Product Review: Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Spread

Dollop Gourmet Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting

Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting

Product: Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Spread – $8.99+

Okay, let me start off this blog by saying…I do not like frosting.  Well, I do, but in minimal amounts.  In other words…usually…not at all.  In fact, growing up, whenever birthdays happened in my family, my mom served me cake without the frosting…and gave my sister the frosting…because she didn’t want cake…she just wanted the frosting.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve either scraped off the frosting or just grin and bear it, making sure I have more cake on the fork than frosting.  It’s a precise ratio.  Trust me.

SCIENCE!

So, you might ask…what the HELL am I doing buying a frosting product??!!

You’d be totally in the right for inquiring, to be honest.  With that kind of lead-in and a full product review for…FROSTING…pending…it’s a natural question to ask.  The answer…I heard about Dollop Gourmet through Instagram…the pictures always looked so good, so I began following them…and my roommate was drunk when I went grocery shopping and spotted the jar on the shelf (first time seeing the product in the grocery store wild) and I get whatever I want when my roomie is tipsy and grocery shopping with me.  So…gourmet frosting it was.

I’m a social media compulsive buyer.  I can’t help myself.

Before I go much further, if you are unfamiliar with Dollop Gourmet…let’s change that. Dollop Gourmet All Natural Frosting was started by Heather Saffer, winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and author of The Dollop Book of Frosting.  She  found herself regularly buying these amazing cookies from a little local bakery near the car dealership where she worked, but they were topped with “the most dreadful frosting.”  Saffer is passionate about frosting, always fighting for a corner piece of the cake…and it was this artificial frosting at this little bakery that set Saffer on her new mission – to reinvent frosting (and life).

Saffer taught herself how to bake and opened up the first Cupcake Bar in her hometown of Rochester, NY.  Dollop Gourmet Cupcake Creations became an award winning interactive bakery.  In 2012, she took her cupcakes and frosting to Food Network, competing and winning the hit TV show, Cupcake Wars.  As you can imagine, business boomed at Dollop Gourmet Cupcake Creations.  But then, one day, Saffer realized that she wasn’t having fun anymore, so she sold her stores and began to focus on the part of the cupcake that she truly loved – the frosting.  She wrote her first frosting cookbook and then set ou tto create a mindful product that would inspire unique and honest experiences, and to be living proof that you can turn nothing into something.  In other words, proof that frosting isn’t just for cake and that you can pretty much spread some frosting love on just about anything.  Saffer makes sure that Dollop Gourmet All Natural Frostings are made with premium ingredients, and all five (5) of the available flavors are gluten-free, non-GMO, and 100% junk-free.  Gluten-free and vegan frosting that you can literally eat with a spoon, scoop up with pretzels, schmear on a bagel…or just top off those baked goods…I think she’s onto something.

So, with a tipsy roommate ready to spend money on whatever I point out, and my delightful shrieks that I have finally found Dollop Gourmet in stores (because…I have been stalking them on Instagram and I need it in my life now), I grabbed a jar (yes…a jar) of it off the shelf to bring home with me.  Meijer, the store that made my night by carrying this product, only had 2 flavors, so I went with the most obvious one…Peanut Butter Cookie Dough.  Everyone knows, when it comes to me, if it involves peanut butter…it’s going to win.  And with that…it found a home in my pantry.

Fast forward to this morning.  I’m rushing around, trying to get things prepared for when I get home from spin class, while trying to eat some fruit and yogurt and get out the door to get to spin class…obviously…I need to reevaluate my life choices at times (like not crawling back into bed for that 1 minute that turns into 30, HAHA!)…and realizing I didn’t have any more of the yogurt for a recipe I intended to finally make for breakfast when I got home.  I was eating it…with my strawberries and granola.  Because…this is my life.  I knew I had jam, which was part of the recipe, but that yogurt…what to do?

After getting to spin with only 5 minutes to spare and sweating it out on the bike…I had one of those “A-HA” moments!  I recalled the jar of Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough frosting in my pantry and figured…that should be tasty with my Downton Abbey Christmas Preserves and the Irish Soda Bread in a Mug (the recipe I was going to cook up…in the microwave).  So…there it was.  Inspiration at 5:30 a.m.  And by 7 a.m…frosting with breakfast.  Hey…it works on toaster pastries and cinnamon rolls, why not bread from a mug?

It took about 2 minutes to get the mixture of oats (that I turned into flour), sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and other goodies needed to make the bread ready, to cook up to a perfect consistency in the mugs in the microwave.  But when they got there, they were turned out of the mug and onto a plate, where I ladled some of the fruit preserves on top, then followed it up with a ginormous scoop of Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting, and then more of the preserves.  It looked fantastic, I won’t lie.  I couldn’t wait to try it out.

I delivered one to my roomie and I took up the other one.  She was already digging in by the time I got seated, as I had to pour my coffee and take pictures for the blog, you know?  Priorities.  But when I dug in…oh yeah!!  GOOD!

So…here’s the deal.  Dollop Gourmet All Natural Frosting is just that…amazing, sugary, delicious frosting.  And how does someone who doesn’t like frosting like it?  Well…for frosting, it’s pretty damn good.  I took a little bit of it on its own to try, and yeah…it’s sweet and sugary and everything I don’t like about frosting, but I wasn’t offended by this at all.  Would I eat it straight out of the jar…no.  Would my roommate…yes.  But she’s a frosting freak (she’s frosting freaky)…and that would totally be her thing.  With all of that being said…let me tell you more about the Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting.  It tastes…like sugary sweet peanut butter cookie dough.  No false advertising there.  What it is…is what it is.  And while I’m a definite lover of peanut butter, this was almost too sweet for me.  But…it’s not peanut butter…it’s peanut butter frosting.  HA!!  This would be fantastic sandwiched between cookes, stuffed into cupcakes, topping off brownies, as a dip for apples, pretzels, etc.  It is a fresh palate, anyway  you choose to consume it.  Topping off an Irish Soda Bread (made GF) that I cooked up in a mug, pairing it with a sweet plumb jam…it was like the ultimate breakfast PB&J on raisin bread.  Everything worked together, and that was the magic.  Also, as the bread was hot from the mug, the dollop of Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cooke Dough Frosting that I put on top…melted…like peanut butter…and was a delight to sponge up with the bread and jam.

