What do you get when you pick a pepper, a cucumber, and cherry tomatoes from your garden?  


I worried all spring that I wouldn't have a garden. It went in a month late, and our growing season is fairly short here. 

But the zinnias are blooming, the sunflowers are getting tall and starting to bloom, the tomatoes and peppers are beginning to ripen, and above you can see my very first cucumber of the year. 

I diced up the cucumber, tomato, an pepper, then mixed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. Delicious. 


Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.

Charles Mingus

Gluten Free at the Philly Airport

Last weekend, we were traveling through the Philly Airport, and had a long layover. I had researched the airport's food options in advance, and discovered that the airport boasts a Legal Sea Foods, located at the Terminal B/C Connection. The chain has a great gluten-free menu, so I decided that was where we were going to have lunch. 

I expected it to be decent, but I ended up being blown away - in a good way. The gluten-free menu they brought me read "CELIAC MENU," and when we told the waiter we'd be ordering gluten-free, he knew exactly what he was talking about and then said, "We'll take care of you."

As an appetizer, I ordered half a dozen raw oysters.  

The server who brought them out was different than the one who took our order, bit he put all my worries at ease when he said, "We paid very close attention to your food allergies" as he put the plate on the table. 

The oysters were amazing. It's been ages since I've had oysters of any kind, much less raw oysters. It just seems silly to be eating oysters in the middle of the desert (plus I'm never convinced that they're fresh enough).  The folks at Legal Sea Foods brought out a variety of oysters, some a modest size, and some so big I wondered how I would fit them in my mouth. All of them were to die for. 

If I'd only had the oysters, the meal would have been worth the hike across the airport. But it didn't end there. Eager to fill up for the rest of our travel day, I ordered the Greek salad with crabmeat on top. Again, when a different server put the food on the table, he said, "We paid very close attention to your food allergies."

While I can't say it was as amazing as the 
oysters - and let's face it, trying to beat out those oysters would have been a losing battle - the salad was pretty awesome. There was just the right amount of dressing, olives, and chickpeas. I wasn't quite sure how the crabmeat would taste added to a Greek salad, but it was mild and delicious and perfect.  

Mike ate gluten-free right along with me. He ordered the wood grilled salmon with coleslaw and rice. 

He wasn't thrilled about the portion - mostly because the plate was too big for the food that was on it - but it really was a decent portion size. I had a bite of everything - the coleslaw was great and the salmon was out-of-this-world. The fish was tender and moist and succulent, and the outside was wonderfully crispy. If I'd had that as my meal, it might have rivaled the salmon.  Maybe. 

This was easily the best gluten-free eating experience I've ever had in an airport. It's amazing how the staff's great attitude to allergy-friendly dining made the whole experience so much more comfortable. 

From sitting down (there was no wait although the restaurant was very busy), to the time we we left, we were only there about forty minutes. So the next time you're in the Philadelphia International Airport and have some time to spare, be sure to check out Legal Sea Foods. I'm sure you'll be glad you did!


There is almost one time that is important - Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.

Leo Tolstoy

Blank Canvas

My newest sweater - Blank Canvas by Ysolda.  Made with Sublime organic cotton. I'm quite pleased with the fit, although I did make a few modifications in length. Easy to knit, easy to follow, and I can't wait to make more modifications to make it my own!

Dog Days

I don't know why, but these last two weeks hit me like a ton of bricks.

There's been work. And play. And for a whole week, fireworks until well past my bedtime.

It's been hot. There's been rain, which makes me do a happy dance every time I see it. (Yes, really.)

Sometimes this sort of thing makes me feel overwhelmed, but right now I'm just tired.

I guess they call this the dog days of summer for a reason. The dog is totally relaxed, just rolling around on his back and acting like I'm crazy for trying to do so much.

Last week, I wrote a series of posts about adventures in National Parks and Monuments. There's more to come, but I lost steam halfway through the week, and they're just going to have to wait until later. 

