Enjoy Life Plentils: Crunchy Lentil Chips

By | Feb 27, 2015

I can’t get enough of lentils. Lentil soup is one of my favorite dishes and I have been trying for years to mimic my mother’s recipe. My version isn’t quite the same as hers, but I’m getting close!

My point? Any lentil based food is right up my alley. So, it should come as no surprise that Enjoy Life’s Plentils are on my favorite gluten-free snacks list. Plentils were one of the first gluten-free snacks that I had the chance to try when I joined the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team about three years ago. I loved them then and I still love them now.

Enjoy Life Plentils: Lentil Chips

The Plentils collection

Enjoy Life sent some of the chips to the office to try out: Dill and Sour Cream, Light Sea Salt, Garlic Parmesan and Margherita Pizza. I hadn’t had the chance to try any flavor other than the Sea Salt in the past. Dill and Sour Cream is my favorite and the Margherita is tasty as well, with a somewhat spicy yet salty flavor. I didn’t have the chance to try the Garlic Parmesan – they disappeared from our office kitchen super-fast. Always a good sign of a tasty product!

The chips have a wavy rectangular shape and pack a nice crunch. NFCA Patient Education Manager, Rachel Rieger, compared the texture to that of Funyuns.* Not only are all Enjoy Life products gluten-free, but they are also free of the top 8 allergens as well: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. And, with 40% less fat than regular potato chips, you won’t feel guilty indulging in that crunchy craving.

Head to the Enjoy Life Foods website for more information on the Plentils, including where you can find them in stores.

*According to the Frito-Lay website, Funyuns don’t have gluten-containing ingredients, but are made on shared lines and the final products are not tested for gluten contamination. Other Frito-Lay products, however, are considered safe for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’). Learn more here.

Taste Guru: Enjoy Gluten-Free

By | Feb 27, 2015

We have all probably shared this experience at one point or another: You go to the store and find a new product that you’re excited to try because it looks oh-so-good on the box. You go home, try it out and are disappointed to find you don’t like the product at all. It can be frustrating, especially because of the increased cost of gluten-free packaged foods.

I am excited to tell you that the solution is here: Taste Guru. They’ll send you a box of various gluten-free, trial-sized products to sample before you commit to buying the full box or bag in store. That’s right – gluten-free products delivered right to your door.

Taste Guru - ExplodingBox - NoLogo

So many gluten-free options to try!

The folks at Taste Guru sent a box to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office for the team to try. It came perfectly packaged in a box, with the products neatly arranged inside with tissue paper on top and a sticker to hold the goods in place. The box included all kinds of goodies, including NoGii bars, Simply 7 Quinoa Chips and Lentil Chips, Oven Baked Organics Gluten-Free Pancake Mix and the cutest little bottle of Tabasco sauce that I have ever seen (seriously, it was only 3 inches tall and totally adorable). You can see samples of the boxes on Taste Guru’s website.

NFCA Office Manager Mary Buhring was so excited to see the package arrive. Her son, who has celiac disease, will be heading off to college in the fall. She plans to send him some packages so that he has some gluten-free snacks on standby should he find himself in a pinch.

Signing up for deliveries from Taste Guru is pretty simple. Just head to their site here and pick out which monthly commitment and price plan works for you and your budget. Then, sit back and wait for your goodies to arrive on your doorstep.

Do you already subscribe to Taste Guru? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Gluten-Free in London, an eBook from Gluten-Free Travel Site

By | Feb 4, 2015

I have had the pleasure of working with Karen Broussard of Gluten-Free Travel Site for almost three years. I’m always happy to share the resources from her site as they are super helpful when it comes to eating gluten-free away from home. From a comprehensive website to phone apps, Gluten-Free Travel Site does a great job of helping people navigate U.S. and international cities, restaurants, colleges and more with their thousands of user-submitted gluten-free dining reviews, searchable by location.

Gluten-Free in London eBook

Gluten-Free in London (Photo Credit: www.GlutenFreeTravelSite.com

The latest to come from Gluten-Free Travel Site is the incredibly helpful Gluten-Free in London eBook. 10 chapters of detailed information in the eBook will guide you through the trip of a lifetime. The eBook starts out with an overview of what it’s like to eat gluten-free in London and then takes you through everything from choosing a hotel to where to find gluten-free options near popular tourist attractions.

My favorite part about the eBook is the conversational tone. Karen actually took a nine-day trip to London with her family and used her own preparation and experiences to write the book. The food photos included will make you want to hop on a plane right now.

If you’re traveling to London, the $9.99 cost of the eBook is absolutely worth it. Head to Amazon to make your purchase. You can also read about the eBook firsthand from Karen Broussard here.

