The (yeast) donuts you’ve been looking for!

During the years I’ve been gluten-free, I’ve noticed that what many of us miss most (or at least a lot) are donuts. Specifically, yeast donuts. Gluten-free cake donuts have been on the market for awhile, and occasionally if you’re lucky, you’ll happen across a GF bakery that knows how to make yeast donuts, but those are few and far between.

I grew up on Dunkin Donuts. I discovered Krispy Kreme in high school. I adored both. I miss both, especially DD since I have many good memories associated with DD. I miss the chocolate frosted, the strawberry frosted with sprinkles, the jelly donuts (any kind), the cream-filled, and so forth.

I was never really a cake donut person. If I want cake, I’m going to have cake; not cake masquerading as donuts!

But for years, cake donuts were pretty much all there was.

I had one yeast donut out in Phoenix, AZ, and it was amazing. For 7 years, I’ve been hoping to find GF yeast donuts for sale somewhere else, and for 7 years I have been disappointed.

And then I was offered to review some donuts for Kinnikinnick (which I’ve done before, and they’ve been cake), but this offer had a difference. I’d get to try the Pumpkin Spice donuts (again) and a new soft donut. Soft like yeast? Sure, I was definitely up for that!

Kinnikinnick Pumpkin Spice Donut

Kinnikinnick Pumpkin Spice Donut

The pumpkin donuts have been vastly improved. They were good the first time I tried them several years ago. They are light-years better now. Delightful little pumpkiny donuts in a yummy glaze. They’re not yeast, but if you like pumpkin, you won’t care. So good! I shared them with T as well, and she thought it was delicious! (She does not need to be gluten-free, so I always like to have her try samples I receive since she still knows what gluten-full foods taste like.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kinnikinnick Soft Donut

Kinnikinnick Soft Donut

I also was sent a box of vanilla donuts + icing. If you’ve been missing the little icing packets that come with Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, you’ll squeal with joy when you see and taste the icing that comes with these donuts!

This donut is small and light. It can go right from freezer to microwave to your mouth without any thaw time. 15-20 seconds works well (if you do 2 at a time, maybe 30 seconds, depending on the strength of your microwave).

Then you get to ice it with as much or little icing as you like. For my first donut, I did half-and-half, so I could get a fair taste of the plain donut. I love icing. LOVE. But I could easily eat these donuts plain. They are amazing. This is how I remember yeast donuts. THESE are the donuts I have been looking for!

T thought these were amazing too.

 

These donuts are GLUTEN-free, DAIRY-free, and NUT-free. You can read more about them here. This is a PDF sheet that will give you nutritional information on both products, as well as providing the UPC code, which may be helpful if you are trying to get your local grocery store to carry the soft donuts. The Pumpkin Spice donuts are seasonal and may not be something stores can carry.

The only problem I had with either of these donuts was the packaging. Although the boxes close (if you open them carefully), there is no way to reseal the inner plastic packaging, and it rips easily. On the other hand, there is very little chance that these donuts will stick around in your freezer long enough after opening to get freezer burn!

I also recommend cutting the icing packets a part instead of tearing across the dotted line which separates each packet (the plastic rips easily).

Each package also comes with instructions on how long to microwave them, which is a huge plus! (More companies need to follow suit!)

Anxious to try these donuts out yourself? Check out my Facebook page and see if you can win an awesome donut prize pack! Five lucky winners (must be in North America) can try to win 4 boxes (3 of cake donuts: pumpkin, chocolate, and cinnamon, and 1 of the new soft vanilla) each!

A Better Way Bakery

Although I don’t live in Western New York, I am a member of the WNY Gluten Free Diet Support group on Facebook. I have family in Buffalo, and when I visit, I want to know places that I can go out to eat, rather than preparing everything as I do at home. People in the group post about many different places; those dedicated gluten free and the ones that accommodate to the best of their ability (some better than others). But there’s one place which is mentioned over and over and over. A Better Way Bakery.

This was clearly a place I had to try, and on my most recent trip to Buffalo, I got my chance. Once we finally got a day with good weather, my Mom and I made the trip out to Lockport (33, to 90, to 290, to 990 . . . some town roads). I’m good with directions, she’s good with the GPS. And the photos from their website told me that unlike many GF bakeries, this was not a hole-in-the-wall. This is a place we’d be able to find easily. And we did. And it was. You’ll have no trouble finding A Better Way Bakery. And there is plenty of off-street parking!!

Anyone who has been gluten free for awhile knows the disappointment of being out with friends or family, and watching everyone else enjoy baked goods, while there is nothing safe for you. Or maybe there’s one thing you can have — but it came prepackaged and wasn’t that fresh. We dream about a bakery where we can walk in and eat absolutely everything. And where you’ll find all the baked goods, sweet and savory, that your heart desires.