Maybe I'll see you here next week. I'm going to go have ice cream for dinner.


Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

-William Morris

Learning the Light

Are my pictures getting better? I sure hope so. I've always, always been in love with photography. The way a photograph can capture the essence of just about anything - from a mountain view to dust mites - has always fascinated me. I know I'm a long way off from being a pro. Heaven knows my photos still aren't good enough for Foodgawker or Pinterest, but that really doesn't matter to me. Right now, I'm just working on learning the light.

For example, when I walked by, I thought these two cows standing in the shade looked really picturesque. Then the spotted cow started scratching her ear, which I found hilarious. But the light was all wrong.

Of course it's all wrong. It's all about angles - where the light is coming from, where the sun is in the sky, where you are in relationship to it all, where the subject is, and so on. So I moved on to some more cows. A little better, but now their shadows are so dark...

This is the best picture of the day (if you don't count the funny shot of cowhumping I got by accident). The shadows are muted enough not to be distracting, and it's the closest to what my eyes actually saw that day. There's still room for improvement, always, but for now I'm learning the light.


The disturbers of happiness are our desires, our griefs, and our fears.

-Samuel Johnson

Gluten-Free Zion National Park and Grand Canyon North Rim

This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite trips to National Parks and Monuments. Plus, I'm eating gluten-free all the way, so you get to see firsthand how easy (or hard) it is to travel gluten-free! Yesterday, I wrote about Dinosaur National Monument. Today is Zion National Park and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!

Zion National Park is a pretty cool place to visit any time of the year. We visited in the late fall, so we took advantage of some nice but short hikes. If you go in the summer, be sure to check out the Narrows - one of the few places I've seen in a national park where swimming and wading are not only encouraged, but an essential part of the trail.

Zion is known for its "hanging gardens," which are little plants that cling to sheer rock faces at places like Weeping Rock and Emerald Falls. If you're more into spectacular views, Zion has those too.

There are some great scenic drives at Zion and in the area in general. You can see "Great Arch," which isn't really an arch, and Checkerboard Mesa, a pretty cool rock that formed to look just like a checkerboard!

If you're at Zion, it's only a couple of hours away to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Of course, this can be a trip all on its own, too!  

There's no way photographs can adequately capture the Grand Canyon. We spent hours just staring at it, trying to wrap our heads around how big it was. 

Traveling gluten-free?  This one's a cinch!  The closest town to Zion National Park is Springdale, Utah. It seemed like every restaurant in town had a thorough understanding of gluten intolerance and how to feed gluten-free folks. We ate at Wildcat Willie's (gluten-free items noted right on the menu), Parallel 88 (servers had a great understanding, and the food was amazing),  and Cafe Soleil for delicious gluten-free sandwiches. There were plenty more we could have tried, but we saved a few pennies by packing lunches and eating breakfast at our B&B. 

As always, be sure to bring enough water, dress for the weather, and check with the park regarding current conditions and regulations. 

Have you been to Zion or the Grand Canyon? I'd love to ear about it!

Gluten-Free Dinosaur National Monument?

This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite trips to National Parks and Monuments. Plus, I'm eating gluten-free all the way, so you get to see firsthand how easy (or hard) it is to travel gluten-free! Yesterday I talked about eating gluten-free at Bryce Canyon National Park. Today, it's Dinosaur National Monument.

Ever wanted to see a real dinosaur? Forget Jurassic Park, Dinosaur National Monument is the place to go.

You can see dinosaurs still in the rocks where they were buried by a prehistoric river - all in the comfort of an air-conditioned building that surrounds the dinosaur quarry. Or, you can look for dinosaur bones along certain hikes.

Dinosaur National Monument is situated both in Utah and Colorado. Only the Utah side boasts dinosaur fossils, but it would be a huge mistake to pass up the Colorado side. 

On the Colorado side, you can visit the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery, fish along the Jones Hole Trail, and hike through forest and desert to the Green River.

