Whenever Bars (Pamela’s Products) Review and Giveaway!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 10:20 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winners are Karin A. and Cathi (please check your e-mails)!   Congratulations to you both and thank you to all who entered.

Have you heard of or tried the new Whenever Bars that Pamela’s Products released in October? I was asked if I wanted to give them a try – of course I said yes, I love Pamela’s Products! Plus with school I am always on the go and always looking for quick, delicious, convenient and gluten-free items to throw in my bag – these bars meet all of those requirements.  I actually ate these as breakfast bars and they are absolutely delicious.

The bars come in four different flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice.  At first I wasn’t so sure about the Oat Raisin Walnut Spice because I’m not a huge fan of raisins but they ended up being one of my favorites.  The flavor combinations that Pamela’s Products have created are perfect.  I especially loved the Oat Blueberry Lemon…delicious! I also really enjoyed the addition of the chia seeds in them.

The bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, low in sodium and cholesterol, and are sweetened (primarily) with agave nectar and coconut sugar. Each box contains 6 (six) individually wrapped bars.

I’ve also included the press-release that was sent to me.  I think you will all really enjoy these bars.  Great to send with your kiddos to school, purse, brief case, or school bag (if  you are in school like I am).  The bars were filling and satisfying.

I need to add these to my Amazon wish list!

The extremely generous and wonderful people over at Pamela’s Products has offered the following prize package to TWO of my readers!

1 Box – Oat Blueberry Lemon Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Cranberry Almond Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Raisin Walnut Spice Whenever Bars

1 Package Baking & Pancake Mix

To enter to win one of two prize packages scroll to the bottom of the post to see the entry rules!



Nuts, Fruit, Chia Seeds and Chocolate Make These Bars a Standout

UKIAH, Calif. – October 12, 2011 – Setting the gold standard in gluten-free baking since 1988, Pamela’s Products is launching a new line of snack bars inspired by their loyal customers. Whenever Bars are soft and chewy, gluten-free, whole grain bars that are as delicious as they are healthy and convenient.

Pamela’s gluten-free certified Whenever Bars come in four delicious flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice. The line is making its way to store shelves nationwide with an SRP of $4.99 per box, five bars per box and they are also available on Amazon.com.

“Whenever Bars are our first on-the-go gluten-free snack,” said President and Founder Pamela Giusto-Sorrells, a third generation natural foods entrepreneur and baker. “I wanted to create a great tasting snack that anybody can enjoy wherever, whenever. They’re made with simple, real ingredients such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins and dark chocolate so you’ll feel satisfied, not hungry, after you eat one.”

Only the highest quality ingredients are used in Pamela’s Whenever Bars, including gluten-free oats, almonds and walnuts. The addition of chia seeds gives the bars a significant Omega 3 essential fatty acids and dietary fiber boost. They’re also non-dairy, low in sodium and cholesterol, and lightly sweetened primarily with agave and coconut sugar. With nine grams of whole grains per serving, the bars meet the Whole Grain Council’s requirements for wholesome grain servings and include the council’s stamp on their packaging.

If anybody knows what it takes to produce a great tasting gluten-free product that everyone can enjoy, it’s Giusto-Sorrells. She’s honed her gluten-free baking expertise with delicious, simple, wholesome ingredients and a lot of patience during her more than 20 years in the business.

About Pamela’s Products

Since 1988, Pamela’s Products has created some of the best-selling gluten free products on the market, including Traditional, Organic and Simplebites Cookies, Biscotti, Baking Mixes and Ready-to-Eat cakes, found in natural food and grocery stores throughout North America, as well as online. For additional information about Pamela’s Products, including recipes, baking and allergy information, visit www.pamelasproducts.com.

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The two winners will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using random.org – the winners will have 24 hours to respond via e-mail with their contact information.  If I do not hear back within the allotted time frame, another winner will be chosen. The prize package will be shipped directly to the winners from Pamela’s Products. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and come back here to leave a comment  letting me know which bars you would like to try the most. (Mandatory)

2) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and let me know which of the recipes listed on the Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix you would try first. (Mandatory)

3) Like Pamela’s Products on Facebook (Optional)

4) Follow Pamela’s Products on Twitter (Optional)

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)

All of the opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  Pamela’s Products generously supplied me with samples to review and are sponsoring this giveaway to two lucky readers! Photos and log are courtesy of Pamela’s Products.  

