Crunchies Grapes

Crunchies Grapes Pkg

“Freeze dried grapes?”  Yes, Carter, there are freeze dried grapes.

Crunchies recently sent me a sample of their new freeze dried grapes.  My first bite: astounding.  There is SO MUCH grape flavor in these!  They are super sweet, too, but all it is is grapes.

Crunchies Grapes contain only 3-4% of the grapes water content (which is unnoticeable to us), but contain an average 90% of the fruits nutrients (compared to 45% of dried fruits).  Carter says “they are super super crunchy and taste like candy, but better than candy.”  Have you mixed up grape juice from concentrate and licked the concentrate?  It’s kind of like that.

Even though they’re crunchy, they are not hard to eat.  The grapes dry with tiny air pockets all over, so they break down in your mouth fairly easily.

You’ve got to try these yourself, as they are really not like anything I’ve had before.

Raisins only wish they could be Crunchies Grapes.

Crunchies Grapes

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Crunchmaster Recipe Contest

I found this little gem hiding in my way-too-overfull inbox.  Maybe one of you can win…

Crunchmaster® Kicks Off Six-Month Gluten Free Recipe Challenge

Monthly Prizes Awarded plus $2,500 Grand Prize

LOVES PARK, Ill., December 11, 2013 – Crunchmaster®, America’s #1 selling brand of gluten free crackers, kicked off a monthly recipe challenge on Monday, Nov. 18. The six-month competition seeks the best original, gluten free recipes from chefs across the country.

Crunchmaster will award monthly prizes of $500 and $250, and a grand prize of $2,500 for the best recipe submission. All winning recipes will be featured in a unique Crunchmaster cookbook. Home chefs are encouraged to develop and submit several recipes throughout the six-month recipe challenge.

“The Crunchmaster brand is committed to making gluten free foods that taste great. We thought it would be fun to take it a step further to see what tasty recipes can be developed using any variety of Crunchmaster crackers as an ingredient,” stated Dani Dahlberg, Marketing Manager for the Crunchmaster brand. “Crunchmaster crackers can be used to create many dishes including appetizers, main courses, sides and desserts. We anticipate receiving creative gluten free recipes that everyone will love.”

In addition to including a Crunchmaster product, each recipe submission must include a secret ingredient that Crunchmaster will announce each month The secret ingredient for November was apples. The secret ingredient for December is Greek Yogurt.

A judging panel will identify the winning recipes. After verifying submissions are gluten free, the panel will prepare the top recipes and score each based on specific criteria including simplicity, creativity and flavor to identify the monthly winners and runners-up. Chef Jim Faretta will be selecting the top recipes and preparing them at the end of the contest.

Recipes will be judged on:

  • ·        Simplicity – recipe is easy to prepare with readily available ingredients and clear directions.
  • ·        Creativity – the secret ingredient and a Crunchmaster product are well incorporated and the recipe is out of the ordinary using ingredients in a unique way.
  • ·        Flavor – final product is a great-tasting, gluten free dish.

Monthly winners will receive $500 cash and runners-up will receive $250. After all of the monthly winners and runners-up are selected, the winning recipes will be posted on the Crunchmaster Facebook page where consumers will be able to vote for their favorite one. The recipe with the most votes will win the $2,500 grand prize. For the complete official rules click here.

About Crunchmaster and TH Foods, Inc.

Crunchmaster® is a registered trademark of TH Foods, Inc. Headquartered in Loves Park, Ill., TH Foods is a leading manufacturer in the natural snack food industry. The company was founded in 1984 and joined with Mitsubishi International Corporation and Kameda Seika (the leading producer of rice crackers in Japan) as a joint venture in 1989. TH Foods strives to bring innovative, authentic “Better for You” balanced nutrition, rice-based crackers and snacks to North America. For more information, visit


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Ian’s New Products and Giveaway

If you had asked me 10 years ago if I would ever eat a pre-made sausage in a pancake again, I would have laughed in your face.  Finding prepared gluten-free pancakes was basically impossible back then.  Now, they come with sausage, too?

I recently received some samples from Ian’s Natural Foods.

Sausage Pancrepes: it’s a sausage in a skinny pancake!  The sausage has a hint of spicy heat and the pancake is a bit sweet.  The crepe holds together well and isn’t crumbly (like you often find with frozen bread products).

Sausage Pancrepes

The Chicken Nuggets have a medium-thick cornmeal breading.  I could taste some garlic, but just a bit.  They definitely have that kid-friendly chopped chicken which holds together well inside the breading.  The flavor of the chicken pulls at a memory, but I can’t grasp it (do you ever have one of those moments?).  It goes great with some honey or spicy barbecue sauce (or both)!

