Why should I use gluten free cosmetics, shampoos and creams

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So this is not actually a topic we talk about much on our blog.  But it is relevant and a personal choice for some people to only use gluten free cosmetics and lotions.

So why would someone choose to do this?

Well, I know it sounds silly but there can be accidental consumption.  If cross contamination in a deep fryer would cause harm, is it fair to say that lipstick containing gluten could accidentally be digested?  Or eating a finger food after using a lotion that contains gluten?

In my opinion, it really isn't a far stretch.

After starting the Gluten Free Edmonton Support group on Facebook, it didn't take long for someone to ask this?

And guess what?  people really responded with what they use, because if you were thinking about gluten free shampoos, so were others!  And those others are there to support you.

So check out this Facebook Group post and see what others had to say.

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Gluten Free Christmas Holiday Treats in Edmonton 2018

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I think I made good use of the newly created Gluten Free Edmonton Support Group this week!  It turned out to be a great tool to source some information for this post!

I put the question out there, what gluten free holiday treats for Christmas can you find this year?...  and the messages started flowing in!

Click here to see all the amazing gluten free holiday treats shared by group members.  You will need to log into Facebook and join the group to contribute and see additional items.

With that being said!  Here is a start of what people listed off!
  • Gluten free walkers shortbread @Walmart
  • Gluten free gingerbread kits @Kinnikinnick Fresh
  • Gluten Free mi-del ginger snaps @walmart
  • Gluten free chocolate yule log @Kinnikinnick Fresh
  • Gluten free candy cane mi-del sandwich cookie @Sobey's Ellerslie
  • Assorted gluten free cookies @Food in the nud
  • Gluten free festive sugar cookie bar @Celebrate, gluten free
  • Gluten free sugar cookie mix @Kinnikinnick Fresh
Check out more as people add by joining the group and clicking the image above.
Gluten Free Edmonton Support Group
Public group · 199 members
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A place where the Celiac/Gluten Free Community in Edmonton can support each other.

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Gluten Free Edmonton Support Group on Facebook

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Recently, I have been thinking about what's next with Gluten Free Edmonton?  I have been doing this for 8 years already.

What can I do next to get people engaged?

I'm already on Facebook, Twitter and more recently trying to grow an Instagram following.

I would love to get on YouTube, do shopping tours, demo products etc.  But really, I have a full time job already leading a national healthcare organizations digital experience.  I just don't have the time, because after work, I love spending time with my family.

So now what?  How do I grow our community?  Which got me thinking.  I know Facebook is not for everyone, but it is still THE place for community.  More so than Twitter and Instagram.  The Facebook Group features are amazing for connecting others.

I notice more and more people posting questions on our Gluten Free Edmonton Facebook page.  Unfortunately, Facebook doesn't care for that, so it doesn't highlight other peoples posts unless I share it, because at the end of the day Facebook really just wants ad dollars to boost a post shared by a Page.

Which brings us to groups!  A place where everyone can post and be heard.  A place where each person can set their notifications and not miss a thing.  A place to share with a us an amazing gluten free product they found, or ask a question about where to find a product.  A place where we can can interact with everyone in different ways.  I place where we can just simply help someone in our community that just needs a helping hand.

There are so many awesome things that can be done with a Facebook Group.  I'm just starting with the basics and will see where it goes.

So come on in!  Join the new Gluten Free Edmonton Support Group on Facebook!
Gluten Free Edmonton Support Group
Public group · 126 members
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A place where the Celiac/Gluten Free Community in Edmonton can support each other.

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Gluten Free Shredded BBQ Beef

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It took us a while to try this recipe.  We usually make pulled pork, or a shredded BBQ chicken.  But never a shredded beef.  But the recipe from America's Test Kitchen turned out to be delicious.  We froze leftovers in two packages (it made a lot!)

The recipe is a slow cooker recipe, that could probably be adapted to for the instant pot.  There is a lot of prep for this recipe.  So if you are going to run the slow cooker during the day while at work, I suggest doing some of the prep the night before.


