Product Review: Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix + Recipe Bonus

Neat - A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix
Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix

Product: Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix – $4.99+

For the last few issues, I’ve noticed that my Delight Gluten Free magazine has had ads for this vegan meat replacement called Neat.  I was beyond intrigued and immediately went on the hunt in my local natural food stores.  Sadly, but not surprisingly, no one in my area carried this product.  At least not yet.  I said I’d get online and see if I could order it, but, naturally, I forgot to do that.  Story of my life.

I can’t help it.  I have too much to think sometimes and these mental notes and reminders get lost in the shuffle.

But then…it was as if they felt the need to answer my unspoken prayer…my favorite monthly delivery arrived.  Cuisine Cube’s October cube arrived in the mail and I immediately tore into it, wondering what sort of surprises awaited inside.  And if you haven’t looked into ordering a Cuisine Cube yet…get over to their Web site and try it out.  Seriously, this is one of the best investments I have ever made.  Receiving gluten-free items from smaller and lesser known companies each month has become a treat I look forward to every month.  So…if you have made a mental note to check them out, and it’s gotten lost in the shuffle…click on the link above and check it out.  For real.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog…

So, October’s Cuisine Cube arrived and one of the items inside was…you guessed it…because I’m blogging about it…Neat – A Replacement For Meat!  The version included in the box was the Mexican Mix.  Neat, for the record, also has an Original Mix (for burgers/chili), an Italian Mix (for “meatballs” and lasagna), and also a Breakfast Mix (for quiches and breakfast sandwiches).  Let me tell you…I did this happy little dance of joy and might have squeaked a bit when I pulled that pouch out of the cube.  Seriously…after reading about it and looking for it…I finally had it in my clutches!

As a gluten-free vegetarian, vegan/vegetarian meat substitutes are hard to come by.  Most vegan/vegetarian meat substiutes have some sort of vital wheat gluten in them.  And a lot of companies refuse to go the gluten-free route because it would “jeopardize the integrity of the product.”  BOOOO!!  So, up until recently, I’d just season up some tofu and work with that.  But…it’s not the same.

So, what exactly is Neat?  Neat is a meat replacement that is derived from nuts and other non-GMO natural ingredients.  It is a product that was created by a mother of two children who decided that they were going to become vegetarians.  At first she would puree beans into sauces to help her girls get the protein they wanted, but after awhile, everyone got tired of it.  And that was when she got into the kitchen, experimented, and created what is now marketed at Neat.

Neat - A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix (in a skillet with chopped onion and chopped green pepper)
Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix (in a skillet with chopped onion and chopped green pepper)

Neat comes in this shelf-stable pouch in a powdered form.  All you do to prepare it is pour the pouch into a bowl, add two eggs (or a vegan egg replacer), plus two tablespoons of water.  Stir all the ingredients together and throw it into a skillet over medium heat, just as you would ground beef, for about seven minutes.  To make it into crumbles, as it cooks, stir and chop it up, and what you end up with is this perfect texture of meat crumbles that is not just completely vegan/vegetarian…but also gluten-free!

Now…gluten-free and vegetarian tacos are sort of something I’m famous for.  I have gotten really creative with how to prepare tacos (Tour De Taco happens often at my apartment) to make them not just gluten-free, but also meat free.  And a meat replacement hasn’t been used in a long time.  So, while I had a pouch of the Mexican Mix from Neat, I decided to bring back an old favorite of mine as a kid, back when I ate meat and would basically beg my mom to make this for dinner.

What I did was cook up my mom’s famous Enchilada Hotdish.  Normally this is made with ground beef, but this meant I could use the Neat Mexican Mix for a different purpose.  Tacos…been there, done that.  Enchilada Hotdish…haven’t had that in AGES!!  So, that’s what I did.  I picked up a gluten-free and vegetarian can of chili and I got a roll of Teese Vegan Nacho Cheese…and the rest was vegetables and seasonings I already had at home.  Perfect.

So, tonight…I pulled out the Cuisine Cube treat of Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix and set out to prepare it.  I chopped up the vegetables that were needed and then retrieved the can of chili and the vegan nacho cheese (which I substituted for the cheddar cheese soup) and had them ready with my seasoning.  First things first…preparing Neat.

Super easy.  I poured the powdered contents of the package into a medium mixing bowl.  Then, per the instructions, I added two eggs and the water and mixed it up.  It created this…sludge of sorts…but I trusted it and went with it.  I had a non-stick skillet on the stove and put the Neat into it to start browning.  The vegetables were also added so they could start to get soft before I added the rest of the ingredients.  With everything in the pan, and heated through, I began to assemble the hotdish itself.  This meant putting the “meat” mixture into the casserole dish, then layering it with tortilla chips, then repeating it.  Into the oven it went to bake and about 30 minutes later…viola!!  I was enjoying a version of my mom’s Enchilada Hotdish.

So…how was it?

It is not an exaggeration when I say I want to marry Neat.  For real.  WOW!  I was SO impressed, not only with the flavor, but how great the texture it.  Here is a company that is getting ti right.  Going into the pan to cook, it didn’t look appetizing or promising, but it all came together.  And it was the perfect meat substitute for the beef that would have been normally used in this recipe.  I am thrilled with this product and think I’ll be placing an order to try ALL the Neat products.  And, I also might straight-out make tacos next time.  But, I figured I should really put this product to the test.  Trust the hype…it’s amazing.

Also…tested it out straight from the pan on the tortilla chips and…oh…yum.   Makes a great dip too!  HA!

Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Enchilada Hotdish (made with Neat - A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix)
Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Enchilada Hotdish (made with Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix)

Let’s first delve into the nitty-gritty ingredients and nutrition of Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix.  The Mexican Mix version of Neat is made from pecans, garbanzo beans, organic whole grain gluten free cornmeal, sea salt, and spices.  So, where this is meat-free and dairy-free, and also gluten-free…it is NOT nut-free.  So, if you have a nut allergy…this product is not for you.

As for nutrition, a serving of Neat Mexican Mix is 40 grams and each pouch contains 4 servings.  This serving will give you 21o calories and 15 grams of fat (healthy fat as it is coming from beans and nuts).  A serving will provide you with 333 mg sodium and 2 grams of sugar.  And, trust me, the 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein will leave you feeling full…whether you’re making a hotdish or having taco night.

