ad

New Jersey Gluten Free Expo Preview

Guess what’s back???? Only my favorite event of the year, The Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo! If you’ve spent at least 5 minutes on my blog you can see that I am a HUGE fan! This year will be my 4th (!!!) Expo!

Here’s the spark notes version of the GFAF Expo:

  • Two Days, One Ballroom, HUNDREDS of Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Vendors all sampling and selling their AMAZING products!

Have I sparked your interested yet? How about these photos from my experiences?

Or how about this schedule of classes you can attend at the GFAF Expo

Still don’t have your interest? Well you’ve made it this far into my post so you have to be somewhat interested. So checkout my previews and recaps from 2 out of my 3 prior expo experiences. (The first happened before my blog was born)

Atlanta 2015 GFAF Expo
Preview
Recap

New Jersey 2015 GFAF Expo
Preview
Recap

Are you drooling yet? No? Well check out the list of vendors for this year! Glutino, Enjoy Life, Feel Good Foods, Udis, Veggie Fries….

giphy

 

Yeah I know, me too!

So you could say I’m an experienced expo visitor however I am still SO excited for this year. With all of the amazing vendors, it is important to arrive hungry and not to waste your stomach space on foods you know you already love. For example I already know I love Glutino. Obviously I am going to stop to support my favorite brand and try their new pretzels but I regret wasting my stomach space on them when I could try something new. Like a bagel from Sweet Note Bagels.  I was dying to try their products on my last expo trip but didn’t have the stomach space for it. This year I am determined to save stomach space for them.

Here are some of the vendors I am prioritizing my stomach space for this year:

  • Sweet Note Bagels
    • I know I already mentioned them above, but they have rainbow bagels!! I’ve never had a rainbow bagel before!
  • Banza Pasta
    • I am definitely looking for a new (healthier) brand of mac and cheese
  • Betty Lou’s
    • Their nut butter energy balls look AMAZING!
  • Chebe
    • Their bread mixes look so moist!
  • Brazi Bites
    • My sister saw them on Shark Tank and has been trying to get me to try them. The GFAF Expo sounds like the perfect occasion.
  • Maninis
    • Gluten Free Ravioli? Yes please!!
  • Incredible Perfectly Free Frozen Treats
    • The photos of these remind me of Mochi! I wonder what it tastes like? I guess I will have to wait until October to find out!

There you have it. If you made it this far in my post I must have convinced to attend the GFAF Expo, so here are the details:

What: GF & AF Expo

Where: Meadowlands Exposition Center

When: October 15 & 16

How to get tickets: http://bit.ly/2bjN5Fv 

*** From now thru 9/14 take 30% off  w/ code EARLYBIRD

From now thru 10/14 take 20% off w/ code ADVANCE

earlybird

header

Gluten Free Finds at Smorgasburg!

Hello Friends! It’s been a while since I had a new post. It hasn’t been for lack of adventures, but more the lack of time to write about them. This weekend’s adventure however deserves a post!

If you’re in the NY/NJ Area you’ve most likely heard of Smorgasburg. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an outdoor market on Saturdays and Sundays in Brooklyn. It’s a place for foodies and Instagrammable moments. (The number of times I heard the phrase “I have to Instagram this before we eat,” was insane!) The amazing view of Manhattan is not a bad accessory to the photos.

This was my first trip to Smorgasburg and before embarking on my journey I decided to do some research. My research consisted of gluten free spots at Smorgasburg, best stops at Smorgasburg, and tips for Smorgasburg. There was a lack of information online about gluten free options at Smorgasburg, but once I got there I was pleasantly surprised!!! There were a ton of places that had signs for gluten free options! (Many more than I actually tried.)

When you first get there I definitely suggest doing a lap (or two) before deciding on your food options. It might be crowded but it’s definitely worth it. Explore all the options before deciding on where you want to eat. I only did one lap and I actually regret it. I was too quick to decide and realized afterwards there were other options I wanted to spend my $ and stomach space on. Also, heads up the food is expensive at Smorgasburg. Gluten Free eaters are used to spending a little more on food but these prices were a little crazy.

