Product Reviews Archive

My Favorite Canned Soups

Posted October 27, 2014 By Sandy

Fall always brings a change is my food tastes.  Although I love salads, when the weather turns cold, I want something warm …. so I turn to soups and stews!

I have lots of homemade soup recipes, but when I want something quick, I grab a can of Amy’s soup.

My husband and I keep very little processed foods in our cupboard, but Amy’s products are an exception.

My Favorite Canned Soup:  French Country Vegetable.

My favorite Amy’s Soup is French Country Vegetable.

Here is the list of organic ingredients: (Vegan): Filtered Water, Organic Tomatoes, Organic Onions, Organic Mushrooms, Organic white Beans, Organic Bell Peppers, Organic Long Grain Red Rice, Organic Zucchini, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Organic Garlic, Organic Spices, Organic Black Pepper.

I love the mix of veggies along with the large pieces of mushrooms and abundance of beans.  It is a full meal for me!  I love this one so much that we buy it by the case!!

I also like several other Amy products.  We keep the following in our pantry all the time:

Amy’s Refried Black Beans (we have a sensitivity to pinto beans)

Amy’s Black Bean Chili

Both of these work great in Mexican dishes.  I make tacos and/or enchiladas and other Mexican style dishes with a mix of either of these can products — sometimes mixed with more beans or other veggies.

If you have never tried Amy’s canned soups and foods, you may want to check out some of the following gluten free vegan products:

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Jules Shepard Starting New Company

Posted March 22, 2014 By Sandy

Yesterday, I received this note from Jules Shepard, formally from Jules Gluten Free:

 I’ve resigned from Jules Gluten Free

The Sad

·      Products on the Jules Gluten Free web site, even though they still feature the recognizable Jules Gluten Free logo, have been renamed on the site “JGF,” to replace the “Jules Gluten Free” name. These products are being sold without my endorsement and against my express wishes. PLEASE NOTE: I have no say in, or control over, the ingredients, mixing, certification or any other production-related aspect of these “JGF” branded products.

The Good News:

·         In a few short weeks, I’ll be selling my EXACT SAME FLOUR & MIXES…but with a new name, logo and from a new web site.


Where I’m going:

·         I’m not “going” anywhere–I’m just changing addresses so to speak. My commitment is firmly in place: to develop and offer the best products, resources and support.

·         I’m furiously building a website. It’s just a 1-page placeholder right now, but will be the site where I will offer my flour, mixes, recipes and more in a few short weeks. Please pay it a quick visit so you can bookmark it. The site is

·         I’ll still be moderating my Facebook page and Twitter pages — so you can stay in touch with me there, too.

Some details:

Management disagreements have brought us here. And “here” isn’t a happy place.

The Jules Gluten Free website has been given an inelegant facelift. My photo is gone, the “About Jules” section is gone. Mysteriously, the “Gluten Free” under the “Jules” of the Jules Gluten Free logo has been stripped away, too.

·         Others in the company made these changes without asking or informing me.

·         My requests for the business rationale behind these actions that are confusing customers have gone unanswered.


There are many more details. But I’m focusing on the next 3 weeks, when I will be able to introduce a new look to my exact same flour and mixes (and some new ones), on a new web site with new functionality, and a better shopping and recipe-searching experience (on computers AND mobile devices). Please focus on that future, too! I’ve always been there for this GF community I’ve so blessed to be a part of! And I’m as committed as ever to doing what’s best for it. Please bear with me during this (short) transition period. And stay tuned. No one can keep a good girl down, can they?

After receiving this email, I contacted Jules and this is what she told me:

(Please) … point people to my new site at to sign up so they won’t miss any info on my new company and they’ll start getting my weekly recipe newsletter again. I don’t want to dredge up nastiness and go back and forth with my old company. I’m looking forward and ready to put all that negativity behind me. I’m truly excited about the opportunity to start afresh and help others in our community the way I know best, without being held back by others in my company.

Make sure to check out Jules new website, and sign up for her newsletter to keep in touch with her during this transition!

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New Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Posted October 26, 2013 By Sandy

Well, Lindsay Nixon, author and creator of the Happy Herbivore is getting ready to release her fourth book:  Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great.

