Gluten Free Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I have a little bit of a toffee obsession. I love the combination of chocolate and butterscotch/toffee, like seen in my Coconut Butterscotch Chocolate Brownies and my Cheesecake Pops. I also love sprinkling or drizzling it on top of thick Greek yogurt to make a yogurt parfait – thanks to Chobani for the inspiration! By the way, how much do you miss not having Chobani in Canada? I hope they come back soon! 

A craving for a warm oatmeal cookie kicked in yesterday afternoon, so I thought I would take it into my own hands and whip up a batch. I had a few toffee bits left from my last recipe and I thought they would make a good addition. And so they did!

The combination of chocolate and toffee in these oat-y, hearty cookies are amazing. It’s a great combination of flavours that really made my tastebuds happy. 

Gluten Free Oatmeal, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg (or egg replacement – 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp white vinegar)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits 

Preheat oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Beat butter and sugar with a mixer until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until combined. Add in chocolate chips and toffee bits.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. 

Drop by tablespoon onto pan and flatten with back of spoon. 
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden.

*Warning, these cookies are extremely addictive. It’s not hard to eat more than one…or two…


Glutino Sugar Cookies for Santa

The tastes and smells of Christmas are in full swing at my house. I always seem to fall into the holiday mood once the oven starts roaring and the smell of Christmas cookies circulates the house. Shortbread, sugar cookies and gingerbread are my three favourite Christmas cookies – what are yours?
I’m usually always ahead of the game when it comes to holiday baking, but the past few months have been so busy that my first batch of cookies I made was only yesterday. However, I must admit that the cookies I made were not from scratch. One box of Glutino’s Sugar Cookie mix, a few tablespoons of butter, two eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla was all I needed to whip up the start to my holiday baking. Thank you, Glutino, for helping make my baking a little bit easier. 
After mixing up the ingredients, I popped the dough into the freezer for about 20 minutes to chill it. You can either do this route or keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours. Make sure you don’t forget about it in the freezer though! Chilling the dough helps with the rolling process if you decide to make cut outs (like I did). Before rolling, ensure that the surface you plan on using is clean and floured, to eliminate the dough from sticking to the counter. 
I was surprised at how big these cookies expanded while they were in the oven. My even-cut-out cookies turned into rounded shapes. They still came out cute though, and tasted delicious. 

Once they cooled, I piped on some icing and sprinkled the tops with sprinkles. 

These cookies taste exactly like the real deal. They are sweet, soft in the middle and crunchy around the edges. They really remind of the sugar cookies I used to eat back when I could eat gluten. I would definitely recommend this mix to anyone who wants to enjoy an old-fashion Christmas cookie…and if you have any leftovers (which I’m sure you won’t), place a few on a plate for Santa…only eight sleeps away! 
Stay tuned for an upcoming Glutino giveaway…you definitely won’t want to miss out.

Chocolate Bacon at Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market

Low-lying Christmas lights, mulled wine, hand-crafted ornaments and chocolate-covered bacon! Last Friday we went to the Lowe’s Toronto Christmas Market at the Distillery District. It’s a market influenced by the old and new world traditions that capture the heritage, charm and tradition of European Christmas markets. 
After hearing about it last year, I was itching to go. It definitely got me in the holiday spirit. The one thing I was most looking forward to at the market was Leonard Pig Candy – Chocolate Dipped Bacon. It sounded like such an interesting combo, and wow was it ever! 
A sweet start with a smokey finish. Amazing. 

The busy booth! You could get warm dipped bacon or the packaged, cold stuff. Gluten free!

How cute is this window display? 
I took this photo to capture the old traditions of Christmas markets, these are definitely some classic trinkets. I submitted it into the Christmas Market’s photo contest too! If you could help me out and vote for it, I would be very appreciative, just click here and click ‘vote’ above the photo.

I would highly recommend heading over to the market before it ends this Sunday (15th). If you can’t make it this year, be sure to plan ahead for next year, it was so beautiful and will surely put you in the holiday mood. 

