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Canadian Celiac Association’s National Conference 2012, Kelowna, BC!

7 May

Canadian Celiac Association National Conference: May 24-25, 2012

As many of you may know, I live in the beautiful Okanagan region of BC, in Kelowna (you can usually find me tweeting @misskelowna!) Well, I’m super excited about the upcoming Canadian Celiac Association Conference this month, because it’s in my hometown! I just marked my third year anniversary of being gluten free (aka 3 AD – 3 years after diagnosis), so I’m looking forward to going to my first Celiac conference, and being around people who really “get it.” I’m looking forward to also learning about the latest in Celiac and gluten free research, and of course, to the gluten free food that will be sampled and served at the conference!!

Conference Speakers

This year’s keynote speaker at the conference is Dr. Sheila Crowe. Dr. Crowe has over 25 years of experience in Gastroenterology and is the co-author of Celiac Disease for Dummies – a book I read when I was first diagnosed! Dr. Crowe served as a Consultant “Ask the Expert” for the New York Times Health online section on the topic of celiac disease. Although Dr. Crowe doesn’t have celiac disease herself, she is certainly well versed in the disease. In fact, her month-in-law, the late Mrs. Kay Ernst, co-founded the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) 40 years ago. You can read her full biography here. (Opens in a PDF).

Other speakers include Dr. Ian Blumer (speaking on celiac disease and its relationship to other autoimmune diseases), Dr. Hardy Limeback (speaking on dentistry and celiac disease), Dr. Brent Barlow (speaking on naturopathy and celiac disease), and Dr. Mohsin Rashid (speaking on “Celiac Without Borders: A Global Perspective”).

On Sunday, Dr. Connie Switzer will be delivering the Professional Advisory Board Report. Dr. Switzer was actually the gastroenterologist* that did my endoscopy back in Edmonton, and delivered me the news, “Yep, you definitely have celiac disease.” After that day, I never intentionally ate another speck of gluten. (Luckily, I had decided to load of on some of my glutenous favourites before that endoscopy, as I had a feeling I’d never have them again: perogies at the Farmer’s Market, fresh bread (of any kind), fresh sourdough bread (oh how I miss you), and my old Friday night tradition, Panago Pizza.)

*A gastroenterologist is an internal medicine physician that specializes in the treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Kelowna Gluten Free Expo

On Saturday, May 25 at the conference (non-conference attendees can go for $5), there will be a gluten free expo. Click here for more info. The following exhibitors will be sampling goods and/or providing info on their services:

For more information about the conference and gluten free expo, check out http://kelownaceliac.org/kelowna-2012/. For those of you who are attending, I look forward to seeing you there!!

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Gluten Free on “The Dish” – link to my interview on CBC Radio-West!

19 Jan

I had a great on air chat about the life gluten free, with the new-to-Kelowna Rebecca Zandbergen of CBC Radio-West. She’s a lovely lady and fantastic interviewer , and as she predicted, 6 or 7 minutes on air felt like a mere minute. There’s a lot of great tips I completely forgot to add during the interview, so I’ll have to post them here on the blog!

And soon to come… gluten free shopping tips-it doesn’t have to cost you every penny in your possession. Also, awhile back I promised to send Vernon girl Kerry K Taylor of Squawk Fox, some of the things I do to live as a money-conscious Celiac! Although she’s probably already in the know. (They’re coming Kerry!) If you haven’t visited Kerry’s frugal living blog – Squawk Fox – where frugal living is sexy, delicious, and fun – you must!

And here is the interview…click on the image to listen in on CBC Radio’s website!

Gluten Free on The Dish - CBC Radio West

Happy New Year!! Your Favourite 2011 Recipes (preceded by a red wine coloured rant)

4 Jan

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, 2012, sounds so futuristic, doesn’t it?!

So people have been asking me over and over, “when are you going to start blogging more”? No matter that these people are all of my real life friends who are asking me because they’ve referred recently diagnosed friends. But they have a point. Having a stale blog makes me feel icky, I mean, I work in marketing! How often do I huff at blogs that I really want to read but have gone months without a new post. And that’s what I’ve become?

Note to readers here: this is just my personal “forgive me, I have blinned” (blog sinned, made that one up) rant. Skip down for the hottest in recipes from 2011 ladies and lads.

