Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gluten Free = Cha-Ching?

On the Facebook page of a Gluten Free manufacturer someone was moaning and whining about the cost of gluten free foods and said "there is absolutely NO reason for gluten free food to be more expensive!"
I didn't want to get into it on a social media site so I decided to take to my blog to share my point of view.

Gluten Free food is absolutely priced correctly. Is it as inexpensive as gluten-filled products? No way - not even close. Raise your hand if you would have a heart attack if you saw GF bread for .99? Yup, pretty much everybody.  Could prices get that low someday? Why not. When I was diagnosed most GF flours were around $10 if not more. Nowadays you can get pretty good flour for around $5.

Onwards to this individuals misguided notions. Gluten Free products are typically not mass produced by large corporation. Sure Snyders makes GF pretzels but they aren't making as many GF as they are non-GF. Buying smaller amounts of ingredients and making smaller amounts of products with limited distribution means the product is more expensive. This is also why your friendly neighborhood grocer might only have a few items from a particular company or maybe even only offer one or two companies products.

As the demand for GF food increases and the greater number of individuals eating gluten-free the prices will drop since companies will now be making more product.

Am I super happy to pay $5 for a loaf of bread? Not really. Do I do it? Absolutely - especially if its a delicious product. I've seen prices get so much better and I can only hope that in a few more years gluten-free will be even more visible and products will get less expensive.

So let's all try to be happy that 1) these products exist and 2) that there are so many delicious GF goodies out there

Monday, June 27, 2011

Can Fast Food Be Safe for Celiacs? UPDATED..UPDATED YET AGAIN

I'm not a fast food person.

PCD I used to love to indulge in McDonald's chicken nuggets and fries with LOTS of Sweet n Sour sauce. It was one of my favorite meals a few times a year. Obviously when I was diagnosed with celiac I had to give up my Mickey D binges on Chicken Nuggets and Fries and I had assumed that all fast food was now completely off limits. Even if it wasn't could I really trust some mouth-breather to get my order right? It was WAY too risky.

That was some years ago. Since my diagnosis everyone seems to be hip to the celiac game and I now longer get what I call the confused puppy dog look when I say I have celiac. (Side note - try explaining celiac disease or gluten allergy to the Italian waiter I had 7 years ago. I actually had to write a note for him to take to the chef equivalent of Can I eat this? Circle yes or no.) This got me thinking that since so much has changed is fast food safe for us?

After some research I found that the majority of fast food restaurants to offer allergen menus or recommendations for those with gluten sensitivities.


Good news everyone! Jamocha Shakes are GF! (click on Menus and Gluten Free will show up as a PDF option)

Baja Fresh

They do not have an allergen menu on their website I emailed customer service and received the following info:

The following menu items contain gluten:
Flour Tortillas
Tostada Shells
Tortilla Soup
Breaded Fish
Raspberry Iced Tea (where available)

Keep in mind that we use only one fryer in each restaurant to fry both gluten and non-gluten items; Chips, Taquitos, Flautas, Tostada Shells, Breaded Fish.

The following do not contain wheat gluten-
 Baja Tacos made with corn tortillas
Any "Bare style" burrito our Baja Ensalada, with choice of steak, chicken, grilled shrimp or Mahi Mahi, grilled vegetables, carnitas, rice & both varieties of beans
All of our dressings and salsas contain no gluten

The above information is based on standard product formulations and is current as of January 15, 2009. Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, or product assembly at the restaurant level.  We use only one fryer in each restaurant to fry both gluten and non-gluten items; Chips, Taquitos, Flautas, Tostada Shells, Breaded Fish.

Our ingredient listings are reported by the manufacturers. Baja Fresh® Mexican Grill, its franchisees and employees do not assume responsibility for a particular sensitivity or allergy to any food provided in our restaurants. We encourage anyone with food sensitivities, allergies, or special dietary needs to consult with a medical professional for informed answers relating to their specific sensitivities and the risks involved when dining out.

Burger King

It looks like you can still have it your way at BK!

Carl's Jr

We don't have these on the East Coast but from what I understand they are pretty popular


They seem to know their stuff - just based off of their information below.

Five Guys

In my experience they are very gluten friendly. Their fryers only fry french fries and the fries are made fresh everyday. I don't know if their cajun seasoning is safe but the fries are delicious without it. And Five Guys cooks their burgers on one grill top and buns on another and all items are placed on foil instead of a bare counter. They will happily change their gloves to deal with your food if you ask. 

