Archive for category GF Product Reviews

Product Review and Giveaway! The Gluten Free Bar

The fab folks at The Gluten Free Bar recently shared their gluten free nutrition bars with me.  As a gluten free vegetarian (well, except for delicious bacon), I am always looking for an easily transportable snack that’s high in nutritional value.  The Gluten Free Bars definitely fit the bill!  Two lucky commenters will win a Gluten Free Bar Sample Pack!  Simply leave a comment here about what you look for in a gluten free bar and you’ll be entered to win Sample Pack of one GFB peanut butter and one GFB peanut butter + chocolate!

Deadline to enter is Saturday, December 4th.

the gluten free bar

Pros:

  • Gluten-free, dairy-free and casein-free
  • Excellent source of protein and omega 3
  • Made in a dedicated gluten-free facility
  • Easily transportable
  • Great combination of sweet and crunchy

Cons:

  • Price point is a bit high.  The cost for a case of 12 bars average $28.00 ($2.33 per bar)

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Bakery On Main Holiday Gift Set Winner (and more giveaways!)

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Gluten Free Trophy Giveaway

Congratulations to Ashley L. in South Carolina!  She is the lucky winner of the Bakery on Main Holiday Gift Set!

In other exciting giveaway news, have you left your comment and let your gluten-free voice be heard?  Enter to win a box of Gluten Free Bisquick.

Stay tuned for an awesome giveaway from Rudi’s Gluten Free Bakery!  I recently had the pleasure of taste testing Rudi’s original, multigrain, and cinnamon raisin gluten free breads.  They ROCK!  Three lucky winners will receive loaves of Rudi’s breads (which are fab for a grilled cheese sandwich or cinnamon french toast).  More details to follow.

(Photo courtesy of Snapr)

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Let Your Gluten Free Voice Be Heard!

As many of you know, in addition to my Hold The Gluten site, I’ve been blogging for General Mills Live Gluten Freely.  I am a huge fan of General Mills and the strides they have taken to offer gluten free products “mainstream”.  In a few weeks, I have the amazing opportunity to travel to the General Mills location and get a gluten-free glimpse of the Betty Crocker Portrait Kitchen (O.M.G!!!).

Here’s where YOU come in!!  Alone, I am one gluten-free voice, but together we can make a difference in our gluten-free community.

If you could ask the Gluten Free Team at General Mills anything at all (or put in a gluten free food product request), what would it be?

This is your chance to be heard!  Share your honest opinion, feedback, questions and/or comments.  I will share your thoughts with the General Mills Team next month.  As my thank you, you’ll automatically be entered to win a fantabulous box of Gluten Free Bisquick!  Comment deadline is November 2, 2010.

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Giveaway Alert! Bakery On Main Gluten Free Holiday Gift Set

Bakery On Main recently shared some of their granola-y goodness with me.  Want a chance to win one of their Gluten Free Holiday Gift Sets?  Read on!

Give the gift of happy taste buds! This boxed set is the perfect gift for your gluten free friends and family (or even for yourself). Inside you’ll find an eco-friendly reusable Bakery On Main tote bag, 1.5 oz gluten free granola snack packs of our Apple Raisin Walnut, Nutty Cranberry Maple and Extreme Fruit & Nut flavors, 2 oz. Fiber Power gluten free granola snack packs of our Triple Berry and Cinnamon Raisin flavors, and 1.2 oz gluten free granola bars in our Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Maple Nut and Extreme Trail Mix, plus a $0.50 off coupon.


Gluten Free Giveaway! Leave a comment here for a chance to win a Bakery On Main Holiday Gift Set!  Deadline to enter is 10/20/2010.

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Live Gluten Freely Product Box

Diamonds are so overrated! Why not give the gift of (full-sized) delicious gluten free products from General Mills? The wondrous folks at General Mills recently sent me a Live Gluten Freely product box to “taste test”.  These boxes are perfect for saying thank you, congratulations or I’m thinking of you!

I must give HUGE props to General Mills for addressing the need for gluten free mainstream products.  I practically live on Chex cereal (my favorite is Honey Nut) and have been known to sneak spoonfuls of Betty Crocker chocolate frosting for a “snack”.   In addition to the generous assortment of gluten free products (see listing below), General Mills provides a helpful fact sheet on healthful gluten free eating, reading labels, and foods that may contain gluten.   I especially love that General Mills clearly identifies their products “Gluten Free”.

