a word from our sponsors: Garden Lites

I was riding in a car toward JFK, after speaking at an incredible symposium about the future of gluten-free, sponsored by Mary’s Gone Crackers. (I’ll be sharing some stories about this day soon.) The two young women who had helped to organize the symposium were headed to the airport. I would be going there in a couple of hours. I was heading to see the owner of Garden Lites first.

Both young women, who work in PR and thus spend a lot of time in offices, asked me about Garden Lites. What did they make? Why was I going to an office near JFK?

“They’re our newest sponsors,” I told them. “They make good frozen gluten-free meals.”

Specifically, Garden Lites makes frozen souffles and dishes with real vegetables, without un-pronouncable chemicals and additives. For example, the carrot souffle contains: carrots, egg whites, cane juice, raisins, cornstarch, brown rice flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. It sounds like something we’d make in our own kitchen.

And of course, it’s gluten-free.

To be honest, Danny and I don’t eat a lot of frozen meals. We’re at home, cooking. It’s our job. But when I described these frozen meals to these young women, they both said immediately, “Can you tell me where to find them? Because I want to eat that at work.”

And this is why we’re happy to announce that Garden Lites is our newest sponsor.

This is real food. The vegetarian souffles are free of gluten, lactose, any kind of nuts, MSG, or trans fats. They’re kosher, as well.

And they taste good. Sometimes when you hear that a food is a string of –free, you might think the taste comes last. But Danny and I only recommend food that truly tastes good.

To be honest, we receive a box of new gluten-free foods every day at our home. So many companies are trying to make quality gluten-free food and they all seem to want to send it to us. Most of it is not that good. Some of it is terrible. Some of it is just okay. But around here, we only want to recommend the food that is truly good, the food we’d buy on our own and feed it to Lu.

We received the first batch of Garden Lites frozen dishes to try back in March. We were in the middle of a very tumultuous time — finishing the first draft of our cookbook and moving to a new home — and we were grateful for something ready to eat. Danny, in particular, was astonished at how good these tasted. “These taste like real food,” he said. (He likes the pizza flavor best. I like the zucchini pasta dishes.)

Since then, we’ve put more in our freezer for especially busy times.

That’s how I found myself in an office on a street a few blocks from JFK, meeting Jeff and Julie. We like to have an authentic connection with the companies with whom we work on sponsorship. But this was the first time I had been in the office, at the warehouse, hearing the story of how the company began.

(It actually began when Jeff came up with a recipe for a kosher kugel, which all of his friends adored.)

As we talked and shared stories, Julie brought out something for me to eat. “Here,” she said. “We really want you to try this.”

I took a bite and then did a double take. “What is this?”

It was a chocolate muffin, nothing like the sometimes-dry gluten-free muffins on the market. The first two ingredients in the muffin? Zucchini and carrots. Turns out these little muffins are filled with vegetables. (I know a lot of moms who will be pretty excited about these.) They also contain high-quality cocoa powder and gluten-free flours.

Lu has been enjoying them in her lunches ever since. She calls them “the little chocolate cupcakes.” We don’t need to correct her.

Garden Lites makes good, gluten-free foods and we’re happy to be working with them here. We think you’ll want to try the vegetable souffles and veggie muffins too. (The veggie muffins are available at Costcos across the Northeast right now. Ask your local store to stock them soon. Use this page to find a store stocking the frozen souffles near you.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a small zucchini-chocolate muffin with a cup of tea.

11 comments on “a word from our sponsors: Garden Lites

  1. Stefanie

    Hi Shauna,
    I’ve spent so much time in the freezer section with my eyes oogling over gluten free treats and easy to prepare meals. I usually walk away empty handed and frustrated because I don’t want to settle for chemical laden foods. It’s wonderful to have your suggestion for Garden Lites. I imagine our office freezer will be stocked by the end of the week!
    Thanks so much,
    Stefanie

  2. Jenn Sutherland

    These meals look great — and like you, while I don’t use a lot of packaged foods — there are busy weeks, where you just need something more quickly, or the occasional week where I just can’t even find time to go to the grocery, and these meals would be perfect. I’m definitely going to look for them at Whole Foods!

    And thank you, for being so careful in selecting partners for this site. I absolutely trust your taste, and have bought SO MANY of your sponsor’s products, and Garden of the Gods yogurt, Jovial Foods GF pasta, Mary’s Gone Crackers (my pantry is never without Mary’s Sticks & Twigs) and of cours Bob’s Red Mill are always in my home now. Keep bringing great sponsors and tasty products to your community!

  3. Tami

    Hi I usually don’t comment, just read the recipes. But your blog reminded me so much of my life with children. My daughter is 8 and I am just starting to get some much deserved sleep… She like your daughter is a morning girl, and we have taped down black out shades to no avail. Your story made me smile. Thanks:)

  4. Wendy

    I stumbled across Garden Lites in the freezer case at Costco, and loved them so much I dropped a comment card asking if they could come back. I love them for breakfast, with a slice of smoked cheese melted on top. I also pack one for lunch along with a cup of soup when I run out of frozen leftovers.

    When I first graduated from college, one of my favorite dinners was pasta, tossed with a can of chopped tomatoes with garlic, herbs and olive oil, and a fully cooked Stouffer’s spinach souffle. I had missed that meal — the wonderful pasta-ready tomatoes with olive oil disappeared during the low fat fad, and giving up Gluten meant giving up everything Stouffer’s. 2 servings of cooked GF pasta + 1 can Italian seasoned canned tomatoes + glug olive oil + Spinach souffle + Parmesan doesn’t look pretty, but it tastes wonderful and makes enough for lunch the next day.

  5. Natalie Terashima

    Hey, that’s me! ;-) Was just poking around and saw your post. The Garden Lites look so yummy — will definitely have to give them a try the next time I see them. By the way, I made your Compost Cookies. They were SO delish! Although I may have used a tad too much coconut oil as I had to mix in more psyllium and pretzels to make them stick. I seriously love that recipe though!

  6. Maggi

    Oh we LOVE GardenLites here at home! I found them in my local grocery store sometime last year and I have tried almost every variety (except carrot. I don’t do carrot) with the zucchini souffle and the spinach souffle being the most often purchased. O.K., we found we really like the Southwest too. I, just yesterday, ran across the muffins at my local Costco and bought a box. I haven’t had a change to munch on one yet, but I’ll do it tonight. I bought the box figuring that I would love them since I like everything else I have tried from them.

    Great product! Love them!

  7. Jenny

    Thanks so much for introducing Garden Lites! I’m allergic to gluten, MSG, and fake sugar and those are in so many pre-packaged foods. I usually cook all my own food too, but I’m going to track down some of the Garden Lites frozen meals for busy times. I’ve just discovered your blog, but I really enjoy your writing and helpful information, so I will be checking back and making some of your recipes!
    :)

  8. Daphne

    Shauna,

    I miss spinach souffle, so I’ll be delighted to try Garden Lites. I’ve started my own gf blog, dedicated to all of my favorite things gluten-free; from products to restaurants to blogs. I’m focusing on the positive,which I am feeling very much these days. :) Check it out if you have a minute: http://yourgfplace.blogspot.com/

  9. Kasia

    Hello.is this stuff gluten free?!for real?! could you pleeeeease write an email to me is there any chance to buy it online?if yes,where???? i live in poland and here it is really difficult to buy something tasty and nice without gluten :/
    pretty please for email and really thank you :)