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Land of Enchantment

Rebecca Lee Robinson

A few weeks ago I had the great luxury of being able to go to Santa Fe on a road trip with my fiance. The main reason we were going was for a family get together/surprise 50th anniversary party for my Great Aunt and Uncle, the second reason was the excuse to get away for a long weekend and do something different.

I am very much an artistic and creative person. It’s kind of my reason for living so the chance to go to a city dripping in art, that wasn’t in another country, was like an elixir of joy and artistic energy that I desperately needed. Since graduating from my MA degree things have been…rough, to say the least. So I have been trying to find energy and joy in the small things.

From the Fort, Santa Fe is between a 6-8 hr drive depending on traffic and route…

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Land of Enchantment Part II

Rebecca Lee Robinson

The second day was an early start to the day and driving to downtown before the tourists invaded. I also wanted to talk to the Native American artists that sat outside by the Palace to sell their goods to locals and tourists alike. This was a great opportunity to learn how the system worked and how it provided artists the chance to make money directly and control their art.

I ended up buying a small pottery egg from a woman that had a turtle and fish on it, representing life and sustainability. The price was great and it felt awesome to support local and small artists. As an artist and from a family of artists, this direct connection meant a lot.

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I talked to others about their goods and how they made things. There were silver workers, pottery masters, jewelry makers, weavers and everything in between. If you want to…

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travel

Fear Not the Adventure

It sucks having food allergies, and it sucks even worse when you have a travel bug, but the world doesn’t always accommodate your “issues”. However, as I have found in five years of travel, I almost always kind find an option to eat, and never have I gone hungry. At least not yet.

Another beautiful meal at @fococafe! #shoplocal #eatlocal #glutenfree

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You may have to pay more for a meal, but many times it’s less or the same. You may not get your first menu choice, but you will likely get SOMETHING that is good. You will also likely try something new and exciting that you maybe never though of as an option before.

#delicious #laLuz #mexican #americab food! Please and thank you! #fishtacos #glutenfree

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So here are my tips to surviving on the road:

  • Know your allergy and what you can and cannot eat.
  • Know what recipes commonly have in them that might be an issue.
  • Learn what you need to ask in a language, or find a card to carry about your food issue.
  • Shop and cook for yourself as much as possible. Regardless of everything, you will likely be able to go to a store and buy ingredients to make a rocking meal.
  • Be brave and try new things.
    • Such as Snails (Escargot), Caviar (Fish Eggs), Cheese (often with odd bacteria) and new fruits and vegetables you may have not seen before.
  • Learn about countries and what common foods are. Mostly European and the Americas rely on bread (wheat) as much as they do. That’s not to say that other parts of the world don’t use wheat, but often their diets have a rice or corn base. With other grains mixed in.
  • Experiment with ingredients you find and try to ask questions from locals.
  • Always go for the salad bar when in doubt of everything else. Or just a salad.

But also be realistic that you might get sick and have cross contamination. For that here are tricks that help

  • Probiotics or yogurt to help with digestion
  • Enzymes to help with digestion
  • Mineral Water also can help with stomach issues
  • Coconut Water also can be soothing and for hot summer travel, it replaces electrolytes
  • Finally, if you can find it, Kombucha can also be a quick fix to an upset gut.
  • Look for vitamins to take with you traveling, but always check country-specific regulations on medicine and other pills.

Proper #italian pizza in the heart of #edinburgh

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Happy Travels,

Rebecca

recipes

Vegan Truffle Risotto

In case you don’t know Risotto as a delicious option for celiacs, (which you need to change) here is a recipe to get you started.

  • 1 container of white mushrooms
  • A bottle of truffle oil (World market and fancy grocery stores)
  • half an onion
  • Raw Spinach
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Olive Oil
  • Risotto (Arborio) Rice

I like using a stock pot, but others recommend a pan, I say try several options and see what you like best.

