About Me

Welcome to my blog - my ramblings about trying to find healthy, affordable gluten free food in St. John's, NL.
Despite being gluten free, I love to try new products and am always interested to hear about new places to eat.
I try to help the environment and purchase organic products where possible.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Blueberry, Mango, Strawberry Smoothie Recipe


Blueberry, Mango, Strawberry Smoothie Recipe – Almost completely Organic!

I love smoothies! I usually make them on the weekends, but I’ve started trying them on work days as well. This morning I actually measured out my ingredients, came up with a workable recipe, and even have an approximate calorie count!

Ingredients:

¾ cup frozen Moov Organic Blueberries
¼ cup frozen cubed mangos (I can’t find frozen organic mangos L )
½ cup frozen organic strawberries
1 tbsp organic milled flax
¼ cup organic Olympic Vanilla Yougart
½ cup Liberte 2% organic milk
½ cup organic Kiju Mango-Orange Juice
Splash of water if needed

Throw in a blender / food processor and blend until smooth! If you have fresh fruit, just cut down on the liquids (milk, water, juice) that you add.

My rough estimate is that it has 350 calories and it filled my booster juice re-usable cup almost to the top. There is also about 8.5 grams of fibre.

Enjoy!!!!!!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bolthouse Farms Dressings Product Review

I picked up a couple new salad dressings this week at Sobeys. They are Bolthouse Farms refrigerated dressings and are found by the produce section. These dressing are yougart based and therefore has a lot fewer calories than their traditional counterparts.

The flavours I picked up included the Thousand Island and the Caesar Parmigiano. The dressings are not organic, but are clearly labelled gluten free. The majority of the ingredients are from "real" food and are low in sugar.

I tried the Thousand Island one first - I am not sure what I was expecting, the consistency was the same as a regular dressing but it had an odd taste. Not that the taste was bad, but it didn't taste like the thousand island dressing I was used to. My DH tried it as well, and we just couldn't put a finger on what the spice or ingredient combo was that gave it that tang.

Next I tried the Caesar Parmigiano. Again, same consistency of regular dressing, but a slightly different taste.

My only conclusion is that the tang is from the yougart. The Thousand Island had pineapple juice in it, and I think with the yougart and combination of other ingredients is what gave it that different taste.

 I can't say I am a fan - and maybe it's just me. They also have a line of vinaigrettes that I might try if I can find them around!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels Review

Pretzels-2.6oz-Twists-Snack-PackGlutino offers a gluten free pretzel for those of us who can't eat the regular ones. I love these pretzels! In my opinion, they are better than the glutened kind - they are lighter and crispier!

These pretzels are not organic, but according to Glutino's allergen pdf, they are non-GMO. Also on this site - they also list that these pretzels are non-GMO.

I like the fact you can buy two sizes of these - a small snack bag, and a larger family size bag. However, because they are slightly expensive - I only have them as a treat.

The snack bag is regularly $2.99 and the family size bag is $8.99.

With the Superbowl approaching, I think I might splurge and get some! Anyone else love these?



Thursday, 24 January 2013

Mexican Meal at Home - Part 2: Easy Chicken Enchiladas

The last post I wrote about the Mexican Rice part of the meal - now here's the Chicken Enchiladas part! Again, it's from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. This meal is a great project, so much fun, and most of all - super yummy!

Serves: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

3 cups shredded cooked chicken - you can cook it however you want: oven, poaching, etc.
3 cups of sharp cheddar cheese - I've used marble as well and it works fine :)
2.5 cups of enchilada sauce - you can buy some or make your own - see recipe below
1-2 cans of chopped green chiles - optional
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro - optional
12 corn tortillas

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the chicken, 2 cups of cheddar, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, the chiles, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Stack the tortillas on a microwave sage plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave until warm.  I do this in stages - gluten free corn tortillas are finicky.

3. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean counter. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the centre of each tortilla. Tightly troll the tortilla around the filling, then lay seam-side down in 9 X 13 inch baking dish lightly coated with vegetable oil or my personal favourite Reynolds release wrap.

4. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the centre of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20-25 minutes.

5. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheddar brown, about 5 minutes longer.

I am sure you could use non-dairy cheese for this recipe - but I've never tried it!

Enchilada Sauce

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp of chili powder
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp sugar
2 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce - we just use the canned San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 water
pepper

Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and salt and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Stir in the chilli powder, garlic, cumin, and sugar. Cook until fragrant  about 15 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.




Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Mexican Meal at Home - Part 1: Mexican Rice

One of my favourite meals is Mexican Rice and Chicken Enchiladas (home made of course). The recipe comes from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I picked this book up in Toronto about a year ago, and seriously, everything that we made from it tastes awesome! The book also gives you tips on the best type of products and how they were tested. The version I have is binder format so you can move around recipes to fit your needs.

This meal (rice and enchiladas) is a little bit of work, lots of dishes, but well worth it. We usually make it a Saturday project, or prep the night before.

