Blue Diamond Natural Nut Thins Gluten Free Crackers

http://www.bluediamond.com

Nut Thins Gluten Free Crackers

A while ago, I bashed Nut Thins. I had bought them in my favorite nut flavor, almond, and they were terrible. Like horrible. Crispy pieces of cardboard horrible. Luckily, I have a gluten-free friend, Lauren, who was able to pass on this nugget of wisdom: the only Nut Thins worth buying are the Pecan flavor.

Lauren knows what she is talking about! After hearing this, I went out and picked up a box at my local Shaw’s ($3.17 a box) along with some of my favorite cheddar cheese and concocted one of my favorite snacks, cheese and crackers. The pecan flavor is a wonderful complement to the sharpness of the cheddar and I love the crunchy texture. And with just 130 calories per 16 crackers, they give you the crunch you’re craving without putting you over the edge.

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Crema Cafe

27 Brattle St. | Cambridge, MA 02138
http://cremacambridge.com

Crema Cafe Gluten Free Cookies

There are many wonderful things about Cambridge. One thing I particularly enjoy is the abundance of cafes and coffeehouses where you can find all manner of people getting together, doing work or simply relaxing with a cup of Joe. On one of our Sunday walks, my roommate and I passed by Crema Cafe in Harvard Square. I’d heard good things about it, so we went in to check it out.

As I approached the counter all set to order some caffeine for a post-Saturday night pick-me-up, I was distracted by a little sign proclaiming, “GLUTEN-FREE.” Excited, I started looking around for more. There were an abundance of  gluten-free goodies on the counter! Macaroons… no, definitely a cranberry and pistachio granola bar. NO. A chocolate walnut cookie. For only $1.50. YES.

I have to say, I made a great choice. So great in fact, it eclipsed my need for caffeine at all. There I was cookie and refreshing juice in hand, ready to try what promised by a name I remember being something along the lines of “Chocolate Walnut Avalanche” to be explosively chocolatey, and we couldn’t find a seat. The place was packed! Luckily, after a few minutes, a table cleared. After much anticipation, I took a bite of my cookie.

It was quite disappointing. It was crunchy and dry, almost dusty. Disheartened, I took another bite. To my surprise it was delicious! I’m talking molten, moist, chocolately goodness complemented by crunchy walnuts. The walnuts added substance to the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate, and I finished off this cookie very satisfied. These were absolutely among the best gluten-free cookies I’ve tried, and I believe my Sunday afternoon walks will be taking me to Harvard Square quite often from now on…

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookie Mix

Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Rejoice! Betty Crocker makes cookies for the gluten-free, too! The discovery of this product in my hometown grocery has sort of revolutionized baking for me. Gluten-free baking has never felt so accessible — a household name on the box, a low price on the sticker, and simple, easy-to-follow directions printed on the back. And it’s only the gluten that is missing! Sure, casein-free or sugar-free cookies are probably better for me, but when I bake chocolate chip cookies, I’m looking for a cookie that harkens back to my youthful days when I didn’t know what calories were, nor how bad sugar is for you. My friend Betty brings back those memories for me in just three easy steps.

These cookies are very good, only a slight graininess to their texture. The directions say to let them sit 2 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack, but I would leave them longer. They were very soft and fell apart easily when I tried to move them. Mine baked thin and were a bit flimsy, so next time I think I’ll try baking them for longer.

Not only is this mix easy to whip up, but it’s priced much lower than most other gluten-free cookies. At $3.39 at my local Hannford, these cookies may be a bit flimsy, but their taste is not unlike that of Betty Crocker’s usual mix!

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Mom’s Gluten-Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Forget about turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, string beans, gravy, and apple pie. Thanksgiving at my house means one thing: gluten-free pumpkin whoopie pies! These delicious treats have been a staple during the holidays in my house since I was a little girl. Over the years my mother has adapted a recipe she found in the Boston Globe to the perfect gluten-free version. May your family enjoy them as much as we do, and happy Thanksgiving!

Laura’s Gluten-Free Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

For the pies:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves

For the filling:

  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 cup shortening

To make the pies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet.

In a mixer or food processor, mix the sugar and oil. Add the pumpkin and eggs. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix the remaining pie ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, and mix well. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely before adding filling.

To make the filling:

Mix the egg white, milk, vanilla and 1 cup of the sugar in a food processor or mixer. Add the second cup of sugar and the shortening. Mix well. To assemble the pies, spread a dab of filling on the flat side of one cookie. Top with another cookie to form a sandwich. Makes about three dozen.

