I Heart You Hand Pies

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post. Life got busy! However, during these last few weeks I have been testing out lots of new products that I am excited to share with you. 
It’s been such a treat to have the snow melt and the robins chirp away the last couple of weeks. Until this morning when I woke up to snow outside! I didn’t think April snowfalls were such a thing. I guess that’s what you get for living in Canada, eh? With snow on the ground, it’s hard to imagine that Easter is just days away. Have you figured out your brunch, lunch and/or dinner menus? I thought I’d share with you a fun dessert that doesn’t take too much time to make and doesn’t require a serving spoon! Introducing: gluten free hand pies (which I love). 
If you were on Pinterest around Valentine’s day, you probably would have seen Pinterest exploding with various versions of the ‘hand-pie’. I thought they were way too cute to pass up, but I didn’t have a huge chunk of time to make gluten-free pastry dough. Fortunately Glutino pulled through with their Perfect Pie Crust Mix. The directions were very simple and it only took about an hour for the dough to chill in the fridge. The dough was easy to roll and the baked result was delicious. I was expecting the texture to be doughy and bread-like, but it was nice and flaky with a buttery flavour. For one of the fillings I chopped up a couple of apples (without the skin), mixed the pieces with brown sugar and caramelized them in a pan with some butter until tender – it was that simple! I cheated for the second filling and scooped some cherry jam out of a jar…easy peasy! 
11 steps to make your own hand pies:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
2. Prepare the dough as per instructions on the box (or use your own dough recipe)
3. Roll until half an inch thick 
4. Use a circular cookie cutter (about three inches in diameter) to cut the dough
5. Put a tablespoon of filling in the centre of one of the cutouts (bottom half)
6. With a second cutout (top half), cut a hole in the centre using a knife or a small cookie cutter (I used a small heart shaped cookie cutter)
7. Drape the top half (with the hole) on top of the filling to make a ‘sandwich’
8. With a fork, gently press the sides of the ‘sandwich’ to make pie indents 
9. Whisk one large egg with one tbsp of water to make an egg wash
10. Brush the tops and edges of the pies with the egg wash
11. Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden 

The Many Pretzels of Glutino (+Giveaway)

There are not many gluten free companies who make GF pretzels, but I don’t think there is really a demand for it. Glutino has it in the bag (literally). They make the best pretzels out there and I really don’t even realize I’m eating something that’s gluten free when I snack on them. What’s even more great about them is that they don’t just have original pretzels, they have Peppermint Yogurt, Fudge, Yogurt (no image above) and their newest, Honey Mustard. 
Honey Mustard: The pretzels are lightly dusted with a honey mustard flavouring. I like how they aren’t overloaded by the flavouring and there is just enough to taste it. If you like honey mustard, you will surely love these. It reminds me of the days when I used to be able to eat fresh pretzels at sports games with mustard on the side to dip. 
Fudge: Mmmm fudge…who doesn’t like fudge? I’d have to say that these are one of my favourite gluten free treats on the market. I love the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness underneath. They have the perfect crunch to them too. These are definitely a special treat though, as the cost of them is a bit daunting – at $6.99 (CND) a bag.
Peppermint Yogurt: These are pretty wonderful. The smooth yogurt, chunks of peppermint and salty pretzel underneath create an amazing flavour for the tastebuds. They’re also pink, red and white…perfect for Valentine’s Day. I loved these, although they were very rich in flavour – which was good because I didn’t have the urge to eat the whole bag. 
A Valentine’s Day idea for your gluten-free love: empty a bag of Glutino Fudge Pretzels into a mason jar and tie a pink/red bow around the top. A little bit of DIY + chocolate = a perfect, thoughtful gift. 

Do you have a favourite gluten free pretzel? Please share! 
BONUS! Interested in trying Glutino’s NEW Honey Mustard Pretzels for yourself? I’d love to share some pretzel love with you! One lucky winner will get their own bag from Glutino. Here’s how to enter:
  • Tweet your favourite food duo (ie – honey + mustard, chocolate + salt, etc) to @gutgazette with #GFPretzelLove for your chance to win a bag of your own!
  • For an additional entry, follow @gutgazette and comment below saying you did (if you’re already a follower, simply comment below about your favourite food duo). 
Contest ends Feb. 24 at 11:59 p.m. Best of luck! 

A healthy couch potato

There’s no doubt about it, we all love to snack. A bowl of salty, crunchy chips with some salsa in front of the TV is a great way to be mindless. Too bad potato chips aren’t very healthy though….

Until now! Have you heard of Way Better Snacks? They are sprouted ingredient chips and are a wonderful alternative to plain-Jane potato chips. When ingredients are sprouted (or germinated), the vitamins and minerals become more bio-available to the body. Sprouted ingredients increase the amount of vitamins and minerals, increase digestibility and they increase nutrient absorption. Sounds a little too healthy for a snack food, doesn’t it?

