Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

It was one of those moments where you receive an e-mail with a recipe…and you’re out of town visiting a friend, who happens to keep gluten-free goodies at her house just for you!  And every ingredient needed for said recipe that caught your attention is already in her pantry, fridge, or freezer.

To me, that sounds like a sign to make something for sure.  And as it is traditional for the two of us to cook at least once together when visiting…this recipe seemed to fit the bill.

And why did it catch my eye?  First…the word “breakfast” was involved.  We all know that my favorite meal of the day is breakfast.  Secondly…the word “cake.”  Yes…CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!

I have actually made this recipe twice now…and found the flour I used for it the second time (Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour) worked a lot better than the Trader Joe’s Gluten Free All Purpose that we used at Jenn’s.  I served this up to my parents, my sister, and my nephews…and all loved it as much as my roommate, Jenn, and I did.  So…this is forever being made.

The original recipe was from Gluten Free on a Shoestring…posted by Udi’s Gluten-Free.  The recipe below…is how I make it!

Cake for breakfast…it sounds so sinful, but, even more importantly…it’s delicious.

Recipe: Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake
Gluten Free Strawberry Breakfast Cake

Servings: 16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Mina’s Purely Divine Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon vanilla Greek yogurt, (If dairy-free, use soy/almond/coconut yogurt) (you make need to add more to mix)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 cups fresh roughly chopped strawberries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan, then line it with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, overhanging both sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

Make the batter.

In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well.

Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, yogurt and eggs, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick.

Add 1 cup of the chopped strawberries and mix gently until the strawberries are evenly distributed throughout the dough, taking care not to crush the strawberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a wet spatula. Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup chopped strawberries over the top of the batter, pressing them gently into the batter.

Bake the cake.

Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is very lightly golden brown (about 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before lifting out by the overhung parchment paper and placing on a wire rack to cool (peeling off the parchment from the bottom of the cake if possible). Allow to cool completely before slicing into 16 squares and serving.

**NOTE: I store this in the fridge and give it a 20-30 second heat up in the microwave before eating.  It is DIVINE!**

~*~*~

This cake is not just for breakfast, but it is a rather healthy, low-calorie, and amazingly moist and delicious way to have breakfast.  Nothing better than having your cake (for brekkies) and eating it too!  I was so impressed by this recipe, and totally made only a few slight adjustments to the recipe, but it came out perfect.  And I intend to make it again very soon.  It’s easy, it’s delicious…it’s what breakfast should be.

Cake.

ENJOY!

Product Review: Daiya New York Cheezecake

Daiya New York Cheezecake
Daiya New York Cheezecake

 Product: Daiya New York Cheezecake – $8.99+

Earlier this year, around the time Expo West was going on (one day…I will get there!), the leading name in vegan cheese products, Daiya, unveiled a line of cheesecakes.  For those of you unfamiliar with the sheer awesomeness of Daiya, let me tell you about my love affair with their products.  Daiya is a household name for so many vegans.  This brand offers a vast array of vegan options, including cream cheese, frozen pizzas, cheese-like wedges/blocks, non-dairy cheese slices, and, what they are most famous for, their cheese shreds (which melt the best of any vegan option out there).  You can imagine the ruckus I made when it was revealed that they were dipping their toes into the cheesecake world.

I grew up in New York – and New York is in love with its…cheesecake.  And who doesn’t appreciate a good cheesecake, right?  They are rich, creamy, dense, and “oh-so-bad-for-you-it’s-so-good.”  Nothing beats a perfect crust with the perfect, dense, creamy layer of cream cheese goodness baked on top.  It is the ultimate comfort dessert.  You eat a cheesecake when you just don’t give a flying flip about anything else.  You eat cheesecake as a treat.  You eat cheesecake and you savor each bite.

It has been years since I’ve had a cheesecake.  I mean…a real cheesecake.  I have made a couple of dairy-free versions of cheesecake…but they haven’t worked out so well.  One spilled out of my springform pan, while the other one was the perfect density and tasted good…but it cracked on top…so it wasn’t perfect and pretty.  But, hey…I tried.

So, leave it to Daiya to swoop in and save the day.

All hail Daiya!

So, I figured it would be awhile before these turned up in my area.  That’s usually how new products unveiled at Expo West happen.  BUT…it was different this time.  A few weeks ago, I was in Whole Foods and as I was walking down the frozen food aisle, I glanced over and saw a shelf of all four flavors of the cheezecakes that Daiya has put out on the market.  For those wondering, these four flavors are: New York, Strawberry, Key Lime, and Chocolate.  I made a few happy noises and my roommate and I vowed to pick up one of the Daiya Cheezecakes the following week, when we could bring a cooler and not leave it in the car while we finished up the rest of our shopping.

True to our word, we did return.  And after a very short discussion over which flavor we should try first, we unianimously settled on the Daiya New York Cheezecake.  Why?  Because nothing is better or more versatile than a New York-style cheesecake.  Trust me.  I know.  We purchased the dessert and brought it home, where I put it in the freezer and let it sit while I made some out of town trips and all that good stuff.

But, with my running on hold (which, granted, probably isn’t the time to develop a dessert-crust on a high-fat treat) while I am in recovery and physical therapy for a torn hip labrum, I am making my way through some of the things in my pantry, freezer, and fridge.  This Sunday, it was all about the cheesecake!

