Cacay Oil Hype

Cacay Oil is it all hype or is there really something there?

There has been so much about Cacay Oil in articles that I decided to look into it further and check it out for myself.

Three Main Chemicals found in high concentrations in Cacay Oil:

  1. Linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) reduces acne symptoms
  2. Retinol (vitamin A) reduces the wrinkles in the skin
  3. Tocopherol (vitamin E)  is an antioxidant.

These three chemicals all promote healthy, younger skin. When used regularly, the skin is left feeling softer, smoother, and feels younger.

It was noted, over a course of three weeks, the pores on the nose got smaller and the skin felt smoother and more nourished (all other variables kept as constant as possible!). This could just be in my head! I will look into finding some definitive research articles and share out.

In the meantime, for anyone interested in  the bottle of Cacay Oil I use you can purchase 30 mL of 100% pure Curelle Cacay Oil at Queensborough Community Pharmacy for $46.97. If you contact me, I will give you a unique customer code for a nice discount!

Daiya Cheesecake

We tried this beautiful looking Strawberry Cheezecake from the Daiya line. It is free from all the main allergens so definitely something I was excited to share with my family. We took it out of the box and noticed it was tiny, maybe 5″ in diameter at most but it looked good. When my kids tried, my daughter did not like it at all and my son thought it was okay.

I will definitely not be purchasing this again. Kind of disappointed since the Daiya line creates really good allergen free products and I have high expectations of them (oh right I should lower my expectations!).

The Best Tasting Frozen Gluten Free Pizza

Finally a Frozen Pizza that is Gluten, Egg, Soy, & Dairy Free!

For those days when things get hectic its always nice to have a frozen pizza available. There is only one brand of frozen pizzas I would ever recommended to those with dietary restrictions as we have tried many.

We have found the best and tastiest pizza to be from the Daiya line. In particular my children love personalizing the Daiya Cheeze Lover’s Pizza with their own toppings such as olives, pineapples, tomatoes, meat balls.

This pizza is not only gluten free, but also dairy free, soy free, and egg free – wow that is hard to come by with pizzas!  Absolutely delicious and kids love it!!

The Glutino Gluten Free Duo Cheese Pizza has liquid eggs and milk ingredients. Also Udi’s Gluten Free Three Cheese Pizza contains eggs as well. Since I purchased these products from Superstore’s Click & Collect, I did not know how to look up product information – but I have figured out how to do that (will not make that mistake again!). In conclusion, I have noticed all the Glutino and Udi brand products contain soy or eggs – so I will not be purchasing from these brands as they do not meet the needs of my family.

Left: Daiya Pizza Ingredients
Right: Glutino Pizza Ingredients

Here is the price* breakdown per 100g:

  • $9.99 Daiya ($2.24/100g) – gluten, egg, soy, dairy free (LOVE IT!!)
  • $7.99 Udi’s ($2.81/100g) – contains eggs & dairy (will not buy)
  • $6.78 Glutino ($3.87/100g) – contains eggs & dairy (will not buy)

*These are regular prices in Canadian dollars at Superstore.

 

 

Pikanik – Gluten Free Bakery (what we liked and did not like)

In box (clockwise): Oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, potato cornbread muffin, jam thumbprint cookies, chocolate raspberry cupcake, coconut snowballs (in centre of box). Brownie. Honey Bread

Gluten Free Bakery

I am not going to lie but learning to bake from cake mixes and from scratch has been challenging! I am not a baker and have struggled immensely with finding baked goods for my children to eat.

Last summer I came across this cute little bakery called Pikanik located in South Surrey. It is a bit pricey (but then again most organic, “natural” foods are). This bakery is unique and one-of-its kind as it completely caters towards individuals with restricted diets free from the main allergens. In the summer my family and I tried some baked goods and we did not like anything from there and the children pretty much spat it all out. I feel it was more we were not used to gluten free, egg free foods and thus reacting as such.

