Category Archives: Uncategorized

Product Challenge: Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s vs. Glutino Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

I am not going to tell you that I had a love affair with Oreo’s. I ate them, but I very rarely hunted them down and had a massive craving. That being said, who doesn’t love a good sandwich cookie?

My first experience with the Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s came in June when I started to read multiple blogs and Twitter posts about how good they are. My first experience with the Glutino came after my nose job when Sapps bought them at the hospital to help me feel better, took a bite, and spat it into her hand because she thought it was “real.”

The one thing I had yet to find? A reviewer that took these two cookies and put them in a head-to-head competition. A Battle Royale cookie style, so to speak.

Until now.
Image

 

The gauntlet was down. The challenge was issued (by myself, but it was issued) and the comparison was on.

SIZE: Both cookies are roughly 2.25″ wide and 3/4 of an inch thick. Pretty identical so no winner.

SEPARATION: I never ate my name brand sandwich cookies as they came out of the package. Nope! This girl loved to do the twist maneuver on them and see if I could get them to separate with one clear cookie and one with the filling.  Then I would eat the cookie, scrape the filling off the other, then eat the bottom bit.  When I did the twist on these, they both had one clean side and one filling side.

FILLING:  The Glutino cookie filling is a bit sloppy in its application as some of the cookies have filling cupping the edges of the cookie bit.  The Joe-Joe is machine-made perfection with every cookie identical and the filling perfectly centered.  But which filling tasted better??  The Glutino cookie has a creamier filling and, to my “haven’t tasted a real one in over 5 years” mouth, tasted like I remember the brand name cookie tasting.  The Joe-Joe had a vanilla flavor but also tasted a bit granier and was not as satisfying to my tongue.  WINNER:  Glutino

COOKIE:  The Glutino cookie is crunchy, with a strong chocolate flavor, but has a minor aftertaste that is not unpleasant.  The Joe-Joe cookie is not as crunchy (but I opened these a day earlier than put in fridge, so that may be affecting), the chocolate has a bit of an aftertaste, and it feels grittier in my mouth which was not enjoyable.  WINNER:  Glutino

OVERALL COOKIE EXPERIENCE:  Since this is an overall impression of this cookie, and since I have deconstructed the parts, the cookie was eaten in a way I am not accustomed to:  In 1 piece!  The Joe-Joe had a nice crunch but overall, I just don’t care for the texture or the bit of an aftertaste that it leaves in my mouth.  I’m not food savvy enough to truly describe the flavor, but the cookie leaves a very gritty feeling in my mouth that does not feel right.  The Glutino had what tasted like a higher cookie-to-filling ratio.  My bites definitely had more cookie than filling, but they did not leave that gritty feeling in my mouth.  There is a bit of an aftertaste to this, but it was not an “ew” sort of taste, but a familiar taste that made my mouth happy.Image

CALORIES, NUTRITION, & OTHER VARIABLES:  Both cookies have a serving size of 2 cookies.  All of the nutritional information is about the same and what you would expect for a cookie.  You get more servings out of the Joe-Joes (14 to 10) and there is a difference in price of $1.00 – $1.50 (sale/region/store varies).  The Glutino are made in a dedicated GF facility, but may contain milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.  The Joe-Joe’s are made on shared equipment and may containTraces of milk and tree nuts.  And, here are the ingredients:

Glutino Chocolate Sandwich Cookies:  Tapioca Flour, Rice Flour, Vegetable Shortening, Confectioner’s Sugar, Water, Tapioca Syrup, Corn Starch, Cassava Flour, Dextrose, Cocoa, Potato Flour, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Sodium Bicarbonate, Xanthan Gum

Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s:  Cane Sugar, Grain Blend (Corn Flour, Soy Flour, Rice Flour, Cornstarch, Potato Flour, Tapioca Starch, Potato Starch, Xanthan Gum, Arabic Gum, Carrageenan), Palm Oil, Cocoa Powder, Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Invert Syrup, Cocoa Powder, Egg White Powder, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Vanilla Bean Seeds, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Ammonium Bicarbonate

Winner:  I like simple ingredient lists, plus the fact that there is no risk of cross-contamination, so Glutino is the winner here

