Archive for November, 2013

A Step-By-Step Guide to Safely Eating Gluten-Free in Restaurants

As you have probably noticed, we like to travel, eat out, and try new places. A lot of people ask me how I do this with Celiac disease. For me, the answer is simple: I don’t let Celiac disease rule my life. I’m willing to try to eat almost anywhere, but if I get sick, I won’t be going back.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to how I approach eating out.

1. Do your research.

If possible, research the place you’re going to eat at before you go. Most restaurants post their menus online (either on their website or on Facebook), or you can call and ask about gluten-free options. Apps like Foursquare, Urban Spoon, and Yelp can give you reviews and suggestions, too. There are also a number of dedicated gluten-free apps (like Find Me Gluten-Free), which usually work best in major cities. Don’t forget about fellow Celiacs, friends, and family, who can also be a good source of information.

Read more…

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What’s For Dinner? Roast Beef Style Steak!

Why We Love It

This hearty, easy dish will keep your family warm during those cool fall days.

Ingredients

  • One teaspoon of oil
  • One and a half pounds (about half a kilogram) of steak or stewing beef
  • One envelope (about two tablespoons) of gluten-free gravy mix (we love Maxwell’s brown gravy mix!)
  • 2 cups of water
  • Half a cup of minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of gluten-free Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon of ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Brown steaks (about two minutes on each side).
  2. Remove steak from the pan. Place in a casserole dish or a slow cooker pot and keep warm.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients in the same frying pan. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Make sure to get the bits off the bottom of the pan – this is where all the flavour is!
  4. Pour sauce over steak. If you have a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours. Or, cook in the oven at 225 degrees for 2 ½ hours.

Tips

  • Roasted Parmesan potatoes make a perfect companion to this hearty dish!
  • When using gluten-free gravy mix, your gravy might require some extra thickening at the end. To do this, strain sauce into a saucepan and place on high heat. Whisk 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water together and then whisk into the sauce.

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Gluten-Free Pasta Options Are Growing!

A few weeks ago, we posted about the growing number of gluten-free cracker options. We’re seeing the same trend with pasta, too. Even better, the competition seems to be resulting in lower prices!

Here are some of the pastas we’ve seen showing on up store shelves.

If you’re a Costco shopper, their gluten-free pasta section offers some great options:

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Eating Gluten-Free at the Stubborn Goat

Last month, The Stubborn Goat gastropub opened after months of renovations to the old G Lounge space, and lots of hype from beer lovers and foodies. My experiences eating gluten-free at gastropubs have been mixed. Theoretically, a gastropub should offer high quality, made-from-scratch food, but we’ve encountered many gastropubs that offer the usual processed, frozen, and/or deep-fried fare, making them highly unsuitable for Celiacs. We decided to give The Stubborn Goat a chance to see if they were any different.

We arrived early on a Friday night knowing it was going to be busy. A very cheerful and outgoing server greeted us shortly after we sat down. He gave a spiel about what The Stubborn Goat is all about: Read more…

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What’s For Dinner? Ultimate Brunch Casserole!

There is something so decadent and comforting about having breakfast food for supper, especially in the fall. It’s even better when it can all be prepared beforehand and put in the oven when you get home from work (or get up in the morning).

Why We Love It

This is a great dish for brunches, lunches, or supper! It can easily be customized depending on what your family likes.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound (half a kilogram) frozen hashbrown-style potatoes (small dice)
  • 6 eggs
  • One tsp. butter or margarine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Approximately half a cup of processed cheese loaf, such as Velveeta (you can use more or less as desired)
  • 8 slices gluten-free bacon
  • Approximately ½ cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese (you can use more or less as desired)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. While the oven is preheating, cook the potatoes and the bacon separately, as directed on each package.
  3. Crack eggs into a bowl. Whisk with salt and pepper.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium-size frying pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour in the eggs. Cook and stir until eggs are set and scrambled (usually about five minutes).
  5. Cut the processed cheese loaf into small cubes.
  6. Once all ingredients are prepared, spray a 9×9 inch pan with cooking spray. Put the hashbrowns in the bottom of the dish and pat down. Place cubes of processed cheese on top. Spoon eggs over top of the cheese cubes. Put the bacon slices on top of the eggs. (You can crumble the bacon if you want, but slices work well too.) Top with shredded cheese.
  7. Cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Tips

  • Don’t forget to read all the labels to make sure all ingredients are gluten-free!
  • This dish can be made beforehand and refrigerated. While the oven is preheating, take the dish out of the refrigerator to bring it up to room temperature.
  • Feel free to customize this dish to create a theme. For example, to make this dish Mexican-style, you might add paprika, garlic, and cumin, and serve it with salsa. For an Italian flavour, add parsley and oregano to the eggs, and add Parmesan cheese on top.
  • For a healthier option, add finely chopped vegetables to the hashbrowns.
  • For a bigger crowd, double the ingredients and use a 9×13 pan.

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Zero8 Offers the Ultimate Gluten-Free Experience

We get a lot of people asking us if Halifax has a dedicated gluten-free restaurant. Pete’s Gluten-Free Eatery and Coffee Bar is dedicated gluten-free and offers snacks and lunches, as does Odell’s Gluten Free Bakery and Café. As well, Get Stuffed in New Glasgow (which offers lunch, supper, snacks, and take-home options) uses ingredients free of gluten, although they are still obtaining full ingredient and sourcing information and therefore are not Celiac friendly. That leaves a pretty big gap for suppertime!

As far as we can tell, the closest full-service gluten-free restaurant is Zero8, located in Montréal. They’re not just gluten-free either. The entire restaurant is free of the eight major allergens: fish/seafood, all nuts, sesame seeds, milk, soy, eggs, and wheat/gluten. They also mark dishes containing sulphites and mustard on the menu, and are happy to accommodate any other allergens. They serve supper every day except Monday, and also have a lunch service on Saturday. You can also pick up meals to take home and cook.

We were in Montréal last month, so we stopped by on a Tuesday evening shortly after they opened.

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