*Disclaimer: Author was provided products by Katz Gluten Free at no cost for review. Author was not compensated in any way for her opinion, and the following review is her own opinion, in her own words.
I currently live in Eastern Kentucky, where anything natural and/or organic is hard to find, and gluten free is nearly impossible. What I have been able to find is a far cry from what anyone would hope it to be. Gluten free products are generally dry, rubbery, and – worst of all – gritty. Many lack in flavor. My first real craving during my pregnancy with Bean (before I even knew I was pregnant!) was donuts. The only gf donuts I was able to find at that time were overly dense and heavy, and the donuts themselves lacked in flavor. I was disappointed, and never did get that craving fulfilled.
Several weeks ago, the donut craving bit me again. (No, not pregnant this time! Breastfeeding cravings are worse than the pregnancy cravings, for me.) I was visiting my family in a larger city, where I figured the gf selection would be quite a bit better than where I’m located. Unfortunately, the few stores we were able to visit in the short time we were there were disappointing.
On our last day there, I started an earnest online search before everyone started getting up. I found a review for Katz Gluten Free donuts online, and looked to see if they were sold in that area. In my rush to find a store, I messaged Katz Gluten Free, using the Contact Us form, not thinking about the fact it was a Saturday, and it was unlikely that anyone would be there to answer my message. Shortly after, I found the “locate retailers” link on the website, and was able to find a store we could stop at to get a few things.
On the way home, Bear bought me the glazed, chocolate glazed, cinnamon, and powdered sugar donuts. It had been YEARS since I'd had a good donut, and almost 2 years since my last gluten free donut.
I was unable to resist when I got to the car, and ate two right away! They were light and airy, and not at all gritty. I reluctantly shared a couple bites with Bear, who is not strictly gluten free (though we are at home), and he agreed with me that these are INCREDIBLE!
Even as a chocolate lover, I have to say the powdered are my favorite. They take me back to my days as a kid, riding my bike to the gas station to pick up a pack of mini powdered donuts. The rest of the donuts were delicious as well! I was in heaven.
A few days after we got home, I received a response from Katz, telling me where I could buy their donuts, and recommending that I contact some of my local grocery stores to request them to carry Katz products, as well. I immediately sent emails to my local stores, then replied to the Katz representative that I had, told him how much I loved the donuts, and asked if they would be willing to send me a few things to review for the blog. They happily obliged, and last week I got a MUCH larger box than I expected!
In the box were the following: jelly donuts, chocolate rugelech, everything bagels, English muffins, blueberry muffins, chocolate cupcakes, marble loaf cake, small dinner rolls, whole grain bread, and another box of both glazed and powdered donuts! Here is my take on each one of these products.
Jelly Donuts: Wow! Jelly donuts were always my go-to any time I’d stop at a donut shop. Something about that gooey jelly and powdered sugar everywhere. These did not disappoint! The jelly is just as gooey as I remember, the powdered sugar is perfect, and the donut itself is light with a nice texture. The donut is a little on the dry side, and so is not chewy like I remember regular donuts being, but the jelly balances that out, and you should be eating these with coffee or tea, anyway ;)
Chocolate Rugelech: Rugelech is a traditional Jewish pastry, which look like little pinwheels. The pastry is dense, flakey, and almost crunchy, in the best way possible. Rolled in the pastry is a rich, smooth chocolate. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the first things I tried, and it’s been the hardest to stay away from!
Everything Bagels: I was a little sad that these were not pre-cut, as my experience with gf bagels in the past have been, let’s just say, disastrous. These were surprisingly easy to cut! After toasting, I put a bit of homemade butter on it. Amazing. The bagel was crunchy on the outside, warm and chewy on the inside. As with everything else I had tried thus far, it was not at all gritty (one of my main complaints of gluten free products). Bear and Bean both love the bagels, too!
English Muffins: Not pre-split, but, like the bagels, was easily split for toasting, though I used a fork for the muffin. Crisped perfectly on the outside, and was wonderfully chewy and hole-y on the inside, just like an English Muffin should be. Spread with butter, these have made the perfect addition to my and Bean's daily breakfast of eggs and sausage.
