Tuesday

Product Review: GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Pasta


One of my go-to meal solutions is pasta. It's hearty, healthy and versatile. Another plus is how quick and easy it is to make. When GoGo Quinoa asked me if I'd like to give their new Super Grains Fusilli Pasta a try, I had to say yes! Let's talk about what has this pasta standing apart from the crowd - the ingredients.


Ingredients:

Organic sorghum flour, organic white quinoa flour, organic amaranth flour, organic chia flour.

Nutritional Values:

The pasta is a good source of fibre and Iron with 25%  of iron and 24% of fibre per portion (1 cup). 



What IS Sorghum Flour?

GoGo Quinoa’s sorghum is grown in Bolivia. This small grain is an edible hull which is rich in antioxidants. Sorghum is very nutritious, packed with carbohydrates, fibre, iron, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Eating it can help maintain a healthy balanced diet.


What Did I think?!

I had never tried Quinoa pasta before so I  was quite curious to see what it was like. Although I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, I went into the experience with an open mind. Taste and texture is a big deal - no one likes mushy pasta or an aftertaste. The Super Grains Fusilli Pasta came through, big time! It holds up really well and does not fall apart after cooking. Plus, no aftertaste! I always make enough to ensure there are leftovers and reheating them has been a success. That's a big plus in my book. The pasta has a nice hearty bite to it and there is zero aftertaste with it.


GoGo Quinoa Pasta




With school back in session and Fall weather upon us, I decided to cook up a little comfort dish with the GoGo Quinoa Super Grains Fusilli. 


Butternut Squash Autumn Supergrains Pasta

You will need:

GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Fusilli Pasta


1 Butternut Squash
5 strips of Bacon 
3 stocks of Celery 
a handful of Chives

1/4 Cup Milk
Handful Grated Parmesan
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste

Pasta Cooking Instructions: Bring 3-4 litres of water to a boil. Add salt if desired. When the water is boiling well, add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes for an Al Dente texture while stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse promptly with cold water. Serve immediately with your favourite sauce and condiments. 

While the pasta is boiling: puree a butternut squash and add it to a saucepan.
Then add 1/4 cup of milk, 3 Tablespoons Butter, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, 2 Tablespoons Paprika,1 Teaspoon Nutmeg and Salt & Pepper to taste. After giving everything a good stir,  add some diced celery (3 stocks) and some finely chopped bacon (5 strips). Give everything another stir and add in the pasta.Then add a handful of grated parmesan cheese and gently incorporate the pasta into the sauce. Once plated, top with some fresh chives.




GoGo Quinoa Pasta



You can find GoGo Quinoa Supergrains Pasta in Costco stores across Canada. 






Thursday

D-LUXE Burger: Review




Disney Springs

Owned and operated by Disney, you can find D-LUXE Burger in Disney Springs. Though you may want to grab a map to help locate it. The complex is large and can easily require a full day to tour. Side tip - Go early in the morning and avoid the evenings if your not one for crowds.

Formerly known as Downtown Disney, the entertainment destination has transformed into a not to be missed dining and shopping mecca. 


Disney Springs
Order Area




D-LUXE Burger is a Quick Service restaurant and currently participates in the Disney Dining Plan program. Keep in mind, that participating restaurants are updated and sometimes changed out yearly. The vibe inside the restaurant is pretty chill and laid back. It's actually bigger than it looks on the outside as well.


Gluten-Free Options 




Disney Springs



As we were on the dining plan, I was able to get the regular fries as a snack credit. If you are paying out of pocket, the regular fries will set you back about $4.99 and the large,  about $7.49.

The fries are gluten-free, hand cut and fried in a dedicated fryer. I would say they are similar in texture to the ones you would find at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. 


I could not get enough of them. Seriously, the fries alone are worth the trip to Disney Springs! Even though they were a "snack" portion, the size was enough to fill me up. 

The fries come with your choice of SIX complimentary dipping sauces...and they're all gluten-free! I tried all of them and WOW are they ever good!