Good luck to all who enter!

Making Snacks At Home

Before we go grocery shopping I start by getting out that weeks ads to see what is on sale, and then try to plan meals around that.  I also look at the coupons we have, new ones that have come in and also search online for them (at first Bryan made fun of me and my coupon clipping but once he saw how much I save each time he’s pretty thankful) I then make a list of all the items we need and next to it I write what the sale is and at which store, I also write if we have a coupon for it.  For the most part we try out best to stick to the list as best we can, but every now and then we find a thing or two that we really want and that is usually a snack or two.  Well actually it is mostly Bryan that finds these things because for me it is a bit harder to find gluten-free snacks.

He will usually grab some cinnamon buns, beef jerky or corn muffins, all of which I love but sadly can’t find gluten-free options in the stores so I decided that I could learn to make a few snack items at home.  I’ve made cinnamon buns and corn muffins/bread before and they came out great.  I hadn’t attempted to make beef jerky or granola bars and those are two things I have been wanting to attempt for a while, so I finally did.

Making snacks at home is easy, a great way to control what you and your family are consuming but also it is a great way to save money!

Beef Jerky

Bryan and I both love beef jerky and we usually buy him a bag of it but its gone in one sitting!  Before moving back east I bought a great cookbook “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It And Other Cooking Projects” by Karen Solomon.  Including in the cookbook are recipes to make your own bacon, cheese, marshmallows, limoncello and so much more.  The recipe calls for very lean top sirloin or flank steak, I choose the flank steak because at BJ’s you can get two pounds for the same price, if not less than one pound of flank steak at our local grocery store!

I used the recipe listed in the cookbook just as a guideline and made it gluten-free and adjusted the ingredients to our spice level.  My recipe is below – I checked their website and they don’t have the beef jerky recipe listed so I can’t link to it, however you should really buy this book, you will love it!

Gluten Free Beef Jerky

2 pounds lean flank steak (remove every bit of fat from the meat!  this is very important-if you leave the fat on it will like go rancid!)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce

4 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (you can adjust this to your taste level, we really like heat)

Advanced Prep: Freeze steak for 30 minutes – this will help with the slicing. Line two sheet pans with foil and oil (canola or gluten-free cooking spray) two racks.  Place one rack in each of the pans, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees – if your oven doesn’t go that low, set it to the lowest temp that it will and leave the oven door cracked open an inch or two, or use a wooden spoon to keep it ajar.

Remove steak from freezer, and make sure that all the fat has been removed (see note above).  Thinly slice steak 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces.

In a large bowl mix together salt, gluten-free soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Add meat and let marinade in the refrigerator for two hours (or over night).

Lay the meat on the racks in a single layer, but don’t let them touch or over lap.

Dry the meat in an oven for 5-7 hours.  Check for doneness for the first time around 5 hours.  The jerky shouldn’t be brittle but should be able to be torn into strings and not look raw in the inside.

Allow jerky to cool completely and enjoy!

Store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

Granola Bars

I love granola bars, but since going gluten-free I haven’t had one, and I’ve really missed them.  They are the perfect take along snack.  I’ll be making more of these when it comes time for school.  They are super easy to make and you can add in pretty much anything you like.  I think next time I might add in some peanut butter chips.

Gluten-Free/Allergy Free Granola Bars

The recipe listed below is from Martha Stewart’s website.  I did a few little tweaks to the recipe and they are noted in red below.

Makes about 16 bars

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oatmeal (I used 3 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats)
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free crisp-rice cereal (I didn’t have any so I omitted them)
  • 1/2 cup mini gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey


  1. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; line baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Place oatmeal and rice cereal in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, oil, and honey. Place over medium-high heat; bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to oatmeal mixture; stir until oatmeal mixture is fully coated and well combined.
  4. Evenly pour oatmeal mixture into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with chocolate chips. When mixture is cool enough to touch, press down into pan. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 (1-by-4-inch) bars. Granola bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week, and frozen up to six months.
From The Martha Stewart Show, April 2010

*I would recommend following the directions – I got distracted when making these and ended up adding some of the chocolate chips in with the oats and when I poured the liquid over it they all melted so it became chocolate granola bars. Woops – I mean they still came out pretty good.  I would also suggest that if you have the gluten-free crisp rice cereal, use it.  Also Martha’s photo is WAY better than mine!

