Monthly Archives: May 2010

Continental Airlines Offers Gluten-free Meals Again!

Several weeks ago, we posted some disappointing news about Continental Airlines. The company had just announced some changes to their meal offerings and the gluten-free meal had not made the cut. Meals to accommodate those with special religious dietary needs would still be available, but people with gluten intolerance (or a wheat allergy) were out of luck. In our post, we suggested that people might want to contact the airline and let them know how important it is to accommodate all their passengers – including those with celiac – with a safe meal. They only serve food on long flights, but who is going to fly to Europe or Asia on Continental if they can’t get a gluten-free meal if they need one? Probably no one who has a choice in the matter.

Special thanks to Connie Sarros for the news (in her newsletter) that after so many unhappy customers contacted Continental about the discontinuation of gluten-free meals, the company had a change of heart. Gluten-free meals were added back to the meal line up for long flights. Together, we can affect change in our community. Whether we’re looking for more food choices or gluten-free restaurant options – getting involved does make a difference. What happened with Continental Airlines is proof in the gluten-free pudding of that fact. We know that several of our readers contacted Continental and apparently many other unhappy people did as well. Thanks to everyone who took the time to make their voices heard. One quick phone call or short e-mail to the company (from a lot of us) was all that was needed to make the company do a flip flop on the cancellation of gluten-free meals. Kudos to all of us!

Let’s face it, we are in the minority and yet, we created enough of a ruckus for Continental to rethink their position about catering to our dietary needs. In my opinion, the sky is the limit regarding what we accomplish once we put our minds to it. We don’t all want the exact same things in terms of change in our market. Comments on our Butterball gluten-free gravy and Bisquick posts prove that. Even so, there are some things we can all agree on. When those occasions present themselves, as happened in the case of the Continental meal situation, we can be a very powerful force indeed!

One of the biggest mistakes people can make is thinking that they alone can’t make a difference. The point is that if each person is part of a bigger group and they all have the same goal – they absolutely can make a difference. We could think about it like this. It’s easier to stick to the gluten-free diet if you focus on all the great foods you can have (both naturally gluten-free items and replacement type foods) instead of what you can’t eat anymore. If we focus on what needs to change in order for us to navigate more easily in a world full of gluten and proactively set about to be part of that change, we’ll make it easier not only ourselves, but for all who come after us. Here’s to all the great changes coming up around the bend!

Review: King Arthur Gluten-free Mixes

gf-browniesWhen the news about these new mixes came out a couple of months ago, it was rather shocking. The small Vermont based, employee-owned company has been known to produce some exceptional quality (mostly) gluten flours for over 200 years. That’s right, when the company was founded, George Washington had just been elected President. King Arthur Flour has always been a company committed to making quality products. Now, it seems they’ve set their sights on producing some fabulous gluten-free products. All of the new gluten-free mixes are also free of eggs, dairy, soy, nuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish. They do call for eggs and in some cases, butter, like traditional baking mixes. I used canola oil instead of butter in both mixes.

Excerpt from the press release:

“We wanted to create gluten-free mixes that would not only meet the same high standards we apply to all of our products in terms of flavor and texture, but also reflect the highest standards of gluten- and allergen-free certification,” says King Arthur Flour Marketing Director Tom Payne. “We’ve brought to bear our more than two centuries of experience in baking and recipe development, toiling in our test kitchen for over two years to combine the best gluten-free ingredients in novel ways that result in gluten-free baking mixes of superior quality, consistency and taste.”

King Arthur Flour’s gluten-free baking mixes are the only major brand to be third-party certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, with standards twice as stringent as those set by the Food and Drug Administration. In addition, they are produced in a dedicated allergen-free facility, guaranteed to be free of the top eight most common food allergens. They are also certified Kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council. Says Payne, “We’re sure customers will agree these are the very best gluten-free mixes on the market today.”