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Irish Soda Bread in a Mug (and then out of a mug) topped with Downton Abbey Christmas Preserves and Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting

This frosting didn’t change my life…but it did make me more aware of how frosting, when done right, can do magical things to simple recipes.  Forget yogurt on this one…frosting!!  It made for a nice Friday breakfast treat for sure.

Let’s discuss what ingredients go into the Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough frosting, shall we?  This product is made from organic, sustainably-sourced palm shortening, powdered organic cane sugar, peanut butter (peanuts, cane sugar, palm fruit oil, salt), brown sugar (sugar, molasses), vanilla extract, salt, rice bran extract, and natural flavors.  This product is 100% gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, and has half the sugar of regular frosting (but is still sweet!)

As for nutritional information, well…it is frosting, so keep that in mind, HA!  A serving of the Dollop Gourmet All Natural Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Frosting is 2 tablespoons (24 grams) an there are about 14 servings per jar.  A serving will dish up 150 calories, 12 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 35 mg sodium, 10 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

If you love frosting, or are just looking for something new to dress up your baked goods, breakfast, or snacks…you should truly try Dollop Gourmet All Natural Frosting.  I did enjoy this, even though I’m not big on frosting.  It wasn’t bad at all.  It did taste, dead up, like cookie dough, so there is that.  We all know I’m a cookie monster…so offering a frosting that tastes like two of my favorite worldly things…peanut butter…and cookies…a definite win!

Dollop Gourmet All Natural Frosting is available in these flavors: Madagascar Vanilla, Hot Chocolate, Firebomb Cinnamon Spice, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, and Sea Salted Caramel.  If you can’t find them at any local stores, you can seek them out online here!

Love frosting or just have a passing acquaintance with it…you’ll find a reason to love Dollop Gourmet!  That was unexpected.

Easter Treats

Last weekend I was out of town and was on the go the entire time (not a bad thing!), so sitting down and sharing some of the high points of my week was not an option.  And while I’ve been pressed for time this week…and with the fact that it’s Easter and I spent much of my morning doing meal prep for the week, and the afternoon over at Amanda & Richie’s for dinner with the family…it has left me with little time to really plot out my blog.

This week has been a big hot mess of fatigue.  My trip to New York City was amazing, but I was dead on my feet. I got in well after midnight on Tuesday, and still hauled myself out of bed early to get to my 5:30 am spin class on Wednesday morning.  I was exhausted, but I was glad I went.  Early mornings and late nights followed, trying to make up some time and work from being out of the office for 2 full days…and it all got done in the end, but it was some really busy, long days.

All that being said…there is plenty to be happy and thankful for this week.  And being tired due to having the opportunity and ability to go out of town and see places and do things…is more than enough.  It makes the overwhelming fatigue that I felt yesterday worth it.  In the end.

So, here are a few treats to share this Easter that just made me happy this week.

1. NEW YORK CITY

It was my first actual distance race back after returning to running after over a year.  A half marathon.  It was one that I had to defer last year because of the hip labrum (which we didn’t even know was the issue at that point).  The chance to run it this year had me feeling nervous and excited and happy all at the same time.  The weather was bitter cold and super windy (what’s new, NYC?!), but every mile was magical for me.  I felt good.  And definitely surprised myself when I came in to the finish line well ahead of what I thought I was capable of.

But this was more than just the race.  I got to meet up with my friend Ellen (who was also running) the day before the race.  And…I got to see my friend from high school, Marisa, not once, but twice.  I love seeing Marisa when I am in the city.  She knows all these great places to check out and has suggestions about things to see when we are in various areas.  I drank in every bit of NYC…enjoyed amazing food…great company…and yeah…went on a little run.

Finishing the race was a gift in and of itself…finishing it faster than I thought I was capable of…a surprise…being uninjured at the end and able to wander around NYC for the rest of the day…a blessing…hanging out with good people who make my life better…priceless.

Can I go back now?

2.  Gluten Free Easter Treats
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My allergen-free bakery is at it again for the Easter holiday.  They often do up a good number of Easter treats, and this year they had some new ones to indulge in.  You better believe I ordered some of everything.  Two egg sugar cookies, 2 chocolate bunnies, and 6 sunbutter chocolate truffles.  I’ve already indulged more than a little.  As always, Annie May’s Sweet Cafe makes the most delicious treats.  They go all-out for these holidays and I’m proud to support them and indulge myself in the amazing goodness they put out on a daily basis.  If you are in Louisville, Kentucky…you need to stop in.  Their gluten-free pizza, soft pretzels (only on Wednesday) and all their standard goodies…are fantastic.  You can even order some of their stuff online.  DO IT!!

3.  Back On Track With Home Cooked, Fresh, Vegan Meals
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While I am never one to deny myself good food and treats while I am on vacation…often the week I get back, I’m living off the stuff in my fridge and my pantry.  This morning, I enjoyed spending 3 hours of my time prepping healthy, plant-based meals for the rest of the coming week.  I have soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and some rice dishes planed.  All healthy.  All vegan.  All completely and totally YUMMY!  It feels good to get back to cooking my delicious and healthy foods up again to enjoy for (sometimes) breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the week.  Easy to enjoy as I do all the work ahead of the time.  Makes those crazy hill repeat days and spin class days and just…hectic days that much easier.  Cooking is love.  Eating is fun.  And this kind of food makes me feel better about myself and how I am fueling and feeding this body.

4.  Zootopia Dress and Officer Judy Hopps
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While in NYC, Cathy wanted to buy me a present for finishing a great NYC Half Marathon race.  So…I thought about getting the stuffed animal from the Disney Store in Times Square of Officer Judy Hopps in her uniform.  She is apparently very popular…they kept selling out.  Judy is apparently very popular.  So, we ended up getting her back in our Disney Store in Louisville.  Super happy.  I love her.