No matter where you’re traveling, you’re likely to find helpful resources and reviews on www.GlutenFreeTravelSite.com. Teens interested in learning more about gluten-free-friendly colleges will also find invaluable information on the Gluten-Free Travel Site.

Van’s Gluten-Free Granola: Blueberry Walnut and Cranberry Almond

By | Feb 3, 2015

I always love when Van’s sends products to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). I really don’t think there has ever been a Van’s product that I didn’t enjoy. That holds true for their new gluten-free granola, which comes in Blueberry Walnut and Cranberry Almond varieties.

van's gluten-free granola

Van’s Gluten-Free Granola (Photo credit: www.vansfoods.com)

Both granola varieties are super chewy. I wasn’t expecting that, but it was delicious! The NFCA team ate the granola right from the bag – it was that good. Even though this granola is super chewy, it still works great in yogurt.

I am normally not a fan of blueberry products, but I actually enjoyed the Blueberry Walnut a lot – almost more than the Cranberry Almond. No matter which flavor you try, you are in for a treat with Van’s Gluten-Free Granola!

Blog Tour & Giveaway: “Gluten-Free on a Budget” by Chandice Probst and Tana Besendorfer

By | Jan 16, 2015

I’m always getting questions about eating gluten-free on a budget. If I had to rank it, I’d say it’s in the top 5 questions we frequently receive on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Facebook page.  We have a great downloadable cheat sheet that I often share, but I now have another resource in my arsenal: Gluten-Free on a Budget by Chandice Probst and Tana Besendorfer.  The authors are hosting a “blog tour” for their book and I’m excited to have Gluten-Free Hot Products as a stop on the tour!

Gluten-Free on a Budget is different than I expected it to be. When I heard the title, I just assumed it was a how-to book. Then, I actually started going through the content. It’s one of those books that practices what it preaches; it combines budget-savvy tactics and ideas with recipes that match Chandice and Tana’s approach to saving money.  It goes beyond the clip coupons, shop-the-sales approach. They factor a lot into the equation, making the tips applicable for real-life scenarios.

Gluten-Free on a Budget: Chandice Probst and Tana Besendorfer

Cookbook authors Chandice Probst and Tana Besendorfer

So what does that mean? A great example stems from a chapter that leads with two quotes from Benjamin Franklin: “Time is money” and “Waste not, want not.” Basically, Chandice and Tana take a multifaceted approach to budget by factoring in spending time, using resources wisely and making use of everything. I was immediately struck by their approach because it allows for everyone to define what they’re willing to spend, not just in a monetary sense.  That’s what I mean by real-life applications.  Sure, the store 10 miles away might have the best sale, but if you have to idle in traffic, take a detour on your route home, and take an extra half hour out of your day, that’s not really saving anything, is it?

Gluten-Free on a Budget: Biscuit Recipe

Just one of the many yummy gluten-free dishes included in the cookbook!

The recipes in the book might save money, but they certainly don’t skimp out on the flavor! It has everything from gluten-free chocolate chip muffins to beef stroganoff and there are plenty of kid-friendly options, too.  I’m particularly a fan of the recipe photos; I always tend to favor cookbooks that have lots of photos to help you know if you’re on the right track. Plus, Chandice and Tana’s tag-team approach to narrating the tips and background stories is both entertaining and informative.

You can grab Gluten-Free on a Budget for the wallet-friendly price of $17.97 on Amazon.  We’re also hosting a giveaway on behalf of Chandice and Tana! Simply fill out this form for your chance to win your very own copy.

 

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts by Laurie Sadowski

By | Jan 6, 2015

I had the pleasure of working with cookbook author Laurie Sadowski a few months back.  Along with Sarah Norris of Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free in Walt Disney World, Laurie was planning the Food Allergy & Celiac Convention in (you guessed it!) Walt Disney World.  We hosted a Twitter chat with Sarah and Laurie, who we affectionately referred to as the Disney Gals at the NFCA office, and helped them get the word out about the event. Shameless plug for the Disney Gals – check them out. They plan an amazing event for families affected by food allergies and celiac disease.

Laurie Sadowski's "The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts"

Laurie Sadowski’s “The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts”

Ok, back to the topic at hand! Laurie Sadowski’s The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts.  Laurie contacted me to see if I would be a part of her blog tour for the new cookbook.  Knowing how valuable this cookbook can be, I said “Of course!” Also, I know how much you guys love giveaways. Keep on reading to learn how you can get your hands on a free copy of the cookbook and have a recipe of your choice shared by Laurie herself.

