Product Review: Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings

Product: Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings – $5.99+

There are quite a few things I really miss in my life at times.  Like…makes me sad and really wanting to cry kind of miss.  Maybe not the way I miss my family (and I really miss my family)…but people and food have relationships too.  And one of my favorite cuisines growing up was none other than Chinese food or Asian-style cuisine.

It was tradition in my family to visit my great grandmother in Winona, Minnesota, every year that we went to visit both sets of grandparents.  And one thing that I always looked forward to when visiting my great grandma was…Chinese food.  She always ordered in the most amazing Chinese food in town.  It was always egg rolls and chow mein and rice and there was more of it than the group of us could eat…but we always gave it our best shot.  It was tradition.  It was one of the many highlights I experienced growing up and something I came to look forward to every time we headed over to great grandma’s house.

I haven’t had true Chinese food since I went gluten-free…three years ago.  The sauces…the way things are cooked…it’s risky.  And it’s a risk I no longer am willing to take.  It’s sad, because Asian food is one of my favorite types of cuisine.  Sure, there are places like P.F. Chang’s that offers a gluten-free menu…but the vegetarian choices are very limited…and that’s not true Chinese.

Then…along came a little miracle in my Whole Foods (and other natural food stores) freezer section.  A company, known as Feel Good Foods, introduced the first (and I believe the only) gluten-free Asian dumplings and egg rolls to the market.  The hardest part was choosing if I wanted egg rolls or dumplings.  It was a tough decision, but I finally chose the dumplings.  One of the interesting things about this company is that it was created by husband and wife duo, Chef Tryg and Vanessa Phillips.  They created Feel Good Foods gluten-free frozen foods after they opened a gluten-free restaurant and were told that they needed to put their food out on the market.  Their foods are non-GMO, all-natural and completely gluten-free.  You see…Vanessa is a Celiac…so they take food allergies really seriously.

Cathy had some leftover rice from our treat on Friday at the local Indian restaurant.  So, after work and a trip to the gym, I wanted something that was easy to prepare and wouldn’t require me to read off a recipe or attempt something new.  With the rice in the fridge, I figured I could steam up some of the last of the jasmine rice in my pantry for myself and then pull the Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings out of the freezer to prepare while my rice was cooking on the stove.

These are super easy to prepare.  In a non-stick pan, add a cup of water and 1 tablespoon of oil.  Bring it to a boil and add the dumplings to the pan, flat side down.  Cover and reduce the heat to medium-high, leaving the dumplings in the pan until the water completely evaporates.  It takes around 10-11 minutes.  They are fine to eat on their own, but I served mine with rice.  These even come with a fantastic dipping sauce, which I ended up just pouring over the top so that the rice could absorb it too.

I settled in for dinner and dug into my little bowl of Asian gluten-free food.  I wasn’t sure what to expect…but I was very happy with what I started to eat.  The dumplings were soft and tender, with a nice crust on the flat side that was on the pan.  The rest of it was that doughy stickiness you associate with potstickers.  Amazing.  The stuffing inside the wrapper was flavorful and very much like a delicious egg roll.  So it was like a dumpling with an egg roll flavor.  Happy girl right here.  And the dipping sauce helped add a bit of seasoning and flavor to the entire dish.  I am already wanting to restock my freezer with more of these.  And the egg rolls for that matter.  Delicious!

The Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings are a simple blend of ingredients.  The wrapper is made from water, sweet rice flour, rice flour, potato starch, canola oil, salt, xanthan gum, and corn starch.  The filling is a combination of cabbage, yellow onion, bean vermicelli, carrots, green onion, corn starch, sesame oil, and less than 2% of evaporated cany syrup, ginger, salt, black pepper, yeast extract, and shiitake mushrooms.  The dipping sauce is made from water, organic tamari soy sauce, sugar, ginger juice, garlic juice, and natural flavors of garlic and black pepper.  These dumplings are gluten-free and cholesterol free.

Real and recognizable ingredients.  LOVE it.

As far as nutrition goes, a serving size of the Feel Good Foods Vegetable Dumplings is 4 dumplings.  There are two servings per box.  One serving provides you with 290 calories and 9 grams of fat.  They contain 430 mg sodium and 3 grams of sugar.  These contain 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.  The sauce packet contains 45 calories, is completely fat free, has 10 grams of sugar, and 2 gram of protein.  Not bad for a frozen package of gluten-free foods.

If I could hug both Chef Tryg and Vanessa, I totally would.  Because of them, I am once again able to revisit one of my favorite cuisines…Asian.  And I can’t wait to try the Vegetable Egg Rolls and replenish my freezer with the Vegetable Dumplings.  These are one of my favorite frozen dishes I have had to date.  It might be the nostalgia, but I definitely think it has more to do with the product itself.  Taste, texture, flavor and just all around goodness.

It doesn’t get much better than this!

Chinese food is BACK in my life!

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings and Dipping Sauce

Feel Good Foods Gluten Free Vegetable Dumplings and Dipping Sauce

Product Review: Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal

Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal

Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal

Product: Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal – $5.99+

Many of you know, because I make it no secret, that there are certain things in life that I love.  Certain foods that I fall in love with and make a staple in my pantry, refrigerator, or even my freezer.  Well, that holds true for products made by the Australian company, Freedom Foods.  Freedom Foods makes a variety of products, although only a few items are available in the United States at the moment…and most of these include cereals, which, for the record, are made in a dedicated and specially built allergen-free facility in the Riverina region of New South Wales, in Australia.  As Freedom Foods was specifically developed to make allergen-free foods, they test every batch made in their facilities, to the most stringent levels possible, leaving no doubt that the Freedom Foods products you pick up will be free of the allergens that are necessary to avoid.