Hope you enjoy these two homemade snacks!

Apple Crisp (Take Two)

Apple Crisp – ready to be baked

Almost two years ago now I posted about my love of the Fall and apple crisp and today I would like to revisit that post.  Fall is almost here and I couldn’t be more excited.  We even bought our first pumpkins of the season the other day…they may be mini pumpkins, but they are still perfect little pumpkins.  I haven’t lived on the East Coast during the Fall in five years – which may not seem like all that long but when this is your favorite time of year and you are living in Central California where there is no fall you miss it more than words can express.

I have already scoped out all the apple orchards near us, along with a corn maze and a pick your own pumpkin patch – seriously you would think I’m five years old with the amount of excitement that I get.  Nope, I’m just 100% dork when it comes to this time of year.  Can’t wait for the sweaters to be pulled out, the crisp air and crunch leaves as they fall down.  Cool walks, hot apple cider and of course some warm out of the oven apple crisp! The colors of Fall are by far my favorite colors of any of the seasons.  The deep reds, oranges, greens and yellows make the most beautiful combination to me.  I can’t wait for all the beautiful orange roses to be on display too.  I keep asking Bryan that when we get married, can it please be in the fall, I can’t imagine being married during any other time of the year.  The fall just makes me happy and extremely excited.

The first thing I make every fall is Apple Crisp.  Beyond simple to make and probably one of my favorite desserts (okay I even eat it for breakfast – its fruits and oats right?!).  However, I have learned that Bryan isn’t a fan, but loves Apple Pie (which I’m not the biggest fan, I love the crunch of the crisp).  So seeing as I already made my first crisp I told him I would make him a gluten containing apple pie.  Seeing as the only flours we have in the house are gluten-free we picked up some pre-made pie crusts for him.  The sad thing is Bryan is allergic to raw apples.  He has Oral Allergy Syndrome:

Oral Allergy Syndrome is an allergy to certain raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, spices and nuts causing allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. These allergic reactions happen mostly in people with hayfever, especially spring hayfever due to birch pollen, and late summer hayfever due to ragweed pollen (Webmaster note: there is no ragweed pollen in British Columbia west of the Rockies).

An allergic reaction happens while eating the raw food, and causes itchy, tingly mouth, lips, throat and palate. There may be swelling of the lips, tongue and throat, and watery itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Handling the raw fruit or vegetable e.g., peeling it or touching the juice to the lips, may cause rash, itching or swelling where the juice touches the skin, or sneezing, runny nose and water eyes. Sometimes, more severe symptoms can happen such as vomiting, cramps, diarrhea and, on rare occasions, life threatening reactions with swelling of the throat, wheezing, trouble breathing and anaphylaxis.

These allergic reactions usually occur only when the food is raw. People who are allergic to the raw food can eat it cooked, canned, microwaved, processed or baked. For example, someone allergic to raw apples can eat apple sauce, apple jelly, apple juice, apple pie and dried apples. However, nuts may cause allergic reactions whether raw or cooked. This problem is usually life long. Allergy tests to these foods may sometimes be negative unless a fresh fruit is used for the test (instead of a commercial allergy extract). The allergic reaction to these foods can occur anytime of the year when eating the foods but can be worse during the pollen season and especially if hayfever is very troublesome that year.

The allergic reaction is not due to pesticides, chemicals or wax on the fruit. However, because the more allergic part of the fruit may be in the skin, some people allergic to fruits, e.g., peaches, can eat the flesh without reaction if the skin is peeled away. Similarly for apples, some brands of apples cause more allergic reactions than others. Freshly picked apple, e.g., straight from the tree or an unripe apple, may cause fewer allergic reactions than one which is very ripe or one which has been stored for weeks after picking.

Severe allergic reactions to foods causing Oral Allergy Syndrome are most likely to occur with celery, kiwi, peaches, apricots, apples and nuts, especially hazelnuts.

