Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fairytales Come True, An Event Can Happen to You

Food allergies, budgets, options, safe packaging- does this all sound familiar? These are all part of any allergic family's life. The feeling of not ever being able to just enjoy your foods or always worrying that there is no way you would be able to not only try a bunch of allergy-friendly goodies let along having anything remotely similar to a stock pile. It's all a pipe dream, a fairy tale....or is it a dream come true?

This was my second year attending the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Raleigh* and also the third event attending as well as being one of their bloggers. I am a self-professed event geek because I love meeting new people, reuniting with people I have already met but the biggest reason I love going to these expos are the products. Tons and tons and tons of allergy-friendly products that I can taste, bring home, share, hoard- all my choice. It's like Halloween for people with food allergies.

This event had a little bit of an added twist....let me explain it as easily as I can to all of you. I will give you the fast version so ready to be amazed. Now, in order for this to be effective, you must read it as if I am telling it to you all in one, fast sentence, like those announcers on tv. (Deep breath, ready??) The evil blogger GF Mom Certified challenged my cooking abilities! We both love gfJules products, we both cook with them and somehow, a king got into the mix (King Gluten Free). And so I was in a flurry of activity, seeking an allergy-friendly eclair recipe to prove my cooking skills. There was dough flying, cream filling everywhere, video upon video of her taunting me and then, there were the royal Prince and Princess that made a surprise appearance at the pre-event dinner at Primal Food & Spirits (because this is where all of the royals go and, well, just because it's downright delicious!). Here's a zooming fast photo recap of that night's events:

On the way to the restaurant
Can a Princess be any luckier?!

Before the gluten attack (do you see how she was sneaky?!)

Luckily, the Princess was well prepared with her EpiPen!

In all honesty, GF Mom Certified & I get along very well- love her and her beautiful family! But we still had bunches of fun even before the event began. Wondering about the eclairs? Recipe links can be located at the end of this post :)

STILL not sure why you should go? Let me give you a few examples:

Celiac Disease Support Group &
NC State Food Allergy Support Group
SUPPORT! There are also great support groups that you find and meet at the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Events. Because, as you know, everyone also needs some extra support now and again. I'm also glad to see that there is so much support in the area, especially for students who are away from home which can often be frightening and doubly scary with food allergies.

If you would like information for yourself or someone else, please visit the Celiac Disease Support Group which is through the WakeMed Cary Hospital as well as the NC State Food Allergy Support Group.

FAMILY! Since I go to multiple events, I feel as if many of the sponsors and even some of the attendees are part of my family now (how awesome is that?!) My last event, I got a surprise visit from the Harris Family and I was lucky enough to see all of them again this time around. Again, I have never seen such a supportive food allergy father and mother ever or (dare I say) cuter children. They are just good-hearted people who happen to love SunButter as much as I do (so, maybe I am a bit biased). I also got to meet Jena- the winner of my Giveaway and a page member :)

Then, there are my other families as well- my Glutino peeps (I couldn't help but try to sneak the entire table into my bag. Kayce from Enjoy Life Foods that I see often (the girl is always, always in a great mood!!). And, just in case you were like What the heck, Nutrimom- what's with all of the sunflowers?! I was supporting another extension of my family, SunButter who also were my event sponsors (thanks guys- you know you are awesome but I like to remind you!). And there's GF Mom Certified (Tiffany Hinton) again!

SWAG PLEASE! I know I have said it before but I cannot help but reshare the amount of swag that you get both as an attendee and as part of the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event Blogger Team. It may seem a bit selfish but come on, look at all of the great products that I got from so many of the vendors!

Yes, it's good to be a Blogger! Check out my goodies-

Event swag & a sweet
after-event surprise from Our House GF

I did say it's like Halloween but now looking back, it may actually be more like Christmas.

(Click for the Recipe & a Special Deal!)
gfJules Eclair Bake-Off This was just a fun, added bonus that happened to intertwine into the event. It was silly, it was challenging and I loved every minute of it! GF Mom Certified made absolutely delicious gluten free eclairs using gfJules flour and they were perfect! If you would like to try her recipe, it can be found in one of her cookbooks. (Please note it does use butter and duck eggs). Last time, we made muffins and this time somebody (eh hem, King Gluten Free) decided it would be eclairs....yeah, thanks for that.

