I love awesome gluten free baking! - Wild Earth Bakery

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Gluten free baked goods at Wild Earth Bakery and Cafe
While I know I've written about diabetes combined with gluten free dietary needs, I have not written yet about my personal love of cookie. Not only is my dogs name affectionately "cookie" (for real, not even kidding on that one), but I truly love a great fresh hot out of the oven cookie.

I love how they melt in your mouth. I love how they crumble into a billion tiny pieces. I just love cookies. All of this being said, the truth comes out....some gluten free cookies are horrible! They just are. I admit, having tried various so-called regular recipes in hopes that I could simply swap out the gluten filled flour for Bob's red mill gluten free flour, I have ended up frustrated and angry at my lack of cookie baking skills.

Gluten free brownies we tried at Wild Earth Bakery & Cafe
Well, I found or I should actually say was reunited with an old favorite of mine this past weekend. After going to Culina Restaurant and enjoying a lovely gluten free friendly brunch with friends, we walked next door to Wild Earth Bakery & Cafe and continued our eating along 99st in Edmonton. Wild Earth has a variety of different gluten free baked goods, including macaroons, cookies, biscotti, brownies, crispy rice squares,muffins and on and on. They even have a vegan granola bar that a friend chose to buy.

My personal favorite at Wild Earth are the cookies. Mmm so big and tasty. Admittedly I find that figuring out the carbohydrate content of these super big, ooey gooey hot out of the oven cookies is beyond seriously challenging. I take a wild guess, test my blood sugar, retest and hope for the best (and test again just to be sure).

I meant to get a picture of my favorite cookie from Wild Earth but let's be honest here...I couldn't even wait to dig into it long enough for Abisaac to grab the Blackberry and snap a picture, I just love those cookie's so so much. I guess I'll just have to go back there and get myself another one of their super tasty cookies (or other fabulous gluten free baked goods), you know, in order to get a photo for all of our loyal readers out there. Of course, I'm only doing this for you guys (wink wink).

So a big thank you goes out to Wild Earth Bakery & Cafe in Edmonton for continuing to serve some of the best gluten free baked goods available.

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

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I can't believe someone asked me this

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Believe it or not most recently I was actually asked outright "do you have an eating disorder?" I admit I didn't mean to, but I actually laughed out loud! I joke sometimes with friends & family that I have an eating disorder, but that's just me covering up my own frustrations with my array of dietary restrictions. I assure you I do not have a diagnosable eating disorder, at least not in the sense that the DSM-IV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) would categorize.

Now, for me there are two major issues at play here. Firstly that someone felt it was both appropriate and useful to outright ask if I have an eating disorder. And secondly, that someone would think it was appropriate to ask a complete stranger such a question. I know this is slightly off topic, but it's kinda like the general rule about asking if someone is pregnant or not....you just don't do it...ever!

I assure you I am no expert on either the DSM-IV or eating disorders, but I know that I do not actually have one. Yes because of my Celiac disease and my Type 1 diabetes and my personal desire to remain as healthy as possible for as long as possible, I have to watch what I eat. I have to monitor my carbohydrate intake and I have to ask questions (meticulously) before eating something I did not prepare myself. BUT I think that I eat just fine. The recipes, shopping lists and restaurant listings on this blog along are proof positive that in our house we eat quite well (personal pat on the back here for us).

I was floored that someone would ask me such a question. I was floored that this person felt that the food on my plate was any of their business. I was floored that people actually throw around such stigma inducing words so freely and assume that it won't be offensive. Ugh, people often seem to forget when to use their personal filter before speaking I think, but that's a topic I could blab about forever.

Some of you may already know this, but my work friends sometimes make fun of my lunches at work. They joke that everything comes in it's own little reusable container, often times it has a little post-it note attached marking the correct carbohydrate content and generally speaking it is a pretty well balanced meal (shameless ego boost). Whenever they make fun, I always respond the same way "yeah isn't it great! Doesn't this look yummy?" I can only assume that, at least on occasion, they are simply jealous of my well balanced, fresh, home cooked hot meal as they sit there and enjoy (I use that word loosely) their two pieces of bread sandwiched around some luncheon meat and mustard.

All I'm really saying is that I think even after thinking about this more, I still find it funny. Why are people who follow any dietary restrictions viewed (even just by select people) as having an eating disorder? Your guess is as good as mine, but I hope it makes you laugh out loud like I did.

Image: zirconicusso

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

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Looking for some Gluten Free Tacos? Look out for Tres Carnales in Downtown Edmonton

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Tres Carnales is a Taquería getting ready to open up in downtown Edmonton in the late Spring.  So hopefully very soon.

