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Marion’s Smart Delights Review and Giveaway

I have a great new gluten-free product line to share with you called Marion’s Smart Delights.  Well, I am 99% confident of that statement anyway, at least based on the trail of evidence left by a certain 3-foot little rascal in my house…but more on that in a minute.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I can’t say 100% because I could not personally sample the complimentary products Marion sent me because they contain corn and apparently, I’m allergic (have no idea what my reaction is, because it isn’t anything that has screamed out “DO NOT EAT!”). As time-challenging as it is to remove corn from one’s diet (I’m now making my own ketchup for Pete’s sake!), I won’t cheat this time because I learned my lesson with gluten: not having any obvious symptoms did not mean I didn’t have celiac disease nonetheless.  Anyhoo, I digress. ;-)

Here is some information about Marion’s Smart Delights (my emphasis added):

Founded by Marion Braswell, PhD, Marion’s Smart Delights is a small company dedicated to solving a big problem for people seeking a nutritious — and safe — way to bake mouthwatering treats. Taking good care of our valued customers means paying meticulous attention to every aspect of our business: choosing GF whole grains like quinoa and amaranth…including just enough sugar for luscious bakery-shop texture … working with a packing company that is certified gluten-free, allergen-free and certified Kosher…and providing recipes that allow the mixes to be adapted for vegan, dairy-free and heart-healthy baking, as well as for “sharing” times like parties or gift-giving.  You can count on our company to meet your highest expectations for integrity and customer service, while meeting your highest expectations for ease of use and utterly reliable, incredibly scrumptious results.

Marion’s Smart Delights were invented to give you the best of both worlds: gluten-free, allergen-free, Kosher, reduced sodium, reduced sugar and more whole grains (click here to continue reading more about Marion’s Smart Delights).

I was intrigued by the ingredient list for each product and even learned about a new (to me) sweetener called luo han guo. According to Wikipedia, “luo han guo has been shown to be useful against the Epstein-Barr Virus, a virus that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases” (click here for the PubMed article cited for this statement).

Ingredients for Marion’s Smart Delights Lemon Bar Mix: Sugar, baking mix (rice flour, corn starch, tapioca dextrin, xanthan gum, rice extract), arrow root, whole grain millet flour, potato starch flour, whole grain amaranth flour, whole grain quinoa flour, baking powder (potassium biocarbonate, calcium acid pyrophosphate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), organic lemon peel, natural flavor, sea salt, inulin, luo han guo. **Lemon bar mix sugar content has been lowered from 18 grams to 11 grams per serving.

For the lemon bars, I used one of the two alternative vegan directions, using Ener-G Egg Replacer and Applesauce.  This is what I really like and appreciate about Marion’s Smart Delights products, she offers ingredient substitutions for other allergens, which are quite common in people with gluten sensitivity. :-D

While the vegan lemon bars were not as thick and custard-y as the photos on the package (presumably a picture of an egg-filled lemon bar), my husband was quite impressed with the flavor and texture for not having any eggs (the original recipe on the package calls for 4 eggs and as anyone who has ever attempted egg-free baking will attest, replacing 4 eggs is no easy feat!).

Since that is all I can offer review-wise, I will hand the keyboard over to my better half:

Hey, Gluten Free Dad here (or Mike for short)…since I’ve been the official taster in our house for the past 7 months and sometimes have trouble helping Heidi understand what to write based on what I taste, I’m just going to pop up in one of these lovely pink boxes (not my preferred color choice, but I’ve been told I look really good in pink) every once in a while and tell it to you straight.  Now, you must understand that no one in our family is a big “lemon” person.  In our past lives (before we had to interrogate a party hostess about her food prep), we were the type of people who would take ONE lemon bar from the dessert tray and say, “Hey, that’s a good lemon bar.”  Marion’s Smart Delights Gluten-Free Lemon Bars are at that level.  If you are a lemon person, you will LOVE them.  If you are not a lemon person, you will still appreciate these lemon bars.  So the absolute highest compliment I can give to this product is to say: if you need a GF lemon bar tray for the school play, or just want to keep a mix in the “back” of your pantry for insurance, then this is the mix for you.

Now, the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins…OMG!!

Heidi here, I hope Mike’s “review” was at least semi-helpful for you (normally, all he gives me is either a “mmm, good,” an “it’s okay,” or, he will spit it out like our 3 year old, albeit in a more discreet fashion, LOL!). :-D

Ingredients for Marion’s Smart Delights Cookie and Muffin Mix: Baking mix (rice flour, corn starch, tapioca dextrin, xanthan gum, rice extract), whole grain millet flour, sugar, whole grain amaranth flour, potato starch, whole grain quinoa flour, arrow root, whole grain timothy grass seed flour, natural flavor, sea salt, inulin, luo han guo. **Cookie mix sugar content has been lowered from 12g to 3g per serving. Prepared muffin sugar content has been lowered from 11g to 6g per serving.