I wound up having a before and after recipe. My before was my Eclair Doughnut recipe which was free of egg, dairy, gluten and nut. They were good but not similar enough to an eclair (curse you, GF Mom Certified, yours were too good!) but I didn't know I could use egg and butter, gosh!!! I did get to use my favorite oil Winona Pure Oil so it's all good was still bunches of fun.

When I got back, I got an idea for another, much easier recipe. STILL not very eclair-like but definitely easy and delicious! May I share my Eclair Bon-Bons which are free of the top eight allergens. The filling is just three simple ingredients and can also be used in many other desserts and toppings. I even have a short video tutorial here (please feel free to watch & share here). I am also honored to say that this recipe and video are featured on the GoVeggie website (thanks GoVeggie!!!).

(Recipe Here)
'Til Next Time As always, I am exhausted but overjoyed to be a part of this event again and I cannot wait to go to the next one. If you missed this event or you are unsure of which events are closest to you, feel free to go to the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event website and see the complete list of events, dates, locations and event schedules. Please share with a friend (as sharing is nice, unless it's food) and please let them know that Nutrimom sent you (hey, a blogger just likes to know all of you are out there listening).

*Feeling left out because you didn't hear about last year's event? No worries, click here to get up to speed.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Let's Hang Out THIS Saturday!

Just a reminder that THIS Saturday is the Gluten and Allergen Free Wellness Event in Raleigh, NC. I am proud to be an event blogger and I am inviting all of you to join us. What, you've never been?!

Here are some reasons that you need to go:

Admission to the event includes FREE
~ Product sampling and sales from many gluten and allergen free vendors
~ Lectures from well known members of the gluten-free community about gluten and allergen-free living
~ Cooking demonstrations that invite you to explore the world of gluten-free cooking
~ Gift bag to tote around samples and purchases (I do recommend that you also bring an extra bag, there's TONS of samples!)
~ I will be there and I love meeting all of you! Find me in the crowd, say hello, get some SunButter samples & coupons (I'll be the one with sunflowers on)

Are your kids fresh?
Stay in a Pure Room next time! Click to book now
Where to Go (Please bring a friend, bring the family or stop by alone but go!)

Saturday, August 15th
10 AM - 4 PM
North Carolina State University
1101 Gorman Street
Raleigh, NC 27606

Can't wait to see everyone there!

*Special thanks to SunButter for sponsoring me for this event 

Additional thank you to the wonderful companies that donated for my event giveaway basket - SunButter, Winona Pure Oils, GF Mom Certified, Pure Room and gfJules

#GFAFEvent #Raleigh

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Are You Sweet, Savory & Sippable?

If you haven't noticed, I love a recipe challenge. Better yet, I like to create recipes that are fast, easy and simple as well as allergy-friendly. So of course, as soon as I saw the So Delicious and Go Dairy Free Snackable Recipe Contest, my mind went into overdrive.  I mean, creating recipes using So Delicious is awesome (NutriFamily loves their products!) but what truly caught my attention (no reason to lie) are the possible prizes that are being offered. Sharing my recipes is absolutely appreciated but with school beginning soon and more demands of my recipes coming up, let's face it- even Nutrimom could use a little extra help to get all of these demands filled.

Prizes Let's just cut to the chase- we all know that this is the first thing that we look at anyway so here goes. As seen on GoDairyFree here is what's what-

Grand Prize Winners: $1000 Each (3 Winners!)
We want to see those treasured "snackable" dairy-free recipes (up to 2 recipes per category per entrant!), so we're awarding grand prizes to our favorite in each category:
  • Sweet - One $1,000 Grand Prize Category Winner (gift card or check)
  • Savory - One $1,000 Grand Prize Category Winner (gift card or check)
  • Sippable - One $1,000 Grand Prize Category Winner (gift card or check) 
Runner Up Prizes: $250 Each (3 Winners!)
Whether for summer or school time, your office stash or afternoon treat, we're rewarding three additional delicious dairy-free snack recipe entrants with runner-up prizes:
For complete contest information
 & rules, please click 
  • Sweet - One $250 Runner-Up Category Winner (gift card or check)
  • Savory - One $250 Runner-Up Category Winner (gift card or check)
  • Sippable - One $250 Runner-Up Category Winner (gift card or check)

Not a Blogger? Great news- this contest is open to BOTH bloggers and non-bloggers so grab your kitchen gear and get to work! 

Sharing Time! And now, for the moment that you have all been waiting for (well, not as good as Hey, you won! but still exciting I think) - I present the recipes that I would like to officially submit for this contest.