Blueberry Muffins: Warmed quickly in the microwave, these are delightfully sticky on top, the blueberries are whole and juicy, and the muffin is just the right sweetness. I am happy to say that Bean even got to enjoy some of – okay, half of – the first muffin I tried. Adding butter to the warmed muffin was a very, very good decision. :)
Chocolate Cupcakes: Decadent! These cupcakes are rich and fudgy, almost brownie-like. I made some buttercream frosting for them, though they would have been just as amazing without. I would say I’d try to save the rest of them for my birthday, but that is very, very unlikely. :D
Marble Loaf Cake: One of my dearest friends got married this past weekend, and I had the honor of photographing her wedding. If there’s one thing that makes me sad at weddings is no longer being able to eat any of the cake. Wedding cake, in my opinion, is just awesomeness. So I brought the marble loaf cake with us to the hotel. I was going to eat just enough to not feel bad for myself not having any wedding cake, but before I knew it, I had eaten half of the loaf! It is moist, cakey, and not overly sweet or rich. Perfectly balanced and absolutely delicious!
Small Dinner Rolls: Do you remember the dinner rolls you’d get at the restaurant? The ones fresh from the oven; hot, airy, and slightly sweet? Served with butter that melted on them right away… Well, you can have them again. I didn’t have the patience to toast them in the oven, so I popped them in the microwave instead. I could not have asked for anything better.
Whole Grain Bread: The sandwich bread was the only thing that did not far exceed my expectations. It was par for the course where gluten free bread is concerned. It was good, but slightly grainy and fell apart easily if not toasted. It did, however, make incredible French toast. ;)
Another thing that I love about Katz products is that many of them are dairy/soy free, in addition to being gluten free! Many people (like myself) with gluten intolerance also have dairy intolerance, and soy is one thing I’m supposed to avoid with my thyroid disorder. Also, the fact that all of these goodies are made with natural ingredients, I can feel safe giving Bean select items with no qualms. And best of all, for me, is the accessibility. Even though Katz is not sold nearby, I can still order online, and when I want something, simply pull it out of the freezer. Sure, I have an entire board of gluten free recipes on PInterest; but, let’s be honest, ain’t nobody got time for that! Okay, maybe I’m just lazy. And I’m okay with that.
I want to say a huge thank you to Katz for making gluten free delicious again, and for the opportunity to taste just a small selection of your products. You definitely have a customer and advocate for life!
Not only did Katz send me a huge box of goodies, they agreed to share some with my readers! 3 readers will receive a free sampler from Katz, which will include:
· 1 Slice of Whole Grain Bread
· 1 Slice of White Bread
· 1 Slice of Challah Bread
· 1 Powdered Donut
· 1 Chocolate Cupcake
· 1 English Muffin
· 1 Cookie
· 1 Rugelah
· 1 Slice of Marble Cake
To enter, follow the steps below. Enter and share away! I will be selecting the winners next Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Best of luck!
So, Sunday Bear asked for pancakes, which made me very excited. Ridiculously excited. You see, Bear doesn't like pancakes, and I adore them. But it's no fun making pancakes for one person, and even less fun eating them alone. Actually, I think the first thing he asked was if we had syrup, which we did, but the important question was about the pancakes.
Without hesitation, I hit up trusty Pinterest. I love pancakes, but I'm picky about them, too. I must have fluffy pancakes. And, of course, they must be gluten free.
I found this recipe by Honey and Brie. It looked almost perfect, but I did need to switch it up a bit. This is exactly how I made mine:
1/2c almond milk (I used reduced sugar vanilla almond milk)
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2c + 1tbs oat flour (make sure to measure the oat flour, not the oats. I used rolled oats pulsed in the blender until I was happy with the texture)
2 tbs coconut flour
Coconut oil for frying
Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix gently only until fully incorporated. Let the batter sit 2-3 minutes while griddle or frying pan warms over medium heat. Melt coconut oil in the pan, then drop batter into pan by 1/4 cup. Flip when the edges are dry and stop bubbling, allow to cook another 2-3 minutes, until browned. Serve immediately with your favorite topping.
