Forget the frozen store brands, the best gluten-free hamburger buns are from Annie May’s Sweet Café

Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns
Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns

Product: Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns – $5.50+

You might have realized that I spend a lot of time at my local allergen-free bakery.  There is a reason for that.  Not only do they provide some of the best food in Louisville, Kentucky, but owners Annie May and Kenna put a lot of time, care, and love into the products they serve up.  And it’s not just cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and the like.  Nope.  They provide lunches and even breakfast every Saturday morning.  Oh yes…this is more than your average bakery.

One of my favorite things to get when I head into Annie May’s Sweet Café every Saturday is their Allergen-Free Vegan Breakfast Sandwich, which consists of a vegan and gluten-free sausage, made by Louisville’s own Grind (a food truck!), Daiya cheese, and all of it goes on this amazing roll.  Ever since I first had one of these breakfast sausages, I had been trying to figure out what they use for the bread.

And, after browsing about the case inside the shop on Saturday morning…it all became clear.  It appears they toast up and use their very own allergen-free (gluten-free and vegan) hamburger buns.  With this incredible revelation, I had to have some for myself.  After all, I had tons of fresh produce to use, so I figured I could do up some of my homemade vegan and gluten-free black bean and soy chorizo burgers and make use of the amazing and very light hamburger buns.

So…yes…I purchased them.

I mean…they were one of my favorite parts of the breakfast sandwich.  I had to have some for my own use.  So, yes…I brought home a pack of four.  And tonight, I mixed up the ingredients for my burgers and prepped all the veggies, some hand-cut shoestring fries from organic russet potatoes, and then sauteed up some shallots and white button mushrooms for these burgers as well.  One thing I did have every intention of doing, however, was toasting those buns like they do at the café for their breakfast sandwiches.  So, after unwrapping two of them, I gave each a light spritz with olive oil, then placed them on the skillet to get a light toasting on them.

Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns
Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns

With the burgers on the skillet, and the buns getting a light toasting, I got everything ready to plate.  And with the homemade fries fresh and crisp from the oven, I started to stack them on the plate.  I took one half of each bun and set it on each plate.  Bibb lettuce was the next addition, followed by the vegan and gluten-free black bean and soy chorizo burger I mixed up.  I melted some cheese over each patty and then stacked some shallots, mushrooms, sliced cherry tomato, and avocado on top.  It then got a light spread of vegan sriracha sour cream.  Then…the top of the bun was placed over the entire burger, completing the package.

Dinner was served.

And…yes…these hamburger buns are exactly what they use on Saturday mornings for those amazing breakfast sandwiches.  Oh.  My.  God.  I was so thrilled to be able to have these in the comfort of my own home this evening with my dinner.  They are so light, fluffy, and delicious.  They have this subtle buttery flavor to them, which just makes them taste all the more amazing.  And they hold up, even with all the layers and textures going on in my homemade veggie burgers.  That’s the best part.  These buns didn’t flake or wilt or grow soggy.  They remained in one piece and, despite being so light in texture, they are sturdy.

The remaining two will be used tomorrow when I toast up the other two homemade veggie burger patties I have already prepared.

Annie May’s Sweet Café is one of those little gems that Louisville should realize how fortunate it is to have in the city.  I would be lost without my allergen-friendly bakery.  I have enjoyed not only the sweet treats, but also the savory pieces I have picked up from there, eaten there, and purchased to take home for later.  Everything is made with great care, and the owners pour their heart and soul into every product they put out for the public.

With the onset of summer, I am hoping hours will be extended once again so I can make it over there for dinners sometimes.  Their daily specials always sound so intriguing, but I work in Indiana and don’t get out of work in time to make it over there currently to enjoy their specials.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert…all in one place.

And, you can easily purchase their baked goods, including their hamburger buns, right there at the shop.  So head over to Frankfort Avenue and give their products a try.  You’ll never guess that all of them are gluten-free…and most are also allergen-free.  And all of it…super delicious.

These hamburger buns, especially, make a nice addition to the dinner table.  Don’t take my word for it though.  Go in there and purchase some for yourself.  They’ll beat out any store-bought brand from the freezer any day!

My homemade gluten-free and vegan black bean and soy chorizo burger sandwiched between Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns (shown with homemade hand-cut shoestring fries)
My homemade gluten-free and vegan black bean and soy chorizo burger sandwiched between Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free Hamburger Buns (shown with homemade hand-cut shoestring fries)

Cookies taken from great to super with Annie May’s Sweet Café’s Super Cookies

Annie May's Sweet Café Gluten-Free Super Cookie
Annie May’s Sweet Café Gluten-Free Super Cookie

Product: Annie May’s Sweet Café Gluten-Free Super Cookie – $3.99

I’ve stated it in the past two posts I have done on cookies from Annie May’s Sweet Café in Louisville, Kentucky.  Nothing will ever, ever top their allergen-free chocolate chip cookies.  For real.  They are, by far, the best and most amazing gluten-free cookies that I have ever had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into.  For real.  They don’t get much better than this.  Buttery, smooth, soft, chewy, sweet…perfection.

