I stopped my weekly Friday’s Find posts, because I was having a difficult time finding products that met my standards for a healthy, gluten-free diet. Gluten-free junk food is no longer something that I get excited about. But today’s Friday’s Find really gets me meowing, because finally there’s a company that creates baking mixes that taste great and fuel the body well.
Jill Motew, founder of Zema’s Madhouse Foods, has developed a line of ancient grain, gluten-free baking mixes that have more than caught the attention of this gluten-free cat. They have me laser-pointer mesmerized. Currently, Zema has 4 baking mixes available online, and it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be finding these mixes at a market near you.
I had an opportunity to sample Zema’s Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix, and I pounced on it. I was happy to review it because they use ancient grains and superfoods. (Insert superhero music of choice here. Mine is always this.) Plus, all of the mixes are vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free.
I was prepared to go wild and design an amazing pizza for you that featured Zema’s pizza crust, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Zema’s Tomato Herb Focaccia recipe which is printed on the back of the package. So I followed the focaccia recipe precisely, and this is what emerged from my oven.
I’m so glad that I followed the directions (which is not one of my strong suits). The intricacies of the crust are so unique that I’m relieved that I didn’t ruin it by smothering it with a nut cheese and overpowering the flavor with olives and artichokes. The sturdy, chewy crust had a mildly sweet taste, possibly from the millet flour. The substantial crust would definitely support heftier toppings, but I’d go easy on the layering as the bread flavors hold their own.
What’s in Zema’s Rosemary-Millet Focaccia & Pizza Crust Mix? And why is it so great? Just look at the seeds in the whole grain flours.
I’ve sampled and reviewed a lot of gluten-free mixes, but I’ve never found one as nutritionally sound as this one. Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients:
Bottom line? This is a delicious crust that has my full support. Worth ordering online until they appear in your local market? Definitely. Here are the three other mixes that Zema currently offers:
(Disclaimer: I have no connection to nor was I paid by Zema’s Madhouse Foods. I did receive a complimentary sample sent for me to taste and review. I do not give positive reviews just because the product was free but will always give my honest opinion.)
“What matters most is what’s inside.” I love that line from Attune Foods. It’s true about people, and it’s true about food. Attune believes in using pure and simple ingredients that make you feel good from the inside out. So do I. That’s why I love their products. And recently, I’ve tried a new one.
I take a probiotic in capsule form daily. But lately I’ve been eating Attune Probiotic Bars. They are little gluten-free chocolate bars packed with 6.1 billion CFUs of clinically supported strains of probiotics. They come in three different flavors: Milk Chocolate Crisp, Mint Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate.
I expected these probiotic bars to taste like a health bar. But they taste like a bar you’d choose for a treat, not for your tummy! Whenever I can’t believe how delicious something is I give it to the Husband to try. I found him in the office pecking away at the computer. Not wanting to bias him with the label or my expectant face, I handed him a small square of chocolate and walked out of the room. Less than a minute later he came to find me. “That’s really good chocolate. Where did you get it?”
Passed the Husband test.
The Milk Chocolate Crisp Bar has little rice crisps that remind me of a Nestle Crunch. Those of us with gluten intolerance rarely find crispy chocolate bars that we can eat as they usually contain barley malt. So this is a rare treat.
The Mint Chocolate Bar also has little rice crisps, but the cool, refreshing taste is the highlight of this bar. It’s a perfect after dinner mint.
The Dark Chocolate Bar is velvety smooth and rich in antioxidants. It’s made with 68% cocoa and is dairy free.
These simple bars have only 90 calories. So they work well as a light snack, a pick me up, or an finale to lunch or dinner. They’re little, but they pack a powerful flavor that will stop a sweets craving in its tracks.
I’m breaking my rule with this product. Normally, if a label has ingredients that I can’t pronounce, I don’t eat it. But thankfully these unpronouncable ingredients are probiotic cultures that I’m happy to eat!