That is what you will find at A Better Way. Along with the nicest people. They were inspired to go gluten free for their children, all of whom have Celiac. They learned that while cooking gluten free wasn’t too hard, baking was an entirely different story. This bakery shows the outcome of years of reading, researching, and trial and error.

I for one, am extremely grateful to this couple for not only finding a better way to provide wonderful gluten free food for their children, but for their willingness to open a magnificent bakery and cafe. Yup. You can go there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too!

The bakery itself is beautiful. Very inviting. The tables are a good size and the chairs are comfortable. The room feels light and airy. It’s colorful, but not overly bright, and the air? It smells amazing. This is a bakery from your dreams.

Cookies & Muffins, variety

Cookies & Muffins, variety

I was sorely tempted to order breakfast (banana-stuffed French toast, anyone?) but then I spotted it. A Better Reuben. The sandwich of my dreams. Except that I don’t really eat beef any more, and he couldn’t guarantee the corned beef was nitrate-free. But he offered me a great solution: A Turkey Reuben, which I knew existed, but which I’d never had before. He told me he can guarantee the turkey was nitrate-free because he roasts one himself every day. So I took him up on that. The sandwiches come with a very tasty pickle and home made potato chips. Both delicious.

The sandwich nearly made me cry. That’s how good it was. In fact, if it wouldn’t have made my nose too stuffed to eat, I may have actually cried. AMAZING. I took a second sandwich to go! The un-real rye is perfection; you’ll never know it’s gluten free. Turkey, piled high with sauerkraut, homemade Thousand Island, and wonderful Swiss cheese. Just thinking about it makes me hungry!

I can’t remember which specific sandwich my Mom ordered, but she enjoyed it! She ordered hers on the multigrain bread. She loved it, so we took a loaf home. It totally changed my opinion on toast! I’ve never been a fan, but if I can have this bread for toast? Count me in! It makes great sandwiches too, and it’s the size of non-GF bread! If you go to the bottom of their Products page, you’ll find helpful information on how to best store your purchases. It says their bread/rolls will typically last a month or more if kept in the freezer . . . but I ate the loaf we got too fast to find out!

If you look through the slideshow below, you’ll get to see the variety of baked goods we bought, in addition to the cookies and muffins, and took back to my Mom’s sisters’ house. Everything was thoroughly enjoyed! I am especially in love with the Banana Cream Pie, the Cut-Out Cookies, all of the cupcakes (oh, my, that frosting! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!), and the little chocolate cookies that look like bees!

It took us about 30 minutes (one way) from where my aunts live in Buffalo to get to the bakery. Totally and completely worth it. Their products are of the quality that would entice you drive out there every day. Maybe multiple times a day. I don’t know when I’ll be back in Buffalo again, but I think know multiple visits are definitely going to be a part of it! Must try that stuffed French toast next time!

Oh, and if you’re a fan of fish fries and have been missing them? I hear they have them every Friday.

Need catering? Food at a wedding? Or other special occasions? They have a page on their website for you to contact them about it all.

And you definitely won’t be sorry.

A Better Way Gluten Free Bakery
6429 Dysinger Road
Lockport, NY, 14094

Phone: 1-716-471-3305

Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Thursday | 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday | 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday | 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday & Monday | CLOSED

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Luke’s Organic

Nearly everyone I know loves chips and crackers. But these snacks are often seen as treats one must avoid if eating healthy. But Luke’s Organic has a healthy (and delicious) option for you, and if you’re in the Abingdon, Virginia, area, you can purchase them exclusively at the Whole Health Center starting within the next week!

I sampled Luke’s Protein Blue Corn & Red Lentil chip and Luke’s Sea Salt crackers, sharing them with Teresa and my Mom.

 

We tried the chips (seen on the right) first. Mom immediately exclaimed how delicious they were, as well as nice and crispy — without hurting her mouth (as is often the risk with triangle-shaped chips). Teresa’s first response? “Mmmmmm! I would buy these! Sean’s got to order these chips! I want the rest of the bag!”

I found that they had just enough salt (95mg per 1 ounce serving) – just a hint of it. You won’t even need salsa for these chips (in fact, salsa may ruin them); they are incredibly flavorful!

Luke's Organic

Then we dove into the crackers (seen on the left).

These crackers are delightful; richly flavored with no aftertaste. Just good taste. Teresa enjoyed the sesame seed taste and speculated they would go great with cream cheese. (They do — we tried that later!) Mom agreed about the strong but very good sesame flavor.

I enjoyed it as well. I found that these crackers reminded me of the sesame bread sticks (such as Stella D’oro Sesame Breadsticks). The crackers are much sharper, though, and easier to poke yourself with them. When I later sampled them with cream cheese, I put them in a bowl, and let the cream cheese soften on top of them. This had the side benefit of softening the crackers.

Both products are amazingly delicious, and I highly recommend them.

