Product Review: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing + Recipe Bonus

Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Product: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing – $5.99+

Who says stuffing is just for Thanksgiving?  Where is that written?  Growing up, I was one of the only people in my family who wanted to have stuffing.  My dad wasn’t a fan, so my mom never made it.  Everything I needed to know about stuffing, I tasted at my friend’s homes.  It was a rare occasion that my mom would make it…and as we never had turkey on Thanksgiving, but enjoyed a delicious shrimp creole instead…well…this was more of a Christmas thing.

When I went gluten-free…stuffing was off the menu regardless…unless I made it myself.  In fact, one of the first gluten-free recipes I posted was a Gluten Free Hazelnut Sage Stuffing, which I made with Rudi’s Gluten Free Bread.  That was back in 2011…and I’ve made that recipe quite a few times since then.  It’s delicious and easy and amazing.

But sometimes, you just don’t want to do all the work yourself.  These days, my free time is less and less.  I’m recovering from a torn hip labrum, getting back to running, doing all my stretches for physical therapy and trying to maintain only a slight bit of pain when I move, and everything else like work, preparing meals/snacks for work, and maintaining my training/workout schedule.  It just isn’t always feasible to pull out a recipe and whip something up.

Well, two weeks ago, I was in Columbus, Ohio, visiting my friend Jenn.  And as I was packing up to head home, she handed me a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  As it was due to expire within the month, I decided I would make this for lunches this week for both the roomie and myself.  And, that Sunday evening, I did just that…

I had everything else needed to make the recipe that was supplied on the box in my fridge, ironically enough.  I guess I just know what’s good to have on hand, HAHA!  Actually, it was just luck that I didn’t have to pick up anything else to make this.  All I needed was butter (I used Earth Balance), eggs, vegetable broth, celery, and onion.  That was it.  I followed the instructions on the box, pulling open the silver package that contained the corn bread stuffing portion of the product, loving the little, crispy, yellow corn bread croutons that spilled out and into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Giving it a good stir, it was prepared and ready to cook.

This stuffing smells amazing as it cooks.  I think I was drooling a little every time I walked by the oven.  I mean, SO good.  And when it was finally done, I pulled the dish from the oven, loving how golden the top had become during the cooking process.  I dished it out into 6 Pyrex dishes, tasting a little at the end…and…oh yeah…this was going to be good.

I was wrong, though.  This stuffing wasn’t good.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  Seriously, it was love at first taste.  And I was really, really anticipating lunch for the three days that my roomie and I had this in our refrigerator.  Seriously…I was sad when we devoured the last servings of it.  The cornbread croutons soak in all that amazing flavor from the eggs, sauteed veggies, and the vegetable broth.  It doesn’t get mushy though.  Not at all.  As it bakes, all that flavor bakes inside, making this rich, savory, and addictive stuffing that it’s hard to stop eating.  And that top layer gets this nice golden brown, which brings that bit of crunchy texture when you dig into it.  My mouth waters just thinking about it again.  In fact, I want to see if any of my natural food stores have this on hand.  I’m sort of concerned it’s a seasonal product…but I have every intention of stocking up!

So, let’s take a look at what all goes into a box of the Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing, shall we?  This product is made up of corn starch, tapioca starch, vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil), seasoning (salt, yeast extract, sugar, maltodextrin, dextrose, spices, onion powder, garlic powder, dehydrated parsley, expeller pressed canola oil, spice extractive, silicon dioxide), sugar, egg whites, salt, guar gum, glucono-delta-lactone, yeast, pectin, sodium bicarbonate, sodium alginate, modified cellulose, iron, niacin, tricalcium phosphate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, and riboflavin.

The Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing mix isn’t a nutritional bomb either.  So, it’s not clean eating for sure…but the nutritional facts aren’t so bad.  A serving size of this product is 1/2 cup prepared and there are 8 servings per box.  This serving will provide you with 120 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 470 mg cholesterol, 20 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, 1 gram sugars, and less than 1 gram protein.  The lack of fiber and protein would make you believe that it wouldn’t fill you up if eating it as a meal instead of a side, but that wasn’t the case at all for me.  I found it filling and amazing.

So…if you want to make this too, here is the recipe I used, which is straight off the back of the box itself:

Recipe: Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Servings: 6
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 35 minutes

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • l box Glutino Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Lightly grease one 8×8 baking pan.

In a heated skillet add the 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter and sautée onions and celery until translucent. Let the vegetables cool.

In a mixing bowl empty package of stuffing mix.  Add cooled sautéed onions and celery, eggs, and vegetable broth. Let stand one minute.

Stir until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Place in greased baking pan and pack down.

Cover with foil, bake for approximately 25 minutes. Uncover and finish cooking for an additional 8 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.

~*~*~

This was one of the first corn bread stuffings I have had.  And it brought back all those happy memories of the Stove Top Stuffing days of my childhood.  I was beyond impressed.  So, if you’re a glutton for stuffing, I highly recommend picking up a box of Glutino’s Gluten Free Corn Bread Stuffing.  Even your gluten-eating friends would never guess this was gluten-free.  It is that delicious!!  ENJOY!