And then, later on that day while making a random stop at Target, I noticed a dress in the girls section of Zootopia.  It was totally adorable.  It was also an XL.  And I held it up and thought…”I wonder if this would fit me.”  Well, I took it to the dressing room, so ready to be disappointed…but…IT FIT!!  So, I bought it.  Yep…I’m 35 years old and shopping in the girls section.  Seriously…I wore the dress today with some leggings.  TOTALLY adorable.  So much love for Zootopia.

5.  Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt

I love my downstairs neighbors.  They’re the best.  They are also moving…(seriously…this bums me out!).  Not far…but they won’t just be a staircase away anymore.  Anyway, they invited Cathy and I out for a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt on Friday night.  I had SUCH a blast.  So much fun.  I’m so glad they thought to have us out so we could hide and seek eggs with them, and their adorable and awesome son as well.  Yep…it’s going to be hard to let them leave.  But, we’re already talking about all the get-togethers we’ll still have.  And girls nights.  Those are important too.  It just will involve some drive time.  We’re totally making this work.  Anyway…glow in the dark anything is awesome.  Easter egg hunt…a total blast.  Even in the cold night air.

6. A New PR

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It was one of those runs that I end up running faster than I feel I am running.  The Papa John’s 10 Miler felt so EASY to me.  The hills are always hard…but I climbed them.  I beat them.  And I had so much left in me at the finish line.  AND…I had a new 2 minute PR…in a race I was just running as I felt.  I wasn’t trying for a PR or trying to run fast.  It just happened.  Even with the hip protesting for 8 of the 10 miles.  I am shocked and surprised.  But what a feeling.  I hope, one day, to feel comfortable to push like I used to.  Right now, running what I feel has shown me that I still have more in me.  One day I’ll harness it.  I’m just not ready yet.  But a new PR is a new PR.  And I’m proud of it and happy to have it.

Life is sweet…and hopefully only getting better!!

How was your Easter week?

Product Review: Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze

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Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cream Cheeze

Product: Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze – $7.99+

Not surprisingly, one of the things I miss the most is real…actual…cheese.  My lactose intolerance has not only gotten worse over the past year, but it makes indulging in things like cheese…virtually impossible anymore.  The same goes for ice cream, but, I sometimes try and pray that the lactase enzyme supplements help (sometimes they do…more often than not…they don’t).  But cheese and I don’t really get along at all these days.

Which sucks.

Mightily.

But then…by magical happenstance (perhaps rainbow unicorn pixie dust)…one day while “just browsing” at Whole Foods, I stumbled upon Heidi Ho Organics, which was apparently featured on Shark Tank and has really made a name for itself in the vegan cheese market.  I figure there must be a vegan cheese markets.  Vegans love cheese too…they just don’t eat it. But, obviously, they want to…because vegan cheese is made.  And consumed.  A lot.

Heidi Ho was created by Heidi K. Lovig, a fanatic about farm-to-table dining, sustainability, seasonal menus, and buying local.  This vegan chef honed in on her skills during her time living on the Big Island of Hawaii in a sustainable community where she managed an eco hostel and farm.  She trained with vegans and raw foodies from around the world, thus developing a deeper connection to the ingredients she uses in her cooking.  Lovig moved to Portland a few years ago and began training at Le Cordon Bleu to obtain her degree in Culinary Arts.  With a focus on local, organic, and sustainable practices, she turned her attention to the environmental issues humans have created due to food supply structures and our current system of distribution.  At her side is Lyssa M. Story, “the Boss” at Heidi Ho.  She runs the show and is the brains behind every facet of its operations.  From HR to business plans and projections, to law, licensing, accounting, banking, money, organization, and keeping Chef Heidi on track.  Story has an extensive background in the food and beverage industry, and attended the Western Culinary Institute Le Cordon Bleu, where she received an Associates degree in Occupational Studies – Hospitality and Restaurant Management. Story was raised on the standard American diet, which, over time, jeopardized her health.  At the age of 22, she began a plant based and whole foods diet.

So, these two ladies set out to create delicious plant-based cheezes using ingredients that are healthier for their consumers…as well as the planet.  Hedi Ho is the future of cheese – aiming to be the cheese that creates change.  They take great pride in the values they uphold in their company and products.  They sell cheeze that is superior in flavor and quality over the rest on the market.

Guess what…they succeed.  The introduction of this plant-based comfort food is a game changer for vegans out there.  They say on their Web site that their Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze  is “a delicious live culture cashew cheeze made from simple plant-based ingredients.  It’s like goat cheese without the goat.”  In fact, Ne Chevre means “No Goat” in French.  So…that’s really straight forward.  HAHA!

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Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze on a Sweet Note Gluten Free Tomato Basil Bagel


The Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Cultures Cashew Cheese is a fantastic spreadable cheese that would be perfect for crackers, or sprinkled over salads, or even just spread across a savory gluten-free bagel (which is what I did with it!  Oh, and then later did it again, topping it with marinara and dried basil for bagel pizzas…oh yeah!).  Who needs vegan cream cheese when you can spread a non-goat goat cheese over something packed with tomato and basil flavors, right?  A great product to pair with white wines, grapes, walnuts and spicy jams, this is a versatile and crazy-good spread.  I loved the texture (creamy, not gritty) and the wow-power of the flavor (not as strong as goat cheese, but bringing this powerful flavor that mimics goat cheese).  Seriously, this would be good in just about anything.  Maybe even subbing it for ricotta cheese in lasagnas or such.  I know, for me, it upped my bagel game to 11.  Heidi Ho Organics may have created the Spinal Tap of vegan cheese here.  I honestly loved the sharp, tangy and creamy mouthfeel that came with each bite of this cheese.  It had a bit of a salty flavor, but it didn’t distract from the flavor of the cheese itself.  Beyond impressed!!  No surprise though, as I fell in love first with the Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Lava Cheeze (which I thought I reviewed, but didn’t), and the Heidi Ho Organics Creamy Chia Cheeze Sauce and the Spicy Chia Cheeze Sauce (also didn’t review that one…what is wrong with me??!)

