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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween?


1). I suppose I should say "Happy Halloween."  This is not really one of my favorite holidays, it use to be when I was in grade school and high school - I loved it.  I think the slutty effects of the holiday through college got to me and now I just want it to be over...on to better holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.  I think most people go through this hating halloween stage in their lives and its usually college / post college until you have children of your own where you're forced once again to partake. 

2). I do actually have plans for this evening.  But I've tactfully built in a nice excuse not to go overboard or get crazy.  I donate blood every eight weeks, religiously (you should also), through the Nebraska Community Blood Bank (Lincoln) and I have an appointment early this morning to complete my 6th time in 2012 (for regular donors this is a big deal and involves a complimentary sweatshirt).  Sometimes it feels good to donate on holidays or special occasions, not that halloween really qualifies as a feel good holiday, but whatever - I'm taking it.  

3). The plans.  My friend Corinne and I are heading out to celebrate this evening.  Our main agenda is the Halloween celebration at Chipotle which involves discounted burritos.  I'm not sure this will count towards my order, as I only ever order the burrito bowl or salad.  Chipotle's regular burritos are made with flour tortillas.  I've never had a super bad experience eating gluten free at Chipotle, I just kindly ask them to change their gloves and have the same person help me all the way down the line - they are very nice and more than accommodating.  The catch - you have to be wearing a costume to receive the discount.  So naturally I had big plans for a simple, yet exceptionally nerdy Harry Potter costume.  However, the shipping was too far out and that plan fell through.  I'm going with my super easy back up of being a runner...too easy it barely counts.  After Chipotle we're heading over to Jake's in Benson for a drink or two.  (not for me!  I gave blood today and can hopefully head home early - plus I have a 7am meeting on Thursday morning).

Here are some tips for safely eating Halloween candy.

I hope your day is great!

-J


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

M's Pub



I could eat steak caesar salad everyday...forever.  M's Pub in the old market has one of the best.  

They also have a full gluten free menu, making it one of my favorite dining choices.


-J

M's Pub on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jimmy Johns



Jimmy John's is fairly safe.  My go to is the Un-wich Vito (#5?).  I always go to the same JJ's and this is a case where it's great to be a regular - I don't go when it's super busy - I try to hit off timeframes - I very kindly ask the staff to wipe down the counter - change their gloves.  

I've yet to have a bad experience!





Friday, October 26, 2012

I need more Fridays....


The last two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind and I wish I could say that things are slowing down... but where would the fun in that be!  

I'm super excited to tailgate for the Michigan Game this weekend, spend time with my best friend, hopefully have some writing / reading time, get some studying done, perhaps a bit of cooking... I need just a few more hours each day and I could get everything done! 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  Cold weather is finally here - bring on the holiday baking!

-Justine-

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Starbucks

I have a fairly serious love/hate relationship with Starbucks.


I love Starbucks for being that local coffee shop that managed to become an International brand success.  All you haters out there have to admit they do things right..... right for gluten eating people ;)

Starbucks initially jumped into the gluten free breakfast category back in the summer of 2009 (early spring perhaps) and launched the most amazing orange coffee cake known on earth.  In a press release here they express how freakin delicious this little cake is to the masses.

However, due to multiple issues with the product - mostly low paid baristas not understanding that the little cakes were packaged individually for a reason and that they were all natural so needed refrigeration - Starbucks had them discontinued.  Truth - the employees were letting them mold and weren't giving them proper attention.  

I've been a little bitter with Starbucks ever since.  I want some damn coffee cake with my $6 coffee!

I've sent multiple letters to various district managers over the years and have received nothing but gift cards and apologies.  I really just want the recipe.  

I still love their coffee... when I decide $2.27 is worth it for black coffee.  Sometimes you just need a treat!

-Justine-

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mussels revisited...


This is a follow-up post to the French way to eat mussels.  


*Blue Orchid. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuna Salad Cups

Doesn't this look delicious?  

Sandwiches get soggy in a lunch box, but tuna salad cups stay nice and fresh!  

I will admit, I do not have an official recipe for my tuna salad - I tend to use the same usual ingredients and just throw them together without much measurement.  It may take a time or two for you to get the gist of it, but eventually you will develop your own style of tuna and will whip it up in no time!  Also I will confess mine salad is probably a bit more complex than most - I like lots of high flavor ingredients just so I can avoid using salt.  Very few of my recipes will actually call for salt and I NEVER add salt randomly to food.  (just a quirky thing about me).  

Here are the ingredients I use - Mirepoix (onion, carrot, celery mix - I hate chopping onions so this is totally worth the cost, which isn't much since its from Trader Joes.), grainy mustard (I add mustard just because you're suppose to - also TJ's), just a bit of crushed garlic - TJ's, pickle relish - Hyvee (also just because it's suppose to be in there), Mayo - I use the olive oil kind - Hyvee, Siracha - Hyvee (Siracha is a spicy chinese condiment which is dynamite - you can put it on just about anything that needs a little kick in the ass!), and tuna of course - I buy it at Hyvee because it's cheaper.  I use the mayo to bind all the ingredients together - 4 cans of tuna, one container of mirepoix, and everything else to taste.  This is also the same ingredients I use to make egg salad - just sub out the tuna for 6-10 hard boiled eggs.  Keeps well in the fridge - actually its better the next day :)

Then hollow out 4 ripe tomatoes, stuff in the tuna salad and pack up your lunch!!  Enjoy!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Macaron Bee - DC

As usual, I was on the hunt for macarons in DC.  I found a lovely little shop in Georgetown that specializes in macaroons!! These are the best I've ever had!  Unfortunately, Macaron Bee doesn't deliver :(  However, they are a new store so maybe that's in their future.

