Allergy-friendly Shopping Haul

haul2

Hi guys!

I know…I’ve had writer’s block for like a year and a half.  At this point…you can’t even make excuses or try to give reasonable explanations for that long of a hiatus, you just have to apologize ( I am truly sorry), ask for forgiveness (please forgive me), and do better.  Which, I plan to do.  I got my second wind…and I’m about to soar!

Okay, moving along….here’s today’s post.  It’s a haul! Yay!

Keep in mind, as always…what we consider allergy-friendly (milk-free, egg-free) may not be allergy-friendly for you.  Always, always check ingredients.  So, here’s a little about each of the items in today’s haul.

Hampton Creek’s Just Italian:  Love it!  Tastes great! A little heavy on the spice though. I found it at Walmart, so I didn’t have to search multiple stores, which is great. No egg, No dairy…win! win!

Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo:  Ya’ll know I love this stuff! ‘Nuff said.

Sky Valley’s Korean BBQ sauce:  It’s vegan, so I’m excited to try it.  I haven’t yet, but i’ll be particularly surprised if it tastes even remotely authentic.  My best friend is half Korean, so I’ve eaten a fair share of Korean BBQ so far in my adult life, and i’ll probably judge this stuff pretty hard. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Organicville Marinara Sauce:  It’s vegan, so it gets my vote right there, and it happens to taste fabulous! It has just the right amount of spice, not too overwhelming.  I get it at Target, so it’s fairly easy to find.  I do have one complaint about it, it’s kind of thin in consistency, but you can fix that by adding a bit of tomato paste to it.  However, if you add paste, you may have to do some seasoning additions as well, particularly sugar.  But, all in all, it’s my go-to jar marinara sauce.

Hampton Creek’s Just Cookies: They’re dairy free, and egg free.  I found these at Target and was super stoked!  But, when I looked on the back of the package, it did say “may contain milk”…bummer:(  That means, I won’t be giving it to my DS because of the risk of contamination, but my husband and I will eat them.  I got the chocolate chip, and they were really, really good.

Hampton Creek’s Just Ranch:  Best. Dressing. Ever…that’s all I’ve got to say.

Have you tried any of these products?  If so, leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts!

 

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Allergy-free Shopping Haul

 

allergy-free haul
Hey ya’ll !

Thanks for stopping back by…I’ve been crazy busy lately, so I haven’t had time to blog.  BUT, I have had time to shop…(of course).  Now I like to get specific products from specific stores…so, our grocery shopping trip each weekend usually consists of stopping by 5 different stores.  I know…I know… that sounds a little excessive, but trust me, there is a method to my madness!

We usually hit up Whole Foods first during the exhibition, on the way back from there we make a quick stop at BJ’s, then swing by Wal-Mart, another in-and-out stop at Lowe’s, and finish at Food Lion.  I always (well I try to remember to “always”) bring my insulated grocery bags with me to be sure I can keep any frozen/cold foods at the proper temperature, since I know we’ll be stopping at other stores before heading home.  I fill those bags up with ice from the seafood counter at Whole Foods for extra temperature control.  I’m always super worried about cold foods maintaining their safe temperature to inhibit bacteria from starting to grow.  But, I have to admit…sometimes, I forget the bags and I end up having to purchase a new bag once I get to Whole Foods.  My mind!!                 It gets expensive…not to mention all the insulated bags I have collecting in my kitchen cabinet !!! But, hey…I gotta do what I gotta do, right?

Anyway, last weekend’s trip to Whole Foods to get some of our Allergy-free foods resulted in these yummy treats.  So, I thought I’d do a haul, and show what we bought, as well as talk a little about each item.

Van’s Cinnamon Heaven cereal:  My son has been begging for cinnamon toast crunch cereal since he started seeing the commercials for it.  I’m a little hesitant to give it to him because the box has the Kosher-dairy symbol on it, indicating (to me, for food allergy purposes) this product may be cross-contaminated with dairy, even though milk is not an ingredient.  So, I saw this Van’s cereal while at Whole Foods, and since the box clearly is marked dairy-free, I felt pretty confident about purchasing this.  Well….lo and behold, “Operation Cinnamon Heaven” was a no-go.  My son took a few bites and politely requested to have his usual Fruity Cheerios instead.  *sigh*   I know some milk allergic kids eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch with no problems…maybe I’ll work up the nerve to give it a try….someday.

Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Popcorn, Sea Salt Kettle Chips, and Cheddar Squares:   Hooray!!  I FINALLY found the cheddar squares!!  We LOVE Earth Balance products.  And they came through for us again, of course.  The popcorn tastes just like regular buttered popcorn!  Score!   My baby loved it.  The kettle chips are absolutely delish.  Score #2, he loved these as well !  And the cheddar squares were…ok.  It wasn’t a total fail, but he still prefers his usual Saltine minis.

Home- free mini chocolate chip cookies:  We haven’t opened these yet.  Nor, have we ever used this brand of products before.  I will do a product review once we taste these.

Cherrybrook Kitchen Chocolate and Vanilla cake mixes:  Do I really need to say anything?  Just read my dessert posts(*wink*).

Have you guys tried any of these products?  What was your experience?

Spangler’s Dum-Dums Gummy Snacks- A review

dum-dums-gummy-snacks

Hey there everybody!  I’ve got another review today!  Yay!!

