Product Review: Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto

Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal

Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal

Product: Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto – $3.29+

You know…it was because I was told that the liveGfree Gluten Free Tortillas at Aldi wouldn’t fall apart and crumble on me (which was false…they did…and I was sad) that I ended up back at my Aldi to grab some gluten-free goods.  Just the tortillas…that was the plan.

But you know how quickly plans fall apart when gluten free products/food are involved.

While standing in line with one item, I spotted the infamous liveGfree box colors on some discounted sale items.  There were three different types of pastas sitting there…discounted…looking for a happy pantry to belong to.  I thought about just skipping that.  I’m trying to move things out, not bring more in, but they were discounted to $1.99…so I grabbed one of each flavor.

With this being an odd week with half days and holidays…my usual meal planning is thrown a bit off.  When I’m not going to be here, batch cooking that much just doesn’t make sense.  So, I pick and choose and then fill in.  So, when my roommate said to just throw together a pasta or something for a lunch on Monday, that’s exactly what I decided to do.

I knew we had these boxes of Aldi lifeGfree Gluten Free Pasta Meals in my pantry, so I gave her the choice of flavors…(all of which will be reviewed here…so watch this space)…and she decided to start with the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal.

Cooking this up is super easy.  Simply throw 1-1/4 cup water into a pan and bring it to a boil.  Once there, pour the noodles and seasoning mix into the water.  Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for about 7-9 minutes.  Stir it occasionally, and continue to cook until the water is completely absorbed.  That’s it.  It’s ready to eat.

Well, here is the downside.  A box contains only 1-1/2 servings.  Yes…one and a half servings.  I don’t know where the logic is with that, but after I had this cooked up and split it between my roommate and I…there was hardly anything in our lunch bowls.  So, I reached into my freezer and pulled out the Beyond Meat Gluten Free and Vegan Italian Meatballs, cooking up some of those to add to the dish to bulk it up and make it bigger than just a side dish.  So, please be aware…1-1/2 servings per container.  If there is more than 1-1/2 of you eating…plan accordingly.

Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pasta Meal  (cooked) with Beyond Meat Vegan and Gluten Free Italian Meatballs

Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pasta Meal (cooked) with Beyond Meat Vegan and Gluten Free Italian Meatballs

At lunch today, I retrieved the Pyrex containers with the pasta and “meatballs” in it and popped each one in the microwave to heat.  Once heated all the way through…lunch was ready to go.  I do love a no-hassle, fuss-free, easy lunch to prepare at work when the kitchen can get quite chaotic with everyone fighting for counter space and the microwave.

I settled in at  my desk, gave it a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (because I like it hot, LOL!) and dug in.

First of all, I was very impressed with the way the pasta held up, not just in the cooking process, but also in the reheating. It didn’t fall apart or get gummy.  So, that’s a huge plus.  I loved the seasoning that was cooked down over the noodles.  A blend of basil and spinach, mixed with a touch of garlic and Parmesan.  So, yeah…not exactly dairy-free, eh?  I didn’t notice that when I bought it…but…it was all I had for lunch.  I’m not allergic to dairy…just highly intolerant to lactose.  So, I just hoped for the best.  Very full of flavor…which surprised me.  I never expect much from boxed pasta meals, but this one was actually very delicious.  I am, however, quite happy that I opted to include the vegan meatballs to bulk it out.  It also added to the depth of flavor of the dish.  For a pasta meal that I spent under $2 to purchase…this was the happy surprise of the week.  Didn’t see that one coming.

Let’s discuss the ingredients that go into Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal, shall we?  This boxed meal is made from gluten free pasta (corn flour, rice flour), process cheese food in powder [cheese blend (pasteurized milk, salt, cheese cultures, enzymes), whey powder, salt, sodium citrate, disodium phosphate], cream powder (cream, milk), natural flavor, potato starch, parmigano reggiano cheese (milk, salt, rennet), dehydrated spinach, dehydrated basil, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric powder.  This pasta meal is gluten free and wheat free.

Now that we know what goes into Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Penne Pesto Pasta Meal, let’s look at the nutrition ingredients.  A serving size of this product is 2/3 cup (or 3/4 cup prepared), and there are 1.5 servings fer container.  One serving will provide you with 250 calories, 6 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 570 mg sodium, 42 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 4 grams sugars, and 8 grams protein.  If you were to eat the entire box yourself, you would only be consuming 375 calories in total.  Which, really isn’t too bad.  I just think that Aldi should either round it down to 1 serving or up to 2 servings, because this half serving really annoyed me, if you couldn’t tell.

I wasn’t expecting much from this Aldi meal, but, once again, Aldi surprised me.  I should have trusted them a little more.  If you can get your hands on the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Pasta Meal’s…it’s a cheap and delicious way to have something on hand for when you don’t really have time or energy to cook something else up.

Check your local Aldi…and pick some up.

