Gluten Free Downtown Disney

Okay it is now time for me to drool over all of the gluten free yumminess from our trip to Disney.  Gonna divide it into 5 posts so that you can enjoy right along with me.  Before I begin let me tell you that this vacation was based on food…oh and a desire to meet the princesses.  As soon as we decided to go, I began trolling the internet for gluten free posts.  Whenever I found one I would pour over the review before sitting and drooling over the photos.  When I felt like I had exhausted that resource it was time for Pinterest.  Snack photos, lunch photos, desserts.  Oh, I literally spent the final four months leading up to the trip gazing at food before going to be on 4 out of 7 nights.  Now it is my turn to spread some of that love.

We visited Downtown Disney twice this trip and ate at two different locations.  We also visited Babycakes.  We were all so tired and it was so very busy that I forgot to snap some photos.  I also thought that we would be going back and I was stuffed so we walked out without any goodies.  Big mistake as we never made it back.  That said, I would highly recommend it to any celiac visiting Downtown Disney.  Even if you are not buying, it makes for delicious food gazing.

We did however eat at Wolfgang Puck’s Express.  Now, if you have been following us for a while you will recall that we ate there on our previous trip. The food on this visit was equally as yummy.  I love how smooth the mashed is and how crispy the chicken skin is.  The thing that was missing were the vegetables.  Green beans would have pushed this entree over the top.  Plus, when you get offered GF creme brulee the meal is instantly yummers.

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The second quick service restaurant that we visited was Cookes of Dublin.  We just had to go there once I learned that they offered gluten free fish and chips.  This dinner lived up to my anticipation (sorry for the crumby photo). Crisp, not greasy batter with nice plump chips.  They had two Gf desserts – a zucchini bread with cream cheese icing and a lemon mousse with a hit of raspberry and layer of meringue.  Now I love sweet and thoroughly enjoyed the mousse concoction.  Glenn let me taste his zucchini item but it was very dense and bland unless you got a bite with both bread and icing. (you can just see the creamy white icing in the first photo.  It was a very pretty dessert.)

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LOVEDDD this hat but waaay out of my budgeet.
LOVEDDD this hat but waaay out of my budgeet.



An Apple Pie

It was a banner day today.  I baked an apple pie of the gluten free variety that did not suck!! Yup, it is true.  The pie did not suck.  It actually tasted like my apple pie of olden days with all of its appley goodness.  Thank you Pillsbury for the excellent gluten free pastry.  I am a bit rusty but inspite of that it rolled out really nicely and browned nicely and was flaky to boot.  Delicious!  To top it off, I had to super cute helpers.

I put Katrine to work peeling and chopping.
I put Katrine to work peeling and chopping.
Elspeth was unhappy that she wasn't allowed to chop.  Eventually she got into laying the apples and adding cinnamon.
Elspeth was unhappy that she wasn’t allowed to chop. Eventually she got into laying the apples and adding cinnamon.

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Making Bread with Grammy

This year we were lucky to have Grammy come for a visit on her birthday.  While she was here, we picked her brain on making bread.  Way back in my previous gluteny existence I could make cake, pastry, cookies with the best of them.  I never made gluteny bread though.  When I began baking gluten free it was a whole new ballpark for those things that I was good at previously so I never tackled bread.  Recently I was asked by my sister in law if I knew of a good gluten free bread recipe as she was hoping to enter a loaf in the local fair this fall.  My immediate answer was no but the girls and I have been having fun playing around with food this summer so I thought that I would give it a go….with some help.  This is where mom came in.  Unfortunately, even with her insights the loaf came out looking good but tasting YUCK.  Oh well.

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40th Birthday Weekend – Poof…Fzzz

Poof….fzzz went the car. Yup, poof fzz. It turns out that there were no technicians working on a Sunday with the abiolity to diagnose the problem. Four of us headed home and three of us stayed to wait until the car was fixed on Monday.

We managed to secure a hotel room (phew) and then headed back out to the Falls. While waiting for my friends to get back from the Behind the Falls experience, I chose to make a candy apple for the girls. (I opted out as I had done it as a child.) It is quite the process and looked absolutely delicious.

Afterwards it was time for some dinner at Shoeless Joes. It was nice again to have a few gluten free options. My flatbread was yummy!

This morning we chose to relax a while before walking over to Clifton Hill for some lunch. After lunch we finally went to pick up the car!!! Yippee!! Then we headed home. Even though the weekend did not unfold exactly as planned, it was wonderful to spend such time with the girls.

Step 1: Insert stick into apple and cover with caramel.
Step 1: Insert stick into apple and cover with caramel.
Step 2: Dip in luscious, melted chocolate.  Doesn't that look delicious?
Step 2: Dip in luscious, melted chocolate. Doesn’t that look delicious?
Step 3: Cover with candy.  I chose nerds because they are among the girls favourites.
Step 3: Cover with candy. I chose nerds because they are among the girls favourites.
GF flatbread with sauce, chicken, bacon and cheese.
GF flatbread with sauce, chicken, bacon and cheese.


