Gluten Free Food Reviews

Honest reviews of gluten free products for a tastier life

Product Review: Udi’s new gluten free bagels, bread, muffins and granola

Posted on | July 31, 2013 | 1 Comment

Gluten Free breakfasts can be a dilemma since many quick options are full of gluten.  Udi’s asked if I would try some of their new gluten free items, I was happy to see if anything would work for me as I return to  early morning classes this fall to finish my graduate degree. They sent me an assorted box of free goodies to try, but honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much. I like Udi’s hamburger buns and but don’t purchase their other products regularly due to quality control issues (bread with too many holes) or just thinking they are so-so, like their cinnamon rolls.

I must admit, I was surprised by the flavors and textures I discovered and wanted to share some of my favorites:

The bagels really surprised me. In the past I reviewed their plain bagel and thought it was so-so.  I have to admit, I LOVED the cranberry bagels bursting with seeds and dried cranberries. I found this gluten free bagel hearty and filling and tasted great toasted with a pat of butter.  Unfortunately, there are still issues with uneven slicing, but not enough to prevent me from eating the whole thing. The exterior wasn’t as chewy as a traditional bagel, but it was really good. Rating: 4 stars

By far, my favorite item in my Udi’s breakfast box was their Harvest Crunch muffins, They have flax and pumpkin seeds, cranberries and sweet potato.  When I warmed them in the microwave for 25 seconds, they tasted like autumn to me, my favorite season.  The sweet potato added some great moisture and flavor. The muffin itself was on the dense side, soft, and not very crunchy, but I didn’t mind since that is how I like them. Rating: 5 stars

I liked the Gluten Free Udi’s Blueberry Cashew granola for it’s controlled sweetness and touch of richness from the cashews. The dried blueberries were so small I could’t taste them, which was fine by me since I don’t like blueberries anyway! The granola was nice and crunchy, and would pair fantastically as a topping for yogurt. Rating: 3  1/2 stars

Udi’s Millet-Chia bread was a nice surprise. I took note that there were less holes and gaps in the bread and tried it toasted with a pat of butter.  The flavor was mild with a bit of nuttiness and tasted great on it’s own. I think it would also make a great breakfast sandwich with egg and bacon. Rating: 4 stars

Finally, I am a big fan of the “sweet and fruity” cranberry granola. Cranberry is one of my favorite flavors so it wasn’t a hard sell for me.  The granola tasted crunchy with a touch of sweetness from honey, but not too sweet. It was bursting with dried fruit and walnuts, and was great with a splash of almond milk. Rating: 5 stars

Overall, I was impressed with how Udi’s gluten free products have improved in flavor and texture. Rumor is they now have soft tortillas, and I can’t wait to try those soon!

Nutritional information, ingredient lists, and coupons can be found at Udisglutenfree.com

GF Bakery Review – Eleanor’s Bake Shop in Sandy, Utah

Posted on | May 27, 2013 | 1 Comment

Eleanor’s Bake Shop
9495 South 560 West Building D
Sandy, UT 84070
Phone: 801-563-7466

Yes,  it’s a miracle. Resurrections happen! At least when it comes to my website.

I am excited to post some fun and tasty reviews now that school is almost out and my family has a break from the craziness.

I am kicking things off with one of my favorite places to grab a bite for lunch or satisfy a sweet craving.  Eleanor’s Bake Shop is a family owned and operated dedicated gluten free facility in Sandy, Utah that churns out cookies, specialty cakes, bread, rolls, arepas ( kind of like a south american flatbread), gourmet cupcakes, cake pops, muffins, pizza, dessert bars … and more.  I take my gluten eating family here from time to time, they like it. A lot. Better yet, they are currently working on offer dairy free  options as well.

Pictured here is their nutella cupcake and their strawberry chocolate cupcake – both with heavenly filling. Can you believe the strawberry frosting tastes like strawberry ice cream? I’m not kidding, it was yummy! The flavors of their tasty and sweet concoctions tend to rotate day to day, so there is always something new to try, so be sure to check out the daily menu on their website. The  cakes, reads and rolls are light and flavorful, with a great moist crumb and no hint of graininess.

