Sunday, December 02, 2012

Gluten-Free Product Review: Lucy's Holiday Cookies

Lucy's Holiday Gluten-Free Cookies Review


Stocking Stuffers for Celiac and GF-dieters, the easy way.


[by Kate — guest gluten-free blog author


Odds are that the Gluten Free friend, family member, or coworker on your Christmas/ Holiday list was not so naughty this year as to earn him or herself a nice big, hunk of coal. But, for anyone not super familiar with Gluten Free eating, finding the perfect GF stocking stuffer or small gift could pose a bit of a challenge. So much of a challenge, in fact, that coal might start to look like a decent solution. Okay! Maybe that's a stretch...

Over the years the Gluten Free market has become increasingly populated with pre-made food items that are both tasty and pretty affordable. They still, typically, cost a little more than their wheat-containing counterparts but there are a lot of options out there nowadays that won't break the bank.

Tasty pre-made Gluten Free baked goods, like cookies, are more readily available now than when my father went on the Gluten Free diet about 8 years ago. In fact, companies like Lucy's are even developing Gluten Free baked goods geared toward the holidays, including their new "Holiday Sugars" and "Chocolate Merry Mint" cookies.

Overall Impression

The cookies were fine. The holiday sugar cookie tasted more or less identical to their normal sugar cookie, it seems to vary mainly by way of holiday re-packaging and marketing. The chocolate mint cookie was the better of the two and is apparently actually produced as a special holiday-only flavor.

In general, I'd describe them both as crunchy though perhaps a bit silty on the tongue. But, I think they're decent (for pre-made GF cookies) and if I had to live completely within a gluten-free diet and/or within the restrictions a host of other allergies may impose, I'd definitely be happy eating them.  Not having any particular restrictions aside from being vegetarian (I can eat "normal" - non gluten-free foods if I choose to), I can honestly locate pre-made cookies I would rather eat instead.  Depending on your skill in the kitchen and time you have available, you can probably create overall better fresh homemade gluten-free cookies.  But, in a pinch, these should do just fine.

Diet Considerations

Both of Lucy's Holiday Cookie varieties satisfy an impressive range of common dietary restrictions; they are:

  • Gluten Free
  • Peanut Free
  • Tree-Nut Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Egg Free
  • Trans-Fat Free
  • Kosher
  • Cholesterol Free
  • All Natural
In other words, whether you're searching for a small item as a gift or stocking stuffer for someone who is Gluten Free, Vegan, allergic to nuts, or lactose intolerant, these cookies have you covered!

Lucy's elimination of these allergens does not only speak to their interest in individuals practicing a range of specialty diets, it speaks to the company's awareness of an issue plaguing many Gluten Free eaters--a large number of the Gluten Free population, in addition to not tolerating wheat products, suffer a host of other food allergies and sensitivities. For the individuals with Gluten Free eating requirements and additional food allergies to boot, safe pre-made foods are hard to find, and Lucy'sis one of the companies that caters to them.

Lucy's commitment to their Gluten Free and Allergen afflicted client base is readily signaled on their website, which prominently displays their Gluten Free certification, their dedicated production facilities, and the list of allergens the company has made its reputation on excluding from its products. In addition, the website provides a page of Food Allergy Resources including links to support groups and information for persons with Celiac Disease or food allergies.

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gluten-Free Book Sale: Free Printed copy with purchase of Kindle edition. VERY LIMITED quantities.

Gluten-Free Recipes Book: Free Print copy with purchase of Kindle edition.


Gluten-Free Book Sale / Promotion

Most of my readers probably realize that I am the author of the recipe book "Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts". This gluten-free recipe book was first available as a full-color high-quality print edition, and then later released as a full-color Kindle edition. And, although the print version was very popular, the shift to embracing electronic books is well underway in the market, and with this promotion, we are encouraging our prospective buyers to embrace "digital" as we shift our production to no longer include print-edition(s) in the very near future.

The electronic (Kindle) version removes the need to physically print, inventory, and ship a product, and it now allows me to sell the same recipe book for much less than what I can sell the printed book for. Printing a high-quality full-color heavy book is rather expensive, and just the cost to print a single book (not including any profit) is much more than what an electronic version can be sold for.  That fact, coupled with the required investment to print tons (literally) of books, the physical space to inventory them, and ever-increasing shipping costs for the heavy (2+ pound) print-edition... has all led to the end of the road for the printed version of the book that I first pondered 2 years ago on this very blog.

Sorry, but this promo event is now over. All Print-Edition Books are sold. But, we have now made many of our high-quality gluten-free recipes available for free online (link). And, we have also since stopped selling the Kindle version, as we prefer to simply offer our recipes online, at our website, for all to view.  Thank you for your support!

We thank everyone that has supported us over the past few years since we first created, published, and brought to market our Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts Recipes book.  We had even since released a Kindle (e-Book) version of our printed book as we were no longer planning to produce, inventory, and sell further print versions of this full-color, high-quality cookbook as of 2012, once our initial first-edition (a few thousand copies) were soldWe have since made the further decision to move our recipes online as time permits, making them available on the book's website. 

Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts Cookbook
by Mike Eberhart (gluten-free-desserts.com)

Thank you to everyone that made the print version such a great success and the Kindle version a popular and top-rated (5.0 out of 5.0 stars possible) alternative to print! 

The Promotional Sale & Offer Results

We greatly appreciate your feedback and comments about our cookbook!  Our 100% 5-out-of-5-Star Rating on Amazon absolutely thrilled us!  Having a 5-star rated gluten-free recipes book is all I could have ever wished for when I first started writing this, and when my wife first started creating and baking so many of the recipes.  

Thank you!

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin "Pie" Smoothie : Gluten Free and Low-Carb

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Smoothie Recipe


[by Kate — guest gluten-free blog author

Festive Fall Pumpkin Drink

[mike's intro]: Kate brings us another tasty gluten-free diet recipe just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving time when Fall squash abound and pumpkins are readily available for seasonal creations. This is the first in a few gluten-free recipes using pumpkin that I plan to publish on the blog in the coming days and weeks.

I took a few editing liberties with her story.  One of her original ingredient-providers retracted their gluten-free status after she wrote this, so I have thus substituted another provider (for the hemp protein) that does still certify their product as gluten-free.   Enjoy! [m]

Kate's Pumpkin "Pie" Super Smoothie: GF, Vegetarian, Low-Carb

The Fall is a magical time. Beloved squashes come into season to festively line the produce section of grocery stores while, in other corners of the store, ghoulish Lady Gaga, Marilyn Monroe, Vampire, and Frankenstein Monster costumes haunt the shelves hoping for a chance for a great debut trick-or-treating on Halloween. The Fall is crisp, and warm, and spicy. It's like biting into a pumpkin pie, rich creamy and complex with warming nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and clove.

