Look no further than Dollarama for some gluten free snacks

It didn't surprise me when I noticed some gluten free treats at Dollarama, but what did surprise me was that they actually have some pretty good gluten free options.  The Dollarama I visit the most is in City Centre.  I tend to browse the Dollarama on my lunch break.  Sometimes to pick up a few items like sponges or doggy bags for home, sometimes just to browse and see what type of neat little chachkas they have in store.

During one of my lunches, while walking down the snack aisle, I particular product caught my eye - Pop Corners!  A product that is actually marketing as gluten free.  They sell for $2 at Dollarama.  So I dug a little more, and of course Dollarama carries Lays potato chips.  Many of the Lays flavours I certified gluten free under the Canadian Celiac Association Gluten Free Certification Program.

Then I just decided to browse some ingredients of other snacks like the 'no name' chips Chip Flix and Crunch 'n' Munch which looked safe to me according to the ingredients listings.

So, next time your at a Dollarama, don't count them out for grabbing a quick snack or treat for yourself, and a package of sponges for a dollar to boot!

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


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Tips on Eating Gluten Free at Mediterranean Family Style Restaurants

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Mediterranean food is often served family style.  At a restaurant this can often be risky.  I want to remind everyone to always speak to the waiter, speak to the kitchen staff, and make sure you are comfortable with their understanding of the gluten free diet and where the hidden glutens are.

Remember gluten comes in many forms, and many names.  When eating Mediterranean, the obvious thing to avoid is all the pita breads.  What might not be so obvious is some of the other grains like couscous often served is a bed of grains like rice or bulgar which is found in tabouli salad.

Mediterranean foods are often eaten with pita's to scoop up or wrap the food up in to eat.  Because you are most likely eating family style there is lots of chance of cross contamination between the people you are eating with. Know your body, know your tolerance and know the consequences before you eat at any restaurant, especially a family style restaurant.

We recently had an experiences at Phoenicia in Edmonton's west end.  I typically don't write about some of the riskier places to eat, but I thought we could all learn a thing or two.  The Phoenicia was a pretty risky place to eat.  There was a low understanding of the gluten free diet so there was lots of educating that was happening on the fly.  But all in all it was a really good experience and Amanda was not ill after the meal.

So what precautions did Amanda make?  She spoke with both the waitress and the owner.  Between the two of them, it was figured out what was safe and what was not safe.  This also allowed accommodations to be made for Amanda.  The meat kebabs are typically served covered by pita for presentation.  Phoenicia was able to display the pita on a separate dish.  The salad is also served with crispy pita.  The Phoencia was able to prepare a separate salad for Amanda.  The rest was all about discipline from family members.  Not mixing up serving utensils, not scooping dips with pita etc.

The food was absolutely amazing.  Phoenicia offers a set menus that can feed an army.  We didn't think the food would stop.  This certainly makes up for the higher priced menu than Amanda and I are used to.  But really $30-$45 a person for a minimum of 4 people (we went with family) is great value for what you get.  The meals came with a platter of kebabs, salads to go around, plenty of dips like hummus and baba ganoush.  The seasoning on everything was perfect.  I couldn't get enough of the hummus and Amanda loved the baba ganoush.  She didn't even care that there was no pita for her to dip with.

If you decide to try Phoenicia or an another Mediterranean restaurant, let us know how you handled your experience.

Phoenicia on Urbanspoon

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

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Gluten Free Haggis and Pickled Herring - For My Brother

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September 14th was a hard day. It was Yom Kippur, day of fasting to feel hunger as a reminder to help others in need and to reflect upon the year that marked the end of the Jewish New Year. It also marked the one year anniversary of my brother, Daniel's passing, so we had a lot more to reflect on. I've been waiting for this day, I knew it was going to be hard, and it came by too quickly. I wanted to do something special to commemorate Daniel, so I knew I was going to make haggis. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time already and I knew my brother would have loved it.

I promised myself I wouldn't let the my brothers blog stop.  It took an "a ha" moment almost a year since my brothers passing, but I've started to blog a little bit at my brothers blog Haggis and the Herring.  My first post to Haggis and the Herring was about a Pear, Tahini and Almond cake that can totally be converted to be gluten free.  Check out the post and read what kick started me to write my first couple posts.

It felt good to write two food posts at Haggis and the Herring, and really made me feel comfortable to write a commemorative post about my brother Daniel.

I took a recipe out of Stephanie O'Dea's "Make it Fast, Cook it Slow" cook book and tried the gluten free haggis on page 315.  Both Amanda and I worked hard to make this happen.  It was a hard year.  I hope you read my post "Not Your Usual Haggis" at www.haggisandherring.com

The candle is lit to commemorate Daniel - A Jewish tradition to remember those that have passed on.

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

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Karma"Finn Gluten Free Muffins found at Save on Foods

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This was certainly an interesting sample that was sent to our house by U-Be-Livin-Smart.  I always hold my breath when tasting a bread product.  Only because Amanda and I have come across some awful products that haven't made our blog.  We try to write about what options are our there to eat, not uneatable.

When these arrived, I put them right in the freezer because I knew we were not going to try them right away. The Karma"ffin is gluten-free but also so much more, as it provides a full serving of fruits and vegetables, seven grams of protein, three grams of fiber and no added sugar, salt, additives or preservatives. And it actually tastes good!  The no preservatives is why the ended up in the freezer.  I didn't want them to spoil.

So when it came time to try these guys, I just popped the box out of the freezers and took a gamble with the microwave.  Now like I said above, I always hold my breath because we never know if what we are tasting is going to be dense, flavourless, hard as a rock, or mushy.  Well, thankfully these were not.  You know how often gluten free desserts can be really dense?  Well this was the opposite of dense, it was actually really fluffy like sponge.  I think that might be my only knock to this product, is that it might have been a tad too moist with the sponginess.  But the moistness could have been because it was in the freezer and then plunked in the microwave.  But really, not a lot of people may complain about the texture of these.

Certainly worth checking out at Save-on-Foods some day if you come by them.

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

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What every restaurant should know about going gluten free

I've been wanting to post this infographic that was presented by pizzamarketplace.com, fastcasual.com, qsrweb.com, Burke Fully Cooked Meats and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.  Now, yes this is all American stats, but it is all still quite relevant here in Canada as to why restaurant owners should begin accommodating the gluten free diet.

So from here on in, I am talking to the restaurant owners!  But the gluten free eaters can read on anyways.

You should be accommodating the gluten free diet.  The evidence is apparent that your restaurants can only benefit from it.  In Canada 1 out of every 100 people suffer from Celiac Disease.  But in a recent radio interview with the CBC, the Celiac Association Gluten Free Program said that 33% of people are eating gluten free.  Similar ratios below in this info graphic.

Gluten free food sales are estimated at $4.2 billion dollars.  That is a lot of gluten free food being sold!  People eating gluten free want to eat out too!  Some of those dollars can be towards your restaurant.

What shocked me in this info graphic was the 4% of chefs that answered the set of questions about the gluten free diet incorrectly.  Which is why the last part of this infographic is so important on how to start a gluten free program.  If you are unfamiliar with the gluten free diet, get some assistance from your local Celiac Association and learn more about preparing gluten free meals and where the hidden glutens are found.

Hope you enjoy this infographic, I stare at it every week wondering why!

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


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