The Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Pancakes!

Gluten Free Ratio Rally

Baking with a cause: YOU and getting you back in the kitchen too!

I’m a language teacher, so let me start this the right way:

What is a rally?

  • Noun:  a demonstration, a sequence of strokes between serving and scoring a point (as in tennis or squash).
  • Verb:  to come into orderly arrangement, to renew order, or united effort, as troops scattered or put to flight; to assemble, to unite, to collect one’s vital powers or forces; to regain health or consciousness; to recuperate.

There are so many ways to take this initiative.  So many definitions that ring true for people who are newly diagnosed with Celiac Sprue – or Gluten Intolerance.  So many different reasons why even those of us who have been diagnosed for a while still manage not to bake any more because of the initial fears of failure, or wasted ingredients (expense!), or downright disappointment with the results.  But here is the reality:

We need each other.

Those of us in the gluten-free world really need each other.  Together we have created a community where we have pushed each other to develop new recipes, answered questions (even those unfit for food blogs!), supported each other through the isolation that it feels like – and can often still be, and pushed our local markets and economies in to providing gluten-free food options in many, many places. Oh, yes.  We need each other to keep it all.

But this rally?  This one is for YOU.  That little part of you that is fearful of getting in to the kitchen and trying your hand at baking again.  It is intended to quell the little voice of doubt in your head that prevents you from just tossing what you have into a bowl and making breakfast for yourself and your loved ones without fear of failure or the sense of disappointment.

I know that feeling very well.

You see, I was diagnosed in 2000.  But I truly didn’t start cracking open my family recipes until nearly 4 years later.  Up until that point, I stuck to some Bette Hagman or Rebecca Reilly books.  Bette was an amazing pioneer and was my only resource upon diagnosis beyond the random (and at that time – hard to find!) internet source.  Rebecca Reilly’s cookbook became a beacon of hope for me.  She is a trained culinary artist who provides recipes for classic and delicious cakes, pies, tortes, etc.  All the things I needed to feel like I could make a birthday cake and actually *enjoy* it.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that these women were also giving me the courage to keep baking.  To keep trying new recipes.  My Love encouraged me to make my old favorites, but I always denied their possibilities.  I mean really.. who would have thought that I would be making batches of gluten-free goodies to share with friends and have for ready for my girls?  Potstickers?  Croissants? Thin crust, non-bready pizza crusts? Soft, pliable wrap bread?  Oh yes.  All of these and more.

Why?  Because it works.  And it is so, SO much less difficult that I imagined (or feared) that it would all be.  In fact, apart from a standard loaf of bread, I have found gluten-free food items and baking to be rather forgivable.  In fact, it was within the last two years or so (since the Chicklet’s arrival) that I have begun to cook and bake like my grandma’s recipe box:  handful, pinch, dash, etc.  And before this?  All of those measurements would drive me batty.  I mean really:  a pinch?  Come on now.  But – yes – a pinch!  It makes sense to me now.  Duh!  Everything is a ratio or percentage and it works.

Shauna and I bantered briefly a while ago about the ratio of whole grain flours to starch when we bake.  We each felt that there are far too many starches in standard gluten-free baked goods and we were working to reduce how much starch we were using.  Not surprisingly, we were close in our ratios.  Both of us were using about 70% whole grain flours and 30% starch.  With these measurements, I can make a batch of basic gluten-free flours for making cookies or muffins, etc.  (Not bread however – that’s a different story.)

Recently, she emailed a bunch of us to start a rally.  A rally to teach that ratios really are the key to taking off in the kitchen.   Michael Ruhlman published his book “Ratio” which explores all of the ratios in cooking and baking.  Many of us have read his work (it reads much more like a notebook than a cookbook – which is great for me) and have wondered about the exact ratios we have found to be successful as well.  Thus the beginnings of a rally.

