Gluten-Free Dining Out Ideas

Today I would normally be making and posting my gluten-free menu for the upcoming week. However, this week is Spring Break for us so we will be doing a lot of dining out – which is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because it gives me a break from the kitchen, but dining out with a Celiac and figuring out the carb count for our diabetic can be difficult. With that in mind, I thought I would share some of favorite spots. It is important to note up front though, that sometimes (but for obvious reasons we don’t know how often) my daughter (the Celiac in our family) is asymptomatic when exposed to gluten.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brew House – BJ’s is my FAVORITE place to eat out if we have my daughter with us. Overall they have a little bit of everything on their menu and their GF menu is great too. My daughter and I usually get a GF cheese pizza to share and then bowls of tomato basil soup (no croutons).

Red Robin – We have eaten here several times because my daughter loves being able to get a “normal” cheeseburger and fries meal, thanks to the GF bun and fries being fried separately. Good for Celiacs, bad for my IBS 😦

Outback Steakhouse – I’ll be honest, I am usually not a fan of Outback. I have had a few back experiences there and I find the blooming onion to be disgusting. However, my daughter, who typically doesn’t like meat much, thinks their GF ribs are the cat’s meow. Plus, they usually do them as a kid’s meal to save us some coin.

Jason’s Deli –  This is more for me because Jason’s Deli is overall my very favorite place to eat. Ours here is across town and we hadn’t been since Celiac struck our family, so we were pleasantly surprised at the GF choices when we went last week. We both had a sandwich on the GF bread (which was good if a little crumbly) and the tomato-basil soup is GF – which makes the drive for crumbly bread worth it!

Schlotzsky’s –  I haven’t been here to eat GF but my daughter went here with another GF friend and loved their GF bun. She highly recommends it.

Chick Fil A – Waffle fries cooked separately…thanks, Chick Fil A!

Wendy’s – Last year during Spring Break is when we found out that E has Celiac, starting our lifestyle change. We quickly learned that fast food options are few and very far in between. We don’t eat a lot of fast food, but when in a pinch, we get baked potatoes from Wendy’s.

Here are some places we avoid at all costs due to bad experiences or very limited selection (resulting in 10-year-old’s temper flaring while hungry):

  • McDonald’s (hardly anything on the menu) – although we will shoot through the drive thru for drinks (I swear there is something added to their Coke to make it more addictive)
  • Santa Fe Steakhouse (although to be fair, we just had one really bad experience)
  • Burger King (got glutened and was in very bad pain)
  • Mexican Restaurants (this is tough because we love Mexican food, but unless it is one of our local places that we trust, we don’t typically eat it on the road)
  • Chinese Restaurants – never tried it. I would imagine it would be a cross contamination nightmare in the kitchen. But I’ve heard good things about Pei Wei
  • Any Buffet – We haven’t been to a buffet as a family since my son’s diabetes diagnosis. Counting carbs must be a pain the butt. And with Celiac, too much risk of cross-contamination

Hope this list helps someone and feel free to comment and share!

-J

 

I Tried That! My Experience as a Test Juror.

I realized today that I find it so easy to express my thoughts about negative experiences I’ve had, and too often I neglect to share about positive experiences. So for today at least, I’m sharing a surprisingly positive experience that I recently had as, who would have guessed, a TEST JUROR!

Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom (or SAHM as seems to be the common lingo) I’ve kept my eyes peeled for ways to earn some coin from home because:

1- My kids (diabetic, celiac, thyroid problems, etc.) have a zillion doctor’s appointments and scheduling them around a new, part-time job would be hectic.

2- Since becoming a SAHM I’ve become even more of an introvert and honestly, prefer to be in my house. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m clinically agoraphobic or anything, but my anxiety certainly kicks up a notch once I back out of my driveway.

3- I can get so much crap done during the week now that I couldn’t while I was working (obviously). No longer do we spend our weekends cleaning and doing laundry; I take care of that during the week so the weekends are for fun and relaxing.

With all that said, I read on some blog about being an online test juror so off I went to “know-it-all Google” to read up on it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find many positive reviews about it. I can’t even remember where I read about JuryTest, but that is one that I chose to sign up with. You can find the link here JuryTest

I created an account and never really expected to hear anything from them because like I said, reviews online about being a test juror are so finicky. So I just kind of forgot about it. Then about a month and a half ago (about 6 months after I signed up) I received an email saying they had a case in my area and asked if I was interested in participating. The original email said I would be compensated  $40 for 2 hours of my time. I replied that I was interested and 2 days later received the email letting me know that I could log in and that the case was available for my review. The email stated that “the case involves listening to two sides of a legal case…and answering all of the questions,” and that the payment would be $60.

Before I give you the real scoop, you should know that I love law and order. Not the TV show, but I thoroughly enjoy rules, regulations, and the consequences that go with not following them. I’m not saying all rules, guidelines, etc. are perfect, but I believe that if you don’t like them, there is typically a process in place to change them. The only TV shows I care to watch are true crime shows (and the occasional crime-based drama), I enjoy reading murder mysteries, and the only part of People Magazine I care to read is the section on crime (if it’s there).  I like facts and logic. Being a test juror is right up my alley.

My Alley.jpg

So here is what you really need to know:

  • You sign a confidentiality agreement when you sign-up to be a juror. Unfortunately so much time has passed between then and when you get your first case that who knows what the heck it said. I’ll assume it was similar to the one signed in Fifty Shades of Grey and I just won’t discuss any intimate details of the case 🙂
  • I had to listen (it was audio with some slides) to the plaintiff’s attorney present their case for about 40 minutes.
  • I then had to listen (again, audio with some slides) to the defendant’s attorney present their case for about 30 minutes.
  • Then I had to answer about 100 questions. The majority of these questions were multiple choice but there were some that required feedback. I enjoyed giving my real opinion so I didn’t mind much but it was time-consuming.
  • When all was said and done I think it took me about 2.5 hours to listen to the arguments and answer the questions.
  • I actually got paid $60 to my pay-pal account!  The payment took about 3 weeks but the email said it could take up to that long.

Overall, I would say it was a great experience for someone like me and I would definitely do it again. Could I make a living off of it? No. But when you go from making $40/hour to being a SAHM, that $60 in your pay-pal account seems like a lot of pennies.

Has anyone else had experience as a test juror???