Simply Cooking

Story by Jody Sanderson


Photos by Kristy Reimer

Spring 2024

Wendy Jean Hunter’s love affair with cooking began when she was about eight years old, living with her family in Saskatchewan.

“I was in Brownies, which I loved. I was working on my cooking badge, and that’s when I got hooked,” she laughs. “I earned it and have been cooking for myself and my family ever since.” A family that includes four children and grandchildren.

Hunter took a circuitous route through Montana before arriving in Airdrie almost 19 years ago. For many years, she worked as an administrative assistant for the University of Montana’s U.S. university extension program, where she honed her writing skills with regular newsletters. Hunter’s CV is extensive and includes running a bait and tackle shop, bartending, being self-employed, and providing home health care until her last position working as a nurse. She has been serving people her whole life.

“I went wherever the wind blew me,” says this free spirit.

Currently, Hunter runs a cooking company providing meals for friends and is also an ambassador for the Epicure food company.

“A number of years ago, I removed gluten from my diet to address some of my mental health issues, and it worked!” says Hunter. “However, I was still having digestive problems and kept looking for a way to change that.”

Hunter hired a health coach and eventually discovered that eggs and dairy products were keeping her from optimum health. She realized, after making these changes, that she had been bloated and uncomfortable for 25 years — and that others were likely in the same boat.

It was through an elimination diet that Hunter finally tracked down the culinary culprits that were holding her back, and she recommends people give this a go when they’re looking to find their own food sensitivities. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach; common ones include gluten, dairy, eggs and wheat.

Her recently published cookbook, Simply Meals: The Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Way, grew out of both her love for cooking and writing and her desire to help others. But, as she explains, it’s not just a cookbook.

“Most people, when they have to consider a restrictive diet, think their meals have to be boring. However, that is not the case. My book is the opposite of that,” she says. “It’s about taking recipes and making substitutions. It’s a learning tool that makes it easier to remove gluten, dairy and eggs, and about trying new flavours, keeping meals nutritious and delicious.”

The goal of this cookbook, adds Hunter, is to help people improve their health and increase their energy.

“And these recipes are not just for those who are dealing with restrictions; these are recipes that everyone can appreciate and already exist,” she says. “And yes, these are my recipes, but the purpose of the book is to teach people how to make these changes to what they already cook.”

Hunter also shares personal stories including her passion for cooking, health and family. Her advice is simple: Cook your own food; that way, you’ll know what you’re putting into your body.

Simply Meals is available through several outlets, including Indigo and Chapters. Hunter can be reached at


Dill Pickle Dip

Also Grain-Free and Vegan

Makes 2 cups

What is it about dill pickle — anything? This recipe will satisfy your chips and dip cravings, without the dairy!


½ cup softened dairy-free cream cheese

½ cup vegan mayo

1 tablespoon pickle juice

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dill weed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ cup dill pickle, finely chopped


  1. Measure the cream cheese, mayo, pickle juice and all the spices into a bowl. Cream these together using a hand mixer, blender or food processor.
  2. Chop the pickles finely with a knife or manual food processor.
  3. Add the pickles to the cream cheese mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.


Fish Tacos with Garlic Sauce

4 Servings

This meal will be on the table in less than 30 minutes. A few simple swaps are all that is needed for this traditionally Mexican meal. This recipe will be on your regular meal rotation, for sure!


Garlic Sauce:

½ cup dairy-free sour cream or yogurt

½ cup vegan mayo

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder

1 teaspoon hot sauce


1 cup long English cucumber, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups lettuce, chopped

¼ cup rice flour

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon roasted garlic powder

2 limes, zested and juiced

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 Basa fillets

8 corn tortillas, warmed


  1. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and whisk together. Refrigerate.
  2. Dice the cucumbers and tomatoes and chop the lettuce. Place them in separate bowls.
  3. Zest the limes into a shallow dish. Add the flour, cornstarch, garlic, lime zest, salt and pepper
  4. Juice the limes into another shallow dish. Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat until the oil is glistening.
  6. Dip the fish into the lime juice, then dredge it in the flour/spice mixture.
  7. Place the fillets in the hot skillet. Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the fish is flaky, about 2 more minutes. Remove the fillets to a plate.
  8. Place 2 warmed tortillas on a plate. Add some lettuce, ½ of a fish fillet, cucumber and tomato. Top it with the garlic sauce.