Wednesday 29 February 2012

Thanks for Reading

Sweden and Brazil have just joined my audience of readers!

I do not have words to tell you how awesome this is.

As always, I heart anyone who reads my crazyness

Thank you for getting it....

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Yard Waste = Snacks

It is fairly surprising how many foods people think I will like simply because I have Celiacs. It’s like the diagnosis ruined my taste buds. This is not the case and it pisses me off. This is the fault of people (most of whom do not have Celiac’s) who will literally eat ANYTHING as long as you label it GF. I’m not exaggerating, I met a chick once who hadn’t washed her hair in a month and ate grass for lunch. She offered me some and I quickly, without any level of politeness replied, “I don’t fucking think so.”

I despise restaurants that think they can trick me with a “Gluten Free” menu that has only a Caesar salad (no croutons) and a steak on it. The hostess presents it with a flourish as if to say, “hold on to your hat lady.” It’s insulting.

Take my least favorite GF food; Sticks and Twigs. Oh, I didn’t make that name up; I’m not being a brat here, someone named a product Sticks and Twigs and people eat it.


So let us travel back dear reader, to a year or two ago at an established gluten free cracker company. There is a motley crew of folk sitting around their board room table which is most likely made of recycled Paper Mache. They are drinking green tea and water infused with love. No one drinks liquor, smokes or has ever had a hot dog. They believe church is for the small minded and yet Lorena McKennitt blares from a speaker. Someone, for no reason at all, is holding a tambourine. They sit like gorillas, searching each other’s dreads for nits and dirt. There is little movement because no one in this room has had protein in years so they have lost all muscle tone.

Suddenly, a young intern bursts into the room holding a cloth sack. They all look up. The intern is out of breath, sweating and his eyes are alive with a lack of weed and excitement.

“You guys HAVE to try my new invented Gluten Free snack food! I call them Sticks and Twigs!” He yells. He opens the sack to reveal what appears to be gardening waste. Maybe it’s because they have eaten only wheat grass and positive energy since the last “sit in” but the hippies clamor over each other like meerkats trying to get to the bag of gluten free garbage. They all taste it, and feel what we all feel...

They feel their mouth become sucked of all moisture; they feel the unique and charming texture of sandpaper and rocks. They are fairly sure they might crack a molar but they keep chewing, undeterred and unrelenting. They MUST claim that they love this item. They must love ALL gluten free food. They MUST love all things that make them defecate on a regular basis regardless of the quality and the flavor of the food. WHY? I don’t really know. I think that it’s some sort of twisted superiority complex and it makes no bloody sense to me. If it tastes like shit….here’s a crazy idea….DONT EAT IT.


My favorite moment happens when someone who can eat all things gluten, tastes something like “Sticks and Twigs”. They shrug at me and say, “Well it’s not THAT bad.” Really? Really? Not THAT bad hey? Then why aren’t you eating more of it? Why did you move back to the regular food? Why aren't you taking the bag from me and running away? It’s easy to say something tastes ok when you have other options.  This diet is not a life sentence for them.  It’s the equivalent of me walking into a maximum security prison, spending 20 minutes there then saying to the prisoners, “Well, it’s not THAT bad.”  Don’t I wish shanking was a reasonable and legal threat in my real life.

So bottom line, gluten free doesn’t have to taste like “Sticks and Twigs”. It will get better if we demand it to be better. Don’t eat crappy food to just to be a certain type of person. If we stop buying it, they will stop making it.

Eat grass and sticks and twigs if you actually like the taste of it…but please be advised that I think you are lying through your Birkenstocks.

I was as my friend Ashley's house when we tried the "Sticks and Twigs" I, being the responsible kind lady I am, made her 5 year old daughter eat some to get her reaction in "real time". Thanks for taking a hit for the team Brianna!

Sunday 19 February 2012

Says Laurie Lyons to the Pieman....let me taste your wares

I just realised that the title of this piece implies something else than it's about....oops
So I was recently in the hospital with my little 5 year old girl. She had her tonsils out which is normally a simple day procedure. Not for my normalcy for us. After a harrowing, terrifying afternoon filled with complications and two surgeries, my brave daughter and (by default) I were admitted to the Alberta Childrens' Hospital for the night.

A friend of mine, after hearing we were unexpectedly staying the night, sent me the following text: "WHAT are you going to eat? Do you want me to come with food?" And for the first time all day, I thought about myself. What the Hell WAS I going to eat?

Turns out the sandwich bar had gluten free bread and the guy made me a lovely sandwich making sure there was no cross contamination. Hours later, for dinner, he informed me that they had one Gluten Free simple simon pie left. These homemade pies are normally excellent. I was thrilled to eat something hot and asked for it immediately. He started to tell me the flavor but I waved him off, what did it matter? How could it be bad?

Just so you know, there are only three kids staying on the day surgery floor, because you know, its day surgery. One is a Hutterite teenage girl and her suspicious looking mom - pretty boring. She wouldn't even smile at me as if being polite is a new technology. The mom on the other side of us was far more entertaining. If I could have taken a picture, you still wouldn’t believe me. This mom looked like Snooki and Ice-Ts wife Coco were genetically melded together. She personified "ridden hard and put away wet". Snooki-Coco wore a skin tight white tank with a purple bra underneath because THAT'S classy, she was tanned beyond human recognition and her hair had been coloured so frequently that it had the consistency of dirty straw. Oh Oh Oh and she was wearing WHITE JEGGINGS that's right, white leggings with the stitching of jeans.....AWESOME. Additional useless information? The carpet didn’t match the drapes....Now you know.

So the cafeteria guy heats up the gluten free pie for me and I head back up to the darkened ward to eat. The little spawn was still partially awake and zombie watching a movie so I snuggle up beside her in the bed. She couldn't talk but she looked at my plate with disgust and mocked plugging her nose. I looked at my dinner. I had to admit it didn't look or smell very appetising. The ingredients I could identify were; chick peas...and...well ...that was it. Everything else was a dog food looking consistency. It smelt like it had spices like curry and something that could have been a beefy smelling cinnamon.

Interesting. But I press on, and take a big bite. Immediately something sticks in my molars...what was it you ask? Oh a fantastically disgusting surprise, there are raisins in my dinner pie. That’s right, raisins and beef stock and cinnamon AND curry… YUM! The rest of the flavors were just as, shall we say, surprising? The consistency was that of week old chili and the raisins and the chick peas were the only ingredients I ever did identify. It was so fucking gross AND the smell was getting exponentially worse. It's like when I disturbed the shape of the pie, the stenched spilled out like a volcano. So now the whole area reeked....really farts....hung over farts.

There is just a curtain between us, Snook-Coco and the lady with the head scarf. And of course, the smell perfumes the entire space and its dead obvious where it came from. Am I mature about this? Do I go over to their curtains and explain? Hell no, that would be the grown up thing to do and I stay away from the grown up thing to do at all costs. The juvenile way is usually funnier and funnier is ALWAYS better.

 The smell expands and I count down until I figure it reached either side of me.! The reaction is immediate. I could hear a gasp and an odd sniffing from the Hutterite contingency and quiet mumbling in German.  Snook-Coco was less polite and actually gagged and said something that sounded like "what the fuck". So there I am, sitting the darkened room beside my very ill daughter, emotionally and physically exhausted and I have just consumed one of the most disgusting things I have ever eaten and holy shit was it ever funny. I start to giggle, and can not all. I laughed and laughed until tears ran down my face. This, I am sure irritated the hell out of our room mates but I could not stop laughing. It was good times. After I brushed the hell out of my teeth, I took my plate down the hall and threw it out in a garbage can off the ward with only the one bite missing.

When the nurse came in later to re-drug my spawn, it still fucking stank and she sniffed the air in displeasure. Being the very funny person I am, I shrugged and pointed meaningfully to
Snook-Coco's curtain. The nurse rolled her eyes and shook her head at me as if to say, "what are you going to do, people shit themselves" it was awesome.

Sometimes with Celiac's you get stuck eating some stupid gross shit....the point is to laugh about it. It doesn't last forever and there is no point getting pissy about it. My little spawn and I got to go home the next day and I got a proper meal.

The talented Medical Staff at the Alberta Children's hospital treated my daughter with more respect and love than we could ever ask for.....therefore, they get to serve as much disgusting food as they want.

Does anyone know where I can get a pair of those white jeggings? I gotta get me a pair of those...because the carpet SHOULD match the drapes.

Thursday 16 February 2012

No Fun...No fun at all!

I hate it when people say "the journey was like a roller coaster" to describe a passage of time and the sequence of good and bad events therein. I never understood that because a roller coaster is super fun! Like really, one of the funnest things ever! ESPECIALLY when it is going down. That's the best fucking part, you are screaming with glee, your butt is rumbling, a small voice in the back of your head tries to convince you that you might die but you don't care. Even the next hill climb up is exciting and fun - you sniff up all the bugs that hit your face, you wipe the happy tears from your eyes and you giggle with anticipation.


So therefore, my experience with Gluten Free baking has NOT been like a roller coaster - it has been like the behaviours of a fucked up relationship. Its like GF baking and I are on Teen Mom 2. I love it one minute and it feels like everything clicks and then the next minute, I am sending it angry texts, demanding child support and crying my mascara off when it dates my best friend.

 I feel like I love GF baking but that it is toxic for me.

I tried to make another loaf of bread. The thing with GF baking is that there is no room for errors. There is no wiggle room - for me anyway. If you make the SMALLEST mistake, you're done, throw it in the garbage...its over. I made the Cheese Bread from the Gems of Gluten Free Baking and followed everything directly, until something shiny came along. I just had to let the bread rise for 20 min in a draft free place and I got distracted. I didn't get distracted by anything exciting, oh no, its not like the Muppet's were on. Its not like I had an emergency either, no fire, no hurricane, no Brad Pitt showing up naked. I don't even know what was so important as to make me ruin my bread, I don't even know so I am not going to lie.

Look at the piece of shit I made...............

It's embarrassing. I let it over rise and there was no going back. I cleaned it up and tried to bake it but it was for nothing. It went into the garbage with my pride. You may think that I just suck at baking, not so. I am very good at glutened baking, quite talented really. And maybe I should give up, but I doubt I will. After all, I am a GLUTEN for punishment...get it? Huh? Huh? Get it? See what I did there? Pretty funny riiiiight? No, I won't give up, I'll try again and hopefully it won't suck again.

But in no way, is this like a roller coaster - it's like my baby daddy is making me feel cheap, sad and dirty deep down inside.....and I like it.

Saturday 11 February 2012

When you know better.....

I went to one of those home parties that stay at home moms have. I think that's the order of things; push a child out of your vagina.....then sell something. New mothers panic because we see our future becoming that of our mothers; all hot dog days and floor wax. We worry because our children are all consuming and yet we know the entire arrangement is temporary. They immediately embed themselves in every aspect of our lives and we know, one day, they will leave us, alone and with a skill set that matches Mary Poppins'.

Its not true though and our lives are not going to be that of our moms. Just like their lives didn't become that of their mothers.  You see, its all about what you KNOW. Oprah is right about a lot of things but the thing that she is MOST right about is - When we know better we do better. And I can ONLY assume that we all know more than the generation before us...isn't that the whole point?

We KNOW that you should not smoke while pregnant or while cuddling a new born, we know that rum is bad for a fetus and for small children, we know that lead paint, although pretty and durable isn't good for us. And now we know that we CAN'T be only mothers and wives. We ARE more, we always were.... we know better now, and we seek out a way to make that happen. That is your zen for the day... lets talk about Gluten.

