Recipe: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats

It’s pumpkin season, in case you aren’t aware.  And as many of you know…I have been doing a lot of cooking and baking using pumpkin.  I love pumpkin…except in pumpkin pie.  I don’t know what it is…but while I have never liked pumpkin pie…I have this strange affinity for using pumpkin in recipes, whether sweet or savory.

I wanted to make something for my podiatrist and his staff as a thank you for repairing my torn plantar fasciitis prior to a half marathon race I ran back in September and somehow turning me into a better, faster, more efficient runner in the process.  Since my injury, my speed and endurance have definitely improved and I owe it all to him and his staff.

Being that it is October, I wanted to do something seasonal.  I just happened to have a box of Gluten-Free Rice Krispies in my pantry.  And I always have pumpkin on hand.  I also, believe it or not, always have Marshmallow Fluff on hand too.  So…inspired, I decided to make some Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats (with chocolate chips included because…pumpkin and chocolate are an amazing combination).  The recipe follows…

Recipe: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats with a Chocolate Drizzle

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats with a Chocolate Drizzle

Servings: 12-16
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 30 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 (7 ounce) container Marshmallow Fluff
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal (I used Gluten-Free Rice Krispies)
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 squares semi-sweet Baker’s chocolate, melted


Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish (or a smaller dish…as my podiatrist’s office is small, I put these in 2 8×8 baking dishes).

In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat.

Add the pumpkin puree and continue to cook until it is warmed through.

Fold in the Marshmallow Fluff, stirring frequently until almost completely melted.

Add the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt, and remove from heat.

Allow the marshmallow mixture to cool 20  minutes or until it is room temperature (failure to cool the mixture will result in soggy rice crispy treats).  Add the puffed rice cereal and the mini chocolate chips and stir, using a silicone spatula, until combined.

Press the mixture into the greased baking dish.

Let set for 30 minutes.

In a microwave safe dish, place the bakers chocolate and melt in microwave, starting with 30 seconds and then adding 10-15 seconds to each additional heating until the chocolate has melted.  Use a spoon or fork and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the Rice Krispie Treats.

Allow chocolate to harden.  Cut into squares and serve.


Honestly…I wasn’t sure what to expect with these.  They are, truly, packed with flavor.  With only a scant 1/4 cup of pumpkin, these actually taste like pumpkin.  I’m glad I added the chocolate chips because it really gives these a kick of sweetness that ties in so well with the pumpkin and spices.

Since I am a vegetarian, I nixed the marshmallows and used Fluff instead.  I find that I should probably incorporate a cup less of the Rice Krispies next time as these are not stuck together and ooey-gooey as they should be.  They tend to crumble.  But, they are still delicious…even if they fall apart.  That’s why instead of the usual 6 cups of Rice Krispies recommended for treats, I cut it back to 5 on this recipe.  I think that will make for a better binding together of the fluff and the cereal.

Do you love pumpkin and chocolate?  Do you love Rice Krispie Treats.  Do something seasonal…and give these a go.  I love them and hope my podiatrist and his staff do as well.

Crunchmaster Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers the true master of the gluten-free domain

Crunchmaster Gluten-Free Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers
Crunchmaster Gluten-Free Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers

Product: Crunchmaster Gluten-Free Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers – $3.79+

I admit it.  I was a huge skeptic of this flavor of Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers.  I mean, let’s face it…when it comes to choosing between the Original, Rosemary & Olive Oil, Roasted Garlic, and Toasted Onion…the last one I would reach for would be Toasted Onion.  Honestly.

That being said, I love the original, didn’t care for the Rosemary & Olive Oil, and I have yet to find the Roasted Garlic in a local store so I can try it.  That left the Toasted Onion.

And, as these things go…I was watching the expiration dates on my pantry goodies and eating them as they came up.  And it was time for the Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers from Crunchmaster to come to work with me as my afternoon snack.  I was skeptical.

So, when my 3:00 p.m. munchies struck, I hesitantly opened up my little container with a serving of the crackers inside popped one into my mouth.


