Happyditty Gluten Free Bakery- Kingston, ON

Happyditty Gluten Free Bakery- Kingston, ON

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Melissa is the owner of Happyditty Gluten Free Bakery in Kingston, ON. I have been buying all my cakes and baked goods from her since moving to Kingston and she is absolutely awesome. She can accommodate all dietary needs, and even can make Vegan items! I have gotten my Reese’s Birthday Cake which was absolutely a peanut butter DREAM and then at least once or twice a month I’m getting the mixed baked good packs she puts together. The bakery is actually located in her home, and she has two separate kitchens one for her Gluten Free baking located on a separate floor from the rest of the house to ensure no cross contamination.72729560_2461734167435639_8878610171576713216_n

Be sure to contact Melissa for all your GF needs in Kingston- she is really great at taking whatever you have in mind and making it with her own twist. Everything is always fantastic and delicious and I’m always telling everyone I know to order from her.

Click here to like the Happyditty Facebook page and place your orders!

Hilton Markham/Toronto Suites

Hilton Markham/Toronto Suites

fullsizeoutput_6e5Do any of you have jobs that require travel? If you’re new to my blog, and me, then you may not know that along with blogging I do also have a day job. I work from home luckily, but usually every few months I have to go my work office which is located in Markham, ON.

First time having to travel since moving to Kingston, and I knew that the Hilton Markham/Toronto Suites was going to be where I stayed. This hotel is stunning and has everything humanly possible to survive.  Our checking was a breeze, we got the pool hours and the menu for the restaurant before we headed out to check out room.

 

image1-1Our room was MASSIVE to say the least. It was a giant circle, with a Dining Room, Living room, bedroom with king size bed and bathroom. The room was filled with bright lights and marble tiles and black accent furniture. In the living room there was a sink, microwave, coffee maker and a mini fridge.

The bathroom did not have a bathtub only a shower, and oddly enough the bathroom is where we had most of the “negative” experience. The bathroom had an odd smell of urine, that got stronger the longer we stayed. Also, there was no actual shower door, so it was exposed and the water leaked all over the bathroom floor making it impossible to keep dry.

fullsizeoutput_6e6Included in our stay we got the continental breakfast for $10 each. Food wise this place knew what was up when it comes to Celiac Disease. The chef personally came out to greet me and offered me an array of items he could make me for breakfast. We settled on Eggs Benedict which is a personal fave. The fact the Chef took the time to come and introduce himself and offer to make me a personalized meal which he delivered out all on his own was above and beyond. I couldn’t get too many photos as I wound up being almost late for work but can assure you that the breakfast & service was phenomenal.

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Upon checking out, we were asked how our stay was. The only thing we really brought up was the bathroom smell, which the Manager offered a lunch for my boyfriend on the house due to that issue. That shows me that they take issues very seriously and aspire to give the best experience to their staff. Thank you to Anna and the staff for taking such great care of us. We will definitely be back!

XO, Erin
Erin@glitzandgf.com

Do’s & Dont’s of Working From Home

Do’s & Dont’s of Working From Home

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For those of us that live and work at home finding a balance can be very tough. It can take years to get into a proper work/home life rhythm and without being very strict on yourself it can take even longer.

I’ve been working at home for coming up on 3 years now, after getting in a car accident of December 2016 and migraines became constant, I was able to work and do my job from home. My day job is in a call centre, so I work in my in home office taking customer calls daily.

Over the years I’ve found things that do and don’t work for me, so I figured I would share them below.

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The Do’s:

  • Set up your home office to be as comfortable as possible. If you prefer lots of sunshine, or plants, make sure that your setup is functional and comfy for you.
  • Ensure everyone in your household respects your work hours. While my schedule is set for me, and I have bosses to answer to throughout the day, you may not. If your self employed then you must set out specific work hours, and let everyone know when you will be unavailable.
  • MEAL PREP! I still live off meal prepping even working at home. It’s not like you can run out and grab some lunch so make sure your fridge is stocked with healthy, easy to grab snacks and meals. I’m a snacker so I just make sure to have lots of fruits and veggies, crackers, cheese, etc type of snacks on hand.