NON-GF PEEPS OPINION:  My opinion is one thing, but it is also important to see how these cookies fare in the mouths of people who eat the brand name all the time.  Since there was no way I was keeping 2 packages of cookies in my apartment, I took them into work.  Both packages were gone pretty fast, many people commented that they both tasted great, but I noticed more people reached for the Glutino when they wanted a 2nd, or 3rd, or 4th cookie.  When I asked what people thought, they all said that the Glutino had a “Chocolatier” taste and that there was a weird grittiness to the Trader Joe’s.  WINNER:  Glutino

Both cookies are good, but based on all the variables listed here the winner of the Faux-Reo Challenge is the Glutino Chocolate Sandwich Cookie!

Advertisements

The Iron Man 3 Moment that Bugged me

I went to see Iron Man 3 on Saturday (enjoyed it, liked a lot, not sure if I loved.  May need to see again).  There is one thing in the movie that jumped out and made me happy/irate.

Here is the dialogue:

Tony Stark:  “I don’t even know what I had for breakfast this morning.”

Jarvis:  “Gluten Free waffles, sir.”

To be honest, a part of me jumped up and down inside to hear a Gluten Free shout out in a major Hollywood blockbuster.  But another, larger, part of me sank like a rock.  

The reasons are simple:

1) There has been no sign in any movies that Tony Stark has any sort of gluten intolerance whatsoever.  See:  Shawarma eating at the end of The Avengers.

2)  If there is no gluten intolerance, then he is eating it because eating GF is the “hip, trendy” thing to do.  Based on evidence in all films Tony Stark has appeared in, he wants to do whatever is current and hip.

And that is the rub.  There are products out on the market that claim to be gluten free, but when you look at them closer, you discover that they really are not safe at all for anyone with gluten intolerance to ingest.   We are fighting a poorly informed media spreading false information, people who are eating it “just because” and giving those of us who need to be militant a bad name/making it so servers and chefs do not take precautions.

Yes, a lot of good Gluten Free products are out on the marketplace.  Yes, the rise in people being diagnosed has helped with that.

So, while it sounds great to have Tony Stark have Gluten Free waffles for breakfast, I just have one message to Hollywood:

I am not a fad.  Neither is my health.  

 

No, Really. I Cannot Cook

I have a confession to make.

I cannot cook.

As far as confessions go, that is not a big thing.  But the majority of my friends, and GF bloggers, can.  Or they are wicked bakers.  I consider it a win when I make my 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies or make something from a box that turns out.

But back to cooking.

I mean, sure, I can do the simple things like make Gluten-Free grilled cheese, french toast, pancakes, and spaghetti. For years, my lunches would be a different Mrs. Leeper’s “Hamburger Helper” box every week. I am great at throwing meat on my Foreman grill and nuking some steamer bag of veggies.

But this is not cooking. This is not eating well. My stomach and my taste buds know they are missing out.

Lately I have attempted to face my fear and start actually cooking.  Well, kind of cooking.  On occasion, I use the crock pot I inherited from my Grandma.    My tendency in those instances are to find the recipes that call for things to be thrown in with very little work on my part, turn it on and walk away.  I think I have made 1 non-crock pot/non-“Hamburger Helper” type recipe on the stove in the past 5 years.

My problem is, I start to look at recipes and if the ingredient list goes on my eyes start to glaze over. If the number of steps exceeds 6, I turn away overwhelmed.  If there are terms I do not know, my brain starts to glaze over.  And if it requires multiple tools?  Forget it!  I freely admit that the one recipe I made that told me I had to “Mince Garlic” required a trip to Google to find out what the heck that meant.  So you can forgive me for not looking up how to julienne something, right?

Now, I know my kitchen is small.  If I want to use my crock pot, I have to unplug my microwave and move it, the Foreman grill, and the toaster to  another counter.  My kitchen has 1, yes 1, usable outlet.  Once I move everything, I really don’t like using my stove because there is no elbow room, and at 6′ tall, I tend to need a little bit of room around me.  So understandably, I don’t have too many extra kitchen tools floating around.

