Hearty Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup and Gluten Free Toast

 

 

 

 

Chicken soup with Glutino Multigrain Bread

With the colder weather here, my body has been craving warm soups and stews. Today all I wanted was a homemade bowl of chicken soup, so I whipped some up when I got home from work. This recipe is super easy and takes about an hour to make. The result is delicious!

Hearty Chicken Soup

1 cup water
1 box Imagine® Organic Free Range Chicken Broth 
2 large carrots (chopped)
1/2 onion (minced)
1 clove of minced garlic
1/2 bundle of asparagus (chopped)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
15 mini potatoes (chopped into quarters)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 350 and bake the chicken for 35-40 minutes (or until the juices run clear).

While the chicken is cooking, place the carrots and potatoes into a large pot or dutch oven and simmer in 1 cup of water. After 10-15 minutes pour the full box of Imagine® Organic Free Range Chicken Broth into the pot and add the onion, garlic, and asparagus.

Once the chicken is fully cooked, cut into cubes and add to the soup. Stir in the parsley and voila, a delicious hearty soup! Makes 4-6 servings. 

This was the first time I tried Imagine’s gluten-free chicken broth and wow is it delicious! It’s so flavourful and full of great ingredients. Not only is it gluten-free but dairy-free, non-GMO and organic. Definitely a must try. It might be the best boxed chicken broth I’ve ever had.

Chicken soup

 

imagine-disclaimer

Hello Libre!

Do you remember Nonuttin? They’re by far my favourite gluten-free granola bars out there. Well, in early November they launched their new rebrand in Canada from Nonuttin’ to Libre Naturals. The name change reflects their growth beyond a nut free product. They are free of the 11 top common food allergens, including gluten, wheat, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, soy and sulphites. They’re also vegan and non-GMO. A pretty amazing brand.

Libre Naturals Granola Bar

The best part is that they taste amazinggggg. I’ve had plenty of allergen-friendly granola bars and they’re either too small or tasteless. But these are the perfect size and they are just so delicious. The Chocolate Chip flavour reminds me so much of Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip granola bars, which used to be one of my go-to purse snacks when I wasn’t gluten-free.

Along with Libre Naturals re-brand, they also launched a new flavour of granola bar, the Red Berry bar. The granola bar includes strawberries, raspberries and cranberries. It’s very good… I love it.

I used to buy these granola bars as single bars, which was kind of a pain as it would have been great to buy them in bulk, but now they come in five packs. So happy!

The line of granola bars includes four flavours: Chocolate Chip, Apple Cinnamon, Double Chocolate Chip and Red Berry. They’re all delicious, there isn’t one flavour I don’t like, but my top three favourites are Chocolate Chip, Red Berry and Apple Cinnamon.

They’re my favourite mid-morning snack. The bars are 110-120 calories, 18-19 grams of carbs, 4-5 grams of sugar and 2-3 grams of protein. and they’re the exact same size as Quaker Chewy Bars!

These granola bars are SO good that Libre Naturals has a risk-free online guarantee. If you don’t like their products, they’ll refund your purchase price within 30 days from the date of your order.

 

Libre Naturals Granola Bar

Libre Naturals also has delicious Oatmeal Cups. They’re of course gluten-free and also free of the top allergens. There are four delicious flavours: Pumpkin Seeds, Raisins & Spices; Apples & Cinnamon (which are both my favourite flavours); Blueberries & Cranberries; and Blueberries, Apples & Sunflower Seeds. I love these at work. You simply just add hot water, seal it back up with the lid and wait four minutes until the oats have absorbed all the water. They are the best!  They’re also all under 300 calories and 65 g of whole grain carbs per serving.

Libre Naturals Oatmeal Cup

A very cool thing about Libre Naturals is that they are pioneers in G12 testing. G12 is an amino acid strand that is found in a subspecies of pure oats, which is known to be a trigger for some with celiac disease. It’s great that Libre Naturals tests for G12, as it allows all celiacs to eat the oatmeal, granola and granola bars without any worry of reacting.

Check out Libre Naturals handy store locator to find out where you can purchase their products, or simply just buy online!

Have you tried Libre Naturals? What is your favourite flavour!?

This review is based on my experiences with Libre Naturals; however Libre Naturals has graciously provided the products free of charge as the only compensation for this review.

