Thank you 2014! Hello 2015!

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I have to admit, 2014 was a pretty great year for us as a family and a gluten free blog for those living with Celiac Disease.  Out blog reached a couple mile stones and as a family we grew!

We now have over 600 blog posts about gluten free content in Edmonton including restaurants, products, shopping, travelling and a whole lot more!  Yes I'll admit, some of it may not be quite up to date, but heck, we can't go back and re-write everything. However we do our best to keep up and write new stuff as it come along.

Some of our top posts for the year were:

As usual we were sent plenty of samples, some written about, some posted to our Facebook page and some just didn't make the cut.

We also had some give always including gluten free pasta for a year from Catelli!

So now the big news on a personal note.  Those that know us personally know this already, and some others that have written to us know already too through our gratitude, but our family grew another bundle of joy in October. So you may have noticed a little less action on the Facebook and Twitter front but I am trying to keep it up, and I am still committed to at least one blog post a week.

With that being said, we would not be continuing this gluten free blog if it wasn't for you.  It is you, our readers that make our blog the go to place in Edmonton for all the gluten free information you need.  And for that we are grateful.  With our busy hands with our family, we are also grateful for those that write in guest blog posts.  That helps us so much as we physically can't try out every product, every restaurant, and shop at every store.

So THANK YOU ALL for an AMAZING 2014 and lets move on forward to another great year!

--Abisaac, Amanda and family!

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Loving the gluten free BBQ at Smokehouse BBQ

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Smokehouse BBQ is another excellent BBQ house in Edmonton. I have been there about 4 times now and have had not only excellent good but great service and the atmosphere is really 'southern' and fun.

I've had a couple of different meals now, including Wings (awesome), brisket, ribs, chicken, and pulled pork. The brisket is always my favorite. All the BBQ sauces are gluten free and you can actually purchase them in bottles for home too. They do have a dedicated fryer for GF fries, the coleslaw and beans are also safe to eat. Every time I've been there, the waiter staff have been very knowledgable about what I can/can't eat which is nice to know they've been trained on it. (watch out - the cornbread is NOT GF, however they have always told me that so it's never been a problem).
Last time my husband and I were there for lunch, I had a poutine with gravy (GF!) and pulled pork. I chose to skip the cheese as they only have dairy options and I am allergic. None the less, it was a really good meal!

Gluten free pulled pork poutine
They also offer a Turtle Cheesecake for dessert but this has dairy in it so I chose to skip it.

We both love eating here for dinner with friends as the platters are full of a variety of meats and sides and we've always had a great experience.

I definitely recommend it - just make sure to let your server know of your allergies of course!


Smokehouse BBQ on Urbanspoon

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Nature's Emporium in Toronto (Vaughan, ON)

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During a recent trip to visit family in the Greater Toronto Area we visited a new store called Nature's Emporium that opened up near my parents place in Vaughan.

The store is on Major Mac Dr just East of Jane Street located in what used to be a Price Choppers grovery story, so this is actually a big location.  As you can imagine, Nature's Emporium caters to the health and wellness crowd and offers a variety of products catering to many diets including organic, vegan and gluten free.

My mom often spoke about the place, and kept on telling me I needed to check it out when I came into town so we can pick stuff up for Amanda when we come into town.  She was certain they would have a lot to offer, and they did!

What I love about Nature's Emporium is the labeling on the shelves.  Very big, bold and clear.  They also have gluten free offerings in their fresh food section.  Which is great.  Even though the foods are prepared in the same kitchen as everything else, it was great to see offerings like gluten free crab cakes made fresh and ready to eat!  We went back twice to buy them because they were so good and not expensive.  We bought 3 for around $4 where we bought 2 frozen ones at Co-op here for $10!

gluten free crab cakes that were so tasty

We were so caught up in the crab cakes we didn't
even try these

Great labeling!

Lots of fresh gluten free breads from various bakers

Great signage and lots of selection

Mmm me love gluten free cookies!

Check this out if you are in need of some gluten free shopping during your next trip to Toronto.


Nature's Emporium on Urbanspoon

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Gluten Free Coconut Crusted Salmon with Mango Salsa

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I don't know how many people actually look at grocery store magazines, but you should if you are looking for something different to eat.  Amanda often opens the magazines or reads recipes in flyers, or even sometimes industry magazines like for dairy farmers.  We have found some great recipes in the past.  Most recently Amanda found this Coconut Crusted Salmon with Tropical Salad recipe in a Sobey's magazine.

