Product Review: Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donuts

Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donuts
Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donuts

Product: Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donuts – $6.49

It was a couple of weeks back that I mentioned, to my surprise and delight, that Katz Gluten Free had seemingly put out some new products without me knowing about it.  How that escaped my gluten-free radar, I’ll never know.  But the fact of the matter was, one morning, I was puttering around and randomly went over to their site, only to be met by not one, not two, but three new flavors in their gluten-free donut line.  HELLO!!

When it comes to gluten-free donuts that I can buy commercially (aka: not from a local gluten-free bakery), Katz Gluten Free blows away the entire competition.  Better than any of the ones I have ever pulled out of the freezer section at my local grocery or natural food store.  I love these donuts.  Especially the regular ones…not any that are filled.  But, I’ve never been a huge fan of filled donuts anyway.  Give me a classic cake or glazed donut and I am a happy girl.

Yes…I am a nutrition freak.  And yes…donuts are definitely not a nutritious food.  But, I also believe in everything in moderation.  When I start telling myself I can’t have something…that’s when cravings and unhealthy eating habits kick in.  Allowing myself a little treat here and there is all part of finding balance in life.  So…you better believe I ordered all three flavors of the new varieties.  Last week, my roommate (for those of you who are tuning in, the roomie is not a Celiac and does not have to eat gluten-free) and I delved into the world of the new Katz Gluten Free Glazed Chocolate Donuts.  And, man…were they ever amazing.  Very reminiscent of my Dunkin’ Donut days…the Munchkins…the chocolate ones.  That’s what they tasted like.  It was enough to just…make me happy.  And, let’s face it…the food you eat should make you feel happy…not guilty.  Donuts included.

That being said…this morning, after doing some strength training at the gym, we both headed into work with one of the other flavors of Katz Gluten Free donuts tucked away for breakfast.  This time…it was going to be one of my favorite flavors…the Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donut.

Now, pumpkin flavored anything can either be perfect or it can be too much.  Sometimes…even too little.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from these donuts when I pulled them out of my freezer to let them thaw.  I just knew it had the word “pumpkin” on it…so therefore I was one happy girl.  I don’t need it to be fall to have some pumpkin in my life.  So, they stayed out overnight to thaw and I packed them up that morning to have after strength training.  Because…why the hell not?  HA!  Upon getting out of the gym and over to the office…I went into the kitchen and sliced up my grapefruit to have with the donut.  I then microwaved both of them for about 20 seconds, letting that glaze get all gooey again…like it was fresh out of the bakery.  And breakfast was that easy.  And at that point, I was totally ready to sit down and eat.

It only took one bite of the Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donut for me to declare my undying love for it.  No joke.  First of all, this isn’t a heavy or dense donut at all.  It is light…and airy and fluffy.  And I love that, because too often I have to settle for heavy and dense baked goods when everyone else has these amazing treats that are soft and melt-in-your-mouth.  AH…that’s what this donut does.  It melts in your mouth.  Each warm, moist, soft bite is fantastic…packed with all that pumpkin spice flavor that you love…without it overwhelming your palate.  It literally is like eating pumpkin pie…without it actually being a pumpkin pie.  Which, is good.  Because while I love things pumpkin flavored, I have never liked pumpkin pie.  I think it’s a texture thing.  But I digress.  The texture is just rich and soft and amazing.  I loved the glaze, giving it that extra hit of sweetness without being too cloying.  And…just…it’s one amazing breakfast bite for sure.  I am in total love with these.  I kind of don’t want the box of 6 to end.  Just…fantastic.

Of course, that’s what I have come to expect from Katz Gluten Free.

Let’s discuss some of the chemistry that goes into these, shall we?  The Katz Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spiced Glazed Donut is made from a gluten-free flour blend containing corn starch, tapioca starch, and white rice flour.  These donuts also are made form water, palm oil, confection sugar, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, brown sugar, canola oil, baking powder, vanilla, xanthan gum, agar, calcium carbonate, calcium slufate, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, mace, and allspice.  They are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and nut-free.

As far as nutrition goes…well, it’s a donut.  But this isn’t bad for a donut.  Honestly.  A serving is, of course, just one donut.  So try to stick to it.  If I can do it – so can you!!  This one donut will give you 160 calories and 10 grams of fat.  This soft little morsel of pumpkin goodness will also provide 10 mg cholesterol, 170 mg sodium, and 9 grams of sugar.  Which…isn’t bad considering we’re talking about a donut here.  This serving will give you no fiber and only 1 gram of protein.  No…it will not make you feel full for hours after eating it.  Pair it, as I did, with something like an orange or a grapefruit or some apple slices.  That should help…and helps bring balance.  Donut…fruit.  Perfect.

