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
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
Want to try Crunchies for yourself?
Use the Guiltless Gourmet store finder by clicking HERE to locate a grocer or store near you.
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
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!
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
Posted on | May 14, 2012 | No Comments
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!
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
Want to try this gluten free cookie mix?
Posted on | May 14, 2012 | No Comments
Chocolate Inspirations sent me a sample pack of their chocolates and treats. They looked good, but I wanted to know more about cross contamination issues and manufacturing before I would put any of the treats in my mouth. I checked out their website, and although some items were marketed as gluten free, I felt uneasy. So, after trading many emails with the company, I was happy to discover that their products and manufacturing area are now 100% completely gluten free! Even the pretzels they use in their concoctions are Glutino gluten free pretzels! In reality, it was over a month of the samples sitting on my desk before I would even taste them. And amazingly, they were still delicious.
I tried the following:
Peanut Butter Pillows with dark chocolate: reminded me of a butterfinger bar! Flaky peanut butter on the bottom, dark chocolate on top
English Toffee ( my favorite of the group): buttery toffee topped with chocolate and pecans. I was in heaven!
Michael’s favorite chocolate combo : dark chocolate and creamy peanut butter with Glutino pretzels. It’s sweet and salty with a nice crunch. Dairy free too! My daughter especially liked them.
Cinnamon Toast Toffee: This is their toffee topped in milk chocolate and cinnamon sugar. It actually reminded me of a really sweet version of cinnamon toast. It was Ok, but I think I preferred the english toffee over this one. It was just too much sugar for my tastebuds.
Mocha Mini: this was strange to me. It’s a one ounce mold of mocha milk chocolate on the end of a stick, that enables you to place the mini into a cup of coffee to create a mocha dessert or rich drink as it melts. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I simply melted it in a small bowl and drizzled it over strawberries. It was OK, but I think I would appreciate it more if I drank coffee.
Overall, I was impressed with the flavor and texture of their gluten free confections. They balanced just the right amount of sweetness and flavor. I found the chocolates to be creamy and sweet, but not overly so with the exception of the cinnamon sugar toffee. I think these would make a great gift and are delicious enough for both special occasions and every day.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Pros: delicious all around! Dairy free and vegan selections as well
Cons: website is confusing and unclear regrading the gluten free status of their products.
*Please note that Chocolate Inspirations are supposed to be updating their website re: gluten free status, but as of my publication date, this has not happened.
To purchase, please click HERE to visit the Chocolate Inspirations website.
Posted on | May 13, 2012 | No Comments
I am almost done with reviewing food safe for Passover! Although the Passover has come and gone, this will be useful for next year. Gluten Free Matzo provided these Gefen noodles, and can be purchased on their site. You can purchase three 9 ounce boxes for $19, a little more than what I usually spend for gluten free noodles.
Straight out of the package, I noticed the shape of the noodles was different than any other noodle I have tried before. When I poured the noodles into the boiling water it reminded me of acrylic fingernails! They are about two inches long, and have a slight curl. After cooking the shape remained the same.
To prepare the noodles I boiled 4 1/2 cups of water with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil, per the instructions on the package. Once the water was ready I boiled the noodles for 4 minutes. I was excited to see how short the boiling time was, but also nervous. I hoped 4 minutes would be enough. After rinsing the noodles with cool water I gave them a try. The noodles have a smooth texture with no grittiness. The majority of the noodles were cooked al dente, and the rest were crunchy. The crunchy ones were minimal and didn’t bother me much. These gluten free wide noodles featured a soft potato flavor, but with a slight aftertaste. It seemed to be a stronger potato taste but not pleasant. I felt very nervous to try it with a sauce. Surprisingly, with the tomato sauce the aftertaste was gone. All I tasted was a delicious noodle with a tasty sauce. Perfect!
