Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunstart Quality Bakers Caramel & Chocolate Dessert Delights / Rocky Road Bars

These tasty looking guys were recently on sale at my friendly neighborhood Shop Rite. I had never seen them before and broke my "gluten-free rule" - which is I don't buy new GF stuff without some sort of coupon. I took a gamble and the cookies looked all delicious. I mean who doesn't like caramel and anything Rocky Road flavored? Plus they boasted that they were from Europe and hey Schar is European and they kick so much GF ass!

You know how sometimes in movies they show a gambling scene and the protagonist (who really needs things to go right for them) pushes all of their chips onto black. The scene gets all slo-mo'd as we all wait with baited breath for the tiny roulette marble to drop. All of a sudden it looks like its going to go on black! We all suck in air in anticipation and then BAM its on red.

That's what this was like.

I normally do not review two products in one column but I had the same complaints with both and figured instead of you reading the same review twice I'd just put it all here.

The cookies start out super promising. They look just delicious and smell all chocolately. When you first bite in that top layer is super great but then you hit the cookie bottom and it just ruins everything. It almost seems like the baker was in the middle of making cookies and was like "oh crap I seem to be out of sugar, vanilla and butter - oh well I'll just improvise." And then he improvised with nothing and just made a really horrible cookie and was satisfied with it.

Verdict? Don't be fooled by the attractive display on the box - the cookie is all sorts of fail and Sunstart needs to invest in butter & sugar & vanilla and fire their baker.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Schar Baguette

Schar Baquettes Gluten Free, 12.3-Ounces

It always amazes me that I can now get gluten free bread that tastes amazing and is actually craveable. when I was diagnosed I truly, deeply believed that I would never have a delicious piece of bread again for the rest of my life.  Bye-bye crusty french loaves, chewy Italian bread and lovely Artisanal varieties. 

The past few years I've been lucky to stumble across The Grainless Baker and now Schar's Baguettes. I truly believed that no one else on the market was making anything close to what The Grainless Baker was doing. I actually had no clue that Schar even made freaking baguettes. 

That's is totally frustrating and it sometimes make me want to set fire to random people in the street. I would love if stores could carry a vast array of products from each retailer. Schar has an obscenely vast array of products and I'm going to say that in order to sample maybe half of them I'd have to hit it up like 5 different grocery & health food stores. 

Ugh - okay I know I don't need to get ranty all the time. But seriously there are like so many people who are celiacs or gluten intolerant and everyone wants to chow down. 

Back to the Schar goodness. 

I've been seriously craving some yummy garlic bread. I probably only make garlic bread a few times a year - as opposed to PCD when I would make it weekly. Go me and my waning addiction to carbs! 

I dug Narnia deep into my health food stores freezer and could find no Grainless Baker baguettes. So I did what I normally do when I feel despondent at the health food store I walk around until something else distracts me. That was when I ran across these guys. 

This was some supreme garlic bread. The bread is soft like a baby (does not taste like a baby), chewy and toasted up amazingly. Flat out this bread rocks. 

Verdict? YUMMY

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

And Once Again Humor Makes My Point Thusly

Not too long I "ranted" about jackasses calling celiac a fad and then today I open up (America's Only Humor Site since 1958) and see this beautiful article:

6 Real Diseases That Have Somehow Become Trendy

Take a stab at what #4 is.....

I love this humor piece and think it so perfectly paints a picture (check out that alliteration bitches!) of why people 1) want a disease and 2) why people glom onto a serious condition

Conte's Gluten Free Cheese Ravioli

There was this little Italian restaurant near where I went to college. The food was amazing, plentiful and inexpensive - the perfect combination for poor college students. Once a month myself and my friends would hit up one of the local eateries and eat until our hearts were content. Once a month was all we could really afford and it always seemed to tide us over for another month of eating crappy cafeteria fare. 

