Another Gluten Free NaPoBloMo completed!!!

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A big thank you goes out to everyone who helped us and supported us in completing another wonderful Gluten Free NaPoBloMo (National Blog Posting Month) challenge.

While it may not seem like a very difficult thing to do, write a blog every single day for an entire 30 day month....let me just tell you IT IS HARD! We had the extra challenge (not the best word for this but it works) of being away on vacation for 10 days. I know I know, poor us. What I mean is that we had to ensure that there were blog posts written up in advance to ensure that we were able to complete the full 30 day challenge and without any hiccups.

If you're an professional writer, this might not seem like a challenge, but if you're in any other profession (like we are) then writing that may blog posts...in advance, can make it more difficult. Between you & me, I'll tell you that Abisaac and I had a few heated discussions, if you will, about whether we could actually accomplish this feat this year or if we were setting ourselves up for disaster. Well gluten free folks...I am pleased to say that we did it and phew now November (NaPoBloMo) is over for another year.

Thanks to everyone for following us and we look forward to sharing more Gluten Free Edmonton adventures with you in the future.

Happy safe gluten free eating everyone.

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

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Gluten-Free Initiatives on campus from NAIT's Food Services!

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A while back I received an email from an employee at NAIT with an internal email that went out to students and staff about a new gluten free initiative. This is not about their culinary school, but actually their food services department that prepares all the food for students, faculty, staff and visitors.  I contacted their food services to learn more.  Leslie Howe was excited to provide a blog post about their gluten free initiative and what NAIT is now offering at their Edmonton campus.

This school year, NAIT Food Services is proud to introduce a new initiative to provide a variety of delicious gluten-free options to those dining on campus who have celiac disease!

NAIT Food Services is committed to providing a variety of delicious and healthy gluten free options this school year. Food Services staff have been trained in gluten free preparation procedures, and use a thorough approach to avoid cross-contamination with possible gluten sources, including using separate deep friers, cooktops, grills and cutting boards, using separate and clearly labelled storage, and having all gluten-free advertised products prepared first thing in the morning after all areas have been properly cleaned and sanitized.

There are a number of new gluten free grab and go salads: the South Western salad (with chicken, black bean, corn, tomatoes and cilantro), the Quinoa Salad with a nutty lime dressing, the Chef’s Salad, and two varieties of hummus with fresh veggies! Many other healthy gluten-free options are also available at most food services outlets year round, including fresh fruit, milk, yogurt, and cheese. Additionally, NAIT Catering is happy to accommodate gluten free meal salads and entrees on request. Lastly, The Blue Plate in the Common Market will be hosting Gluten Free Burger & Fries day on the last Friday of each month, starting September 30th! Food Services will be adding gluten free meal selections over the next few months, watch for advertisements.

This post was submitted by:
Leslie Howe
NAIT
Team Lead - Food Services
Department of Corporate Services
lhowe@nait.ca

The Dining Room at NAIT on Urbanspoon
Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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My mom's gluten free homemade soup ideas

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As I've mentioned before my mom is a great cook. She is always willing to try new things and experiement in the kitchen. One of the so-called easiest things she has often made for me (especially since going gluten free) are her homemade vegetable soups. The texture and flavor is perfect and really, I'd always thought there was a lot more to it, but here you go. Thanks mom!


Now that the weather is turning cold, I’ve been craving soup.  A lot of premade soups are not gluten free as they have noodles or barely or use wheat flour to thicken them.  So I’ve started making my own.

I cut up any kind of squash into cubes and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then I roast it in the oven at 425 degrees till it is cooked through.   he timing depends on how big the pieces are.  Meanwhile, I soften some sliced onion on top of the stove in a small bit of oil.  Once this is all done and cooled, I throw it all into the blender and let it go.  (If you don’t let it cool, it could spray all over the place.)  I add chicken or vegetable stock to thin it out to my liking.              

I usually use stock from a carton, but recently have found a new product at The Italian Center Shop.  It’s called Better Than Bouillion.  I buy the organic kinds because some of the non-organic, contain barley so you have to read the ingredients carefully.  I use the chicken flavor and it has a lot more taste than the cartons.  You could also make soup the same way with tomatoes, red peppers, leeks, or even cauliflower. 
Once I'm done, I add my own rice or rice noodles & vegetables and voila! Yum!

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

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We are volunteering for the Canadian Celiac Association, are you?

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Amanda and I have always tried to take part in the various activities that the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter hosts are participates in.  We have been at the pancake breakfasts, Louisiana Purchase Dinner, showed up to the Celiac Ride Walk Run etc.  We have always appreciated the effort that the organization gives when trying to promote awareness.

We thought it was finally time to step up our game.  Especially when it was hinted to us that we should and that we were being nominated to the Board of Directors.  In October we attended our first Annual General Meeting where we were official nominated and elected as Directors at Large to the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter.

We are both certainly happy and privileged to be members of the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter and join the organization in a way that we can really make a difference in the community.

Our term officially begins in January 2011.  You will certainly be hearing more from us during the year about the Canadian Celiac Association activities and events.  We will also certainly be encouraging you to become members of the Edmonton Chapter.  Supporting the Edmonton Chapter will help provide the chapter with the resources needed to help raise awareness within the community and provide the resources needed to help bring the resources to the chapters wide spread territory of Northern Alberta.

Visit the Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter website for more information about membership or call 780-485-2949 during office hours Mon to Friday 11am-3:30pm.

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I can't believe I just said that to someone with Celiac Diease!

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I kind of felt stupid the other day, and this is why I really like it when Amanda blogs, over me, because I do feel likea bit of an outsider to the Celiac community sometimes, and I act like one too!

