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Posts Tagged ‘gluten free vacation’

Managing Food Allergies at a Maine Bed and Breakfast

January 6th, 2014 by Judi Hauer

When some people think about a Maine bed and breakfast, they think about cold muffins, bagels, and store bought danish, and that’s definitely what happens here at the Maine Stay Inn.  Each day we serve a multi-course breakfast, and when I say “serve,” I mean it.  But many people still assume that a bed and breakfast might not be able to handle dietary restrictions, and that’s simply not the case!

Who would think these tasty muffins could have no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, and still loads of flavor?!

Who would think these tasty muffins could have no gluten, no dairy, no eggs, and still loads of flavor?!

Now, I must always point out that while we take every precaution when dealing with allergies, we make sure that guests know that allergens are contained on the premise and that the possibility of cross contamination could occur.  Especially when it comes to gluten free diets, guests want to know if we really know our stuff.  And we sure do!  I basically grew up learning to cook and bake gluten free items, because I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 12.  And over the years, a variety of foods have been removed from my diet, so I’ve learned to adjust, which has meant that the whole family is really aware of what is in foods.  So when we had 2 gluten free, 2 gluten and dairy free, one dairy free, and one nut free guests this weekend it was just no problem.  And we didn’t just serve them fried eggs!  Everyone got their “safe” version of our planned menu and it was so well received!

So most of the common food allergies are old hat at our Maine bed and breakfast, but things certainly get more complicated when a single person has multiple allergies.  Sometimes that means we need input from the guests, but usually with some thought and planning we’re all set, but that’s exactly why we request at least 7 days advance warning s that we can adequately prepare!  The thing that had us in a pickle for the longest time was a guest who was gluten free and vegan.  But with a lot of research and LOTS of taste-testing, we’re really getting the hang of it, and even served two different baked creations at teatime this weekend and no one knew the difference!  So if you’re considering a Maine bed and breakfast and have food allergies, look no further because we’ve got you covered!

Special Diets at a Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast

July 12th, 2013 by Judi Hauer

Even cinnamon buns can be gluten free!

Even cinnamon buns can be gluten free!

Anyone who’s been on a strict eating plan of any kind knows that the idea of venturing out to eat can be very daunting, but at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, we take very special care to prepare a delicious and nutritious diet for those on special diets.  As you may know, we have nearly 15 years of gluten-free cooking under our belts – and that’s in real chronological years, not some cockamamie summation.  But because food allergies have been on our radar screen for so long, we’re able to take the same great care with nearly any other special diet thrown our way.  One of the simplest special diets we accommodate at the Maine Stay Inn is vegetarian, and, in fact, not a single entree contains meats of any kind – we only serve meats as a side!  So even if you do forget to mention it, we’re happy to leave it off your breakfast plate.  Now vegan diets can be quite a bit trickier, since they include no animal products of any kind (no eggs, no milk, and definitely no Maine lobster), but after quite a bit of experimentation, we’ve got a solid repertoire to make sure that vegan guests can enjoy our typical gourmet breakfast as well.  Combining gluten free and vegan can be even trickier, but we’re slowly mastering the art of creating “normal” texture without regular flour or eggs.  Now, it’s definitely possible that a vegan won’t have the exact same breakfast as the omnivore at the next table, but it will certainly be delicious!

Food allergies are becoming a growing concern, and we’re happy to plan menus around food allergies or sensitivities.  That said, there are allergens on the premise, so there is always the remote chance for cross contamination, but our kitchen staff is extremely diligent when it comes to allergies, especially because more than a few have food allergies themselves!  The only thing we ask is that those following special diets of any kind give us 7 days notice so we can appropriately plan menus, food orders, and equipment needs.  But don’t worry – if it slips your mind you will still get a handful or reminders before you arrive.  Since we love breakfast so much, we want everyone to be able to enjoy the carefully crafted morning meals at our Kennebunkport bed and breakfast, even those on special diets!

A Guide to Your Gluten Free Bed and Breakfast Getaway

June 23rd, 2013 by Judi Hauer

Gluten free breakfast? No problem!

Gluten free breakfast? No problem!

