Saturday, 8 December 2012

Enjoy Life Foods Plentils Review

A couple weeks ago I was asked to review the new Plentils (crunchy lentil chips) from Enjoy Life Foods. They sounded really interesting and I was excited to try them. After I agreed to review them I kind of forgot about them. Then one evening, my husband and I were sitting in the living room watching TV and the doorbell rang. My husband answered the door and brought back a package, declaring that he had been brought a gift. He had no idea what it was yet, but had been complaining all night that he needed some snacks (he is a sucker for crackers and chips). Before I could take the box away from him, he had it open and was starting to snoop. All of the sudden his face lit up and he shouted "Snaaaaaacks! From Santaaaa! I prayed to Santa and he sent me snaaaaaacks!". He started running around the house celebrating and inspecting his 4 flavours of snacks including Light Sea Salt, Dill and Sour Cream, Garlic and Parmesan, and Margherita Pizza. Of course they were my snacks, but he gave me no choice but to share. It was all I could do to keep him from eating every bag right then and there. We opened the garlic and Parmesan flavour that night and tried the next 3 flavours over the next 3 nights.

The texture wasn't what I expected. They were more puffed up than chips and felt very light and airy. I liked that they weren't too crunchy. The closest texture comparison I can make is to those new pop chips. The flavours were fairly mild but good. My favourite was the margherita pizza and my husband liked all of them about the same (so long as they're crunchy and salty). I also appreciated that they contained less fat and more protein than potato chips.

This product is a great alternative to the regular snack chips and crackers. At just under $4 a bag they cost more than potato/corn chips, but are not outrageously expensive. They would make a good snack for individuals with multiple allergies.

Cost        3 stars
Taste      4  stars
Health    4  stars
Texture  4   stars

Overall Rating: 3.75 Stars

Thanks Enjoy Life Foods for providing these free samples for me to review. All opinions are my own

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

gluten free carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing

I made these cupcakes last weekend for my dad's birthday. It's actually December 24th, but we like to celebrate it on November 24th to give some separation from Christmas. We like to refer to it as his "un-birthday" (-Alice in Wonderland) Carrot cake is his favourite and he hasn't had much since he's been gluten free. The cupcake part is delicious, but nothing can compete with cream cheese icing... mmmm.

Something tells me it's your unbirthday too!

makes 18 cupcakes

2 cups my GF light flour blend recipe
1 cup sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 tsp guar gum
2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups shredded carrots
½ cup crushed pineapple with juice
¼ cup of coconut

1 package cream cheese at room temp
1/4 cup butter or margarine at room temp
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (more if you need it)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Peel and grate carrots.
Mix together wet (oil, eggs, vanilla, carrots, pineapple and coconut) and dry ingredients in separate bowls.
Stir all ingredients together until no lumps remain.
Pour into cupcake papers.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Let cool completely on rack.


In an electric mixer, beat together margarine and cream cheese until smooth.
Add vanilla and beat.
Add icing sugar, 1/3-1/2 cup at a time, beating for 1 minute in between additions.
Spread icing with a knife or put in plastic bags or decorating bags to apply. (make sure cupcakes are completely cooled before icing)

before baking
just out of the oven
let cool completely
cream cheese icing
makes 18
Freeze any leftovers in plastic containers and let thaw at room temperature before eating.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Quinoa Pancakes

Gluten Free Quinoa Pancakes
I can't believe I haven't posted for nearly a month! I started back to work full time September 4th, and between that and my husband coaching football, this last month has been a bit of a whirlwind. I haven't been doing much baking or even cooking lately, but I did have time for a quick batch of leftover quinoa pancakes.

They work best if made quite small

(serves 2-3 people)

1 cup cooked Quinoa
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Buckwheat Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp Oil
1/4 cup Milk
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)


Beat together eggs, oil, milk and quinoa.
In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients.
Stir dry ingredients into wet until no lumps remain (besides the quinoa).
Cook pancakes in hot, oiled pan, using about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
Flip pancakes when top begins to bubble.
Serve with syrup, fruit, etc.

