Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Discount and Giveaway

Note: updated with later entry date!

How’s that for a wordy title? ūüėČ I’m so excited to chat with you today about the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo that I’ll be going to later this summer as a member of their official Blogger Team! I’m looking forward to trying some delicious gluten-free food, meeting some fellow bloggers, as well as making connections with the great people and companies who help get the gluten-free food out there for those of us with gluten intolerance and celiac.

Official Expo Blogger badge

This expo¬†is the largest¬†gluten-free and allergen friendly event in the United States! They take place at many cities throughout the country, so there’s sure to be one near you! I’ll be at the Worcester, MA event on¬†Saturday, July 25, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. I’ve recruited¬†a good friend of mine, who has celiac disease AND lactose intolerance, to come with me to help me judge some of the products. I want to be able to give you more than one opinion on the items at the event. Plus, it’s fun to hang out with a great friend who gets what it’s like to be gluten-free!

Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo Worcester

This event is being put on by the Gluten Free Media Group which is same company that has the super helpful Find Me Gluten Free app and website that I often use, in addition to the fabulous Send Me Gluten Free Box that I reviewed and fell in love with last fall.

Send Me Gluten Free box opening

There are some great perks for all of my readers! They’re letting me offer you a discount on the tickets AND five lucky people will get to go for free! Please note the discount codes and free tickets are¬†for the Worcester, MA event only.

Ron Popeil but wait there's more

Hold the phone because it gets even better! Anyone who purchases tickets through the links below will also get a free one-year subscription to Delight Gluten Free Magazine! Talk about an awesome deal!

Delight Gluten Free Magazine

Click the pictures below to purchase your tickets. Note that the 30% off link is only good through June 24 and the 20% off link is good up until the day before the event (July 24).

30% off GF & AF expo

20% off GF & AF expo

Finally, time for the giveaway! To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me what your current favorite gluten-free item is, whether it’s something you make or something you buy. Five winners will be randomly chosen on June 23 July 10!

Free tickets to GF & AF expo

Hope to see you there!

Send Me Gluten Free Box Review + Giveaway!

Hi there! It’s been way too long! What have I been up to? Besides work, school, working out, and eating healthy, I’ve been sampling all of the delicious offerings in the Send Me Gluten Free box. I stumbled upon this little treat while on¬†FindMeGlutenFree.com¬†recently, which is a great resource (along with their app!) for finding places to eat that have¬†gluten-free¬†offerings.

Send Me Gluten Free box logo

So what does a Send Me Gluten Free box look like? I couldn’t wait to find out!

Send Me Gluten Free November box

You’ve got to love the presentation. They had me right away with the fun complementary colors–there was definitely a lot of thought put into the presentation, so I had high hopes about the contents.

Here are the goodies that were waiting for me underneath:

Send Me Gluten Free November box opening

I spied that full-size chocolate bar and was immediately excited. I started pulling things out like a kid at Christmas. You can tell how excited I was by the terrible picture I took–I was too eager at the time to eat the cookie. Some of the first foods I pulled out were¬†Boulder Canyon chips (did they know I was just in Boulder, Colorado?!), a Nuun electrolyte tablet,¬†WOW chocolate chip cookie, and a packet of Nature’s Path Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla cereal.

Send Me Gluten Free November box items

It had been a looong day (11 hours at work!), so I¬†gobbled down that WOW cookie, which was so nice and soft. I will admit I was a little¬†shocked to see it had 120 calories (it was a bit¬†smaller than the full-size cookie they sell online). Though I had the “room” for it in my calories that day, it’s still a lot for one little cookie. It was worth it on that day.

Because I’m more of a tortilla chip person than a potato chip one, I asked WHH to help me assess the Boulder Canyon chips. We both agree they were quite tasty. Not too peppery, and almost a bit too salty. It’s a quality chip and if you’re into potato chips, it’s definitely worth checking out.

I haven’t tried the Nuun tablet yet (it came to work with me for days I run during lunch), but I am quite familiar with the Nature’s Path granola as we’ll occasionally get a huge box of it when we’re at BJ’s. I love mixing it into some yogurt for a sweet treat after dinner or adding it to my breakfast “cookie dough” cereal.

The next products I pulled out¬†were¬†two full-size items:¬†Bell Plantation’s PB Thins and Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate.

Send Me Gluten Free November box items

I have to admit that I didn’t know what to think about the PB Thins at first. Would they be sugary sweet, like Teddy Grahams? Junky? Gross? Nope! They taste like a spoonful of Teddie¬†Peanut Butter! I knew what these would be perfect for right away (aside from eating them by the handful):

PB thins chocolate yogurt

You know it! Topping some plain full-fat organic yogurt with the PB Thins and the Pascha chocolate was a perfect little after-dinner dessert. The PB thins would also be good in a mug with milk as for a¬†post-workout cereal. But seriously–these things are good. My favorite thing in the box by far.