I've celebrated the coming on of Fall by drinking it up in the form of a Pumpkin "Pie" Super Smoothie. What a great way to indulge in Fall flavors every morning!

My Pumpkin "Pie" Super Smoothie is Gluten-Free, Vegetarian and Low-carb, and is made with organic pumpkin puree, 0% Plain Greek Yogurt, hydrated Chia Seeds, Almond Milk, a frozen banana, and those warming pumpkin pie spices I mentioned above.  It also contains Hemp Protein Powder: a GREAT easily incorporated source of extra protein.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 C. Organic Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/3 C. 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 Tbsp Hemp Powder. [mike says: I used Nutiva brand hemp protein].  Another option is to perhaps grind Hemp Hearts in your blender -- Costco has recently been selling Manitoba Harvest brand hemp hearts.
  • 2-3 Tbsp Hydrated Chia Seeds
  • 1 Frozen Banana, peeled and chopped into sections
  • 1/4 C. (approx) Almond Milk (I used vanilla, no-sugar-added variety). [mike says: I used Whole Foods 365-brand unsweetened rice milk]
  • 3-4 Ice Cubes
  • Pumpkin Pie Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove), to taste.
  • Optional: Stevia or other no-cal/low-cal sweetener. [mike says: I used a couple packets of PureVia brand stevia-based sweetener]


Directions


    Simply blend all ingredients together in blender until smoothie consistency is achieved.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Gluten-Free Pizza-Crust Recipe : Low-Carb and more!

    Gluten-Free Pizza Crust : "Flour" Free!

    [by Kate — guest gluten-free blog author

    Cauliflower-Based GF Pizza Crust


    Gluten-Free, Low-Carb, and Vegetarian Pizza Crust Recipe

    [mike's intro]: Kate has been quite creative with her latest gluten-free diet recipe that will have you wondering how a pizza-crust that doesn't contain "flour(s)" can exist and be such a delicious low-carb (lacto) vegetarian alternative to "regular" GF pizza crusts.  The photo of her finished pizza (above) should certainly whet your appetite and arouse some intrigue!

    In addition to publishing her recipes on this GF blog and on our Gluten-Free Recipes Library, Kate will also be publishing her latest gluten-free recipes on her new "Kate's Guide to Your Inner Foodie" blog that she recently created.  Below are excerpts from her newest and fantastic pizza-crust recipe work along with links to the full recipe and discussion on her blog.  Enjoy! [m]

    Kate's Cauliflower Pizza Crust story...

    I've always heard that bacon is the hardest things for vegetarians and vegans to give up and, also, the hardest food for them to continue to resist eating through the course of their commitments to either diet. I think pizza is that evil, siren of a food for a lot of Gluten Free and Low-Carb eaters. In fact, I know that many people who have gone Gluten Free due to Celiac Disease or other issues crave pizza so much that they dream about it at night.

    Happily, dreams can come true--at least in the realm of pizza consumption--regardless of whether you're eating a Gluten Free and/or Low-Carb diet through the versatile miracle that is cauliflower.

    [... see full article on Kate's site for omitted full text/discussion ...]

    Cauliflower Gluten-Free Pizza-Crust Ingredients
    • 1 Medium-Large Head Cauliflower, broken down into Florets
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1/3 C. soft herbed Goat Cheese; plus more for topping
    • 1 Tsp. dried oregano
    • Fennel Seeds; to your taste
    • Smoked Sea Salt; to your taste
    • Black Pepper; to your taste
    • TOPPINGS--chopped spinach; goat cheese; mozzarella (fresh or shredded); organic red sauce; minced garlic; sundried tomatoes; fresh basil (chopped)
    [... see full article on Kate's site for Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe Directions and more wonderful commentary and pictures...]


    [mike]:  For the simple fact that, as Kate stated in her blog, "let me say that this Cauliflower Pizza Crust is simply amazing",... everyone that wants a great gluten-free pizza-crust will certainly need to consider this recipe.  And, if that was not good enough, I think many people that want to live a lower-carb, blood-sugar and diabetic-friendly diet (in addition to gluten-free) will enjoy this fantastic pizza-crust option for both reasons.   Thanks Kate!  I hope to post this to our recipe library soon.

    ---
    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Tuesday, September 04, 2012

    What is Dow Wellence™ Gluten-Free Additive Made From?

    Dow: Promising Better Gluten-Free Breads, etc.


    Have you seen the advertisements for Dow's Gluten-Replacement?

    You know the gluten-free market is growing when companies like Dow take notice. And, if you are like me, over the past few months you may have seen ads from Dow (Chemical Company) talking about their breakthrough ingredient that makes gluten-free baked goods better than ever. Well, these ads are referring to a Gluten Replacement product from Dow Wolff Cellulosics called: WELLENCE™ GLUTEN FREE.

    [Update: 2017: I notice Dow also has other gluten-free plant-based stabilizers now like WALOCEL; I have had quite a few bread products in the UK/EU that use these or similar types of methylcarboxycellulose / Carboxymethylcellulose or CMC for short (all the naming variations get confusing) products and they are utterly fantastic and superior to Xanthan Gum and other such gums!. Breads made using these, like the UK's Genius Bread gluten-free bread products, are just incredibly like the real thing!]

    Dow is pitching this as a "plant-based cellulose that mimics gluten attributes and helps gluten-free bread, pasta and dough taste more like the real thing". Or, in their more marketing-hyped Dow Wellence Gluten-Replacement description (at time of this writing):
    "Finding a suitable replacement for gluten to create high-quality gluten-free foods has been a significant challenge for the industry. Wellence™ Gluten Free is a plant-based food ingredient that mimics the water-absorbing and structural capacity of gluten—allowing food manufacturers to create best-in-class gluten-free foods that satisfy the dietary needs of consumers without compromising on taste, look, or feel."

    OK, so what exactly is Wellence Gluten-Free Made From?

    I was curious to find out what this "plant-based cellulose" gluten-replacement is derived from. And, honestly it took some digging around to locate anything in detail. Their video ad talks about how "green" and "sustainable" of solution this is, how nothing else in the market offers the qualities their gluten-replacement does, and so forth. But, what is it exactly?

