Happy Gluten Free New Year 2011!

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Image: Salvatore Vuono 
First and foremost we wanted to take this time to thank all of our loyal readers and to welcome our new readers to the blog. As you know, this blog was started with the intention of sharing our findings regarding anything gluten free within the city of Edmonton. It has since expanded significantly (with pleasure) to include our experiences with travelling gluten free, shopping gluten free in & outside of Edmonton and much much more.

We have been blessed this year to have not only found out that our household is in need of a gluten free living overhaul (aka: Amanda feels a billion times healthier and can eat without pain again now that she eats entirely gluten free). We have also been made aware of the resources and options available to the gluten free community. We too have been able to add, I might say, to said resources and options in our own way (shameless personal plug).

Throughout the year we have received wonderful feedback from our readers about the topics we have covered and the information we have shared. As well our heartfelt stories of our own experiences during the everlasting transition to the world of living gluten free have received many kind words, and for this we want to say thank you to everyone.

We have been brainstorming some new ideas for 2011. We aren't quite ready to share them just yet, but we hope you will be just as excited about them as we are and join us in the new year to share in our gluten free adventures. As always we appreciate hearing about your experiences, ideas and opinions and look forward to sharing more with you in 2011.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE and see you all in 2011.

Abisaac & Amanda

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gluten Free Menu Options at The Melting Pot in Edmonton

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Image: www.themeltingpot.com
Contributed by @erinkbolton

Last night my boyfriend and I went the The Melting Pot for a belated birthday dinner, and I was extremely happy with our experience. The menu has a feature of "Big Night Out" (a four-course meal) and then on the next page it has various different fondues that you can order separately. We chose to do the Big Night Out feature, and our sever knew exactly what did and didn't contain gluten. All of the actual fondues are gluten free, just some of the dipping pieces (like bread, Rice Krispies for the desert) were not. They served anything with gluten on a separate plate for my boyfriend to enjoy, but they stressed that he should not dip any of those items in while I was still using the pot to prevent contamination.

For dinner there was a wide range of sauces to dip your items in, and the only one I couldn't have (out of about 9 sauces) was the Teriyaki sauce. For desert they took out the gluten-filled items and gave us more fruit instead. It was delicious!

Overall the whole experience was great. I was very impressed with the server knowledge and the range of options available! I definitely recommend it to anyone in the Edmonton area for a birthday, anniversary, or romantic date night.

Click here for the Edmonton location

The Melting Pot
#117 2920 Calgary Trail NW
Edmonton, AB T6J 2G8
780-465-4DIP (4347)
Fax: 780-669-3753

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

The Melting Pot Edmonton on Urbanspoon

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Gluten free baking frustrations!

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Image: Simon Howden
Although the holiday season is already upon us, I wanted to share my frustration with everyone in the gluten free community. In my pre-celiac days I was an avid baker. I never really cared for cooking, but I always really enjoyed baking. The humorous part of that is that I have type 1 diabetes (it's been 20 yrs already), which did not always allow me to indulge in the sweets and treats I baked as much as I had wished I could.

"Everything in moderation". That used to be my saying when it came to sampling my own baking. I would truly sample and not indulge, even though believe me it was surely tempting. However now that I am gluten free, my old adage of "everything in moderation" has been forever altered. I don't even know what the new version is exactly, but I know that I cannot and will not eat gluten, even in moderation. I know that even a small amount or a "sample" of something filled with gluten would be more dangerous than pleasant and hence it is not something I would do, even in moderation.  Yeah yeah my one year wedding anniversary was an exception to this rule but your one year wedding anniversary only comes around once, so I did what I did and now that's done with.

Back to business...I still enjoy baking, but I have been increasingly frustrated with failed attempts at gluten free variations of once loved "normal" (aka non-gluten free) baking. Don't get me wrong, the pre-packaged stuff always turns out awesome, but I prefer to make things from scratch when I can. One example, who doesn't love a good sugar cookie, at the holidays or anytime for that matter? Well, when I pulled out the old recipe and simply switched the regular flour for my handy dandy gluten free flour....ick! The consistency was completely off and it was a big mess to say the least. And yes I did follow the instructions on the gluten free flour blend and I added in the requisite amount of xantham gum for cookies.