Product Review: Pillsbury Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix

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Gluten Free Sugar Cookies made from Pillsbury Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix (and topped with Dollop Gourmet Hot Chocolate Spread Frosting and sprinkles)

Product: Pillsbury Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix – $3.99+

I blame my neighbor.  I do.  Because she knows how much I like to cook and bake and make tasty treats for myself, my roomie, my friends, my co-workers, and just…people in general.  So, while she was out at one of the discount stores, she snagged me four (4)…yes…FOUR…boxes of the Pillsbury Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix and one (1) box of the Immaculate Baking Company’s Gluten Free Fudge Brownie Cookie Dough.  I love it when she surprises me with gluten free goodies.

All that being said…I was out at Michael’s a couple of weekends ago and spotted a T-Rex cookie cutter.  Don’t judge.  My roommate loves dinosaurs.  Yes…she’s in her mid-30s…but…that’s just who she is.  And then…there was the Unicorn cookie cutter.  UNICORN COOKIE CUTTER.  I used to have a unicorn collection.  I am a Boston Marathon runner.  Unicorns are sort of my spirit animal.

Now, sugar cookies and I don’t have the best relationship.  Every time I have attempted to make them, be it from a mix or from scratch…they have been ultimate fail.  And, while the Pillsbury Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix gives instructions for round cookies, I really wanted to make cut-out cookies.  So, learning from my past in sugar cookie baking, I made up the dough and wrapped it in Saran wrap before sticking it in the back of the fridge and letting it chill while I was out and about running errands that day.

That afternoon, when I returned…and called my dad to wish him a Happy Father’s Day…I set out rolling out the chilled dough between two pieces of plastic wrap, flattening it out.  Then, I took my new cookie cutters and carefully (there were some really tiny parts that were not easy to come out of the cookie cutter (hello unicorn horn)) cut out T-Rex and Unicorn shapes as I chatted with my dad.  The mix set up perfectly for this…and I kept it chilling when I wasn’t using it.  So, onto a baking sheet these cookies went and…BAM…into a preheated 375°F oven.

So, while these are virtually baking in my blog, let me tell you how easy this mix is to make.  All you need is the cookie mix, 1/2 cup of butter (I used Earth Balance Vegan Butter Sticks – room temperature), 1 tablespoon water, and 1 egg.  Simply combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until soft dough is formed.  From here, you can form dough by rounded teaspoons and put onto a baking sheet 2 inches apart…or you can chill it like I did (this was me being stubborn…I wanted cut-out cookies, dammit!) and roll it out after it’s chilled and cut out fun shapes like dinosaurs and unicorns.  Adults can have fun-shaped sugar cookies too, you know?

I lost track on the first batch as my dad was a fun and worthwhile distraction.  These bake for about 8-10 minutes, except in my oven, because it is old and doesn’t get as warm as it says at times.  So, the cookies weren’t ready after 10 minutes, so I figured I’d go for 2 more minutes.  Didn’t set a timer, and as I was rolling out the second batch and chatting with my dad…remembered those were in there and pulled them out.  The edges got a little toasted, but they were still fine.  I noted, much to my dad’s amusement, that the unicorns became fat unicorns.  They did spread slightly…but still resembled the original shape.

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T-Rex and Unicorn Cut-Out Sugar Cookies made from Pillsbury Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix

While out grocery shopping early that weekend, I picked up a jar of Dollop Gourmet Hot Chocolate Spread Frosting.  And some green sparkle sprinkles for the dinosaur cookies.  I had rainbow sprinkles at home already for the unicorn cookies. HA!  So, after the cookies cooled and I was off the phone and not browning the edges of the rest of the cookies, I cooked dinner…and knew these cookies would be dessert.

I snagged one T-Rex and one Unicorn cookie and gave each a schmear of the Dollop Gourmet Hot Chocolate Spread Frosting.  Topped each off with some sprinkles…and dessert was ready.

I have been really impressed with the Pillsbury Gluten Free products, and these were no exception.  This mix was not only easy to make…but tasted great.  I always had a soft spot in my heart for sugar cookies (I used to bake them with all the neighborhood kids at a neighbor’s home every Christmas)…because they are so versatile.  Top them off with frosting, sprinkles, stuff them with ice cream, or more frosting…add nuts or chocolate chips…the possibilities are endless.  Sugar cookies are the ultimate decoration cookie.  And while I’m not big on frosting at all (I really am not a fan), these required delicious frosting (hence…Dollop Gourmet), and sprinkles…because sprinkles are awesome.

Know what else is awesome?  These cookies.  They have that buttery flavor, with a touch of the sweetness from the sugar in the mix.  I asked my roommate what she thought and she said they tasted just like “regular” sugar cookies.  And they should.  The only difference is rice flour and tapioca starch and potato starch replace the all-purpose flour that would go into regular ones.  These cookies have that nice crunch on the outer edge with a soft center.  SO good.  And this made SO many of these.  So, I have sugar cookies for days…and am wondering if I’ll ever run out at this point.  At least they are amazing and yummy.

