Friday, October 28, 2011

Udi's Lemon Streusel Muffins

Udi's has these Lemon Streusel Muffins. They sent a pack to me for review when I inquired about writing a review on some of their items.

I will be honest. I don't like lemon. And these muffins are HUGE. But I absolutely LOVED these muffins.

The texture was crumbly and dry, but the taste was exceptional. I would recommend having some kind of beverage on hand when enjoying these. I had one of them for breakfast and it kept me quite full for a while.

These muffins are gluten free, soy free, dairy free and nut free, so they are a good product for a variety of allergen free diets.

My recommendation is to give them a try.

Enjoy Life Foods Crunchy Cookies

When Enjoy Life offered to send me their newest line of crunchy cookies for review, I was elated to say the least. Like a child at Christmas, I opened the box and assessed the contents.

The newest line includes Crunchy Chocolate Chip, Crunchy Double Chocolate, Crunchy Sugar Crisp and Crunchy Vanilla Honey Graham.

As a reminder from an earlier post, Enjoy Life products are free of the top 8 allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish; they are also free of potatoes, sesame, sulfites and casein.

These crunchy cookies go great dunked in almond milk!

When I bit into the chocolate chip and the double chocolate (which is basically a chocolate chip cookie) cookies, I could not believe that they had no milk ingredients. They were very much like the chocolate chip cookies I remembered from before going gluten free. The vanilla honey graham reminded me of graham crackers. And as to the sugar cookies, they were not my favorite. The sugar cookies were too sweet for my liking and were only made tolerable when dunking in the almond milk.

Aside from the sugar cookies, I give this new line of crunchy cookies my strongest recommendation.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Winner Announced for Rudi's Gluten Free Giveaway

I announced a winner October 3 and because it has been a week since I contacted the winner and have not heard back from her, I went back to to generate a new winner. Congratulations Diane721! You will have a week to respond to the winning e-mail.

Monday, October 3, 2011


12 entries, 5 people. 2 people did not complete the mandatory entry and had to be disqualified, so after subtracting the five entries that were ineligible, I went to and fed it 1 for the lowest value and 7 for the highest value. then generated a random number. The lucky number is 3. Using a spreadsheet to keep track of entries, lucky number 3 is Rebecca! Congratulations Rebecca! I will send you an e-mail to verify your mailing information right now and you will have one week to confirm. The prize will have three coupons, each for one FREE Rudi's gluten free bread item. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rudi's Gluten Free Multigrain Sandwich Bread Review and Giveaway

When I asked Rudi's if they work with bloggers who want to write reviews on their products, the response was greater than I imagined! They not only offered to send coupons for me to get the bread that I choose to review, but they even offered to work with me on doing a giveaway on the blog!

Due to a computer glitch, I ended up with two sets of three coupons sent to me, so this round of the giveaway, the winner will receive the coupons directly from me.

But before I dive into a run through of the rules which were stated in a prior post and post the trivia question, I want to tell you that the reception to this particular bread is tremendous!

I chose for the first review to try the Multigrain Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread. I am a skeptic with multigrain and I have had other brands of gluten free bread that have not been very impressive to me, so I was hesitant. But I decided to try this bread out with homemade egg salad.

From the first bite, I was in heaven! Every bite was just as good as the first bite. The bread is moist. It has texture, and not a grainy one like one might expect with traditional multigrain bread. It even brought out the flavors in the egg salad! My second sandwich with this bread was yet another egg salad sandwich. I have a confession. I usually throw the heels of a loaf out because they tend to be dry and crusty. But I tried the heel of this loaf and I LOVED it! It tasted no different than the main loaf. I still have enough of this loaf to make a few more sandwiches or slices of toast, but I am so excited about the prospect that Rudi's has created that I want to make sure to go ahead and give one lucky reader a chance to also try it out.

When I contacted Rudi's about the extra set of coupons they had sent, they told me that it might be possible that I might be able to have another giveaway and with that one, a winner would receive the coupons directly from Rudi's. But I will post more about that should that come up.

For this first giveaway, I wanted things to be as easy as possible. So this giveaway will be quite basic.