    I finally located the answer in, of all places, their "Wellence Gluten Free 47129 Raw Materials Origin" technical documents (link). And, this is what it comes down to (per Dow's documentation, quoted here, that I was able to find at the time of writing this blog entry):
    "Wellence 47129 parent materials are water-soluble polymers derived from cellulose, the most abundant polymer in nature. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and carboxymethylcellulose, sodium salt products are manufactured from highly purified cellulose which is further modified to obtain the desired properties. The wood pulp used by the parent material of Wellence 47129 plants in Europe and North America is a high purity, specialty cellulose designed for chemical processes. These materials are manufactured in compliance with all local standards and requirements. Wellence 47129 parent material products produced in our plants in the United States and Germany are manufactured with raw materials from France, Norway, Canada, and the United States, depending on the specific grade being produced."
    Yes, you read that correctly... Dow Wellence Gluten-Replacement is derived from wood pulp, essentially. But, do I care, or should you care?  That is a good question, and the answer depends a lot upon whether you believe modern chemistry is an ideal solution for a gluten-replacement, or whether you think we (with Celiac-Disease and/or gluten-free diets) should rely completely on more traditional replacements such as Xanthan and Guar Gum,... or perhaps better yet, for those like me that cannot tolerate such added gums, how about completely mainstream "normal" things like gluten-free whey-protein or gluten-free chia-seed or perhaps another favorite of mine: gluten-free plain non-fat Greek yogurt?

    I am personally quite curious to see/try products that use this Dow product.  I cannot say I have seen anything in the store that specifically mentioned it on the ingredient label (not sure it would say Wellence - if that is required by license - or if it would just say "cellulose" or such).  I will keep my eyes open and try to find a loaf of bread or something with it in (instead of Xanthan and the usual gums), since perhaps my GI tract will not hate it as it hates gums!  That'd sure be a plus.  I am not too concerned about wood-pulp derivatives, no matter how odd it sounds.  But, honestly, the bulk of my baking/cooking will rely on those "normal" ingredients I mentioned earlier: yogurt, whey, chia, etc.

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Gluten-Free Recipe: Smoky Roasted Hatch Chili, Broccoli, and White Bean Soup

    Smoky Roasted Hatch Chili, Broccoli, and White Bean Soup

    [by Kate — guest gluten-free blog author

    Delicious Soup: Gluten-Free ~ Vegetarian ~ Vegan* ~ Low-Carb ~ Low-Fat

    Texans like grilling.  A lot. But, for many of us who live in apartments in Houston, grilling isn’t always an easy option for meals. That’s why I’ve imported the smoky taste of the grill into this Hatch Chili, Broccoli, and White Bean Gluten-Free Soup. Made with oven-roasted Hatch Chilis, smoked sea salt, and a dash of smoked paprika, the soup offers a hint of the grill’s satisfying smokiness while catering to audiences who are typically excluded from traditional grilling — vegetarians and vegans — in addition to those following low-carb and gluten-free diets. This soup, amendable to fit just about anyone’s dietary needs, packs the sweet, subtle heat characteristic of the celebrated Hatch Chili.


    Hatch Chili peppers are a seasonal gluten-free ingredient produced in Hatch, New Mexico, the self-proclaimed “Chili Capital of the World”. Hatch Chili peppers become available in late August and have a short growing season. The peppers can be used in everything from Chilles Rellenos to soups and they can even be infused into chocolate. Several local Texas grocery chains and other retailers carry the peppers (e.g., Fiesta, HEB, Central Market, Whole Foods) and HEB and Central Market both have dedicated Hatch Chili Festival events with featured Hatch Chili products for sale and even cooking contests.

    With a texture much like that of comfort-food soups like potato soup and broccoli and cheddar soup, this Gluten-Free Hatch Chili, Broccoli, and White Bean Soup is great hot or cold and can be garnished with arugula and pepitas and shaved parmesan (omit for vegan).

    Ingredients —

      2 Hatch chilies (roasted in 450∘ F. oven for 7-10minutes and peeled)
      1 large head broccoli (a little over 1lb or 7cups), cut into florets
      3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
      1 yellow onion, diced
      7 garlic cloves, minced
      1 and ½ 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained
      3 cups vegetable stock (low sodium preferred)
      Smoked sea salt, to taste
      Black pepper, to taste
      Smoked Paprika, a dash
      Hot pepper flakes, a pinch

      To Garnish—

      Roasted Pepitas, to taste
      Shaved parmesan cheese, to taste (exclude to make vegan)
      Arugula

    Instructions —

    1. Roast Hatch Chilies under oven broiler for 7-10 minutes or until skins are browned. Remove from oven and place chilies in air tight container or zip-lock bag; this will help to loosen skins. Remove and discard skins. Note: it is recommended that you use kitchen gloves when handling the chilies to prevent pepper burn from any that might be particularly hot (spicy). 
    2. Steam broccoli for 5 minutes or until tender but still bright green and firm; avoid overcooking. Set broccoli aside. 
    3. In large pot add olive oil and set burner to medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook until translucent, roughly 8-10 minutes. Add smoked sea salt, pepper, smoked paprika and hot pepper flakes. Add cannellini beans and vegetable stock. Bring to a very low boil and cook roughly 5 minutes. 
    4. Transfer broccoli and bean mixture in pot in small batches to blender. Liquefy and transfer to large bowl. Continue to process batches of soup components in your blender until finished. 
    5. Serve soup warm or cold garnished with arugula, pepitas (roasted, salted pumpkin seeds), and shaved Parmesan (*omit parmesan if vegan).
    This is a great way to enjoy the seasonal Gluten-Free treat known as the Hatch Chili! Hopefully you can locate this wonderful, delicious, and versatile pepper in your area and put it to use in your own roasted hatch chili soup.


    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Friday, August 03, 2012

    Stop Type-2 Diabetes Progression with Turmeric / Curcumin / Curry

    Avoid Type-2 Diabetes with Turmeric / Curry


    Spice helps with Type-2 Diabetes Control

    The latest journal of Diabetes Care from the American Diabetes Association reported its findings regarding "Curcumin Extract for Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes". Curcumin is the primary curcuminoid of the spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family.

    The following picture is courtesy of Spicely organic spices, which sells certified GF turmeric in large quantities (like this 1 POUND container for $9.99).


    While Curcumin / turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years (Ayurveda is a Hindu system of traditional medicine native to India and a form of alternative medicine), modern researchers are now assessing the efficacy of curcumin in delaying the development of type 2 diabetes in the prediabetes population. This latest study employed a randomized, double-blinded, placebo- controlled trial using 240 people that were considered pre-diabetic.

