Sunday, 15 February 2015

NUTRiBULLETS

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! 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

OMG...It's Gluten Free - review

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

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Debbie & Andrews Sausages & Sweet Potato Soup Recipe

We have in our family a wide selection of allergy’s, intolerances and diets and one of the main ones we have to steer around is the Paleo diet. No grains, no dairy, no legumes etc So with these option what can you create? Well one of favourites is sausages but trying to find one which has a high meat content, not filled with gluten, nor any other stuffers is a tough task and can result in a less than flavoursome meal. This is where debbie & andrews sausages come in.

Established in 1999 their sausages are now a huge family favourite. Their Harrogate 97% are made from 97% (hence the name) pork shoulder & belly. Marinated in balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sea salt & cracked black pepper that is their only ingredients. I personally prefer chipolatas but having grilled these up to perfection I’m not too sure I’d ever go back.

I was amazed by how creamy, flavoursome and well allergy free these are. They work in with my FODMAP & Gluten free, my grandma’s paleo & parent’s dairy allergies and have fast become a family staple. The boys like that fact that they aren’t fatty and we all just love the taste and the quality. The lack of short cuts, fillers, cheap ingredients leave other sausages well behind! They are perfect grilled for breakfast, cold for taking along on a picnic, in a gluten free lasagne or roasted with vegetables, they add a wonderful creaminess and flavour to all. Why not in fact try them in this fabulous soup from Paleo leap? Dairy free, Low FODMAP & gluten free!

Sausage & Sweet Potato Soup
Photo Credit: Paleo Leap

Ingredients

1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped;
4 of Debbie & Andrews 97% sausages;
2 large carrots, roughly chopped;
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped;
1 1/2 tsp curry powder;
1 red chili, sliced finely;
7 cups homemade chicken stock;
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped, for garnishing;
Cooking fat;
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Method

Heat a large skillet over a medium-high heat with some cooking fat.
Add the sweet potatoes, sausage meat, carrots, celery  and curry powder. Mix.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, until the carrots and sweet potatoes are slightly soft.
Pour in hot stock over the cooked vegetables and bring back to a simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sweet potato cubes are cooked through.
Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, pour everything in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Serve, garnished with the red chili slices and chopped parsley.


Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Gluten Free Quiche

I was at a lost for what to cook this weekend for lunch. Having just been to the supermarket and not at all impressed. The free from shelves were bare and it seems even the basic soups have to add flour! So we popped in to our local farm shop and gathered up a bundle of their ingredients fully planning on just having bacon & eggs. When we got home the boys proudly announced they didn’t want thank you so we hunted around and discovered the range Jamie Oliver has of gluten free recipes. I’ve never looked at him before for this so was rather impressed.
Here’s the quiche we whipped up in a couple of minutes!


Ingredients

100 g unsalted butter, cold, plus extra for greasing
200 g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 rashers of higher-welfare streaky bacon
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 medium leeks, trimmed
olive oil
½ a bunch of fresh thyme
100 g spinach
45 g Cheddar cheese
3 large free-range eggs
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin with a little butter, then set side.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, then rub in the butter with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 6 tablespoons of cold water, stirring with a knife until it forms a rough dough. Use your hands to bring it together into a ball, then wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for around 30 minutes to rest.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Finely slice the bacon, garlic and leeks. Add the bacon and garlic to a large pan with a splash of olive oil over a medium heat. Pick in the thyme leaves and cook for around 2 minutes, or until lightly golden, stirring occasionally. Stir in the leeks, turn the heat down to medium–low and cover. Cook for a further 20 minutes, or until softened, adding the spinach for the final minute to wilt. Tip the veg and bacon mixture into a large jug. Grate and add the Cheddar, then add the eggs, crème fraîche and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well, then set aside.