What did I do wrong? Why did the gluten free cookies look, smell and bake like garbage? Honestly the first recipe I made, once baked the texture was like cake, not cookies and not good cake either. It smelled funny and it just wasn't good. The only one who enjoyed them was the dog (ironically his name is Cookie) and he'll eat almost anything. The second recipe I tried (cream cheese cut out cookies) was sticky and messy and at the time I am writing this post, I haven't even baked them yet...I am fearful that they'll be a disaster just like the others were and I would end up being further frustrated and upset by another failed attempt at baking, something I once considered fun, relaxing and enjoyable.

I know that in searching online for gluten free cookie recipes there are loads. I have found many that sound appealing, but I admit I am almost instantly turned off when I am told to mix a variety of different types of flour. The reason I find this so discouraging is because I do not have those various flour types just sitting around waiting to be mixed. I guess maybe it's time for me to suck it up and just spend the money and buy the different types of flour and make my own mix, well based on recipes I've found online.

Maybe I'm being silly, but I find myself frustrated at times when gluten free variations of once loved foods are just not as good as the real thing. I will not give up, I will persevere and I will find a recipe for gluten free cookies that works and tastes great. I will!

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gluten Free Blintzes

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Messy but yummy blintzes by
Molly B's
As many of you may already know, Ed's Gluten Free located at 34 Avenue & 93 Street in Edmonton carries a variety of gluten free products that you just cannot find elsewhere. There are a couple of products in particular, that I absolutely love!

The one we tried today, Blintzes by Molly B's, was awesome.  All I can say is mmmmmmmmm so tasty! Ed's gluten free carries a few different flavors of these blintzes, but this time I chose the cheesecake blintzes. How can you go wrong with cheesecake flavor? Really?

The package contains 6 Blintzes and you can see by just looking at them in the package that they "look like the real thing". You may recall from a previous post that I often find myself referring to gluten free products as being just like the real thing. I know it's silly, but I keep on doing it.

These blintzes are to remain frozen until ready to eat. The flavor was perfect, the texture was awesome (memories of my pre gluten free days) and the only difficulty we encountered was around the directions. The directions are quite limited and they simply say do not defrost, heat and serve. Heat at 350 degrees, but there was no guidelines about the time frame. The alternative heating method listed was to use butter heat in frying pan.

We tried the oven method first and after about 15-20 minutes the insides remained cold and hard. We then opted to switch to the frying pan method and we found it much faster and easier. The smell was so tempting who wants to wait forever to eat such yummy food? Not me.

The inside was soft, creamy and just like cheesecake. There were raisins inside as well, just to add that little extra flavor burst.

We will have to give the other flavors a try next time and I think that we'll be sure to let them defrost a few mintues on the counter before going right to the frying pan for heating.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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My wife has Celiac

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It has been over a year and quite the transition since my wife Amanda was diagnosed with Celiac.  This article is certainly not going to be a pat on the back for everything I do to support Amanda, including this gluten free blog.  But really, it's to talk about how I really don't know!  Even though my wife does have Celiac, I still take some things for granted, because I don't have Celiac.


I'm very cautious, more cautious than her sometimes, but when thinking on a whim of where to go grab a gluten free bite, I automatically cross out some places.  Places like Subway Subs or Quizno's are immediately no no's even though when I'm on my own, that's where I would end up.  When there is a hamburger craving, I could list off a few places I would like to go eat, but it comes down to one burger place that accommodates well which is mainly Red Robin (We have had Delux Burger bar only a few times as well). 


