Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki is a beautiful and quirky city alongside the Baltic. Some may say it shrinks in comparison to Stockholm and other Scandinavian capitals flourishing with personality, but Helsinki has its own charm (especially in the summer months). With the sun rising at 4am and setting after 11pm, this city literally never sleeps at night. It has many pockets of history– beautiful cathedrals and churches and ornate buildings– that contrast its avant-garde design district. And Helsinki flaunts the well-preserved sea fortress and World Heritage Site, Suomenlinna, just a 15 minute ferry ride away. But to gluten-free eaters, Helsinki is more than just a city with a charming harbor, it is paradise. With all the menus labelling gluten-free options with a ‘G’, most cafés offering gluten-free breads and pastries and cakes, and all waiters and servers being extremely knowledgeable about Celiac Disease, Helsinki is a gluten-free haven.

When exploring Helsinki’s Esplanade, you can grab a bite at the renowned cafe and restaurant, Kappeli. Kappeli sits right in the heart of Helinski across from an outdoor music stage, making it a great summer venue. From their curry chicken salad to gluten-free sandwiches and raspberry macaron cake, there are plenty of yummy gluten-free options. Moreover, as you discover the city, be sure to stop in the cafe Karl Fazer— coined Finland’s most valued brand. There are many Karl Fazer cafes spread across the city, and they offer gluten-free open-faced sandwiches and a variety of desserts (a whole shelf was dedicated to gluten-free desserts!). Right along the water, you can find Old Market Hall– the Quincy Market or Reading Terminal Market of Helsinki. With more than twenty vendors, there are numerous gluten-free options. Be sure to check out Story which has a delicious gluten-free creamy salmon soup (salmon soup is local specialty!) and Mari’s Smoothie and Cafe which has a selection of gluten-free sandwiches and pastries. If you’re looking to try some traditional Finnish food, I’d recommend Aino, an upscale restaurant on the Esplanade. In its select menu, Aino does offers gluten-free entrees including sautéed reindeer with mashed potatoes and lingonberries (reindeer tastes a lot like mutton, for those who were wondering). Finally, if you choose to board a Viking cruise ship to take a day trip to Tallinn or visit St. Petersburg, even the ship’s restaurants have many gluten-free options!

With that, all I can say is that this beautiful city has been by far the most accommodating and knowledgeable city when it comes to eating gluten-free– even more so than any city the US. So if you visit, do indulge in the exquisite Finnish cuisine and gluten-free treats! Make the most of paradise!

Cheers,

Anika

 

 

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September 2015: KIND Healthy Grains Bars

“Things that are bad always taste good”

I’m sure many of us have experienced this phenomenon in our daily eating habits: foods that taste good are not good for you. However, that is not the case for KIND Healthy Grains Granola Bars. These wonderful square bars are packed with 5 super grains and 18 to 22g of whole grains. The traditional KIND Healthy Grains Bars come in five flavors: Oats & Honey, Maple Pumpkin Seeds with Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Chunk, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, and Vanilla Blueberry. Having tried all of the varieties, I can say they are all delicious. They are a lighter alternative to KIND Bars as they are granola-based and not nut-based; each KIND Healthy Grain Bar is 150 calories or under compared to KIND Bars that are 190+ calories. There are also two coffee-infuse KIND Healthy Grains Bars: Caramel Macchiato and Dark Chocolate Mocha. I haven’t yet been able to get my hands on these flavors, but as a coffee lover and KIND Bar enthusiast, I imagine these will be my new favorites! Finally, KIND Healthy Grains has popped bars with Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt varieties. This is next on my to-buy list; I imagine they would taste like flavored popcorn, which is enough to convince me to try these bars. For anyone with dietary restrictions, these bars are the perfect snack! And even if you don’t have any dietary restrictions, these bars are little squares of deliciousness and sweetness that aren’t just “a good snack considering they are gluten-free”. Hope my fellow northeasters are surviving Jonas!

