Triumph Dining Grocery Guide

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another Free Cookbook on Amazon – Act Fast!

Haven't had a chance to read this one yet, but the price is right...FREE! Act fast – Amazon reserves the right to change the price at any time. Download and read on your Kindle or your PC (or Mac).
Paste this code in your browser to access your free copy:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Let's Play Catch-Up!

Sorry I've been silent lately – been busy looking for a J-O-B. Anyway, I wanted to catch you up on some things I've noticed while I've been out and about.

Stop & Shop: Love the new shelf tags that proudly proclaim "Gluten Free!" Also, they have a sign on the deli case stating that all Stop & Shop deli meats are gluten-free. Awesome... now we can choose from Boar's Head or Stop & Shop deli meat, as well as some Hormel options – if you are into the pre-packaged type of cold cuts.

With the recent Domino's Pizza debacle – namely that their gluten-free pizza is anything but – there's a lot of chatter about restaurants and their responsibility to consumers when they proclaim that they have a gluten-free menu. In Massachusetts, there is a Food Allergy Awareness Act, which requires restaurant owners to receive allergen awareness training, so that hopefully servers and food prep staff will be knowledgeable about gluten-free food prep and avoidance of cross-contamination. The Rhode Island Senate recently passed a food allergen bill, although this piece of legislation appears targeted toward preventing life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. A copy of the act (and the amended version) can be found at the following links:

Here's the poster that will hang in restaurants:

Do you think the restaurant has a responsibility to consumers if they advertise a gluten-free menu? Leave a comment, and I'll pick one lucky person to win a copy of Elana Amsterdam's "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook" next weekend.

An update on the West Bay Community Action Program's Gluten-Free Food Pantry program... 

I went "window shopping" today with Joshua Michael Corrente of the West Bay CAP in Warwick. We visited Ocean State Job Lot and Stop & Shop in to get SKU numbers on gluten-free items that will be purchased for the GF Food Pantry Program, which is slated to go into effect on July 1st. At present, JMC is preparing his order for approval, and the details are being ironed out regarding the application requirements and procedure for people to have access to the GF food pantry. 

By the way, the van that West Bay uses to pick up food donations just bit the dust the other day, so if anyone has a new van hanging around that they'd like to donate to West Bay CAP, feel free... I'm just sayin'! No one ever received a miracle by NOT asking!

CeliacGirlRI received a request from the Butterfly Bakery in New Jersey, asking if we'd like to sample and review their gluten-free baked goods, and maybe host a giveaway. Of course, I said "Hell yeah!" 
The company assured me that the food is "prepped in a separate facility within our facility designated gluten free to avoid cross contamination."
I should be receiving product in a couple of weeks.
That's all for now, but I have many irons in the fire right now, including an interview next month with a dentist from Groton, CT, who specializes in celiac disease and dental health.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Interview with A&J Bakery

A&J Bakery, on Park Avenue in Cranston, is Rhode Island’s only Nut Free and Nut / Gluten Free Bakery. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the owners, Joe Hitzemann, about the bakery he owns with his wife Amy, and the challenges inherent in running a nut- and gluten-free operation. The couple graduated from Johnson & Wales University, and they have more than 25 years of combined experience in the food industry. 

What inspired you to open a GF and nut-free bakery?
When Joe and Amy’s son was young, he had asthma and eczema, putting him at high risk for a nut allergy.
What sort of special challenges are inherent in operating a GF bakery?
Gluten-free baking has a high risk for contamination, so all new equipment was purchased to avoid prior exposure. Separate air ducts in the baking area are another way to avoid exposure and contamination. All food is baked and packaged on the premises, by trained staff. (Four employees are Serve Safe certified.) A&J requires verification from all vendors that materials are GF, and they keep the documentation current and available at the bakery.
What types of products do you make?
They offer bread, cookies, pasta, rolls, cinnamon buns, Danish, biscotti, and all-purpose GF flour (a cup per cup replacement for traditional wheat AP flour).

