Gluten-Free Mini Cheesecake

There's something about mini-size snacks that makes them an instant success.

Maybe it's because they look so darn cute.  
Perhaps it's because you don't feel so guilty eating one (or three).

Whatever the reason may be, here's a new favourite of mine. 

Mini cheesecakes!  Impress your friends.  It'll be a secret between you and me that these only take mere minutes to make!

I must confess that this recipe is originally from the Kraft website, except mine are obviously made gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Mini Cheesecake

1 large tub of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (400g)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

12 gluten-free "Oreo" substitute (Kinnikinnick or Glutino - you can use vanilla or chocolate)
Pie filling or fresh fruit for the topping

Preheat oven to 350*C.

Blend the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together.  Once smooth, add the eggs and beat.

Place cookies in muffin pan lined with baking cups.

Scoop mixture over the cookies.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool on a rack before cooling in fridge for 2 hours.

Add your toppings just before serving.


Astoria Mills Creates Endless Possibilities!

Astoria Mills has created an amazing lineup of gluten-free flour mixes, allowing you to create anything your heart desires!

I know firsthand.

Trina herself visited my home last year and we spend an entire day baking amazing treats!

Pizza, fresh made pasta, crackers, bread... phew. 
It was a fun-filled day and I got to take home the souvenirs.

It is comforting knowing that all of these products have gone through very strict procedures to ensure the finished product is certified gluten-free.

What are you waiting for?!

You can head on over to Astoria Mills and get your hands on the full line of baking mixes!

There are endless possibilities.
Astoria Mills Gluten Free Baking Mixes


O'Doughs Giveaway!

I would like to welcome O'Doughs as my new sponsor!

To celebrate this joyous occasion, we are having a giveaway, woohoo!

Christmas is coming and you just don't have money to keep to yourself these days. So we're giving away a HUGE prize pack - you get one of each product in O'Doughs gluten-free lineup!

This includes:

Muffins -Banana Chocolate Chip, Wild Blueberry and Double Chocolate
Buns - Flax, White and Apple Cranberry Breakfast
Bread - White and Flax
Pizza Kits - White and Flax
Dessert Cakes - Banana, Carrot and Chocolate
NEW Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns (Original and Whole Grain)
NEW 100 Calorie Bagels - Apple Cranberry, Original and Sprouted Whole Grain Flax

Doesn't that sound fancy?!  That's a total of 19 products!

Yup, don't miss out!  Enter the contest below :)

[You must be a resident of Ontario to win this prize!]

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Gluten Free Garage Raffle Prizes!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012 (tomorrow!) is the Gluten Free Garage event! 

I wrote about it a couple weeks ago.  I will have a table at the event where I will have a whole lot of prizes!

All you have to do is come to the event, fill out a ballot with your name, phone number and email address for your chance to win!  Check it out - over $600 of prizes available!

Thank you to all of the companies below for donating the prizes!

[Psst, I am also told there are door prizes at the event.]

Allergic Solution

Allergic Solution combines non-allergenic ingredients into convenient mixes so those of you with many allergies can indulge in treats once again.  The pancake mix is my favourite!

$150 Value
Sarah Maughan

Sarah is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is offering a FREE Nutritional Assessment to one lucky winner.  Struggling with the gluten-free diet and unsure which nutrients might be missing from your diet? This is the perfect prize for you!

$120 Value
VILLA Restaurant

Italian restaurant in Bloor-West Village.  A personal favourite of mine!  With gluten-free options ranging from pasta to pizza, you can't go wrong at this establishment.

2 x $50 Gift Certificate
Martin's Marvelous

Martin's Marvelous uses 100% pure, uncontaminated oats to create healthy crackers, cookies and granola just like you remember before Celiac Disease!

$100 Value

Delicious cookies, biscotti, brownies and more!  Just about anything your heart desires made in small batches so the flavours melt in your mouth!

$65 Value

Toronto-based gluten-free company offering gluten-free bread, buns, bagels, muffins and cakes. Supplies buns to many restaurants across Ontario.

$50 Value

Natur-a offers yummy and fortified dairy alternatives, including soy, rice and almond beverages.  Perfect for those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance!

$50 Value

Nutrigreen Sproutz

We could all use a little more “green” in our diets and Nutrigreen Sproutz makes it easy with their fresh sprouts and leafy greens.

