Gluten-free Product Review: Oggi Ravioli

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I recently tried these ricotta & lemon ravioli from Oggi Foods and I definitely recommend them for a great quick weeknight dinner. Ravioli is something us celiacs very rarely get to eat so I was very happy when I found these. Only a few minutes minutes in boiling water and they are ready! I also like that they have a simple ingredient list.

I recently discovered Oggi’s Montreal made products, trying their frozen pasta, frozen pizza and frozen pizza dough. I ordered these ravioli from Lufa Farms and have also seen them at the pasta store in the main hall of Jean Talon Market. We tried both flavours, I preferred the ricotta and lemon and my boyfriend preferred the 4 cheese. A package makes a good meal for 2 people with you favourite sauce. I have seen a package for $7.50-$8.50, last I checked Lufa Farms was the cheapest.

I also highly recommend their pizza, which you can now find at Costco.

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DoughNats Gluten-free Donuts!

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I first had these donuts at a wedding at the beginning of the summer and was blown away by them. Then DougNats was featured on the Seriously Gluten Free Facebook page, which made me feel much better about eating donuts made in the same facility as normal donuts. They are pretty to look at, smell divine and taste even better! They even have 6 different gluten-free flavours so us celiacs can have lots of choice too!

I recently visited DoughNats  myself and Nat explained her process for making sure the gluten-free donuts are kept safe for celiacs, which includes making them first thing in the morning before the regular donuts . These mini gluten-free treats are gluten-free, baked, vegan and most importantly so yummy. I highly recommend trying them! They are located on Decarie and it is best to call before hand and your order will be ready to go.

 

Doughnats

5319 Decarie

514.660.2699

http://doughnats.com/

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Full list of Gluten-Free Restaurants in Montreal

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

Arepa from Areperas du Plateau

I have been meaning to put together a list of all my go-to gluten-free places to eat in Montreal. I will keep adding new places I find and make it available on my home page. I’m also open to suggestions. This list is in no way comprehensive but aims to list all the 100% GF options and some of the safer bets among ‘regular’ restaurants.

Here it is: Where to Eat Gluten-Free in Montreal

Where to Eat Gluten-Free in Montreal

Here are a few of my favorite places in and around Montreal to eat safe. This list is in no way exhaustive but only includes places where I have had a safe gluten-free experience. Restaurants can change so unless it is 100% GF always call first and ask if they have gluten-free options and always make sure to identify your allergy to your server if you are at a regular restaurant that just caters to gluten-free. There is a trend for some restaurants to mark items as GF on their menu when they really may not be (especially fried food).

100% Gluten-Free Restaurants

There are not many…

Crudessence: Vegan, raw and delicious. This is a great bet for smoothies, kale chips, lasagna and desserts.

3 locations (in the city), $$

http://www.crudessence.com/fr/services/nos-restaurants-et-comptoirs-sante

Arepera Du Plateau: This casual restaurant in the heart of the Plateau serves traditional Venezuelan food and is 100% GF. Try one of their delicious arepas with their amazing sauces. My favorite is cheese and avocado.

Plateau, $

http://www.arepera.ca

Ottavios: Not 100% GF but has a 100% GF kitchen and even has dedicated plates and utensils. It is also BYOB and is great option for an affordable family dinner with lots of options for celiacs and non-celiacs.

3 locations (all a little but outside of the city), $$

http://www.ottavio.ca

La crêperie du marché: Casual crêpe stand in Jean Talon market that only uses gluten-free flours to make all their crêpes. They have both savoury and sweet options.

Little Italy, $

http://www.creperiedumarche.com/

Le point sans g: This food truck is open during the summer months and is 100% GF.

$

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Le-point-sans-g/373260342795161

100% Gluten-Free Bakeries

Baked to Go: This is my favorite GF bread in the city. Their petits pains and bagels are great. It is rare to find a GF bread you can use to make a delicious sandwich 2 days after buying without toasting the bread.

Plateau or you can order online, $

http://baked2go.ca

Le Marquis Sans Gluten: This is the only traditional bakery I have ever been to that is 100% GF. I highly recommend this place for cakes and pastries. They have a 2 display cases filled with amazing pastries and cakes, one case with only dairy free options. I didn’t think I would ever get to have gluten-free éclairs and tarts. They also carry sandwiches, breads and croissants!

Villeray, $-$$

http://www.boulangerielemarquis.com

Cookie Stephanie: This little shop in the Old Port has delicious cupcakes, mini cakes and brownies. They have even started making grilled cheeses.

Old Port, $

http://www.cookiestefanie.com/index.php/en/

Patisserie Petit Lapin: All their products are gluten-free and allergen-free.

Westmount, $-$$

http://patisseriepetitlapin.com/en/

Mi & Stu: Also dairy free and peanut free they carry delicious products including delicious challah bread. I would recommend calling in advance if you have a specific order.

Mile End, $-$$

http://www.miandstu.com/pains.html

Louise Sans Gluten: This completely gluten-free grocery store and bakery in Dorval is a celiacs dream. Lots of hard to find GF products and fresh baked goodies like donuts and baguettes.

Dorval, $-$$

http://louisesansgluten.com

‘Normal’ Restaurants the GFBFF loves 

These are regular restaurants so there is always a risk of cross contamination but all of these places have been great at accommodating gluten-free. Always make sure to ask questions and make sure the server knows you are celiac.

Toqué: They are great at accommodating a GF diet and the food is delicious. I highly recommend it and it’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Montreal. It is expensive but well worth it (the lunch menu is more affordable).

Old Port, $$$+

http://www.restaurant-toque.com/en

Pastaga: Pastaga is a great bet for a nice dinner. Most of the items on their changing menu are already or can be adapted to be GF.

Little Italy, $$$

http://www.pastaga.ca

Aux Vivres: One of my favorites for delicious vegetarian food. They have lots of salad and bowl options.

Plateau, $-$$

https://auxvivres.com/en/menus

Vin Papillon: The few times I have eaten at this trendy wine bar many of the options were GF and most were easily adapted by removing an ingredient. The food was great and fresh with their great wine selection.

Little Burgundy, $$

http://vinpapillon.com

La Prunelle: A smaller French BYOB that has several gluten-free options and is always happy to make substitutions to make something gluten-free.

Plateau, $$-$$$

http://www.restaurantlaprunelle.com/

I have reviewed a few other places but these are the top places I would 100% recommend.

$=Cheap

$$=Medium Priced

$$$=Expensive

Crêpe sucrée- with berries and whipped cream from la crêperie du marché

Crêpe sucrée- with berries and whipped cream from la crêperie du marché

Salad at Toqué

Salad at Toqué

Mussels at Ottavio's

Mussels at Ottavio’s

Spring is here: Asparagus Risotto

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Fresh local asparagus means spring is finally here! The Jean Talon Market is full of asparagus and it inspired me to make risotto as the first alfreso dinner at my new apartment. After the winter we had in Montreal eating fresh food outside is more than a treat! Risotto is one of my favourite dishes to make and pretty hard to screw-up once you learn the basic steps. There are thousands of risotto recipes but I love this one from Thug Kitchen as it is simple, delicious and gluten-free. It is also fun to follow recipes from Thug Kitchen as the blog is serious about food but doesn’t take it self too seriously and we can all use some laughs while cooking.

You can find the recipe from Thug Kitchen here. This recipe is vegan as it but I made a few adjustments. At the end I added a pat of butter and a little parmesan and it served it with a side of shrimp sautéed in butter, garlic, chives and lemon with breadcrumbs. Risotto is a “naturally” gluten-free food but make sure your broth is gluten-free. I use Campbell’s Vegetable Broth that is certified gluten-free and has great flavour. (Watch out because their organic veggie broth is not gluten-free!).