Tell us about your ingredients…what types of flour do you use, etc.?
A&J’s standard flour mix contains potato starch, corn starch, corn flour, expandex, rice flour, and xanthan gum.
 There are GF bakeries popping up all over, new pre-baked and frozen GF products are even available in supermarkets now. What makes A&J different?
A&J Bakery has a personal commitment to the community, and to people with celiac disease and nut allergies. They bake in small batches, and sometimes recreate someone’s favorite baked goods per request. The bakery is also committed to making their products affordable.
Any plans to teach GF baking classes in the store? Any special programs or events planned?
Due to Board of Health restrictions, the bakery is not able to offer classes. 
A&J Bakery is partnering with select “The Melting Pot” restaurants (fondue restaurant) in the Providence Place mall; Boston; Washington, DC; Arlington, VA; Reston, VA; and Gaithersburg, MD to offer 10% off at the restaurant during the month of May with any purchase from A&J Bakery. You can also save 10% off of your purchase at A&J Bakery with a purchase at any of the select Melting Pot locations. Coupon must be presented at time of purchase. 
Also, co-owner Amy Hitzemann recently recorded a segment of “Cooking with Class” with Chef Frank Terranova, where she baked a nut- and gluten-free chocolate chip banana bread and apple pie. “Cooking with Class” is celebrating its 15-year anniversary with several special guest segments.
What’s your best-selling item(s)?
Bread is a huge seller, followed by rolls and pizza.
What stores carry your product locally?
Back to Basics, The Melting Pot, Santa’s Village in New Hampshire, five Dave’s Marketplace locations, Healthy Haven, and Foodworks in CT.
Any chance that your products will by carried in local farmers’ markets?
The bakery would like to try farmers’ markets, but haven’t had time to explore this opportunity yet.
I hear you do internships for high-school students?
We do have some interns right now, and the program is open to all school systems.
If Rhode Island starts a GF food pantry, would you participate?
A&J Bakery would welcome the opportunity to participate in a GF food bank.
What do you want customers to k now about your bakery; what information do you want them to take away from this interview?
We’d like our customers to know that we are must than just a bakery; we can offer customers peace of mind and the security of knowing that we are highly trained and are taking every possible precaution to assure your experience will be a safe and enjoyable one.
A&J Bakery has been featured on the Rachel Ray show – twice! Since Joe tells me that all the recipes are in his head, not written down, we should pray that he never gets Alzheimer’s disease. I can’t guarantee I wouldn’t go off the deep end if I couldn’t ever have the white chocolate raspberry biscotti again!
The bakery stocks many products from other manufacturers, such as candy corn (manufactured exclusively for A&J Bakery), Wellabys crackers, Le Veneziane dried pasta, and frozen pasta from DePumas of Connecticut (this ravioli is to die for!).
They also sell GF croutons, bread crumbs, hamburg and hotdog rolls, pizza crust, pretzels, stuffing mix, cookie and biscotti trays, frozen apple pies, all-purpose flour, and frozen pie shells. Gingerbread houses are a big seller for the holidays.
Retail location: 1458 Park Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920  (401) 228-8696
Store Hours: M-F 10-6; Sat 10-5
Visit the online store at:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Domino's Gluten-Free it safe for celiacs?

Eat this pizza at your own risk. It was created for people with "mild gluten intolerance" – in other words, NOT most people with celiac disease.

The following statement is a direct quote from Domino's website:
(GF base available) = Recommended toppings to accompany gluten free base (Whilst Domino's Pizza takes due care preparing their pizzas, due to not being an exclusive gluten free environment, it cannot be guaranteed that these pizzas will be 100% free from gluten).
I can only speak for myself, but I won't eat anything that has a risk of contamination – that isn't prepared in a dedicated kitchen area or cooked in a dedicated oven. Just because the base is GF, it doesn't mean that it won't be exposed to or contaminated with gluten in the kitchen or oven. Even their nutritional section of their website has a disclaimer. The "GF" pizza costs $12 for a 10-inch pepperoni pie, which has 170 calories (3.5 grams saturated fat / 410 milligrams of sodium).

Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy 30th Anniversary to Back to Basics Natural Foods Grocery

Recently, I had the opportunity for a personal tour of Back to Basics Natural Foods Grocery in East Greenwich. Owned and operated by Bob and Mary Ann Hartman, the store is celebrating its 30th year of offering certified organic, natural foods and produce, and it stocks gluten-free, wheat-free, and dairy-free foods.

Shelves at Back to Basics are color coded for ease of shopping. If you see an orange tag, that item is gluten-free – and there are a LOT of orange tags!

The philosophy at Back to Basics is simple – providing products that are as organic and nutritious as possible. The owners work closely with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, often referring customers who suspect that they might have celiac disease about where to go for diagnosis.

Eight freezers are dedicated to gluten-free products at the store, as well as items on virtually shelf. They are dedicated to supporting independent companies, and work with many small manufacturers to bring new products to the market. These manufacturers include products by Breads from Anna, Really Great Food Company, Better Batter Gluten Free Flour (a 1:1 replacement for traditional all-purpose flour), and Montana Gluten Free Processors.

So raise a glass and say Thank You and Happy Anniversary to Back to Basics Natural Foods Grocery for providing support and products for people with Celiac disease for 30 years. Salut!

500 Main Street East Greenwich, RI 02818 401-885-2679
: M-F, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., SA 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., SU 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Back to Basics has the following items on sale during May:
  • Adonia Greek Frozen Yogurt by Ciao Bella…32% OFF  Save: $2.00!  (Key Lime or Espresso)Glutino Genius Sandwich Breads…33% OFF  Save: $2.00!  (Multigrain or White)
  • Terra Sweet Potato Chips…37% OFF 2/$5.00  Save: $1.50/bag  (Sweet Potato
  • Think Thin Bars…45% OFF!!  4/$5.00  Save: $1.04/bar  (more than a dozen flavors to choose from)
  •  1-2-3 Gluten Free select Baking Mixes…20% OFF  Save: $1.70-2.50 (Choc.Cake, Poundcake, Yellow Cake)
  •  Nature’s Path select GF cereals…27-30% OFF  Save: $1.50-1.70 (Crispy Rice, Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise)
  •  Udi’s Granola…33% OFF  Save: $2.30 (Vanilla, Original, Cranberry)
  •  Lucy’s GF/Vegan Cookies…33% OFF  Save: $1.90  (Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, and others)
  •  Drew’s GF Dressings & Marinades…22% OFF  Save: $.80
  •  French Meadow GF Yellow Cupcakes…20% OFF Save: $1.10
  •  Ian’s GF Alpha Tots…20% OFF  Save $.80  (Alphabet shaped Fries for kids)
Check Back to Basics website for a list of GF products. Select the Product Showcase tab on the left, then select Gluten Free. (Prices are not always current due to the number of in-store sale items offered each month.)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gluten-Free items on sale starting today at Dave's Marketplace

Picked up the Dave's Marketplace flyer yesterday, and I noticed that they are indeed carrying more gluten-free items. For those of you who are not familiar with Dave's flyers, these items are usually under the green banner that says "Specialty Foods From Around The World!" Starting today, the following items are on sale:
  • San J GF Marinades & Soy Sauces, as well as Asian Salad Dressings
  • Hodgson Mills GF Cookie Mixes, Cakes or Brownie Mixes
  • Bakery on Main GF Granola
  • Nature's Path EnviroKidz GF Cereal Bars 
 If you go to their website, you can click on the "Weekly Specials" heading to get an electronic version of their flyer. They are also working on a downloadable list of their GF products. To find a GF listing on the website, go to the Natural Foods tab, and choose Food Allergies, where they list GF manufacturers whose products they stock in their stores.

Big thanks to Dave's Marketplace for adding a link to the CeliacGirlRI website.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Celebrate Celiac Awareness Month with a Cookbook Giveaway at CeliacGIrlRI

MAY IS CELIAC DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH, and I thought I'd do a cookbook giveaway to honor it. I have one (1) copy each of "Gluten-Free Cupcakes" and "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook", courtesy of Elana Amsterdam of Elana's Pantry. All you have to do is follow the instructions of the Rafflecopter giveaway! Giveaway starts 5/2/12 and ends 5/9/12. Good luck!

Here's the form: