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 :)

Friday, 26 April 2013

Earth’s Own Chocolate Almond Milk Review

I’ve been trying to reduce dairy these days, so I’ve been trying some new Almond and Coconut varieties of milk. Last week I went out on a limb and picked up Earth’s Own Chocolate Almond Milk. The carton said it tastes like chocolate covered almonds, so I was in!

I’ll be up front; I’m not a huge milk drinker unless it’s in cereal or a smoothie. I do love my yogurts, but milk I can take or leave. This stuff is hard to leave! It has a delicious, rich chocolaty taste without being overpoweringly sweet. It is also about the consistency of 1% or 0.5% milk, so it’s not too thick to swallow.

This stuff was so good, I had to make sure I actually got some because it was a popular item in the house!

Per one cup serving, there is 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 21 grams of sugar. The calorie count is less than chocolate dairy milk, as is the fat and sugar. The sugar is still a little high however if you are concerned about sugar content.

Earth’s Own is a Canadian company based in British Columbia, and they use all non-GMO ingredients. The Almond milk is gluten free, kosher and vegetarian.  The milk is fortified and is a source of vitamins, minerals and calcium as dairy milk is. The major difference is non-dairy milks do not contain protein.

The 1.89L carton cost $3.49 at Dominion (it is regularly $3.99) so it’s comparable to dairy milk in price.

This will be a definite re-purchase for me! 

Monday, 22 April 2013

El Peto Corn Flakes Review

Gluten free cereals are super expensive compared to "regular" cereals, they hardly go on sale, and are more likely to not be fortified with any vitamins and minerals.
Whole Grain Corn Flakes
I generally do not eat a lot of cereal, but I will have it for a snack, or when I travel as a quick snack/breakfast. If I happen to be stuck somewhere and have a container full of cereal, I can probably track down some sort of milk/non-dairy beverage to add to it.

A little while ago I picked up a box of El-Peto Whole Grain Corn Flakes. They are usually around $5 a box, but these were 50% off, so I figured it was worth a sample at least. The ingredients are pretty simple, whole grain corn, corn and salt.

I opened up the bag, and took a few out to sample. Ummm, they did not really taste good :(. They were not crunchy (and they hadn't expired), and just sort of a dry, overall, mushy taste - without even getting to the milk stage......

El Peto has been around a long time in the gluten free world, and I find their products are really hit or miss. This was a miss for me. I'm sure I might be able to find some recipe that calls for crushed corn flakes to use them up, but otherwise, I don't think I'll be sitting down to a bowl of these any time soon!

Anyone try El Peto products they really liked?

Friday, 19 April 2013

Sedna Nutra - Blueberry and Chia Mix

I usually have a smoothie everyday for breakfast. I prep most of the ingredients the night before, throw them in a container and pop in the freezer until the morning. Then all I have to do is add some milk/nondairy option and blend. When I come out from the pool, breakfast is waiting!

Sedna Nutra is a Newfoundland company that makes products using chia seeds and blueberry powder. They are certified as a health food producer, and when I contacted them about their chia and blueberry mix they said it was gluten free. Now, I do know they make energy bites that have whole oats, so if you are really sensitive to airborne particles etc. you may wish to double check.

 Each bag has 26 servings of 10 grams, which is packed with fibre as well as omega 3's and 6's. Each serving has 11 grams of fibre :) and the only ingredients are the chia seeds and blueberry powder. I love to add a tablespoon to my smoothies and it mixes extremely well, and doesn't have a taste that I can tell - and I have super taste buds.

 A bag runs $11-$15 and is available at Sobeys, on their online store, and The Natural Health Shop on Stavanger drive.

What do you like to add to your smoothie???

