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GlutenFreedom’s Creamy Tomato Pasta Bake

This Creamy Tomato Pasta Bake, created and photographed by Rachael Hunt of GlutenFreedom Inc., is free from gluten, dairy and nuts!

 

Gluten Free Garage sponsors Italpasta and Fiesta Farms sent Rachael Hunt, founder of GlutenFreedom Inc. (and my good friend), on a shopping spree to gather the ingredients to create a delicious family-friendly and allergy-friendly (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free) pasta dish. She made a creamy tomato pasta sauce, otherwise known as a rosé. This kind of sauce is typically laden with heavy cream and butter, but not the GlutenFreedom version! (All the ingredients for this dish are available at Toronto independent grocery store Fiesta Farms.)

 

 

Creamy Tomato Pasta Bake

Ingredients
1 package Italpasta fusilli (or penne)
1 shallot, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
1 bunch spinach
1 jar Neal Brothers tomato and basil marinara sauce
1/2 cup Yoso cashew cream cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
chili flakes (optional)
fresh basil (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cook pasta according to package. When cooked al dente, strain but set aside 1/2 cup of pasta water.

In a large saucepan, sauté shallot, red pepper and eggplant until slightly softened. Add in marinara and season with salt and pepper. Mix in cashew cream cheese, stir thoroughly.

Wilt spinach in sauce. Remove from heat and add in cooked pasta.

Transfer pasta mixture into a large baking dish.  Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool, garnish with fresh basil and chili flakes.

 

Rachael Hunt has been living with a severe gluten intolerance since 2013. She founded GlutenFreedom Inc.—a resource for dining, cooking, traveling and living gluten free—to provide a platform for others navigating the challenges of going GF. Here she’s at the checkout counter at Fiesta Farms with all the ingredients for her Creamy Tomato Pasta Bake.

 

We are so excited to welcome back Italpasta to Gluten Free Garage
for the 5th time as a Gold sponsor!

They’ll be sampling their new gluten-free pasta—made from a blend of corn, white and brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa—that’s GMO free and certified gluten-free from the Gluten-Free Certification Program. Available in penne, fusilli, elbows and spaghetti, it looks and tastes like regular pasta. We can’t wait to taste what they’ll be serving up at #GFG17!

symptoms of celiac disease

 

When our daughter, Lily, was diagnosed with celiac disease at three years old, she had 10 of the symptoms on this chart, plus more. She also wasn’t thriving, her hair wasn’t growing and she was throwing up every day.

When it comes to celiac symptoms, many people think that the digestive system is mostly affected, but this autoimmune disease goes way beyond the gut. The above infographic created by Gluten Dude lists 84 symptoms of celiac disease—”directly from the best source possible: those suffering with this disease.”

Gluten Dude kicked off Celiac Awareness Month with some education about the disease in a recent blog post. “Sadly, our disease is still greatly misunderstood and under-diagnosed. The only way to change that is to continue to educate the masses as much as we can. Not about the food, but about the DISEASE.” And then he goes on to list a bunch of important facts about celiac disease.

As usual, he tells it like it is, with no sugar coating. Which is why I’m a big fan of this dude. He makes me laugh, he makes me mad and he’s even made me cry. He pushes buttons, he challenges the status quo, he questions everything. And, as a true advocate in every sense of the word, he’s got the backs of people with celiac disease.

Gluten Dude’s latest food for thought isn’t about food, it’s about celiac disease. And it’s a must-read.

But, still, the food.

Jordan Middlebrook holds court

Are you ready to meet the king?

Are you ready to meet the King at Gluten Free Garage?

 

5 QUESTIONS for celiac advocate Jordan Middlebrook (King Gluten Free)

What’s your motto?
Own it. It’s just about really listening to your gut and owning what you do or say. Taking the chance on yourself and pushing some of your limits.

3 things you’d bring to the desert island.
Popcorn, a flashlight and my daughter.

Why gluten free?
Celiac disease. :(

What’s your go-to gluten-free breakfast?
Typically cereal. But, then again, whatever is available, too. Last night’s dinner is always a safe bet. I’ll eat cookies too. I don’t have a problem with anyone poo-pooing my breakfast choices.

Tell us a little-known fun fact about you.
Female singers are my thing. There is something about how they bring emotion to their songs and make me feel things more than a male singer does.

 

King Gluten Free in all his glory

In his world, all that glitters is gluten free.

 

Jordan will tell you why “Celiac Disease is not a Buzzkill” at 1 pm in The Stop at Gluten Free Garage!

 

Canadian Celiac Association is on ECHOage!

 

My baby turned 6 last week.

My non-celiac girl turned 6.

 

One of my proudest moments as a mother happened a few weeks ago as Franny and I were planning her 6th birthday soirée.