Just recently, I decided I would go in and give it a second chance. So I picked an assortment of goodies and thought why not. The worst that can happen is my children do not like it and we continue our search and keep practicing our baking skills at home. My husband said to set my expectations low as then I will not be disappointed…so I went in with low expectations. To my surprise, my daughter ended up really liking the brownie and enjoyed the jam thumbprint cookie. My husband and I liked all the items, and I really liked the taste of the moist honey bread when grilled! The oatmeal chocolate chip cookie was okay but not a favorite for my children. The  coconut snowballs, cornbread muffin, and chocolate cupcake with the raspberry icing were not very tasty and I would not purchase them again.

Here is a break down of the prices:

  • $1.95 Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie (okay)
  • $2.65 Sweet Potato Cornbread Muffin (not tasty,  too dry)
  • $2.35 Jam Thumbprint Cookie (LOVE IT! Will buy!)
  • $3.40 Chocolate Razzmatazz Cupcake (no go, can make similar ones at home, icing is not very tasty)
  • $1.95 Coconut Snowball (not tasty)
  • $3.65 Brownie (LOVE IT!)
  • $8.50 Honey Bread (tasty, but will probably opt for other options)

This bakery is pricey but it is nice to have a place where I know there is a treat my children can enjoy freely. So would I go back to Pikanik? Yes, definitely for the brownies and jam thumbprint cookies as they are delicious.

 

 

 

Buttercream Icing without Milk

Buttercream Icing without milk.

Pink frosting on a cooled cake

Blue frosting on a warm cake! (My son could not wait to start frosting)

This is the first time I have created my own icing from scratch and my family loved it! Seriously, how can I go wrong with sugar and food coloring! It was just a matter of stepping outside my comfort zone and just trying it.

Trial 1

So what I did was take 1/3 cup melted unsalted foremost butter and beat it with a hand mixer at speed 2-3. I mixed in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Next I added 1/3 cup of confectioner’s icing sugar and continued beating. I continued to add another 1/3 cup of icing sugar, and finally one more 1/3 cup and beat the mixture on medium speed. The last step was to add in 2 drops of red food coloring.

Trial 2

The second time, I added only 2/3 cups of confectioner’s sugar as the first batch was too sweet! And this time I added 2 drops of blue food coloring.

I feel I have some work to do in terms of adjusting the sweetness of the icing, make it more fluffy, and to make it free from butter. So I will try other formulations and post out!

Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Cake Mix a hit!

Cupcakes cooling

Gluten Free Cake

My children love baking and we have found Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Cake Mix to be a good, reliable cake mix and with some modifications we have a nut free, soy free, and egg free recipe.

Ingredients for Cake Prep

I take the cake mix and split it into two mixing bowls so my son and daughter each have their own portions. My daughter adds 3 tablespoons of Filsinger’s Organic applesauce (in place of eggs), and softened Becel Vegan Margarine (in place of butter).  My son adds a medium sized organic ripe mashed banana (in place of eggs), and softened Becel Vegan Margarine. Then we follow the instructions according to the box. The end product is a fairly tasty gluten free cake – not as spongy as a regular cake with eggs. So I still need to work on some formulations! But the children love it and enjoy the Enjoy Free Dairy-Free Mini Chocolate Chips they bite into.

Uncured Bacon

bacon

I suggest all of you who love bacon, give this bacon a try. It is sold at Heritage Meats, Save-On-Foods and goes for a little over $10.00 a pack. This is a very healthy, uncured bacon as it contains no nitrates, no phosphates, or MSG.

It is called Hertel’s bacon and from a local Vancouver Island  supplier. This bacon does not look like the nice pink bacon you find at your local supermarkets. The reason being it contains NO PHOSHPATE, NO MSG, and most importantly NO NITRATES! Nitrates (NO3-) are responsible for preserving the meat, giving it that salty taste, and preventing the growth of harmful bacteria. The more pink the meat, the more nitrates have been added. People have been using nitrates for centuries to preserve meat.

So why is there such a hype around no nitrates?  Well there have been claims that  too much nitrate in the body under certain conditions has lead to damaged links and been linked to cancer. However, this has been carried out in rats and the dosage for their tiny bodies compared to a human body vary significantly! So the legal limit for humans is many factors of 10 greater. There have even been studies showing nitrate may in fact widen the arteries and decrease blood pressure!

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has a good article titled Nitrates: Harmful or Healthy that discusses the pros and cons of nitrates.

