New York, New York

16 Jan

The boyfriend and I went on a week long trip to New York over New Years. Unlike most people, we toured the city based not only on its famous attractions… but we mostly saw different parts of the city in order to find food that I was able to eat. I researched for weeks to find the best gluten free options and am thoroughly satisfied with everything we were able to try while in NY. Our friends joked that we visited almost all of New York just because of my eating restrictions… 🙂

Below is a journal of where we ate during our stay. If you or someone you know can’t eat gluten and you travel to NY, this may be helpful for you!


Pala Pizza: An amazing start to our wonderful trip in the big apple! We met up with a few of our friends that live in New York. They had never been to this place before but they enjoyed the food just as much as we did. We started off with this gluten free, dairy free bruschetta type appetizer. Then we shared a pizza that was gluten and dairy free. It had a crispy crust, vegan mozzarella, sausage, sundried tomatoes, leeks… Awesome-sauce.  The waiter was also entertaining and friendly, which is a huge plus.


Luscious Food: We had originally planned on going to a place called Sun in Bloom, but when we took the subway and walked a few blocks there- we found out that they were closed for renovations. J That’s okay though, because after walking around the neighborhood we stumbled across Luscious Food. I had a delicious gluten free BLT with turkey. They get their bread from a local bakery. It was decent bread, but I was more excited about the bacon and turkey. Hey! I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.

Risotteria: Later that night we stumbled into an adorable neighborhood. Although we had to wait for about thirty minutes to get a table (at the bar), we beat the rush. By the time we were sitting at our table, there was a list the mile long of people wanting to get some of their delicious eats. To start everything off we had some gluten free bread sticks. This was the first time I’d had breadsticks in over 4 years! They weren’t your typical breadstick, but it was still a fun substitute. I ordered a gluten free, dairy free Panini with chicken and peppers. It was amazingly crispy, yet moist… Oh it was amazing. I washed it down with a gluten free cider. We also ordered a $7 cupcake and a cookie. The cookie was fine, but the cupcake was one of the better cupcakes we tried when we were in NY.


Cosi: The Boyfriend had an insane desire to go to the Apple Store by Central Park before heading to the Lion King on Broadway. It took to long to get from point A to point B, so we had to quickly grab lunch. I spied Cosi down the block so we grabbed a quick bite. I always get their Signature Salad without the cheese.

Tre: I found this Italian restaurant when searching for GF places during our trip. When we got in the neighborhood I realized that we were only a block from Babycakes (see below). We took a pit stop there first, and then headed to Tre for some delicious Italian. There weren’t tons of gluten free options, but I ended up eating some gf penne, garlic, broccoli, and shrimp. Mmmm It was good!

Babycakes: I was desperate to try a couple of the gluten free cupcakes at Babycakes. Erin McKenna is known for her allergy friendly cupcakes. I practically ran from the subway station to grab one and I’m sorry to say it, but I was beyond disappointed. We got a carrot cupcake and a chocolate cupcake. The cake was extremely dry, crumbled all over, and tasted horribly. The frosting was gooey and didn’t taste like frosting… Now, I completely understand that there’s no dairy, gluten, eggs, etc in those cupcakes… but I still expected heaven. Bummer!

Bar Suzette: I am so happy that we happened upon this place in the Chelsea Market. First of all, the Chelsea Market is AMAZING! It was one of my favorite places that we visited. So many cute shops, bakeries, stores. Secondly, I have never had a crepe. Sad, right? Well, Bar Suzette has gluten free crepes! I died and went to heaven after eating their Nutella and Banana crepe. I also had a crepe that was jam packed with chicken and veggies. They have a separate crepe maker and batter just for gluten free people, too!

Brooklyn Mac: I was super excited to eat some gluten and dairy free macaroni and cheese. I talked about it all day. It took me over 20 minutes to decide which delicious dish I would get. That night we were going out to celebrate New Years so we needed something that could be delivered. I called two hours ahead of time to place our order. After about an hour, I had to call and see if they were lost. I was reassured that the delivery boy was on his way. Another 45 minutes later, someone called and told me that we were half a mile outside the delivery radius. I was so angry, but I had such a craving for macaroni that we ended up going back the next day (see Sunday’s post). By the way, I was going to order the Park Slope: vegan cheddar, hamburger, onions, and broccoli. Makes sense why I would want to go back, right? Mmmm.

Vegetarian Ginger: We went to our pre-party with empty tummies and luckily we found a place that had gluten free options just two blocks away. Even though everything is vegetarian, we still enjoyed our food. The boyfriend got General Tso’s (with fried tofu).

