Category Archives: Reviews

What I’m Eating

A super sweet, lovely acquaintance from high school (We were folder partners in choir! Ahh, the memories.) is going gluten and dairy free for one month, at the request of her doctor. They did the blood tests, but they were negative. Her doctor suggested maybe she had intolerances to these foods, rather than full-blown allergies. Smart doctor! How refreshing.

Being new to the GF scene (And dairy free at the same time? Oof. Rough.), she’s struggling a bit, as most of us did in the beginning.

So, that has me motivated me to blog more, especially about eating at home. Even if posting what I had for daily meals seems mundane, maybe it will help her, or someone else. :)

A few nights ago The Boyfriend made some veggie stir fry (broccoli, carrots, green pepper, and water chestnuts) and some Quorn Chick’n Tenders, which we put on a bed of brown rice, then smothered with La Choy orange ginger sauce.

The Boyfriend is a vegetarian, and while I’m not, I prefer to eat vegetarian meals most of the time-for ethical and environmental reasons. Alas, my body does not like being full-on veg. It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, if I don’t throw some animal protein in there every week or two, I start to feel really terrible-brain fog, fatigue, weakness, etc. And I don’t deal well with eggs, so meat it is. Anyhow. When I was a vegetarian I loved Quorn products. When I went GF, I discovered that their products were sadly off limits to me. That is, until I found out that Quorn chik’n tenders and beef style grounds are indeed GF! They’re not something I’d buy all the time; they’re definitely a splurge, but they are SO GOOD. They can be found in some “normal” grocery stores, as well as health food stores.

The sauce is apparently a new product La Choy is making, along with some other flavors. I’d rather make everything myself, but we splurged and tried it. It was really good too. It’s no Panda Express orange chicken sauce, but it’s a close second. =p La Choy doesn’t advertise their products as gluten free, but if you read the labels, you’ll find that they are. Or at least some. I’m not entirely sure. La Choy has a gluten free soy sauce, which I always keep on hand (either that, or tamari-but I’m partial to La Choy for no real reason in particular-maybe because it’s the first GF soy sauce I ever saw). I’m not a huge soy sauce person, but I end up cooking with it quite a bit.

It’s nice to know these sauces are out there for those who don’t want to make everything from scratch or don’t have time. Then there are those nights where you’re just exhausted and don’t have much left in the fridge so you wander into the store on your way home from work (or wherever), with no plan and hope you can find something at least moderately healthy to tide you over until you can find the time and energy to go grocery shopping. These kinds of packaged foods are also helpful for those who are having a GF dinner guest and not used to preparing GF foods. They can simply grab something and know they’re providing you with a safe meal.

Then it was sloppy lentil poser night, which I posted the link to the recipe for in my last post.

I ended up eating that again the next night, with some corn tortillas instead of Udi’s bread. Still extremely good!

I ate a late breakfast (cereal with soy milk), then a vegan/GF apple bar (SO GOOD) from Mocha Joe’s-a local coffee shop here in Brattleboro-so I had a late lunch of leftover stir fry/rice/ginger orange sauce concoction and a salad. It was a really simple salad. Just lettuce, tomato, a bit of red onion and some cucumber slices with Kraft Green Goddess dressing.

Normally I stick with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, but I was getting tired of it. I pretty much never buy Kraft anything, because it’s almost always krap (hardy har). I’m going to start making my own dressings, but I was already at the store and hadn’t looked up a recipe yet. This bottle of dressing surprisingly met my criteria for not being full of much crap. It’s super tasty. There are plenty of more natural versions out there, but price was a priority, second only to real food ingredients. Just a heads up-the Annie’s brand is sadly not GF (because of the non-GF soy sauce in it).

