My Review Of Xoco-latte Gluten Free Bakery

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My Review Of Xoco-latte Gluten Free Bakery

“My Gluten Free Life” personally gives you TWO thumbs up!

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Xoco-latte

4719 Lexington Blvd
Missouri City, Texas 77459

832-243-6748

On Friday, May 30th my boyfriend and I stopped in to visit Joel Eliaz and the rest of his awesome team at Xoco-latte Gluten Free Bakery located in Missouri City, Texas.

The real question that I would like to start off with is, “Who are you Joel Eliaz?” I was literally “blown away” and that is an enormous understatement! The first quality that I look for in any business, due to my many years of working in the “retail industry,” is customer service. I am very quickly realizing that excellent customer service is becoming harder and harder to find in our country today. Pretty sad huh? If you would like to experience a true lesson in true “first-class” customer service, then please stop in and visit my man Joel Eliaz because we were treated like real royalty!

I am a very lucky young lady, because I was granted the awesome opportunity to sample several of Joel’s “goodies.” He asked my boyfriend and I, “What would you like to sample first?” Ummmmm…. Do you even need to ask? Hahaha! Cookies of course! I have to admit that I have never been a fan of “store bought” cookies or any other baked goods to be honest. I love the freshness of “fresh baked” goodies and honestly, there is nothing comparable to them. The most important quality to me when it comes to Gluten Free baked goods is the “texture.” I have learned that many Gluten Free baked goods have a very “dry” and “crumbly” texture and there is nothing worse then that, right? Well, this is definitely not a problem for my man Joel, because the texture of his baked goods is “spot on!” We sampled a Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oats & Cranberries Cookie and a Butter Cookie. Wow! I was literally speechless… Joel is seriously a true blessing to me, because it has been way too long since I have been able to enjoy the delicious taste and texture of a fresh baked cookie! In our opinion, you would never even guess that they were “Gluten Free” cookies, because they were seriously that perfect. The texture of them is very soft, with a super slight crunch and the perfect “melt in your mouth” sensation. Their texture makes you wish that the cookie was literally, “never ending.”

The next items that we decided to sample were his enticing cupcakes that were displayed on his bakery’s counter top. We had the opportunity to taste a Vanilla Cupcake With Frosting and a Chocolate Cupcake With Frosting. I am not supposed to digest chocolate, therefore I only took a small bite of the Chocolate Cupcake. Well, let me just say that it was extremely difficult to only take “one” bite of this cupcake. The texture of the Chocolate Cupcake was absolutely splendid! It has been a very long time since I have been able to enjoy a “savory” cupcake, since I was forced to become Gluten Free a few years ago. I have had the opportunity to sample many Gluten Free cupcakes throughout Texas and it has been very difficult to find one that is not “dry” and “crumbly.” I have learned from my own baking experiences, that Gluten Free baking is a huge “trial and error” process and it does take several attempts to master the “perfect texture.” The texture of Joel’s Chocolate Cupcake With Frosting was utterly moist and scrumptious. Again, it was precisely impeccable! Next, I sampled the Vanilla Cupcake With Frosting and it was very enjoyable as well, but I do have to admit that the texture was not equal to that of the Chocolate Cupcake With Frosting. I’m sorry Joel! 🙂  The texture of this cupcake was a little on the “dry side” in my opinion and it did not have the perfect moist consistency. However, it was still more superior then any other Gluten Free cupcake that I have sampled but it was not “perfect.” My boyfriend enjoyed this cupcake more then I did, but he did admit that the texture was not “spot on” like the Chocolate Cupcake. My boyfriend always has a huge “sweet tooth” and he absolutely loves cupcakes! He was extremely impressed with both of these cupcakes and he could not even taste that they were Gluten Free. Now, that is very impressive! Thumbs up Joel!