Could it get any better?

Oh…believe it or not…it can.

How, you might ask?

By making a chocolate dipped cookie sandwich out of them, of course.  I mean, when something is already as amazing as a single allergen-free chocolate chip cookie…take two of them, place some amazing icing between them and dip half of the cookie in dark chocolate.  What emerges is what Annie May’s likes to call their Super Cookies.

Super sinfully satisfying, that’s for damn sure.  Be prepared to share, because these cookies are epic big and epic filling.  But worth every calorie-filled sweet, indulgent bite.

For real.

I have been eying the Super Cookies for a long while now.  Especially after the amazing yumminess of the chocolate chip cookies on their own.  How could two with filling and chocolate be bad?  It can’t.  It can only elevate the already amazing flavor of the cookies.  I can guarantee that.

After a long run this morning, my roomie and I decided to head to Annie May’s for our usual Saturday breakfast.  But, as an added bonus, we picked up one of the Super Cookies after I stared longingly at it the entire time we were there.  Hey…my sweet tooth was acting up.  I can’t help it.  We agreed that we would get one cookie to split between us as dessert tonight, so we got it wrapped up to go and headed out for a day full of grocery shopping and hitting up a few stores in search of some items we have been searching for.

Then, after dinner tonight, I excitedly pulled out the Gluten-Free Super Cookie (this is not vegan) from Annie May’s Sweet Café and carved it in half.  One half went to Cathy…the other half was mine.

One bite.  One sinful bite and I was transported back to the days my sister and I would fill up on The Great American Cookie Company’s Double Doozy cookies.  Except…these were far tastier…far more delicious…far more indulgent…far more…EVERYTHING.  Take what you know about chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and multiply it to the nth degree.  Because that is how amazing the Super Cookies are from Annie May’s Sweet Café.  I wanted to savor each bite.  I tried.  But the sweetness kept luring me in for another bite.  Then another.  And before I knew it…I was left only with crumbs and the lingering taste on my palate.

Yeah…my favorite gluten-free chocolate chip cookie elevated to the next level.  Not a thing wrong in the world with that.  Not one thing.

Just bliss.  Sweet, satisfying, sinful bliss.  Creamy, chocolatey, cookie goodness…bite-for-bite.  Entice your inner cookie monster today.  Head to Annie May’s Sweet Café and get one for yourself.  Super delicious Super Cookies from the super bakery…Annie May’s!

Something this sinfully sweet never tasted so good.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches

Breakfast, as many of you know, has always been my favorite meal of the day.  In fact, I have been known to eat breakfast foods for not only breakfast, but also lunch and even dinner.  Sometimes…all in the same day.  I don’t know what it is about breakfast, but I have always loved it.  It’s always so fulfilling and can be either savory, sweet, or a little of both.  And maybe that’s just what food love is all about.

As I mentioned in my previous recipe, I have a fridge that is overflowing with asparagus.  My CSA bins the past two weeks have included asparagus.  And I do love asparagus, but sometimes I have a hard time fitting bin items into my meals…and so, two pounds of asparagus later, I’m seeking some recipes to help move it out before I lose it.  I don’t like waste so I try to use what ingredients I have when I can.

That being said, I saw a pin come up on Pinterest the other day that was repinned from a recipe featured in Better Homes and Gardens.  I was intrigued.  This was for an Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwich.  Sounded like the perfect thing to try for breakfast…and it moved out a couple of items from my bins.  Perfect.

Breakfast, for the most part, is simple to convert to gluten-free.  For this recipe, I simply used gluten-free challah bread from Katz Gluten Free, my vegan & gluten-free homemade bacon, and instead of frying up an egg in butter, I lightened up my dish by poaching the egg, which happens to be one of my favorite ways to eat eggs.  I also made my sandwiches open-faced instead of having another slice of bread on top.

This made quite an impression at breakfast today.  Even my roomie devoured it.  The recipe (with my modifications) is below…

Recipe: Gluten-Free Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwiches

Gluten-Free Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwich
Gluten-Free Avocado and Asparagus Egg Sandwich

Servings: 4
Time: Prep 10 Minutes; Cook 12 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound green, white, and/or purple asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter (only if you are frying or scrambling your eggs)
  • 4 eggs (I poached mine, so I didn’t need aforementioned butter)
  • 4 slices of bread (I used Katz Gluten Free Challah Bread)
  • 8 slices crisp-cooked bacon (I used my homemade vegan & gluten-free bacon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I seasoned with cayenne pepper for a bit of spice)

Directions:

Place asparagus in a single layer in a shallow baking pan.  Cover with about 2 cups of boiling water.  Let stand for 10 to 12 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender.  Drain.  Finely chop three of the asparagus spears; set aside.

In a small bowl mash avocado with lime juice. Stir in chopped asparagus; set aside.

