Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gluten Free Garage 2013 Recap

Sunday morning I went down to Wychwood Barns in Toronto to check out the Gluten Free Garage, a pop-up market of all things gluten free.  I try to attend events like this one whenever possible both to learn about what's new on the market and to support the cause.  A portion of proceeds from ticket sales went to support the Canadian Celiac Association. 

Unlike the Gluten Free Expo, which is fantastic as well, this event focuses mainly on local businesses and organizations.  It was a much smaller event, but allowed for more time to speak with vendors and learn about their businesses, something that is more difficult to accomplish than at the expo. 

Bakeries were well-represented, as always, but so were health food products, restaurants and beauty products.  More and more people are moving not only to substitute gluten free baked goods, but to a healthier lifestyle overall.  The atmosphere was relaxed, the vendors were happy to share samples and sell their goods at a discounted price, and the visitors left with full bellies and bags full of samples and information. 

Since there are so few times my son can eat whatever he wants, we let him try all the samples and we fed him some treats he normally doesn't get to eat. 

We stopped at Bunner's for a Chili Cheese Empanada for my husband and a chocolate cupcake for my son. 

Then he had a Watermelon Lemonade popsicle, while my husband and I tried out some sausages and chatted with the man from Pimentos about paella.  I enjoyed a cup of coffee from Ezra's Pound (the name alone made me have to try some.)  The Mad Mexican served me more tortilla chips and salsa than any one person should consume. 

Finally, we stopped at the food trucks for some lunch.  My son wanted fries from Hero Burger.

 My husband and I hit up the Gourmet Bitches food truck.  I had the fish tacos, and my husband had the pork belly sandwich.  Delicious.  

We went home full and happy, with business cards, flyers, and contacts for future events.  If you're in Toronto the next time the Gluten Free Garage pops-up, I recommend you check it out. 

***Updated: This post initially stated that ALL proceeds go to the Canadian Celiac Association.  The update states that a PORTION of proceeds do.  Sorry for the error***

Sunday, April 28, 2013

15 Minute Gluten Free Tuna and Tomato Pasta

Tuna pasta is somewhat of a tradition in my family, usually mixed into tomato sauce.  For something a little different, I've mixed the ingredients to a great tuna salad and added it to pasta, making a versatile hot or cold pasta dish.  I only use one can of tuna, but if you want more, add more! 

This dish is ready in less than 15 minutes.


1 box Gluten Free Pasta (approx. 340g) I use a short pasta, in this case, penne.
1 can tuna (I prefer water packed, but oil packed or flavoured would be fine.)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes or more to taste, halved or quartered
2 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and then chopped
1/2 jar sliced black or Kalamata olives
1 handful chopped fresh parsley
ground black pepper to taste
Olive Oil


1- Cook pasta according to directions.  While pasta is cooking, prepare tomatoes, celery and parsley.

2- Drain cooked pasta and toss in a large bowl with tuna, tomatoes, celery, olives and parsley.  Add olive oil a few tablespoons at a time and toss until pasta is coated and won't go dry.  Season with ground pepper.  The tuna and olives are salty enough for me, so I don't add salt, but season to taste. 

Enjoy!  Excellent served warm or chilled as a pasta salad. 

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Tuna Penne with Tomatoes & Black Olives  (Recipe)

Tuesday: Orange Ginger Beef Stir Fry Over Rice 

Wednesday:  Chicken Curry with Mango Salad 

Thursday: Beef Chili with Red Beans & Tortilla Chips

Friday: Steamed Salmon with Carrots & Spring Greens

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gluten Free Event: Gluten Free Garage

Every now and then, great events pop up close to home.  This Sunday, the pop-up gluten free marketplace Gluten Free Garage is returning to Toronto.   Located in that Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto, the event offers the chance to meet local gluten free vendors, hear guest speakers, and try new products. 

A few of the vendors attending include O'Doughs, Gourmet B*tches, Popchips, Rawlicious, The Wheat Free Girls & Magic Oven.  The list is long and varied, a mix of local vendors and larger companies.

Tickets are $10 for adults and free for kids, with proceeds from ticket sales being donated to the Canadian Celiac Association.  A great way to support the cause and have a great time. 

