Category Archives: Staple foods

How to not break gluten free wraps

This question has actually come up twice in the last 48 hours, so I figured it must be something that people are wondering.  I eat gluten free wraps a LOT – specifically the Food for Life brown rice tortillas.  I dip them in hummus, fill them with tuna salad, and make them into quesadillas.  When you get them from the frozen section of the grocery store, they are hard as a rock and sometimes covered in little ice crystals…not very appetizing.  I usually break off half of one since they’re pretty large, and put the rest back for later.

So, here’s the magic trick to getting the wrap not to break when you use it…

Treat them like corn tortillas and use one of these two prep methods.

Method A:

  1. Wet hands with water
  2. Rub both sides of the tortilla
  3. Put on a plate and microwave for 12 seconds
  4. If it’s still a bit too wet, flip it over and add 5 seconds more

Method B:

  1. Quickly run a paper towel under water
  2. Mush it into a ball so the entire thing is a bit wet
  3. Ring it out so the towel is just damp all over
  4. Wrap tortilla in paper towel
  5. Microwave for 15 seconds

If you use one of those two methods, the wrap will definitely not break on you. Now, it isn’t going to stay totally moist and wonderful forever.  But it will definitely stay like that for your meal.  If I’m packing one for lunch, I try to put a layer of hummus on it in the morning (then fill with whatever you want), which seems to keep it moist until lunch.

Hope that helps!

Oh snap! (and crackle and pop)…Rice Krispies go gluten free

I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.  Rice Krispies have finally eliminated the malt barley from their recipe and gone gluten free! Check out the Rice Krispies website for more info on the cereal, which they’re branding as “a gluten-free option with the same beloved sound”.

Can’t wait to go on a scavenger hunt to find these around DC.  I’ll update when I find them!

Match up: Fruit Leather vs. Fruit Strips vs. Fruit Rollups

Whenever I’m in line at Whole Foods, I’m enticed by the 49 cent fruit strips they have near the check out.  I’ve gotten a couple, so I figured I should put them to the test.  The contenders are a more “crunchy” version, Kaia Fruit Leather, and the classic kids treat, Fruit Rollups.

First up: Kaia Foods Gogi Orange Fruit Leather

Ingredients: Orange, bananas, gogi berries

Before I ate this, I didn’t see that there were bananas in it.  They probably use nanners to give the leather some sweetness, since there’s no added sugar.  I appreciate the simplicity of the ingredients, but not the way it tasted.

Kind of like eating a really thin, dirty orange peel.  It was definitely fun to eat, and good for me, but not necessarily the tastiest thing I’ve ever had.

Next up: Whole Foods 365 Organic Blueberry Fruit Strip

Ingredients: apples, organic natural flavor, fruit juice concentrate (blueberry and lemon)

Image from mandysmeals.com

There are a ton of varieties of the Whole Foods strips (those that I can think of off the top of my head = peach, berry, strawberry, blueberry, cherry, apricot).  All of them have apples listed as their first ingredient, but due to the fruit juice concentrate in them, they have a strong taste of whatever fruit flavor is in them.  They’re not as chewy as either Kaia or Fruit Roll-ups, but they feel more natural that way (like, fruit shouldn’t be impossible to get out of the grooves in your teeth).  They have a bit of texture to them, but are generally a great small snack for pre-workout, or when you just need a little sugar.

And the hometown favorite: Fruit Roll-ups, made by Betty Crocker (who knew?)

Ingredients: a whole lot of stuff.

I was impressed when I saw the clear “gluten-free” label on the front of the box.  That Betty Crocker really has high gf awareness.

That said…Fruit Roll-ups were not like I remembered them to be.  When I was a kid each one felt almost like a blanket of chewy fruit goodness.  You could punch out shapes in them, stick your tongue through one, and amuse yourself for hours on end.  As an almost adult, it was just kid of…ordinary.  The colors are blinding (especially the unappetizing blue/green one), it gets stuck in your teeth, and it takes me about 45 seconds to eat one.

And the winner?

Whole Foods 365 Fruit Strips! 

I would choose these even over my old childhood staple Fruit Roll-ups, and I would choose just about anything over the Kaia ones.  So, stock up…they are only 49 cents each, after all.

