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Category Archives: Products

Too Tired to Cook

Ever find yourself driving home after a long week, no idea what to make for dinner, and all you want to do is just sit on the sofa, snap your fingers and “POOF!” dinner is in front of you?  Coming back after a long Saturday at work that is exactly what I wanted – the night off (and that included cooking).

With limited dinner options at home I went to Wegmans and found myself wandering the gluten-free isle.  I was tired and hungry, and had no idea what I felt like eating. Make something from scratch? Semi-homemade? Prepared? Moseying through the products I found myself staring at the pizza crusts and realized pizza was quick and easy. Then I started looking at the personal pan gluten-free pizzas and decided I should try one.  I couldn’t remember the last time I made a pizza, and I certainly have never paid the money for a small prepared one as they can be costly.  As a treat to myself the prepared pizza was the winner, and I picked a good one too.

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Conte’s Margherita Pizza with Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil was absolutely delicious.  Compared to other brands I’ve tried, this one was pretty good.  While it’s tough to replace your local pizza shop pie, Conte’s does satisfy the pizza craving.  The best part about the pizza was the packaging – you could buy it right off the shelf and put it in the oven! When I buy this again I would probably let it cook a little longer or for the last few minutes I would remove it from the tray just so I could have the crust crisp up a little more.

Gluten-Free Pizzelles

During this festive time of the year you tend to seek nostalgic foods.  For me that would include biscotti and pizzelles or pretty much anything that has anise in it.  To my delight my mom has perfected the gluten-free biscotti, which I was able to enjoy over Christmas dinner (if I can get the recipe I’ll share!).  I haven’t had a biscotti in a long time, and the first recognizable feature was a delectable CRUNCH followed by the anise flavor, and an overall delightful cookie experience.  Going gluten-free has meant certain foods can lack flavor or texture, and it has taken time to incorporate certain dishes into the gluten-free lifestyle.  With homemade meals, you can tweak your recipe here and there to recreate the meal you want.  That isn’t always the case with store-bought meals.

As always, when shopping I try to venture out and try a new brand or product.  I didn’t have much time to bake this season, and since I”m on my anise kick these days I opted to try Bella Lucia Italian Pizzelles. Store bought gluten-free pizzelles seemed risky, but I was willing to give them a try.  Thankfully I did!  They aren’t the exact replica from the days when my grandfather and I used his cast-iron skillet that cooked one pizzelle at a time, but they are delicious.  They have a hearty bite to them, and wonderful flavoring.  Best of all they didn’t crumble.  If you are short on time or want to try a new product I would recommend these.  They can be a little pricey, at $5.99 for 10 pizzelles (per Wegmans), but they’re worth it for a special occasion or a treat.

Wawa for Gluten-Free Finds

Wawa has everything!  Gas, quick snacks, coffee, hot meals.  If you’re from the area you probably share my affinity for Wawa.  Best of all, for the gluten-free eater, you can go beyond the bag of chips for a quick snack.  They offer hot foods like gluten-free chili, deli meats, and tasty drinks.

Below is what the response I received from a Wawa representative regarding gluten-free food in their stores or go to the Quick Gluten Free References page:

Wawa – Gluten Free

Thank you for asking after gluten free products at Wawa. Ingredients and allergen statements for most of our foodservice products can be found on http://www.wawa.com/WawaWeb/Nutrition/Default.aspx. Please click on the Nutrition link on the left, then choose the category in which you are interested. Following is a short list of products you may find at your favorite Wawa that are gluten free…(received on 01/28/12)

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Gluten-Free at Chick-fil-A

I find myself constantly checking websites to search products that are safe.  Instead of having to search, I thought it would be easier to compile all the responses I’ve received from companies plus information I found on websites in one convenient place.

Below you will find a the response I from Chick-fil-A regarding their gluten-free products.  Also check out my new page Quick Gluten Free References.  Please note the dates each company was researched on, policies can change frequently so I still urge you to ask when in doubt.

