How did it all begin? I was walking through the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo one day...I guess nobody else is singing this in their head but me. Focus- but I was truly walking through the Expo, surrounded by so many wonderful foods when there, on the corner was a table with pizzas being cooked. My immediate instinct said shy away but then my Nutrimom voice kicked in and said "You won't know unless you ask!". Just an FYI, the Nutrimom voice is tends to be right (sometimes a tad pushy but mostly right). So NutriDaughter and I eyeballed the vendor, listened in to what he was telling others and before I could say anything else, I was given a piece of pizza to try.....(eyes rolling into the back of my head, drooling all over again) I bet you are dying to know what it looked like, right? Check out this never before seen up close and personal photo direct from the home of Nutrimom herself (pizza compliments of Smart Flour Foods).
Smart Flour Foods???? What? I didn't hear you- THERE YA' GO!
What I most love about this company is the fact that the crust is not only gluten free but it's made with ancient grains like sorghum, amaranth and teff (know how I love my protein). Wanna know what else? They are also free of egg, soy and rice*. And, I bet you are wondering about the other ingredients too, right?
website so as not to confuse the facts "The cheese is free of synthetic hormones, and the pepperonis are made from all vegetarian fed pork that was never administered antibiotics. All the pizzas are preservative free. Our crusts are soy free, dairy free and kosher, in addition to being gluten-free. And because our crusts, like all of our products, are based on the Ancient Grains sorghum, amaranth and teff, they offer great nutrition."
You can only imagine my excitement when I arrived home to a frozen box of my very own Smart Flour pizzas to try. (Did I mention that I love my job?!) And not only did they send one but they sent one of each variety and some plain pizza crusts. This also sent my family into extreme overload of squealing accompanied by extreme insistence that we eat them right that very second. But in true Nutrimom fashion, I put them into the freezer to finish up my other projects first. By doing so, I also cursed myself- I had planned to have a nice pizza party in the backyard with all of the pizzas but alas, the clouds opened up and I watched as it lightning and thundered outside. But even forces of nature do not stop me- an impromptu indoor pizza party was in order. And just to make sure that we were in full force Smart Flour mode, we decided to pose in Smart Flour form, all of us sporting glasses. You may also note that the weather does not do my hair justice but I had gluten free pizza- a plethora of pizzas and that trumps good hair any day.
|Smart Flour pizza is on the right|
Garden Margherita Pizza- Just the pizza, not the drink, gosh people! This pizza was the cheesiest gluten free pizza I have ever eaten. Usually when we get the other brand, we add extra cheese because it always seems, well, lacking but the Smart Flour Garden Margherita Pizza was perfect, PERFECT! The crust was crispy on the outer edges but softer on the underside and the tomatoes were so fresh, they tasted like I had picked them from the garden and put them on myself. It actually squirted juice at me when I bit into it. When was the last time you could say that about a frozen pizza let alone a gluten free frozen pizza?
Classic Cheese Pizza- Of course, who doesn't love just a great cheesy pizza ( I do, I do!). The Classic Cheese Pizza was still just as great with the overabundance of cheesiness but I noticed the tomato sauce was not overpowering either (not too sweet, no icky processed flavor) and with the crust, it tastes a lot more like a traditional (gluten-filled) pizza crust. This is a plus for gluten-free lovers as I have found that many gluten free items tend to just miss it in the taste and texture factor.
Uncured Pepperoni Pizza- Ok, first off, you did notice the word "uncured", right? A huge plus to start off with. Nitrates have been very difficult to avoid and let's face it, we all like to have a treat now and again so what an awesome surprise that this was one less thing we would have to worry about. The Uncured Pepperoni Pizza was a complete blend of that yummy, sinful pepperoni treat mixed with the gooey, cheesiness and the still wonderful crust.
Then came the part that I always love to do- what can I do with this product other than a pizza? I was given just two plain Smart Flour Original Pizza Crusts so I had to think carefully. Should I fail, I would be left with one less crust and I would be disappointed in myself. I do not accept failure- I improve upon it.
My first use- what does everyone always have in their fridge? Leftovers! For us, it was leftover burrito meat & beans, homemade guacamole and tomatoes. Can we say the world's easiest and tastiest Mexican pie? Simply heat oven, prepare the pizza pie crust as directed, add ingredients and prepare yourself for a new twist on a fiesta. What good are leftovers if you can't use them for another new meal and what good is a product if you can't do the same? Thinking, thinking, thinking...I am always thinking. It's a blessing and a curse.
When a Pizza is Not a Pizza- I mean, come on, everybody makes pizzas with pizza crusts, right? (yawn) And the crust is SOOOO good, so tender, not greasy and flexible. Flexible? Yes, look at it! And the taste was something that it took me awhile to figure out but once I did- woo hoo!!! Who says a pizza crust has to be used for a pizza? And how long has the gluten-free community been searching for an awesome, tasty tender sandwich alternative? Since, well, I'm not quite sure how long but I'm pretty sure for a long, long time. With fingers crossed, I heated up my second pizza crust as directed (minus the glasses) and I prepared the ultimate gluten-free sandwich wrap. Yes, it was as good if not better than the picture shows and yes, it was everything that I have been missing since I shy away from bread now. The plus- no dry, crumbly mess like many other gluten-free breads and wraps. Instead, I just smiled and ate. When was the last time you did that while eating a gluten free wrap and meant it? (And by meant it because it actually was good, not just passable)
Smart Flour Foods puts something in their crusts to make you want to eat more (I think I saw that on a show somewhere, right?...do you think they would tell me?)
But wait- did it pass the lunch packing test? Anyone who packs their own lunch with gluten free products knows that (sadly) many products just don't stand up to the lunch packing test. Example- you prepare your wrap the night before or even that morning only to take a bite into a rock-hard wrap, almost cracking your teeth thus sending you to an emergency dental visit, causing extra bills and money loss from then throwing away the rest of the product in disgust. As difficult as it was for me, I cut off a portion, wrapped it in foil and left it overnight. The result- not as soft as when I originally made it, a tiny bit chewy but definitely not rock-hard and inedible. Perhaps if it was done the morning of lunch packing rather than the night before, it would be even better. Ultimately, no broken teeth and no broken spirit. Maybe, just maybe, that is why their logo is smiling.
Am I Smarter Than a Pizza Pie? With confidence, yes! Only because I decided not to use it as just a pizza. Otherwise, with all of the great protein-filled grains and natural ingredients, it would have won. Where can you find them? It just so happens that Smart Flour Foods pizzas are featured at Mellow Mushroom locations! However, I do recommend calling ahead to discuss cross-contamination issues to be safe. You can also find them right at their website, Facebook and even Whole Foods.
I cannot express the gratitude I have to Smart Flour Foods for asking me to post a review for them. I appreciate that they put so much effort into making great products and for keeping their customers interests and health in their best interest. I know many of us ask how we can begin to find healthier foods, better ingredients and trusted companies but isn't it wonderful that it could start with just one little pizza?
*They DO produce other items that contain egg however, this is the information that I received when I inquired since NutriSon is highly allergic to eggs "Our facility in Austin that makes our food service crusts does also produce a couple of items (blondies and brownies) that have egg in them. There is a very slim chance of contamination there, but it is very slim. Our retail crusts are made at another facility where there is not any egg contamination possibility." Retail crusts = frozen items that we purchase :)