Smoked Bratwurst from Aldi’s: Yummy!

 

A day too late for a Memorial Day barbeque, but I’ve been busy and somehow this blog has become a lower priority this May because I am utterly consumed with work, gardening and especially tired due to recovering from my knee replacement surgery. Not writing to share excuses but there they are, regrettably valid.  I’m writing today to share a tasty meat product I found at Aldi’s: smoked bratwurst.smoked bratwurstThey taste so great after you grill them a bit; get those grill marks going and they burst just a bit on the sides, perfect!   We had ours with gf hot dog rolls by Schar; okay but seemed bready to me as I tend to want a thinner bun. I am so over eating a lot of bread these days but a roll to put my wurst in seemed appropriate.  For condiments we had an unusual combination but it worked; spicy whole grain brown mustard, finely chopped Vidalia onion and horseradish from a just opened bottle.  Lots of zing going on and it matches well with the flavor of these brats.

To me they taste like the best hot dogs ever. I had a Nathan’s hot dog the other week and while it was decent; these brats were so much tastier. They are fairly cheap; about $3 for five of these fat brats.  The package even says gf on it; no guessing involved. Great flavor, easy to fry up and super pricing: awesome choice for a bbq.  They are vacuum packed which keeps them very fresh until you are ready to fry these chubby wursts up for a hungry group of friends at your next barbeque. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chips to Munch

If you follow my blog you might notice I haven’t posted many baked goods in the past month. As I mentioned the other week, I had my right knee replacement surgery the first week of March. Due to that I haven’t been able to do much cooking and even less baking.  Just not able to stand around or work hard at anything other than my recovery which is going pretty well these days. I use a cane but in my house I often just walk all on my own. I’ve had lots of company, mostly siblings who came to help me out and to visit our mom who I normally spend time with each week.  This worked out great and now I am on my own.  While they were here people bought a number of things new to me and so I have been doing some product reviews.  Here are two more, both triangular chips and both organic.  In the interest of honesty I should say that throughout my recovery I have been actively seeking not to eat these sort of treats; too fattening/salty/addictive.  I didn’t buy them but I sure couldn’t help myself to try more than a few of each chip.

pink himalayan chipsI love tortilla chips and was excited when my brother bought a bag of Pink Himalayan Salt Red Rice & Quinoa Tortilla Chips by Lundberg in Ca. Everyone likes them but me and my beef is the salt. I guess my salt cutting back regimen for the past year or so is having a serious effect as I found these chips to be way too salty for my tastes.  No one else felt that way; they were noshed on with joy by several of my visitors so get a bag and test them out! Non GMO, gluten free and whole grain…purchased at Giant Food Stores.

popcorners chips

The other snack item I want to share with you are Popcorners, Crispy & Crunchy Popped Corn Chips, by BFY Brands in Liberty NY.  Darn it, but I just love them! No preservatives, no trans fats, not fried, doubled pressed for extra crunch.  I got the variety with some cheddar for flavoring. Thin, crisp but not hard and lightly cheesy: I could eat the whole bag in a day but I have restrained myself so far. These also came from Giant and I love that they have 7 ounces, the other ones were 5.5 so I got another ounce and a half plus they were a bit cheaper so double score on these triangular treats.

More and more tasty gluten free snacks are popping up out there in regular grocery stores; but do read the packaging carefully if you have allergies or want to limit sodium or other sorts of intake. Best not to eat the whole bag at one munching! Enjoy.

Udi’s GF Blueberry Muffins

I have a tiny confession to make; I seldom buy store made baked goods.  I just don’t.  As an accomplished home baker I tend to not be willing to spend a lot of cash on something that I fear will be substandard. These past three and a half weeks have been spent recovering from a total knee replacement which I really needed.  Unable to cook until the last week or so, and just not having any appetite, I haven’t been tempted by much, until a dear friend brought a package of four fat Udi’s GF blueberry muffins as a get well gift. I put them in the freezer as they were still mostly frozen and I wasn’t hungry at that moment.  A day later I thawed one and shared it with my sister who is visiting to help me out; it was kinda large I thought for me with my shrunken appetite.  We warmed it a tad in the microwave and shared our impressions.

udi blueberry muffins

The actual muffins look even better than they do in this photograph!