For lunch and dinner items, they offer a variety of arepas that taste wonderful and have a light flavor and smooth texture that accentuates the sandwich fillings.  My favorites are the brisket with creamy BBQ sauce  and their chicken salad.  They also offer soups and pizza.

I really enjoy their gluten free baked goods because to me, they don’t taste gluten-free. They make me forget I need to eat “special” food. It’s nice to not feel like a special case every time I walk into an establishment.

Although I love the food, the location is terrible- located in an industrial park across the way from a taxidermy shop.  As for the service, it can be painstakingly slow. However, they are always friendly and my food order is always accurate.

Product Review: NOW Healthy Foods Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Posted on | September 11, 2012 | No Comments

I purchased this gluten free NOW Healthy Foods cookie mix in my sister and brother-in-laws pharmacy and natural foods store, Kanab United Drug,  in Kanab, Utah.  I LOVE visiting down south because of the proximity to the parks – Lake Powell, Grand Canyon North RimZion National Park, and Bryce Canyon. This mix sells for $4.99 and makes a dozen cookies.

This mix was easy to prepare, and I actually prepared two versions, one with butter, and the other with non-dairy ingredients by substituting Good Earth spread for the butter.  Oh my, what a difference!

I prepared the first version as directed on the package.  These gluten free cookies featured a grainy, crunchy texture with a strong buttery flavor.  These cookies also tasted quite bland, but sweet, with only a light chocolate flavor from the chips. The cookies bake up with crisp edges and soft centers.  Overall, they were OK, my children enjoyed them more than I did.

The reduced dairy version I made for my lactose intolerant daughter tasted awful with the Good earth spread in lieu of butter. A waxy coating on my tongue and a strange aftertaste from the spread just wasn’t appetizing, and most of the cookies ended up in the garbage.

With both versions, the raw cookie dough tasted grainy, sugary and unpleasant. I felt a little disappointed, because I like to sneak bites of cookie dough when baking- that is part of the fun!

Overall, this mix is just Ok, not bad, but not great. I would definitely stick to the preparation directions on the package using butter for best results.

Rating: 3 stars

Pros: easy to prepare

Cons: really sweet, grainy texture

Ingredients: Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin), Organic Turbinado Sugar, Organic Brown Sugar, Rice flour, Tapioca Flour, Non-GMO Soy Flour, Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Baking Soda and Baking Powder (baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, non-gmo corn starch).

Nutritional Snapshot: 250 calories, 6 g. fat, 140 mg sodium, 36 g. carbohydrates 34 g. sugar, 3 g. protein

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Want to try this gluten free cookie mix?

In Kanab, try Kanab United Drug or online via Vitaminlife.com or in bulk from amazon.com:

Product Review: Blake’s Pot Pies, organic ingredients & gluten free

Posted on | September 8, 2012 | 2 Comments

Blake’s sent me two complimentary freezer meals, a chicken pot pie, and a shepherds pie, to try out. Each is a personal sized portion of comfort food in a disposable container.  For a meal, I simply added a small side salad or some fruit and felt satisfied.

I initially baked them both in the oven at 375 degrees for 40 minutes for the shepherd’s pie, and a total time of 55 minutes for the chicken pot pie. I discovered I needed to bake the pies for an additional five – eight minutes to what the package direction indicated to completely bake and brown the crust and topping.

Shepherd’s Pie: The shepherds pie tasted quite flavorful, albeit simple.  The ground beef and corn inside the pie was cooked perfectly. The beef tasted moist and rich, and was complimented by kernels of corn that tasted fresh and burst with flavor in every bite. I tend to be leery of frozen veggies, but I had nothing to fear with this corn.  The mashed potatoes on top tasted slightly lumpy, homemade texture, but had a pleasing flavor. Overall, this pie felt rustic and an option for home cooked flavor without the fuss and mess.

Chicken Pot Pie: This pie definitely needed an extra 5-8 minutes to bake to firm up the crust, thicken the gravy, and finish off the vegetables.  After the extra baking time… oh my, so yummy!  This pot pie features a corn bread crust that brown nicely and isn’t too sweet.   The chicken pieces in this pie are quite large, tender, and delicious.  The carrots, potatoes and peas are vibrant, tender, but not mushy,  and taste incredibly fresh.

