Falmouth Cornwall: A Special Little Harbor Pt. 1

Happy January and New Year to you! I hope 2019 is treating you well so far!

A couple of months ago, my mother and I took a trip across the pond to England. We had been talking about taking this trip for years and the timing and arrangements just worked out perfectly. I have a few blog posts to recap our trip because we did and saw a lot. I hope you enjoy these posts and learning about the places that we traveled to! Some of these posts will be lengthy and might be split into multiple parts. This is one of those posts! Part 1 will consist of all the culinary aspects of Falmouth, and part 2 will be everything else that we did. 

After arriving in London and spending a day in Southampton with my sweet friend Maggie–we took a train to Falmouth in Cornwall! (PS–Maggie has a super cute Etsy shop that you should check out here) We decided to travel by train this trip, as I was not particularly keen on driving as much as we would be traveling. If you can find decent flights and save your pennies for rail passes–I highly recommend this mode of transportation!

We’re both huge fans of Poldark and seeing areas of Cornwall on the show made us want to travel there. Upon research, Falmouth in Cornwall was a harbor town that had a lot of history, breathtaking views, and amazing food. 

We arrived in Falmouth mid-afternoon and walked from the train station to our Airbnb. We booked our house for two nights, and I’m so glad we did because we were able to get more rest than if we went to a different place each night. Once we checked into our house and dropped off our luggage, we made our way down to the high street and walked to dinner. I did A LOT of food research for this trip and so we knew exactly where we would be eating each day. 

Zizzi Italian Restaurants Falmouth

We were so hungry that I didn’t even remember to take food-pics but, trust me, the food was so good! We shared gluten-free garlic rolls and then had seafood kinds of pastas. If you need to eat gluten-free–there are so many options at Zizzi! We both said that as long as we were in a coastal town, we were definitely going to eat as much coastal food as we could, haha!

 Courtyard Deli & Kitchen

The next morning we went to The Courtyard Deli & Kitchen for a coffee and gluten-free rolls. To me, there is no better way to celebrate traveling than with a cup of coffee. The rolls were served with butter, jam, and marmalade and were the perfect meal for beginning a busy day. The staff was so friendly and the atmosphere was really cozy. The deli was tucked away behind some buildings on the high street, so the deli felt really quiet and relaxing. 

 Oggi Oggy The Pasty Company

Around lunchtime, we were getting cold, tired, and jet-lag had majorly kicked in. Our Airbnb hostess recommended that we go to Oggy Oggy for Cornish Pasties (pronounced past-ies, not paste-ys). We made our way back to the high street and found the emerald green eatery. The staff was, again, so friendly and made us fresh gluten-free pasties. It took about 30 minutes for our food to be ready, but it was warm and gave us a chance to rest while we ate. I had a cheese and potato pasty and my mom had a steak and potato pasty. I definitely recommend you try Oggy Oggy for pasties, even if you can eat glutinous ones, haha!

Rick Stein’s Fish

This is the meal that I was most excited about while we were in Falmouth. We made a reservation to eat gluten-free fish and chips at Rick Stein, and the night we went there was also a special that included a glass of Prosecco. BEST FISH AND CHIPS EVER. The serving sizes were giant, but don’t worry–we managed to eat it all. The fish was fresh and the breading was crispy, crunchy, and best of all, gluten-free. The chips (or fries as we call in the states) were delicious and were also served with sweet green peas. Mashed peas are a staple with fish and chips, but we were unable to eat the mashed version due to it not being gluten-free. For the price that we paid for dinner, we could not believe the incredible quality. The restaurant was also very family-friendly as there were many families with small children the night we were there. 

More on Falmouth will be coming in part 2. I can’t wait to share it because of how much I loved Falmouth and I wish we could have stayed longer.

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Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins |GF, Paleo, DF

 

This past weekend I posted on my Instagram that cooking has become my favorite thing to do in my new house. I find cooking to be a great stress reliever, it’s relaxing, and it inspires me to create new things. I’ve been trying to eat as clean as possible in the last few months and have found a couple of easy and healthy recipes that I make all the time. In particular, I have been making these Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins and they only consist of 4 ingredients! If that’s not easy then I don’t know what is. These recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and Paleo friendly. 