I participate in the Healthcare Social Media Canada #hcsmca group that has weekly Twitter chats Wednesdays at 11am MT.  This group gets together to discuss the use of social media in healthcare, whether it being patient engagement, physician engagement or even just use of technology.  I do work in Communications in Healthcare and Social Media is one of my interests.  Every now and then we have Twitter Meetups from across the country.  Pockets from Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Edmonton etc, will meet up in their own cities have discussions and share their thoughts with the Twitter community as well.  Giver brief updates etc.  I have organized the two we have had in Edmonton.

Most recently I had invited the program coordinator from the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter, and the owner of glutenfreestudio.ca.  We had a great discussion on patient engagement!  I will save that post for later.

But in my infinite wisdom I acted like an outsider and acted the way Amanda describes as "being told I'm broken or not being allowed to make my own choices/ask my own questions".  We met at the Rose and Crowne pub downtown.  I showed up early and was hungry, so I ordered some fries.  Me not being gluten free, I did not have to worry about checking out the food.  But immediately after I ordered it I started to psych myself out, like "Oh gosh, I know Lori knows I don't have Celiac, but I don't think the other guy does... what if he thinks these are gluten free?".  So what's one of the first things out of my mouth? "SORRY, these fries aren't gluten free." Duh, I felt like an idiot right away.  Way to go!  As if these guys don't know how to ask questions on their own.  Luckily they didn't seem to care, probably saw my embarrassed face knowing what I had done. My apologizing after was just digging myself a hole.  Uggg. I really do have to work on that.

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

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Gluten Free Sub using Kinnikinnick's Gluten Free Baguette!

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Did you know that Kinnikinnick now makes gluten free baguettes in their Edmonton store?  They sell for just over $3+ taxes and is about two feet long.  We bought a fresh one and froze it.  It holds really well.  We cut it in half before freezing because we knew we wouldn't eat it all in one sitting.

Initially I was going to use it to make some garlic toast, but then I had a great idea.  I know whenever I tell Amanda I had Quizno's or Subway for lunch, she says really misses having a subs.  Well, the gluten free baguettes are a perfect size for a sub.

So I decided to put one together.  Great way to use the baguette.  But i'm sure there are many more ways.  Let us know how you use your gluten free baguettes.

Anyways, here is the recipe for my gluten free BBQ chicken sub:

Ingredients
  • 1 gluten free baguette cut in half (this one is from Kinnikinnick)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded lettuce
  • 1/2 a chicken breast slicked
  • 2 tbs of your favourite gluten free BBQ sauce
  • 2 strips of bacon (we used turkey bacon)
  • 2 slices of cheddar cheese
Directions
  1. Slice bread in half
  2. pan fry chicken until fully cooked and mix in with the BBQ sauce
  3. Layer the sub with chicken, cheese, lettuce and bacon.  Top with ranch dressing.

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

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La Crema Gluten Free Pot Pies

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We have written about La Crema before because it is the best place to go to in St Albert for brunch.  Infact probably one of the best places in Edmonton and area to go to for a gluten free brunch.  The great thing about a Crema is that they are beginning to distribute their gluten free pastry products across Edmonton.  You can buy La Crema at Ed's Gluten Free Store in the south and Gluten Free Mart in the north.

During our first visit to Gluten Free Mart we picked up two gluten free pot pies made by La Crema.  Not a appointment's at all.  Amanda and I wanted to sample a variety, so we bought both the gluten free chicken pot pie and the beef pot pie.  They booth were worth the $9 each (La Crema makes an amazing crust), but I will admit, the chicken pot pie was better.  Brought me back to child hood having chicken pot pies at home with my parents.  Mmmmmm.
Certainly a recommended purchase during your next visit to La Crema, Ed's or Gluten Free Mart.

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

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Home Sense has gluten free products? Believe it!

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Recently my mom was at Home Sense, probably looking for picture frames or lamps, and she came across a decent selection of gluten free products.  She brought a few things home including a banana bread mix, cookies and brownie mix.

So far my favourite were the mini Mi-Del gluten free snack pack cookies.  It may seem simple, but to someone who tries to bring their own lunch to work every day, 100 calorie, individual portioned snack packs were a huge hit.  Kind of makes you feel normal with everyone else and their little lunch snacks that they get to munch on.

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

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Gluten free lunch at Dahlia's Bistro

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Awhile back Abisaac & I were out for the day and someone shared a great tip with us. They suggested that we check out Dahlia's Mediterranean Bistro on 10235- 124th street in downtown Edmonton.

For anyone who doesn't know, I love love love Mediterranean food but most often find that I cannot eat it anymore because so often the foods are filled with gluten. My very favorite food item is falafel and while yes, there are some that are gluten free but generally in a restaurant they contain gluten. Of course I called ahead to ask my gluten free questions, you can never be too careful. When we showed up, we were pleased with the lady at the counter and the knowledge she had of the found preparation. Basically all of the salads except for the tabbouleh were gluten free.  Also the chicken shawarma was gluten free.  The picture has a salad platter that I ordered.  I brought along Udi's pizza crust and used it like a pita to dip in the humus, Baba ghanoush, chick pea salad, chicken shawarma etc.

Dahlia's Bistro on Urbanspoon

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

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Good gluten free intentions or just plain irritating?

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As some of you may already know, back in the day I used to work at Starbucks to supplement my limited hours at my regular job. This was back when I was living and working in Toronto, Amanda working at Starbucks circa 2003-ish, ahh those were the days (sigh). Anyways, the point of my story is that one of the key principals of Starbucks as a company is that they wish to be viewed as “the second home”. They teach their employees this. They also place emphasis on their baristas knowing their regular customers drink orders so as to make those customers feel more “at home”.

While I admit I do enjoy it when my local Starbucks barista knows my drink order before I even get to the cash register, I do NOT like it when I’m at other restaurants. I realize that I am a creature of habit (aka not always feeling adventurous in my eating). When I find a place that can handle my dietary restrictions and well, tastes great and works within my budget, I tend to go back again and again. As such, I have found that more and more often when I go into certain places to eat, I am not only recognized, but also my order is remembered and if I choose to make a change, like “no pickles today, instead let’s have onions, please”, then I am corrected (as if I’ve made a mistake).