Here's the first request, but as I have no way to verify age, I will ask you to just be honest. I would prefer that the winner be of the age of majority in his/her state of residence.

The first requirement is that you live in the United States. All 50 states are eligible.

The second is that you leave a valid e-mail address. I have posted a form that is supposed to accept e-mail addresses, but not knowing for sure how it will work, this is what I suggest to deter someone from just copying it without some work involved. You may leave it in this format: susanelizabeth31 [at] gmail [dot] com.

The third and final requirement is that you correctly answer one question that can be found if you read the Rudi's Gluten Free site. The question is:

How many formulas did Rudi's test before landing on a recipe?

If you go to the Rudi's web site, you have an opportunity to download a coupon for $1 off.

Here are some things you can do for EXTRA entries:

1. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect or NetworkedBlogs.

2. Follow Rudi's via Twitter.

3. Like Rudi's on Facebook.

4. Like this blog on Facebook.

5. Blog, tweet, or share about this giveaway, and leave a link for each thing you do to spread the word.

The required entry may be one comment. Please leave separate comments for each additional entry.

The giveaway goes live as soon as the post is live and will run through midnight September 30, 2011. The winner will be announced after going through by October 7, 2011 and will have one week to confirm after receiving his/her e-mail.

Let's keep it clean and keep it fun!

Udi's Snickerdoodle Cookies

Udi's very graciously sent me some food items to try out for reviews when I inquired if they work with bloggers. One of the items and the first one that I tried was the newest Snickerdoodle Cookies. These are gluten free, soy free and nut free. They do contain egg and milk ingredients.

I had to look up information about snickerdoodles because I had a misconception about the name. Basically they are just a cinnamon sugar cookie that used to have a snail shape.

I have had other gluten free snickerdoodles. They are very soft and chewy and quite cinnamony. The Udi's snickerdoodles are larger than most, but still just as good.

With the exception of the egg and the milk which can cause some allergy sufferers issues, I highly recommend giving these a try.

Enjoy Life Foods Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks

Enjoy Life Foods sent me a package of their newer Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks to review. As hesitant as I was about trying them, I decided to give them a blind taste test next to another brand that was not allergen free. And, I was impressed. I could not tell the difference in the blind taste test.

So, I tried them in my first ever batch of gluten free chocolate chunk pancakes. I was impressed.

In a side-by-side comparison, the Enjoy Life chunks do not look much different and they do not taste like they are allergen free, but they are free of dairy, nut and soy as well as gluten and wheat free.

Enjoy Life Foods is a brand I strongly recommend anyone with multiple food allergies to try.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Upcoming Rudi's Gluten Free Coupon Giveaway

Here are the basics:

1. You should be of the age of majority for your state of residence and must reside in the United States to be eligible. Please be honest on this one and use your best judgment.

2. There will be one question posted that I think will make a great trivia question that can be found on Rudi's website. Answering this correctly will let me know that you have been to their site before entering.

3. I don't know how the comment form actually works in terms of allowing me to see your e-mail address in order to contact the winner, so if you can leave it in the following format (I am providing my e-mail address so you can contact with me with questions): susanelizabeth31 [at] gmail [dot] com in order to make it more difficult to copy, that would be a great backup plan.

4. For extra entries, you may choose to like the blog on Facebook; follow the blog via Google Friend Connect; follow the blog via NetworkedBlogs; subscribe to the blog; like Rudi's on Facebook; follow Rudi's on Twitter; Tweet about the giveaway; Share the giveaway; or even tell about it in a blog post on your own blog (if you write one). These will be optional.

5. I will use a random number generator in order to choose the first winner who will have one week to confirm before an alternate will be chosen. There will be a maximum of two winners.

6. The giveaway will run as soon as the post goes lives on Monday, September 12, 2011 until the end of the day on Friday, September 30, 2011. All necessary links will go live at that time as well.