Cook in hot, oiled frying pan
Flip when bubbly
Serve with syrup and fruit

Monday, 3 September 2012

Quinoa Blueberry Muffins

Gluten Free Quinoa Blueberry Muffins
Lately I've been experimenting with quinoa in baked goods. I am not a huge fan of salads containing quinoa, and I wanted to find other way of incorporating quinoa in to our diet. I've also noticed that my recipes with quinoa are some of my most popular posts. My favourite recipe so far is Quinoa Brownies, but I had success with this quinoa muffin recipe too.

I used blueberries, but you could add in anything you want (chocolate chips, dried fruit, chopped or grated apple). You can definitely taste the quinoa in this recipe, and it is delicious.


makes 12 muffins

1 cup Cooked Quinoa
1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
1/4 cup Millet Flour
1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
1/2 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 Eggs
3/4 cup Blueberries (or other fruit or 1/3 cup chocolate chips/dried fruit)
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)


Stir together dry ingredients and quinoa.
Beat together wet ingredients (not blueberries) and mix with dry ingredients.
Fold in blueberries and spoon into paper lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Let cool on rack and store on counter for 1-2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

spoon into paper lined muffin tins
bake at 350 for 25-30 mins
let cool on rack

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Cinnamon Buns

Gluten Free Cinnamon Buns
I had all but given up on cinnamon buns. After so many disastrous batches, I was starting to think I would never again have the luxury of biting into a warm, soft, sticky cinnamon bun again. Last week when my cousin Lucy asked if I had a good GF cinnamon bun recipe, I had to tell her: sadly, no. But, it gave me the motivation to give it another try... and I'm glad I did! These turned out great and the dough was actually fairly easy to work with for being gluten free.

I looked up a couple different gluten free cinnamon bun recipes online and basically made a new recipe using similar ingredients. It helps to make smaller rather than larger buns. They are easier to work with that way, and you can eat more than one without feeling too guilty :) This recipe has a lot of steps to follow, but they really aren't that hard. The rolling out just takes a little patience. Oh, and so does the baking part... when you can smell them but can't eat them yet because they're laced with bubbling lava sugar!

I will definitely be making these again and I hope you all enjoy them as much as we did (yes, even the gluten eating husband was a fan). Thanks for the reminder Lucy! These are for you <3

bakes at: 350
makes 8 small cinnamon buns - recipe can be easily doubled

1 1/2 tsp Yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 cup Warm Milk

1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend (see Flour Blends page)
1/4 cup Tapioca Starch
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Guar Gum (or 1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3 Tbsp Oil
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Tbsp Butter or Margarine (at room temp)
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

Base Sauce:
3 Tbsp Melted Butter or Margarine
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
(mix together, microwave until bubbling (about 20 seconds) and pour into greased square baking dish)


In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and warm milk. Set aside to proof for 5-10 minutes.
Using a stand mixer or by hand, mix dry ingredients (first 5 ingredients) in large bowl.
Mix remaining 4 wet ingredients separately.
Turn mixer back on, add wet ingredients and yeast mixture to dry ingredients. Let mix for 3 minutes (or mix well by hand)

Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. Lightly oil the top side. Prepare another piece of plastic wrap (same size) by oiling one side (this side will be face down on top of the dough)
While your hands are still a bit oily, pick up the dough and form it into a rectangle shape.
Lay dough on the oiled plastic wrap and cover with the second piece of plastic.
With a rolling pin, roll out the dough, repositioning the plastic as needed, until it's a rectangle about 8"x12" in size.
Remove top plastic wrap.
(If you double this recipe you will want to roll out the dough in two batches)

make a small rectangle with your hands and place between oiled plastic wrap

roll out with rolling pin until the dough is roughly 8"x12"

