Saturday, July 26, 2014

10 Tips For A Magical Quick Service Experience

Want to enjoy an often overlooked gem in the wonderful world of Disney?
Then check out Quick Service dining. I am such a fan of Disney's Quick Service restaurants! The food is better than your average theme park fare and with more than 50 eligible restaurants, the options are endless. Still unsure? Dining reservations are not necessary, you will have more time to explore the parks, AND prices are far cheaper then that of Table Service dining.



10 Tips For A Magical Quick Service Experience



1) Be Prepared 

Doing your homework before you go is essential. Take note of everyone's food preferences and needs. Next, contact Disney's Special Diets team to get a reference list of what special dietary items are available and at which locations. Visit here to become familiar with the dining options. Look at the menus, price points, food styles/themes and locations. 

When you get the reference list, print it out and bring it with you to the parks, to use as a guide.



2) Time It Wisely

Dining at off beat times, will avoid the meal time rush. Try having lunch before 11:30am and dinner somewhere around 4:00pm or 7:00pm.

As special dietary meals can take an extra 10-15 minutes to prepare, these should be ordered first, while the rest of the group grabs a table. This will allow enough time to pass for both sets of meals to be ready around the same time.



3) Try Something New

Eat your way around the world at Epcot. Literally.

For a French inspired meal, with a Table Service feel, try the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. This Beauty and the Beast themed establishment commands long lines for it's only Quick Service offering of the day (Lunch) so try and get a Fast Pass, if possible. 

Not sure if  you will like something on a menu? See if you can taste a sample.




Landscape of Flavors



4) Variety, The Key To Happiness

Pleasing everyone is hard. Especially so if you are travelling in a large group. To make things a bit easier, look for locations which offer a larger variety of food choices.

My personal favourites include Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Magic Kingdom) and Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation).

At Cosmic Rays, there are various "bays" which offer different types of food. There is lots of seating and a little intergalactic treat to keep you entertained while you eat. 

Landscape of Flavors provides both international and American style food. The seating area is worth taking an extra look at as it is quite serene and beautiful.


Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
 


5) Sit Back And Relax

Take time to slow down, and enjoy your meal, along with the atmosphere. Not only will you feel refreshed, you will have a new found appreciation for the detail which surrounds you. Your feet will thank you for the extra 10 minutes of down time, thus resulting in less chance of achy feet or a cranky mood.

Landscape of Flavors


6) Know Before You Go

Take note of open and close times. If you are thinking about breakfast in the parks, see which Quick Service locations offer it. This is especially important to look for, during the off season.


Pepper Market in Coronado Springs hotel automatically adds a 10% gratuity, even though it is a Quick Service location.

BoardWalk Bakery

7) Save Money

Did you know that Quick Service items can be ordered a la carte? If you don't want something that is paired with your meal, skip it and save money.

Stop by Ghirardelli in Down town Disney to enjoy some free samples!

Head to Club Cool in Epcot, to enjoy a free sampling of 8 different soft drinks from around the world.


ABC Commissary


8) Snack Wisely

If you opt for the dining plan, avoid using snack credits for drinks. No dining plan? Consider purchasing a a Rapid Fill Refillable mug.

Having a muffin or a bowl of fruit for breakfast will allow you to save money and time in the morning.

Some snacks are even big enough to share...if you want to, that is.






9) Enjoy A Meal Off The Beaten Path

Consider a ride on the monorail, to one of resort hotels for lunch or dinner. It's a great opportunity to get away from the parks, during peak hours. These Quick Service locations are also less crowded, resulting in a quieter meal time.

If you are renting a car, head over to BoardWalk or Downtown Disney for a meal. Both destinations offer outside seating, with beautiful views of the water.






10) Thanks For The Magic


Disney is light years ahead of the curve when it comes to accommodating dietary restrictions. Make a cast members day magical by saying thanks! 

Stop by Guest Relations at one of the parks and let them know how thankful you are for all of their hard work. Be sure to bring up anyone who has given your vacation an extra sprinkling of pixie dust!


 Most Charming Chef  EVER, Right Here!

You can also email wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com to let them know about a job well done. Or just how awesome it is to feel "normal" at Disney, even though you require a special diet.


