Some of my favorite products include those that aren’t meant to be gluten-free alternatives; the ones that just happen to be made with gluten-free ingredients – just like Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites.
I was sitting at my desk about to try out the pistachio chews when a volunteer for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Colby, heard me wrestling with the wrapper (Warning: These deliciously sticky, chewy bars are not for anyone wearing braces!). She’s a pistachio fan like me and wanted to try them out too, so I tossed her one over the cubicles so she could give it a whirl. To be completely honest, we were a little skeptical at first. It looked like a whole lot of pistachios, even for us pistachio lovers. We were pleasantly surprised, though, when we bit into the bars and got a burst of sweet flavor mixed with the nuts: dried cranberries and agave nectar.
The pistachio chews are on the smaller side and they are individually wrapped, making them perfect for traveling or your emergency gluten-free stash. These little guys are packed with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Don’t be fooled by the size of the chews; even though they’re on the smaller side, they really did a lot to curb my hunger and give me a bit of a boost when I hit that 3 o’clock slump.
You’ll be happy to know these Pistachio Chewy Bites are certified gluten-free as well. (I completely missed the certification logo down in the left hand corner of the bag at first – but, it’s there!).
Visit Setton Farms online to learn more about these tasty Pistachio Chewy Bites. (You can order these right from the website, too!).
Tons of gluten-free snack bars are popping up all over the market, so there are plenty of options out there. But not all snack bars are created equal.
Enter Zing Bars.
Zing Bars look and taste like a snack bar, but they are marketed as “nutrition bars” because of the quality and balance of ingredients used. According to the nutritionists behind Zing Bars, they contain 45% carbs, 35% fats and 20% protein, which is “the ideal mix for sustained energy, weight control and steady blood sugar.”
But how do they taste, you ask? I have to say, I’m a fan. When I try out new snack bars, the first thing I notice is the texture. If a bar isn’t rock hard or doesn’t break in half when you take it out of the package, it’s definitely promising. I tried the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and thought it had a good taste and was pretty pleased with the texture. The bar was slightly chewy (in a good way), but moist enough that it didn’t stick to the roof of your mouth.
The Office Manager at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), Suzanne Welz, tried out the Cashew Cranberry Orange. She was impressed with the flavor, but wasn’t too crazy about the texture.
Overall, I definitely liked the Zing Bars. I think they would make a great gluten-free breakfast on the go for those mornings when you’re short on time. The bars come in three categories “Chocolate Coated,” “Soft Cookie” and “Fruit & Nut,” so there’s a lot of flavor varieties to choose from. You can see all the other varieties over at www.ZingBars.com. If you’re looking for soy-free and dairy-free options, there are bars for you too!
Cookbooks are my favorite things to review for Gluten-Free Hot Products, since it allows me to step outside of my cooking comfort-zone and try something new. When I receive a cookbook featuring quick and easy recipes, I’m extra excited to give the recipes a try.
When a copy of Weeknight Gluten Free, a new cookbook from Kristine Kidd, arrived on my desk at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office, I leafed through the pages and found myself focusing on recipes that didn’t vary too much from my normal dinner routine: Chicken Cutlets and Carrots with Mint Pesto, Oven “Fried” Chicken with Baby Spinach Salad, Chopped Salad with Chicken, Citrus and Avocado (can you tell I eat a lot of chicken?). Then I came across the Sautéed Scallops and Quinoa with Orange-Avocado Salsa and decided I’d break away from my usual chicken and try something new.
Unfortunately, I got to the supermarket during the dinner rush and there were no scallops to be found. The cookbook recommended using shrimp, chicken or turkey cutlets as an alternative, so I grabbed some shrimp and headed home to get cooking.
I hate to admit it, but while I’ve eaten quinoa before, I have never cooked it myself. It was easy enough to make (not surprising, as it’s featured in a cookbook that boasts of quick and easy meals). As the quinoa cooked, I chopped up my ingredients, which consisted of a unique blend of oranges, avocado, jalapeno peppers, shallot and fresh basil. I bought pre-cooked shrimp, so I quickly sautéed it in a pan to heat it up.
Once the quinoa was finished, I spread it over my plate and then topped it with my orange-avocado salsa and shrimp. It didn’t look nearly as nice as the cookbook picture, but it sure tasted great. Next time, I think I’ll use a little less basil and a little more orange to better suit my taste. The recipe made for a light, airy dinner, but I still finished my meal feeling completely satisfied. Plus, it only took about 25 minutes to make. You can’t beat fast, healthy and delicious!
