What's with all the gluten free books?

We recently started cleaning up our house a in preparation for some renovations.  This meant packing up some book shelves, when we came along this stack of books.


This brought back some memories from when Amanda received her Celiac Diagnosis in August of 2009 weeks before our wedding.

Hasselbecks G Free Diet, now a controversial book to an extent, was the first book Amanda purchased about being Celiac.  She read all about someone else's journey, and was really able to relate which helped with her coping.

The gluten free every day book was the first cook book we purchased.  Not knowing much about Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet, we just wanted some place to start.

The Celiac Disease for Dummies Book was our welcoming gift for becoming a member of the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter.

The gluten free grocery guide was a recommendation from a friend after doing lots of research for us.

And now?  These books really collect dust.  Not that we are pro's or anything, but Amanda has learned to live with Celiac.  We have learned to cook and adapt meals from any cook book.  Nearly nine years later and we as a family are doing great.

Curious about some of these books?  Check them out on Amazon by using any of the links below.

What makes this night different from all other nights?

Every year around this time I go through the aisles of Andy’s IGA searching for gluten free food items for Passover. This year I admit that I left it kind of late but thankfully was still pretty successful in my search for new gluten free items for Passover.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Jewish holiday of Passover also called Pesach:
“celebrates the freedom of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. Thousands of years ago the early Jews, called Israelites, moved to Egypt, where they became slaves of the Egyptians. It is believed that Moses was chosen to go to the pharaoh, or king of Egypt, to demand that he free the Israelites from slavery. The pharaoh said no, so God sent down 10 plagues (or punishments) to force the king to change his mind. The word Passover comes from the 10th plague, in which the firstborn sons of the Egyptians were killed. The Israelites were spared from the plague because Moses had told them to mark their door posts so that the angel of death would pass over them. The son of Egypt’s pharaoh died from the plague. In his grief the pharaoh ordered Moses and the Jews to leave Egypt and they were rushed out so quickly that the bread they carried on their backs did not have time to rise. This is the reason we eat Matzah (unleavened bread).”
--Kids Britannica
For those of us who are also Celiac and must eat gluten free it might seem easy (no bread), but just like anything else in any religion there are always many “rules” to follow in practice. I won’t get into that part because that is likely beyond the interest of most people, but I will get right to the point of my Passover food finds for 2018.

In Edmonton there is understandably less variety than in a larger Jewish community like Toronto of course. We have family & friends living in Toronto and as such we are fortunate enough to get unique and different items that are just not always readily available in Edmonton.

If you are looking for gluten free foods that are kosher for Passover, I recommend that you check out Andy’s IGA in Edmonton (located at 9106-142 Street) which is known for carrying the largest Passover selection within the city of Edmonton. Here are pictures of some of the items that I found:

Gluten free cake mix

gluten free crackers

gluten free egg noodles

gluten free couscous

gluten free matzo balls!

Gluten free cookies

gluten free cake meal

gluten free macaroons

gluten free pretzel snacks
--Amanda

Gluten Free Croutons Anyone?

We made these delicious croutons on the weekend!  It was simple and not as expensive as you might think


Okay, so you think i'm lying right?  Not as expensive?  How can that be?  Gluten free bread is always expensive.  I won't argue with you there.  It is, and these croutons were not as cheap as regular croutons, but I certainly didn't pay full price.

Basically, you are drying out the bread, so you don't need the freshest stuff.  We went to Superstore to their bread rack and bought a package of 30% reduced gluten free hotdog buns that were about to expire off the shelf.  You can do this with any type of gluten free bread.

When I took it home, this is what I did:
  • Set the oven to 250 degrees
  • Spread some garlic butter made with margarine, garlic and Italian seasoning.  Because these were buns, I sliced the buns first.
  • Cubed the season bread.
  • Spread on a baking sheet
  • Drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
  • Put in oven for 10 minutes, then checked periodically until golden.
  • Turned off the oven, and let stand in oven for another 10 minutes.
Now we are all ready for some gluten free Cesar salad with the Renees gluten free Cesar dressing we love!