All you need for these muffins are:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 cup of blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a muffin pan with coconut oil.

 

46d8d9e9-21ee-4e69-8db4-4d792621477dBegin by peeling the 4 bananas and hand-mashing them or whisking them in an electric mixer. I love my Kitchenaid so much and get so excited when I get to use it. Break down the bananas until the consistency is smooth.

9e01c47a-ba09-444b-8daf-69ae3c6a780cNext, add the eggs and almond flour to the bananas and blend together again until the mixture is smooth. I have been making my own almond flour lately and will probably write a blog post about that soon!

 

Pour batter into the muffin pan. I like to pour my blended mixture into a Pyrex measuring cup so that the batter goes into the muffin pan evenly.

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Next, add the blueberries on top of the batter. I found that it’s easier to add the blueberries in at the end, so that they don’t sink down to the bottom if blended with the batter, and the distribution is more even.

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Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes and then let cool. Enjoy!!

 

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A Weekend in Napa & Sonoma

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a great day and an awesome start to your week, so far. Mondays can be intimidating sometimes, but I hope you can find some things to make you smile and enjoy today.

This blog post is the second part recap of my recent trip to California. If you didn’t read the last post, I went to California for a long weekend with my cousin, Grace. We spent a day or so in the LA/San Francisco area and then rented a car to spend two days in the Napa/Sonoma area.

Napa, California


After the “workday,” we were so lucky to have a private tour of The French Laundry‘s kitchen in Yountville, CA–which isn’t too far from Napa. The French Laundry is a Thomas Keller restaurant and he is a big name in the culinary world, and also in the gluten-free culinary world. Thomas Keller was the first to create a “cup-for-cup” gluten-free flour and many other brands later followed suit. My cousin had some connections to the restaurant and so we were both a little giddy when we heard we could take a tour. Below are some photos from around the kitchen, wine cellar, and private dining room–how gorgeous!

The French Laundry 6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

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After the tour, we walked down the street to another Thomas Keller restaurant, Ad Hoc, and had dinner there.

Ad Hoc 6476 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

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Ad Hoc was such a fun treat because it was a five-course meal served family-style. The menu changes every day and the staff is very educated about/conscious of dietary needs/restrictions. Since my cousin and I have to eat gluten-free, we asked about substations for a few things on the menu and the waiter immediately told us how our meal would be modified for a gluten-free diet. I managed to get photo of the salad and dessert, and forgot the other three courses because we were too busy eating. The starter was a warm potato salad and–OMG–Grace and I have been talking about that salad for a week. IT. WAS. AMAZING. We finished off dinner with a lemon custard that was also so delicious!

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A favorite quote:
-“It’s lemon so it should be a light dessert.” 
-“I’m more concerned about the cream base that’s mixed in with the lemon.”

After dinner, we went back to where we were staying and prepared to spend the next day in Sonoma.

Sonoma, California


 

Sunflower Cafe 421 1st St W, Sonoma, CA 95476

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The next morning, we slept in late and then went to get some brunch at the Sunflower Cafe. I got some coffee and an eggs benedict-ish dish on gluten-free bread. This meal was definitely a little heavy, considering how much I ate the night before, but it was still good.

After brunch we walked around Sonoma with our to-go coffees and went to the original Williams-Sonoma store. The decor inside was so clean, classic, and super inspirational for future decorating.

Williams-Sonoma 605 Broadway, Sonoma, CA 95476

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After walking around some more, we went back to our lodging and rested for a while before going to a wine tasting later that day. Traveling around California in such a short amount of time made us tired, haha!

Benzinger Family Winery 1883 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Our wine tasting was at the Benzinger Winery because they also offer a tour of the property and a little bit of education. Our tour was $30 each and I think that’s such a good price for what the tour was and the scenery! The weather was perfect that afternoon and it was so peaceful.

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After the wine tasting, we went to have a light dinner before going back to our lodging for an early night. We were going to be traveling home the next day and wanted to make sure we got all the rest we could before another busy work week.

The Girl & The Fig 110 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476

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We ate so much good food on this trip! California is definitely the place to go if you are a foodie. We went to The Girl & The Fig and split a cheese and charcuterie board and it was so yummy! They also have gluten-free crackers that they brought with our food, instead of the bread that was on the menu.