I do not like this!! I find it actually quite irritating and verging on rude. I know it comes from a good place and with good & helpful intentions, but if you’re going to remember my order at least make a point of finding out my name too. This way at least we can pretend it’s because you know me as opposed to “hey there’s that gluten free (aka complicated) girl…again”.

Have others out there experienced this? Am I just nuts? It really bothers me and instead of making me feel important or even recognized, it makes me feel boring, repetitive and difficult. I hope that is not the intention of these restaurants, but sheesh it really does rub me the wrong way. Almost enough to not want to return to the restaurant….but nah’ why mess with a place that “gets” your gluten free eating needs and can easily accommodate too?



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

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The Non-Celiac, Celiac Dinner

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What I mean by this post title is, non-Celiac's like myself eating out with a bunch of people with Celiac Disease.  I'm sure I'm going to embarrass myself with this one, because I'm essentially going to be referring to a recent dinner I was at, and I know those who were in attendance may read this, but oh well here goes...

So Amanda and I were recently invited out to Louisiana Purchase for dinner.  There was a small group of people with Celiac Disease getting together.  Actually, it ended up right down the middle with 3 people with Celiac Disease, with guests that did not have Celiac Disease.  It was interesting to see the three of us 'non Celiac's' in action.

First there was me as the husband guest.  I'm thinking, "Celiac Dinner?  Well, i'm going to order gluten free.  Possibly order something different than Amanda and then we can share something... oh that Boudin looks awesome, and that chicken, and those ribs... Mmmmmm".  And essentially, that's what we did.  We ordered two great meals and shared them.  We, well, I wanted to get a good taste of the menu to be able to write a blog post about it. (Now I just have to remind Amanda to write it since she promised she would do that one).

Then there was the boyfriend.  I don't know what he was thinking, but when the waitress was like "So, do you want any bread", and he kind of looked around the table for approval, no one really suggested yay or nay, and he was like "Oh for sure, serve me up some bread, I can eat it", with a big smile, I was not surprised, not disappointed, but just a little "huh?" moment.  Although I give him credit for ordering the flour-less chocolate cake to share with his girlfriend.

Then there was the best friend to cap of the tri-fecta of guests.  She was all about ordering gluten free, because her friend invited her out and she wanted to support her.  They even talked about how the best friend is always looking out for her pal with Celiac disease, and making sure everything is gluten free (kind of like I over protect Amanda).  Really great to have friends like that.  Was interesting though that the "boyfriend" opened up the flood gates to gluten at the table, because after he decided to order the bread to the table, she decided to order non-gluten free soup that she wanted to try.

Just sayin, everyone's different.  I don't mean to judge.  I'm sure people think I'm a little crazy for agreeing to eat/try gluten free stuff in order to be able to share with Amanda. Though really, since food has been a part of our relationship from the first day...why change things now?

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

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Table Talk with Celiac's

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We have only been out a few times to dinners where there were only people with Celiac Disease, but it certainly is an interesting experience.  It also seems to because like any gathering of people with a common interest, that common interest often takes over the dinner conversation.  After all, that's why you are together in the first place right?

You certainly hear a lot of various opinions about Celiac Disease, what you can and can't eat, and where you can and can't eat.  We of course added our two cents as well.  I like to think we stay on the positive/motivating/optimistic side of the conversation.  But obviously it is sometimes hard to be completely positive because you have some bad experiences to share.  But you often have some interesting conversations.

We sat down with a daughter, mother once at a function.  The mother was older and she is the one who has Celiac Disease.  This lady seemed to come off as a "complainer".  But truly, she was probably really sensitive and had really bad adverse reactions to any slight cross contamination.  She went on with all these stories about places where she got sick and would never go back.  Some of these places are where Amanda and I go and Amanda has been fine.  But good did come out of this, she did talk about Pearl River, a Chinese food restaurant in the south side on 99st where she can actually go in and eat without getting sick.  At that point we hadn't found a gluten free friendly Chinese Food restaurant and we thought "okay, if this lady that gets sick wherever she goes can eat here, we gotta try it out."

There was another time where we sat down for dinner and were having a nice discussion with a married couple and the wife dropped a bomb "Oh I won't eat that gluten free crap, I only make it for my husband".   That statement floored me.  I admit, I got defensive because well, I don't have Celiac Disease and I do "eat that crap", but its NOT CRAP - unless you want it to be crap.  We have so many great recipes on this website and there are so many other great recipes on the web and great gluten free products available in Edmonton, that I just couldn't comprehend that statement.  All that came out of my mouth was "Oh?  I eat gluten free at home, I make really great tasting meals for Amanda and I".

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

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Gluten Free friendly eats at Greenhouse Salad

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I work nearby to the University of Alberta and as such we often try (like loads of other people) to go out for lunch on occassion. However, in the past I have had a rough time finding decent gluten free option to meet my dietary needs and to also make my taste buds sing with joy like everyone elses. I know that I have writen in the past about some wonderful gluten free friendly options in the University area; such as Rodeo Burger. Mmm just writing that restaurant name makes my mouth water and my tummy excited for yumminess.

Anyways, back to this blog post...I know my colleagues and I have been numerous times before, but I don't think I've ever written about this awesome place before so here we go. We went recently to The Greenhouse - a gourmet salad experience. While they have changed their menu in the past 6-12 months to include plenty of gluten filled items (booo) such as wraps and pasta, they still do have their wonderful gluten free friendly soups and salads and now rice bowls too.

