Posted on | March 18, 2012 | No Comments
I found this Amy’s gluten free frozen pizza at my local grocery store for $5.99, and thought it looked interesting. It is a small, personal sized pizza that is enough for one hungry person or for two to share. I baked this pizza in the oven for 10 minutes, and let it cool on the baking sheet before slicing and tasting.
I must be honest, I did not like this pizza. This gluten free pizza featured the same base crust that their their other gluten free pizzas have ( see my reviews of Amy’s non-dairy cheese pizza, spinach pizza, and cheese pizza) - a sweet, mealy, soft crust lacking in flavor and substance. However, I expected this and hoped that the unique and different toppings would make up for it.
Sadly, they did not. The dominant flavor seemed to come from the sauce, which tasted very sweet and very “oniony” – if that’s even a word. In fact, that the onion was all I could really taste. The sauce definitely overpowered the few peppers, sprinkling of shiitake mushrooms, and shaved artichoke that topped this pizza. I was so hoping for a new flavor combination, as I have never tried artichoke on a pizza before. I love roasted veggies, and the flavor of the veggies on this pizza definitely fell short of my expectations.
I finished off the pizza, and felt very unsatisfied. This pizza wasn’t worth the money I spend on it, and I don’t plan to purchase it again.
Rating: 2 stars
Pros: dairy free, vegan
Cons: mealy crust, overpowering onion flavor, skimpy veggies
Ingredients: organic rice flour, organic onions, filtered water, organic sunflower seed meal, artichokes, extra virgin olive oil, organic potatoes, organic fire roasted red bell peppers, organic tapioca starch, organic agave nectar, mushrooms, organic shiitake mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, organic tomato puree, organic evaporated cane juice, expeller pressed high oleic safflower and/ or sunflower oil, organic lemon juice, organic garlic, yeast, soy lecithin, black pepper, spices
Nutritional Snapshot ( per pizza): 430 calories, 20 g fat, 680 mg sodium, 55 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 8 g sugars, 7 g protein
Want to try this pizza for yourself?
Your best bet is to look in your local grocer’s freezer case
Product Review: Amy’s Gluten Free Shortbread Cookies – chocolate chip, classic shortbread, and almond
Posted on | March 11, 2012 | 1 Comment
Amy’s sent us their latest shortbread cookies to try out- yum! I haven’t had shortbread in ages, and looked forward to trying them out.
These boxes of shortbread cookies contain nine cookies, and a serving size is only one cookie. They are thick, medium sized cookies, and pretty high in fat (7 g. each), thanks to butter listed as the second ingredient. But hey, it is a shortbread cookie, and I expect that with this type of cookie and it didn’t bother me. Each box retails for $4.99 and comes packaged well to prevent crumbing and breakage.
I must say, these are some of the best prepackaged cookies I have had in a long time, hands down. They are delicious! My gluten eating children and husband agree with me as well. They each gave this cookie a 9 out of 10 for yumminess. In fact, my savory – loving youngest daughter snatched one of the boxes and polished them off herself with great satisfaction.
I found all three flavors of gluten free shortbread cookies to be rich and buttery, and just what I remembered gluten shortbread to be. They are fairly delicate cookies and crumble pretty easily. They feature a delicate powdery texture that simply melts in your mouth. These gluten free cookies are moderately soft and are made with a combination of organic almond four and brown rice flour which offers a pleasant texture and flavor, and reduces the number or carbohydrates. These gluten free cookies are perfectly sweet without being over the top, thanks to the evaporated cane juice used instead of regular sugar.
The chocolate chip flavor featured a moderate amount of chocolate chips. In fact, my children and I wished this cookie contained a bit more chocolate, as pictured on the box. Most cookies had 4 or 5 chips. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but they were flavorful and added a terrific punch of dark chocolate flavor to the cookie.
Ingredients: organic almond flour, grade AA butter (cream, salt, annatto), organic whole grain brown rice flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic dark chocolate (organic cacao beans, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin)
Nutritional Snapshot: 90 calories, 7g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. sugars, 1 g. protein
The almond shortbread flavor tasted terrific as well. This flavor was reminiscent of the traditional shortbread, but with the added element of a punched up almond flavor and almond bits. These almond bits added a wonderful texture, crunch, and nut flavor.
