Happy Birthday Pretty Little Celiac (me)!

In any sense of the word, I am a true Capricorn. My birthday is 12/30 and I was born on 12:30pm. This year, I will turn 31 along with all these other numbers. I’ve just been searching for a sign or some kind of significance to this to help guide me into my 30′s. Unlike many other people, I am thrilled to enter my 30′s. My life every year has been exponentially better than the last and I want to continue this trend into the future. Another year, Another milestone will be met.

Unfavorable Capricorn Characteristics

Imagine my surprise when I went into a little shop in Gahanna called Zodiac and met the owner Jennifer Lopez (that’s her real name). She provided me with my Zodiac Star Chart and blew me away. I’m a firm believer in understanding and recognizing your strengths to use them to the best of your ability. Seek jobs that thrive on your strengths and you will never be unhappy.

Here are some of my strongest qualities and personality information that she shared with me:

“Rising Sign    is in    18 Degrees    Aries
You are a free spirit and you must be first at everything you do. Very energetic, self-assertive and active, things must be done your way. You want to do everything full-tilt, 100 miles per hour! A great competitor, but a poor cooperator — you must learn how to lose more gracefully. Very self-confident, ambitious and passionate, you radiate positive energy. You are blunt and direct, but at times unfeeling and tactless, especially if anyone offers you any resistance. You fight for your beliefs, but your tendency to act first and think later often causes you much grief.

Sun is in    08 Degrees    Capricorn
Extremely serious and mature, you are capable of accepting responsibilities and do so willingly. Others expect you to be dutiful as a matter of course. You tend to get angry when people get rewards after not having worked anywhere near as hard as you. You are goal-oriented and an achiever by nature — you’re a hard worker and are justifiably proud of the tangible results of your efforts. You tend to have “tunnel-vision” — this allows you to block out extraneous matters that might distract others and to concentrate totally on the matter at hand. You are known for being totally persistent, tenacious and tireless in reaching your goals.”

The Wonderful Capricorn Stuff!

There are many books out there you can get from the library or the bookstore about strengths. Strengths Finder 2.0 is a great book to use to find out what qualities are your best and how to incorporate them into your every day lives.

Here are 2 great ideas on how to find out what your strengths are without even reading a book!

1. Ask your friends and family – they know you better than anyone and would hopefully give you great tips on what you are great at and how you can maximize them!

2. Ask yourself what you really enjoy doing – make a list of things you like doing and then try to break them down into reasons why. This should be a pretty difficult task but if you take the time to do it correctly, you will quickly be able to learn about yourself. Here is an example of mine – I really enjoy planning events. I never really thought about why until a few years ago. I am great at multitasking, organizing, following up on leads, assigning projects and really enjoy seeing the final product. These are all skills I am not using primarily in my role as an entrepreneur.

I hope these help you in your pursuit of happiness. They sure did help me find my way out of a job I disliked and into a career that is right up my alley. I’ve never been happier right now!

Merry Christmas from Pretty Little Celiac!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I wish I would have found this card before the holidays to order it from Cafe Press!

I hope each and every one of you have a happy holiday and enjoy time with families or however you choose to celebrate this day!

We drive 4 hours from Aaron’s parents to my mom’s house every Christmas to keep us in your thoughts for safe travels.

Do you have a great cookie recipe you tried this year? I want to know about it! I’d love to do a guest post for gluten free cookies .

XO

How to order gluten free and eat safe at any restaurant…

How to order gluten free at any restaurant –

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I had no clue what I was doing. It took me several months to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat and to this day, I still struggle a bit with knowing secret places of gluten.

I learned to dine out safely pretty much anywhere without getting glutened as long as I keep my guard up and ask the right questions. The rest is pretty much up to chance due to cross contamination and relying on someone else (a stranger) to keep me safe. You never have any idea what goes on behind the scenes at a restaurant.

Hopefully with these tips, you can also have successful adventures at restaurants and it will take the pressure off of social situations when your friends want to go somewhere and you are unsure of the menu!