So I go to this party thing and it has some good products. The Mom running it is a totally normal, solid Mom so I feel I can trust her judgement.  The anal side of me is immediately drawn to the cleaning products that are cheap and concentrated and all natural. THEN the rep pulls out the gluten free protein bars with a flourish. I was very excited. I have been looking for an edible GF protein bar forever!


Like an asshole, like a know it all, like little miss picky... I did it and holy shit I could NOT be happier.

Fourth ingredient in the "gluten free" protein bar? "Barley Malt"

You know that sound that submarines make when they dive down? That's the sound my brain makes when I see shit like that.

I call it all out.

The rep is disbelieving and I can see she thinks I am incorrect "But the website says...." Ya, I don't care what some website says, I cant eat this. I wonder if she believes me to be the un - doer of all deals. Everyone left without ordering.

I, however, ordered some cleaning products, but under no circumstances will I be ordering anything that goes INSIDE my person from this company. We all have standards and that is mine. With life, you get a second chance with me... with my don't.

 Do not be embarrassed or feel silly to ask for an ingredient list. Even if you don't have Celiacs you should look at a label every once in a while. Take ownership in what is going into your person. It's more than the previous generation would do...and again, that's the whole point.

When you know better, you do better

Wednesday 8 February 2012

The Ochre Grill!

It has always seemed that the best GF restaurants in my city are far away. It seems like all the Celiacs live in the NW end of town. Recently though, a restaurant has opened up in my neighbourhood and it advertised as having gluten free options. It's called the Ochre Grill and the fam and I visited this weekend.

It is literally next to a drycleaners so you wouldn't expect much but you would be wrong. The Ochre Grill advertises "Gourmet Comfort Food" and they are right about that. It was, in one word,  awesome.

The service was fantastic. Our server was on the ball without being cheesy and annoying. She was well versed in Celiacs and assured me the Kitchen was MORE than capable of handling my requests. At some restaurants, "Gluten Free Options" means, you can have a steak or a salad without dressing. This is certainly NOT the case at Ochre.

There are four our of eight appetisers that are available gluten free (including Calamari eek!)

All the four salads are available gluten free.

All the four pizzas are available gluten free.

Five of the ten "Sandwiches and Stuff" are available gluten free - including a wrap!

Four of the seven pastas are available gluten free.

All six of the entrees are available gluten free.

I don't remember the last time I had this many options on a regular menu. I was positively giddy.

The quality is outstanding. Our food came out hot and fresh and absolutely delicious. The price is awesome too and they don't charge extra for GF stuff. The kids menu was perfect and they only charge $6.00 for their meals which is perfect for kids like mine that some days don't eat.

My only complaint is the table cloths are plastic which don't really go with the decor or the quality of food. Oh and their wine glasses could be bigger because you know I love my wine!

The Ochre Grill was a gorgeous surprise and now they have new regulars. Make sure to take a trip down south to eat at the Ochre Grill. Call me when you are down here and I will join you for dinner.

Sunday 5 February 2012


Brace yourself for some shameless overindulged vanity people. I am so happy about this that if I could afford it, I would be carried around in Madonna’s half-time show golden throne. I have danced around, shook my ass, giggled in glee and done fist bumps with no one looking like a total fucking loser. I fully expect the SAME reaction from you reader because….


I need you to sit in this honey covered moment with me. I have WON against gluten today. Go ahead, yell “YES!” and jump up and down….I’ll wait. Are you back? Good stuff.

So every weekend, I try to bake something GF from scratch. It usually doesn’t go so well. The items usually come out of the oven looking like a dogs breakfast and Trev says,

“I’m sure it will taste fine. Just because it looks horrible doesn’t mean it will taste horrible.”

