Venice Bakery Gluten-Free Flatbread and 5-inch Pizza Crust

By | Nov 23, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

I have been trying a lot of new things in the kitchen lately. I’m adding new foods to my diet (hello, kabocha squash!) and trying to put healthier spins on my usual favorites. So, when I had new Venice Bakery gluten-free and vegan pizza crusts to try, I did two things: A “healthier” pizza with spinach, arugula, tomato and fresh mozzarella on a flat bread crust and a traditional pepperoni pizza on a five inch pizza crust.

Ingredients for making gluten-free vegan pizza

All the ingredients: arugula, spinach, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, tomato, and Boar’s Head gluten-free pepperoni

My boyfriend just finished his contract with the army and is a very willing guinea pig to try just about any new dish I come up with. After eating MREs for four years, he’s pretty much up for anything. He was skeptical about the pizza crusts, but actually ended up enjoying them way more than he expected.

My favorite of the two was the flatbreads. I didn’t really know what I should do with them seasoning wise. They come pre-seasoned, so I decided to just leave it be and make it as-is. I added my toppings and tossed it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. I checked about halfway through, and the spinach wasn’t wilting at all. I gave it a little spritz of non-stick cooking spray just to wet it. It did the trick. As it turns out, I didn’t need to add my own seasoning at all. It came our perfectly flavored.

Gluten-free vegan pizza with fresh mozzarella, tomato, spinach and arugula

My favorite pizza of the two

Jim’s favorite was the pizza rounds. I liked them too. They were chewier than I expected them to be, which was a good thing. Since they’re vegan and gluten-free, I was expecting them to be a little stiff. They didn’t crumble under the weight of the sauce, cheese and pepperoni, but they weren’t hard either.

Gluten-free vegan pizza crust with pepperoni

Pepperoni toppings

Next time I make these for dinner, I would bake them right on the rack. I didn’t want to risk getting melted cheese all over the bottom of my oven, so I put them on tin foil. They probably would have been a little firmer and crispier had I followed the directions…. Jennifer North, our Vice President, told me that parchment paper would have been a better choice if I didn’t want to put it right on the rack – a tip for those of you who, like me, overload pizzas with cheese and end up with a burned up mess in the bottom of your oven.

Overall, I give these pizzas two thumbs up. They were incredibly easy to cook. All in all, my dinner took about 20 minutes to prep and cook. You really can’t beat that!

Head to www.VeniceBakery.com to check out their other products.

Review: The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Families: Healthy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less

By | Nov 15, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

In an ideal world, every meal would be fast, easy to make, delicious and healthy. Pamela Ellgen is making this dream a reality through her cookbook, The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Families: Healthy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less, which has loads of recipes that can be made in just 30 minutes. It doesn’t get much better than that!

Many of the recipes in the cookbook are sensitive to food allergies, too. Not only are there recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers and dessert, but Ellgen also provides common baking conversions and other tips and tricks for cooking gluten-free. She even provides substitution tips for making a recipe vegetarian or vegan when possible.

This cookbook is a must-have for any family trying to manage a gluten-free diet without sacrificing on taste or time. And, be sure to check out the foreword for the cookbook, written by Alice Bast, Beyond Celiac CEO.

Get a FREE gift basket of gluten-free goodies!

You could win a basket of gluten-free goodies to add to your pantry!

  1. Pre-order The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Families: Healthy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less. Then, e-mail your order confirmation to glutenfreecookbook@callistomedia.com. To pre-order and learn more about the terms of the contest, click here. No purchase is required to participate. A random winner will be selected to win the gift basket.

Get a Sneak Peek of the Cookbook

Give this Loaded Vegetarian Gluten-Free Pizza recipe from The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Families: Healthy Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less a try:

Loaded Vegetarian Pizza (photo credit: Ellie Baygulov)

Loaded Vegetarian Pizza (photo credit: Ellie Baygulov)

Ingredients:

For the crust: 

  • 1½ tsp. sugar
  • ⅓ cup hot water (<110°F)
  • 1 package (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup finely ground blanched almond flour
  • ¾ cup tapioca flour (starch)
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1½ tsp. red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup potato starch
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

For the toppings:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1 roasted red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 (4-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place a pizza stone or pizza pan into the oven to heat.