Gluten-Free Halloween Candy: What Can I Eat?

Another Halloween has come and gone. I hope you all got lots of good treats!

As kids, my sister and I used to dump all our candy on the living room floor and sort our goods into piles. Candy we loved, candy we’d share with our parents (which was candy we usually didn’t love…sorry Mom and Dad!) and candy that was no good. At that time, I never had to worry about what candy I couldn’t have.

Now as an adult I realize Halloween candy can be slim picking when it comes to what is allergen friendly.

Thankfully there are great websites that list all candy that is gluten-free, check out VeryWell.com to see what is safe to eat in your Halloween stash!

safe-halloween-candy

Why the teal pumpkin? The teal pumpkin symbolizes The Teal Pumpkin Project – an initiative to raise awareness of food allergies and promote inclusion of safe treats for all trick-or-treaters. Next year remember to support this project, check out the link here.

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

When you think of Christmas, what scents or flavours do you associate it with? For me, peppermint and shortbread always come to mind.

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I eat my fair share of shortbread during the holiday season and I must say they are one of the best cookies to make gluten-free. Maybe because they tend to have more butter than flour…but regardless, they always seem to turn out with the exact ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ consistency as ‘gluten-full- shortbread.

My go-to shortbread recipe has always been ‘Grandma’s Shortbread’ on the back of the Fleischmann’s Canada Corn Starch box. It’s fool proof and also easy to turn gluten-free by subsituting wheat flour with a gluten-free blend.

Sometimes gluten-free all-purpose flour can be tough to use as a replacement for all-purpose white, wheat flour because the consistency turns out too tough or grainy. For example, Robin Hood Gluten Free Flour is awful for making shortbread. The consistency is super grainy and the flavour turns out almost sour – not a fan!

One of the best ‘cup-for-cup’ gluten-free all-purpose florus I’ve come across so far has been Glutino’s All Purpose Flour Mix. It isn’t grainy and offers a smooth finish to baked goods. I would definitely recommend picking up a box of this for your holiday treats.

I usually top my shortbreads with a Milk Chocolate Chipit, but with my last batch I chopped up Hershey Peppermint Bark Bells and topped the cookies with those. They add a minty, Christmasy flavour (they’re also delicious to eat on their own). If you’re not in the Christmas mood yet, you probably will be after these cookies.

Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies

1 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (Glutino’s All-Purpose Flour Mix)

1/2 cup icing sugar

1/2 cup corn starch

3/4 cups butter (room temperature, or nooked in the microwave)

6 Hershey Peppermint Bark Bells (chopped)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

With a hand mixer (or stand mixer), mix butter until smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift the gluten-free all-purpose flour, icing sugar and corn starch. Sifting the dry ingredients together enusres that there are no large clumps – it essentially aerates the ingredients.

Combine the dry ingredients with the butter and continue to mix with the hand mixer. YOu will then have to combine the ingredients with your hands to form a ball of dough. Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes and then roll one inch balls and place two to three inches apart from one another.

Bake for 10 minutes, top the cookies with the chocolate pieces and bake for an additional 10-12 – until slightly golden.

What’s your favourite holiday/Christmas cookie? Comment below to let me know for your chance to win Glutino coupons!

For an additional entry, follow @TheGutGazette on Twitter and let me know in a separate comment.

National Oatmeal Day

I kind of love how there seems to be a celebratory day for everything nowadays. Why not celebrate the little things in life, right!?

Like oatmeal…

The top five reasons I love oats:

  1. Gluten-free oats exist – thank goodness!
  2. Oats make the best desserts – I love crumbles and crisps.
  3. Granola is one of my favourite foods. I like it with yogurt, on top of salad (try it!), as a dessert and straight from the bag as a ‘trail mix’.
  4. Overnight oats…they’re the best breakfast creation!
  5. Oatmeal is one of my favourite comfort foods. The smell is very nostalgic and reminds me of my grandparents house in the morning – they love their oatmeal!

I used to love Quaker Oats Chewy Oatmeal Bars…but sadly they aren’t gluten free. I always carried them around in my bag in case I needed a snack and I didn’t think they were too sweet or too crunchy. They were just the perfect combination of everything.

I had tried many different gluten free granola bars looking for the similar tastes and textures of my favourite Quaker Chewy Bars but it wasn’t until I stumbled across No Nuttin’ Granola Bars by Libre Naturals and found the gluten free equivalent (that was a great day).