The key to fluffy pancakes is being gentle with them. Over mixing or over flipping will make them go flat.
We had ours with maple syrup and sausage, but I think caramelized bananas would be HEAVEN on these babies! The coconut isn't overwhelming, but does give a great subtle undertone that would totally be complemented by the bananas. Oh man. Excuse me, I’ll be in the kitchen…
These cookies... where do I start?! Yes, the entire first row is gone... straight out of the oven. They're that good. I promise.
I first discovered this recipe a few months ago, after I had seen something about flourless peanut butter cookies on Facebook. I was hoping to find something with just a little more than the traditional flourless peanut butter cookie, which generally consists of peanut butter, eggs, and sugar. I found this recipe on Ambitious Kitchen, which ended up being my inspiration!
My goal with these cookies was to have something that I could grab and eat with one hand, without any sort of heating or prepping beyond the initial baking. It also needed to be something lower in sugar and higher in protein, so that I wouldn't have a sugar crash shortly after eating. Additionally, I was looking for something flourless, since gluten-free flours tend to be expensive, and most have a gritty texture that I'm still trying to get used to after nearly 2 years.
These cookies taste and feel like cookies should taste and feel! Thankfully, they aren't overly sweet so no tummy ache if I eat 4 (or 5... or 10...). But they are sweet enough to satisfy any sweet-tooth, including Bear's!
Here are the changes I made to the recipe:
I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do! Make sure you get a BIG jar of peanut butter, though, because these won't last long and you'll definitely be wanting to make more!
One of the hardest meals for me to get to is breakfast. I was raised on big, hearty breakfasts, and the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
With an infant, even a bowl of cereal can be challenging, especially now since he's trying to grab our utensils, so making a full-on breakfast is generally out of the question. Since that is the easiest meal for me to skip, I decided to hit up good ole Pinterest in hopes of solving my breakfasty dilemma.
My search landed me with several oatmeal muffin recipes. Being gluten free, this was awesome for me, because gf rolled oats have become a staple in our home. I love rolled oats because they're a great source of fiber and good source of protein. They're a more complex carbohydrate, so, as long as you don't add too much sugar, there's no crash 20 minutes later.
Yesterday, Bear had off for Veteran's Day. I decided to make one of the muffin recipes, since Bean had someone to give him his morning snuggles (:
The first recipe to jump out at me was the Oatmeal Spice Muffins from Money Saving Mom.
Remember the cinnamon and spice instant oatmeal we ate as kids? That's these muffins, but at a whole other level.
Not only was I able to make these gluten free WITHOUT having to use any gluten free flour ($$$$), I was able to make them dairy free, too, by subbing with reduced sugar vanilla almond milk for regular milk, and coconut oil for the butter. I also added the chopped pecans.
Don't skimp. Do the pecans. Trust me.
Even though we were able to have a full egg and sausage breakfast, Bear and I ate over half the batch of muffins within an hour. Yeah, they were that good.
The muffins themselves aren't very sweet at all, and the cinnamon sugar on top adds just enough sweetness to send you to your happy place. Because they're made with oat flour (I was able to grind my oats in the blender), they were dense but spongy. They were awesome with coffee, and I can't stop thinking about how amazing they would be with a chai latte. *drool*
My plan, though, is to make as many muffins as I can at once during Bean's nap time, and throw them in the freezer so I can grab one or two to toss in the microwave, while still holding Bean. So the true test came this morning, when I nuked one of the few muffins left over. In a minute, it was as warm and steamy as it had been coming out of the oven. It was just as moist and delicious, and the texture was the same as yesterday! It was perfect!
For anyone who is allergic to cinnamon, you can sub with allspice! I'm also thinking of other variations that could be made to this recipe, like adding a handful of chopped raisins. What variations would you make? Any breakfast muffin recipes that you love? Please share!
The first recipe off of my Pinterest board up for review is Chicken Paprika with Sour Cream Gravy off of I Breathe... I'm Hungry... blog. This was a really easy recipe for me, since you throw the chicken in a pan, sprinkle some spices on, and pop it in the oven. The sides were white rice (also easy), and steam-in-the-bag frozen veggies (even easier).
