I Review Hilray Gluten-Free Oats

A few weeks ago a co-worker of mine was going on and on about eating porridge and her and I got to talking about eating oatmeal and porridge when we were both younger.

Oatmeal always reminds me of having breakfast at my Grandma’s house and since I’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease never really worried myself about getting my hands on gluten-free oats. You know the whole deal about having real gluten-free oats. If you don’t, then guess what? Oats are naturally gluten-free. Oats are usually processed or grown in the same place where a grain with gluten in it is also grown. So the issue with cross contamination is always on the mind of people who need to be on a gluten-free diet for serious medical conditions (I have celiac disease so finding pure gluten-free oats is a MUST for me).

In Canada the rule was just changed so that gluten-free oats can be sold as ‘gluten-free’ and not as ‘wheat-free’ as long as it’s grown in a dedicated location or tests with trace amounts of gluten. And being a diagnosed celiac you know you have to avoid that label too, because you never know what other gluten-grain is there. Remember WHEAT-FREE doesn’t always equal gluten-free.

So, after this whole conversation about porridge and oatmeal in the morning I was suddenly just craving it. For a whole week, all I could think about was oatmeal and brown sugar every morning. It invaded my mind like a worm and while I was eating cereal, I wanted oatmeal. It became the thing that was controlling my every waking moment.

hilray
You can see my tablespoon in the bag still. Classic Jordan, totally not paying attention when he takes his pictures.

 

Then HILRAY WHOLE GRAINS (click HERE for their website) came to my rescue. They offered to send me some of their gluten-free oats in exchange for an honest and unique review of their food. And here it is.

HILRAY produces their oats in dedicated fields and in a dedicated gluten-free facility.

Every reason you need to know that this is a genuine gluten-free product. A company that takes gluten-free seriously and even “stop[s] looking over shoulders once you’ve taken the first spoonful (we had to stop there as we understand that peeping is still universally frowned upon).” When a company takes a so much care to have a safe food, you know your guts are in the right company.

Here’s where I get real.

When you buy prepackaged oatmeal, like the flavoured kind: apple/cinnamon or maple the only reason you as an individual likes them is because they have that specific flavour. HILRAY doesn’t provide flavoured single use packets, they provide straight oats that you cook yourself in as much quantity as you can handle (I have been eating one bowl a day. 200ml water and 10tbsp of HILRAY oatmeal cooked in the microwave with 2tbsp of brown sugar). Here’s the rub; plain oats are just plain oats. You can’t really perfect the flavour of oats. They are what they are.

What I like about HILRAY is how fast they cook for me and the texture of the oats before cooking. They’re a great combination of soft and toasted and absorb water with minimal ease. It’s a easy, tasty and healthy breakfast. One of which I hope to continue on long past my bags of HILRAY gluten-free oats are gone.

Now, how do I get my daughter to like oatmeal as much as me? I think she has an issue with the texture of oatmeal. I’d like her to have as fond memories as I do with it.

hilray2Wondering where you can get some HILRAY gluten-free oatmeal? Hate to tell you, but HILRAY is Canadian and operates out of Ontario. Since my readers are split down the middle of USA and Canada, I’ll give you a list of where you can pick up some of these great gluten-free oats by clicking HERE.

There are no Small Celiac Advocates

posted in: Blog Post | 2

THINK LOCAL ACT GLOBAL

Sometimes we forget that little phrase that they taught us in grade school. This mentality also applies for celiac disease as well. Spreading a little awareness can make all the difference in someone’s life. Whether its a family who needs a shout out, or a little child who has just been diagnosed. There is no such thing as ‘not enough advocacy’. That’s true across the board. We might never believe that statement when we’re told, but I bet if you look back to any recent event where you (even if you have to eat a specific diet or not) said something or did something to aide a food sensitive person.

You’re not just one person alone, fighting for the food eating rights of others. This is a new era and a new time period in humanity where we are all accepted as equals and unique individuals. Having different diets can be the same as preferring a different colour of sweater to wear. Just because you might be one person trying to make a difference, remember, you ARE making a difference. You might not ever see it, or you might not realize you’re even doing it, but that one step you take to make sure someone gets a gluten-free cookie or a peanut-free sandwich, is the right step to brightening someone’s day.

As a diagnosed celiac, I see people going out of their way to ensure that I can have a safe and gluten-free meal at family gatherings. That’s not just for me; with three others in my immediate family that need to be gluten-free, seeing friends and family take extra care to provide a meal or to avoid contamination is a game changer. And the one small small small gesture means the world.

