy Free.  Along with being non-gmo.  They are manufactured in a facility that uses tree nuts, soy, eggs, and milk.  The nutritional information isn’t too bad considering that these are brownies and gluten free.  You can find them on Kember’s website here.  They also have a list of places you can find their mixes on their website, which includes Amazon and yes they are on prime.  They also have some recipes on the site.  OH, be sure to check them out on social media outlets as well.  On Twitter they are @kembersGF and on Facebook they are Kember’s Gluten Free,  they also have a Pintrest page. I’ll be repinning them shortly as well.

If you get a chance to try one or all of their mixes you shouId!  I know I will be finding the doughnut mix soon (Mmmm….doughnuts!).  That last brownie wasn’t left there for long, it was eaten shortly after I snapped that picture.

I can not wait to share the other Kember’s Gluten Free products as I try them!  I am sure they will be just as tasty as the brownies!

Why You Should Attend an Expo

As some of you know, the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest in Austin, TX was this past weekend. This is second expo I attended as a blogger. I had someone ask me before hand, “Why are going? Don’t you know all about this stuff already?”

I don’t know everthing about being gluten free. I don’t know about all the products that are out there. I just know what I have experienced, learned from other bloggers, and medical professionals. If I did know everything, I would quite difficult to deal with, being a know-it-all of course.

I go to expos for a variety of reasons. One of them is to meet people who are at different stopping points of their gluten free adventure. I remember standing in the local super market reading labels, trying to figure out if the six dollar loaf of bread, that fit on my hand like a tea cup puppy, was going to better than the last one. Looking up products on an app, websites, and multple google seaches to see if I could eat it or not. I felt alone, like I was the only person in that store that needed these products. Luckily I had a good freind from college who was gluten free and helped me find a few good brands. I also had my mom, who was right beside me, looking up ingredients and saying how this stuff was so much more than “normal” food. So meeting people who are gluten free as well and sharing our struggles is reassuring. Especially if you are the only gluten free person at your work, church, or your small town. You don’t feel so alone because you are in a large room with other people who share the same struggles and know how hard it can be having food restrictions.

I also go to try and find out about the products and services that are out there. I would not have found Whole Note, Freedom Foods, or a really cool app that helps you keep track of the foods you have tried and like or not (more on that later). There are really neat box services that you can subscribe to and have gluten free goodies delivered to you monthly. It is a great place to discover things that you might not know about or have in your local area. I usually will go to a store or two before I go home and stock up on the things I know I don’t have in my gluten free shopping area. We all know that we have a group of stores and towns we go to find the beloved goodies.

You also get a chance to meet some of the bloggers and authors that we all read. I remember the first expo I went to with my mom a couple of years back. I got signed copies of cookbooks and CATB’s book, along with some very cute Gluten-Free gear that it seems I am always wearing.

Oh, and a lot of the times you don’t have to ask the question we all ask anytime, anyone offers us food, “is that gluten free?” because usually everything there is GF.

So next time there is an expo near by you should try to go. Here are links to the two expos I have attended and I’ had a blast.

Gluten Free Allergy Fest

Gluten Free Allergy Friendly Expo

Catching up

Woah.  So It has been super crazy on this side of the keyboard.   I am not even sure where to begin! So we will start with the most recent and work our way back.

Recently, I have been super tired.  At first I thought it was from starting back on my ADHD medication.  Since it is a stimulat and I don’t eat as much or sleep as well it made sense.   I started taking vitamins to see if it would help.  It didn’t.  So to the doctor’s office I went.  I’m currently waiting on my lab work to come back.

Before that, I have tried some really awesome Gluten Free products!  you can read about them here and here

During this time I also got gluten by one of my favorite places.  You can read about that here.

Oh! I am also going to Austin, TX for the Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest! (yay!) You can find out more information about that here .

So in a nut shell, my life is crazy, but so is everyone’s.  And I would like to apologize about the delay and lack of post, tweets, and photos.

EndoMune

I got to try EndoMune recently.    Like most people I had never heard of this product before either.   It is a probiotic,  that was developed by Dr. Lawrence Hobermaan.   I got the pleasure to met with him at the Gluten-Free Alllergy Free Expo in Dallas.   We discussed the benifits of taking a probiotic and how it can help a variety of GI issues.   I was offered some to try.

I waited until after my tosillectomy surgery, and the craziness of the Christmas holiday to start trying them.    So on New Years Day, I started my trial of them.    I honestly, didn’t see any real difference.  Which is better than seeing a bunch of negative things.

Since I didn’t see any change after 30 days,  the non-gluten-free boyfriend started taking them.    He on the other hand saw changes.   He would recommend a probiotic.

Since I am not a trained or licensed medical professional I will let you decide what you think is best for your body.

Here is the link to EndoMune’s website.

Paleo Folks Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

I know, you just read the title of this post and thought, “Paelo?!”  I did too.   I have had Paelo foods in the past and well, the bar wasn’t set very high.  Really, it wasn’t really set. This was the odd, category of foods that I didn’t really want to venture into in.   I have also had people ask me in the past if I was doing Paelo, since I was gluten free.

