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.
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.
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.
By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web & Social Media Manager
Ice cream can be really problematic for people living with celiac disease. First, you have to worry about cross-contact, ice cream cones and the gluten content of sprinkles. Then, factor in the fact that many people with celiac disease are lactose intolerant and you have a tasty summer treat that’s difficult to enjoy…
Until now. So Delicious has managed to come up with a gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and vegan frozen dessert that is so much like ice cream, it’s really hard to believe that it is free from so many troublesome ingredients.
So Delicious sent over some samples to the Beyond Celiac office. They arrived on a steaming hot Friday and the team here couldn’t wait to dig in. We each grabbed a spoon and sampled the options.
I am a chocolate girl through and through, so I went for that flavor. The coconut milk made the frozen dessert creamy and the texture was just the same as any other frozen ice cream you’d buy in the store. I’m lactose intolerant, but I can eat it in small doses. So Delicious totally eliminates my desire for using my small bit of dairy intake up on frozen ice cream. I really don’t think this is any different than your traditional ice cream; it’s sweet and creamy (maybe even a little creamier than typical store bought ice cream). Seriously, you won’t miss the dairy at all. And, for those of you who don’t like coconut, don’t worry – it doesn’t alter the flavor or give anything a coconut taste.
So Delicious has loads of frozen dessert flavors. There’s Cherry Amaretto, Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl, Chocolate, Coconut, Mint Chip, Mocha Almond Fudge, Turtle Trails (hungry yet?), Vanilla Bean, Simply Strawberry and Oregon Mixed Berry. There are also no sugar added versions of the Butter Pecan, Chocolate, Mint Chip and Vanilla Bean. They even have gluten-free Cookie Dough and Cookies ‘n Cream frozen desserts. All of these frozen desserts are gluten-free, but So Delicious really calls it out on the package for the Cookie Dough and Cookies ‘n Cream, most likely because so many usually (correctly) assume that anything with cookies is off limits on a gluten-free diet.
So Delicious has more than just frozen desserts by the pint. Check out all of their dairy-free and gluten-free options at www.SoDeliciousDairyFree.com. (Warning, you’re going to want a sweet treat after browsing the site!)
By Alicia Carango, Beyond Celiac Web & Social Media Manager
My friend Kristen is my favorite partner for doing gluten-free taste tests for product reviews. She’s a tough critic, but she really gets into the process. She once endeavored into making gluten-free pizza dough with me and years later, she still laughs about how my crust formed into more of a bowl than a pizza.
This time around, she volunteered to try out the new Boar’s Head Bold Ichiban Teriyaki Style Chicken Breast. She’s big on lunch meat chicken and is willing to give anything teriyaki flavored a try. In exchange for her opinion, I promised to make her the sandwich to eat on her lunch break at work. We decided to keep it simple so she could really taste the teriyaki – nothing but bread, cooper sharp cheese and the Bold Ichiban Teriyaki Style Chicken Breast.
We were expecting the teriyaki flavor to be overwhelming, but it was more subtle than anticipated. Since the teriyaki lines the edges of the chicken slices, there is a nice balance between the chicken flavor and the teriyaki flavor. Next time, she said, she’ll definitely load up on the toppings and condiments as she normally would. Now that she tasted the chicken, Kristen is convinced that adding all the toppings won’t cover up the taste, but rather enhance it.
Boar’s Head has loads of gluten-free products and tons of recipe ideas. When ordering Boar’s Head at the deli counter, just be sure to ask the clerk to put on clean gloves and thoroughly clean the slicer to reduce the risk of cross-contact. Check out the Boar’s Head products and recipes here.
By Claire Baker, Beyond Celiac Director of Communications and New Media
I am a mom. I have celiac disease. I eat chocolate. I’m trying to figure out how to slide my kids the hint that Scharffen Berger Raspberry and Almond Chocolate would be a perfect Mother’s Day gift without being too obvious.
In my experience, my kids are usually stumped for an idea for what to do for Mother’s Day, and they don’t seem to believe me when I say I just want a nice handmade card and a day without bickering. That, apparently, is a tall order. So they buy me stuff. Usually with my money.
Enter Scharffen Berger Raspberry and Almond Chocolate. Why this chocolate? Raspberry and Almond Chocolate? Or should I say: framboise chocolat avec amande? Because it’s tres délicieux! It tastes fancy without being inaccessible. They can even get it at our usual grocery store (Giant) so it’d be so easy for them to get it without a special trip to the mall (Heaven help me).
