Sunday, December 14, 2014

Celiac Friendly Christmas Gift Ideas


Looking for gift ideas for the gluten-free foodie on your list? Create the ultimate Celiac friendly gift basket using the widely available options below. If you live in an area where gluten-free items are not very prominent, explore online shopping with my post Online Gluten-Free Groceries Canada.



Gluten Free Baking Mixes



Gluten-free baking mixes go a long way. They are an asset to any foodie and are time savers, especially during the holidays. 


Gluten Free Cook Book


The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by America's Test Kitchen is a great choice. I own this and I love how much insight it provides about the science technical differences behind gluten free. It's widely available in the US and Canada. You can view detailed information on the book here.







Something Fun



Personalized aprons are adorable and useful. Check out the CafePress website to see the one above and more.




New tools and gadgets can inspire some kitchen fun. It's the little things, like whisks, muffin cups, spatulas and bowls that go a long way.




     Gluten Free Magazine



    There are many magazines which center around gluten-free living. Most of them can be found in local grocery and book stores. Another option is to purchase a gift subscription for that special person on your list.


    Awareness Items


    Pretty Little Celiac sells some really cute headbands, bracelets, and shirts. These items are cute, and they promote awareness of Celiac Disease as well. I personally own 2 of the headbands, a rubber bracelet, and a stretch bracelet.




    Zazzle offers up a variety of unique gluten free and Celiac awareness items.You can check out the options here.




    Top off the gift basket with a set of  Gluten Free Labels. They are super handy have a wide variety of uses. I have a set and love them!










    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Stuffed Tomato Boats With A Kick








    The cold weather is here to stay, bringing with it the longing for comfort food. I have created the recipe below, as part of the Hidden Valley Gluten Free Challenge. These Stuffed Tomato Boats With A Kick, are a great addition to any meal. They are also a perfect little snack, which will warm you right up.




    Ingredients


    • 1 boneless chicken breast
    • 4 Roma tomatoes, halved
    • 1/3 Cup Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Dressing
    • 1 Tbsp gluten free apple butter BBQ sauce
    • 1/4 Cup crumbled, already cooked bacon
    • 1/4 Cup diced green onion
    • 1 Tsp Olive Oil
    • 1/2 Cup sour cream
    • 1/3 Cup grated, Marble cheese
    • Shredded lettuce to garnish

    * Always read labels to ensure ingredients are gluten free



    Directions


    1. Preheat oven to 350F.
    2. Heat 1 Tsp of Olive Oil in a pan, over medium heat. Add chicken to pan and cook each side for approximately 10 minutes. Chicken should no longer be pink. You can use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken has safely cooked to an internal temperature of 165F-170F.
    3. Let chicken rest for about 5 minutes.
    4. Place chicken in a bowl. Hold chicken steady with one fork and use another to pull or tear the chicken apart.
    5. Add Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch, gluten free apple butter BBQ sauce, crumbled bacon and green onion to the shredded chicken. Stir ingredients together until well incorporated. Set aside.
    6. Use a spoon to scoop out the pulp and juices of tomatoes. Fill tomatoes with chicken mixture and place on baking sheet.
    7. Add cheese to top of the now filled tomatoes
    8. Bake for 15 minutes. Tomato skins will be blistering slightly when done.
    9. When tomatoes are finished baking, top each with a spoonful of sour cream. Place shredded lettuce (as little or as much as you like) on top to complete dish and serve.



    Hidden Valley Ranch Products and other promotional consideration were received in exchange for providing the above recipe as part of a submission in a contest sponsored by Hidden Valley Ranch.



    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Promise Gluten Free Double Chocolate Muffins - Review

    Promise Gluten Free sent me a FPC so I could review one of their products. I chose the Double Chocolate muffins. Because, lets face it - CHOCOLATE.






    I was super impressed with how moist and flavourful these muffins are! Promise Gluten Free provides chocolaty goodness without the dense grittiness, that is all too often part of Gluten Free baked goods. Muffin number two remained in the package for a mere 24 hours before I devoured that as well. Safe to say I am a fan!


    I think it would be a wonderful advantage to see single packages of these muffins available for purchase at Tim Hortons locations across Canada. How cool and convenient would that be?! If Dunkin Donuts can sell pre packaged gluten free donuts and muffins in America, I'll bet there is nothing stopping Timmie's from doing the same, here. Especially so when there is a fantastic prioduct, like this to team up with.