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The last items that we had the opportunity to sample were the breads. Before I was forced to become Gluten Free, I was a huge “bread lover!” My parents always use to tell me during dinner, “Don’t fill up on bread!” But of course, that was impossible for me. When I became Gluten Free, I was literally heart broken. It has been hopeless for me to find a Gluten Free bread that actually makes me feel like I am in “heaven!” We all want to feel like we are in heaven, am I right??? Well, Joel Eliaz with Xoco-latte Gluten Free Bakery has officially done the impossible! First, he brought us a warm, fresh French Style Baguette. It was full of flavor and it had impeccable texture. Usually, my Gluten Free bread is “flavorless” and is only used to hold my sandwich together. This bread didn’t even have butter on it and I could have ate the entire whole loaf! It would be perfect to have on the side with spaghetti to to dip in herbs and oil. I was completely satisfied! Next, we sampled a slice of a Sweet Potato Bread Loaf. At first, I didn’t even want to sample it because I honestly “hate” sweet potatoes and so does my boyfriend, Haha! But, I simply closed my eyes and took a bite… I was speechless, yet again! I was in love… with a slice of bread! Haha! Honestly, you could not even taste “sweet potatoes,” and the flavor was absolutely delightful. It had the perfect “moist” texture and I would love to make a sandwich with it. And lastly, we sampled a Pumpkin Bread Loaf. It brought the warm feelings of the Thanksgiving Holidays to my tastebuds. The flavor was simple, yet very powerful and the texture was moist but it reminded you of “pumpkin.” I would love to have a warm, slice of this Pumpkin Bread at the end of my Thanksgiving meal in place of a slice of pumpkin pie. It was absolutely delectable and I was very impressed!

I can honestly say that my boyfriend and I will be customers for life! The Xoco-latte Gluten Free Bakery makes me intensely excited and I am truly blessed to live so close to it. I walked out of the bakery with three bags full of fresh baked goods and a massive smile on my face! If you have yet to visit the Xoco-latte Gluten Free Bakery in Missouri City, then you are honestly missing out on something truly special. Whether you are Gluten Free or not, I highly suggest that you stop in and say hello to Joel and  please make sure to let him know that I sent you! 🙂

Stay tuned for my next review,

Cortney

My Gluten Free Life

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro

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P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Gluten Free Menu

I recently landed my dream job as a Interactive Director (Social Media Expert) at a Public Relations Firm here in Houston, Texas. I absolutely love my job! 🙂  So, my parents decided to take me out for a nice “Congratulations Dinner” to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro located off Westheimer in Highland Village. They have ONE of the best Gluten Free Menus that I have ever seen and they are always extremely accommodating to my allergy. This time I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try some new items and I am so happy that I made that decision! 🙂

Before I found out that I was Gluten Free, one of my favorite appetizers were their Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Well, guess what? They actually offer the Chicken Lettuce Wraps on the Gluten Free Menu as well. So, I decided to give them a try! 🙂 However, they are NOT a cheap appetizer, they will run you $10.00 on their own. Eeekkk! But, you do get a large amount and they are definitely worth the money in my opinion! They were absolutely fabulous and had a fantastic flavor! Both of my parents decided to give them a try to compare them to their “Non-Gluten Free” Chicken Lettuce Wraps and they were both shocked! They both agreed that the flavor was amazing!

For my meal, I decided to order the Ginger Chicken with Broccoli because I constantly crave the flavor of ginger. This entrée was absolutely delicious! They gave you a large amount of broccoli and the pieces of chicken were very large and juicy. The flavor was puuurfect! I was in heaven! I was completely shocked with this meal and you would never guess that it was even Gluten Free. My Mother decided to try this meal as well and she thought it was fabulous! She really enjoyed the intense flavor! I always order the “dinner portion” so that I have some extra food to take home for leftovers. You always receive a large amount of food with the dinner portion! I am constantly craving Chinese Food and when I found out that I was Gluten Free, I was very depressed! It is a true blessing for me that I found the GREAT Gluten Free Menu that P.F. Chang’s China Bistro has to offer! It is absolutely fabulous and I will be a true customer for life!

If you have yet to try the Gluten Free Menu from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro then I highly recommend that you try it out! You will definitely not be disappointed! They are very accommodating to my allergy and sometimes that can be difficult to find. If you have been to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and tried out their Gluten Free Menu then I would love to hear from you. I would like to try a different entrée next time so please tell me about what you ordered! 🙂

And… I’m out! 😉

Is the “Gluten-Free” Diet just a “fad?” My opinion…

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Is the “Gluten-Free” Diet just a “fad?” My opinion…

Here is the article… Read this first!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/14/michael-pollan-gluten-free_n_5319357.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063pinions

Almost two years ago, I was diagnosed with EXTREME Endometriosis and my doctor put me on a very strict diet which included no gluten as well. In my opinion, gluten is not good for anyone. Put it this way, please show me a test that shows gluten is GOOD for you! Exactly! You will not find one. Once I started the “gluten-free” diet, my whole life changed! Suddenly, I felt better, I had more energy, my body didn’t ache anymore, my serious health conditions decreased and I wasn’t sick all the time. Of course, my diet consists of way more than just eliminating gluten. However, because of a few tests I made on my own body, I now know that “gluten” was the culprit!

