My Secret Noodle Escape

Ok, well not so secret. Whenever I feel like having gluten-free noodles that aren’t “adjusted” versions of wheat-based noodles, my go-to is Vietnamese food. Pho, to be precise. To be fair, there are some really great alternative pasta’s out there (my favorites are quinoa and corn-based pastas), but sometimes it’s nice to know that the noodles that come with the dish were supposed to come with the dish because they taste the best that way. That’s how I feel about Pho. For those of you not familiar with it, Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup noodle dish made with rice noodles that come in a delicious broth topped with a selection of meat and/or meatballs, bean sprouts, mint leaves, and jalapeno slices. It is the PERFECT comfort food. Many Vietnamese restaurants also have non-Pho rice-noodle (vermicelli) and rice dishes, which tend to be deliciously gluten and dairy-free as well.

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Nut and Herb-Stuffed Salmon (GF, DF, SF)



I tried out this recipe from the other day and it was delicious – flavorful and with a hint of an exotic (at least for me) middle eastern flavor. Without the Tahini sauce, this dish is naturally gluten, dairy and soy-free. I did have to make an unforeseen modification – thinking I had walnuts, I didn’t buy any at the store, but when I got home I found I only had pine nuts and pecans (pine nut + pecan = walnut, right?) so I used those instead. I’m actually glad I made the substitution, as walnuts tend to leave a bitter aftertaste. I also didn’t have any kitchen twine but that didn’t prove to be an issue – the two pieces of salmon stayed together very well in the oven 🙂 Paired with some roasted broccoli with garlic, this was a great summer meal! Enjoy!


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Vegan gelato on the Westside!

Chocolate cream cheese walnut, pistachio, and mint chocolate chip

Chocolate cream cheese walnut, pistachio, and mint chocolate chip

I love it when I unexpectedly find new allergy-friendly places! While waiting for my movie at the Landmark Theatre in West LA, I wandered across the street for a tea but instead found Maddy’s, a cute new vegan café that serves sandwiches, salads, baked goods and an impressive variety of vegan gelatos. Even though they were closed, the owner was inside and probably saw me boring a hole with my eyes into his gelato display, so he kindly opened up and invited us in.

Boy were we in for a treat! He had a selection of about 15 different flavors, ranging from fruity sorbets (a special limited edition plum from a friendly farm in Northern CA) to rich creamy gelatos. And what was an added bonus was that each flavor had a little (s) or (a) by the name to indicate whether it was made with almond or soy milk – super helpful for someone like me who is allergic to almonds. After a few tastes, I ended up getting the chocolate cream cheese walnut and it was as chocolatey and creamy as I could only hope for. Plus the walnuts added an element of crunch and heartiness. They also had gluten-free cones, which looked great and I was tempted to try, but I didn’t want to overdo it 🙂 I have to say, this was definitely one of the best vegan gelatos/ice creams I have ever had….also I would be remiss not to mention the yummy looking carrot-cake cookie sandwich in the bakery case (you read that right – two carrot-cake flavored cookies sandwiched around a layer of vegan cream), but alas it wasn’t gluten-free. The owner however assured me that he was working on some gluten-free baked goods so I will definitely be back! What a terrific and indulgent find to cap off the holiday weekend!

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“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” (Ruth Reichl, food writer) goes live on Monday! Get ready to order your monthly Treat Box, customized for your free-from diet, or just to start treating yourself with items straight from our online shop.

Have a great weekend!

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Eliminating ‘Gluten-Free’ Uncertainty: An Answer from the FDA


The FDA issued a final rule that will define what characteristics foods will have to have in order to be labeled “gluten-free,” “without gluten,”  “free of gluten,” and “no gluten.”

Here are the criteria:

1)      Gluten limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million)

2)      If the product does not contain any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains

3)      If the product does not contain an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten

4)      If the product does not contain an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten , if it results in the food containing 20 or more ppm gluten

This standard will finally eliminate our uncertainty about how producers label their products and will make sure that we gluten-free people can take a breath of relief because these products will be safe to eat!

Before this new standard was issued, there were no federal standards or definitions for the food industry to use in labeling products “gluten-free.” Studies have estimated that 5% of foods currently labeled “gluten-free” contain 20 ppm or more of gluten! Making them NOT “gluten-free” by these new standards, and therefore making a lot of us sick!

The regulations will be published Aug, 5, 2013 and manufacturers have one year from the date to bring their labels up to standards.

Click here to read the full article

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What an unexpected surprise!

So Good Gluten Free 1On a recent roadtrip to Julian, CA (small former gold-mining town, known also for their apple pie – including Gluten-Free apple pie!), we made a pit stop near the freeway in Temecula. Expecting to find the typical rest stop options, I was shocked to find a cafe/bakery completed dedicated to gluten-free foods! When I walked into So Good Gluten Free Foods, I was like a kid in a candy store. Not only do they make their own breads, they have a whole case full of yummy bakery items. I ordered a turkey sandwich, which came on their gluten/vegan/soy-free flatbread with veganaise, and one of their award-winning gluten/diary/soy-free chocolate brownies. The bread for the sandwich tasted like “real” non-GF bread, with a texture that wasn’t too dense or brittle as some GF breads tend to be. The brownie was heavenly – perfect texture and amount of chocolatey-ness!

SGGFF owners Lindy Pine and Devin Rusk

So Good Gluten Free was started in 2010 by husband and wife Lindy Pine and Devin Rusk. They started the business in response to Lindy’s need to follow a gluten-free diet as a result of Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease. Devin then started eating gluten-free as well and found that his new diet cleared up his acid reflux and a few other ailments. All of their goods are gluten-free, soy-free and free of preservatives. All of their bakery goods looked so tempting, and Devin was this close to convincing me to buy a box of cupcakes, but I figured cupcakes + apple pie just might be a bit of overkill 🙂 Next time I’m in the area though I am definitely stopping by for another freshly baked treat!

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Welcome to the Tasteful Pantry!

Welcome to the Tasteful Pantry everyone! I am so excited to be getting close to the launch of our exciting new business that will revolutionize the way you snack. If you’ve had tummy troubles like I have and miss just being able to relax and indulge without having to ask a zillion questions about ingredients, then you’ve come to the right place. The Tasteful Pantry is going to make snacking and indulging so much easier and tastier than it’s been in the past. We do all the researching and tasting so that you can have a little fun with your snacking and still stick to your ‘free-from’ diet. We specialize in gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, soy-free and nut-free. Come one come all – we’ll have the goods for you no matter how many ‘free-froms’ you follow. So stay tuned and get ready for a big boost to your ‘free-from’ pantry!

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