To make the crust: 

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and hot water to dissolve the sugar. Add the yeast and whisk with a fork to disburse the yeast granules. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour, tapioca flour, and salt. Make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the egg white and vinegar.
  3. The yeast should be foamy by now. Pour it into the bowl and stir to combine. The dough will be quite wet.
  4. Add the potato starch and stir to mix thoroughly.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper and spread it into a small circle with a spatula.It will be much wetter than traditional pizza dough.
  6. Pour the olive oil onto the pizza dough and your clean hands. With your hands, press the dough into a 12-inch circle. Use your palms to press the center of the dough down and gently nudge the sides of the dough to be somewhat thicker. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Slide the pizza dough and parchment paper onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake for 5 minutes.

Make the toppings:

  1. While the pizza is resting and baking, in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the pizza from the oven. Cover with the marinara sauce, sautéed mushrooms, red pepper, tomato, and mozzarella cheese (if using).
  3. Return to the oven to bake for 8 to 10 minutes more until the cheese is melted and gently browned.
  4. Top with the fresh basil leaves and serve.

Substitution Tip: To make this recipe dairy-free, use olive oil in place of the butter and omit the cheese.

 

Schar Gluten-Free Honeygrams

By | Nov 2, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

When I was a kid, I loved graham crackers. Every once in awhile, my mom would buy my favorite – the chocolate graham crackers. They were an every-once-in-awhile lunchtime treat. I’d make little peanut butter sandwiches – one graham cracker, some peanut butter, a few thin slices of banana, topped with another graham cracker.

Schar Gluten-Free Honeygrams with Red Apple Slices

Honeygrams and apple slices – a delicious combination!

Schar’s Gluten-Free Honeygrams are the first gluten-free graham crackers that I’ve tried. They are different than your gluten-containing graham cracker. They are about half the size of a graham cracker, but a tad thicker. They are slightly more crumbly, but can easily hold the weight of peanut butter or other topping. Of course, next time you are by the fire, you have to try a gluten-free s’more. With its sugary-sweetness, you really won’t miss the gluten.

Another graham cracker favorite of mine? Dunking! Dunk these in a glass of milk, almond milk, or even hot tea.

What’s your favorite way to indulge in graham crackers? Share it in the comments, and be sure to tell us if you’ve tried Schar’s Gluten-Free Honeygrams!

Blue Diamond Gluten-Free Single Serve Nut Thins

By | Oct 10, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

I’m obsessed with gluten-free Blue Diamond Nut Thins. I really, truly can’t get enough of them. As a self-proclaimed potato chip junkie, I feel less guilty about snacking on Nut Thins than I do about eating some greasy chips. Plus, Nut Thins are much more filling than chips; you get more bang for your calories.

My only problem with Nut Thins? I can’t stop eating them. That’s why I am so excited to see they are now selling the Nut Thins in a single serve pack. It definitely eliminates the urge to keep on snacking. The single serve Nut Thins are slightly smaller than the ones that come in a full sized box, but there’s no shortage on taste. And, a serving is just 90 calories.

Blue Diamond Single Serve Cheddar Cheese Nut Thins

Blue Diamond Single Serve Cheddar Cheese Nut Thins

Blue Diamond Single Serve Hint of Sea Salt Nut Thins

Blue Diamond Single Serve Hint of Sea Salt Nut Thins

The large box of Nut Thins come in a variety of flavors: Cheddar Cheese, Country Ranch, Pecan, Smokehouse, Hint of Sea Salt, Almond, Honey Cinnamon, Honey Mustard (my favorite!), and Pepper Jack Cheese. Right now, the single serve Nut Thins are only available in Hint of Sea Salt and Cheddar Cheese. Fingers crossed that more flavors become available soon!

