Lauren’s Gourmet – Gluten-Free Products With Great Taste (And Another Giveaway!)

A few weeks ago, I was at the Chestnut Square Farmer’s Market, doing my weekly shopping, when I walked past a booth filled with bags of various baking mixes. I almost walked right past the booth without a second glance – after all, in that area of the market, there are a lot of vendors selling pasta sauces, homemade pasta, and artisan breads, most of which I cannot eat. (You know how that is, right? Don’t you put on those imaginary blinders when you walk past these things too? And that little voice in your head tells those gluten-filled goodies “lalalalala I can’t SEE you!” This isn’t just me, is it?) But something caused me to turn my head as I walked past, and take another look at what was being sold at this table. There had to be at least a dozen different brown paper bags containing different baking mixes. Upon closer inspection, I read the labels: “Lauren’s Gourmet – Gluten-Free.” Gluten-Free Baking Mixes? At my farmer’s market? I picked one up and started asking about it. I asked where the mixes were made. (In Anna, Texas, just a few miles north of the market.) I asked if they were made in a dedicated kitchen. (They were.) I asked if there were any that were dairy-free, while simultaneously picking up one of the packages and reading the ingredients. (She told me that many mixes contained no dairy and no egg, and I could substitute non-dairy milk and egg substitutes as I needed.) While I’m not much for baking mixes, (if you visit here often, you’ll see that I change up my gluten-free flours in recipes all the time, never sticking to one blend, and mostly making things from scratch. I have more than a dozen different flours in my pantry. It’s kind of a problem when it comes to pantry space.) I was excited. Somebody in my little part of the world was making gluten-free baking mixes! After some consideration, I picked up a bag of Southern Cornbread and took it home with me.

A few days later, I made that cornbread to go along with some fresh pinto beans (Which I also picked up at the market – this is one of the many perks of shopping at the farmer’s market all the time. You can buy fresh beans!). I baked it in a glass bread pan, and let me tell you – that was some of the best cornbread to ever come out of my kitchen. It was perfectly crisp on the edges, but amazingly moist in the center, with a hint of sweetness. My husband and I ate a good deal of it that night, and it was delicious the next day as well. I grilled a slice in a pan with a bit of ghee, and drizzled just a touch of maple syrup over it. Heaven.

I was so ecstatic about this new discovery that I searched and found Lauren’s Gourmet online. I then found Lauren’s Gourmet on Facebook. I reached out to Karen, the founder of Lauren’s Gourmet, and asked if I could share more of her great products with my readers. The next day, she called me, and we made plans. I headed up to the farmer’s market the following Saturday and officially “met” Karen.

Karen, founder of Lauren's Gourmet, and her daughter, Lauren

Karen is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. Her daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008. Like many parents, Karen was overwhelmed with how to manage Lauren’s diet and keep her healthy. Karen wanted to find a way for her and her daughter to embrace the disease, not fight it. So she started researching. And perhaps more importantly, she started experimenting. And now, in three short years, she has started a growing business selling various gluten-free baking mixes in 5 states and online.

Banana muffins

These aren’t just any gluten-free baking mixes, either. They’re egg free. Nut-free. Many are yeast and casein-free. She doesn’t use preservatives. She makes suggestions on her instructions for dairy and egg substitutes to help accommodate her customers and their needs. Not only does she use a dedicated kitchen, but Karen has done her research to ensure that the ingredients in her mixes are tested and are gluten-free – even down to the recycled packaging (which is made partially from corn, not wheat). Karen cares very much about the quality of her product and the happiness of her customers, and it shows.

I was genuinely ecstatic about having the opportunity to review some of these products. I took home some baking mixes and tested them. I baked her Banana Nut Bread (as muffins, swapping out the nuts for dairy-free chocolate chips – Brittany doesn’t like nuts), her Blueberry Muffins (I even swapped out the eggs with “chia eggs” – which is simply 1 tablespoon of ground chia seed meal + 3 tablespoons of water for each egg, whisked together), and her Cinnamon Coffee Cake (where I substituted the buttermilk with dairy-free milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar). Of course, I used non-dairy milk in all of the mixes.

Blueberry muffins

The verdict? They were all delicious. Brittany liked the blueberry muffins most of all, while I fell in love with the cinnamon coffee cake. They were easy to bake – I did have to adjust baking times for the cinnamon coffee cake, as I used a different sized pan, but that was no big deal. These were all baking mixes I’d be happy to keep on hand just in case I had last-minute company, or felt like treating the kids to a special baked treat.

Lucky you, you’ll have the opportunity to try these mixes out yourself! Karen has graciously agreed to give away 5 baking mixes to 5 lucky readers – and you can choose which mix you’d like to win! Just visit Lauren’s Gourmet, and come back here and tell me which mix you’d like to win, to be considered in this giveaway.

If you have additional intolerances beyond gluten, here’s some guidance so you can be sure you choose a mix that is suitable for you:

- All mixes are dairy-free EXCEPT the chocolate chip muffin

- All mixes are yeast-free EXCEPT the pizza crust

- All mixes contain some sugar (some, like the corn bread, pizza crust, and pie crust, contain very little)

- All mixes contain corn

For additional chances to win, leave me an additional comment after you have completed each of the following actions:

1. “Like” Lauren’s Gourmet on Facebook.

2. “Like” Tasty Eats At Home on Facebook.

3. Share about this giveaway on Facebook or Twitter.

4. Subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home via email or RSS feed.

There you have it! This giveaway will end on Saturday, July 2, 2011.

cinnamon coffee cake

Comments

  1. Laurel says

    I was so excited I was going to buy some (which I never do) just because she’s in Texas. Unfortunately I can’t do corn either. Rats. Maybe I’ll call her. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Kaye Stain says

    I visited Lauren’s Gourmet website, and Wow! What wouldn’t I like to win?!? I’m feeling pumpkin bigtime which looks very scrumptious, I would love to win it, I would definitely add a whopping scoop of walnuts to the batter, too:)

  3. says

    I’d love to try the Lemon Poppyseed Muffin mix! I don’t have to eat Gluten-Free myself….but try to keep GF products on hand, especially in the summer, for visiting friends who have to eat so

    “Like” you on Facebook, too1

    Keep up the good works!

    Jude

  4. S Carter says

    I can’t decide which mix to win – it’s a toss up between the Cinnamon coffee cake or the snickerdoodles. If the Cinnamon coffee cake has any coffee flavouring in it, then I’ll go for the Snickerdoodles. Ideally, I’d like the mix that has the least amount of sugar (of the two mentioned above).

  5. Susan says

    I subscribe to Tasty Eats At Home email. I just checked out Lauren’s Gourmet’s website and everything looks so good! It would be hard to decide what to start with!

  6. Sara says

    How cool that you have such a great product at your local farmer’s market! The corn bread looks wonderful.

    P.S. I subscribe to your blog through Google Reader.

  7. shannon says

    This is a long way from my home in B.C but hopefully the idea will travel up here eventually too. Sounds wonderful!

  8. says

    I liked everything on Facebook… and that cake looks GOOOOD! Glad to hear you have a local hook-up. Readymade mixes just make life easier sometimes! :-)

  9. Peggy Helmick-Richardson says

    How exciting! I love to support local small businesses, especially when they are supplying G-F yummies! Tough call on what I’d like to try first, but guess I’ll go for the Cinnamon Coffee Cake.

  10. Peggy Helmick-Richardson says

    Just liked you on Facebook and can’t believe I hadn’t already done that! Your blog is one of my favorite G-F go-tos!

  11. Kim Belongia says

    I’m always looking for something to try, because it may taste better than what I’m currently using.

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