Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Schar Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Schar Pizza Crust Gluten Free, 10.6-Ounce

I have a special place in my heart for Schar. Schar was the first "good" GF bread I ever had. I still remember the day I brought it home - so full of promised and excitement! The taste was good, the texture was good - I was eating GOOD TASTING GF BREAD! That my friends is a moment burned in my brain. 

So not surprisingly I was thrilled to find out that Schar makes pizza crust. My eager hands grabbed it from my grocers freezer and I raced home like Charlie with the Golden Ticket. 

Things were definitely looking good - the crust was thin but not too thin. After cooking the crust was crisp and well, yummy. It had the perfect amount of density - it wasn't overwhelming with dough.

Verdict? Yummy

Whole Foods Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter cookies are my absolute favorite cookie. I love them. I love them so much that it sometimes hurts. They are everything cookies should be -sweet and decadent. Since getting diagnosed with celiac (7 years ago) I have struggled to make and purchase gluten free peanut butter cookies. The best GF recipes contain no flour and are really just an amalgam of peanut butter, butter and sugar - but they usually just end up tasting like a buckeye. So the search has carried on to find some baker somewhere who has figured it out. 

The epic search continues.

Like a lot of Gluten Free stuff its not that its necessarily bad, its that it just doesn't work based on what we believe something should taste like. Such is the case here. They are good - in fact I ate three yesterday so clearly they don't suck - but they just don't hit it home. I think I might be looking for more peanut butter - more flavor - I don't know.

These definitely do in a middle of a craving when you can't find anything else. But all in all if you are looking to really feel completed by a cookie - these are not the answer.

Verdict? Okay

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whole Foods Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Here's what you need to know: I checked the package FIVE times to make sure these really said "Gluten Free."

These are luscious, decadent, moist little cakes sent straight from the bosom of a celiac angel. The cake is divine and taste EXACTLY like a wheat cake and the frosting is totally perfect. I could have easily eaten all four cupcakes but I did restrain myself.

Verdict? YUMMY. Seriously, go get one.

French Meadow Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

These were conveniently located in my grocer's freezer when a serious cupcake attack hit. I grabbed them and prayed a silent prayer to the GF Gods hoping that they would be even halfway as good as Whole Foods Chocolate Cupcakes.

And you know what? They were halfway as good as Whole Foods cupcakes. The cake was a kind of dry and a little crumbly like most GF baked goods but the frosting was two thumbs up. I ended up eating the frosting off of two cupcakes and discarding the cake. I think had I not already had a cupcake from Whole Foods this might have gotten a little more love for me. Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with French Meadow cupcakes - its assert itself in the exact same manner as more GF cupcakes but somehow it just seems wrong after having a moist cup of lusciousness.

While I have you - may I step upon my soapbox? (I'm assuming you said yes). With a product like Whole Foods chocolate cupcakes out kicking ass why can't other GF manufacturers step it up? Clearly the ingredients exist or else Whole Foods wouldn't be able to make a moist cake. It's not like they are adding some magic ingredient like ground up unicorn - their price points are the same and I imagine unicorn is expensive.

Verdict? Yummy-Light - the frosting is awesome but the cake leaves much to be desired.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Glutino Glazed Donuts

I really, really like these. And I'm not 100% sure why. I actually had a craving for donuts the other day and I realized that I was craving THESE donuts. Crazy stuff.

Naturally there is no soft fluffy center to these donuts. What I think works for them is that they have a very similar texture and consistence to cake donuts just slightly lighter. The glaze on them is also awesome - its super sweet.

You do get six in a pack but one day is probably a little more than half the size of a regular wheat donut. Gotta love that GF foods have portion size built in.

Verdict? Yummy!

Kinnikinnick Maple Glazed Donuts

This all kinds of a fail.

First of all these weigh a bagillion pounds a piece - which is NEVER a good sign with GF baked goods.

Secondly, when microwaved the "maple glaze" does not heat it - it stays rock hard and the donut underneath gets brutalized.

