In Food, Recipe

Summer Gluten-Free Cake with Berries | Recipe

Gluten-Free Cake with Berries and no icing from BrendaDalton.com

Perfect gluten-free cake for summer!

Summer is all about spending time outdoors – or ya know, on patios – watermelon, cookouts, and hot weather. But why does that mean cake can’t come to the party?

This little cake is a subtle nod to that popular summer holiday in the states, whether you call it 4th of July, Independence Day, or Firecracker Day (really, I’ve heard it all!). With strawberries and blueberries baked within and topping the cake, it’s a nice little tribute to America.

I’m all about transparency, so the story behind this cake recipe is this: I thought this gluten-free cake was going straight to the trash. Really.

For the first time ever, my frosting failed, the cake fell in, it took way too long to bake, and I was ready to taste the cake and immediately dump it.

But I didn’t.

Because it turned out amazing.

If you’re someone who isn’t a fan of frosting, this is the cake for you. If you’re someone who loves frosting and can eat it right out of the bowl (hi, that’s me), this is the cake for you, too. If you want an excuse to eat cake in the summer, this is for you, too.

Gluten-Free Cake with Berries and no icing from BrendaDalton.com

I adapted this recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring’s basic vanilla cake; however, I made some major modifications to this gluten-free cake recipe thanks to the berries, my desire to make it a little less sweet, and my genuine screw-ups along the way.

I have one major tip when baking, because I always wanted to make cute little 6″ cakes, but until recently, didn’t have the cute little pans:

Never make enough batter for an 8″ cake pan and pour it into 6″ cake pans. Just don’t do it! Even by accident! You’ll regret your whole life!

Okay, you won’t regret your whole life, but your cake will take forever to bake and will become slightly dry. And your husband or wife will be forced to eat an entire bowl-full of the extra gluten-free cake you had to slice off the top.

Gluten-Free Cake with Berries and no icing from BrendaDalton.com

This cake isn’t your super-sweet, give-you-a-headache, covered-in-frosting cake. It has a light, airy sweetness thanks to the dusting of powdered sugar and strawberry and blueberry puree within the cake.

It even tastes delicious warm, room temperature or cool.

When you top this cake with the berry purees, it gives it a slightly tangy and satisfying bite that’s unlike other cakes, making it perfect for late spring or the hot days of summer.


Ingredients:

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 egg whites + 1 whole egg at room temperature

1 1/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature*

*If you’re like me and always forget buttermilk, here’s an easy substitute: Add 1-1.5 tablespoons lemon juice to regular milk, stir and let rest for 5-10 minutes. You’ll see it slightly curdle – that’s good. Stir before mixing with other ingredients.

5-8 strawberries, depending on size

1 cup blueberries


Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease two 8″ or three 6″ baking pans and place parchment paper cut to fit in the bottom.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, baking soda and baking powder. Add salt and whisk.

In a large bowl or bowl attached to a stand mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium-high for 3 minutes until fluffy. You may need to scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl halfway through.

Combine the egg whites, egg and buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute) into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients in 4 equal portions into the bowl with butter, sugar and vanilla, alternating with the milk and egg mixture. Mix between adding portions.

Continue to beat ingredients on medium speed until everything is fully combined and smooth.

Divide the batter into two (for 8″ pans) or three (for 6″ pans) and pour into medium-sized bowls.

In a food processor, chop up the strawberries until they’re mostly smooth – a few larger pieces are just fine. Pour half of the berry purée into one (for 8″ pans) or two (for 6″ pans) bowls of batter. Mix by hand to combine. Set the remaining berry purée aside for topping later.

Repeat the processing steps for the blueberries, adding a little less than half of the purée to the remaining pan(s). Set the remaining purée aside for topping.

Pour mix into pans until they’re filled evenly. Place the baking pans into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick is clean and they are golden brown.

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool the cake in pans for 10-20 minutes before placing cakes onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper and allow to cool completely.

To assemble the gluten-free cake, place on a stand, serving platter or plate. Place the first layer on the surface, then spread 1-2 tablespoons one of the berry purées on top until covered, but not dripping down the sides. Place the alternating flavor cake on top of the first layer. If using 3 6″ layers, spread the other berry purée and place the third layer on top.

If serving immediately, sift desired amount of powdered sugar on top and sides of cake. If serving later, wait until serving time to dust powdered sugar, since it will melt into the cake within a few hours.

Optional: Spread a tablespoon of each purée on center of cake, then top with berries or spread berry purée on individual pieces. Mix berry purée with cream cheese frosting and use between layers instead of puree-only.

Airplane Essentials | Travel Tips

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Airplane essentials for the modern woman. What to pack in your carry-on for easy and stylish traveling by air for arthritis and autoimmune disease. Read more from brendadalton.com!

For some people – like myself! – half the fun of traveling is packing and over the years, I’ve perfected my airplane essentials list. I’ve figured out the things I can’t live without while traveling by plane and the things that make my life with arthritis, a gluten-free diet, and autoimmune disease much easier. Most importantly, I’ve figured out the things that aren’t worth bringing because they never get used. I’ve even figured out the items that help me speed through security without an additional bag check, because that can slow down your race to the gate by a few minutes to half an hour!

First, it’s important to start with what’s on your body before you get out the door.

Things I never wear to the airport:

  • Statement jewelry
  • Dresses – especially maxi dresses – you’re more likely to be stopped by TSA for additional screening
  • Flip flops or strappy sandals – Mostly because you don’t want your bare feet touching the floor where thousands of others’ have, especially if you have autoimmune disease
  • Layers that are difficult to remove, like over-the-head sweatshirts and jackets
  • Belts
  • Hairstyles that require lots of bobby pins or metal hair accessories
  • Outfits that would work well in hot weather – because airplanes can be cold!