If you happen to be visiting the Orlando area in November, drop by the Food Allergy and Celiac Convention at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort. This special ticketed event takes place on Saturday November 22nd 2014.

For more information on the event, you can stay up to date by visiting the Facebook page and following via Twitter  



 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Food Allergy And Celiac Convention

Looking for a Celiac safe, vacation destination? Want variety and amazing flavour at every meal? Walt Disney World is where its at. I mean it. When it comes to safe Gluten Free dining, Disney does it best. I can say so from personal experience!



This November brings us the Food Allergy and Celiac Convention at Disney. I am happy to share that I am a member of the blogger street team for this great event. Being part of the team means that I will be sharing information related to both the event itself and all things Disney gluten free.






The event will be hosted on Disney property at the Coronado Springs Resort on November 22nd 2014. 


Event Details



  • Expo Area (featuring vendors, sponsors & non-profit organizations)
  • Welcome Breakfast (ticketed event for guests)
  • Non-dairy Ice Cream Buffet (ticketed event for guests)
  • Kids Corner
  • Speakers, panels, & workshops focusing on all aspects of celiac disease & food allergies
  • Culinary demonstrations, featuring Disney chefs
  • 15 Minutes of Fame Stage where vendors & sponsors can highlight their unique brands & products
  • Raffle baskets & giveaways (before & during the event weekend)
  • Pre-event recipe booklets where vendors & sponsors can highlight their unique brands and products with recipes
  • And more!

Tickets


You can purchase tickets here

Adult tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door*

Kids' tickets are $5 in advance as well as at the door*

*Door tickets will only be available, if there are any left for purchase


Follow event updates via Facebook and Twitter:  


The proceeds from ticket sales will go to food allergy & non-profit organizations.




***This event is not affiliated with the Walt Disney company***



Monday, July 7, 2014

Celebrating Gluten Free Life In Canada



What it's like to be Gluten Free in Canada


 The Canadian Celiac Association provides advice and support nation wide.

We enjoy the hard work provided by the Gluten Free Certification Program. When  the below symbol is on a package, we can be sure it has met high standards and is safe for consumption.



Some Canadian Celiac Facts

1 in 133 people in Canada are estimated to have Celiac Disease.



Thunder Bay MPP Bill Mauro  has our backs as c
urrently Ontario is the only Province in which the Celiac blood test is not covered.



Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario are working on a therapy to treat Celiac Disease.



Our Laws

It is illegal to label oats gluten free in Canada. They may only carry wheat free on the label.

The Canadian Government offers support information online.
 
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA )is responsible for enforcing Canada's strict food labelling laws. If something is mislabelled Gluten Free or is leading people to believe it's safe, when in fact it is not, we can report the offending product here.

They are  also responsible for our Food Recall Warnings program. This program provides alerts via email sign up, Twitter, Facebook, RSS Feeds and mobile application.


Notable Canadian Celiac's


Max Domi is a Minnesota Wild 2014 draft prospect , and son of retired Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Tie Domi.


Christine Nesbitt  is an 
Olympic gold medal speed skater 



Tom Kostopoulos  ia a f
ormer Calgary Flames Right Wing  and current member of the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh Penguins farm team)







Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Canada Day !!!


Happy Canada Day !!!





To celebrate I made a patriotic Strawberry Shortcake to enjoy with the family







Monday, June 23, 2014

Nakd Fruit And Nut Bars - Review


I'm always on the hunt for Gluten Free snacks that I can take on the go with me. 
So, I was happy as can be, when offered the chance to review Nakd Raw Fruit & Nut bars.

What makes Nakd Bars different from other cereal bars on the market? The impressive lack of ingredients! They are simply fruit and nut and are made with natural ingredients with no added sugar.


The 4 Gluten Free bars I sampled are : 
Berry Delight
Cocoa Delight
Cashew Cookie
Cocoa Orange


While all four are tasty, the Cocoa Delight is by far my favourite! If you are wondering what to compare these to, they are similar to Lara Bars. I think you need to be a fruit and nut bar fan to begin with, in order to appreciate this product as it is definitely not your average cereal bar.

Hubby and our little man tried these bars as well. Hubby was impressed and will most likely dip into my pantry for more. Little man is on the other hand was less than enthused. I think he was actually kind of mad at me. That's okay though as it leaves more for me to snack on! 