Luke’s Organic has several other flavors, all of which sound interesting.

In addition to Protein Blue Corn and Red Lentil, the chips also come in:

  • Kale Multigrain and Seed
  • Superfood Sweet Potato, Hemp, and Buckwheat
  • Brown Rice Chips Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
  • Ancient Grain Multigrain and Seed
  • Cha-Cha-Cha Chia Seed

In addition to Sea Salt, the crackers come also come in:

  • Garden Vegetable
  • Multi-Seed
  • Bean & Seed
  • Black Pepper
  • Chia Seed

 

According to the website, this is Luke’s story:

Hi, I’m Luke. I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 7 years old and I’ve been on the lookout for great tasting, gluten free snacks ever since. Finally, here’s one that doesn’t taste like tree bark. You’ll be so happy, you’ll eat them all. I’m also passionate about weather and part of the proceeds from our sales will go to the red cross (for severe weather disaster relief).

We loved reading that little story! I can’t have gluten, and Teresa is passionate about the weather, holding a degree in meteorology, so it’s like the ultimate snack for the two of us!

 

These products are:

  • Certified gluten free
  • Certified Vegan
  • Contains No Nuts
  • USA Organic
  • Non-GMO Verified

 

If you see Luke’s Organic products for sale. Buy them. Eat them. You won’t be sorry.

Flour Buds Bakery

Flour Buds is a true treasure of a bakery. It’s well worth a stop if you live in, near, or are travelling through the lower part of upstate New York. On a recent trip from Queens to NE Pennsylvania, we made a slight detour to find out what this bakery had to offer. You’ll never know they’re gluten free!

When we’re on the road, we’ll stop in at the bakery, purchase a variety of products, depending on cost, go back to our car and photograph anything we plan to eat immediately. We bought one Linzer cookie, one Apple Gallette, one serving of macaroni and cheese, and one chocolate brownie. The first thing we tried were the Linzer cookies.

If you’re not familiar with these, Linzer cookies are two thin cookies with filling in the middle. The top cookie usually has a decorative cut-out, allowing you to see what’s inside, and the entire top is generally dusted with powdered sugar. My Dad and I made Linzer cookies once when I was little, so I always enjoy trying them. T loves Linzer cookies even more than I do, so I let her have the first bite. This is her reaction:

“They tasted so much like my grandmother’s cookies from childhood (gluten-full), that I had tears in my eyes. I was hoping for good cookies, but never expected this good!”

I immediately went back to the bakery and asked how much the Linzer cookies cost. They were $2.00. There were four left. I bought them all! Then I was asked to wait so I could speak with the baker, Pam Goldberg, and relate T’s experience.

She was happy to hear this, and I stayed for a bit to talk with them (very nice people!). While I was in there, I was given a small sample (one piece) of a dark chocolate (hard) covered peanut/peanut butter/pretzel candy. Everything in the bakery is gluten free. The candy is also vegan. Again, you’d never know.

This truly delighted me. I love candy. As much as I generally try to eat healthy when I’m not sampling gluten free products, I love, love, love candy. And it’s very hard to find gluten free candy, hand-made or not. I took a small taste (YUM!) and then held on to the rest so T could try it too. (Once she took a nibble – thumbs up! – I devoured the rest.) Great flavor and great texture!

The mac and cheese, which I had for dinner when we got to Pennsylvania, was also delicious. Reheated without any problems. I love mac and cheese. I love making baked mac and cheese … but that’s not so easy on a road trip! How nice to be able to buy some and not worry about what’s in it!

The only downside to the Apple Gallette was that we only bought one of them.

Next time we are passing nearby Nyack, we will definitely be stopping here for some repeats . . . as well as to try some of their other items!

Click to see images at full size.

Real Food Works: Delicious Local Meals Delivered

Over the last decade (and some), ordering in at home for an evening meal has become commonplace for many families. I remember thinking what a neat idea it was that my parents could call one number yet order from any number of local restaurants, and have it delivered to the house. And as long as a minimum order (price) was met, you could order from multiple restaurants and everyone could get what they wanted. Genius!

But as an adult, once I went gluten free, it didn’t seem that great to me. I got to watch everyone else enjoy these amazing smelling meals while I ordered a salad. Looking back, even the salad wasn’t that safe since it was usually from the Italian restaurant my parents were ordering from: can we say lots of flour in the air? Nor was it that healthy of a salad. Watery iceberg lettuce, pale tomatoes, pale cucumbers, cheese ….

After going gluten free, I became a lot more conscious of what I was eating because I had to be. I’d wanted to eat healthier before, but could never make myself do it. Going gluten-free forced my hand (for which I’m grateful). I wished that there was something I could order that would be safe, delicious, and good for me. But there wasn’t. And given that I was (and am) in southwestern Virginia, there probably wasn’t going to be a ton of options. Healthy eating is not par for the course around here.