So, let’s discuss what Pillsbury puts into their Gluten Free Sugar Premium Cookie Mix, shall we?  This mix is a blend of sugar, rice flour, tapioca starch, canola oil, potato startch, contains 2% or less of: salt, baking soda, cellulose, xanthan gum, cellulose gum, natural and artificial flavors.

As for nutrition information…keep in mind…these are sugar cookies.  Mmmm…cookies.  COOKIE MONSTER strikes again.  Anyway, a serving size is 1/18th of the mix (if you make the drop cookies, this box makes 3 dozen; if you make the cut-out cookies, it varies.  I got 22 cookies in mine).  A serving size (for drop) is 2 cookies and for the cut-outs 1 cookie.  This serving (when prepared per package instructions) will provide you with 160 calories, 6 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 240 mg sodium, 24 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams sugars, 1 gram protein.

I am very happy with the mix that Pillsbury has created for those of us who, perhaps, missed the amazing cookies that a company like Pillsbury puts out.  I am also intending to use a box of this to make Strawberry Streusel Bars or Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars for the office birthday party that is happening next week.  Just have to decide on which one I want to make.  Trust me, with an office that usually turns its nose up at anything that is gluten-free, I wouldn’t serve this mix to them if I didn’t think it was worth it.

Thank you, Pillsbury, for making gluten-free baking mixes for those of us who love to have an easier and more convenient way to make cookies.  Especially sugar cookies.  Because sugar cookies are evil. But this was so easy and my cut-out cookies were…perfect.

And that always makes this cookie monster happy!!

Product Review: So Delicious Dairy Free Mac & Cheese Pizza Flavor

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So Delicious Diary Free Mac & Cheese Pizza Flavor

Product: So Delicious Dairy Free Mac & Cheese Pizza Flavor – $2.99+

 

It was in a recent issue of Gluten Free & More that Erica Dermer (aka: Celiac & The Beast) brought to my attention the fact that So Delicious Dairy Free was coming out with a new product.  Two (yes…TWO) versions of a boxed mac & cheese.

Gluten free and dairy free…perfect for this girl.  I figured it would take an eternity to find in Louisville, but…a couple of weeks ago, it was out on the shelves of the local Whole Foods.  So both flavors (Pizza and Cheddar) came home with me.  And this week was an ideal week to try one of them as my endless quest to clear out the pantry continues (I know…if I’d stop buying things it would be so much easier!).

I know, I had a vegan mac and cheese on Monday…but who says comfort food can only happen once a week, right?  Besides…this was a different mac and cheese. This one came in a box.  HAHA!  And since today was my (allergen-free) Soft Pretzel Wednesday lunch tradition, and I bought an amazing (allergen-free) Confetti Cupcake from my local bakery, Annie May’s Sweet Café, I figured, why not go for broke?  Have some mac & cheese!  Thanks to the (not-so-expensive) splurge at Whole Foods…this was possible.

Nothing could be easier to make.  Simply bring a pot of water to a boil and pour the noodles in.  Allow them to cook for about 8-9 minutes.  Drain.  Once drained, return noodles to the pot and add in 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk) and 2 tablespoons of a dairy-free buttery spread (I used Earth Balance).  Add in the packet of powder-like-cheesy-stuff and stir until mixed well.  Serve.

So, my roommate opted to have the Pizza Flavored Mac & Cheese from So Delicious first before the Cheddar.  I think she’s having a hankering for pizza.  Well, she said it’s because I made “regular” mac & cheese on Monday.  Whatever.  Regardless, we started off with the odd-flavored one!  (That’s odd as in…not a normal flavor you would find).  I served it with a slice of vegan garlic bread (from Annie May’s Sweet Café)…and dinner was super-easy, super-quick, and hopefully super-yum!

As far as boxed mac & cheese goes, this ranks up there.  I thought the gluten free noodles were amazing.  They didn’t get gummy or fall apart.  They held up to draining and constant mixing when everything was added in.  That really was a high point for me, since so often these boxed gluten-free pastas just fall apart.  So…YAY!  As for the flavor…it…kind of tastes like pizza.  There is a hint of tomato flavor in the sauce, for sure.  And the sauce is darker than the orange boxed powder stuff that people are used to eating.  It didn’t punch me in the tastebuds and make me think I was eating pizza instead of pasta.  Like I said, it had more of a rich tomato flavor than anything.  What I did love most, however, was that it didn’t have a weird tangy fake cheese flavor to it.  No plastic residue.  Nothing that can be such a turn off (for me, anyway) when it comes to vegan cheese products.  The sauce was creamy and cheesy (without the cheese!)…and for that I am happy.  I think I liked it best when I was scooping it up with my garlic bread though.  More powerful flavors there than on its own. That being said, I wasn’t disappointed in the least, and will probably end up keeping a box of the So Delicious Dairy Free Mac & Cheese in my pantry for nights where I need something quick and easy…and delicious.