To give you an example of how poor my kitchen skills are, let me give you a fairly recent example.  Monday night I get home from work, a callback, and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race at a local bar with friends.  I have all the ingredients for Stephanie O’Dea’s “Super Simple Cranberry Roast“.  It is one of my favorites and super simple, just like the title says.  After I get all the ingredients in and cooking overnight on “low”, I prep a pot to make rice.  I measure in my water out of my wet measuring cup and grab a dry one to measure in the rice.  Nothing hard about that, right?  Except that when I turned the rice off after my timer dinged it was awfully watery.  Looking at my dry measuring cup I discover that in my hurry I grabbed the 1/2 cup instead of the cup.  Thank goodness for the strainer!  Oh, and that super simple roast?  I woke up in the morning to the smell of burning cranberries.  Thankfully the meat is still tender and moist, along with whomever developed crock pot liners so I don’t have to scrub that mess out!

I try.  I really do.  I’m too cheap to eat out all the time, but apparently the kitchen and I will continue our battle.

Maybe eventually I will learn.  In the meantime I will keep abusing recipes like the ones linked above as I work on my kitchen skills.

Or get rich and hire a private chef.

 

Gluten-Free DisneyLand – Days 2-5

Hello Again My Friends!

Last time I took you through my one day pig-out at DisneyLand.  The next couple of days were not as exciting, food wise (thank goodness), but the number of options available were still pretty great.

As mentioned prior, for breakfast I made GlutenFreeda Instant Oatmeal (love this stuff) at my hotel and grabbed a lot of fruit.  Most days I did not bother with lunch, as I was not hungry.  I know there are nutritionists out there who would probably love to rake me across the coals for that, but I had apples in my bag, so I at least snacked on something healthy when I had the urge. And I got a LOT of fiber!  =)

Day 2 found me exploring Disney’s California Adventure.  The bulk of the park is themed after different regions of California, be it the Piers along the ocean, Northern California, Hollywood, and the rest is pure Pixar fun.  I arrived not long after the park opened and after walking down Buena Vista street with my mouth agape (again), I reached a fork in the road.  Have fork, bear right.  Well, I explored a bit, then had a hankering for waffles.  Mickey Waffles.  So, I hit up the first restaurant I see and ask “Do you know where I can get some GF waffles?”  They did not know, but they sent me over to Flo’s in Carsland.  Ok, I wish I remembered the name of the chef (I think it was Mike), but he came out and let me know that they did NOT have GF waffles, but give him a moment.  He then went into the kitchen and called EVERY RESTAURANT ON PROPERTY to find out where I could get them!  Sadly, there was no place in the park, but he told me if I really wanted something with carbs, I could grab a GF muffin from Fiddler, Fifer, and Practical Cafe.  This made my morning as, not only was it a Starbucks, they had OMG, IT’S GLUTEN FREE blueberry muffins!  When I ordered it and mentioned that I would like it warmed up, the manager took it, and took care of it.  They told me the special precautions they took to avoid cross-contamination, but I don’t remember as I was hungry and needing my dirty iced soy chai.

So yummy, I had to take a bite before I got to the table.

So yummy, I had to take a bite before I got to the table.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around, riding the rides, screaming myself hoarse, laughing a lot, and just enjoying the day with Marianya.  Eventually, after she headed back to the hotel, I realized it was almost 8pm and I had not eaten yet.  WHOOPS!  So, I pulled out my handy guide map and started looking at what food options were out there.  Was not in a meat mood (as in meatloaf, pork loin, etc), or burgers or hotdogs, when I saw there was someplace called The Lucky Fortune Cookery.  That almost sounded perfect, so I thought I would run over and see if they could help me out. If not, I was pretty sure I could find SOMETHING at the Mexican place across the pier.  After a very short wait in line, I went up and told them, “Hi.  I am Gluten Free, is there anything here I can eat?”  The chef popped up and let me know that there is no pre-marinade on the meats, the rice is safe, as are the vegetables and they had a sauce (whose name escapes me) that I could have.  SOLD!  And it came in a cute take out bowl.  As an added bonus, this was the dish that I mastered the use of chopsticks with rice!  I took my food, found a good place to stand, and finished it while waiting for WORLD OF COLOR to start.

