Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gluten Free Gift Baskets

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I went to one of my favourite stores, Nut'n Gluten, because they were celebrating their 1st Anniversary with a 10% off sale. It was a great day and I am thrilled to say that I was one of the lucky winners of their raffle. I won the Gluten Free Italia Gift Basket, valued at $80. It has my favourite gnocchi in it and lots of other gluten free Italian goodies like Lundberg Risotto, Duinkerken Pizza Crust, Schar breadsticks, Rizopia Lasagna Noodles, Patsie Pie Chocolate Chip Biscotti, and Schar Ladyfingers (I'm so excited, I can finally make gluten free tiramisu!). It has dish towels, wash clothes, a snowman spreader, and a whisk. This basket is chock full of fabulous gluten free things! There isn't one single gluten free product in this basket that I don't love, truly amazing.
They make all kinds of gluten free gift baskets and for a variety of different prices.
These would make the perfect gift for someone special this holiday season.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gluten Free Cookie Exchange

I encourage everyone to do a gluten free baking exchange of some sort with friends that are gluten free. It is fun, saves time, increases the variety of treats around during the holidays, and is a simple act of kindness.
My cookie exchange started the first year my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. A woman that worked with my husband heard about my daughter and arrived at work one day with 2 huge bags of gluten free food, filled with all of her personal favourites! Months later, I wanted to do something special for her, so I showed up to the office Christmas party with a platter of our gluten free favourites. This lead to an annual gluten free baking exchange, which we all treasure!
This year I made gluten free home made chocolates, gluten free snickerdoodles, gluten free thumbprint cookies filled with black raspberry jam and apricot preserve, and gluten free Hershey's peanut butter blossoms. Even my mom got into the spirit of giving and added gluten free chocolate chip cookies to the platter.
I made so many cookies that we have enough leftover to make up a second tray that our dietition will give to a gluten free family in need. "Paying it forward", that is what our special friend, Denise, has taught us.
This annual cookie exchange is always a reminder for me of how lucky we are to be surrounded by people who are kind and make our world a better place.
I look forward to next year's cookie exchange already!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Milestones Gluten Free Menu

We had a wonderful dinner at Milestones Bar and Grill in Markham last Saturday night. They have a gluten free menu, which included 2 appetizers, 3 entrees, and 2 desserts. The starters included the Milestones' Caprese Salad and the Milestones' California Spring Salad, the entrees included the grilled mediterranean chicken, tomato basil brown rice spaghettini, and certified angus beef top sirloin, and the desserts included a ganache torte and premium italian vanilla gelato with house-made caramel sauce. As well, they were willing to do any of the pasta dishes off the standard menu with brown rice pasta. Now, I must say, although the gluten free menu was very appealing, there was a disclaimer at the bottom, saying cross-contamination may occur during preparation. Disclaimers always make me weary, however they did take our gluten free concerns very seriously. Our waitor Jess was very knowledgeable and attentive and the manager on duty that night, Hannah, came over to our table to discuss ingredients and just double check that everything would be safe. All this was done without us asking and I appreciated the extra care they took in making sure our gluten free needs were met. We ordered the beef sirloin entree and the gelato for dessert off the gluten free menu and it was delicious. The gluten free meal came at the same time as the other meals (which is a bonus because often you wait for gluten free meals in restaurants) and we had a wonderful evening. I must say, it was also a Saturday evening before Christmas, the place was very busy, and they had no problems meeting our expectations!!!! We will be going back to this restaurant for sure.