Vegetarian taco with a cream sauce.
I met the three guys behind this Taquería last Friday during a taco tasting they held. Daniel, Chris and Edgar are just three friends with a passion for food and what they do.  At www.trescarnales.com you can read about Daniel's background with cooking in Mexico and how this restaurant will be truly authentic.  They will be using corn flour soft tacos (so they will be gluten free) and most of their taco selection will also be naturally gluten free.  Once open, I look forward to checking out their full menu and will be reporting on their restaurants gluten free menu options.

I sampled both a vegetarian and a meat taco.  They were all so flavourful I had to dig deap into my will power to stop as Daniel kept on trying to get me to eat more.

These guys are creating quite the stir around town and touring around their taco's to create some buzz as they put together their finishing touches at their restaurant.  It will be great to have another great gluten free friendly restaurant in the downtown core.

Follow them on twitter @TresCarnales for future announcements.

Tres Carnales
10119 100A Street
Rice Howard Way
Edmonton, AB T5J 0C8
Web: http://trescarnales.com


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

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Calgary Celiac Association Gluten Free Market, May 7, 2011 #yegfood #yycfood #celiac

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Source: Facebook
May 7, 2011 is the 2nd Annual Gluten Free Market in Calgary hosted by the Calgary Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association.  I did not attend last year, and probably won't be able to attend this year, but this sounds like a great idea for any city!

I know here in Edmonton there are many people doing great things putting together gluten free meals, baked goods etc.  I am not aware of the Edmonton Chapter doing anything similar, so if you have a weekend free, this will probably be a fun event to check out.

You can find the Calgary Chapter of the Celiac Association on Facebook.  Click here to visit their Facebook page.  Click here to visit facebook event created by the Calgary Chapter.

Find out more at their website www.calgaryceliac.com.

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

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Which side of the line do you sit on?

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I am often surprised when I overhear another person in a restaurant or on the bus or anywhere for that matter talking about being Celiac. It's not that I think I'm the only one out there, goodness knows there's a ton of us. However I am always struck with mixed feelings when I overhear these types of conversations. I think it's partially because while I view myself as a strong advocate for my own needs and even for the needs of others (heck my "real" job is often directly associated with advocacy) I still find that there can be a fine line between advocating for ones needs to ensure safety & comfort and dominating the conversation with others to talk incessantly about oneself.

No doubt everyone has got crap in their lives to deal with. No doubt everyone needs an outlet to blow off steam. No doubt that people are entitled to rant and even dominate conversations on occasion. BUT...when the faces of the people listening gloss over and their eyes wander with seeming boredom, you've gotta wonder which side of that fine line is this individual sitting on?

Being that I spend the working part of my days listening to people and helping them with their issues, concerns, fears, etc. most often related to health I admit that maybe I'm overly sensitive to these types of conversations. I admit as well, that I can sometimes be hypersensitive to overhearing the conversations of others, when in fact those are private conversations not intended for the entire world to partake in. Let's just call it super sensitive hearing. But sheesh, sometimes it can be challenging. The desire to jump into the discussion and advocate for others is sometimes there. (I am no angel I promise) Similarly, the desire to jump into the discussion and show my frustration for the way in which the individual is going on an on and on is also there at times. As I said, I am no angel, that I can assure you of 100%.

None of us want to be viewed as a constant complainer. No one wants to have their friends/family gloss over when they start talking about...well anything. None of us wants to be thought of as "ugh that oh woes me person". But again we must always be certain to advocate for ourselves and ensure our own safety, health and wellbeing because afterall if you don't do it who will?

I discussed this with a friend of mine who made a really important point....she reminded me that culturally food is such a huge part of our lives and as such it really shouldn't be so surprising that we talk about it (food) all the time, particularly if there are foods which we cannot eat that everyone else can. I admit I did not think of it like that today.

I am certain some of our fellow Gluten Free Edmonton readers will likely want to bash me for my views and that's ok with me. I am sure that some of you have even felt the same way once or twice before. Either way this has been my experience today and maybe my next experience will be different.

So I am wondering...do you find that you tend to talk about your gluten free needs more often than not?

Photographer: renjith krishnan

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

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Gluten Free Passover

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Well passover is around the corner and all the babi's and zeidis and mothers and fathers are out looking for their cases of Matzah filled products and ready to bake a feast for their families.

Well, since Matzah definitely is not gluten free because it is essentially made from just wheat and water, thats kind of out of the question.  So I have done a little bit of research on what can be made gluten free during passover or found here in Edmonton.