But…there is more!

I’ve decided, since it worked out so well, that I would share the recipe I used this product in.  This is a family recipe of my mom’s and it is SO delicious!!  If you are not a vegetarian, you can use 1 pound of lean ground beef…and if you can handle dairy, please use your cheddar cheese soup (as long as it is gluten-free!)…but this is how I prepared the dish tonight…with great success!!

Recipe: Gluten Free Vegetarian Enchilada Hotdish

Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Enchilada Hotdish
Gluten-Free and Vegetarian Enchilada Hotdish

Servings: 6
Time: Prep 15 minutes; Cook 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix
  • 2 organic cage-free eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 package Teese Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
  • 1 can vegetarian chili (I used Amy’s Organic Light in Sodium Medium Chili)
  • 1/2 can water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Pour the Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat Mexican Mix into a medium bowl.  Add two eggs (or egg replacer if vegan) and 2 tablespoons of water.  Mix well.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, brown the Next Mexican Mix, onion, and green peppers.  Cook until vegetables begin to soften and the Neat can be chopped into a meat texture.  Add the chili powder, vegan cheese sauce, chili and water to the mix and mix well.  Allow it to heat through for a few minutes to marry the flavors together.

In a 9×9 oven-proof dish, place in layers, alternating the meat mixture with 1 package of tortilla or nacho chips.

Bake for 30 minutes.

~*~*~

Thanks to Cuisine Cube and Neat – A Healthy Replacement For Meat, I was not only able to recreate a version of an old family favorite, but it tasted so much like how I remembered it tasting when I was growing up.  I couldn’t have been happier tonight as I sat and devoured my dinner.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the other Neat products.  Talk about having a desired product land in your lap!!

Seriously…seek out this product!!  I highly recommend it!  The product is so versatile…beyond just a protein base for tacos.  Try out the recipe above or use it in one of your own family favorites.  You will not be disappointed.  I promise!

Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest – Indianapolis, Indiana – August 23, 2014

GF Jules and me at the Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana!
GF Jules and me at the Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana!

This past Saturday, I had the honor of being able to attend the Gluten Free Food Allergy Fest up in Indianapolis, Indiana.  I love going to gluten-free expos and events and Indianapolis seems to always have one at some point during any calendar year.  This year was no exception, and I was thrilled to read about the new location for this year’s event – the Indian State Fairgrounds.  With all the vendors and exhibitors I saw listed, I knew this year’s event was going to be HUGE! I was not let down at all.One of the magazines I currently subscribe to, Gluten Free & More (formerly Living Without), was putting on the Living Without Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest in various cities this year as a way to show those with food allergies and/or sensitivities that we can live life without deprivation and missing out on delicious food.  It was a coming together of the magazine, as well as over a hundred of their favorite exhibitors to celebrate living well.  And it was open to anyone who wanted to stop in.

Tickets went on sale and, as a subscriber, I received a free entry, and then received a discount code for another ticket…so I had Cathy taken care of as well.  So, on Saturday morning, we ate a light breakfast before climbing into the car and hauling up to Indianapolis.  We timed it perfectly because we burned through our breakfast just as we got up there, about 30 minutes after it officially opened.

And…there was already a line waiting to get in.

Oh…that made me happy, indeed.

It was a hot summer day already and standing outside in the blazing sun didn’t sound like too much fun…but it wasn’t going to be a long wait.  Just about 5 minutes, at the most.  And while standing in line, I got to listen to people who have done expos like this before (like me) describe the events and how things work to the first timers.  I even got to geek out over favorite products and the like for a few moments.  I love making gluten-free friends!

Before we knew it, we were inside the doors, in the air conditioning, and getting the tickets scanned.  We were given blue wristbands to wear (for re-entry purposes and to show we paid!).  Cathy and I put them on and headed into the expo proper.  We were greeted at the door by people passing out reusable shopping bags from Glutino (a personal favorite!).  Perfect for all the samples and products you are bound to pick up and buy.

Trust me, you don’t walk out of these events empty-handed.

Cathy and I decided that we were going to be systematic about our approach to each table/vendor/aisle.  We’d start on one side and then work our way up, then come back down the other side.  This was a good plan in theory, and we decided to start in the middle aisle to avoid the congestion of the end aisles.  We soon found out…no matter what…it was just hopping and congested.  People were surrounding tables, getting free samples, trying products, trying local baked goods, and the like.  So, we ditched our original systematic plan for the…let’s just see what there is and wriggle into open areas when we can.

We’re pros.  HA!

That being said, we began our Gluten-Free Food Allergy Fest at the Glutino/Udi’s/Earth Balance booth, which was giving out samples of Udi’s Gluten-Free Salted Caramel Cashew Cookies as well as Glutino’s Gluten-Free Multigrain English Muffins, schmeared with Earth Balance Creamy Coconut and Peanut Spread.  It was all crazy, crazy delicious.  I actually have the Glutino English Muffins in my freezer, I just haven’t tried them yet. Now…I know buying them wasn’t a mistake at all.  They were delicious.  And that Earth Balance Creamy Coconut and Peanut Spread…out-of-this-world good!

And from there…it only got better.  We made a point to stop by each vendor’s table and talk to them about their products, if we had tried them.  If we hadn’t…we would ask all about them.  I made a point of raving to the Pamela’s Product people about the Figgies & Jammies.  Because they are awesome and worthy of praise.  I talked to the Hodgson Mills representative and when I mentioned being a food blogger he said to reach out to the Hodgson Mills team anytime.  I was told the same thing by various other vendors as well.  And one local vendor who was selling the most amazing bar-b-que sauce and seasoning (which we purchased) said to tag her on Facebook when I use their products so they can read my blog.  I was having a great time.