    Observed Results look Promising

    The following is a quote from the study results that in summary show very intriguing and positive preventive effects for the trial subjects that were in the curcumin-consuming group:
    After 9 months of treatment, 16.4% of subjects in the placebo group were diagnosed with T2DM [Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus], whereas none were diagnosed with T2DM in the curcumin-treated group. In addition, the curcumin-treated group showed a better overall function of β-cells, with higher HOMA-β (61.58 vs. 48.72; P < 0.01) and lower C-peptide (1.7 vs. 2.17; P < 0.05). The curcumin-treated group showed a lower level of HOMA-IR (3.22 vs. 4.04; P < 0.001) and higher adiponectin (22.46 vs. 18.45; P < 0.05) when compared with the placebo group.
    OK, that may be a bit technical, so let me get to their summary...

    The study concluded the following:
    A 9-month curcumin intervention of a prediabetes population significantly lowered the number of prediabetic individuals who eventually developed T2DM. In addition, the curcumin treatment appeared to improve overall function of β-cells, with very minor adverse effects. Therefore, this study demonstrated that the curcumin intervention in a prediabetes population may be beneficial.
    This looks like a great reason to consider including more turmeric in your Gluten-Free diet! Anything to prevent the development of Type-2 diabetes is wonderful, and the observed improvement in pancreatic Beta-Cells is great news. So, bring on the turmeric, and let's keep that blood sugar under control!

    Gluten-Free Diets can certainly include Turmeric

    Turmeric is a flavorful, orange or yellow colored spice that is an essential ingredient in many curries (encountered in Indian, South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine). You can obtain capsules of turmeric powder if you do not like the taste of turmeric and would prefer to simply swallow a pill containing the spice, but, I definitely enjoy Curry and welcome such tasty gluten-free foods into my diet.

    You can make your own curry spices following recipes available on the web, but I am going to be honest here and admit that I take the easy way out (most of the time) and purchase pre-made gluten-free curry-powders and/or curry-type sauces. I have made my own before, but getting the flavor-balance of the component spices to be just right can be a challenge, especially when a constituent spice varies considerably in intensity depending on the supplier.

    Gluten-Free Favorite Indian Sauces

    This is a quick "product review" embedded in an otherwise science-oriented blog posting, but it is relevant: many of these delicious pre-made gluten-free sauces by Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods contain turmeric.  I do not know how much turmeric they contain, but these are a great example of how wonderful turmeric-containing sauces can taste (check the ingredient-list for which ones contain turmeric -- most have some).
    (image courtesy of Maya Kaimal Fine Indian Foods web site)

    My current favorite is the Vindaloo Indian Simmer Sauce! Fantastic! A wonderful mixture of curry spices with coconut and just a touch of heat from chilis. In addition to tasting wonderful, these sauces are so easy to use (i.e., they are ready-to-go... just heat and serve). And, you can probably learn how to make a great sauce of your own if you want to — just check out the ingredient list and contemplate the proportions that you may want to try in your own curry-spice mixtures.

    For some nice low glycemic-index/load meals, consider pouring some of this sauce over some steamed cauliflower or cooked lentils (a couple favorites of mine). And, if you are new to turmeric in your cooking and/or new to curry, this should be a nice introduction to a flavor-filled experience that may ultimately lead you to including more curcumin in your diet (and hopefully reducing the likelihood of developing Type-2 diabetes).  As always, combine this latest blood-sugar-control news with a good dose of exercise and a well-balanced diet for maximum potential.

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    Gluten-Free Recipe: Spicy Dill and Garlic Pickles

    Gluten-Free Homemade Dill Pickles (Spicy)

    [by Kate — guest gluten-free blog author

    I love pickles. The common myth is that pickles are a pregnant-lady thing, but I have always thought they were glorious salty little snacks and munch them regularly.

    Because I absolutely love not only pickles, but spicy food, my eyes have been caught multiple times recently by "spicy" pickles at the store. But, all of the ones I happened across were either alarmingly over-priced (like $10 for a jar at Whole Foods) or were reasonably priced but contained high fructose corn syrup.

    So, I decided I'd make my own spicy dill pickles!




    KATE'S HOMEMADE
    SPICY DILL & GARLIC PICKLES

    The pickles are super easy to make, especially if you have a mandolin on which you can slice the cucumbers. I pretty much followed Bobby Flay's recipe for Dill Pickles (link) , but, I did make some changes that I will explain immediately after the ingredient-list.

    The original dill-pickle recipe ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
    1/4 cup sugar
    4 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon mustard seeds
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    3/4 teaspoon dill seeds
    2 cups hot water
    2 pounds kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/4 inch thick
    3/4 cup coarsely chopped dill
    3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

    Changes I made for my Spicy Dill Pickles:

    • I couldn't find Coriander Seeds (only ground) or Mustard Seeds (only ground) at my grocery store so I used a Pickling Spices mix instead. It has the Coriander and Mustard seeds plus peppercorns, cinnamon, and some other spices. The only unwanted ingredient was sulfites for preserving the pickles. If you're sensitive to sulfites go track down the actual spices in their raw state rather than use the Pickling Spices mix.

    • I added a pinch of red pepper flakes to the water, pickling spice, and vinegar mixture for heat.

    • I added one random hot pepper I picked up from Fiesta (local supermarket)... I chose a pepper with a bright color to contrast nicely with the green of the cucumber/pickles. The pepper I chose was incredibly spicy, so if you like hot but not HOT then you might do some research on a good pepper variety to suit your tastes before heading to the grocery store.

    • My mandolin slices things thin, thinner, and thiner-er so my pickles are much thinner (as you can see in the picture I posted) than the ones in Bobby Flay's recipe which are quite thick. The plus side to my thinner pickles is that they'll pickle much, much faster!

    Just follow the original instructions (at the link provided above) and make these substitutions for a wonderfully spicy gluten-free garlic and dill pickles.   The recipe is simple and the total creation time is quite low.  Enjoy!

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

    Friday, June 08, 2012

    Affordable, Quick Celiac Disease Test and Monitoring Method

    New Test for Celiac Disease: Faster, Cheaper


    "Lab-on-a-Chip" Blood-Analysis Technology Shows Promise

    Imagine having an accurate, quick, cost-effective diagnosis and monitoring solution for celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity available. All of you that have endured the current costly and invasive methods of testing for Celiac Disease — like an upper-GI / duodenal endoscopy and biopsy (been there, done that, hated it) — will certainly appreciate how much better testing could be if a simple drop of blood could be analyzed to determine if you have Celiac Disease or are being exposed to, and are reacting adversely to, gluten. The thought of being able to simply place a drop of blood on a sensor, either at a doctor's office or perhaps even at home, sure sounds like a fantastic alternative to me!