I see her get frustrated often because even though we have discovered so much, she still feels so limited.  I am always nervous that trying a new restaurant for gluten free friendly meals won't work out.  That just brings Amanda back to hating her condition.  We win some we lose some.  It's great when we find something new, but even tougher when something doesn't work out and we have to leave and hunt for something quickly. For me its easy and I'm more laid back because I don't have those limitations, but I don't know what it's like to feel dejected from food, and have to look elsewhere.  So my 'laid backness' does cause trouble sometimes, because I'm okay with the situation, not realizing that Amanda is probably feeling pretty low because we had to walk away from a restaurant, or couldn't decide on a place to go etc.



Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Gluten free options in Lloydminster

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Website of Lloydminster & Area Celiac Support Group
Source: http://www.lloydceliacsupportgroup.com/ 
My brother-in-law lived in Lloydminster for a short time working at the local radio station.  This allowed us the opportunity to make the drive up and visit him.  So we were able to scope out whats available in Lloyd to eat and shop.

So its pretty safe to say that Lloyd is small.  However they do have places to shop gluten free, and places to eat gluten free.  Lloyd has the standard shopping centre with a Safeway and they also do have a Wal-Mart Supercentre and a Superstore to purchase gluten free items.  However, for a more extensive gluten free shopping experience we would recommend stepping into the Nutters (3106 50 Avenue) in Lloyd.  Nutters has a great selection of gluten free treats.  Lloydminster also has a M&M Meat shop which has a great list of gluten free meals.

We also were able to enjoy a pizza at Boston Pizza.  If you were looking to stay there for a longer period we would also recommend contacting the Lloydminster and Area Celiac Support Group. The website has a listing of more places to shop and eat along with community events.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Is New York Fries Gravy & Poutine Gluten Free?

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Source: www.newyorkfries.com
During an event for the Edmonton Chapter of the Celiac Association, we spoke with some people about how great New York Fries (NYF) are.  We were told that their gravy is gluten free. Because gluten free gravy is a rarity (and because we now had conflicting information from the Calgary Chapter of the Celiac Association, whose information states that NYF's gravy is not gluten free), we decided to investigate further.
We are also interested to know if NYF's sister restaurant, South St. Burger Co., was a gluten free friendly restaurant as well.

I contacted New York Fries via email at mail@newyorkfries.com with a simple question: "Is the gravy at New York Fries Gluten Free?"  I appreciated their response, which was received about 24 hours later (on Sept 17, 2010) from the Director of Purchasing:
Dear Abisaac,

The NYF gravy does not contain gluten; however, the plant where it is manufactured uses wheat flour and due to the mixing process, our supplier cannot guarantee that there is no airborne contamination. The California Seasoning and the Cajun Seasoning are made in the same plant.  Like the gravy, the Cajun Seasoning does not contain gluten; however, the manufacturer cannot guarantee that this product is gluten free because of the possibility of airborne contamination. The California Seasoning does contain gluten.

We do have other products containing gluten in our stores (e.g. hot dogs, buns, chili, and malt vinegar) and the possibility of cross contamination does exist.

Thanks for your email.

Regards,

Angie Venzon
Director of Purchasing
NEW YORK FRIES and SOUTH ST. BURGER CO.
1220 Yonge St. Suite 400
Toronto, ON M4T 1W1
T: 416-963-5005
Also in a recent Twitter conversation with @NewYorkFries they wrote:
@gfreeYEG The Butter Chicken + Braised Beef poutines have no gluten in them, however, there is gluten present in our stores (buns, etc...)
Click here to see the Tweet from New York Fries

New York fries update January 11, 2011 via email about their cheese sauce:
The NYF Cheese Sauce does not contain gluten but it is manufactured in a plant where gluten is present and the manufacturer cannot guarantee that the product is gluten free.
So we recommend you use caution depending on your level of sensitivity. Let us know of any additional information you hear from New York Fries.

You can enjoy New York Fries at several locations across Edmonton. Their fries are gluten free, however you should be aware of cross contamination risks.