Kookie Karma

I love when a gluten free company is also hip.  I haven’t seen cookies from Kookie Karma in many places, but they are some of the best gluten free cookies I have ever had.

They’re better than Lara Bars cookie dough…

They’re better than Enjoy Life’s cookies…

And they are certainly better than Glow chocolate chip cookies (although I do appreciate their design sense) …

Kookie Karma holistic chocolate chip cookies are ridiculously moist (probably due to the almond butter) and have great texture (due to the coconut and chia seeds).  Plus the dark chocolate chips are big (and if you put them by your computer fan, like I did, then they are also melty).  Plus with 8 grams of protein these are a much better alternative to Betty Crocker.

 

The Cheesiest

I think that even if I got the new Celiac vaccine that just passed clinical trials, I would still eat this mac and cheese from Outrageous Foods that I got at G-Free NYC in my big stock up before moving to Washington DC tomorrow.

At first I was skeptical because this mac and cheese comes frozen, but it was the best that I’ve ever had!  It’s like the Velveeta kind that’s super thick and cheesy, with lots of the cheese sauce to go around.  The noodles are also really soft and substantial.   I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing in one sitting just so I could eat it twice 🙂

Skinny snacks: gluten free

I’ve tried two “skinny” snacks lately that I’m hooked on.  I kind of hate that I’m even calling these skinny snacks, but they’re skinny in shape and low in calories, so the name fits.  None of these snacks will make you skinny, especially when you eat four servings at a time like I do.  But they sure are tasty!

Skinny Snack #1

Skinny Crisps

I tried a free sample of these at G-free NYC last week and loved all of the flavors, but I picked up a bag of the cinnamon crisps and have hardly put down the bag since. The most interesting part about these is that they taste just like pita chips baked with butter and cinnamon, but they’re low carb! (?)  The first ingredient is ground almonds, then chickpea flour, organic ground golden flax seed, psyllium husks, organic dehydrated cane juice, and olive oil.  So there’s NO rice flour, like most gluten free cracker products, and they’re so much more indulgent. Well, they taste more indulgent, but they’re really not (8 big crackers for 120 cals)

Skinny snack #2

Annie Chun’s Seaweed Snacks

These are basically like fish food for people.  They’re a great thing to mindlessly snack on at work, and have a ton of Vitamin A.  You will look like a weirdo eating these, but they’re pretty addictive.

Skinny Snack #3

Falafel Chips

I brought these to a potluck at work, and was surprised to hear how much everyone loved them!  The spicy chips taste JUST like the crispy part of falafel, only they aren’t fried (11 chips for 118 cals) and you can store them for longer.

Snack it up!

Grand Opening Field Trip: G-Free NYC

I managed to make it up to the Upper West Side today for the Grand Opening of G-Free NYC!  I needed some gluten free oats, plus I wanted to check out if they had any new loot that I couldn’t find at Whole Foods or the other natural stores I usually go to.

The store itself is pretty small, with a window seat, three freezers, a full wall of pantry shelves, and a table in the middle to house the baked goods imported in from Tulu’s.

The first freezer had desserts, including break-and-bake cookie dough, “Ring Tings”, cheesecakes, ice cream sandwiches, tiramisu, and ice cream.  The break-and-bakes and ice cream sandwiches were new to me, but with so many fresh desserts I chose to focus my energy elsewhere.

The second freezer had breads, including hamburger buns, bagels, and Italian bread.

The third had more bread, with frozen baguettes, buns, and English muffins.  The frozen baguettes are not something I’ve seen before, but at $7 and some change I decided to wait until a special occasion.

The pantry shelves held a couple more gems, including one of my purchases: individual packets of tamari soy sauce!  Usually I lug around my La Choy in my purse, but this will be much more convenient.  I’ve considered ordering these online before, but they only come in multi-packs, and who really needs 10 boxes of these?

I found another item that I considered purchasing online before in the pantry as well…Skinny Crisps!  They also had all four flavors on the counter as free samples, and all of them were wonderful.  Onion and cheese for savory-lovers and chocolate and cinnamon/sugar for the sweet-lovers.

