Sometimes you find gluten free items when you do not expect to, and they fill a void you faced. Two unrelated events happened last Friday night. We needed to go out to pick up something quick for a bonfire the next night. We also needed to pick up a breakfast item for my daughter who had a sleepover the next night as well. My wife looked through the baked goods, thinking of picking up something pre-made for the bonfire. She did not find anything, but she did find a pack of blueberry gluten free mini muffins. They were on a table with regular and sugar free muffins in a variety of flavors. What a pick up! We planned to just send a bag of dry cereal with my daughter, but we were able to send a few muffins in a baggie instead. Much more similar to the other girls, who would eat pancakes. Pretty good tasting as well!!
So any of you last minute shoppers need some help with finding gluten-free items? I ran across an interesting article in the San Francisco Gate Newspaper (click here). The author discusses how Thanksgiving can be tough with Celiac Disease:
Stuffing, rolls, pies and other tempting dishes can make Thanksgiving one of the toughest holidays to navigate for people with celiac disease
While I definitely agree it makes things a tad more inconvenient, I think the past few years really have gotten easy. Many turkeys come gluten free. You can get gluten free stuffing, dinner rolls, and desserts. Yes, maybe some more time planning, but not too difficult. I am definitely thankful for the expanded products we have seen come to the stores in the past year. Hope this will continue and expand further.
Have a safe, restful, and easily digested Thanksgiving!
Along with the pasta we reviewed recently (http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?p=3116), Target’s Simply Balanced brand now makes gluten free crackers. Similar to the rice thins we bought from other brands, a pretty good snack cracker. We like to slice some cheese for snacks with these. If feeling especially creative, we’ll melt the cheese on them in the microwave. Quick and easy snacks!
Great to see Target really getting into the GF market, as their chief competitor, Wal*Mart has been doing a really good job stocking gf brand products. Not their own brand (yet!), but Wal*Mart does carry a large line of products. Maybe we will see more from Target and Wal*Mart, along with the other stores like Kroger, Food Lion, and Harris Teeter.
You know when a non-Celiac cannot get enough of a gf pizza it must be good. That is just what happened with a homemade crust we tried recently. Just look at that picture! It makes my mouth water just looking at it. In the past, crusts have been hit or miss. Sometimes decent, mostly just gummy and chewy. This recipe, using a rice, tapioca flour blend and yeast does a nice job in first showing PICTURES of the steps, then giving good instructions. Seriously, click the link and try this pizza. Yum!
One thing, as Celiacs, my wife and girls miss are English Muffins. Those light, airy nooks and crannies sure do hide the butter well, plus you can make some pretty good mini-pizzas with them. Most of the gf varieties we have tried so far could subsitute for a rock or paperweight for their density. While at Harris Teeter recently, we decided to try glutino’s English Muffins.
While not as dense as others, they still do not quite replicate the regular gluten English Muffins. These also more resemble a biscuit, as they are about an inch and a half tall. We decided to make mini-pizzas with these, and they actually did turn out pretty well. Not gummy, and they did get toasty. The girls liked them, so we will definitely pick them up again.
So here goes another big, national brand of pasta making a gluten free version, or versions, since Ronzoni makes both penne and spaghetti gluten free versions. This is a little different, as we see it made with a mix of brown rice, corn, and quinoa flours. We have not tried it yet, but did pick up a box. If you do not follow us on Facebook, get with it! Kelley actually broke this news on Facebook first. She found the Ronzoni at Kroger. We found it here at Target. Next to the Target brand. Great news, great times in gluten free pasta!
Maybe picking up a trick from Kroger’s playbook (http://www.raleighcelkids.com/?p=3075), it seems like we will begin seeing gluten free products from Simply Balanced, Target’s upscale store brand. We recently found a variety of national brands of gluten free pasta, and even Target’s brand. We picked up the fusilli, but they also sold the regular spaghetti. Another trend we noticed is the mixing of rice and corn, like the Barilla pasta we tried recently. We did not yet try this pasta, but if it tastes like the Barilla, we will not even notice it’s gluten free.
We first gained wind of a major manufacturer making gf pasta at the checkout line of Harris Teeter. After checking out in the self-checkout, we got a coupon printed out for Barilla Gluten Free pasta. I looked twice, but sure enough, Barilla, large nationwide maker of regular pasta was trying a gluten free pasta. When shopping at Target, then, recently, we found it on the shelf. Looks like they will make penne and regular spaghetti. We picked up the penne to try for a family dinner.
What did we think? In all honesty, I did not even notice it. It truly tasted like the regular Barilla penne. Maybe since this is a mix of both rice and corn, where many of the gf pasta just rely on corn. It had a similar texture to regular pasta as well.
The price actually was comparable to regular pasta as well. A little higher, but not exorbitantly higher. Couple that with possible coupons, and we can definitely get used to pasta from the large companies. Kudos to Barilla for getting the ball rolling. In the next couple posts, we will review some other large chains we found recently.
We love to find quick snacks, especially in convenience stores like Sheetz. With the big travel holidays coming up, you can always find a Sheetz (or other quick stops) nearby. While places like Sheetz have lots of snacks and meals for regular eaters, we can struggle at times finding gluten-free, Celiac friendly snacks. One thing you can find ample of, though, are a wide variety of snack bars (prior Sheetz posts here).
We recently found a new line of bars, Orchard Bars (http://orchardbar.com/). These bars come in three unique flavors of blueberry pomegranate and almond, pineapple coconut and macadamia, and strawberry, raspberry and walnut. If you have issues with nuts as well as gluten, then you obviously want to avoid these bars. From the website:
NEW from Washington State’s orchard country, our all-natural Orchard Bars are loaded with real fruit, heart-healthy nuts, nutritious seeds, and protein-rich soy nuggets. No date paste filler, no peanuts, no strange substances from the lab. Just all-natural energy from fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Sounds pretty good. Glad to find another possibility when travelling, or just tooling around Raleigh.
While never a Cream of Wheat person, I do like my oatmeal in the winter. The girls, since Celiac, not so much. So what can a Celiac find for a warm breakfast? We recently found gluten free Cream of Rice cereal. As it begins to get colder out, we definitely start looking for some warmer meals. While you can find gluten-free oatmeal, Cream of Rice can definitely fill in as well. Just heat it up quickly, throw on some yogurt, jelly, or fruit, and a good, wholesome meal. And pretty cheap, relative to the gluten free hot breakfasts.