If you’re accommodating multiple food allergies or gluten-related disorders in your home, this book is for you.  None of the recipes call for eggs, gluten, soy, nightshades, wheat or dairy (also making the recipes completely vegan).  If other common allergens are included in a recipe, they’re called out above the recipe so you immediately know which recipes could be right for you and your family.

So how many recipes can be included in a vegan, allergy-free cookbook? 147 pages worth.  Laurie has recipes for pies, cheesecakes, tarts, pudding, ice creams, and cobblers and crisps.  I’m normally intimidated by allergy-free cookbooks since they sometimes include ingredients you can’t easily find on the grocery store shelves. The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts has many easily-recognizable ingredients, like sea salt, xanthan gum, maple syrup, orange zest, and gluten-free flours (yes, there are way more ingredients than this in the cookbook, but you get the idea).

As part of Laurie’s blog tour, we’re giving away a copy of her cookbook. All you have to do is fill out this form to be entered for your chance to win. We’ll be randomly selecting the winner soon, so stay tuned!

Can’t wait for a copy of the cookbook to try out a recipe? Simply comment on this post with the recipe you’d most like from the cookbook. Laurie will then share the most popular recipe from the cookbook on her site. Pretty cool, right?  Here are some recipes to choose from:

Pies and Cheesecakes, including:

  • Peach pie with buttery double crust
  • Pumpkin pie with pecan streusel
  • Cherry pie with cacao nib pastry
  • Old-fashioned raisin pie
  • Peanut butter blondie pie with cocoa crust
  • Deep dish apple crumb pie
  • Fresh strawberry pie with almond crust
  • Chocolate-hazelnut truffle pie
  • Blueberries and cream pie
  • Coconut cream cheesecake

Tarts of All Sizes, including:

  • Chocolate-caramel-pecan tart
  • Better than butter tarts
  • Lemon-glazed carrot cake tart
  • Shortbread lemon tarts with white chocolate drizzle
  • Sticky molasses shoofly tarts
  • Pistachio cherry ganache tart
  • Blueberry toaster pastries
  • Nectarine and red currant galette
  • Flaky winter persimmon galette

Cobblers, Crisps and Other Fruite-Filled Desserts, including:

  • Double chocolate-raspberry cobbler
  • Strawberry-rhubarb snickerdoodle cobbler
  • Maple-apple-pecan crisp
  • Nova Scotian blueberry grunt
  • Blackberry buckle
  • Pear cardamom pandowdy
  • Ginger plum crumble
  • Stuffed apple dumplings with cider sauce

Puddings, Pudding Cakes, and Layered Desserts, including:

  • Chocolate-pumpkin custards
  • Lemon-blueberry pudding cake
  • Fudgy mocha pudding cake
  • Black Forest trifle
  • Gingersnap-pumpkin icebox cake

Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts, including:

  • Very vanilla ice cream
  • Peanut butter-brownie bite ice cream
  • Hot fudge sundaes in sugar cone bowls
  • Magical caramel-swirled brownie sundaes
  • Frozen Kahlua mud pie
  • Strawberry ice cream sandwiches
  • Mint chocolate swirl ice cream

Comment away, everybody!  Looking forward to seeing which recipe you most want from Laurie!

You can learn more about Laurie, The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts and her other cookbooks at www.TheAllergyFreeCook.com.

The Good Bean: Bean Chips with Sweet Potato + Quinoa

By | Jan 6, 2015

If you follow this blog, you’re probably seeing a trend in the types of products we’re receiving to try out for reviews. Beans! We’ve gotten so many snack products made from beans and I can’t help but wonder if this is the next trend in gluten-free products (or, perhaps it has been a trend that I am just now noticing!).

The Good Bean Chips with Sweet Potato + Quinoa: Variety Bags

Photo credit: www.thegoodbean.com

No matter what the cause, I’ve been enjoying gluten-free alternatives made from beans. The latest to arrive at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness office are Bean Chips with Sweet Potato + Quinoa from The Good Bean. You might recognize that name from a review I wrote not too long ago for Chickpea Snacks. I liked the chickpea snacks, but I definitely prefer the Bean Chips.

I’m a fan of chips made from quinoa. I think they give snacks a bigger crunch and make for a sturdier chip prime for dipping and scooping. The sweet potato mixed with the sea salt flavor of the chips creates a nice sweet-and-salty flavor. I’m also a fan of the ingredients used to make the Bean Chip blends – chickpeas, navy beans and red lentils.

Just like the Chickpea Snacks, the Bean Chips come in a variety of unique flavors. Of course, there are the classic Sea Salt and Cheesy Nacho flavors, but they also come in BBQ Bacon, Sweet Chili and Jalapeño Cheddar.