    A promising new technique for analysis and detection of Celiac Disease got my attention when I just read about it. If things progress as expected, we could see a test within the next couple years that is no worse than pricking your finger and placing a drop of blood on a sensor (sort of like what people monitoring their blood sugar for diabetes do regularly). Words alone can hardly express how much better this sounds than endoscopes and biopsies!

    The new "CD-MEDICS" (Celiac Disease Management Monitoring and Diagnosis using Biosensors and an Integrated Chip System) project being undertaken by a consortium of 20 partners with substantial funding from the European Commission has created a system using a combination of technologies from microfluidics, nanotechnology and genetic testing to produce what is in effect a "lab on a chip" technology that will offer a quick, low-cost and highly accurate test for Celiac disease.

    Imagine having INSTANT ACCURATE RESULTS Available!

    This new CD-MEDICS approach offers the incredible advantage of instant diagnosis. A disposable lab-on-a-chip (the whole "chip" looking about like a credit-card in size), upon which a drop of blood has been applied, is placed into a biomedical interface instrument and analysis of the blood sample is carried out in a matter of minutes. Results can then be immediately output to the hospital information system and added to the patient's electronic health record — can you imagine?

    Let's contrast this with the current incredibly slow, potentially invasive, costly, and often incorrect or overlooked diagnosis of Celiac Disease... as the article I read states:
    The condition [Celiac Disease] is thought to affect one in a hundred genetically predisposed individuals, but many sufferers may be unaware of the causes of their health problems: the average delay from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is almost 12 years. And, if they seek medical attention, there is a high risk of misdiagnosis: for every case of Celiac disease that is correctly identified it is thought that there are seven more that are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed [i.e., ONLY ONE IN EIGHT cases are diagnosed properly now!].

    You may be wondering how this new approach can replace other tests and be accurate. Well, it combines DNA testing along with testing for gluten-antibodies in your blood:
    'For the first time, we have two microsystems of completely different functionalities -- one for DNA typing and the other for the detection of antibodies -- and we have designed these microsystems to have a common interface with the instrument so that only one instrument with one slot is required for both microsystems,' Prof O'Sullivan says. 'For diagnosing Celiac patients two tests are necessary as DNA testing -- specifically for variants of the HLA gene associated with the disease -- or testing for gluten antibodies alone can return false positives. Testing for both means the results are much more accurate.'

    Perhaps even more interesting is how this approach can be used to test for gluten-free diet compliance and exposure to gluten:
    Follow up tests to monitor the patient's response to treatment can be carried out in the same way using only the microsystem to detect gluten antibodies.


    How much will it cost? When will it be available?

    Current DNA testing is expensive, and invasive testing is ridiculously cost-prohibitive. That is where this new testing method really shows promise. How about $25! Yes, only twenty-five bucks — if we (here in the USA) can ultimately get the test for the 20-Euro price equivalent that is projected for European markets. Of course we are the only major developed country without any universal national healthcare program, so it will not surprise me if that $25 turns into $100++ here! But, I guess we will have to wait and find out.

    Perhaps I can make a new business of purchasing a testing device (expected to cost around $8,000 USD) and a bunch of these "labs-on-a-chip" and specialize in just giving people Celiac Disease testing and gluten-free-diet compliance monitoring? It sure would be nice if something like that was available to drive down cost and make this available to a wide range of people. I'd be a my own first customer; I am curious to see how my diet-compliance is, especially in case I am accidentally being exposed to gluten somewhere I do not know about.

    This system and process is currently being tested in Slovenia and is expected to be widely available in the next 2 or 3 years if all goes well. For validation, testing of a few hundred patients is underway and involves comparing the results of Celiac tests using this new system with those from analyzed tissue biopsy samples (i.e., results from traditional invasive approach). If you want to read the entire article that I did, see this link.

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Gluten Allergy in Mothers Increases Risk of Schizophrenia / Psychiatric Disorders in Offspring

    Are your Children at Risk?


    Study Links Women's Gluten-Sensitivity During Pregnancy to Psychiatric Disorders in Children

    I just finished reading about a rather concerning study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Johns Hopkins University (United States). We all know that there is a genetic component of Celiac Disease and heritability implications, but this new study goes beyond examining whether your offspring may end up with a gluten-sensitivity alone, and looks into the potential implications for lifelong mental-health in the offspring of women who are gluten-sensitive.

    I would argue that the sample-group size was rather limited, as it only involved 764 birth records (and neonatal blood samples collected) between 1975 and 1985 and the patient followup since then. But, this data is still significant enough to merit further study and attention.

    Researchers were looking at both casein (cow's milk protein) and gliadin (a gluten component-protein), and found the concerning mental-health correlations only when a mother produced antibodies to gliadin (gluten). The neonatal blood samples collected decades ago allowed researchers to determine whether a newborn had elevated IgG antibody levels at birth (thus, indicatating an immune response to gliadin proteins in the mother, since the mother's antibodies during pregnancy are essentially "shared" with the baby).

    Double the Risk

    This is the first study to point to maternal food sensitivity as a potential trigger for non-affective psychoses, and other psychiatric disorders later in life for their offspring. "Non-affective psychoses" refer to psychoses not related to emotions or moods (e.g., schizophrenia and delusional disorders) as opposed to affective psychoses (e.g., bipolar disorder, which does involve mood/emotion abnormalities).

    211 of the children in this study subsequently developed non-affective psychoses. This was about twice the incidence rate as the standard population:
    The results of the study show that children born to mothers with abnormally high levels of antibodies to gliadin [gluten] had nearly twice the risk of developing non-affective psychosis later in life, compared with children who had normal levels of gliadin antibodies. The risk for psychosis was not increased among those with elevated levels of antibodies to casein [milk]. The link persisted even after researchers accounted for other factors known to increase schizophrenia risk, such as maternal age, gestational age, birth by Caesarean section, and birth weight.

    Should you be Concerned?

    That is a tough question. I found myself thinking about all the people I know with Celiac Disease or any other strong reaction to gluten (wheat, rye, barley) proteins, and then I though about how many were female and how many of them have children. Even in my small circle of friends, family, and acquaintances, I can count a LOT of children of women with gluten allergies.

    I could not help but wonder: are some of these children going to suffer some mental disorders later in life because of a gluten-allergy their mothers had? Wow, that is just something nobody wants to see happen, yet the statistics from this particular study sure raise concerns.

    I do think follow-up studies will be important, and larger study-populations should be helpful too. The doctors running this study clearly feel the same way:
    "There are studies in the past that show that people diagnosed with schizophrenia more often than others are suffering from various forms of immune responses to gluten. We will now conduct follow-up studies to clarify how gluten or sensitivity to it increases schizophrenia risk and whether it does so only in those genetically predisposed,"


    I am looking forward to any further studies that shed more light on the details of the causal relationship between gluten allergies in women and the mental health of their children throughout life. This is certainly an important topic to any of us that come from bloodlines with gluten-sensitivity (especially on the mother's side of the family tree).