Product Review: Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread

Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread
Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread

Product: Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread – $5.99+

Sometimes a product you never thought about trying serves you up a good reason to keep getting it.  And if anything, that is exactly the experience I had with the new line of Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads from Food For Life.  In particular, the gluten free Almond Bread has really struck a chord with me.

I can’t explain it.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was introduced to a couple of new breads on the market.  While the brand name has been producing gluten-free breads for awhile now, it wasn’t a brand that I actively sought out.  Yes, I saw it all the time in the freezer section of Whole Foods and other natural food stores, but I had grown accustomed to snagging Rudi’s or Udi’s or (now) the Aldi liveGfree brand or Canyon Bakehouse.  Food For Life was there…I just always overlooked it.

And why?

Who knows?  As an active (even now, with an on-the-mend injury) athlete, it’s important to properly fuel my body and eat wholesome foods.  Most products on the market for the gluten-free diet happen to be junk food.  It drives me nuts.  I hit that gluten-free section of a store and I can find a vast array of cookies, crackers, chips, pretzels, and the like.  It is one of the biggest pet peeves of the grocery store.  Yes, a lot of people with Celiac and gluten intolerance do miss out on some of the finer treats like Oreos and the like, but the shelves are literally overrun with products that aren’t going to feed your body right and healthy.

But Food For Life set out to change that.  Through a lot of research and development, Food For Life released the first ever gluten free breads made from sprouted grains, such as quinoa, millet and chia.  A majority of gluten-free breads, while satisfying the “gluten free” bread requirement, don’t address the overall health needs of consumers.  Without the gluten to give bread the soft, elasticity of regular breads, most manufacturers choose alternative ingredients that mimic the feel of gluten, using egg, milk, and refined starches in order to achieve a softer and chewier texture.  But these breads are created from ingredients that you wouldn’t expect to find in natural breads, many of which are devoid of nutrients.

Food For Life stepped up and decided to start a line with four varieties of completely gluten-free breads that were specifically created with the health of consumers in mind.  Not only are they gluten free, but they are also vegan and made from nutrition packed ingredients that have been sprouted to maximize nutrition and digestibility.

I was fortunate enough to be sent one loaf of each of the Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads from Food For Life.  These loaves come in Original 3 Seed, Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, and Flax.

This past week, I decided to reach into the freezer and pull out the loaf of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread.  Why?  Because I was about to make something sweet and savory, and somehow the thought of bread with a hint of almond flavoring just sounded like it would pair well.  I mean, do I really need a reason?  You see, I was serving this up as a side dish to my Mexican Corn Dip.  I had vegan Kite Hill Ricotta Cheese in my fridge and a jar of fig preserves from Charleston, South Carolina.  It was an odd side to have with the corn dip, but it actually worked out really well.

I simply preheated the oven and placed two slices of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread on the baking sheet.  Into the oven it went to get a nice toast on it.  When it was perfectly toasted, I removed the slices from the oven and let them cool slightly.  Then, each slice got a schmear of the Kite Hill Vegan Ricotta and then a dollop of the Charleston fig jam. I plated each slice with the corn salsa and dinner was strange…but served.

One bite, and I knew I was in love with this bread.  For real!  The Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread had the most amazing flavor that I have tasted in bread in a long time.  I was blown away with the slight hint of sweetness, making it the ideal vehicle for this spread of ricotta and jam that I topped it off.  It was heaven.  But this bread doesn’t have to be limited strictly to sweet spreads.  In fact, this morning I slathered two slices of it with mashed avocado and it was divine.  Honestly, the pairing of the sweet, nutty almonds makes this bread beyond amazing.  It makes it a nutritious powerhouse too.  The slight nutty flavor compliments anything that you could think to top it off with.  I have been impressed each time I have used this bread out of my freezer.  And, yes…it was delicious as a grilled cheese sandwich as well.  In fact, the nutty flavor with the vegan cheese that I put in my sandwich meshed so well.  Delicious any way you slice or slather it.  It’s fantastic.

Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread is made with organic almonds for extra flavor, nutrition and to help aid in blood glucose regulation.  This bread is specifically developed to help keep you on the go and perform at your best.  When you toast it…that rich nutty flavor is released and it is awesome.

So, what all goes into the making of Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread?  Well, it’s simple.  It really is.  This bread is made from organic sprouted quinoa (red and/or white), filtered water, organic arrowroot, organic potato starch, organic sprouted millet, organic tapioca, organic applesauce, fresh yeast, organic almond meal, organic safflower oil, organic cactus, organic sprouted chia seeds, organic agave, organic vanilla, sea salt, vegetable gum (xanthan, cellulose), and organic psyllium.  Made with sprouted chia, sprouted quinoa, and sprouted millet, this bread is a trio of health.  Not only is it made with sprouted grains (which are SO good for you!), it is also vegan, gluten-free, and high in fiber.  It is so rare for a gluten free bread to be high in fiber.  This is a welcome addition to my freezer.

So let’s discuss the nutritional information for the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread.  Since passing my final exam in personal nutrition for the nutrition course I was taking and moving on to the advanced nutrition,my nutrition course, I have learned that there is more to counting calories.  Sure, it is important, but it shouldn’t be the focus.  It’s all about the nutritional aspects of the food.  Avocados are high in fat and calories…but SO much better for you than that chocolate bar with the same amount of fat and calories.  See what I mean? A serving size is one (1) slice.  In this serving, you will be provided with 110 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 110 mg sodium, 19 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 1 gram sugars, and 2 grams of protein.  I was freaked out at first with the high calories per slice, but, again, not all calories are created equal and there is nothing fake going into this bread.  It’s all healthy, all good, all nutritious.  Making this a fantastic choice.