I can’t get over how amazing these donuts were.  I have tried so many gluten-free donuts and nothing ever compares to the way Katz Gluten Free makes theirs.  I continue to be impressed by what they put out in the gluten-free market.  These donuts are love.  I definitely have a new favorite flavor.  So good.  Don’t take my word for it though…go order some and see for yourself!  You don’t have to be gluten free to love the products (and especially the donuts) from Katz Gluten Free!

Product Review: Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro Pumpkin Pecan Muffin

Jac's Bakeshop and Bistro Pumpkin Pecan Muffin
Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro Pumpkin Pecan Muffin

Product: Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro Pumpkin Pecan Muffin – $3.50+

Many of you know by now that back in May, I signed up for this amazing delivery service that sends a box of gluten-free goodies to my doorstep.  All for a very reasonable fee.  The company is Cuisine Cube, and the seek out lesser-known gluten-free companies and the products that have to offer.  It’s great, because I know that a lot of us hang onto the same brands and are hesitant to branch out and try something new and different.  Cuisine Cube totally takes the guess work out of the equation and each month is like Christmas, opening up this box and seeing what products await you inside.

It’s my favorite delivery day.

Well, it is the end of November, and while I was away at Walt Disney World, running in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, my cube arrived.  Never fear, it was waiting for me upon my arrival home.  A special box this time…all Thanksgiving themed.  I loved pulling out the variety of items and tying it back to the Thanksgiving table…which now will provide plenty of options for me!  However, I knew one particular product that was included inside wasn’t going to survive long around me.

Three of my favorite words: Pumpkin. Pecan. Muffin.

HELLO!!

The business that is responsible for bringing these into my life is Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro, which is Long Island’s first certified gluten-free bakery.  How about that?!  And to think, I was in New York City back at the beginning of the month to run in the TCS New York City Marathon…and I didn’t even know this place existed.  Trust me…this knowledge has now been filed away for my eminent return to the Big Apple.  A little bit more on Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro though…

Jac’s was opened back in 2009 by owner, Jac, who was diagnosed with Celiac disease and then, later in 2010, an egg allergy.  Being a professional bakery, Jac had to now find new ways to prepare the same foods she already loved…now sans gluten.  After years of trial and error, she perfected her recipes and opened up a 100% gluten-free bakeshop and bistro on Long Island.  All of her products are natural, 100% whole grain, use no refined sugars (only organic sugars), are 80% organic, and, according to her Web site, 500% extraordinarily scrumptious.  In addition to the items she sells in the shop itself, she also offers cooking classes.  That is super cool.

In this vacuum-sealed pouch, inside the November Cuisine Cube held what looked like the biggest, most amazing pumpkin muffin I have ever seen.  Literally, it fit into the palm of my hand.  It was epic.  And…honestly, two of my favorite ingredients are pumpkin and pecans.  And in the fall, I really do want ALL THE PUMPKIN FOODS AND DRINKS.  I mean…it’s that time of year.  And these things are only available during certain times of the year.  So when a muffin turns up…a muffin I can eat that I didn’t have to make myself and is ginormous…oh yeah…I take immediate notice.

Which is why this treat inside my Cuisine Cube has already been devoured.  Obviously.  I’m blogging on it, right?

It was…of course…a gym morning.  I mean, what better time to indulge in things than after hitting the gym, right?  Hey…I’ve been out of town…it happens.  Anyway, I brought the Pumpkin Pecan Muffin to work with me and sliced into the packaging.  A bit of the top layer came off the crown, but, all in all, the muffin traveled well and held up.  I set it down on my plate and gave it a short warm-up in the office microwave.  Then, I returned to my desk, muffin ready…and settled in with my fork to take my first bite.

