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08 June 2009

some gluten-free foods for you

gluten-free in West Seattle

Have you noticed it lately? Whenever we're walking, we spot the phrase, on packages and advertisements and even in the windows of bakeries: gluten-free.

How did we become the cool kids?

Gluten-free is everywhere. Well, not everywhere. Not in hospital cafeterias, airports, school lunchrooms, or places where we need something to eat and nothing exists for us. But still, it's a start. When I was diagnosed with celiac, four years ago, I had to drive around to several different stores to find what I needed to make a cookie recipe. These days, I have my pick of places I want to be.

Or, when I'm in West Seattle, I just go into the Great Harvest Bread Company.

I know. With a name like that, it has to be gluten, right? Except, this particular location of the bread company has gluten-free pizza crusts, breads, scones, hamburger buns, and cupcakes. And they're good.

After I took photographs, in astonishment, I asked the young woman behind the counter how this came to be. The owner and her daughter cannot eat gluten. So they have set out to conquer gluten-free baking, for the sake of everyone else.

Oh yeah.

Great Harvest Bread Co.
4709 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 935-6882

gluten-free oats

The first year after I was diagnosed, I bemoaned the fact I could no longer eat oats. After years of eating steel-cut oats every day, I had to cut myself off. Strangely, I missed my morning bowl of oatmeal more than baguettes. I resigned myself to never eating them.

Again, how much things have changed.

Now, not only does Bob's Red Mill make gluten-free oats, but commercial baked goods made with oat flour and oat flakes are starting to show up on shelves around here. There are so many varieties of gluten-free oats available that we have our choice.

Lately, we've been enjoying Gluten-Free Oats around here. The oats taste great. The story is sweeter.

The son of the family who grows and manufactures these oats was diagnosed with celiac at the age of two. His parents didn't let him wheat, of course, but he ate the oats they grew in another field. Sometimes he grew sick. No one could figure out why. Later, when he was doing his Future Farmers of America project on no-bake cookies, he realized that oats are contaminated by growing in fields next to fields of wheat. (Those plants like to mix and mingle, apparently.) He searched for a source of oats he could eat. After finding one, he rolled the oats and packaged them himself, so that other local celiacs could eat oats. (Future farmer indeed!) This small endeavor grew into a family business, pushed forward further when his father was diagnosed with celiac too.

I met both father and son this weekend, at the GIG conference in Seattle, and they were utterly charming. And healthy.

Their oats are pretty darned tasty, too.

Gluten-Free Oats
578 Lane 9 • Powell, WY 82435
(307) 754-2058 • Fax (516) 723-0924

blackbird bakery

The FedEx man and UPS woman know the way to our house now. Nearly every day we find a package of gluten-free foods on our porch when we return home.

We're happy that so many small businesses are trying to make it by creating gluten-free baked goods. However, I can't tell you about all of them. Some of them are wretched — dry as dust, overly sweet, a wreck in a plastic package. So when good ones land in our laps, I'm happy to share.

The baked goods at Blackbird Bakery are lovely. So is the website. Karen Morgan, who began the bakery, is an artist with a husband who was trained in classic French cuisine. For years, before turning to commercial baking, Karen kept the website The Art of Gluten-Free Cooking. Now, her bakery in Austin is turning out beautiful baked goods.

We liked everything we tasted, including the scones and biscotti. But I particularly liked these millet power bars, in part because no other bakery seems to be making them. (Everyone sends us brownies.) A little like a rice krispie bar, without all that sweetness, and millet mixed in.

I'd like to keep some of these in the car for those in-between times, when there's nothing gluten-free to be found in public places.

Blackbird Bakery

"flour" tortillas

Like I said, everyone sends us brownies. (Here's a secret: it's really not that hard to make good gluten-free brownies.) They're all quite good, but they start to taste the same. When I open the latest box, I long for something new.

How about "flour" tortillas?

We love corn tortillas around here, particularly the ones we make by hand. And white wheat flour tortillas are a gringo invention anyway, right? But sense memory says that sometimes a quesadilla should be made with flour tortillas. These white tortillas are newly made by French Meadow Bakery in Minnesota. This organic bakery makes all kinds of glutenous goods, but their gluten-free production is certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. Their chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and macaroons are quite good.

But these tortillas are something else.

Danny ate nearly all of them himself, making quesadillas, one after the other.