If frying your eggs, in a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Break eggs into skillet.  Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook eggs for 6 minutes, until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken.  If desired, turn eggs, to fully cook the yolks.

If like me, you prefer poached eggs, bring water and a splash of vinegar to just below boiling.  Break an egg into a bowl.  Stir the water to get a whirlpool effect and slide the egg from the bowl into the water.  Leave in water for about 3 minutes.  Remove to paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, toast the bread.  Spread avocado-asparagus on four slices.  Lightly sprinkle with salt.  Layer bacon, egg, asparagus.

Enjoy!

~*~*~

This recipe was SO easy to make and put together.  And the best part was just how tasty it was.  I sincerely enjoyed every bite.  And the poached egg worked so well with the creamy avocado and the light crunch of the asparagus.  The slightly runny egg yolk just added to the texture and flavor overall.  I can’t wait to make this again.  It will definitely become a welcome addition to my breakfast table.

This breakfast is definitely packed with nutrition and healthy fats, as well as a great source of protein.  What a great way to start your day!

Udi’s brings light as air gluten free Classic French Dinner Rolls

Udi's Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls
Udi’s Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls

Product: Udi’s Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls – $8.99+

You read that right.  But go ahead…read that blog title again.  Befuddled, are you?  Did I mistype?  Am I playing some sort of cruel practical joke?

Not at all.  What you read is the absolute truth.

Last year, Udi’s unveiled their new dinner rolls (two different kinds: Whole Grain and Classic French), and my area finally got them in.  It only took a year.  And trust me…I’ve been hunting high and low.

Why?  Because every attempt I have ever made at making my own gluten-free dinner rolls have had less than satisfactory results.  Too heavy.  Too dense.  Not the right taste.  Wrong.  Wrong.  All wrong.

But that doesn’t have to be the case anymore.  Because Udi’s made gluten-free dinner rolls a no-hassle event.  Honestly.  These rolls are kept in the freezer.  And even though they come from a frozen state, they are so easy to prepare.  Put them on a pan and cook from 10-15 minutes.  What emerges are perfect dinner rolls, crusty on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.  Light.  And.  Fluffy.

These rolls are so versatile.  Sure, you can serve them up as a side at dinner, with a schmear of butter.  Or…you can use them in other ways too.  In fact, that’s exactly what I did tonight.  After a 4.5 mile run after work, I wanted to come home to an easy-to-prepare dinner.  My thought…sliders.  While I didn’t have any gluten-free veggie burger patties prepped, I did have some of my gluten-free and vegan homemade bacon in the freezer.  I also had some fresh veggies…tomato, avocado, onion, spinach…a deluxe BLT slider looked like it was shaping up.

Udi's Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls (toasted and fresh from the oven)
Udi’s Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls (toasted and fresh from the oven)

So, I preheated my oven to 400°F and put the rolls onto a pan.  Into the oven they went…for about 5 minutes.  Just enough to warm them through.  After 5 minutes, I pulled them out and sliced each of them in half.  I topped one half with a slice of vegan cheese.  Then, I turned on the broiler.  Back into the oven they went for a couple of minutes…just enough to melt the cheese.  They emerged lightly toasted to perfection.  I topped off each slice with the veggies and the vegan and gluten-free bacon, gave it a schmear of my own creation – a sriracha vegan mayonnaise.  I pressed the halves together and…viola…Deluxe Gluten-Free and Vegan BLT Sliders.  All compliments of Udi’s and their Classic French Dinner Rolls.

I am not going to gussy this up with flowery words.  The Udi’s Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls are AMAZING!  Honestly.  If you had company over for dinner and placed these in a bread basket for dinner…no one would even guess that they were gluten-free.  My roommate, as we know, does not have to eat gluten-free and she LOVED these rolls.  Loved them.  Especially how weightless they seem.  They taste fantastic…on their own or dressed up however you like it.

If you haven’t tried these amazing dinner rolls from Udi’s Gluten-Free…you are missing out.  Find them.  And if you can’t…see if your grocery store or natural food store can order them in.  Trust me.  They are amazing and I intend to always keep them stocked in my freezer.  I can build meals around these…or just let them shine as a side.

Thank you Udi’s…for filling the dinner roll gap I had in my life.  Much love.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Deluxe BLT Sliders made with Udi's Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls
Gluten-Free and Vegan Deluxe BLT Sliders made with Udi’s Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls

Udi’s creates lightest, softest whole grain dinner rolls…from freezer to oven to table

Udi's Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls
Udi’s Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls

Product: Udi’s Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls – $8.99+

It’s amazing how you never realize how much you miss something until you no longer have the option of having it.  Like…a dinner roll.  Something that simple.  And at first, maybe you just say…”I don’t need that anyway.  I don’t need those calories…”  But after awhile…when everyone else at the table has something to scoop up their sauces with…you sort of miss having the option.

Maybe not to the extent of being jealous.  But sometimes…the social binder that is the bread basket at dinner on the holidays or at gatherings does leave a void…when you are a Celiac or gluten intolerant.