Sweet Category:  
Short Strawberry Cakes 
A simple, dairy-free dessert that is so delicious! Get it, so delicious ;)

Strawberries (cleaned & halved)
Your choice of graham crackers (crumbled)

Using a melon baller, gently scoop out a small amount of the strawberries center, leaving the bottom of the strawberry intact. Fill with desired amount of Cocoa Whip and sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.

Bonus Sweet Category:
Eclair Bon Bons
So easy you won't want to share but please do

Enjoy Life Foods Chocolate Mini Chips
Winona Pure Coconut Spray Oil (or other flavor of choice)

Prepare the Filling:
In a large bowl, mix the dairy free cream cheese and the cultured coconut milk with an electric beater. Add the whip topping, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure complete mixing.

Assemble the Treats:
Place baking cups in large muffin tins and set aside*. Using waxed paper, flatten the double brownie cookies but making sure they are still intact. Set aside.

Heat the chocolate chips and a squirt of coconut oil until melted. Gently place one flattened cookie into a baking cup, leaving an equal number of cookies for the top. Fill with a dollop of the prepared filling and place another flattened cookie on top. Cover with melted chocolate, gently lifting the baking cup to allow the melted chocolate to reach the bottom of the cup. Cool in the refrigerator until firm.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes approximately 6 bon bons with additional filling. 

Need some help? Feel free to view a fast tutorial here and  download a recipe copy as well to share.
*I recommend IfYouCare baking cups

Special thank you to Go Veggie for featuring this recipe on the website :) 

Savory Category
Kim Chi Slaw 
A dairy-free twist on a great probiotic-packed side

1/2 Cup your choice of Kim chi

Using a mini chopper, chop Kim chi. Add unsweetened cultured coconut milk and mix well. Add to burgers, wraps or wherever your taste buds desire.

Sippable Category: 
Creamer Cubes
Don't water down your cold beverages when you can enhance them!

Optional- cinnamon, cloves, cocoa or other spices
Prepared beverage of your choice (iced coffee pictured)

Shake the coconut creamer well and pour evenly into an ice cube tray. Sprinkle with your choice of spice and gently swirl with a toothpick. Freeze completely. 

To remove, use a sharp knife to gently run along the edges of the cubes, then remove. The creamer will still be a bit on the soft side 

Ready to Enter? Better get to it- the contest deadline is midnight August 31st, 2015! Special thank yous to So Delicious and Go Dairy Free for inspiring me to keep inventing! Wishing everyone good luck, great recipes and delicious ideas~

Sunday, August 9, 2015

When 40 Lashes Are a Good Thing

For years, I have used your typical mascara with a primer. Is it horrible for your lashes- yup. Does it make my eyelashes sticky and clumpy- yup. Do I feel like I am ripping my eyeballs off every night when I remove said mascara- yup. So of course, when I received a message from the Red Apple Lipstick peeps who offered to pick my brain about their products, I was excited.

Why the Excitement? For those of you who aren't familiar with this line of products, Red Apple Lipstick is gluten free (among other things, read here). Yes- gluten can hide anywhere, even in your makeup! Although I do not have Celiac Disease, I do choose to be as gluten free as possible. Everyone has a different tolerance to allergens and who's to say that my purdy little lashes didn't make me feel a tad better (yes, purdy, just seemed right so just keep reading). The Red Apple Lipstick folks also sent me some of their lip gloss samples too (YES! They have other things, not just lipstick!) Brand name is deceiving...sneaky Red Apple just a tad sneaky! You lure us into your world of gluten free mascara only to have us looking like a kid in a candy store once we open up your site. Lipsticks, glosses, lip pencils, Rallye balm, exfoliate, eye shadows, mascara, eyeliner, samples!!!!! And I totally didn't spend like 5 hours clicking on everything (wink, nudge).

The Lash Project Mascara Ok, so I will be the first to admit that I didn't realize what the name meant and why it was relevant to the product. I began using the mascara about two weeks ago and had planned on writing the review but then other things come up, you continue using the mascara, life goes on. Today, as I am getting out of the shower, I looked in the mirror and wondered why some of the mascara was still on. Then I realized that it was my plain lashes....what? Just a subtle difference but they are definitely a bit more long and thick. Then I read the box & took a closer peek at their website-
  • BECAUSE it gives you an amazing mascara and powerful lash conditioner all in 1
  • BECAUSE it reverses and prevents your lash damage from years of toxic mascara use
  • BECAUSE it ends your embarrassing mid-day smudge problem and watery runoff
  • BECAUSE it ends clumping and flaking forever
  • BECAUSE it won't cause itchy, scratchy, puffy eyes
  • BECAUSE it stops your lashes from falling out pre-maturely
  • BECAUSE it doesn't dry out in the tube... when you know there's more left
  • BECAUSE it feels as fresh on the 30th day as it did on the 1st day you used it
  • BECAUSE it was literally made a week before you receive it
  • BECAUSE you can always get a discount through our free VIP Club
  • BECAUSE it works amazingly well