  1. Educate yourself on gluten first before going out to eat. You really need to understand the disease and gluten before risking going out on your own. Without your own understanding and education, you can’t expect to know how to help the wait staff help you.
  2. Before ordering anything, make it very clear to the waiter that you have a gluten allergy. Now we all know that gluten allergy doesn’t really exist and celiac disease is an autoimmune response but no one else understands that so just stick to the gluten allergy. Also, if you use the word “allergy” restaurants take the request seriously versus saying a “diet” or “intolerance.”
  3. Know some options that are safe usually anywhere and stick to those if you feel uncomfortable. Some perfectly good options are naked meats (no seasoning or marinades) with veggies or potatoes. Don’t forget to ask if things are cooked together, especially in fryers.
  4. If the waiter seems unsure of anything, do not hesitate to ask for the manager or the chef to come speak with you. Your safety should be their #1 priority. It is not an inconvenience for them when you ask questions!

Here are some important things to consider before ordering at any restaurant:

  1. Be wary of fried foods – especially french fries – are foods cooked in the same fryer?
  2. Do they use filler in their meats for burgers?
  3. Do they use filler like pancake batter in their omelets?
  4. Where are the items prepared? Are they making your salad in the same bowl as the one they just used for a crouton filled salad?
  5. Do you have other allergies like soy, corn or lactose? Don’t forget to mention those.
  6. Be wary of sauces, marinades, dressings and seasonings.
  7. Do they make it in house or is it in a package?
  8. Chicken broth and other broths usually contain gluten so watch out for soups unless they are specifically shown to be gluten free.
  9. Do they have a dedicated area for gluten free cooking? How to they prevent cross contamination?

 

One big thing I learned in Las Vegas is the more expensive the menu the better chances you have of getting a safe and delicious gluten free menu. Chef’s are typically trained in food allergies and know the ingredients of their dishes inside and out versus cooks at chains or cheap restaurants. So an idea is to save going out to eat for the big events and times when you can save up to have a great dinner!

Do you have tips for dining out gluten free? Please post them below to help others stay safe!!

 

Comments

  1. Mindy says:

    Thank you for sharing! I actually use the same guidelines as you have listed and with over 4 years of trial and error when eating out I have learned a few things. If I do not get sick from eating at a certain establishment, I try to eat at the same one. Example, Chipotles. They know me very well and always always work with me. So I go to the same location. With that said though, I ate at a Bone Fish Grill restaurant while living in Washington State and got very very sick even when ordering from the gluten free menu and fully explaining with the server who seemed to understand. I never went back there to eat again. (I believe it was the mashed potato’s since I had never ordered those before and never had an issue…so….Celiac’s stay away from the mashed potato’s at BoneFish Grill!) I also try to do research before traveling to locate a safe and familiar restaurant to eat at that does have a gluten free menu. Or somewhere that serves simply eggs. Believe it or not IHop has worked with me ordering an omelet. Be wary though, you have to specify the omelet that is not made with pancake batter! It is still a risk depending on the IHOP. THe local one here I have never gotten sick eating there. Chic-Fil-A also has a wonderful salad. Croutons are not put on but packaged separately.

     

    • Rebecca says:

      Thank you Mindy for all these wonderful tips, suggestions and ideas! I’m glad to know other people are using these same questions for when they travel and they work for them as well. I appreciate the comment!

       

  2. Taylor says:

    Really liked all the tips! Especially the pancake batter in omelets tip since I don’t think many people ever consider that when they eat out. I found that always asking if the thing you’re about to order is gluten-free has to be asked every time. When I ordered a salad at Max and Ermas a while back I was told that both their chicken and dressing had gluten in it! I was pretty stunned and almost didn’t ask too. That would of been terrible of course…Thanks again for the great tips!

     

    • Rebecca says:

      We always have to remember to keep our guard up at all times!

