Tips for Gluten-free Meal Planning

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I want to thank Andrea Holwegner, BSc, RD from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. in Calgary for this guest blog post.  Andrea Holwegner, the ‘Chocoholic Nutritionist’, is founder and president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. She manages a team of dietitians at her practice in Calgary, is a media expert for the Dietitians of Canada, and is a professional speaker.

A new survey from Udi’s Healthy Foods shows that more than four million Canadians have gone gluten-free, or have reduced gluten in their diets. No wonder so many Albertans are talking about gluten-free!

Let’s say you’ve decided to cut or reduce gluten – either for medical reasons such as celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, or to support a family member. Removing gluten from your diet might sound simple, but it’s found in many foods in trace amounts – and many products can be cross-contaminated with gluten.

Purchasing pre-packaged, gluten-free products is easy. As a start, look for pre-packed food products – by brands such as Udi’s and Glutino – that are clearly marked ‘gluten-free’. The good news is that selection abounds; you’ll find everything from gluten-free bread and rice crackers to gluten-free corn tortillas and chips.

One of the biggest challenges in following a gluten-free diet is preparing your own dishes with gluten-free grains and starches. Here are some convenient, readily available options: potatoes, yams, corn, rice and rice noodles. Also, legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and black beans are nutritious carbs.

Watch out for hidden sources of gluten: soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, soups, licorice, chocolate and deli-meats, and even beer, can contain gluten. Pay close attention to the label. In terms of breakfast, many cereals (hot and cold) are available gluten-free. But watch out for oats! They are often cross-contaminated – unless specified as gluten-free.

You can also get gluten-free pastas and grains – like quinoa, millet, and buckwheat. Love the smell of freshly-baked muffins and cookies? Not to worry, you can get gluten-free flour.  As another tip, if you’re sharing the house with someone who is gluten-free, invest in separate toasters and condiment containers to avoid cross contamination.

Here’s a fun, tasty and convenient gluten-free recipe for you to try. Kids in particular will love it!

Gluten-free Hawaiian Whole Grain Pizza Fingers 

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) gluten-free pizza sauce
  • 4 slices Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) shredded mozzarella cheese 
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) chopped fresh pineapple, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) gluten-free diced ham
  • Olive oil, margarine, or butter to coat pan.


Spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce on one side of a bread slice. Top with half the cheese, pineapple, and ham and place another bread slice on top. Lightly coat a non-stick frying pan with olive oil, margarine, or butter and warm over medium heat. Add the sandwich and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until golden brown, flipping once. Transfer to a plate and make the second sandwich with the remaining ingredients. Slice each sandwich into four “fingers” and serve with the remaining pizza sauce on the side for dipping. Allow sandwiches to cool completely before packing for lunch to prevent sogginess. Makes 2 servings.

The recipe is from fellow Registered Dietitian Stephanie Clairmont, courtesy of

Good luck with gluten-free!

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

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Kinnikinnick, You Make Good Gluten Free Sugar Cookies!

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Our friend RL, ventured off to the Edmonton Kinnikinnick store in Edmonton for some gluten free holiday treats (Christmas and Chanukah - which is over already) and ended up picking up a package of Kinnikinnick's gluten free sugar cookie mix.  She loved them so much, she wrote us a guest blog post.  For those that don't follow our blog often, RL is one of our best friends, that eats gluten free, but is also vegetarian and kosher.  Lucky for her, all of Kinnikinnick's packaged goods are koser.  Here's her review of the gluten free sugar cookie mix by Kinnikinnick

Eating gluten free but still craving mom's holiday sugar cookies?

Good news, kinnikinnik makes a great sugar cookie mix! Add eggs, butter (I used dairy free margarine) and vanilla and you'll have cookies that taste like the real thing. Ice to taste and you'll have cookies that look the real thing too. I've gone through 2 boxes and I'm contemplating making a third. They are just that easy. And as with all kinnikinnik products the mix is soy free, dairy free, nut free and kosher!

Happy holidays!

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

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Transcend Coffee offers up gluten free baked goods!

Updated:  July 14, 2014

This post has been updated.  Transcend use to offer a wide selection of gluten free items as indicated in the original 2011 blog post below.  However they have now changed suppliers and are unable to offer such a wide selection.

Currently, as often as they can Transcend will have some gluten free cookie options and soups that vary.  Please contact the store location before visiting. You can visit their website at:


I have never went to Transcend for coffee or pastries in the past, but I know they are quite the swanky place to go visit to baked goods and a coffee.

Out of the blue I received an email from Transcend's Executive Chef.  Apparently one of our readers told them to contact us about some new gluten free menu options they will be serving.

Here is the low down on what's available gluten free:
  • 2 versions of Pao de queijo, which is a Brazilian cheese bun, one traditional and another with guava baked in
  • Pupusa, both pork and vegetarian
  • Arepa con chicharron using local pork
  • Many daily soups are gluten free as well (be sure to ask)
Also's Transcend's sister company New Level Bakery at the Argyle location does made to order gluten free baguette's and pizza crusts.

So if you are near one of the three Transcend locations in Edmonton, drop by to check out some of their gluten free items.

You can visit their website at:

or follow them on Twitter @TranscendCoffee

Downtown location:
Transcend Coffee (Jasper Avenue) on Urbanspoon

University area location
Transcend Coffee (Garneau) on Urbanspoon

South Argyle location:
Transcend Coffee Off 99th St. on Urbanspoon
Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta


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Gluten Free Lasagna Noodle from Italian Centre

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Last month, Amanda and I found an amazing gluten free lasagna noodle at the Italian Centre with their gluten free products.

