For years now, as we have offered baking classes on Vashon and the Seattle area, so many of you have asked how you could attend when you live elsewhere? That’s why we immediately said yes! when Craftsy approached us about working together. Now, with this gluten-free baking video class you can learn how to make two gluten-free flour blends that work, as well as gluten-free cookies, cakes, pizza, quick breads, sandwich bread, artisan bread, and pie, all from your own home.
(This way, you can bake in your pajamas. And watch the videos over and over again, to learn the techniques.)
When I was a kid, soups came from a can. There were mushy white stars in a thick chicken soup, glurby white clam chowder, split pea with slender bits of ham, and cream of mushroom that splatted out of the can into the pot. They all needed a can of water and a bit of reheating. And the salt content — eating that soup felt like partaking from a salt lick. When I was a kid, that was the only soup I knew.
When I started eating better food as an adult, I started making my own soups. They sang with flavor and simple ingredients. Try as I might, I couldn’t eat canned soups any longer. Too salty, too homogenous in taste, too boring. Why couldn’t anyone package a truly great tasting soup without few ingredients, made with spices and no preservatives?
Finally, I have found the soup in a package I have been wanting. Convenient and fast, Le Grand soups are also packed with flavors and made mostly with vegetables. These are the best packaged soups I have ever tried. This Super Greens soup, in particular, could become a daily meal around here. It contains spinach, broccoli, lima beans, onions, coconut milk, water, spices, and herbs. That’s it.
It’s good. It’s also gluten-free.
This is why Maison Le Grand, with their soups, sauces, and hummus, is our latest sponsor. We highly recommend their products to you.
We’ll let one of the founders of Maison Le Grand, one of the founders of the company, tell you more of their story.
Tell us about how your company began? Why did you start LeGrand?
We started a food company because my husband Bernard was a starving artist (rock and jazz drummer) and once we started having babies we had to figure out a business to look after our little family! Bernard starting making a fresh pesto sauce (our classic 4 nuts pesto) because there was none on the market (everything was shelf stable) and he knew he could make an amazing one!
This was not B’s first foray into the food world. While B was a musician he had started a funky food company doing organic vegetarian/vegan sandwiches and salads so he knew about the power of healthy eating, but he was way ahead of his time as this was back in the late 80’s/early 90’s!
Le Grand is B’s last name which translate into English as “the great.” We thought it was better than my last name…Bossy!
Bernard and I believe in eating well and that food can heal. We are committed to a healthy lifestyle — as much as we can that is — and still have a balance! That means vitamins (very specific ones), only eating real food, mostly vegetables, limited meat, fish and alcohol intake. Our biggest struggle is avoiding sugar! I know it’s terrible for my health, but I crave the comfort. B and I have however, come a long way. Gluten is something I must keep away from or suffer the discomfort and dairy we limit to a little cheese, but nothing excessive.
Why soups? And why green soups in particular?
We built a professional 15,000 sq ft plant for Le Grand with more land to expand on in the fall of 2013. We were ready to expand our business into other categories than just pestos and sauces. Hence the soups. B and I LOVE soup, but everything on the market is un-edible and not something I would consider nourishing. We knew we could do better and create a line of fresh soups that nourish, taste amazing and feed the soul!
We believe in eating a diet of 60%-70%+ of vegetables and plant based which isn’t always easy to achieve in our hectic lives as you can only eat so many salads! So we came up with our latest soup the Super Greens! One portion (half a pouch) meets the daily requirement for green vegetables and unlike a smoothie there’s no sugar. Smoothies are convenient, but just like juices there’s typically a lot of fruit which increases our sugar levels which we should be avoiding! All of our soups are made from real vegetables and real ingredients. We NEVER use fillers such as cornstarch, sugar, preservatives or anything of the like! We thicken our soups with beans we soak, cook and puree to add substance, nutrition and plant based protein.
So many of your products are vegan and gluten-free. Is that intentional? And why?
All of Le Grand products are gluten-free. This is intentional as gluten is everywhere. Cheap gluten is often used as an inexpensive filler in manufacturing. Le Grand offers a choice to our clientele to have quality homemade fresh pestos, sauces and soups that are all gluten-free. B and I eat dairy, but we don’t want it in everything! It’s about having choice available in the marketplace.
Can you share a few stories of customers who have loved your work?
Le Grand is like the best kept secret! We can’t afford to spend on marketing so we have grown by word of mouth. We have a loyal following who email us regularly to let us know how much they love our unique products. We often receive comments such as “I served your soup and let everyone think I’d slaved for our hours in the kitchen!” Or one customer who wrote us that her family was eating packs of our hummus…daily. This makes us happy.
What do you hope people who get from your products?
Life is hectic and demanding. The need to perform in all aspects of our lives is relentless. B and I had our 3 children over 20 years ago when the rhythm was nevertheless less crazy. It’s important to us to bring to the market products that allow people to feed themselves well (plant-based nutrition, great taste and vegetarian, mostly vegan, always predominate. If Le Grand products can help you in your everyday life than we have done our job!
I can share that we truly do love these foods. I would eat this green soup every morning, instead of a smoothie. In fact, we’re going to Costco in Seattle this weekend to pick up more. We suggest you do the same.
Right now, the Le Grand Super Greens soups are available at Costcos across the Pacific Northwest. They’re on a limited run there, to see if customers like them enough to expand to more stores. Go buy some this week. If you shop at another Costco in the United States, you can fill out request forms at the front of the store and ask for this soup by name. As Tatiana told me, “Costco reads these requests, tabulates them and it has an impact on products that they list. I know from first-hand experience Costco calls everyone that fills out the request form and leaves a number. So if Costco shoppers want more gluten-free quality products, these requests make an impact.”
Let’s support a great gluten-free food company by shopping for them by name.
Guess what? It’s Thanksgiving time again. When you’ve been gluten-free for awhile, you might have an arsenal of recipes you’ll make for Thanksgiving. (Then again, it’s alway a joy to try new recipes too.) But if…