Category Archives: Product Reviews

Biscotti taste-off: Coffaros Baking Co vs. ginnybakes

Recently I was at HomeGoods, of all places, when I stumbled upon some gluten free chocolate chip biscotti. My grandma used to make me biscotti and send it to me by the dozen in college, so I grabbed a box for nostalgia’s sake. They’re made by Coffaros Baking Co.

I geared up to enjoy one with my morning coffee, and was greatly disappointed with the taste and texture. They were grainy and cardboard-esque, like they hadn’t gotten the memo that people expect more out of gluten free baked goods nowadays. I had two bites and threw the rest away.

Then about a week later I was contacted by ginnybakes asking if I’d like to try their almond and sunshine biscotti. Biscotti destiny.

biscotti

ginnybakes biscotti were everything that the other ones were not. They held their shape when submerged in coffee, they had a bit of a chew, lots of nutty flavor, and they’re only 60 calories a piece. The only thing they were missing was the chocolate chips :)

I’d had ginnybakes cookies before, which are great (you can buy them at the Whole Foods on Wisconsin in Glover Park), but I’ll definitely be buying the biscotti now as well.

Frozen meals: a necessary evil

Since starting my new job, I’ve had some growing pains figuring out what I can eat for lunch. My old job was smack dab in the middle of downtown DC, so there were tons of options around me, including a Whole Foods within walking distance.

Now that I’m working in more of a business district, there are only a few restaurants that are close by enough to quickly get something healthy (and gluten free, of course) to eat. So, I’ve had to get creative and rely more on leftovers, canned soups, and frozen meals.

I’ve found a couple that meet my requirements, which are: low in sodium (relatively, they’re all ridiculous), contains some vegetables, and as high in protein as I can get it.

1. Evol bowls

All four Evol bowls are gluten free, and they also sell three gluten free frozen burritos. While it’s definitely not the same as making it from scratch, it’s definitely a good option if you want something hot that’s made out of better ingredients.

evol frozen

2. Cedar Lane Natural Foods Egg White Omelette

I was admittedly skeptical of microwave eggs, but I’ve gotten about five of these so far and I kind of love them. The filling is cheesy and I always end up feeling satisfied when I’m finished. While it may not look very pretty, it tastes way better then you’d expect. They also sell three gluten free frittatas (mmm roasted chile and cheese) and a three-layer enchilada pie.

IMG_1488

 

I’ve vowed to start making meals ahead of time more, but until that day comes I’m happy to have found these two companies!

Any one else resort to frozen meals during the work day? Any suggestions for ones you like?

Meryienda cookies

I was so excited to try cookies from the adorable Elvira at Meryienda Gluten Free Bake Shop . While she’s new to the bakery business, you’d never know it from the amazing chewy cookies she’s created. I’m definitely a “thick and chewy” rather than a “thin and crunchy” kind of cookie-lover, so I was excited to see that they were nice and plump when I opened my package.

cookies

You know you’ve found a superior gluten free baked good when you find yourself saying “How did she do that?” after you try it. That and the fact that I had to force myself to freeze the cookies so I had a chance at not eating them all in one day.

The oatmeal raisin were by far my favorite. They were full of whole rolled oats and sunflower seeds (which I think were the secret ingredient – when they bake they get all covered in brown sugar and add a great crunch to each bite).

You can order online, or have them delivered within 24 hours if you live in Manhattan. It’s times like this when I miss living in the city…cookies on demand!

Do you have a “secret ingredient” that you put in your cookies?

This is my Gluten Free Christmas List: Third Edition

These are a few things I’d love to have, and I think would make great Christmas gifts for any Celiac out there. For more ideas see my 2011 gift guide and 2010 gift guide!

1. Gluten free kitchen art

I’d love to have this hanging in my kitchen some day!

2. Red Apple Lipstick

When it comes to beauty products, lipstick is one thing that you must make sure is gluten free. I sampled this lipstick at the DC gluten free expo and loved the “Flirt With Me” shade. Get a special deal when you order from Delight Gluten Free Magazine!

3. Gluten free gingerbread house making kit

I’m way too lazy to attempt to make one of these on my own, so this kit from Sensitive Sweets is perfect!

4. Bard’s Homebrew gluten free beer kit

Now, I wouldn’t say that Bard’s beer is my favorite (because, obviously that honor goes to Omission beer). But the idea of brewing your own beer at home is pretty rad (especially for those people who can’t find gluten free beer in their area).

What did I miss? What’s on your gluten free Christmas list? 

Goldilocks Goodies

I’m not writing this post just because Emily, the baker/owner of Goldilocks Goodies, is the sweetest ever. I mean, it’s part of the reason. But she is also one of the only gluten free bakers in DC, so she would deserve a post even if I didn’t love her.

