Welcome to the launch of my new blog, navigating lactose-free recipes and outside eats for the foodie purist!
My name is Ann. I'm a marketer by day and a dedicated wife / foodie/baker/cook by night. I am slightly obsessed with my husband, family, and music, love to travel and have a really weird obsession with lights, everything Christmas and microfiber. I don't know, don't ask me why.
While blogs really aren't my thing, I think I have successfully crossed over into the realm of public, consumer marketing. In reality, I just want to share my experiences with the world. As much as we may love life, I think sometimes we are so distracted by everything around us that we forget to enjoy the moments as they come to us. Just being in the moment these days sounds a bit crazy considering all the political, environmental, and social wish wash ( is that a word?) that we are seeing everyday.
* Enter this blog*
The purpose of this travel /health blog is for 2 reasons:
1. This is a current escape from all the craziness in this world. A place where it is positive, proactive but realistic. An artistic outlet if you will. So, I hope you each of you can take away some memories or experiences on here and use them for yourselves as you travel or learn a new skill.
2. While this may be too much information, I feel that if I don't share, then this blog will only provide disconnection. I am by no means what you would call "fit". I am working on my fitness, but I am not launching this blog in search of the healthiest options, because I am not an expert in that category either. This health blog is for dietary purpose, people that have difficulties with certain foods rather than the "get-fit-don't-quit-crossfit-craze" type of mentality ( no offense to anyone, obviously). Just a person documenting her travels through life's wonderful adventures and offering substitutions to your favorite, everyday recipes to help on the digestion front, outside and at home.
About 4 years ago, I became lactose intolerant. Not a big deal, but if you are born into a culture that prides itself on the consumption of butter, milk, cheese, etc... it becomes difficult to navigate and avoid. At first, my parents thought I was just being difficult, trying to lose weight, which is typical since I was always on those temporary "health kicks". Though I tried to move past it, after awhile it became harder to enjoy family gatherings, always fearing a reaction ( it did provide some comedic relief at first but was also horrible at the same time). The same rules applied to traveling, making it impossible to order anything when eating out.
I always used to roll my eyes at "picky eaters" perceiving them as just difficult; without ever realizing how much of your life can change from a complication that wasn't as serious as an allergy, but wasn't as trivial as a preference. It was such a hassle to have such invisible restrictions on food. From having to worry constantly about what I'm eating, being cautious or stressed out about reactions, hoping that chef's that prepared my food listened, or that the service was diligent of my sensitivity, to even praying that what I ate wouldn't ruin the rest of my day; it became a ridiculous way to live. Sometimes I just dealt with it and used supplements to help, but over the years the intolerance became just that, intolerant. I had to start seeking alternatives, trying to find the balance between what I could physically handle versus the I would sacrifice by using all these, frankly, paper-tasting substitutions. However, not every place can support those substitutions ( thank you to those who have moved in that direction!) , or they think you are part of a trend that needs everything gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan everything, so they don't take it seriously. Did I mention I have a gluten sensitivity? Yeah, I figured that one out in Italy * face-palm*. Thankfully, it's only a sensitivity, so I think all is well.. for now.
Anyway, the meaning of this post is to give this blog's purpose. There will be three categories:
My lactose-free eats will help you navigate great food spots that offer the proper substitutions for those that wish to be lactose-free while you are out and about, so you can finally break the restriction mentality and just enjoy yourselves, actually focusing on the things that matter, like experiences :).
While my lactose-free recipes are for anyone looking for alternatives to their home cooking ( I'll even throw in some Egyptian recipes!), mimicking the flavors that you've grown accustomed to without the issues of digestion later. *Sidenote: Most of my recipes could also be prepared as vegetarian or vegan with the proper substitutions, so it's a double win!
If you're living the lactose intolerant struggle, or just a curious foodie that is looking for substitutions to everyday favorite eats ( that also can be healthier alternatives to regular cooking/baking ingredients), then this blog is for you. I hope to make your experiences on here (and in life) a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable.
Be well, and happy eating!
This past weekend, my husband and I took a trip to New Orleans for a quick but satisfying getaway. While there, we had the opportunity to jump into some serious NoLa cuisine. The most wonderful array of all things sweet, spicy, boozy and more. NoLa also boasts amazing jazz clubs on Frenchman, entertainment of sorts on Canal and the ever famous Bourbon street - no explanation needed.
During our visit, we found this wonderful little bistro with some crazy flavor profiles.
* Enter Willa Jean*
I was looking for more of a local mama-pop shop rather than a tourist trap ( which unfortunately was exactly what happened during the first part of our trip). This place was beautiful and seemed to hit every mark. From the ambiance with more of a modern contemporary feel, to the warm and glowing service - now, that's what I call some NoLa hospitality y'all! I haven't even gotten to the food, which was incredible. The whole experience was absolute perfection. A harmonious balance between heavenly and healthy (with enough dietary options to pass for clean eating...if you behave).
While I don't have pictures of the main courses ( since we ate them so fast) I would say to try their shrimp toast or their chicken dish, both were unbelievable. Because of my situation, I held the burrata cheese off of the shrimp toast and it was still incredible, and lighter than expected. Pop in for just a snack if you're not feeling too hungry, there's a wonderful bakery as you enter holding all of your heart's desires. Willa Jean's really was one of our favorite places during our entire stay. Each option supplying you "with all the fixin's" for indulgence or health and even catering to those with dietary restrictions.
Take a look at their ( not-so-healthy) cookies and milk and house made cornbread. They typically give three cookies and a healthy serving of cookie dough batter, but I have a husband with an affinity for all things dough. Enjoy and happy eats!