Aside from the great taste of Nut Thins, there are lots of advantages to the single serve packages. I think they are great for days when traffic is super heavy and I’m too hungry to wait for dinner. Parents will love how easy these are to just toss in their kids’ lunchboxes for a snack (parents can put them in their own lunch bag, too!). While perfectly delicious on their own, you can turn up the flavor by dunking in your favorite hummus or gluten-free dip.

And, for those of you who are concerned about shared facilities, you’ll be happy to know that Blue Diamond Nut Thins are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Check out the Nut Thins at BlueDiamond.com.

Three Bakers’ Gluten-Free Snackers

By | Sep 19, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

Warning: The products you’re about to read about are addictive…and totally delicious.

About two weeks ago, some samples of Three Bakers’ brand new Gluten-Free Snackers arrived at the Beyond Celiac office. In about an hour, one bag had already disappeared!

Snackers are the newest products to hit the shelves from Three Bakers. The come in four varieties: Real Cheddar Cheese, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip and Honey Graham. I tried to think about which one was my favorite for this review (yes, I tried them all…), but I really can’t decide.

Three Bakers Snackers

All the Three Bakers Snackers Varieties: Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip, Real Cheddar Cheese and Honey Graham

The Cheddar Cheese were delicious. You know that strange taste you get in your mouth after eating certain cheese flavored snacks? That did not happen with the Snackers. They are made with real cheddar cheese and you can tell.

Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chocolate Chip were both tasty. I liked the Chocolate Chocolate Chip better (I’m a double chocolate kind of gal), but they both would make for great after dinner desserts. Pair with a cold glass of milk (or almond milk, which is my new favorite thing) and you’re in for a real treat. The Chocolate Chocolate Chip reminded me of the chocolate graham crackers that I used to eat as a kid.

Three Bakers Gluten-Free Real Cheddar Cheese Snackers in a Cup

These are the Cheddar Cheese Snackers. They are more puffed in the middle than the other Snackers. The other varieties are much flatter.

Last, but certainly not least, were the Honey Grahams. Remember Teddy Grahams? They were the first thing that I thought of when I saw the name of this flavor. These had a slightly sweet, wholesome taste to them. If you like things that are a little less on the sweet side, these are for you. That’s not to say that the other flavors are too sweet – these just seemed to be a little milder.

Three Bakers Gluten-Free Snackers: Honey Graham

Loved the Honey Grahams!

You would think that these would be outrageous in the calorie department because of how tasty they are. But, the Snackers are surprisingly low in calories! You get 22 Snackers (which look like little puzzle pieces) for just 90 calories. Not bad, right?

The Snackers are certified gluten-free and are made with non-GMO ingredients for those of you who are interested in these types of products.

You can find Three Bakers Snackers in your grocery store and online through the Three Bakers’ website. You can learn more here: https://threebakers.com/product-category/snackers/

 

Spinach Tortilla from Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery

By | Sep 19, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

Gluten-free tortillas can be challenging to work with sometimes. Some can’t hold the weight of fillings and others snap when you try to roll them. I was pleasantly surprised that the Spinach Tortilla from Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery didn’t fall into either of these categories.

Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Spinach Tortilla: In Packaging

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery Spinach Tortillas

You can leave Rudi’s tortillas on the counter for up to 10 days, but we decided to keep ours in the freezer here at the Beyond Celiac office. I tossed it in the microwave for 30 seconds to defrost it. Then, I added some lettuce and homemade chicken salad to the wrap – it’s a pretty heavy mix. (Side note: I recently discovered that you can use half mayo and half non-fat, plain yogurt to cut down on calories in chicken salad. I promise you – you cannot tell the difference.)

Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Spinach Tortilla: Ready to roll

Ready to roll!

Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery Spinach Tortilla: Rolled up wrap

I’m not the best wrap maker, but it was still tasty!

I truly was expecting the tortilla to rip when I rolled up my chicken salad. It didn’t! The texture wasn’t pretty good, but I think it would be better if I let the tortilla just defrost on the counter before eating it. I’ll give this a try next time.

