Category Archives: Prepared foods

“Gluten-Free” Dunkin’ Donuts may not be worth the hype

Today’s headlines feature some big gluten-free news,

“Dunkin’ Donuts to offer gluten-free donuts, muffins”

and “Dunkin’ to Sell Gluten-Free Doughnuts in Fast-Food First.”

The expanding availability of GF foods in the mainstream is always exciting. The angel on my shoulder says, “remember how much sugar and fat they put in to make it taste good and be GF!” while the little devil whispers, “Who cares? D-O-N-U-T!”

Putting aside nutrition for the moment, let’s break this news down a little bit. First, Bloomberg claims that Dunkin’ Donuts will win the race with fast food competitors, Starbucks and McDonalds to offer gluten-free items. Um………. didn’t Starbucks offer gluten-free baked goods and few years ago and then stop selling them? Yes, yes they did. Way to do your research Bloomberg.

Second, haven’t we all seen how “gluten-free” doesn’t always mean “free of gluten?” For example, Dominos rocked the fast food world with their offering of gluten-free pizza in 2012. Celiacs and the Dominos legal team quickly discovered that the pizza often had traces of gluten due to the shared kitchen facilities. Dominos now states their GF pizza isn’t safe for Celiacs. While it’s great news that Dunkin’ Donuts will offer GF items, we need to know more about how cross-contamination will be handed.

This new venture by Dunkin’ Donuts is a great way to increase visibility for gluten issues. As a community, we need to push them for transparency in their practices and high standards in ensuring a gluten-free preparation line.

Who wins in your internal debate? Angel telling you to steer clear of sweet treats or that little devil driving you to temptation?

xoxo,

Gluten Free Vermont

 

Traveling in Canada, gluten free!

Traveling to Canada this summer? Our guest blogger discusses her experiences:

Traveling with a gluten allergy is getting easier and easier. I just
spent a week in Montreal – and we were able to find restaurants
sensitive and caring about gluten issues, including Celiac.

I ordered gluten-free meals on VIA Rail, Canada’s Amtrak, for a long
train trip from Montreal to Vancouver, BC. What a surprise to read the
VIA Rail magazine for June, Destinations, article, “Gluten-Free
Delicacies” – in both French and English. The article says that
according to Health Canada 1% of Canadians have Celiac disease and up
to 15% of North Americans have some degree of gluten allergy.
Much of the article highlights restaurants throughout Canada who have
gotten the message that providing for gluten-free customers is good
business.

The article lists resources for travel in Canada:
• a directory of gluten-free restaurants in Ontario at glutenfreeontario.com
• gluten-free products and services for restaurants at theceliacscene.com
• gluten-free brewers at lesbieresnouvellefrance.com
• recipes (gluten-free) in French from epicurean Josee Fournier at
bonheursangluten.blogspot.ca

My first gluten-free dinner on the train from Montreal to Tornot? Not
the absolute best, for sure. Chicken cubes, a tiny salad, some rice
and corn, overcooked green beans, white wine, yummy cold fruit salad
(melons), a rice cracker with butter… But you know, I liked it
(especially the fruit and the chocolate)—and was impressed that the
dietary request filed with VIA rail some six months ago was catered to
today by the car attendant’s quick scan of my ticket and a cheery,
“I’ve got your special meal!”

Late tomorrow we leave Toronto on the VIA Rail train to Vancouver, BC.
I’ll let you know how it goes as we get further from Vermont.

T.K. Writing for Gluten Free Vermont

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Summer rains? Time for Soup! @stonesoupvt

It’s 60 degrees and raining. My jaw aches (maybe its the rain?) and I want something easy to eat. My gluten-free Mom is visiting and we wander into Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup to find warm Thai Carrot Soup (sub kale or brown rice for bread!). Top it off with a Hibiscus- Chamomile-Mint tea and we’re feelin’ warm and cozy!

Mom enjoying Stone Soup

How much is “just a little” when it comes to gluten exposure?

