About

The SHORT Version
I’ve always been a terrible – and possibly lazy – cook. But I still love food. So since being diagnosed with Celiac disease in March 2009, I’ve been learning to cook gluten free, one step at a time.
I like to keep it simple and savoury. Except for dessert. I like that sweet and chocolatey!
I’ll also be featuring lots of gf products that can be bought in Canada. I read about all kinds of gf speciality products in other food blogs, only to find out I can’t purchase them (even online) as a Canadian. Thus, I’ll be searching high and low for all the yummiest gf products that a humble Canuck can indeed purchase ‘north of the border’!

The End.

The LONG Version
After years of dealing with a “sensitive stomach” – my doctor always though I had too much stress in my life, causing
the lazy gf chef

The Lazy GF Chef & her 75% gf man

me to feel “unwell” – I finally got the blood test for Celiac done. This was after my boyfriend, who is a family doctor, came into the doctor’s office with me and insisted I be tested for Celiac to rule it out. The test came back a few days later showing that I had a high number of gluten antibodies.

I spent the next month and a half waiting to get a biopsy done to confirm Celiac disease. I spent that time filling up on all my favourite glutenous things. Perogies (my number one comfort food), Lucky Charms and cocoa puffs, Panago pizza every Friday, French bread, yummy pastas and the list goes on. Needless to say, I didn’t feel well while gorging on all these treats, but I had to make sure the biopsy was based on my regular diet, right?!

After the biopsy showed that my intestines were crying for help and that I had probably developed Celiac disease years ago, I took a few more days and then started on the gluten free diet. This was in March of 2009, right before my boyfriend and I were planning on moving to Kelowna, BC.

It was all very overwhelming at first. I spent the first few weeks very hungry as I wandered through grocery aisles reading every label of all the foods I normally ate.

Luckily, I was living in downtown Edmonton and there was a great natural foods store that carried gluten free goods – the cereal itself helped me feel hopeful – as well as a complete gluten free store, Kinnikinnick Foods, which makes all kinds of Celiac-friendly foods and all kinds of flours.

In the first few months of being on the gluten free diet, I was quite stressed with the way it was affecting my life and my boyfriend’s habits as well. That, coupled with the stress of moving to a new city and taking four months to find a job, really did a number on my health. I struggled with anxiety and depression and it took months before I started feeling better.

A few months in, I read “Gluten Free Girl” by Shauna James Ahern, who also has a blog. This was a girl who had been sick like me, and now she’s living and thriving and loving life, gf. She gave me hope.

Now, seven months into my “life as a Celiac”, I’m doing a lot better. I feel a lot better although my iron levels are still taking time to stabilize so I’m still tired a lot of the time. I seem to get some sort of gluten “sickness” every week or few weeks, so I’ve sworn off eating out for a while since a lot of times it was after eating at a restaurant. I’m learning more everyday about hidden sources of gluten and cross contamination. And I finally feel like I can handle living a gluten free lifestyle. It’s not always easy and I sometimes feel like crying when I’m out with friends and am relegated to eating my cold leftovers instead of yummy albeit glutenous food, but I’ve finally coming to terms with the fact that I’ll never quite be the same again. I’ll never have the carefree attitude about what I eat because I’ll always have to ensure that it’s truly gluten free. My boyfriend has been a source of support for me this whole time and hasn’t complained once about having to do all his “gluten” preparation in one tiny corner of the kitchen.

Now this brings me to the important part related to this blog. Finding out that I have Celiac disease has forced me to learn… how to cook.

Yes, I admit it – although I lied to myself for many years – I’ve always been a bad cook. It took a few years of dating before my boyfriend taught me the importance of following a recipe exactly how it’s laid out and even still, it’s hard for me to crank out a decent meal with out a) setting off the fire alarm, b) using every dish and utensil in the house, c) having it turn out looking like a pile of mush, d) having it taste awful, or e) all of the above.

I would like to say that this is an exaggeration, but sadly, it’s not.

So, after swearing off gluten free bread for the most part, I decided that I was going to have to learn to cook like a pro if I wanted to eat on a daily basis.

I’m not there yet.

I started with making all of the things my boyfriend and I had always made, but in a gluten free style. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. I experimented with things that I hadn’t tried before like risotto (love it) and polenta (hate it!) And I tried to concentrate on making things that were naturally gluten free for the most part, like chili and stir-fries.

