¡Che! An Argentinian Wine Tasting at Heirloom in New Haven

Hello to all my gluten-free foodie friends who happen to like a good glass of wine too… I would like to let you know about a fabulous event taking place this coming Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at Heirloom Restaurant at the Study Hotel in New Haven, Connecticut.

Heirloom will be hosting the 4th Pop Up “Farm to Wine Dinner” 5 Argentinian inspired plates and five wines (from Mendoza to Patagonia) for $55.  The passionate, Maurice Juarez, sommelier of New Haven, Connecticut, will be speaking about the wine selection and food pairings.   If you aren’t familiar with an event hosted by this engaging sommelier and self-taught chef, click on his name above to see him in action.

As someone who has always been fascinated by Argentina, its wine, its tango, its asados (Argentinian barbeque), I am excited to be attending this event because there are some varietals and regions being featured that you don’t normally find on restaurants’ wine lists. I am newbie with the Bonarda varietal and I have never had a wine from Patagonia.  Yes, wine from Patagonia does exist and boy, Maurice has selected a nice Pinot Noir for the tasting!

To top off the evening in a most appropriate manner, there will be a tango/milonga demonstration.  What Argentinian wine tasting would be complete without the sounds of the bandoneon and the intricate foot work of the tango?

I hope to see you there!

asado argentino, argentinian barbeque

Jennifer at an Argentinian barbeque, "asado", in 2004

Gluten-Free Inspired-One of 50 Best Blogs for Going Gluten-Free

I received a nice email the other day from a blogger at Nursingschools.net informing me that my blog had been selected as one of the 50 best blogs for going gluten-free.  I tell ya, the timing was perfect for me to receive that email.  I think about this blog a lot lately, and I feel terribly bad that I have not been able to keep up with my blogging schedule.

Sometimes life throws us opportunities that we just can’t turn down, even if they take up all our free time.  That’s where I am at right now.  I have been developing an online Spanish course for health care professionals, and the project has been all-consuming for me – in a good way though.

I find it interesting that every time I start to think that maybe I should abandon one of my blogs due to other commitments, I get a little reminder in the form of an email from someone complimenting me for my work on Gluten-Free Inspired.  And then I think, “I guess I need to keep going.  I need to keep doing this work.”

So, thank you Nursingschools.net for featuring my blog.  Your blog post and email were very timely and much appreciated.

Check out the rest of the great gluten-free blogs that made the list here.

Save the Date! Chip in for Celiac Golf Tournament


Chip in for Celiac

Second Annual Golf Tournament

Friday May 21, 2010

Join us for a day of great golf, food and friends to raise money for a great cause.

The Second Annual Chip In For Celiac Golf Tournament will take place on Friday May 21, 2010 at the Whitney Farms Golf Course in Monroe, CT.  The proceeds of the tournament will benefit the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland.   From the proceeds, a donation will be made to the Greater New Haven Celiac Group.

The Center for Celiac Research is recognized as a worldwide leader in the field of celiac disease. It houses a comprehensive multidisciplinary program covering clinical care, support services, education, and scientific research relating to celiac disease.  Your participation as will greatly assist the work of the CFCR.

The Greater New Haven Celiac Group has been a benefit to all who have celiac disease, parents of celiac children and those with dermatitis herpetiformis for over twelve years.  The primary goal of the group is to make celiacs aware of the medical necessity of adhering strictly to the gluten-free diet by encouraging; educating and supporting them to accept the GF diet as a lifestyle in order to make their lives healthier and more enjoyable.

Registration forms for individual golfers, foursomes and sponsorships can be found here.

Don’t play golf or can’t make it during the day?  You can also attend for dinner and post golf activities.

We hope you can join us for this special event.  For questions or further information, please contact:

Chris Wheeler



Gluten-Free Cooking Demo with Chef Robert Landolphi!