I think, though, the best moment had to come at the Freedom Foods table.  Because, as many of you are aware, Freedom Foods only makes my favorite gluten-free cereal, Tropic-O’s.  NOM NOM!  I can’t find this cereal here anymore, since my Whole Foods stopped carrying it, so my parents ship it to me from Birmingham, Alabama.  We have a system down.  But, recently, they put out a gluten-free, dairy-free, and not-free version of Nutella…which I fell in love with.  My local Kroger is the only place that had it…and I bought the last jar of it a few weeks ago.  It has never been restocked.  So…I stocked up on some Quinoa Pancake Mix, lots of “Smudge” (that’s the Nutella stuff!), and a few other products to try, all the time raving about how much I love their products and how they honestly care about what ingredients go into all of their stuff.  It didn’t hurt that the guy at the table had a New Zealand/Australian accent.  HELLO!  I actually ended up going back to the table before leaving that day and buying 4 more jars of Smudge.  I hadn’t opened the one I had at home for fear I would never find it again.  Now…it’s on!

I was able to sample some of the best gluten-free Snickerdoodles I have ever eaten.  And this pasta that was made from lentils that tasted exactly like regular pasta…but I couldn’t afford the hefty price tag on it.  Unfortunately.  It was nice to sample it, however.  At the very back of the building, for those over 21, was the gluten-free cider/beer tasting area.  There was so much food and samples…so I was glad we ate light.  And Cathy and I have a system down…where we split a sample so we aren’t filling up on our own.  It always works at these events.

However, I have to say the greatest moment ever was when I finally got to meet GF Jules in person. GF Jules (formerly Jules Gluten Free) was one of the first Celiac/Gluten-Free bloggers/recipe makers/amazing people I started to follow on social media after my diagnosis.  While I have been to events where she has been present, I have never been able to actually meet her.  That changed.  We discovered that we were food allergy soul sisters, both of us being vegetarian Celiacs who also can’t handle dairy.  Go figure.  She was so nice and just so easy to talk with.  I picked up one of her cookbooks, which she signed, and she was kind enough to take a picture with me.  I might have geeked out a little bit.  Or a lot.  You know how it goes…

And soon, after a couple hours of tasting, testing, buying, talking, and exploring, our time at the expo drew to a close.  We were going to meet our friend, Greg, for lunch that day, so we bid adieu to the fantastic event and made our way out to the car.

This event was probably the best one I have attended so far.  Great people, great vendors, great information all around.  And I came home with samples and products to try in the very near future.  Can’t argue with that, right?  Right!

I hope they return next year.  I’m already making plans to attend.  If one of these events happens near you…I definitely encourage you to go!

Product Review: Billy Goat Chip Company Original Potato Chips

Billy Goat Chip Company Original Potato Chips
Billy Goat Chip Company Original Potato Chips

Product: Billy Goat Chip Company Original Potato Chips – $2.99

I was so happy to see a 3 ounce bag of Billy Goat Chip Company’s Original Potato Chips in my June Cuisine Cube because I was already familiar with this product…by only a couple of days.  I kid you not!  On Monday morning of the week I received my cube, my boss came into work and handed me two of the snack size bags of Billy Goat Chip Company’s Original Potato Chips.  She said she had noted that they said “gluten free” on them and knew I could have them.  She got one bag for me and one for Cathy.

So…at dinner that night…we feasted on them with a Vegan Gluten-Free “Bacon” (I make this with beans and buckwheat groats), Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato Sammies.  And we were hooked.  So…I had already had an inkling of what we were in for when I served these up with a gluten-free veggie burger during the Uruguay v. Costa Rica match of the World Cup last night.

Billy Goat Chip Company is apparently a St. Louis, Missouri, restaurant that became famous for their hand-made chips.  These chips are made fresh every day and by the order.  Nothing sits around.  One batch of these locally renowned chips takes approximately seven minutes to cook.  Each batch then gets a special dusting of secret seasoning, called “Billy Goat Kicker Dust.”  This seasoning is apparently the magic of the chips…because it is the one difference everyone can taste between these chips and those you buy in the store.  The chips are all-natural and made fresh to order.  This means the potatoes and selected, sliced, seasons and packaged by hand when they are ordered and then shipped out to customers.  The owners of the restaurant make these chips with heart healthy canola oil, no MSG, no preservatives…and maintain that they are gluten-free.  The dedication these two restaurant entrepreneurs put into their chips is so that they can guarantee that customers get the most fresh and flavorful chips possible.

The Billy Goat Restaurant & Bar opened in St Louis back in 2002, becoming the city’s first gastropub.  It produced hand-crafted, house-made food, using locally sourced products whenever possible.  The potato chips quickly became the restaurant’s signature item.  With their growing popularity and demand for these treats, the Billy Goat Chip Company was born in 2009, where the company has started to work with vendors and customers to distribute this popular restaurant item.

When they set a goal to create the best potato chips in the Midwest…they succeeded.  I might even venture to say they created the best potato chips in the United States.

Let’s discuss.

Since I had previously had them prior to their arrival in my Cuisine Cube…I can honestly say, seeing the large 3 ounce bag made me beyond stupidly happy.  Honestly.  I was…thrilled.  The thing is…the Billy Goat Chip Company honestly does produce a high quality product.  They take time and put a lot of effort and care into their food…and it shows.  Each chip is done to that gorgeous golden brown, making it crispy and crunchy, not burnt and brittle, and definitely not soft.  But, it really is the seasoning that takes these chips up to the next level of awesomesauce.  Honestly.  I don’t know what it is about the “Billy Goat Kicker Dust” but…it does provide the right amount of everything to these chips.  It’s salty…it has a touch of garlic…a little bit of spice to take it up a notch.  Nothing is over seasoned.  Nothing is overdone.  Each bite is pure chip perfection.  Crunchy, salty, good perfection!

I might be jealous of St. Louis, Missouri…

Ingredients are honest and simple…russet potatoes, canola oil, salt, onion, garlic, spices and sugar.  That’s it.  That’s all.  It’s that cut and dry.  You can clearly taste the quality and the high standards in each chip.  No big name can compete with these.  Mass produced chips just don’t have level of flavor and quality that Billy Goat Chip Company pours into their products.

Nutritionally speaking, one serving of these chips is 1 ounce.  A serving will provide you with 150 calories and 10 grams of fat.  You will also be taking in 160 mg sodium and 1 gram of sugar.  These chips are cholesterol-free, trans-fat free, and gluten-free.  One serving of the Billy Goat Chip Company’s Original Potato Chips also will provide you with 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.  Not filling.  But chips are a side…not a meal.  So they shouldn’t fill you up.

