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For Your Entertainment
November 8th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: The Dish, Uncategorized 5 Comments »

In my gluten eating life I had never once tried making lasagna. So it made perfect sense to try it in my Gluten Free/Dairy Free life.

Why?

Because I’m here for your entertainment. You’re welcome.

So this is how it went down:

1. Buy GF lasagna noodles.

2. Google what to do.

3. Send Husband to buy the ingredients.

4. Fail

The whole time I was attempting this culinary feat, all I could do was sing the Adam Lambert song Whataya Want From Me.

Pausing for a moment so you can judge my musical choice.

Let’s talk noodles:

Timkyada Pasta Joy Ready Lasagne Rice Noodles were the ones I chose. I’ve had many different Timkayada rice noodles before and I like them. These however, didn’t like me. The package was clear on what to do and we paid attention – we were almost clinical about it. And here’s what happened:

Yup, a clump of shredded noodles. But I figured I could hide under this mess under the meat sauce so I wasn’t too concerned. I must say, that aside from the impossibility of them turning out as whole strips, they actually tasted good. Not to heavy not too starchy and not crunchy.

Meat Sauce:

Out of a can added vegetable and meat. Nothing new or fancy here. If you want homemade pasta sauce recipes, why would you bother to look read this website?

Cheese:

We went with an assortment of Lactose Free Gluten Free cheese. Nothing special just the stuff you find in every grocery store. But here is where it went a little wrong – we ran out. So we resorted to GF/LF cheese slices. And why are they two different colours you ask? Because for some unknown reason they have both cheddar and American cheese here. It looks almost the same, it sure tastes exactly the same, but it’s not the same. Turns out that we had two different packages in the fridge and ended up with a mosaic top. We decided to embrace it and take joy in the art we had created!

The end result:

The most random, concoction of cheese, meat, sauce and noodles. I really should have just made pasta and thrown sauce on it because there was nothing lasagna-esq about it when we were done! Husband, the good man he is said it was amazing. He also has to live with me, so unless there is a life threatening situation, he knows better than to tell me that anything tastes less than awesome. Bless him and our marriage.

And with that, I leave you with insight from Mr. Lambert:

Just don’t give up, I’m working it out, please don’t give in, I won’t let to let you down. Give me a second to breath, just keep coming around. Whataya want from me.

5 Comments »

I Went to Boston and All I Got Was…
October 26th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: Uncategorized 4 Comments »

A Muffin Top!

We were in Boston for a conference, and in all my wisdom, I planned for everything but food. Because really, why would I think about eating when I had more pressing things like power points, great shoes and public speaking to think of?

So needless to say, it kind of came back to bite me in the butt. During the day I relied on stealing fruit from other peoples lunches and an endless supply of horrid conference coffee. Also not great when public speaking – I think I managed a 25 minute presentation in 15 minutes.

Backed into a tight spot we decided to google the two restaurants closest to the hotel – Olive Garden and Applebee’s. Applebee’s was a bust. They had nothing. The Olive Garden however, had a dedicated Gluten Free menu. We were excited. That only lasted about 20 minutes. The GF menu was what I had hoped it wouldn’t be – salad, steamed veg and meat. NO FLAVOUR. I decided to go with the steamed salmon because my server said it was great. He lied. The veg was broccoli and red peppers. Both were barely warm and just the wrong side of fresh. The salmon, didn’t fare any better. It was so dry that I was able to use my fork and play it like a drum. And let me tell you, I have mad skills on the salmon drum.

All in all, there is no way I’m going back to the Olive Garden. Truth be told, I can’t see why I would pay $12 for something I could make at home.

Another day goes by and I can no longer sustain on banana’s and coffee. So Husband turns to google and before I think all is lost, he finds Legal Sea Foods. Turns out they have a killer GF menu.