Amanda modified their recipe to be a Coconut Crusted Salmon with Mango Salsa.


You would think this recipe was very sweet but it was a perfect combination of sweet and savoury between the crust with cumin, salt and pepper mixed in with the coconut and the salsa combined with wine vinegar and salt to cut the sweetness.

Ingredients
  • 4 salmon fillet portions (Approx. 5 oz, 150g each)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin1 mL
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper1 mL
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose gluten free flour15 mL (We use Kinnikinnick)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup medium desiccated unsweetened coconut75 mL
  • 3 tbsp pure 100% olive oil, divided30 mL
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar15 mL
  • 1 tbsp pure honey natural liquid15 mL
  • 1 orange in halved wedges
  • 1 large mango, diced (small)
  • 1 red pepper, diced (small)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/8 tsp both salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF (190ºC). Season salmon with cumin, salt and pepper. Place coconut on a plate. Dust salmon lightly with flour, then brush with egg, and press egg-side down into coconut to create a crust. Do this on both sides to fully encrust the salmon and keep the salmon moist (This was Amanda's modification).

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Sear salmon on both sides (if you put coconut on both sides, otherwise just sear the coconut side) 1 to 2 minutes, until light golden brown. Gently transfer to oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest 3 to 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper. Add mango, pepper, orange and shallot overtop, and mix to coat evenly. To serve, set Salmon on plate and dress part of the salmon with the salsa.  You can also put the salmon ontop of the salsa in order to keep the coconut crust crisp.  Serve with rice.

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Sabor Divino in Downtown Edmonton

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Sabor Divino is known for its fine dining family style Italian experience.  But did you also know that their chef has Celiac?  So they also do accommodate a gluten free diet.

During the summer we went to an invite at Sabor to sample their menu.  You may remember us posting about our visit on twitter and Facebook.

Some of the delicious we sampled that you can try at Sabor Divino are grilled calamari, piri piri prawns, lobster risotto, sable fish, paella and cheese cake in a jar (no crust).

Check out the storify below to see pictures and tweets from the August tasting.




Sabor Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Carl's Jr Let There e Lettuce Wrap

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Want a fast food burger?  Have you tried Carl's Jr. Charbroiled Burgers on Stoney Plain Rd in the west end across from Superstore?


Carl's Jr. burger patties are gluten free and they serve it up in an amazing lettuce wrap.  I would compare the Carl's Jr. burger to a charbroiled Burger King whopper.  We started eating at Carl's Jr. for quick lunches with the family.  So grateful to have this option near by.  Their fries are shared fryer, so please be careful because they do have chicken fingers and onion rings so you may want to avoid the fries.  However, that doesn't hold back Amanda because instead of fries she orders one of their amazing milk shakes.  Yum!  Strawberry is her fav.

Click here to check their nutritional information with their gluten free sensitive information. Note this link is to the American website.

Carl's Jr on Urbanspoon

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Nature's Path Gluten Free Kid Friendly Cereal

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I'm not going to lie, I didn't try these two particular cereals, but we recently came across two new Nature's Path gluten free cereals that we have not seen before.  In the past we have bought Nature's Path EnviroKidz gluten free Koala Krisps, Panda Puffs, but have never seen Jungle Munch and Choco Chimps until recently.

Hope you give these a try!  They will definitely be a hit with the kids.


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GF Diner Opens Retail Store on Edmonton's Whyte Ave

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UPDATED MARCH 28 2017 [GF DINER IS NOW CLOSED] VISIT THEIR WEBSITE FOR FURTHER UPDATES www.gfdiner.com

We wrote recently about some changes coming to GF Diner.  They first announced expansion to their restaurant to meet demands.  They also previewed their retail store.

But as of Friday November 7th, 2014, the GF Diner retail store is now open! Although hours of operation will be limited during the week, that is only to allow the store to be open both Saturday ad Sunday.

Just as a recap of what to expect.  The retail section will be a mix of in-house gluten free products to be bought by customers to take home, such as baking and cooking ingredients, some gluten free mixes, ready to heat gluten free products like lunches and dinners, soups, etc.: Lasagnas, Pizzas, Pizza pockets, chicken fingers, burgers, perogies, pastas, etc.

