Gluten-Free Cooking Spree – The Goodie Bag

After savoring every gluten free morsel at the Gluten Free Cooking Spree last weekend, we were given a gift bag filled with even more gluten free goodies.

My favorite discovery from the gift bag was Ina Garden’s gluten free Melba Toasts. They are crispy without being too hard or too crumbly and the flavor is great. What more could I ask? I put in an order for more Melba Toasts and bread from this gluten free bakery. I will report back once they arrive. (Ina Garden’s Gluten Free Bakery is not to be confused with my favorite Food Network star Ina Garten) UPDATE 2008: The bakery has rebranded as “Le Garden Gourmet Gluten-Free Bakery”

The Glutino pretzels were served with the drinks at the party. These were also just as good as their “gluteny” counterparts.

Foods by George gave everyone a gluten free brownie. It had a great chocolate flavor and fantastic texture and consistency, just a little flaky and crispy on top with a soft gooey center. My only complaint here is the number of calories. The one little brownie is considered two servings – each having 210 calories and 10 grams of fat. Yikes! I guess we can’t have it all…

The Bumble Bars are positioned as a healthy power/energy bar. They are primary sesame seeds, with a few cashew or almond pieces. They are soft, just a little bit sticky and slightly sweet. It’s not something I would crave after a workout, but they make a nice sweet indulgence (they aren’t low in fat or calories either).

The hand cream by Arbonne Intelligence skin care has a lovely scent but the cream was a little too light for my dry skin. (I may give it a second try during the summer. )

The Azna Gluten Free bakery provided the delicious scones pictured here. For the goodie bag they included a Chocolate Chip Shortbread cookie. While they both tasted great, they were so crumbly I couldn’t even get a photo of the cookies and the scones were falling apart. I would guess this is due to the fact that they are using “expandex” rather than the standard xanthan or guar gums used in most gluten free cooking. I hope they figure out how to improve the consistency in future product iterations.

The SoyJoy Bars are not something I would ever buy. They tasted like old school “health food bars” that used to dominate healthy and organic foodstuffs. At least they reminded me how far we have come.

One embarrassing snafu with the gift bag occurred when “GlutenEase” was included. This is a completely unregulated health supplement that posits itself as an gluten digestion aid. Unfortunately no such pill exists and those with Celiac need to avoid gluten at all costs. Alice Bast from the NFCA apologized to the group and warned everyone not to use the product.

So this brings my coverage of the NYC Gluten Free Cooking Spree to a close. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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Lynn Barry said,

March 11, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

Gotta love the goodie bag. Very enjoyable to read about, must have been a blast to actually be there. HUGS

Gluten Free Suzi said,

March 12, 2007 @ 1:48 am

NYC Gluten Free Cooking Spree looked like a great experience. Thanks for all the news, even though we are on the west coast, it was great to feel apart of it all.

I am going to go track down some pretzels :-)

Erin S. said,

March 12, 2007 @ 5:59 pm

I was also surprised by how good the Ina Garden Melba Toast was, I am planning on buying some as well. The single serving Foods by George brownie was yummy. I do myself a favor and don’t read the calorie/fat count on a product like this. 😉

GF Suzi, if you check out the NFCA website you might find a west coast cooking spree. Looks like they plan to have one in San Franciso later this year. I would definitely check it out; the NYC one was fantastic.

Catherine said,

March 13, 2007 @ 3:47 am


I hope you like the pretzels – the EnerG Sesame pretzels are also great.

Erin – I LOVED the Melba Toast, I haven’t had anything similar since I was diagnosed.

Renee said,

March 14, 2007 @ 2:32 am

I love reading your blog – awesome pictures & great descriptions. Like you, my daughter also has both celiac and type 1 and lives in NYC, and was volunteering at the Cooking Spree with a friend who also has the dual diagnosis.
She was telling me today on the phone that she LOVED something new she’d gotten there in the goodie bag & I said “oh was it the melba toast?”….Hmmmmm….almost had her convinced I was psychic!!
I’ve been telling her she needs to read your blog if she wants to keep up with the NYC celiac news!! LOL….maybe you 2 will meet at one of the NYC Meet Up events…her name is Melissa..I think she’s met Erin at previous events….
Bravo on a great blog…yours is one of the group I peruse daily…

Catherine said,

March 14, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

Renee – thanks for reading! I’m so glad you enjoy it. Hopefully I will get to meet Melissa at a meetup at some point. Sadly they are usually during the week when I am traveling for work…

That’s a great story about the Melba Toasts, I wish my Mom was as up on the gluten free news!

Anonymous said,

March 25, 2007 @ 3:12 am

I just came across this blog tonight . I have two little ones with type one diabetes and one with celiac. We live on the west coast and order alot of our food . I can’t waite to read more on your topics I’m desperate for information on how to make life easier : ) Thanks

Catherine said,

March 26, 2007 @ 1:52 am

I hope I can give some useful tips to make things a little bit easier!

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