Thirdly, the donut just flat out sucks. It's texture is bad. It wants really badly to taste like a cake donut and it fails at every measure.

Verdict? Sucky. Please, please do not waste your money here. I'm so mad that I did.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Udi's Cinnamon Rolls

This is like the time that comes in all relationships. The end of the honeymoon period. You start to notice that he has nose hairs and wears mismatched socks and wonder - can you love him anyway? That's where I am with Udi's Cinnamon Rolls. 
I love so much about Udi's. Their laughter, their smile, their ability to make me happy with the simplest of things but here I really had to question what's wrong?

Was it the decidedly low amount of cinnamon yumminess? Was it too much roll? Was it the icing?

It was too much roll. WAY too much roll and my gluten experiences with cinnamon rolls were awesome so the bar was kind of high. What I always loved about gluten cinnamon rolls was that there was like almost too much cinnamon and the icing was just dripping into every nook and cranny. I was never all about the dough part and this was just too much dough. I'm not saying Udi's has to change to keep me - I think I can still love Udi's through this minor down in our otherwise splendid relationship.

Verdict? Yummy Light - the cinnamon roll was still okay - it just wasn't for me it doesn't mean that someone else won't think its the best thing ever created. I say give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Udi's Gluten Free Pizza Crust

While I had a religious experience with Udi's Sandwich Bread and had a real, deal bagel with their bagels I had extraordinarily low expectations for Udi's pizza crusts.

It's like GF manufacturers don't know what to do when it comes to GF pizza crust. Do they try and emulate wheat crust? Do they make it thin? Do they try and make it chewy? Do they just give up and half ass and hope that the poor pathetic desperate celiacs eat it and shut up?

I think they go with the last one.

But not Udi's.

Udi's gets "it."

It is completely futile for any GF manufacturer to even attempt to make a pizza crust similar to wheat crust. The result will be a flat out fail. It just can't happen. Nothing but gluten can replicate that delicious chewy but oh so soft inside of a pizza crust. Trying to market us something that is sort of soft - maybe chewy is kind of insulting. We aren't morons - we know what good food is and just because we have an auto-immune disorder or an allergy doesn't mean we have to suffer.

Let me get off that soapbox.....where was I? Oh right. Okay so the way I see it is that GF Pizza Crust just needs to be a really kick ass thin crust pizza. This is where its easy for GF Manufacturers  to succeed. And Udi's totally succeeded. The crust cooks up crispy and is just dense enough - it can definitely withstand my heavy handedness with sauce and toppings.

I like that this crust isn't trying to be wheat crust - its just trying to be a really good GF crust.

Verdict? YUMMY

PS - I swear to God Udi's is not paying me - I just really, really love them :)

Udi's Sandwich Bread

I seriously have no idea what is going on over at Udi's but I am SO glad that it is happening.

The first time I bought this bread was at Whole Foods. It was in the little refrigerated gluten-free section that my store has. I picked it up and was amazed - it was light and it was squeezable soft! As most GF'ers know - you cannot even begin to fathom eating gf bread/baked goods without toasting them first. It just doesn't work. Some sort of chemical process happens in the toaster where it makes the consistency of gf bread palatable.

Not here Sister.

Let me break this down for you.

I opened a bag of Udi's sandwich bread, took a piece out and ate it.

And it was delicious. It tasted so similar to thin sliced Italian bread I used to get at one of the many nearby Italian markets. I fell to my knees due to what could only be described as a religious experience. I had come to Udi's and I liked it. 

Verdict? YUMMY. I seriously don't know why you are still reading this - IT TASTES LIKE WHEAT BREAD GO BUY IT!

Udi's Gluten Free Bagels

I seriously want to write a love letter to Udi's. I want to propose marriage to them. These bagels are seriously that good. They are light, they are slightly chewy and they are just flat out delicious.

