Product: Against The Grain Gourmet Gluten-Free Pizza Shell – $8.49+
Pizza is a god-given right in this world and the gluten-free community is getting more and more options these days, allowing those of us who otherwise couldn’t have pizza, a chance to indulge. And why shouldn’t we get our own little slice of comfort topped whatever way we like it?
It’s simple…we shouldn’t.
Gluten-free doesn’t mean tasteless or going without anymore. And when it comes to breads and pizzas, I’ve found one brand that I can rely on regardless.
Against The Grain Gourmet.
I’ve reviewed their baguettes as well as one of their frozen pizzas. Well, tonight I got to make their pizza my own because they sell their amazing gluten-free pizza crust.
This frozen pizza shell is the perfect base for a pizza. Any pizza worth its weight begins with a fantastic crust. Like their baguettes, this shell is infused with three cheese. Yes. Cheese baked right into the 12-inch crust. And that’s why there is magic in each bite.
Preparation is simple too. The shell is frozen. Simply place on a pan or pizza stone, top with desired toppings (in my case, a little sauce, some mushrooms, and then half regular cheese (for the roomie) and half Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese (for me). Simple toppings. Because pizza shouldn’t be complicated or overladen with heavy toppings. Place in the oven at 375° for 10-15 minutes and dinner is served.
One bite…and you’ll see why Against The Grain Gourmet produces magic. Whatever cheese infusion they use in their products…it’s sheer awesome when it comes down to flavor. It’s perfect with every bite. Honestly.
The crust was very light and thin, which is the best kind of pizza crust to have. And it had this flakiness to it that made it that much more authentic. You wouldn’t even guess it was frozen. It tastes rustic and homemade, which is beyond amazing. Not just for gluten-free food, but for frozen food in general. Against The Grain Gourmet knows what it is doing and does it well, as is evident in each product they put out on the market. I have yet to find a flop.
One word of caution, however. While it is tempting to indulge fully in this amazing pizza and devour it slice-for-slice…if you are a calorie counter, you’ll want to restrain yourself just a little. One slice of the eight servings of the crust itself will set you back 158 calories. That’s without your toppings. Another good reason not to laden it down with too much. Is it worth it? Sure. Just make sure you take a walk if you are feeling guilty. But some foods are just made to enjoy and savor. After all, you don’t eat it every day. So why not be a little bad every now and again, help yourself to a second slice, and just savor gluten-free pizza at its absolute finest.
Now might also be a good time to mention that these pizza shells do not come cheap. One crust was $8.49. Worth it? Yes. Totally. Definitely. But it’s not something I can do often. And that is why there are other pizza crust options out there. But if you want pre-made awesomeness…it doesn’t get much better than Against The Grain Gourmet. I think I can stretch the budget every now and again when a cheesy pizza crust calls my name. It won’t be every time the pizza craving hits, but sometimes a treat is a treat and you just reach for the best.
Against The Grain Gourmet…my chef’s hat is off to you once again. Well done.
Product: Glutino Strawberry Breakfast Bars – $5.99+
Ah…the days of breakfast bars. I thought I had left those behind when I went gluten-free a year ago. And, for the most part, I had. With the exception of a Larabar or Think Thin bar every now and again after a long run or so, I pretty much nixed everything else. Not just because such things are nigh on impossible to find (albeit that is part of it), but also because the products that are out there are so pricey.
But such is the life of a gluten-free girl, yes? My food budget is soaring and there isn’t a thing I can do about it. Frankly, I have to eat, and that sometimes is a challenge when dietary needs core into the picture.
Breakfast bars then? Frivolous. Costly. And not necessary.
And then, I went to a gluten-free tasting fair at a local natural foods store one afternoon. Different products were set out for people to taste, try, sample, and fall in love with. Some were winners right off the back. Some fell flat. And then there were some that I filed away for days when my roommate wanted to treat me to something gluten-free, or if the budget allowed for a gluten-free goodie.
One such product was the Glutino Breakfast Bars. The tasting fair had out samples of the blueberry bars, and they were fantastic. But, when push comes to shove, I am a strawberry girl all the way. So, one day while out grocery shopping, a box of the Glutino Strawberry Breakfast Bars found their way into my cart and then into my pantry.