Anyway, enough of the money. Lets talk about the food! 😍

My main stop for lunch was at Red Hook Lobster Pound! I got the Naked Maine Style Lobster Roll. Right on their sign they said if “Gluten Free order it Naked!”  I didn’t need to explain why I wanted the Lobster Roll on a plate with no bun.

I would give the lobster roll 4 out of 5 stars. It was amazing, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have ordered it another style, but for $19 it wasn’t a lot of food.

For my next stop, my sister and I decide to try Raindrop Cake. We wanted to know what all the hype was about. The people at the stand were well-educated and said everything was Gluten Free.

 

IMG_0140

I have to say, I am not a fan of raindrop cake. There is no flavor and it’s a weird texture. You feel like you are eating sugar and flavorless jello. We did it to say we tried it, but I would definitely spend your money elsewhere and just take a picture of someone else’s.

After that, my sister wanted an Ice Cream sandwich. I took her there while keeping my eyes out for other options. We went to The Good Batch and when we got to the front of the line I was shocked, they had TWO gluten free ice cream sandwiches!!! A strawberry and a mint one. My sister (who is not gluten free) chose the mint one and I decided to take a bite. Holy mackerel!! It was the most amazing thing I have had in a while and I am not a huge mint ice cream fan. My sister was in heaven too! I totally recommend it! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟!! Skip all the lunch options and go straight to dessert!

IMG_0141

To wash it down I got an Arnold Palmer Slushie with Peach from Kelvin Slush Co. which was great too!

My only regret of the day was getting the lobster roll instead of food from the East Coast Poke stand. It looked amazing! I didn’t ask if their stuff was gluten free though because it was already too late and I didn’t want to torture myself. edit: upon doing research on East Coast Poke all of their fish is marinated in soy sauce or teriyaki. I am now happy with my decision to have the lobster roll.  :)

Some of the other stops I didn’t eat at but had GF options…..

Home Frite- The line was the second longest of the entire fair so I am sure they were amazing. They only served french fries so no concerns about shared oil and cross contamination. According to their website all of their sauces are gluten free too!

Korean BBQ/Tacos/ Buns- I feel like a terrible blogger for not taking a photo of this stand, but there was a stand that had four items. Two of them were gluten free and you could get any of the other two made with gluten free buns.

edit: Doing more research to find the name of the stand that had the gluten free buns I realized more had gluten free food that I completely missed.

If you are Gluten Free and going to Smorgasburg here are a few tips of advice:

1- Go early. It opens at 11 a.m. and the “early bird gets the worm” falls true for this one. Beat the crowds, especially if you want to ask questions about gluten free options.

2- Go early or late in the summer. Going in July when it is 90 and humid isn’t fun. It suppresses your appetite and you lose patience with the crowds really quickly. Also all the ovens, fryers and stoves from the stands don’t help with the heat. Major props to the people working the stands.

3- Do your research ahead of time, but research with an open mind. What I mean is, do your research on the most popular stands and the different food options they have so you have an idea of what you want when you get there, but keep an open mind with what you want because it might not be gluten free or there might be better GF options out there.

4- Ask questions, if you aren’t sure if something is gluten free, don’t give up, ask! You might be surprised.

5- I said this at the beginning, but do at least one lap of the place when you get there. Explore the different options before making your decisions and see which places have GF labels on their signs!

 

 

 

The Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo: “It’s better than Disney World!”

IMG_9646

Yesterday, I attended the Gluten Free & Allergy Friendly Expo in New Jersey. Jen Cafferty, the founder of the GFAF Expo, started the day off with a quote she overheard from a little boy during a previous expo. The little boy described the GFAF Expo as being “better than Disney World,” and I love that quote because there is truly no other way to describe the GFAF Expo. If you have been following my blog you may know that this was my third visit to the GFAF Expo and my second visit this year. I think my favorite part of attending the GFAF Expo is that even though this was my second event in one year it was a totally different experience. There were very few repeat vendors and the ones that were repeats happened to be my favorites🙂 .