I 100% no longer recommend Five Guys as a safe place for celiacs to eat. I would suggest avoiding it like the plague - especially if you live in Southern New Jersey -DO NOT VISIT ANY SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY FIVE GUYS LOCATION.

In-N-Out Burger

They don't have an allergen menu but you can order any burger "Protein Style" and get it on a lettuce "bun".

Jack in the Box

Not a super helpful menu - instead they refer you to a list of ingredients.


This list is a lot to go through...

Panera Bread

If you tell them you have celiac they will hand you a ginormous book filled with all of their dishes containing  every, single ingredient. It made me much easier to order.

Red Robin

A pretty good amount of choices here and I've heard that some Red Robins do have a dedicated fryer for french fries so ask at your location. Plus I hear they are awesome about letting you use a gluten free bun.


Lots of choices here - I've never eaten at a Sonic but I might have to now that I know their tator tots are gf!


Almost all of their salads are gf and all of their deli meats are gf

Taco Bell

Not a lot of options and definitely DO NOT order tacos


Frosty's are gf people! This is fantastic news!

Jo-Sef Gluten Free Square Cookies

Jo-Sef Square Cinnamon Cookies, 8-Ounce (Pack of 4)

I think of these cookies like graham crackers - they come in all of the typical graham flavors (vanilla, cinnamon & chocolate) and I think they usually do get advertised as such. In fact, I wasn't even aware that the company didn't refer to them as graham crackers -weird. It's like you get an idea about something in your head and nothing will stop that idea from changing. 

So, that is all off topic. 

I found these one year when I was making a desert that required a graham cracker crumb base. The girl at my health food store told me they were good and she has been right in the past so I bought them. They are thicker then a graham cracker - like a lot thicker. But the thickness is great for creating a graham cracker crust and the cinnamon flavor is really nice - not too cinnamon-y. 

Not too long ago I did attempt s'mores with these cookies and was pretty happy with the result. Since the cookie is substantial it holds up to heating and the melted chocolate. 

Verdict? Yummy!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nature's Divine Mini Brownies

As everyone has probably guessed by now - I love brownies. My favorite thing growing up was taking out that big Duncan Hines brownie mix box and making a batch. I loved when the end pieces would get all caramelized and chewy. Pure indulgent decadence. Brownies are just straight up the bomb.

Nowadays I do make a pretty bad ass from scratch gluten free brownie but I just don't always feel like dealing. My recipe is kind of labor intensive though the end result is perfection. So yes, I'm lazy and I'm desperately seeking a tasty short cut. Like you guys are all Betty Crocker, come on!

Anyway. So these brownies were not exactly what I was expecting. They weren't bad at all but the taste wasn't necessarily brownie-esque. I'm not sure if it was the type of vanilla extract but they tasted kind of marshmallow-y. The marshmallow-y taste was kind of good - it just wasn't what I was expecting.

Verdict? I can't in good conscience say yummy - but if you happen to see them and are feeling adventurous try them and let me know what you think.

French Meadow Bite Sized Brownies

I'm just starting to try out all of these French Meadow products. This is a new brand to me and I think that my local Stop n Shop just started carrying it. While I didn't have a stellar experience with their cupcakes I'm never one to resist a brownie.

I've found that typically gluten-free brownies are a fairly safe bet. Most of the time they taste closer to fudge then brownie and who can hate that?

These are definitely closer to the taste of cake-like brownie and it totally works. The GF trying to be dense thing usually results in a rock heavy product and here they managed to make a dense brownie that is totally light and super yummy. The only downside is that they are bite sized which means that you can easily inhale 10 in one sitting.

Verdict? Yummy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dutch Country Soft Pretzels

If there is one thing the Pennsylvania Dutch know its soft pretzels. If there is one thing that is constantly waved in your face in the Philadelphia area it would be Dutch Country soft pretzels. They are freakin everywhere. You can't go to anywhere without pretzels all up in your business. Growing up in this area I miss biting into the soft chewy dough of a dutch pretzel.

You can imagine my joy upon discovering that the Pennsylvania Dutch have decided to bestow upon the world their delicious pretzels in gluten free form. I truly had a moment the day I saw them in my health food store. For a while I had contemplated attempting to make them from scratch but I just knew they wouldn't come out right so I never tried. But here - here they were all frozen and ready to be taken home and popped in the oven until they were toasty warm.

