Archive for Food
Have you made your Halloween dinner plans, yet? How about picking up a gluten-free pizza? If you haven’t heard, yet, Papa Murphy’s take ‘n bake pizza locations are now offering Gluten-Free Pizza. The company has teamed up with Udi’s to provide gluten-free crusts to their customers.
I was contacted and requested to try Papa Murphy’s new gluten-free pizza and report on our experience. My first response was, “Gluten-Free Pizza? Yes!” My second response was, “Wait, what about cross-contamination?” So, armed with a gift card for pizza and questions about cross-contamination, I searched out a Papa Murphy’s location to give it a try.
If you aren’t familiar with Papa Murphy’s, they are a take-and-bake business. In other words, you tell them the crust, sauce and toppings you want on a pizza. They assemble the pizza ingredients on site, where you can see them working, and wrap it up for you. You take the pizza home, unwrap the pizza, and bake it in your own oven so it’s hot and fresh.
I went to Papa Murphy’s on a typical weeknight to see how they would handle the gluten-free pizzas. It was a busy evening with several customers ordering regular gluten-containing pizzas. When we placed our order, we were first told that there is only one size — medium. Not a problem. Then I asked the hard question, “What about cross-contamination?” The young man behind the register said that they are trained to do their best to limit the risk of cross-contamination, but that they can not guarantee that it would be 100% gluten-free due to being prepared in a shared facility. He continued to tell me that the pizza crusts are kept in a separate area, and that the pizza would be prepared with freshly changed, clean gloves. So, we continued with the order.
I was disappointed, but not surprised to find out that they don’t carry a dairy-free cheese. I ordered one gluten-free pizza with lots of fresh ingredients, and one gluten-free pizza with sauce and pepperoni on the side. (I added the pepperoni they provided me and my own Daiya cheese at home before baking.) Because of the way Papa Murphy’s is set up, I was able to watch all the preparation of the pizzas. Every pizza crust, gluten-free or not, is on a tray. So, the pizza crust comes out on a tray, and goes down the assembly line. One person, with fresh gloves prepares the pizza with fresh ingredients. The pizza is then wrapped in plastic wrap and given to me to take home and bake.
The biggest risk of cross-contamination I saw was that the ingredients for all pizzas came out of the same toppings containers. It is possible that someone preparing a gluten-containing crust touched the crust and then transferred gluten into the toppings containers. The risk of that is somewhat limited by the fact that the crusts are all on disposable baking trays, and the actual touching of the crusts is limited to possibly touching the edge of a pizza. I would be more concerned about dairy cross-contaimination than that of gluten or wheat. My family felt that the risk on that night was somewhat minimal, or at least no more than eating out at a restaurant that isn’t 100% gluten-free.
We took the pizzas home, baked them, and enjoyed them. They are Udi’s pizza crusts, which are thin crusts. The size is larger than the Udi’s crusts you can buy in the freezer section of your grocery store. Baking instructions called for 15 minutes at 500º. The pizzas both turned out very good. My plain pepperoni and Daiya cheese pizza was not as exciting as the one loaded up with Papa Murphy’s fresh toppings. But, it was still good. And, the good news is that no one got sick from gluten (or dairy).
Would we buy a gluten-free pizza at a Papa Murphy’s location again? Yes, but probably only occasionally. The time it took me to pick up the pizza, take it home and add my own toppings, and then bake it, was no less than it would take me to prepare my own pizzas with Udi’s frozen crusts at home. More convenient perhaps, but not a real time saver for me. The benefit of going to Papa Murphy’s is the wide selection of toppings. (Be sure to check their Allergen Guide before choosing your toppings.) Papa Murphy’s would also be a good option when traveling and visiting with friends and family.
My recommendation if you want to try Papa Murphy’s gluten-free pizza. For the first time, I would suggest going early in the day when it isn’t quite so busy. The toppings containers will be freshly filled, and less likely to have gluten from cross-contamination. There will also be fewer gluten-containing pizzas being prepared at the same time. Besides limiting the cross-conatimination, it also gives the staff an opportunity to take their time and be more cautious. Be sure to talk to the staff, preferably the person preparing your pizza, and tell them about your sensitivity to gluten. Make sure they change their gloves, and watch them as they prepare your pizza. We felt good about the process. However, if you feel uncomfortable with the looks of the preparation area, you may want to ask the staff if they have fresh toppings in the back that are less likely to have been contaminated. If you still aren’t satisfied, leave without the pizza. It’s always better to be safe than sick. If you were satisfied with the preparation, then you should feel good about the fact that it’s being baked in your own oven, and not one that is being shared with other gluten-containing pizzas.
**CeliacFamily was sent a pizza set and a gift card for Papa Murphy’s pizza as an invitation to try the gluten-free pizza and share our experience with our CeliacFamily.com readers. Feel free to add your own thoughts and opinions on it in the comment section below.
