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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Famoso's Gluten Free Stone Oven Pizza

This is something to get really excited for, all Famoso locations have a gluten free crust!  Amazing, because now you can have a gluten free pizza made in a stone oven.

They first tested the gluten free pizza crust at the Whyte Ave location to work on how to best prepare the crust and reduce cross contamination as much as possible.  After a few months, they rolled out the gluten free crust to all locations.  We ventured off to the West Edmonton Mall location beside Cactus Club to try out the gluten free crust.



It really lived up to the standard of their regular crust.  What sets Famoso apart from the other pizza places is the fresh ingredients.  Famoso's sauce is made from fresh tomatoes, and they use fresh mozzarella cheese instead of the processed shredded cheese that fast food pizza chains use.  So yes, you do pay a premium not only for gluten free, but for quality ingredients.  We ordered a small regular pizza for our daughter, so we were able to compare the two side by side, and the only difference was that the gluten free crust edges didn't puff out as much as the other.  The crust was a little wet, but both pizza's were, and that is probably because of the fresh tomato sauce being used instead of a jarred sauce that is usually thicker.  I forgot the name of the pizza we ordered below, but it was topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, mushrooms, red onion and Italian sausage.  They don't over do it on the ingredients and you get just the right amount with every bite.


Remember to always ask the server and kitchen staff about the preparation of your food.  Be comfortable with the food you are eating and how they are preparing it.  Trust yourself and instinct and if you don't feel they are preparing the food in a safe manner for you, don't eat there.  If you are disappointed with their process to limit cross contamination, let them know in a respectable way.  They want your business big time and will listen.

  Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (West Edmonton Mall) on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dempster's Introduces their Gluten Zero Bread to Western Canada

This month Dempster's Bread introduced its first gluten free bread called Gluten Zero.  Dempster's was kind enough to send us a free sample as it hit shelves in Western Canada.

The first thing we did was post it to Facebook to hear back from you!  Check out what others had to say on our Gluten Free Edmonton Facebook Page.

There was certainly some mixed reviews about the product and the pricing.  Some thought the bread was too small, some thought it just didn't live up to its $7 price tag.  But we put it to the test anyways.

We did a few standard things with the bread.  We toasted it, made a grilled cheese sandwich, and currently have it sitting on our counter to see the shelf life.

The bread does toast really well, i'd say on par with Kinnikinnick's soft bread, but I will have to agree that for the size of the loaf you get at $7, it will be hard to take us away from Kinnikinnick when we can get a fresh loaf from the Kinnikinnick store for under $5.  What Dempster's bread does have an advantage on is the crust.  It has a nice crust with depth, and when toasted, you really get some good flavour with your bite.

I used it to make Amanda one of her favourite lunches, a grilled cheese sandwich.  This really shows how the bread holds up to moisture and heat.  I heat up a pan, slather the gluten free bread with margarine and layer it with gooey craft cheese.  Some breads really fail this test and just fall apart from the moisture of the margarine and the cheese, but this one really held up, and Amanda loved it.  

It has been sitting on our counter for a week already, and the bread is still holding well without having to go in the freezer.

So really two thumbs up for the bread, two thumbs down for the price.

You can find the Dempster's Gluten Zero bread at Wal-Mart, Co-op, Sobey's, Safeway, Save-on-foods and other stores.  (I didn't see Superstore on the list of distributors).  You can also find in the bread aisle and not the freezer.  Although, I wonder if they are shipped frozen like the other shelved breads.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gotta love a naturally Gluten Free recipe by Rachael Ray

Awhile ago Abisaac bought me the newest Rachael Ray cookbook "Week in a day". He knows that I enjoy her show and even more so, I love her recipes. I love that they are user friendly. You likely have or can find all of the ingredients without having to search high and low and the steps are well laid out and easy to follow. 

In this cook book, Rachael Ray provides a week worth of recipes that go well together and can be easily made all in one day to prep yourself for the week ahead. She includes helpful tips as well as suggested sides to accompany each and every recipe. 

While, I will tell you that we have not been using her book in that intended fashion, but instead we have cooked a variety of different recipes one at a time. Some of the dishes we have made the day before and then enjoyed the next day in an effort to make getting home with a little one after a busy day just that much easier. 