Oh…wow.  This muffin hit all the right notes at all the right time.  The pumpkin flavor was perfect.  It wasn’t too much, nor was it overly spiced.  The nutty flavor came through as well, and gave the muffin a bit more texture and kept it from being “squishy-soft.”  It was perfect.  And I am particular about the amount of moistness in a muffin.  Whatever Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro does when they bake their muffins, they need to keep doing it.  I was loving each and every bite, savoring it as much as possible.  I am certain I was consuming more calories than I should, but it was perfect from the first to last bite, and when you’re enjoying a baked goodie for breakfast…just enjoy it.  Let go of the calorie count for one meal.  If it’s delicious, it’s worth it.  I can’t tell you the nutrition information on this product as none was provided…but it was GOOD (yes…caps lock good!).

The Pumpkin Pecan Muffin from Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro is made from almond milk, applesauce, organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice flour, oat flour, arrowroot, organic almond flour, organic coconut flour, golden flax meal, guar/xanthan gum, eggs, organic coconut yogurt, baking soda/powder, vanilla, pumpkin, and pecans.

Trust me…whatever amount of calories and fat may be inside this muffin, you won’t care.  I don’t care.  It was scrumptious!

So, yet again, my Cuisine Cube brought a product that I otherwise would never have known existed into my life.  From there, I learned more about the business, and have every intention of getting over to the actual shop the next time I am in New York City (*crossing my fingers for March*).  I love that this particular muffin not only engaged my taste buds, but also my curiosity.  And that’s the wonderful thing about Cuisine Cube.

As for Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro…you wowed me at first bite.  And now…I only want more!

Jac's Bakeshop and Bistro Pumpkin Pecan Muffin (unwrapped)
Jac’s Bakeshop and Bistro Pumpkin Pecan Muffin (unwrapped)

 

Recipe: Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding

It’s no secret…to anyone…that I love pumpkin.  And as we head out of summer and into fall, we have reached the “pumpkin flavored everything” time of year.  YAY!  But, I have to say, I never let pumpkin season go away in my house.  Not at all.  In fact, I stock up on pumpkin because I will use it in so many things.  As it was, I got a little overzealous this past year with my purchasing of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin…so, my pantry has cans of it.  I figured it was time to come up with ways to use it up.  Last weekend, I made my Gluten-Free Pumpkin Waffles.  This morning…yes…during the work week…I baked up a Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding.  I love bread puddings…and this one was no exception.  Even better…it is so easy to make.

I spotted the original recipe when Schär Gluten Free posted a link to a blog that had utilized their Gluten Free Classic White Rolls in a bread pudding.  Made with pumpkin.

They had my full and undivided attention.

So…this morning…I decided to bake up the recipe that Mama Me Gluten Free originally posted and Schär linked to on their social media site.  I made a few changes in the preparation for convenience sake…but in the end…it was just as amazing as the recipe promised.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding


Servings: 8
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Bake 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounces pureed pumpkin (fresh or canned)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic pure cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Few small dashes of ground ginger
  • Few small dashes of ground cloves
  • Couple of small dashes of ground nutmeg
  • Package of Schar Classic White Rolls (or any gluten-free bread that is similar in consistency), cubed into 1 to 1-1/2- inch pieces (I let mine sit out overnight to dry out)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top (optional…but delicious)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 2-quart baking dish.

Place bread in a large bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, mix together pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugars, salt, vanilla paste or extract, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.

Pour over bread and gently stir until all is covered.  Let this sit for about 15 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the baking dish and spread it out with the back of a spoon or a spatula so that it is evenly spread throughout the dish.

Sprinkle pecans over the top, and shake cinnamon and sugar lightly over it all if desired.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

ENJOY!

~*~*~

A slice of Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Syrup
A slice of Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple Syrup

Oh…oh yes!!  This bread pudding is one of the best (and easiest) I have made to date.  I served up a wedge of the Pumpkin Bread Pudding with a delicious drizzle of warm maple syrup.  If heaven was on a breakfast plate…that would be it.  The flavors are amazing.  There is the right hint of spice and sweetness to really elevate the savory aspect of the pumpkin.  It’s rich.  It’s decadent.  And the pecans sprinkled with the cinnamon and sugar on top truly lend a great hit of sweetness as well as texture.  I am totally going to make this again!  But lucky for me, I still have 3 more days worth for eating it.

If you are a pumpkin freak like me…believe me…you’ll want to bake this one up!

