Product Review: Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

Dr. Praeger's Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes
Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

Product: Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes – $4.99+

You might be able to tell that I’m on a bit of a sweet potato kick.  And who can blame me?  Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses.  I mean, this one food is an excellent source of B6 vitamins and potassium, but in addition to that, you will be provided with over 400% of your daily needs for Vitamin A and 37% Vitamin C.  Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce risk of developing certain types of cancer, offers protection against asthma and heart disease as well.  Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite plant powerhouses when it comes to foods I consume often.

While I love to incorporate baked sweet potatoes into recipes or stuff them with healthy avocado and some onion and eat them fresh out of the oven…I recently found my stash of frozen sweet potato pancakes in my freezer.  I knew they were there, I just made no effort to actually pull them out to eat.  Go figure.  But with a lack of fresh produce coming in from my bin these last couple of weeks, I have been doing some slimming down on what I have in my pantry and my fridge and freezer.  Last week, I ate a different variety of sweet potato pancakes, more like the familiar pancakes I would settle in to at breakfast.

And that’s one of the first things I noticed about the Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes from Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods.  They look more like hash browns than your breakfast pancakes.  Which, is fine by me, for sure.  While I liked the Julian’s Recipe version, I found that they tasted a bit…odd.  But that wasn’t the case with the ones from Dr. Praeger’s.

Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods began in 1994, when a New Jersey cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Peter Praeger, and his medical partner, Dr. Eric Somberg, helped keep a family business alive by purchasing Ungar’s Gefilte Fish, a popular kosher food company within the Jewish community.  The two doctors set out on a mission – to introduce people to nutritious food that actually tasted great.  They opted to keep the Ungar’s brand, but also developed Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods to include all natural and convenient (and wow…they are convenient!) frozen products that could appeal and draw in a wider consumer based.  This family owned and operated company has grown into a leader in the all-natural, vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher frozen food categories, with products ranging from veggie burgers to home-style veggie cakes, to breaded fish items, and veggie-packed goodies for children too in their “Kid’s Littles” line, and many more options.  The Dr. Praeger’s items are found in the frozen or ethnic foods section of most retailers, but certainly in most natural food stores.

I’m quite familiar with the Dr. Praeger’s brand.  In fact, I have enjoyed some of the Kid’s Littles (hey…I’m a kid at heart!) and have tried the veggie burgers as well…and have loved everything I have tried.  But, I won’t lie…I was beyond intrigued by the Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes when I spotted them at Whole Foods awhile back.  This morning, as I was packing like a wild woman to head out to New York City for some birthday shenanigans with my roommate (her birthday is tomorrow), as well as a possible race (depending on my hip), I needed something that would be filling, yet easy to prepare.  I hit up my pantry, but all the mixes just seemed time consuming.  My freezer was next, and the final bit of breakfast-like food (hey…pancakes are pancakes…even if they are savory!) caught my attention when I spotted the white box for Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes.  SCORE!

I pulled out four of the individually wrapped pancakes (think of a large hash brown, and you get the basic size and thickness of these pancakes) and placed them on a baking sheet.  I put them into an oven set at 450°F and baked them for about 5 minutes before turning them over and baking them for another 4 minutes, or until they began to brown.  Simple and something that I honestly didn’t need to babysit.  I just had to check in every few minutes to make sure I wasn’t burning them.  That gave me some time to throw things into a suitcase…HA.  Granted, I should have done that the night before…but I was busy watching Star Trek – The Original Series.  Priorities.

So…first of all…these aren’t your typical pancakes that you might imagine drowning in maple syrup and devouring for breakfast.  Nope.  They aren’t thin and light and look like something you cooked up in a skillet that morning.  Like I said…these will remind you of a hash brown.  And they are hearty and thick just like hash browns too.  Seriously.  These are amazing.  I loved these more than the previous round of sweet potato pancakes (savory and more of the breakfast pancake type) that I had last week.  These are actually perfect for a healthy snack, a light meal, or a side dish.  Honestly.  But mine…mine were going to be breakfast for my roommate and I.  And after I had them baked up, I served them up with some marshmallow fluff (which I toasted with my kitchen torch) and some roasted almonds on top.  I served them up and settled in for breakfast before finishing up my packing that morning.

Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes are AMAZING.  Hearty and healthy is one thing, but these also tasted amazing.  These are made from real food and real ingredients, so nothing tasted off or weird when I dove into these.  I sort of wish I cooked them up with some scrambled eggs and topped them off with a bit of ketchup, but I still have two more pancakes in order to do that with.  So it’s all good.  These have great sweet potato flavor and tasted really good the way I dressed them up.  But when I sampled a piece on its own, that amazing sweet potato flavor just came through.  And that was what I wanted.  Honest.  Real.  Healthy.  Food.  A sophisticated hash brown masquerading as a pancake.  I LOVE IT!  And I loved these.  I sort of want to stock my freezer with them for future use.  Seriously.  If you want an easy and go-to option for your clean eating diet.  THIS…would be my suggestion.

Let’s discuss ingredients.  Real ingredients and real food is what you’ll find in Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes.  These delightful disks of goodness are made from sweet potatoes, egg whites, potato flakes, expeller pressed canola oil, brown sugar, arrowroot, and salt.   That’s it.  Amazing.  Clean eating in your freezer!  These potato pancakes are gluten-free, kosher, dairy-free, cholesterol-free, non-GMO, and free from saturated fat and trans fats.

As far as nutrition goes…these are little pancakes of power.  The nutrition stats on the Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes wowed me and they will wow you too.  A serving is 1 pancake, but my roommate and I each had 2 this round as it was breakfast.  One pancake will serve you up 80 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.  One sweet potato pancake will also give you 120 mg sodium and 7 grams of sugar.  One serving also provides you with 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein…so filling without being too filling.  Double it to two pancakes, and you’ll be full until lunch time.  Trust me.  I know I am.

I was completely impressed with and blown away by Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes.  I’m not kidding when I saw these will find their way back into my freezer.  Honestly, they were beyond what I anticipated and totally captured my attention and the attention of my taste buds.  Delicious.  Healthy.  And amazing.  You can’t beat that.  If you haven’t tried them…do it now.  Next time…ketchup!