Daiya New York Cheezecake is fairly simply to prep for devouring.  Simply remove the cheezecake from the package and transfer it to a cutting board or plate, and then place it in the refrigerator.  Allow it to thaw for 5-6 hours.  Then, slice into it (it says it feeds 4-6 people, for the sake of my waist and my weight, I opted for 6) and transfer it to plates.  Thaw these slices for an additional 20 minutes at room temperature before serving and refrigerate any unused pieces immediately.  If you don’t have 5-6 hours to kill, you can thaw the unwrapped cheezecake at room temperature for 30 minutes, slice it, and then thaw an additional 45 minutes.  You should NOT refreeze this dessert.  And, according to the box, it is best if consumed within 48 hours of thawing.

So…I did all of the above on Sunday afternoon, allowing the Daiya New York Cheezecake to thaw in the fridge while I went about my crazy Sunday afternoon.  After eating dinner that night, I popped into the kitchen and sliced up the dessert, serving up tiny little wedges to both myself and my roommate.  Settling in, I was eagerly anticipating my first bite.  So…I took it.

And fell in love.  Seriously.  My first thought was that these were going to taste like Daiya.  Let’s face it, my vegan and Daiya loving friends…Daiya products have this particular taste about them.  But the Daiya New York Cheezecake doesn’t have that.  It is light and soft and tastes like a New York Cheesecake.  That’s the great thing about a plain cheesecake.  You can dress it up if you want with berries or jams or even caramel or chocolate.  But I’m a purist.  I wanted to taste it on its own so I could draw a good conclusion on how I felt about the taste.  And, I was beyond impressed.  While it is nowhere near the density and richness of an authentic New York style cheesecake, it was creamy and rich.  I actually appreciated that sort of texture because some New York style cheesecakes are a little hard to swallow.  This could be, honestly, the most perfect dessert.  I also loved that the graham cracker crust is only a tiny, itty-bitty layer on the bottom, because this made the main focus the cheesecake itself.  I don’t want a lot of crust.  It isn’t the star of the dessert.  It’s that creamy topping that everyone wants.  And this was smooth and light.  And that…was a winner for me.  The cheesecake itself is rather small when compared to a regular one, but…I appreciated the size.  No over-indulging.  Just right.

So, let’s talk about what goes into a Daiya New York Cheezecake, shall we?  The Cheezecake Filling is made from filtered water, dessicated coconut, evaporated cane sugar, coconut oil, tapioca starch, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, potato starch, pea protein isolate, vanilla extract, sea salt, vegan natural flavors, vegetable glycerine, sodium alginate, xanthan gum, lactic acid, tricalcium phosphate, cultured sugar, agave syrup, titanium dioxide, and vegan enzyme.  The Gluten-Free Crust is made from tapioca starch, coconut oil, evaporated cane sugar, brown rice flour, white whole grain sorghum flour, potato starch, filtered water, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, blackstrap molasses, vanilla extract, milled flax seed, psyllium, leavening, sea salt, xanthan gum, and sunflower lecithin.  Whew.  This dream come true dessert is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, cholesterol free, and vegan.

So, let’s talk about the nutrition facts of the Daiya New York Cheezecake, shall we?  I know it’s a dessert, but it is about half the size of a regular cheesecake…but it will eat like a real cheesecake.  I cut my portion down by making 6 servings instead of four, but if you stick to the 4 slices per the box recommendation, you’ll be taking in 16 grams of saturated fat.  My thighs are already planning their revenge at the gym today.  The fat and sugar contents are both high as well…but…this is a dessert.  I get that.  SO…with that preface…a serving size is 1 slice (100 grams), with 4 servings per box.  One serving will give you 360 calories, 24 grams fat, 16 grams saturated fat, 420 mg sodium, 34 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 17 grams sugars, and 3 grams of protein.  So, it’s up there on the calories and fat…so remember…it is a treat.  Do not overindulge.

This was, truly, one of the most amazing, decadent, and fantastic store bought desserts I have had the honor of indulging in since having to give up gluten and dairy.  Rich, creamy, and sinfully good.  Daiya definitely did an amazing job creating this line of cheesecakes and I look forward to trying the other three flavors.  In moderation.  And after hitting the gym.

Well done, Daiya!

Product Review: Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts

Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts
Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts

Product: Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts – $6.49

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about one of my favorite gluten-free companies out there.  I think the giant, larger than my arm, loaf of challah bread and a couple of goodies I got to go with it were the last thing to cross my freezer from Katz Gluten Free.  I have been moving away from processed foods, but that doesn’t mean I don’t splurge every now and again.

I forgot what took me over to the Katz Gluten Free Web site awhile back.  Perhaps I just wanted to take a browse.  Perhaps I had a feeling that they had added some new products that would immediately make me fill up my cart and then eagerly anticipate their arrival a couple of days later.

Whatever it was that drew me over there…it worked.  Because they did have new products on the site. And I did immediately order them.

What was it that grabbed my attention and made me need to have said products right then and there?  One word:

DONUTS!

I mean, yes, gluten-free donuts aren’t exactly difficult to come by these days.  In fact, my local allergen-free bakery, Annie May’s Sweet Café, offers them every Saturday morning.  They sell out rather quickly too.  You can find versions in freezers at grocery stores and (yes) natural food stores alike.  Believe me…I often think…”I could buy that one box of donuts…”

And I don’t…because I know I can get better…fresh from my very own local gluten-free bakery…or…from Katz Gluten Free.

Well, color me happy and surprised (which is apparently yellow and orange) when I just randomly darted over to their Web site and looked at their New Products page.  Lo and behold there…on the screen…were not one…not two…but THREE new versions of their fantastic, super-delicious, gluten-free donuts.  My heart skipped a beat, my hand reached for my credit card…and all three new varieties were purchased.  I didn’t bat an eye.  Hey, I love being healthy, but every girl deserves a donut every now and again.  And this Celiac really loves donuts!

The three new varieties offered by Katz Gluten Free are Pumpkin Pie Spiced Donuts, Triple Chocolate Donuts, and the Glazed Chocolate Donuts.

