It’s National Hot Chocolate Day!

Monica and Daria say:

What a perfect weather day for this celebration!

It’s in the single digits here in northeast and central Pennsylvania with a wind chill of -12 degrees! Oh dear!

Great day to stay inside and drink hot chocolate!

While there are many recipes out there for the “perfect” cup of hot chocolate, we found this one and think it’s amazing!

http://www.bellalimento.com/2012/01/11/how-to-make-italian-hot-chocolate/

hot chocolate pic POSTED

So go ahead, and enjoy a cup of Italian Hot Chocolate! We certainly are!

Thanks, Paula Jones! This is delightful!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

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A gluten-free tour of Historic Virginia

Monica says:

If you’ve never visited the Historic Triangle – Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown – you need to add it to your list of “must-see places.”

The “birthplace of American democracy” is so rich with history. You feel like you’ve actually stepped into a history book…it’s that amazing!

How lucky we were to be travelling from Pennsylvania to Williamsburg on a clear and sunny day! We stopped for lunch about 2 ½ hours into our trip at a wonderful little place called Pure & Simple in Greencastle, PA.

This little gem tries its best to only use natural, organic, and locally produced ingredients. They have many gluten-free selections and it is just a joy to be there!

I was so happy to order a roasted chicken salad (pastured local chicken, mixed greens, tomato, tarragon, vegenaise, olive oil, and pine nuts) on a gluten-free teff wrap with black corn chips.

Did I say how excited I was? So excited, that I forgot to take a picture!

However when dessert arrived, I did not forget to photograph it….in fact, Lewie and I both had gluten-free desserts! We shared a gluten-free chocolate sun butter cake with buttercream icing and a gluten-free lemon meringue cake with lemon curd and buttercream icing. All made on the premises!

Delightful!

choc cake Pure & Simple

lemon cake Pure & Simple

It was so great that I not only was able to order lunch, and then to order dessert! It felt like heaven!

Now that our tummies were happy, it was time to continue our journey…

When we arrived in Williamsburg, we were happy to find a Trader Joe’s. Since they carry many gluten-free items that I like, we stocked up on some of those for the week.

And did you know that the famous Charles Shaw wine, 2-Buck Chuck, is still a steal @ $3.29 a bottle? Needless to say, we purchased some wine, too! It’s gluten-free!

Next morning I enjoyed a gluten-free bread pudding made by my blogging partner, Daria. We had surprised her and stopped in Hershey to see her along the way, and she gave me this little beauty.

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It was delicious with a cup of tea…must get the recipe from her!

After familiarizing ourselves with the area, we wanted to eat pizza. There are so many places that have gluten-free pizza in Williamsburg that I could actually choose the place to go!

We settled on Olde Towne Pizza on Olde Towne Road, since there was a great article about the chef in one of our welcome magazines. The place did not disappoint!

First, we ordered a Greek salad with feta, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

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Next, came the gluten-free pizza with traditional sauce and cheese. The cheese was so gooey and good! Happiness!!

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Visits to the Antique Mall of Williamsburg (over 300 antique dealers) and the Williamsburg Pottery (with three huge marketplaces) were on our list for this day, since it was raining and we knew we wanted to be inside. Both places are great to see if you are an antique lover like me!

Our favorite part of the Williamsburg Pottery was, of course, the Gourmet Kitchen Marketplace. We found such good things! And so many gluten-free items that we do not have in northeast PA!

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We had brunch to begin our day and Lewie was in charge. He baked some gluten-free cornbread (Krusteaz brand), cooked sunny-side up eggs, poured orange juice, and steeped Tazo sweet cinnamon spice tea. Perfect way to get started!

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The day was full of walking and walking and walking! It was really fun and we worked up an appetite!

Since Thai food is one of our favorite cuisines, and a regular “go-to” we were delighted to find a place in town called Bangkok Garden Thai. The menu was so extensive that it was hard to decide what to eat!

I settled on an appetizer of steamed shrimp rolls served with sweet and sour sauce and ground peanuts. These rice paper rolls were so delicious!

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My entrée was “Ocean Noodle Soup” which had fresh rice noodles in a broth with bean sprouts, green onions, garlic, cilantro, and shrimp. It was the perfect food for a rainy day!

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Our next adventure took us to Yorktown, the site of one of the most critical of all Revolutionary War battles. We toured the Victory Center (a new one is under construction) and went “into the field” to speak with re-enactors who explained everyday life as it was during this time.

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And I made a friend on the way to the museum! The victor in the 1781 battle….General George Washington!

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Again, all of the walking and sightseeing set off our appetite alarms and we landed at the Riverwalk Restaurant. Maybe my favorite place of the week!

We were seated by the fire on this damp day and the atmosphere was just right!

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Our early dinner began with a tomato basil crab bisque that was to die for! It was so creamy and the crab was so plentiful that you had crab in every spoonful!

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We followed this with the special of the day, the “Seafood Boil.” OmG…it was outstanding! If you love seafood, this is the entrée for you!

Isn’t it gorgeous? The fresh clams, shrimp, lobster, and Alaskan King crab legs, are all steamed in a broth with carrots, celery and fresh herbs…I could still smell the wonderful aroma!

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We ate it all up! I’d go back in a second!

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The next day we decided to venture to Jamestown where over 400 years ago, 104 men and boys selected a site on the James River which became America’s first permanent English settlement.

Having taught in Virginia in the early 1980s, I brought my class to Jamestown for a field trip. However, since my visit, there have been archaeological findings in 1994 that have changed the whole understanding of the settlement. In fact, these archaeological digs are still continuing.

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Our tour guide was so knowledgeable and funny…we learned so much! This may have been my favorite all-time tour because of our guide, Mark Summers!

And I made another friend!