For dinner tonight, I think I’m making cheese enchiladas. I should have gotten some spinach to throw in there, but I forgot. That will consist of corn tortillas, shredded Mexican cheese, and green enchilada sauce from a jar (I haven’t been ambitious enough to make my own enchilada sauce yet). There will be a salad on the side, with some corn, beans and tortilla chips (organic blue corn, on sale at Target) thrown in. Easy, right? Again, pretty processed. We are not on a roll here. I guess that’s what happens when you’re just settling in to a new place.

Speaking of enchiladas, be careful with enchilada sauces, and sauces in general, because many of them have wheat flour in them. We found one green sauce in the entire array of sauces that was GF. Hrmph. I always have to ask about the tortillas and sauces the enchiladas are made with when I go to a Mexican restaurant. Enchiladas are usually one of the safer items on the menu, but always, always check. I hate asking about the gluten free-ness of foods at restaurants, but it’s necessary. I’m getting better.

The cheese enchiladas is not a helpful suggestion for my dairy and GF friend, but there are always fajitas to be had instead! Or enchiladas with faux cheese, but I’m skeptical of that stuff. =/

Somewhere in the last few days I also ate a veggie sandwich on Udi’s bread. I threw some vinegar on there. So good. Messy, but good. I try to limit my bread intake (because it’s so expensive), but it’s so hard! I love bread. I always have. I’m quite sure I always will.

I’ve snacked on Greek yogurt (for the dairy free, there is soy yogurt and coconut yogurt), carrots with Green Goddess dressing (again, not dairy free but there are substitutions to be made), corn tortilla chips with salsa, Luna protein bars (new and GF-unlike the regular Luna bars), apples (with and without PB-almond and other butters are good too, but I don’t have any right now), and PB sandwiches on Udi’s bread (k, so that’s not so much a snack but a small meal). There has also been a lot of smoothie making going on here. Our favorite seems to be peanut butter, banana, and yogurt. We use ice in our smoothies. For dairy free, just sub dairy free yogurt, or perhaps just a splash of dairy free nut, rice, or soy milk. Or coconut milk!

Don’t forget about nuts and seeds, especially raw ones, as snacks. I’m partial to Kind bars too, but they’re kinda spendy. You can find them, as well as Two Moms in the Raw bars at Starbucks usually.

Golden Spoon frozen yogurt-a review

A group of us used to get together for an ice cream date once a week (they still do, I think-just without me ::tear::), which started because Baskin Robbins used to have $1 scoop night. If you know me, chances are you know of my love affair with the peanut butter chocolate ice cream at B&R. I think it’s genetic. I’ve been eating it as long as I remember. I digress. Ice cream date night with the girls (and sometimes boys) evolved to be not exclusive to B&R; we branched out and tried other ice cream, yogurt, and gelato places (the last time I was in town it was Sub Zero, where they use liquid nitrogen to make your ice cream right in front of you). If it was frozen and delicious, we were all over it. When the frozen yogurt craze was coming on a few years ago, some friends turned me on to Golden Spoon and because it was delicious (and also fat free), it became a regular haunt. As we started branching out more, we went less frequently, and when we discovered yogurtland, we pretty much stopped going at all.

Yesterday, out of boredom and curiosity, I started looking at the websites of establishments I visit when I’m home in Arizona, specifically in the East Valley, where I’m from. I had always thought of the possibility that frozen yogurt, ice cream, and gelato could have gluten in it. I figured most flavors were safe if they didn’t have obvious offenders in them (such as cake or cookie pieces), and I mostly go for fruity flavors or just chocolate anyway so I figured I was safe. But I thought I should still check it out and I didn’t have anything else to do.

Naturally, I started with my favorite-yogurtland. I looked at yogurtland’s website to see if they had allergen information listed. They didn’t. But they did have all the ingredients of their yogurt (for almost all the flavors) listed, which I really appreciate. Much to my disappointment, I discovered that their yogurt is made of some really unsavory ingredients (high fructose corn syrup and all kinds of artificial junk, specifically).