I was very happy to be able to review these healthy chips. Some chip companies claim to be a healthy alternative, but they have no real nutrients to them. Way Better Snacks contain ingredients such as flax, quinoa, radish seeds, black beans, brown rice, broccoli seeds and chia seeds. With all of these healthy seeds, beens and sprouts, you would think they would make a better salad than a chip. Wrong. They are a delicious chip and have the flavour of both corn tortillas and SunChips. Each serving contains 420mg of omega 3 fatty acids, which is almost half of the daily requirements for omega 3s/day, according to the Dieticians of Canada website.

 

 

Flavour profiles:
 
Sweet Chili: I found the Sweet Chili to be more ‘chili’ than ‘sweet’. It had a bit of a kick to it, which added some nice flavour. I found them to be very rich though, which swayed me away from eating half the bag in one sitting!
Unbeatable Blues: These were a simple, blue-corn-based (non GMO) chip that had just a touch of pure sea salt and offered a lovely crunch. I liked these ones and they were great dipped in salsa.
Black Bean: The colour of these chips set me off a bit, they look a bit grey, which is due to the sprouted black beans. You could definitely taste the black beans in these chips as well. I liked them, but they weren’t my favourite out of the bunch.
Multi-Grain: I liked these ones the best. The taste was very reminiscent of SunChips and the variety of grains added a lot of crunch. There was a bit of a nutty flavour to these and they were awesome dipped in hummus.

 

I would highly recommend these chips if you’re in the mood for a snack. Although they are super healthy, they won’t make you feel guilty if you “indulge” a bit. If you are in the mood for a lazy day, grab a bag and be a “healthy” couch potato!

Glutino Sugar Cookies for Santa

The tastes and smells of Christmas are in full swing at my house. I always seem to fall into the holiday mood once the oven starts roaring and the smell of Christmas cookies circulates the house. Shortbread, sugar cookies and gingerbread are my three favourite Christmas cookies – what are yours?
I’m usually always ahead of the game when it comes to holiday baking, but the past few months have been so busy that my first batch of cookies I made was only yesterday. However, I must admit that the cookies I made were not from scratch. One box of Glutino’s Sugar Cookie mix, a few tablespoons of butter, two eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla was all I needed to whip up the start to my holiday baking. Thank you, Glutino, for helping make my baking a little bit easier. 
After mixing up the ingredients, I popped the dough into the freezer for about 20 minutes to chill it. You can either do this route or keep it in the fridge for a couple of hours. Make sure you don’t forget about it in the freezer though! Chilling the dough helps with the rolling process if you decide to make cut outs (like I did). Before rolling, ensure that the surface you plan on using is clean and floured, to eliminate the dough from sticking to the counter. 
I was surprised at how big these cookies expanded while they were in the oven. My even-cut-out cookies turned into rounded shapes. They still came out cute though, and tasted delicious. 

Once they cooled, I piped on some icing and sprinkled the tops with sprinkles. 

These cookies taste exactly like the real deal. They are sweet, soft in the middle and crunchy around the edges. They really remind of the sugar cookies I used to eat back when I could eat gluten. I would definitely recommend this mix to anyone who wants to enjoy an old-fashion Christmas cookie…and if you have any leftovers (which I’m sure you won’t), place a few on a plate for Santa…only eight sleeps away! 
Stay tuned for an upcoming Glutino giveaway…you definitely won’t want to miss out.

Touchdown with Coconut-Butterscotch-Chocolate Brownies

Don’t you just love the fall? I do. I love the smells, sights, tastes and coziness of autumn. It’s just a great season. Pumpkin pie, knit sweaters, comfy scarves, spicy chai lattes, the colours of the changing leaves, crisp air, long walks, Thanksgiving & Halloween…it just doesn’t get any better than that. I should also include the fact that autumn also marks the start of football season. I’m not much of a football fan (although I do have a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt), but I do love the tasty treats that football is associated with…especially sweets.

When Glutino asked me to become part of their VIGFBC (very important gluten free blogging community), I was honoured! I am a huge fan of Glutino products, they really know how to make gluten-free taste good. To begin my journey as a regular Glutino blogger, I thought I would put a spin on their brownie mix. I also thought these jacked up brownies would be a great addition to any football tailgating party, or just a normal Sunday afternoon watching the game.

All you need is:
1 box of Glutino Double Chocolate Brownie Mix
1 cup of butterscotch chips
1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut

Follow the directions on the brownie mix box and once everything is combined, mix in the butterscotch chips and coconut. Bake as directed, let cool and serve.

These brownies are delicious. Moist, decadent and chewy…you would never believe they were gluten free. These brownies didn’t last very long in my house, and I doubt they will in yours either!

Bake them up this weekend, they’re perfect for a football tailgating party.

Wonderful Product Finds

As I have mentioned before, shopping in specialty grocery stores or markets gives me the same thrill that a child gets when they are in a toy store. I could easily spend a couple hours wandering around a new grocery store, or taking my time at each booth at a market. I simply just love food.