Moment of confession: there is a Legal Sea Foods in DC and we’ve walked by it a million times. And every time, I judged it. I judged because I thought that they were making some reference to only serving legally caught seafood, and by proxy I assumed that the prices would be outrageous and the servers would attempt to convert us to some hippy save the ocean cult. People, this is what happens when you study conflict for a living, you assume that everything is about the world going to hell in a hand basket. This is my life, CONFLICT CRUSTACEANS.

Putting my thoughts of conflict crustaceans aside we went. And I am in love. They start by bringing you GF rolls which I chose to wash down with a GF beer. Deciding what I wanted was hard, there was way too much to choose from. We decided to solve the problem by making a deal to go back again. Of all the things we ate, the crab dip was my favourite. Oh and the dessert – LOVED all of it. Husband even enjoyed his food despite hating anything with a shell. If you’re in Boston I also suggest trying the Legal Test Kitchen – it’s got all the great things that Legal Sea Foods does, they’ve just fancied it up with a bar and some great lighting.

On one of our nights out we ended up downtown without a clue for where we were, let alone where we were going to eat. Enter iPhone awesomness. We started at the tried and true – Legal and P.F Chang’s – both were way to busy. But, with some foot work, we ended up at Papa Razzi. It was divine. They had the best selection of GF pasta and pizza that I’ve ever seen. More impressive than the selection, was the service. They take GF very seriously, so much so that the management personally over looks the preparation of your food. There was not a single question I asked that they could not answer. When the food finally came I was so relieved – being able to gorge on great food is a rarity so it’s always a wonderful day when I get to leave feeling guilty about how much I ate!

There are numerous reasons to love Boston, and the food is super high on the list. If you’re anywhere on the East Coast – look for Legal Seafood, and if you’re anywhere near an Olive Garden, turn around, walk quickly and with purpose, you do not want to subject yourself to that.

4 Comments »

Kind of Awesome
October 12th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: Uncategorized 2 Comments »

Really exciting news: Glutatic has been nominated as one of Canada’s Best Creative Activities Blog 2010.

This category includes blogs about arts, crafts, cooking, photography etc. And I am over the moon excited to be nominated and even more stunned that people know about Glutastic!

Warning; moment of gushy feelings ahead.

Being nominated is one thing, knowing that I wouldn’t even be on the map without you awesome people is another. I started this blog because Celiac disease sucks. I know it sucks, I knew other people thought it sucked, and I wanted to write about ways to make it suck a little less for all of us. As my wonderful readers you have supported my unique ideas and kept me going. You guys kind of rock – like serious rock star level for everyone.

Please take a moment, go to the page and vote.

VOTE HERE

And if you want to know more about the other categories etc go HERE.

And for my parting wisdom I say: Stay Frosty Everyone.

2 Comments »

In Case I Didn’t Make Myself Clear
September 14th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: The Dish, Uncategorized 5 Comments »

In the event that my subtlety is lost on you, here is reason #735.8 that GF Patisserie is the alter we worship at.

Reason #735.8: Long distance cakes.

Being an Aunt is the most amazing job I’ve ever had. Being an Aunt means I get all the great things about being a parent while skipping over everything else. Husband and I get to teach our kids (as we call them) stupid human tricks, we get to take them places their parents won’t, we get to act like morons in the name of entertainment and we get to celebrate their life moments without having to pay the bill. And most importantly, we get to hand them back when we’re too tired to deal. Husband and I have 3 nieces and 2 nephews that are truly superior to everyone else and their nieces and nephews. (insert gagging Hallmark face here)

One of my favourite Aunt responsibilities is making my niece Elle her birthday cake every year. I don’t know how this started, it just did and I take my job seriously. Elle is not a Celiac, but because I am, and I love cake, I always make her a GF cake. Some people might be thinking that this is a bit selfish, but I’m really just looking out for her – I wouldn’t want her to think that her Aunt hates cake. That would just be traumatic. (yes, logically that argument is flawed – but it’s my life and my blog and I say it works.)