    There are just tons of questions that come to mind that will hopefully be answered in the future. I think of things like: what about mothers that have kids prior to developing Celiac (i.e., I wonder if in their pre-Celiac-diagnosis years if they still had increased antibodies to gliadin without knowing), etc.  I also wonder if women with Celiac, but on a very strict gluten-free diet, still have enough antibodies present in their blood to still impart potentially negative inputs into their child during formation.  Many questions like this run through my head...

    The study will be published in the June issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, and the summary I refer to was available here on Science Daily.

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Monday, May 07, 2012

    Dominos Gluten Free Pizza Option : Not for Celiac Disease Sufferers

    Domino's Pizza Announces "Gluten-Free" Pizza Option

    But, "Gluten-Free" is a Bit Subjective...

    My wife just sent me a link to a business article on NBC News about how the major national pizza chain Domino's Pizza has just announced the availability of a "gluten-free" pizza crust option. There is a reason I keep putting "gluten-free" in quotes like this... and, the reason is due to the following quoted text from the announcement (note my bold and orange highlights):
    The country's largest pizza-delivery chain worked with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to develop a crust that people who suffer from mild gluten intolerance can eat.

    "Safe" for Celiac Disease Sufferers or Not?

    OK, I love pizza. But, the part of that announcement qualifying this pizza as safe for those with "mild gluten intolerance" immediately removed any chance that *I* will be trying this pizza. My sensitivity to gluten is anything but mild, and I cannot afford to take any chance that I will be consuming something that contains enough gluten to cause a reaction.  But, this pizza is good news for many GF folks.


    Dominoes Understands the Severity of Celiac Disease and Advises Persons with Celiac to Avoid

    Further text quoted from the original article makes it quite clear that Domino's Pizza recognizes the limitations of their "gluten-free" pizza and its (lack of) suitability to Celiac Disease patients and highly-sensitive portions of the gluten-free community:
    Domino's gluten-free pizza, which is available in the small, 10-inch size only, will cost a few bucks more than the regular crust. (It's more expensive to produce gluten-free baked goods than their conventional counterparts.)

    Domino's cautions that its new pie isn't for anyone with severe gluten intolerance, otherwise known as celiac disease. Since the gluten-free pizzas will be prepared and baked in kitchens that also cook standard pizzas, people whose symptoms are triggered by cross-contamination should steer clear.


    I am very glad Domino's Pizza is offering such a menu option for all the people that are simply trying to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet or have an otherwise mild allergy to gluten (and grains containing it: wheat, rye, barley).  It would of course be nice if there was a way to ensure the product was truly 100% gluten-free and safe for all the gluten-free diet crowd, including highly-sensitive Celiac Disease sufferers. Then again, when baking a "gluten-free" pizza at a business location that churns out millions of regular (i.e., wheat-flour-based) pizzas, it seems like it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to prevent some potential unintentional cross-contamination.

    No matter what, I definitely applaud Dominos and other businesses for recognizing the gluten-free market and accommodating this diet in some fashion. It is perhaps mostly about economics for them, given the statement that "as many as 8 percent of Americans have cut gluten [...] out of their diets. [...and...] gluten-free foods has grown to a $6.2 billion market". No matter what the reasons for the new gluten-free pizza offering, it's a good thing to have more options out there in the market. I sure hope it tastes good (even though I will personally not be trying it).

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site (including some great Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipes) where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Chocolate Diet : Eat Chocolate, Stay Thin

    Eat Chocolate to Lower Fat / BMI


    More reasons to include chocolate in your gluten-free diet


    I love chocolate! And when I read about the health benefits of including chocolate in my gluten-free diet, I can enjoy this delicious treat even more. The latest scientific study results that caught my attention were about how people who frequently ate chocolate had a lower body mass index (BMI) than people who did not. As always, exercise also helps with this outcome, but the contribution that dietary chocolate made to the BMI results is quite nice.

    This research (published in the March 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine) comes from a study that enrolled more than 1000 healthy men and women, average age of 57 years (with no pre-existing heart disease, diabetes or cholesterol problems), to measure the effects of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, while a second study simultaneously assessed how often participants consumed chocolate.

    The chocolate-consumption portion of the study showed that the typical participant consumed chocolate an average of twice weekly while exercising approximately 3.5 times per week. But, the interesting part is how those that consumed chocolate more frequently had lower BMI numbers. Perhaps this is my secret to staying thin? I exercise vigorously at least 3 days/week (weights, resistance-training) and try to walk, bike, hike or such on other days; and, I eat chocolate (or cocoa) nearly every day. I realize that my own results do not comprise a "scientific study", but it is working for me, which is great given my love of chocolate!

    The first question about chocolate diet results is usually: what makes it work? Generally most research points to the abundance of antioxidants and flavanols and other compounds in chocolate that may promote weight loss. And, cocoa has caffeine in it as well as theobromine — a related, though slightly weaker, alkaloid that can act as both a stimulant and a vasodilator — perhaps those help as well. Whatever the root-cause for its diet assistance, the fact that cocoa-products taste fantastic are what matters most to me :)

    Related Studies Promoting Health-Benefits of Chocolate

    This is just one of many studies over the years showing scientific evidence that cocoa / chocolate (especially dark-chocolate) is beneficial to our health. And, this is just a few weeks after another (semi-related) study showed that eating chocolate and dessert items with breakfast helped people lose more weight. Chocolate remains the constant factor in many of these studies (accompanied by exercise, of course), and surely merits attention by anyone that is looking for beneficial diet items to include in their weight-loss plans.

    I personally need no further incentive: I will continue to consume cocoa and/or chocolate along with my gluten-free diet and workout plans!

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available

    Sunday, March 11, 2012

    Gluten-Free Diet Improves Autism Symptoms

    Gluten-Free Casein-Free Diet Improves Autism Symptoms in Children


    Autism Researchers Examine Link to Allergies — Gluten and Casein in Particular


    For those readers that are looking to a gluten-free diet in hopes of improving the symptoms of autism, new research from Penn State College of Medicine is lending some scientific basis to what many suspect: that a gluten-free and casein-free diet may lead to improvements in behavior and physiological symptoms in some children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

    As noted in their findings, "...autism may be more than a neurological disease -- it may involve the GI tract and the immune system." And, "Gluten and casein seem to be the most immunoreactive [allergens]", and were therefore the allergens chosen for further examination by this study.

    Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, or Both: Which Diet Is Best for Autism?

    Having followed this discussion for years, I have been looking forward to more in-depth scientific research on the subject. This particular Penn State study relied on information provided by 387 parents / primary-caregivers about their autistic children; a 90-item online survey on "GI symptoms, food allergy diagnoses, and suspected food sensitivities, as well as their children's degree of adherence to a gluten-free, casein-free diet"..

    The study results did seem to indicate that the combination of gluten-free and casein-free works best:
    "According to the researchers, some of the parents who filled out the surveys had eliminated only gluten or only casein from their children's diets, but survey results suggested that parents who completely eliminated both gluten and casein from their child's diet reported the most benefit."
    The full results appeared online this month in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.  But, i

    But, I am glad the researchers also hinted at the following fact, since I consider the results a bit subjective even as they are quite valuable for spotting commonality and trends:
    "While more rigorous research is needed, our findings suggest that a gluten-free, casein-free diet might be beneficial for some children on the autism spectrum," Pennesi said. "It is also possible that there are other proteins, such as soy, that are problematic for these children."
    That is something to keep in mind. Although the results indicate that improvements were seen in GFCF diets, this study is not concluding that gluten and/or casein are the cause of autism or something that, if completely removed from the diet, will cure autism. Autism is a complex condition, and this is just one piece of the puzzle.  What the study definitely suggests, per the aggregate subjective feedback provided by parents of autistic children, is that a gluten-free/casein-free diet may help some children with autism improve their symptoms.

    Remove Gluten and Casein to Improve Autism?

    So, if you have a child with autism, should you move them to a gluten-free, casein-free diet? The researchers offered the following advice regarding this:
    "If parents are going to try a gluten-free, casein-free diet with their children, they really need to stick to it in order to receive the possible benefits," she said. "It might give parents an opportunity to talk with their physicians about starting a gluten-free, casein-free diet with their children with ASD."

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, science-articles, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are availabl

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Chocolate Cake Diet to Lose Weight?

    Eat Desserts with Breakfast to Lose More Weight


    Finally, a Diet Plan I can get Into!


    Since I am such a fan of Desserts, I was absolutely intrigued by a recent article about some Tel Aviv University research that found "dessert, as part of a balanced 600-calorie breakfast that also includes proteins and carbohydrates, can help dieters to lose more weight — and keep it off in the long run." Now, that is something you don't see diets pushing every day!

    The goal of the research was to determine whether meal time and composition impacted weight loss (both short term and long term) or if calorie count was the main factor. The findings were fascinating. Over a 32-week long dietary study, 193 clinically obese non-diabetic adult participants were placed in a group that either added dessert items to their breakfast (e.g., cookies, cakes, chocolate, etc) or not; both groups consumed the same total calories per day. The group that consumed dessert with breakfast lost an average of 40 pounds more than the group of participants that avoided those items. Even more amazing is how the group consuming desserts with their breakfast managed to keep those pounds off longer.

    Wow! It almost sounds counter-intuitive, but, the researches offer the following explanations:

    "They key is to indulge in the morning, when the body's metabolism is at its most active and we are better able to work off the extra calories throughout the day, say Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz, Dr. Julio Wainstein and Dr. Mona Boaz of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Center, and Prof. Oren Froy of Hebrew University Jerusalem. Attempting to avoid sweets entirely can create a psychological addiction to these same foods in the long-term, explains Prof. Jakubowicz. Adding dessert items to breakfast can control cravings throughout the rest of the day."

    I'm Sold! Bring on the Desserts with Breakfast.

    I am probably not the only one that will find the prospects of Gluten-Free Desserts with my breakfast to be an enticing one. In fact, I will admit that I have always tended to consume most of my "desserts" early in the day, and I actually consider my homemade gluten-free pancakes to be almost-dessert ("cake" is in the name for a reason).  And, though I cannot guarantee results for anyone else, my own weight is well within the "normal" range (note: I do exercise regularly also, which certainly helps and should go along with any diet).  Now, there is a bit more to this research report that is worth mentioning...

    Calories were rather limited for the participants, even as they had dessert with their breakfast.  Men were limited to 1600 calories per day and women had a 1400 calorie allotment.  That is definitely less that what I consume on a typical day, but I am also not trying to lose substantial amounts of weight.  The makeup of the breakfasts were either a 300-calorie low-carb diet version for the "no dessert" group and a 600-calorie high-protein and carbs diet (always including desserts like chocolate, etc).  But, total daily calories remained the same (i.e., the dessert-breakfast group had to consume 300 calories less during lunch/dinner).

    Interestingly, the weight-loss results were essentially a "tie" at the mid-point of the study period, with both groups losing 33# on average.  But, in the coming weeks, the low-carb (no dessert) group regained 22# on average while the group eating desserts with breakfast lost another 15# on average.  The long-term results greatly favored the cake and chocolate eaters!

    The researchers offered more insight into why things turned out this way:
    "One of the biggest challenges that people face is keeping weight off in the long-term, says Prof. Jakubowicz. Ingesting a higher proportion of our daily calories at breakfast makes sense. It's not only good for body function, but it also alleviates cravings
    Highly restrictive diets that forbid desserts and carbohydrates are initially effective, but often cause dieters to stray from their food plans as a result of withdrawal-like symptoms. They wind up regaining much of the weight they lost during the diet proper. Though they consumed the same daily amount of calories, "the participants in the low carbohydrate diet group had less satisfaction, and felt that they were not full," she says, noting that their cravings for sugars and carbohydrates were more intense and eventually caused them to cheat on the diet plan. "But the group that consumed a bigger breakfast, including dessert, experienced few if any cravings for these foods later in the day." Ultimately, this shows that a diet must be realistic to be adopted as part of a new lifestyle. Curbing cravings is better than deprivation for weight loss success, Prof. Jakubowicz concludes.
    I agree.  Do you?  I base my agreement on the fact I can feel those cravings more on days where I don't include some "treats" (delicious carbs) with my breakfast.

    Diet Plan: Eat Desserts for Breakfast

    These results are certainly worth of hands-on research!  I don't know if I can afford to lose any weight per se, but I do know that when I get my tasty carbs early in the day that I experience the effect mentioned in the study: I crave carbs less later in the day. As such, I am looking at this latest information as confirmation that my current habits have at least some scientific backing now, and I will continue to enjoy my Gluten-Free Desserts with my breakfast.