Umm, can you tell I likes these pies?  Thanks to Blake’s for the samples. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have given them a second thought in my local freezer case, since gluten free frozen meals can be a disappointment.  These are a great option for an individual comfort food, home-style  meal without the mess and prep.

Rating: 4 ½ stars

Pros: fresh flavor,

Cons: needed extra baking time, plan ahead to bake

Ingredients & Nutritional Snapshots:

Shepherd’s Pie: organic potatoes, cooked ground beef, organic corn, organic onions, organic whole milk, organic butter (pasteurized organic sweet cream, salt). 240 calories, 9 g. fat, 26 g. carbohydrates, 520 mg sodium, 14 g. protein, 2 g. sugars

Chicken Pot Pie: chicken broth, cooked white chicken meat, organic potatoes, organic peas, organic carrots, organic soybean oil, organic white rice flour, organic corn starch, organic spices, sea salt. Crust – organic whole milk, organic white rice flour, organic whole grain yellow corn meal, organic whole egg, water, organic butter, organic evaporated cane juice, organic baking powder, sea salt. 310 calories, 13 g. fat, 540 g. sodium, 32 g. carbohydrate, 15 g protein,  15 g. sugars

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Want to try Blake’s gluten free pot pies?

Blake’s can be found at most Whole Foods. Click here for a list of other stores carrying Blake’s pot pies.

Product Review: Glutino Berry Sensible Beginnings cereal

Posted on | August 28, 2012 | 1 Comment

This is one of my favorite cereals at the moment, I love it for breakfast or as a late night snack when I want to avoid a rich or sugary dessert before bed.

This cereal from Glutino is a combination of hearty, textured and crunchy corn  and rice flake style cereal with freeze dried strawberry slices that are flavor packed and really pack a punch on my taste buds. Surprisingly, the cereal looks just as good as it does on the box! I usually purchase this cereal from Against the Grain for $5.99.

This gluten free cereal tastes great with almond, soy or regular milk, and the flakes soften a bit, but don’t become soggy.  At least for me- maybe I just eat my cereal too fast? It’s totally possible, because it is so good!  The cereal had just a hint of sweetness, which I love, as I am not a huge fan of sugary cereals. It actually reminds me of Special K.

I also appreciate that this cereal is fortified with vitamins, so it doesn’t feel like an empty calorie snack that I will regret eating later.

Overall, a good, flavorful cereal I plan to keep in stock in my household pantry.

Rating: 5 stars

Pros: flavorful, doesn’t get soggy, fortified

Cons: pricey

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Click HERE for nutritional information

To purchase this cereal, check your local Harmons grocery store. May also be purchased in bulk via amazon.com:

Product Review: Svelte sustained energy protein drink – chocolate, cappuccino, french vanilla and spiced chai

Posted on | May 31, 2012 | No Comments

I have to be honest, when Svelte send me these samples, I wasn’t in a hurry to try them.  I tend to be less than enthusiastic about energy drinks ( unless it is chocolate Muscle Milk Light
 ) because they often have a gross aftertaste or don’t provide the boost I’m hoping for.  Boy was I wrong.

I LOVE these, and I discovered they sell them at my local Harmons grocery store. I’m hooked on these soy milk-based drinks.   They are great for a breakfast substitute or a mid afternoon pick-me-up.  Why are these so great?

1) I love the flavors! They are true, full, with no aftertaste.  The chocolate tastes like chocolate milk. The spiced chai reminds me of fall and Thanksgiving with warm spices.  The french vanilla reminds me of the flavor of french vanilla ice cream. The cappuccino is bound to please the pickiest of coffee drinkers with it’s pure flavor.

2) The texture is velvety and smooth, with no grit or lumps.  I like how it has body to it, without being thick and coating your mouth.  Watery drinks are gross, thank goodness this isn’t on of them.

