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.

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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!

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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.