Seven months into it, I finally have a few meals down that I can do well, but they mostly stem from my beloved slow cooker – it’s hard to mess things up when cooked in a slow cooker. But now that we’ve kind of fallen into a food rut (not unlike my pre-Celiac eating habits), I’ve decided it’s time to step it up a notch and learn how to cook, once and for all.

I had a eureka moment when I realized that my bad cooking came partly from a lack of skill and know-how (not to mention how everything changes with gluten free flours), but also out of pure old laziness. I loved eating great food, but I always lacked the patience (and the time) to make decent meals.

Now that I’ve vowed to become a great gluten free cook, I’ve decided to start a blog so that others like me, who balk at the sight of gf recipes with waaaaaayy too many ingredients, can learn that good gf food can be easy, yummy and healthy. (Not that I won’t ever feature yummy and unhealthy recipes).

I’ll be posting recipes of my own creations (okay, often with the help of my boyfriend who’s an annoyingly good cook), recipes I find elsewhere, originally gf or not, and recipes I’ll adapt for the lazy cook, like me.

I’ll vow that as much as I can, these recipes:

  1. Won’t have more than one kind of flour – who needs it, I used “all-purpose Celiac flour” for everything!
  2. Won’t have excessive amounts of ingredients – who has the time, or all the ingredients?!
  3. Won’t take hours to make. That just takes all the fun out of it. And those multi-step and timing-is-important recipes are just too tricky to keep up with for the lazy chef.
  4. Won’t have hard to find ingredients that you can only get at real specialty stores, or in the US. I read a lot great gf recipe blogs but I a lot of times I can’t find all the ingredients in a recipe.
  5. Will be crock pot heavy. I’ve started “Crock Pot” Sunday in my house and it’s genus. Crock pot cooking is simple, tasty, great to warm up with in the winter and always make your house smell yummy. And with Crock Pot Sunday, I always have multiple meals to give me a break from cooking nightly during the week.

I hope you like my blog and feel free to comment with feedback, ideas for inspiration and of course, links to your own lazy chef recipes!

The End.

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25 Responses to “About”

  1. Lynn December 28, 2009 at 5:23 am #

    I am so happy to find a gluten free blogger who is “Canadian”!!!!!!
    There are lots of great gluten free blogs out there … but … finding “Canadian” products, content, and advice … is nearly nonexistent.
    Like … why can’t we buy Betty Crockers gf mixes or General Mills gf cereals??!!
    I look forward to following your blog and learning more about gf living in Canada!

    • mlaff December 28, 2009 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Lynn, I totally understand your frustration with finding Canada-specific gluten free ideas! I was able to go down to the States a few months ago and I bought a few stores out of their Betty Crocker mixes and General Mills cereals – how nice to buy a gf cereal for $3 instead of $7 or $8! I think we need to start writing letters to the Canadian headquarters of each!

      I’ve been working on a “favourites” product list which I’ll be putting up soon, as I’ve tried a lot of gf products that tasted awful and I had to force myself to finish them! So if I could point out the great products (in my opinion) so others could skip all the bad stuff, it would all be worth it!

  2. Editor March 5, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

    I’d like to profile your blog on the Kelowna Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association website http://www.kelownaceliac.org Am I okay to do that? Contact david@rosarnach.com

  3. Christy Mossburg March 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    I’m so delighted I found you!! I too am a lazy gf chef!!! I’ve never been a fan of cooking, but becoming gluten free does not give you much alternatives! So I’m little by little getting better acquainted with my kitchen and good healthy – and EASY – recipes are the key to my success. I’ll be linking your blog onto mine! I’ve enjoyed looking at your recent posts and can’t wait to hear your new stories and recipes!

    • mlaff March 27, 2010 at 9:31 am #

      Thank you for the kind words, Christy! Even having this blog has inspired (if not forced!) me to keep on experimenting in making tasty, but simple, gluten free meals and treats, as I’m sometimes bad at getting into ruts – having my favourite meals that I know how to make well that I want to keep on cooking, but I’m trying to be open minded and continue to try new foods! I look forward to reading your blog too!

  4. Jodie April 1, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    Love the blog Marybeth! It was so nice to meet you! I look forward to trying out many of these recipes! 🙂

    • mlaff April 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

      Nice to meet you too!! And I’d love to hear some of your ‘easy’ recipes too – those are my favourite!