I used to turn my nose up at the Food For Life breads due to the high calories, but I have learned a lot about nutrition since then, and it turns out this is one of the best, nutrition-wise, gluten free breads on the market.  If you love a hint of nutty sweetness in your bread, I highly, highly recommend the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread. It was truly love at first bite.  A bit of a surprise, but this is, by far, one of my favorite gluten-free breads I have ever tasted.  I was very fortunate to be sent these loaves.  I spotted them in Whole Foods the other day.  I’m going to be well stocked for the future.

Vegan Ricotta and Charleston Fig Jam on top of toasted slices of Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread
Vegan Ricotta and Charleston Fig Jam on top of toasted slices of Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Almond Bread

Product Review: Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash

Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash
Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash

 Product: Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash – $9.90+/-

Sometimes trying to find balance in your diet isn’t easy.  There are some days my macro and micro nutrients are so out of whack that I have a hard time seeing where things went awry.  That being said…I am always looking for new and inventive ways to have a food that I love, minus the guilt and the excess.

Enter Cuisine Cube!  For those of you just tuning in, I have been a firm supporter and happy subscriber of Cuisine Cube for awhile now.  But, Cuisine Cube has gone through some changes as of May.  No longer do they strictly only offer gluten-free cubes.  In addition to their gluten-free option, they now also offer Artisan and Vegan cubes as well.  The Artisan cube means that you have no food allergies and foods that contain common food allergens will be included.  The Vegan cubes contain products that are dairy and animal free.  And, they still have the Gluten Free cubes, which will have products that contain no gluten or wheat.  These box subscriptions start at $34.99/month.  And, part of the charm is that you will receive 5-6 full-size (not sample size) products.  WOOT!  These usually fall into every meal category for the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and dessert…with an added bonus from time-to-time.  So, if you’re really interested in being introduced to the smaller, lesser-known, artisan companies, give Cuisine Cube a try!

So, when my February 2015 (Happy V-Day) Cuisine Cube arrived, I was happy, excited, elated, and over-the-moon happy to find an easy-to-prepare (not that the real thing is difficult, but this was certainly less time consuming) Cauliflower Mash from Zero Cuisine.  Now, I have heard and even made cauliflower mash before, but this was the first time I ever saw it come in packaged form.  I was beyond intrigued.  And yet, the perfect moment to use it never quite arrived…until just recently when I spotted a recipe for Portobella Mushroom Steaks.  What goes best with a steak (of sorts) than potatoes.  So, why not replace the mashed potatoes with something a bit healthier and lower in calories and carbohydrates?  It was ideal.

Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash in powdered form
Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash in powdered form

Zero Cuisine brings you a leaner, better-looking cousin of the traditional mashed potato.  Their Cauliflower Mash, available in two flavors – Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt and Wasabi & Chives – is a low carb, low calorie, low GI, gluten-free, preservative-free, high fiber, high in vitamins, all natural product that can easily replace your favorite starchy carbs with low carb vegetables which just about every diet recommends.  From the Ketogenic, Atkins, Paleo, diabetic diets…reducing carbohydrate intake is highly touted.  Zero Cuisine…just makes it easier for you to enjoy a substitute for starchy carbs without any guilt or any cravings for the carb-laden real thing.  Cuisine Cube included the Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt version in the February cube.

But, how good can a powdered form of cauliflower mash be?  Well…just as good, but healthier for you, than those powdered potato flakes that turn into mashed potatoes.  Honestly.  I had my doubts upon opening up this little package, but it was so quick, easy, and really tasty when all was said and done.

Let’s face it…it doesn’t get any easier than this…

In a saucepan, heat up water (4 ounces per serving, so if you make the entire thing like I did…2 cups of water) and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat and add 1/3 cup of the Cauliflower Mash powder (or…if you make the entire pouch instead of one serving…just pour the entire package) into the hot water.  Stir continuously until desired consistency is achieved, which for me was in less than 3 minutes.  Might have only taken a minute.  For extra creamy flavor, add butter and milk if your diet allows.

I didn’t add butter or milk, but I did get a beautiful, rich, thick cauliflower mash when all was said and done.  It was like really creamy mashed potatoes.  Great consistency.  Of course, the biggest test comes with the taste.

Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash (prepared)
Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash (prepared)

Zero Cuisine does a phenomenal job of capturing the texture of mashed potatoes with their Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash.  I was actually quite impressed as I watched the powder turn into this gorgeous swirl of thick mash.  And, with only a lack of a bit of seasoning, the flavors really stood out too.  The garlic and herbs don’t overpower the cauliflower itself.  It just would have been a bit bland if not for the seasoned portobello mushroom steak I was serving, which came with a sauce that I drizzled over the entire dish.  It was an amazing addition to the meal and took a lot of prep time out of the occasion.  It’s always best to make things yourself, but this is a healthy and very easy alternative when time restrictions play a huge part in your life.