My latest new food finds are really fun, delicious, and they all share a common theme: they are all small family/friend run companies. I’m really looking forward to sharing the following with you – I hope by the end of reading this post you will be excited to seek out these fabulous products to try for yourself!
Drip: Maple syrup is one of my favourite food products. It definitely ranks on my top 10 list of favourites. I’m not talking Aunt Jemima table syrup though (although, it is pretty delicious on pancakes), I’m talking about pure, freshly harvested Canadian maple syrup. The taste is so different, and has so many different tasting notes. It’s caramel-y, sweet, oaky, nutty, rich, and of course has the distinct maple flavour. I find that certain syrups take on different tasting notes, almost like a wine does.  Some people like to splurge on balsamic vinegar, wine, or fancy oils – me, I get excited about buying a high quality bottle of maple syrup – I guess that’s just my Canadian coming out, eh?
When I saw Drip set up at a booth at a market recently, I got really excited immediately. First off, I was so impressed with their simple, sophisticated booth. It was lined with a dark table cloth, and then there stood 3 beautiful cut stumps, with each flavour sitting on top of each.
I know you shouldn’t judge something before trying, but I knew just by the look of the table and the sleek bottle that it would be a good find. I got a little shot glass of Amber syrup and sipped it back. Mmmm, I wanted more immediately. It had the most unusual flavours in it, I had never tried a maple syrup so different. Unusually good though, it was a rich, nutty flavour that had hints of burnt caramel, sweet brown sugar and pure vanilla. I then proceeded to sample the Blonde and Copper varieties (the first of the season and the middle of the season). They were just as good, and if I could, I probably would have bought one of each. But, I loved the richness of the Amber and I also love the fact that Amber has the most minerals and antioxidants in it – due to it being left in the tree the longest.

Did you know that maple syrup is rich in the trace mineral manganese? It is an important mineral that helps with antioxidant defences. Zinc is also found in maple syrup, which helps in immune system functions. It is full of great properties, and is actually written up in the website and book The World’s Healthiest Foods.

Drip is run by a very lovely couple, who I had the pleasure of meeting, and by one other man. I was told that the syrup is from a forest up north in Manitoulin Island – just south of Sudbury, Ontario. I also love the fact that this syrup is simply straight from the tree. It is unblended and has no additives or preservatives. It is definitely Mother Nature’s sweetest, most delicious goods.
I always like maple syrup on pancakes and waffles (gf obviously), but I don’t think I will ‘drip’ this maple gold on something so rich. I will definitely use it over my yogurt and granola, on oatmeal, over salmon and drizzled on greek yogurt. I am also looking forward to trying it in a cold tumbler of gin – an idea recommended by the lady who sold it to me. To conclude my long rant on maple syrup, I will end it off by saying that this is exactly what I have been looking for in a maple syrup, and I don’t know if there is anything that can beat this taste. There are a few locations in Toronto that sell it currently – such as the Drake General Store – but you can purchase it online (thank goodness)!
Check out their website and trust me, you will not go wrong with this purchase. You may just become addicted!

Upper Spice: I’m not a huge fan of spicy foods, but I do love spices that add a punch of flavour. I have also recently taken a taste for jerk spices. I love the variety of flavours that fuse together to make such a distinctive taste.

I discovered Upper Spice at a local market, they were sampling their Medium Jamaican Jerk on slow cooked chicken. It was delicious, it had a cinnamon-y spicy flavour and the heat warmed up my whole body. I found the medium to be a bit too hot for me, so I opted for the mild. The great thing about this line of spices is that they are all 100% gluten free and homemade! Upper Spice is owned by a  mother/daughter duo from Burlington, Ontario who created the spice mixture after getting a taste of authentic Jamaican jerk on a trip to Jamaica. This jerk spice is nothing like I have ever tried – so fresh, flavourful and although I have never been to Jamaica, it definitely tastes authentic. I am excited to try it as a rub on ribs, and as a spice for sautéed chicken fajitas.

You can buy Upper Spice online, 3 packs for $15. Or, keep your eyes peeled this summer at local Toronto markets…that’s where I bought mine!

Hawberry Farms: Every year, The University of Guelph has an annual artisanal sale called Fair November. The first year I went, I visited the Hawberry Farms booth, which had an extensive variety of jams, oils, dips and relish. Every product is so unique and unlike anything you would find at a grocery store, such as Apple Pie Jam, Blueberry Rhubarb Jam, Banana Spread and a lot more – including the famous Hawberry Jelly, which is a berry found on Manitoulin Island (the same largest freshwater island in the world that Drip is harvested). I had ended up purchasing the Carrot Cake Jam, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It honestly tastes like carrot cake and it goes well with so many things; such as muffins, slices of a loaf, toast and even mixed into vanilla ice-cream or greek yogurt. Year after year I would attend Fair November and pick up my jar of Carrot Cake Jam. Luckily it would also last me a few months – as it is pretty rich and a small amount goes a long way. It’s been two years now since I’ve had this delicious creation, until last weekend when I picked it up at the Harbourfront Artisanal Market. I was so happy to have found it there. I wasn’t aware that they had a website in which you could order from, I will definitely be doing this from now on when I need my fix of Carrot Cake Jam. Trust me, I don’t think they have one product that isn’t delicious, so take your pick, you won’t be risking anything!

