Archive for Product Advisory
Thanksgiving is over and it’s time to start thinking about Christmas. Here are some fun ideas for gifts to give to those who cook and live gluten-free. Great for someone new to the gluten-free diet, but also good for the seasoned gluten-free cook because I’ve included cookbooks and products that are new this year!
Calendar with Gluten-Free Recipes
Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang created this fabulous monthly calendar with gluten-free recipes for 2013. There is a wonderful recipe printed on each calendar card with beautiful full-color photos. On the back of each card is easy-to-follow directions for making the gluten-free and dairy-free recipe, along with suggestions for making it vegetarian, vegan, and paleo.
I love the small size of it (a CD case). Perfect for stockings or easy shipping! You can order it directly from Diane’s website, where you’ll also find a list of the recipes and more details about it.
Cookbooks for a Busy Gluten-Free Family
The The Everything Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Cookbook by Carrie Forbes was just recently released. I haven’t seen the book myself, but I’ve tried many of Carrie’s recipes from GingerLemonGirl.com, and I’ve always had good results with them. What busy family couldn’t use a good slow-cooker recipe to help them manage a week filled with a myriad of activities? You can order the cookbook directly from GingerLemonGirl, or on Amazon.
Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love–Fast! is another cookbook designed to help busy families manage a gluten-free diet. The author, Nicole Hunn, includes tips for advance meal prep, kitchen shortcuts, and make-your-own mixes to get meals on the table fast. And like her first cookbook, this one also provides inexpensive solutions for a complete gluten-free meal. But what really gets my attention is those gluten-free glazed chocolate doughnuts on the cover! Must try soon.
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Cookbooks
The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen written by Denise Jardine provides recipes that are dairy-free, as well as gluten-free. It has a nice variety of recipes for cheese and sauces including a Creamy Macadamia and Pine Nut Cheese, a Mustard Cream Sauce, and a Spicy Peanut Sauce. A few more recipes that got my attention, but I haven’t tried yet, are Crispy Pizza Crust, Chocolate Orange Pudding and Pumpkin Cheesecake.
The Spunky Coconut Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cookbook: Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Written by Kelly Brozyna, also author of the blog The Spunky Coconut. These recipes are made with coconut milk, cashew nut milk, and/or hemp milk using a blender or an ice cream maker. What a variety of flavors: Blueberry Lavender, Roasted Banana, Spiced Apple Tea, as well as the classics Chocolate and Vanilla. Order this and other cookbooks at The Spunky Coconut Bake Shop or on Amazon.
This year, I’ve been trying to include more Paleo-friendly meals into my diet. The paleo diet is free of all grains, so it is also gluten free. My husband and I both felt great after being on the diet for just a week. We aren’t ready to commit to it full-time, but I am making some small changes to our meals to make more of them paleo-friendly. You, too, may be interested in some of these cookbooks.
I purchased Eat Like a Dinosaur: Recipe & Guidebook for Gluten-free Kids this year. It was written and created for families with young kids. My daughter loves the story in the front of the cookbook that tells about how the author’s family transformed their health and lives by learning to “eat like a dinosaur.” It embraces the paleo diet and has lots of fun recipes to get the kids engaged in the diet, too.
Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle This author also has a blog at Balanced Bites. She is a certified nutrition consultant who writes in this book about how good food can improve your health. This is not just a cookbook. It is a guide to the paleo diet that explains it in detail, including foods to eat and foods to avoid. It gives instructions for grocery shopping, gives tips for eating out, explains how to regulate your blood sugar with food, and provides lots of great recipes.
Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook: Real Food for Real Life This is a follow-up to her first cookbook Everyday Paleo and her children’s book Paleo Pals: Jimmy and the Carrot Rocket Ship. Like so many paleo books, this book focuses on how to improve your health by making good food choices and staying active with your family. There are lots of full-color photos of the recipes. And, I love that she’s included recipes great for families with kids — slow-cooker recipes and “fruity creations and treats.”
You didn’t know there were magazines specific to the gluten-free diet? Yep, in fact, there are several now! When buying a subscription for a friend, why not order one for yourself, too?
