Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chebe Cinnamon Rolls

I LOVE Chebe products. And I say this solely as a consumer. I am not paid by them or reimbursed by them in any way. (Although, Mr. Miller if you're reading this, I'm always open to the idea! LOL)

I recently took advantage of a great deal on their site for a 12 box pack of their products, which included their cinnamon roll mix.

I often times try to skimp on the oil and replace it with applesauce. The natural pectins always seem to help gluten free products rise better. I had made these once years ago, but I think I rolled them into balls like the regular Chebe bread. This is the first time I was brave enough to roll the dough out, cover it with cinnamon and sugar, then roll it up. That in general always seemed daunting to me, and after trying these, I realize it's not all that hard!

So into the oven they went, ready to become morsels of gooey, delicious bits of breakfast heaven.

While they were nice and gooey on their own, I added a bit of leftover Betty Crocker frosting on top. Because, well, frosting rocks!

We had our niece and nephew over for a few days, so I made these especially for them. They don't have to eat gluten free and don't normally eat any of my specialty gluten free stuff. At the age of 13, anything out of the usual is weird.

But when my nephew saw the plate of cinnamon rolls, he didn't hesitate to take one while they were still warm. He asked me if they were a family recipe, because they were so delicious!

Thanks Chebe for making my first sleepover with my niece and nephew tasty and memorable!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gluten Free (and not) at the Farmer's Market

I got the nicest compliment from an acquaintance the other day on Facebook.

"I just wanted to tell you I looked up your gf blog a while ago. It's great! Kudos for bringing attention to gf and celiac awareness. It's important stuff that you're doing. Keep it up! "

I was really touched and impressed...and inspired. Inspired and encouraged that I I can do so much more with my blog than just review food and restaurants. I can use this blog as a force for good, for education, for awareness. 

So to my approximate 1,000 readers a month- I pledge to try to talk more about education in the coming months, to have this blog be one you share with those who are searching. 

So today I want to highlight the pluses and minuses of purchasing "gluten free" products at the Farmer's Market. 

My case in point is a bakery near us that has a stand at the Davison Farmer's Market. A friend at church told my husband about them, explaining how excited she was for me, and that she almost bought me a cupcake. So, we went out there ourselves to check it out. So, when I approached, I inquired about their gluten free cupcakes and the steps they take to prevent cross-contamination. This was his response. 

"They're gluten free but not celiac." 

I obviously tried to explain to them that the cupcakes themselves could not be celiac, as celiac is an autoimmune disease.  He continued on, stating that he doesn't make the cupcakes and that he was just there covering for someone, but was still using the phrase "They're not celiac." He did manage to get out that they were not made in a dedicated facility or on dedicated equipment. (I tried to tell him that maybe he should say that they weren't "celiac friendly." When we walked away from their stand, my husband honestly said, "That was scary." Scary for quite a few reasons- 1) This business doesn't have trained staff and his lack of knowledge can cost them business, 2) that their products may not truly be gluten free and 3) my friend who would not have known to ask the proper questions could have purchased them for me, I could have eaten them, and I could have become sick.

I was able to contact the owner, and this was her reply-
"We use a flour blend that we make from gluten free products such as tapioca starch, potato flour, and brown rice flour just to name a few of the ingredients.  We do not have dedicated days and only some of the equipment is dedicated to gluten free products.  When we get ready to make the gluten free products we wash and triple sanitize the counters and equipment to clean as much gluten from the areas as possible.  We understand that some people are very sensitive to gluten and do our best to ensure that there is as little residue as possible.  Because we have not found a way to test that there is less then 20 ppm of gluten we tell people that they are gluten free but not celiac just to be on the safe side.  I believe that we must be in the correct range since my celiac aunt eats them all the time and has never gotten sick.  Many of our customers are returning every Saturday for more and are not getting sick as well."

Unfortunately, I'm still not going to trust it. (First impressions are everything.)

Ironically, on the way in I had seen another stand outside that stated that they had gluten free cinnamon rolls. Originally I was going to let it pass, but after that discussion, I felt it necessary to go talk to them in case they were also possibly not safe for celiacs.

