Product Review: So Delicious GF Cookies ‘N Cream Dairy-Free Ice Cream (GF, DF, V, SF)

Natural Factor
Taste Factor
Fullness Factor
Overall Rating
Macros (per serving):
Total Fat: 7g / Total Carbs: 27g / Protein: 1g

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10 Ways to Re-Use the Tasteful Pantry box!

Treat Box

Since the Tasteful Pantry launched, we’ve heard from multiple customers that they love the box that their Treat Box goodies come in, and that it’s so pretty they don’t want to throw it away! We love our box too and wanted to make sure it was not only aesthetically pleasing but also strong and functional. Did you know that each box is strong enough that you could probably stand on it? So after the box has served its initial purpose of protecting your treats, give it a makeover with these creative ways to re-purpose the box. And of course if none of these tickles your fancy, you can always recycle it!  Continue reading

Bambara Peanut Butter Rice Pudding (GF, DF, V, SF)

bambarapuddingAKWe found this amazing recipe for a rice-based porridge from Central Africa that can be eaten as a dessert or a slightly decadent breakfast! The original recipe was published in Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats from Around the World by Allyson Kramer, and is so simple yet exotic at the same time. Plus you don’t have to travel to Africa (or find an African store) for any of the ingredients – they’re all available in US grocery stores!

The coconut milk in this recipe provides healthy fats and energy, while the peanut butter provides a protein boost and more healthy fats. Not a bad way to start off your day! Try topping with some dates, apples or toasted coconut chips for a little variety! You could also make your own nut butter with our recipe for mixed nut/seed butter!

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Dear Lea

Dear Lea: All I want to do in life is eat junk. My religious organization has a drawer filled with junk food and I can’t seem to stop eating stuff from it. There are chocolates, chips, cookies, old cookies, christmas cookies, more cookies, and you name it. I just love eating from that drawer. How can I stop? –Alex M.

Dear Alex,

Many people find themselves in situations where it is difficult to avoid the temptation of eating junk foods. It is great that you are inspired to change how you eat in general or in this particular situation. 

As you may have already guessed, poor eating can often be dealt with by changing behaviors as well as learning what food choices are healthy. Here are some suggestions for you: 
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Product Review Key

For those looking for ‘free-from’ foods that are a perfect match for their flavor and health goals, the Tasteful Pantry does the research and the taste-testing on a variety of foods in the marketplace. We then summarize our findings in our “easily digestible” Product Reviews. We rate each product on a scale of 1-5 (1 being least, 5 being most) and provide our personal notes on the aspects of the product that we love (or don’t love). Here’s a key to the factors we rate:

Natural Factor: In the Tasteful Pantry Shop and Treat Boxes, we exclude the snacks & sweets that are highly processed and have a long list of unrecognizable ingredients. But not all ‘free-from’ foods (or any foods for that matter) do the same. This ranking tells you if the product is full of non-natural ingredients and is highly processed (a low rating), or is made from simple minimally-processed ingredients (a high rating)

Taste Factor: We admit it, we’re foodies. And we apply our foodie taste buds to tasting the foods we review. Too many ‘free-from’ foods out there resemble cardboard in taste and texture, but there are some really good ones too. Our team of tasters ranks products for flavor and texture, and if the product meets our high standards for yumminess and leaves us drooling for more, it will get a high ranking!

Fullness Factor: Sometimes you want a snack that will fill you up and hold you over for a while. Sometimes you just want the taste of something yummy in your mouth but don’t want to fill up. This factor measures how filling one serving of the product is, whether it’s a snack or a meal item. We use a scientific approach (analyzing the ingredients and nutrients) and an experiential one (how full we felt after eating one serving) to provide you with a balanced opinion. 5 is super full, 1 is no impact on our stomach capacity.

Overall Rating: We take all the factors above into consideration, as well as our overall experience with the product, and synthesize it into this one number. 5 is we absolutely LOVED the product and could eat it all day, 1 is we wouldn’t touch it again with a 10-foot pole.

Macros: The 3 macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates and fat are the 3 main components of food, and what we need in large amounts for our bodies to function normally. These are also energy-yielding nutrients, meaning these nutrients provide calories. Depending on your diet and health goals, you may want to maintain a specific balance of macros (e.g. if you’re trying to build lean body mass you’ll want more protein), so we provide those numbers in our reviews for you right up front.

Reviews as of August 5, 2014:

Gluten Sensitive: Does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients, but does not explicitly meet the FDA standards and is not certified by a third party organization.

Gluten-Free: Gluten-Free, per the FDA’s gluten-free labeling standards (<20ppm), or certified gluten-free by a third party organization.

Dairy-Free: No dairy ingredients

Vegan: Contains no animal products including honey

Soy-Free: No soy ingredients

Nut-Free: Free from peanuts and tree nuts and produced in a nut-free facility. May contain coconuts.


Reviews prior to August 5, 2014:

GF: Gluten-Free. Contains gluten-free ingredients. May or may not be certified.

DF, V, SF, NF as per above.

The Zen of Cooking

MCL_3793490_Donnelly_veggies_310_0Check out this interesting article on “The Zen of Cooking” in Eating Well magazine. With families gathering and cooking for Passover and Easter this week, this is a great way to stay present and enjoy the richness of the simple things like food!

While some women were beating egg whites, I was beating opponents in court. As an overworked public interest lawyer, the last thing I wanted to do when I dragged myself home, I claimed, was slice and dice and tap my toes until onions glowed translucent.

The truth was I didn’t know how to cook, but after years of eating takeout, I longed for home-cooked meals. So I decided to sign up for a five-day Cooking and Meditation retreat at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, six hours south of my home in Marin County, California. I was familiar with The Tassajara Bread Book—considered a bread bible in some circles—which celebrates the miracle of dough rising, the sweet fragrance of loaves baking. Plus, not only would I have a measurable goal—surely, I’d learn to cook something—it would be relaxing. The Zen monastery sits in the secluded Santa Lucia Mountains. In the natural hot springs there, I could soak away the stress of “real life,” I thought. Continue reading

Partner Feature: Dang


Looking for a healthy and tasty snack that will give you energy and leave you feeling satisfied? Meet Dang toasted coconut chips. Made from the nutrient-packed copra, or meat of the coconut, these toasted coconut chips are sliced out of mature coconuts then gently toasted until golden brown with a dash of sugar and salt. Dang was founded in July 2012 by Vincent Kitirattragarn after getting a recipe from his mother Dang (yup he named the company after her!) for one of her favorite dishes, Thai lettuce wraps, which happened to be garnished with these delicious coconut chips. He decided those coconut chips were too good (and healthy!) to keep to himself, so he quit his job in environmental sustainability research and started Dang the company. Continue reading