Mango Avocado Salsa

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One of the foods that my Quack suggested that I incorporate into my diet was avocados. “Great”, I thought sarcastically, “I don’t particularly enjoy guacamole”.

So when I discovered this Mango Avocado Salsa recipe in Free For All Cooking (check out an overview of the cookbook in this post), I thought it was a great way to incorporate avocados because I hadn’t yet had a chance to do any searching for recipes using avocados, and I have loved mangoes ever since my first Mango Daiquiri at the Mexican resort that our good friends got married at, in back in 2011.

Mango Avocado Salsa

(from Free For All Cooking)

Serves 4

1 large mango, peeled and diced

1 large ripe Haas avocado, peeled and diced

1 cup black beans, rinsed

1/2 ear cooked corn, cut off of the cob

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 small bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Approximately 3/4 teaspoon Tabasco

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss together to combine. Taste to determine if you like more spice.
  2. Serve with corn tortilla chips, Golden Potato Latkes, Fish Tacos, or over grilled white fish like tilapia, orange roughy, or flounder.

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I didn’t have Tabasco on hand so I decided to throw on a dash of Tex-Mex spice and topped it with a dab of sour cream. It was delicious and a great option for anyone with an tomato allergy/intolerance who miss the ability to enjoy salsa (I’d caution to check any spice mixes that you might use to ensure that they are free of tomato).

What types of recipes do you like for incorporating avocados?

50% Off: Allergic Solutions Mixes – This Weekend Only!

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Although I’ve only been a member of the CCA-NL since June of 2012, at every meeting that I’ve attended thus far, there’s been freebies to take home. At our meeting this past week, Allergic Solution had sent the Chapter samples of their various mixes, and there were enough packages for each member who attended to bring home multiple packs.

Allergen-Friendly Mixes, http://allergicsolution.com

Allergen-Friendly Mixes, http://allergicsolution.com

According to their website, they claim that having food allergies doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve a delicious treat. They say that many people possess multiple allergies or sensitivities and that their mixes were created with this in mind. Allergic Solution mixes are free of: corn, dairy/casein, eggs, gluten/wheat, peanuts, tree-nuts and soy.

This morning we decided to make the Pancake & Waffle Mix. I topped my pancakes with  some vanilla greek yogurt, our Aunt M’s homemade raspberry jam, and a little drizzle of maple syrup. Because the toppings were so flavourful, it was hard to judge on the taste of the pancake itself,  but it seemed like a good pancake to me. They appeared to be slightly denser than non-GF pancakes but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They reminded me of a crepe consistency which I enjoyed because I’ve yet to have a crepe since going gluten-free. When it comes to pancakes, for me personally, it’s the toppings that make the pancake. So, if you share in my philosophy in pancakes, have one or more dietary restrictions, and are looking to try out a new pancake mix, you’ll likely find that you enjoy Allergic Solution’s Waffle & Pancake Mix as well.

Allergic Solution Pancakes, vanilla yogurt, raspberry jam, & maple syrup

Allergic Solution Pancakes, vanilla yogurt, raspberry jam, & maple syrup

Best of all, for this weekend only, Allergic Solution’s mixes are 50% off, or 2 for 1 (however you wish to look at it). You can find the mixes at various stores as listed here on their website, however, I think the deal applies only to their online store. They also sell their mixes in bulk, and also sell several gift baskets which include various pans, waffle iron, or additional ingredients (depending on the particular type of basket chosen) which I thought would make a nice gift for someone who is a multiple food allergy sufferer. Keep in mind though, if you are buying online that you also have to consider shipping costs as well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this mix, considering that they are egg-free, but I have to say that I enjoyed the crepe-like texture of this mix! I also like that they vegan-friendly and diabetic-friendly. Due to the fact that there is no sugar added, are dairy-free and gluten-free, the mixes would be a great option for those with strict dietary restrictions as a means to control disruptive digestion issues (much like my aunt who has to be gluten-free, dairy-free and consume minimum amounts of sugar in order to keep her collagenous colitis symptoms under control).

They also have a Facebook Page if you want to stay in the loop on similar deals.

Have you tried this mix? If so, what did you think?

Updated: Go Go Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies: Converting Cookie Lovers, Everywhere!

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Ok, so I can’t guarantee that they are converting cookie lovers every where. However …

I’ve always thought of myself as a chewy cookie lover rather than a crunchy cookie lover …. that is, until I discovered Go Go Quinoa’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had seen these cookies a dozen times on the grocery shelf and thought “meh” as I passed on by in hopes that I might score some chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by Udi’s in my local grocery store (I find that they sell out fast at my regular store so when I do find them, it’s like winning the jackpot!). Every year for Christmas Aunt M makes us a FANTASTIC Christmas basket filled with various goodies, and since I’ve discovered my gluten intolerance, she now includes gluten free goodies for me. This year, one of the items that she included in the basket, as you can see in my They Love Me, They Really Love Me post, was a box of the Go Go Quinoa Chocolate Chip cookies. I’ve had an abundance of GF treats in my pantry for quite some time so I was holding on to these new (to me) cookies until my stash diminished somewhat. As I was travelling out of province for the weekend, I decided that it would be an excellent time to break out the new cookies.