This year, things were going to be a little different. No matter how hard I tried, there was no way to mail a GF cake over 1200 km’s and across the boarder. Not being one to give up I thought that I’d just go the cop out route and order one from Co-Op in Calgary and call it a day. BUT, then it hit me. My cousin has kids who are gluten intolerant and they will be there. How could I deny Ellie and them the GF cake goodness they’ve come accustom to. I decided that I was not going to be “TeeTee Let Down”, so I sent out an email – maybe more of an SOS but an email none the less. And guess who rescued me……

GF Patisserie!!

Over emails we picked the size, flavour, decoration, writing and I even paid for it via paypal. The best part of the whole process was that I didn’t even need to leave my desk. And trust me, as a student, you start to think of your desk and your computer as an extension of yourself.

Oh and people, Lauren is a rock star. She managed to take my babbling, turn them into a coherent order and execute exactly what I had in mind. The results were perfection…..see…..

Some of you are looking at that cake a little quizzically. Your eyes are not deceiving you. It does have the words, TeeTee, Dunkle and Epic on it. TeeTee and Dunkle just happen to be what Elle decided we should be called. Instead of Aunty and Uncle, we’re TeeTee and Dunkle. And that’s just fine by us, we even have it on coffee mugs! And speaking of stupid human tricks, there is now a rambunctious 4 year old running around Alberta telling everyone that she’s epic. (again, not an issue for us as we’re not her parents) No niece of ours will ever suffer from self esteem issues!

If you’re wondering how a toddler reacts to a GF cake, here’s a snap shot:

And no, that wasn’t staged. That’s just how Ellie is – when she’s not plotting world domination. She’s a girl after my own heart.

I heard nothing but great things about the taste of the cake. I’m told that the adults were half tempted to cut smaller pieces for the kids so that they could have more for themselves. And when adults are willing to take cake from kids, you know it has to be good!

Thanks GF Patisserie. You really made it easier to keep tradition alive even with some serious distance.

5 Comments »

Better? Batter
August 30th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: Uncategorized 2 Comments »

Brownies. We like them. We eat them a lot.

And we really like to find new brands. So we were more than happy to do jumpy claps in the isles of Whole Foods when we saw these.

I fell for the Better Batter packaging first. I’m not afraid to admit that I judge a brownie mix by it’s cover. I want companies to care enough to spend the money to catch my eye. AND it makes it much easier to see on a shelf of things filled with Gluten.

We compared it with some other brands and I was happy to see that it was lower in calories and fat than most others. I feel way more justified eating a pan of brownies when I know that I saved some calories.

They baked well and they were easy enough to make. I appreciate things that are easy to prepare. Less work for me the better. Super high points for that.

The brownies were moist and tasty. We liked them, we also liked that they stored well.

The only turn off was the price. They were significantly more expensive than the other popular brands. And enough so that we would think hard about buying them again. There are other brands that are just as good with a better price point. ~cough Bob’s Red Mill cough~

2 Comments »

You’ve Been Wondering
August 25th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: Uncategorized No Comments »

I know a lot of people are wondering what I’m actually doing here. It’s obvious that I’m going to grad school, but what I’m studying still remains a mystery. Get ready because it’s about to be a mystery no more…

I’m doing an MA in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. It’s kind of awesome and I kind of love it.

One of the coolest opportunities I’ve had is to bring together some truly brilliant people actually borderline genius people, and create a panel proposal for the epic SXSW interactive conference. This conference is like the mecca of nerd and technology and I think it’s our personal mission to go and throw sparkles and glitter all over the place.

We need your help to get there – we need your vote. We’ve named the panel: Are You There Social Media? It’s Me Conflict. Like I said, we’re geniuses.

We’re going to combine the brains of diverse individuals to look at the role of social media in conflict. In looking at social media’s effect on a world in conflict, we see what it means to pair embargoes and blogs, corruption and SIM cards, and the importance of knowing how conflict-related trending topics are replaced by Michael Jackson and Lindsay Lohan.