French Meadow Bakery
1000 Apollo Road
Eagan, MN 55121

p.s. Since I posted this, many of you have noted that the gf tortillas don't seem to be on the website. I can't find them either. Shoot! They sent them to me, and I tasted them at the GIG conference. Here's hoping someone from French Meadow reads this and rectifies that problem immediately!

Kinnikinnick hamburger buns

Skagit River Ranch ground beef burgers (a little trick: mix in one egg to firm up the burger), cheddar cheese, grilled Walla Walla sweet onion and caper relish. And Kinnikinnick Foods Gluten-Free hamburger buns.

Summer's here.

eat local II

One of our favorite places in Seattle is a tiny storefront next to a dry cleaners, on the top of Queen Anne hill.

Eat Local sources its ingredients from some of our favorite local farmers, ranchers, and producers. "Eat Local is an artisan food store offering prepared meals made with seasonal, organic ingredients bought directly from local farms." It sounds good, right?

Their meals taste even better than the ethos sounds. Eat Local uses traditional home cooking methods, rather than mass production, to create frozen meals anyone can enjoy. Have you ever had a pork and apple tagine in a tv dinner? Made with ingredients you recognize and nothing else?

I also love the fact that the meals are packaged with the environment in mind. Much of the food comes in glass dishes that you bring back to the store. It's like a neighbor made you dinner, and then you return the favor. It's a bonus that all the labels and illustrations for the store are created by Nikki McClure, one of my favorite artists, as well.

Not all the food at Eat Local is gluten-free, but much of it is. Greg Conner, the driving force behind Eat Local, has a good friend with celiac, and thus an interest in feeding people safely. (Businesses built on personal connections are always my favorite.) We've eaten their food quite a number of times now, always with great enjoyment, and safely for me.

The lavender creme caramel is particularly stunning.

Eat Local
2400 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

You can find each of these recommendations, and many more, over at Gluten-Free Girl Recommends.


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Cool kids, indeed. Thank you for the wonderful recomendations! I am dying to try the Kinnikinnick hamburger buns. I know I love their English muffins. Time to chat with the local Whole Foods to get these in stock.

At 11:29 AM, Blogger B said...

A veritible cornucopia! I can't wait to get started ordering. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


(aka glimmergirl718)

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Janna said...

Great post! I went on the French Meadow website and I didn't see the new tortillas! Did you buy them in a store? I will have to go over to the French Meadow bakery by my house and see if they have them for sale(I live in Minneapolis), they sound fantastic! Thanks for the info!

At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks, Shauna! I love when you do a compliation post every now and then. They tend to come just when I'm in a food funk and today is no different. Lots of inspiration on the list. I also want to give a shout out about my local, personal connection version of Eat Local: merge buffalo. When cooks and bakers take the approach of caring for those they feed, it just tastes better:-)

At 12:10 PM, Blogger Swiss said...


At 12:17 PM, Blogger Shannon S. said...

The Zeer Team said they loved meeting you at the conference. This is a great collection of new GF food. Great post, Shauna!

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

We were excited to see the tortillas from French Meadow Bakery, but they aren't listed on the website. Bummer!

At 12:30 PM, Blogger Shannon S. said...

Mark & Mike said they had a great time meeting you at the GIG conference! I'm totally jealous they got to meet you and I didn't. Awesome post, I love seeing all the excellent GF options.

And yes, Gluten Free people ARE the cool kids :D

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Beth said...

You mentioned Kinnikinnick Foods Gluten-Free hamburger buns above, and I wanted to note that these buns make the world's most delicious French toast. If you slice off the very top of the bun and let the egg/milk/vanilla/cinnamon mixture soak into both sides before frying, the resulting taste/texture is absolutely wonderful! I highly recommend trying it - I think it beats even the best gluten-filled French toast.

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna! Wow - I'm drooling over all the GF goodies and bakeries. The states always have more available to celiacs than we do up here in Canada. It's getting better - but no where near to the States. Much to my disapointment, just found out that Betty Crocker GF mixes are not coming to Canada - at least at this time. We have Betty Crocker gluten mixes so why not gf? I will continue to stay in touch with Gen Mills Canada and USA to see if this changes, also thought I would hound my local grocery store managers. We also can't get any of the GF Chex cereals. I make everything from scratch - it would just be nice once in a while to have more convenienc. Sigh... Ina from the westcoast, BC

At 1:03 PM, Blogger Sherri said...

I love your blog! Thanks for all the great info! I have nominated you for an award on my blog. Thanks for keeping your blog so FUN!