And where best to begin but with breakfast?  And pancakes.  🙂

gluten free hazelnut & dried cherry pancakes
Gluten Free Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes Photo by Kate Chan

The only problem with pancakes?  Once you start recipe testing, you can’t stop.  Trust me.  Even my non-bread-eating Chicklet is now asking for mini-pancakes and “dip-dip” (maple syrup or melted peanut butter with apple “fries”) for her breakfast.  She doesn’t want the ones from a restaurant, nope.  She wants “Momma’s”.   (Oh, I love that.)  I’ve made pancakes often before, but honestly… I don’t always measure.  There is something about having grown up with pancakes that made the batter intuitive once you know the parts/pieces involved.

I suppose it is much like my sister who with her artist-trained eye can see the different layers of color in paintings and the world.  It helps her recreate what she sees or wants to see.  For me?  It’s about the texture, the mixture, the consistency and the flavor.  Those are my artist’s colors.  They are the paints I play with.  Beyond that?  The ingredients are just the components to the paints.

My friends and I were talking at work the other day about gluten-free eating.  They were sincerely curious about what kind of baking and cooking I do at home.  For teachers, we were experiencing a rare event:  lunch off campus with adults only and for more than 25 minutes.  It was a slice of heaven.  I knew lunch was going to be at a restaurant near the school we were visiting, so I had done my leg work.  I had found the restaurant with a gluten-free menu and when the question of “Where do you guys want to eat?” popped up, I was assertive enough to request we ate at “X” because they have a gluten-free menu.  Armed with my reasoning (and the fact they could eat vegetarian there too), we were off.

But once the food was served,the questions began.  I’m sure it is because my GF option looked just like the rest of their plates.  And so the conversation ran through the usual topics: what do you eat?  where do you get it?  how often do you bake/cook? etc. I mentioned how lucky I felt to be so empowered with my own food choices and experience new things.  I told them how hard it is at first and how socially isolating it can be no matter how much experience we have.  And we talked about these pancakes.

None of them had ever made pancakes from scratch.  I told them how.  One woman quickly calculated the cost of her pancake mix and the cost of the ingredients and just about kicked herself.  Yeap, I said.  And you’re not even gluten-free.  Just imagine what those prices are like.  (OH!  I wish I had a photo of her eyes when she calculated that cost out for you! LOL)

Anyway, here’s the deal.

PANCAKES ARE GOOD.

PANCAKES ARE COMFORTING.

PANCAKES ARE EASY.

Just go in your kitchen and try it.

There are a dozen of us gluten-free bloggers participating with this Gluten Free Ratio Rally about pancakes.  We have plans for more rallies in the future.  But the fun part is just how we all took a ratio (4:4:2:1) (flour, liquid, egg, fat) and what we did with it.

Since I chose to use nut flour (either hazelnut or almond), I had to bump up my liquid a bit more.  There is something about nut flours that always requires a splash or so more of milk than other flours.  Regardless, if you have ever made pancakes before, you will know the batter texture when you see it.  It should be thick enough to coat spoon generously and yet thin enough that it will ooze off the spoon and back into the rest of the batter.  And then… you can make pancakes like these:

gluten free whole grain pancakes with strawberries
Gluten Free Whole Grain Pancakes with Strawberries Photo by Kate Chan

My pancake ratio is this:

  • 200 grams gluten-free flour mix (whole grains + starch)
  • 240 grams of liquid
  • 100 grams of eggs or 2 eggs
  • 50 grams of butter

NOTES about this ratio:

  • The gluten-free flour mix is 160 grams of whole grains, 40 grams of starch – a mix of 4:1 whole grain to starch.  For the flours I chose, this meant 1 cup of whole grains + 1/4 cup of starch.
  • The liquid is increased due to nut meals being used in the flour mix. Use less if not using not meals (200 grams = 3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon of buttermilk)
  • You can use less fat (butter) successfully, but don’t omit it completely or your pancakes will be “dry” in texture.