It’s a gift I want, easy to find, won’t break the bank, and I can still probably get my kids to make a card to go with it. Win-win-win! Not to mention, it’s sweet, a little salty, and full of raspberry deliciousness. Now if only I can convince them it’s ok for me to not share!
P.S. If you want inspiration for how to use Scharffen Berger chocolate in recipes, visit the Beyond Celiac Gluten-Free Baking Hub!
By 12-year-old Beyond Celiac volunteer Sophia Kagan
Since 2009, Canyon Bakehouse has been helping their gluten-free friends “Love Bread Again.” In their gluten-free dedicated Loveland, Colorado bakery, they have been baking bread with 100% whole grains and non-GMO ingredients. The bakery is also free of nuts, soy and casein.
I taste-tested eight of nine Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free products and they were ALL delicious. While I don’t remember what gluten-containing bread tastes or feels like, I can say Canyon Bakehouse products were the softest and chewiest of the gluten-free breads I have tasted!
Let me run through my taste testing. First, I tried the Rosemary and Thyme Focaccia. My dad warmed it in a cast iron skillet with butter and olive oil. It was great! It had a lot of flavor and was really soft and chewy. Next, I tried the Mountain White bread. Plain and with peanut butter, it was delicious, soft and yummy. It was unlike white breads I had tasted before. Then, because I love chocolate, I tried the Brownie Bites, which were soft and like little flourless chocolate cakes. I could eat many packages of these! Next, I tried the Plain Bagels. Toasted, they were both chewy and crunchy and one of the best gluten-free bagels I have tried. The Hamburger Buns, like much of the sliced breads, were soft and “squishy,” perfect for my favorite cheeseburger.
I tried the Cinnamon Raisin bread, which was firmer than the other breads but was really sweet and good, with raisins and agave syrup. I also tried the 7-Grain bread which was chewy, soft, and nutty, similar to white bread, but it had even more flavor. Lastly, I tried the Deli Rye Style. I had never tried rye bread before, but it was spicy and soft. I would eat a deli sandwich on this any day.
Thank you Canyon Bakehouse for all the wonderful samples! I have already found you in my local supermarket and your Mountain White has been in my lunchbox a lot!
That’s it from me! I will see you in my May “Ask Sophia” blog and my next Hot Products blog!
When was the last time you had rye bread? Multi-grain? Did you ever think you would be able to eat bread made with ancient grains? You can again with Three Bakers Gluten-Free Bread.
We’ve been snacking on this bread at the Beyond Celiac office for about a month. Some of the people in the office have celiac disease and others don’t. Regardless of gluten-free diet status, we all love Three Bakers.
Three Bakers comes in a bunch of gluten-free varieties:
- 7 Ancient Grains
- Great Seed
- Rye Style
- Cinnamon Raisin
You pretty much have your pick of styles with Three Bakers. I tried the 7 Ancient Grains, White and Rye Style Breads. I saw a bag of Cinnamon Raisin in the freezer, but it was gone before I had a chance to taste it (obviously a sign of a truly tasty product).
My favorite was the 7 Ancient Grains. When toasted, it had this crunchy, wholesome taste to it. Jennifer North, Beyond Celiac Vice President, agreed that this variety was a top choice. She spread peanut butter on two slices of the 7 Ancient Grains and told me she loved how fulfilling it was. Sure, the protein made it a snack that knocked the edge off her hunger and it was filling. But, what she loved was the crunchiness of the peanut butter mixed with the crunchy, earthy texture of the bread; it was just what she wanted.
The white and rye breads were reminiscent of traditional gluten-containing bread. I think the white will be especially great for kids who bring their lunches to school, but worry about seeming different than their friends. Their gluten-free sandwich will look just the same as their peers’ lunches.
Three Bakers gluten-free breads should be kept frozen, but I don’t think this impacts taste or texture. This bread toasts so well, you really won’t even know it was ever frozen.
Have you ever tried Three Bakers? Tell us what you think of it in the comments – we’d love to hear from you! If you’ve never given it a try, check out the Three Bakers website to learn more and find where you can buy the products. You’ll be glad you did!