Management of Oral Allergy Syndrome

  1. These allergies are caused by the raw fruit or vegetable and therefore, once they are cooked or processed, they can usually be eaten.
  2. You do not need to avoid all the foods on the chart in the table above. Avoid only those particular ones which have caused allergic reactions.
  3. Be aware, however, that if you do have Oral Allergy Syndrome to some of the foods, you can develop allergies to other foods on the chart.
  4. If an allergic reaction occurs to one of these foods, stop eating it immediately. Severe reactions may happen if you keep eating that food. Allergic reactions may be treated with antihistamines.
  5. If you have had severe symptoms including trouble breathing, when eating the foods, you may need to carry injectable medication with you to treat these reactions (e.g., EpiPen®).
  6. For mild Oral Allergy Syndrome, try peeling the fruit, or eating unripe or partially ripe fruits, or picking them directly from the tree so that they are quite fresh. If you react, do not keep eating the food.
  7. Microwaving briefly to a temperature of 80°-90° C (176° – 194° deg F) may allow you to eat the food.
  8. Nuts which cause Oral Allergy Syndrome should be totally avoided, whether fresh or cooked, because of the higher risk of severe reactions.
  9. Allergy shots for hayfever may sometimes help associated food allergies.

Substitute Raw Fruits
Berries* (strawberry, blueberry, raspberries, etc.), citrus* (orange, mandarins, etc.), grapes, currants, gooseberries, guava, mango, figs, pineapple, papaya, avocado, persimmon, pomegranates, watermelon*.

Substitute Raw Vegetables
MUSTARD family (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, watercress, radish
GOOSEFOOT family (spinach, swiss chard)
COMPOSITE family (green onions)

Substitute Nuts
Peanut*, cashew, pistachio, brazil, macadamia, pine nut.

*May occasionally cause Oral Allergy Syndrome.

So on top of this allergy he also has an Onion Allergy – so  not only do we cook gluten-free but we also cook onion free in our house.  We also try to cook with minimal amount of dairy because he is also lactose intolerant.  Talk about Creative Cooking!

When people hear that I can’t have anything containing gluten they all pull the “oh I’m so sorry for you, how difficult that must be” or my favorite “I could NEVER live like that”, when in reality it isn’t that bad or hard to do.  But I feel even worse for Bryan than myself, because onion is in so many things – salsa sauces, dressings, etc.  And how sad is it, he can’t ever have a candy or caramel apple??  But we are both really good about our restrictions and have learned to adapt recipes to fit both of our needs.

Now back to the Apple Crisp.  In the original recipe I posted, I used almond flour/meal because I hadn’t discovered gluten-free oats.  Now that I have found gluten-free oats and have them on hand I can go back to my favorite apple crisp recipe from my Betty Crocker Cookbook (This was the first cookbook I ever bought myself). The original recipe calls for flour so  I made this one with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour and it turned out great.  The only thing was I wanted this so badly that I should have waited until I had at least one more apple to cut up, but I was determined to make it so it wasn’t as full as it could have or should have been.

Apple Crisp – A Gluten Free Version of a Betty Crocker Classic

4 medium, tart cooking apples (I use Macintosh and Granny Smith) sliced or four cups

1/3 – 3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/2 cup gluten-free quick-cooking or gluten-free old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup stick butter, softened

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease bottom and sides of square pan 8 x 8 x 2 inches, with shortening (butter, cooking spray)

2. Arrange apples in pan.  Mix remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle over apples.

3. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender.  Serve warm and, if desired, with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

You can also do the following substitutions:

Blueberry Crisp: substitute 4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed and drained) blueberries for the apples

Cherry Crisp: Substitute 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling for the apples and use 2/3 cup brown sugar.

Rhubarb Crisp: Substitute 4 cups cut-up rhubarb for the apples (or even better use half rhubarb and half the apples to make an apple-rhubarb crisp!

*read all labels and check with manufactures regarding if an item is gluten-free or not.

Gluten Free Granola


Gluten Free Granola

Canola Oil or Silpat

1/8 cup honey

1/8 cup agave nectar

1 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

1/2 shredded coconut

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees

~If honey isn’t runny enough to mix, heat in the microwave for ten seconds.

~In a medium sized bowl all honey, agave nectar, oats, coconut, almonds and walnuts.. Mix until all ingredients are evenly coated with honey and agave.

~Either coat a cookie sheet with oil or use a Silpat. Evenly spread oat mixture in a thin even layer.

~Bake for 15 minutes. Turning pan half way through.

~Let cool. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Mix in any additional ingredients you wish to use…pumpkin seeds, dried fruit etc.