7. A winner will be announced sometime on or before (if possible) October 7, 2011.

8. Most importantly, I want this to be fun and exciting, and hopefully helpful as well.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rudi's Gluten Free Multigrain Hot Dog Rolls

Rudi's has a line of gluten free breads and buns that so far is to die for. I have tried other varieties of gluten free hot dog buns but was nowhere near as pleased with them as with the Rudi's multigrain hot dog rolls. These were just the right amount of bread for the dog and usually I have cheese with my hot dogs, but I did not feel the need to do so when I used these. They had the right amount of moistness.

All this to say that I am looking forward to trying my first loaf of Rudi's gluten free bread and reviewing it for anyone out there who will read the post which will also gear this blogger and any of its readers up for My Gluten Free Life's first ever blog giveaway.

It is my intent with the upcoming giveaway to have two winners. One will receive their coupons directly from me and the other directly from Rudi's. I am exploring Rafflecopter as an option and will definitely utilize a random number generator site to choose the winner(s) and alternate(s). As we get closer to the big date of opening the giveaway, all the details will be provided. The only four requirements I have is that the winner/alternate must reside in the 50 continental United States and be of the age of majority within their state, they must either subscribe to or follow this blog, they must leave their e-mail address so I can notify them should they be chosen, and I will encourage extra entries via following on Twitter, liking this blog's Facebook page, Tweeting about the giveaway, Sharing the giveaway on Facebook, liking Rudi's Facebook page, and posting about the giveaway on their own blog (if they write a blog). I want to make this upcoming giveaway as seamless and fun as possible and since it is my first time that I will be running one, I want it to be as easy as possible.

I ask anyone reading this that has experience running blog giveaways to consider providing their input on how best to conduct this one.

The Republic of Tea

I sent an inquiry to The Republic of Tea asking if they offered samples for bloggers to review. The response was tremendous. I received a large envelope of 30 teas - two each of 15 flavors! All of them are certified gluten free.

These are the flavors they sent: Pomegranate Vanilla Red Tea (Caffeine-free), Chamomile Lemon Herb, Organic Mint Fields Herb, Blackberry Sage (tea for wisdom), Acai Green Tea, Hibiscus Superflower Tea (Caffeine-free), Strawberry Vanilla (Caffeine-free), Pomegranate Green Tea, Ginger Peach Black Tea, British Breakfast Black Tea, Good Hope Vanilla Red Tea, Caramel Apple Red Tea, Blueberry Green Tea, The People's Green Tea, and Honey Ginseng Green Tea.

Let me be honest. I live in the South. But even before living in the South, I always thought tea came in six varities: sweet, unsweet, hot, cold, caffinated and decaffinated. So tea having all kinds of different varieties and flavors baffles me and maybe even scares me a little bit.

But The Republic of Tea has been met head on with great success so far. The pomegranate vanilla red tea was not overpowering but just perfect with flavor, and being caffeine-free I was allowed to drink this before having to go to the mitral valve specialist. The chamomile lemon herb tea helped to soothe a very sore throat and a cough. It was also a gentle flavor. The organic mint fields herb tea smelled more overwhelming than it tasted as the flavor was just right and had the added bonus of breaking up nasal congestion. The ginger peach black tea has the right balance of ginger and peach. None of the flavors overwhelm the other. And ginger helps with stomach upset.

I cannot wait to dive into the other flavors, but this is just a start.

In terms of buying the tea, I am a little hesitant because of the cost. Maybe if it was able to be found in a local store, I would be more willing to do so, but shipping costs are a deterrence. However, if you are not bothered by the shipping, I strongly encourage you to consider this company for your fine tea purchases.

Annie's Homegrown Gluten Free

If you have never heard of Annie's Homegrown, go to the aisle of your local grocery store or to Whole Foods and take a look at what they have. Fruit snacks (which are awesome) and other all natural products like cookies and crackers and macaroni.

Before now, a lot of their products were not allowed for the gluten free diet, but Annie's is going gluten free with a lot of the products they offer.

Other than the fruit snacks, my most recent exposure to Annie's and my first exposure to their gluten free line was a box of bunny cookies. I went to Organic Harvest a couple of weeks ago and they had samples of a ginger variety and a snickerdoodle variety, but I wanted to try the cocoa & vanilla on the shelf. I had a bad experience with another brand's animal cookies and I have already had the bunny fruit snacks that Annie's makes, so I figured it wouldn't hurt.