Today…I busted out one of them for my afternoon snack. Now, back when I was growing up, one of the fresh, hot, “nutritious” products on the market was Nutri-Grain bars. Remember those? That’s what these remind me of. A layer of gluten-free pastry stuffed with a fruity filling. A little savory and sweet all rolled into one.
Now, one thing I did notice was how deceiving the packaging is on these. The bar is about the length of a point-and-shoot digital camera, yet it’s packed in a full-size bar wrapper. Size deception aside, however, these actually do taste fantastic. The fruit is sweet and quite tasty. It doesn’t have a ‘fake’ flavor to it and no sugar-shock value. The pastry-like outside is a bit on the heavier side, but not too dense. It rounds out the sweet berry flavor and gives the bar a healthy dose of fiber. I liked it. I actually think I preferred the blueberry that I sampled, but the strawberry was quite good.
Would I buy this again? If the budget allowed, you bet. It’s a quick, on-the-go snack or breakfast that is filling and, honestly, delicious.
If the pocketbook allows, and you’re looking for something handy to keep around to grab while on the go, these are a great go-to option. But, then again, they are from Glutino, who has yet to serve me up a product I dislike.
Restaurant: Taco Mamacita, Nashville, Tennessee
I know…I know. I reviewed Taco Mamacita already.
But, some things bear repeating. Back when I last reviewed them, I had not yet had to go gluten-free. And that’s why they are getting a second review.
Coming back from a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, hunger usually strikes around the Nashville, Tennessee area. No problem. Nashville is a plethora of restaurants and dining destinations. But when you know there is good food to be had at a good price…well…why go anywhere else?
Since we had (not-so-good) pub grub the previous night, Mexican food was sounding more our speed, rather than hitting up our go-to pub in the area. Since we knew we got great service last trip to Taco Mamacita…we returned with a vengeance. We were greeted by a very friendly waitress who happily grabbed the vegan menu for me upon request.
Our waitress, Rebecca, came over to make sure we understood the menu and to take our drink orders. I told her that I was a gluten-intolerant vegetarian, so if anything I order raises a red flag, to let me know. She said they had menus for both and would be happy to help me through it. Off she went to retrieve our drinks and when we returned, we put in an appetizer for the Chips and Salsa ($2.99).
And this is how I knew it was going to be okay to eat here, especially after the horror of the pub the night before. When the order came out, half of the chips were fried up into tortilla chips. The other half, were soft corn tortillas, untouched by the frier. Safety, for those of you with gluten allergies know that cross-contamination can be tricky when it comes to shared friers. Here, they took that question right out of the equation and my chips and salsa were just as amazing with unfried tortilla chips. And, as we settled in to eat, I spotted the Taco Mamacita Chipoltle Sauce. One quick inquiry with Rebecca about whether it was gluten-free or not, which she didn’t know but went to check and returned a moment later with the answer – yes, and I was in safe dining heaven.
As for the food…well…with such a diverse menu sometimes it is hard to choose. But, my roommate went with their two taco plus a side combo – the Shrimp Po Boy BLT Taco and the Caribbean Jerk Taco with a side of Green Chili Rice ($8.99). As for me, I ordered the Vegilladas (vegetarian enchiladas), which consist of corn tortillas filled with sweet corn, tomatoes, black beans, and topped off with a spicy jalapeño-cilantro sauce ($8.99). Normally crumbled feta is on top of it, but as I was ordering from the vegan menu, it was kindly left off, which I appreciated. I chose the Jalapeño Corn Slaw as my side.
After a small wait, Rebecca brought out the food, which looked absolutely amazing. By now, we had polished off the chips and salsa and were ready for our substantial meal of the day. And…just as before, the food didn’t disappoint.
I love the Vegilladas. Not only are they packed full of protein and vegetable nutrients, but they were so full of flavor. Nothing bland about this nice mix of corn and black beans. The jalapeño-cilantro sauce was the perfect touch for the dish. Mixing it with the provided pico de gallo only added to the food experience. And, while not big on any sort of slaw, what I found was pairing this mildly spicy dish with the jalapeño corn slaw provided a nice, clean palate cleanser between bites. And this slaw wasn’t overly dressed either. It was perfect, so the different components were still there in each bite, and not being masked by way too much dressing. I liked that. A lot.
We finished our plates, happily stuffed and politely turned down desserts. Rebecca was such a rockstar when it came to helping me out with my menu choices and ensuring a very safe dining experience. I loved coming to Taco Mamacita before but now I have even more of a reason to do so.