Gluten free meals will typically change often with staples such as pizzas and lasagna being available at all times. In addition to the these entrée type items, they will have in-house baked goods available, some breads, buns, treats, iced cupcakes cinnamon buns etc.

They will also carry top sellers from other gluten free suppliers like Kinnikinnick Foods, such as their complete soft line, some mixes, cookies. They will also sell Dr. Schaer line of gluten free products.

 

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Barilla Gluten Free Pasta found in Edmonton

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It is tough keeping up with all the gluten free products out there especially when a lot of the top brands are beginning to bring out some of their own gluten free products.  Barilla a popular pasta brand now has gluten free penne.  We tried out for dinner in a meat sauce and it worked our great.  The pasta lasted for leftovers as well.  We certainly recommend this pasta (and yes we took a picture of the French side of the box.  Whoops).  We found the Barilla gluten free pasta at Superstore with all the other pasta.




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

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Moroccan Meatballs with Eggs

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You may be seeing a lot of posts from a new Rachel Ray cookbook we bought.  Not because it is a gluten free cook book, because its NOT.  But because we have found a lot of these recipes are really good.

For a birthday a gave Amanda Rachel Ray's Week in a Day Cookbook.  We haven't really used it for its actual use, which is, take one day, cook all your meals for the week, and finish them off the day of.  But we did take advantage of some of these, cooking them the night prior knowing the meals will hold.

I'm half Moroccan.  I'm not sure if many of you know that about me.  Since my grandmother passed away way over 10 years ago, I haven't eaten much Moroccan food.  Especially now that I am in Edmonton, away from my family in Toronto.  Before my brother Dan passed away, he used to feed me some of the family recipes.  I only got a hold of so many.  Now I have to seek out recipe through aunts and uncles, but they only have some many.

Well, I came across this Moroccan meatball recipe in Rachel Ray's cookbook.  Not nearly as close to what my grandma used to make, but a similar flavour profile that I loved.

Here is the recipe with notes on my modification

Meatballs
1 pound ground lamb or beef (I used beef)
2 slices stale bread processed into bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup of Kinnikinnick's panko style gluten free breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/4 onion chopped (I used the chopper)
2 garlic cloves minched
A small handfull of fresh mint leaves finely chopped
Pinch of ground cinnamon (a common Moroccan spice)
pinch of nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle (EVOO)


Sauce
1 tablespoon EVOO
3/4 medium onion chopped (I used the chopper)
2 garlic cloves minced
1 small zucchini chopped or sliced in an angle (I just chopped)
1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
1 tbsp of honey
1 tbsp ras el hanour (recipe for spice blend below)
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained

4 large eggs (optional for pouching after)



Ras el Hanout (these are all very common Moroccan spices)
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp tumeric
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cardamon
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp clove (we actually didn't use this)

Directions
Pre heat oven to 350 for meatballs

Make meatballs in a large bowl by combining all the meatball ingredients.  Roll into walnut size balls and place on cooling rack ontop of a cookie sheet.  Place in over and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked,

Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a dutch oven, heat the EVOO, and add the onion, garlic, and zucchini.  Cook until onion softens, about 7 to 8 minutes.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, honey and ras el hanout spice blend and bring to a bubble.  Stir in chickpeas.  Remove the cooked meatballs from the oven and add to sauce.  

Now here's the great thing about this Rachel Ray cookbook.  From here.  You can continue on, or if you want to eat this meal later on in the week.  Refrigerate and when you are ready to make, return the meatballs and sauce to room temperature and add 1 cup of water to loosen up the sauce if needed.

To continue on, uncover the pot and make 4 wells in the sauce.  Crack n the eggs to pouch.  Cover the pot and summer to poach the egg to desired readyness.  

Serve into shallow bowls, with one egg per person.  Garnish with cilantro.  We served with rice!  Or if this were my family, get a gluten free baguette from the Kinnikinnick store to dip. 


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Got extra bananas and food allergies in the house?

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Bananas going bad before you have enough time to eat them all is nothing new! It is a problem that has occurred in virtually every household in North America. I try really hard to not over purchase bananas and to find creative and different ways to use them up when we cannot eat them all before they start to get too ripe.