Date: Sunday, April 28, 2013
Place: Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street, Toronto
Time: 10 AM -4 PM

For all the details, visit the GLUTEN FREE GARAGE website.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Recipe: Gluten Free Lentil Salad

This salad is easy to make and delicious warm or cold.  It can easily be adapted to use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  To make it dairy free, omit the goat cheese.

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed and picked over
2 cups Gluten Free Vegetable Broth or water
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup or more to taste sliced sundried tomatoes (buy oil packed & drain)
1 handful curly parsley, chopped
Herbed goat cheese, to taste
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil


1- Bring broth or water to a boil and add lentils, stirring to mix.  Lower heat to medium low and cook until water is soaked up, approx. 25 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

2- While lentils are cooking, prepare peppers, celery, sundried tomatoes and parsley in a large salad bowl.  Combine with lentils.  Crumble desired amount of goat cheese into salad & season with salt & pepper.  Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to help flavours carry. 

Since I cook the lentils in broth and add marinated sundried tomatoes and herbed goat cheese, I find the salad doesn't need dressing.  A bit of oil keeps things moist and helps the flavours travel.  If you want more flavour, a squeeze of lemon juice or a bit of your favourite dressing can easily be used in place of the olive oil. 

Can be eaten as a side dish or as a light meal. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Three Mushroom Bisque & Rosemary Drop Biscuits (from Cookbook of the Month)

Tuesday: Veal Cutlets in Tomato Sauce with Lentil Salad (Recipe)

Wednesday: Chicken Drumsticks & Balsamic Brussels Sprouts (from Cookbook of the Month

Thursday: Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce 

Friday: Gluten Free Basil Pesto Pasta  (Recipe)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Seven Easy First Foods for Baby

Baby food is widely available and I'll admit, I do use it.  It's convenient to have a jar handy to throw in the diaper bag when I'm out for the day, and if it hasn't been opened, it can stay in there, unrefrigerated, until I need it.  Buying canned baby food all the time can get pricy though, so I tend to feed my son a lot of simple foods I've prepared at home.  In the early stages, simple, pureed foods are perfect first foods for baby.  

Equipment:  There are a lot of baby food tools and accessories out there, but to be honest the only ones I have are some small storage cubes and a small baby-size popsicle tray.  The rest I make using what I have at home. 

Remember that babies need very little food to fill their tummies, especially at first.  Consult your physician to make sure that your baby is ready for food before trying any of these foods.

Seven simple first food ideas for baby:

1- Mashed Banana: Ripe bananas are easy to mash with a fork until smooth.  Add some breast milk or baby formula is a smoother consistency is needed. 

2- Mashed Avocado:  Not all adults like avocado, but most babies love it.  Smooth, with a very light taste, it's the perfect first food.  Buy avocadoes that are very ripe to make them easier to mash with a fork. 

3- Steamed & Pureed Carrots: Carrots can be steamed in a steamer, or in a basket or colander over a pot of water.  Wash, peel & chop carrots.  Steam, and puree in a blender, adding water to thin consistency. 

4- Baked & Pureed Butternut Squash: Cut in half and remove seeds.  Bake in a 375F oven in a baking dish with an inch of water until cooked through, approx. 30-40 min.  When cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and puree in a blender with some water to thin. 

5- Steamed & Pureed Sweet Potato: Wash, peel and chop potato into cubes and steam.  When soft, puree with some water to thin.

6- Pumpkin Puree: Follow instructions for squash, or buy plain, organic puree in baking aisle.  **Not pumpkin pie filling, but plain puree.

7- Stewed & Pureed Peaches: Wash and peel skin from peaches.  Cut in half to remove pit and cut flesh of peach into peaches.  In a pot over medium heat, stew peaches in enough water to just barely cover them until soft.  Puree until smooth. 

Storage: With the exception of banana and avocado, I like to make a batch of food to save some for later.  1 squash or pumpkin can yield a lot of baby food at very little cost.  Freezing is my method of choice to storing extra baby food.  I but storage cubes with a tray that can be stacked in the freezer, but they're not necessary.  Small storage bags work great, as does freezing the food in an ice cube tray, then popping out the cubes and storing them in larger, labeled freezer bags. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Recipe: Chicken with Tomatoes & Olives (Gluten & Dairy Free)

I make a version of this every so often, sometimes with more vegetables, sometimes with chicken thighs or turkey cutlets, but the basic flavour is always similar.  Everything goes in the same pot except what you're going to serve it over.  Pasta or Rice are easy choices, Quinoa would be good too, or even a bed of greens like Kale or Swiss Chard. 

