After my food allergy diagnosis, I spent a couple of years in a bread free world. I hadn’t been a huge bread eater pre-diagnosis but I did miss it. Eventually I discovered some of the what can best be called bread substitutes. Looks like bread, sort of tastes like bread…if you have been living with food allergies you know the brands I’m talking about. I call the sandwiches I made with them 4-biters ’cause the bread is so small the sandwich could easily be cut into a max. of 4 bite size pieces.

In more recent years, I’ve started seeing better looking breads pop up on the internet but when I’ve looked into the ingredients there’s always just a little something I can’t have. In one they’ve added corn, in another milk or soybean oil. I think it’s awesome how many gluten free (and more importantly tasty gluten free) products are out there but for people like me, those products work about 25% of the time. In late June I saw a post on twitter from @LeGardenBakery that offered an opportunity to win a case of their gluten free bread. I LOVE contests so I had to retweet the post and to my great delight I was the winner.

The bread came last Friday and you can see 5 of the 6 loaves I won in the pic above. More on the 6th loaf later. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box was how SOFT the bread was. It looked and felt a lot closer to my memories of the real thing. Thanks to the folks at Le Garden Bakery for double checking my allergies in advance. I’m happy to report that all of the bread they sent (yes ALL) is not only gluten/wheat free but also free of corn, soy, milk, nuts and any GMO ingredients.

First up on the weekend of bread (as it will forever be known)—-french toast.

I can’t remember the last time I had french toast. I’m sure it was years before my diagnosis. The Le Garden Bakery bread made for the most delicious french toast. Despite my best effort, I could not make the french toast last long. A divine breakfast indeed. Over the course of the weekend, I made grilled cheese (I am fortunate to be allergic to cow milk ONLY and can tolerate goat and sheep cheese) using a sheep cheese called Rustica that has flecks of red pepper (you can find it at some Whole Foods). I also did a roast beef sandwich and was thrilled to find a bread that could be eaten without the warming or toasting I’d come to think was a requirement of gluten free breads. As for the rest of the week, I’ve been enjoying peanut butter toast, regular toast, toast with jelly, and my old favorite cinnamon toast.

The folks at Le Garden Bakery suggested putting some in the fridge and freezing the rest so I’m looking forward to months of great bread.

As for the 6th loaf, I gave that to a friend who has celiac disease and he ate the entire loaf over the weekend.

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I love Chicago and all the festivals that happen around the city every summer BUT I am always disappointed at how little I can eat and drink. Chicago needs to take a page from the Milwaukee Summerfest handbook. I was there on Saturday and could not believe all the choices that worked for me.

Best of all was glutenfree beer on draft. Yes, you heard that correctly—ON DRAFT.

I cannot begin to explain how nice it was to walk around with a cup that held the same beverage as all of my friends. I mean there are only so many times you can get excited about drinking cheap white wine while all your friends are throwing back cold beers. Summerfest doesn’t dissapoint on food either. Not limited to straight fried festival food, there was food from a HUGE array of ethnic restaurants including greek and thai—two of my allergy free (MOST of the time) stand-bys.

Have to give a shoutout to stack’d burger bar as well. I read about them on twitter recently so we stopped there for lunch on our way out to the ‘fest. What intrigued me about the bar was that they had a gluten free hamburger roll and a designated GF french fry fryer. The roll didn’t work for me (milk and mozzerella added in but 100% GF for those of you who are celiac or just gluten free) but the fries were delicious and I can never turn down New Grist in any of it’s forms (bottle or draft).