As small as using a different set of tongs on the BBQ.

As small as using gf/vegan margarine for the brownies.

As small as leaning in and saying ‘I got your back’.

serrena
My sister-in-law advocated more than she realized.

 

Having a food sensitivity has it’s bad days and good days. It has it supporters and naysayers. Celiac disease has all kinds of people out there fighting for each one of us, and they all do a good job at it, no matter how they do it. Even you, maybe a reader who isn’t a blogger or advocate. By putting ‘celiac since 2007’ on your Twitter profile or something to that effect on your Facebook status, you’re doing the exact same job that I do. Getting the word out there and opening up the doors for others to ask about it.

Pass the knowledge, no matter how small. It’s like a pebble in the pond. That ripple gets bigger and bigger as it stretches out to the shore. There is no such thing as too little of a celiac advocate.

Small gestures like a person behind the counter getting your ice cream order safe for a peanut allergy. No matter how small, you’re doing it right.

I Review Neal Bros. Gluten-Free Food

I’m Canadian and I get to taste a lot of Canadian gluten-free food. I like it a lot to when the company of said gluten-free food is basically right around the corner from me, less than an hour drive and coupled with an amazing story. The Neal Bros. starting making croutons in their mother’s basement in 1998 and have moved on to make some of the finest gluten-free foods from natural and unique ingredients.

NEAL BROS. (website can be found by clicking HERE) we’re brought to my attention via Instagram and through they, they reached out to me to review some of their special and different kinds of food. On top of the massive a mount of food they sent me (including free trade coffee which is always awesome to get) they sent me various other food that they supply from their stores. NEAL BROS is a true Canadian success story and I am happy to be able to get my hands on some of their products.

Of the gluten-free products I received, it was tough to really call one or two out as not the best of the bunch, or not my favourite. Priding yourself on different tasting foods can be a tough horse to ride, and while NEAL BROS does do that, some of the products didn’t hit home with me.

nealbbq
Neal Bros. BBQ sauce on chicken

 

The barbecue sauce was something I really had high hopes for. I put it on a lot of products and in the long run, it didn’t stay in our house very long because it was sued on everything. The problem with the Neal Bros Classic BBQ sauce was that it didn’t stand out. There was no real flavour setting it apart from any other sauce on the shelf. Other than the fact that is was gluten-free, it fell flat for me.

nealceaser
Neal Bros. Caeser dressing on sausages and I hammered the bottle to get the rest of it out and onto my cucumbers.

 

On the other hand, the Neal Bros Creamy Caeser dressing was balls out amazing. The website says rich and creamy and there is no fact more true. The only part they left out was that it was packed, packed, PACKED with flavour. I liked it so much I literally drowned all food that i could in it. It was more than a salad dressing to me, it was replacement beauty in a jar. And all the beauty went on my food.

I AM A MAPLE AND BACON GUY. Look anywhere on my site and I am all about taking maple syrup and utilizing it as my secret ingredient in almost all food I make (my wife even started doing this very same thing). Does this make me the authority on anything tat combines maple and bacon flavouring together? I’m Canadian too, so I know a thing or two about both of them… it’s to bad Neal Bros isn’t the only company that can’t get this to work. I wasn’t a fan of the Maple Bacon Kettle Cooked Chips. Maybe this isn’t a flavour that should be put on chips, it doesn’t seem to work.

nealpuffs

Neal Bros is about organic snack food and they mega props for the gluten-free Cheese Puffs. Light, airy, packed with flavour and a lot better than competing major brands. Before I knew it, I was done this bag of snacks. To me, expiry dates on products make no never mind, I eat all food before it ever gets close to the date. The Organic Cheese Puffs top my list.

Making snack foods gluten-free is always a good thing for me and all my fellow diagnosed celiacs. It’s worry free eating and gives us something really awesome to pound back while we’re watching reruns of Star Trek. It’s nice to have good tasting restaurant quality gluten-free tortillas in the house. Neal Bros really has a grasp on how to get GF alternatives to food and thats something to be commemorated, this is also on top of their wide selection of sauces and dips and salsa.

nealsalsa
Neal Bros Salsa and Netflix.