3) These drinks keep me full for at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  I am not a huge breakfast eater, so this type of drink fits the bill for me. Each drink has 260 calories, 16 g of protein, 10 g of fat, 5 g dietary fiber and only 9 g of sugars.

4) Each drink is a large 15.9 ounces and can last quite a while if you sip it over a period of time.

5) These drinks aren’t too sweet and don’t taste sugary, which I love. They are sweetened with dried cane syrup, rice syrup solids and stevia.

Rating: 5 stars

Pros: great flavors, texture, nutrition

Cons: pricey ( around $2.50 per drink)

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Ingredients ( chocolate): organic soymilk (filtered water, organic soybeans), organic rice syrup solids, erythritol, organic cocoa powder, organic dried cane syrup, natural flavors, organic inulin vitamin and mineral blend (vitamin A palimate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin B2, calcium carbonate and zinc), organic gum acacia, organic guar gum, xanthan gum, sea salt, REB A (stevia extract)

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Want to try Svelte for yourself?

Use THIS store finder, or they may be purchased in bulk from amazon.com:

Product Review: Guiltless Gourmet Crunchies – cashew and almond

Posted on | May 20, 2012 | No Comments

Guiltless Gourmet provided me these all natural Crunchies nut snacks to try out.  These cube shaped nut snacks are packaged in a 4.25 ounce resealable bag and retail for $4.50.

I am a fan of nuts as a quick snack, because they are filling and so tasty, so these gluten free and vegan Crunchies were right up my alley.

I tried both the almond and cashew flavors, and both tasted pretty yummy, Each nut cluster, or cube, has a subtle sweetness from  pure cane sugar and tapioca syrup. However, is isn’t overwhelming and actually compliments the nuts, especially the cashews, which have a natural sweetness to begin with. I love snacks that features  savory, salty and sweet, and this nut snacks does so perfectly.

Rating: 5 stars

Pros: tasty! Nice crunchy snack with a touch of sweetness

Cons: On the pricey side

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Ingredients ( cashew flavor): dry roasted cashews, pure cane sugar, tapioca syrup, inulin ( chicory root fiber), sea salt, natural flavor

Nutritional Snapshot ( 6 piece serving): 150 calories, 9 g. fat, 190 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g. fiber, 7g. sugar 4g. protein

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Want to try Crunchies for yourself?

Use the Guiltless Gourmet store finder by clicking HERE to locate a grocer or store near you.

In the News: Chuck E. Cheese offering gluten free pizza and cupcakes

Posted on | May 17, 2012 | 1 Comment

Gluten free pizza has been in the news lately, and Chuck E. Cheese, which is famous for it’s games, rides, and dining entertainment for children, has been part of the hoopla.  But unlike negative press surrounding Domino’s gluten free pizza crust,  Chuck E. Cheese is the real deal.  This makes me so happy for the little ones out there if they want to have a birthday party, or even attend one there.  Now they don’t have to be left out!

In Minnesota, they are test marketing a truly gluten free personal size cheese pizza produced by Conte’s Pasta in a gluten free facility. The pizza’s are shipped frozen and baked in the sealed bag until opened table side and sliced with a personal pizza cutter.  It’s the same situation with chocolate fudge cupcakes produced by Fabe’s all natural bakery that are sweetened with fruit juices and vegetables.  The cupcakes are packaged and sealed individually until opened at the table to ensure cross contamination is not an issue. If this test market performs well, they hope to offer gluten free birthday parties and options at more locations outside of Minnesota.

I used to take my children to Chuck E Cheese from time to time, and I would have loved to have a pizza of my own while they enjoyed their gluten pizza.  I see this as a great option for both parents and children. Bravo Chuck E. Cheese!  I think they set a great example for serving the Celiac and gluten free community.

Youtube video: Chuck E Cheese gluten free options

In The News: Domino’s introduces a gluten free pizza crust . . . with a caveat

Posted on | May 16, 2012 | 3 Comments

Dominos Pizza recently announced it was rolling out a gluten free crust  as an option for “mildly gluten sensitive” consumers.  On their website, it says:

Domino’s pizza made with a Gluten Free Crust is prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness supports the availability of Domino’s Gluten Free Crust, but cannot recommend the pizza for customers with celiac disease.Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment in consuming this pizza.