It took me a moment to put my finger on it, but the taste reminded me of something I used to eat as a kid.  And then it hit me…Funyuns.  Seriously.  Aside from the awesome flavor, and the reminiscent childhood snack memories, these were outstanding.  No need for cheese, dip, salsa, or anything to dress it up.  Nope.  These pack enough flavor, enough crunch, enough of everything to dominate snack time on their own.  No condiment or topping needed.

Crunchmaster Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers are dusted with a Hawaiian style onion seasoning, giving this variety of cracker a hint of sweetness to it.  Ingredients are simple: Rice Flour, Sesame Seeds, Potato Starch, Quinoa Seeds, Safflower Oil, Toasted Onion Seasoning, Flax Seeds, Amaranth Seeds, and Tamari Soy Sauce Powder.  Recognize those ingredients?  I sure do.  And that is so comforting when it comes to purchasing something that is processed.  Knowing what is in your food is half the battle, for sure!

In addition to the all natural ingredients, Crunchmaster Toasted Onion Multi-Seed Crackers are 100% whole grain, low in saturated fat, certified gluten-free, cholesterol free, and contain no trans fat.  A serving (30 grams) will set you back a scant 140 calories and 5 grams of fat.  You will benefit from the 3 grams of protein and the low sodium in these crackers as well.  They are…fantastic.

If you are looking for a delicious cracker for an event, a snack, or to be included with part of a meal, Crunchmaster is the way to go.  Tired of plain crackers, then you have to try the Toasted Onion variety.  Honestly, these are my favorite of the Multi-Seed varieties on the market.  It doesn’t get much better than these in flavor, crunch, texture, and all-around awesomeness!

Congratulations, Crunchmaster!!  You’ve done it again!

Nothing processed and nothing artificial in Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch granola

Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch
Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch

Product: Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch – $3.49+

You know what granola goes great with?  Yogurt and fruit.  Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things to make in the morning.  My yogurt parfaits are legendary.  But in order to build a beautiful and tasty parfait, you need a solid, delicious base with the granola you choose.

While out grocery shopping the other day, the manager’s special table included a bag of Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch granola.  I had previously enjoyed a bag of their Sweet Cranberry Pecan granola and was pretty excited about this one because of that.  Besides, I love raisins and I love almonds…so this had to be good.

On Monday morning, I got to find out.  It was a frantic morning already as I took to attempting to caramelize apples for the parfait, get my morning coffee going, and get the gluten-free muffins warmed up and iced for breakfast.  Needless to say…I had too much going on at once.  However, the bright spot of the morning was I got to try the Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch.

I tore into the bag and happily reached inside to snag a few of the clusters to eat on their own.  This would give me a sense of the flavor associated with it.  Let me tell you…this variety of Love Grown Foods granola is fantastic.

The granola mixture itself is a combination of whole almonds, plump raisins, certified gluten-free oats, honey, organic agave syrup, coconut, sunflower seeds, canola oil, flaxseed, pure vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt.  What emerges is one of my favorite granola to date.  The whole almonds give this granola a nice crunch to the mix.  The raisins are sweet.  The coconut is the perfect addition to help tame the sweetness from the hone, agave, and raisins.  What emerges is a healthy blend that is filling and just simply…delicious.

Love Grown Foods was created by a couple while attending the University of Denver.  Each of the young entrepreneurs brought a knowledge of healthy living, healthy eating and love of an active lifestyle to the kitchen.  And why not?  What emerged was a perfected recipe for granola that started off with simple sample packs and grew from that into a business.  And who can argue with a company that delivers amazing flavor in each handful that isn’t tainted at all by artificial sweeteners or sugar.  Their granola is sweetened by either honey or agave.

Their food is produced with love…and that is something that is evident in the flavors and care that goes into their products.  The granola is out-of-this-world good.  And without all the additional sugars that normally go into granola, this is one of the best ones out on the market.  In fact, a serving of 1/4 cup will only set you back 130 calories and 6 grams of fat.  There are only 7 grams of sugar in a serving, which is fantastic for granola, which is usually heavy on the sugars.  Thanks to the almonds, a serving also provides a hit of 3 grams of protein.  Gotta love that.