 

Aaaaand speaking of salsa. Neal Bros makes the best gluten-free corn salsa. I dare you to call me a liar. My sister (who is also gluten-free) sang me praises about the Neal Bros all natural corn salsa when I told her I had some. She wasn’t wrong, it’s that good. (*sidenote: I am not a spice fan. No matter the level of heat involved in food I am not a fan. The Neal Bros salsa is low level spice and it is too hot for me. Like the lowest of spicy-ness. Despite the heat, i still really liked it) It’s fresh tasting and packed with taste. It goes great with their tortillas. I even put it on some of my chicken one day at dinner.

NEAL BROS is an amazing collection of gluten-free foods and you need to go to their website HERE and see what I mean, and maybe order yourself some of their products. You never have to take my word on how I feel about food I review, but the eclectic nature of the NEAL BROS catalogue really needs a shot, and I want you to give them a try. Just click HERE.

All opinions are mine. I was not compensated for this post. The food was sent free to me, in exchange for an honest and unique review. Now with that out of the way; someone please send me gluten-free pizza to review.    -Jordan

 

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See. Tortillas and Star Trek. I wasn’t lying.
nealbbqdinner
BBQ sauce on my burger
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BBQ Sauce on my chicken.
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Neal Bros Maple Bacon potato chips. The bag is crumpled because I forgot to take a picture of it and I had to fish it out of the garbage. Sorry for being a terrible blogger.
nealsalsa1
Neal Bros. Salsa.

 

 

 

 

 

I Review Grab the Gold (a gluten-free protein bar)

I have had protein bars in the past, but I have never had a gluten-free protein and nutrition bar as delicious as GRAB THE GOLD and that is a solid fact.

On the website, which you can get to by clicking HERE, they claim ‘instant and sustained energy’ and this more true than for any bar I’ve ever had.

GRAB THE GOLD may be a delicious guilt free snack, but it can’t be too guilt free when all you want to do is eat the whole box.

Gluten-free, dairy free, vegan, GRAB THE GOLD lives up to it’s name…. holy shit, I just figured out why these little snacks are shaped like hockey pucks. Or more specifically gold medals. “Grab the Gold” I get it now. Boy am I dumb.

Peanut butter and chocolate chips are pretty close to the best combination for any food and Grab the Gold really does pull this off perfectly. Unlike a lot of the other bars, Grab the Gold has no weird chemical after taste or even hidden taste that sometimes might linger in the food. I always tend to find this is with gluten-free protein bars, but not this time around.  Grab the Gold was an amazing surprise and one I would gladly go through again and again, it’s just too bad I powered through the entire box.

I’m a big guy, and sometimes small energy bars don’t work as well for me. They kick in, but don’t last all that long. I felt a good three-hour-power when I consumed Grab the Gold and no crash. It’s something that 3 of the other bars of another company might try to do (hell, my beard alone is it’s own person).

gtggrass
Gotta keep energy up so I can grow this beard

 

I work outdoors and when I was asked to review Grab the Gold, I was going into my busy season of raking leaves and cutting trees and getting everything ready for the Spring and then Summer and I was eating two bars daily. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon and I felt ALIVE. It was a great combo of energy and smart tasting food (I’ve never described food as tasting smart before, so you know I am serious about this). A good body needs to be aware and active while wearing heavy boots and slinging chainsaws, Grab the Gold did just the trick.

gtgbite

STORY TIME: I remember I was at the end of my box of Grab the Gold and my family was getting ready to go out. Wherever that was isn’t the important part, what is, is that even after the breakfast and the coffee and the inspirational self-talk I gave myself, I couldn’t muster the energy to get going or be excited. I lamented to myself that I wished I had another Grab the Gold… and then it happened, at the bottom of the pantry I found one. My day was saved, not just by the gluten-free food and power/energy it would provide me to kick start my day, but because they taste that good. I told you it’s chocolate chips and peanut butter right?

Spending time with my four year old daughter is a job in itself, running around and pretending to be a ninja while she’s a princess to be saved. Then toss in her little buddies to that melting pot and I am one run down and ragged Dad. Grab the Gold kept me alive on more than one occasion and it TASTES GOOD. I can’t stress how much I love these little gold medal shaped protein guys.

gtgkid
My kid has more energy than I ever will.

 

Final words: get in on these Grab the Gold bars. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, I want to guarantee that you will not be disappointed. Because let’s face it, we have all been searching for the best tasting gluten-free protein bar, and I found it. So, I win. Now I want all of you to win.