Be sure to check out the Live Gluten Freely site as well as their Facebook page.  I’m thrilled to announce that starting next month, I will join Kim Bouldin of Gluten Free is Life and Vanessa Maltin of Celiac Princess as a Featured Blogger on Live Gluten Freely!

The Live Gluten Freely product box includes:

• Betty Crocker® Gluten-Free Brownie Mix
• Betty Crocker® Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix
• Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy Chocolate Frosting
• Honey Nut Chex® Cereal
• Betty Crocker® Create-A-Bug® Fruit Flavored Snacks
• Betty Crocker® Fruit Flavored Snacks Variety Pack – Fruit Roll-Ups®, Fruit Gushers®, Fruit by the Foot®
• Peanut Butter Cookie Lärabar® Snack Bar
• Betty Crocker® Potato Buds® Mashed Potatoes
• Betty Crocker® Red Serving Spoon
• Coupons and More!

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Sweet Freedom: Philadelphia’s Gluten Free & Vegan Bakery Review

At the 2009 NFCA Appetite for Awareness event, I had the pleasure of meeting Allison Lubert & Heather Esposito also known as the dynamos behind Sweet Freedom Bakery.  After a wondrous sample of their gluten free cupcakes, I anxiously counted the days till their mid-January 2010 opening in Philadelphia, PA.  Sweet Freedom’s baked goods are not only gluten-free (score!), but vegan (dairy-free, casein-free, egg-free) and without corn, peanuts, and soy.  It was overwhelmingly amazing to walk into a bakery and be able to eat every single item on the menu!  Note to self: restraint is key when visiting Sweet Freedom.

Our venture into Philly started off as any typical day in early 2010…with snow.   Undaunted by the forecast of (sigh, yet another) two feet, we loaded Thing 1 and Thing 2 into the car and headed towards the City of  Brotherly Love.  Once on South Street, we easily found metered parking right in front of the bakery (probably due to the impending blizzard barreling our way).  Having obsessively studied the bakery menu, I was prepared to order.  That was until I stood witness to the rows of muffins, cupcakes, and cobblers calling my name.  Our first selection was a Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich.  I’m not sure what excited the children more, the fact that they were eating a “sandwich” that was actually a cookie or the fact that their Mommy Dearest was (willingly) sharing her gluten free goodies with them.  Yes, I admit, I have a tad bit of difficulty sharing.  Keep in mind that my hubby and kiddos can eat gluten, so I feel totally justified in threatening to administer a karate chop if they venture near my gluten free stash.  But I digress…The Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) was utterly fabulous!    

We then moved on to the Magic Bars ($2.75 single/$30.75 dozen).  Oooh, these were good. We barely left room for one chocolate and one vanilla cupcake ($3.50 single/$38.50 dozen) iced to perfection.  Unfortunately, Thing 1 and Thing 2 gobbled the cupcakes up in record time, so the photo opportunity was missed.

Pros

  • Delectable vegan baked goods free from gluten, corn, peanuts, and soy.
  • Dedicated gluten-free facility.
  • Fresh baked daily.

Cons

  • Pricing.  While I completely understand that the price point for gluten free baking is higher, I felt that $38.50 for a dozen cupcakes seemed excessive.
  • Unless you are lucky enough to find a metered spot, parking in the adjacent lot was pricey ($10.00).

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Gluten Free Blarney Stone Creamy Potato Soup Review

Over this past weekend Snowmageddon occurred.  Here in New Jersey, it snowed a whopping 28.5 inches.  That kind of winter weather calls for three things:  hot chocolate, comfy p.j.’s and a big pot of soup simmering on the stove.  After my diagnosis with celiac disease, I found it hard to find soup mixes or premade varieties without wheat.  No longer could I take a quick trip down the soup aisle in my grocery store and pick up a few cans of Campbell’s soup.  About a year ago, I discovered Fantastic World Foods Simmer Soups.  Their Blarney Stone Creamy Potato soup is “a creamy blend of diced potatoes seasoned with onions and leeks.”  Simply add in milk to their mix and simmer on the stove for 10 minutes.  Inspired by their Baked Potato soup suggestion on the back of the package, we added a dollop of sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and crumbled bacon.

Pros:

  • Overall a tasty and hearty gluten-free soup!
  • Reasonably priced at $3.65 for a 7.5 package of soup mix (approximately 6 servings).