Peter’s Restaurant: We went to New York simply for this place. I haven’t had french toast at a restaurant in over 3 years! No one in Madison has real gluten free breakfast foods (no french toast, pancakes, or waffles- unless they’re made by me!). Peter’s was the perfect place to nurse a hang over. We all thoroughly enjoyed our food, me a little more than everyone else. I had GF French toast, eggs, potatoes, and berries. It was amazingly delicious and I could stop smiling the entire time. I swore we would go back for the waffles.
Brooklyn Mac: I’m a sucker for mac’n’cheese so we took a two hour trip (since we found out from the previous day that they didn’t deliver to our area). The boyfriend made a sick joke on the way there that they would be out of gluten free noodles when we got there. Not funny, but guess what? It happened to be true. I almost punched the guys behind the counter I was so angry (and they deserved it- the guys working there were complete tool boxes). So, my choices were limited to salads seeing as they were out of gluten free noodles… Grrr. I ended up getting a 17 dollar salad which was not very exciting.  By the time we got home from our super long train ride everything was cold and wilted L To be honest, I would probably end up going again just to get that damn macaroni dish. I’m a fool. The boyfriend liked his dish though.


Lilli & Loo: After only having Starbucks coffee for breakfast that day by dinner time we were starving! I was thrilled to have a (gluten free) fried spring roll for the first time in 3 years.  The boyfriend wanted to try pork dumplings, which we both were unimpressed with, and then we shared thair fried rice and a chicken sizzling stir fry. It was fun to share our entire meal together for a change!

Tu Lu’s Bakery: We decided to make a trip out of our way just to visit this entirely gluten free bakery. It was a really cute place and their coffee cake was amazing! I wasn’t impressed with their cupcakes (dry), but the cookie tasted like it came straight out of the Nabisco box. It would have been great dipped in a glass of milk.

Peter’s Restaurant: The only duplicate visit to a restaurant on our trip was to Peter’s. I’m a breakfast girl, and had to go back for the waffle. It was amazing and I wish we had a Peter’s at our place. Almost their entire menu is gluten free… They even had a meatloaf! I thought it’d be pushing my luck to go back for a third time later that night 🙂

Sprinkles: We were walking towards the subway when I saw Sprinkles. This wasn’t a planned stop as I had completely forgot about this bakery. However, I remembered that they had a gluten free red velvet cupcake so I yanked the boyfriend into the store before he even knew what was happening. The cupcake was very moist but crumbly. Still one of the better cupcakes I had in NY. This place is so stinkin’ adorable! I love it.

Arepa Bar: We had originally planned on eating here the first night we got to NY, but just like the majority of restaurants in New York the place is tiny and there was a super long wait. We decided we’d go back and get some of my boyfriend’s native homeland food. I have posted about how to make arepas before, but we usually eat them with just eggs and ham. It was so cool to see a variety of fillings, and gave me some good ideas for what to make the next time we have arepitas. The boys ended up getting some tajadas as well (fried plantain). I had to avoid that though because it was made in the same fryer that they fry wheat in.

Tater Tot Hotdish (gluten & dairy free)

12 Jan

When it’s cold outside, there’s a crazy blizzard, and it takes you 4 times longer than usual to drive home, all you want to do is sit on your fanny and eat some comfort food. My go-to comfort food had always been tater tot hotdish. However, going gluten free (and now being dairy free) has made it more difficult to make.

Fret not comfort food loving, gluten free, dairy free friends: Tater Tot Hotdish is still possible!
Preheat Oven to 400
Whatcha Need:
1.5 lbs beef, venison, or turkey meat, browned (and drain the grease if necessary)
1 package of Ore Ida Tater Tots (I used a little more than half of the package)
1 bag  (16 oz) of mixed frozen veggies (I use one with corn, lima beans, green beans, peas, and carrots)
2 c of gluten free chicken broth
2 TBS of soy milk (or regular milk)
1.5-3 TBS of corn starch
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of pepper
pinch of salt

Put your browned (and drained) meat in the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Spread it out evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. If you are a hard-core meat lover, feel free to add more meat! We actually have a lot of venison that I use for hotdishes, so that’s what we used. Sprinkle your frozen veggies on top of the meat. I love having a thick veggie layer, so I use the whole bag. It’s up to you! Then, lay the tots on top of the veggies making sure not to pile them up too high or they won’t brown as nicely, but also making sure to make a complete layer to cover the vegetables.

In a medium saucepan, stir together your broth, soy milk, cornstarch, and spices. Bring them to a boil, constantly stirring. Start out with only 1.5 TBS of your corn starch, and add more (diluted with a little water) as necessary to thicken your “soup”. You want it to be the consistency of a cream of mushroom soup you would buy at the store. If you can do dairy, they make a gluten free cream of mushroom soup that you can just use instead. I have yet to find a dairy free one as well, so I made my own that would work for this dish.