My favorite thing to get at the GreenHouse is the soup & salad combo. Daily they prepare two different very creative and flavor loaded soups in house from fresh ingredients. My favorite salad of choice is always to make my own but that's just because I can never decide. The staff are very knowledgeable about what is and is not gluten free friendly and they are very approachable. I was told that "almost all of the soups are entirely gluten free, the ones that are not are obviously not; meaning the are a beer beef stew soup". From the few times I have been there the soups have been gluten free except for one (beer beef stew).


Their slogan is "80% healthy 20% naughty". According to their website "The Greenhouse is a health conscious quick-service gourmet salad bar, featuring restaurant-quality salads at a great value. Bold flavours, mouthwatering aromas and electrifying presentation describe our professional chef inspired and nutrition based menu, which coupled with the highest quality produce and meats available in today's marketplace guarantees that our patrons enjoy a truly gourmet salad experience."

I do not have any photos of my food so I snagged one from their website instead, sorry about that. But next time I go I'll be sure to snap a few. Eeek Abisaac would be disappointed in me for not snapping a photo before diggin' in and enjoying my tasty gluten free friendly meal with friends.

The Greenhouse Salads on Urbanspoon

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Eating Gluten Free at The Burger’s Priest in Toronto

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It is usually Amanda and I travelling to Toronto and reporting on it, but this time its one of our readers Dani contributing this post:

When going gluten free, people always make a clamour about getting their pizza. It is understood as the most missed item post-diagnosis. However, the much loved classic burger is often overlooked. People settle for plain patties (thanks McDonald’s) or a step up.. plain patties wrapped in lettuce. These sad carb-less alternatives are nowhere near as satisfying as biting into a juicy burger hugged between an out-of-this-world mouth-watering bun. Enter The Burger’s Priest. Touted as “an American cheeseburger joint,” I was excited at the prospect of trying them out. I gave them a call before my trip to Toronto, and they assured me that they not only offer a full gluten-free burger, but I could also enjoy fries with my meal. They explained that they ensure there is no cross contamination in the oil (they use another fryer for their onion rings), and that I could enjoy the full-meal deal! After that conversation, I absolutely had to check them out. And let me tell you.. they do not disappoint! The location is a tiny hole-in-the-wall type restaurant with barley 10 seats… It really is set up as an old-school burger joint where you order at the counter and either eat quickly inside or take your prize to go. The street was empty in the area, but people were shoulder-to-shoulder in the tiny little burger joint trying to get their little bite of happiness. They keep things simple by only offering a few different burgers, and only accept payments in cash.

We were in a bit of a rush, so we took our meal to go. At the first bite of this burger, I had to stop and ask everyone if we had indeed ordered the gluten free burger (yes.. we had). It was soft and anemic looking bun, with a hint of sweetness. I couldn’t believe how scrumptious it was. I devoured the entire burger in just a few minutes. The fries were also a hit. The burger was so amazing, that I called them back and make sure they hadn’t make a mistake. The staff assured me they offer gluten free, but wouldn’t divulge the source of their buns (darn them!). This restaurant offers the best gluten free burgers by-far, and I will make sure to stop by anytime I’m in the Toronto area. Please note the store hours.. they are closed on Sundays for church.

The Burger's Priest on Urbanspoon

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

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Exercise and Gluten Free; how do they work together?

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Recently a colleague of mine asked me "how do you manage to eat enough carbs through out the day when you know you're going to be doing heavy duty exercise that evening and you cannot eat gluten?"

I am certain I must have had a completely blank look on my face as if to say "ummm duh, I dunno". After thinking it through I explained to her that there are many naturally gluten free foods out there that I can eat in advance of so-called "heavy duty" exercise. I think she was particularly referring to my new found love of spinning class. I explained to her that I often choose to eat fresh fruit before exercising and when I'm really in a bind and looking for quick fix snack pre-exercise, I grab for a LaraBar.

My favorite flavor of the LaraBars is the peanut butter chocolate chip. That are made with all natural ingredients and packed with fiber (dates add to the fiber) and they're just plain tasty.

Another food that I love after a good hard workout is peanut butter. To those who are allergy, I apologize. I can't deny it I love love love peanut butter. I eat it right off the spoon. Which leads me to the sharing of a favorite blogger of mine Scully also known as CanadianD-Gal. Scully is an avid and driven exerciser, a fellow gluten free eater and a type 1 diabetic. I am proud to call her my friend though we have never actually met in person, does that make me sound nuts? Hmm. Scully ran her first marathon in October of this year and she's just an awesome person all around. Her exercise regime puts my to shame, but she is full of life and energy and her love of exercise makes me (and others) feel empowered to do more ourselves.

But...back to the peanut butter lovin' recipe sharing check out this awesome looking recipe that I still haven't made but definitely need to try.

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

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To eat Gluten Free or not Gluten Free that is the question

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We were recently in attendance at the Edmonton Chapter of the Celiac Association's Annual General Meeting (October 22) whereby we were elected as new members of the board of directors. I'll admit that I do not yet fully know what this role will entail, it is an exciting new challenge for both of us.

During the AGM meeting we met loads of new people and talked about living gluten free. We were pleased and excited to hear about some of the different restaurants that people had tried out, some with success stories and others with less successful results. However for me what sparked my attention was my discussion with a lovely lady *Erin who told me, quite frankly, that she "refuses to eat anything gluten free because she cannot stand the taste." I should clarify here that her partner is the one with celiac and not herself.

What really caught my attention was that she was willing to prepare two entirely separate meals every single day so as to not have to eat gluten free. What??? I know that I am very very very lucky to have a wonderful and super supportive husband (and family) who enjoys trying new recipes and also feels great pride when he can re-create a previously loved recipe that normally would contain gluten...gluten free instead. Abisaac and I have discussed this numerous times in the past, we do not intend to be doing double duty and cooking multiple meals at once for any reason.