Do you see anything that concerns you here? I did. That dreaded “manufactured on equipment that also processes…wheat” statement. When questioned, Attune responded that the bars are run on a shared line with other products that contain wheat. The machinery is then cleaned between production runs, and the bars are tested after they’re made to ensure they’re less than 5ppm.
Thank you, Attune, for being a company that we can rely on to provide healthy, delicious, safe food.
One of my greatest finds at the Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo in Chicago was Way Better Snacks. I had the privilege of eating lunch with some food bloggers and Linda of Way Better. Linda grabbed my attention with the single word “sprouted”. You know my love of sprouting. Imagine my excitement when I learned that there were chips that I could purchase that were made from sprouted seeds and grains!
I explained the value of eating sprouted grains and seeds in this post. But as a summary, when you eat sprouts, you are eating live food. Live food has more nutrients.
These snacks are amazing. Not only are they crazy good for you, but they are simply delicious. They are WAY better than any other chips around. Seriously.
I no longer purchase other brands of blue corn chips, because these live up to their name. Unbeatable. The unsalted version, Naked Blues (cute), is delicious too. I love that you can see the sprouted seeds in every chip. These chips contain: Organic Sprouted Flax Seeds, Organic Sprouted Quinoa, Organic Sprouted Daikon Radish Seeds, Organic Sprouted Chia Seeds, and Sprouted Broccoli Seeds.
Way Better Snacks has 4 other flavors to tempt your taste buds. Take a look at the wholesome ingredients in each one as well as my favorite ways to enjoy them.
These are packed with sprouted goodness: Organic Sprouted Black Beans, Organic Sprouted Flax Seeds, and Organic Sprouted Quinoa.
We think that the Black Bean Tortilla Chips pair well with my Easy Guacamole.
These are definitely one of my favorites. Who doesn’t want a sunny snack that’s so incredibly good for you? They are delicious with Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus and salsa.
Just look at these sunny ingredients: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Organic Sprouted Flax Seeds, Organic Sprouted Quinoa, Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Flour, Organic Sprouted Daikon Radish Seeds, Organic Sprouted Chia Seeds, Sprouted Broccoli Seeds, and Pure Sea Salt.
I love sweet potato chips, but they tend to be on the greasy side. Simply Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips don’t leave you feeling greasy. In fact, they aren’t greasy at all. They feel more like a thick baked chip or a thin cracker.
There are just 6 ingredients in these simply sensational chips: Stone Ground Corn, High Oleic Sunflower Oil and/or Safflower Oil, Sweet Potato, Organic Sprouted Quinoa, Organic Sprouted Chia Seeds, and Pure Sea Salt.
My favorite way to eat these?
Right out of the bag.
They also make cute little Sunflower Seed Hummus sandwiches.
These take me back to they days when Doritos were in my weekly vocabulary. Way Better Snacks have dusted the sprouted nutrients with a delicious sweet and spicy seasoning that will start your taste buds dancing.
Again, the seasoning is created from very simple ingredients: Raw Cane Sugar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Pure Sea Salt, Native Potato Starch, Onion, Garlic, and Cayenne Pepper.
Here are three additional reasons these chips are Way Better.
1. Each serving has 190 – 420mg of healthy Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
2. The broccoli and radish seeds contain sulphoraphane glucosinolate, the natural antioxidant found in broccoli.
3. Each serving contains a whopping 17 grams of whole grains!
If you love chips, try Way Better Snacks. I think you’ll agree that they’re a Way Better option!
(Disclaimer: I have no connection to nor was I paid by Way Better Snacks. I did receive complimentary samples sent for me to taste and review. I do not give positive reviews just because the product was free but will always give my honest opinion.)
It has been a month and a half since I attended the Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo in Chicago, but with May’s 10 Days of Gluten-Free, marathon training, and closing out the school year, I’ve had to wait to share my findings with you.