Things I do wear to the airport:

  • Sneakers, Sperrys or slip-on Keds
  • Socks (and if not, I have them ready to slip on at security/TSA Checkpoint)
  • Leggings or stretchy jeans
  • Tank top or plain tee
  • Oversized cardigan, preferably with pockets!
  • Simple necklace and earrings (these go in my carry-on until I’ve passed security)
  • Crossbody purse as a personal item

The number of items you may wear or pack depends on your ultimate destination, but here are my can’t-leave-home-without-’em airplane essentials that make traveling a breeze!

Travel Pillow & Blanket

This guy is a lifesaver. Not only is it easy to strap to your carry-on, but I also put some of the items that appear in this list in it: nose spray, facial spray, earbuds, a spare pen, Kindle, eye mask. What I love about this travel set is the pillow inflates when you take the blanket out, so you can control the firmness.

It works great as a lumbar pillow, regular pillow or just something to rest your hands on when tray tables are in their upright position. Shoutout to my arthritis friends! It’s also nice to have a little pillow and blanket in unfamiliar hotel rooms, too.

Lavender Mini Towelettes 

One time while traveling, I realized I was down to only one of these and still had a flight left before I was home. It was not pleasant. These delicious-smelling towelettes are a lifesaver on dirty planes, in not-so-clean hotel rooms and a great way to take makeup off or refresh your face at the end of a long travel day or a mid-flight nap. The lavender scent is also a great way to naturally ease any jitters before takeoff.

Since they’re antibacterial, I use these to wipe down the tray table, seat belt and everything around me when I board a plane. These are also great to do a little extra cleaning when you get to your hotel room, because trust me, it’s not as clean as you think!

Evian Mineral Water Facial Spray

My husband teases me about this one when I remember to bring it, but especially when we’re traveling early morning or late night, this is a lifesaver. It’s a great way to restore moisture to your face when you’re in a rush. And this spray lasts forever. Once you’ve stepped off the plane, spritz this facial spray under or over makeup. It’s especially lovely whether you’re on your way to your destination or back home to the real world.

Filtered Water Bottle

I do not travel anywhere without this thing. Seriously, it’s such a life saver. As someone with autoimmune issues, I’m not keen on drinking out of the tap or water fountains. I bring this empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up before I get on my flight.

This water bottle is also a big money saver! Ever notice how water bottles can get pretty expensive in hotels? The filter in this water bottle removes all the gunk and leaves you with delicious water even from your hotel bathroom. The ounces markings also make it easy for me to track how much water I’ve had for the day. Gotta stay hydrated!

Kindle & Kindle Unlimited

If I had the time, I would read three books a week, minimum. While I use my Kindle at home, it gets the most use when I’m traveling. I’m a fast reader and once I start a good book, it is impossible for me to put it down. This is especially true when on planes and in airports where the wifi is spotty, expensive or non-existent. Plus, it feels a little better to pass the time reading a book than it does to mindlessly play games on your phone or scroll through Facebook, right?

My favorite thing about my Kindle – besides the fact I got it half-price through a Black Friday sale – is Kindle Unlimited. For anyone who reads more than one book a month, it is 100% worth it. For $10 a month, you have access to over a million books on your Kindle.

Considering Kindle books can be anywhere from $5 to $15+, if you read one or two a month, you get your money’s worth. They even have super popular books, like the Harry Potter series and The Handmaid’s Tale.

With Kindle Unlimited, you also get access to thousands of audiobooks and magazines in addition to the massive library of regular e-books. Double win!

Portable Electronics Charger

It’s hard to imagine traveling without a smart phone, laptop, tablet, and ahem, Kindle! Even on short flights, I bring a portable charger. This thing has saved many a situation and is at the top of my airplane essentials list. You never know when you might have to bust out the navigation on your phone, which is a total battery suck, or research gluten-free restaurants near your hotel without access to an outlet.

This particular charger from Anker has been my favorite. I’ve gone through a few, but the Anker PowerCore has lasted me a few years. It holds a charge for a long time (fully charges an iPhone from 0%), is so small it can fit anywhere – even a pocket! – and recharges itself quickly. As of June 2017, it’s on sale for 50% off (under $20!).

Smith’s Rosebud Salve

I’ve mentioned this staple in blog posts before, but it bears repeating: This stuff is amazing. It’s on the list for airplane essentials and life essentials. This sweet little balm goes beyond a simple lip balm: Calm cuticles, patches of dry skin, smooth flyaways, keep brows in place, and even as an emergency makeup remover.  It’s perfect for ladies with psoriasis to help soothe skin! It’s soft, gentle, and the little tin gives it a luxurious feel and makes it incredibly durable for travel.

Saline Nose Spray

This is a pretty recent addition to the carry-on essentials list and not super glamorous. About two years ago, I started to get incredibly painful headaches and facial pain upon descent on airplanes, no matter what. My husband’s grandmother recommended a simple saline spray… and it works like a charm. About 30 minutes before landing, I pop this guy out, spray twice and relax.

I later learned this headache actually has a name: Aerosinusitis or an airplane headache, as it is commonly known. What happens is some folks are unable to equalize the change in barometric pressure when a plane begins to land, and that causes pain around the eyes and face. It typically clears up within 30 minutes of landing.