LOVE THAT!

Because we live in a world where it’s not enough to just be health conscious.  Now we have to be allergen conscious too.  With the growing number of food allergies and intolerances, it is nice to find a company that really proves that it is dedicated to creating products that are safe to consume.  Freedom Foods has been around for over 20 years, making great-tasting and nutritious allergen-free food.  I can attest to this, as I am a huge fan of the products I have had from them thus far.  All of their products adhere to the strict guidelines laid out by Australia’s food industry, meaning all their products are non-GMO.  They even test for GMOs just to make sure.

One of my favorite products, mind you, is the Tropico’s cereal, which is a gluten-free version of Froot Loops, but made without artificial colors, ingredients, partially hydrogenated crap…you know…all that bad stuff that Kellogg’s puts into their cereals and people consume freely.  I am a cereal girl.  I start most of my mornings with a small bowl.  A serving.  And yes…I do measure.  You knew that already though, right?

Well, in my July Cuisine Cube, I had a special surprise waiting for me inside.  Because when I opened up the box, I saw that bright red top of a cereal box that meant…it had to be Freedom Foods.  I thought for a moment that they just restocked me on my Tropico’s (which my parents mail to me every few weeks so I never run out – as it is impossible to find them around here anymore!).  But I was wrong.  The box of cereal that awaited me when I pulled it out of the Cuisine Cube was…one I had never seen in the wild before.  Not when stores around here carried it…and not at the store that carries the brand in Birmingham, Alabama…where I think my parents buy them out of Tropico’s.

The cereal was Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal…and it’s basically a chocolate version of Rice Krispies.  Chocolate puffed rice cereal?  I’m down with that.  We all know I’m a chocolate fiend as it is.  Give it to me for breakfast and you just won my morning.  As I just ran out of Tropico’s…it looked like Monday was going to start with a bit of chocolate.  So, I poured myself a serving of the Cocoa Crunch, topped it with a splash of unsweetened almond milk, and settled in to get something more in my stomach (I had a small bite of something before I went for my run, but I still had spin class to contend with…so…fuel, baby, fuel!).

I have had my fair share of puffed rice cereals in the chocolate form before.  Envirokidz (Koala Crisp) and Mom’s Best (Crispy Cocoa Rice) both do gluten-free puffed rice cereal.  And both are really delicious.  So…when I took a bite of this cereal, I was hoping it would live up to those two at least.

It came as no surprise that…it did.

Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch is a chocolaty bowl of goodness and rightness in the morning.  Chocolate can make anything better.  Even a good morning can be improved on with a hint of chocolate.  What makes this cereal really unique, though, is that these chocolate puffs of rice are flavored and colored with natural ingredients and are lower in sodium and sugar than comparable kids cereals.  And…the flavor really is great.  I don’t want a cereal to be too sweet, because it feels like it’s just a bunch of sugar.  And this one strikes a nice balance of rich chocolate without that overkill on sweetness.  It was crunchy, and stayed crunchy, as I ate it.  And analyzed each bite…which I tend to do each time I try a new cereal.  It was decadent without being too much.  And, the best part is…the chocolate milk left in the bowl at the end of it.  Recovery fuel at its finest!  This cereal is total chocolate love without the excess sugar and sodium that other kids cereals have inside.

So…let’s get down to the comparisons and the nitty-gritty of the ingredients and nutritional information, yes?

Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal contains the following ingredients: gluten-free flour mix (rice, non-GMO corn, wholegrain sorghum flour), cane sugar, chocolate syrup, psyllium, cocoa powder, salt, palm oil, natural chocolate flavor, and…wait for it…vitamins (niacin, thiamine, folic acid).  This cereal is free from gluten, wheat, nuts, soy, eggs, and GMO ingredients.

As for the nutritional information, this isn’t too bad for a gluten-free chocolate-based cereal.  Honestly.  A serving of Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal is 1 cup (Envirokidz Koala Crunch is 3/4 cup and Mom’s Best is 3/4 cup).  This serving will give you 130 calories and .5 grams of fat (Envirokidz – 110 calories; 1 gram fat; Mom’s – 120 calories; 1 gram fat).  This serving will also dish you up  85 mg sodium and only 7.5 grams of sugar (Envirokidz – 100 mg sodium; 11 grams sugar; Mom’s – 150 mg sodium and 13 grams sugar).  And finally, you will be taking in 3.5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein (Envirokidz – 2 grams fiber; 2 grams protein; Mom’s – 0 grams of fiber; 1 gram protein).  So, Freedom Foods might have a few more calories than the other gluten-free puffed rice cereals out there, but it definitely has them beat on everything else.  And you know what?  That makes me really happy.  The small amount of sugar that is inside a chocolate cereal from Freedom Foods just wow’s me.  Honestly.  I am beyond impressed.

Between Tropico’s and Smudge…Freedom Foods is really making a name for itself in my pantry.  And now…it’s striking a high note with the chocolate lover in me with this Cocoa Crunch Cereal.  I can’t thank Cuisine Cube enough for introducing me to this product that I didn’t even know existed.  Another great item in my latest box…another fantastic product from Freedom Foods.  I am one happy food-loving girl!

A bowl of Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal

A bowl of Freedom Foods Cocoa Crunch Cereal

Recipe: Broccoli Masala

Ever since I started going to my favorite (and Louisville’s most popular) Indian restaurant, one of the best dishes I have ever eaten has been their Broccoli Masala.  No joke.  It is amazing.  It has so much depth of flavor.  I always get mine done up spicy…because I love some heat with my food.

