5 Quick GF Tips

 

  1. Plan your meals around protein and produce. This mindset will help you focus on foods that are naturally gluten free and healthy.
  2. Embrace the potato! Whether you want the root vegetable for a healthy meal (roasted sweet potato) or for an indulgence (truffle fries), let the potato be your go-to filling carbohydrate! *Always make sure fried potatoes are cooked in a separate fryer from other foods containing gluten*
  3. Invest in a spiralizer. Your friends and magazines are right- it’s worth it. Learn to make noodles out of everything from zucchini to carrots. The key to a delicious GF noodle dishes is the sauce. Make your own or pick up a jar at Trader Joe’s; I promise you everything tastes better with a little peanut sauce or pesto.
  4. Master the art of risotto. It’s everything you might miss about pasta, but has so much potential for variation. Try melting a hunk of parmesan cheese into your risotto; you’ll burn the calories from the cheese off as you stir away at your dish as it cooks on the stove!
  5. Eat out NOBREAD style! Check restaurant menus to see what your options are. Restaurants are getting more GF-friendly everyday. Another tip: the gluten free dishes chefs create can be downright brilliant. Use restaurants as a source of inspiration for your cooking, whether it be by experimenting with a new grain, trying a new veggie, or creating a unique spice combo!

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i heart keenwah

When quinoa emerged on the health food scene a year or two ago, it without a doubt became the most popular grain on the market for both the gluten-free and gluten-full crowd. The grain is a complete source of protein and contains all 9 essential amino acids. For those of us who are gluten free, quinoa in an incredibly popular pasta substitute, but now GF food companies and chefs have found more uses for the superfood. Quinoa oatmeal is now a popular menu item, and quinoa is also used in snacks!

The team at i heart keenwah LOVES quinoa, and has introduced a line of quinoa bites that are sweet and healthy! These quinoa-based bites are natural, gluten-free, and really good! I had the opportunity to taste three flavors; chocolate sea salt, cashew cranberry, and peanut butter cacao. The chocolate flavor was my favorite, but I’m bias and love all things chocolate. The cashew cranberry was my runner-up, and the cranberry flavor meshed very well with the cashew crunch. The quinoa clusters also come in an almond flavor and peanut ginger flavor. The bites are packed with protein, too, so they’ll keep you nice and full. I recommend trying these bites for yourself; I recently put them out at a party I was hosting and within minutes the bowl was empty!

Where to Buy: http://shop.iheartkeenwah.com/

TRUFFLE

I think it’s fair to say truffle was the food craze of 2014, and the craze isn’t disappearing anytime soon. From truffle fries to truffle pasta, I’ve never met a truffle-infused dish I didn’t like. New York City restaurants not only pride themselves on their truffle entrees, but compete with one another as to who has the most eccentric, yet delicious, use of truffle. Truffle is the most essential ingredient to any 5-star meal, and has New York City absolutely infatuated.

Truffle on your FRIES: De Santos

Truffle fries are near and dear to my heart. Why? Well, when I became gluten free 5 years ago, the lack of bread and pasta with my meals made me hungry and unhappy. De Santos’s side order of truffle fries comes in the perfect size. You WILL eat every single fry so trust me when I say it is a blessing in disguise the dish isn’t any bigger. Also, unlike other truffle fry dishes that just drizzle the oil on top, De Santos chef does a phenomenal job of spreading the truffle wealth to all the fries. Best with your meal and even better at the bar to accompany a late night drink, the truffle fries at De Santos hit the spot.

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Truffle on your BURGER: Burger and Barrel

Reasons why you should go to Burger and Barrel: fun for groups, dudes love it, and the truffle burger. For about two months of the year B&B serves this heavenly creation; a white truffle burger for one month in the spring and a black truffle burger for about one month in the fall. The truffle is actually shaved ON to the burger and the absurdly delicious flavor speaks for itself. This truffle burger on a gluten free bun + truffle fries = heaven on a plate.

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Truffle on your EGGS- TORO

What should you do when you see a menu of all tapas at ~$11-$13 and then one priced at $50? Order it. The huevos con white truffle at Toro redefines breakfast for dinner and manages to integrate my three favorites: Spain, eggs, and truffles. Yes this dish is essentially scrambled eggs with shrimp and shaved white truffles but it gives “flavors of Spain” a whole new meaning. $3 eggs with ketchup or $50 eggs with truffles; I’ll stick with the latter. When this dish is out of season, the paella with black truffles will suffice… as will the rest of Toro’s menu.

Truffle on your PASTA- Maialino

Prior to my first visit to Maialino I was told I couldn’t leave without having the fried artichokes. Screw the artichokes; you can’t leave Maialino without having one of the pastas with truffle. A truffle supplement can be added to any pasta dish for $30+ (depending on the market price). Obviously pricey, so save it for the next time you grab dinner with your parents or for the next time your boyfriend is paying. Like everything else at Maialino, the truffle pastas are out of this world. The braised suckling pig with arugula is my favorite; add the truffles… I’ll just stop there.