So, the non-GFBF and I met the owners of “Paelo Folks” when we attended the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo in Dallas this past year.   They are a cute couple, very nice and friendly.

They had three different mixes (cookies, chocolate cake, and pancakes) for sell, and being the brave solo that the non-GFBF is, bought one of each to try.   We have tried the cookie mix and the cake mix, and liked the cookie one better.    We surprisingly haven’t tried the pancake mix yet…..

Paleo Folks Cookie Mix

The Cookie Mix:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we tried the cookie mix.  However, it honestly wasn’t bad.  The dough was similar to an oatmeal rasin mix, and was super easy to mix and prepare to bake.

Needed Supplies

The mix calls for the items seen in the photo above.   I will say, seeing honey as a needed item was refreshing.  After you have mixed it all together, you spoon them out like any other cookies, only you will need to slightly wet your hand and flatten them out before you bake them.

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They  were soft, chewy, and kept the shape they were baked in.   They reminded me of oatmeal cookies.    I don’t really have anything bad to say about them and would try them again.  Especially if you had a glass of almond milk with them.  🙂

 

baked cookies

If you would like to know more about Paelo Folks visit their website here or their facebook page here.

 

 

Pei Wei? No Way!

So earlier this year,  after attending a friend’s wedding, The non-gluten-free-boyfriend and I visited the local Pei Wei.   Usually, I will recommend it to anyone, and trust them to take care.  The former manger knew me due to the number of times I went in.   She recently was moved to a new store in the northern part of my state.  I have only had this store mess up my food once, in five or so years.

We get there around eight, it is pretty empty.  We over the same thing, to reduce the risk of me getting the wrong plate, and if  there are leftovers i can get them and take them to lunch.   We order the gluten-free pei wei Spicy, with chicken, and gluten free fried rice.  We confirm with the young lady taking our order that it is marked as Gluten-Free.  Someone even had to tell her how to ring up the gluten free fried rice, since it is not on the menu per say.

We get our plates, and confirm with the young man who brought us our food that it is indeed, gluten free.  This is after he stated he had two gluten free pei wei spicy with chicken and gluten free fried rice.

After he leaves I notice that our plate where a little messy, sauce on the rims, I had a carrot slice that was down to the top of the carrot, which is called the attic or mouth.   I should have stopped and had the nongfbf check things, but I was hungry.  We had came from an evening wedding that I could not eat at.  So dug in, getting a piece of chicken and vegtable, or dipping my sauce soaked chicken in the fried rice.   So I did not notice if the rice was freshly made and hot.  The nongfbf did however.

In mid-bite I heard, “Sarah, don’t eat that.  STOP!”  of course it takes my brain a moment to process this and I have placed said bit in my mouth and chewed and swallowed.  I look arcoss the table and ask “WHY?!” (I’m hungry, he knows not to mess with Sarah and her food when she is on the edge of being hangry.)   Buddy, the nongfbf, looks at me and explains.  The rice is not hot, and if they had to make the gluten free rice special it should be hot.  This is not.

After a few, back and fourth about the rice and how they wouldn’t do that, but did we see the packets of gluten free soy sauce get passed to the kitchen and etc.  We flag down the same young man so brought us our food.  He goes and get a different young lady who is apparently the acting manger since the manger was not there.  We ask the same questions.

She goes and ask the chief, who apparently tells here it is not gluten free fried rice. That he totally messed up, and served us normal rice by mistake.  This was very upsetting to both me and Buddy.  They re-fire our dinners and apologize to us,  let us know that the ticket stated gluten free, he just made a mistake.   During this time, we have to explain to her and the young man who brought us our plates why we are so very upset.   And how I can’t give myself a shot, or take something for this.  She goes to state how I need to tell them and stress the seriousiness of my food being gluten free next time we come in, if we decided to come back.  How I need to tell them apparently a couple of times to make sure it is gluten free.    Along with how to tell the difference in the rices.  Then she ask for my name and number so she can call and check on me tomorrow, along with what I have that makes me have to eat gluten free.   Then it was asked that I call and tell them if I got sick.  (Neither of these things happened)

By the time we left, which was 10 to 15 minutes after we noticed, my stomach as already swollen, and my head was hurting.  The nongfbf, was furious.  His comments are below:

“If you have protocols in place for making gluten free items that are on a special gluten free menu, why should I make sure you do your job correctly? Do I need to go into the kitchen and watch over the chief as well? Aren’t these people trained in how to at least cook the food, and deal with gluten free menu items?”

The next day, I reached out on twitter to Pei Wei, they said someone would be in contact with me.  This never happened either.

I have read about other people’s experiences with Pei Wei and P.F. Chang’s, (I do not go there, since the servers ask if my gluten freeness is an allergy or a preference.  Again, going back to protocols). I  was so grateful to not have experienced this. I guess all good things must come to an end.  I am sad about this, since this was one of my favorite places to go and the company did not follow through.

