GLUTEN FREE SURVIVAL KIT
Gluten-free eating can be expensive, but if you stick to eating fresh whole foods like fresh meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and just add in a few of your MUST HAVE gluten free treats, you will not break the bank. You do not want your diet to consist of alot of processed foods, so these items are as processed as I go when it comes to eating gluten free.
I wanted to share a few brands/items that I have found that have made eating gluten free not only doable, but a pleasure! If you are like me, there are certain foods that you can’t foresee yourself living without, i.e. like pancakes, sandwiches, pizza, cakes, cookies, and pasta, so here are a few of my favorite choices. These items can be found at your local healthy grocery store, like Earth Fare or Whole Foods, or for the best prices, shop Vitacost.com or Amazon.com. Trust me, these are so good you will want to buy in bulk. 🙂
1. Udi’s GF wholegrain bread. You can buy it at your local grocer in the freezer dept. or at your local Jason’s Deli. Yes, Jason’s Deli sells the large sized loaves which are twice the size in diameter as the store bought loaves. This bread is FANTASTIC! You do have to heat it through a minute or two, but I like my bread for sandwiches toasted a little so that is not a problem. This bread makes the best grilled cheese, paninis, BLTs, club sandwiches, you name it. This is your go-to bread. Other favorites in their line I enjoy are the GF blueberry muffins, cinnamon raisin bagels, and their granola. I also use their GF hamburger and hot dog buns. Can be found at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Publix, or Kroger.
2. Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. This is my number 1 favorite product and most used, hands down. It not only makes the most mouthwatering pancakes you will ever sink your teeth in – period, but it is outstanding for making coffee cake, pumpkin bread, banana nut bread, muffins, scones, just to name a few. If you saw a picture of my sour cream coffee cake, pumpkin bread, or banana nut bread on this site, they were made with this product. I buy this in the 4 pound bag for around $14 at Vitacost.com or Amazon.com, or at my local healthy grocery store like Earth Fare or Whole Foods. She has about 12 recipes right on the back of the package, and they are ALL good. One thing about cooking gluten free, find a recipe that was formulated using the product. Different gluten free flours across the board do not perform equally in all recipes, so make sure you have a recipe that has been proofed using that product. From waffles all the way to spiced apple cake, with this mix, you will be beyond thrilled with the results.
3. King Arthur Gluten Free Multipurpose flour. Leave it to King Arthur, they know flour. This is as close to regular white “wheat” flour as you will get. I use this as the batter for my gluten free fried chicken, and for more delicate textured cakes like pound cake. They also carry a brown sugar cookie base mix that you can add in your own ingredients to make any kind of cookie you fancy – from chocolate chip to white chocolate cranberry macadamia. And as for a chocolate cake mix, it gets no better than King Arthur GF chocolate cake mix – exceptional! I use this as my base mix for any type of chocolate cake and just tweak the recipe I am using to make it my own. Ina Garten has a recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter icing that I tweaked, and it was fabulous with this mix. Again, you can find their product line at Earth Fare, Whole Foods, Amazon.com, and Vitacost.com. Shop around, for their line can run you between $6 – $9 for a 24 oz box, but believe you me for food that is as close to regular wheat products, I would not blink paying the higher price.
4. Hodson Mill GF cornbread mix. I know, you probably thinking a cornbread mix? Trust me, if you want cornbread bad enough, and you don’t want to risk buying the one at the store with wheat flour in it, this will become your friend. It is a sweet, yellow, cornmeal base mix that I just add my own buttermilk, butter, oil, and eggs to, just like I would from scratch. I have used this to make Gf jalapeno-cheddar-bacon cornbread muffins to go with chili, or sour cream corn cornbread and the result were stellar!