40th Birthday Weekend – Original Plan

A lot of my friends turn 40 this year and they certainly all have birthdays.  Sometime last year I came up with the idea that a girls weekend would be a fun way to honour everyone’s birthdays.  Hence, the Niagara Get-away was born.  It was suppose to be a one night get-away with only laughs and smiles.  Well….it didn’t quite work out that way.

We began with a stop in Niagara on the Lake for lunch and shopping.  Lunch was at the Prince of Wales.  What a gorgeous hotel.  Even the ceilings were beautiful.  And the food…MMMMMM.  Another delicious gluten free lunch in Niagara-on-the-Lake shared with amazing friends.  I am not sure when I have spent a whole road trip and lunch smiling and laughing.  After lunch it was time to shop – gluten free goodies and gelato.  This time I got to sample vanilla maple. Yummmm!

It was also the Peach Festival.  As we walked the sounds of street musicians serenaded our ears while smells of peachy goodness greeted our noses.  The street entertainers also gave us something to watch when we were done in a store.  To top it off, it was a gorgeous day.


GF chicken ceasar
GF chicken ceasar















GF gelato
GF gelato













Next stop was our hotel.  42nd floor with fallsview.  It was a wonderful suite that gave us plenty of time to share and chat together.  A bit like old times where you would have sleepovers in highschool.


View from the suite
View from the suite










Of course we couldn’t just sit around the room.  Off we went to the falls by way of the refurbished trolley. That was a brief but fun ride to the splendor that it the falls.

Trolley view
Trolley view

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That was followed by dinner at Applebees.  There were a few gluten free options there but I knew we had snacks so I opted for the ribs a la cart.  Finger licking goodness.


GF ribs
GF ribs










We woke up to sunshine the next morning and had breakfast over looking the falls.  Then we headed off to get a group photo taken.  Now that was a lot of fun.  I think that we may have frustrated the photographer just a bit.  I mean, the poor guy had to get 7 women to stand still and not laugh at the same time.  From there we were going to stop at a winery before heading home…well that is where the original plan got derailed by poof…fzzz.


Pastry 101

When I was a teenager, my mom taught me how to make pastry.  Nice gluteny pastry.  Flakey, tasty goodness.  She had learned from her father who was a baker so you know she is a pastry pro.  Way back in the day I could make top notch lard or shortening pastry.  Then it happened – Celiac.  Since my diagnosis I have not been successful at making pastry from scratch.  It just hasn’t turned out right.  When Katrine asked to make butter tarts I knew that it was time to contact the pro.  This past week while up at her grandparents Katrine made tarts from scratch in all their gluteny goodness.  Apparently they were flaky and suitably buttery.


Katrine's first pastry










She inspired me to try again.  I thought it was going okay but it was an epic fail.  The pastry was suitably flaky but way too grainy to be tasty.  The key lime filling for the pie was limey but didn’t set.  Neither did the egg tart filling.  Sigh.  Time to try again.

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Popsicle Update

We have been so much fun making different types of popsicles.

Here are the diced cherry with cherry yogurt ring pops.











We also made up watermelon creamsicles.  Super simple because all we did was mix pureed watermelon with some greek yogurt.

watermelon creamsicles










The favourites so far have been caramel greek yogurt and banana fudgesicle.  Literally mashed bananas and cocoa.  A fun treat for breakfast.

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Celiac Conference, Calgary & 45 years

This past weekend Glenn and the girls enjoyed a quiet time together.  They ran errands, watched cartoons, read books and took quite a few trips to the park.  Quality father daughters bonding time.  Where was mom?  Eating on the other side of Canada.

This year’s Canadian Celiac Association Conference was in Calgary.  My mom and I really enjoying going to the conferences together so as part of my 40th, they gifted me airfare to Calgary.  Off I went after work on Friday.  I didn’t arrive until late but there was delicious goodies awaiting me – perogies, fruit, a lemon poppy seed muffin and skor cookies.  All gluten free of course and simply scrumptious.  After a long flight and missing my girls it was the perfect end to the day. (Now the full bed to myself with its mound of pillows didn’t hurt either).

In the lobby waiting to go in to the seminars.

The next morning we were up bright and early to hit the breakfast and seminars.  Each time we go to the conference I learn something new.  Of course, right next door was the exhibit hall with its free samples.  Oh how I ate – coconut milk ice cream, cookies, pizza, perogies…. My highlights were the coconut milk ice cream by Screamin Brothers (really intense fresh flavours can’t wait until it hits the shelves in Ontario), the cinnamon dessert pizza (Coco Brooks) and the perogies (Stella’s Perogies).  I also found gluten free Goldfish Puffs.  I didn’t try them until getting home but delicious!  Then there was the buns provided at lunch.  Heaven.  Soft, untoasted yumminess.  They alone have me wanting to go back to Calgary.  Thank you to Care Bakery.  Sandwich and bread deliciousness.  Is that it?  Oh no, I still have some GF meat sticks that I am hoping the girls will eat (not spicy – Grimms), new healthier takes on the traditional sesame sticks (can’t recall the company name), some GF Breton crackers awaiting sampling…mmm, food.