Gluten Free Hazelnut and Dried Cherry Pancakes
(Printable recipe can be found here.)
Makes 12-24 pancakes, depending on your preferred size

Ingredients:
130 grams (3/4 cup) millet flour
30 grams (1/4 cup) hazelnut or almond meal
40 grams (1/4 cup) sweet rice flour or tapioca starch flour
75 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
5 grams (1 teaspoon) baking soda
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
100 grams (2) eggs
240 grams (1 cup) low-fat buttermilk
50 grams (3 Tablespoons) butter, melted
30 grams (1/4 cup) dried cherries
30 grams (1/4 cup) chopped pecans or walnuts or sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Mix together all wet ingredients (buttermilk, eggs, melted butter) in your blender. (Or use an immersion blenderor mini blender which is what I do.)
  2. Add your dry ingredients (feel free to just dump them in OR mix them in a separate bowl together and then dump them in).  Mix until there are no dry lumps.
  3. Preheat a griddle over medium heat.  (I used a non-stick griddle, so no additional oils were needed).
  4. Pour 2-4 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle.  Sprinkle the tops with chopped nuts and dried cherries.
  5. Leave undisturbed until bubbles form and pop on the edges and form in the center.  The edges will turn slightly golden brown.  (See this photo.)  Then gingerly slide a spatula underneath and flip the pancakes.
  6. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (the second side takes less time).  Adjust the temperature (medium-low?) for the next batch as needed.
  7. Keep warm until serving in a covered dish in a preheated/warm oven.
  8. Serve with your favorite “dip-dips”.

To Make the Gluten Free Whole Grain pancakes, omit the dried cherries and the chopped nuts. Serve with chopped fruit, powdered sugar (not pictured as the Chicklet doesn’t like her pancakes with “powder”), your favorite marmalade, melted peanut butter, etc.

Happy pancake making, all!
~Kate

gluten free hazelnut & dried cherry pancakes - take 2

You can find the other Gluten Free Blogger Ratio Rally pancake recipes here:

Tara at A Baking Life :  Supper Pancakes (with bacon inside!)

Lauren at Celiac Teen : GF, Egg-free, Dairy Free pancakes

Karen at Cooking Gluten-Free : Buckwheat Pancakes

Silvana at Dishtowel Diaries : Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

Irvin at Eat the Love : Quinoa-Cornmeal Pancakes with honey and rosemary

Britt at GF in the City : Spiced Teff Pancakes

Shauna at Gluten-Free Girl :  Pancakes with cinnamon and cardamon

Jenn at Jenn Cuisine : Hazelnut and Coconut Pancakes

Erin at The Sensitive Epicure : GF Oatmeal and Buckwheat Pancakes

Carol at Simply Gluten-Free : Maple and GF Oat Pancakes

Plus, as an added bonus, Lisa at Gluten-Free Canteen created a GF Potato Pancake

And a special note of thanks to Anile Prakash of GirlFriday.ca for creating our fabulous Gluten Free Ratio Rally logo. It’s a fabulous way to unite the effort and RALLY us all to better health together. Thank you.  (And for any of your interested in her work, please check out her site here or send her an email.)

…………

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GF Spinach-Cheese Buns

Gluten Free Spinach Cheese Buns

Don’t worry.  I’m here.  I cannot believe it has been so long since I last posted.  In my mind, I’ve posted a dozen times since the last.  Hmm… that must be what happens when sleep deprivation takes over:  you dream that your blog posts are getting updated when really… you are just dreaming it to be so.  Sorry guys.  Life is hectic and absolutely fabulous.  I *DO* have a few posts in play, so please don’t fret.  The emails and comments are incredibly encouraging to this mom/blogger/PERSON.  Thank you.  You don’t know how much it helps to know that this little blog does indeed help someone else manage their own gluten-free journey.

Managing two little ones and working full-time has definitely made me become much more organized about our family schedule and menu.   We’ve always eaten together and we continue to do so.  Now the baby joins in with congee (rice porridge) and other such fabulous baby friendly foods.  I can’t wait until she can dive into a cup of greek yogurt with me for breakfast.  🙂  Just a little while longer.

For now, I intent to savor the moments I have with my girls that happen when the cameras are far from handy and none of us are ready for a flash anyway.  I will treasure the laughter our little family of four shares while lying on the bed in our pajamas late in the mornings on the weekends.  I love hearing the girls squeal with delight while we lie about telling stories or talking about the “adventures” we will have during the day (even if the adventure is merely a trip to the grocer… it is always an adventure).