There is nothing that frustrates me more than a person with a “bad diet” that is constantly complaining about feeling “crappy.” I promise you, that if you change your diet then you will feel better. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you are what you eat?” Well, if you eat bad food, then you are going to feel bad! It is really important to take control of your life and choose to live a healthy lifestyle. Of course, I am positive that there are a few people out there that are following this diet just because it is a “fad.” However, just because certain individuals choose to live a healthy lifestyle does not always mean that they are just trying to follow a “fad.” You are sadly only given one chance in this world, therefore it is important to take care of yourself and the lifestyle that you live. If you feel like you are not living a “healthy life,” then start making some changes and I promise that you will feel a difference.

There are many of us that were placed on a “gluten-free” diet because we had no other choice. Of course, this is a diet that works for us and that does that mean that it will work for everyone. We have to be on this diet and we were not given the option. However, I applaud someone who has decided to take control of their life and remove gluten from their diet. Are they doing it just because all of their friends are doing it? Maybe so. But, regardless of the reason why, they have still decided to live a healthier lifestyle. And 9 times out of 10, they find out that they are not only losing weight but they  naturally “feel” better and there is no other feeling better than that. When you naturally “feel” better, then it makes everything worth it.

He made a comment in the article about “highly processed” gluten-free food. I always take the time to shop for high quality gluten-free items that are not “highly processed.” Of course, there are many gluten-free items that are “highly processed,” but that does not mean that every person on this diet is digesting those items. Most people who are on a “gluten-free” diet take the extra time to read labels to make sure that they are digesting a high quality product. Are the gluten-free items expensive? Yes, of course they are. We all know that is true! But, I will continue to pay high prices to feel as amazing as I do today! 🙂

If you are feeling “crappy” all the time then try removing items from your diet. The best thing to do is to try removing one thing at a time out of your diet then see how you feel. I don’t digest gluten, red meat, sugar, caffeine and many more items. These items aren’t GOOD for you but that doesn’t mean they are all BAD for you either. However, all I can say is that I feel BETTER without these items in my diet and that is enough evidence for me! In conclusion, I don’t think that choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, no matter the reason why you decided to be gluten-free, is a fad. I congratulate you for taking control of your life and I promise that you will enjoy the sweet rewards! 🙂

I need some opinions! Is the “Gluten Free” diet just a fad?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/14/michael-pollan-gluten-free_n_5319357.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063pinions

Check out this article and be sure to let me know what you think. I will be posting my thoughts tomorrow, but I want to hear your thoughts first. I look forward to seeing your responses! Have an awesome evening! 

Gluten Free “Cheeze-Its?” YES, finally!!!

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I have to admit that one of the snacks that I miss the most and crave all the time is “Cheeze-Its!” They are so delicious and definitely addicting. When I found out that I was Gluten Free, I had to say “bye bye” to Cheeze-Its. That was a very sad day! 😦

But, the other day when I was in Walmart… I ran across these: Van’s Crackers “Say Cheese!” All I can say is, WOW! They are absolutely amazing! They have the perfect “cheese flavor” and the “crunch” is an added bonus. I almost killed the whole box! 🙂 Opps!

“With totally terrific cheesy flavor and the perfect crispy crunch, these Say Cheese! Crackers are everyone’s favorite! And with 16g of nutrient-rich, gluten free whole grains, they’re a snack everyone will love.”

Make sure to go pick up a box and let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! 🙂

Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookies? Yes… Finally!

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There is nothing that makes me happier then a box of Girl Scout Cookies! They bring back so many amazing child hood memories. As tiny as I am, it is very easy for me to kill an entire box in one sitting! 😉 I am not afraid to admit that! Haha!

Check out this article I found!

http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/01/29/gluten-free-girl-scout-cookies-coming-to-a-troop-near-you/

If anyone has tried these cookies, please let me know what you think about them! I look forward to hearing your feedback! 🙂

FIRST DATE: The Melting Pot!

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FIRST DATE & BEING GLUTEN-FREE?

…NOT EASY!

So, this past Saturday… I went on a first date with this amazing man to The Melting Pot located right here in Houston, Texas. Let’s just say that I did not make it easy on him since I am “Gluten-Free” but going to The Melting Pot was a fantastic choice! I never realized how accommodating they are to Gluten-Free people, I was completely shocked! Sometimes I find it pretty difficult to find restaurants here in Houston that offer fresh and exciting options for me. I get tired of always have to order the same type of items no matter where I go. So, The Melting Pot was an extremely exciting experience to me!