ChocoSol: This chocolate company isn’t just about making delicious chocolate; it seems that they are all about dignity, positive relationships, respect and love. Maybe that’s why I felt so great after sampling a piece of their chocolate the other weekend at a farmer’s market. ChocoSol is a small Toronto based company, run by a few staff and volunteers, who believe that their chocolate is “good for mind, body and soil”. They say on their website that ‘sol’ in Spanish means the sun, which refers to the fact that their first 1000 kilos of cacao were rosted with solar power in Mexico. Sol in french means soil, and in English ‘sol’ sounds like ‘soul’ and reminds them of doing good hearted things in a learning community. After reading and learning about their product, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to not like this chocolate. I should also mention that the chocolate is fair trade, sweetened with agave syrup, and free of gluten (bonus), nuts, dairy, soy and it is vegan. I tried the ‘Choco-Latte’ drinking chocolate at the market and wow was it good. Not a typical chocolate milk though, as it is water based and only sweetened with agave syrup. It was bitter, but it felt like a super healthy cocoa drink – I actually loved it. The Coconut Chocolate was the other product I tried. The sweetness of the coconut sprinkled on top almost helped sweeten the dark, natural, earthy chocolate. What I love about this chocolate is that you do feel like you are having a treat, but you don’t feel high on sugar afterwards, it just feels healthy. All in all, this tasty chocolate company seems to exhibit all things good – good chocolate, good people and good souls. You can look at the locations of where ChocoSol sells on their website. I will definitely be searching this one out again soon.

I love finding new products, especially when they are Canadian, local, and of course gluten free and absolutely delicious! I hope you search these out and enjoy them as much as I do. Let me know what your favourite local products are – I would love to hear and try!

Gluten Free London & Paris

My family and I just came back from a wonderful two-week trip to London, England and Paris. We did so much walking and saw so many touristy attractions, it was great! When we first decided we were going, I was hesitant to whether there would be many gluten free options, or if I would just have to eat grilled chicken, veggies and salad for two weeks. However, once I started researching, I found so many restaurants that were either strictly gluten free, or that had gluten free alternatives. It relieved my stress that I had about finding gluten free friendly food.

I had read a lot of different gluten free travel sites to get ideas on where to eat here and there, however I found a lot of places on my own, and discovered new and helpful tips on how to travel abroad with a gluten allergy.

Gluten free on the plane: We flew with Air Canada, and when we purchased our tickets we were able to specify whether we had any allergies. Fortunately I was able to check off ‘Gluten-Free’! To be honest though, I do not get hungry the slightest bit when I fly, so I didn’t really have an appetite once my gluten free meal arrived. I was impressed though. It was chicken chimichurri with herb roasted potatoes, a cookie and bun from Patsy Pie and a little thing of coleslaw. I tucked the Patsy Pie cookie and bun for later as a snack, it was delicious. Once we got across the Atlantic Ocean, and it was now breakfast time in London, they came around and gave us all muffins, carrot for the non-gluten-free’ers and an Apple Cinnamon Patsy Pie muffin. It was actually very delicious and so moist! It didn’t even really taste gluten free. On our way back to Canada, the meal was pretty similar, but the bun was a no-name gluten free brand that tasted like saw dust…I wasn’t too impressed.

Gluten free on the go: Lots of walking and sightseeing definitely makes you hungry, and it wasn’t very easy to find an easy gluten free snack everywhere we went. So, I had packed Enerjive Skinny crackers in my suitcase to bring with me from Toronto. They are healthy quinoa crackers with a low glycemic index and filled with good seeds and grains (they are also free of refined sugars and low in sodium)!. I found that eating a couple (with a cup of tea) mid morning and mid afternoon helped me stay satiated until lunch or dinner came around. I would just stick a couple in a plastic baggy and tuck them away in my purse. They are flat, so they take up the least bit of room.

Enerjive by the London Eye!

Gluten free lunches: In both London and Paris, it was pretty easy to eat a gluten free lunch, as a protein packed salad is almost always gluten free and on most menus. In London I had a Cobb salad once, with olive oil as the dressing, and in Paris I had a lot of Parisian Salads, which consists of country ham (prociutto), emmetnal or swiss cheese, tomato, onion and the odd cucumber (with lettuce of course). In Paris there was one exclusively gluten free restaurant, called NoGlu. It was really cool to be able to pick anything off the menu without any hesitation. The restauarant has only been in operation for 7 months, and there were many delicious meals on the menu, including items such as a quinoa salad, salmon with a potato dish, and a Parisian club sandwich – which consisted of procuitto, swiss cheese and caramelized onions…it was declicious. They also had cookies, muffins, and other pastries on their menu – I was much too full to indulge though. I should also mention that the bread is homemade and they even bring a gluten free bread basket, it was so fun!