Babycakes NYC Gluten-Free Cupcakes

248 Broome Street (between Orchard & Ludlow) | New York City, NY 10002
http://www.babycakesnyc.com

Happy birthday… to me! Over the weekend I visited friends in New York, and in honor of my 23rd, my best friend K took me out for a special treat. We traversed through lower Manhattan on a surprise journey to… Babycakes!

Babycakes is an adorable little bakery that specializes in treats for people with food sensitivities. Using organic, natural and health-conscious products (like agave nectar over white sugar or artificial sweeteners), they endeavor to make guilty pleasures a little less guilty and more accessible to people with restrictive diets. And so for me, Babycakes made it possible for my friend and I to enjoy cupcakes for my birthday!

I ordered a gluten-free chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting and K ordered the gluten-free pumpkin cupcake. The chocolate cupcake was just okay, it didn’t taste exactly like chocolate, there was something a bit off. I prefer Betty Crocker’s mix. The pumpkin cupcake, however, was excellent. Fluffy, tasty, and not a taste betraying it’s composition being utterly unlike most cupcakes — made without gluten, dairy, soy and eggs.

While my own order was a bit less than spectacular, the novelty of a pink and white bakery specializing in gluten-free baked goods was more than enough to make up for it. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and the place was packed the whole time we were there. I will definitely head back to try their cookies next time I am in New York. And if you find yourself in LA, you too can enjoy these gluten-free treats — Babycakes will be opening another location there soon.

Glutino Gluten Free Crackers

Original Crackers
http://www.glutino.com


Gluten-free crackers… that taste like crackers?! I know. It sounds crazy. But I come bearing good news. They do exist!

Glutino’s Gluten Free Crackers are awesome! I could seriously live off cheddar and crackers, however, since I returned from study abroad in London, I haven’t been able to find any good gluten-free crackers in America. Don’t even get me started on Nut Thins

These crackers are the perfect size and texture and they taste real. They even crumb like real crackers! Sometimes, it’s the little things I miss about eating gluten, and these crackers make for a great snack. So, go ahead! Throw a wine and cheese party, you can partake in the cracker action now, too!

City Feed and Supply Gluten-Free Sandwich

672 Centre St. | 66A Boylston St.
Jamaica Plain, MA
617.524.1700 |  617.524.1657
http://www.cityfeedandsupply.com

City Feed and Supply

Sometimes I think I know everything about being gluten-free. I am, afterall, the guru! However, while I am well-versed in many things free from gluten, the variety of options available to me and others continues to surprise me.  Gluten-free doesn’t always have to be hard. Recently, it became clear to me that I certainly don’t know it all — sometimes, I don’t even know when to ask!

This past weekend I stayed with a friend in the city. She wanted to take me somewhere special for lunch, somewhere she knew I’d like. “Let’s go to City Feed,” she said, “I think they have gluten-free stuff there, it has tons of organic stuff.” I pointed out that organic does not mean gluten-free, though awareness of the allergy is generally better. She, however, was insistent about the connection. They must have gluten-free bread.

I decided to go along with it. When City Feed and Supply came into view, I saw that at the very least I could enjoy a nice salad in a super cute locale. Inside had a very “updated general store” type feel to it, fresh and funky. Had I happened upon this spot by myself, I wouldn’t have thought to ask about gluten-free sandwich options. I would have looked for signs (there aren’t any), eventually found the gluten-free muffins (I’ll post about those next), and then have been perfectly content to sit down with a salad. Still, she was so sure that I had to ask.

Ask and you shall receive, they say.  Well, I cashed in big time at City Feed. Not only did they have gluten-free bread, but they also knew to ask how sensitive to it I am! My allergy, luckily, is not very severe, so the girl knew she could make my sandwich on the counter and toast it on the press. On top of all this, the people at City Feed were conscious of how tiny pieces of gluten-free bread are and gave me two sandwiches! Just when I thought my lunch adventure could not get any better, they charged me as much as they would for a regular sandwich, no extra. I have no clue if this was an error, but it was certainly a nice surprise. My dollars have never stretched so far for gluten-free food before!

City Feed, you had me at “or can I put it on the press?” and actually eating the sandwich only added to my love. I got the turkey and brie, and it was quite delicious. I’d never had the particular type of gluten-free bread they used and it was quite good, I’d rate it a step up from WholeFoods sandwich bread.

My friend was absolutely right. And from now on, I know to always ask about the options available to me. I would certainly go back to City Feed — the service and the food was great. It is so nice to eat out and feel as though the people preparing and serving your food understand where you are coming from when you lift your fork, and the people at City Feed knew just what to do for me. If you are looking for a cute place to enjoy a gluten-free sandwich (or two!) City Feed is the place to go.