An Afternoon of Tummy Love

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Gluten Free Garage with my boyfriend and a good friend from NYC. The Gluten Free Garage is Toronto’s original pop-up marketplace of all things deliciously gluten free. Jordyn Taylor, from NYC (who works for the New York Observer) snapped photos, while we spoke with vendors and sampled delicious food.
The Gluten Free Garage took place Sunday Nov. 17 at Artscape Wychwood Barns; it was founder, RonniLyn Pustil’s, third time running it.
I have worked at various gluten free shows, including the Gluten Free Garage last June, however I have never walked around as press, or as a customer. I got to taste lots of products and I am excited to share some of my favourite finds that I tried on that Sunday afternoon.
The colourful smokestack at Wychwood Barns
Hero Burger food truck (with only gluten free options) outside of the entrance.
A bird’s eye view, inside Wychwood.
Jody Leigh for Gluten Free. Remember the interview I had with her?

 

Bunner’s Vegan and Gluten-Free Bake Shop. I didn’t try anything this visit, but last time I tried their red-velvet cupcake.
enerjive Quinoa SKINNY Crackers at the Neal Brothers’ booth. BELLA and FIX.

 

No. 7 Mexican Hot Sauce. This hot sauce was HOT! Raw, vegan, preservative-free and gluten free. Hand jarred and packaged in Toronto.

 

Tori’s Bakeshop. Gluten free donuts and cookies. Don’t they look beautiful?!

 

Tori’s Bakeshop ba”con”. Hickory smoked coconut flakes that resemble the smokey taste of bacon. Very yummy!
Organic Works – a hearty gluten free bread that is flavourful and moist. Stay tuned for a delicious review in the next few days.
Dendy & Co – Polenta Cookies and Crisps. I love their cookies, especially the Chocolate & Vanilla. They have a bit of a grainy taste to them and a very interesting texture.

 

Jamie’s Cracked Corn – amazing kettle corn! It was so crunchy, sweet and salty. Very addicting.

 

We ended off the afternoon with a warm cup of fresh pressed apple cider. It was delicious.
Bye Gluten Free Garage! Until next time!

Touchdown with Coconut-Butterscotch-Chocolate Brownies

Don’t you just love the fall? I do. I love the smells, sights, tastes and coziness of autumn. It’s just a great season. Pumpkin pie, knit sweaters, comfy scarves, spicy chai lattes, the colours of the changing leaves, crisp air, long walks, Thanksgiving & Halloween…it just doesn’t get any better than that. I should also include the fact that autumn also marks the start of football season. I’m not much of a football fan (although I do have a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt), but I do love the tasty treats that football is associated with…especially sweets.

When Glutino asked me to become part of their VIGFBC (very important gluten free blogging community), I was honoured! I am a huge fan of Glutino products, they really know how to make gluten-free taste good. To begin my journey as a regular Glutino blogger, I thought I would put a spin on their brownie mix. I also thought these jacked up brownies would be a great addition to any football tailgating party, or just a normal Sunday afternoon watching the game.

All you need is:
1 box of Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 cup of butterscotch chips
1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut

Follow the directions on the brownie mix box and once everything is combined, mix in the butterscotch chips and coconut. Bake as directed, let cool and serve.

These brownies are delicious. Moist, decadent and chewy…you would never believe they were gluten free. These brownies didn’t last very long in my house, and I doubt they will in yours either!

Bake them up this weekend, they’re perfect for a football tailgating party.

Jody Leigh for Gluten Free

Jody Leigh, a Toronto-based fashion designer, created a fun and quirky clothing line to raise more awareness around the gluten free lifestyle – Jody Leigh for Gluten Free. You don’t often see someone wearing a shirt that trumpets what food allergy they are living with, however, Jody Leigh for Gluten Free does exactly that, in a whimsical fashion with awesome phrases. I think that it is a great way to promote awareness about gluten allergies, but to also help shine light on the fact that living gluten free isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. 
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jody about her experience with the gluten free lifestyle and the idea behind her fantastic clothing line. Enjoy!

Megan: When were you diagnosed with Celiac disease?

Jody: 4 years ago
M: Had you been having symptoms for a long time? What process did you go through to figure out your diagnosis?

J: I have experienced ‘gut’ issues since elementary school when I was initially diagnosed with IBS.  Years later, when I was 25 I became quite ill and found out I had Crohn’s disease. During the testing I was supposed to go for a blood test to see if I had Celiac disease, but ended up putting it off.  It wasn’t until after my Crohn’s diagnosis that I went for the blood test (and a biopsy to ensure accuracy) and found out I was 2 for 2!

M: What were your initial thoughts when you first found out?

J: My initial thought was ‘WHAT CAN I EAT??’  I remember going home and eating an apple because I had no idea what was ‘gluten free’.
M: Did you find it hard to begin a brand new lifestyle change? 