This time I attended the Expo with my mom. My mom is one of my best friends and I was so excited to be able to attend the Expo with her this year. My mom is the one who helped me figure out what Celiac Disease meant and spent countless hours learning how to shop, cook, and eat differently in order to get me healthy. Being able to attend the GFAF Expo with her and see how far Gluten Free has come as well as try all of the new products on the market was so much fun.

I found so many things I liked, but my Top 5 Favorite Vendors from the New Jersey GFAF Expo were:

  1. Bagelinos
  2. Nona Lin
  3. Veggie fries
  4. My dad’s cookies
  5. Conte’s

1~Bagelinos was one of the first vendors that caught my eye at the GFAF Expo. Bagelinos are a cheesy bagel that has a very unique texture and flavor. They were described to me as having a specially formulated cheese in order to create the desired taste and consistency. For me, discovering Bagelinos came at the perfect time because I am starting to get tired of my breakfast routine. Now, I am going to start each day with a Bagelino!

IMG_9639

2~ Nona Lin! Nona Lin was one of my FAVORITE vendors from the Atlanta GFAF Expo! I got tons of coupons from their booth and was so excited to try it on my own. However, I had a ton of trouble finding it in my Whole Foods. I have since realized why I had trouble finding it. Nona Lin is a frozen ramen broth and noodles. I thought the broth was a liquid or powder, so I was looking for it in the Asian aisles, rather than the freezer section! My favorite broth of theirs is the Miso Ramen and I purchased a bag of broth and noodles on the spot! I am really excited to make it for lunch!

3~ Veggie Fries. This was a brand new product for me, Veggie Fries are fries made with vegetables. They have all different kinds. My mom and I tried the Broccoli and Potatoes, Kale and Potatoes, and Chickpeas and Potatoes and they were fantastic!

4~ My dad’s cookies. This vendor has always been a favorite of mine and I was thrilled to see them at the GFAF Expo because my local grocery stopped carrying them. My dad’s cookies makes various kinds of gluten free and dairy free cookies and my roommate can attest to their deliciousness as together we have enjoyed numerous boxes in one sitting.😀

5~ Last, but not least my 5th favorite vendor from the GFAF Expo was Conte’s. I tried their Frozen Margherita Pizza and Gnocchi. Their products were extremely most and flavorful and did not break part which is always a good sign in my book.🙂

IMG_9638

Honorable Mention: Pretzel Crips! They are now coming out with gluten free minis. I tasted the plain and salted caramel. The salted caramel was too sweet for me but the plain ones were amazing!

I want to make a special shout out to Massel for their sponsorship during the GFAF Expo. Massel was the official blogger sponsor for the GFAF Expo and they were so kind and generous to us. The National Sales Manager of Massel was at the Expo and shared with us the story of the name. The founders made this stock for everyone to be able to enjoy and his wife said, “this stuff Must Sell” hence the name Massel. Massel gave me samples of their four different products; ultra stock cubes; bouillon cubes; liquid stock; and their seasoning in three different flavors; chicken; beef; and vegetable. I am very excited to start experimenting with bouillon in my cooking!

IMG_9650

For those of you that have made it this far and still have no idea what the GFAF Expo is, it is a convention center filled with hundreds of gluten free vendors sampling their products. My mom and I sampled a lot more products than the one’s I just described, but those were my favorites and as I start to try more of the products I took home to sample, I will be sure to post about them!

IMG_9659-2

Treat House Review

IMG_7693

This week I discovered Treat House in New York. There are two locations, one on the Upper West Side and one on the Upper East Side. Treat House is a bakery that only makes rice krispie treats and most of their treats are gluten free! 

