THE NICOLINA.CO BLOG
I am so excited to join the GF & AF Expo team as an official event blogger for the Atlanta Expo next weekend!
This will be my first year attending, and I would love if you would join me.
First a little more info about this event, then learn how to get 20% off advanced tickets, and at the end of the post you can enter to win 2 free tickets to this event.
The event is taking place
April 2nd - 3Rd at the Cobb Galleria Centre
from 10am - 4pm
Parking at the Cobb Galleria Centre is free.
The mission of the GF & AF Expo: The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo is dedicated to meeting the needs of the celiac community, those with gluten and food sensitivities, auto-immune/inflammatory diseases, and autism. The public is helped through vendor expositions, educational sessions, and online resources. The manufacturers are serviced through vendor expositions, marketing programs, and consultative services.
Not only will the Expo introduce you to some great Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly brands, the Expo also offers informative classes related to the gluten free and allergen-friendly lifestyle.
Over 100 brands will be there for you to visit with and of course lots of coupons and samples. There will even be an opportunity to purchase some discounted items.
All of this and more is included in your Expo ticket which you can purchase ahead of time using the link below to get 20% off.
You can also purchase tickets at the door, but you save 20% by making the purchase ahead of time.
Now for the fun part! The amazing people at the GF & AF Expo have given me four tickets to give away. Two winners will each receive two tickets to the event. The giveaway starts today and goes through the 30th, that way you still have time to buy your tickets and get 20% off if you don't win!
Welcome to a new series on the blog where I share my favorite gluten free recipes. Today I am sharing a yummy recipe for gluten free cinnamon rolls. The world of gf cooking and baking is filled with bad recipes. I thought I would take some space on my blog to share a the ones I have tried and we have loved.
Last week I took on one of my favorite gluten filled treats and tried to make a yummy gluten free version.
After much pinterest-ing I came across this recipe on Love from the Oven.
I was excited to try the recipe because it uses one of my favorite gluten free flours, Cup4Cup.
The recipe on Love from the Oven was super easy to follow. Especially since I have never made anything as complicated as cinnamon rolls before.
The only thing I changed from the Love from the Oven recipe was I couldn't find rapid rise yeast so it took a little longer than mentioned in her recipe.
I love the amount of filling that I used. I went on the high side of what was suggested in the recipe. The only think I think that I would changed would be to try and roll the dough tighter. I think that would help them not dry out so much, but they were still super good.
Something that was mentioned in the Love from the Oven recipe that I totally agree with is these are best as soon as they come out of the oven. A few hours later they really do need to be reheated in order to be yummy again.
Add some icing, I did a basic vanilla frosting because Cameron isn't a fan of cream cheese icing and then I just had it on the side so we could add as much as we wanted.
I like about a 50/50 cinnamon roll to icing ratio.
Walt Disney World really makes dining with food allergies easy. I chatted a while back about my favorite resources for doing your Gluten Free Disney research but since then it has gotten so much easier.
Every single Disney owned restaurant has a food allergy plan, and menu. They have even made it easier and faster by at a lot of locations you don't even need to speak with the chef to place your order.
In fact, you can view the Gluten Free menu for Disney's California Grill right from the My Disney Experience App.
And now for our review,
This dining experience took place on October 24th, 2015.
We choose California Grill for their amazing food and views of our favorite Magic Kingdom Fireworks display, Wishes.
We thought it would be the perfect place to get all dressed up and celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.
California Grill does have a slight dress code, but nothing too strict. You could tell there were a few people who came straight from the park. Since this was a special occasion we decided to dress up but we were hardly the fanciest there.
When we arrived to the Contemporary Resort. We followed the signs for the California Grill check in. You check in on a different floor than the restaurant is located on.
Once we were checked in and given a pager, a hostess ushered us into a private elevator and up to the restaurant. We arrived about 20 min ahead of our reservation which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the bar area while they got our table ready.
I had the most amazing drink, which was called Santa Monica Cider. It contained Rekorderlig Strawberry Cider, Hendrick's Gin with Agave Nectar, Lime Juice and Micro Basil. Hands down it was the best drink I have ever had. I checked the Rekorderlig website to verify that the cider was gluten - free, it was! I highly suggest this if you like gin.
Don't worry I kept the adorable drink stir.
We decided to skip the appetizers so we had room for dessert. Honestly the gluten - free appetizers didn't really appeal to us.
They brought us out gluten - free rolls to start our meal, and some amazing butter with fresh sea salt. I ate a second roll just for more of that butter.
The server was very helpful, and went over the gluten free options on a special allergy menu that was brought when we sat down. (I had noted it in our reservation) We chose not to speak with the chef, although that is always an option for guests with extra concerns about allergies.