Simply Gluten Free Magazine is the newest of the gluten-free magazines, just being released this fall, in time for the holidays. It’s a bi-monthly publication created by the multi-talented Carol at Simply…Gluten-Free, this magazine is sure to include her delicious recipes and beautiful photographs that are always tempting. Must get a subscription to this one! You may also be interested in her cookbooks: Simply . . . Gluten-free Desserts and Simply . . . Gluten-free Quick Meals.
Delight Gluten Free Magazine does a great job of keeping its readers up to date on the latest news and trends for the gluten-free lifestyle. It publishes six times a year and provides gluten-free recipes, articles and tips for living gluten free. With editors and writers that continue to be engaged in the gluten-free community, it is sure to have information relevant to anyone eating gluten free.
Living Without Magazine, a bi-monthly magazine, addresses a variety of food allergies and sensitivities, including gluten-free and dairy-free. It provides delicious new recipes in every issue, as well as articles and tips about living with food allergies. You’ll read about new studies and topics to address with your doctor.
Earlier this month, I mentioned in my review of Mi-Del cookies that I give my kids’ teachers a small care package of gluten-free snacks at the beginning of the year for them to store in the classroom for my kids. These are not meant to be the snacks that my kids get to eat everyday. (I send my kids to school each day with gluten-free snacks and lunch.) The snacks in this care package are there for backup reasons because sometimes snacks and treats are offered in the classroom that aren’t gluten-free. And having these in the classroom makes sure that my kids are not left out of any last-minute activities involving gluten. For example:
- Probably the most common situation: A classmate brings in cupcakes, cookies, or treats to share with the class for their birthday. My son chooses a package of cookies out of his gluten-free package.
- The class earns a reward (popcorn) for good behavior or reaching a class goal, but the teacher isn’t sure if it’s gluten-free. My son gets a bag of popcorn or chips out of the gluten-free package.
- The teacher creates a project that involves building something with pretzels or crackers, but forgets to tell us in advance. My daughter gets out her gluten-free pretzels or crackers to use instead.
- My daughter’s snack or lunch didn’t make it to school and the cafeteria doesn’t offer anything gluten-free. My daughter can eat from her GF care package if I’m unable to bring it to school.
- It is perhaps unlikely, but should an emergency situation arise and the school is on lock-down, I know my kids will have something they can eat without getting sick.
What’s in a Gluten-Free Care Package? I like to choose self-contained, single-serve, small packages of gluten-free items that won’t spoil in the teacher’s cabinet or desk. I also try to present it to the teacher in a small container that is easy for them to store. A large zip-style bag, or medium size plastic container clearly labeled Gluten-Free for my son or daughter seems to work well. Here are some items that we have used for this purpose:
- Midel, S’mores cookies
- Pamela’s 2-Count Cookie Packs: Chocolate Chunk Pecan Shortbread and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip
- Pebbles Treats Fruity Pebbles variety and Cocoa Pebbles variety
- Schar Chocolate Hazelnut Bars
- Schar Sandwich Creme Cookies (2 cookies in each package) Vanilla Creme variety and Chocolate Creme variety
- Surf Sweets Gummy Bear Snack Packs
- Ener-G Foods Pretzel Rings
- FoodShouldTasteGood Multigrain Tortilla Chips
- Glutino Pretzel Twists Snack Packs
- Pirate’s Booty
- Schar Gluten Free Snack Crackers These come in a box of 6 individual packs. Each pack contains 8 crackers.
- Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn (Be careful! We have not experienced any problems with this product, however it is not guaranteed gluten-free. According to Frito-Lay, there are no gluten ingredients in this product. Unfortunately, they do no currently test these for traces of gluten.)
- Annie’s Homegrown Bunny Fruit Snacks
- Ocean Spray Craisins 100-calorie Packs
- Simply Fruit Fruit Rollups
Rice, Granola, or Energy Bars:
- Bakery On Main Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- Can Do Kid Bars
- EnviroKidz Peanut Choco Drizzle Crispy Rice Bars
Communicate with the teacher! It’s been my experience that most teachers are familiar and comfortable with this arrangement. However, I strongly suggest that you discuss it with the teacher before sending a small care package of food to school. This may not work in all classrooms or for all teachers. Along with the package of food that I provide to the teacher, I like to attach a brief note to remind the teacher what it is for, and to please let me know if at any time during the year it needs to be replenished.
