Explore Cuisine Instant Soybean Noodle Soup

So, you’ve seen Explore Cuisine products featured on my blog before and I am so excited to share some new Explore Cuisine products with you today! 

In case you are not familiar with Explore Cuisine, all their products are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and kosher, ensuring your health and igniting your taste buds! 


Explore Cuisine Instant Soybean Noodle Soups are perfectly crafted for a fast-paced lifestyle. The Instant Soups are available in 3 flavors: 

  • Beef-flavored 
  • Chicken-flavored
  • Vegetable 

In just 3 minutes you will have a hot bowl of delicious noodle soup packed with 23g of protein and 11g of fiber in just one cup! That is more protein and five times the amount of fiber than any other soup! It is perfect for a quick and easy meal that will fill you up!

Explore Cuisine is also the only brand to have salt in a separate sachet allowing you to control the sodium! This is great because I do not like my food salty but Jeremy does; we each get to eat soup exactly how we like it! 

You can purchase Explore Cuisine Instant Soybean Noodle Soups in grocery stores, health food stores, Costco and hundreds of other locations nationwide. Click here to find a location nearest you. 

Disclaimer: I received these products free of charge to review for my blog. I was not paid for this review and all my opinions and thoughts are my own.


Boston Restaurant Review: Wagamama’s Gluten Free Menu Options

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 9.24.14 AMWagamama, the Japanese-inspired casual dining restaurant, known for its famed noodle dishes, as well as flavorful rice dishes, and fresh fruit juices, offers a variety of gluten free and healthy menu options. Wagamama combines fresh and nutritious food with friendly service and value for your money.

I recently had lunch at the Faneuil Hall location with my friend Becca. (The 3 other locations are Prudential Center, Harvard Square, and Lynnfield.)

The servers are trained to help with any dietary questions you may have. While many of the dishes use ingredients that contain gluten, they can modify some recipes to remove or replace those ingredients.  Each restaurant location offers a nutritional and dietary guide, listing the ingredients and allergens of each dish, including eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, shellfish, etc.

Gluten Free Menu Options include:

Raw Salad
Seaweed Salad
Itame Curry (rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup topped with chicken or tofu, vegetables, and garnished with cilantro and lime)
Yasai Cha Han (stir-fried brown rice with tofu, squash, egg, snow peas, sweet corn, mushrooms, and scallions and served with a side portion of miso soup)
Yaki Soba (teppan-fried rice noodles with chicken, shrimp, egg, beansprouts, peppers, red onions, scallions, mushrooms, garlic, and sesame seeds)
Yasai Yaki Soba (with rice noodles)
Chili men (stir-fried chicken or tofu, zucchini, red onions, peppers, mushrooms and snow peas in a spicy tomato chili men sauce served over rice noodles)
Chicken Ramen (ramen noodles replaced with rice noodles)
Moyashi Soba (rice noodles in a vegetable soup topped with tofu and vegetables)

Wagamama prides itself on the quality and speed of its service and dishes are prepared immediately, ensuring they arrive at the table freshly cooked. Although this means dishes may be delivered at different time, the Wagamama philosophy is: don’t wait—just dig in and share!

And that is exactly what we did. Becca and I started with the edamame appetizer, served with your choice of either salt or chili and garlic salt. We chose the later, which was a bit spicy but delicious nonetheless.IMG_5980

We also shared the seaweed salad with a ‘special’ gluten free sauce. I will say that their seaweed salad is by far the best I’ve ever had and the first seaweed salad I’ve had in a long long time.


For my entrée I ordered the Chicken Ramen. The gluten free version is completely different from the menu description. The description says “Noodles in a chicken and pork soup topped with grilled chicken breast and baby spinach, garnished with menma and scallions.” The dish is made gluten free by replacing the ramen with rice noodles. Our server informed me that the chicken would be bland (Even though she was right, I don’t think servers should ever use the word “bland”).  I ordered it anyways because I wanted soup. It was fine, but she was right, it was bland. The chicken had no flavor, but the broth did, and the ample portion size was filling! IMG_5982

Besides the “bland” chicken, I am still a fan of Wagamama with its reasonably prices, great portions, and gluten free selections.  They are very willing to customize dishes for all allergens and it’s very reassuring that the manager brings out the gluten free— and all other allergen— items. Wagamama is the perfect place to grab a quick and healthy lunch or dinner.

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Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon

Wagamama on Urbanspoon


Gluten Free Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup Recipe {Vegan}

Monday marks the official first day of fall, but carrot season has already begun. Living in NYC means I can go to a farmer’s market every single day if I wish. And right now carrots are everywhere. And they are one of my favorite vegetables, so versatile and nutritious.