On days where I knew that gluten free options would be hard to come by (ie – museums/castles) I would pack a couple slices of gf bread or gf oatmeal to go. When we went to The Tower of London, I picked up a banana, yogurt and then hot water for my gf oatmeal. It wasn’t the most delicious lunch, but it kept me satisfied until afternoon tea or dinner came around. Same went for Hampton Court – there were no options that I could eat – luckily I had a couple slices of bread in my purse, so I bought some cheese and a banana, which accompanied my bread.

In London we ate at Pizza Express, which had gluten free crust! Although the gluten free pizza sounded delicious, the antipasto plate caught my eye, and it too was gluten free. At Pizza Express they list beside each item what is gluten free, vegetarian and what items contain nuts. In Covent Gardens there was a restaurant near the theatre district called PJs Grill, it also offered gluten free options, like bunless burgers, steaks and salads. I had a COBB Salad, it was delicious!

Gluten free snacks: In a lot of the art galleries and museums in London, there were a few gluten free options for treats. Such as the National Art Gallery which had a gluten free chocolate cake. You can also go for high tea at Fortnum & Masons, Browns Hotel, Claridges Hotel, and the British Museum. That was one thing I really wanted to do, but it costs around £50 for tea, tea sandwiches and cakes…which I found very pricey! The grocery stores, such as Waitrose, had a ‘free from’ section, which had gluten free breads, cereals and even tea cookies (like custard filled and digestive cookies)! I tried Genius bread when I was there and I honestly almost cried – it tasted exactly like “regular” gluten bread. The slices were huge and the consistency was soft and chewy…it was so amazing. Genius…come to Canada!!! Wimbledon was my favourite spot in London, I am a huge tennis fan and have wanted to go for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately the tournament isn’t until late June, but seeing Centre Court and the museum was just as awesome. We even had strawberries and cream there – and those are most definitely gluten free.

Gluten free dinners: In both London and Paris we rented flats, which were both equipped with kitchens. Some days we would pick up a roast chicken and salads so that we could just eat in. It was great after a long day of touring, and also a secure way of knowing that what I was eating was gluten free.

My favourite dinner in London would have to be the gluten free fish and chips! I was so excited to find a restaurant that had that gluten free option. It was my first fish and chips in a very long time, about 7 years! The restaruant is called The Grill on Leicester Square. It had a few gluten free options, but obviously the fish and chips grabbed my interest. It was absolutely delicious – crunchy, flaky, and oh so good! The mushy peas were good too! In Paris, steak and frites (fries) is always an option, except you really can’t eat it too many times, it’s so heavy. Just make sure that the fries are fried in a separate deep fryer, avoiding cross contamination. In London they also have the restaurant Wagamama, which is an international Japanese restaurant chain. They are able to make most items gluten free, and some of the menu items are naturally gluten free. It’s a tasty restaurant but extremely casual and more of a lunch place than dinner place.

Grocery stores: Lucky enough, Paris and London both had many gluten free options at grocery stores. We were able to find breads, cereal, crackers and cookies…Paris even had gluten free croissants at a small supermarket, but I had enough food to finish in our 5 days that we stayed. 
If you would like to learn about more gluten free options in London, I found this website to be very helpful: Adventures of a Gluten Free Globetrekker
For Paris, the website Gluten Free Mom helped me out a lot! 
My worry of not being able to find gluten free friendly meals while traveling was put to rest. Canada is definitely not the only country who has people who suffer from gluten allergies; it is all over the world and countries such as England and France have also jumped on the bandwagon and are popping up with alternatives all over the place. I didn’t find it hard at all! 

Kimberley’s Own: Product Review

Back in September when I was at the Gluten Free Expo, I came across an amazing new gluten free granola called Kimberley’s Own. When I think of packaged granola I think of processed, high in sugar, full of random ingredients, and definitely not gluten free. Kimberley’s Own is the opposite of what I usually picture to be in granola. It is an artisanal, gourmet cereal that is pure, wholesome and simply healthy. I even got to meet the real Kimberley behind this amazing product, Kimberley Lugsdin! Kimberley merged her two passions to create this delicious brand, that of kinesiology and her catering company that focuses on wholesome nutritious ingredients.
Kimberley’s Own has three different blends of granola: Original, Just Seeds and Nibs & Nuts. All of the granolas are made with pure oats, so that means they have not been contaminated with any wheat or gluten (making them gluten free!), they have no oil or water added, and are refined sugar, dairy and soy free. It is a product that just reminds me of simple homemade granola.
Just Seeds: Kimberley’s Own Just Seeds granola contains over 40% seeds, such as hemp hearts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. The description says that is has a “nutty undertone”, even though there are no nuts. It definitely tastes nutty and I love the crunch factor in this blend. It’s perfect on top of yogurt with a bit of fruit mixed in. I would have to say this is probably my favourite out of the three, just because of it’s simplicity and versatility. You can really pair this blend with anything: yogurt; milk; and even frozen yogurt. I love the fact that the granola is sweetened with maple syrup, it isn’t too sweet and it doesn’t taste processed. 