Let’s talk about ingredients, shall we?  The Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash is made up of dried cauliflower, garlic and spices, sea salt, and guar gum.  It is naturally gluten-free, trans fat free, free of saturated fat, and cholesterol free.  Gotta love it.  Also, every pack of this cauliflower mash is made from approximately 2.6 pounds of fresh cauliflower and every serving of Zero Cuisine Cauliflower Mash contains 1-1/2 servings of vegetables.

As far as nutrition information goes…you’re going to love this even more.  A serving size is 1/3 cup package or 2/3 cup prepared.  There are 4 servings per container.  In one serving, you will be consuming 60 calories, 0.5 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 10 grams sugars, and 3 grams protein.  This is spectacular given that a regular serving of mashed potatoes would provide 160 calories, 24 grams carbs, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 445 mg sodium  HUGE difference.  Feel good about your food.  Eat something that is better for you and your body in the long run.

I need to find out where I can find this in my area, because Zero Cuisine made prep and cooking so easy.  Especially on hectic nights, this is something that is worth having in the pantry.  Loved the flavors and the texture of the Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash.  And it was because of Cuisine Cube, that I now know it exists.  Happiness comes in all sorts of packages!

Portobello Steak over Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash
Portobello Steak over Zero Cuisine Garlic, Herbs & Sea Salt Cauliflower Mash

Product Review: Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans

Eden Foods Organic Caribbean Rice and Black Beans
Eden Foods Organic Caribbean Rice and Black Beans

Product: Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans – $2.50+

Sometimes life gets a little crazy.  Sometimes life gets a lot crazy.  And sometimes, life just gets too busy to really plan ahead efficiently.  That has been my life as of late.  With the tedious and long hours spent doing my physical therapy stretches, and being in enough pain that it hurts to stand for long periods of time (sitting down isn’t always better), sometimes simple and hands off is what you need.

Thank goodness while out at Earth Fare one day, I snagged a can of Eden Foods cans of rice and beans.  It was on sale, as I recall, and I figured it was never a bad thing to have some sort of canned meal or side on hand…just in case.

Last week, it sure was a lifesaver when it came to lunch one day.  My weeks have been stressful and I’ve been battling my own little injured runner demons.  Sometimes, motivation to really do anything is lacking.  Sometimes, when I get home from work, all I want to do is collapse and not move for awhile.  But, usually, I have lunches and snacks to prepare for the following day, and then dinner for that evening to get going on top of it all.

I reached a breaking point last week and I was so happy to find this can of rice and beans in my pantry.  Like…seriously happy.  Who knew a canned good could bring so much relief and joy?

Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans is a really simple food to prepare.  Simply, open the can, and heat.  I used the stove top method, which involved putting it into a saucepan and warming it through.  I stirred it throughout the cooking period, and then dished it up into two (one for me and one for my roommate) Pyrex containers for the following day.  While it was warming, I was working on dinner.  It was the best feeling ever to accomplish two things at once without any additional stress or steps.

The next day, I small reheat in the microwave was all that was needed.  Lunch…was served.

The Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans was decent enough.  While I appreciate the BPA-free can and the low sodium, this dish was actually under-seasoned.  I had my roommate take a taste before I packed it up for lunch and she said it needed a hit of salt.  She’s a sodium-scardy-cat, so this was quite the surprise to hear.  I took a pinch of salt from my dish and added it, giving it another stir.  And she was happy enough with that.  It still was bland on it’s own, however, we both concluded that this would be the ultimate vegetarian burrito/taco filler.  In fact, I sort of want to buy another can and have taco night.  There wasn’t much heat in the spices, despite including cayenne pepper in the seasonings that go into this particular blend of rice and beans.  But, this meant that we could season and add as much spice/heat as we wanted individually.  I left it as it was, as I didn’t have my bottle of Cholula with me that day, nor any bereber or red pepper flakes.  So, yeah, on its own it was more than a little disappointing.  If it had been part of Taco Tuesday or something…it would be amazing.  While I was expecting a little more heat, it was very mild on the palate.  Not great, but not bad either.  I’d purchase it again for tacos…but not to have on its own.

Let’s talk about what goes into the Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans, shall we?  This product is made up of water, organic Lundberg short grain brown rice, organic black turtle beans, organic onion flakes, organic paprika, organic garlic powder, sea salt, organic cumin powder, organic cayenne powder, and organic cinnamon powder.  This product is gluten free, kosher, and cholesterol free.

Nutritionally speaking, however, you’ll love the facts on the Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans.  One serving is 1/2 cup and there are 3.5 servings in a can.  A serving will provide you with 120 calories, 1 gram fat, 100 mg sodium, 230 mg potassium, 23 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram sugars, 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.  It is filling and healthy for you.  It will definitely do your body good.  I just wish it had a bit more…flavor to it.

JUST THINK TACOS!

Anyway, while not wowed by the product, as stated, I would probably purchase another can of the Eden Foods Caribbean Rice and Black Beans for other purposes, aside from being eaten straight as my roommate and I did.  Decent food, that will keep for awhile, at a good price…sometimes that’s good enough.

If you do try these out…check the seasoning and spice levels.  You might want to add to it.

Recipe: Charleston Ice Cream

This might surprise you if you are unfamiliar with Carolina Gold Rice and/or Chef Sean Brock (owner of Husk in Charleston, SC and Nashville, TN)…but this isn’t really ice cream.  Not at all.  It’s a rice dish.

