Besides giving up bread during the experiment, another thing I was worried about were sweets. I try not to eat a lot of desserts, but sometimes I really get a craving for a cookie or something sweet after a meal. I mainly don't like feeling deprived when I change my diet. If the people I'm eating with are having a dessert, I don't always like to sit out because I can't have wheat.
I particularly like chocolate chip cookies, so I during my experiment, I tried many different brands of GF chocolate chip cookies. One of my favorites (and my mom agrees) were the Pamela's brand chunky chocolate chip cookies, which are wheat- gluten- and dairy-free. They're not too crumbly, although they're not soft, and the GF flours they use don't have a strong flavor.
I tried the Bob's Redmill GF brownie mix, and unfortunately, I have to recommend against it. I even made the brownies with the (optional) fudge topping, and they were still not very good. There was something really disconcerting about the viscosity of the brownie batter, and the taste wasn't what I would've expected based on all my experiences with other Bob's Redmill products. Oh well!
Enjoy Life also makes a good dairy-, nut-, soy-, and gluten-free chocolate bar that is quite tasty (I particularly like the crispy rice bar, which resembles a Crunch bar...something I don't eat because Nestlé is evil). In fact, most of the things I tried from Enjoy Life were at least pretty good. The brands that turned out to be terrible usually had one thing in common: the first ingredient was cornstarch. Ugh—nothing should be made of mostly cornstarch!
Most ice creams are gluten-free. My favorite is a local brand Tilamook ice cream, the Caramel Butter Pecan flavor. Just take care when choosing an ice cream that it doesn't have bits of cookies (or graham cracker) or cake batter (also, brownies) in it. Chocolate chunks, nuts, caramel: all ok.
Around the holidays (or whenever you're feeling festive) Gluten-Free Pecan Pie is a great dessert to share. Gluten-Free Cherry Cobbler is perfect for Summertime entertaining. (And it can be modified for any fruit, perhaps an apple crisp in the Fall?) Nut Flour Cookies are good all the time!
Another easy-to-make dessert food is marshmallow and rice cereal treats. They are one of my husband's favorite dessert foods, though we haven't made them recently. They're extremely simple to make—and you can even use your microwave if you're so inclined.
I don't know about you, but I've gotta have a good assortment of snacks to get through the day with enough energy to make it through the (often sleepless) night. Aside from the desserts listed above, I have many favorite gluten-free snacks:
Coconut macaroons are one of my favorite things to eat since I've been breastfeeding. Maybe they're technically a dessert, but they're also a fat, so I think of them as a snack. Jennies macaroons are my favorite kind, because they're not full of a bunch of artificial stuff, and they always taste great. I've tried the chocolate kind and those are good, too, but the original is my favorite. They're made of coconut, honey, and egg whites...that's it. So if you have lots of allergies, this is a great snack for you. Coconut has so much good-for-you fat in it, too!
Ever since my sister visited after Daniel was born, I can't get enough sliced avocado and tomato with pepper and a little salt. It's a refreshing snack, has some great vitamins, and like coconut, avocado is full of good-for-you fats.
Another fatty and protein-rich gluten-free snack is nuts. I eat all kinds of nuts, but some of my favorites are almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans. Most mixed nut flavorings don't contain gluten, but I always read the labels just in case! I don't usually buy flavored nuts, but because of this experiment I tried Yumnuts brand flavored nuts. They are gluten-free and also made with no added oils, so they don't leave your hands all oily after snacking. I definitely recommend this brand of nuts.
Along the same lines, sunflower seeds or Roasted Squash Seeds make a nice snack when you want to have a little something salty.
A lot of granola bars/cereal bars/protein bars have gluten in them, but I've found several that do not. Many Luna bars don't contain gluten, and all Kind brand fruit and nut bars are gluten-free. Kind is my new favorite "granola-type" bar. I haven't found one that I don't like, and they're very satisfying. I think my favorite flavor so far is the almond and coconut.
If you've got a hankering for some gluten-free junk food, there are a few chips I can recommend. Baked Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles are gluten-free, as are Funyuns. Also, all of the Kettle Brand Potato Chips are gluten-free. It's so nice to know that any Kettle Brand bag that I pick up is safe, without having to check the label.
Roasted Garlic Hummus, which is also delicious on raw vegetables. Spinach Artichoke Dip is also good on tortilla chips, and is a fun dish to serve, particularly when you're having company.
Speaking of company, if you want to impress someone with how good gluten-free food can taste, start out with a Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer. Those taste so delicious, your guests won't be missing the bread at all!
I hope you enjoyed this series on my favorite gluten-free foods. It's been really fun to write and go back through all these things I've made in the past months with this new dietary modification. You really can eat delicious foods without eating wheat (even pie!) and not ever feel deprived.
What are some of your favorites? I can't wait to hear!
Linked up at Friday Food at Momtrends, Food on Fridays at Ann Kroeker, Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free and Food and Health Carnival at Lisa's Gluten-Free Advice and Healthy Living.