Teaching and Tasties

Delicious eats and daring, death-defying teaching feats

Living free part II November 28, 2008

Filed under: Food — tlsussman @ 12:39 am

So I’ve been gluten and dairy free for almost a year now.  Not too long, but long enough to miss certain foods.  In my continued search for places to eat, I have come across what seem to be a rather fantastic website for celiacs, but it seem to be useful for other allergy-free people also.  As someone who likes to travel, eating is a major issue.  It isn’t just about what I can buy at the grocery store, but how many meals I can eat out without writhing in pain.  This site provides lists and links to menus from restaurants all across the US.  Many are chains and can be found in more than one state, but I would think it would help the travels a little.  Although not difinitive (of course) it is rather exciting!

Another great GF restaurant locator is the Gluten Free Registry.  The registry has an interactive map of the US and lists restaurants and is searchable by city.  The registry also includes a lot of chain restaurants, but has locally owned restaurants as well.

Really, I should give up on eating out…it’s expensive and the food is not usually that good.  Somehow, however, the prospect of being able to eat out more comfortably and happily makes eating out seem more worth while…but I will have to really think about that one.

Happy Turkey Day!


Free living November 24, 2008

Filed under: Food — tlsussman @ 5:58 pm

For those of us with food allergies, eating out can be a challenge. I’ve found that as more and more people have allergies, more and more restaurants carry allergy-free foods.  So…I thought I would do a quick review of three restaurants in the Chicago area I visited recently with gluten-free options.

1. Maggiano’s

Maggiano’s does not have a gluten-free menu, but it now offers GF pasta.  The pasta is a corn base and they carry only rotini style pasta.  You can choose from their various sauces, but don’t eat the meatballs – they use breadcrumbs.

My waiter was not so knowledgeable, so I ordered pasta with meatballs.  When the order came, it was just pasta with marinara.  Bummer!  They brought me some meat sauce, but I was totally disappointed by my meal.  I would say that some of the meat dishes are still a better choice, especially because the waiters are not extremely knowledgeable about the whole thing.

2. Graziano’s

Graziano’s has a more comprehensive menue with pastas and meat dishes.  The GF menu takes some of the regular menu items that are naturally GF, but they also offer a GF pasta.  It has been a while, but I remember the food being quite good.  They do not have GF bread for before the meal, but the menu was quite varied for veggies and carnivores.  The wait staff also seemed pretty knowledgeable and were able to offer suggestions and changes to help me pick a great meal.

3. Wild Fire

This was the best restaurant of the three.  Wild Fire offered an extensive GF menu, which included sandwhiches!!  This was a first for me.  The menu took many of the regular menu items and made them GF.  My boyfriend and I ordered a salad and asked for the chicken and cheese on the side.  They brought chicken for him (herbed crusted or something) and a GF for me, without even having to ask!  The waiter also brought me a GF roll to have something to eat while my boyfriend snacked on the regular bread.

The waiter knew tons about what was in the food and was able to give good suggestions about what to eat.  He was also very careful to make sure that we knew which foods were GF and which were not.  It was a really great experience.
There are some other restaurants with GF options in the Chicago area, but I have yet to try them.

– Marcello’s Father and Son offers a GF pizza crust.  (Careful if you have dairy issues – the sauce has cheese)

-Piero’s PIzza also offers the GF pizza crust.

Both of these pizzas are quite expensive (about $15 per pie) and 8 or 10 inches.  It seems that this will be a special treat and I will keep you posted!

If you have any others to add, it would be great to know!


Día de los Muertos November 3, 2008

Filed under: School — tlsussman @ 5:31 pm

As a Spanish teacher, it is very difficult to pass this time of year without talking about Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead.  Of course, many of my students have no clue what this is, but they do know it has something to do with candy and sugar.  Usually at this time of year, the extra credit assignment, after discussing the holiday, is to bake pan de muertos, dead bread, which is usually dry and basically horrendous – mostly due to the fact that it is made by 12 year olds!  This year, in my quest to stray away from foods (less worries of allergies and less wasted resources), I found this really cute idea of a skull pillow (which of course I cannot find again to save my life!!)  Skeletons, calaveras, are dressed up in a variety of costumes and offer resemble people who have died.  Perfect!

My students were instructed to create a small felt pillow in the shape of a skull.  Th

e directions were simple and this was not too costly.  I reminded them that they could use old t-shirts or pillowcases that were going to be donated or thrown out, or any inexpensive fabrics.  This also didn’t involve a sewing machine, as thick thread is used for effect.  The only other requirement was that the skull MUST include something that helped me identify it – a sport the student enjoys, his/her favorite colors, etc.

Out of 45 kids, I received about 15 projects.  This was actually a total shocker…way more than I expected.  Not only were they totally cute, but I could tell that some of the kids really took the time to figure out how to make the calavera look like them.  I even had one student put her dog’s name, as he died this past year.  How thoughtful!

They turned out totally cute and the kids were so excited, they even wanted to share and talk about why they chose to do what they did.  I swear, it was pretty much as close to teac

her heaven as I could get 🙂

Here are a few examples: