Jan 30, 2009

Terrific Things - Mike Eberhart's Gluten Free News Aggregator

Mike Eberhart created and administers this wonderful news aggregator, which contains the latest gluten free blog postings as well as gluten free and Celiac Disease news. It is a wonderful resource, which allows me to not only discover other gluten free blogs, but to be informed of all the latest news. It is amazing how much I learned from reading other gluten free blogs! This site is one of my favorites, and I check it daily.

If you would like your blog to be added, follow the easy setup instructions. You can read more about Mike's cookbook "Gluten-Free & Wheat-Free Gourmet Desserts" and other recipes on his blog. You can buy his cookbook with a satisfaction guarantee by clicking here. He is currently working on a free E-book "Gluten-Free Biscotti and Scones". Thank you Mike for helping to connect gluten free bloggers and keep us all informed!

Jan 27, 2009

Review - Schar Shortbread Cookies

Schar shortbread cookies have no gluten, lactose, or preservatives. Each serving of four cookies has only 130 calories, five grams of fat, five grams of sugar, and 20mg of sodium.

These cookies are great! The taste and texture are like regular shortbread cookies. The shape is perfect for adding your favorite topping to the center of the cookie. I enjoyed them with strawberry preserves. I look forward to eating them next time with Kozy Shack chocolate pudding. Here is a quote from my daughter, "I like eating these cookies best plain, so I can enjoy the yummy taste".

There are seven servings in the bag. I purchased these at a local health food store, Roots Market, for $5.99. They can also be ordered online from several sites.

Jan 23, 2009

Amazing Awareness - Erin McKenna's Gluten Free Baking Videos at FoodNetwork.com

According to a press release, "FoodNetwork.com's "Conscious Cooking" videos rethink health food and offer tips for wholesome dishes and snacks. The five-part series is hosted by culinary expert Colombe Jacobsen, who was a finalist in season three of "The Next Food Network Star." Cooking alongside Colombe are various New York chefs including Erin McKenna, PeterBerley, Galen Zamarra, and Sam Talbot." There are five gluten free baking videos, featuring Erin McKenna from Babycakes NYC Bakery, which is vegan and gluten free. These videos are an online exclusive; they did not air on Food Network television.

While I was reading the press releases on the Babycakes website, I came across this from July 2008: "BabyCakes NYC's Erin McKenna on the cover on Inc. magazine with Top Chef's Tom Colicchio. The Get Ahead Guide: Erin McKenna Makes the Best Cupcakes in New York City". Here are some other facts from the article: "New York named BabyCakes' cupcake the city's best in 2006, and founder Erin McKenna has been featured on Martha Stewart's show. A second BabyCakes store will open this fall in Los Angeles." Her skinny buns were on Oprah's best list in March 2008. Erin's cookbook will be available on April 28, 2009 and can be preordered now on Amazon for $16.32. The cookbook even has celebrity reviews. WOW! Now, that is Amazing Awareness!

Jan 20, 2009

Terrific Things - Karina's Kitchen Blog Nominated for Award - Vote!

Karina's Kitchen is a wonderful gluten free blog and the creator of the I blog gluten-free logo. I just read on her blog that she has been nominated for The Well Fed Network’s 2008 Food Blog Awards in the category of Best Food Blog- Theme. Polls close at 8pm EST on Saturday, January 24, so vote now. It would be so awesome to see a gluten free blog win, but right now she is in 4th place, so let's help Karina get the recognition she deserves by voting! Thanks Karina for your informative and inspiring blog!

Update - Jan. 22, 2009 - Karina's Kitchen is now in first place!!! Vote if you haven't already done so in order for her to keep her lead and win!

Update - Jan. 24, 2008 - Karina's Kitchen is in second place. VOTE immediately before voting ends tonight at 8pm EST.

Update - Jan. 27, 2009 - Karina's Kitchen did not win, but it was an extremely close race. Congratulations to her on getting over 1200 votes! According to the list of winners in each category, Lunch in a Box was the winner. It was nice to see that there were some gluten free prizes given to a few winners in other categories. Here's is an interesting quote about celiac disease from the posting on Lunch in a Box about this award, "I felt a kinship with the gluten-free folks as I originally got into bento lunches when my husband was misdiagnosed with celiac disease and we ate gluten-free for nine months."