The Dont’s:

  • Don’t forget to shower every day. It can be hard to feel like you “have” to as its not like you’re out sweating or doing a physically taxing job.
  • Don’t let others interrupt you when you’re working. I have a hard time staying on task, my ability to focus has deteriorated a lot since my car accident and it becomes very stressful and overwhelming for me if my mind gets away by a distraction.
  • Don’t sleep in, or have any reason to be late. It’s literally the worst thing if you work at home and are late for work. Set alarms, write start times down, just don’t be late!
  • Don’t drink too much caffeine. I’m the worst for this as I have a tendency to overdo it, but I’m trying. I’ve purchased half-caf coffees to try and consciously cut back.

I hope these tips were helpful to you, and that you can make your work from home job the best it can be. Those of us that can work from home are extremely lucky to do so, and its important that we take care of ourselves and our time.

XO, Erin
Erin@glitzandgf.com

 

 

 

Couples Resort

Couples Resort

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139 Galeairy Lake Rd,(End of)
Whitney – Algonquin Park, On, K0J 2M0.
Toll Free: 1-866-202-1179
info@couplesresort.ca

**To book- please call the front desk, and mention glutenfreedurhamregion.com to get the best rates available**

THE RESORT —
I was invited by Couples Resort to come for Valentines Day weekend with my sweetheart. This resort is about a 3 hour drive from Whitby. It is a beautiful drive with absolutely no traffic. Lots of trees, and such a stunning landscape to experience. It’s certainly not one of those bothersome drives that becomes painful, as it is just taking in the beauty that our province provides us.
Upon entering the resort, we checked in at the front desk. Mary met us with a friendly smile, and gave us all the information we need to explore the resort (and surrounding areas). There is so much to do while staying here, but the great part is just staying put in your room is just as satisfying. We were able to get a great balance of exploring the outdoors, and enjoying the comfort of our room.

On site is a spa where you can receive a variety of treatments (RMT Massage, Mani/Pedi, Body treatments), there is a solarium with a nice small gym and dry sauna, some shorter walking trails, as well as the Gallery.

We got ourselves checked in, checked out the dining room (I didn’t even have to tell them – they already had “Celiac” noted! Huge boost of confidence there!), and then went to unpack and see our room. 

THE ROOM–

The room is beyond any expectation I had imagined. In your washroom you have a European Shower which has a sauna in it. A large closet to hang your jackets, dresses, and store your luggage. There is a small kitchen with a Keurig to brew coffee in the morning, a sink, as well as a microwave and mini fridge. One really great thing is the drinking water is right from Algonqiun— very clean and refreshing. I made sure to drink tons of water while here, there is something about water right from your backyard that fills my hippie soul with happiness! A wood fireplace awaits, and is situated directly in front of the King Size bed. A TV which includes Shaw Satellite TV service as well as Netlflix. A comfy large couch, and your own balcony which has a personal hot tub for your and your honey to enjoy in private. Oh, and did I mention the gigantic whirlpool bath tub right beside the King Size bed? Oh yes. It is pure luxury and bliss. I have never felt like such a princess and so relaxed than staying at Couples Resort. We stayed in the Reubens room, which boasts 10ft ceilings, and is just about 1000 sq ft. With all that this room has to offer, you may never want to leave it! There is really no negatives to this place! The few suggestions I would have as a Celiac Diner is that for room service, It would be nice to have a little “GF” sticker, or marker, on the lids as our first night we ordered room service but had trouble identifying whose was whose as we ordered a few of the same items. Same with breakfast, a little difficult to decipher, and some of us who require a Gluten Free diet sometimes need that extra bit of confidence. I also found that after using the Sauna I wanted something a little more than water to drink, but there was no vending machine, or access to any juice or anything outside of dining hours.  The rooms are beautiful decorated and the renovations they have done are top notch. The decor is outstanding and really adds to the amazing vibe this room has. All of the furniture is carefully hand crafted, and the wallpaper to match.

