st amour paleo bar

Help Get the Paleo+Bar Kickstarted!

My health-conscious friends, Daniel and Susan Nicolas at St. Amour Cookies, may be best known for their gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan cookies, but are now venturing into a whole new world of “good-for-you” treats.

Their new Paleo+Bars are being launched through a Kickstarter campaign which will run through November 23rd. Like all kickstarters, they have a few perks up their sleeves for those who wish to help fund their latest creations: The PALEO+ “ORIGINS” (a pure paleo version – which is also vegan with Proteins strictly from the ingredients), the PALEO+  with Whey Protein concentrate (includes an extra kick of protein, not Vegan) and the PALEO+  with Raw bio-fermented rice (a protein-added for Vegans.)

Feel free to check out their Kickstarter page and to set yourself up to receive some of their awesome bars as a reward for pledging to their latest project. To learn more about the company, you can also check out: http://stamourcookies.com/

gluten free panda puffs cereal review

EnviroKids Gluten Free Panda Puffs: Ridiculously Cute!

I have to admit that it was not ME who picked out the EnviroKidz Organic Peanut Butter Panda Puffs
. Yes, they caught my eye on the shelf with their adorable animals, but I am generally pretty good about choosing products based on subtance and not just cute boxes.

This cereal was more than a pretty face though. It offers a gluten-free, organic, non-GMO product. To see what I thought, visit the Gluten Freedom Project Review.

Tell me this face isn’t adorable!


EnviroKids has other cute faces and gluten-free goodies in their line, too, including Crispy Rice Bars:

         

And some additional cereals, too:

glutenawayexpo

Great Value: Sample Kits From GlutenAway Online Expo!

I am usually leery of deals that seem too good to be true… but this one truly is!  Gluten Away is having its second online expo and is offering a few different Sample Kits for just $5.00 including shipping. Payments for kits are no-hassle using PayPal and offer a chance to try out some new products or old favorites!

The kit I ordered (Sample Kit #1)  included:

  • Canyon Bakehouse 1 Free Product Coupon

  • Enjoy Life Caramel Apple Bar (1 bar)

  • Enjoy Life Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Justin’s Honey Almond Butter

  • Kind Bar – Apple Cinnamon Pecan

  • San-J Soy Sauce Travel Pack

Okay, sure, some of these are sample or travel-sized, but it is still a great value based on the Canyon Bakehouse Coupon alone. (Canyon Bakehouse products are about $5.00 each at my local Target.) I figured I am still getting to try a few other products for absolutely free, including the Kind Bar (About $1.30 a piece) an Enjoy Life Bar (again, over $1 each) and a Honey Almond Butter packet (which I have found on sale for about $1 each as well.)

The Gluten Away Online Expo also offers a Samples “upgrade”… which I did not get… to get several full size packets of gluten-free goodies. Be advised that shipping charges are NOT included on the full size packages. While you are enjoying the expo, be sure to visit the booths of “virtual” exhibitors to sign up for their newsletters and any give-away contests they may be sponsoring, too.

Gluten Away Online Expo can be found at: http://www.glutenawayexpo.com/

bionaturae pasta

BioNaturae Gluten Free Penne Rigate Pasta

I recently reviewed Bionaturae Pasta for The Gluten Freedom Project, and was pleasantly surprised that the penne rigate noodles inside of the package were pretty darn close to “the real thing.”

The noodles cooked up well, and the taste was pleasant. Best of all, the noodles were not only gluten-free, but also organic. Unlike many other pastas catering to the gluten-free market, this noodle was also created with a base of rice, soy, and potato instead of the typical rice and corn blend.

To read the review, please visit my friends at The Gluten Freedom Project at: http://www.glutenfreedomproject.com/news/product-review-bionaturae-penne-rigate-pasta-gluten-free. While you are there, be sure to check out their other features, including the menu creator where you can find easy recipes to use with this good gluten-free noodle!

bionaturae pasta w meat sauce

Above: Bionaturae Gluten Free Pasta Noodles held up nicely to the dense “meat sauce” test! This was a basic tomato-based sauce with some lean ground beef that we quickly cooked up to try out the noodles.

Notice… no mushy results! Yessss!

gluten free soft batch cookies

Healthier than the Originals: Soft-Batch Style Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I clearly remember growing up and hoping that a few soft batch cookies from that infamous red package were in a baggie in my lunch at grade school. That of course, was right about the time that soft-cookie sales peaked. In fact, soft cookies peaked in 1985 with about $450 million in sales, and fell to about $300 million just two years later–to about just 10% of the cookie market, according to Snack Food magazine.

So what happened? Did my tastes just change? Did everyone’s?

