Month: October 2015

Most Evolved GF Product: Bagels!

*Disclaimer: Sweet Note Bagels provided me with product in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

My first memory of a gluten free bagel was a hockey puck that managed to crumble everywhere–and not only did it have a hole, but the hole consumed more than half the bagel. But hey, it was the thought that counted. I had a…’bagel’…I think.

Within about 5 years, another little company came on the market, that sold the dough in the bagel shape and all you had to do was bake it. Well, by bake, I mean my mom had to remember to get up early for the 1 hour bake time so that I could have a semblance of normalcy at Sunday School when all the other kids had bagels. And they shrank upon baking, making them a little chewy ‘bagel.’

Another 10 or so years passed, and companies like Udi’s and Canyon came on the market and revolutionized gluten free bagel consumption. I am a huge lover of both brands–each offering slightly different flavor and texture profiles, both absolutely delightful after a good toasting and shmear of cream cheese. These brands are my brands.

Somewhat unbeknownst to me, there were a lot of little bakeries creating their own versions of GF bagels, very few of which I’d tried. The lovely ladies at Sweet Note Bagels graciously sent me a few flavors to try, complete with preparation instructions (something I’d never seen for GF bagels!) PS- I’m not going to forget about the coffee date offer!

Now, here’s the crazy thing, I didn’t understand what was happening when I took a bite. Luckily, non-GF boyfriend was here and could explain: this is the texture of the average, gluten-filled bagel. It was so chewy, unusually so. He was hooked. We tried plain and pumpkin spice flavors (their seasonal special!), both of which had similar chewy texture–except the pumpkin spice broke a bit upon microwaving/toasting, probably from the flavoring ingredients, because the plain was just fine. Both flavors were very yummy!

Now, I’m told that these bagels are bagels–the real deal, minus the gluten. But, for this 15+ year celiac, in complete honesty, these bagels were a bit confusing, and will take time to get used to! I actually want to thank Sweet Note for giving me the window into what life would be like if, someday, I could begin eating gluten again after decades of complete, happy ignorance of the taste/texture of gluten-filled products.

My only major complaint for these bagels is the carb count. While most bagels come in around 40g, this one comes in at over 60–making it impossible for this type 1 to eat more than half, and even the half was a bit of a stretch. Hoping that the carb count will go down in the future!

Take it easy, but take it.


My loves: all things “mini” and cookies.

*Disclaimer: ginnybakes sent me a box of products in exchange for my honest review on my blog. All opinions are my own.

As most of you know, I am a major gluten free cookie monster. Sure, the typical chocolate chip does the trick, but I’ve tasted and consumed dozens of simple and unique cookie flavors and brands over the last 15 years (which, by the way, my 15 year Celiac anniversary is coming up on November 1st! Leave a comment with your celiac anniversary, and your favorite GF product to try as the GF world evolves 🙂 )

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to taste and review a company I’d never had before–ginnybakes–who seek to have their consumers “indulge mindfully” with their GF, non-gmo, organic, and believe it or not–healthy cookies. I dug right in when they arrived, especially because my box included ginnyminis– the most adorable little cookies in small packs, perfect for the quick lunches and snacks I’ve been packing on my 12+ hour days recently.

First and foremost, as a T1 diabetic, I know you all can understand my appreciation for a relatively low carb cookie–only ~8g for a regular size! And the packaging is appealing and well-designed– I immediately wanted to dig in! Prior to this post, I taste the double chocolate happiness cookie, the coconut oatmeal bliss minis, and chocolate chip love minis (precious cookie names, aren’t they!?) Additionally, the non-GF boyfriend tried one of the ginnybars–“karma, love, and apricot.”

As soon as I tasted the coconut oatmeal bliss cookie, I was a fan. While the butter taste is a bit stronger than other cookies, it is balanced by the coconut flavor. The crunchiness gives them a fun texture as a snack, and especially with coffee. I immediately sent some from my box over to my sister, who just begun college in Boston. The chocolate chip love mini cookies had similar buttery flavor, and the crunchy texture. I do wish these were a bit less crunchy, though, as they didn’t have any ‘give’ when I bit into them. The only cookie I didn’t care for was the double chocolate–unusual for this chocoholic. They seemed to crumble a bit more, with too strong of an aftertaste. I’ll keep trying the other flavors, and stick to the other 2 in the meantime.