At 1:05 PM, Blogger Alyssa said...

My mom has celiac disease and she LOVES Great Harvest.

If anyone with celiac reads this in the Western Washington area, my mom hosts a support group that meets monthly in Puyallup. New members are always welcome.

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Jill Angelo said...

When I opened my browser and saw the familiar shelf of GF products at Great Harvest in W. Seattle, I smiled...big. I love to bake myself, but the products at Great Harvest are a lifesavor when time is short. I am thrilled to see you so supportive of the local guys. You give people confidence...and when you endorse something, it really means something.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Sally Anderson said...

You are fortunate to life in Seattle. I'm afraid that finding gluten-free food in Houston is like asking for the city to go beef-free. It's not going to happen! And Austin, a way more enlightened place, is just too far away. A shame really. Fortunately, the web exists just for us!

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Miss | A said...

if you are ever in dallas there is A GREAT place all GF with a fab bakery in house. So great I freeze tons of bread and buns and such! let me know if you ever come into town. miss aimee

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Sara said...

I was so excited to see your mention of French Meadow Bakery! Their restaurant is around the corner from me and everything they make is divine! I'm so glad you (and others!) have access to their GF products :) (I didn't know they shipped, or, frankly, sold anywhere besides their storefronts.)

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Brj said...

It was so great to hear you speak at the GIG conference on Saturday; you speak just like you write! I was sorry your talk was cut short though, as you were the selling point to my attendance. Thanks for the highlights on the treats--look forward to filling my tummy with them, and all the other goodies I saw at GIG.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Heather Lewis said...

I traveled a lot in Europe the past few months because I was studying abroad in Spain and I was very excited to see that almost every airport I went to had gluten-free muffins and bread!

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I'm so jealous! I grew up on Great Harvest bread! I hope they get to work on gluten-freeing their Utah locations :)

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Crystal said...

TORTILLAS!! Wow...I'm off to check those out! I've missed you!

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

We definitely need to visit the West Seattle Great Harvest Bread Co. store! We live in N. Everett and I wish that all the Great Harvest Bread Co.'s would follow suit!
You're the second person this week to mention that Great Harvest Bread Co, so we will make the time to go check it out! Thanks!

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Sho said...


You have so many cool gluten-free places in Seattle. It seems like there are more in Seattle than here in northern Virginia. I wonder if the physicians are ahead in Seattle and properly diagnosing more celiacs.

I will telL you one thing: Many Passover products are now marked gluten free. Of course, the ones with matzo meal are not GF. But those cakes where they know how to blend the potato starch with the right amount of tapioca are to die for.

Now I have to find some GF potato gnocchi, and I will be as happy as a lark.

Take care,


At 10:10 PM, Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

I saw a guy buying GF crackers at the little grocery at the Ferry Building today; he looked so happy to have something to eat besides fruit! :)

And not to quibble, but flour tortillas are actually regional Mexican food. Ranchers who lived (and live still) in the northern frontier lands have a lot more wheat than corn.

It's hard to find good local and/or non-hydrogenated flour tortillas, though, so I feel your pain (to a degree, of course... I could always make my own, but I am lazy.)

At 1:56 AM, Blogger Samantha Maddin said...

It's improving all the time in the UK too, still not as good as the US but that's partly the numbers game. For any fellow Brits, I can really recommend Genius GF FRESH bread, yes, fresh, moist and doesn't fall apart when you cut it. Available from most large Tesco stores.

At 1:58 AM, Anonymous Monica said...

I'm so jealous...I live in Europe (Switzerland) and can't even find sorghum flour much less all these delicious looking "convienence" products. Most of the baked goods I make are with rice flours and frankly have very little nutritional value. If you have a homemade whole grain bread recipe that uses millet or brown rice or simple bean flours (not garfava) please post it so I can make some good bread! Thanks for your site, I love all the info.

At 3:26 AM, Blogger Janel said...

I'll file these recommendations away for things to buy when I'm next stateside!

Holland has a long way in catching up in terms of Celiac awareness, but it is slowly getting better.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

For all you Twin Cities readers, Shauna got an exclusive from French Meadow Bakery. I talked to them yesterday. The tortillas are "a work in progress" but they expect to stock them in the next few weeks. With Danny's endorsement I can hardly wait. I miss a really good tortillas and corn just doesn't cut it for me. I remain a hopeless sceptic when it comes to hamburger buns but your photo looks promising! Finally, I am a broken record when it comes to gluten free oats. For Celiacs, please make sure you get your physician's o.k. before adding oat back into your diet. According to Joseph Murray, MD, Mayo Clinic, the protein in oat, avenin, is very similar to the protein gliadin and some celiacs will have a similar toxic reaction. He advises his patients to be symptom free for months before considering adding gluten free oat into the diet. He also advises some of his Celiac patients not to eat gluten free oat. I'll get off my nursing soap box. Thanks for all the great tips! It is great to have access to such fun food!

