Cheesecake Factory

If you love cheesecake, there is no doubt that if you go to the Cheesecake Factory you will be in heaven. Not only that, but the food there is amazing.  They have everything gluten-free from pasta, to nachos, to of course, cheesecake.

I went with my family a few weeks ago, and could not believe how many options they have.  I ordered the four cheese pasta and ended with the Godiva chocolate cheesecake.  It was hands down, one of my favorite meals I have ever had.  Although I wish they had more options for gluten-free cheesecake, the one option they have is amazing so I can’t be disappointed. (I even took a piece home to save for later)

The only problem is that the restaurant near my house is always busy, so if you go on a busy day you will need to plan to wait at the very least an hour.  But I can say from experience, that it will be worth the wait.

The menu is unique and it ALL sounds delicious: http://www.theglutenfreemenu.com/2013/11/the-cheesecake-factory-gluten-free-menu.html#.VSQM90IbD-Y

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Cake Batter Rice Krispie Treats

This recipe is so simple, yet everyone will love them and want to know the secret!

I found these when I was bored one weekend and looking through Pinterest.  As soon as I saw the recipe, I drove to Kroger to get all of the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (10 oz.) bag of marshmallows
  • 2/3 cup boxed GLUTEN FREE yellow or white cake mix (the dry cake mix, not the batter)
  • 6 cups GLUTEN FREE rice krispie cereal
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

If you have ever made Rice Krispie treats before, you know how easy they are.  The only difference in this recipe is as soon as you mix the cereal and marshmallows together and they are melted, you mix in the dry cake mix.  Then you pour into a pan, put some sprinkles on top, and (try to) wait for them to cool.

These are VERY sweet but SO good.

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Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Okay before I start this post…I have to say that this is by far my favorite recipe and gluten-free food that I have made to date.  It is something so simple, yet SO delicious.

Every Thanksgiving, my parents, sisters, and our boyfriends come over and we make breakfast while we are cooking the turkey and other side dishes for our family dinner.  Most times we will just make a casserole or eggs and bacon, but this year my dad and I decided to try a new recipe out.  My entire family LOVES sweets so when I found a recipe for cinnamon roll pancakes with a cream cheese frosting, I knew I had to try them out.

The original recipe I found was not made for gluten-free, so I had to modify it a little.  Instead of using homemade pancakes, we used gluten-free Bisquick pancake mix.  This cut down on the time to make it, because making everything else is a little more time consuming.

For the filling and glaze, I used a recipe I found online:

http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/cinnamon-roll-pancakes/

First, mix the ground cinnamon, brown sugar, and melted butter together in a plastic bag and set aside. Then for the glaze, heat up a pan on the stove.  Melt the butter and cream cheese together, then slowly add in the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Last, pour the pancakes onto a hot skillet, and squeeze a spiral of the cinnamon filling onto the top of the pancake.  Flip the pancakes carefully so you can still see the spiral when you serve them.

When we made them, we let everyone put the glaze on themselves because some people liked more than others.  Everyone LOVED these and they were so impressed with the final product.

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CINNAMON FILLING
  1. 1/2 cup butter, melted
  2. 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
  1. 4 Tablespoons butter
  2. 2 ounces cream cheese
  3. 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Benihana

Going to a restaurant that doesn’t have gluten-free options on their menu or a dedicated menu, can be scary.  You never know if you will be surprised by the manager and waitress and their knowledge and willingness to accommodate your needs, or if you will end up with a plain chicken breast with no seasoning and steamed broccoli.  While there have been many restaurants that have not been accommodating, most restaurants are great and are willing to make sure you have a great experience.

Benihana has become one of my go-to restaurants for holidays, and even just date night with my boyfriend.  It is a Japanese steak house where they cook the food right in-front of you.   They have three different options for cooking styles if you have to eat gluten-free.  They will either prepare your food in the back and bring it out when the rest of the table’s food is done, they will cook it in-front of you before they cook the other people’s orders, or they will make it in a corner of the grill at the same time as the rest of the food.  It is up to you and how comfortable you feel with the chef and their knowledge of gluten.

I have had some very good experiences here where the chef and waitress know exactly what I can and can’t eat, and other times where I have had to tell my waitress what I can order.  I usually order the filet mignon with a  side of chicken fried rice.  It also comes with shrimp, tons of vegetables and a soup and salad to start.  However, most of the menu items can be gluten-free with the exception of anything with teriyaki sauce.  The garlic butter that they cook with contains gluten, which is why they have to make the gluten-free food separate.

Benihana is a little pricey, but it is definitely worth it and you will leave with leftovers!

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Deep Fried Pickles Recipe

Okay if that title didn’t make you hungry, I don’t know what will.  Since going gluten-free, there is no question that I miss deep fried food the most.  Even though you can get fries at some places, I have not found a restaurant that offers REAL deep fried gluten-free food.  Maybe I should have taken this as a hint to stop eating fried food…but instead I got a deep fryer for Christmas.  When I tell people that a deep fryer was my favorite Christmas gift, most are surprised and laugh, but that statement is 100% true.

As soon as I opened it up, I grabbed my list of “foods that I will one day eat again” and picked a few that I have been dying to have for years.  First on the list? Deep fried pickles.  (deep fried Oreos and onion rings were close behind)  My brother-in-law, Devin, is a great cook so I asked him to help.  We couldn’t find a recipe that we liked exactly as is, so we made our own!

1-2 tsp Pickle Juice (from your jar)
1 (16 oz) Jar Dill Pickles (you can use chips, spears, or any kind that you prefer)
1/2 C All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt

We didn’t use exact measurements, so don’t be afraid to add other ingredients, or use more or less of the ingredients I listed.