Made with rice flour, brown rice flour and corn flour, the gluten free cocoa & vanilla bunny cookies are a nice snack to reach for when you want something sweet but not sweet like candy. And even better, for me, they are made in a peanut and tree nut free facility!

I give this product one of my highest ratings yet because they do meet the challenge of being allowable in a diet that is free of the majority of the top eight allergens. They do contain soy, so they are not entirely allergen free, but they are an excellent choice.

Popcorn, Indiana

What can I say about Popcorn, Indiana? My first exposure to this brand came when I say the huge end cap display of three different types of drizzled kettlecorn in little snack size bags. I just had to try them. They are gluten free and made with non-GMO (genetically modified organism) corn. My favorite ended up being the Drizzled Black & White Kettlecorn and I hope to see them make a come back in bigger bags. But they are making a big appearance in stores ranging from Wal-mart to Target to Whole Foods and to the local grocery store.

I typically do not like popcorn but this brand has changed my mindset. I now enjoy popcorn on a periodic basis. It is a healthy snack as opposed to cookies or candy.

Gluten Free and Prepackaged Meals

Very rarely does a person get to enjoy prepackaged prepared meals if they are on a gluten free diet. It is not so much that prepackaged prepared meals do not exist for gluten free diets, it is just that there are not very many out there.

But, of all the ones that I have tried that are not from the mainstream lines, two gluten free meals that I have tried come from Organic Bistro and Glutino.

Organic Bistro has a Chicken Citron meal which consists of lemon chicken served over spinach with herbed quinoa and sundried tomato edamame. It is unusual because quinoa cooks a little dry especially when heated in a microwave, but it is a delicious break from having to make everything from scratch.

Glutino has a Chicken Penne Alfredo made with chicken breast strips with brown rice penne pasta covered in creamy Alfredo sauce made with parmesan cheese. Again, traditional microwave heating does the meal no justice, but when you really want a quick fix or a break from making everything from scratch, it is a great alternative.

Both meals are great choices for the gluten free person on the go. And they are reasonably priced for prepackaged gluten free food.

Kettle Brand Chips - Tias

Kettle has a lot of flavors of chips! They remind me of Frito-Lay's except they are gluten free. They even have a newer line called Tias! The Tias! remind me of Doritos, except that Tias! are gluten free and Doritos have wheat.

Do you miss the nacho cheese or cooler ranch flavored Doritos now that you are gluten free? I don't. Because Tias! taste just as good if not better.

Look for them in places like Wal-mart, Target, Whole Foods and many of your favorite grocery stores as they are becoming a store shelf staple with their own little section down the chip and snack aisle.

Riceworks Chips Take Two

So after being mailed a coupon to try a free bag of Riceworks to see if there was a flavor I would like better than the first ones I tried, I landed on Sweet Chili.

Although I still found these chips to be considerably dry, I did like the spice factor which boosted the flavor and made them more tolerable.

However, I still do not prefer this brand.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Stay Tuned for My Gluten Free Life's First Ever Blog Giveaway

More details will follow after I have a chance to work out some of the logistics, but as it stands now, there may even be a possibility for not just one, but TWO giveaways! See, part of the background on that is because Rudi's had a little bit of a technical glitch and instead of one set of coupons for me to get some free Rudi's gluten free bread loaves for blog reviews, I ended up with two sets. Now I have the media packet with my coupons and an additional set which will be the first giveaway. But I will take TWO winners and TWO alternates, and proceed to also contact Rudi's for the second prize winner.

Here are the preliminary rules: Winner MUST reside in the United States. Winner must be at least the age of majority in their state of residence (which is 19 in Alabama). All entrants will need to be following my blog via Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs or subscribe. All entrants will be required to leave an e-mail address in their comments. Friend request or request to follow me on Twitter if you would like. My blog syndicates with both, and this will be optional. Sharing on Facebook or Twitter will earn extra entries as well. All entrants will be asked to go to the Rudi's website and answer one question based on something from their website. I haven't decided yet what it will be.

