Rogers Centre gets gluten-free options!

Quick shout out to Gluten Free Philly for passing this information on to me!

Rogers Centre (forever known as the "SkyDome" to me) where the Blue Jays play will soon be offering some gluten-free options!

Going to see the Toronto Blue Jays is a cheap, fun activity for the whole family and I remember going with my class in elementary school.

This is quoted from Gluten Free Philly:

Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre) - Sandwiches (Barq's BBQ beef brisket, Big Smoke jerk chicken, T.O. chopped pork and Market Burger), pizza, traditional butter chicken with fresh greens, three-bean chili and fruit at Muddy York Market (Section 109); beer at King Club (Level 100)
Update, as of May 18, 2012:

With so much going on, I haven't had a chance to look into this further... so a fan of Gluten-Free Ontario sent an email to Rogers Centre and got the following response:

Being fully aware that there is a need for gluten free foods and products, I wanted to provide you with some information that may help you the next time you’re down at the ballpark! 
Our Executive Chef Dilup Attygalla has developed a list of menu options. Muddy York Market is our flagship location located on the 100 Level Stadium Food Hall (Section 109 at Gate 3) and is easily accessible for our guests from L200 and L500.

Our Staff in Muddy York Market is also fully trained on servicing “gluten free” menu items and any other food requests from our guests.

Our Muddy York Market Sandwiches will be available to be served on gluten free bread:
Barq’s BBQ Beef Brisket
Big Smoke Jerk Chicken
T.O Chopped Pork
Market Burger

In addition we also have:

Traditional Butter Chicken served with fresh greens (instead of basmati rice)
Three Bean Chili

Mediterranean Platter
Fresh Whole Fruit

We also have available at the KING CLUB on level 100, gluten free beer.

We hope these items will make your experience here at Rogers Centre that much more enjoyable. Please feel free to forward any further questions you may have.

Looking forward to seeing you here at the ballpark!

Guest Experience Team



Vegan Gluten-Free Lasagna (Dairy-Free and Soy-Free!)

You may have noticed (but probably not) that I have decided to go off dairy... for a short while.  I love cheese and I especially love ricotta cheese and all the cheesy goodness that comes with lasagna.  Sadly, I think my body is slowing telling me to cut out more and more foods.  We'll see where this dairy-free thing takes me...

If you're looking for a vegetarian lasagna (i.e you're okay with dairy/cheese) please check out my Vegetarian Lasagna recipe, which I have perfected.  It is amazing.

If you're looking for a meat lasagna... umm sorry.  I can't help you there.  I've never cooked meat in my life.  (I went vegetarian at age 12.)

So anyway... this is how I prepared my vegan lasagna... it turned out surprisingly well for my first attempt.  As it was in the oven, I was just hoping it was at least edible (so I didn't just waste all those ingredients) and it exceeded my expectations.

I like to use the Rizopia oven-ready lasagna noodles.  I had tried another brand in the past that needed to be precooked and ran into a number of problems... mainly, they ripped apart and made for a messy lasagna.

I will tell you the things I would consider changing for next time but I'm not entirely sure how those changes would turn out yet :)

Vegan Gluten-Free Lasagna

Splash of olive oil
A bunch of sliced mushrooms
1 green pepper
1 small red pepper
1 small yellow pepper
2 medium zucchini
Jar of pasta sauce
Jar of salsa
Italian Seasoning
Herbamare Original Seasoning

"Ricotta Cheese" Mixture
1 head of Cauliflower
1/3 cup Daiya Mozzarella

About 10 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 bag Daiya (Mozzarella and/or Cheddar, total 1 bag)

Cut veggies (except one zucchini) into bite size pieces.

Heat large pot with oil.  Add the veggies and saute until soft but not completely cooked.

Add pasta sauce and salsa to pot and simmer for about three minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat.  Add seasonings to taste.

Steam (or boil) cauliflower.  Put in food processor (or Magic Bullet) until smooth.  Put into a bowl and mix with 1/3 cup of Daiya "cheese".

Use vegetable peeler to create strips of one zucchini.

In a medium-large sized lasagna pan, assemble in the following layers:

(starting at the bottom)
1/3 cup sauce
Half lasagna noodles
1/2 "cheese" mixture
1/2 remaining sauce
Zucchini strips
1/2 shredded Daiya
Half lasagna noodles
1/2 "cheese" mixture
Remaining sauce
Remaining shredded Daiya
(top of lasagna)

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350*F for about 45 minutes.  

Uncover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. 

Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-10.