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Gluten-Free in Montreal: La Fabrique for Brunch

Gluten-Free Breakfast at La Fabrique

I have a new person in my life and they love going out for brunch. I used to love going out for brunch. Pre-celiac disease crepes with raspberry sauce was my go to and brunch with my friends was always a great experience. Post celiac disease brunch became a little scary. Brunch spots can be so busy, have so much bread and so many opportunities for contamination. While on the other hand breakfast at home is pretty easy to make and I make a pretty decent brunch in bed. I have missed plenty of friend brunches eating my eggs and potatoes at home but this new person may have convinced me to attempt brunch out again once in a while. I have always felt comfortable at Aux Vivres which has a gluten-free items marked on their menu but it would be nice to broaden my horizons a bit.

This week we tried La Fabrique on St-Denis, near Sherbrooke Metro. While nothing on the changing menu is marked gluten-free they are very familiar with gluten-free and told me to look at the menu and they would make me something around what I liked.  I chose the Gravlax and they served it on a potato base with a yogurt sauce and they added an egg. I would definitely recommend La Fabrique for brunch if you are in the area but wouldn’t say you should go far out of your way. I also tried it once for dinner and it was great but there weren’t a bunch of gluten-free options since I don’t eat red meat. I ended up having two starters as my meal.

I will keep you posted about my future gluten-free brunch experiences.

La Fabrique 

3609 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3L6

http://bistrotlafabrique.com/

Accommodates gluten-free: Ok

Price: $$

Gluten-free menu: No

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Gluten-Free in Montreal: Le Sain Bol

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This little brunch spot near the corner of Laurier and Fabre is great at accommodating gluten-free. I haven’t tried it for brunch yet but will keep you posted. You can reserve a spot for a Friday night table d’hote. Dinner at Le Sain Bol made for a cute date spot that was a refreshing change from your average restaurant. I definitely recommend trying this place out. It’s quiet and feels like you are having dinner in the chefs kitchen. We had 4 delicious light courses, all completely gluten-free. It was the perfect fall meal and at $22.50 a person it was a great price for a 4 course gluten-free meal.

Note: I forgot to take a picture of the smoked salmon appetizer before I ate it!

Le Sain Bol

5095 Rue Fabre, Montréal, QC H2J

(514) 524-2292

You can also check out this review in the gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Casual+Dining+Sain/5616551/story.html

Accommodates gluten-free: Yes

Price: $$

Gluten-free menu: No but almost everything on the menu is gluten-free

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To all those new to the gluten-free world: You can do it!

Happy and healthy in the kitchen

Happy and healthy in the kitchen

Taking on a strict gluten-free diet can be scary and this fear can keep us from our ultimate health. For the first few years of my diagnosis while I was in my early 20s I was overwhelmed by the idea of being 100% gluten-free. It was too hard. Too time consuming. Too confusing. Too isolating. Too restricting. Too much missing out on good stuff! It wasn’t until I continued to be sick and learn more that I realized enough was enough. My illness was real, I was slowly seriously damaging my body and I needed to take care of my self because no one else would.

Talking to a friend of a friend today and motivating her to take the steps to start a gluten-free diet to treat her health problems and get tested for celiac disease reminded me of all those fears from years ago. Fear is normal but focusing on your health and little steps will get you through it.

My tips on how to start a gluten-free diet  and deal with the fear of the unknown (for those who need to be strict in their diet and exposure to gluten):