On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to roughly ½cm thick. Carefully place into the tart tin and push it into the sides (don't worry if it breaks – patch up any holes with spare pastry). Trim and discard the excess. Place a double layer of clingfilm on top and fill the tin with baking beans or uncooked rice. Place the tin on a baking tray, then pop in the hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove the beans and clingfilm, then return to the oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.

Pour the filling into the baked pastry case, then return to the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the filling is almost set. Leave to cool slightly, then carefully remove the tart tin and serve alongside a crisp, green salad.




Saturday, 3 January 2015

Zero Gluten Baker

As you know one of the big things I miss from being Gluten Free is bread. I am constantly seeking out, trying new blends of flours, new loaves anything to get that fresh white bread taste. The one I found which was the closest had a huge downside; the amount of time it took. I don’t have the time or the patience really to spend 4 hours prepping to make a loaf then have to time it down to the second. Before being gluten free I had used my Panasonic to create hot fresh bread for the moment I woke and despite the fact it has a gluten free setting it’s just not the same.  Then I saw mentions during the Free From fair of a Zero Gluten Free Baker RRP £199 though there are offers around.  I followed them out of interest and noticed lots of positive reviews so very sweetly asked if they would send me one.

It’s a little more than the Panasonic which offers GF but that only has one setting. The Zero baker not only offers an incredible amount of loaves but it has 7 programmes which allow you to make anything from loaves through to crusty bread (yes it is crusty!!) ciabatta & other Italian breads (special tins provided) through to sweet loaves and cakes. Just in case you’re curious it also allows you to bake non gluten free too. Also check out The Free From Fairys YouTube review too. 
Features
  • 7 Gluten Free Programmes to bake gluten free white and wholemeal bread, ciabatta and rolls, sweet breads and cakes.
  • 6 piece non-stick bakeware set
  • Free specialist recipe book featuring over 30 gluten free recipes
  • Twin paddles
  • Viewing window
  • Free 200g Box of Orgran Gluten Free Gluten


As soon as it arrived we had to try it and I expected the loaf I made in the morning to be ready 7 hours later like most traditional ones. I should have read the book properly first. 2hrs & 15mns start to finish for most of the loaves.  I’m fairly certain that in the month we’ve had it I’ve put on all the weight I lost being GF.
It’s incredibly easy to get started. You pop the ingredient’s in (and they are simple supermarkets ingredients – no 5 different flours) and press the button. Just over 2hr later you have an amazing loaf. We’ve tried a huge variety of flours (7) in the machine and the quality is consistent. What alters is the taste and colouring and our personal preference has been for Schars and a using their milk loaf recipe. The bread stays soft and moist for 5 days if you can bear to leave it that long and makes a superb toast with butter. The size of the loaf is a little larger than the Panasonic and lot larger than I was expecting. The twin paddles have a special tool to hook them out and I wonder if it’s the secret to the air bubbles throughout. The bread slips out the tin easily too which allows you to keep the lovely crust that forms.


I could I think talk about the machine for hours. A poor lady got stuck with me in Tescos over the Christmas break while I told how great it was for a good half hour. I think she only agreed to buy one to shut me up and let her go! I originally wondered if the price would be worth it but having used it daily now to ensure a fresh loaf for when I wake or to pop it on after walking the dog in the morning and having a fresh loaf for lunch I would pay twice the amount. It has also saved a lot of money on buying shop brought bread & cakes. If you buy a genius loaf once a week and no other GF baked goods it pays for itself within a year. Personally the fact that I had a wonderful Brioche loaf, bread I would eat as sandwiches, cakes and Italian bread to dip in vinegar and oil and all of which taste superb means I can whole heartedly tell you to invest and buy one as soon as you possibly can! 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Hotel Chocolat Review Box

When we were asked if we would like to review some gluten free products from Hotel Chocolat, we had no idea what a treat was in store for us. We were rather stunned when a splendid package arrived, and it was pretty much a chocoholics paradise in our house. We were sent a Triple Chocolate Wham Bam bar, 500g in size, a box of Classic Champagne truffles, and The Large Signature Chocolate collection.


