Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Restin' in Destin

My blog has nearly died on the vine…I’m not sure what happened to September, except to say that it flew by, so I must have been having fun! It’s a new season (yay for fall!) and I just spent a couple of nights in Destin, so I’m feeling refreshed and hoping my blog can be revived too!

Going out of town where you can’t prepare your own food is scary business when you must eat gluten-free. I did the research on Destin before we went to see what my options would be. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of restaurants that not only can accommodate gluten-free diners, but that have specially printed menus and well-trained employees who can answer questions and know the precautions to take when preparing and serving gluten-free meals. It was difficult to narrow down the choices, so we went with what we were nearest to when we were ready to eat. For dinner one night, that was Mitchell’s Fish Market. The menu is printed every day, so you know the offerings are fresh. I had the broiled trout with vegetable medley and topped the meal off with strawberry sorbet…yum! The following day, just before heading home we stopped at Cheeseburger in Paradise. I had never eaten there before, but had heard rave reviews of the one in Orlando, especially in relation to gluten-free dining. The chef came out and talked to us about the menu and told us about their new gluten-free bun for burgers and sandwiches. I don’t generally crave bread very often, but honestly, I can’t remember the last time I sank my teeth into a real sandwich. So yes, I ordered the grilled fish sandwich and it was great! French Meadow Bakery makes the buns that they use in the restaurant and it was soft and light and just really delicious!

Another big issue when eating so many meals away from home is the quantity of salt and sugar that is used in many restaurant meals. To cut down on the intake of salt and sugar from eating out, I like to bring along some healthy breakfast items to eat while getting ready in the hotel room. Plus, it saves time and everyone can take turns getting ready and eating. On this trip, we took granny smith apples and banana blueberry muffins. I baked the muffins the day we headed out. They are so quick and easy with just a few ingredients, no added sugar, and I literally mixed them up and baked them in about 30 minutes time. (See recipe below.)

Our first night in the hotel brought back memories of an Orlando trip from about twenty years ago when the fire alarm went off every few minutes all night long! This time we were sound asleep at 12:00 a.m. when a loud, blaring, alarm started going off. My first thought was that someone forgot to check the in-room alarm and we needed to shut it off. My mom’s first thought: little Cole is going to be upset. (Cole is our over-anxious male maltese who doesn’t like any strange noises.) As we all came to awareness we realized it was in fact the fire alarm. We all threw on some extra clothes and headed down the stairs…thankfully we were only three floors up. I think...if there had been a real fire...we would have taken WAY TOO LONG to get outside. Nevertheless, we made our way outside and awaited a visit from the local fire department. As we waited, Alice and Wonderland, Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and a few other unknown characters walked past. While it is October, Halloween is still a few weeks away, so I’m just hoping this crowd had found an early costume party to attend. This most certainly was not a dream! Strange and unusual, but not a dream! Praise the Lord when the fire alarm was shut down this time, it did not go off again!

Compared to the first night, the remainder of our stay in Destin was uneventful, relaxing and very pleasant. Being outside, walking around, looking at the ocean, the sand, the nature preserves and enjoying the somewhat cooler temperatures and low humidity were refreshing and just downright enjoyable. This was the perfect time of year for a little respite and I’m so thankful to the Lord for providing my mom, dad and myself with a little getaway and to my parents for letting me tag along.

Come aside by yourselves to a quiet place and rest. – Mark 6:31

Here is that yummy banana blueberry muffin recipe. These are also great to make ahead and freeze for those mornings when you are short on time.

3 Cups almond flour
¼ tsp sea salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
3 eggs
4 ripe bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line 14 muffin cups with paper liners.

Combine all ingredients except the blueberries. Stir until well combined. Fold in blueberries. Divide between muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes. The tops should be a golden brown and a toothpick should come out clean. Eat promptly or let cool and serve.

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