I’ve done a baked version of a Broccoli Masala before and even blogged on it…but I wanted to see if I could find a better recipe to use.  And, lo and behold, I found one that would incorporate items that I already had in my apartment.  I had broccoli from my last CSA bin, before having to take a couple weeks off as I was out of town.  I had onion.  I had cherry tomatoes.  And so…this recipe from Spicy Treats just seemed ideal.  I made up my mind to make it…so after I got home from work,  I got busy chopping up veggies and seaming some rice on the stove top.

The rest…was just a matter of cooking.  It was so easy and Cathy even preferred it to the baked one I made previously.  It’s still not Shalimar’s (that would be my favorite Indian restaurant)…but it is, so far, the next best thing!

Recipe: Broccoli Masala

Broccoli Masala

Broccoli Masala

Servings: 2
Time: Prep 20 minutes; Cook 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sized crown of broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped (I just sliced grape tomatoes in half)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds

 

Directions:

Wash Broccoli crown, drain and chop into small florets.  Chop the onion , tomato, and crush the garlic and keep ready.

Heat oil in a pan.

Add fennel seeds and when they splutter, add garlic and saute it.

Add onions and saute for 1-2 minutes or until it turn light golden brown.

Add tomato and saute until soft and mushy.

Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder, and curry powder.  Stir fry well.

Add broccoli florets.  Season with enough salt and then add a dash of water.  Stir fry for a minute.

Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the florets turn soft and tender.  Do not over cook.  The broccoli should retain that bright green color.

If you are using it, add the cilantro and stir fry for a moment.

Serve over steamed jasmine rice.

~*~*~

My roomate really dove into this dish, loving the further depth of flavor that the addition of the tomatoes and the onions made.  In addition, the coconut oil made the perfect oil in which to cook the vegetables.  They cooked up to perfection, and I hit the seasoning just right for my roommate (she is not one who likes spicy foods…I do).  So, that was a win.  If you prefer a spicier meal, add more chili powder.  This delicious and nutritious meal is a great and fun way to enjoy Indian food in the comfort of your home.  Simple to make…and delicious too.

And now I’m craving…

Recipe: Gluten-Free Charred Corn Tacos (with Homemade Taco Seasoning)

So…I was back from some time away and without my CSA bin for yet another week.  I still had a couple of produce items from the week prior in my fridge.  Nothing that would have gone bad while I was out of town for the weekend…but…you know…just some things I hadn’t gotten to just yet.  One of these items were 2 ears of corn.  I had previously grilled up the other 2 ears of corn that were in the bin…and I really, really wanted to try something different this time around.

So, I went on a little bit of a hunt…and somehow discovered the amazing recipe for Charred Corn Tacos (as well as homemade (so it can be gluten-free) taco seasoning) from Joy the Baker.  I was elated.  Because I love tacos and because it was definitely a different and unique way to consume said corn…and do something different with your average tacos.  The best part?  This recipe was super easy and I just needed to swing by the grocery store for a couple of items that I didn’t have due to not getting my produce bin.

If you love tacos…I highly recommend these.  If you are a carnivore…I swear, you won’t even miss the meat!

Recipe: Gluten-Free Charred Corn Tacos (with Homemade Taco Seasoning)

Gluten-Free Charred Corn Tacos (with homemade Taco Seasoning)

Gluten-Free Charred Corn Tacos (with Homemade Taco Seasoning)

Servings: 2
Time: Prep 25 minutes; Cook 15 minutes

Ingredients for Taco Seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

 

Directions for Taco Seasoning:

Toss together.  Store in a jar.  Apply liberally to most everything.

 

Ingredients for Gluten-Free Charred Corn Tacos:

  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels cut from the cob
  • a handful of chopped scallions
  • a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
  • a seeded fresh Serrano pepper, chopped
  • a liberal amount of homemade taco seasoning
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 ripe sliced avocado
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

 

Directions for Gluten-Free Charred Corn Tacos:

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the corn and allow to char for several minutes.  Stir infrequently to allow the corn to really char.

Remove from the heat and stir in scallions, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, and taco seasoning to taste.

Warm up the tortillas.

Spoon the charred corn into the tortillas.  Top with avocado.

DEVOUR!

~*~*~

My roommate declared this one of her favorite taco dishes that I have ever prepared.  And, a couple years back we did what we called a “Tour de Taco” where I did different flavors and versions of tacos throughout the entire week.  To hear that sort of exclamation really made my day.  The char on the corn really does make all the difference, so be sure you start to get that blackened color on the kernels.  These aren’t too spicy…and the seasoning is perfect.  Honestly, it just brought this wash of flavor to the entire dish.  Top off however you like.  I added kale to mine for a bit of a leafy green.  It was awesome.  My roomie had me whip up some vegan Sriracha sour cream and I topped mine with hot sauce.  However you like it…it’s yours for the making.

Recipe: Roasted Garlic, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

This spring, my roommate and I decided to take on a new challenge.  This challenge was…we were going to see if we could…possibly…grow our own herbs.  We actually picked up a little kit from a local store that gave us five different herbs to grow.  Sadly, the cilantro and the parsley didn’t quite survive the first wave of heat and humidity, despite our best efforts.  This left us with chives, basil and oregano.  So far…they’ve been doing well.  The break in the hot summer weather has worked in favor for those three herbs, at least.