GF Beef/Rice/Veggies

GF Beef/Rice/Veggies

Day 3 found me back at Disneyland.  Once again, got a craving for a muffin, so I hunted and discovered that they had them at my old friend, Jolly Holiday Bakery and Cafe.  The sign saying that these were available is **really** tiny on the display case, but I got it (warmed up safely again, this time remaining in the bag as it was an Udi’s muffin) and my Practically Perfect Punch, to get my energy going.  Later in the day, I had an ice cream hankering, so I got one of my favorite treats, other than Dole Whip.  A Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar.

Mickey Premium Bar at WDW.  Same treat, diff coast.

Mickey Premium Bar at WDW. Same treat, diff coast.

My dinner companion on night 3 was Marianya, as our third left to do the drive back to Pepperdine.  With both of us being clueless on what we wanted and the decision being left to me (which can be very dangerous as I am very non committal when it comes to food.  If it is edible, and safe, I am usually good), we headed to Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port in Tomorrowland.  Of course, the first thing I do is ask if they have GF options.  Upon being assured that they did, I headed to the pizza station.  The person there grabs the chef and who informs me of the pasta and the pizza options.  When asked what he would have, he did not hesitate a moment before saying the pizza.  SOLD!  He had me take a slip up to the cashier and complete my order, and then I came back and waited a grand total of about 10 minutes from placing the order until food delivery.  I have had the GF pizza at WDW which were OK, but nothing to write home about.  This one had a really nice crust and good flavors but sadly the chef could not remember who made it, even after others asked previously.  Ok, if people ask where the GF pizza is from, LEARN because good GF pizza is hard to find!

At the end of the night, I made my way to Town Square and City Hall (aka Guest Relations). While I still felt the need to say something about my night 1 dining experience, I felt a stronger desire to give compliments and applause to the chef’s and dining cast members who gave me so many good dining experiences.  I do not know what happened with the information I gave, but I know that every chef that I interacted with on these 2 days had something positive said for going above and beyond.

Day 4 found us arriving late due to errands in the area (like seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time), and bouncing between the two parks.  I saw a show at The Golden Horseshoe, but other than a root beer float, the food options there for the Glutard were non-existent.  Dinner found Marianya and I meeting up with Hula to watch the Pixar Play Parade after enjoying hot dogs and chips from Award Wieners.  Once again, I failed to take a picture.  Here is my negative on this dining experience.  While they could guarantee that the hot dogs and buns were safe, they could make no promises on any of the other ingredients, including cheese and onion.  I know very few people above the age of 5 who like plain hot dogs.  So, my word of advice here would be to PLEASE have some GF toppings available.

Day 5.  Last morning.  Time to get those waffles!  I headed off to the one place I had been told I could get them:  The Storyteller’s Cafe at the Grand Californian Resort.  I had a hunch it would be a character breakfast given the facts: breakfast, hotel, Mickey Waffles.  But I did not care!  Now, I was silly and did not make a reservation, but the staff there were fantastic!  I got my seat, the server heard I was gluten free and chef Juan was out in a flash.  Just so you know, you have 2 dining options.  You can eat a la carte, off a menu, or you can do the breakfast buffet.  If you choose the buffet, your server takes you up and lets you know exactly what you can and cannot have.  For me, a buffet tends to be a waste of money, as I am a 1 trip and done person.  I said I wanted the Mickey Waffles and the Chef looked me straight in the eye and said, “you know those are frozen.”  Cue brake noise.  Nope!  Not a clue!  As the Chef and I both ended up saying, “If I wanted frozen waffles, I would have stayed home.”  So, I asked him what he recommended and both he and the server replied, “the pancakes.”  SOLD!   They came with what could only be deemed a rasher of bacon (nom) and all the juice I could drink.  Wanting some protein to go with this carb/bacon fest, I ordered a side of scrambled eggs.  THIS is what I was served:

Pancakes as big as the plate!

Pancakes as big as the plate!

Eggs and Bacon

Eggs and Bacon

 

 

 

 

 

 

First off, let me just say that the Chef brought these out himself.  I love the fact that he checked in with me so many times to make sure I was satisfied.  Secondly, do you see those little wooden tags on sticking out of my food?  Those say “ALLERGY”.  No one could mistake my food for a regular serving of bacon, eggs, and waffles. It is the little things that help make you feel a bit safer about the food you eat.

So, I have some comments on Disney Dining, but I do believe that I will save those for another day.