Ingredients: organic almond flour, grade AA butter (cream, salt annatto), organic whole grain brown rice flour, organic evaporated cane juice, organic almonds, organic almond extract
Nutritional Snapshot: 90 calories, 7 g, fat, 6 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. sugar, 2 g protein
Ingredients: organic almond flour, grade AA butter (cream, salt, annatto), organic whole grain brown rice flour, organic evaporated cane juice
Nutritional Snapshot: 90 calories, 7 g fat, 7 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 1 g protein
Overall Rating for all three flavors: 5 stars
Pros: great, rich flavor, pleasant texture, organic ingredients, lower sugar and carbs, super addictive!
Cons:careful, they are pretty delicate!
Want to to these cookies for yourself?
These cookies may be purchased individually from shoporganic.com or in bulk via amazon.com:
Posted on | March 9, 2012 | 1 Comment
This is another product from Hodgson Mill. After trying their other products I was interested to see how this gluten free yellow mix stacks up. I purchased this cake mix on sale for $2.99 from my local Harmon’s grocery store.
I prepared this mix by creaming a 1/2 c. softened butter. Then I added the cake mix, blended, and added 2 eggs, 1 c buttermilk, 1 t vanilla extract, and 1/2 t almond extract. I was thrown off because the instructions indicated that the batter should be thick, but mine wasn’t. It was actually quite thin.
I poured the batter into twelve cupcake tins, and baked them for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. I took them out of the oven and let them cool completely. When I removed the lined cupcakes from the tin, little chunks of my cupcakes tops crumbled off. When I took the cupcake out of the wrapper bits of the cupcake also stuck to it. Frosting these cupcakes would have been very difficult.
I took a bite out of the cupcake and noticed that it didn’t taste like a cupcake. It tasted like a sweetened corn bread! It even had the same grainy texture as cornbread with no springiness, sponginess or lightness that many good yellow cakes usually have. There was also a strange, slight aftertaste. I was not thrilled with this cake mix.
I offered this cupcake to another GF eater and gluten eater to try, and neither like the cupcake at all. In fact, the gluten eater took one bite, then promptly spit it out in the trash! They commented that this cupcake was very dense and heavy; sugary, but not sweet, and quite frankly, didn’t taste like a cake at all. I ended up throwing away most of these cupcakes. At least they weren’t expensive!
Rating: 1 1/2 stars
Pros: easy to prepare, decent price
Cons: grainy texture, cornbread taste, chunks stick to liner, dense
Review submitted by Kristina
Ingredients: brown rice flour, sugar, tapioca starch, cornstarch, baking soda, xanthan gum, flake salt, baking powder
Nutritional Snapshot: 160 calories, 0g fat, 38g carbohydrates, 15g sugar, 2g protein
Think you’ll have better luck with this mix?
It may be purchased through the Hodgson Mill website, or in bulk from amazon.com:
Posted on | March 9, 2012 | 2 Comments
p> Nuts.com provided this gluten free chocolate cake mix to test out. Nuts online, now known as nuts.com, is an internet based company. They originally sold variety of nuts, but have expanded to dried fruits, snacks and baking mixes. They now have gluten free mixes. This 1 pound cake mix mix retails for $3.49, and should make 18 cupcakes or an eight inch layer cake.
I examined the package, and it struck me as odd was that the directions were not on the package. I had to go on the website to find them.
To prepare I first creamed 1/2 c softened butter. Next I added the cake mix, 1 c buttermilk, and two eggs. After mixing well I added 1/3 c hot water and 2 t vanilla extract. Since the batter was fairly thick, it was challenging to scoop the dough into the muffin tins. The directions state that 18 cupcakes can be made, but I only made 12. I baked them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
When I pulled the cupcakes out of the oven I noticed how much they rose. I filled them about 4/5 full and they peaked an inch above the cupcake wrapper. Sadly, my cupcakes rose quite unevenly, so all my cupcakes appeared very lumpy.