Monday, 15 April 2013

High Fiber Gluten Free Bread Recipe

I’ve decided to start making my own bread. There’s a few reasons for this: Organic Works can’t ship to NL anymore due to high costs, there’s not many options around for organic gluten free bread and finally, it’s fun to try different types of bread J

I do have a bread maker arriving shortly, but I decided to try the recipe below as it is a free form style of bread that doesn’t require a pan, or a bread maker. As a heads up, if you are going to be making your own breads, you’ll probably have to venture outside the zone of all purpose gluten free flour. While the initial costs may seem high because you have to buy all these bizarre sounding flours, it’s worth it.

For storage purposes, I have a clear interlocking storage container that I keep all the flours in. It’s great for ease of access and I don’t get attacked by flours when I go to find something.

I found the recipe below on a blog and I adapted slightly. The recipe calls for Inulin powder. This is a plant fiber source, and the only company I know that uses it frequently is Kinnikinnick. If you don’t want to buy it, or can’t find it – you can leave it out. I purchased mine at the Natural Health Shop on Stavanger Drive. They also have a great selection of other gluten free flours, as does Food for Thought on Duckworth Street.

1 ½ cups of cornstarch
½ cup millet flour
2 cups of white rice flour
¼ Brown rice flour
¼ cup of milled flaxseed
¼ cup of Inulin
1 ½ Tbsp of xanthan gum (this stuff is expensive – but lasts forever)
2 tsp of salt
1 package of Active dry yeast ( it’s about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tsp of apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp of Sugar
1 Tbsp of Honey
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 eggs
1 Egg White (keep the yolk for the egg wash)
1 ¾ cups of warm water
1 Tbsp of melted butter/butter substitute for top of loaf

Add cornstarch, flours, flaxseed, inulin, xanthan gum, and yeast to the mixing bowl and mix together.
Next add the vinegar, sugar, honey, oil, egg white, and water. Mix slowly at first, then increase speed to high for about 3-4 minutes until fully incorporated

Butter a sheet pan or parchment paper for the bread

The next part works extremely well, even if it is one extra step.

Pour the mixture into a zipper bag, cut one corner to form a 2 inch diameter opening, and pour out mixture. I did two lines of dough next to each other (see picture). Also, I placed my zipper bag in a stand up container with 2 clothes pins to hold it in place and poured the dough in. It worked like a charm!

Once you have your loaf formed, brush with melted butter and let rise for 40 minutes in a warm place. Gently cover the loaf with wrap.

Now, I’ve seen gluten free breads “rise” before, and basically, they didn’t. This once actually expanded!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Once the 40 minutes is up, mix your egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water and brush over bread before baking.
Bake for 45 minutes on the middle rack.

This bread was absolutely delicious. I especially love the outside crunchy pieces J I had some non-GF eaters also taste it and really liked it.

It has a nice chewy factor, and as an added bonus is high in fiber.

You could probably bake this in a bread pan as well, and have a more traditional loaf, but I haven’t tried that yet! After 1 day, I sliced (what was left) of the bread and froze for later use.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Sprout - restaurant review

Last Friday a few people from my work went to the Sprout restaurant for lunch. As per our tradition of the birthday person selecting the location, I choose here because I'd heard awesome reviews and they have gluten free food! And lots of it!

This is a cute little restaurant on the end of Duckworth street (city hall end) that just serves vegetarian and vegan food. Meat eaters - you'll have to settle for awesome veggie options!

I was in love when I looked at the menu, there had to be 15 things marked gluten free! And they have gf bread options for sandwiches as well :)

For an appetizer we had nachos with homemade salsa, cheese, hot peppers, and black beans. Mmmm super yummy - and not drowned in cheese.

For my main dish I had the falafels, quinoa tabbouleh, hummus, tzatziki, and black olives. It was so delicious! Fresh, tasty, and healthy! The falafels were moist and were great to dip in the tzatziki.

To round out the meal, I had gluten free almond cookies for dessert.

The Sprout always has daily specials, which are usually gluten free and often vegan as well.

I can't wait to go back! Thanks Sprout for serving awesome food!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

HoneyBar Review

I picked up a package of HoneyBars while I was in Florida. They looked tasty, especially the Cranberry one I bought.

