Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pineapple Watermelon Water

On our latest cruise on the Disney Dream, the crew had set up a drink station where you board the ship in Nassau and Castaway Cay.  I was really impressed by the pineapple watermelon water, so I decided to make some at home. 

This recipe couldn't get any easier.  I put watermelon and pineapple in a glass carafe, and filled it with water.  I purchased fresh pineapple and seedless watermelon chunks from The Fresh Market, so I didn't even need to cut up the fruit.   

After a couple of hours in the refrigerator, my pineapple watermelon water was ready to drink.  It has such a nice subtle flavor, and I love that it gets my daughter Emma excited about drinking water.  We don't drink juice or soda, so this is a nice change of pace in our house from plain water.

Pineapple Watermelon Water


Fresh pineapple -- cut into chunks
Watermelon -- seeds removed and cut into cubes


Place pineapple and watermelon in a large pitcher, and fill with water.  Place in the refrigerator for a few hours before drinking.

Recipe Notes

As you drink your pineapple watermelon water, continue to fill your pitcher with water for 3 or 4 days, until the fruit begins to lose its flavor.  I considered buying an infusion pitcher, but my glass carafe works just fine for this recipe.  Occasionally, a piece of fruit ends up in our drinks, but no one is complaining.

We also love Watermelon Basil Water, but this recipe involves much more work.  You can view it here.

What are your favorite infused waters?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

50's Prime Time Café - Disney's Hollywood Studios

This blog post has been a long time coming!  Yesterday, we spent the day at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and I finally remembered to take some pictures of 50's Prime Time Cafe.  

I don't think we have eaten there since I started my blog, but this restaurant is a favorite of mine at Hollywood Studios.  

50's Prime Time Cafe serves classic American comfort food like pot roast, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, and fried chicken.  

The 50's decor is definitely a blast from the past, and the servers always make it such a fun experience.  Be sure to mind your manners and keep your elbow off the table!  

You may be chastised for having your cell phone out, but you are allowed to watch TV while you dine.  The black-and-white television clips are from popular shows from the 1950's.  

50s Prime Time Cafe at Hollywood Studios -- fried chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and collard greens

I think I first learned about the gluten free fried chicken at 50s Prime Time Cafe from my friend Sarah's blog, Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free at WDW.  The first time I ate it, it was like a little taste of heaven!  The fried chicken was perfectly crispy, and seasoned just right.  I loved it so much, I dragged my family back two more times within a couple of months last year.

The fried chicken is usually served with garlic mashed potatoes and collard greens with bacon, but one time I dared to order chicken and french fries.  I will definitely never do that again, because there is only so much fried food I can eat in one sitting, and I really like the mashed potatoes.

If you are interested in having the gluten free fried chicken at 50's Prime Time Cafe, you should probably email special diets at special.diets@disneyworld.com at least 14 days in advance to let them know that you would like to order the chicken.  It takes a while to prepare, and advance notice gives the chefs time to make sure all the ingredients are on hand.

I have been able to order the fried chicken three times without contacting special diets, twice with no notice, and once I stopped in an hour before our reservation to request the fried chicken, but others have not been so lucky.  Some of my blog readers have been told by the chefs at 50's Prime Time Cafe that plenty of advance notice is needed to order gluten free fried chicken, others have recently given an hour or several hours notice, while some readers have given no notice and been able to get the chicken.  Even if you contacted special diets ahead of time, it's a good idea to stop in at the restaurant at least an hour before your reservation to give the chefs a heads up that you want to order the fried chicken.