GASP! NOW it makes sense (doi!) - yes! The Lash Project, gotcha...I'm slow but it's summer and my kids have been home and non-stop eating so let my brain catch up here.

Lip Gloss Sample As I mentioned, I also got one of their adorable little lip gloss samples. Look at it- it's a little lipstick pod. It looks tiny but I actually got several applications out of it. It has the consistency of Vaseline, you only need a smidge and it made my lips look shiny but not goopy. I did have a bit of a time opening the package (I guess it's so delicate that it's like a company secret on how to open it!) or perhaps (and most likely) it's still the kids home for the summer thing. Even so, I am feeling a little more soft, a little more natural. Who else gets to have new lips and new lashes? ME! Love it! I can see it now- NutriKids go back to school and a teacher asks "What did your family do all summer?" "Well, my mom got some packages in the mail and then she just stared at the mirror all the time." Totally true and I'm not too proud to say that's what I do now. Now, my crazy curly blogger hair and some other issues, can Red Apple Lipstick help me out with those??

The Ultimate Test We went to the beach for a short getaway so I decided to see how my new mascara held up. I went swimming in the pool (chemical, chlorine, other unknown don't wanna know things), I played in the ocean (luckily, no sharks but I would have just batted my new lashes at them) and a few days with some terrible gusty winds and rain (no worries, I still went outside in it). My old mascara would have run down my face, given me raccoon eyes, melted off in sporadic weird clumps (because of the primer) so I would have been a mess. Instead, the Lash Project version of my lashes were very different. Did it come off- yes but not half as badly as it would have the way my usual mascara did. And even after a full two days of wearing the same mascara, it was still on just a tiny bit. What I did notice was even after day two, my lashes were still soft and natural feeling- this is why I didn't have to remove it. Nice! So, technically, I could also save time and money because now I am applying it less often. Double nice!

I also found a random picture taken by NutriDaughter and I immediately noticed that my lashes do look longer. Like I am wearing primer but I'm not. Can you see what I mean? (ignore the wind-blown curls and roots)

The Difficult Decision Because I am always honest in my product reviews, I do need to whine just a bit about the dilemma I am having with these. (Deep breath) Ok, keep in mind that I am a blogger but also a mom on a budget. So you are looking at a woman who digs through discount bins, stalks dollar stores for brand name cosmetics for a buck and very, very rarely purchases anything beauty-related without a coupon and a store sale. SO you can imagine the back and forth inside of my head looking at the price for this mascara. Price for one is $37......I can hear many of you saying "What?!" just as I did. BUT I do love my lashes. They DO feel softer and look longer. BUT $37!!!! But they offer coupons on their website (COUPONS!) BUT it's still like $20 more than what I would pay. BUT they have a 60 day money back guarantee....sigh...what's a girl with pretty lashes to do now?! I love the products but the price is killing me.

Help Me Decide Take a moment, browse their links and leave me a comment to tell me your thoughts as well (good or bad, you should be honest too!). Please remember to tag and/or reference me (Nutrimom) and them (Red Apple Lipstick). Should I? Shouldn't I? I'm willing to bet that if we can get enough feedback we may just be able to get some type of giveaway going on too (you all know I love sharing and giving back). For your convenience, feel free to click on the links below (mine & theirs)



 <3 Thank you Red Apple Lipstick for reaching out & giving me the opportunity to try your products! Please feel free to ask me again, I'd love too <3

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Just a Sweet Note from the Queen