When I opened the box, I was noticed that they were individually wrapped. I guess the reason is to avoid cross-contamination or to preserve freshness of the cookies once the box is opened. Some people would consider the additional packaging wasteful, however it came in handy while travelling to/in/from Toronto. Without quick access to a container or ziploc bag, I could quickly throw a couple of cookies into my purse before heading out to do some shopping, so that I could ensure that I would be “with cookie” in the event that I needed a GF snack to tie me over until our next meal.

Despite not being a lover of crunchy cookies, I did enjoy that the cookies were not overly sweet but enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. Just one cookie would seem to do the trick. Normally when I need an after dinner sweet to satisfy my cravings, I would eat a piece of 85% dark chocolate. But lately I’ve been finding myself returning to the pantry throughout the night to eat more chocolate and thus fuel my sweet tooth cravings. After eating just one of these cookies, I didn’t feel the need to go back for another. I was quite satisfied with just the one. It could have something to do with the low amount of sugar and the high amount of protein.

Initially, I was under the impression that there was only 1 g of fat and 2 g of sugar, and 5 g of protein in 2 cookies according to the nutritional labelling on the box that I had picked up, however … when I pulled up the Go Go Quinoa website to pull a picture of their cookies, I noticed that they had a notice stating that there had been an error on the nutritional labelling.

I knew this nutritional info was too good to be true! Source: http://well.ca/products/gogo-quinoa-chocolate-chip-cookies_30766.html

The correct amounts are 9 g of fat, 8 g of sugar and 6 g of protein in 2 cookies according to the updated nutritional information on their website. When you compare this to the nutritional information of other gluten-containing chocolate chip cookies such as Chips Ahoy! (for example), the Go Go Quinoa cookies are slightly better in comparison with the sugar content, not a lot different in fat content, but fair much better when it comes to the protein content.

So, although they aren’t the “super-cookie” that I had originally pegged them out to be, they are still pretty fantastic. I love that I don’t feel like I need to eat the entire box like I do after having just one of the “other guys” due to sugar spikes and lows. They taste good, are a nice little healthier alternative and are very satisfying.

I now regret passing on them all of those times that I perused past them in the GF cookie aisle at the grocery store. Thanks Aunt M for adding this pack to our Chirstmas gift this year!!

Have you tried these cookies? If so, what did you think?

So here’s the update:

It came to my attention after Brian made the following comment:

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At first I thought “Aren’t all cookies technically evil, Brian?” I know that I need a lot of self-control when it comes to sweets and don’t exactly possess a lot of it. In the original post I had done a rough estimate in my head, so this time I wanted to confirm that I had done my head-math correctly, and also to visually explain to Brian why I thought these cookies were “pretty good”. I did a little spreadsheet comparison to see how these cookies compared to non-GF Chips Ahoy and several different brands of crunchy GF chocolate chip cookies. I started working on this during my lunch break at work. Tonight when I ate one of the cookies after supper I noticed on the side of the box that the nutrition label was now saying that there was only 2 g of protein in 2 cookies …. and I was positive that earlier today that the image that I included in my post (that I had pasted from their site) said 6 g of protein. So I pulled up their website and sure enough, the nutritional info had been revised once again. I decided to revisit my cookie analysis from earlier today…

The amended (x2) nutritional content info. Source: http://www.gogoquinoa.com/products/cookies/quinoa-cookies-chocolate-chips/

The amended (x2) nutritional content info.
Source: http://www.gogoquinoa.com/products/cookies/quinoa-cookies-chocolate-chips/

If it wasn’t for Brian’s questioning of their “goodness”, I likely would not have picked up on the fact that the nutritional info had once again been amended. Now I was even more curious as to how these cookies stacked up to the rest. I started out by creating a table of the nutritional data that I was interested in (originally I personally wasn’t really concerned with the sodium content, but seeing how Brian had brought it up I thought I’d consider this factor as well). Kinnikinnick labeled it’s serving as “1 cookie” so I googled, and according to this site, one cookie is about 8.1 g.

Collection of nutritional information for various crunchy chocolate chip cookies

Collection of nutritional information for various crunchy chocolate chip cookies

I then wanted to compare each GF cookie and the non-GF Chips Ahoy cookies to the Go-Go Quinoa version so I figured out the multiplication factor necessary to apply to each group of nutritional info. This is how it turned out:

Comparison of other cookies to Go-Go Quinoa

Comparison of other cookies to Go-Go Quinoa

It turns out that the Go-Go Quinoa cookies are the best in terms of sodium, sugar and protein content. In terms of fat content and calories, they appeared to be on par with the others.Originally I was under the impression that the amount of protein was 6 g, and for me personally this gave them brownie points and compensated for the fact that they are slightly higher in fat and calorie content compared to the others.

