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Entries in gluten-free (15)


A New Kind of Kale Chip

I love kale chips. They're easy to make and their resulting crispness is unique and satisfying. Because they shrink down when baking, you can eat a whole head of nutrient-packed kale this way! However if you've ever bought a package of prepared kale chips, maybe you've had my experience of looking into the bag and wondering "that's it?" Most brands tend to be expensive for what you get, which seems a fairly small amount of chips.

So I thought it was ingenious for Simply7 Snacks to combine kale with traditional potato to make a heartier, more dense kale chip. Just this week they debuted their line of kale chips, which join their very popular quinoa, hummus and lentil chips. Definitely some of the best tasting chips I've had in a while.

The kale in these chips is processed into a powder and mixed with potato flour but much of the nutrients are retained, as the package lists that each serving provides 80% of the RDA for vitamin K. This is a key nutrient needed for normal clotting of the blood and is abundantly found in leafy greens. Crunch into a chip and you'll taste that distinctive slight bitterness of kale, which pairs well with the lemon or dill pickle flavor options. Calories and fat are a little less than regular potato chips: 130-140 calories, 6-7 grams fat per 1 ounce serving. Keep in mind these aren't low sodium...up to 400 mg per serving in the Dill Pickle version.

Below is my vegan version of "fish and chips" with the Simply7 kale chips, Gardein crabless crabcakes, and carrot chips that I made with a Mastrad food dehydrator. I grew up eating many traditional fried fish and chips meals but I haven't missed the memory once after eating this meal!

Unfortunately for me, I can't really keep any chips in the house because I'll mindlessly munch through a whole bag! But if you've got a shred of self-control I highly recommend checking out these delicious new chips. All flavors are Kosher, non-GMO, vegan and gluten-free.

Disclosure: I received free product samples from Simply7 Snacks, which helped facilitate my review.


Treat: A Cupcakery Standing Strong

I'd never thought much about cupcakes until one day about five years ago when I walked past a bright, extremely cheerful new storefront in Needham Center. I had just finished a visit with former coworkers at a medical journal on Pickering Street that I'd worked at for several years, and was seeking an afternoon snack. The minute I stepped in, I knew I'd found something special. Treat Cupcake Bar opened its doors in July 2010, and I wrote a review in August Getting Tipsy at the Bar. At that time until now, I marvel how their vegan gluten-free cupcakes (made with flaxseed and chick pea flour) taste moister and more delicious than their regular cupcakes. Their build-your-own cupcake remains a popular choice for cupcake lovers of all ages.

So what's new? For one, it has survived the invasion of cupcakeriesmore than a dozen in the Boston area—to open a second location at The Street Chestnut Hill. In addition, the original Needham location has expanded by purchasing the adjacent space (previously Swizzles frozen yogurt), preserving the froyo concept but renaming it The Dessert Workshop.

When you first enter the expanded store in Needham, you have the choice to go right or left...

Left takes you to The Dessert Workshop where you can customize a frozen dessert with dozens of flavor options

Right takes you to cupcake heavenLast week I chatted with Sarah Waters, the marketing and events manager at Treat. She shared an update on this successful community-centered business. 

Q: Since you opened in July 2010, how is business?

A: Business is an adventure. Running three storefronts is an interesting way to connect with the community and to learn the pulse of a neighborhood. What makes it fun is meeting the families and being a very sweet part of their milestones. We have had the honor of having first dates and proposals, as well as creating custom wedding cupcakes and then baby shower cupcakes for the same families!

Q: It seems that so many cupcakeries have opened in the Boston area...do you feel this is a very competitive business? What makes Treat unique from other cupcake stores?

A: Having a cupcakery is a competitive business to be in for sure. What makes us unique is we care deeply about our community so we listen closely to what our customers want from us. This is what helps us evolve and stay present. 

Q: What is your top selling cupcake flavor?

A: Love this question but sometimes it is hard to answer! If I had to really choose I have to choose the Sprinkle Me Silly cupcake, which is a confetti cake with our classic buttercream and sprinkles. But, my cupcake of choice is the Chocolate Surprise...a gold cupcake filled with fudge and swirled with cream cheese frosting.

Q: Some of my friends especially love Treat because they serve allergen-free cupcakes. Are these a big seller for you? 

A: Our Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Egg Free / Vegan options are absolutely flying! They are the fastest growing part of our business. And we have expanded our Gluten Free options to include muffins, loaves and meringue cookies!

Q: It was a bold move to add a frozen yogurt shop to the mix (especially when the previous owners were struggling). But it looks fantastic! Has it enhanced the cupcake store?

A: Thanks for asking about The Dessert Workshop. The addition of the shop gives our customers the option to have soft-serve ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt or even vegan sorbets in a cup or added to a cupcake. It's a way to increase the creativity at Treat and we are enjoying the new addition. 

Q: How about offering a frequent cupcake buyer card (say, buy 12 get 1 free) for cupcake fanatics like me? 

A: Great idea! We'll have to give this some thought!

Ice Cream Sundae Cupcake

Hazel-nutty CupcakeTreat Cupcake Bar is located at 1450 Highland Avenue, Needham, and at 40 Boylston Street, THE STREET, Chestnut Hill, MA.


Orange Glazed Tempeh with Veetee Rice 

I love how whole grains like rice, quinoa and steel cuts oats are now available fully cooked and frozen, so you can microwave for a few minutes and eat. I also cook grains the old-fashioned way on the stove, but on chaotic days I appreciate having these packages in the freezer.

Veetee, a company originally from the U.K., has created a line of precooked rices that are shelf-stable without artificial additives. You either microwave for two minutes or add the rice directly to a cooked dish like a stir-fry. Veetee sent me a case of various flavors to try out. They offer plain versions of jasmine, basmati, and brown as well as low fat savory flavors of Chicken, Golden Vegetable, and Thai Lime & Herb. All the varieties of Veetee tasted fluffy and soft after heating up. The only downside is that they're high in sodium, a common trait in packaged flavored rices. At least Uncle Ben's Ready Rice offers a sodium-free whole grain brown rice. Even Veetee's "plain" brown rice has 290 mg per 3/4 cup serving (each package provides two servings). The Golden Vegetable version has 780 mg per serving, though keep in mind it's not hard to eat the whole package of 1 1/2 cups of rice so the sodium doubles.

Still, I find flavored rices useful because I don't have to add extra seasonings. To lower the sodium content I'll blend half flavored rice with half plain brown rice. This was the case when I cooked up the tempeh recipe below.

I've been meaning to tackle tempeh now that I'm pretty comfortable with tofu. Per serving, tempeh is higher in protein and fiber than tofu. However it's got an odd, offputting flavor out of the package that definitely needs enhancement! I found a simple yet very flavorful recipe by KathEats for tempeh with an orange marmalade glaze. You sear tempeh in some oil for a few minutes until browned, then pour on a mixture of orange marmalade, olive oil, soy sauce and crushed garlic, cooking for a few more minutes until the glaze thickens. I added a half cup of Veetee Golden Vegetable Rice blended with a cup of my plain brown rice, carrot, chopped kale and sesame seeds. 

I don't know what magical thing happened when I poured that orange mixture onto the tempeh but the savory aroma was amazing. My son Jake asked if I'd gotten Chinese takeout. The tempeh tasted like a rich Chinese meat dish. The recipe was fast, made even quicker and tastier with the precooked Veetee rice. Super filling, super nutritious!

Check out Veetee rice soon! They're now available at Hannaford supermarkets and Amazon.com.

Disclosure: I received free samples of Veetee Rices to help facilitate this post. The recipe, thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.