You can check out the bean chips at www.thegoodbean.com/chips.

Ian’s Gluten-Free Artisan Cut Italian Style Croutons

By | Jan 5, 2015

I feel like this happens to me all the time: I receive a gluten-free product to try for the blog, something in the nut or cracker family, and I immediately think, “Oh, this could be a good crouton substitute.” But I never get to try actual gluten-free croutons. Until Ian’s Gluten-Free Artisan Cut Italian Style Croutons (say that 10 times fast!) showed up at the office.

As soon as the box arrived, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Patient Education Manager Rachel Rieger and I tore open the bag of croutons, popping a few into our mouths to see how they tasted. Almost in unison, the gluten-free croutons received an audible “Yum!” from the two of us.

Conveniently, it was about noon and I packed a salad for lunch that day. NFCA Director of Communications and New Media Claire Baker typically eats a salad for lunch every day, so we both topped our meals with the croutons that had a perfectly-timed arrival.

Ian’s Gluten-Free Artisan Cut Italian Style Croutons: Salad 1 topped with croutons

My salad topped with Ian’s gluten-free croutons

Ian’s Gluten-Free Artisan Cut Italian Style Croutons: Salad 2 topped with croutons

Claire’s salad topped with Ian’s gluten-free croutons

I think the best review I can give these croutons is the simplest: they tasted like croutons. Slightly salty, a little garlic-y, perfectly peppered croutons. They had just the right crunch and were a good size (they are surprisingly large). I found myself wishing I had a can of tomato soup instead of a salad for lunch; Ian’s gluten-free croutons would top it perfectly!

To learn more about Ian’s Gluten-Free Artisan Cut Italian Style Croutons and other gluten-free products, head to www.iansnaturalfoods.com/allergy-friendly-products. Heads up – Ian’s makes products that are not gluten-free, so just make sure you’re shopping in the gluten-free section of the website or supermarket.

Dr. Lucy’s Seasonal Gluten-Free Cookies

By | Dec 3, 2014

Cutting some corners here and there can make all the difference during the holiday when it comes to being frustrated or being festive. Translation? It’s ok to buy the pre-packaged gluten-free cookies – especially when they’re from Dr. Lucy.

Lucy's Holiday Cookies

Photo Credit: www.drlucys.com

Lucy’s cookies are gluten-free and great for those who have food allergies or intolerances in addition to a gluten-related disorder.  Lucy’s products are made in a dedicated bakery and are free from gluten, milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.  The cookies are now out in different holiday flavors: Pumpkin Patch, Holiday Sugars and (my favorite) Chocolate Mint.  These are perfect for bringing to your company pot luck or sending to school with your gluten-free kid.

If you’ve been watching the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ (NFCA) Gluten-Free Baking Hacks campaign, you’ll know we’re fans of making life easier whenever you can.  You can serve these cookies as-is at your holiday party, or you can take it a step further and jazz them up with your own gluten-free icing and sprinkles.

For more information on all Lucy’s products, head to www.drlucys.com.

 

The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks

By | Dec 3, 2014

I think it’s a rarity to find a crunchy snack with a hint of saltiness that you don’t feel guilty about eating, but that’s exactly how I feel about The Good Bean’s Chickpea Snacks.  They are crunchy, tasty and quite versatile.

The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks

Photo credit: www.thegoodbean.com

We had a few bags of these snacks around at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office.  They disappeared in a short amount of time as many of the team members enjoyed the roasted chickpeas.  I liked snacking on these right from the bag in the afternoon when you just need that little something to hold you over until dinner.  I was surprised that the Mesquite BBQ flavor was my favorite, since I usually tend to not like barbecue flavored snacks.  I snacked on these by themselves, but also tossed them into my salad to give it that little something extra. This is definitely a great crouton alternative – gluten-free and not loaded with calories.

The Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper varieties are perfect for tomato soup instead of using gluten-free crackers.  I usually add my own pepper to tomato soup, but these Chickpea Snacks have enough flavor on their own. No extra seasoning required!

The folks at The Good Bean say they set out to replace their favorite chocolate cereal with a gluten-free, healthier version – hence their Chocolate Chickpea Snacks made with sweet cocoa and vanilla. I wasn’t sure about chocolate and a chickpea at first, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised when I gave it a whirl.

There really is a Chickpea Snack flavor out there for everyone.  Others include Sweet Cinnamon, Smoky Chili & Lime and Thai Coconut.  For more information on the snacks and ideas for how to use them, head on over to The Good Bean site.

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