Make it easy on yourself. Our family is fortunate to live in an area with gluten-free snack items available at our grocery stores. If this isn’t the case for you, you can order some items online. A single box of the Schar sandwich cookies with your student’s name clearly written on it would do the trick. Or, perhaps a small bag of your child’s favorite candy would work for you.
More occasions to use a gluten-free care package. All of these items would also be great gluten-free additions for a gluten-free lunch, a gift to send to college students, and for a travel pack.
Do you do something similar? Please feel free to add any other ideas in the comments.
Have you seen them yet? Kellogg’s® has finally taken the plunge into the gluten-free food market with their new gluten-free version of the classic Rice Krispies® cereal. We found it at our local grocery store this week. It was located in the regular breakfast cereal aisle, nestled right between the regular gluten-containing Rice Krispies cereals. We’ve been avoiding all Kellogg’s cereals since going gluten free because they all have malt flavoring made from barley in them. (I’m sure you already know that, but for anyone who may be new to the diet: Barley Malt is off-limits for anyone with celiac disease.)
I received a couple complimentary boxes of the new Rice Krispies Gluten Free to try this spring. I was excited to try it (partially because it’s always nice to get free gluten-free food in the mail), but I didn’t really think eating it would give me too much thrill. I mean it’s just a plain cereal, right? Well, I have to tell you when I heard the familiar “snap, crackle, and pop,” I did get a little excited. Maybe I was just being nostalgic, but it really did take me back to when I used to eat them as a child. You know…before the kids’ cereals all got added sweeteners, artificial colors, and a prize in the box. These were just how I remembered them. Including the fact that you have to eat them quickly or they will get mushy and soggy! So, I am enjoying them again — quickly, with almond milk and a little fruit.
Nutrition. My kids liked it, but weren’t as excited about it as I was. They probably thought it needed a little more sugar. I like the fact that it’s not so high in sugar! (Sugar is listed as less than 1 gram per 1-Cup serving.) More good news on the cereal box: simple ingredients and added vitamins and minerals. I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist, but look at the ingredients: “whole grain brown rice, sugar, contains 2% or less of salt, BHT for freshness.” And remember when the big cereal companies started using flours enriched with all kinds of vitamins and minerals? Well, they added those vitamins and minerals to this cereal, too. Check out the Nutrition Facts label on the Rice Krispies web page for the details. I was also happy to see that it says right on the box that it is produced in a gluten-free facility, so I didn’t have to worry about cross-contamination. (That was on the sample boxes I received. It did not have that statement on the box I purchased in the grocery store. A mistake by Kellogg’s, if you ask me.)
Rice Krispies® Gluten Free Treats®. Since they sent me two boxes, I decided to make Rice Krispies Treats, too. I used Kellogg’s classic recipe with a couple modifications. I’ve made crispy rice treats in the past with other brands of gluten-free crisped rice, but my kids never liked them. This time, they devoured them. I, personally, didn’t notice a big change in taste or texture, but my husband and the kids said they were crispier and better. If you are new to making Rice Krispies Treats, I offer a few tips:
- Always use fresh marshmallows. Old ones take longer to melt, and over-cooked marshmallows get really tough and difficult to stir.
- I prefer to use the mini marshmallows because they melt faster and are easier to work with.
- Instead of buttering or spraying the 9×13 pan, use parchment paper to line the pan.
- If you are adding chocolate chips, freeze them for a couple hours first. They will be less likely to melt while you’re adding them in. Work quickly! I find it easiest to just press the chips on top of the treats after pressing them into the pan.
- You can make these dairy-free. The recipe says not to use any butter substitutes, but I did it anyway using Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks. It worked great. I also used the Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips which are dairy-free.
Where Can You Buy Rice Krispies Gluten Free? There is a product locator on the Kellogg’s website, but it didn’t work for me. I kept checking to see where I could buy the gluten-free Rice Krispies, but it still says it isn’t in my area. However, I did indeed find it at our local Wegman’s. I suspect it’s available at other grocery stores in my area as well. So, check it out at your local grocery store in the regular cereal aisle. And let me know what you think. You can also buy a case of 4 boxes on Amazon, if you can’t find it locally.