Oh, how I have missed blogging. It's crazy that I haven't posted anything since March? Where did all the time go?
As most of you know I have been studying alot, and therefore blogging (and several other things) go on the back burner. But it's summer and I can now officially say I am back! My week of final examinations started on May 24th. I had 3 finals on Monday, and 2 on Tuesday and then I was finished. It was a different finals week this time around, as it didn't really feel as if it really was finals week. Odd way of describing it, I know! It was over so quick and before I knew it I was trying to pack up my room, get it in storage and come on a plane home. PHEW. These past two weeks have been a BIG adjustment for me!
Because it's summer, that means I can blog THAT much more, but I have a real job too! I am working at local bakery in town. In my application I told them that I have lots of personal experience with gluten free baking. In fact, I just completed my first "day" (I had to wake up at 4:30 to be there at 5:30) and they want me to do some gluten free and diabetic (sugar free) baking! As soon as I got to the back, however, it was apparent that there is NO way anything coming out of the kitchen could be gluten free, so I am going to be working and baking from home on some days, using my own pans, ovens and utensils in a gluten free environment so I know the goodies will be gluten free. It is going to be a big process to teach the staff some basic gluten free "ins and outs" but I feel like it is really going to work! :) I am really excited because this really helps my summer with flexibility. The hours that I log in at home can simply be put on my time card, and some ingredients he is just going to order me from the wholesaler.
For now, I am going to upload what happened while I was gone in pictures, because it's much more fun that way... ;)
The last time you officially "saw me" I was busy busy studying. Below is a picture of some yumminess I sampled on while writing a beast of an Abnormal Psychology paper. [Bad quality iPhone photo- sorry!] The above photo is obvious! I like to study study study. Bananas help my brain! And no, I did not eat all these at once ;)
And then, sometime in there between all that studying.. SPRING BREAK happened! My parents came out to visit me for over a week. We went to several fun places...
Since I am in the LA/OC area, we went to LA...
We visited the Grove and the LA Farmers Market. My mom and I had a delicious lunch of Brazillian food from Pampas Grill. It was our first time ever having Brazillian food, and it certainly will not be our last! We waited in line for what was probably a good half hour or longer. It was so worth it. Brazillian is my new favorite!! Notice the rotisserie beef, fresh greens, plantains, and hearts of palm and various spicy sauces. Above is my mom's plate, and below is mine. My dad (was typical) bought a gluten free pizza, scarfed it down and went and found the Apple store.
Yumm, sweet potatoes! Look at those berries and crispy, juicy apples!
And we went to Disneyland! No trip is complete without it :) We ate at the Storyteller's Cafe in California Adventure. After anguishing over all the options, I got a wonderful gluten free soy free chicken quesadilla prepared just for me by the chef. Disneyland is great for allergies, but you have to know where to go. My mom's chicken caesar salad came with gluten-free croutons, and my Dad got a gluten-free burger and fries. The salsa was SUCH a letdown though!
Then we travelled down to La Jolla, San Diego and stayed in a beach house for the week. It was really pretty. We took our beach cruisers [thank you to Rusty Spokes!!] for a ride in the morning for exercise and had fun shopping, relaxing, visiting the beach and trying some GF restaraunts that we didn't even know existed!!
One day Mom and I went shopping at the Las Americas Outlets in San Diego. For lunch we were adventurous and tried a small chain, family mexican restaurant called "Achiote" that looked promising (I had researched it before). The overall feel and decor reminded me of Outbacks! To be brief, the waiter was very helpful and the food was delicious too! She understood my gluten and soy allergies and helped us out in picking the right things off of the menu and made us feel very comfortable. Not the best mexican food in my life, but getting soy-free gluten-free mexican food is a rare find; soy is in everything. I was quite pleased! From the pictures you notice two types of homemade salsa, my carne asada meal with fresh tortillas and my mom's wonderful avocado, feta, chicken salad.