Product Review: Julian’s Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

Julian's Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes
Julian’s Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes

Product: Julian’s Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes – $3.99+

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but it is also my favorite meal of the day.  If I have said it once, I have said it 456,793 times (or more)…I. LOVE. BREAKFAST.

And I don’t always even stick to traditional breakfast either at breakfast time.  That being said, you can also find me devouring breakfast foods at lunch and dinner.  At times, I have eaten breakfast food at every meal of the day.  Those are the best days.  Nothing makes me happier than a good, delicious breakfast…at any time of the day.

Lucky for me, this doesn’t always have to mean time in the kitchen.  Now, pancakes are one of the best food inventions in life.  You will find no shortage of pancake mixes, syrup, and toppings in my kitchen.  They are, positively, one of my most favorite breakfast foods to ever exist.  And I LOVE to make them…especially on Sunday morning so that they are hot and ready by the time my roomie decides to get up and join me for some coffee.

And while I think from scratch is the best, I do not scoff at gluten-free mixes and even frozen pancakes that have hit the market.  While Julian’s Recipe has put out a few other gluten-free pancakes in the past (Belgian Chocolate, Blueberry, Buttermilk)…this was their first foray into gluten-free savory pancakes.  And…it just so happens to be made from one of my second favorite things in life – sweet potatoes.

Enter Julian’s Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes to your grocer’s freezer.  I’ll be honest, I don’t remember where I might have picked these up.  Maybe Whole Foods.  Maybe Earth Fare.  Maybe even Rainbow Blossom.  I might have gotten them from Raisin Rack when I was in Columbus, Ohio…or I might have picked them up at Organic Harvest while in Birmingham, Alabama.  Where I bought them is unimportant.  What is important is how they taste.

On this cold morning, where I am packing to leave for Birmingham, Alabama just before noon…I figured it was a good day to break these out of my freezer and give them a try.  Nothing is more comforting on a snowy, cold, March morning…than pancakes.  Especially savory pancakes.

Don’t believe me?  Do it yourself.  HA!

So…let’s first talk about Julian’s Recipe.  Mostly known for their gluten-filled Belgian waffles and European-style breads, Julian’s Recipe has broken out a line of gluten-free pancakes.  Which, I have never tried…despite myself.  The company is named after founder Alexander Dzieduszycki’s son, Julian.  The recipes are ones he adapted from his own family’s recipes.  And the family tradition won’t stop there as Julian has developed a love of cooking and is often Dzieduszycki’s inspiration and muse for new products and recipes.  So, when they stepped up and began offering gluten-free pancakes…the gluten-free world got to see what all the fuss was about.  In addition to the sweet pancakes (chocolate, buttermilk, blueberry) offered for gluten-free consumers, this new line Julian’s Recipe introduced has three savory options…Vegetable Medly, Yukon Gold, and…naturally, the Sweet Potato ones that I am trying out.

Preparing these are easy.  You can do it two ways…via the oven or the stove.  I love cooking frozen pancakes in my oven, so that’s how I did it.  Simply put the pancakes on a baking sheet and into a 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes.  When they emerge, they will be toasty and warm, and smelling amazing.  I loved these at first whiff.

Savory pancakes are a different beast for sure.  And, my non-gluten-free roomie said that these tasted “odd” to her.  “They don’t taste like pancakes.”  Then again…savory pancakes won’t.  They are good though.  Crispy and golden on the outside with that soft pancake in the middle.  Sweet potato flavor throughout.  We ate ours this morning with some maple syrup, however, next time I might put some marshmallow fluff over them with some pecans and use the kitchen torch…take them to that next level of pancake goodness.  Overall…they were good.  Great texture.  All flavor.

The Julian’s Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes are made from potatoes, sweet potatoes, milk, gluten free flour (blend of white rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, organic brown rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum), egg whites, whole eggs, canola oil, brown sugar, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and yeast extract.  These are kosher and gluten-free.

As far as nutrition goes, you are going to love these!  A serving of Julian’s Recipe Gluten Free Sweet Potato Pancakes is 1 pancake.  But because these nutrition facts are awesome, my roomie and I each had two this morning.  Sticking to the serving size though, 1 of these savory pancakes will give you 70 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.  Stay with me…it gets better.  A serving has only 10 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, and 2 grams of sugar.  If you are a carb counter…only 13 grams of carbohydrates.  And, you get 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein per pancakes…so, yeah, doubling up makes it awesome…and filling.

Nothing is better than a breakfast that is delicious, filling, and not guilt-inducing (like donuts or muffins or the like).  While pancakes are not hard to make or cook from scratch, frozen pancakes, especially ones with savory ingredients, are nice to have on hand for those mornings, afternoons, and evenings where you are just short on time, patience, and money in your budget.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner, these new savory pancakes from Julian’s Recipe are sure to fulfill any breakfast or pancake craving.

Product Review: Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix

Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix

Product: Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix – $5.99+

YES!!  FINALLY!!  At long last, I am trying out one of the Cup 4 Cup baking mixes.  I have been dying to do this since these products emerged on the scene back in 2012.  I had eyed the Cup 4 Cup Original Flour Blend back when it was exclusive only to Williams-Sonoma and online purchases.  The problem was, I couldn’t fathom paying the $20+ dollars to try a flour blend that was being touted as the best on the market.  I wish I could have made room in the budget for it, but I live paycheck to paycheck with very little wiggle room most weeks.  Especially having to eat gluten-free.

So, when I was in Columbus, Ohio at The Raisin Rack, and my roomie told me to fill up a basket with products I wanted to try…I knew, immediately, that I wanted one of the Cup 4 Cup baking mixes.  The problem was choosing which one.  The other one on the shelves at the time was the Pizza Crust Mix…and I have so many pizza crusts here just waiting to be made, the pancake mix seemed like the most obvious choice.  And so…it has the honor of being the first product by Cup 4 Cup that I have tried.

So, if you aren’t familiar with Cup 4 Cup or why I’m so enthusiastic about this product, you must take into consideration that I am a food and chef junkie.