With regard to the bar, he noted that there was a great balance between the chewy and crunchy aspects, and loved the overall apricot and nutty taste. I’ll be trying the “peace, love, and apple” this week, for sure!

Ginny Simon began her company, ginnybakes, to combine her passions for nutrition, active living, and baking–some of my passions as well. The gluten free community is most definitely reaping the benefits of her hard work and dedicationg. I look forward to trying their other products–and you all should take a look and consider placing an order here–especially for those minis 🙂

Take it easy, but take it.


Bakery in a Box: Canyon Bakehouse Goodies!

*Disclaimer: I was given a box of Canyon Bakehouse items in exchange for my honest review on this blog. All opinions are my own.

In general, getting a package is exciting. But (little did I know) the cardboard box that arrived at my doorstep last week from Canyon Bakehouse included an unexpected insert. No, it wasn’t just coupons and information sheets (though very important!)

I opened the box… and the most delicious bakery smell came pouring out. The smell overtook my small apartment, and non-GF boyfriend even asked what smelled so delicious. I mean, normally a bakery smell is a bit terrifying–like accidentally stepping into the gluten-filled bread aisle at the grocery store where you may or may not convince yourself that there’s gluten flying in every direction and it’s coming to get you, though there are plastic bags surrounding every product. But, but, but–this was a gluten free bakery smell and I couldn’t have been more entranced. 

Inside that box, besides the delicious smell, was a package of each of the following: hamburger buns, 7-Grain bread, Cinnamon Raisin bread, Everything Bagels, and brownie bites. Because I was headed out of town for a graduate school interview (!), I stuck everything in my freezer, though these products are room temperature stable. Yes, that means you can have your bread on your counter once again. (PS- that’s a foreign concept to a near-lifelong Celiac!)

But, in true Brianna fashion, the container of baby brownies ended up in my bag for the train ride.

Canyon Bakehouse products are completely gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and soy free and even have 100% whole grains. Life was easy for this allergy/intolerance inflicted girl when labels took 1/10th of the time to review before I started munching away.

While blood sugars on the train didn’t cooperate for brownie consumption, I was lucky to be headed to Chicago, my home, so I could share a late night snack of brownies and tea with my mom. We’ve been trying products for the last 15 years–everything from hockey puck-like buns to crumbling cookies to downright inedible birthday cakes. So, we each picked up our little brownie and looked at each other as a small nibble turned quickly evolved into a one-bite brownie. After audible expressions of delight were exchanged, we concluded that these brownies were scrumptious–little bit of a crunch on the outside and a gooey/fudgey inside. Divine.

Next up was bread taste testing, back in my apartment with my non-GF boyfriend–always an interesting perspective when I’m tasting new products. (read: he can eat literally anything. not a single allergy, intolerance, nada). We started with toasting the cinnamon raisin bread with cream cheese (a personal fave). Oddly enough, this bread didn’t get the typical crunch from toasting, as most GF breads do–so I wasn’t sure if it was worthwhile. The texture, smell, and taste were perfectly balanced, and we determined that toasting might not be the ideal way to prepare.

A few days later, we made sandwiches for a dinner-on-the-go with the 7-Grain bread–this time, heated in some foil in my toaster oven. The bread seemed even better with that warmth (I’d do it with a room temp. loaf)–yet another winner from this box of goodies.

Lastly, we shared an Everything Bagel this morning. Boyfriend took it to go, but managed to sneak a bite while I was in the room, looked at me, and said “Brianna, these products taste like gluten ones. It’s the texture, they’re chewy. This bagel. Yes.” Because I’ve been GF for the extent of my memory, I can never compare products to their gluten counterparts. But, Canyon–you guys have apparently hit the nail on the head. The bagel had a great combination of flavors on the outside (yes, I know it is supposed to–everything–I get it) and toasted perfectly.

Canyon Bakehouse’s careful consideration of their ingredients truly pays off in their products. I’m looking forward to trying the hamburger buns, and my continued devouring of the loaves in my freezer.

Give them a visit on Facebook, and be sure to give them a try. The gluten free market is ever-evolving, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Take it easy, but take it.