We really want you to think a little more closely about your phone and the power of it’s apps. And more importantly, we really want your vote. Actually, I’m begging for your vote.

PLEASE VOTE FOR US, because we’re a special kind of awesome.

Here’s the link, register and vote. It matters. And maybe one day, when we’re all famous, we will remember you voted for us. Probably not, but it’s worth thinking it might happen.

No Comments »

Pizza Week Part 2
August 20th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: The Dish, Uncategorized 4 Comments »

Husband and I lucked out. Without knowing it at the time, we rented an apartment that sits smack dab in the middle of two pizza points that have GF options. Pair that with the roof top pool and the McDonalds three blocks away and we live in a powder keg of sparklers and rockets!

The first pizza point we tried is called ZPizza. Here it’s pronounced ZeePizza, and husband has a habit of messing with them by calling them ZedPizza. I think its a game for him now. A game called “How long will it take for them to figure out were talking about the same thing?” My favourite pizza is the Z-BBQ. When ordered they expect to hear ‘Zee Barbecue’ but Husband thinks it’s hysterical to order ‘ZedBeBeQ’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat there and watched him torture the person on the other end of the phone. I will admit that I also find it a little funny, but I know that I don’t think it’s THAT funny. I’m actually surprised that they still pick up the phone when they see our number.

What is so great about ZPizza is that they have found a way to combine great taste and a wonderful crust. The options for toppings are extensive, as is the choice of sauces. And the crust is by far the best I’ve had to date. It’s a thin crust that is crispy on the edges, but holds firm throughout. It even reheats well. Husband had the chance to try their normal crust this past week and he even thinks that the GF crust is the best of both options. Score one for all of us, you can order GF for the whole gang and not be worried that anyone is missing out or going to contaminate your food. Can I get a Hell to the Ya!

I’d also like to commend them on their attention to detail and safety. They make their dough in house and all GF pizzas are cooked on GF dedicated pans. They take great precaution with cross contamination and I appreciate that. I feel safe ordering there and because of that we have come to rely on them to feed us when we have an empty fridge, or more importantly, we feel to lazy to cook for ourselves.

The second GF pizza place near us is Lost Dog Cafe. They have a large selection of choices and get this, they carry a selection of GF beer! The crust is thicker than others I’ve had but I find it a little gritty. My favourite pizza is the crab meat pie because it combines some of my favourite things – sea food brie cheese and garlic. Oh and did I mention that they deliver – not just the pizza but also the beer. This is one major selling feature for us.

I do have one concern with ordering from them – cross contamination. Their GF dough comes from a third party provider and I’ve discovered that when it’s busy, they tend to laps on safety. When rushed they often cross contaminate the pizza in what I think is just an oversight to safety in the hope for speed. Husband and I know not to order during peak hours because we’re taking a risk. This can suck, because celiacs get hungry at the same time as normal people, and if you’re anything like me, being forced to wait when hungry makes for one irritated impossible to reason with person. You’re now feeling really bad for Husband and what it must be like to live with me when I’m denied food. Don’t feel bad, he’s really good about keeping snacks in his pocket for such occasions.

With these two pizza places near by, we never make it ourselves anymore. And let me tell you, it’s awesome not to have cook what is supposed to be convenience food. Long live laziness.

4 Comments »

Pizza Week Part 1
August 16th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: Uncategorized 2 Comments »

I’ve been thinking about doing a pizza week for months. Husband and I are lucky to be located between two wonderful pizza places that serve GF. My only hesitation was my Canadian content – yes, I’m just like CBC! I don’t like to post if my Canadian readers can’t find useful information because let’s face it, we’re all in this together.

(insert brain wave here)

I decided that I would ask a guest blogger to fill in the Canadian content for me. Drum roll please…

Meet Char. (at least that’s what I call her) She’s just like you and I. She doesn’t bother trying to be a “super celiac” which I think makes her fully qualified. The post I asked her to write was on Boston Pizzas new GF selection. I’ve been dying to try it, but won’t be on Canadian soil for at least another 5 months. So instead of waiting for me, here are Char’s thoughts.

