Sunday, November 16, 2014

MyBread Review

Although I am gluten-free and cannot eat the majority of breads out there, people would be shocked to see that bread remains a staple of my diet. Ever on the search for breads beyond the simple sandwich variety seen so often on store shelves, I couldn't wait to try MyBread, a gluten-free flatbread pita, when I spotted it on a recent Whole Foods run.

Made by a 100% dedicated gluten-free bakery in Chicago, IL, I had the highest of hopes that the pita would be able to fill a much needed vacancy in my gluten-free repertoire. After all, gluten-free and pita rarely appear on the same package. 

From the moment I spotted MyBread, my mind raced with all the possibilities of this simple bread. As a pocket-less pita, it could easily become a pizza crust, gyro wrap, hummus holder, or sandwich flat. Since one pack of pita contains six flatbreads, I couldn't wait to let my culinary imagination run wild.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Foster Farms Gluten-Free Corn Dogs Review and Giveaway

When it comes to collegiate dining, the name of the game is quick and easy eats. One only has to look at my main dining hall to see that one of the most popular stations are the ones with comforting classics such as pizza, grilled cheese, chicken tenders, hamburgers and hot dogs. Not normally a fan of these greasy, gluten-laden offerings, there are some days when I wish I could eat these "normal" college foods alongside my peers. 

That's why when offered the chance to review Foster Farm's newest gluten-free offering- corn dogs- I jumped at the chance to get to reunite with the long-lost taste from my childhood. These cornbread-covered franks immediately appealed to me because the franks inside are not red meat based but instead are made with 100% chicken. Also catching my eye was that fact that these gluten-free snacks on a stick are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. From the moment I agreed to sample them, I eagerly watched my email inbox for the magical notification that my corn dogs had arrived.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Noodle Charm Review

Having gone many months since my last encounter with Thai cuisine, I made a goal of seeking out my favorite dialect of Asian food this weekend as cooler temperatures called for comfort food. After considering the many Thai restaurants in and around the Baltimore area, I selected Noodle Charm as my intended destination as it is a sister restaurant to one I've already visited (Spice and Dice Thai) and nearby a bustling shopping center with a few stores I wanted to check out.

Like it's sister restaurant, which is located literally next door, Noodle Charm's menu is centered around authentic dishes crafted with care. As I soon found out, their name is pretty fitting as I found both noodles and charm in this cute little restaurant.

Zia's Cafe and Juice Bar Review

When I made the decision to be a reverse snowbird of sorts- going north for the winter- I was warned by my fellow Floridians of the evils of snow and cold temperatures. Though I may be a Florida girl at heart, I'm no means a stranger to hard, cold winter as I spend four precious years of my childhood in the Buckeye state.

The cold temperatures I was warned about are starting to creep into the picture as fall foliage is starting to dim and a chill is creeping into the air. On a particularly blustery day today with high of  52 degrees, the combination inspired me to venture up to Towson to a cafe that has been patiently waiting on my to-do list: Zia's Cafe and Juice Bar. Located in the heart of the bustling city center and steps away from Towson Hot Bagels (as reviewed earlier), Zia's strives to serve everyone a healthy, hearty meal whether they are meat-lovers or vegans. Specializing in raw, gluten-free, and sustainable foods, I couldn't wait to taste and see what Zia's was all about.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

October Mentionables: Quick Picks of Gluten and Dairy Free Finds

Happy Belated Halloween! Fall is in its full glory, and Maryland does it in a spectacular way. With the chill in the air and the dizzying array of colors on the last leaves on the trees, I have fallen head over heels for a season we don't get in the Sunshine State.

So far, college life is everything I had hoped it would be and more. I am loving the freedom of being entirely independent and the exciting feeling of discovery that comes with exploring a whole new culinary landscape of grocery stores, restaurants, and gluten-free expos and events. My college's dining services keep me well fed and happy with an array of gluten-free offerings including omelets, asian stir-fried noodles, imitation burrito bowls, and weekly specials such as Indian and green smoothies.

As I have adjusted to life as a college student, I find that I often have far fewer hours in a day than I have things to complete on my to-do list. Naturally, my academic work comes first, then my extracurriculars such as clubs, cleaning, errands, and blogging. Given my jam-packed weeks, I have not been able to write as much as I would like, but have been discovering new products I want to share but for lack of time, I cannot devote an entire post to. 