Alright, time for my thoughts on changes for future attempts... although I'm really hoping to add cheese back in soon.
  • I think I would try a tofu based "ricotta cheese" mixture since that seems to be prevalent in a lot of recipes online.  I just happened to have cauliflower and wanted to see what it was like.  There was nothing wrong with it, I just want to try switching it up to see which works best.
  • I might add some nutritional yeast - again, because it seems to be prevalent in a lot of recipes.
  • I would add another layer of lasagna noodles so that it would make a taller lasagna. (Only do this if the depth of your pan allows it.)
  • I might switch up some veggies, just for fun.  Broccoli, spinach, eggplants... the possibilities are endless here.
So there ya have it... it's definitely possible to make a vegan, gluten-free lasagna.  It may not be your traditional lasagna but will satisfy that lasagna craving when it hits.

Oh, PS... Wilton baking pans are great. I got a set on sale at Canadian Tire for like $20.


Kinnikinnick - New SOFT Bread Review!

I love the people over at Kinnikinnick!  I might love them as much as I love this new bread.  

It is seriously good.

I had seen the Toss your Toaster ads but I'm stubborn and I needed proof.

And proof came.

They sent over a nice box of goodies from their new line up.  They really didn't lie when they said it does not need to be toasted.

Plus, I ate my first few pieces with just vegan margarine.  I never do that.  Mainly because I've never liked a gluten-free bread enough to have it plain buttered and untoasted.  This changes things.
Kinnikinnick's new products will give [unnamed bread company] a run for their money.
Here are some highlights on the bread:
  • You do not have to toast them!
  • There's 5g of fiber per 2 slices
  • Offers white or multigrain bread, plus hamburger and hotdog buns
  • Regular size loaf and regular size slices - no more mini sandwiches!
  • Dairy free, soy free, peanut and nut free and kosher
  • Reasonable prices (as seen below)
These are the first Gluten Free Bakery Products to qualify for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada Health Check Program.
(Above is quoted from Kinnikinnick's website)

Currently, you can only purchase the new line through their website but I think soon enough you will be able to find it in stores.

How excited are you to have a 
regular full-size sandwich? ;)


Thai Cold Mango Roll

I have been getting Cold Mango Rolls at a Thai restaurant lately but noticed how easy and cheap they appeared to be to make myself at home.

Rather than about $3 each, I spent less than five dollars on all of the ingredients.

As I've mentioned before, I hate measuring ingredients.  (When baking, I will measure... but cooking? No, never.)  So these ingredient measurements are approximate.

Thai Cold Mango Roll

12 small Rice Papers (or 6 large)
2 Mangos
1/2 Red Pepper
12 Baby Carrots
6 leaves of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 cup Fresh Basil
100-150g White Rice Pasta (vermicelli or spaghetti)

Boil water for pasta and cook according to package instructions.
While pasta is cooking, wash and prepare your veggies and mango.  Cut them into small matchsticks.
Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
Soak the rice paper until soft (about 30 seconds) and place on clean surface.  Pat dry.
Place veggies and noodles on the wrap.  Put the filling along the centre, on the top two thirds of the wrap.
Flip the buttom of the rice paper wrap up and roll in both sides tight, leaving the top end open.

Tips for future attempts:
  • Get the larger rice paper, unless you're a pro.  I found it difficult to work with the small size.
  • I discovered it was much easier to leave one end open rather than trying to ensure both ends were closed tightly.  For more detailed instructions, visit this website for pictures(I just found the site today, after I had already discovered the "easier" way to assemble.)
  • Make sure you have fresh bay leaves - my local grocery store did not have them and I wasn't about to walk 20 minutes late at night to find some.  I did without but they were missing the basil flavour.
  • Turns out, these rolls do not keep well in the fridge!!  I had extra that I took to my parents' house the next evening and by then, I was left with a pile of mush.  The rice paper seemed to dissolve between the rolls and it was not good at all.


Ganong - Easter Chocolate Giveaway!

Yeah, that's right... free chocolate!

Easter it just around the corner and that means chocolate!

Ganong has got you covered with their line up of gluten-free Easter chocolate and treats.

In Ontario, Ganong products are available at Wal-mart, some Loblaw stores, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Sobeys.
  The prize pack will contain one of each of the following Ganong Easter candy:
  • 380g Ganong Easter Jelly Animals in compostable bag
  • 300g Ganong Panned Eggs in compostable bag
  • 250g Ganong MM Eggs in compostable bag
  • 300g Ganong Chocolate Cherry Jube eggs in compostable bag
  • 225g Ganong Chocolate Cherry cheesecake eggs
  • Ganong Delecto boxed chocolates: Milk, Dark, Truffles, and Nut and Caramel, one box of each.
That's a total of NINE gluten-free treats! The approximate retail value of the package is $ 50.00!

All of these products are clearly marked Gluten Free, and the Easter candy in stand up bags is made of compostable packaging film.