August 18, 2015 Update

50's Prime Time Cafe recently adopted an allergy-friendly menu.  Gluten free options include:

  • Appetizers - Grandpa's crab cake, Cousin Amy's iceberg lettuce wedge
  • Entrees - Dad's stuffed pork chop, chicken caesar salad, Mom's meatless meatballs over spaghetti and basil marinara sauce, Cousin Amy's traditional meatloaf, chicken pot pie
  • Desserts - S'mores, Chef's special chocolate brownie with ice cream

Gluten free options on the kids' menu include:

  • Appetizers - garden salad, vegetable platter
  • Mickey Check Meals - Goofy's salmon served with mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots; Mom's meatless meatballs over spaghetti and basil marinara sauce; Grandpa's crispy baked chicken served with mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots
  • Entrees - Mickey's chicken pot pie
  • Dessert - Fruit salad, Jr Chef's special chocolate brownie with ice cream, yogurt parfait

Fried chicken is not listed as a gluten free option on the new allergy-friendly menu, but I have heard that the chefs are still making it.  Try and give them notice that you would like to order it by contacting special diets or by stopping in at the restaurant at least an hour before you plan to dine.

A big thank you to blog reader Lori for sending me pictures of 50's Prime Time Cafe's new allergy-friendly menu.

You can view 50's Prime Time Cafe's menu,  and make advance dining reservations on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at 50's Prime Time Cafe?

Disney Popcorn

Did you know that Disney popcorn is vegan and gluten free?  Well, it is, and it's a snack that you can enjoy in every Disney park.  

Yesterday, I had popcorn at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  As we walked down Hollywood Boulevard, I found three popcorn stands to buy it at.  

I had read about Disney popcorn being gluten free and vegan on the Disney Food Blog, but I always double check before ordering anything when I eat out.  The cast member I spoke to got out the allergy binder, and showed me the pages for the popcorn (popcorn oil) and caramel popcorn.  

One of my blog readers had asked about the caramel popcorn at Hollywood Studios on my Facebook page, and I am happy to report that it is gluten free as well.  It contains popcorn, brown sugar, water, corn syrup, baking soda, and vanilla.  

I am not a huge fan of traditional popcorn, but I have always enjoyed Disney popcorn.  It has a nice buttery taste, and is perfectly salted and always tastes fresh.

You can read more about Disney popcorn here on the Disney Food Blog. 

May 4, 2014 Update

I stopped by Big Top Treats in the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom to see if the caramel popcorn was gluten free.  It turns out that ingredient-wise, it does not contain gluten, but it has an allergy warning that says it is manufactured on shared equipment that processes wheat and peanuts.  The cast member I spoke to showed me this page from their allergy binder.  I must admit that I was a little sad, because I was hoping to try it. 

I am happy to report though, that I found caramel corn, chocolate caramel popcorn, cheddar cheese popcorn, chocolate cheddar popcorn, and confetti popcorn at Main Street Confectionery in the Magic Kingdom.  None of them contain gluten or have an allergy warning that they are manufactured on shared equipment with wheat/gluten.

September 16, 2015 Update

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that Disney World and Disneyland are switching to Pop Secret popcorn.  I checked Pop Secret's website for allergen information.  None of their products contain gluten, and they are packaged in a facility that is free from peanuts and tree nuts.  Pop Secret products also look to be soy free, but some contain dairy.  There is no word on when this change is taking place, so it is a good idea to ask to see an allergy binder before ordering popcorn at Disney.

September 23, 2015 Update

New information from Disney - the new Pop Secret popcorn at Disney will contain corn, coconut, canola blend oil (produced in a facility that produces peanut oil), and salt.

Mama Melrose's - Disney's Hollywood Studios

Yesterday, we had dinner at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano in Disney's Hollywood Studios.  

Before we moved to Orlando, and PC (pre-celiac), my husband and I used to eat at Mama Melrose's every year during our annual trip to Disney World  in January.  

When our server came to the table last night and asked about my "allergy," when I said gluten, her response was "oh, that's easy."  This is why I love to dine at Disney World.  Chef Royal came out to discuss the gluten free options on the menu with me, which were plentiful. 

My meal started with GNI rolls served with butter.  They were well heated and tasted pretty good.  