Although the nutritional information had several hiccups, they seem to be on par with the rest of the GF crunchy chocolate chip cookies (or at least the ones that I’ve tried, personally). As I mentioned above, with the Go-Go Quinoa cookies I seem to be quite satisfied with one, whereas the other brands I tend to keep going back to the package and the next thing you know I’ve emptied the first tier of cookies in the package. The serving size for the Go-Go Quinoa cookies is listed as 2 cookies. If I only eat one, I’m only taking in 85 calories, 4.5 g of fat, 32.5 mg of sodium , 4 g of sugar and get 1 g of protein. So considering all this, the Go-Go Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookie is not the super-cookie that I thought I had found, and they might not necessarily be converting cookie lovers everywhere … but I still personally maintain that they are a “pretty good” cookie.

Care to join the are they / aren’t they “good” debate?

Free For All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes

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I ordered this cookbook quite some time ago with the intention of trying out some new recipes. It only took about a year later and one “snowpocalypse” to attempt my first recipe from it. The result? Deliciousness! … But I’ve saved the details for a separate post 🙂

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I discovered this cookbook, along with several others that I have yet to try out, from the Living Without Website. A list of all their cookbooks that are available for sale are found here: http://www.livingwithout.com/products/ … The magazine is a US publication and there is usually a link for Canadian purchases, which can mean higher prices but most always means higher shipping costs. I’d recommend checking out Chapters.ca or Amazon.ca to see if you can find a better deal, as you can combine with other products and receive free shipping if you cart total is usually above $25 (or some other determined amount).

What I like about this cookbook is that it is broken into two parts:

Part I: Essentials for Gluten-Free Baking

Part II: The Recipes

The majority of Part I is dedicated to ingredients and substitutions. Jules starts out by giving an overview of the items that one might find in their pantry which are basic/naturally gluten-free. She then gives a list of safe, gluten-free ingredients (such as grains, pseudocereals, beans, etc.) and then follows up with a list of evil non-gluten-free grains and other ingredients to avoid.

One of the most useful parts of the book is the Handy Substitution Guide. The guide starts out talking about Flour and how Jules devised her Jules Gluten Free All Purpose Blend. It then discusses other premixed blends, as well as making your own gluten-free blend.

She then lists other gluten-free ingredients that you should keep on hand, such as baking powder, baking soda, yeast, sugar and sweeteners, gluten-free oats/cereals/chips,  as well as flax seeds. She gives an overview of each one, lists several brands that she has used, and also makes some references to use in recipes found throughout the book.

Egg substitutes are the next topic and one that I thought was presented very well. She briefly discusses store-bought egg replacers but goes into great detail about homemade egg replacers. She gives a recipe for 12 different egg replacer recipes and groups them according to what they are best suited for:

  • Quick-breads
  • Yeast breads
  • Batters
  • Pancakes
  • Cakes
  • Brownies
  • Cookies
  • Savory Dishes
  • Replacing Egg Yolks
  • Frying foods or browning crusts

Dairy and soy substitutes are also presented. Substitutes for milk, buttermilk, Half-and-Half/heavy cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, yogurt/sour cream, butter/shortening, cheese/cream cheese, ice-cream/whipped cream are explained with recipes for non-dairy evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk given.

Nut substitutes are explained and are broken out according to whether you are looking for the nutty texture, or the nutty taste.

Jules then discusses alcohols in baking. She notes that although distilled alcohols are gluten-free, you need to be weary of added flavourings. She also discusses use of gluten-free beers in her recipes, as well as flavour extracts.

My favourite part of the book is that there are food restriction icons for each recipe which include: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free or Vegetarian. Many of the recipes are possible this way because Jules highlights the option for substitution. For example, for many of the egg replacements she suggests which Egg Replacer recipe to use which will save you time when executing the recipe! 🙂

Part I is then capped off with some baking notes … which I thought came in handy. For example, I had no idea that kneading gluten-free doughs actually do more harm than good (…. Good tip, Jules! Thanks)

Once you’ve digested (figuratively, of course) all of this info, it’s time to jump into the next stage of actual digestion – the recipe execution!! Part II is broken out into:

  • Breakfast Foods
  • Appetizers & Side Dishes
  • Breads & Rolls
  • Soups
  • Main Events; and last but not least
  • Desserts (the largest section! Jules, you know the way to a girl’s heart!)

This cookbook looks fantastic and should give those with food allergies and food intolerances the ability to enjoy fantastic meals and treats without having to worry about their safety or digestion woes!!

As I try out recipes from this cookbook, I’ll update with links below!

If you are currently using this cookbook, please share what your favourite recipes are! 

Happy Baking/Cooking & Eating!!

Krista.