Thursday, January 15, 2015

My Top Five Food Allergy Friendly Finds of 2014

In 2014 we saw a lot of new gluten-free and allergen-free products hit the grocery store shelves. (Thank you to the marketing gurus who have finally decided that there is a market for these products.) I had the opportunity to review many of these products for you. But the real test of a product is whether you go back for more. My top picks for 2014 are products that I either discovered at an expo/event or initially received a complimentary sample of – and then I went back for more.

This list is based solely on my opinion and is in no particular order:

1. Udi’s Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats – I love oatmeal for breakfast. Over the past few years I have sampled a variety of old-fashioned and quick cooking gluten free oats, but gluten-free steel cut oats have been elusive – until I received a goodie package from Udi’s late last year. And I can’t stop eating them. In fact, I am eating a bowl as I write this post.
2. ALDI Live GF cookies – I discovered these top-8 allergen-free soft-baked cookies at my local ALDI grocery store after receiving a gift certificate at the BlogHer Food Conference. They are just as good as the brand most of us have been buying for years (my son insists they are better) and they are about half the price.

3. Pascha Chocolate Chips – As a professed chocoholic, I can’t live without chocolate. Prior to this year I had only seen Pascha Chocolate in bar form – and loved it – but chocolate chips are a necessity for baking (and frankly, for easy snacking). I discovered these chocolate chips at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference, bought more at a GFAF Expo, and am thrilled that I can now buy them at my local Stop and Shop. They are a bit more expensive (about $1 per bag more) than the brand most of us rely on, but the quality is worth it!

4. So Delicious Coco Whip – This is essentially the coconut version of Cool Whip, but oh so much better. There’s no fake stuff in here. Yes, you can make your own Coconut Whipped Cream using full fat coconut milk (recipes can be found in my books) but this is a great option to keep in your freezer for the unexpected (thaw when you want to use it and then refreeze it).

5. Udi’s Pizza Crust – The only item on this list that isn’t completely top-8 allergen-free (it contains eggs), it’s still worthy of my list. This super-simple crust comes partially baked and frozen. No rolling, no proofing. All you need to do is thaw, add toppings, and bake for about 10 minutes. And it’s delicious. Each package contains two crusts. One crust is about a personal pizza and a half. Make both and add a salad if you are feeding the family in a hurry.

This list does not include new off-the-shelf flour blends – a separate post is forthcoming on that topic!

Your turn: What was your favorite new product find in 2014?

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