By Sophia Kagan, 12-year-old Beyond Celiac volunteer
Hi! Today I am going to review for you Snack Factory’s Gluten-Free Pretzel Crisps! These are a great mix between a pretzel and cracker. There are a few flavors – one salty and 4 sweet versions. The original pretzels come in two sizes: deli-size (larger) and mini. The original pretzels are the only ones available in the larger size and the Snack Factory website has a lot of great recipe ideas to top them with!
Lets get down to the details: these amazing pretzel snacks come in the original pretzel version and also in salted caramel, vanilla yogurt and dark chocolate coated! The original mini pretzels allow you 35 pretzels for 110 calories. The sweet varieties come in only the mini size but my mom says that is just fine – you get 25 to 30 of the sweet treats for about 120 to 130 calories. Yes, my parents are addicted now and yes, you may have to hide these from your family members. My innocent taste test, which included my friend who is also strictly gluten-free, left me with five empty bags of these great treats. They are really THAT good!
Snack Factory pretzel crisps have been around in a gluten-containing version since 2004. They distributed the first pretzel-shaped cracker and have been winning over the hearts and the taste buds of the snackers who try their pretzel crisps. They are made without any trans fats, cholesterol, or saturated fat! Snack Factory introduced the gluten-free line in 2015 enabling gluten-free snackers to enjoy their delicious pretzel-crisps.
The original deli-size ones are delicious. They are salty and crunchy. Other pretzels can taste “bready,” what my family said is typical of regular gluten-containing pretzels, but these pretzels are lighter and crunchier, which made them even better. The mini originals are the same flavor as the deli-size originals but smaller. They are just as yummy. The salted caramel ones were just like candy. They are super sweet and good for dessert. The dark chocolate ones are delicious. They are the perfect mix of salty and sweet. The vanilla yogurt ones tasted just like ice cream. They are creamy and sweet. I loved all of the flavors and they are without a doubt some of the best pretzels I have ever tasted.
That’s it from me! I hope that you too try these delicious pretzel crisps! You can check them out on the Snack Factory website.
“The Adventures of Celia Kaye” by Kaitlin Puccio is one of the latest gluten-free kids’ books to hit the shelves. Quick and to the point, “The Adventures of Celia Kaye” has a clear message for the kiddos: Don’t be embarrassed about celiac disease. Just be honest instead.
The book follows Celia Kaye through her first day at school after getting diagnosed with celiac disease. With gorgeous illustrations by Sarah Lanarch, your child is sure to relate to Celia as she struggles how to tell her friends that she can’t eat what they eat anymore.
If your child was recently diagnosed with celiac disease or is struggling at school, then “The Adventures of Celia Kaye” is a must read! You can check it out for yourself at www.CeliaKaye.com/Childrens-Book.
It’s the season of gifting chocolate! With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s important to make sure you grab a safe chocolate for the gluten-free love in your life. Rather than play gluten roulette with a traditional box of chocolates, you can play it safe and reach for gluten-free Dagoba Orange Dark Chocolate Bars.
Dagoba chocolate stands out in the chocolate world because of their unique flavors. The orange bar is a unique blend of flavors. It is made from a slightly bitter dark chocolate, which is completely balanced out by the sweet and citrusy taste of orange zest.
Yes, you could give your Valentine a bar of this tasty orange chocolate bar, but why not get creative? Here are quick ways you can add some zest to your Valentine’s Day:
- Make s’mores for a tasty, easy and reminiscent dessert.
Simply grab some Dagoba chocolate, gluten-free graham crackers, marshmallows and voila! You have a simple twist on a traditional favorite.
- S’mores too messy? Make a chocolate orange drizzle marshmallow pop.
All you need to do is melt some Dagoba orange chocolate, roll a marshmallow through the chocolate. Put it on a stick and enjoy!
- Use pieces of Dagoba chocolate to top a gluten-free brownie.
Make your gluten-free brownies, then snap off pieces to make an orange-y, crunchy top.
- Use as a garnish on your gluten-free cupcakes.
Skip the frosting on that cupcake and instead push a piece of orange chocolate into the cupcake top for a burst of orange flavor.
If you’re new to gluten-free baking, don’t worry! Beyond Celiac has a web section dedicated to helping people navigate gluten-free baking. You can check it out at www.BeyondCeliac.org/baking. The Dagoba and Hershey websites have lots of ideas for using their chocolate in fun and creative ways, like the ones listed above.