Browsing Category:

Food

How to Make Hosting Stress-Free & Easy During Holidays

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.

How to Make Hosting Stress Free This Holiday Season

As with most, the holidays often include hosting at least one event, whether it is at your house or helping others prepare a glorious meal or fun little event to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and everything in between.

Unfortunately, for those of us with chronic illnesses, hosting can be a daunting cloud, filled with worry as to how everything will actually get done.

Before I was diagnosed with chronic illnesses, I loooooooved hosting get togethers and entertaining friends and family. Whether it was a holiday, shower or just a fun little party, I loved every aspect: The planning, the mood boards, the shopping, the prepping, the celebrating – everything!

However, now that my energy levels have decreased and I have to choose wisely on how I expend energy, I’ve come up with lots of shortcuts to make hosting stress-free and easy during the holidays.

Make lists

I’m the over-preparer in my family and lists are an absolute lifesaver for me when I’m hosting any sort of get-together. For example, for Thanksgiving, I have several lists:

  • Menu
    • By appetizers, main dishes, sides and desserts and who is bringing
  • Shopping lists
    • Broken down by perishables, freezer items and non-perishables
    • Broken down by store, if applicable
    • This makes it easy to break shopping into several trips over the course of a month!
  • Preparation timelines
    • I make my timeline over the course of the week or two (see the next section on preparing in advance!)
    • Timelines include food prep and cooking, plus things that will need to be done around the house, like cleaning, organizing, pulling items from storage and so on

Prepare in advance

Just as I mentioned in my baby shower post: prepare, prepare, prepare! When you have limited energy, this is key. The week before, I start pulling out utensils, platters, crockpots and store them in a corner of my dining room. Wash table linens early and store in a clean area.

Take advantage of shortcuts

Over the years — and thanks to technology, too! — I’ve found a number of shortcuts that have saved my life:

You don’t have to make each dish from scratch. This is by far the easiest time saver. Pick up a frozen pie or two, add a can of whipped cream and I guarantee your guests will be just as happy as if it was homemade! Frozen vegetables can easily be put on the stove with your choice of seasonings. And of course, frozen rolls, biscuits or bread can be ready in the oven in a matter of minutes.

Try online grocery shopping or delivery. Our local (and my favorite) grocery store in northeast Oklahoma, Reasor’s, offers online shopping and pickup at the curb.

When I have an especially large load of groceries, heavy items or I’m short on time and energy, I take full advantage of placing my grocery order online or through their app. I pull up to a designated parking spot, call the store and they bring my groceries out and load them into the car. This is such an energy (and pain) saver, especially when my arthritis flares up.

Most services have a small fee per order (Reasor’s is $5 for orders under $100) or charge a monthly or annual fee. I just got started with Shipt, a grocery delivery service, and can’t wait to report back on the experience! And a bonus: you can get $10 off your first order with Shipt when you click this link.

Start cooking early

You would be surprised at how many things you can cook or prepare in advance and/or freeze! This is such a lifesaver, because who wants to be mashing potatoes and slaving over a stove over relaxing and enjoying time with guests?

For our family, we make the cranberry sauce and applesauce as far as two weeks in advance and both freeze beautifully. Pull them out 48 hours before guests arrive and it tastes like it was made that morning.

Many folks like the presentation of a beautifully cooked bird and carve right at the table. I like to make it a bit easier and cook and carve the turkey the day before. About 30-45 minutes before serving, pull the oven-safe platter with your turkey out, pour a little stock on top and reheat until warm. Place on a beautiful platter and you’re ready!

I also like to prepare any sides in advance, a day or two before, then place all of the ingredients in plastic bags. For example, the bacon is cooked a day or two early, placed in a large bag with green beans. I then place any seasonings in a smaller plastic bag and ta-da, everything is ready to be dumped into a Crockpot or slow cooker to cook the day of.

Slow cookers are a miracle!

Speaking of green beans in a slow cooker, this is a major thing for me for any gathering, holiday or not. From appetizers to reheating main dishes, slow cookers can save you time, hassle and space in the oven.

Slow cookers may technically take longer, but it cuts prep time and worrying in half when you don’t have to check on items in the oven or worry something might boil over on the stove.

All in all, thanks to my shortcuts I’ve mastered over the years, holiday dinner prep comes to about one hour per day the week of Thanksgiving or Christmas and with the help of guests, less than an hour of prep and active work the day of!

Tell me in the comments: How do you make hosting or preparing for the holidays easier?

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.

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.

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.