(Does anyone else find it odd that the NFCA supports this, despite that it is not safe for individuals with celiac disease? )

From what I understand, the pizza crusts are contaminated with the same prep areas as their gluten crusts, shared utensils ( ladles, pizza cutters) with gluten crusts, and shared contaminated toppings from gluten crust pizzas. In a nutshell, the end result is not a gluten free pizza, but a gluten-reduced pizza due to the crust that is free from gluten ingredients.

What the…. seriously?  If you are going to make an effort to create and market a gluten free crust to serve the gluten free community, yet not even attempt to prevent cross contamination… why bother?

To me, it seems like just another company jumping on the fad diet bandwagon, trying to cash in on the added $3 per pizza surcharge for the gluten free crust.  To me, they missed out on a huge opportunity to broaden their customer base and increase positive press.

What do you think about Dominos marketing of a gluten free crust, but not going the extra mile to make it a gluten free pizza?  Is it good enough to promote awareness and options? Or did they make a mistake and are just jumping on a fad diet bandwagon? Is there a large enough consumer base of “mildly” intolerant people to support this move? Let’s hear what you think!

Links:

Dominoes FAQ regrading their gluten free crust and cross contamination

CBS News Story: Domino’s gluten free pizza crust not for those with celiac disease

Product Review: King Arthur Flour Cookie Mix – brown sugar cookie base

Posted on | May 14, 2012 | No Comments

I am really excited about this gluten free cookie mix from King Arthur Flour! It is one that has become a favorite in my home with both the gluten eating and gluten free consumers- many of which are kids that can’t tell the difference. This mix makes a gluten free cookie that tastes like Nestle toll house cookies. I have to warn you- buy at your own risk. They can be addicting!

I usually find this mix on sale at my local Harmon’s grocery store for $3.99 – $4.99, or I purchase it in bulk on amazon with my amazon prime shipping subscription.  Each mix makes around two dozen medium cookies.

To prepare this mix, I added  1/2 c. butter, an egg and 2 tbsp. water.  To make these cookies dairy free as well, I added Earth Balance spread and usde Enjoy Life Foods dairy free chocolate chips
.  With this mix, you can add up to three cups of add-ins. I tested this mix with coconut, peanut butter chips, mini m&ms, chocolate chips and a variety nuts, all with tasty results.

For soft, gooey cookies I baked them for eight to nine minutes in a 350 degree oven and let them cool on the cookie sheet. For crisp cookies, I baked them for 10-11 minutes.  I loved that these cookies weren’t grainy or crumbly, like so many gluten free cookies can be.  They tasted just like I remember “regular” gluten cookies tasted like.  They have a sweet brown sugar flavor to them, but it isn’t too sugary ,and I didn’t detect any type of aftertaste.

I often whip up a batch to give to neighbors and friends, and they have no clue they are gluten free, and dairy free as well. It’s nice to have a prepackaged cookie base to create from, rather than from scratch.  Sadly, my baking results are inconsistent when baking from scratch, and when I use this mix I know they will turn out well. Overall, I really like this mix and always have a few mixes stocked in my pantry.

Rating: 5 stars

Pros: great flavor, compliments a variety of add ins, easy to prepare, allergy friendly ( see ingredient list below)

Cons: Can’t think of any!

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Ingredients: specialty flour blend ( tapioca starch, rice flour), sugar, brown sugar, whole grain brown rice flour, cornstarch, molasses ( molasses, maltodextrin), salt, natural vanilla flavor, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), baking soda

* Mix is free of the  8 most common food allergens, and produced in an allergen free manufacturing facility

Nutritional Snapshot ( 2 tbsp mix): 70 calories, 0 g. fat, 160 mg sodium,  16 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. sugars 0 g. fiber, 0g. protein

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Want to try this gluten free cookie mix?

Find a local grocery store by clicking here to see retail stores that carry King Arthur gluten free mixes. The mixes may also be purchased online at the King Arthur website or in bulk on amazon.com:

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