This time, I admit, something happened, I bought a small bunch of bananas and I figured we would eat them all in time, but lo and behold...I was mistaken and left with 5 count them 5 over ripe bananas. Ugh now what? One can only make so much gluten free banana bread before it's just no longer appealing (no pun intended).

Like other before me, I went right to google and typed in "recipes to use up bananas". You can tell from the huge number of hits that came up that this problem plagues so many others out there.  I opted to use the Crunchy Creamy Sweet link and printed off  bunch of yummy looking recipes. 

Since we have in our household both Celiac disease and a nut allergy I chose to give this recipe a try.

Peanut Butter Banana White Chocolate Chip Muffins 
(with my Gluten free modifications
from: www.lovefromtheoven.com

Ingredients:
1 1/5 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 cup Certified Gluten free Oats
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large ripe bananas
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/2 peanut butter (I used Wow butter, nut free butter)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 - 1 cup white chocolate chips (I used chipits brand because they were gluten free friendly and nut free)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375F degrees

In a large bowl combine, flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar and set aside

In a food processor (or blender or mixer) combine yogurt, bananas, melted butter, peanut butter, milk, egg and vanilla until very well blended. Mixture will be fairly thick

Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients, as well as white chocolate chips, and stir well until combined but do not over mix

Scoop into a greased muffin tin & bake for 16-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and/or muffin tops spring back when touched. Enjoy!

**I used Kinnikinnick All purpose Gluten Free flour blend, Only Oats Certified Gluten free Oats, Wow Butter crunchy toasted soy spread and Chipits brand white chocolate chips to ensure that all ingredients in this recipe were both gluten free and nut free for our family. 

Be sure to always check the labels every time you buy a product!

I will add one more comment, the recipe said that it yields 18 standard sized muffins...well I can tell you that mine yielded 12 standard muffins and 24 mini muffins. Recipe says that they freeze well and make for a great breakfast or quick snack. I guess that is based on if they last in your house or it they're eaten up right away.

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Gluten Free Crackers by Food Should Taste Good, and a Dip Recipe!

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Haven't heard of Food Should Taste Good? Then you probably don't have coffee at Starbucks or shop at Costco.  We first saw their gluten free tortilla chips at Starbucks in snack size bags a few years ago.  Loved them.  We would buy their sweet potato chip.  Soon after we saw the multi grain chip being sold at Costco.  So of course, now we always have a good of that in our pantry because it is a good party chip.
More recently we saw a gluten free brown rice cracker by them at Costco.  At first glance I thought "Oh this is just going to be the chip shaped differently". But we bought it anyways, because, it's not like we've experienced a bad chip by them.

So I was totally wrong, it is not like the chip.  Really a different texture, and as it should, it was less tortilla, and more cracker texture.  The other thing to note, was that at first when you are snacking on these you may think "oh, these need a little more salt", but the as you aimlessly shovel them into your mouth, you realize that they are perfectly salted, as the salt hits after the first few chips.

So, I have a snack idea for these crackers, or any cracker.  In August we went to the Happy Acres U Pick Farm (which BTW, was a fantastic experience).  We had Naomi do a little picking, and she snagged some dill and green onion.  Go figure she didn't go for the berries.  None-the-less we had some herbs to buy and I thought to make a dip and spread that I would make when I was a bachelor.  

Ingredients:
1 part feta cheese
2 parts cream cheese
dill to taste
garlic to taste (I used green onion instead since that is what Naomi picked)

Put in a bowl and mash.  Add more feta to make it more salty, or add more cream cheese to make it more of a dip.  I had never made it with fresh dill before, and I think its going to be the only way I make it.  I also liked the green onion over the garlic. 



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La Crema Caffe Revisted, Revised, and Rejoiced

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This is our third La Crema Caffe post, because they just keep on changing things up and getting better and better.

First, just as a reminder, La Crema Caffe is a Italian style cafe in St. Albert located downtown right in the heart of where the Farmer's Market takes place. (We visited in August)

We've heard rumours that ownership has changed, I couldn't confirm that, but if it did I wouldn't say it has affected the gluten free menu at La Crema.  Infact, the menu got bigger since we last visited, adding more gluten free sandwiches, gluten free pizza's and of course, more treats like gluten free tiramisu.

