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Lentil Chips: A Healthy Gluten Free Snack

January 12th, 2013
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Plentils by Enjoy Life

Lentil Chips by Enjoy Life

Are you looking for a healthier snack option this new year? Of course fruits and vegetables are always a good gluten free option, but what can you do to satisfy that craving for a crunchy potato chip? Besides being a fatty food, many flavored potato chips contain seasoning that has MSG, and other additives or preservatives. While walking the aisle of my local health food store, searching for a new snack to fill my crunch addiction I came across a fairly new product by Enjoy Life. Plentils!

Enjoy Life Plentils Garlic Parmesan Flavor

Enjoy Life Plentils Garlic Parmesan Flavor

Plentils come in four yummy flavors including light sea salt, dill and sour cream, garlic and parmesan and margherita pizza. The first sample I tasted was the dill and sour cream variety. I found the flavor to be quite tasty and the texture airy and crunchy. They reminded me a bit of Funyuns without the grease. Of course Funyuns are gluten free, but they contain MSG, soy flour and ferrous sulfate. I have bad reactions to those three ingredients, but I can happily eat Plentils. They are free of the top 8 allergens including gluten, corn & soy.

A thinner, slightly denser snack option is made by Mediterranean Snacks. Available flavors include cucumber dill, parmesan garlic, sea salt, rosemary, cracked pepper, and roasted pepper. With 110 calories per serving and 70% less fat than potato chips, these lentil chips make for a healthy snack option.

Mediterranean Snacks Lentil Chips

Mediterranean Snacks Baked Lentil Chips
Cucumber Dill Flavor

Lentils are a superfood. Not only are they a great source of protein and fiber, but they can also help lower your cholesterol. They are a complex carbohydrate that provides a slow burning energy source to fuel your body. They are also a great source of iron, which is often found to be deficient in Lupus patients that have developed anemia1. So power up and eat your lentil crisps!

When comparing flavor, I preferred the seasoning of the Mediterranean Snacks lentil chip brand slightly better than the Enjoy Life Plentils. However the texture of the Enjoy Life brand makes them nice crunchy, airy crisp that is fun to eat. If you were looking for a crisp to dip, I would go with the Mediterranean Snacks brand. Give them a try.

Mediterranean Lentil Chips

Mediterranean Lentil Chips

Download Enjoy Life Plentils Coupon

Download Mediterranean Snacks Coupon

  1. Why Eat Lentils? []

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Sweet Pete’s Gourmet Gluten-Free Candy

October 17th, 2011

Sweet Pete's LogoPeter Behringer has grown up making gourmet chocolates and candies. He founded his company Sweet Pete’s, out of a desire to provide consumers with “Pure, simple, sweets made the traditional way with real cane sugar while using natural flavors and colors.” Sweet Pete’s entire kitchen is gluten free. On their website they do sell products that contain gluten, however they are manufactured at separate facilities. Read more about their gluten-free standards on Pete’s Blog.

To make gourmet candy, you have to start with the best ingredients. The chocolate that is used to make Sweet Pete’s gluten free gourmet sweets is produced by Callebaut. From the Callebaut website:

Abstaining from foodstuff to feel better
In general, the “Free-from” product category includes gluten-free, dairy free, lactose-free and sugar free. Typically, this category “focuses” on people suffering from allergies or food intolerance. The latter term describes an adverse food-induced reaction that does not involve the immune system. Lactose intolerance is one example. In contrast, the immune system of people suffering from food allergy reacts to a certain food causing hives, asthma, or other – in some cases life-threatening reactions. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the triggering food.

Chocolate indulgence for everyone
Barry Callebaut works constantly on making chocolate accessible to everyone, which is one of the keystones of the company.

To me it seems that Callebaut is another company that is looking to provide quality products for people that suffer from various food intolerances. The fact the Sweet Pete’s is using superior ingredients to make their candies made me want to try them even more. Who can resist handmade caramels, lollipops, and chocolates? Not me, that is for sure. Read on for my thoughts about some sweet treats I was lucky enough to sample.

Gourmet Gluten-Free Candy from Sweet Pete's

Sea Salt Caramel, Rocky Road, and Chocolate Dipped Kinnikinnick Kinnitoos

Sea Salt Caramel
A sweet and salty, chewy caramel that is truly decadent. This is so good they sell it by the pound! One of Sweet Pete’s best sellers and it is delicious.

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Sweetened Condensed Milk. Salt, Sea Salt, All Natural Vanilla Extract

Rocky Road
Pictured lower left, the rocky road candy bar has a fluffy marshmallow filling covered in milk chocolate and topped with pecans.