       

  3. kunzfamily says:

    Great post!! I’m realizing (by trial & error) BW-3 most sauces have gluten and the ones listed GF still bother me. So annoying! Love the tip about sticking toward more expensive places!

     

    • Rebecca says:

      BW-3 actually cooks all their food in the same fryer so it’s really not a good choice for us!

Social House – Aria Hotel in the Crystals Mall

Social House – Aria Hotel in the Crystals Mall

The restaurant was dark and decorated in red and black colors throughout. It would be a great place for an intimate dinner with a significant other. I would not recommend for families or people with children.

This sushi restaurant was a bit on the pricey end but completely worth every dollar spent!
Imagine my comfort level when our waitress explained she also struggles with a gluten intolerance and was well aware of how to prepare the foods and when to check on items to make sure I was safe.

She answered all my questions about the menu and made me feel extremely safe about eating there. When I had questions she didn’t know the answer, she immediately went back to the kitchen to ask the chef to ensure I was staying gluten free!

I decided to try the most expensive roll in the place – it had gold flakes on it! Kobe beef, king crab and yellow fin were some of the meats in this roll. It tasted like magic. I loved it and every single thing about it was phenomenal. I hadn’t spent a lot of money so far on food during the trip so I decided to take a splurge.

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We also had roasted mini potatoes that were seasoned so perfectly and roasted to the greatest crispiness ever that we were all fighting over them at the table.

Everyone at the table enjoyed different sushi rolls that were each equally delicious in their own way. (or so I was informed by the non-celiacs)

If you are in Las Vegas looking for a unique, delicious dinner and aren’t worried about the price tag – I would highly recommend Social House for dinner.

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Check it out on www.FindMeGlutenFree.com and don’t forget to write your own review!

 

Maggiano’s – Fashion Show Mall

I’ve written about Maggiano’s in the past but wanted to give it another try to see if they are consistent among the chains with gluten free menus and education of their staff.

Sure enough, the waiter was very familiar with gluten free options and provided me with a description about what could and couldn’t be made gluten free. I settled with the pasta dish I always get and it was delicious.

I do struggle with their Caesar salads though. Not sure if it’s the lactose in the dressing or preparation of the salad but I stopped getting them there. –

It was nice to not spend over $25 on a meal for once during this trip.

This chain really does gluten free right!

 

Border Grill Gluten Free Menu
Border Grill Gluten Free Menu

Border Grill – Mandalay Bay

Our last night in Las Vegas, we decided to take a stroll over to Mandalay Bay and have dinner at Border Grill. This place was highly recommended on the gluten free sites and showed on their website to have a dedicated gluten free menu, so needless to say I was pumped to check it out.

The hostess was not very friendly. I gotta say that I am a stickler for happy, positive employees because they are the face of your business and crucial to customer satisfaction.

I was pleased to see such a large gluten free menu until I opened it and realized 2 of the pages were filled with alcohol choices.

We decided to try the Queso Fundido, which they brought out with corn tortillas and the chips are gluten free there. The dip was pretty tasty for sure but it didn’t knock my socks off.

Our waiter was aware of celiac disease and gluten free preparations so that made me feel at ease too during our time there.

I ordered a shrimp and rice which came out on a plate filled with rice and then a strip of shrimp down the middle. The rice was in a pool of liquids making it a bit soggy. I have to say that I can’t stand wet rice so I just ate the rice off the top and picked at the shrimp. The dish was disappointing and I didn’t leave there feeling like I had an amazing gluten free dish coming from somewhere that specifically has a gluten free menu. The cost of my 10 small shrimp and rice was also $28 which I found to be completely out of line for the quality of the dish.

Now, had that dish come out and completely wowed me, I wouldn’t blink at spending $28 on vacation in Las Vegas for dinner. It just didn’t do it for me so I can tell you I won’t likely go back on my trip to Las Vegas next year.

I would recommend Border Grill because they are educated and understand gluten free meals but I’m not sure it would be my first pick for someone. It’s the safe choice.

Have you been here? Make sure you write a review on FindMeGlutenFree.com – I Did!

