Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Trader Joes Gluten Free Love

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease the GI doctor gave me a lot of advice "Go to Trader Joe's and talk to them, they'll tell you what's gluten free." REALLY??? That's it?!?!?! Ok so we went to Trader Joe's. They have a great list of what is gluten free you can get, in the back of the store, or ask a team member, they all rock there.

So I do tend to run to Trader Joe's for my OMG I need something gluten free to eat kind of days. Here is my ranking of the best products from Trader Joes. As you'll see I have a lot of loved items. My one downfall on items I wish they had a better production plant. So many items are labeled with their famous G* but are processed on shared lines. Ggrrr. Shared lines are a No No for me. Shared facility, I'll give it a try. (I keep hoping that shared facility is 4-5 football fields long and the gluten is all the way on the opposite goal line.)

Favorite Items:
1 - Tamales! - I could eat these every day. Really I could. With four different flavor options, you get a good mix of variety.
2 - Gluten Free Brownie mix - Soft, fluffy, chocolatey tasty brownies, this is by far my favorite mix.
3 - Polenta mix - One thing that I find weird is if I eat too much I feel like I've been glutened, but there are no gluten ingredients, I guess maybe my body is telling me to slow down.
4 - Taquitos - Just like the tamales but can be microwaved, and I don't need to worry about them being fried with flour stuff, so crunchy and tasty.
5 - Fresh edamame - Fresh, not frozen in the shell edamame. it's sweet and tasty, but you have to buy it early in the day, it runs out regularly.
6 - Pre-cooked brown rice - cheap and pre-made. All you have to do is nuke it for 60 seconds and you have 2 full servings of rice. Great for a quick meal with a couple tamales.
7 - Wine - Cheap~ OMG - Cheap tasty wine. I really like the TJ branded wine. Plain and simple and a bottle costs you under $4.
8 - Creme Brulle cups - OK, they are warm and gooey and caramelized on top but it's custard inside chocolate cups that are just the right size above bite-size to satisfy you after a nice home-cooked meal.
9 - Gluten Free Cupcakes - Their fresh, not frozen! So you can pick them up on the way home from work! Not 3 days before so that they thaw! (They also did pink frosting ones for Valentine's Day!)
10 - Gluten Free Joe Joe's cookies - The best most reliable place to get gluten free "Oreo" cookies, that also aren't bite size.
11 - Chocolate chip cookies - They have a great bag of chocolate chip cookies, very similar to the Tate's brand, but cheaper and easier to find! Nice and crispy.
12 - Licorice scotties with no wheat! - I miss licorice like nothing else. I find myself flipping over every package when I'm in the store. These are great, and wheat free!
13 - NGB: Gluten Free Beer - Trader Joe's now has their own Sourghum based gluten free beer, brewed by Minhas Brewery. I can get a meal and a good beer all in one place!
14 - All purpose baking flour - Some recipes call for Not using this recipe, so keep an eye out for that in some cook books. But I made cupcakes with it, and they turned out with a fabulous consistency, and tasted really good. I felt a bit of a rice after taste, but sometimes I feel that's only because I know it's there.
15 - Brownies - Who knew there were brownies too! (see picture above!)
16 - Almond meal - Almond flour, just not as ground up. It's CHEAP! Almond flour in the regular grocery store costs at a minimum $10 a tiny bag. This is under $4.50 and is a big bag. If you grind it up a bit more it works just as well as almond flour.  

Fancy sounding beer, frozen mac and cheese single servings and creme brulee cups, yum!

The Not so favorite:
1 - Gluten free pizza - It had no taste... None.. How do you make a pizza with no taste?!
2 - Mac and Cheese - I guess I'm spoiled with Annie's mac and cheese that comes with the cheese sauce instead of the powder.
3 - Gluten free ginger snaps - Too much ginger flavor. I know that's the point of Ginger Snaps, just didn't hit my taste buds. They were crumbly and pungent.
4 - Gluten free bread - This is a total hit or miss for me based on which brand they have in stock. The first bread I got from Trader Joe's made me cry it was so bad. 
5 - Granola - Their granola is different. It is sweet, and has a lot of alternative items versus regular granola in it. It's good for a handful or 2 in a pinch. But after several tries I can't bring myself to finish the bag. 
6 - Frozen Mac and Cheese - It didn't get much better in frozen form. The pasta was tough, and I could taste the mustard and paprika too strongly. It was creamy, and rich, but left me burping mustard and paprika hours later. 

It doesn't even look tasty!
Trader Joes has been bringing out new products for gluten free every couple months. If you go there, sign up for their Fearless Flyer newsletter and keep your eyes open for new gluten free options, and keep your sense of humor around. While informative, they are also comical. Last month they highlighted their Gluten Free Greeting Cards... :)

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