For many people, the words gluten free and bed and breakfast don’t seem to belong in the same sentence, because they think of muffins, pancakes, and french toast, which don’t typically mesh with a gluten free lifestyle.  Unless you’re at the Maine Stay Inn, that is!  My family first started learning about gluten free diets nearly 15 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and we’ve been cookin’ up a storm ever since.  So when we came to Kennebunkport, it was only natural to bring our expertise in gluten free cooking to our bed and breakfast.  That means that when we have gluten free visitors, we pull out all the stops to make them our signature gourmet breakfast, but gluten free!  Don’t worry, you won’t leave the table hungry here!

However as we all know, you can’t start the day without a great breakfast, but you also have to have quite a few more meals over the course of the day (especially on vacation), and exploring unfamiliar restaurants and eateries can be a little stressful when you’re on a gluten free diet.  Fortunately, we know the Kennebunkport restaurants like the backs of our hands, and we’re more than happy to share that information with you.  Sure, restaurants with gluten-free menus make it easy to know what you can and cannot eat, but we’ve also experienced first hand which chefs are responsive to alterations, which kitchens can keep those special requests straight, and which places, unfortunately, seem to make  mistakes.  Plus, we can keep you in the loop about places for snacks, take out, and tasty treats that are gluten free friendly too!  So it’s time to put your feet up and relax, because you really can enjoy a gluten free bed and breakfast getaway in Kennebunkport Maine!

Getting Ready For Our Annual Gluten Free Weekend!

October 26th, 2012 by Judi Hauer

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is almost upon us, but with the help of our trusty new friend and social media invention, Pinterest, we’ve got that covered – it’s our annual gluten free weekend that’s got me frazzled!  Now, at our Kennebunkport bed and breakfast, handling gluten free diets at any point is no biggie.  Since our family has well over a decade of gluten-free cooking under our belts (not combined – that is in real, calendar years!), we’re very familiar with the quirks of working with gluten free substitutes

pinterest breakfast recipes

Help us decide on gluten free recipes that we’re considering on our Pinterest board of breakfast recipes!

and tweaking almost any recipe so it is safe for our gluten intolerant visitors (and for me, the resident taste-tester).  But somehow making everything we serve during the first weekend of November something GF seems like a way bigger deal!  I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out exactly what we’re going to serve.  Now, it doesn’t help that I am in love with what we served last year…  Seriously, I dream about the almond angel food cake whoopie pies with peach preserves basically daily.

Like I have mentioned before, I have a new addiction.  Pinterest.  Oh lordy, it’s worse for procrastination that Facebook!  I digress, but I have been scouring Pinterest for the prettiest and most inventive breakfast recipes that are naturally gluten free or lend themselves to effective substitutions.  And snacks.  And candies.  And non-breakfast deliciousness.  The problem, now, is that there are just too many options!  Thanks goodness that at the Maine Stay Inn we alternate sweet and savory breakfasts, because if I had to choose I would really be up the creek!  So instead of sharing a sneak peek at our upcoming menu, I need your help to narrow it down.  So hop online and check out the recipes that I am deciding between on our board called “Yummy Breakfast Recipes” and let me know what sounds best!  It’s hard to believe that our annual Gluten Free weekend is just around the corner, but with your help, I know we can make it the best one yet!

Eating Gluten Free at a Maine Bed and Breakfast

July 15th, 2012 by Judi Hauer

When most people think of a Maine Bed and Breakfast, the morning meal conjures up images of Betty Crocker breads, muffins, and pastries, but when you’re gluten free, that isn’t really going to fly.  And truthfully, that smorgasbord of starchy and sticky pre-made goodies doesn’t fly at all, especially at the Maine Stay Inn.  We put a tremendous amount of thought into planning breakfast, making sure that we prepare something that’s fresh and nutritious.  It may seem strange, but we eat the very same breakfast you are served each and every day.  So if it doesn’t leave me satisfied, that recipe is given the heave-ho.  By the same token, though, if I am

Going gluten-free doesn’t have to mean fun free or meals full of salads!

not feeling energized and raring to go, that breakfast just doesn’t cut it.  Balance is key for our morning meals, as we try to include meats (though never in entrees out of respect for vegetarian and less-carnivorous visitors), high quality lean proteins, fresh fruits, veggies, and something just a little bit sweet and decadent.  But what if you’re gluten-free?