Note: New York Fries locations do not serve onion rings, so there is less chance of cross contamination in the deep-fryers.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

New York Fries (Southgate Centre) on Urbanspoon

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Kinnikinnick's Gluten Free Holiday Cooking Workshop in Edmonton was Fantastic!

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A few weeks ago I got wind that Kinnikinnick was hosting a gluten free cooking workshop.  I jumped on the opportunity to attend as fast as I could, and gobbled up two tix for Amanda and myself because only 12 seats were available.

On December 8th, they hosted the gluten free cooking workshop at their Edmonton downtown store location where they have a studio kitchen to record their Kinnikinnick TV episodes.  This was the first time Kinnikinnick allowed an audience into the building during a recording, and Amanda and I were more than excited to attend!  Who wouldn't be?  for $20/each we were going to be fed some fantastic food, and even found out that we were getting gift baskets as a take away for the evening!

I found it most interesting the ways in which the chef's showed us different creative ways to use some of the Kinnikinnick products. Like the gluten free hotdog buns sliced, drizzled with olive oil and toasted to make gluten free Crostini's for Bruschetta. Or using Kinnikinnick Ginger Snaps as crusts for Cheesecake Bite snacks the size of cupcakes. We just never would have thought to do these things, but now we have already used some of the hot dog buns that were in the gift basket to make bruschetta for family.

The gluten free cooking demonstration did not only have a live audience, but they broadcasted live online. Click here to watch the recording of the demonstration and watch some these great recipes come to life. Unfortunately you had to be there to taste it :-)


On the menu:
  • Bruschetta on Gluten Free Crostini's
  • Cranberry Infused Baked Goat Cheese on Gluten Free Crostini's
  • Stuffed Mushroom Caps with Crab and Cream Cheese
  • Gluten Free Baked Crispy Chicken Satay
  • Gluten Free Fried Camembert Cheese
  • Gluten Free Crab Cakes
  • Gluten Free Sesame Shrimp with Wasabi Sauce
  • Gluten Free Chocolate Graham Truffles
  • Chocolate Dipped KinniTOOS Lollipops
  • Cheesecake Bites on Gluten Free Ginger Snaps
  • Gluten Free Montana Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Gluten Free Bread Pudding with a Twist
Kinnikinnick was kind enough to supply the gluten free recipe cards for the live audience members.  Click here for a link to the recipes that Jay from Kinnikinnick has posted to their website (as per comment below).

Please email us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com if this video no longer works.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Dinner with an old friend at Sorrentino's and their Gluten Free Menu Options

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Image: www.sorrentinos.com
As usual when a friend suggests a particular restaurant for dinner my mind instantly goes from "hmm I think I like that place" to "I wonder if there's anything I can eat there" aka am I going to be eating plain salad because they cannot handle gluten free dietary needs?

The other night, an old friend of mine and I were set to go out for dinner. We haven't seen each other in way too long and she had suggested we go to Sorrentino's restaurant west end location. Of course we had been there in my pre-celiac life, she and I, but Abisaac and I never go there or even think to go there. Honestly since being diagnosed celiac for whatever reason this restaurant has never even crossed my mind, which is odd considering we pass it almost daily.

My first thought, after giving myself a rough time for having seemingly forgotten about a tasty restaurant that I pass all the time, was to check out their website and see if I can eat there with ease or if I needed to prepare myself emotionally for disappointment and plain lettuce salad, hold the dressing (boring)!

The menu listed on the website looks tasty, the prices are moderate and therefore this restaurant is likely one for special occasions and not daily dining. I still wasn't quite sure if these yummy looking foods were secretly loaded with my kryptonite (gluten). I called the restaurant around 3:30pm and spoke with one of the chefs. I find that this is the best time to call any restaurant when asking detailed questions about their menu. The staff have likely just arrived, it's not yet busy with customers and they have more time to devote to answering my questions without being pulled back into the kitchen because everything is boiling over (good pun there huh!).