4 oz bacon (about for slices), chopped small
2 onions (medium)
2 tbsp chili powder (optional)  It should give it some tang
1 tbsp paprika
1.5 cups ketchip
1.5 cups coffee
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp mustard
5lbs outside round roast / boneless beef chuck trimmed and quartered
1 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
1 tbsp cider vinegar


  1.  Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Add onions, chili powder, paprika, and cook until onions are softened. (8 to 10 minutes)
  2. Stir in ketchup, coffee, brown sugar, and 1 tbsp of mustard.  Simmer until thickened and measures about 4 cups.  Transfer 2 cups of mixture to slow cooker and keep reserve for later.
  3. Season beef with salt and pepper and nestle in slow cooker.  Cover and cook in slow cooker for 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.
  4. When beef is tender, transfer beef to a large bowl and shred into bite size pieces.
  5. Let sauce settle for 5 minutes and skim fat from top and strain
  6. Simmer sauce for 20 to 30 minutes until reduced to 1 cup.  Whisk in reserved mixture, with hot sauce, cider vinegar, and 1 tbsp of mustard.  Simmer for a few minutes and add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Toss shredded beef with 1.5 cups of sauce and keep remaining for serving and keeping the beef moist.
Sauce notes

I skimmed fat, but didn't strain.  I kept the bacon pieces in.

When I reduced the sauce, I added the mixture then reduced.  I just didn't reduce to one cup.  I just let it go for 20 minutes.

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Panago Pizza's Gluten Free Menu

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I am going to start off by saying, Yes, I agree, pizza places are a disaster for cross contamination.  So like any other pizza place, even though they serve a gluten free pizza, they are unable to guarantee no cross contamination.  This is true for any restaurant that is not 100% gluten free.

With that being said, we wanted some pizza and so we went to Panago Pizza.  They do a good job at keeping their menu up to date with the latest allergen info.  They break it down for their recipe specials, their sides and their individual toppings.

The other day we tried the gluten free pork carnita pizza!  I liked it, it wasn't Amanda's favorite.  She still likes the bacon cheeseburger pizza the best.

I thought it was refreshingly different with a nice pulled pork topping along with lettuce, tomato, and cheese.  I will admit, there could have been more meat on it.  I love that it was loaded with lettuce, and tomato and cheese though.

Next time we will either go back to her favorite gluten free bacon cheeseburger pizza or try the gluten free BBQ chicken.

Panago Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gluten Free Catering Tip - Let's Talk Cross Contamination

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This is one of those posts I really wish I didn't have to do but I will.  I'm also keeping the venue name private right now because they handled everything correctly once informed.

So I didn't get the best picture of this, but in the photo below is a tray from a breakfast setup for a meeting I was attending.  The Turkey Sausage and Bacon was labelled gluten free, however and unfortunately, (and I have seen this done a lot), the sausage and bacon were put on top of slices of bread to absorb the grease instead of just using a wrack. 

Why they do this?  I am really not sure.  It can't be that expensive to just have racks that insert into the trays to lift up from the grease instead of laying in grease soaked bread.

This is not just a lesson for caterers, but a lesson for everyone that requires a gluten free diet.

For the caterers, pay attention to your process and cross contamination when you label.  If something is gluten free, but may be crossed with a shared fryer, or something like this.  Indicate it.  In this case,  noticed it before anyone that required gluten free ate it, and it was corrected and a fresh batch was offered up.  The staff were thankfully receptive, but I imagine they may not always be.

For those the customers, always talk to the wait staff, ask questions!  This is your health.  You are always eating at restaurants with caution, and eating at catered meetings at conference centers or hotels is still the same.  If the staff can't answer you, or you did not get the answers you need ask to speak with the catering or banquet manager.  Get the answers you need so you can make a good decision if the food is safe for you.

Lastly, for everyone.  Be respectful. 

Lets be respectful and understanding that not everyone understands are concerns, so lets continue to educate everyone thoughtfully and respectfully.  Lets ask the staff questions, lets listen to what they have to say and talk about it.

Lets be respectful to everyone dietary needs.  For the most part, this probably seems like an inconvenience.  Lets ask the customers about their needs, lets listen to why it is important and lets talk about it.

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Cactus Club Update on Gluten Free 2018

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We recently went on a date night to the Cactus Club at West Edmonton Mall.  Amanda has been several times with friends, but it has been a while since we went together.

Cactus Club is actually one of the first places we went to after Amanda's diagnosis of Celiac Disease.  Although the menu has changed, their ability to deliver tasty gluten free food has not.

They do have a separate gluten free menu if you ask.  They indicate what menu items are gluten free, and what the modifications are from their standard menu.  Check out their life style choices menu online which include, gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options items separated out.

What we tried this time was so delicious.  One of the newer trends are Poke Bowls.  Which is  basically deconstructed sushi/sushi in a bowl.

There is only one sauce omitted and crispy tempura from the Poke Bowl.  It is beautifully arranged with tuna, edamame, mango, avocado, cucumber, radish, lettuce and rice.  Not to mention deliciously seasoned!