This is one of those days where a quick breakfast is more than appreciated…it’s necessary.  So, despite having these for a couple of weeks in my freezer, I have resisted diving in.  But today…was a good day for donuts.  I asked my roommate to pick a flavor and she immediately replied with the Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts.  She is a sucker for glazed donuts.  So…I had a feeling that flavor would either be the first to go or the last one eaten. She went for it first.

I actually pulled the donuts out of the freezer last night and placed the two I needed (one for my roommate and one for me) into a plastic bag to thaw overnight.  The rest were returned to the freezer for another day.  I don’t need to eat them all right now?  I can savor them this way.  The following morning, all they required was a little zap in the microwave (although even that isn’t necessary, I just like to give them that “fresh & hot” feeling to them.  And then…brekkies was served.

As a child raised in Upstate New York…one of the best treats ever was a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin (aka: donut hole).  And, for as much as I can remember about how those tasted, that’s the memory these donuts drew up for me.  The donut itself is a rich chocolate cake donut that just melts…literally melts in your mouth.  Talk about a dream.  The glaze is this sugary sweet bonus that just ties it all together giving it that little bit of texture and that extra boost of flavor.  Just…beyond wow.  And, even more…it brought back memories of sitting down to one of my favorite treats as a kid…donut holes from Dunkin Donuts.  I mean…exact same flavor profile and texture to them.  It was almost like eating cake for breakfast.  Chocolate to the max…and just…Mmmmmmmmm….delish.  I am glad I pull these out ahead of time and eat them away from my apartment or I’d probably be tempted to go back and eat another one.  And maybe another one for good show.  It’s nice to have a treat every now and again.  These are a treat worth indulging in from time to time.  TRUST ME!

While this may not be the healthiest of breakfasts, you gotta treat yourself every now and again.  I love fitness and I love eating clean and healthy foods, but I also like to indulge every now and again.  Some mornings, you just eat a donut.

Let’s talk about ingredients.  Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts are made from gluten-free flour (a blend of tapioca starch, white rice flour, and corn starch), water, palm oil, sugar, eggs, confection sugar, canola oil, cocoa, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, natural vanilla extract, agar, calcium carbonate (anticaking agent), and calcium sulfate (stabilizer).  I know…I see the chemical sounding things on there too.  But…this is a treat this morning.  I definitely don’t eat donuts every day.  In fact, it is a rare thing these days.  These donuts are gluten-free, soy free, dairy free and nut free.

As for nutritional information…for donuts, these stack up rather well.  In fact, better than most donuts out there.  A serving is 1 donut.  Nailed that.  This one donut will provide you with 210 calories and 12 grams of fat.  Okay…the fat is high…but it’s a donut.  You will also be taking in 20 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, and 12 grams of sugar.  And because these are donuts, and mostly comprised of sugar, they will definitely not be filling you up.  In fact, one donut has only 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein.  I ate mine with an orange.

Balance.  HA!

I have only love for the products I have tried from Katz Gluten Free.  They were the first company to bring me gluten free donuts that tasted like…real donuts.  They have fantastic pies…good cookies…amazing bread…and I could go on.  But if you are really looking to treat yourself every now and again…buy the donuts.  Just…take a chance.  Because, trust me…you will want to keep a box of these stashed in your freezer for those “Mmmm…donut!” days.

And now, I have the Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate variety to add to the mix.  And they have exceeded my expecations for sure.  I know that Katz Gluten Free only puts out quality products, but this was just exceptional.  For those days when only a donut will do…you better not be without the Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts.  Stock up.  And savor.  These are definitely donut love for sure.  SO GOOD!

Restaurant Review: Be Our Guest – Fantasyland – Magic Kingdom, Disney World

Be Our Guest - Fantastyland - Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
Be Our Guest – Fantastyland – Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida

Restaurant: Be Our Guest – Fantasyland – Magic Kingdom, Disney World

It’s probably one of the hardest reservations to get at Disney World at this time.  One of the newest restaurants at the theme park itself, Magic Kingdom opened the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland.  And yes, just as the name suggests, the basic theme of this restaurant is Beauty and the Beast.This means, should I ever take my neice Kaytlynn to Disney World…this is where we would eat!

We didn’t get the much coveted dinner reservation, however, my Disney Travel Agent and friend, Karen, managed to snag a spot for a lunch reservation.  She added it to our Fast Passes and we were good to go for Sunday lunch.

We had big dinner plans that evening at The Wave, so we opted for a “dessert first” approach to our reservation.  In other words…forget the real food…give us something sweet!

One of the reasons I had wanted to get into Be Our Guest was the fact that they had…

…wait for it…

…a GLUTEN-FREE CREAM PUFF!!!!

*cough*

Sorry…I get excited sometimes when it comes to things I love but haven’t been able to eat in years.

The rumors were true, however, so once we got into the Fast Pass line and were ushered up the walk to the restaurant, the hostess handed us each a menu and we perused it.  I knew what I was getting.  Cathy was torn between getting soup or getting a dessert.  As Jenn and I were getting desserts and had declared it “dessert first” day…she eventually let go of the soup thought and went with her choice for a dessert.  No duplicates.  Actually, normally with the three of us…little duplication ever happens.

We stood in line in this amazing Great Hall, with suits of armor and screens that showed images of the items available on the menu.  When we got up to the host, he directed us to stand inside and await the help of someone else, who would then direct us to one of the pay stations.  We had wanted to charge these to our cards, but were sent to a kiosk thing instead of the cashier.  When we questioned it, we were told it would take a card.  Jenn was first…and she wasn’t given any option except her Fast Pass.  So…onto the bracelet it went.  Cathy and I played around with it, and we did find where we could charge it to a card…except it automatically made us use the Fast Pass.  So…yeah…that was confusing, convoluted, and just chaotic.