For an appetizer, I chose the fresh mozzarella and vine-ripened tomatoes.  It was very good once I added some extra salt and removed the onions.  My daughters certainly loved it, because they kept begging me for more.  I could have also ordered the bresaola salad, the mixed greens salad, and the Caesar salad (minus the crouton) for an appetizer.  My daughter Emma ordered the Caesar salad as her meal, and ate every last bite.  I think she liked it!  

Chef Royal recommended the pork osso bucco for an entree, which he said was naturally gluten free and the best dish on the menu, but I had my heart set on the wild mushroom flatbread.  I was really happy with my choice.  The wild mushroom flatbread, served on Udi's pizza crust, was perfectly cooked, and I loved the mix of roasted cremini and button mushrooms with the garlic-shallot spread, cheese, and balsamic reduction. 

I could have also ordered the other flatbread options on the menu, the Pollo alla Cacciatora, which is naturally gluten free, the charred strip steak (with vegetables instead of macaroni and cheese), or the chicken campanelle and other pasta dishes with gluten free pasta.  

For dessert, Chef Royal recommended the gluten free chocolate cake, which was a decadently rich and fudgy cake served with chocolate sauce.  I tried a bite, then shared the rest with my daughters.  They both said it was very good, and I enjoyed it as well, but would have liked to see it served with some ice cream or whipped cream, and berries.  

When I am pretty full, I prefer to eat ice cream for dessert, so I ordered the spumoni gelato, a combination of vanilla, chocolate, and pistachio gelati.  It wasn't the best gelato I have ever had, but it was the perfect dessert after a big meal.  

June 28, 2014 Update

Our plan today was to eat at a quick-service restaurant at Hollywood Studios, but food snobs one, two, and three, also known as Mitch, Kate, and Emma (my husband and daughters), decided that they wanted to go to Mama Melrose's.  Thankfully, we were able to walk in around 3:45, and get a table after a short wait.

I was hoping to order the pork osso bucco that Chef Royal recommended on our last visit, but it is no longer on the menu.  We decided to try the Braciola Di Maiale, a herb-roasted pork chop served with creamy polenta, swiss chard, and fig marsala sauce.  The pork was so tender, and cooked to the perfect temperature.  The fig marsala sauce was so good, I could have licked my plate clean.  I have a fondness for sweet sauces, and it complemented the pork and polenta perfectly.  The creamy polenta was just heavenly.  I really need to figure out a good polenta recipe to make at home, because I enjoy it so much when I eat out.  The only part of this dish I wasn't crazy about was the swiss chard, but I am not sure I have ever met a piece of swiss chard that I like.  It's just not my thing. 

We also ordered the wild mushroom flatbread again, but I didn't like it as much this time around.  I think it had a little too much of the garlic-shallot spread on it, which made it a little soggy. 

For dessert, we chose the chocolate cake and the spumoni gelato again.  I had forgotten how good the chocolate cake was.  I enjoyed my ice cream, but I wanted to steal my daughters' cake!  :-)

June 19, 2015 Update

Mama Melrose's now has an allergy-friendly menu that covers the top 8 food allergies.  The following dishes are safe for people with gluten/wheat allergies:

Appetizers - fresh mozzarella and vine-ripened tomatoes, mixed greens salad, seared fennel-crusted tuna

Entrees - Charred Strip Steak (five-cheese macaroni with pancetta, aged balsamic shallot butter, and a Chianti wine reduction), Seafood Arrabbiata (shrimp, mussels, calamari, and fish of the day tossed with spicy seafood sauce served on pasta), Saltimbocca (pork tenderloin served with prosciutto, sage, fontina cheese, Tuscan mashed potatoes, broccolini, and lemon-caper sauce), Pasta alla Vodka (pancetta and sweet onions finished with tomato-basil sauce, cream, vodka, and Pecorino Romano; option to add chicken or shrimp), Chicken or Shrimp Pasta (shrimp or wood-grilled chicken and pasta tossed in a four-cheese sauce with broccoflower , sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and sweet onions), Fish of the Day (shrimp risotto with brandy cream sauce topped with preserved lemon and tarragon), Primavera (fava beans, mushrooms, and carrots finished with Parmesan and truffle oil served on pasta)