Or the moment this morning when I peered around the corner and spied Zoe laying at the edge of our bed with her hand jutting into the bassinet to hold her sleeping baby sister’s hand.  She smiled at me when she saw me watching and said “Mama, I’m blowing baby Ro-Ro kisses so she will wake up.”

Sigh.

Yeap.  My life is golden. 🙂

And as far as gluten-free baking and cooking go?  We are on a roll!  We’ve made some fabulous ricotta flatbread, perfectly balanced small peanut butter-oatmeal cookies (and froze the batch of dough for easy access in small quantities), etc.  Tonight, I thought I would post an easy bump to the cheese bread recipe I posted a year ago.  I know this recipe well now.  it is a go-to recipe in the middle of the week and leftovers are great for lunch (for me, as I have a microwave and a toaster (GF) at work in my classroom).  (JUST AN FYI for those of you who plan like I do:  The leftovers do need to be reheated somehow or they are dry in taste/texture.  So know that when planning for dinners that can be packed up for lunch the next day too.)

The Chicklet loves well seasoned spinach.  Particularly that found in her favorite Korean noodle dish:  jap chae.  Jap chae is made with GF sweet potato noodles and is fabulous.  However, it does contain soy sauce, so don’t order it when you are out and about unless you know they are using GF soy sauce (really UNlikely, FYI).  I will post a jap chae recipe in the upcoming weeks.  It’s easy and is a fabulous way to use up veggies too.

But because she loves spinach like that, and no other way.  I decided to make her some spinach-cheese buns for dinner one night.  In a way, I am lucky.  My girl doesn’t care for breads, pancakes, muffins nor cakes, etc.  She likes veggies, fruit, meat and the other basics.  But I knew she would like these.  I made rolls for us all and also smooshed some of the dough to make a mini-pizza crust for her dinner too.  (There’s nothing like cutting food into shapes to get a girl eating!)

If you are living a fast-paced week and looking for a quick recipe to incorporate veggies in a fun way, this is for you.  I can’t wait to hear what you all do with this base as well.  I am making some with sun-dried tomatoes this week.  And, I think they would be fabulous with pesto flavors too.  YUM!

Gluten Free Spinach Cheese Bread

Gluten Free Spinach-Cheese Bread Photo by Kate Chan

 

Gluten Free Spinach-Cheese Bread
Makes 12 – 1 1/2 inch wide biscuits/rolls

Ingredients:
1 – 1 1/2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups tapioca flour (same thing as tapioca starch)
2 cups shredded cheese (we used an Italian blend)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons dried chives

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450F.
  2. Quickly blanch your spinach leaves by dropping them into a pot of boiling water until wilted (2 minutes).  Remove from the water quickly.  Drain/strain the leaves.  Then squeeze the water out of the leaves.
  3. Finely chop your blanched spinach – or pulse them in a food processor/mini-blender.
  4. Mix together all ingredients in your mixer well.
  5. Form in to balls (about 1 1/2 inches or 2 inches) and slightly flatten. (Almost make them in to small disks, if you want them to look like what is in the picture… or leave them as puffed balls! You decide!)
  6. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Serve warm with sandwich fixings or your favorite soup.

Please let me know what you serve with your buns.  I’m always on the look out for a great addition to our sandwich fixings.  Tonight, I am making these to accompany our chicken, mushroom and wild rice soup recipe that I have slowly cooking away at home while we are at work.  I can’t wait for dinner. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this recipe too!
~Kate

 

Gluten Free Pizza – Oh, so good!

Gluten Free ‘Za, Photo by Kate Chan

Annual holiday cookie swap?  CHECK
Christmas cards mailed?  CHECK
Everything wrapped and shipped?  Almost a check there… two more to go. 🙂
Kiddos in bed?  CHECK! CHECK!
Adults in need of  heading off to bed too?  Oh, YES!  CHECK!

But what am I doing?  Making pizza, of course.

