Product Review: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt & GIVEAWAY!

I love summer and I am dreading the cold! Although Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, it isn’t officially over until September 21st. Just because school has started up again and apple picking season is beginning, doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy some of our favorite summertime things – outdoor dining, walks along the Charles River, and frozen treats – just to name a few.

When I finished the Falmouth Road Race, the Yasso truck was at the finish line handing out samples of their rozen Greek yogurt. Although I was incredibly overheated and should have wanted a nice cold treat, all I wanted was water. I later regretted not trying the Frozen Greek yogurt bars.  Luckily for me,the folks over at Yasso offered to give me some samples to share with my co-workers in the office.IMG_4454

Yasso is a Boston-based company started by childhood friends Amanda and Drew a few years ago. Both former athletes, they set out to create a good-for-you frozen novelty product of the highest quality. After a degree from ice cream camp (yep, seriously), countless road trips, and over a year of research and development, they executed their first production run.

Me at the Yasso headquarters in Boston.

Me at the Yasso headquarters in Boston.

Now Yasso makes 6 great flavors of Frozen Greek Yogurt and are in the process of creating new flavors for 2014. My vote is for Chocolate and Mint Chip.IMG_4455

Yasso bars are made with Greek yogurt and contain probiotics, which are live bacteria that help treat digestive problems and regulate the immune system. Yasso bars are made from all natural ingredients, have 6 grams of protein per serving (Vanilla Bean has 7g), are gluten free, fat free (only the coconut has 0.5 grams of fat), contain no artificial sweeteners, and have only 80 calories per bar!

The bars have a creamy texture but are surprisingly light. Each bar contains just 12 grams of sugar, much less than many other novelty bars on the market. I like that Yasso bars are not too sweet, yet are sweet enough to make for a delightful dessert-like treat.

The first 3 flavors introduced in 2001 were blueberry, strawberry and raspberry. Each one is flavorful and has a ‘’berry’’ taste; I like the strawberry the best.

Enjoying a yasso bar and my new yasso sunglasses at the office

Enjoying a yasso bar and my new yasso sunglasses at the office

Blueberry

Blueberry

In 2013 Yasso introduced 3 new flavors – coconut, mango and vanilla bean. My favorite out of these was the Coconut flavor. I could feel and taste the real coconut flakes inside.

Mango

Mango

If you are looking for a sweet healthy treat to keep you cool, but that won’t weigh you down, Yasso is just what you need.

Yasso also makes frozen Greek smoothies, available in 3 flavors: strawberry banana, mixed berry and mango pineapple. Yasso products are available to buy at Stop & Shop, BJ’s, Whole Foods, Walmart, Hannaford’s and many other retail and grocery locations. To find Yasso products near you click here.

Now for the Giveaway! One lucky reader will win two boxes of Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt and four $1 off coupons for future Yasso purchases!

Enter below using the Rafflecopter for a chance to win! This Giveaway will end on Thursday August 29, 2013 at 11:59pm EST.

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

Product Review: Susan’s Premium Gluten Free Ice Cream

Ice cream is a quintessential summer treat, one you don’t need to give up if you are on a gluten free diet.

But many ice cream companies utilize food starches containing gluten in some of their products, such as fudge sauce or mix-in’s for example. This limits our choices of ice cream, and certainly excludes us from eating any type of cookie, brownie or pretzel ice cream. While there are many ice creams that do not contain these gluten ingredients, they may still be manufactured on equipment that processes gluten.

Susan’s Premium Ice Creams are all natural and 100% gluten free, processed on dedicated gluten free equipment in dedicated gluten free facilities. Susan’s ice cream is also GMO-free and certified fair trade. She only uses top grade, premium ingredients such as fair trade sugar, grade one, fair trade Madagascar vanilla, and gluten free brownies made by a gluten free artisan bakery in Maine.Ice creame essentials

Susan’s Premium Ice Cream comes in 5 flavors: Madagascar Vanilla, Double Fudge Brownie, Cappuccino, Chocolate Chunk, and Cookies and Cream.

My favorite was by far the cookies and cream.IMG_6394 I can’t remember the last time I had cookies and cream ice cream; it was sometime before January 2009. Made with Madagascar vanilla and lot’s of chocolate wafer cookie chucks it was to die for! Jeremy was thrilled when I brought home a carton for us to share.IMG_6397 IMG_6399

If you like chocolate and coffee, and let’s be serious who doesn’t?, then the mocha ice cream with gluten free fudge chunks is for you.IMG_6326The cappuccino ice cream tastes like a cappuccino, and the double fudge brownie, made with chocolate cream, fudge swirls and gluten free brownies is also to die for!