Thanks for staying with this!

ToM

On Mardi Gras

It is that time of year again. When all of New Orleans (or N’Awlins if you are a local) really puts on their party hat and goes at it. Now, there are many times during the year when NOLA throws a party, but this, this is the topper. It is a celebration. And sadly, it is the time of year when many people decide to come to town and get absolutely, positively shit faced and let all of their inhibitions go.

I’ve made it to 2 Mardi Gras and I miss it every year. Thankfully, I have been able to stay with friends, so I get to experience Mardi Gras with the locals. So, my experience tends to be lots and lots of parade viewing/celebrity sighting (they tend to be grand marshalls), house parties, and wandering the off Bourbon Street parts of the French Quarter. That is not to say that I don’t go on Bourbon, I just enjoy most of the French Quarter and not one particular area.

The one food that I associate with Mardi Gras in NOLA is the King Cake. Mmmmm…..King Cake. The plain cake is kind of like a cinnamon coffee cake flavor, but the “fancy” ones include fillings such as cream cheese, chocolate, lemon, apple, the list goes on and on. And then they put an icing glaze on top and some sprinkles (generally green/yellow/purple) on top. Inside each King Cake is a “baby” trinket, which represents the baby Jesus. This trinket was my nemesis! I am not sure how it happened, but out of every King Cake I ate, I got the baby!! Thankfully, my friends were understanding, so they never made me purchase the next one, but I think my king cake debt is somewhere around 5 cakes.

Decorated House

The joy of experiencing life outside of Bourbon Street is that you get to see how the locals celebrate.  There are house parties, parade viewing parties, local artists selling their wares (trust me when i say they create some brilliant works of art), and the homes — already a unique combination of architectural styles — are dressed to the nines in such a wide variety of ways.  To me, it feels like a city that is already living every moment escapes the boundaries of every day life and scream to the world, “THIS!  THIS is how you live every day to the fullest!”

Other than celebrating with friends, and experiencing Mardi Gras through their eyes, the thing that I have always enjoyed the most is the parades.  Iactually hit the point in a day where I cannot watch another parade.  But, I end up doing it anyway most of the time.  Each parade has a different theme, and crazy floats with people on them throwing all sorts of things.  I kid you not, one krewe, or parade group, decorates their floats with colored tin foil.  You need sunglasses to watch or you’ll go blind!  Plus bands, performers, flambeaux carriers, families, friends, and just ……  **sigh**  There is an energy in the town that is like no other.

On Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, the costumes come out in full force.  People can spend months making the costumes and they are ….. insane does not seem like the proper word.  Fantastical, amazing, brilliant, wonderful, creative…..

I miss it.  It has been 5 years now since my last visit during Mardi Gras, but thankfully only 1 year since my last visit to NOLA.  Sometimes there is a city that captures your heart, and I am not ashamed to say that New Orleans is one of them.

FYI — Both of my experiences with Mardi Gras happened before I was GF, but on subsequent visits I did not have the easiest time eating “safe”. Hopefully, the “Find Me Gluten Free” app will help, as it was not the easiest thing to do down there.

So, if you are in New Orleans, I’m just going to say “HAPPY CARNIVAL!”

 

ToM

 

FYI — this is a fabulous website that gives a very in-depth history on Carnival season, a listing of parades, and all sorts of fabulous information.

http://carlnivale.theatricana.com//history.html

Oh…Yikes!

Wow. Have I ever fallen off the blogging band wagon! This is not good at all.

So, what have I been up to in the eternity since I last wrote? Took some burlesque classes, performed in a fund raiser, played a drag queen, completed a year of employment, saw some movies, planned a trip, did my best to stay gluten free, and just lived. Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but it is all about making small steps.

If you know anything about me, it is that I am an Anglophile. My biggest regret is not studying in England during college, but I figure that there is always hope and a way to do it. I am a Whovian, but still not versed in the Classic Series. I devoured “Downton Abbey” in a weekend of voracious watching. Currently enjoying “Sherlock”, but taking the time to enjoy and savor each morsel of that.

imgres

As such, it always makes me smile when an actor I enjoy shows up in an unexpected place. This weekend it was John Barrowan, and the movie was ZERO DARK THIRTY.