Best of all, I wasn’t charged extra for having a special dietary need. So often, when you go gluten-free the price goes up. Not here. Everything (even my half of the chips and salsa) was kept at menu price. I wish more places would do that instead of punishing gluten-intolerant people with at least $1.00 extra for their “special” food.
This was a refreshing and much needed restaurant trip. I felt completely at ease and Rebecca and the kitchen staff saw to it that I had a safe, pleasant, and delicious dining experience.
Food and service like that will make you stand up and say, “Whoa Mama!” And that…is their motto, which makes it only fitting. So, if you happen to be traveling through Nashville, swing by Edgehill Village and dine at Taco Mamacita. It’s worth the stop for great food, great service, and a great price. And when you go back…and you will…try something else. So many interesting flavor combinations…so little time.
Restaurant: The Red Shamrock, Birmingham, Alabama
I really, really, really wanted to like this place. I did. An Irish pub is not a common establishment in Birmingham, Alabama. Honestly. I had been seeking out something aside from the horror show that is The Tilted Kilt for awhile now. And, finally, at long last, The Red Shamrock opens up in Mt. Laurel and my dreams of going to a pub while in Alabama came true.
The actual pub itself is quite small. A single room with a bar taking up an entire side of the room. We (being my mom, dad, grandpa, roommate, and myself) took up residence at the only table available that could seat all of us. Sadly, it was right in front of the door and Saturday night was a wee bit chilly. Ah well, at least we had seats.
The server brought us menus and let us look them over while he grabbed our drinks. Waters. All around. It was a long day full of racing, a gluten-free expo, and a birthday party for my nephew and my niece. We were all exhausted, and ready for some good food and down time.
Our orders were simple. My dad and grandpa were splitting a fish and chips ($8.95). My roommate was, of course, getting fish and chips. My mom and I were each getting a Shamrock Salad ($5.99). I got mine with a side of their waffle fries. When I placed my order, the server asked if I wanted to add chicken. I shook my head and informed him that I was a vegetarian.
After a short wait, food arrived. As my salad was put down in front of me, I noticed that it was sprinkled with bacon. BACON! I had just said I was a vegetarian. So, I informed the person (not the same server) of the issue and he took it away to bring me back another one.
Now…here is where I have an issue. First of all…nowhere on the menu did it say that bacon came on this salad. In fact, the official description via the online menu says that the Shamrock Salad consists of arugula, lettuce and cabbage mixed with red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, grated cheese, and a side of my choice of dressing (which I opted for balsamic vinaigrette). No bacon. Not even mentioned on the description. So, already I was put out. A few moments later, my new salad arrives. This pub is quite dimly lit, it’s hard to see, but there were no bits of meat hanging out this time on my salad. It looked okay. I then had to remind him I also got a side of fries, which he then had to go retrieve…now…after my second salad had come out. That eventually made its way out as well.
One bite into my salad and I noticed the cheese on top is blue cheese! Now, blue cheese is normally not gluten-free. UGH. I moved it to the side and ate the untouched parts because nowhere in the salad description did it mention blue cheese either. I was now more put out than anything. Do NOT substitute something without asking if it is okay. While the salad was good, it wasn’t what I ordered. Literally.
The salad that I received at The Red Shamrock was not the Shamrock Salad via the description on their menu. Somewhere, be it the chef in the kitchen or the server pressing something wrong on the app they use to take the order, I ended up with a conglomeration of the Irish Iceberg (which has bacon, egg and blue cheese crumbles on it). You know…this is a new establishment, so I can give it a pass on some things, but it’s a salad. Look at your menu and know what is on it, please!! I was not impressed.
Oh, and after I ate my side of waffle fries, it occurred to me that this is a small establishment and that…more than likely, they use the same frier to do the potatoes as they do the breaded fish as well. Which between that and the bit of blue cheese might indicate why I had an upset tummy and digestive track for the evening and into the next day.
It’s ironic that this happen on the eve of my attendance at at Gluten-Free Expo and being a part of the Making Tracks for Celiacs 5K that was in town. Then…one miscommunication in the kitchen and my order goes horribly wrong.