My mother has been “glutenated” a few times recently. She’s learning that she’s more sensitive to gluten than when she first went GF. For example, I’ve seen her eat regular soy sauce several times, whereas I *must* have GF soy sauce. A few weeks ago she picked up prepared chicken kabobs at the grocery store and thinks they made her sick. I asked if they had soy sauce and she said she didn’t really pay attention because the ones at the other grocery store were always fine. Then about a week ago she got sick after chinese food that may have had soy sauce in it– she thought it didn’t but hadn’t bothered to ask since it had never affected her before.

Getting more sensitive to gluten the longer you are off of it is a common story for most of us. In my experience, we all think “I will never be THAT sensitive” but at some point you realize you are sensitive to smaller and smaller exposures. That is a subject for another blog…

I told my mother that REPEATED exposure can make each reaction worse. The chicken kabobs taxed her system and then repeating the exposure just a week or so later made for another bad reaction. Had these events been spaced weeks or months apart it is possible the second one wouldn’t have been so bad.

For those of you questioning your gluten intolerance levels, here is a great article on “HOW MUCH GLUTEN WILL MAKE ME SICK?”  

Gluten-free prepared meals (@BeetNikFoods)

I’ve never tried a prepared meal service before but I could see their usefulness… for an out of town guest, for a hectic week in your life, for times where you want a good meal but just can’t cook it yourself. Living Social is offering a discount this week for prepared meals for a week from Beatnik. Check it out! 

It’s about awareness

If you could change 5 things in the world to make life better for GF folks, what would they be?

Gluten-free Living provides a few great ways that the GF “movement” can move forward.

Read the full article here:

http://gluten-freeliving.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-top-5-gluten-free-changes-id-like.html

The summary:

1. FDA clearly defining “gluten” free

2. Restaurants taking gluten contamination as seriously as sanitation

3. Increase the availability of healthy gluten-free items

4. Remove trace ingredients from common foods (following after Chex cereals)

5. Rule-out Celiac’s before going GF, as it can impact your long-term health and management

So, what’s on your list?

Trader Joe’s… coming soon to a location near(er) to you!!!

This just in… Trader Joe’s moving into South Burlington!

Since I moved to VT in fall of 2012 I’ve heard plenty of moans about “if only there were a Trader Joe’s!” Friends driving to NJ stop in Albany to stock-up. Likewise with Boston journeys.

Well, the stockpiling of cheap almond butter and goat cheese will end sometime next year. The South Burlington Review Board just approved the development. It now has to go through city council where it is favored to pass. 

IT would have a prime location on Dorset St. The owners of next-door Healthy Living welcome the addition, saying that it will bring more people into the area. I look forward to being able to walk between the two!

Getting started GF (@Hannaford)

A friend was recently told his IGG panel for gluten and tons of other foods were “off the charts.” I heard this while he sipped one of his last gluten-heavy beers. “Next week,” he said,

The gluten free aisle at the S. Burlington Hannaford's

The gluten free aisle at the S. Burlington Hannaford’s

“I’ll get serious. Although I’m not sure where to begin.” Equipped with a bunch of readings from his doctor, he was going to start there. I’m sure most of us have websites we send friends to, books, articles, etc to help them get going gluten-free. Ok, so what do you do after you read? Well, you go grocery shopping…

I still remember my first GF grocery adventure. I wrote down a list of ingredients that were to be avoided on a 3×5 card and struck out on my own. My normal 30 minute jaunt around the store seemed to drag on for ever. Each label seemed to take about 5 minutes to read and understand. Of course, since then, labeling has improved and GF selection has expanded. But remembering the stress of those first few trips to the store, I offered to tag along with my friend and his wife for their first GF grocery adventure (still waiting for them to take me up on it). In the meantime, I had them in my head when I hit Hannaford’s this weekend. My iPhone helped me document my favorite GF items around the store in an effort to make a quick and easy shopping guide. Next time I’ll try for Healthy Living and City Market.