Gluten-Free Corn Dogs are a Treat at my house. A treat for the kids because they love them. A treat for me, too, if they are pre-made and frozen, so I can offer them for a quick meal at my house.
I have made my own gluten-free corn dogs. They turned out very tasty, but took some time and effort to get them just right. It seems simple enough: You dip and coat hot dogs with cornbread batter, then deep fry. But, sometimes it takes a little practice at getting the batter to stay on the hot dog, the hot dog to stay on the stick, and frying it with the stick. Anyway, that’s another story. This story is about the new Foster Farms Gluten-Free Corn Dogs you can find in the freezers of your local grocery stores.
I was recently contacted to try the new Foster Farms Gluten-Free Corn Dogs. In case it isn’t clear by the Foster Farms brand name, these corn dogs are made with chicken franks. The chicken franks are “double-dipped in a honey-crunchy” cornbread batter. And, Yes!, they are as good as they sound. I baked them according to the directions on the box. From frozen, 18 minutes at 350º F. (For faster results, you can microwave in 40 seconds or deep fry for 9 minutes. Those are times for cooking from frozen. If thawed, cooking times are even faster.)
How did they taste? Great! The hot dog was tender, not too chewy, and had a good flavor. The cornbread coating was lightly crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. The cornbread coating is also lightly sweetened. Really yummy. My daughter was a little hesitant to try it, but once she did she wanted another one. So did my son. They had to stop at two corn dogs each because I didn’t cook the whole box, which contains 12 corn dogs.
Now for the ingredients. Like I mentioned, these corn dogs are made of chicken. There are no added hormones or steroids. No trans fats. And, each corn dog contains 7 grams of protein and 180 calories. Each corn dog also contains 530 mg of sodium (22% of the recommended daily value). You’ll find sodium phosphate, sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and the dreaded sodium nitrite on the ingredients label. Also contains soy and egg.
Would I buy them for my family? Yes, on occasion. I’m not going to go looking for them to add to our menus on a regular basis. However, it would be nice to have in the freezer for those crazy nights when I really need something quick and easy for dinner. Something my kids could fix for themselves. And, wouldn’t this be an easy item to cook for a kids’ birthday party or a play date? Something everyone could enjoy. You don’t even need to tell your guests that it’s gluten-free because they won’t know the difference.
It is important to note that these are Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Foster Farms also makes Gluten-Free Breasts Strips and Gluten-Free Breast Nuggets now, too. If you’ve tried any of them, I’d love to know what you think.***The Foster Farms Corn Dogs were sent to me free of charge to share my honest opinion with CeliacFamily.com readers.***
Since writing about Gluten-Free Breakfasts a few weeks ago, I’ve had a couple more ideas I wanted to share with you.
Don’t forget to take your vitamins!
I’m surprised I didn’t even think about vitamins when writing about Back-to-School Breakfast ideas. So many people take supplements or vitamins in the mornings, especially kids! I neglected to mention it, probably because we haven’t been taking vitamins at my house until recently. With my kids getting so busy in sports, I realize that I really need to make sure they are getting all the nutrition they need.
I was intrigued by Hakuna Matata, a chewable multivitamin and natural fruit and veggie supplement. Healthy Pride Supplements was nice enough to send me some samples to try out on my kids. (I hate paying big bucks for vitamins, just to find out the kids won’t eat them!) I tried the vitamins, too. I prefer the chewable vitamins because I think they’re easier on my tummy.
The great thing about these vitamins is that they are gluten-free, wheat-free, and egg-free, with no artificial colors or sweeteners. They also do not contain meat, yeast, starch, or preservatives. And, check out the natural sources of all the vitamins and minerals:
- FRUITS AND BERRIES: strawberry, banana, raspberry, melon, pineapple, black currant, apricot, cherry, tagerine, kiwi, grape, apple, tomato, peach, papaya, guava, and mango.
- VEGATABLES: broccoli, carrot, spinach, beet greens, asparagus, onion, garlic, alfalfa, barley grass, artichoke, peas, and summer squash.
- ALGAE: spiralina blue-green algae, klmath blue-green algae, chlorella, kombu green algae, and cytoseira green algae.
- Other ingredients: Dextrose, orange juice flavored crystals, natural flavors, stearic acid, turmeric color, magnesium stearate, silica, citric acid, alfalfa juice and carmine color.
So what was our final analysis? We like them! They aren’t bitter, and don’t upset our tummies. I LOVE all the natural ingredients. I like to think that my family is eating healthy, but sometimes I worry that we aren’t getting enough of the good stuff.
Where can you buy them? You can order the vitamins online or through a select group of stores and pharmacies. For more vitamin options, check out the list of the Top 100 Children’s Vitamins, as reported by Vitamin-One.com.
Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal
I happened to notice in the grocery store this month, a new arrival — Chex Gluten-Free Oatmeal. I grabbed a box to check it out, then noticed another shopper grabbing a box. She said it was really sweet and her kids loved it. So, I bought it, and took it home. My kids never did get to try it. My husband and I ate all of it.
The shopper was right: It is sweet. Maple Brown Sugar sweet. Just like the packages of instant oatmeal we used to eat when we were kids. Each box contains 6 individual packages. You simply pour the cereal into a bowl, add 2/3 cup water or milk, and microwave for 90 seconds. Yum!
I have only seen the Maple Brown Sugar variety in the stores. However, I found Apple Cinnamon and Original flavored varieties at Amazon, if you’re interested. You may find them in the cereal aisles at your store. I’ll be watching ours to see if they arrive. A variety pack might be nice.
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavor. Each pouch/serving: 170 calories, 0.5 g saturated fat, 180 mg sodium, 12 g sugars.
I love eating popcorn for snacks in the fall (or anytime of year, actually). We know that popcorn is naturally gluten-free, so it’s also great to serve to friends and family who aren’t on a gluten-free diet. Isn’t nice when we can all eat the same things? Unfortunately, we do still need to be cautious because some popcorn products have added flavorings that have gluten, or become contaminated due to processing.
Here are some yummy popcorn products we’ve safely eaten at home lately. Some of the products were purchased by me, some were given to us, and one (Cosmos) was sent to us by the company to sample. All of the products clearly state “Gluten Free” on the packaging. Love that! It makes it so nice for people who are not gluten free, but want to buy something gluten-free to offer friends and family who are. (Sometimes I think reading nutrition labels can be a difficult skill to learn.)
Angie’s is a great popcorn product. I first saw Angie’s kettle corn at Target. You can buy it in a large bag, or a package of single-serving size bags. I think it’s a nice combination of salty and sweet. Angie’s also makes other flavors: Salted Caramel, Movie Pop, White Cheddar, Sweet & Spicy, Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt, as well as some seasonal flavors. My son loves the cinnamon flavor we bought to give out at Halloween. “Ingredients: Popcorn, Sunflower Oil, Evaporated Cane Crystals, Sea Salt. Vegan. Certified Gluten-Free”
Cosmos is not actually popcorn. It’s a puffy, baked corn product. So, there are no kernels or hulls to worry about getting stuck in your teeth. I tried the sea salt and butter, and loved the strong buttery flavor. However, it doesn’t have the crunchy popcorn texture I like. The Salted Caramel flavor definitely has the crunch I was missing. The wonderful sweet, buttery caramel coating gave it a delicious crunch and a wonderful aroma. My kids were not as crazy about the Salted Caramel, but it was my husband’s favorite. Since it is made with dairy, I only took a small sample and let him enjoy the rest with his co-workers, who also loved it. My son preferred the Cinnamon Crunch, and my daughter preferred the Sea Salt & Butter. Salted Caramel Ingredients: Cane Sugar, Butter (cream, milk, salt), Corn Syrup, Degerminated Yellow Corn Meal, Sea Salt, Molasses, Vanilla Extract, Baking Soda.”
There is nothing fancy about Skinny Pop, but that’s what I like about it. Nothing added but oil and salt. Free of gluten, dairy, and nuts. I can buy a big bag at Sam’s or find individual-sized bags at Sprouts. I like to pop my own popcorn at home, but this is really convenient when I need to grab a quick snack for the kids. Great for after-school snacks and to pack in lunches. No need to add lots of butter, my kids love as it is. However, it would also work great in some of the recipes listed below. “Ingredients: All Natural Popcorn Sunflower Oil and Salt.”
This Orville Redenbacher product is a lightly sweetened kettle corn. A nice snack as is, or with other snacks stirred in: chocolate candies, nuts, etc. Just what you would expect from a kettle corn. Other OR popcorn flavors available: Sharp White Cheddar, Farmhouse Cheddar, and BBQ. “Ingredients for the Kettle Corn: Popcorn, Sugar, Sunflower Oil, contains less that 2% of: Salt, Soy Lecithin. Contains: Soy. Gluten Free”
Looking for Recipes to Make Your Own Popcorn Snacks?
Use some of the products above, or simply pop your own at home to make these snacks.
- Bacon Popcorn at The Gluten-Free Homemaker
- Caramel Corn Balls at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free
- Caramel Corn Puffs at Celiac Family
- Cheesy Cauliflower Popcorn by Hallie Klecker at The Balanced Platter
- Cherry Almond Popcorn Balls by Patricia at She Knows Food & Recipes
- Homemade Popcorn (including Kettle Corn and Maple Sweetened Carmel) at She Let Them Eat Cake
- Make-Your-Own Chocolate and Candy-topped Popcorn Treat at Simply Living Healthy