WHOLE FOODS SMOOSHED TOGETHER!
NO ADDED SUGAR
GLUTEN, WHEAT & DAIRY FREE





Thursday, June 12, 2014

Stess Less When Dining Out


Dining out can be frightening and down right stressful. Although many restaurants are providing Gluten Free fare and advertising so, often times they neglect safety in exchange for profit.

Over the years, I have developed a certain mind set when heading out to eat. I try to treat the experience like a job interview. Pretend that you are the employer. Ask questions. A lot of them. Remember, you are looking to see if the restaurant as a whole can safely meet your needs.

Be honest and just tell it like it is. You have an autoimmune disease called Celiac. This is why you need to avoid certain ingredients and it is also why cross contact with offending ingredients is a big no no.

Go with your gut instinct. If something feels off, or too good to be true, it usually is. This leads us to something extremely important. When in doubt, go without. That's right, say it again. Know that there is no shame in politely declining to eat, if you do not feel safe.

Applaud those places which are upfront and honest in not being able to cater safely to restricted diets.  If you are somewhere which cannot accommodate your needs and you are comfortable not eating, order a beverage and enjoy some conversation with your party.

Research in advance, whenever possible. Email head office and get a confirmed list of Gluten Free options as well as a contact at the restaurant. Speak with the contact from this establishment and let them know that you will be visiting and when. If possible, print out the confirmed list of safe items and bring it with you to the restaurant.

Don't settle. If you are tired of the same old salad or baked potato, then go somewhere with more options. Or skip this round of dining out all together. There is no point in inflicting misery upon yourself. 

Don't ever feel like a burden. You didn't ask for this health condition and you need to do everything you can to manage it safely.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Campbell's Gluten Free Broth Recipe Challenge & Giveaway!

As part of Celiac Awareness Month, I am taking part in the Campbell's Gluten Free Broth Recipe Challenge. To help spread awareness, I developed my own recipe  with Campbell's recently launched No Salt Added Ready to Use Vegetable Broth. This broth is also 100% Gluten Free.

I have never made soup from scratch before so what better reason to give it a shot then this opportunity right here! I had a lot of fun experimenting in the kitchen and even taught myself a thing or two, thanks to trial and error.

Below is my Garden Vegetable Noodle Soup recipe:

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic

1/2 Onion
2 Carrots
1 Tomato
5 Mini Potatoes (I used Mixed Little Gems)
1/2 Cup Frozen Edemame

1 Cup Whole Grain Instant Brown Rice
1/4 Cup Gluten Free Pasta (I used Brown Rice Fettuccine)

Desired Seasonings

Directions

Prep your desired pasta per the instructions on the box


  • Bring 1 Cup of Water to a boil
  • Add Rice and stir in 1 Tablespoon of Butter
  • Turn off heat and place lid on pot



While the Rice is doing it's thing....


  • Prep those Vegetables! Cut Onion, Carrots, Tomato, and Mini Potatoes into bite size pieces. Think small enough to get a varitey in one spoonfull. 




  • Add the Vegetable Oil, Minced Garlic and bite size Vegetables, as well as, the Edamame to a large pot and let sweat.



  • Pour in 1 Carton of Campbell's No Salt Added Ready To Use Vegetable Broth



  • Add both the cooked Rice and Pasta



  • Stir gently



  • Add 1 Teaspoon of desired seasonings (ie: Salt and Pepper)





Garden Vegetable Noodle Soup




***Disclosure : Campbell Company of Canada provided me with product to develop this recipe.

Contest Time!!!

Would you like to win (4) Coupons to enjoy  1 FREE 900ml carton of Campbell's No Salt Added Vegetable Broth? 

4 lucky readers have a chance to win 4 of these FPC's each! Enter below through Rafflecopter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Catelli Gluten Free Macaroni Launch & Giveaway

Recently, I attended an exclusive Gluten Free Pasta event which was held at George Brown College and sponsored by Catellli. The event celebrated the launch of Catelli's newest cut of gluten free pasta - Catelli Gluten Free Macaroni.