Prepare filling by combining the 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 T soft margarine and 1 T cinnamon.
Spread it over the surface of the dough, leaving a little bit of space on one long side with no filling so that you can seal it after you roll it up.
Start rolling up the dough at the long side that has the filling spread to the edge. Pull the plastic wrap in the direction you want to roll the dough to help it along.
Pinch the edge to seal in the filling and keep the buns from unrolling.

spread filling over dough, leaving space on one long edge for sealing

roll dough into a log, pulling up the plastic to help it along

lightly pinch the edge to seal it and keep it from unrolling

With a knife, make shallow dents on the cinnamon log to separate it into 8 pieces. This makes it easier to cut equal size buns.
Take a piece of dental floss or thread and position it under the cinnamon log. Cris-cross the string to cut the 8 individual cinnamon buns. (If you try to cut it with a knife it will just squish it)

make marks where you want to cut then use floss to cut without crushing the dough

Prepare a square baking dish by oiling and pouring in the base sauce (see ingredient list for directions)
Place cinnamon buns in the dish, close together but not touching.
Let rise in warm, draft free place for 30 mins (they should grow much larger)
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are light brown.
Let cool 5 minutes in the dish then invert on a plate.

pour the base sauce in oiled dish and place cinnamon buns with space to rise
let rise for 30 mins
bake 20-25 mins or until they start to brown. Let cool 5 minutes.
after cooling 5 mins, turn the dish over on a plate. they may or may not stick to each other... mine didn't
Let cool another 5-10 mins so you don't burn yourself.
Serve warm!
Left overs can be kept at room temperature and microwaved up to 2 days. They can also be frozen and reheated in the microwave (but be careful, they will be hot!)

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Gluten-Free Grocery Guide Review

A while ago I received the 5th edition of Triumph Dining's "The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide" in the mail to review. The book is made specifically for American shoppers, but I found that it had some useful tips for all gluten free shoppers.

The first section of the book had good advice on how to shop gluten free in general, including what to avoid (eg. bulk bins and deli counters) and what items might be safer to buy. It also discusses some of the US food labelling laws, which are good to know for Americans, but not as helpful for Canadians.

The remainder of the book is basically a list of specific products that are gluten free (with most of the brands being American). The problem I see here is that companies often alter the ingredients they put in their products, and although this book is updated quite often, there is just no alternative for reading the ingredient label while shopping.

I think it would be better to put out an online list of gluten free products that is updated frequently, instead of printing a large book every so often. It would be cheaper to produce, and could still produce income if there was a charge for subscribing to the website. It would also be more accurate, and they could branch out to include gluten free guides for other countries.

All in all I think the first part of the book has valuable information and would be especially helpful for beginner Celiacs, but I think that simply providing a list of current gluten free products in a book is not the most practical method of presenting the information.

Book can be purchased as this website:

Thanks Triumph Dining for providing this book for me to review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Loaf
This summer is soooo hot. Maybe it's just that I've lived in a basement suite or a house with AC for as long as I can remember, but it feels hotter than most. We have taken to sleeping in the unfinished basement for now as our main floor runs at about 80-82 Fahrenheit on average in the evenings. That said, I haven't had many opportunities to bake. We had a couple rainy days last week and the temperature dropped just low enough for me to brave turning on the oven; let me just say it was well worth it!

I found a delicious looking recipe for double chocolate zucchini loaf on the King Arthur Flour website (original recipe here). It wasn't gluten free or anything, but it inspired me to try my very first zucchini loaf. While most gf loaves tend to fall in the centre, this one held its form perfectly and tasted even better than I expected! It has 2 whole cups of grated zucchini, which is a total bonus since it tasted like chocolate cake. I only put in 1/2 cup chocolate chips (original recipe called for a cup) and my husband said I should put less in unless I was planning to call it chocolate cake... then he proceeded to eat at least half of the loaf throughout the rest of the day. hehe.

I use my light flour blend, but you might be able to substitute other blends. I think the combination of rice, millet and tapioca starch gives the best texture to muffins and cakes.
This is a great way to use up zucchini from your garden or to take advantage of the low prices on zucchini this time of year. Enjoy!