The word exhaustion means oh-so-much-more to me this year.  I thought since we were equally numbered 2 kids:  2 adults, that our ratio of 1:1 would save us.  Who was I kidding!!  The other night we ALL went to be at 7:15pm and didn’t wake up until the morning.  Oh yea.  We are T-I-R-E-D!  But life is fabulous.

There is nothing like laying on the living floor at night with just the Christmas tree lights on with a toddler wiggling about and a baby snoring in someone’s arms.  The Chicklet is loving the “scavenger hunt” for ornaments that she and her Baba playing while they lie there.  He asks her to find an ornament, she finds it.  And then she challenges him to find the one she is looking at too.  It’s quite cute.  And very calming.  Thank goodness, too, as life is everyone-on-the-run from before sunup until the typical 8:00PM bedtime.

Elfie is visiting

Elfie visits.  Photo by Kate Chan

Now that there are presents under the tree, our poor little Chica is tempted beyond all reason to open boxes.  (And it doesn’t help that some of the gifts have come wrapped in Buzz Lightyear paper.  She is a Buzz/Woody SUPER fan!)  So, I got a little creative.  You see, I know this elf (ahem) who has come to live with us until Christmas.  He is a buddy of Santa’s.  And he is just like a Toy Story toy in so much that he is inanimate during the day, but when we aren’t looking, he can scoot off and get messages to Santa.  Even better, he is stationed by the gifts to remind the Chica that she is not to open them *just yet*.  Since Elfie’s arrival, Z has taken to laying at his feet and contemplating life upon occasion and when she is most tempted to open gifts.  Poor little thing.  The next five days are going to be hard on her!

Despite the fact that I have TWO HUGE bags of papers to grade, lessons to write, laundry, dusting, wrapping, etc hanging overhead, I am here.  I would rather be cooking, writing or playing with the kidlets than doing any of the aforementioned fabulous household and work duties.  And since there are several other pressing things to be done, I’m off testing pizza crust recipes.

And as I was mixing and chatting with my Love, I remember the King Arthur Flour company and I wanted to order some goodies for a friend.  Little did I know, however, that King Arthur had recently entered in the gluten-free mix line.  (In fact, just the day after discovering this, I found their mixes at a local market.  But they are SPENDY!  ($12/box of muffin mix?  YIKES!)  And as most of you know, I really do prefer to make my own.  It is so much cheaper.

Since I found their GF items, I began to read a little more.  They have plenty of recipes on their site that use a basic mix that they prepare.  Their GF Flour Mix is: 6 cups brown rice flour, 3 cup potato starch (not flour) and 1 cup tapioca flour.  They “stabilize” their brown rice flour so their mix is definitely spendier, but maybe that works for someone who needs the basic mix to last longer than I do.  Anyway, since they had their mix posted and a pizza crust recipe, I thought I would try it.  (PS.  I have NO affiliation with King Arthur, have received no goods/monies, etc to post this and YES, I have their permission to post this recipe and links.)

This pizza crust is tasty. Very tasty.  The texture is great – the crunchy bottom of the crust mimics pizza-joint crusts and that is something we’ve missed.  (Thus the cast iron pizza recipe.) But this crust has depth to it as well – and it is easy to adapt/add different flavors, etc if you wish.  There are, however, a few things you should not mess with.  They are as follows:

  • You really do need to grease your pan well before baking.
  • You really do need the extra olive oil on the pan before flattening out your crust.  That is what made the crust texture sooooo much better!  You could bake it on parchment with olive oil (we’ve done that too), but directly on the pan makes for a better crunch and texture.

Beyond that, we did away with the wait time for the sponge.  (I’m impatient like that.) In order to get the yeast to rise, we added the sugar to the yeast mixture and not to the flour mix.  Other than those changes, we followed their recipe more closely but not exactly.  After all, recipes are like guideposts sometimes – you just gotta do your own thing.  Although I always recommend following the recipe the first time through and THEN making changes on subsequent batches.  You will know what you are working with better.

I’m posting the recipe as we made it.  You can find the original recipe here on the King Arthur site.