First up was the brownie mix. It was easy to mix up with a bamboo spoon and I lined my pan with foil so there was very little clean up. The brownies reminded me of those I ate as a child. They are rich, moist, chewy and have a flaky top. The box says to freeze the brownies that are not eaten within three days. Ours held up perfectly for five full days. Even though the brownies tasted great right after they cooled (and while they were still warm!), they tasted even better every day after they were made, than on the day I baked them. Many gluten-free baked goods are really best the day they’re made. That means if you’re going to an event and need to take something sweet, you have to bake something that day. This is not the case with these delicious brownies. Just bake them the day before and put them in an air tight container and you’re good to go! My husband didn’t feel like sharing these brownies with co-workers so we could not get an opinion about them from glutenoids this time.

Next up was the chocolate cake mix. First of all, the mix makes a two layer cake so right away, it gets a big thumbs up just for that from me. Whoever thought of selling us mixes that make only a 1-layer cake did us and the environment (wasteful packaging) a great disservice. Very few people have a need to make a 1-layer cake and we can add. We know when we buy two mixes for $4 each, we are paying $8 to make 2-layer cake. The first time I read a mix that said it only made a 1-layer cake, I literally thought it was a typo.

cakeOK – so how was the King Arthur Flour gluten-free chocolate cake mix? Well, if you know what Devil’s Food cake tastes like, you know what this cake tastes like. It was chocolaty, moist, rich – perfect! Because I was in a rush for time, I slapped some whipped milk chocolate canned frosting from Betty Crocker on the cake. Even using canned frosting could not hurt this fabulous cake. The frosting was actually surprising good, but it’s not the same as homemade buttercream frosting, of course.

The cake was enjoyed by several gluten-free people and a couple of people that eat gluten. Everyone said they loved it and they were not just being nice. They knew I was reviewing the mix and needed their honest feedback. The following day, the friend I left the cake with took the rest of it to a house full of glutenoids and they all loved it as well. Hearing that proved to me that I can serve this delicious cake to the most finicky eaters around and they will never know it’s gluten-free unless I tell them. I’m going to have a agree with the company’s slogan – these mixes were definitely worth the wait!

The new mixes will start hitting some store shelves in June and are already available for online ordering. If you don’t see them in local stores that sell the gluten King Arthur Flour products, be sure to ask the store manager to add the gluten-free mixes to the next order from the company. While you’re waiting for King Arthur’s mixes, you can already buy various baking mixes from 24 store brands listed in the Grocery Guide. Special thanks to King Arthur for my review mixes!

Kinnikinnick’s Three-Flavored Donuts

Kinnikinnick’s Three-flavored Donuts

I have a confession to make: I love donuts. Cake, old fashioned, Krispy Kreme…put any donut in front of me and you can bet a pretty penny it won’t be sitting there for long. In general, I’m a healthy person. I make sure to stock up on fruits and veggies. I eat lots of rice, lentils, and even quinoa. I mostly eat well. But we all have our guilty pleasures.

Being something of a donut connoisseur, I approached Kinnikinnick’s gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, soy-free donuts with a healthy skepticism. Logic told me that certain elements crucial to the makeup of a donut were purposefully omitted from these remarkably scrumptious-looking treats. But in the name of gluten-free goody lovers everywhere, I took the plunge and sampled Kinnikinnick’s chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon sugar donuts. I was pleasantly surprised.

First thing’s first. If you’re the Krispy Kreme type, then these might not be for you. Kinnikinnick donuts are of the smaller, denser, cakier persuasion. That said, the cake has a lovely moistness to it, especially in the case of the cinnamon sugar donuts, which also have tiny cinnamon sugar sparkles mixed into the dough. All flavors have that sinful, buttery taste on the outside of the dough, the gentle reminder that what you’re eating has been fried in something, even if it is gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, and soy-free.

The cinnamon sugar donuts are the clear winner of the bunch. As mentioned, the dough is slightly more moist, and the cinnamon sugar mix coating the outside makes for a delicious finish. The chocolate icing on the chocolate donuts is a bit lackluster, which isn’t surprising considering that its only four ingredients are sugar, water, cocoa powder, and glucose. The translucent sweetness of the vanilla icing, though comprised of similar ingredients (sugar, water, vanilla, and glucose), is somehow more convincing.