Ingredients: sugar, cocoa fat, dry whole milk, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin, sugar, water, corn syrup, honey, corn starch, all natural vanilla flavoring, pecans, Canola oil

Dark Chocolate Sandwich Cookie
Before going gluten-free, Oreos were one of my favorite sweet snacks. Of course Kinnikinnick Kinni-Toos quickly filled the void left behind when I could no longer indulge in Oreos. Perhaps one of my favorite holiday treats was a chocolate dipped Oreo. Years have passed since I have had a dipped Oreo, and this dark chocolate dipped sandwich cookie from Sweet Pete’s did not disappoint. So rich was every bite that I think one cookie could nourish the craving of a chocoholic for a week! I cannot wait to order these dipped in white chocolate. Pictured above on the right, these cookies are also available dipped in milk chocolate.

Lollipops made by Sweet Pete's

Milk Chocolate Pirate Lollipop and Hard Candy Apple Flavored Frankenstein Lollipop

Ingredients: sugar, cocoa mass, emulsifier, natural vanilla flavor, soy lecithin, icing, sugar, flour mix, organic palm oil, cocoa powder

Milk Chocolate Lollipop
Sweet Pete’s makes lollipops in a variety of shapes and flavors fitting the season or your liking. With Halloween nearly here, I sampled a devilishly sweet milk chocolate pirate lollipop that was melt in my mouth good.

Ingredients: sugar, cocoa fat, dry whole milk, unsweetened chocolate, natural vanilla flavor, soy lecithin

Hard Candy Lollipop
My son and I also taste-tested an apple flavored Frankenstein lollipop that was so yummy my son asked if we could buy some more. These lollipops are also vegan!

Ingredients:corn syrup, water, sugar, natural flavors, natural color

Corn Syrup Substitution
Those with corn sensitivity may request their lollipops, taffy and caramels be made with tapioca syrup instead of corn syrup. Products made with the tapioca syrup will cost about 10% more than those made with corn syrup. Obviously, corn syrup is cheaper to produce and thus the reason for an additional charge for this substitution. Customers can call Sweet Pete’s to place a phone order for the substitution. Ingredient substitutions are not available in the online ordering.

My son enjoying a lollipop made by Sweet Pete's.

My son enjoying a lollipop made by Sweet Pete's.

Halloween Special
Sweet Pete’s is offering a deal on the purchase of their lollipops for Halloween. Buy any four lollipops and get 20% off. Also if you buy one pound of the sea salt caramels, you will receive free shipping. These deals will last until 10/31/11, so take advantage and order some of Sweet Pete’s handmade natural gluten-free candy for you and your loved ones this Halloween.

I like that Sweet Pete’s is making candy the old fashioned way and that they are using natural ingredients. Making gluten-free candy for those of us that have had to go without will help individuals with gluten-intolerance feel included during the holidays. Unfortunately, I feel that Sweet Pete’s online ordering could be a bit more allergen friendly. I have multiple food intolerances, and when I was getting ready to place an order I had to contact the company via email to see if I would be able to eat what I wanted to purchase.

I would like to see Sweet Pete’s list the ingredients, or at least the major allergens on its ordering page. Also, it would nice on the gift baskets to know exactly what products will be included in the purchase. I have a nephew that must eat gluten and casein free. I wanted to order him a gift basket for the Holidays, but I will have to phone or email to see what he can have. I really enjoyed this candy and I will become a regular customer of Sweet Pete’s.

Note: Sweet Pete’s provided samples for review purposes, however the opinions represented in this review are 100% my own.

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New Products from Katz Gluten Free

July 29th, 2011
Katz Bundt Cake

Katz Gluten Free Bundt Cake with Coffee Flavored Icing

Katz Gluten Free has recently added three new products to their stores and I was given the opportunity to sample them. First I taste-tested the coffee bundt cake. I am not a coffee drinker and so I didn’t have high expectations when I decided to sample this cake. The cake arrives with the icing in a small plastic cup and must be warmed up to frost the cake. After following the directions for icing the cake, I ended up with what could have been a centerpiece for a party. The cake looked delicious, and it was pretty tasty. I found that I actually enjoyed the coffee flavor of the icing. I would purchase this cake again in the future for special occasions.

Katz Apple Pie

Katz Gluten Free Apple Pie

Another new product from Katz includes their mouthwatering homemade pies in the flavors of apple, blueberry, and cherry. Unfortunately, I cannot tolerate cinnamon; my tongue swells up and my arms go numb. Needless to say my husband was happy to eat some apple pie for me. He thought the flavor was good, but the crust wasn’t as flaky as he would have liked. Obviously that is difficult to achieve in gluten-free baking. I did not serve the pie warm, and he thought he might prefer it that way. The pies are on the small side, so for those of you watching your waistline eating one slice will be great. I’m afraid it might be all too easy to eat the whole pie.

