Life Learning Mama's Vegan Burger and More


Guest post from Life Learning Mama!:

I’m so excited to be doing a guest blog post for Gluten Free Edmonton! Let me tell you a bit about myself so you know where I’m coming from. Then, we’ll get to the good stuff – modifying a mix to make some delicious gluten-free, soy-free vegan burgers! I’m trying to contain my watering mouth given I just had leftovers for lunch!

But first, hello! I’m Amanda from Life Learning Mama. I’m a celiac (diagnosed at age 30), but to add to that I’m severely allergic to shellfish (discovered at age 11), am mostly vegetarian (very recent), dairy hates me, and just for fun, so does soy. I’ve got 2 amazing children that are learning about food every day. There’s my 6 year old boy who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in April, and is anaphylactic to peanuts (and wears his epipen proudly whoop whoop!). My 4 year old girl, also Celiac, has been gluten free since she was 2, and can’t eat soy. We limit her dairy too.

We’re a fun house. No really, we are. We eat such good food and my kids love to cook and bake up a storm! This morning we had pumpkin pancakes, which they both inhaled while exclaiming between bites “Oh mom. This is so good. I love pumpkin. PUMMMMPPPPPPPPPKKKKIIIIIIIINNNNNNN!!!!”

Anyway, way back in the day I was a mostly-vegetarian for a couple of years (I ate meat at other people’s houses). I ate tons of tofu: ground round went into chili, tacos, and anything else I could dream up; veggie burgers were consumed regardless of looking at the ingredients; if it said vegetarian, I ate it. Of course, this was back before I knew I couldn’t have gluten, so my feeling crummy all the time was two-fold – soy and gluten.

Because I felt so terrible, I started eating meat again figuring that the vegetarian diet was doing nothing for me. I have to say looking back on it, that I would have failed regardless of the gluten and soy. I wasn’t paying attention to nutrient content, protein balancing or anything. I was a really bad vegetarian.

Now that I’m in my 30s, I want to do this right. I know a lot more about food (more than I ever dreamed I would), I actually enjoy food, and I care a lot about making sure my body is in balance. But this brings me to a fairly common dilemma – soy is in so much! Do you know how hard it is to find gluten free veggie burgers? Do you know how much harder it is to find gluten-free, soy-free, vegan veggie burgers? EEP!

So as I do so often now, I skip the premade food and make my own. Sort of. You see, a year ago I was in some random health food store and stumbled across the Go Go Quinoa brand. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love quinoa. I love the texture, the flavour, and the nutrients! It’s just so GOOD for you! But I digress. I found a package of their Burger Mix and decided to pick it up. Then it sat there for so long I almost forgot about it. Thank goodness I cleaned my pantry and stumbled upon it! I remember when I bought it the lady at the counter told me she often added more moisture to it because it could be quite dry, so I decided to do the same. I also didn’t want only quinoa – I wanted more in my burger!

I added:
1 ½ cups of water (you can also use broth)
½ small can of mashed kidney beans
½ cup of diced mushrooms

Add the water to the mix and stir lightly. Let it sit for 5-6 minutes (this lets the grains absorb the moisture and grow) Add the beans and mushrooms and mix together. Form into patties and fry about 5-6 minutes on each side, until toasty.

I was able to make 9 patties from this and given I only eat one burger at a time, I feel like this was a pretty decent investment!

The bonus? All of Go Go Quinoa’s products are gluten-free and vegan, and they’re made in a facility that doesn’t use soy! (Or peanuts, which we need to pay attention to in our house)

While I wouldn’t say that these burgers would win any sort of award, they were delicious. So good in fact that I just had them for leftovers.

Warm up 2 corn tortillas. Cut the burger into strips and put half on each tortilla. Cut an avocado in half and into strips or cubes – divide between the 2 wraps. Top with salsa and eat. Can you say yum?!

It IS possible to be vegan or vegetarian without needing to resort to soy all the time. There are even some cookbooks out there now that cater to the non-soy vegan. Anything is possible, it just means reading the labels.

Hope you enjoyed these 2 recipes! Come and visit me over at Life Learning Mama! I blog mostly about eating, but also about life in general, yoga, and everything in between.

Amanda (Life Learning Mamma)

(Not to be confused with Amanda of Gluten Free Edmonton.  We guess Amanda is a common name for Celiac's that like to blog)

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Shopping Gluten Free at Save on Foods

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One of our readers Cori wanted to share an update about a previous guest post on the Magrath Save-on-Foods and remind us of some of the great over all changes to all Save-on-Foods locations when it comes to gluten free shopping.

