Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gluten-Free Review: Breakfast

This is a post I've been wanting to do for a long time. Breakfast is truly the lost meal for me, and I know I'm not the only one. Aside from being allergic to wheat, I'm also massively allergic to bananas and cinnamon. I'm also mildly allergic to apples, so that biting into them usually makes my mouth itch. A lot of gluten-free breakfast items have cinnamon in them for flavour; I swear, it's like a minefield. 

Then there's always the fact that the overwhelming majority of gluten-free baked goods are better used as a paperweight anyway. There's nothing more disappointing than wanting to frisbee the fuck out of something rather than eat it even when you're starving.

And remember, I don't eat meat (or fish). I started eating eggs a year ago, so at least I have that now. I beat them with milk for a cloud-like level of fluffiness when scrambled, and put all kinds of veggies and cheese in them when I make an omelette, every once in a blue moon. 

There are also a number of gluten-free cereals: Rice/Cocoa Krispies, Rice Chex, Corn Pops, Fruity/Cocoa/Cupcake Pebbles (the latter leaves a weird coating in my mouth), etc., but I need more variety than that. So, onward!

1. Pancakes

First up, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont. I found that this one is similar to the Bob's Red Mill mix. The pancakes are super dense, slightly grainy and contain so many carbs that I feel like I'm actually going to die after eating them. Anticipating their slightly off texture and flavour, I added (red) white chocolate chips and blueberries, half hoping the pancakes would turn purple. They didn't. A stray green white chocolate chip (they were Christmas chips) got in, hence the evil diseased zombie pancake. I've thought about watering down this mix and making crepes with it. I'll let you know if those turn out better, but don't hold your breath.

Finally, someone got it right - that's also exactly what I said when I tried Betty Crocker's mixes. I've given so many Mom & Pop Whatever Farms companies a chance and nearly choked to death every time (after paying way more than I needed to), so I'm going with the long-established trusted brand names now. I made these pancakes with chocolate chips, hoping it would soften the blow if they turned out horrible like the other ones. They're no miraculously fluffy homemade or restaurant pancakes, but this is just like regular pancake mix, which is a big deal.
2. Fruit Bars

I came across these at Target while scouring the breakfast aisle one day. They're $3.29 (I think) for 5 bars and are gluten-free. However, these Pomegranate Raspberry ones suck. Don't get these ones, they don't look anything like the picture on the box, and I have the colour swatches to prove it. I opened one up and it was dark green. I hesitated, sniffed it, and ate it, but it didn't really taste like anything. That's because they're really made of apples and pears. Cheap.
Get these ones instead. They're way better, actually taste like fruit and are even a bit tangy.
3. Oatmeal

I've never been a big fan of the texture of oatmeal, but I really like this. It's quick and easy and just the right serving size. Peach is my favourite by far, followed by strawberry. The dehydrated blueberries don't rehydrate all the way, it's kind of sad. And obviously I'll try the banana one day when I no longer feel like living.
4. Kuko Bites

I know "Kuko Bites" isn't a standard category of breakfast comestible, but it probably should be. These things are good. Borders of all places sells them, in their cafe. I'm not sure who else has them. They're kind of like a trail mix cookie. They've got millet and other grains, goji berries and other dried fruits, seeds and cacao nibs. You can feel the nutrition as you're chewing. Nom.

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