J: At the beginning I found it difficult, because I didn’t know a lot about it and the products available.  After 4 years though, I consider myself to be somewhat of a ‘gluten free’ expert and feel very comfortable and confident leading a gluten free lifestyle.
M: What is your favourite gluten free product(s)?

J: There are so many!  I love Udi’s.  It took me forever to find a good bread and I found that with this brand.

M: Is there a specific restaurant you like to eat out at?  

J: Again, there are so many!  I do love the Kensington Cornerstone in Kensington Market. The menu is completely gluten free!  I also love Magic Oven; their pizzas are so yummy and they offer quality ingredients.
M: When did you come up with the idea ‘Jody Leigh for Gluten Free’? 

J: I used to have a women’s wear line that was called jody leigh and the ‘g f yourself’ t-shirt idea came to me soon after my diagnosis.  When I finally decided to launch the brand, the name came easy to me, maybe because it rhymes!

M: What are your hopes/goals for Jody Leigh for Gluten Free?

J: I would love to expand this brand so that it can be worn all over the world.  IIt’s for a great cause (with a portion of my proceeds going to the Canadian Celiac Association), and people should be proud to be gluten free!  For many it may be an intolerance or a lifestyle change, but for those of us who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease why not be happy about an illness that you can control with diet and without medication!
M: What products do you currently have?

J: At the moment I offer men’s and women’s t-shirts and a women’s french terry sweatshirt. 

M: Are there certain products you hope to have in the future?

J: I do have hopes to expand into the children’s wear market this year.
M: Where can people purchase your product?


J: jody leigh for gluten free is available in Toronto at the Arts Market.  There is a location in Leslieville (1114 Queen Street East), and one opening Saturday, June 22nd at 846 College Street at Ossington.  I also am in the process of opening an online store which will launch this summer.

Visit jody leigh for gluten free online to shop her clothing line! Spread awareness and live confidently with your gluten allergy!
Follow her on Twitter @JL_GlutenFree
Follow her on Instagram @Jody_Leigh 
Like her on Facebook ‘JodyLeighForGlutenFree’

Back to School Essentials

We are almost into October, the first month back to school is coming to an end. Whether you started a new school year, have children in school, or you work at a school, the first few weeks of a new routine with school are always rewarding.

I have been very busy with my first month at a new school in a post graduate degree studying public relations. It has been an amazing few weeks and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings. I thought I would share my favourite back to school items that have made (and make) my time at school less stressful and more organized. I also have a fun, colourful contest giveaway for you…so read on!

1. Germs Away Mist – Graydon Clinical Luxury by Nature: It’s pretty amazing how many toxic ingredients are in everyday skin care and beauty products, especially chemical-laden hand sanitizer. If something smells so harsh (like hand sanitizer) why should we be rubbing it into our skin? The Mist is a fantastic alternative and great to carry around in your school bag to exterminate any germs. Spray it around your lunch area before eating, spray into your hands, use to freshen up your locker and freshen your knapsack. It’s made with all natural ingredients and essential oils to create a fresh smell. The bonus is that it’s also Canadian!

2. Essie Good to Go – I absolutely love Essie’s Good To Go Top Coat. It is the best top coat I have found hands down. It helps to dry polish quicker than normal and it creates a beautiful fresh, hard shine. It makes my nails look like I visited the salon. It’s about $11.99 and helps to save a bundle on manicure visits.

3. Blu Dot Beverages – No GMO’s, no artificial ingredients, gluten free, 12g of protein, 6g of fibre and low in sugar. How good does that sound? It’s a tea based drink that fills you up. Crazy right!? I love this because it’s an easy alternative to a smoothie or protein powder and it tastes like a delicious tea. It’s the perfect snack or addition to a meal and is the perfect drink to throw in your bag if you are rushed in the morning to make breakfast. The protein in it is derived from New Zealand whey, and trust me, it actually does fill you up.

4. enerjive SKINNY Quinoa Crackers – A chocolate cracker…sounds different right? enerjive SKINNY Quinoa Crackers in FIX Chocolate are my favourite flavour from this amazing gluten free Canadian brand. enerjive comes in 5 flavours and they are “crackers with benefits”. The benefits are that they contain high quality gluten free grains, they are low in the glycemic index, great for metabolism, full of protein and low in calories. They also taste delicious and are another perfect snack to keep you satisfied until lunch or dinner. I keep these in my backpack at all times in case hunger strikes in-between meals.

