Ready-to-eat Gluten Free and Dairy Free Foods

Every time I pass through the gluten free section or I spot a specialty item among the “normal” food selections…I PUT IT IN THE CART. How will I know if it’s delicious or not, if I don’t risk it and eat it? I need all the gluten free options I can for my family! I’ve encountered my fair share of duds. The kind of stuff that is too dry (had to save my oldest kid…she literally choked), too bland, not anywhere close to the flavor mentioned on the bag, or it completely falls apart upon the first bite.

Dairy Free Cheesecake
Dairy-Free Cheesecake from Daiya

Another reason for the grocery store hunt is that I needed food items to send with my kid to school. I can’t bake cookies on short notice, but I don’t want her to miss out! Cookie party…send delicious cookies, must be nut free too. Ice cream day…send delicious dessert alternative. I’ve had reports back from my kid that her friends were eyeing her awesome gluten free food!

We’ve got some winners to showcase! Here is our taste-tested list of gluten free and/or dairy free items for you to be on the lookout for at your local grocery store. We’re sticking to the items that are on the store shelf and ready to eat. No cooking or baking needed. I’ll have a list up soon on some great gluten free items for cooking or baking at home!

Gluten Free Breads:
Schär’s Artisan Baker White Bread – Fluffy, the crust isn’t dry, and it’s dairy free too! The best places to purchase it cheaper are Sprouts, Walmart, Central Market, or Costco (call to see which warehouse has in stock). If you need to purchase it online try here.
Schär’s Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls – For an elevated sandwich experience, I like to use these ciabatta rolls. I also bring these out during the holidays and use them as rolls. Excellent when warmed or toasted, just add your favorite spread! For online purchase, find it here.
Udi’s Soft White Sandwich Bread – This is also available in multigrain. A soft, but thicker bread slice, as it contains egg. You can find these in the frozen foods section and that’s why I like this option. Look for these at Target and Whole Foods.

Gluten Free Snacks & Chips:
Lance’s Peanut Butter Crackers – Target has these available and we love these for a great protein packed snack. Their snack crackers are great too! They have a bit of a buttery taste. For online purchase, find them here.
Snyder’s of Hanover Pretzels – The best pretzel option that we have found! It doesn’t feel like my tooth is going to break when I eat these! I like that they have the traditional pretzel shape and the sticks. Whole Foods, Target, and Amazon are some places you can buy.
The Good Crisp Company – The tastiest option for the chips that come in a can…this one is amazing! We’ve had the “original” and the “sour cream & onion”, both have been winners. I have found these at Whole Foods and for bulk order on Amazon.
Pamela’s Whenever Bars – A good friend introduced me to these several years ago. We love the “oat chocolate chip coconut” and the “oat raisin walnut spice”. I have found these at Walmart, Sprouts, and Kroger. For online purchase, find it here.
Kind Snacks – Some bars from this brand are a bit tough to eat, but we found a great one after trying several of their options. Their line of “Healthy Grains Granola Bars” are delicious. Our favorites are “dark chocolate chunk” and “peanut butter dark chocolate”.
Milton’s Craft Bakers, Crispy Sea Salt Bake Crackers – The best dip chip we have found! It can handle salsa, spinach artichoke dip, and queso. We’ve served these at several parties and our guests love them too! Whole Foods, Market Street, and Amazon are great places to find them.
Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips – Salty, crispy, crunchy. I’m bulk ordering these from Amazon. They are a staple in our house!

Gluten Free Fudge Striped Cookie from Goodie Girl
Gluten Free Fudge Striped Cookies from Goodie Girl

Gluten Free Sweets:
Kinnikinnick Vanilla Wafers – My childhood cookie favorite is vanilla wafers, so finding these were special! They are nut free, dairy free, and soy free too.
Goodie Girl Fudge Striped Cookies – Oh my goodness, these are delicious. A family favorite for us! Their “Birthday Cake” cookies are flippin amazing and we love the “Magical Animal Crackers” too.
Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle – We use these when we make s’mores! It’s got a great crisp and the chocolate is already baked in, so they are perfect for pairing with your roasted marshmallows. I found these at Walmart and on Amazon.
Emmy’s Organics, Coconut Cookies, Vanilla Bean – We always have some of these in our pantry. Great for snacking and perfect with my afternoon coffee! The kids like them too!

Gluten Free Frozen Sweets:
Katz Donuts – We like the “glazed” and the “pumpkin pie spiced glazed” (seasonal). They have donut holes available too. These satisfy my donut craving! They are along the lines of the cake donut you find in donut shops.
So Delicious Ice Cream – Three words… “Salted Caramel Cluster”! My favorite dairy-free ice cream. It’s made from cashew milk. Their chocolate dipped ice cream bars are amazing too!
So Delicious Vanilla Bean Sandwiches – My Dad always had chocolate ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, so these spark fond memories for me! My kids love these too and they are made from coconut milk.
Daiya Cheezecake – This is really wonderful and very delicious! The cake is definitely smaller than a typical cheesecake size, but that’s also a benefit because you’ll want to eat it all. I pair it with fruit and coffee. The kids love this cheesecake too! They also have key lime, chocolate, and strawberry flavors available.

