Eating out at any restaurant can be challenging when you’re on a gluten-free diet. Ethnic restaurants can pose a particular challenge if you’re not familiar with the cooking style or the ingredients commonly used in those dishes. When you have a sensitivity to a particular ingredient, like gluten, you can’t afford to let the details of unfamiliar dishes remain a mystery. Take Mexican food: are those tortilla chips safe because they’re made of corn? Is there any way to get a gluten-free burrito? Take a look at some tips that will help you navigate a night out at a Mexican restaurant without exposing yourself to gluten.
Great news! If you’re eating at an authentic Mexican restaurant, there’s a good chance that the tortilla chips on the table are safe for you to eat. Authentic Mexican tortilla chips are usually made from corn flour, not wheat flour, and corn flour doesn’t contain gluten. Incidentally, taco shells and tostada shells are also usually corn flour based, which could give you some more safe menu options to choose from.
Don’t assume that you’re safe without asking first, though. Some restaurants dust their corn tortillas with wheat flour, rendering them unsafe for someone with gluten sensitivities. Cross-contamination is an issue as well — unless the kitchen takes steps to prevent it, it’s always possible that gluten from another dish could be mixed in with your tortilla chips. If the chips are packaged and not made fresh at the restaurant, you can ask to see the package — it should specify whether or not the chips are gluten-free.
Burritos are often among the most popular dishes at Mexican restaurants, and unfortunately, most of them are off-limits to gluten-sensitive diners. Typically, the burrito ingredients are wrapped in a soft tortilla shell made of wheat flour, which contains gluten. However, you do have a couple of options.
Some Mexican restaurants will make burritos wrapped in soft corn tortillas. Though you might ordinarily think of corn tortillas as hard and crunchy, not soft like burrito shells, corn tortillas can be made into more flexible shells by soft-frying them in oil. As long as the fryer used to make the shells is not also used to make items containing gluten, a burrito wrapped in a soft corn tortilla is safe to eat. Another option is to simply ask for the contents of the burrito in a bowl. The meat, beans, vegetables, rice, and peppers found inside a burrito are gluten-free — it’s only the shell that’s a problem. Asking for a burrito bowl eliminates the gluten issue.
When you’re ordering Mexican food, don’t forget to inquire about whether the sauces they use on the food are gluten-free. For example, it’s not unusual for rojo sauce, the sauce that’s usually served on enchiladas, to contain gluten. Cheese sauces and dips sometimes contain wheat flour that serves as a thickener. Mole sauce also can contain a wheat thickener containing gluten, but this depends on the restaurant. Mole can take days to make, so a restaurant that doesn’t have a dedicated gluten-free menu may not be likely to have a gluten-free version on hand, and they can’t make one up quickly. But there are nearly as many versions of mole as there are Mexican restaurants, so you should definitely ask — you might get lucky.
Salsa and guacamole are both usually safe, and they go well with a great number of Mexican dishes. They can also stand in for dressings on a taco salad, if the ordinary dressings contain gluten. (If you prefer something a little lighter, try a spritz of lime juice on your salad instead.) Many hot pepper sauces commonly found in Mexican restaurants are gluten-free, so if you like your food spicy, you’re in luck.
Because of Mexican cuisine’s reliance on gluten-free grains like corn and rice, it’s easier to accommodate a gluten-free diet in a Mexican restaurant than it is in many other types of restaurants. Still, it’s always best to play it safe and ask before ordering. Try this site to learn more about the food Mexican restaurants might offer.
Did you know that chia seeds are very nutritional and may be served in a variety of ways? Whether eating a handful as a healthy snack or adding them to your favorite recipe, you may find these seeds at your local natural foods store or buy chia seeds online. Here are 5 good reasons to add chia seeds to your diet, as well as 5 ways to serve them to your family:
Why You Should Eat More Chia Seeds
If you need convincing on why you should eat chia seeds, consider the following:
1. Chia Seeds Help Provide Energy and Give You a Natural “Lift”
Do you need more fuel to get you through your day? Perhaps you have a vitamin deficiency causing your tiredness. Consider adding chia seeds at mealtime or for a healthy alternative to sugary or salty snacks. These tiny black seeds contain plenty of nutrients , including the important B-vitamins that help energize. In addition, chia contains healthy plant-based protein which may help you ward off that “afternoon slump.”
2. These Seeds Are Heart-Healthy
If you are concerned about heart health, you should incorporate chia seeds into your diet. Chia seeds contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which may help prevent abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, chia contains magnesium, which also helps to regulate healthy heart rhythm.
3. Eating Chia Seeds May Help Strengthen Your Bones
You need an adequate amount of calcium in your diet for strong bones. If you don’t eat diary products, you could be lacking this important mineral. Did you know that chia seeds contain a decent amount of calcium? A small serving of about one tablespoon contains 80 milligrams of calcium.
4. They Are a Great Way to Up Your Fiber Intake
If you aren’t consuming enough fiber, your digestive system may become sluggish, leading to constipation and bloating. Try eating chia seeds daily and you may be surprised at the difference it can make. Just one ounce contains a whopping 11 grams of fiber.
5. They May Help Promote Healthier Skin
Are you looking for ways to prevent skin damage or simply achieve a glowing complexion? If so, you might want to consume chia seeds more often, as they provide a decent amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are important for preventing damage from free radicals that may damage skin cells.
How to Incorporate The Seeds Into Your Family’s Diet
With various ways to serve chia seeds, you may find you can incorporate them into meals and healthy snacks. Here are 5 yummy ways to serve them up:
1. Enjoy a Chia Smoothie
If you have a blender handy, why not put it to good use? Add the chia seeds to your favorite fruit or veggie smoothie recipe.
2. Sprinkle Them on Yogurt or Ice Cream
Ditch the chocolate chips and sugary sprinkles in favor of chia. Added to yogurt or frozen desserts, chia seeds are a unique way to add some variety and help cut calories as you do.
3. Add Them to Bran Muffins
For an added boost of healthy fiber, add a small amount of chia seeds to your favorite bran muffin recipe. It’s a great way to increase your daily fiber intake any time of the day.
4. Serve Them With Breakfast Foods
Chia seeds are a great addition to your favorite pancake recipe. Add a few blueberries or coconut flakes and you’ve got a mouth-watering and nutritional breakfast for the entire family to enjoy.
Do you crave a warm and nutritious breakfast for those chilly winter mornings? Drop a few chia seeds into a bowl of oatmeal. You may want to add more water or milk to your oatmeal, as chia seeds tend to adsorb water, which may thicken the texture.
5. Jam It Up With Chia
Do you enjoy making homemade jams and preserves? If so, consider adding some natural chia seeds to your fruit jams. It will give the jam a unique texture and provide extra nutrition for sandwiches.
As a final note, you might want to consider sprouting your chia seeds when using them for various recipes. This may not only increase the nutritional value, it will add a crispy green texture for salads and other dishes. Do a bit of research to learn how to sprout the seeds and what materials are needed.
If you are a restaurant owner, then you understand the stress that comes along with a surprise visit from an investor or a health inspector. As you walk through the kitchen with that professional and listen to suggestions, you might wish that you had paid more attention to that stove covered with drips, food particles, and dangerous pans of extra grease. However, keeping this crucial piece of equipment in tip-top shape doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are two ways to keep your professional kitchen stove clean and safe, so that you don’t have to worry:
1: Teach Stove Anatomy
You might assume that every member of your kitchen stove understands the intricacies of using that professional-grade stove, but what if you are wrong? If employees don’t know how to clean or assemble removable stove components, it might be hard for them to troubleshoot problems on the fly. To keep your kitchen running smoothly, take the time to teach each of your cooks about these key pieces of stove anatomy:
Once you have trained your employees, hold regular meetings to make sure that everyone stays up to date on stove anatomy. It might seem like a lot of extra work, but it might help your cooking areas to stay clean and safe.
