Monthly Archives: June 2010

Gluten-Free Offerings from Hormel

Hormel Brand Family GroupRecently, I was checking out marinated pork tenderloins at the store and was shocked to see the Bourbon Maple flavored version from Hormel labeled gluten-free. Not because I think bourbon contains gluten – experts agree distilled alcohol is indeed gluten-free. But the fact that the meat was marinated and was gluten-free was quite exciting. Sure, it’s fairly simple to season and marinate plain meat, and might be overall healthier too. But sometimes you just want to try something new and this pork tenderloin was calling my name.

Later that week, we cooked the tenderloin slowly on the grill. It didn’t take that long to get completely done. It had a nice crust with a tenderness to rival offerings of high end restaurants. The taste was simply delicious. We’ve been using turkey pepperoni from Hormel for years and were thrilled to find out it was labeled gluten-free when I found out I could not eat gluten again. Even so, I never really investigated the companies gluten-free offerings thoroughly. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Hormel owns quite a few lines I’m familiar with – like Jennie-O and others I’ve not heard of like Farmer John.

The gluten-free product list from Hormel is seven pages long. It includes bacon bits, bacon, sausages, various turkey products and much more. SPAM is listed as gluten-free, just in case you were wondering about that “interesting” meat type product. So is their Corned Beef Hash. Something that really surprised me is that three Dinty Moore microwavable cups are listed as well. Both Chi-Chi’s and La Victoria are also owned by Hormel and both have many gluten-free items. We’ve used the enchilada sauce from the latter company many times. Many Hormel lunch meats and deli meats are also gluten-free.

Herb-Ox is another Hormel line and we’ve used their chicken bouillon since my celiac diagnosis. It’s common to find gluten-free versions of bouillon that contain added MSG, but Herb-Ox doesn’t add extra MSG to theirs. There is something called a Hormel Compleats meal and the Chicken & Rice version is gluten-free.  The new Hormel Natural Choice meat line is something the company created in response to their customers demanding better quality products.

Excerpt from the Hormel website:

Enjoy the wholesome goodness and taste the difference that Hormel® Natural Choice® deli sandwich meats, bacon, Canadian bacon and carved chicken breast can make—naturally.

They’re great-tasting, all-natural products you can feel good about eating and serving. No funny ingredients you can’t pronounce. Zero preservatives, artificial ingredients or MSG. No nitrites or nitrates added. And they’re gluten free. 100 percent natural, fresh and flavorful, the way food is supposed to taste: simply delicious.

Find Hormel® Natural Choice® deli sandwich meats, bacon, Canadian bacon and carved chicken breast in the lunch meat, bacon, or make-a-meal section of your supermarket or grocery store.

Since we try to avoid products that contain nitrates and nitrites, the Hormel Natural Choice line is something I’m definitely interested in checking out. My guess is that compared to similar products from smaller companies, the Hormel products might have a lower price point due to the buying power of such a large company. After I examined the gluten-free product list from Hormel, I went to check the Triumph Dining Gluten-Free Grocery Guide. Sure enough, there were Hormel products listed throughout it, in several categories. One more reason to not leave home without it!

Review: French Meadow Bakery Gluten-Free Muffins

Gluten_Free_Muff_4ac0edd8d5ea6French Meadow Bakery started rolling out some gluten-free products several years ago. To date, the best things we’ve tried are the Fudge Brownies (you bake yourself), the Brownie Bites and the Gluten-free Tortillas. Recently, the company sent me some of their new Blueberry Muffins to review. The muffins are kind of small compared to many other gluten-free (and gluten) muffins. The smaller size is something I particularly like about them. So many muffins are just too big and have too many calories for my preference.

In addition to being gluten-free, the muffins from French Meadow Bakery are casein-free, lactose free and peanut free. They also carry the Kosher Parve symbol and contain 0 trans fats (per serving). When I read the ingredients and noticed that they don’t contain rice flour and do contain soy flour, I assumed I’d think the muffins were pretty good. I enjoy many items made with rice flour and have had many that taste way too gritty. If something is made with tapioca starch and soy flour, it usually makes the grade with me.