This Italian restaurant had this great dish - I called it Cheesy Meaty Raviolis. I'm sure it had a real name that wasn't ridiculous but we don't have time for that right now. It was my favorite dish there. It was cheesy raviolis in this yummy cheesy meat sauce. I would only eat my favorite meal a few times a year but it was something I always looked forward to. 

As I got older and stopped visiting my favorite little Italian restaurant those Cheesy Meaty Ravioli's left my food memories. I swear it felt like the moment I was diagnosed with celiac all of my gluten filled food memories came flooding back into my brain like some sort of weird sci-fi deal. Those raviolis were shoved into the front of my food desires and there was nothing I could do about it. Which is infuriating. There is nothing worse then having a complete inability to satisfy a food craving due to an auto-immune condition. 

This was the first Conte's Gluten Free product that I ever tried. I was having a hardcore ravioli craving and it needed to be satisfied. I brought these guys home and attempted to recreate my Cheesy Meaty Raviolis. 

I was shocked at how decent these actually were. I was expecting a super gummy and weird tasting ravioli. While I had good GF pasta I just wasn't sure if GF ravioli could be equally as good. The pasta was dense in a good way and the cheese filling was really tasty. 

Verdict? Tasty!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Udi's Snickerdoodles

How out of the Udi' loop am I?

When the crap did Udi's start making cookies????????

It's so hard to stay made at you Udi's. You're always so good to me and I know our love is true. I know you didn't mean to not tell me about all of the exciting happenings in your life. Afterall - you're so popular and so much in your life is going so well.....but Udi's I'm so hurt that I'm just now learning about your cookie deliciousness. 

My heart stopped a tiny bit when I saw these Snickerdoodles at the health food store today. Why am I always the last to know?

I can forgive, after all these are chewy, light, and oh so cinnamon-y. I had to use every ounce of self control to not inhale the entire container in 3 seconds. 

Oh Udi's - you minx! I'll always come running back!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta

Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta Pagodas, Wheat Free, 8 Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)

One of my fabulous, gorgeous and supermodel-esque readers Christine recommended that I try quinoa pasta when I complained about how regular pasta falls apart.

I've seen this brand and its hard to miss turquoise box for years but it never occurred to me to actually, you know, try it.

Today was a day of discovery my dear friends. I was like Magellan working down uncharted waters and making amazing discoveries of things that have been there forever but putting my big, fat stupid slap of approval all over it. Ancient Harvest is my Guam (read a book people!)

I made a tasty GF pasta bake today (no recipe cook pasta, dump in garlic pasta sauce, cover in mozzarella and bake) with this quinoa pasta. I'm really starting to get on board with this whole corn flour thing. Jules banging cookie mix boast corn flour and this qunioa pasta's first ingredient is corn flour.

Let's jump on this corn flour revolution GF food makers.

The pasta cooked up perfectly al dente and really held up under lots of sauce and cheese in a baked pasta dish. Best of all? I don't think anyone would think that this pasta wasn't a gluten pasta. No funky after taste, no gumminess - it was just perfection.

Verdict? YUMMY and I can't wait to make Mc n Cheese with this

Friday, July 22, 2011

Conte's Margherita Pizza

I'm not really sure how far reaching the Conte's brand is - its made locally and is sold at nearly every single grocery store around here. They are a "regular" Italian foods maker and recently added in a lovely selection of gluten-free items. 

One of the annoyances (among many, many irritating things) is the lack of decent gluten free pizza. PCD I could eat any pizza I wanted, anywhere at any time. I could eat pizza all day everyday if I felt like it. I would happily skip from pizza joint to pizza joint whenever the craving for a warm, crispy slice of pizza hit me. 

Those were the days. 

Now finding delicious gluten free pizza is like finding the Holy Grail - its mission impossible and there is a large chance you will be eaten by a troll. 

I've tried a lot of frozen gluten free pizzas as well as several fresh (non homemade) pizzas and haven't really found one that tasted truly G-Full or even really super delicious for GF. Until I had Conte's. 

Even those this is a frozen pizza it tastes fresh and the crust is really tasty. 