But…that’s all about to change.

Awhile back, Udi’s introduced a couple of new bread products to their line-up.  Among them were a gluten-free French baguette, classic French dinner rolls and seeded whole grain dinner rolls.  All of which I had been dying to try…but never quite allowed myself to purchase when on my strict grocery budget.  But…a Groupon happened to come around for a local natural foods store…and I purchased it.  As the expiration date was swiftly approaching, my roommate and I ducked in there this past weekend (during the chaos of a Vegetarian Tasting Fair) to get some products we really wanted to try.

One of the first products that was overwhelmingly decided on were…Udi’s Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls.

My usual mojo is that items end up sitting in my freezer or pantry for awhile as I use up other items that came before it.  But I had nothing quite like these…and I really, really, really wanted to test them out.  As I was making a pasta dish for dinner the other night, it would be the perfect side dish to accompany the meal.

Udi's Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls (toasted and fresh from the oven)
Udi’s Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls (toasted and fresh from the oven)

Nothing could be simpler.  Open bag of frozen dinner rolls, remove, place on a baking sheet, and warm in an oven at for about 10-15 minutes…and they are ready to serve.  Yes…really that easy.

Before I get into the taste, let’s start with the basics.  The serving size is one roll.  Yep. One roll.  These rolls are about 2.5 inches in length and about 2 inches in circumferance, so they are a very good size.  You only really need one.  Each roll is 100 calories (not bad for bread!), 4 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.  It’s pretty much a powerhouse.  Where does all that protein come from?  Simple.  Udi’s makes their Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls with healthy chia, sunflower, and flax seeds.  Right there is a healthy combination that you wouldn’t get with regular bread.  They are even healthier than Udi’s own Gluten-Free Classic French Dinner Rolls.  How about that?!

Now…I’ve utilized these in two ways…

Udi's Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Roll (sliced in half with a schmear of vegan butter)
Udi’s Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Roll (sliced in half with a schmear of vegan butter)

The first two times I ate them, I ate them just as a side dish.  This was the perfect side for my pasta dish.  And then, last night, my roomie and I each had a roll with my Chickpea Teriyaki over Steamed Spinach.  I simply toasted these in the oven, sliced each roll in half, and gave them a light schmear of vegan butter.  It was perfect like that for each dish.  What was the best part of eating the rolls like that was that I truly got to taste the bread.  My pasta didn’t have a sauce with it (I coated it with vegan butter and Parmesan), so again…I could taste the bread.

My roommate found that it tasted a lot like a honey wheat bread.  She loved it…and she can have regular rolls!!  She isn’t the one that has to eat gluten-free.  She does…because I have to.  We both agreed…these got a nice crispy crust on the outside in the oven…but were so soft and fluffy on the inside.  They aren’t heavy or dense at all.  Amazing.  I probably could have eaten another one each time…but resistance was futile.

And the reason for that being…tonight I took the last four rolls and made each of us gluten-free and vegetarian “meatball” mini-subs.  OH. MY. GLUTEN. FREE. GOODNESS.  No…for real.  This was probably one of the best ideas I came up with.  I simply threw some marinara sauce into a pan on the stove while my oven warmed up.  In went the vegetarian meatballs (I used Franklin Farms Veggieballs) to heat through while the sauce simmered.  Then, I placed the rolls on the baking sheet and put them in the oven for 5 minutes at 400°F.  When 5 minutes were up, my sauce was simmering and the veggieballs were heated through.  Perfect timing.  I pulled the pan from the oven and turned on the broiler.  Then, I sliced each roll down the center, making sure I kept the bottom in tact.  I opened it up (sort of like a baked potato) and spooned two veggieballs inside, coating them with some of the remaining sauce.  I threw some Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds on top, tossed the mini sub rolls under the broiler for about a minute…just long enough for the cheese to get a good melt on it, and BAM.  Dinner was served.  And these rolls made the best mini sub rolls I could have asked for.  Honestly.  Still light with the crusty outside, it made holding them and eating the sandwich easy and less messy.  Texture is important and these were spot-on.  For real.

I’m already putting these on my grocery list this week because now I can’t imagine not having a bag in my freezer.  They are super delicious.  Super easy to prepare.  And best of all…good for you.  Especially where gluten-free breads are concerned.

Hunt these down in your local grocery stores.  Find them.  And try them.  I guarantee you…you’ll fall in love with them too.

Gluten-Free and Vegetarian
Gluten-Free and Vegetarian “Meatball” Mini Subs made with Udi’s Gluten-Free Seeded Whole Grain Dinner Rolls (also used: Franklin Farms Veggieballs and Daiya Mozzarella Shreds)

Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup a surprisingly delicious addition to my lineup

Amy's Organic Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Phak)
Amy’s Organic Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Phak)

Product: Amy’s Organic Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Phak) – $4.59+

Ah, winter.  The only thing about winter that I absolutely love…is that it is the heart of soup season.  Nothing beats a warm bowl of soup on an icy cold evening.  Nothing.  Just…trust me on this one.