So I stopped by the Cinnamom booth.The owner, who is an RN, was gracious enough to talk to me. She explained to me some of the steps she used to prevent cross contamination. mentioning that she used dedicated utensils and pans. She stated that while she was not in a dedicated GF facility, she did not prepare the regular cinnamon rolls at the same time. And then she gave me free roll to try. 

In all honesty, I don't remember the last time I had a cinnamon roll like that. I warmed it up like she suggested and was immediately transported. As a disclaimer, I felt fine eating it the day of, but had issues the next day. That being said, I've been having some digestive issues lately that may have nothing to do with celiac disease. 

And then I saw someone on Facebook advertising gluten free donuts at another local farmer's market. I swear, some days I feel like an investigator interrogating a witness. Out came the questions about cross contamination and dedicated equipment. 

What follows is the answer from Raphael's Donuts.  I summarized his response because this conversation was through Facebook.

< The gluten free donut batters are made and baked first, always. Gluten free donuts are baked Thursday night while the gluten containing donuts are baked late Friday afternoons. The measuring cups I use for gluten free are separate from the ones used for donuts with whole wheat flour. The gluten free donuts are baked in the same circular pans as the other non- gluten free whole wheat donuts. But I wash them in hot water with dish detergent, rinsed and sanitized with bleach, and air dried before being used for the whole wheat donuts.   After the gluten free donuts are baked and taken out, glazed and placed in cooling racks, the bowls and utensils are washed, rinsed and sanitized and air dried before being use for the donuts made with whole wheat flour. When served at the markets, I take them out with a separate tong and put them in foam containers. I got interested in baking gluten free donuts because I have friends who have celiac disease and have wheat allergies.>

Again, not totally dedicated equipment, but quite a bit of precautions taken. Again, I'm still not going to try them, especially because he markets his donuts as diabetic friendly and uses erythritol in his donuts and glazes. Plus I'm not too excited that he uses the same pans to bake the donuts, because circular pans have little crevices in them, and I don't want to chance it. 

With all of that being said, that makes me thankful for businesses like Ethel's Edibles and Benefit Your Life that make their products in a dedicated gluten free facility. Zero chance of cross contamination. ZERO.

Ethel's Edibles products are made in a dedicated gluten free facility and are sold at the Eastern Market in Detroit. Once you taste one of her Pecan Dandy's or Whoopie Pies, you just might spend your whole paycheck at her stand. (Oh, and by the way, she now does orders online and ships them anywhere in the United States. You might need a budget just for her stuff.)

Benefit Your Life  is a dedicated gluten free facility in Knoxville, Tennessee that we stopped at while on vacation. For some background on their allergen-free status, I took this from their website. "All bakery items are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sweetened with diabetic friendly coconut nectar... this includes our famous frosting!! Our bakers feel the only way to feel good and get well is to eat food that heals and fights inflammation in the body. You will find many of our bakery items using Organic Almond Flour, Organic Gluten-Free Flours, coconut oil, coconut nectar and mineral rich sea salt. We guarantee you will find ultimate deliciousness and not a trace of white sugar or genetically modified ingredients in our bakery! " 

The Sweet Potato Bar I purchased at Benefit Your Life
So, while this may just seem like a review of a bunch of bakeries, I do this to highlight the potential dangers of "gluten free" products at farmer's market. Take the time to ask your questions. Do your research, because sometimes vendors don't do theirs. While the popularity of the gluten free diet rises, it behooves us as celiacs and as friends of celiacs to truly understand what gluten free means and should be.

It also requires us to have patience and help to instruct businesses about the steps they must take if they truly want something to be gluten free. And the standard should be the same in all places, not "gluten free" for celiacs and "gluten free" for those who have gluten sensitivity. Gluten free needs to be gluten free...PERIOD. 

