Happy Autumn Moon

We had a very fun autumn moon weekend which is going to carry over into next weekend when we get to celebrate again with some friends.  On Saturday we celebrated with some of Katrine’s China family which was wonderful as usual.  Both girls light up when they are with these girls.  Then on Sunday we had our moon cakes at home which meant two very happy girls.  To top it off, Katrine and I went out to watch the eclipse.  We got to see some of it before the clouds rolled in.  Wishing you all a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

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Oh, we also did our lantern parade which is a favourite of the girls.
Oh, we also did our lantern parade which is a favourite of the girls.
All ready for the eclipse.
All ready for the eclipse.

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Gluten Free at the Resorts

Port Orleans:

I made sure that we took a specific trip to this resort.  It was like the time that Glenn and I went to New Orleans.  While there we went to Café du Mond.  He had his coffee and those famous beignets and I watched.  No beignets for me.  Then we stayed here on our last visit and Glenn and Katrine shared beignets as I watched.  No beignets for me.

Well, 10 years after that trip to New Orleans I finally had my chance.  While prepping for the trip I discovered that Port Orleans French Quarter had created their own recipe for GF beignets.  Obviously that made a stop there necessary.  Upon arriving and placing my order the cashier directed me to speak with the chef himself who made me a fresh GF batch of anticipated fabulousness.  Damn those were some good beignets.  They were light, airy and covered with powdered sugar.  Like I mean, my fingers got whiter with every bite.  Glenn and the girls split one order of regular beignets while I savoured each and every bite as it danced across my taste buds.  To top it off, the chef brought me the recipe so that I can make them at home for Mardi Gras.

Thank you Disney for bringing this particular culinary dream to life.

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Coronado Springs:

Business Lounge- When we notified Disney that we were coming to the resort and staying at the business class level they took my food issues serious.  As part of the business level, you have access to the lounge for continental breakfast and snacks.  They made sure that there were cookies or brownies available for me each evening.  For breakfast there was always soymilk, Rice chex cereal packs and muffins.  Plus, they had buns or bread for me which were accompanied by a dedicated toaster that was pulled out when I arrived and boxed back up underneath the counter when I was done.  To top it off, the staff were lovely.

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Siesta Pool Bar and Grill- On our last lazy morning at the resort we had 4 quick service credits left.  It was a gorgeous morning so we decided to eat poolside.  The menu posted at this quick service location had clearly marked GF options.  To top it off, the food was hot and yummy.

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Grand Floridian:

Our final night in Disney we went for one last character meal.  This time we got to meet Cinderella, Prince Charming and the highlight – her stepmother and stepsisters.  The charcters were amazing.  I was basically chastised by Lady Tremaine because “A woman of a certain age, should always wear a respectable high collar.”  Nope, tank top doesn’t meet that description.  The stepsisters tried to convince the girls that they should come and do Cinderella’s chores.  Elspeth almost joined in when the prince and Cinderella waltzed but then changed her mind.  We all left with a smile on our faces.

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Again the chef walked me through each and every buffet item as well as checking to make sure that there was nothing that I wanted to order from the back.  The one thing that I would say is my options were a bit fewer because I can’t have shellfish or nuts and there were yummy looking GF options that had those in them.  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed my meal which was topped of with a made for me Tofutti ice cream sandwich with Mickey sprinkles.

More warm buns specially delivered just for me on request.
More warm buns specially delivered just for me on request.

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This buffet had a lot of kid friendly options too.  The girls enjoyed the chilled strawberry soup but you can tell it was not to Glenn’s liking.  Plus, they had gummy candies at the dessert station.  Katrine used hers to act out the story of Cinderella while waiting to meet the final stepsister.

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Step mother and sisters facing the blue prince and yellow Cinderella.  This was the shoe fits part of the story.
Step mother and sisters facing the blue prince and yellow Cinderella. This was the shoe fits part of the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On exiting we walked past a work of art….in chocolate.  A chocolate replica of Cinderella’s carriage was on display and it was too lovely to eat.

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Gluten Free at Magic Kingdom – Part 2

This post is all about Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom.  We did both types of meals here and I would definitely recommend that if you plan to do a quick service lunch that you make a reservation.

The restaurant itself is a work of art.  All of the details have been thought out.  Just let the photos tell the story.

The front door.
The front door.

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Check out the ceilings.
Check out the ceilings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick- As you enter the castle, you join the line to order.  It runs down a hall lined with suits of armour – that talk! “Ahh, maybe that one will win the master’s heart.”  “Yawn.”  It put smiles on the girls’ faces. Then you round the corner into the study.  You actually enter your order yourself at little computer terminals set in piles of books.  I can see how this would be intimidating for some and I think that constitutes some of the line.  That said, I loved it.  You can see a photo of each menu item.  Plus, I knew what I could eat simply by checking off the items that I can’t eat.