Well, the chives were getting a bit crazy and I was informed by the roomie that we needed to use them.  And I know how she loves biscuits.  Does she ever love biscuits…

So I promised her that I would make her some biscuits that included chives in some way, shape or form.   I also know that she loves cheese and she loves garlic.  I found a base recipe for some flaky biscuits on a blog called Whole and Heavenly Oven…and then made my own adjustments to make it work within my own diet restrictions.  I will note that I didn’t roast my own garlic.  I had a jar of roasted garlic in my fridge, so I used about 2 tablespoons of the garlic instead of roasting a head of garlic myself.  But, roasting garlic is easy and I’ll include those instructions from the original recipe in case you don’t have the jar of roasted minced garlic like I did.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Roasted Garlic, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

Gluten-Free Roasted Garlic, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

Gluten-Free Roasted Garlic, Cheddar and Chive Biscuits

Servings: 20
Time: Prep 50 minutes; Bake 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head of garlic, top cut off*
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil*
  • 4-1/2 cups flour (I used Better Batter Gluten-Free All Purpose)
  • 4 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/4 cups cold butter, cubed (Earth Balance is a great non-dairy option)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (Diaya is great for a non-dairy option)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 2 cups buttermilk (I used unsweetened almond milk)*NOTE: If you are using the jarred minced roasted garlic, you don’t need these ingredients.

Instructions:

If you are roasting your own garlic, preheat the oven to 400°F.  Place garlic in a small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until garlic is soft.  Cool slightly then finely chop.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a pastry cutter, or your fingers, work in cold butter, shredded cheese, chives, and chopped roasted garlic until crumbly.

Pour buttermilk over all and gently stir until a shaggy clump of dough forms.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and gently knead until dough is smooth.

Pat dough into a 3/4 in circle.  Using a biscuit cutter, cut out biscuit shapes and place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Keep doing this until all the dough is used up.

Bake biscuits at 400°F for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Cool on wire cooling racks.

Store biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

~*~*~

Much to my delight (and I admit…surprise), what emerged were these golden, flaky, amazing biscuits.  My roommate had one hot from the oven and she raved about the flavors.  These will be part of our breakfast lineup this week for certain.  I already scrambled up eggs and placed between a sliced biscuit with some greens for breakfast this morning.  HUGE win on the breakfast front.  I will definitely be making these again!

Product Review: Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger

Product: Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger – $5.49+

I remember, back in the days before I was diagnosed as a Celiac, I was simply a vegetarian.  And as a vegetarian, I often would pick up different meat alternatives to try out for dinner.  One of my favorite brands I would return to was Gardein.  Gardein was a company that began with a simple dream – to use the power of vegetables to create healthy fast food.  It was something the CEO and the company did very well.  In fact, Gardein products are now served in various restaurants, including numerous restaurants at the Wynn in Las Vegas.

I do, however, remember and even recall someone asking…and did so myself…after I had to go gluten-free…for Gardein to consider making gluten-free products.  The original response those three years ago was that taking the vital wheat gluten out of the products would jeopardize the integrity of said product.  Therefore…no go.  In fact, so many of the vegetarian/vegan meat companies took that stance.  And for a long while, a vegetarian meat product didn’t cross my lips.  Sure, there were a few options I tried and some that I liked.  But none were like the ones I used to devour every week.

Until…

Gardein announced that it had some gluten-free products coming out to the market.  And lo and behold, my newest local grocery store in the Louisville area happened to have some of these products.  I have a CSA bin that gave me TONS of leafy greens this week.  So, I figured it would be a good time to perhaps make up some veggie burgers.  I was pretty set on one of my standards…Hillary’s Eat Well or Qrunch or something along those lines.  But as I was passing by the freezer section in Lucky’s…there they were…a beacon of refrigerator light shining down upon them as if they were a gift from the gluten-free gods themselves.

Gardein’s Gluten-Free Veggie Burgers.  In fact, there were a couple of different varieties to choose from: Garden Veggie Burger and a Chipotle Black Bean Burger.  My roomie and I actually swear there was a gluten-free beefless burger there as well.  Honestly!  Not just the Beefless Ground.  But I can’t find anything on that on their Web site.  But…trust me…we saw it because it was in the running to come home with us.

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burgers (cooking)

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burgers (cooking)

Anyway…dinner time tonight meant…veggie burger time.  Gluten-free veggie burger time.  So, I started up the oven to cook the remaining sweet potato fries to go with the burgers and then pulled out my skillet to get it heated up.  The Gardein Garden Veggie Burgers were taken out of the freezer and I carefully (NOT!) pried them apart with a sharp knife so I could have two of the four in the package.  Then, I placed a bit of coconut oil in my skillet, let it melt, then put the patties down to cook.  The bag said it would take around 4 minutes on each side.  This was perfect.  I got my gluten-free hamburger buns (Rudi’s Gluten Free Multigrain Hamburger Rolls, in case you were wondering!) out, sliced, and put in the oven to toast.  Then, I flipped the veggie burgers over to get the other side cooking as well.  As things were finishing up, I sliced a tomato, rinsed some of the lettuce I had in my crisper drawer, and got out some vegan cheese to melt over the top of the patty.  As the fries finished up and the buns finished toasting, I placed a cheese slice on each patty, tossed a bit of water into the skillet, and then covered it so that the steam would perfectly melt the cheese.

As that was happening, I placed some condiments on each bun, then got the lettuce placed onto the bun itself.  I removed the Gardein Garden Veggie Patties from the skillet and let them sit (per instructions) for one minute. Then I placed them patty over the lettuce, topped it off with the tomato and the top of the bun and VIOLA…dinner was served…with a side of sweet potato fries!

