School supplies. Check.
After-school childcare. Check.
New school clothes and shoes. Check and check.
I can hardly believe the new school year begins NEXT WEEK! That's right. Our mid-south school district starts classes on August 3rd, so it is officially time to start getting my gluten-free kiddo ready to start the fifth grade! Panic has set in.
Last year, the beginning of school started with, "Mom, it's not fair that I can't eat all of the yummy snacks the other kids are bringing." This year is a different story.
"So, Nathan, what do you want to pack in your lunch next week?" I casually asked this evening as I was making the grocery list.
"The same stuff you packed last year," he said. "But can I take soup or chili sometimes? Sandwiches are boring."
Absolutely! Last year, it took us an entire semester before he rediscovered his love of a good pb&j when he found Schar Gluten Free Artisan Baker Bread. Nathan says it makes the best pb&j because it doesn't crumble. He really dislikes toasted bread for his sandwich, and he thinks Schar is the best.
Other lunchbox favorites?
Cookies: Enjoy Life, Glutino and Goodie Girl. He loves them all.
Chips: PopChips, plain Lays, Fritos and popcorn.
Fruit: Grapes or apple slices.
Other: Cheese sticks, key lime yogurt, pudding cups, Fruit Gushers
Veggies: I wish.
I think having a hot food container is a great idea! Nathan loves gluten-free soup, chili, spaghetti, mac & cheese and more! The lunchtime possibilities are endless, but now I'm on a mission to find the best food container to keep his hot foods hot. Wow--the choices are crazy and the online reviews are mixed! I want to make sure his lunch stays at a safe temperature.
Do you have a favorite food container? Let me know quickly because I'm running out of summer break!
When John Irvin graduated with a engineering degree, he didn't plan to open bakery. But after 30 years in the field, engineering jobs started being outsourced overseas. He always wanted to start his own business, so he decided to engineer a new plan.
That plan became Gluten Free Things in Arvada, CO. While his retail location serves customers in the Denver area, GlutenFreeThings.com serves the rest of the United States. Breads, muffins, cookies, flours and more are available through his online store. All of his products are 100 percent gluten free, and with the exception of a few products that contain chocolate chips, everything is also dairy free and vegan!
Gluten Free Things reached out to me to see if I would sample and review some of their products, and of course I said yes! When the box arrived, I pulled out all sorts of breads and sweet treats. Since it was 105 degrees in Mississippi that day, I thought I'd keep the kitchen cool and make sandwiches for dinner. I certainly had a lot of great bread options for the menu.
Engineers make things and develop solutions for problems, so I was excited to see what happened when John used scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to perfect gluten free products. The result? Perfect bread. French bread, hoagie bread, English muffins, pita bread. All delicious. Not crumbly. No taste of cardboard.
I used the hoagie rolls to make sandwiches. I toasted the bread on one sandwich and left the bread alone with the other one. Both were great! My son, Nathan, said he hadn't had bread like that since he had to start eating gluten free. It was a thick hoagie loaf, so he had to squish it to make it fit in his little mouth, but he ate every bite! I prefer my bread to be toasted. It tasted fresh out of the oven and just like I remember French bread tasting.
I sliced the loaf of French bread and made grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches. Perfection! I haven't found a bread that tastes so good. It was not gritty at all, it didn't crumble, and it tasted great.
For breakfast, I toasted the English muffins and made breakfast sandwiches with ham, egg and cheese to serve to my family. My gluten-free son told my non-gluten free daughter that she couldn't have one because he wanted more and we had a limited supply. My husband, who also isn't gluten free, said these were not as good as regular English muffins--they were better! He couldn't believe how great the taste and texture were.
The pita bread was also a hit with my family. We made a breakfast pocket sandwich, a turkey sandwich, a taco pocket, and a pb&j. Everyone kept asking me, "Mom, did you order any more of that pocket bread?" It was a hit!
Gluten Free Things also offers "muffin things" and "cookie things" We sampled them all and our favorite was the chocolate chip cookie thing. It tasted homemade and nobody wanted to share. While we enjoyed the sweet treats, our family really fell in love with the bread products. All of them.
John's engineering approach to perfecting the recipes at Gluten Free Things has solved the problem of finding a great gluten free bread that has great taste, texture and variety. I've tried to make gluten free bread, but haven't been successful. Now, I can just order what I want at www.glutenfreethings.com and have it shipped to my front door. I would be proud to serve these gluten free things to my friends and family. Even the ones who aren't gluten free--they can't tell the difference! I'm definitely going to be stocking up on the hoagie rolls, pita flat bread and English muffins. You should, too. And if you use my coupon code, you can save 20 percent off your order! These products freeze well.