Evenly pour the soup over the tots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop it in the oven. Bake for anywhere between 35-50 minutes, which is long enough for your tots to cook but longer if you want a crispy top. Keep checking it so it doesn’t burn.

I usually eat my Tater Tot Hotdish with Ketchup, but it’s not necessary.

Enjoy! (Especially if it’s a winter wonderland outside)

Iron Cupcake 5

24 Oct

So I realize this is extremely late but I wanted to get some pictures up and my boyfriend just fixed my computer over the weekend.

The last Iron Cupcake was on September 25th. The theme was Late Summer Fruit. I attempted all sorts of cupcakes: cantaloupe, fig, cherry, apple, pear and pomegranate, peach, and even a late summer sangria. The cupcakes were all okay, but none of them knocked my co-workers socks off for a competition…. that is until I brought in a pumpkin spice latte cupcake. I made a pumpkin espresso cupcake, brushed the cupcake with espresso, and then topped it with an espresso cream cheese frosting. The whole thing was topped with a drizzle of caramel. Just like a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.

I’m proud to announce that I took home another first place win! I will probably be competing in November for the caramel challenge and will be competing in Milwaukee for the very last Iron Cupcake Milwaukee. Learn more about that here! Would love your support and vote at the chance to win a 500 gift card! If you have an idea of which WI landmark or a flavor I should do, let me know 🙂

Dessert Bar

23 Oct

One of my good friends got married on October 1st. I was asked to do her desserts and decided that a dessert bar would be a idea! Lots of little desserts to choose from and everyone can find something that they like.

Although it was a lot of work, it was tons of fun and people really enjoyed themselves.

A friend that I met at my business class is opening a decorating rental company. I will post her information as soon as she finishes her website. She has the most beautiful pieces that could be used for almost anything! I was fortunate enough to use some of her pieces.

For the dessert bar I made cherry cheesecake shooters, oreo truffles, cake balls, carrot cupcakes, lemon raspberry cupcakes, key lime cupcakes, s’more sticks, and chocolate covered strawberries. Overall I made about 800 desserts!

Sugar Cookies

22 Oct

I haven’t had a sugar cookie in 2 years. Today I decided it was time to change that. I have had the worst luck trying to bake gluten free cookies, but today I successfully made what the boyfriend is calling “the best cookie ever.” He actually told me not to change a thing in the recipe because he loved it. (Don’t tell him I told you, but he ate 5 cookies in about 10 minutes)

These cookies were a little chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside.

I adapted the recipe from my Better Homes & Garden Cookbook and actually halved it. I’m posting what I actually used, but you could double it and it should work!

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Sugar Cookies

Whatcha Need:
Preheat oven to 300

1/4 c butter, softened (I used dairy free Earth Balance)
1/4 c shortening
1 c sugar
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn cream of tartar
1/4 c + 1/8 c white rice flour
1/4 c brown rice flour
1/4 c sweet rice flour
1/4 tspn xanthan gum
1/2 tspn vanilla
1.5 egg yolks (about 1/8 c of egg yolk)

With a handheld or stand mixer, eat your butter and shortening on high for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar and beat until well combined. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together your gluten free flours and xanthan gum. Add this to your butter mixture and beat until combined. Your dough is going to still be crumbly. I thought I had done something horribly wrong, but the dough still held together when it baked!

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough into balls; I think mine were about 1.5 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes. They shouldn’t be at all brown, but the edges should be set. I think the less time you cook them, the more chewy they will be.

Let them cool about 1-2 minutes on your cookie sheet and then move them to a cooling rack to cool. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of sugar.


Goodbye Gluten Bakeshop cupcakes now available at Metcalfe’s (Hilldale Mall, Madison)

12 Oct

My gluten-free cupcakes are now available at Metcalfe’s Market Hilldale! Please share the news with your friends, and of course, stop by and get one! =)

From  Metcalfe’s FB page post:

“New at Metcalfe’s Hilldale: Goodbye Gluten Bakeshop. If you’re watching your wheat, you’ve heard of Nikki’s gluten-free cupcakes (her award-winning Pumpkin Spice Latte cupcake is amazing). Come see firsthand what everybody’s talking about! We have lots of yummy flavors to choose from.”

Free cupcake samples today!!! (Metcalfes @ Hilldale Mall)

2 Oct

Today I’m giving out free Goodbye Gluten Bakeshop cupcake samples at Metcalfe’s (Hilldale Mall) from 11am – 3pm!

You can now also buy individual cupcakes at Metcalfe’s! So exciting!!! 😉