THE FOOD–

When it comes to dining, this place has it down pat. Everyone is fully understanding of what “Celiac Disease” is, means, and what it requires. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you will not be looked at funny or asked “is this gluten?” while staying here. You just advise while booking any dietary restrictions and they know about it the entire time you are staying.

For breakfast I had a Gluten Free Waffle, Omelette, and the Couples Retreat breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns). Let me tell you it has been a long time since I have had a waffle and these puppies were fluffy, sweet, and so filling. Perfect meal before venturing out into the cold to enjoy all this resort has to offer. Each morning it was a good variety of protein, carbs, and fresh fruit to enjoy.
For dinner the first night I had the 10oz New York Strip Steak, which came with fresh, crunchy green beans, and Double Smoke Bacon Confit potatoes. The steak was grilled exactly as I asked and it was seasoned wonderfully. All of the flavours and sauces complimented each portion that made up the meal. For starters I had Citrus Prawns, and Pork Belly the first night, and an Artisan Duck Salad, with Honey Tomato soup the next night. Again, everything is so fresh tasting, extremely colourful, and packed with flavour. It has been a long time since I have had Tomato soup so that was a real treat for me! I had a delicious Buccatini Carbonara, with Gluten Free Penne instead of the Spaghetti. It was served with a thick, creamy Black Pepper, Egg & Creamy Parmesan Sauce, as well as packed with Double Smoked Bacon. My taste buds were on overload! Normally I don’t allow myself much dairy, but it was well worth it on this vacation to indulge and enjoy all that this menu has to offer! They have Vegetarian options as well, for those of you that eat Vegetarian. They offer multiple desserts- I had the Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, the Creme Brûlée, and the Chocolate Ganache Tower. All so tasty and filling. For someone like me who tends to skip dessert, I was all in at Couples Resort! I indulged and it was worth it.
Over all I was super impressed with this vacation. It is the perfect place to visit for a getaway where you need some quality time. The whole package is here— and you won’t leave feeling disappointed, or hungry.  It is a beautiful drive, in a beautiful part of Ontario. I will absolutely be returning, and would highly suggest this spot to anyone who wants to have some alone time to relax and be romanced! 

#VisitKingston

#VisitKingston

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Last weekend I went to visit some family in Kingston, so I figured why not do a couple of reviews while I’m in town. It worked out really well, and I got to see a bunch of the city and enjoy some delicious eats at the same time.

A bit of background for those of you who are new to following me, I was born and raised in Kingston, and moved out to Whitby about 13 or so years ago. My family is out there, and my parents recently retired and made the move back. This city is a tourist spot for so many reasons. Not only is there always fun events going on downtown, but there is so much food to eat, and so many Gluten Free options.

I hope to cover them all here for you, as well as a few tourist things that are options. When it comes to Travelling, it is so important to find somewhere with plenty of entertainment and things to do, as well as have a variety of dining choices so no one gets bored. Kingston really delivers on the food front, when I started doing my research I found so many options, and was super impressed with the amount of places that knew what the word Celiac means, as well as understood it to the fullest extent.

One thing I do sadly regret is not stopping at The Big Apple located in Colborne, on my drive… I heard they have excellent pies and crumbles. Next time, thats for sure!
So fast forward the two hour drive from Whitby, to Kingston.
First stop was to head for brunch at Windmills Cafe & Catering.