In terms of the chocolate bar…I’m just kind of “meh” about it. Chocolate is usually gluten-free, so being able to get some isn’t a problem. If it had been something along the lines of¬†a gluten-free version of a Kit Kat, something I definitely miss, I would have been pretty excited. And since¬†I don’t have any other food allergies or intolerances, I don’t fully appreciate the allergen-free aspect of this chocolate bar. While I love that it’s organic and non-GMO, if I’m having dark chocolate, I like it 70%+. But that’s just me. Overall it’s a fine chocolate bar.

But wait, there’s more! Next out of the box were¬†Breeze Bars, Halo Sea Salt Seaweed Chips, Amazing Foods for Life Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (vegan), and Snack Out Loud’s Crunchy Bean Snack in Ranch.

Send Me Gluten Free November box items

I haven’t had the Breeze Bars yet because I stashed them in my car. I love having a healthy snack or meal in the car for when I’m in a pinch.¬†The Halo Seaweed Chips are okay. I’m not a big fan of things masquerading as something else (says the girl who loved the PB Thins). No, but seriously, I’d rather have a few sheets of roasted seaweed from Trader Joe’s than a chip that is seaweed flavored, you know? It messes with my mind and my taste buds!

Speaking of taste buds…I wasn’t loving the crunchy bean snack. The ranch flavor is intense–it definitely has more of a kick to it than you would think–and it didn’t feel like 7g worth of protein satiety-wise. Perhaps because of the flavor explosion going on in my mouth?

I did, however, have a fondness for the banana chocolate chip muffins! I loved the small size of the package. When I make baked goods, I don’t like having a ton of leftovers because guess where they end up?

I also loved that the only two ingredients you add are banana and coconut oil!

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin ingredients

Though the coconut oil ended up being a bit problematic in making this recipe. See, now that it’s November in Massachusetts, it’s a bit cold in my house and especially in my cabinets. This¬†means that the coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Though I microwaved the oil to mix it, the oil quickly went back to a more solid form while I was mixing it so that the batter¬†was quite thick.

Vegan banana chocolate chip muffin mix

No worries. I figured they’d still come out delicious anyway. I spooned them into the muffin tray and hoped for the best.

Vegan banana chocolate chip muffins

And since no raw eggs were involved, I may have left myself a little batter to sample.

Almost empty batter bowl

The muffins came out looking quite similarly shaped to how they went in, owing to the coconut oil issues.

Baked vegan banana chocolate chip muffins

Hmm…what goes well with chocolate and bananas? You guessed it!

Banana chocolate chip muffins with peanut butter

A big ol’ glob of peanut butter! The banana chocolate chip muffins were dense and flavorful. They would be a great pre-workout snack (minus the peanut butter) thanks to some¬†good sources of easily digestible carbs from¬†the flours, sugar, and banana. They would also be great post-workout with the addition of peanut butter. Or you could just have it at a random time of day like I did. ūüôā

As for the rest of the box contents, there are a few items left, including Swerve sweetener and Hodgson Mill Flax Chia blend.

Send Me Gluten Free November box items

The Swerve sweetener is the only other item I haven’t tried yet. I’m not really sure what I’d use it for as I don’t sweeten my coffee and prefer maple syrup, honey, or bee pollen/royal jelly¬†for sweeteners in my food and baked goods (more on the bee pollen/royal jelly in another post). I could try adding a little to my yogurt I suppose?

Something I did add to my yogurt was the¬†chia flax blend. It appeared and tasted mostly like flax; I couldn’t discern the chia in there.

Chia flax blend on yogurt

Still, a solid-tasting flax mix and it’s nice to have both items in there instead of getting out the bag of flax and the bag of chia seeds.

To finish it all off, Send Me Gluten Free included coupons for some of the products that were in the box, which this frugal dork really appreciates.

Send Me Gluten Free November coupons

All in all I really enjoyed this box. Compared to other boxes I’ve tried (such as Greatist’s Parcel Box¬†and the Gluten-Free Conscious Box), it has more full-sized items. Granted, it also costs more so it should have a higher value inside. To get the most value you’d probably want to do the year-long subscription, which cuts the cost of the box down to $20/month. I also liked that it contained¬†only food products, most (all?) of the items were non-GMO and organic, and weren’t full of junky ingredients as many gluten-free items are. ¬†This would make a fabulous gift for the gluten-free dork in your life, whether for the upcoming holidays or a birthday.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s your chance to try it for yourself! Simply leave a comment telling us¬†if you’ve tried a subscription box before (Which one? Did you like it?) and you’ll be entered to win one box for yourself to try! A US-based winner will be randomly chosen next Wednesday, November 19. Even if you don’t win the giveaway, you still win because you can try any subscription length for 20% off with code¬†BLOG20. How awesome is that?!

Update 11/19/14: Giveaway now closed (discount code still valid).

Send Me Gluten Free Giveaway

 Above image for example purposes only. Box contents differ by month.

Please note: Although I received this box free of charge, all honest opinions are my own. This post also contains an affiliate link.

