Tag Archives: new diet

Cozy gluten free apple cinnamon oatmeal

Buy prepared flavoured oatmeal? This is an easy, less expensive, and healthy alternative.

Buy prepared flavoured oatmeal? This is an easy, less expensive, and healthy alternative.

While I, like many, many others, lovingly refer to this time of year as ‘pumpkin everything season,’ it’s also the time of year apples are at their finest. Every weekend I see someone on my Twitter feed or Facebook page posting photos of themselves ankle deep in an apple orchard, surrounded by full trees and bushels brimming with the sweet, crispy fruit. Well, I finally made it to an apple orchard myself, and now my fridge is overloaded with them. I went through a decent amount of them at a pretty impressive pace all on my own. My husband didn’t start reaching for any till I introduced him to the tasty apple-almond butter combo. After a while, though, a slight panic settled in when I realized I had just too many apples. So, I decided to chop some up and make an oatmeal dish that I could heat up every morning for breakfast.

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Gluten free mint chocolate avocado brownies (I can’t believe there’s no butter!)

Mint chocolate avocado brownies, sans butter and 'real' flour.

Mint chocolate avocado brownies, sans butter and ‘real’ flour.

About a year ago I turned my eye to avocados. Up until this point, I never cared for the slimy green fruit. Nachos have always ranked high on my list of favourite junk foods, and while I enjoyed them ‘loaded,’ guacamole was never something I’d want along with them. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t like guacamole!

What finally turned me onto avocados was a salad my cousin had made. Cherry tomatoes, avocado, lime juice, olive oil, black pepper – that’s it. And wow, was it ever delicious. Since then I’ve made it every other week or so, only I make it with the delicious addition of mini bocconcini, fennel seeds, and balsamic vinegar. This salad is incredibly satisfying and I encourage you all to try it.

But the star of this post is not salad; it’s brownies. So let’s get to it. I recently got my hands on a cookbook on all-things avocado, and it’s become my favourite free goodie as of late. From breakfast to dessert, the book, ‘Absolutely Avocados’ by Gaby Dalkin, is a colourful page-turner of tantalizing avocado-based recipes. I’ve had to adapt some to make them gluten free, as this is not a g-free cookbook, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the end results.

I’ve altered Dalkin’s avocado brownies in a number of different ways, so I’m not going to post her recipe as it appears in the book. However, the book’s been a real asset in my kitchen, so I thought I would encourage you to check it out.

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Savoury gluten free stuffed peppers

The first stuffed peppers I've ever made -- without a recipe or anything. *Patting self on back*

The first stuffed peppers I’ve ever made — without a recipe or anything. *Patting self on back*

My husband and I recently got a Costco membership. Until recently we didn’t even consider having one since it’s just us two (and a kitty, but she’s a tiny little thing). But after listening to our friends go on and on about the great deals they were scooping up, we decided to check it out. In the end, we saw awesome savings were to be had with that coveted little plastic card, so we signed up.

Why am I talking about Costco when I promised you a recipe for stuffed peppers? I’m getting there! You see, for quite a few long months now, our ‘snack’ for work has been carrots. Every day, carrots. As of late, however, the carrots have been coming back home after work, still in their little unopened containers. In an effort to remain healthy, we thought we would swap out our carrots for sliced pepper sticks. So we went to Costco and bought a big pack of peppers.

…And then we got home and saw we still had a big pack of carrots sitting in our fridge. Urgh. So, for another three or four days we begrudgingly munched on carrots. In an effort to not let the peppers go to waste, I decided to make stuffed peppers. (There we are; told you I was getting there!)

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G-free party food: My go-to dishes

It’s already August and looking back I can say with confidence that this was a summer of parties. From the exciting events leading to a couple of best friends’ wedding to toasting a new home, I had an unofficial part-time job as hostess this season.

The truth is, playing hostess is a fun pastime I don’t think I will ever tire from. But wow, can it get expensive. Especially if you’re planning a unique g-free menu.  I’ll admit for a couple gatherings I took the easy way out and opted to prepare solely ‘normal dishes’ (aka, gluten-filled) just for convenience sake, but munching on veggies while my guests indulged in mouthwatering appetizers always ended up being a regret.

I think I’ve found my footing now, and it’s fun discovering new ways to satisfy my guests’ taste buds, and mine. So what were some items I served?

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Scrumptious Salads: The there’s-no-way-I’m-turning-on-the-damn-oven edition

Hi everyone! It’s been a while (busy summer and all), so I thought I would treat you to not one, but two, gluten free salad creations I find particularly scrumptious. I’ve been eating these all week because, people, it’s hot. Oppressively hot. It’s been hovering around the ‘it’s-going-to-feel-like-45 degrees-kind of hot’ all week. ALL. WEEK.