These are sort of a cross between a Taste of Nature Bar and a Kind Bar. The nuts and fruit pieces are a little larger, and so it feels like you are eating something substantial. I also found them a little moister than a Kind Bar – it could be the honey.

The Cranberry flavor bars are gluten and wheat free, vegetarian, and contain no preservatives. The only ingredients in this flavor are peanuts, honey, cranberries (dried cranberries, apple juice concentrate, sunflower oil), raisins, dried apricots and almonds.

I was at Sobeys last week, and saw different varieties of HoneyBars there as well. Turns out they are made by a Canadian company. Sure enough, when I looked at the back of mine it said product of Canada.

These are not listed in the non-GMO database, and are not organic, but are made with natural ingredients, and are a great quick snack for on the go, or travelling. I paid a little under $1 a bar in the US, but they cost around $1.50-$2.00 here in Newfoundland.

Has anyone tried other varieties or have a favorite gluten free “granola” bar?

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Namaste Vanilla Cake & Fudge Frosting Review

My birthday was approaching so I figured I'd try a new cake mix and frosting. I picked up the Namaste Vanilla Cake Mix and Fudge Frosting at Real Food Market.

I've tried other Namaste products before and they were good, my favorite by far being the pizza crust. 

The cake mix is pretty straightforward, mix all the stuff in the kitchen aid mixer and then bake. I decided to try out my new mini loaf pans I picked up in Florida and a few cupcakes to finish off the batter.

Overall the mix worked well, cake baked on time, and all was great.

Then I tried the frosting.......So you put the mix in the mixer, add your butter and mix until incorporated. Then you add 3-4 tablespoons of boiling water and mix. Then you wait 15 minutes and mix again. I followed the instructions exactly, and the results were a frosting that was practically impossible to spread. I tried a hot knife, spoon, piping bag and nothing worked. At this point I was frustrated and left the icing on the counter and went to the supermarket.

When I came back, I added 4-5 more tablespoons of water to the mix, used my hand mixer and finally, a frosting that whipped and spread!

The cake wasn't bad, it was moist, not crumbly and had a hint of vanilla. It tasted a little like old fashioned vanilla cake - not extremely sweet - but the icing had that covered!

This is a great mix if you need a quick cake - warnings on the icing. You might just want to make your own or use Truwhip!

Everyone got into the cake before I got a picture - here's pics of the half cake!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Gluten Free Pita Pockets

You can’t buy gluten free pita pockets in Newfoundland. I haven’t even seen any GF pita pockets in the stores in the US – but I am sure they are out there. Either way, you can’t get them here.

I was reading a Gluten Free Magazine last night and came across a recipe for gluten free pita pockets. Hmmm, how interesting…. It looked really simple to make, so I figured what the heck, I’ll give it a try!

1 egg
¼ cup water
1 Tbsp of oil (I used sunflower)
¼ cup almond flour (firmly packed)
1 Tbsp Coconut flour (firmly packed)
1/8 tsp of baking soda

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the wet ingredients; then add the dry ingredients.
  • Line a pan with parchment paper and pour the batter into 2 equal pods.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes and let cool before cutting.

I kept checking them while baking to see how they were doing – everything seemed alright from my view outside the oven.

At the point where I placed them on the rack to cool, I was still skeptical of how it was going to work. They looked awfully flat, and given experience with GF breads, I figured they would just crumble when I attempted to split them into the pocket.
To my surprise, they actually worked! I couldn’t believe it. I then stuffed it with some veggies and sour cream and enjoyed my pita :D

The pita itself tasted like whole wheat bread, but was very light tasting. The texture was soft and had some ‘give’. It had a nice chew factor and again – didn’t fall apart or crumble!
Next time I might leave them whole and just make a larger pocket to hold more “stuff”. You can also double/triple the batch to make more and store them for later.

Hope you enjoy!