So as the FDA ruling comes into full force on August 5th, our involvement in gluten free labeling becomes even more important. As companies will not have to send in data to the FDA prior to their packaging stating that it is gluten free, misleading or misinformed producers will not be caught unless we ask the questions and report ill effects from when these products have made us sick. It is also important to support companies that have taken the time to certify their products through independent testers,  such as CSA, the GFCO or the new GFCP program through the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Tricia Thompson's independent program called Gluten Free Watchdog is also a great program to support as we move forward.  

Safe Gluten Free foods for us....for all.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Old World Gluten Free Pierogi

When you look up the word "dumpling" on wikipedia, it becomes quickly obvious that humans across the globe love food that's stuffed inside of dough. The Italians have ravioli, the Chinese have wontons, the Indians have samosa, Latin America has empanadas, and Poland has pierogi.

The common denominator, no matter country of origin, is DOUGH.

Generally for a celiac, that means OFF LIMITS.

But thanks to Alicia Bemiss and Old World Gluten Free, you can indulge in dumplings, and more specifically PIEROGI once again! (And there was much rejoicing!)

I keep my eyes peeled and ears perked for all new things gluten free, especially as I am the co-chair for the Lansing Gluten Free Fair. Old World Gluten Free came to my attention after I heard about their attendance at the "Making It In Michigan" Conference. This is a program put on by Michigan State University through their Product Center to encourage and help local Michigan entrepenuers with products "related to agriculture, food, bioeconomy or natural resource industries." 

Not only did Old World Gluten Free attend this conference, they won a Product Placement Award at that conference. Not a "gluten-free" award, but a general award, because they don't taste like their gluten free! The hold their own with the rest of the competition. An  added plus- the first dough ingredient is garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour. Not only does one get to indulge in pierogi, they're full of fiber and protein!

But enough background, let's get to the food! 

Pierogi are versatile in the dumpling world. While other countries usually only focus on savory filled-dough delicacies, pierogi can be made savory OR sweet. And true to form, Old World Gluten Free offers both! 

 I had a friend purchase a bag of them for me while they were at the Tri-County Celiac Support Group's food fair. I received pierogi stuffed with Farmer's Cheese and Green Onions. (For a list of their other flavors, click here.) The first thing I noticed is that they are not some itsy-bitsy two bite dumplings. These are HUGE!

I have never cooked pierogi before, and was glad that there are directions on the bag. I also have a childhood friend who is Polish, and I picked her brain a bit as well. I followed the directions on the package, thawed them a bit in the microwave, and then browned them in butter on the stove. 

There were DELICIOUS! Seriously, what's there not to like about hot cheesy goodness?

What's that you say? You're vegan and don't eat cheese? 

But wait, there's more! Old World Gluten Free makes VEGAN pierogi as well! 

Can life get much better? I submit that it cannot! 

So where does one find these delightful tidbits, these morsels of awesomeness? 

As they are made in St. Clair Shores, they are sold in the greater Detroit area in stores such as Westborn Market and Randazzo's. But they are adding new locations everyday, so I suggest following this link to stay updated as to where to try these gluten free pierogi's. Also, follow their Facebook page to learn of events they are attending and new flavors that they are trying. 


Saturday, June 28, 2014

June Love It, Like It, Leave It

June 2014 Love It, Like, It, Leave It

Love It

Breton crackers - I LOVE these crackers. Seriously. Since I heard almost a year ago that Breton was coming out with gluten free crackers, I've been looking for them ever since. Then during Memorial Day weekend, I found them during a short shopping trip with my step-mom. It was like finding the Holy Grail. I think there was some literal jumping up and down in the supermarket.

My Kroger carries their Garlic and Herb and there wasn't even a second thought in buying them. And once I tried them there was much rejoicing. They were just amazing. I'm amazed I had the will power not to devour the whole box in one setting. My husband even enjoyed them more than the regular Breton crackers.

I found the original with flax Breton crackers the following week, and you better believe I scooped those up as well. They were tasty, but the Garlic and Herb are a definite love.

