Gluten Free…. yum? And one nasty ass product.

I am still and most likely for the rest of my life will be eating gluten free.  The change has just been too drastic and once in a great while I’ll cave and have a little bit of something with wheat/gluten in it and pay for it dearly.  But seriously, for some things I will risk it.  I can’t think about Thanksgiving or Christmas without just knowing that I will spend time extremely bloated and very uncomfortable.

The other day I gave into some angel food cake.  It had been the first time in a long while I had purposely eaten something I knew wouldn’t bode well for me.  I wasn’t totally miserable the next day… but looking about 5 months pregnant from bloat?  Check.  So gross.

I sometimes have dreams that I am eating things which much much gluten involved lol  It is like an addict, dreaming about what they can no longer touch.  Clearly my brain has not gotten over the things it is missing, but my body sure doesn’t miss feeling like complete crap 24/7.

I wanted to collect some specific “gluten free” recipes.  But once I got to looking at my massive recipe collection it wasn’t so much that I needed specific gluten free recipes, it is easy enough to substitute things in and out of most meals… for me it is just the fact that I often do not feel like cooking.

This is problematic if you have to eat gluten free.  There are so few gluten free convenience foods.  Granted this has been excellent for me over all… no more junk food, no more fast food.  But at times I’ve grown so frustrated.  I know I know… stop being lazy and cook something!  What college student do you know that really enjoys coming home and cooking?  BAH!

It is not as easy as going to the store and getting something that you would think would be gluten free… the most random things have wheat in them.  I suddenly have to stand in the store and read labels.  If my husband goes to the store and gets something for both of us, he now has to look at labels.  Grocery shopping officially blows.

I don’t shop in the gluten free section unless I absolutely have to.  First, the gluten free section of most grocery stores sucks.  And it really only caters to the things that are “duurr” in the fact that you don’t want them to contain gluten… baking  mixes, bread mixes, pastas, crackers, snack bars those kinds of things… not the less obvious things that you come to miss.  Secondly, the gluten free section is outrageously overpriced.  $6 for some crackers, $5 for the nastiest driest “bread” you will ever come in contact with, $7 for a baking mix.  Ugh.

Some stores are better than others, for example Meijers has really been pretty awesome in terms of their gluten free products.  They have a dry section AND a frozen section as well as some obviously labeled gluten free products being strewn through out with the regular stuff (which is a bit of a pain in the ass but I just appreciate the fact that they carry it).  Stores with “natural” and “organic” sections help out quite a bit too, like Scotts.  We have a rather extensive health food store and  grocery which is awesome in that they carry tons of gluten free things and everything on the shelf is labeled underneath the product if it is gluten free making shopping a whiz, but unfortunately the sky high prices prevent me from shopping there much.

Gluten free specifics?  Well there are a few things I have slowly tried and begun to like…

I kept hearing that Pamela’s was one of the best specific gluten free brands and that the bread mix was supposed to be amazing.  I gave it a try for a loaf of bread and was so happy when my home smelled like yummy baked bread.  When I got it out of the oven I cut off a few slices, covered them with butter and  nommed on down.  It was so good fresh out of the oven, sweet and yeasty although the texture was much more dense than I expected.  It was more like the texture of a banana bread or pumpkin bread or something.

So sadly for that case, it was not a good sandwich bread.  And it HAD to be toasted to be eaten.  Once it had cooled, it had this strange bitter taste to it that it does not have when it is warm and toasty.  You can use this mix for all kinds of sweet breads, pie crusts, even bagels.

I also used to it make my first gluten free pizza.  It wasn’t totally a winner for that.  It has such a strong flavor, that it sort of overwhelmed my toppings… kinda like Papa John’s pizza crust does to me.

Betty Crocker now makes a few gluten free mixes and in terms of price, they are slightly cheaper and the specific gluten free brands.  The brownies were incredible.  There was absolutely no gluten to be missed at all.  They were exactly like the real thing in every way possible.  Even the husband scarfed them down no questions asked.

HERE IS THE NASTY ONE FOLKS.  I will never be able to bring myself to try gluten free bread in a bag again after this.  You should have seen the look on my face as I inspected this in the store.  But I will try it, I decided.  This stuff has a shelf life of like a year if that tells you anything.  It comes in a vacuum sealed bag.  I can’t even begin to describe the texture.  It is completely dry and it crumbled into this sand like concoction in your mouth.  And it tastes nothing like bread.  Not even close.  More like bitter rice poison.

Also tried both flavors of the cake mixes.  I’m not a huge cake person but I wanted to test them out.  The yellow cake was “meh”.  It works but it isn’t fantastic.  It is obviously missing something cake like.  Just so dense!  And the flavor is just a little off.  Husband wouldn’t eat it.

The chocolate was a little better, but we still ended up throwing some out which is unheard of for cake!  Again, just a much denser product.  Good at first, but after a while the texture just becomes a little too much to deal with.

Husband brought them home for me one night when I told him I was craving pancakes.  I managed to get small batch out of the box and destroyed the other batch when I attempted to make banana pancakes.  Don’t add anything to this mix, it won’t work.  As with most stuff I’ve posted here, the main ingredient is rice flour and rice flour is delicate yet dense and apparently annoying to make pancakes out of.  They burned easily and also stuck to the pan easily.  They did taste like pancakes should taste though, even though the texture was a bit different.

Rice crackers have become my new favorite things in the world.  The KAME ones are my fave.  They are super crispy, taste yummy (to me anyways) and are really light too.  I am obsessed with rice crackers and cheese.  It’s disturbing to think how much rice crackers and cheese I’ve probably consumed in the past few months.

This has been one of my most favorite discoveries to date.  CORN SPAGHETTI.  Also comes in other shapes.  I made a pretty wonderful mac & cheese out of one of the rotini shapes of this brand.  Husband also eats this willingly.  It pretty much tastes exactly like regular pasta.  Waaaaaaay way better than the rice pasta.  I tried some rice spaghetti before I tried this and although not terrible it got a bit too mushy.  Corn pasta stays firm.  The only difference is that it doesn’t have that stretch like regular wheat pasta does so you have to be careful mixing in sauces and such or it will break up the noodles.

My latest discovery to date… I was reluctant to try not because of the price, in the world of gluten free they are relatively cheap, $3 for six waffles… but because I was still burned by the bread issue.  Well these are wonderful.  WAFFLES.  REAL TASTING WAFFLES.  And even the texture stays right… slightly chewy yet fluffy.  No wheat to be  missed, at all.

And then my most favorite discoveries to date:  Amy’s Kitchen frozen stuff.  It tastes like REAL food, not frozen food and there’s many gluten free options.

These are the ones I’m currently obsessed with and it is so wonderful to have “convenience” foods again and it is also awesome that these are pretty decent on the calorie count.

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