Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: Simply... Gluten-Free Quick Meals

The title Simply... Gluten-Free Quick Meals says it all. It avoids the over complicated route that that many gluten-free cookbooks take. You will find that it is filled with simple gluten-free meals, which are easy enough for even a novice to conquer.

Something that caught my eye right away was the practical way in wich the book is organized. Most of the recipes are sorted into meals. This is a major time saver as you don't have to flip through pages and pages to find recipes which pair together. 

* I was provided with a complimentary copy of Simply...Gluten-Free Quick Meals for review purposes.

  • Each menu contains a quick cook strategy to ensure you get the entire meal on the table together.
  • Weekday dinners that can be prepared in 30 minutes
  • Single dish recipes which take 15 minutes or less to prepare
  • Holiday meals
  • Basic recipes for gluten-free flour blends, biscuit, pancake mixes and spice mixtures
  • Tips for stocking your gluten-free pantry

All-American Meat Loaf  Dinner

I have tried several recipes from the cookbook so far. The family favourite has been The All-American Meat Loaf Dinner. The mini meat loaves were really easy to make. I did omit the Worcestershire sauce as it's not something we normally have in our pantry. I was super impressed with how moist the meat loaves were! The recipe suggests using a muffin pan which has been sprayed with gluten-free non-stick cooking spray. I'm going to pass on that next time around and just bake the mini meat loaves on a sheet pan. Even with the cooking spray, I found the muffin pan was difficult to get the meat loaves out of in one piece.

One of my favourite things about any cookbook is the pictures. A must in my opinion. They help you envision how the final product should turn out. This is especially helpful when tackling an unfamiliar recipe. Simply Gluten-Free Quick Meals has 16 pages of pictures. While the photos are beautiful, I did find them to be a bit of an afterthought. They are lumped together in the middle of the book which was a little frustrating at times. I would prefer to see the photos at the beginning of each recipe or menu.

Overall, this cookbook was a hit in my house. We love that it is full of hearty meals that don't require a lot of fuss to make. It's also full of familiar family favorites with a nice twist. We are a busy family. Work, school and assorted family activities often leave us in a time crunch. I appreciated how quick these down to earth meals could be put on the table. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Easy Jell-o Pudding Pie

I spotted this pie crust at my local Real Canadian Superstore and had to try it!

I picked up chocolate Jell-O pudding mix to go with the chocolate pie crust. I added the mix and the required amount of milk to a pot and stirred until boiling. At this point, I let it cool down for 5 minutes, stirring only twice. I then filled the pie shell with the mix and let cool further and later placed it in the fridge.

The photo below is the finished product with some whipped cream on top. I've never made anything like this before. Overall, I am quite happy with the results. It reminds me of the pudding pies I had at restaurants (pre celiac) as a kid. The pie crust is sweet, crunchy and down right delicious! Definitely making this againg.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Thoughts On a Cure For Celiac Disease

Several clinical trials underway to find a cure or at least a potential treatment for Celiac Disease. The future is full of hope and I'm excited for that.

There are those out there who see this hard work as a waste of time. They see the Gluten Free diet as enough. Perhaps for those with an intolerance or allergy, it's indeed enough. 

As a Celiac, the gluten free diet can be problematic at times. Avoiding gluten is not an easy task. Many countries are far behind in ingredient labelling practices. Another issue is potential  food recalls - errors happen and gluten can accidentally be left off the label or land itself in what should be a safe product. It is often hard to get quick and accurate information on whether or not prescribed medications are gluten free. On top of that, many people suffer from ongoing symptoms despite following a gluten free diet. This is called Non-Responsive celiac disease.

I believe that you can honour the needs of your body with a strict gluten-free diet, while accepting the need for preventative measures. Let's face it, a strict gluten-free life (notice I didn't say diet?) is not always 100% achievable. 

I'm not holding out hope for a cure that erases celiac disease from my life completely. It's part of me and I've come to terms with that. What I would like to see is a companion treatment to the gluten free diet. A safety net to catch me and prevent serious damage when I have been glutened.

For me, the desire is two-fold. I really don't enjoy the sickness and pain involved with even the smallest exposure to gluten. I also despise the anxiety of what if's that follow recovery from a glutening. You guys know what Im talking about here.

While I understand that a treatment for celiac may not be everyone's cup of coffee, it would be nice to have the option. Keep in mind that it's a personal decision and everyone's situation varies. There is no need to belittle anyone for wanting a potential treatment. Just like there should be support and understanding for those who wish to battle on with the gluten-free diet as a sole source of treatment.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

JK Gourmet - Review

Recently, I received a package of items to review from JK Gourmet which is  a Canadian company that was started in 2001. They are devoted to making all natural foods which taste as good as they are healthy. Visit their website to view the impressive variety of products available.

Fig & Apricot Granola

I love that this granola is completely grain free! That's right, no oats either. Just nuts, seeds, dried fruit and honey. It offers the perfect amount of crunch and is sweet without being too sweet. I found the granola to be really hearty and a fantastic way to liven up a salad. It's also quite filling on its own. I can see this granola being a great addition to a variety of recipes.

Fig & Apricot Granola

GG Bites

These are pretty great. Again, JK Gourmet does an excellent job of providing a sweet product without going overboard. I really enjoy how crunchy these are. As I am a snacker, GG Bites are great as they are quite filling. They remind me of something you would eat to refuel while hiking or camping.

GG Bites

Almond & Cherry Chocolate

As a self-proclaimed lover of chocolate, this really hit the mark. There is something really special about dark chocolate and fruit. This particular chocolate is sweetened with honey and has almonds and cherries in it. It looks quite pretty right out of the package. I nibbled a wee bit right away (couldn't help myself) then did as the directions suggested - I cut it into chunks and placed in the fridge. The result was even better. This is the only item which I did not offer to share with anyone. Can you really blame me though?  It's that good, I promise you.

Almond & Cherry Chocolate

Overall, I think that JK Gourmet is really on to something. All three items were great. They filled the need for sweet, without being excessive. That is a total plus in my opinion. Anything that can be indulgent and healthy is golden!

You can find these items in both the USA and Canada. If you live near or will be visiting Toronto, you can also place a pick up order here.

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