Thursday, February 4, 2016

Go crackers!


Apologies I've been quiet over the past few weeks, young baby here so she has taken over somewhat!! A different ball game with two of them now ;-) Anyway, back to food and my passion for finding new and exciting wheat-free products and also for reporting on those that are not so good! Over the last two months, I've been eating lots of crackers and cheese as they are a good after-dinner dessert and I'm also still using the leftovers from Christmas!! They are a nutritious snack at any time of the day especially when you may become a bit peckish into the early hours!  There are a good range of wheat-free crackers out there - some great, some good, some not so good! Some warrant a post of their own. I'm still a fan of oatcakes and Nairns being my favourites and I'm lucky that I can tolerate gluten, just not wheat. Into the bargain, oatcakes are a good, nutritious food and filling too, and are a good option for wheat-free crackers with cheese.

Glutafin and Dietary Specials have joined forces and you may now see the brand Schar in the supermarkets. I've yet to try all their new products but I have my eye on the pizza bases. I tried the Glutafin crackers which were lovely and crunchy and light. They are a nice option for crackers and cheese, especially if you like a heavy or strong cheese, as the flavour of the crackers doesn't take over. My only qualm with them was that they tended to break and crumble as they were so so thin and they were so light that if you just had a bit of butter or nut butter on them, you tended to want to eat about 10 of them to fill you up!! Not great for the waistline! However saying that they are one of the better crackers on the market and will do well once they are advertised well. They aren't too high in calories and what I really liked is that they are packed into handy portions for maximum freshness. Glutafin also suggest crushing the crackers and using them as breadcrumbs in dishes, which I didn't try but I certainly will.

They are great for lunches and for a snack throughout the day. Glutafin provides gluten free products for those diagnosed with coeliac disease on prescription. The products are available to purchase from Dialachemist. For more info on their crackers and other products, see the Glutafin website. Their website has lots of interesting information on a gluten-free lifestyle and recipes too and you can follow them on social media.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Festive food - Mince pies


"Now that's a good mince pie" was the comment I got when I gave one of these to someone who didn't know they were gluten and wheat free! When I told them they were really surprised as they tasted so "real". This person isn't a coeliac or has any wheat intolerance. In my experience from someone who cannot eat wheat, gluten-free cakes and products can be very sweet to often combat the lack of other substance and flavour. They can nearly taste too heavy and put you off purchasing again. However I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with the Goodness Grains mince pies, they have great flavour and aren't that sweet at all. Goodness Grains know how to make a mince pie! They are very tasty, the pastry is a good texture and they taste very real. In fact, they probably taste better than from what I remember. It's been over 10 years since I have had a wheat mince pie! Into the bargain these are dairy free too so great for those with an allergy or intolerance. So when you are doing that final Christmas food shop, include these for your visitors. They won't be disappointed. Goodness Grains do a great range of food including breads so I'll report back on those too.

Goodness Grains in a family owned and run company set up in 2013 to bring quality fresh gluten-free products to the Irish market, their bakery is located in Co.Longford.  All of the products are freshly made and suitable for freezing. Goodness Grains are the only producer of fresh gluten-free pastries in Ireland too. For a list of their stockists, see here . Best of all, these products are Irish, great to keep it local and to have a good gluten-free and wheat-free food producer in Ireland. Follow them on Twitter @goodnessgrains and on Facebook too.  For more info see www.goodnessgrains.com

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ditch the diet!!



It's always nice to come across a cool and fun brand once in a while, and that's exactly what the Brodericks borthers have done. Just look at their website, it oozes personality and these 2 brothers seem like great fun. They certainly had fun in Ina's kitchen producing a delicious range of products. Their products are really delicious, especially the Gluten Free Road Rocking Choc Choc Block. It's to die for, loaded with calories, but worth ditching any diet for. I really fell for this bar!!! Full of chocolate, biscuit and marshmallows, crunchy, chewy and smooth. It was a real treat.