Now that nights are getting cooler I decided to make soup for the first time in months. Colorful and fragrant, this carrot ginger soup is a light and soothing soup, and a delicious way to use up all those carrots!


Carrot soup with ginger is a nutritious low fat soup recipe with just a touch of sweetness and a touch of spice. The fresh ginger adds a hint of heat and flavor, but it’s not too overpowering.


  • 8-10 large carrots, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 1¾ pounds)
  • ½ large sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 piece ginger, an inch long, peeled
  • 3 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the carrots with 1½ tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast the carrots for 25-30 minutes, until tender.
  2. While the carrots are roasting, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Add the stock, ginger, and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for about 20 minutes.
  4. When the carrots are tender, add them to the broth and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove the ginger and thyme spriggs.
  5. Puree the soup with an immersion until smooth. Add ground ginger if you want an extra kick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Enjoy!



Gluten Free Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods

Ramen Noodles. Oh how I’ve missed you. In college you got me through many a late nights studying and cramming for my exams. But when I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance in 2009 I had to stop eating ramen. I knew I would never eat ramen noodles again. Those deliciously, unhealthy, super cheap, readily available, and easy to make noodles were never to be a part of my life again. Or so I thought.

Ramen is no longer out of bounds for those of us on gluten free diets! Lotus Foods, a California based company that specializes in exotic rice, has introduced a rice-based gluten free ramen.

Traditionally, ramen, a Japanese-style noodle, is made from wheat, but Lotus Foods has found a way to make this noddle from rice instead.

The Rice Ramen is:

  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Whole Grain
  • No Sodium
  • Kosher
  • Vegan
  • Low Fat
  • And Ready in 4 minutes!


Rice Ramen is available in three flavors: Forbidden Rice® Ramen; Jade Pearl Rice™ Ramen; and Millet & Brown Rice Ramen. You have a choice of buying individual ramen cakes with savory reduced-sodium miso soup flavor packets to make an instant bowl of nourishing noodle soup, or a package of four ramen noodle cakes packaged together without any flavor packets. The later is great for making your own soup. Try adding shrimp, scallions and sweet onions to vegetable broth to make a satisfying soup, or top ramen noodles with Asian styled stir fried vegetables and chicken.


Not only are the noodles easy to make, and in 4 minutes no less, but they provide a convenient bowl of flavorful and nourishing soup. Lotus Foods Rice Ramen is much healthier than the leading brands of ramen you typically see on store shelves. With less fat and sodium, and more nutritious, they are enjoyable even for those who do not have to avoid gluten.

The Forbidden Rice® Ramen is made from heirloom black rice. In addition to being gluten free, Forbidden Rice® is one of the most nutritious ancient grains, and a good source of antioxidants.

The noodles are very dark purple, almost black in color and have a delicious nutty and earthy flavor. This is one of my favorite varietals of rice.

The broth was a very light white miso with mushrooms and tamari, and 33% less sodium than regular Ramen soups. The rice gave the broth strong purple hues.


The Jade Pearl is a green organic ramen infused with chlorophyll-rich bamboo extract. The main ingredient is Jade Pearl rice. I didn’t know anything about this rice, but according to Lotus Foods,

When cooked, this beautiful jade-colored rice produces the aroma of a bamboo forest, a light vanilla taste, and an explosion of health-giving nutrients. Our Organic Jade Pearl Rice makes an especially pretty plate presentation, sushi, Asian style risotto and dessert pudding.”

The noodles are really interesting with an earthy flavor and great texture.


Millet and brown rice are two if the most nutritious and easily digestible grains. The Millet and Brown Rice Ramen comes with a savory red miso broth packet. The noodles, on their own, have a wholesome nutty taste.

For a complete meal, add your favorite vegetables and proteins to any of the miso soups.

Since 1995, Lotus Foods has been sourcing fair-trade ingredients from small family farmers around the world who are growing rice sustainably and preserving heirloom and specialty rices. The company’s objective is not only to help rice farmers earn a living wage but to bring healthier rice choices to consumers. Lotus Foods line of products include nine organic rice varieties, whole grain rice, heat and eat rice bowls, cookbooks, rice cookers, and more.


The Rice Ramen Miso Soup retails for $2.29 ( 2.8 oz. pouch) or a 10 pack for $19.90. The Rice Ramen noodles retail for $6.59 (10 oz. bag) or $35.54 for a 6 pack. Available online and in most natural food and co-op stores, gourmet/specialty markets, and chain grocery stores. I have seen some of their products at the Whole Foods Charles River Plaza location.