When I got home I was little aggravated to discover that I just paid $7 for three frozen pretzels. Three small frozen pretzels. Oh you got me again gluten free ingredients! Seriously though - isn't there like a ton of rice grown in this world why is it so expensive? Do I need to call a commodities trader and have this broken down for me?

But I digress.

I prepared the pretzels with their enclosed salt pack, popped them in the oven and waited.

You guys. Seriously. It's like a REAL pretzel! It's soft and chewy and completely delicious. I love the moments where I feel nearly normal. I do wish the price point could be lower or they would give you more pretzels because three pretzels do go pretty fast.

Verdict? Yummy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Moondance Brownies

I was so ready to write this amazing, glowing review of these brownies. Something stopped me from writing me review and the last time I was at Whole Foods I grabbed one of these to try again. I was filled with glee since I was confident in their deliciousness and was looking forward to have a small piece with my lunch.

At lunchtime I broke off a piece of the brownie and took a bite.

What. Is. This.

The first time I had a Moondance Brownie it was like a symphony of chocolate covered rainbows had begun a stirring melody in my mouth. This time it was very, very sad. The delicious decadent flavor and texture that had accompanied my first brownie was not present in this brownie. It almost tasted as if it had gone bad. I checked the wrapper - it should still be fresh plus it was still frozen when I picked it up at Whole Foods.

I was totally disappointed and ended up throwing away the rest of the brownie. This is big time inconsistency. How can one brownie be heaven sent and the next one suck so very badly. Why can't GF food makers get some consistency. When I ate gluten I never remember getting a "bad batch" or any baked good. If you got something once and it was delicious chances were that all subsequent acquisitions would be equally as tasty. Why doesn't this happen in GF world? Presumably the same ingredients are being used and the baking methods haven't changed so why the shift?

Moondance, you got some splaining to do!

Verdict? Confusing

Monday, June 20, 2011

Snyder's Eat Smart Gluten Free Cheese Puffs

Snyder's of Hanover Eatsmart Naturals White Cheddar Puffs, 8-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

I don't know what happened here. It all went so wrong so fast. 

Upon opening the bag the smell of what can only be described as "feet and hot death" came stumbling from the bag. I understand that cheese isn't the greatest smelling product to begin with but there is no reason for white cheddar to smell so terrible. 

Against my better judgment, I ate one. 

You know how when a smell is really bad you can taste it?  You know how a smell is sometimes so awful that it permeates everything else around it with its funk? There was a mix of both of those things at play. 

I wasn't sure if I was tasting the rank smell or if the cheese puffs in fact tasted rank. Either way I threw the bag away. 

Verdict? sucky

Friday, June 17, 2011

Glutino Mac n Cheese

I do have an affinity for mac and cheese. There is something so soothing and comforting about a bowl of warm pasta coated in yummy cheese sauce. My mom always made her mac n cheese with Velveeta and it was amazing. I've tried hard to duplicate many gluten mac n cheese recipes but they just don't work gluten free. Someone needs to make a firmer pasta or something.

I typically really enjoy Glutino products. I find the majority of their products to be delicious so I had high hopes when I purchased this guy. The box has instructions for both the microwave and the oven - protip: always go for the oven when making gluten free stuff - just like toasting makes gluten free breads taste divine the slow cooking that happens in the oven provides for a better end result.

While my mac n cheese baked I was dreaming of a crispy, yummy cheesy cover and perfect al dente pasta. Those minutes felt like hours. I let the mac n cheese rest for a bit before I dug in.


This can't be right, so I'll just take another forkful here.....nope yuck. I checked the box to make sure they used real cheese and not soy cheese or something because the taste was kind of funky. Plus no matter what I did it was all runny and bad.

Verdict? Sucky & Gross

Annie's Gluten Free Macaroni n Cheese

Annie's Homegrown Gluten-Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar Mac & Cheese, 6-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese was such a great kid food. Believe it or not but I didn't really have it until I got into my teen years. My mom always made Mac n Cheese from scratch. As a teenager I discovered the artificial yumminess of that blue box. At sleep overs we would make several boxes and chow down while asking the Ouija Board questions or playing Truth or Dare. 

As a celiac adult I've experimented with creating gluten free mac and cheese from scratch and just haven't got it yet. I think I need a pasta that can withstand the heavy cheese sauce. Since I don't have a "go-to" mac and cheese recipe I picked this up one day when I was seriously craving it. 

I was really disappointed. The pasta was pretty good but the cheese sauce was just bad. It doesn't taste like cheese which is something you tend to be looking for when eating mac and cheese. This was just like mac and flavorless white sauce - not good. 