The other perks of these donuts are that they have absolutely no trans-fat, and they aren’t as ridiculously calorie-laden as some of their gluten-containing counterparts. Cinnamon sugar donuts are 170 calories each, while chocolate and vanilla run at 220 and 212 calories, respectively. Pretty good as far as tasty indulgences go.

All in all, I highly recommend Kinnikinnick’s gluten-free, etc. donuts, which are available in over 3,000 retail locations nationwide, or on their website: www.kinnikinnick.com. This Canadian baker makes donuts that are safe for anyone to eat, but taste like the real thing. Take it from a girl who’s eaten a lot of them.

Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup

Beignets - Photo courtesy of Jules Gluten Free

Beignets - Photo courtesy of Jules Gluten Free

With so many great gluten-free products on store shelves these days, many of us don’t want for much in terms of gluten-free options. This is not true in smaller communities or rural areas, of course. There are still places that are so out of the gluten-free loop, that there isn’t even a frozen gluten-free bread that tastes like cardboard available. I’m not saying people want to eat such bread, but just that many people can’t even find bad gluten-free bread to purchase where they live. Forget about finding something fabulous like Udi’s and Canyon Bakehouse breads.

Even with more gluten-free options for replacement type foods than we really need, there are still a few things I’d love to be able to buy locally that I can’t. There are other things you can’t buy anywhere, but you can make them yourself if you’re so inclined. Being someone who didn’t do much in the kitchen (except decorate it and buy stuff to put in it) until my celiac diagnosis, I’m very thankful for all the talented bakers and cooks out there who create amazing gluten-free recipes that make living gluten-free more fun! Below are a few stand out recipes for some things I get a hankering for every now and then.

  • Gluten-free beignets from Jules Gluten Free – this recipe offers instructions to make the amazing New Orleans treat dairy-free as well. It calls specifically for Jules’ Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, but the Grocery Guide has at least five more gluten-free all-purpose flours you can try.
  • Easy cookie crumb pie crust recipes (use gluten-free cookies) – you can use K-Toos gluten-free Oreo type cookies for an Oreo crust with these instructions. Those work great for a chocolate creme pie crust.
  • Gluten-free English muffins from Gluten-Free Goddess – this recipe is also dairy-free.
  • Flourless peanut butter cookie recipethis is actually a traditional recipe and there are no expensive ingredients in this ‘oldie but goodie’.
  • Gluten-free cheese cracker recipe from Teri Gruss – these look crunchy, cheesy and delicious.
  • Chicken noodle soup recipe from Gluten-Free Mom – portion this soup out in small batches – freeze and pull out as needed. It calls for gluten-free noodles, which are often difficult to find or expensive to buy, but the Grocery Guide lists at least 20 brands that sell tons of varieties.

Sometimes I wonder why many people think there is nothing we can eat that tastes good. Doctors are among the worst offenders of spreading that misinformation. One I encountered in my gluten-free journey actually said “you don’t want to have celiac, you can’t eat anything good ever again”. One – I can’t choose to have or not have a condition (it chose me apparently). And two – statements like that are the reason that some family members of people with celiac won’t get tested – or have their kids tested.

There are not only fabulous product choices for us these days, there are seemingly zillions of wonderful gluten-free recipes for everything under the sun. We just have to take advantage of all the gluten-free goodness available to us. Celiac awareness month will come to a close on Memorial Day. I hope everyone thought of something to do to create change in the gluten-free world – even in the smallest way. If you did something that made a difference, let us know in the comments below. If you prefer to keep your good deeds to yourself, thanks from all those you will never know you helped!

The Melting Pot Rolls Out Gluten-Free Menu

signup_bgThe Melting Pot is a restaurant we never tried when we ate gluten. This is likely due to our ‘avoid chains at all costs’ attitude back then. There are a few chains places we visit occasionally these days, but the only one that truly stands out (to us) in terms of gluten-free service is the Roswell, GA Outback Steakhouse. As explained in the Triumph Dining Restaurant Guide, the fact that a place has a gluten-free menu does not ensure they will provide you a safe meal. Unless it’s a totally gluten-free establishment, you have to know the right questions to ask – and feel comfortable with the answers you get in return.

