Bakery on Main {Product Review + Giveaway}

BOM logoI’m always on the lookout for gluten-free and allergy-friendly grab-and-go snacks because I spend a lot of time running to and from meetings during the week, and I’m always on the go on the weekends. Plus, now that I’m pregnant, emergency snacks are key for when I am suddenly ravenous out of nowhere. In general, I like my snacks to be:

  • easy to eat one-handed and while walking at a brisk pace
  • small enough to throw in a purse or folio
  • healthy enough to work for breakfast in a pinch
  • small enough to sneak into meetings

With all of those things in mind, granola or cereal bars are usually the best solution (although if you have other ideas, feel free to comment and let me know!), the one caveat being that many gluten-free bars are crumbly and make a mess (not good if you are trying to sneak a snack in a meeting!). I’ve tried a lot of products and was recently provided a sample of Bakery on Main’s line of soft & chewy granola bars.

Bakery on Main via Chosen Bites

These bars met all of my criteria–easily gobbled up while running to my next meeting, small enough to carry to and fro, packed with whole grains and seeds, and because of the chia and flax seed, they hold together very well and won’t crumble in your lap.

These aren’t granola bars in the traditional sense (or at least what I imagine when I think “granola bar”)–they remind me more of a cereal bar because they have a lot of different grains, as well as flax and chia seeds which give them a different feel. There are three different flavors, all of which are free of gluten and dairy, but some flavors do contain different food allergens so make sure to read the allergen warnings if you have food allergies.

Bakery on Main, we officially certify that your soft & chewy granola bars are a Chosen Bite!

Chosen Bites Badge

 

Want to win a package of Bakery on Main soft & chewy granola bars (your choice of flavor!)? Enter to win below. This contest will be open until August 31, 2014 at midnight. Winners will need to provide their name, mailing address, phone number, and email in order to receive their prize, and will be automatically added to the Bakery on Main monthly newsletter. Good luck!

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**Bakery on Main provided me with complimentary product samples but all opinions are my own.

Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Oh my goodness, what a busy few months! I am thrilled to share that Avi and I are expecting our first child, set to join our family in November. We could not be more excited but I haven’t been cooking and baking nearly as much because I’ve been so tired (and I just started a new job!) but I am finally getting back into the swing of things. Thanks for being patient while I’ve been away and look forward to lots of new recipes in the coming months!

roasted sweet potato & apples soup via Chosen Bites #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan

Soups are a stand-by weeknight dinner for us, and I’m always looking for new and different ways to mix things up. However, this soup is one that I keep making over and over again. It’s great hot or cold, it’s pretty no-fuss once you have all of the items chopped (and you don’t have to peel anything! Just scrub), and it can be served as an appetizer or a full meal if you throw in a few pieces of crusty gluten-free bread.

roasted sweet potato & apple soup via Chosen Bites #glutenfree #dairyfree #vegan

This is soup is also incredibly versatile.  The preparation method adds an incredible depth of flavor and can be used with any number of fruit and vegetable combinations, so whatever you have in your fridge right now will probably make a great soup.

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Roasted Sweet Potato & Apple Soup

Ingredients

2 large sweet potatoes (or a small butternut squash)
2 green apples
1 large onion
1 leek, split and cleaned
2 carrots
2 celery ribs
6 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
5 cups water
2 tsp lemon juice + more to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease two large baking sheets.
  2. Chop veggies and apple into large but evenly sized pieces. Smash and peel garlic cloves. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread evenly between the two baking sheets (you don't want things to be too crowded, they will steam rather than roast).
  3. Roast in the oven for 40-60 minutes until everything is browned and soft.
  4. In the meantime, heat water in a large stock pot. When veggies are done, add them to boiling water, turn down flame and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Using a stick/immersion blender, blend everything until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and add additional lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Serve hot or cold topped with your choice of minced herbs.
http://chosenbites.com/2014/08/roasted-sweet-potato-apple-soup/

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

 

butternut squash mac & cheese via Chosen BitesHi readers! This week Chosen Bites is featured over on The Nosher, MyJewishLearning’s food blog. Hop on over and check out my interview with resident food expert Shannon Sarna about living a gluten-free lifestyle, and my recipe for gluten-free butternut squash mac & cheese!

The Absolute Best Way to Prepare Tofu

Roasted tofu cubes via Chosen Bites

Although I am not a vegetarian, over the last few years we have seriously cut down on the amount of meat we eat to less once a week. Instead, we eat a lot of vegetarian meals using other protein sources like dairy, eggs, beans, and tofu. Now, I realize tofu is an acquired taste and texture, but recently I have transformed a lot of tofu haters into tofu lovers by using this preparation method.

One of the biggest complaints I have heard about tofu is that it has a funny texture, and it tends to break apart if it’s not fried. Personally, I don’t like frying tofu (or much of anything) because it makes it less healthy, and guess what? You can get the EXACT same fried tofu texture with much less effort by baking it in the oven.

It’s simple–cut your tofu into evenly-sized cubes, place them on a greased baking sheet (with plenty of space between the cubes!), and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden on the outside. You can bake them even longer so they are dry on the inside too, but I prefer to leave them somewhat creamy on the inside.

The best part about this preparation? You don’t have to press the tofu to remove excess water! I prefer the texture of extra firm tofu, but I buy firm tofu at Costco because it is ridiculously cheap. In the past I’ve had to press firm tofu to get the texture I like, but baking it in the oven evaporates the extra water so it ends up just how I like it.

Because baking it the oven crisps it up, tofu prepared this way will hold together really well in stir fries, curries, pad Thai, or any other dish you want to add it too, without having the added fat from frying, or the frustration of the tofu crumbling. Because the outside is drier, it also holds sauce much better than wet tofu.

But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

The Absolute Best Way to Prepare Tofu

Ingredients

1 block of firm or extra firm tofu

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a large baking sheet or pan (I use a 12x16 jelly roll pan).
  2. Cube the tofu into bite-sized pieces (I usually slice the tofu in half lengthwise, then into strips, then into cubes).
  3. Place the cubes on the baking sheet, leaving at least 1/4 inch of space between each cube so none of them are touching (This is critical! The cubes won't crisp up if they are too close together! I use an entire jelly roll pan for a 1 lb block of tofu).
  4. Bake at 375 for 30-50 minutes, depending on the size of your cubes. The cubes will turn golden brown and the edges will be crispy when they are done. Bake shorter or longer depending on your desired texture (I usually do 35-40 minutes--pull one out and taste it after 30 minutes to see if it's crispy enough for you, bake longer if it's not).
http://chosenbites.com/2014/05/the-absolute-best-way-to-prepare-tofu/