Chicken Nuggets

French Bread Pizza Supreme has a thick, crispy crust.  There’s just enough dairy-free cheese that you know there’s cheese there, but not enough that you could tell it’s dairy-free.  Lots of sauce, peppers and onions, sausage and pepperoni top this lunch-time treat.  I would definitely be happy if my school served these.  The French bread has just enough flavor that it’s not bland, but not so much that it overpowers the toppings (even though it is a lot of bread in comparison to the toppings – this comes from the girl who eats cracker-thin pizza crusts).

French Bread Pizza Supreme

Ian’s would like to give you a chance to try their new products.  One lucky reader will win a coupon for a free Ian’s product of their choice.  To enter, simply leave a comment on this post: what new product did you think you’d never see gluten-free and/or what are you still waiting for in a gluten-free form? For example, I’m still waiting for readily available cheese-it/cheese-nips – type crackers.

This giveaway will end at 9:00 pm central on Wednesday, January 22, 2014.

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Cappello’s Grain-Free Pasta and Cookie Dough

Growing up, pasta came in two forms to my house: dried spaghetti and dried macaroni.  Boy, have my horizons expanded.  :)

We recently received some samples from Cappello’s of their grain-free pasta and chocolate chip cookie dough.  Both are made with almond flour.  Luckily for Braden, he was able to eat both.

Cappello's Pasta

Braden said “This is pretty good pasta.  It’s good cold and by itself.”  After tasting the pasta, I added some pesto and fresh parmesan to mine (the pesto was awaiting a chance such as this for me to finish it off).

Thick, kind of buttery tasting.  It only takes 45 seconds to cook after the water boils, and feels like you’re eating a fancy restaurant pasta.  The pasta is much more filling than it looks.  I couldn’t finish my helping.

Cappello's Cookie Dough


The cookie dough comes ready-to-slice.

Cappello's Chocolate Chip Cookies

The cookies have a crispy bottom and very thin “crust.”  Soft and chewy insides with huge chunks of chocolate await you.  These cookies have a great flavor and sometimes you taste the sea salt, which gives the cookie a bit more sophistication.  They taste like cookies with nuts without the annoyance (at least to me) of chunks of nuts.

Carter: “mmm, yummy”

Braden said they are soft and slightly oily, and have a good amount of chocolate.  Martin said they were soft and chewy and held together really well while he dipped them in milk.

I’d say give them a try (especially if you are avoiding grains)!

Cappello’s would like to share this infographic with you:

Cappellos Infographic

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Ronzoni Gluten-Free Pasta

Gluten-Free Rotini

Mainstream companies are feeling the pull of the gluten-free market.  What does that mean for us?  More choices on the shelves!  Less trips to the specialty food stores!

One of those companies is Ronzoni pasta, who recently sent me a sample of their new gluten-free pasta.


The pasta holds up really well and doesn’t fall apart as you’re stirring.  It also cooks evenly, not leaving you with some hard pieces and some mushy.

Martin describes its good flavor as “smooth, not too strong; so if you want to season it, it won’t interrupt the flavor.”

It is a nice blend of white rice, brown rice, corn, and quinoa flour.   It has a good flavor and a great texture.


It would make for a great pasta salad to share with friends and neighbors!

Ronzoni’s gluten-free pasta is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.  Give this pasta salad recipe from Ronzoni a try!   It should be pretty easy to find in your local grocery stores, too.  A search on Ronzoni’s store finder turned up its gluten-free pasta at Kroger and Wal-Mart stores in my area, as well as a couple of smaller chain stores.

Check out the Ronzoni website.  They currently have a $1 off coupon.

Southwestern Penne Salad from Ronzoni


1 pkg Ronzoni Gluten Free Penne
1 can (14 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup thawed frozen corn
1 each large tomato and orange pepper, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp each finely grated lime zest, ground cumin and chili powder
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 avocado, diced (optional)

Cooking Instructions:

1. Cook Ronzoni Gluten Free Penne according to package directions. Rinse under cold running water until cool; drain.
2. Toss penne with black beans, corn, tomato, orange pepper, green onions and coriander.
3. Whisk canola oil with lime juice, honey, garlic, cumin, chili powder, lime zest, salt, and pepper until combined. Toss with the penne mixture. Stir in the avocado (if using) just before serving.

Per serving (about 1 cup): 311 calories, 11 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 155 mg sodium, 48 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 4 g sugars, 6 g protein. Excellent source of vitamin C. -

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