The best part of my experience with Weeknight Gluten Free? Getting to interview the author, Kristine Kidd. Kristine is the former food editor for Bon Appétit magazine and she is also diagnosed with celiac disease, so she knows all about needing to make healthy and tasty gluten-free meals fast. You can check out her story on CeliacCentral.org and get a sneak peek of the recipes in Weeknight Gluten-Free by visiting www.KristineKidd.com.
Want to try the Sautéed Scallops and Quinoa with Orange-Avocado Salsa for yourself? Kristine has the recipe on her website! Bon Appétit!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly LeDonni, the founder of Gluten Free Labels. Kelly lives fairly close to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office, so she dropped by to share her celiac story with me and leave a sample of the new labels.
The gluten-free labels are exactly what they sound like. Anyone sharing a kitchen at home with people who eat gluten knows that it can be difficult to keep gluten-free utensils and cooking equipment safe from cross-contamination. To tackle to the problem in her own home, Kelly searched the internet for special labels she could use. When she wasn’t pleased with the designs she found, she decided to create her own and share them with other people living with celiac disease.
I’m an advocate of anything that works to keep people a little bit safer from cross-contamination, so naturally I think the labels are a great idea. What I like most about these labels is that while they are obviously calling out that something is gluten-free, they’re still easy on the eyes. They come in a few different sizes; one of the round labels is about the size of a half dollar and the other is roughly the size of a quarter. They do come in larger rectangular versions with sayings like “No grain, no pain” and “Respect, don’t infect.” They leave space for you to write things like the date it was made, what it is, etc. Convenient, right?
The hanging label was my favorite. It’s a circular tag that can be hung from pot handles, serving spoons, cutting boards, cabinet handles…the possibilities are endless. The bonus? It is oven safe, so you don’t have to worry about it melting if you want to attach it to your baking pans.
You can check out all the designs and label varieties at www.GlutenFreeLabels.com. They’re running an Easter special, so if you’re on the hunt for labels of your own, be sure to check it out soon!
I’ll admit it. Potato chips are my weakness. When I’m in the mood for a treat, I usually go for the salty snack. I guess then, it’s no surprise that I’m a fan of Terra Chips Original flavor.
Terra® Chips aren’t your normal potato chip. In fact, they’re not even made from yellow potatoes and they’re not nearly as salty as your standard chip (in a good way, not in the “these are missing something” kind of way). The original Terra Chips are made of root vegetables – sweet potato, parsnip, batata, taro and yucca – which gives them a unique taste and a pretty cool look and color (when I poured the chips into a bowl, I thought they looked like potpourri!). Best of all, they’re naturally gluten-free and each 1-ounce serving equals a half serving of vegetables.
Even though these are “chips,” they actually reminded me more of plantain chips rather than a potato chip. They still have a crunch, but it’s more subtle and the middle of the chips is ever-so-slightly chewy. Terra® Chips are still pretty sturdy, so they’ll make a great companion to your favorite gluten-free dip. If flavored chips are more your style, check out the tons of varieties offered, like the Sea Salt Chips, Harvest Sweet Onion and Zesty Tomato.
Terra® Chips even leave a lot of room for creativity. You don’t have to eat these by themselves! The company has recipes on their website using them in everything from appetizers to gluten-free bread crumb alternatives. I know I’d love to try out their recipe for Terra Crusted Salmon with Steamed Scallion-Lemon Rice.
Gluten-Free Giveaway and Recipe Contest
Think you can come up with a yummy recipe using Terra Chips or any other product from Gluten-Free Choices? Send the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) your original gluten-free recipe and you could win $100 worth of gluten-free products from the Gluten-Free Choices brands: Arrowhead Mills®, DeBoles®, Dream™, Gluten-Free Café™, Hain Pure Foods®, Imagine®, and of course, Terra® Chips. Get all the contest details here and sign up to receive a gluten-free e-Cookbook (for free!) featuring the top recipes submitted to the contest. There’s an extra chance to win a prize if you do!
What’s a creative way you would use Terra Chips? Comment below with some recipe ideas!
Last night, my roommate Kristen and I were really in the mood for something sweet to snack on. So, we were both pretty happy when I remembered I had a box of gluten-free brownie mix to try out from Bloomfield Farms.
Of the two of us, Kristen is definitely much better at baking, so I let her take the lead on the gluten-free brownies. She got to mixing while I waited, snapping pictures of the brownies as she went.