All that being said, let’s talk about what goes into the So Delicious Dairy Free Mac & Cheese Pizza Flavor.  This product is made up of organic gluten free pasta (organic white rice flour, organic green lentil flour, organic corn flour), algal protein, veggie blend (carrot, tomato), sea salt, natural flavor, coconut oil powder (maltodextrin, organic coconut oil, rice starch, natural flavor), guar gum, pizza seasoning (spices, garlic, salt, onion), mustard (seed), annatto, and lactic acid.  This product us Kosher Parve, Certified Gluten Free, and Certified Vegan.

As for nutrition, a serving of the So Delicious Dairy Free Mac & Cheese Pizza Flavor is 2.5 ounces (71 grams…or about 1 cup prepared) and there are about 2.5 servings per box.  My roommate and I just split it in half.  An actual serving (as packaged, not prepared), will give you 260 calories, 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 50 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sugars, and 10 grams of protein!  LOOK at that protein!!  It is definitely filling.

No worries…I still ate the cupcake afterwards!

Anyway…while the So Delicious Dairy Free Mac & Cheese Pizza Flavor was a nice way to have a stress-free night of cooking, I still felt that it was lacking somewhat in flavor.  That being said, the texture, taste, and creaminess were right up to par…especially for a powder-base.  I was impressed and surprised that I liked it that much.  And that’s a good thing, for sure.  But, I sure was glad I picked up that garlic bread today…

Bottom line…it was good.  Not outstanding.  But good.  And different.  I have yet to find another gluten free and/or vegan pizza mac and cheese on the market.

 

 

Product Review: Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables

Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables

Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables

Product: Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables – $8.50

Risotto is one of those dishes that you love to hate.  Not so much in the dining and devouring part…but the making of said dish.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a risotto fanatic as much as the next person, however…I much prefer the unorthodox way of cooking it…in a dutch oven…in the oven.  Baked.

Stovetop…just never seems to want to work out fright for me.

That being said, back in my April (Spring) 2015 Cuisine Cube, I received a package of risotto from Bountiful Pantry’s gluten free selection.  I was pretty stoked.  Gotta love risotto.  I couldn’t wait to find a night to cook it up.

And then…I just never got around to it.  With everything that was going on with my hip injury, recovery, broken leg, travel, more travel, more recovery, the holidays…it’s been pretty non-stop since I received this box in the mail.  Thankfully, it was good through April of 2016…so it wasn’t a waste.

Before I get into the product itself…here’s a little bit about Cuisine Cube.  Cuisine Cube is a subscription service that delivers 5-6 gluten-free, full-size products to your door for as little as $34.99/month. Inside the cube, you will discover full-size products (not sample sizes) that are made by local and smaller, artisan companies, rather than those that you can find at the average grocery store.  It has introduced me to so many new and delightful products.  Each box contains a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert product…and then, sometimes, an extra bonus item.  Who doesn’t love a little something extra, right?   Keep in mind, however, that Cuisine Cube has gone through some changes as of May.  No longer do they strictly only offer gluten-free cubes.  In addition to their gluten-free option, they now also offer Artisan and Vegan cubes as well.  The Artisan cube means that you have no food allergies and foods that contain common food allergens will be included.  The Vegan cubes contain products that are dairy and animal free.  And, they still have the Gluten Free cubes, which will have products that contain no gluten or wheat.  So, if you’re really interested in being introduced to the smaller, lesser-known, artisan companies, give Cuisine Cube a try!  It’s like…Christmas…or your birthday…every month!  Who doesn’t love that?!  I did love it and I hope I’m able to resubscribe soon.

The dinner feature in the April (Spring) 2015 Cuisine Cube was the Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables.  Bountiful Pantry is best known for their healthy, easy-to-prepare, and delicious mixes ranging from appetizers, to soups, to salads, to dips, to stews, to chilies, to chowders, and various sides, among other things.  Inspiration for their mixes stem from their home on the island of Nantucket, where the often cool, damp weather would inspire the desire for an inviting pot of soup.  By starting with family favorites and classic New England favorites, Bountiful Pantry has created delicious and satisfying recipes that are easy to share.  Since the creators follow a healthy, low-sodium diet, focusing on taste, they are seeking and finding new ways to pack flavor into their mixes using a variety of vegetables, herbs, and spices.  They use the finest all-natural ingredients, including vegetables picked and dried at their peak of freshness.  There are no preservatives, added salt of MSG in their mixes, and they are gluten free as well.  Even better, meals can be prepared in as little as 30 minutes.  Gotta love that.

Well, this weekend seemed like the ideal time to cook up a risotto because Sundays I’m usually batch cooking anyway.  And as I’m working on clearing out my pantry, this was a logical choice.  And I was pretty excited about it too.  Because…risotto!!  The only thing I wasn’t excited about was cooking it.  But, no worries, it’s super easy.  I first heated up 5 cups of vegetable broth.  Then, I melted 4 tablespoons of vegan butter (Earth Balance) in a pan.  Once it was melted, I added chopped onion and let it soften to the point of translucency.  I took 1 cup of the broth and put it in a bowl with the dried vegetables and let it soak.  Then, in went the rice to the skillet with the butter and onion.  I gave it a stir to coat it all.  And then…the long and tedious task of adding 1/2 cup broth and stirring began.  Each time more broth went in, the rice would begin to plump up more and more.  And when the broth was gone…and my rice was still a little crunchy…in went water until I got that perfect rice consistency.  Then, the vegan parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of white wine went in.  More stirring…and then…dinner was served.