But they should be tasty, and there is no doubt that these chips are delicious!  I sort of wish I had more.  Good thing my boss promised that she would bring more back for me the next time she goes to St. Louis.  YAY!  Since her daughter lives there, that happens more often than not.  I want to give a shout-out to June’s Cuisine Cube for providing my new favorite chip to me…so I didn’t have to wait as long to indulge in them again.

Thankfully, they can be ordered online.  So, if you’re curious about how amazing these chips are…go ahead and order them.  I promise…you will NOT be disappointed.

Billy Goat Chip Company Original Potato Chips
Billy Goat Chip Company Original Potato Chips

 

Restaurant Review: Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, Columbus, Ohio

Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, Columbus, Ohio
Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, Columbus, Ohio

Restaurant: Cap City Fine Diner and Bar, Columbus, Ohio

Twas two days after my friend Jenn’s birthday and I was visiting her.  That was not planned.  Okay…maybe it was.  I mean…birthdays are so much fun and I wanted to go visit Jenn anyway.  The need to get away from life where I am currently living was a necessity more than anything.  And good friends always offer the best times when you need your spirits lifted and your soul cleansed.

After a morning of delicious gluten-free crepes and an afternoon spent out shopping at the used book stores, a treat at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams,  and a stop at the natural food store that literally BROKE my budget (OMG…gluten-free things that I had not even known existed!), Cathy and I were going to take Jenn out to dinner to celebrate her birthday.  I let her know ahead of time and she, even though she didn’t have to, chose a place that features a gluten-free menu.

The place…Cap City Fine Diner and Bar.

And at 5 p.m., we rolled up, parked, and made our way into the restaurant.

First of all, the place was nothing like I expected.  Located on the end of a strip mall, the outside is very unassuming…save for the 50’s style door you walk through to enter the diner.  We were greeted by the hostess after a moment and requested a gluten-free menu for me.  We were shown to a table and settled in when our waitress, Candie, came over to get our drink orders.  Despite the day of celebration, we all just stuck to water.  She went over some specials, and the vegetable soup did spark my interest.  So, after she went to fetch our waters and returned, I asked if it was gluten-free.  She said she thought it was, but she would go double-check.  When she returned, she regretfully informed me that it was not gluten-free.  I had to options in mind for dinner.  They had gluten-free fries offered and that was really tempting.  If I did that, I’d be getting a salad.  And it was pointed out by Jenn and Cathy that I could get a salad anywhere.  True…but I can’t get fries everywhere.  That being said, I made up my mind.

Cap City Fine Diner and Bar's Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls
Cap City Fine Diner and Bar’s Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls

Cathy and Jenn ordered what they normally order when we go out to a restaurant that has this on the menu – Fish and Chips ($15.99).  As for me, I went with the Gluten-Free Seasonal Vegetable Plate ($14.99).  Candie asked if I wanted some gluten-free dinner rolls.  I was taken aback.  I wasn’t expecting that.  I eagerly nodded my head and gave her a “Oh…yes please!”  Happiness.

Orders were in, and we fell into conversation about future plans, things happening around us, the waiter with the really awesome mustache, ate dinner rolls (mine gluten-free…theirs regular)…that sort of thing.  The dinner rolls, for the record, were warm, flaky, and delicious!  I kept myself to just one.  And then…our actual food arrived.

My veggie plate looked amazing.  I mean…I read the description, but this was beyond what I expected.  This plate was stunning.  The colors were vibrant.  The presentation was inviting.  I was beyond impressed and totally ready to dive in and try it out.  But, I composed myself enough to take a picture.  Then let my roomie photograph her fish and chips for her own blog (which maybe one day she’ll actually put up on the interwebs).  And then she promptly stole some of my rice…because she said she really wanted to try it.  LOL!  I also let her steal a tortilla chip and some of the hummus.

Oh…I’m getting ahead of myself here.  I haven’t yet described the actual food on the dish yet.  The menu described the Gluten-Free Seasonal Vegetable Plate as being composed of very wild rice, sliced almonds, goat cheese, roasted red pepper hummus, warm roasted vegetables and cured olives.  I asked for my plate to not include the olives because I disdain olives so much.  I don’t even want to have to pick around them.  The plate came with corn tortilla chips on the side.  The rice had the slivered almonds, corn and craisins in it, really amping up the volume as well as the presentation.  The roasted vegetables were a mix of asparagus, broccoli, carrots, red pepper, portobello mushrooms and garlic.  It was topped off by a very liberal sprinkling of goat cheese.  It looked fantastic.

And it was.  Just popping with flavor.  The corn tortilla chips were my least favorite part, actually and ended up being left on the side of the plate.  The vegetables were roasted to perfection, however.  Packed with flavor and cooked just enough to get them to that brilliant bright hue that catches the eye and really whets the appetite.  I was SO ready for bite after bite.  I ended up using dabs of hummus on my vegetables.  The roasted red pepper hummus was good, but I found it to be very oily and a bit bland.  I felt like it needed a little more seasoning or spice to it.  Believe it or not, though, my absolute favorite part of this entire dish…was the very wild rice.  I loved the play on flavors and textures with the perfectly cooked rice, the crunch of the slivered almonds, the sweetness from the corn and the craisins.  It was absolute perfection.  Everything meshed and mingled well on the plate and I was quite content with eating it.

If I had one complaint it was that the entire plate was swimming in oil.  While I love olive oil as much as the next person, I think there is a thing as way too much.  And this definitely got to that point.  But, the flavors were great and I devoured everything but the chips.  Delicious!

Would I dine here again?  I’d be willing to give it a try.  I might do the salad and french fries next time though.  Cathy said she’d be willing to try a burger the next time as her fish was good…and fell solidly in the middle of everywhere she ate up until now.  Not a bad showing…but it didn’t wow her enough to try it again.  But…each of us are willing to give it another try with other food options.

So, a good showing by Cap City Diner.  We had a great time there.  And we did enjoy the food.  It was a great night out with good friends and that was fantastic in and of itself.  Good food and good times.  Just what I needed.

Cap City Fine Diner and Bar's Gluten-Free Seasonal Vegetable Plate
Cap City Fine Diner and Bar’s Gluten-Free Seasonal Vegetable Plate

Product Review: Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips
Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

Product: Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips – $2.50+

Pumpkin.