Freedom for Breakfast

This past October while at the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo in Dallas, I stopped by the Freedom foods booth. If you do not know this brand, let me tell you. They have a wide assortment of products from cereals to pancake mix. Their products are gluten free, nut free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, and sesame free.  Made in a dedicated “free from” facility, they test every batch to ensure quality as well.   I have been a fan of them since I discovered their “tropicos” cereal a few years ago.

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I loved Fruit Loops before having to go gluten free. This year I got to try a few new cereals that came from suggestions from fans at expos and shows. I was pretty excited about the new cereals, not sure about the non-gluten-free-boyfriend however. I decided to pick up a few boxes to try at home.

“Fruity Rainbow Rocks!” is one of the new ones.

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I never really ate “fruity Peebles” as a kid, However wanted to try them. The non-gluten-free-boyfriend and I  both liked them dry, as a snack. However, when we tried them with milk, the cereal really soaked up the milk (In my case the unsweetened vanilla almond milk) and became chewy in my opinion. It might be that I didn’t grow up eating this type of cereal that I found them that way.  I don’t have a previous cereal to judge it against.

After trying them with milk, I decided to try making a cereal snack bar out of them. Kinda like a marshmallow treat bar.

They were great! Not to sweet, not bland, just right!

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I only had about half a box left after trying it with milk, so it made a small, thin batch.  Still really good.

Cocoa Crunch: tic-tac-toe

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We liked them dry as well. They keep their texture in milk better, and I thought they had a slight dark chocolate taste to them. They will turn the milk chocolaty along with being a fun, tic-tac-toe shape!  I recently found myself playing a game of tic-tac-toe with these the other day while at work, waiting on a file to update.   And if you get really creative,  checkers.
They also made two new cereal, that is well, more adult like. And will get to those later. With these two new cereals, kids and the kids at heart will have a few more options when it comes to cereal and snacks. You can find freedom foods on Amazon and in super markets. To check out their website follow this link

http://www.freedomfoods.com.au

Whole Note Muffin Mix

So as the cooler, and now cold weather arrives, I like to have muffins on hand.  I get them on the way to work, or as a snack, or part of my lunch.  They are great, I love muffins.  You can heat them in the microwave and they are all warm and gooey.  As you can tell I like muffins.

That being said, I have some pretty high standards when it comes to muffins including: the size, texture, fluffiness, taste, how well they reheat, and storage.     I have recently tried the pumpkin bread and muffin mix along with the cappuccino and dark chocolate muffin mix.

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What can I say.   I love them.  The texture was great, they baked wonderfully.  They actually fluffed up nicely.  I have made muffins and cupcakes before that where dense and flat.  Whole  Note brand,  actually had a “muffin top” when I mad them! That is a first for me.  They re heated well in the microwave, they storage well in the refrigerator as well.  I did not leave them out on the counter since my history with gluten free breads has always been to place them in the refrigerator or freezer.  I did not freeze any of them to have later, since the non-gluten-free boyfriend and I both found them to be super yummy.

Whole Note Waffle Mix

While I was at the Gluten Free Allergy Free Expo in Dallas this past October, I got to try some of  Whole Note’s products.  One of them was the Waffle Mix and the other was a Pumpkin Bread mix.  I will be honest with you and say, that I am not the biggest waffle fan.  I’m more of a french toast gal. When I think waffles, I think of the ones you get from a box in the freezer, that never seem to cook properly in the toaster, and forget about microwaving those bad boys.  However, I have found a waffle mix that I love!

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Whole Note uses a mixture of seven whole grains in their mixes,  so the textures are great! When I met Paul at the expo, he showed me the different grains.  There were seven different shades of goodness there.  And the pumpkin mix, was better than what I remember a certain coffee companies being, more on that later.

So, the non-gluten-free-boyfriend and I made the waffles on night for “breakfast for dinner” one night recently.  We followed the instructions, and thinking that the first one was going to be the one we gave to the dog (being brunt or undercooked or whatever) I was prepared to have a wait ahead of me. Boy, I was wrong.   These waffles cooked well.  They have a great texture, not to mushy or dense.  They have a great sweet flavor, not bland or over powering sweetness either.

We have ours with apple toppings and whipped cream, and the flavors balanced well.  Then we saved some of the batter to see how it did after a day in the refrigerator.  The packaging said you could keep the unused batter for a couple of days, we also placed a couple of waffles in the frig to see how they reheated as well.

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The waffles that were re-heated: I placed them in my toaster, since I thought that would be best.  The reheated well, were crisp tasted like they were fresh.  The flavor did not change.  I ate one with syrup, and on as the bread for a breakfast sandwich.

The waffles from the batter we refrigerator the batter did not get overly thick after being refrigerated.  It did not take an extra long time to cook either, the flavor was the same delicious flavor that I had had before.   To tell you honestly, I wish I had a few right now while writing this.

So, if you don’t believe me and what to try this for yourself (which you should anyway) they are available on Amazon,  or if you are lucky enough to live in Texas, they are in local stores there.  Here is the link from there site;

http://www.wholenotegf.com/find-us.html