Category Archives: gluten free

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Amy’s — a Natural Foods Staple for 30 Years!

Amy’s is a California Original!

When we visited Northern Califoria this year, we were excited to tour Amy’s Kitchen in Petaluma. We were surprised and impressed with their hands-on approach. I expected floor to ceiling stainless steel machinery doing all the work, but what we saw was hundreds of dedicated workers hand making and packaging Amy’s products. 

More than 30 years ago, Rachel and Andy were expecting a baby, and there wasn’t anything in the store to satisfy the need for healthy, convenient, ready-made meals. With Rachel on bed rest, they realized that there were likely many others in the same boat. Once their baby was born, they started making their first recipe, Pot Pie, to sell locally. Their daughter Amy and Amy’s Kitchen were born in the same year!

They launched their company, thinking that they would just make those delicious Pot Pies, but requests for more variety started coming in. They started adding other products, from Pizza to Canned Soups. They heard about people with allergies, food sensitivities, and special diets, so Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten-Free offerings were created. Since Organic is also non-GMO, Amy’s is also committed to GMO-free ingredients.

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Amy’s has always been passionate and committed to organically grown produce, even in the beginning when there was no Organic Certification. They work closely with their farmers to make sure they have the best ingredients possible.

And now, thirty years later, Amy’s is a household name. You can read more of Amy’s story by clicking  here.

When I had busy and active kids at home, we almost always had Amy’s Burritos in the refrigerator for a quick snack before gymnastics or soccer. The cheese enchiladas were also a favorite, and it’s fun to see my grandchildren enjoying the same products!

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Amy’s has a desire to change the face of fast food, and in 2015 they opened Amy’s Drive Through in Rohnart Park. It’s a sustainability model, with solar panels and a living roof.

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They have delicious burgers, fries, shakes, pizza, burritos, and much more. I hope they bring their Drive Thru to Southern California!

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yummmmm… Chili Fries!

I love visiting the producers of our amazing products! Thanks, Amy’s for hosting us!

Love,

Lassen’s

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Focus on Local–Arnel’s Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

Gluten Just Might Be Your Enemy

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This is Arnel, of Arnel’s Originals Gluten-Free Baking Mixes!  She was your average mom, but was concerned with some unexplained behavior and health issues with her two daughters.  They had nervous system issues–tantrums, anxiety, anger, stress, and skin issues–rashes, and eczema. She knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what it could possibly be, and didn’t know where to start.  After reading as much as she could find, she started to suspect food allergies.  So in 1996 she put her family on an elimination diet to see if they were sensitive to allergens.  (To see Arnel’s suggestions for going on an elimination diet, go to her website and find the Feb 2011 post.)  Sure enough, within a couple of weeks she learned that she and both of her daughters were highly sensitive to gluten–in fact, they have celiac disease, which is an auto-immune disease, not just an allergy. 
 
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Of course this meant a big life-style change for Arnel’s family.  Everything with gluten had to be eliminated from the home and their diet.  Even a few crumbs can trigger a reaction.  You can imagine what that does to a little girl going to a sleep-over party!  In the early days there were very few gluten-free products on the market!
 
Eventually Arnel decided that she needed to take matters into her own hands, and started experimenting with gluten-free ingredients to make breads and cakes, cookies and pies for her family.
 
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 She had a wonderful mentor named Pippi, who helped her figure out what ingredients worked, and she fiddled with them until she got it just right.  She made her mixes for family and friends at first.  Then in 2009 she began selling her Gluten-Free Baking Mixes in Lassen’s, and today is in many markets.  At first she was blending her mixes by hand in her kitchen, but today the business has grown so much that she has a commercial factory that makes her mixes according to her recipe and specifications.

 

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With these four mixes–organic and certified gluten-free–you can make just about any baked good that you’d like!  Arnel has made the mixes without sweeteners, so you can add what you like–from regular sugar or honey to date sweetener!  You can make chocolate or white or spice cake from the Make-a-Cake Mix–just add what you like!  

 

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I got to bake with Arnel in both her home and at a commercial kitchen, where she bakes her bread for the Farmer’s Market.  In her home we made these yummy cookies!

 

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Moist and delicious!  Those of us who are not sensitive to gluten usually shun anything that is gluten-free, but these are cookies that I could eat every day!

 

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Using the Cake Mix, we also made a strawberry cake, split in half and topped with mashed fresh strawberries.  It was really good–my family ate it up!

 

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I met Arnel at the commercial kitchen to watch her bake some of her delicious buckwheat gluten-free bread.  

 

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Because gluten-free doesn’t have any, well, gluten, the texture of the bread dough was toothpaste-y, not at all like the bread dough I am used to seeing.  

 

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But I trusted that Arnel knew what she was doing (No kneading?  How could that be?) and the end result was a beautiful, golden brown loaf of deliciousness!

 

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Arnel even made me a delicious salmon-salad sandwich with the buckwheat bread.  The bread was everything a sandwich needed!  Light and toasty–just delicious!

 

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If you are sensitive to gluten, or suspect that you might be, try some of Arnel’s baking mixes!  You can have your cake and eat it too!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s