$50 Value

Having a hard time finding gluten-free food essentials at stores near you?  Why not have it delivered right to your door with gluten-free-grocery.com?  Quick service and great prices!

4 x $10 Gift Certificate
Aurora Importing

Aurora Importing brings you some of the finest gluten-free products from Italy.  Whether you're missing authentic Italian sauces or just a nice bowl of pasta or cookies, Aurora has got you covered!

$25 Value

How would you like to sit back, relax and order a gluten-free dinner right to your door?!  With Orderit.ca this is a reality.  You can view menus online, including restaurants offering gluten-free options.

$20 Value

Looking forward to seeing all of you!  I will be announcing the winners later next week.


Petition: Hero Burger at ACC Should Offer Gluten-Free!!

Well, I feel silly.  Stupid, actually. 

Yesterday on my Facebook page, I shared Hero Burger's picture announcing that there was a new location inside the ACC.

I foolishly said that the new location would offer gluten-free buns and veggie burger patties.

Because ya know... that would be logical.  All 30+ other Hero Burger locations DO offer gluten-free buns and veggie burger patties.

A fan posted this morning informing me that she visited the new location last night where she found out they do not offer the gluten-free bun or veggie burger.

Immediately, I shot an email to my contact at Hero Burger asking if this was true.  His response:

Morning Jax,

ACC wanted one burger only, simplified menu.  This deal was put together in a short period of time.

We will definitely look into incorporating this in the future.  You can help support the cause by emailing the ACC and requesting these options as a Hero Fan.

Thanks again for your support.


Umm, so I was wrong.  Sorry about that.

So... I am enlisting your help!!

If the ACC knows just how many of us are out there looking for gluten-free options, maybe they will reconsider and allow Hero Burger to offer gluten-free buns to cater to our needs.

Please consider sending your thoughts to the Air Canada Centre regarding this issue.  I have sent the following email to them and I would love it if you did, too!  Here's where to contact them.

Dear Air Canada Centre staff,

Let me start out by saying that I love going to Hero Burger because they offer a gluten-free bun to accommodate those of us with Celiac Disease.

I was very happy to find out that Hero Burger opened a location at the ACC... only to be disappointed that this particular location does not offer the same gluten-free bun that all 30+ other locations offer.

As someone with Celiac Disease, it is hard to describe the misery felt when all of my family and friends are able to pig out at events while I am stuck drinking just water.

Since Hero Burger offers such amazing gluten-free buns, I believe it would be a wise decision to allow them to offer gluten-free options to the ACC customers.

Please consider offering gluten-free and you will have hundreds of happy new customers.

Gluten-Free Ontario

Thanks everyone!!


Event: Gluten Free Garage!

Another gluten-free event is coming up!

Here's all the info you need to know about Gluten Free Garage:

Sunday, November 11, 2012
10 a.m - 4 p.m.
Artscape Wychwood Barns
601 Christie Street
Toronto, Ontario

Admission is $10 for adults.

Wanna know what the best part is?! 

I will be there!  I will have a booth so look for my new banner and polka dot tablecloth!  I have some pens leftover so if you ask nicely you can grab one. 

More details about the event below. 


CUTCO: Innovating Since 1949

(The following is a guest post from Ashley Pelley of CUTCO Canada.)

I discovered CUTCO in 2005 when a family that I was babysitting for purchased them from a University student. I was in awe of how sharp the knives were and how great they felt in my hand. That’s why, in 2006, when I heard about a job with CUTCO, I was excited for the possibility. It was through selling CUTCO (via direct sales and home shows- some of you might have seen our both at the Gluten-Free Expo in Toronto recently)- that I learned to listen to what customers love about CUTCO, and how to really share the best qualities of CUTCO with them. It’s not just the super sharp blades, or the guarantee (which is actually every bit as amazing as it sounds), but it’s the quality of the materials that go into every CUTCO knife that make them a product designed to last forever (with sharpening).

