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!


Urban Herbivore Giveaway!

Urban Herbivore has recently started to offer baked goods from their dedicated gluten-free bakery!

They carry 8 gluten-free cupcakes, 8 gluten-free donuts and are working on offering some squares and bars.

I was given the opportunity to try out 5 different baked goods from Urban Herbivore in order to share these pictures with you guys and offer a giveaway!  (Giveaway at the bottom of this blog post)
Banana Split Cupcake (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, banana chip, maraschino cherry and chocolate drizzle, banana pudding filling)
Above is the Banana Split Cupcake from Urban Herbivore.  Wow!  The texture of the cupcake was so moist and the touch of banana pudding filling was heavenly.  Everything about this cupcake was amazing.  I love it.  When I return, this will be #1 on my list!
Neapolitan Cupcake (vanilla and chocolate cake with strawberry frosting)
Apple Crumple (cinnamon spiced cake with chunks of apple, crumble topping and icing drizzle)
Cinnamon Toast Doughnut (vanilla doughnut coated with cinnamon sugar)

Chocolate Glazed Doughnut (chocolate cake with vanilla glaze)
While the donuts were very tasty, they are baked rather than fried.  I still miss sinking my teeth into a fried donut but these easily satisfy the donut craving when it hits! 

Urban Herbivore has three locations to serve you:

Eaton Centre, Kensington Market and College Street.

Please keep in mind that in order to claim the prize below, you must be able to visit one of the three locations to redeem the coupons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Gluten Free Shopping Spree in Oakville!

It's happening again!!

The Gluten Free Shopping Spree is back! 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 -- 7pm - 9pm
CAW 707 Galaxy Hall
475 North Service Road East
Oakville, Ontario

Admission is $5.  More details below!