Speaking of free samples… cinnamon rolls were out for the taking!

I picked up a carrot cake from Tulu’s for the train home, and an apple pie from Pi!  This things smells amazing and looks buttery and flakey, can’t wait to try it!  They also had potato knishes made by Pi, and some vegan cupcakes (which didn’t look that great to me – especially compared to the frosting perfection on Tulu’s).

I love that this store exists, that I could walk around and not be afraid to taste things, and not have to check labels.  I only wish that it was closer to my work or apartment!

My haul = Skinny Crisps ($7), Tulu’s carrot cake loaf ($3.95), Pi apple pie ($4.50), and 20 pack of tamari soy sauce ($4.95).

For a full list of the products sold at G-Free, check out their website.

I hope more people go to G-Free to support local business and the gf community!

G-Free NYC

77 West 85th Street (1,2, A, C, E)

g-freenyc.com

For reals gluten free – Pao de Queijo/Pan de Yuca

One of the benefits of living in such a diverse neighborhood is getting introduced to new foods I wouldn’t have tried or known existed before.  Like Pao de Queijo, or Pan de Yuca – otherwise known as “Cheesy chewy bread of amazement”.  This bread tastes like it’s full of gluten because it’s so chewy and moist, but it’s made entirely of yuca flour and has been forever and ever.  This is one of those things that make you say, “These are gluten-free?”…”For reals?!”

One disclaimer is that normally these are not made in a dedicated bakery, so there is a chance for cross-contamination.  So, those with extremely sensitive allergies might want to steer clear.

Apparently these little babies have been getting some press lately (see Brazilian Cheezy-Poofs on Serious Eats).

Around Astoria I know two places that have them, the aptly named New York Pao de Queijo on 31st Ave and 30th St and La Casa del Pan.  At New York Pao de Queijo they also have fillings for the bread like catupiri (a soft cheese), ham and cheese, caramel (?), and guava paste.  Plus they have flan and rice pudding for dessert.

At La Casa del Pan they have the normal Pao de Queijo and ones that are shaped like bagels, plus arepas and a window display of pre-cooked bacon.

In the city I know they have this bread at Big Booty Bread Company and a lot of other places, as chronicled by Always Hungry.  I think I’ll have to take a field trip to Churrascaria Plataforma on 49th St. sometime soon.

Get these on your table and in your tummy as soon as possible.

Eco-Planet Organics Instant Hot Cereal

I was in a ridiculously long line at Whole Foods, looking for something to amuse me, when I came up to a discarded grocery item that I had to reclaim for myself.  It was eco-planet instant hot cereal!  It has “more protein, fiber, and Omega-3s than any regular oatmeal – with less sugar,” so I figured that it could be a great alternative to my usual oatmeal in the morning.

Orphan cereal

I took this little guy home and whipped him up with some cranberries (left over from stringing them on our Christmas tree), cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup.

Yum!

It’s a great quick and satisfying snack, or a light breakfast.  Plus it’s got to be good for you with all of the super-grains it has in it (amaranth, chicory root, flaxseed, chia flour, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet).

I’m definitely going to bring a few of these individually-wrapped packets with me next time I travel (certainly beats hotel powdered eggs).

Get it here.

Frozen Lara Bars? Genius!

 

Look for the polka dots!

 

Have you seen the new Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Carrot Cake, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavors of Lara Bars?  

Ever since I saw them on another blog (which one is escaping me now) – I was on the look out for these in my local Whole Foods and health stores, but for weeks they evaded me.  I couldn’t even find them online!  

Then, just when I thought hope was lost, I found them at Sunac (26th Street and 6th Avenue).  I scooped up a cookie dough and a brownie (they still don’t have in the peanut butter ones, sigh.)  

So chock-full of chocolate, and only FOUR ingredients!  Makes a girl almost feel like it could be a little tiny bit good for you? 

THEN – I saw the genius idea to FREEZE them!  Why didn’t I think of that? 

So I put one in the freezer at work and ate it while walking to the subway on my way home on Friday.  Nothing better to put a nice cherry on top of a work week 🙂

Next up – freezing it and mushing it up into some vanilla ice cream.  

Also, finding the peanut butter ones!