Staying in Command

June 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our newest volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experience throughout the 2011 Phillies season.]

Staying in Command

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

Lee’s game is no longer about the comeback.  He’s back and looking un-Be-LEE-vable! Last night, Philadelphians gave Cliff Lee a standing ovation as he flawlessly led the Phillies to a 5-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox and historically pitched his third consecutive complete game shutout.

This time, Lee brings with him three powerful C’s—curveballs, confidence and command. Pitching three consecutive shutouts is no easy feat, and Lee falls into the ranks of baseball Hall of Famers, including Grover Cleveland Alexander and Robin Roberts.

It has been an un-Be-LEE-vable month for Lee, as he also led the Phillies to a 4-0 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals last Wednesday night in his second consecutive game shutout.  Lee was completely in command on the pitcher’s mound, when he allowed simply 6 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk and 3 strike outs.

For me, it’s no longer about being the comeback gal. I recently had two consecutive successful follow-up GI appointments. I too rely on my curveballs, confidence and command on my journey to a happy, healthy gluten-free life.

When Lee is in command, the pitch he throws is the pitch he intended to throw.  Staying in command is a challenge worth Phightin’ for both Phillies fans and everyone who has food allergies or intolerances.

As Lee has so beautifully exemplified over his past three games, staying in command takes true grit and supportive teammates.  Last night was no exception, for he had great offensive support from Dominic Brown and Shane Victorino as they scored two-run home runs.  Let’s not forget Lee’s own RBI sacrifice fly that sent Dominic Brown home in the fifth inning.

Completely in command, I continue my restaurant, dish and product reviews, which are on the following baseball-inspired scale:

Single– Fair
Double– Good
Triple– Very good
Home Run– Must try
Grand Slam– Sublime

Double Rainbow Chocolate Sorbet- Double

A good gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free summer dessert purchased from Trader Joe’s.  It resembles the light consistency of water ice, but has richer dark chocolate flavor.  The finish leaves a slight, but noticeable aftertaste.

The result:  A dark chocolate calorie-friendly treat with great potential, if there was no aftertaste.

Recommendation: Pairs nicely with an assortment of fresh seasonal fruits. Serve this for a BBQ dessert or a beach day snack.

Note:  For Trader Joe’s “No Gluten Ingredients” list, visit

Soyatoo! Rice Whip- Home Run

A must-try vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and cholesterol-free condiment purchased from Whole Foods.  It’s soft and fluffy, with just enough firmness to hold a swirl.  Both the lightness and hint of sweetness nicely absorb the textures and flavors from other foods.  However, preparation time is needed to get the optimal results. As noted on the container, store upside down in fridge and sit out for 10-15 minutes prior to eating.

The result:  Looks exactly like dairy whipped cream, and tastes even better.  Follow instructions on container prior to use – it is worth the wait.

Recommendation: Delicious finish on top of baked goods, sorbet sundaes, and pairs nicely with fresh seasonal fruits.  Can prepare on July 4th with fresh berries for a sweet and patriotic treat!

Santa Cruz Chocolate Flavored Syrup- Triple

A very good organic and gluten-free labeled chocolate syrup purchased from Whole Foods.  The sweet and dark chocolate flavor can stand on its own or be a supportive ingredient in a sundae.  The container is microwavable for a warm alternative to the classic chocolate syrup.

The result: Definitely for dark chocolate lovers, but can be drizzled over desserts for all to enjoy. Thick texture makes it difficult for chocolate syrup to ooze out of container.

Recommendation: Place upside down for a few minutes prior to use. Though microwavable option is nice, it tastes best at refrigerator temperature.  An extra oomph of chocolate sweetness that can be added to any July 4th  holiday treat.

Sautéed flounder in olive oil with roasted baby potatoes and baby peas at Oyster House- Grand Slam

A sublime dish, and one that I look forward to replicating in my kitchen.  The perfect portion of fresh fish was executed with just the right amount of olive oil and seasoning. My favorite fish dishes are cooked with a slightly crisped top and moist inside and this sautéed flounder was no exception.  The flounder was surrounded by soft and well-seasoned roasted baby potatoes with baby peas.  Note: This was the chef’s gluten-free alternative to sautéed flounder on menu.  

The result:  A balance of beautifully cooked fish, paired with pleasantly cooked vegetables.  The different levels of soft textures on the plate complement each other from the juiciness of the fish, the softness of the potatoes and the mushiness from the peas.

Gluten-free fish dinner at Oyster House

A Grand Slam! Sautéed Flounder at Oyster House

The scene: A double date at the Oyster House on Saturday night.  As the Phillies were losing against the Oakland Athletics, we were enjoying a meal that one of the diners in our party said tasted fresh from the ocean.  In fact, the Oyster House changes its menus daily based on the freshest fish.  Since there is no gluten-free menu, I made sure to clearly articulate my food sensitivities and inquire about dish ingredients.  Our table started with an assortment of fresh oysters and then each ordered our own entrée.  To my excitement, the chefs were able to adjust a few ingredients and maintain the integrity of the sautéed flounder on the menu.

Fresh roasted turkey on top of romaine lettuce at Main Line Pizza- Double

A good dish, and one that I have replicated in my kitchen.  The fresh roasted turkey is plainly seasoned, extremely fresh and properly prepared. Each hand sliced piece of turkey was cool, moist and paired nicely with the soft crunch from the romaine lettuce.  Note: This was a quick on-the-go alternative to the Romaine Turkey Wrap on the gluten-free menu.  

The result: A healthy, easy lunch cooked to just the right tenderness.  Simple flavors, simply cooked well.  At Main Line Pizza, you can eat this as a lettuce wrap or on gluten-free bread.

The scene: A quick lunch with my sister and mom before a GI follow-up appointment last week.  My sister is on a search to find the perfect gluten-free pizza, and we were happy to try Main Line Pizza with her.  As the car pulled up to a spot off Lancaster Avenue, I first noticed an inviting sign that specified serving gluten-free pizzas and pasta.  To my surprise, the owner explained his gluten-free training and his certificate from NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program. My sister and mom loved their fresh gluten-free pizza with mushrooms, broccoli and fresh roasted pepper toppings.  They even took an order of gluten-free spicy chicken wings to go, which they also thoroughly enjoyed.

June was a memorable month, as Lee made history and I made progress on my journey with support from my family team.  We are back, we are in command, and we are Free to Be Gluten-Free!

– Nadina

*Learn more about gluten-free training through GREAT Kitchens.
*Celiac Awareness Night at the Phillies is sold out! Thank you all for supporting the cause. We’ll see you there!

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

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