And please stay tuned this week for a snap shot of some other GF pizza adventures.

____________________

In my previous, pre-gluten-free life, I was not necessarily a fan of Boston Pizza’s pizza. When we (meaning my family – husband, son, daughter, all non-celiacs) did dine at our local BPs, I used to prefer the pasta. Pizza to me was meant to be thick and ooey gooey. Needless to say, those are distant dreams now and I think I’m getting close to being over it (GOI – get over it) as my son often tells me. So in the past five years, anytime my family decided they’d like to go to Boston Pizza (which fortunately was not that often) I would stick to a plain salad or nibble on the nachos (not sure whether they were ok or not…seemed to depend on the day but sometimes if you’ve got to eat you’ve got to eat).

Now, I typically do not keep up to date on the latest celiac news. When I have a few minutes I might check the Celiac Canada website to see what’s new, but that’s about the extent of it. So when a colleague (and fellow celiac) mentioned to me that Boston Pizza has a gluten-free pizza, I was overjoyed and it was ironic that we had already decided to go out the next night to Boston Pizza. Still somewhat skeptical, I immediately went online to assess the possibility that MY Boston Pizza had GF pizza…and was further surprised to find that this was a North America-wide phenomenon. It appeared that ALL BPs have GF pizza. And it was on the online ordering menu! Now this was progress!

But could it really be true that there was Gluten-free pizza in a franchised restaurant in Canada? I fully expected to go in and be disappointed, having to resort back to plain salad and nachos. I was hiding my anticipation as I opened the menu and scanned through, looking, looking, looking for those magical words that mean so much…and there it was…right on the REAL people’s menu…on the REAL PEOPLE’S PIZZA page…not in the back…not on a single, separate menu that someone had to spend 10 minutes hunting around for…RIGHT ON THE REAL PEOPLE’S PIZZA PAGE! GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA! WE HAVE BEEN HUMANIZED! WE ARE ON THE MENU! And BPs so nicely asterisk’d the toppings that we can eat too! Needless to say that it took a couple minutes for the reality of all of this to sink in.

The waitress arrived to take our orders. When it came to me I pointed at the menu and said “I’d like pepperoni, mushroom, and tomato on the gluten-free crust” and she wrote it down and asked if I wanted cooked or fresh tomatoes and she went away. No quizzical look, no questions, nothing. I felt normal again at a restaurant for the first time in a very long time.

We waited for our food and I’ll admit there was a little anticipation of what this was all going to be about. Food arrived. My pizza was square, cut into 4 nice sized pieces. And somewhat fluffy but not too much because BPs crust is typically of the thin variety. And the pepperoni was sizzling on top. And the cheese was browned just right. AND IT WAS GLUTALICIOUS! The crust was just right…browned right all the way through, not soggy in the middle. I could have ordered another one or two…easily. AMAZING compared to any homemade GF pizza I’ve eaten in the last five years.

Now I realize there is some angst about eating GF pizza from a traditional pizza place due to cross contamination. And I am one of the hypersensitive celiacs who get sick if just a micro-molecule is ingested. So after supper I waited…and waited…and am pleased to say that nothing happened. I was absolutely fine with no stomach issues whatsoever. And I went to bed so happy that I could eat good pizza again ☺.

I can’t express what it means to be able to go out to a casual dining place like Boston Pizza and eat like normal with my family. This is HUGE people…HUGE! Sorry Judy G’s…you’re good for bake at home, but nothing compares to fresh, dine-in pizza hot from the oven. Nothing.

Boston Pizza’s gluten-free pizza gets 4 Glutastic ♥’s out of 5 from me. Only because it’s still not thick, ooey gooey pizza, but it’s definitely a hundred steps ahead of where we were before. Now if we can only get them to serve GF beer….