The brownies were finished and ready to eat in about an hour (including cool down time). We don’t have a cake pan at home, so we used our pie pan instead and cut the brownies as if it were a round cake or pie. Kristen made a gluten-free icing with some sugar, milk and vanilla extract while I added a bit of caramel from Fat Toad Farm (it’s made from goat’s milk and it’s completely delicious. Not too sweet, but not lacking in flavor, either).
Kristen and I loved the brownies. They were super moist and from looking at the prepared mix, I was expecting them to be a little on the gritty side, but they totally weren’t. The brownies were not crumbly and had the perfect texture. The Bloomfield Farms mix makes some super-sweet brownies that certainly satisfied our sweet tooth cravings.
Bloomfield Farms has a lot of gluten-free mixes, for everything from bread to pancakes to muffins. Keep an eye on Gluten-Free Hot Products as I bake my way through some of their other mixes.
Can’t wait for the review? Head to www.TheBloomfieldFarms.com to browse their other gluten-free products. Not all products from Bloomfield Farms are gluten-free, so be sure to shop only in the gluten-free section of the site.
The following product review is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer Laura Hanley of G-Free Laura.
Saying you don’t like eating pancakes is like saying you don’t think babies are cute.
I’m sure you agree that finding a delicious gluten-free pancake mix is pretty darn exciting! I know you see tons of recipes online for homemade gluten-free pancakes that involve on average 5 different types of flours, but I’m more of an “add 1 egg + butter” kind of girl, so mixes are more up my alley. That being said, Sugar and Spice Market’s pancake mix ranks pretty high up in G-Free Laura’s book.
I received a mini shipment from the company a few weeks back including everything from their cake mix, to all purpose flour. However, I was most excited to see the pancake mix because, in my opinion, nothing says Happy Sunday like a pancake breakfast.
The Sugar and Spice Market pancake mix was super easy to make. All you need to add to the mix is an egg, butter, and a bit of oil. When I was mixing up the batter I could tell immediately that the end creation would include major fluffiness. The excitement was building inside of me as I waited for the flapjacks to become golden.
I think that the quality of a pancake can be determined in the first flip. Sugar and Spice passed the flip test, and my spatula was a solid indicator that breakfast would certainly be a treat!
I ate the pancakes with two different toppings: syrup (you have to keep it classic), and a blueberry sauce that I whipped up. By testing the pancakes with two different toppings, I was assured that they can be complimented with whatever toppings you prefer.
These are definitely not the pancakes that need to be doused in syrup to taste good. If you want a fluffy, filling pancake to help you start your day on the right foot, Sugar and Spice Market can help you out.
Van’s Natural Foods, most known for their gluten-free waffles, have come out with a few new gluten-free products. I had the chance to try them out for Gluten-Free Hot Products, so here they are, in no particular order:
Van’s has two new gluten-free cereal varieties: Cinnamon Heaven and Honey Nut Crunch. I am not a big fan of anything cinnamon flavored, so I opted to just try the Honey Nut Crunch. I have to say, this cereal lives up to its name. You know how sometimes you get a flavored cereal and by the time you start eating it, all of the flavoring has come off and is floating in your milk? That definitely does not happen with Van’s gluten-free cereal. The sweet honey flavor stays right where it’s supposed to – on your cereal.
Van’s gluten-free crackers have endless possibilities. Whether you want to stack them, eat them plain, dip them or add your favorite topping, the choice is yours. These crackers are thin enough to snack on, but sturdy enough to be paired with your favorite topping.
The Lots of Everything flavor reminded me of an Everything bagel. The crackers are made with a blend of millet, amaranth, oats, brown rice and quinoa, so they’re completely packed with flavor. These would make a great crouton alternative but simply crumbling a few on top of your salad.
The Say Cheese flavor was my favorite of the Van’s gluten-free crackers. They didn’t have that artificial cheese flavor; it tasted like the real thing. I loved the airy texture of the crackers. They’re certainly crunchy, but they aren’t hard crackers and they don’t crumble when you eat them.
I gave a box of the Multi-Grain flavor to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) office manager, Suzanne. She shared them with her daughter and the crackers got rave reviews. Suzanne said her daughter immediately asked her if she could get more boxes of the crackers, so I think it’s safe to say she’s a fan.
Gluten-Free Snack Bars
There are three new gluten-free snack bar varieties: Cranberry Almond, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Chip. Being the chocolate-lover that I am, I opted to try the Peanut Butter Chocolate. This sweet, chewy bar is definitely a new personal favorite of mine. They’re perfect for a quick snack or an on-the-go breakfast.