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The next morning we packed up and headed back to San Francisco to catch our flights home. On the way out of Sonoma, we stopped at The Fremont Diner for breakfast.

The Fremont Diner 2698 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

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I ordered some bacon, eggs, and avocado and it was a great last meal in California! This cafe was so cute inside too and they served coffee out of teal thermos (Thermoses? Thermosi?).

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Our trip to California was so relaxing, even though it was a busy weekend, and I’m really thankful for the time I had with my cousin to enjoy traveling and to catch up on life. Love you Grace–thanks for asking me to go with you!

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Living with Celiac Disease: Why My Gluten-Free Lifestyle is Not a Personal Preference

As I have mentioned on the blog before, I have Celiac Disease. I found out that I had Celiac about 13 years ago and since then I have had to make some major lifestyle changes. I get so many questions about what it means to have Celiac, what I can and cannot eat, and how I survive. Today I'm going to set some of that straight and give you some information.

First of all, what is Celiac Disease? Celiac is a genetic, hereditary autoimmune disorder that causes the body to react negatively when gluten has been ingested. Celiac causes inflammation in the small intestine, weakens the lining, and can cause a lot of other medical issues. Celiac can also prohibit nutrient absorption and can cause the body to be malnourished. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, "two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications." Gluten is a protein that can be found in products containing wheat, barley, and rye and should be avoided at all cost if you have Celiac Disease.

What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease? The typical symptoms are bloating, intestinal and digestive issues, joint pain, body aches, nausea, anemia, delayed growth, malnutrition, fatigue, rashes, and weight loss. I had just about all of those symptoms anytime that I ate anything (that apparently had gluten). If you're going through this, I've been there and I know exactly how you feel! For a lot of people there may only be symptoms when gluten is consumed internally but I also had and have bad reactions when gluten is absorbed externally (i.e. in skin care products, shampoo, makeup, etc.). There is a whole other blog post I could write about my journey with cystic acne, let me know if you would want to read that and I will definitely write about it. Even today, if I ingest the smallest amount of gluten, within about 10 minutes, I have full-body aches, joint pain, a pounding headache, lethargy, my stomach becomes hard, I'm nauseas, have stomach cramps, etc., and those symptoms last for about a day. Thankfully this doesn't happen often because I know how to avoid gluten, but when it happens I'm down for the count and mainly just have to sleep it off.

So how did this all begin with me? A little bit of back story about me is that I used to be very small compared to other girls my age. My mom has told me that, as a baby, I had a hard time with certain foods and had various intolerances. Until about 11 or 12 years old, I was still small, was still having issues, and just didn't feel well the majority of the time. I couldn't really pinpoint why I didn't feel well, but I just didn't. I had to have an appendectomy (appendix had to come out) around 11 or 12 and I'm not sure if that had anything to do with Celiac, but I kind of believe it did. I have heard that, if you have the gene that predisposes you to have Celiac, your condition may not become active until you have a health crisis. I truly believe that is correct because, as a 12-year-old, I remember thinking "I will never be the same again. I will never have my energy again. I'll never be able to run again" because I felt so much worse after I recovered from my surgery. I felt so weak, lethargic, had constant stomach issues, and even vomited a couple of times. Because that was a long time ago, there wasn't an official way to be tested for Celiac Disease and so I was tested for a range of other things, including diabetes, but nothing ever came back with an answer of what was wrong. I have another family member who was diagnosed a few years before me and so we knew enough about Celiac to wonder if that's what I had. I kept on with regular life for a couple of years after that point.

How was I diagnosed? Because Celiac is genetic, I, unfortunately, finally found out what I had after my mom went through a pretty bad health scare. My family was in Chicago on vacation and my mom collapsed on the platform of the train station. Talk about terrifying. But, come to find out, the hospital she was transferred to happened to be the only hospital in the county that was doing research on Celiac Disease at that time! I know that was a completely God-ordained moment! All of the appropriate tests were run on her and a positive diagnosis came back that she had Celiac Disease and severe anemia, which is another symptom of Celiac. Because I had already been through so many tests, we decided not to have them run on me again but made the immediate lifestyle change. If you suspect that you might have Celiac Disease, the Foundation has some great information about the blood testing and things you should ask your primary care physician—link here. (Is my medical social worker voice coming through yet? Haha!)