Settling in for dinner, I was really looking forward to trying a new brand of veggie burger.  Especially since it was from a brand I used to trust as a vegetarian.  They definitely didn’t disappoint.  Whatever integrity Gardein thought it would lose by making gluten-free products…didn’t happen.  Honestly.  The Gardein Garden Veggie Burger was amazing.  It was perfectly crusted on the outside, but the inside was soft and bound together with real vegetables, brown rice, and oats.  I loved that I could not only take a bite of the burger and have it taste like a real burger…but I also got a bit of a serving of vegetables (corn, peas, peppers).  I could see the brown rice cooked throughout and giving the patty some depth of flavor and a bit of volume and density.  This burger was a very good size too…no skimping by Gardein.  I loved seeing that.  And it had a great, almost nutty and fresh taste to it.  It was love at first bite with me.  And I am happily assigning this the top spot on my gluten-free veggie burger list.  Yes…it really is that amazing and that good.  And…it will actually fill you up!

Now that I’ve mentioned that…I might as well get down to the ingredients and nutrition, yes?  Yes!

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burgers are made from water, cooked brown rice, roasted vegetables (non-GMO corn, red and green bell peppers), carrots, onions, gluten-free rolled oats, peas, non-GMO expeller pressed canola oil, non-GMO soy protein concentrate, modified vegetable gum, dehydrated garlic, organic cane sugar, onion powder, sea salt, spices, yeast extract, natural flavors (contains gluten-free soy sauce), paprika, citric acid.  Simple ingredients…but huge flavor.  These burger patties are gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO.

Nutritionally speaking, I am so in love with these stats, you just can’t imagine.  So often, the gluten-free veggie burgers are laden in calories and fat.  I guess it’s just how the companies try to make up for it being (GASP!) gluten-free.  But Gardein turned out one fantastic product and managed to do it and keep both calories and fat in check.  A serving of the Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burgers is one burger.  This serving will dish up 110 calories and 4 grams of fat.  Yep…you read that right!  LOVE IT!  One burger will also give you 280 mg sodium and 2 grams of sugar.  These burgers are cholesterol free.  One burger patty will also give you 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Did I mention how delicious these are?  Delicious and nutritious!  Gardein was a little gun-shy to take on gluten-free.  It tookk them a couple of years, but after listening to the numerous requests by consumers, they have entered the gluten-free market.  And they did so with a bang.  If you are looking for an amazing gluten-free veggie burger, run to your store and find the Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger.  Trust me…it will be the best you’ve ever had.

Amazing.

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger (with lettuce, tomato, vegan cheese on a Rudi's Gluten-Free Multigrain Hamburger Roll)

Gardein Gluten-Free Garden Veggie Burger (with lettuce, tomato, vegan cheese on a Rudi’s Gluten-Free Multigrain Hamburger Roll)

Product Review: Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar

Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar

Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar

Product: Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar – $2.49

As you know, I am always on the lookout for more and different protein bars, as I am an athlete on the go!  I usually consume a protein bar on weekends away, or perhaps before a race (with time to digest, of course), and sometimes after I hit up the gym for my weights sessions.

I have my go-to brands…Lärabar, thinkThin, and KIND to name a few.  All of them are certified gluten-free and carry a good portion of protein to help rejuvenate me after or before a hard workout.  When I’m traveling, they also make fantastic snacks and/or food options when nothing else is available.

So, imagine my surprise and my joy when my June Cuisine Cube showed up in the mail and it included an energy bar as a mid-day pick-me-up snack option.  Not just any energy bar…one that was two of my favorite things…Chocolate Peanut Butter flavored!  The Cuisine Cube, as I explained before, tends to include products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and a snack.  And every now and again…a bonus.  In June, the bonus was the energy bar.  And it sounded amazing.

I had never heard of Grab the Gold before, and was quite curious as to what their version of an energy bar would be like.  I’ve had some good ones in my time and some really, really bad ones.  But, I have come to trust my Cuisine Cube and the choices of products that go inside.  I had a run and some weights to do this morning, and my breakfast beforehand was simply cereal.  Delicious cereal, but by the time I finished up at the gym, I was ready for something to eat.

I packed my roommate and I each a protein bar.  She had her favorite Lärabar (ALT Lemon Pound Cake…in case you were wondering!).  I decided to give the one I received in my Cuisine Cube a try.  So, that was what emerged from my bag in the car to eat on the way to her family’s house to sort out some (who am I kidding…TONS) of items in the garage.  I was going to need reinforcements.  So, I unwrapped the gorgeous golden foil wrapper and unveiled an unassuming round bar.  Little flecks of oats and chocolate chips were visible.  I broke off a piece for my roomie to try and then I took a bite.

You know those amazing no-bake cookies?  Yeah…that’s what this bar tasted like.  A fantastic no-bake cookie.  Talk about a treat!  Great texture and taste too.  It was chocolatey without being too candy-like.  It had that nice hit of peanut butter.  The oats gave it that cookie-like texture.  The chocolate chips were that little burst of flavor in each bite.  And the round shape made for a nice change of pace from other bars on the market.

A little bit of history…the Grab the Gold Protein Snack Bars were created by 16 year old Danielle Ontiveros, who didn’t like typical breakfast food growing up and preferred something lighter in the mornings, since she was never hungry.  This was the end of the 80s and there weren’t a lot of choices for protein bars.  Most were expensive and didn’t taste good, so Ontiveros told her mother she wanted to make her own bars.  She pulled out items from the cupboards and began measuring, mixing, and recording what she was doing.  She began to market the bars to friends, family and neighbors and soon her business was born.  The reason these bars are round is that Ontiveros was concerned with fairness and equality and wanted to be sure everyone got the same size bars.  Cutting them into squares never yielded uniform bars in size and thickness.  Then she got the idea to weight the batter into equal parts and put them into a muffin tin.  The perfect, uniform, and round bar was born.