Join the Greater New Haven Celiac Group on Sunday, April 18, 2010 for a free cooking demonstration at the High Lane Club in North Haven, Connecticut.  Chef Robert Landolphi, author of the Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook will cook up a great menu of gluten free dishes from his cookbook.  The menu will include:

Tri-Spiced Onion Rings with horseradish Dipping Sauce

Crab Cakes with a Remoulade Sauce

Southern Pecan Pie

Bard’s Gluten-Free Beer samples

This free cooking demonstration is open to the public and will be of interest to people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, dietitians, nutritionists, food service personnel, culinary students, and anyone interested in gluten-free cooking preparation.  Doors open at 1:30pm.  The event will run from 2-4:30pm.

Robert Landolphi’s book, Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook, will be available for purchase at the event.

Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 14, 2010 to: jrafferty@glutenfreeinspired.com

Please include your name and the number of people attending.

Robert Landolphi is a 1991 graduate of Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management.  He also completed a Certified Culinary Arts Instructor program at Central Connecticut State University.  Rob has enjoyed a variety of food related occupations including several years as a Wedding Coordinator/Banquet Manager at Glastonbury Hills Country Club, and owner and operator of the Sugar Shack Bakery in Storrs, Connecticut.  He currently serves as a Certified Culinary Arts Instructor and Culinary Development Manager with the University of Connecticut.  Rob is a member of the National Association of College and University Food Services, the American Culinary Federation, Slow Food International and the National Restaurant Association.  Rob has entertained audiences all around the country with his unique cooking style, personality, and down to earth, yet informative demonstrations.

Directions to the High Lane Club

Cambridge Center for Adult Education Offers Gluten-Free Cooking Classes

cambridge center for adult ed

The Cambridge Center for Adult Education is cooking up some gluten-free food with a new GF cooking series that will begin on March 8th, 2010.  This two part cooking class features Holly Pierce, Boston-based chef and owner of Sweet Thing-Food for Your Soul.
When: March 8 & 15, 6:30-9:00pm
Where: 42 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA
For more information about this event, please visit the Cambridge Center for Adult Education website.

Beat the Winter Blues with a Gluten-Free Pancake Breakfast!

Photo Credit: Moran

Photo Credit: Moran

Join the Greater New Haven Celiac Group for their 2nd Gluten-Free Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, March 6th, 2010 at Grace and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Hamden, Connecticut. The breakfast menu includes:

When: Saturday, March 6, 2010 from 9:30 to 11:15AM

Where: Grace and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 2927 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden, CT
Price: GNHCG Members: $3.00/adult – $1.00/child,  Non-member guests: $4.00/adult – $1.00/child
Payment can be made at the door but reservations are required.

Please RSVP to Anita Perez by Monday, March 1, 2010 with the number of persons in your party. Please let her know if you have a dairy or sugar-free restriction.

email: fperez531@sbcglobal.net (Please list “GF Pancake Breakfast” in the subject line.)

To see pictures from last year’s pancake breakfast, visit my photo stream on Flickr!

Greater New Haven Gluten-Free Restaurant Update

georgie's diner

Georgie’s Diner in West Haven, Connecticut is now a certified GFRAP restaurant.  This restaurant, which boasts a gluten-free and vegan menu, offers both DePuma’s pasta and Aleia’s bread.

I have only been to the Shoreline Diner location in Guilford, CT but I was happy with the gluten-free quinoa dish I ordered there.  From what I have been told, the West Haven location now uses canola oil in the fryer, and they are working on redoing their soup recipes so they will be completely gluten-free!

Have you been to George’s Restaurant?  What was your experience?  Aware of another restaurant in CT that now serves gluten-free items?  Please share in our comment section below.

The Benefits of Monsieur Bifidus


I have been taking probiotics for quite some time now.  In fact, I started to take it for granted that most everyone knows what probiotics are.  Then I had a conversation with a good friend of mine about the supplements we both take.  We compared our lists and we discovered only one difference.  My friend doesn’t take probiotics.  Fortunately, she doesn’t have gut issues like me.  Perhaps this is the reason she never came across the word before.  After talking to her though, I thought that maybe I should write up a little something on probiotics since it appears that is still not a household term.