Not to worry, because I am allergic to gluten myself, making sure that our Maine Bed and Breakfast can provide you with a safe and satisfying meal is not a problem.  But because we order our supplies in advance and plan our menus just once a week, we ask for 7 days’ notice just to make sure we have everything we need.  Letting us know the day you arrive just doesn’t give us enough warning to ensure that your breakfast will be just right .  I mean, it takes lots of time, patience, and practice to master the art of gluten-baking, but after 13 years of it, the confidence is certainly building, but no matter what, a true glorious yeast bread doesn’t rise in five minutes, so please give us as much notice as you can! There are some recipes that are easily converted to something gluten free and others that just don’t seem right, so by giving us a shout, that means you can have a delectable and GF friendly meal to start off your vacation.  Plus, when you tell us that you’ll be eating gluten free during your Maine Bed and Breakfast getaway, we’ll make sure to recommend restaurants in town that take special care of their gluten free patrons.  I mean, what’s a vay-cay when you’ve got an empty belly or when you’re stuck noshing on rabbit food?  So next time you’re looking for a Maine Bed and Breakfast that caters to gluten-free foods, the Maine Stay’s got you covered!

Finding Gluten Free Pizza in Kennebunkport Maine

April 27th, 2012 by Judi Hauer

Even in a place known for its dining scene like Kennebunkport Maine, there comes a time when visitors and locals alike just need a good pizza.  Now, because of some incredible foresight and strict zoning laws, you’re not going to find a Domino’s or Papa Gino’s anywhere nearby, but even that wouldn’t help us gluten-free folks.  Fortunately, though there are three places in and around Kennebunkport Maine where you can satisfy that craving without compromising your diet (not the waist-watching one – sorry!).

So if you’re anything like me and feel that a cheese-y slice of pizza should be followed by honking helping of ice cream, check out the gluten free pizza offerings at Duffy’s, which is conveniently located a few doors down from Dairy Queen.  With its accessible location on Route 1 in Kennebunk (perfect for your day trip adventures) and a dining room overlooking the Mousam River, it’s probably a better spot to hit for lunch than dinner.  But since any meal warrants dessert, you still shouldn’t miss out on the DQ.  But

gluten free pizza in Kennebunkport Maine

The new gluten free flatbreads at One Dock are a must try!

closer to your home-away-from-home at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, you’ll find Federal Jack’s Brew Pub.  With a gluten-free menu (but be sure to ask for it), it’s particularly friendly for gluten-free patrons.  But you’ll have to keep looking for a GF beer, because while it would fit their identity as a craft brewery, that option hasn’t yet joined their repertoire.

Sometimes, though, you just want to have it all –  a great grownup atmosphere and some stellar pizza.  Fortunately the new menu at One Dock fits the bill perfectly!  Just steps from the Maine Stay in the heart of Kennebunkport Maine, you can relax in their upscale, lounge-like dining rooms and enjoy the sophisticated setting.  Despite the fact that my server had yet to try the gluten free crusts available for their flatbreads (read: pizza not cooked in a genuine pizza oven) or the inventive crab meat and scallion topped version, I decided to give it a shot.  And, boy, was it ever a win!  As someone who has always been a little skeptical of pizzas without marinara, the combination of mozzarella, scallions, and crab meat atop a white sauce sounded a bit outside my comfort zone, but not anymore.  While the average person might have been a little disappointed by the not-so-crispy crust, that was fine by me, because that signaled on very important thing – it was cooked on a pan.  And any gluten-free eater knows that dramatically reduces your chances for cross-contamination – way to go One Dock!  So despite indulging in a decadent starter, I was somehow able to pack away all six of the generous slices, though it took me so long that I needed the last two pieces sent back for a warm-up (which, I might add, was accommodated with a smile).  There’s no question – this gluten-free pizza is sure to be a hit and a regular staple of my dining routine in Kennebunkport Maine!

How Our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast Handles Food Allergies

March 13th, 2012 by Judi Hauer

Over the course of the last several mornings, the breakfast conversation has included how our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast handles people with food allergies and other dietary restrictions.  It’s a challenge, that’s for sure!  Since I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy well over a decade ago, my family is very well versed in gluten-free cooking and baking.  In fact, we won’t have a single day without a guest requiring a gluten-free diet for over a week!  Fortunately, we’ve got lots of tasty recipes up our sleeves to

guest brings eggs to kennebunkport bed and breakfast

Gluten-free guest brings a special delivery!

keep these visitors well fed and safe during their trip to Kennebunkport Maine.  Despite being very capable of whipping up GF meals, we do ask that you give us at least a week’s notice (but at the time you book your reservation is best), because we plan our menus about a week at a time and order food supplies accordingly.  We’ve got to make sure that the right ingredients are in the kitchen when you arrive!  As a special “thank you” to the kitchen staff at the Maine Stay, one gluten free guest brought us delicious free range eggs (note the blue color as compared to a regular egg) from her very own farm – boy were they ever delicious!