  1. Chop your onion into little pieces, and saute in a couple Tablespoons of olive oil until caramelized.
  2. Add a little more olive oil, and add two cups of arborio rice and mix into the oil until rice grains are translucent.
  3. Add two cups of warm vegetable broth and keep stirring.
    1. taste to see how salty it is and add herbs/salt/pepper to your preference. A little at a time, tasting.
  4. Add mushrooms, chopped into bite-size pieces (white mushrooms don’t have a strong flavor so they work well with the truffle oil and don’t mix weird or over power it, they also don’t cost a fortune like truffles do).
  5. Add some truffle oil, only a few drops to start, then taste to see if more is needed- sometimes truffles are too rich so go easy. Taste to see how you like it.
  6. Keep cooking and adding broth (warm) until rice is tender.
  7. Before all the moisture is boiled off add some spinach to the top and mix into the rice.
  8. Keep stirring until it’s at a moisture content you’re content with and serve.
  9. Add some parmesan cheese on top if you wish, or mozzarella, or vegan cheese to make it a little more creamy.
  10. ENJOY!

Serve with a salad or protein such as tempe or seafood. Experiment and have fun!

Best,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

travel

The Gluten Free Gem of Dublin

A little over a year ago I reported that in Dublin, Ireland a small group of celiacs would be opening a bakery to serve the Dublin community with gluten free, homemade goods. It was my dream from hearing about them on to visit! And I did!

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In February I took some extra time before going back stateside to get some gluten free treats from Antoinette’s Bakery in Dublin. Oh boy were they amazing! Which has left me feeling there is a void in my life because Antoinette’s is nowhere near Colorado.

You know it's good when you can smell it a block away! #glutenfree #dublin #ireland #eatlocal

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Some may have VooDoo Donuts in Portland and Denver, well I have Antoinette’s in Dublin, a treat that is only attainable when I’m passing through. A place that is iconic, delicious, welcoming, full of Irish charm and friendliness and  a total gem of a place for celiacs and non.

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I went not only one afternoon, but the next morning as well for their cinnamon donuts, brownies and other miscellaneous goodies. Not only was the food good, but their array of coffees and lattes were warming in the rainy Dublin February, and the atmosphere of the bakery to die for. Based on a Maria Antoinette, meets punk “Let them eat cake” mash that I wish my own kitchen could compare to.

I can't agree more! #coffee #glutenfree #dublin #caffeineaddict

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So if you are in Dublin, or Ireland, or needing an excuse to go there, this is it. You Won’t be disappointed, and make sure to pick up a souvenir or two to remind you to plan a next time.

Pretty damn stoked about my new mug #tea #coffee #souvenir #glutenfree #dublin #eatlocal

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Your Gluten Free Kitchen

Eating Gluten Free

  • cook at home, cook at home, cook at home

It’s hard to do when you are busy with school, work and a social life, but you can save so much money and even time. Time from waiting for food at restaurants or driving across town or waiting for delivery. Seriously. And if you’re not gluten-free, your life got way easier, and again, eating at home is a much better choice, hands down.

Kitchen tool kit

  • Rice maker-with ability to steam vegetables
    • steam veggies in about 20 minutes and make rice in the bottom
    • saute some veggies and rice with oil, maybe some meat and whatever seasoning you want
    • make homemade curry to stir-fry to anything you can think of
  • Oven- let’s hope you’re already okay here
    • basic need, and can do everything
  • Toaster
    • make your bread tasty, heat up certain pre-made items
    • because TOAST
  • Microwave Oven
    • for pre-made and packaged items
    • steam vegetables
    • bake potatoes
    • heat up drinks
  • Breadmaker- for gluten-free bread
    • this will save you hundreds over a few years
    • buy a good machine for at least $75 so that it can handle being used a lot
  • Electric Kettle (optional)
    • quickly boil water for drinks
    • boiled water for noodles
    • boiled water for other instant goodies

Buy a few cookbooks

  • Though the internet is great for recipes, sometimes having a physical book helps inspire the cook and can really improve how healthy you are eating and your outlook on food.
  • Go to used book shops to find a great option or two
  • Ask your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings for great books to borrow, trade or keep. They usually have a few they could get rid of for some space.
  • If you buy one book, buy the Joy of Cooking so that you have a go to guide on how to do everything.
    • even with food allergies, this is a great go-to

Pack lunch

  • It’s really easy to want to eat out at work, and not have to worry about planning ahead. But eating out is usually double what it is to pack food.
  • Most studies show you can save between $70-100 a month just by packing a sandwich or bringing left overs.
  • In 4 years that can be almost $4,000!