I hope that you’re able to pick up some of these yummy items soon! I’ve linked all of them in the post, so you can see their packaging. I know it’s easier for me when I know exactly what I’m supposed to be on the lookout for in the aisles! Many of the company’s websites also have an option where you can enter your zip code to find a store near you that would carry their products.

Wishing you happy eating and a full cup of warm coffee that you didn’t have to reheat three times before enjoying!
-Erin aka Coffee Mama Bear

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Coffee Mama Bear with a Chemex Coffeemaker
Coffee Mama Bear with a Chemex Coffeemaker

Farmhouse Renovation – All the Details (Part 1)

We’re almost done with the contract work for our farmhouse renovation! That doesn’t mean that we are done with all the work, but it’s a great leap forward towards finishing it out. My husband, Michael, has been building his specialty tool collection in the garage over the last 8 years! They’ll all come in handy for our upcoming projects. My handyman skills are small, but helpful. I like sanding and painting. Michael doesn’t like painting and he “tolerates” sanding…The Lord paired us well!
More “Before” images can be found here.

Our "before" images of the farmhouse renovation.
Our “before” images of the farmhouse renovation.

We were immediately drawn to the tall ceilings and the awesome beams currently installed in the living room and the breakfast nook. In the first stage of renovations, we hired an engineer to determine if removing the inner walls of the kitchen area were a possibility. Luckily, they were! A 22ft steel beam was installed as well as a 10 ft cross beam. The 22ft beam runs from the foyer all the way to the outer kitchen wall. We also had to have those electrical cords hanging down rerouted in the process.

22ft Header and 10 ft Cross Beam in the Kitchen
22ft Header & 10ft Cross Beam in the Kitchen

There were two surprises that happened during this reno stage. We found out that during a previous renovation they had capped off some existing plumbing lines from when the design was a galley style kitchen. They were still above ground, so we had to hire a plumber who spent two days drilling and fixing the issue before we could move on to flooring installation. The other surprise was a happy one in that the fur-downs/soffits above the kitchen cabinets could be removed! We did not have the option to raise the ceiling in the kitchen area because of the placement of the headers, so this was the next best thing in order to make the kitchen appear more open.

Plumbing Issue & Fur-down Removal
Plumbing Issue & Fur-Down Removal

Besides our kitchen renovation, we wanted to update and add character to the foyer area. The paneling was removed from the main wall. We also decided to add brick columns and two arches to make it a large design element. A lot of thought went into the column size, what worked for the space, where electrical would be located, and that was all before we even selected the brick!

The foyer during the renovation process.
The foyer during the renovation process.

It took a few weeks to select our targeted look for the design details. We scoured previous decor magazines that I had collected over the years, like Southern Living, and we browsed Pinterest too. We pulled together elements that leaned on farmhouse and french country styles. Our main desire when picking out the details were items that encourage comfort, not chaos. As we move forward in selecting furniture, in the upcoming months, we’ll be sticking with those themes as well!

Our flooring selection, which was the design detail we chose first, we went with “Walnut Brook CW98” from American Olean‘s Creekwood Collection. We made sure to choose a wood-look tile made out of porcelain, as ceramic has a tendency to chip easily. Our kids and the dog are a rough and tumble bunch, so we needed to choose a flooring that could handle them!

Truffle grout color from Mapei
Truffle grout color from Mapei

If you ever want to go with wood-look tile, I have this important tip for you when selecting grout color. Find the grout that matches your selection exactly and then choose the color that is one step darker. This will provide a more shadowy look and help provide more realism to the wood-look tile upon install. We went with Mapei‘s “Truffle” grout color.

If you hate making decisions, picking out brick will be your worst nightmare! We had a great idea of what we wanted, but it still took the entire hour allotted to comb through the giant warehouse of a showroom to narrow it down. We went with “Old Hard Tan” from Old Texas Brick. I also carried a piece of our flooring with us the entire day as we were off to pick out the kitchen island slab after lunch. I would highly recommend bringing any tile, flooring, or other textile samples with you when going through the selection process!

Old Hard Tan Brick Sample from the Warehouse
Old Hard Tan Brick Sample from the Warehouse

The slab yard was so fun to visit! The guy in charge showed us all the options available for white slabs with veining. I made a selection and they kindly brought a truck over to turn it around so I could see the whole piece. I loved this veining and the color worked well with our flooring sample. We chose “Bianco Venatino Quartz Polished” from Everest Stone.

Bianco Venatino Quartz Polished, from Everest Stone
Bianco Venatino Quartz Polished, from Everest Stone

We’ll get in to more of the nitty gritty kitchen selections for paint, cabinet color, and exactly what we’re doing with the paneling left in the breakfast nook in my next post! We’ve got a lot of detail work ahead of us. Until next time, keep your chin up and may your coffee cup be full!
-Erin aka Coffee Mama Bear

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