The giveaway will be announced as soon as the first product review of my first loaf of bread has been published and will be open for two or three weeks depending on what day of the week the review is posted. The giveaway will close on a Friday to allow the entire weekend to try to determine the winners from all entries. The winner will be announced by the following Wednesday and have one whole week to reply before an alternate will be chosen.

The approximate retail value of the three coupons that the winner(s) will receive varies according to sales, stores and other factors, but is estimated around 15 dollars.

Just keep your eyes open for more announcements as the big giveaway approaches in the next few weeks (it may be after Labor Day). Please consider sharing with any and all friends and family you know that would benefit from this giveaway. It will be more fun than it sounds so far, but these are just the preliminary logistics.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Katz Gluten Free

I contacted Katz Gluten Free recently about opportunities for samples for blog review and agreed to coordinate efforts to try to spearhead getting the local area Whole Foods to carry their products.

Katz Gluten Free is another company that is not only gluten free and wheat free, but also nut free and dairy free. Beyond these, the other ingredients that the products are free of vary from product to product.

They sent out boxes consisting of rugelech, cookies, bundt cake and two apple pies. Pies are their newest addition to their product line. They also make challah, muffins, breads and rolls.

Since we received two apple pies, I thought I would try one and give it a review. I was surprised that it contains high fructose corn syrup. Most gluten free products do not have HFCS because most of the time, gluten free is all natural or organic and HFCS is anything but all natural or organic. But, other than that flaw, I found that the small piece that I tried reminded me of my grandmother's homemade apple pies. It was only minimally dry, but it was perfect.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MI-DEL Arrowroot Cookies - Are They Really Gluten-Free?

The front of the bag says gluten-free in nice bold letters. Whoo-hoo! Look at the allergy warning where it says they are processed in a facility that also processes or handles wheat, peanuts, and tree nuts and then scream in horror and disgust.

There are far too many companies proudly claiming to be gluten free but how gluten free are they if their facility or equipment also processes or handles wheat?

This company is now joining the ranks of many that have to be placed on my unsafe or high risk foods list. Which of course means that my list of safe companies is becoming all the more narrow every day. Literally.

I'm not thrilled about this as the cute animal-shaped cookies are tasty, but the fact they are processed with the only two ingredients that can cause me to have an asthma attack bothers me greatly. Well, so does the fact that they are claiming to be gluten free yet are processed in the same facility that also processes or handles wheat. Bummer.

Butternut Squash

Okay, confession. Butternut squash is one of my newest and most favorite vegetables EVER! I've never cared for any squash because usually when I've had cooked squash, it's been extremely slimy and tasteless. But let me tell you, I was exposed to butternut squash at a TACA event at Organic Harvest in Hoover a few months ago when the presenter snuck it into some gluten free macaroni. I couldn't even taste it! Which is a good thing because I am probably one of the world's most finicky eaters. But I loved it so much that I wanted to try it again. So we bake the squash in the oven and we usually butter it using a vegetable spread. I've had this habit of dumping loads of sugar on it as well. I find it tastes similar to the yam, a.k.a. sweet potato, and it is similar in color and texture. Today, I reheated the meat of one we cooked over the weekend in the microwave. But used a honey vegetable spread instead of dumping sugar all over it. And it is the best thing EVER! Like it or leave it, but in my personal opinion, butternut squash is the greatest vegetable ever and worth the introduction in any diet.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The End of the Nut Thins Era in My House

Blue Diamond Nut Thins. They support the Celiac Disease Foundation and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. They tout gluten free logos quite prominently. But they are manufactured in a facility that processes wheat. This is the sad reality that has ended the Nut Thins era in my house.

A few weeks ago I ate my last Nut Thin ever. All because it made my tongue itch. Because that is what only two of my food allergies - peanuts and wheat - do.

