June 26, 2017

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

June 10, 2017

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



May 28, 2017

Product Review: Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta

Many thanks to the wonderful folks at Barilla for sending me some gluten-free pasta to try in honour of Celiac Awareness month. How kind is that?!

If you are like me and prefer your pasta on the al dente side, you will be a fan of Barilla's gluten-free line. For those who enjoy their pasta with less bite, there are 2 sets of directions on the box - one for al dente and one for a more done texture. The difference in cooking time is literally one minute, but that can make a world of a difference in the kitchen and I appreciate the instruction!




GlutenFreePasta
Barilla Gluten-Free Pasta

So What's It Like?


I really wanted to get a feeling for what Barilla gluten-free pasta truly is, so I was hesitant to add a lot of extra ingredients or make anything with intense flavours. I made a dish with a light, vegetable-based sauce and some fresh crisp peas. Sometimes simple can be better. And in this case, it really is!

The texture is off the charts incredible. It's very close to "normal" gluten filled pasta in structure and mouth feel. I love the little snapping bite you get from following the directions for an al dente dish. As far as taste goes, I thought it was good as well. There is no overpowering hint of anything flavour wise, which some gluten-free pasta brands are notorious for. Barilla uses simple ingredients - a combination of corn and rice flour.

This pasta even holds up after *gasp* reheating leftovers in the microwave a day later! No falling apart or mushiness. Leftover pasta is always a great thing so this is HUGE!

Have you cooked anything up with Barilla gluten-free pasta lately? Share your favourite dish with me!



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