I like this recipe mostly for it's ease. You would think that being a stay-at-home-mom of a baby would give me most of the day to be in the kitchen, right? WRONG. Haha! I love that it was simple to throw together a full meal, and with very little clean-up involved. I baked the chicken in a foil-lined pan, so there's nothing to actually clean in the pan. I'll just wipe it out with a soapy cloth and we're golden.
The I made two slight changes to the recipe. 1) I used two chicken quarters instead of four thighs, and 2) I added garlic powder because, let's face it, everything is better with more garlic. Seriously, I don't think my family will ever have to worry about vampires with how much garlic we consume. Yum.
Bear gave it 8/10 stars. He says it would have been a full 10, if it hadn't been for the bones. The chicken was tender and juicy, and the gravy/sauce was a nice addition, especially to the rice. Bear says it's a keeper, though next time I will be making it with boneless, skinless chicken breast in place of the thighs, since that's what we usually eat and both enjoy. I will post an update when we try it that way. :)
P.S. Sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures. Here's one of Bear's finger photobomb. (Literally, he yelled, "Photobomb!" as he put his finger in front of my phone. Meanie.)
Well, lovelies, I finally got around to cleaning up my Pinterest boards! I've had Pinterest for years longer than I've been gluten-free, so it took me a little bit of organizing to make these share-ready. I have three food boards now. Bear is on a low-carb diet currently to lose HIS baby weight (hehe), so I made a dinner board for him.
Here's my normal dinner board, for when we're feeling a little fancy (read: not worried about carbs). These are pretty easy dinners. Be aware - not all of them are gluten-free as they are, but they can be easily altered to be gluten-free.
And here's my this-looks-good-and-I-need-to-try-it-and-yeah-I-know-it's-mostly-desserts board. You're welcome.
So here's my plan:
I want to try out as many of these as possible, and tell YOU how they turn out. I'm going to try for 1 recipe a week. Then I will write a post about it with any changes I made, difficulty level, and family feedback. Of course, I'll include pictures ;) My goal is to show that being gluten-free doesn't have to be hard, or bland, or even expensive.
Also, If you try out any of these recipes, I'd love to hear your feedback! And if you have a favorite recipe, please share! Let's make this journey together <3
I recently had a friend diagnosed as gluten-intolerant ask for a list of foods she can eat. Happy to oblige, I thought I'd make my list readily available to all of my friends and readers! I would first like to share a quick story of my history and what lead me to a gluten-free lifestyle.
I have battled with my weight since puberty. Summer of 2007 I was severely overweight, and was diagnosed with severe acid reflux and sludge in my gall bladder. I was told to change my diet, and there would be a chance of my gall bladder clearing itself out. I stopped eating fast food, red meat, and anything fried. I also cut out as much processed sugar as possible. By way of elimination, I discovered that I was lactose intolerant. The severe gas pains I experienced nightly went away when I stopped eating my traditional after-work bowl of cereal. That summer I switched to soy milk and cut out ice cream, cheese, and yogurt completely. I was able to avoid having my gall bladder removed, as well as lose about 50 lbs that summer, and mostly maintained that for several years.
Spring of 2012 I was working out and eating a healthy, whole gain diet, but started packing on the pounds again. I had been put on pain management medication for undiagnosed pain and gained 20 lbs in 2 months. After weaning myself off the meds, I continued to gain weight, despite working out several times a week and being extremely conscious of my diet. I gained a total of 50 lbs in less than 6 months. When I suddenly became so exhausted I couldn't stay awake even after 12 hours of sleep, I had my thyroid tested and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
Once I was put on the right level of thyroid medication, my weight plateaued. I continued to eat as healthily as I could and exercise regularly (I was able to run and enjoy doing so for the first time in my life!), but I was not losing any weight.