Now, I do love to make my own soups and often do.  However…sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day to get all the prep work and the whole cooking part of the meal done.  It can be a bit daunting…especially in my closet-sized kitchen.  I love to cook, but not in there.  Not for long periods of time.  There just isn’t room.

Well, upon returning from vacation in Disney World, my roomie and I were looking to use up some of the items that are lingering in the pantry, fridge, and/or freezer.  Being that we had come from warm, beautiful Florida…back to a wintery mix falling from the Louisville skies…soup sounded pretty awesome.  We had two more days until the weekend and we were trying to make it through without hitting up the grocery store for anything besides necessary items (her skim milk, my Greek yogurt, etc.).

That being said, I had a couple of Amy’s Soups in my pantry…both gluten-free of course.  It was just a matter of which one we should devour that chilly evening.

I let Cathy choose…and her decision was to have Amy’s Thai Coconut (Tom Kha Phak) soup that night with a gluten-free grilled cheese and avocado sandwich.  Sounded good to me…and it was as easy as making a sandwich and heating up the contents of the soup can, which made my travel weary body very happy.

Tom Kha Phak is a popular soup in Thai restaurants that combines sweet coconut milk with warm Thai spices, organic tofu, lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and other various vegetables.  So many times, this type of soup is a go-to for someone who is unfamiliar with Thai food and not sure what to get or what they might like.  As Tom Kha Phak has a delicate, mild flavor…it is often a good place to start.

But…I adore Thai food.  I love Thai food.  I often crave Thai food.  That being said, I have never had Tom Kha Phak at any Thai restaurant.  I normally go for a Pad Thai or something along that line.  So, I didn’t know what this soup was going to taste like or if I would like it.  Really the most daunting part of it was the fact that it was a coconut milk based soup.  Which, shouldn’t make a difference as I drink and use coconut milk in many things.  Why this threw me off and made me a bit apprehensive about this soup is beyond me.  Guess it was just one of those mental roadblocks.

But, I set aside any judgement and poured the soup out of the can into a pot and began to warm it on the stove.  While that was warming, I went to work on the gluten-free grilled (vegan) cheese and avocado sandwiches.  They finished up at the same time, so I couldn’t have been happier.  I sliced the sandwiches into fourths (because you gotta have those little triangles!) and then dished up little bowls of the soup.  Dinner was served.

I’ll say this…the soup absolutely smelled fantastic, so if that was any indication as to what it might taste like…I was ready to be wowed.  One little slurp of just the broth and I was hooked.  Once I began ladling up spoonfuls of the broth with the vegetables and tofu…it was soup magic.  This instantly became one of my most favorite pre-packaged, buy-it-off-the-shelf soups on the market.  I loved the warm spices that were throughout the coconut milk broth.  The vegetables were soft, yet packed with flavor.  The tofu was rich, but didn’t overpower anything else in the soup.  I wanted more…but all I had was what was in my bowl.  So I savored it…down to the last slurp.

Amy’s Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Phak) has no trans fat, no added MSG, and no preservatives.  It is certified vegan and gluten-free.  The ingredients that go into this soup are all items I recognize.  Every single one of them.  Filtered water, organic coconut milk, organic sweet potatoes, organic carrots, organic tofu, organic green beans, organic onions, organic shiitake mushrooms, spices, sea salt, organic evaporated cane juice, organic cornstarch, organic tamari, kaffir lime leaf (remove this before serving, BTW), organic garlic, shallots, organic orange peel, and organic oil.  I bet you recognize every single item I listed off.  It’s all natural and organic…and what that sort of quality brings to the product is astounding.

As for nutritional information, the serving size is half the can, which means you get two servings out of the container.  Each serving contains 140 calories and 10 grams of fat.  Don’t panic over those fat calories…much of that is healthy fat that comes form your coconut milk.  A serving packs a 4 grams of protein punch.  And, for being a canned soup, the 580 mg of sodium isn’t too bad comparatively speaking.

Oh…and this soup is delicious.  If I didn’t get my point across earlier.

Amy’s Kitchen provides so many gluten-free and vegan options that I don’t know why I doubted the quality and taste of this soup.  I have yet to meet an Amy’s product that I can eat that I don’t like.  Honestly…when a company puts that much effort into providing the best quality and tasting product they can produce…it shows.

And this soup…now ranks as one of my favorites.  Never tried it?  Go out to your grocery store…right now…and buy a can.  Give it a quick warm and enjoy.  I promise…you’ll fall in love with it as quickly as I did.

Thank you…again…Amy’s Kitchen.

Amy's Organic Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Phak) (cooked)
Amy’s Organic Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Phak) (cooked)

Annie May’s Sweet Café serves up Saturday breakfast with a gluten-free vegan breakfast sandwich to die for

Annie May's Sweet Café, Louisville, Kentucky
Annie May’s Sweet Café, Louisville, Kentucky

Restaurant: Annie May’s Sweet Café, Louisville, Kentucky

One bite.