I discovered probiotics back in 1990.  Wow.  That’s twenty years ago!  I wish I could tell you I have been taking some form of probiotics for that long, but I haven’t.  You see, I discovered probiotics back in the summer of 1990 when I lived in France and I ate a lot of yogurt. (Yes, I ate other things too!)  I remember I liked going to the grocery store because it gave me the opportunity to study all the words in French on the food packages.   More often than not I would see this sentence on the yogurt containers: “avec du Bifidus” (with Bifidus).  I thought to myself, “What is it with these French people and their Bifidus?  What exactly am I putting in my stomach when I eat this yogurt?  Why don’t American yogurt containers say anything about Bifidus?  What a funny name…especially in French.”  “Que-ce que tu manges, Jennifer?  Je mange le yaourt avec du Bifidus!”

Well, as funny as the word sounds, I was actually putting something pretty darn important in my stomach: it’s called healthy bacteria, or probiotics.  The problem was that my encounter with “Monsieur Bifidus” would be cut short because I only spent the summer in France.  It seemed to take years before I started to see the word “Bifidus” on yogurt containers in the United States.  By then, I had already been diagnosed with IBS and not one doctor ever told me anything about healthy bacteria for my gut except for one doctor who practiced integrative medicine in a town about 40 minutes from my home.  It took me forever to find him and once I did, I only had him as my primary doctor for 2 years before he closed his practice.  If there was anything I took with me from that doctor-patient relationship, it was the benefits of taking probiotics.

Fast forward to the year 2009.  I am now gluten-free, taking a daily probiotic supplement, and I find an article about a Spanish research study that suggests that the gluten-free diet has a negative impact on intestinal bacteria.  When I read this article, I never thought that I should stop my gluten-free diet.  The article simply indicated to me that my daily probiotic would become even more important in maintaining healthy intestinal flora.   I was surprised to see that some people thought they should stop the gluten-free diet because of the findings of that very limited study.  Part of the problem was that the study did not expound upon how easy it is to take a probiotic supplement.

Probiotics are not cheap.  If you want a good probiotic, you end up spending about $1 a day.  Yes, my probiotic costs $30 per month.  I used to struggle to justify that amount of money for a supplement, but then I thought about all the other extra groceries I buy that I probably could do without.  A less expensive coffee brand, water instead of sodas, fewer coffees at Starbucks, there are surely a few areas where we can cut corners if we need to take a daily supplement.  Some people who are not lactose intolerant may even be able to bypass the need to buy the probiotic supplement.  They can get their healthy bacteria  in a daily cup of plain yogurt.  That probably turns out to be less that a $1 a day, and it’s even less expensive if you make your own yogurt at home.  What an idea!

Rather than tell you specific brands of probiotics that I have tried or recommend, I would like to leave you with a few articles to peruse.  And then I suggest you visit your local health food store if you are thinking you would like to try a probiotic.  Usually there is a refrigerated section where probiotics are kept.  Ask the sales clerk in that section to make a recommendation.  As a general rule, I find that the sales clerks who work in the vitamin section of a natural food store can be quite knowledgeable.

One little tip: the probiotics that are refrigerated are better than the ones that aren’t.  That’s just my personal experience.  It’s also good to switch brands every so often so that you take different strains of bacteria.  Don’t they say the same thing about shampoo?  Yes, they do!  Switch your shampoo every 14 days!  It’s the same with our gut.  Our gut gets used to the same supplement and it becomes less effective.  Best to switch things up a bit when you can!

Dr. Weil’s Thoughts on Probiotics

Women to Women: GI Health

Donate $10 by Texting Haiti, 9-0-9-9-9



I am not writing about gluten-free living this week.  I am writing about sending aid to Haiti.  If you have not done so already, please consider how you can help the victims of the earthquake.  Please watch this video which will provide you information about where to send aid.  Listed below are other helpful resources and websites.  You can also donate $10 by texting Haiti, 9-0-9-9-9.

Help Haiti

Red Cross

How You Can Help in New York City

Have No Expectations and You Will Not Be Disappointed


I rarely eat out in restaurants anymore.  It sounds funny when I say that given that I once wanted to be a food critic.  In the past two years, it has become increasingly difficult for me to eat out because of the number of foods I can’t tolerate and because I simply don’t enjoy dining out as much anymore.  This is not to say I don’t enjoy scouting out restaurants with gluten-free menus when I have the chance, but overall, I find myself longing for a meal cooked in the comfort of my own home with fresh ingredients that I have purchased . 

