**PLEASE NOTE: While Van’s Natural Foods DID provide me with these products at no cost, I was not in any way paid for my review. The following opinion is hereby my own.**
Last week, while I was cooking dinner, my husband went out the front door (which we don’t use very much, since we normally come and go via the garage) to check something in the yard, and came back in with a rather large box.
“What’s this?” he asked, in a tone that said, “What have you ordered now?!”
“Oh, those are probably the vacuum cleaner filters,” I said, glancing over my shoulder. Then I turned around completely, because it was a BIG box! “What IS that?”
Upon opening of the box, I discovered real-life treasures. I’m NOT kidding.
Van’s Natural Foods had sent me a box of their gluten-free products to try, blog about, and give away to readers. Oh, but these weren’t any Van’s items that I had tried before…they were all BRAND NEW offerings! How fantastic!
I’ve had a great relationship with any Van’s products I could get my hands on since I was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease, and started finding gluten-free foods to replace the familiar ones. Van’s was great because they made waffles that I could find in the frozen food section of my grocery store, and when you suddenly have bread removed from your life, waffles are a very good thing! I have tried EVERY flavor of gluten-free waffles they make (Ancient Grains Original, Totally Natural, Blueberry, Apple Cinnamon, Buckwheat with Berries and even the Flax!) and trust me, they are ALL good. (I’ve even used them to make gluten-free stuffing for Thanksgiving – oh yes!)
Then I discovered and tried their Totally Natural Pancakes and their Cinnamon French Toast Sticks…and life got a little sweeter! Of course, it makes things even better when you know you’re eating only all-natural ingredients, and none of the “junk” you’ll get in lots of other products! OH! And Van’s doesn’t make ONLY gluten-free items! They have lots of yummy good-for-you items I’m sure your family will approve of! (Make sure you check out all they have to offer at www.vansfoods.com.)
On that note, when I opened this box last week, I found things I hadn’t even tried yet!
They even sent me a fantastic burlap bag! Treasures, I told you!
So, time to taste!
I started with the Cranberry Almond Snack Bars.
SO. GOOD. You feel like you’re actually getting a full-of-good-stuff snack, not just a “cereal bar” that eases your hunger for five minutes. And I’m a huge fan of almonds and cranberries, so the combination of the two was great!
I broke off a piece and popped it into my hubby’s mouth before he had the chance to know what it was, and he liked it, as well! (Since he does NOT have to eat gluten-free, he’s a pretty good judge of how gluten-free things taste.) These are also available in Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Chip!
Then we (he was interested in the process at this point!) moved on to the Say Cheese Snack Pack.
Reminiscent of Cheese-It’s, I was instantly impressed, because what does every gluten-free kid want in their lunch box? Something that doesn’t look OR taste gluten-free! Something that the other kids aren’t turning their noses up at! And this definitely hits the spot. Plus, they’re much healthier than chips!
I never was a Cheese-It fan, but my husband always has been, and he proclaimed these “way better than Cheese-It’s!” They really were! When you look at them, they almost look like they will be heavy, but they were light and crispy and absolutely yummy. (He went back for another bag!)
Since we were on the cracker kick, we went on to the Fire Roasted Veggie Whole Grain Crackers.
You could actually taste the “roasted”, and the pepper, too! But it wasn’t too overpowering, and you had that great crispy lightness here, as well!
These were probably my favorite, and they would really be great for dips and spreads!
We followed those up with The Perfect 10 Whole Grain Crackers.
You could taste a touch of black pepper in these, and, with a slice of cheese on them, they were excellent!
I’m really impressed by the fact that you can look at these and see how full of ingredients they are, but when you put them in your mouth, they’re so airy and crisp! For containing six whole grains including brown rice, gluten-free oats, millet, teff, quinoa and amaranth, plus four seeds – flax, sesame, poppy and caraway…that’s just pretty amazing!
Last, but not least, we tried the Cinnamon Heaven Cereal.
I actually thought it was good without milk, too! If you wanted to use it for a snack, there’s hardly any residue to get on your fingers, either, which is a plus!
But definitely great with milk. Just sweet enough, but not overpowering, and the amount of cinnamon was perfect! The milk wasn’t all murky when finished, either, which tells me that everyone they put in this cereal stays with it, instead of getting lost and floating around in your leftover milk! Also available in Honey Nut Crunch (named best gluten-free cereal by SELF Magazine).
Oh, but for one of my lucky readers, you don’t even have to hunt – you can have them all to yourself! Here’s the deal:
Enter the giveaway below, and the winner will receive coupons for FREE Van’s Products directly from the company, and recipe and lunchbox notes from me!
ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE —> a Rafflecopter giveaway <— ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE
I’ll keep this running for a week, and then I’ll announce and notify the winner! Good luck, everyone! And many thanks to Van’s for sharing their goodies with us!