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Rodger said...

Blackbird Bakery is definitely something special as far as gluten-free bakeries go. They've got excellent branding and a beautiful website. The "Shop" page on their website wasn't loading on my computer, though. Anyone else having this problem? I can't wait to try some of their stuff!

At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Allison said...

Birmingham, AL has a reasonable amount of convenience foods available through Whole Foods and our smaller mom and pop health food stores. Even our regular grocery store, Publix, has whole sections dedicated to gluten free foods! Granted, it'll break the bank if you buy too much of it, but it's where I pick up my regular stash of BRM gf baking flour. I also recently discovered that Chex cereal, both corn and rice, are now gluten free! I had my hesitations about eating it initially, but when I phoned the General Mills company they assured me that the cereals are made in a dedicated facility. I don't eat a lot of cereal, but when I do want some, it's nice to have it not be so crazy expensive.

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Gluten Free tortilla will be available online at French by early next week. Were eager to get them up there too. Keep an eye out and an email will also be sent out announcing that when they get online.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It does seem like so many things have come out that are gluten free lately. Last week, I saw that Betty Crocker had gluten-free cake and cookie mixes, right in the middle of the regular ones! Haven't tried them yet...but wow! And Starbucks started carrying a gluten free, separately wrapped, valencia orange cake. Pretty tasty! With all of my GF family members, this is great news for us!

At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Leah said...

Too bad "Shauna's Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies Full of Love" aren't on this list.


At 3:00 PM, Anonymous Beth Hayden said...

Hi Shauna (and Rodger, above) - the "Shop" page for Blackbird isn't loading for me, either - anyone know why, or know how I can get it to work? Looks yummy.

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous alison said...

Those tortillas look great!
I like Kinnikinnick bagels as well as their hamburger buns.
Wish I could have been at GIG - did anyone write about the talks at the conference?

At 9:40 PM, Blogger Jessmeca said...

OK i admit it, im extremely jealous that you have such a selection Shauna!

Being originally an Aussie, where being a Cealiac means having to spell things out constantly, then going to NewZealand, where being Gluten Free is like being "cool" i was expecting big things from Canada. Unfortunately im still adjusting and am having difficulty finding gluten free goods here.

One thing i will say though that the Gluten Free Pastissiary (Plz forgive spelling) in Cochrane is AMAZING! If anyone is coming up to Canada and will be in Calgary or that area i urge you to go to the gluten free pastissiary, its on 3rd Ave in Cochrane in a little blue building and the people are LOVELY.

I cant belive that their bread and sponge cakes taste exactly like "real" ones. My Non-Gluten Free partner is known for eating all my goodies on me and he refuses to eat anything that tastes even the littlest big gluten free.

At 4:59 AM, Anonymous glutenfreeforgood said...


We've always been cool kids, we're just finally making enough noise to be noticed!

You mentioned the oats family in Powell, WY -- I love it that people are coming up with unique ways to create a business and make life better for our groovy little community of "cool kids." There are some very interesting people doing similar things in Montana and Idaho with GF grains. The American entrepreneurial spirit at work!

Your presentation at GIG was great -- and very refreshing! See, you're right in the middle of this whole creative spark of coolness. :-)

By the way, I'm still snickering at Little Bean knowing a farm-fresh, no garbage egg when see smells one. Leave it to a baby to know what is best. Smart little girl and it sounds as though she's doing just fine. Glad to know that! You look and sound glowing as well.

My best to all of you!

At 7:56 AM, Blogger Miss | A said...

Someone had asked me yesterday about this so I thought I woudl post it here:

The name of the GF restraunt is laura's bistro/delicious N Fit in Plano TX. 2301 N Central Exp. 75075.It is AMAZING!

At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Karen said...

Funny, I knew at first glance that was a picture from Great Harvest. The display looks the same at Albuquerque's branch.

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous NFCA said...

More Change is coming as a result of improved rates of diagnosis and increased public awareness. The work is not done but seeing more gluten free products available in more places is a positive sign.