This brand of gluten-free flour and baking mixes was created by Chef Lena Kwak, while serving as Research and Development Chef in the famed French Laundry in Yountville, California.  Her mentor, Chef and Owner Thomas Keller, knew they had stumbled upon something amazing when a guest at the restaurant tasted Lena’s gluten-free brioche and cried because she hadn’t tasted bread in years.  It was then that they knew they needed to share this product with the rest of the world.  Cup 4 Cup is not just great-tasting gluten-free flour, but it’s great-tasting flour for everyone.  The name comes from this brand’s ability to substitute all-purpose flour in traditional recipes, cup for cup, making it easy to translate some past favorites into a gluten-free version.  And no one will be the wiser.  Basically, Cup 4 Cup allows you to not only create, but also enjoy all the foods that you always loved…but now makes them gluten-free so that you can love them again.

It is a pretty high standard and tall order to hold yourself up to.  But you have to trust products when Thomas Keller is involved. Really!

On Friday, last week, I had made the decision to finally break into the Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix and make some pancakes.  This was going to be a little time consuming, as I rush home after my 5:30 a.m. spin class on Friday’s to shower, change, and eat something for breakfast.  But, the roomie and I had no real rush, so…I just had everything that I could prep ahead of time done and ready with all the rest of the ingredients out and waiting…with the glass mixing bowl.  I showered.  I changed.  I went into the kitchen, preheated my skillet, and got to work.

Making the Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix is easy.  Even when I doctored the mix up.  You see, I asked Cathy if she wanted just straight-out pancakes, or if she’d like the Lemon Poppy Seed version that was mentioned on the back of the pouch the mix was in.  She said, “You can’t throw lemon poppy seed at me and expect me not to want that!”  So, one quick trip to the grocery store very early that morning to get lemons…I zested and juiced them before heading to the gym so that I just had to melt the butter and mix things together before scooping it out onto the skillet.

Nothing could be easier.  With the skillet preheating, I poured the contents of the pouch into the mixing bowl and added milk and 1 egg to it.  I stirred this together, then added the melted butter and (optional) vanilla extract.  Then, I added the additional stuff to make it the Lemon Poppy Seed variety…1/4 cup sugar, the zest of 2 lemons, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of poppy seeds.  With everything incorporated, I scooped 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle and repeated the process again.  With two pancakes cooking, I noticed that they were getting those perfect bubbles around the edges after a couple of minutes.  Time to flip the pancakes!

As I did, I noticed the gorgeous golden color on the other side.  These were not only properly crisping, but they were fluffing up to these gorgeous, thick, and light pancakes. I was beyond pleased with the look of them.  And they smelled amazing.  That lemon scent was so refreshing.  I checked the skillet side, and noticed it was now golden too…so they were moved to a plate and a new batch was started.  These got a light treatment of butter and some delicious maple syrup.  Breakfast was served.

Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes made from Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix
Gluten Free Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes made from Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix

Cathy got the first two pancakes that morning and when I saw her finish her first bite, I had to ask how they were, since mine were still cooking.  She immediately cut another piece and began to devour it.  “YUMMY” she said, with a mouthful of lemon poppy seed pancakes and maple syrup.

Mine finished up and I ate them in the kitchen while I prepared pancakes from the rest of the mix to have at a later time.  In fact, four of them are coming out of the fridge tomorrow for our post-gym breakfast at the office.  So, it will be interesting to see how they do on a microwave reheat.

That being said…these pancakes did have that perfect golden crust, giving it that amazing golden flavor and initial crunch as your fork slides through it.  These pancakes were not dense or heavy at all.  In fact, I found them rather light and airy in comparison to other pancakes I’ve made from baking blends.  The lemon flavor was incredible…and at just the right level.  Any more and it would have been too tart.  I was glad I left the vanilla extract in, despite it being an optional addition.  I just think it added to the flavor in the end.  Overall, I devoured these in record time, cleaning my plate of every last remnant of the pancakes.

In the end, I ended up making 12 pancakes from the mix itself.

So, let’s talk ingredients.  The Cup 4 Cup Pancake & Waffle Mix is made from cornstarch, white rice flour, sugar, brown rice flour, milk powder, tapioca flour, baking powder, potato starch, salt, and xanthan gum.  It is gluten-free…but trust me…you’d never know it.  No one would.  And these pancakes were definitely diner-style and diner quality.

As for the nutritional information…a serving of the Cup 4 Cup Pancake & Waffle Mix is 1/4 cup of the mix.  This serving provides 140  calories and is fat free.  It is also cholesterol free.  This serving also will provide 440 mg sodium and 8 grams of sugar.  One serving has less than 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.  Of course, all of that changes when you prepare it with the rest of the ingredients.  I used almond milk in mine, for the record.

Beyond impressed with Cup 4 Cup All Natural Gluten Free Pancake & Waffle Mix.  On a busy morning, breakfast was still simple to make.  And these really are some of the best pancakes I have had since going gluten-free.  I think having a product that was developed by chefs for consumers helps keep up the integrity.  And we all know that nothing that Thomas Keller touches would be sub-par.

I’m hooked.  I sort of always want to have these in my pantry.  Forever.

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: Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake & Waffle Mix

Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix
Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix

Product: Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake & Waffle Mix – $7.99

Okay…I think this is a first.  An absolute first since I started receiving my Cuisine Cube orders.  If you’re just tuning in, Cuisine Cube  is a brilliant service that sends a box of 5-6 lesser known company products in the gluten-free world to my door…for me to enjoy…each month.  Yes.  Each month.  And for a really good fee as well.  I always look forward to my cube and have been trying to get through the items that have been sent in May-July as my August cube is to arrive tomorrow and I still have quite a few untried and untested products in each box.  But…I’m getting there for sure!

So…there is my plug for Cuisine Cube.  And I encourage anyone in my gluten-free reading circle (or even if you’re not gluten-free!) to give Cuisine Cube a try.  You can cancel at any time…but I’m loving it too much to even dream about canceling.  Because, it seems, they have nailed these products and sent some of the most amazing products I, otherwise, never have discovered or heard about.