Please note that all Save On foods stores have many gluten free products. Most are worked into the aisles and are noted by a shelf talker/tag that will have a scan life QR code near the gluten free product. Scanning that QR tag will give you a complete list of GF items that they carry. (They carry over 100 products and growing!) go to their website for more gluten free info.

They also have a local foods section where u can find many Alberta local foods, Including an awesome selection of BBQ sauces and dressings!

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

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Gluten Free Italian at Pazzo Pazzo in Edmonton's Downtown

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This is a guest post by a reader Vanessa.  What I like about this write up is that it is from someone that does not have Celiac Disease, but wrote in because they were happy be able to take their friend that has Celiac Disease out for Italian.   Vanessa must have come across Gluten Free Edmonton while doing some research.  Thank you Vanessa for the review about the gluten free pasta available at Pazzo Pazzo!

Venassa Writes:

I actually have eaten there quite a bit, I recently brought my friend there (Pazzzo Pazzo) who is celiac. They have gluten free fettuccini, and all the sauces are gluten free. The dressings for the salads are also gluten free. Most of the entrees are gluten free already and we were told that even the chicken parmigiana could be done pan fried without the breading. My friend ended up ordering a mista salad to start and the tenderloin, which came with a side of the gluten free fettuccini. He had the gigi sauce which is a tomato cream. I've always enjoyed the food there, and I was happy I was able to bring my friend out for Italian which can be a pretty restrictive cuisine for anyone with gluten allergies. Hope that was helpful,

Do you you have a review of a restaurant you want to share?  email us at

Pazzo Pazzo on Urbanspoon

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

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Gluten Free Shepherds Pie in 30 minutes

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The other day I had decided that I was going to make a gluten free Shepherds Pie. I searched through a bunch of  my cookbooks and found nothing! Abisaac was convinced that we had a great shepherds pie recipe on the blog here, but after a quick search I realized that we didn't have one. I am certain that we've made shepherds pie before and gluten free none-the-less, but we must have missed blogging about it somehow.

I looked through the various recipes found online and opted to try this one. Thanks Rachael Ray, you always know how to make my taste buds sing!

30 Minute Shepherd's Pie

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray


  • 2 pounds potatoes, such as russet, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or softened cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cream, for a lighter version substitute vegetable or chicke broth
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef or ground lamb
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used Kinnickinick brand gluten free flour blend)
  • 1 cup beef stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, eyeball it (I used Heinz brand, as it's gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, a couple of handfuls
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain potatoes and pour them into a bowl. Combine sour cream, egg yolk and cream. Add the cream mixture into potatoes and mash until potatoes are almost smooth.

While potatoes boil, preheat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to hot pan with beef or lamb. Season meat with salt and pepper. Brown and crumble meat for 3 or 4 minutes. If you are using lamb and the pan is fatty, spoon away some of the drippings. Add chopped carrot and onion to the meat. Cook veggies with meat 5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a second small skillet over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and Worcestershire sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Stir in peas.

Preheat broiler to high. Fill a small rectangular casserole with meat and vegetable mixture. Spoon potatoes over meat evenly. Top potatoes with paprika and broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until potatoes are evenly browned. Top casserole dish with chopped parsley and serve.

This is what ours tuned out like! Yum!
Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta

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It's a Girl!

We don't write often about our personal lives, nor do we often write off topic from gluten free, but we did want to share some exciting news with our readers!

On July 6th at 12:17am we welcomed baby Naomi to our family.  Naomi and Amanda are doing great.  Amanda and I are adjusting to parenthood and loving it and looking forward to all the joys ahead of us.

So look out for some posts, not about parenthood, but changes on managing our kitchen now that we may have more gluten in the house than we usually do.

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


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Gluten Free Cupcakes at Crave Cupcakes on Whyte

We always like to share finds from our readers.  Here is a gluten free cupcake find in Edmonton from:
Photo from
Crave Cupcakes have gluten free chocolate cupcakes! I stopped in there (Gateway Blvd) yesterday around 11am - they had just come out of the oven and were cooling. They only had 5 left (one was already put on hold) so I took the rest and because they weren't iced yet, I got to choose my icing! Right now they're only making a 1/2 dozen a day until they get more demand but it's nice to be able to either walk in and buy one or two cupcakes rather than having to pre-order a dozen when really you only want a taste! I've been a huge fan of Crave since they opened in Calgary many years ago and I'd often make road trips to Calgary just to get some (Nutty Over Chocolate and the Peppy Patty are my faves!) And when I figured out what was making me feeling sick and pain all the time, I was upset to know that I'd never have another Crave cupcake again.... until now!