When I found out that GIG was working with The Melting Pot to help them create a safe gluten-free menu, I double checked to make sure there was one in my area. Indeed, there are actually several in Metro Atlanta. Recently, the company rolled out their gluten-free menu nationwide. Several locations have had gluten-free options for quite a while. Even though most locations don’t serve gluten-free bread, cookies or cake, the extensive gluten-free options are still pretty exciting. The location nearest us said they’d allow us to bring in our own bread as well.

The online six page gluten-free menu includes information on the many substitutions that are required to get a safe meal there. The diners have to ask for certain things – no Rice Krispy treats, cookies or brownies for example. There are many modifications needed, but gluten-free guests will still get plenty of food to eat. For dipping sauces that call for wheat flour, diners need to request cornstarch is used. There is a list of gluten-free alcoholic drinks which includes Baileys and Godiva liqueurs.

The way the company originally started is pretty interesting. Here is an excerpt from the website:

The first Melting Pot opened in April of 1975 in Maitland, Fla. – just outside of Orlando. It was a cozy, quaint location and its first menu consisted of just three items: Swiss cheese fondue, beef fondue and a chocolate fondue dessert. However, as the restaurant’s popularity expanded, so did its menu and ambiance.

Mark Johnston, who was working his way through college as a waiter at The Melting Pot, noticed the popularity boost and – with the help of his brothers Mike and Bob – scraped together funding to open The Melting Pot of Tallahassee in 1979 (with the blessing of the original owners in Maitland… of course). The Tallahassee location grew enormously popular, and within one year its success paved the way for future franchise expansion.

The fact that there is still a location in Tallahassee is very exicting. In my opinion, “Tally” is second only to Pamama City in terms of lacking gluten-free awareness in the Florida panhandle. OK – back to The Melting Pot’s gluten-free menu. There are locations in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the website and enter your zip code to find a location near you (if there is one). Then click on your location and then menu. The drop down menu should show the gluten-free menu PDF. After reading Catherine’s rave review of The Melting Pot (the location she visited serves gluten-free bread!), we will definitely be checking out the location near us soon. We’ll be taking in the Nature’s Own gluten-free bread in to enjoy the experience even more!

Celiac Insert in USA Today

Something pretty exciting happened recently in terms of celiac awareness. USA Today included an insert all about celiac in the May 14th edition of the paper. This publication reaches millions of people. It’s not a woman’s magazine, a cooking magazine, a health magazine or an online blog. It’s a mainstream paper with mainstream appeal and having a 16 page insert all about celiac is a very big deal!

The insert was not in every issue, but selected distribution areas only. For those of you who could not get it in your area, you can read it on the NFCA website. Alice Bast, the leader of that group is featured in the insert, along with several other prominent figures in the celiac/gluten-free community. Boar’s Head, Dietz & Watson and Betty Crocker bought full page ads in the insert and there are smaller ads for companies we all know, but most people in the country have never heard of. Bard’s Tale gluten-free beer has an ad as well as General Mills (owner of Betty Crocker).

Dr. Alessio Fasano gives some insight about advances in treatment and there is a Q&A with Dr. Peter Green. There is some great info for gluten-free kids and their parents. Sarah-Jane Smith, the pro golfer with celiac, is featured as well as A.J. Clemens, a competitive skier. Both of them are part of the NFCA Athletes for Awareness program and both speak of how much better they feel, now that they follow the gluten-free diet. Like most people I know with celiac, the athletes mention how much more energy they have now.

One of the best parts of the insert to me personally, is where the social aspect of following a restricted diet is touched on. It’s not an in depth look at what our days are like, but it might educate a few gluten eaters in our lives that no, we can not just order a salad every time we go out to eat with them. Someone once told me that the best response to that comment is to suggest that I would order a salad if the person who asked me to do so, would order a salad as well. I tried this trick and it worked like a charm. I highly recommend others do the same.