Snacks on Snacks on Snacks

Airplane snacks and meals can be expensive and if you have food allergies, finding gluten free or dairy free food can be a challenge! Some of my favorite travel snacks are nut mixes, oatmeal, popcorn, jerky and dried veggies and fruit. For morning flights, I love to bring a banana (or two!) from home with some of Justin’s individual nut butters; however, but bananas don’t always travel well in a purse or bag. Check out my full list of favorite traveling snacks and where to buy them in this blog post.

Overnight Essentials

Knock on wood, I’ve never had my checked luggage lost, delayed, or stolen, but I am always prepared just in case. In my carry-on, I pack the necessities that will last me overnight once I get to my destination. These overnight airplane essentials include: A comfortable tee (for pajamas or another outfit), linen shorts or leggings, underwear, bra, swimsuit, travel toothbrush, makeup and skincare basics, comb, hair ties, flip flops, mini first aid kit, and so on. And for my spoonies: Always, always, always carry all of your medications (even over-the-counter meds) in your carryon or personal item.

Backpack

For the longest time, I only traveled with “cute” or designer bags. After I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, my doctors suggested I stop carrying heavy bags on my shoulders. I love fashion, so I was devastated. …Until I realized the joy in traveling with an adorable backpack. Backpacks – or bookbags – are 100% in now. They make travel so. much. easier. And so much less painful!

I picked up a Herschel backpack in a gorgeous gray and can fit all of the airplane essentials on this list, plus a few other essentials like my laptop, notebooks, and more with room to spare. I typically check my larger luggage because arthritis can make it difficult for me to lift and carry for hours on end, so having an easy-to-transport piece of luggage as my carryon has changed airplane travel for me.

What are some of your favorite airplane essentials?

Home Office Inspiration

Home Office Inspiration for the modern woman from Brenda Dalton - brendadalton.com

When we were house hunting a year ago, the thing that sold me on our house we eventually bought was the little home office set away from all the action of the living areas. However, ten months later, I still haven’t done much in terms of decorating. Things are getting a little out of control, guys. I need some major home office inspiration.

I run my graphic design and digital marketing business, 835 Creative, out of my home office. Over the last year, it has grown (yay!) but the paperwork, inspiration pieces and more are piling up with nowhere to be stored. Plus, my office has no straight theme. Not even a hint of a vibe. I know, it’s sad, and most days I end up working in other parts of the house because of the disorganized mess.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting inspiration and all the steps I’m taking to give my home office a major makeover, making it a serene and beautiful place to work every day! I’m so excited to share this journey with you.

Before we can even dive into even thinking about buying furniture and decor though, home office inspiration is a must. Who better to gain home office inspiration from than my fellow bloggers and boss ladies?

Home office inspiration for the modern woman

Home Office Inspiration from Polished Habitat - polishedhabitat.com

Functional & Fabulous Office from Polished Habitat

Melissa from Polished Habitat transformed her shared office into a beautiful space for her to work, create and prepare orders for her Etsy shop. This classic, feminine design is beautiful, well-organized and functional! Check out more from her office reveal by visiting her website.

 

Craft Room and Office Space from Thrifty Decor Chick

Sarah’s craft room went through several transformations before turning into this farmhouse-inspired, cleanly decorated multi-purpose room. It features space to work, craft, wrap gifts with enough room for two people, plus a dreamy window seat to relax.

 

Meet Interior Designer Laura Burleson on SarahSarna.com | Photo by Alyssa Rosenheck

Light, Bright Office by Laura Burleson

This gorgeous, light-filled office was featured by Sarah Sarna. The light fixture reflects the gorgeous gold accents to give the room a pop of color. Having enough desk space to spread your work out is ideal for makers and creatives. And a cute little window doesn’t hurt either!

 

How to Make a Small Office Space Work from The Fashionista's Diary | thefashionistasdiary.com

How to Make a Small Office Space Work from The Fashionista’s Diary

Lauren from The Fashionista’s Diary nailed her small office space. Carved out of a corner of her bedroom, this airy, feminine space packs a punch in storage, yet still allows her personality to shine through.

 

Historic Ivy Flat Designed by Alice Lane Home

Show N’ Tell Historic Ivy Flat from Alice Lane Home

Despite working with a tiny area, this precious office from Alice Lane Home features the trending “millennial pink” on the walls, a vintage light fixture and a statement mirror to reflect light around the room. This gorgeous interior design proves that you can make even the smallest of office spaces glam and functional!

Old Millennial Playlist | Spotify

This Old Millennial playlist is part of our series of Spotify playlists for every occasion.
View the whole series here!

Old Millennial Playlist - Spotify Music - Brendadaltoncom

 

Those of us on the early end of the millennial spectrum – ahem, old millennials – can get a lot of flack. We grew up without cell phones, can remember when AOL launched, and probably didn’t have social media until college (or later). As a lovely little throwback, here you have the old millennial playlist.

For those of us in our thirties, you can remember when these songs came out. Perhaps you even recorded them onto a cassette from the radio… because we hadn’t been blessed with Spotify quite yet.

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me to send them this playlist after hearing it, I’d have enough to buy a couple of outfits from Delia*s.

Download the old millennial playlist!

This old millennial playlist is perfect for rolling the windows down manually in your car and getting lost because we didn’t have navigation or a printout from MapQuest (or Google Maps, I guess).

Add this playlist to your faves and let the reminiscing begin! This playlist has pop favorites, one-hit-wonders, ’90s rock and a few early 2000s gems. Featuring Oasis, Beastie Boys, Mariah Carey, Dixie Chickens, *NSYNC, Hanson, Jewel, Missy Elliott, Britney Spears, Train, and many more.