The staff at Treat House is extremely knowledgable, when I walked into the location on the Upper West Side they asked if I had been to a location before. They explained how they use an off brand of Rice Krispies that don’t contain malt so the treats are gluten free. They keep the few gluten containing rice krispie treats on the bottom shelf so crumbs can’t fall and contaminate the gluten free treats. If you are gluten free they will use separate tongs that are kept in a jar labeled for Gluten allergies in order to avoid cross contamination there as well. The only treats they have that contain gluten are those with cookies i.e Cookies and Cream, Cookie Dough, S’mores etc. The rest are gluten free and delicious! 

I had a strawberry shortcake ice cream treat bar which they are famous for and took four rice krispie treats home. The ice cream treat bar was ice cream sandwiched between two rice krispie treats dipped in chocolate. It was amazing! The four rice krispie treats I took home were cotton candy, birthday cake, salted caramel, and m&ms. Some of them were a little sweet, but overall they were incredible and I can’t wait to go back again!

The Gluten Free and Allergy Friendly Expo is BACK!

general
The GFAF Expo is BACK and I will be blogging again! This time in my home state of New Jersey!! The GFAF Expo hits the Garden State October 3-4 and if you’ve never been before, it is every allergy kids dream (and adults too!) It is a giant ballroom filled with hundreds of gluten free vendors distributing samples of their products. The best part is, you can go the whole day without worrying if something is gluten free.

 

Not only is it gluten free, but it is also allergy friendly. When I went to the GFAF Expo in Atlanta this year, I brought two of my good friends. One of my friends is dairy free, nut free, and shellfish free and my other friend is dairy free with a gluten sensitivity. Both of my friends had an amazing time even though they are not primarily Gluten Free. They were able to find tons of new products to try. My friend who is dairy free, nut free, and shellfish free tried a quesadilla for the first time and my friend who is dairy free and gluten sensitive made sushi!!! We even bought a kit to make our own sushi when we got home!!
IMG_5272Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 7.58.40 PM
This year I am going to be attending the GFAF Expo with my friend who was diagnosed with Celiac a little over a year ago. For someone who has recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease the GFAF Expo is a must. The Expo exposes you to tons of gluten free products on the market and allows you the opportunity to try before buying. Also, the GFAF Expo usually has local vendors allowing you to sample products that are unique to the area you live in.

 

One of the things I am most excited about is the savings. Gluten free food is expensive. And if you haven’t realized that yet, you might want to re-read those labels and make sure you are eating 100% gluten free. The GFAF Expo is only $20 or less (see bottom of post for more information.) That $20.00 gets you hundreds of dollars of gluten free samples and coupons for even more savings. For any college student or person on a tight budget the GFAF Expo is a must!

 

So have I convinced you to attend yet? If I have, you can get tickets now through 9/2 for 30% off using code EARLYBIRD! http://bit.ly/1P9kZbS  Hope to see you there!🙂
30off

Another great treat, courtesy of #SendMeGF!

IMG_7501IMG_7500

I have only been a subscriber to Send Me Gluten Free for two months, but I am extremely happy with my decision. Today my mom and I made pizza for dinner using the Sevierly Good Gluten Free pizza crust mix and it was fantastic! We chose the chewy and crispy method and made it somewhat deep dish style using a cake pan instead of a cookie sheet and it was really tasty. I like thin crust pizza better, so next time I am going to try thinning it out, but even as thick as the crust was, it was crispy throughout. I definitely recommend giving it a try!