I am obsessed with it.  Not just in the fall, either.

ALL. THE. TIME.

No joke!  I look forward to all those delicious pumpkin flavored coffee drinks in the fall.  I love to cook with pumpkin and bake with pumpkin and eat pumpkin seeds…

Pumpkin is like my BFF for life.

And now…it’s a tortilla chip.

Yes.  A tortilla chip.

Now, some of you may not think this sounds appetizing at all.  But trust me…it works.  It actually works.

The brand is Food Should Taste Good, which has never made chip I haven’t liked.  And while I don’t consume chips often, my roomie spotted this at the grocery store and brought them home for me as a surprise.  She knows my obsession with pumpkin well…and…I thanked her for them.  I had other treats to devour first, but with my lack of a CSA bin this week and a tight food budget…it was bare necessities time.  And with that came…dig through the pantry to find your snacks this week.

Enter Food Should Taste Good Pumpkin Harvest Tortilla Chips.  Confused?  Don’t be.  The basic premise is that this chip is pumpkin flavored, kissed with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon.  The pumpkin flavor actually sweetens the chip, which still has that corn tortilla texture and underlying flavor.  But the sweetness isn’t too much, as the spices sort of tame it and make it…an interesting but delicious bite.  They would be really awesome with a guacamole or hummus.  But I like to eat them on their own.  I love the soft crunch, the sweet notes in each bite, and that little hint of fall spice.  It’s like eating a crunchy pumpkin pie…without the overwhelming pumpkin flavor and that nasty texture that pumpkin pie has (yes…I am a pumpkin freak but SO dislike pumpkin pie).

I. AM. IN. LOVE.

Let’s look at ingredients, shall we?  What I love about Food Should Taste Good is that they use real ingredients.  Nothing unidentifiable; nothing unpronounceable.  No chemicals or preservatives.  Just sheer awesome and real ingredients.  The Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips are made from stone ground corn, high oleic sunflower oil and/or safflower oil and/or canola oil, cane sugar, dried pumpkin, pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, sea salt and clove.

Nutritionally speaking, a serving of the Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips is 28 grams (I always dish up servings by weight)…or about 12 chips.  This serving will provide you with 130 calories and 6 grams of fat.  This serving will dish up 80 mg sodium and only 2 grams of sugar.  LOVE that.  Low sodium…low sugar.  YES!  You will be consuming 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein.  These chips are cholesterol free and gluten-free.

And they are made of pumpkin-y love.  And I am hooked on them.  It’s a good thing I’m insistent about dishing out proper serving sizes and NOT eating out of the bag.  It is only for that reason that I still have some chips in my bag in the pantry.  Might have to try these with some hummus or guac.  Hmmm…

Anyway…don’t be afraid.  They are actually rather amazing to bite into and enjoy.  If you are a fan of pumpkin…you’ll be a fan of these.  If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, don’t count these out.  They won’t overwhelm you with their pumpkin flavor.  Just a hint of sweetness before that salty corn tortilla undertone kicks in.

I am in love with these chips.  For life.

Recipe: Crispy Potato Chips and Sautéed Cabbage

So…I know I have the ability to change out the items I receive in my CSA bin.  The truth is…sometimes I don’t want to.  Sometimes I like to be challenged by an ingredient…sit there for a couple days and ponder exactly how to best use this piece of produce that I don’t commonly have on hand, nor would I normally buy.  Why do I do this?  To keep my culinary skills up, of course.

Well, this week’s big challenge was this gorgeous head of cabbage.  While I could easily make a coleslaw with it…my roomie despises coleslaw and I’m not a big fan of it myself.  So…I was hoping to figure out a unique way to utilize it in a breakfast.  With a little guidance form a blog called Ditch The Wheat, I got inspired to make my own little cabbage breakfast, adding a bit of texture with some homemade potato chips.  That would give them some crunch.  I also added a hint of flavor by adding some sliced shallots and some minced garlic to my sautéed cabbage.

And…to make it all breakfast-like…I topped each bowl off with a fried, over-easy egg.  Surprisingly…very delicious and really packed with flavor.

Recipe: Crispy Potato Chips and Sautéed Cabbage

Crispy Potato Chips with Sautéed Cabbage
Crispy Potato Chips with Sautéed Cabbage

Servings: 2
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 fingerling potatoes
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced cabbage
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 organic eggs

Directions:

Slice the fingerling potatoes thin like a chip.  I recommend using a mandolin.

Pour enough olive oil into the pan to lightly fry the potato slices.  Turn the pan to medium. Place the potato slices into the pan, sprinkle salt on them and flip when one side is crispy and sprinkle salt on them again.  These are done when both sides are crispy.  (NOTE: I used the Mastrad Topchips Chip Maker instead of pan frying them…or you could even bake them in the oven.  I’m not big on frying…but not everyone has a chip maker like I do).

Take out all of the sweet potato chips and place on paper towel.

Place the shallot in the oil and stir, allowing to soften slightly.  Add the cabbage and saute until desired crispiness.  I prefer it to be well done.  When you have about a minute left, add the garlic and stir.

While the cabbage finishes up, in a small pan, crack an egg and allow to fry on one side.  Carefully flip the egg to cook the white through, but keep the center a little runny (unless you hate runny yolks, in which case…cook the hell out of that egg).

When the cabbage is done take out of the pan and mix with the chips.  Place in two bowls and add a fried egg on top of each one.  Serve immediately.

~*~*~

I admit…I was surprised with how good this recipe turned out to be.  I found elevating the flavor with shallot and garlic was a great call.  The cabbage cooked perfectly, just slightly browned by the heat of the pan, giving it this nice caramelization.  And the egg on top just made all the difference.  One very healthy, nutritious, and different breakfast for sure.  But one that I would repeat…in a heartbeat!

Product Review: Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar

Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar
Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar

Product: Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar – $2.95+

One of my favorite things in life is that sweet/spicy blend of cinnamon and sugar.  Honestly.  I love a light coating on my gluten-free French toast…or over my air-popped popcorn.  I love it just dusted over a schmear of vegan butter spread on a gluten-free slice of bread, tasted in the oven…to make the perfect cinnamon toast.  Yes…cinnamon and sugar is my thing.  It might explain why Snickerdoodles continue to be my favorite cookie…ever!