In the “What it really means to be gluten-free” section, a nutritionist explains that the gluten-free diet is not bad for one’s health. That news is contrary to what the National Wheat Association wants everyone to believe. We all need to eat wheat – it’s been around for 10,000 years after all. That is a short time span in terms of how long mankind has been around, of course. Now that wheat is losing some market share as a food additive, the barley growers are trying to pick up the slack. Did Frito Lay really need to put barley flour in Lay’s Barbeque chips – both regular and baked? At least they do call it out as barley on the label, which they are not required by law to do.

Bob Levy, of Bob & Ruth’s Gluten-Free Travel Club talks about the trips they offer gluten-free travelers. Some of their offerings allow children to join in on the gluten-free adventures. I’ve met people who’ve gone on the Asian trip and the African safari. Everyone said the food was simply amazing and the scenery and culture weren’t too shabby either! For more information about this great company, check out the Bob & Ruth’s Gluten-Free Travel Club website.

*Special thanks to the advertisers that made this insert possible, ad to JoAnn Mitchell, who was kind enough to send me the NFCA link!

Review: Nature’s Own Gluten-Free Breads

108_0101In our gluten eating days, we ate Nature’s Own whole wheat bread. It was soft, had a decent amount of fiber and didn’t contain any preservatives. To say I was blown away when I found out that Nature’s Own was introducing a gluten-free bread – two of them in fact – is quite an understatement. Even though this bread is not available anywhere except the Metro Atlanta area right now, I thought our readers might want to know how this new bread stacks up against other gluten-free options.

My sample breads from Nature’s Own arrived last week and right away I noticed that the feel of the loaf was not as soft or light as the breads 108_0111from Udi’s. First up, I tried the Extra Fiber White bread with peanut butter on it. The bread was soft in the middle, but tough around the edge. However, the taste was incredible! It reminded me of the bread I ate growing up. Next, I tried a piece of the Multi-Grain bread for a cold open faced sandwich. Being able to see the seeds in the bread was a negative for me, but I tried to keep an open mind about the bread before tasting it. The taste was actually better than expected considering I don’t like seeds in my bread. For some reason, I could not really taste the seeds. Again, the middle of the bread was soft and the edges were tough. The bottom line for these breads for cold sandwiches for us is that they don’t compare to Udi’s or Canyon Bakehouse breads. If the edge of the bread was as soft as the middle, it would be a completely different story.

108_0115Obviously, most gluten-free bread tastes best when heated in some way and the same is true for the Nature’s Own gluten-free breads. In fact, the Extra Fiber White bread makes the best toast I’ve had in over four years. Taste is relative and again, this bread reminded me of the toast I ate growing up. Since we got several loaves of the Healthy Multi-Grain bread for our test taste, I used it to make cheese toast one day. In a word, the toast was incredible! As you can see in the photo, my cheese toast is more like cheese bread – just the way I like it.

108_0114Over the weekend, I whipped up a batch of French toast and without question, the Extra Fiber White bread made the best French toast we’ve had at home since going gluten-free. It is better than many gluten versions I’ve had as well. Due to the egg coating, the edges of the bread softened up quite a bit. It was not tough in any way.

108_0098

Last but not least, the bread makes exceptional garlic bread. We took it into a restaurant here to do a little test and see how it fared in a super hot oven. I almost cried when I tasted it. Nature’s Own is sending the new breads to select Atlanta stores and each location only gets a few loaves each. At Kroger stores, it’s been found near the nut bin aisle and in the Nature’s Market section. The bread is fresh –  not refrigerated or frozen. The shelf life isn’t very long since the breads don’t contain preservatives. The loaves put out on May 10th had a  date of May 20th. That means if someone bought the bread on the 18th, they’d need to eat or freeze it within two days. Freezing the bread did not change the taste at all. Once it thawed out, it was exactly as it had been before freezing.

You can find the full nutritional information for the breads on the Nature’s Own website. The Extra Fiber White bread has more fiber then the gluten bread we use to eat from Nature’s Own – 11% of the RDA of fiber in one slice – 13% in the Healthy Multi-Grain. The introduction of these new breads could be a game changer in the world of gluten-free products. The R&D group wants to make the bread better – they want it to be softer around the edges just like we do. The bread is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility in GA and ships to the Atlanta stores at least weekly for now. They retail for $5.99 and being able to buy them in a regular grocery store makes it worth every cent for us. They may not have hit stores in your area yet, though, but there are nine more brands that sell-gluten free bread, several of which are in your town’s grocery store, in the Grocery Guide.