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are availabl

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Kettle Cuisine Gluten-Free Thai Curry Chicken Soup Review

    Gluten-Free Soup Review

    Kettle Cuisine Thai Chicken Soup with Red Curry (image courtesy of their site) 

    Delicious Thai Curry Soup from Kettle Cuisine

    I have reviewed Kettle Cuisine soup in the past here on the Gluten-Free Blog, and found their products to be consistently high-quality and worthy of recommendation. I always intended to post additional reviews of the various Kettle Cuisine soups  — having only taken time to formally review the fantastic Chicken Noodle variety thus far — since I also really enjoy the New England Clam Chowder and some other varieties.  And, I just had to finally make time to review another delicious variety I just came across: the Kettle Cuisine Thai-Curry Chicken Soup.

    This soup is really, really good!  My wife and I both tried this for the first time recently, and we were absolutely amazed it was a "prepared" product.  We both commented that if we had been served this soup at a restaurant, we would have enjoyed it and never suspected it came out of the freezer!  And, that is saying something, since we both enjoy a variety of Asian / Thai cuisine.

    Here is how Kettle Cuisine describes this wonderful Gluten-Free Thai-Curry Chicken soup (at the time of this writing):
    All natural chicken, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, bell peppers and brown rice are combined with aromatic green curry, lemongrass and coconut milk in our made-from-scratch chicken stock to create a perfect balance of authentic Southeast Asian flavors.
    I think the description is accurate, as I believe they really managed to come up with a near-perfect balance of flavors.  I could distinctly detect the lemongrass in among the curry spices and the coconut-infused base, and the synergistic flavors were quite pleasing.  My only complaint (not at all specific to this product) is that I wish the sodium-levels were reduced some (vs. the current 560mg/bowl), but I also understand why the salt is there and how it will help the flavor-appeal for many consumers  — we just happen to be oddballs that do not add salt to most things we cook.

    I found the soup enjoyable and will eat it again... a little added salt will not keep me away from this, and certainly makes up for the preparation simplicity! The product comes in a 10-oz frozen container that you simply microwave for 3-4 minutes (time may vary a bit depending on your microwave); no thawing is required... you just take it from your freezer (where it has a nice, long shelf-life/freezer-life of a year or just over), place it in the microwave, and heat.

    Delicious Soup, in a Hurry...

    Bottom line: I can recommend this soup since it is a high-quality gluten-free product.  As with any product, personal preferences may vary, but I feel pretty comfortable thinking this soup will appeal to anyone that enjoys Southeast Asian inspired flavors and cuisine. It was delightful!  And, it just happens to be gluten-free! The soup happens to be dairy-free also, if that is a concern.

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available for free.

    Monday, January 09, 2012

    Kaia Foods Coupon: Gluten-Free Granola Review too

    Kaia Foods 20%-OFF Coupon / Discount-Code!

    Great Gluten-Free Sprouted Granola and more!

    I came across the fantastic Kaia foods granola products at our local Whole Foods store recently, and I really enjoyed the fact that they are a hearty 100% Raw, Certified Organic, Certified Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sprouted and dehydrated (not baked) high-quality and nutritious granola.  This is by no means average granola, but instead it is a robust premium blend of completely raw ingredients that comes together to form a tasty treat with excellent texture.

    I especially enjoyed the "Cocoa Bliss" variety (pictured above) which features sprouted buckwheat*, agave nectar*, raisins*, flax seeds*, sprouted sunflower seeds*, cacao powder*, sprouted pumpkin seeds*, sprouted walnuts*, dried coconut*, vanilla extract*, and sea salt. (*organic)

    When reading the ingredient list, I has some questions about the sprouted walnuts and contacted Kaia foods for more detail.  I was particularly curious as to how they acquired sprouted walnuts as I had never seen such a thing.  Here is a quoted response from Kaia foods about this ingredient and their current plans for further improving on a great product:
    We do have sprouted walnuts listed on our packaging when in fact they are soaked outside of their shells, but not soaked to the point where they form sprouts. We found that soaking our walnuts cuts down on the harsh acid that they release that can cause soars on the roofs of our mouths. The soaked walnuts also make for a creamier bite. Just so you know, we are in the process of revamping our recipes and we are actually removing all of the walnuts from our recipes. We found that the overall package stays fresher, longer, without the walnuts. So please stay tuned for our new and improved Cocoa Bliss flavor, we hope that you enjoy it.
    Well, that was neat to hear about.  I definitely like the current formulation and I expect their next iteration will be equally tasty (not sure what they plan to replace the walnuts with, but hopefully something that complements the other ingredients nicely as the walnuts currently do).

    The Kaia Foods 20%-OFF Discount for an entire year!

    When I inquired about their Coco Bliss granola, Kaia foods was nice enough to not only explain their ingredients and manufacturing process, but they also were kind enough to offer me a Coupon-Code for 20% off all their products for all my Gluten-Free Blog readers.  You can get this discount when you shop on their online store (which I have done and confirmed this coupon-code works fine), and during the checkout process there is a field for entering the following coupon code:

    GLUTENFREEBLOG

    The Kaia foods web-store [UPDATE 2017: Kaia site appears to be no longer; not sure if they are still making this product or not, but I hope so since it was fantastic!]

    This is a great deal, and this coupon-code should be in effect til approximately December, 2012!  I can get the various Kaia granola, cookies, and snack foods now via their online web store for a better price than I recently purchased a batch for at Whole Foods.  There is a $5.00 fixed-price shipping (per order) which is easily outweighed by this 20% discount (e.g., just purchasing 3 bags of granola at this sale price covers the shipping, and above that is all a bonus savings).

    I ordered some of their other organic and raw-ingredient products and look forward to trying them and perhaps even posting more comments about them here.  They offer the following products:
    • Buckwheat Granolas: Cocoa Bliss Buckwheat Granola, Cherry Pie  Buckwheat Granola, Date & Spice Buckwheat Granola, Raisin Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola,
    • Alive and Radiant Cookies: including the "Raweo" cookies — these are what Oreo cookies should be! All  organic, gluten-free, vegan, and raw-ingredients!  It is about as healthy as you can get with a "cookie".  There are a few varieties: the Original Raweo Cookie and the Oh So Fudgie Raweo Cookie and even a Raweo Chai cookie.  Kaia foods cookies also include a Luscious Lemon Swirl variety and a Contrast Cookie.
    • Alive & Radiant Kale Krunch and the Kaia Kale Chips: I have not tried these yet, but I do like toasted kale so I would bet I would like these.  I toast my kale in the oven and turn it into a light and crunchy snack, but you could never package such a delicate creation.  Kaia seems to have created some interesting snacks based around kale and other sprouted ingredients that sounds rather yummy; if anyone has tried these and wants to share comments, please do do.
    I hope you are able to enjoy these products and especially make use of this wonderful Kaia foods discount for 2012!

    Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available for free.