When friends with other dietary restrictions or even likes/dislikes come over we find something that works for everyone. We do not make a special meal for me and another one for everyone else. Heck, when we had a potluck at our home we made accommodations to prevent cross contamination, but we did not prepare an entirely different meal.

As well, I was honestly shocked to hear her firm view on the lack of good tasting gluten free options available. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and there is no question, some gluten free products taste like sand, but truthfully we here at Gluten Free Edmonton have been able to run an entire website based on our findings & experiences related to gluten free living within Edmonton (and while travelling).

So I ask to you, our faithful readers: Tell us What is your favorite gluten free pre-packaged product?

*Names of people have been changed to protect privacy

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

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High Tea at Arbour Restaurant & Tea Room

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Updated August 2012
As per Michaelle Haughian Executive Director, they are no longer gluten free.  Please contact the Arbour Room at execdir@rutherfordhouse.ca or by phone at 780-427-4033 with any questions.

Original Post
Great review by Lorri on Arbour Restaurant & Tea Room. What a great option to be able to go to Arbour Restaurant for high tea in Edmonton and be able to have it served up gluten free:

The Arbour Restaurant & Tea Room on Urbanspoon
Shared by Lorri:
I just wanted to share the wonderful experience my daughters and I had at Rutherford House Arbour restaurant today

I called ahead and asked if they could do their high tea gluten free and they asked their chef who was very happy to accomodate us.

I did call 3 weeks in advance. We started with gluten free cucumber and egg salad tea sandwhiches with crackers with cream cheese and tomatoe slices, next course was the turkey pot pie done with sliced potatoes as the crust very delicious , next course they baked fresh gluten free scones also with cookies, squares and flourless chocolate cake, all were extremely delicious.

The chef came and asked us how we enjoyed it and we were very delighted with it all.

So please pass on the news to others in the celiac community, their main menu can easliy be made gluten free as well helps to call ahead.

Check out some other great gluten free friendly restaurants in Edmonton.

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

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What's gluten free at the Hard Rock Cafe?

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Me in front of Hard Rock
Cafe Niagara Falls
On a trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario, we were looking for touristy places to eat lunch. Of course we needed a place to accommodate a gluten free diet. On Falls Ave. at the bottom of the famous Clifton Hills is the Hard Cafe Niagara Falls. What a great touristy restaurant to check out. Hard Rock Cafe's are located across the world and loved for their rock'n'roll and music memorabilia displayed throughout the store. They also have some great tunes and music videos playing throughout.

We really were not sure what to expect because we figured Hard Rock Cafe is more of burger and fries joint and probably would not really be able to accommodate a gluten free diet.

The veggie leggie, with a beef patty and no bun
(that's the tasty Portabello mushroom on top)
The waitress had a good understanding about Celiac Disease and how to accommodate the gluten free diet. I will admit, its not like most of the menu was at Amanda's disposal, but Hard Rock Cafe was ready to be as accommodating as possible to ensure as tourists we get to eat at one of the hot spots.

To our surprise we could not order the corn nachos. Not because they were mixed in with flour, but because the waitress said they are freshly made in house and deep fried with the other fried goods. Great to hear that they are fresh made, I never would have thought Hard Rock Cafe to do that, but unfortunate about the cross-contamination.

Massive Cobb salad.
What we did end up with was fantastic. Their hamburger patties are all good to go with no fillers. What Amanda ordered was the vegetarian hamburger substituting the veggie patty with the hamburger patty and no bun. Why you ask? Because it was delicious! The Veggie Leggie was topped with a grilled Portabello mushroom, zucchini, yellow squash and roasted red pepper. It was also served with lemon mayo, leaf lettuce, sliced tomato and grilled sweet onions on the side and with a salad on the side.

I ordered the cobb salad, and oh boy did i get a cobb salad. This thing was massive and served with grilled chicken, bacon, onions, tomato, and avocado. I don't think I ate half of it. It was just massive.

Hard Rock Cafe on Urbanspoon


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Looking for a gluten free friendly place for brunch in the Greater Toronto Area?

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We area always eating out when visiting my family in Toronto. In a span of a week, we may have dinner twice at my parents place, and lunch maybe two or three times. This means we are always looking for gluten free friendly places to eat it. We have already talked about places like Duff's and Pizza Pizza serving gluten free in Toronto. And those are still staples in our visits to Toronto.

One afternoon we were meeting of of Amanda's friends for brunch, and Duff's and Pizza Pizza was just not going to cut it. What could we do? Where could we go? We know Pickle Barrel is a popular spot so we looked it up. We glimmered with hope when we saw a gluten free menu on their website, but were greatly disappointed when we saw * beside every menu item that basically said you had to have everything with no sauces or seasoning. That was not exactly the type of gluten free menu we were looking for.

So Amanda's friend recommended Bathurst Street Deli in Richmond Hill, because we thought at the very least, a nice omelet with potatoes would be gluten free. So Amanda gave a quick call the day before and found out not only is the omelet and potatoes gluten free, but they keep gluten free bread in the kitchen to make sandwiches etc.


What a find! Amanda asked if there would be any left for tomorrow, and the guy said most likely. So when we went in the next day, Amanda was able to speak with the same guy and he said they went out and got a fresh loaf in the morning. In which we responded "Fresh loaf? where", and he pointed to a bakery in the same plaza that bakes gluten free breads. What another great find.

Amanda ordered the exact same dish her friend ordered, which was a stuffed french toast, except Amanda's was gluten free. She was so happy to be able to order the exact same thing on the menu with only the bread having to be switched. Her breakfast was so good as well. I of course snuck a bite or two when she wasn't looking.

Bathurst St. Deli on Urbanspoon

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I Love Gluten Free Recipe Books

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Just as the title says, I love gluten free recipe books. More importantly, like with any recipe books, I love when the recipes in the books are actually do-able, enjoyable and reasonable. By reasonable I mean that if I have to go running around to 5 different stores to buy the ingredients or the ingredients are going to cost me and arm and a leg...I'm not interested anymore and I might as well just stop at that point and go back to something I consider to be an old favorite.

