Five Guys Burgers and Gluten Free

One of my favorite burger places is Five Guys.  I found them shortly before learning that I needed to go gluten free.  One thing you learn when going gluten free is that if you can’t find a burger enjoyable without a bun, then it’s very likely not a quality burger!  Five Guys is definitely a burger place that I enjoy without a bun!

One of the other best features of Five Guys though is their fresh cut french fries!  For people with Celiac’s disease, it’s one of the rare places you can safely eat french fries!  They do not fry anything else in their frier and their fries are 100% potatoes without added breading so they can be safe to eat!

Last time I was at a Five Guys, it was their Bethel Road location in Columbus Ohio.  I asked for a Bacon Cheese Burger, no bun and they automatically asked if I had an allergy!  I stated ‘yes’ even though Celiac disease isn’t an allergy, but she took that and put a note on our ticket!  I also said no bun for our oldest and she again asked about an allergy.  It was great to find a place that was super conscious of our food needs.  Most people just look at you like you’re crazy when you ask for a burger with no bun!  I felt like they took extra care of both of us by putting that note right on our ticket so the staff cooking knew to be extra careful with cross contamination.  Neither of us got sick and enjoyed our burger and fries!

Thanks Five Guys!

(Always check current cooking and food policies and ingredients!)

Cookies | Moondance Desserts

Cookies | Moondance Desserts.

So a friend at church found these in our local Krogers and brought them to our fellowship time so that myself and my oldest had some sweets to eat.  Boy are these good!  She brought the Mexican Wedding Cookie which was very good, but my favorite of the two was the Chocolate Crinkle Cookie.  It was a cookie and a brownie mixed into one.  Delicious!  I almost regret her finding these as I will have a hard time not eating them all the time!  They were gobbled up in no time and I don’t think anyone but myself and her knew they were gluten free!

Thanks Martha!

Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio – Part 2

When I created my first post about Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio I forgot some really important restaurants and I got some good comments on some restaurants I’m going to try!

Restaurants I eat at with no issues


How could I forget Salaam?!  This is one of my favorite restaurants in Athens Ohio.  They have the best flat iron steak you can eat!  They are very knowledgeable about gluten and are always willing to check to see which items have gluten or not.  They have super fresh food you can tell is carefully prepared for you.

My favorite meal is their flatiron steak with a Turkish pepper rub.  It is usually served with a gluten free rice pilaf and grilled veggies!  This is one of their regular specials so it’s not always available.

When I can’t get the steak, I do love their Salaam salad with grilled chicken.  This salad includes feta cheese, red peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, walnuts and a variety of greens.  It’s served with their pomegranate vinaigrette.  I know a lot of people love this dressing, I’m not much for a sweet person dressing and their toppings on their salad is so good I don’t think it needs it!  So be sure to ask if it’s gluten free (I imagine it is) because I have not checked yet!

Larry’s Dawg House

Ok, so this one isn’t very intuitive, and I would recommend it with caution because of the potential for cross contamination (which I have a huge sensitivity to), however it is an option if you are needing a place that the rest of the family wants to go to as well.  (Namely the kids and husband!)  The staff at Larry’s is super friendly and super accommodating on letting you see ingredient lists. If I stick to my safe list here, I usually have no problems!

Almost all of their dinner items have gluten or have the potential for cross contamination, however they do have grilled chicken which you can get with no bun and they do have Lay’s chips.  This combo seems to work well for me with no issues.

On the ice cream end, they have the best ice cream.  You do have to be careful of what you get because of gluten or cross contamination.  What I can get that I have found to be safe are their ice cream in a cup with Heath topping.  I haven’t tried many of the other toppings, but anything normally gluten free should be fine (like M&M’s).

It took me a while to figure out what is not safe there ice cream wise.  I was silly enough to think that Arctic Swirls and Milk Shakes were OK until it dawned on me that there could be cross contamination since they use the same mixer for all toppings.  Explained why sometimes I had troubles and sometimes not.

I also think the Hot Fudge is ‘iffy’, I have had really bad reactions to peanut clusters (my favorite!).  At first I thought it was cross contamination with the peanuts having cookie crumbs in it, but they let me see the ingredients on the Hot Fudge and ‘Natural flavoring’ is in it so that could be from Malt.  My reaction was so bad it had to be more than just cross contamination.

One thing I’m super excited about with them is they let me look at all the ingredients of the items they put in their ice cream cake!  So I was able to build an ice cream cake for my oldest for his birthday.  Their ‘cold fudge’ did not have any suspicious ingredients in it, like the hot fudge did, and they substituted the cookie crumbs with heath bar.  It was awesome!   I had 2 slices and no problems!


I don’t eat fast food much anymore, but Wendy’s does have a complete list of gluten free items.  The thing I really like about Wendy’s is they seem to be honest about what can have cross contamination.  For example, I used to get their hamburger no bun, but it always bothered me and I couldn’t figure out why.  Apparently they list on their site that it is gluten free but could get cross contaminated in the preparation process.  I also can’t eat their Chili without issues too, I imagine since it has their hamburgers in it.