Karen is not gluten free but she has happily enjoyed my gf baked goods over the past four years, even agreeing that some of my baked items are better gf than they ever were! Russian teacake cookies, for one, which get snarfed up very quickly by company.  Well, the muffin was quite tasty, great texture, not crumbly or gluey which are common failures.  Karen liked it too and was impressed by the flavor and the texture. It was sweet but not overly so and the blueberry flavor was just right; strong but not over the top.  I detected a hint of lemon in the muffin which made me like it even more. The top had a light sugary crust which was a treat too. This sure was a lot of deliciousness in the shape of a muffin and I was pleasantly surprised as, sometimes gf baked stuff can be pretty gnarly.  I liked knowing that someone who doesn’t need to eat gf enjoyed it too so you can serve this to your non gf family/friends without any fear.

A bonus is that they are dairy, soy and nut free if you need to avoid those food categories this is a great breakfast for snack choice.  One muffin has 270 calories which is quite a bit but I tend to eat half for a morning snack and the other half later on in the day so it counts for two snacks in my world.

So, if you like blueberries this muffin is a treat and I wholeheartedly recommend them. I make my own blueberry muffins which are darn tasty if I may brag a bit but if you aren’t a baker, these are an excellent choice. Buy a package and get your yummy on!

Krusteaz GF Cornbread Mix

Folks think cornbread is naturally gluten free.  Not so, many recipes use a blend of all purpose flour and cornmeal and then there is the cross contamination of many flours that one thinks should always be gluten free.  I have made a pretty tasty gf cornbread from scratch using a recipe by Annalise Roberts from her best seller: Gluten-Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. gluten free baking classicsThe recipe was a simple dump and stir and bake with very good results. I used King Arthur’s basic gf flour mix.

 

The other day my sister made some tasty scratch beef chili with beans and she made cornbread using a Krusteaz Gf honey cornbread mix.  Add an egg, some vegetable oil and a cup of milk, stir and pour into a pan. Yes, that was a lot easier than the scratch cornbread I made. It tasted quite decent that night. But the day after the bread had become heavy, almost sodden and the texture turned to mud after a couple of chews in my mouth. Yuck! So, this mix is very convenient, tastes fine just after you bake it but leftovers…not very appetizing. krusteaz cornbread mix

My homemade cornbread kept a couple of days with fine flavor and texture.  Everyone talks about how gf bread doesn’t keep but even regular cornbread has a short shelf life.  The mix is a great time saver and perfect if you aren’t into gf baking technique or don’t have the desire to make scratch.  Just don’t expect it to stay tasty for any great length of time.

Snacky Treats Recently Taste Tested

I love it when friends give me new gf products to try.  This week I am sharing two treats that were gifts and three snacks I bought myself.  First up: Tate’s Bake Shop Gf Chocolate chip cookies.  They are 7 oz in a waxed paper bag and in two plastic bags in a plastic tray inside.  I found them to be large, thin, crisp and somewhat addictive.  For those of us who adore chocolate chip cookies, anyway! I believe they came from Giant Grocery Store. I give these cookies a 4.5 on my zero to five scale.  Leaving room for homemade cookies; mine are a 5; see my blog post on chocolate chipperscrunchy-rice-sticks

tates-cookies

 

 

 

 

Second item is Crunchy Rice Sticks; round columns; 3.2 ounces and 8 sticks to a bag.  Fairly bland but not bad at all has rice syrup to hold it together and render them faintly sweet; the sticks are about an inch in diameter and five inches in length.  Great crunch and low calories: 50 to a stick!  I think they came from Giant.

Next up: Cashew Brittle from Aldi’s.  Not my favorite.  Way too sweet for me and not that much cashew in them.  Still, if you like cashews and sweets this might be up your alley.  Made by Crazy Candy Company.  7 ounce bag.

skinny-pop

Popcorn aisle: Skinny Pop Dusted Dark Chocolate Popcorn.  Non GMO, GF, 43 calories per cup.  I believe I found this at Giant Foods. Decent tasting if slightly drab: I have been spoiled by the drizzled with chocolate popcorn I found at Aldi’s this fall.  Now that was freaking amazing!  Can’t find it at present; hopeful it will return to the stores very soon.  There is a drizzled with chocolate and white sugar topped popcorn at Giant but it was a very small bag for nearly $4.  Crazy price for that itty bitty bag.  Time to research and product test my own homemade drizzled popcorn!