I can always tell how great a product is by how quickly it disappears from the NFCA office kitchen. The remaining Peanut Butter Chocolate bars and the Cranberry Almond and Chocolate Chip bars were gone in a flash.
All in all, I highly recommend giving these new gluten-free products from Van’s a whirl. The products do contain oats, but they are certified gluten-free. You can find out more by visiting the Van’s Natural Foods website.
Have you tried these products yet? What did you think?
My dad grew up in a very Italian family, the kind that eats every meal with a hunk of bread in hand. When we moved from South Philadelphia to the suburbs, he stopped in the city on his way home from work every week to pick up a fresh loaf until a bakery opened in our area that made bread that was up to par with his city bread. The man is serious about his bread. So you can imagine the look he gave me when I stopped over with new gluten-free bread from Rotella’s Bakery and told him he had to give it a try. And, you can probably imagine the look on my face when he gave it a nod of approval.
I read an article about Rotella’s Bakery and their new gluten-free bread varieties (Soft Deli White and Multi-Ancient Grain) a few months ago and was curious to try it out. Then, Kandi of Gluten-Free for Jen reached out to me a few weeks ago to tell me I absolutely had to try this bread from Rotella’s. So, I got in touch with the company and they sent out some samples for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) staff to try.
When the bread arrived at the office, I couldn’t believe how light and soft it was. I tried a piece of each kind plain, not toasted and was pretty impressed with the light, fluffy texture of the bread. The white was a tiny bit on the spongy side, but still had a great taste and a good texture overall. I preferred the ancient grain and didn’t think it had a spongy texture at all. I really liked both kinds toasted, but it can definitely been eaten without being toasted (this bread would make for a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich). Rotella’s gluten-free bread is even sturdy enough to be able to stand up to the weight of sandwich toppings without being toasted. No crumbling happening here!
Even more noteworthy is that this bread is only 40 calories per slice and has a decent amount of fiber in it as well. Unlike some gluten-free bread, the Rotella’s slices are only slightly smaller than traditional wheat or white bread.
I’m not the only fan of Rotella’s gluten-free breads at the NFCA office either. We have a few loaves stashed in the freezer and we use it periodically for our lunches or toast at the office.
If you’re looking for a new gluten-free bread option, I would definitely recommend giving Rotella’s bread a try. You can learn more about the new products and where to find them in the dedicated gluten-free section of Rotella’s Bakery website. (Speaking of dedicated gluten-free… Did I mention the bread is baked in it’s own gluten-free facility?)
Have you tried this bread already? Leave a comment and let me know what you thought!
A few years ago my household made the transition to all natural peanut butter, which was void of the nasty preservatives and excessive sugar that can turn a healthy snack into a bad choice. Everyone including the kids got on board with this change and eventually came to prefer the more natural option.So I decided to take the next step and make the change to almond butter. Both almond butter and peanut butter can be healthy snack in moderation because they contain a healthy dose of protein, fiber and fatty acids. However; Almond butter contains a higher percentage of vitamins and minerals and is also lower in saturated fat. Along with these healthy bonuses the majority of brands of almond butter lean toward all natural ingredients.For this review I tested two brands of almond butter.
The first brand, Barney Butter is available in both a smooth and chunky variety. I decided to try their smooth almond butter, since this is what the kids prefer. The ingredients list was simple and only included almonds, evaporated cane juice, palm fruit oil, and sea salt. The texture was extremely smooth and creamy making it very easy to spread onto your favorite gluten-free cracker or bread. Overall the Barney Butter had a great flavor. To me it tasted a tad too sweet but that actually made it a better pick for the kids. Best of all Barney Butter is certified gluten-free and made in a dedicated all almond facility.
To learn more about Barney Butter visit www.barneybutter.com.
Naturally More was the second brand of almond butter I chose to try. Though both brands contained all natural ingredients the Naturally More Almond Butter was the less processed of the two. Unlike Barney Butter, you have to stir Naturally More Almond Butter well before serving since the oil separates. The ingredients list for this brand was still simple, however; a few additional ingredients were added to further fortify the almond butter. In addition to roasted almond, Naturally More Almond Butter also included soy protein, flax seed, evaporated cane juice, conola oil, salt and molasses. Though I really liked the texture and flavor of this product, I was very disappointed to discover that the Naturally More Almond Butter has a Gluten-Free label but is not certified. Furthermore when examining the area of the label dedicated to product description I found that the product is also fortified with wheat germ and other ingredients. As a result I can NOT recommend Naturally More Almond Butter for any one with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. If I discover that this product has become certified I’ll post an update.