Neat | Triumph Dining Product Review

neat-italian-mix__13897.1405355072.220.290When I was in high school I went vegan for a time. I only made it about four months before the delightful smell of buffalo wings reached my nostrils and I ended up caving. Luckily, in that time, I had learned about organic and free-range meat choices and never had to go back to the awful fake meat products (or “feat” as I called them) which were the only things available at the time.

Recently I came about the Neat meat replacement mixes because they weren’t made out of tempeh and tofu. Instead, these mixes are made from pecans, garbanzo beans, gluten-free oats and cornmeal, and spices. I had seen quite a few raves on Amazon and couldn’t believe that something people liked so much could be 100% vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and not contain any GMOs.

There are four flavors of Neat: Original, Mexican, Italian and Breakfast. Original is to be used as a replacement for ground beef in burgers, chili, and Sloppy Joe’s. Mexican is to be used as a replacement in tacos, nachos and enchiladas. Italian can be used in pasta and meatballs while breakfast is a replacement for sausage in dishes like sandwiches and quiches. Click to continue reading »

Paleo People Fruit & Nut Clusters | Triumph Dining

414eaZx+seL._SY300_For busy households like mine, snack mixes that you can trust are gluten-free are an absolute must for the pantry. Paleo People has a snack line of Fruit & Nut Cluster snacks that are not only certified gluten-free but also grain-free, sodium-free, soy-free, dairy-free, non GMO, and made from all natural ingredients.

These snacks are available in four flavors: Cacao Nut, Apple Crisp, Cappuccino Crunch and Banana Nut Crunch. While often compared to a granola, these cluster snacks are a bit more moist and chewy, though there is still a distinctive crunch.

The Cacao Nut is perfect for a chocoholic. The raw cacao powder is lightly dusted on all the almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds and various other nuts and adds the robust but not overly sweet taste of the cocoa nibs mixed in. If you add this to yogurt it really brings out the chocolate flavor. Click to continue reading »

Finnriver Farm Cider | Triumph Dining

images-2At Finnriver, cider making isn’t their only venture, but it sure is one of the tastiest. Finnriver Farm is a 33 acre organic family farm, artisan cider, and event venue located in on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. They are a certified organic and salmon safe farm where you can find an assortment of berries, vegetables, flowers, honey bees, chicken, ducks, pigs, and goats as well as heirloom apple orchards. From those apple orchards comes the apple juice that is fermented through the winter using both traditional and contemporary methods to make the Finnriver Cider. Click to continue reading »

Pairdd | Triumph Dining Review

If you’ve seen the online ads for “meal in a box” services such as Blue Apron or Plated and wished there was a gluten-free option available, you may be in luck. Pairdd is a new Wisconsin-based company that will ship you gluten-free ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes each week so you can cook your own gluten-free meals without any hassle.

With Pairdd, you decide which meals you would like to make for the following week and pay for them on the website before each Sunday. On Tuesday, your ingredients will arrive at your doorstep, pre-measured with the recipes you chose from gluten-free bloggers, chefs and businesses. All the prep work is taken care of ahead of time so you can have your meal on the table in under an hour.

You can choose to make the meals the day you receive your box or keep them refrigerated for up to five days for meat-based dinners or two days for seafood-based dinners. The Pairdd boxes are sent to you with FedEx PeriShip, which is tailored to perishable items so there’s no need to worry about a box getting delivered to your home while you’re at work.

Pairdd has six weekly menu options either a la carte for $15 a serving, though each order is two servings, or through a weekly subscription of $50 for two meals (4 servings). This company takes a lot of the legwork and guesswork out of eating gluten-free. Sometimes a product is not clearly labeled gluten-free, or a manufacturer makes other products that contain gluten, resulting in cross-contamination. Pairdd double checks the ingredients in its meals whenever possible.

“We’re reading all labels and we also attempt to make phone calls to manufacturers to make sure that they are prepared in a place that doesn’t have any gluten around,” Casey Lanto, one of the company’s founders, said. “There’s certain products, say blue cheese, where it can be grown on gluten containing bread. Some blue cheese isn’t clearly labeled on whether or not there’s gluten in it.”

Also convenient is that Pairdd offers up their past recipes of a la carte items on their website so if you have already cooked your meal for the week, you can easily find inspiration for the rest of your dinners.

