Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Send Me Gluten-Free July Box

It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love subscription boxes - I love everything about them from the attractive packaging, the curated themes, the anticipation and surprise of finding out what's in them, and the ability to scope out new-to-me brands or artisans to try out.  Even an ok subscription box makes me happy, and the really good ones make me giddy.

Send Me Gluten Free, which I was able to experience for the first time this month, is one of the Really Good Ones.  For $19.85 a month, plus $5 shipping, you get a great big box full of gluten-free products, including both sample sized and full-sized products that range from snack items to gluten-free cooking ingredients, to household and health products.  If you pay for multiple months at once, that per-month cost goes down.

I've been struggling for awhile with the realization that it's time to cut gluten and reduce sugars from my diet, because both of these cause me GI issues and acid reflux.  Every time I think, no maybe it's not that bad a problem and break away from that knowledge, I pay for it.  So, I was highly interested in seeing what sort of occasional treats might be possible while keeping away from gluten. (I like to cook - but sometimes, you just want something easy to eat, y'know?)

All of this came in the July Send Me Gluten-Free Subscription Box!
Isn't that an amazing haul?  My July box was a great introduction for me to what it is they offer - only one of the items was one I'd had any previous experience with (Luna Bars) and all of them were enjoyable enough that I'll be looking for them to purchase.

Let's take a look at what each of these are:

The July SMGF Box contained two single serving packages of Crunchmaster Multi-Seed Crackers (Original flavor) and two single serving packets of WowButter that seemed tailor made to be enjoyed together.

Crunchmaster is a brand I've seen in stores but never given much attention to - but it turns out they not only have several varieties of multi-grain products, they also have a line of multi-seed crackers that are gluten-free!

In addition to the Original flavor included in the box, they also carry Rosemary & Olive Oil, and Roasted Garlic.

While several crackers broke up in the single portion bag, they were still quite satisfyingly sturdy and 'snappy' on eating them, and would definitely hold up well to toppings of all sorts. I plan to remember these the next time we're doing appetizers, because they are really tasty, and I won't have to worry about who is eating gluten and who isn't. (Trust me, you won't miss the wheat when you eat these!)

I used mine to dip into the WowButter, which is a nutfree substitute for peanut butter made with toasted non-GMO soybeans.  I've never even considered soybeans as something one could use as a nut butter and had low expectations for it - but it had the perfect consistency of creamy peanut butter, and actually tasted like peanut butter!  While I can and do eat nuts, this should be an ideal and kid-friendly alternative for those who can't.  It even has some advantages for the rest of us - according to their nutritional comparison, it's lower in fat and sodium than peanut butter, and weighs in at less than half the calories.  And because the consistency is the same, it can be replaced for peanut butter in cooking.

CalNaturale Svelte
Chocolate Organic Protein Shake

I'd never come across this before and was really impressed by it! By and large, I don't love protein shakes, especially chocolate ones, because they always remind me of those sad nutrition drink cans they give you in the hospital (you know the ones).

This is NOT that by a long shot.  Made with soymilk, this is a large portion, full-bodied meal replacer that tastes like a perfectly made old fashioned glass of chocolate milk.

It is neither thin and wimpy, or overly thick, and the balance of flavors is perfect - the chocolate tastes like chocolate, not overwhelmed by sugar, and the soymilk tastes like milk.

CalNaturale uses stevia to cut the sugar levels, and it works well here (in other words, you can't tell it's there), but even so this is a meal replacer, not just a beverage - there are 260 calories in this very satisfying 16.5 ounce serving that contains 9g sugar 5g dietary fiber, and 16g protein.  I'll be on the look-out for these at my local store.

Raw Rev Glo
Mixed Nuts Caramel & Sea Salt

This is another company I've not heard of before - from the flavor description, I was expecting some sort of real-food version of a Payday bar, so I was initially very surprised by the texture of this one, and then leery of how it was going to taste.

It is greasy on the outside - I mean really, intensely greasy in a way that got all over my hand, the plate and my lips when I took that first bite.

I can't say I cared much for that part, but if I come across one again, I'll know not to take it out of it's wrapper before eating it.  And here's the thing - I would eat it again, because the taste was amazing.  Like a rich, smooth nut fudge with dots of rich gooey chocolate and minced nuts, this was no grocery store candy bar, but a decadent gourmet treat.  It was also about five times too big to eat in one sitting, because the flavors are so rich that for me, the right size would have been a bon-bon sized one perfect bite of flavor.

So in spite of my first impression, I really recommend this when you're looking to indulge yourself.  Just make sure you have an immediate way to wash your hands afterward before you touch anything!

Redd Remedies Children's Sinus Support Supplement

This was the July box's health product - a supplement that is full of natural ingredients designed to support sinus health and reduce allergy symptoms in children.  There is also an adult version, and Redd Remedies include a long list of other natural supplements for a variety of purposes. (I'm personally interested in trying some of their joint health products). The key ingredients of the Children's Sinus Support Supplement are all listed and explained on their website.

The packet contained two chewable tablets (happily not artificially colored), which is the suggested daily dose for children over 6.  They had a very bright fruity taste, much like large SweeTART candies, and I would think most kids would enjoy taking them without complaint. (that said, make sure to keep them safely stored away from them - even natural supplements are not candy, and children don't always perceive the difference.)

Obviously, one dose doesn't let me speak to its effectiveness, but this would be something I'd try if I had a child struggling with sinus and allergy issues.