That was all it took to fall in love with Annie May’s Sweet Café.

And that was just based off a birthday cake my roommate got for me back in September.  Since then…this little bakery/café has become one of my favorite places to stop in for something to eat.  Especially on Saturday’s…because breakfast is being served!  And yes…we all know how much of a breakfast fiend I am.

For a few blogs now, I have mentioned my breakfast adventures there.  From the gluten-free waffles (now discontinued) to the gluten-free French toast to the delicious gluten-free donuts…cookies…cupcakes…you name it…it’s allergen-free/gluten-free…heaven.  Especially for someone like me who developed food allergies as an adult and has to sometimes make do with things that are just not as good as the ‘real’ thing.  Add to that the extra challenge of being a vegetarian first…and it makes up a recipe for culinary problems everywhere.

Not at Annie May’s Sweet Café in Louisville, Kentucky.

Very recently, Annie May’s added a new item to their breakfast menu.  Breakfast sandwiches.  Yep.  You read that right.  These breakfast sandwiches are composed of your choice of a protein on their own vegan/allergen-free bun and served with that day’s fresh fruit.

When I went in today, after a long 8 mile run, I was hungry.  So, along with my usual gluten-free donut ($2.49), I ordered up one of the breakfast sandwiches.  My choice: the Allergen-Free/Vegan “Sausage” and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich ($6.99).  This sandwich is composed of a vegan sausage patty that is also gluten-free, created by a local gourmet burger truck called Grind.  These vegan sausage patties are a housemade blend of spaghetti squash, chickpeas, lentils, onions, sage, and a red pepper spice blend.  It’s perfect for these breakfast sandwiches.  And they are GOOD!

My roommate decided to give the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich ($7.99) a go this morning.  So, we placed our orders, settled in at one of the tables and devoured our donuts while we anticipated the breakfast sandwiches.

Let me preface this by saying that this vegetarian hasn’t had a vegan/veggie sausage in a LONG time.  Not since having to go gluten-free.  Every single one in the freezer section of the grocery store has gluten ingredients in them.  So, the fact that I was just about to enjoy my first vegan sausage patty in a long, long time made me stupidly excited.  The “cheese” portion of this breakfast sandwich was Daiya Vegan cheese…one of my favorite brands.  And the bun…is Annie May’s creation…delicious, golden, and soft on the inside with that crisp golden crust on the outside.

Breakfast heaven.

When this sandwich arrived at the table, I had to restrain myself from diving right in and devouring it.  The donut had helped with the hunger…it just looked so amazing.  I wanted to try it immediately.  But, photos had to be taken first…so I did that as quickly as I could.  Then, after eating the grapes that came with the breakfast sandwich, I reached the point of breakfast I had been looking forward to the most…

Allergen-Free/Vegan Breakfast “Sausage” and Cheese Sandwich time.

I lifted the sandwich up to my mouth and took my first bite.  The vegan sausage is fantastic.  All of those ingredients blend really well and you totally get a sausage-like flavor from it.  I loved it.  Honestly.  The spaghetti squash does sometimes get stringy, but that happens sometimes with real sausage too.  It was the perfect blend of vegetables, spices, and proteins.  I loved it.  The Daiya cheese was melted on top…a simple amount, nothing too overwhelming.  It didn’t take away from the vegan sausage at all.

And that vegan/allergen-free bun…was the icing on the cake.  Metaphorically speaking, of course.  It was a gorgeous golden color, soft on the inside, a little flaky, and crusty on the outside.  It was my favorite part of the breakfast sandwich to be honest.  And coming from the girl who missed vegan sausage patties so much…that’s saying something.  Think of the most perfect biscuit you have ever eaten.  THAT…is what THIS tasted like.  Kudos to you, Annie May’s Sweet Café, for this delicious bread for your Saturday morning breakfast menu.  Let me tell you…I’m totally addicted to those rolls.  I’d eat them with a schmear of Earth Balance, all hot and toasted and…mouth-watering good.

I’m so lucky to have Annie May’s Sweet Café in my backyard.  Louisville, Kentucky is lucky to have them.  As Kentucky’s only allergen-free bakery…they offer a lot of allergen-free/vegan treats for everyone.  And you don’t have to be a vegan or gluten-free to enjoy these products.  My roommate is neither and she loves coming here for breakfast and the occasional treat as much as I do.

I hope Annie May’s remains in business for a very long time.  This place is a real gem and a much needed place for me, the allergic girl, here in Louisville, Kentucky.

Thanks for your delicious Saturday breakfasts, Annie May’s.  Maybe one of these days…I’ll skip breakfast and come in for your Saturday pizza.  Yeah…that’s next on the list.

Annie May's Sweet Café Allergen-Free/Vegan
Annie May’s Sweet Café Allergen-Free/Vegan “Sausage” and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

Recipe: Gluten-Free BBQ Mushroom Sliders

I don’t know what I did before Pinterest.  Honestly.