Pocahontas…she was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, who by marrying John Rolfe, united the English and Powhatan tribes for several years of peace between the two.

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When we were done touring Jamestown, we decided to cook “at home” and enjoyed Conte’s gluten-free ravioli with marinara sauce and a salad.

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When we were at the Williamsburg Pottery mall one of the previous days, they had a gourmet foods section and we found this! A cute, little gluten-free pie in the frozen foods! Of course, I picked blueberry!

A great dessert to end a great day!

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Our last day was upon us….and we decided to visit Colonial Williamsburg!

We have been here several times, as we lived in Richmond in the early 1980s and in 2006, Daria did her pastry externship at Kingsmill in Williamsburg.

But, we had never been to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg! So off we went!

The museums house the Public Hospital of 1773, the first of its kind in America where it attempted to treat those suffering with mental illness; the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum which houses collections of furniture, metals, ceramic, glass, and more; and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum which houses colonial and contemporary folk art.

We were fortunate to have an almost private tour with a woman who led us through the museum. It was both fascinating and a feast for the eyes!

After our tour, and when we were hungry, we headed to Merchants Square where there are more than 40 shops and restaurants, all nestled between the College of William & Mary  and the Historic District.

The Cheese Shop was our destination. We were familiar with its menu and had eaten there while visiting Daria back in 2006. We were not disappointed!

I ordered a gluten-free Udi’s bagel with homemade chicken salad (chunks of chicken with celery, onion, bacon and mayo). Of course, you need something crunchy to go along with your sandwich, so I chose Deep River chips. So good!

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To wash it all down I had a Crispin Hard Cider (Huckleberry pear). Very tasty!

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We visited several shops and of course hit the William & Mary campus store. It was all in all a fun day!

Our last dinner proved a bit disappointing. We had gone to the Bonefish Grill a few times when Daria was a student at the Culinary Institute of America, since there was one in Poughkeepsie near the school. Of course, Williamsburg has a Bonefish Grill, too. So we headed there!

Our favorite appetizer is the Mussels Josephine; this appetizer features the mussels in a tomato, red onion, garlic, basil and lemon wine sauce.

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The mussels were delicious, however, even before we were done eating them, the wait staff brought out our entrées and as a result, the food started to cool down considerably.

I had ordered from the “Gluten Free Menu” and decided on the wood-grilled sea scallops and shrimp with mango salsa. My side order was steamed asparagus.

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Nowhere did the menu mention “blackened” fish….and yet, when it arrived at the table, it looked peppered! I should have sent it back the moment I saw it, however, I didn’t and my indigestion upon eating it, stayed with me for many hours and hours! It was my fault for not speaking up…next time!

Overall, I would recommend visiting the Historic Triangle to anyone who is gluten-free! We found nearly every restaurant to be accommodating….and the grocery stores carry many items that we do not have in our area yet….hoping soon!

Happy travels!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Marinara Sauce the Italian Way!

Monica says:

Oh we just love Italian food!

Since my husband, Lewie, and I are both ½ Italian, it just seems that we are wired to eat the Mediterranean way.

Our girls are ¼ Croatian, ¼ Polish, and ½ Italian, or CroPoTalian as we nicknamed them! They grew up with Daddy’s famous meatballs, and homemade noodles by the score!

You get it now….we LOVE Italian food!

Being diagnosed with celiac disease made eating Italian a big problem. Twelve years ago we didn’t even know how to make gluten-free meatballs, noodles, etc.

But guess what? We learned little by little and now, with the market being flooded daily with a new gluten-free product, it’s hard to keep up!

When Daria and I were in Florida last April at the Gluten Free Living conference, we met a sales representative for Conte’s Pasta. We struck up a lively conversation about missing really good pasta and he had us taste the ravioli he was making on site….it was delicious! And it turned out that he was from good old Pennsylvania and lived only a few miles from me! Talk about crazy, huh?

Anyway, I was on a mission when I got home to find these ravioli and luckily I did at Wegman’s .

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As soon as I purchased a bag or two (one for Daria), I rushed home and made my favorite marinara sauce from my favorite Italian cookbook, Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better! by Dom DeLuise.

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Well, I have been keeping these ravioli in my freezer and decided to make them for dinner last night. They are delightful…you must try them!

And here is the recipe for the marinara sauce from my beloved cookbook….compliments of the late and great Dom DeLuise. By the way, I highly recommend your purchasing the cookbook. You not only get great recipes, but stories that make the recipes come alive! It is available on amazon.com.

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Mamma’s Marinara Sauce

4 T olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 28 oz. cans ready-cut peeled tomatoes  OR  5 pounds fresh tomatoes, peeled & sliced

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

4 T sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)

10 fresh basil leaves

Pepper

Grated cheese

In a deep 10-inch frying pan, heat the olive oil and gently sauté garlic on medium heat. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and sun-dried tomatoes, if you are using them.

Continue to heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When serving pasta, tear basil leaves and sprinkle on top of the pasta. Add pepper and grated cheese to taste.

Optional: You can add 1 medium onion, finely chopped, and sauté with the garlic.

©Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better! by Dom DeLuise

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Add a side salad, a little grated cheese, maybe some vino, and you have dinner!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Happy New Year!

Monica and Daria say:

Even though it’s 10 days into the new year, we wish all of you a happy and healthy year ahead!

2015

We are busy developing new recipes and are hoping to attend some gluten-free events this year….hope you do, too!

Here is a link to from the Celiac Disease Foundation that is going viral….you may have seen it, but if not….check it out!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/celiacdiseasefoundation/14-things-that-you-didnt-know-about-celiac-diseas-13kjb

Note: Photo compliment of http://www.hungryforever.com/say-hello-new-year-grand-buffets/