February 26, 2012


Potato Chips are one of my vices. It’s not the crunch or salty flavour that gets me drooling; it’s the different and slightly funky flavours. Forget about BBQ or sour cream & onion – those I can do without. I like salt & pepper, spicy Thai, rosemary and garlic. This love developed while I was working in England many years ago and the variety of flavours of their ‘crisps’ was amazing. I could pass on the prawn or chicken flavours, but the ones with herbs, garlic or vinegar were divine to me. It was one of the things I missed upon returning home. That is until I found Kettle Brand.

At first I could only find them at the health food stores, but now I can find them almost anywhere and everywhere. My favourites are Honey Dijon and Salt & Pepper. To top it off Kettle Brand chips are gluten-free. Yea!

Closer to the holidays I found Boulder Canyon Chips at the Natural Pantry in Westboro. I picked up a bag since they were on sale and have fallen in love. Most of the chips made by Boulder Canyon are gluten-free as well (except for the malt vinegar flavour) and the flavours are different and enjoyable. When the holidays came around we picked up some more flavours and everyone liked them.

The downside is potatoes are not my friend. My body doesn’t like them for some reason. It’s sad because I really like potatoes – mashed, roasted, tossed with herbs or in a chip bag – and I really have to limit them. As a result, when I eat chips I make sure they are ones I like. If they are going to give me a little tummy ache then the flavours better be worth it (it’s actually not that bad as long as I don’t eat potatoes aaaalllllll the time, and it is possible). Thankfully Kettle Brand and Boulder Canyon  are worth it.

For those times my body just doesn’t want a potato near it, I pick up some rice chips. One of which is the Life Brand Gourmet Brown Rice Chips. If you’re thinking about those plastic-like crackers from the grocery store, then you’re going to have your socks knocked off! 

These are not only fabulous and full of flavour, but gluten-free too. The mild curry is definitely different and my go-to-flavour is the salsa – WOW! Hmmm now I’ve got a hankering for some. Hopefully my body can wait until Friday.
The other brand I’ve fallen in love with is Riceworks. I first had them at a luncheon where a cousin created a gluten-free menu and she had the sea salt chips for dipping into some great hummus. I can say that they hold up well to heavy dips. 

The salsa and parmesan are also great flavours. The spicy chilli brought back some memories of train rides to a friend’s in Cornwall (chips are always a staple on trips in case I get a little nauseous).

Chips can be one of those evil things to eat – mostly due to the fat, but for me, it’s the potatoes.  Having some great tasting options can help make my Friday night cramp free.

February 24, 2012

Green Vegetable Risotto

In my new found love of risotto here is a nice recipe calling for some nice green vegetables. Even though this nice dish would be ideal in spring and summer when the bounty of fresh vegetables is in its peak, frozen vegetables will still work. Also, sometimes the stores have zucchini on special or there’s a few bags on the discount shelf (I love those shelves!) and it’s the perfect time to make something when the price may deter you.

Like all risotto, I find them quite easy to make. It’s just the stirring that is time consuming, but put some great music on the radio or in the CD player and you’re set to go. Of course, you’re not limited to the vegetables here, you can choose whatever you feel like or whatever the store has that catches your eye. Here, I substituted celery for the peas; I’m not always fond of them.

Green Vegetable Risotto          (from Lighthearted at Home by Anne Lindsay)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tbs olive oil
½ cup sliced green onions
1 cup Arborio rice
1 cup sliced green beans
12 snow peas
1 cup chopped zucchini
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ cup grated parmesan
Fresh ground pepper
Bring broth to a simmer. In a large skillet heat half the oil then cook the green onion until softened. Add rice and stir to coat. Add about half the broth, ¼ cup at a time, cooking and stirring until each addition is absorbed before adding the next. Stir in green beans and cook for 2 mins. Stir in the peas and zucchini. Stir in remaining stock, ¼ cup at a time, until each addition has been absorbed, until rice is creamy and firm. Stir in parsley, parmesan, pepper, and remaining oil.

February 18, 2012

I Miss You Idgy!!

