Monday, September 24, 2012

Lunch inside the box

Good gluten-free food is tough to find on the go, and once you've found it, you don't want to get caught in a rut. Most workdays, I carry a homemade sandwich to work, using store-bought gluten-free bread. Every other week or so, I get a hankering for something different.

Typically, I go for A Taste of Thai peanut noodles. If you have a microwave handy in the office, they're perfect for a quick, gluten-free meal. It takes about four minutes to cook. I've tried some of the brand's other varieties, such as those made with coconut or curry, and found them tasty, as well, but the peanut is my favorite.  I usually pack my box of noodles with re-heatable veggies, either peas or carrots, on the side. Chicken slices also mesh well with the peanut flavor. 

In Jersey, A Taste of Thai is available at Wegmans, Shop Rite and other mainstream grocery stores.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

GF greeting on the boardwalk

One of the best, if not THE best, freshly-prepared GF pizzas I’ve ever eaten came from Siculiana’s in Asbury Park. I remember “real” pizza and this was the closet thing I’ve found thus far. The cheese was perfectly melted, the crust was a nice texture and the taste was, well, fabulous. 

This pie was even better than my homemade pizza that I had thought was perfected.

My dining party entered Siculiana’s via the boardwalk. We were looking for a quick bite when I saw the sandwich board sign advertising “gluten-free pizza.” You just don’t see such a thing often on a Jersey Shore boardwalk.I had earlier assumed I'd be stuck with a salad or something equally non-filling.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Appetite for Awareness? Yes, please!

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is hosting its annual Appetite for Awareness event on Sunday in Philadelphia. This is an awesome smorgasboard of gluten-free goodies.

I attended last year's event and loved every minute of it. It may have been the first time in 13 years I walked into a room full of food and could eat EVERYTHING!

There are a bunch of Philly-area restaurants cooking for the crowd and offering plentiful samples of their wares. Most are based in the city, but Jersey is well-represented. The participating restaurants include BRIO Tuscan Grille (Cherry Hill), Casona of Collingswood (Collingswood) and Pasta Pomodoro Ristorante Italiano (Voorhees), which is where I once enjoyed a very tasty dish of freshly-made GF raviolis.

There's also a children's area with kid-friendly foods and entertainment, a GF beer garden, chef demonstrations and lots of swag. Last year, I went home with a resuable grocery bag stuffed with free GF breads, snacks and coupons that were not left unused.

The cost of admission may be pricey for those on a tight budget, ($50 in advance, $75 at the door for adults) but it's worth the expense. For more information, follow this link to the NFCA website:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Welcome to Garden State of Mind

I'm excited to launch this blog. It's been on my mind for a long time, and I'm finally ready to put it in action. I plan to provide information about restaurants, products and events, as well as some simple recipies, for those looking for a gluten-free experience. It's what I find throughout New Jersey, as well as the greater New York City and Philadelphia areas.

I have been living the gluten-free lifestyle since I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1998. As most people find, it was a drastic change that was extremely frustrating at times. Luckily, time and a greater awareness about the condition have made life a lot easier. I also have a strong support system in family and friends, who love to tell me about the gluten-free foods they've discovered.

In addition to being a gluten-free advocate, I am a full-time professional journalist. My reporting background includes health and medicine, and food, which has allowed me to cover a variety of celiac disease and gluten-free topics.

Over the years, I've often been asked for advice from newly-diagnosed celiacs, which I am always happy to provide, and I'm open to suggestions from others. Please feel free to share your favorite dining experiences with me. If I use your information in this blog, you will be credited.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy Garden State of Mind.

Orlando Road Trip: Mickey's Very Special Christmas Party

It was Jersey Week in the Orlando area this month, and we were there. We went down to Florida mid-week and stayed for about 10 days, m...