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Eating gluten free at Disney World

Eating gluten free at Disney World

Eating gluten free at Disney World

 

Happy New Year! We just got back from a family vacation to Disney World. It was sure nice to get away and do something different and recharge the batteries. Of course, the kids had a blast as well. We really aren’t excited about being back to below zero temps that’s for sure! So, I decided my first post of the year will be about eating gluten free at Disney World. Anytime, we go anywhere out of the ordinary, I do research about places to eat. It’s always a challenge. This trip was no exception.

First, step before leaving was to make sure I had adequate snacks packed in the event we couldn’t find suitable gf options at the airport or at a park. Included in my stash were a few gf low sugar granola bars, protein balls, beef jerky and microwaveable rice packets (and plastic forks!). Pack a few in the purse for the day and the rest in the luggage, if nothing else I have peace of mind. And off we went!

Eating gluten free at Disney World

We arrived at the French Quarter at Port Orleans. And of course, as soon as we got there all of the kids were asking to eat (13 of use in total). It had been a long half day of travel after all, so most of kids sat down with hot pretzels from the bar. The bar did not have any gluten free options so I went to the main restaurant where I found some fries (forget about nutrition!) My son was happy. I was pleasantly surprised to see the other options offered for meals and snacks.

Quick snacks included a variety of fresh fruit and veggie containers. Milk and soymilk, V8 juice, hummus, yogurts, parfaits (not positive that was GF). I knew I would be able to get GF buns all over Disney. And this hotel offered that. When placing your order, tell the cast member that you are GF and they will get the chef. The chef will go through all of your options and prepare your meal separately. And as I learned, that was the routine for every quick service meal.

I would also like to make a note that Port Orleans serves gluten free beignets! Yes, you read that right. I hear they are amazing. Sadly, we did not try them as they are made with applesauce and that is a no no for fructose malabsorption. But, what a treat that would be for gluten free eaters!

Gluten Free at Port Orleans Riverside Mill

Gluten Free at Port Orleans Riverside Mill

Our first dinner was at the Port Orleans Riverside Mill, just a short walk away from our resort. Gluten free choices that I observed:

Burgers

Hotdog

Grilled chicken sandwich

Create your own GF pasta

Other sandwiches, like club, turkey and roast beef

Make your own salad

Desserts: cookie, brownie and ice cream

TQ opted for a make your own pasta dinner and salad. The pasta was mixed with a marinara sauce and he added chicken and parmesan cheese. His salad had fresh greens, and other veggies that he selected. A good healthy and hearty meal to start off our first day of vacation.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The next morning we skipped breakfast to get to the Animal Kingdom Park as it opened at 7am. So, I had purchased a few fruit cups (red grapes and melon) and milk the evening before to go along with our protein bars for a quick start. We spent two days essentially at this park so I will go through all of our eating adventures there. Go to Harambe Fruit Market located in Africa, our favorite snack station. Here they had a large selection of fruit (as the name would suggest) clementines, fresh pineapple spears, grapes, strawberries, carrots, cheese and nut bowls, bananas, apples with caramel, chips (Lay’s) and yogurt. Each day was slightly different. Clearly, enough choices for everyone GF, low FODMAP, vegetarian, dairy free and our group encompassed all (yes, we are a high maintenance family 😊 )!

Next, Yak and Yeti Counter service (next to Yak and Yeti restaurant – which has an entire allergy friendly menu for everyone! Will try that next time, for sure) as we did not have reservations for the restaurant. Nonetheless, the chef came to inform us of the day’s special short rib platter. He recommended it as one of his favorites to eat himself and he is celiac! So, we jumped on that. They were tangy, sweet and mouthwateringly tasty. Another option was a fresh salad with chicken.

yak-and-yeti-restaurant-main-entrance allergy free menu available

yak-and-yeti-restaurant-main-entrance allergy free menu available

Our final meal at Animal Kingdom was also a quick service meal at Restaurantosaurus located in DinoLand. This is your typical burger place. We opted for a grilled chicken BLT sandwich with fries. (they also offer vegetarian burgers) There is a nice bar of fixings to add extra lettuce or tomatoes, pickles ect to your burgers along with sauces. I am not sure which sauces were GF as my son is a purist and opts for no sauce 😊 Worth noting, Flame Tree Bbque located between the Tree of Life and DinoLand, has a menu that covers the top 8 common allergies (gluten, dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish) They offer ribs, chicken and pulled pork.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Enjoy a quick service meal in Hollywood Studios at Rosies’ All-American (near Tower of Terror), connected to Fairfax Fare. Rosies, has a menu to cover all of the common 8 allergies. GF selections included chicken strips and burgers which my son opted for as he’s a burger freak. A turkey sandwich is offered for children’s meals. Fairfax Fare had TexMex offerings but I read conflicting reports that the pork and rice bowls were gluten free, plus other FODMAP ingredients could have caused trouble. They have a vegan chili rice bowl for all of my vegan friends worth noting!

