I did a post a few years ago about My Favorite Things, but times (and products) have changed, so I felt it was time to update the list. I try to do as many things as possible from scratch. But as we all know, it is much easier to cook healthy when you’re at home and not at work. Go figure. Anyway, we do buy a few process foods, though we still don’t use most of these on a regular basis. If you live in the South, the store suggestions may apply to you. BREADS
- Sandwich Bread – For the Kiddos: Rudi’s – $3.50/loaf on sale or with coupon. This brand, according to my single gluten-consuming child, tastes most like regular wheat bread. It also goes on sale a lot and often has coupons. It is available at Kroger (organic freezer) and Earth Fare. Dairy free.
- Sandwich Bread – For the All of Us: Udi’s – $5.99/loaf at Kroger, $6.99 for a loaf that is twice the size of a regular loaf at Costco. Well worth the $50 membership fee to buy bread all year. We buy a bunch and freeze* it.
- Hot Dog & Hamburger Buns – Udi’s, Rudi’s, Kinnikinnick – various prices. All have been about the same and pretty good overall. Kroger (organic freezer) and Earth Fare. All dairy free.
- Toaster Waffles – Trader Joe’s brand Wheat Free Waffles – $1.99/box of 8. While they are not certified GF, my children are some of the most sensitive I have ever met when it comes to cross contamination and have not had a single problem with these. They are dairy free, as well. Do not, I repeat DO NOT buy the TJ frozen pancakes. They are mush in the middle.
- Toaster Waffles – Van’s GF Waffles – $3.25/box 6. If you are not lucky enough to live near a Trader Joe’s, fear not. They have a pricier, certified GF, equally yummy version at Kroger (organic freezer) and most other big chain stores. Also dairy free.
- Cereal - Chex has lots of yummy flavors like cinnamon, chocolate and apple spice – $3ish/box. You can buy Chex almost anywhere these days – Target, Kroger (organic section), Wal-Mart. Just make sure you don’t come home with Wheat Chex. The others will say “GLUTEN FREE” in reeeeaallly big letters across the front of the box. Get one of those. Oooo, and you can usually find COUPONS for Chex!
- Cereal – EnviroKidz - $3/box on sale. They have lots of varieties like the Gorilla (much like Kix), Leapin’ Lemurs (peanut butter and chocolate), Panda Puffs (peanut butter), and the really special treat, Koala Krunch (much like Cocoa Krispies). You can find these at Kroger (organic section), Trader Joe’s, Earth Fare, and sometimes even at Wal-Mart. Also available on Amazon.com. They are made with a lot of corn, so not especially good for you, but they’re yummy!
- Oatmeal – Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats - $4+/32 oz. bag. We make our own little oatmeal packs now with these fabulous oats (check back for recipes). In fact, we go through a case of this stuff a month! While you can find it at Kroger (organic section), Earth Fare, and even at Big Lots on occasion, the best price is still at Amazon.com. I use subscribe and save (for obvious reasons), making it about $4/bag. When Bubbles’ tummy will tolerate nothing else, she does very well with oatmeal.
- Oatmeal - Again, Trader Joe’s is the place to be. They have a big bag for $3.99.
- Sandwich Cookies - Glutino, Earth Fare brand and K-Toos – various prices. All of these varieties come in both chocolate and vanilla. You can find both the moderately priced Glutino and the really pricey (but dairy free!) K-Toos at Kroger (organic section) and Earth Fare, and by the case at Amazon. Obviously, the Earth Fare brand is only available at Earth Fare and they truly are the best price when you get them on sale. Heck, the sale price is almost the price of normal cookies, so stock up* when that happens!
- Brownies & Place and Bake Cookies – French Meadow Bakery - $6/box. These brownies and cookies are absolutely delicious – almost gourmet! Look for them at Kroger (organic freezer) and Earth Fare (freezer near ice cream). Bonus: they are also dairy free (which is hard to find in these particular desserts)! You can go to their website to get coupons, as well.
- Carol’s All Purpose Pastry Flour (Gluten Free) promises to be “the best gluten-free all-purpose flour you have ever used or your money back!” Well let me just tell you, I am broke from giving Carol all of my money for her amazing flour and it was worth every penny. Nothing compares to this flour, but it is $20 for 5 lbs., so don’t waste it on just anybody. Save it for special occasions. You can only get it through her website. For those non-special occasions, use one of the suggestions below.
- Williams-Sonoma’s Cup 4 Cup – This GF flour is so yummy, it’s worth the $20 price tag for a 3lb. bag. Carol’s is still better, and less expensive. But if you’re in a pinch, you know it’s close by.
- King Arthur has always made high quality wheat flour and their GF flour does not disappoint. You can find it next to their regular flour at Kroger. It runs about $7/box for 24 oz. (1.5 lbs.)
- Gluten Free Bisquick works well, especially when mixed with something yummy like a pancake mix. It is next to the regular Bisquick at Kroger and is priced about $4/box.
- Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend - Full disclosure: I’ve not tried Pamela’s flour, but everything else she makes is so good, how can this be bad? I just checked and it’s less than $12 for a 4 lb. bag on amazon.com. Even less if you buy it through Subscribe and Save! I guess I’ll be trying this sooner than I thought. You can get it at Kroger (organic section) for around $18/bag. And unlike some of Pamela’s other products, no almond flour!