Verdict? Sucky

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Udi's Hamburger Rolls

NEW Udi's Gluten Free Hamburger Buns 10.4 oz. - case of 6 (4 buns per pack)

As we have previously covered I love Udi's. They get it, they really do. They understand their customer very well. They know that those who are eating gluten free still want to eat something delicious and that there is no reason to settle for something terrible when something awesome is available. I find that incredibly commendable.

I have been itching for a few weeks to get these rolls and just didn't get it together until today. The reason? I've been big time craving Five Guys. For those of you not in the know - Five Guys is an amazing burger joint and its an extremely safe place for celiacs to eat. There is no cross contamination - burgers on one grill, buns on another and nothing gets fried except french fries. Plus buns never touch a surface other than the piece of foil they are being wrapped in AND if you ask them to change their gloves before handling your food they are always happy to do so. Complete nirvana.

The thing is that I've never had one of their burgers on a bun. The last time I went to Five Guys the guy prepping my food screwed up and I had a minor temper tantrum. I explained my situation to the manager and he told me to always tell them when ordering that I have a special diet and that I was welcome to bring in a gluten free bun to have a "regular burger."


A regular burger.

I haven't had one of those in a long time. There hasn't been a gluten free hamburger bun that tasted good enough for me to want to use it. So I've just been going along eating my burgers sans bun and being happy.

All that changed today.

I went to Five Guys handed over my Udi's bun and anxiously awaited my "normal" burger.

I was in heaven. The bun was so tasty and it held up under the oh-so-yummy-super-loaded-a-little-greasy burger. Every other GF bun I've had falls apart at the first bite not Udi's. Udi's stayed together, stayed firm and held up until the very last bite.

I think I'm done having my burgers sans bun.

Seriously? Is there anything Udi's can't do?      

Verdict? YUMMY!                                                                 

Gillian's French Rolls

I can't quite remember but I believe that these were the first gluten free rolls I ever had. I think my mom had purchased them when I came to visit one time during the summer. She wanted me to feel normal at a BBQ. It always feels good to have an option. I think so many times as GF eaters we get so used to eating sandwiches and burgers without rolls that we forget how good it can be to have that roll.

I do find these rolls to be pretty tasty. They have a light texture and when toasted give a good chew. I occasionally make mini garlic bread with them and its good.

There is a chain restaurant in the Pennsylvania tri-state area called Ninety-Nine that offers these rolls as an option to their gluten free eaters (and the one by me - that sadly closed - also had a dedicated fryer so you could eat hot delicious fries until you died!). Sure the bun falls apart a bit under the weight of burger, toppings and ferocious eating but its still pretty good.

Verdict? Good

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trader Joe's Frozen Gluten Free Pancakes

I've always had an issue with pancakes made at home. To me they never tasted as good as they did at a diner or restaurant. I never knew why that was or what ingredient I was missing. I also judged every pancake against a friends moms recipe. I used to love having slumber parties at this girls house growing up because I knew her mom was going to make us pancakes. They were amazing - to this day I wish I knew what she did to those pancakes because they were seriously amazing. I was super bummed when they moved away - I did miss my friend too but those pancakes were killer. 
Making GF pancakes at home has been a big challenge. Seeing as I didn't like make from scratch pancakes PCD there was no way I was going to be happy post diagnosis. I totally gave up on pancakes and figured one day in the future some genius would open up a gluten free diner and I'd get to eat all the delicious pancakes I could handle.

That is until I found these babies in Trader Joe's freezer section. Oh man are they little packets of joy. The box contains several packages of three pancakes. The pancakes are a little less then twice the size of silver dollar pancakes and they are heavenly. There is this sweet and buttery taste to the pancake that makes them so good. I don't even eat them with syrup - I usually just cut up some strawberries and go to town!

Verdict? Yummy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Glutino Bagels

These are a little hard for me to review.

The first time I had them I was in disbelief that a gluten-free bagel could be chewy and yummy and look and feel like a gluten bagel. I was in happy gluten free bagel land - where there was dancing and cream cheese pouring from the sky. I thought that this was the best product to ever hit the market. I was smitten and deeply in love with these bagels.

Until I met Udi's which are so good they can make you cry.

Had I never had Udi's I would still hold on to the idea that Glutino makes the best bagel around. To be fair Glutino and Udi's are fairly close to each other in taste and texture - I just think Udi's does it a little bit better. If my store was out of Udi's but had Glutino in stock I wouldn't think twice about purchasing the Glutino bagels.

