Posts Categorized: Happiness is…

almond butter rice crispy treats

Just 4 ingredients and a whole lotta yum!

Just four ingredients and a whole lotta yum!

Dr. Jodi Larry‘s Almond Butter Rice Crispy Treats

¼ cup almond butter
2-3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 cup brown rice crispy cereal (I used brown rice puffs)
1 tbsp cacao nibs

In a bowl, stir together almond butter and maple syrup.
Quickly heat in a pan for a few minutes until ingredients become soft.
Mix well and add in the cereal and cacao nibs; stir and mix.
Roll into balls and freeze for 5 minutes. Store in the freezer or fridge.

green goddess dressing

This nutrient-rich Green Goddess dressing

This nutrient-rich green dressing is versatile. Enjoy it on a salad, brown rice bowl or quinoa or as a dip for raw veggies.


Dr. Jodi Larry‘s Green Goddess Dressing

1 garlic clove (use ½ if you don’t like it too garlicky)
¼ cup water
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 avocados
½ cup packed fresh parsley
½ cup spinach
1 tbsp chopped green onion
½ cup lemon juice
4-5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
sea salt to taste
Pinch of cayenne (optional but recommended)
½ tsp pure maple syrup

Put garlic clove into food processor and process until finely chopped.
Add in water, olive oil, avocados, greens and onion; process until mixed well.
Add in lemon juice and apple cider vinegar, then salt, cayenne and maple syrup.

gluten-free with Gusto

Up on the Gusto 101 rooftop, cobalt appears to be the new black.

Cobalt was the new black up on the Gusto 101 rooftop patio at Portland and King. This industrial enoteca is the first restaurant in Toronto to have a year-round rooftop patio.


Rooftop blah blah

Us press peeps (in my other life, I am an editor and work for KingWest magazine) were there to witness the auto-body-shop-turned-resto’s new retractable glass roof. As it opened up to blue skies in just nine minutes, we were lucky enough to dine al fresco on such a sunny spring day, tasting the gems from Gusto’s Nonna family-style sharing menu. (Photo: Henrieta Hansikova)


Gusto 101's sought-after kale salad.

Gusto 101 is not a gluten-free restaurant but some of its dishes are naturally gluten free, like the salads, including the much-coveted Cavolo Nero. This insalata is insane. Lacinate kale, zante currants, toasted pine nuts, shaved pecorino and lemon vinaigrette. I could have licked the entire platter clean but people were watching.


Carpaccio made the carnivores at the table happy.

Beef tenderloin carpaccio with truffled cannellini beans and pecorino was a hit among the carnivores at the table. The beef tartare, polipo (octopus) and most items prepared on the grill, including the salmon and chicken, are also gluten free.


Executive chef Daniel Mezzolo dished up a special gluten-free fusilli al funghi

Executive chef Daniel Mezzolo—whose motto when it comes to cooking is “simple is best”—dished up a special gluten-free corn fusilli ai funghi for me. (The regular version of this dish, fettuccine ai funghi, is Gusto’s most popular pasta.) I completely inhaled it and I don’t like mushrooms. That’s how good the food is here. Any pasta dish on the menu can be made with gluten-free noodles (with the exception of the ravioli). When the waitress asked me if I had an allergy or sensitivity, it made me feel like they understand that there are varying reasons for eating gluten free, some that require more serious diligence when it comes to food preparation.


Post lunch, the cafe macchiato looked too pretty to drink but my dining companion said it tasted even better. I was happy to stick with my Gusto Bianco wine-on-tap, which can be had for $1 per ounce.

Post-lunch, the cafe macchiato looked too pretty to drink but my caffeinated colleague said it tasted even better. I was still happily sipping my Gusto Bianco wine-on-tap, made on the premises, which can be had for $1 an ounce.


blah blah blah

Our hosts sent us home with this washable “paper” bread bag made in Lucca, Italy. Seeing as our house is gluten free and fresh bread is scarce around here, I found another use for it. The bread bag can be yours too for $20 at Shop Gusto 101.

gluten free(dom)

The Deppaneur

The Depanneur, a funky corner-store-cum-foodie-haven on College Street in Toronto, bills itself as “a place where interesting food things happen.” Like the Gluten Free(dom) workshop we attended recently.


