Gluten Free Cheesecake Brownie Muffin Things!

Thursday, 4 June 2015
A friend once made me this amazing tray of gluten free brownies with a cheesecake topping. They were super yummy and really squidgy, which can be rare for gluten free cake. So when I got a packet of Delicious Alchemy Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie mix out of the cupboard the other day I thought of that lovely brownie/cheesecake thingy, and decided to make my own using the mix.

So I mixed up the brownie batter using the mix instructions, which was very simple, and then blobbed this into some muffin cases. I didn't want to fill them right up, so spread the mix between 18 large muffin cases, which filled them all about two thirds full.

Next I made my cheesecake mix. I used one 300gms tub of cream cheese, one egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 3 large tablespoons of caster sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Wizzed it all up till well mixed (don't mix for ages or it will go runny, a quick wizz to combine is all it takes) and then blobbed this onto each case of brownie mix. Gave the two a swirl together and then in the oven for 20 mins (2 mins less than the packet mix said) at the same oven temp as the packet suggested.

When they come out of the oven they will be wobbly, so cool on a rack and then in the fridge to get the cheesecake mix to set. This will make the brownie part a bit denser from being chilled, but I like my brownies that way.

I think these would be great with some fresh raspberries folded into the cheesecake mix maybe. The fresh fruit wetness does make things take longer though. I will experiment next time, as I am certainly making these again.

Trex Protein Bars

Monday, 30 March 2015
It’s very rare I find to be able to have something you can pop in your bag before heading out for the day. So often I have to time my visits to places that I either end up taking a full picnic with me or rushing back to have lunch at home. However the wonderful people at Trex (the people behind nakd bars) sent me their complete range of protein flapjacks to sample and try out.



With six different flavours and being wheat and gluten free there’s a taste for everyone. I rather adore the cocoa and coconut flapjack but so do my boys so it’s a battle if I didn’t pack enough!  Another favourite is their banana bread and who can resist a morning berry flapjack with a cup of tea!

It’s lovely to some gorgeous, yummy, good for you munchies for being on the go. I have several packs now living in my glove box and my boys adore them as a snack after school. They often have one in their lunch box for a mid-morning snack as the protein flapjacks (a respectable 9g of protein in each bar) are designed to slow release energy which stops them burning out after a hard day at forest school or a morning swimming.

They are made from gluten free oats and vegan friendly and GM free. What more could you ask for really? They are definitely worth a try and make a great mid-day snack and perfect for a day on the run!



Newburn Bakehouse

Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Bread is a touchy subject for those with a gluten intolerance. It’s hard to find good substitutes and replacements for bread and it can be a staple in many diets.

I have been feeding my family (first my husband, then my children) a mainly gluten free diet for a long time now, and because my husband is gluten intolerance, I try to stick to a gluten free diet for all of us, because it’s easier to stick to and cater for than buying different foods for everyone. Bread is something we have experimented with over the years. I have bought many loaves of gluten free bread and even attempted to make my own, and we have become very picky about what works for us. Bread is thing my husband missed most when he was told he needed to stop eating gluten and it’s hard to find replacements for.

So when we were sent some bread and rolls from Warburtons, from their Newburn Bakehouse gluten free range, we were quite excited. We do have a couple of brands we like, for gluten free bread and I had heard they had a new range out, specifically gluten free, but we hadn’t tried it yet. We were sent some White Farmhouse loaf, Seeded Farmhouse loaf, Brown Farm House Loaf and Soft seeded rolls to try.

The main problem with gluten free bread is texture and taste. Gluten in traditional bread is what makes bread “bread” and finding ways to make gluten free bread resemble that is challenging. Also sometimes the ingredients used to replace the wheat in bread can make the texture of the bread very dry and tasteless and not something you want to use for you sandwiches or lunchbox.

Some brands get it almost right, and some brands don’t quite get there. Having been trying out gluten free breads for 14 years we kind of regard ourselves as semi experts in what works.

We were very pleasantly surprised by both the quality and taste of the bread loaves. Warbutons non gluten free bread is a brand I have used before and quite like, so I did have high expectations, which were not disappointed.

The bread was sliced well, and the texture was firm but not too dry, some gluten free breads can have an almost cardboard like texture. They worked really well in sandwiches, and toasted beautifully. I have to say my taste test for gluten free bread is how well it goes down with just plain butter, on it’s own. I am a girl who likes her bread and if a gluten free bread passes that test, with no frills but just butter, then it’s a winner for me. The children didn’t notice that I had changed their bread brand in their lunchboxes, and if the children don’t complain (and children notice everything) then that is also a good sign. We didn’t really have any preferences as to which breads were our favourite, I personally prefer a seeded, brown loaf but the children liked the white loaf toasted. We even tried the bread on a friend who came over for lunch, I didn’t tell her it was gluten free (I am so used to using GF bread I forget it’s not “normal” bread) and she commented on how nice it was, and was surprised when I did tell her it was gluten free.

The real taste test was the rolls though. Gluten free rolls are very tricky to make so that they are as good as their gluten based counterparts. I don’t usually buy gluten free rolls, and have tasted a few brands that really have been dry and as my husband says “rock like”.

The Newburn Bakehouse rolls were soft and not dry at all. We decided to try them with soup, and they worked really well, and actually I wouldn’t have noticed they were gluten free if I was offered one, and wasn’t told they were. They worked well filled with salad and cold meat as well. They were not at all dry, and their texture was really soft and fresh.

The team at their gluten free bakery have used their expertise to come up with their range of gluten free breads and other products and it shows in the results. They have come up with gluten free breads and rolls that are not dry, indigestible and that don’t resemble cardboard. We really enjoyed the products and would use them again. That makes them a winner in this household.