A year ago, I would have been gushing about the new gluten-free breads, the best gluten-free cookie, the most authentic gluten-free pizza crust, and the closest Oreo cookie taste-a-like.
(By the way, O’Dough’s was hands-down the winner in the new gluten-free bread category this year.)
While I did enjoy sampling all sorts of gluten-free products, these days I’m much more choosy about the gluten-free packages that I buy. I’m less about replacing junk food with gluten-free junk food and more about getting as many high-quality nutrients as possible. So for Expo weekend 2012, it was my mission to find healthy, gluten-free products that I could truly stand behind and that I would actually purchase. So with over 100 vendors, I have five healthy finds that received the cat’s meow.
They currently come in peanut butter (my favorite), peanut butter and chocolate, and cranberry almond.
I was thrilled that the owner asked me to sample a new flavor that he’s working on.
Mocha! Can’t wait to until that becomes available!
Purely Elizabeth Granola caught my eye because it’s vegan and free of gluten, dairy, and soy. Made with nutrient-rich ancient grains and superfood seeds, this granola is incredibly good for you and quite tasty. It’s also sweetened with low glycemic coconut sugar.
With a name like “Food Your Body Likes” I was instantly sold. Just look at these ingredients and imagine how good you’d feel after eating them! Each of these four unique combinations has a different focus and flavor. Which would you chose?
This raw food company had my favorite slogan of the day.
From granola to macaroons and tarts, these tasted so good that it was hard to believe that they were raw and not decadent baked goods.
Finally, I found Way Better Snacks. And what a find they were!! You know of my infatuation with sprouting. Imagine my excitement when I learned that these chips are made from sprouted seeds and grains! Out my five healthy gluten-free finds from the Expo, Way Better Snacks are the ones that I keep buying. Thankfully, I can find them at Whole Foods.
Just look at the organic sprouted goodness in these Multi-Grain Tortilla Chips: golden flax, chia seed, quinoa, radish seed, brown rice, and broccoli seed.
Unbeatable Blues Tortilla Chips are truly unbeatable. I haven’t bought another brand of blue corn chips since finding these. Not only are they made with simple, sprouted ingredients, but they taste better than all the others.
Need a sweet and spicy kick? Try these Simply So Sweet Chili Chips.
So keep an eye out for my Top 5 Healthy Gluten-Free Finds. They definitely get two paws up from the Gluten-Free Cat!
Can’t find these healthy GF products in your local stores? Here’s a sampling of some of the itens you can buy through Amazon:
Many of you have just returned from Christmas and New Year’s travels, and you may have been reminded of what a pain it is to fly when you are gluten-free. Gluten-free or not, with new baggage fees, we’re all trying to pack minimally. Is it possible to cram everything you’ll need for a week away into a carry on? Not if you’re packing a cooler of gluten-free food. And you’d better not even think of transporting anything that looks remotely like a gel or a powder or you won’t get past security.
We traveled barebones this Christmas, and when you’re packing Christmas gifts (unwrapped of course), that’s quite a challenge. The Husband and I managed to share one checked bag that weighed in at 48.5 pounds, just under the 50 pound limit. But thankfully we were traveling to see Gluten-Free Mom, so I didn’t have to bring the pantry.
For a quick flight, gluten-free eaters can get by with a gluten-free snack bar. But if you have multiple flights or long layovers, it gets even harder. Why? Because then you need a real meal in the gluten-free desert called The Airport Terminal. Unless you want a dry, prepackaged iceberg lettuce salad with a few carrot shavings and orange tomatoes, you’re going to arrive at your destination ravenous and cranky.
But times are changing.
I was pleasantly surprised while passing through the Atlanta Airport to find GoPicnic ready-to-eat meals in one of the convenience stores. I had first seen GoPicnic at the Allergen and Gluten-Free Expo last Spring, so I knew that some of their snacks and meals were gluten-free. Was it possible that these would be too? A gluten-free oasis? Thankfully, it was not a mirage!