(makes 1 medium sized loaf)

1/2 cup Brown Sugar (or 1/4 cup if you want it less sweet)
1/4 cup White Sugar
1 2/3 cups GF flour blend (my light flour blend works best)
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Shredded Zucchini (don't peel, but do remove some of the middle seeded part)
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (omit or use 1/4 cup if you want it less sweet)


Combine first 7 ingredients and mix well.
In a small bowl, beat eggs, canola oil and vanilla together.
Cut zucchini in to quarters lengthwise then cut off the part with the seeds (if some remain that's ok)
Grate 2 cups of zucchini (press down a bit in measuring cup to make sure it's full) - about 1 med-large zucchini worth
Add egg mixture to dry and mix until just combined.
Add zucchini and chocolate chips. Mix until just combined.
Pour mixture in to a greased loaf pan (preferably non-stick)
Bake at 350 for 70-75 minutes. Unless it's burning, I wouldn't cook it any less than 70 minutes or it's more likely to fall in the middle.

When done, let loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely (you may need to run a knife around the inside edge of the loaf to get it out of the pan)
It's easier to cut once completely cool, but if you're like me and can't wait that long, just be careful!
This loaf stores well at room temperature in an airtight container, or you can freeze slices for a late night chocolate craving attack!
Before Baking
After Baking
Cool on a wire rack
Slice and enjoy!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Mini Cheesecakes with Blueberry Sauce

Gluten Free Mini Cheesecakes with Blueberry Sauce

I love cheesecake. It is probably my favourite dessert. Even better when topped with homemade blueberry sauce...mmm. Because it's just the two of us around here, making a full sized cheesecake would be kind of ridiculous... I have no doubt we would eat it, but that's just the problem. For our anniversary this year, I decided to try a more sizable version of that delicious cake. It turned out amazing... and we finished all six mini cheesecakes within a day. Oops!
Last weekend we were invited to spend some time at a friends cabin a few hours north of Saskatoon. We had an amazing time fishing, swimming, trying out some water sports, and hot tubbing! Unfortunately, my attempt at a sort of wake boarding was a bit of a failure. When I fell the rope tightened around my arm and I ended up dragging behind the boat for a ways. No broken bones, but some serious rope burn and crazy bruising. Because I had that pulmonary embolism awhile back, I am on blood thinners which didn't really help with the bruising. As you can see, it's very pretty. I am getting good at using my left hand, but hoping to regain use of that arm fairly soon!

2 days after it happened... it's even more bruised now if you can believe it!

Ok, enough show and tell for now, on to the recipe.

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to feed more people. Also, you can change up the toppings however you like - fresh fruit, whipped cream, crushed up candy bar, etc.

(Makes 6 Mini Cheesecakes)

For Crust:
1/3 cup GF Graham Cracker Crumbs (or any cookie crumbs)
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Melted Margarine

For Cheesecake:
1 8oz Package of Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg

For Blueberry Sauce:
about 1 cup Blueberries
3-4 Tbsp Sugar
Just enough water to almost cover blueberries in a saucepan
1 tsp Lemon Juice (optional)


Crush graham crackers in a ziplock bag and mix with margarine and sugar. (you could also use other types of gf cookies)
Grease 6 muffin tin holes and press mixture into the bottom.
Bake at 325 for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla until smooth. (Use a hand mixer or stand mixer).
Mix in egg until just combined.
Pour batter into prepare crusts and bake at 325 for 25-35 minutes (until centre feels somewhat firm)
Let cool completely before removing from pan.
Chill cheesecakes in fridge until ready to serve.

For Blueberry Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Let simmer 5-10 minutes, until it just barely starts to thicken.
It will thicken more as it cools.
Spoon over cheesecakes when serving.

graham cracker crust
mixing the batter
pour batter on top of prepared crusts
after baking
once cool, chill in the fridge
serve with blueberry sauce or topping of choice