Original Blend: Kimberley’s Own Original Blend granola is perfect for those who like dried fruit in their granola. It is packed with apricots, cranberries and goji berries, along with a variety of seeds and nuts. I ate this one with yogurt, but I also tried it on top of warm oatmeal – oats on oats. I enjoyed it on the oatmeal, because the hot oats softened up the dried fruit. I enjoyed the variety in this blend, but I found some of the fruit bits to be tough to chew, especially the goji berries.  Again, this granola is sweetened with maple syrup and along with the two other blends, many of the ingredients are organic. 
Nibs & Nuts: First of all, I absolutely love the name of this granola, Nibs & Nuts, I think it is very creative and original! This blend is described as a granola for those who want to indulge and not feel guilty about it. I’d have to say, there is nothing to feel guilty about when eating Kimberley’s Own granola, it’s so pure and you can just taste the healthy goodness. This blend has raw cocoa nibs, walnuts and chia seeds. I did enjoy this blend, but I’m not a huge fan of raw cocoa, I just find it to be a bit too bitter. This granola is perfect as a frozen yogurt topper though, as the cocoa becomes a bit more sweet with the sugar from the fro-yo. 
I like how the chia seeds almost stick to the oats in all three granolas, it’s nice that the seeds don’t all fall to the bottom of the bag. Like I mentioned before, I love how the sugar count is low, only sweetened with maple syrup and I like the amount of fibre and protein within each blend (ranging from 7-8g of protein/serving and 5-6 g of fibre/serving). Another aspect that grabbed my interest in this granola is that there is no flax. Although flax is super healthy, I know a couple of people who can’t eat it, as it makes them sick. A lot of health cereals include flax seed for the health factor, so those who can’t eat flax, can’t enjoy the healthy cereals. Lastly, I love how Kimberley’s Own is a Canadian product, it’s hard to find products made in Canada these days, Oh Canada! 

I would highly recommend this granola if you enjoy simple tastes, healthy options and want a gourment topper for your morning yogurt or milk. Have you tried Kimberley’s Own granola before? I would love to hear what you thought of it! Check out www.kimberleysown.comto see where you can purchase the product and to learn more about it. 
Thanks for creating such a fantastic, gourmet health food Kimberley! 

Healthy Chips + Giveaway!

*Beanitos Giveaway at bottom of post!!

Healthy chips? That sounds a bit like an oxymoron, however Beanitos chips are actually healthy!

Beanitos – The Original Bean Chip, was created to be a healthy snack. They are low in the glycemic index (perfect for blood sugar), free of corn, gluten free, higher in fibre and protein than most chips on the market (fibre 5g/10 chips and protein 4g/10 chips), free of trans fat and cholesterol and contain essential ALA Omega 3s. I don’t think you would find those stats in a regular potato chip! 
There are 4 Beanitos flavours:
1. Black Bean
2. Pinto Bean and Flax
3. Cheddar Cheese
4. Chipotle BBQ
A serving of the bean chips are 10 chips for 140-150 calories.
1. Black Bean Chips
For those of you allergic to flax seeds, the Black Bean Chips are the only type to not include flax in the  ingredients. The Black Bean flavour is very mild, and more like a cracker in taste than a chip. You can really taste the black bean flavour, I think they would pair perfectly with a guacamole dip or salsa and be great to make nachos with. 

2. Pinto Bean and Flax
Similar to the Black Bean chip, this chip also is mild in flavour and would make for a great dipping chip. I liked the crunch of this chip, it had a good consistency and would make for a perfect afternoon snack. 

3. Cheddar Cheese
Everyone has their own preferences and tastes…and this chip was just not for me. I really was put off by the smell of the cheddar and I found it to taste a little off. Sometimes flax seeds can taste a little “fishy”, due to the Omega 3s, I found these chips to have an overbearing “flax-y” taste to them. I guess I was expecting a cheese Dorito when I popped it in my mouth. Maybe it was just this bag? Perhaps not all of the Cheddar Cheese Beanitos taste like this, I might have to test them out again. 

4. Chipotle BBQ
These were my favourite! I absolutely loved the Chipotle BBQ. I could see myself easily eating half the bag while watching TV. They have a great crunch to them and a wonderful BBQ flavour. At the beginning the flavour is very smokey, it then turns sweet and at the end there is a bang with a bit of a spicy kick left on the back of your tongue. I found that they tasted like a combination of Doritos and BBQ chips. I love the fact that they are so yummy, but also healthy! 

