**UPDATE: GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! Congrats to Sarah & Angie!**
Learning more about gluten-free products, resources and ways I can help YOU (my readers) is a HUGE part of LPHJ Kitchen. The 2016 GFAF Expo in Dallas this weekend definitely did not disappoint and (as always) was a wonderful time!
This year, the expo featured several vendors that I was not familiar with that brought great products to try! There were also a wide variety of topics presented by the speakers, all with valuable information. Here’s some of the highlights from the event:
TMGF Productions: Tara Murray is a children’s book author/illustrator that has published several great books for kids on living gluten-free. They are fun, cute and relevant to this lifestyle. I seriously LOVE what she is doing with her books and the kids (AND parents) of the gluten-free community. They’ve also created a little game. Get it FREE here.
LivingNow: organic pastas, baking mixes and more with simple, real ingredients! I’m familiar with some of their products but this event lets me see so much more of what these companies offer – like quinoa spaghetti! YUM! Did I mention it was organic?!
Pascha Chocolate: This is a brand that can be hard to find in the four-state area BUT lucky for us, you can still order online here or at Amazon. This chocolate is good… I mean good. I first became familiar with their chocolate chips – I love the 85% dark kind. However, this weekend they brought NEW products : organic chocolate baking chips – in WHITE chocolate–SO GOOD and chocolate spread (think Nutella – only better!). I bought some of everything and can’t wait to try it in the bakery. It’s nut-free, soy-free, vegan… amazing.
Enjoy Life Foods: I’ve talked about Enjoy Life SO much because they are my go-to for allergy-friendly foods. Their products are free of the top 8 major allergens and they taste great. Chocolate chips, cookies, bars, Plentils chips, baking mixes…. so much. They are a great sponsor of events and never disappoint. Plus, they just opened a 200,000 square foot allergy-friendly bakery in Indiana.. which I hope means more product availability! Did you know you can find them in the four-states at Wal-Mart even?
Udi’s/Glutino: This year, these companies had a big, shared booth area and it was FULL of samples and freebies. We are huge fans of the Glutino pretzels and Udi’s frozen product s(buns, breads, etc). Yes, I do bake my own GF bread BUT these definitely work in a pinch! Their staff was all on-hand to answer any questions, provide tips and hear attendee’s opinions.
Veggie Fries: I’m all about sneaky unlikely veggies into kid-friendly foods. Potatoes are fine on occasion but I LOVE that Veggie Fries uses so many other nutritious veggies in their products. They are a company that produces Frozen Vegetable Fries that are free of the top 8 allergens and are also Non-GMO. We were big fans of the Kale & Tuscan Bean and Carrot Potato. They were one of Harper’s favorite booths… and they were nice enough to give her ‘Baby’ a sticker too 🙂
The Maple Syrup Lady: I never thought much about different ‘tastes’ of maple syrup. Obviously, I want to buy the purest form I can. As soon as I tried The Maple Syrup Lady’s syrup, I was totally hooked. The flavor is indescribable. I’m talking good. Anna’s syrup comes from her family’s farm in Michigan. The syrup is collected by hand and cooked over a wood fire instead of traditional propane. I wish I could watch the process in person… and get a lifetime supply of the syrup. Lucky for me (and YOU!) it’s sold online. She’s in the Austin, TX area though if that’s more convenient. I wasn’t the only one going crazy over maple syrup… check out little bit: she loved it so much she was double fisting samples. Just before this picture we looked to find her holding 3 sample cups with spoons… she even had a spoon stuck in her hair. That girl doesn’t mess around….
Kiddylicious: As a mom, I’m always looking for easy, tasty foods for the kids. As someone with serious health issues and food intolerances, I’m always looking for the healthiest options possible. Finding products that are both easy AND healthy AND adapted for kids can be somewhat of a challenge.
I Heart Keenwah: another favorite of ours – they make these great little quinoa puffs that remind the kids of cheese balls. New at the expo were Chocolate Puffs – seriously, like Whoppers malted milk balls – only without the gluten!
Smart Flour: was a very popular booth as they were serving slices of their (frozen) pizza! This is one of those convenience products that I’d love to get in our area. Seriously, frozen pizzas are a parent favorite as they are quick and easy. My kids sample (multiple) slices and LOVED them!
Freedom Foods: they have created these handy little snack size bags of their best cereals that are great for on-the-go. Seriously, how many of us have thrown a handful of Fruit Loops or Cheerios in a zip-lock bag for the little ones? Basically, they’ve taken that concept and made it a little snazzier 🙂 They also have GREAT cereal options – just like those I grew up with but without the junk!
RP’s Pasta: was a new brand I hadn’t heard of. They had very ‘real’ looking pasta – like lasagna sheets, linguini and spinach fettuccine. Seriously, I’ve never seen gluten-free pasta resemble traditional pasta more than this brand.
Bakery On Main: is a brand we are familiar with BUT this year, they had something that really caught my little man’s eye! These cute little samples of their newest line: super hero themed granolas in attractive packaging. They looked straight out of a comic. Lane asked when we could buy those at home because they looked awesome!
Milton’s: were a huge sponsor this year and I’m so glad they were! They make these tasty little snack crackers that are perfect for dips, spreads and even salsa. The kids like the Nacho Cheese flavor – I’m simple… I like the sea salt!
Ryze: Since I’m a bakery owner, I was very intrigued by this company – new to me! They create baking mixes without using starches or gums…. simply blends of grains – like rice. No tapioca starch, no xanthan gum…. simple. I can sometimes have a sensitivity to xanthan gums and some starches. I don’t mind having them on occasion but tend to limit my intake. The two blends I brought home to try were the all-purpose blend for pastries and the other blend for breads, cake, etc. They are said to be a 1:1 substitute for wheat flour so I’m going to test it against my fool-proof bakery recipes for comparison… stay tuned!
Swerve: is a brand that literally hits home to us. My father-in-law is a diabetic and I have so many bakery customers who need to watch sugar/carb intake. I do NOT like to use artificial sweeteners and stick with more natural, low glycemic options. Swerve is a little different than those sweeteners we usually see on the shelves. I’m anxious to try them to see it works… with my father-in-law being the guinea pig!
This is just a short list of all the great vendors that were present. I could go on for days about each one but these were some vendors that I felt really fit my efforts with this blog….
If you ever get the chance to attend one of these expos in your area – or within traveling distance… I HIGHLY suggest that you go. It is a very well-organized event with so many great resources. Everyone is helpful and full of information… plus, did you see our haul from the event?!
That’s all freebies!
Enough for me to have a little giveaway….
That’s right! Leave me a comment on this post OR visit my Facebook page to leave a comment there for a chance to win 1 of 2 expo gift bags with samples from the vendors above!!! **see details below!**
I’m already looking forward to next year’s expo and hope to see you there! If you have any questions, please let me know and I’d be happy to help!
*Giveaway begins on 9/17/16 and ends on 9/25/16 at 8 pm CST. Winner must be 18 years or older to win and must have a mailing address in the US. Winners will chosen at random and winners will be notified via email. Winners have 24 hours to claim prize or another winner will be chose.*
Check out some other pics from the event!