Let us know if you’ve tried the breads and if so, what you think of them. The comments will be sent to Nature’s Own in an effort to help them help us. The company’s goal is to roll out the bread nationwide eventually, but that will only happen if the test market in Atlanta is successful. That means the gluten-free set in Atlanta holds the fate of the rest of the (U.S.) gluten-free set in their hands – literally. Let’s show everyone how powerful the gluten-free market in Atlanta really is!

Find Gluten-Free Food at MLB Parks

braves193To celebrate Celiac Awareness Month, ARAMARK, a food service company that manages concessions at sports and entertainment venues around the world, sent out a press release explaining where gluten-free food can be found at MLB parks they manage in the U.S. Redbridge gluten-free beer began popping up at some parks last year, followed by gluten-free food options in some areas. This year, baseball fans have even more options at more parks around the country.

Excerpt from Aramark Press Release:

In recognition of May as National Celiac Awareness Month, ARAMARK the food and beverage partner for 12 Major League Baseball teams – is proud to reaffirm its commitment to making gluten-free fare more accessible to fans with celiac disease.  ARAMARK has been at the forefront of this movement, debuting what is believed to be baseball’s first dedicated gluten-free concessions stand at Coors Field in Denver during the 2009 season.  This was quickly followed by a standalone location at Atlanta’s Turner Field.

The following parks that ARAMARK manages concessions for have gluten-free food options for the 2010 MLB season. This is pretty exciting news!

  • Citi Field (World’s Fare Market): Hot dog and hamburger on gluten-free bun, gluten-free snacks, gluten-free beer.
  • Citizens Bank Park (Section 128): Hot dog on gluten-free bun, gluten-free beer.
  • Coors Field (Section 143): Hot dog, hamburger and chicken sandwich on gluten-free bun, potato chips, cookies and brownies, gluten-free beer.
  • Oriole Park at Camden Yards (Charm City Market): Gluten-free crab cake, Asian noodle salad, hummus and vegetables, hot dog and sausage on gluten-free bun, gluten-free beer.
  • Turner Field (Section 112): Grilled sirloin burger served on tapioca-organic rice roll, hot dog on gluten-free bun, potato chips and popcorn, cookies and brownies, gluten-free beer.

The Aramark press release states that baseball fans that visit other parks they manage can call those parks to find out what food options might suit their dietary needs. Just because there is not a gluten-free food stand or cart in your park, doesn’t mean you can’t find something safe to eat. During most of the MLB season last year, Braves fans enjoyed peanuts, popcorn, ice cream and lemon ice. For information about the 14 MLB teams and 10 minor league teams ARAMARK parnters with, visit ballparkfoods.com.

Levy Restaurants also compiled this list of gluten-free offerings at MLB parks they manage, per my request.

U.S. Cellular – (Premium Dining Only – Club Level and suites)

  • Food Should Taste Good – Tortilla Chips (flavors are: Sweet Potato, Jalapeño, Multi-Grain and Olive) located at South Side Grills — Sections 328 & 348
  • Red Bridge Beer located at LG Skyline Bar — Section 354 and also located in the above South Side Grills — Sections 328 & 348
  • Niman Ranch Sausages (Apple-Gouda, Chipotle and Cheddar, & Spicy Italian Sausages) located at the Niman Ranch Portable —- Rotates between the two sections (318 & 342)

PNC Park – (Premium Dining Only – Club Level and suites)

  • Redbridge Beer — located at Gunners bar on PBC Level
  • Utz potato chips (flavors are: Regular, BBQ & Sour Cream & Onion) — available at Gunners bar on PBC level
  • Gummy Bears and Tangy Worms — located at the Soft Serve Ice Cream stand by Gunners Bar on PBC level
  • Mango Green Tea Slushy — available at Bucs Wok Concession stand on PBC Level

Wrigley Field – (both premium and concessions)

