Dallas Gluten-Free & Allergen-Friendly Expo 2015
From vegan popcorn to veggie fries, from cooking classes to realizing maybe you shouldn’t have started that Blogilates challenge last week—the Dallas GFAF Expo was quite interesting this year. My cousin Charlise and I went to the majority of the booths again this year, and we revisited our favorites from last year…and Sunday, we revisited our favorites from Saturday. I was really excited, because SunButter was there!
It turns out, though, that SunButter has some competition who goes by the name of “Sneaky Chef” and is a yellow pea butter. It’s nut- and tree nut-free, non-GMO, lacks high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and hydrogenated oils. Both will be fun, though. Variety is nice to have, especially since I tend to get burnt out on some things. I could literally just eat it out of the container. >.>
I know I didn’t make it to listing everyone I wanted to, but in my defense, I caught a cold and had to write this during the cold to meet the deadline.
Massel (pronounced Muss-elle) was the sponsor this time around. The GFAF Expo Blogger team received red boxes with red bows, which had tons of Massel goodies inside. There’s also a cute soup bowl with a handle!
Massel tastes like, if you’ve ever tried it, the Ramen seasoning. Ramen has a bunch of junk in it, though, and it’s not even close to allergen-friendly, especially since it included yeast the last time I checked.
The Aussies came back with their accents and three new cereals: Maple, one that is an allergy-free Cheerios (YES!), and one that is an allergy-free fruity pebbles (swoon). I really, really love them and their cereal and need to get some this year instead of waiting for the expo next year, but Charlise keeps forgetting to let me know when she’s going to Sprouts, who was also there. :p
I could just listen to them talk about cereal all day. It’s not super boring when they talk about it, and their cereal fascinates me? I don’t know how to describe it.
Enjoy Life Foods
The nut-free (red) section was sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods both last year and this year. Charlise and I start(ed) on the red side each year we attend. There are some brands in the non-nut-free (blue) section, but most of the nut-free peeps are in the red section.
My favorite snacks from Enjoy Life Foods are their granola bars, which are yeast-free, and their Dill & Sour Cream Plentils chips. Their chocolate chips are an extremely convenience in baking, granola bars, and more, because…#allergenfriendly.
Also, did you know they have nut-free trail mix?
Mike’s was there again this year! 😀 We couldn’t find them Saturday, but we had to wait until noon on Sunday, because Texas’ laws don’t allow the selling/serving of alcoholic beverages until noon, beginning at midnight on Sunday. Customers always yelled at me about that when I worked at Walmart. >.>
This year, I tried Strawberry Hard Lemonade, which tastes like a mild strawberry soda… I liked it more than strawberry soda, actually. My other favorite of theirs is Crisp Apple.
Aleia’s isn’t totally nut-free, but their Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookie was, and I really liked it! (I also love vanilla, so.) Char and I were each given a sample box of three cookies in the kind we liked, but my Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies didn’t last long. One of the company reps said they worked well as a pie crust or as ice cream sandwiches!
Charlise and I were given a box of the cookie mix for the cookie we liked, as well as a press kit, from Ardenne Farm. My favorite was the oatmeal cookie, because it tastes a lot like Ranger Cookies, only without the nuts, and it can be made vegan-friendly, as well. Oatmeal cookies usually all taste the same, but these tasted different—again, like Ranger Cookies—so it was refreshing!
SunButter was there! Saturday, I scored some extra SunButter swag in the form of a red drawstring backpack, and Sunday, I was offered the chance to take a picture of me behind the booth…with the SunButter peeps! When SunButter asks you if you wanna take a picture behind the booth, you say yes.
Crunchmaster, a vendor who was also there, has multigrain crackers that pair REALLY well with SunButter. If want a nutty taste without the nuts, this combo is the way to go.
Modern Table Meals
Modern Table Meals was in the blue section (i.e. not the dedicated nut-free section sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods), but not every nut-free company was in the red section, either. They offered a variety of pastas made from veggies, and their macaroni and cheese was my favorite. The macaroni and cheese also lacked yeast, and I always get excited when something doesn’t have yeast, because that’s one less night I spend staying up coughing all through it.
The only yeast-containing bits in their other products are the small sauce packets, which can be omitted, as the pasta in their meals line already contains some seasoning, so that’s pretty cool!
Natural Grocers was at last year’s expo, but they had a smaller booth, and the most we received from them was their bag for signing up for their mailing list. This year, they were constantly handing out a variety of things—Jovial pasta (I think?!), Macaboost mixes, Skinny Pop popcorn, SunButter cups, Brain Toniqs, Enjoy Life Foods cookies, Mamma Chia squeezes, Surf Sweets, and so many more. I also picked up a paper containing a list of gluten-free flours and what they work best for, which I thought could be helpful in the future, some other random literature from the grocery store, and a blue sheet of paper containing a list of their upcoming events. The latter fascinates me, because what grocery store sponsors events?
I’d like to visit it sometime nevertheless, because they’ve a lot of my favorite brands, and I’d like to get my hands on some more Skinny Pop!
Since I’m finally finishing this post after having a cold, I don’t have much detail for the other vendors to say anymore.
I was impressed by the matcha green tea cookies from Jawa Import, Inc. and really need to get my hands on them, because they were so sweet, but not too sweet, and extremely tasty. I think she made them, but can’t be sure. I have them on my to-find list.
Pie In The Sky Bakery makes awesome nut-free biscotti, which is hard to find. I think their biscotti has eggs or dairy in them, though, because I felt a little sick after eating them. My favorites were the pumpkin cheesecake pie and the key lime biscotti.
Smart Flour Foods was there again; I really like their pizza, even if it has yeast. To date, the only yeast-free pizza brand I’ve found is California Kitchen (if you’re on the hunt for one).
Three Bakers’ bread was awesome and nut-free. I favored the multigrain one lacking quinoa. It was really soft bread, but it was also small. Schar’s bread is actually a favorite of mine in the gluten-free department, but my problem with bread is not the gluten—it’s the yeast.
Abundtant Love had an amazing, nut-free vanilla cake.
Baby Mum-Mum was there. Charlise and I were given samples, and I ate my samples. Mum-Mum Snax are really good, even if our samples were for babies. I don’t care what people might say. I liked the baby snacks more than the kid ones, though, because they’re not as sweet as the kid line of Mum-Mum Snax were for me. I’m not super big on sweets. Like, if I make a pan of 16 brownies, I’ll likely only eat between zero and four. I like making brownies, but I don’t actually like eating them?
Veggie Fries was one of my favorite booths, because their fries were so good. I’ve found some veggie fry recipes to try, but now that I know a brand has already made them—and that they taste good—I really just want to find these in stores nearby so I can have some more. The way fries work in this house is that we open the bag and make a few at a time. I live with my grandmother on my dad’s side, thus it’s just us, and we don’t always need the whole bag. There is also no yeast in these!
The expo this year overall was really different from last year, in that it had more vendors with frozen foods than with foods not requiring refrigeration or the freezer.