  1. Read and learn as much as you can. Many doctors and even gastroenterologists don’t know a lot about celiac disease or the effects of gluten on inflammation and auto immune diseases. It was through my own research I learned that my terrible canker sores were a sign of celiac disease. There are lots of website about celiac disease and healthy eating. A few of my faves are Gluten Is my Bitch, My New Roots and Oh She Glows. I have also found my local library has a lot of gluten-free cookbooks. Before buying I like to check them out to make sure they are worth the purchase. I love this cookbook “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow because it’s a “secret” gluten-free cookbook filled with healthy and pretty simple recipes that happen to be gluten-free. It features lots of clean recipes and ideas for flavourful and good for you food.
  2. You will make mistakes and it’s ok. One thing that was hard for my mom and I who are perfectionists: not realizing the hidden sources of gluten. We often felt defeated but it’s a learning process. Don’t feel bad about making mistakes just learn from them and keep moving towards a gluten-free life! My friend tried to make me a gluten-free feast this past weekend and then realized the cooking spray he used had flour in it!?!? He felt so bad but it happens and that’s how you learn what to avoid. We just whipped up something else for me to eat and it was no biggie at all!
  3. Take this as an opportunity to make positive changes.  A gluten-free diet done right is healthier and I now follow a much much healthier diet than I did when I was a 20 year old student living off of bagels and diet cokes.  The limited choices available for eating out of the house has forced me to learn how prepare meals and be organized about packing lunches and snacks.
  4. RELAX. Let’s not forget about stress and how it can worsen digestive symptoms and your overall health. Exercising, meditating, journaling  etc. are good ways to reduce stress. When I have been gluten poisoned but not in my I can hardly get out of bed stage, I find a light run sometimes helps my symptoms and helps lessen the pain. Stressing about gluten only complicates things for your digestive system.
  5. If you don’t know how to cook it is never too late to slowly learn the basics. If you don’t already cook start with learning how to make an easy salad dressing, stir fry, omelette, soup and pasta dish. You don’t need to become an amazing cook but being healthy and gluten-free is a lot easier if you can make a few things at home in your safe kitchen and pack some lunches for work. And speaking about safe kitchens I am currently lucky to live alone but if you share yours with someone who eats a lot of bread they need to slowly learn how to keep the kitchen gluten-free friendly for you. Also- don’t go kissing people who have just eaten a huge sandwich or chugged a pint! Sounds ridiculous but if your aren’t using the same toaster as one that has had bread in it you shouldn’t be kissing someone who just ate a bunch of it.
  6. Focus on the foods you love that are already gluten-free. Mine are: potatoes, rice, seafood, goat cheese, eggs, greens, chocolate and wine. Focus on all the good stuff and things you can make to replace the stuff you are missing. Nachos, home made french fries, most meat dishes have always been gluten-free. This is helpful when eating out, which is where most of my panic still comes from. I try to avoid eating at restaurants that have no clue what gluten-free is or think it’s in normal rice and potatoes. My friends have gotten great at accommodating my diet and those few times I have to go somewhere I am not sure about, for example for a birthday, I will call in advance, check the menu and talk to the manager and if I’m still not sure I will just have a glass of wine. You aren’t being picky you are making sure you are not made seriously ill for the next few days/weeks.
  7. Tell the haters to shut-up, in a nice way. There will still be a few people that don’t get it and will tell you to just eat bread or it’s all in your head and just ignore them. People who love you will slowly learn with you and help you out with your new lifestyle. My friends pick me up new products and love trying new gluten-free recipes but this didn’t happen over night. The important people in your life will learn not to double dip in the shared containers. Peanut butter, butter, jam, mayo, cheese etc. And you will learn to always serve yourself first at a group meal before bread gets into and all over everything. When I go away for the weekend with friends and or people I don’t live with I will write my name in bold marker on the top of containers I want to keep gluten-free and tell everyone that they can use them but cannot double dip any utensils that have been used on or near bread products.
  8. Now is the best time ever to be gluten-free! There has never been more certified gluten-free products. They are almost everywhere. Always read your labels and when you are uncertain check online and or call the company.

Yes it can be overwhelming to drastically change your diet but feeling healthy feeds so good. More specifically not feeling like I was being slowly poisoned to death was the biggest push to continue following a strict diet. Not spending my life lying in a ball, running to the bathroom or staying home having a date with the washroom is to this day the reason I will never ever ever eat gluten again on purpose!

You can do it! Good luck and feel free to send me questions!

🙂