I let my lumpy and bumpy gluten free cupcakes completely cool and decided to give them a taste test. I noticed mollinebonus a mild, understated chocolate flavor. It wasn”t too sweet, and I thought with frosting it would be perfect. There wasn”t a strange gluten aftertaste at all, like some GF products can have. The cupcake was a little spongy, and the texture was close to a gluten cupcake, closer than I have had in a long time. The cupcake didn”t crumble when I bit into it. I loved this cupcake! It does not taste like a gluten free cupcake. In fact, I served these at a social gathering of gluten eaters. Not a single cupcake was left over!
I have to say that I was skeptical of this mix because it came from a nut company, but these are fabulous. I am excited to try other nuts.com products.
Rating: 5 stars
Pros: not too sweet chocolate cupcake with a spongy texture, great price
Cons: directions aren”t printed on the package
Review submitted by Kristina
Ingredients: evaporated cane juice, sugar, unsweetened cocoa, garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, whole grain white sorghum flour, fava bean flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, cream of tartar
Nutritional Snapshot: 110 calories, .5g fat, 24g carbohydrates, 12g sugar, 2g protein
Want to try this mix? Visit the nuts.com site for ordering details.
Posted on | March 8, 2012 | Comments Off
Taste of Gluten Free sent us a pizza crust to try. I always get nervous with pizza crusts. I have had too many experiences where the crust is hard, crunchy, and has a weird taste to it. I was hoping that this pizza mix didn”t end up like the rest.
This mix retails for $5.00 for a 12 ounce mix, that makes one large pizza or three nine inch mini pizzas.
To prepare the crust I first mixed 2 t vinegar, 2 t oil, and 1 1/3 c warm water. Then I added the dry mix.
I bought a new pizza stone, and placed the dough directly onto it. The pizza dough felt pretty sticky, and I had to wet my hands so the dough didn”t stick to my hands. I placed the pizza into a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 minutes. I then added the toppings which consisted of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, ham, green peppers and fresh mushrooms. I then placed the pizza back in the oven for 20 minutes.
I was surprised at how well the crust held up to the toppings. Although the pizza bent under the weight of the toppings, it did not break. I took a bite and was in love. The crust is soft and chewy. But, not so soft where it falls apart. I found that the edges were a little crispy, but still chewy. There was italian seasoning in the crust which added flavor to an otherwise bland crust. Although I love this crust, my gluten eating husband said it was too chewy and that the taste was a little off.
This pizza crust cooked perfectly on my pizza stone. When I try this crust again, I want to try it on a regular cookie sheet to see if the results are the same.
Rating: 4 stars
Pros: soft and chewy crust with nice flavor
Cons: gluten eater said it was too chewy, with a funny taste
Review submitted by Kristina
Ingredients: rice flour, tapioca starch, dry milk powder, yeast, xanthan gum, gelatin powder, italian seasoning, salt, sugar
No nutritional facts provided
Interested in trying this mix? It may be purchased from tasteofglutenfree.net
Posted on | March 6, 2012 | No Comments
I purchased this 20 ounce gluten free apple pie from Whole Foods. I found it in their gluten free freezer and was curious. I love apple pie, and hoped this would be a good option for a home style apple pie when I am feeling too lazy to make one myself.
I let this pie thaw on countertop for a few hours, warmed it in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, and served it with a scoop of homemade ice cream from my countertop ice cream maker
. What a great combo! It remained fresh and edible for four days.
My family and I noticed that this gluten free apple pie had a traditional pastry crust, with a brown sugar – like crumble topping. The topping was fine overall, tasted good, but was nothing spectacular. The crust, however, was very, very soft, and soggy. It held together well, but the softness was a turn off. I usually like a flaky pie crust, and this was not it.
On the bright side, the apple filling tasted really good. The apples were perfectly baked, had a touch of texture and paired great with a nice cinnamon spiced flavor. If only there were more apples! The apple layer seemed quite thin, little more than a layer or two of apples, and that’s it. I guess I am used to my homemade apple pies with heaping piles of cinnamon apples.
Overall, this pie was just Ok. It tasted fine, and would do in a pinch, but it’s not a pie that I plan to buy again any time soon.
