Friday, May 29, 2009

Glutino makes frozen meals!

After my post about becoming a born-again Glutinoian, I'm sure you can imagine the glee I felt when I gazed upon three new gluten-free frozen meals in the health food aisle at Martins, all made by none other than Glutino!

I took home two meals; Duo Mushroom Penne and Penne Alfredo. Aaaaaaand... not quite so gleeful. I think Glutino forgot to consult with Amy's regarding "how to make a frozen meal that doesn't melt into 50% water." Bummer. I think the meals definitely have potential, but you have to straaaaaaaaain the liquid out for a good coupla minutes before you can get down to the "meal" part, and that's no good.

Additionally, the pasta is a bit too al dente for my taste. But that could just be me. (But, probably not.)

Glutino, thank you for trying, but I hope there's a second edition to this potential bestseller.

Oh, I nearly forgot: there's also a Glutino Pad Thai with Chicken in my freezer, waiting to be judged. I find it hard to believe anyone can fuck up Pad Thai, so I'm setting my hopes high... I'll let you know when I try it!

(Thanks to Greatest Grains for the image!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Spice up your Gluten-Free Life

This is the one baking mix to which I give five whopping stars. I buy it regularly and it's so amazing even gluten-eaters can't get enough of it.

All you need is two eggs, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, a cup of buttermilk, and a package of Gluten-Free Pantry's Spice Cake & Gingerbread Mix. I highly suggest using smaller pans (I do teenie little cupcakes) and baking for longer than suggested to really get a nice tough crust on the outside of your cakes.

This serves two purposes: 1, if you're no stranger to GF baking, you know that a lot of our baked goods go bad much more quickly than regular flour-based sweets. The tough exterior will help the cake keep a little longer.

And 2, the crust is the most delicious part. Especially if you grease your pan with copious amounts of butter like I do. Mmmmm.

Clearly, not a vegan recipe what with the buttermilk and eggs, but my veggie friends love it. And I can't get enough of it.

I think the packages are something like $5 tops. Worth it on every level. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ian's French Bread Pizza - welcome back to grade school!

Welcome back to another wheat-, gluten-, casein-, milk-, egg-, and nut-free entrée by Ians!

I was hungry for pizza today, but Amy's have been hit-or-miss for me lately (anyone else noticing a strange aftertaste from their pizzas?), and I have to drive 45 minutes away for the nearest Glutino feta & spinach ones, so I decided to try Ian's "pizza boat" French Bread Pizza.

I have to say first that you get two pizzas the size of your hand. Well, my hand. They're tiny! Perfect for kids, but for adults they're more of a $5 snack than a meal.

But they're pretty good; even the soy "cheeze" doesn't disappoint! (Apologies to you dairy-free people; soy cheese sounds just WRONG, but I've learned over the past year that it is in fact delicious. I get it now.)

I suggest keeping the pizzas in the oven for longer than the suggested time; I put them in for 20 minutes and wound up sticking them back in for another five. At that point the crust was still nice and crunchy, the insides soft, and the "cheeze," well, as melted as "cheeze" can be. I'm not left craving another one, but in a pinch, they're a great hand-held snack, and I'll bet kids love them.

I give Ian's French Bread Pizza a B-. I'm not gonna make them sit indoors through recess, but I'm not going to give them a star sticker either.

Now, if they start selling just the French bread, I'll be all over it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wellshire Farms update!

Hey, Wellshire Farms put up a great response to the itty bit of gluten that's been found in their Dino Bites (scroll down to "Quality Control"). Best explanation:

"Our Wellshire products are tested at a level of 200 ppm or less, which is equivalent to 99.98% gluten free. The FDA is now considering a new proposal that would reduce the amount of gluten to be 20 ppm or to 99.998% gluten free. This will be difficult to achieve as wheat and other grains can become cross contaminated from growth in the fields, or milling in the combines. It becomes very, very difficult if not impossible to control."

Now that ain't bad. Let's hope they can do it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wellshire Farms: gluten-free LOSER

Boooo, hisssss.

I just received an e-mail from Celiac Chicks regarding Wellshire Farms. Unbeknownst to me, they've been under fire for fraud. Apparently their "gluten-free" foods aren't entirely gluten-free.

Now, I've got a milder case of Celiac than most, so trying their (admittedly delicious) chicken bites a few months ago didn't make me blow up like a balloon. Lucky me. A lot of other people have had reactions, and the Chicago Tribune had the bites tested at a lab to find that they did in fact have traces of gluten in them. Bummer for us, because holy hell are they tasty... perhaps because they have a little gluten in them?

Regardless, please do not encourage Wellshire Farms by sending them your money. When you're craving a little chicken nugget bliss, stick with Bell & Evans or Ian's.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ian's Fish Sticks!

I hadn't had fish sticks in at least 10 years before tonight. I've been pretty impressed with Ian's foods, so although my budget's been too tight to spend extra dough trying new gluten-free foods, on my last visit to the Common Market in Frederick I splurged on fish sticks.

"I splurged on fish sticks." Wow, my life has gotten exciting.

I ate the whole $4-5ish box of 'em tonight, and they were SUPERB! Better by far than the fish sticks I grew up on! They're breaded with a cornmeal base over very little more than fish (pollock) and a little garlic, which is perfect. The box boasts that these fish sticks are also free of casein, milk, eggs, nuts, and soy. But yeah, obviously not meat, 'cause they're fish sticks.