From there, we turned over our menus and were told to take a seat at any of the tables in any of the rooms.  This involved a little bit of investigation.  The main room you enter was packed.  There was a darker room near the back, that had more of a tavern feel to it.  But…it was also packed.  So, we moved to the more ballroom-ish room.  Plenty of seating in there.  We pulled up a booth (and chair) at one of the tables at the back.  I was facing the rotating statue of Belle and The Beast dancing.  Absolutely…gorgeous.

Cathy and Jenn both got “Adult Cold Fountain Beverages” (aka: SODA!) ($2.99), so while they went to retrieve their drinks from the fountains at the other side of the room, I sat and manned the table.  While they were gone, a man came over to check our receipts and wrote down something on a pad.  I’m assuming this is how they eventually figure out where to bring our food, instead of playing a game of Marco Polo with each and every customer.  They returned and I got up to get my drink.  I don’t do soda anymore…so I opted for an “Adult Hot Beverage” (aka: coffee, tea, hot cocoa) ($2.39), and had to go retrieve a cup to get some coffee.  Caffeine was necessary.  The coffee in this room was out of order, but I was told to just go around the corner to the other room as they have coffee there.  So…I did.

Brewed hot coffee.  Not fancy.  Very basic.  But…served it’s purpose.

Finally, we were settled in and taking in the entire place.  And then, this gorgeous cart rolled up and Jenn was given her dessert.  Yes…just Jenn.  She ordered the Éclair à l’Orange ($4.19), which was an éclair with a custard filling with zested orange and finished off with chocolate ganache.  Jenn loves chocolate and orange together…so this was a definite win.  She was kind enough to wait for Cathy and I to receive our treats before she dove in.

And they did…about 5 minutes later.

Cathy went for the obvious Cathy choice…the Lemon Meringue Cupcake ($4.19).  This is a vanilla sponge cake with a lemon custard filling and flamed meringue icing.  It just screamed Cathy because…it was lemon.  And she loves lemon.

As for me…I went with the item on the menu that I wanted to begin with.  It is gluten-free.  It has no added sugar.  It, my dearest friends, is the Lemon – Raspberry Cream Puff ($4.19).  It is exactly what it sounds like.  A pastry that is filled with lemon custard and topped off with raspberries.  Gorgeous.

With all of our sweet treats now present, we dove in.

Be Our Guest's Éclair à l’Orange
Be Our Guest’s Éclair à l’Orange

Let’s start with Jenn.  Jenn loved the Éclair à l’Orange.  She said it was perfectly orange-y.  In fact, it managed to be smooth and light, not heavy like some cream-filled pastries (especially eclairs) tend to be.  Her only stipulation…it could have been bigger.

Be Our Guest's Lemon Meringue Cupcake
Be Our Guest’s Lemon Meringue Cupcake

Cathy’s Lemon Meringue Cupcake looked like a little, personal, lemon meringue pie.  She used her fork to dive in, the cake portion completely encased in this gorgeous paper.  It was small…she said almost like two biter.  And it wasn’t knock-you-over lemony, but definitely had that bright citrus flavor in each bite.  In fact, when I asked her to describe it, all she could say was…”It was lemony!” Uh…yeah…the name tells me that.  So…there you have it.  It’s lemony!

Now onto the Lemon-Raspberry Cream Puff.  I admit.  I heard rumors of the gluten-free cream puff and knew…just knew…it had to be mine.  So…here it was…this little dough puff in front of me.  I took my fork and cut through the crusty pastry, watching it flake away to give way to the gorgeous, yellow, lemon cream inside.  I paired it with the cream and raspberries on top…and we’re talking a heavenly, sinful dessert.  I loved that this also had no additional sugar in it.  I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of sugar I consume, which isn’t easy because of natural sugars in things I love…like fruits.  But, I don’t really count natural sugars.  Still, I didn’t think this really needed any additional sugar.  It was light…fluffy, and just a dreamy dessert for a girl who last had a cream puff when this gluten-free journey began…and I cheated.  And suffered.  And that was the end of that.  This…was huge to me.  I have to agree with both Jenn and Cathy though…the dessert was small.  Which is fine…but I just thought for close to $5, there would be a little bit more.  Other than that…we devoured the delectable, delicious desserts, and raved about them the entire time.

Be Our Guest's Lemon - Raspberry Cream Puff (GLUTEN-FREE!!)
Be Our Guest’s Lemon – Raspberry Cream Puff (GLUTEN-FREE!!)

Dessert first…achieved.

Being a grown-up is awesome!  HA!

So, while I thought the ambiance of the restaurant was killer…like being in the film Beauty and the Beast…it was really chaotic, really loud, and a bit…of a mess when it came to ordering and checking out.  But, it was a great way to dine and I am thrilled my friend Karen managed to snag us lunch reservations.  The atmosphere at this restaurant is hard to top.  But, in a way…it was like eating at a 5 star cafeteria.  If you know what I mean.

I was definitely happy to have the chance to dine at Be Our Guest…and I thank them for offering one of the most amazing and fantastic gluten-free desserts I have had in awhile.

Birthday & Boston

It’s September 19…and you know what that means?

It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day, mateys!!

But…it also means that it’s my birthday.  I didn’t have anything planned for the occasion…except having my friend Jenn come down for the weekend.  Which is awesome, because she’s one of my favorite peeps.  Travel buddy…race spectator…professional cheer section!  WOOT!