I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins using the Cookie and Muffin Baking Mix and a vegan recipe I found on the Marion’s Smart Delights website (click here for the recipe).

Funny story about the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.  You’d think I’d have wised up by now and hide any baked goods containing chocolate while they are cooling down from the oven, but once again, I did not.

As I was working on a another project, I failed to quickly notice that the house had suddenly become very quiet (translation: the muffins are in trouble…more specifically, the muffins are in T.R.O.U.B.L.E.’s mouth!).

Imagine my surprise when I ran into the kitchen and noticed the step stool, a trail of crumbs and not one, not two…but FIVE pumpkin chocolate chip muffins were missing (and so was a certain mischievous 3 year old). Once my chocolate monster finally came out of his hiding place, he of course immediately denied any wrong doing.

It’s too bad that…

All 3 of my guys LOVED the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, which I made substituting the butter with olive oil and using White Chia Seeds in place of the eggs.  If you’ve never tried using chia seeds for anything other than your long lost chia pet, I definitely recommend giving them another look.  According to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., chia seeds contain MORE omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds and they are so high in antioxidants that the seeds can be stored long term without won’t going rancid.  Chia seeds are also a good source of fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc; visit DrWeil.com to learn more.

With nutrition like this, my little one (or maybe I should call him my little chia head, since he decided to cut his own hair this weekend and now needs to grow some fast!) can eat as many pumpkin chocolate chip muffins as his tummy desires! :-D

Marion’s Smart Delights are now available to order on the website, just click here to go directly to the store (these would make a great addition to a holiday gift basket!).

Marion has kindly offered to give one of my readers the same sample pack that she sent me, containing one of each of the two gluten-free mixes: the Lemon Bar Mix and the Cookie and Muffin Mix!  But before I give you the details for this giveaway, I have an announcement and a few reminders for you:

I used the Random Number Generator to pick the two winners of the Alouette Giveaway and they are:

#33, Cinde and #13, Cheryl

Congratulations ladies!  I will email you promptly for your shipping information. :-D

The deadline to enter the Gluten-Free Giveaway Galore x 10 is quickly approaching.  All entries must be in by 10pm EST on Wednesday, December 15, 2010.  That is just 2 days from now, so click this link to read all the details and enter for a chance to win!

Be sure to visit Maggie over at She Let Them Eat Cake between now and Saturday, December 18th, 2010 to share your favorite gluten-free cookie recipe and be entered for a chance to win some great prizes, including a FREE Event Pass to the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo (a $350 value!) being held in Chicago, April 29 – May 1, 2010 (I’m going and would LOVE to meet you!!).  **You do not need to be a blogger to participate, just leave your recipe in a comment reply box on Maggie’s website (instead of using the linky), easy peasy!  Click here to be magically transported over to She Let Them Eat Cake and enter today! :-D

In case you’ve missed any posts from Silvana’s Gluten-Free Holiday Cookie Countdown, there is still time to catch up on all the delicious gluten-free cookie recipes being shared by some amazing guest bloggers.  One person will also win all 31 gifts being donated by the guest bloggers.  Yep, that’s right…31 presents, woo-hoo!!!  Click here for the giveaway rules. :-D

A few days ago, I shared an exciting newsletter that I received from The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center on my Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom Facebook Page.  There is some exciting research that was shared in this newsletter, including a statement about non-celiac gluten sensitivity (my emphasis added):

Gluten Sensitivity: myth or reality? People suffer from gluten sensitivity, i.e. gluten-related symptoms, and yet do not have the classical markers of celiac disease.  Because they may lack both anti-transglutaminase antibodies and the right genetic make-up (HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8), their suffering is dismissed as being psychological.  We have evidence that gluten sensitivity is a real disease. In gluten sensitive patients, gluten is viewed as a danger signal and virus by the body. Consequently, the body mounts an inappropriate stress response that results in alterations of the intestinal linings, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Our goal is to develop diagnostic markers and understand how gluten can induce such a stress response, and to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from gluten sensitivity.

I am so excited that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is beginning to get the recognition it deserves so people like my youngest son (who has non-celiac GS), will hopefully begin to get the respect and validation they deserve from the medical community. :-D

I know times are tough in our current economy, but in this season of giving, please consider a nominal donation (even $5) to The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center so they can continue to work towards improving the health and lives of everyone on the spectrum of gluten sensitivity.  To donate, click here.

To enter for a chance to win a FREE sample package (includes one of each of the two mixes) of the new Marion’s Smart Delights Gluten-Free Baking Mixes:

Visit the Recipe section of the Marion’s Smart Delights website, then leave a comment here telling me which recipe you would like to make first.