Then becuase he loves me, he eats it, slowly, painfully and with his mouth full and his eye twitching, he says, “Hmmm, yummy.”  And then I sigh – epic failure. Before I throw it in the garbage we try to get the spawn to eat it. They are savvy my monkeys and usually won’t fall for it. Sometimes though, they do get suckered because children are, by nature, trusting little creatures. They take a bite and then glare at us with hate as Trev and I giggle at the misfortune of their taste buds.

The last couple of weeks I have been trying out recipes from the “Gems of Gluten Free Baking” I got from that cooking class. And FINALLY today I had some SERIOUS success!

To start off, I need to mention how things have changed in our home since I have been diagnosed Celiac. One change is the new and sometimes strange items in my pantry needed for these extensive baking days.

Me - rifling through the packed pantry: “Babe, have you seen my guar gum?”

Husband - trying to watch Superbowl: “What kind of gun?”

Me: “Gun? What the fuck are you talking about? When have I ever asked for a gun?”

Husband - giving up on game. : “Hence my confusion.”

Me - hands on hips: “I don’t need a guar GUN, I need the guar GUM.”

Husband - one eyebrow raised: “That makes even less sense.”

Me: “Now I need a gun.”

Husband - walking away chuckling: “Well I’m not going to buy you one with that attitude.”

I made two things - Best Ever Cookies and The Cornmeal Muffins and both were totally edible and even the spawn couldn’t tell that they were GF and we know how skeptical they can be.

  The Gem cookbook features a Gem Flour mix, a combination of flours that you can mix and match to make the flavor you want. My Gem Flour mix is Brown Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour and Chickpea Flour. The Best Ever cookies turned out the best. I added some chocolate chips because you always have to add chocolate chips and they were AWESOME!

The Cookie Batter. It was a fairly simple batter. After this you have to mix it until it shows "stiffness" *insert childish giggle here*

The cookies on the trays - ready to go.  I know, they look a little like poop but they look edible afterwards.

I always use an ice cream scoop to measure out muffin batter. Works perfectly - spray it with Pam first though.

The Muffins all done!

The cookies all done and waiting for me to yell at someone to not ruin their dinner!

Now I have edible goodies for the week. Oh I am so proud of myself. I am really glad I stuck with it and kept trying. Not to say that it is going to be smooth sailing from here on in….I have no intention of trying Angel Food Cake because it would be humiliating. At least though, there is proof, I am not a GF baking moron. It IS do-able and I am going to keep doing it.  

AND I am going to get my grubby hands on Madonna’s Superbowl throne….what else is she gonna do with it? Someone might as well sing in it.

Friday 3 February 2012

The Cabin Cafe = LOVE

The Spawn and I had a divine day today. They were off school and I guess there is a law about not dropping them off and leaving them at the school if no one is there (lame) so I decided to bring them along.

We went to People Food – Food for People and got some pizza crusts, perogies, sausage and their delicious water. It was my lucky day because the whole family was there at People Food; Brent (the GF King) Linda (the GF Queen) and beautiful Jane (the GF Princess). Within seconds, it is brutally clear that Jane is the brains behind the whole operation.

 I stock up on my goodies and we have a little chat. Meanwhile, the Spawn (who were by the way wearing their pajamas at noon in public because they are AWESOME), start whining to be fed. Apparently, they need to eat regularly *sigh* life as a Mom is hard. So I asked Lynda if there was a good GF restaurant nearby. Lynda is normally really smart but today she didn’t know the difference between a rabbit and a fucking cat so you can understand that I was a little skeptical on her opinion of anything. Sorry Lynda, I love you but my parents didn’t teach me how to love without hurting. I digress, Lynda suggests the Cabin Café and despite my better judgment, I took her word for it and I am SO glad I did.