 

Free Activities in Tulsa, Oklahoma | City Guide | Tulsa, OK

Free activities and events in Tulsa, Oklahoma

City Guide - Free Activities and Events in Tulsa, Oklahoma | Photo credit Kenyon Gerbrandt

Photo by Kenyon Gerbrandt

I was born and raised in Tulsa – or T-Town, Oil Capital of the World – and despite a few years in Texas, I’ve lived here most of my adult life. In the last ten years, Tulsa has seen a resurgence across the board in entertainment, free activities, events, and restaurants.

If you haven’t visited northeastern Oklahoma, I recommend you get here ASAP, especially to enjoy any of the free events throughout the year. Many of the sights and sounds can be taken in on a weekend trip, whether you’re looking for a quick couples vacation or a family-friendly vacay. Here is a list of the best free activities and free things to do in Tulsa.

Free activities in Tulsa

Photo by Raymond Bucko, SJ, Free activities and activities in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Photo by Raymond Bucko, SJ

Visit a museum

Philbrook Museum is a beautiful, historic mansion, once home to oil pioneer Waite Phillips and wife Genevieve nestled near Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. There’s something for everyone at Philbrook: Classic and modern artwork, key architecture, more than 20 acres of lush gardens.

Visit Philbrook Museum on the second Saturday of each month for free. On Second Saturdays, they offer kid-friendly activities, tours, scavenger hunts, and more!

Gilcrease Museum is the counterpart of Philbrook, located just northwest of downtown Tulsa. Like Philbrook – and many other things in Tulsa – Gilcrease has a oil pioneer background, having been founded by oilman Thomas Gilcrease as a private museum.

The museum sits on several hundred acres, including the 23-acre garden surrounding the museum and 136-acre Stuart Park, a great place to picnic before or after a visit! Gilcrease Museum is one of the largest collections of American artwork.

On the third Sunday of every month, visit for free as part of Funday Sundays. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Funday Sundays and offers free activities and scavenger hunts for kids.

Take in the sights and sounds at a festival

Tulsa is home to dozens of festivals, many of which have no admission fee!

In May, you’ll never be short of festivals to visit. First up, Tulsa’s crown jewel: Mayfest. Over the course of four days, Mayfest features classic festival food, live music, dancers and most importantly, artwork from around the globe.

The Blue Dome Arts Festival takes place in – surprise! – the Blue Dome District in downtown Tulsa. Typically held the same weekend as Mayfest, you’ll find a more alternative take on the arts festival with more Tulsa and Oklahoma-based artists and food trucks.

And to wrap up the May festivals in Tulsa, The Hop Jam is not to be missed. A newer event to Tulsa’s festival scene, The Hop Jam is a one-day craft beer and music festival held in the Brady Arts District. Founded by Tulsa music darlings, Hanson, the festival features dozens of craft brewers for those of legal drinking age and a full-day performances from a rotating lineup each year, with Hanson as the headliner. Yep, it’s a free concert, too.

Tulsa is home to some of the top festivals in the country; however, they aren’t all free. Looking for more fun and have a little more moolah to spend? Don’t miss Oktoberfest, Greek Festival, Renaissance Festival.

Tulsa Tough - Free Activities and Events in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Ride it out with Tulsa Tough

In the summer, don’t forget to check out Tulsa Tough, held the second weekend in June. Featuring professional and amateur cyclists from across the world, Tulsa Tough is one of the most popular cycling events in the United States.

The Blue Dome Criterium is an exciting, family-friendly race that takes a figure-eight around downtown Tulsa – a favorite of locals. If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, Cry Baby Hill on Sunday is legendary. Mind the gap and don’t forget to take Monday off after the weekend activities!

Find your way to the Center of the Universe

Have you ever heard your voice echo with no cave in sight? In Tulsa, it’s totally possible. It’s an unobtrusive, blink-and-you-miss it round piece of concrete in downtown Tulsa right next to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Stand on the concrete that’s surrounded by brick, say a few things and hear it echo and amplify right back to you.

The fun isn’t just in the circle, either. For those who are standing outside the circle, you’ll hear close to nothing or a distorted voice coming from another location.

Look for the “Artificial Cloud” statue – a black cloud shape atop a pole – near the Jazz Hall of Fame and you can’t miss it. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, but one of the best free activities in Tulsa.

Take in nature at Turkey Mountain

Unlike our western Oklahoma friends, Tulsa features rolling hills, flowing creeks and rivers and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the state. Get a bird’s eye view of it all at Turkey Mountain, near 71st and Elwood on the Arkansas River.

With hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, Turkey Mountain is one of most varied of outdoor spaces in the city. This urban wilderness area offers trails for beginners and those looking for a challenge, whether you’re a biker, runner or just going for a casual stroll.

Turkey Mountain has miles of trails within the wilderness area, but also leads out across the river to River Parks, which features more than 26 miles of paved trails. These trails travel throughout Tulsa and lead to Jenks (with the Riverwalk and Oklahoma Aquarium), Sand Springs, and the soon to be completed Gathering Place of Tulsa.

Art Appreciation at the First Friday Art Crawl

On the first Friday of each month, head downtown to Tulsa’s Brady district and you’ll find the streets buzzing. During the First Friday Art Crawl, all of the art galleries, museums, and shops stay open late (and free) with special exhibitions, activities, and best of all, free admission!

If you’ve never visited Tulsa’s art district, First Fridays are the best way to take in the Woody Guthrie Center, Philbrook Downtown, Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA) and so many more. The art crawl takes place 6-9 p.m. Get there early to beat the crowds or hang around the whole time to take in street musicians and impromptu performance art.

Wind in and out of the galleries and museums, grab a bite to eat at the many restaurants, and end at one of Tulsa’s many gems: Guthrie Green.

Work out, watch a movie, listen to music at Guthrie Green

Guthrie Green is an urban park in Tulsa’s downtown Brady District and offers every free activity under the sun. From weekday bootcamps to evening summer movies, the park has free events almost every day of the week in the spring and summer months.

Movies in the park happen on a weekly basis – bring a lawn chair, blanket, and a snack for the full experience. Free fitness classes include yoga, ZUMBA, bootcamp, self-defence and more with no RSVP required. Sunday concerts are filled with summer nostalgia as you listen to a different band as the sun sets. Check out the full event schedule here.

Guthrie Green is the host of dozens of events and mini festivals throughout the year, including 5Ks, Oysterfest, Austin City Limits Live!, Blue Whale Comedy Festival, Route 66 Marathon, and many more.

Though the Brady District has some of Tulsa’s best restaurants, Guthrie Green has dining on site with tacos, nachos, macaroni & cheese, and other scrumptious offerings from Mr. Nice Guys. Food Truck Wednesdays are a can’t-miss at lunchtime every Wednesday, offering one of the largest gatherings of food trucks in Tulsa.

Rosemary Beach, Florida | City Guide | 30A

Where to dine, shop and play in Rosemary Beach, Florida

This is the final post in a City Guide series on Florida’s 30A. This post: Rosemary Beach, Florida. View previous posts in the series: Seaside, Alys Beach

City Guide to Rosemary Beach Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop BrendaDaltoncom

Rosemary Beach is a lovely mix of locals, weekenders and vacationers and could possibly be the quietest, most peaceful community on Florida’s 30A. The folks are friendly, happy to give recommendations whether you’re walking the sidewalks beneath the beautiful canopied trees or chatting with a sommelier at Wild Olives Market & Cafe.

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A
It’s a beautifully idealistic community on either side of 30A, designated by the Gulf side or the Park side and like Alys Beach, is the home of a number of breathtaking pools and parks. A morning walk around the Park Side of Rosemary Beach will lead you to a butterfly garden, fountains that make you feel like you’re on an adventure in a little Italian town and even a community garden with fresh veggies.
With a fitness and tennis center located within the community for residents and guests, you could spend weeks in Rosemary without ever having to hop in a car. In fact, one trip we spent four nights in Rosemary Beach and never once used our rental car until we were heading back to the airport!
Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide
When we first arrived at Rosemary Beach, we stopped by the Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Company to pick up our keys to our adorable little carriage house nestled in the park side of the community. Just a block from the town center, it was a convenient location – just like all rental properties offered in Rosemary Beach – and was well-decorated and well-stocked with essentials. It even had an adorable balcony that overlooked the community. They offer a wide variety of carriage houses and larger homes, whether it’s a girls getaway, a romantic weekend or a big multi-family vacation and have top-notch customer service (and free movie rentals and bicycles!).

Our carriage house just a two minute walk from a number of shops on the park side. Some not-to-miss places are the Rosemary Beach Trading Company, Hissyfits Boutique for the littles, The Hidden Lantern Bookstore and Vivo Spa & Salon. It was especially convenient in the morning to take a short walk to Amavida Coffee & Tea!

And y’all, if you’re in Rosemary Beach on Saturdays, you must visit the Farmers Market. We had just finished brunch when we walked through the dozens of vendors and even though I wasn’t hungry, I walked away with countless number of gluten-free goodies. Blueberry hand pies, macarons, infused vinegars and oils and more fresh fruits and vegetables than you could wave a stick at!

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide

Havana Beach Bar & Grill

One of the most recognizable buildings on Rosemary Beach’s gulf side is The Pearl Hotel with its black and white striped canopies. The hotel is nestled closest to the Gulf of Mexico on Main Street, which is the home of Havana Beach Bar & Grill.

Havana Beach is incredibly accommodating when it comes to food allergies. Not only does it have an incredibly view of the Western Green and Gulf of Mexico from the covered patio, but the decor is luxurious and furniture plush. The staff was so friendly and absolutely on point; however, I’d highly recommend reservations for brunch, especially on weekends.

When dining out, especially anywhere but home, there is always a teeny-tiny (or sometimes HUGE) worry that we’ll walk into a restaurant that has stated gluten-free options, but the staff or servers aren’t up-to-date on the safety behind it. This is definitely not the case at Havana Beach. Once I asked for gluten-free options, our sweet server knew them off the top of his head, then mentioned he would speak to the chef to triple check. They even have a gluten-free bread!

And y’all, this was one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. On top of having a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar, delicious mimosas and fresh squeezed juice, the food itself was five-star. They pride themselves on farm-to-table ingredients, from the eggs and meat to even the honey.

Their menus feature a Cuban and Spanish flare, no matter the season. I had the huevos revueltos con chorizo, which essentially translates to a chorizo omelet. The chorizo was deliciously spicy and the onions and peppers mixed in had a slight crunch that made it even more savory.

If the patio is packed, head up to the rooftop for a brunch cocktail and food. The views are just as lovely and the atmosphere a little more casual.

Havana Beach Bar & Grill gluten-free musts: Ask your server what’s available for the season. Their menu rotates quite often, but you can’t go wrong with your server’s suggestion. The Bloody Mary bar is a can’t-miss.

