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.
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 2014 Love It Like It Leave It

So with the excitement and busyness of the Chicago Gluten and Allergen Free Expo lat month, I didn't do a Love It, Like It, Leave It for April. I have a lot of catching up to do!

Love It-

JK Scrumpy's- I will start off by saying that JK Scrumpy's is a locally made HARD cider. This is an alcoholic beverage, and as most of you know, I don't usually drink alcohol, for all sorts of reasons. Some are religious and ethical, some are medical, and some are just preference. Alcohol is something I can easily live without, especially as it has been a huge societal ill here in Flint, MI. BUT I'm also not going to cast the first stone and judge, plus I know as a celiac, people are often looking for an alternative to beer.

With all that being said, I want to highlight this company for creating an organic, sulfite free, gluten free hard cider. At $7 a bottle, this is not something that you are going to buy in copious amounts to get drunk. This beverage is to enjoy as a craft beverage, nice and cold on a hot summer's evening.This beverage has been hand crafted by this family for many generations, to be enjoyed amongst friends after a long day working in the fields.

JK Scrumpy's is made in Flushing, MI with organic apples grown at Almar Orchards. Almar takes their organic farming seriously, even down to using pigs to root out insects so that they can prevent spraying pesticides. Everything they do at this orchard is done intentionally, and they have been a fixture of this community for decades.

They have multiple flavors of hard cider. They have their original Orchard Gate Gold cider, as well as Winterruption with hints of maple syrup and cinnamon, and Saskatoon which is made with unique Canadian apples. Their other two flavors incorporate other fruit flavors- one with hints of citrus and one with hints of pear. It was the pear that I found most interesting, and the one that I was eager to purchase.

As I don't usually drink alcohol, I asked the gentleman who spent time sharing with us if these were good to cook with. He said that the Pear Cider was a wonderful compliment to white meats like pork and chicken. I'm looking forward to cooking a whole chicken with this fruity cider!

The orchard alone is reason to visit, where they have regular cider, donuts (sadly not gluten free), a petting farm and all sorts of family friendly things to do. They are even having their first inaugural race through the orchard on Sunday October 5th 2014. You can find out more about the Scrumpy Skedaddle here.

Picture taken from Vitacost.com

Schar Multigrain Ciabatta rolls- I received a package of these at the Grand Rapids Gluten Free Fair. These are PHENOMENAL! They remind me of the bread at Mountain Jack's that I used to consume prior to diagnosis. With that whole grain taste and a touch of sweetness from apple juice, your mouth will be happy! Baked for 5 minutes straight out of the oven, with a touch of butter, and you are immediately in heaven. I shared these with some dinner guests the other night and they really enjoyed them as well. And with 4 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per roll, you don't have to feel guilty about indulging in bread with your dinner!


Picture taken from Villagegrocer.com 
Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa- I have known "about" Garden Fresh Gourmet for quite some time. This fresh salsa is Michigan made in Ferndale, MI. I have had friends swear by it for years, but only  purchased it myself recently. And now I think I'm a convert! Their Sweet Onion salsa is great, and their Wild Mild I could sit and eat with a spoon. They were on sale at Kroger for Buy One Get One Free, so I bought some more before the sale went off. This time I'm going to try the Artichoke Garlic!

Like It -
Ian's Snickerdoodle Button Cookies - These small crunchy cookie buttons, previously called Cinnamon cookies, have a surprise ingredient- ginger. The ginger makes these cookies a great way to finish off a meal. They have also recently been certified peanut-free! I don't usually buy Ian's products, but I will admit that I am curious to try their onion rings as well....
Taste of Nature- If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that snack bars are something I don't buy all that often. I received this at the Chicago Expo, and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. I was planning to only eat half of it, but found it hard to put it down, and quickly discovered I had eaten the whole thing!


O'Dough's - I had been "stalking" the O'Dough's Bagel Thins at my local Kroger for quite some time. I knew that I didn't "need" them, and they were just a want. Finally I gave in, all in the name of blogging of course! These bagel thins are only 100 calories, and worked great as a base for an egg sandwich. But when they say bagel thin, they mean it. They're not very big, and these frozen thins are not pre-sliced.