And I do.  For real.

Love Grown Foods is my go-to granola these days.  They taste great and are good for you.  Baked and created with love…and it shows.

Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch
Love Grown Foods Raisin Almond Crunch

AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets win with this pretzel lover

AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets
AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets

Product: AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets – $5.00

So…I was raised in New York.  And if there is one thing New Yorkers love (aside from bagels) it’s soft pretzels.  I indulged in them all the time growing up.  And then this wonderful nirvana called Auntie Anne’s Pretzels began turning up at every mall on the planet…and my life was complete.  I remember making an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel my dinner every night I worked at the CD store at the mall.  True story.

And then…the gluten-free thing hit.  And suddenly, pretzels, the snack variety and the soft variety fell off my radar.  And yes…I was sad.  One of my most favorite treats to eat and there was nothing for me.

Okay…so I found an overpriced box of gluten-free soft pretzels in the freezer section of my local natural food store.  But, there were only 4 pretzels in it and the price really was outrageous.  So, as tempted as I was to cave in and purchase that, the insane price tag kept me from actually doing it.  But the crave was there.

Then, last year, I attended the Celiac Awareness Tour when it rolled into Indianapolis.  One of the vendors there was AllerEnergy.  I had never heard of AllerEngery before, but I was lured to their booth by the smell and sight of gluten-free soft pretzels.

A little bit about AllerEnergy first. This company provides a variety of products that contain carbs and protein for an energy boost that lasts, as well as providing minerals and vitamins that promote good health and well-being.  I was told that AllerEnergy is perfect for athletes with food allergies (hey…it’s like they knew all about me!).  Their products are constructed of the right balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to provide food allergic people with high-impact nourishment.  The company worked with an industry leading food science organization and began to produce products that were composed of food allergy safe ingredients that would help sustain energy.  They provide a full supply of carbohydrates without using any wheat, oats, or other grain specific allergens.  These carbs basically are the result of a combination of rice, millet, quinoa, and flax seed.

All that being said…here I was standing in front of the table at the expo and wondering if I was really being handed a warm, gluten-free piece of a soft pretzel.  I wasn’t dreaming.  It happened.  One bite…and I was sold.  The texture was perfect. Very soft and chewy.  Not dense at all.  I needed these in my life.  The booth was selling the full pretzels or the pretzel nuggets.  I opted for the bite-size pretzel nuggets and that’s what I left the expo with.

AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets (sprayed with water and dusted with the salt that was included)
AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets (sprayed with water and dusted with the salt that was included)

Upon arriving home, I stuck them in the freezer as indicated…and then never got around to actually making them.  So sad.  Maybe I just wanted to savor them. But, I got over that this weekend.  I needed something easy for lunch for my roommate and I, so upon inspection of the pantry and the fridge and freezer, I finally pulled these out.  I was almost sad to actually be cooking them up…but excited too.  I was already anticipating the taste of them again once I scattered them on a cookie sheet, gave them a spray of water and dusted them with some salt.

Into the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  And what emerged was my heaven.  Seriously.  I had never been so eager to sit down to my lunch.  I divvied the pretzel nuggets out between my roommate and I and settled in on the couch.  I lifted one nugget and took a bite.  I instantly flashed back to why I loved soft pretzels so much…and why I went home with these.  They are that perfect density for a soft pretzel.  Browned on the outside, and soft on the inside.  The salt gave it the extra kick to keep it from being bland.  I was just so excited to be eating these, but also wanting to savor each bite.  It was not an easy culinary line to tread.

If you are at an expo or know of a place that carries products by AllerEnergy…get the pretzels.  Trust me.  The full-size or the nuggets.  Either one.  Why?  Because they are so amazing.  If you didn’t tell someone they were gluten-free…they wouldn’t know.  Honestly.

As for the nutritional value of these…they are actually rather healthy.  The entire bag of pretzel nuggets would set you back 495 calories and 5 grams of fat, while providing you with 5 grams of protein.  Trust me…these were fantastic.  My roommate and I just couldn’t get enough of them.  And then, sadly…they were gone.