First off, YES, this is a good movie. But the scenes of torture made me ashamed, and a bit embarrassed, to be an American. I honestly do not see how treating people like that helps us out in any way, and made me go “well, no wonder other countries hate us.” I hated my country for doing that. I am sure that there are those people who work in national security who could argue how it was beneficial, but I have a hard time buying it. Anyway, I was watching the movie, when all of a sudden, quite out of the blue, I see John Barrowman on screen. Well, being the 10 girl that I am, I shook my fist at the screen and **whispered**, “BARROWMAN!”  If you have not seen the clip I am speaking of, I highly recommend that you do a YouTube search.  Seriously.  Go to YouTube, type in Barrowman, and it is the first clip that comes up.  It’s kind of awesome, in a geeky, British sort of way.  And then see ZERO DARK THIRTY.  If for no other reason than to see what waterboarding really was *shudder*, and enjoy about a minute of John Barrowman on screen.

And hopefully I will remember to blog again, sooner rather than later this time.

ToM

 

Miss Me??? I’ve Been On Stage!

Ok, seeing as how I just posted a blog about the good of IOA (minus Harry Potter, which deserves its own post), probably not too much.  But before that it has been a while.  And the reason for that is because I was in a 20th Anniversary Revue for a theatre company I work with on occasion.

The show had some technical difficulties and struggles, and I admit that I was initially disappointed by what I was asked to do in the show.  I know I had a bad attitude during some rehearsals, which is something that I have absolutely NO pride about.  My number one goal going into every rehearsal is to be positive, to learn as much as I can from other performers,  to be a sponge, and the one guideline that I really try to abide by — BE POSITIVE!!!!!  Negative energy brings more negative energy, and I dislike feeling negative!

I did this show because I needed a show that would make me happy.  My last show in January was rough and I actually took a break during the spring because I needed to shake the negative juju.  But it must have still been a bit stuck on me.  So it slightly discolored the experience of sharing the stage with some of my favorite people.

And these really are some of my favorite people.  I came to Chicago knowing exactly 1 person.  The people I got to know were his friends.  When that relationship ended, I was pretty much adrift for a year.  Then I started doing theatre.  I have 2 groups that I go back to because they are family, even though I try to perform with as many different places I could.  And one group has more people that I feel like I can turn to when I need a hand up or to share a laugh.

The Hale Theatre Company is run out of one of Chicago’s many, many parks.  The Park District used to have many theatre companies and even performed at the Theatre on the Lake building.  Sometime, many years before I moved here, that stopped happening, and with budget cuts, I can only think of 3 park district companies that are still running — Hale, Munroe/Ridge, and Chase.  This past season was Hale’s 20th season, and it has been run for those 20 years by Lauren Polenske and her husband, Michael Murphy.  Sure, it has its flaws, what theatre company doesn’t, but their joy shines through.

It was here that I sang my first solo in a “Murph Made Musical”, played my first dramatic role, came back to experience GODSPELL, take part in another “Murph Made Musical” after taking a break from going a year and a half straight, then this spring taking part in the show that just closed.  Since it was a revue of the musicals they have done over the past 20 years, most of the songs were sung by the person who originated the role.  Being new to the theatre group, that meant that I had not originated any roles in shows.  But I was still lucky and blessed enough to sing Golde to one of my dearest friends Tevye in “Sunrise, Sunset” from FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, even though it aged me about 20 years!  I also got to be the “object of desire” (i.e. walk sexily in front of the stage) during 2 numbers from A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.

But the real joy was seeing my friends shine in songs that I never had the opportunity to hear them sing originally.  Hearing Thom as Tevye, or Patrick as Fagin, or Robin singing Momma Rose, or hearing Heather sing “Oh Bless the Lord My Soul” again, or the highlight of the entire experience:  hearing Thom, Murph, and Patrick singing “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid” and bringing down the house.

I really do believe that people are blessed with 2 families.  The family that we are born into and the family that we choose.  And to the people listed above, and many more — I cannot begin to tell you how much joy I have sharing the stage with you and how you have become my family here in Chicago.

And I hope we get to share the stage again sometime soon.  I promise I will keep it positive!!

Now to get ready for my show in August and fall auditions!