So…now that I’ve went on and on and on with how (honestly) fantastic the Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze is…let’s take a look at what makes it that way.  I absolutely adore an ingredient list that has ingredients that I, not only recognize, but also can pronounce.  The Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze is made from organic cashews, water, sea salt, organic lemon, live cultures, nutritional yeast, and citric acid.  All Heidi Ho vegan cheeses are organic, gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, low in sodium, and low in fat (although they taste like they are SO fattening…so you gotta love that little added bonus!).

Speaking of which, how about these nutritional facts?!  A serving of the Heidi Ho Organics Ne Chevre Pure Live Culture Cashew Cheeze is 1 ounce (28 grams…or about 1 tablespoon).  This serving will provide you with 80 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 40 mg sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 1 gram sugars, and 3 grams of protein.

I have now tried (but apparently need to blog about two of them) the four (4) versions of Heidi Ho Organics products that my Whole Foods currently carries.  And I am absolutely enamored with them.  They are a bit pricey, but you do get what you pay for.  Heidi Ho Organics definitely delivers a delicious, amazing, and high quality product.  I’m beyond impressed.

Also…it’s already gone…

I am not ashamed.

Product Review: Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels

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Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels

Product: Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels – $7.25

You know, I’m already one of those “crazy bagelers” that your parents warned you about.  I’m a girl who grew up in the capital of bagel country.  New York.  If you are from New York, you better know how to get your bagel on.

Bagels, while they get a bad rep, are one of my most favorite things in life.  Mmmm…carby goodness for sure.  They are filling, crunchy, chewy, and slathered with some sort of delicious schmear of goodness…making it both an epic morning breakfast and a treat.

And while the gluten-free market is becoming inundated with gluten free versions of bagels…none have really had that authenticity…that dense, chewy, but crispy on the outside authenticity of a true New York-Style bagel.

Until…Sweet Note Bakery

Now, Sweet Note and I have a really fun history.  It all began with a simple tweet.  Yep.  The Twitter is what brought them into my life.  I had reviewed Canyon Bakehouse’s new bagels and Sweet Note chimed in with how if I liked Canyon Bakehouse…I’d love their stuff.  So, I took the bait…went to their Web site…and found a plethora of gluten free and vegan bagel goodness.  It took me awhile to talk myself into ordering anything…but when I did…it was the start of something good. Now, my freezer is never without some variety of Sweet Note Bagels.

And, with winter finally leaving and spring warming our hearts and bodies, Sweet Note decided to spread a little spring fever as well…with the introduction of not one (1) but FOUR (4) new bagel flavors.

I must have died and gone to gluten-free bagel heaven.  The four flavors are Tomato Basil, Salt, Garlic, and Garlic & Herb.  The last three are exclusively available ONLY online in their shop.  When the release date for the bagels came…I immediately placed an order and got all four new flavors.  When it comes to bagels, I don’t mess around.  They arrived on Thursday of last week…so this week…I’m starting to try them out.

I asked my roommate what flavor she wanted to try first, and, without any hesitation, she said, “Garlic & Herb.”  I had a feeling that would be the case, though.  Anything with garlic makes her happy…throw in some herby goodness…and she’s in food heaven (or coma…depending…).

Yesterday was the big premier.  After my 5:30 am spin class, I came home and pulled the Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels out of the freezer and pulled 2 from the packaging.  I thawed them for a minute (I have discovered that if you do 30 seconds on one side, then flip it over and do 30 seconds on the other, you get the perfect thaw) in the microwave and sliced each one in half, placing it on a baking sheet  and prepping it for some toasting while I took my shower.  Into the preheated 350°F oven it went.

I showered, I dressed, I came out of the bathroom and noticed that the aroma in the apartment was crazy goodness.  It was like I stepped into an Italian Trattoria or something.  Roasted garlic and those powerful herbs (rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano…plus others) just invaded the apartment…and it was enough to set my mouth to watering.  I couldn’t wait to get these out of the oven and tried them.  If they tasted as good as they smelled…these could be dangerous indeed.  A few more minutes (between 15-20 total) in the oven, and I pulled the bagels out, noting the light toast on the cut side and the golden color of the crust…a perfect bagel toasting if I did say so myself.  Each half got a hearty schmear of Daiya Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Style Spread and…breakfast was served.

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Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels with a schmear of Daiya Onion & Chive Cream Cheese Style Spread

I didn’t wait to even sit down before taking a bite of mine…

The Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels…are bagels at their finest.  Rich with powerful flavors and packed with hearty and healthy herbs (that can come straight from an herb garden!), this bagel was one of the most delicious things I have put into my mouth.  And, as a marathon runner, I eat a lot.  HAHA!  The garlic was a strong flavor, but it was tampered down and kept in balance by the earthy and robust flavors of the herbs that were incorporated into the batter.  I loved the intense, but subtle flavors each bite brought.  I love how Sweet Note Bakery makes their bagels in the proper New York-style.  Not the size of a steering wheel, but smaller…denser…thicker…yummier.  Hey…I know a good bagel when I bite into one.  These toasted up to perfection.  These tasted of perfection.  The ladies (and gentleman) of the Sweet Note Bakery team hit this one out of the bagel ball park.  MVB (Most Valuable Bagel)…right here.  SO GOOD!

So…let’s discuss the ingredients that go into Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels.  These bagels are made from LOVE (yep…that’s an ingredient!), water, white rice flour, tapioca flour, sweet white rice flour, sorghum flour, brown sugar, cane syrup, olive oil, molasses, yeast, xanthan gum, psyllium husk, garlic, salt, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage, basil and oregano.  As always when it comes to Sweet Note’s bagels, these bagels are gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, egg-free, peanut & tree nut-free, and cholesterol free.  LOVE IT!!

As far as nutrition goes, I love how all four of the new flavors are under 300 calories per bagel.  One full bagel (not half a bagel…but a full bagel) with under 300 calories.  Yep…speaking my language.  The Sweet Note Gluten Free Garlic & Herb Bagels come with four (4) bagels per package.  The serving size is one (1) bagel.  This one bagel will deliver unto you 280 calories, 3.5 grams fat, .5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 320 mg sodium, 60 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams sugars, and 4 grams of protein.  POWERHOUSE of nutrition…especially for the endurance athlete.  And the higher fiber and protein content will keep you fuller longer!