Now…I need to find them again and buy more.  You can purchase AllerEnergy products on their Web site, but I don’t see the Soft Pretzel Nuggets as one of the options…yet.

If you have food allergies and have been craving a soft pretzel…devour one from AllerEnergy.  You won’t even know it’s gluten-free…and good for you.

AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets (baked and ready to mean eat)
AllerEnergy Gluten-Free Soft Pretzel Nuggets (baked and ready to devour…er…I mean eat)

Wildly enthusiastic over Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Product: Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus – $3.49+

Mmmmm…one of life’s greatest treats is the healthy, delicious, creamy treat of really good hummus.  Honestly.  What’s better to top off a cracker or dip fresh vegetables in?  It’s a far healthier choice than fat-laden creamy dips.  And what’s even better is when you find one that really has a great flavor to it and a creamy texture to match.

That’s what Wild Garden does best when it comes to their hummus.  While I’ve often had the Traditional variety (in those handy Go Picnic meals), this was the first time I’ve ever had the Sun-Dried Tomato variety of hummus.  Needless to say…I wasn’t disappointed at all.

The Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus has an orange-red hue to it…not the standard tan that you normally associate with hummus.  Its ingredients are all-natural with no preservatives  and no trans-fats.  The varieties (they have six of them) are all vegan and gluten-free.  This particular variety is made simply with a blend of chickpeas, sesame paste, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, sea salt, natural spices, and citric acid.  Anything on there you don’t recognize?  I know what each and every one of those ingredients are.  Love that.

The Sun-Dried Tomato hummus has a nice, rich tomato flavor to it.  It doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a hummus, but the change in the flavor is a welcome one.

A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus
A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

I actually used a pack of the Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato as a base for my gluten-free pizza tonight.  With the other flavors I was adding, I felt it would work better than a tomato sauce.  While I could have done a white pizza, I totally thought hummus would provide not only a good base for the ingredients, but also a nice protein hit.

I absolutely love how it worked with my caramelized onion, roasted red peppers, slices of tomato, and goat cheese.  The flavors just blended perfectly together.  That was another great thing about Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus – it didn’t detract from the other parts of the pizza.  It complimented without overpowering.  And that…is a great thing.

This dip is crazy-good.  Very creamy and rich.  And Wild Garden makes this specific flavor in little on-the-go pouches that means you can take them with you anywhere.  I happened to pick up a box of these while out at my natural food store awhile back and I’m finally finding some ways to use them.  Of course…my gluten-free crackers and veggies are always available as well.

I’m quite happy with Wild Garden and the products that it puts out.  Their hummus is killer.  Seriously.  I could eat it all and not feel bad about it.  The little on-the-go pouches have only 63 calories and 3 grams of fat.  The best part…the whopping 6 grams of protein that each pouch provides.  As an athlete who is a vegetarian…protein is very, very important to my diet and I seek out ways to get the amount I need.  This is a fantastic, not to mention, tasty option!

If you love hummus, I encourage you to try the varieties offered by Wild Garden.  Check your local grocery store or natural foods store.  Even my non-hummus-loving roommate can’t get enough.  I’d definitely call that a win!

My take on a Mediterranean Pizza  (using Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus as a base)
My take on a Mediterranean Pizza (using Wild Garden Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus as a base)

Schär doesn’t come up short with Shortbread Cookies

Schär Shortbread Cookies
Schär Shortbread Cookies

Product: Schär Shortbread Cookies – $4.99+

Yes.  The Cookie Monster is back and in full swing.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.  After all…we all know that I love my cookies.

And it just so happens that one of my go-to gluten-free companies makes some killer gluten-free cookies.  But I didn’t know this until yesterday.

The cookies were actually a giveaway at the Gluten-Free Expo I attended back in Birmingham, Alabama.  They have been in my pantry just anticipating the day I would get to them.  Finally, after much pantry sifting and working through products that expired first…the evening arrived last night.  And Schär Gluten-Free Shortbread Cookies were my dessert.

These cookies are little golden biscuits of shortbread.  But these aren’t typical shortbread.  Schär makes gluten-free products, so these shortbread cookies contain no ingredients that have wheat, lactose, or gluten in them.  These are made with corn flour, giving them a sweeter taste to them.  But it doesn’t stop there, these are also sweetened more with a kiss of honey and sugar.