All of these opinions are mine. I was not compensated for this post. The food was sent free to me, in exchange for an honest and unique review. Now with that out of the way, someone please send me gluten-free pizza to review.    -Jordan

I Review the Love With Food Box

What if gluten-free christmas came one a month (minus Santa, elves, snow and weirdly enough no candy canes)? There is no way I couldn’t contain my glee if a red box of strictly gluten-free food arrived at my door.

lovewithfoodbox
My wife said “maybe you should take a picture of the box before you start eating out of it?” She’s a good lady, always keeping my head on straight when gluten-free food is in the house.

Watched over and put together by KC Pomering who is also GF Foodie (click HERE for her website) the Love With Food box is something you should try at least once. Though, if you live in Canada, you’re crap out of luck as this is a US shipping product only (we have great healthcare but not this box?? Seems unfair).

I had a great opportunity to get my hands on a Love With Food box containing 12-15 products (including coupons) and I have not been disappointed with what was in my face when I opened this little red box of freedom.

In the grand scheme of things, having a box of gluten-free food isn’t necessary, but it’s fun and great to see whats out there. Like a sampler of the great goodies that you could possibly have. Having a box of food delivered to my door makes me smile, and like I said, one of the awesome benefits of using the Love With Food membership is the meal donation, it’s a win-win.

Every month each box is different, but I’ll give you a run down of some of the great things I found in my box:

beanitos
My father-in-law in the background DOES NOT express my feelings at how awesome this food was.

 

First off, these Beanfields bean and rice chips are fantastic. It tasted like a burrito and there was a never a doubt that I didn’t love these things. I am only sad that I didn’t have more. If you miss out on these in your Love With Food box, make a stink. Not having this in your life is a damn shame.

keenowaj
Really good as a snack, on their own.

 

 

I Heart Keenwah is something I’ve never heard of. What I have head of is quinoa and I am not a fan of quinoa, so I was diving in pretty reluctantly with there Quinoa Puffs. I had a few before dinner and I really did like the herb taste and mentioned to my wife that they would be a good alternative to croutons in a salad. The one problem with that, was that i was wrong. The Quinoa Puffs are way better on their own and shouldn’t be eaten in a salad.

There was some chickpeas that just tasted like chickpeas…

saltbean
The first night with Montana Mex and snap peas….

 

…but the big winner was the Montana Mex Sweet Salt. This kind of food and way to prepare it never occurred to me and why hasn’t this sort of food seasoning come into my life until now? I saw a picture on Instagram that someone put the salt on corn on the cob, so I upped that and put it on my snap peas… It was so good, i did it again the next night. I caught my wife adding it to sandwiches. It was truly one of the best products to come out of the Love With Food box.

altbean2
The second night with Montana Mex, notice the extra snap peas.

 

Give it a try at least once and see what you think of it. It’s a pretty cool thing to have once a month, even if you just treat yo self. I can’t get a membership to Love With Food because I’m in Canada, and I am eternally grateful that I was able to take one for a test spin. Always gluten-free, always to me door and every month, thats a great combo.

If you want to get a handle on this great thing, WITH 50% OFF!!! click HERE and see what you can do to make someone happy and yourself with this gf food box.

What would have made it super cool if it truly was Christmas once a month. It’s already a red box, just slap some white strips on it… damn thats a fun idea. Don’t steal that idea Love With Food, thats mine now.

 

All of these opinions are mine. I was not compensated for this post. The food was sent free to me, in exchange for an honest and unique review. Now, some one send me gluten-free pizza to review.    -Jordan

    

Bacon & Goat Cheese filled Gluten-Free Pasta

posted in: Blog Post, Recipies | 0

I always like to try and do something a little different in the kitchen, and when I am asked to come up with an original and unique idea based on Catelli gluten-free pasta, my brain went a mile a minute shooting off any insane idea it could come up with. You know I love bacon and you know I love maple syrup. The only question was how to get it to become one with the gluten-free penne pasta that Catelli makes?

lookcooked

I am no stranger to taking on a food challenge, and as my daughter said to me when she ate this amazing recipe I created “home run daddy”.

From the mouth of a true fan.

GLUTEN-FREE BACON GOAT CHEESE PASTA

INGREDIENTS

1/2 box of gluten-free CATELLI PENNE PASTA

70 grams of goat cheese

3 slices of gluten-free bacon

1/2 cup of sunflower oil

1 tbsp real maple syrup

1 food syringe

DIRECTIONS

(As a ‘food making’ side note, it’s best to cook the pasta a few days ahead of time and let it sit for a day or so in the fridge to harden. This allows you to easily hold and work with the pasta for the later steps of this recipe.)

  1. Cook the 3 slices of bacon until flimsy. The bacon needs to be super soft, but fully cooked in order for this whole thing to play out well in the end (this is all considering the size of the food syringe you’re going to use). I cooked them on the stove, but cooking them in the microwave is just as effective. (I would suggest on a microwavable plate on High for 45 seconds).
    I say 3 slices, but I cooked 7 and ate the other 4.
    I say 3 slices, but I cooked 7 and ate the other 4.
  2. Place between some paper towel and get as much of the grease off as you can. Set it aside.
  3. Chop all the bacon into teeny tiny bits. You can use a blender, I choose to use scissors. If you’re using a fine tipped syringe, you might opt for a food processor or if you’re going to use a child’s medicine syringe like I did, you don’t have to go to crazy with the size of the bacon pieces.
  4. Melt goat cheese in small bowl for 40 seconds in microwave. It should sort of be a texture like cottage cheese or a whipped peanut butter. Not hard, but easy to stir.
    cutbacon
    Bacon Scissors
  5. Add bacon to goat cheese a little at a time. Making sure to stir each new application of meat until ALL is mixed well.
  6. Cram the mixture into the food syringe.catellisyringe
  7. While holding one end of the Catelli gluten-free penne with your thumb, squeeze the bacon/cheese mixture in. Don’t overfill, just enough to fill the inside of the pasta. Too much will cause the gluten-free pasta to break apart. (pro tip: slowly pull the syringe out of the middle of the pasta while you depress the plunger). Fill all the pasta and set on a plate.
    catellineedle
    While my hands look dirty, i assure you it’s only spray paint that I couldn’t get off.
  8. Pour sunflower oil on a pan and add maple syrup on top.
  9. Heat pan on med.- high until maple syrup starts to slightly bubble. Stir in all the liquid in the pan to mix somewhat evenly.
  10. Add pasta in handful amounts. Cook only with these amounts at a time.
  11. Don’t mix with a utensil, shake pan to cover pasta in hot maple oil.
  12. Cook for 4-6 minutes each.
  13. Remove from pan with sieve to allow access oil to drip. Add to plate with presentation side of your choice.
  14. Enjoy.

Serves 4.

plated
Not fancy in the photography, but fancy in the belly.

While we’re at it. Here’s a great little list of Catelli Pasta facts that you might want to take a look at or even share with your pals? Maybe even go to the site (http://www.catelli.ca) and see whats happening there? I dunno. Your choice. -Jordan

 

  • Made from a unique four-grain blend of white rice, brown rice, corn and quinoa.

 

  • Available in Spaghetti, Fusilli, Penne and Macaroni (photo attached).

 

  • Delicious taste, smooth texture.

 

  • Produced in a dedicated gluten free facility.

 

  • Certified by the Canadian Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Certification Program.

 

  • Made with ingredients that are declared GMO free: white rice flour, brown rice flour, corn flour, quinoa flour, monoglycerides (from vegetable/palm oil).

 

  • 310 calories, 2 grams of fat per serving (85 g) of pasta.

 

  • Low in sodium (0 mg), source of fibre (3 g) per serving (85 g) of pasta.

 

  • Cholesterol and preservative free.

 

  • Easy to digest, with the great taste and texture of regular pasta.

 

  • Available at all major retailers across Canada, in the pasta aisle.
Hi. I made this food and I really like it.
Hi. I made this food and I really like it.

Scared to Travel with Celiac Disease

posted in: Blog Post | 1

There are all kinds of tips and tricks out there for anyone who is looking for ways to travel gluten-free (I have written a blog about it myself). Just by googling for answers you can find Celiac hacks and ways to avoid being glutened on you holidays away from home.

For plane travel, to fly gluten-free, the answer is the easiest: TAKE YOUR OWN SNACKS. It’s a simple rule of thumb for anything you ever do if you want to be gluten-free. Parties, concerts any where you could find yourself without gluten-free food around or provided for you. Especially travel.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way.