What are you favorites? What would you recommend to your friend going gluten-free?

A couple of notes:

1. You may experience sticker-shock for items that are gluten-free “speciality” items, like bread. Items that are naturally gluten-free are just their normal price.

2. When in doubt, go without.

3. Don’t expect anything GF to be a direct replacement for it’s gluten-heavy counterpart. Remember, without gluten, you’ve removed the sticky and fluffy aspects of baking and the imitations, while good, will always be different. Keep an open mind 😉

Cereal

Cereal

Noticeably missing from Hannaford’s is GF Brown Rice Crispies (yes, you can make GF rice crispy treats with these!). Rice Chex harkens back to my childhood. It’s also a good one to keep in mind when you are traveling, as sometimes its offered at hotel buffets in little single serving containers. Barbara’s Puffins has finally gotten themselves straightened out to offer a truly gluten-free option. It’s pretty good if you like Puffins. I enjoy Puffins and Rice Chex IMG_1671because they are “normal” cereals. Next, Hannafords has some large bags of GF corn flakes and Mesa Sunrise (corn flakes with flax and other good stuff mixed in). Pretty good deal for the quantity. There are plenty of GF granolas on the market. PErsonally, I think granola should be made of oats, not nuts and corn flakes, so I like the Kind brands. There’s a huge selection of Kind granolas at Hannafords. Note that all of these items are in the regular cereal aisle, not the GF aisle! GF goes mainstream 😉 Over in the GF aisle, you will find the GF oatmeal. I find that the Bob’s Red Mill doesn’t cook up quite as “quick” as I would like but I’ve found a way around that. I often take the Glutenfreeda instant oatmeal packets with me on the road, as even if GF breakfast options are sparse you can always find some hot water and a cup.

Bunny

 

Snacks

Every bunny deserves a treat! Annie’s bunny fruit snacks are GF. I don’t have kids but I imagine this is a winner with the little ones.

Over in the GF aisle, you will find some GF sweets. Some are good. Some are not good. Some I don’t prefer (I never was that into hard cookies, like chips ahoy). Here are a few of my favorites (only as a special treat of

Treats

course! Remember, just because its GF doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Sometimes the oils and sugars added to make up for the gluten makes GF higher in calories!). Almond horns, simply delicious– hard but soft, sweet but not sugary. Glutino cookies– just like oreos!  (almost) and great for crusts of ice cream cakes. Lucy’s are a sure winner, every time. Crisp cookies but yummy in every flavor.

 

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Hannafords also has some frozen GF treats, which I haven’t tried but recognize some very reliable brands, like Udi’s. Perhaps handy if you need to grab GF cupcakes  or muffins in a hurry (as long as you have time for them to defrost?). These are in a small freezer section in the bakery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce!

Sauce

If sauce were a food group, it might be my favorite. Hannaford’s has GF soy sauce and some other Asian cooking sauces lined up with the regular ol’ sauces. This market has expanded A LOT in the last few years– evident by Kikkoman even joining the wagon. Tomato sauce is tricky– remember that wheat is sometimes found in tomato paste. I go for tomato sauce that clearly states it is GF or where I can fully understand the ingredients  Bove’s and IMG_1678 IMG_1679Classico both label their GF sauces and are conveniently located next to each other in the sauce aisle, just waiting for me to snap a nice pic.

I haven’t met a hummus that isn’t GF (but still I read all the labels). Other condiments sometimes have surprise gluten in them– you think they don’t but it’s good to double-check. For example, Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette has soy sauce with wheat in it. What! Yes! Tragic. I believe all of the Ken’s brand dressings are GF, but always double-check the label.

