Saturday, August 28, 2010

Agua Linda

Okay I am getting really bad about taking pictures.  I promise the next post will have pictures!

I went to Agua Linda off Timothy Rd in Athens last night with some friends.  Their menu was not online, which always makes me very unprepared when I walk in.  Agua Linda is a sit down Mexican restaurant and I definitely enjoyed it!  I did struggle because the waiter didn't know what I meant when I said gluten so I asked about "flour."  The good thing is they do have corn tortillas and their enchiladas are made with corn tortillas.

My friend decided on their enchilada and taco while I got the tostado with chicken.  Tostados are a great choice for those of us on the GF diet as it lets you see everything you are eating.  For those not familiar with tostados, they are a hard corn tortilla with refried beans, meat, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and anything else stacked on top of the flat tortilla. Agua Linda's sour cream is amazing!  I don't know what they do differently but it is yummy!  The cook told me they put nothing on their meat, and after looking at it I believe they may just add a little oil and salt/pepper.  We also got the cheese dip and salsa for our table.  The chips seem to be fried in house, so if you have Celiac you may want to pass on the chips, but those that can eat items from a common fryer are probably in the clear.  I am just a happy camper when I can eat an amazing meal and not get sick!

I would not label Agua Linda is "gluten friendly" but if you are knowledgeable as to what you want you can make it work.  Flavors are amazing and definitely different from your ordinary "Mexican" restaurant.   Great prices and great food!  They also have nightly drink specials which is always nice!  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Willy's Mexicana Grill

Grad school has kept me a little too busy!  I went to Willy's Mexicana Grill on Friday and it was AMAZING!

Of course, as in the majority, if not all, of Mexican restaurants, they only had flour or wheat tortillas for burritos.  So I opted for the hard shell taco although I do believe they have corn tortillas for soft shell.  I really wanted the chicken, but I was worried about the seasonings.  Willy's is set up like your local Moe's and I was concerned no one would know what they actually seasoned their meat with, but I was wrong!  The line guy called over another guy and he broke down the ingredients, off the top of his head, ingredient by ingredient.  I remember him saying OJ, oregano, salt, pepper, lime, etc.  Nothing scary!

I proceeded to get a chicken and a veggie taco because I had to try their guacamole and veggie comes with it.  I asked for a side of queso as they give you chips, and my total was only like $5.39 or so.  I was loving that price!  I then checked out their salsa bar and tried the green cilantro salsa.  I took the meal to go but obviously forgot to take a picture!

The tacos were great!  The flavor in the chicken was spectacular with a citrus and roasted taste.  The guacamole was very flavorful and definitely NOT from a box.  The queso was a bit thick, but it could have just been that particular batch.  The hard shell taco did not withstand the to-go and fell thru on the bottom, but was very crispy when I used it to eat the tacos like nachos.  The cilantro green salsa had a very light taste and flavor to it but was refreshing after eating a few too many bites of the pico on the taco!

Overall Willy's will definitely be a frequent place for me!  They are CHEAPER than Moe's and I love support the local business.  I especially love that the staff was so knowledgeable!  Staff that are doing more than "just the job" are always an asset to those with food allergies!  BTW tacos are made on tin foil so no touching what flour has touched and you can ask for them to change their gloves if you are super concerned or allergic!

Check out Willy's, including the menu at


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Homemade Roasted Peanuts for Snack, Eggplant and Pepper Fry for Dinner!

Today is the day before I start graduate school.  Let's just say I needed to stay busy so I tried 2 new foods.

Roasted Peanuts
Kroger had "green peanuts" on sale for .99/lb so I decided to buy some.  I wanted to make my own roasted peanuts.  I found a recipe that I then adapted for my needs.  First I unshelled all the peanuts (this is a task best done while watching a good movie or tv show!).  Then put the unshelled peanuts in a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil them and shake on some salt.  Mix everything together with your hands (EVOO is good for the skin!).
Raw peanuts with EVOO and salt

Finally I laid them flat on a baking pan (which I lined with tin foil to avoid a mess) and baked at 350 for 15 minutes.  They came out so nice!  I love the taste of them and it's nice to know that they are fresh and what is on them.
Peanuts out of the oven!