One of the free samples.  I didn’t know that Stax were also GF.

It wasn’t all about the food and an auto immunie disease; I did manage to get outside.  Heck, by lunch when I was full (only until it was time for an afternoon snack) mom and I along with a fellow conference attendee ventured out to enjoy the sunshine along the main tourist strip.  It was a beautiful day and I rather enjoyed getting out and stretching my legs.

The pedestrian strip

The suffragettes statues was one of my favourites as was the one depicting the heights of the various hills and mountains around the city.

The girls would have loved splashing around in here.

Once the day’s sessions had finished, we all headed out to the nearby mall to visit the Devonian Gardens.  Mall?  Gardens?  Doesn’t sound like something you see everyday and it is not.  It is located on the top floor of the mall and offers a nice oasis situated near the food court.  I quite enjoyed the tranquility.

From there we went to the Fairmount for a nice dinner (yup, even more GF goodness).  Dad wanted to do something nice for mom becaue the next day was their 45th wedding anniversary.  At the end of the meal, our came dessert complete with sparkler and chocolate message.  Mom’s face just lit up.  Oh and it was gluten free too!

Steak and roasted garlic & potatoe soup (GF) with vegge.

45 years


I was sad to leave my oasis of gluten freeness and return to reality but at the same time happy because it meant coming home to my Glenn and the girls.  Overall it was a great weekend.


This year we introduced Elspeth to another family tradition – the C.N.E.  We have been taking Katrine since she was little and she loves going.  2011 Elspeth had been home for a little over two weeks so a visit was definetely out and last year she still wasn’t quite ready as she would have been too overwhelmed by the crowds to enjoy any of it.  This year was a different story.  She did so well on our trip and at Santa’s Village that we decided to give it a go.  Fun was had by all and to top it off, I even got to eat!

Let me begin with this cuteness.  “I wear my hat like Baba at the CNE”

Elspeth was a half an inch too short to go on most of the rides by herself.  It breaks my heart that kids a year or more younger are able to go on these rides by themselves and here she is almost four and she has to ride with one of us.  Her favourite rides were the merry go round and the motorcycles.  Katrine was able to do rides in both the kiddie zone and the midway.  Boy did she have some fun.

She rode well into the night with her Baba.  This was her last ride of the day.  If you look carefully you can see the larger figure with a green shirt.  That is Glenn.  He hates spinning rides yet here he is being a trooper for his daughter.  What a dad.

The girls both loved the farm building.  They did all of the kid’s activities with the fishing zone being a particular highlight.  After our late dinner, Glenn and Katrine went to enjoy the midway while Elspeth and I cycled back to the farm building where she redid everything.

Her Aleigh had to come with us, of course.  Apparently Aleigh quite enjoyed seeing extended family from the farm.

Looks like Elspeth raced her pony to a ribbon!

Elspeth practiced casting for these plastic fish.

Katrine tried to catch the real thing but settled for a softer fish.

There were also the necessary fair games where the girls selected twin frogs as prizes.  I tried to convince them that different was better but as you can see I failed.

Here is one of my favourite displays, the sand sculptures.  I also enjoyed the butter sculptures but the photos didn’t work because of the flash and glass.

Some shows, a parade, dinner and then it was time to break into two groups.  Once we finished at the farm building it was off to the Arts & Crafts building for some more crafts.  I think that this was one of our most crafty CNE visits.  We created with playdough, coloured, made masks and finally, art trading cards.  I think that Elspeth did a great job for 9:30 at night.

Promptly there after she fell asleep as we were going to meet the other pair for the final CNE tradition – mini donuts.

Okay, now for the gluten free food!  Lunch was nachos.  I only got meat and cheese as I was sharing with Elspeth but I could have had beans, lettuce, salsa.  They were yummy despite their simplicity.  Dinner was fries from Chicago Fries stall.  It was too bad that I didn’t pay closer attention or I could have opted for the sweet potatoe fries.


A stop in Haliburton

While up at the cottage we went for a visit to Haliburton and while there spotted this sign infront of a restaurant:

Both from scratch AND gluten free….hmmm, girls I think I know where we will be eating lunch.

They had a nice children’s menu and both girls enjoyed their mac and cheese (plus, our server even asked if either wanted gluten free!).  There were quite a few gluten free options available.  I could have had pizza, pasta or most of their burgers and sandwiches on gluten free buns.  What made it even better was how knowledgable our server was.  They had this delicious sounding bacon and leek macarooni and cheese listed on the menu.  Right away she knew that they could not make that exact pasta gluten free as it was done with a roux.  As yummy as that sounded it was really easy to settle on my second choice – a thick cut peameal bacon sandwich with hand cut french fries.  Heavenly.