Buy in Bulk

  • If you have the space buy in bulk. Then your per-unit and per-meal price goes down. Sometimes as much as $1 per meal.
  • Amazon sells a lot of things in bulk which shave off the pennies
  • Costco also has a lot of gluten free food
  • Check you Whole Foods and Sprouts as well
  • My tip, because it’s good to shop local even if it’s a chain, is to only buy my pasta and bread mixes from Amazon, while everything else comes from a local source.
    • all veggies, fruit, jams, eggs, fish etc.

Eat Healthy

  • Gluten free products are freakin’ expensive, and even though they pretend to be in the name of health a lot of products are PACKED with sugar, preservatives and other junk. So health goes out the window
  • My suggestion is to make your own food, cookies, and other “treats” to avoid the added costs and junk.
  • OR just don’t eat the extra junk, such as sweets and pastries. Or eat less of them.
  • You can buy much more spinach for $5 than you can gluten free cookies

Try Exotic Food

  • A great secret with international food is a lot of it can be gluten free
  • Especially asian food
  • and latin american food
  • look for rice noodles, corn tortillas and other items at international markets to not only save money, try something new and spice up the kitchen a little bit.

Happy Cooking!

Uncategorized

Gluten Free in the Land of Bread and Pasta

“Una pizza margarita, senza glutine, por favore.” poured from my tongue, an attempt at accented Italian. The server smiled “one pizza, senza glutine, okay!” in response as she scribbled my order followed by my friends. We sat in a circa 1980’s green back room of a small restaurant only a block away from lines of tourists surrounding Micheangelo’s David.

The smell of mouthwatering plates was overpowering as it drifted from the small kitchen,  while waiting was torture for our hungry and impatient stomachs as a dusty boar’s head stared suspiciously from above the bathroom. Once the food arrived it was no time at all before it was gone, and I was left doing a seated happy dance about how I had just eaten the best pizza of my life. Italy was proving to have the best dining options for my gluten-free life.

Anyone can find eating while traveling hard enough, let alone attempting to do it with food allergies, yet with a little research one can find a world full of edibles that won’t leave your stomach and self, miserable during a well-earned vacation.

I myself have to remember that no, I am not the only person on the planet that is gluten free or dairy free. The reality is that in this day of easier global exploration, the world has become smaller and more connected to different eating concepts. In places like Italy 1 out of 250 people are thought to have celiac disease, and as a result more restaurants in Italy are trying to accommodate for the disease.

In Italy, the government is even aware of the problem and they sell Gluten-Free products at pharmacies, an aid for locals and tourists alike. “Thanks to the public health system my sister can place an order each month to the pharmacy and get all the main food for free.” Enrica Guidato informed me, her twin sister has celiac disease and is doing just fine in her native Lecce, Italy. For the tourist there will be no free pasta, but to know that a country acknowledges the disease is a step in the right direction.

When I was in Florence in 2013 Guidato was a helping hand, she pointed me in the right direction for food, which restaurants were the best, which cared enough to offer gluten free, her list was a mile long of the best gluten free eats. Her experiences with her sister meant she knew great places to eat, and new things to try. It also made me realize just asking others meant a whole hidden knowledge could be opened.

So I asked Roger Elliot, a celiac since his mid-twenties who started a website specifically to share stories of his own eating experiences around the world. He believes that people can go and eat anywhere with celiac disease it just takes a little work. “I think you should take time to properly research the food in the destination you’re travelling to.” Says Roger “That said, there’s always plain meat, fish and veg, and if you have access to self-catering facilities, you should always be able to get by I reckon.”

Roger and his wife also came up with a great idea to overcome language barriers, by making little cards that state exactly what one is allergic to, to show at restaurants. They come in 54 languages and are completely free on his website: celiactravel.com, and are an innovative and easy way to keep one’s digestive system happy.

