Tag Archives: support local

6 Christmas Markets to Visit This Holiday Season

Christmas is my favourite holiday season, the sense of community mixed with all of the warmth and buzz throughout the city is intoxicating. So this year I have decided to bring you all a series of holiday related features that will be sure to bring anyone some cheer!

My first feature is a list of my 6 Christmas market picks for the holiday season! These are always a lot of fun because they host an array of handmade items and you can find some really neat christmas gift ideas or decor, can’t make one of them? some of them have multiple dates they are running! 

  1. MillarVille Christmas Market 
    November 10th-13th – With so many fun activities (some of which include sleigh rides) there is so much to love about this christmas market. I have gone to this market several times over the years and am never sorry I did! Adult admission is $5 dollars/person, children under 12 and people over 65 are free of charge. for more information visit their website here.
  2. Okotoks Christmas Festival 
    November 11th-13th – showcasing tons of artisan crafts, and photos with Santa, this is truly a great kickoff to the season and a wonderful place to get a head start on your holiday shopping. $5 dollars per person to enter, for more details check out the website here
  3. Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market 
    November 18-20 | November 25-27 | December 2-4 – this is one of Alberta’s largest christmas market with it boasting over 250 vendors and joyful entertainment to get you into the christmas spirit. This is one not to miss out on. Tickets are required so be sure to check out the website by clicking here. 
  4. Canmore Christmas Artisans Market 
    November 19-20- I am always looking for a good excuse to get away to the mountains and this is one of them! With 75 local vendors this is a christmas market not to miss, fit it in on a visit to Canmore’s 100% gluten-free restaurant the Wild Orchid Bistro for a wonderful gluten free date! tickets are $3.00 for more details clicks here
  5. Bridge land Riverside Farmers Market: Holiday Edition
    November 18- 19 – fresh food, crafts, jewellery, photo booth, cards and more hand made goods. Free to enter but food bank donations will be accepted find more information here
  6. Market Collective Cheer
    November 25-27 | December 2-4 | December 9-11 | December 16-18 – this is one market not to miss and with so many dates to choose from there is no excuse to check out the Market Collective Cheer at the Chinese Cultural Centre. Food, Art, Music, Bath & Body and SO much more. For more details visit their website here.
     

    Thank you so much for reading, and please stay tuned for each Wednesday from now and until December 21st there will be more holiday recipes, tips, tricks and much more! 

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Pumpkin Loaf

I fell for pumpkin spice many moons ago and while many people have adopted fall as being the season of “pumpkin spice” I still had yet to really hone my own pumpkin spice bread recipe, that is until today!

In celebration of the first day of fall I decide to play with my family recipe for banana loaf, which I realized made the perfect base to play with, take out bananas, add in a little pure pumpkin puree, and a little unsweetened apple sauce and some pumpkin spice and you have the perfectly balanced spiced pumkin loaf recipe!

So here is the recipe for the perfect pumpkin loaf, enjoy everyone!

Ingredients:

2 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour (Bob’s Red Mill really yields the best texture but you can substitute another kind, if the blend you’re using has xanthan gum added in already then omit)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of coconut sugar (you can use white sugar, but I prefer the rich and deep flavour of the coconut sugar)
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup of oil (olive oil , vegetable oil or coconut oil will all do fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup of unsweetened apple sauce
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice

Method:

  1. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients: flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt whisk to combine and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl cream eggs and coconut sugar together and then add oil, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, pumpkin puree and apple sauce, stirring to combine.
  3. Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring them until just combined (DO NOT OVER MIX: gluten-free batters get tough when over mixed, keep it light)
  4. Fold in chopped pecans, and in a greased 9×5 loaf pan and put into a preheated 350° fahrenheit oven and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack until completely cool.

Spicy Thai Red Coconut Curry

Fall is always a little chillier, the colours are inspiring though and there something about food that is spicy and whose colours match the fiery reds, oranges and yellows of Fall that I love. So it was time to mix it up with some Thai Red Coconut Curry.