We bought two, the Hummus & Crackers and Sunbutter & Crackers. They were both all natural, gluten-free, and vegan.
Each box was $5.99, but compared to other airport food prices, and considering that the Husband would no longer have to deal with a crabby wife on the next flight, this was a good investment. I did an iPhone photo shoot on my lap at the gate so I could share this great news with you.
GoPicnic meals come in small boxes that turn into a convenient snack tray. I felt like a kid opening my first McDonald’s Happy Meal! I couldn’t have cared less about the nutritional value of my cheeseburger and fries in 1979, but the packaging was ingenious. I was thrilled to find that the GoPicnic boxes contained some of my favorite high quality food brands like Enjoy Life, Crunchmaster, Endangered Species, and SunButter.
I completely enjoyed my Hummus & Crackers box.
But it didn’t just contain hummus and crackers. Look at the variety! Edamame, fruit and nuts mix, and even a square of dark chocolate for dessert.
The Husband chose the SunButter & Crackers. I love that he chooses to eat gluten-free so that we can share our meals, especially since he usually shares more than I do!
Crackers, SunButter, dried fruit, seeds and nuts, and a double chocolate cookie. (He even shared the cookie!) Now that’s much better than a dry airport salad.
GoPicnic has created four other gluten-free ready-to-eat boxed meals:
I’m thankful to have stumbled upon GoPicnic in the airport. I hope they’re in the next airport I’m traveling through. Just in case, I’ll be ordering a few to keep in my pantry. The boxes are no bigger than a novel, so it will be easy to toss one into my travel purse. You can order them online and maybe even try this GoPicnic Gluten-Free Variety Pack!
Your turn to share:
We’ve loved Bakery on Main’s granola products for years. See my past reviews of their granola and granola bars here. Not only are their products gluten-free and delicious, they are convenient. Need a quick snack? Grab a bar or a handful of granola. At this busy time of the year, convenience often means making poor nutritional choices. But with Bakery on Main, you can have your convenience and not have to worry about nutrition. They’ve done it for you.
And now you can have it in a hot cereal! In August, Bakery on Main announced their new instant multigrain hot cereal that sent me flashing back to childhood. Do you remember the packets of instant oatmeal that we poured into a bowl, covered with hot water, and stirred into a creamy breakfast? I loved the maple flavor! But those packets were left in the past when I learned of my gluten intolerance.
Bakery on Main has created three flavors of instant hot cereal that I had the pleasure of testing: Apple Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, and Maple Multigrain Muffin, my favorite!!!
And it’s as easy to make as the instant packets of childhood.
Pour the contents of the packet into a bowl.
Add boiling water.
And let this simple comfort food take you back and fill you up with goodness.
The contents of each packet contains whole grains including certified gluten-free oats, amaranth, and quinoa, plus chia and flax. (See the list of natural ingredients below.) They are high in fiber (5 grams), non-GMO, dairy-free, and contains between 190 and 200 calories. If you are sugar-free, know that these cereals are sweetened with evaporated cane juice. If you’re looking for something quick, easy, wholesome, and delicious, try this instant breakfast. I highly recommend it!
Maple Multigrain Muffin Ingredients: certified gluten free oats, evaporated cane juice, chia seeds, flax meal, quinoa, amaranth, natural flavors, sea salt
Strawberry Shortcake Ingredients: certified gluten free oats, evaporated cane juice, freeze dried strawberry, chia seeds, flax meal, quinoa, amaranth, natural flavors, sea salt
Apple Pie Ingredients: certified gluten free oats, evaporated cane juice, dried apple, chia seeds, flax meal, quinoa, amaranth, natural flavors, cinnamon, lemon juice, sea salt
You can order a box through Amazon for just $4.79:
Other Bakery on Main Products you may enjoy:
(Disclaimer: I have no connection to nor was I paid by Bakery on Main. I did receive complimentary samples sent for me to taste and review. I do not give positive reviews just because the product was free but will always give my honest opinion.)