I am pleased to share with you today that I recently found this fantastic gluten free cookbook called Gluten Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn. As we all know, there are many wonderful and probably many not so wonderful gluten free cook books out there, but this one (for me) was a great find! Nicole Hunn outlines the cost per serving of each of the recipes within the book and while I know that her figures are based on American prices not Canadian, it's always nice to see the cost breakdown per serving and feel a little bit better about your creation vs. store bought. Don't get my wrong, store bought stuff has its place too, but as I've mentioned before I do enjoy baking and that's what I was in the mood for today.

We have already tried a few of the recipes in this book and been super happy with each of them, but today I want to share with you all a fudgy chocolatey super easy and fun recipe. C'mon who doesn't love chocolate chip brownies? And these ones are gluten free to boot.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Brownies

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Makes 16 brownies

1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, separated into 8 ounce and 4 ounce portions
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 extra large eggs
1 cup all purpose gluten free flour
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with two crisscrossed strips of parchment paper long enough to overhand all the sides of the pan. Butter the parchment paper as best you can. As long as the parchment paper covers the entire inside surface of the pan, the brownies will come out of the pan well. Set the pan aside.
  2. In a medium-size, microwave safe bowl, combine the butter and 8 ounces of the chocolate chips. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, 30 seconds at a time, stirring well at each 30 second interval, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow the chocolate mixture to cool slightly, for about 2 minutes.
  3. Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, add to it the sugar and the eggs one at a time, stirring to combine well after each addition. Next, add the flour, xantham gum, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, reserving a few tablespoons of flour. Beat the batter well until it becomes thicker and a bit more elastic. Toss the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate chips with the reserved flour to coat the chocolate chips. Add the chocolate chips and remaining flour to the batter, stirring until the chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula or wet hands.
  4. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean., with a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool the brownies in the pan for at least 30 minutes. Lift the brownies out of the pan with the overhung parchment paper, invert onto a cutting board, peel off the parchment paper, and slice into squares with a moistened serrated knife.

I had read in another one of my favorite cookbooks (America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook) that the use of a parchment paper or aluminum foil sling is preferred for brownies as it allows the baker to easier remove the brownies without crumbling or breaking them.

Gotta love detailed explanations. As I've discussed before, I generally opt to use Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour for my gluten free baking needs.

These brownies were absolutely delicious, you've gotta give them a try!

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And the the Foodie Blogger says, WAIT DON'T EAT THAT YET

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Yes it's true, "Wait! Don't eat that yet!" is a line Amanda has become accustomed too, and it has nothing to do with her having Celiac Disease. It has everything to do about blogging.

We have been blogging for almost two years now and have over 250 posts, and I would say one out of every three occasions when we are eating something that we'd like to to share on the blog, I shout out "Wait! don't eat that yet!" The other two times, I'd shout, "CRAP! I forgot to take a picture."

Blogging has really changed my eating habits. Some would say for the worse (well, at least my manners if anything). I've even done this to my mother-in-law when she makes something nice for Amanda. At least she finds it flattering.

I didn't know the effect blogging would have on my life. I'm always thinking about how I can "spin this" for the blog. Either it's someone emailing me a tip, or seeing something new in the store while shopping around. "Gotta get my phone out and take a picture of it on the shelf and tweet it out to everyone!" "Oh these are good! We have to blog about this." These are my new most commonly used phrases, just ask Amanda.

Now, it's just a matter of remembering or finding the time. We usually go on blogging sprees during the weekend. It's tough. I hate to shatter anyone's dreams, but we typically have posts written up to one month ahead of time. It's hard to keep up sometimes because we are posting every two to three days. If we weren't queued up, we wouldn't be able to blog as often as we do.

Are you thinking of blogging? Let us know! We would love to help you get started and promote your blog. We need some more local gluten free bloggers in Edmonton. Also, we always love to have guest bloggers help us out with posts of their own adventures, findings and ideas about living gluten free. In the meantime, check out some of these Edmonton bloggers that often blog gluten free:
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Quick Polenta is a nice gluten free side dish

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Try out this gluten free quick polenta recipe. Goes great with roast, turkey etc. Try it with your next holiday meal.

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups instant polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 2tbs unsalted butter
Directions:
Bring 6 cups water and 1.5 tsp salt to summer in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly pour 1.5 cups instant polenta into water, stirring constantly. Reduce hear to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 2 tbs unsalted butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Our Thanksgiving Gluten Free Slow Cooker Roast #celiac #yegfood

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ready for serving
We love our slow cooker! There are a few recipes we have shared already, like our Free Free Free curry recipe (Gluten Free, Meat Free, Dairy Free). Don't be fooled by the aspect of the slow cooker, "set it and forget" will get you a meal, but if you want a great meal, some prep is involved.

We tried a slow cooker roast recipe from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution. We had a roast that we knew we wanted to do, but had some stuff to do during the day. Here's where the slow cooker comes in handy vs. the oven because we know we can do the prep for a great meal, but leave it after and run our shopping errands.

We tried the Italian Style Pot Roast. Let me tell you, your house will smell fantastic.