The sun. The hot, hot sun. (Flickr / jmf1007)

The sun. The hot, hot sun. (Flickr / jmf1007)

It’s the kind of heat that makes me truly uncomfortable. And drained. And irritable. I get especially irritable when I hear people gushing about how ‘beautiful’ this weather is. There is nothing beautiful about instant sweat, matted down hair, and runny makeup. This weather is only appropriate if you’re on vacation or near some kind of lake you can hop into. But for day-to-day living? No. Just no.

When my stifling heat-loving friends hear me complain they immediately make some cliche comment about winter. ‘Oh, well I’ll take this over -20 and snow,’ they always say with a chuckle.

Here’s the thing my friends don’t seem to grasp. If it is -20 and snowing, you can always add a layer of clothing to warm up. Always.

I stumbled across a YouTube video that’s making its rounds and I included it at the bottom of this post. If you’re frustrated with the heat in your area or you just want a laugh, check it out!

So, back to the reason for this long-awaited post: the salads. Here are two no-cooking-required dishes I whipped up repeatedly throughout the week to stay nourished…and cool.

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A gluten free shmorgishborg of delectable treats

The end result of my 5-hour shopping trip: A combination of free samples and items I purchased at Canada's Gluten Free Market.

The end result of my 5-hour shopping trip: A combination of free samples and items I purchased at Canada’s Gluten Free Market.

A little over a week ago I had the pleasure of attending Canada’s Gluten Free Market in Mississauga, Ont. I was accompanied by my mother and cousin, two family members who decided to give g-free living a go. It was perfect timing. What better time to try a new diet than at an event with a wide assortment of free goodies? The event was the perfect place for gluten free newbies and veterans alike: along with food, there was an abundance of information. The event ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we arrived bright and early and left around mid-afternoon. I was wondering how big a crowd the show would draw. Of course, gluten free living has become rampant in recent years, but this type of event caters to a niche audience — or so I thought.  The venue was rammed! A massive line of people gathered before the doors even opened and the aisles and booths were packed with eager and hungry gluten free enthusiasts the entire time we were there. In fact, one vender was rushing out just as we were, promising she’d ‘be back with more products,’ as her booth was completely emptied of treats.

Gluten free enthusiasts lining up for the big event roughly 15 minutes before it even opened.

Gluten free enthusiasts lining up for the big event roughly 15 minutes before it even opened.

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Spinach carrot crust pizza. Yuuuupppp!

I haven’t been able to get enough of my gluten free, flourless cauliflower pizza; I think I’ve had it consistently for a few Friday night dinners now. I’ve been changing up the toppings and each time it’s like I’m eating a whole new delectable, guilt-free treat. But when I came across this recipe, I decided it might be time to change things up a bit. After all, and as my family is well aware, I am notorious for eating a favourite dish to the point where I can’t stand it anymore, and that’s the last thing I want to happen with my cauliflower pizza!

You'll need a fork and knife for this thin crust pizza!

You’ll need a fork and knife for this thin crust pizza!

I am not the biggest fan of spinach; I like it in a cheese dip, but other than that, I can leave it right there in the serving platter. But like my other flourless pizza recipe, the other main ingredient is cheese, so I figured I would give this a try. I made one adjustment though: I cut the amount of spinach in half and I substituted it with carrot. My husband had actually been looking forward to this dish all week, and yet funnily enough his face contorted into one of absolute disgust when I excitedly told him I would be adding carrot. Go figure.

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Tips and tricks and misconceptions

I’ve been gluten free for well over a year now, and while I’ve found my groove in what to eat and where to shop, I don’t dare call myself an expert. Yet I have learned a thing or two along the way, and I thought I’d share them here. I do want to remind readers again, though, that this is all coming from someone with a gluten intolerance, not Celiac disease. Cross contamination is an absolute no-no for people with Celiac, but people with an intolerance, such as myself, can take the chance. So what follows is my own little slice of how I go about living a gluten free life day-by-day.

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A gluten free cracker like no other

My review of Mary’s Organic Crackers

Mary's Organic Crackers -- onion flavour -- are my new favourite cracker (http://www.marysorganiccrackers.com/your-products/crackers/onion-crackers)

Mary’s Organic Crackers — onion flavour — are my new favourite cracker (http://www.marysorganiccrackers.com/your-products/crackers/onion-crackers)

First let me start by saying, I’ve been a bit delinquent on my blog. And no, it’s not because I ran away screaming from my last post (a solemn vow to eat more salads). Life got really busy all of a sudden, and it looks like the past three weeks may have just set the tone for the rest of the summer. I often thought about my blog and all the other glorious blogs I was not reading, and finally decided enough is enough — I’m just going to sit myself down and write dammit. In the *shamefully admits* roughly-just-under-three weeks I was MIA, I did regularly update a list in my phone of things to blog about. So, a lot’s coming and I’m looking forward to it.

And, after roughly three weeks of not posting, I decided my big comeback post would be about…CRACKERS. But wait, folks, these gluten free crackers are so good they are in a class all on their own.

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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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