5. pur gum – I just thought I would throw in this new find of mine. Pur gum is aspartame free and sweetened with xylitol, a natural occurring sugar alcohol that makes a great alternative to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. I just love the fact that this gum is pure – it’s gluten free, vegan, nut free, diabetic friendly and dairy free. I like the spearmint flavour. Mmmmm.

6. Poppin Notebook – I’m a sucker for a fresh new notebook. Clean pages, the smell of fresh paper and a place to make fresh looking notes. I know, pretty nerdy right? I really love this new find. I found Poppin school supplies at Indigo and loved how reasonably priced they were. I’m a huge fan of the Moleskin notebooks, but $20 for a bunch of blank pages bound together is a bit pricey. Poppin notebooks are affordable ($9 for a 5×8 book with 192 pages), come in fun colours and they resemble Moleskins. They also have a nice ribbon bookmark attached to easily find the page you left off. I’ve been using my lime green notebook to keep track of daily to-do lists. I just love making lists.

7. Crystal Light Liquid Drink Mix – A great, quick, zero calorie juice alternative is Crystal Light Liquid Drink Mix. They’re small and compact so you can easily throw one in your backpack or purse. Just add a couple drops to your water bottle and let your water magically transform into a yummy flavoured juice. There are four flavours…’Strawberry Lemonbabe’, ‘Mango Passionate’, ‘Iced Tease Me’ and ‘Blueberry Raz’. My favourites are the ‘Mango Passionate’ and ‘Iced Tease Me’.

8. Poppin Pens – I didn’t just walk out of Indigo with a Poppin notebook, I also bought a 12 pack box of Poppin Signature Pens for $12. I thought my notebook would want a new pen…not that I needed anymore though! I was obviously drawn to the sleek look and colour of these pens, but I also was quite impressed with the flow of the ink. They write very easily. I think they’re my new favourite pen.

….So now for the giveaway. The lovely people from Crystal Light Canada will send one lucky Canadian winner a Crystal Light prize pack. All you have to do is:

1. Comment below mentioning your favourite back to school essential and what Crystal Light flavour you would like to try. AND

2. Follow @gutgazette on Twitter and mention that you entered to win the Crystal Light prize pack. Be sure to include @gutgazette and @CrystalLightCA in your tweet.

*Only open to Canadian residents.

The draw will take place October 7, 2013 at 7pm. Good luck!

Gluten Free Coffee Crisp Bites

Before I became ‘gluten-free’, one of my favourite chocolate bars was Nestle’s Coffee Crisp. I have been craving the taste of that crispy mocha flavour for a while now…until this past weekend. I googled “gluten free coffee crisp” and came across what looked like an easy, delicious recipe on the blog ‘I Heart Wellness’ by Kris Briton. I used her recipe as a base for mine, but created my own variation to her vegan treats. My Coffee Crisp Bites are gluten free (of course), not vegan and they are a bit more creamier. I give all credit to Kris Briton’s idea, she came up with something very reminiscent and nostalgic to my past gluten-filled life!

I made 2 batches of these Bites, 1 dark chocolate and 1 milk chocolate. The milk chocolate variation tastes more like the Nestle Coffee Crisp, but the dark chocolate is a yummy, decadent treat too.

Enjoy my variation of Briton’s Vegan Coffee Crisp Clusters…
1 270g milk (or dark) chocolate chips 
1.5 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp rice flour 
Combine the chocolate chips and oil in a small sauce pan and melt on low heat, stirring continuously until completely melted. Make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn! You can also do this in a double boiler
Once the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and stir in the Starbucks Mocha Via, rice flour and Perky’s Crunchy Cereal. Stir until combined. 
Line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper, and using a spoon, drop the clumpy mixture onto the sheet (about tablespoon sized). 
Stick in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes until cooled. Keep in a sealed container, either in the refrigerator (if you like a cooler treat) or in the pantry if you want a room temperature, easier to bite into treat! 
If you miss the flavour and crunch of a good old Coffee Crisp, you will love these Coffee Crisp Bites. I certainly do! Enjoy! 
A little clumpy looking, but oh so delicious!

Natural, Organic Personal Care with Dawn

When we think of personal care products, such as creams, makeup and nail polish, we often don’t think of the toxins that we are applying to our bodies. When I sat down with Dawn Canning a little while back, I heard about her perspective on green beauty products and learned about her online ‘Worry Free Dispensary’, Sessabel. Dawn Canning is extremely knowledgable when it comes to environmental chemicals, as she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science from UofT. Dawn writes a blog of her own, ‘Dawn Canning‘, where she gives a mom’s perspective on reducing common household toxins.