These will NOT disappoint if you love unhealthy food as much as I do, and they were super easy to make!  They were also devoured before I could even take a picture, so be prepared to make more.

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe

As most people know, eating gluten-free on the go is not always easy.  If you are on top of things and pack a lunch with snacks in it, then you don’t have to worry about it.  However, I am often running out the door in just enough time to make it class, barely grabbing the first thing I see to eat for breakfast.  Going to school 40 minutes away has made this even more difficult, because I never know what traffic will be like.

One sunny Thursday, I was driving home because Thursdays are my only night to go straight home and not have to worry about work or a meeting.  I saw a place called “Tropical Smoothie Cafe” and decided I will try it out.  When I walked in, there were several different smoothie options, with a choice of adding in supplements, and also a few things on their food menu.  I chose the “Sunrise Sunset” which is strawberries, pineapple, mango, and orange juice.  I was nervous to add any supplements in because you never know what could be cross-contaminated.

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The next time I went in (which turned out to be the next day) I decided I would look at their menu a little closer.  To my surprise, the oats that you can add in are NATURALLY gluten-free….what???? That never happens! There are also several other choices that are gluten free.  This option completely eliminates the risk and fear of getting sick due to cross-contamination.

Since my first trip to “Tropical Smoothie Cafe”, they now know me by name and know my order.    So if you are looking for a good and healthy snack, be sure to check this place out and skip the vending machine!

Bagger Dave’s – Burger Tavern

As everyone who has to eat gluten-free knows, it used to be difficult to find restaurants that accommodate a gluten-free diet.  Luckily, it is a lot more common today, and most restaurants have gluten-free options on their main menu, or a specific menu available upon request.

Whenever I go out to eat with either my family or boyfriend, they are always very cautious and make sure we go somewhere safe.  However, that means going to the same handful of restaurants every time.  I am always looking to find a new favorite to add to the list, and luckily this weekend I found just that!

In February, a Bagger Dave’s – Burger Tavern was built in Canton, near my house.  I have heard good things about them before, so I decided to try it out after the initial rush of a new restaurant died down.  I went there on a Friday night with my mom, dad, and sister.  To my surprise, we were sat as soon as we walked in.  When I asked for the gluten-free menu, I couldn’t believe how many options there were. Although they don’t have gluten-free hamburger buns, they offer a huge variety of burgers that will taste just as delicious without it.  They also have gluten-free beers on their menus, which most restaurants do not have so that is a plus if you enjoy a drink with your burger!

Everything sounded so delicious, but I decided on the “Tijuana Salad” – not only did it have all of the toppings of a normal salad, but also turkey black bean chili, sour cream, and tortilla strips.  YUM! I also convinced my mom to get a gluten-free meal so we could share, and she ordered the “Buffalo Chicken Bowl” – which is lettuce, a grilled chicken breast, buffalo sauce, and ranch.

Let’s just say I added a new favorite to the top of restaurant list and I can’t wait to go back and try everything else!

http://www.baggerdaves.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/BDs_Gluten_Free_Menu1.pdf

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Copycat – Girl Scout Gluten-free Samoas

Being a dance teacher, this is the time of year when all of my students ask me the dreaded question “Miss Whitney would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” Of course I don’t want to say no, so I buy a few boxes from each student and give them to family members.

However, as soon as I see the box of Samoas, I instantly regret buying them.  These cookies have always been my favorite (I mean, really, who doesn’t like caramel, coconut, and chocolate all in one?) but this year, I decided I was going to try to make my own version of the cookies.  My grandmother loves to bake just like I do, so we spent my day off baking.

I found a recipe from a gluten-free website that I always has great ideas and tips:

http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gluten-free-samoas-girl-scout-cookies/

Let me just say…you will NOT regret making these.  They are very messy and it requires a lot of clean up afterwards, but it is totally worth it.

My version might not look exactly like the real cookie, but I guarantee they won’t last long enough for anyone to judge.

Now there is no reason to feel left out during the “Girl Scout cookie season”.

Enjoy!

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Welcome!

Hello everyone…My name is Whitney and I have been eating gluten free for a little over 5 years.  Being a college student, I know how expensive gluten-free food can be, and you never know how it will taste…

With this blog, I want to share with you some of my favorite gluten-free recipes, restaurants, bakeries, and tips on how to make “gluten-free living” a little simpler (and tastier). BUT, before I get into my first delicious post, I want to explain why I have to eat gluten-free and why this topic is so important to me.

When I was 13, my best friend stayed at my house for the weekend.  Unfortunately, we both ended up very sick, but with what we thought were just colds.  After a visit to my pediatrician and some prescriptions, I thought I was on my way to finally feeling better.  However, after the typical cold symptoms went away, I was left with a headache.  Not the normal kind of headache where you take tylenol and a nap, and wake up feeling fine.  This headache did not go away…ever.

For the next 4 years, I went to every type of doctor you can imagine, had multiple MRI’s, cat-scans, a spinal tap, was on dozens of medications, and I even stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks to be put on an IV at all times, to try to find a medication that worked.  However, when this was happening I was still very young and my parents didn’t like the idea of being on such strong medications.

We were referred to a holistic doctor, who took a few tests for the most common allergens and found out I was allergic to at least 17 things…with gluten being the highest on the list.

It was a rough start trying to eat gluten-free because gluten is hidden in so many products…and even though I am not an expert, I have learned a lot and can’t wait to share some of my favorite gluten-free finds with you all.

Enjoy!