 

 

 

 

Chips and Crackers

Crackers

Before you head to the GF aisle, check out the cracker aisle. There you will find Nut-thins, which are a mix of nut flours and rice flour. They’re pretty yummy! Also in this aisle, you will find Asian rice crackers– make sure you buy the ones that are GF, as some have soy sauce with wheat. There’s also rice cakes in this section. Personally, I only by the rice cakes that say GF on them but feel free to be only as paranoid as you want. Moving into the GF aisle, you’ll find my favorite GF “bird food” cracker– Mary’s Gone Crackers. I like Herb or Caraway  some people like them plain. Either way, you will feel virtuous for eating these super healthy crackers. Glutino makes the best “your friends won’t know its GF cracker.” Somewhere between a Ritz and a table cracker, they are a great all-purpose cracker. I like the CrunchMaster Multi-Grain crackers paired with cheese or to go with a salad for lunch. They are a little less bird-food like than Mary’s, but still hearty and healthy. If you fancy a chip, know that most corn tortilla chips are gluten free. Many potato chips are gluten free. Start paying more attention to the ingredients if you eat flavored chips or go for brands like Kettle Chips that are GF. New on the market are Boulder Canyon chips. They’ve done some interesting things, like use chickpea flour for air-popped chips. Worth trying out!

Starches

Starches

GF whole grains are of course the best gf options for your daily diet. Rice has had some controversy lately, so use it once a week or so. Quinoa is my personal favorite, so delicious and nutritious. Follow the instructions on the package or cheat like me and use your rice cooker. I’ll throw in some broth instead of all water, maybe some herbs or spices, perhaps some chopped veggies. Cook it up and you’re good to go. Great leftover and cold (unlike rice). Sometimes though, you just want a sandwich. Or pasta. At Hannaford;s, here are my recommendations. Schar makes great buns, rolls, etc. They are parbaked so you can toast them at home. They are pretty low calorie, particularly compared to their gluten-heavy counterparts. Brown rice tortillas are great for open-faced tostadas or grilled quesadillas. Keep them frozen until use, as they break easily. They make ok wraps for sandwiches but I would recommend wrapping them in a towel and then a bag to keep the wrap moist (they crack when they get dried out). Gluten-free toaster waffles should go in a breakfast section. One of these is like a piece of toast and generally yummier than GF bread, I think. Make sure they stay frozen or they tend to crumble. I’ve been known to toast up a BLT with cheve on two toaster waffles. Genius or weird, you decide.

All-purpose GF Flours!

Baking

 

I started out using Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix for EVERYTHING. My Gramma Ginnie’s brownies. Pancakes. Banana Bread. Dredging chicken before cooking. It is still my go-to. Note that it does have almond flour in there so it’s not right for everyone. Another good option is King Arthur’s GF flour mix. I’ve also had really good results substituting that 1:1 for regular flour in recipes. Both are in the GF aisle at Hannaford’s. I’ve had some flour mixes or other mixes (like for breads, pies, etc) that were real flops so I’m leery to try new things. If you’re just starting out baking GF, you will notice a lot of recipes all for a bazillion different GF flours (brown rice, white rice, sorghum, corn, tapioca, xanthum gum, and many more). Before you go and buy a bazillion flours and build new kitchen cabinets to store them in, try one of these all-purpose mixtures.

Meats

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Most fresh meats are ok unless marinated or containing HVP. Stick to more natural or organic kinds to know you don’t have hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Definetly read-up on that before you hit the store. Cured meats are often a source of gluten-added.  VT Smoke and Cure is all GF except meats that contain beer. At Hannafords, there are McKenzie River meats that are labeled GF to make your life easier. And I grew up near the McKenzie River so I like 

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the name 😉 Reward the companies that label their foods GF, stay away from the ones that aren’t labeled even if they seem GF– you never know. Processed meats are of course second to “real” foods but, hey, we all need a turkey sandwich sometimes.

 

 

 

What not to buy

Don’t buy anything that is already moldy (some of the shelved GF breads sit there for a loooooong time). I’ve accidentally done this. Don’t buy any frozen items that may have been unfrozen, they tend to fall apart. Don’t buy this pizza dough that is falling apart right on the shelf!