- Pamela’s mixes are always really delicious. But often an intolerance to almonds goes hand-in-hand with Celiac disease. Pamela’s uses a lot of almond meal/flour (that what makes it so good). They are a bit pricey, but worth it.
- 1-2-3 Gluten Free brand is also incredibly delicious and incredibly pricey. Available at Kroger, Earth Fare and Amazon.
- Bloomfield Farms has the best cornbread mix on the market – gluten-free or gluten-full. They also have wonderful pancake mix and seasoned flour. They are only available online at Bloomfield Farms.
- Betty Crocker offers cookie, cake and brownie mixes at Kroger, Earth Fare and Amazon. They are a great price and make really good products. But don’t look for them in the organic section. The Betty Crocker brand likes to place its products next to its regular products.
- Kinnickinnick - Say that three times fast. Or at all! I’ve tried this pizza crust myself and love it. Bonus – it’s the least expensive I’ve found, as there are 4 personal sized crusts to a pack for about $7. Found in the organic freezer section of Kroger.
- Udi’s – A great brand with good pizza crust that is always good. Available at Kroger (organic section) and Earth Fare.
- Trader Joe’s – Do you see my love for this store? They have an absolutely delicious, thin crust, four cheese pizza. A whole, entirely made, just heat in your oven pizza for …..are you ready….$4.99! Beat that. I dare you.
- Mac & Cheese – Annie’s GF Rice Pasta & Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese - $2.50+/box. Again, your best deal is on Amazon.com, but they also have it at Kroger (organic section) and Earth Fare. We don’t eat it often because of Boy Wonder’s milk allergy and Bubbles’ severe lactose intolerance. But they did like it until reactions set in.
- Pasta – We go between Quinoa pasta, which contains corn, and rice pasta. Both are really delicious, but I prefer Quinoa myself. It’s more like wheat to me. Tip: cook with a little olive oil in the water. They both cook fast and stick easily. Both available in the organic section of Kroger and at Earth Fare.
- Doughnuts and Muffins – Three words that will change your GF life: Katz Gluten Free. This is a Kosher bakery in New York, and it’s certified Gluten Free! Need I say more when it comes to yumminess and perfection? I’ve not tried all their products yet, but I’m committed to try.
- Chips - Fritos & Lays Potato Chips. I have found while we have had great success with store brands of Fritos, such as Ingles and Kroger, if you want regular potato chips, you HAVE TO buy Lays. Just read the ingredient label on the store brands of the chips and you will often become physically ill, especially anything Wal-Mart brand. I never, EVER buy anything Wal-Mart brand. Let’s put it this way, I was reading the label of their lemonade mix (yes, you have to read even that) and it said it was processed near wheat, milk, and what was that other food….oh yeah, TALAPIA! As in the fish!! Lemonade processed near fish. Gross. Just gross. Do yourself a favor and never buy Wal-Mart’s brand of food. I’m off my soap box for now.
- Pretzels – Snyder’s of Hanover GF Pretzel Sticks - $3/bag. These are the best pretzels you will EVER eat, gluten or otherwise. I served them at a birthday party to a bunch of normal-eating people and they all demanded to know where I got these fabulous pretzels. Score 1 for gluten free! You can score a bag at Amazon, Earth Fare, Benefit Your Life or The Market (Maryville).
- Graham Crackers – Smorables by Kinnikinnick - $4.30/box. These are available by the case on Amazon, which is how I buy them. You can get them in a few speciality stores for a higher price, but buying only one box at a time. Benefit Your Life stocks them, but I believe they are seasonal at Earth Fare. Kinnikinnick, while having a virtually unpronounceable name, has wonderful products. You can find many of their other items at Kroger in their organic section.
- Animal Crackers – Annie’s GF Bunnies – $3.75/box. Annie’s makes a variety of flavors of animal crackers: chocolate and vanilla, snickerdoodle and ginger snap. All three available at Amazon and Earth Fare. Kroger only stocks the regular variety, though I’ve begged them for a year to get the GF kind. They obviously don’t fear me…yet.
- Animal Crackers – K-Kritters by Kinnikinnick - $4/box. There’s that funny name again! These “crackers” are more like traditional animal crackers in taste. Available at Amazon and Earth Fare.
- Granola Bars – EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Bars - $3/box of 6. Let’s face it, there are very few healthy granola bars. I’ve made lots of versions of homemade granola bars and the only one my trio of children can agree on is, well, none of them. They love these though and I save them for special occasions. They are available at Amazon, Earth Fare and Kroger.
*Always keep your current loaf in the refrigerator or freezer to keep it longer. GF items go bad quickly on the counter. I’m sure by the time I post this I will have thought of about 10 more things I should have added, but this will have to do for now. I have found my kids don’t care as much as I do about the “quality” of most mixes. But since I’m eating most of it, too, I am a bit pickier than if I were just shopping for them. I want my food to taste really good, gluten free or otherwise. What are your favorite Gluten Free pre-made suggestions?