Restaurant Review: The Gluten Escape, Denver, Colorado

The Gluten Escape, Denver, Colorado
The Gluten Escape, Denver, Colorado

Restaurant: The Gluten Escape, Denver, Colorado

I have my friend, Pecos, to thank for turning me on to the newest gluten-free bakery near the Denver Tech Center in Denver, Colorado.  I make a yearly sojourn out to Denver for Starfest, an annual sci-fi/fantasy convention, and am always looking for places that can safely feed me.  A couple of months before I headed that way, Pecos mentioned this place on Facebook.  Sure enough, it wasn’t far from my hotel at the convention at all.  Insert a happy traveler right here!

As it turned out, we’d be hitting Denver at the right time to stop into said bakery for lunch.  And I couldn’t be happier.  Cathy and I budgeted some money (and then she added on after we settled in to eat and after purchasing a few things for later…but I’m getting ahead of myself) for this stop to be our official lunch and snack stop on Friday afternoon.  It was perfect.  And…after getting a little lost trying to find the place, we finally located it (under a storage awning, of all things).

The Gluten Escape.  Their slogan…”Where gluten is a 4-letter word…gone!”

Love it.

The bakery itself is quite small and cozy.  You see the counter with all the baked goods in the case and on top of the case the moment you walk in.  To the left is a fridge, a toaster, a microwave, and coffee/tea stuff.  To the right, a small dining area for those who are dining in.  The back and far walls had little shelves with some of the items they had for sale…as well as cakes.  Cathy scoped those out while I was preparing lunch…but I’m getting ahead of myself again.

We were greeted by a very nice gentleman behind the counter when we entered the bakery.  We told him that we were from the Louisville, Kentucky area and had been told about this bakery by a good friend of ours in the area…and we were starving travelers.  I was eying the brownies and bars in the case at the front when Cathy tapped me on the shoulder and said…”Bagels!”

The Gluten Escape's Gluten-Free Onion Bagel and Gluten-Free Cinnamon Roll
The Gluten Escape’s Gluten-Free Onion Bagel and Gluten-Free Cinnamon Roll

SOLD!!  They were out of the Everything Bagel, which would have been my first choice.  The other two options were Onion and Cinnamon Raisin.  I jumped at Cinnamon Raisin, but Cathy said…”Really?  You want that one?”  Which means…she didn’t.  So, I gave in for the Gluten-Free Onion Bagel ($3.00).  And let me tell you…this bagel looked AWESOME!!  Even better than Udi’s Gluten-Free Bagels.  All of them.  So, we got the Gluten-Free Onion Bagel with the Daiya Cream Cheese (yay for vegan cream cheese!) to split as we also purchased one of the Gluten-Free Cinnamon Rolls ($2.25) to split as well.

We also picked up other goodies…but I’ll get into that in a moment.

Let’s focus on lunch.  We were handed the bagel, which he sliced for us and told that the toaster was right behind us.  Awesome.  I got to work toasting it while he grabbed the dairy-free cream cheese and then the cinnamon roll.  He handed that to Cathy and told her she might want to give it a 20 second warm-up in the microwave.  Which…she did.  The toasting on the bagel was taking a bit of time and I was hoping I wasn’t going to burn it.  Because…FRESH MADE GLUTEN-FREE BAGEL!!  HELLO!!  Do you realize how uncommon that is to find??!!  Trust me…you don’t see it very often.  I don’t see it at all, honestly.  The bagel popped and I plated it and carried it to the table.  Photos happened and then I spread the bagel with the cream cheese and we each took a bite.

Holy gluten-free bagel, Batman.  This was fantastic.  It was light, not heavy.  The flavor was amazing.  You really got the onion flavor without it being overpowering.  It had that nice crust on the outside, but was still chewy and bread-y in the middle.  It was heaven.  I cried.  Seriously.  Tears of joy.  Because, save for the Udi’s processed gluten-free bagels…I hadn’t had an actual bagel since I had to go gluten-free.  This…was life changing for me.  Life affirming even.  I might survive after all.  I set the bagel down so I could try the cinnamon roll.

This was not what I was expecting when I cut the cinnamon roll in half.  Honestly.  It looked more like a muffin than the traditional cinnamon roll.  It was way different from the gluten-free cinnamon rolls that I purchase from Sinfully Gluten Free in Dayton, Ohio and Annie May’s Sweet Café in Louisville, Kentucky.  Like I said…it looked more like a muffin.  But…we all know that cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite indulgences…and I was looking forward to splitting this with Cathy.  I sliced it in half…a pocket of cinnamon flavoring nestled right in the center.  I lifted it and took a bite.  It reminded me of…apple pie, oddly enough.  I think it was the spices that went into the dough and the cinnamon center.  I loved that it wasn’t coated in icing, but lightly drizzled.  I am not a fan of icing or frosting…so the less the better in my book.  And this definitely gave it a nice level of sweetness.  It wasn’t my favorite gluten-free cinnamon roll, but it was delicious.  And we ended up buying another one!