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Ordering terminals
Ordering terminals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have placed your order you enter the main diningroom.  You chose where you would like to eat – the main ballroom, the music box room or the west wing.  We ate here this time.  Katrine loved it but it was a bit intense for Elspeth.  Sitting you could hear the rumbling thunder and see the portrait switch between the prince and the beast.

Food?  This had to be one of the best sandwiches EVER!!  I don’t usually like mayo or arugula on a sandwich but I simply never had it on the right sandwich.  And the bread, ooohhhh.  They used millet bread which was toasted to perfection.  Add in the side of crispy fries and that puffiest of cream puffs.  Now this was a dynamically delicious lunch.

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Table –

We had dinner in the ballroom near the floor to ceiling windows.  It was even snowing outside.  Don’t see that everyday in Florida let alone in the summer.  🙂  There is definitely a schedule but at least once during dinner the trumpets sound and “our host” the Beast is escorted across the diningroom.  Don’t worry, because at the end of the meal you get to have a meet and greet with the Beast himself so that you can say thank you for hosting the feast.

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The table is beautiful.  Each napkin was rolled up into a red rose.  The girls were tickled pink to each receive a rose (even if they didn’t last long).  They also really enjoyed the fact that the dessert selection rolled up on a dessert cart.  They got to oogle ever possible dessert before making their selection.  Did we try the grey stuff?  Well I didn’t but the rest did and reported that it was delicious and they didn’t even ask the dishes!

Warm rolls...yup, ate them all.
Warm rolls…yup, ate them all.
Now those were some crispy, fresh Pommes Frites.
Now those were some crispy, fresh Pommes Frites.
My first ever GF cream puff.
My first ever GF cream puff.
The filling oozed out of it.
The filling oozed out of it.
Here is the dessert cart.
Here is the dessert cart.

Gluten Free at Magic Kingdom- Part 1

 

 

We ate at a lot of different restaurants in the Magic Kingdom on this trip.

Snacks:

Plaza Ice Cream Parlour, Main Street – This is an amazing place to use your snack credits.  Talk about large portion size.  The cashier immediately called the manager to personally make my order.  The manager went to the back and crafted me a float made with vanilla Tofutti ice cream.  It was delicious and just the ticket for the day.  The non gluten free ice cream sandwiches were gigantic and still only 1 credit!

Glenn's giant single scoop cone - 1 snack credit
Glenn’s giant single scoop cone – 1 snack credit
Katrine's kiddie cone - 1 credit
Katrine’s kiddie cone – 1 credit
GF float - 1 snack credit
GF float – 1 snack credit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaston’s Tavern –  We tried the LeFou’s Brew from the tavern.  It was a bit sweet for my taste but very refreshing in the heat.  It does look delicious.

Frosty apple cider slush with a hint of pineapple and some marshmallow foam.
Frosty apple cider slush with a hint of pineapple and some marshmallow foam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Service:

Cosmic Rays-  We ate here on our last visit as well.  The cashiers made sure that my order was made special for me.  Pretty standard fast food but gluten free and hot nonetheless.

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Columbia Harbour House-  Again, we had eaten at this visit.  The food was tasty then as it was this time.  Katrine really enjoyed their non-gluten free shrimp meal.

My only chicken tenders of the trip.  Crispy and hot.
My only chicken tenders of the trip. Crispy and hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table Service:

Crystal Palace –

We did a character breakfast one morning.  We chose it because I wanted to meet Winnie the Pooh and friends (still my favourites).  The Crystal Palace has gorgeous décor.  In the entrance way there is a circle full of Winnie the Pooh topiaries.  The characters themselves are wonderful.  If we were going back I would make a beginning of the morning reservation in order to get in before the park opened.  That would let you get photos in front of the castle without all of the crowd.  Anyways, again a chef came over to take me on a tour of the buffet.  He was a bit distracted; perhaps because they were just about to switch over to the lunch buffet.  Anyways, when I asked he brought me out my own plate of Vanns waffles and get this, warm sirop.  Mmmmm.  I think that I should use warm sirop all of the time.  Our waiter was awesome and made sure that I had ample soy milk and hot tea.  The rest of the options were standard breakfast options.

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Gluten Free at Hollywood Studios

Another park and another day of yumminess.  We have eaten at Planet Pizza on our last trip but we decided to try something different this go round.  After enjoying the Star Wars ride we sought some break from the heat in Backlot Express.  Not only did we get lovely air conditioning but we managed to get a table near the doors from which the girls were able to see a bit of the Jedi Academy show.  The food was traditional fast food but the cashier knew what was gluten free as did the lady behind the counter.  Would I eat here again?  Yes but at the same time I might just try a new place.

