27 February 2010

bob's red mill gluten-free specials

There are more yummy treats on sale from one of my favorite gluten-free vendors!

Brownie Mix
Chocolate Cake Mix
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
Shortbread Cookie Mix
Vanilla Cake Mix
Rolled Oats

Note that not everything on the Monthly Specials page is gluten-free. Read the product information carefully.


I was not compensated for this post in any way. I'm just a fan of Bob. Image from BobsRedMill.com.

what I eat while pregnant

I have celiac disease, I live in Africa, and now on top of that I'm navigating the world of eating for two. The gluten-free part is easy. The lack of variety here is my big challenge. I haven't really had cravings, but I've had some very strong aversions, which makes the lack of variety even more challenging. Like every expectant woman I want to make sure the baby and I are getting enough of everything that we need.

A friend here gave me her copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting and I immediately turned to it for dietary guidelines. Most of the foods on the list are either unavailable here or inedible for me, which didn't surprise me. What surprised me was the gigantic amount of food that they want you to eat in one day! I'm working hard to gain the weight I need to with the proper nutrition, but I can't get anywhere near the daily calorie recommendation. (My husband looked at it too and was amazed. He doesn't even eat that much, and he's a fit, athletic guy who consumes mass quantities.)

I have a gluten-free prenatal vitamin. I'm eating a lot of quinoa and quinoa pasta, which has protein and folic acid. I'm also eating a lot of rice and beans, another good source of protein and folic acid. I try to get one serving of meat per day, but sometimes meat is my greatest aversion. I started making my own yogurt and I found a nonfat powdered milk that I can tolerate, so I'm getting plenty of calcium and my healthy yogurt bacteria. Every morning I start my day with a tropical fruit smoothie. (Sometimes on the weekends I make a banana-chocolate milkshake instead for a treat -- with my yogurt and nonfat milk of course.) I can get broccoli, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers here for my veggie intake. The baby craves carbs more than anything so I'm baking my own bread and eating cereal like mad. And my ultimate comfort food is Annie's gluten-free macaroni and cheese.

Besides the nonfat milk, I also drink a ton of water. Most of the other beverage choices here are too sugary for me and even before the pregnancy I drank them sparingly. I occasionally have caffeine-free coffee or tea. I gave up caffeine and alcohol as soon as I found out I was pregnant, and within two weeks my blood pressure plummeted from borderline too high to the low end of normal.

I know my efforts are paying off with every visit to my local nurse, who checks my blood pressure and does a urinalysis every other week. Without adequate medical care here (for anything more in-depth I have to go to Nairobi, South Africa, or even Europe or the States), my diet has to be my primary source of health maintenance. As you can see, I'm eating good stuff, but I am dreaming of the day several months from now when I will be back in the United States and can walk into any grocery store to face a huge variety of food.

21 February 2010

doughboy's pizzeria, grover beach, ca

The second stop on my Pizza Safari was Doughboy's Pizzeria in Grover Beach, California, which is right next to Pismo Beach. My pizza there was one of the best pizzas I've ever had, gluten-free or otherwise.

Doughboy's is owned by a couple from the East Coast, so if you're looking for New York pizza in California, this is one of the best places to go. The wife was a nurse who specialized in food allergies and she worked tirelessly to create a gluten-free pizza crust that was just as good as a "regular" crust. Her work paid off.

I ordered the Grandma's Pizza off the gluten-free menu. I also ordered a spinach salad (living where I do, it's been ages since I'd had fresh spinach; the local epinard is not quite the same) and they whipped up a fresh vinigrette dressing to top it off with. The salad and the pizza were both fresh and tasty. The pizza crust was perfectly chewy but crisp where it was supposed to be.

My only complaint was that service was a bit casual. Lots of locals walked back into the kitchen to place their orders directly with the owners, who were the only ones working that night, and that slowed down service for those of us waiting at tables. By the end of the evening the place was getting full and there had been a nonstop parade of take-out orders; it was obvious that this is a popular restaurant among both gf- and non-gf-eaters.