And sadly…nothing really to rave about when it comes to The Red Shamrock. It sounded like a fantastic place when I read up on it. But it fell short of anything amazing. Once it figures out whether it wants to be a sports bar or an Irish pub, maybe gets its menu sorted, maybe trains it’s chef as to what goes on what order and why substitutions without asking are not wise, then…maybe I’ll return. Oh, and it would have been nice if the server (our third of the night!) returned with my dad’s change after he paid in cash, but that never happened either.
For now, I’ll stick to what I know is safe to eat in the Birmingham area when I’m in town to visit my parents. The luck of the Irish was not with me that night and sadly, this isn’t an establishment that I would recommend to anyone looking to dine on amazing Irish food. It was mediocre at best…and incapable of getting my order correct. Sad, because I really, really wanted to like it.
Product: Katz Gluten Free Powdered Sugar Donuts – $6.49 (plus shipping)
To quote the timeless Homer Simpson: “Mmmmm…donuts!”
Throughout the food allergy blogosphere over the past month, I had been hearing tales of the new gluten-free donuts from Katz Gluten Free. I was unfamiliar with any of their products, but had definitely heard good things about what they produce. In fact, in my freezer is a free sample pack of their products that you can order straight off their Web site. You just pay shipping. Honestly. Which reminds me…I need to break into that.
But it was because of a “Groupon” like offer from Gluten-Free Saver that I was able to bring Katz Gluten-Free Powder Sugar Donuts into my life. And for that, I am forever in their debt.
Katz Gluten Free is definitely a reliable company. All of their products are certified gluten-free, as well as nut free and dairy free. All products are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility that has been certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Peace of mind. I love it.
These donuts arrived at my office on Thursday. Per instructions, I put them in the freezer upon arrival, took them home to my own freezer and on Friday…had one for breakfast. I thawed them overnight in a plastic bag and then just popped them in the microwave for a few seconds to give them that ‘fresh-baked’ sort of feel to them. Mind, when I did this, the powdered sugar became a bit more like a glaze than a powdery topping, but…it’s still a donut.
First bite…and it was fluffy and cakey. There was no fried taste to these at all. Just fresh baked goodness. And they were light. Well, they were as light as a cakey donut could possibly be. I didn’t feel like I just filled my stomach with a heavy cake donut like those you can pick up at the convenience store, compliments of Dunkin’ ‘Time To Bake The Donuts’ Donuts. Nope. These were fantastic and went beyond any donut that I have had, whether made at a specialty shop or by those box shops (Krispy Kreme & Dunkin’ Donuts) or even those store-bought kind. And all that was pre-gluten-free life. Since then I have had two other gluten-free donuts, and while they were good…these were fantastic. It’s like…when I finish this stash I’ll just have to order some more.
I’m okay with that. My waistline is okay with that too. At only 150 calories per donut, and being a cakey-base…these are filling without filling you out. One was plenty to see me through the morning.
Aside from that, these donuts are also Kosher and now a permanent fixture on the Katz Gluten Free Web site. (And there was much rejoicing throughout the land). If this is any indication of the goodies that await me in that sample pack…well, I’m sold. I don’t mind ordering products via the net if the product is worth it.
To me…the powdered sugar donuts from Katz is totally worth it.
Besides, this is the ingredient list: GLUTEN FREE FLOUR (WHITE RICE, CORN STARCH, TAPIOCA), WATER, SUGAR, EGGS, CANOLA OIL, BAKING POWDER, XANTHAN GUM, SALT, CONFECTION SUGAR
I have all of that in my own kitchen. So it’s made with ingredients I recognize. Nothing strange. Nothing that makes me question what I am putting in my mouth. Pure, awesome, delicious gluten-free donuts. Savor each bite because otherwise you’ll devour the entire package of six in one sitting. Best to just thaw out what you’re eating that day and leave the rest in the freezer to just cut out the temptation entirely.
Because, believe me…it will tempt you.
Thank you, Katz Gluten Free, for delicious, light, powdered sugar donuts that completely blew me away at first bite. Your products are filled with gluten-free love. I can taste it in each powdered sugar bite.
Product: Amy’s Kitchen Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup (Light in Sodium) – $2.89+
What is more comforting after a long day than a nice, piping hot, bowl of soup. It’s one of those things that I find comforting, warming me from the inside out. It’s like a blanket in food form. I love soup. I always have. And it’s so versatile and varied. Even the same type of soup can vary in flavor when it comes to brand or, in my favorite scenario, who made it.
Being a strong believer in homemade soups, I’ve been testing the waters again when it comes to the packaged and canned stuff. The thing I have to watch for, however, is soups that might have gluten in them.
Thankfully, there is Amy’s Kitchen. While not all products are gluten-free, they are clearly labeled on the products. I like that. I’m more likely to buy something that is labeled gluten-free than take a risk by just guessing by looking at the ingredients.
Well, tonight I came home. And since I’m packing up to head down to Birmingham, Alabama for a a gluten-free expo this weekend (and 5K race), I wanted something quick and easy for dinner. The other day, my grocery store was running a sale on soups by Amy’s Kitchen. So, being the intrepid grocery shopper I am, I snagged a few different varieties.
Tonight…my pantry grab brought out Amy’s Kitchen’s Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup (the light in sodium variety).
Upon opening the can and emptying the contents into a pan on my stove, the first thing I realized was just how much the soup resembled the picture on the front. You got to love a company that is very straightforward about what their product is. No gussied up, photoshopped, images on the cans that look nothing like the slop you poured out. No…with Amy’s Kitchen, what you see is truly what you get. I admire that in a company.
As the soup was heating through, it smelled fantastic. I was prepping my gluten-free table crackers and giving an occasional stir every now and again to help keep the heating process even. It was ready within five minutes. You can’t complain when dinner is served within minutes of opening the can.
I am a huge, huge fan of Amy’s Kitchen. I’ve yet to have a product I dislike yet. And that’s still the case. That being said, while I liked this soup, I didn’t love it. It was loaded with vegetables and protein-packed lentils (the runner in me LOVES that). However, I found it to be a bit bland. It didn’t lack flavor, not at all. The vegetables and the lentils were delicious. I just felt it lacked a bit of seasoning. But, I did buy the lighter in sodium variety of this soup, because I am a heart healthy individual and find that the sodium levels in soups and frozen meals can be rather ridiculous on sodium content. So, I give this one a pass on the seasoning thing. I do appreciate a company that puts forth the effort to slice sodium levels in their products for the masses.
This soup was definitely filling, despite only being 160 calories per serving. The lentils, I’m sure, had something to do with that. I did enjoy dipping my crackers into this soup and scooping up the vegetables and lentils to enjoy. I just wasn’t over-the-moon with this soup. I would probably buy it again, but it’s not at the top of my list for soups I just have to stock in my pantry for lazy supper nights.
I admire Amy’s Kitchen and the foods that they provide. It’s one of the few companies out there that caters to the gluten-free vegetarian. Perfect. And I still have yet to find a product that I don’t like. I just happen to like others a little more than this one.
But in the end, it filled me up, warmed me up, and satisfied my hunger. And that’s the important thing.
Product: Envirokidz Leapin’ Lemurs Cereal – $4.99+
I’ve been pretty impressed, although not always blown away, by the Envirokidz line of gluten-free snacks and cereals that I’ve purchased.
This cereal was given to me by my boss. And just looking at the box made me incredibly stupid-happy (technical term) because it combined two of my most favorite things in the world: chocolate and peanut butter. Oh, if I didn’t already have an open box of cereal in my pantry, this would have been opened and consumed long before now. But the moment for this ultimate cereal-gasm finally arrived this morning, when I opened up the box and dished out a serving of Envirokidz Organic Leapin’ Lemurs cereal. All I added was a splash of unsweetened almond milk and settled in on the couch to feast before heading out for my morning run.
I had anticipated this first bite since being given the cereal and the moment had finally arrived. My spoon went into the swimming cereal, lifted up a bite, and my moment of longing was over.
I don’t know where to start…with the good or the bad. Hmmm…
Well, on the positive side of things, this cereal had a lot of crunch to it. If you are an avid viewer of morning television (I am not), do not pour a bowl of this cereal if you wish to hear what the morning news is all about. It is one loud bite after another. I like this though, because the cereal doesn’t get mushy in the milk bath it sits in. So often, I’m futzing with a blanket or booting up my computer, or something that it takes a moment after I add my milk to actually enjoy my cereal. By then, most of it is mush. Not this cereal. Lots of crunch and it stays that way.
Also, as mentioned on all previous posts about Envirokidz products, a 1% donation from your purchase of the product is donated to habitat and species conservation or education programs for kids. Who doesn’t love that.
Oh…and the ingredients are organic. The box specifically lists all ingredients with the word ‘organic’ in front of it where, applicable. For example, some of the ingredients include organic corn meal, organic whole grain corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic peanut butter, organic molasses, organic cocoa, organic soy oil, etc. And, the ingredients are all words that I recognize and can point to and say, “Ah, I know what that is!” That is a comfort given the use of high fructose corn syrup, chemicals that act as preservatives, etc. in today’s products.
It really, really, really has no flavor. When you get something that is peanut butter and chocolate flavored, you expect these flavors to pop. Well, these fizzle. Eventually, as you eat more and more, the flavor begins to show up, but it takes awhile and it isn’t immediate. When I have a cereal that is made of organic peanut butter and organic cocoa, by God, I want this cereal to taste like peanut butter and cocoa, not just corn puffs flavored (I guess) with these ingredients. I love peanut butter. I love chocolate. I wanted to love this cereal.
But I didn’t. It is okay. And, of course, I’ll polish off the box. But, if given the choice, I don’t think I’d purchase this on my own. There are too many cereals out there with fantastic flavor to waste on a bland breakfast.
I love what Envirokidz is doing for gluten-free cereal and for the environment. And, for the most part, their products have been awesome. This one just didn’t have me leaping for joy and wanting to screw the serving size and down a little more.
It’s Pancake Tuesday!
In honor of today, I am posting up my successful soiree into a different pancake flavor. Lemon. Oh…and it was really light and delicious. Definitely a palate pleasing flavor in the morning.
So, turn on those skillets and make some pancakes today in honor of the big day.
Recipe: Gluten-Free Lemon Streusel Pancakes with Berry Compote
Time: Prep 10 minutes; Cook 10 minutes
Ingredients for Berry Compote:
- 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries/strawberries (no sugar added)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 packets artificial sweetener
- 1/4 c. water
- Dash of salt (optional)
Ingredients for the Streusel Topping:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Gluten-Free Bisquick)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used Truvia)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
Ingredients for Lemon Pancakes:
- 1 cup gluten-free pancake or baking mix (I used Pamela’s Products)
- 1 egg, large
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Begin with the berry compote.
In small saucepan blend cornstarch, salt, sweetener and water.
Cook over medium heat until clear and slightly thickened, stirring constantly.
Add blueberries (or strawberries, or whatever berry you fancy) and heat until warmed.
For the pancakes, mix all ingredients together until there are no lumps. Batter should be not too thin or too thick.
Pour 1/4 cup batter onto a preheated, lightly oiled griddle (medium low heat, or 350° for electric griddles), flip once.
Serve warm with a topping of berry compote and lemon streusel.
These were lemon-fresh and really delicious. The image above shows my blueberry compote, but the second day I served up the extras, I made a strawberry compote, which was just as delicious topping these lemon pancakes. And the streusel topping added an extra flavor punch.
So, happy (gluten-free) Pancake Tuesday. Get those flapjacks flipping…not just today, but any day!
Product: Pamela’s Products Simplebites Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies – $4.49+
The name should say it all.
These aren’t just called chocolate cookies. Or double chocolate cookies. No, my chocolate loving, cookie monster friends. These are called Extreme Chocolate Mini Cookies for a reason.
Simply put…they are a chocolate rush of rich, decadent, chocolate goodness.
Pamela’s Products delivers to us (yet again) another great product. This time…in bite-size form. I’ve had Pamela’s cookies before. A few different varieties (although I think I’ve only reviewed one of them – the peanut butter ones, if you were wondering). And they have all been a gastronomical delicacy that has provided my sweet tooth with plenty of gluten-free goodies. I swear by this brand. And these once again make me stand further by these products.
It’s an unassuming product name at first. Simplebites. Little cookies that make great finger-foods. Just grab and go. Tuck them away for a snack. Perfect size. And then you catch the Extreme part of the name. At first, you think…there is no way these unassuming chocolate morsels could live up to the ‘extreme’ name. And then you take a bite. They are the right mix of chewy and crunchy. The perfect amalgamation of textures and flavor. The chocolate immediately stands up and gets your taste buds ready for more. Honestly, it’s a good thing I portion these out (a serving size is 4 cookies) because it would be so easy to just open up the package and eat the entire thing.
We all know I’m a bit of a cookie fiend as it is. So when I say these are one of the most amazing cookies I have ever eaten since going gluten-free…it’s no exaggeration. In fact, I intend to use my new ice cream maker to create a gluten-free chocolate strawberry cheesecake ice cream with every intention of using these cookies as the “cookie crust” portion of the mix. Oh yes…these little cookies pack an extreme chocolatey punch.
If you extremely love chocolate, then these cookies are chocolate to the extreme and are made for you and your sweet tooth. Honestly…they are in a league of their own. Extremely simple. Extremely delicious. Extremely gluten-free. Extremely chocolate.
It’s a wonderful gluten-free world we live in…thanks to simple products like this that make an extreme name for themselves.
Pamela’s Products…you’ve done be proud yet again!
Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse Pizza Crust – $6.49+
It’s America’s comfort food. It’s a tradition. It’s saucy, cheesy, laden with a variety of toppings. You can make it however you like, whenever you like. Even better, now you can simply buy pre-made pizza crusts (often in a freezer) instead of pizzas that are already loaded up with what the company thinks is your choice of toppings.
Pizza is a fantastic treat. Even more so when you have a gluten intolerance.
Over the last few months, I’ve gotten to try pizza crusts from Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery and Udi’s Gluten-Free Foods. I could top them however I liked, and often made a variety of options with these pizza shells. What I loved about them was that for only 150 calories, I could consume half of the pizza. Which means, I didn’t feel bad about the toppings I chose to add to it.
And then, one day while out at Whole Foods, I spotted the Whole Foods Bakehouse Gluten-Free Pizza Crust in the freezer. Without even looking at anything else, I grabbed it, tossed it into my shopping basket, and happily made my purchase. I had pizza on the brain and some delicious gluten-free tomato sauce and some fantastic vegetarian and gluten-free toppings to throw on them at home. A couple nights of pizza were heading my way.
That was until I got home and as I was putting away the groceries, I flipped over to the nutrition information. At first, I was quite pleased. 120 calories per serving. Nice! And then, I looked at the serving size. Simply put…1/6th of a pizza crust. So, where I could eat half a pizza before for only 30 more calories, I was now delegated to one measly, child-size slice of pizza…not to mention the toppings that still needed to be added. This pizza crust sat in my freezer for a couple of weeks before I came to the only conclusion I could think of to justify the calories in the crust. Margherita pizza. No sauce, just a drizzle of olive oil. Some sliced fresh tomatoes. Freshly chopped basil. And a sprinkling of Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds. Nothing with it. Just two slices of pizza.
With that in mind, the pizza was thrown in the oven to bake. I thawed the pizza out in the microwave before topping it with my low-calorie, light toppings. And then for about 30 minutes, it happily baked, the cheese melting down, the crust browning to a perfect golden color. Out of the oven and sliced into six small pieces. To think only one would constitute a meal for an adult is ludicrous in my opinion.
That being said, the pizza crust is actually quite delicious. It has a soft, chewy texture, that is a bit reminiscent of pan pizzas (back when Pizza Hut was my go-to pizza joint and a gluten allergy wasn’t even on my mind). I liked it. A lot. It was a nice change of pace from the “tortilla-thin” crust pizzas (despite being a huge fan of thin-crust pizza…as it is my favorite after all) that the gluten-free community do normally get handed. However, despite its great texture and flavor, I still find it hard to swallow the calorie count with each slice. I mean, really? Granted, I love a good Margherita pizza (and I must say, I make a damn good one!), but it would have been great to sauce this up, top with a variety of cheeses and not feel the need to honestly stick to just one, small sliver of a slice in order to not go into calorie shock. I have a fantastic gluten-free baguette which would have been a fine side with the pizza, which remains frozen in my freezer because, yes, it’s really hard to get past the calories in 1/6th of the pizza.
If you don’t care about the amount of calories you consume throughout the day, or if you want to make a light, white pizza like myself, or even just want to treat yourself to a ‘restaurant-style’ pizza…this is a great one to get. It’s expensive, but it is the closest to an actual pizza crust I have found so far. And sometimes, that’s really all that matters. Calories can be burned off in the end, right?
I wish Whole Foods could find a way to make the calorie count on this a little better as far as calories per slice go. But, if in the end it just means you leave the sauce off, lightly cheese it, and put fresh vegetables on it, well, it still makes one fantastic gluten-free pizza. And, really, that’s what should matter.