February of 2013, I was complaining to a friend about how I was sick and tired of always being sick and tired. I told him I always felt run-down regardless of how much I slept; how I always felt like there was a rock in my stomach; how my acid reflux was worse than ever; how I was never hungry because it felt like my body wasn't digesting any food; how I rarely went a day without throwing up; how I was always bloated and passing the worst kind of gas ever. This particular friend has Celiac's, and told me that was precisely how he felt before he was diagnosed. Because I could not afford medical testing at that time, I did an elimination diet again, this time cutting out all gluten. Within a week, my energy levels rebounded, I felt like my food was digesting, my acid reflex had all but disappeared, I was always hungry, I hadn’t thrown up in several days, and I was no longer bloated! Because gluten was the only thing I eliminated that week, I knew it was the culprit, and so am self-diagnosed as gluten intolerant, and have been gluten-free ever since.**
For me, it took the right combination of thyroid medication, diet, and exercise to become healthy again. Last summer I lost 25 lbs in less than 2 months. I was able to have my thyroid medication lowered, and immediately thereafter became pregnant after trying for several years!
For my family and me, being gluten-free does not mean a lot of the "specialty" gluten-free items, although I am thrilled to see so many more options available than there were when I started my gluten-free lifestyle nearly two years ago. What it does mean is a lot of whole foods and preparing our food at home. We avoid fast food, since there is a huge risk of cross-contamination, and we are very careful of what we order at sit-down restaurants.
I also do not believe that a gluten-free lifestyle is necessary for everyone. I have not done much research into the fad of gluten-free, but I have known a few people to try it that it had no effect on whatsoever. However, if you feel it is beneficial, absolutely make the change!
A typical shopping trip for my family consists mostly of fresh produce, eggs, chicken breast, ground turkey, olive oil, coconut oil, rice, and beans. There are two things about this list - one is that all of these things are whole foods and so naturally gluten-free; that is, none of them contain rye, barley, or wheat, which are natural sources of gluten. Second, most of these things can be found by shopping around the perimeter of the store. The aisles are what contain the most processed foods, which are more likely to contain gluten or have a chance of cross contamination during processing. The less processed = the least likelihood of gluten in naturally gluten-free foods.
Other items on my shopping list sometimes include:
Simple condiments, such as mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup, do not generally contain gluten, although I do still check under the ingredients list to make sure. Many other condiments, such as soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, BBQ sauces, marinades, and salad dressings DO contain gluten, or are processed in plants that also process gluten, so be diligent to check under the ingredients list. Even if it does not say that the product contains wheat, I do not purchase unless it specifically says “GLUTEN FREE” or has the Certified Gluten-Free logo of Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO). Our local grocery store chain has even started labeling gluten-free food items on the price tag, making them easier to locate throughout the store! I still recommend checking the labels, however, as I recently found several mislabeled items in my store (they were all natural, but not gluten-free).
Living gluten-free does not have to be expensive – most of the above brands are not much more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts – or difficult, though it can take some getting used to. I find the easiest way to stay gluten-free is to meal plan and grocery shop specifically for that. Pinterest has been a lifesaver for me, especially for simple, easy, gluten-free dinners. I plan to share these recipes and a brand-new Pinterest board with you all soon, so stay tuned!
*The author has not been compensated by any of these brands in any way, and all opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the author’s.
**I am not a doctor, or a nutritionalist, and so none of this should be taken as medical advice. This is simply my experience with food and going gluten-free. Please consult your doctor if you are considering making any dietary changes.
I've been craving a home-made Mexican-style meal for days now. And I finally feel well enough to actually move around some. Today has been very productive! Laundry done, kitchen cleaned, dinner AND dessert made! I am so proud of us! Papa Bear even took care of Bean long enough for me to run to Walmart, the grocery store, and McDonald's (yay dollar iced coffee!).
If you have left-over chicken from a rotisserie, you would need 2 cups of chicken. This is a great way to use up those leftovers!
Gluten-Free White Chicken Enchilada Casserole
1 green bell pepper
1 small onion
2-3 garlic cloves
2-3 tbs olive oil
2 large chicken breasts
(above can be replaced with 2 cups shredded cooked chicken)
12 gluten-free corn tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 tbs butter
3 tbs gluten-free flour (I used Hodgson Mill)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies
(If you already have shredded chicken, preheat oven to 350 degrees and start at step 6.)
Mama Bear of one Baby Bear, Bean, who both love Papa Bear, and live in a crafty, gluten-free cozy den.