  • chipotle mayo
  • curry ketchup
  • 3 mustard honey
  • garlic ranch
  • buffalo blue cheese
  • horseradish sauce

Although I haven't tried it, you can also order a gluten-free burger with either a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. This is definitely on my list for next time though!



Disney Springs


Things can get a little messy so, you will no doubt appreciate the paper towel rolls located on each table. I also loved that no rush atmosphere. We really took our time, enjoyed the food and just soaked up the vibe.



Have you visited D-LUXE Burger? Share your thoughts below!



Wednesday

Le Marché Émilie: Review


While vacationing in Quebec, I found what I consider to be a hidden gem - Le Marché Émilie and it will pleasantly surprise you. The store itself is a beautiful old post office building which has been converted into a colorful and vibrant gluten-free cafe and grocery shop. It is located in Pointe-Claire and within walking distance of the breathtaking St. Lawerence river.


Gluten-Free Grocery Store
Le Marché Émilie

What's So Special?


The entire store is 100% gluten-free! That's right - grocery staples, desserts and hot food, ALL gluten-free. It's not often a Celiac finds a "safe" place to eat, let alone one that is completely dedicated to gluten-free. They serve freshly made pizza and have a pretty magical ice cream bar. On top of that, the store also sells both frozen and shelf stable gluten-free groceries.


Gluten-Free Shop
Eating area


Right away I was in awe of the shops colour palette. It gives off a really fun vibe. Although not large in size, the layout makes for a spacious and enjoyable atmosphere. Everything about Le Marché Émilie is absolutely darling. Including the people who work there. I was greeted the moment I walked in, with a friendly "Bonjour!" If you're not versed in French, don't worry - Pointe-Claire is a pretty bilingual area and the staff at Le Marché Émilie speak fluent English. Most of the signage is also in both English and French.


Pointe Claire Quebec
Groceries


We looked around the shop and discovered lots of product which is not available in Ontario. So much so that I will dedicate a future post to it. Since we visited Le Marché Émilie on our way back to Ontario, I decided to do a little souvenir grocery shopping in the freezer section. My husband was able to purchase a bag of ice at the convenience store across the road so I took a chance and bought about a hundred dollars worth of frozen food. I'm happy to say that all of the frozen food held up during our 6-hour drive home!


Just look at that pizza


Gluten-Free Pizza
Pizza


I ordered the personal size marinara pizza with 3 toppings. It cost me around eight dollars or so. The pizza base is focaccia, which was light, pillowy and filling. Portion size was generous in and in my opinion very worth it. Something else to make note of is that the pizza is dairy free on top of being gluten-free. Normally I can spot dairy free cheese a mile-a-way, but not the case here. The cheese was soft and velvety.


We need to talk about the Sundaes


Gluten-Free Ice Cream Shop
Ice Cream Menu



There are several varieties to choose from and they range from basic to extreme. I ordered the "Kid In A Candy Shop" sundae. It's vanilla ice cream which is coated in milk chocolate, m&m's, sprinkles, strawberry sauce and topped off with cotton candy. All for $5.95 plus tax. There is so much going on in this dessert and it all works perfectly together! I had no idea ice cream and cotton candy could make such an enticing combination. Much like the pizza, serving size is ample and you won't be disappointed.


Gluten-Free Sundae
Kid In A Candy Shop Sundae


Final Thoughts



I absolutely adored Le Marché Émilie and plan to stop by during future Quebec trips. It's the type of place I could see myself visiting on the regular had I lived closer. Cost wise, I was happy. They charge a fair price and don't gouge the way some places do.

If you will be visiting Quebec, please stop by and give them some well-deserved love! The Celiac community needs more dedicated gluten-free shops like Le Marché Émilie.

You can follow them on social media below:






Monday

Rainy Day Penne with Italpasta Gluten-Free

It's no secret that I adore pasta. The versatility and ease of prep call my name on the regular. When the folks at Italpasta approached me to develop a recipe, I was on board in a heartbeat!


