(Review) Kellogg's, Zatarain's, and Enjoy Life

June 24, 2011
During the last month, three companies sent me new products to try. Yay! New stuff! I don't know about you, but new food that I'm not allergic to always makes me excited.

First up, Kellogg's Rice Krispies

Back in February, I mentioned that Kellogg's planned to introduce a gluten-free verision of their famous Rice Krispie. Exciting, right? Well, yes, it is. And not exciting all at the same time. I just wish, really wish, that Kellogg's simply made their regular Rice Krispies gluten-free instead of introducing a seperate gluten-free verison. Why? Confusion. That's why.

With Kellogg's now offering two versions of Rice Krispies, I worry people will confuse the two. Or that young celiac kids might think, "I can eat Rice Krispies!" And reach for the non-gluten-free version at a friend's house. Of course--of course--there is always potential brand confusion with companies that offer both gluten-free and wheat-based products. Look no further than Amy's Pizza or Mi-Del Cookies for proof.

Wouldn't it have been nice if Kellogg's did e to Rice Krispies what General Mills did with Chex? Made the entire line gluten-free. Maybe they will who knows? At least the box clearly displays "gluten-free". 

This one concern aside, the cereal itself is good. To me, it isn't as light and crispy as classic Rice Krispies. It does, in fact, snap, crackle, and pop when you add milk.  The texture is just slightly off. Remember generic Rice Krispies? That's what the gluten-free Rice Krispies reminded me of. (Did you eat generic cereal as a kid? I did. We couldn't afford the name brand stuff.)

As of this writing, I haven't seen the gluten-free Rice Krispies on store shelves. When I asked folks on Facebook if they'd seen the cereal, many reported seeing it on store shelves.
Is it worth buying? Sure it is! If for no other reason than to make a batch of Rice Krispie treats. Just be sure to buy the gluten-free Rice Krispies and not the traditional Rice Krispies.

Next up...Zatarain's Rice
I think it's pretty safe to say that you either like rice mixes or your don't. Growing up, my mom often made Near East's Rice Pilaf (this rice mix is NOT gluten-free). So when Zatarian's asked me to try their new gluten-free rice mixes, I wondered if they'd taste like the rice mix I inhaled ate as a kid. 

Zatarian's Yellow Rice and Dirty Rice

The first mix I tried was the yellow rice. It was easy enough to make and cooked up as the package promised. After the cooking, the rice retained a slightly wet texture. This is a good thing. Think risotto. That was (sort of) the texture. A few red and green pepper pieces dotted the mix and a nice chicken flavor scented the rice.  I served the rice with chicken and salad. During dinner, my husband and I both went back for seconds. If you like rice mixes, this one's a winner!

Dirty Rice
A disclaimer: Before I even sample it, this mix made me skeptical. When I saw the cooking directions called for cooking a pound of ground beef and then boiling the cooked beef with the rice mix, I worried. Boiling cooked ground beef? That didn't sound right. Would boiling the ground beef turn it gross and rubbery? 

Thankfully, the ground beef didn't get weird at all. The rice tasted like, well, ground beef. And therein lies a slight problem. When I think of dirty rice, I expect chicken liver (my favorite) or chicken giblets.  Only after making the rice did I see a tiny serving suggestion on the side of the box that suggested adding, you guessed it, chicken giblets. 

After the second bite or so, I stopped comparing this mix to homemade Dirty Rice. That just didn't seem fair. When I did that, I enjoyed it. The Dirty Rice mix made for a really simply, really tasty supper. While I served it with a salad, I wasn't 100% sure how I was supposed to serve this mix. Was it a main course?  A side dish? (A side dish with a pound of ground beef just seems silly to me.) An actual serving suggestion on the box would be great!

If you buy this mix, how do you serve it? 

And now...chocolate.

For years I've recommended Enjoy Life's products. Not only are they gluten-free but they are also allergen free.  

Enjoy Life sent me to new products: chocolate granola and mega chocolate chunks. 

You read that right: chocolate granola. Don't you already want some? Chocolate + granola = YUM. I loved (LOVED) the chocolate granola. I ate it out of hand, sprinkled some on ice cream and stirred a little into vanilla yogurt. And, as I write this, I want more chocolate granola. 

Mega Chunks

If you are familiar with my recipes, you know I am not dairy-free. This doesn't mean I haven't tried dairy-free chocolate. If you aren't dairy-free, you might be thinking, "Isn't all dark chocolate dairy-free?" Well, no, it's not. Often dark chocolate either contains dairy or is produced in a factory that also makes milk chocolate. True dairy-free chocolate can be hard to find.

Enjoy Life's Mega Chunks are dairy-free and contain only three ingredients! While these mega chunks are free of common allergens, they are NOT free of flavor! They are really chocolatey and, best yet, they have a nice texture. In the past, I've found some dairy-free chocolate to be gritty and chalky. These chunks were neither. I used them for a batch of chocolate chip cookies. (What else did you expect me to do? Hand me chocolate chips and I am going to make cookies!) None of my tasters are dairy-free and everyone loved the cookies. 

If you are looking for great allergen-free chocolate chunks, these are for you. 

*The above reviewed products were provided for free by the companies. Other than the free products I did not receive any compensation for the review and nothing influenced my reviews except for my taste buds. 



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