I remember biting in to a “soft batch” cookie quite some time ago before becoming “wheat-free” and thinking it was quite possibly the worst cookie I had ever tasted. I’m sure that my tastes have improved (or possibly gotten more selective) as I have gotten older, of course. But, I also highly suspect that in an effort to make the cookie less expensive to produce (and therefore, more profitable for the manufacturer) they played with the recipe just a little too much… and well, it eventually crumbled like the cookies themselves.

If you look closely at the packages of yesterday and today, the red classic one says “Original”, and the lastest version of the Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies in the yellow package does not claim “Original” on it. Sadly, if you long for the taste of an original soft batch cookie, you won’t find it… even if you do still eat wheat-containing products.

I consider not being able to eat soft-batch cookies any longer a blessing in disguise, though. Not only am I not let-down by the awful new taste, but I also avoid all of the nonsense that goes in to making them. (And, so do my kids!) The current chocolate chip cookie recipe has 150 calories, 12 g of sugar, and 110 mg of sodium per 2 cookie serving. (And when has anyone eaten just two cookies?) Wheat flour is listed as the first ingredient, high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient, and a slew of sugar-containing and allergy-containing “things” in them. (The possible allergens list reads: CONTAINS WHEAT, MILK, SOY AND EGG INGREDIENTS. MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS.)

That doesn’t, however, stop the craving for a similar soft cookie that I remember growing up. The ones that were plump and soft and so trade-able with other kids at lunchtime.

So. here is what I came up with to create a soft and cakey-style chocolate chip cookie without all of the sugar. They stay soft for days… but I dare you to try to keep them in your house that long!

Shopping List:

Preparation:

  • Combine flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and set aside.
  • Cream together applesauce, margarine, butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer.
  • Add two eggs and mix well into the butter and sugar.
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture to the butter and sugar in the stand mixer. Run the mixer bout 2 minutes until teh dough is well-combined and smooth.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon.
  • Place dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 325º. Once heated, bake cookies on a sheet pan for approximately 6-8 minutes per batch.
  • Cool cookies on a wire rack.

gluten free soft batch cookies

gluten free dining

E-Meals Freebie!

I found a really fun gluten-free “freebie” for everyone!

As many of you know, I have an eMeals subscription which is truly worth its weight in gold on busy weeks. It’s a meal planning service that sends you a weekly list of recipes (including side dishes!) with a corresponding grocery list. It gets you organized, helps you save money, and gives you more time. It’s like a mini-Miracle!

Here is the freebie: eMeals is offering 2 weeks free of their service right now for you to try out! If you decide to stick with it after the two weeks, you can enjoy your choice of over 60 meal plan options including a GLUTEN FREE plan. As a bonus, all eMeals’ members get a FREE Comfort Foods menu that features all kinds of fall-friendly menu items to enjoy, too.


Gluten Free Meal Plans

mehls premium gluten free chocolate cake

The Easiest (and Tastiest) Way To Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

It might seem as though I am baking a bunch. And, I am. Being wheat-free/gluten-free means a lot of home-baked goodies since almost everything available commercially has some sort of wheat flour or some derivative of wheat in it.

But, truth be told, there are times when I just don’t feel like baking from scratch. If only there was some sort of solution for that…

Oh, wait, there is: PACKAGED CAKE MIX.

There is possibly no faster and easier method to “make” a “homemade” cake than to pop a mix out of the bag or box, and simply add the few ingredients that the directions call for. Luckily, there are some fabulous new gluten-free (and thus, wheat-free) mixes on the market.

My new favorite, and the absolute easiest one I have made to date, has got to be the new PREMIUM CHOCOLATE CAKE MIX from Mehl’s Flour Company. By adding just water, oil, and vanilla extract, you’ve got yourself a beautifully moist and delicious chocolate cake in about 25 minutes. (Which, by-the-way, I believe the Mehl Family would have no problem with you calling “homemade!”) Besides being Certified Gluten-Free to less than 10ppm —the best standard in the industry— the real difference maker is that this cake quite literally takes the cake when it comes to tasting like it’s “regular” non-gluten-free box mix cousins. (You know, the kind of box cakes you used to eat before you gave up the wheat and gluten!)

There’s a reason their customers question the Mehl family as to whether their baked goodies are really gluten free: They truly taste as if they aren’t. (And, that, of course, is a good thing!) You can rest assured, though, that this family knows the importance of high-quality and high-integrity in manufacturing their gluten free flour and mixes. In fact, this Celiac family-turned- Certified Gluten Free innovators take great pride in their product’s safety, taste, and price-point.

Chocolate cake lovers can find Mehl’s Gluten Free Flour and Mixes online or in several retail outlets. You can also sign up for their newsletter at: http://mehlsflour.com/newsletter-signup/.

mehls gluten free package

This is like a bit of joy in a box. This package is stuffed with Mehl’s Flour Company
Gluten Free Premium Flour Blend, Muffin Mix, Cookie Mix,
and of course Chocolate Cake Mix. Yum!