Of course, there are countless other food allergies to be faced with, and we always ask that you give us at least a week to prepare.  Sometimes we’ve just got to do some extra reading!  And we almost always have to do some extra taste-testing, because even visitors with special diet needs deserve a tasty and nutritious morning meal!  But as with nearly any food-serving establishment, we can’t guarantee that contamination cannot occur.  With a kitchen covering less than 50 square feet, it is even more of a challenge.  When preparing food for someone with a food allergy, we thoroughly clean the kitchen and make sure all the offending substances are away from our preparation area.   So if you or someone in your family has a severe allergy (particularly when it comes to nut allergies), we always understand when you need to bring along some foods you feel comfortable with.

Often, though, dietary restrictions aren’t limited to food allergies, so please let us know about any foods you can’t eat.  Yes, that means grapefruit too!  It interacts with many medications, and since it’s not an allergy, many people forget about mentioning it.   Especially during the colder months, citrus is a great option when it comes to fresh fruits, so don’t keep us in the dark, please! But our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast loves to provide delicious, nutritious, and, most importantly, safe foods for guests with food allergies, so let us know if you have questions about how we’ll handle yours!

Third Annual Gluten Free Weekend

November 3rd, 2011 by avadmin

This weekend marks an exciting event at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast- our third annual gluten-free weekend!  Each year during the first full weekend of November, we treat all of our guests (gluten-free or not) to a delightful assortment of gluten free

gluten free treat at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast

A favorite gluten-free treat!

foods. Well over a decade ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, so my family and I have become extremely well versed in preparing foods that keep me safe and healthy.  That means that anyone with gluten intolerance or sensitivity can enjoy a getaway to Kennebunkport Maine without worrying about their diet!

But part of the fun of our gluten free weekend is surprising gluten-lovers with the tastiness of GF foods.  Yes, this weekend visitors will enjoy cookies, cakes, and cobblers – and they won’t have any idea that their plates contain no gluten (yep, barley, malt, rye or even flour).  It means that we get to show everyone that a “gluten free” label doesn’t mean that you’ll sacrifice flavor or texture.  The “yum” factor will still be there! Plus it offers the unique opportunity for visitors to test-drive a gluten free diet.  People recently diagnosed can show their families that following a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean signing up to live on cardboard.  During our last two years, we’ve seen long-term Celiac patients, those newly diagnosed, families testing out a GF lifestyle to help augment treatment for children on the autism spectrum, and even people just interested in what eating gluten free tastes like.  But no matter what, it is always a great event at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, and no one has to sacrifice the yummy breakfasts we are known for! And for those of you who are gluten free, we’ll help steer you to the perfect restaurants that will also keep you healthy – and satisfied!

Don’t forget, though, if you can’t make it this weekend, we are always happy to provide breakfasts that will keep guests happy and healthy, but please give us notice!  We respectfully request that you give us 7 days notice so that we can adequately prepare for your visit.  Please remember, that while we make every attempt to keep gluten and other allergens out of our foods, the kitchen in our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast is not 100% allergen free, so we cannot guarantee that contamination might not occur.

Morning Meal at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast

October 3rd, 2011 by avadmin

Because we try to offer as much flexibility to guests of our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast  as possible, there is sometimes a little confusion about how we handle your first meal of the day.  So let’s take a few moments to get the facts straight!

  • Timing  Providing all our guests with a relaxing and enjoyable dining
    Kennebunkport bed and breakfast dining room

    The stained glass in our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast dining room

    experience is incredibly important, so we stagger seatings to give everyone a chance to enjoy a meal without being hurried.  In the dining room of our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, we typically offer two seatings (8:30 and 9:30), but occasionally just have one around 9 – we’ll let you know in advance. Those staying in our Cottage Suites (with the exception of #1) all have private breakfast rooms, and thus have the option of having their breakfasts delivered to their door.  It’s the same meal served inside, but just wrapped up in a wicker basket and brought to you!  Delivery times are around 9 and around 10.  If those options don’t suit your schedule, we can always provide a cold breakfast (in the dining room or delivered) for you to eat at your leisure – think homemade granola, fruit, juice, etc.  For the non-morning people among you, fruit, juice, granola, and the baked good of the day (if applicable) is available in the dining room until 10:30.  But for any of these options, we need to know before the office closes at night so we can be ready for you!