And usually…these products wow me and astound me and make me want to seek them out so I can keep them in my pantry.  But…this time…for the first time in four months…I didn’t care for a product that was inside.

The product in question was in my June Cuisine Cube.  It  was the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix.  Now…I absolutely love pancakes and waffles.  I wouldn’t be a runner if I didn’t.  Let’s face it.  HA!  Seriously, there is nothing quite as satisfying as a delicious soft pancake with hot maple syrup drizzled over it…or a crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside waffle fresh from my waffle (stick) iron.  And yet…they are a breakfast item I so rarely make as the waffle maker sometimes drives me nuts and, well, I just haven’t done pancakes in awhile.

With my friend, Greg, in town…I figured I could test out the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix for breakfast on Sunday.  I had already hit up the gym and done some laps in the pool (SIGH!), so after a shower…I grabbed the little container of the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix and headed into the kitchen.  I dug out my waffle stick maker and got it heating up.  I sprayed it with cooking spray and then got to making  the batter for the waffles.

I realized I had no eggs…but thankfully there is a vegan version of the mix on the container.  No eggs needed.  I emptied the bag of mix into a large bowl and added 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk and 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil.  Per the instructions.  I gave it a mix…and it was just dry and clumpy and…not batter.  So I added more almond milk, and it didn’t do much different…but at least it was a bit creamier.

I pulled out my 1/3 cup scoop (that’s the serving size) and poured the batter into the waffle iron.  I spread it out with a knife, adding a little batter here and there where needed to fill in holes.  Then, I closed the lid and let it steam and cook and get toasted and crispy.  It took about 6 or 7 minutes total.  I decided to take a chance and serve Greg first.  He’s rather particular about his food…so I crossed my fingers, laid it out with some warm maple agave syrup, and went back to start on Cathy’s (the roomie!) waffles.

I repeated this process again, handing over her waffles and heading back to make mine.  And as she dug in I had to ask…

“So, what do you think?”

And her response…was shocking.  “Actually, I’m not a fan.”

“Really?  Why?  What’s wrong?”


So, this immediately sent me scrambling for the package to see what might be salty in the mix.  And, near the end there is salt, but it was one of the last ingredients listed.  However, I did note that there were two different bean flours that were used in the mix…and I thought, perhaps, the bean flours were giving it that flavor to her.  I would have to wait for my waffles to finish so I could see for myself.

I pulled my waffle sticks from the waffle iron, gave them a drizzle of syrup, and settled in to tuck into my breakfast.

One bite…and I totally knew it was the bean flours.  The flavor of the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix…is, supposedly, vanilla.  I don’t get vanilla at all.  I did see what Cathy meant about the “salty” aspect of the prepared waffles.  I definitely could pinpoint it as to being a result of using both chickpea and fava bean flours.  It sort of reminded me of why I disliked the flavor of some of the Dr. Lucky’s Gluten-Free Cookies, which also uses bean flours as a base…and you can tell.  The texture of these waffles were perfection.  It got that golden crust on the outside and nice and soft in the middle.  A perfect cook indeed.  It fluffed up in the waffle iron and was golden perfection.  I was really excited about them.  Until I took a bite.  Because they didn’t have that vanilla flavor that was advertised.  They had bean flavor.  And I don’t want bean flavored waffles.  Seriously.  That’s…disgusting. When you bite into a waffle or pancake, you want the buttermilk or vanilla or whatever flavor you expect.  This salty, bean flavor was not what I expected…or wanted.  I was really turned off and it was a fight to actually get me to finish them off at breakfast.  Drown anything with syrup and you can get through it, I guess.


So, let’s talk about the ingredients in the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix.  This mix is a blend of an organic gluten-free flour blend (garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour), organic sugar, leavening (monocalcium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch), baking soda, salt, vanilla bean powder, and xanthan gum.  The mix itself is gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, and cholesterol free.

As for nutrition information, a serving of the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix is 1/3 cup.  There are 4 servings per container.  One serving will provide you with 170 calories and 0 grams of fat.  This serving will give you 590 calories and 3 grams of sugar.  And finally, you will be taking in 1 gram of fiber and 5 grams of protein.

All-in-all…I was just really disappointed with the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix.  I had gone into it with an open mind and a lot of confidence because it was from Cuisine Cube…and I’ve never disliked something (until now) that was in my Cuisine Cube.  This just was strange…the flavor was way off.  I wish it had been delicious because I liked everything else about the waffles.  Just not the taste.

Too bad.

Well, we can’t win them all.  I can’t wait to move forward and try something else from my next cube.  But I don’t think I’ll be ordering any more of the Southern Culture Artisan Foods Shortstacks Gluten Free Vanilla Pancake and Waffle Mix.

Product Review: Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes
Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

Product: Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes – $2.69

Oh…pancakes.  I love pancakes.  I’m a runner…I’m supposed to live on pancakes, right?  I wish I did, honestly.  Because I grew up eating pancakes for breakfast, sometimes for lunch, and my family was a big believer in pancakes for dinner.  We love breakfast in my family and breakfast for dinner was sort of like a tradition with us.  My mom had a great recipe for what was deemed “The Best Ever Pancakes.”  I loved it when mom would cook up pancakes, getting the skillet all nice and warm before pouring that perfect, fluffy batter onto it in perfect circles, flipping it as the edges bubbled and revealing this perfect crusty outside with that soft, cakey, light and fluffy inside.  Mmm…I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Except…I can’t eat those pancakes anymore.  And, ironically, neither can she.  With both of us dealing with Celiac diagnosis (mine three years ago, hers late last year), those pancakes will have to remain a fond memory.  But, that’s not to say that pancakes are off the menu.  In fact…so many different gluten-free pancake mixes and frozen pancakes are out on the market these days.  Between that and pizza…you’d think that’s all Celiacs and the gluten intolerant eat.  And…I would if I could get away with it.  But I also like variety.  So…maybe not.

