Namaste Review & Giveaway

Disclaimer: I received samples of this product, but I was not paid to write this post. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

What happens when it’s 1999, and a friend desperately asks for you help to find a gluten free/allergen free food for herself and her young son? Why, you make your own gluten free mixes! At least that’s what Daphne Taylor did, and Namaste Foods was born. 

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Things I love about Namaste Foods:

  • Made in a dedicated allergen free facility
  • Certified gluten free
  • Soy free
  • Potato free
  • Dairy free
  • Casein free
  • Peanuts/tree nuts free
  • Kosher certified 
  • Most are approved through the Whole Grain Council and Non-GMO Project
  • USDA Organic options
  • Woman owned!
  • Staff is made up almost entirely of mothers working from home all across the country

So much to love! The products are almost too many to name. They include:

  • Devil’s food cake mix
  • Dark chocolate brownie mix
  • Quick bread & muffin mix
  • All purpose baking mix
  • Various individual flours for those who love to bake from scratch (such as organic quinoa flour, sorghum flour, millet flour)
  • Muffin & scone mix 
  • Blondie mix
  • Pizza crust mix
  • Spice cake mix
  • Vanilla cake mix
  • Cookie mix
  • Pasta/macaroni & cheese 
  • Seasoned coating mixes
  • Vegan instant soups
  • And so much more!

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Namaste graciously sent me a few mixes to try. The Spice Cake and Pizza mixes were calling to me. First, I made carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. The spice cake was bursting with flavorful spices. I imagine it would make an excellent pumpkin cake, as well. Incredibly easy – combine the recommended ingredients along with a handful of chopped carrots and raisins. Lesser quality mixes come out rather gummy, but not Namaste – fabulous texture. The pizza crust was also easy to make and came out wonderfully chewy. Kris (a gluten eater) gave his approval. 

Mixes are easy and convenient, but I also really enjoy baking from scratch. I recently made pizza dough (yes, more pizza) and used a variety of gluten free flours including Namaste’s quinoa flour, which is super high in nutrients. So far I’m loving their high quality mixes and flours, and I will certainly be back for more. 

For more information visit www.namastefoods.com

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GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive a Namaste tote bag with pasta meal, baking mix, coating mix, soup cup, recipe cards, and coupons. Enter via the rafflecopter link below. US and Canada only, no PO Boxes. Giveaway ends Tuesday January 2nd at 11:59 EST.

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Better Batter Gluten Free Mixes Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor given samples in exchange for writing this post. I have received samples from this company in the past. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

I love Better Batter so much! They embody the holiday spirit of love and generosity all year round. They donate 10% of their net profits to social and charitable causes, and their financial aid program provides discounted gluten free products for low income families, families that have children with autism, college students, and households with extraordinary circumstances. So much love for the community! 

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Quick Better Batter facts:

  • Certified gluten free
  • Made in a facility that is free of milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean/shellfish, mustard, sesame, and corn.
  • Most products do not contain sulfites
  • GMO free
  • Kosher OU Parve
  • No dyes or artificial flavors/preservatives
  • Vegan appropriate
  • Packaged in recycled and recyclable boxes, printed with vegetable ink

Better Batter’s product line includes:

  • All Purpose Flour (cup for cup)
  • Seasoned Flour
  • Pancake & Biscuit Mix
  • Fudge Brownie Mix
  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Corn Free Powdered Sugar
  • Gift Cards (great for the holidays!)

Have a favorite recipe from your pre-gluten free days that you’re dying to make again? Just use a Better Batter mix as a replacement for the old mix. Kris’s mother and I came up with a plan to surprise Kris for his birthday – she’s in California, he and I are in NYC. Every year, she shipped him a special chocolate cake made from a family recipe. When Kris and I moved in together and decided to keep my kitchen 100% gluten free, Kris’s mother didn’t want to ship a gluteny cake to our door. So she asked if I could try making him the cake myself. I used the Better Batter Chocolate Cake Mix. Kris’s response – amazing. The only difference was a very slight change in texture. 

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To purchase Better Batter products – check local stores, order directly on www.betterbatter.org, or purchase on amazon.com (prime eligible).

GIVEAWAY! One winner will receive 3 Better Batter mixes! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US residents only. Giveaway ends Monday December 25th at 11:59 EST.

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Visit my Instagram for an extra giveaway! A second winner will be chosen there!

Krumville Bake Shop Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not paid nor giving product samples in exchange for this post. Krumville has provided me with samples in the past. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

Happy start to the holiday season! Tis the season for giving, so I’m very happy to announce that all through December I’ll be posting a TON of gluten free giveaways from some of my favorite bakeries and small businesses! We’re starting with one of my very favorites – Krumville Bake Shop!