*SHOCK! GASP! DISBELIEF!*

But ever since I watched Sean Brock make this dish on Mind of a Chef, and really go in depth into how amazing Carolina Gold Rice really is…I not only wanted to try the rice, but I wanted to make this recipe as well.  Back in January, I went to Charleston, SC to run the Charleston Marathon, and while I was there, I hit up the market and purchased (for a hefty price…but worth it!) a sack of Carolina Gold Rice.  The actual phrase “ice cream” in this particular recipe refers more to the preparation, which involves a boil-and-strain initial cooking of the rice, and then the process of oven drying it to give it a better texture.  each grain is a distinct bit of food…no clumping.  As the rice dries and the butter is added, the rice simply becomes the star.  And that’s why it makes a simple, but perfect meal all on its own.

Since I had a bit of time yesterday, and since I wasn’t screamingly hungry, I went ahead and decided to use some of the field greens I got in my CSA bin as the topper for this dish and prepare it for dinner, using some of the Carolina Gold Rice I brought back from Charleston, SC.  It takes a little bit of time and patience, but the end result…is amazing, simple, and delicious.  A little elegant touch of the South right in your own home.  Trust me, you’ll rethink the way you prepare rice in the future.

Recipe: Charleston Ice Cream

Charleston Ice Cream
Charleston Ice Cream

Servings: 4
Time: Prep 5 minutes; Cook 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup Carolina gold rice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • Baby lettuces (or some julienned greens) (for serving)

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

In a heavy stockpot, bring the water, salt, pepper, and bay leaf to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add the rice, stir once, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain the rice.

Spread the rice onto a sheet tray.

Dry the rice in the oven, mixing occasionally. After 10 minutes, spread the butter evenly over the rice. Continue stirring every few minutes. The rice should be dry in about 15 minutes, and the grains should separate.

Serve by plating the Rice in a bowl and garnishing with the baby lettuces.

~*~*~

This recipe is super easy and really simple to prepare.  I was most concerned about the flavor being bland, but I promise, it’s not.  The simple addition of salt and white pepper to cook the rice in, not to mention the bay leaf, brings in a huge amount of flavor.  And don’t skip the greens.  They are refreshing and add a great texture and flavor to the finished dish.  It’s an unconventional way of cooking rice, yes.  But, damn…it’s amazing!

I am definitely hooked on Charleston Ice Cream.  And…will want to keep Carolina Gold Rice in my pantry forever from now on.  If you don’t have Carolina Gold Rice, any long grain rice will substitute for it.  But, if at all possible, order some in, get your hands on some, and try it.  You’ll be amazed.

Product Review: Van’s Gluten Free Rotini and Red Sauce

Van's Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce
Van’s Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce

 Product: Van’s Gluten Free Rotini and Red Sauce – $3.99+

It’s been one of those weeks.  Seriously.  I’m recovering (slowly) from my awful, awful, painful Boston Marathon.  To top it all off, my produce bin didn’t arrive as scheduled on Friday.  So, all weekend I was left scrambling with ideas as to what to make for dinner and how little grocery shopping I could get away with in trying to manage exactly that.  The answer…I still had to hit up the produce at the grocery store, and my CSA bin was redelivered to me on Monday evening.  But for that weekend…I was not in a good spot.

Thankfully, I have a pantry full of things that have been just dying for me to pick them off the shelf and try.  And when push comes to shove, Saturday was going to be all about some pasta.  I have a few gluten-free pastas (just the noodles and then some dishes like this) in my pantry for just such occasions…because pasta is easy and a very common go-to for me. Because I LOVE pasta.

I listed off some options to the roomie, and ultimately Cathy made the final say.  “Let’s try that last Van’s thing.”

And so it came to pass that “the last Van’s thing” was going to make its way from pantry shelf to full-on meal in my kitchen.  Moving on up!

You see, awhile back I had picked up three boxes of the Van’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Pasta Sides, which I had discovered at Walmart, of all places, way ahead of anywhere else in the area carrying them.  I snagged one of each flavor and happily stocked my pantry with them.  I have already had the Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta and the Ultimate Cheddar Penne as well.  So…this time it was Rotini & Red Sauce’s turn to shine.

Van’s Gluten Free choices have never disappointed me.  Not once.  Not ever.  They are my waffle of choice, above all others, even the new Gluten-Free Eggo’s.  That’s a huge thing!!  But Van’s puts a lot of love and care into their packaged foods.  And Van’s does believe that nutritious is delicious and that’s why they make their gluten-free pastas with whole grain brown rice, delivering more than a full serving of nutrient dense whole grains.  You can always add in some vegetables or chicken (if you eat meat…which I don’t…) in order to bulk up the pasta sides and make these more of an entrée.  But as my roommate and I take something that serves three and split it between the two of us…it’s the perfect amount in the end.

Cooking up the Van’s Gluten Free Rotini and Red Sauce takes all but 10 minutes.  Seriously.  Just boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan.  Add the pasta and allow it to return to a boil.  Let it cook for 7-8 minutes.  The noodles will become al dente.  Do not overcook.  Gluten-free noodles are an awful thing overcooked.  Drain the noodles and give them a rinse.  Then, add the marinara sauce to the saucepan, heating on low.  Stir often.  Put the pasta back into the pan with the marinara and heat through.  Enjoy.