Click here to watch my video review of Gluten Free Things.
GFree Genius readers cans save 20 percent off their order at www.glutenfreethings.com by using the coupon code 20gfgenius. There are no minimum purchase requirements and no expiration, but this discount cannot be combined with other coupons. My 20gfgenius coupon code can also be applied to value pack and super value pack pricing for extra savings! Be sure to stock up and save! This code can only be used one time per user.
If you're in the Denver area, be sure to stop in to meet John at his retail location at 11651 West 64th Avenue, Unit A-6, in Arvada, CO. Be sure to tell him the GFree Genius sent you!
Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received product samples for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.
Grandmothers are special. To a child, their grandmother is the largest source of wisdom next to the Bible. Grandchildren will also tell you that Grandma is the best cook in the family and she will move heaven and earth to make sure her grandchildren have something special to eat.
Paula Dempsey is the above-described grandmother. When three generations of her family, including her grandchildren, were diagnosed with severe food allergies and gluten intolerance, she said she had to do something. That something turned into Dempsey Bakery, a dedicated gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free bakery located in the shadow of the state capitol building in Little Rock, AR offering a wide variety of breads, cakes, cookies, pizza, and pre-packaged meals and mixes. Dempsey Bakery also serves lunch!
Dempsey said she couldn't imagine her grandchildren not having special treats or pretty birthday cakes, so she put her heart and soul into starting a bakery that caters to not only her grandchildren, but all children who have food allergies.
"Nothing makes me happier than to see kids happy," Dempsey said. "My goal in life is to make good gluten-free food available to restaurants and hospitals so it is available to anyone who has to eat gluten free. But it has to taste good."
Her current customers think she's on the right track with great tasting food.
"I like everything here," said Terri, a regular customer with gluten intolerance who drives from Benton, AR to enjoy lunch and stock up on bread and dessert. "Her food is amazing, especially the bread, pizza, Dempsey Club and the cheesecake. I get the cheesecake almost every time. All of it is incredible."
Terri isn't the only one who loves it. Dempsey Bakery was voted runner up for the best bakery in Little Rock and sixth place for best bakeries in the state--and that's competing with all bakeries--not gluten free ones. She is the only dedicated gluten-free bakery in Arkansas.
While her target market is anyone with food allergies, Dempsey said nearly half of her lunch crowd is not gluten free.
"My regulars just love it here," said Dempsey, explaining that her daily customers come from the surrounding downtown area for lunch, but customers travel from around the state and beyond to purchase safe meals, breads and sweet treats. "I've had a customer drive six hours to pick up a birthday cake."
Dempsey always has iced cookies in the display case, along with cupcakes, cheese cake, mini-key lime pie and chocolate lava cake (except they sold out of those while I was touring the kitchen). But that's just the beginning. The assortment of cookies and cakes were impressive. On the counter, there were divine samples of hot milk cake (Dempsey's own recipe), brownies, zucchini bread and more. I may or may not have eaten more than one.
The bakery is 100 percent free of gluten, soy and nuts, but Dempsey said she can also accommodate other dietary restrictions including products that are free from corn, egg, dairy, potato, tapioca, grain, sugar and preservatives upon request.
Dempsey has also encountered many customers who have expressed a need for allergen-free meals for overnight stays in local hospitals. Dempsey now offers pre-packaged, single-serving meals to accommodate this unmet need. Healthcare facilities don't always know how to safely provide meals for patients with food allergies and gluten intolerance, so patients' families often contact her for a solution.
Dempsey Bakery breads and desserts can be found in several metro Little Rock eateries (link here) Also, Dempsey Bakery's Cracker Bread can be found in the local food section of most Memphis-area Kroger stores. If your local Kroger doesn't stock this product, please ask the manager to order it.
Dempsey said she would love get freezer space in grocery stores to make her bread available to those who need it. She has future plans to expand her current location with a larger commercial kitchen to be able to meet this need when she gets the green light from grocery stores.
If you're traveling anywhere near Little Rock, AR, you MUST stop by Dempsey Bakery. Be sure to tell them that the GFree Genius sent you! For more information, visit www.dempseybakery.com.
Photo Credit: Thomas Eldred