easy gluten-free breakfast idea

I greet each new day in a zombie stance - each step of my routine is done with little thought - all process. Maximizing hours with my head on the pillow has inspired a diligent routine that begins with hitting the snooze button exactly twice. 

All this said to illustrate that I am not one to create a leisurely breakfast. It's about speed and nutrition. In the cold months I want something hot and comforting. Good local fruit is limited... so it's time to pull out the Bob's Red Mill hot cereal.

At first I balked at the effort required. It's now so simplified and automated that some mornings I do it in my sleep. The trick is having the ingredients and tools at the ready. My breakfast gear is all stored on one shelf in jars.There are microwave instructions on the bag... but I opt for stove top as it takes the same time and "effort".

1/4 cup brown rice or "GF Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal" mix
3/4 cup water

handful walnuts & organic raisins
1/2 tsp brown sugar or maple syrup
cinnamon or ginger or garam masala

cook first two ingredients in a little pot. When thick pour over the other ingredients in a bowl. Stir. Eat while surfing the net or looking for your keys.

This stuff sticks to your ribs and will keep you fueled until lunch. Keep in mind that what makes it stick to your ribs, also makes it stick to the pot - so rinse out right away or pay later! 



happy gluten-free halloween!

I had Hollie Hobby fever in the 70's. This shot was taken on Halloween, but that "costume" got sported pretty much anywhere I could pull it off for the rest of the year. When I outgrew it, I asked my mum to sew me a new one. There are family pictures of me at Christmas wearing that bonnet. Super geek!!

Little House on the Prairie fantasies aside, I was crazy for Halloween (what kid isn't?). Dressing up, clearly being a year round activity for me... October 31 was all about the candy stash. 

I grew up in a home that saw little junk food on the shelves. There was no pop in the fridge. You know, the type of home where the popsicles were homemade (with juice). Today - I am grateful to my mother for her good care. As a 9 year-old I just wanted to eat as much crap as I could get my hands on. Halloween was license to fill. 

It was also a time of extreme gluten alert. My brother Paul learned early that in our house you didn't eat anything until you got home. Upon return the treats got dumped together in a pile, mixed up and sorted by the parents. As most items didn't have info on the individual portions mum had to "know" what was safe (often by reading the bags in the stores well in advance). The split was always even, but he got all of the chocolate bars with gluten, me without. There would be "negotiations".  When we got bigger - we would dump our piles and make parental moderated "trades". I always remember my brother as the candy hoarder. He could keep his box of goodies going for weeks. Me? Gone within a couple of days. Nothing much has changed.

Today when I buy Halloween treats to shell out I try to buy at least some that I can't eat. This is the only way to ensure that there will be something to dole out on the big night. 


gluten free bread - no matter how you slice it

Gluten-free bread has come a long way from its humble (or should I say crumble?) beginnings. Nowadays with the growing market there are numerous varieties to choose from. 

While I have access to at least half a dozen different bread options in my neighbourhood at any given moment, many are still rather disappointing.  

To this day, I won't even entertain the idea of eating most packaged gluten-free bread until it's made a trip to the toaster first. Slipping the bread impersonator into a toaster greatly improves its texture and strength, and gives the anemic little rectangles a healthier glow. With some bread I've learned that open-face sandwiches are the best way to go. Less bread, less money, more flavour from the filling and less agitation for the roof of my mouth!

Gluten-free bread doesn't have a long shelf life. Most of it can only be bought frozen and those that aren't are sold on the shelves often because of the expense for small stores to refrigerate them. Always check those baked goods carefully, as there is nothing more disappointing than bringing home a $7 loaf only to find the underside sprouting green fuzz. Sorry for the unappealing visual. Back to bread...

One last tip: to avoid chiseling away at your frozen bread in the morning.... aaarrrgghh! Be sure to jiggle the slices carefully in the bag to separate them before putting them back into your freezer at home. I've just preserved your dinner knives.  

Kvetching behind me. I'd like to comment on my current three favourite breads on the market. I can't believe how lucky I am to have such a selection!

The only bread I will consider eating without toasting (although much improved with warming). These travel really well too - so the best choice for the road trip. Also a perfect hamburger bun.

Just discovered - enjoyed my first loaf in Nova Scotia last week. Incredible. Good texture and taste. Perfect for making "normal" looking sandwiches for your kids. 