First, we found this great cook book, unfortunately not seen in Edmonton yet.  It's called Pesach: Anything's Possible we found it in Toronto (Click the link for Amazon.ca).  This gluten free for Pesach cookbook has not let us down yet.  Our two favourite recipes are the chocolate chip cookies made with almond flour and potato starch.  We make them all year round!  The other is a sweet potato kinish.  Let us know if you want the recipe!

So Matzah can be the tricky part.  What can we have instead of matzah?  My brother from www.haggisandherring.com found this recipe for grain free matzah cracker made with coconut flour.  Click here to view the recipe at RealFoodForager.com

Another gluten free Matzah recipe found on www.glutenfreecanteen.com.  Thanks to Gluten Free Girl for this find.  Click here for the recipe.

Don't want to make gluten free matzah?  We found some at Sobey's Hawkstone in Lessard!  It's called Matzo Crackers from Barkat.

Here are some links shared by others:
From @CeliacDisease, writer for About.com:

  1. Gluten-Free Passover Recipes
  2. Passover by Design: Picture Perfect Kosher by Design Recipes for the Holiday
  3. Passover Seder
  4. The Jewish Holiday of Passover: A Gluten-Free Bonanza
Know any more gluten free passover tips for people here in Edmonton or elsewhere?  Let us know! Email us at info@glutenfreeedmonton.com.

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

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Gluten Free at Rice Paper Vietnamese Fine Cuisine in Edmonton's West End

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urbanspoon.com
I love it when collecting information is easy and restaurant owners are happy and quick to share what is gluten free on their menu.  Not only that, they answer my repeated questions.

We haven't tried Rice Paper yet, but I think after my back and forth emailing with owner Chris Phan, it won't be long until we pay them a visit.  He was pretty helpful and honest trying to explain what was safe for people with Celiac and what others with Celiac Disease would eat at his restaurant.

Here is what I was able to collect from Chris:
  • Salad Rolls (Substitute Peanut Sauce with Sweet Thai Chili)
  • Kim Chi and the Grilled meat Satay skewers are fine except for Beef Satay is not gluten free friendly
  • Salads
  • Most soups (Just ask)
  • Vermicelli is gluten free because it is all grilled meats 
  • Rice Paper Wrap (these you would wrap yourself with rice noodles, vegetables and your choice of meats) * Noted as a favourite for Celiac customers
  • Stir-fry (Just ask for gluten free sauces). 
  • Ginger Beef (Substitute beef with stir-fry chicken) 
    • Ginger Beef sauce is gluten free.  It has Tapioca Starch
  • Honey Glazed Chicken (Substitute Glazed chicken with stir fry chicken) 
  • Chow Fun is gluten free, made with rice noodle.  Chow Mein is not gluten free. 
Noted about Ginger Beef Sauce:
"The sauce for the Ginger Beef/Chicken contains tapioca starch but not wheat or flour. I am able to substitute the beef or chicken to a stir-fry because it is originally served with breaded meat. Also, the soya sauce is not gluten free. "
Rice Paper Vietnamese Fine Cuisine
10080 -178 Street N.W., Edmonton, AB T5S 1S5
(780) 483-8198 ‎
Email: p.chris.phan@gmail.com
Twitter: @RicePaper_yeg
Have gluten free questions about the Rice Paper menu?  Contact Chris Phan at p.chris.phan@gmail.com

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

Rice Paper Vietnamese Fine Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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How do you tell if they really understand what gluten free means?

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When you go to a restaurant and you tell the wait staff that you have Celiac and you are not allowed gluten, do you trust that they really understand?  It's typically hit or miss, isn't it?  There are some places where I'm like "oh ya they totally understand" and others where I turn to Amanda and am like "they have no clue, do they?".

I think the awareness is there, but the understanding of what Celiac Disease and a gluten free diet is, is not.  There are some phrases that I look for that really comfort me, and some that really make me go "eeek".

We went to one restaurant where Amanda told the waitress about her gluten free needs, and the waitress actually said "oh ya, you have that thing... you know?", "Yes I have Celiac".  When she told us that she was going to walk us through the available gluten free options at the indian buffet, I was quite worried for Amanda.  But she's a trooper and knows how to keep on asking the right questions.  For example, when the waitress said the fish pakora was not gluten free, Amanda was not shy to ask politely, "In the past when I have had fish Pakora, it was made with chickpea flour", just to make sure that this pakora wasn't ruled out because it was breaded.  It ended up that this restaurant uses wheat flour and not chickpea flour to breads their fish pakora.