So what did we try this time?  Well, first take a look at the menu and the notes of gluten free all over it!


After some strategic choices to ensure we get a little bit of everything, Amanda and I shared a gluten free pulled pork pizza and a gluten free Bravo deli sandwiches.  


The gluten free pizza, used what seemed to be Kinnikinnick's single crust, and was topped with a very tasty pulled pork, chopped onion, pineapples, BBQ sauce and a delicious honey mustard sauce.  And, YES it was good!

The Bravo sandwich used what seemed to be a gluten free Udi's bagel. It was served with grilled chicken, bacon, tomato, friulano cheese and their secret bravo sauce.  We also had a side Cesar salad with no croutons.  Once again very tasty, and nothing was wasted!


La Crema Caffe on Urbanspoon

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Looking for some early Halloween Fun in Edmonton?

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I was contacted by the Alberta Diabetes Foundation about their fall fundraiser and it's connection to Celiac Disease.  I asked them to write a guest blog post.  I hope you support this great cause often associated to Celiac Disease.

I have been invited to write a guest post on this amazing blog. I’d like to start first by inviting you all to  register for and enjoy the Alberta Diabetes Foundation Halloween Howl Run and Walk on October 25, 2014.

You might ask why I was invited to promote a diabetes charity on this blog. An earlier blog entry highlighted the increased incidence of Celiac Disease in Type 1 diabetics as they are both autoimmune diseases. My now almost 17 year old son was very quickly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 14 months old, but it took over 6 months for him to be diagnosed with Celiac Disease at age 2, notwithstanding his malnourished appearance and a couple of visits to a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Back then, we thanked our lucky stars for Kinnickkinnick. Nowadays, the breadth and depth of gluten free choices (as are so excellently highlighted by Gluten Free Edmonton) is staggering!

The Halloween Howl includes a 3 and 5 km fun run/walk and a 10km competitive (chipped run).  It starts at the U of A Butterdome and winds its way through Edmonton’s beautiful River Valley.

Costumes are strongly encouraged. We are very proud of our post race “eats”. What makes us unique is that we always ensure that we have a gluten free food table! We have been very lucky to have GF choices from Panago and Kinnickkinnick at our event in the past as well as additional fruit, milk and yogurt choices!

If you are interested in attending this fun event, you can register (individually or as a team) for the race in Edmonton at www.albertadiabetesfoundation.com.  Or click here to go directly to the registration form.

You can also click here to register for the race in Calgary.

Either way, you’ll have a “howl” of a good time.

Gillian Clarke

Halloween Howl Chair

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Kinnikinnick's Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

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I can't believe it took them so long, but Kinnikinnick has finally come out with their own gluten free cinnamon raisin bread.  Certainly to compete against Udi's version which has been the raisin bread of choice up until now.

I recently used it to make up some french toast, which I think is the tastiest way to eat raisin bread.  It certainly lives up to Udi's version and I couldn't tell the difference.

Check out the yummy French Toast I made with the Kinnikinnick raisin bread. Let me know if you need a French toast recipe, I will be happy to post the America's Test Kitchen recipe I used!


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Ben's Meats on Stoney Plain Rd in West Edmonton

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If you haven't been to Ben's Meats yet, you will after this post.  So what's so special about a butcher shop?  Well to start, the owner Dave has Celiac Disease, so he turned his shop into a gluten free friendly heaven of a butcher shop.  This family owned and operated butcher shop has been around since 1953, and the family has been running the butcher shop three generations already.  You can read the history of Ben's Meats on their website.

So lets get to the good stuff.

Below is TWO deep fryers that Dave setup.  Why two?  He wanted a dedicated gluten free fryer so he can serve up gluten free french fries, spring rolls and much much more goodies.


All of these eats are gluten free.  That is basically the whole fridge.


It gets better, freezer full of gluten free goodies from place like La Crema, Udi's ad Gluten Free Lacombe!


Here is bread he has for sale from the Totally Gluten Free Bakery in Lacombe.


And some pizza's


And he send out the pizza crusts to get turned into gluten free pot pies


So what are you waiting for?  BTW, Dave is a really nice guy, and he'll walk you around the shop to show you all their gluten free stuff!