So alas, it is the end of the Nut Thin era in my house.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Enjoy Life Foods Double Chocolate Crunch Granola

As some of you may know, I often get a lot of samples. And as many of you have probably figured out by now, I will often write very honestly about my opinions about samples and other products, particularly gluten free foods. I'm not afraid to say that I like something and I'm not afraid to say that I hate something either.

So when I decided to get more into my blogging and start heading toward getting more blogging experience which will keep up my journalism skills and help me find paid opportunities eventually, I started to contact a few companies.

I started with a company that I really love and inquired if they had media kits that I could utilize in my blogging. Often media kits provide more information about a company and for bloggers, they can include buttons that link back to the company website.

The company Enjoy Life Foods actually did something better than I expected and offered to send me two of their newest full size products to try out and review. One of those is the Double Chocolate Crunch Granola.

I hesitated about the granola. I've never really been a big fan of granola. It tends to be dry. And the idea of chocolate granola kind of freaked me out a little bit. The first thing I noticed about the packaging was the statement: "Handful of chocolate in every bite!"

My first impression agreed that this granola does pack a lot of chocolate in every bite. But alas, my disdain for granola was still at play. So, I decided to try it as a cereal with some vanilla almond milk. After all, they do make granola cereal, right? And I LOVED it!

Another thing about the packaging of this granola is that it claims to be in a stay fresh package. Sure enough, the package got moved and I left it alone for a couple of days. I came back to it and it was still as good as the day I opened it!

Now, about Enjoy Life Foods. I choose Enjoy Life Foods because with my recent wheat allergy, I have gone on a predominantly gluten free diet. Wheat makes my food allergy count somewhere around ten. I'm allergic to strawberries, raspberries, onions, plums, mushrooms, peanuts, chickpeas, dairy, wheat, and chicken. I'm lactose intolerant, high fructose corn syrup sensitive, and allergic to something called sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. I have to cut back on soy due to an underactive thyroid. And foods that have any cross-reactivity with grass, birch or latex (like avocados) could potentially cause an allergic reaction.

So with all of my food allergies and intolerances imagine how hard it is to find food I can not only eat but actually enjoy and like!

There are only three companies I know of so far that meets most of my special needs dietary restrictions. Enjoy Life Foods is one of those companies. The most familiar food item they have is their line of these super soft and chewy cookies. So when they offered to send me a package of the granola, I was excited to try it out!

How does Enjoy Life Foods meet my dietary needs? All of their products are free of gluten and the top eight allergies. The top eight allergies are those that the Food and Drug Administration deemed as the most frequent allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. Most of their products are also free of potatoes, sesame, sulfites and casein.

Founded in 2001, Enjoy Life Foods has been gluten-free certified, kosher-certified and halal-certified. As with many other companies that make gluten free foods, they are free of artificial ingredients, trans fats, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They have been featured on Food Network's Unwrapped, Plant Green's Emeril Green with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and ABC 7 Chicago's segment of Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids.

They can be found in many grocery stores and natural food stores in the United States and Canada and in over 15 online retailers. In the Birmingham, Ala. area, the Pelham Wal-Mart Supercenter, Whole Foods, Publix, Organic Harvest and Winn-Dixie have some of their products and they have been found in the commissary at Ft. Rucker in south Alabama.

My final verdict of this granola is that it takes a little bit of getting used to, but in the final analysis, I would definitely buy more of it once every other month as an instant snack and a quick bite.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Coconut Macaroons

I LOVE chocolate. One of my favorite Girl Scout cookies when I was in the GSA was the samoas. But they are not gluten free. So I googled gluten free samoas and got back SEVERAL recipes for chocolate macaroons. Well, I wasn't happy with the first one, so I looked some more. I landed on a no bake version using oatmeal, and then I couldn't find the cocoa powder. So I substituted Nutella. Which then led me to a version using BOTH Nutella AND cocoa powder. Now I will admit, that I am STILL tweaking the recipe and trying to figure out how to make it not so gooey and a little more dry, but maybe some of you who are reading this can lend a hand in that. I welcome any comments and suggestions for this.

By the way, this is the first recipe I am posting, so please if you try this and especially if you land on a way to tweak it, I invite your comments and follow up posts as I would like to add more recipes in the near future.