Cheers,

Anika

Sesame-Glazed Salmon with Ginger Rice

Ingredients for Salmon:

  • 32 ounces salmon filets (~6-7 filets)
  • Olive oil
  • 5-6 tbsp. ginger, grated
  • 4 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 8 tsp. GF tamari (soy sauce)
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed
  • Zest of 1 lime, grated
  • 4 tsp. ground cumin

Ingredients for Rice:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1/8 cup ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp. black sesame seeds

For the salmon, preheat the oven to 235°F. Combine grated ginger, sesame oil, tamari, brown sugar, garlic, lime, set, and cumin to form marinade. Place salmon and marinade in gallon-size ziplock bags. Rub in marinade and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. After, remove salmon from marinade and save the marinade. Brush salmon with olive oil and fry each side for 1 minutes in a pan over medium-high heat. Place all salmon on a baking sheet lined with foil and pour over saved marinade. Bake salmon for 10-12 minutes. Remove carefully and enjoy! For the rice, cook rice as per packet instructions or in a rice cooker with lime leaves in the water. Once cooked, add grated ginger and black sesame seeds to taste. Best served in a bowl– domed rice on the bottom with fish on top. Enjoy!

Looking for more salmon recipes? Check out Saumon à l’ail

*Recipe adapted from “The Gluten-free Kitchen” by Pamela Moriarty

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August 2015: Cheerios

Hello, it’s me.

Attempting to channel my inner Adele… anyways, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I do apologize for my rather lengthy hiatus. Fall of senior years is never what you expect; you never know exactly what you’re in for uni you’re in it. But I’m back and I’m back for good. I’m going to try to make up for lost time over these next few weeks… and before we know it, it’ll be the New Year!

Moving on, I don’t know if this resonates with any of you, but before I was diagnosed with Celiac, Cheerios was one of my childhood favorites. It’s a classic cereal. I can’t quite articulate why I chose that adjective but it just feels right. Originally made from whole grain oats that were contaminated by wheat, rye, and barley grains (remember, oat in and of itself is gluten-free, however is often times contaminated in production by gluten-containing ingredients), Cheerios has now officially GLUTEN-FREE having removed these contaminants. I was almost leaping with joy when I heard this news! For those of you who have been eating gluten-free Cheerios for a little awhile like me, you know why I’m raving about this. For those of you who are just learning about this, this warrants a trip to the grocery store.

My brother attests to the fact that the taste has not changed– its the same old, great Cheerios just gluten-free so we, gluten-free foodies, can enjoy too! I personally enjoy the taste of original Cheerios– it certainly beats Glutino’s Apple Cinnamon Rings and all other wannabe Cheerios. However, I do like to jazz up my Cherrios: topped with Craisins in vanilla almond milk is a delicious way to start the day. You can also top with  bananas, blueberries, strawberries, chopped pecans, walnuts, and brown sugar. Or add your Cheerios to your favorite yogurt. Or even make a trail mix with Cheerios, raisins, cashews, and chocolate pieces. Pick up a box in the local grocery store and share in the comments how you are eating your (gluten-free) Cheerios! Welcome back to your childhood!

Cheers,

Anika

Pecan Pie

The Gluten-Free You

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Karo Light Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups pecans
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie crust (we always use GlutenFree Bakehouse Pie Shells)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Stir the corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Mix in the pecans. Pour this mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 60-65 minutes. Remove pie before it blackens. When tapping the center of the pie lightly, the center should spring back up if the pie is done. Cool for about 2 hours and store in the refrigerator.

Recipe modified from karosyrup.com.

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Easy Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 can LIBBY’S Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix (30 oz.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup Carnation Evaporated Milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie crust (we always use GlutenFree Bakehouse Pie Shells)

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mix together the pumpkin pie mix, eggs, and evaporated milk in a large bowl. Pour this mixture into the unbaked pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F and then bake for 50-60 minutes at 350°F. Remove Cool for about 2 hours and serve (with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream, of course!) or store in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

*Recipe adapted from Libby’s® Easy Pumpkin Pie

Mozzarella + Tomato Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 package fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes*

Slice the mozzarella and tomatoes to  approximately 1/2 inch slices. Add salt, pepper, and parsley to the olive oil and mix well. Arrange the mozzarella slices on a plate, place a tomato on each mozzarella, and drizzle the olive oil concoction over the the mozzarella and tomato bites.

*Use fresh parsley if available

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Georgetown Cupcakes

Question: What do you think of when you think of Georgetown?

A) A beautiful harbor with cozy restaurants and cafes

B) A spectacular view overlooking the Potomac and the Kennedy Center?

C) Clusters of Hoyas sporting blue and gray near Georgetown University’s campus

D) The award-winning, gourmet cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes

Answer: It’s a no brainer– Georgetown Cupcakes, of course!