Mexican Rice

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes (includes 30 minutes baking time)

Ingredients:
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered - we use the canned San Marzano ones from Costco - works just fine
1 onion, quartered, peeled, and trimmed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed and drained - we have used the Lundberg long grain and Basmati rice and both worked fine
4 garlic cloves minced
3 jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded and minced - you don't need all/any if you don't like heat!
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth - my favourite is Pacific Chicken Broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
salt to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro - we never use this - it's hard to find!
pepper to taste

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Purée the tomatoes and onion in a food processor until smooth. You should have 2 cups purée.

2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add he rice and sauté  stirring frequently, until light golden, about 10 minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic and 2/3 of the minced jalapeños  Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the puréed tomato mixture, broth  tomato paste, and 1.5 tsp of salt (or to taste). Bring to a boil. Cover and bake until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 30-35 minutes, stirring well after 15 minutes.

4. Fluff the rice with a fork. Fold in the cilantro and remaining jalapeños. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

ENJOY!



Gluten Free Energy Balls

Real Food Market posted an awesome recipe on their blog this week. They are called Energy Balls - and are super easy to make. You can also be very liberal with ingredients, and make substitutions based on your dietary needs.

I've posted the recipe below. I used gluten free corn flakes (nature's path) instead of oatmeal. It added an excellent crunch factor! I also used some agave syrup in addition to the honey to make the ingredients more moist. Apricots were my dried fruit of choice and I added some seeds!


  • 1 cup pure oatmeal - or substiute - I used Nature's Path corn flakes
  • 2/3 cup grated coconut - I used organic unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter - I used all natural just peanuts
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed - I used milled flaxseed - a little smoother
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips - I went with apricots
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together. Let chill in refrigerator for about an hour. Roll into balls, as big or as small as you’d like. If the mixture is too dry to stick together, add a little more honey. Store for up to 1 week in a container in the fridge. So simple!
Another great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute for some of the ingredients, depending on what you like, or what you happen to have in your cupboard. Use your favourite nut butter such as almond or cashew butter. Use chopped nuts, chocolate chips, raisins or dried betters instead of the dried fruit. If you’re missing one of the dry ingredients (coconut or flax), add in extra oatmeal or use hemp seeds, or your favourite cereal, crushed. The possibilities are endless! Have fun trying out this recipe and finding your perfect no-bake energy ball!


If you've made them with other substitutions, post a comment on what you used!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Homemade Gluten Free Granola Bars


There are not a lot of gluten free options out there for granola bars. The couple I have tried turned out to be very HARD, crunchy and not at all chewy like a granola bar should be. During my Google searching for recipes, I adapted one from www.glueandglitter.com

Vegan Granola Bars

Ingredients
·         1 2/3 cup rolled oats - Some people can't tolerate oats very well - you may want to substitute quinoa flakes. From a little research, they a good replacement. 
·         1/2 cup brown sugar 
·         1/3 cup oat flour - you can make your own by grinding oats, or purchase it, or probably sub in another mild tasting flour 
·         1/4c flax meal - you don't need this but it's a great source of fiber 
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1/4 tsp cinnamon
·         1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped - I used apricots - and I think I'd use more next time
·         1/2 cup nuts, chopped - I used almonds 
·         1/3 cup tahini or nut butter - I used almond butter 
·         1 tsp vanilla
·         1/3 cup olive oil
·         1/4 cup your favourite liquid sweetener - I used agave syrup
·         1 Tbsp water
·        wax paper

** I also threw in a few handfuls of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for extra texture **

Cooking Directions
1.      Preheat oven to 350 and line your pan with the wax paper.
2.      In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
3.      In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients.
4.      Combine the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir well.
5.      Pour the dough into your baking pan, pressing it down well - I made mine on a baking sheet as opposed to a pan 
6.      Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until it browns slightly at the edges - I found I only needed about 25 minutes and mine was done! 
7.      Once the bars are completely cooled, chill in the fridge for an hour, then pop them out of the pan, slice them up and store.

This was a great recipe, and I'm glad I found it! I can't wait to try it next time with the quinoa flakes :) 




Saturday, 19 January 2013

Lucy's Chocolate Chip Cookies Review

I found Lucy's Chocolate Chip Cookies at Costco this week. I haven't seen this brand around stores; I vaguely recall small packages at Starbucks a few years back, but I can't be certain.

Either way, I had to try them! They were $8.99 for a large box - in fact, this box type is made specially for Costco. Inside the box are 4 little trays of cookies - with 14 cookies in each :D Not only do you get lots of cookies, but they are in the separate trays so they don't go stale while you are trying to eat them!

These cookies taste awesome. They have a crispy texture, a sweet chocolate chip taste, and remind me slightly of the Enjoy Life Sugar Cookies. A serving is 3 cookies, for 130 calories which is not bad.

Not only are these cookies gluten free, they are also free of nuts, peanuts, milk and eggs! They are certified Kosher, certified vegan, have zero trans fats AND are non-GMO (and carries the symbol).

These cookies ROCK! I will be buying a few more boxes before they stop carrying them!



Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Cocoa Pebbles Cereal Review

Last week I noticed that Costco was carrying the Post Cocoa Pebbles gluten free cereal. I was a little surprised because I didn't even think they were sold in Canada yet!