Ingredients
Plated with polenta and chickpea salad

    Left over sauce for serving
  • 8 ounces chopped bacon
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs minced fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushroom (we tried 4 regular regular mushrooms chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (Campbells is gluten free)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 x 3 pound beef chuck roast tied seasoned with salt and pepper (America's Test Kitchen says 2 vs. one big one helps with getting a fork-tender meat)
  • 1/4 cip minced fresh parsley
Here's the prep that seems like much. Took maybe 30-45 minutes for me to prep this, but they pay off was worth it in the end

Directions
  • Cook bacon in 12inch skillet over medium heat until crisp (5-7 minutes); transfer to slow cooker. Pour out all fat except for some to cook vegetables
  • Add onions, carrots, garlic, oregano, tomato paste, mushroom, and red pepper flakes to fat in skillet and cook over medium hear until veggies are softened and browned (8 minutes). Stir in wine and scrape up and browned bits, transfer to slow cooker
  • Stir tomatoes, broth and bay leaves into slow cooker. Nestle season beef into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender (9-11 hours on low / 5 to 7 hours on high).
  • Transfer roasts to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Let braising liquid settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Discard bay leaves. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Remove twine from roast, and slice into 1/2 inch think slices, and arrange on planner. Spoon 1 cup of sauce over meat and serve with remaining sauce in dish.
America's test kitchen recommends to be served with Quick Polenta. We'll share this recipe in a second post.

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Lifestyles of the gluten free and famous #gfree #celiac #yegfood

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This is a slightly modified post of a guest blog I wrote at become.com. I thought it would be important to share this article with everyone. It gives a nice overview of Celiac Disease, the Gluten Free Diet and how we got started after Amanda's diagnosis.

Okay, so gluten free is not really a lifestyle but sometimes famous people are making it out to be. I’m here to write about what a gluten free diet is, and why it’s not a lifestyle, but really a part of a medical condition called Celiac Disease.

In short, Celiac Disease is a deficiency to the protein gluten that comes from wheat, malt, barley and rye. It attacks the lower intestine by damaging it, reducing the intake of nutrients causing many symptoms like stomach pains and fatigue. Currently, the only treatment for Celiac Disease is a permanent gluten free diet. The Canadian Celiac Association estimates 1 in 133 Canadians are affected by Celiac Disease.

In the entertainment section you can read more about Hollywood stars on a gluten free diet to lose weight. But really, this is a bad fad diet and doesn’t sit well with the Celiac community.

I think this may cause false perceptions of the gluten free diet and what it actually means to eat gluten free. It is my opinion that the fad diet overlooks hidden glutens and cross contamination, therefore not properly educating others about how gluten free meals should be prepared.

Amanda was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over two years ago, just weeks before our wedding. After the diagnosis we did our research online, contacted the Edmonton Celiac Association and began emptying our cupboards of everything that was not gluten free. What did this include? Well, this goes way beyond bread, because there are hidden glutens in many products like BBQ Sauce, Soy Sauce even soups! Why would there be gluten in those items? Well, it is common to have a thickening agent in many of these products. Sometimes wheat is used as the thickener.

So what does this mean when we go shopping? To quote the Canadian Celiac Association “read every label every time”. Yes it’s true, every time! It’s not uncommon for a manufacturer to change ingredients for any of their products. It’s happened to us before. We are always reading labels before putting the product in a shopping cart. Scour the ingredients for gluten, wheat, malt, barley or rye. We also look to see if the product was made on the same production line as something containing gluten. Just like a nut allergy, cross contamination will affect someone with Celiac Disease.

So how so do we eat out at restaurants? Similar to shopping, but instead of reading labels, you ask a lot of questions, about what’s in the food, what’s used to make the sauces, are their fillers in the hamburgers? Do the French fries have a dedicated fryer or are they deep fried with all the breaded stuff? Can you use fresh utensils when preparing and serving my dish? It is easy to get comfortable with a place once you know it’s safe, but sometimes it’s good to still ask every time. Just like a manufacturer changing ingredients, a restaurant can change its recipe or supplier, or have new kitchen staff that might not be as familiar.

In 2009 there was very low awareness about Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet. However I am happy to say things are looking up. During our learning curve and all of our research, we started up Gluten Free Edmonton, a Celiac guide to gluten free living in Edmonton. We appreciated the start-up information the Celiac Association had, but we wanted to share more information with the community here in Edmonton.

Because we were new at this, we were learning along the way: learning about how to find out about product ingredients, where to eat out, and how to travel. Even blogging was new to us! We thought, heck if we could help a dozen people out with what we learned, that would be great! Little did we know how many people wanted more information! The blog traffic was pretty slow to start, but as we gained popularity and awareness started to rise, Gluten Free Edmonton’s traffic started to soar.

Beyond sharing gluten free information about local restaurants in Edmonton and gluten free recipes, we have been happy to share our experiences, our frustrations, our victories and have been excited to hear back from our readers.

If you want to learn more about Celiac Disease, contact your local Celiac Association chapter, or speak to your doctor. If you want to learn more about living gluten free, please feel free to browse our blog, sign up for email alerts, follow us on Twitter @gfreeYEG. You can also like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gfreeYEG.


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Gluten Free Greek-Style Chickpea Salad

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As I have written in the past I love love love the America's Test Kitchen cookbooks. This time I was feeling like something healthier and I wanted to be able to better understand what the carbohydrate count on my food was. Yes I admit, just like most diabetics I sometimes have to guess the carb count then deal with the consequences. (Not ideal!!)

The America's Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook is another one of their cookbooks I would definitely recommend checking out. In my opinion this one is the best because they include the entire nutritional information panel for each and every recipe in the book. How awesome is that!

I love salad. Really, I do. I love almost all types of salad. That's not to say that I love all types of lettuce because ick I do not. However I do not like the type called of lettuce called "babyleaf" I know people love it but to me it looks like weeds from my backyard and that turns me right off. Sometimes though, there's really no need for lettuce at all. Check out the super tasty salad I made this time.

Greek-Style Chickpea Salad

Serves 9
2 (15oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped small
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 1 ounce)
1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp minced pitted kalamata olives
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
salt & pepper

Toss the chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, mint, feta, parsley together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl , whisk the lemon juice, olives, mustard, oil and garlic, the pour over the chickpea mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Nutritional information:

Per 1/2 cup serving:
Calories 90; Fat 4g ; Sat Fat 0.5g; Chol 0mg; Carb 11g; Protein 4g; Fiber 3g; Sodium 190mg

Give this a try and let me know what you think of it. I think it's my new favorite quick & easy gluten free salad that doesn't require any lettuce.