The French Meadow Bakery gluten-free muffins are individually wrapped – another feature I quite like. I can pull one out of the freezer as needed to enjoy the next morning to even to take to a coffee shop if need be. Surprisingly, the muffins are edible without being heated. They are best when heated, in my opinion, but in a pinch you can just eat them at room temperature. As gluten-free muffins go, these are pretty impressive when they are heated because they actually become quite fluffy in texture. That is likely due to the tapioca starch in them. There is no odd taste or texture – or funny aftertaste. I’m happy to report that the French Meadow Bakery blueberry muffins are quite delicious!

Each muffin contains 210 calories so I only eat one of them at a time. I always add butter which adds more fat and calories so these are more of an occasional treat – not an every day breakfast item for me. Due to the convenient packaging, these would be really great to throw in your bag to take on trips. They remain fresh several days after they are defrosted so you don’t have to pack them in a cooler on short journeys. I think these muffins are the perfect gluten-free breakfast item for airlines to add to their special meal offerings. Hey – anything is possible!

Now that I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the Blueberry muffins from French Meadow Bakery, I’m definitely interested in trying the Apple Cinnamon version! Several items from this line are sold at Whole Foods, though not all products are at all stores. The gluten-free products are also available at some health food stores. Here is the store locator from the French Meadow Bakery. Be sure to check the gluten-free box when searching for locations near you that carry the line. If you decide to check out some of the gluten-free offerings from the company, be sure to print a coupon to save $1 on whatever you purchase. And if there are no French Meadow Bakeries near you, the Restaurant Guide lists many gluten-free bakeries and bakeries with gluten-free options.

*Special thanks to French Meadow Bakery for my muffin samples!

Domino’s Introduces Gluten-free Pizza in New Zealand

Domino_s_logo_-transpMost of us that live in the U.S. are aware that this country is behind many other countries in terms of gluten-free options – both dining and products. In Australia, there is an amazing allergen food show that puts shows held in the U.S. to shame. And there have been some pretty amazing gluten-free and allergen events held here in the last few years. The presence of that Australian show is probably related to the fact that it’s “normal” for pizza places there to offer gluten-free pizza. When I first heard Dr. Peter Green talk about that fact in a radio interview, I almost fell off my chair.

Well, now the folks in New Zealand have something to celebrate in terms of gluten-free options anyway. Domino’ s Pizza, one of the largest pizza chains in the world, announced that they will offer 13 varieties of gluten-free pizzas in their New Zealand locations. This news comes to us via Wow! Can you imagine if that happened in the U.S.? I actually can not – it would seem too unreal. We ordered pizza from a local place when I ate gluten and didn’t care much for Domino’s. Even so, if the company introduced gluten-free pizza here, I’d be the first in line to check it out!  I love Erin’s take on this interesting news on GutenFreeFun. I also agree with her that it would likely be quite a while before something that exciting happened here in the states.

One of the things I’ve always tried to do is let people that can eat gluten know how amazing the food we eat is. It takes a while (and a lot of wasted money!) to find the items you love, but they are out there for the enjoying. Want a powdered doughnut? Try the version from Celiac Specialties. Don’t like plain rice pasta? Try imported corn versions from Italy or blends from companies like Dr. Schar. Need a gluten-free cheese cracker that tastes as good as or better than the gluten versions – check out The Grainless Baker version.

I know some gluten eaters that now eat some gluten-free items, just because they love the taste of them. The more people eating gluten-free – even just a few things – the better for us. The truth is that we are a relatively small market overall and will likely never make up the majority of food shoppers. Therefore, it’s important that people that can eat gluten also buy some gluten-free items. Certainly, the cost will keep many of them away, but some people can afford the food and when that’s the case, it’s a good idea to introduce them to some amazingly tasty products.

As sales of gluten-free specialty items rise, more companies decide to jump into the gluten-free game. You never know when a company like Domino’s decides it’s financially feasible to offer gluten-free pizzas in the U.S. If that’s something that would interest you, make sure and let the company know about it. This is the e-mail contact form for the U.S. headquarters. I could not locate a toll free phone  number on the website. While we’re wishing and hoping for the new pizza here in America, the Restaurant Guide has already listed 120 national and regional chain restaurants with gluten-free options. And if you’re reading this from New Zealand – enjoy the gluten-free pizza from Domino’s!