2: Assign Dedicated Workstations
It might seem like a good idea to change which employees man the stove from time to time, but the fact of the matter is that your cross training might create more problems than it solves. Here are a few reasons you should think about assigning dedicated workstations, and keeping the same crew on grill duty:
By adding structure to your kitchen and taking the time to thoroughly train your employees, you might be able to enjoy a more functional restaurant. You can learn more about your stove and its parts by clicking here.
Chocolate, like that from Abdallah Candies And Gifts, is wonderful by itself, but it’s also pretty great when paired with certain other foods. Chocolate covered strawberries, cherries, and bananas are always popular. Chocolate and peanut butter is practically a staple. But what about less common pairings? There are some flavors that may not seem like they’d taste great with chocolate, like rich cheese, bitter beer, or spicy pepper. But if your first instinct is to think these flavors can’t be combined successfully, you’d be wrong. Check out some flavor combinations that are more tantalizing than they seem at first glance.
Chocolate and Cheese
In one sense, the pairing of chocolate and cheese makes sense. After all, chocolate is routinely paired with salty foods like pretzels or nuts to great effect. Why not salty cheese? But in addition to being salty, cheese is savory, and pairing it with chocolate may seem too rich a combination. It’s true not all cheese goes with all chocolate – it’s actually pretty difficult to correctly pull off this pairing. Sharp cheddar and dark chocolate, for example, may not be the best choice. But milk chocolate and Brie is an entirely different story.
As it turns out, one of the best flavor matches between chocolate and cheese is the pairing of Parmesan cheese and dark chocolate. It may sound strange, but the tastiness of this match has actually been study and confirmed in a lab by scientists. Try it grilled between two slices of bread for a rich, exotic lunch.
Chocolate and Beer
There is dessert wine and dessert liquor, but few people would think of combining dessert with beer. Beer is much more commonly consumed with savory, spicy, and salty foods and doesn’t seem to lend itself well to sweets at all. However, beer experts say you actually can find tastebud-pleasing combinations of beer and chocolate.
Eat milk chocolates with porter or stout, and dark chocolates with dark ale. Hops-heavy beers go well with chocolate flavored with lemon verbena or other citrus flavors, and beer aged in bourbon barrels goes well with chocolates containing caramel, toffee, or vanilla flavors. Imperial stouts work well with many types of chocolate, particularly those containing nuts.
Chocolate and Peppers
Chocolate and spicy pepper might be one of the more unexpected flavor combinations out there, but this pairing actually has a long history. Mole sauce, which combines chili peppers with chocolate and other spices, has a long history dating back to the Aztecs in Mexico, and it’s still popular today. Mole recipes not only combine chili peppers with chocolate, they also call for the mixture to be served on top of meat, another unlikely companion to chocolate.
You can pair chilies and chocolates in other ways as well. Chipotle peppers are sweet and smoky, and can be used to complement bitter dark chocolates. Cascabel peppers have tannic notes that pair well with coffee or toffee flavored chocolates. And Aleppo chilies partner easily with complex, nutty chocolates because of their acidic and zesty flavors. Try adding chilies to your brownies, or shake some chili powder into your hot chocolate to give your sweets some extra kick.
Chocolate and Insects
You may not think of insects as food, but in many parts of the world, they’re an important part of people’s diets. Insects like crickets, ants, grasshoppers, and caterpillars are actually good sources of protein. Covered in chocolate, they make crunchy, chewy, or gooey sweet treats.
Chocolate covered insects even have their own holiday: October 14th. You may not be able to find chocolate covered crickets in your grocery store, but you can certainly track some down online. Even if it sounds weird, why not give them a try, just once? After all, they’re covered in chocolate, so how bad can they be?
As you can see, chocolate is a more versatile food than you ever would have though. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to keep some good chocolate around the house – you never know when you might want to pair it with something unexpected.