And it was a good day.  After work, we all went out for Indian food at Shalimar (my favorite!) and then to the mall.  Cathy bought me a new wallet and some socks for an upcoming race outfit.  The socks…the wallet is for everyday use, obviously.

And then, we came back to the apartment…stuffed ourselves with slices of my gluten-free and vegan birthday cake, made by Annie May’s Sweet Café, in Louisville, Kentucky.  And we settled in for a little while to chat, get caught up, watch some crazy stuff on television, and then get some rest.  Long day for the traveler and an early morning in the works for the morning.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day.  This morning, I was gifted with a gift card to purchase either the Frozen Soundtrack or Sherlock Series 3 on Blu-Ray.  I got some great new running gear from Amanda.  I went to work with goodies for the office and they were devoured.  Cathy’s mom brought me balloons and roses and a watermelon!  Then, home for food.  The waiter at Shalimar was taking our order, and I got my favorite, the Broccoli Masala.  And he said, “It’s your birthday…you should do something different!” But I said it was my favorite…so that is what I wanted.  After the meal, they brought out complimentary rice pudding for the three of us.  I love that place SO much.  As you can tell…I go there often!  Then shopping.  Then cake.  Now relaxing.  Oh yeah…good day!!

Speaking of cake…check out what Cathy and Annie May’s Sweet Café worked up for me:

Birthday Cake
Birthday Cake

Which brings me to the next order of business…

On September 12, 2014, at exactly 10:00 a.m., I was able to register for my chance to run the Boston Marathon.  On Sunday night…I was pulling up my e-mail on my phone and…there it was…

Boston Marathon Confirmation of Entry Acceptance
Boston Marathon Confirmation of Entry Acceptance

OFFICIAL!!

I am so excited.  And with the recent injury, I am really just focusing on recovery, regaining strength, and just getting myself to Boston in perfect marathon shape and form.  I know it can happen.  I have to break some of the habits I have fallen into since the injury.  When this e-mail came over, I would have jumped up and down…if I could.  But my foot wouldn’t allow that.  So, I did this happy dance thing, and Cathy just ignored me.  Law & Order was on.  I finally said, “Ask me why I’m dancing…just ask me why I’m dancing.”  Much screaming and excitement followed.

I still feel that way.  So, for now…my plan for NYC is to take in the experience, but not race it.  I just can’t.  Not with that amount of time off.  Not with my foot still bugging me when I take  a step.  My podiatrist changed up my prescription today…so hopefully something will get better.

But…there it is…

Birthday Bash and Boston Bound!!  LOVE!!

 

 

Product Review: Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix

Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix
Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix

Product: Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix – $10.99

I want to give another quick shout-out to my friend (all the way back through middle school!), Rebecca Fifield, who not only is just an all-around fantastic person, but is also a consultant for Tastefully Simple.  She was kind enough to send me a batch of the original four gluten-free mixes that Tastefully Simple were putting out on the market.  I have one more to go, and this one isn’t one of them.

The product I am  reviewing today, the Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix, actually is part of their second round of gluten-free mix offerings, which also brought about a Gluten-Free Coconut Lime Cake Mix.  Actually, I am just now realizing that Tastefully Simple sneaked out two more mixes while I wasn’t looking…a Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and a Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Pancake Mix.  I think I know what I’ll be ordering soon!

Anyway…when Tastefully Simple first released second round of products (Coconut Lime Cake Mix and the Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix), I was determined to buy at least one of them.  I would have purchased both, except I was already planning on buying more of the Gluten-Free Beer Bread Mix.  Hey…that stuff is awesome.  So after a little back and forth with myself…I finally chose the Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix for this time around.

And last night…I baked it up.

One of the things that makes Tastefully Simple products so appealing is how…simple…they are to make.  Normally, they require the addition of 2-3 items, all of which get stirred together and then popped into the oven to bake.  Seriously…that easy.  I love something that won’t take up too much of my time in the kitchen.  Let’s face it…I may love to cook and bake, but I’m a busy girl and I value my time.

As it was, the Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix only requires 2 cups of chopped apples (and, hey, my CSA bin gave me apples this week!), 2 eggs (or egg replacer if you are vegan), and 1 cup of chopped walnuts (which are optional, but I always add nuts!).  So, I poured the mix into a mixing bowl, chopped up two large Gala apples, broke two eggs into the bowl, and then added the walnuts.  I stirred the contents until everything was combined and no powdery mix remained in the bowl.  This took a couple of minutes because the only liquid in the bowl came from the two eggs, and for a moment I didn’t think it was going to come together.  I will never doubt again, because it all mixed in beautifully.  I poured the batter into a greased baking pan and threw it into the oven to bake.  This normally takes about 45-55 minutes.  Surprisingly, my old oven perfectly baked the cake in 45 minutes.

Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix (baked and fresh from the oven)
Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix (baked and fresh from the oven)

First of all, the Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake smells AMAZING as it is baking.  We’re in the midst of September, and autumn is coming.  This made my entire apartment smell like fall.  For real!  When it came out of the oven, it took everything in my power to let it cool down before I sliced it up and tried it for myself.  I’m not good with self control, but somehow…I managed.

The end result?!  One of the most fantastic, moist, and flavorful cakes I have ever had.  This is no joke.  Not one bit.  The apples provide a nice hit of sweetness and texture.  The top of the cake gets this nice crust on it, which crumbles as you slice into it.  It was a beautiful thing.  And the cake itself…aside from being moist, this cake tastes like a flavorful and delicious coffee cake.  It has this rich flavor to it, with the cinnamon adding a sweet spice to it that I love and my taste buds crave.  I was so surprised with how moist this cake was.  I was a bit concerned about it, but I should have known to trust Tastefully Simple.  I might be addicted to this cake.  Self control is definitely being exercised as I have an entire cake now.  It sure does taste like autumn around here.