Click here to read about Crave Cupcakes gluten free selection.

Click here for more info on Crave Cupcakes gluten free cupcakes found in Edmonton, Calgary and Saskatoon.

Have a great gluten free find to share in Edmonton?  Email us at

Crave Cookies & Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

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


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Panago Pizza Adds Gluten Free Crust to Menu

Panago Pizza has added a gluten free crust to its menu.  It should be rolled out now or rolling out soon, and I hope to be trying it soon and sharing more about the pizza itself shortly.  In the meantime, I wanted to share with you some of the facts I dug up while researching their crust.  They currently indicate the gluten free crust on their downloadable menu.  Check out Panago's menu here.

I had contacted Panago a few years back about adding a gluten free crust to their menu.  Their response was that they did not want to add a crust until they found a crust that met their quality of standard.  Well, I guess they finally found the right gluten free crust.  So that is fantastic that there is a chain pizza delivery place thats not Boston Pizza in Edmonton that serves up gluten free pizza crusts.

Okay, so now for some info Panago shared with me through private Facebook messages.

First, they are obviously covering their buts on the gluten free crust and cross contamination as they probably have too since they work in a kitchen that is not strictly gluten free.  Their crust comes from a gluten free facility (they didn't tell me if its their own crust or someone elses crust) so they are confident that the crust is gluten free, but (here is their disclaimer), they do not recommend the crust for Celiac's, because of the working conditions of the kitchen.  Fair enough, I don't think that's going to stop Amanda from eating their gluten free pizza.

I did ask them about procedures to reduce cross contamination and the message in the image above is what they came back with:
  1. Stores have been instructed to use freshly cleaned knives when cutting the gluten free crusts
  2. Each store will be equipped with 2 gluten free specific screens for cooking which will be stored in sealed plastic containers between uses.
Which is two great practices.  Just remember when ordering to remind them!

They also gave me a list of gluten free ingredients.  Here is some of that list

  • BBQ Sauce
  • Cheezy Cheddar Sauce
  • Chipotle Cilantro Sauce
  • Italian Tomato (pizza sauce)
  • Jalapeno White Sauce
  • Passata Sauce
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Salsa Sauce
  • Sweet & Smoky Tropical Sauce
  • Anchovies
  • Bacon
  • Canadian Ham
  • Capicollo
  • Chorizo Sausage
  • Fire Roasted Steak
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Ground Beef
  • Pepperoni
  • Smoked Oysters
  • Spicy Italian Sausage
  • Wild Pink Shrimp
Dips & Dressings
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • BBQ Dip
  • Blue Cheese Dip
  • Cayenne Hot Sauce Dip
  • Cheezy Cheddar Dip
  • Chipotle Cilantro Dip
  • Classic Caesar Dressing
  • Italian Garlic Dip
  • Italian Tomato Dip
  • Jalapeno Ranch Dip
I certainly look forward to trying this out.

Panago (104 Ave/112 St) on Urbanspoon

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


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Gluten Free Wraps and More at Remedy Cafe

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We first wrote about the amazing desserts and snacks available at Remedy Cafe when we visited the University/Old Strathcona location.  We saw there was other gluten free options so when we went to the Remedy Cafe Downtown Edmonton location we tried some of the other options.

On top of the gluten free muffins, squares and cakes Remedy has a wide variety of wraps.  Remedy Cafe has an Indian flare to its food, so you can order wraps from butter chicken, masala to tandori chicken wraps.  They have a wide variety of teas, and shakes with some interesting choices.

When you order the gluten free wraps they give you two for an order because they are smaller.  When Amanda and I went I had an order of gluten free tandori chicken wraps and Amanda had the gluten free butter chicken wrap and we swapped out one each so we could share.  Each wrap is the size of about half of their stand wrap, so it certainly is a lot to eat.  I also wanted a Chai Latte, so I ordered their vanilla chai shake to gow ith my wrap.

When ordering the wraps, also remind them to wipe down the press, and add parchment paper between the wrap and the press.  That will help cut down the chance of cross contamination.