Susan’s ice cream was delicious. The prominent flavors were outstanding; there is nothing bland about Susan’s ice cream. Besides the superior taste and value, there are a lot of other reasons why you might want to consider buying Susan’s ice cream.Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 2.35.00 PMSusan’s Premium Ice Cream is priced the same as both Haagen-Daz and Ben & Jerry’s. Susan’s ice cream can be found at major supermarkets and specialty markets through New England. For a full list of retail locations click here.

Disclaimer: I received this product free to sample and review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

The Healthy Villi Gluten Free Expo 2013 Recap

This past Sunday I attended the New England Gluten Free Expo put on by The Healthy Villi at the Sheraton Hotel in Norwood.

We spent the morning strolling and browsing the aisles of dozens of gluten free vendors, sampling gluten free chips, crackers, breads, bagels, pizza, pasta, beer, cupcakes, baked goods, and so much more. I discovered dozens of tasty new foods, like Against the Grain’s gluten free, dairy free, yeast free bread, and Breads by Anna’s gluten, soy, rice, and nut free bread mixes.

We also had the opportunity to purchase some of the items from the vendors and from A New Leaf. In addition to sampling products, six workshops were held throughout the day, including; Eating Out Around the World Gluten Free, Gluten Free Challenges, and Newly Diagnosed Workshop.

Below is a picture recap of some of the many products we tried:

Way Better Tortilla Chips

Way Better Tortilla Chips

Against The Grain makes 2 dairy free products: Cinnamon Raisin Bagels & Vermont Country Rolls

Against The Grain makes 2 dairy free products: Cinnamon Raisin Bagels & Vermont Country Rolls

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Number 9 Tortilla chips and salsa

Treat Cupcake Bar makes gluten free cupcakes, as well as dairy free, egg free and soy free

Treat Cupcake Bar makes gluten free cupcakes, as well as dairy free, egg free and soy free

JD's Pizza

JD’s Best Pizza

Saying hi to our Nutritionist and doctors from Visions Health Care

Saying hi to our Nutritionist and doctors from Visions Health Care

Namaste gluten free mixes. Some are also Yeast Free

Namaste gluten free mixes. Some are also Yeast Free

Breads by Anna: Gluten, Dairy, Potato, Corn, Soy Free!

Best Discovery of the day – Breads by Anna: Gluten, Dairy, Potato, Corn, Soy, and Yeast Free!

New Planet Beer

New Planet Beer

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Organic drinks not just for toddlers but adults too.

Organic drinks not just for toddlers but adults too.

Gluten Free Summer Camp.

Gluten Free Summer Camp.

Crunchmaster crackers. Yum!

Crunchmaster crackers. Yum!

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*Photos courtesy of Katie Dennis.

Based in Boston, The Healthy Villi is a membership-based, non-profit, all-volunteer organization whose mission is to provide support and education to people with celiac disease and their families.

Gluten Free Product Review: Goldbaums Natural Food Co.

I recently had the opportunity to try some of Goldbaum’s gluten free products. Goldbaum’s was started by Scott Goldbaum who set out to find the best and tastiest gluten free products for three of his daughters.. After exntensive research and a relentless search, Scott decided to make is own line of gluten free products.

All of Goldbaum’s products are manufactured in a facility that is free of gluten, soy, dairy and nuts. The product line includes Wonder Meals (boxed meals that do not require refrigeration), rice pasta, ice cream cones, crackers, soup accompaniments, popchips, and more. IMG_3632Goldbaums makes 10 varieties of brown rice pasta including penne, spirals, shells, fettuccine, spaghetti, elbow, fusilli, thin cut noodles for soup, medium cut for kugel (a traditional Jewish noodle casserole), and Chow Mein noodles.  IMG_3187 The way you have to cook the noodles is definitely different from any other brown rice pasta I’ve ever made before. To cook, bring the water to a boil, add the noodles, cover, and boil for 3-4 minutes. Then, turn off burner and let sit covered for 15 minutes. I followed the instructions and the noodles were perfectly cooked. They were not undercooked, but rather had a great texture and they even tasted great the next day! The best part was that no one knew they were gluten free—until I told them.