Bonus Entry Opportunities (strictly optional, but should you decide to any or all of the following, please make sure you leave a separate comment for EACH task you complete, as this is how I track entries):

  • Share the link to this giveaway on your Facebook Page
  • Tweet about this giveaway and include a link back to this post on Twitter (be sure to include @adventuresgfmom in your tweet)

Using the Random Number Generator, I will pick the winner on Friday, December 17, 2010.

Good Luck! :-D

Incoming search terms:

  • vegan lemon bars (7)
  • lemon bars (3)
  • epstein barr virus and gluten intolerance (3)
  • gluten sensitivity from epstein barr (3)
  • gluten REPLACER (3)
  • pumpkin muffins (3)
  • epstein barr and gluten (3)
  • epstein barr gluten intolerance (3)
  • gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (3)
  • epstein barr virus gluten (3)

Comments

  1. Amo says:

    I would love to make the Cranberry Walnut Bread! Sound delicious!

    amoeidson@yahoo.com

  2. Amo says:
  3. Amo says:

    I like Marion's Smart Delights on Facebook

  4. Amo says:

    I like Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on Facebook!

    Amy Dee Eidson Clark

  5. Amo says:

    I follow Marion's Smart Delights on Twitter

  6. Amo says:

    I follow Adv of a GF Mom on Twitter

    giveawaygirl08

  7. Jeri says:

    What a great post. I especially love the picture of your little chocoholic. I miss having little ones. My 'baby' will be 10 next week and all my kids will be in double digits. Very bittersweet.

    I would love to make the carrot cake muffins – oh yeah.

  8. Christine says:

    I think I would try the chocolate chip pumpkin muffin recipe. I love pumpkin pie, and this fall I changed a regular recipe to make gluten free pumpkin pie muffins and my husband loves them so much he won't let me play with the recipe and add things like chocolate or flaxseeds/nuts to it. Blueberry muffins would also be good, though it wasn't a recipe listed. I just made some from a store-bought mix yesterday and apparently the mix couldn't handle the 1 1/2 cups of blueberries it actually called for and they fell apart. My thought was that a more whole grain mix would be denser and handle the fruit better, so this one could work for that purpose.

  9. Christine says:

    I "liked" Marion's smart delights on Facebook.

  10. Christine says:

    I "like" Adventures of a gluten free mom on Facebook.

  11. Becca says:

    I'm going to try the vegan option!

  12. Becca says:

    I Like Marion's Smart Delights on Facebook

  13. Judy says:

    I Like Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on Facebook!

  14. Judy says:

    I would like to make the chocolate chip shortbread cookies. My daughter would love them!!

  15. Mary Sharp says:

    The lemon bars look to die for. I would love to try those.

  16. Mary Sharp says:

    I liked Marion's Smart Delights on Facebook.

  17. Mary Sharp says:

    I follow Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on Facebook.

  18. Mary Sharp says:

    I posted a link to this contest on my Facebook wall.

  19. Susan says:

    I would love to try all of the recipes for Marion's Smart Delights but the Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies are my first pick! Thanks, Heidi.

  20. Oh my Dear! No corn either! -sigh-

    Hugs……

  21. Cindy says:

    I would love to make the lemon bar mix. I am one of those people who love anything lemon.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    What about Whole Foods brand ketchup? I did not realize that it had corn in it.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I thought Whole Foods Ketchup was okay since it does not contain corn syrup, but apparently distilled white vinegar is not okay, since it is usually made from corn (and apparently, it doesn't work the same as way alcohol/vinegar distilled from a gluten grain). I haven't found an "official" resource that has done testing to confirm which products made from corn sources still have the allergen in the final product (like dextrose, dextrin, maltodextrin, caramel color, xanthan gum, citric acid, etc.), so I have been using personal corn-allergy websites as my guide until I can find out more.

      This is also my first IgE allergen and my brain is fully trained and primed on gluten and my 4 autoimmune diseases, so I'm too afraid to look at it any other way until I get guidance from an expert in the area. On the upside, it's just one more push towards a grain-free diet for me, which I've been contemplating for some time now anyway, but haven't fully crossed over to yet. There are a lot of moving parts to consider when making that big of a change (from a social standpoint anyway)! :-D

  23. Niv says:

    I would like to try the Vegan Orange Chocolate chip Muffins. I follow Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on FB.

  24. Dena says:

    I looked at the website, but would have to do the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins! I LOVE pumpkin and would eat them all before my son would get a chance!! :)

  25. Tai says:

    I would try the lemon bars, but the rest of my crew would want the dairy free chocolate chip shortbread cookies I am sure! The pumpkin muffins look great too! Can you tell I am hungry?