They also do a very tasty Caramelo bar which is gluten-free, that was also fab. A little crumbly, that's the only negative. It tastes like shortbread with a caramel layer and then chocolate. In addition they have a range of flapjacks, fruit and also a chocolate one, which I enjoyed and didn't find them as sweet as other brands, but the choc choc block had my heart!!

Find out more about their products on their website http://www.brodericksbrothers.com/ Follow them on Twitter and Facebook too. Looking forward to any new products these guys bring out :-)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tastes like the real thing



BFree keep  on expanding their range, which is great news, because the products are a great addition if you are following a wheat-free or gluten-free diet. The first new product I tried was their Stone Baked Pitta Breads. Now, before getting into the details on these, remember that it's very hard to find a nice and tasty gluten-free pitta bread. I'm usually left disappointed after spending €3 on 4 hard, tasteless pittas and ones that won't even open once toasted! That's even after trying the "sprinkle water on them before popping into toaster" trick! So, I was wondering what these would taste like. I was pleasantly surprised. They are soft, which made a massive difference to previous brands I've tried. Just pop them in the toaster and they open nicely, fill with your choice of fillings and voila, a tasty pitta full of goodness. The texture is great and the stone-baked gives it a good flavour too. They have no added sugar, are high in fibre, low in fat and vegan friendly into the bargain, You can also use them as pizza bases and make mini pizzas, very handy, especially for kids. Available at Supervalu, Centra and Dunnes Stores and retail at €3.49.

The other new product I tried is the Quinoa and Chia Seed Wraps with Teff and Flax Seeds. If you know their multigrain wraps, these are a posher version! Using a different grain, quinoa plus chia, teff an flax seeds, these wraps are full of nutrients and fibre  and a good source of protein. I preferred these to the multigrain wrap, they had more substance to them and are a better texture in my opinion. I like the fact that they used different grain so gives your diet a variety. These are ideal for lunch or can also be used as a thin pizza base.

Both of these products are a good addition to the BFree range and are worth buying. If I had to choose which of these products to put into my shopping basket, I would pick the pittas. For more information on these products, as well as recipes and ideas, visit www.Bfreefoods.com and find them on Facebook and Twitter @BFreeFoods

Monday, October 19, 2015

Healthier snacking - the nutritious way!


Eat Real have come up with a super range of wheat-free snacks. They are a healthy alternative to regular crisps and there is a huge variety of flavours and types. The crisps/chips come in 3 types - lentil, quinoa or hummus. Then we've flavours like tomato and basil, chilli and lemon, sea salt, creamy dill or plain. Depending on what you fancy, there's a choice each time. To see the full range of products and flavours see here I personally liked the lentil and the quinoa over the hummus and then I found the creamy dill lentil flavour amazing. I also loved the chilli and lime quinoa chips. I wasn't really a fan of the plain and the sea salt flavours but maybe that was because I had tried the stronger flavours first. The creamy dill nearly tastes cheesy and creamy and are lovely and crunchy too. The quinoa snacks are crunchy and light, very enjoyable with a great punch of flavour.


These chips work great as a snack and would also be great if you are entertaining in place of bowls of peanuts/regular crisps. They are that something a little bit different and I really enjoyed them. Made from real, natural ingredients with no added nasties, I'd highly recommend them.

Eat real also do a range of bars. From handmade coconut bars to almond, cashew and peanut. The bars were nice, nothing amazing. The coconut bar was my favourite, reminded me of a Bounty bar which I haven't had in about 10 years! Their chips are more of a winner with me to be honest.


Eat Real are a great brand with a wide variety of snacks in particular for the wheat-free and gluten-free market which is great news. Available in a great range of stores in the UK and in Ireland in Tescos, selected health stores and some independent health shops and cafes like Grass Roots in Howth, Co. Dublin. See stockists for a full list of stores.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Balls of energy


These balls of energy are an interesting snack. The background story behind Bounce Energy Balls is a husband and wife team, Andy and Paula Hannagan who wanted to help people reach their full potential nutritionally but in a healthy way. They were both personal trainers and saw the need for a truly healthy, nutritious and tasty snack that would sustain energy. 10 years on they are available in Ireland, the UK and many other countries.

