Tuesday, February 26, 2008

These are a few of my favorite (gluten free) things!

In my gluten free circle, I'm known as a bit of a food snob. Basically that means that I have high standards for my gluten free food. Something can't just be edible for me to eat it. If I don't love a product, I'm not spending my hard earned money on it - period. Several of my dinner club members, and a few of you, have asked me to post a list of my favorite brands of products. Many of the following items listed are made in dedicated gluten free facilities but not all of them are, in case that matters to you. I'm only listing products that I LOVE and most companies listed offer more than what I buy from them. Below are my favorite products in two catagories. My fave ready-made shelf stable and frozen product lists will be in my next post.

Gluten Free Mixes:

Gluten Free Naturals - cornbread mix, yellow cake mix, brownie mix (crust top), pizza crust mix, bread mix (NEW!) and THE best pancake mix on the market, regardless of gluten content. The yellow cake mix makes a fabulous pineapple upside down cake - recipe on their website.

Breads by Anna - bread and pie crust mixes, the latter being the only crust that I've tried that is indistinguishable from those containing gluten.

123 Gluten Free - pan bar mix, pound cake mix, biscuit mix and brownie mix (fudge type). Gluten eating kids and adults love the pan bars, and they make great mini cupcakes with frosting.

Gluten Free Pantry - all purpose flour blend and scone mix. Their flour is great for coating crab cakes, chicken and shrimp and works well as a thickener for sauces, soups, etc. It can also be used for quick breads - just use a tablespoon less of it than regular flour, per cup.

Sylvan Border Farm - lemon poundcake mix. I have to ship this from CA and it's worth every penny!

Bob's Red Mill - chocolate cake mix (use chocolate milk to overpower the bean flavor). I use Silk chocolate milk and get rave reviews from gluten eaters every time.

Pamela's - pancake and baking mix (used for quickbreads, homemade brownies - not pancakes) and choclate chunk cookie mix. I make cookie bars instead of cookies and have to hide them from gluten eaters if I want some for myself! The recipe for bars is on the package.

Namaste Foods - spice cake mix. I add in raisins, nuts and 1/2 cup of natural unsweetened applesauce for the best spice cake ever! Also makes a great zuchinni bread - recipe on bag. Don't add applesauce when making bread.

Gluten Free Bakeries

Everybody Eats - French baguettes and deli rolls

Celiac Specialties - cinnamon buns, powdered sugar doughnut holes and doughnuts

Joan's GF Greatbakes - bagels (all varieties) and English muffins

The Grainless Baker - premade pizza crusts, graham crackers, choclate creme cakes (like a whoopie pie)

A Bountiful Harvest - various cookies and cakes

My criteria for buying gluten free products (more than once) is pretty simple - I have to think it tastes like a gluten containing version of it, or better. When gluten eaters enjoy them as well, that's just the icing on the (gluten free) cake! I've served most of the products listed above to gluten eaters, including kids. Most of them had no idea they were gluten free, or what the word gluten even means. They just knew that the cakes, cupcakes, brownies, cookie bars, pan bars and doughnut holes were delicious.

When people (who eat gluten) actually ask me for the recipe of something I have to laugh, because I know if I put a sign saying 'gluten free' by the food, most people would not even try it. Over the years there have been more horrid products than goods ones, so the misperception that all gf food is bad is understandable. If you're following the gluten free diet and eating food that tastes like dirt (yes they still make products like that), then you need to get to a Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Wegmans or your local co-op or health food store asap! The days of eating bland, gritty and tasteless gluten free food is so last century. Contrary to the funny line in the cancelled ABC tv show 'Cavemen', all gluten free cookies do not taste like dirt...lol!

I really believe that people who are miserable on the gluten free diet fall into two categories - they either havn't tried the best products out there or they have much deeper issues to deal with, that are most likely not about food at all. Certainly, I agree that we have to pay way too much for great gluten free food in this country and that has to change. But don't tell me there isn't any good gluten free food available. Instead just say that you can't or won't spend the money on the best products out there. It's true that the US is about 10 years behind most European countries in terms of variety for gluten free foods, as well as dining out options. The only way this will change is if we all ask for better options, more gluten free menus...whatever we want. Why not do your part? What's that saying I love....'be part of the change you want to see in the world'. Yeah...do that!


  1. Thanks for your detailed list. I am happy for you (and quite surprised) that you have such success with Gluten Free Pantry's products...especially the scone mix.

    I find ALL of their products turnout especially dry and crumbly!!! The French bread pizza mix...turns out a dry, rough and scratchy on your throat type crust. My child always says that pizza scratches his throat when I use that mix. My attempt at scones with their mix were my worst GF turnout yet!

    I made some Bob's Red Mill chocalte chip cookies last night and all 3 of my kids gave rave reviews (only one and myself are Celiac).

    Thanks again, and kudos for your lovely blog! :-)

  2. How interesting...I can't eat anything from Bob's Red Mill (for sweets) except the chocolate cake and that's only by adding chocolate milk to overpower the bean flour. Guess that just goes to show how different all our tastebugs are. When I made BRM cookies and brownies, we had to throw them out. I finally realized we don't care for bean flour in sweets as a general rule. However, the BRM flour mix works great for fried onions and chicken or coating crab cakes! Thanks for visiting.

  3. Hi TJ it's me (the same anonymous) now that you mention beany in sweets...I remembered I added cinnamon to the cookie mix before baking...so we did not detect any beany. How did you keep the pizza and scones from being dry and crumbly> Do you do anything different than the instructions state...eg extra egg or egg white or xanathan?

    I look forward to reading some more of your posts.

  4. For the GFP scones, I think I just didn't bake them as long as the instructions stated. And once I found the Gluten Free Naturals (www.gfnfoods.com)line of mixes, I switched to their pizza crust. That was a long time ago so I don't really remember the GFP crust anymore - sorry.


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