Chef Mary Hubert and chef and nutritionist Sara Kuntz kicked things off with this gorgeous strawberry rhubarb chia pudding.

Dynamic duo raw vegan chef Mary Hubert and chef/culinary nutritionist Sara Kuntz kicked things off with this sweet and simple strawberry rhubarb chia pudding.


Colourful chopped salad, aka cauliflower tabouleh.

The star of this colourful cauliflower tabouleh was made in a food processor by pulsing florets of raw cauliflower into small pieces the size of rice grains.


Chef Mary shows us how to make zucchini pasta with her spirulizer.

Chef Mary demonstrates how to make zucchini pasta with her spiralizer.


Voila! Zucchini pasta!

Voila! A mess of zucchini curls.



We ramped up our veggie pasta with this gorgeously green ramp pesto.

We ramped up our veggie pasta with this gorgeously green ramp pesto.


Zucchini and soba noodle pasta with ramp pesto.

Zucchini and soba noodle pasta with ramp pesto.


Pretty, crunchy wraps from Mother Nature come in all different shapes and sizes.

Pretty, crunchy wraps from Mother Nature come in all different shapes and sizes.


My new obsession: avocado slices with hemp seeds, sea salt and olive oil. It's the simple things.

My latest obsession: avocado slices with hemp seeds, sea salt and olive oil. It’s the simple things.


I loved every single bite of gluten-free goodness.

I thoroughly enjoyed every single bite of gluten-free goodness created by our two talented chefs. (How cute are the little Brussels sprout wraps?!) Missing from this photo are chef Sara’s tasty tortilla chips: Food for Life rice tortillas brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and any fresh herbs you have on hand. Bake at 350° for a few minutes. A new staple in our house!


Chocolate fudge brownie with chocolate drizzle made in donut-shaped molds. As my cousin Lewis says: They are to live for!

After enjoying a super fresh, delicious, wholesome meal with some good company and our knowledgeable chefs came the happy ending: chocolate fudge brownie with chocolate drizzle made in donut-shaped molds.





going bananas

Andy Warhol banana


I don’t know about you but I love bananas. We had bunches of bananas left over from our pop-up marketplace (courtesy of Burnac Produce, which kindly provided fresh fruit for Gluten Free Garage vendors and volunteers). For the past few weeks I’ve been blending up the smoothies. Oh, but there’s so much more you can do with these potassium-packed fruits!


These banana muffins are de- to the pea-licious! They're also vegan and gluten free.

These banana muffins are dee- to the pea-licious! They’re also vegan and gluten free.


I also baked a few batches of these Pea-licious Banana Muffins, which I first made—and fell in love with—in Marni Wasserman’s Gourmet and Gluten Free Cooking Class. Fresh out of the oven, they are little bites of melted bliss. I double dare you to eat just one.


Next up we tried our hand at a GF version of the banana pudding at the famous Magnolia Bakery in NYC.

Pass the pudding! Magnolia Bakery’s famous banana pudding minus the Nilla wafers.


Next up I tried my hand at a gluten-free version of the heavenly banana pudding from famed Magnolia Bakery in NYC. Do not make this pudding if there is a remote possibility that you might have leftovers…trust me (but don’t leave me alone in a room with this pudding)! It is the best banana pudding you will ever taste in your whole life. Below is the recipe, adapted from The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. I left out the Nilla wafers (round, thin, light vanilla-flavoured wafer-style cookies made by Nabisco) to make this pudding gluten free, and then I discovered this ‘Nilla Wafer recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. I’ll definitely be making this again!

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
16 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups cold water
small box (3.4 oz) Jello instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups heavy whipping cream
4 bananas, sliced
1. Beat condensed milk and water in a bowl (with a mixer, or by hand if you’re tough) for about one minute.
2. Add pudding mix and continue beating for two more minutes.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, up to overnight.
4. Whip the cream until stiff peaks have formed, then gently fold into chilled pudding mixture until fully combined.
5. In a large bowl or in little mason jars, layer bananas, pudding . . . bananas, pudding . . . bananas, pudding. Like a trifle!