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Living Gluten Free with Diabetes too

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I cannot explain why, but I have been asked multiple times as of late, how best to manage both Celiac disease and Diabetes at the same time. Now the most important piece of information I can provide is that I am not a doctor and I am not able to share medically sound advice. I can only tell you about my own personal experiences and opinions.

I myself have been a Type 1 insulin dependent diabetic for 24 years now (crazy I know). I was  more recently diagnosed with Celiac disease after way too many years of not knowing why my iron was so dangerously low and why I felt sick with every item of food I ingested. While I was very thankful to have finally found out what was wrong and how to fix this feeling of constant exhaustion and nausea I experienced, I was struck by the oddity of having now been diagnosed with two separate autoimmune problems. What are the chances? Why me? Don’t I already have to deal with enough medical junk? I recall asking all of those questions and more and never being given an answer. This was likely because there is no real answer available. I also remember my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) telling me that he was not surprised to hear that I had Celiac disease because “autoimmune problems tend to travel in groups” meaning that for whatever reason it is quite common for those who have one autoimmune issue to also have other autoimmune issues.


Well….that doesn't sound very good now, does it? I didn't think so either. The only thing that I did, that I can pass on to others who are dealing with multiple autoimmune diagnoses, was to try and remember that I somehow managed to figure out how to deal with and live with diabetes, so I can do this too!

Now the “how to live with and manage Diabetes and Celiac Disease” question, as particular illnesses, unrelated to any others that people may have….I don’t have any quick fixes, solutions or magical information to share. My only recommendations are to take things one day at a time, figure out what works for you as an individual, and be prepared for good days along with bad/rough days because they are never always in one category or the other. Be prepared for unwanted suggestions, advice and ideas from those who may have good intentions, but truly have no clue what it is like to live in your shoes. And most importantly don’t be too hard on yourself, but be sure to always take of your own health. No one else can do that for you and that’s just the way it is. You are your own best advocate and if you have questions, be sure to ask them because how else can you ever possibly be expected to learn if you don’t ask the questions.

I am by no means an expert in diabetes management, but I feel confident in my own management of Type 1 Diabetes. Management of Type 2 Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes is a whole other story that I truly have no personal experience with. However I do believe that some similar principals apply: making healthy food choices, checking your blood sugars as directed by your medical team and asking questions as they come up. Now, adding in Celiac disease along with any type of diabetes can make food choices more challenging because in order to make gluten free foods taste more like “regular” foods the companies often have to add additional fats, sugars and starch laden ingredients to their products. It is important to remember that these ingredients will inevitably increase the carbohydrate (carb) count on any food, which may make you think twice about eating them. Or maybe you will choose to continue eating them anyways. It’s up to you. Your diabetes may vary. I think it is important to remember that with any dietary change for any possible reason it is just that….a change and it needs to be recognized as such. Change is hard for everyone and change involves choices and contemplation and challenging oneself to figure out the “new normal” for them.

I don’t remember who said this, but I want to quote it anyways because I like it and think it’s applicable to this post. This quote speaks volumes to me in relation to the changes involved in any new diagnosis, but in my experience in relation to the addition of Celiac disease on top of long standing Type 1 Diabetes management. 

“Anything great never came without effort, patience and time. If it did, you wouldn't remember to appreciate where it came from or what went into its creation”.

All the very best to everyone and keep asking questions, they’re all important.

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GF Diner just got Bigger and Better!

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GF Diner on 82 ave. really just stepped it up a notch when it comes to their diner experience.  During the summer they were going through some hefty reno's to really enhance the diner experience.

So what changed?  What got bigger and better?  GF Diner doubled their seating area allowing more diners to enjoy their all gluten free menu at a time.

They are are updating their menu and will have new menu items offerings on an ongoing basis.  Be sure to check the GF Diner website, Twitter and Facebook account for daily and weekly specials.

GF Diner also now offers beer, wine and ciders now, as they got their liquor license.

But wait their is more!

They have a retail store area!  The retail section will be a mix of in-house gluten free products to be bought by customers to take home, such as baking and cooking ingredients, some gluten free mixes, ready to heat gluten free products like lunches and dinners, soups, etc.: Lasagnas, Pizzas, Pizza pockets, chicken fingers, burgers, perogies, pastas, etc. 