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Squish Marshmallows

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Marshmallows are one of my favorite nobread friendly snacks; however, for the first few years that I was gluten free, I avoided marshmallows as I assumed all things delicious contained gluten. When I discovered several gluten free marshmallow brands, I was thrilled, but my excitement was short lived. Generic marshmallows contain a plethora of ingredients (mainly artificial) and although gluten free, the little white puffs often upset me. 
 
Recently, I discovered Squish Marshmallows, a brand of all natural marshmallows! Squish marshmallows are delicious, and each marshmallow is made from scratch and hand-cut. The company uses as many natural and GMO-free ingredients as possible, doesn’t use corn syrup, doesn’t use food dyes, and doesn’t use eggs in the marshmallow base. An allergy friendly marshmallow? Sign me up!
 
Gluten free flavors include birthday party, rocky road, gingerbread and peppermint. The birthday party marshmallows were SO delicious, and they are both gluten AND dairy free; right up my alley! There is also minimal ingredients used in this flavor; they just contain sugar, water, honey, salt, gelatin, cornstarch, pure vanilla extract, and rainbow sprinkles. My favorite marshmallow was rocky road; but chocolate lovers beware, you will be addicted to this chocolatey puff. My friends and I couldn’t get over the taste, and everyone commented that they would be PERFECT with our next cup of hot chocolate. 
 
Squish Marshmallows is on to something great, and I’m excited for the company’s success. Shelf life is best within 4 weeks for most flavors, but can still be enjoyed 4-6 weeks later. Check out Squish’s site to order! 
 

Cruncha ma-me

Cruncha ma-me is a healthy, NOBREAD approved snack made from freeze-dried edamame. Co-founder and Executive Chef, Peggy Collie, once worked as a private chef specializing in natural food, and wrote for Cook’s Illustrated magazine. She is dedicated to making nutritious snacks, and she is also a major proponent of a plant-based diet. Many veggie snacks are essentially glorified potato chips when you look at the nutritional content, but Cruncha ma-me is different. Pro: they are healthier and high protein. Con: they don’t taste like a potato chip! But they are still delicious, especially in the flavored varieties. Cruncha ma-me comes in sea salt and black pepper, jalapeno, lightly seasoned, and my favorite, onion and chive! I like to eat cruncha ma-me after the gym for a protein kick or toss them in my salads. Not only are they gluten free, they are non-GMO verified and vegan. Order them from Amazon and add edamame to your snacking arsenal!

Parmesan Crisps

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Is it a cracker? Or is it cheese? Well, it’s 100% cheese and it tastes just like a cracker! I like to call it a modern day and health conscious Cheez-It. Brought to us by Kitchen Table Bakers, these handmade parmesan cheese crisps are healthy, and most importantly, GLUTEN FREE. Developed in 2003, the crisps are pure cheese, NOBREAD approved, trans fat free, sugar free, and a good source of calcium and protein! I first tried the classic aged parmesan; it was delicious and had the perfect amount of crunch. If you like salt, you’re in for a treat as the chips are quite salty. I also sampled the caraway seed flavor, which I really enjoyed. The caraway seeds reminded me of rye bread, which I haven’t had in so long! The Kitchen Table Bakers make several cheese crisp varieties including garlic, everything, sesame, and chia seed. They are delicious alone, in salad, or topped with fig jam and prosciutto (just an idea!). I’m looking forward to trying the basil pesto and the jalapeno flavors, because I know I can make some awesome NOBREAD appetizers with those for my next party. You can purchase parmesan crisps online or check the Kitchen Table Bakers website for store locations and some awesome GF recipes!

 

Where to Buy: http://www.kitchentablebakers.com/wheretofindus.php

Matt’s Munchies

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Matt’s Munchies are one of my favorite NOBREAD snacks. Chef Robert, a former banker, developed the recipe after six months of testing, and named his creations after his son, Matt. The munchies are vegan, organic, kosher, and gluten free! I like to call them the grown-up fruit roll-up, except one package is only 35 calories and 8 grams of sugar. I stash them in my purse and gym bag because they are the perfect, and convenient, sugar craving fix. Plus, you won’t get bored of the flavors; offerings include like choco nana, apple pie, ginger spice, and more! My favorite flavor happens to be the most popular flavor: mango. The mango munchies are incredibly juicy and just the right amount sweet, and the only ingredient in them is mango puree! If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll go for island mango, which is mango topped with toasted coconut flakes, or mango acai. You can pick up your Munchies at most health foods stores or check out the website  below to find locations and order online.

Cocomels

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JJ’s Sweets Cocomels are NOBREAD candy heaven! Cocomels are made with organic coconut milk, which make them creamy and sweet. They have the same texture as regular caramels, too, so there are no compromises. Cocomels come in adorable packaging and delicious flavors. Original tastes like your standard caramel with a hint of coconut flavor. Vanilla and java are amazing as well, and the java has organic espresso beans! My absolute favorite is the sea salt; this flavor is just as buttery and sweet as the original, but every so often you get a fleck of salt on your tongue. I’m a sucker for salty and sweet!  JJ’s Sweets also makes chocolate covered Cocomels. They look and taste delicious- the java flavor has an espresso bean on top! The candies are veryyyy chewy, so although they are NOBREAD approved, they might not be dentist approved :/

Cocomels are all NOBREAD approved, vegan, corn syrup free, soy free, and non-GMO. Check out their website to order and find a recipe for NOBREAD Cocomel apples!