I started to wonder what was in the yogurt (and gelato and ice cream) at these other places. I began to research and email. Golden Spoon was one of the next places on my list. There are 100+ Golden Spoon locations between the US and Japan, nine of them in Arizona, and eight of those in the East Valley alone. I received a response from Golden Spoon almost immediately! I’m very impressed, Golden Spoon; good customer service brings me great joy and makes me want to return, rather than go somewhere else. Keep it up!

I wanted to share the results with you, in case you’re as concerned with what you eat as I am.


“Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your recent email. We appreciate you taking the time to give us this valuable feedback.

Many of our flavors are gluten free, but below is a list of the flavors containing gluten. I hope this helps.

FLAVORS CONTAINING “GLUTEN”
Chocolate Malt
Vanilla Malt
Cookies N’ Cream
Fudge Brownie
Cake Batter
Graham Cracker
Gingerbread

Thanks,

Chrissy Eblin

Golden Spoon Franchising
30212 Tomas Suite 365
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

PH: (949) 709-2750
FX: (949) 709-2799
CELL: (949) 510-5325

http://www.goldenspoon.com/”

In a follow-up email I asked her about artificial colors and preservatives, as well as corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. She sent me the list of ingredients. Here they are:

“Ingredients:
Grade A pasteurized cultured skim milk, sugar, corn syrup, whey, maltodextrin chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, or other natural and artificial flavors. Contains 1% or less of the following: Microcrystalline cellulose gum, natural and artificial colors, contains Active Live Cultures: S. Thermophilis, L. Bulgaricus, L. Acidophilus.”

After emailing them because I couldn’t find the info I was looking for on their website, I discovered a list of awesome FAQs. Oops! My bad, Golden Spoon. Thanks for not being jerks and actually giving me the info anyway. You rock even more for that. So you can find all this information on their website, but here is my personal analysis of Golden Spoon

Pros:
Their dairy has some important seals and certs, including:
The Kosher seal-I’m not Jewish, but I sure do love the Jewish people. I’m glad those who keep Kosher can enjoy the deliciousness of this froyo
The NYA (National Yogurt Association) seal, meaning it contains live and active cultures-did you know there was a national association for yogurt? Me neither.

Their milk is also rBST free.
Though sweetened with white sugar and/or corn syrup, only 8 grams of the 14 grams in the 4oz size are from sugar. The other 6 grams are from the (skim) milk
They use no artificial sugars (though that is a con for some people who cannot or choose not to have sugar.
Their yogurt is fat free (except for the Heath Bar flavor, but it’s still 99% fat free and I don’t like Heath anyway so I could care less)
50+ flavors! I do love variety, after all. Who doesn’t?
They address many important questions about ingredients and such on their website
When I emailed them, they replied quickly and were knowledgeable as well as friendly (even when I was a dummy and didn’t see the info already on the website)
Their stores are independently owned and operated (as they are franchises), so when I give them my business I am keeping more of the money I spend in my local community.
They have a well-designed website.

Cons:
Sweetened with white sugar and/or corn syrup (but no HFCS! Yay!)
No non-dairy options (thought according to their FAQ, 25% of lactose intolerant individuals can eat yogurt with little to no problems)
No sugar-free options
Not organic
Some artificial flavors
Some artificial colors

So all in all, it’s not bad! Even the cons aren’t all that…conny. It’s delicious, there is no HFCS and most flavors are GF-the most important two qualifications for me. Plus, all the stores are independently owned and operated because Golden Spoon stores are franchises, which is another big plus for me. Even if they are a big chain, it’s still supporting the local community and economy.

It’s certainly a better choice than yogurtland, at least. Sorry, yogurtland. I will admit that I do enjoy the self serve aspect of yogurtland, and GS doesn’t have that, but it’s not vital, especially if the staff are friendly (which they always have been, from what I recall), there’s no problem for me.

Unfortunately, dairy has been giving me stomach problems, so this may turn out to be in vain for me (::le sigh::), but maybe it will help other folks. :)

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