Jan 16, 2009

Review - Kinnikinnick S'moreables Graham Style Crackers

Kinnikinnick S'moreables Graham Style Crackers have a recipe on the box for making S’mores. So after buying Kraft Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and Hershey bars, I was eager to try them. Upon opening the box, I was disappointed at the small size of these crackers and that every cracker in the box was broken! I think the crackers aren’t packaged well because this is the only thing in my order from glutenfree.com that was broken. The S’mores recipe says to break the crackers in half, so it didn’t matter that mine were already broken (although some pieces were too small to use).

I made some in the oven as the recipe says and some in the microwave (10 seconds). If using one large marshmallow, I recommend cutting about ¼ off the marshmallow before cooking, since these crackers are small, especially when broken in half. Surprisingly, the ones made in the microwave tasted better. The graham cracker didn’t taste as good after being heated in the oven. I like the holes in the graham crackers, where chocolate can ooze through when eating.

Although they are much smaller than gluten graham crackers (Nabisco), the taste is similar. These crackers held up well when I spread Jif peanut butter on them. I really enjoyed them with peanut butter. Eating these yummy S’mores reminded me of Girl Scout camping trips when I was a kid.
Update - Jan. 27, 2009 - I purchased another box of these at a local health food store and am happy to report that most of them were not broken. Only four were broken this time.

Jan 12, 2009

Gluten Free Science Fair Projects

Here are some links to science fair projects about gluten free products and Celiac Disease. One of the best things about doing a gluten free project is the opportunity to inform others about Celiac Disease when they read the display board. Please post your ideas below.

1. Gluten Free "Play-Doh" - The Gluten Free Mama has several recipes on her site that you can use for this experiment. I have some additional links at the bottom of my blog. Once you have made several kinds of gluten free dough from different ingredients, I imagine you could devise tests to compare:
- how quickly they dry out
- how closely the appearance resembles Play-doh
- texture and usability - have classmates rate each one after playing with them

2. Make a model of a cross section of the small intestines using a dryer hose and demonstrate how food travels through the intestines.

3. Compare gluten free breads. I enjoyed reading about this experiment done by 14 year old Bethany called "Tasty Glutenfree Bread".

4. Sprouting Grains - Observe how different grains grow.

My daughter, who is in first grade, just completed her first science fair experiment. Her experiment was called "Which Paper Towel Absorbs the Most Water". Maybe another year we will try a gluten free experiment.

Jan 9, 2009

Review - Cornito Noodles

Cornito pasta is egg, gluten and cholesterol free. It is also lactose, casein, and nut free. Cornito pasta is made from corn and potato and is vegan and lowfat. Each serving contains a significant amount of iron - 51% of the daily value. It also contains some calcium - 11% of the daily value.

Cornito noodles are delicious! They taste exactly like regular noodles! They have a good texture and do not stick together when cooked. The package recommends cooking for 6-10 minutes depending on the pasta type. I suggest 6-7 minutes for the noodles. Surprisingly, the taste and appearance is similar to pasta made from rice, not corn. My daughter said, "These are great - I want to eat them every week!".

Cornito pasta comes in six shapes - noodles, sea waves, elbow macaroni, rotini, rigatoni, and spaghetti. All shapes can be ordered from the Gluten-Free Trading Company for $2.79 each. Glutenfree.com sells three shapes - noodles, sea waves, and rotini for $3.19 each. I just ordered more noodles and some other shapes from the Gluten-Free Trading Company. I will put an update at the end of this post after I try some of the other shapes.

Update - Jan. 16, 2009 - We tried the Cornito elbow macaroni and spaghetti. They were great! Cornito pasta seems durable - there were no broken pieces before or after cooking. The spaghetti is packaged as four "nests" and is about half the size of typical spaghetti. The spaghetti did fully separate after lots of stirring while cooking. Cornito is made in Hungary and imported by the Gluten-Free Trading Company.

Jan 6, 2009

Review - ANDI Bars

ANDI bars are protein bars made by the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI). According to their webpage, "ANDI Bars are Gluten-Free, Casein-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-free, GMO-free, Free of artificial flavors, colors & preservatives." They are currently manufacturing the following four flavors: chocolate shake, peanut butter & jelly, blueberry muffin, & vanilla shake.

I tried two flavors - blueberry muffin which is pictured above and peanut butter and jelly. These are dense moist bars, which are surprisingly soft and easy to chew. They have an occasional crunch from the flax seeds. I love that they are high in protein and taste good!