 IMG_7499

“Wait those were Gluten Free?” Cupcakes from Zenero Gluten Free

IMG_6491

A few weeks ago, I received my very first “Send Me Gluten Free Box”** and I was so excited because this month’s box happened to include two mixes! One was a pizza dough mix, which I have not tried yet. The other was a Chocolate Cake Mix from Zenero Gluten Free. Last night, I decided to bake the Chocolate Cake Mix from Zenero Gluten Free with homemade Mocha frosting. The mix yields 3- 9in cakes, but I was baking this for fun and knew if I baked it that way, a lot of cake would end up going to waste. Instead, I decided to make it into cupcakes and bring them into work. The mix made about 2 dozen cupcakes and 10 mini cupcakes. I probably could have scraped the bowl and ended up with 12 mini cupcakes but I didn’t think I would have enough frosting to cover all of them. I also filled the cupcake tins way too high so my cupcakes were a bit large. (Note to anyone who tries this mix, the batter looks dense, but don’t worry, it rises.)  I probably could have made 3 dozen cupcakes had I filled them half way but now I know for next time🙂

The mix does not have frosting suggestions so I decided to go with a mocha frosting from this recipe. However, that recipe only made enough frosting to cover about 6 cupcakes and with the number of cupcakes I made, I decided to go with Pillsbury’s faithful vanilla frosting.

The cupcakes were so good! They were light and fluffy and the perfect amount of sweet. I brought 20 of them into work and didn’t tell people they were gluten free, just that I decided to bake the night before. Later when they found out they were gluten free I received numerous “wait those were Gluten Free?” and “those were so good.”

Zenero products have not hit the East Coast yet, but you can order their mixes online here: https://www.zenerogluten.com/products

**“Send Me Gluten Free” is the same concept as Birchbox and other sample subscription services except each month you get a box full of gluten free products! It has now been bought by Love With Food.

This review was not endorsed by Send Me Gluten Free or Zenero Gluten Free.

Gluten Free in Florence

As I have mentioned in a previous post, traveling in Italy when Gluten Free is a joy! Everyone understands what Gluten is and they are extremely careful about it, I like to refer to it as the Gluten Free Mecca. This year we went to Florence and it was no different!

I did my research ahead of time this time, because last time we decided to find a gluten free pizzeria mid-trip in Italy we ended up walking for an hour and a half. In my research I found a place called Starbene- Gluten Free Bakery. According to the website I found it on, they have gluten free cakes, pizzas, bread, pastries, rolls, tarts and more. Unfortunately we went relatively late in the day so they didn’t have a lot left, but I was still able to get a gluten free eclair and a mini pizza.

IMG_5549IMG_5548

I also found a place called Ciro’s & Sons and I was told we need to call ahead to make a reservation for our gluten free pizzas. No, not the table, the pizzas. I was excited to try it so we made our reservations and went. We went on a walking tour that day and when we asked our guide to point us in the direction of the restaurant, he told us that they had the best pizza in Florence. I was so excited because the best pizzeria in Florence probably had the best gluten free pizza in Florence. And I was not disappointed. It was amazing!! I was able to enjoy Gluten Free Bruschetta and Gluten Free Pizza! (They even used colored plates to distinguish the gluten containing pizza from the gluten free pizza.)

IMG_5556IMG_5557

As always, when visiting Italy, gelato is a must. One night at dinner we asked for a recommendation for a good gelato place and to my surprise they had gluten free cones! I cannot remember the name of the place but if i figure it out I will update the post!

IMG_5537

Another Gluten Free Birthday!

Here’s to 22! Another year gluten free and another birthday! This year was filled with multiple birthday treats. On my actual birthday, my mom and I went to Eatly in New York City and to our surprise, so many of their pastries were gluten free. I got a gluten free hazelnut mousse cake.

Then at dinner they brought out a flourless chocolate cake for me with a candle, which was a total surprise because my mom and I bought a gluten free banana chocolate cake to have at home.

IMG_5832

My college roommate called as we were about to have cake at home so she Skyped in to the celebration. Below is the Chocolate frosted gluten free banana bread cake that we purchased at Pipps Bakery in New York.

IMG_5835

I definitely saved the best for last however, Gluten Free Cake Pops! From The Little Cakes. So many flavors. All gluten free. She recently moved to California so they were shipped special for my birthday but they are my absolute favorites.

IMG_5849

4 cakes, 100% gluten free = another amazing birthday!