    The Double Chocolate muffins are sold two to a pack, for $3.99  and can be found at Metro stores. Not sure if your store carries the Promise Gluten Free line? Check out their store locator.

    For more information on all things Promise Gluten Free, visit their Facebook page here and give them a follow on Twitter: @PromiseGF


    I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the product line. Have YOU tried Promise Gluten Free? If you have, comment with your thoughts.







    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Circulon Griddle - Review



    I have a new favourite item in my kitchen. It's the Circulon Griddle! 

    This innovative piece of equipment is part of the Prime Collection and replaces the clunky, and heavy griddle that I have dreaded using for years. It's amazing how something so sleek can provide a fair amount of cooking space! Think outside the box with with me - griddles are not just for breakfast. So far, I have enjoyed preparing grilled cheese, chicken and even homemade tortillas on the griddle. The meal options are endless.





    Features:

    The griddle is 9.8x17.7 inches
    3-Layer Total Non-Stick System
    Metal Utensil Safe
    Removable Temperature Probe (ranges from 200F-440F)
    PFOA, Lead and Cadmium Free
    Hard Anodized Construction






    What I Love:

    The griddle has a non stick surface, so there is no need for oils and fats

    It's extremely lightweight and takes up very little space 

    Clean up is a breeze. Simply remove the power cord and the griddle can be immersed in water

    There is a pour spout in a corner of the griddle, which provides an easy way to dispose of grease

    The griddle heats quickly and evenly

    Easily stored in cupboard



    What I Don't Love:

    The handles. Although stylish and functional, they become hot as the griddle heats up. I would suggest that the Circulon team add a silicon gripping to correct this issue.




    Interested in getting a Circulon griddle of your own? It's available 
     exclusively at Canadian Tire for $69.99

    You can follow Circulon via Twitter @CirculonCanada and Facebook here




    *** I received a complimentary Circulon griddle in exchange for review. Opinions are my own.








    Monday, October 27, 2014

    The Art Of Ignorance

    I'm sure you have heard about the Jennifer Lawrence debacle by now. If you haven't, well, she pretty much summed up gluten free as a new form of anorexia. Not cool and really ignorant.

    Why is it that famous people feel the need to continually talk publicly about things which they are definitely not educated about?

    I will tell you why.

    The media does a fantastic job of glorifying gluten free as a trend. Rarely does anyone talk about Celiac. When they do, its nothing more than a fluff piece that overlooks the ugly side of this autoimmune disease. Those with the opportunity to educate the masses spend their time sensationalizing silliness and feeding people incorrect information. Many Doctors don't even really understand Celiac and many go about diagnosing it incorrectly.

    As a result, the general public is pretty misguided about an already complex and misunderstood disease. This is why I don't entirely lay blame on J-Law and others like her. I'm sure she has received a fare share of backlash from our community. As a result, I hope she has become a little more educated on the matter at hand. 

    If you are planning on reaching out to her via social media, remember to keep it respectful and insightful. 




    Friday, August 29, 2014

    Thornhill Farms - Review


    I'm a snacker. Everyone knows it. Having to bring a "just in case there are no safe options" snack with me when I'm out, most likely plays a roll in it.

    So when Thornhill Farms sent me some of their products for review, I was up for the challenge.


    Rice Bites flavors 
    Sea Salt
                                                  Black Pepper
    Sea Salt & Vinegar
    Applewood Smokey BBQ Flavor




     Snack Cracker Thins flavors 
    Sea Salt
    Cheddar Cheese
    Sour Cream & Onion
    Lime & Black Pepper Flavour





    I appreciate that both the Rice Bites and Cracker Thins are baked instead of fried. They are also certified Gluten Free, which lets face it, is AWESOME!

    Thornhill Farms gets the flavours right, without overdoing it. I don't feel like I'm overindulging with these products. They are very light to eat and don't leave you feeling weighed down like other snacks do.

    Overall these are great snacks. Bonus points for being able to munch on them in the car sans mess. If you have been on a long car ride with munchkins, you know exactly what I mean.

    My personal favourite is the Apple Smokey BBQ Flavour Rice Bites! I could honestly down a whole bag myself. But I didn't. I shared with my lovely family who really enjoyed our little snack! This flavour in particular, would be great with a BBQ meal or picnic.