I am sure you all know that old school yard song…”beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot….”. Well yes, one of my first thoughts with these chips were that of the gas factor. I know what happens when I eat too many beans…so why would I want to risk it with a snack?? Fortunatly, the back of the bag says that Beanitos are bean chips without gas! They created a “unique, natural and proprietary way to make Beanitos without the common side effects some people assoiciate with beans.” How fantastic?! But…they do also note that it probably wouldn’t be wise to eat a whole bag on your first go…
So, if you are running out to the grocery store today, I would recommend the Chipotle BBQ and Black Bean chips – they were my two favourites and I could see them being enjoyed by a variety of people.
BEANITOS GIVEAWAY
Lastly…how would you like to try all 4 flavours for yourself? Beanitos has been very kind to allow me to host a Beanitos Giveaway on The Gut Gazette. The giveaway is open to Canadian and American residences, however – no P.O Box addresses please.

How to enter? There are 2 possible ways to win. 

1. Follow me on Twitter @gutgazette and then leave a comment below saying you did.

2. Tweet about the contest to gain another entry saying: “I just entered the Beanitos giveaway @gutgazette, check it out http://www.thegutgazette.com/2012/10/healthy-chips-giveaway.html And again, comment below saying you did this. 

The contest will end on October 29th, I will use a random number generator to determine who wins. I will than announce who the winner! Good luck to all! 

I Love Udi’s

I got the most exciting package in the mail about a month ago from Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. It has taken me a while to write up the review because I wanted to taste everything, down to the last drop crumb. I am absolutely in LOVE with Udi’s! I find it so funny how excited I get about new products and great food. Udi’s was so kind to send me a few of their delicious gluten free goods. The products came in a funky box labeled as the “VIP Kit”! 

The first product I tried of Udi’s was their gluten free bread. Wow, I was amazed. I could not believe that what I was biting my teeth into was a piece of gluten free bread. It wasn’t dry, tasteless, no weird after taste, and nor did it have that spongy styrofoam feel. It tasted like a great piece of bread. It was moist, “bready”(you know, it had that elastic-y gluten feel to it), and it didn’t crumble! It made the perfect piece of toast and a great sandwich. I just love a good sandwich. Anyway! I had never tried any of the other products until my package came in the mail…I can’t tell you how impressed I am with this company. My mornings were met with muffins, muffin tops (which I have never had) and my lunches consisted of the delicious bagels with cream cheese (yup, cinnamon raisin bagels and cream cheese are the perfect marriage). I then had the brownies as snacks or a sweet treat post dinner. 
Left to right – Blueberry Oat Muffin Tops, Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites, Cinnamon Raisin Bagels and Blueberry Muffins…ALL gluten free!

INGREDIENTS: UDI’S BEST BLEND (TAPIOCA STARCH, BROWN RICE FLOUR), EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, WHOLE EGGS, WATER, WILD BLUEBERRIES, NON-GMO VEGETABLE OIL (CANOLA OR SUNFLOWER OR SAFFLOWER), PALM OIL, BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, CORN STARCH, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, VANILLA (EXTRACTIVES OF VANILLA BEANS, WATER AND ALCOHOL), SUNFLOWER LECITHIN (SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, RICE FLOUR), LEMON FLAVEDO (LEMON PEEL, SUGAR, LEMON OIL), XANTHAN GUM, CRYSTAL SUGAR (SUGAR, CARNAUBA WAX). CONTAINS EGG. 
CONTAINS EGGS

Calories – 260
Protein – 2g
Fat – 10g
Fibre – 1g
Sugar 19g

Per 4 muffins = $6


Verdict: 
I loved the size of the muffins. I’m not going to lie, I like having a good sized muffin if I’m going to indulge in one. I don’t like when gluten free muffins are tiny because they are so dense and don’t rise. These were normal, run of the mill muffins that were moist, fluffy and big! There was a definite flavour of blueberry, and it paired well with a little spread of butter. I am interested to taste the other flavours they have, which are Lemon Streusel (sounds amazing), Double Chocolate (hello!) and Cinnamon Rolls (I have never had a gluten free cinnamon roll…). These definitely did not taste gluten free. No weird after taste or anything. I highly recommend them. 

INGREDIENTS: UDI’S BEST BLEND (TAPIOCA STARCH, BROWN RICE FLOUR), WATER, NON-GMO VEGETABLE OIL (CANOLA OR SUNFLOWER OR SAFFLOWER), RAISINS, EGG WHITES, EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, TAPIOCA MALTODEXTRIN, XANTHAN GUM, TAPIOCA SYRUP, YEAST, SALT, CINNAMON, CULTURED CORN SYRUP SOLIDS (NATURAL MOLD INHIBITOR), ENZYMES. 

CONTAINS EGG.