On the positive end, we were at Tropika Malasian Cuisine at their southside location in Edmonton, and I felt like they understood what gluten free meant.  At Asian restaurants it all usually revolves around the sauces used when prepareing the meals.  The waitress at Tropika Malasian Cuisine pointed out multiple gluten free options that Amanda thought she was not going to be able to eat, like the lamb and chicken satay.  She explained that we make these sauces in house, so they were okay, but she was not allowed to eat the beef satay dish because the sauce is store bought and likely contains soya sauce which contains wheat flour.  This information tells me, they totally understood the concept of hidden glutens and they did not trust store bought sauces, over sauces they make in house.

Overall we have been quite successful when eating in restaurants. We have had a few instances of accidental glutenization (Amanda's word), but we have both learned that question asking is the only way to be as careful as possible when eating in a restaurant.

For you, what can be said by the waitstaff that will scare you right out of a restaurant?

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

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Gluten Free Stuffed French Toast

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We love French Toast, and pre-Celiac we used to make baked French Toast which was a huge ordeal where prepping started the night before!  We haven't tried the gluten free version yet, because we are not sure how the bread would hold up for that recipe, but we found a great tasting Stuffed French Toast recipe that we adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

Ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese (soft)
Sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
8 slices gluten free bread (We used Udi's)
1 cup whole milk (we used cream)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 Cup gluten free all purpose flour (we used Bobs Redmill)

Directions:

  1. Mix in soft cream cheese (microwave a few seconds if needed), with 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon.  Place in fridge until chilled.
  2. Spread cream cheese even lover 4 pieces of bread leaving a 1/2 inch thick border at the edges.  Place other pieces of bread ontop and press down slightly.
  3. Heat oven to 250 degrees, and take out cookie shit with wire rack to keep french toast warm.  You can skip this step if you are half'ing this recipe and only making two at a time.
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and whisk it together with the milk, egg, vanilla, salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth and pour batter into a large shallow dish.
  5. Doing two sandwiches at a time, soak each side in batter for 1 minute, then fry in pan with butter until golden brown on both sides (2.5 minutes per side).  Place ready french toast on wire rack and place in oven.  Repeat for other two.


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

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Have you ever fallen off the gluten free wagon?

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I know that this is a Celiac website and we write about living gluten free and all that entails. However for this moment I need to speak about specifically both Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease - as you may already know I am one of many many people who have both.

*Warning: complete honesty ahead and please remember that I am not a Doctor nor am I a specialist, I am simply a regular person like everyone else.

What I want to discuss today is that I am noticing in the DOC (diabetes online community) that a lot of people have been writing lately about "falling off the wagon", or "putting diabetes management on the back burner" or "cutting corners" etc etc. You might be thinking to yourself "wow, those people are hurting themselves", but I think it's important to realize that diabetes management is a full time job. Diabetes is a 24/7 operation. No matter what you do, it's always there and demands so much of your daily energy and attention. There's no avoiding it, it's there and never going to leave. As you can see, while I do completely understand what these fellow type 1 diabetics are talking about, I wonder have you ever felt this way about your celiac disease?

I admit the thought has crossed my mind and I have considered "cheating" and eating something completely laden with gluten and therefore completely off limits to me. I even admit that once (just once) I ate a Lindor chocolate ball because I needed to try it. I was fully aware that this tiny ball of chocolate would harm me. I was prepared that it was a stupid decision, but I just needed to do it. I can honestly say as well, that the lovely taste was NOT worth the pain I felt very shortly afterwards. Not to mention the sheer guilt I felt for having knowingly put myself in danger. I knew what I was doing and I did it anyways. I know that even when the urge comes, I will not do that again.

Eek, imagine if I would have eaten something bigger and more gluten filled; like a sandwich or regular (not gluten free) pasta. The pain I experienced from a tini tiny Lindor chocolate ball multiplied by a billion probably based only on size...I would have been in T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

So you see, there are some other similarities between type 1 diabetes management and celiac disease. Not only the fact that there's often a relationship between the two medical issues (aka they often reside in the same body), but also in the commitment it takes to truly follow the necessary precautions required to ensure ones safety.

To all of you out there who follow the gluten free diet and live the gluten free lifestyle (and to those who also have type 1 diabetes) I salute you! We all know there will be ups and downs, but such is life. It's how you deal with the issues at hand that say a lot about you.

Celiac disease, just like type 1 diabetes (and I'm certain many more autoimmune diseases out there) takes a tremendous amount of dedication, energy and strength to live with day in and day out. Give yourselves a pat on the back for a job well done! And remember "When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on" ---Franklin D. Roosevelt


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

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