Rating: 3 star
Pros: apples have a nice flavor and texture
Cons: soggy crust
Ingredients: apples, butter, evaporated can juice, cornstarch, sweet rice flour, brown sugar, tapioca starch, potato starch, lemon juice, eggs, rice flour, water, cinnamon, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), mace, cloves
*Sorry readers! I forgot to save the packaging so I don’t have the nutritional information yet. I will hopefully post it at a later date.
To purchase, find a local Whole Foods near you, click HERE to use the Whole Foods store finder.
Posted on | February 27, 2012 | 2 Comments
I admit, I am a sucker for the Food Network and Iron Chef. I love the competition and creativity that shines through. Now, I am obviously not even close to being a gluten free Iron Chef, but I did create a sugar cookie showdown, inspired by Bobby Flay’s show.
My sister, children, and I baked and tested three brands of sugar cookies over the holidays. We tested them naked, and topped with buttercream and cream cheese frostings, and of course, a ton of sprinkles. Here was how they ranked:
#1: First place went to Sun Flour Mills sugar cookie mix! The flavor of these sugar cookies was a unanimous winner by all! They were substantial in heft, but light enough to almost melt in your mouth despite their light crispness. The only down side is that these are a drop cookie, and are not able to be used for sugar cookie cut outs. To get around that, we simply frosted them as is, and they tasted great. This cookie also tasted the sweetest, and didn’t need as much frosting as the other two mixes.
#2: Gluten Free Mama sugar cookie mix
received a close second place. This mix was pretty versatile, and could be used to make thin crisp cookies or thick, soft cookies, it just depended how thick I rolled out the dough and how long I baked them. When using this mix, I always make thick, soft, sugar cookie cutouts with heaps of creamy buttercream frosting. Sooo good!
#3 The Pure Pantry cookie mix
These sugar cookies performed well, but had a bit of an aftertaste to them. They made great thin cookies, and stood up to the frosting and sprinkles well. Definitely was decent mix, but paled in comparison to the other two. The sweetness was the most mild of the three.
Because we had so many cookies, I froze about half of them, and they all stored beautifully in the freezer with no loss of texture or flavor.
Do you have a favorite recipe or mix for gluten free sugar cookies?
Posted on | February 27, 2012 | No Comments
These gluten free soft pretzels went sent to me from Kim & Scott’s Gourmet Pretzels to try out. The anticipation was killing me- I haven’t had a soft pretzel since going gluten free seven years ago! These pretzels retail for $7.49, and contain two soft pretzels.
These hand twisted gluten free soft pretzels come prebaked and simply need to be warmed and topped with the included salt. Since the package contains two methods of preparation, I tried a different method on each pretzel. One pretzel I baked in the oven, the other I microwaved. After warming, I moistened the pretzels with a bit of water before quickly sprinkling the salt on them. I found the water evaporated quickly from the warm pretzels, so I had to work fast, or else the salt would simply fall off the pretzel and onto my plate
In both scenarios, the pretzels looked very much like a tradition soft pretzel, with a golden toasted outside and a dense, chewy inside. I found the microwaved pretzel to be slightly tough and very dry, it just didn’t taste good. Oven preparation was definitely preferable. The pretzel seemed to be heated more evenly, and although it was still dry, the chewiness that we love about soft pretzels seemed a bit more present. It was nice to notice that there wasn’t any grittiness or weird flavors that can be prominent with gluten free bread. Nice!
I gave a portion to my children to try, with mixed results. My pretzel loving nine year old said it was “gross and dry” and promptly spit it out in the garbage. My 12 year old said they were “not bad, but not great.” I thought they were OK, and enjoyed more the novelty of being to eat a soft pretzel again. I also found them on the dry side, and promptly decided to dip them in GF queso. Yum! Pour on the cheese and they are pretty darn tasty.
These aren’t something I would regularly keep in my freezer, but might be fun for a special occasion like a football tailgate, sports gathering, or movie party at home.
Rating: 2 1/2 stars
Pros: Looks great – close to a gluten pretzel, tastes best with queso or nacho cheese
Cons: very dry
NOTE: For details regarding the gluten free status of their products, as gluten products are also produced at their factory, visit glutenfreeville.com for details regarding their precautions to prevent cross contamination.