I am terrified to travel as a diagnosed Celiac. Not because A) I hate airports or B) I’m not a huge fan of traveling to another to another place without the use of my own power (ie my car). I’m terrified because my gluten-free diet is so specific and traveling takes me out of my comfort zone. My food comfort zone. In the years since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease I’ve travelled once a year or so, by plane, and those plane rides are never that long (I have been to Hawaii twice since my diagnosis, but those plane rides were always split into feasible timeframes. And now as a frame of reference, I see that you might not know that my home international airport is Pearson Airport in Toronto, Canada). Since the flights aren’t long, I am a functioning adult and can control my temper and attitude in the plane, so being isolated for three or five hours isn’t a big deal. Airlines supply water and cola so I am in capable hands for the short fights (and yes, when I fly I do go prepared). I am not a child who lets his blood sugar get the best of him and flies off into a temper tantrum… I can hold it in.

Speaking of tamtrums. Here is me and my daughter enjoying insane Florida heat on our most recent vacation.
Speaking of tamtrums. Here is me and my daughter enjoying insane Florida heat on our most recent vacation.

Anywhere you travel as a diagnosed Celiac, it’s always best to do some research. Fond out about restaurants and shopping places that can get you what you need in a pinch. There are even apps that can do this for you. It’s all about the research.

I’m scared to travel because no matter how much planning or prep-time I put into a trip, the likely hood of me being glutened is still there. The percentage of it happening falls on a lot of factors. The same factors that reside at home; eating out a home and at gluten-full restaurants. What if there is no place that accommodate my diet? The horror of that makes me worried that I can’t enjoy a night out with my family or the people that I travel with.

What if I do get glutened? Then my comfort zone is a million kilometers away. I’m not a home. I’m possibly in a foreign country or any other kind of different location where I can’t cuddle up in my own bed or use my own toilet. Being a Celiac is one of the biggest excuses I want to use to get out of children’s birthday parties, awkward anniversaries and not taking a vacation with my family. Celiac doesn’t stop me from doing these things, it’s just nice to have something to fall back on.

Just in the past bit, my wife daughter and I all travelled on a family vacay and I was lucky that every restaurant we attened was able to take care of me and my gluten-free diet. Any theme park we travelled to in Florida was able to make sure I had lunch, and even the Walmart down the road had an ample supply of gluten-free eats for me to stock out villa fridge with for the week. At no point did I worry about food. My local Walmart didn’t even have this great selection of gluten-free food. I was able to try new foods and see gf versions of my Canadian counterparts. Food I haven’t had for years.

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Walmart in Florida. Gluten-free for days.

 

I know that traveling as a Celiac is like traveling with a loaded and terrible trigger-guarded gun. It can go off at anytime. It can be unsafe at times and it can be an area of discomfort when surrounded by a different location, one we’re not all comfortable with.

I left Canada with Celiac. Came back with Celiac. Had a great time. I didn’t have to worry as much as I did. But guaranteed, I’ll worry again. I hate to say Celiac Disease has any hold on me, but she’s a part of my life and a big part of what I worry about.

Again, me and the kid: sunglasses and flip flops at our vacation villa.
Again, me and the kid: sunglasses and flip flops at our vacation villa.

Then again, the Walmart in Florida sold gluten-free beer. That was pretty awesome.

I Review CrunchMaster Garlic Crackers

When I think of the word ‘garlic’ the image of vampires comes to mind.

It’s long believed that vampires have an aversion to garlic and can’t be near it or ingest it or have it touch their skin. It’s why there are always cloves of garlic hanging around crosses in the movies, or why the Romanian homes have strings of garlic dangling from the windows in those same movies. One of my favourite garlic/vampire jokes is the pizza one.

Did you know April 19th is the official/unofficial National Garlic Day and what better way to celebrate than by talking about vampires and how much they despise garlic? Or how about we talk about garlic being used as a food stuff for the general public? Two of my favs are garlic salt and pickled garlic. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a jar of pickled garlic. My wife thinks that garlic doesn’t agree with me, because after I eat large amounts, it seems to eek from my pores like some kind of hideous garlic monster.

Okay. Now that I’ve said ‘garlic’ about a million times….

jordanmouthcm

CrunchMaster has these awesome gluten-free garlic flavoured crackers that when you open the little bag, I swear I was punched in the face by a garlic shaped fist. People on the other side of the house were yelling at me and asking me if I was killing a man made of garlic. Its a potent smell which paired perfectly with the first bite. And that’s where it ended. The gluten-free CrunchMaster garlic crackers are surely packed with wholesome ingredients, fiber and protein, but after the first bite I was terribly underwhelmed by the garlic. The first bite was packed with a great garlic punch, but with each subsequent bite it lessened and lessened, and I only had four.