This brings me to our side purchases…

For breakfast the following morning, Cathy and I picked up two of the Mini Chocolate Donuts ($1.59), the Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bar, and the Lemon Raspberry Bar as well.  I would have bought one of everything if I could have afforded it.  So, after I went for a run that morning, I returned to the hotel room and got our breakfast prepped.  I sliced the bars in half and delivered those to Cathy, along with her donut.  As I was getting the rest of my breakfast ready for me to settle in and enjoy…I hear the happiest noise in the world.

The Gluten Escape's Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Bar, Gluten-Free Chocolate Donut, and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bar
The Gluten Escape’s Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Bar, Gluten-Free Chocolate Donut, and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bar

“You HAVE TO try the donut RIGHT NOW!” I was told.

So, I took a bite.

OMG…best gluten-free donut I have had yet.  From anywhere.  And, trust me, I’ve eaten a lot of gluten-free donuts…in gluten-free bakeries and the store-bought kind.  Seriously…reminded me of a Dunkin Doughnuts Chocolate Munchkin.  I was once again in tears.  It was a cake doughnut, but without the denseness and heaviness that I often find with gluten-free donuts.  These were light and airy, and amazing.  The chocolate chips inside were a very nice treat as well.  I was starting off breakfast with a bang.  YUMMY!!

The next thing I sampled was the Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Bar ($3.75).  This had this delicious crust and was topped with a sweet and tart lemon filling and then capped with something akin to raspberry jam or compote.  Whatever it was…the flavor combination was awesome.  The crust gave it a little bit of texture as well as dulled the sweetness of the berries and the tartness of the lemon.  I liked this bar a lot, but found myself wishing that it was just the lemon on there.  I love raspberries and all…but LEMON…is the ultimate bar.  Forever.

The Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bar ($3.75) snagged my attention away from the brownies that were in the case.  Those were tempting too.  But…pretzel!  HELLO!  This was a lot like a blondie…but with gluten-free pretzels baked into it and scattered across the top.  I’m thinking…sweet with salty.  I was right.  This bar was fantastic.  The pretzels were slightly on the stale side, but that’s because I had bought them the day before and they were sitting on top of one of the tables in the hotel room all night.  It didn’t take away from the deliciousness though.  I loved the play and sweet and salty, which is my favorite flavor combination  These were amazing.  For real.

The Gluten Escape's Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookie
The Gluten Escape’s Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookie

Later on that day, Cathy and I decided to have a snack.  We indulged in some fruit we had picked up at the grocery store.  And with it, we split the Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Cookie ($2.50) that we also purchased while there.  This was my first time ever encountering a crispy snickerdoodle cookie.  But…the flavors were spot on.  The sweetness from the sugar, the heat from the cinnamon.  Snickerdoodles, as we all know, are my absolute favorite cookie and these were different from what I’m used to, but I loved it all the same.  So, it wasn’t the chewy cookie I associate snickerdoodles with.  Didn’t matter.  It tasted like a snickerdoodle.  That’s what counts, yes?  RIGHT!

I won’t lie…the buying didn’t stop there.  Nope.  Not at all.  Before we left the bakery on Friday afternoon, Cathy pointed out the Gluten-Free Biscotti and the Gluten-Free Puppy Chow on one of the shelves.  I also found a Pumpkin Spice Granola Bar that was definitely intriguing, since pumpkin flavored everything rules!  I ended up buying the Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Granola Bar ($2.25), the Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Biscotti ($1.95), the Grain Free Mocha Almond Biscotti ($3.25), and a container of the Gluten-Free Puppy Chow ($3.99-ish?).

The Gluten Escape's Gluten-Free Puppy Chow
The Gluten Escape’s Gluten-Free Puppy Chow

I tried the Puppy Chow on Monday morning on my way to the airport.  Cathy and I needed to swing by Voodoo Donut to pick up some dounuts for a co-worker of ours.  So, while there, Cathy ordered a donut for herself.  As for me…it was Puppy Chow time.  The Gluten Escape’s Puppy Chow is a mix of Chex cereal, puffed rice, pretzels, and corn flakes.  They are dusted in powdered sugar.  And it was really, really good.  I loved the different textures and flavors with each bite.  You got the salty from the pretzels, the sweet from the cereal, and each cereal was different, making it crunchy or softer or just snack-able by the handful.  I loved it.  I ate half of it before hitting the airport and brought the other half to the office with me the following day.

The Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Granola Bar was…lacking sweetness, in my opinion.  It was good.  And they definitely had the right pumpkin spice flavor down.  It wasn’t overpowering.  But…the bar just seemed flat.  It was very crunchy, which is fine…granola bars can go either way.  But I kept waiting on something that would sweeten the deal.  Like chocolate chips or something.  I just think it needed a touch of sugar (not too much…just something to elevate it).  Regardless, it was good and I downed that entire thing at the office.

As for the two biscotti that I chose…WOW!!  Just…WOW!!  They complimented my morning coffee beautifully for one thing.  The first one that Cathy and I tried (we split them) was the Grain Free Mocha Almond Biscotti.  OH MY GOD!!  So delicious.  I enjoyed dunking it in my coffee and just having that flavor mingle and mix.  Oh…it was divine.  And totally made my morning, if you couldn’t tell.  The Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Biscotti was the same way.  I loved the crispness that would soften when dunked in the coffee and the chocolate chips were a nice lingering sweet touch.  I was in total coffee heaven those mornings.  Seriously.  I will probably buy whatever biscotti they have next time I am in town.  For real.  That…was love at first bite for sure!

I know that Colorado is a hotbed for gluten-free companies and businesses…and I love visiting there for that reason.  But, if you happen to be near the Denver Tech Center (DTC)…I strongly encourage you to take the trip up the road to The Gluten Escape and indulge in some of their daily specials and their baked goods.  Everything looked fantastic.  I really would have purchased one of everything had the budget and my belly allowed.  But, that’s why there is always a next time.  And there will be a next time.

Beyond impressed!

The Gluten-Escape's Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Granola Bar, Grain-Free Mocha Almond Biscotti, and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Biscotti
The Gluten-Escape’s Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Granola Bar, Grain-Free Mocha Almond Biscotti, and Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Product Review: Food Should Taste Good Harvest Pumpkin Tortilla Chips

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

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

Pumpkin.

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

ALL. THE. TIME.

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

Pumpkin is like my BFF for life.

And now…it’s a tortilla chip.

Yes.  A tortilla chip.

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

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

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

I. AM. IN. LOVE.

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

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

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

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

I am in love with these chips.  For life.

Product Review: Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Nature's Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles
Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Product: Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles – $4.99+

FINALLY!

Just…FINALLY!

As much as I love gluten-free waffles made from scratch…these days it seems impossible to find the time to actually make them.  Trust me…it is an undertaking and a half.  Seriously!  And, my favorite homemade gluten-free waffles to prepare are…pumpkin!  Yep…pumpkin.  Delicious.  Tasty.  And we all know how much I love pumpkin flavored things.  Just…YUM!!

These days, however, I just am never home long enough to actually work through the recipe and get the pumpkin waffles made from scratch.  So…waffles have been off the menu.  Because, regular waffles can be a task and a half to make as well.  So…it’s been pancakes, Greek yogurt parfaits with fruit and gluten-free granola, cereal, and things with roasted potatoes…or just gluten-free bagels.  No waffles.  Not for a very long time.

But that changed.  That changed the moment I stepped into the freezer section of my local Whole Foods and spotted…one of the most wonderful things I have ever encountered in that aisle.  Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles.  YES!  GLUTEN-FREE PUMPKIN SPICE WAFFLES!!  Shout it from the rooftop friends.  I did another happy dance of joy in the aisle.  I should really stop doing that…but I just get so excited!

This box of frozen waffles is made by Nature’s Path.  I tried one other variety of their gluten-free waffles a year or two ago…but don’t remember too much about them.  Other than that Van’s gluten-free versions blew them out of the water.  For real!

But…let bygones be bygones…and…Van’s doesn’t make pumpkin spice waffles…so…HA!  These were in my basket and at the register before my roomie or I could talk ourselves out of the purchase.  The deed was done.