Krumville is a 100% gluten free bakery in NYC. You may remember last year’s post featuring their stunning cookies, which are perfect for the holidays.

(In photo: Almond Chocolate Amaretti Cookies, Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cinnamon & Spice Cookies. Photo credit: Krumville Bake Shop)

But did you know that Krumville also makes the most delicious cakes? Two months ago Antonella, the founder of Krumville, surprised me with this chocolate cherry cake for my birthday! I am head over heels in love with their cakes. I’ve found that gluten free chocolate cake is particularly difficult to get right, but Antonella is a master baker and makes all of my GF cake dreams come true. Kris and I devoured it. I’m eyeing the Coconut Layer Cake and the Lemon & Berries Cake for my next special occasion. 

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Between the cookies, layered cakes, bundt cakes, muffins and focaccia, Krumville is one of my top picks for gluten free gifts and treats this holiday season (and every other season!).

Krumville ships nationwide (free shipping over $50!). This is an online bakery (no storefront), but if you’re in NYC they will deliver or you can arrange to pick up an order yourself.

Find out more at www.krumvillebakeshop.com

GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive a gluten free Gingerbread Cake from Krumville Bake Shop! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US residents only. Giveaway ends Monday December 11th at 11:59PM EST. Cake will be delivered by December 22nd.

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Best of Fest – GFAF Expo, NJ 2017

Disclaimer: I was one of the official bloggers for the NJ GFAF Expo. My entry ticket was comped, and I (like many other attendees) received product samples. I was not paid to write this. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I use and love.

The New Jersey GFAF Expo is over, and I am still wiped out! But I’ve got my Best of Fest list ready for you, so here we go!

Everybody Eats

A dedicated gluten free and nut free bakery in Brooklyn, NY (dairy free and vegan options available). It is one of my favorite bakeries, and their baguettes are all the rage in GF restaurants across NYC. Always a huge hit at the expo, I often hear other attendees similarly raving about the bread. I adore the team that runs Everybody Eats (Pablo, Pedro, and Bruce) – they truly care about the Celiac/gluten free community and are some of the loveliest people you’ll ever have the good fortune to meet. No traditional storefront, but they ship and have pick-up options. 

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Izzi B’s Allergen Free Bakery

Another big expo hit year after year, Izzi B’s is a dedicated gluten free bakery in CT that is also free of the top 8 allergens. The owner, Pam, is the absolute sweetest, and this year I met her daughter – the real Izzi B for whom the bakery was inspired by/named for. It turns out that Isabella and I share a favorite cupcake flavor (the golden yellow cupcakes pictured below). They are to die for! Izzi B has no traditional storefront, but there are shipping and pick-up options. 

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Canyon Bakehouse

The best certified gluten free bagels in town! Pictured here are their plain and everything bagels. However, my favorite flavors are their new blueberry and cinnamon raisin. The texture is slightly different – chewier and much closer to traditional New York bagels. Stop and Shop recently started carrying this product, so check it out!

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Eclair Naturals

My favorite gluten free body care products! Also soy free, non-GMO, vegan, and cruelty free. Beautiful scents. The lotions and body butters are my favorite products and have been lifesavers during cold winter months. I frequently stock up when there are sales on Target.com and in Rite Aid stores.

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Gluten Free Gloriously

Amazing dedicated/certified gluten free bakery in NJ. I adore their desserts (they do wedding cakes FYI!), and I kept running into other GF folk at the expo who were similarly raving. Gluten Free Gloriously recently began shipping nationwide. Their dedicated bakery is in Stirling, NJ, and they also have a dedicated display in Bay Ridge, NJ.

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Against the Grain Pizza

Kris and I have been fans of Against The Grain’s baguette for many years, and I was thrilled to try their pizza. The pesto pizza is possibly my favorite pizza on the market. Made in a dedicated gluten free facility.

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Tali Restaurant

NYC’s newest 100% gluten free restaurant! Tali is located on 26th St/Lexington Avenue. Nicely priced Italian food with a gluten free bar and bakery. The NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group recently had a dinner event there, and everyone gave glowing reviews. 

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The Really Great Food Company

I was recently introduced to these baking mixes in one of my American Gluten Free Boxes. I was thrilled to be able to sample more of their products including their heavenly banana bread and coffee crumb cake mixes (now I can’t stop thinking about that coffee cake – so good!!!). Certified gluten free, egg free, soy free, casein free, dairy free, nut free, kosher, GMO free.

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Friends who attended the expo – did you have any other favorites? Please share in the comments section!

Can’t wait for next year!