The chef that I spoke to (my apologies, I cannot remember his name) was very helpful and more than willing to go through the entire menu section by section with me. He outlined every single item that was gluten free friendly and there were a lot of them. He even pointed out some that I should "remember to tell the waiter about your dietary restriction because sometimes we dust that item with flour for extra texture and appearance, but it's not necessary". Wow, that was something I never even considered as a possibility. I know that restaurants often dust things with flour for texture and presentation, I just did not realize they would not do it when/if needed. (I know that was a double negative and poor English, but that's how I thought it needed to be said). In other restaurants I had simply been told "no that item is not gluten free" and so I moved on and did not consider it as an option for my dinner.

It is interesting to note just how many restaurants out there are unable to be flexible when making dishes. Whether it is because their kitchen staff are not as skillfully trained or that the restaurant is managed in such a way that does not allow for diversity in any way in the plates presentation and make up (aka: no substitutions). I am no expert, but I know people who work in restaurant kitchens and have absolutely no formal chef training. As well I can only hope and assume they have been adequately trained when it comes to dietary restrictions and cross contamination precautions in the kitchen. I also know some restaurants whereby they are taught that this meal is to be prepared and presented on the plate in this manner and there can be no alterations to its appearance or prep. Neither of these is helpful to me when it comes to ensuring my safety when dining out.

Bottom line: I was overjoyed to see that the majority of the gluten free menu items available at Sorrentino's restaurant west end location were in fact gluten free friendly AND exceptions could be made to some of the non-gluten free items to make them gluten free as well. In the end my dining experience was great, catching up with an old friend was great and the food was amazing -filled with flavor gluten free friendly and satisfying on all counts. I'd say this was a great success all around and I will definitely have to drag Abisaac out to Sorrentino's the next time we are looking for a nice place to eat for a special occasion.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

Caffe Sorrentino (West Edmonton Mall) on Urbanspoon

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New Local Public Eatery has Gfree Menu and keeps some OPM favourites

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Source: www.localpubliceatery.com
I wrote a while ago that OPM was closing and reopening as Local Public Eatery in Edmonton, another Joey's Restaurant concept.  Local Public Eatery is already now open and has a menu indicated its gluten free menu options.

The menu has basically turned to a menu with burgers and sandwiches.  So far no word if they will be bringing in gluten free buns or bread for those.  However, it was pointed out in the "LOCAL Features" section the Drunken Chicken and Seven Flavoured Beef off of OPM's Gluten Free Menu was kept for the new Local Public Eatery menu.  Click here to view the menu with gluten free options indicated.  There are very few items, but the items listed are good choices.  Now its time to work on them bringing in gluten free buns and bread for their burgers and sandwiches!  What do you say Local?

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

Local Public Eatery on Urbanspoon

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Kinnikinnick, live streaming a gluten free cooking class on Dec 8, 2010

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Kinnikinnick Live Streaming on UStream:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/the-gluten-free-insider#events 
Kinnikinnick is hosting a sold out gluten free cooking class at their Edmonton store on Wednesday Dec 8, 2010 at 6pm.  Due to popular demand Kinninnick will be live streaming the presentation online for those not living in the Edmonton area or those wanting to attend but not able to get a hold of this limited seated event.

Click here to join the live streaming at 6pm on Wednesday Dec 8, and join in the conversation by using the live chat feature to ask questions as well.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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Stellas Gluten Free Brand Found in Edmotnon

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We love when readers share their gluten free finds!

Shared by Christina:

I have been shopping dairy free and gluten free for myself and my daughter for more than six years, and I'm loving all of the new products available during the past few months. A new brand, Stellas, has been taking over my freezer.

Stellas make perogies, raviolis and pizza pouches. The kids love them and I secretly admit that they are easy to make and taste amazing. Available at Ben's Meats, Stellas offers a wide variety of filling catering to all sorts of food sensitivies.

Great Eats just thought I would give a shout out for all living on the diet.

What great gluten free products have you found in Edmonton?

This was updated January 2016 to reflect a new store to purchase the products in Edmonton

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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