They may not be exactly the same as Quaker, but they’re very close.

I just love them. They’re chewy, flavourful and similar in size.

The flavours include: Raisin, Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate Chip. Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip are my favourite. YUM – I am craving these as I type this review.

Gluten Free Granola Bars

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The unfortunate part is that they’re not very accessible. I have had a hard time tracking these bars down!

Many health food/specialty stores have them, but they’re not in the big grocery store chains yet.

Check out their store locator to find a store near you

I usually buy mine at FEAST on Queen St. W, but I’ve also found them at The Specialty Food Shop located in SickKids.

Not only are these bars gluten/wheat free, they’re also free of the top ten allergens. No eggs, fish, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, sesame seeds, shellfish, soy, or sulphites. Pretty great eh? You would think without any of these ingredients they may be tasteless, but they are the total opposite – they’re amazing.

The only thing I would love is if they were sold in boxes of five or six – I’ve only found them to be sold individually.

Libre Naturals also makes amazing oatmeal to go. Pop off the lid and follow the instructions – which includes pouring in boiled water and letting it sit for a few minutes with the lid on – and voila, your breakfast is ready. The flavours are delicious and the oatmeal is nice and filling.

Gluten free oatmeal
Happy National Oatmeal Day, oatmeal lovers! What is/are your favourite thing(s) about oats?

The Perfect Lunch Bag Cookie

Vegetables in cookies…not the typical ingredient, is it? I’ve heard of parents sneaking veggies in mac & cheese or fruit smoothies for their kids, but veggies in cookies was a first for me.
I first learned about Hidden Garden Foods last year in an article by The Globe and Mail: Lawyer leaves practice to launch gluten-free cookies with hidden vegetables. Not only was I curious about what a ‘vegetable’ cookie tasted like, but I loved the fact that they were Canadian made and of course gluten free.


Catherine Anderson founded Hidden Garden Foods in 2012, in Horseshoe Bay, B.C., when she was struggling to figure out creative ways to sneak veggies into her children’s diet. She was kind enough to send me a variety of her cookies to test out and share with you. Hidden Garden Foods cookies are all gluten and nut free (which make the perfect school-safe snack), made of high quality ingredients, and are free of preservatives, artificial flavours and colours. 

I must admit, I was a bit hesitant at first. I didn’t think a chocolate chip cookie would taste as good with pumpkin added into the mix and I thought the overpowering taste of beets would surely ‘beat’ out the flavour of chocolate.

Beets + Cocoa
Red Velvet Bites

Each 40 gram serving of the Red Velvet Bites have 1/4 cup of beets. The flavour is amazing. You can definitely taste the cocoa flavour and there is a slight undertone of the sweetness from the beets – but not noticeable if you weren’t aware of the secret ingredient. I really enjoyed them. I love the fact that the rich red beets bring out the red velvet colour in the cookies without the addition of artificial colours.

 

Squash + Ginger 
Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps are probably one of my favourite cookies, they also remind me of the autumn and winter seasons. A serving of cookies is about four, which are each the size of a ping-pong ball. A serving includes 1/4 cup of squash. Trust me, you would never know there was squash in these sweet, spiced-ginger cookies. I loved these!

Pumpkin + Chocolate Chips
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just like the above cookies, each 40 grams have 1/4 cup of pumpkin. Again, there was no inkling of any pumpkin flavour, just sweet chocolate. These were delicious and made a great accompaniment to my afternoon tea.

I’ve been able to find Hidden Garden cookies in a variety of health food stores, including Nature’s Emporium and Whole Foods. I would highly recommend trying these, they are a healthier alternative to your typical cookie and make a great snack or easy dessert.

Not only are these kid friendly but adult approved!

*Photos supplied by Hidden Garden Foods 

Pretzel Love

February 14th: the day of pink, red, chocolates, roses and love. Happy valentine’s day!

It’s a chilly February 14th in Canada, lots of snow on the ground and frosty air – it makes a great excuse to cozy up with your loved ones, sip on hot chocolate and eat Glutino Pretzels. Glutino kindly sent me their new pretzel flavours to try and they are definitely a treat. I have a huge sweet tooth, so if I had to choose my favourites out of the bunch, I’d have to pick the Fudge and Salted Caramel (yum!). Although theses pretzels are flavoured, they are very versatile. You don’t just have to snack on them from the bag, you can incorporate them into various recipes.

