Oat Bars in the Wild

Freeyumm Blueberry Oat Bars

Freeyumm Blueberry Oat Bars

The weather in Vanouver has been spectacular in the last month, and we have been spoiled with the early Summer weather.  My thoughts turn to outdoor activities. I’d love to one day hike the Wedgemount Lake Trail.  Its a hard hike so not sure when (if ever) I will attempt this.  I probably need to do a lot more exercise to get in shape first, and more importantly, i need to find someone who will go with me.  Although, if it requires camping, that might be a problem, because I am not the camping type.  I know I am missing out on a LOT of amazing trips, by not loving the camping life.  Maybe one day I will get over it…I’ve heard the Wedgemount trail is worth the effort. Perhaps I should start with a Garibaldi Lake hike which seems more reasonable as a one day hike.

In anticipation of actually doing some hiking this summer,  I’ve been looking for allergy friendly granola-type bars that I can take along on hikes or bike rides for a quick snack. After I tried the Freeyumm brownie bites, I thought I would give one of their other products a try since I as looking for “granola bar” type snacks. Continue reading

Yummy Cinnamon Rolls

Edible Flours Cinnamon Roll

Edible Flours Cinnamon Roll

This post was instigated by a craving for a baked goods.  Of course my allergy trifecta makes satisfying the craving a bit tricky.  If I was a “non-allergic” walking into any bakery would have been a no-brainer.  In my case I had to think about where I could go to find something both tasty and allergy safe.

I decided to head down to Edible Flours to check out what they had to offer.  I knew that they make vegan cakes and other baked goods that would likely be free of dariy, eggs and nuts, but I had not gone to the storefront to check it out.  Located on West Broadway and Vine (near the London Drugs).

Its a tiny storefront.  In their baked goods case they had a few options available that day.  The day I went to visit, they had a few cupcake options as well as some cinnamon rolls.  According to the lady at the counter, they don’t make everything that they list on their website everyday. Each day is different, so you never know what they might be baking for the day ahead.  However their most popular item is the cinnamon roll ($3.75).  Edible Flours makes TWO types of cinnamon rolls. A gluten-free version, and one made with flour.  I chose the version with flour, since I am not allergic to gluten.  The ingredients are listed on cards so that you can see exactly what’s in it.

I cannot remember all the ingredients in the cinnamon roll, but most of the time I scan for my trifecta and both version are dairy, egg and nut free.  Some of the ingredients that I do remember are: wheat flour, rice milk, vanilla, vegan butter (Earth Balance), sugar.  The gluten-free version had potato starch, and rice flour in place of wheat flour.

I was so peckish that I could not wait to take the photo before I took a bite of it.  So pardon the bite missing in the photo. This allergy safe cinnamon roll looked better than the regular cinnamon rolls I have seen in bakeries. Usually the normal ones look overly glazed with way too much sugar.  This one looked perfect.  The top looked layered and pull-apart doughy like a cinnamon roll should look.  The sugar glaze on the top looked like it had the perfect amount of sprinkled sugar and cinnamon. I was expecting that the texture would be a bit like bread. But it was actually not as dense as I thought it would be.  The flavour was really good.  The perfect combination of cinnamon and sugar, without being overly sweet.    The top was crunchy because of the melted sugar and cinnamon.

This is the second time I have been pleasantly surprised by Edible Flours.  The last time as when I had a birthday cake from Edible Flours. Next time I will have to try their cupcakes…a good excuse to go back for some sweet (allergy safe) treats

The Vegan Cheese Pizza Experience

Last week I ventured into pseudo cheese territory by trying a vegan cheese pizza.  The pizza I tried was of the frozen variety, the Daiya Mushroom and Roasted Garlic Pizza. I haven’t eaten cheese since I was maybe 6 or 7 years old, maybe I was even younger.  I can’t remember what dairy cheese tastes like, nevermind what it should taste like on a pizza.  I don’t think I have ever eaten real pizza before.  So, as I was eating the Daiya pizza, it dawned on me that I had nothing to compare it to. Is THIS what pizza is supposed to taste like? Does the Daiya cheese taste like the real thing? I was at a loss.

Daiya Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Non-Dairy Pizza

Daiya Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Non-Dairy Pizza

I felt I needed to get a second opinion.  One of my best “does-it-taste-like-the-real-thing” tests is to have non-allergic people try the food in question. It is the true test of “substitute” foods. I did this with my birthday cake, a couple of years ago.  Trying the same taste test for pizza seemed reasonable. I took the Daiya pizza over to some non-allergics for a try. Continue reading

Binge Watching Netflix Requires the Proper Snack Foods

Season three of House of Cards is now available on Netflix* I’ve been passing my evening hours binge watching  a few shows.  Of course, this binge watching has temporarily eliminated my dining out (this is the most recent excuse for why I have not posted anything in months).   Along with all this television watching, one also needs snacks.