After making this it dawned on me that some shallots, mushrooms or some shredded carrot would be phenomenal additions to this dish.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of oil (I like coconut or olive oil)
1/2 small white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 inch nub of fresh ginger, grated
1/4 teaspoon of red chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 of each, red and yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
1-2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste ( I say 1-2 so you can adjust the heat as necessary as it can be spicy but since I love spice I always add 2, should you dislike spice, omit the red pepper flakes)
1 can of coconut milk (I prefer the full fat kind but low-fat would work too I am sure)
2 teaspoons soy sauce (ensure the kind you are using is gluten-free) this adds some seasoning and brings out the flavours in the dish quite nicely.
1 pound of thinly sliced chicken or shrimp
Basmati rice or rice noodles (rice noodles are my personal favorite, follow package directions to cook both rice or rice noodles)

**Basil, bean sprouts, crushed cashews or peanuts, and sriracha make for fabulous garnish and condiments.

Make it:

1. heat a large skillet or wok pan at medium-high heat and add in 1 tablespoon of oil and swirl to coat the pan.
**if using chicken or shrimp cook these in the pan first prior to adding in onions etc, and cook chicken until browned on the outside or for shrimp until opaque and pink on the outside, remove from pan before cooking the curry you will add these back in add the end).

2. add onion to the pan, decreasing the heat to medium and saute until the onion begins to soften and cook (4-5 minutes)

3. Add in minced garlic and ginger to pan and stirring, fry until fragrant (about 2 minutes), once fragrant add in the sliced red and yellow bell peppers (also to fry for 3 minutes)

4. To the pan add the Thai red curry paste and mix in with the peppers and onions and allow that to fry with the paste for about 2-3 minutes (frying the paste is something I learned from my mom watching her make curry with pastes my whole life, it allows the spices and flavours in the paste to be deepened and brightened.)

5. Add in 1 can of coconut milk to the pan, along with 1/2 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of sugar (I prefer a non-refined sugar such as coconut sugar, but white or brown sugar would also suffice).

6. Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 10 minutes (if using shrimp or another protein, this is when you would add it back to the pan to continue cooking and absorb some of the flavour)

7. serve over basmati rice, or my personal favorite rice noodles.

 

 

Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate with Whipped Coconut Cream

You can also read this recipe as well in the Amber Approved Magazine 2016 Fall Edition.

For the Chai Spiced Hot Chocolate:

This recipe is a single serve

Ingredients

1 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1.5 tablespoons of raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon of pure dark maple syrup (the darkest grade you can find)

1 teaspoon of Chai Spice (I really love The Silk Road Spice Merchant’s blend but any other garam masala will do here if you liked to make your own chai spice take 1 teaspoon each of cardamom, all spice, ground cinnamon, cloves and 2 teaspoons ginger)

1.5 tablespoons of semi sweet dairy free chocolate chips (I prefer enjoy life foods brand).

Method

 

  1. Take a small sauce pan and start to heat your almond milk over medium low heat
  2. After about 1-2 minutes add in your cacao powder, maple syrup and chai spice
  3. Whisking constantly to ensure the chocolate chips, cacao powder, maple syrup and chai spice have dissolved and the chips have melted and are well incorporated, continue heating and whisking until you’ve reached your ideal temperature.
  4. Once heated to your liking, remove pot from heat, and pour into a mug, top with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of chai spice or cacao powder if desired (while not necessary the coconut whipped cream melts into the hot chocolate, making it even richer and creamier than before.)

 

Whipped Coconut Cream

Makes about 1-1.5 cups of whipped cream

*This recipe should be started a day in advance to accommodate the chill time of the coconut milk.

Ingredients

 

1 14-ounce can of full fat coconut milk (low fat will not do)

¼ cup of powdered coconut sugar (powdering your own coconut sugar is super easy, just toss it into a high speed blender or coffee grinder)

½ teaspoon of pure organic vanilla extract

 

Method

 

  1. Chill coconut milk overnight or for at least 8 hours prior, ensuring not to shake or tip the can to encourage the separation of the cream from the liquid.
  2. Chill a large bowl (stainless steel works best) for 10-15 minutes prior to making your whipped cream.
  3. Remove coconut milk from the fridge, being careful not to shake or tip your can and once the lid is removed, with a spoon, scrape the cream from the top of the can, into your bowl, leaving the liquid behind.
  4. With an electric mixer, start whipping your coconut cream at high speed, after about 30 seconds add in your powdered coconut sugar and vanilla, and continue whipping for another 2-3 minutes or until the cream has thickened, and soft peaks have started to form.

Spoon over your hot chocolate or any other dessert or beverage your fancy. This will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge.

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Photo Credit: Alexandra Borovsky 

The Wild Orchid Bistro

The Wild Orchid Bistro
1818 Mountain Ave, Canmore, AB T1W 3M3
http://www.wildorchidbistro.com

Happiness: Finding a dedicated, 100%, gluten-free restaurant that serves healthy, fresh and inspired dishes that celiacs have found themselves missing and craving for oh so long. Welcome, to the Wild Orchid Bistro.