2 Comments »

Birthday Time
August 10th, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: The Basket, Uncategorized 10 Comments »

It was my birthday this past weekend.

Hurray for me!

I knew going in to this birthday that things were going to be different. Not only am I living in a new apartment, I’m living in a new city, in a new country, with different people and new things. I was also completely aware that this would be a birthday without GF Patisserie. (insert quiet sobs here)

People, this scared me. GF Patisserie has been my birthday go to – I go to them for cupcakes, cake, lemon loaf, and Naniamo Bars. If you’re wondering how I get Naniamo Bars in the summer – I save one at Christmas and freeze it until my birthday! It’s a test of wills and determination to leave them in there that long.

Knowing that this year I would be without my beloved GF Patisserie, I went on a mission. I needed to find something suitable. I decided that the best thing to do would be to focus on cupcakes. Husband and I picked three and here is what we found:

1. Vanilla Cupcakes from WholeFoods.

We found these in the freezer aisle at Whole Pay Check Foods. I was skeptical about them. They looked good, but looks can be deceiving. Once thawed we decided to dive right in. They were good, like really good. They were moist and had a great icing to cake ratio. The icing reminded me of Crave icing – so very very good.

My major complaint is the price. NOT affordable for a grad student. These will be a treat maybe once a year. The verdict is that we really liked them but can’t afford them. Thus, GF Patisserie still wins for their taste and affordability.

2. Black Velvet cupcake from Red Velvet.

Red Velvet is a cupcake shop in DC. We found it by accident while walking around China Town. All they sell is cupcakes and there is only one GF flavour – back velvet. I figured that this cupcake had to be great because this is what the do – just cupcakes. After one bite all I could think was: um, maybe they do a better gluten cupcake then a gluten free cupcake. It was dry, very very dry. The icing was okay, it was fluffy and airy but it was just okay. I won’t be going back there, it wasn’t worth the $3.25 they charge for the cupcake. Or the line that you have to wait in. If I had to say what the most redeeming quality of it was – location, we were able to eat our cupcakes while sitting on the steps of the National Gallery. And trust me people there is nothing like the view from those steps – people can be so strange when they don’t know you’re watching them.

(if you’re keeping track, that means that GF Patisserie is still on top)

3. Vanilla Ginger Cupcakes by Sweet Sin Gluten Free

We found these at WholeFoods, again in the freezer isle. I was excited about the change in flavour. Vanilla Ginger is not a flavour you’d expect to come in GF, especially not in a frozen cupcake. To be honest, they were nothing special. The flavour was nice, but just nice. The icing was okay, but a little gritty with sugar. What I will say I really like about these cupcakes was the price. They were really affordable. And to be honest, that will affect my decision to buy them again. They were good enough and a good price, that means I would probably buy them again if I was looking for cupcakes.

I had a great birthday, I got to spend it in one of the coolest cities in the world and I got to spend it with some really interesting people. What I miss however, is GF Patisserie. I miss the great taste and the affordability of it. So, this Christmas, I’m going to save some Naniamo Bar and I’m going to find a way to get here and in the freezer. And if they try to take it away from me at customs – I may just have to call on my inner ninja.

10 Comments »

My Teeth Hurt
July 21st, 2010 | caitlin | Categories: Uncategorized 5 Comments »

Oh tender morsels of sugar and chocolate and nuts and awesome. How I love thee.

CocoMira, Canada Post and my sister’s love of Chapters has changed my life – and maybe soon my waistline.

CocoMira, a Canadian company, makes these awesome toffee/chocolate combos. They come in Maple Crunch, Hazelnut Crunch, and Dark Chocolate Crunch. They are free of so many things – like gluten, eggs, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives. And even though they lack in so many bad things, they make up for it in good things, like flavour and sugar.

And it’s been proven that snaking on these makes you better at Super Mario, just ask Husband!

My sister found these at Chapters, and the website says that you can also find them at Second Cup and Whole Foods. Happy Snacking!

5 Comments »

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