This flavor is only available in their ONLINE STORE!

I am so thankful for Sweet Note for bringing authentic bagels to the gluten-free world.  No fillers…just real ingredients.  That’s one reason their bagels are so amazing.  Making them in the classic New York-style also helps.  So, my dearest friends at Sweet Note…keep making these awesome breakfast goodies…keep exploring new flavors…and keep bringing only the best…because it is companies like you…and products like this…that make the this gluten-free girl rise and shine in the morning.  Your Garlic & Herb Bagels are a ray of sunshine…schmeared with a healthy dose of awesomesauce!

Recipe: Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Lemon Blossoms

This is, by far, one of the most popular recipes I bake up on a regular basis.  Why?  Because I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love these.  Everyone loves citrus, right?  Seriously, I’ve had people who don’t like sweets devour these.

My friend, Jenn, introduced me to this recipe, and we just sort of tweaked it to fit my dietary needs.

I think I might need to make these for the next Saturday group run…for afterwards, of course.  Anyway, I do get asked for this recipe often, and it occurred to me I never did throw it up on my blog.  My friend, Megan, is the reason this is happening now.  Trust me…long overdue!!

Without further adieu…

Recipe: Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Lemon Blossoms

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Gluten Free (and Dairy Free) Lemon Blossoms

Servings: ~60 mini muffins (5 dozen)
Time: Prep 12 minutes; Bake 12 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 18 .5 ounce package gluten-free yellow cake mix or vanilla cake mix
  • 3.4 ounce package instant lemon pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil


Ingredients for Glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons water


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

Spray miniature muffin tins with vegetable oil cooking spray.

Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs and oil and blend well with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Pour a small amount of batter, filling each muffin tin half way. Bake for 12 minutes. Turn out onto a tea towel

To make the glaze, sift the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, zest, oil, and water. Mix with a spoon until smooth.

Dip each muffins into the glaze while they’re still warm, covering as much of the cake as possible, or spoon the glaze over the warm muffins, turning them to completely coat. Place on wire racks with waxed paper underneath to catch any drips. Let the glaze set thoroughly, about 1 hour, before storing in containers with tight-fitting lids.

~*~*~

I love how easy these are to make and how delicious they are.  I never have a problem when I get asked to make these.  I have whipped them up at the last minute for things too.

So, tomorrow, these beauties are coming to the office with me.  These are a total favorite among the peeps at the office.  So, in honor of my roommate’s birthday (she LOVES lemon)…these help kick off a weekend of birthday fun!

ENJOY!!

Product Review: Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants

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Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants

Product: Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants – $5.99+

Let’s face it…when it comes to gluten-free breakfast (or dinner or whenever) treats…one of the most difficult to find is the croissant.  And I used to be a sucker for the warm, buttery, flaky little roll of baked dough.  Croissants simply…rock.

Going gluten-free, I’ve pretty much been able to find a recipe or something to satisfy any void in any treat that I want.  Puff pastry is the tricky one.  At least puff pastry that acts like puff pastry.  The recipe is WAY too complicated and the one I purchased in stores doesn’t exactly…puff.

Croissants have also been rather elusive.  Granted, my gluten-free bakery, Annie May’s Sweet Café, does offer croissant rolls…and I purchase them around Thanksgiving every year as they are my Black Friday breakfast (filling and full of carbs for shopping energy!).  It is the one time every year that I get to enjoy that special treat.  (As a side note, I could order these from my allergen-free bakery at any point…but there are so many goodies there…I have to pace myself, LOL!).

But then Schär filled this void recently with the introduction of their frozen croissants.  I was excited when they made the announcement, also noting that they had two (2) different versions – Plain and Hazelnut.  And for the longest time, I searched my usual gluten-free go-to stores for these.  But, no joy.  No one carried them.  I figured they would be the unicorn of my gluten-free life…sort of like Rudi’s Gluten Free Texas Toast (still haven’t found that anywhere).

It took one of my trips to Columbus, Ohio, to finally find these.  In the freezer section.  Happy dance ensued.  Thank you, Raisin Rack, for your extreme awesomeness and LARGE gluten-free selection.  This made my day.  And I purchased them, the Hazelnut ones, put them in a cooler with dry ice, and got them home and to my freezer.  Where I promptly forgot about them…as I just piled other things on top.

But, when my freezer begged for some organizing this past weekend, I discovered the bag all the way in the back and I moved it forward…because these were going to happen this week.  For sure.  And what better day to test them out than a Wednesday after a 4 mile run and 20 mile spin class?  Yep…no better time.

I left the bag of croissants out on the counter to thaw while I was at the gym, and when I got back, I preheated the oven to 350°F and removed the Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants from the package and moved them to a baking sheet.  They went into the oven for about 7-8 minute (around 10-12 in my old-ass oven that doesn’t heat right)…giving me time to shower while they cooked.  When I removed them from the oven, they were golden brown and looking like…amazing, beautiful, perfect, croissants.  I moved them to plates and served them up for breakfast.

My roommate got to hers first (I was pouring myself coffee…because…priorities).  I asked her what she thought and she said, “They’re pretty good.”  Now, with her, that means they are either good…or they aren’t so good, but they are edible.  And I never know which way it goes until I try it myself.  At least she didn’t say, “They’re okey-dokey,” because that, friends, means she hates them…and is just being polite.  I settled in with the morning news, my laptop, my Wonder Woman coffee mug (now filled with piping hot, fresh coffee) and my plate with my own Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissant on it.  I sliced into it with the side of my fork tines, and then, stabbing the flaky (and yes…it actually was flaky) pastry with it…took my first taste.

When I think about croissants, I think of this flaky, rich, buttery breakfast goodie.  And Schär definitely provided the rolled up pastry form.  As for taste, it was airy, and not as dense as I had thought they would be.  That was a nice surprise.  I was a little disappointed with the lack of the hazelnut filling in each bite, but, I sort of figured that would be the case.  I was just hoping I’d be wrong.  The croissant itself…buttery flavor in every bite.  Which, if you managed to get a bite with at least a little of the filling…it was indeed heavenly.  The hazelnut (like Nutella) filling was chocolate-nutty goodness and I was digging for more.  But filling or not, these weren’t dense…but they were definitely filling.  Small…much smaller than I anticipated…but filling.  It made for a good treat for breakfast for sure.  Not nearly as amazing as the ones Annie May’s Sweet Café provides for me each holiday season…but lighter and flakier than those…and ranking right up there.  For a frozen product, this was love at second bite (the second bite had some of the hazelnut filling, for the record).