And… the great company was a plus as well! 😉

They offer a completely different menu for Gluten-Free people which highly impressed me as well. They offer you an entire menu of options instead of just a little section in the “normal” menu. Pretty awesome right?

We started off with a Gluten-Free Cheese Fondue Option:

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue
Gruyère and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, white wine, garlic, nutmeg, lemon and Kirschwasser.

Let’s just say… YUMMY! I am a huge Swiss Cheese fan, so of course this cheese fondue option was amazing! It was so simple, yet exploding with flavor! But, the best part was the dippers of course! They actually served me Gluten-Free bread! WOW! I was so impressed and completely shocked. It is very depressing going to restaurants where everyone gets to enjoy the fresh bread that is brought to your table for you to enjoy with your meal… and I never get to have any! 😦 No fun right? But, this time… they brought me not only one kind of Gluten-Free bread but TWO! Amazing huh? Let’s just say that I filled up on bread! Haha! 😉 I just couldn’t help myself! It was so new and exciting to me! They also brought us cauliflower, carrots and apples to dip as well. I can’t digest carrots, but I was able to enjoy the other items. I really enjoyed the green apples, it was such a “different” taste!

Then we each enjoyed a Ceaser Salad with no croutons. I love their Ceaser dressing, it was delicious and full of flavor!

Caesar Salad
Crisp romaine lettuce, shredded Parmesan cheese, crispy croutons and an added touch of Parmesan-encrusted pine nuts, tossed with Caesar dressing.

And last… The Entrée cooking style:

Seasoned Court Bouillon
Fresh seasoned vegetable broth.

Since I am unable to digest red meat, I decided to go with all seafood options:

Atlantic Salmon

Pacific White Shrimp

Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi

The seafood was very fresh and tasty! I enjoyed it very much! The cooking style was very simple, but it was tasty. I would love to try a different one the next time that I go. We were very full after the 3 courses so we did not order a Dessert Fondue. Plus, I am unable to digest sugar or chocolate. So, I would not have been able to enjoy the Dessert Fondue anyways. Bummer right?

Again, I was highly impressed with The Melting Pot and I definitely want to return there soon. Their service is fantastic and they are very accommodating to people like me! It was a breath of fresh air.

It is also the perfect atmosphere for a first date…

…let’s just say there was a second date! 😉

I’m out!

🙂

The Melting Pot Of Houston

6100 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77057
(713) 532-5011

Gluten-Free & Sugar-Free Christmas Cookies

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I have to admit… one of my FAVORITE things about Christmas time was my Mother’s Christmas cookies. But, when I found out that I now had to be Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free, my heart broke into pieces. Her cookies always made me feel like a little girl again and gave me this warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I didn’t think it was possible to make a good Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free Christmas cookie, so we never gave it a try. But, this year was different… I HAD to have Christmas cookies. So, I decided to do some research and I came across the perfect recipe! 🙂

They turned out ABSOLUTLEY amazing! 🙂 You would never guess that they do not contain gluten or sugar! I did however make a few changes to the recipe. I always like to put my special “touch” on everything that I bake. I usually always make some kind of change to the recipe! 🙂 I used “Brown Rice Flour” instead of “White Rice Flour” and since I am unable to digest sugar, I used “Truvia Baking Blend Sugar.” We made a tripe batch of this recipe and they are already almost gone! I just can’t help myself! 🙂 They are also more healthy for you because I decided to use “Brown Rice Flour” instead and also because they do not contain REAL sugar. If you have a craving for a good Christmas cookie during the Holidays like I always do, then I highly suggest that you give this recipe a try. They sure are tasty! 🙂

Easy Gluten-Free Christmas Cookies

YIELDS: ~16 COOKIES • PREPARATION TIME: 5 MINUTES • BAKE TIME: 11 MINUTES

These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth tasty, and you’ll never know they’re gluten-free! They take no time at all, and are nut- and gluten-free, so they’re perfect for your kids’ school parties.

INGREDIENTS

1¾ c white rice flour pinch salt ½ tsp  baking powder ½ c  unsalted butter ½ c  sugar 3 tbsp  milk 1  egg 1 tsp  vanilla fun cookie cutters

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder.

2. In separate mixing bowl, cream together butter, milk and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla, and mix until well combined.