Once upon a time, a long long time ago there was a bagel company that used to make bagels that were gluten free and free of the top eight allergens. But alas, that company decided to discontinue that product, leaving the people in the kingdom very upset. Many of the people were sad. Imagine knowing what a bagel tastes like, remembering how it smells when you toast it on a chilly day and the empty devastation you feel each time you pass by a local bagel store that does not carry an allergy-friendly bagel that you can enjoy too. This did not make the villagers content and so the Queen decided upon a quest (fyi, the Queen is me).
Ye royal selection ~
She sent out a royal tweet and behold, was given a sweet reply. "My Queen, we can help your people! Let us send you our bagels to try." The Queen, being very hesitant as so many other times she had gotten her hopes up and been utterly disappointed decided to give them a try (for the good of her people). A short time later, a package arrived by horseless carriage and inside the magical box was an assortment of Sweet Note Bagels as promised. There was not one but three types to choose from and the Queen was pleased. She read and reread the label "made in a gluten free and top 8 allergen facility"- the Queen smiled. She scanned the website to double-check ingredients (as the Prince was highly allergic to many foods and so were her villagers). She was again beaming with delight because the website states "That means no wheat, egg, dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish or shellfish". This called for a royal tasting.

Ye royal Plain variety ~

Being the Queen, she decided simple was best first. Her royal bagel toaster brought her the Plain bagel upon her request and topped it with a dollop of cream cheese (dairy free, of course!). The Queen took a bite, then another and soon all of the royal court was asking if they too could have a taste. Ultimately, it was the royal Prince who got the next taste after much coaxing (as he had been equally disappointed with past products too). The Prince took a small bite to appease the Queen but then quickly requested an entire bagel all to himself. Normally, this type of gluttony angered the Queen but today she understood and allowed it. The final royal announcement was made for that day:

"Here ye, Here ye! Let it be known that the Queen and the Prince have eaten the Plain variety of Sweet Note Bagels successfully! To all the villagers who are eager to know- it is of good texture & taste and is not difficult to chew like some other allergy-friendly bagels are. The Queen also mentions that she is pleased at how these bagels do not taste at all like an bagel that is allergy-friendly. As per the wishes of the Queen and the Prince, you may begin to feast upon these bagels."

Early the next morning, the Prince awoke at the crack of dawn- eager to see what the next bagel would be. The royal bagel toaster brought him one of the Everything variety and without hesitation, the Prince took a very large bite. The crunching and the squeals of delight of the Prince traveled down the halls, waking the Queen and sending her into a panicked rush to the Prince's dining hall. "My Prince, are you ok? What have you eaten?!" The Prince smiled and looked up from his plate and stated with crumbs on his lips "I have eaten Everything and I love it!"

Ye royal Everything variety ~
Although the Queen was delighted that her beloved allergic Prince was enjoying the bagels, she felt a bit slighted. After all, she was the Queen and she should take the first bite! She commanded that the Cinnamon Raisin bagels be stored away until she was ready to try them.

The next day was a cool and rainy day- perfect bagel-eating weather! Sitting in front of her roaring fireplace, the Queen demanded "Bagel toaster! Tea and bagels please- I must try the last bagel!" The royal bagel toaster hurried and scurried (because he knew that a hungry Queen was also an angry Queen). When he arrived, he could tell that the Queen was in need of something comforting. The bagel toaster bowed and presented her with the Cinnamon Raisin toasted bagel and waited in case she needed anything else. "Toaster! Come here now!" Afraid, he stepped forward and waited as the Queen got very close to him "You simply must taste this!" Shocked, the royal bagel toaster did as he was told and almost could not hide his delight until the Queen said "Toaster, let us not forget that we can always order more." With that, he left the Queen to enjoy her bagel feast.

Ye royal Cinnamon Raisin variety ~

The Queen's Final Thoughts ~
~  BEST allergy-friendly bagels since EVER!
~ Very much like a typical store-bought New York Style bagel
~  Definitely hearty- these are not at all a measly meal
~  They store well in the fridge (easier to grab & toast) but the Everything toppings do get a bit soggy after a few days from package condensation
~  I have a personal method to keep gluten free foods a bit less dry- spray with oil* mid-way while toasting to keep the items moist & delish
~ Even the packaging is clever and cute
~ PLEASE tell them that Nutrimom referred you (I don' receive anything for it but it's nice to let them know that I shared)
~ Connect with them here Web, FB, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram & Google+
Ye royal information ~

Many MANY thanks to Sweet Note Bagels for offering to send them my way- our family enjoyed every single bite. (Feel free to continue to send them to us as we will gladly take them!)

* I recommend Winona Pure Oils as they are also allergy-friendly (they are free of soy, additives and propellants)....hey, Sweet Note Bagels- just a thought but why not pair up with these folks & cover all of your allergy needs?

As always, I did not receive any compensation for this product review other than the products themselves. My product reviews are always honest.