  5. Nancy April 7, 2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Thanks so much for your blog. I also just passed my 1 year gluten-free anniversary and i must say i am getting better at it. It’s still VERY hard and going out to dinner is stressfull and office events are a no-go for me. But my hubby is AWESOME and very understanding and together we make meals for me. And i agree, getting gluten free items in canada is really hard. Let me re-phrase…getting gluten free items that TASTE GOOD in canada is hard. But it is getting better SLOWLY. Did you know that the GF Betty Crocker mixes are MADE IN CANADA but only sold in the US?? I say @#$%@#$@# to that! Anyway, good to know there is someone else out there! Oh, and i also crave my comfort food….perogies! But i have a lazy perogy GF recipie that tastes the same if you want it?? Best of luck to us and all the other GF canadians out there!

    • mlaff April 7, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

      I hear you Nancy! I follow a whole bunch of gluten free “tweeps” on Twitter, and I keep on hearing about wonderful restaurants and bakeries that do lovely gluten free goods, not to mention the wide variety of gluten foods and treats available at those places that we only hear about – Trader Joes and Whole Foods Markets!!

      I have personally waded through many, many gluten free foods that (in my opinion) were awful, and I have luckily found a few gems that I love and keep going back to! I’ll have to maybe do a post on that, as they are all available in Canada!

      It is crazy about the Betty Crocker thing – I can’t believe they’re made in Canada! Last summer, my boyfriend and I made a special trip down to the US, just to stock up on Betty Crocker cake, brownie and cookie mixes, Chex cereals, and cheese. (The cheese, just because it’s cheap down there!) I still have a few of each left, mainly because I realized I had to learn to cook more from scratch and not rely so much on packaged gluten free foods – for budget purposes, but mostly for nutrition and cutting out unneeded additives..

      Well, now that I’ve written a tome, I guess I’ll leave it at that! It’s encouraging to get the occasional comment so I know that this blog isn’t just in vain, as sometimes I get tired of always experimenting with new recipes, if I don’t think it’s going to benefit anyone else! Now I know that my boyfriend is being a food taster for more than just me!!

      By the way, I would love to hear about your lazy gf perogy recipe!! If you want, you can email it to me at mlaffertymarketing at gmail dot com. I would love to try making them! I think I’ve had enough time to heal after the ‘great perogy disaster’!

  6. Jen January 8, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Found your blog from the Kelowna celiac webpage and really love it! It’s nice to have a local blogger sharing truly helpful information. My husband and two young kids have celiac disease (I am the 75% gluten free person in this house) and am always looking for simple kid/husband pleasing recipes and ideas. I love that you share your restaurant experiences~we don’t eat out a lot with the kids as my daughter is incredibly sensitive and I worry about her experiencing any type of cross contamination. Thanks for sharing:)
    ~Jen

    • MB - The Lazy GF Chef January 12, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

      I’m glad to hear you like the blog Jen! I actually swore off eating out (due to bad experiences!) for about 6 months, but then I started going again.. People tend to be surprised at how sick I get with the slightest bit of cross-contamination (I can tell within about 15-20 minutes), but I know there are many Celiacs who are more sensitive than me! So sometimes I feel like I’m playing with fire when I eat out, but when I have a great dining experience and continue to feel great, I’m so happy I can almost cry!! It must be hard protecting your kids from gluten in their school.. I always wonder if my kids (if I have any) will have Celiac disease?

  7. Tara February 9, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    A friend of mine has a 14 year old son. He was having some health issues. Upon taking him to the hospital, they found he had Celiac & that he was also Lactose Intolerant. After many other tests, they found that he also has cancer of the liver. I am looking for a website or recipe book that deals w/ his new found food intolerance. It is going to be hard enough of this poor kid dealing w/ the cancer and everything that comes along w/ that fight……I don’t want him to not be able to enjoy the simple things in life, such as the foods he loves. If anyone can help me w/ websites, or lead me in the right direction, myself, as well as him and his family, would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!

  8. David Fowler June 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Best wishes with AM 1150 interview today!

  9. Katie October 24, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Hey! I’m happy to have stumbled onto your website here! I was searching for GF restaurants in town as my boyfriend wanted to go out for lunch yesterday. We tried Mimi’s where I had a GF pizza which was decent! I saw that Cabana is in your top restaurants to eat out. I work there, and was happy to see that! For anyone else out there that hasn’t been in, we are now offering GF pizzas, flatbread, and desserts….and there are lots of other GF options! Thanks for sharing your tips!