And while this product is no longer really all that “new”…I had really never been able to find it in the stores around here.  Until a local grocery store started to carry them in their gluten-free section.  I am, of course, speaking of Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar.  I fell in love with Crunchmaster crackers a long time ago.  And about a year ago, I believe, they introduced a few new products.  One of which was the Grammy Crisps.  When I spotted these on the shelf…I had to take them home.  I had to.  There was no arguing with me about budget this time.  This was a necessity.

Now…growing up I loved graham crackers.  I still do, but my gluten-free options are pretty limited to two brands.  So, when I heard about the Grammy Crisps from Crunchmaster, I immediately envisioned that flavor of those cinnamon sugar graham crackers from my youth.  You know, the ones where one side is coated in crystals of sugar and cinnamon…the other side plain.  And what you get is the most amazing graham cracker flavor…ever?

That’s what I envisioned with these.

And I was…kind of right.

Today was the day I broke out the box of Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar and dished up a serving (30 grams) to take to work with me for my afternoon snack.  I think I sat in anticipation all day, wondering what these would taste like.  I almost started to berate myself for not having a backup in case these were just…nasty.  But I don’t think I’ve ever had a product from Crunchmaster that wasn’t at least consumable.

When 3 p.m. rolled around, my snack drawer was opened and I was pulling out my little container that held these squares of graham-cracker like cinnamon sugar flavor.  Without any show of self control (because sometimes I have none!)…I popped one of these crackers into my mouth and crunched away.  My first initial thought was that it actually lacked in flavor.  It just tasted…bland.  And I was sad.  But then, the dusting of cinnamon and sugar on these rice crackers finally kicked in.  So…they weren’t overly sweet…or very sweet at all…but then you get this nice hit of semi-sweet warmth from the cinnamon and sugar.  It takes a moment…but it gets there.

The texture of these crisps reminds me a lot of what regular Crunchmaster crackers are like.  Very substantial, crunchy, but light.  They really do give you a nice crunch with each bite.  I just wish the seasoning was, perhaps, cooked into the crisps rather than dusted on the outside.  It is just this close to perfect.  But it misses the margin ever so slightly.

Let’s talk ingredients.  I would say, with the exception of the sugar, that this snack would almost be considered clean.  It has very few ingredients, being made from brown rice flour, whole grain sorghum flour, sugar, cinnamon sugar seasoning, potato starch, safflower oil, and salt.  I recognize every single one of those ingredients.  Which is always reassuring when it comes to buying something processed in the store.  At least I don’t have to look up some crazy preservative or chemical additive to find out what it is.  The Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar are certified gluten-free, free of peanuts, cholesterol free, contain no saturated fat, and are made from 100% whole grain.

Now, let’s talk the nutrition aspect.  These are little brown rice crackers that are dusted with a cinnamon sugar blend.  One serving is 30 grams, or about 25 crisps.  This serving will dish you up 130 calories and 2 grams of fat.  That isn’t bad for a snack.  The sugar level sits only at 5 grams, which is actually amazing considering that these are cinnamon and sugar flavored snack crackers.  These have only 150 mg of sodium as well.  And, this serving will also give you 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.

My love for Crunchmaster products continues…even though I wasn’t blown away by these crisps.  They are good.  They are.  They remind me of Cinnamon Toast Crunch…actually…just without all the sweet sugary flavor that encapsulated every little square of that cereal.  That was my sister’s favorite cereal growing up, so we ate that a lot.  The flavor of these is a bit reminiscent of that.  I liked these though, enough to polish off the box in the next couple of days (I’m a serving-size stickler).  If you love the flavor of graham crackers…with a touch of sweet and spice…then the Crunchmaster Grammy Crisps Cinnamon & Sugar might just be for you.

If you find them…they are at least worth a taste.  If you like the taste of cinnamon and sugar…these have it.  It just isn’t the initial WOW-factor on flavor I expected.  But, they are definitely worth a try.  Trust me.

Pepperidge Farm swims into gluten-free market with Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs

Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs
Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs

Product: Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs – $1.99+

It has been over 2 years since I last had Goldfish crackers.  Yes…those crunchy little baked cheese crackers.  The snack the smiles back…until you bite it’s head off.  Those Goldfish.  They are the epitome of snack crackers, hailed as a healthier snack cracker due to having to added preservatives and the fact that they are baked.  So, there is at least that much.  But regular Goldfish crackers are made with wheat flour…which meant when I had to go gluten-free…I had to say good-bye to these little bite-size crackers of goodness.

Okay…that might not have been a bad thing.  I mean…while one of the better choices for crackers for both kids and adults, a quick glance at what goes into Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish Crackers…is definitely not falling into the new Clean Eating habits I am working toward with my sports nutritionist.  I mean…aside from the gluten-containing ingredients, Goldfish crackers often contain food dyes and other such ingredients.  But, they are certainly the lesser of the evils when it comes to snack choices.

The same can be said for the new line of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Puffs, which come in three flavors: Buffalo Wing, Mega Cheese, and Cheddar Bacon.

I’m not a huge fan of Buffalo Wing things…and I’m a vegetarian so the Cheddar Bacon wasn’t happening.  Therefore…my only choice was Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs.  I was okay with that.  Besides, when I could eat Goldfish, the cheese were always my favorite anyway.

So, let’s talk about these, shall we?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stopped into my local Target and spotted these on the shelf.  I knew they existed.  I had heard all about them from the various networks of the gluten-free community that I deal with via the internet.  However, I failed to do much reading up on them.  When I spotted them at Target in this big bag…I pulled it down and flipped it over.  Sure enough…clear as day on the back of the package it was labeled: GLUTEN FREE.  I love it when things are actually labeled.  I wasn’t going to purchase them.  I didn’t need them.  But my roomie said she’d get them for me.  And…what the heck?  Everyone in life needs to treat themselves to something every now and again.