Friday Favorite: Greatist’s Parcel Box + Mini Giveaway

Now that it’s February, I feel like the weeks are flying by! I can’t believe it’s already Friday! Have your past few weeks been flying by as well?

This week’s favorite is a fun one because there’s a small giveaway at the end! Nothing crazy or fancy, but read on to find out…

Back in December, I saw that Greatist¬†was having a special on their Parcel box, a monthly subscription box that is chock-full of healthy foods, supplements, and bath and body products. I believe it was $5 for the first month. I thought I signed up for only the one month, but earlier this week I also received January’s box!

Parcel box side

I’ve enjoyed Birchbox in the past, but have only received it through gift subscriptions. I’m pretty frugal, so I can’t justify the (yes, inexpensive) $10/month habit. This box is $20, so even though I love it I will be canceling it (but asking for it as a gift in the future)!

Like Birchbox, you can go online after you receive the box and rate the products for points that you can use towards future purchases (10 pts/rating, 100 pts=$1 to use in their shop).

Rate Parcel products

The theme for December’s box was “Party.” I love how the box is brimming with products!

Parcel Box January party theme

Look at everything that was included! There were even coupons for many of the products!

January parcel box group 1

January Parcel box soap unwrapped

  • Salamandra Naturals Lavender Soap: The soap pictured above and in the first picture was by far my favorite item in the box! I have very dry skin, but it still needs to be gently exfoliated, and this soap fit the bill perfectly!

January Parcel box sweetener

  • Wholesome Sweeteners: I was really excited about this one because I’m always trying out natural sweeteners. I tried some of them at different times in my oatmeal to add some extra flavor, but they ended up being my least favorite items. I couldn’t tell the difference in flavors and the taste was not equivalent to regular agave.

January Parcel box group 2

  • NeoCell Beauty Bursts: The one chew was very good, but I’m sure that just taking one didn’t do anything.
  • The Pure Bar Co. Fruit Sandwich: We still have yet to try this. I’m thinking WHH will appreciate this more than me.
  • Two Degrees Bar: This was perfect for a snack to tide me over between an early breakfast and a late lunch. Gluten-free, chocolate, and peanut butter? Just my kind of snack!

January Parcel box tea

  • Numi Organics Savory Tea: My first thought was, huh?! I don’t drink much black tea, so I haven’t tried this yes. Not sure how I feel about it. Sounds like it might taste like tomato soup?

January Parcel box coffee

  • Jiva Coffee Cubes: These are instant coffee cubes combined with a sweetener. Since I drink my coffee black and unsweetened, I asked WHH to try. I think he may have added more water than they suggest, but he said it was too sweet and tasted like coffee flavored water. I also took a little sip and found it much too sweet. They also offer hot chocolate cubes. Perhaps those are better?

January Parcel box popcorn

  • Quinn Parmesan & Rosemary¬†Popcorn: We accidentally overcooked the popcorn (even though we used our microwave’s popcorn setting which usually works perfectly), so it didn’t taste as good as it probably usually does. Still, a thumbs up from WHH.

Popcorn all gone

Have you tried any of these products? What do you think of the value of this box? I think that considering I only paid $5, the value is superb!

I received January’s earlier this week. As I’ve only just received it, I haven’t tried many products yet. This one seemed perfectly geared toward WHH, though, as he’s had a hard time getting a good night’s sleep for the past few months despite many modifications in diet, exercise, and behaviors.

This month’s theme is “Renew.”

January Parcel box

Another box full of all kinds of goodies, such as…

January Parcel box group 1

Close-up of the YogaAnne item from above:

Yoga Anne essential oil

  • YogaAnne Calm Essential Oil Blend:¬†¬†An essential oil blend to compliment yoga flow. Includes a free month of YogaAnne! Can’t wait to give this a try once my tennis elbow is on the mend.

Speaking of tennis elbow, a quick update:

February Graston update tennis elbow

My chiro is now doing Graston, ART, ultrasound, and laser therapy with little luck. ūüė¶ Starting to exhaust my options. He said we’ll try through next week and then I should get an MRI and consider Prolotherapy. I’m open to any suggestions any of you have!

Anyway, back to fun stuff. More from the box:

January parcel box group 2

January parcel box group 3

Finally–on to the giveaway! Remember the items I mentioned in December’s box that I wasn’t too fond of? And the fact that they include coupons? Well, they’re one lucky winner’s to try! All you have to do is comment below about a favorite new item you’ve discovered recently. A winner will be randomly chosen by Monday, 12:00 PM EST.

December parcel box giveaway items

Included:

  • The Honest Company Honest Shampoo + Body Wash plus a 20% off coupon.
  • Similasan $1 off coupon
  • Numi tomato mint tea plus $1 off coupon
  • Bonus from my Diva Dash bag! Yasso Greek Yogurt bars $1 off
  • NeoCell Beauty Bursts $2 off
  • 1 Jiva coffee cube plus free shipping on your order
  • Buy 1, Get 1 50% ¬†off a box of Two Degrees Bars

Have a great weekend!