And with me taking an early morning spin class a couple mornings a week…these are the perfect thing to throw in the oven to toast while I shower off before work.  And that’s exactly what I did on Friday.  Friday was already crazy.  I had just gotten back in town from my Christmas trip to see my family.  My luggage had gone missing and was returned late that night.  I was worn out…but really wanted to get a little activity in before settling back into my routine for one day.  Spinning did that.  And I just happen to get home right as my roomie is waking up.  So, I put these waffles in the oven and went to shower.  They were done just as I finished off dressing.  I warmed up some of my agave maple syrup to pour over them and…just like that…brekkies was served.

Oh…these definitely made an impression on me.  The pumpkin spice flavor is there…but not overpowering.  There is pumpkin and then there is PUMPKIN.  I love pumpkin flavors…but I want to taste the other spices too.  In this case…cinnamon and nutmeg.  Perfect compliments.  The waffles toasted up beautifully…their orange color turning a deep golden as they reached the perfect level of toastiness.  This gave them this great crunch on the outside, but that soft, steamy center that make every waffle perfect.  Oh…it was bliss.  Bliss in a pumpkin-y waffle-y form.  These made my hectic morning easy…and super delicious.  I hope these aren’t a seasonal thing because I really want to stock up!

Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles are made from water, organic pumpkin puree, organic brown rice flour, organic potato starch, organic yellow corn flour, organic soy oil, organic tapioca starch, organic cane sugar, organic potato flour, baking powder, organic flax seeds, organic soy lecithin, organic pear and/or grape juice concentrate, organic quinoa, organic amaranth, organic spices, and sea salt.  Whew.  It seems like a lot of ingredients, but I recognize every single one of them.  That’s something.  And I love how a majority of the ingredients are also organic.

So, let’s talk nutrition.  A serving of Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles is 2 waffles.  This pair of pumpkin waffle yumminess will serve you up 210 calories and 7 grams of fat.  These waffles contain no cholesterol, have only 385 mg sodium, and 6 grams of sugar.  Not too bad.  They also have 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein…so not too filling…but I wasn’t starving all morning either.  Definitely a healthier choice for breakfast if you have to do the “from-the-freezer” grab on a busy morning.  Seriously…worth it.

These waffles are amazing.  I love the pumpkin flavor.  I loved the texture and taste.  The crunch with the warm, soft center.  Oh yeah.  Perfect for those busy mornings…and always good drizzled with syrup.  Makes these winter mornings cozy and warm.  Let me tell you…I think I’m in love with a new gluten-free waffle.

Delish!

Nature's Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles (toasted)
Nature’s Path Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles (toasted)

Recipe: Gluten-Free and Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

I love pumpkin.

I’ve said it countless times before…because, after all, this is pumpkin season.  So…I’ll say it again.

I.  LOVE.  PUMPKIN.

Get it?  Got it?  Good!

Well, this past weekend I met up with some great friends at the local ice cream shop.  There, I indulged in a great ice cream called “Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice.”  Why?  Because it’s pumpkin time and it’s one of the seasonal rotating flavors.  It only comes around in the fall, my friends…so I take advantage…believe me!  Of course, as I am sitting there eating it, I’m wondering if I could make something like this…but using the coconut milk and the cans of pumpkin I had in my pantry.

After a little researching, it turned out I could.  And with a little guidance from PBS and Kitchen Explorers, I was able to make my own pumpkin spice ice cream…completely vegan…gluten-free…packed with flavor.  I was one happy girl when I took this out of the ice cream maker.

Recipe: Gluten-Free and Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

Gluten-Free and Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
Gluten-Free and Vegan Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

 Servings: 8
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Freeze 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • One 13.5 ounces can coconut milk (do not use skim or low-fat) (I used the 11 ounce carton of So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk)
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened canned pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Whisk all the ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed and smooth.

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container, cover the ice cream with plastic wrap, cover with the lid, then freeze until firm.

~*~*~

Yes…it truly is that easy.  And the flavor.  OMG…the flavor.  This is now going to be incorporated into my Thanksgiving Day menu.  I’m hosting this year…and I got inspired with this ice cream to do a dessert for the occasion.  No pumpkin pie at my house.  I hate pumpkin pie with a passion.  But this…this will blow away the pie competition anyway.  The flavor of this ice cream is like eating a chilled pumpkin pie…except that it tastes good.  It’s hard to stick to just the one serving, but if you do…you’ll have 8 delicious 1/2 cup servings of this amazing ice cream.

It’s my favorite one I have made so far.  And now I just want to keep making it to keep it stocked in my freezer.  You will too.  Trust me.