So, let’s take a look at the ingredients.  The Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix is made from sugar, rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, salt, cinnamon, and xanthan gum.  It is cholesterol free, gluten free and kosher.

The Tastefully Simple Gluten Free Cinnamon Apple Cake Mix isn’t bad for a cake.  Remember though, this is for the mix only, but even after everything is added in, the calories and fat all stay in check.  A serving of the mix is 1/4 cup, and the mix itself makes 9 servings.  This serving will give you 190 calories.  It is fat-free and cholesterol free (until you add the eggs, of course!).  The mix has only 260 mg sodium and a whopping 29 grams of sugar.  But…it’s cake.  It’s going to be sugary!  The mix itself has no fiber and only 1 gram of protein.

Not bad at all for nutrition of a cake, that’s for sure.  I honestly was so pleasantly surprised by this cake.  I think it’s going to become a pantry staple in my apartment.  Because…wow…I am beyond impressed.

Now, I know you’re dying to try it!  You must be.  And you should be.  So, head over to Rebecca Fifield‘s page and place an order.  I promise…you won’t be disappointed.

A slice of Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake (serving size)
A slice of Tastefully Simple Gluten-Free Cinnamon Apple Cake (serving size)

Product Review: BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf
BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf

Product: BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf – $3.00

It was two weekends ago that I was walking around the Indiana State Fairgrounds at the Living Without Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest.  I had such a great time going up to the various booths, some from big name and well-known gluten-free companies and corporations.  And then…some of the booths belonged to local businesses…bakeries and sauce makers and the like.  It was an amazing variety and a great time.  I had a blast talking to the various vendors, from local and nationally acclaimed businesses and finding out more about their products and/or company.

One booth that I dropped by was BeeFree Gluten Free Bakery, based out of Noblesville, Indiana.  The bakery is owned and operated by Jennifer Wiese, the mother of four teenage boys, the eldest of which is on the autism spectrum.  She attended an autism conference a few years ago where she learned about the benefits of a gluten-free and casein free diet in helping to alleviate some of the behavioral issues associated with autism.  With a limited amount of good gluten-free and casein free food in Nobelsville, and an 8-year-old with limited patience for being asked to give up some of his favorite foods, Weise decided to get creative.  With the assistance of her mother, they eventually were able to put together a winning combination of rice, tapioca, coconut, and potato flours, with corn starch, as a base for her baking.

In the end, the diet had positive effects on her son.  And Weise wanted her son to be able to eat at social events, often meaning she had to bake a cake or pizza to be offered alongside the glutinous one that everyone else was eating.  When people started complimenting Weise on how good her creations were, she began to get asked to bake for their parties.

With the demand there, Weise decided that starting a business was the next step.  So, in 2010, BeeFree Gluten Free Bakery opened.  Weise rented out kitchen space in a restaurant after hours and would start baking.  After a year, she realized she couldn’t keep up with her orders and grow the business like she wanted to, so she rented a bakery and started producing her baked creations on a larger scale.  This meant she could do her baking in the morning while the equipment was freshly sanitized and there wasn’t any wheat flour wafting around the air.

Today, Weise’s entire family has gone gluten-free.  Now that Weise has more time freed up for working on business, she is interested in getting BeeFree Gluten Free Bakery carried more widely across the region and expanding her line.  She recently even developed a cereal for people on the Paleo Diet, which tends to avoid grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils.

So…here the bakery was, participating in a huge gluten-free expo.  As I strolled up to the table, they were offering samples of their Warrior Mix (which is a cereal).  But, for sale, I noticed one lonely loaf on the table…and it caught my attention for one reason – it was LEMON!

I love, love, LOVE lemon flavored things.  And so does my roommate.  Which, I immediately pointed the loaf out to Cathy and she nodded her head.  I spoke to the guy behind the counter and said that I’d love to take the Lemon Loaf off their hands.  He picked it up and informed me it was the last one they had.  WOOT!  Good timing.  Cathy passed over the $3.00 they were asking and we walked away with something lemon and delicious looking.

Upon returning home from our day in Indianapolis, Cathy and I sorted out our stash of free goodies and the items we bought, including ones that needed to be refrigerated.  The BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf went into the refrigerator.  I had every intention of busting into it before today…but we were working hard on polishing off the banana bread I had prepared from the mix I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. And then…we were heading out of town, and taking my own gluten-free zucchini bread loaves with me to my parents home.  So…with all of that finally gone…this morning’s after-gym breakfast had to be simple…and I had nothing.  NOTHING.  Until I recalled…the BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf.  Breakfast…was served.

That morning, before we left for the gym, I pulled out the Lemon Loaf and opened it up.  The serving size was 1/4 of the loaf, so I cut it in half, then cut that half in half…so that my roommate and I each had a serving.  I immediately noted the gorgeous lemon yellow color of the loaf.  However, I was a bit uncertain about the white layer of thick icing on the top.  I’m not big on frosting or icing…and the sheer amount of it was a bit…overwhelming.  But…I placed the slices into a container and we were off to face the cardio machines.

After going to the gym this morning, we hiked over to the office and I removed the two slices (or half of the loaf) from the cooler I bring on gym mornings.  I placed each slice on a plate and gave it a small warming (about 15 seconds) in the microwave before handing off one slice to Cathy and settling in at my desk with the other.