Back as May (Celiac Awareness Month) kicked off, Aldi brought out it’s brand new line of gluten-free products for testing on the market.  I heard about it from work and from my mom.  So, on Mother’s Day…my roommate and I trekked to the store, found products we could afford, and walked out with one of practically everything…for less than $30.  NO JOKE!  Talk about a bargain.  The kicker was going to be whether or not these products were any good.

As we start our journey through the Aldi liveGfree line that has invaded our pantry(s) and our freezer, I keep an open mind.  Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s going to be crap.  And, as of today, there is only one product so far that I wouldn’t bother with again (The Southwest Veggie Stuffed Sandwiches).  Everything else has been decent or even delicious.  So, that’s a win.  Products that actually fit my budget and are good too?  Sign me up.  Or at least send me to Aldi every once and awhile (provided they keep this line in stores…and I pray they do!).

I happen to have a fantastic blueberry invasion in my fridge and freezer these days…compliments of my good friend Harry.  LOVE blueberries and how good they are for you.  And I’ve been eating the hell out of them.  With a busy Monday morning at hand, I knew that I needed breakfast to be relatively simple.  Aside from having a fruit, yogurt and granola parfait…to round it out…I figured I would try the other version of the frozen pancakes that I picked up at Aldi (I previously reviewed the blueberry variety…ironically).  These are simply Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes.  Also known as…the standard…the pancake to end all pancakes.  If you can’t make a good buttermilk pancake, you’re not worthy of wielding batter and a spatula.

A package of three of the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes
A package of three of the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

The best part about these, however, is that they are already prepared and frozen.  They come in individual servings, already wrapped and ready for their date with some source of heat.  The box gives three options…microwave, toaster, and oven.  I went with the oven, because it would allow me some time to shower and change before they were done cooking.  Perfect.  Each wrapper contains three pancakes.  I opened up the wrappers, placed the pancakes on a baking sheet, covered them with foil, and put them in a preheated oven at 375°F for 10-12 minutes.  My oven is old…I went for 12 minutes.

Just as with their blueberry counterparts, when I removed them from the oven and pulled away the foil…this cloud of steam emerged and the pancakes were now soft…thawed…and looked absolutely perfect.  I placed three on each plate and topped them of with a homemade blueberry compote.  There is the irony of the other flavor being blueberry!  Anyway…I served up a plate to the roomie and then began some clean-up work in the kitchen while I dug into mine.

I loved this.  What I felt was the best part was that rich, buttermilk flavor that you get with each bite.  Even with the blueberry compote, you can’t miss the flavor from the pancakes.  It was rich and smooth and just pure pancake perfection (try saying that three times fast!).  They were so light and fluffy…like they were homemade.  Like they were the pancakes my mom used to make (just not as fluffy or epic or delicious!).  I will point out these are a bit small…but what frozen pancakes aren’t.  I loved the texture…not having anything gritty or gummy.  Just soft and chewy and delicious bite after bite after bite.  I was actually impressed.  I asked Cathy her thoughts and she said, “They don’t have much flavor.”  But she also is congested with a summer cold and really can’t taste much at the moment.  So, that was a comment I am ignoring and a question I shouldn’t have asked the girl with the stuffed up sinuses.  DUH!

Let’s discuss ingredients, shall we?  The Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes from the Aldi liveGfree line contain water, rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar, soy flour, potato flour, whole egg powder, canola oil, buttermilk, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, and natural flavors.  These are all ingredients that I recognize and box proudly declares that this product contains “No Artificial Anything.”  Love that too!

As for nutrition, these are actually really good stats for pancakes.  One serving (3 pancakes) of the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes will provide you with 210 calories and 4 grams of fat.  NICE!  That’s awesome for pancakes.  A serving will also give you 40 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, and 9 grams of sugar.  The sugar is…higher than I like…but…it’s pancakes.  Also, you will be taking in only 1 gram of fiber and 5 grams of protein.  Love that protein stat, but the lack of fiber is probably why my stomach was rumbling by 9 a.m.  I resisted the urge to snack though.  Even though I really needed to do so.

For the price, I really can’t complain about the Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes.  I actually savored each bite this morning because they tasted so darn close to homemade.  I really am hoping the trial run of this gluten-free line catches on at Aldi because sometimes convenience foods are necessary and they do make life easier.  And when they are made right, like these pancakes, they can really add some smiles and sunshine and rainbows and unicorns…or at least something delicious to start (or perhaps end) your day with.  On mornings when you are pressed for time or are just running late…something this easy to prepare and to enjoy sure does come in handy.  Maybe if I beg and bat my eyelashes Aldi will keep this line around for awhile.  I’m one happy customer so far!

Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes (fresh from the oven)
Aldi liveGfree Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes (fresh from the oven)

Product Review: Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes

Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes
Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes

Product: Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes – $2.69

Thanks to a lot of really good friends and some coworkers, I found out that in the beginning of May (also Celiac Awareness Month…which I had every intention to blog about…and then May got insane and my blog got backlogged with all the traveling I was doing), Aldi was going to be test driving a line of gluten-free products in their stores.

The brand is currently being called liveGfree…and I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I stepped into Aldi that afternoon with my roommate.  Almost immediately, we were surrounded by the white boxes that held the gluten-free products.  From brownie mixes to bread mixes to snack bars to pastas to baking mixes, cookie mixes, and…gluten-free wraps.  It was almost overwhelming.

If you’ve ever bought gluten-free products, you understand that they can be rather pricey at times.  Gluten-free convenience foods, prepared foods, baked goods, and (especially) bread can cost up to twice as much as the regular gluten-filled products on the market.  So imagine my glee and the happy gleam in my eyes when I noted the Aldi liveGfree price tags.  Seriously, a gluten-free budget shoppers dream.  I never have bought gluten-free products for these prices.  Even more importantly, however, is that the entire line of liveGfree products are certified gluten-free.  YES!

But an even happier dance happened after stocking up on some of the boxes and bags of items at the front of the store…because in the freezer section there was more!  YES!  MORE!  And one of those items just happened to be the liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking…why can’t you just make your own gluten-free blueberry pancakes from scratch.  Well…I can.  And I have.  And I will again.  But this was a new product.  I had to try it.  I just had to.  Even more so when I spotted the phrase “light and fluffy” on the box itself.  Hmmm…really?  Needless to say, the freezer I had worked so hard to clear out…is back to being full.  HA!  Same goes for the pantry.