These are the best eggless noodles I have ever tried, and highly recommend them.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Pros: soft potato taste, quick cooking time, egg free
Cons: slightly uneven in cooking
Review provided by Kristina
Ingredients: potato starch, potato flour, salt, cellulose gum, beta carotene
Nutritional Snapshot: (1 cup) 200 calories, 0g fat, 210 mg sodium, 49g carbs, 1 g sugar, 2g protein
Want to try this gluten free pasta?
It may be purchased from glutenfreematzo.com HERE or in bulk via amazon.com:
Posted on | May 13, 2012 | No Comments
I believe gluten free noodles have been conquered, except for no yolk egg noodles. I haven’t encountered any good yolk-free, gluten free noodles. Glutenfreematzo.com sent these Manischewitz noodles to try, let’s hope they’ve done it!
I prepared these noodles by boiling them for nine minutes, per the instructions. When I strained them, I worried that I overcooked them because they appeared to be too soft and falling apart. When I took a bite I found that the outside was very soft and seemed overcooked. The inside of the noodle, however, was crunchy as if it wasn’t cooked enough. They were a step past al dente. The taste was stronger than I’m used to. It wasn’t a bad taste, just a strong flavor I couldn’tplace, and wasn’t familiar with. The texture was smooth and not grainy.
I paired the noodles with a lemon chicken alfredo. This is one of my favorite meals. I have tried it with different noodles, and rice, and it has always been yummy. With these noodles however, the meal tasted off. Not only did I detect a crunch with every bite, but the overpowering taste of the noodles interfered with the lemon. I tasted more of the noodles than the sauce. The noodles held the sauce well, and didn’t slip off, as with some gluten free pasta. I attributed that to the tight spirals.
Not my favorite noodle, but it is yolk free which makes it a little healthier. It is also kosher which is perfect for Passover.
Rating: 3 stars
Pros: yolk free, cooks up quickly
Cons: strong noodle taste, cooks unevenly
Review provided by Kristina
A note from Karen: My personal favorite egg style noodle is still the Glutano tagliatelle noodles. My local stores have stopped carrying them, but can still be found online. Check out my review for purchasing links.
Ingredients: tapioca starch, potato flakes, potato starch, pasteurized egg white, emulsifier (monoglyceride-palm oil), xanthan gum, spices (turmeric, paprika)
Nutritional Snapshot (2 oz): 196 calories, less than 1g fat, 41g carbohydrates, 4g protein
Posted on | May 5, 2012 | 2 Comments
Kozy Shack sent me samples of their prepared puddings, all of which were gluten free, and many of them were also lactose free. My lactose intolerant daughter was thrilled to have a treat she didn’t need to take a Lactaid
with! I stored these gluten free puddings in my refrigerator.
I’ve never tried their products, for the simple fact that I didn’t Kozy Shack they had gluten free options. I looked at the ingredient label, and noticed immediately the simpleness, not as many chemicals and artificial ingredients as some other prepackaged puddings.
As for taste, my family really liked their tapioca, regular and lactose free chocolate, and rice puddings the best. They were smooth and creamy with a milk chocolate flavor, like a homemade batch would taste like. I like that the chocolate and sweetness seemed balanced, and that their puddings weren’t sugary and didn’t taste over processed. Their vanilla flavor seemed fairly mild and would actually go well with a sprinkle of cookie crumbs or mini chocolate chips for a sweet treat. Unfortunately, the lactose free vanilla, tapioca and rice pudding flavors did not fare as well. They had an off color and flavor that just didn’t taste good.
My children enjoyed having the snack pack sizes in their lunches, and I imagine this would be perfect for a gluten free child that wants to feel like the other kids in the lunch room at school. They especially liked the Cowrageous snack cups, that are all natural and have a cute, child friendly cartoon of a cow on them.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the assortment of Kozy Shack gluten free products. My personal favorite was the chocolate rice pudding- I hadn’t tried it before and was surprised at how good it was! I would definitely purchase the regular and lactose free chocolate, rice and tapioca versions for a picnic or school lunch, but would pass on the lactose free vanilla, rice and tapioca flavors.
