If you are like I am, you have noticed an increase in gluten-free products everywhere from menus in restaurants to cereal boxes on grocery store shelves. Unless you have been told to follow a gluten-free diet by your doctor, or chosen to cut gluten out of your diet yourself for personal reasons, you might be wondering why the sudden surge in gluten free products. Celiac disease and gluten intolerances are on the rise, therefore more and more people are looking for gluten free options. There is an abundance of choices out there for people looking for gluten-free options however, they can be hard to find and expensive to buy. And how do you know if they even taste good?
Hello Gluten-Free Garage! A pop-up farmer's market type event with over 50 local vendors and guest speakers. Even the food trucks Gluten-Free Bitches and Hero Burger will be there! The event was started by RonniLyn Pustil whose daughter was diagnosed with Celiac disease 4 years ago. RonniLyn learned quickly that 1 in 133 Canadians are diagnosed with Celiac Disease. After discovering many amazing bakeries, restaurants and companies making gluten free food, RonniLyn wanted to share her finds with others. Gluten Free Garage is a “safe space” says RonniLyn. Families can come to the event and not worry about being “glutened.” There will be tons of show specials and sampling, and with gluten-free food being expensive you do not want to always buy an entire package of something before knowing if you like it.
From baked goods, to pasta and snacks the products at Gluten-Free Garage will be eclectic. In addition to the amazing selection of products available there will be five fantastic speakers focusing on living a gluten-free life. To make the event even more fun The Children’s Art Studio at the Wychwood Barns will be hosting a free art activity suitable for kids 4-8 years old. Parents are invited to drop their children off for 30 minutes or so while they peruse the vendors or hear the guest speakers.
A personal favourite vendor of mine is Antipastos Kitchen. A company that was asked by its customers to make their delicious pastas gluten free created a blend of gluten-free flours that gives the taste and flavour of authentic Italian noodles. Antipastos Kitchen offers products that are vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free as many people with Celiac disease and gluten intolerances have cross sensitivities. Their pastas are truly delicious and indistinguishable from “real” pasta, making it an easy choice the entire family can enjoy together. My favourite is their dairy -ree butternut squash ravioli.
If you or someone you know follows a gluten free diet then Gluten Free Garage is the perfect place for you to go this Sunday. And with May being Celiac Awareness Month it has never been a better time to learn about all things Celiac and gluten-free.
Gluten-free Garage, The Sequel will take place this Sunday April 28 at Artscape Wychwood Barns (in the Covered Street Barn) 601 Christie Street (just south of St. Clair), Toronto, 10 am–4 pm.
Admission: $10 for adults, kids 12 and under get in for free. Tickets available at the door only.
Granola bars, pretzels, fruit roll ups, chips, goldfish…do any of those really have any nutritional value?
Granola bars may pretend to be full of high-fibre oats but they are sugar in disguise, same with fruit roll ups and all those gummy candies. Pretzels may not have any fat or sugar in them but they are still high in salt and don’t have a lot fiber. And goldfish….seriously, what are those things?! Fortunately and unfortunately for me my son has never liked any “snack” type foods. So when he started full-day school last year and it was time to start packing lunches I was in a real pickle.
I decided I would make my snacks. I started with mini homemade muffins, and a year later I am still packing 2-4 mini muffins in his lunch every day, depending on how mini I make them. This is great because I can control the amount of sugar, fibre, and other ingredients that goes into them. It is not so great because I am ALWAYS making muffins! I can’t say there haven’t been late nights or early mornings where I have been making muffins in my pajamas to avoid sending him to school snackless.
Now don’t get the wrong impression. I am not the type of mother that gives in to every one of my child’s desires. Meal times are take it or leave it, there are no substitutions. And my son would, in fact, take gummy candies for a snack every day if he could, but I will not send them. When it comes to snacks I just do not see the point in trying to get my son to want to eat junk—I'd rather make muffins!
What’s it like making mini muffins twice a month for two years? Don’t ask! To keep myself from not falling asleep into muffin batter I like to make different types of muffins, and have even started baking them in different shapes. Now instead of asking for muffins by flavour like banana, carrot or zucchini, my son asks me for muffins by shape. Most recently I bought a star shaped muffin pan at Michael’s and couldn’t wait to use it. My heart pan was a present from my mother on Valentines Day, bought at Williams Sonoma.
Here is my high fibre zucchini chocolate chip muffin recipe, or “heart muffins” as my son likes to call them. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350. Spray muffin pans with nonstick spray. If using heart or star shape pans spray extra well.
In an electric stand mixer (or by hand, but I recommend a stand mixer if you have one) mix flours, sugar, ground flax, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt until blended.
Add grated zucchini to flour mixture and mix until moist.
In a separate bowl mix yogurt, oil and eggs together. Add to flour/zucchini mixture.
Stir in mini chocolate chips.
For mini, heart, or star-shape muffin pans add 2 Tablespoons of batter to each muffin cup. Bake for 10-12 muffins, or until a cake test comes out clean.
For regular size muffin pans add 3 Tablespoons of batter to each muffin cup and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Make sure to re-spray muffin tin with nonstick spray after every batch.