I am not ashamed.

Well, Monday morning came around.  And Monday morning is a busy morning for me.  Not only do I run bright and early, but I also have a 5:30 a.m. spin class.  So, I eat something before I run and then something after spin class.  But, there isn’t a lot of time in between getting home from class, showering, and getting to work.  The more convenient the breakfast the better.  Especially since Cathy (the roomie) is nothing but a slug in the mornings…and really just sits on the couch and reads instead of fixing up something while I shower.

A package of three of the Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes
A package of three of the Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes

That being said…this was going to be perfect.  There are three ways to cook the liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes.  Yep.  Three ways.  One way I can negate because it involves a toaster oven…and I don’t have one.  On Monday morning, I decided to cook them up in the conventional oven.  So, I walked through the door and tossed my spin stuff to the side, hustled into the kitchen and preheated the oven to 375­°F.  While the oven was heating, I removed the box from the freezer and pulled out two of the pre-packaged stacks of three pancakes.  Wouldn’t you know it…a serving size was three pancakes.  Perfect.  I opened up the packet and placed the pancakes on a baking sheet.  I covered the pancakes loosely with foil and tossed them into the oven while I went to shower.

They were just finishing up when I emerged from my room, clean, clothed and ready to eat.  I got out my maple agave syrup and gave it a little warm-up in the microwave.   Then, I took the pancakes out of the oven and served them up with a little butter and hot syrup.

I wasn’t sure what sort of quality to expect from Aldi’s liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes.  But I delivered a plate of them to Cathy, who dug in.  I asked her how they were and got the typical, “They’re pretty good!”  Which I never know what that actually means.  But she was diving in for more, so I took that as a good sign.  I settled in with my own plate and gave them a try.

They really were light and fluffy.  Seriously.  Almost like they were homemade.  You gotta love that.  They are a bit small in size, but all frozen pancakes are, let’s be honest!  They weren’t gummy or gritty.  They were soft and light and packed with a buttermilk flavor with a delightful sweetness from the bits of dry blueberries that are incorporated throughout the little pancakes themselves.  They were steamy and honestly tasted like I had just pulled them off the griddle.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning.  This is a gym morning for Cathy and I.  So, I bring breakfast to the office to do up quickly before settling in for a long day of paper pushing.  Without the convenience of an oven at work, I was going to try the other way too cook these up – the microwave.  For three pancakes, the box said to simply heat on high for 1 minute.  Additional time might be needed depending on the microwave, but that’s never the case with the one at the office.  Trust me!  I heated them up for a minute, gave them the schmear of butter and the drizzle of the syrup…and they were served.  I was actually more concerned about how these would taste after being nuked for a minute instead of toasted in an oven.  They didn’t have that light crust that I love…but they were soft without being soggy.  They remained light and fluffy and didn’t crumble because they were steamed or anything in the confines of the microwave.  I was beyond impressed.

I admit…these definitely are not clean eating.  But they are convenient.  Ingredients in the liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes include: water, rice flour, tapioca flour, sugar, soy flour, potato flour, blueberry bits, whole egg powder, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum.  I have seen longer ingredient lists than this…but you know the blueberry bits contain sugar, rice flour, dried blueberries, corn starch canola oil, fructose, natural colorings from concentrated juices (which include elderberry, watermelon and huito), natural flavor and sodium bicarbonate.

As for the nutrional information…it’s really not too bad.  A serving size of liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes is three pancakes (1 package).  This serving provides you with 210 calories and 4 grams of fat.  You will be taking in 40 mg cholesterol, 390 mg sodium, and 10 grams of sugar.  Yep…I know…that’s a lot of sugar.  You will also be taking in 1 gram of fiber (so they aren’t too filling) and 5 grams of protein.

As this is a trial run of a product line being done by Aldi, I really hope they decide to keep these in stores.  With this being my first taste of all the products I purchased that day in Aldi, the liveGfree brand is already impressing me.  Great flavor.  Easy to make, and fantastic texture.  While I prefer to make things from scratch, these are awesome for those busy mornings or evenings when you are in a hurry and short on time.  Seriously.  And you definitely can’t beat the price.

Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes (fresh from the oven)
Aldi liveGfree Gluten-Free Blueberry Pancakes (fresh from the oven)

Restaurant Review: Sweet ‘N’ Savory Food Truck, Louisville, Kentucky

Sweet 'N' Savory Food Truck, Louisville, Kentucky
Sweet ‘N’ Savory Food Truck, Louisville, Kentucky

Restaurant: Sweet ‘N’ Savory Food Truck, Louisville, Kentucky

They are BACK!

YES!!  Finally!!

After a long, harsh winter without much action of the food truck scene…especially for me…because of my food allergies and all…I was so happy when Sweet ‘N’ Savory Food Truck returned from their hiatus (the owners spend the winters in New Orleans, Louisiana).  Unfortunately, I didn’t get out to them for a few weeks.  I was either out of town or the weather was bad.

But that was not the case this past Sunday afternoon.  Louisville was having their Buy Local Fair and the food trucks were out and serving.  I went to this event last year and walked away with tons of local products from local businesses and farms.  So, I was excited that I would be in town for this year’s event as well.  It was a near thing though.  I was in Indianapolis the day before for a half marathon…so thank goodness this was a Sunday event.

After an easy time getting to the site of the Buy Local Fair and with no problems parking…I was more than primed to find the food trucks and get my crepe on.  Because that…my dear readers…is what Sweet ‘N’ Savory is all about.  They do amazing gluten-free crepes, gelato, smoothies, coffee, tea…ahhhh…life’s simple but best pleasures, if you ask me.  And you’re reading this…so technically…you are.

Sweet ‘N’ Savory was right on the end of the row of food trucks as we turned the corner.  I think I bounced up and down when I saw them…already with a line.  YAY!  I was so ready for this.   My crepe craving has been out of control lately.  And despite having a gluten-free crepe place in Columbus, Ohio…and now one in Denver, Colorado…nothing…NOTHING compares to those that are served up by my local food truck, owned by Richard and Ashley Giannini.  He mans the crepe stones and she takes the orders and dishes up everything else…including their rich, creamy gelato.  But I’ll get to that momentarily.

