I know what you’re probably thinking…..here’s another food review where I get to read about amazing food and drool all over the photos?? Well you’re right because I was invited to join a local blogger’s dinner that was hosted by Chelsea’s Kitchen in Phoenix. I always look forward to these for many reasons because I’m curious as to how restaurants are preparing the food, what options they have and most importantly how it tastes. Well, let’s just say I was impressed from start to finish with the evening. The Executive Chef came out to greet us and explained all the safety precautions they take to make the food safe for those with food allergies. He also mentioned they have a separate fryer which is always a popular question asked when chips or french fries are on the menu. The smiles at the table were huge as soon as we found out that was the case. I mean who doesn’t like french fries??
The menu started out with a variety of drink options if we chose to take them along with a few appetizers. They were extremely accommodating with me since I’m also allergic to dairy and soy. After I discussed with them that I had multiple food allergies they made additions and substitutions as necessary to the dishes. With that said I started out with chips and salsa with guacamole, the deviled eggs with bacon, brussels sprouts salad and shrimp ceviche.
The deviled eggs come with bacon as an option but according to the menu they are a must. I would agree. I loved deviled eggs but when you add bacon it literally took them to a whole different level and I would’ve just eaten all six of them but I decided to share.
The Guacamole and Chips came with a charred tomatillo salsa that was to die for. It had a little bit of a smokey taste but I couldn’t stop eating the guacamole. Remember they have a separate fryer so eat as many chips as you want.
The shrimp ceviche dish came with chips, avocados, tomatoes, jicama and lime juice. I enjoyed the one bite that I had but I knew I had a lot more food coming so I took it easy on this dish. I might also add that the restaurant served me a nice assortment of fresh veggies because they knew I mostly adhere to the paleo diet. I cheated this night but thought it was a really nice touch.
Up next was the brussels sprout salad which was topped with bacon, almonds and manchego cheese. This was awesome! What made it even better for me was the fact that they had a cheese option that I could eat. Manchego cheese is my favorite and was a nice added touch to this salad.
After all that food you would think it would be hard to get to a main course but I managed to struggle my way through it . I ordered the rotisserie prime rib which came with vegetables and mashed potatoes. They gladly switched out the mashed potatoes for french fries due to my dairy allergy. As far as the cut of beef goes, it was a nice presentation but overall I wasn’t impressed with this part of the meal. It came out pretty red and the ends were extremely salty. I didn’t ask what type of rub they used but the taste was pretty potent. After I worked my way away from the ends due to the piece of meat being undercooked I felt it was a little tough to get through. Even though I didn’t enjoy the main course that doesn’t mean that it changed my feeling of the restaurant as everyone else really enjoyed their main dishes.
Finally, dessert was available and since they had a dairy free option I couldn’t say no. I got the strawberry sorbet and I gobbled it up in about 10 seconds.
On a side note, they did bring out mac n cheese which is a specialty of the restaurant. I unfortunately couldn’t eat it but everyone else raved about it so I would highly recommend ordering it if you decide to dine at Chelsea’s Kitchen.
All is all, I loved everything about the restaurant. They have a really nice size outdoor patio which is where we had dinner. The staff was extremely attentive to us and had knowledge of our food restrictions. If you live in the area or plan on visiting Phoenix, I would highly recommend checking them out as a safe place to dine.
Thanks Chelsea’s Kitchen for a great night!!
Baking Gluten-Free and Vegan with Children
Being limited, by allergies or other ailing, in your choice of food items is bad enough as an adult, as a child, seeing what others can have and you can’t is far more difficult. However, where there’s a will there’s a way and it’s up to us, as adults, to find a way to make our children’s life, not just more pleasant, but just as fantastic as anybody else’s. And, by the way, your family’s diet is likely to be much healthier than a family that isn’t battling a gluten-allergy. Why? Because you are looking very carefully at the ingredients you use in your dishes and of course the ingredients in ready to eat foods. This gives you the advantage of being able to pick and choose healthier foods from the start. See, the glass is really ¾ full for your family.
Another way you can turn this condition into a positive experience for your children; is by integrating them into the cooking/baking process. I remember how much fun I had helping my grandmother and mother baking cookies for Christmas. It was a messy and spectacular event my brother and I looked forward to. Mmmh the taste of that raw cookie dough and the sticky feeling of it caked in my hair was priceless, not to mention the smell of fresh baking cookies. This is the kind of memory you can create for yourself and your children, one you’ll all be happy to look back on.