4 stars for chocolate, tapioca and rice varieties, 2 stars for lactose free tapioca and rice pudding flavors
Pros: Smooth, creamy, not too sweet
Cons: unpleasant aftertaste with the lactose free tapioca and rice puddings
Due to the variety of flavors, I encourage you to visit their website for nutritional and ingredient information.
Want to try Kozy Shack puddings for yourself?
Use Kozy Shack’s store finder HERE to find the closest retail location.
Posted on | May 5, 2012 | No Comments
These new bars are by Zing and they have six different flavors: almond blueberry, chocolate coconut, cashew cranberry orange, chocolate peanut butter, oatmeal chocolate chip, and peanut butter chocolate chip. I tested the almond blueberry.
This bar is 1.76 oz and typical nutrition bar size. These bars are soft, similar to a date bar with nuts and dried fruit. They also have whey protein crisps which I couldn’t see, but added a little crunch. They reminded me of wafers which provide a little crunch, but then melt in your mouth. The blueberries, almonds, and whey protein crisps were distributed evenly throughout the bar. The dried blueberries weren’t as flavorful as I hoped, but I felt the bar as a whole was still delicious.
This Zing bar had 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It felt more filling than other bars I have tried, but still could not last me for an extended period of time.
Rating: 4 stars
Pros: 11g protein, more filling than other snack bars, varied flavors
Cons: bland blueberries
Review provided by Kristina
Ingredients: almond butter, organic tapioca syrup, organic agave syrup, whey protein blend (whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, whey protein hydrolysate), organic wild blueberries, chicory root fiber, almonds, rice protein concentrate, whey protein crisps (whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, tapioca starch, calcium carbonate, sunflower lecithin), vanilla extract, sea salt, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E), natural almond extract
Nutritional Snapshot: 210 calories, 9g fat, 23g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 12g sugar, 11g protein
Want to try Zing bars?
Click HERE for a store locator, or purchase in bulk via amazon.com:
Posted on | April 26, 2012 | No Comments
These Perfectly Simple bars by Zone Perfect are made from 10 ingredients and contain 10 grams of protein. These gluten free snack bars were purchased at my local Target store. They retail for 98 cents per bar, or can be found on sale for $4.59 for a box of six.
Since writing reviews on this website, I have had the opportunity of trying many protein/meal replacement bars. I lump them into two categories: fruit/nut, and chocolate covered. This bar falls into the fruit/nut category. There are three Perfectly Simple bar flavors: cranberry almond, peanut crunch, and toasted coconut. I tested the cranberry almond flavor.
This bar had a date paste base with dried cranberries, roasted almonds, and dried pomegranate seeds. I enjoyed the flavor, as it reminded me of a fruit crisp. It tasted very good. There was a perfect amount of sweetness, and the nuts added a perfect amount of crunch. This snack bar was chewy, and holds it”s shape well in heat, and even retails it”s shape buried at the bottom of a purse. It definitely travels well, and would be great to keep in a car or backpack when a “snack attack” hits.
However, This bar did not fill me up like some protein snack bars. After eating it, my hunger was tamed a little, but not enough to feel satisfied. For me, this is a nice snack that tastes great, but not a meal replacement.
Rating: 4 stars
Pros: 10 ingredients, not too sweet, crunchy nuts, ideal travel snack
Cons: not filling
Review submitted by Kristina
Ingredients: soy protein isolate, apple juice concentrate, sweetened dried cranberries (sugar, dried cranberries, sunflower oil), date paste, roasted almonds (almonds, high oleic sunflower oil), dried pomegranate seeds, and cinnamon powder
Nutritional Snapshot: 170 calories, 4g fat, 23g carbohydrates, 19g sugar, 10g protein
Want to try these snack bars for yourself?
Check your local retail store by using the Zone Perfect store finder HERE, or you may purchase online at netrition.com: