Candy, Candy, Candy–What is Gluten Free
We are now rapidly entering that time of year when you cannot go anywhere without seeing seasonally related candy, snacks, and other food. Tonight our Celiac children will go out into the night and return with mounds and mounds (and, hey, even Mounds or Almond Joy) of candy. Hopefully you, like us, implement the ‘no candy until I sort through it’ rule. We also implement the ‘trading bowl.’ As my wife or I go through and remove their ‘gluten’ candy (that goes in Daddy’s bowl!!), they get to pick a piece out of the gluten free bowl to add to their stash.
Do you also go out after Halloween to get discounted candy? (See a good gf candy list here) Go now–I noticed yesterday at Walgreens, they were already removing Halloween and putting up Christmas!
Safe Halloween activities to you all!
Past Raleigh Cel Kids Halloween Posts
Image used under Creative Commons license by flickr user rochelle hartman
Look at all Those Varieties!
Now that we see many of the major manufacturers making gluten-free versions of plain foods, we are noticing more and more varieties of flavors. While at a recent Harris Teeter trip, we found newly labeled Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels, and then looking closer, new flavors as well. Exciting to see this–new flavors of Hot Buffalo Wing sticks and Honey Mustard and Onion sticks. We still stayed with the regular minis, but very exciting to see new flavors. I would suggest this may indicate the regular ones that have been out for awhile (see our original post here from 2011) must be selling fairly well for them to begin to try new flavors. Good news!
Kroger Brand Waffles
Starting to see store brand gluten free products really excites me. We all know gluten free products cost more. Makes you think, why? Is rice flour any more difficult to grow and product than regular flour? Maybe, but maybe some of these gluten free products just cornered the market and did not see competition. Maybe now, with store brands, like Simple Truth by Kroger, we will see more competitive prices. At the beginning of the month, we shared a great find: Kroger (Simple Truth) brand gluten free animal crackers (click here). Priced slightly cheaper than other gf animal crackers on the shelf, and just as tasty.
On a more recent trip, we were scouring the shelves, trying to make sure we did not miss any other new gf products when we found Simple Truth gf blueberry waffles. If you go to Kroger looking for these new products, use some caution. Not all of the Simple Truth brand is gluten free. They do, very clearly, label the products. It seems like Kroger wants to do a whole ‘organic, good for you, healthy, etc’ line of products to compete more with Earth Fare, Whole Foods, and the health conscious stores out there. But as you look, you’ll find more and more products. These blueberry waffles come out of the toaster crispy and firm, just like a good waffle does. They do not overpower you with the ‘fake’ blueberry taste, and they hold lots of syrup well!!
More Pumpkin GF Snacks
It’s October, so everything we eat must contain pumpkin. Or it sure seems like it! Have no fear, lots of gluten free pumpkin options as well. We recently found these Kind Maple Pumpkin Seed bars at Kroger. We reviewed Kind granola (click here) and Kind bars (click here), so we are familiar with this brand. Like many of the other gluten free/organic/GMO brands, they take their food products seriously. You can read more about their philosophy on food here: http://www.kindsnacks.com/, but something that really sticks for me is this little phrase:
Ingredients you can see and pronounce
I think by living with Celiacs we definitely pay more attention to ingredients, and for that, I am thankful. You can find so many products with so many ingredients, so I can appreciate being able to read and pronounce all the ingredients in a particular product. Definitely good to also have said product taste good. We usually pick up Kind bars when travelling–most Sheetz up and down the East Coast stock them. We also pick up their granola regularly. Now we see these multi-pack boxes of bars, we definitely like that as well. Making seasonal products, like maple pumpkin helps as well. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a gingerbread next month-yum!
Single Serving Gluten Free Goodness
How great to see gluten free go convenient. While we have been regular consumers of Annie’s mac and cheese for years, we recently found these individual servings at Kroger. Just like the Kraft gluten versions, a single serving that you can microwave. I take the regular in my lunch all the time, add some tuna or chicken, and make a nice little meal. Now we can take these gluten-free versions as we travel without needing to worry about whether we’ll have a pot or not. Just add some water, pop in the microwave, and voila…mac and cheese hot and ready to eat.
Is it a Trick or Gluten Free Treat?
So with Halloween arriving, we get tempted by all the Halloween candy out there. As a kid, I remember all the monster cereals quite fondly. Boo Berry, Franken Berry, Count Chocula…how I loved how each turned my milk all the colors of the rainbow. Now, though, it seems you can only find them at Halloween at Target and Wal*Mart stores. Of course I wanted to give that special treat to my girls. We know how well General Mills labels packages, as evidenced by their Chex cereals, so I was a little disappointed to see ‘May contain wheat’ even though it appears like they do not contain any gluten ingredients.
What is a parent of a Celiac to do? Avoid it completely? Do a test and see about a reaction? For all the Celiacs out there, I strongly, STRONGLY advise you against what I did. I went ahead and allowed my girls both one bowl of Boo Berry to see if they would have a reaction. Truthfully, in our house, it is not like there is not contamination from time to time. And then what about the take out pizzas? Does zPizza, Mellow Mushroom, etc make their gf pizza in a vaccuum? No, they also state the risk of possible cross contamination. So we tried it. Both ate a bowl without a reaction. Then another bowl the next day. And eventually that box disappeared like any good ghost should. No reaction that we knew of. Except my reaction to finding out I did not get a single bowl of it. So another ‘science experiment’ in living with Celiacs. Do you try things to just test your children’s sensitivity to gluten? Not that I give them a wheat sandwich or anything, but in a gluten-less product that ‘may contain traces of wheat’, what do you do?
The brand kind of says it all…Immaculate. As in gluten free, ready to pop in your mouth, cookie dough. Another one of those holy grails that, until now, Celiacs could not readily find. Have no fear, though, we found it! We stopped by the North Raleigh Whole Foods to pick up a couple things and scored this in the freezer section. Already divided gluten free chocolate chip cookie dough chunks. Alas, the wife would not let us eat it directly from the package, we actually had to cook it this time, but I already began scheming for the next ‘Dad’s Day’ with the girls.
You can find Immaculate Baking Company at http://www.immaculatebaking.com/. They may many ‘natural’ products, and two types of gluten free products as well. From their regular products, such as scones in a can (which I hope they will make GF soon), you can see they focus on quality. For their gluten free items, they sell both the chocolate chip cookie dough and gluten free fudge brownie cookie dough. Yum!
More GF Crisps!
We found a new snack, recently, on a trip to Wal*Mart. While you can find lots of gluten free snack chips, we always like to try the new ones. Similar to many other of the rice crisps out there, we picked up a bag of the salt and vinegar variety. You can also find them in bbq, original, salt and vinegar, and other flavors. What we like about these is they come in a smaller bag than the traditional large bag that chips come in. We like that for travelling. We actually will head up to Pennsylvania soon, so we plan to keep this bag for the car trip.
Vanilla Cake Mix
Definitely a baking mix theme around the Cel-Kids blog recently. Looks like it will continue with some other new mixes we will review in the coming days. Today we’ll look at XO Baking Company, an exclusively gluten free company making a variety of baking mixes for cakes, brownies, and more. Find them online at http://xobakingco.com/.
While we LOVE mainstream companies offering gluten free products (read: cheaper!), we do not want to turn our back on those companies who started as gluten free and stay gluten free. XO Baking Company started recently when a baker was diagnosed with Celiac and could not find many mixes on the market. She likes to state that XO Baking was the first mix to use organic coconut flour.
You can find many different products from XO Baking. They sell just your traditional baking flour, but also mixes for cakes (mmm…pound cake!!), many cookies including oatmeal, and bread mixes. We found the vanilla cake mix at Wal*Mart, so you can find them in the traditional places.
Cup for Cup Baking
While we regularly share lots of new gluten free projects, home baking can still be a bit of a challenge. While you can find many baking mixes, many we’ve reviewed, each one comes with its own quirks. Some may need to be mixed with xanthan gum, some may need an extra cup or 1/2 cup to equal a real cup. Domata claims to make baking easy, adding xanthan gum to their flour and calling it cup for cup measuring.
You can find Domata at http://domataglutenfree.com/. Another purely gluten free factory that seems to understand the gluten free baking issues. On their website you can see their products, the regular flour, pizza crust, and seasoned flour. Plus, lots of good recipes for a large variety of breads, cookies, muffins, pies, and more. The good thing about it all–you can find it in regular stores. We found this recently at Wal*Mart.