You could say that this effect happens with a lot of bold flavoured foods but I wish it didn’t. I even thought this might have been a one time thing and went back a few hours later for another handful, and of course, the same thing happened. It just wasn’t enough to make me want to like the product beyond the fact that is was gluten-free.

Then I tried something different.

Crackers are usually reserved for dipping in things like spinach dip or hummus, the only thing is, I am not regular guy and I like to mix things up when it comes to my food. And on this particular day I wanted breakfast for dinner (to be honest, I always want breakfast for dinner) and I didn’t just want ‘breakfast’ I wanted eggs, bacon and home fries. I wanted a diner meal. A greasy spoon dinner in breakfast form. I had almost everything I needed; bacon and eggs, but I was lacking in the potatoes and lo and behold I had a half eaten bag of CrunchMaster garlic flavoured crackers.

crunchmastermeal

Keep in mind, I’m not a heathen, I know that gluten-free crackers are in no way shape or form a permanent substitute for potatoes in any way, but I needed something to add to the food to my plate. I was not disappointed. There was something to say for the garlic flavoured gluten-free CrunchMaster crackers being heated up underneath my eggs. The garlic was surely tasted with almost every bite and it was a nice little plate on a plate in food form for each morsel of egg in my mouth.

crunchmaster

Sometimes, it goes to show you that being different can yield positive results.

If you want to find out for yourself what the deal is with the gluten-free CrunchMaster cracker and your local retailer doesn’t carry it, go to https://www.crunchmaster.com to find their home page and they can help you get what you need.

Gluten-Free Bacon Pancakes Recipe

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What’s the one type of food that you can have at any time of the day (if you say popcorn, then you might be my new best friend)? There is an undeniable fact that if I was asked what food I would take to a deserted island, it would be popcorn.

But, if you’re thinking ‘breakfast food’ then, BINGO! There is no harm in admitting that you could eat steak and eggs at every meal, and really, bacon should be eaten at all times of the day. Breakfast food is the cornerstone of how our eating habits should evolve. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so let’s just make it EVERY meal. Imagine, scrambled eggs and cheese on top of a bacon weave ON TOP of a 1/4 slice of a fried and gluten-free breaded tomato?

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Every Sunday, ever since my family and I discovered XO Baking Co and their gluten-free pancake mix, my family has been eating gluten-free pancakes every Sunday. A gigantic plate of Mickey Mouse shaped pancakes dripping with pure Canadian maple syrup and often covered with whipped cream. That’s breakfast.

In the spirit of letting the world know that gluten-free food can taste just as good as it’s gluten-full counterparts and in the spirit of seeing how much I love and care for bacon like it was my first born, here is the full unique recipe for an amazing gluten-free breakfast provided by me.

The Gluten-Free Bacon Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of XO Baking Co. gluten-free pancake and waffle mix

6 slices of gluten-free bacon

2 large eggs

3/4 cups of milk

1/4 cup of half and half 10% cream

2 tbsp of gluten-free apple sauce

2 tbsp of real maple syrup

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cook all the bacon to a flimsy texture, medium rare is probably best. In the interest of time. (I cooked the six slices in the microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. It worked perfectly) You don’t want the bacon to be like the kind of bacon bits you would put in a salad. Then set it aside on a paper towel lined plate and cover with paper towel to soak up the extra grease.
  2. Start by making the XO Baking Co gluten-free pancake mix as directed on the box (don’t be surprised, but it’s just combing the rest of ingredients in a large bowl with spout and handle). Whisk until no lumps are present. It should be thin enough to pour and thick enough to not run like water.
  3. Cut the bacon with scissors into tiny squares and mix into pancake mix.
  4. On greased/buttered/oiled cooking surface like a pan or griddle, set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit pour the mix, making smaller diameter pancakes (out of one batch I was able to get 9). Cook until open bubbles appear on the surface then flip and cook until done. Usually a minute is good.
  5. It will smell like cinnamon and bacon and taste like a unicorn just kissed you. Serve with coffee, enjoy.

Celiac Disease is Like Parenting

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To anyone who is somewhat aware of celiac disease, having and dealing with celiac a daily chore. There is no tip toeing around the fact that the only ‘cure’ for celiac disease is to maintain a fully 100% gluten-free diet. To the outside world, having celiac disease can be a major activity which includes; checking ingredients and calling manufacturers and speaking directly to chefs and double checking the food at Mom’s Easter dinner.