So, after taking them home…they had to sit for a week, which is shorter than usual for snacks, but I’ve been clearing them out.  I’ve been good.  But yesterday marked the day I broke these bad-boy fishies out for my afternoon snack at work.  I always dole out a serving so I don’t sit there and mindlessly eat out of the bag.  I would do it too, which is why I am so adamant on portion sizes.  The first thing I noticed is why these are called Puffs.  They are puffed crackers.  Think…Cheetos…but in the shape of really big Goldfish crackers.  Yes…they even still have that signature smile.  They also have that infamous aftificial cheesy smell, you know…like that sweet smelling powdered cheese smell that accompanies those powdered cheese packets boxes of macaroni and cheese.  These crackers are called “Mega Cheese” because they include three different kinds of cheese flavors: cheddar, Asiago, and Romano.  Three cheeses that I actually like.  So, that was promising.

I had to let my roommate try one.  Cathy is basically my “Mikey”…in that she samples these foods first.  She’s better than she used to be, but she can still be rather picky about her food.  So, I figure if she likes it…we’re on to something.  She popped a big fishy into her mouth and chewed.  Then…her eyes got a little bigger and she said, “They’re good!  Like…like…Cheetos!”  A-HA!  I knew that’s what they were going for.  I was now eager to try them myself.  When I popped my first Goldfish Puff…immediately, the taste and texture was very much like Cheetos.  I loved Cheetos as a child.  So, this was like combining two of my favorite treats from my childhood into one.  They really were pretty good.

The first flavor that hits you is sweet…which means the asiago cheese is what you get.  It’s very sharp and definitely wakes up those tastebuds.  But it then mixes in those cheddar and romano flavors and suddenly…they taste like…nacho cheese.  And maybe that’s what they were going for.  Maybe they are supposed to taste like boxed macaroni and cheese products.  I mean…kids love Kraft mac and cheese, right?  Therefore, they would love these.

I loved how crunchy these were, despite being “puffs.”  That was a nice surprise.  The secret to that is that these are made from corn meal instead of a wheat flour.  It really gets that cheesy-poof texture just right.  And I loved how fun it was to munch away at my desk on puffed Goldfish.  I mean…I felt like a kid again.  And it only made me smile.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  Ingredient-wise…not the cleanest of snack foods, but not the worst I have encountered either.  I allow this one to fall in the 20% of non-clean eating that I am allotting myself.  I mean, you can’t go through life without treats.  You have to have something every now and again.  And this was a surprisingly delicious and fun treat for me.  There is no use of high fructose corn syrup or any food colors, so at least there is that.

As for nutrition, a serving size is 41 pieces, or about 30 grams.  I always weigh my servings.  In this serving, you will be served up 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.  Holding true with other Goldfish products, these do not contain any trans fats.  YAY!  The Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs are also cholesterol free in addition to being gluten-free.  They have only 280 mg of sodium, which isn’t bad for a snack cracker, right?  It’s better than Cheetos sodium count, so there is something to think about.  These puffy crackers also will provide 2 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fiber.

So, like everything…moderation is key.  Would I buy these again?  YES!  They are good and they make a fantastic, tasty, nice treat.  They aren’t horrible when it comes to nutrition.  And the Mega Cheese promise is truly delivered with each bite.  I love the whimsical and classic Goldfish shape is continued even in the puffed up corn snacks.  They taste amazing.  They are fun.  So, my roomie’s treat to me definitely worked out favorably.  I’m hooked.  Pun intended…

The thing about these New Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs, which have 140 CALORIES PER 41 PIECES (who the heck is counting to 41??), is that they are clearly meant to be a competitor to Cheetos.  And I think that’s tough, because I have a real soft spot for Cheetos.  Soft as in the pockets of my stomach where Cheetos have burned away my stomach lining.  But also because I think Cheetos are some of the greatest snacks ever.  Herr’s and other companies have tried and failed to tear me away from the original Chester Cheetah Cheetos and Cheese Puffs.  You have an uphill climb, here, Pepperidge Farm. – See more at: http://www.sogoodblog.com/2013/07/15/review-pepperidge-farm-mega-cheese-goldfish-puffs/#sthash.t9OXMSMw.dpuf

Glutino puts the gluten-free fun back into dipping with new Tortilla Dippers

Glutino Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers
Glutino Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers

Product: Glutino Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers – $3.99+

Glutino.  Glutino.  Glutino.

Here is what I love about Glutino – I have yet to try one of their products and not like it.  Everything has been impressive and delicious and amazing.  So close to what I used to be able to eat…it’s scary…and amazing…full of gluten-free awesomesauce all at once.  They were the first to bring me gluten-free pretzels.  The first to give me gluten-free toaster pastries.  And now…the first to create the ultimate gluten-free tortilla chip…meant for dipping.

Remember Tostitos Scoops?  You should.  Because they are actually one of Frito-Lay’s gluten-free products.  Yeah.  Well, think Tostitos Scoops…but done in a completely gluten-free facility.  That’s what you get when you purchase Glutino’s Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers.

Glutino’s Web site declares that these Tortilla Dippers are made for the bold, the brassy and the sassy.  And that may not be far from the truth.  The entire point of a dipper is to get all wild and crazy with what you choose to scoop with them.  Or…the toppings you pile onto them.  The entire point is that they must, I repeat…MUST…hold up to the toppings or the weight of the scoop, be it nacho cheese, salsa, guacamole, or some other amazing dip of your own creation.  If they fall apart or crumble…no good!

I spotted Glutino’s Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers while at my natural food store on an end cap.  The Glutino products were on sale…so I allowed the splurge.  I knew there would be something I could make with them, regardless.  And I was right.  It just took me about a month to actually get around to using them.  But, my roommate had her last wisdom tooth removed this past week, and after being stuck on mushy food for the entire week, yesterday she had one request…

NACHOS FOR DINNER!

So, I complied.  After all, I had some Trader Joe’s queso (gluten-free) in the pantry that was begging for some action.  In addition, some black beans that would add some delicious protein.  Oh…and avocado.  Because if there is a reason to add avocado to something I am going to.  Heck, I’ll just eat the avocado.  But I digress…

Since she was ready for crunchy food again, I agreed to make some nachos per her request.  And I already had everything at home to make it happen.  BONUS!

I pulled out the beans and got them heating on the stove.  While that was happening, I went ahead and chopped up some fresh tomatoes and got the avocado sliced, pitted, and chopped.  Then…the queso was warmed in the microwave.  Soon…dinner would be ready.  All I needed now was the chips.