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Dinner however, was fantastic.  We ate at Mama Melrose because the pre-trip photos that I found look delectable.  Plus, they also offer the Fantasmic Dinner package which offers you dinner as well as a fast pass for seating at the Fantasmic show (we didn’t make it to that but had planned to).  Dinner lived up to and exceeded my expectations as well as everyone else’s.  I mean not only did they cater to my needs but they also made Katrine a cheese pizza even though it was not actually on the menu.

My warm rolls came with my very own olive oil dip plate.
My warm rolls came with my very own olive oil dip plate.
Crouton free ceasar with just the right amount of garlic.
Crouton free ceasar with just the right amount of garlic.
This was a giant portion pasta with grilled chicken.
This was a giant portion pasta with grilled chicken.
My decadent GF dessert.
My decadent GF dessert.
Not GF but check out the cheesiness.
Not GF but check out the cheesiness.
This was Elspeth's dessert - a spaghetti and meatball cupcake.
This was Elspeth’s dessert – a spaghetti and meatball cupcake.
Also not GF but isn't this a great dessert sampler that came with Glenn and Katrine's meals?
Also not GF but isn’t this a great dessert sampler that came with Glenn and Katrine’s meals?

 

Gluten Free in the Animal Kingdom

Now we are off to the Animal Kingdom.  The last time we visited we enjoyed lunch at Flame Tree BBQ.  This time we enjoyed a character dining experience at Tusker House.  I went on this trip and was really looking forward to it.  This is the one buffet that we went to where there was a dedicated gluten free section.  What a treat to not only have the chef walk up to your table shortly after you were seated then walk you through the buffet and end with a section just for you.  Muffins, donuts and bread; all clearly labeled. In addition to showing me the safe buffet options, the chef offered to bring me anything fresh AND brought me Mickey Waffles ’cause they are just soooo cute.  Yeah Tuskers!

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My one piece of advice for anyone heading to Tuskers would be to make a reservation for a late breakfast so that you may still be there when they begin to set up for lunch.  Oh and bring an appetitie for all of the fruit, protein and goodies because you know that it is difficult to resist a bevy of gluten free goodies.

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Sausage patties, bacon, roasted potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, ham and a delicious African dish whose name I can not remember.
Sausage patties, bacon, roasted potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, ham and a delicious African dish whose name I can not remember.

Gluten Free Epcot

Now this is going to be one yummy post.  We had some good food at this park.  We only had one quick service meal here this time in the Land pavillion.  We went to Sunshine Seasons Food court on our first full day and just like last time it was delicious.  Now ordering can be a bit overwhelming but don’t be afraid to talk with the chef.  It was a rather hot day when we visited and I wanted some protein but nothing too heavy.  After talking to the chef I got a fresh made chicken ceasar salad.  Throw in a drink and some Enjoy Life cookies along with some air conditioning and I was content.  I was also distracted and failed to take a photo.  Sigh.

We also had a lunch and dinner at table service locations in Epcot.  We ended our first day at the Disney parks with a Character Dining Experience.  We did the princess dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.  When I made this reservation I was fully expecting to have a buffet as our first dinner, and if I am perfectly honest I was not looking forward to it.  I was pleasantly surprised when there was no buffet and appetizer trays were brought to our table instead along with an allergy card.  Our server explained which items I could eat but left the card so that I could have a reference as I nibbled.  Plus, this was the first time that I have ever been brought my own personal basket of warm rolls.  Those two things brought a smile to my face that remained there through out dinner.  The princesses were lovely but the food great.  Each of the items that I tried from the appetizer tray was delicious.  Then came my dinner which was red wine braised beef. The beef was melt in your mouth delicious.  For dessert I wanted something light and chose the raspberry sorbet which was tangy like freshly picked berries.

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We managed to get seated third for lunch at The Coral Reef restaurant and scored a table right beside the tank.  We were given cards with fish information on them and that helped to keep the girls entertained until the food arrived.  First came the warm rolls and as with all of the other meals on this trip I ate both of them because warm rolls with melting butter is just so darn tempting.  Plus, this was not plain butter.  I was brought my own plate of butter that was dusted with black sea salt.  Because we were sitting right beside the tank, my lunch choice was obviously fish.  White rainbow trout with some sort of puree(beans and potatoes I think) and crisp green beans.  I have to tell you that I have never seen white rainbow trout before so it was a bit of a surprise when I was not served pink fish.  That said, the fish was delicious.  After the mains were cleared it was time for dessert.  I opted for the Chocolate Wave and was not disappointed.  It really was a wave of chocolatey goodness.