Unfortunately, Pairdd only serves the Wisconsin area right now but hopefully will be expanding soon! If you’re lucky enough to live in the delivery area, get your first week free by signing up on their website though you do have to pay shipping fees.

Boonville Cider House | Triumph Dining Product Review

2db6ff_0fd37da307ab4a729c58af4a7e0e0f3e.png_srz_311_374_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzFrom the owners of California’s Boonville Hotel comes one of the newest and hardest gluten-free cider brewers, Boonville Cider House. These folks have only been making cider since 2010, but have been doing it well enough to make a name for themselves in the emerging craft cider scene. Also making them stand out, Boonville Cider House’s Bite Hard Apple Cider is one of only a few served in an aluminum can.

Their Bite Hard cider is crisp and semi-dry, slow fermented from heirloom Northern California apples in the English tradition. This cider carries a distinctive bite thanks to the tannic and full-bodied fruit that goes in it. It’s a solid cider with a light sweetness and it’s very refreshing. It’s affectionately called Autumn in a Can. And at 6.9% ABV, Bite Hard is fairly typical of full-strength hard ciders, with no perceptible harshness imparted by the alcohol. Click to continue reading »

Devoto Orchards Cider | Triumph Dining Review

Review of Devoto Cider by Triumph DiningIn the hills near Sebastopol, California, amidst all the vineyards, is a small cidery named Devoto Orchards. Devoto uses exclusively California-grown certified organic apples for their ciders and more than that, they grow more than a hundred different varieties of apples! Though they’ve only been making cider for a few of the 40 years they have had the farm, a few years is apparently all you need to make an award-winning bunch. According to the cidery, the sandy soil and coastal fog, which produces amazing wine grapes, is also very good for their heirloom and cider apples.

Devoto’s gluten-free cider is only made between the months of August to November, which are when the apples are the freshest. These apples are shaken off tree branches before being turned into one of four artisanal ciders: 1976, Cider Noir, Gravenstein and Backyard.

In 1976, the Devoto family left Berkeley to brew cider and their 1976 Cider is an homage to that beginning. 1976 is a semi-dry cider blended from the 17 original apple varieties that the family started with.

Cider Noir is a dry cider made from the last apples picked of the season. The flavors in these apples develop for seven months before being harvested in late October. Click to continue reading »

The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks | Triumph Dining Product Review

Review of Good Bean Chickpea Snacks by Triumph DiningFirst kale was the “in”healthy food, then chia seeds, and now it seems like chickpeas have stolen the throne. This nutty and buttery legume has been popping up in snacks all over the place! Not that I am one to complain, chickpeas are super healthy, gluten-free and The Good Bean’s Chickpea Snacks are currently my favorite.

Originally they had four flavors: Sea Salt, Cracked Pepper, Smoky Chili & Lime, and Sweet Cinnamon, but now they have added three new flavors: Mesquite BBQ, Thai Coconut and Chocolate. According to their website, one serving of Chickpea Snacks has as much protein as almonds, as much fiber as two cups of broccoli and as much folate as three cups of spinach.”  Click to continue reading »

Garden Lites Zucchini Chocolate Muffins | Triumph Dining Review

Review of Zucchini Chocolate Muffins by Triumph DiningI am finding more and more gluten-free options at my local Costco. This week, while reaching for my huge loaf of Udi’s bread, I noticed a box of chocolate muffins right next to the bread. Upon further inspection I saw that they were gluten-free and I was intrigued.

These weren’t standard muffins. First they were in the frozen section, not the fresh bakery section. The box was a size my freezer could accommodate – if it wasn’t I wouldn’t have looked twice. Second, the brand name on the box is Garden Lites and these were Zucchini Chocolate Veggie Muffins. I’m thinking how do zucchini…chocolate…and veggies work together in a muffin that’s gluten free? But then I think about that awesome zucchini chocolate chip cookie recipe I have and think, maybe this could work. I see things on the box like “gluten free” “4g protein” “individually wrapped” and I’m sold.

I figured this would be something good to grab and toss in my bag for work. They are slightly high maintenance since they are frozen and either need to be microwaved for 30 seconds or allowed to thaw for a few hours before eating but I can handle that.