    Heidi my allergy panel said I was allergic to corn as well. But on the modified elimination diet I learned that I really wasn't! Now I am truly allergic to soy, eggs and citrus. Hoping that will change once my leaky gut is healed. I too, showed no "signs" of being allergic to any of these things. It wasn't until I took them out and then added them back in one at a time that I got the headaches, fatigue and high blood glucose. Funny thing, I didn't do that with the corn (even though the panel said corn was bad for me, but the panel said I was fine with soy (and I felt HORRIBLE after I added soy back in). Just food for thought.

    • Thanks Tai! I'm holding out hope and know I will get some clarity when I see Dr. Vikki and Dr. Rick next month. I was watching the 2009 Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity Forum last night (for the 4th time now, LOL!) and Dr. Rick really goes into what it takes to achieve complete healing, especially for people like me who went undiagnosed for so long and fail to heal on a strict gluten-free diet alone. It makes me cranky that this component of the healing process is overlooked by most mainstream medical doctors, I could have dealt with this years ago, had I only known.

      Onward and upward! :-D

      xo,
      Heidi

      • Laurel says:

        You were watching what? Is it online? I'd like to see it as well. I've also been thinking about just giving it up and going grain free but what am I going to do with an entire refrigerator full of GF flours and binders? My husband would go kookoo if I just started tossing it all.

  26. Janel says:

    I definitely want to try the pumpkin muffin since I love all things pumpkin!

  27. Alisa Cooks says:

    I hadn't heard of those products, thanks for reviewing Heidi! That picture of your cutie-pie is adorable and funny too!

    To be honest, I was a bit confused by the recipe section. Since I would always opt for cookies over muffins, those chocolate chip shortbread cookies look perfect to try first! But I probably couldn't avoid experimenting a bit on my own too :)

  28. Brenda says:

    I "liked" on FB!

  29. Brenda says:

    My daughter is a lemon freak. As she is our resident celiac, they would be baked for her. (not that there wouldn't be a wee bit missing!)

  30. I want to try The Unique Reduced-Sugar Sugar Cookie!

  31. I followed Marion's Smart Delights on Twitter.

  32. And I already follow you on Twitter!

    If I win this giveaway, I'll add another $5 that I donate to U. of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. I don't have officially-diagnosed celiac disease (but I do have the genetic markers, and responded well to a gluten-free diet) so obviously I think this research is important.

  33. Tookie says:

    I would like to try the Almond cookie.

  34. Maggie says:

    Hey Mike – Nice job! Can ya tell me how to make one of those pretty pink boxes? I'd love to use on my blog. By the way Mike, Heidi deserves MAJOR Christmas presents this year!

  35. Janis says:

    I would definitely make the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins- love the combination of pumpkin and a few bits of chocolate.

  36. Lisa says:

    I wanna make the reduced sugar sugar cookies and the chocolate chip shortbread. Followed closely by carrot cake. It sounds like a lot, yes, but don't worry, I know how to clean up the evidence! (That photo is hilarious!)

  37. Roly Poly Bear says:

    Chocolate chip shortbread cookies sound lovely to me to try!

  38. Colleen says:

    I would like to make the Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies – they looked really good.

  39. Laurel says:

    I've already won this month so I won't enter but I've gotta say both those treats look amazing. Too bad I can't do corn either. I wish I had the gift of tongues so I could just say "RATS!!!" in a few dozen of them. By the way, which one is YOUR gingerbread house?

  40. Staci A says:

    I'd love to make the Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookie!

  41. Staci A says:

    I like your site on Facebook.

  42. Staci A says:

    I liked Marions Smart Delights too.

  43. Staci A says:

    I follow you on Twitter @MommaStaciA.

  44. Staci A says:

    And I follow MarionsDelights on Twitter @MommaStaciA. Thanks!

  45. Neva says:

    I would make the Lemon Bars, love lemon bars, and also that she has included vegan reciepes. If I make them vegan, I would share with my son's girlfriend.

  46. Neva says:

    ‘Liked’ Marion’s Smart Delights on Facebook

  47. Neva says:

    ‘Liked’ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on Facebook

  48. Jennifer says:

    I would try the almond cookie, yum!

  49. chris says:

    I Cannot wait to make DAIRY-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP SHORTBREAD cookies!!!! Ahhh, I have to make these for Christmas!!!!Thanks for the info.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Heidi Kelly, Heidi Kelly. Heidi Kelly said: New Blog Post Marion’s Smart Delights Review and #Giveaway http://goo.gl/fb/m4qIS #giveaways #glutenfreeproducts [...]

  2. Marion’s Smart Delights Review and Giveaway | CookingPlanet says:

    [...] Gluten-Free Foods Vegan Foods : Marion’s Smart Delights Review and Giveaway [...]

  3. [...] gluten-free dry pasta.  I even went so far as to make some blue GF macaroni but the vision of my precocious 4 year old breaking a tooth when he bit down on an inedible substitute compelled me to query the almighty [...]

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