There are over 400 employees at our factory in Olean New York. In a day and age when most companies are outsourcing and turning to robotic and mechanical labour as much as possible, we stick to personal labour and sourcing jobs (for almost all of our products) in North America. I’ve had the chance to visit the factory a few times, and each time that I have visited, I’ve been greeted by employees who feel lucky to manufacture products that they know are making customers lives better.
I’m really proud to work for a company who is always searching for ways to make customers’ time in the kitchen easier and faster. Since going gluten-free in 2010, I have appreciated that even more. I rarely have the luxury of just grabbing something “on the way-“ my time in the kitchen has doubled (if not tripled)! CUTCO honestly makes my life easier every time I am in the kitchen- whether through slicing through crumbly bread or chopping up squash- and everything in between! I’m an employee, but I am also a customer.

Recently, I’ve watched some huge innovation happen behind the scenes here and I am so excited to share it. Since 1981, CUTCO has primarily been sold by University Students doing one on one presentations for customers. It’s worked really well- we’ve given tons of University Students great experience for their resumes and given them leadership experience that they might never have gotten otherwise. But no one sells CUTCO better than the people who would use it themselves all the time- and that’s not University Students.

On October 10th, Cooking With CUTCO was launched. It combines the best of both worlds –Cutlery and Cookware! The CUTCO Cooking Experience allows YOU to showcase our amazing products in action in the kitchen as well as educate your client on how to cook nutritious and healthy meals for their families, in a fast and cost effective manner. But most of all you will have a tonne of fun creating these experiences for yourself & your clients in their kitchen! This business is fun and easy - we will provide you with hands on training, video training and so much more!

For more info on how to become a Cooking Consultant, go to cookingwithcutco.ca

We’re launching in the GTA right now- if you’re interested, you can RSVP online for one of these Opportunity Meetings:

October 29, 7 - 8pm Mississauga
November 8, 7 - 8pm Toronto
November 12, 7 - 8pm Oshawa
November 22, 7 - 8pm Hamilton


Canadian Smuggles Gluten-Free Food in from Buffalo!

It may sound strange... but thousands of Canadians do it.

Smuggle food in from the United States.*

The US has tons of products that we don't have here in Canada.  For whatever reason, the companies don't bother packaging and labeling products properly to sell in Canada... or maybe they haven't been approved by Canadian regulations.

I don't personally agree with making every day food purchases in the states if you are a Canadian.  Sure, food is cheaper down there... but this practice does nothing to strengthen the Canadian economy.  Standards are also completely different between Canada and the US so you really have to watch what you're buying.  (Check out what Brent from Grocery Store Guru has to say about cross border shopping.)

Anyway... I don't see anything wrong with picking up some items that just aren't available in stores in Ontario.

I posted about my visit last year - Part 1 covers the vendor fair I went to plus some products I picked up in Wegmans and Part 2 covers my visit to three different restaurants/fast food places in Buffalo.

So here goes... here's some stuff I picked up in the USA.
Greens beer is freaking expensive.  $6.19 a bottle! Definitely not something most people would want to purchase on a regular basis but apparently it's good.  I was told, and I quote:
The Belgian ones are delicious! Especially the dark one. Guinness was my favourite beer, and it reminds me of a stout like Guinness. Love it!
So... it's gotta be good.  But for that price, not something I'd likely stock in my fridge regularly.
Schar Cheese Bites are something that I will always pick up in the states whenever I go.  As I mentioned in my previous blog post about visiting Buffalo, they remind me of Goldfish crackers so if you have gluten-free children (or if you're a kid at heart, like me) you have to try them out!
Wegmans was sold out of the Schar Ciabatta buns that I normally like to buy.  So I had to substitute with these Schar Classic White Rolls instead.  Haven't had a chance to try them out yet but looking forward to making some nice sandwiches :)
These Schar Shortbread Cookies are a nice treat and they are not overly sweet.  They are excellent paired with tea or coffee.
Wow, super cheap gluten-free Nature Valley Nut Crunch Bars.  I haven't seen these in Canada - anyone else?  Are they any good?  I haven't tried them.
These hot cereals looked tasty but I didn't buy any.  I was trying to conserve space for things that really caught my eye.
Chex is only $3.49 (regular price) in the US.  Most places in Ontario have it for nearly $6!  They also have other flavours over there... Cinnamon, Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate, Corn.  (Some stores in Ontario bring these over from the US but they are not legal to sell in Canada.)
I bought the Luna Protein Bars in the Chocolate flavour.  Pretty good!! It's difficult to find gluten-free protein bars that are actually edible sometimes so this was a nice change.  And only $5.59 for a box!  It is packed with soy protein.
mmmm super quick Annie's Mac and Cheese - you just toss it in the microwave and it's ready in under 5 minutes.  Apple Cinnamon Chex is a newer flavour that is only available in the States.  I sent this box to a friend who told me it was really good!
Set of shelves offering gluten-free packaged food in Wegmans.
A cookbook spotted in Wegmans.  It is just me or do out grocery stores in Ontario not seem to offer gluten-free cookbooks?
Udi's also makes this granola, which is only available in the US, likely because of the Canadian labeling laws which prevent even pure oats from being labeled "gluten-free."
Some gluten-free cookbooks in Wegmans grocery store.
Gluten-free section in a store in Buffalo.
Redbridge beer in Wegmans!  Only $8.99 for a 6 pack.  (It still makes me laugh that you can buy celery and beer in the same store.)