Calories – 320

Protein – 7g
Fat – 10g
Fibre – 3g
Sugar – 11g

Per 4 bagels = $6

Verdict: 
I honestly could not believe what I was eating. No joke of a lie, I had to double check the package to make sure they did say “Gluten Free”…of course they did though, it is written in big print right on the bag. These bagels taste like what a bagel should taste like. Wikipedia explains a bagel as “a dense, chewy, doughy interior with a browned and sometimes crisp exterior”. How big of a nerd am I for looking that up on Wikipedia, eh? Anyway. These delicious GF bagels fit that definition of a regular wheat bagel. They were indeed dense, but not dense like a normal gluten free bagel, they were almost light. They were doughy and so deliciously chewy like a bagel should be. When toasted it had a crispy shell and the flavour was exactly that of cinnamon raisin. The cinnamon tasted like cinnamon sugar, and the raisins were jumbo and plump. My sister and I LOVE these bagels, they are gone within days of having them in the freezer. Udi’s also has plain bagels (which are just as good, they make a great sandwich) and whole grain bagels, which I am yet to try!
INGREDIENTS: EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, UDI’S BEST BLEND (SWEET RICE FLOUR, TAPIOCA STARCH), BUTTER, WHOLE EGGS, WATER, COCOA POWDER (COCOA POWDER, VANILLA), CANE SYRUP, CHOCOLATE CHIPS (EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, CHOCOLATE LIQUOR, COCOA BUTTER), TAPIOCA SYRUP, SALT, CELLULOSE GUM, ORANGE FLAVEDO (ORANGE PEEL, SUGAR AND ORANGE OIL). 

CONTAINS EGG, MILK.


(per 2 brownies)
Calories –  180
Protein – 2 g
Fat – 8g
Fibre – 1g
Sugar – 16g

1 pack = $5

Verdict: 
Okay my friends, have you ever had Homestyle Two Bite Brownies? You know, chewy little chocolate brownie bites? Well, let me tell you, if you are gluten free and have been missing out on a good brownie, fear NO more! Udi’s has replicated the taste, texture and consistency of a Two Bite Brownie. My taste buds could not believe what they were tasting. It is a great chocolate fix. Full of chocolatey goodness with a few little chocolate chips inside, they are chewy, moist and dense like a brownie. I need to find these soon, because they were absolutely amazing. 

INGREDIENTS: FILTERED WATER, WHOLE EGGS, EVAPORATED CANE JUICE, OAT BRAN, CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE OATS, DRIED BLUEBERRIES (CULTIVATED BLUEBERRIES, SUGAR, SUNFLOWER OIL), TAPIOCA STARCH, OAT FLOUR, RESISTANT CORN STARCH, VEGETABLE OIL (MAY CONTAIN ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING: SUNFLOWER, SAFFLOWER, NON-GMO CANOLA OIL), ORGANIC INULIN, CANE SYRUP, PALM OIL, VITAMIN BLEND (CALCIUM LACTATE GLUCONATE, ASCORBIC ACID, ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL ACETATE, ZINC SULFATE, BIOTIN, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, CALCIUM PANTOTHENATE, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE, NIACINAMIDE, RIBOFLAVIN, THIAMIN HYDROCHLORIDE), NATURAL BLUEBERRY FLAVOR (VEGETABLE GLYCERIN, NATURAL BLUEBERRY FLAVOR, NATURAL FLAVORS), BAKING POWDER (SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE, SODIUM BICARBONATE, CORN STARCH, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), LEMON FLAVEDO (LEMON PEEL, SUGAR, LEMON OIL), SALT, SUNFLOWER LECITHIN (SUNFLOWER LECITHIN, TRICALCIUM PHOSPHATE, RICE FLOUR), CINNAMON, VANILLA (EXTRACTIVES OF VANILLA BEANS, WATER AND ALCOHOL), XANTHAN GUM, SODIUM BICARBONATE. CONTAINS EGG.


Calories – 140

Protein – 2g
Fat – 5g
Fibre – 5g
Sugars – 10g

1 Pack (4) – $5.99

Verdict:
This was my first muffin top that I’ve ever had. I know there are those VitaTops, but unfortunately they are not gluten free. I did enjoy this muffin top, however, I think I am a fan of the full muffin. It did make for a great snack though! It had the consistency of what a muffin top should be like, it was crispier on top, but it also had a fluffy and light feel to it. It tasted very much like the Blueberry muffin, you could really taste the blueberry. There were even little blueberries baked within it. I enjoyed this product, but like I said, I am a fan of the whole muffin! Udi’s also has Chocolate Chia muffin tops, those sound very intriguing to me, I think I’m going to go on the hunt for them!

I could just talk on and on about how great Udi’s is. I don’t think they make one product that is bad. I am on the hunt to find and try many of the other products Udi’s has to offer, such as the buns, their variety of granolas, cookies, pizzas and the other flavours of their muffins. 

I would love to hear your thoughts about Udi’s. What is your favourite Udi’s product? Have you tried many of their products? How do you find them in comparison to other gluten free foods?

So, what are you waiting for, get you mouse to the Udi’s website and browse around!!!