So I pulled the Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers out of the pantry and doled out a serving for each of us.  Then the beans were tossed on top…followed by the tomatoes, the avocado, then the queso.  Dinner took almost no time at all…and was now ready to be served.  I added a bit of vegan Sriracha sour cream to the top, and for me a few jalapeno peppers.

Time to dig in and see how the Tortilla Dippers handled my toppings.

The fact was, Glutino did it’s job well.  Not only do these chips have an amazing texture and crunch to them, you can really taste the sweetness of the corn.  It adds a beautiful balance to the dish you are using them with, honestly.  I had to try a chip on its own, and I felt that they tasted even better than Tostitos Scoops.  And I used to heat the hell out of those.  They didn’t get mushy, nor did they crack and crumble when the toppings were piled on top.  I asked Cathy what she thought and she raved about them.  This is always a good thing, because she can be rather finicky at times about things that are close to a favorite product…and she really has always loved to the Tostitos Scoops.

So, let’s talk about nutrition.  For a chip, these are identical in comparison with Tostitos Scoops.  Honestly.  A serving is 28 grams, or about 12 chips.  This serving sets you back 140 calories and 7 grams of fat.  Not bad for a corn chip.  A serving also only dishes up 120 mg of sodium, 2 grams of fiber (one more gram than Scoops), and 1 gram of protein.  Everything else is identical.  This has one gram less in carbohydrates.  Aside from that…nothing too different.  But when I can get something that is certified gluten-free…that’s what I am going to purchase.  So, Glutino…you win!

As far as ingredients go, Glutino’s Tortilla Dippers are made from ground whole white corn, vegetable oil, toasted corn germ, and salt.  Four ingredients.  Simply made.  Simply delicious.  Simply good.

Don’t take my word for it though.  These are definitely a bit pricier than Tostitos, but I’d pay the extra few dollars again.  Without batting an eyelash.  And we all know I live on a strict budget…so that’s saying something.

Next time you’re feeling the need to make a salsa, queso, guacamole, or other dip…give Glutino’s Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers a try.  I promise…you’ll love them!

Nachos made with Glutino's Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers
Nachos made with Glutino’s Gluten-Free Tortilla Dippers

El’s Gluten-Free Snacks gives great flavor and crunch in Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps

El's Gluten Free Snacks Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps
El’s Gluten Free Snacks Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps

Product: El’s Gluten Free Snacks Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps – $4.49+

I’ve noticed these little brown bags of gluten-free snacks on the shelf of one of my local grocery store.  I noticed them immediately because I had never seen them before.  They are El’s Gluten Free Snacks…and there are two different varieties…Medleys and Snaps.

Well, while frequenting a couple of my favorite blogs, a giveaway was happening for the chance to win a bag of El’s Gluten Free Snacks Cinnamon and Sugar Snaps.  So, since I was there…and reading…I figured why not enter?  I do this all the time, actually…I just never win.

But then, Anna from the Gluten Free? Give Me Three blog sent me an e-mail.  I had actually won the giveaway.  So, she was going to wing a bag of El’s Gluten Free Snacks Cinnamon and Sugar Snaps.  I was thrilled.  I never win these things…but here…here I had actually won.  WOOHOO!!  I provided my shipping address…and a couple of days later, a box arrived containing a bag of El’s Gluten Free Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps.

I was so excited about these.  But…I had a few more snacks ahead of this one…so I set this in my pantry and worked my way through the other items first.

But…this past week…the big day arrived.

So, here is the thing about gluten-free snacks.  They can either be really, really amazing…or not be good at all.  And these, at first glance, look as though they might be in the latter category.  After all, they are little bagel crisps (think of the highly off-limits Gardetto’s snack mix…the rye chips that people usually love the most) that are lightly dusted with cinnamon and sugar.  I normally have my roommate try my snacks…but she just had her last wisdom tooth out, so this time…the opinion rested all on my shoulders.

Based on feel alone, I noticed that these weren’t heavy like Gardetto’s rye chips were.  These were very light and airy.  I loved that.  I hate when gluten-free snacks are dense and hard and…bland.  I haven’t gotten to that yet.  These are very light and it makes you feel good about the snack as you dole out a serving.

Snack time arrived at work and I popped open the lid of my container holding a serving of this product.  The moment of truth had arrived.  One bite.  A crunchy, crispy, delicious bite.  The texture was awesome.  You get this great snap with each bite.  And the cinnamon and sugar that is lightly dusted over these doesn’t overpower the rest of the crisp itself.  In fact, the taste and crunch is identical to the bagel chips I used to be able to eat.  Not to mention, these are baked, which help keep them light, airy, and savory.  It’s hard to not devour the entire serving in one quick flick of the wrist.  These are honestly that good.

So…let’s talk ingredients and nutrition.  As far as what these snaps are made from…its a gluten-free flour base, water, non-GMO canola oil, flax seed, cane sugar, and cinnamon.  It’s that simple.  Not a whole lot going into this, which I appreciate as I’m trying to cut back on processed foods…and when I do eat them, I try to limit the number of ingredients.  Speaking of ingredients, not only are these products gluten-free, but they are also free of eggs, milk, soy, peanuts, and nuts.  Love the allergy-friendly snacks!!  This means I could share them with my nephews if I so choose.  I think they’d like them.

Nutritionally speaking, a serving is 1 ounce (28 grams).  From this serving, you will be receiving 100 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.  These crisps are low in sodium, with a serving only providing 240 mg.  There are 9 grams of sugar in one serving of the Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps, so it’s not too bad.  That’s better than most cereals on the market.  And you will also be given 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein.

If you are a fan of chips, but don’t want to snack and feel guilty…I highly recommend replacing those chips with these Cinnamon & Sugar Snaps from El’s Gluten Free.  Trust me…they go above and beyond as a replacement.  I was already looking forward to snack today when I helped myself to another serving of them.  Honestly…one of the best gluten-free snacks out on the market.  Why?  Because at El’s…they believe that good taste matters.

I believe they have created the ultimate gluten-free snack foods…and with their focus on taste, texture, and flavor…it’s no wonder I fell in love with them.