The result?  A delicious golden biscuit that has a slight crunch when you bite into it, but keeps that buttery-rich texture as you chew.  They aren’t your typical shortbread cookies, but…trust me…these are amazing and delicious.  I could see how they would be fantastic crushed up to use as a crust or as a topping for an apple crisp or the like.  They are that smooth, buttery, golden flavor that you remember shortbread as tasting, but these cookies aren’t rock hard and they are just as good on their own…or dipped in melted chocolate.  And my favorite part is the lingering taste of vanilla after each bite.

Of note here…while these do have that buttery texture to them, these cookies contain no butter at all.  Now that’s a true test for a shortbread cookie, yes?  I love the crispiness and richness in each bite.  And one serving is 4 cookies.  FOUR COOKIES!!  YES!  And that will only set you back 130 calories.  A serving of these cookies has only 5 grams of fat and, get this, only 5 grams of sugar.  That’s amazing for a cookie.  But with shortbread, you want the sweetness to come from the honey and vanilla…and that’s what you get here.

If you are gluten-free and looking for a different sort of cookie than the run-of-the-mill sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and such that are offered in the grocery stores…seek out Schär Shortbread Cookies.  Take a bite out of golden sunshine.

Schär…once again you have impressed me.  You definitely live up to your golden reputation for delicious gluten-free foods.

Rolling out the spice with Guy Fieri’s 7 Pepper Salsa

Guy Fieri 7 Pepper Salsa
Guy Fieri 7 Pepper Salsa

Product: Guy Fieri 7 Pepper Salsa – $5.99+

When the jar says, “Burn Baby Burn” on it…I’m expecting this salsa to pack some heat.  Heat and spice.  That’s what I love about a good salsa.  And with one by television chef Guy Fieri, I figured this one would be “off the chain” as he would say.

And…for the most part…it was.

Guy Fieri’s 7 Pepper Salsa is a blend of seven different peppers ranging in level of heat.  These include red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, guajillo chile peppers, habenero peppers, chile de arbol peppers, chilaca peppers, and black pepper.  Add to that the cooling and mild flavors of tomatoes, onions, lime, garlic, cilantro, and some seasoning, and what you have…is a jar of 7 Pepper Salsa.

Please note…a few of the peppers used are sweet…not spicy.  Too much spice is not nice.  You want heat, not burn.  I don’t know about you, but despite being a spicy food lover, I still want to be able to taste the food.  I want more than the spices on my palate.  Everything has to mix and blend.  No sense burning off my tastebuds with the first bite.  How can I enjoy food then?

So…here is the run down on Guy Fieri’s 7 Pepper Salsa:

Is it spicy?  Yeah.  A little.  I think Guy is definitely trying to cater to your average Joe Schmoe here as far as the promised heat.  It seems rather tame.  No burning going on.  No disco inferno in my mouth.  A little mild heat is what I got. No breathing fire.  None of that madness.  Needless to say…I was a bit disappointed by the heat level or lack thereof.

In the lineup of Guy’s salsas, this one is supposed to be the hottest.  But I feel that Guy played it safe here with the heat level.  So, if you heat freaks out there are looking for something to set your mouth aflame…look elsewhere.  This is not the salsa for you.  It has the potential to be so much hotter without being stupid hot…but this falls just short of that.  Sadly enough.

As for the rest of it…the salsa itself is thick and chunky.  I like that in a salsa.  I don’t want something that is runny and will fall off the tortilla chip or dribble out of my taco.  The various chunks are definitely full of the fragmented chile peppers.  Don’t let the inclusion of habanero peppers scare you away.  This didn’t singe, scorch, or burn the roof off my mouth.  There was no real level of heat that made me rush to grab something to tame it.  Nope.  This was more of a medium heat variety to me.  The flavor is amazing…rich, chunky, and packed with that meaty salsa flavor and texture that I want.  But the heat fizzled in the end.