With a glass of the white wine I used in the risotto.  Just sayin’.

The Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables was amazing.  Creamy and rich.  The vegan parmesan really enriched the flavor and texture, bringing it to that perfect risotto consistency.  The Arborio rice took a little longer to cook, but once it got to the proper texture…it was a fantastic dish to devour indeed.  There is, naturally, an option to serve this as a side dish, but my roommate and I chose it for our dinner, so we took 4 servings of it instead of 8…having leftovers for lunch later this week.  And I can’t be more excited about having it again.  I loved how perfectly this cooked up, and despite having to add a bit of water, it got to that perfect rich and creamy consistency and the flavor…was spot on.  The vegetables softened up and the seasonings perfectly added to the taste, no added salt or anything.  Perfection.  And all in a bag, ready to go.

So, what all is in the Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables?  Nine ingredients.  Yes…just nine.  They are: Arborio rice, peas, carrot, corn, onion, tarragon, chervil, parsley, and chives.  This mix is gluten-free, non-GMO, no MSG, and no added salt or preservatives.  This product is certified by the Celiac Sprue Association.

As for nutritional information for the Bountiful Pantry Risotto with Garden Vegetables…this isn’t bad.  Even when you add in the butter, onion, cheese, veggie broth and wine, it is reasonable for risotto.  A serving of the dry mix is 1/4 cup (51 grams) and there are 8 servings per package.  In each serving, you will be consuming 170 calories, 0.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 10 mg sodium, 40 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram sugars, and 4 grams protein.  Not bad at all.

If you love decadent, rich, creamy and and flavorful risotto…why do it all from scratch yourself?  Bountiful Pantry helps make it a little easier with their package of Risotto with Garden Vegetables.  Big flavor.  Big eats.  It was amazing from the first bite to the last.  My roommate and I probably could have eaten the entire pan if I hadn’t set the rest of it aside for lunches.  It’s that good.

So, head over to Bountiful Pantry‘s Web site and place an order for one of their numerous mixes.  But, if nothing else, try the risotto.

Bountiful Pantry's Risotto with Garden Vegetables

Bountiful Pantry’s Risotto with Garden Vegetables

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix

Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix

Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix

Product: Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix – $3.99+

Who doesn’t love sprinkles?!

I mean, be honest here!  Who in the world doesn’t love sprinkles?!

Sprinkles make the world go ’round.  Sprinkles bring happiness and joy.  Sprinkles are what smiles are made of.  Sprinkles…totally rule!

And pancakes…who doesn’t love an amazing, buttery, soft, amazing pancake?!

Pancakes are awesome.

I mean…seriously…they are one of life’s most perfect food.  Don’t argue this with me.  It’s true.

So…imagine my glee…my elation…my “I MUST BUY THIS NOW AND EAT THIS” attitude when one day, while in Louisville and shopping the aisles of the Walmart Neighborhood Market (because, hey, it’s less skeevy than the regular Walmart), I spotted a gluten free mix that involved both sprinkles…and…pancakes.

It wasn’t a dream.  Nope.  It was a reality.  And this very special (and happiness-inducing) product is brought to your grocery store shelves by the one and only…Hungry Jack.  Yes…the Hungry Jack known for potatoes and syrup and regular amazing pancake mixes.  That Hungry Jack.

Turns out they now offer a Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix.

Yep…you read that right…Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix.  How many different ways can you say, “Get in my belly!”?

I purchased this box of pancake and waffle mix back in…October.  I had every intention of making them while my parents were visiting, but, instead, my dad requested lemon poppyseed muffins…so this had to wait.  However…good things come to those who wait.  And patience is a virtue.  One I don’t normally have when pancakes and sprinkles are involved, but, hey, I can be an adult.

I ended up bringing the mix with me to Columbus, Ohio, over the New Year weekend.  It’s tradition to spend said holiday with my friend Jenn…and Jenn is quite open to gluten-free foods.  She even has gluten free foods stashed in her kitchen for my visits.  She eats said gluten free foods with me.  Well, since Sunday we traditionally cook the breakfast, I told her I’d bring the mix and we could have some pancakes that morning.  She upped the carb-fest with the promise of using up some more of the Magners Syrup we made when we made boozy waffles the last time I visited.

And so…game on.

The pancakes are super easy to mix up.  The box says that 1 cup of the mix and 3/4 cup of water will make enough batter for 6-8 pancakes.  This is false.  Since there were 3 of us, this is what I made, thinking we all could have 2 pancakes, but I ended up adding more mix and water just to get the last necessary pancake for 6 pancakes each made from about 1/4 cup of the batter.  So…trust me, you’ll need a slight bit more for those 6 pancakes.  8 isn’t happening.