On both sides of the park, you can see petroglyphs and pictographs. (Petroglyphs are carved into the rock, while pictographs are painted, like the one below.) 

Be sure to take the scenic Tour of the Tilted Rocks drive, where you can see incredible rock art and stunning landscapes. At the end of the road, you'll come to Josie Bassett's homestead. She was a pioneer in the truest sense of the word and a fascinating woman. 

As always, take plenty of water, and be sure to check with the park for current conditions.

There are lots of little state parks in the area, as well as reservoirs where you can fish and boat. If you're only going to make one side trip, be sure to check out Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area - a huge dam that was intended for the area around Dinosaur National Monument, but later relocated due to protests.

Gluten-free? This is one where I'll emphatically say, "bring a cooler." The surrounding towns are small, and there aren't many restaurants. Plus, all the places to visit are great for picnics (as long as you pack out your trash - you don't want to attract any bears).

Remember how I said to check with the park about current conditions? As of right now, Jones Hole Trail is closed until further notice due to rock slides. There are still plenty of awesome hikes and drives at Dinosaur National Monument, so be sure to check it out!

Have you been to Dinosaur National Monument? I'd love to hear about it!

Gluten-Free Bryce Canyon National Park

This week, I'm sharing some of my favorite trips to National Parks and Monuments. Plus, I'm eating gluten-free all the way, so you get to see firsthand how easy (or hard) it is to travel gluten-free!

How do you describe Bryce Canyon National Park? In a word, "hoodoos." That's the name for the spires formed by erosion that fill the park.

The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, making it well-worth the trip. When we went, I had just fallen and badly bruised my foot, making walking difficult at best. I was so disappointed because I was looking forward to a good long hike at Bryce. Instead, we took a scenic drive of all the park's overlooks.

We went all the way up the main road of the park, then stopped at every overlook on the way down. That was the best way to do it too, for two reasons: that way all the overlooks were on the right side of the road, and the views got progressively better as we went on.

There's a good range of hikes available at Bryce Canyon, but all the panoramas and sweeping vistas are visible from overlooks just a short distance from the parking lots. Some hikes are just a mile or two, while others could take you all week. Whether you're going to be gone for half an hour or half a week, always take enough water, and be sure to check with the park rangers regarding current park conditions.

To my surprise, Bryce Canyon is home to quite a few arches. Natural Bridge is the most famous one, but we spotted numerous arches throughout our visit there.

Gluten-free? At first glance, Bryce Canyon might seem like a treacherous place to dine gluten-free. A web search doesn't turn up much. But if you ask around, you might just be surprised.  For us, it was a last minute trip, so I hadn't done my usual research.

If you want to bring your own food, there are a few grocery stores around. Your best bet is to go to a grocery store in Panguitch - the closer you get to the park, the pricier things get. Ruby's has quite a selection of food, but the prices are sky-high. We brought in most of our food, but we were only traveling from Salt Lake City, and were able to pack lots of stuff in the car.

Our first restaurant stop was the Cowboy's Smokehouse Cafe in Panguitch. It didn't look like much, but the wait staff did know exactly what gluten is, and were very helpful. The food wasn't that great, but it was gluten-free.

The next day for lunch, we ate at the restaurant in the Bryce Canyon visitor's center. Although the menu mentioned gluten-free options, there was no gluten-free menu, and our waiter didn't seem very well educated. We had to ask a ton of questions, and the waiter started avoiding us after the third round of questions. We had to go ask other servers, who then went back to ask the kitchen. The food was good, but proceed with caution.

The real surprise was right there at our hotel. Sonny Boy's BBQ offers great barbecue, live music, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff. It was so good, we got some more for the next day.

Don't let the fear of not being able to eat gluten-free at Bryce Canyon stop you from visiting. You might have to ask a few more questions, and do a bit more digging, but the experience is well worth it!

Have you ever visited Bryce Canyon? I'd love to hear about it!