(Serves 4, but there is enough sauce to add another 2 chicken breasts)

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts OR 8 skinless chicken thighs, boneless or bone in
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
1 (28oz) can tomatoes (diced would be fine, if buying whole, roughly chop) Do not drain.
1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
1 cup sliced black or Kalamata olives
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
Dried basil, salt and pepper to taste
Cornstarch slurry (optional)


1- In a large frying pan, lightly coat the bottom with olive oil.  Heat over medium heat, add chicken breasts and brown both sides.  Add onion and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. 

2- Add wine if using, and let cook 1 minute.  Add broth, tomatoes and olives.  Stir to combine.  Cover and reduce to a simmer until chicken breasts are cooked through, approx. 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. 

3- To thicken, mix 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch in equal amount of warm water until dissolved.  Pour into pan, stir, and cook until thickened.  If not using cornstarch, just allow to simmer until desired amount of liquid has cooked down, thickening the sauce.

Modifications:  I sometimes like to add sliced mushrooms, chopped celery, carrots or even some spinach to change up the recipe.  Experiment and see what you like!

Serve over pasta, rice, quinoa or greens of choice.  If you're not dairy free, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  This recipe looks great when plated nicely but takes very little effort to prepare.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Gluten Free Meat Lasagna (Recipe)

Tuesday: Minestrone Soup 

Wednesday: Chicken with Tomatoes & Black Olives (Recipe) 

Thursday: Pork Chops & Mushrooms

Friday: Pasta Carbonara

Friday, April 12, 2013

Restaurant Review: Jack Astor's (Downtown Toronto)

My husband took the kids downtown last Sunday to visit a friend and they had lunch at Jack Astor's, which offers a gluten free burger and bun, and locations with dedicated fryers offer gluten free fries, as well.  I was surprised when he wrote up a review for the blog!  So below you have the very first restaurant review courtesy of my husband! 

First off all an apology to those of my wife's readers who are used to her excellent writing style. This being my first post I am not as acquainted with peaking a reader's interest but here goes nothing...

This past weekend we decided to give Mommy a break and I had the chance to take the kiddies by himself to visit a good friend in the city I hadn't seen for a while. The idea was to give her a breather and some time to focus on her blogging and writing. We left at 10:30 in the morning to spend the day in the city, just us 3 boys.
I admit I was a bit nervous about bringing them both downtown on my own, but with my friend there to help out it was nothing that we haven't done before.  My friend lives on his own and doesn't have any children so when he suggested we go and take the kiddies for a bite I was also concerned about where we could take them to downtown that was both family friendly and gluten free. I wasn't confident that these would generally be places my friend would visit on a regular basis.

He suggested the Jack Astor's on Front street. As soon as we walked in the service was entirely geared to the children and making the experience as smooth for a parent as possible.

The first thing the hostess did when bringing us to our table was to grab a box of crayons for my son to feel as free and artistic as possible on their disposable paper table covers. This is always something any parent to a toddler will appreciate to make the inevitable wait at restaurants go as smoothly as possible. My "wow" factor however came when we sat down at the table and our waitress came in with a portable DVD player at hand and a selection of 6 of my son's favorite cartoon DVD's for him to choose from!  I admit I was torn between letting him watch a show so I could focus on my youngest and on some conversation with my friend, or making him wait to eat his meal with us before he could watch his DVD. I will admit my guilt when I gave in to the DVD in front of him and allowed events to take their course with "Diego" in the background.

I looked at the menu which is always interesting when trying to pick GF items from a non dedicated menu but couldn't find anything that jumped out. My friend suggested I ask our waitress directly which I did and was extremely happy when she advised that all their hamburger patties were GF and could be served in GF buns! And a bonus any GF parent out there will appreciate, the fries were GF with their dedicated fryer at that location! The lunch experience got better by the moment and made for a nice carefree outing with the boys that I would be happy to report back to "the boss" on once we got back home!
Gluten Free Burger, Bun & Fries

My son had a great time with his hamburger (bun included!) and fries and of course his movie and all in all we had a pretty good time and were ready for some after lunch soccer in the afternoon.