Another thing about asking, are the pleasant surprises that come with it. I give you one night in Rome.

Since I was studying abroad, we had a side trip to Rome. I was in Rome with my program director, where we had a meal at a place near our hotel and just off the beaten tourist path, Rinaldi al Quirinale. According to its website it served Gluten-Free, but I assumed like most places in the states, there would be a salad or maybe some spaghetti involved and that would be it. I went into the location head held high however, since first of all I was in Rome, and second I was out to dinner with two new friends, and excited at the chance of getting to know both better. Not only did that set the scene for a perfect night, but the restaurant set a standard of excellent dining well beyond anything we could have imagined.

When I asked the server about gluten free he informed me I could have anything I wanted on the menu, and to top that off when real bread was brought for my dinner buddies I got my own, fresh from the oven, gluten free bread roll all to myself. I ended up ordering the mushroom risotto but I swear it was the best I ever had, and with a wait staff willing to bend over backwards for our every need it was a great feeling. It was everything you dream of Italy, a solid and happy relationship with your food, making new friends, and watching the sun set over the eternal city.

In the end, asking for senza glutine proved to be a ticket to winning a great meal and beautiful experience all over Italy. Whether I was eating a pizza, plate of pesto, or a truffle risotto, being celiac opened doors to meeting and understanding people in a new light that I don’t believe would have been there with a normal diet. Maybe I just appreciated having options that I never got at home, or maybe Italy’s food just gives everyone that loving, warm feeling; as if your own grandma poured her love into it.

SURVIVAL- Quick tips

COOKING

As expensive as eating gluten-free in the states can be, expect the same for Europe, but add on an exchange rate, and that rice pasta for €4 becomes about $6. However, if you look around for new ideas you can cook for much less. Risotto, a huge box, will usually only run €1 and make about 10 servings, and fresh veggies in Italy are cheap, delicious, locally grown, and worth the preparation.

DINING OUT

When eating out look around at prices and expect for a Pizza Margarita that is Senza Glutine to be about €11-15 or $15-20 which is pretty normal for eating in the states.  But if you are skipping the pizza, look for risotto specials, salads, and other things especially at restaurants that don’t do a lot gluten-free bread-like products.

GLUTEN FREE FOODS TO TRY
Risotto- rice based and full of endless possibilities, whether it’s mushroom, truffle, vegetable or seafood you will never be disappointed.
Salmon and Arugula- a great plate served with some multi-course meals and perfect for the pescetarian or meat eater
Pizza- many places advertise if they make GF pizza, but don’t be afraid to ask too. Some even have different crust choices!
Pasta- This is the most common bread-like dish you can find, as many places keep a bag of rice pasta on hand, just in case someone like you wanders in. They can usually make it with any sauce you want, or kind. Pesto pasta in Italy is to die for.
Salad- If you have numerous allergies this is a great place to start, no dressing but a little olive oil and lemon juice are the norm, and you can usually get it with no meat but plenty of fresh vegetables, and egg. Tuna is also common if you do fish.
Caprese- cheese and tomatoes, with oil? What’s not to love?
Meat specialties (if you eat meat)- Try some prosciutto with melon, wild boar, steak or just about anything else, never did I hear a complaint.
Polenta- corn based, and delicious. It can come in deep-fried cubes, or under sauce, but all around it’s fantastic.
WINE!- hey you may not be able to get some cheap beer, but you can drink wine, and for a good price. If in Tuscany, you must have some Chianti- you can’t leave the country if you don’t.
How do you say that?
ENGLISH ITALIAN
Gluten- Free Senza Glutine
Dairy / lactose/ milk/ cheese Caseificio/ lattosio/ latte/ formaggio
Wheat/ barley/ rye Grano/ orzo/ segale
Soy soia

PHOTOS

red tiles

Don’t let food allergies lead you to missing out on the trip of a lifetime!

lady with gelato

Gelato is a must-have, and some places even do Gluten-Free Cones

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Pesto Pasta, with gluten free noodles, Ciro & Sons, Florence.