The Cabin Café is a charming and comfortable café on Bow Trail and 45st. It has a wide variety of coffee and light breakfast and lunch items. The spawn loved it because they had a kids menu and a little play house for them to pass the time in. I got a moment to read the paper. That feat alone was so fantastic that they didn’t even have to feed me really. But then, they DID feed me and my day got even better. They have a separate gluten free menu and I picked a ham and turkey sandwich. I had the choice of flat bread or a bagel but they recommended the bagel so I went with that.  Immediately, Marnie who looked to be the one in charge looked at me and said, “Are you Celiac?” I sighed with contentment as I replied the affirmative and she announced that she was washing her hands to get ready to prepare my food. And that was all I needed to hear. I knew, from that small exchange, that the people at Cabin Café get it.

Marnie (Celiac 22 years) delivered my sandwich herself with the promise of, “This will be the best gluten free sandwich you have ever had. I made it myself and I put a lot of love in it.”

And dammit was she ever right. It was so gorgeous. I scarcely had enough will power to take this picture before I devoured it. It was, hands down, the BEST gluten free sandwich I have ever had. The bagel (Udis) was crispy and held together perfectly, the ingredients were fresh, bright and just splendid. The spawn had some fresh bagels and a fun play in the little house.

We will certainly be back to The Cabin Café. I suggest you do too. In addition to great food, they make a mean latte. Remember though, not to take up too much of their time because I like A LOT love in my food.

The spawn are now asking for more food...what's with that? I have to teach them to forage or hunt rabbits (or cats? ewwww).

Thursday 2 February 2012

You've Got A Friend in Me

I have not gone on this gluten free journey alone reader. My husband and spawn struggle along with me every day. I might blog about them one day but really it would be a blubbering sappy hallmark infested piece that no one, not even me, would want to read.

Today I want to talk about my friends, because they have totally taken this little flourless trip with me.

 Last night, I attended my book club which is called Libations and Literature. It is fabulous… because of its members. I picked up one friend who was carrying a pan of gluten free brownies that she had spent her family dinner time making for me. Then, we went to the home of our hostess for the night, who had made sure that every single thing on the table was gluten free.  And sitting there at that table, eating food that I felt completely comfortable eating surrounded by delightful friends, a funny book and a wine called, “Bitch Bubbly” I felt gratitude wash over me. I have been blessed with magnificent friends.

Here are some things that my friends have done for my gluten free butt.

-          Used some of their suitcase room and declared item dollars to bring me home GF goodies from the US – most without asking

-          Researched and called several restaurants before making a reservation to make sure they would be able to handle my Celiac

-          Checked and double checked item after item they are serving me – I have received more than one text message from a friend saying “can you have ___”

-          Sent me countless links to stores, restaurants and products that they have found are gluten free

-          Cleaning their kitchens top to bottom before preparing food for me – banishing their families from eating until my food was safe

-          Preparing a special meal for me at a large party

-          Searching through cook books to find a recipe that I could eat – taking hours to prepare it

-          Stocking their house with items I could eat so it wasn’t a problem for me to just drop by

-          Spent BUCKETS of money on GF food for me at their homes

But really? The best thing that my friends have done is to just listen. As with all friendships, it’s lovely to have people who don’t necessarily understand but are willing to be your shoulder. They have been outraged at restaurants in my behalf if they made me sick, laughed with me and my pathetic attempts at bread making, tasted some of the crap people call GF food and shuddered with me. And eaten every NEW fun GF recipe I have put in front of them with a smile.

If you are a friend of someone with Celiac, you don't have to complete the above list. Don't book a flight to Montana to go shopping today. Just make some small effort, it will be appreciated. Remember too, that just ASKING what would work best is sometimes the best way to go. The Celiac will appreciate your effort. And if they don't? Well, I don't know what to tell you, Celiac's can be assholes too.

Thank you my friends – you know who you are. I literally, could NOT do this without you.

Celiacs isn’t a one person disease. It affects everyone around you so be sure to surround yourself with brilliant, hilarious, charming people who like you enough to go the extra mile. That’s what I did. But be sure to find your own, these bitches are mine.