Monday, August 8, 2011

Things we like...and some we don't

Now, as far as the gluten-free lifestyle goes, there's WAY more choices than ever before. 

The other side of ten, five, or even two years ago, gluten-free products were still pretty difficult to locate. Now mainstream grocers will actually label their shelves with tags that point to products not only in the "organic" or "natural" aisle (where a majority of gluten-free items are often stocked together) but throughout the entire store (i.e., gluten-free pasta is next to the wheat pastas in the pasta aisle. Novel idea, really.) 

So here, in somewhat random order (much like our grocery lists) are the products we've come to know as our new favorites. Some of the notes include the ones we've wasted our hard-earned money on and promised to never buy again. 

Very simply, these are our own personal opinions on individual products that will (hopefully) help you find new normal options for you and your family without you wasting money and meals trying a myriad of products that are disappointing at best. Good luck!

Eat-This-Now list 

Excellent as toast and grilled sandwiches. Still not exactly normal (for a peanut butter and jelly, let's say) but pretty darn close. Great for kids, as it's a softer, smoother bread similar (but not exactly) Wonderbread and the like. Will keep on the kitchen counter or breadbox just like regular wheat bread- doesn't mold immediately upon coming out of the freezer! Of Original, Multigrain, and Cinnamon Raisin varieties, we've tried the first two and loved them!

Note: Rudi's bread is great. Rudi's bagels...not so great. Try Udi's (different company altogether) bagels instead. (Scroll down for more info on Udi's)

$: 5-6/18 oz. loaf (Hannafords, Whole Foods)

Canyon Bakehouse Gluten-free Sandwich breads-

Okay, so not sure which is better- Rudi's or Canyon Bakehouse. The best way we can think to say it: 

If you used to eat whole-grain, nutty wheat breads, try Canyon Bakehouse breads (San Juan 7-grain is amazing.) 

If you prefer Wonderbread or simple white or wheat sandwich breads, try Rudi's- especially for little kiddos.

$: 5-6/18 oz. loaf  (Whole Foods)

Best buns hands down. Truly normal to us. 

$: 5-6/ 12 oz. (4-pack) (Whole Foods)

Bagels are tough for gluten-free diets. These are the best we've tried yet. They still need a little work, but comparatively they're heads above the competition. Other bagels are heavier and come in higher count bags, but they do not toast, do not have taste or texture, or feel like a rock in your stomach as soon as you're done eating it. These are soft-er and tast-ier. I would say it's worth trying once at least, to see if it's your thing, too. Varieties include: Plain, Whole-Grain, and Cinnamon Raisin

Note: Udi's bagels are delicious. And although Udi's bread is widely available, and palatable in a pinch, it doesn't compare (to our taste buds) to the others listed above. The slices are hole-y and the texture is very dry, especially after thawing.

$: 5-6/ 14 oz. (4 bagels) (Hannafords, Shaws, Whole Foods)

Tastes so very close to normal to us- and our gluten-eating family members, too. 

*Cooking tip: Boil a little longer than wheat pastas, and refrigerate leftover pasta in a Ziploc or container with a little water, and reboil briefly before serving again. If making a pasta bake, aim to make just enough for one family meal with no leftovers- gluten-free pasta just doesn't translate well without that brief re-boiling step.

$: 2-3 for 12 oz. (Walmart, Whole Foods)

Orgran Gluten-free Rice and Corn Pasta Macaroni-

Delicious- closest to normal of any pasta (but definitely costlier and harder to find.) The key to this is the same as the Heartland pastas: it is a combination of rice AND corn in the pasta ingredients. Any other combination we've tried (buckwheat, millet, rice-only, corn-only, etc.) just tastes really OFF: sometimes it doesn't cook thoroughly, or it is slimy...just not good. More delicious varieties of rice and corn pasta from this company include: Spirals, Penne, Tortelli, Macaroni, Lasagne, Noodles, and Risoni (Garlic and Herb flavoured)  

$: 3-4 for 7-8.8 oz. package (Whole Foods)


Bob's Red Mill Chocolate and Vanilla Cake Mixes-

Tastes like it sounds- good chocolate and vanilla cakes. Can be used as cupcakes, too. Makes a little less than a traditional box cake mix (18.25 oz.), but very tasty for birthday cakes for the kids!

*Baking tip (from the company): Texture is a little different, but if cake(s) are removed from (preferably glass) pan between 5-10 minutes into the cooling process after baking, the "gummy" texture can be greatly reduced. 

$: 2-4 for 16 oz. mix (Walmart, Ocean State Job Lot, Reny's, Whole Foods)

Simply delicious. After not eating donuts for almost a year, I was more than excited to try these- and they are great. A little heavier (and smaller) than your average donut, but tastes amazing (and has less fat than the average donut!) In all fairness, I've only had the vanilla-glazed so far, simply because I like them so much I don't want to try the others. Also available in Chocolate-glazed, Cinnamon Sugar, and Maple-glazed varieties

$: 5-6/ 9.5-11 oz. (6-pack) (Hannafords, Shaws, Whole Foods)

Keep checking for more updates, and please comment with any GF products you feed your family on a daily basis!


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