lonely gluten free moments - that don't need to be

Ok, I know that this image of my brother's dog has little to do with gluten-free anything... but what illustrates sadness like the big brown eyes of a golden retriever puppy?

I've been thinking about the situations in which I haven't felt so full of bravado about living with celiac disease. Examples might include:
  • The Awards Dinner - last minute work commitment with no time to prepare. Preset dinner serving over 500 people in a room so big you have no idea where the food is arriving from. Even the vegetables are floating in some kind of "sauce".
  • The Road Trip - nothing but the same crap highway food for 16 hours. You are tired, hungry and have eaten nothing but potato chips. Being stuck in an airport is a close tie.
Life will deal you some bad days that can't always be avoided... but some situations are made bad, not from lack of planning - but from lack of sensitivity:
  • The Dinner Party. You've advised... but they didn't get it (or want to). You find yourself staring at an empty plate.
  • Ordering In. Everyone is hungry and there is a decision to order take-out. Your needs are diminished with a comment like - "don't worry, I think they make a salad". Meanwhile you watch you friends drool over pizza and lasagna.
What would be really sad, is if we actually thought that such people were our friends. I'm rarely hurt by people's thoughtless behaviour twice... because I don't tolerate it any more than I do the gluten!

Living WELL on a gluten-free diet has a lot more to do with sharing food with people that you enjoy being with - than finding a replacement recipe for cinnamon buns. I'm rarely sad about my diet - and am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have good friends who consider me as they'd consider themselves. 

May the new year ahead be full of feasts with your real friends.




gluten-free gingerbread house kit... home sweet home!

I walked by the kit twice before I finally picked up the box and gave in to the urge. I have never actually built AND eaten a gingerbread house in my life. El Peto just made it too easy to walk away. 

While this model won't make it into Architectural Digest... I'm pretty pleased with myself for making the effort - and will be just as pleased to demolish it over the holidays and eat the cookie slabs (as opposed to just picking off the decorations!). Do you have any classic yuletide favorites you are looking to find, or replicate this holiday season?



non recipe for gluten-free muffins...hard to go wrong!

I'm a renegade baker. I don't follow instructions well... so muffins and cookies are pretty much my limit. I am posting this little ditty simply to encourage other non-bakers to experiment every now and then. 

I made these banana muffins without a recipe. I can hear gasps of disapproval as I type... but truth be told, I just toss a bunch of ingredients fairly ad-hoc into my food processor... pour and bake. Now, I must admit that muffins are something I can do by "feel" - as long as my batter has the consistency of molasses I seem to do just fine. I tossed the following into the processor in this order without any measuring utensils: canola oil, brown sugar, 3 small eggs, two bananas, brown rice flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, garam masala spice, walnuts & raisins. Muffins baked at 375 for 30 minutes.
Sometimes I use different spices, sometimes chickpea flour replaces the rice or applesauce replaces the banana.  
I'm not saying you don't need to know what you are doing to make a well-risen cake or replicate a danish in gf form, however, it's hard to fail with muffins and I encourage you to give it a go once and awhile without feeling intimidated. (There are lots of recipes on the net if you want some measurement guidelines). Things like pancakes are also very forgiving...Would love to hear of other easy/no-fail recipes non-bakers like me are experimenting with!

gluten-free greeting card winners.....!

Thank you to those who commented here - and on facebook! The winners of the greeting cards are celiac in the city... & Trina! CONGRATULATIONS!! I'll be shipping out your cards shortly!


arepa... another gluten-free gift

Tonight I stopped by a lovely event held at an amazing Venezuelan cafe in downtown Toronto called arepa. This spot is an absolute gluten-free delight.

An arepa is made of corn flour. The "bread" has a very slight crispness on the grilled exterior and is soft and warm inside. The fillings can be made of pulled meat, and or cheese and or vegetables.  

I had my very first arepa in San Francisco a couple of years ago - and I thought I'd have to travel great distances to have another... until Angela introduced me to this amazing place in our own city. I was giddy the first time I walked in.

The ambiance of arepa cafe is contemporary yet cozy. Rows of packaged PAN cornmeal are on display... such a comforting sight! The  menu indicates which dishes (most!) are free from gluten. A haven for celiacs :)
photo credit: vince talotta/toronto star

Tonight I was there for the exhibition opening of Michele Guevara - a very talented fibre artist whose work will be on display at arepa cafe through January 12. 

The combination of warm people, creative expression and abundance of delicious foods we can indulge in... reminded me once again that life is full of gifts. I can't wait to go back.


free gluten free greeting cards - win the give away!

I'm more than just an opinionated celiac :) I'm also a printmaker - and I have a line of greeting cards under the banner "claudine's calling". This hand printed card was designed for people like us, and to thank people who take good care of us!

I am loving spending time in our beautiful studio... and hope to find to find time to do lots of new creative projects over the winter. If you are interested in seeing more - take a look at the cards & prints link at the side.

A set of 5 peanut butter cookie cards posted above will be given away to two lucky winners drawn on Wednesday December 14th. 

Simply leave a comment below for your chance to win!