5. Chebe Pizza Mix. OMG… Can I just say I about lost my mind when I made my own homemade pizza and calzones using this mix. All you do is add olive oil, eggs, and parmesan cheese (or cheddar as called for on the box), knead up in your food processor, and in about a minute you will have the best pizza dough you have ever tasted. It is already perfectly seasoned, so just use it as you would in any of your pizza, calzone, or bread stick recipes. If you are looking for a good pizza crust, look no further… this is where it is at. I buy mine from Vitacost.com or Amazon.com as I have a hard time finding it at Earth Fare, but I am sure Whole Foods carries it. Pizza is one of those American traditions you just feel left out of if you can’t have wheat, but you will not miss it with this pizza dough mix. I have been sorely dissappointed in take-out gluten free pizza (a couple of restaurants I will not name), and when I heard the outstanding reviews for this, I had to try. I will always keep this on hand. Get your toppings ready, and you are ready for pizza anytime. 🙂
6. Ancient Grains GF corn and quinoa pasta. Macaroni and cheese is back with a passion, baby! Every pasta they make is good, from the elbow macaroni to the vegetable spiral pasta. This brand is about the closest I have found that resembles regular wheat pasta, and performs the same way. One thing about gluten free pastas, they are more tender in texture and break down easily when cooking, so have it more al dente in your recipes.
7. RP’s Pasta Company Gluten free fresh pasta. Did someone say FRESH pasta? When you want to be extra indulgent and have a nice fresh pasta to be the star of your dish, this stuff is the TRUTH! Their linguini and fettucini are exceptional! I heard that Oprah Winfrey raved about this pasta, and if it is good enough for Oprah…well you know the rest…;)
8. Nature’s Path Gluten Free cornflakes. You want cereal, huh? Missing that bowl of cornflakes with the sliced bananas on top? Well pour up a bowl of this with your favorite milk and you are back to childhood. Some people who are gluten free cannot tolerate corn, so test yourself to see how you react to it. I tolerate corn well, so when I want a bowl of cereal, I enjoy this one. There are plenty of other gluten free variety cereals on the market, but make sure you read the label to ensure that it is truly gluten free.
9. Bob Red Mill’s Gluten Free oatmeal. From just an ordinary bowl of hot oats, apple crisp, and to oatmeal cookies, I am in love with this oatmeal. What I like is that it retains it’s texture well when cooking, does not get overly mushy at all. Steer away from instant oatmeals as they more than likely have wheat in them. This one is a true winner and will have you excited about breakfast. Serve this alongside a slice of buttered Udi’s toast with jam for breakfast. 🙂
10. Schar Pasta. This has become my favorite pasta brand. A few local Italian eateries use it as their GF pasta alternative, and it is delicious! It tastes as close to regular pasta as you can get, I think. Can be ordered in bulk boxes from Amazon, or can be found at some healthy grocery stores. Check out this line for other products too as they are all top quality.
11. Kinnikinnick Foods. Graham crackers anyone? Forget Honeymaid, these are the business! They have great whole graham crackers, as well as graham cracker crumbs. The crumbs are perfect for cheesecakes, key lime pie, or other desserts, and the crackers are great for dipping in your favorite peanut butter or making S’mores. Besides the graham crackers, they also make a fantastic chocolate and vanilla creme filled cookies that taste just like Oreos! This brand is definitely to watch when you want to get your cookies with ice cream on. 🙂
12. Rudi’s. Love their GF raisin cinnamon bread. Toasted for breakfast, with a little pat of butter…Yum! Usually found in the freezer section.
13. Food Should Taste Good. They make a great line of products. I Love their GF multigrain tortillas, and their brown rice and quinoa crackers. The crackers remind you a lot of Wheat Thins. I found the big bag at Costco. I love those with a nice creamy Brie cheese and sliced salami. Those little things can be addictive. 🙂
Another good tip is check your area for a local GF bakery. Many are starting to pop up, and it is great for when you want a specialty item without all the fuss of making it yourself. And check out Costco as they are starting to include more GF products. There is a GF chocolate chip cookie by Tate’s Bake Shop that comes in a box that taste like you baked them yourself!
This list is not exhaustive, but it is a good start. Rest easy using these products, as they are made using all natural ingredients and have the added bonus of having all the guess work taken out. I do plan to venture to formulating my own mixes, but for someone who is rather new to the gluten free game, I take solace in knowing I have reliable products on hand that will give me the regular type food experience (or better) that I was accustomed to. Once I find an item I like, I look through the whole brand and try other products made by them. Like I said earlier, eating FRESH is BEST with any diet, but let’s face it, sometimes we want our Belgian waffles with the cinnamon butter and maple syrup, with a couple of slices of bacon on the side. The above will fill in the gaps for when you are craving that regular food “fix.” Come back and visit this list from time to time. I will be adding more products to my FAVE list as I chow through the options. See you around!