What is your favourite Easter tradition with your kids?
  • Post your entry in a comment below before 11:59 EST on Friday, March 23, 2012 and you will be entered to win one set of Ganong chocolate (as described above)
  • Please include your name (as it appears on Facebook) or your Twitter handle in your comment so I am able to contact you when/if you win!  If you do not have Facebook or Twitter, please ensure I have a way to contact you.
  • If you enter more than once (please don't) only your first comment will be considered.
This contest is open to Ontario residents only! (This is Gluten-Free Ontario, after all) The winner will be chosen by Ganong and I will post the winner's name by Monday, March 26, 2012 on Facebook, Twitter and on this page.

Comments on this blog require approval - please only post once and I will approve them at a later time.


Sponsor - Nickel Brook Gluten Free

What better time to write a blog post about gluten-free beer than on St. Patrick's Day?

Nickel Brook is a sponsor of Gluten-Free Ontario.  The brewery is located in Burlington, Ontario and they introduced the gluten-free beverage in December 2010.

You can pick up some Nickel Brook Gluten Free at LCBO across Ontario.  Not sure which ones near you carry it?  The LCBO has this great feature on their website... it allows you to check the inventory of each product in stores in your city!  Test it out for Nickel Brook Gluten Free and find out where you can buy it.

While I haven't had a chance to go there for a tour, I did get these cool pictures of the process of making gluten-free beer!

So there ya go... that's what part of the inside of a brewery looks like!

Oh, and by the way... Better Bitters Brewing Co. also makes a really great authentic root beer that is gluten-free!  It is called Babbling Brooke's.

Please drink responsibly. :)


Tips For Living Gluten and Dairy Free

The following is a guest post from my friend Devan at Accustomed Chaos.

I still remember vividly just over 5 years ago when I first learned I had to eat gluten free. Whoo, celiac disease was going to strip me off all the food I loved to eat -- or at least that's what I thought.

I was not new to eating a restricted diet. I grew up vegetarian and lactose intolerant so I was already 'comfortable' with not eating the norm and making modifications to my diet. It was nothing as strict as this new diet had to be though, but happily things sailed along pretty well. Learning the ins and outs of the gluten-free diet, the products that taste good and are worth the money was a challenge, but didn't take too long to get into a great groove.

After a year of eating gluten-free it was thought that I may be able to tolerate lactose again so I gave it a try, starting slowly. What was quickly realized was it was not just a lactose issue with me, but I was also intolerant to casein and whey -- so I basically had to go totally dairy free on top of gluten free.
Devan's Gluten Free Honey Barbecue Chicken Wings
It was not something I was terribly pleased with -- running a family -- planning meals for 2 adults & three young children on this strict diet (I should mention I was/am no longer vegetarian at this time) but was confident that we could make it work and still have an amazing connection with food.
Sure enough, things started to fall into place. Lunches and dinners did not become any more stressful and I didn't feel like we were missing out on anything. Sure, going out at restaurants is not the easiest, but we make nearly all our meals at home so it doesn't affect us in that way. There are little modifications for cooking that are simple and since there is no cross contamination issue for the dairy in our house -- I am still able to give the kids whole milk, but our meals are always dairy free as well as gluten free.

Quick tips for dairy free:
  • we use almond milk for everything. I've found that it translates measurement for measurement in baking and cooking
  • we use vegan margarine in place of butter and again translates (from my experience) measurement for measurement
  • eat naturally gluten & dairy free as much as you can. this will cut down on possible contaminations, expenses and is much healthier
  • read those labels! There are some people who can tolerate all but lactose, but others like me can't tolerate lactose, casein or whey & that stuff -- like gluten, is in a lot more products then you may think
Gluten Free Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Marshmallow Cookies
I swear, when you first find out you need to eat gluten and dairy free it sounds like it's a total nightmare. Once you get yourself lined with the right knowledge and have it down to a science (doesn't take long) -- it's not any different then regular cooking.

I'm a busy mom so I don't have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen doing weird concoctions of flours and complicated substitutions. Most of my meals are done in 30 minutes or less and are relatively healthy, kid friendly and delicious. Some of my favourite, everyday meals can be found here: Amazing Gluten & Casein Free Meals

The biggest tip to eating gluten and dairy free is to not be afraid to try new things. Meals do not have to be complicated and finding naturally gluten and dairy free meals may sound like a challenge, but remember, all fruits, veggies and meat are naturally gfdf!


I have a dream...

I am going to run.

Why am I telling you?

Well, if I don't tell anyone, I won't do it.  I'll just quietly let myself fail and never speak of this again.  You guys can keep my motivation up, right?  Right.

I don't have any particular goals, other than to get in shape and improve my cardiovascular health.  I don't see any marathons (or even half marathons) in my future at the moment.  And I'm not overweight... I just want to get healthy.