Real Food Works_Color cropped

But it IS for a growing number of places, and Real Food Works is helping customers in their area take advantage of that. And even better? They’re now offering gluten free options!

What is Real Food Works? From their website:

Real Food Works is a start-up located in Philadelphia. Founded by successful tech entrepreneurs with a passion for healthy great-tasting food, we provide a subscription service of fresh meals that are cooked by local restaurants and delivered fresh to our customers. Our food is mostly plant-based with very low oil, salt, and sweeteners — yet it tastes terrific! Our customers can lose weight, enhance their energy levels, and improve their overall health. Our partners can increase profitable revenue while leading in a major shift towards eating healthier food.”

Real food really does taste terrific, but if you’ve been consuming a diet of pre-packaged overly processed foods, you may have to retrain your taste buds first.Don’t worry, if you’re diligent and don’t cheat, it won’t take you long! Although T and I still use some sugar and salt, we try to go with organic sugars (no artificial sweeteners!) and sea salt (we especially love Celtic Sea Salt and pink Himalayan). Guess what? The more you get away from sugar and salt, the less you will need! And you’ll often find that dishes you couldn’t bear to eat without sugar and salt no longer need it to taste good!

And it’s amazing how full you can feel on a plant-based diet. T and I haven’t completely given up meat (in fact, it’s generally not recommended until you’re sure you’re getting all the vitamins from other sources), but we rarely eat it these days, and we don’t miss it. Something neither of us expected. And yes, you really can get enough protein from plants, and it will be better for you than animal-based protein. How do you think gorillas get so big and strong? Not from eating other animals! And if you eat a cow for protein, where do you think it comes from for the cow?

“Our whole food plant-based nutritional standards are based on leading-edge studies from researchers such as Dean Ornish at UCSF, T. Colin Campbell at Cornell University, and Caldwell Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic. This diet has been recently popularized by best-selling books such as “Whole,” “VB6,” and “My Beef With Meat” as well as the 2011 documentary “Forks Over Knives.””

So what do you get from Real Food Works (besides food you can feel good about eating?):

  • Meals are created and prepared by our partner restaurants: local, talented and passionate about really good food.
  • We share ingredient ideas and cooking techniques, and work closely with our restaurants’ chefs to create exclusive dishes.
  • All meals go through rigorous nutritional and taste testing before they are added to our menu.

RealFoodWorksCollage

  • We operate with stringent nutritional requirements, and information is available for every dish.
  • Meals include only natural, whole food ingredients. We use no processed foods, and certainly no additives, chemicals, dyes, or preservatives.
  • Our nutritional specifications are constantly reviewed to ensure that they reflect the best available research.

But how safe is the gluten free aspect of Real Food Works? If you’re like me, you’re really choosy about where you eat when you’re not at home!

Real Food Works GF meals are prepared utilizing only gluten-free ingredients. All RFW meals are prepared in licensed commercial kitchens by cooks with ServSafe food safety certification from the National Restaurant Association. RFW does offer this disclaimer:

“It is important to understand that “gluten-free ingredients” does not mean there will never be exposure to glutens. While the ingredients do not contain glutens, the restaurant providing the meal may not be gluten-free, and its personnel may not have completed gluten-free training. We cannot be held responsible for individual reactions to any meals or products, nor can we guarantee the absence of cross-contamination. It is the customer’s sole responsibility to read and understand the ingredients in each meal that you purchase on our site, and to know what is safe for your diet. While our site may provide certain resources on gluten-free or gluten-free ingredient food options or celiac disease, the information provided here is for reference and educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as medical advice.” You can read more in their FAQ. They’ve written a blog post about gluten-free eating as well.

This is a standard and fair disclaimer. This is something every GF person should keep in mind any time they go out to eat to a place that is not 100% gluten free or is not certified. Always do your own research!

You saw an image above of three possible dishes. How about a description of another? Sometimes I find that just reading about a dish makes me want to eat it even more than seeing it. “Russo Wrap from the Virago Baking Company: Organic vegetables seasoned with Mediterranean herbs and tucked into a collard wrap with homemade hummus. Served with beet stew and lemony sorghum salad.” (Go here and scroll down to the Russo Wrap. You can then click on it to find out exactly what is in it, along with the nutritional information!)

And, now that you now where the Russo Wrap is from, you can research the restaurant and make a more informed decision: Virago Baking Company. As far as I can tell, every source restaurant is listed, so you can check everything out to your heart’s content!

This looks like a great opportunity for you and your family, whether everyone in your household is gluten free or not. If you’ve been wanting to eat healthier and you weren’t sure how to start, this could be an excellent jumping off point for you!

If you’re in Philadelphia and you give Real Food Works a try, I would love to hear what you think!

Graphics courtesy of Real Food Works.