So, now that we know how these were made and why they are so good…let’s look at the nitty-gritty stuff.  Yep…nutrition and ingredients.

The Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar is made from organic oats, peanut butter, soy nuggets (soy flour), glucose syrup, cane sugar, semisweet chocolate chips, fruit juice, brown rice dextrins, canola oil, soy lecithin, natural cocoa powder, and vanilla.  This bar is gluten-free, cholesterol free, dairy free, vegan, contains no high fructose corn syrup, contains no preservatives, contains no trans fats, and is a sort of high fiber.

As fur nutrition, the Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bar is right on par, if not better, than other bars on the market.  One serving is one bar.  This bar contains 193 calories and 5 grams of fat.  One bar also provides73 mg sodium 345 mg potassium, and 12 grams of sugar.  I admit, it is high in sugar…higher than I normally like.  Might be why it tastes like a cookie.  But DAMN…it’s worth it.  Yum!  One bar also gives you 7 grams of filling fiber and 11 grams of protein.  You actually will feel full after eating this bar.  Trust me!

So, Cuisine Cube sent me another winner!  I hope to order some of the Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bars in the near future, if I can’t find any in local stores.  As I have never seen or heard of these before now, it’s more likely I’ll be ordering online or from Cuisine Cube’s store.  But…I am now completely and forever hooked on these.  Like having dessert for breakfast…but one that will last you for a couple of hours.

Well done!

Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar (unwrapped)

Grab the Gold Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Snack Bar (unwrapped)

Product Review: Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini

Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini

Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini

Product: Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini – $5.50+

That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?  Wow.  But…it is one that is worth attempting to say (preferably with an Italian accent).  Because what we honestly and truly have here is the finest, best, and closest-you’ll-ever-get-to-the-real-thing gluten-free pasta.  I raved about Biaglut a long while back…a couple years ago, when I reviewed the Biaglut Maccheroncini (Elbows).  I even had another one of their pasta offerings, but didn’t blog on it.  I think I was overwhelmed with blogging and thought, “gluten-free pasta is pasta…what more can I say about it?”

I’m actually really sad that my thought process went that way.  And here’s why…

Biaglut honestly is the best gluten-free pasta out on the market.  It’s not easy to find.  But if you do find it…or if you can order it online, I honestly encourage you do to so.  It is amazing.  It has the texture and taste of “real” pasta.  Nobody would even suspect that it was gluten-free.  That goes for all three varieties that I have now tried.

This latest round of gluten-free pasta a l­á Biaglut was brought to me by the amazing Cuisine Cube.  My June box contained this sack of amazing pasta.  And since I’ve been out of town, I haven’t gotten to play around with my bin ingredients lately.  But that changed.  That changed last night when I decided to do up some pasta…but in a different way.  I still have a pantry of various pastas to use…but the Biaglut was right there and I really wanted to attempt this one with a “spaghetti” type noodle.  And since Cuisine Cube sent me some Bucatini in my box…I was ready to rock and roll!

My recipe involved very little.  A Gluten-Free and Vegan Caprese Spaghetti, as it were.  So, what I did was slice up two tomatoes and lay them on a baking sheet.  I covered each slice with a slice of Teese vegan mozzarella cheese.  Then, I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, allowing the cheese to get melty and good.  While that was baking…I got some water into a big pot and set it on the stove to bring to a boil.  Once it was there, I put 4 ounces of the Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini into the water (a serving for both my roomie and myself) and let it begin to cook.  The bag said it would take around 7-8 minutes to get to that perfect al dente.  I gave it a stir every now and again, but just let the boiling water work it’s magic.  And, wouldn’t you know it?  Seven minutes later…the Bucatini was cooked perfectly.  I drained it and began to assemble my pasta…

A serving of Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini (cooked)

A serving of Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini (cooked)

Bucatini…a drizzle of olive oil, topped off with the slices of tomato with the melted vegan mozzarella, a sprinkle of fresh basil, and then a drizzle of a red wine reduction.  Dinner was served.

So, bucatini gets their name from the Italian word, “buco,” or “hole.”  It is similar in shape to spaghetti, but the hole allows water to enter as it boils, speeding up the cooking time and also making it ideal for slurping up your favorite sauce.  Naturally, then, I make a pasta dish without a sauce.  HA!

Let me tell you though, Biaglut knows what it’s doing.  Honestly.  This pasta had a great texture and amazing flavor.  It worked so well with the slices of tomato, the vegan cheese, the fresh basil, and the red wine reduction.  It just…came together in perfect harmony.  The pasta was actually ideal, despite there not being a true sauce on this dish.  It actually made me realize how much I missed eating spaghetti.  Especially one that actually felt like I was eating spaghetti and not bits of spaghetti brown rice noodles that turned to mush despite not being overcooked.  It was a very nice change and made for one of my favorite meals.  Sometimes getting creative in the kitchen and having it come out perfectly means…having the right base for said dish.  Biaglut was just that.  And I am, once again, forever going to sing high praises for this product.

Biaglut products are made from the finest gluten-free ingredients with authentic Italian recipes.  This company isn’t playing around.  The Biaglut team has worked for years to perfect the recipes for their gluten-free products to have them taste like, if not better than, that of the comparable gluten containing products.  They believe that gluten-free products shouldn’t mean sacrificing taste and flavor.