People always talk about the "high" they get while running.  It's definitely true.  I've been out a couple times already and felt great.  I used to Rollerblade a lot (before Celiac hit me) and always pushed myself to go further than I thought I could.

I still have to go out and buy real running shoes so I'm hoping that will encourage me even more.  The above picture is from Hello Bloomers page about running shoes.

My friend Laurie Ann March who wrote the book Another Fork in the Trail: Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for the Backcountryhas been a great inspiration for me.  You can check out her blog.

Anyway, you might get random updates on my progress.  Hope that's okay ;)

Any runners out there?

Got any words of wisdom or motivation for a beginner, like me?


Boston Pizza - Why Gluten-Free Menu was Pulled

Last week, I announced that Boston Pizza had just introduced a new gluten-free menu for all locations.

Just a week later, I found out that this menu was no longer available.

Shocked, I quickly got in touch with the nice people at Boston Pizza to find out why.  Surely the menu was popular with gluten-free customers who appreciate more options.  I needed to know why this happened.

Here is the response I received from Perry, the Director of Communications at Boston Pizza:

Hello Jax,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding our gluten free menu offerings.

Recently an inspector from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) visited one of our locations in Ontario and deemed that items on the recently launched Gluten Free menu did not sufficiently meet their standards for classifying an item as ‘gluten free’. While we are confident that all of the items on this menu, including our wings, are gluten free, and that we have taken the appropriate measures to develop and provide rigorous handling and training procedures to our stores, we have decided to pull this menu.

As you know, we have been offering Guests a gluten free pizza option for close to two years with great success and with little, if any, reports of cross-contamination.  We believe we have industry leading procedures in place for the handling and preparation of this menu item, and as such, we will continue to offer it to our Guests at this time. Despite our best efforts and sound handling procedures, due to the nature of our business, we cannot guarantee the absence of specific allergens in our menu items.

At this time, we are working with the CFIA as well as Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association (CRFA) to review our approach to providing guests with a range of gluten free options at our restaurants in the future.  We know that Guests are looking for these options and we are committed to providing our guests with gluten friendly choices that adhere to industry best practices.


I also spoke with Perry on the phone earlier today to further discuss this issue.  He informed me that it is because the kitchen is not a gluten-free environment, the CFIA will not allow them to claim they have a gluten-free menu.  This is because of the chance of cross-contamination, no matter the extent of the precautionary measures taken to prevent gluten exposure.  

This could potentially happen to any restaurant that offers a gluten-free menu. 

That would put the entire Gluten-Free Ontario website and research into jeopardy!  Imagine not having ANY gluten-free options out there?  I'd rather not have that as my reality... I have worked hard to bring you guys the list of restaurants offering gluten-free options.

I know for myself, the only guarantee of a gluten-free meal is one made in my own gluten-free kitchen.  Any time I dine in a restaurant, there is always a risk of cross-contamination.  I don't need to CFIA taking away the few options that I have left.

If restaurants are forced to remove their gluten-free menus, those with Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance will be forced to take more chances by ordering blindly from menus and hoping the server and cook knows what gluten-free means.

I believe restaurants should be allowed to offer a gluten-free menu as long as there is a disclaimer that there is gluten in the same kitchen.


Martin's Marvelous Crisps - Giveaway!

The folks at Martin's Marvelous Naturals run one of the few gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free manufacturing facilities in Canada… and they have a commitment to make the best tasting Crisps and Granola (gluten-free or otherwise)!  Everything is made in small batches using more than 90% Canadian ingredients without the use of any artificial colours, flavours, or any preservatives. 

Please note that Martin's Marvelous Crisps are made with pure, uncontaminated (wheat, rye and barley-free) oats.  In Canada, products containing oats are not allowed to be labeled gluten-free due to Health Canada regulations.  Some people with Celiac Disease may have issues with these pure oats even when they do not contain gluten.  Oats from major brands (e.g. Quaker) are likely contaminated with gluten and should not be consumed by those with Celiac Disease.


Which creative toppings do you like best on your crackers or crisps?
  • Post your entry in a comment below before 11:59 EST on Sunday, March 11, 2012 and you will be entered to win one of two sets of Martin's Marvelous Crisps (as shown above)
  • Please include your name (as it appears on Facebook) or your Twitter handle in your comment so I am able to contact you when/if you win!  If you do not have Facebook or Twitter, please ensure I have a way to contact you.
  • If you enter more than once (please don't) only your first comment will be considered.
This contest is open to Ontario residents only! (This is Gluten-Free Ontario, after all) The winner will be chosen by Martin's Marvelous and I will post the winner's name by Wednesday, March 14, 2012 on Facebook, Twitter and on this page.

Comments on this blog require approval - please only post once and I will approve them at a later time.