So here is my version of a no bake macaroon:

4 tablespoons of cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)
2 tablespoons of Nutella (this does contain milk, so if you are dairy allergic, you can try a dairy free version often found in health food type of stores; not sure if they have chocolate soy butter?)
1/2 cup milk (I use Silk Pure Almond in Vanilla, but if you use the Dark Chocolate, then you get TRIPLE chocolate! Soy milk is also a good substitute if allergic to nuts.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I use pure vanilla)
3 cups oatmeal (Quaker oatmeal in the canister works fine.)
1 cup coconut (ground almonds or substitute grated carrot if allergic to coconut)

Boil the cocoa, the Nutella, the milk and the sugar for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour this mixture over the oatmeal and coconut and mix well.

Drop by the teaspoon on parchment paper and wait until dry and easy to lift off. Or you can make a macaroon "pizza" or macaroon "cake" using a pizza pan or cake pan.

This recipe is entirely gluten free and an awesome substitute for those Girl Scout samoas that I so miss! But I usually end up with a very sticky and gooey mess in the end, so it is still being tweaked.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Riceworks Chips

I've been seeing riceworks for a couple of years and decided to give these gluten free chips a try. I chose parmesan because I like cheese. What I didn't expect was how dry and flavorless they seem to be.

I have even tried ranch dip. To no avail.

I will most likely not be purchasing this brand again myself. Although if you are looking for a good snack, they're not that bad. It's just I can't personally recommend them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Indie Candy Provides Excellent Allergen-Free Candy in the Birmingham Area

So last week I had some blood work while at Trinity Medical Center for a doctor's appointment and decided to find Indie Candy in Mountain Brook while in that area. After all, I was basically in the area and had heard great things about it from their Facebook page and website. They offer allergen free candy.

Seriously. I walked in the store and was unsure what I was wanting. There was a girl working there that greeted me and after finding out that I was allergic to basically everything they are free of, she told me that I could everything in the store except what was on top of the counter. She even let me sample a gummy bear!

I fell in love. I expected higher prices, but the prices were reasonable. 25 cents for a sucker. 5 cents for a button candy. Even the counter items were not outrageously priced.

But aside from reasonable costs and excellent customer service, it was the selection available.

I have a dairy allergy but tend to limit soy due to a thyroid condition. I am allergic to wheat although my ENT said I can have it periodically since I am now grass allergy shots and it seems to be more of a cross-reactive allergy than an actual allergy. I am allergic to peanuts. Don't get me wrong. Vermont Chocolate Factory has excellent nut free candy but it's pricey, you have shipping costs, and well, they do have pretzels, so they are not 100 percent safe for me.

I ended up finally choosing a chocolate covered "oreo," a mix packet with an assortment of products, and gummy bears. Upon eating the cookie, my first thought was "There is no way this can be allergen free. It tastes too good!" Alas, I finished it and I still remember it. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

I am definitely going to be a repeat customer for this store and I will recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone wanting a nice treat for their significant other, children, teachers, friends, or themselves for everyday and special occasions.

Monday, April 11, 2011

PopChips May Not Be As Gluten Free As They Claim

PopChips states on their bag that they contain no gluten ingredients. The bitter irony is that they also have a statement underneath the ingredients that repeats that they contain no gluten ingredients underneath a statement that says that they are manufactured on equipment shared with wheat.

I made this discovery myself after having purchased a bag of them from a local store that carries a lot of gluten free products. Needless to say, I'm a bit irritated by this.

As someone who went gluten free because of severe wheat allergies, this kind of misleading information drives me up the wall.

Misleading how? Because at the top of the bag in large, bold print it says no gluten ingredients. But at the bottom underneath the ingredients the statement comes in about the shared equipment. Wheat is a gluten ingredient and if a product is manufactured on equipment that also processes wheat, it is unethical and misleading and false advertising for them to claim that they have no gluten ingredients.

Good luck getting the FDA to actually do their job and get this kind of misleading labeling eradicated.

By the way, I am forwarding this review to the company and will post their reply if and when I get one.