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate at Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A

 

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate

It’s something wonderful when a restaurant is not only knowledgable about gluten-free, but has a gluten-free menu, especially with more items than just salads! La Crema Tapas & Chocolate’s gluten-free menu is quite expansive. Tapas (smaller bites), Grand Tapas (entrees), desserts, and a kid-friendly menu. The only problem was choosing what to have for dinner. In fact, anytime we visit Rosemary Beach, Florida, the trip isn’t complete without a dinner at La Crema.

If you’ve never had tapas before, it’s a shareable affair – they recommend sharing several appetizers and entrees with the table, which makes it a fun experience because you don’t have to choose just one. We split several small tapas before enjoying our own appetizer; however, the entree could have easily been split, too!

The serrano-wrapped figs are definitely something to write home about! It’s perfectly sweet, savory and a hint of spice (but not too much spice). The La Crema salad was perfectly fresh with a light balsamic vinaigrette with sweet walnuts, goat cheese and cranberries. Both tapas were small enough not to fill two of us up, but large enough to cull our appetites before the main course.

Both tapas paired perfectly with their red sangria. It was fresh, fruity and not too sweet, a perfect complement to the warm spring evening. Since you’ll be dining for a while, I recommend sharing a carafe!

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A

The wonderful thing about La Crema is that they don’t rush you as you enjoy dinner in the cozy, patio seating. It’s the perfect place to people watch on Main Street in Rosemary Beach. When dining at La Crema, plan to give yourself at least an hour and a half to two hours to fully enjoy the experience. Tapas are meant to be savored, with life moving a little bit slower in the best way possible.

In terms of  entrees, the paellas are gluten-free, filling and, wonderfully spicy and savory. As a lighter entree, the lamb lollipops are not to be missed either, especially with the red wine reduction. As for the non-gluten-free diners, the lobster was a winner. Overall, the Grand Tapas servings are quite large and meant to be shared. Our plates weren’t eaten clean because… hello, chocolate fondue.

Yes, us gluten-free folks can have fondue here! You absolutely cannot eat at La Crema without having the chocolate fondue – it’s what they’re known for. We went with the classic milk chocolate, which – as a gluten-free option – came with apples, bananas and strawberries and marshmallows, which replaced the typical poundcake.

By the time we finished our meal at 7:30, there were plenty of folks waiting for a table. They do have a waiting list, which makes it easy to put your name on the list and jump down to another shop, take a quick walk on the beach just down the street or stop for a drink elsewhere while you wait.

All in all, La Crema is definitely a can’t-miss for any gluten-free diners in Rosemary Beach!

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate gluten-free musts: Sangria, serrano-wrapped figs, lamb lollipops, chocolate fondue.

Rosemary Beach Florida - A Gluten Free Travel Guide on 30A

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Rosemary Beach:

  • Get to the beach early: Take advantage of the beach chair rentals when you stay with Rosemary Beach, but bring a credit card – they don’t take cash!
  • Rent a carriage house for a romantic getaway for two and enjoy the pools, fitness center, tennis facility and beach access
  • Check out the weekly wine tastings at Wild Olives every Friday from 5-7 p.m.

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.

Best Gluten-Free Snacks for Traveling

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


Despite the fact that I work in my home office, I have been traveling a ton which means access to gluten-free snacks can be a major challenge.

The Best On The Go Gluten-Free Snacks - brendadaltoncom - Brendadalton.com

 

You’ll find a minimum of three snacks on me at any given time, no matter the size of my purse, mostly because you can’t let that blood sugar get too low!

I’ve learned which gluten-free snacks travel incredibly well and which snacks… well, don’t look like anything edible after two hours in my bag.

Almonds & Mixed Nuts

This snack is a given. For those without a nut allergy, almonds are most likely the easiest to transport – in a bag! in a can! in your hand! – and they won’t freeze, melt or get crushed. Lately, I’ve become obsessed with Target’s Raw Mixed Nuts in individual packets. They’re incredibly easy to throw a few in my handbag when I’m out and about running errands.

Oatmeal

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a snack, but when traveling, one of the hardest things to find sometimes can be a gluten-free breakfast! With most coffee shops and airports only offering pastries and breakfast sandwiches, it’s hard to know what’s safe to eat first thing in the morning. And who wants to start the morning getting glutened? Bakery on Main’s Gluten Free Oatmeal has outperformed every other gluten-free oatmeal I’ve tried over the years, in taste and texture. The peach and strawberry flavors are my favorite and aren’t as sugar-filled as some other flavored oatmeal; however, you can never beat a plain oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup and berries mixed in.

Popcorn

Is popcorn easily transportable? Yes! Grab individually wrapped SkinnyPop bags and you’re good to go. They can easily fit in a tote or backpack for the day and I’ve even traveled all day on several planes and found the popcorn miraculously doesn’t get squished. One of life’s great mysteries is how SkinnyPop can make such perfectly delicious popcorn with so few calories.

Jerky

One of the easy snacks I missed once I developed my gluten allergy was beef jerky. Did you know that smoke flavoring and/or soy sauce are in a majority of jerky brands and isn’t safe if you’re celiac or have a severe allergy? Yeah, I know, total bummer. It took me a long time to find gluten-free beef jerky, period, and it took even longer to find my favorites: Duke’s and Lorissa’s Kitchen. Both brands are gluten-free, low sugar and much healthier than your regular convenience store jerky, plus they offer unique flavors like Hatch Green Chili, Cajun and Andouille sausage (Duke’s) and Szechuan Peppercorn (Lorissa’s). Bonus: Duke’s comes in big bags and single servings!