Emily uses high-quality ingredients and imaginative recipes to make some delicious baked goods. Like these adorable gingerbread men:

Or these herb flatbreads that I used to sop up some homemade soup.

Yesterday I picked up a slice of chocolate gingerbread made with candied ginger from her stand at the Columbia Heights Farmers Market (every Saturday from 9am-1pm until December 15th).

I’ve also had her cookies: chewy, simple, and addictive.

She’s now selling jars of gluten free baking mixes (would make a great holiday gift).

Find out where to buy her goodies in the DC area on her website.
Order online.
Find Goldilocks Goodies on Twitter.

Why I’m Omission Beer’s biggest fan

If you follow me on Twitter, you can probably tell that I’m slightly…ok completely, obsessed with Omission Beer. I love it so much I actually bought stock in the company. Craft Brew Alliance (BREW) owns the popular beer Redhook, as well as all of the Widmer Brother’s and Kona Brewing Company beers. Currently Omission makes up only a small part of their sales, but if the rapid increase in availability in DC is any indication, it will continue to grow as demand for great-tasting gluten free beer increases. You heard it here first people: Omission is the new Redbridge. Only better.

A few weeks ago I was invited to an event at Churchkey hosted by the great folks at Omission. Churchkey provided some great gluten free appetizers (tater tots!) and the beer was flowing as I got the chance to talk to the passionate staff (many who are celiac’s themselves) at Omission. I even spent 20 minutes talking to Rob Widmer himself (star shock). He was so gracious, and listened to me jabber about gluten free beer.

So, why is Omission my favorite gluten free beer? A few reasons:

  1. Taste: Most importantly, this beer tastes great. It doesn’t have an aftertaste like sorghum beers do, it’s not too light like a cider, and everyone who has tried it has loved it – gluten free or not.
  2. Tested: Something truly unique about Omission is that every single batch is tested by an independent lab using the R5 Competitive ELISA for gluten content. You can actually go to their website and look up your beer using a serial number on the bottle to see the test results. That is real commitment to the celiac community.
  3. Availability: I swear I’m seeing Omission pop up in a new store every week. It’s now in three stores right by my apartment. Since Redhook is such a popular brand, if you request it at your local liquor or grocery store, it’s fairly likely that they should be able to order it for you. Picture below is from Sherry’s Liquor in Woodley Park. which just got it in.

Where to find Omission in Washington DC: 

  1. Churchkey (Logan Circle)
  2. Bier Baron (Dupont)
  3. Whole Foods P Street (I’m guessing most Whole Foods carry it)
  4. Fuel Pizza and Wings (multiple locations)
  5. Madhatter (Dupont)
  6. Mellow Mushroom (Adam’s Morgan)
  7. Thunder Burger (Georgetown)
  8. Old Dominion Brew House
  9. Cleveland Park Wine and Liquors (Cleveland Park)
  10. Sherry’s Liquor (Woodley Park)
  11. Manhattan Market (Woodley Park)

Check out the interactive map on their website for updates.

In conclusion, I love Omission beer. I will drink it in a house; I will drink it with a mouse; I will drink it in a box; I will drink it with a fox. 

Get some.

Cheers!

French Meadow Bakery breakfast pizza two ways

This week I had the opportunity to try out the gluten free pizza crust from French Meadow Bakery as a part of a recipe campaign run by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. French Meadow has a variety of gluten free products available on their website, and their products come shipped to you packed in dry ice and totally frozen (even after a FedEx delay mine was solid as a rock!).

The recipe that I was testing out was for “Breakfast Pizza”. Besides my patented hangover pizza, this isn’t something that I would normally make, so it was great to try something new!

Since the gluten free pizza crusts come in a package of two, I made one with more traditional toppings, and another one with a healthier spin.

Classic breakfast pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
  • 1/2 medium potato, shredded and squeezed in a towel to remove moisture (or use 1/2 cup of frozen hashbrowns)
  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Topping of your choice (most would love bacon, I added spinach to half)

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Bake crust for 5 minutes on the bottom rack, set aside.
  • Cook hashbrowns over medium heat in buttered pan for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Layer crust with hashbrowns, egg, cheese and toppings.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes on the middle or top rack, until cheese has melted.

Sweet potato and pesto breakfast pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
  • 1/2 medium sweet potato, mashed
  • 1/2 cup liquid egg whites (or 3 egg whites), scrambled
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 T. pesto
  • red onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Bake crust for 5 minutes on the bottom rack, set aside.
  • Scramble eggs, mixing in pesto at the end.
  • Layer crust with mashed sweet potato, egg, cheese and onions.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes on the middle or top rack, until cheese has melted.

I had a slice of the sweet potato one for breakfast this morning at the office and the crust held up great in the fridge over night. The crust is about 1/4 inch thick and a bready and chewy consistency. It kind of reminds me of the crusts that were included in the pizza lunchables that I loved as a kid. Because they’re made with rice flour they have a bit of sweetness to them. It also took me 20 minutes from start to finish to make both of these pizzas, so you can’t beat the convenience of having the crust pre-made!