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Gluten Free Shrimp Meal
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My sister’s gluten free meal

 

Trevi – Forum Shops in Caesar’s Palace

Prior to being diagnosed with celiac disease, this is probably one of my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas. It always provided delicious Italian dishes with a decent price tag and a great atmosphere. I love eating outside the restaurant (but in the mall) on the cobble stone street being able to people watch while enjoying a delicious meal and glass of wine.

We decided to stop there and have an early lunch one day while out shopping around. They do not have a dedicated gluten free menu but they were able to give me several options on the menu that could be prepared gluten free. While the waiter wasn’t as confident about gluten free items, he was able to go back into the kitchen and talk with the chef about choices for me, which made me feel pretty good about eating there.

I decided on a filet and mashed potatoes. It’s probably one of the safest dishes we can eat at a restaurant without getting glutened. The steak was cooked perfectly and the mashed potatoes were delicious. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Trevi.

While they don’t have a dedicated gluten free menu, I feel comfortable in saying that folks who can’t have gluten but are able to explain and ask questions about their meal would be able to safely have dinner there without any problems.

Again make sure you are writing reviews on www.findmeglutenfree.com so we can continue to create a data base of awesome restaurants in every city!

Gluten Free in Las Vegas – MGM Grand Reviews

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Ok, so many of you know I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago and went to many different places. I decided to divide up this blog post into 2 separate posts. This one will specifically discuss the MGM Grand hotel places we ate in because we stayed there too and I found myself eating at most of their establishments during our trip.

Then the second post will be the other places we picked throughout the strip to dine at during the evenings and lunches on the other days!

So, let’s dig in…

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Our Room View

MGM Grand – Studio Cafe

During our most recent stay at the MGM Grand, I dined at the Studio Cafe for breakfast one morning with my sister. I can honestly say it was the most disappointing meal and service during our entire trip to Las Vegas.

We waited at least 10 minutes for our server to come over to our table and I’m pretty sure the only reason she finally came was that she saw me get up to go complain about not having a server.

I explained I had a gluten allergy and she just looked at me with 4 eyes and shook her head up and down like she understood but I really knew she didn’t.

Based on this experience, I hesitated on eating there but we were starving so I just gave in. I ended up ordering a cheese omelet after verifying they did not put pancake batter in their eggs.

We waited about 25 minutes for our food. My omelet was okay. I didn’t end up sick after eating there but I wasn’t impressed with it enough for the $25 bill. I was charged $2 for a side of sour cream and $4.99 for our coffee.

I would not recommend this restaurant as an option for anyone with food allergies, let alone celiac disease.

Have you had a good or bad experience here? Add it to www.findmeglutenfree.com

 

Rainforest Cafe – MGM Grand

After reading some reviews of other folks, we decided to check out the Rainforest Cafe when we arrived to the hotel. It was a long trip and we just wanted to get something in our belly that wasn’t a fortune. I’ve eaten here previously prior to my celiac diagnosis and had decent food so I was confident they would be able to provide me with a meal to suit my needs.

We ate at the bar because there was a 20 minute wait for a table in the dining room. The manager was behind the bar and said the chef would come out and make me whatever I wanted after I explained to him about celiac disease and gluten.

25 minutes later, the manager was gone and the chef never came out to check on me. So I just decided to order a salad and tell them the obvious, no croutons and no bread.

The salad came out with bread on the side of the plate so my sister just took it and ended up eating it. I picked the lettuce off of the salad where the bread had been just in case.

The salad was just okay. Nothing to write home about. I didn’t end up sick afterwards or feeling sick so I guess that’s all that really matters. It is getting tiring of always settling for something just to stay safe.

I don’t think I could recommend this restaurant for my Pretty Little Celiacs.

Make sure you add to reviews on www.findmeglutenfree.com so we can all have a chance to find places all over the country that are safe for us!