You can’t possibly visit Georgetown without stopping by Georgetown Cupcakes. It would nearly be a crime. Scratch that. It would be a crime. Do you remember watching the Food Network on a late summer night and seeing the hit series DC Cupcakes? It made you salivate so much that you wanted to eat half a dozen cupcakes right then and there? Well, hopefully it rings a bell because the stars of the show are none other than the creators of Georgetown Cupcakes!

Alright, let’s get right to it. Hands down some of the nest gluten-free cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. Not all the cupcakes are gluten-free, but everyday, Georgetown Cupcakes offers one freshly baked gluten-free cupcake flavor (and one vegan flavor). The gluten-free varieties include lava fudge, chocolate salted caramel, strawberry lava fudge, chocolate birthday, and peanut butter fudge. I’ve had the pleasure of trying the lava fudge, strawberry lava fudge, and peanut butter fudge– and I will vouch for them all! What excites me the most about Georgetown Cupcakes is that just because the cupcakes are gluten-free, the complexity of the flavors are not compromised. In other words, with most cupcakeries, you won’t be so lucky to find gluten-free cupcakes, and if you are lucky, cupcakeries with gluten-free options typically offer a vanilla or chocolate cupcake.You might get cream cheese icing if you’re lucky. What I’m trying to say is that gluten-free flavors tend to be very standard flavors, they aren’t usually the adventurous flavors. And Georgetown Cupcakes truly defies that notion. The strawberry lava fudge has a delicious strawberry icing and a soft chocolate cake base that melt in your mouth with a gooey, rich, chocolatey “lava-like” filling just flowing out of the cupcake. It’s truly a work of art.

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So, how do you get your hands on these cupcakes? Well, Georgetown Cupcakes can be found in Georgetown, Bethesda, NYC, Boston, LA, and Atlanta. If you can’t make it in person, don’t fret. They deliver all across the country! I once received a dozen gluten-free cupcakes from here via mail as a surprise present to cheer me up– take my word for it, your friend will love you forever if you ship them some of these cupcakes!

Cheers,

Anika

 

July 2015: Chex Honey Nut Granola Mix

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” -Buddha

Each day is a new day. A chance to meet someone new or try something new. An opportunity to tackle a problem or accomplish a goal. A new beginning to make a change. To make the most of each precious day, you need to start off your day right. And we’ve all read the magazine articles, seen it all over the internet, and heard it from our friends and family: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And lucky for us, the most important meal is also the trickiest meal for those of us who steer clear from gluten.

I have always struggled to find good gluten-free breakfast options. Let me rephrase that, I have always struggled to find healthy and tasty gluten-free breakfast options. Yes, there are some decent cinnamon and chocolate gluten-free donuts in the freezer aisle, but as far as truly delicious cereals and granolas that are good for you? Oh, please! That is until just a few weeks ago I discovered Chex Honey Nut Granola– I’ve been eating it every morning since with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk. This granola has a great nutty texture with Chex squares, almonds, and nut clusters and just a bit of honey to sweeten it up, making a truly a satisfying breakfast. I was immediately reminded of my childhood eating Honey Bunches of Oats every morning– something I have not been able to indulge in since I was diagnosed with Celiac. I do like the Chocolate and Cinnamon Chex cereals as well, however, this is by far the best gluten-free granola I’ve had! And no cholesterol and only 1 gram of saturated fat! And if you’re not a fan of the Honey Nut Chex cereal (like me), do try this granola, you won’t regret it! There’s also a Mixed Berry Almond variety of this granola that I haven’t been able to get my hands on, but do comment and let me know if you have!

What are your favorite gluten-free granolas and cereal? Comment below!

Cheers,

Anika

Scientists Develop Pill That Could Let Celiacs Eat Gluten

Hello friends! My summer hiatus has gone far too long– look out for a string for blog posts this upcoming week.

Let’s start with some very exciting news! I found a very interesting article on IFL Science about the development of a pill for people with celiac disease similar to the Lactaid pills for those who are lactose intolerant. Fingers crossed that product will be on the shelves in just a few years!

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Scientists Develop Pill That Could Let Celiacs Eat Gluten

Scientists create a pill that would reduce the damage to the guts from eating gluten in Celiacs

iflscience.com | By Justine Alford