For a long time it seemed that bagels were one area where no GF manufacturer could even come close to getting it right. (Foods by George got close but then I found out that there chewy texture was due to adding mozzarella into the dough - sneaky, sneaky!) Udi's has completely succeeded where others have failed. I not only highly recommend the bagels but I feel I can safely say that if you see the name "Udi's" you are in good hands.

Verdict? YUMMY

Friday, May 27, 2011

Gluten Free Bisquick

Well, hello there. My oh my aren't we a big strong fella? What's that pancakes? Biscuits? Wow....I'm impressed.

Where has this been all of my celiac life???? I ate fluffy, chewy delicious biscuits! They in no way shape or form resembled hockey pucks - I was thrilled!

I used it again to make batter for chicken fingers - AMAZING!

It then made the best GF pizza crust I have ever had in my entire life. Light, chewy, a little fluffy and gosh darn it not too far off from REAL crust (okay well not really - but it was TASTY!)

Confession here is that the box does cost about $4 and it will yield you about 2-3 cups of Bisquick but it is totally worth it.

Verdict? YUMMY

Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend

Let's just put this out there. This sack of flour cost me a whooping $10 at Whole Foods. For that price I was expecting a lot. My thought process was "Okay no bean flour - whoever the hell thinks celiacs LOVE bean flour is sadly mistaken. Guess what people hate? The taste of beans coming through a cupcake....hey look this has no bean flour and at this price there is no way this sucks."

I'd also like to say that this was also in a slight moment of desperation. I was baking a big fancy German Chocolate cake for my Mother's birthday and everyone would be eating this cake. So again, I had some high expectations. 
The cake did come out super moist which was awesome. The cake also rose beautifully - just like a wheat cake. The taste was okay. The flour left a bit of an aftertaste in the cake. I did use the flour again a few weeks later to make a pizza crust and again the taste of the flour was really strong, I think it was the arrowroot flour. 

Verdict? Not the worst GF flour I've ever used but I think it's actually one of the best - which really isn't saying that much. However I doubt I will spend the $10 on another sack of it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Glenny's Brown Rice Marshmallow Treats

Oh man. I really, really wanted to fall in love at first bite here. Marshmallow treats have always been one of my favorite sweet treats and giving up the Rice Krispies version was very sad.

My issue with Glenny's is not that they taste bad (in fact the taste good) its that they seem to miss out on the most fundamental aspect of a Marshmallow Treat - and that's the marshmallowy goodness. These treats are little hard and I expected some give when I bite not the opportunity to lose a filling.

Verdict? Yummy - but know what you're getting into here. If you are fondly remembering rice krispies treats from your PCD days then skip these. 

Tinkyada Pasta

I have eaten every style of Tinkyada pasta. I have eaten them on a boat, on a train, in the rain and so on and so forth. And hands down this pasta is the BOMB DIZZLE! Yummy all the way. It makes banging lasagna, delicious penne and tasty spaghetti. It actually has the consistency of wheat pasta and when cooked al dente floods my memories of dinners in Little Italy pre-celiac diagnosis (PCD).

Totally buy this - you will not be sorry. I'm not convinced there is even a better GF pasta on the market. 

What? Why?

I plunked down $7 for a gluten-free goodie - all the while praying that it would not be tasteless, heavy, mealy or otherwise sucktacular. As I paid my hard earned money a thought crossed my mind.....someone should compile reviews of gluten-free products and have it be in one place - like a blog. How cool would that be? That way when I go to the store and see something I've never tried before I could find out if it was yummy or sucky without spending the money! Plus it does feel awful to chuck out a whole container of anything - what with the starving children in third would countries and all.

While I waxed intellectual on a the plight of starving, celiac children in third world countries it dawned on me that hey - I was somebody! I eat gluten-free stuff! In fact, I eat it all the time! I bet I could write reviews!

And now, here we are. 

I will do my best to populate this site with as many reviews as my little fingers can type. Also, if there is something that you want to know about - let me be your guinea pig! So yeah, this is a thing now! Yay!