Another article that discusses nitrates and nitrites: Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiological context for potential health benefits.

bacon2

Go Go Quinoa: Spaghetti

Go Go Quinoa, has an excellent gluten free spaghetti  in their line of products. My children love this alternative to typical wheat pasta. The cooking instructions say to boil for 13 – 15 minutes but  I always  go a couple minutes over. Then I  drain and rinse with cold water,  drizzle some olive oil, add some tomato sauce  and serve. I would love to mix in homemade meatballs, but my children do not like having meat mixed in with their pasta, so I just have meat on the side in a separate dish. They are usually always asking for seconds!

This pasta  is made from organic white rice flour and organic quinoa flour. For a 56 g portion of the noodles, you can easily get 20% of your daily iron value requirements. You can purchase this product directly from Queensborough Community Pharmacy.

gogospagetti

Namaste Foods: Pancake Mix

This is pancakean excellent pancake mix from Namaste Foods Canada that is sold at Queensborough Community Pharmacy (for all “TheChemistMom” readers, use this special discount code for 10% off your purchase: thechemistmomNamaste10)

Reasons why I love this product:
1. The entire family enjoys it thoroughly even the pickiest eater in the family (took a couple months to truly enjoy it – read below)
2. Easy to prep, just add water and frozen fruits are optional!
3. Free from the following top allergens: wheat, gluten, egg, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, mustard, seasame, sulfites, caseine, shellfish, fish, and crustaceans.

My children did not enjoy the pancakes during the first couple months into our transition towards a gluten-free lifestyle and we were ready to give up on it. Until one day my daughter saw the box and said “Mom let’s eat pancakes.” I saw her holding the box and thought maybe we should give it another try now that everyone has had a chance to adjust their palates.

So once again I tried the pancakes. I mixed 1 cup of the dry mix with enough water to make it as runny as needed. Then I dropped my first scoopful of mixture onto the hot pan and quickly added some President’s Choice wild frozen blueberries. After a toothpick test came out clean, I removed the pancake and buttered it up with the Becel Vegan Margarine and guess what it was a hit!!

Can serve with hash browns, bacon, sausages, fruits…

Breakfasts are fun again!!

pancake2

 

Why we switched our healthy eating ways to a diet composed of strictly organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free and more…

This past spring 2016, my family and I went through some health challenges and while waiting for specialist & naturopath appointments, we decided to be proactive and gradually switch over to a more gluten-free diet in hopes of getting some control over our situation. We thought if tests results came out a certain way at least adhering to a gluten-free diet would not be a shock to our systems and hopefully we would have found some things the children would enjoy.

Well by the time end of June 2016 rolled around we were in for a shock and were heart broken. After receiving some test results we realized we not only had to be completely 100% gluten-free but we had to eliminate almost everything from our current staple diets at the time.
This included all dairy and cheese, eggs, beef, lamb, any medicated meats, garlic, soy, beans, lentils, oats, wheat, nightshade vegetables (eggplants, tomatoes) and the list didn’t stop there even our favourite fruits (cantaloupe, watermelon, oranges) were put on hold along with onions and garlic! In total there were well over 50 plus items we had to remove.
My daughter and son were not thrilled, in fact they could not believe it when mom and dad wiped the fridge and pantry clean of well everything (well we did it in small steps so it would not be a shock).

After a summer filled with tears and more tears from my little ones, we slowly, ever so slowly managed to put together meals that at first were not even palatable (but did we have a choice?). Over the course of the last six months, meal planning has emerged into a family activity with everyone taking ownership and watching out for each other – but we still have days where it is a challenge and tears well up in their eyes just waiting to roll down their cuddly cheeks…
Because I am so new to the world of gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free it has been challenging finding foods and taking shortcuts. In fact we now have very little packaged food in the house (didn’t have much to begin with but it is extreme now) and basically have to make things from scratch. At the start of this journey I felt I was back to introducing solids to my babies when I would make mashed foods for them and keep them on a particular food for a couple days to see if allergies would arise.

This year I am going to make even more of an effort to get out of my comfort zone and learn how to do things such as bake a gluten-free bread which contains no eggs, and if possible no yeast. Along with that I am going to try my hand at baking gluten free cakes/ muffins from scratch! Any suggestions are welcome!