As a part of the recipe campaign, French Meadow is giving away  two gluten-free prize packs! You can enter to win by submitting the form on the NFCA website. They will announce the first winner on Friday, October 26, and the second on Friday, November 2.

Enter the giveaway here.

You can also find more recipes using French Meadow pizza crusts on celiaccentral.org. I’m so excited to see what the other bloggers tried out!

DC Gluten Free News Round Up

1. Bier Baron now carrying Omission beer

After a glorious Michigan victory over Michigan State this weekend, I headed to Bier Baron in Dupont for a gluten free beer. Watching your friends drink beer all day at a bar while you have mixed drinks can sure make a girl thirsty!

I was psyched to see that Bier Baron now has Omission pale ale on their menu. However, they were out when I went :(

But, our awesome waiter was kind enough to bring me all three of the other gluten free beers they have, on the house! After passing them around the table, my friends confirmed that the New Planet Off Grid is kind of funky. I’ve never been a fan of New Grist, but when you have them side-by-side, it actually tastes quite like the St. Peter’s (both are sorghum based and light beers, so it makes sense).

2. Vace Italian Deli in Cleveland Park has a crap ton of gluten free pasta

Even though I live about a five minute walk from Vace Italian Deli, I only went in once before since I only ever saw people buying pizza there. A reader tipped me off (thanks, Fede!) that they have a bunch of authentic Italian pastas that are gluten free!

They have corn riccioli, rice gigli, and one pasta made with squid ink (plus the naturally gluten free risotto). Pair one of these with a homemade sauce (they carry them fresh and frozen), and you’ve got yourself a meal! One more win for my neighborhood!

3. The Maryland crab soup at Clyde’s is gluten free

I went to the last game in the NLDS series (heartbreaker), and was freezing cold and standing up for about six hours. So when I got to Clyde’s in Chinatown and found out that their Maryland crab soup is gluten free, I was overjoyed. Two bowls later and I was feeling slightly better about the Nats losing, and much warmer.

Just a few things happening around this great city in the gluten free realm!

The next generation of gluten free beers

Have you ever seen something so beautiful? A gluten free beer and the NYC skyline.

When I was in the city a couple of weeks ago I was really lucky to try a few new gluten free beers that really are in a class of their own.

First was Prairie Path Golden Ale from Two Brothers Brewing Co.

Prairie Path is crafted to remove gluten and has less than 5 ppm, according to their lab report (awesome they provide that!)

It has a “complex malt character” and is a “crisp, drinkable, savory ale that is light in color, but not flavor.” Check out that color!

Then I progressed to something a bit heavier – Harvester Brewing Dark Ale.

This beer “uses a very dark, near espresso-like roast” of chestnuts. Which “lend a roasty flavor and aroma with notes of chocolate and dark fruits.” You can really taste the chestnuts in this one! It’s a beer with some complex flavors, and is very sip-able (unlike Redbridge, which I can basically chug it’s so light).

While these beers may not be the easiest to find – it makes me giddy as a school girl at a carnival that there are some bold new brews coming to the market.

Cheers to beers!

Shake Shack fries and Captain Chris’ Crab Shack

I can’t think of two things more addicting than french fries and crabs. Both salty, fun to eat, and great in a “bad for you” kind of way.

Since the line at Shake Shack in New York City was always about a mile long, I actually never went to it, even though it was right around the corner from my office in the Flatiron District. Luckily, like everything in DC, the Shake Shack in Dupont here doesn’t have a fraction of the customers as the NYC version.

Shake Shack provides a great gluten free menu on their website, and explains thoroughly how each food is prepared. They notify customers that they use separate friers for their fries, but that their oil is filtered through the same equipment at night. I’m guessing that this is the case with most restaurants, but nice to see that they come clean about it.

Loved every last one of these greasy little suckers. And yes, I dipped them in mayonnaise and ketchup. Don’t judge.

Next time I’m for sure getting one of their frozen custards with sprinkles!

Another totally addicting food? Fresh crab boil drenched in Old Bay Seasoning, plus corn on the cob.

And, if you were wondering, yes – Old Bay is naturally gluten free.

When in Maryland, you must eat crabs. A lot of crabs. All you can eat crabs from Captain Chris’ Crab Shack in North East, MD.

Other things you should eat in Maryland – Herr’s Old Bay potato chips. Along with most of the chips from Herr’s, they are gluten free. Although I just saw that they have MSG in them, which is yucky.

Looking for other places to get gluten free fries in DC? Try Science Club in Dupont, Ripple in Cleveland Park, or the National Zoo!

And go eat some crabs, they’ll make you happy.