Where do we start? The Wham Bam chocolate bar, which is a pretty impressively sized specimen of chocolate, was squabbled over by children and adult's alike and has something for everyone, in it, with a little milk, a little dark and a swirl of white chocolate to finish it off. The children and my husband had to break it into small pieces to enjoy over a few days, because I am mean and wouldn't let them eat it all in one go.... This would be a perfect Christmas present for a chocolate lover, a great stocking filler or just as something different from your usual chocolate bar.

The Large Signature Collection, when we opened it, made my husband's eyes light up, like it WAS Christmas. Finding gluten free chocolate has got easier, these days, but to find chocolate that is really good quality, with such a good selection, is amazing. Again, we rationed ourselves to one or two a night, to taste test them all, and come up with favourites. All the chocolates were excellent, and it was actually hard to choose which ones were our favourites. There is something in there for everyone's taste, from salted caramel, to plain dark, to nuts/fruit and some sweeter, and some not so sweet. In fact, the only one we both didn't really like was the chilli chocolate, but we discovered our four year old son LOVES chocolate with chilli in, so he was delighted to eat those and was most upset when they were gone. This would be a perfect luxury present for someone who loves to try different chocolates, as a treat, or even as a special alternative to dessert when making a gluten free meal, say for a dinner party, because there are so many lovely chocolates to choose, you could have two or three with a good cup of coffee, and not need pudding. We were very sad when the box was finally empty.


The Classic Champagne truffles are also a perfect gift, or just when you want something that littlle bit more than a normal box of chocolates. They are light, creamy, and not too overpowering. They come in such a pretty box, as well. If you are looking for a gift for a teacher, childminder, or someone you work with, these would be perfect, and they are very, very moreish.


We were very impressed with packaging, presentation and the taste of all the chocolates, and would definately recommened them. If you love chocolate, or know someone who does, any of these items would be a great gift or treat. You can never have too much good chocolate, I think anyone would be happy to eat them, and the fact that they are gluten free is wonderful, because it means you can get them for somoen who is gluten intolerant, and know you are not only getting them something safe they can eat, but also something really special. That's a winner for us.
Written by K Reekie

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The healthy snack box - NutriBox

Recently my husband received a delivery to his office. A box full of snacks for his colleagues. Not the usual style though of short sugary hits but a box full of gluten free nutritious yummy snacks. From fruit crisps to a variety of nuts and tastes through to some chewy bars for when you just need a little more.

All of Nutribox snacks are taste tested by their experts so you know you’re getting the best for you and your employees. All their ingredients are gluten free and have no animal products which make them perfect for everyone in your company! Their criteria for each boxes shines through. Each snack is a healthier alternative to a traditional snack, they’ve been made in such a way that their ingredients maintain a high proportion of nutrients; they haven’t had all their vitamin and mineral beauty processed out of them.

Some of the tastes and choices might seem a little surprising at first – parsnip & manuka crisps for example but actually they were incredibly delicious. I was quite surprised as well by how many of the employees actually side stepped the sweets bags and aimed straight for the healthy box. All of them enjoyed a good root round and everything was tasted. The sheer diversity found within the box ensured that everyone found something for them even if they were looking for a slightly sweet treat. I think what was most liked and talked about were the little packets of Olives. They were just perfect for a mid-afternoon pick me up!

You can choose from two box themes, classic or artisan:


Classic Box (50 items) £40

25 x Dried fruit and nut mixes (5 varieties)
10 x Fruit crisps packs (2 flavours)
10 x Freeze dried fruit packs (2 flavours)
5 x Olives packs

Artisan Box (50 items) £48

20 x Dried fruit and nut mixes (4 varieties)
10 x Energy bars (2 varieties)
5 x Veg crisps packs
5 x Fruit crisps packs
5 x Freeze dried fruit packs
5 x Olives packs


 And each box can be delivered anywhere in the UK and can be ordered through Fruitdrop here.