The gluten free noodle from Farabella is imported from Italy and made from corn flour.  We find most "authentic" gluten free noodles from Italy are made from corn.  Just an interesting observation.

Previously we've always used Tinkanyada gluten free noodles because we know they hold up well, while cooking, and for left overs the next day.  What I really love about this gluten free noodle (which actually doesn't call itself a lasagna noodle), is that it is such a thin noodle.  Even the wheat noodles are twice as thick as these noodles.

I remember when visit New York (pre Amanda's Celiac), and having lasagna in Little Italy, the noodles for the lasagna being really think and layered really well.  It makes quite the difference in taste because you are not eating all noodle.  When Amanda made used the Farabella noodle the first time, it took me back to that authentic Italian meal we had.  It was so tasty, because you got so much of the sauce, and seasoning, and cheese mixed in throughout the layers.  We've since bought more of course.  But have only seen it at the Italian Centre across the street from West Edmonton Mall.  I can only assume they will keep these in stock, but because it is an imported product from Italy, you never know how long they will keep on bringing the product in.

Nice thinly layered gluten free lasagna
Please enjoy these noodles!

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

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Gluten Free Flour Blend by Robin Hood

Just in case you haven't seen this on the shelves yet, I wanted to let you know that Robin Hood has come out with a gluten free flour blend made from rice flour with sugar beet fibre and potato and tapioca starches.  We haven't tried it yet, because we usually stick with Kinnikinnick's gluten free flour blend.

You can find this gluten free flour blend at all major retailers in Edmonton.  It is always found where the flour's are kept.  But don't worry about cross contamination on the shelves.  They are sealed in a heave plastic resealable bag.  Just give the bag a good wipe down before putting it away on your shelves.

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


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Gluten Free for the Holidays in Edmonton

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So it's December 1st, 2013.  I thought this was a good time to write about some of the gluten free holiday goodies you can get around town this year.

Our family just started celebrating Chanukah.  It is a tradition to eat a jelly donut called Sufganiyah.  Last year was the first time we found someone that was able to make us a gluten free jelly donut.  We have Najah from RioVida to thank for that.  I was just able to sneak in an order just in time because Chanukah crept up on me this year and came early.

Not only is Chanukah on it's way by the Christmas Holiday season has probably hit full gear for many families already.  West Edmonton Mall is already a mess with everyone tracking down the perfect holiday gift and planning out the perfect Christmas meal.  With that being said, we can't talk food without talking gluten free.  So what type of gluten free goodies you pick up around town?

Here are a few things happening:

La Oliva Gluten Free Kitchen

Alisha from La Oliva Gluten Free Kitchen is sure to be busy with their assorted gluten free dessert trays and gluten free buffet menu.

Dessert Tray:
(butter tart pecan squares, shortbread cookies, ginger cookies, blondies, energy cookies e.g.)
Small (Approx.30 pieces)- $45
Large (Approx.50 pieces)- $65

Alisha also has a gluten free buffet benu for $24 a head.  The menu looks really good.

To place an order for a tray or to get more information on the buffet, email or call 780-292-4167. I will be accepting orders until Dec.20th and the last day to pick them up will be Dec.23rd.

La Oliva also has gluten free cooking classes.  The classes are very exclusive, infact the December 8th class had already sold out by the time she emailed me this information.  Contact Alisha about future classes if you are interested.

Gluten-free Christmas baking- Sunday, Dec.8th from 1:00-5:00pm (SOLD OUT)
Gluten-free and vegan Christmas baking- Saturday, Dec 11th from 6:00-9:00pm


Kinnikinnick always has a wide variety of gluten free holiday treats for Christmas at their store.

Festive muffins
Mince tarts
Mince pies
Pumpkin pies
Pumpkin tarts
Assorted chocolates
Peppermint chocolate chip cookie
Gingerbread cookies in assorted shapes
Sugar cookies in assorted shapes
Special cupcakes
Assorted squares individual
Yule logs
Festive bread
Eggnog jelly rolls
Spiced Cherry buns
Lemon Cranberry twist

Kinnikinnick asks to have any special orders for Christmas in by December 13th!


Najah from RioVida will also have a few specials on for the holidays:

  • Cookie dough from $9 per tab makes up to 12 cookies  (chocolate chips , ginger bread for the holidays and short bread ). All cookie dough available vegan by request in 5 days advance 
  • 6 per package cup chocolate with Kahlua chocolate ganache cake $15
  • 6 tiramisu for only $15 
RioVida needs 4 days advance for any order to be fresh or available frozen any time after December 1 to 24

GF Diner
Ted from GF Diner just can't seem to get away from the kitchen!  That's great news that the diner is thriving. But he did manage to sneak away to let me know that they will have some special holiday dessert items in forms of squares, cookies, fruit cake etc., as well as some pies. Ted is also shaping together special events for the week around Christmas with some holiday dinner specials, special desserts and drinks  Follow GF Diner on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Holiday Recipe
What to make something yourself?  Cathy from the Sherwood Park Support Group shared this wonderful Breton Brittle recipe using Breton's new gluten free product line.

Have a favourite holiday recipe to link to?  Let us know and we will update this post.

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

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