April 02, 2017

Review: Pikanik


I was provided with free product for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

Gluten-Free Pancake and Lava Cake Mixes



Meet Pikanik


If you haven't discovered Pikanik, let me introduce you.
 Pikanik is a gluten-free and allergen safe bakery located in South Surrey British Columbia. EVERYTHING is free of gluten, wheat, peanut, tree nut, dairy, soy. Some products are even egg free.


They sell everything from bread, muffins, and cupcakes to pasta, baking mixes, and Vegan caesar salad dressing. For a flat $10.00 rate (on orders $30.00+) Pikanik delivers's from West Vancouver to Abbotsford and some surrounding areas.





Single and Lava'n It Chocolate Lava Cake Desset Mix


Gluten-Free Chocolate Lava Cake


Price: 
$8.95
Makes 6 single servings

Chocolate lava cake is new to me. Well, making it is anyways. Being the avid Food Network viewer that I am, more than a few of these have come across my screen. Watching chefs talk about how fussy and intricate these heavenly cakes are to make was enough for me to leave it to the pros.

So imagine my surprise when a mix for chocolate lava cake shows up at my home. I'll admit that I was a wee bit scared at first. I'd be crazy not to be right? Once I read over the extra ingredients and effort required, I was confidently pleased. All you will need on hand is a little bit of oil, coffee (optional), water and sugar.

The recipe is set up so that you can make individual lava cakes or a big one. I opted to get some use out of my ramekins and make individual ones. Cooking time and temperatures vary from oven to oven so please keep this in mind as you may need to make some adjustments. I had to crank the temperature slightly and leave the lava cake in a little longer. Once you figure out your oven, it's easy peasy. And don't worry, a delicate hand is not required for success.

Taste Test

If you are a chocolate fan, this mix is for you! Lava cake #2 (#1 was taken out too early...whoopsie!) was a wonderland of ooey gooey delicious! As you can see from the above photo, some of it stuck to the ramekin, but hey, it looks super rustic and cute! You can taste a nice sweetness, but you're not left with that overindulgent feeling. Though the cake was slightly dense it was lovely and paired spectacularly with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Next time around, I'm going all out and making an ice cream sundae lava cake! The fun combinations are endless. Especially considering the minimal effort needed to make the lava cakes.



Flippin' Fantastic Flapjacks Pancake Mix


Pancakes

Price: $10.95
Makes 60 pancakes

Silver Dollars, Flapjacks and Hotcakes are just some of the that names pancakes go by. For most people, mornings would not be complete without them. I love to make big batches and freeze them for quick (and sometimes late night) snacks.


Like the lava cake mix, this one doesn't require a whole lot of extra ingredients. All you need on hand is oil, eggs, yoghurt, and milk. I replaced the yoghurt with apple sauce and used Almond Milk for our pancakes.


Taste Test

The pancakes turned out pretty great. They flip flawlessly with a spatula which is really important to avoid a muddled mess in the pan. The addition of applesauce added a gorgeous scent and flavour. The pancakes turned out fluffy but slightly thinner than I'm used to. This could be due to my applesauce swap. I really loved that they were not overly sweet and were quite delicious with maple syrup and just a bit of butter. I'm thinking these pancakes would be great for school/work lunches - just spread your favourite jam or nut butter on a pancake and roll it up. Or go wild with a filling of sliced banana and Nutella.


Some Final Notes


  • The packaging of both mixes is resealable. How brilliant and ah-mazing is that?! 


  • Pikanik has a customer appreciation program that earns you a credit with every purchase!

  • Their product selection can be viewed and ordered online here


You can follow and interact with Pikanik on Facebook and Instagram: @pikanikcreations




February 20, 2017

Review: Boatwright's Dining Hall

Located in the picturesque Port Orleans Riverside resort, Boatwright's Dining Hall is a southern gem waiting to be discovered. The resort theming brilliantly mimics the bayou. It's a peaceful escape from the intense action of park touring. With top notch landscaping that is both relaxing and mesmerizing, it's easy to sit back and enjoy the lush surroundings. 

In all fairness, having vacationed here twice, I have a deep fondness for Port Orleans Riverside. No matter how long we stay, it never seems to be a long enough visit in this treasure of a resort.


Alligator Bayou
Aligator Bayou Rooms


Although Boatwright's is only open for dinner, it never seems to be overflowing with patrons. That's not a bad thing and part of what makes the experience so charming. Sure, peak times are loud and bustling, but it in no way feels crowded or rushed.



Boatwright's Dining Hall
Boatwright's Dining Hall

After being seated our waitress promptly greeted us. She was kind, patient and funny - a real delight! Boatwright's now has allergy menus, which simplifies things nicely! Though we were given the option to have the Chef come out before we ordered. As I'm Celiac and my little guy was recently diagnosed with Lactose Intolerance, I opted for a visit from the Chef. This enabled us to ensure both dietary restrictions were understood and would be accommodated.