I get asked questions all the time about why I eat gluten-free and while I'm fine with educating people about Celiac, there are definitely some stigmas attached when people hear the words "gluten-free." I've heard, "oh, you just want to be healthy," or "do you just not like bread," or "oh you're doing that fad diet," etc, and those statements kind of annoy me because it's not a personal preference, it's a lifestyle change you have to make for your health. I try to be sensitive to others when talking about food allergies, intolerances, Celiac, etc., because I know the feelings you go through when you can't eat something. And no, if you have Celiac, you can't eat white bread as a replacement for wheat bread (what do people think white bread is made out of? Sheetrock?).

Sources of Gluten and What Not to Eat

So if you are needing to switch to a gluten-free diet and lifestyle because if Celiac, here are my tips and encouragement for you. It's so much easier to make the diet switch than it was 13 years ago–almost every grocery store has a gluten-free section with tons of products. Gluten-free products are also so much more affordable than they used to be, and most of them taste good too! Even though the transition period might be a little rough, it won't always be that way once you get the hang of knowing what to eat and what not to eat. Get familiar with reading labels and look up something if you don't know what an ingredient is. If you're eating out, don't be afraid to ask questions if you have concerns about a certain dish. You know how eating something that's potentially not gluten-free will effect your body and you have the right to take care of it. There are also SO many restaurants now that have gluten-free menus and educated staff, which are other things that weren't around 13 years ago. If you're cooking from home and you get into a rut of what to eat, you can always rely on Pinterest to have a plethora of gluten-free recipes and meal plans. And, also, know that you are not alone!

Because I travel so much, I learned early on to always take plenty of gluten-free snacks, like granola bars, in case there wasn't anything else I could eat. I really like taking instant soup mixes on flights because you just have to add hot water. I also learned that if you go to ice cream shops that mix flavors and toppings on the counter, like Coldstone, you will probably get sick because of the cross-contamination. They don't clean the surfaces as well as you need them to if you have Celiac. Something I like to eat a lot is Barilla gluten-free pastas because they have spaghetti, elbow pasta, rotini pasta, fettuccine, and penne pasta. I order a lot of things in bulk off of Amazon, using the "Subscribe and Save" option. I also like to eat things that are naturally gluten-free, like corn tortillas, baked potatoes, and rice. Eating naturally gluten-free foods also help to keep down costs. One of my favorite places to eat that has gluten-free food is Do Rite Donuts in Chicago. –Anna M.

The best advice I've been given is that you can still eat the chocolate and drink the coffee! My advice for someone needing to have a gluten-free lifestyle is to not think about all of the things you can't eat. Think of all of the delicious things that you CAN eat! My favorite thing to eat that is gluten-free is cheese! My favorite places to eat out are Coffee House on Cherry Street in Tulsa and Andolini's Pizza in Tulsa (they have amazing pizza!). I buy my gluten-free products at Aldi–Aldi all the way! –Alicia R.

The most helpful advice I have received for dealing with Celiac Disease is that if something looks questionable, like it might not be gluten-free, it never hurts to ask. It's better to be safe than sorry. My advice for those who might be newly gluten-free is that when eating out, be smart but not annoying. Ask lots of questions and be kind about it. Don't make people hate you cause you're gluten-free… they might make you pay for it in some way or another. My favorite local places to eat that have gluten-free options are Old School Bagel in Tulsa and PF Changs. My favorite things to eat on the regular that are gluten-free are fruits and veggies. The stores I shop at that have the most gluten-free product options are Aldi, Wal-Mart, and Target (especially if you have the Cartwheel app). –Abigail W.

The most helpful advice I've received about Celiac Disease is that you can make anything you want in a gluten-free version. For others who might have to switch to a gluten-free lifestyle, look online for a list of gluten-free foods you can eat right now. That really helped me in the beginning! My favorite thing to make gluten-free is pizza, and it can also be found at a lot of restaurants now. My favorite places to eat out are Pei Wei, PF Changs, Chicago Pizza, Do Rite Donuts in Chicago, Cozy Kitchen in Dallas, and Company Cafe in Dallas. The places I shop the most for gluten-free products are Trader Joes, Sam's Club, and Aldi (they have a lot of affordable options). –Lori W.