Stay tuned for more delicious rice products from Lotus Foods coming soon!

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.


Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 10.50.34 AM

New Holiday Menu & Gluten Free Options at Au Bon Pain

I was recently invited to attend blogger/media tasting at Au Bon Pain, hosted by Chief Brand Officer, Maria Feicht and Executive Chef/Director of Culinary, Roger Bowles. Unfortunately, I had to work and could not go. But, lucky for me, I was invited to check out the new holiday menu and gluten free options at a later time.

When you think of Au Bon Pain what comes to mind? Bagels? Sandwiches? GLUTEN?

Yes, they do have a gluten-filled menu, but they also have many gluten free options, including; salads, soups, a chicken harvest rice bowl, oatmeal, hot and cold lunch bar items, and other gluten free snack options.

Au Bon Pain strives to create healthier yet flavorful convenient options for everyone. ABP’s website offers nutritional and allergen information for every single menu item.Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 10.50.34 AMAt Au Bon Pain, items are clearly marked if/when they contain allergens. I like the variety of gluten free options available at each location and I am happy that Au Bon Pain is recognizing this opportunity to give their customers more information about their products.

I’ve eaten at Au Bon Pain numerous times but I had no idea that the company was founded over 35 years ago in Boston! Au Bon Pain has over 250 locations world wide, including Thailand, Japan, and Kuwait.

Six times a year, the company introduces new seasonal items to the menu, and sometime they become permanent fixtures. The New Holiday Menu only includes one new gluten free option. It’s disappointing there’s only one GF option, but once you try the GF Thai Coconut Shrimp, you won’t care about the gingerbread cookies or peppermint shortbread!

The Thai Coconut Shrimp is a blend of petite shrimp, red peppers, carrots, bamboo shoots and lemongrass in a coconut and curry broth with a touch of spice and fresh lime. This is not the type of soup I would expect to find at this café, but I am pleasantly pleased that it is on the menu and I hope that it becomes a mainstay! IMG_5937

And, Au Bon Pain now has K-Cups! Awesome right?? I drink coffee, from a Keurig machine, Every. Single. Morning. So this was great news for me!

Au Bon Pain has over a dozen locations in Boston and Cambridge. To find a location near you, click here.

Au Bon Pain on Urbanspoon



Gluten Free & Dairy Free Three Bean Kale and Chicken Sausage Soup

This hearty soup warms up chilly nights.IMG_4994

Use any type of canned beans you happen to have on hand, and add rotisserie chicken or Italian sausage for a heftier dish, if you prefer. Or, omit the meat all together for a perfectly satisfying vegetarian dish.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups organic vegetable or chicken broth
  • 7 cups chopped kale
  • 12 ounce package of your favorite gluten free chicken sausage
  • 3 cans (15 ounce) cans no-salt-added beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoesIMG_4990


  1. Heat a large stalk pot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, celery, and fennel and sauté 6 minutes or until tender.
  2. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute.
  3. Stir in 7 cups broth, kale, and sausage. Cook 5 minutes or until kale starts to wilt.
  4. Stir in 2 1/2  cans beans, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
  5. Put remaining 1/2 cup broth and 1/2 beans in a blender or food processer and process until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture to soup.
  6. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.IMG_4991IMG_4992 IMG_4993 IMG_4997
Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 1.55.06 PM

Our Evening with KitchenSurfing

It’s rather obvious that I really enjoy going out to eat and trying new restaurants and dinner options in the city. However, there are times I don’t want to deal with crowds, long waits, bad service, etc. And that is where Kitchensurfing comes in.

KitchenSurfing is a company that allows people to bring professional chefs into their own home kitchens. It’s an online marketplace that connects chefs with people who love to eat. You can find some of Boston’s top chefs on the site, along with other amazing culinary professionals. (click here to get a 25% off code)Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 1.55.06 PM

So how does it work? There are two ways to book:

  • Browse the list of chefs, read their reviews and sample menus, and pick one you’d like to have cook for you. Send them an e-mail and voilà.


  • Submit a “Match Request”. Fill out a form stating what you’re looking for (party size, budget, date, time, etc.), any dietary restrictions or allergies, preferred cuisines, and anything else you want or don’t want. Your request will be sent to all the chefs matching your criteria. Chefs will then contact you to customize a menu. Once you’ve found a chef and a menu that you are satisfied with you can book your chef!

We had a great experience with Chef Chris Hallahan. From the moment we began corresponding through the site, he worked with us to create the perfect menu that incorporated foods we love and that accommodated my food intolerances. He was very knowledgeable about food allergies, and even shared some stories and tips with us at dinner.