Verdict? Yummy!

Glutino New York Style Bagels

Oh Glutino.

When you get it right, you get it very, very, very right. But when you get it wrong its just shameful.

I'm not sure where in New York Glutino believes bagels like this exists. I've lived in NY and I remember huge bagels that were light and fluffy inside and chewy as all get out on the outside. Never did I encounter a roughly 47 pound bagel that is neither fluffy nor light and lacks chewiness.

I'm not sure why Glutino would add this product. Their regular bagels are pretty darn good - why even attempt to improve on that? If anything maybe their "NY Style" could've been a slightly larger or chewier regular Glutino bagel. I don't get this at all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Schar Classic White Bread

Schar Gluten Free Classic White Bread 6/14 oz.

Schar absolutely holds a special place deep, deep within my heart as it was the first good tasting gluten free bread I ever ate. 

When I was diagnosed with celiac 7 years ago I tried so many gluten free breads. PCD (pre-celiac diagnosis) I was a total bread-aholic and celiac disease was my rehab program. Every bread I tried was heavy, crumbly, weird tasting - it just wasn't hitting the spot. After a year of total fails I gave up. I figured that being a celiac meant no bread ever and I would just have to live with it and learn to make do. Instead of sandwiches I ate big complicated salads, I ate burgers & hot dogs without buns and I was happy. 

Or so I thought. 

Its funny how you can convince yourself that something is fine because what would be the option? To cry and shake my fists at the heavens for relegating me to a bread-free existence for the rest of the days I drag my meat-sack across this great earth? No. The thought was too great to carry.

One shining day I came across Schar bread at my local health food store. Right there on the case was a review saying that 1) you could eat it UNTOASTED 2) that it was super close to wheat bread. I grabbed a loaf, said my silent prayer to the gluten-free gods and went on my merry way. 

I found Schar at the perfect time as I had been craving a peanut butter & jelly sandwich like crazy. I removed two slices from the package and assembled my PB&J and......heaven. This was nothing like those bricks of gluten-free bread I had tried years earlier. This was light, fluffy and delicious. 

Verdict? Yummy!

Sweet Freedom Bakery Cupcakes

Maybe about six months ago I was channel flipping and landed on Cupcake Wars on the Food Network. I normally sail past these kind of shows - I think its weird to make cake a competitive sport. It's just cake, why be so serious you know? Anyway, I hear them say "gluten free bakery" and I perk up. I see that their shirts are emblazoned with the above logo and am completely sure that they must be from Philadelphia. Mostly because Philadelphians  LOVE being the true birthplace of Freedom and local businesses are always adding "freedom" into their names. 

I google them, find their website and spent roughly 30 minutes drooling over their goodies. I vow that as soon as it starts being nice out I will trek out there and sample as many goodies as my belly can handle. This journey to mecca never occurs. Lucky for me I have a summer birthday. I tell everyone that I want cupcakes from Sweet Freedom and BAM one dozen cupcakes show up. 

I'll be honest - I had extraordinarily high expectations for these cupcakes. I don't know what I was thinking or what I thought they would be but I was expecting great things from these cupcakes. My non-gluten free eaters were highly skeptical and were downright frightened upon learning that their baked goods are also vegan. 

Honestly? They are pretty good. I loved, loved, loved the vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing. It was unlike anything I've ever tried before. The taste was beyond a traditional vanilla cupcake - it wasn't cloying it was subtle. I think what gave it such a sensational taste was the fact that the girls use coconut oil & coconut milk in place of butter & milk. Plus the vanilla frosting is pink! Who doesn't love that? 

I wasn't as fond of the chocolate cake as I was the vanilla (seriously it was really good). The chocolate cake was really rich but it was a little dry. I think I would have loved it if it had been as moist as the vanilla cupcake. But the frosting on the chocolate cupcake was so yummy - it was this rich mocha flavor and it was super tasty.

Sweet Freedom also makes a whole gaggle of baked goods and I'm definitely planning a trip to try all of their other treats. If you are ever in Philadelphia I highly recommend making a stop they are on 14th & South near S Broad Street. Their website is

Saturday, June 11, 2011

This Is Not About Food...And It's Long....And I Still Kind of Feel All Ragey

Today I was confronted with a huge reminder of just how far those of us with celiac or any number of gluten/wheat allergies/intolerances have to go.