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Emily said...

Wow--so many of these things look great! Thanks for sharing.

I don't know if you've heard about this one, but I was so excited a few days ago to see that, while wandering the cereal aisle looking for EnviroKids, General Mills has made all the Chex brands completely GF! Not a seperate cereal--they've streamlined Chex to make it all GF. Corn Chex, Rice Chex, and Cinnamon Chex were the ones currently on the shelf, but the manager of my store said that Honey Nut and Chocolate Chex are soon to follow.

We are most definitely becoming the cool ones :)

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous JennC said...

Just wanted to mention I bought your book, read it cover to cover & love it.

I have a few questions, I'd like your ideas on (or other reader's ideas on)..

Isn't there a labeling issue in the USA where the FDA allows manufacturers to label their products gluten-free even if there is up to 20 parts per million in the recipe?

My relatives (who have been diagnosed w/ Celiac for years) say that if the label reads 'manufactured in a facility that is gluten-free' then there is a good chance that the manufacturer is cautious about cross contamination and most likely the product is 100% gluten free.

Also, I read that companies are not required to list ingredients that are used in packaging the product, only in the recipe. So could this mean that the assembly line was dusted with wheat flour or that wheat flour was used so the cookie didn't stick to the plastic packaging?

I'm sure that the products you mentioned were made by people educated in gluten free cooking and I'm sure they are safe. (Love the testimonials!) However I'm curious about all those mass producted products on the shelves of grocery stores that have a gluten free label, but might not be.

Would love to hear thoughts on this from you and your readers. Thanks for the great site!

At 9:15 PM, Blogger gfe--gluten free easily said...

I am very interested in those tortillas!! The corn tortillas don't always work well and not everyone in our support group can tolerate them because of the corn factor. I really focus on eating gf naturally, but it's nice to have a few products to rely on. :-)


At 11:45 PM, Blogger Melinda said...

I'm originally from Minnesota and absolutely adore French Meadow! Thanks for the shout-out to flyover country. (And if anybody ever goes, visit Maria's across the street to get the best corn cakes in town.)

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Not your average Jennifer said...

As a professional cook and avid home baker (complete with 1/2 hp grain mill), I was astonished when my dermatologist told me it was gluten that was causing the giant mask of red across my face.

Thanks for the resources -- especially the oats (and the subsequent explanation)...I've been reluctant to give up those steel cut gems as well.

Consider yourself linked :)

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Paola said...

Hi Shauna,

Great article! I found it very informative and its good to know that the word is being spread regarding all the 'cook kids' and the need for more GF options.

If you are looking for some great and nutritious GF recipes, I suggest Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah"). Have you ever tried it?

It is originally from South America and it has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value. It is a complete protein source (12-18%), lots of fiber and it is also high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest.

It goes well with pretty much any veggie you wish to cook it with, but here's a quick recipe: Try mixing 1 cup of Quinoa (boiled) with 1 cup of lentils, some chopped onion, coriander, diced tomatoes, ginger, spinach and salt. You'll be surprised how yummy it is. Hope you enjoy it!

At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked their website and French Meadow's Gluten-free tortilla's are available now...

here is there website for anyone who is interested...

At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Max said...

Wow, I wish to have that many options of gluten free products to choose from. Lucky you.

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna
I think you may find that the reason for gluten free foods becoming easier to find is the huge autism population. When you've got 1 in 160 children being assessed as autistic and most of them being put on GF/CF diet it's a huge market. From the message boards I've gone on for more than 10 years these parents don't mess around and are constantly pressuring manufacturers to make foods for their kids. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd let you know that Kinnickinick has recently improved their hamburger buns. I had one last night and it was great. Much better than their old recipe. I live in Edmonton, AB (where Kinnickinick is located) so I hope that they are also available elsewhere.

At 4:51 AM, Anonymous Scott said...

Thank you for all this information. I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and am still working my way through the ins and outs. Though I've been able to make some decent sugar cookies and cream sauce, I was wondering what I would do for all of my recipes that used tortillas. Now I know.

Let the rejoicing begin!

At 5:25 AM, Anonymous Kimberly nut said...

This blog is so helpful. I like how you have presented your information in excellent detail. I love hamburger buns. I can't wait to get started ordering. I suddenly feel very excited. My mummy loves to eat Kinnikinnick hamburger buns. The hamburger buns is lovely too, my whole family loves it! Looks yummy.... Thanks for the info.


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