Katz Poppers

Katz Gluten Free Sugared Snack Poppers

Lastly I tried the Sugared Snack Poppers. I found them to be a great crunchy little cookie that I could just pop in my mouth. The flavor reminded me a bit of vanilla wafers I use to eat as a child. My mom would make a banana pudding with nilla wafers and that was a sweet treat. I attempted to do the same with these, but was unable to find an organic banana pudding mix so I went with butterscotch instead. It just wasn’t the same. I will definitely try this again, but with homemade banana pudding. These snack poppers could be addictive just eating them on their own.

Katz Summer Bloggin’ Giveaway
It is not to late to enter the Katz Summer Bloggin Giveaway! You too could try these great gluten-free snacks along with 37 other products. The contest ends August 15th, so sign up now to win a prize pack of 40 gluten-free items baked by Katz Gluten Free. Also, leave a comment on this post for a second chance to win a box of 10 treats from Katz.

NOTE: Katz Gluten Free provided samples for reviewing purposes.

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Udi’s New Hamburger and Hotdog Buns

May 14th, 2011
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While running to the store to pick up some last minute items for a cook-out on Mother’s Day, I happened to spot the latest products by Udi’s. I picked up a couple of packs of the whole grain hamburger buns and the classic hotdog buns. These buns have a great texture and a nice flavor.

Udi's Hamburger and Hot dog buns

Udi's Hamburger and Hot dog buns

I decided to make just a good old fashioned hamburger on the grill, accompanied by some brats. I also grilled up some squash and zucchini for my Mother’s Day feast. While these buns are soft and delicious and do not need toasted, I did warm them up for a few minutes on the grill. Everything tasted so great I ended up stuffing myself.

While these buns are definitely tasty, I’m a bit concerned about a couple of the ingredients in them. The whole grain hamburger buns have Molasses in them, which can contain Sulfur. Udi’s doesn’t list on the packaging whether or not they use unsulfured Molasses. I have a sulfur allergy and I ate one of these buns before realizing this. I think this is why I might have suffered some digestive upset from eating them. Or I could possibly be reacting to the resistant corn starch. I’ve suspected a sensitivity to corn for a while now, but when I eat corn on the cob I don’t seem to have a problem. Why would I react to corn starch or corn syrup and not whole kernel corn?

When reading about the processing of Molasses, I came across an article that describes sulfur and sulfite content in syrups (Read more about corn syrup, molasses, and maple syrup). I have always thought that I reacted badly to corn syrup because of the corn, but maybe it is a problem with sulfur or sulfite intolerance instead. Apparently, corn syrup and molasses are both usually processed with sulfur dioxide. Whole Foods has a great article about the processing of molasses. Learn more about molasses processing here. Even though the classic buns by Udi’s don’t have molasses, perhaps the cultured corn syrup could be a problem to those with sulfur or sulfite intolerance. Sulfite intolerance symptoms can include headaches, joint pain, heart palpitations, asthma, and hives.

So what is “resistant corn starch” anyway?

Nutrition Diva explains a resistant starch as being any starch that does not break down into sugar. The benefits of using resistant starch can include improved bowel function, appetite control, regulated blood sugar, and reduced calories. There are apparently four types of resistant starch, ranging on a scale RS1 to RS4.1 Anything in the RS4 category would be chemically modified. I am also wondering if the resistant corn starch in Udi’s buns comes from genetically modified corn? The food label doesn’t answer this question.

Udi's Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

Delicious summer BBQ made easy thanks to Udi's

I have had a problem with extreme bloating after eating these buns. This could be a simple matter of the resistant starch increasing my fiber intake to an amount that is higher than what my digestive tract is use to processing. Or perhaps I am having some type of reaction to sulfur/sulfites. I have not had a problem with my tongue and throat swelling like when I take sulfa drugs, so I am thinking it is probably just too much fiber.

Even though I am worried about reacting to a couple of the ingredients in the new buns by Udi’s, I cannot deny that they are delicious. My Mother’s Day celebration was complete as I could dine on the tastiest hamburger I have had in a long time. I hope that I will be able to enjoy these for the duration of the summer BBQ season; however if my intestinal bloating does not subside I may have to give these buns up for good, which is rather unfortunate. If you haven’t already tried this product, I do highly recommend them.

  1. Resistant Starch []

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