It’s been a while since I posted a Friday’s Find. I’m a sucker for tortilla chips. Most of them are naturally gluten-free, so it’s not a big “Wow!” when I find a gluten-free tortilla chip that I like. But when a company strays from the essential ingredients of corn, oil, and salt, gluten can sneak into the additions. So I usually stick with the three-ingredient tortilla chips.
But every once in a while the taste buds ask for something a little different. I was glad to stumble upon these RW Garcia Tortilla Chips that were clearly labeled “Gluten Free” when I needed that different taste.
I sampled three varieties of RW Garcia Tortilla Chips. But all I really needed was to taste a single chip to know that these chips are now my new favorite.
The Veggie Chip bag contains three types of tortilla chips: Spinach & Garlic, Red Beet & Onion, and Tomato & Sesame. I LOVE these chips! While I adore a spicy salsa, I just couldn’t dip these chips into another flavor. They are so delicious on their own that salsa wouldn’t have been right. And I love that they are made from organic, non GMO corn. And look at the ingredients! Nothing but wholesomeness and natural flavors (meaning real natural flavors and not “natural flavors”…whatever that means).
Ingredients: organic stone ground white corn, sunflower oil or corn oil, sesame seeds, tomato powder, garlic powder, onion powder, carrot powder, spinach powder, red beet powder, salt, water, and trace of lime
The Flaxseed Tortilla Chips were also delicious on their own with a subtle nutty taste, but they were much more scoopable. I’m already a huge flaxseed fan because of their Omega-3s, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I toss them in everything to boost nutritional value, so why not enjoy flaxseeds in a chip?
Organic corn chips dotted with flaxseeds make for pretty chips. (I know, that’s what you look for in a chip, right?) But they’re sturdy, crispy, and delicious as well.
Ingredients: organic stone ground yellow corn, organic soy grits, sunflower oil or corn oil, organic brown flaxseed, sea salt, and trace of lime
The Mixt Bag is exactly that, a mixed bag. It combines two of their all natural tortilla chips into one bag. I chose to sample the Red & Yellow Tortilla Chips, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Enjoy the Veggie Chips on their own at home. Dip the Flax Chips in hummus. But this is the party chip! Bring on the salsa and dip to your heart’s content!
Ingredients: stone ground white corn, stone ground yellow corn, sunflower oil or corn oil, red beet powder, sea salt, water, and trace of lime
Yellow and red tortilla chips will make any snack table look festive.
Mixt Bag also comes in Yellow & White Corn Tortilla Chips and Yellow & Blue. But I just can’t get over the beauty of the Red & Yellow.
I’ve been looking for a new favorite tortilla chip since Garden of Eatin’ has disappointed me with too many bags of burned chips, and since I discovered that Food Should Taste Good Blue Chips contains evaporated cane juice. (Why does anyone think that a chip needs sugar?)
RW Garcia, thanks for keeping it natural, wholesome, and completely delicious.
Other gluten-free chips made by RW Garcia:
When do you need to Wake Things Up? Are you a “don’t-bother-me-’til-I’ve-had-my-first-cup-of-coffee” kind of riser? Do you hit an energy slump mid-morning or mid-afternoon? Do you need a jolt of protein to help steer your car towards the gym instead of toward home and the comfort of your couch?
We all hit moments in our day when we just need a little lift, and that’s where Rise Bar comes in. Rise Bar was created to give you that “rise” at various times of your day. All Rise Bar ingredients are gluten free and produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility. Rise Bar proudly claims that independent testing shows that their bars contain less than 5 parts per million of gluten, which is far below the 20 ppm minimum threshold.
Usually when a vendor sends me samples to review they send one or two bars. I was astounded to receive a total of 12 bars from Rise Bar, one of each type and flavor. And I’m excited to share my delicious findings with you.
Rise Bar makes three different kinds of bars.