After going over her guest list, I talked to her about having an ECHOage party. Truth is, she’s been having ECHOage parties ever since her 1st birthday, but this year I felt she was old enough to really understand what it means and get involved.

ECHOage is an online birthday party service where kids get the gifts they want AND give to a charity. It was created by two brilliant Toronto moms who wanted to make birthday parties more rewarding for the kids and less work for the parents. Who can argue with that?

Here’s how ECHOage works: Instead of your average paperless invite, after customizing their invitation the birthday child chooses a charity. Guests are then invited to make a contribution. Half of the funds raised go to the charity of the child’s choice and the other half goes toward birthday gifts that the child wants—combining the good feelings of giving with the good feelings of receiving. But that’s not all…

ECHOage is also convenient and environmentally friendly! Everything you need—RSVPs, contributions, birthday messages, thank you notes—is included in the online guest tracker. There’s also a feature that allows parents to indicate any food allergies their child has, which I appreciate as the mom of a gluten-free girl. No paper invites, no piles of discarded wrapping paper, no running around returning unwanted or duplicate gifts. But, by far, the best part about ECHOage is the feeling your child will have from helping others; getting an awesome gift definitely sweetens the deal!

So Franny and I went on the charity page of the ECHOage website. We scrolled through the 200-plus (!) local and national charities that have partnered with ECHOage. There is a charity for every imaginable cause, from health to animals to the environment. We read the names and looked at the logos and we talked about what the various charities do. Then we came upon a familiar logo—the Canadian Celiac Association—and without a moment of hesitation, Franny said, “That’s the charity I want because Lily has celiac!” There it was, my proudest moment as a mother.

CCA logo

With her charity chosen and her invitations emailed, we planned the party. Franny wanted to have a “mock-over”—a mock sleepover, that is—with 10 friends and cousins coming dressed in their pajamas. They would do a craft (inspired by the Children’s Art Studio), then we’d order pizza, have cake, watch a movie and eat popcorn. And then their parents would pick them up. Franny requested her favourite appetizer, picked out the flick (Epic) and got the loot for her bags.

Franny ended up raising $152.50 for the Canadian Celiac Association and she got $152.50 for her birthday present—an underwater camera. But I think the best gift of all is the ECHOage award proudly taped to the wall in her room…and her big sister’s gratitude.

ECHOage awardThe next time you’re planning your child’s birthday party, go ahead and ECHOage it! 

Q&A with: Fiesta Farms’ Eddie Orso

Running out to my local grocery store to pick up a few things. Look who’s here!

 

Rebecca Feigelsohn interviews Fiesta Farms’ Organics Manager Eddie Orso.

 

GFG: For those not in the know about Fiesta Farms, can you tell us a bit about it?
Fiesta is a unique grocery store. First of all, it’s independent; it’s a family-owned grocery store whose main focus is local, organic, natural products. We have, in my opinion, one of the highest-quality produce selections in Toronto. Our buyer goes to the Ontario Food Terminal every morning to get the freshest produce. The thing about Fiesta Farms is that it’s not just a grocery store, it also integrates a health food store aspect. It’s kind of an all-in-one store—instead of going to a grocery store and a health food store, you can do both here. We carry a lot of superfoods!

When did Fiesta begin carrying gluten-free products?
Officially, as soon as the trend starting picking up. I’d say in the last five years it started trickling in. It’s been a combination of customer feedback and the buyers knowing what’s hot in the market. Our buyers are really on top of the trends and what’s happening in the industry. But with gluten-free products, there’s definitely been a lot of customer feedback because there has been a wave of people needing or wanting it, especially in the last five years.

It’s interesting that instead of having a dedicated gluten-free section, your gluten-free products can be found throughout the store.
When we first brought in organic products years ago, we decided to integrate the products throughout the store rather than have a section for it, to give customers a choice they may not have been aware of. This was successful, so we decided to do the same with gluten-free products.

 

When Lily tasted Wow’s chocolate chip cookies, she said: “These should be called Whoa!”


What are some of your most popular gluten-free products?
We have a wide range of gluten-free products, such as lasagna, muffins, prepared foods and over 100 grocery items. Some of our finer products come from local small businesses, such as Live and JK Gourmet. Mary’s Gone Crackers are a huge hit.

 

Antipastos Kitchen’s new line of frozen Italian GF pastas!

 

A basket full of Live Kale Chips made with organic Ontario kale. Which flavour to choose?

 

Fiesta Farms will be showcasing some of its gluten-free products at the Gluten Free Garage, offering samples of apple cider and giving away coupons for 10% off any GF product at the store! 

Check out Fiesta Farms’ cheeky blog post about the Gluten Free Garage here!