Gluten Free Nashville

by Katie Eckeberger

Mexican Wedding Cookies September 27, 2009

mexican wedding cookiesWith a lot of GF baking, you have to adapt the recipe so that the product isn’t extremely dry or crumbly or GROSS. But this Mexican Wedding Cookie recipe by Martha Stewart is perfectly fine just by substituting your favorite GF all-purpose flour. Give ’em a try!

1 C. pecan halves

2 C. confectioners’ sugar

2 C. GF all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks room temperature, unsalted butter

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a food processor, combine pecans with 1/4 C. confectioners’ sugar; pulse until nuts are finely ground. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar-nut mixture, flour, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 3/4 C. confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the flour mixture, and beat on low speed until the dough just comes together.

Roll dough into 3/4-inch balls; place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are pale on top and lightly browned on the bottom (lift with spatula to check), 10-12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place remaining 1 C. confectioners’ sugar in a shallow bowl, and roll cookies in it to coat completely. Cookies can be kept in an airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed or parchment paper, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Live well!



Cafe Latte : ) August 18, 2009

For the past two months, I’ve been working at a local coffee shop called Cafe Latte in the Cool Springs Galleria (Franklin, TN – also a location in Murfreesboro).

First of all, we have GREAT drinks. I recommend anyone to come there.

It may not be the first thought of a GF consumer to worry about beverages, but its especially important to be concerned with what’s in your coffee. It used to be as simple as a cup-a-joe, but now coffee involves milk or soy, flavored syrups, espresso and mysterious powders. With everything going into the drinks, there’s always a possibility of hidden gluten ingredients or cross-contamination, so I decided to look into it…

The products Cafe Latte uses are from the following companies:

Big Train (powders for smoothies, chai and frozen coffees)

Torani Flavored Syrups

Ghirardelli (ground white and semi-sweet chocolate, caramel sauce)

Jet Smoothies

I have personally contacted these companies and all have verified for me whether their products are or are not GF and good news! They’re ALL GLUTEN FREE!!!

Big Train products are GF, but are not completely void of cross-contamination.

There are only 4 flavors of Torani syrups that contain gluten (Toasted Marshmallow, Sugar-free French Vanilla, Sugar-free Classic Caramel and Classic Caramel). All other flavors are GF.

Jet Smoothies and Ghirardelli powders are GF and contaminate free.

I would not recommend someone who is extremely gluten intolerant to have anything but our fresh brewed coffee, or a latte with no flavors. There is too much powder dust flying through the air, re-use of dishes, and drops of liquid flying around to risk your health. But for the most part, Cafe Latte is a safe place to get a blended mocha freezuccino, a mango madness smoothie or a chai tea latte. And of course our drinks are delicious!  (I recommend and iced soy coconut latte or amaretto and steamed milk in your coffee – delish!)

So, stop by the coffee stand in the Galleria or the NEW Cafe Latte Coffee Co. in Murfreesboro and rest assured you’re gonna get a GREAT GF drink!

live well,



MSNBC Article July 13, 2009

Celiac Disease Cases Quadruple in U.S.

NEW YORK – In the United States, celiac disease is four times more common now than it was in the 1950s, according to a study by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Mayo Clinic study also found that people who didn’t know they had celiac disease were nearly four times more likely than people without celiac disease to have died during the 45 years of follow-up.

“Some studies have suggested that for every person who has been diagnosed with celiac disease, there are likely 30 more who have it but are not diagnosed,” senior author Dr. Joseph Murray noted in a statement from the Mayo Clinic.

“And given the nearly quadrupled mortality risk for silent celiac disease we have shown in our study, getting more patients and health professionals to consider the possibility of celiac disease is important,” Murray added.

Celiac disease, which is the intolerance of wheat protein (gluten), resulting in symptoms such as frequent diarrhea and extreme weight loss, “is emerging as a substantial public health concern in the United States,” Murray and colleagues warn in the latest issue of the journal Gastroenterology.

The hygiene hypothesis
In an interview with Reuters Health, Dr. Alberto Rubio-Tapia, who was involved in the research, said, “The reasons for the increasing prevalence of celiac disease over time will need further study. The most likely explanation may be environmental.”

One possible explanation is the hygiene hypothesis — the theory that the increasingly germ-free surroundings of modern life are actually contributing to an increase in allergies and asthma and abnormal immune system reactions.

“Recent data from Europe support this theory in celiac disease,” Rubio-Tapia pointed out.

“However,” he continued, “I think that the ‘hygiene hypothesis’ is likely only a partial explanation because celiac disease is a global health problem that affects both developed and developing countries.” Also, there is evidence that certain infections may increase the risk of celiac disease in genetically predisposed individuals.