Bounce Energy Balls come in several flavours and I tried 3 of them - Cacao Mint Protein Ball, Peanut Protein Blast and Almond Protein Hit. They are designed as a nutrient-dense snack that can energise at any time of the day. Personally I think these would suit a regular gym goer or athlete very well. They are very filling and heavy, I honestly struggled to finish one! Bear in mind I tried these as a snack, not after a big workout. I'm a big peanut fan but didn't particularly like the peanut flavour and I can't really pinpoint why. The texture of these snacks is good, filling, chewy and lots of protein. The almond protein hit were very almondy, so perfect if you like almonds! You could taste the nutty mixture, good flavours and texture. They were very tasty but again a little heavy for me. You know you are eating protein goodness, so that's what I liked about them. The cacao mint was an interesting combination and was my favourite. It was nice as a snack with a cuppa.



They include cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, quality proteins and rice bran. They are high in protein, in fact 10g of it, high in fibre and best of all wheat free and gluten free. My suggestion would be to have them in a resealable pack so that it will stay fresh if you only wanted to have a small bit and couldn't manage to eat all of it. However post workout, I'm sure these would be great.

For more info on their products and flavours, see the Bounce Balls website They also have an online shop and are available in a range of supermarkets as well as independent health stores like Holland and Barrett. Follow them on Twitter @Bounceballsuk and like them on Facebook

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Pasta with benefits

Pasta with benefits by Leaves is a unique range of pasta. Developed by Sabine Hobbel, a Dutch athlete and health researcher and her Italian chef partner, Nico Olivieri. Only launched in July this year and is doing very well so far. It's a quirky little food product which is high in protein and naturally gluten free, made with just 2 ingredients - buckwheat and chickpeas. The pasta is slow-dried and contains 50% more protein and 3 times more fibre than regular pasta.

There are 3 flavours - classic, garlic and sage. They come in 100g individual packs which only take 5mins to cook! I loved the garlic and sage flavour.

I like the product, love the quirkiness of it with the messaging on the inside like this....


There's also a nice story behind the brand which you can read here. For me the only downside is the packaging. Although I do love the look of it and quirkiness of it, it seems like an awful waste of packaging for a portion of pasta.

Available in Supervalu stores and independent retail stores with more retailers being added. Also available on their website

If you are a pasta fan and follow a wheat-free diet, this is ideal for you as gives you a bit of variety away from the stodgy corn pastas etc. Give this new brand a chance.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Free from the sugar rut

Free'ist products-I'd never seen or heard of them till a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to get to sample a good bit of the range - look what arrived for me!!!

The following products are wheat free and gluten free so suit my diet which is great.
The main mantra of the brand is free from sugar, there's this cool message at the back of the products:

Sorry sugar....


I tried the chocolate, popcorn, jam and the Rocky Road bars are also part of the same brand. Honestly, I had mixed opinions on the products!

I loved the jam particularly the raspberry and would say they are also suitable for diabetics. The popcorn is lovely and tasty - fresh, crunchy, not too salty or sweet. They have a range of very unusual flavours - Nacho cheese, sweet and salty, caramel and salty. I liked the regular salty ones as well as the nacho cheese, but I found the other 2 a little sweet. The chocolate we tried the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, milk chocolate with hazelnuts and the white chocolate with strawberries. There was one winner - the white chocolate and strawberries, it was really to die for, seriously delicious and was an all round winner with my family. Unfortunately I didn't really rate the other chocolate at all. It was missing something (probably the sugar!) but even the dark chocolate was a disappointment. The marshmallows were nice as well and would be ideal in baking and not that ooh so sweet flavour that's in regular marshmallows. The Rocky Road bars were very nice too, my favourite was the chocolate which is rice cakes covered in milk chocolate-lovely, fresh and crunchy and a great size for snacking on.