I liked the Spinach tortilla on its own, but I think these would be really perfect for making quesadillas at home, or maybe even homemade gluten-free “pizza.” I definitely think these will hold up to the weight, especially ones browned in a skillet for the quesadillas, for example.

Rudi’s also makes Fiesta and Plain varieties in the quesadillas. Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media, says her favorite is the Fiesta version because of its spicy and flavorful taste.

You can check out the tortillas (and other Rudi’s products) at www.RudisGlutenFree.com.

 

Enjoy Life Gluten-Free Brownie Baking Mix

By | Aug 11, 2016

By Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media

A few weeks ago, I volunteered to do a review of Enjoy Life’s All Purpose Flour. I had a load of zucchini from the Farm Share, and had a morning meeting that I wanted to bring gluten-free snacks to so that I had something to eat and share. As a regular in the baking world, I figured it’d be no biggie to whip up a batch of zucchini muffins. Sadly, I grabbed a ½ tablespoon measuring spoon instead of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon, effectively tripling the amount of salt and baking soda the recipe called for. Baking fail. Totally inedible. But at no fault of Enjoy Life, I admit. All pilot error on that one.

I decided to give a different product a try. I picked up the Enjoy Life Brownie Baking Mix instead. It is practically fool-proof, and I don’t use the term lightly!

Enjoy Life Brownie Baking Mix

Here it is! Gluten-Free Enjoy Life Brownie Baking Mix

Directions: Open the package. Add oil. Add water. Mix. Bake. Done. I was in and out of the kitchen in the time it took US Olympian Katie Ledecky to swim the 800m Freestyle. I could probably have figured out a way to goof it up, but it would have been pretty tough.

In addition to being super easy to make, I’m really glad it called for so few ingredients. There are times when a gal just wants to make some brownies and she doesn’t want to have to go buy the eggs or milk or whatever she just ran out of when making breakfast earlier in the day.

An additional hidden gift in having so few ingredients is that I am not at all tempted to stray from my vegan diet choice. The packaging doesn’t make a vegan claim, but I cannot find any ingredients listed that would make it NOT be vegan. No eggs, dairy, honey… None of it. Totally awesome especially for folks who have to steer clear from casein or any of the eight top allergens. No nuts. No soy. No artificial anything. You truly can have your brownie and eat it too.

Enjoy Life Brownies and Ice Cream

My partner added some ice cream on the side of these brownies – so good!

But the real question – how do they taste? Frankly, given that they are “free from” so many things AND have health offerings that include extra protein and probiotics, my family was skeptical. Once the brownies were out of the oven though, the skeptics became believers. Warm, gooey, chocolately, dense – all the right words to describe how brownies should taste – fit with these guys. My partner paired her extra-warm brownie with her ice cream of choice and it was truly restaurant-worthy.

I will definitely keep a box of Enjoy Life Brownies Baking Mix handy in my pantry. You can check them out on the Enjoy Life site here.

Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Original Crackers

By | Jul 25, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

From working at Beyond Celiac, I’ve gotten into all kinds of foods that I have never really tried before. Some of my favorite gluten-free products are the ones that contain different seeds and grains that you don’t normally find in a gluten-containing product (I never thought that I’d genuinely love flaxseed products). One of my new favorites is Crunchmaster Gluten-Free Multi-Seed Crackers.

Beyond Celiac is working on our back to school campaign to help parents of gluten-free kids get everything ready for the new school year. So, my mind has been on gluten-free lunchbox snacks. After trying the Multi-Seed Crackers, I couldn’t help but think that they would make for a great addition to the gluten-free lunchbox.

One of parents’ go-to lunch options for kids are the pre-packaged Lunchables – which are typically a no-go on the gluten-free diet. Plus, who needs those pre-packaged options when you can make your own at home? Since Crunchmaster crackers are sturdy, they’re the perfect base for stacking anything you’d like. The original flavor has a nice, earthy taste, so it will pair well with pretty much any topping you want. Here are some quick ideas:

  • Pack some hummus for the crackers and top with veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced olives… anything you can think of!
  • Steal the Lunchables pizza idea. Pack some homemade sauce, shredded cheese and gluten-free pepperoni slices.
  • Go the traditional route. Pack peanut butter to smear on the crackers. Then, add either jelly or sliced banana on top. (If you’re worried the banana slices will brown, just pack a whole banana and send your kid with a plastic knife to do their own slicing.)