Harvest Snaps

Secret confession: I never liked peas until I tried Harvest Snaps. Seriously, guys. They’re a life changer. For those of you with an addiction to chips of any kind, swap them out for Harvest Snaps for a healthy alternative to knock out those salty, savory cravings. They’re low carb, high protein, and low sugar and are tasty on their own or paired with hummus, dip or even salsa. At this point, they have at least a bazillion flavors covering three categories: Lentil, Snapea (my personal favorite!), and black bean.


Tell me: What are YOUR must-have gluten-free snacks when you’re out and about?

Alys Beach, Florida | City Guide | 30A

This post is the first in a series featuring several towns along Florida’s famous Highway 30A. This post: Alys Beach, Florida. Next up: Rosemary Beach. 
City Guide to Alys Beach Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop BrendaDaltoncom
When it time for gettin’ a little fancy on 30A, head to Alys Beach (pronounced like Alice!). Alys Beach is one of the newest communities along 30A and is coming along nicely over the last five years – new shops and quick eats are popping up all the time, plus they host a number of fabulous festivals and events.
Stop by the Alys Shoppe to pick up Alys Beach-branded tees, Tervis cups, beach towels and more, plus unique boutique items for men, women and children. A number of parks, pools and green spaces are thoughtfully placed throughout the community and while you need a code to access the beach and pools, the stunning New Urbanism plan in the community encourages you to wander and admire.
Fonville Press is the perfect way to start and end your day in Alys Beach. This multi-purpose storefront serves coffee and newspapers in the morning and cocktails, iced tea and lunch bites in the afternoon, and cocktails and conversation in the evenings. With charming little tables outside to enjoy the gulf breeze, it’s hard to be in a rush in this quiet, luxurious community.
Alys Beach City Guide | 30A Florida City Guide by brendadalton.com
George’s at Alys Beach‘s gluten-free selection has been raved about, especially for GF fine dining. Disclaimer: Fine dining on the beach is not the same as the rest of the world. Yes, the food is beautiful and delicious, but a sundress, capris or a nice top will do you just dandy. After all, we made our way to Alys Beach from Rosemary Beach on bikes for dinner!
George’s hosts a great number of indoor, covered and outdoor seating. With an expansive covered deck, you can duck out of the sun on those hot days or get a front row seat to the sunset on their patio.
This Alys Beach gem is the perfect spot for gluten-free diners. With half the menu with that lovely “GF” next to the items, there are plenty of options to choose from. Keep in mind their menu changes seasonally, so what might be mentioned here in the blog might not be what’s currently on the menu. Either way, don’t fret because it is alllllll delicious.

George's at Alys Beach offers great options for gluten-free dining to please every palate.

George’s at Alys Beach gluten-free musts: Jerk-crusted gulf snapper with forbidden black rice, pineapple salsa, plantains, and a coconut rum molasses

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Alys Beach:

  • Arrive at George’s soon after they open for prime seating: They don’t take reservations
  • Rent a vacation home for a night or two to enjoy the pools, fitness center, and beach access
  • Stop for ice cream or a quick, casual bite to eat at one of the many food trucks and trailers situated near the amphitheater and Town Center

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.

2017 Father’s Day Gift Guide

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.


Let’s be honest: Your dad doesn’t really want a new necktie for Father’s Day. Does he ever wear neckties? Probably not anymore. Think outside the box of ties and wallets this Father’s Day and find the perfect gift to suit dads across the board, no matter his favorite hobby.

Gift for the Always Prepared Dad

Eton American Red Cross, Multi-Powered, Smartphone Charger, Weather Alert Radio and Flashlight in One
This gift covers several categories: The camper, the boy scout, the weather-wise dad… and many more! This multi-powered smartphone charger, weather alert radio and flashlight in one covers all the bases for being in the outdoors, dealing with weather emergencies or for the dad that just likes to put a little man-power into charging his phone. While it charges via USB, the cool thing about this all-in-one is that you can charge it by cranking the handle in case you lose access to power.

Gift for the Craft Beer Dad

Wooden Beer Caddy & Handcrafted Carrier
Treat dad to his favorite beers for Father’s Day, stored in a sturdy wooden six-pack holder with metal bottle opener. It features a clean, vintage design that fits in with any decor – whether it finds a place in the kitchen, on the porch, in the garage or displayed proudly in the man cave. Tip: You can mix and match bottled beer at most liquor stores – don’t forget to include a local brew, too.

Gift for the Zombie Apocalypse Dad

Zombie Preparedness Man Crate
Not only is this the perfect gift for a Walking Dead fan, this supply-filled crate can only be opened with a crowbar. Talk about a manly man gift! Complete with a Zombie Survival Guide, flashlight, first aid kit, duct tape, Spam and weapons (yes, weapons – how else will you rid the world of zombies?), you can upgrade each crate for more food and supplies like shovels and fire starters.

Gift for the Sky’s the Limit Dad

Flying Lessons or Flight Experience
If your dad loves the clear skies, is a history buff or generally loves the feeling of the wind beneath his wings, flying lessons are the perfect gift! Check out your local flight school or aviation museum for options. Many flight museums offer some of their historic aircraft for one-time flights or purchase a set number of lessons for dad to get his wheels off the ground and learn to pilot small aircraft.

Gift for the Fashion-Forward Dad

Your dad is always on time, but never responds to your messages? The Fossil Q Smartwatch is a stylish watch that can be dressed up or down and looks a bit more natural than the other smartwatch competitors. This watch can be set up for iPhone or Android, tracks your steps and can connect to texts, emails, calendar alerts and a number of different apps. Looking for a watch that’s a bit more classic and budget-friendly? Leather watches are always on trend.