Since I have celiac disease and I have had it since 2008, and since I’ve had my daughter since 2010 I now realize that the best way to describe to anyone what celiac management is: it’s like being a parent.

PREGNANCY: Some people will go a full nine months not wanting to know what the sex of the child will be. It’s an element of surprise that we as individuals we have no control over, so to choose this route is something a lot of people do. I mean, who doesn’t love surprise? I would prefer to know so I can be prepared with the room colour and the type of toys to buy.

CELIAC: You get bloated and you get sick? Any you have no clue whats going on with your body. All you know is that you want it out. A poop or a fart or vomit, whatever it is that is making you so uncomfortable. When you go to the doctor and they get to an eventual diagnosis and its celiac, you have no clue what that is. What is gluten? Where can I find it? Who makes gluten? What’s a good gluten-free bread? It’s best to be prepared with what celiac disease actually is before you go out and start eating again. What foods to eat, what restaurants to frequent, what colour to paint the bedroom.

FIRST DAY BACK FROM THE HOSPITAL WITH THE NEW BABY: After a few days at the hospital, it’s time to start a new routine with the baby. The only problem is, after all the reading you still have no clue what to do the first night, ad why the baby just won’t. Stop. Crying.

FIRST DAY IN YOUR KITCHEN AFTER THE CELIAC DIAGNOSIS: You just stand there with your pantry open and think “what the hell do I do now?”. Then you stand in the open refrigerator and wonder if you can still drink milk? No one seems to have prepared you for celiac disease.

 

BABY’S FIRSTS: The joy it is to see junior walking across the living room, grabbing each piece of furniture it can as they acclimate to this new way of moving. Watching this as a parent is amazing because you’ve been coaching her along. Then when she starts talking, the communication is opened to ways you never knew about. You want to tell the world all about it. So you post your first video to Facebook while junior gabs away.

CELIAC’S FIRST: Finding out that a Twix candy bar will just plain kill you is enough to know that any celiac can indulge in a bag of Lay’s Doritos. There is no shortage of telling the world. Your Facebook status lights up with ‘I can eat Doritos!!! YAH!!!’. Then when it comes to the Easter dinner and everyone stares in awe as you pour floods of gravy on the mashed potatoes and you look them dead in the eyes and tell them all it’s made with gluten-free flour. Being able to show everyone that a gluten-free diet is just as easy as talking is a satisfying feeling.

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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL: Seeing your kid off to the unknown is scary. You don’t really know if all the doors lock when the first bell rings. There is a lot of terrible things reported in the news about schools. What if your little girl is to scared to go pee by herself? Will the teacher yell?

AT A RESTAURANT: Fear of the unknown is what strikes you when you step into a shared kitchen diner. What if they boil my gluten-free past in the same water as regular pasta? Will they clean the knife? IS IT THE SAME CUTTING AREA?!? What if I have a gluten attack and need to use the washroom? I need to know where the washroom is at all times?

YOUR CHILD’S FIRST BOYFRIEND: When he/she starts dating, it can be a stressful time. You never know who exactly is taking your daughter out for a date (unless of course they are the kid of an old family friend and you know the history of this little boy inside and out). Seeing your daughter hand in hand heading towards a car and driving off is gut-wrenching and you now realize, for sure, that your daughter is grown up.

CELIAC’S BEER: The news of a gluten-free beer is an ideal one, as you always heard that beer wasn’t GF. There is always a gluten-free alternative to something and when you are staring at a six pack of gluten-free beer, something you always knew would come, you suddenly realize that you’re grown up. You only wanted a good gluten-free beer with your meal instead of ten gluten-full beers and your only goal is to get hammered, like when you were back in high school (and back in high school you weren’t diagnosed with celiac, you just got real drunk and had terrible hangovers… all due to celiac).

Parenting is a lot like celiac disease. No one ever does it the same way. The way one person handles bed times for their toddler isn’t the same way that another parent or guardian might. And that holds true for anyone with celiac disease. Not one person diagnosed with celiac disease tolerates or embraces their celiac the same way. One might use a shared toaster for their morning bread and one might own their own, just to use with the gluten-free alternative.

What works for one person, doesn’t always work for another.

Also, blaming bad hangovers on undiagnosed celiac disease is a solid gold move. 🙂

 


 

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