Now, if only the Mehl Family made some gluten-free red vines licorice…

bunless, wheat-free farm burgers

Get Your Fall Grill On! Bun-less (and Wheat-free) Farm Burgers.

It’s fall, of course, and soon the temps will dropping. Winter around here leaves the grill pretty lonely, so I figured why not get few good grilled dinners in before the snow arrives. Actually, we’ve been known to grill in the snow, too, but I digress.

With gluten-free buns being so expensive (and sometimes tasteless) often times we just say “forget it” and eat our burgers bun-less. Such was the case with these well-topped grilled burgers that I am calling “Farm Burgers” because of their farm-to-table inspired toppings. The egg replaces cheese on this version of a burger, and lends some additional lean protein to the meal. Spinach and tomato compliment the egg and the beef perfectly, too.

To make these burgers:

  • For every 1Lb. of lean ground beef, combine with 1 egg, garlic salt, pepper, and approximately 2 tablespoons of rice flour. Shape into quarter pound patties.
  • Heat the grill and add the patties.
  • Meanwhile, place a frying pan on the sideburner (or directly over heat, using a grill-safe pan like cast-iron.) Fry the appropriate number of eggs to match the patties you have with a small pat of butter to prevent sticking.
  • Once burgers are done, top each burger with a little mustard, washed spinach leaves, the egg, and tomato.
  • If you would like to eat these burgers with your hands, use a few leaves of iceberg lettuce to completely wrap the completed burger. If not, simply dig in with a fork!

bunless farm burger with egg

I happen to love my Lodge Cast-Iron Round Griddle Lodge brand frying pans! Cast Iron has sort of lost favor with people because it appears… and sometimes is… difficult to clean. But, honestly, for the cost of cast iron and its versatility and durability, you just can’t beat it! Keeping them well-seasoned helps with clean-up and preserving your pans.

More importantly, did you know that you can actually boost your own IRON from eating meals from these awesome pans? That’s an important little tidbit for those with Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance to consider, as they are often iron deficient, or  iron-anemic, too. 

peanut bread gluten free

Gluten-Free Peanut Bread

Bread. Bread. Bread. I am always experimenting, and always trying to perfect a recipe without the gluten around here.  The latest yeast-free loaf is based with peanuts… actually homemade peanut butter… and delivers a pretty neutral-tasting, moist final slice.

Shopping List

  • 2 cups shelled roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour ( I actually used Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour in this recipe.)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup plain almond milk

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350º and grease loaf pan.
  • Pulverize peanuts in a food processor until small bits are formed. When crushed, turn food processor off and add honey. Continue to process until the mixture is smooth. (This takes about 5 minutes… be patient!)
  • Put the peanut butter you have just created into the stand mixer. Add egg, sugar and mix well.
  • Slowly add in milk and cream the peanut butter batter. (Say that 10 times fast!)
  • Combine and sift flour, baking powder, salt; add to the batter and mix well.
  • Dough will be thick! Spoon it into the greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes. (Allow to cool completely before cutting slices.)

wheat free peanut butter bread

Jelly, of course, is going to go perfect on this bread… but so will ham, turkey, applebutter, or Nutella :)

Some added benefits of this bread besides being gluten-free? No preservatives and very little sugar! Plus, more protein than “regular loaves.”

beth hillson living well gluten free

The Complete Guide To Living Well Gluten Free

Beth Hillson is an inspiration. Not only was she diagnosed a Celiac patient  during a period of time when the auto-immune disease was vastly under-studied and misunderstood, but she literally learned to make lemonade from her lemon of a situation. (Or, cake without gluten, as the case might be!)

The founder of the Gluten Free Pantry, author, editor of Gluten Free & More (formerly known as Living Without), Beth has created a true treasure trove of knowledge in her latest book: The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten-Free: Everything You Need to Know to Go from Surviving to Thriving.  Her experiences from childhood through adulthood, as mom, entreprenuer and creative, provide a unique (and relatable) perspective on “going gluten free.”  Her book also proves to illustrate the improvements in medical knowledge, treatment, and the availability of gluten-free foodstuffs that are available today; and that a diagnosis of Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance, Wheat Allergy (or a gluten-free diet by choice for any number of health reasons) does NOT mean a life not full of food, health, and fun.

In the book, Beth provides real information in a very “real manner” without the overuse of medical terminology or hyperbole. She tackles a tough subject with both humor, wit, and straight-forward language. She weighs in, and provides practical advice, on everything from genetic testing to how to handle a lunchdate. Her advice and insight is both generous, and genuine.

The book is truly what it states it is: a complete guide. The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten-Free: Everything You Need to Know to Go from Surviving to Thriving will remain in my library as a point of reference which I am sure I will use over and again… and I know you will, too.