This much lauded bread finally made its way into my home. I'd picked it up in the freezer a few times, and the bag always felt too light for my liking. Silly me. Great texture - and surprising taste... which I'd attribute to the molasses. I prefer to eat this toast dry (yep, that good) with tea. 

Of course, you can always bake your own bread - but for that I'd recommend one of the links to the great baking blogs listed on the right side of this post :)


gluten free workplace heaven

Warning: this post could make you wish that you worked somewhere else.

I'll begin by stating that my job comes complete with all of the ups and downs that any office workplace does - including internal meetings that drag on, umpteen spreadsheets to study, crazy deadlines, and the like.... What makes the difference, is that the people I work with are often exceedingly kind to me. 

This past month in particular, I've had a couple of "gluten free gift" moments. By this I mean situations where someone has been particularly thoughtful and shown me kindness through food. 

First, there was the dreaded fundraiser bake sale at the office. Lori showed up with a batch of gluten free brownies for me and a fellow gluten-intolerant colleague to share. 

She even brought in the bag from the mix she used to calm any anxiety we might have about ingredients. Lori's husband is a 'lifer' celiac like me (diagnosed as a child)... she gets it.

Second, the dreaded lunch n' learn training session... with, you guessed it - take out pizza. 

I couldn't wait! Why? Because Denise had heard that Pizza Nova delivered gluten free and opted to choose this chain for our order so that I could partake. She even sent me a link to the site to validate that I was comfortable with this choice. It brought tears to my eyes. 

You should have seen my face when I lifted the lid of this box... pizza with my peers. A very rare occasion indeed.

Hey, I don't live in a dream world. I have bad days... and sometimes I still sulk a little and feel left out. I'm one of many here, and I certainly can't expect to be considered every time there is food. We're human. We're busy. But man... when someone goes out of their way to consider my gluten free needs... I can hear violins. Thank you to my team mates.

I believe that the onus is on me to return the favour for others. Would be great to hear your "gluten free gift" stories and ideas on how we might "be the change" and spread the reciprocal love. 


gluten free weight loss

Are you kidding me? 

Gluten-free has been touted as a great way to lose weight... but let's be clear, you can't eat gluten-free substitutes of "regular" baked goods and lose weight. 

To make them tasty, gf goods are typically chock full of extra fat and sugar - which also helps to bind them together.

I'm seeing gluten free blogs created by trainers and triathletes. People going gluten-free in preparation for a marathon. Some people, who are only reading the headlines, may believe that a gluten-free diet is the wonder drug for losing pounds. I agree that it is good for you... and that many people likely feel better without gluten. I've been to the celiac conventions. There are some skinny folks there - but most of us? We struggle with our weight just like the rest of society.  

If one more person tells me how "lucky" I am to be celiac because I'm not tempted by the pastries on the kitchen counter at work - I might just scream. I have to curb my enthusiasm for lots of great tasting goodies (and junk food!) just like everyone else.

This recent interest on the part of "regular" people going gluten free, appears to be an offshoot of two other famous diet trends: the Atkins diet (which spiked in popularity and then like most diets.. crashed) & the Paleo (or caveman) diet. In a nutshell: zero carbs. This is not just gluten-free... for the most part, this is carb-free.

While I'm all for cutting back on the carbohydrates and building meals around protein and lots of vegetables, I'm concerned that this is not always an educated niche market. People selling gluten-free goods are NOT always going to regard gluten-free as a zero tolerance situation. 

If the baker at the market thinks - gf products are selling like hot cakes... I'll make a cake with rice flour (but dust my pans with pastry flour)... We are going to have a problem. If the waiter thinks you are watching your waist he may not take your questions about whether the risotto is prepared with pasta water very seriously either. (I don't mean to feed your paranoia. I'll save that topic for a future post.)

The more prevalent the gluten-free market becomes, the more I urge you to ask questions before taking the words gluten-free for granted. If you have celiac disease, I encourage you to let people know that for us, this diet is not a trend, but a prescription of living (ideally you can share this news without coming off as too much of a drama queen!). 

The word "diet" is a bit of a misnomer. If we want to lose weight on the gluten-free diet... we are going to have to cut back on the Pamela's peanut butter cookies, as well as the chocolate bars, ice cream, french fries and wine, too. Bummer.