My two weeks in Italy were special in that way.  Even though I didn’t cook the entire time I was there, I was completely aware of the simple, yet delicious ingredients Elizabetta cooked for us each day.  I don’t think she was aware of how happy I was with her cooking.  Preparing meals is something she does day in and day out, but for me, it was as if I had been given a special gift.  I have not eaten that well since my mother was alive.  The ironic part is, for all that I ate, I didn’t gain any weight in Italy.  I probably lost a few pounds.  My digestive tract was happy and I ate food that was prepared with love.  That’s the secret ingredient restaurants don’t include.  Love.  Piatti preparati con amore.  Platos preparados con amor.

Tonight I felt like Primo from the movie Big Night.  If you have seen the film, you know that Primo is the Italian chef who opens up a restaurant with his younger brother Secondo.  Secondo wants to be successful with the business, and so does Primo.  The problem is, Primo wants to hold on to his old world recipes and customs instead of making changes to accommodate the American palate.   He suffers as a result both because his restaurant is empty and the few people that eat in his restaurant haven’t the foggiest idea about real Italian cuisine.  You can watch one of my favorite scenes from the movie in this post.

I have learned that if I don’t have any expectations for the real thing in a Spanish restaurant in the United States, I will be less disappointed.  I imagine it works that way with everything, right?  You have no expectations, you don’t get disappointed.  Well, tonight I guess I had a few expectations without realizing it.  Or perhaps it was that I had not eaten out in so long, I forgot to leave my expectations aside.

Don’t get me wrong, if you eat at Ibiza in Hamden, you might think it is quite good.  That all depends on whether or not you have spent any significant time in Spain.  Once you spend time in Spain, the restaurant loses all its appeal.   

I told the waitress that I would be ordering “American style” because I have food allergies and I can’t eat all the ingredients in the dishes my father ordered.  When I say American style, that means that we each get our own dish and we don’t share the plates like you traditionally do with “tapas” in Spain.  The problem was, the waitress didn’t tell us that the dishes would be brought out to the table in no particular order.  They were served in the order in which they were ready.

That meant that my main course came out before my appetizer, and my father was served a mystery dish that neither of us could recognize.  When I asked the waitress what she had served my dad, she said,

“Oh, that was a mistake.  We didn’t mean to serve that to you.  We won’t charge you.  Go ahead and enjoy it.”

By the time she responded, he had already eaten two or three mouthfuls.  The dish resembled what I had ordered as my appetizer, but since the chorizo didn’t really look like chorizo, I figured it wasn’t what I had ordered. 

The waitress then returned with my father’s “main course”, not what he had ordered first, and she informed me,

“That dish we served your father was actually your appetizer.  I thought you realized that.  We have no control over the order in which dishes come out of the kitchen.”

Lesson learned.  Never expect that the dishes will be served in the order in which you asked for them.  At least not at Ibiza in Hamden, CT.

As our reversed meal came to an end this evening, I couldn’t help but ask the young waitress about the chorizo in my appetizer (which, by the way, got consumed by my father while I was eating my main course).  You see, this chorizo didn’t look like any chorizo I had ever eaten before.   It tasted more like a Polish kielbasa.  At best, maybe a Portuguese chorizo that I wasn’t familiar with.  I would have expected a bit more pimentón.  Especially since they said it was chorizo “Rioja Style”. And I also had never seen such a thin chorizo.  Usually a slice of chorizo is about the size of a quarter, not a dime.    This chorizo was particularly thin.  Maybe it was homemade?  I asked the waitress,

“Could you tell me, does the chef make his own chorizo?”

“Oh no, everything we get here is from Spain.”

“I see,” I responded. I wasn’t so convinced.

Before departing from Ibiza, I took a look at the ceramics in which they had served my dad’s coffee, cream, and sugar.  I love Spanish ceramics.  Each region has its own particular design and style, and the ceramics on our table were not familiar to me.  I decided to turn over the sugar bowl to see if I could identify the region from which it came. 

This is what it said:

 ceramica polaca




Made in Poland.

Everything they have at Ibiza is from Spain?

Except the Polish ceramics and chorizo!



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