I ate my first one this morning. They are all individually wrapped so I took one out of the box, microwaved it in its package for 30 seconds and jumped in the car. I didn’t really know what to expect but it was wonderful: soft, warm and surprisingly light and fluffy. It was not at all dense like gluten-free baked goods can sometimes be. The muffin wasn’t large but for 120 calories of chocolate that’s understandable.

The muffins contain egg and soy but are gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free. The company, Garden Lites, has a full line of minimally processed, vegetarian, all natural soufflés and zucchini “pasta” dishes. In addition to chocolate, other muffin flavors include zucchini banana chocolate chip and carrot berry veggie.

XO Baking Co Mixes | Triumph Dining Product Review

xobakingco When Lindsey Deitsch, founder and owner of XO Baking Co., was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009, she was determined to keep baking. She wanted to make gluten-free baked goods that had the same taste and texture as the goodies she grew up on.

Today, XO Baking Co. has a line of products for the gluten-free home baker including an All Purpose Flour Blend, Pancake and Waffle Mix, a Brownie Mix, and Various Cake, Cookie, Bread and Frosting Mixes.

Recently, I picked up the Banana Bread Gourmet Bread Mix to try out. The directions were very easy to follow as they just required you to mix the ingredients and then bake for roughly an hour. As a cook who prides herself on her “semi-homemade”style of baking, I really appreciated the simplicity here.

Unlike most banana bread mixes found in a grocery store, XO Baking Co.’s does not include an artificial banana flavor. Instead, you are responsible for providing your own over-ripe bananas for the mashing (approximately 4). They also offer suggestions for varying the recipe, such as adding chocolate chips or walnuts.

So after waiting an agonizing 55 minutes breathing in the fantastic banana-bread smells wafting from my oven, I was able to take the pan out to cool. I dug into a slice and the bread to be very fluffy and moist. It tasted fantastic and I never had to taste a single “fake banana”bite in the whole slice. Because the loaf was rather large, I did end up freezing a good portion of it, but found that when I defrosted it a week later, it had the same great taste and richness as when it was fresh out of the oven. Lindsey definitely kept her promise to her customers as I couldn’t even tell this was a gluten-free product.

I highly recommend the XO Baking Mixes. The ingredients were all easy to read, which is always good news as hard to pronounce words are no friend of mine or my family. This mix also lacks preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, and is certified gluten-free, and even Kosher! Furthermore, the products are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility and the company tests every one of their products to ensure safe consumption for consumers with celiacs. I for sure will be picking up the brownie mix to try next.

XO Baking Co. is based out of Southern California and according to their website, is the first company to use organic coconut flour in all of their products.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks | Triumph Dining Product Review

wanderingaengusciderworksDeep in Salem, Oregon is the Wandering Aengus Ciderworks distillery. Here they brew their five popular, gluten-free ciders; Bloom, Wanderlust, Oaked Dry, Golden Russet and Wickson.

Bloom is the original cider from Wandering Aegnus. It is sweet with hints of tropical fruit, and embodies everything you would expect from a delicious cider. It smells like apples and tastes like carbonated apple sauce with a little bit of tartness trapped in its golden color.

Wanderlust is a great holiday cider, thanks to its warm undertones of ginger. Out of all the different brews, it is probably the most aptly named an “apple cider.”It is semi-dry and tart with a light body and a spicy finish.

Oaked Dry lives up to its name. It is very oaky and very dry. There is a blend of bittersweet and sharp apples that are a bit spicy to the tongue and end very smoothly.

Golden Russet is bronze and dense. It’s a dry cider that smells of honey and apple, almost like an apple brandy. This varietal has a deep apple flavor with just a hint of tart. Caramel rounds out the flavors and makes you almost forget this is a 9.8% ABV.

Wickson pours into your glass clear with lots of carbonation. You can catch waft of apple, lemon, and grape while tasting a bit of honey on the palate with a hint of lime. This cider has a very clean, dry finish for a solid and smooth experience overall.

Wandering Aengus Ciderworks only uses apples that originate from France, England, and pre-prohibition America, which they grow themselves in Oregon. These heirloom apple varieties, like the Golden Russet and Wickson crab apple, are what allow for depth of flavor, body, and district aromatics in their ciders, according to the company.

Wandering Aengus Ciders are brewed and bottled in a dedicated gluten-free facility.