Monday, April 30, 2012

Eating Gluten-Free at The Olive Garden

Not Pasta, but Salad

Several weeks ago, as our visiting family members were heading to the airport, we had the chance for one more lunch with them. The kids were so excited to spend a bit more unexpected time with their cousins!

We had many options for restaurants on the way to the airport, but a few were easier to get to for all of us.

And only a couple of those have gluten-free menus.

The Olive Garden had already been suggested as a good option for the departing family members, so we went for that.

Of course, I quickly looked online to scope out their gluten-free menu. Yep, it was still there.

We had a plan. We had a restaurant where we could meet. We had a place for me to eat gluten-free.

Olive Garden on UrbanspoonSounds like a winner....

Gluten-Free at The Olive Garden

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Book Review

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard.

I was prepared not to like this, once I realized that I had started to read it once before.

Some time ago, I borrowed a NOOK from the library. It was preloaded with many books, and I started to browse through them.

I started reading one book and then my son plopped down next to me on the sofa to look over my shoulder.

I panicked!

I was reading the beginning of this book. And the beginning of this book is most decidedly not appropriate for a nine-year-old boy.

Given the situation, I ended up reading The Book Thief on the NOOK instead.

At that time, I had hardly paid much attention to the title of the book I had so hastily navigated away from on the NOOK. But I when started reading this time, I recognized the beginning almost immediately.

And maybe I was predisposed to not like this book.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning

Monday, April 23, 2012

Gluten-Free Monkey Bread

Not Coffeecake

My husband wants coffeecake.

He'd be happy with gluten-free coffeecake, if it was sufficiently indistinguishable from the gluten varieties.

I told him that I haven't seen any recipes for gluten-free coffeecakes. But if he finds one, I will happily make it for him.

Oh, and for the rest of us too!

So, he went looking through all of our gluten-free cookbooks. He looked. He scanned. He searched.

He came back empty-handed.

No gluten-free coffeecakes.

But I can and do make gluten-free Monkey Bread. Not coffeecake, but pretty darn fine, nonetheless.

Gluten-Free Monkey Bread

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Justice Hall

Book Review

Justice Hall by Laurie R. King.

This is the sixth novel in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series.

This book resumes the timeline where it left off in the fourth book. The fifth book goes back to a time before Mary and Sherlock were married.

Now, jump forward again into the (slightly) more recent timeline. They have just finished up the mystery on the moor. That story references The Hounds of Baskerville a considerable amount.

This story references O Jerusalem a considerable amount. And that is because this story brings back those same characters, but five years later, and with a considerable twist.

Justice Hall

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trying to Eat Gluten-Free at the National Air and Space Museum

Museums as Bad as Amusement Parks?

We had the pleasure of being tour guides for several days while family visited. We had lots of places to see.

One of those places was the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.

I checked online and saw that the museum does not allow outside food to be brought in.

No food. No beverages, except bottled water.

I had plenty of time to plan ahead and see what my options were for safe food. The museum website informed me that they had food available from both McDonald's and Boston Market.

I've eaten safely before at Boston Market and I know that they publish their gluten-free items online.

I did my research online while still at home. I had a plan. And I was convinced that I would be able to eat safely and easily.

I thought I was ready.

When it was lunchtime, we headed to the food area. I double-checked the mobile website while standing in line.

That's where the trouble began.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Beowulf: Poetry and Graphic Novels

Book Reviews

Beowulf by Seamus Heaney.
Beowulf, Monster Slayer by Paul D. Storrie and Ron Randall (graphic novel).
Beowulf, Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds.

I've been on a small mission for the last several years.

I want to read literature classics that I didn't get to read in college or high school. I've felt like I've been missing out on something all the the liberal arts majors got. And I did miss out. I was too busy doing my math and sciences.

But now I'm filling in the gaps. I was thrilled when I recently read a book with a reference to Hester Prynne. I now know who she is!

This is actually working!

So, reading Beowulf is just one more step in my self-education of literature classics.


This is the translated version of the original Old English poetry.

We are presented with our hero, Beowulf, as he ventures out to save a neighboring land from a monster's vicious attacks. He then further endears himself to these neighbors as he defeats a second threat. He returns home, rules his land for many, many years, and then faces his final battle against a dragon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Easter Bunnies

Spring is Here!

We've had the lightest and easiest winter ever for this area. We've been saying "Spring Spring Spring" for months now, when we should have still been locked in winter.

But now it is official.

It is Spring!

Happy Easter!

I have often celebrated Easter with a gluten-free carrot cake. But it has been a few years since I've made Carrot Cake Bunnies.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth suggesting we make these again this year, there was cheering and jumping.

I'll take that as a "Yes, let's make them!"

So, we did. And they are completely gluten-free!

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gideon's Sword

Book Review

Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child.

I had seen these authors on the library shelves before now. I didn't really know a thing about them.

Of course, I guess it is supposed to mean something when you see "#1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling Authors"....

I haven't given much credence to "bestselling" authors producing good books. My standards require more than just selling.

But, since I didn't know much else about these authors, and this was available in large print, it was worth a shot.

A shot of what...

well, that's another story.

It turned out I was impressed alright, but not in a way I want to be again anytime soon.

Gideon's Sword