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Our table service dinner was at San Angel Inn which is situated inside the Mexico Pavillion.  Imagine sitting on a terrace lit by lanterns at the foot of an Aztec pyramid with a volcano erupting in the distance and you will have the ambiance of the restaurant.  I should warn you that the tables are a bit close together but this is more than made up for by the food.  This meal was sheer flavour.  When we got up from the table, my taste buds were still dancing with happiness.  When we sat down we were brought gluten free chips and two types of salsa.  The red one tasted to be a salsa made with roasted red peppers while the green, which was our favourite, tasted of fresh tomatillos.  Thankfully the girls were too busy taking everything in to be bothered with the chips so Glenn and I got to indulge.  I have posted two entrees below because there were so many gluten free options.  The one with shrimps was Katrine’s choice.  She finished it all but I wasn’t able to taste it given my shellfish allergy. They were very accomodating and put the spicy diablo sauce on the side for my mild child.  My choice was a pork in a roasted green sauce on top of corn puree and melted cheese.  It had the right amount of sauce and spicy.  Combined with my margarita I was in heaven.  For dessert, I chose the caramel ice cream and my mouth yet again went into raptures.  If we ever manage to get back to Disney, we will definetely be eating here.

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Gluten Free Downtown Disney

Okay it is now time for me to drool over all of the gluten free yumminess from our trip to Disney.  Gonna divide it into 5 posts so that you can enjoy right along with me.  Before I begin let me tell you that this vacation was based on food…oh and a desire to meet the princesses.  As soon as we decided to go, I began trolling the internet for gluten free posts.  Whenever I found one I would pour over the review before sitting and drooling over the photos.  When I felt like I had exhausted that resource it was time for Pinterest.  Snack photos, lunch photos, desserts.  Oh, I literally spent the final four months leading up to the trip gazing at food before going to be on 4 out of 7 nights.  Now it is my turn to spread some of that love.

We visited Downtown Disney twice this trip and ate at two different locations.  We also visited Babycakes.  We were all so tired and it was so very busy that I forgot to snap some photos.  I also thought that we would be going back and I was stuffed so we walked out without any goodies.  Big mistake as we never made it back.  That said, I would highly recommend it to any celiac visiting Downtown Disney.  Even if you are not buying, it makes for delicious food gazing.

We did however eat at Wolfgang Puck’s Express.  Now, if you have been following us for a while you will recall that we ate there on our previous trip. The food on this visit was equally as yummy.  I love how smooth the mashed is and how crispy the chicken skin is.  The thing that was missing were the vegetables.  Green beans would have pushed this entree over the top.  Plus, when you get offered GF creme brulee the meal is instantly yummers.

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The second quick service restaurant that we visited was Cookes of Dublin.  We just had to go there once I learned that they offered gluten free fish and chips.  This dinner lived up to my anticipation (sorry for the crumby photo). Crisp, not greasy batter with nice plump chips.  They had two Gf desserts – a zucchini bread with cream cheese icing and a lemon mousse with a hit of raspberry and layer of meringue.  Now I love sweet and thoroughly enjoyed the mousse concoction.  Glenn let me taste his zucchini item but it was very dense and bland unless you got a bite with both bread and icing. (you can just see the creamy white icing in the first photo.  It was a very pretty dessert.)

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LOVEDDD this hat but waaay out of my budgeet.
LOVEDDD this hat but waaay out of my budgeet.

 

 

Adventures in Handwashing

I know, I know, unusual title but highly relevant when you have a very short child.  I have spent the last four years lifting Miss E up to wash her hands every time we are out.  On our most recent trip however, we encountered some welcome solutions to this extra wear and tear on my arms (thank goodness missy is a feather weight).

I present solution #1 which was found through Disney.  I call it the low tech solution.  It was thrilling to Miss E to be able to take care of business with complete indepence.

Why do more places not offer a lower sink for children?
Why do more places not offer a lower sink for children?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is solution #2 which was found in Georgia Aquarium.  I call it the high tech solution.  This one is very cool.  The end result was the same as in the low tech version.

Here is the step stool folded up and stored under the counter out of the way.
Here is the step stool folded up and stored under the counter out of the way.
And here it is folded down for use.  Same height counter, sleek look with a step.  Cool.
And here it is folded down for use. Same height counter, sleek look with a step. Cool.

Stuffed Animal Fun at Disney

Of course the girls took stuffed animals on our trip.  One of the things that they looked forward to on the bus ride back to the hotel each night was seeing what their stuffies had been up to that day. (We had a really fun ‘cast member’ for our room).

One night we found them watching for us at the window.
One night we found them watching for us at the window.
This day they were ready to go to bed.
This day they were ready to go to bed.
Some on each bed.
Some on each bed.
This day they were eagerly waiting our return at the window.  Guess they missed us.
This day they were eagerly waiting our return at the window. Guess they missed us.
This night they were gathered in a chair waiting at the door.
This night they were gathered in a chair waiting at the door.
This was my favourite.  They were all sitting on the bed with the TV turned on to the bedtime story channel.
This was my favourite. They were all sitting on the bed with the TV turned on to the bedtime story channel.
Apparently it was Monkey's turn to have the remote
Apparently it was Monkey’s turn to have the remote