We were blown away, not only by his culinary talents, but by his passion for food and locally sourced ingredients. He takes great pride in what he does and it really shows. Chris was incredibly friendly and engaging. He knew exactly when to be interactive and when to hang back, which wasn’t very often because we asked so many questions! We learned so much from him, and the whole experience was great.

Every dish was flavorful and fresh.

corn soup with a ragout of lobster, corn, bacon, & thyme
Late Season corn soup served hot with a ragout of lobster, bacon, & corn

Kale salad with a warm bacon vinagrette
Kale salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette with a bottle of wine delivered by Drizly.

Line-caught blue fish over cider glazed carrots and fall vegetables (with beet juice for coloring)
Line-caught blue fish over cider glazed carrots and fall vegetables (with beet juice for coloring)

Pumpkin and Carrot Trifle
Pumpkin and Carrot Trifle

Not only was everything delicious, it was well-timed and beautifully presented. He far exceeded our expectations, and we really appreciated how he embraced the challenge of working with my allergies and still turning out 4 restaurant-caliber dishes.

Have a food allergy or dietary restrictions? No problem! Chefs with food allergy experience indicate so in their profiles in the “comforts” section. The search criteria include gluten free and allergy friendly selections.

Chris had no problem working around my gluten free, dairy free, and yeast free diet. Chris actually took a whole weekend to try out different dessert recipes before settling on a pumpkin carrot cake that was to die for!

Chris also showed up with all the cooking supplies he needed to prepare our 4-course meal; ingredients, pots, pans, knives, utensils, etc.

The booking process is incredibly easy and it is ok to say no if you don’t like an idea or menu item. The chefs want you to enjoy every minute of your experience, so make sure you are up front about your likes and dislikes, what you want and what you don’t want.

This is a great way for food lovers to get closer to chefs and chefs to gain an intimate audience, try out some experimental stuff that might not fly at their place of employment, and make some extra cash.

And no, you don’t have to do the dishes! At the end of the meal the chef will clean up for you and if you are lucky enough as we were, your kitchen will be cleaner than it was before they arrived!IMG_4979

This month Kitchensurfing has teamed up with Drizly, a local alcohol delivery service app, to offer a great promotion. With this promotion, if you book a Kitchensurfing chef from now until October 31, 2013, you will receive $50 off the beer, wine, or liquor for your event from Drizly. The meal does not have to be before the 31st, but the chef has to be booked by that date.

To take advantage of this promotion, simply download Drizly’s iPhone app and enter the code you are given when you make your booking. Drizly will then deliver your order in 60 minutes or less. We ordered wine for our meal and had a great experience with Drizly, which you can about read here.

Ready to book a chef? Click here for a 25% off code. This code is valid through Dec. 31 (you don’t have to have your meal prior to the 31, it just has to be booked by that date). This code can be used on any KS service.

Next Up: A gluten free cooking lesson!

Disclaimer: I received this service free of charge to review for my blog. I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.


Gluten Free Product Review: Goldbaums Natural Food Co.

I recently had the opportunity to try some of Goldbaum’s gluten free products. Goldbaum’s was started by Scott Goldbaum who set out to find the best and tastiest gluten free products for three of his daughters.. After exntensive research and a relentless search, Scott decided to make is own line of gluten free products.

All of Goldbaum’s products are manufactured in a facility that is free of gluten, soy, dairy and nuts. The product line includes Wonder Meals (boxed meals that do not require refrigeration), rice pasta, ice cream cones, crackers, soup accompaniments, popchips, and more. IMG_3632Goldbaums makes 10 varieties of brown rice pasta including penne, spirals, shells, fettuccine, spaghetti, elbow, fusilli, thin cut noodles for soup, medium cut for kugel (a traditional Jewish noodle casserole), and Chow Mein noodles.  IMG_3187 The way you have to cook the noodles is definitely different from any other brown rice pasta I’ve ever made before. To cook, bring the water to a boil, add the noodles, cover, and boil for 3-4 minutes. Then, turn off burner and let sit covered for 15 minutes. I followed the instructions and the noodles were perfectly cooked. They were not undercooked, but rather had a great texture and they even tasted great the next day! The best part was that no one knew they were gluten free—until I told them.IMG_3605

The Chow Mein Noodles were dry and crunchy, good for soups or topping your salad. The taste was a little odd, but a little addictive at the same time. The one thing I didn’t like was the after taste these left in my mouth, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. I am still on the fence about this product.