The Magic Kingdom

Finally, the Magic Kingdom had suitable choices. We tried Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café located near the Bear Jamboree and Splash Mountain. This was another restaurant that was well suited for our entire family. The menu covers all top 8 allergens and also features vegetarian. Gluten free meals included a chicken salad, a burger and rice bowls with chicken, beef or vegetarian. I enjoyed the chicken bowl, and you can customize the bowl to your liking at the salsa bar. Here you can get fixin’s like salsa, guacamole, corn salad and veggies to add to your rice bowls or top burgers.

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland, food allergy free menu available

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Frontierland, food allergy free menu available

All in all, there were many options for all of our special diet needs. All of the parks readily offered fresh fruit and veggies as snacks, popcorn, turkey legs and dole whips (famous dessert) which we didn’t partake in – but definitely an option. In my next post, I will detail our meals at several of the dinner shows and Epcot for sit down dinners. Do you have any experiences at Disney that you’d like to share? Any favorite restaurants?

Light and flaky texture

Gluten Free Cheezit Copycat

 

Gluten free cheese crackers

Gluten free cheese crackers

The Confession

A few weeks back I was looking for my phone charger and the likely suspect would be my son. I searched the house finding nothing, so turned my attention to his room. Well, I didn’t find my phone charger but I did find his bedroom stand filled with snack bags of Cheezits. Surprise Mom! Super fun to find that. So of course my mind is swirling, why would he do this he’s allergic to wheat…. Did he get sick?…. He has is own snacks why would he risk it? I confronted him with his secret stash and asked why!? His reply: “Mom, they are just so good I couldn’t help myself, I can’t resist!” and “I really miss Cheezits.” I hadn’t purchased those cheesy, salty crackers in some time, and my daughter needed a change of snack in her lunch box. But, I had no idea I had a closet Cheezit eater.

Light and flaky texture

Light and flaky texture

Time to bake

Everyone loves cheese crackers, so crispy, cheesy, and salty which render you incapable of putting the box down. I had to set out to make TQ an acceptable version. These gems are so good even MK loves them and they fight over the batch.  Now that I’ve made them a few times, I can say that they are pretty quick to bake up a batch. If you’ve made pie dough in the food processor this is very similar. The food processor technique made sense to me to because I was trying to mimic the flaky layers of pie dough.

Place flour, xanthan, baking powder and spices into food processor bowl and give it a quick whirl to distribute dry ingredients evenly. Drop tablespoons of butter ( or Earth Balance)  into dry ingredients and give that a whirl. The mixture should look granular or like little pebbles.

Texture of dough

Butter distributed within flour, resembling coarse sand

Add cheese, whirl to distribute flour over cheese. Add the egg and vinegar, whirl. The mixture will still be a little dry.  Add 1 to 2 Tb of cold water and process. Dough is ready when it holds together when you give it a pinch. If it does not hold together add another tablespoon or two of water. See how his process is very similar to make pie dough?

gluten free cheese cracker dough

Gluten free cheese cracker dough ready to roll out as it just sticks together when I give a pinch

Pretty easy so far right?!

Empty contents of the bowl on a work surface.  Gather the dough and work it into a disk. Cut the disk in half to make rolling out easier. *Tip: if the dough is too warm, it will make it difficult to roll out. Pop it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and try rolling again. The silicone mat made rolling out pretty easy, and it kept the kitchen cleaner. I just wasn’t a fan of baking on it this time. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface( if not using a silicone mat) to a 1/4 inch thickness.

Rolled out cheese cracker dough

Rolled out cheese cracker dough

Rolled out gluten free cheese cracker dough

Rolling out the dough

Cutting the gluten free crackers

Cutting the gluten free crackers

Cut the crackers using a pizza cutter, cookie cutter or dull knife into desired shape. Transfer to pans lined with parchment paper in a single layer. I did try baking a batch on a silicone mat, but I think they crisp up better on the parchment. Poke holes using a toothpick to make the crackers look authentic – that was fun. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-16 minutes or until you see them brown a bit around the edges. The smell of these morsels baking is magical! Close your windows because you may have the entire neighborhood over – seriously!

Allow to cool and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for a week, if they last that long.