Enough already with the Computer and TV! Have your children join you in the kitchen, have them help with preparing their meals and let them have fun with it. So what if there’s dough on the refrigerator door? That’s what water is for. Let them decorate their sandwiches with healthy things like radishes, bell peppers pickles, tomatoes. Show them how they can make the deco look like faces or animals. There’s a ton of stuff you can do to make it exciting for a child. They are easier to please than you might think. The best part is that you have quality time with your children and they with you. Nothing like a sticky kiss to make the memory stick .
The Gluten-Free Vegan Cinnamon Roll recipe below is a great way to kick-off a weekend kitchen get-together. Starting on Saturday afternoon you can call your youngsters in to help make this delicious and sweet treat for your Sunday breakfast or brunch. It’s time consuming, but well worth it. Best is to start them helping with step 2. Let your child measure the ingredients and add them to the mixing bowl, that’s the fun part. You can also let the child oil the dough ball, the messier the chore, the more fun it is.
While the dough is rising, it’s going to take a while and children usually aren’t known for their patience, you can ask them to measure and prepare the topping, careful hot sugar and margarine can burn, so keep your eye on them at all times during this process. As soon as it cools off enough, let them try some, it’s really yummy. They can pitch in all the way to step 10 before taking a break from the kitchen. In this time I have my children make a list of the things they’d really like to eat and then we figure out together how to make them gluten-free. It’s fun and shows your children, that they aren’t missing out. In fact they can make their own treats better, by adding other gluten-free ingredients to spruce it up. You may be surprised what your little one’s come up with.
After the dough has done its doubling trick you can call the gang back together to continue with steps 11 – 18. This is the messiest part, ergo the most fun. You can also add carob or chocolate chips to the filling, more finely chopped nuts too if you’re kids are nuts about nuts. There are so many ways you can vary this and let them have a say in it. Once you are all done and have the Sunday breakfast cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, let them know how proud you are of their work and that you can’t wait to eat them in the morning. It’s important to let your child know that they have accomplished something by helping in the kitchen and it will make it even easier to have them participate again in the future. Who knows you might have awakened their inner chef and in the future they’ll be cooking for you.
However, the best part is yet to come. You won’t have to do a lot of heavy duty waking in the morning. Once the odor of the cinnamon rolls goes wafting through the house, they’ll follow their noses to the kitchen oven. You and your family are in for a real treat and you will be making these more often to appease the pastry appetites in your family. And Mom and Dad you can be proud of yourselves too for making healthy choices for your family. Happy Yumminess!
Overnight Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
Tools you will need:
- Stand Mixer with regular whisk and dough-kneader
- Cutting board
- Knife (blunt, you don’t want your son/daughter cutting themselves)
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Rolling pin
- 9 x 13” cake pan and same size or larger dish to serve
- Small sauce pan
- A few smaller bowls for premixing and melting
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3 Tsp yeast (a little more than one packet)
- 1 Tsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup milk almond milk
- 1/4 cup earth balance margarine
- 6 ½ T water
- 1 T egg replacer powder (equiv. 3 eggs)
- 1 ¼ Tsp salt
- 4 (+1/4 cup if too sticky and to roll out dough) cups gluten free all-purpose baking flour or make your own flour
- 2 Tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 T Earth Balance vegan margarine
- 4 T local honey or maple syrup
- 3/4 cups each coarsely chopped pecans and walnuts
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 T cinnamon
- 1/8 Tsp ground cloves
- ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
- 4 T shortening
- 1 ½ Tsp water or apple juice
The night before:
1. Combine warm water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer, stir to dissolve and let sit about 5 minutes or until the yeast froths
2. Mix the egg replacer with a bit of almond milk, stirring until smooth.
3. Add remaining milk, margarine, brown sugar, egg replacer, cinnamon, salt and 3 cups flour (1 cup at a time), to the yeast, mixing on low speed until blended
4. Before continuing switch to the dough-kneader hook and knead on low speed, slowly adding the remaining 1 cup of flour.
5. Increase speed to medium, kneading dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if it’s too sticky), 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Shape the dough into a ball, oil lightly then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
7. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (1 hour to 2 hours).
8. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, punching it down and let sit 20 minutes.
9. In a pot, combine all topping ingredients except nuts and stir over low heat until melted. Pour into a well-greased 9×13″ pan.