I had tried them a couple times while I was in the US and while they do not exactly rank on top of the nutritional scale - they do have some perks.

1. They taste yummy - light flakes of chocolate with milk - how can you go wrong??
2. They are a "mainstream" cereal so they are fortified with vitamins and minerals that a normal gluten free cereal wouldn't have
3. They could be used to make squares / desserts (I'm thinking something like a rice krispie square)
4. They are very affordable - there was a $2 coupon off the box this week so it rang it at $6.99 for the 2 giant bag Costco version.
5. Kids with Celiac can have "normal" kid cereal for a treat
 
I personally find these one of my guilty pleasures as I am quite a chocolate junkie - anyone else seen these around outside of Costco?


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Gluten Free Honey Carmel Apple Bundt Cake

After being snow bound for a couple days - the stores were finally opened again on Saturday (and did have some food) - I set out to make a Honey Carmel Apple Bundt Cake. I saw the recipe in Canadian Living Magazine and just made 2 substitutions. 

It's pretty easy to make - and I just subbed in Sol Cuisine All purpose Gluten free flour for regular flour and I used sunflower oil instead of light tasting olive oil. 


I found I had to cook it almost an hour before it was completely cooked, and it tastes yummy with ice cream as well. 


The topping is optional - in retrospect, I may have skipped the Caramel topping because it made the cake a little soggy after the first day - but it's entirely up to you! 




Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) light-tasting olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) liquid honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
  • 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 3 cups (750 mL) diced cored peeled apples

  • Honey Caramel:
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) mild liquid honey, (such as clover or wildflower)
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) whipping cream, (35%)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter

Preparation

In large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, honey, eggs and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into egg mixture just until combined. Stir in apples. Scrape into greased 10-inch (3 L) Bundt pan.

Bake in 325ºF (160ºC) oven until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes; transfer from pan to rack and let cool completely.

Honey Caramel: In heavy saucepan, bring sugar, honey and 2 tbsp water to boil over medium-high heat, brushing down side of pan with pastry brush dipped in cold water. Cook until deep amber colour, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Standing back and averting face, stir in cream and butter. Cool until caramel has thickened enough to coat back of spoon, about 15 minutes. Drizzle warm caramel over cake. 
Source : Canadian Living Magazine: October 2012

Monday, 7 January 2013

Kiju Juice Review


I’m a typical water drinker – I can’t remember the last time I had an entire glass of soft drink (or any amount of soft drink). That being said, I do have juice occasionally either in smoothies or a splash to flavour a glass of water.

One of my favourite brands is Kiju. They are a Canadian company, and are based out of Ontario. The juice is widely available in the Natural Foods sections of most supermarkets and if you are in the St. John’s area, you can get some varieties at Real FoodMarket.

There are lots of things I like about this juice: It’s organic, it contains no added sugar, it comes in juice box format and it has awesome flavours! My favourite has to be the Mango Orange. It has a great consistency – similar to the thickness of regular orange juice (but smoother) and the flavour is amazing. I use it in smoothies too J
Mango Orange
I also like their apple juice, lemonade and grape apple. The apple juice tastes really crisp and clean – excellent with some toast and jam!

The juices often go on sale for $2.50 or less, and there is a coupon on the Healthy Shopper you can use as well.

While most juices are gluten free – it’s great to be able to find an organic variety that is tasty and affordable!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Gluten Free Cereal Alert at Costco - Cocoa Pebbles

I was at Costco (I know - surprise hey?) a couple days ago and saw Gluten Free Cocoa Pebbles :D IT was around $8 for the giant Costco sized box.

While these don't rank the highest on the sugar nutritional list - they are tasty and I usually buy them on vacation in the US for a treat :)

Larabars Review


Well it’s a new year and almost the one year anniversary of my blog! Wow – I didn’t think I’d still be blogging after a year, but it’s quite fun, and I hope to be able to do more posts and products reviews this year :)

Apple PieSeeing how most people have a healthy food focus at the beginning of the year, I decided to do a post about Larabars. These bars are great for travelling, after the gym, afternoon pick up or even a sweet snack.
  
This company has 3 different lines of products: Larabar, Uber and Jocalat. The only ones available in Canada are the original Larabar line. However, there are a ton of flavours to choose from, so it’s all good. 

Costco sells a variety package that works out to be about $1 per bar – that’s the cheapest I’ve seen around these parts. They usually retail at $2-$2.25 but can go on sale for $1.50.

Apple Pie and Peanut Butter chocolate chip are probably my favorite. These bars are simply a combination of pressed fruits, nuts and spices are not cooked. All larabars are gluten free and non-GMO, but check out their website if you need more specifics for vegan and dairy.

While I was in Florida, I tried the Uber line of products. I had the Apple Turnover and the Cherry Cobbler. Both were delicious and had a bit more texture than the original line. It was almost like a dessert :D

Larabars tend to be about 200 calories per bar, 4-5 grams of fiber and yes they do contain fat. The fat comes from the fact the bars contain nuts. If you have fat restrictions, you may want to look at the fat content more closely.

I consider these to be a whole foods type of snack that keeps me fueled with nutritious ingredients!

They are a great staple for your gluten free cupboard!