    • MB - The Lazy GF Chef October 30, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      Hi Katie-thanks for the feedback!! I haven’t been a very good blogger lately:) So good to know that a Celiac works at Cabana -that always helps! I’m totally now craving the tropical tuna salad there. And I need to try your flatbread and pizzas-awesome!! Thanks for the tip on Mimi’s – I’ve never been there (the Twisted Tomato across the street is pretty good though), so I’ll have to try it!

  10. Tetko December 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Finally got to read it, it’s awesome! I’ll be here all the time now!

    • MB - The Lazy GF Chef January 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      Thanks Tetko!! I really should blog more often!!

  11. Zoe Nixon January 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    I just caught the tail-end of your CBC radio interview…sorry I missed most of it.
    I own Sin Grano Bakery in Kelowna where I make nothing but gluten free bread and goodies. My bread is available through The Organic Cupboard and Urban Harvest. Check out my website http://www.SinGrano.com and feel free to order anything on the product page through the Organic Cupboard. Hopefully I’ll see you at the Celiac Association convention – I’ve signed up to be an exhibitor.

    cheers
    Zoe

    • MB - The Lazy GF Chef January 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

      Hi Zoe,

      Wow, I didn’t know there was a gluten free bakery in Kelowna! Do you have a store front? I will definitely be checking out your goods – thank you for letting me know! I’m going to try to make it to the conference as well – I’ve heard it’s heaven for a Celiac with all kinds of gluten free catered meals!! Hope to see you there! I’ll post a link to my radio interview if they put one up!

      MaryBeth

  12. Zoe Nixon January 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm #

    Sin Grano is a home-based business right now – I just got it up and running in August.
    Hopefully once growing pains have been worked out I’ll splurge for the store front.

    Thanks in advance for the interview link.
    Also – visit my retailer’s page for a list of cafe’s and restaurants who carry my stuff.

    Zoe

    • MB - The Lazy GF Chef January 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

      Hi Zoe,

      I’ll definitely be trying some of your goods!! I do a lot of baking, but I’m always on the lookout for savoury goods! The few times I’ve tried to bake bread have not been successful. And I just got a breadmaker for Christmas!!

      Have you ever been to the gluten free bakery – called Origins – in Victoria? It’s a Celiac heaven, and it would probably be a fun, inspirational visit for you if you’ve never been! They make sourdough bread to die for, and french baguettes that taste like the real thing!!

      I look forward to meeting you soon!

      MaryBeth

      • Zoe Nixon January 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

        Hi MaryBeth,
        I know a massage therapist in Kelowna who actually stocked up every few months when she visited Origin. She let me try their pepita bread and it is actually quite similar to my sunflax bread in texture. I don’t use oats in my baking because some celiacs are sensitive to it so that’s the main difference between Origin and Sin Grano stuff. I was very interested in them when I was doing research to start this business and was heartened to learn that they did a farmer’s market type thing the first year before they got their storefront.
        When I visit Victoria next time I will definitely stop in and sample some goodies.

        I am working on a few new products right now – the toughest one seems to be making a bun that doesn’t need some kind of muffin tin form but also not heavy in texture.. Rice flour lightens things up but I really dislike rice flour-it tends to make bread really dry.

        I really hope you enjoy my products.
        cheers
        Zoe

  13. Joan Haddow January 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Hi, I heard your interview today on the CBC with Rebecca. My name is Joan Haddow and I own a food company in Kelowna. My company, the Canadian Fruitful Tree Company, dehydrates the fruits that we grow as well as the fruits and berries that we purchase from other B.C. farmers. In a CFIA inspected facility on my orchard
    we manufacture an array of healthy products with a fruit and berry base, which are all gluten, nut and dairy free. We will be showing our products at the Celiac Conference at the Delta Grand in the spring. Please have a look at our website at http://www.fruitfultree.ca I can be reached at the office at 250-762-6797. My email address is info@fruitfultree.ca. I really enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you.
    Joan
    CFTco.

    • MB - The Lazy GF Chef January 19, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Hi Joan,

      I look forward to trying some of your products! I love that you source from other BC farmers. I have dear friends who are organic farmers in Winfield. I didn’t see on your website where you sell your products? Let me know and I will try some! Also, I just found out about the Celiac conference – how did I not know?! – so I’m hopefully going to attend. I’ll make sure to stop by your booth! Thanks for saying hi!

      MaryBeth

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