Gluten-Free Breeze Bars

By | Oct 1, 2014

I love everything about snack bars. They’re great for that 3 p.m. pick-me-up, a snack before dinner, the kids’ lunchboxes, an emergency option for your desk drawer… the list goes on.  Certified gluten-free Breeze Bars meet all the requirements for a good snack bar – including great taste and non-crumbly texture.

Gluten-Free Breeze Bars: Variety

Photo credit: www.BreezeBars.com

There’s a Breeze Bar for every palate; Original Peanut Crunch (my favorite), Chocolate Cranberry, Maple Almond, Cocoa Espresso and Nut-Free Sunflower.  The bars are pretty sturdy and won’t fall into pieces when you peel open the wrapper – an important characteristic of any good snack bar, gluten-free or not.  Breeze Bars have a unique flavor that combines the crunch of crispy brown rice with a mild sweetness that will satisfy your sweet tooth without over-doing it.  Despite their crispy brown rice ingredients, the bars manage to pull off a somewhat chewy texture that reminds me of the classic Quaker Chewy Granola Bars (which are not gluten-free).

Gluten-Free Original Peanut Crunch Breeze Bar

As you can tell from my laptop in the background, I enjoyed the Original Peanut Crunch Breeze Bar as an afternoon pick-me-up snack.

Athletes in particular will be pleased with the taste, texture and nutritional punch packed into each Breeze Bar.  In fact, Breeze Bars were developed by registered dietitian Breeze Brown, who began to make the snacks when her younger sister was diagnosed with celiac disease. She began to share the bars with her athletic friends, who were happy with the taste and even more thrilled that bars sat lightly in their stomachs and didn’t weigh them down.

Whether you’re an athlete, looking for a healthy snack or are just into great tasting gluten-free options, Breeze Bars are worth a try in my book.  For those of you who deal with dairy issues, too, you’ll be happy to know that all Breeze Bars are dairy-free as well.  Learn more about them at www.breezebars.com.

Snack Out Loud Gluten-Free Crunchy Bean Snacks

By | Sep 30, 2014

Introducing Snack Out Loud Gluten-Free Crunchy Bean Snacks! These little guys are loaded with protein, fiber and important nutrients like magnesium, B-vitamins, iron – and a whole lot of flavor.

When the bean snacks arrived at the office, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team was eager to give them a try. The different varieties – Tomato Basil, Lightly Salted, Jalapeño and Cheddar, Ranch, and Smoky Chipotle BBQ – were tasted by various team members. As you can imagine, we all have different opinions on the flavors.

Snack Out Loud Gluten-Free Cruncy Bean Snacks: Snack Size

Snack Out Loud Gluten-Free Crunchy Bean Snacks come in two sizes: snack size….

Snack Out Loud Gluten-Free Cruncy Bean Snacks: Family Size

… and family size

The Ranch flavor was favored by Rachel Rieger, NFCA’s Patient Education Manager. The Ranch was among my favorite flavors as well. The beans were flavorful, but not overbearing and were super tasty as a crunchy addition to my lunchtime salad. These were also quite snack-able on their own; served in a family pack or an individual portion, these disappeared from the NFCA kitchen faster than the other flavors.

Close runner-ups included the Jalapeño and Cheddar and the Lightly Salted varieties. The Snack Out Loud website suggests using the Jalapeño and Cheddar as a coating for garlic string beans (and boy do they look awesome!). These packed a punch, but probably are not suited for those who don’t like a kick of heat in their snacks. I love spicy food, so these were perfect for me.

Kristin Voorhees, NFCA’s Director of Healthcare Initiatives, compared the Lightly Salted variety to snacking on nuts – a handful provides that same satisfying crunch without overdoing it on the calories.

Snack Out Loud Gluten-Free Cruncy Bean Snacks: Jalapeno and Cheddar Loose Beans

These beans are super tiny, but pack in a lot of flavor.

Surprisingly, the bean snacks have a lot of different uses, other than just snacking on them right out of the bag. The Snack Out Loud website has a variety of different recipes, including one for Tomato Basil Corn on the Cob (I would have never thought to try that!). The snacks are certified gluten-free and while they are only available in stores in the Rocky Mountain Region and select west coast stores, they are available to anyone on Amazon.com and AbesMarket.com.

Check out the Snack Out Loud site for more information on the products. Be sure to double check the recipes to ensure all ingredients are gluten-free.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk

By | Sep 23, 2014

By Claire Baker, NFCA Director of Communications and New Media

I love any excuse to make cupcakes. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of being a kid. Maybe it’s because I know exactly how many people I can share a treat with. Maybe because it’s sort of an enforced portion control — there’s no way to get a bigger piece of cake that way! Maybe it’s because it really lights up my 10-year-old son Scott, who comes in to help mix, pour and clean-up (otherwise known as licking the bowl) when he sees me getting the baking stuff out. This weekend, Scott and I made the gluten-free, dairy-free vanilla cupcakes from the Thai Kitchen recipe the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team shared on CeliacCentral.org.