Let’s talk allergy safe, binge-watching-worthy snacks for my top three Netflix series that I’ve watched lately.

Freeyumm Chocolate Brownie Bites Package

Freeyumm Chocolate Brownie Bites Package

Snack #1 the House of Cards Snack: What can I say about House of Cards – just the BEST political drama.  Season 1 was just crazy (in a good way). Season 3 continues with more drama.  These people are ambitious and ruthless in their pursuit of power.   What kind of snack (besides alcohol) could possible go with House of Cards?  My choice?  Freeyumm Chocolate Brownie Bites ($7.49). These little chocolate brownie snacks are free of the top nine allergens – eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat sulphites, seafood, soy, sesame.  Taste wise, they are pretty good.  Granted I have no idea what “real” brownies taste like, but I like the Freeyumm ones because they have a great texture.  They taste very chocolately and are very moist.  Pretty good for a tiny brownie that has no dairy or eggs.  The brownies themselves are literally bite sized.  Quite a small snack. The products are naturally sweetened with agave.  Although this is a great natural sweetener,  I do find them a bit too sweet for my liking. Perhaps they are more geared towards kids.  Chocolate Brownie Bites go well with a nice cup of tea and an episode of House of Cards because while watching HOC, you need something sweet to balance out all the awful things that Claire and Frank orchestrate in their ambition to rule the world.  I can’t wait for Season 4! Continue reading

Spring Ahead

Hello! Apologies for the long silence.  I can’t believe that I have not posted anything since November last year.  And now it’s that time of year again where we have to turn our clocks ahead an hour.  I am going ot miss that lost hour of sleep.  Hopefully I will remember to switch the clocks over tonight.

I haven’t really stopped dining out…that would never happen…but I’ve been going to the regular places that I’ve already written about (like YEW and Bistro Sakana, Homer Street Cafe).

Amazing "winter" in Vancouver

Amazing “winter” in Vancouver

The other excuse I have is that in Vancouver this winter it has been incredibly non-winter like.  So I’ve been out enjoying the spring like weather. It has been surprisingly sunny so I can’t pass up the opportunity to get outside on a sunny (but mildly cold) day.  It is rare that it isn’t raining and grey outside. Check out this photo of our lovely city in February….the skies are blue!

I promise that I’ll get back to writing about more dining adventures and possibly trying some new places, because with an early Spring and longer days. I will undoubtedly get antsy to dine out more often.  I can never turn down an opportunity to dine out.

Swiss Chalet Allergy Guide

This week, more rotisserie chicken was on my dine out menu. Seems like I am on a chicken kick these last two blog posts.

We were so busy at work last week that we didn’t have time to break for lunch. So we decided to order in and work through lunch. There are limited delivery options available where my office is located so it came down to the usual fast food options, pizza delivery,  sub sandwich take out, or Swiss Chalet.  Unfortunately we are not blessed with stellar food delivery options in the neighbourhood.   If we had gone for pizza or sub sandwiches I would have been completely out of luck.  Too great an allergy risk.  I mean how do you make a pizza dairy free? Its *meant* to have cheese on it…its a pizza after all.

In the end, we decided on Swiss Chalet.  So off to the website I went to check out what I could  eat. I’ve eaten at Swiss Chalet before and I knew that the rotisserie chicken should be allergy safe for me.  But I was very impressed with their website and how they provide a search function that allows you to search by common allergens* .  You simply use their Allergy Guide to pick the food ingredients/items that you are allergic to and the search engine lists every item on their menu that is free of those allergens.  Pure genius.  Other restaurants could learn something from Swiss Chalet!

I was surprised at how many things were actually dairy-egg-nut free on their menu.  Forty-five items, including a dessert (apple pie), the baked So my options were not only limited to the roast chicken! Regardless of the list of safe items, I decided on the quarter rotisserie chicken, with fries, a whole grain bread roll and Swiss Chalet gravy…yes…all dairy-egg-nut free, even the roll.  because once in a while who doesn’t like to indulge?

Swiss Chalet might be a good option for families that have kids with allergies.  The Allergy Guide certainly takes away some of the dine-out anxiety that is a serious concern for parents with allergic kids.

*The list of allergens listed in the Swiss Chalet Allergy Guide :peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, shellfish, soy,sulphites, sesame, gluten, fish.