Banana Ice Cream - This isn't a product, but a recipe for "One Ingredient Ice Cream." This is found on TheKitchn.com. I have been reading about it online, and was skeptical. One day I had a terrible sore throat, and when I have sinus issues dairy only makes things worse. So, being a bit adventurous and craving something cold, I thought I would try it. So with frozen bananas on hand, I tossed them in my food processor with some peanut butter and cocoa powder. AND FELL IN LOVE. I've made it three more times since, even using it to make ice cream sandwiches and another time stirring in peanuts and marshmallows to make homemade rocky road ice cream for Father's Day. If you've heard about this but had been skeptical to try it, you don't need to be skeptical. It really is awesome.

Snip Chips Cheezy Herb Truffle- While I like safe gluten free baked goods like any celiac, I really get excited about new and unconventional foods. I love kale chips, flavored and dry-toasted chickpeas, and these new Snip Chips.

The Snip Chips are made from parsnips. These shaved and baked parsnip chips are healthy, flavorful and just delicious. I was lucky enough to win these from Wonderfully Raw through a Twitter giveaway. So grateful and loved that the whole bag was less than 200 calories. Would definitely be buying these again if I find them in a store. They would make a great vegetable snack for a road trip!

Like It

Detroit Zen Center raw brownie - I tried this raw brownie while at the Eastern Market in Detroit. Trying new gluten free things at the Farmer's Market can be an iffy situation. I must sound like an detective interrogating a suspect when I talk to companies that start offering gluten free items. But after talking to the men at this stand, I felt pretty safe trying their product.

This raw "brownie" has no grains and is made with dates and nuts. It actually reminds me of a LaraBar, but locally made. Pretty cool. If you're shopping at the Eastern Market, give them a try.

Lemon Pie Macaroons - These are what I originally won from Wonderfully Raw. Their line of raw macaroons is what their company originally started making. When I won, they let me pick my choice of flavors. I love lemon bars, so I picked the Lemon Pie Macaroons.

But when you like a certain thing so much, it's dangerous to pick something like it. I really like lemon. I wish that I would have picked a different flavor, as there are many other great flavors to choose from.

The only reason that I "liked" these instead of "loved" these is that I'm picky about my lemon flavored products. The consistency was great and the coconut in these were flaky. If I find the other flavors in the store, I will definitely try them again.

Cranberry Butter from Brownwood Farms- I don't usually buy fancy jams. And in all honesty, I didn't buy this either. It was given to me for free at the end of a gluten free expo. It's good to have connections. :)

While this made a good and interesting PB& J, it as AMAZING on a sandwich with roasted turkey breast deli meat. If Thanksgiving is your favorite holiday because of the joy of leftover turkey and cranberry sauce, you don't have to wait until Thanksgiving anymore. And an added plus is that this is a Michigan Made product!

I was also given a jar of their pumpkin butter, which is waiting longingly in my cupboard for me to try it. Maybe next month!

Leave It

Clif Mojo Bars- I tried the Wild Blueberry Almond and Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond bars. While they were tasty, I noticed at the store that there are Mojo bars that are not gluten free. Because of that, I'm going to place these in the Leave It category. There are so many bars out there that are made in dedicated gluten free facilities, not to mention more nutrition. (I recently tried the Gluten Free Bar, which makes a great cranberry bar. Plus they are Michigan Made!)

Zehnder's Sandwich bread - There are lots of companies and bakeries that are preparing gluten free items. Zehnder's restaurant in Frankenmuth is one of them. Recently one of their representatives came to our celiac support group meeting and gave us cookie and bread samples. On top of that they even gave us certificates for a "family" discount. I've had many of their sweet goods WHICH ARE AMAZING! But a girl needs to live on more than gluten free dessert alone. So, I bought a loaf of their sandwich bread. This was heavy, dense, and very crumbly.
So if you're stopping at the downstairs shop at Zehnder's, I would tell you to pass on the sandwich bread. Instead, pick up their Rocky Road bars or their biscuits.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Cooking with Maseca Corn Flour

Eating gluten free can be expensive. Not only do we need to make sure that we're eating gluten free grains, but we also have to take steps to make sure the products we buy aren't cross-contaminated. This is why third party certification, like the GFCO program is so important.