Last week, I was surfing around on my favorite time-suck and came across a delightful recipe for sliders…but instead of meat, these were portobello mushroom sliders.  Oooooh.  They looked absolutely fantastic too.  Seasoned, covered in melted cheese, caramelized onion, avocado…and dripping with barbeque sauce.

*mouth waters*

So, when the crimini mushrooms I received in my CSA bin turned out to be freakishly large…I thought to myself, “Hey…I bet I can make those sliders out of these.”

The only thing I lacked would be gluten-free slider-sized buns, which I solved by baking up my own from a bread mix I had in my pantry.  WINNING!

With that taken care of…I set out to make this recipe up for a light dinner after a very busy day out and about.  And the results…were epic.  Delicious.  And I wish I had made more than just two sliders each for myself and my roommate because these were beyond super yummy.  They were mushroom slider epic wonders of culinary proportions.

The original recipe came from the blog How Sweet It Is.  I just adapted it to fit my dietary needs and the ingredients I had on hand.

Recipe: Gluten-Free BBQ Mushroom Sliders

Gluten-Free BBQ Mushroom Sliders
Gluten-Free BBQ Mushroom Sliders


Servings: 6
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 baby portobello stuffing mushrooms (I used really large crimini mushrooms)
  • 6 slider buns (I made my own, gluten-free, using Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 ounces Gouda, sliced into squares (I used Veggie Slices Pepper Jack Flavored)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce, for drizzling and dipping (I used Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce)

Directions:

Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.

Add sliced onions with a pinch of salt and let caramelize, stirring occasionally.  Cook for about 8-10 minutes, then turn off heat and set aside.

While onions are caramelizing, brush mushrooms with remaining olive oil and sprinkle both sides with pepper, paprika, onion and chili powder.  Heat a skillet ( or a grill) on medium heat and cook until mushrooms are juicy and tender – about 5 minutes on each side.  With 1-2 minutes remaining, add a slice of cheese on top to melt.

Assemble sliders by placing the mushroom on the bun, then top with onions, avocado, and a hefty drizzle of bbq sauce.

~*~*~

Yeah…it doesn’t get much easier than that.  And the fact of the matter is…these are super-delicious.  Honestly.  I was blown away by how amazing these were.  They were that perfect level of balance in flavor and the mushroom was definitely the star of the dish.  The avocado was a nice addition and when mixed with the caramelized onions, the cheese, and the sauce…it made for one of the best vegetarian sandwiches I have had to date.  And…this was definitely my first vegetarian and gluten-free slider dish.

I’d make this again in a heartbeat.  No questions asked.  Packed with flavor and not heavy like regular sliders can be.  That’s the joy of using mushrooms.  Delicious, light, and just filling enough.

Dinner perfection.

Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix slides in just short of really good gluten-free bread

Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix
Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix

Product: Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix – $3.29+

You know…I raved once, almost two years ago, I believe, about Chebe Cheese Bread Mix.  I had made up the little breaded balls of goodness to accompany a pasta dinner I was preparing for a friend who was coming for the weekend.  Much to my delight…Greg (the guest), my roommate, and I all loved the taste, texture, and fluffiness these had.

So, Chebe rose to the top of my gluten-free go-to’s.  Even though I didn’t really purchase anything further of the brand until my local grocery store put their entire gluten-free section on closeout.  Picture me in panic mode as I grabbed a huge shopping cart and began tossing items I had wanted to try, but never got the chance to, into my cart for the reduced price.

One such product was Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix.

The great thing about Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix is how allergen friendly it is.  Not only is it gluten-free, but it is also soy free, corn free, rice free, potato free, yeast free, peanut free, tree nut free, egg free (unless you use it in the mix instead of egg substitute), lactose/casein free, iodine free, and sugar free.  This mix is also non-GMO and certified kosher!

Well, my pantry is quite full of numerous mixes and delicious things to try.  So, this just sort of sat.  But with the expiration date fast approaching…it was time to give them a shot.  And, I was thinking something light and savory for dinner.  So, I hit up Pinterest and found a recipe for BBQ Portobello Sliders.  Now, I didn’t have portobello mushrooms, but had rather large crimini ones in my fridge from my CSA bin.  I had the rest of the ingredients too.  What I lacked was the most obvious part of the slider…the slider buns.

Then…it dawned on me that I had this mix in my pantry…and it was getting close to the time it needed to be used up.  So, out it came and I got to work on making up my own little gluten-free slider buns.

Slider buns made from Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix
Slider buns made from Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix

This was a simple process.  Following the instructions on the box, I simply poured the bread mix into a bowl, added two eggs and 2 tablespoons of olive oil…mixed that together…then slowly added exactly 1/4 cup of water.  Once that was all incorporated and blended, I kneaded the dough with my hands until it was smooth and all one large lump of bread dough.