All that being said, when these were browning on the skillet, they not only puffed up beautifully, but they got that rich, golden color too.  The pancakes had that nice crisp outside, but were cake-y and soft and fluffy on the inside.  And…they had sprinkles.  Seriously…so, so, so good.  Kind of like eating a slice of cake for breakfast, because…sprinkles!

All that being said, I am only now getting around to typing up this review.  But in that time, I have also decided to give the waffle recipe a try.  This just involved 2 cups of the mix (lots of sprinkles), 1-1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I substituted unsweetened applesauce), and 1 egg (or egg replacer).  Just stir it up until you get rid of any large lumps…pour into the waffle iron…and let them cook to that perfect golden brown.  This made 6 large Mickey Mouse waffles…but the box claims it will make 12 (4×4-inch) waffles.

The waffles were even better than the pancakes.  And for the first time, my gluten free waffles got to a perfect golden brown on the outside.  I was so impressed.  And when I served them up (with a splash of real raspberry maple syrup from Michigan), it was like…a food epiphany.  I mean…cake.  Cake all over the breakfast plate.  Not only were my waffles Mickey Mouse shaped, but they had sprinkles in them…and looked and tasted like an indulgent treat.  Oh yeah.

So…I had the mix as pancakes…and then as waffles…so…how was it?

The product that the Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix produces is fantastic in either form.  From the splattering of rainbow sprinkles to the rich, buttery flavor that comes from the buttermilk base…it’s pancake perfection.  A rainbow of pancake perfection. These are the unicorns of gluten free pancakes.  The pancakes and waffles are soft and fluffy on the inside, golden and crispy on the outside.  And that…it pancake and waffle perfection if you ask me.  In addition, this mix actually is a good source of calcium.  And a nice way of having candy (or sprinkles) for breakfast.

might still be a little (or a lot) excited about these.

Anyway, as always, let’s take a look at what goes into the Hungry Jack Gluten Free Funfetti Pancake & Waffle Mix.  This mix is made from rice flour, sugar, dextrose, leavening (baking soda, calcium phosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, candy bits (sugar, vegetable oil [palm and palm kernel], modified corn starch, confectioners glaze, soy lecithin, colored with [yellow 5, red 40, blue 1, yellow 6]), potato starch, pea fiber, buttermilk, tapioca starch, canola oil, and contains 2% of less of: salt, potassium bicarbonate, hydroxypropyl, methycellulose, xanthan gum, calcium carbonate, eggs, artificial flavor, cellulose gum, yellow 5, and red 5.  Yeah…not a very clean eat, but nice for a treat every now and again.

As far as nutrition goes, the mix isn’t too bad.  The serving size is 1/3 cup of the dry mix (or about 3 4-inch pancakes) and the box contains about 11 servings.  This serving will dish up 190 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, less than 5 mg cholesterol, 540 mg sodium, 40 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 10 grams sugars, and 3 grams of protein.  Despite being a pancake and waffle mix with sprinkles in it…the fiber and protein is higher than most to make you feel full longer.  So, there is that.  There is also 15% calcium and 4% iron in each serving.

So, yeah…delicious, amazing, fun, and fluffy…it’s everything pancakes should be.  It’s everything waffles should be.  And it is what so many gluten-free pancake mixes fail at being.  I loved these.  I have no shame in admitting it.  It’s nice to change things up and have a bit of a treat every now and again.  This mix was a fun, and also delicious way of brightening my breakfast plate…and my morning.

Product Review: Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns & Dinner Rolls made with Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns & Dinner Rolls made with Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix

Product: Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix – $8.99

Of all the products that I received when I was a subscriber to Cuisine Cube, the ones that took me the longest to get to were the bread mixes.  I have another mix (which I hope to make in the next few weeks) for gluten-free tortillas…so…this is not an anomoly.  It’s just that I already have my own gluten-free bread/dinner roll flour blend that I make amazing bread with.  So, why use a mix?

Besides, my bread baking skills in the gluten-free realm are…sort of hit or miss.

But my March 2015 Cuisine Cube brought me a lot of amazing goodies that I have already blogged on.  The only hold-out from that cube was…none other than the lunch option (weird, I know…but probably under the impression that sandwich bread would be the end result).  And that lunch option was the Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Bread Mix.

For those of you who are not familiar with Cuisine Cube, let me give you the rundown.  Cuisine Cube is a subscription service that delivers 5-6 gluten-free, full-size products to your door for as little as $34.99/month. Inside the cube, you will discover full-size products (not sample sizes) that are made by local and smaller, artisan companies, rather than those that you can find at the average grocery store.  It has introduced me to so many new and delightful products.  Each box contains a breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert product…and then, sometimes, an extra bonus item.  Who doesn’t love a little something extra, right?   Keep in mind, however, that Cuisine Cube has gone through some changes as of May.  No longer do they strictly only offer gluten-free cubes.  In addition to their gluten-free option, they now also offer Artisan and Vegan cubes as well.  The Artisan cube means that you have no food allergies and foods that contain common food allergens will be included.  The Vegan cubes contain products that are dairy and animal free.  And, they still have the Gluten Free cubes, which will have products that contain no gluten or wheat.  So, if you’re really interested in being introduced to the smaller, lesser-known, artisan companies, give Cuisine Cube a try!  It’s like…Christmas…or your birthday…every month!  Who doesn’t love that?!  I did love it and I hope I’m able to resubscribe next year.