Desserts  - cheesecake, chocolate or vanilla gelato, flourless chocolate cake, Rice Dreams vanilla nondairy ice cream, Tofutti nondairy vanilla or chocolate ice cream

You can read my friend Sarah's recent review on her blog Gluten-Free & Dairy Free at WDW.  Even though they are not listed on the allergy-friendly menu as safe for people with gluten/wheat allergies, Mama Melrose's has Udi's pizza crusts to make gluten free flatbreads.

You can read more about Mama Melrose's, make advance dining reservations, and view their menu on Disney's website here.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Mama Melrose's?  

Friday, April 25, 2014

Raphsodic Bakery

Raphsodic Bakery is closing for good.  The last day they will be open for business is October 23, 2015.  

Earlier this month, I had a chance to sample some gluten free biscotti from Raphsodic Bakery at the Gluten-Free Living Conference

Raphsodic Bakery is a 100% dedicated vegan facility located on N. Mills Avenue in Orlando.  I was excited to see that they were one of the vendors at the Gluten-Free Living Conference.  I have always loved their gluten free double chocolate marzipan biscotti.  They are probably the best biscotti I have ever had, even better than the gluten-filled biscotti I used to eat PC (pre-celiac).  I also loved the cinnamon sugar and apple spice biscotti they brought to the conference.

Raphsodic does sell baked good that are not gluten free, but they are kept separate from the gluten free baked goods, and the owner, who has Celiac, told me the steps they take in the kitchen to avoid cross contamination.  

Raphsodic sells vegan gluten free pizza dough mix, cookie mix, biscuit dough mix, and scone mix.  

They also make their own preserves, marmalade and jam.  

Raphsodic Bakery can also bake you a custom cake, or an order of double chocolate marzipan biscotti with at least 24 hours notice.  :-)

I came home with a big box of gluten free vegan baked goods today!  

I was just going to buy biscotti, but the almond marzipan brownie was hard to pass up.  I have a weakness for both chocolate and marzipan!  

I bought six cinnamon sugar biscotti, and one lone biscotti that I think is cherry and chocolate with some kind of nut in it.  I store Raphsodic biscotti in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.  

I enjoyed all of the baked goods I bought today, but the cinnamon sugar biscotti were my favorite.  

Raphsodic Bakery also sells gluten free vegan scones, cookies, cupcakes, and a variety of other baked goods.  I have purchased their cupcakes in the past, but have found them to be hit or miss.  Keep in mind, I do eat dairy, and rarely enjoy vegan frosting.

You can view Raphsodic Bakery's website here.

What are your favorite baked goods at Raphsodic Bakery?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

I took my daughters to dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Baldwin Park tonight.  My husband has been in China all week, and I am getting tired of cooking and cleaning up.  Usually I do the cooking, and Mitch does the cleaning, so my motivation to cook drops when he is out of town.  

When we first bought our house in Baldwin Park, we used to eat at Five Guys about once a week.  Now, we rarely eat there, because we seldom eat out.  Typically, I cook dinner at home six days a week now that I am no longer teaching, and on the other day, we usually eat at Disney or in Winter Park.  Plus, we have been trying to eat healthier and promote healthier food choices with our children, which is obviously working, as evidenced by my daughters' reaction to me saying we were going to Five Guys -- "That is junk food!"  Too funny!  

The Five Guys in Baldwin Park does a great job with food allergies.  Every time I ask for a burger without a bun, I am asked if it is because of a food allergy.  Five Guys does not offer a gluten free bun, but they do offer a lettuce wrap.  I chose a burger in a bowl instead.  

My burger came out in a separate bag than my daughters' food.  