What creative ideas do you have for using Crunchmaster crackers in your kids’ lunchbox? Share your ideas in the comments!

Crunchmaster Gluten-Free Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers

By | Jul 25, 2016

By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web and Social Media Manager

I have to admit, I’m pretty boring when it comes to meal planning. I have a habit of eating the same few dishes for months on end. Eventually, I get so tired of what I’m eating that I abandon all my staples and move on to new dishes. Then, the cycle repeats.

I’m at the point in the cycle where I need some fresh ideas. I generally eat salad every day for lunch. In an attempt to change up some aspect of the standard salad, I decided that some crunch would help change it up a bit. I made my own “croutons” in the easiest way possible: crumbling Crunchmaster Gluten-Free Sea Salt Multi-Grain Crackers on top.

I know this might sound silly, but those crackers were enough to get me through the week until I could hit the grocery store and find a new option for lunch. I loved that the Crunchmaster crackers didn’t get soggy from the dressing. Can you imagine how soggy some wheat-containing crackers could be once dressing was added to a salad?

The texture of Crunchmaster crackers is great, but what I really love is the flavor. I ate a few right out of the bag alongside my salad and loved the sea salt. It’s not over-powering, and enhances the multi-grain taste, rather than just being one of those way-too-salty crackers.

If you haven’t tried Crunchmaster crackers yet, I totally recommend it. With back to school right around the corner, these will make the perfect snack for your gluten-free kids. They’ll be a great addition to parents’ lunchboxes, too! Check them out at www.crunchmaster.com.

Lily’s Gluten-Free, Vegan Chocolate Bars

By | Jun 29, 2016

By Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media

I drew the short straw and had to do the Lily’s Sweets review. Kidding! I practically had to wrestle the chocolate from my colleagues! Well, that might be overstating it, but dang it! I’m the right person for this job, tough though it may be.

I have celiac disease and am gluten-free 100% of the time. I’m also vegan, but not as strict. I’d give me a 94%. Naturally, I lit up at Lily’s 70% Extra Dark Chocolate, which is both certified gluten-free and vegan. I sampled both the unadorned bar and the Blood Orange variety.  So good! The Extra Dark didn’t disappoint. It was as good a chocolate as I’ve had. The blood orange reminded me of those actual-size chocolate oranges that you see at the holidays that break into sections like a real orange (the brand name is Terry’s Chocolate Orange — neither vegan nor certified gluten-free), only not so monstrous and of a much more refined palate. This is definitely chocolate I will buy.

Lily's gluten-free chocolate

There’s a whole slew of gluten-free chocolate varieties to try out from Lily’s.

True confessions though. In a meeting with my boss, at a weak moment, I sampled the non-vegan but really delicious Coconut variety. In my defense, I didn’t actually know it wasn’t vegan. The meeting was going long, the office was a little warm, I was starting to droop, and I clutched at the proffered dark chocolate just as a floundering contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire uses her last lifeline. I didn’t know it was coconut for that matter. All I knew was that it was gluten-free and right in front of me. I took a bite and stopped talking in mid-sentence. Whoa. I had to see what it was that I had just eaten. The morsel was crispy and light with an excellent balance between chocolate and coconut. It was the texture I really loved.  I’m usually not gaga for coconut, so I was totally surprised when I read the label. Who knew? I’d be sorely tempted to pick this out over other bars.

Oh, and by buying Lily’s, I read on their website that I’ll consume 20-25% fewer calories than conventional chocolates. They use Stevia as their sweetener of choice. And what’s more, I’ll be supporting organizations that provide services to children with cancer and their families, since Lilly’s contributes a percentage of profits each year to these causes. Check out the story behind the company.

 

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