Wegmans seems to have come out with their own line of gluten-free pasta products.
A shot of the gluten-free aisle in Wegmans.
I saw these Pebbles cereals at Tops I believe... they were probably at Wegmans too.  I didn't buy any of them but I think some of you would be interested to know that these are now labeled gluten-free and priced very reasonably.

*I claimed all foods at the border.   You may have to pay duty on all products purchased in the United States.
What are some of your favourite gluten-free foods 
to pick up in US stores?


Gluten-Free Mini Pumpkin Pies and Pastry Recipe!

Gluten-Free Mini Pumpkin Pies!

My first attempt at a gluten-free pastry was quite successful!  To be honest, I've never made pie from scratch - even before gluten-free.  I was diagnosed with Celiac at age 19 and never ventured into much baking, aside from cookies.

This post features the pastry crust recipe plus what I used to make my Mini Pumpkin Pies and Veggie Pot Pie :)  The pastry recipe was enough to do 12 mini pies plus cover two small pot pies.

Sweet rice flour is extremely important!  Do not substitute other flours.  You can find this flour in Asian food stores or health food stores.  Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are actually the same thing.

This recipe is based on Bette Hagman's pastry mix but I changed it a little based on what I had in my cupboard.

Gluten-Free Pastry Recipe

Flour mix
1 cup sweet rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/4 cup white rice flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Other Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Crisco
1 egg (cold)
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup water (cold)
Extra flour for rolling
  • Mix flours together in a large bowl.
  • Cut in butter/Crisco.
  • Beat egg and add the vinegar and water.
  • Mix all ingredients together, kneading with hands.
  • Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
  • Sprinkle lots of flour on a large surface area before rolling out dough.
I used the lid of one of my travel cups to cut out circle shapes to fit.  Next time, I would cut slightly bigger circles so the dough would protrude from the muffin tins.

Things I've learned from trying to make pastry:
1. It's not easy.  And it's very sticky. Don't be afraid to use lots of flour!
2. It is difficult to handle if you have long nails.  I kept trying to shape the dough in the pan and my nails would pierce through.
3. I have a new found appreciation for pastry chefs, gluten-free or not.

Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin Pie Mix
I used this Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin Pie Mix.  It is gluten-free.  I like it because I don't have to fiddle with spices to find the right combo - it is all done and sweetened already!

The directions are simple: add 3/4 cup evaporated milk, 2 eggs and the can of pumpkin pie mix.  Mix together and you're good to go!

I used a soup ladle to scoop out the pumpkin mixture into the pastry.  As I said, I wish I had made the circles a bit bigger so they would fill the muffin tins better.

Bake at 375* for between 30 and 40 minutes.  The crust will turn flaky and the filling with set when ready.

Tada! Here is the finished product!
Gluten-Free Mini Pumpkin Pie

I used the leftover pastry dough to make Gluten-Free Veggie Pot Pie.  Essentially, you just throw a bunch of veggies in a pot and simmer until soft.  Add some broth, seasonings and assemble in an oven safe dish.  Cover with the pastry and bake!  Yum!
Just place the pastry over top the veggies, tuck in the ends and slice an X in the top to let the steam out.  Brush the top with a beaten egg.  It's a good idea to place a cookie sheet underneath to catch any juices that overflow or you will end up with a mess in the bottom of your oven (oops).
 I used a little too much liquid... tasted good but definitely too runny.  I will know for next time!
Gluten-Free Veggie Pot Pie
Looking forward to enjoying these gluten-free additions for Thanksgiving dinner!