Cons:

  • Do your pricing research!  In doing a search on-line for Simmer Soups, I found that the price point varied greatly by retailer.  For example, if you ordered a 6-pack of Simmer Soups directly from Fantastic World Foods the price is $30.72.  In comparison, if you order the same quantity via Amazon.com, the price is $21.94.

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Trader Joe’s (BIG!) Brown Rice Tortillas

trader joes gluten free rice tortillas

Becoming gluten free prompted many changes in my life.  While it may seem trivial, I was unfairly forced to ingest itty bitty tortillas.  Gone were the days when my dinner description included the words “quesadilla the size of your head”.   Now I know you are asking yourself the (totally valid) question: “Um, hello Maureen, traditional gluten free corn tortillas are six inches in diameter.  That’s not itty bitty, that’s portion control!”  And to answer your question: Sometimes I want a quesadilla the size of Sputnik!  Then  I discovered (BIG!) Brown Rice Tortillas in my local Trader Joe’s refrigerated section.  Before I share with you my humble opinion, I must admit to missing the lilliputian-sized corn tortillas so much that I have returned them to my refrigerator.  Sometimes bigger isn’t always better.  Well, unless we’re speaking about quantities of bacon or chocolate, but that’s another post entirely.

Pros:

  • BIG BIG BIG tortillas!
  • Works well for quesadillas.
  • Reasonably priced at $2.49 for six 10-inch tortillas (vs $1.50 for ten 6-inch corn tortillas).
  • Do not come frozen (therefore avoiding severing a digit or two while trying to separate a solidified tortilla mass).

Cons:

  • Very chewy texture.  Borderline rubbery.
  • Not your best option for a wrap-type sandwich (easily broke when folded).

trader joes gluten free tortillas

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Betty Crocker Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Review

“Birthdays are nature’s way of telling us to eat more cake.”

forkfull of gluten free cake

This past Sunday was my birthday.  Not to be all Negative Nancy, but turning 37 was NOT that thrilling in the grand scheme of things.  To make matters worse, a full-on “raging hormone” war was taking place in my SAGGY, FLABBY body.  Can I get a waaaah?  What I wanted – strike that – needed was chocolate.  Lots of chocolate.  My darling husband of ten years knew it was vital that he take action quickly:  provide his long in the tooth wife with some chocolaty confection or get punched in the throat.  Just for the record, I wouldn’t really punch my devoted spouse in the throat.  I abhor physical violence.  A kick in the shin might be warranted though as I take my chocolate very seriously.

Enter the wondrous Betty Crocker.  As you all know, Betty Crocker offers gluten free cake, cookie and brownie mixes.  What could be better to perk up a disheartening 37th birthday than with chocolate cake?  I had yet to try Betty’s gluten free version of their Devil’s Food cake.  However, a few months ago I had taste tested the gluten free vanilla cake mix with good results.  Chuck (a.k.a. husband in reaction/avoidance mode) began mixing the cake ingredients.  Just as I had doctored the Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix, Chuck added two ingredients to the gluten free devil’s food cake mix.  One cup of sour cream and one packet of chocolate pudding mix went into the batter.  The result?  A moist, dense, chocolaty hunk of heaven.  This cake was so darn good that Chuck and my two kiddos were permitted ONE slice each.  I ate the rest of the cake forkful by fabulous forkful.  By the time I got around to taking a picture to post (priorities People, cake before photography!), all that remained was one tiny bite.

My birthday turned out to be quite fabulous and amazingly tasty.  I can’t wait to turn (gasp) 38!  Yeah, that’s totally a lie, but the cake…I’ll take any day!

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Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar is NOT the cheesiest.  Nor will you find Sponge Bob Square Pants, Scooby Doo, or Pokemon-shaped pasta inside the box.  That said, this mac n’ cheese does taste good.  A little doctoring of the cheese portion was needed (I like my pasta happily smothered in cheese sauce), but overall this is a great product to have on hand for a quick meal.

gluten-free-rice-pasta-cheddar

Pros:

  • Uber-simple to make.  Even a monkey could prepare it!
  • The rice pasta tastes like the “real thing” — no gritty texture.
  • Reasonably priced at $1.99 for 6 ounce package.

Cons:

  • The cheese portion of the mac n’ cheese was more like watery cheese soup.  It’s very thin and needs to be thickened up with extra cheddar.
  • The box of gluten free mac n’ cheese is 6 ounces.  A traditional glutenous box of mac n’ cheese is 7.5 ounces.  Um, hello, why do gluten intolerant peeps get less?

trader-joes-gluten-free-rice-pasta-cheddar

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