10. Sprinkle nuts over topping.
11. Combine brown sugar, ground cloves and cinnamon for filling.
12. Melt the shortening for the filling, and stir the water or apple juice in until well blended.
13. Roll the dough out to form a 12 x 18″ rectangle.
14. Brush with melted shortening/water or juice mixture, then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon mixture and the raisins or cranberries (or both)
15. Roll up the dough along the long edge sealing the seam by pinching it shut
16. Cut the roll in half. Keep halving each piece until you have a total of 24 skinny little rolls.
17. Set the rolls, cut side down, into pan.
18. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Ready for breakfast in a jiffy:
1. Take the cake pan out of the refrigerator and let the cinnamon rolls warm up while you preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Bake 35 – 40 minutes.
3. Turn upside down over similarly sized platter/pan.
Who can say no to that?
I hope you and your children have as much fun recreating this yummy dish as mine had eating it.
Connect with the author of this blog post – Cassie Corbett @CassieCorbettRead More
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with the uncomfortable feeling of dining out with others when you have food allergies. Actually, seeing everything I do on social media, I know I’m not alone. What never ceases to amaze me is that know matter how many times I do it…I always clam up when it’s my time to order. I’ve even have friends who have jumped in and asked the appropriate questions for me. Why is that? It’s just food allergies so what is the big deal? I’ve never been able to figure out what the issues is but I wanted to share a situation with all of you on something that happened recently that really made me aware that it’s a real issue.
A couple weeks ago I was in New Jersey with one of my clients for the gluten and allergen free expo. I’m originally from New York so being back on east coast is so enjoyable and I honestly get giddy when I know that I’m going back. This was going to be a great trip for my client but I also had some high level excitement because I knew I was going to meet some gluten-free bloggers that I think the world of. We had been talking about it for months but I knew that I was going to be able to be in the same room as Gluten-Free School, Gluten Dude, Gluten-Free Labels and Jackie Ourman just to name a few. We had it all planned out. After the show on Saturday night we were going to grab drinks and dinner. Just the thought of seeing all of them was exciting because we have been chatting on Twitter for a long time and most of them I’ve chatted with on the phone too.
So as you can imagine everything was great. We had a blast chatting and having drinks in the hotel lobby. It was honestly like we’ve all known each other forever and we were just catching up. Then, we were off to dinner. The first night I was in Jersey I got “glutened” at a restaurant so the following night I got a recommendation from a friend that she promised would be safe. The restaurant was awesome and I asked all of them if they would be cool going there? Of course they said yes because it’s all about being safe and nobody wanted to get sick. Everything about that night was great but when it was time to order I felt myself clamming up even in front of them who totally get this. Was it habit? Am I the only one who does this? This is something that I’m working on and I know it’s probably in my head but it’s real to me and I thought I would share it with you.
On a side note, they are all awesome and I’m extremely thankful for each of them. I can’t wait to see them again and truly look forward to the next time. As for now, it’s back to the phone and Twitter but at least I can say that I met them IN REAL LIFE!!Read More
So it has been awhile since I wrote a blog post for myself and I do miss it but I’m thankful to be very busy with my clients as I’m currently doing a lot of writing for them. However I do realize the importance of being active on my own platform and after receiving a request from a follower, I thought I would reach out for more suggestions and support.
I haven’t felt well in a real long time and I remember the last time I reached out to you to explain how I was feeling you made some great suggestions. Unfortunately I never got tested, I was still getting sick, it lead to depression, anxiety, times where I didn’t want to get out of bed, stomach pains and people started asking me how far along I was because my belly was so distended. I honestly wanted to bang my head against the wall but thankfully I was able to save enough money to get tested. Now that I know I have gluten sensitivity, issues with sugar (cane), soy, eggs, pecans and walnuts along with others I feel relieved yet flustered. These are so many foods and I just don’t get why if I don’t have celiac disease why having gluten bothers me so much? Any help would be great.
I did email her back but I will share a few highlights here. The bottom line is you got tested which is huge. Now that you know, you’re now onto the process of healing and feeling better. Trust me when I tell you I get the depression and anxiety as I dealt with that as well but reaching out as you did makes a big difference. Not sure if your doctor diagnosed you with a certain level of gluten sensitivity but there is mild, moderate or high and I would believe you’re high so that’s why you’re having such huge reactions. The key is to just let it go and stay as far away from it as you can. As for the rest, I have a lot of those too and the options I had 18 years ago when I first found out were slim to none. There are plenty of blogs, resources, pages on FB, cookbooks, and people that can help and support you.
I said more but if you have anything to add, I know this person would love to hear your thoughts.
Thanks and Stay Healthy!!