This brand also does biscuits but they aren't wheat free, but they are sugar free, so may suit other diets and looks like there's a few flavours too.

All in all it's a great range of products, lots to choose from. My recommendation would be to put the jam and the white chocolate and strawberries chocolate in your shopping basket, you won't be disappointed! For more information on their products, see the Free'ist website

Friday, September 4, 2015

Glenisk's new yogurt range


I've always been a Glenisk fan, love their products, especially their yogurts. I've been off dairy for a couple of months so have missed them. I'm gradually introducing a little bit of dairy back into my diet so I tried the new 0% Fat Greek Protein Yogurts. There's a whole range of flavours to choose from - natural, vanilla, strawberry, rhubarb, coconut, raspberry, blueberry, and mango and passion fruit.

The Authentically Strained Greek Yogurts are fat free and high in protein, making them a good healthy snack for fitness fans and also a guilt-free treat for others. Made with the freshest Irish milk and live cultures plus only natural ingredients.

I tried the natural, blueberry, strawberry and vanilla. They are all delicious, but my hands down favourite is the natural one. It's so thick and creamy, it's hard to believe it is 0% fat and only 56 calories per 100g. I tried it in smoothies, with a fruit salad and even cooked with it and it's very versatile and tasty. I'm a fan of the Glenisk Natural yogurt too. Very similar taste just a different, thicker, creamier texture.

Available in 500g pots, 150g pots and a pack of 4 x 100g pots. You can get them in most major supermarkets - Supervalu, Dunnes, Tesco and some are currently on offer too! Best of all these are wheat free and gluten free too.

For more info on Glenisk products, see their site Also like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter 

 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Munchy crunchy delights



I go through phases of wanting something savoury to snack on but steer clear of highly processed crisps which aren't wheat free. I was delighted to come across Veronica's Snacks which hit the spot and have the right ingredients. I also love the story behind the brand. Veronica is a mum of 3 who wanted to create a brand of healthy snacks using wholesome food. So she created savoury snack crisps with all of the flavour but less of the not-so-healthy stuff. Plus she wanted to create a gluten-free option for adults and children that have dietary restrictions.

So a range of Baked Crisps was developed with less fat, salt and a gluten-free recipe. The crisps come in 2 flavours – Sour Cream Herb and Onion and also spicy Barbeque. They have 60% less fat than regular crisps, which is a real bonus. Made from potato starch, potato flakes – corn flour, sunflower oil, salt and seasoning as well as a spice blend, milk powder and yoghurt. I really liked them but felt the seasoning could be stronger in the Sour Cream Herb and Onion flavour. Saying that though, the texture was great - lovely and crunchy, and my husband thought that these were the best! I preferred the Barbeque flavour, the taste was stronger and they were lovely and crunchy too. The best was the fact that even when the packet was opened, they stayed fresh for a few days. 

My favourites though were the veggie crisps. Roast tomato and Spanish Paprika Baked Veggie Crisps flavour - lovely and crunchy and fresh tasting too. They pack a good punch of flavour, a nice bit of spice and these would definitely go in my shopping bag.

There’s also an option for younger kids called Crunchy Creatures which are dinosaur-shaped corn puffs which are cheese flavour and these were my nearly 4 year old’s favourites! They were nice, but I found once the bag was opened, they went a little stale so the next day they weren’t as crunchy!

Being someone who can’t eat wheat, it’s super to find a crunchy crisp that I can eat without worrying about my tummy! Personally I think this is a great range of healthy snacks that hit the spot when you want something savoury and you don’t feel the guilt.

Shop online or buy them in your local supermarket which includes Tescos, Dunnes, Supervalu, Spar to name a few. See here for a list of stockists.