Monthly Archives: February 2013

No Timbits here: Welcome to our gluten free party for two

At work, only one other woman besides myself has a gluten intolerance, and she has been accustomed to the lifestyle far longer than I have. Needless to say, she has primarily been my go-to person whenever I have had a question about brands to buy and foods to steer clear of. In comparing notes, our conversations would sometimes morph into emphatic venting sessions about impromptu work ‘parties,’ where colleagues would surprise the department with boxes of Timbits or full-size donuts.

One day, after discovering we had both once loved Tim Horton’s Hawaiian sprinkle doughnuts best, we decided we would host our own work ‘party’ and bring a bunch of gluten free goodies that our finicky bodies could handle.

Plenty of delicious gluten free substitutes for Timbits!

Exploring alternative sugary treats for the gluten intolerant

We gorged on …er…sampled…a total of three snacks, and shared our food with co-workers brave enough to wander into the gluten free realm. Some had a hard time saying no to a table full of sugar, while a few curious others continued to walk past us after taking a hesitant minute to decide whether or not they should try a bite. Ahh well. More for us.

Here’s a look at what we had to eat at our gluten free party for two:

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A lovely gluten free wedding cake just for me

By the time I had realized my body rejects gluten, my then-fiancé and I had already selected our menu and cake for the reception.

We got married in October and we embraced our autumn theme in every way: décor, colours, flowers, and, yes, the food. A couple fall-themed dishes included roasted butternut squash soup and pumpkin cheesecake. Thankfully our reception hall, The Manor, was able to accommodate my intolerance and use alternative ingredients for my dishes so I could still enjoy our unique menu.

The cake was another story. We had already paid for our extravagant wedding cake, and while we could alter the order, the bakery stayed away from any gluten free baking.

My now-husband took it upon himself to ensure I could still eat a piece of wedding cake on our special day. Unbeknownst to me, he had spent hours researching gluten free bakery reviews and when he had found one he liked, he arranged for us to go for a testing.

One Saturday morning, we wound up at Voila Gluten Free Bakeree in Oakville, Ont. for a cake sampling appointment. This was the first time I had tried gluten free cake, so I was skeptical. We tried a variety of cakes: chocolate, vanilla, red velvet, lemon — the list goes on. I was pleasantly surprised; each one was delicious. The globs of butter cream were perfect and the cakes themselves were moist. It was a great second breakfast.

There was one cake on the menu that caught me eye, but it was unfortunately unavailable for testing. The maple-flavoured cake was something that piqued my interest, and I thought it would be a perfect addition to our ‘fall’ menu. I took a leap of faith and placed an order for a small maple cake. Hey, if it tasted half as good as the other cakes I had sampled, I would be a happy camper.

My personalized gluten free wedding cake from Voila Gluten Free Bakeree in Oakville, Ont. on the right.
Who needs a bride and groom cake-topper when you can have a pumpkin?

As it turned out, my little maple gluten free wedding cake turned out amazing. It was the perfect way to round off our fall-themed menu. I had a piece for good luck, and shared some with those who cared to try it. The verdict was the same each time; those who had tried it, loved it and thought it tasted light, airy, and satisfying.

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A not-so-exaggerated reaction to going G-free

John Pinette is my favourite comedian. He is the master of self-depreciation; it’s just enough to not make me roll my eyes. And he perfectly combines exaggeration with dry non-reactions. Really, he is everything a standup comic should strive to be.

My family and I first discovered Pinette a few years ago on the Comedy Network. From his bit on eating in Italy to his confession on juicing a ham, we lost our minds wheezing with laughter. One skit that always stuck out in my mind was the one about gluten. Truth be told, I didn’t quite know what it was at the time, but I knew it had something to do with wheat, and, like Pinette, my diet led me to agree with him: I was fairly certain I was ‘mostly gluten.’

Omitting this omnipresent elastic protein from my diet was not as simple as nixing bread and bread alone. Oh no. I had to start examining the labels of everything I picked up in a grocery store. Hot dogs can have gluten. So, too, do many BBQ sauces. Bouillon cubes and pickles were a couple other surprises. And now for my favourite: soy sauce. Sushi has just never tasted the same without it.

Pinette was right. What is gluten? Check out the video below and find out.

Of course, my mindset has come a long way since adapting to my new lifestyle, but as a newbie gluten free gal and a long-time fan of Pinette, how could I not devote a post to his take on the subject?

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No more bread…ever?

After years of believing the best part about being Italian is the food, I came to a brutal realization in recent months. I cannot eat gluten. This discovery was bitter-sweet. On the one hand, I felt relief because I was finally able to pinpoint what was giving me excruciating, ongoing stomach pains. But on the other, well, no gluten means no pasta, no lasagna, no fettini (breaded cutlets), and no extra bread to sop up the leftover tomato sauce on my plate. Or so I thought.

As I continue to grapple with my new permanent diet, I see there are plenty of substitutions for the foods I once loved. And sometimes these substitutions are even tastier and more satisfying than the original dish I grew up with. Sometimes. There are still times when I just want to chomp down into a fresh baguette.

Changing my diet has ultimately changed my lifestyle. I have become a healthier person overall, but I still stumble over little annoyances.

‘Oh, we’re going on an impromptu weekend getaway? Time to load my bag with an arsenal of gluten free snacks.’

‘You want to eat at your favourite pub tonight? Let me check out the pub’s website to see if they have anything for me.’ *time passes* ‘No such luck. How about THIS place instead?’

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