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Get your [gluten-free] snack on! (+ GF sale items spotted)

 

Yum! Go stock up!

Yum! Go stock up!

At a recent work meeting, three of us gluten-free folks brought in our favorite GF crackers of the moment. Brought  a box of Mediterranean Snacks lentil crackers with rosemary and herbs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where I bought them. Darn. Wandering around Home Goods this week, I found them! Get on over to your local Home Goods (or TJ Maax if you don’t have a Home Goods) and stock up.

 

 

 

 

Here’s why I like these lentil crackers:

1) the first ingredient is BEAN flour. Not corn. Not white rice flour. Not tapioca. But lentil, garbanzo and adzuki bean flour. Immediately that makes me feel healthy. Carbs with a purpose– protein, fiber! And for you watching total carbs, 1 serving is just 19 g– better (less) than a slice of bread!

2) they are delicious!

3) they go well with cheese!

4) they don’t look like bird food!

5) they don’t taste like bird food!

6) my gluten-heavy friends like them as much as regular crackers.

7) this might bring me one serving of beans closer to the Mediterranean Diet (?)

8) did I mention they are made of beans?! and taste wonderful?!

Ok, so while you’re at Home Goods (I went to the one off of Rt 7 right where I-189 comes in), check out some of the other gluten-free goodies awaiting you. Mediterranean Snacks also makes Baked Lentil Chips, which are also delicious. Today I had chicken salad with chips, but it would also be great with hummus or other snacks! I went out on a limb and tried the cucumber dill flavor and my risk was well-rewarded by their great taste.

Home Goods selection of gluten-free baking mixes

Home Goods selection of gluten-free baking mixes

Home Goods also has a large display of baking mixes. I wasn’t feeling ambitious enough to try them out on a big baking extravaganza this weekend but let me know if you try them. There were some new brands I haven’t seen before, which can always be a wonderful surprise or a huge bust!

Don't get your hopes up...

Don’t get your hopes up…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of busts, I also found these gluten-free biscotti by Coffaro’s. I had to try them since at our work meeting a friend lamented the loss of biscotti in her life. Now, I should be honest– I’m not a huge biscotti or scone fan but I have ones I found really yummy. I got the chocolate chip ones, planning to write a funny and cute blog entry about finding great biscotti at Home Goods. I *cannot* recommend these. I found them very flavorless, as well as “tinny” like there was too much baking soda or something. I haven’t thrown out the rest of the box yet but I likely will soon.

In other news, Healthy Living has Annie’s Gluten-Free shells and cheese on sale! Hurry while the sale lasts!

 

 

Stuffing!!!!!!!! #glutenfree

A friend just wrote me about stuffing. What’s the best for gluten free? Honestly, I’m UnAmerican or something because stuffing and gravy are lowest on my list for Thanksgiving foods. I know, weird right? That said, here are some gluten-free stuffing options that caught my eye. Let me know if you try them and have any recommendations!

1. Polenta stuffing

I’ve seen a lot of these recipes floating around. It seems like polenta stuffing is in vogue regardless of your GF status. I would try this recipe, as the recipes on Epicurious never disappoint! And sausage is always a crowd pleaser… unless you’re vegan (see below).

2. Cornbread stuffing

The Gluten-Free Goddess blog is my go-to for ideas and inspiration. I’m not one to follow recipes very closely so I often modify her recipes for what’s in my kitchen. If you’re looking for a stuffing side dish, you could easily make this cornbread stuffing with out the squash.

3. The time-saver

I’ve never made this as stuffing, but Aleia’s stuffing can be found in a lot of stores, including Hannafords or Stop N Shop around the holidays (watch for it to go on sale after the holidays too!). I’ve actually bought the stuffing and used it as croutons on my salad (the internet is a nice place to air your strange habits, that’s what its meant for right? Just look for Aleia’s stuffing on the end-caps or in special displays. I’m sure it would be a quick and easy GF stuffing for all to enjoy!