It has been a long time since I had seen Fried Green Tomatoes and I vaguely remember the story. But the Idgy’s I miss is in South Yarmouth, MA, aka Cape Cod. In a strip mall on Whites Path is a small restaurant with the most wonderful looking gluten-free menu. I had seen a review on Gluten-Free Living’s blog and I just had to go. We weren’t disappointed and The Honey quickly understood why I had fallen in love.

Idgy’s (Gluten-Free Dining) is run by restaurateur Debbie Collins and named after one of her favourite movie characters. It seems fitting since dealing with gluten intolerances and celiac disease requires a little ‘umph’ in learning how to live a pain-free life and standing up for your ‘allergy’.

On our third visit I met Debbie, who loves what she’s doing and it seems people love her in return (myself included). Whether people are locals or vacationers like us, Idgy’s has become a popular spot.
Our first breakfast was pecan French toast and a regular breakie for The Honey, complete with gf toast. 

I loved the soft French toast which was topped with maple syrup and candied pecans. Our coffee was hot and tasty – a perfect breakfast. I also picked up a few squares for our day trip. A peanut butter chocolate square was devoured later in the afternoon (some fudge The Honey had picked up as his treat was nowhere near comparison).

There are a variety of treats to choose from (muffins, squares, cookies) plus the regular baked goods like bread and buns. I must have stood at the counter for 10 minutes trying to narrow down my choices – I wanted to try everything. And everything I did try was excellent. We returned again for another delicious breakfast, and on our last evening we returned one last time for some treats to take home.

My heart wretched a little when I had to say that we were returning home after an employee asked if we would be back. But she was persistent and asked again. I felt so sad saying that we probably wouldn’t because we rarely return to the same place for holiday. She felt sure we would and telling her it was an 8 hour drive didn’t faze her. Mind you, an 8 hour drive would be totally worth it.

Back at home I opened my little bag of Russian Tea cakes and enjoyed them with a nice cup of tea. I missed Idgy’s already.

I wonder what the border guards would think if I told them the ‘purpose of my trip’ was to go to a gluten-free restaurant in Cape Cod. If they had ever gone to Idgy’s they’d understand.

23S Whites Path (Union Station Plaza)
South Yarmouth, MA
(508) 694-7451

February 16, 2012

Cruisin' in Cape Cod

The second leg of our summer holiday was going out to ‘The Cape’ for a few days. We had done minimal research and hadn’t really planned on doing much because we didn’t really know much about the area. We were staying in South Yarmouth and we had no idea how close or far it was to Yarmouth. We had no concept of distance so we figured it was safer to plan once we arrived at our destination. Our first night we discovered how easy it was going to be getting from one place to another and how relatively close everything was along the Cape. Instead of taking you through each day (because many were the same as the day before) I’ll just tell you how beautiful everything was and how much we enjoyed ourselves.

The only thing on our ‘must-do’ list was to go whale watching and see some marine life. Many years ago we took a whale watching tour from Victoria, BC and were really disappointed not to see anything. It had been off season so we knew there was a risk. But here, along Cape Cod, there is a migratory route so our chances were good. We were lucky enough to see a blue shark (which is rare) and some humpback whales. Everyone was in awe (and made sounds to prove it) and it didn’t seem to last long enough. I’m sure I could have stayed there all day watching.

Our hotel was right on the water in South Yarmouth and we were impressed that we got a beach-view from our room. Every morning we began our day with a walk along ‘our beach’. Is there any better way to begin your day?

The Honey knows how much I love water and feeling nice sand between my toes and so we did plenty of walking along beaches. We would go to one and walk for an hour or so, then we’d go to another for an hour or so, then another. It was a wonderful way to spend a holiday.

We more or less ventured to every part of the cape. We drove along Hwy 28 and 6 much of the time stopping off here and there, either to walk along a beach or through a downtown area. Throughout our trip I felt like I was back in England – all the cute cottages and British names like Falmouth, Yarmouth, Woods Hole, and Truro.

Food was not a problem in Cape Cod as there was plenty of fresh fish and seafood wherever we went and there were ample grocery stores too. We were lucky enough to have a Shaw’s located about a 5-minute drive away and they had a nice selection of gluten-free goodies. There were also quite a few beer and liquor stores along our routes so it was possible to pick up some Woodchuck cider whenever I wanted.