Another restaurant we visited (twice it was THAT good) was Sammy's Woodfired Pizza. I do a lot of restaurant research before I go anywhere; I love Yelp and Google and celiac.com. I had heard that Sammy's was a restaurant chain with a good reputation, reasonable prices, fresh food and great pizza. And they had a gluten free menu! My mom, dad and I just had to check it out. We did and it was so delicious. I was able to have a real gluten free and soy free pizza and even a CAESAR SALAD with dressing which usually never happens since usually all dressings have soy. The food was out of this world! My mom and I split a pizza (spinach, feta, onion, oh my!) and their smallest Caesar. Dad got his own whole pizza. These are pictures from our second visit.
We ate out at Sammy's, Achiote, a place called Lean and Green (no pictures!), and our probably one of our most favorite places to eat out, WHOLE FOODS MARKET! My mom and I always get boxes and load up on salad, veggies and fun dishes that you can not get anywhere else, eat half and save the rest for the next meal. My Dad really enjoys the "comfort food" bar. Each Whole Foods market is a little different, so it's fun to stop at each one! (We are addicted, and yes we do know :D) One reason we like Whole Foods is because it is safe. The chefs list all the ingredients for every dish or ingredient that is on the food bars. I can clearly see if it contains an allergen or not. The food is also mostly organic, sometimes local, but always fresh and delicious. No matter what food-mood you are in, Whole Foods has it.
The above photo is my food and below it is Mom's food, from Whole Foods Tustin, our first visit. Let me tell you now: GO there, but plan enough time to eat, because they have a CRAZY selection. Half the store is filled with their food bars!
Here are more Whole Foods Tustin shots...
They even have a WHOLE bar dedicated TO FETA CHEESE! I sampled every one (not made with cow's milk)!! It was really fun to have a little bite of each. I personally belief feta should be only goat or sheeps milk, mainly goat. I mean, why would you want a cow feta? Isn't the whole point of feta to be goat or sheeps milk cheese?
During vacation, while we did eat out some (which is fun because we as a family usually never eat out) but we ate a lot of our meals at the house. I got to cook a few simple, delicious meals. Some are totally great new creations that we will definitely be implementing into our normal family meal rotation!!
Roasted spaghetti squash!
Roast whole chicken with roasted red pepper vegetable soup (recipe coming soon) with roast spaghetti squash and lotsa yummy grass-fed butter. Below is spaghetti squash with gluten free pasta spirals, meat marinara sauce and sauteed brussels sprouts. Both the soup, marinara and chicken were probably some of the best I have ever tasted!
Before we knew it, the week was over and we had to leave La Jolla and go on with life! I went back to study study study and Mom and Dad flew home.
While we were apart for the final haul of the semester, interesting things were happening for both my family at home and for me at school...
My mom went to the farm and found the biggest egg I've ever seen (or eaten) in my life.
I went to Disneyland with friends, and ate at the Storyteller Cafe (again). Yay, chicken quesadilla! The best part was that I asked the chef if the guacamole could come without tomatoes, and he ended up specially making me no tomato guac! Delicious. I like tomatoes, but my body is sensitive to them so I try not to eat them as much as possible.
The cafe actually had some gluten free spaghetti!?! Wow.
Then, on my way through the airport to board the flight home, the Sees Candy candy shop had THIS! I went in and talked to the girl working and apparently the owners have multiple allergies and so feature allergen free food. I picked up a box of Glutino crackers curious to see how much it would cost in an airport. The price was... 10 bucks, woah!
The access to gluten-free food is increasing. Things are looking up for us gluten freers :)
These past few weeks I've really enjoyed being home and have been adjusting to all the new things in life that I won't bother with here. I am happy and healthy and looking forward to keeping you healthy and happy this summer by sharing some yummy food ideas and recipes. I am also relishing the time to be able to continue to read all the real food information, health and nutrition books I can get my hands on. I have several books I was given for Christmas that I have yet to get to!
I hope you enjoyed this post. It's my longest to date!!