Boatwright's Dining Room



The gluten-free rolls used by Boatwright's (and many other Disney restaurants) are made by Deanna's Gluten-Free. As they are both dairy and gluten-free, my son and I were brought a basket-full to share. Together we agreed that they are pretty remarkable and outrageously good. They were soft, not crumbly and heated to perfection. I just wish they were available in Canada.



Boatwright's Dining Hall
Deanna's Gluten-Free Rolls


I decided to go with the Voodoo Chicken and Waffles for dinner. Having read positive reviews on this dish beforehand, I was mighty excited! Guess what? It lived up to my expectations and then some! The chicken was mouthwateringly good - crispy, juicy and seasoned well. The waffles were great as always. I'm a big fan of Disney waffles and you can get enjoy them at most Disney-owned properties, which is great. 

What the below photo doesn't convey is just how big the portion size is. Though you can probably only see one, there are two big pieces of chicken on that plate. I actually ended up sharing some with my family! They loved it just as much as I did.


Boatwright's Dining Hall
 Voodoo Chicken and Waffles



Dinner was followed by a round of dessert. The butterscotch creme brulee I was presented with was marvelous! How a dessert can be both light and decadent, I've no idea but Boatwright's pulls it off nicely. Needless to say, I wasted no time polishing off this beauty of a treat.



Boatwright's Dining Hall
Butterscotch Creme Brulee

Overall I was thoroughly impressed with our dining experience. Everyone we encountered was happy and helpful. The ambiance of Boatwright's is just so darn warm and inviting. And of course, the food, which everyone at our table collectively agreed was terrific.


Have you dined at Boatwright's Dining Hall? Tell me about your experience below!



February 11, 2017

5 Must Try Gluten-Free Eats In The GTA

Anyone living with Celiac knows all too well the importance of finding gluten-free eats that are prepared safely. This means actively avoiding places which give the whole "dietary restrictions are a swear word" vibe. If you're a planner like me, you have a repertoire of go-to places which happily provide safe and yummy food.

Below you will find a few of my favorite digs in the GTA (aka greater Toronto area). *As always, please go over your dietary needs with the restaurant staff to ensure your safety, every visit. If you feel that your needs are not being met, please make a decision to keep yourself safe.

Schooner Fish and Chips


Schooner's is a small but mighty shop located in Oshawa, Ontario. It's a little slice of deep fried heaven and everything a family run establishment should be. Simply saying that they understand Celiac doesn't give them enough credit. They have separate fryers and a designated kitchen area for gluten-free items. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and understanding of Celiac disease.

Not a fan of food that swims? No problem! Schooner's is much more than a fish and chip shop. The gluten-free menu will satisfy your deep fried indulgence needs.



  • Onion Rings
  • Coleslaw
  • Chicken Fingers
  • Cheese Balls
  • Poutine
  • Mini Donuts



Schooner's gluten-free onion rings

Hero Burger


Everyone needs a go-to burger place and for me, Hero Burger is just that. The gluten-free burger combinations are endless and clearly displayed. Stating your dietary restrictions upon ordering, ensures staff will follow allergy protocol, which includes fresh gloves and a separate toasting area for gluten-free buns. Cool fact -those gluten-free buns are care of Toronto's very own O'Doughs. Rounding things off nicely, Hero Burger uses Halal beef and many non-GMO ingredients. They also offer a gluten-free vegetarian burger.


Gluten-free Hero Burger



The Dirty Bird


I really had no idea how incredibly delicious chicken and waffles could be until I visited Dirty Bird. It's off the charts amazing and maybe a little addicting. Think melt in your mouth juicy mingled with crispy perfection.

Their chicken is ALWAYS gluten-free and they have an upgrade for gluten-free waffles. Dirty Bird has a dedicated gluten-free waffle iron that ONLY cooks gluten-free waffles, so it never touches any regular waffles. If you are looking for sides, the coleslaw, ‘tato salad and fries are also all Gluten-free. It's worth noting that the fryer is completely gluten-free. That being said, The “Dirty Fries” do contain french fried onions which are NOT GF, so if you wanted to order that as an option please let the staff know to exclude the french fried onions to keep them safe for you.




Dirty Bird Gluten-Free Chicken & Waffles


Lone Star


Lone Star has long been one of my go-to spots. The staff is well versed in special dietary needs and always eager to please. The fajita meal with gluten-free corn torts and lettuce wraps is fantastic. It really hits the spot. My most recent visit (February 2017) provided an impressive surprise - a gluten-free menu. Another positive change is that a chef manager now brings out gluten-free meals separately. The staff has always been pleasant and knowledgeable in my experience.