Luna Minis
Chocolate Dipped Coconut

This brand was the one most familiar to me, although I've never come across the mini version before.

At 90 calories, this makes for a reasonable sized treat, and it is definitely in the 'candy bar' category.  The Chocolate Dipped Coconut bar has a coconut studded layer next to a thick, rich layer of chocolate, and the blend of the two combined to form one of my favorite flavor blends.

If it's not your favorite, Luna has a large selection of other flavors and also sells variety packages so you can find  the one that appeals to you most.

For me, these would only be a very occasional treat (I'm reducing sweets as well, remember), but I would be happy to grab these over a regular candy bar, and know I was trading up on taste.

The last two products in the box were my favorites - two gluten-free cooking mixes!

Zenero Chocolate Cake Mix

The ingredients in this mix excite me, because it's a short list and I know what they all are:

Brown Rice Flour, Almond Meal, Cocoa Powder, Potato Starch, Tapioca Flour, Baking Powder (grainless/corn free), Coffee Powder, Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum. CONTAINS TREE NUTS.

The bag includes a recipe for a chocolate layer cake (although no frosting ideas included), and the website includes that same recipe as well as one for brownies.

I was all set to make this the other day, at the stage when I was gathering my ingredients, when I realized it called for sour cream or yogurt. I didn't have that on hand, so I set it aside.

So unfortunately, I can't tell you how it came out for sure, but I have very high hopes that it will be delicious!

Zenero also makes mixes for Banana Bread and Cocoa Protein Bread, as well as French Baguettes, Multi-Grain Bread and Pizza Crust Mix. All gluten-free!

Sevierly Good Gluten-Free
Organic Pizza Dough Mix

This bag makes 2 12" pizza crusts (or in our case, 1 round 12" pizza and one large rectangle, because I only have one pizza pan), and we very much enjoyed being able to make our favorite pizza without me suffering for it all night.

The bag comes with the flour mix and a sealed pouch of bread yeast.  These are combined, along with egg, warm water and oil in a mixer until it becomes dough-like.

Having never worked with a gluten-free flour blend, I wasn't sure what to look for to know I'd mixed enough and the bag instructed only to 'mix together well'.  So the difficulty I had with this may have been due to my not mixing it well enough.

When I went to 'spread dough on oiled' pan (again, the only instructions offered), it didn't spread because it welded itself to my hands everytime I touched it.  After struggling with that for a couple minutes, I got out some parchment paper to cover the mass of dough and used a rolling pin over that to shape it in the pans.  This worked really well to get it spread out, but it also may have been a mistake because after the 30 minutes of resting in the pan - the time suggested for a thicker, more breadlike crust - very little rising had happened.

Mainly, this means I may have messed it up too much to know how it was supposed to turn out, but on the plus side, while it was a thin crackerlike crust, it had a good taste and the yeast gave it the right scent, so the resulting pizza was a success and enjoyed by all! We loaded ours with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and olives and it was awesome.

One thing we discovered - you want to wash out the mixer and attachments, as well as the pans, as soon as you're done with them, as the dough turned to cement after a short time. Oops - better housekeeping habits for the win!

The back of the bag also had a recipe for foccacia bread I'd like to try, and they have a nice variety of other mixes to try, too.

Overall, I was very happy with the July Send Me Gluten-Free Subscription Box and recommend it highly!  I can't wait to see what the August box has in store.

If you'd like to try the Send Me Gluten-Free Subscription Box at a discount, use the code BLOG20 at check out, and you can get it for 20% off!


  1. This box looks great and the products look wonderful to try. This would be a great gift for my sister.
    twinkle at optonline dot net

  2. This looks like a great option for a subscription box. So many gluten-free products are so dense and tasteless. It would be nice to be able to try a bunch products each month to find favorites.

  3. I just spent the time to post a looong comment and it disappeared once I signed in. :(

    I guess I'll just say- nice review. You've got me thinking about a GF subscription box but I wish there wasn't so much bad-for-you soy in it. Also, the pizza dough sounds a lot like old school gluten free dough mixes: incredibly sticky and hard to work with and cement on the dishes you used to prep They were always tasty though and it sounds like yours was too. It looked amazing. :)

    1. lol, good to know that it wasn't just me! So far, I've mostly avoided the gluten-free mixes for lack of knowing how to work with them, so it was great to have a chance to try them. I also was surprised at the soy, but in each item that included it, it was GMO-free and organic soy products, so I was willing to give it a try. It's a food item I don't entirely eliminate, but I do keep it as an occasional item and avoid GMO soybeans. Everything's a trade off, and I think we all have to sort out our personal priorities. I will be receiving and reviewing the August box as well, and that is one of the things I want to look at, specifically. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  4. This would be so fun to get--there are a lot of my favorite products in there!

  5. This looks great, I am gluten free and my health has improved immensely since I cut the gluten. There are several products here that I have never heard of, thanks for all the tips, I will be looking for them!

  6. Thanks for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party. It has been pinned to our party board and tweeted. Glad to have you as a regular contributor to the party.

  7. Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday. It must be difficult to eat gluten free. I was told that I should try it even if I didn't have a medical reason to do so.

  8. This is a really nice gluten-free box. I'm impressed with what you received and the amount of items too. Thanks for sharing your box. :)

  9. Gluten Free Protein Powder is literally perfect. Everyone should incorporate it in their diet.