NUTRiBULLET

Sunday, 15 February 2015
I’ve been compiling a list of the must have appliances for any gluten free kitchen and along with this we were the NUTRiBULLET to review. It was so good I felt it deserved a post of its own!

There are a variety of NUTRiBULLETS from the Dessert Bullet or the Nutri Baby through the PRO900. The 900 is the most powerful of the NUTRiBULLETS and like its name as a 900q motor. It has a unique action which enables it to break down and pulverise and emulsify food so that you access the hidden nutrition inside.Amazingly it also results in hardly any washing up unlike some of the other blenders around just rinse under warm water when you’ve finished. The fruit & veg are placed roughly chopped ( no need for coring or peeling) inside the jug which after pulverising into a smoothie becomes your flask to head off and go out leaving no washing up behind. It’s perfect for making smoothies on the go to take out and about with you or to potter round the garden with.

As I said you don’t need to peal the fruit or veg. It burst open seeds and cracks through stems, shredding tough skins and getting nutrients you would otherwise throw away while leaving you with a smooth clean no lumps drink. Being a coeliac has left me with a rather delicate stomach and I have always found difficulty in the smoothies in the shops. The thing I love about this is that you can add what YOU like and what YOU need without any other gunk. One of the reviews I had read said they didn’t have time to peel and finely chop their fruit & veg daily but with this you don’t need to. Also if you’re organised you can on a Sunday make up a weeks’ worth of smoothies by popping the fruit & veg you choose into sandwich bags in the fridge or freezer if its warm out and just throw them into the bullet at the last second! It takes less than a minute to pulverise even the toughest of veg into a smooth creamy drink.  

The booklet included with the NUTRiBULLET does include instructions on how to create the perfect nutriblast. First off fill the vase with leafy greens, the fruit then a “boost” pumpkin or chia seeds for example before adding water in. It produces like for like a creamier smoother drink that other name brands in the same price range. From reading the booklet I suspect that not only this but it’s also better for you too. According to NUTRiBULLET over 100 research studies have shown that the highest levels of nutrients reside in the stem, skin and seeds! A bit wary of this at first I have to say once blended it is impossible to guess and have my energy levels increased? YES! IS my skin glowing? There is a marked improvement I have to say! Just take a look at some of these smoothies from Superskinnyme. Just remember if you’re popping in oats make sure they’re gluten free! 

OMG...It's Gluten Free - review

Wednesday, 11 February 2015
One of the highlights of my life as a gluten-free blogger (and a current preggo lady) is receiving fun and yummy GF things to try in the mail. Upon receiving a banana chocolate chip muffin and a fudge brownie a few weeks back from OMG…It’s Gluten Free, I was beyond excited to see how a mail order baked good would be – as I hadn’t really had the privilege to try many (not that there are that many available either!!).

While reviewing any product, I normally hit their website to see what their story is, aka who the company is and what they do. At http://omgitsglutenfree.com/I, I learned that this family-owned company intially had a successful cafe in Illinois that had a variety of gluten free options. Since then, they have scaled back to focus on their distribution through their website and stores. From their website, you can order entrees (macaroni and cheese, lasagna, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs) and baked goods (assorted cookies, muffins, buns). I am unsure at this point if the goods are available to ship internationally or just in the domestic US.

Upon opening my package, which was basically a small mailing envelope, I was a bit disappointed off the bat at how squished my muffin was. In my opinion, fragile baked goods should be boxed not bagged, since the mailing system can wreak havoc with packages in general. I have no idea if the packaging in this case was different since it was a sample, or if this is the normal method of shipping the goods. Here was my muffin:



After moving past how beat up my muffin was, I glanced at the nutritional label to get a baseline for what I would soon be enjoying. One thing right off the bat that seemed odd to me was that the nutrition facts were based on a serving of 1/3 of a muffin. To verify these values, I pulled up the nutritional facts off of the website (http://omgitsglutenfree.com/banana-chocolate-chip-muffins.html) and was shocked to see that they did not match the packaging on the muffin itself:

Being a math major, I quickly ran through some of the numbers to compare the two different labels for the entire muffin - as each label called out a different serving size (55g @ 3 servings = 165g total versus 71g @ 2 servings = 142g). My findings? 546 calories versus 470, 21g of fat versus 18g, 54g of sugar versus 46g, etc. Now I realize that the muffin was probably reduced in size at some point (the website calls out a 5oz muffin which roughly equates to the 142 grams) but that is not the muffin that I received. To me this seems like a huge deal, as I know a lot of people use this information to balance their diets, whether for weight loss or for healthy living. This is especially important when ordering something online, since you cannot physically view the product prior to purchasing. When I compared the nutritional value of the brownie packaging versus the website, everything matched exactly, so I am hoping that the muffin is just an error on their part.

Once I got these pesky details behind me, I went ahead and tasted both the muffin and the brownie. While the muffin was just okay, as I found it a bit bland overall, the fudge brownie was definitely the star. I honestly did not even finish the muffin – voting that it was so not worth the calories. The fudginess of the brownie, however, was pretty fabulous and the texture was spot on (none of that gluten-free crumbling tendancy). I definitely would eat the brownies again and again and at approximately $1.83 for a 4 ounce brownie ($21.95/dozen) it doesn’t break the bank either.


Overall, I think I would need to try more of their foods to give a full yay or nay on the company, as I am feeling pretty wishy washy on my approval of them. I would definitely pick up one of their other items (that is if their closest distributor wasn’t 240 miles away from me) before committing to ordering a dozen of something off of their website. 

Written by: K Goodrich
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