My main reason for meeting with Dawn was to discuss a gluten free, safe ingredient based nail polish that I had stumbled across online, Keeki Pure & Simple. She carries this product on her online store and is a fantastic representative for it. For those who are extremely sensitive to gluten, such as those who have Celiac disease, any product containing gluten that they may be in contact with could pose a potential threat to their health. Anything we put on our skin (including our nails) gets absorbed into our bodies.

The founder and owner of Keeki Pure & Simple is a mother of two, Natalie Bauss who had the mission to create wholesome products, free of chemicals and full of nourishing ingredients. The neat thing about Keeki Pure & Simple is that they are 100% tested and gluten free approved. Not only are the products gluten free, they are also cruelty-free, soy free, acetone free and free of harmful chemicals found in mainstream nail polishes (such as formaldehyde – yuk!).

The line of products includes nail polish, nail polish remover, cuticle rejuvenator, lip balm, body lotion and sunscreen. The products are targeted more towards younger girls and teens, as the line includes fun bright nail colours, fruity smelling creams and subtle sparkly lip balms. There is a large array of nail polish colours though, so they really can be enjoyed by any age…we are all kids at heart anyway!

I love how Keeki Pure & Simple brands their product; it’s fun, colourful, creative and just looking at it you wouldn’t think it was wholesome and healthy. I really like the names of the nail polish and lip balm, such as Flirty, Sophisticated and Sassy for the Shimmer Sticks, and names such as Grasshopper Pie, Graham Cracker and Raspberry Sorbet for the nail polishes.

I tried two different Keeki nail colours, a light pink and a bright purple.


I found the consistency of the polishes to be different, the purple went on easier than the pink did – the pink was a bit streaky going on. I should factor in the fact that perhaps the two colours were bottled on different dates…maybe the pink was a bit older.  I also love, love, love how the nail polish remover is natural and free of toxic chemicals. I always find it so terrible using harsh chemical laden remover. I don’t think something that smells so terrible should be applied to the skin. The only down side about this remover is that it doesn’t seem to get the job done with other nail polishes (such as OPI, Essie, etc). I think if you’re going to go the natural route with a nail polish remover, you should have the natural polish on.

The Nail Polish Remover is a corn-alcohol base, made with aloe vera and vitamin E to protect and condition the nails and cuticles. Keeki also claims that it smells like coconut, however I thought it just smelt like rubbing alcohol.

The lip products are nice. The Shimmer Sticks have a subtle ‘shimmery’ touch to them and they go on nice and smooth. The only downside to these lip products is that I find the taste to be very bitter if you accidentally lip your licks. The upside to that though is they are organic, natural and gluten free – a bonus for sensitive gluten allergies. It can be hard to find a 100% tested & dedicated gluten free lip product, so I would highly recommend these. They also are very reasonably priced (as is the nail polish). $5.99-$6.99 for lip products and $9.99 for the nail polish.

After Dawn and I discussed Keeki Pure & Simple, she showed me a a company called Dr. Robin for Kids. Although I don’t have children I thought this product sounded excellent. It was developed by Dr. Robin Scaffran, a M.D certified Dermatologist specializing in children’s skin. Dr. Robin was born and raised in Toronto, studied at McGill and UofT, interned at Harvard’s Medical School and finished her residency in Dermatology at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. She now lives in LA and practices in Beverly Hills. Not only do I think this product is amazing, but it’s also pretty cool that it was developed by a Canadian.

Dr. Robin created her line of skin care products for children, because she found that many of the children sunscreens and lotions were the same formula for adults, only camouflaged in kid-friendly packaging. Dr. Robin for Kids is free of parabens, fragrance, phthalates, nanotechnology, unnecessary preservatives, extracts or additives. It doesn’t leave any stick residue and contains green tea which helps with sun protection and oat & quinoa proteins for hydration

The reason I was drawn to this product wasn’t the elegant, kid-friendly bottle with the cute little bird on it (although it is cute), it was the fact that the product was something so good for your skin, safe for babies and children, gluten free (bonus!), vegan, without chemicals, parabens or fragrance and formulated to minimize allergic reactions. If it’s good enough for babies, then it’s good enough for any age.