And here is where I went off script.  The rest of the recipe created 4 sandwich buns…but I wanted slider buns.  So I made 10 little rolls out of the lump of bread, flattened them down into little round disks like the recipe said, and brushed each one with olive oil.  I then put it in my oven at 375° F for about 25 minutes and allowed them to bake.

When time was up, I removed them from the oven and allowed them to cool on the baking sheet while I prepared the mushrooms, caramelized the onions, and sliced an avocado.

First of all, I was hoping these would crisp into a beautiful golden-brown…but they never quite did.  They looked anemically pale.  It was a bit off-putting, but…that was the last of my problems.  The mix, prior to putting everything together was a very white, very thin powder.  That being said, this Chebe mix is made up simply of tapioca powder, modified tapioca starch, cream of tartar, sea salt, and sodium bicarbonate.  You can add cheese to the mix, but I didn’t…as the sliders were going to have cheese on them.  Still, with the brushing of olive oil…one would think there would still be some golden crust forming.

That was the first disappointment.  The second disappointment was that they really didn’t puff up much.  The flat little disks of dough rose only slightly in the heat of the oven.  So…these made for very flat slider buns.

Finally…the third disappointment was…the taste.  Not that these tasted bad…they just weren’t light and soft like the Cheese Bread that I made from Chebe.  This dough wasn’t too dense, but it was definitely not soft and squishy like a slider bun should be.  It just felt…wrong.  The flavor was fine…but it was the texture that was just all wrong for me this time.  It just didn’t work.

But…I went ahead and sliced the flat rolls in half (as best I could) and filled them up with my mushroom caps, vegan cheese slices, caramelized onions, avocados and a drizzle of barbeque sauce and used them for the purpose I baked them up for.  It wasn’t bad.  I just wish they had been softer and a bit fluffier.

That being said, I have six more rolls in my fridge that I’ll use up tomorrow by making breakfast slider sandwiches.  I am kind of sad about the way this mix turned out, because I have raved about Chebe in the past and was really hoping for that trend to continue.  Sadly…this one failed to win me over.

Maybe, with some convincing, I’ll give another mix a try.  But this one…won’t find it’s way into my pantry again any time soon.

BBQ Mushroom Sliders sandwiched between buns made from Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix
BBQ Mushroom Sliders sandwiched between buns made from Chebe Gluten-Free All Purpose Bread Mix

Julie’s Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies like a frozen slice of gluten-free pie

Julie's Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies
Julie’s Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

Product: Julie’s Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies – $5.99+

Mmmmm…

The words gluten-free and ice cream sandwich are normally not found hand-in-hand.  But thanks to the teaming up of Glutenfreeda (who provides the cookie portion of the ice cream sandwich) with Julie’s Organic Ice Cream…even the gluten-free can have a sweet taste of an ice cream sandwich.  Even better…not being limited to just the chocolate cookies with the vanilla ice cream.  While it is traditional and the most common, even in the ice cream sandwiches that are not gluten-free, Julie’s Organic Ice Cream offers up four different varieties of gluten-free ice cream sandwich cookies.

And I have now had them all…with my final taste going to the Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie.

This one actually was the one that my roommate dreaded.  She isn’t the biggest fan of carrot cake (unless I make it, she says) nor ginger…so she sort of put off eating this one until I just marched over to the freezer the other day when it was time for dessert and pulled these out.  Her reaction, “Oh…we’re having those?”  And picture this being said in the most unenthusiastic tone of voice one can conjure.  She was really, really, really not happy that I made that decision.

However…her tune soon changed…

The Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies are composed of ginger cookies made by Glutenfreeda that are soft and crumbly…like a pie crust.  And the carrot cake ice cream is what fills these up and gives them their amazing combined flavor.  I’ve never had carrot cake ice cream before, but if it always tastes like this…I want more of it in my life!!

These ice cream sandwiches were SO delicious.  My roommate took the first taste while I was snapping pictures for the blog (as I tend to do).  And she says, “Oh…it tastes like a frozen pumpkin pie!”  I finished taking pictures as she went to sit down and nosh on hers a bit more and took my first taste.  She was absolutely correct.  Forget carrot cake flavor, these really did taste like a frozen pumpkin pie.  The ginger cookie gave the illusion of a crust and the ice cream was just super good.  I loved the combination of flavors and how they would melt together on my tongue.  The cookies are super soft, so that adds a crumbly consistency to them which sort of makes these more pie-like in the end.

SO YUMMY!!

I found myself looking forward to dessert the next day…but dinner was taking forever to cook (naturally).  But, anticipation is part of the fun, yes?  And when we settled in to devour the final two in the package, we sadly big adieu to these ice cream sandwiches.  Phenomenal flavor.  I would totally buy these again in a heartbeat.  Absolutely loved them.

So, if you happen to be out at the store and looking for something different to try…whether you need to eat gluten-free or not…I highly recommend trying Julie’s Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies.  It’s a slice of heavenly pie in ice cream form…and boy…is it ever delicious!

Julie's Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie
Julie’s Organic Carrot Cake Ginger Ice Cream Sandwich Cookie