This is the bowl option for burgers without a bun.  

When you order a hamburger at Five Guys, you receive two patties unless you ask for the little hamburger, which is just one.  I have actually gotten used to eating hamburgers without bread in the last six years.  Even when restaurants offer gluten free buns, I find myself eating little of the bread.  

I enjoy the burgers at Five Guys, but the fresh-cut fries are my favorite part!  We order a large fries, which is enough for our family of four.  The cup is always overflowing, and they put fries in the bag too.  Five Guys does not sell any other fried food, so no worries about cross contamination of the fryer.  On Five Guys' website, on the frequently asked questions page, they address food allergies.  Their answer to the question "Is Five Guys Gluten-Free?" is "Our buns contain eggs, soy, dairy and gluten."  Everything else is gluten free.  Five Guys is not safe for people with a peanut allergy.  The fries are cooked in peanut oil, and they serve free peanuts in the restaurant.  

After dinner, we walked around the downtown area of Baldwin Park.  I do like to support the businesses in our neighborhood whenever possible.  I just wish there were more gluten-friendly restaurants in the area.  We usually end up driving to neighboring Winter Park when we are in the mood to eat out, but not willing to drive to Disney World.

The Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Baldwin Park is located on New Broad Street and is open every day from 11am to 10pm.  You can view Five Guys store locator here.

Have you eaten at a Five Guys Burgers and Fries?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Landscape of Flavors Breakfast - Disney's Art of Animation Resort

I was really in the mood for gluten free beignets at Disney World this morning, but I resisted, and tried something new for breakfast.  I have been to Landscape of Flavors in Disney's Art of Animation Resort for lunch and dinner, but never for breakfast.  You can read my previous review here.  

I love the theming of Disney's newest resort.  Everything is so bright and colorful!    

Landscape of Flavors is a quick service restaurant with several food stations.  Right away, I found a cast member who was not serving food, and asked to speak to a chef.  

Chef Tony offered me options from every station, like gluten free pancakes, waffles, and french toast.  

On my previous visit for lunch, the chef I spoke to mentioned that he could make me an omelet, since breakfast service was just ending.  

I was a little shocked about the gluten free french toast.  I don't know if I have ever been offered french toast at a Disney restaurant before.  Chef Tony told me that it is made with Udi's bread.  

I ended up ordering what I came for - the gluten free character waffles.  At first, I was a little disappointed that Landscape of Flavors is not using Cup4Cup Pancake & Waffle Mix like Port Orleans.  You can read my review of gluten free Mickey waffles made with Cup4Cup here.  

Chef Tony told me that the chefs at Landscape of Flavors use a blend of Bob's Red Mill and Namaste Pancake & Waffle Mix, and that the waffles are made on separate waffle irons to avoid cross contamination. 

My Flounder and Ariel waffles might be the best gluten free waffles that I have had on Disney property! 

They were slightly crispy on the outside, and perfectly cooked on the inside, just like I like them.  They tasted great dipped in some melted butter and syrup.  Plus, look at how cute they are!  The turkey bacon I ordered with them was pretty amazing.  I wish all Disney breakfast spots served it.  Chef Tony also offered me a choice of chicken sausage and fresh fruit, but I had eaten a bowl of strawberries at home before taking my daughters to school.  I was impressed with the fruit selection at Landscape of Flavors.  The raspberries and kiwi looked amazing!  Next time, I might order some fresh fruit with my waffles too.  

After my amazing breakfast, I headed over to Fort Wilderness to take a long walk in the shade.  On mornings like this, I am extra thankful to live so close to Disney World!

You can view Landscape of Flavor's website here.  With my Tables in Wonderland discount, my three waffles and turkey bacon cost less than $6!

Thanks to Chef Tony for making this an awesome dining experience!  I had my food in hand about 5 minutes after walking in the restaurant, and he cheerfully answered all of my questions.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Landscape of Flavors?