Let’s talk about ingredients for a moment.  Because, at first glance, what goes into Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants might…scare you.  My mind was put to ease awhile back with an article discussing Schär’s use of gluten free wheat starch.  Yep, you read that right.  GLUTEN. FREE. WHEAT. STARCH.  If you have a wheat allergy…DO NOT EAT THESE!!  I was mostly concerned as I am very sensitive…but no affects on me whatsoever in regards to a gluten reaction.  So, that’s a win.  The Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants are made from gluten free wheat starch, water, vegetable margarine [vegetable fats and oils (palm, palm kernel, coconut, canola), water, salt, mono- and diglycerides, butter flavor], hazelnut
cream (sugar, canola oil, hazelnuts, skimmed cocoa powder, skimmed milk powder, whey (milk) powder, lactose, sunflower, lecithin), eggs, yeast, chicory fiber, dextrose, fructose, glucono delta-lactone, baking soda, egg albumin, skimmed milk powder, sugar, salt, mono- and diglycerides, xanthan gum, and butter flavor.  Believe me…these croissants ARE gluten-free.

As far as nutrition goes…let’s face it…it’s a croissant.  These aren’t going to be packed with a wide array of nutrients.  But it is nice to have a treat every now and again.  The serving size of the Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants is one (1) croissant and there are four (4) in each package.  This serving will dish up 240 calories, 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 160 mg sodium, 34 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams sugars, and 2 grams of protein.  Yep…I admit…there are far better choices for a breakfast out there, but dammit, sometimes you just need to treat yourself.

I was surprised by the flavor, the texture, and with the overall deliciousness of the Schär Gluten Free Hazelnut Croissants.  I wish they had more filling than they did, but aside from that, each bite was heavenly and totally worth the indulgence.  Love sometimes comes in packages that are in your natural food store freezer.  Impressed.

Product Review: Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli Shells

Product: Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli Shells – $15.99+

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Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli Shells

So, one of my roommate’s favorite desserts is cannoli.  She can indulge quite a bit when we go out to Italian places that offer it as a dessert…but it is a very rare treat for me.  Gluten free cannoli is just…not often found.  Sweet ‘N Savory Food Truck did it once during Cluster Trucked…and I had one at Da Luciano in Chicago the night before the Chicago Marathon…but otherwise, I’m normally not able to partake in this classic Italian pastry dessert.

Which is too bad.  Because I’m the one who introduced this amazing treat to my roommate, prior to the Celiac diagnosis.

But, over the New Year holiday, my roommate, my friend Jenn, and I all ventured out to Jungle Jim’s International Market, and went on a small, tightly budgeted shopping excursion.  Because…it’s sort of become a tradition.  We wound our way through the store, finally reaching my favorite destination…the gluten-free aisles.

YAY!  Let my shopping begin.

And…breaking the budget bank happened almost immediately when my roommate spotted a big yellow box on the top shelf of the first row…

GLUTEN. FREE. CANNOLI. SHELLS.

Oh hell yes.  So…with most of the budget gone for this high ticket…the shopping got a little more picky.  But I was elated…because I had gluten free cannoli shells in my basket and could easily pick up Kite Hill ricotta to make a vegan cannoli filling.

The brand was Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet.  Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet came about from Neil Russo, a professional chef who was hard at work on gluten-free recipes, which he was striving to perfect after hearing about the many people connected to himself that were having a hard time finding food while on a gluten-free diet due to intolerance or Celiac disease.  After experimenting on his Italian bread loaves and Tiramisu, Russo was ready to give his food to the world.  He first introduced the gluten free food in his restaurant, where he got high praise.  Soon, he opened up Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet.  And from there…the frozen versions of some of the classic Italian foods he perfected in gluten-free form.  So good, that people even would ask if he was certain it was gluten free.  All of Russo’s products are prepared in a strictly gluten-free facility.

We decided to do it on our least favorite “holiday”…Valentine’s Day.  And with all that in mind, after a quick jaunt out to the grocery store before the weather hit yesterday…I prepped the filling and made dinner (Smokey Zucchini Cakes with a Vegan Lemon Cream Sauce) and, afterwards, went to fill a cannoli shell for each of us.

I pulled the box of Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli Shells down from the top shelf of the pantry and went to work.  The shells looked amazing.  Golden and crisp…they weren’t broken, which was my main concern to be honest.  I was terrified they would be these fragile little rolls…but they held their own for sure. I put some of my vegan ricotta cannoli filling into a piping bag and piped it into each of the shells I had removed for us.  I passed one off to my roomie and then went to get mine.  She was already diving in.

And that’s when I knew…this was not going to live up to the expectations I had built up in my mind. Nope.  I was just finishing up filling mine and I look up and cautiously ask…”How is it?”

“The filling is delicious.  The shell…”  When her voice trails off…I know.  I know it can’t be  good.  “…is nothing special.”

Hmmm.  So, I settled in, wine glass in one hand, cannoli in the other.  And take a bite.  Or, at least I attempted to.  This gorgeously constructed, perfectly golden, durable gluten free cannoli shell is…solid.  It was the hardest thing to actually bite into.  It was crispy alright…to the point I was almost concerned about chipping a tooth.  And…trust me…these were marked as good through April…so they weren’t over their best by date.  UGH.  But, I was determined to have my cannoli, dammit.  It was Valentine’s Day.  I owed myself that much.  I finally managed to bite through it and then loud crunching ensued.  It was…really flavorless.  Didn’t taste like much.  Tough as bricks (literally).  And heartbreakingly disappointing.  I had this grand image of devouring cannoli on Valentine’s Day…just me, my wine, and my dessert smorgasbord (I had vegan and gluten free cookie dough from Annie May’s Sweet Cafe as well).  And here I was, with sub-par, tough-as-a-rock, cannoli shells.  UGH.  They were really too tough to eat.  My roommate and I persevered, said a prayer for our teeth…and then today, decided not to risk it again…and tossed them out.  I hate when expensive gluten-free products don’t live up to their price tag.  I wouldn’t pay $5.00 for these, and here I payed $16.  Just to trash them.  Since my filling was awesome, I did dig out my gluten-free cinnamon graham crackers and made up a new recipes…that was much easier to eat and much kinder to my teeth.

