Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fresh gluten-free treats at Walmart!

OK - I'm not much of a WM shopper so when a close gluten-free friend of mine told me I HAD to try the delicious gluten-free cookies and muffins she found at the WM over in Cobb county, I said yeah yeah...and promptly forgot about it.  First of all, these days I have to choose my carbs very carefully.  If something isn't amazing, I stop eating it after the first bite.  Secondly, as mentioned above, I rarely go to WM.

Several weeks pass and I'm offered a chance to taste the WM goodies.  Clearly, based on my very picky (like me) friend's comments about this product line, I had to take advantage of this great opportunity!  Not only was my friend dead on in her review of the FRESH treats sold in the regular WM bakery, everything was better than I could have imagined! Oh, and everything is VERY affordable to boot ;)



Starting with the cookies, they are VERY large and VERY soft!  Aside from cookies made in a gluten-free (walk-in) bakery or ones I've baked myself, I've never had  delicious, soft and chewy gluten-free cookies like these.  They taste like homemade cookies...seriously!  If you heat them up for a few seconds, I'm sure they'll taste like they just came out of the oven.  Now, for the sad party of this story, the cookie monster in our house (who can eat any cookie on earth!) ate every cookie in two packages in less than two days!  I wanted to make an ice cream sandwich with them, but that will have to wait.




On to the brownies.  I'm not sure why, but I've always been a huge fan of brownie bites - very small mini-muffin sized brownies.  The WM Bakery gluten-free brownies are the perfect size!  They're also just chocolaty and sweet enough without being too much of either.  I ate one of them at room temperature (remember, they're in the bakery at WM - not in the freezer!) and it was really scrumptious!  Then after giving ONE brownie to the husband, I froze the rest to insure they would still be there the next day.

Eventually, I thawed out several brownies and made ice cream sundaes with them.  Making that treat called for slightly heating the brownies in the microwave (one for me and three for the husband!) and topping with vanilla ice cream and Trader Joe's Midnight Moo (the only chocolate sauce we'll eat now).  OK - we topped the sundaes off with a touch of canned whipped cream...lol!  The only thing missing was a cherry on top - but we didn't miss the gluten one bit!




Lastly, we have the blueberry gluten-free muffins.  These amazing soft and moist treats are my new go-to ready-made blueberry muffins!  They come in a 2-pack which is perfect for us!  One thing I could not figure out was how the blueberries tasted like someone had picked them that day and made a batch of muffins with them... Seriously - the best blueberries I've had in any muffin ever!  We didn't get a chance to freeze these, but based on the ingredients, they'll likely freeze well.  Aside from enjoying at home, they're a nice item to keep stocked for trips to the in-laws' (or friends') house where you need to take your own b'fast breads.

Here is a little more info on this great new option for FRESH gluten-free baked goods - sold only at Walmart under the brand 'The Bakery, gluten-free'.

  • Certified gluten-free
  • Certified Kosher
  • Contains soy, dairy and egg
  • Made in nut-free facility
  • NO artificial flavors or colors
  • NO trans fats
  • NO hydrogenated oils
  • Naturally flavored

Now I know most of us have trained ourselves to avoid the bakery at any store like the plague.  Why torture ourselves looking longingly at all the fresh, gluten-filled goodness?  But it's time to reprogram our brains to enjoy going to the FRESH bakery section again - at least at Walmart!  ALL U.S. locations should have these wonderful products by now, but if you can't find them, be sure and ask the bakery manager at your store to get them in STAT!

To keep up with all the news from this exciting line, be sure to follow the WMBakeryGlutenFree Twitter page!            

Monday, June 29, 2015

Recipe: Simple Papaya Salsa

With the overwhelming heat the ATL has experienced lately, I'm on a mission to cook as little as possible.  Thankfully, my husband is a wonderful "grill master" and doesn't mind the heat associated with grilling in the early evening sun.

One of the easiest things to make without cooking is homemade salsa.  You can make it any way you like with whatever ingredients you have on hand - it's a win-win situation! When looking for a papaya salsa recipe the other day, I realized I didn't have all the ingredients to make any of them exactly as written.  Therefore, I mixed it up and came up with my own recipe.

Papaya Salsa

INGREDIENTS:


  • 1 ripe papaya - diced
  • 1/2 cup jicama - peeled and diced**
  • 1/4 cup roasted (or fresh) red bell peppers 
  • 1/2 bunch green onions
  • 2 t. dried cilantro (fresh is better - use 1/4 cup)
  • 2 t. fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

**Jicama peel is not edible

INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Put diced papaya and jicama in mixing bowl and toss with lime juice (this prevents jicama from browning).
  • Put red peppers and green onion into small food processor - pulse to mince.
  • Add minced veggies and cilantro to papaya mixture and mix well.
  • Taste and add salt and pepper, if desired.  
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes so all the flavors meld well.      


We used this fabulous, summery salsa to top grilled Mahi-Mahi, but it also works well with grilled chicken.

Left over recipe ideas: add fresh (or canned) pineapple and some ginger to salsa.  Puree to make fruity gazpacho.  This twist on an old favorite is amazingly refreshing!

Fruit salsa also makes an excellent taco topping in the warmer months! 

 

       

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Review: Chicken Salad Chick

From doing some research - both online and at the restaurant prior to eating there - I knew that all the chicken salad offered at this new eatery was gluten-free.  However, I was not aware of other gluten-free options like soup or sides.  Below is a script of what happened when I tried to order safely at this place.  While I didn't record the conversation, this is a very close representation of what was said by the counter girl (CG) at CSC and me.

Me: Are any of your soups or sides gluten-free? (I could tell by the look on the girl's face the question threw her so I suggested she ask someone in the kitchen).

CG: (After asking the kitchen) Yes - everything is gluten-free (huge smile on her face).

Me: Well, you don't have gluten-free bread or crackers so that's not actually correct...

CG: Oh, well, I mean everything else (still huge smile on her face)...

Me: (this time, I get to do the eye rolling...lol!) I'll take the Fancy something chicken salad with a side of fruit.  I'm allergic to gluten so I can't have bread or crackers or anything like that touch my plate.  Please make sure you either put that on my order in writing or tell a manager in person so that my meal is made correctly.

I pay, take my table tent (so food runner can find me) and go sit with the rest of my party.  My food comes out and there is a cookie - a gluten-filled cookie - on the plate.  I nicely explained my meal had to be remade (I didn't keep the plate, though I usually would) since I have a gluten allergy and told the order taker to make sure they knew that in the kitchen.  The food runner actually said "I know your ticket says gluten-free so I don't know why there is a cookie on the plate".  Duh...neither do I.
The plate was remade (at least it took forever to come back out) and I was fine. However, two doors down at Tom + Chee they really know what they're doing (or they have so far) when it comes to gluten-free meals.  And they have gluten-free bread to boot!

It's disappointing that the location of CSC near us has not trained all "front of the house" staff in terms of gluten-free menu items.  If someone who wasn't thinking things through could certainly order a sandwich with regular bread and a cookie and think it was all gluten-free.  As always, buyer beware - especially when it comes to all these so-called gluten-free menus popping up every other day!  As far as I'm concerned, if someone at a restaurant doesn't know that a customer who can't have gluten can't have a regular (gluten) cookie, I am simply not comfortable eating there.  

I'm addicted to the chicken salad at Zoe's Kitchen so I'm glad to have that safe option around the corner.  The portions are huge there which is another added bonus!