In an effort to share the spotlight and recognize what I'm loving every month, I've decided to start a monthly round-up of new products called my "Monthly Mentionables" that will be posted on the last day of the month. Although it's a day later than I had hoped to post this, I'm starting strong with a review of October's finds.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Uncle Steve's Pasta Sauces Review

After a super busy Natural Products Expo East a month ago, I have slowly but surely been working my way through the many samples I was generously provided. Of the more unique samples I've tried so far are organic marinara sauces courtesy of Uncle Steve's Italian Specialties.

The Steve of Uncle Steve's is Steve Schirripa, known for playing Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos. According to Uncle Steve himself, the sauces were inspired by his Brooklyn upbringing and Italian heritage. Surrounded by the aromas and tastes of authentic recipes, he learned to appreciate quality Italian cooking which ultimately led him to start Uncle Steve's to bring the comforting taste of home-style marinara to the masses. 

Currently offering three varieties (marinara, tomato basil, and arrabiata), each is USDA certified organic, kosher, non GMO, gluten-free, and contain no added sugars. Given the scary ingredients in conventional jarred pasta sauces lining grocery stores, Uncle Steve's really impressed me with their attention to top quality ingredients. For this review, I selected the tomato basil and arriabata sauces to contrast a more traditional flavor with one that had a little more spice.

One Dish Cuisine Review (Part 2)

Even as I made my first visit to One Dish Cuisine in Ellicot City last month with my mom, I knew I'd be back sooner rather than later to sample their non-baked good offerings. As public transportation is a bit difficult to get from where I am to where they are, I had to wait until I had reliable transportation to make the trek to Ellicott City (aka, a visit from family or friends). Luckily, my aunt made the trek up to visit me earlier this month which provided the perfect excuse/opportunity to make a return trip to One Dish Cuisine. 

Since this review comes so close on the heels of my first one, I'll direct you to that post (at this link) for the scoop on the restaurant's intuitive take on allergen free dining. I'll go ahead and reiterate that this bakery, cafe, and deli is a 100% dedicated gluten-free establishment. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FARE's Teal Pumpkin Project

This Friday is a big holiday for kids young and old: Halloween! While there are many ways to join in on the fun from costume contests to candy galore, there are nasty tricks to many treats that could ruin all the fun for kids with food allergies, sensitivities, intolerances, and other dietary restrictions.

This year, advocates, parents, and communities alike are banding together and giving Halloween a teal-tinged makeover to raise awareness of these very dietary challenges and promote an inclusive atmosphere so that everyone can join in on the fun. FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), a leading food allergy advocacy group spearheaded the Teal Pumpkin Project campaign this year to bring allergen awareness from coast to coast. 

Enjoy Life Foods Not Nuts! Seed & Nut Mixes Review

When it comes to allergen friendly grocery items, I trust well-known allergen friendly companies such as Enjoy Life Foods. Already a huge fan of their boom choco boom dark chocolate bars and dark chocolate baking morsels, I love that all of their products are free from the top eight allergens: wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish, and shellfish. 

As a college student constantly on the go, I'm a big fan of portable snacks that are quick and easy to transport but are filling and made with quality ingredients. When invited to sample Enjoy Life's not nuts! seed and fruit mix, I was intrigued to see what they were all about. True to their name and containing no nuts, these snack mixes are great for sharing with friends with multiple allergies and intolerances and are actually good for you because because they feature healthy fats, lower sodium, and other benefits from the real fruits and seeds that lend their name to the package.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ginnybakes Dreamy Vegan Delight Cookies Review

Even though a month has passed since I attended the Natural Products Expo, the expo effect has continued as I have slowly worked my way through the many samples I picked up on the show. After tasting and placing ginnybakes on my list of top sweets I spotted on the show floor (see that post here), I was contacted to see if I would be interested in giving their dreamy vegan delight cookies a full review. Eager to give them a second look- and taste- I agreed. 

What I love about ginnybakes is that their cookies are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility with care and awareness of the integrity of each little ingredient. Each cookie they produce is organic, non-GMO, kosher, and certified gluten-free so cookie lovers of all tastes and preferences can find something to love. It should be noted that among all of the cookies they make, the dreamy vegan delight cookies are the only ones that are vegan and dairy-free.