According to Amazon:

With easy, no-fuss recipes, the bestselling Happy Herbivore cookbooks show how easy, affordable, and delicious eating healthy can be. Now, in her latest cookbook, Happy Herbivore chef Lindsay S. Nixon provides recipes that put a special emphasis on weight-loss and a set of exercises that, like her recipes, are quick, easy, and produce great results.

Like all Happy Herbivore cookbooks, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean contains filling, flavorful, plant-based recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. But this time, Nixon takes healthy to an all-new level, with low-calorie, satisfying meals that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals—and without deprivation.

True to its title, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean also includes “recipes” for your body with basic workouts, plus tips and tricks that will inspire you to move more for a trimmer, more-toned you. As always, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean recipes are free from oils, processed foods, and diet chemicals such as artificial sweeteners.

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean keeps it healthy, keeps it simple, and keeps it delicious.

Light and Lean_Pre-tour blogger badgeI am happy to be chosen as one of her blog tour participant — which means I will be posting one of the her recipes from this new book next week!

In the meantime, I had the chance to ask Lindsay Nixon a few questions about her upcoming cookbook:

Okay, this is your 4th cookbook, right?  What made you decide to write this one?

I was contractually obligated 😉

Though in all fairness I signed up for a total of 6 books freely. I had (still have) a lot of ideas. I’m one of those people who likes a challenge… a goal to work toward. My fans and supporters are also incredibly motivating. Everything I do, I do for them.

How is it different from your last four cookbooks?

Every book is different—they each have their own theme (and their own personality). This book focuses on lower calorie recipes and incorporates exercise. It’s a whole body cookbook. I love it!

How do you manage to come up with some many unique and yummy recipes?

I treat it like a job. When I’m writing a book I spend 8-10 hours in the kitchen every day trying new things. I’ll often grab an ingredient, say a red pepper, and think, “okay… what can I do with this?”

Is there a 5th cookbook in the works?

Yep. I’m writing it now 🙂

Lindsay’s New Happy Herbivore:  Light & Lean can be pre-ordered through Amazon here!

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Celiac Drug in Trial Tests

Posted May 29, 2013 By Sandy

If you have been listening to the news around the celiac issue, you may already know scientists are developing a celiac drug that is currently in Phase 2 testing!

Alvine Pharmaceuticals, who is in the process of developing a possible drug for celiac disease, said yesterday that it has teamed with global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie to continue work on that drug, known as ALV003.

Pills & Test TubeAccording to Jane Anderson, Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity expert, the drug in in Phase two trials:

Dr. Green: Celiac Drug Treatment Shows ‘Tremendous’ Potential

ALV003 is an enzyme-based drug designed to degrade gluten molecules “in vitro” — i.e., in your stomach — into smaller pieces that will not cause symptoms.

The drug isn’t designed to allow people with celiac disease to eat all the gluten they want; instead, it potentially would allow celiacs to avoid ongoing damage and symptoms from the tiny amounts of gluten we already consume on a daily basis. As such, it’s considered an adjunct to the gluten-free diet, not a replacement of the diet…..

According to Dr. Adelman, a total of 41 patients enrolled in the ALV003 trial, which was held in Finland. About half the group received ALV003 and half received a placebo. Everyone, meanwhile, ate gluten during the six-week trial — a total of two grams a day, or about half a slice of bread.

Virtually everyone in the trial entered with signs of ongoing inflammation due to accidental gluten consumption. At the end of the trial, however, the patients taking ALV003 while eating gluten weren’t any worse, while the patients taking the placebo while eating gluten had significantly worse inflammation.

Although the trial wasn’t designed to consider improvement in symptoms, those taking ALV003 seemed to have less indigestion and abdominal pain than those taking the placebo. However, patients taking the experimental drug didn’t report any significant changes in diarrhea, constipation or reflux.

Read More here:

Dr. Green: Celiac Drug Treatment Shows ‘Tremendous’ Potential

Alvine Pharma Teams with AbbVie on Potential Celiac Drug

Having a drug to deal with the problems of gluten sensitivity and celiac seems like a godsend to many folks.  Jane Anderson conducted a (on-going) survey on her readers response to the question:  Would you take a drug that would enable you to be less careful on your gluten-free diet?