If people are buying this line of products for their sensitive-skinned children, why wouldn’t I just do the same and buy it for my 20-something sensitive skin? It just made sense to me and after 3.5 months of using it day after day, I have to say my skin has never felt softer. I also haven’t experienced any itching that I used to get on my legs.

Dr. Robin for Kids also has a sunscreen and body lotion + shampoo. I haven’t tried those products yet, but I know I will continue to purchase the Moisture Cream. It’s just perfect.

I think it’s very important to feed your skin with the same respect you would feed your body. Why would I slather gluten filled cream all over my skin if I can’t eat anything gluten. It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

I think I’ve ranted enough about the fact that allergen free skin care is important if you suffer from specific allergies. Treat your skin with love, just like you would your tummy!

I loved meeting and chatting with Dawn, it was a great morning full of information and I recommend you visit her blog (dawncanning.com) and online dispensary (sessabeldispensary.com) – she has some pretty cool products!

You may also want to check out EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. You can search pretty much any product and it will tell you the rating, what chemicals it has and how good or bad it is for your skin.

Mexican Rice Paper Rolls

This month I was lucky enough to be featured on the Celiac Corner’s website as ‘Featured Blogger of the Month’. I wanted to share a gluten free recipe that was different, flavourful, exotic and fun to make. I decided on Mexican inspired rice paper rolls. You can read my post on CeliacCorner.com

 
I love the versatility of rice paper rolls – you can fill them with whatever sort of ingredients you fancy – avocado, chicken, hummus, tofu, peppers, zucchini, etc. The best part about them is that they are gluten free! Having a new gluten free item to add to your list of ‘safe’ foods always results in a smile…don’t you think? I also really enjoy Mexican food – so I thought, why not create a version of soft tacos using a rice paper roll as the shell! Excitingly enough they turned out delicious and the mild flavour of the rice paper roll really allows the Mexican flavours to shine through. This is the perfect recipe for an appetizer, a summer picnic or even for a meal. I personally love having a few of these rolls as my dinner…yum! These are also great if you have an allergy to corn, as the rolls are simply just made of rice. The recipe may look daunting due to the many steps, but trust me, they are delicious and very simple to make.

What you need: a cutting board, or clean surface; a couple clean dish towels; a large shallow bowl filled with a few inches of cold water; a tray; food processor
Ingredients:
10 large rice paper rolls (usually found in the rice section of grocery stores)
2 chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
5 romaine lettuce leaves finely chopped
2 cups pineapple thinly sliced into strips
1 can black beans
¾ tsp cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp ketchup
2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp butter
salt
sour cream
salsa
Preheat the oven to 450°F and bake chicken for 25-30 minutes.
While the chicken bakes, slice the pineapple into thin strips, about 2 inches long. Fry the pineapple in 1 tbsp of butter until golden and caramelized. Set aside.
Next, combine the can of black beans, ¼ tsp cumin, 2 tbsp lime juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Set aside in a bowl.
Wash and slice up the peppers and romaine lettuce into thin strips.
For the chicken spice mixture, combine ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp brown sugar, 2 tsp ketchup and 1 tsp olive oil. Take the cooked chicken and place in a medium sized bowl. With 2 forks, start pulling and shredding against the natural grain of the chicken. You want it to look like pulled pork in the end. Once it is all shredded, coat the chicken with the spice mixture. It will only appear lightly coated, as you want to be able to taste the other flavours in the rice paper roll.
After you have all of the ingredients for the filling prepared, create a working space using a cutting board or clean surface to start rolling your rice papers. Fill a large bowl with cold water (the package on the rice paper instructs you to use warm water, but I find that it doesn’t work as well as using cold water). You will need a large enough bowl to be able to soak the rice paper in. Place the rice paper in the water (you can place 2-3 in the bowl at a time, just make sure they are not sticking together prior to placing in the water. Allow the rice paper to soak for a good 30-45 seconds until the rice paper has softened. Once soft, gently remove from water and place on a clean, dry dishtowel – pat dry. Now you can either roll the rice papers on the dishtowel or transfer the rice paper onto a cutting board.
Arrange ingredients around the top edge of the rice paper, leaving enough room at the top to fold over. Fold and roll it like you would a fajita. It’s okay if there are couple rips or tears, as rolling it will help cover them.
Repeat with the remaining rice papers.
Arrange on a tray with a couple bowls of salsa and sour cream for dip. Enjoy!