Gluten Free Food You Can Eat Right Now

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was 10 and I have been eating gluten-free for 17 years in December. It was definitely not the cool thing to do until about 8 years ago. If you are a newly-diagnosed Celiac, my advice would be that it's ok to grieve the foods you will no longer be able to eat. Ya, it's just food, but food has a lot of meaning in today's world. Give yourself time to grieve the foods you loved. On the other hand, it's just food. You'll be glad when everyone else in your office is complaining about eating too many of your coworker's baked goods. Also, just because something is "gluten-free" does not mean it is healthy. Gluten-free packaged foods are traditionally made from white rice flour and tapioca flour, which do not have any more nutritional value than white flour. Gluten-free packaged foods usually have more sugar and fat. Don't just read the label to see if it's gluten-free, read the label to see if it's nutritional as well. My favorite thing to eat that is gluten-free is pizza, cupcakes, and cake. My favorite place to eat that serves gluten-free food is Risotteria Melotti in NYC. I ate there when I was 12 and it was the first dedicated gluten-free restaurant that I went to. I also celebrated my 21st birthday there with my then-boyfriend now-husband. It gave me a lot of hope that one day more restaurants would be completely gluten-free and 15 years later they are still going strong. As far as stores, Sprouts is a good place for affordable gluten-free things. Trader Joe's doesn't have a huge selection, but they do have a few things that are gluten-free and very affordable. I have also found great gluten-free items at Wal-Mart. Betty Crocker makes great gluten-free mixes. –Grace D.

The best advice I've received about needing a gluten-free lifestyle is to know your body. Since I eliminated gluten from my diet, anytime I consume it, my body lets me know. Symptoms may vary per person. But for me, within an hour, my stomach becomes rock hard. I also get a migraine. The next day, if I over consume, my body feels achy like it has the flu. So learn your body and know your symptoms and side effects. Also, don't listen to the nay sayers! There will always be skeptics but we have to do what is best for our health. Just don't throw a pity party anytime someone eats a full gluten brownie in front of you! My advice for someone else is that it helps to know what ingredients are actually gluten, even if they aren't labeled "gluten." My favorite place to eat that has gluten-free options is Red Robin, yumm! My favorite gluten-free products are also Glutino pretzels and "Oreos." The place I shop the most is Wal-Mart–most super centers have a gluten-free section with TONS of options. –Ashley W.

Celiac Disease Foundation 

If you have questions about Celiac Disease, let me know and I would be happy to answer them. I hope this has been an informative post and if you think that you might have Celiac Disease, make an appointment to see your doctor! Living the gluten-free life can be done and is worth it because it helps you live your best life!
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Love From Amy’s Kitchen: Taco Tuesday 

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means?? It’s TACO Tuesday! It’s been a while since I have done a Love From Amy’s Kitchen blog post, so what better way than to share with you some yummy tacos? This recipe is also for fish tacos, which are so yummy to eat during the summer months. I remember the first time I ever ate a fish taco was in California back in 2007 and I knew my life would never be the same (well, maybe that’s a little dramatic). If you like some fish tacos, and want to learn a super easy way to make them, keep on reading!

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I had Tilapia filets in stock and laid them on a baking sheet covered in foil. I drizzled some olive oil and fresh lime juice on top and then sprinkled on a layer of a sea salt/pepper spice blend. Bake on 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. Once baked, flake apart the fish with a fork to shred it into small pieces.

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I find that soft corn tortillas work best for tacos after they have been pan-fried a little bit. Because corn tortillas are also delicate, and break apart really easily, it’s best to also make your taco out of two stacked corn tortillas. Sprinkle a little bit of olive oil into a non-stick pan and fry the tortillas until you have reached a desired color.

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Toppings for fish tacos can include so many things but I picked sour cream, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice, cabbage mixture, fresh avocado, and guacamole. I am not a cabbage person but it tastes so good with fish! Mango is another really good topping but I didn’t have any on hand.

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Combine your toppings on a couple of tortillas and chow down!

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Enjoy your Taco Tuesday!

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