 

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Flank Steak at Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill

Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill– MGM Grand

After playing craps for a few hours and into the morning hours, I found myself starving around 1am and went into the Wolfgang Puck restaurant at the hotel. I will admit I was drinking while playing craps so my memory of the discussion with the waiter may be a bit skewed but I do remember him telling me what were the best gluten free menu items.

They did not have a gluten free menu but the waiter was able to tell me what items were safe.

I settled on the flank steak and mashed potatoes. I gotta say the flank steak was delicious. Cooked to a medium perfection that I love and flavored extremely well, I remember enjoying every bite of this dish. I cleaned my plate for sure.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the whole visit at the restaurant and do not remember if I asked the normal questions to our waiter but I felt fine after the visit and didn’t have any sickness problems after dining at Wolfgang Puck.

I would say go for it! This place is a keeper! Check it out on www.findmeglutenfree.com

 

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Nobhill Tavern Burger and Fries
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Look at this monster burger!

Nobhill Tavern – MGM Grand

The first night we arrived in Las Vegas we stopped by Nobhill because they had a killer happy hour special with great food options. I wasn’t sure I would be able to eat anything there but the manager ended up coming out and talking with me about the menu and giving me some suggestions on gluten free food items.

I decided to get a burger without the bun and french fries. I haven’t had french fries in so long because most places cook them in the same fryer as other breaded items which then prevents me from having some.

The burger came out really fancy with some cole slaw on top and cheese. It was pretty fantastic.

The french fries were little skinny fries which were cooked really crispy (my favorite kind). I could only finish about half of the meal because the burger was really big and there were enough french fries for 2 or 3 people as an individual serving.

This is the only restaurant I felt funny after eating in the whole trip. I did get a bit of a stomach ache and had to run to the restroom at one of the night clubs we went to that night. It didn’t ruin the night but put a little damper on the mood and really made me long for my pajama’s and some tea while we were out partying. Thinking about it, it could have been the cole slaw depending on what they used to make the sauce.

I didn’t get joint pain or a headache and I only had to use the restroom one time so I’m wondering if it was more a lactose issue or a gluten issue. Likely lactose since the problem resolved itself pretty quickly.

I’d say I’m indifferent to recommending this restaurant to you as a gluten free option. I think there were a few other places at MGM offering more knowledge and food options than the Nobhill Tavern. I give it a maybe  www.findmeglutenfree.com to write reviews and find places to eat all over!

 

 

 

Gluten Free Columbus – Review of Local Roots

Gluten free fish and chips
Gluten free fish and chips

Local Roots

Located at 15 East Olentangy Street

Powell, Ohio 43065

I’ve been meaning to check out this place ever since it opened but it’s a bit far from my house so we haven’t made it there yet. So, when my husband’s basketball team had a game right near there, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to check the place out. I even had to look at www.findmeglutenfree.com to check the address and make sure we were going to the right place!

We arrived there around 9:30pm on a Friday evening. Surprisingly, they were still busy but we were able to get a table with no problem.

At our table, I reviewed the menu to find I had to ask for the special gluten free menu. The waiter brought it right over to us.

The items that were available gluten free were highlighted in orange on the menu.

After careful consideration, I decided to go with the fish and chips. Our waiter explained the cod is seasoned and broiled instead of breaded and fried.

Our food arrived shortly after ordering, which was perfect because we were both starving after a long night.

My fish came with roasted red skin potatoes but I decided to try to asiago cheese scalloped potatoes.

The dinner ended up being delicious. I’m a big fan of cod and eat it frequently when I am getting ready for a fitness competition. We also use it a lot at our house with tacos and gluten free breadcrumbs to make a variety of dishes.

The cod was cooked perfectly and there was just enough cheese in the potatoes to taste great and not be too greasy or over powering.

My husband said he always knows when I really like something at a restaurant because I won’t offer him a taste in order to save every bite for myself.

He had a bison burger with cheese, bacon and avocado, which he really enjoyed as well.

I’d highly recommend Local Roots as a great gluten free option!

XOXO

Rebecca