Verdict? Yummy! If this is available in your area scoop this bad boy up. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

SO Delicious Coconut Almond Ice Cream Bars

I knew I was lactose intolerant long before I was ever diagnosed with celiac. In my early 20's I avoided dairy for over 2 years and I found that when I reintroduced it I didn't have issues anymore. For years I've drank lactose-free milk and avoided most cheeses and ice cream. Recently, I was having a lot of issues with lactose-free milk and figured that I've gone from intolerant to down right prejudiced - my body wanted nothing to do with milk and I had to do some scrambling.

As I believe I have firmly established - I love junk food and ice cream is no exception. The only dairy I've been able to tolerate is yogurt. So during the first part of this scorching summer I've been cooling off with fro-yo but it just hasn't been doing it for me. I've been seeing all of these "So Delicious" products everywhere and figured I'd try the ice cream. I was totally sold when I saw that they had ice cream bars. I couldn't even remember the last time I ate an ice cream novelty.

The coconut almond bars were so delicious (har-har right?) really! The ice cream is smooth and creamy and does not have a coconut taste at all - it taste like vanilla ice cream! The chocolate coating is yummy and it is the perfect little treat!

Verdict? Yummy! You will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Zico Coconut Water

ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, Natural, 14-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, Pomberry, 14-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, Pineapple, 14-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 12)

I never gave a lot of thought to coconut water or any drink that replenished my electrolytes. It wasn't necessary. I didn't sweat so much during my workouts that I needed to concern myself with mutilating my thirst Brawndo style. That is until I start doing Bikram Yoga.

For those who don't know Bikram is yoga done in a room heated to 105 degrees - you sweat until you feel like you might die from sweating so much. I was obviously sweating enough to require some sort of electrolyte replacement. I saw that some electrolyte drinks were gluten-free but I didn't like seeing 40 things I couldn't say and unnatural colors in the bottles. I had heard about coconut water and saw that the ingredients tend to be "100% coconut water" instead of "red dye #40."

I bought the Pomberry and Tropical Pineapple ones to try first. It takes some time to get used to the taste of coconut water its a little salty tasting but after a few sips all you taste is yumminess. With the second bottle I didn't even notice the salty taste. I've since tried all the flavors - including the chocolate which I was highly skeptical of - and they are all really good. Plus I don't get as tired in Bikram when I drink my Zico during class.

Verdict? Yummy!

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

Sorry peeps for being quiet for a few days - I had a serious virus attack on my computer and it went to the giant PC God in the Sky.

However - good news everybody! I have a new computer and I'm working on reviews as we speak! Expect lots more snark and honest to goodness reviews of all sorts of gluten free goodies!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

For The Nay-Sayers Out There

I constantly hear from some.....uh, let's call a spade a spade...jackass about how Celiac is what all the cool doctors are diagnosing so now everyone wants in on the game. People actually believe its a "fad" diagnosis- which makes no sense to me. How can a medical condition be a fad?  Apparently being a Celiac gives you the keys to some super secret, ultra swanky and glamorous club that everyone is clamoring to join.

I, for one, am pissed because not once in 7 years has someone whispered "hey you buying that Gluten Free" and then slipped me an envelope filled with cash and rubies.(I will expect said envelope to arrive in a weeks time thankyouverymuch)

Anyway - here is a great article from that discusses why all of a sudden gluten is making everyone's immune system go crazy:

Mediterrnean Snack Food Co Baked Lentil Chips

The Mediterranean Snack Food Baked Lentil Chips, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, 4.5-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12)

The first time I came across these chips was at Marshall's.

Yeah, I know.

But I buy tea there all the time. They have this brand from England that has cute packaging and the tea is super tasty. So while I was on my tea buying spree I saw these and against all better judgment purchased them. 

I think it wasn't too long ago that the food at TJ Maxx & Marshall's wasn't fresh but that all seems to have changed. These were a long way away from expiring plus they said gluten free! 

I wasn't sure how a lentil chip would taste. I knew I liked lentils but I wasn't sure if it would correlate into a crunchy snack. 