  • Red Bridge Beer — located at the Brew House locations on lower left field concourse, upper deck patio and the bleacher patio, also located at Sheffield Grill at the main level right field concourse
  • Pistachios — located at various Frosty Cold Beer portables throughout the park as well as the Brew House located on lower left field concourse and vended in the seats
  • Gummy Bears — located at the Brew House on the lower left field concourse and Sheffield Grill at the main level right field concourse

Dodgers Stadium (both premium and concessions)

  • California Chips (flavors are: Honey BBQ and Sea Salt) — located at all Dodger Dog locations throughout the park, Campy’s Corner in section 204, Canter’s Deli in section 247, Wetzel Pretzel’s in section 738 and the Healthy Cart located on the club level
  • Mr. Krispers (flavors are: BBQ, Sea Salt and Sour Cream & Onion) — located at Campy’s Corner in section 204 and 205 and the Healthy Cart located on the club level
  • Gummy Bears — located at Campy’s Corner in section 204 and 205 and the Healthy Cart located on the club level
  • Red Bridge Beer — located at Campy’s Corner in section 204 and 205 the Healthy Cart located on the club level

Chase Field (both premium and concessions)

  • Lara Bars  (flavors are: Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Cashew Cookie) — available at Doubleheader Stands at sections 114, 129, 316 and 324
  • Gluten Free Chips (flavors are: Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream) — available at Doubleheader Stands at sections 114, 129, 316 and 324
  • Red Bridge Beer — located at Liquor Bars at sections 115, 121, 129 and 323
  • Nationals Park (both premium and concessions)
  • Pretzels and Red Bridge Beer — located at NJ’s pretzel concession stand in section 106

*Nationals is also finalizing a variety of gluten-free snack options that will be introduced next week at the Healthy Plate Portable located at Section 111

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The fact that some major sports stadium food service companies are making accommodations for all fans is definitely a step in the right direction. This is probably the most exciting Celiac Awareness Month ever. From gluten-free Bisquick and Hamburger Helper rolling out soon nationwide to being able to enjoy an American past time like a hot dog at a baseball game – it’s all good!

The Original Gluten-free Bakery Closes

mrrittsheaderSeveral years ago, someone gave me an apple cake from Mr Ritts gluten-free bakery. I can’t really describe it, as it was different than most other cakes I’d ever had, but it was exceptionally delicious. Once we polished off the light and fluffy cake, I contacted the bakery about ordering it but it was not cost effective to do so. I assumed that one day the products would be sold here since I’d read rave reviews on many products made in what is considered to be the original gluten-free bakery, but that never happened.

Recently, the owners of Mr. Ritts bakery sent out a notice that after 11 years in business, the company is closing down. The owners did everything possible to stay open, but in this economy with rising costs and more competition than ever, it just wasn’t feasible to continue doing what they love. They will be baking through the month of May at least and then selling off ingredients in June. Preorders are being accepted now.

The future of the gluten-free market strong – no doubt – but that does not mean that all the companies making products today will be open in five years. Some of the big mainstream companies will jump out of the gluten-free game as fast as they came in. Some actually, don’t think it’s worth jumping in at all. With “so called” trend forecasters selling companies a report that says the gluten-free fad is already on the way out, that’s understandable. We know we’re not going away, but Con-Agra might not.

Some of the companies that exist today will certainly thrive. Some will be bought by larger companies and others simply won’t survive. It’s sad to see a place like Mr. Ritts closing down, but it’s doubtful that will be the only gluten-free company closing in the next couple of years. Like it or not, large companies that can make a ton of food for less money than the “little guys” will hurt many companies. The ingredients that larger companies use might not be as healthy, but many people are more concerned with paying less than buying healthier products. You can support smaller gluten-free bakeries by checking the Restaurant Guide for listings of stores in your area.

Below are just some of the items the bakery is selling at at wholesale (or below) prices. The full list can be found on the Mr. Ritts website.