Last but not least, I received some ice cream cones. Man have I missed ice cream cones! The low in calories Sugar cones (light pink box) were sweet and sugary yet only contained 3 grams of sugar and 41 calories per cone. They tasted just as good as the original; very crisp, not overly sweet and great texture.IMG_3186

The ice cream cups (purple box) and lower calorie cones (blue box) tasted and felt like cardboard. I was surprised how one cone could taste so good but another was just awful. Needless to say, I will be sticking with the pink box from now on.IMG_3239

I also tried the original popchips (not included in the sample pack). These light and airy chips are low in fat and full in flavor. I especially liked how crunchy they still were and how they did not make my hands greasy like regular potato chips.

You can purchase Goldbaum’s products online or in stores. Every few weeks I see Goldbaum’s products on Groupon Goods. Be sure to check my deals page daily for great new gluten free deals!

Disclaimer: I received these products for free to sample and review for my blog.  I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own.



Katie’s Gluten Free Three Bean Turkey Chili

This recipe is complimentary of my sister Katie, and although I haven’t tried it, if it’s anything like our mom’s (who she learned from) it must be delicious!


  • 1 lb Ground turkey meat
  • 1 package Old El Paso (it is not certified gluten free but does not contain gluten ingredients) or other gluten free chili seasoning packet
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hot jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • shredded Mexican or monetary jack cheese for the topping









  1. In a large saucepan, brown onions over medium high heat. Add the chopped green pepper.
  2.  Add ground turkey meat and sauté until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3.  Add tomato paste and chilli seasoning packet and mix well. Add the corn, peppers and beans.
  4. Let simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips and top with cheese!

Review: Gluten Free Menu at Legal Sea Foods

I have eaten at several Legal Sea Foods locations in and around Boston – Copley Place, The Prudential Center, Kendall Square, Legal Test Kitchen, Braintree, Long Warf, Chestnut Hill– and they all get my high praises when it comes to serving guests with food allergies. They offer a gluten free menu, their staff is well trained, they have a separate fryer kept gluten free, and all gluten free dishes are brought out by the manager, never nearing the other entrees and potential gluten.
All locations offer Gillian’s Foods rolls. I love these buns! They have a nice texture with a slight crunch on the outside and nice and soft on the inside, and topped with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and I think a little garlic and onion too. The buns are also yeast and dairy free
Four years ago was the first time I was able to order calamari in a restaurant since going gluten free in 2009. Legal makes theirs with a chick pea flour, which has since been changed to a brown rice flour and cornmeal mixture. You can also order the Shrimp, Scallops and Haddock – on the Wood Grilled Menu – Crispy Fried instead of grilled. This is next on my list to try!
One of my favorite dishes is the Shrimp and Garlic with sautéed tomatoes, scallions and mushrooms served with your choice of jasmine or brown rice. I always ask for light on the garlic and it is perfect!
Cousins dinner at Copley
Another dish I have tried is the Wood Grilled Assortment, which comes with the Chef’s selection of three fish, shrimp and scallops and the choice of two sides. This is a great way to sample a little bit of [almost] everything.
This past winter I tried the Portuguese Fisherman’s Stew (on the lunch menu), served with cornmeal crusted scrod stewed with mussels, clams, and chorizo sausage in a saffron tomato broth. For those ordering on the regular menu it also comes with toasted bread. So make sure to save one – or two! – of the gluten free dinner rolls to dip in the sauce. The Stew is loaded with fish and had great flavors, this is my new favorite dish for the wintertime!
Fisherman’s Stew

Legal Sea Foods-Copley Place on Urbanspoon

A few weeks ago my co-worker and I had lunch at the Kendall Square location to celebrate our birthdays. This time I tried the house salad topped with grilled calamari. You can add chicken, crabmeat, shrimp, salmon or lobster salad to any salad. They do not list grilled calamari on the menu anymore, but you can still get it. Some of the pieces were a bit chewy, I think it could have been grilled a little longer, but overall I enjoyed it. Every time I eat there with Liz she orders this and I had been dying to try it.
The seafood here is so fresh, and I highly recommend ordering oysters or something else off the raw bar menu. They offer a great gluten free menu and can accommodate for other food allergies and dietary restrictions – Garlic, Dairy, and Kosher for example.
Wellfleet Oysters
The gluten free dessert menu is limited with only three options, Belgian Chocolate Mousse Parfait, Sorbet and Seasonal Fruit. I haven’t tried the Mousse, I am usually way too full by the end of my meal, but it sure does sound good!

Locations: 18 locations in Massachusetts

Legal Sea Foods-Kendall Square on Urbanspoon