This is the very first of the many recipes that we had tried from the Week in a Day by Rachael Ray cookbook. We did make a few alterations just based on our tastes (find those changes in brackets)

Sausage, Peppers & Onion One Pot

Ingredients;
2 lbs Italian sausage or sweet sausage (we used Johnsonville mild Italian)
3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (we didn't use them)
2 cubanelle peppers, thinly sliced (we used 2 more bell peppers instead)
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 large red or yellow onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 (15 oz) can stewed tomatoes


Directions:
In a dutch oven or deep skillet, combine the sausages, 1 inch of water, and 1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (one turn of the pan). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat a bit and allow the water to boil away. The sausages will gently cook through in the water, then the oil will crisp the casings to a deep brown. Transfer sausages to a plate.

In the same pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the fennel seeds and chili and cook until fragrant. Add all of the sliced peppers, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper and cook to soften the peppers, about 15 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the stock and tomatoes and let simmer and thicken up while you cut up the sausages.

Thickly slice the sausage on an angle (3-4 slices per sausage) and add to the sauce. 

** If you make this dish ahead of time: let cool and refrigerate

Day of serving: Return the sausage mixture to room temperature before reheating gently over medium heat or in a 350F oven

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Gluten Free Pillsbury hits Canadian Stores

Pillsbury recently introduced two of its three gluten free products to Canada.  You can now find gluten free Pillsbury cookie dough and gluten free Pillsbury pastry crust on Canadian shelves.  We most recently bought it at Save-on-Foods, but others have reported it in other supermarkets around Edmonton.

So what's the big deal about this?  Well, to me, not so much the cookie dough, that has been done, but to my knowledge I don't think there is a gluten free consumer good for a pastry dough.  I think the pastry dough is going to be a huge seller with the ability now to make pies, quiches, tarts and even pigs in a blanket.   


My mother-n-law has already tried it out and was really successful at it and gave us a few pointers.  She nearly cleared the shelves when she saw it, so she figured she needed to freeze it.  When she thawed it out, she put it in the fridge over night and it was perfect by morning.  She said the dough was really easy to work with and decided to make a spinach pie.  I shared her recipe below.  Take a look at the amazing pie crust below.  Yum!  It was so good.  What a great product.  I'm not the baker, but I am tempted to try and make pigs in a blanket, just because.


Curious about the recipe that my mother'n'law used?  Check it out below.

Gluten Free Spinach Pie

Ingredients

1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 or 3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Bags Spinach
1/4 cup sunflower seeds  (or pine nuts if not going nut free)
1/2 cup fresh oregano or dill
3  cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 tub Pillsbury gluten free pie and pastry dough
1 egg white, slightly beaten (optional)
Seeds one pine nuts to garnish (We used pumpkin seed since to make the pie nut free)

Diretions

In a large pan, sautéed onions and garlic over medium heat till soft but not browned. Add spinach a few handfuls at a time and heat till wilted. Remove from heat and drain off excess liquid. (Spinach gives off a lot of liquid so it is really important to drain it well or you will have a mess in your oven)

Let cool.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add seeds, lemon zest, oregano and feta and mix well.

Roll out half the Pillsbury Gluten Free Pie dough between layers of parchment as per directions on package. Place in pie pan. Fill with spinach mixture. Roll out second half of dough as per directions and place on top of spinach. Press edges to seal well. Brush with beaten egg white. Toss a few seeds on top for decoration. Cut vents into top layer of crust.  Loosely cover with foil so that crust doesn't over-brown.

Bake for approximately 50 minutes checking a few times to make sure it is not over browning.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How much do you spend on gluten free foods at the grocery store?

So, some of you may already know this, but if you have a Celiac diagnosis from your doctor, you can be keeping all of your receipts with gluten free purchases to get a tax credit.  You can read some of my Celiac tax return tips.  I know some people say it is not worth the time for what you get back, but I say, why let Revenue Canada keep money you deserve.


But enough of that, this year I thought, hey, I itemize all of the receipts and categorize everything (because I'm a geek like that).  So I have some pretty interesting data to share.  How much did we actually spend on gluten free products?  What did we buy more of?  How much more was spent on gluten free compared to non-gluten free?

So here are some of the numbers.

Total spend on gluten free products - $786.45
Incremental Different - $506

That means we spent an extra $506 on gluten free products over the price of a standard product.  A lot right?

Where did we spend our money?



We shopped at 16 different places for gluten free products for the year, including Kinnikinnick, RioVida, Superstore, Wal-Mart, Costco, Sobey's and even Winners.  We spend the most at Kinnikinnick, mainly on their gluten free flour mix, gluten free pancake mix and gluten free bread.

What did we buy?


Looks like lots of pasta, bread and pancakes oh my!!

Where do you spend your gluten free dollars?

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