I had read about a gluten-free restaurant through Gluten-Free Living’sblog called Idgy’s, located in Yarmouth. We went there for breakfast and it was delicious. It was so good that we went a few times and of course, every time I left I had a box or a few bags of gluten-free baked goods that were just to die for (keep an eye out for a separate post coming soon).

Along one of our drives something special caught The Honey’s eye – white egrets in a marsh. They were majestic looking and so peaceful. After watching them for a while, marvelling at their beauty, we got back in the car making our way for the next surprise.


One beach had a plover nesting area fenced off and protected from the main beach and The Honey would stop every so often to watch them flying overhead. They were mesmerising as they flew in large flocks and moved so effortlessly.

We smiled at some of the names we encountered – Sandwich, Buttermilk Bay, Crystal Pineapple Store. We stopped in Wareham and had lunch out on a patio overlooking a bay and the boats docked. It was so peaceful. In Wood’s Hole we understood the power of fog. We had seen fog before, but nothing like this. When we arrived we could see the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, but after 15 minutes they began to disappear in the fog.

The Honey was quite patient as we popped into stores and cafes here and there. We even wandered around a market in downtown Falmouth. We found The Black Dog, a restaurant and store in Martha’s Vineyard with stores throughout the cape. He found a ball cap that fit (a tough task) and I got some great coffee.

We found a pizza place in Dennisport called Hit Pizza that served gluten-free pizza. It did the trick, but it could have been less well-done. The Honey’s regular pizza looked in much better shape and he was happy with it.

For breakfast one morning we went to the Optimist Café in Yarmouthport, after reading that they served gluten-free toast and English muffins. It was a busy place and breakfast was good and satisfying.

Along some of our walks we felt like we were being watched. One time we thought it was the thick fog hanging around at ground level, but then we realized we were being followed. Every once in a while we would see a shape in the water and then finally we saw something surface – seals!! Once we knew they were there be begun keeping our eye out for them. Sometimes we caught just a a glimpse and other times they graced us with their presence.


For dinner one evening after an exceptionally long day of walking we ventured to Uno’s Grill and Pizza on Route 132 for some great pizza and beer. It isn’t very often that I can have a beer when I go out for pizza and having Redbridge available makes the experience a little bit special when you’re gluten-free.

Further north along Hwy 6 is Truro Vineyards, where we thought would be a nice afternoon stop. We had some of their wine in a restaurant in Provincetown and looked forward to trying some more. They not only had tours, buts tastings too (the tastings drew us in). The sommelier even suggested trying different wines than your partner/friend so we could try a wider variety. A great idea and as a result, The Honey and I tried every one of their wines. We found our favourites and purchased a few bottles to bring home.

After a morning of walking in the sand in Chatham we had lunch at TheWild Goose Tavern. While not a gluten-free restaurant. This historic inn has character and great food. They accommodated me effortlessly allowing me to enjoy my delicious lunch. While it may appear to be posh, the great painting near the bar tells me they know how to enjoy themselves in the cape.

In Orleans we happened upon a beach wedding which seemed to put smiles on everyone passing by. The young couple seemed so happy with their small group of friends and family in the beautiful soft white sand. It seemed like a wonderful idea. If it hadn’t been our last evening, we would have stayed for the music and bonfire that was planned for the end-of-summer party.

Back at our hotel we ended our holiday the same way we began it: with snacks and drinks on our balcony overlooking ‘our beach’. We watched the sunset and talked about our wonderful holiday. It also showed me (once again) that good things still happen when you don’t plan.

Early the next morning we packed up the car and took once last walk to ‘our beach’ and saw a beautiful sunrise. Another first – that’s the first time The Honey and I have seen the sunrise together.

Going near the end of September proved to be ideal. There were still tourists and things to do, but there weren’t the hordes of people I imagined during the peak summer season. The weather was also great. We had sunny warm days throughout our holiday and only had a sprinkling on our last full day, but it ended up being quite refreshing as some of the afternoons got a little muggy.

Some highlights included the beautiful sand and the ocean life we saw. From piping plovers to some crazy looking lobsters (that had washed up on the shore) to magnificent humpback whales to seals who followed us; we encountered one wonderful experience after another. Would going back again next summer be silly? We’d love to plan another trip to the cape; we love it there.