Gift for the Tech-Savvy Dad

The technology on Amazon’s Echo has made leaps and bounds since it was released in 2014. Whether dad’s busting out the jams, ordering pantry items or catching up on the news that matters to him in the mornings, the Echo pairs with the most popular websites and apps for seamless information. For the father’s that’s really, really into technology, pair it with the Philips Hue Color Starter Kit and pair to with WeMo, Nest and other smart home technology for an all-in-one technology homebase. For a more budget-friendly option, check out the Echo Dot.

Gift for the Fitness Fanatic Dad

Fitbit Charge 2
Does your dad spend his weekends blazing new trails on his bike, collecting half-marathon medals or can’t go a Saturday morning without his Crossfit? No matter what workout suits his fancy, the Fitbit Charge 2 tracks sleep patterns, heart rate and displays calls and texts – perfect for when you want to remind him who his favorite child is, right? This Fitbit goes well beyond counting steps and alerts you to when you’re working within your ideal heart rate zone for fat burn, cardio and peak performance, whether he’s running, biking or weight lifting. The silent vibrating alarm is also a great feature so he doesn’t wake his better half for those 5 a.m. workouts.

Gift for the Jet-Setting Dad

Upgrade dad’s beat up suitcase with this modern, sturdy duffel. Perfect for weekend trips or business travel, this canvas and leather bag is carry-on friendly for flights and small enough for the car. Pair this bag with a gift card for and airline or his favorite out-of-town restaurant and you’ve given him the perfect excuse to put this bag to use!

What is on your dad’s wishlist this Father’s Day? 

Seaside, Florida | City Guide | 30A

This post is the first in a series featuring several towns along Florida’s famous Highway 30A. This post: Seaside, Florida. Next post: Alys Beach. 
City Guide to Seaside Florida 30A - Places to eat Where to Shop from BrendaDaltoncom
Seaside, Florida is a sweet little town on Florida’s famous Highway 30A. You may recognize it from The Truman Show. Remember how that little town Jim Carrey’s character lived in seemed a little TOO perfect? Well, it exists. In real life. And people actually live and play here. And it’s amazing.
In Seaside, you’ll find adorable boutiques like Willow + Woods, Bump & Baby for the littles and the family-owned Sundog Books. It also has the most charming little grocery and deli – with gluten-free desserts! – a row of food trailers, and a number of events at the Seaside Amphitheater like story time, farmers markets and concerts.
Seaside Beach Pavilion - Visiting Seaside Florida 30A
It’s also home to a number of beautiful beach pavilions designed by world-famous architects. Those alone are worth a quick stop and walk around!

Check out the best spots to see, dine and shop in Seaside, Florida! Click To Tweet

Bud & Alley’s

Bud & Alleys - Seaside Florida - Gluten Free - Visitors Guide
Our first stop in Seaside was a visit to Bud & Alley’s for breakfast. If you’re looking for THE view of the beach, the gulf and the crystal clear waters while having a drink and a bite to eat… don’t go anywhere else but Bud & Alley’s.
While the gluten-free options were limited, I was still able to dine on a huuuuuge omelet with fresh veggies and a slightly spicy crumbled chicken sausage and fruit. Not kidding with the huuuuuge part. It could have easily been split between two people with room to spare!
Just stopping by for a drink? The bar has a clever little trick: Despite the bar’s facing away from the gorgeous views, they’ve installed a mirror that gives you – yes, those same ideal landscape that’s right behind you without making your turn around on your stool. After all, turning around too many times in a bar stool with a mojito in hand could end dangerously.
Bud & Alley’s gluten-free breakfast musts: Omelet of the day (check with your server for GF options!) and a killer view

Great Southern Cafe

Courtesy of Great Southern Cafe

Courtesy of Great Southern Cafe

 

Ah, Great Southern Cafe. This is one of my faaaaavorite joints on all of 30A – it’s a combination of amazing food, friendly, accommodating staff, a no-rush attitude and a cool breeze under a glorious covered patio. Oh, and the best mojitos on the planet don’t hurt, either.

These folks are pretty well-versed on gluten-free dining. Most of the fish dishes are a great call – the balsamic salmon salad is a home run and who can ever go wrong with gulf shrimp one block from the gulf? For those non-gluten-free diners, I’ve heard the Mahi sandwich, gumbo and fried green tomatoes are all a can’t miss.
However.
HOWEVER.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite meals in the entire world: Grits à Ya Ya.
It’s a relatively simple shrimp and grits dish, but with melt-in-your-mouth smoked gouda added to the grits and a topping of applewood smoked bacon, spinach and mushrooms. You’d think this would be a heavier dish while traipsing on the beach, but somehow, the Great Southern Cafe makes it work.
Let your server know you have a gluten allergy and with a minor change, this dish is easily gluten-free! After three times dining here, I’ve never once gotten a photo of my shrimp and grits. Why? Because it smells so delicious, I dive in before I can even take a photo. No lie. Self-control is brutal and sometimes you have to just go for the grits.
Great Southern Cafe gluten-free musts: Caprese salad, Grits à Ya Ya, coconut mojito

Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Seaside:

  • Bring an umbrella: Pop-up showers are incredibly common.
  • Grab a postcard at Sundog Books: Mail it at one of the cutest post offices in the country
  • Leave your car in park: Seaside is incredibly walkable and you can make use of the bikes to get around
  • Get to the beach early: Seaside has several public beach access points, unlike many other towns along 30A

 

Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.