So, while on this subject…let’s take a look at what goes into the Giaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini, shall we?  The ingredients include: cornstarch, potato flour, lupin flour, lupin proteins, and mono and diglycerides (emulsifier).  Very few ingredients.  And all of them, when put together, create the ideal gluten-free pasta.  Just take my word on this one.

As for nutrition, a serving of Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini is 2 ounces.  This serving provides 190 calories and 1 gram of fat.  In addition, this serving gives you 15 mg sodium and less than 1 gram of sugar.  This pasta is cholesterol free.  You also get 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Biaglut, honestly, is top of the line when it comes to gluten-free pastas.  If you can find these and/or order this brand, I highly encourage it.  You’ll never find this pasta to turn to mush or fall apart.  Biaglut’s quality is worth the price it takes to have this pasta in your pantry.  You’ll never go back to other brands.  I promise you that much.

Gluten-Free Caprese Spaghetti made with Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini

Gluten-Free Caprese Spaghetti made with Biaglut Pasta Senza Glutine Bucatini

Product Review: So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert

So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies 'N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert

So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert

Product: So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert – $6.99+

I have a lot to give thanks for when it comes to delicious things in my life.  When most people hear that I’m a lactose intolerant and gluten-free vegetarian, I often wonder if they think I eat grass.  I don’t…for the record.  Although I do eat a lot of veggies that are green…but not grass.  Never grass.

That being said, sometimes I also get the chance to try out some products that fit into my diet.  And recently, my friends over at So Delicious Dairy-Free gave me the chance to try out some of their latest products to hit the market.  One of these included the previous blogged about So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookie Dough Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert…and now…another bit of excitement…

DAIRY-FREE AND GLUTEN-FREE COOKIES ‘N CREAM COCONUT MILK FROZEN DESSERT.

*FLAIL*

Pardon the unnecessary, but highly needed caps lock abuse.

First of all, as a Celiac do you realize that I never…NEVER…get to eat anything that in any way, shape, or form resembles ice cream that has the words “cookie,” or “dough” in it?  It’s true.  Those have become relics of my past.  Ice cream that I used to know.  Favorites of mine, left to melt away in my memory…of their flavors and their deliciousness.

Or…so I thought.

Thanks to the good people at So Delicious Dairy Free…that is no longer the case.

*DOUBLE FLAIL*

Ahem.

Oh, you better believe the first pint I dove into was the Gluten-Free Cookie Dough.  Growing up, whenever we got ice cream from the store or went to our local ice cream parlor (The Dairy Barn!), I was a cookie dough ice cream girl.  That was what I wanted.  Oddly enough, I never ate raw cookie dough…but put it in ice cream and…oh…yeah.  Magic.  We all know I about died when I got to eat the So Delicious variety, having gone YEARS now since having a taste of one of my favorite flavors.  And if you are just tuning in, click on the link above and read all about that moment!

But…we come back to the present now…and tonight…tonight it was time to give the other childhood favorite a shot.  Another flavor of ice cream I always have to just stare at and dream about eating.  But not now…not again.  Not when So Delicious comes through and delivers their So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

*KERMIT FLAIL*

 

KERMIT FLAIL

KERMIT FLAIL


So, while my roomie and I were feasting on dinner, I set the pint out to thaw a little.  I find that non-dairy frozen desserts often need about 5-10 minutes of sitting on the counter to make scooping easier.  Trust me.  Do it.  It means you won’t have to go to battle with your pint of delicious goodness.  The last thing you want to do is go to battle with dessert.  That’s just not…human.

After we finished dinner and doing the dishes, I went to get out the ice cream scooper and serve up the latest flavor of non-dairy frozen goodness from a company that prides itself on their products that they call themselves So Delicious!  That’s bold.  And I love them for that!

I scooped us each up a serving and settled in to finish watching a Food Network show of our choosing tonight.  I was practically on the edge of my seat…anticipating that first taste.  I dipped my spoon into my bowl, scooped up a bit of the ice cream…and BAM…everything I missed about Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream came flooding back to me.  I might have teared up a little.  Amazing.

First of all, So Delicious does not skimp on the fillings.  You are getting chunks of gluten-free sandwich cookies in this ice cream.  You are getting this rich and luxurious base made form coconut milk that doesn’t overpower.  The vanilla is a nice compliment to all the flavors.  And those cookies…OH MY GOD…those cookies…they are the things that dreams are made of.  Especially for someone like me…who has had to ignore anything with the word “cookie” in it for so long.  Dreams do come true and So Delicious truly makes it…delicious.  Each bite had that rich sweetness to it…plus the chunkiness of the cookies.  You get that crunch with the creamy texture of the dessert itself.  Oh…yes.  If heaven were a pint of ice cream…I was devouring it at that very moment.  A new favorite.

It’s also really good over a warm gluten-free brownie with hot fudge drizzled over it.  I’m just throwing that out there.  I might have done that too.

So, what exactly goes into a pint of the So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert?  I’m about to tell you!  This ice cream is made from organic coconut milk, organic dried cane syrup, gluten-free creme cookies, chicory root extract, natural flavor, carob bean gum, and guar gum.  Not only is this free of dairy and gluten, but it is also cholesterol free, vegan, non-GMO, and kosher.

And…I know it’s a treat…it’s dessert…but I always hit up those nutrition facts.  A serving of the So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert is 1/2 cup.  In this serving, you will be consuming 160 calories and 7 grams of fat.  Keep in mind, some of that fat count comes from that nutritious coconut milk!  You will also be taking in 50 mg sodium and 16 grams of sugar.  Yep…it’s high in sugar…but it’s an ice cream treat.  You sort of expect that.  And, finally, you will be provided with 7 grams of filling fiber and 1 gram of protein.