Doughboy's has a small eat-in restaurant, delivers within the area, and you can place take-out orders. They sell their gluten-free pizza crust at several local grocery stores. The gluten-free menu includes an appetizer, a number of salads, nearly all their pizza toppings, and Redbridge beer. (I did not have a beer even though it was tempting. Redbridge isn't really my favorite among the gf beers and lately I've been saving my alcohol for extremely special occasions -- I'm eating gf for two now!)

*I was not compensated in any way for this post. Goods were purchased by me for personal consumption.

14 February 2010

mary's pizza shack, walnut creek, ca

Mary's Pizza Shack in Walnut Creek, California, out in the East Bay, was the first stop on the pizza safari that was part of our Cali vacation. We lived in Walnut Creek for about 18 months and I don't think this restaurant was here when we lived there. If it was, it didn't turn up on my gluten-free radar and it's not the sort of restaurant we'd usually go to. The only reason we went now was so I could try the gluten-free pizza.

If you've been out running errands and you're crashing and need a place for a casual gluten-free lunch, Mary's will do. But there's definitely better pizza out there. I ordered the cheese and pepperoni. The crust was thin and a little soggy in the center, but crisp at edges. The taste wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. The crusts are made off-site, supplied by local gluten-free bakeries. The pizza was also on the expensive side. The gluten-free pizza only comes in a 12-inch size and it costs about $17, before you start adding toppings. However, I did take leftovers home and was able to get two more lunches out of my pizza.

Even though the address for Mary's is on a main road, Oak Grove Road, you can't see it from the street. It's in the same shopping center as the Nob Hill grocery store. There are several other locations through NorCal. It has the feel of a family-style chain restaurant, which isn't really my taste, but I know it works for a lot of people. If I had no other options, I'd consider one of their pizzas for takeout, since reheating it in the oven at home would help to crisp up the soggy crust.

*I was not compensated for this post in any way. Items were purchased by me for personal consumption.

04 February 2010

mariposa, oakland, ca

The Mariposa Baking Company in Oakland, California, was a baked-good dream come true. It's an entirely gluten-free bakery and many of their treats are so good you'd never even know they were gluten-free. While on a recent visit to the Bay Area I popped into the shop and bought cinnamon toast biscotti, cheese ravioli, a coconut cupcake and a red velvet cupcake (I'm usually a chocolate fiend for but for some reason I wasn't feeling chocolate that day), multi-grain bread, and sesame seed bagels. I was on the go, so didn't stop to eat and get coffee in the cafe area. You can get many of their baked goods fresh on the spot, with a cup of coffee or tea to complete your snack.

The biscotti, ravioli, and cupcakes were totally awesome. The ravioli was one of those items that, to me, tasted exactly like the "real" thing. The cupcakes were moist and cakey and my non-gf husband liked them a lot too. The package of biscotti lasted me for several days' worth of afternoon tea times.

The bread and bagels weren't bad, but were noticeably gluten-free. Part of the quality issues were admittedly my own doing, because I left them in the refrigerator for several days, then they lived in the back of the car and in a hotel room for several days before I got around to eating them. Not exactly ideal conditions. But they toasted well and were a good vehicle for jams and cream cheese.

At the cafe in Oakland, they serve pizza by the slice daily from noon to 3:00 pm. They have a shop in the San Francisco Ferry Building (I don't believe it's a cafe, but I don't know for sure) and some of their products are available at nationwide retailers such as Whole Foods. You can also order their products online (and they're having a special right now -- a free brownie with the online purchase of a gift set -- I don't know how long this offer lasts, but a certain gf blogger has a birthday coming up next week...). :) They also supply pizza crusts for several restaurants in the Bay Area. Check their website for more information on locations, distribution, and special offers. I unfortunately did not have a chance to try the pizza, so someone else will have to try it and report back to me.

Mariposa is a must-visit for anyone living in or traveling through the Bay Area. In the Oakland location there's ample parking and the San Francisco location is easily reachable by BART.

*I was not compensated in any way for this post. All items were purchased by me for personal consumption.



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