Try the following pretzel incorporations to jazz up your next snack or meal.

Honey Mustard
Notes: lightly dusted with a sweet honey flavour and a zest of mustard.
Try crunching them up and coating chicken or fish with them before baking.

Fudge
Notes: creamy, milk chocolate goodness surrounding a salty crunchy pretzel – the perfect combination of sweet and salty!
Try chopping them up and topping greek yogurt with berries – a healthy dessert parfait.

Buffalo Style 
Notes: Have you had buffalo wings? You know the flavour I’m talking about then – a little bit of heat with a lot of flavour!
Try dipping them in hummus or guacamole.

Salted Caramel
Notes: crunchy, sweet, caramelized and salty – the best flavour combination you will ever try!
Try pairing these gems with the Fudge variety, it makes for a tasty salted-caramel-chocolate treat. They’re also delicious crumbled on top of apple sauce.

There are so many delicious pretzel variations, but the easiest is by far snacking straight out of the bag! What is your favourite way to eat pretzels?

A ‘Free-From’ Gum

I would have never known that gum could contain gluten…or animal by-products, nuts and/or dairy. To my surprise, some gum does, which can make it tricky for those who are gluten free, vegan, etc. Many of us know that a variety of gums don’t contain sugar, but their artificial counterpart aspartame. Aspartame may be harmless to our teeth (according to our dentists who sneak us sugar-free gum after dental appointments), but aspartame may also be causing harm to other parts of our body (such as causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, etc.).

It’s tough to find gum that is allergen free, but it’s harder to find gum free of aspartame. Fortunately there is PUR Gum, the world’s #1 selling aspartame-free gum that is also vegan, gluten free, nut free, dairy free and non-gmo. The alternative sweetener they use is xylitol, a natural sweetener derived from corn fibres. 



To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of most natural gums because they get stuck in my teeth and lose flavour within seconds. However, PUR Gum is nice because it has the same consistency of any other mainstream gum and the flavour lasts longer than other natural brands. If you’re looking for something to quickly freshen your breath, I would recommend PUR Gum, but if you want something to chew on for a while, I wouldn’t recommend it. The one downside to PUR Gum is that the flavour only lasts five to eight minutes. I like popping a piece of PUR Gum after a meal or if I feel like chewing on something for a couple of minutes, but it doesn’t deliver a long lasting fresh taste.

As the name indicates, PUR Gum is truly very pure and only includes a few ingredients, such as xylitol (natural sweetener), gum base, natural flavours (spearmint, peppermint, etc.), gum arabic, caranuba wax and tocopherols. The gum comes in a variety of flavours, including wintergreen, peppermint, spearmint, pomegranate mint and their two new flavours, which I got to review, cinnamon and cool mint.

The cinnamon flavour reminds me a lot of Valentine’s day cinnamon hearts. The cinnamon is very strong and is a tad bit spicy. There aren’t many natural cinnamon flavoured candies or gum, so this is a welcome addition to the world of natural, allergen-friendly products.

I didn’t love the cool mint flavour. It’s not very flavourful and doesn’t last as long as their other mint flavours. It’s nice if you want a subdued mint flavour, but I wouldn’t choose this as my first choice.  

My favourite PUR Gum flavour is the spearmint. It’s not overpowering but offers a kick of freshness after a meal.

Have you tried PUR Gum? What is your favourite flavour? 

Soft, Chewy and G-Free!

When was the last time you had an un-toasted piece of gluten free bread that didn’t crumble? Good question, right? Last year when my family and I were in London, England, I was thrilled to find an amazing gluten free bread that was chewy, soft and didn’t crumble in my hand. I wanted to bring boxes of the bread back with me…but my suitcase didn’t have the space. 
A few months ago Glutino came out with their new, transformed bread. I was surprised at how big the slices of bread were, but I was even more surprised at how delicious the bread tasted. It is soft, chewy and has the elastic-y consistency that gluten bread has. The best part about it is that it doesn’t crumble…it doesn’t even crumble before it’s toasted. Hallelujah! 