NO FRILLS FLOUR SALES- MOSTLY PACKED IN PLASTIC BAGS - WHILES SUPPLIES LAST, PREORDERS RECOMMENDED UP TO 12 LBS CAN BE SHIPPED VIA FLAT RATE PRORITY MAIL ANYWHERE IN THE CONTINENTAL US FOR $10.20

  • CORN FREE BAKING POWDER 8 OZ $2.50
  • XANTHAN GUM 8 OZ $8.00
  • VANILLA EXTRACT 4 FL OZ $8.00
  • BUTTERMILK POWDER 1 LB $3.50
  • MEDIUM COCOA 1 LB $3.00
  • CORN FREE POWDERED SUGAR 2 LB $4.00
  • PINTO BEAN FLOUR 2 LB $4.50
  • NAVY BEAN FLOUR 2 LB $4.50
  • ALMOND FLOUR 1 LB $4.50
  • WHITE RICE FLOUR 2 LB $3.50
  • BROWN RICE FLOUR 2 LB $3.50
  • LT BUCKWHEAT FLOUR 2 LB $4.00
  • DK BUCKWHEAT FLOUR 2 LB $5.00
  • TAPIOCA STARCH 2 LB $4.00
  • POTATO STARCH 2 LB $4.00
  • EXPANDEX (MODIFIED TAPIOCA STARCH) 14 OZ $5.00


Recipe Contest from French Meadow Bakery

Photo courtesy of French Meadow Bakery

Photo courtesy of French Meadow Bakery

French Meadow Bakery started making some gluten-free products several years ago. So far, the best tasting products I’ve had from the lineup are the “Gluten-Free Tortillas” and “Brownie Bites”. Both of those items are really wonderful, in my opinion. The gluten-free breads from French Meadow Bakery are very popular, but I will avoid buying frozen breads as long as I can buy them in the fridge or fresh. I’ve not tried the muffins, cakes or cupcakes. The breads, brownies, cakes and other gluten-free items from French Meadow Bakery are sold at many Whole Foods locations, at some health food stores and online.

French Meadow Bakery is a division of Rich’s – one of the largest industrial bakeries in the world. However, the bakery making the gluten-free products has been certified to be gluten-free by the GFCO division of GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group).  The gluten-free products are also free from lactose, casein, peanuts, tree nuts, and preservatives.  The extensive gluten-free portfolio includes breads, pizza crust, tortillas, rolls, brownies, cookies, muffins, cakes and cupcakes.

To promote celiac awareness during May – the national celiac awareness month – French Meadow Bakery is sponsoring a gluten-free recipe contest. Participants are encouraged to enter both a savory and sweet recipe in the contest. Two grand prizes and two 1st place prices will be awarded.  Grand prize winners will receive a one-year supply of French Meadow gluten-free items as well as a $250 grocery gift card.  First place runner-ups will receive a $100 grocery gift card. All contestants will receive a one-time use promotion code good for $5 off any FrenchMeadow.com purchase. The deadline to enter is May 31st, 2010.

Excerpt from French Meadow Bakery press release -

Going gluten-free can often challenge even the best cooks in the kitchen, but French Meadow Bakery, the nation’s oldest continuously certified-organic bakery in the U.S., shares recipes and products with consumers that ensures a gluten-free lifestyle not only be delicious, but also deceptively easy.  Chef Mark Stussi, C.E.C., Rich Products Corporation, recognizes that meal time one of the hardest times for those with Celiac.   “It is increasingly easier to find gluten-free products, but it is still difficult to identify items that taste good, not to mention finding easy ways to incorporate them into a recipe,” said Stussi.  The rise in Celiac diagnoses led Chef Mark to “create wholesome, simple recipes incorporating French Meadow Bakery gluten-free products into achievable, everyday meals.”

Check out this recipe from French Meadow Bakery, using their great gluten-free tortillas!*

Cinnamon Tortilla Crisps

Photo courtesy of French Meadow Bakery

Photo courtesy of French Meadow Bakery

Ingredients:

  • 4 French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • Cinnamon and sugar

Instructions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375°F.
  • Slice each tortilla into 8 wedges.
  • Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Place sugar side down on pan.  Spray other side with cookingspray and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Flip chips over and bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve with fruit salsa, yogurt dip or plain!

*Reprinted with permission from French Meadow Bakery representative.