The Chow Mein Noodles were dry and crunchy, good for soups or topping your salad. The taste was a little odd, but a little addictive at the same time. The one thing I didn’t like was the after taste these left in my mouth, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. I am still on the fence about this product.

Last but not least, I received some ice cream cones. Man have I missed ice cream cones! The low in calories Sugar cones (light pink box) were sweet and sugary yet only contained 3 grams of sugar and 41 calories per cone. They tasted just as good as the original; very crisp, not overly sweet and great texture.IMG_3186

The ice cream cups (purple box) and lower calorie cones (blue box) tasted and felt like cardboard. I was surprised how one cone could taste so good but another was just awful. Needless to say, I will be sticking with the pink box from now on.IMG_3239

I also tried the original popchips (not included in the sample pack). These light and airy chips are low in fat and full in flavor. I especially liked how crunchy they still were and how they did not make my hands greasy like regular potato chips.

You can purchase Goldbaum’s products online or in stores. Every few weeks I see Goldbaum’s products on Groupon Goods. Be sure to check my deals page daily for great new gluten free deals!

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

Gluten Free Ice Cream at J.P. Licks {Dairy Free & Vegan options too!}

I love ice cream. I will eat ice cream no matter what the temperature is outside. So when I was recently presented with the opportunity to go to J.P. Licks and sample their ice cream flavors I was ecstatic!

J.P. Licks is a Boston-based company. They opened their first location in Jamaica Plain in 1981. Known for their high quality, homemade cream, the unique, intense, and ever changing flavors, as well as their ice cream cakes, they now have 12 locations throughout Boston and the greater Boston area, with their 13th store opening this spring in Assembly Square, Somerville.

At J.P. Licks you can taste as many flavors as you’d like before placing your order. But you should be kind to the servers and only try a few. Luckily for me, I was there with a group of bloggers specifically to sample their ice cream. So I didn’t feel so bad asking to try so many flavors!

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J.P. Lick’s offers many gluten free flavors of their ice cream, soft serve yogurt, hard yogurt, NutraSweet yogurt, Yogurt X, sherbets, sorbets, toppings, and cake ingredients.

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*Note: They rinse, sanitize and disassemble the machines between each flavor. Flavors containing gluten products are produced on the same machinery as gluten free products.

JP Licks also offers dairy free, lactose free, and vegan ice cream made from coconut, soy and/or hemp. For a complete list of ingredient information click here.

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Ice creams containing nuts are kept in a separate cooler than non-nut containing ice creams. If you have a food allergy or sensitivity don’t hesitate to speak up. They will wash the scoops and even scoop out of a fresh unopened bucket of ice cream if you need them too because just like you, they don’t want to risk cross contamination either.

Every month J.P. Licks comes out with new monthly flavors, some which end up becoming regulars on the menu. Each month the flavors get more creative than the last!

This months new gluten free flavors include:

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Photo Courtesy of Katie, of Katie’s Boston Cuisine

I tried the Mint Irish Lace and Madagascar Vanilla Coconut, which is my new all-time favorite.

In addition to ice cream, J.P. Licks roasts their own Fair Trade Certified Organic coffee!

Photo Courtesy of Katie, Katie's Boston Cuisine

Photo Courtesy of Katie, of Katie’s Boston Cuisine

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Photo Courtesy of Katie, of Katie’s Boston Cuisine

They even have espresso bars so you can order lattes and cappuccinos, and skip the long lines at Starbucks.

Breyers® now offers 36 gluten free varieties

Long before Häagen-Dazs, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers® began as a family business in Philadelphia in 1866, when William A. Breyer hand-cranked his first gallon of ice cream. It was a special ice cream consisting of rich cream, pure cane sugar, fresh fruits, nuts and other flavors – some of the very same ingredients used today. He sold it to his neighbors with the promise that his ice cream was made with the finest ingredients. Word spread quickly, and Breyers® Ice Cream was soon declared Philadelphia’s best. Today, Breyers® is owned by Unilver and is based in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

And I thought you’d be interested in learning that Breyers® now offers 36 gluten free varieties! After going through a gluten-free validation process, these Breyers® varieties will bear a “gluten-free” claim on the side label, consistent with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule on gluten-free labeling. And just in time for summer!