Additionally, because celiac disease is triggered by gluten, changes in gluten such as patterns of consumption, processing or preparation of gluten-containing foods might be involved.

Ultimately, Rubio-Tapia concluded, “the increasing prevalence of celiac disease over time may be the result of several of (these) factors acting together to cause damage of the intestine in genetically susceptible persons.”

For their study, the Mayo Clinic team tested blood samples gathered at Warren Air Force Base (AFB) in Wyoming between 1948 and 1954 for the antibody that people with celiac disease produce in reaction to gluten. They compared those blood test results with those from two recently collected sets from Olmsted County, Minnesota. One matched the ages of those from the 1948 testing at the time of the blood draw, and the other matched their birth years.

Researchers found that young people today are 4.5 times apt to have celiac disease than young people were in the 1950s, while those whose birth years matched the Warren AFB participants were four times more likely to have the disease.

Similar increases in cases of celiac disease have been reported in Europe.


Jason’s Deli : ) May 18, 2009

My husband and I eat at Jason’s Deli a lot! Their food is always fresh, delicious and they’re often open after other restaurants are closed : )

On our last visit I finally decided to really check out the allergy info and even though some things were disappointing (some soups, potato chips and other prepared foods), I was pleasantly surprised at how much really was available to the GF community. I won’t list everything on here but I will mention a few good options such as the tuna salad plate, fruit plate with creamy fruit dip, Texas Style Spud with BBQ beef and red beans and rice!

Now, if you are gluten intolerant like I am and don’t require a completely GF diet, there are more options for you. For instance, I can eat some of the non-GF soups and the potato chips and be ok. (My favorite thing to eat is the Spud Au Broc – a HUGE baked potato smothered in broccoli cheese soup, cheese, bacon, green onions and steamed broccoli. Sorry hardcore GF-ers but the broccoli soup is not GF) ***PLEASE make sure you know what your body can handle before you try some non-GF items!***

So if you’ve never tried Jason’s Deli before I reccommend it, but I also reccommend that you know your allergy info before you go and make sure the person that takes your order knows that your food canNOT touch ANY gluten if you’re super sensitive. The foods are prepared in close proximity. We have 3 locations in Middle Tennesse – Nashville, Franklin and Murfreesboro. Check out all the other locations in case you’re traveling.

keep on livin’



Matteo’s Pizzeria : ) May 3, 2009

Matteo’s in Cool Springs offers gourmet GF pizza!!!

I fould Matteo’s after searching the Gluten Free Geek’s website. His review of Matteo’s was not very good, but I couldn’t help but try it! My husband and I were both quite satisfied.

They offer 8 and 10 inch GF pizza’s with toppings at 50 and 75 cents respectively. Not only are the prices good ($6.95 & $9.25), but they actually tasted GREAT! I had the 10 in. with italian sausage, garlic and mushrooms, and my husband had a 10 in. with sausage, black olives and onions. Both were fantastic! I’m not gonna lie… you can tell it’s GF crust, but it’s far better than any GF crust I’ve made from the store. And of course the factors of convenience and price win out!

I DEFINITELY recommend Matteo’s and I look forward to future pizza parties with friends! I also recommend stopping by Stogie’s next door to grab some GF beer or cider. Check out this facebook group that has more info about GF beers.



Swanky’s Taco Shop : ) May 2, 2009

Swanky’s has two locations in Germantown and Franklin and has a few delicious gluten-free options.

Unfortunately the corn chips and tortillas are fried in the same oil as the flour tortillas, but I spoke with the manager and he assured me that any seasonings they use are all natural and do not contain gluten. He also suggested that GF customers make sure they let a manager know of their needs. They can put foil on the grill and use soft corn tortillas to ensure that your meal is safe.

Don’t go for the chips and salsa or hard shell tacos if you have a serious allergy, but if you really need a soft shell taco or quesadilla, I would definitely recommend Swanky’s. It’s better than your standard burrito/taco fast food restaurant, and the management communicated a sensitivity to people with a gluten allergy.

Interesting side note: Our waitress was only vaguely familiar with the allergy. We were discussing it with her and she mentioned that she’d heard of it when she worked at Outback Steakhouse. She said that the managers there just gave her a menu to pass out, but never explained the allergy to her. So, take caution when eating at Outback! They do have many GF options, but there are things to look out for even on that menu, and apparently the wait staff isn’t completely educated on the allergy.

Check out Swanky’s website to view the menu, find locations and to check out all the great events they have going on.

TIP: Inform your server that you want a RESPECT card. With it, you can earn a free meal after you’ve spent $100, but you HAVE to ask!