So, the March 2015’s lunch option was filled by the Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix.  Sevierly Good began with the Sevier family, who began their business when they realized how difficult it was to find good, local resources for the things they enjoyed eating.  The company blossomed from the need for their family to eat a gluten-free diet due to high gluten intolerances.  So, with a completely different diet now being served up, the Seviers decided to get into the kitchen and begin to experiment.
With past experience in the baking industry and some great resources, the family created a list of recipes to begin with…and from there, a set of mixes that are versatile and easy to make emerged.  For two (2) years, the Sevier Family made each mix by hand in a local, commercial kitchen.  Since then, they have expanded to working with a manufacturer, enabling them to grow their dream and their product.  Now, Sevierly Good Gluten Free products can be found in the more stores throughout the United States.

This was actually my first introduction to any of the Sevierly Good Gluten Free products.  And while I don’t always appreciate a bread mix…I do love to bake.  So, I sucked it up and got together the very few ingredients needed to mix up this bread and set it to baking.  Except…I decided not to make a loaf.  I wanted to make hamburger buns and dinner rolls.  So…I got out the rings I use to make homemade gluten free hamburger buns and got the oven preheating.

All I had to do was mix together the Organic Multigrain Bread Mix with the (included) yeast packet, 2 large eggs (or egg substitute), 2 cups of warm water, and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Once mixed together, if you’re baking a loaf, you pour it into an oiled loaf pan and pat/spread it into place with the spatula.  For dinner rolls, drop onto an oiled cookie sheet in the desired size.  I filled the hamburger bun rings…and the rest i made into 12 small dinner rolls.  After they were on the baking sheet, I covered them with lightly oiled cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes.  Then, it goes into the oven for 10 minutes at 400°F, then I turn down the temperature to 375°F and allow it to finish baking.  For a loaf of bread, that’s around 40-50 more minutes.  Less for the dinner rolls…but this isn’t indicated on the package.  So, watch those rolls!!  I got mine out before they got too baked.  But, what I did notice was how golden brown they got on the top.  I allowed them to cool on a rack…and then…I had to try one immediately.

I admit…I was skeptical.  After finally having an amazing gluten-free dinner roll recipe of my own…I don’t stray from it often.  But, this product was in my pantry and calling to me to (FINALLY) bake it up.  To be honest…I was impressed.  This is, perhaps, the best sandwich bread that I ever baked up from a mix.  They did actually rise in the rising period, which was a step ahead of most mixes.  And then, they baked up to golden rolls just ready for the dining room table.  I sliced one in half, finding the center to be soft (a nice contrast to the crispy outer crust) and the texture reminded me so much of what traditional bread was like.  Seriously, this is a mix that a hearty bread lover will love, even if they don’t have to eat gluten free.  I was so happy with each bite of the roll.  So, now I have a backup for when I’m low on ingredients for my own.  Completely surpassed all my expectations.

So, let’s take a look at the ingredients.  The Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix is made from organic brown rice flour, organic sorghum flour, organic tapioca starch, organic quinoa flour, organic evaporated cane juice, xanthan gum, yeast, and salt.  It is non-GMO, certified gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, dairy-free, bean-free and corn-free.  Wholesome and wholegrain goodness in one little pouch.

As for the nutrition facts, the Sevierly Good Gluten Free Organic Multigrain Bread Mix has 12 servings in a package.  A serving size is 1 slice of bread.  Each serving will give you 110 calories, 0.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 45 mg sodium, 23 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugars, and 2 grams protein.

One would think that with the low amounts of fiber and protein that this bread would not be filling.  But I made vegan BLTs for lunch today, using one of the hamburger buns for the sandwich portion instead of bread from my freezer.  I toasted the buns in the oven and then topped them with vegan mayo, baby spinach, heirloom tomato slices, and vegan (and gluten-free) bacon.  This bread was…AMAZING.  I loved using it for this sort of sandwich as it didn’t get soggy (even with toasting) and crumble and fall apart.  It’s wonderful to have a traditional bread feel…but be able to bake it up in various ways, without having to blend all the flours myself.

I, once again, have to commend Cuisine Cube for introducing me to the Sevierly Good Gluten Free brand.  The Organic Multigrain Bread Mix was amazing…like no other bread mix I have ever baked from before.  Now I sort of wish that I had done up an actual loaf, just to see how it turned out.  But…that’s why I can order more.

And you can too.  If you can’t fiend Sevierly Good Gluten Free products in your area, head over to their Products page and have their mixes shipped directly to you.  Then get into your kitchen and bake up something Sevierly Good!