Gluten free meals will typically change often with staples such as pizzas and lasagna being available at all times. In addition to the these entrée type items, they will have in-house baked goods available, some breads, buns, treats, iced cupcakes cinnamon buns etc.

They will also carry top sellers from other gluten free suppliers like Kinnikinnick Foods, such as their complete soft line, some mixes, cookies. They will also sell Dr. Schaer line of gluten free products.
Not done yet, because GF Diner really wants you to stay, have a drink and have a good time!  Some activities, they are planning on a regular basis are:
  • Special reservation only dinners
    • Pizza and beer night , most likely every Friday evening
    • Perogies and Pasta nights
    • Pub night with Fish and Chips
    • Featured Country dishes
  • Nightcap concert series is once a month, typically on a Thursday night with a special meal item, these evenings will always feature a concert by professional music artists in a listening venue and a meal with desert, just like our last one.
  • Classical Concert Coffee time once a month on Sunday afternoons between 2-4, with professional musicians perform a concert.  Specialty cakes and tortes, like Sacher tortes, seasonal tortes, mocha tortes, black forest cakes etc. to be served as well.

Be sure to check their website for all of these great events.




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For my brother Dan - My Gluten Free Beef Wellington Experience

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Today mark's the second anniversary of my brother's sudden passing.  The only way I can think of continuing honouring him is to try and love cooking half as much as he did.  Last year in honour of his Haggis and Herring blog I made Haggis and Herring.  This year, I decided to take on a Beef Wellington.

Dan, I miss you with all my heart!


The idea of a Beef Wellington all started with the release of Pillsbury's gluten free pastry dough.  The first thing that came to my head wasn't pie (because I'm not a baker), but Beef Wellington!  Why Beef Wellington?  Because Chef Gordon Ramsay has it as a staple on the Hell's Kitchen menu.  What a great challenge.  Try and make a Beef Wellington good enough that Gordon Ramsay won't be screaming at you telling you its RAW and throwing it down like it's garbage.

So task #1.  Find a recipe.  I opened up my Food Network App, search wellington, and spotted a recipe that looked good to me by Tyler Florence (recipe shared below).

Task #2, search out the ingredients.  The only unique ingredients was the tenderloin cut (filet mignon) and procuitto (yes the tenderloin was wrapped in yummyness).

Knowing that I needed to do this right and go to a butcher, I went to Ben's Meat for the tenderloin.  I knew the meat was going to be expensive for 3lbs, and $60 later I was about to work with the most expensive cut of meat I have ever worked with.  And to be honest, that was a good price for that meat.

task #4 tackle this bad boy of a recipe.  I spent the better part of a morning prepping the meat and the insides of the wellington.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy, so I even called in reinforcements when it came to working with the gluten free pastry.

So what was the end results?  A slight mess!  It actually tasted amazing, and the meat was perfect.  But there are two things I didn't do well that could have made this dish perfect.

As you can see the crust kind of fell apart
First thing, I didn't roll the tenderloin tight enough.  I found it a challenge to wrap the tenderloin with the prosciutto and mushroom stuffing really right with the seran wrap.  I knew it wasn't perfectly tight, but I thought it was pretty good.  If you try this recipe, make sure you wrap it really tight.  There should be no give so when you put the tenderloin in the fridge, it will do a better job at holding its shape before wrapping it with the pastry.

Second thing I messed up on, was cutting the vents in the pastry.  I could not have wrapped this damn thing, without the help of my pastry loving mother'n'law.  I just had no idea what I was doing.  We then cut the vents, but I think we needed to cut the vents deeper, or cut more of them.  This particular recipe had a mushroom stuffing and mushroom contains lots of water.  So, although the top stayed crispy (and damn that Pillsbury makes a good gluten free pastry crust), the bottom got really soggy because the moisture couldn't escape to well.

So here is the recipe:

The Ultimate Beef Wellington - From Tyler Florence

For the Duxelles:
  • 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white  button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.


For the Beef:
  • 1 (3-pound) center cut  beef tenderloin ( filet mignon), trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons  Dijon mustard
  • Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
  • 1 pound  puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
  • 2 large  eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse  sea salt
  • Minced  chives, for garnish
  • Green Peppercorn Sauce, recipe follows
  • Roasted  Fingerling Potatoes
  • Warm Wilted Winter Greens, recipe follows

To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil - about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic.  Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef - saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.



Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife - this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, and Warm Wilted Winter Greens.



Green Peppercorn Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh  thyme, leaves only
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 box  beef stock
  • 2 cups  cream
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup green  peppercorns in  brine, drained, brine reserved
Add olive oil to pan after removing beef. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and place a baking sheet inside to heat.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh  Herbs and Garlic:
  • 2 pints fingerling potatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus for  sheet pan
  • Salt and pepper
Add potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic to a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Remove sheet pan from oven, lightly coat with olive oil, and pour potatoes onto pan. Place potatoes in oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees F. Roast for 20 minutes, or until crispy on outside and tender on inside.

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The Essential Baking Company - Gluten Free Bread

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Amanda and I noticed a new gluten free bread at Costco, but never picked it up.  That didn't stop one of readers to try it and send in her review of the product.  Check out Neva's review of The Essential Baking Company gluten free bread found at Costco.

I found a new gluten free bread made by "The Essential Baking Company" at Costco, 50 Street location, last week and it is absolutely the best bread I have tasted since being diagnosed Celiac. This bread remains soft even after bring toasted or grilled. One would never believe it is gluten free! It sort of reminds me of the Silver Hills Squirrelly bread I used to eat prior to being diagnosed. I highly recommend if you enjoy a bread with sunflower seeds and flax, plus a huge benefit is the 5 grams of fiber each slice provides.  The cost is $8.99 for a 2 loaf package. In my opinion, the competition is going to have to step up, alot, to beat this excellent gluten free bread.


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Great Sweets and Savoury Treats! (gluten free of course)

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Amanda and I contributed this article to the Celiac Circular.  Become a member of the Canadian Celiac Association Edmonton Chapter to receive all the great Celiac and gluten free related articles in their newsletter.

There is never a shortage of new products to try out thankfully, but finding room in your tummy is another question.  Luckily I am always posting great finds to the Gluten Free Edmonton Facebook Page and our Gluten Free Edmonton blog so it sometimes makes it easy to go back and find what to write for the product report.

This month we found some great sweets and savoury treats, some are new and some have been around awhile.

Gluten Free Post Cocoa & Fruity Pebbles - Okay let's be honest, this is not exactly new, but it is still fairly new to Canada.  The kids love it, and so do many adults as well and they make awesome squares (think rice krispie square but a bit different) Yum.  Not to mention, we found it at Dollarama for two dollars!  In the past we have found it selling for $4 per box.

Club House Brown Gravy - Approved by the Canadian Celiac Association Gluten Free Certification Program, we tried this gravy with fries and it was so delicious, you wouldn't even know it as gluten free.  Be sure to look at the packaging because not all of the Club House gravies are gluten free.  You can find these gravies at most supermarkets.
All But Gluten Chocolate Sandwich  - Who didn't like these growing up? We won't plug the popular brand name, but we all know what these really are and they also taste really good.  Can you tell we had a sweet tooth this month? You can find All But Gluten products at Superstore and Wal-Mart

RioVida's Perogies, Cheese Balls & Donuts - Najah, owner of RioVida is often too kind.  If you've been to the RioVida Bakery in the west end, you know what I'm really talking about.  She is always happy to offer up some samples to try before buying her home made delicious creations.  Try the perogies, donuts and Brazillian cheese balls just to start.  Heck try everything!

Catelli's Gluten Free Macaroni - Catelli's gluten free line of pasta is not new, but they recently introduced a new gluten free macaroni.  We have enjoyed their pasta.  It is a corn/rice mix and typically holds pretty well leaving you with a great non-mushy pasta to enjoy.

Explore Asia- Gluten free Organic Black bean spaghetti-  This product is found at Costco stores. We have not yet tried it but the packaging claimed to be super high in protein, gluten free, soy free  and vegan friendly.

Judy G's Gluten Free frozen pizzas (various flavors) -These product can be found at many Sobeys  & Coop stores throughout Alberta.  Awhile back we had the opportunity to meet Judy herself. Her pizza's are excellent and very easy to make. She had told us that she started out making them in her own kitchen in Calgary, so they are essentially a locally made product (well local to Alberta).

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Famoso's Gluten Free Stone Oven Pizza

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

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



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


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

  Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (West Edmonton Mall) on Urbanspoon

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