Chick-fil-A – Gluten Free

The following information is provided for those customers who have intolerance to gluten (wheat, barley, rye, triticale, oats and spelt).
Below is a list of our menu items that may fit your gluten-free diet…(received 02/24/12)

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Gluten Free Candy

Halloween is here!  You may be giving out candy or walking door to door with you little ones, but do you know what candy is safe to eat?  Here is a quick run-down of gluten-free candy by a few popular manufacturers:

For all of you chocolate fans out there you’ll be happy to view Hershey’s gluten free candy list and Nestle’s gluten-free chocolate candy that provides a quick look at what they offer.  Mars follows strict food labeling rules but still request that consumers read the ingredient list to be certain it is safe.

Just Born candy is a perfect option for those that aren’t looking for a chocolate fix.  Haribo lists their gluten-free products like their signature gummy bears, but they also detail their non gluten-free candy like licorice.  Starburst and Starburst jelly beans, as well as Skittles are great options for a nice non-chocolate treat too.

The list can go on, but I want to post this before the holiday is completely over.  I will continue to update this as well as my new page ‘Quick Gluten-Free References’, which lists out by manufacturer the products that are gluten-free and where you can find the information.  I like to think of this page as my ongoing project as the research will never stop!!

Italian Anyone?

Italian Anyone?

I LOVE pasta.  As an Italian it would be an oxymoron to state otherwise. Unfortunately, a gluten-free diet was not so kind to my affinity for baked ziti, lasagna or stuffed shells. Initially my options were limited, and it was hard at first to find gluten-free substitutes.  This was upsetting as I grew up breathing in the scent of gravy cooking on the stove in the late morning, with garlic and basil floating in the air. Freshly grated locatelli cheese covered the countertop, and meatballs sizzled in the oven awaiting their destiny to be married to red gravy. A thing of the past? Nope. Take a look at the picture to the left – looks just like homemade!

Gluten-free living continues to become easier thanks to product advancements. The evolution of non-mushy gluten-free noodles has revived my enthusiasm for pasta and meatballs, and as a busy Celiac (aren’t we all?) I can even appreciate sauce-in-a-jar like Classico.  But what about involved dishes – will I be able to have a satisfying dinner of say manicotti again? I don’t always have time to peruse the supermarket aisles to learn about new products that are being introduced. I was in luck when I discovered Caesar’s Pasta at the Appetite For Awareness event, and I was fortunate enough to sample their gluten-free chicken lasagna.  Thus a new brand has entered my life.

Built on an Italian tradition of providing quality ingredients and flavor, Caesar’s Pasta has taken a significant leap to accommodate its Celiac customer.  Their products are not only delicious and reasonably priced, but their gluten-free product line is VAST.  Lasagna – cheese, veggi or chicken?  Gnocchi – potato or spinach?  Cannelloni or stuffed shells?  Each dish is a perfect size for one, and while it’s heating up the aroma penetrates the air bringing back fond Sunday dinner memories of Italian seasonings and hearty cheeses.  It’s exciting to learn about progressive food manufacturers, like Caesar’s Pasta, who take into account the dietary restrictions of its customers, and are able to deliver an excellent product.   The next time I have the “What’s for dinner?” question lingering I think I’ll go with the spinach gnocchi…

Pound Cake

The term “pound cake” brings to mind a sweet, hearty, and rich cake.  Best served with a glass of milk in my opinion, but I know others who prefer it with a cup of tea or coffee.  My pre-celiac years recall sharing this dessert with my grandfather who always had a treat reserved for any given day.  Sometimes homemade, sometimes store-bought, but always scrumptious. I have never attempted to bake a pound cake, neither gluten-free nor the gluten-laden version.  Thankfully I don’t have to either.  Thanks again to Jennie’s Gluten-Free Bakery, they have now introduced to the celiac community a satisfying treat worth trying.

There are two varieties:  classic and marble.  When you take your first bit you can taste a slight coconut flavor, and the texture is that of a moist cake – a nice treat I didn’t have to bake.  Perhaps that it part of the reason I was smiling.  This was made for me and still tasted good, and to me food always tastes good when you don’t have to make it 🙂

A great selling point I would like to highlight is the packaging.  Each box contains five individually wrapped single mini-cakes.  Perfect for one and ready for travel.

These cakes aren’t in stores just yet so please visit the site to shop online and try some.  I think it’s wonderful that companies such as Jennie’s strive to introduce new products to the gluten-free community.  To me it’s exciting to see companies expand their product lines to encompass individual wants while still making sure celiac needs are met (no cross contamination here!).  In time I hope to find these on store shelves along with their macaroons.