I cut through the top part, getting the huge chunk of icing with a little bit of the loaf.  I took a taste…and aside from the sweetness of the lemon-flavored icing…the loaf itself was moist, rich, sweet, sour, and just plain…delicious!  Yes…delicious.  I ended up breaking the icing away and cutting it up so that I could get smaller bits of it with each bite instead of having it just sitting on top.  Because…there was a lot of it.  By breaking it up like that, it definitely gave the loaf more depth as I got a bit of icing with a bit of bread with each bite.  Otherwise, I’d just get the icing and it was far too sugary sweet for a breakfast.  More like a dessert.  Maybe that’s what this was meant for.  Dessert for breakfast…it happens.  But…with the volume of icing, it was best eaten this way.  Trust me.

I was rather impressed with the texture, taste, density, and flavor that came in the BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf.  It was light, and airy, not dense and heavy.  Like I said, my only complaint is that the ratio of loaf to icing was…way off, in my opinion.  It was a little overwhelming with that thick layer of icing on top, but I made it work.  Truth is, the loaf would have been just as delicious even without the icing.  And probably would make it feel like less of a dessert too. But, to each their own, and this is truly just a personal preference.

The BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf is made from sugar, organic enriched rice milk, corn oil, eggs, white rice flour, tapioca flour, corn starch, organic lemon juice, organic lemon peel, coconut flour, potato flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and sea salt.

As for nutrition, a serving of the the BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf is 1/4 of the loaf.  In this serving, you will be consuming 250 calories and 11 grams of fat.  You will also be consuming 125 mg sodium and 22 grams of sugar.  And finally, you will be taking in 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.  It isn’t filling…but it is one sweet treat in the morning.

I love supporting a local business, so I was excited to tear into my BeeFree Gluten Free Lemon Loaf this morning.  Fantastic flavor and just the right amount of lemon.  For my own tastes, I find the amount of icing a bit of overkill, but it does add great flavor to the loaf.  I was one happy lemon lover this morning.  And this loaf gets another eating on Thursday.  Already anticipating.

Product Review: Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu

Russo's Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu
Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu

Product Review: Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu – $5.99+

Oh, great and wonderful and powerful (because you keep drawing me in) Raisin Rack natural food store in Columbus, Ohio.  I love you.  I love you in so many ways I can’t even begin to count them.  And one of the many reasons I love you is that your extensive gluten-free section offers me A LOT of options I can’t get here in Louisville, Kentucky…or anywhere else for that matter.  Seriously…there are some items I have never even heard of…and then I head up to Columbus to visit my friend Jenn…and BAM…I am educated on products that are out on the market that I didn’t even know existed.

After making about 10 laps of the gluten-free aisles and filling up my basket (actually, I behaved and didn’t fill it up…no need to Tetris anything this time)…I made one final decision before checking out.  And that was for dessert.  After all, Cathy, Jenn and I were cooking Italian that night (gluten-free pasta with gluten-free foccacia), so I figured…despite having made a delicious homemade buttermint ice cream…we might as well keep with the Italian theme.  So…I went back to the freezer section and pulled the Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu from the shelf.  Into the basket.  Up to the register.  Into a bag.  Back to Jenn’s.  I put it in the fridge to let it thaw…and dinner time came and went and I was so ready to dive into dessert.  I mean…I don’t get to have tiramisu that often.  In fact…I never get to.  So this was indeed a nice treat and one I was looking forward to.

I had pulled the box out of the refrigerator to let it thaw the rest of the way while we ate dinner.  And when dinner was appropriately devoured…it was time to work on dessert.  And I was super excited about the Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu, which was suddenly on the menu.  And I was not alone.  Jenn is Italian…and she knows good tiramisu.  And I couldn’t wait to get her thoughts on this.  Cathy doesn’t do tiramisu too often, so she’s sort of a non-entity in this review…because Jenn is an expert and I’m a fan.  So…after clearing the table…I opened up the box, removed the container with the tiramisu…and eagerly and carefully popped the lid.

And…the entire top layer stayed on the lid.  Well…crap.

Oh well…I went to Jenn’s silverware drawer and pulled out a knife to see if I could salvage that layer of dusted cocoa.  I gave it my best shot, so, the top of the tiramisu isn’t as pretty as it should be…however…as Jenn always says…it still tastes the same.  So…I just sort of incorporated the cocoa dusted layer over the fluffy mascarpone cheese layer as best I could…then split the delicate dessert into thirds.  This dessert is actually meant for two people, but there were three of us…so we had ice cream with it.  HA!

Anyway…the layers were soft and light as my butter knife sliced through it.  The dessert itself was easy to lift out of the little plastic container it had been frozen in.  A little messy…but workable.  Desserts are good to be messy.  It’s just means more opportunities to lick the plate clean.  We all settled in with our forks and plates with the layered dessert of ladyfingers dipped in coffee, mascarpone cheese and cocoa…and took our first bites.

Cathy, as I said, is excluded from this review of the Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu as she isn’t a tiramisu person.  That being said, she loved the fluffy layer of mascarpone cheese.  She said she could take or leave the ladyfingers.  EH.  Whatever.  She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  Jenn, however, is a tiramisu expert.  And both she and I hoovered this slice of gluten-free Italian dessert heaven without so much as a breath, I think.  We both agreed that the ladyfingers were moist and soft and good.  The mascarpone layer was so light and fluffy, whipped up to perfection.  The espresso flavor was sort of lost…we both said that we were sort of looking for that coffee flavor, but overall, Jenn said she never would have guessed it was gluten-free if she hadn’t found it for me in the freezer.  HA!

There you go.  I’m a huge fan.  And now I want to try more and more from Russo’s Gluten-Free Gourmet.  And it seems like they have quite a few items I might consider next time I’m at Raisin Rack.