The Wild Orchid Bistro, located in the SilverCreek Lodge in Canmore, Alberta, and is serving what they say the best sushi and Asian Fusion in the Bow Valley area, but in my personal opinion that extends to the best closest to the Calgary Area as well. For years I have longed for tempura vegetables and prawns, fried calamari, ginger beef, and barbecue pork with hot mustard, as well as thai coconut green curry. Sincerely, when my friend Amber introduced me to this place in July of 2015 I knew I had been missing out on something amazing. Since then the Wild Orchid has become apart of every mountain weekend I have.

In the summertime you can enjoy an outdoor patio, with Rocky Mountain views, can sit around the fire and if you are as lucky as we were, roast some marshmallows. They create a simple, relaxing but ever so satisfying dining experience from beginning to end.

As well as being exceptionally gluten friendly, they also offer many dairy free options including a dairy free, coconut creme brûlée, and they are a peanut free facility but do have almonds in their kitchen. It is a relatively safe dining experience for all.

I cannot thank them enough for their dedication and care to crafting delicious, gluten free foods that are fresh, healthy and everything I have been missing. Over the years they have become one of my most beloved restaurants. The whole staff is inviting, friendly and wonderful and they ensure a great experience every  single time.

For more information about their fabulous gluten-free menu click here: Wild Orchid Bistro Menu

To make a reservation click here: Reservations

 

Anejo

Anejo Restaurant 2116 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W7 (587) 353-2656 www.anejo.ca

Anejo Restaurant
2116 4 St SW, Calgary, AB T2S 1W7
(587) 353-2656
http://www.anejo.ca

Anejo is the perfect spot to hit up if you are looking for authentic, fresh and gluten-friendly Mexican cuisine. They offer something for everyone including table side guacamole, a Mexican take on a rib eye steak, and eight plus kinds of tacos with all being gluten free with the exception of the fish and calamari as they are breaded and fried before hand just be sure to ask for a corn tortilla instead of the flour.

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Very allergen friendly, this restaurant features labeling for gluten, and lactose on their menus so those who need to steer clear of dairy can navigate easily.

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Something to check out for the best value would be their ‘halfy hour’ which is all week, from 3-5 p.m. which their tacos are half price and so are their amazing margaritas which are made with fresh ingredients (no high fructose corn syrups or sweetness here) and shaken not blended.

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Still curious and want to know more? you can easily find their menu, and more information here: http://www.anejo.ca

Review: Raw Bar

Imagine a dining experience where the: Atmosphere is cool and casual, yet elegant all at the same time , The servers are knowledgable and willing to assist in your gluten-free or allergen quest, the food is not only safe for your insides but soothing to the soul,  Gluten-free does not mean sacrifice and almost every dessert is gluten-free, fresh, hand made AND refined sugar free Have this image in your head? Good. Now get in your car and drive to the dream: Raw Bar by Duncan Ly. Dining at Raw Bar, you will immediately feel the passion and love that goes into every dish, it is perfectly cooked, plated and presented with such pride that you cannot help but feel the same about it while eating it. The ingredients are locally sourced, and seasonally chosen, and crafted to be one thing and one thing only: brilliantly delicious.

If I had to recommend one restaurant for someone to choose  it would be Raw Bar. It has a fun and laid back atmosphere where you can relax with a friend or loved one and connect over a decent meal that will not leave you with a tummy ache later. The staff is extremely dedicated in ensuring your meal is prepared as allergen free as is possible and is knowledgeable about which menu items contain gluten which means that you can feel safe dining here. They are hugely aware of the most common allergens and are willing to help, just be sure to mention it when ordering. Another fantastic perk was that they used gluten-free soy sauce in their dishes.

Thanks to Karine Moulin,  the dessert menu is mostly gluten-free, refined sugar free as well as dairy free. All desserts are freshly made in house, with seasonal flavourings. The desserts, much like the food are crafted with extreme love and passion. I have tried most of Karines decadent offerings and can safely say, they are all worth trying…some of them even more than once.

What I tried while visiting Raw Bar:

Starters, Lemongrass Tofu, sea scallop

Main: Pad thai, and the crab and coconut fried rice (ordered sans crispy onions)

Dessert: Sriracha chocolate tort with peanut ice cream, any of their in house made chocolate bars, and any of their in-house made ice creams (flavours change seasonally).

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 All photos are courtesy of, Alexandra Borovsky, https://sharksandmistos.wordpress.com/about/

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