ToM

From Bitter Celiac to Grateful Celiac

I was not having a good week.  For whatever the reason, my nerves were close to the surface and lots of things were making me grumpy.  And I am not naturally a grumpy person!

Wednesday was “Birthday Food Day” at work.  I always bring something in for myself and my GF/SF/CF co-worker.  And she brings something in.  And…..that was all we could eat.  Which we were pretty much ok with.  Until I opened an e-mail from one of my co-workers saying that she was going to be buying pizza for “everyone.”  Yes.  I used quotations around the word everyone.  Because they got Bacci pizza, which I don’t think has even heard of a gluten free option.  Fine.  I grumbled under my breath about it, but then, THEN, they went and placed their pizza between the 2 people who could not eat it!!  Ok.  I get that it was the open desk and the easiest place to put it.  But it was like a form of Chinese Water Torture!  I’m calling it Italian Smell Torture!  Where you spend an entire day smelling something that you absolutely, positively, cannot eat….and it drives you crazy!

So that was day one of me becoming bitter celiac.  The second day was somewhere on the floor there was ice cream for “everyone”.  Except, they were Drumsticks, and once again, I got to sit and watch all of my co-workers eat them in front of me.  It really got under my skin that my co-workers did not even stop to think about it.  Hell, they order lunch for everyone, and they don’t even get a salad that can be enjoyed.  It is a lack of thought that just makes it hard to feel a part of the “team”.

So, I’m in bitter celiac mood, when someone who invited me to their event, who I really did not know that well, sent me a tweet asking in Rice Krispies were GF.  She knew I was coming to her event and she wanted to make sure there was something there that I could eat.  Not knowing what she had come up with, I brought my own sausages, chips, and alcohol.  She had labeled everything so I knew what was in things and she made a quinoa black bean dip that was delicious.  She did not have to make anything, but the fact that she thought enough of me to make sure I had something to eat helped grow my heart back to normal size after the debacle at work.

But what made my heart go back to normal size and totally erase the bitterness from the past week occurred today.  I was invited to a Bridal Shower, and honestly, when I accepted, I did not plan on having anything to eat.  Nope.  The BRIDE (wow) made sure that I had food.  There were Schar rolls, a pasta with meat sauce, a pasta salad, some seasoned sliced cucumbers (she made cucumber sandwiches for everyone else), and some meat.  W-O-W!!!  I honestly teared up when she took me back to show me what I could eat.  I couldn’t eat the cake, but I am so sweeted out from the past couple weekends that I really did not care!

What did I learn this week?  That there are people out there who will not give a thought to what you can and cannot eat, which is fine.  They do not live with it and we cannot expect others to care.  But, when someone takes the time to make sure that there is food available for you to eat, words cannot express how “normal” it makes you feel, how welcome, how a part of a community.  And for everyone who has done that, I thank you.

And next time, I promise I will write one of the other NON-GF related posts that have been rattling around in my head

Luv,

ToM

Welcome to My New Adventure

Hey.  How ya doing?  Welcome to my little corner of the web.

I was on Facebook the other day, talking with some friends that had attended a Food Blogger conference, primarily for people with food allergies.  I made a comment somewhere along the lines of “Blogging sounds fun, but who wants to read a blog that is not about a specific thing, and is written by an actress, wanna be singer, office drone, karaoke queen, beginning burlesque dancer, certified nerd, music lover, celiac, movie buff, non-cooking, totally random person????”  Enough people said “ME silly” that I decided to create a blog and see what happens.

So, why TowerofMel?  Because I am lazy and it is the descriptor that friends have used for me for over 6 years and I like it.  Tower, because as a 6′ tall woman, I am, and Mel because it is a nickname that has managed to stick and that I like.  If I come up with something more creative, I’ll let you know, but for know, this works.

What will you see on this blog?  Well, I thought I would share some of my random thoughts, details on events I go to, tell you about some of the cool people I know, food reviews (dude, it is HARD finding yummy stuff still if you are Gluten Free), reviews of shows, books, movies, pretty much anything and everything that crosses my mind.  If you like it, let me know.  If you hate it, let me know nicely.  =)

So that’s that.  Welcome to my little corner of the universe.  Hope you like your visit.

ToM