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Monday, August 13, 2012

Gfree Goodies "Haul"

Hi everyone!

I've noticed that our "Gfree Goodies" page has been quite lonely for some time now. So, in order to give it some more company, here are some awesome (and also not-so-awesome) gfree snacks and foods that I've tried that I want to share with you!

1) Trader Joe's Gluten free/Wheat free Waffles (Toaster Style) Rating: ****

Ever since my gluten free days, I have had some serious waffle cravings. But TJ's Gfree/Wheat free waffles more than satisfy my cravings! These waffles not only toast great but are also really similar to the Eggo waffle taste and texture. Of course, I bet these are a smidgen of a bit healthier, no? :P Add a bit of 100% pure maple syrup or honey and fruit and you're in for a yummy breakfast to start your day! I also like to sneak it some butter too, but for the health conscious, you should just skip that step! 

2)  Trader Joe's Mini Pancakes Rating: 1/2*

I was in the mindset that if the TJ's gfree waffles were good, the pancakes wouldn't be far off in star ranking, right?
I was oh-so-wrong about this one. Thinking back to when I was eating these, I actually feel apologetic to my poor taste buds and stomach who had to finish these off to avoid it sitting and rotting in the freezer. 
No matter how many different methods and cook times I tried to make these taste better, I ended up seriously disappointed. The mini pancakes always turned out incredibly gooey and gross inside even if the outside was super crispy. I think TJ should stop investing time in making these and stick to making waffles. 

3) Van's Frozen Gfree Waffles Rating: 1/2*
 I found these while I was browsing the frozen section at my local Winco, and I was curious to see if these would match up to my awesome experience with TJ's waffles. And.... 
I was disappointed. Again. 
You would think that these waffles and TJ's pancakes would discontinue because they taste so bad, but I guess some people think it's adequate. Well, I'm here to tell you that gluten free food has come a long way from it's nasty days and if it tastes bad, it literally tastes bad, and not because it's marked "gfree." Do yourself a favor and stay away from these, unless you like your waffles disgustingly soggy even after high heat in the toaster oven. 

4) EnviroKids Cereals Rating: ****

   You can count on my pantry always having some version of EnvrioKidz gluten free cereal. Why? Despite the fact that my local TJ's in Berkeley only carries a limited collection of gluten free cereal (and this happens to be one of them), EnviroKidz has never disappointed me in taste and texture. The cereal featured above is one that I eat ALL the time. And when I mean ALL the time, I mean, if it's in my pantry and it's open, chances are that it will be eaten everyday for breakfast, especially if I ran out of Udi's bagels and TJ's waffles of course! I reckon that EnviroKidz gluten free cereal tastes better and healthier than MANY other cereal brands that claim all these "healthy" things they put in their cereal. I don't think you have a good chance at convincing me otherwise especially if you compare this with Lucky Charms. Plus, all those smiling animals just put you in a good mood in the morning (unless you're scared of wild animals, of course!)

5) EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Chewy Bars Rating: 1/2*
Oh lord, if I had to eat another one of these crispy rice bars, I think I would become a diabetic. I thought these bars would taste similar to rice krispies (which are my favorite) but to my great disappointment, these are SO sweet. Way too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth!
These just taste artificial to me (which is odd because it's probably way better than actual rice krispy products) but I think I'll stick to making gluten free rice krispies at home than buy these again. Yay for the cute penguin though!

6) Midel's Cookies Rating: **
 I love cookies. Well, who doesn't, right? If you're looking for chewy cookies like those of Chips Ahoy and such, this is not the cookie for you. In fact, these cookies are the exact opposite.
Mi-Del's cookies (of which I tried the chocolate chip brand and ginger snaps) were, how to put this....meh. I could literally care less about these cookies. My sentiments are if it's in my pantry and open, I may or may not reach in and grab a cookie. I don't crave them and they don't have an amazing flavor that would make me jump up and down and advertise it on a poster on the street corner of my local supermarket. If you like crispy cookies with a definite crunch (oh the alliteration!), then I could suggest for you to try these, but if you're on the prowl for delicious cookies, I would skip these on your next shopping trip.

7) Pamela's Cookies Rating: ***
   So.. these are a definite step up on the gluten free cookie tower I've created in my mind. These cookies still have a crunch to them, but in the middle of the cookie, I have found the chewiness my heart desires. The flavors are awesome too! I only had one bad experience with these cookies in that my lemon shortbread ones were really stale when I opened the package and I had to throw all of them out. But other than that, I would buy these again to satisfy my cookie cravings.

8) Udi's Sandwich Bread Rating: ***
I miss bread. Not being able to eat that hot-out-of-the-oven artisan French baguette drives me nuts every time I pass it to buy some frozen gfree bread. But, you can't fight your own body (and honestly, if it was a fight between me and my body, it would be a losing battle.) So, I try to not breathe in the wonderful smells of that bread and focus on what I CAN eat. Thus, I find myself making a grab-and-go move where I snatch the gfree bread and make a run to the register while holding my breath so I don't breathe in the artisan gluten temptation! (Ah, I'm just kidding, but the scenario was quite action packed, was it not?) But in all seriousness, Udi's sandwich bread is exactly what you need if you want to make yourself a sandwich or eat some toast. Texture and taste is decent. It can't beat the artisan taste and texture, but it's a good alternative. If I had to name some negative parts of this bread, it would be that 1) It's tiny (estimate about 3.5"x 3"). Don't expect to get full on two pieces of bread that sandwich your sandwich and 2) The package is small 3) It's pricey and 4) It gets stale quickly so don't leave it for too long in your freezer. BUT, despite all the negativity, this sandwich bread is fairly good and worth a try.  

I realize now, after looking back on all the things I wrote down, that I seem like a very unhealthy eater. Just look at all the carbs!!

Anyhow, I hope that my reviews have helped some of you in your quest to find yummy gfree snacks/food. If you happen to have tried one of these and disagree with me, let me know! Also, if you have some other product that you would like to share with T and I that you've tried and you think is awesome, leave us a comment and we'll try it out next time we do a gfree food haul.



Awesome post Kristen! I see you are using your summer at home wisely.

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Wow! Thanks for reviewing the Vans waffles and TJ waffles. I've always heard everyone swear by Vans, so I guess I'll have to reconsider before using all of the nice coupons that they keep sending out. Also, the Gorilla Munch cereal is delicious and so filling. I also like the Panda peanut butter one.

You're very welcome! I guess if you had coupons it wouldn't hurt to purchase a box of Vans since others have had such positive things to say about it. Who knows? Maybe your experience will be better than mine has been! (I'll keep my fingers crossed!)