Leave It-
Flax and Whole Grain All Purpose Flour-

I found this flour for $11 a bag at TJ Maxx. I was excited about the whole grain ingredients plus the flax. I'm always telling my celiac support group members the importance of eating whole grains and I was excited about creating new things. 
The first thing I tried were pancakes. Right off the bat there were issues. The noticed the recipe on the back of the package didn't include oil or butter in the pancake recipe. I double checked their website, and sure enough it was accidental omission on the package about the oil. When I made the batter, it was so incredibly thick and gummy that I added more water. Even then the pancakes didn't turn out well & had a weird aftertaste. 
I tried making their applesauce bread. The ingredients were simple enough, although it called for a LOT of eggs, so I substituted some egg whites. Again, the batter was thick and gummy. They baked up nice, but once I took them out of the oven, they immediately fell. I shared these with others and they liked it, but it made my stomach feel bad. I think I have discovered that I literally have an intolerance to flax, due to some other previous flax tastings that have created health issues.

Bob's Red Mill Vanilla Cake Mix-


I want to start off saying that I LOVE Bob's Red Mill Products. Their Gluten Free All Purpose Flour is my go to for every made-from-scratch recipe. I religiously use their gluten free Wonderful Homemade Bread mix ALL the time. 
And in all honesty, the cupcakes I made with this mix weren't awful. They just weren't..great. They baked up nicely, and my husband's students enjoyed them as well. 
Topped with Almond Joy frosting there were...okay. 
Again, I think Bob's products are some of the BEST on the market. But if you want to make a Vanilla Cake mix, it might be worth checking out King Arthur Flour, or even the Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mix. 


Monday, May 26, 2014

Ardenne Farm Cinnamon Crunch Muffin Mix


    

I've realized that one of my joys in life is to feed people. I like to cook for my family, the men at the homeless shelter, even complete strangers. There is something so rewarding about making sure that someone has a good meal in front of them, both nutritionally and taste wise. Since being diagnosed with celiac, I've learned to get creative and adventurous. I often make things from scratch, eager to see how they will turn out--and often share with my Sunday School class (a.k.a guinea pigs)

But I also LOVE to try things from new companies. I first learned about Ardenne Farm at the Chicago Gluten and Allergen Free expo. I was so honored that the ladies of Ardenne Farm gave me two of their mixes to try- their Chocolate Cake mix and their Cinnamon Crunch Muffin Mix. If you are unfamiliar with Ardenne Farm, they are located in North Carolina. Their mixes are gluten, nut and dairy free. Their products are also free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. 

All you need to make this product is pictured here- mix, milk, eggs and oil*

Being the adventurous person that I am, I decided to turn this muffin mix into a delicious Cinnamon Crunch bread. We were having guests over for dinner and I thought this would make a great dessert option, sliced thick and topped with sweetened strawberries and whip cream. 

*I did make a slight alteration- I used 3 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp and 1 tsp of olive oil. The recipe originally called for 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, and we only keep olive oil in the house. I was concerned that the olive oil would impose a taste that I wouldn't like, so therefore I used half olive oil and half melted butter. 

Our guests who tried it thought it was great. They were surprised that it was made from a mix and not from scratch. My first thought was that it tasted like the "gluten free" Cinnamon bread from Great Harvest company, but without the risk of cross contamination. Quite honestly after slicing it, I wanted to eat the rest of the loaf by myself!

After dinner that night I had at least half of a loaf left. I saved the rest, wrapping it in saran wrap, and saving it for Memorial Day weekend. We had a day trip to Eastern Market and a picnic planned with my dad and stepmother. I shared it with them, and they both ate multiple pieces. (It really is amazing!) My step mother immediately asked where she could find this in a store, as she wanted to purchase it for herself.

Like I said, I often make things from scratch. But this mix is so perfectly put together, especially with the cinnamon chips inside, I don't think I could even come close to recreating what Ardenne Farm has made. You can find their products online on their website.