I have to say though, that nagging feeling I get when I’m blazy (blog lazy, ha!) is when I talk to people who feel like getting diagnosed Celiac is going to ruin their life and cooking is going to be impossible. And I tell them, “No sister, it ain’t gonna ruin you, you just gotta learn the secrets.. I can tell you.. And you can find them on my web log!!” Okay, I totally don’t talk like this.

But I do tell people to not let a diagnosis get you down, that things are going to get easier. Because you quickly learn what you can and cannot eat. And you learn that you don’t have to follow complicated gluten free recipes to be able to eat. (Just learn how to substitute ingredients like a seasoned Celiac!) And let’s not forget that not only is gluten free knowledge on the uptake in society because people think it’s a weight loss tool (idiots), but because more and more people are being diagnosed with it. Restaurants and grocery stores are finally starting to get it. Some more slowly than others. (And yes, some will possibly be forever oblivious.)

But these secrets, and developments, are what I wish someone had told me when I was first diagnosed with Celiac. I thought my life was ruined! And it was not. I’ve learned to live with it, and make tasty food in a jiffy, and you can too.

So expect to see more of my rants and raves throughout 2012!

Now, for the top recipes of 2011? Here they are!

  1. Oven Baked Risotto. Apparently this was popular with the new-to-risotto crowd. So if you’re reticent of making your first batch of risotto, start with this one. And then try some of my other risotto recipes and see what you’ve been missing all these years! Risotto – gluten free food of the gods. And perfect for a creamy, savoury treat if you have to refrain from dairy as well!
  2. Cranberry Banana Walnut Loaf. Shave off 10 minutes to make muffins, or add in chocolate chips for a real anytime treat. Yummzers!
  3. Celery Leek Soup. I’m glad you liked it as much as I did! Because simply, it’s to die for. Put it on your list for a winter-warm-up fast!!

Enough from me for today. I wish you all the best in 2012 and look forward to continuing our gluten free journey together!

NEW: Gluten Free Recipe Directory

6 Jul

I’ve been meaning to put together a recipe directory for this blog for awhile. And I finally did it-find it here or by clicking the “Find Recipes” link in the navigation above.

I hope it helps you find some great, gluten free recipe ideas! I’ll be expanding on it in the future by adding in further breakdowns – by ingredients and by allergy notes (beyond gluten free that is, for those of you who can’t have eggs, dairy, or otherwise.)

Putting together this page made me realize how unadventurous my food tends to be-you think I like chicken?!

So I’m going to make a point of expanding on the Lazy GF Chef collection. I have some great beef and pork recipes, and I plan on trying fish at some point too-I started eating fish finally in November last year, so I owe it to this blog to come up with a crazy delicious fish recipe. Watch for it!

In other news, I hope you’re having a wonderful “gluten free” summer. Time to go fire up the barby!

Save-On-Foods: Gluten Free Product List

28 May

I’ve been impressed by the increased gluten free product selection at Save-On-Foods; I’ve also seen this echoed at Safeway, with little “this is gluten free” signs around the store. No matter what the reason behind it, I think it’s great that these mainstream Canadian stores are increasing their allergy awareness!

The Save-On-Foods in Kelowna (Orchard Plaza) has become a great resource in letting people know about the new products they’re carrying; they send updates to the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Celiac Association, which makes me want to support that particular store more often! The following letter was posted on  the Kelowna Celiac Association’s website – click here to read the original post.

Save-On-Foods: Gluten Free Update

by Dave Blackmore, Store Manager Orchard Plaza Save-On-Foods

I am excited to announce that we are currently working on a gluten free link on our website and we are looking at improving packaging and labelling on our Western Family products to indicate gluten free. Soon I will be able to share a detailed product list of Western Family products that are gluten free.

Here is an updated list of the products that we have listed in our Save-On-Foods stores which are gluten-free. As we all know, manufacturers are forever changing ingredients and the labelling is not a great reflection to whether products are truly gluten free.

Hopefully there will be an improvement in ingredients labelling in the near future.

If the group can take into account the product list attached is current providing there is not a recipe change from the manufacturer on the listed products.