Amanda typically doesn't like chai lattes, but she really enjoyed the shake.  I did too of course, because it just combined yummy vanilla ice cream with the tasty chai.  The wraps of course were great.  It was nice to have a gluten free wrap that didn't just break apart.  I was even to cut them in half to take a picture without having them break.  They had a lot of flavour to them.  Not surprisingly Amanda liked her butter chicken wrap the best (she loves butter chicken), and I liked the Tandori chicken the best.  It was served with a cinnamon dipping sauce which my sweet tooth appreciated and added an extra layer of flavour for me to enjoy.

I will certainly be going back for more.

Remedy (downtown) on Urbanspoon

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

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Did you spot me on You Gotta Eat Here! with John Catucci?

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Host John Catucci
When Amanda and I are in front of the TV, it's not uncommon for us to have some sort of food show on, whether it being a reality show like Hell's Kitchen, a contest show like Chopped or a dining show like Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.

When we caught wind of You Gotta Eat Here!, a Canadian show similar to Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, we got very excited.  We always liked that show to see all the different restaurants and menu creations that they come up with.  Its also a great show to scope out places to eat when travelling the United States.  Finally, a show that will do the same for travelling Canada!  Way to go Food Network Canada!

You Gotta Eat Here visits the small places and big cities across Canada like Peterborough, St. John's, Toronto and yes, even Edmonton!  The shows host John Catucci makes the show fun and enjoyable.  He's a Comedian by trait and seems to have turned to TV Host, and a good one at that too.  You can follow John on Twitter at @JohnCatucci.

Anyways, my real reason for this post is about the show coming to Edmonton.  Back in the dead of winter (Jab-Feb 2012), they came to film a few restaurants around town.  Tres Carneles, one of our favourite gluten free Mexican places in Edmonton invited me down to be on set.  Yes, sorry to burst your bubble on this one, but the people interviewed are hand chosen, but what we said was candid, and my own words.  Mind you, there were tonnes of people at the restaurant but only a few make it to air.

Well, I was super excited to be invited, and happy my employer allowed me to take an extra long lunch to run down to the filming (it helped that Tres Carneles sent me packing with some grub for the office on the way back).  It was a great experience, John Catucci was as nice in real life as he is on the show, and off course if you have been to Tres Carneles, you know the owners are really nice, warm and welcoming as well.  When I was done my interview, I didn't know if I would make it on air, but I did!  Was so excited when I saw myself on Food Network!  I immediately posted this pic of me on Facebook claiming i'm a Food Network star!  Of course I'm not, but i'm allowed to dream.

My interview was about 10 minutes, and I was on screen for about three 5 second sound bites.  Good enough for me.  What was on the cutting room floor was my blurb about how Tres Carneles is gluten free friendly.  They use corn tortillas for their tacos and gluten free filling for all the tacos except for a few that are breaded or have a non gluten free worcestershire sauce.  They have the best taco chips in town accompanied by the best guacamole mix.

Did you miss the episode of You Gotta Eat Here?  Click here to check it out.

Also check out our full review of Tres Carneles here.

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

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A Revist to Lit Wine Bar for Gluten Free Eats

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We had one of our friends Dani guest posted about Lit Italian Wine Bar a long time ago.  We finally got to check it out with a few friends all of which who have Celiac Disease but me and everyone really enjoyed their plates

Beef tenderloin
Lit's experience is really great as it is a tapas style bar with a really delicious menu.  Most of the menu can be made to be gluten free even calamari, which they coat with rice flour.  Amanda had a try of it, and she really doesn't like calamari at all, and surprisingly enjoyed it.  She typically doesn't like the texture that calamari has, but Lit prepared it right.  I wish I had the picture of it, but I can't seem to find the picture we took.

caprese salad
One of our friends Monica ordered the caprese salad with tomatoes, bocconcini cheese and basil and absolutely loved it.  Which didn't surprise us because she eats their a lot.  Our friend Sherri from High on Life and Gluten Free, was also there and blogged about Lit.  She tried the beef tenderloin on mixed greens.  I think her picture turned out better, so check our her review.  She also has a picture of the gluten free calamari.

Amanda and I shared the antipasto dish with chefs choice of cured meets and an assortment of cheeses and olives. It was so good and hard not to devour all at once.

Lit Italian Wine Bar in downtown Edmonton is obviously not the typical place we write about.  A bit higher end than we are used to, but we just had to try it with friends.  A great place to meet up and share some tapas.

You can check out Lit's menu on their website or click here to go directly to their menu.

Lit - Italian Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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

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