Let’s talk about what goes into Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu, shall we?  The ingredients are gluten-free lady fingers (made from rice flour, corn starch, rice extracts, tapioca dextrin, and xanthan gum) mascarpone cheese, whole eggs, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso, and cognac.  Simple ingredients for sure.  And I recognize each and every one of them.  That’s a plus.  Interestingly enough, this is a family owned and operated company that dedicates itself to gluten-free products with exceptional quality.  They are certainly doing their job right.  This was fantastic.

A serving size of the Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Tiramisu is 1/2 of the container (or 4 ounces).  A proper serving will provide you with 160 calories and 11 grams of fat.  Yeah…it’s worth every gram.  You will also be taking in 85 mg cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, and 9 grams of sugar.  I’m impressed by the sugar count, as I thought it would be higher for such a decadent dessert.  But…it’s actually in a decent range.  Finally, you will be consuming 1 gram of fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Honestly, this was one very rich, moist, light, amazing dessert.  I am beyond impressed with my introduction into the lineup of products from Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet.  This more than solidifies the fact that I will pick up other items by their company and try them out next time.  I’m already thinking dinner will be gluten-free mozzerella sticks.  And pizza bites.  Yep.  Both.  Because…why the hell not?  Beyond enthusiastic.  Beyond surprised.  Just…totally blown away by this dessert.  Add a bit more of that coffee flavor and it would be absolute tiramisu perfection.

Well done, Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet.  Well done!

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

Product Review: Pamela’s Gluten-Free Blueberry & Fig Figgies & Jammies

Pamela's Gluten-Free Blueberry & Fig Figgies & Jammies
Pamela’s Gluten-Free Blueberry & Fig Figgies & Jammies

Product: Pamela’s Gluten-Free Blueberry & Fig Figgies & Jammies – $3.99+

So, I mentioned back when I reviewed the Jovial Gluten-Free Fig Fruit Filled Cookies, I mentioned how much I missed having something like Fig Newtons in my life.  Sadly…the Jovial cookies didn’t live up to expectations.  They were dry and just…a let down.

But then…one of my most raved about and most trusted brands (go back to the beginning of this blog, you will find Pamela’s Products ALL over it!), put out their own version of the Fig Newtons that I grew up eating.  By the package.  For real.  Figs and I are BFFs.  I’ve just always loved them.  So Fig Newtons were my ideal snack.  When I had to go gluten-free…these fell out of my life and it was mega devastating.  Especially when your roomie can and does still get Fig Newtons (and sometimes Fig Newmans) for snacks.

*sigh*

Pamela’s Figgies & Jammies came out on the market this past year and I went on an immediate search for them.  Naturally…nowhere around here carried them at the time.  That’s typical.  In fact, I never saw them out in the grocery store wild until I was visiting my friend Jenn up in Columbus, Ohio and she took me to her natural food store, The Raisin Rack.  They have an amazing gluten-free section, in case any of you are passing through. Check them out.  Raisin Rack had all four of the flavors.  And I squeaked and squealed and maybe did a happy dance of gluten-free joy in the aisle.

I also, somehow, managed not to buy all the flavors.  I decided to try one to start.  Just one.  The problem was choosing a flavor.

Pamela’s Figgies & Jammies are available in Mission Fig, Blueberry & Fig, Raspberry & Fig, and Strawberry & Fig.  It took much debate and much thought, but I finally…after picking up one, then another, then another…decided on the Blueberry & Fig.  Whew.  That was a tough decision…and I was hoping that I made the right one.

Now that I’m working my way through my pantry of gluten-free snacks and stuff…these were up next!  And I cracked them open yesterday to have as a snack at the office.  They are BIG!  You know when you get that pack of Fig Newtons at the convenience store that has just one large Fig Newton in it.  Thing that size.  They outer cake part is a very light shade of tan.  And you can see this gorgeous filling on the inside.  They didn’t look or feel dry in the slightest, so they were already ahead of Jovial.

At snack time…I was excited to try this out.  And I couldn’t have been happier.  FINALLY!  FINALLY!!  I should have gone straight to Pamela’s when I was seeking out this kind of snack goodness.  These light and moist snack cakes are OMGSOGOOD!  Mmmm…I loved this at first bite.  DELICIOUS!  The cake is light…the filling tastes fresh and fruity.  You get that nice blend of blueberry and fig…perfection.  They have a nice soft texture to them, not dry and hard like Jovial and (sometimes) Fig Newtons.  These tasted much lighter than Fig Newtons too.  I just found the flavors to be amazing and I thought Pamela’s once again outdid themselves on a treat.  I will be buying EVERY flavor next time.

Let’s talk ingredients, shall we?

Pamela’s Gluten-Free Blueberry & Fig Figgies & Jammies are constructed and created from the following…

The cake portion is made from a flour base (brown rice flour, white rice flour, tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum), natural evaporated cane sugar, organic palm oil, organic invert sugar, grape juice, whole rice syrup, sweet whey powder, glycerin, baking soda, sea salt and lemon oil.  The jam portion is made from a blueberry paste, fig, and citric acid.  These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, contain no artificial flavors or additives, no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, no corn syrup, are certified kosher and certified gluten-free (and made in a dedicated gluten-free facility).

As for nutrition…for a cookie, these stats aren’t bad at all.  A serving of Pamela’s Blueberry & Fig Figgies & Jammies is one cookie.  Yes…just one.  And trust me…it is hard to limit yourself to that.  This one cookie will give you 100 calories and 2 grams of fat.  You will be taking in 25 mg sodium and 11 grams of sugar.  You will also be consuming 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein.

I am thrilled that these are out in the market and that NOW I can even find them around my area.  I’ve spotted them at a few of my local natural food stores.  YAY!  Because these are going to have a permanent place in my pantry.  Each flavor.  Because, you know, I have to try them out.

Thank you for always being awesome, Pamela’s.