Cactus Club Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gluten Free Sweet Potato Bread Anyone?

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Okay lets be honest here.

I really wouldn't call this sweet potato bread.

Just like this isn't a steak!  No matter how you cut it and season it.

Image result for cauliflower steak


You know what?  This sweet potato bread thing works!  I just wouldn't call it bread.  It makes a great gluten free sweet substitute for bread.

All we did was slice the sweet potato and toast it!  You usually have to run it twice in the toaster to get it cooked.  Don't over do the sweet potato or it will just get too soft. It should be a little el dante so it has has some bite to it instead of being mush.  You should be able to pick it up if you want, or use a knife to cut it.

We have only tried it for breakfast.  "Made" the sweet potato slices, then added a fried egg, cheese and a slice of meet and put in the toaster oven for bake and melt the cheese.

It tastes delicious, I think it is because of the nice sweet taste of the potato. So thank you to whomever thought of this!  BUT, I wouldn't call it bread.


1 Sweet potato
2-4 eggs
2-4 slices of cheese
2-4 meet slices (ham, turkey etc.)


Slice the sweet potato into flats about a quarter inch thick.  You should be able to get 3-5 slices out of one potato

Place in toaster/toaster oven/oven.  If you use a toaster or toaster oven, you will probably have to run it twice.

While the potato is going, quickly fry up the eggs.

When potato is to desired softness (don't let it turn to mush), layer on a baking sheet sweet potato, cheese, egg and meat.  Put in oven/toaster oven and heat up to melt cheese for 2-3 minutes.


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Will that be one aisle or two? Shopping gluten free at Save-on-Foods

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We often go downtown on a Sunday for gluten free pizza at Love Pizza.  Basically because kids eat for free on Sundays!

We often meet family there and then end up strolling across the parking lot at Save on Foods.  Walking into the downtown Save-on-Foods, Amanda pointed out the gluten free sign you see below:

I've posed this question before... how do you shop gluten free?  Do you prefer to shop down 1-2 aisles or stroll through all of the aisles?

The way Save on Foods has it setup is pretty cool.  They get a lot of gluten free products in the two aisles! 


  • Easy to find the gluten free products you love
  • Possibly lower your shopping time.


  • You may feel obliged to purchase a gluten free product vs. a product you usually by but is just not labelled gluten free
  • You don't get to compare all the options for that food category, because for example the sauces have been separated out, but all VH sauces are gluten free, but none were on these aisles.

So what is your preference? and why? 

While you think about it, check out all these photos and how much they pack into these two aisles.

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Sweet Pea Cafe & Playhouse - Vegan with gluten free options

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Okay, so I know it is kind of weird to say this, but gluten free and vegan often get mixed up.  I'm not sure why gluten free is always associated with vegan, but it is.

I don't mean to add to the confusion but a new vegan cafe has opened up in Edmonton;s Laurier Heights west end called Sweet Pea Cafe & Playhouse.  The vegan cafe happens to have some gluten free options as well.

I went to a private party there for a friends birthday.  This used to be a Wild Earth Cafe, I was told it is still the same ownership, but with a couple new owners backing the concept, including Canadian skater and former Olympian Jamie Sale.

The food served at the party was delicious.  They served meatless meatballs, chips & dips and dessert treats that were both vegan and gluten free.  Which when it comes to the "vegan meats", they are typically not gluten free, because it is gluten that usually holds it together or gives it some texture.  Although I am not vegan, it was nice to see this option available.

I took a picture of their savoury menu before the party started.  Just click on the menu to enlarge.

The fun part of this place is going to be the most amazing playhouse I have ever seen for the kids that will be opening shortly!  Here is a sneak peak of the playhouse I got.  Everything mini sized for kids, but if a parent ducks into the playhouse, there is room for them to stand.

Here is an Instagram post of Jamie Sale proudly showing off the construction of the playhouses!
Sweet Pea Cafe & Playhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gluten Free Splash Poke

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To me, Poke bowls are like a suhsi bowl.  Just like a burrito bowl is a burrito in a bowl, a poke bowl is sushi in a bowl.

Splash Poke in West Edmonton Mall seems to have things going on for gluten free Poke bowls.

I just walked up to check it out to see if they had anything and bang, at the toppings station there are signs listing what is gluten free and what is vegan.  They even have a specific order called The Friendly that is gluten free.

I think contamination is reduced because there is no wheat flying around and the base is all rice base or veggie based.  The sauces are contained in squeeze bottles, so not dropping into each other.  When I ordered the friendly they, they put a card on the tray that said "Friendly" which seemed to start up an allergy protocol, which was nice to see.