I served this up with a gluten-free dinner roll that I baked up a few weeks ago.  It made a perfect, perfect, perfect dinner.  The rotini (which is actually red) cooked up really perfectly.  It wasn’t mushy and didn’t crumble apart when I stabbed at it with my fork.  The pasta sauce was rich and flavorful.  I sort of wish there was a little more sauce when all was said and done, but there was the perfect amount to lightly coat the noodles and serve them up.  This was a filling entree, and would serve at least 4 people as a side dish to a bigger main dish.  I enjoyed this one, but it was my least favorite of the three pasta sides that Van’s created.  Not that it wasn’t good.  It was. But it was something I easily could have made with things I have at home in the same amount of time.  It was nothing special.  But it was quite tasty.  If more sauce had been present, I would have used my dinner roll to mop it up.  But…the sauce was just enough…no extra.  Still…a solid, delicious pasta dish.

Van’s is very proud of the ingredients they put into their products.  Seriously.  They state this on the box.  And the ingredients that go into Van’s Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce are simple.  These ingredients include gluten free penne pasta (brown rice flour, red lentil flour, beet powder, tomato powder), marinara sauce (tomatoes, water, tomato paste, olive oil, onions, sugar, basil, garlic, salt, citric acid, and black pepper).  It is gluten-free, kosher, contains no artificial colors or flavors, has a full serving of whole grains, is egg-free, and is dairy-free.

As far as nutrition goes, a serving of Van’s Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce is about 1 cup prepared.  This box contains about 2.5 servings.  This will dish up 250 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 160 mg sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, and 12 grams of protein.  This side dish is cholesterol free.

So, while this was a simple and basic meal, it was easy to make and served up a fantastic dish for my roommate and I to share.  Of the three, however, this would probably be the one I wouldn’t pick up again.  Not that it wasn’t good…it just wasn’t as memorable as the others.

Van's Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce (prepared)
Van’s Gluten Free Rotini & Red Sauce (prepared)

Product Review: Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit

Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit
Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit

Product: Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit – $4.99+

It was the start of a new year.  Yes.  January 2015.  And what happens at the start of a brand new year?  New Year’s Resolutions!  WOOO!!  I am proud to say that I don’t make resolutions, because I don’t like to make promises I can’t keep.  I do, however, try to make each year a good one and try to improve on some things.

Like…eating better.

Well, my New Year 2015 (January) Cuisine Cube, took a lot of the work out of that by providing a box of 6 healthy choices for food/snacks.  YAY!  So, as you all are pretty much aware, Cuisine Cube is a delivery subscription service that brings smaller, lesser-known, artisan products from the gluten-free food world to your door.  Yes, some of them I have heard of…but most I haven’t.  And that’s the beauty of this service.  Without it, I’d have no idea that some of these products or companies even existed.  And, subscriptions start for as low as $29.99/month.  It’s a great deal and a great service.  If you haven’t tried it or have been meaning to give it a try…do it.  You’ll end up loving it as much as I do.

So, January was all about healthy products it seemed.  And the product that was packed inside for the Lunch option was this great little Indian spiced meal kit from Jaali Bean.  It was the Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit.  It sounded beyond delicious as I am a huge…and I mean HUGE…lover of Indian food.  Around here, I can find a plethora of the Tasty Bite Indian meals, but this was the first time I ever heard of Jaali Bean.  Already, I was intrigued.

Jaali Bean was created by Brian and Molina Junkins, a husband and wife team who shared a passion for food, family, and healthy living.  They also had a passion for helping people discover the amazing flavors and tastes that are incorporated in Indian cuisine.  They challenge everyone to toss aside their preconceived notions about preparing Indian cuisine at home, because they make it all happen within minutes with these great little kits they put together.  It is super easy and the are just loaded with all-natural ingredients and all the spices that make you fall in love with Indian food.

They really do make it easy.  The Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit comes with two packages attached.  Inside is the brown rice and lentil mixture.  In the smaller pouch…the spices.  Simply set a pot on medium-high heat and heat up 1 tablespoon of oil.  Put the spice packet in and stir for about 40-50 seconds.  You’ll know when it’s done when you get that amazing aroma out of the spices.  Do not burn them.  Add 2-1/4 cup water and bring to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let it cook for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and give it a stir.  Let it sit for an additional 5 minutes.  All the extra liquid will get absorbed.  Trust me.  It works.  You are left with a fantastic pot of moist and creamy looking rice that smells as amazing as it looks.

But the true test is always with the taste.

And, let me tell you…Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Rice Kit cooks up an amazing taste of India.  Better than Tasty Bite…and as close to authentic restaurant quality as possible at home.  Amazing.  I grew up eating Indian food, thanks to my neighbors up the way, who were from India.  The cuisine has always resonated with me.  And I know what is good and what isn’t.  Jaali Bean is delicious.  Seriously…delicious.  The rice cooks up rich and creamy, seasoned to perfection.  It’s mild in flavor, so add a kick of your own heat if, like me, you like things a little spicier.  I think my only complaint was that there wasn’t enough peas for my liking.  How’s that for a complaint, eh?  Seriously, perfectly seasoned and it cooks up beautifully.  Nothing else I have had packaged has come close to tasting this close to the real deal.  I am beyond impressed.