Everybody Eats Review & Giveaway

There is a gluten free bakery that is all the rage in NYC, and their bread seems to be everywhere. The next time you visit a gluten free restaurant in NYC and are presented with a fluffy plate of delicious gluten free baguette, ask for the name of the bakery – it might just be bread from Everybody Eats.

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Pedro Arroba (diagnosed with Celiac Disease in his twenties) and Bruce Bassman launched Everybody Eats in 2004 in hopes of bringing delicious gluten free baked goods to the Celiac community across the country. Pablo Arroba, Pedro’s son, has since joined the family business. Focusing on taste and texture, Pedro and Bruce worked tirelessly on their technique to create some of the best gluten free breads on the market.

Fast facts:

  • Gluten free facility
  • Nut free facility
  • Dairy free & vegan options
  • Soy free (except for soy lecithin in chocolate items)
  • Made by hand
  • Ships nationwide & available for pickup in Brooklyn
  • Find at restaurants across NYC, Brooklyn & Long Island

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Everybody Eats offers:

  • Dairy free ciabatta bread
  • Cinnamon Sticky Buns
  • Dairy free hot dog buns
  • Pumpernickel loaf
  • Vegan/dairy free challah
  • Old fashioned bagels
  • Dairy free deli rolls
  • Dairy free banana bread
  • Dairy free hamburger buns
  • Pizza crust
  • Panini rolls
  • Multi-grain loaf
  • Dairy free white bread
  • Baguette
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Sugar cookies
  • Specialty cakes and cupcakes made to order

Having met the Everybody Eats family on multiple occasions, I can personally say that they are some of the most wonderful and delightful people in the world. If you ever have the good fortune to meet Pedro, you’ll note the kindness in his eyes, the passion in his voice, and you’ll get a sense of how much he loves both his work and the Celiac/gluten free community. An example of their kindness – they recently hosted a free Gluten Free Panini Party with the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup Group, and all of the bread sales during the party were donated to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. They are a company that cares about people.

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As for the bread itself – the moment you taste their baguette, you’ll be a fan of Everybody Eats for life. My mother and I first sampled their bread at Bistango (a favorite restaurant in NYC), and we fell in love with the taste and soft texture. Every time she visits NYC, her goal is to visit Bistango multiple times and eat as much baguette as possible. I’ll happily join every time.

Everybody Eats ships nationwide. If you are in the NYC area, their items are available for pickup at their bakery in Brooklyn (no traditional storefront). For more information and to order visit www.everybodyeats-inc.com

GIVEAWAY! Two winners will receive an Everybody Eats Backyard Grill Pack containing 2 bags of hot dog buns and 1 bag of hamburger buns. Enter via the rafflecopter link below. This giveaway is open to residents of NY, NJ, and CT only. Giveaway ends Thursday July 6th, 11:59 EST.

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Visit my Instagram for another chance to win – two more winners will be chosen there!

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

Better Batter Review, Recipe & Giveaway

Naomi, the founder of Better Batter, is one of the most inspiring women I have ever met. You can read the whole story on her website, but here is the gist:

Naomi has two sons, one of whom was diagnosed with low functioning autism. Unable to communicate, he seemed to be in a great deal of physical pain. Their doctor heard about an ‘interesting new thing called Celiac Disease’ and suggested testing him. Sure enough he was very positive. After just six weeks on the gluten free diet, his health not only improved, but he also spoke his first sentence – “Mommy, I love you.”

(Did your heart just burst in a thousand pieces like mine did? I’m not crying, you’re crying….)

Pretty soon both Naomi and her second son were diagnosed with Celiac Disease, as well. Back in 2006 there weren’t very many good gluten free options. Wanting a gluten free flour that would make her family’s traditional recipes both look and taste the same, Naomi literally had a dream about a cup for cup flour. She woke up, raced to the kitchen and Better Batter was born.

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Quick Better Batter facts:

  • Certified gluten free
  • Made in a facility that is free of milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, wheat, soy, fish, crustacean/shellfish, mustard, sesame, and corn.
  • Most products do not contain sulfites
  • GMO free
  • Kosher OU Parve
  • No dyes or artificial flavors/preservatives
  • Vegan appropriate
  • Packaged in recycled and recyclable boxes, printed with vegetable ink (cool!)

Better Batter’s product line includes:

  • All Purpose Flour (cup for cup)
  • Seasoned Flour
  • Pancake & Biscuit Mix
  • Fudge Brownie Mix
  • Yellow Cake Mix
  • Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Corn Free Powdered Sugar
  • Gift Cards (great for the holidays!)