So the other day I was at Kroger, checking out the clearance section (like you do) and noticed this big bag of Maseca corn flour. It was a 4.4 lb bag for $1.39, which was a great deal. But I also thought about what I learned at the celiac conference at Columbus Children's hospital that you have to be SO careful when buying grains, because they can be HIGHLY contaminated. So I started to walk away.

And then I saw the GFCO label. You know, the GF inside of a circle? And I thought, for $1.39, I can try to think of things to make with it.

So when I went home I Googled recipes made with corn flour, and the Maseca website popped up. They have a HUGE database of recipes, and not just things that are Mexican. First thing we tried....pancakes

That's right, pancakes made with corn flour. At first you'd think they would taste funny, but this flour is ground so fine that it doesn't have a strong corn taste. And let me tell you, we've made these pancakes at least 4 times now. I do dramatically cut down the sugar that they call for, or otherwise these pancakes taste mote like cookies than breakfast food. I also subbed 1/4 cup of liquid egg whites for one egg, to cut down on the fat and cholesterol. They are a little thick using their recipe (and I DO suggest using their recipe), so I often thin mine down with a bit of water, and use the back of my measuring cup to spread out the batter after I've put it on my griddle.

Next strange but true thing I made with the corn flour was Banana Bread. Yep, you read right- banana bread made with corn flour. Their recipe calls for a mix of corn flour and rice flour, therefore making this recipe naturally gluten free. Again, the recipe called for way more butter, eggs and sugar than I want to consume, so I subbed some applesauce for the butter, egg whites for some of the eggs, and cut back a bit on the sugar.

That may have been a mistake. The bread was so moist that it took WAY longer to bake than it said on the recipe. And by the way, this recipe makes like 3 BIG loaves of bread. I think I might try this again later, without all the substitutions, and cut the ingredients by a third.

I did gift a loaf to a friend at church in return for the venison they gave us. I shared a loaf at Sunday School, and everyone thought it was great. I sent three additional pieces home with my pastor. His oldest daughter at ALL 3 pieces.... by herself. Oops. At least that means it tastes good!

The first actual "Mexican" food we made were Huaraches. We had spent the day with my parents at Eastern Market in Detroit, and came back tired and hungry. My husband found this recipe on the Maseca website and got to work. Dinner turned out great and we were all well fed.

Last, but definitely not least, we made homemade Tortillas. The tortilla recipe is right on the bag, which is super handy. The first time I tried to make them, I rolled out the dough with a roller. It was  a little tricky and definitely not thin or perfectly round like a regular tortilla.

So I started looking for a tortilla press. I looked at Bed Bath and Beyond, and they were all out. I looked at other stores....no dice. So when we stopped at Mexico at the Market to buy our vanilla, I asked the owner where I could buy a tortilla press. He said, 'You mean like the ones up here on my shelf....that I have for sale?" Score! $20 bucks later I already had visions of tortillas in my head.

So I tried tortillas again, using my new press, and it was so fast and easy. I had to flour the wax paper because the pressed tortillas were still sticking to the waxed paper. They were a bit smaller than I wanted, so next time I'm going to either 1) use more dough or 2) let my husband make them, because they still weren't quite as thin as I would have liked. Or maybe I'll do both options. :)

So if you're celiac and want to try something new and exciting, get a bag of Maseca corn flour and get cooking. Make sure to look around their website to get tons of ideas of how you can use it. I think empanadas are next on my list!

Teese Vegan Cheese

I had so much fun going the Chicago Gluten and Allergen Free Expo this past April. Expos are so great, because you get to meet so many new companies and try their products before you buy them.

One such company was Chicago Vegan Foods. They make a few different products, but I was most intrigued by their Teese cheese. They were sampling their vegan nacho cheese sauce that was SO good!

They have four different products- nacho cheese sauce, a cheddar sauce that's great for mac n'cheese, and then sliceable tubes of cheddar and mozzarella. I bought one each of the last two to try at home.