The shape of these sticks is slightly flattened, which creates the perfect texture. I baked them at the max time to be safe, and they were just right (a little on the crunchy side, which I like). Not soggy and not too fishy, but very fresh all the same. Perfect for dipping in ketchup or mustard.

BUYER BEWARE!! Ian's does have a gluten-packed version of most of their GF foods (including these), so MAKE SURE you see the "gluten-free" notice on the box before you buy them! I have at least three Amy's Mac & Cheese boxes in my fridge that I'll never be able to eat because I failed to read the box. So if you know someone who's not GF and likes mac & cheese, send them my way, please.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Glutino Feta and Spinach Pizza OH MY GOD GOOD

Normally, I emphasize the "no" on "Glutino." That's a little unfair of me, but I remember trying their foods in my earlier gluten-free days, and they had a long way to go.

Well, they've made it. I bought this pizza on a whim (and thus, I have no idea how much it was because I didn't want to know), and expected it to taste like a big fat NO. It was an enormous YES. YES YES YES.

This pizza couldn't have been more right. The crust is a mix of corn and tapioca starch, which surprises me because it takes a bit like a rice crust. It's got a sour hint that tastes perfect, and while it's especially crunchy, it's balanced perfectly by the gooey goodness of the feta, mozzarella and ricotta. BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE! That spinach.... mmmmmmm. Just mmmm. This pizza's a winner in my book.

This is a single-server that takes about 17 minutes to cook in the oven and should be chopped into four fat pieces (if you can get more out of this thing, I'd like to see it). The cheese is all-star real cheese, folks, so this one's not for vegans. No nuts were harmed in the creation of this pizza.

I'm salivating for another piece right now. Maybe I shouldn't have written this review until I had another one in the freezer...

Enjoy Life Soft Baked Snickerdoodles - heck yes.

Mmmmmmmm and mmm. This one gets an A+++ for texture, and you know what an accomplishment that is.

Okay, so you should know beforehand that this cookie is made out of a buncha fruit. That said, go into this knowing that it's going to be a fruity snickerdoodle.

The size is, well, kinda small, but delightfully bite-sized (I prefer the cookies this size, myself). And it's all good for you. Just after the main ingredient - sorghum flour - comes a parade of fruit: date paste; grape, apple and pear juice concentrates. Click the image above to check out more of the wholesome facts on this cookie.

As if the chewy texture wasn't enough, they're also nut-free and vegan/vegetarian friendly. Go them!

I microwaved four of them at 10 seconds just to get them a little warm, and dipped 'em in milk. I think I'm just about to do it again...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Kinnikinnick Tapioca Rice English Muffins... if you're in the mood for a biscuit.

See, I'm eating one of these right now (and getting butter all over the keyboard) and it tastes REALLY good... but this is NOT an English muffin. It's sort of a fluffy, sweet-tasting biscuit. And if you're in the mood for a biscuit, this is the one.

This is another one of those situations where every time you eat one serving, you can't help but recall that you just ate a dollar and some change. I believe I picked this package of 4 "muffins" for $5 or more.

The size & shape is off - entirely too big to slice into halves and pop into the toaster (I had to sort of mangle one side to get it out). I'm still not sure why they make GF English muffins so damn big, but if you have a toaster oven, it'll be no problem. Unfortunately the texture is a little too crumbly to slice into thirds, which is what I do with the Foods By George English muffins (which I'll get to another day).

But yeah, overall, these are damn tasty biscuits. I'd suggest having them with something simple like butter or jam at dinnertime.

Oh, PS - they are made with egg, so these are not vegan muffins. The main flour ingredient is rice flour and they also include tapioca starch and potato starch. Most interesting ingredient of the day? Pea protein. Hooray for veggies!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bell & Evans Breaded Chicken Breast Nuggets - Ta$ty with lots of $$

Freaking delicious.

I kind of lied in my bio: I miss pizza and donuts, but I REALLY miss chicken nuggets. It was my mom's guilty pleasure when it came to feeding me & my brother quickly when we were kids, and my dad's guilty pleasure when we were pleading for a trip to McDonald's.

I just bought this brand of chicken nuggets tonight at Maggie's, our local health food store. They're terribly overpriced, but I can walk there, and often that seals the deal for the extra dollar or two I'll spend.

I paid $6.99 for the small box, which made each chicken nugget almost $0.60 apiece. That's freaking expensive, but I have a feeling it's just my health food store; you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere.

Regardless, they were DELICIOUS. Just right. The only other GF chicken nuggets I've tried have been the Wellshire Kids brand, which are REALLY good but don't taste quite as healthy and natural as these ones did. (Plus, the Wellshire Kids ones are a little on the spicy side, and they're shaped like dinosaurs... both of which are actually a big bonus to me!)

Buyer beware: The Bell & Evans nuggets are uncooked, which means you need to be sure they're cooked all the way through when you take them out of the oven. The suggested max time of 30 minutes took care of this for me. Each nugget was fully cooked, a healthy size, and tasted like a gourmet bite-sized chicken finger.

They're breaded with rice & corn flour and you can kind of taste it, but it didn't bother me at all. They do include xanthan gum, so but I wasn't unusually gassy afterwards (you do know that xanthan gum is a mild laxative, right? 'Cause it is).

So all told, Bell & Evans does a mean chicken nugget that tastes perfect and has a perfect texture, but I hope you can find them for less than $7 a box. If you do, snatch them up immediately.