Sorry, Russo’s.  Your other products have been good…but these…were horrible.  And I was not impressed.  In fact, I was beyond let down and a little angry I paid that much for a product I didn’t enjoy.  Not even a bit.

Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli shells are not made of cement, as you might make yourself believe if you ever tried to bite into one.  In fact, these dessert vehicles are made from rice flour, corn starch, tapioca dextrin, xanthan gum, rice extract, water, marsala, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil.

As for nutrition, I believe you will burn more calories than you consume just trying to gnaw through these, but with that being said, a serving of Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli Shells is 1 shell and there are 6 shells in the box.  This serving will give you 70 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 14 grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fiber, 1 gram sugars, 1 gram protein.

When people conjure up an idea in their mind of what gluten-free foods taste like (cardboard, tasteless, etc)…this would definitely not convince them otherwise.  It has been awhile since I’ve actually been disappointed with a product.  And I am beyond disappointed with Russo’s Gluten Free Gourmet Cannoli Shells.  Take my advice…don’t spend your money on these.  Your craving for cannoli is not worth the letdown you will endure if you decide to break the bank and try these.  It’s not worth it.  Trust me.

Life’s Too Short to Miss the Sweeter Things

Two fun facts about me:

1. I love eating healthy
2. I love sweets (especially chocolate)

What we have here, my friends, is a constant battle of sheer willpower.  But, the fact of the matter is…sometimes you just have to find a way to treat yourself.  Naturally, I stick to my necessary gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian lifestyle…however, this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy some of the finer things in life.

That being said, 2016 is a year of change for me.  I’m trying to improve myself, my body, my soul, my mindset…I’m trying to reach both long-term and short-term goals.  And part of that is definitely making certain tweaks to the diet.

I’m not saying I am cutting out sweets and desserts entirely.  That’s inhuman.  But, I am cutting back on them.  And once the current ones in the pantry are moved out…they aren’t coming back in.  I buy gluten-free…so I’m too cheap to just toss the stuff away.

That being said, I’m always game for trying new ways to make an indulgence healthier.  And awhile back, the amazing Lottie Bildirici, better known in the social media world as “Running on Veggies” posted about the treat she made for Kara Goucher (yes…THE Kara Goucher) when she was coming to NYC to run the NYC Marathon.  Kara chose blondies as her treat and Bildirici got to work researching and coming up with a recipe that would not only seem like a treat, but be made with real ingredients, nothing processed, and be healthy.  When the recipe posted, I was beyond intrigued.  Granted, my foray into baking using beans as a base resulted in brownies that tasted like black beans, so I did have my reservations going into this…but I decided to give it a try.

Blondies made without flour…and by using garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and dates as the sweetener.  Well…there was only one way to find out how this would turn out.  I hoped for the best, since Kara Goucher was a fan…but…hey…some things you have to try yourself.

So this was what I put into my food processor this past Sunday afternoon:

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Everything but the dairy-free dark chocolate chips, that is.  Any nut butter (or nut-free butter) will work, but I’m a huge fan, and an ambassador, for NuttZo…and it really is the best stuff on the market.  Find it.  Trust me…it’s worth the price!

After giving everything a whirl in the food processor, I was left with a light and fluffy fatter.  I folded in the chocolate chips, sprayed down some muffin tins and began to evenly distribute the batter into 24 muffin tins.

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After baking for around 40 minutes, I removed the pans from the oven and let everything sit, untouched for over an hour.  At that point, I moved everything to a sheet pan (carefully) and then into the freezer.  But not without trying one.

First of all, they don’t taste bean-y…and they don’t taste like dates either.  They actually taste like a decadent little dessert or muffin.  Especially when warmed up in the microwave for about 30 seconds or longer.  Although, I love them frozen too…but I’m weird like that.  These are an amazing treat and one that I don’t feel bad about eating because…it was made from real food.

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I know a lot of people look down on those who enjoy a treat every now and again…but the fact of the matter is…we’ve got it all wrong.  Not all calories are created equal.  Just like now not all carbohydrates and fats are either.  That’s the being said, I am a firm believer in counting nutrition, not calories.  And that’s what making something like this is all about.

And trust me…they are SO good.

If you want to give them a try…you can get the recipe here!  They are easy to make, and delicious.  Trust me…you’ll want to keep these on hand!  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack or dessert…these are truly a delicious and healthy treat.

Eat real food.  These treats are more like a healthy choice than an indulgence.  And what’s not to love about that?!

Product Review: Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers

Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers

Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers

Product: Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers – $4.59+

Growing up, I remember eating Dare Breton Crackers (the wheat versions) at my friends houses at little get-together or parties.  I remember schmearing port wine cheese over them and devouring them by the box-full.

So, you can imagine how excited I was to see boxes of Gluten Free Breton Crackers on the shelves of my local Kroger and Walmart stores.  Yep.  Very excited.  But, I never really could think of something I could use with them.  And being on a super-strict budget these days, I had to pass them over time-and-time again.

Well, when I went home for Christmas, my mom picked up a box of the Herb & Garlic Breton Gluten Free Crackers…but we never quite got around to eating them.  While I love cooking and making homemade dishes, with the craziness of the holidays and all the family, we tend to eat out more than in.  And that’s fine.  But it means the crackers remained untested and untasted.

However, the other day while killing off some time on a Sunday morning (after a snowstorm), my roommate and I were walking the aisles of our local Fresh Market, because we hadn’t gone out there in months.  On sale, there in the cracker aisle, were boxes of Dare Breton Gluten Free Crackers.  Of the gluten free varieties available, my roomie suggested we begin sampling them by going with the original flavor.  So, it was settled.  A sale meant they came home, so a box of the Dare Breton Gluten Free Original Flax with Crackers made it to my pantry.