Guess what? It works! These are super delicious, really light and low in fat and calories. They are delicious with hummus or right out of the bag. Fortunately you don't have to go to Marshall's to buy them since I see that they are now being carried at my grocery store. 

Verdict? Yummy

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mrs. Crimble's Caramel Rice Cakes

Mrs Crimble's Caramel Rice Cakes, 4.9-Ounce (Pack of 6)

One thing that has always irritated me was that traditional rice cakes are not gluten free. PCD I loved rice cakes. They were my favorite guilt free snack - especially when they started coming in potato chip flavors. I can still taste the Quaker Sour Cream and Onion rice crackers - delicious. 

For years I bemoaned the lack of GF rice cakes until I found Mrs. Crimbles. 

Oh Mrs. Crimbles you minx you. These caramel flavored cakes are divine. They are sticky, sweet and super crunchy. If you live or have ever visited a New Jersey ocean town boardwalk and had Johnson's popcorn then you know what a serious situation these rice cakes are bringing. They taste very similar to Johnson's caramel popcorn and I love them. 

Verdict? Yummy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Erewhon Rice Twice Cereal

Erewhon Rice Twice Whole Grain Cereal, Gluten Free, 10-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 4)

We all have fond memories of pouring milk over a large bowl of Rice Krispies and hearing the famous "snap, crackle and pop." What kid didn't love that? Sure, I loved the sound but I hated how fast the cereal got soggy. You barely got through three spoonfuls before it all turned to mush.

While Rice Krispies may not have been my favorite cereal Rice Krispies treats were a favorite sweet treat. Who can resist the chewy marshmallowy yumminess combined with the crisp cereal. There is nothing better, ever then a fresh yummy marshmallow treat.

Any regular reader of this blog should already be aware of my obsession with junk food especially sweets. Marshmallow treats are no exception here. When I was first diagnosed I was not aware that Rice Krispies treats were off limits. I figured Rice Krispies - RICE was right there in the name. It wasn't until I became hip to additives and avoiding stuff like "barley malt extract" - which seems to be in every cereal.

Sidenote - why is that in every cereal? It doesn't make any sense to me. What does "Barley Malt Extract" do that is so magical that God forbid cereal makers stop adding it to their cereals? Will the world end? Will the oceans become pits of fires and all animals walk on two legs and horrible stuff? Because I highly doubt one extract has that kind of power. Get it together cereal makers.

Anyway. I have tried several types of rice cereal since my diagnosis many years ago. They all seem to be way too crunchy - like disturbingly crunchy even in milk. And none seemed to make a super yummy marshmallow treat either. So just an all around fail.

I wanted to make marshmallow treats for my nephew's birthday and grabbed a box of Erewhon Rice Twice cereal on a whim. And good choice on my part. The cereal has kind a sweet taste on its on like if Honey Smacks just calmed the hell down and didn't give you diabetes immediately. This made for a superior marshmallow treat. The cereal held up under marshmallow and butter and was just crispy enough.

Verdict? Yummy

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yummy's Favorite Stuff

I am a giver. It is my very nature to share. This is why I absolutely cannot keep the following websites to myself any longer.

Not only does this website feature coupons & samples for gluten free goodies but they also have super yummy gluten free recipes. You can sign up to receive information on coupons too. The latest is FREE chicken wraps at PF Changs! YUMMY :)

How bad ass is this? It's Groupon for Celiacs!!! They offer daily deals on all sorts of goodies. I highly recommend signing up - afterall it's free to join!

*As always - I do not get paid or free stuff or anything to recommend stuff. I always feel like its super important to remind you guys of that. I want you to know that when I recommend something its because I seriously like it not just because someone paid me.*

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Enjoy Life Cookies

Enjoy Life Chewy Chocolate Chip Soft Baked Cookies, Gluten, Dairy & Nut Free, 6-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6)

I think I've had just about every flavor of Enjoy Life Cookies. When I was first diagnosed with celiac they were pretty much the only game in time. So unless you felt like baking a dozen cookies (which I NEVER feel like doing) you bought a box of these bad boys. 