Not too shabby for a frozen dessert, right?  RIGHT!

Yeah…my love for So Delicious continues to grow every time I get to try one of their products.  Stay tuned…because there are more frozen treats from So Delicious in my freezer just waiting for me to pick them next to try.  It’s a good thing that ice cream is one of my most favorite things in life.  And, now, here’s one I can safely consume!

Oh, So Delicious…how I love you and your magical pints of frozen goodness.

A serving of So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies 'N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert

A serving of So Delicious Dairy Free Gluten-Free Cookies ‘N Cream Coconut Milk Frozen Dessert

Product Review: Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf

Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf

Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf

Product: Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf – $5.79

I have to hand it to Katz Gluten Free…because they are upholding an amazing record as far as their products go.  Honestly.  Every time I have ordered and consumed one of their products, they have not only wowed me, but completely set the bar for other similar products that I try.  And whenever they introduce something new to their lineup…I tend to order it to try it.  I only do that with brands I trust.  And Katz Gluten Free has more than proved itself worthy of my trust and my money.

How’s that for an endorsement?

But trust me, said endorsements aren’t just given.  They must be earned.

And one thing that Katz Gluten Free does…is earn my endorsement.  Whenever I am asked about gluten-free foods, I always direct the person to the Katz Gluten Free Web site…because they can get a sampler for free (just the cost of shipping) and try out some of the great items that Katz has to offer.  But Katz Gluten Free is smart…and they don’t give their best away.  The donuts, the bagels, the English muffins…those aren’t included in the sampler…but are definitely some of my favorite things I’ve ordered.

And now…you can add their new Lemon Poppy Loaf to that list.

Welcome to the gym morning crush and rush.  This means…early morning to get up and head over to the gym…get in some cardio and weights and then get to the office.  Every gym morning requires me to bring something to feast on for breakfast at the office while I begin working.  This normally is something easy…something I can slap into the microwave and have it done.  Always served with fruit, of course…because I like to balance things out.  With the Cinnamon and Chocolate Buns now gone (oh, Katz Gluten Free…I will be ordering those again!) I looked peered into my pantry and freezer for something I could easily serve up to my roomie and I at the office.

I could have made scones…but really thought about it too late.  So, baking was not happening.  Not this week.

Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf

Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf

But then…there in my freezer, under some frozen fruits…I spotted the Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf that I ordered when I put in the order for the Cinnamon and Chocolate Buns.  I mean…come on…it’s lemon.  And lemon things are delicious.  I removed the loaf from the freezer and set it out on the counter to thaw overnight.  I got up early that following morning to do my training run, then came home and unwrapped the loaf, opened it up, and sliced it up…two slices for each of us…because it is breakfast after all.  I placed these slices into a container, placed it in a cooler with our recovery drinks (chocolate milk for the roomie, and chocolate coconut water for me!) and anything else I was bringing for snacks and lunch.  And my tea.  Because that is important!

First of all, upon slicing the loaf I was very happy to see just how light and moist and fluffy it was.  The knife slid right through it, cutting it perfectly without me hacking it to death and giving it this odd slanting slices.  These were uniform and perfect.  Second of all, because of the nature of the loaf being so moist, nothing like butter was needed to add to it.  Could it be done, sure.  But why butter up something so lemony fresh?

So, after hitting the gym and heading to the office, I set to work in the kitchen and placed two slices on each of our plates, giving them a little warming in the microwave.  About 20 seconds.  I served these with clementines, because citrus and citrus is always a safe bet, yes?  YES!  It was quick, easy, and really could have been served minus the nuking in the microwave…but I love a hot slice of bread.  It’s almost like it’s fresh from the oven that way.

Brekkies…served.

I had no sooner settled into my desk after delivering Cathy her plate when my messenger blinked up with her exclamation of love and affection for the Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf.  I had to find out for myself.  So, I picked up my fork, sliced off the corner, and took a bite.

OH…HELL YES!  While Katz Gltuen Free does advertise this more as a cake…it is most certainly a sweet bread.  And I couldn’t have been happier with it.  The moist and fluffy lightness I described while cutting it was not an illusion.  The Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf was not dense, heavy, or hard.  It had this great brown and moist crust where it baked and inside…this gorgeous speckled loaf that just begged to be devoured.  The lemon flavor was there…but it wasn’t overpowering.  It was not an afterthought either.  Rather, it was that perfect balance…no tartness…but definitely sweet and delicious.  Happiness in breakfast form.

So, what does Katz bake into their Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf?  According to the package, this bread of lemon-poppy-awesomesaucy is a blend of a gluten-free flour mix (which includes brown rice flour, tapioca flour, and millet flour), eggs, sugar, brown sugar, canola oil, water, poppy seeds, baking powder, lemon extract, vanilla extract, xanthan gum, and salt.  This bread is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free, corn-free and cholesterol free.

As far as nutrition goes…a serving of the Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf is one slice.  There are 10 servings per loaf.  One slice of the loaf will give you 140 calories and 5 grams of fat.  You will be taking in 130 mg sodium and 10 grams of sugar.  And you will be consuming 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.  Another good reason to serve it up with something…you won’t be left feeling full after eating this.  But…it’s so good you probably won’t care either.

Oh…yeah.  If you like lemon things…lemon flavors…and just gluten-free food that tastes better than the “real” thing…you need to treat yourself to this delicious indulgence.  Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf is a delicious slice of gluten-free heaven…and you’ll want to go back for more.

A slice of Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf

A slice of Katz Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Loaf