gluten free cheez-it cpoycat

Gluten free cheese crackers so tasty ready for munching

Gluten free "Cheez-It" copycat
Serves 12
All of the cheesy, crispy, salty and flaky cracker goodness you loved, but now gluten free - and a snap to make at home.
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Prep Time
1 min
Prep Time
1 min
126 calories
1 g
48 g
11 g
5 g
7 g
36 g
222 g
0 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
36g
Servings
12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 126
Calories from Fat 101
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
18%
Saturated Fat 7g
36%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 48mg
16%
Sodium 222mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 1g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
8%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
16%
Iron
1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups Gluten Free all purpose blend
  2. 1/2 tsp Xanthan if flour blend doesn't include
  3. 1 tsp Baking powder
  4. 1/8 tsp Turmeric (ground)
  5. 1/4 tsp Paprika
  6. 1/4 tsp Smoked paprika
  7. 1/2 tsp Salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
  8. 2 cups Cheddar cheese grated, preferably extra sharp
  9. 5 Tb Butter, cold cut into pieces
  10. 1 Egg
  11. 1 Tb Vinegar, white
  12. 3-5 Tb Water, cold
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line two baking pans with parchment or use silicone liner
  3. Place flour, xanthan, baking powder and spices into food processor bowl and give it a quick whirl to distribute dry ingredients evenly.
  4. Drop tablespoons of butter into dry ingredients and give that a whirl. The mixture should look granular or like little pebbles.
  5. Add cheese, whirl to distribute flour over cheese.
  6. Add the egg and vinegar, whirl.
  7. The mixture will still be a little dry. Add 1 to 2 Tb of cold water and process. Dough is ready when it hold together when you give it a pinch. If it does not hold together another tablespoon or two of water may be needed. (This process is very similar to make pie dough)
  8. Empty contents of the bowl on a work surface. Gather the dough and work it into a disk. Cut the disk in half to make rolling out easier. Dough may be chilled.
  9. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the crackers using a pizza cutter, cookie cutter or dull knife into desired shape. Sprinkle the surface with a little extra coarse salt to taste.
  10. Transfer to prepared pans in a single layer.
  11. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-16 minutes or until you see them brown a bit around the edges.
  12. Allow to cool and enjoy! Store in an airtight container for a week, if they last that long.
  13. *Tip: if the dough is too warm it will make it difficult to roll out. Pop it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and try rolling again.
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calories
126
fat
11g
protein
5g
carbs
1g
more
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Gluten free calzone

Gluten free Calzone – who won’t love these!

Gluten free calzone

Gluten free calzone

Who doesn’t love a calzone warm from the oven filled with gooey cheese and sauce. My gluten free calzone are a family favorite! The whole family gets their hands floured for this dinner adventure. Cook alongs are fun, and the kids can personalize their own. A perfect meal for my picky eater.

The dough

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and give them a stir. A stand mixer will work as well, but I like to mix it by hand.  My Etsy store conveniently has the dry mix already measured out for you 🙂 Add in 2 tablespoons of good olive oil and 1 1/2 cup of water. Stir the dough until it is all combined. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for about an hour. The dough won’t really rise much, but the flavor is developed and it will give you time to prep your fillings.

 

gluten free calzone mix ready

gluten free calzone mix ready

warm water and olive oil added to gluten free calzone mix

warm water and olive oil added

The fillings

The fillings really make the gluten free calzone delicious. Anything goes here! Pull out your leftovers, grate up some cheese, literally anything works. Our favorites are the classic tomato sauce and cheese (lactose free of course – look at Kraft brand) and potato and cheddar cheese (Kraft or Cabot are among the lactose free brands).  Leftover chicken was added to our sauce and cheese calzones. Try adding ham (Applegate), spinach, fresh herbs, ground beef or turkey. Have fun creating new combinations. favorites!

gluten free calzone rolled out and cut for calzones

gf calzone rolled out and cut for calzones

gluten free calzone dough ready for rolling

gluten free dough ready for rolling

The assembly

Flour the counter top or board with a little gluten free flour. Next, remove the dough from the bowl and center it onto your floured board. Roll out the dough to about a 1/4″ thickness. I used a cookie cutter to cut the calzones. However, a thin sided glass would work just as well. Brush the edges of half of the rounds with a little beaten egg, this will help the two sides adhere. Leftover dough can be rerolled to make more! Time to fill! Start with a little sauce (about a tablespoon or two) followed by the cheese, chicken or spinach etc.

Gluten free calzone fillingGluten free calzone filling

 

Gluten free calzone potato and cheddar fillingGluten free calzone potato and cheddar filling

 

gluten free personal pizza

Can be made into cute little personal pizzas

Gluten free calzones, perfect for kids to help

Gluten free calzones, perfect for kids to help

Be careful not to overfill, that could lead to an explosion. Although, I’m sure it would still taste good. Next, carefully lay the second circle over the top, pressing out any extra air and seal the edges. Finally, use a fork to crimp the edges to permanently seal them. Transfer the calzones to a prepared baking sheet. Give the tops a brush with the egg wash. Additionally, if you feel fancy, sprinkle with a oregano, course salt or parmesan cheese. Oven should be preheated to 350 degrees.

gluten free calzones ready for the oven

gluten free calzones ready for the oven

Bake the gluten free calzones for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown. Yummm

gluten free calzones baked to a golden brown

gluten free calzones baked to a golden brown

gluten free chicken and cheese calzone

gluten free chicken and cheese calzone

potato and cheddar gluten free calzone

potato and cheddar calzone

 

Gluten free calzone

Gluten free calzone

 

Make ahead snack idea

Finally, my tip of the evening is using these gems for quick snack or meals. Freeze the leftovers in freezer bags. Pop them into the toaster (recommended two toastings) for a great and easy after school snack. It works great! I always have a stash in the freezer.

Gluten free calzones fresh from the oven

Gluten free calzones fresh from the oven

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