Eggplant and Pepper Fry
I could not decide what to make for dinner so I decided to make something up.  First I diced eggplant and sweet peppers I had from the farmers market.  I went ahead and threw the eggplant in the frying pan to cook it (eggplant can burn FAST so be careful) and added the peppers until translucent.  After the eggplant and peppers were cooked I threw in a diced tomato I had and a teaspoon or so of some fresh basil pesto I made the other day.  I turned the temp to low and let it simmer for a bit.  Until it looked like this:
Okay this is only the half I didn't eat for dinner but you see how it looks!
I ate mine with some cheese and corn tortilla chips but this would be great with rice or quinoa pasta!  I plan on making some pasta for lunch tomorrow to finish this up!  I especially loved the colors and flavors mixed together!

That's all for today!  I will get better at writing posts with recipes, just trying to practice!  

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jot Em Down BBQ

This little BBQ place is right down the road from me.  At first it looked scary (it is across from a Bowling Alley), but I was told by many people it was very yummy so I had to try it!  I was greeted by one of the staff, Janet, and felt right at home!  I let her know I was gluten free and proceeded to ask countless questions about menu items.  I wanted take out but wanted to make sure everything would be safe.  Janet answered all my questions and even double-checked ingredients for me (potato salad had wheat germ in it and cabbage casserole was not gluten free for obvious reasons).  She warned me that she did not know what was in the sauces you can get on the side as they are "secret" recipes, but she was almost positive the vinegar based sauces would be okay.  I finally settled on 1/4 dark chicken with green beans and coleslaw.  For $7.50 it was a great deal for dinner!  I also tried a mild vinegar sauce.
Yummy meal in the to go box

The chicken was amazing!  Next time I will try the white meat but it was very tasty even without the sauce.  The sauce just added a bit of a peppery vinegar taste to the chicken.  Then I had the green beans- YUM!  They are made "vegetarian" so no pork but they were so delicious!  The coleslaw had both mayo and vinegar.  It was good but a bit too peppery for me but coleslaw is one of those that varies by person.  Overall the meal was worth so much more than I paid!

I will definitely being returning to Jot Em Down BBQ and am very thankful of the knowledgeable staff and willingness to answer my million questions!  Go check them out!  Their website is


My Journey/About Me

Hi all!  Thank you for checking out my blog!  I don't know how you found me but I am glad you did.  Here is a bit about my journey:
I went gluten free July 2009 and started strictly following rules in October 2009.  I always had digestive problems, but never thought it was anything but my body.  Then I started working with children with Autism and realized I had the same digestive symptoms some of my kids did.  Those children had gone gluten free and seen amazing results.  So I went for it!

Going gluten free was harder than I thought it was for the first 6 months or so.  I'm half Polish so I love my breads, perogies, and desserts.  Half the time I wondered what I was thinking!  At the time I was living in Nashville, TN.  Nashville is a WONDERFUL place to be gluten free- most of the restaurants understand the diet and there are even bakeries that make gluten free cupcakes!  I missed gluten but I found alternatives.

In July 2010 I moved to Athens, GA to attend graduate school at UGA.  I am earning my Masters in Special Education.  Moving was a gluten free culture shock!  Everyone looked at me funny when I asked if they had gluten free bread or bakery and offered me yogurt or eggs as an alternative.  One man asked me how I thought he should make pasta without using flour!  However I have also found wonderful local restaurants that are either very open to learning about gluten free or already know.  Eating out is the hardest part for me when it comes to being gluten free so it is refreshing to find those amazing places!

I go in and out of cooking slumps and am hoping this blog will keep me out of them!  I love coming up with new ideas and tasty treats for myself and others that I can eat!  I love eating out and experiencing different cultural foods, no matter where I have to go!  Hopefully this blog can be helpful to those new to Athens or new to the gluten free lifestyle.  Feel free to contact me if you have any ideas, tips or questions.  Thanks again!