Gluten Free Pizza Crust
Very slightly modified from the King Arthur Flour recipe (linked above)
Makes:  1 medium-thin crust pizza

You can find a PRINTABLE copy of this recipe here.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups GF flour mix

  • (1st time:  We used:  3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon brown rice flour, 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon potato starch (not flour), 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour)
  • (2nd time:  We used our regular GF Flour mix.)

2 Tablespoons powdered milk or buttermilk powder
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 Tablespoon yeast (they use 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for dough)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for pan)
Optional:  1 teaspoons each:  granulated garlic, fennel and dried basil.

Directions:

  1. Sift together remaining dry ingredients:  GF flour mix, powdered milk, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum and your seasonings of choice.  (We use granulated garlic, fennel and dried basil.  Sometimes cumin, garlic and sesame if we are making a non-traditional pizza too.And then we use some sesame oil at the end too.)
  2. Bring water to 110º-115ºF.  Add 2 Tablespoons olive oil, the sugar and yeast.  Add 1/4 cup of the dry ingredients to your proofing yeast.  Stir together and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining dry ingredients to your mixing bowl.  (You need a stand mixer or a hand mixer for this pizza crust to mix it well.)
  4. Wait about 5-10 minutes or until your yeast mixture has risen nicely.
  5. Add the wet to the dry and mix together on medium speed for 4-6 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 425ºF.
  7. Generously grease your pizza pan.  Then drizzle 2 Tablespoons+ of olive oil into the center of the pan.
  8. Scrap the pizza dough onto the olive oil pool on the pan.  With wet hands, squish the dough out evenly onto the surface of the pizza pan.
  9. Bake the crust for 8 – 10 minutes or until the top is no longer shiny but opaque.
  10. Top with your favorite pizza toppings.  (The Chicklet loves mushrooms and black olives on her pizza.  What do you like?)
  11. Return to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes until your toppings are done/cheese is melted.

Enjoy!
After all, it might be the Holiday season…. but sometimes you just have to eat comfort food too!
Happy GF Eating!
~Kate

New Product: The GFB (The Gluten Free Bar) – and a GIVE AWAY

DISCLAIMER:  I have NO connection whatsoever with this company.  I received 4 bars to taste for this review.

I rarely do product reviews, so for those of you who are curious about that please know this:  I love easy, accessible gluten-free foods, but I’m picky!  If I can make a better version in my kitchen, I don’t typically write a review of it.  That being said, I actually have three products that I want to review in the next few weeks.  Oh yes, gluten free foods are getting better, people!  (And my life is manic, which has helped usher in a new appreciation for prepared gluten free goodness.  Life with one child?  Busy.  Life with two (ages 2 and under)?  INSANE, joyous, fabulous and utterly EXHAUSTING.)

This first product is one my to-order list.  And right at the top of it, too.   And I honestly was a tad leery at first.  Not only was it a protein bar (something I never thought I would be packing in my car/purse) but the name made me giggle.

You see, when Elliott (one of the owners) contacted me and I saw the name “GFB(The Gluten Free Bar), my mind flashed back to the books I would read to my elementary school kids.  Roald Dahl (who wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, etc) wrote a book called the BFG.  It’s about a gentle giant who lives in the land of kid-eating giants (don’t worry…it’s not freaky).  The giants choose their “dinner entrees” based on country names.  The kids from Turkey?  Taste like turkey, of course.  The kids from Chile?  Yeap.  Chili.  The kids from Greece?  Ew.  Not so tasty unless you are in to sinew and stuff.  So now that you have had that lovely adventure through my mind’s eye, you can see why I was chuckling at the email and completely willing to try the protein bars.

The guys (there are three of them) manufacture these bars in Chicago.  A fact I missed until they arrived and I saw the return address.  And now I know.  Chicago tastes like peanut butter goodness.  Well, at least it does according to these yummy bars.  Definitely a fact I missed even though I lived there for ten years.  (We HEART Chicago and miss it dearly.  But peanut butter is definitely not the flavor profile I would give to that city of FANTASTIC food!  You gotta travel there to believe me, but it’s true.  GF Dining isn’t so tough with that many options about…. but I digress.  Let’s get back to these bars.)