Every now and again I find myself thinking "wow look at how much better it is now." And it is - it seriously is. When I was first diagnosed with celiac finding anything gluten free was a mysterious journey. I might as well have had a wizard hand me a map and tell me I had to go on a sacred quest through Mermaid Lagoon or something - it felt impossible. The only place I could get GF flours was at the creepy health food store. Seriously this place was rank and was only populated by a crowd that would best be described as unwashed. The flours were outrageously expensive, produced a mealy, crumbly and super dry product - never worth it.

For a few years I chugged along foolishly thinking that the only thing I had to worry about was food. It never occurred to me that the welts on my scalp and body could be from gluten in shampoo and soap. So I got rid of all the gluten soaps & shampoos and found safe products. It then dawned on me that I probably had to be worried about everything that I put on or in my body.


This raised a thousand questions. Was my prescription medicine gluten free? What about the OTC stuff like Advil or Tylenol? Can I keep taking my vitamins?

I threw myself into research. A few years ago it seemed like doctors didn't really know what to tell you (other than "your reaction is in the gut it can't possibly happen on your skin" Me - "really, then why do I  have an allergic reaction on my skin to gluten?" Doctor "...." Me: "Exactly") and pharmacists were even less help.I sought help of fellow celiacs who had done a lot of research themselves and was able to figure out almost everything.

I've been feeling pretty good for a number of years. I feel like I know just about all there is to know about my disease. I know what I can use, what I can't and rarely seem to be confused or unable to find an answer when I am confused. Plus its all come so far. For crying out loud waiters at chain restaurants know tons about gluten allergies - we've come a long way baby!

I've been living in happy pixie land of celiac disease until today. I clearly haven't looked at the ingredients on the moisture strip of my razor blades recently because it appears the strip must contain gluten. I shaved my legs and broke out into a horrible rash. I did a quick search on the computer for gluten free hydro-cortisone creams and couldn't find anything. What I did find was someone saying that CVS has a list of gluten free medications and that the pharmacy should totally be able to help with any medication. I grabbed my keys and was off.

I approached the pharmacy counter and said "I have a gluten skin allergy and am in desperate need of a hydrocortisone cream could you please let me know which one is safe?"

The pharmacy tech blinked at me a few times, said ummmmmmmmmmm and looked around.

Due to her severe confusion I asked if the pharmacist was available. The pharmacy tech walked to the pharmacist and relayed the situation. The pharmacists did not ask me any questions or even stand up to acknowledge me. I heard the pharmacist mumble something about having the pharmacy tech check the back of packages.

Um...what? Did the pharmacist think that on the back of the box there was going to be a giant GLUTEN written in the ingredients? Does she not understand its much more subtle then that?

I chimed in with "I looked at the back of the boxes already. I'm concerned because I saw retinyl and tocopherol - I don't know the sources and the packaging doesn't list it - can't you look on your gluten free list?"

I was then told there was no gluten free list and there was absolutely no way for them to look it up. The pharmacist suggested I just try one out.

Right. I'll just try one out and potentially suffer from open lesions all over my legs for a week or so. Sure. Not a problem.

This situation enraged me. It took everything in myself to not totally hulk out. 1 in 133 people have celiac or some form of gluten issue in this country. To give you a comparison 1 in 90 people have a peanut allergy and when was the last time you picked up a product that didn't have a huge "CONTAINS PEANUTS OR TREE NUTS" label all over it. I guarantee that CVS has a big ass list of anything containing nuts in their store and yet nothing for celiacs. Is it because we don't have ferocious Mama Bear's fighting for us? And why aren't they? A lot of kids are getting diagnosed nowadays.

Why isn't anyone fighting as hard as they did for peanuts? Is it because the allergic reaction is sudden and so dangerous with peanuts? I think thats really where the issue lies. With gluten the reaction is all internal so there is nothing shocking and well, glamorous about the disease. A five year old dying on the floor after touching a peanut is dramatic and a child who is slowly being malnourished isn't as exciting.

I don't really know where I'm going with all of us- but I know I want to do something. I want to be safe and feel confident that what I'm purchasing is not going to make me or any other celiac sick. I will be writing letters to all of my state representatives until they pass the FDA gluten free labeling measure. This is way too important and I feel like I have been completely complacent and now I'm mad.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Schar Gluten Free Snack Crackers

Schar Gluten Free Snack Crackers, 10.6-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 3)

Hey do you guys remember those like cheese & cracker packs we used to get in kindergarten? Remember? It was all contained in a giant blister pack and the cheese was neon orange and it came with a red spatula? Remember how yummy those crackers were? 