I will admit that I don't have to eat dairy free, but I have a few members in my support group that do, plus I'm always up for trying new things to review that my readers might enjoy. Oh, and did I mention that they are SOY FREE too!

So the first thing I tried was the Cheddar Teese. It comes in a tube and even smells a bit like Velveeta. My husband tried a slice of it by itself. Let's just say that it's much better cooked.
I decided to make stove top burritos with them. One of the things that I liked right off the bat was that 1 oz. only had 50 calories. That's half the calories of regular cheese. And you know what that means? Less calories = more cheese on my burrito!

I used the new Aldi gluten free wraps to make dinner. I filled the tortillas with black beans and sauteed veggies, and then topped the whole thing with salsa and a dollop of Greek yogurt. (We never use sour cream anymore.)
This was so good that I did it again the next day!

I used the Mozzarella Teese to make PIZZA! (Of Course!) I used Chebe pizza crust for this pizza, then topped it with homemade pizza sauce, sauteed onions and peppers, and turkey pepperoni. The pizza was supposed to bake at 450 for 15-18 minutes, but when the timer went off I realized that it wasn't set that high. I did roll out the pizza crust pretty thin, so the crust was fully cooked. The Teese didn't spread out well when cooked, but it was tasty. (Disclaimer- The Teese packaging stated the ideal temp for this "cheese" is 450-500. If I wasn't so hungry I would have put it back in the oven.)

I was unsure of how the final product would be, but it was really tasty. Good enough that I had a second piece and my husband had three! My husband's comment about the Teese is that while it definitely doesn't taste exactly like mozzarella cheese, it did taste like cheese.

Since I don't have to eat dairy free, I might not buy this product frequently, but I will HIGHLY recommend it to my gluten and dairy free readers!

You can go to their website to order this online or to find which stores near you carry this product. Also, there is a restaurant locator. Apparently, Crust 54 in Holland,MI and Renee's Pizzeria in Troy uses Teese in their restaurant.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Barbecue Oven Fried Chicken

Have you created your own recipe, and it turns out better than your wildest dreams?

Yeah, that happened to me today.

So do you remember my blogpost about The Good Bean? They make the most amazing dried chickpea snacks. Sea Salt. Cinnamon. CHOCOLATE. Thai Lemongrass.

Mesquite BBQ.

Now, the BBQ wasn't my most favorite of the ones that I tried, but they were okay. The BBQ flavor on them was slight, and I LOVE barbecue sauce. Post diagnosis (and pre weight loss) I used to put barbecue sauce on EVERYTHING. Chicken. Beef. Pizza. Mashed Potatoes.

So I had this crazy idea. What if I crushed the chickpeas and used that as a breading for oven fried chicken?

So gathering the chickpeas, some chicken and some San-J Asian BBQ sauce, I got cooking. I put 1/2 cup of The Good Bean BBQ chickpeas and put them in my spice grinder (which looks suspiciously like a coffee grinder.) I ground them until they were fine, but before it turned "mealy."

I had a 12 oz. chicken breast that I cut in half. I coated the chicken breasts in the chickpeas, then dipped them in about 3 tablespoons San J BBQ sauce, and then dredged it in the ground chickpeas again.

I baked the breasts in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, on top of a wire rack positioned on top of a cookie sheet. (I do this so the bottom cooks well instead of the coating getting all soggy.) After 20 minutes I pulled them out and tested it with my thermometer, and it was a bit underdone. I placed the breasts back in the oven, with the thermometer probe in it, and set my thermometer to go off when it reached 165.

****Important note- During the 20 minutes that the chicken was originally cooking, I also had a pan of potatoes and brussel sprouts that were roasting in the oven at the same time. If you have your chicken in the oven solo, it may be done at the end of the 20 minutes. I always encourage cooking meet with a thermometer probe in it to reach perfect cooking times.

So when it reached 165, I pulled the chicken out, served with my roasted potatoes and brussel sprouts (that had been tossed with a bit more oil, balsalmic vinegar, and a touch of honey AND an ounce of dried cranberries), and dinner was SERVED.