Since I am not as artistic or detailed oriented I did not think at the moment of taking pictures of the establishment. I did however take pictures of my son's meal which I hope you will enjoy. This was a very good experience and I will make sure I take my wife back to check it out. All in all a good spot and experience! Hopefully Mommy enjoyed her precious time to herself. 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Gluten Free Buzz

This week seems to be a busy one in terms of gluten free news stories.  Here's a round-up of a few of the ones I found most interesting.

Mayo Clinic doctor calls Celiac "Disease of the Masses"

A 4 Year Old Girl Will Walk to Raise Awareness & Funds for Celiac Disease

Missouri Legislator wants Gluten Free Labels on Shampoo

Canada Food Inspection Agency has issued a warning of undeclared milk in certain gluten free & dairy free mixes

The Toronto Star has the info on a new gluten free beer on the market in Ontario

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper & Black Bean Soup (Gluten Free & Vegan)

I love the combination of peppers and black beans, and this soup has a great flavour that is a step above the most basic black bean soup recipes.  The roasted red peppers add that special something, and this soup can be dressed up so many different ways.  Add some hot chili peppers for extra flavour, or some sharp cheddar or a dollop of sour cream if you're not avoiding dairy to add some extra kick.


1 19 oz. (540ml) jar roasted red peppers, buy pre-sliced if you can. Buy the closest equivalent size if you can't find the exact one.
1 19 oz. (540ml) can black beans.  You won't be draining them, so organic is best.
1 box vegetable broth, approx. 4 cups (I use Campbell's gluten free)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper to taste
Olive Oil
1 jalapeño, diced, optional


1- In a soup pot, heat approx. 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and sliced red peppers, cooking until onion is translucent.  If using jalapeño, add it now.

2- Add broth, and blend with a hand blender or in a blender until mostly smooth. 

3- Pour in black beans and stir to incorporate.  Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer, cooking approx. 15-20 minutes to allow the beans to break down some more.

4- Season with salt & pepper.  If desired, stir in some chopped cilantro, or add some grated cheddar when serving.  Add a dollop of sour cream or some crushed tortilla chips. 

Serve & enjoy!

Gluten Free Weekly Menu Plan

Monday: Focaccia Pie 
(Half Vegetarian for me, the other half with Sausage for the boys)

Tuesday: Roasted Red Pepper & Black Bean Soup

Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff  (gluten & dairy free, from cookbook of the month)

Thursday: Pulled Chicken Tacos with Black Bean & Corn Salad  (these will be made the day of, and will have Salsa Verde, but no cheese)
Corn Tortilla Recipe

Friday: Portobello Risotto  (gluten & dairy free, from cookbook of the month)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Follow Celiac Baby! on Bloglovin

Since Google Reader is shutting down in July, I've added Celiac Baby! to Bloglovin'.  Simply click on the link below or the button in my sidebar and it will take you to the site.  Bloglovin' can also immediately transfer all your Google Reader sites over to theirs without any effort on your part.  I appreciate every one of my readers and I don't want to lose anyone when Reader shuts down. 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cookbook of the Month: April's Pick

The Dairy-free & Gluten-free Kitchen: 150 Satisfying, No-sacrifice Recipes

by Denise Jardine

Ten Speed Press | January 3, 2012 | Trade Paperback

Pizza, Pancakes, French Toast, Lasagna, Ice Cream, Brownies-you thought they were off-limits forever but now they're back on the menu!
The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen offers more than 150 flavor-packed recipes created especially for those who must avoid dairy and gluten in their diets-proving that you no longer have to abandon the foods you love, even when you do have to give up the dairy and gluten that doesn't love you.

Denise Jardine's The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen addresses these issues and many more, demystifying the confusing and often conflicting data about what defines healthful eating. Along with a deliciously varied selection of dishes, Denise shares her "master" recipes, including her all-purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix, Dairy Milk Alternative, Fiber-Rich Sandwich Bread, Creamy Macadamia Pine Nut Cheese, and Soy Velvet Whipped Cream-key staples that make Classic French Toast, Mushroom Kale Lasagna, Rustic Heirloom Pesto Pizza, and Pumpkin Cheesecake possible. 

In addition to being entirely dairy- and gluten-free, each recipe has been calibrated to reduce or eliminate the need for refined oil and sweeteners. And for those who must avoid eggs, nuts, and soy products, recipes that are free of these components are clearly labeled. So whether you've been diagnosed with a particular food intolerance or sensitivity, or you're just trying to consume a less refined, more healthful diet, The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen has something for just about everyone!