Fruit Platter at Bowery Meat Company

Holidays

Holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. However, with holiday parties and events every night leading up to Christmas, it can also be the most stressful and tiring time of the year! With Christmas just weeks away, NOBREAD founder, Nicole Cogan, shares her tips on how to be gluten free during the holidays. Whether your next party is at a restaurant or home, follow Nicole’s advice for a safe, and hopefully enjoyable, dining experience. 

Quick Tips:

  • Contribute to the feast! When I am a guest at someone else’s party, I always bring a little something. I mean, who is going to turn down more food? Whether it is your favorite gluten-free recipe or gluten-free chocolate cake, bring at least one item you KNOW you will be able to have, and rid yourself of food anxiety.
  • Tell the restaurant ahead of time about your dietary restriction! It never hurts to be too prepared, and you may as well get the awkwardness out of the way in advance. The amount of restaurants I go to during holiday season is insane. It seems like everyone wants to throw a holiday dinner, and for convenience sake, host it at a restaurant. On occasions where I know I will be served a pre-fixe menu, I always remind the host of the party that I am gluten-free. It gives the restaurant time to not only select the best gluten-free option, but to ensure that the chefs and kitchen staff are aware that they will be serving a gluten-free diner.
  • “Oh there’s just a little bit of gluten, it won’t affect me.” Well if you say that 5 nights in a row or at several dinner parties, it WILL affect you! I know plenty of people who say that during the holidays, they go from “gluten-free” to “gluten- reduced.” Stick to your diet as best as you can. Yes, you may feel okay after one slip-up, but this isn’t a reason to slip up again. The only way to make it through the busy holiday season is to feel healthy and to be your best self. Resist the temptation!
  • When in doubt, simple is smart. The Thanksgiving turkey looks delicious, but is there stuffing inside? And that Christmas steak is to die for, but what sauce was used as a marinade? As tempted as you are to say “forget it, it’s the holidays,” stay true to your diet and look for options you know are gluten-free. Vegetables and potatoes are usually served at any holiday dinner, so if there is something questionable and you don’t feel comfortable asking if the dish contains gluten, or your host just doesn’t know the answer, look for the roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed string beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, salads, and other classic gluten-free dishes.

Holiday Recipe

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Pecans

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces butternut squash
  • 8 ounces Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut butternut squash into small cubes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, toss Brussels sprouts and diced butternut squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts on the sheet pan, and then raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Add cranberries and pecans to the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts mix, and stir again. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until Brussels sprouts feel tender.

Dippin’ Chips

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There is something so simple about putting out chips and a dip when you have friends over, but that is not the case when you are gluten free. The founders of Party-Tizers Dippin’ Chips sympathize, and created the perfect NOBREAD approved snack! Even better, they made five flavors! The fiesta bean tortilla chips are perfect for salsa or nachos; they’re made with black, red, and adzuki beans. If you’re craving guacamole, reach for the super grains: quinoa, amaranth, and black sesame seeds. My personal favorite flavor is the veggie. I love the flavors of kale, carrot, and spinach. The chips are amazing on their own, but the picture on the bag inspired me to dip them into some spinach and artichoke dip. Party-Tizers also makes sea salt and sour cream and onion potato chips. Not only are these snacks gluten free, they are certified non-GMO, vegan, kosher, and free of cholesterol, trans fats, and artificial flavors and preservatives. Thankfully, you can buy Dippin’ Chips in most major grocery stores! Check out their website for some awesome, NOBREAD friendly recipes like mashed sweet potato brûlée chips and Dippin’ Chips crispy treats!

Better Batter

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Do you feel left out when you’re in the grocery store, and you see an aisle full of baking mixes for every dessert imaginable? Don’t you miss the days when you could pick up a box, add an egg, and have warm cookies or cupcakes straight out of your oven? Finally, we have Better Batter to answer our NOBREAD dreams. Better Batter makes gluten free baking wonderfully simple. The products are gluten free, allergen free, kosher, vegan, GMO free, and halal certified, too! I made the fudge brownies and they were delicious. The recipe suggests using two eggs for a more fudge-like texture and three eggs for a more cake like brownie. I love the ability to customize and ensure my brownies are exactly how I like them (two eggs all the way)!

The brownies were so amazing; my friends couldn’t even tell they were NOBREAD friendly! Better Batter makes more products that I can’t wait to try, including a chocolate cake batter and pancake/biscuit mix. Chocolate chip pancakes on a Sunday morning anyone?

You can find Better Batter’s products in a few NYC stores or order them online. Let team NOBREAD know if you make any awesome Better Batter creations!