We will continue to update you as we procure new gluten-free products. We are very excited that we have now listed some more Udi bread lines in our bakery.  The cinnamon raisin bread is EXCELLENT!

Best Regards,

Dave Blackmore
Store Manager
Save-On-Foods #980
Orchard Plaza Kelowna

Eating Out – Gluten Free in Kelowna, BC

8 Jan Quails Gate Winery - Old Vines Restaurant

I’ve had quite a few hits and misses eating out in Kelowna. Here’s a brief rundown of the great, bad and the ugly:

Quails Gate Winery - Old Vines Restaurant

The bf and I at Quails Gate for dinner. LOVE.

TRY THIS! My all-time favourite restaurant and dining experience in Kelowna is Quail’s Gate Winery/Old Vines Restaurant. Both the food and wine are amazing and the kitchen is super knowledgeable about allergies and avoiding cross-contamination. They can also make almost anything on the menu gluten free. I have many favourites, but my number one favourite dish here is the Mushroom Risotto with White Truffle Oil. You’ve never tasted anything like it!

Don’t miss the: Mushroom Risotto, Beef Carpaccio, 2009 Dry Riesling.

TRY THIS! My other top picks include:

  • Cabana Grille. The Tropical Tuna Salad is out of this world.
  • Lakeside Dining Room at the Hotel Eldorado.
  • Wild Apple Restaurant & Lounge at Manteo Resort.
  • Raudz Regional Table. Amazing, mouthwatering, delicious, need I say more? Oh yes, I should: they are also mixology master – try the fresh fruit martinis!
  • Dunn Enzies Pizza Co. They make their own gluten free pizza crust, and it’s much better than any store bought gf pizza crust I’ve ever had! Don’t miss the Diego’s Inferno (chorizo sausage, tomato, onion, green pepper, three cheese blend, chipotle cream) or the Cali-Familia (chicken breast, smoked bacon, tomato, three cheese blend topped with avocado aioli). YUM.
  • White Spot. Believe it or not, White Spot is pretty allergy aware and they have a separate gluten free menu (love that!) The Fajita Salad? Awesome!
  • Cactus Club. Try the Tuna Tataki (no yuzu vinaigrette) and the Jambalaya rice bowl.
  • The Rotten Grape. Delicious tapas and a great wine selection. The first time I went here, I got sick from a little bit of cross-contamination. But I have been quite a few times since and been fine – they have really improved their allergy awareness.

Places I plan to try this year:

RED FLAG Restaurants where I’ve had “questionable” gluten free food (most likely cross-contamination issues):

BIG RED FLAG The place I will never, ever dare to eat at again:

I will work on this list as I dine out more. I’d love to discover great Indian, Thai, Mexican and Sushi restaurants, so please let me know if you have any recommendations for these or other Celiac-safe eateries. The Kelowna chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association also has a more comprehensive list here. Happy dining!

Gluten-free goes mainstream – article from the Edmonton Journal

4 Jan

My friend Nesta sent me this article from the Edmonton Journal – it was written by her friend, Jennifer Crosby! (Small world – I used to live in Edmonton too!)

Although I love living in Kelowna, as you can see from the article, Edmonton has some great gluten free resources!

Make sure to check out the gluten free perogy recipe at the bottom of the article – and watch for my own perogy recipe in the near future! (Yes, I made perogies, this time without making my kitchen look like a disaster zone!)

“Gluten-free goes mainstream”

“Would you like fries with that?” For the growing number of people being diagnosed with celiac disease, the answer likely has to be “No.”

Celiac disease causes the small intestine to be damaged by the protein gluten. Sufferers are unable to absorb many nutrients. Trouble is, gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. A diagnosis comes with a long list of foods now forbidden: obvious ones like cakes and breads, as well as those not immediately apparent, like deli meats and fries.

“If there is anything else on the menu that’s deep-fried, don’t even think about the french fries,” says Calgarian Bette Howie. Even if the fries themselves aren’t flour-coated, they’re usually crisped in the same fryer as other flour-coated items, and are easily contaminated.

Read the full article here.

PS If you’re ever passing through Cochrane, Alberta, don’t miss the GF Patisserie, mentioned in the article. I love their flax bread! Check out their blog here.

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