Ingredients: gluten free flour blend ( tapioca flour, rice flour, potato starch, granulated sugar, xanathan gum, sea salt, sorghum flour, millet flour, quinoa flour, amaranth flour, teff flour, baking powder, guar gum), eggs, filtered water, canola oil, yeast, soda
Nutritional Snapshot: 150 calories, 5 g. fat, 40 mg sodium, 1 g. fiber, 3 g. sugar, 2 g. protein
Posted on | February 23, 2012 | 5 Comments
I picked up this Hodgson Mill gluten free cookie mix from my local grocery store for $2.99. I love the idea of whipping up a batch of cookies quickly, since I often have a herd of hungry kids at my house hanging out. The idea of having a handy mix that works well is something I would love to discover.
This cookie mix was very easy to use. I simply added an egg, butter, shortening, vanilla and mini Reeces pieces. The cookie dough itself didn’t taste very good, but that’s OK, it deterred little fingers from swiping my dough. I baked the cookies for 15 minutes, just like the directions indicated, and ended up with two dozen cookies.
The cookies came out of the oven very pale on top, and lightly browned on the bottom. After cooling, I gave some to the kids and they seemed to like them OK. They said they tasted good, but no one asked for seconds. Hmmmmm. I tried one and while the flavor was very mild and let the peanut butter flavor of the Reeces shine, the cookie’s texture kinda through me off. The texture reminded me of rice flour – very fine, crumbly, powdery, almost shortbread-like in texture.
I stored the extras in a ziplock bag on my counter, and they remained fresh and edible for three days. They progressively seemed more delicate and breakable though, even though the flavor remained the same.
Overall, this gluten free cookie mix is just OK, it will work in a pinch but not something I would keep on hand as a go-to for a fresh baked sweet treat. I am guessing that with some modifications it might be improved, or the cookies baked plain would make a nice cookie crust when crumbled. If you’ve found a great way to use this mix, I’d love to hear about it! In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for a favorite cookie mix to keep in my pantry.
Rating: 3 stars
Pros: nice mild flavor, adaptable for a variety of cookie flavors
Cons: crumbly, powdery texture
Ingredients: brown rice flour, sugar, tapioca starch, amaranth flour, cornstarch, baking soda, xanthan gum, flake salt
Nutritional snapshot (mix only): o g. fat, 100 mg sodium, 1 g. fiber, 8 g. sugar, 1 g. protein
Want to try this gluten free cookie mix for yourself?
This mix may be purchased from the Hodgson Mills website, if your local store does not carry it. Click HERE to visit. For bulk orders, try amazon.com and take advantage of free shipping options:
Posted on | February 22, 2012 | 4 Comments
These sandwich rounds peaked my interest because they were so thin since the thickest part was a little thinner than a 1/2 inch. The bread is stored in the freezer, so to prepare I popped two in the toaster. They defrosted perfectly and toasted well. I paired the bread with an Amy’s veggie burger. I took one bite and was in heaven! Not only was the veggie burger fantastic, but the bread was amazing as well. It did not crumble or mush in my mouth. It was very light tasting, so as not to complete with the veggie burger at all. I loved that the bread was so thin! I didn’t feel like I had some burger with a load of bread.
I also thawed the bread in the fridge, and it turned out great as well. The bread was the same consistency and texture as when I toasted it. I paired the bread with peanut butter, jelly, butter, and some ham (of course not all at once). In each case the bread held up to the toppings and didn’t interfere with the taste of any condiments. I tried one sandwich round plain and it tasted a little grainy, with a slight aftertaste.
My only complain was that there were only eight rounds in one package. This is my new favorite bread!
Rating: 5 stars
Pros: Thin, versatile bread that can compliments many different toppings
Cons: Slightly grainy when eaten plain
Review provided by Kristina
Ingredients: (vegan) organic rice flour, filtered water, organic sunflower seed meal, organic tapioca starch, organic potatoes, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic agave nectar, sea salt, yeast, organic rice bran extract
Nutritional Snapshot: (1 sandwich round) 90 calories, 4g fat, 13g carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 2g protein
To purchase, check the frozen food section of your local grocery store or Whole Foods. I couldn’t find an online source to purchase from, so if you know of one, please link to it in a comment. Thanks!