Disney’s Gluten-Free, Worry-Free Kingdom

I would first like to announce that today I have officially reached 2 months of being gluten-free! I’m making progress here people. I spent the last week in Florida for spring break with my mom. We spent three days in Tampa visiting my grandpa, and two days in Orlando at Disney World. My mom had done a lot of research that suggested Disney was a great place for gluten-free diners, and I was not disappointed. Every single place at Disney that we ate at had plenty of gluten-free options.

When we first arrived on Disney property, we stopped at the food court. When ordering I asked if they had gluten-free options, and they went to get the chef for me to talk to. The chef came out and explained my choices, and I decided on a gluten-free pizza. It was good, and I was reassured that it was gluten-free after getting to speak with the chef. However, I will say that it was pretty embarrassing. Luckily, there were not many people in the food court at the time, or I would have been mortified that the chef had come to speak with me.

For dinner that night, we went to Downtown Disney. We chose to go to an Italian restaurant called Portobello, because eating pasta in a restaurant is not normal for me anymore. At Portobello, our waitress was very well aware of the restaurant’s gluten-free menu. I was thankful for this, because the chef did not have to come out to talk to me in the middle of this fancy restaurant. We ordered a portobello mushroom dish and salad as appetizers. The portobello mushroom appetizer was amazing. If you ever have a chance to go to Portobello, you need to try this! My mom and I also split a pasta entree. It was a tomato basil sauce over penne pasta. The chef came out and delivered my meal. It was average, but the service and assurance of eating an entire gluten-free meal made it fabulous.

After dinner, my mom and I walked around Downtown Disney. We stopped at the gluten-free bakery called Babycakes to pick up dessert and a pastry for breakfast. Everything at this bakery was gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, agave-sweetened, vegan and kosher. I do not know how they do it, but the pastries were delicious. I got a chocolate cupcake with mint frosting for dessert and a piece of chocolate chip banana bread for breakfast the next morning. There were also donuts, which looked awesome! I was very impressed with this bakery, and I wish they had one in my hometown. Actually, maybe not, because that could be dangerous!

Finally, for lunch the next day. We went to a place called Liberty Tree Tavern, which was located in Magic Kingdom. Again, the chef came out to speak with me about my options, and we decided on a burger with a gluten-free bun and fries from a separate frier. I found it more embarrassing that the chef came out this time, because there were more people around. At least I knew the food would be free of cross-contamination. It was also really good, and I ate my entire plate.

Overall, I found Disney to be a great place for gluten-free eaters. There were always options, and I never felt worried about what I was going to eat for my next meal. My entire Disney experience was incredible, and half of the reason for that was their awesome gluten-free services.

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Spring Break: Beer and Pizza

Spring break has finally arrived for us college students, and I am happy to be home for the weekend before my mom and I head for Florida on Monday. I love getting to come home for many reasons. But for one, my parents sure know how to take care of my gluten-free needs! I know that when I come home, I will not have to worry about what I am going to eat, because they have stocked up on gluten-free food. 

Last night, I was welcomed home with gluten-free crackers and cheese dip. The crackers were called Mary’s Gone Crackers. I would not recommend them alone, but they sure were good with cheese. It was delicious and definitely held me over until dinner.

For dinner, we had burgers (my parents had a gluten-free bun waiting for me) and baked fries. I also got to try my first gluten-free beer, and I must say that it was WAY better than I expected. I would definitely purchase it again. The only downside was the price was a bit higher than I am used to spending as a college student, but for special occasions it would be great! The name of the beer I had was RedBridge, and I would recommend it to all my gluten-free friends!

Today for lunch, we went to a pizzeria that my parents love called Pi Pizzeria in Saint Louis. My parents recently found out that Pi offers gluten-free options, and they could not wait to get me in to try it out. As always, I was skeptical, but I was not disappointed in the options. We started our meal with a salad called Bada Bing. My boyfriend even liked it, so you know it was good. The waiter said that all of their salads are gluten-free, so I was happy to hear that!

Although they do not offer deep dish gluten-free pizza, the thin crust was really good. I got the East Loop, which was made with mozzarella, pesto, roasted chicken, mushrooms and onions. It was incredible. And for dessert, Pi even had a gluten-free cookie option. They offered cookie sandwiches that were chocolate-chip, gluten-free and vegan. YUMMY!

Needless to say, I left with a happy stomach. Also, the weather was nice, so we were able to eat on the patio. I think that all gluten-free eaters should check out this spot! They even had gluten-free beer on the menu. I did not get it, because it was noon. But hey, this place has it all!

4 Gluten-Free Snacks For On-The-Run

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I had a really hard time during the day when I wanted a snack. It was normal for me to be able to grab something from a vending machine or at a gas station if I was on-the-run. Now, my choices for snacks are limited, but I have found that there are still great options!

I decided to make a list of a few quick snack options for those of us who are gluten-free and on-the-go:

1. Cheese Sticks

Not only are cheese sticks yummy, but they are also full of protein. This will help keep you full for a longer period of time. Frigo, Kraft and Sargento cheese sticks are all guaranteed gluten-free options.

2. Fruit Snacks

Fruit snacks are not just for kids. Although, this is a great snack for gluten-free children as well. Fruit snacks are packed with Vitamin C, and they offer us a sweat treat for when the urge strikes. A list of gluten-free fruit snacks includes; Kroger’s Fruit Snacks, Nabisco Fruit Snack’s, General Mills Fruit Snacks, Farley’s Brand Gummy Bears, Favorite Brand Gummy and Fruit, Fruit t0 Go (SunRype), Trolli Gummi Candies, Fruit by the Foot, Sunkist Fruit Rolls, Sun-Maid Raisins and Welches Fruit Snacks.

3. Trail Mix

This is a really good option when you are looking for a more substantial snack. A Trail Mix made up of nuts, raisins and chocolate chips is always safe. However, I recommend making your own trail mix, so you know everything within it is gluten-free. There are also gluten-free options available pre-made at the store.

4. Popcorn

If you are looking for a salty and satisfying snack, popcorn is the way to go. A few gluten-free options are Act II Popcorn (except extreme butter), Jiffy Pop Popcorn and Orville Redenbacher’s Popcorn.

Delicious (healthy) Gluten-Free Cookie Cake Recipe

Recently, one of my roommates decided to take on the task of making an entire gluten-free dinner for me and the rest of my roommates. After doing research, she decided to make chili, potatoes and a gluten-free cookie cake. She got the recipe for the cookie cake from one of her friends, who is studying to be a dietician. Not only was the cookie cake gluten-free, but it was also somewhat healthy. The recipe did not call for flour or sugar, so how bad could it be?

For our cookie cake we decided to add a topping that may or may not have lowered the healthiness of the dessert, because we were looking for something that would be extremely satisfying. It is up to you whether you add the topping or not. Also, you could substitute raisins for the chocolate chips to make an even healthier sweet treat.

The cookie cake turned out fabulous, so I am going to share the delicious recipe with you all!

Side Note: Do not be discouraged by the weird ingredients, because this is the best dessert I’ve had since going gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500 g total, once drained)
  • 1 cup certified gluten-free quick oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract (gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter

Steps

1.  Blend everything (except the chocolate chips and peanut butter) very well in a good food processor. We used a blender, because we are poor college students and do not have a “good food processor.” However, the recipe specifically said not to use a blender, so I will leave it up to you to make that call.

2.  After blending the ingredients, mix in half the bag of chips by hand.


3.  Poor mix into 9×13 inch greased pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes.


4.  (Steps 4-6 are optional) Let cool for 1-2 minutes.

5.  (optional) Pour peanut butter and the other half of the chocolate chips on top of the cookie cake and let sit for 2-3 minutes.

6.  (optional) Spread the melted chocolate chips and peanut butter across the cookie cake.


7.  Let cool, serve and enjoy!