And didn’t stay there long.

This week’s meal planning called for 2 days of soup and some chili too.  I was participating (and ended up winning) in the office chili cookoff and…hey…crackers are great with both soup and chili.

So, Monday morning, out came the crackers, stashing some in little traveling baggies for my roommate and I to have at lunch when we heated up our homemade vegan Smokey Potato Soup.  Lunch time rolled around, soup was assembled, and the crackers came out.

One bite…and I knew…I knew this was cracker gold.  Gluten free crackers either are amazing or they taste like cardboard.  These…are amazing.  Light and buttery in flavor, these Breton Crackers reminded me so much of their original counterparts.  They were great for dunking in the soup, piling chili on top and noshing, and just busting up to have a little added crunch in the soup. They’d be great to schmear whatever schmeary things you like to schmear on crackers.  Cheese, butter, peanut butter, hummus…whatever.  These crackers are perfect for all of it.  The box even comes with two cracker-type recipes on it, in case you’re feeling uninspired.  But crackers this good will leave you feeling anything but uninspired.  Trust me.  Love their crisp and flaky texture.  So amazing.  And, with the added addition of flax, the Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers add a little bit of omega goodness to each serving.

I will probably always have a box of these in my pantry.  No doubt.  And one can always use crackers, yes?

Let’s talk about the ingredients that go into the Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers.  These crackers are made from corn starch, arrowroot flour, canola oil, coconut oil, green lentil flour, rice bran, flax seeds, sugar, salt, sesame seeds, modified milk ingredients, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, and natural flavor.  They are processed in a peanut-free facility also.

As far as nutrition information goes, you’ll love this!  The rather large,  circular crackers that are Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers are a great way to enjoy a snack without the guilt.  A serving size is 4 crackers (18 grams) and the box contains about 8 servings.  One serving will provide you with 90 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0.5 grams polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams monounsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 12 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram fiber, less than 1 gram sugars, and less than 1 gram of protein.  They won’t fill you up or really wipe out your calorie count for the day.  Gotta love it.

So, if you are still on the hunt for a cracker that lives up to the standards of the crackers you may have grown up with…try to find the Dare Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax Crackers.  Their tender-crisp texture and wholesome taste are reminiscent of the Breton crackers I devoured before the Celiac diagnosis.  What a great way to bring great taste from a trusted brand to the gluten free community.  And for a very fair price.

So happy.

 

Product Review: McCabe’s True Original Granola

McCabe's True Original Granola

McCabe’s True Original Granola

Product: McCabe’s True Original Granola – $5.49+

One of my favorite things to purchase at the grocery store on occasion is…granola. Especially granola that isn’t loaded down with sugar.  Granola is so versatile.  You can eat it on its own, put it atop yogurt, or ice cream, or oatmeal.  It’s the perfect thing just to have on hand in the pantry.

And for a little while…I was without.  But then my local Kroger ran a Manager’s Special on some items and one of them was McCabe’s Original Granola.  With $3 off the regular price, I couldn’t pass up the chance to try this granola I had been eyeing on the shelves.

I admit to being a bit of a granola snob.  Most gluten free granola is laden with excessive sugars and are far from healthy.  But McCabe’s caught my eye because all ingredients are recognizable (no chemicals), and it was low in sugars and carbohydrates.  It took me a major sale to actually buy it though because I never could fit it into my budget.  But…now I think it’s worked its way into one of my favorite brands.  And this is simply based off the True Original variety.  Because, you gotta start with the basic.

McCabe’s Granola is a family owned business, run by Susan (mom), Chris (dad) and their sons Jameson and Michael.  Their goal is to provide you with the healthiest, most flavorful granola and granola bars possible.  They take great pride in their products and their family, and the products they produce definitely reflect this.

I purchased the McCabe’s True Original Granola.  Basic.  Simple.

But basic and simple doesn’t mean boring.  Especially in the McCabe’s True Original Granola.  I have eaten this over fruit, over yogurt, by the handful…and I never get tired or bored with it.  For a granola that isn’t just a bunch of sugar…the flavor is awesome.  This granola is proof that original isn’t simply plain.  Becasue there is nothing plain or tasteless or boring about this granola.  The bag refers to it as “The freshest, most natural, nuttiest granola in town,” and it’s not that far off.  It’s low in sugar, it’s made with natural (non-GMO) ingredients, it’s gluten free.  It’s awesome.  The blend of oats, seeds, raisins, and coconut bring great variety for texture and taste.  I love every handful (oh yes…I can (and do) eat this by the handful) of this granola.  My pouch is almost empty, but now I’m willing to pay the full price.  I know whatever flavor I end up purchasing, it’s going to be good.

McCabe’s True Original Granola is made from 100% natural ingredients that include: rolled oats, 100% pure maple syrup, sunflower seeds, cashews, ground flax seeds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, extra virgin olive oil, almonds, and unsweetened coconuts.  Seriously, how can a blend of those ingredients not be amazing.  It’s impossible.  This blend of granola is amazing.  The raisins are my favorite part…

As far as nutritional information goes, McCabe’s True Original Granola is awesome when compared to other gluten-free granola is outstanding.  A serving size is 1/4 cup (28 grams) and there are about 12 servings per container.  One serving will dish up 130 calories, 8 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fats, 0 grans trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 13 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 4 grams sugars, and 4 grams protein.

Lower in calories, sugars and carbohydrates when compared to other brands of gluten-free granola, McCabe’s really shines as a healthy granola choice.  I can eat granola for breakfast or a snack, and I don’t feel at all guilty when I reach for this package.  McCabe’s is certainly fulfilling their statement to provide a healthy and flavorful product.  I am beyond impressed.

McCabe’s Granola is available in the following flavors: True Original, Delta Blueberry, Cran With A Twist, and PB & Chocolate.  If you want a great choice for granola…this is definitely one that you should consider purchasing.  For real.  So go.  Find it.  Buy it.  And devour it.