Some quick facts about Italpasta 

  • They're the largest 100% Canadian owned pasta manufacturer in Canada
  • The pasta is available in 4 cuts – spaghetti, penne rigate, fusilli and elbows with an oven-ready gluten free lasagne is on its way 
  • They've re-launched their gluten-free line with an updated ingredient base


The Recipe


It's been raining a lot lately, with little to no pause for sunshine. So what better time to make a dish that both feeds and brightens up the soul?! This dish is so darn easy to make. I used ingredients that I regularly have on hand and made the creamiest penne. My house of picky eaters even asked for seconds!


Rainy Day Penne (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

1 Package of Italpasta Gluten-Free Penne
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Garlic Paste
3 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Whipping Cream
1 Cup Finely Diced Green Onion
1 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
2 (142g) Cans, Seasoned Shredded Turkey
3 Cups Broccoli Florets
1/3 Cup Reserved Pasta Water
Salt And Pepper 


Pasta

                                    


Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil
  2. Boil pasta per package instructions (about 8-10mins)
  3. While pasta boils, Heat oil in non-stick pan over medium/high heat
  4. Add garlic paste to pan and stir. Remove from heat when lightly browned
  5. Drain turkey flakes, add to the pan of garlic and stir 
  6. In a separate bowl, Whisk together eggs, cream, and parmesan 
  7. Add broccoli florets to boiling pot of pasta with 4 minutes to go
  8. Strain cooked pasta/broccoli and set aside pasta water
  9. Gently add pasta to pan and set to low heat
  10. Cover  pasta with egg mixture and reserved pasta water
  11. Stir well to ensure egg mixture coats pasta and does not scramble
  12. Add salt and pepper to taste preference
  13. Remove from heat and top each bowl with green onion



WHAT YOU WILL LOVE ABOUT ITALPASTA

The pasta holds up very well, meaning it doesn't get mushy or fall apart. I really put the penne through the ringer with all of that stirring and it held up beautifully. 

It only takes minutes to cook, which is great because there never seems to be enough time in the day. By following the package directions, you are in for the most amazing al dente pasta ever. The noodles have a nice snap when bitten into, without being tough. I really could go on and on about how lovely Italpasta gluten-free pasta is! 


What is your favourite dish to prepare for #forGFpastalovers with Italpasta gluten-free pasta? 



*This is a sponsored post- Italpasta products and a nominal fee were provided in exchange for recipe development and posting

Saturday

What every Celiac Wants You To Know

Celiac is a permanent lifestyle change. A change that is difficult, expensive and involves more than just avoiding bread. For someone with Celiac, indulging in gluten containing food is never okay. Ever. Below, I touch on things every Celiac wants their friends, family and co-workers to know.

So What Exactly Is Celiac?

Celiac isn't an allergy, intolerance or preference. It's an autoimmune digestive disorder which causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. Contrary to most people's understanding, this is not a new disease. In fact, Celiac was first discovered by the Greek physician, Aretaeus of Cappadocia who lived in the first century A.D. He wrote about "The Coeliac Affection" and named it koliakos which is derived from the Greek word koelia, meaning abdomen.

Celiac is a serious autoimmune condition where the body ultimately views gluten as the enemy. Thus creating a hostile reaction to it. Following a strict gluten-free diet isn't glamorous and it requires extra work to ensure that it's also healthy.

Common Overlooked Dangers

Taking precautions to prevent cross contamination (both home and away) is a necessary effort. Though it may seem exuberant, it's important to ensure some kitchen items are deemed Celiac only. Examples such include:

toaster
cutting board
colander
condiments


It's also important to be mindful of food courts, break rooms and other eating areas away from home. The tables may not always be sanitised before you sit down and can harbour crumbs from previous diners.

Reading food labels can be tricky. Take your time and learn the various terms for gluten and become versed in proper label reading. The Canadian Celiac Association provides a great resource for label reading.

