Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gluten-free pies

I tried Fabe's gluten-free pumpkin and apple pies over the holidays.  Even with my limited culinary skills, I can make a pumpkin pie when armed with a pre-made pie crust.  However, over the holidays, sometimes you just need to grab a pie from the store.  It is nice that there are options for pre-made gf pies and that these pies are vegan too but I think they could be better.  The pies are pretty small, maybe 4 servings, really 3 servings per pie.  They run about $8 each at Whole Foods so they are not cheap given the size.  The pumpkin pie was okay, it was a little soggy in the middle and a little heavy.  The apple pie was a little heavy on the crust and light on the apple.  Overall, these pies are good in that they present a gluten-free pie option but I think they could be better.  If they were larger and had better filling, I would be more likely to repurchase.

They are available at Whole Foods and Sprouts.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found these Tate's Bake Shop Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  They are really light and crispy with nice big chocolate chips.  If you like crispy cookies, these ones are for you!  They have a good texture and I don't think they come across as "gluten-free" as some packaged gf cookies can do.  They are also big cookies which of course didn't stop me from eating multiple cookies at one time.  I would definitely buy these again.  At Bed, Bath and Beyond, I think they were $3.99 a bag of about 12 cookies (similar to a pepperidge farm bag of cookies).  You can also buy them in bulk at the Tate's Bake Shop website:

page featuring the cookies:

Legends Bistro at La Costa Resort

Legends Bistro is a casual restaurant within the La Costa resort.  I went with a friend and was expecting to eat plain salad or something similar from their regular menu.  When we sat down, I mentioned that I was gluten-free and they brought me a whole menu.  It was a professional menu that looked exactly like the regular menu and wasn't something they just printed out that day.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  What was even better was that the selections on the gluten-free menu sounded a lot more interesting than the regular menu.  I ordered a chicken pasta dish that was made with rice pasta.  It was very tasty with lots of veggies.  They also had vegetarian and vegan selections on the gf menu.  The entrees were price between $10 and $18 for lunch.  I would definitely go again.  The strange part though is that they don't advertise their gf menu at all.  It's nowhere to be found on their website and if I hadn't mentioned I was gluten free, I would not have even known they had a gf menu.

La Costa Resort and Spa

2100 Costa Del Mar Road

Carlsbad, CA 92009

Call 800 854 5000

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GF bread with protein!!!

I tried Julian Bakery's bread after getting a recommendation for it from an employee at Whole Foods. I had seen it in stores but hadn't really paid any attention to it because it is a little pricey.  However, now I am a convert!!

I stopped eating bread for the most part after becoming gluten free.  Although there are some good tasting gf breads out there (Udi's & Rudi's), they lack a lot of nutritional value, i.e. not much if any protein or fiber.  Julian Bakery offers two different gf breads.  The one I tried is the Smart Carb Gluten Free #3.  It has 1g of fat, 10g of protein and 7g of fiber in each slice.  That is amazing for bread!!

It's not a soft supple sandwich bread but it is great toasted with butter and whatever you want to put on it.  If you go to their bakery store in La Jolla, a loaf costs $7.  Online it is $7.99/loaf.  It is also sold at Whole Foods and Sprouts but I'm not sure which loaves they sell at those stores.  They make 4 different gluten free loaves!!

Julian Bakery
5621 La Jolla Blvd.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Ph. 1-800-982-7323

I like cupcakes!!!

I finally tried the gluten free cupcakes from Sprinkles in La Jolla and I loved them!!  They only come in one flavor, red velvet, but they are available every day!!! (which is not the case with many other bakeries around town).  The gf cupcakes are kept in the back separately from the other cupcakes and they have a little Red candy G on top to differentiate them from the other red velvet cupcakes.  They do have a lot of frosting on top but the frosting is creamy and yummy and the cake part is moist and delicious.  I will definitely be back.

Each cupcake costs $3.50

8855 Villa La Jolla Drive  
San Diego, CA 92037
(858) 457-3800

Secret ingredient

I just started using Bob's Red Mill Textured Vegetable Protein ("TVP") as a substitute for meat in a lot of recipes such as in pasta sauce, sloppy joes, tacos etc. and it is great!!  It is basically just dried soy protein.  You rehydrate it for a few minutes and just add it to whatever you are making.  It is fat free and has lots of protein per serving.  It doesn't really have a flavor so it just takes on the flavor of whatever you are making.  It has a subtle texture that you don't really notice.  It is very healthy, easy to use, a great way to add protein to your diet and inexpensive.  I bought a bag of it from Whole Foods for under $4 and you can buy it in bulk online for about $3/bag.

Buca di Beppo's GF menu

My family and I went to Buca di Beppos over the holidays because I knew they had a gluten-free menu.  The caprese salad was really good and tasted very fresh.  As an entree I had a chicken dish that is no longer on their menu (gf and regular) but they made for me anyway.  It is grilled chicken in a tomato sauce with capers.  It was served with mashed potatoes and it was an individual portion as opposed to their typical family style sized dishes.  It was good but I wish they had some pasta options.  Gluten free pasta is so cheap and easily obtainable that it is unfortunate that an italian restaurant cannot manage to offer it.  There were also no gluten free offerings for dessert which was also a little disappointing.  They could at least have berries and cream.  However, the sangria was really yummy!  Overall, I'm grateful they have a gf menu but I wish they would expand the gf selections.

Quinoa Macaroons

I really wanted to like Mrs. Denson's Gluten Free Quinoa Macaroon cookies because I love macaroons and quinoa is really good for you, but I just didn't. They had sort of a strange flavor, a little apple saucy maybe.  Just didn't love them.  Not worth the calories:)  I bought them at Sprouts (aka Henry's) for about $4 per box.