(Photo courtesy of Catelli)

To start the evening, we were treated to Catelli Gluten Free macaroni samples with pesto, olive oil and tomato sauce. We also noshed on grilled vegetables and cheese. The pasta dishes from left to right were cooked for 3 minutes, 5 minutes and 7 minutes. This gave us an idea of what kind of texture to expect from specific cook times. It also allowed us to explore how long we personally prefer our pasta to be cooked for. 

(Photo courtesy of Catelli)

Catelli Gluten Free pasta is produced in a dedicated Gluten Free facility. It is also certified by the Canadian Celiac Association Gluten Free Certification Program and is GMO free! This is one all around fantastic product line. I have been a fan since I first reviewed the line here.

Our host for the evening was, Director of George Brown Chef School, Chef John Higgins.

(Photo courtesy of Catelli)

 Chef Higgins is a judge on the Food Network's Chopped Canada and former personal chef for the Queen Mother. He was very engaging and pretty darn funny! I appreciated the time he took to answer questions and his thorough answers. Chef Higgins is a fantastic teacher! 

(Photo courtesy of Catelli)
Throughout the evening he provided us with wonderful pasta tips. You can see some of his advice below.


* Pasta should be cooked according to the directions on the pasta box. For some recipes that require the pasta to be cooked in sauce following boiling, however, an al dente consistency is preferred. For such recipes, cut one to two minutes off the cooking time on the package.

* When cooking pasta, use a large pot. You will need one quart of water to approximately 100 grams of pasta.  Using a large pot will give the pasta room to boil and not stick together.

* Over-seasoning the water with salt – bringing it almost to the taste of the sea – will substantially enhance the flavour profile of the dish. As a rule of thumb, use 10 grams of salt for one litre of water and 100 grams of pasta.

* Never add oil to the water when cooking pasta.  It does not keep it from sticking together.  In fact, the oil creates a coating that prevents the sauce from adhering to the pasta.  

* Always stir the pasta for about 45 seconds after adding it to boiling water.  Then, stir occasionally as the cooking process continues, especially during the first three minutes, as that’s when the pasta can stick together.

* Never rinse pasta after cooking, as it’s important to retain the starch to enable the sauce to coat. Instead, spread it evenly on a baking tray to cool.

* When making a pasta dish, think about the harmony of taste, texture and balance between noodle and sauce. Thin pasta strips, for example, work best with a classic tomato, seafood or pesto sauce. Thicker pasta cuts, such as fettuccine, are wonderful for a cheese or cream-based sauce. Filled pasta is ideal with a light tomato broth or cream sauce.


(Photo courtesy of Catelli)

With the guidance of Chef Higgins and his team, we each prepared the Ginger Edamame Macaroni Salad recipe below. If you are looking for a vibrant pasta salad, this one is a keeper! It's fresh, filling and full of flavour. I love this dish and cannot say enough positive things about it. Give it a try and let me know what YOU think.


Ginger Edamame Macaroni Salad
 Prep Time: 20 min    
Cooking Time: 5 - 6 min                  
Servings: 8
 Ingredients:
1 pkg (340 g) CATELLI® Gluten Free Macaroni
2 cups (500 mL) frozen edamame
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) rice vinegar
2 tbsp (30 mL) each granulated sugar and water
4 tsp (20 mL) gluten-free soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper
1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil
1 cup (250 mL) each diced red pepper and cucumber
1 cup (250 mL) each shredded Napa or Chinese cabbage and carrot
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped green onions
 1.         Cook macaroni according for 3 to 3½ minutes. Drain in colander, then place pasta on a flat tray to cool. Once cooled, sprinkle with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of olive oil and mix gently with fingers.
 2.     Blanche edamame in 2 cups (500 mL) of salted water for about 2 minutes and drain.

 3.         Meanwhile, whisk vinegar with sugar, water, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper until sugar is dissolved; whisk in oil. Add cooked edamame to mixture.         

 4.    Toss macaroni and edamame mixture with red pepper, cucumber, cabbage, carrot and green onion to combine. Serve immediately.  


Grab yourself a  coupon  for $1.00 off the purchase of any Catelli Gluten Free pasta product and get cooking. 


*** CONTEST ALERT ***

Catelli was kind enough to offer one of my readers a chance to win a one year supply of Catelli Gluten Free Macaroni. This Give away is open to residents of Canada only. Enter below, through Rafflecopter.

Good Luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




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