Orders can also be placed online from our Products page and shipped direct to your home.

And, as many have said…”It’s more than good, it’s Sevierly Good”. We thank you for your business!

The Sevier Family

Product Review: Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix

Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix

Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix

Product: Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix – $4.49+

You know…I don’t shop at Wal-Mart often.  I don’t.  But, there is this gorgeous Neighborhood Market version of Wal-Mart (it is all groceries!) in Louisville, and if I happen to be on that side of the city, I’ll stop in for some essentials that.  I mean, the prices are right and it’s not all sketchy like some other Wal-Marts are.  Nor is it busy, so that is also a plus!

I rarely go off my grocery list these days…but one day while searching an aisle for something, I spotted a box of gluten-free banana bread.  We all are aware that my forays into gluten-free banana bread have been epic fails…every single time.  And here…here was a mix that would do all the difficult stuff for me…and all I had to do was add a few things and pop it in the oven.

Easy peasy, right?

So, yeah…you better believe that box came home.

For the record, the box just happened to be a new baking mix from the amazing Pillsbury, who seems to have embraced the gluten-free market as of late, having started with refrigerated dough for pizza, cookes, and pie.  Since then, it has introduced gluten-free funfetti cake mix (I have some of this in my pantry), gluten-free funfetti cookie mix, gluten-free multi-purpose flour, and gluten-free quick bread and muffin mix.  They also have already made gluten-free muffins out there…I have yet to find them though.

That being said…the great pantry purge is underway and this weekend, with all the horrible events going on in the world, I needed to comfort myself with a little baking.  So, I pulled out the box of the Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix and decided I was going to give it a try.  But why just bake it up as bread?  Why do the easy thing?  Instead, there was a recipe on the side of the box for Gluten Free Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.  Which sounds…frickin’ fantastic.  I didn’t have any chunky peanut butter on hand, so I used my PB2 powder from the pantry and it worked out just fine.  No peanut chunks…but…hey, I saved some calories and fat, right?  HA!

So, this recipe was really, really easy.

Simply preheat the oven to 375°F.  Put the mix into a large bowl and add water, extra crunchy peanut butter (I used PB2 and it worked great! No little peanut chunks though…so there is that…), vegetable oil, 2 eggs, and some miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips…which is what I used) and beat the conglomeration of ingredients into a thick batter.  Spoon it into 18 muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let them cool for about 10 minutes in the muffin tin before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

I get a little skeptical, at times, when it comes to big-name companies jumping onto the gluten-free bandwagon.  But Betty Crocker managed to do it well, and, to be honest, Pillsbury really hit it out of the ballpark with this particular mix.  I was beyond impressed.  The muffins fluffed up and cooked to a beautiful golden brown.  So often, these mixes turn out pale products, regardless of sitting in the heat of the oven.  They centers were moist and rich.  The muffins themselves bold with banana flavor, and the PB2 gives it a nice peanut butter thought, without overpowering the banana.  Because, after all, I bought this because I suck at making gluten-free banana bread.  The dark chocolate morsels (I used Enjoy Life, for the record), were a nice, sweet touch.  I had to make myself stick to just one of the muffins, because I easily could have eaten three right then and there.  So good.  Moist, rich, and delicious!!

So, as we all know, I usually steer clear of mixes like this due to ingredients and trying to eat a bit cleaner.  But we all have to indulge a little bit, right?  Right!  So, Pillsbury makes its Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix from rice flour, sugar, tapioca starch, potato starch, dried banana, dextrose, and it contains 2% or less of: leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium phosphate), canola oil, cellulose, propylene glycol esters of fatty acids, distilled monoglycerides, xanthan gum, salt, natural and artificial flavors, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, nonfat dry milk, citrick acid and bht (antioxidents).  Whew.  A lot of preservatives and the such, but I don’t make this stuff often…and I just really wanted to see how it worked out.  Totally worth it for an every-now-and-again fill-in, especially if I want banana bread.  At least until someone can give me a recipe that I can actually master and make without it being…gross.

As for nutritional information…the Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix makes 12 servings.  Each serving will dish up 120 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 220 mg sodium, 28 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams sugars, and 1 gram protein.  If prepared (as the banana quick bread or plain banana muffins), the calories per 12 servings goes up to 170 calories, 6 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 35 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, and 2 grams protein.  Not too bad for a quick bread mix…and really not bad for a gluten-free product!

I have to say, I was beyond amazed with the quality and the taste  of the Pillsbury Gluten Free Banana Quick Bread & Muffin Mix.  These muffins were moist, delicious, and so easy to prepare and make.  I would be more than happy to try other Pillsbury mixes (I guess the funfetti cake mix is up next), because this blew me away.  The texture was perfection.  The flavors were bold and pronounced.  And it only took me 10 minutes of prep time at most.  Can’t beat that convenience.  Way to go Pillsbury!  Thank you for your gluten-free awesomeness!