There’s the Rise Breakfast Bar for those who need a quick breakfast upon rising and shining.
There’s the Rise Energy Bar for those needing a pick-me-up between meals.
And there’s the Rise Protein Bar made of simple ingredients designed to fuel a workout.
Once you’ve chosen the time of day you need your Rise, you have wonderful flavors to choose from.
For breakfast you could choose from one of these deliciously crunchy flavors:
Every single bar is packed with hearty chunks of fruit and nuts to fuel your morning.
It was hard to choose a favorite flavor, but I couldn’t resist the Crunchy Cashew Almond with its huge chunks of nuts. Just look at these!
With 190 calories, 12g fat, and 11 g sugar, this tasty bar has only 7 ingredients; almonds, honey, cashews, dates, amaranth, crisp rice, and salt. I typically eat two breakfasts, one light meal before an early morning workout, and a larger breakfast to refuel afterwards. This bar was a perfect first breakfast to eat while on my way to teach spin class.
I also loved the Crunchy Cranberry Apple, because it reminded me of a home-cooked breakfast.
I am incredibly impressed with the whole foods woven into these bars. This 160 calorie bar contains almonds, honey, dates, apples, cranberries (cranberries, sugar, sunflower oil), amaranth, crisp rice, and salt. If you’re watching your sugar intake, however, this bar might not be for you. It does have 19 grams of sugar, but the sugar comes from honey and the sugar in the dried cranberries.
I can’t pass up a chance to brag on the Crunchy Perfect Pumpkin because of the variety of flavors and texture. With pumpkin seeds, dates, raisins, apricots, and cranberries, this bar also made my favorite list.
I really like the Rise Protein Bars because they are compact and easy to digest before an intense workout. (Okay, don’t let me fool you. While that’s true, the real reason I like them is because they’re delicious!)
I didn’t think I’d like the Crunchy Carob Chip Bar because often carob is a sad replacement for chocolate, and the almost black color turned me off. But the smell of carob upon opening the wrapper, and the delicious deep carob taste, quickly changed my mind. The Rise Protein Bars are dense and chewy with little crisps of rice.
RiseBar Protein Barsare packed with simple ingredients to fuel a strong workout. This one has 260 calories including 17 grams of protein, 13 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of fat. They’re made from almonds, agave, carob powder, whey protein isolate, and crisp rice. Note that Rise Protein Bars use whey protein and are not considered dairy-free, but the other bars are dairy-free. (And if you’re afraid of the higher calories in this bar, it’s time to ramp up your workouts!)
The Almond Honey Protein Bar was tasty as well and made with three simple ingredients: almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate. It had similar nutritional specs (280 calories, 16 grams of fat, 20 grams of protein, and 13 grams of sugar). Enjoyable, yes. But I couldn’t get the decadent Crunchy Carob Chip Bar out of my head.
I have a window of exactly one hour between saying goodbye to my twenty kindergarteners and welcoming my fitness class participants at the gym. After working with five-year-olds all day, sometimes I wonder how in the world I’m going to make it through leading a workout. This is where proper fuel comes in. Rise Energy Bars are perfect for those afternoon lulls.
Rise Energy Bars come in the following unique flavors:
The bars range from 190-210 calories, 9-12 grams of fat, and 11-16 grams of sugar.
While they all had interesting flavors, I loved the Cherry Almond. The dried cherries were huge, but the cherry flavor was subtle. With 200 calories, this energy bar is a perfect pick-me-up between meals. With whole ingredients and sweeteners that don’t cause a blood sugar spike and crash, this bar works well for me.
Ingredients: almonds, cashews, dates, cherries, brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, amaranth, and sea salt
Are your ready to Wake Things Up? Give Rise Bar a try. I think you’ll be more than pleased. You can order them here at Gluten-Free Cat (Yes, I’ll earn a penny or two if you do.), the Rise Bar website, or search for a vendor near you.
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