So…let’s discuss what all goes into the Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit, shall we?  This kit is a combination of par boiled long grain brown rice, orange masoor lentils, peas, spices (which include cumin, mustard seeds, coriander, dried red chili powder, and amchur powder), salt, cane sugar, tomato granules, and nutritional yeast.  It is gluten-free, cholesterol free, vegan, and non-GMO.

As for the nutrition information in regards to Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit…I was very impressed.  A serving is 1 cup and there are 4 servings per package.  Each serving will provide 160 calories, 2 grams of fat, 380 mg sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams sugar, 4 grams fiber, and 6 grams of protein.  Healthy, filling, and delicious.  You can’t go wrong.

Honestly, I’ve never seen Jaali Bean products around here, so without my subscription to Cuisine Cube, I might still be in the dark.  With that being said…these products are now on my radar and I know how to get my hands on them via the Internet, if I can’t find any here.  And that, my friends, is a very good thing.  I’ll definitely keep these on hand for a quick and easy go-to meal.

On a side note, this product wraps up my January 2015 cube.  The only product I didn’t get to blog on was the Budi Bar, because somehow I missed the note on freezing it and it got all fuzzy and moldy.  I was sad when I had to throw it away.  But…perhaps I’ll run across them somewhere around here.  Or, I’ll just order one online.  We’ll see.

Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit (prepared)
Jaali Bean Cumin and Pea Lentil & Brown Rice Kit (prepared)

Product Review: Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal

Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal
Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal

Product: Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal – $4.99+

It was the heat of the summer – July 2014.  Yes…think back with me.  I was in my third month of Cuisine Cube and was sent a box full of goodies, most of which I have already used up.  Only two remained.  One is the Citrus Herb breadcrumbs, which is meant for chicken, but as a vegetarian, I’ll repurpose them (like on broccoli or tofu or something)…and the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentils.

If you’re veterans of my blog, you know all about the amazing delivery service that is Cuisine Cube.  If you are new, then let me give you a quick run-down.  Cuisine Cube is a gluten-free subscription box that specializes in pantry/meal items, delivered to your door once a month.  Included are 5-6 products, not samples, but full-size products, that cover breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, a snack…and then an added bonus once and awhile.  It’s fantastic.  I’ve been introduced to products and small artisan companies that specialize in gluten-free products that I otherwise never would have known about.

One of these is definitely Lentilicious.  Lentilicious originated in a small town near Byron Bay, Australia.  It was a startup company for two women who wanted to share their love of quick, easy and nutritious food – mainly lentils.  Lentils are a nutrient dense “superfood” that cooks up quickly without having to soak them.  Lentils are bursting with planty protein and dietary fiber, and red lentils, such as those found in Lentilicious meals, are low on the glycemic index and also low in fat.  Lentilicious offers a package that is nutrient rich, quick to make, portable, and a surefire way to keep you full and provide sustained energy.  Oh…it’s also good for you.

So…now almost a year had gone by and these were still in my pantry.  Definitely no good.  I’m working my way through my pantry and freezer and finally getting to the stuff that I’ve put aside for way too long.  I am so sorry that I waited so long to try the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentils.  Why?  Well…you’re about to find out.

First of all, Lentilicious meals are super easy to make.  It takes 20 minutes of your day.  That’s it.  You can cook them in the microwave or on the stove.  I opted for the stovetop…which was just more convenient for me.  Either way…20 minutes.  So, to prepare by stovetop, I simply poured the entire packet of lentils and spices into the pot and covered with 3 cups of cold water.  I simply brought that to a boil, lowered the heat, and allowed it to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, just stirring every now and again.  That’s it.  EASY!  I cooked this up while I was cooking dinner.  It required no extra supervision.  Because, this was going to be lunch for my roommate and I for half of this week.  Monday and Tuesday…this was what we were having.  And, as it cooked up, I could already tell I was going to love it.

In fact, I reheated these at work both days, and each day I was complimented on how delicious my lunch smelled.  But, food is all about the scent and the flavor.  So…it was time to give it a taste.  Let me say this…AMAZING!!  This tastes like a lentil chili.  The texture and the flavors are phenomenal.  I thought it was spiced up to perfection, with a mild hit of Mediterranean spices and this creamy, yet “meaty” dish.  I was in love at first bite and would savor each spoonful.  Total win!  It was also filling and just tasty.  Beyond impressed.  Already making some plans to seek it out or at least order it online.

With all that being said, let’s take a look at what goes into the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal.  This meal is made up of red split lentils, sundried tomatoes, onion flakes, sea salt, and contains less than 2% spices.  That’s it.  Clean eating, indeed!! This product is gluten-free, vegan, kosher, low GI, non-GMO, 97% fat free, high in protein and high in fiber.  LOVE IT!

As for nutrition, a pouch of the Lentilicious Mediterranean Lentil Meal contains 4 servings.  Each serving will provide you with 180 calories, 1 gram of fat, 240 mg sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.  AMAZING!  Lentils and I are BFFs forever.

Once again, Cuisine Cube delivered an amazing product!  Totally loving, and now on the hunt for, Lentilicious.  If you are looking for an amazing plant-based source of protein…lentils are a fantastic choice.  Even better…you simply have to add water to and cook up!  Lentilicious for the big win!