We placed our orders right around 9:45 and it was time to go wait for Wishes to start!
Some tips on viewing Wishes from the California Grill observation area: We made a 9:30 dining reservation and arrived early. This worked out perfect because we were able to get a drink, place our order and have a roll (or two) before it was time for heading out. The table next to us had their food arrive as the fireworks were starting and they were faced with the horrible decision of having to eat hot food or enjoy the fireworks. I would suggest heading out to the right side, if you are looking at the Magic Kingdom, viewing area by 9:45 for a good spot. By 9:55 (Wishes was at 10pm that night) the viewing area was packed. If you dine earlier in the night, just keep your receipt, they will let you back in when it's fireworks time!
hereWatching Wishes from the Contemporary viewing area was a real treat! The lights are dimmed inside, and the music is pumped in both inside and out. You don't realize how huge the display is until you are viewing it from far away.
When Wishes was over we headed back in and it wasn't much longer until our entrees arrived.
Cameron ordered the Bison Strip Lion. He loved it. The bison was cooked perfectly and everything else on the plate from the brussel sprouts to the glaze was perfect.
I ordered the signature dish, Pork Two Ways. Although the Bison was amazing, this was probably the best thing I have ever eaten. On the left of the dish was pork loin over a goat cheese polenta with mushrooms and a delicious sauce. It was so good, I could have eaten a bowl of that goat cheese polenta. On the right is the real star of the dish though. Crispy pork belly on top of a fried apple with an applesauce on the side. There are no words for the amazingness that is this pork belly.
After we successfully polished off our entrees it was time for dessert. We ordered the chocolate pudding cake. Which is Chocolate Cake with Nutella Filling, Meringue Kisses, and Chantilly Cream. OMG.
I think the homemade marshmallows and the meringue kisses were the best part, but we loved everything about this dessert.
And since the waiter knew it was our anniversary it came with a little edible chocolate congratulations message.
Since our reservation was at 9:30 and the restaurant closes at 10 there was hardly anyone left when we were leaving. We went out on the observation deck to get one last look at Magic Kingdom before we headed home.
It was an amazing night and a dining experience we won't forget. When we were leaving Cameron said this should be our special night out once a year and I won't fight him on that.
California Grill does not have an Annual Passholder discount, but we were able to use our Tables in Wonderland card which got us 20% off our bill. (including alcohol)
Have you eaten at California Grill? What was your favorite?
We had a blast this weekend at the Atlanta Braves Star Wars Night. I also got to check out some of the Gluten Free options at Turner Field.
We purchased a special event ticket for Star Wars night that got us a discounted ticket, a limited edition Star Wars night bobble head, the ability to participate in an on field costume parade, and included a donation to Stand Up 2 Cancer.
At the entrance to Turner Field - Cameron showing his #BravesCountry pride, and me rocking my Star Wars tank I posted about on the blog last week.
This was the other half of my Tyler's graduation present, and my Dad joined us as well. My Dad is where we get our Star Wars nerdy side from. I have a very vivid memory of him taking me to see A New Hope for the 1997 theatrical re-release.
Along with the special music and themed fireworks, they had character meet and greats around Turner Field's entrance. The longest lines were for Chewy, Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers. I heard Princess Leia and R2D2 were also meeting, but we didn't see them.
I was surprised at how ALL OUT these characters were. They weren't just party city costumes, these were the real deal.
Thanks to some research I knew that Turner Field had a Gluten Free kiosk. I was really excited about this because the few other sporting events we have been too since Cameron's gluten allergy we had little to no options.
The food is prepared ahead of time, in a safe environment. There isn't a risk of cross-contamination because there is no other food available at this location.
Cameron tried the turkey club and I got a hot dog. We were both really impressed with the buns that they use! My hot dog was your basic baseball game hot dog, I thought it was really good. Cameron's sandwich was also great. Lots of turkey, the tomatoes were fresh and as you can see there were 2 giant pieces of bacon.
The only options for sides were chips and a cookie. I went with the chips because I was saving myself for a King of Pops treat later (they usually have a few GF options to choose from, all the ingredients/allergy info are on the labels)!
After dinner it was time for the game to start!
The game started and it carried on the Star Wars theme with some fun character appearances on the field as the players were introduced.
All of the Phillie's players were assigned villainous characters to come up on the big screen when they were introduced, and they had photographed the Braves player's dressed as Jedi's to introduce them.
The Braves won, and all was right in the galaxy.
It was time to end the night with Friday Night Fireworks which were going to be extra special because they had set them to the Star Wars soundtrack.
We had an awesome time and I would recommend checking out this event, I believe they do it every year to any baseball/Star Wars fan!