gluten-free dinner for one

rapini with rotini rice pasta and cured black olives
For years I lived alone and quickly learned that the trick to cooking for one, is not to. I cook things that work well over a few meals. Two or three nights of making dinner is all I need to have a few dishes on rotation for lunches and dinners over a week. 

There are lots of foods that work well this way - some obvious ones are chili, soups or lasagna,which all freeze well too. When I make these, I freeze a few portions that I can add into my rotation of meals in future weeks.

Rapini is hands down my favourite vegetable. When Bill is away on road trips, I tend to eat it up to 3 nights a week. A large head of rapini ensures that I get a good dose of greens in a week too. Check out my post HERE on how I cook rapini (which is great on its own!) and toss it with pasta and olives. When it cools I dole up what's left into sandwich bags and take it to work to heat up for lunches.


betty crocker gluten-free cake mix

This is a piece of Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cake made from their mix. The kind of cake that I drooled over in the 70's as a little kid. The kind of cake that was completely forbidden to me, until recently. 

I haven't changed my tune. Baked goods made from scratch with fresh ingredients are certainly my preference, but I'm not a big baker myself. It's nice to know I don't have to be. 

We made the chocolate cake for my Dad's birthday party. We served half of this cake at the dinner - the other half I devoured over the next 24 hours. Sliver by glorious sliver. The icing is Duncan Hines (also gluten-free, although not always marked as such). Ingredient list is frighteningly unhealthy... but let's not kid ourselves, this is junk food.

One of my final memories before diagnosis, was of toddler cuisine - tiny concoctions made from Betty Crocker "Easy Bake Oven" cake mixes. Soon after, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This cake made me feel like I'd come full circle. The world of mass market junk cake mix was back at my disposal. Yum. 


gluten-free groom

waiting outside the Chapel at Toronto City Hall
Forgive the indulgence, but I'd like to use this blog to give a big shout out to my amazing 'gluten-free groom'. Thursday afternoon Bill and I took the plunge and tied the knot at a tiny ceremony for two. To find out more about why he is the ultimate gluten-free gift... you can check out the homage I wrote to him HERE

I'll be posting about any pending celebratory gf events related to our nuptials in the not too distant future.


Quinoa: gluten-free super food!

quinoa for breakfast with raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and garam masala
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), is a complete protein grain that hails from the Andes in South America. It is considered a super-food because of it's exceptional balance of amino acids, vitamins and minerals. I eat it because I like it, and it makes a nice change from rice, or buckwheat as a morning breakfast cereal. In the the summer my preferred way to enjoy quinoa is in place of cous cous (which is cracked wheat - and NOT gf) in a tabuleh salad (typically includes parsley, tomatoes & cucumbers and mint). I'm not making that today as tomatoes and cucumbers are far from in season here in Canada... but we will eat plenty of it come summer (Bill won't pick out the cucumbers if I cut them small enough).

Cooking instructions are really easy: add 1 cup quinoa (rinse it thoroughly in a sieve) to 2 cups water with a pinch of salt.Bring to a rolling boil, then cover and let simmer on low for about 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed.
Fluff with a fork and treat it like any other grain, varying spices to fit the dish. Please do share your favourite way to enjoy quinoa in the comments!


gluten-free at the office

I don't work here... but you get the idea...
I work in a typical office, where there is a communal fridge (stuffed to capacity with loads of old stinky leftovers) and a microwave. I can't say that we don't have amenities. 

There are days I'm happy to have them so that I can bring in some chili, or home made soup, leftover frittata or risotto and heat it up. Most days I eat food like I'm on a picnic. My office cupboard has a stash of the following:
  • Olive Oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • Italian herb mixture (not seasoning)
  • individual servings of tuna in olive oil
  • organic brown rice cakes or seed or lentil crackers
  • tins of chickpeas, navy or white kidney beans
  • toasted almonds and or walnuts 
  • small strainer
  • sharp knife
Having these tools and non-perishables at the ready means I can always scrounge together a healthy meal... but for the most part they are the elements I add to fresh ingredients. A sandwich baggy holds more than two slices of bread - I use them to cart lettuce (arugula and spinach are my faves), fruit, avocados, feta cheese, hard boiled eggs, leftover roasted or grilled veg, tomatoes, cucumber etc. The combination typically adds up to a pretty satisfying, healthy and delicious lunch. The protein and nutrients are high, the carbs are low, so if I want to go out for lunch now and again - I don't feel too guilty :). 

What are your go-to items for lunch away from home?


Happy Easter!!

Whether you celebrate Easter or Passover this weekend, wishing you and yours a lovely holiday weekend - and may all the chocolate that crosses your path... be gluten free!


would you trust that it's REALLY gluten free?

When she put this burger in front of me in the diner-style restaurant in some small town in Maine... I eyed it with suspicion. 

The waitress had assured me that they had gluten-free buns.  When I simpered my concern "Was it really gluten-free?" She gave me a look that asked "You calling me a liar?"... She didn't come out with the bag, but did give me the name of the bakery that they got the buns from. 

I felt hesitant (you can even see in this shot where I picked off a corner of the bun to "test" it). I ate the burger... but with an uneasy, slightly paranoid feeling, despite the fact that it looked different from Bill's "normal" bun. Even Bill was giving me the "you're being neurotic" vibe.

I'll admit the burger was pretty darned tasty and nothing "bad" happened. When we got home from our trip I checked out the bakery online. They didn't highlight making gluten-free goods so I sent an email to which they responded "we are working on getting our gluten-free status". I don't know what that meant, but it did make me realize that it's not such a bad thing to remain cautious when someone tells you that what they are serving you is gluten-free. What would you have done?