Do you see where I'm going? 

These are good. Damn good. They are like those cheese 'n cracker snacks cracker but grown up and more refined. The too salty greasy taste is gone and replaced with thin, buttery loveliness. You could totally serve these in a cheese plate and no one would know they were gluten-free. 

Verdict? Yummy

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ian's Gluten Free Chicken Tenders

I have a slightly unhealthy obsession with chicken fingers.

In my PCD days I'd loved nothing more after a night of carousing then a plate of chicken fingers and french fries. There was something almost magical about the combination of fried boneless chicken, dipping sauces and french fries.

Since my celiac diagnosis I have been searching for ways to put the foods I used to love back into my diet. Granted chicken fingers were never a regular part of my diet but they were certainly a part of it - a part I miss very much. I have made plenty of from scratch chicken fingers over the past seven years but its just such a pain in the ass. I wanted to find something easy and quick that I could just yank out of the freezer and bake.

Ian's was one of my first forays into frozen GF chicken fingers. I chose Ian's because it is clearly designed for kids and if kids are anything its finicky. Ian's was going to have to bring it to please some five-year old and me.

I was disappointed when I opened the box and saw that I paid about $1.25 per chicken finger - there were only five in the box. I tossed them in the toaster oven eager to see if they would please my five-year old inner child.

You guys - these are really good. They are a little on the small side but they are good. The chicken is super moist and the coating is crispy. One area that I think GF manufacturers are really shining at is GF chicken fingers.

Go forth and enjoy your dipping sauces with Ian's chicken tenders!

Verdict? Yummy!

Coleman's Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets

As I said before, I love chicken fingers. I love chicken nuggets just as much. In fact if you bread and deep fry a shoe I'll eat it.

I figured since Ian's knocked it out of the park that Coleman's would be just as great. After all it touts right on the package "Kids Love 'Em!"

Who could argue with that? Kids know their fried chicken products and they don't have time to screw around. There are playdates and other important kid business.

Upon opening the package I was super disappointed. The chicken nuggets were about the size of a quarter. I'm a grown woman - I'll probably need to eat the entire box - great. Way to make me feel like a total fat ass Coleman Naturals.

I'm hoping the fact that I might have developed an eating disorder upon opening the box would be made up for by the delicious taste of chicken nuggets.


Okay so the chicken nuggets are about the size of a quarter and the chicken contained inside of the nugget is about the size of a dime. Again who tells people that Celiacs are hot for GF breading? Who spreads such vicious lies? You don't even get that much breading on a wheat chicken nugget. Its always a thin, crispy breading encasing a delicious piece of a chicken. Was there a screw-up at the Coleman's factory? Did someone switch up the recipe?

Either way - these are not worth the price. They aren't terrible but they just are not worth the price especially when there are many far superior products in your friendly grocer's freezer section.

Verdict? Sucky

Bell & Evans Gluten Free Chicken Tenders

I rescind my marriage offer to Udi's and instead offer it to Bell & Evans.

Dear The Most Lovely Bell & Evans,

I was skeptical when we first met. I had been burned badly in the past. Coleman Naturals lied and made me feel so bad about myself and then you came along. Sure, you looked kind of similar. You both had a black box and featured attractive chicken pieces - could I really trust again? I bite the bullet, followed my heart and took you home.

And I haven't looked back since. Our times together are wonderful. You are everything I've been looking for in a chicken tender, for a long time. Your chicken is perfect, your breading is divine and you are just perfect with my homemade honey mustard sauce. You make me so happy.

I'm not afraid to let the world know that I love you Bell & Evans Gluten Free Chicken Tenders. You complete me.

Verdict? Yummy

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Glutino Cheddar Gluten Free Crackers

Glutino Gluten Free Crackers Cheddar -- 4.4 oz

In my PCD days I was completely obsessed with Cheez-It's. My roommate and I would purchase this crate of Cheez-It's from Costco every six months or so. Cheez-It's were the snack that had everything - cheese, crunch and salt. Divine. I have completely missed Cheez-It's and have been searching in the vain hope that some GF cracker somewhere could come close to the taste of a Cheez-It. (Could I say Cheez-It a few more times, geez....I guess I really did have a problem...I'm like a crazt ex-junkie or something......cheez-it)

Sadly, my search continues. 