The white bread is your typical, plain, white bread but it would be delicious for grilled cheese. It’s also good smeared with a bit of butter as a side to a big bowl of chilli or pasta (carb overload!). 
I really like the multigrain bread, the crunch from the rice bran makes it flavourful and it is the perfect base for a sandwich. I even like eating it plain with a bit of butter. 
My opinions for the best gluten free bread always seem to be changing, but I attribute that to the the ever evolving gluten free industry and the challenge to perfect the best tasting product. Six years ago when I purchased my first loaf of gluten free bread (for $8), the slice was the size of the palm of my hand and the texture was like dense banana bread that was only good when toasted and smeared with nut butter. The fact that this bread tastes good on it’s own and is almost the length of my full hand says a lot…it’s also only $5-6 (depending on where you shop). 

Have you tried Glutino’s new bread? How do you like? What is your favourite gluten free bread? 

Honey Bunny Love

In honour of the Easter Bunny’s big debut tomorrow, I thought I would share a delicious new product that not only is gluten free, but also organic and sweetened naturally with honey, enter: Honey Bunny.
Honey Bunny is a Canadian product founded by Gilbert and Sharon Wolfe from Guy, Alberta. Their stand-up, pouch containers with corner pour spouts are innovative with no mess. What’s neat about these recyclable pouches is that one truck load of empty pouches is equivalent to 25 truckloads of jars – what a perfect shatter-free alternative! 
It’s really tough to find a good gluten free BBQ sauce, but Honey Bunny nailed it. I love the fact that all of their products are naturally sweetened, made of organic ingredients and do not contain any artificial preservatives. I love the branding of the product and the graphics are really cute. It makes it a fun sauce that you would want your guests to see at a summer BBQ. It also makes a super healthy sauce that you would feel comfortable serving your family.  
Amazing Dad’s BBQ Sauce: It’s great on meat…just like the pouch says (“meat is good, meat is good, meat is good”). The ingredient list is as follows: organic honey, water, organic tomato paste, organic vinegar, salt, organic corn starch, liquid smoke, organic garlic, organic onion powder, natural colour, organic spice and xanthan. It has a great balance of flavours: sweetness from the honey, sour from the vinegar, smokey from the obvious liquid smoke and spicy. It makes a great sauce on ribs, chicken or steak and it also makes a great dip for potatoes. 
Amazing Dad’s Honey Garlic BBQ Sauce: This variety is more on the sweeter side – probably due to the combination of sugar and honey. The ingredients include: organic honey, water, organic sugar, organic vegetarian chicken flavoured broth powder, organic vinegar, organic cornstarch, organic garlic, salt, xanthan gum and natural colour. This isn’t is great for dipping as the Original BBQ, but it makes a good sauce on BBQ-ed chicken thighs or chicken breasts. 
Organic Bodacious Tomato Ketchup: I love ketchup. I love it on (gf) mac & cheese, as a dip for french fries and the occasional potato, with chicken (sometimes even steak…gasp) and of course on my BLT. The downside to loving ketchup that much is the fact that what you think may be healthy is actually not so healthy – as most ketchups are loaded with sugar and don’t even really taste like tomatoes. The best thing about Honey Bunny’s Ketchup is that it actually tastes like tomatoes with a hint of honey sweetness. There is no added sugar and it reminds me of a watered down tomato paste. The ingredients include: water, organic tomato paste, organic honey, organic vinegar, salt, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder, organic spices and natural flavour.
Honey Bunny also carries creamed and liquid honey in pouches, jars and pails; bee pollen and lip balm. I love their Buzz Balm. It is very light weight, not sticky, soft and it smells wonderful. I have the Tangerine Lime which smells more limey than citrusy and the Green Tea Ginger, which has a very distinct ginger scent. Both balms have an underlying beeswax scent to them and the ingredient list is short and simple (including: sunflower seed oil, beeswax, jojoba seed oil, coconut oil and the corresponding flavours and scents).  

I am so impressed by this gluten free line of quality sauces, honey and beeswax. I think the easy to pour pouch is such a unique way of presenting a product and the fact that what’s in the pouch is delicious is a bonus. I would highly recommend checking out their list of retailers and I personally am eager to try more of their great product – including the Honey Lemon Rosemary BBQ Sauce and Organic Creamed Honey.

Now get out their and start up the BBQ!

Happy Easter fellow foodies!