Here are the responses to date:

8% — Never – I think the diet is far healthier and my symptoms are controlled just fine.

21% — I’d take it very rarely to protect myself in specific social situations. (which is what I voted).

33% — I might take it on a regular basis, but I’d want more information on the drug first.

36% — I’d use it in a heartbeat – I’m tired of being so careful all the time.

Vote in the survey

So how about you?  Would you take a drug to protect you from gluten poisoning?

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Gluten Free Pill

Posted January 22, 2013 By Sandy

Research is being conducted on developing a pill making it possible for celiacs and gluten intolerant folks to eat gluten.  This pill would be similar to the pills developed for lactose intolerant folks that is currently available now.

According to the website

… Justin Siegel, Ingrid Swanson Pultz and colleagues think that an enzyme might be Pills & Test Tubeable to further break down the offending peptides in the stomach, thus permitting people with celiac disease to safely eat gluten-containing foods.

Their efforts led to the discovery of a naturally occurring enzyme that has some of the ideal properties for doing so. They then used a computer to modify the enzyme in the laboratory so that it would do the job completely.

The newly engineered enzyme, which they called KumaMax, breaks down more than 95 percent of gluten peptides associated with celiac disease in acidic conditions that mimic the stomach.

Most of the comments on the article were favorable, but one person posted a concern about the genetic engineering of the pills:

Did you notice the part that says they “used a computer to modify the enzyme in the laboratory”? This is a genetically modified enzyme, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have the potential to cause all sorts of problems/imbalances in our bodies. In fact, some people argue that GMOs are to blame for the plethora of food allergies we are seeing in the US today (BT Corn might be causing a leaky gut and allowing food particles to enter the bloodstream, in-turn causing the immune system to react to these foods). I worry that long term, using a genetically modified enzyme to treat Celiac disease could actually make matters worse for people who are already dealing with serious digestive issues. Who knows in what ways this human engineered enzyme will interact with the naturally occurring enzymes and flora in our gut, not to mention the lining of our digestive system.

This pill sounds like a wonderful breakthrough, but what about the GMO implications?

What are your thoughts?  Would you be interesting in such a pill?  Would the possible genetic engineering concern you?

Let me know your thoughts!

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Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

Posted August 15, 2012 By Sandy

Last week, I received a sample of Rudi’s Gluten Free Tortillas.  Rudi’s developed three different ‘flavors’ of their Gluten Free Flour Tortillas,  Plain, Spinach and Fiesta, and I sampled all three!

Being a BIG lover of Mexican style foods, I went right to work whipping up our favorite bean burrito makings.  (Basically just red peppers, onions, black beans, and seasonings).

In addition, I cut up some fresh tomatoes, black olives, baby salad greens and had some Vegenaise on hand (I use Vegenaise rather than sour cream).

The first Tortilla I tried was the Plain (in the center of the picture). I just fried it for a minute or two in some coconut oil before adding the filling.  It tasted great.  But the spinach (on the right) and the fiesta (not pictured) were FANTASTIC!!  Great flavor to both of them — and the fiesta was spicy, but not too hot!

Not only did they taste good, but the held together really well.  I have tried many different types of of Gluten Free Flour Tortillas, but they always cracked and/or fell apart.  I had given up on them!!

In case you are wondering, here is a list of ingredients for Rudi’s Plain style Tortillas:

Whole Grain Flours (Sorghum, Brown Rice, Corn, Amaranth, Quinoa, Millet, Teff), Corn Starch, Tapioca Flour, Rice Flour, Water, Canola Oil*, Xanthan Gum, Evaporated Cane Juice, Cultured Dextrose and Maltodextrin, Salt, Guar Gum, Baking Powder (Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Corn Starch), Malic Acid, Active Dry Yeast, Apple Cider Vinegar

If you are interested in trying these (and I HIGHLY recommend them), you might want to check out their Facebook Fan Page Tortilla Promotion! Page lists recipes (may not be Gluten Free Vegan), places to buy and coupons!!

Once you try these Gluten Free Flour Tortilla, let me know what you think?  Or better yet, email me a recipe you made using them at GFDFSandy @

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New! Vegan Cheese

Posted June 5, 2012 By Sandy

If you are anything like me, you miss the taste of cheese.  Not too many of the soy cheese I have eaten taste like anything I would want to eat again!