Richard and Ashley are the two who got me hooked on savory crepes.  I never cared for them much before…until they came along.  And…still…I hardly order them from anywhere else…because they don’t compare to the flavor combinations that I can get from Sweet ‘N’ Savory.  I looked over the menu…and contemplated going sweet.  But it was lunch…so…the savory sort of had my attention.  I was going back and forth between two of them…and finally settled on…

The Sweet Onion Crepe.

Sweet 'N' Savory's Sweet Onion Crepe
Sweet ‘N’ Savory’s Sweet Onion Crepe

This savory crepe contained caramelized onions, figs, honey, and goat cheese, folded up in the gluten-free crepe and served toasty and warm and…mouth watering.  Holy cow.  I put in my order and Cathy placed hers (opting for the one with ‘all the meats’ as she never gets to eat meat at home since I am the cook).  While we waited, we chatted with both Richard and Ashley about how we’ve been and what’s been keeping us busy.  They apologized for missing me the weekend before at The Flea Off Market (severe weather shut it down early and they packed up 10 minutes before I finally arrived…SO not their fault.  Just really bad timing!).  We laughed about the strange weather and soon…both Cathy and I were receiving our delicious gluten-free crepes.

The seating area was on the other end of the food truck area, so we took a small stroll over to a picnic table and settled in.  I quickly took the mandatory food shot for the blog and then picked up my plastic utensils and readied myself for my first bite of one of Sweet ‘N’ Savory’s crepes in a L-O-N-G time.

It was just as good as I always remembered.  The savory Sweet Onion Crepe was the perfect blend of everything.  You get sweetness from the caramelized onions…plus some great flavor and texture from the chopped up figs that are inside.  The honey binds everything together.  But the real magic in this crepe falls to the goat cheese.  You get this nice balance of saltiness and creamy texture to counter the onion and fig mixture.  Heaven.  I cut off a piece for Cathy to try and she agreed…it rocked!  And her crepe was apparently good too, because we polished them off in record time.  For real!  The crepe itself was toasted to a perfect golden brown and tucked neatly around the filling.  It was heaven on a paper plate.  And I was all smiles…in between chewing, of course.  I have yet to have something from Sweet ‘N’ Savory that I didn’t like.

As we had been waiting in line, Ashely had mentioned their gelato flavors.  She had done up a Brownie Batter Gelato that morning that she said was amazing.  Lick-the-bowl good, I believe.  She also said that it would pair perfectly with, my personal favorite, Salted Caramel.  And they did have the salted caramel flavor.  But she enticed me with something else…

A Dairy-Free Raspberry Gelato.  So, Cathy and I abandoned our plans to celebrate my fastest half marathon time with our traditional Sundae Sunday at The Comfy Cow…and instead…went for Sweet ‘N’ Savory’s gelato.  Cathy got the Brownie Batter.  I was enticed to the Raspberry.  Ashley served it up…and we happily paid and walked away with our refreshing sweet treat in hand.

Cathy fell in love with the rich, sweet, very-brownie flavor of the Brownie Batter Gelato.  I took a spoonful and…WOW!  Yeah…it was like eating rich, delicious, dark chocolate brownie batter.  REALLY good.  But, I was over-the-moon for my choice.  Light, airy, and tangy…the zippy flavor of Sweet ‘N’ Savory’s Dairy-Free Raspberry Gelato won me over at first bite.  Cathy, who doesn’t even like raspberry, took a taste and said, “WOW…that’s GOOD!”  So, we perused the Buy Local Fair, buying products from local farms and businesses, while eating our little bowls of homemade, rich, creamy, light…gelato.  I was in a good place.  A very, very happy place.

So, I want to take a moment to welcome back my favorite Louisville, Kentucky food truck, Sweet ‘N’ Savory.  I have missed you so much.  And you totally have brought the flavor-factor back once again this year.  I can’t wait to turn up at other events and try other crepes that you create and put together.  Honestly…you’ve been missed.  And next time…it might be a two-scoop gelato kind of day.  Your food is love…and I love your food!

Sweet 'N' Savory's Dairy-Free Raspberry Gelato
Sweet ‘N’ Savory’s Dairy-Free Raspberry Gelato

Restaurant Review: Crepes ‘N Crepes, Denver, Colorado

Crepes 'n Crepes, Denver, Colorado
Crepes ‘n Crepes, Denver, Colorado

Restaurant: Crepes ‘N Crepes, Denver, Colorado


Thin little French pancakes of awesomesauce.

Yep.  That about sums it up.  They come sweet.  They come savory.  But the fact of the matter is…I love them.  There is something just so…foodie…about a crepe.  They, for one thing, are a bitch to make.  And, sadly, they are very hard to come by in the gluten-free variety.

There is a great food truck here who catered my birthday party last year…Sweet ‘N Savory, who does gluten-free crepes…and I love them so much.  We’re BFFs really.  If they have an event…you better believe I am there.  When I go to Columbus, Ohio…I hit up Cest Si Bon…where I can get gluten-free crepes while out of town.  But, the place I would get gluten-free crepes when I was visiting Denver…closed.   It’s been closed for about two years now.  It was where I first had a Crepe Suzette (my absolute favorite crepe in life!) and fell in love with it.

So what is a girl to do when she constantly craves crepes and her usual spot in Denver is gone?

You find a new one!  And thanks to my Find Me Gluten Free app, I found one.

The place is Crepes ‘N Crepes…and they do have amazing gluten-free options.  Any crepe can be made gluten-free…you just have to tell your server.  I actually had a decent breakfast up in Boulder, Colorado that morning (The Buff, FTW!)…but I knew I’d be hungry sooner or later.  And when we had limited parking at the hotel, our minds were made up…Cathy and I were grabbing an early dinner…and it was going to be crepes.

