More from I Heart Keenwah (Quinoa Puffs!)

I Heart Keenwah is at it again! They’ve added a new snack to their tasty line-up of bite-size quinoa snacks: Quinoa Puffs! They are certified gluten free.

Several weeks ago, I was asked to review their new Puffs, and I happily agreed. I loved their first product.  I Heart Keenwah had me review all 4 flavors of their first product, and I’d been under the impression that would be the case this time too. Unfortunately, their contact/marketing person only sent me 2 of the flavors, so I can’t give you a full-out review like I was able to do on their first product.

I received “Aged Cheddar” and “Sea Salt Truffle”. Their other two flavors are “Herbs de Provence” and “Sweet Chili”.

As many of you know, I like to do “sampling parties” with items I receive. You may or may not have the same impression of a product that I do; we all taste things differently. By sharing my samples, I get to provide you with taste reviews from numerous people; some who have to be gluten free and are, some who should be gluten free – but aren’t, and some who don’t have to be gluten free at all.

I received these samples shortly before going to visit family in Buffalo, so I took the two bags along, and one night, we all sat down to taste and review.

I Heart Keenwah - Quinoa Puffs
I Heart Keenwah – Quinoa Puffs

We enjoyed “Aged Cheddar” first.

Our collective thoughts: Good! Substantial; I like that they don’t just dissolve. Very tasty. Would be good in cream cheese. (Note: We happened to have cream cheese, so we got it out: AWESOME with cream cheese!!!) Very good; I would definitely buy these. You can definitely taste the quinoa. Reminds me of Kix but with way more flavor.

Each person had taken a few to sample, and then kept eating. We devoured the whole bag in short time.

On to “Sea Salt Truffle“.

Sadly, this flavor was a disappointment, even to the person who loves truffles. The grayish color was unappealing. Otherwise: Too strong; reminds me of fish food. There’s a distinct and odd onion flavor, despite not having onion in the ingredients. Pew! One person found they were better with cream cheese, but no one else thought so.

 

Aged Cheddar is the definite winner between these two flavors. I’d love to taste the other two flavors whenever they are released to stores. You can buy them online, but I haven’t seen them on the shelves anywhere yet. (I’ve looked in Buffalo, NY, Roanoke, VA, Abingdon, VA, and Johnson City, TN.)

 

Have you tried Quinoa Puffs yet? Please comment and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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

Ramen Noodles — Now in Gluten Free!

Google celebrates the 105th birthday of Momofuku Ando.
Google celebrates the 105th birthday of Momofuku Ando, creator of instant noodles.

Although not the least bit nutritious, like many people, Oodles of Noodles were a big part of my diet for a long time. I even liked them uncooked and crunchy! Tasty, quick-cooking and cheap. If you need a fast meal and you’re not concerned about the nutritious aspects, what’s not to like?

I’m heading into my 7th year of being gluten free. I eat much healthier than I used to . . . and I still miss them.

And then I discovered Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods! Gluten Free & Organic!

Lotus Foods - Ramen Rice

I will tell you right now that the noodle brick doesn’t smell particularly great right out of the packaging. I can’t decide if it’s from the packaging or the ingredients (the one I tried was millet and brown rice), but they taste great once cooked! (And anyone who really knows me can tell you that I am very picky and can detect very subtle flavors and smells. Despite the way it smells uncooked, I was determined to give it a try, and yum! I’m glad I did!)

I bought a multi-pack, so I cooked the first two almost exactly the way the instructions said, except for swapping out 1 of the 2 cups of water for broth, and then not rinsing them since I ate it as a soup. It didn’t come with seasoning so I added my own. This left me with very long noodles when I went to eat them.

When I got to brick 3, I took the 4th one out too and set it aside. Put the 3rd back in the bag, closed it up, and tried to break the noodle brick in half against the table. It broke easily, so I split it into four pieces. Not only did it cook faster, but it was so much easier to eat when it was done! When I used to eat Oodles of Noodles, and when I bothered to cook them, I liked a firm consistency . . . slightly chewy. That didn’t work as well with Rice Ramen. They failed to absorb much flavor the first 2 times I made them, when I cooked them for the suggested 3 minutes.

The third time, I mixed my pre-broken brick of noodles, 1 cup water, 1 cup broth (Kitchen Basics), and a lot of seasoning (Adobo seasoning and Garlic Powder), I cooked them until most of the liquid was gone. They stayed as noodles; didn’t get pasty. Softer than I usually prefer . . . but, boy, did they absorb the flavors nicely!!

I’ll be eating that 4th brick tonight.

You can buy them in multi-pack (4 to a package) or individual servings which come with seasoning packets. I bought one of the individual packets (Forbidden Rice with Miso Soup) to try once my multi-pack is gone. Technically, 1 brick serves 2 . . . but I pretty much always ate an entire package of Oodles of Noodles myself, and those were much larger!

No matter how tasty the flavoring packet is, I probably won’t buy it again though — the sodium content with the seasoning, for 1 actual serving, is 460mg. Too much for me! But if sodium doesn’t (appear) to bother you, you can once again enjoy this yummy comfort food with minimal effort. Given, they’re not as cheap as the gluten-full version, but as GF products go, in a pinch, these aren’t bad!

If you’ve had a chance to try Rice Ramen, especially one of the packages which come with seasoning, please comment below and tell me your thoughts!

 

I discovered these Rice Ramen several weeks ago, and ate my first one several days ago. So what made me pick today, March 5, to tell you about them? It’s the 105th birthday of Momofuko Ando, inventor of instant ramen! You can read more about him here. He began experimenting in 1957 and debuted Cup Noodles in 1971. He passed away in 2007 at the age of 96.

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.

Buddha Bread

BuddhaBread_smallGrowing up, dinners with the family involved chicken, potatoes and gravy and we always had a dinner roll to wipe up the gravy off the plate with.

No one ever left my grandma’s delicious gravy on the plate. Being gluten free shouldn’t mean you can’t do the same, but finding a decent bread to do that with is hard. When I first tried Buddha bread my first reaction was wow, this would be perfect complement for a dinner.

It has a wonderful taste, it pulls apart like a gluten type rolls, but obviously without, absorbs what was put on it without falling apart. I first tried with a little butter. It was great.

They are so simple to add to a dinner just take out however many you want out of the bag in the freezer and bake for 20-25 minutes at 425°F.

So if it’s just 2 people eating you can have 2 or 4 rolls; you may want 4, they are that good.  Or you can make the whole bag for the family at Thanksgiving.

 

Review by Teresa Grabler (who ate the majority of the bag we got!)