The gluten-free seal will begin to appear on Breyers® varieties this month and will include the following flavors:

Original:

  • Black Raspberry Chocolate
  • Butter Almond
  • Butter Pecan
  • Caramel Praline Crunch
  • Cherry Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Coffee
  • Extra Creamy Chocolate
  • Extra Creamy Vanilla
  • French Vanilla
  • Homemade Vanilla
  • Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Natural Strawberry
  • Natural Vanilla
  • Peach
  • Vanilla Chocolate
  • Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry
  • Vanilla Fudge Twirl

Breyer’s Blast:

  • Banana Split
  • Creamsicle Orange

Fat Free:

  • Creamy Vanilla
  • French Chocolate
  • Strawberry

1/2 The Fat:

  • Creamy Chocolate
  • Creamy Vanilla

No Sugar Added:

  • Butter Pecan
  • Vanilla
  • Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry

Carbsmart:

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Vanilla & Almond Ice Cream Bar
  • Vanilla Ice Cream Bar

Lactose Free:

  • Lactose Free Chocolate
  • Lactose Free Vanilla

The Breyers® gluten-free validation process includes verification activities mandated by the FDA including production line testing, and gluten cross-contact activities. Breyers® gluten free varieties also include two lactose free flavors: Lactose Free Vanilla and the new Lactose Free Chocolate. The recipes of these varieties will remain the same.

“As a brand known for offering frozen treat options for the entire family, we’re happy to announce that more than 35 of our popular Breyers® varieties are now labeled gluten free,” said Nick Soukas, director of ice cream for Unilever. “Now, people following a gluten-free diet can be sure that the flavors they know and love are compatible with their dietary needs.”

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I noticed that many of flavors say “Frozen Dairy Dessert” on the carton, rather than “Ice Cream”. I was curious why that is. Here’s the answer: Frozen dairy dessert products are made with many of the same high-quality ingredients that are commonly found in Ice Cream – like fresh milk, cream and sugar – and offer a great taste and even smoother texture. According to the FDA, in order for a product to be labeled ice cream, it needs to meet two key requirements:

  • Not less than 10% dairy fat
  • A percentage of overrun that results in a finished product weighing more than 4.5 pounds per gallon

Anything that does not meet both of those requirements is not considered ice cream, and therefore labeled “Frozen Dairy Dessert”

While Breyers® sells both Ice Cream and Frozen Dairy Desserts, the Frozen Dairy Dessert tends to have less fat than ice cream. Various textures and flavors do not adhere to the FDA’s Ice Cream labeling guidelines and are thus called Frozen Dairy Desserts. This includes the smoother flavors and Breyers® Blasts, for example.

Use Breyers® store locator to find a retail location near you that sells the gluten free flavors.

Disclaimer: I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.

J.P. Licks Announces New Gluten Free Flavor in July

J.P. Licks will add a new flavor to their catalogue of over 250 recipes this July – Rocky-er Road. The best part? Rocky-er Road, made of chocolate ice cream marshmallows, almonds, and chocolate chips, is GLUTEN FREE!

The newbie will be featured alongside returning J.P. Licks summer classics; Fresh Peach ice cream, Fresh Cucumber ice cream, Fresh Mojito Sorbet, and Raspberry Lime Rickey Sorbet.

The locally owned chain has gained notoriety for creating unique flavors such as Avocado ice cream, Tobasco ice cream, and Cucumber ice cream. Contrarily, owner Vince Petryk believes it is the classics that J.P. Licks excels at making. “We’re excited to add Rocky-er Road to the list,” says Vince, though the old favorite will not be without a yummy J.P. Licks twist. “It’s Rocky-er! It has marshmallows, almonds and chocolate chunks. We took a classic and improved it,” explains Vince.

This summer J.P. Licks’ Jamaica Plain production facility will churn over thirteen hundred gallons each day of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, sherbet, and dairy free ice cream to satisfy Bostonians. Each tub is made on one of their six batch freezers, which turns the liquid ice cream and ingredients into your favorite frozen treat. After the ice cream mix is poured into tubs it takes a day to freeze in the -10 degree blast freezer before being distributed to the company’s 13 locations.

Vince co-founded the local ice cream shop in Boston’s Jamaica Plain (JP) neighborhood. J.P. Licks has been serving homemade frozen dessert to the Boston community since 1981. They specialize in making their own ice cream, both tart and “tastes like ice cream” frozen yogurt, dairy free and vegan ice cream, and coffee freshly roasted in the JP store’s customer area. J.P. Licks puts an emphasis on fresh, intensely flavored products made with premium ingredients, and is Kosher certified.