    You can find Thornhill Farms Rice Bites and Snack Cracker Thins across Canada. They retail for a reasonable $3.49  and can be found at the locations below.

    Quebec :  Tao
    Maritimes : Sobeys
    Ontario :  Bulk Barn and natural food stores
    Western Canada: London Drugs and natural food stores


    You can also order by the case, through Thornhill Farms directly (Canadian orders) or Better Batter (US orders)  here .


    Happy Snacking!

    Saturday, July 26, 2014

    10 Tips For A Magical Quick Service Experience

    Walt Disney World handles special dietary needs such as gluten free, allergens and kosher, ect. with extreme care. Navigating meal times can be overwhelming so it is important to have a plan of action before you head to the world.

    Check out the tips below, to ensure that you have a magical quick service experience.




    Magic Kingdom


    10 Tips For A Magical Quick Service Experience



    1) Be Prepared 



    • Contact Disney's Special Diets team to get a reference list of what gluten free and other dietary items are available and where to find them in the world. 
    • Plan your meals in advance.
    • Visit Disney's dining page to become familiar with dining options such as price point, theme and cuisine type.






    2) Time It Wisely


    • Dining at non traditional times will help you avoid the meal time rush. Try having lunch before 11:30 am and dinner somewhere around 4:00 pm or 7:00 pm.
    • Special dietary meals can take an extra 10-15 minutes to prepare, so order these first.




    3) Try Something New


    • Epcot is a great place to be adventurous. With eleven different countries providing Quick Service fare, you can pretty much eat your way around the World here.
    • Want a French inspired meal, with a Table Service feel? Try Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom. This Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant offers Quick Service dining at lunch time. It also commands long lines, so try to get a Fast Pass, if you can.



    Gluten Free Pasta and Garlic Bread




    4) Variety, The Key To Happiness


    • Look for locations which offer a wide range of food choices. My personal favourites include Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Magic Kingdom) and Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation).
    • Cosmic Rays Starlight Cafe has various order "bays", with each offering varying food selection. Be sure to check out the menu board so you know which bay to order from. This place is huge! With lot's of seating, both indoors and out finding a table should be easy peasy. 
    • Landscape of Flavors has several stations which provide both international and American style food. I love how fresh everything is here! You actually get to see your meal being made, fresh. Another plus to this Quick Service location, is the personal customization available for many dishes.



    Quick Service Burger Bay




    5) Sit Back And Relax


    • Take time to slow down. Enjoy your meal, along with the beautiful Disney 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 down time as well.

    Landscape of Flavors



    6) Know Before You Go



    • Familiarize yourself with the open and close times Quick Service locations. Operating times vary throughout the parks and resorts.This is especially important during the off season.
    • Pepper Market in the Coronado Springs hotel automatically adds a 10% gratuity, even though it is a Quick Service location. You can avoid this extra charge by ordering your meal to go.

    Boardwalk Bakery Snacks


    7) Save Money


    • Quick Service items can be ordered a la carte. If you don't want something that is part of a combo, skip it and save the difference in cost. 
    • Ghirardelli in Down Town Disney to enjoy some offers free chocolate samples.
    • Club Cool in Epcot provides free sampling of 8 different soft drinks from around the world.
    • Not sure about a certain menu item? Ask for a sample. Many Quick Service locations will happily provide a tasting size sample, free of charge.
    • All Quick Service locations can provide you with a free cup of ice water
    Gluten Free Chicken Strips and Fries


    8) Snack Wisely


    • If you opt for the dining plan, avoid using snack credits for drinks. Instead, use your refillable mug at the resort. No dining plan? Consider purchasing 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.


    Babycakes Gluten Free Brownies



    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 much quiter, which is a bonus.
    • 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.



    Boardwalk Bakery


    10) Thanks For The Magic


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

    • Stop by Guest Relations at 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!

    • You can also email wdw.guest.communications@disneyworld.com  to voice your appreciation.

    Walt Disney World Chef

    Special Notes To Remember

    • Bring Disney's dietary reference list with you to the parks
    • Gluten Free meals are made to order so allow an extra 10-15 minute wait
    • When in doubt, ask questions
    • Consider sharing a meal. Disney portions are quite big



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

    You can stay up to date with this celebration of awareness by connecting with the event on social media.

    Pinterest  FACC WDW
    Facebook Food Allergy and Celiac Convention
    Twitter   @celebrateaware


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