Recently, Galaxy Foods sent me a sample of their new ‘made to melt’ cheese shreds.  When I received the package, it was tightly wrapped in a Styrofoam box with ice packs — their cheese needs Vegan Mozzarella Style Shredsbe refrigerated!  There were two varieties in the package:  white-looking Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds and orange-like Mexican Style Shreds.

Today I decided to try out the Vegan Mozzarella Shred, so I threw together an Italian style dish and topped it with the shreds:


Italian Casserole with Vegan Mozzarella Shreds

I took my largest saute pan and added the following items:

1 – 24 oz. jar of vegan pasta sauce
1 cup dried mushrooms, chopped in the food processor
1 – 16 oz. can black olives, chopped in the food processor
About 6 leaves of swiss chard, chopped
Garlic powder

Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 30 or so minutes.

Cook up some gluten free spaghetti noodles until soft.

Add all the ingredients together and top with Vegan Mozzarella Style Shreds and set under the broiler for a few minutes (watching carefully)

I was amazed to see the ‘cheese’ actually MELT!  And the taste was amazing.  The shreds were a bit more like a mozzarella sauce — they did not have the stringy texture of mozzarella cheese — but they did taste like mozzarella!

I was impressed!!

Later, I am going to make some vegan tacos and try out the Mexican Style Shreds.  If it is as good as the first one, I am going to have one happy tummy!!

Check out the Galaxy Foods website for more information on their amazing Vegan Cheeses!!

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New Fake Meat Tastes Like the Real Thing?

Posted May 18, 2012 By Sandy

Personally, I don’t eat fake meat — mostly because I don’t like the taste and because it frequently contains lots of soy or gluten which I don’t eat!  This article really peaked my attention though.

Betting Better Fake Chicken Meat Will Be As Good As The Real Thing

A new Maryland company is betting that its mixture of soy, pea powder, carrot fiber and gluten-free flour tastes a lot like real chicken. ‘Beyond Meat’ plans to expand into fake pork and ground beef next.

Beyond Meat, a new company based in Maryland, has come up with an alternative to chicken meat that it claims is a dead ringer for the real thing. And unlike other meat alternatives on the market, this one aims to be cheap as well as tasty.

“This is one of the cleanest proteins you can get,” he says. “You don’t have to worry about any of the additives that are being put into a chicken. It’s just a pure, simple product that comes from plants.”


New Fake Meat Tastes Like the Real Thing?Even though this New Fake Meat contains soy, it may be one that I might try.  Since I am a flexitarian, I do eat real chicken occasionally,  but knowing that this is healthy and good for you (and tastes good too!), I may make an exception to my “no soy” rule!!

The articles does go on to say that the product will be in Whole Foods soon.

Let me know if you try this new “meat”

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New Dairy Free Products

Posted March 20, 2012 By Sandy

The Expo West 2012 featured lots of New Dairy Free Product.  Following is a list of those products, put together by ‘Go Dairy Free’ website.

Expo West 2012: Best New Dairy-Free Products – Part 1

Expo West 2012: Best New Dairy-Free Products – Part 2

Expo West 2012: Best New Dairy-Free Products – Part 3

Great to see that the food industry is looking at alternative products such as Dairy Free food!

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Are Rice Krispies Gluten Free?

Posted March 18, 2012 By Sandy

Are Rice Krispies Gluten Free?  Well, they are now!!  After some changes in “technology” Rice Krispies can now be made without the malt flavoring that added gluten to the cereal.  Here is the explanation, made by Joe Schwarcz , the director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society!

Gluten-free snap, crackle, pop draws attention to celiac disease

The malt flavouring is gone! Celiac sufferers are no longer limited to listening to the snap, crackle and pop of Rice Krispies! They can actually eat the cereal that has been music to the ears of legions since 1928 but has been verboten for anyone with a sensitivity to gluten, the mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. Rice contains no gluten and is in general a staple for celiac sufferers. But malt flavouring, a standard ingredient in Rice Krispies, can harbour a trace of gluten, enough to cause misery.

If you are interested in trying the original Gluten Free Rice Krispies, here is a link for you:

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