J.P. Licks is the recipient of hundreds of “best” awards from over the decades, the most recent being DigBoston’s 2014 Best Ice Cream award. Since its inception the company has made community outreach its cornerstone, helping them gain a reputation for being a good neighbor. From displaying local art in their shops, to providing ice cream for schools and local non-profits, giving back has always been an important part of the J.P. Licks philosophy.

Find more information visit jplicks.com.

Gluten Free (Sin-Gluten) Guide to Barcelona Day 3: Gluten Free Sandwiches & Ice Cream

We started our morning at Park Güell, a garden complex designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in the early 1900’s located on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona. The park is made up of lovely gardens, a terrace, mosaic artwork, and a museum, and has incredible views of the city.

Tip: Take the metro to Vallcarca, and take the outdoor escalators up to the park. If you get off at Lesseps you will have to walk 700 meters up a steep hill. (That’s almost 0.5 miles)

After visiting the park and gift stores, we strolled through the Gràcia neighborhood to Il Born, where we had lunch at Lonja de Tapas in the Plaza San Jaume, next to the Picasso Museum. You can choose tapas from the a la cart menu or order from the Menu of the Day (Menú del Día). During the midday meal (la comida) the Menú del Día is the most economical way to eat in Spain, and is the traditional way to have a meal. The Menú del Día is the best culinary value you can get for your money and should be ordered at lunchtime whenever possible. The menu consists of 3 courses and many a times includes water or coffee and sometimes even wine (vino) or beer (cerveza). Prices range from €6-25 euro.

Lonja de Tapas offers a great Menú del Día for €9 per person. There were at least 3 gluten free options for each course. For our first course (primer plato) I had a salad (ensalada) with cherry tomatoes (tomates cherry), walnuts (nueces), raisins (pasas), and Parmesan (parmesano), drizzled with olive oil (aceite) and honey (miel). Using honey as a dressing made this salad really stand out. It was delicious but not too sweet.

Jeremy had the potatoes (patatas) topped with a fried egg (huevo frito) and crispy chorizo bits served in a mini skillet. This is a classic Catalan dish.

For my second (Segundo), or main course (principal), I had the steak (bistec) topped with chimichurri sauce. For dessert (postre) we shared sorbet (sorbet) topped with caramelized orange peels (cáscaras de naranja caramelizadas) and poached pears (peras) in a red wine (vino tinto) sauce. Speaking of wine, the wine list here is great too!

Situated just to the west of El Born, separated by the street “Via Laietana” is the Gothic Quarter (el barrio gótico). El barro gótico is the center of the old city of Barcelona (Ciutat Vella). Many of the buildings date back to Medieval times, and the streets are small and narrow, opening up to many charming squares (plazas). If you aren’t in the mood for a full 3-course lunch then I suggest you head here, to Conesa, for a gluten free sandwich (bocadillo). Conesa has gluten free bread and almost all it’s sandwiches can be done this way. For a complete list click here. And don’t worry if you try to order a something that has gluten the cashier/cook will let you know you can’t and that you should pick another one.

Tip: When ordering food to go, in Spain the phrase is “Para Llevar.”

We ordered the Botifarra de cocido – large sweet onion sausage with grilled spring onions and a romesco sauce. It was delicious, the bread was better than any sandwich bread I’ve had at home. It was similar to a baguette. The gluten free bread (pan) only costs €.75 more and it is worth it because the sandwiches are huge! They happily offered to cut ours in half for us, and my half was over 6 inches long! I recommend sharing one.

Vienna also has gluten free bread for sandwiches and has 6 locations in Barcelona, as well as many other cities in Spain. Click here for a full list of restaurant locations.

El Barrio Gótico not only has a gluten free sandwich shop but it also has a Gelato shop that serves DAIRY FREE ice cream on GLUTEN FREE ice cream cones. Yes you read that correctly. Gelaaati Di Marco serves regular gelato as well as dairy free gelato made from rice milk. Gluten free cones (curuchos sin gluten) only cost €.50 more than a regular cone, so a small gluten free ice cream will only set you back €3.30. I wish I lived in Barcelona so I could enjoy dairy free and gluten free ice cream cones all summer long. I still have hope for you Boston!

Next up: Las Ramblas, El Rival and Northern Spain

Click here to Read A Gluten Free Guide to Barcelona Day 1 and Day 2.