I have struggled with the adjectives that I want to use to describe these bars.  I really think there are so many protein bar options on the market because it is SUCH a huge personal choice/preference.  Unlike cereal, which 90% of us can agree SHOULD be crispy even with milk, protein bars have a wide variety of textures, flavors and feel when you eat them.  I think I like these so much because if I were to make a protein bar, it would be like these.

These bars are moist (the peanut butter version moreso than the chocolate-peanut butter, IMHO) and slightly chewy.  There is just enough of a crunch from the peanuts, brown rice and flax seeds to let you know that you are tasting something fabulous.  You gotta have crunch.  But not so much that I fear for my teeth and hope for a huge bottle of water.  This crunch is perfectly subtle and delectable.

I tried the first bar on a morning when I had rushed about for the two girls.  It was a choatic morning.  By 2:30pm, I was so hungry I was truly contemplating munching on my own person.  The baby was asleep on the couch in a room that is attached to the kitchen and the toddler was asleep on the other end.  Since they had both been fussy (colds, etc) and hard to get down for naps, I didn’t dare “whip up”something in the kitchen.  In fact, I was even considering eschewing the plastic wrapper on the GFB (almost typed BFG there again….yikes).  I snuck into another room and open the package, hopeful that I would truly find something to satisfy my hunger least I have yet one more crabby girl in the house.

And it was great.  The bars are slightly sweet (they contain brown rice syrup, dates and agave) but not so sweet that I would have thought it was a candy bar.  In fact, it was appropriately sweetened for my tastes.  Since they are slightly soft/chewy (not overly like a taffy or a fig bar, but a thickened peanut butter style), it was easy to eat and enjoyed without having a million crumbs hit my lap.

And the best part?  This bar plus a glass of water completely satisfied my hunger.  Really.  And not just as a temporary swing either.  I was perfectly content until dinner time.  In fact, dinner was LATE that night because I was truly satisfied and hadn’t even thought about dinner.

Elliott was kind enough to send me 4 bars (2 peanut butter, 2 chocolate-peanut butter).  As soon as I figured out that the bars were tasty and worked well, I packed one in my car and another in my purse (for my desk at work).  The remaining bar (a chocolate-peanut butter one) was “sacrificed” recently just for this post.  😀  (Hey, somebody’s gotta do it, right?)  I wanted to be able to write about the chocolate version too.

I like the chocolate one as well.  It’s NOT a sweet chocolate bar (I was relieved), but since it has the addition of cocoa, it is not quite as moist (very slightly so – may have even just been that bar) as the peanut butter one.  But it is definitely tasty too.

I will be ordering some of the peanut butter bars for our house and my travels.  With the two kids, I find that sometimes I am prepared for their snacks/meals, but not my own.  And then, by the time they are fed and satisfied, I’m starving.  These bars are going to be quite a help and relief when those moments hit.  Once we are back to the gym routine, I know this bars will be a great energy boost then too.

So are you interested yet?  I hope so!

The cost of the bars work out to about $2.00 per bar.  They are sold in very limited retailers (although, I am going to ask GF Joe to see if he can get them!).  So you will have to order online (as will I).  Elliott and the gang have offered FREE SHIPPING for Gluten Free Gobsmacked readers AND the first two commenters will receive their own sample pack (like I did).

To get your free shipping, when checking out, enter the coupon code:  gobsmacked

Order yours here:  http://theglutenfreebar.com/

Interested in the give-away?

Do tell:  What do you seek in a protein bar?  (Texture? Content? Taste?  Sweetness?)

Happy Gluten Free Protein Bars, All.

I sincerely wish  The Gluten Free Bar guys the absolute best in their journey as a new GF company.  Every little bit helps – and their tasty contribution to our community is quite appreciated by me. 🙂

~Kate

PS.  I just saw an offer on their site to TRY their protein bars and if you don’t like them, they will give you a refund – NO QUESTIONS ASKED!  Seriously?  You gotta try these.  🙂

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