The Friendly
The friendly was delicious and came with both tuna and salmon.  Can;t wait to have again!

Menu topping items labeled:

Splash Poke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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2 in 1 gluten free stuffed french toast and crepe recipe

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We love America's Test Kitchen cookbooks.  Why?  Because we believe that it does not take much to adapt recipes to be gluten free.  That is not to say we don't have specific gluten free cookbooks, but we have a lot of every day cookbooks that we simply adapt recipes. 

The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook has been part of our house for longer than Amanda's Celiac diagnosis, and we've kept it, and still use it.  

In the breakfast section there is a recipe for stuffed French toast that is delicious.  But what I figured out is that you can use the batter in the recipe for French Toast for crepes.  Yes the recipe is not gluten free, but we simply swap out the flour for Kinnikinnick's gluten free all purpose flour which you can get at the Kinnikinnick Fresh Store or on Amazon.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 8 slices of Kinnikinnick Gluten Free cinnamon raisin bread(Or kinnikinnick multigrain) - OMIT IF YOU WANT CREPES
  • 4 tbsp or 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Kinnkinnick gluten free all purpose flour

For filling:
  1. In a dish, microwave cream cheese until soft.  10 seconds at a time.
  2. Stir in 2 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth.  Place in fridge to firm up.

For batter:
  1. Melt 2 tbsp butter and whisk together with milk, egg, vanilla, salt and 2 tbsp of sugar.  Slowly whisk in gluten free flour until smooth.
From here you can choose your own adventure!  You can go the route of crepes (picture at top of article) or stuffed french toast (picture below)

For Crepes:
  1. Heat small non stick pan with butter
  2. On medium heat, use no more than a 1/4 cup of batter and pour evenly on heated pan.  Lift off of heat and turn pan to spread batter as thin as possible.
  3. Cook until bubbles and flip
  4. Cook until slightly coloured and remove from pan
  5. Spread filling, fold crepe and enjoy!
For Stuffed French toast
  1. Toast bread to allow some give to absorb batter
  2. Pour batter in a shallow dish.
  3. With two pieces of toast, spread filling on one piece, and put the other on top like a sandwich
  4. Heat pan with butter
  5. Meanwhile, let stuffed french toast sit in batter for no more than a minute on each side.
  6. Place in hot pan on medium and cook until browned and flip. (about 1/5 minutes each side).
Serve either option with fresh fruit and whip cream.

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Gluten Free Instant Pot Apple Crumble

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Amanda tried out and adapted an apple crumble recipe to be gluten free.  This recipe tasted so delicious and was easy to make in the Instant Pot.  We served warm with vanilla ice cream for dessert.  I also had it for breakfast on top of cottage cheese warmed up.


  • 3 to 4 sliced and peeled apples
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. Gluten free rolled oats (we use gluten free Only Oats)
  • 1/4 c. Gluten free Kinnikinnick all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/3 c. apple cider


  1. In a small bowl mix all ingredients together until apples are all coated.
  2. Pour into Corning ware that fits inside Instant Pot
  3. Cover tightly with foil
  4. Put trivet into Instant Pot or pressure cooker + 2 c. water 
  5. Lower Corning ware with apples on to trivet
  6. Set to manual, pressure, high for 35 minutes

Check for desired cook of apples. If you want it cooked more try another 5 minutes.

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Canadian Brewhouse has an amazing gluten free menu.

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Love the cutlery!
Recently Amanda went out with some friends to The Canadian Brewhouse in Spruce Grove, AB.  She wasn't sure what to expect, but her friend wanted meet there, and she figured she would be able to find something there to eat.

What she didn't expect was the extent of the menu that was available gluten free, and what they do to try and accommodate.

So before I go any further, just a reminder, ask about food prep every time, because you never know how each location operates from location to location, or if a location changes its kitchen processes.

So a few things she found out and confirmed at the Spruce Grove location:

  • They have a dedicated fryer for gluten free items.  They noted that all locations do.
  • You can get gluten free beer battered fish, but its a packaged gluten free battered fish.
  • You can get gluten free pizza's including their perogy pizza which is made with sliced potato.

Although Amanda only tried a really awesome Quinoa salad, there were gluten free hamburgers, pizza's, and even nacho's available to eat off the menu.

Menu items that are gluten free are marked with a symbol and a statement that gluten free options are available.

Check out some photos I took of the menu or click here for the Canadian Brewhouse menu online that they mark up for gluten free as well:

The Canadian Brewhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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