Thursday, February 23, 2012

Olive Garden Update

        So I guess there is an automatic email that goes out once you contact Olive Garden because I got one. All it really said was like thanks for contacting us and that I will receive a reply in the mail.  I got a letter yesterday from the guest relations representative.  
        It started out with a lovely apology and basically a mission statement hahaha.  Something about them striving to provide every guest with a high quality meal.  Then they finally got to the point and said that they agree that other pasta in gluten-free food falls very short of their goal. She said, "Our food preparation and serving procedures will be reviewed with our staff to prevent a recurrence." I am really hoping that they will really do that and she wasn't simply claiming that to make me happy.  They also sent me a giftcard to Olive Garden, so that is exciting! Whoop for free food! 
        The letter was short and sweet.  I will actually be eating at Olive Garden tomorrow for lunch and so I guess we will see if they changed anything.  I doubt corporate has gotten involved yet [I will keep complaining until they do!], but the manager knows what happened so I hope she did something about it.  Ok well this is all I have to say :) I really hope no one else has had the same experience as I did at Olive Garden.

Choco Chip Cookies

        Best.chocolate.chip.cookies.EVER. I can't believe they are gluten-free! Neither could my friends! So every one needs to try out this recipe. I will put the exact brand of things I used in parentheses. Btw if y'all are having trouble finding any ingredients just leave a comment and I'll try my best to help ya out.
        I googled "gluten-free chocolate chunk cookies" and found a recipe, but I changed it up a little. It is delish! I wanted to eat all of them! But I was nice and shared them with my gluten and dairy free friend :). Sorry if this is hard to read! I tried my best.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups Gluten-free Flour (Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Flour)
1 tsp baking powder (I think all baking powder and baking soda are gluten-free? but check first!)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 cup butter, softened (I used Best Life buttery sticks)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla (again make sure it is gluten-free, I actually used almond extract because we were out of vanilla :P it was yummy!)
2 cups chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl, set aside.  Cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar in a large bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well mixed.  On low, gradually add flour mix until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet [parchment paper is always a winner], make sure they are 2 inches apart [not to the dot, but cookies spread out a lot].

Bake at 375 for 9-12 minutes or until light golden brown (careful not to over bake!!) Let stand a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack. ENJOY :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Olive Garden

        Last year my family started having a "word for the year" and a bible study around it.  My dad figures out the word and what we will focus on [last year was abide (abiding in Christ) and this year is purify].  We have a 'kick-off' quick bible study then go out to eat to celebrate the new year.  Obviously we were a little late this year seeing as it is February :P.  
        Eating out is difficult and sometimes not fun because of celiac.  We decided to go to Olive Garden because they have a gluten-free menu (nifty!).  Of course you cannot have the breadsticks :(.  Our server brought our salad with croutons on a seperate plate because I told him I was gluten-free.  I actually didn't eat any salad because I wasn't sure on the dressing -I should have asked but they were busy that night so I just skipped-.  On the website they have their gluten-free menu and one of the items listed is salad with italian dressing so I assume it is gluten-free, but always ask.  
         Alright so I ordered Penne Rigate Pomodoro with shrimp (make sure you always specify gluten-free).  
        It was delicious, I loved it until I got to the end.  I started finding other kinds of noodles in my pasta... Olive Garden only has gluten-free penne.  I don't know if I ate any of the noodles, but they did touch my food.  We asked our waiter about it and he went and talked to the cooks and his manager.  The manager came to our table and explained that they cook the pastas in the morning in like 500 degree water and then bag them and place in the fridge for the day.  She said that gluten-free pasta goes into a seperate cooker or whatever it is than regular pasta so she really has no idea how they were mixed.  
        I have eaten at Olive Garden twice since I was diagnosed and this has happened both times =/.  There isn't really anything they could do about it because I had already ate it.  She did apologize and take it off of our bill though.  I think they should better inform their staff on gluten intolerance, especially if they want to advertise a gluten-free menu.
        Right now I don't feel bad, but I am bloated a little=/.  My celiac isn't as bad as others, I just get sick for 3ish months, but it could be deadly for some people.  I think I will email the company and tell them what happened and that this could really hurt some people.  
        All in all I like Olive Garden and hope this is just a small issue that they can fix :).  Oh and we had the best waiter ever!  Olive Garden really is a great place so please don't think I am trying to diss it or anything.  I just want my fellow celiac/gluten-free friends to be cautious.  I will update this and blog again on Olive Garden if I get a reply from them about the problem.

I got a letter back! Read "Olive Garden Update"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


        After one of my sister's basketball games, we were going out to eat and looking up places nearby.  My mom found this pizza company, but we just figured that there wasn't anything for me to eat.  At first the team was planning on going there, so my mom called and asked if they had any gluten-free options.  Turns out they have gluten-free crust!  They even use a different pan and server.
        When you order just tell them that you are gluten-free and ask them which toppings are gluten-free.  I can't remember all the toppings that are.  I know pepperoni and all the vegetables are, but they named off more meats whenever we called.  I ordered "the veggie" pizza.  Gluten-free crust only comes in a 10-inch, which works out well since I am the only gluten freek in my house.
        This is my pizza :D
        It was delicious I ate more than half of it.(:  The crust is very thin and they don't have any thicker crust options even on their regular pizza crusts.  I liked it thin, but I will eat pretty much anything.  Here is the link for the Crust Pizza Company