So, while the spice level was a bit of a let-down, let me say this…for a salsa, this is exactly the texture I would be looking for.  I don’t mind a milder spice when it comes to these thicker salsas.  And I give props to Food Network pawn, Guy Fieri, for bringing his love of spice, salsa, and sauces to the general public.  I would totally buy this again.  It made a great topper for my Gluten-Free and Vegan Tostada pizza tonight.  And now I’m ready to try it out with some tortilla chips as well.

If it’s heat you seek…the burn promised with this salsa will not satisfy you.  But if you are searching for a medium-spice, chunky salsa with huge flavor…this will definitely satisfy.

Guy Fieri 7 Pepper Salsa atop a gluten-free & vegan Tostada Pizza
Guy Fieri 7 Pepper Salsa atop a gluten-free & vegan Tostada Pizza

Wild about Wild Garden Traditional Hummus

Wild Garden Traditional Hummus
Wild Garden Traditional Hummus

Product: Wild Garden Traditional Hummus – $3.49+

This is one of the best inventions I have ever come across when it comes to simple, on-the-go food stuffs.  Hummus-To-Go squeeze packs from Wild Garden.  I spotted these at my local natural food store on a shelf and knew I had to try them.  So, I bought them.  And, then despite the plethora of gluten-free crackers in my pantry and closet…they have just sat there.

Rest assured though…I know this is a good product.  You know those amazing Go Picnic meals?  Well, the hummus and cracker variety of Go Picnic includes a Hummus-To-Go pack by Wild Garden.  And I devour my Go Picnic meals on a regular basis as I am usually on the go and this is far cheaper and less of a hassle for me to eat on the road than trying to find somewhere that can cater to my dietary needs.

So, while I have used the Wild Garden Hummus packs before…this was the first time I have used it in a way that is not the traditional way to eat hummus.

You see…I have gluten-free pizza crusts.  Are you following me yet?  Well…these gluten-free pizza crusts were sitting in my pantry and nearing their expiration date.  So, tonight after a morning of hard cardio at the gym, a day at the office, and then an evening 5 mile run, I was starving.  I also had received a beautiful pizza stone for my birthday last month from my dearest friend Judi, and I was ready to test it out.  So, after sprinkling it with some corn meal and setting it in the oven to heat up…I got busy on the pizza.

Not just any pizza though.  A take on my mom’s famous Tostada Pizza that I grew up eating.  Of course, in the years that have passed since I lived at home, I have not only become a vegetarian, but I also had to begin eating gluten-free.  So…this meant a few changes had to be made to the original recipe.  Instead of ground meat and taco seasoning, I opted for Trader Joe’s vegan and gluten-free soy chorizo.  This eliminated the meat portion of the dish and I didn’t need to invest in taco seasoning either.  The other change I made was that instead of refried beans (not all are gluten-free!), I used Wild Garden Traditional Hummus instead.  The rest of the recipe remained the same as how my mom made it.

So…while the pizza stone heated and seasoned in the oven, I took a gluten-free pizza crust (Rustic Crust, if you are curious) and spread one packet of the Wild Garden Traditional Hummus across the top of it.  Then, I topped it with some of the Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo and some green chilies.  Once the stone was warm, the pizza crust was place don top of it and cooked for about 8 minutes.  The edges were turning a beautiful golden color when I removed it.  The next thing I did was add some chopped onion, some tomato, and my vegan cheddar shreds to the top.  The stone went back into the oven for 2 minutes.  Once more out of the oven to finish it off with some organic spring mix lettuce that I chopped up.  One more minute in the oven and…viola!  A fantastic Tostada Pizza…vegan and gluten-free style!

Of course…the entire point of this blog was not to give a recipe, but share my thoughts on the Wild Garden Traditional Hummus.  Well…what can I say?  It worked beautifully in place of the refried beans.  Honestly.  It was the right creamy texture…but definitely a lot healthier and a lot tastier, in my opinion.  It served as the perfect base for the pizza (the sauce, if you will).  Paired with the rest of the ingredients, it all just meshed really well.  I was quite pleased with it as I wasn’t sure how baking it on a pizza crust was going to work out.