Like most kids, my little one loves candy.  But, it’s challenging to find safe candy free of milk and egg.  I was used to buying the Spangler Dum-Dum lollipops once we allowed my son to start eating candy.  So, I was super excited to discover these gummy snacks made by Spangler.  In case you weren’t aware, Spangler candy products are free of the top common allergens ( http://www.spanglercandy.com/faqs/allergen-information.  This statement is directly from their website.  The package of their candy does contain an allergen statement, and their website has a lot of information about their products being allergen-free and their site states that their manufacturing facilities are 100% free of gluten (from wheat, barley and rye), dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish and shellfish.  Now there is a note about Soy, because their products, except Circus Peanuts, may contain Soy oil.  So, if Soy is a concern for you, definitely make the best decision for your or your loved one’s safety.  Personally, I always decide against products that say “may contain..” milk, or eggs.  Even though it only says “may”.  I just don’t want to take any chances…(call me overly-cautious if you want… I’m used to it)  They do caution on their website that sometimes retailers will re-bag items, and so the allergen claim may be different.  But, bags that are manufactured and packaged in their facility will have the Spangler allergen statement.  I encourage you to go to the Spanglercandy.com website for more information.

My son LOVES these, and so do I.  They’re so tasty!

The Package:

I love all the bright festive colors on the package.  The design is very fun and fruity with a cartoon picture of the little Spangler guy (I guess that’s who that is) and a picture of the actual package of gummies that are inside the box.  And of course, I love the allergen statement that is clearly printed on the box in text, and they use little pictures of the allergens as well with a line going through them to indicate that the product is free of that allergen.  That’s an additional form of communication and I love that.  Even if you cannot read the word, you can understand the image.  Niiiiice!

The Taste:

Very good!  They have a nice texture, not too hard, not too soft, juuuuuust right.  Sometimes I have found that some gummy products are either-or, but these really do have the perfect texture for a gummy candy.  They’re not waxy at all.  And they come in fruit shapes.  Cute!  The flavor is also very fruity, with a nice sweet-tarty mix.

Price Point:

Not bad, really.  I can get them for around 2.79 on sale.  Typically they run about 3 dollars for a box.  You get 10 packs in each box, so it’s a pretty good value, I think.  There’s about 8 gummies in each little baggie.  Which is a perfect serving in my opinion.  Okay I’ll admit, occasionally I let my son have 2 baggies….(hey, I’m an allergy mom… sometimes I’m so happy when he can have a safe “normal” snack like everyone else that I give in a little when he asks for seconds. Don’t judge me.)

So in conclusion…Do I think they’re yummy?  Yes.  Do I recommend them?  Yes.  Do I plan on purchasing them again?  Yes. (I purchase them all the time actually.)

 

Have you tried these out yet?   If so, let me know what you think.

Cybele Pascal’s New Free-To-Eat Cookies- A review

CybelesAllergenFreeCookies

 

What can I say? Well, for starters these babies are certified gluten-free and vegan!  Gluten is not an issue in our house, but the vegan part is particularly appealing.  Of course they are free of the top 8 allergens, and made in a dedicated gluten free, allergy-friendly facility.  They. Are. Honestly. Amazing.   They truly are.  I was perusing the aisles of Whole Foods during my routine weekend shopping trip, and just happened to spot these as I was looking for a safe snack for us to munch on in the car for the 20 minute drive home.  I thought these were going to be crunchy but they’re not.  They are soft, and chewy.  Surprise!

The Package:

I love the packaging.  I know…I know…you may be thinking, “who cares about the packaging?”  Well, I actually do.  Maybe I’m just quirky that way, but the old saying “you eat with your eyes first” reigns true for me.  I mean, when I purchase a prepackaged item, I have to admit, I take particular notice of the package it comes in.  Maybe it’s from having to read labels so much, that I’ve grown accustomed to noticing every little detail of a package.  I don’t know.  But this packaging is very visually appealing.  I love the crisp, clean design, and colors.  The basic white background makes the pictures of the actual cookies just POP out at you, which I love.  Now, I don’t know her personally, but, having seen her website, and books,  I think the package design is very “Cybele”.

The Taste:

We tried the Chocolate Chip, so I can’t speak for the other 2 flavors yet, which are Oatmeal-Raisin, and Chocolate Chunk Brownie.  But, the chocolate chip flavor is great!  Seriously, we couldn’t stop eating them!  My husband, son, and I loved them.  Now, there is that familiar grainy-shortening-like taste that lingers on the tongue for just about 5 seconds after finishing a bite, which I’ve experienced eating other allergen-free products.  I’m not exactly sure what that is.  I think it has something to do with the gluten-free part.  I say that from my personal experiences with eating some gluten-free products.  But, maybe it’s just me.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a deal breaker.  Like I said, it’s only 5 seconds.  Anyway, other than that, I honestly could not tell that these were free of milk and egg.  The chewiness was perfect, and they weren’t crumbly or falling apart, which you can get sometimes with egg-less cookies.  They were just so stinkin’ good.  Needless to say, I bought these on Sunday, and it’s Tuesday and I need to go buy some more already.  Which actually brings me to my next section…

Price Point:

Okay, I’m not a food snob( I’m not overly frugal either about my grocery shopping, but I try to save money where I can). I’ve gotten quite used to having to pay more for allergen-free products.  I’ve accepted that it’s kind of just the fact of the matter.  They are not as readily available as their allergen containing counterparts, and are more expensive.  But, I was a bit disappointed that you only get 1 row of about 12 cookies for a price of around 5 or 6 dollars.  But, like I said, that’s not really unusual in the world of food allergies.  But, still, it’s steep.  Also, the only place I’ve seen them is Whole Foods, now that doesn’t mean they’re not available at other stores…I just have only seen them there.

So, in conclusion…Do I think they’re yummy? Yes.  Do I recommend them?  Yes.  Do I plan on purchasing them again?  Yes.