Macaron Bee - Georgetown

So many choices!!

This would be fun for a party.

Me - super happy :)

I love the attention to detail in their packaging.

These are the macarons I choose from the left: vanilla bean, chocolate lavender,  coconut, blood orange (the best!!), lemon (my favorite), and rose.  They were all incredibly delicious - not too sweet to allow the flavors to shine through.

I tried to eat them slowly - but I finished them before we got on our flight that evening.  I did share them with my mom!


This is my last DC post - I'm happy to be home and not traveling anymore :)

-J


Macaron Bee on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Old Ebbitt Grill - DC

The last evening we were all in DC - we gathered for dinner at Old Ebbitt Grill, a historic eatery in Washington, D.C.

Old Ebbitt's does not specifically have a gluten free menu - but they are more than accomodating.  

I utilize this annual dinner to indulge in lobster!! :)

Lobster, cole slaw, and spinach - a perfect meal!

Flourless peanut butter chocolate cake - I couldn't resist.

-J



Old Ebbitt Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Elephant & Castle - DC

Elephant & Castle was another wonderful urbanspoon find!  We had actually seen one in Chicago but had other dinner plans - so I was surprised to find on in DC and made sure we had time to stop in for lunch!

They have a separate gluten free menu with a great selection.  I was super excited to see fish & chips on their menu - I can't even remember the last time I had this!

Separate gluten free menus always excite me!

by most standards, this probably wasn't good - but for me, it was absolutely heaven!!




-J

Elephant & Castle on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dinner at the Library of Congress

My mother and I were in DC for an Associated General Contractors conference - I came for vacation, but my mother was there to work/network.  

I had the privilege of being my mom's plus one to an AGC dinner at the Library of Congress.  My mom was thoughtful enough to call ahead and order a gluten free meal for me :)

My mom and I

The Library of Congress - beautiful venue!


Delicious salad with a goat cheese medallion.

Best wild rice I've ever eaten!

Being gluten free means you get fruit for dessert :(

This is what everyone else had for dessert - I wasn't missing much!


-J







Monday, October 8, 2012

Indian Lunch Spot - DC

Once again Urbanspoon helped me find a hold in the wall, absolutely delicious, reasonably priced - Indian restaurant.  

In the Pavilion at 11th & Pennsylvania - there's the oddest food court in the basement.  You can dine on Ben & Jerry's, Chinese, Greek, Mediterranean, sushi, american/asian hot dogs, plus one of the best Indian places I've tried!  

For a reasonable $8 - I lunched on vegetable biryani, pakoras (onion & chickpea flour balls), papadums (lentil crisps), and a whole host of dipping sauces!

Indian Delight was a fantastic find! 


Friday, October 5, 2012

I ♥ Fridays & Christmas!


*Macy's - formerly Marshell Fields department store in Chicago.



It's BARELY October, and it's already Christmas in Retail :)  This is my favorite time of year - Labor day really to New Years Day!  So many great food holidays!

I'll start preparing special holiday posts - so you can be ready for any event!

I did get back from Washington DC yesterday, and I promise I'm almost done with the Chicago posts - bear with the changes in locations!

Happy Friday :)

-J

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vanille Patisserie - Chicago







I searched and googled and urbanspooned until I found macarons in Chicago!  They are NOT easy to find because they take so much work to make - believe me, I've tried.  

Vanille Patisserie is a small pastry shop in the Chicago French Market - it was quite a hike over there, but completely worth it.  They had rows and rows of macarons!!  I chose rose, violet cassis, lavender, coconut, raspberry, green tea and lemon - my favorite.  

Macarons are mostly pure sugar, ground almonds, and a little flavoring - you can only eat a bite or two before you're feeling the sugar!!  I ate the lemon ones immediately.... and gave the coconut ones to my mom.  I tried fairly unsuccessfully to get them home on the plane - they were still delicious smashed up :)  The green tea ones were also especially delightful - well anything with matcha is delightful!!

I'm sure you're sick of my macaron posts - but I love them.  It's ridiculously hard to find places that make them which only makes me like them more.  They are special treats!!

-J

PS - this is my last Chicago post :)  


Chicago French Market on Urbanspoon



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hannah Bretzel - Chicago









I found Hannah Bretzel on Urbanspoon and it's by far, my best find yet!

This beautiful little space specializes in gourmet sandwiches, salads, and breakfast items.  AND they have mastered a gluten free bread option - it's suppose to be like a baguette, which it's definitely not - but it holds its own as delicious gfree bread!  

There were way too many options on the menu - I should have branched out a bit and tried something really exciting like goat cheese, truffle oil, and portabella mushrooms.  I, however have a huge addiction to cream cheese and nutella.  I couldn't pass up cream cheese, nutella, and wild berry preserves - YUM.  

I was tempted to head back there at lunch time...  We seriously need a Hannah Bretzel in Omaha.  If you're ever in Chicago - this is a MUST!!


Hannah's Bretzel on Urbanspoon

-J
























Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies







Tate's Cookies are so delicious!!  I found them at Hannah Bretzel (post tomorrow) and was excited to try them.  They remind me of crunchy chips ahoy - but better!!  

I've never seen this brand anywhere else - but you can order the cookies online and they'll ship right to your home!

I would be super happy if a box of these showed up for Christmas!

Enjoy!

-Justine-