3. Slowly stir flour mixture into wet mixture until well combined.

4. Shape dough into a ball and roll out between two sheets of wax paper. Roll until dough is roughly 1/8″ thickness.

5. Press cookie shapes out of dough using your favorite cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet.

6. Bake at 350° for 11 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a cooling rack.

7. Decorate with your favorite icing and sprinkles.

If you give this recipe a try, then be sure to let me know what you think! 🙂 I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Sweet Paris… Again! ;-)

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It’s sOoOoOo good… That I am going to BLOG about it again! 😉

Sweet Paris Creperie located here in Houston, Texas is absolutely amazing! I have blogged about this place once… but I went there today and it was so tasty, that I decided to BLOG about it one more time! 🙂 I absolutely love fruit… I would have to admit that fruit is my favorite type of food. Fruit will usually put all of my cravings that I have at that present time… to rest! Because my diet is so strict, I constantly have cravings. There are so many different kinds of foods out there that I can’t eat, so sometimes my cravings will get out of control. Well today… not only was I craving fruit but I had an outrageous “sweet tooth” as well. This is not a good combination for me! 😦 So, as soon as I got done at the gym… I drove straight to Sweet Paris located in Rice Village here in Houston, Texas.

I always order:

ALLISON’S PARFAIT

vanilla low-fat yogurt, bananas, strawberries, toasted almonds and a drizzle of honey 7.75

Vegan, gluten & dairy-free batter available by request 0.75

This crepe automatically kills all of my cravings! 🙂

If you live in Houston… or you happen to just be passing through then I highly suggest that you stop into Sweet Paris. Their menu is amazing and it has many different options to cure everyone’s “cravings!” 🙂

Sweet Paris

2420 Rice Blvd, Houston, TX 77005
(713) 360-6266

http://www.sweetparis.com/

The Texas Renaissance Festival… And being Gluten-Free!

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…it is not easy being “Gluten-Free!”

So… a few weekends ago I went to The Texas Renaissance Festival with my parents. This is my second time attending the festival that is located in Plantersville, Texas. There is a different theme that takes place each weekend and we went to “The Celtic Christmas.” Christmas is my all time favorite Holiday… I just love the warm, fuzzy feeling that it gives me inside. 🙂 I was a little disappointed in this themed weekend. I thought there would be more Christmas decorations throughout the festival, but I was wrong. Bummer! 😦 But, I still had a wonderful time and my Daddy really spoiled my Mommy and I! I am truly blessed! 🙂

Well… my point of this post is to discuss being “Gluten-Free” at The Texas Renaissance Festival. Let’s just say… it was not easy! 😦 It was really depressing seeing all of the delicious fresh baked goods and fried foods. I have an obsession with Funnel Cakes… but of course, they are not “Gluten-Free!” It is not easy being “Gluten-Free” at The Texas Renaissance Festival.

I made sure to eat a very filling breakfast before we left to the festival because I knew it was not going to be easy to find something that I can eat once we arrived there. Lunch time rolled around very fast and I watched my parents both enjoy a delicious lunch that I couldn’t eat. Another bummer! 😦 I walked around the entire festival with my parents trying to find something that I could enjoy. Finally, we found a stand that was serving “Grilled Chicken On A Stick.” It was just simple chicken breast on a stick that was seasoned with Italian Seasoning. It was very plain and not exciting at all… but I was starving! 😦

So… then I wanted a little snack! 🙂 With my diet, I am not supposed to digest corn… but I have noticed that if I keep it to a minimum that it does not affect me. I could not resist a fresh, grilled “Corn On The Cob!” 🙂 Wow… it was like candy to me! It was absolutely delicious! They served it to you with a tub of real butter… the only butter that I am allowed to digest. Lucky me right? This added the perfect touch to the corn. It has been almost a year since I have enjoyed “Corn On The Cob!” Yummy! I also got to enjoy some fresh “Kettle Corn” while I was there as well. Again… I am not supposed to have corn or sugar. But, I did not eat much and it did not affect me. I am really starting to learn my limits which is a great thing!

I think that The Texas Renaissance Festival should be more accommodating to people with “Gluten Sensitivity.” My options of things to eat were very limiting. Right when I was about to leave, I found a stand that was serving a “Greek Salad.” So, that would have been another option. But, it was time for us to leave so I did not get a chance to sample it. Yes… another bummer! 😦

I would love to hear from other people who are “Gluten-Free” about their experience at The Texas Renaissance Festival. In case I happen to go there again… I would love to know if there are anymore options there for me! 🙂