I’ve really come to appreciate the small family-owned businesses that make food my sons and I can eat. For a long time I hated grocery shopping because all the “allergy-free” packaged foods contained at least one ingredient one of us couldn’t have. Son #1 is allergic to dairy and eggs, son #2 has celiac disease, and I’m the Queen of Allergies including oddball ones like vanilla, nutmeg and guar flour.
Thankfully, there are other allergic folk (mostly women) and parents of little allergic folk (mostly moms) who don’t mind stepping up to the kitchen counter and taking on the painstaking task of developing recipes sans “normal” ingredients and yet taste great. I so appreciate these women because I do not have the patience or the passion to create a batter over and over again until I get it right. These people deserve our applause.
At the recent Food Allergy and Celiac Convention in Orlando, I was incredibly touched by the selfless stories I heard over and over again of people changing careers or starting a home business to help families like mine. These people make it their life’s work to make our lives better.
I’d like to introduce you to some of these special people and their companies. Starting with this post, I’ll tell you about my favorite gluten-free and allergy-friendly businesses–everything from computer apps to cookbooks to cookies. I hope you’ll learn about new products as well as enjoy getting to know the incredible people behind them.
Let’s begin with cookies.
Rebecca’s Gluten Free (Cookie Mixes)
Some back story . . .
Rebecca Clampitt sent me two of her cookie mixes to try–Coconut and Brownie. I was reluctant at first because they are made with some corn and I sometimes react to corn, depending on the amount. The directions also said to add butter and eggs, which are a no-no for one son and me. I decided to make the coconut ones with egg replacer and Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread.
They turned out perfect and so tasty–like a macaroon but better. I had no reaction to the corn–this is not to say those of you with corn allergies should try!
Now on to the interview . . .
Rebecca, please share the story behind Rebecca’s Gluten Free.
Three years ago, when my daughter was ten, she was very ill with severe gastrointestinal issues and ear infections. I was also having GI symptoms. I wanted her to be tested for celiac disease, but she is afraid of needles and wouldn’t let a doctor get near her. I finally decided to take us both off gluten and we felt so much better. While we’ve never ben officially diagnosed with celiac disease, we are gluten intolerant.
I wanted my daughter to have gluten-free treats for school functions, but most packaged gluten-free cookies didn’t taste that great. As far as mixes go, there were only two choices–chocolate chip and sugar. So I started researching different flours. The cookies would always end up flat and I’d end up in tears. It was not an overnight process!
When I finally got it right and decided to sell my mixes, it was important to me that they be easy and require no more than three additional ingredients. They require eggs and butter, and the Pumpkin Spice requires molasses. I also wanted to come up with unique flavors. We offer Brownie, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Crinkle, Coconut, Pumpkin Spice and Snicker Doodle.
Where are your cookie mixes manufactured?
I rent space in a commercial kitchen. The kitchen is not gluten-free certified, but I have my own space–no one uses it to cook any other foods–and I make my mixes when no one else is cooking. I also use my own cooking utensils..
Your labels say “tested and approved at 2.5 ppm of gluten.” How do you test for gluten?
According to the FDA, everything in the mixes must be tested, including the separate packets of sugar and coconut included in the package. I send everything to EMSL Analytical Incorporated. Every new mix flavor I create gets tested. I am working to become Certified Gluten Free through the Celiac Sprue Association.
I noticed the ingredients weren’t listed on the packaging. Why?
Honestly, I couldn’t fit them on the label! In January I will have new packaging that will include ingredients and nutrition labeling. Until then, you can find all ingredients on the website.
Are there any other common allergens in your mixes?
All of the mixes have corn and one has coconut. There are no nuts.
How much do your mixes cost, and where can people find your cookie mixes?
They cost $5.99. Tight now I am only selling through the website. I am waiting to be certified gluten free before pursuing Trader Joe’s and other stores.
An Allergic Foodie received Rebecca’s Gluten Free Mixes for free, but An Allergic Foodie’s review is entirely her own.