You can score big at Planet Organic

You can score big at Planet Organic.  I know that first off you are probably going to say "Planet Organic? But it is so expensive!".  I am certainly not going to dispute that.  But I want to make a couple things clear:
  1. As you can see from these photos, they do have sales, so you can actually get good deals
  2. They have a loyalty program so you can earn stuff!
  3. The more you shop there, and the more you buy, the more incentive they have to stock more gluten free products.
  4. They have an amazing variety of gluten free products in ONE STORE that you won't see at a Wal-Mart or Superstore.
  5. They are a local Edmonton business

Here is some of the stuff we saw at a recent visit to the recently renovated Jasper Ave. location (which by the way, has free underground parking!)

Udi's gluten free frozen single meals!  



These are amazing gluten free peanut butter and jelly snacks.  We bought them previously at a store in Toronto.  We have never seen these anywhere else in the city.

We love the gluten free Bakery on Main cereal, and have bought it at other store.  However, we have never seen their oatmeal before!

Amanda previously bought these individual instant oatmeals in the United States and have never seen them here in Edmonton until our visit to Planet Organic

Don't like Bob's Red Mill?  There is another option for instant gluten free oatmeal!  Although Gluten Freeda has sponsored some local events in the past, I have never seen these anywhere in Edmonton, until our visit to Planet Organic

These little byte size gluten free treats looked delicious.

Dufflet started as a trendy bakery in Toronto.  They now have obviously grown and got into gluten free cakes (certified).  We have never seen these outside of Toronto.


We tried these yummy gluten free fig newtons from Pamela's.  Awesome stuff.  Others have said they've seen them at other stores too.

Lots of gluten free pizza options!  Judy G's is usually just found in the east.

Some new Nature's Path gluten free waffles.  Careful, not all of their stuff is gluten free.

   Gluten free burrito's!


Gluten Free Egg Roll in a Bowl

I love classic north american Chinese Food.  Ever since Amanda's diagnosis of Celiac Disease, we basically only eat traditional Chinese Food restaurants once or twice a year.  Mainly because restaurants don't use a gluten free soy sauce.  When we do eat Chinese Food, Pearl River on 99st in the south has been our go to restaurant that seems to do gluten free best for us.  Other than that, we usually eat Vietnamese or Thai because there is less soy sauce and more rice noodles.

With that being said we will make a lot of Asian dishes at home.  VH makes that easy for us because all of their sauces are gluten free.  So I use their teriyaki with salmon, or their honey garlic with short ribs, and sweet and sour with the gluten free spring rolls we buy at Ben's Meat & Deli or green onion cakes we buy at the Kinnikinnick Fresh store.

Egg rolls have been elusive.  I haven't eaten a traditional egg roll in years.  And still haven't, but this recipe although missing a shell, is amazing. But once I find a wrapper, maybe one day I can make an egg roll.

I apologize but I don't remember where this recipe came from.  It is not ours, we just adapted it, but it turned out way better than I expected.

A lot went into the recipe, but it was really easy to make.


A little commentary on the tamari sauce.  We spent the extra money to get the gluten free tamari, vs. using the inexpensive VH soy sauce (I did use the soy sauce to make my famous fried rice).  So why did I do this?  I looked up the difference between the two and it made sense.  First, my understanding is that tamari is low wheat or no wheat (so I obviously got the no wheat, gluten free kind).  It is also less salty and more thick.  It also tastes really different.  It was described as a Japanese soy sauce.  Which made sense to me after trying it, as it tasted more like what a sushi restaurant would carry.  You can can click here to read more about the difference from another blogger. 

With that being said, i'll use the rest of the tamari, and try this recipe once with VH, and if it tastes drastically different, i'll continue to splurge.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon sesame oil or olive oil
1 pound ground beef (ground turkey if desired, ground pork would work as well)
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (we omitted)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
9 cups shredded cabbage (we bought a bag of coleslaw)
1 3/4 cups shredded carrot
3 Tablespoons honey
1/4 cup gluten-free tamari / soy sauce + more to taste.

Directions:

Add oil to large skillet on medium-high heat. Add ground beef, cook until brown and drain grease, if any.



Add chopped onion, cook until onions become translucent.



Stir in garlic powder, ground ginger, crushed red pepper, black pepper and salt.

Add cabbage and carrots. Stir it all together.



Add honey and tamari sauce. Cook for another 12-15 minutes on medium heat, or until cabbage and carrots are tender.



Serve as is or with rice.