EATING MY (GLUTEN FREE) WAY THROUGH FEBRUARY: How I Celebrated National Snack Food Month
I feel like this is a familiar scenario to the devoted snacker.
You come home after a long day of dealing with humans. You've been fantasizing about your couch and the luxuries it affords you all day long.
You feed and/or walk the beast that lives in your home (cat, dog, ferret, significant other, child) so as to remove any future interruptions that may break the seal between your person and your couch.
You begin gathering -- salty snacks, sugary snacks, beverages, napkins (if you're fancy), crunchy snacks, chewy snacks -- all to be placed within arm's reach of your eventual resting place. If you're like me (and I suspect you are), you keep a jug of Burgundy on your coffee table.
Before tucking into your bounty, you select a story or series of stories on the viewing machine of your choice that will keep you stationary for an appropriate amount of time. I've recently gotten on the "Sherlock" bandwagon, and have been staying up until the witching hour questioning the life decision I've made not to become an English crime solver. At least I have these sugar cookies.
It's been a weird, tiresome, soul (and stomach) searching month. Somebody told me Mercury was in retrograde, so somehow that translates to accomplishing little more than discovering the bottom of a gluten-free box of cheese crackers. However, as I was recently informed, it is also National Snack Food Month, so perhaps I'm fulfilling my duty as an American?
Now at this point you may be wondering what I'm eating. I would be. As a gluten free food-eater, whenever someone on my team brings up snacks, especially of the traditionally gluten-filled variety, I want all the dirty details.
So in an effort to feel a little more useful, and a little less like merely a statistic to the BBC and a warming pad for my cat, I'd like to offer you a guide to some of the gluten free snacks that have been coddling me through this month.
If I've accomplished nothing else, I've expanded my snacking menu, and I suspect you may want to do the same. Since gluten-free foods are often pricy, I am always open to someone telling me if something is good before dropping eight bucks on 10 dry gingersnaps (been there, done that, the fury of a thousand burning retrograde gas giants filled me as the saliva was sapped from my mouth).
So while I've been altogether too lazy to make a batch of those glorious gluten free "Cheez Its," these are what I've been self-soothing with at the end of the day.
I had a bad experience with BBQ-flavored potato chips a few years ago. There was a big ol' bowl of them at a party I attended. As I do, I parked myself by the food and held court. I ate a lot of those chips. Those chips had gluten in them. I was glutened. It wasn't pretty.
Apparently a lot of BBQ flavored chips have barley or barley malt flour in them. I don't know if this is still the case, but as many of you can understand, once glutened, twice shy.
But I'm chowing down on Rhythm Super Food's Barbeque chips right now.
They are acutely tangy, salty, have that pleasing orangey-BBQ dust on them that you can lick off your fingers, and aren't greasy. I'd call them "crisps" maybe more than "chips" as they are like a super thin corn chip. And they specifically say GLUTEN FREE on the bag.
Plus they have all those healthy things like being non-GMO and lots of whole ingredients (quinoa, amaranth, oat bran, pea protein), if you're into that stuff. I am, but more than that I want a barbecue chip that takes charge a little. These guys do. You get a hint of that tart, vinegary flavor, with a little sweet.
I opened up the bag for the first time the other day while I was at work, and chased my co-workers around making them "try this chip." One of my co-workers said to me, "I thought you were afraid of barbecue chips?"
Not anymore. Yee ha.
I regularly trick gluten eaters into eating these chocolate chip cookies. Maybe my taste buds are shot, but I don't think you can tell the difference.
They are light, crisp, buttery with a well informed chocolate chip to cookie ratio. I'm a weirdo, and don't actually like chocolate cookies all THAT much, I'm more of a sugar cookie gal (more on that later), but Tate's has got something right with these fancy little cookies.
These cookies hit that hallowed ground where I don't just mindlessly shove them in my face or eat my way around the chocolate chip groupings (I told you, I'm weird, I don't actually like chocolate chips), but I pace myself as I eat my way through the bag. I'll save the last cookie to eat with my coffee the next morning.
I offhandedly mentioned these before in a post and the comments section lit up with, "What are these gluten free cheesy bread rolls you speak of?"
I'd like to introduce you to Brazi Bites, my ongoing addiction.
I don't shop at Whole Foods often, but I've been known to drive across town in Honolulu traffic (we have the #2 worst traffic in the country!) to acquire these little bread bites.
I've been intensely lazy lately, but I'm still willing to pop eight or nine of these in the oven at time (they are tiny) and wait 15 minutes or so for my cheesy, crusty reward.
FACT: If you've been gluten free for a while, you miss rolls. Dinners out are dampened by the reality that NO M'AM! DON'T YOU TOUCH THAT BUTTERY CRUSTY ROLL set before you on your table. Your dining companions can ooh and aah about how "This place is worth it for the bread alone," but you have to settle for your stupid appetizer or entree.
Brazi Bites give you a little of your own back.
Soft and cheesy on the inside, crisp on the outside, not dense or gritty, and chewy -- YES CHEWY! Plus they have a balanced cheesy zip. You don't even need or want butter with these guys. And I want butter on everything.
Speaking of cheese.
I recently gobbled down a box of Wellaby's Classic Cheese Crackers. I long for an industrial-sized box.
A relatively large sized, sturdy cracker (they could handle hunks of cheese these put on them, if you're going to be crazy), they are lightly cheesy, lightly salty, and kind of remind me of the cream crackers my grandma used to give me. But cheesy.
And yet, there is distinctly "Cheez It" quality to them. Kind of like a Cheez It's older, more dignified sister. The Cheese Ups are dainty little pillows of cheesy air. But O! Do they taste like cheese! Fancy cheese at that.
I suppose what may be a real testament to the cheesy goodness of these crackers is that after consuming half a bag of the Cheese Ups, my husband caught a whiff of my breath and asked if I'd been "gnawing on that brick of cheese again."
I've been on a search for gluten-free sugar cookies for a while. I long for sugar cookies.
But gluten free ones are both hard to find in stores, and they are very often a chalky, cloyingly sweet, mess. I bake them myself from time to time, but like I said before -- Mercury, retrograde, no motivation -- I just can't be bothered lately.
But Lucy's Sugar Cookies…sweet criminy. This is one of the best store bought, gluten-free sugar cookie I've come across yet.
So light, not overwhelmingly sweet, crispy -- a more delicate word like confection seems to suit these sugar cookies.
But these are not necessarily special occasion cookies. I dunked, OK soaked, a few in milk and it was like having a nostalgic after-school snack. Comfort food.
So that's how I've been celebrating National Snack Food Month.
What have you been eating? What are your favorite gluten-free snacks? What snacks have been your oasis in a gluten-free wasteland?
I'm still hungry! Tell me!