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

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Do you use beans and lentils for gluten free baking and cooking?

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This is going to be a pretty quick and short post about beans and lentils. To my surprise, you can actually bake with them. Our first experience is buying some lentil crackers from Bulk Barn's gluten free section. We took a chance with them, and didn't know what to expect. Lets just say we went back and bought 4 more! They had a great crispy texture to them. I topped a few with some goat cheese and really enjoyed a nice after dinner snack. I have also seen these crackers sold at Winners.

Funny enough after trying these, one of our readers shared a pretty interesting resources for beans and lentils. It's the Alberta Pulse Association, and their website has recipe and cooking tips. Not only that, they have a free download specifically for gluten free recipes. Recipes for baking and cooking, from chilis to banana bread. The recipe book talks about the different types of beans, lentils and chickpeas and the health benefits. Beyond recipes, it even has tips of how to use beans in a gluten free diet to spruce up meals.

Click here for the Recipes page or click here to open up the recipe book directly.

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Niagara Falls and the Skylon Tower Rotating Dining Room

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Skylon Tower during the day from our
hotel room.
Visiting Niagara Falls, Amanda and I had to splurge one evening to eat at the Skylon Tower Rotating Dining Room. We knew this was going to be a very expensive meal, but we also knew this was something we had to do at least once for the experience. What better way to experience Niagara Falls than dining 775 feet above the falls at night time watching them being illuminated by the Niagara Parks light show. It was quite the sight.

Mediterranean meal with chicken stacked high.
We called ahead to be sure there were gluten free menu options available for Amanda. We found out there were not that many, however their menu was not large to begin with. What Amanda had that night was the special of the day, a Mediterranean style chicken dinner with broccoli and rice on the side. The chicken was actually two chicken breasts, topped up tomato, green pepper, spices, and feta cheese. They did initially mess up the order. But this was not the type of restaurant to take any chances. They served up a roasted tomato topped with breadcrumbs on Amanda's dish by accident. The plate was immediately removed, apologies were made, and we were 100% certain that a fresh new plate was provided to ensure that there was less risk of contamination from the tomato that was on the plate. Mistakes do happen, but we are happy to see apologies when it happens and corrective actions.

The Mediterranean chicken option is obviously not always on the menu, so we suggest calling ahead to see what the special of the day is because on their regular menu, they really just recommend the steak dinners. Which is great if you want steak for dinner.

The dinner at the Skylon restaurant was certainly worth the $100+ bill. However, I think this was a one time only deal for us.

If you don't believe us that they have a small menu to begin with, check out the Skylon Rotating Dining Room website for their full menu.

View at the beginning of dinner.

View by the end of dinner with the falls fully lit up.

Skylon Tower Rotating Dining Room on Urbanspoon


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Another fantastic Gluten Free friendly Indian Restaurant in Edmonton

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The other day we went out for dinner. It was your basic Saturday night and we didn't feel like cooking. We often keep a running list of restaurants that we've never been to that we'd like to check out. The honest truth though is that more often than not, we forget about this list and go to our ol' favorites. Some may say it's laziness others may say it's simply forgetfulness, but I think of it as comfort and comfort alone.

I am a person of comfort. I am a person of routine and I am a person who is hesistant when trying new things. This being said, every time we go to a new Indian Restaurant for example, I always ensure that I order their Butter Chicken dish. In my opinion, the proof of a good, actually a great restaurant is in their signature dish. While I cannot say with certainty that every Indian restaurant considers their signature dish to be their butter chicken, I do consider butter chicken to be the signature dish of any Indian restaurant. If they can make fantastic butter chicken with just the right seasonings and spice level then I know it's a restaurant worth eating at again.

Our version of the Bistro Tandoori Platter
This time, we were on the ball and we did remember to go check out one of the restaurants on our running list of places to try out. We ended up going to Bistro India Restaurant & Lounge - located at 10203- 116 street Edmonton). The place is nicely decorated and filled with friendly people. We asked our regular questions about gluten free options and while the lady serving us, seemed new and uncertain, she did the right thing and she checked with the chef each and every time we had a question.

Butter Chicken
We ordered the Bistro Tandoori Platter whereby you get to choose 2 vegetarian and 2 non-vegetarian appetizers to create your own platter. We opted for the Panner Tikka Zaffrani (home made indian cheese marinated in a blend of yogurt & spices) and Baby Corn Bazule (Mangalore style baby corn cooked in red garlic, ginger and chili sauce) and Millagu Beef (Slices of beef marinated in Indian peppercorn sauce, grilled on skewers) and Bistro Chicken Tikka (Marinated with Indian spices and yogurt, cooked in a clay oven). We also ordered ol' faithful (see above) Butter chicken with basmati rice.

It was excellent! We ate the entire thing! It was so full of flavor, it had just the right amount of spices and it was definite a restaurant worth checking out again.

Bistro India on Urbanspoon


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Welcome to Gluten Free Edmonton National Blog Posting Month

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For anyone who doesn't know, throughout the blogging community, November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). This means, that for the entire month of November we challenge ourselves to blog every single day for 30 days. This year we at Gluten Free Edmonton will be doing it again. Call us crazy, call us masochists, call us uber over achievers...either way this is our challenge and we accept the challenge once again. Last year was our first time participating in this event and we were successful so here's to NaBloPoMo 2011.

So we welcome you to join us daily throughout the month of November during NaBloPoMo. We welcome your input, your suggestions, your comments and as always your guest posts (hint hint).

Have a great Novemeber everyone and enjoy Gluten Free Edmonton and everything we've experienced.

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

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