 

Final product: Veggie & Flaxseed Corn Tortilla Chips.  They were pretty decent; 10 oz bag purchased at Aldi’s; store brand chips.  Organic and in several colors and flavors although they tasty pretty much alike.  Good with a dollop of hummus.  Salsa works too.  Only thing is, I re-read the label and they are manufactured in a facility that also uses wheat products.  Rethinking this one….bummer.veggie-chips

 

I don’t recommend eating gf snacks all day long but some of these are fairly healthy and not that expensive.  We all enjoy a bit of a treat.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Cheerios…Cheers!

I happen to enjoy the new gluten free Cheerios….haven’t been made ill by them at all, despite all the complaints about them.  My favorite is the honey nut but I also enjoy the apple cinnamon as well.  The other week I tried something new, strawberry Cheerios! I heard they were out, could only find the huge family size so that’s what I came home with. Giant box…bigstrawberrycheeriosI tried them and was not that impressed, seemed a tad weirdly flavored.  But it is a big box and I am a frugal person so I kept eating them for my bedtime snack.  Strangely, I have grown very fond of them.  They are made with strawberry puree and no artificial color or flavor.   A serving has only like 8 grams of sugar which is fairly low in the cereal world these days.

strawberry cheerios

The flavor is subtle, not artificially strawberryish, just faintly fruity.  A nice change of pace from other breakfast cereals traditionally eaten with milk poured over.  I was betting I could enjoy them with yogurt and yes…quite delicious with some plain organic yogurt.

If you see them and enjoy Cheerios I recommend this flavor, did see it last week in a smaller box, LOL.  Well; I am steadily working my way through my family size.  It is now in a Tupperware cereal box to keep it fresh; a good idea with any cereal. Enjoy!

Aldi’s…My Latest Finds

Okay, I confess to loving cheese curls, baked ones… bag marked gluten free and totally addictive in the cheesy crunch of these treats. But this post is not about them.  It is focused on treats you can buy for cheap at Aldi’s. These are products new to me. Just forget I mentioned cheese curls…for now!

aldi's

green pea crisps

Ever eat Green Pea Crisps by Simply Nature? Never tried them until recently, you can find these interesting snack crisps at Aldi’s… This is a baked whole pea pod with less fat than potato chips; about 120 calories for a one ounce serving.  They are very tasty, irresistible in their fluffy powdery crunch. Labeled gluten free, baked instead of fried and free of a lot of additives.  The coating is rice flour, baked with any of three vegetable oils.  I had even almost half the bag before I realized they had the note “Processed in a facility that uses, milk, wheat and soy.”  Whoops! Now that was a big downer.  I hadn’t gotten ill, it was my second time of eating them with no issues so I did keep and finish them another day.  Not sure I will buy again, a bit chancy in my opinion. I wish they would not use wheat in the same facility.  Probably not safe for those of us with celiac because even a crumb of gluten (wheat, rye or barley) is enough to make a celiac really ill.

I also bought some Aldi’s Gluten Free Mini Pretzels.  They were rather hard and crunchy; fairly similar to other gf mini pretzels.  Cheaper but not better tasting.

mini pretzelsfiesta lime crisps

In the liveGfree food line available only at Aldi’s a stand out is their black bean and rice flour fiesta lime crackers.  They are spicy and crisp.  We tried them with a goat cheese spread I made with fresh herbs.  Amazing combination: the spread is basically plain goat cheese made smooth by adding a tbsp. of organic yogurt and flavored by a tbsp. of minced fresh herbs like oregano, garlic chives and thyme or rosemary.  Also ate some with extra sharp cheddar cheese and tomato jam; wonderful combo.  I have been enjoying their sea salt multi seed gf crackers for a while now; they are lightly salted and perfectly flavored.  Go with cheese or dips and are priced to please.  Why spend $4 bucks on crackers when you can go to Aldi’s and get these for less than half of that?multi seed crackers

Saved the best for last: Aldi’s Hazelnut Dark Chocolate bars, big, crunchy, delish and only $2.  A must buy if you like dark chocolate, made in Germany and marked gf.

hazelnut chcolatehazelnut chcolate

So, yes…get to Aldi’s; great prices, interesting and tasty gluten free products.  Just take a shopping bag or two with you; bags are extra!