My issue with these crackers is that they didn't have an outright cheddar taste - it was more like you got a cheddar after taste. They were also super greasy - I'm not sure what that was all about. They actually reminded me of these homemade crackers my aunt used to make that were supposed to have the subtle flavor of cheddar but not taste cheesy. I was really looking for a cheesy taste. 

There aren't a terrible cracker but any means - just not right if you are looking for something similar to a Cheez-It or even a Nip. 

Verdict?: Okay

Schar Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

Schar Gluten Free Bread Crumbs (1pack)

The fundamental flaw with a lot of gluten-free breadcrumbs is that they don't hold up in the cooking process. Many brands get soggy and loose that bit of crunch. There is no problem with that here. 

I made chicken cutlets with these bad boys and they formed like an impenetrable fortress around my chicken. No oil was going to invade Schar Breadcrumbs land - no sir. They were protecting that chicken like it was Holy Grail. 

The result was SUPER crispy chicken cutlets - like almost too crispy. It was actually disconcerting how crunchy the chicken was after cooking. You definitely cannot complain about oily breading here. These cutlets did make great chicken parm since the breading help up under lots of sauce and cheese. I imagine they would be good in any recipe that is super saucy and calls for chicken cutlets. 

Verdict? Yummy

Friday, June 3, 2011

Glutino Gluten Free Frozen Pizza

I love this pizza for one reason - it reminds me of all the microwave pizzas I grew up eating in the 1980's. 

The sauce is sweet and the crust is light and reminds me Ellio's or Stouffers Frozen pizzas from back in the day. Every bite was like a giant mouthful of nostalgia. 

Certainly making a GF pizza with a GF crust results in better pizza but this is great for being a frozen option - nostalgia aside.

Verdict? Yummy

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Against the Grain Baguettes

These are weird.

They are not what I would expect from a baguette. They are ridiculously airy - like when you slice the bread there is no center its simply crust and a cobweb of bread in the center.

They do toast up nicely and give a crunchy crust but they are just too airy for me. I have used these baguettes on several occasions and every time I do feel that they leave something to be desired.

All in all they are good in a pinch but you're better off stocking your freezer with The Grainless Baker or Schar baguettes.

Verdict?: Okay

The Grainless Baker Baguettes

How many of you out there miss garlic bread? Bruschetta? Thick, crusty baguettes that soak up dressing, gravy and sauces?

Really? All of you. Not surprising.

All of you right now should drop to your knees and thank your God for The Grainless Baker.

I'll wait.

These baguettes are AMAZING.


I made a peach bruschetta for a party and brought along these baguettes and not one person thought it was GF bread. In fact as I grabbed one a party-goer stopped me and said "you can't eat that!" They were shocked that it was gluten-free.

This bread is chewy, crusty, dense, yummy, delicious, extraordinary and probably cures both cancer and AIDS*

Verdict?: Yummy

*Please note I'm not a medical doctor and that's just my opinion. Please don't use The Grainless Baker products in lieu of chemotherapy or AIDS medication.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Snyder's Gluten Free Pretzels

I was highly skeptical when I heard these were soon to be hitting the shelf. Especially since I heard that Snyder's was bucking Gluten Free Certification . My fears were removed when upon seeing the pretzels at Whole Foods I noticed a big ass GF Certified sticker on the front of the bag. Clearly, Snyder's was not aware of how pissy Celiacs get when you try and mess with our food. 

The first thing I noticed with this purchase was that the bag was half the size of Glutino pretzels and basically the same price. For some reason I figured that a major corporation like Snyder's might be able to give us GF pretzels for $3 but I digress. 
The pretzels themselves are good, really good. The only issue I have with them is that they leave this crazy taste in your mouth if you eat too many of them. I can't even describe the taste its not really chemical but its just...odd. I've noticed that if I eat just a few - maybe a handful no weird taste. However if I go like two pretzels over a handful the weird taste shows up. Maybe Snyders need to work that out. 

Verdict? Yummy - but I still prefer Glutino Pretzels.

Glutino Gluten Free Pretzel Twists

Glutino Gluten Free Pretzels -- 14.1 oz

I wish I could draw a giant heart because that would accurately describe my feelings about these pretzels. 
They are amazing and they are the closest thing to wheat pretzels I've had thus far. Not even Snyder's Gluten-Free beats the taste. 

Some GF Pretzels taste more cracker and less pretzel - but not here these are all pretzel baby. 

They also make a pretzel with sesame seeds and that is equally as delicious.

Verdict? Yummy