Myths, Lies, And Misunderstandings

Celiac is a life long condition as currently there is NO CURE. That means adhering to a 100% gluten-free diet is essential. Contrary to what some companies may try to slyly sway you into believing, no pill or ritual out there will allow you to safely ingest gluten. Period. 

Though it seems to still be happening, starting a gluten-free diet before proper testing is a monster no-no. Why? Because if you are in fact Celiac, your body will begin to heal on a gluten-free diet which will result in a false negative test result.

Simply following a gluten-free diet blindly is never a good idea. Many of the foods are high in fat and sugar, as well as low in essential nutrients such as iron, fibre and vitamin B. Believe it or not, this can actually cause weight gain. It's a process to eat healthy on a gluten-free diet as we have to work harder to ensure that the healthy food makes its way into our routine. This involves a lot of planning and straying from the convenience of pre-packaged foods. Especially if away from home.


Don't Get Caught Up In Myths

  • Deep frying doesn't destroy gluten 
  • Ancient Grains like Spelt aren't safe- they're in the wheat family
  • Celiac is in not a result of GMO's
  • Crumbs are a big deal. Even a little bit is harmful to a Celiac
  • Lack of physical reaction is not an indication of safety. Even without a noticeable reaction, gluten consumption is harmful.
  • Celiacs don't need to avoid all grains. Unless you have another condition, wheat gluten is the only thing you need avoid.


The Complexity Of It All

Celiac has been associated with over 300 different symptoms. Crazy right?! Not everyone has the same telltale signs. Some people are what is known as "Silent Celiac", meaning they show no noticeable symptoms (also known as asymptomatic) of the disease. This is why proper testing is very important. Self-diagnosing and assuming you're Celiac can be a dangerous road to follow. By not taking the proper steps for diagnosis, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. You know all those symptoms linked to Celiac? They can be signs of other conditions as well. Thus making diagnosis tricky and solidifying the need for accuracy. What if you aren't actually Celiac, but have a health issue only masked by the gluten-free diet? You won't get the treatment you need and you will wonder why you're still sick or what's been "glutening" you. You're also less likely to adhere to the gluten-free lifestyle without having been correctly tested.


The Genetic Link

Celiac is genetically inherited, but not everyone with the gene will develop the disease. Providing genetic markers are present, there is a 1 in 10 risk of a first-degree (parent, child, sibling) relative developing Celiac disease.

Complications

Unlike wheat products, most gluten-free items are not fortified.This results in vitamin deficiency for many with Celiac. It's important to ensure you are getting sufficient iron, calcium, Vitamin D, B6, B12, zinc and folate.

Untreated, Celiac can lead to a whole slew of other autoimmune disorders, including MS, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, neurological conditions, pancreatic problems and gastrointestinal cancers.


Etiquette And Support

A positive support network is crucial to for everyone with Celiac. Whether it's an encouraging shoulder to lean on or an ear to rant to, simply being a bright presence makes our journey a little easier.

Though others may mean well by asking questions, there are some things that really should be avoided. Some questions and comments we field tend to be less than empathetic and kind of inconsiderate. 

Let's talk etiquette and what falls under the please don't even category

"That must suck"
"Don't be dramatic"
"I feel sorry for you"
"Just a little won't hurt"
"I'd die if I couldn't eat gluten"
"If you take xyz you can eat gluten again"
"My friend's Naturopath say xyz will cure Celiac"
"I'd never be able to give up my favourite foods"

It's also important to understand that we may not always feel comfortable eating away from home. Even if it's something a friend or a family member has gone to the effort of making gluten-free. Not everyone understands the detailed prep involved in ensuring gluten-free food stays gluten-free. For people who are not immersed in the Celiac lifestyle, it can be easy to overlook areas of cross contamination. We mean no offence when we politely decline. Trust us. We really want to be able to trust you and eat the food you have so graciously prepared. But, we have also all had that one experience where we've reacted to food made by others. So when we say "no thank you" please just let it be and don't pressure us or become irritated.


Love ,
your friendly neighbourhood Celiac



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