Better Batter also donates at least 10% of their net profits to social and charitable causes. They donate to food banks and partner with organizations that support solar power/sustainable agriculture, clean water, the autism community, foster/adoption care, hunger relief, and the Celiac Disease community. Also, on their website you can find an additional “financial aid” program and application:

“We believe everyone should have the ability to eat healthy, enjoyable food. And gluten free foods are not always cheap. That’s why, as a part of your community, Better Batter is committed to offering special pricing to families with limited income, families with children with autism, college students and other households with extraordinary circumstances.”

My heart is bursting! Thank you, Better Batter, for going above and beyond in your dedication to so many communities.

While you can find literally hundreds of recipes on their website (you will seriously never get bored of their mixes) I am bringing you a recipe direct from the Tasty Meditation kitchen! I recently made these cupcakes for Kristopher’s birthday, and they were a huge hit. So delicious and bursting with flavor. We gave some leftovers to my neighbors and doormen, and their faces lit up. Better Batter is going to make me very popular.

Better Batter Coconut Cupcakes

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For the cake:

  • 1 box Better Batter Vanilla Cake Mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut (do not pack down)

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 oz butter (room temperature)
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place the cake mix, milk, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Use a spoon to fold in the coconut.
  3. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners or use a nonstick muffin pan. Pour the batter evenly and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Remove the cake immediately and let cool before frosting.
  5. For the cream cheese frosting – use a hand mixer to cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until all is incorporated and smooth.

Enjoy!

To purchase Better Batter products – check local stores, order directly on www.betterbatter.org, or purchase on amazon.com (prime eligible).

GIVEAWAY! One lucky winner will receive 6 BOXES of various Better Batter mixes! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US residents only. Giveaway ends Friday December 30th 11:59 EST.

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Disclaimer: I received samples of these products, but I was not paid to write this review. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.

1-2-3 Gluten Free Mixes Review & Giveaway

1-2-3 Gluten Free is a company that truly goes the distance and I LOVE IT. They make some of the most fabulous gluten free baking mixes on the market, and you simply must go out and try their products now.

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Great facts about 1-2-3 Gluten Free:

  • Dedicated gluten free/allergen-free facility – no gluten, dairy/casein, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, eggs, and sesame
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • GMO Free
  • Certified Kosher
  • Produced in the USA
  • Many products are fortified with extra vitamins
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Established by a woman who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease over 15 years ago. Her nieces and a nephew were also diagnosed, and she was determined to create amazing gluten free versions of favorite foods to share with her family.
  • Donates to Celiac Disease, Autism and food allergy research (LOVE!!!)

You’ll find mixes for:

  • Biscuits
  • Pan Bars
  • Rolls
  • Buckwheat Pancakes
  • Lemon Pound Cake (sugar free variation available)
  • Brownies
  • Muffins/Quick breads
  • Chocolate Bundt Pound Cake (sugar free variation available)
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Yellow Cake
  • Corn Bread
  • Devils Food Chocolate Cake
  • Multi-purpose Flour

On their website there is a list of dozens upon dozens of different recipes that can be made with their mixes. Everything from carrot cake to pie crust to wrapped gouda appetizers. You’d have to buy all of their products ten times in order to take advantage of their versatility. I would seriously never get tired of 1-2-3 Gluten Free.

I recently had the opportunity to sample several products, and I was super impressed. I used the recipe for Pumpkin Bars using their Pan Bar mix, and it resulted in one of the best fluffy cake textures that I have ever found from a gluten free mix – so light and fluffy! The perfect crumb. It freezes super well and maintains its’ perfection once it is defrosted.

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I also made Pumpkin Pancakes using their Allie’s Awesome Buckwheat Pancake Mix (I’m on a pumpkin kick, anticipating the start of fall and the approaching cool weather). Though I may add a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg to my next batch, I loved everything about the pancakes, particular the texture and how well they formed. They came out perfect every time – look at how beautiful these pancakes are! Perfect with a bit of grass fed butter or maple syrup. As a bonus, this mix is also fortified with B vitamins, iron and calcium, which is important because many of us who are diagnosed with Celiac Disease often have nutrient deficiencies.

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All in all, I cannot recommend 1-2-3 Gluten Free more highly. I urge you to support this fabulous company and start your fall baking season off right!

For more information, a store locator or to purchase online visit www.123glutenfree.com.

Special Discount – my readers get 10% orders of $20+ when you order from 123glutenfree.com. Use code “Jessica” at checkout. This promo code will be good for the month of September.

GIVEAWAY! Two lucky winners will receive selections of 1-2-3 Gluten Free mixes! Enter via the rafflecopter link below. Continental US only. Giveaway ends Friday September 23rd at 11:59pm EST.
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Disclaimer: I received samples of these products, but I was not paid to write this review. All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products that I, myself, use and love.