My husband's immediate reaction was a HUGE thumbs up. The chicken was SO incredibly moist, which can be hard to do when cooking with  boneless skinless chicken breasts. With every bite I kept thinking, "This is so good, I can't believe I made this!"

I have some Mesquite BBQ chickpeas left, and some more sauce, and some more chicken. You can bet that I'll be making this again soon!

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Good Bean

I love chickpeas.

I love them cooked in stews, ground and turned in a flour for flatbread, whole chickpeas served alongside tomatoes and mozzarella cheese as a protein source for my salads, as well as blended up and mixed with tahini as hummus. And there are SO many other ways to enjoy chickpeas!

I also like them dry roasted. If you've never had chickpeas like this, they are a great healthy snack that provides lots of crunch without a lot of salt or fat. We first started eating chickpeas this way after we moved to Genesee county. The local Middle Eastern market had them, and my husband and I would often pick them up when we were looking for a filling snack before spending the evening at church.

So I was SUPER happy when I discovered The Good Bean. They are just as in love with chickpeas as I am! I was first introduced to their company when I picked up one of their bars at a food co-op. Their Apricot Coconut Fruit & No-Nut bar was a pleasant surprise. I think the addition of the white chocolate is what tied everything together.

On a recent trip to TJ Maxx I was overjoyed to know that they sold bags of flavored, dried chickpeas as well. There were so many flavors to choose from- I was torn to pick just one flavor. I settled on the Cinnamon Vanilla. But shortly after purchasing these I attended the Grand Rapids Gluten Free Fair, and they had some of their other flavors! It was there that I was able to try the Regular Sea Salt, the Chocolate, and the Mesquite BBQ.

FYI- I stink as a photographer. This and all other photos are taken from The Good Bean website. 
Cinnamon Vanilla - These lightly sweetened chickpea snacks are full of flavor without weighing you down. They taste wonderful with Chobani black cherry yogurt. I also enjoyed them as a topping on my cottage cheese and fresh blueberries for breakfast. They're really great eaten plain as well. They vaguely remind me of the cinnamon twists I used to purchase at Taco Bell, before diagnosis. These are obviously MUCH better for you though!

Regular Sea Salt- I could eat these all day. Seriously. Straight out of the bag, they are just SO good. They're a great substitute for croutons on a salad as well.

Chocolate- At first I wasn't sure about dry roasted chickpeas and chocolate mixed together. But these are SHUT THE FRONT DOOR AMAZING! They remind me of cocoa puffs, only full of fiber and not full of chemicals you can't pronounce. And to satisfy curiosity, they are great with a little milk as a breakfast cereal.Just FYI, if you're going to buy these, you might want to buy 2, because they're so good you may not want to share!

Mesquite BBQ- Of the flavors I tried, these are good but lowest on my list. I LOVE barbecue sauce and flavor, and wish these had a stronger barbecue flavor. I'm trying to think of a creative way to use them... I wonder if they would be good ground up like bread crumbs and used as a coating for chicken....thoughts?

The Good Bean is more than just a great tasting snack- they're great for you too! A serving, which is 1 oz., has 120 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. That's as much fiber as 2 cups of broccoli and as much protein as an egg.

On top of that, they are a "free-from" food- free of gluten, nuts, soy and dairy- as well as free of gmo's and hexanes. They are also Fair Trade Certified. What is Fair Trade? Fair Trade is a global movement to alleviate poverty in ways that are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

You can also find a plethora of recipes on their Pinterest page for roasting your own chickpeas as well as other dishes you can make with chickpeas.

But you don't have to take my word for it. The Good Bean is willing to share 4 bags of their chickpeas, OF YOUR CHOICE, with You! Outside of the above 4 flavors, they also have Cracked Pepper, Smoky Chili & Lime, and Thai Coconut. (I bet the Thai Coconut would be great on Tom Yum Soup!)

All you have to do is enter the giveaway below. Entries will be taken until Thursday June 12th, 2014.
a Rafflecopter giveaway