Gluten-free fajita meal

The Keg


I can't get enough of the iceberg wedge salad with oven roasted chicken breast. Portioning is impressively generous so you may be taking some home with you. Definitely not a bad thing! The star of the show is dessert. It's not often a dessert menu includes gluten-free options. The Keg offers a scrumptiously indulgent creme brulee that will leave you wanting more.

The Keg takes food allergies and sensitivities very seriously and has strict guidelines and procedures in place to ensure no cross contamination occurs. Just one look at their gluten-free menu will inspire you to visit.

As an extra precaution, if you plan to dine at a Keg location, please ensure you mention any food restrictions to the server, who can inform the Manager on duty. The manager will then oversee the preparation of the meal and bring it out to you.




Creme Brulee
Creme Brulee at the Keg


If you have any local favorites I'd love to hear them! Feel free to share below.

February 06, 2017

Sprinkles Cupcakes

We need to talk about Sprinkles Cupcakes


You probably know the name from Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" where Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson is a judge. Full disclosure, I love the show and watch it regularly. Who doesn't love a good cupcake competition?!


If you are not familiar with Sprinkles Cupcakes, they can be found in a handful of States. Currently, only one gluten-free cupcake is available on their menu, but it's a start, right? They also have a nifty little rewards program which is full of perks. Think of them as a thank-you gift for being a loyal customer. My favorite perk? Definitely the free cupcake on your birthday. Being in Orlando the week of my birthday allowed me to take advantage of that perk. 

As always when I try a new to me gluten-free item, I do so with little expectation. This allows for even more excitement when something is wonderful. It also makes the experience less disappointing when letdowns are going on.


Sprinkles Gets Gluten-Free Right


 Sprinkles keeps the gluten-free red velvet cupcakes behind the counter and out of the display case to avoid cross contamination. That's getting gluten-free right and taking it seriously! Be aware that they do make a non-gluten-free red velvet cupcake as well. That being said the gluten-free red velvet is easily noted by the red "G" on top of the frosting. Sprinkles is on a roll with their safety measures.




Taste Test


To say that I am a fan is simply not enough. I've had my fair share of tasty gluten-free cupcakes and the gluten-free red velvet takes the top spot. It's pretty darn dreamy. You should probably drop everything and head to your nearest location. It's. That. Good. Hopefully, we will get a Toronto location in the future. Until then a girl can dream!

The cupcake is moist, pillowy and decadent. Imagine a heavenly cupcake that is sweet, but no overly so. Topping things off is the most gorgeous frosting. As a frosting nerd and self-appointed connoisseur of the stuff, I am smitten with it. Brilliantly creamy with a zip of tang, it's a major delight. 




Keep Up With Sprinkles


Visit the Sprinkles website for more information

You can also keep up via Twitter and Instagram

January 03, 2017

5 Must Haves For Your Gluten-Free Pantry

Pasta





Hearty comfort food at it's best, pasta is extremely versatile and widely available. In a pinch for time? Ready in about 9 minutes, pasta is quick to make. You can prepare anything from a refreshing salad to a hearty hot dish. Feeling creative? Give my dessert recipe a try. Another bonus, pasta is one of the few more affordably priced gluten-free foods. 




All Purpose flour



XO BAKING Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend


I personally prefer to use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. I've had success using Xo Baking, Presidents Choice, and Cloud 9. Find the right all purpose blend to suit your needs and you will be in baking heaven. Pre-made blends are also great as they save time - no more hunting down hard to find ingredients to prepare a homemade blend.


Cereal



Cereal can be enjoyed any time of the day. As a snack or as a meal. It's also great for traveling. Just store some cereal in an airtight container (don't forget the spoon) and you're good to go. Purchase a small carton of milk at your destination and voila! You can take things up a notch by adding fruits or different types of milk. I like a sliced banana, sprinkled with a touch of sugar in my Rice Krispies. Aside from cereal, Rice Krispies are also great for dessert treat bars - perhaps a homemade chocolate covered rice bar or a much loved Rice Krispie Treat. 


Soup



I love this soup! Oddly enough it's dairy free, despite the title. It's rich, creamy and super satisfying. A twist off lid caps the carton top, making things super simple - no can opener required! Soup is such a great pantry staple as you can either have it as a quick side dish (we love BLTs and tomato soup) or a main. It also travels extremely well. Fill a travel mug with some soup and you can really drink it anywhere!


Bread



Whether it's a lettuce wrap, bun or taco, some foods just need a serving vessel. Chebe Cheese Bread Mixes are one of my favorite gluten-free boxed mixes. It requires little effort to make and is ah-mazing. The easily made cheese bread is fantastic as a bun and delicious to dip with. A great thing about this mix is you are not just limited to cheese bread, though it is divine. I've had fun making pizza pockets, savory stuffed muffins and breadsticks. Wanna change things up a bit? Add garlic paste for a yummy twist.




Btw, this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). Thanks for your support.



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