I do get their plain potato if I go there and I may try their grilled chicken which looks to be safe according to their information currently on their website.  So I’m actually excited about that when on the road and in a pinch for something to eat.

Grand Ranchero

You can also get gluten free here and just about any Mexican restaurant.  I usually get the Fajitas as they usually are safe.  Just eat it without the tortillas.  Be careful though of chips at Mexican restaurants if they are fried!  Usually even if they are cooked in a dedicated frier, they warm them up right before serving you in a common fryer so you can get cross contamination this way!

Places I plan to try


I’ve not tried Zoe’s yet but I hear that they are great when it comes to gluten free cooking and minimal cross contamination.  I also hear they have no problems adjusting a recipe if needed to accommodate needing to be gluten free.  Thanks Rachael for the tip!  I’ll update the website after I try it!

Abrios/Vera Cucina

I’ve heard that they provide gluten free pizzas.  I haven’t tried them or asked yet about cross contamination possibilities yet.  This one might be worth trying though as I’ve heard their pizza’s are pretty good under their new ownership!

Could Work if you are in a pinch

Taco John’s

Ok, so while this place is full of gluten, I did find the staff in Athens Ohio extremely helpful when we stopped here (our middle son loves the place).  They seemed to understand cross contamination and what has gluten in it.  They looked at all the ingredients on any item I asked about.  They assured me that they change their oil regularly and they fry the taco’s and nachos first thing in the morning before anything with breading is fried.  So I took a risk and got nachos. They even printed out their allergen PDF from the website for me while I ate.  To my joy, their nacho cheese sauce was not listed to have wheat in it as I expected it would!

Here I ate simply nacho’s and cheese.  While it certainly wasn’t a gourmet meal like Salaam, it was nice to have something relatively safe to eat here.  I had barely noticeable issues the next day so it was either safe or just slightly contaminated because of the oil.  I’m sure it’s hard to get 100% of the gluten out even if you clean the oil regularly.  My reaction was so minor though I’d definitely eat the nachos and cheese again to see if I have a reaction and if in a pinch.

Avalanche Pizza

I love avalanche pizza!  I have tried their gluten free pizzas several times and they taste great.  Unfortunately though I’m super sensitive and their pizzas do bother me.  They do state that they are made in a common kitchen and cooked in a common oven and that cross contamination is possible.  I think there could be many out there with gluten sensitivities that could tolerate Avalanche, but unfortunately for me, I can’t seem to tolerate it very well.  If you have Celiac or a wheat allergy it is likely not safe (and even stated by them not safe).  I so wish it were though!

Domino’s Pizza

I’ve not tried their Gluten Free pizza yet.  Their site states though that it’s not recommended for those with Celiac so I probably won’t try it.  It could work for those that are just gluten sensitive though!


I hope this is helpful!  Feel free to comment if you have experience eating out Gluten Free in Athens, Ohio!  Thanks Rachael for commenting on Part 1 and letting me know of a few places I wasn’t aware of!

Make sure you check out Part 1 of Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio if you missed it and Part 3  of Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio!

Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio

Ever since I figured out gluten bothers me, I’ve been on a mission to figure out what I can safely eat at restaurants in my town of Athens, Ohio.  This became even more important when my oldest son also was found to have gluten problems.

I’m always trying to expand this list, especially since my Husband wishes we could eat out more often.  He gets bored of the same ‘safe’ places to eat.  If you have any comments or info on what you have found safe please feel free to comment!

Restaurants I eat at regularly with no issues

Casa Nueva

Here I always get a rolled enchilada.  I love their chicken with rice filling with mild salsa on top.  I just let the person waiting on us know.  They all so far have been very knowledgeable about what of their salsas have gluten in them because some do! (like the roasted red pepper)

They also use safe tortilla chips by Shagbark Chips.

When eating out at mexican restaurants, you have to be careful of the chips!  Usually they are gluten free and even cooked in a dedicated frier, but when they are warmed right before coming to your table, they fry them in a common frier!  At Casa they do not fry their chips.

You can find Casa’s gluten free menu here.



Here I can eat their bowls.  I’m always nervous about them using the same gloves to handle the burritos as my bowl but so far I’ve not had an issue.

I always get a chicken bowl with a little bit of white rice, fajita veggies, green salsa, cheese and lettuce.

Brown rice used to bother me when first going gluten free so I don’t even risk it anymore.  I think the hull that is left on is harder on my damaged system than the white rice.


So a surprising one to me was Applebees.  Note that I’ve only eaten here once since going gluten free, so I’m not sure if they are consistently OK yet.  They did have a list of items that should be gluten free if you ask but of course they can’t guarantee it due to cross contamination possibilities.

I kept it simple and had just a ribeye steak, baked potato and their veggies.  I seemed to have no problems though after eating there.

Restaurants that should have Gluten Free options but I have issues with sometimes.

Sol Restaurant


So here I get a chicken bowl and have them substitute the Shagbark chips for their bread.  I usually can eat here OK but there has been a few times that I have had issues.  I’m guessing it’s cross contamination.  Possibly the chicken is grilled on a grill that had gluten on it.  I’m not sure.  I plan to talk to the owners soon about it as they are pretty easy to talk to.

Lui Lui’s


So here they have a fully dedicated gluten free menu.  They seem very knowledgeable with gluten.  I’ve eaten here several times without issue and a few times with major issues.  I’ve always eaten the same thing.  I think it’s the ‘Chicken Jalfrezi’, but I’d have to look at the gluten free menu to be sure.

I think what may be happening here is they are using a wok that previously had a soy sauce dish in it and wiped it clean but not enough to get all the gluten out.  Unfortunately I’m one of those that’s super sensitive to gluten.  I know the owner pretty well so I plan to ask her about it next time I’m there.  She’s very kind and accommodating.  So I hope I can add this to my regularly safe selection soon!

Obetty’s Hot Dogs

Great hot dog place in Athens Ohio!  One thing I love about it is their fresh cut fries and they have a dedicated frier!  So their fries are safe.  I’ve sometimes had no issues with their hot dogs (no bun!) and sometimes I have had issues.  They weren’t super bad side effects so I may still go here until I can figure it out.  I hope to see the owner in there soon to ask him about the ingredients on the hot dogs as they can have gluten in them sometimes.

Restaurants I’ve yet to try that I’ve heard can be accommodating

China Fortune

So I’ve heard from a friend that you can bring your own un-opened gluten free soy sauce here!  They will even keep it for you for when ever you eat.  I plan to talk to the owner Sandy soon to see if she can also have the staff use a clean wok to minimize cross contamination for me.  I just found out about this and I’m super excited as this was one of my favorite places to eat!


I hope this is helpful!  Feel free to comment if you have experience eating out Gluten Free in Athens, Ohio!

 Be sure to check out Part 2 of Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio and Part 3 of Dining out Gluten Free in Athens Ohio!

How to make a Mocha with K-Cups

So I got a Keurig for Christmas.  Total nice surprise from the in-laws.  I’ve been trying to find the perfect Mocha from it, since that’s my favorite coffee type drink.  I don’t like the Cafe Escapes because of the artificial sweetener.  So I experimented today to make my own mocha at home.  Here’s what I used:

  • Dark Roast or Espresso Roast K- Cup
  • About 1/3 – 1/2 cup milk
  • Chocolate Syrup to taste – about 1-2 tablespoons

I warmed the milk up in the microwave for about 1 minute, then I put the Keurig on the medium sized setting.  I stirred the chocolate syrup in and added the milk to taste.

For my first trial of this, I used the Obsidian coffee by Caribou, but I think it could be even better with the proper espresso roast.  Enjoy!

Update! I tried this method with Emeril’s Big Easy Bold K-cups and it was great!  I liked it a tad better than the Obsidian because of the undertones that one has.

Update – May, 2013 I tried this with Gevalia Dark Royal Roast K-cups and it’s my favorite of the 3 dark roasts for making a mocha.  Nice and smooth and no weird extra flavor in these!

First Shirt Woot Entry

So my oldest son loves just like I do.  We both have many shirts from there.  He’s been into drawing lately and went to the shirt woot derby (where you can submit your own designs) and wanted to submit a design.  The theme this week is M. C. Escher.  All of us being of scientific and engineering mind, we all love M.C. Escher.

Kaeden went about creating his design, completely by himself.  Only asking our opinion if something looked like he intended.  Here’s what he came up with.  It’s pencils drawing pencils drawing a stick figure.  One of the pencil is even erasing the other one’s lines.  He’s named it ‘The Drawing.’

The Drawing

You can check out the shirt woot contest for this t-shirt here:

I think it’s pretty cool, but I could be partial since I’m his Mom.  🙂

First Post!

First of all, I was totally surprised to still see this domain open!  I’m debating on exactly what to cover on the site as my life has been quite ‘colorful’ and diverse.

I’m an only child who married her High-School sweetheart who came from a mixed background.  I lived anywhere from poor to well off throughout childhood.  I saw a diverse culture in my childhood.

My main thoughts on what to discuss though are items currently happening in life.  I currently own a business with my husband concentrating in eCommerce and IT custom solutions and services.  Our business just celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary in November and it has gone through many ups, downs and changes.  I’ve also been struggling with increasing health issues over the past 8-10 years and have been recently diagnosed with Celiac’s disease.  In addition, our oldest son Kaeden has been also show positive results for gluten and may also have it as well.

I’m sure in discussing what’s currently on my mind I’ll also describe how I got here.  I hope my posts are helpful for potential or current entrepreneurs and those struggling with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.