I have celiac disease and I have a number of friends who can’t or don’t eat dairy products, so I’m always on the lookout for interesting options to keep us all happy. I’m also the only gluten-free member of my 4-person household, and if I’m going to make 2 dozen cupcakes, they better appeal to the whole crew or else I’ll have to shop for bigger pants.

The cupcakes mixed up easily and made exactly 24 normal-sized cupcakes just as the recipe said it would (when does that happen?). They stayed pretty light in color, so it was a good thing that I followed the suggested baking time and tested with a toothpick, or I probably would have over-baked them.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk: Cupcakes with Icing on Plate

These cupcakes are the perfect portion-control size.

On this recipe, I used my favorite baking hack — silicone cupcake cups instead of cupcake papers. I have two dozen silicone cups and they are only for our gluten-free baking. I’ve found that too much cupcake or muffin gets left behind in paper cupcake cups. With the silicone cups, the food pops out easily. I think these cupcakes would have done fine in paper liners though — they were moist and left little residue on the silicone, a good sign that they would have not stuck to the paper. (If you are taking cupcakes to an event and want to leave the cupcakes in their liner, my second favorite hack is to use foil ones.)

I cut the frosting recipe in half. I have to admit, I usually cheat here too and don’t make my own frosting, so I was a little apprehensive about using a whole box of confectioners sugar and a cup of non-dairy spread. I suppose I don’t think too hard about what goes into frosting from a can! At any rate, I decided that I could frost just half the batch and leave the others naked as a nod to calorie reduction. It turned out that half as much frosting was plenty. It was thinner than store-bought frosting, so I actually took the cupcakes and dipped them in the frosting bowl to give them a little frosting hat, sort of like the picture from the original Thai Kitchen recipe. I suppose to make it thicker I would need to use less liquid, but these were actually fine.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk: Cupcakes on Plate

Last I checked, there were only 4 of these babies left in the NFCA kitchen – a sure sign of a good cupcake.

The family and I ate some right away, and they got the thumbs up from both my beloved gluten-eaters and from me. The Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk helped keep them rich, yet light in the absence of dairy. And no, they didn’t taste like coconut, but they were distinctive in a good way. We came up with some clever innovations to try for next time — maybe add coconut shavings to the frosting to bring out the coconut flavor; reduce the oil and sugar and mix in a mashed banana and maybe some nuts for banana nut muffins; add chocolate chips or do chocolate frosting… If you are a baker too, you know how that goes.

I refrigerated some and froze some so I could take them to the NFCA office to share for later in the week. They were good cold too. (So much for portion control!). I think I actually liked the frosting better chilled. They thawed just fine — no one would be able to know you’d done them ahead of time. You could also make a batch, freeze them, then throw them as needed into your kid’s lunchbox. They’d be thawed by lunch. You’d have treats for days.

Give ‘em a try! You’ll want to have a gluten-free, dairy-free Thai Kitchen coconut milk cupcake recipe in your baking arsenal too. You can also check out Thai Kitchen’s website for more great ways to incorporate coconut milk into your recipes.

Have you already tried out Thai Kitchen coconut milk? Tell us how you use it on our Facebook page.

Trending on Facebook: Most Mentioned Gluten-Free Hot Products, Sunday September 14

By | Sep 15, 2014

As always, there were lots of great gluten-free finds shared on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Facebook page this weekend. It seems like a lot of people spent their weekends baking delicious-looking gluten-free treats.  Some folks were even kind enough to share their gluten-free recipes, so if you’re looking for inspiration, be sure to check out the “What was your best gluten-free find this weekend?” post on our page from Sunday, September 14.

Here’s the weekly run-down of most-mentioned gluten-free products:

Talk to you all on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. EDT!

 

Trending on Facebook: Most Mentioned Gluten-Free Hot Products, Sunday September 7

By | Sep 10, 2014

Here’s your weekly run down of the most mentioned gluten-free products on NFCA’s Facebook page!

In no particular order…

See you guys on Sunday at 7:45 p.m. ET on Facebook!  Can’t wait for the next round of gluten-free finds!

- Alicia, NFCA Communications Assistant

Ginny Bakes Chocolate Chip Love

By | Sep 3, 2014

Gluten-free cookies are fairly easy to come by these days, but I still get excited to try the latest cookies to hit the market – 1) because who doesn’t love cookies? and 2) it’s fun to taste them as they evolve and become closer to the traditional gluten-containing cookies you remember (and maybe still crave).

Ginny Bakes Chocolate Chip Love Cookies

Ginny Bakes Chocolate Chip Love Cookies (photo courtesy of Ginny Bakes)

Ginny Bakes Chocolate Chip Love cookies are certified gluten-free, organic and kosher, but they do contain dairy, egg and soy.  The cookies have a smooth chocolate-y taste and are made with dark chocolate chips, which I think gives them a deliciously unique flavor.  The cookies are a tad on the crumbly side, so they would be perfect crumbled on top of an ice cream sundae or used in place of graham crackers in an ice box cake (I have no idea if ice box cake is a thing outside of my own family, but it’s basically layers of pudding separated by graham crackers).

You can check out Ginny Bakes Chocolate Chip Love cookies here.  Have you tried any of the Ginny Bakes cookies? What did you think?

 

Trending on Facebook: Most Mentioned Gluten-Free Hot Products

By | Sep 2, 2014

Last week, we shared the top 5 products that were mentioned multiple times on our Sunday Facebook post that asked, “What was your best gluten-free find this weekend?”  We received lots of requests to keep this recap going, so here it is!

And, the most-mentioned gluten-free products were…

Also worth mentioning is Walmart’s new gluten-free line, certified by the NFCA-endorsed Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP). Seems like our community members are finding new places to shop for the gluten-free grocery list items!

See you next week!

Maya Kaimal Chickpea Chips

By | Aug 28, 2014

The new Maya Kaimal Chickpea Chips disappeared quickly from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) kitchen.  I find that many of the potato chip alternatives made from veggies and other healthier ingredients still tend to maintain that potato chip taste.  These chips weren’t similar to traditional potato chips, but once I stopped expecting them to be, I really enjoyed the flavor.

As you can tell by the name, the chips do have a strong chickpea taste.  If you’re not into chickpeas, these probably aren’t the chips for you.  I, on the other hand, love chickpeas (I usually toss them into a salad), so after a few chips, I decided that I liked the chickpea chips too.

Maya Kaimal Chickpea Chips: 3 Varieties

Photo credit: MayaKaimal.com

These chips come in three varieties: Sweet Chili, Lightly Salted and Seeded Multigrain.  The Sweet Chili was by far my favorite. They lived up to their name; the first few bites were sweet and tasty, followed by a slow-developing heat.  You can do more than just snack on these chips as-is (although, that’s great too!).  They were thick enough to hold the weight of cheese slices from Cabot Creamery and I’m sure they could handle a thick salsa or guacamole dip, too.

Maya Kaimal Chickpea Chips are certified gluten-free and are also vegan.  You can learn more about the chips and order online here.

Trending on Facebook: Gluten-Free Hot Products

By | Aug 26, 2014

Every Sunday, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) tosses out a question to our Facebook community: What was your best gluten-free find this weekend?  And, every weekend without fail, we get loads of responses from people who are finding new products or experimenting with their own recipes in the kitchen.  If you don’t have time to read through the whopping 350+ comments, don’t worry!  We’re bringing you the 5 most commonly mentioned products from Sunday, August 24, 2014.

And now, the products! In no particular order…

Like NFCA on Facebook and be sure to keep an eye out for our post every Sunday.  We know you’ll find some new favorites!

 

 

 

 

Walmart’s Great Value Gluten-Free Products

By | Aug 6, 2014

By Jennifer North, Vice President of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)

As someone who strives for balance, I’d like to start this blog post off by describing how I started my day last Sunday. I woke up at 7 am and worked in my yard for about two hours. Then I walked around Walmart for another hour. (It’s a Superstore, so there was a lot to look at!) I came home and made myself gazpacho for lunch using freshly picked tomatoes and cucumbers from my friend’s garden, organic bell peppers and parsley that I got from Walmart and tomato juice.  Sounds like a good start, right? Well, the reason I spent the first half of my day burning calories is because I knew I would be spending my afternoon finding as many ways as possible to pair Walmart’s new Great Value gluten-free products, which bear NFCA’s certification trademark (see www.gf-cert.org to learn more) with ice cream!

gfcp seal on walmart cookies

Look for the NFCA-endorsed certification logo on gluten-free products for that added level of comfort.

gfcp seal on walmart cookies

This seal means a product has passed rigorous testing requirements.

The perfect summer treat, I created more than a dozen combinations using the following ingredients:

 

Walmart Great Value Gluten-Free Products: Cocktail Cups and Toppings

All of the delicious gluten-free fixings

 

Walmart Great Value Gluten-Free Products: Ice cream with pretzels

Have you ever added pecans to your sundae? If you haven’t – you definitely should!

Walmart Great Value Gluten-Free Products: Ice cream with M&Ms

Crushed cookies on the bottom and M&Ms on top – yum!

How on Earth did I taste all of these combinations? I used a 3 oz. cocktail glass and a very tiny spoon. I started with the vanilla ice cream. My favorite combinations were:

I then moved onto the chocolate lactose-free ice cream, which I am so thankful that Walmart carries. Try this on for size: chocolate ice cream, crushed chocolate sandwich cookie, mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, whipped cream and salted caramel drizzle. I just love the sweet salty combo. Heavenly.

Ice cream with granola bars

My new favorite way to enjoy granola

The best part about the experience is that I got everything I needed in one spot, was easily able to verify gluten-free status of the items I wasn’t sure about (I already knew the ice cream and candy were gluten-free) and the whole experience didn’t break the bank.

Walmart Great Value Gluten-Free Products: Gluten-Free Label

No sundae is complete without the (gluten-free) chocolate syrup!

I skipped dinner that evening (although I did snack on a fair amount of snow peas) and was gratified to think about how this no-compromise option is now available to thousands of gluten-free children who can go through life feeling “normal” and included.

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