WINDMILLS CAFE
Right downtown on Princess Street they even offer an outdoor patio to eat and watch the hustle and bustle of tourists and Kingstonian’s venture through the downtown core. I have eaten at Windmills last summer, and they are super careful with Cross Contamination. I suggest calling ahead, asking to speak to the manager in charge and advising of your requirements for eating. Making a reservation is good, as they are a very busy brunch spot. I ordered the French Toast and Eggs Benedict. The French Toast is actually a Cranberry/Raisin bread, which is made specifically for Windmills by a local bakery The Silly Yak (more on that bakery soon…..). I truly love that they all work together because its even more hometown friendly in my opinion. They use all separate toasters, pots & pans, etc. All of their sauces are Gluten Free, and their menu is very clearly marked with all kinds of options for Gluten Free. Overall this place is certainly Celiac Safe, just ensure to tell them your needs so they can properly take care of you.

THE SILLY YAK
Oh my goodness. The Silly Yak is the only 100% GF Bakery in Kingston. I popped in as its actually close to my parents house, which is great and super convenient. Located just off the 401 on Midland Ave, this small bakery boasts some of the best treats I’ve ever had. I got a Brownie with Vanilla Icing, probably one of the most moist (say that three times fast!) brownies I’ve ever had. It was so delicious, I definitely regret not buying more. I got a Nanaimo bar as well; something I love about this one is there is a small amount of coconut in the base, which is my kind of taste. I hate shredded coconut, but when it goes with a dish as long as it is in moderation I love it. So that was great. I also got some delicious peach tarts, and a regular butter tart. It was a great stop- worthwhile for anyone who is even travelling through to make a quick stop as it is in a convenient location.

AQUA TERRA
Last stop on this trip was Aqua Terra. It is located in the Delta Hotel right downtown overlooking Confederation Park, and all the beautiful sights that Kingston offers. This place is a bit hard to find because it is right inside Delta Hotel so we had a bit of a hard time actually locating it, but after walking around we figured it out eventually.
I had pre-booked this one, and spoken to Rose ahead of time to notify of what I was hoping to do, and to give any information ahead of time. Upon getting there, there was a slight mixup in the reservation but that was quickly sorted out. Next up the chef came out, we spoke to him to figure out what was GF and not. I have to say most of the menu is safe, just inform them ahead of time of if you’re celiac or not. They do NOT have a dedicated fryer so keep that in mind my Celiac Friends. We were essentially brought out small tasters of the entire menu, all of which were phenomenal. Everything is so fresh, and you can taste just how high quality these ingredients are. The main course was a delicious Fresh Fish of the Day— Halibut with a Cabbage side. This was 100% the best fish I have ever eaten. I generally only like my fish in tuna form, or in sushi. But this piece was literally melt in your mouth, can’t get enough. It was so filling, nutritious, and that really was the cherry on top. It did not have a “fishy” taste, but yet just buttery, light, and airy. My cousin, who is NOT GF in any way, but is on the Weight Watchers plan was able to come dine with me, and she said it was mostly within per points. So thats really great as well for those on any diet essentially. The photos do not do this food justice. Scallops, Shrimps, and Duck Confit- this is on a much higher caliber than any of the other main stream Fine Dining experiences available.

Overall this was a fantastic trip. I will be back in a few weeks to try out a few other places (Atomica, Harpers Burger Bar, Chez Piggy, etc) and to take my nephew to Fort Fright for his 10th Birthday. Its always fun to go home and visit with family and take advantage of all that my hometown has to offer!

Info below for contacts at these places if you’d like to make a reservation and get information ahead of booking.

Windmills Cafe & Catering:
184 Princess St
Kingston, ON K7L 1B1
P: 613-544-3948

info@windmills-cafe.com

Aqua Terra:
1 Johnson Street
Kingston, Ontario
P: 613- 549-6243
Reservations: Contact Ani Tuijtel atuijtel@aquaterrakingston.com to advise her of your requirements and she can get you set up

#IinKingston
#VisitKingston

This post was sponsored by Windmills Cafe, and Aqua Terra – All photos & opinions are mine.