I have mixed feelings about Enjoy Life. I know that so much of our enjoyment with food is really from memories. I remember eating a soft baked apple cookie months after being diagnosed with celiac disease and feeling so happy to be eating a ready made cookie that didn't taste like sawdust. It's like a little hot water bottle right on my heart. 

However, I can't let warm and fuzzy memories dilute my opinion. I do think that for a soft baked cookie these really aren't that bad. I think there are better gluten free cookies on the market and there are also worse cookies on the market. These reside happily in the middle. I think they are geared more towards kids and thats who I think would find these really tasty. As an adult I think you tend to be looking for more from your food - at least I do. I want to taste the ingredients and have an "experience" with everything I eat. Which might sound crazy but I think with celiac disease the more tasty gluten free things I eat the more I have a hard time swallowing those that aren't quite as tasty. 

Verdict? Good for the cookie craving and totally yummy for kids

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jules Gluten Free Cookie Mix

So Jules Shepard is a heavy weight in the gluten free world. She's a GF gal who got sick and tired of all flour mixes sucking so she decided to get up off her bum and do something about it. She dared to ask "why can't GF taste like G-Full?"

I have no clue how or when I stumbled across Jules' website but I am so glad that I did. For well over a year I've been receiving her lovely monthly newsletter - which always features some tasty goodie that Jules is baking up. I've always wanted to try her recipes but was convinced they wouldn't be good due to using another brand of flour. For some reason I was really hesitant to order her flour or mixes. I read through all of the reviews and Googled the products and everything was favorable but for some reason I never pulled the trigger.

A month or so ago Jules was running a promotion and I bit. And dear Lord in heaven am I glad I did.

Little backstory here. I am a cookie monster. I LOVE cookies especially chocolate chip cookies. When I was growing up my Mother made the most delicious chocolate chip cookies on this planet. I have honestly never had a better cookie. I can still taste them to this day. Every cookie I have ever made in my entire life has been an attempt to duplicate my Mom's recipe. When I was G-Full I came pretty close with my cookies but it was never quite the same. Being GF my cookies NEVER came anywhere close to being nearly as good as my Mom's. They didn't even reside in the same planetary system as my Mom's cookies.

So I was super hopeful when I pulled out my Jules Gluten Free Cookie Mix yesterday and got to getting. The first thing I noticed was that Jules' instruction were different from anything I've ever seen. She has you cream half of the mix with butter and shortening (pro-tip I whipped out the pastry blender to incorporate the butter & shortening first because before I did that I ended up with a mix cloud and mix going everywhere). It turned the mix into light, fluffy clouds. You then add in your eggs and then the other half of the mix. I couldn't get over how light and fluffy the mix was. I seriously cannot emphasize that enough. It looked like this:

(Pictured: Light & Fluffy)

But what really got me was the aroma coming from the mix. It smelled sooooo delicious. In fact, I did something I haven't done in almost a decade. I ate raw cookie dough. I licked those beaters clean and shiny. Then I licked the spoon clean after I stirred in my M&Ms. I then ate another spoonful of batter (clean spoon - I'm not a savage). I had to stop myself before I ate the entire bowl of raw cookie dough. It was spectacular.

The most torturous part? The mix sets in the fridge for about two hours before you can bake them. I busied myself with getting into Game of Thrones (seriously? How good is that show?!). When two hours were up I pre-heated the oven and got down with my bad ass Betty Crocker self. 

Amazeballs. These cookies are insanity. I give Jules the highest honor of saying they tasted like my Mom's cookies. They were just incredible. Light, chewy and a little crispy around the edges - the perfect cookie. And best of all they taste G-Full NOT GF.

I highly recommend this mix to everyone - it is amazing and absolutely worth every single penny. Especially considering I got well over 60 cookies out of one bag.

Verdict? YUMMY to the Bajillionth Power