We drove out to East Third Avenue in Denver and parked the car.  A short stroll from the parking garage to the restaurant.  I was quite excited!  We strolled in and we were seated out on the front porch under a nice umbrella, the afternoon breeze a nice change of pace.  We were given menus and ordered water.  I already knew what I was going to get for my crepe.  They had a Crepe Suzette.  Cathy…she needed some time to ponder.  She is more of a savory crepe person than a sweet crepe person, so when she finally decided…it was all about cheese.  Seriously.

Cathy ordered the Fromage de Chevre (Goat Cheese Crepe) that came with a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and a Pesto ($8.00).  I got the Gluten-Free Crepe Suzette ($10.50 includes the $1.00 up-charge for gluten-free).  The waitress asked if they needed to clean the stone off for me.  I did explain that I was a Celiac and that it was necessary.  She said it wasn’t a problem and went to put our orders in.

We only had a little bit of a wait before our crepes arrived.  My folded pocket of goodness was a thin folded pancake that was made up of lemon juice, caramel, butter, sugar and grand marnier.  Mmmm…boozy crepes!!  It looked amazing, all flambeed to a beautiful sugary crust on the top.  I was ready to dive right in and see if it compared to my first…and the one my food truck made specifically for me on my birthday.  I took up my fork and knife and sliced right in.  One bite…

And it was good.  It was.  It wasn’t quite up to what I had at La Creperie Cafe the other times I was in Denver (such a shame they closed!) or from Sweet ‘N Savory.  But it was very good.  It had that gritty sugary feel on the inside with the butter making it soft and delectable.  The caramel gave it that nice crust on the top.  And the lemon juice tied everything together.  The booze was nicely burned off, giving it just that hint of flavor.  Yep…still my favorite crepe.  Just delicious.  I was one happy girl, eating my gluten-free crepe out in the Denver sunshine that afternoon.

Cathy’s crepe, by the way, looked fantastic.  It was stuffed with soft goat cheese and she was provided with two dipping sauces.  While she is a huge fan of roasted red peppers, her favorite sauce was the pesto.  She was in heaven when she combined that flavor of the crepe with the savory cheese and that kick of the pesto.  She devoured it.  And left no pesto in the container.

I was very happy that I at least got to have one of my favorite treats while in Denver.  It was Denver where I first got served up a gluten-free crepe, so it has become somewhat of a tradition to seek out.  Thanks to Crepes ‘N Crepes…I had an amazing Gluten-Free Crepe Suzette while enjoying a relaxing afternoon on the patio, chatting with my roommate and just taking it all in.  Was it the best Crepe Suzette I ever had?  Nope.  But it was still delicious…and that is good enough for me!  I can’t wait to go back!

Crepes 'N Crepes Gluten-Free Crepe Suzette
Crepes ‘N Crepes Gluten-Free Crepe Suzette

Restaurant Review: C’est Si Bon Café, Columbus, Ohio

C'est Si Bon Café, Columbus, Ohio
C’est Si Bon Café, Columbus, Ohio

Restaurant: C’est Si Bon Café, Columbus, Ohio

It was about a month ago that my good friend Jenn tweeted at me after eating at a local restaurant not far from where she works.  The main thing…crepes.  The bigger deal was…gluten-free options.

I told her that when I came to visit in a couple of weeks, that was a requirement.  She agreed.  And we held each other to our word.

On Saturday morning, after snagging coffee, we headed out to Bexley…and there…not far from my favorite Columbus gluten-free bakery (Cherbourg Bakery), was C’est Si Bon Café.  It is a small, quaint, unassuming place.  Not very many tables, and a little bar that runs along the side wall for customers to sit and eat.  It was bustling that morning and we were grateful to find a place to settle in…stealing a chair from the table in the window so three of us could sit at the table.  I held our spot while Jenn and Cathy went to order.

They went for traditional breakfast crepes, each of them getting a Bacon, Egg and Cheese Crepe ($5.95).  As for me, I wanted something sweet.  I opted for the Gluten-Free Cinnamon and Sugar Crepe ($6.00).  Gluten-free crepes are a $1.25 upcharge there, so that’s why mine seems so pricey for such a simple crepe.  A regular version of the same crepe runs $4.75.  Just an FYI.

It took about 10 minutes for our orders to be filled.  No problem on the wait…since they make everything to order.  And, mine was a specialty one…being gluten-free and all, so that was important too.  They do have a separate crepe stone for the gluten-free crepe orders and the crepes are made from buckwheat flour.

When the order was up…I was so happy.  My local gluten-free crepe truck is out of the state for the winter and won’t be back until April.  Therefore, I have been crepe-less since the end of fall.  This felt like such a treat because I hadn’t had a crepe in so long.  My crepe was stunning and huge.  It looked really good.

As stated above, the Gluten-Free Cinnamon and Sugar Crepe is made from buckwheat flour.  Folded into it is butter, sugar and cinnamon.  Simple.  Easy.  And I was betting tasted a lot like French Toast.  And I love French Toast.  So this was bound to be the best of both worlds.

I wasn’t disappointed.  One bite of the folded, light, crepe and I was in heaven.  The sugar and butter gave it this toasty feel…and the cinnamon brought a bit of spice.  It was just what I wanted.  It was what I really, really wanted.  The crepe itself might seem so basic, but the flavors were fantastic.  I gave a piece to both Jenn and Cathy and both agreed it was like eating French toast.  Count me as one very happy girl.

I’ve already said that C’est Si Bon Café is a must now every time we’re in town.  I mean…the menu is extensive and there are both sweet and savory ones that are just begging for me to try them.  I already know what flavor I’m going to get next time.  Just going to work my way through the ones that interest me greatly.

C’est Si Bon Café definitely is a place that everyone needs to try out.  Honestly, I was so impressed, not just with the care and service, but the crepes themselves were OUTSTANDING!!  I am one happy crepe-loving gluten-free girl.  And I’m already trying to plot a return to the Columbus, Ohio area to visit Jenn and come try out another fantastic crepe creation.


You’ll want to.  Trust me.

C'est Si Bon Café's Gluten-Free Cinnamon and Sugar Crepe
C’est Si Bon Café’s Gluten-Free Cinnamon and Sugar Crepe