The blueberry muffin bar did have the flavor of a blueberry muffin. I didn't taste much peanut butter in the peanut butter and jelly bar, so I think a better name would be jelly cookie bar. It seemed like just the right amount of jelly in the bar - not too sweet. The jelly in the bar is best described as seeds or tiny chips throughout the bar. Happily, it is not like a cereal bar filled with jelly. I think these bars would appeal to both kids and adults.

ANDI bars are not sold in any stores in Maryland. I ordered these two from glutenfree.com at a cost of $2.79 each. With the standard UPS ground shipping, I was thrilled to receive my order from glutenfree.com the day after it shipped, since they are located nearby in Virginia.

The bars can also be ordered directly from ANDI. I just ordered the multipack of 10 bars for $23.50. I chose the priority mail shipping for $6.50 as the phone rep informed me for ordering only one box priority mail is cheaper than Fedex. They also sell the bars individually for $2.35. The best price would be to order a box of 12 of one flavor (once you find your favorite) for $26.95.

It sounds like chocolate shake is their best seller. Chocolate shake is back ordered until February 16, 2009, however there are enough in stock right now to include it in the multi-pack. You might want to call and double check before ordering the multipack, so a substitution isn't made. I am excited to try the chocolate shake bar! I am very happy that I finally found a yummy gluten free protein bar!

Update - Jan. 11, 2008 - I tried the chocolate shake and vanilla shake bars. The chocolate shake is very good. The taste is similar to the Enjoy Life Cocoa Loco bars. The vanilla shake was okay, but I like the other three flavors much better. I am still trying to decide which flavor is my favorite!

Update - I received the following information from Lisa Lewis at ANDI after she read my posting:
"FYI, we are moving towards our own manufacturing with the next batch. The ingredients and recipes will not change, and the bars may look a little different but will weigh the same. Soon we'll be using printed film (still waiting on delivery of the film) and at that point I may have better luck getting it into the bigger stores. As of now, they are available only in some independently owned health food stores. If you know of such a place, take a bar in and ask them to contact me, as we do sell wholesale." Her email is LLewis@autismndi.com

Jan 3, 2009

Review - Kunzler Chicken Hot Dogs

All Kunzler hot dogs say gluten free on the package. There is an useful allergen chart on their webpage and their hot dogs are free of many allergens. According to the Kunzler website, their hot dogs are made “only from the finest cuts of fresh meats”. They have “no meat by-products or organs, no binder or fillers, nothing artificial, and all natural spices”. They are manufactured in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and sold throughout the United States.

I recently tried the Kunzler Chicken Franks. I was very impressed with the taste. The dominant taste is chicken. There is no salty or spicy taste. The package says to boil for 3-5 minutes. I recommend boiling only for 3 minutes. They became softer than I like when boiled for longer. From what I remember, the taste is similar to the Wellshire kids chicken hot dogs.

I like that this chicken hot dog is lower in fat and sodium than other hot dogs. While these are not organic hot dogs like Wellshire and Applegate Farms, I am happy about the statement of quality ingredients. I have not tried the other Kunzler hot dogs yet as this is the only variety I could find, but I still need to check more supermarkets. The price is fantastic - $1.99 at Giant for 10 hot dogs! Thanks to Kunzler, there is a new favorite hot dog in my home!

Jan 1, 2009

Terrific Things - Kyle Dine CD (Gluten Free Blues song)

I just discovered this amazing CD for kids with allergies. It is called You Must be Nuts! by Kyle Dine. There is also an upbeat song included for kids with Celiac Disease called Gluten Free Blues (click this link to listen to the entire song). I like that he includes in the song lyrics that it is not an allergy.

The songs I listened to online made me smile. The songs are very catchy. You might also enjoy No Dairy Please! I imagine kids (and adults) will love the Epi-Man song. There are 14 tracks on the CD and it is the first CD about food allergies.

You can buy the CD released in 2007 at CD Baby, but it is temporarily out of stock. This Canadian musician also performs an interactive show in schools to raise allergy awareness. I love the purpose of his CD - "to educate and empower those dealing with food allergies".

Article includes Rice Chex on list of 2008 favorite new products

Happy New Year! In the daily press article, Some new products were better than others, Rice Chex is included on a list of favorite new products in 2008. The author says “Barley malt came out and molasses went in to make this one of the few reasonably priced mainstream cereals that can be enjoyed by the millions of Americans with celiac disease (and everyone else).” I hope that more major manufacturers will resolve in 2009 to follow this example from General Mills and come out with new and affordable gluten free products!