  • Food allergies Our family has been managing food allergies for well over a decade, as our daughter, Johanna, has Celiac Disease.  Yes, that means providing gluten-free meals is our specialty!  We are happy to work around nearly any allergy, but need to know a week in advance so that we can plan adequately.  It is, however, important to remember that, as with most dining establishments, our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast is not entirely allergen free (flours, nuts, oils, etc. are on the premise), so while we take every precaution to ensure they aren’t in your food, we can never guarantee that cross-contamination cannot occur.
  • Other dietary restrictions Guests often visit our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast who don’t have food allergies but require other dietary modifications, which we are more than happy to accommodate, as long as they provide ample warning.  Because we plan our menus a week in advance, we request that you give us at least 7 days notice (but preferably when booking) of your special needs.  While we can’t guarantee that you will be served the same meal as everyone else, we’ll do our best to make sure you don’t leave hungry!
  • Families We absolutely love to have families visit our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, but unfortunately accommodations in the main house are not appropriate for little ones under 12.  Fortunately, the Cottage Suites offer ample options that function much better for families!  And because they have breakfast rooms, breakfast will be delivered to their door (or in nice weather to dining sets in the backyard).  This works best for everyone, because kiddos can eat in their jammies or swimsuits and no one has to worry about “indoor voices,” navigating the not-so-kid-friendly dining room furniture, or behaving in the dining room.
  • Menu The menu at our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast changes daily, providing guests with a mix of sweet and savory entrees.  It is our goal to ensure that everyone starts their day off right with a hearty, balanced meal.  So that means you’re not going to have muffins or pastries served with your pancakes - think fruit, protein (eggs or meat or both), complex carbs, and sometimes some veggies too!  While we wish that our 1860 Victorian had a palatial kitchen that allowed us to cook to order, the fact is that it doesn’t.  The main house was actually built without a kitchen!  So since our 7′ x 7′ doesn’t really lend itself to ordering off a menu, it is extremely important that you let us know about your needs in advance!


A Kennebunkport Maine Favorite Goes Gluten Free!

May 25th, 2011 by avadmin

Federal Jack’s BrewPub has long been a dining staple for visitors to Kennebunkport Maine, but it has finally become a place that welcomes gluten free eaters with open arms – and you won’t just have to order salad!  As a casual restaurant

view from Federal Jack's Kennebunkport Maine

Picturesque view from the Deck

that is open nearly every day of the year, it naturally goes on the standby list.  Add its consistency in food quality and water views, and you’ve got an instant fave.  Granted, it’s not fine dining and the food doesn’t take your breath away, but it’s good American chow with a Maine twist, and there’s something for everyone.  And now, that even includes gluten free patrons!

Honestly, I have to credit a guest for alerting me to this change, but boy am I glad she did!  Federal Jack’s was her favorite eatery in Kennebunkport Maine before she was diagnosed with Celiac disease, so when returning with her hubby for their babymoon, they announced their intention to return.  I gave her a few pointers about navigating the menu and encouraged her to talk to the very knowledgeable head chefs.  When she returned, she was ecstatic!  Fed’s has a new gluten-free menu!  In fact, they thought it was so good they went back again.  And again (seriously).

After a review like that, I had no choice but to check it out.  So I went for lunch and asked about it.  There was a whole separate menu with an impressive variety of options.  Yes, salads were among them, but certainly did not comprise a significant portion.  I chose the clam chowder (yes, their chowder is gluten free!) and a salad – I swear, I just wanted veggies, but I didn’t have to.  So while the chowder was wonderful, they did bring me oyster crackers.  This made me a little nervous, so I decided to ask about the change before sampling.  Rick, the bartender (who is amazing, I might add) quickly went back to double check – they’ve revised the recipe, which does look a little different than the old variety.  It was such a pleasure to have real clam chowder without getting sick!  Now I am just going to have to go and sample the rest of the menu, and I hope that all of you gluten-free eaters will enjoy this new staple in Kennebunkport Maine as much as I do.  Enjoy!