(Cover & Description from Chapters. Source.)   
I picked this book for a few reasons, but one of the biggest is that we have taken dairy out of my son's diet again because we was breaking out in rashes after ingesting dairy products.  Since we're also avoiding some other ingredients while we figure out if anything else is causing him problems, I like that recipes in this book that are free from certain allergens are clearly labeled. 
Aside from that, the photo on the front cover is gorgeous, and there are many photographs of recipes within, something that's important to me.  Finally, the recipes look pretty straightforward and simple.  Here's to another great month of testing recipes and reporting back. 
To see my reviews of January-March's cookbooks, click HERE.

Wordless Wednesday: Easter Round-up!

We held Easter at my house this year, and everyone had a lot of fun.  It was our youngest son's first Easter, so it was extra special.  Here are a  few pics of our day.

Homemade Easter Basket

With his sports eggs

My sister and the baby

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Crostini

Stuffed Chicken, Glazed Carrots, Mini Potatoes & Asparagus

Waiting patiently for dessert

Chocolate Peaches
Coconut Vanilla Birthday Cake

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March Cookbook Review: Fast & Simple Gluten Free

Fast and Simple Gluten-Free: 30 Minutes or Less to Fresh and Classic Favorites

Comforting Meals Everyone Will Love—Made in No Time!
Getting a hot, delicious, gluten-free meal to the table every night can seem like a challenge when time and growling stomachs are demanding food now! But you can turn the tables from stressed to dressed in no time with Fast and Simple Gluten-Free, your one-stop solution to creating fast, family-friendly meals in a half hour or less.

Inside, you’ll find more than 100 truly inspiring recipes for everything from Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting to Green Chicken Enchiladas and Quinoa Tabbouleh, with many recipes requiring just 20 minutes or less from start to fork.

Author, mom, and g-free blogger Gretchen Brown will show you just how easy it is to create wholesome, wheat-free meals that you can feel good about—and that your family will love. Through streamlined ingredient lists and simple yet effective cooking techniques, you’ll learn how to pull together delicious dishes that taste as if you’ve spent hours slaving away in the kitchen, even though you haven’t!

(Cover & Description from Goodreads. Source.)
Publisher: Fair Winds Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2012

This book has much of what I like in a cookbook: quick recipes and good photos.  The meals are advertised as being 30 minutes or less to make, and I found that to be true.  From the book, I made:

Chicken Saltimbocca: This was so easy to make I can't believe I've never done it before.  The prosciutto adds the right amount of salty flavour, and the sauce keeps things moist. 

Lemon Chicken (I forgot to take a photo): This dish took very little time to put together, and the corn starch coating made the chicken crunchy and delicious.  Really concentrated flavour. 

Mozzarella Pizza with Pine Nuts & Arugula:  I couldn't find currants, but they would have added an extra element to this pizza.  a great mix of flavours, and something a bit more special than a typical pizza.

Red Curry Chicken Soup:  I have a standard coconut curry chicken soup I make on a regular basis, but this one is just as good.  The curry is not hot, and even my four year old liked it.

Arugula Salad with Oranges, Pomegranate Seeds & Parmesan Rounds: This is the perfect salad for when you want to impress guests.  The parmesan rounds look complicated to make, but they're not.

I would have made more but this month my son got sick and we had to put him on an elimination diet.  Things were a bit crazy for a while and I was pretty much making dishes I was familiar with and that were easy to put together. 

However, I have to say that I really like this cookbook.  There are so many recipes in there that I still want to try, including a giant chocolate chip cookie that's made in a skillet.  I mean, how awesome is that? 

This book delivers on its promises.  None of the dishes I made were difficult to put together, and they were all manageable within the 30 minute framework.  The flavour was great on everything, and my husband even begged me to make more of the lemon chicken.  However, many of the dishes look elegant and fancy.  The pizza and the arugula salad looked like dishes you would order from a restaurant, yet were simple to make.  The addition of a few unexpected ingredients like pine nuts or pomegranate seeds elevate these recipes beyond standard fare. 

Verdict:  I would recommend this cookbook to anyone looking for simple yet delicious gluten free meals.  They are manageable even for a beginner, and there's a wide enough variety of recipes to choose from that everyone should be able to find something they like.  I'm not done with this book yet, I already have several recipes bookmarked to try.  A good buy.