A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Traditional Hummus
A tetra deli pack of Wild Garden Traditional Hummus

Wild Garden Traditional Hummus is simply made from chickpeas, sesame paste, water, sea salt, natural spices, and citric acid.   It is naturally gluten-free, vegan, kosher, and low carb.  This brand of hummus has no GMO’s, no preservatives, no hydrogenated oils, and no trans fatty acids.  In addition, they are shelf-stable until opened and so good for you.  Rich and creamy with a mild flavor, these hummus varieties won’t take away from the food you are pairing with them.

I found the texture and taste to be preferable to the refried beans in the original recipe.  It paired well with the spicy hit from the soy chorizo and green chilies.  And the vegetables were a shoe-in for paring with hummus.  Not only are Wild Garden Hummus varieties great for dipping foods or topping off crackers…but it looks like they make a fantastic base for a pizza as well.

If you are wild about hummus and want to taste one that is packed with flavor and loaded without all the preservatives and additives, Wild Garden Hummus is for you.  I found the Traditional to be a fantastic, mild, creamy flavor that left me feeling satisfied and raving over the taste.  Wild Garden offers six flavors of their hummus, although not are all available in the to-go packs.

Whether eating at home, needing a snack, or on-the-go…pack some Wild Garden Traditional Hummus.  Pack in the protein, the nutrients, and the goodness of hummus done right.

And eat it in whatever way you can dream up…imagine…or crave.

Gluten-Free and Vegan Tostada Pizza (using Wild Garden Traditional Hummus as a base)
Gluten-Free and Vegan Tostada Pizza (using Wild Garden Traditional Hummus as a base)

Love at first cheesy bite with Schär Gluten-Free Cheese Bites

Schär Gluten-Free Cheese Bites
Schär Gluten-Free Cheese Bites

Product: Schär Gluten-Free Cheese Bites – $4.25+

Schär has most notably become one of my go-to companies for gluten-free products.  Why?  Because I have yet to really be disappointing by something that they have out on the market.  When it comes to that gluten-free “wow” factor, Schär constantly delivers, whether it is their par-baked bread products or pasta or otherwise.

As I am working my way through my gluten-free snack stock in my pantry, this week brought me to the small package I had of Schär Gluten-Free Cheese Bites.  Now…I can tell you right now, I loved these at first bite.  I had actually sampled a few at a Gluten-Free Expo back in February and it was honestly love at first bite.  First freakin’ bite.

But, that was awhile back and it had been a long time since my taste.  But there wasn’t any of that trepidation when I loaded up a serving (30g) for work on Friday.  I knew my afternoon snack would be enjoyed.  I remembered that much.

But when snack time rolled around, I remembered exactly why these were stocked in my pantry.  First of all, they were on sale one week.  I just hadn’t gotten to them yet as I work (in expiration date order) through my snacks.  Secondly…they are yummy!  Beyond yummy, actually.  They are a fantastic cheesy treat.

Forget Goldfish crackers (which are not gluten-free, so I have had to forget them anyway).  These take the taste above and beyond what those smiling snack crackers ever did.  Schär provides a gluten-free bite-size treat of cheese and powerful flavor.  What’s not to like?

These are love in cheese cracker form.  They actually remind me a lot of Ritz cheese crackers.  Buttery, cheesy goodness that you just pop into your mouth.  They have the right amount of saltiness to them to bring out the richness of the crackers.  And I find that these would be amazing as croutons in a tomato soup, or sprinkled with some olive oil and ranch dressing mix.  Yummy.  They could be used as croutons in a salad as well.  But my favorite way to eat them…straight out of the bag.

I let my co-worker, who is trying to learn more and taste gluten-free products to see how she likes them (most of them she doesn’t…but she is picky), try one and she loved them.  Honestly.  These are amazingly good.  I applaud Schär for this nutritious and delicious snack.  One serving is only 140 calories and 5 grams of fat.  Not bad for a cheese cracker at all.  And definitely not bad for an afternoon snack.

Schär…I hope you introduce more snack crackers like this one.  These are to be raved about…for life. And I intend to savor every bite-size morsel from the remainder of the bag.