Product Review: Van’s Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne

Van's Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne
Van’s Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne

Product: Van’s Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne – $3.99+

I am a do-it-yourself kind of girl these days when it comes to pastas.  Not so much making my own gluten-free pasta noodles (I haven’t gotten to that level yet), but I prefer to make my own pasta meals instead of buying the boxed stuff…just because I get some say into what goes into my meal.  That being said, sometimes…I make exceptions to this rule.

Such an exception came to pass awhile back, when on a rare trip to Walmart, I discovered that Van’s had come out with a small line of gluten free pasta sides (or meals in my case).  Seriously!  I think I knew that the gluten-free pastas were around, I had just never seen them in my area out in the wild.  Apparently, braving Walmart does have it’s advantages.  I won’t lie…my Walmart has a rather extensive and impressive gluten-free section.  So it was really no wonder I found these there.  I just never go to Walmart…so it was a nice coincidence in the end.

Prior to this one, I reviewed the Van’s Gluten Free Creamy Herb and Garlic Pasta, which I dished up to not just  my roommate, but my good friend and roomie’s sister – Amanda.  Now, Amanda doesn’t get exposed much to gluten-free foods…unless I subject her to them.  And she loved the Creamy Herb & Garlic Pasta when we enjoyed it for dinner one night.  That left two other gluten-free pasta dishes in my pantry from Van’s.  And last night, after a long week, I just wanted a brainless meal to prepare and enjoy.  Something warm and comforting, as it was a rainy night to boot.  I went to the pantry and spotted the remaining two boxes of Van’s Gluten Free Pastas: Ultimate Cheddar Penne and Rotini and Red Sauce.  I had my roommate make the final decision…and knew before I even asked that she would go cheese.  When I ask her anything and one items involves cheese…that is the one that will be selected.  No problem though.  Totally game.

Van’s Gluten Free choices have never disappointed me.  Never.  Never ever.  That’s a lot to live up to, mind you.  But Van’s puts a lot of love and care into their packaged foods.  And Van’s does believe that nutritious is delicious and that’s why they make their gluten-free pastas with whole grain brown rice, delivering more than a full serving of nutrient dense whole grains.  The cheese sauce over a perfectly cooked pasta…that’s love to me.  Seriously.  And, you can always add in some vegetables or chicken (if you eat meat…which I don’t…) in order to bulk it up.  But as my roommate and I take something that serves three and split it between the two of us…it’s the perfect amount in the end.

Van’s Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne is a breeze to prepare.  Seriously.  Simply boil 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan.  Add the pasta and allow it to return to a medium boil for about 8-9 minutes, until it is al dente.  Stir occasionally though, so that it doesn’t stick to the pan.  Very important.  Oh…and DO NOT overcook the pasta.  Rice pasta can go from perfect to mush in a moment.  So keep an eye on it.  Drain the pasta and give it a rinse.  In the pan you cooked the pasta in, add 3 tablespoons of fat free milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance), and allow it to melt together over a low heat.  Then whisk in the cheddar powder until it is smooth.  Then, add the pasta back into the pan and stir them together.  Serve.

Oh…this was good.  Think Kraft Mac & Cheese…but better.  WAY better.  The pasta cooked up perfectly.  It didn’t take too long, but it had that right bit of al dente-ness to it.  I think I just made up a word there…but go with it.  The sauce though…that’s where the magic happens.  No…this sauce is not vegan.  Yes…it has milk in it…but by using the dairy alternatives for the butter and milk, I cut back on the dairy I was consuming. It worked.  The lactose intolerance was there, but it was mild because there isn’t a lot of dairy in this little box of cheesy pasta goodness.  I know, my homemade gluten-free (and dairy free) mac and cheese rocks, but when I don’t have time to do all the prep work and baking that goes into it…this is a definite contender to have on hand in my kitchen for nights where I want a big bowl of comfort food in a snap.  Deliciously creamy, cheesy noodle-y goodness.

One thing that Van’s proudly states is that they use only ingredients that they are proud of.  And that is definitely evident when I read over the list of ingredients they use for the Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne.  These ingredients are gluten-free penne pasta (brown rice flour, white rice flour), aged cheddar cheese seasoning (cheddar cheese nonfat milk, salt, shey, sugar, buttermilk, rice flour, natural flavors, annatto extract (for color).  Nothing too spooky or weird there, right?  That’s right.  Van’s Gluten Free Ultimate Cheddar Penne is gluten-free, kosher, egg free, contains no trans fats, and has no artificial flavors.

So, how about the nutritional value of a big bowl of gluten-free cheesy pasta noodles?  Actually…not too bad.  Not at all.  Before it’s prepared, the with butter and milk (of your choice), a serving (with 3 per box) contains 210 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.  A serving also has 5 mg cholesterol, 520 mg sodium, and 3 grams of sugar.  One serving will also give you 48 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of protein.  It will be filling, even as a side.

Once again, Vans Gluten Free has lived up to its standards and name.  These little boxes of pasta are not only convenient, but easy to make and delicious too.  No one would guess they were gluten free if you didn’t tell them.  Yep…when I am in a pinch, these might be my go-to meals.  Super impressed once again!

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!