Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Philanthropy in the form of pasta


A local maker of gluten-free pasta is assisting people affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Explore Cuisine, the Red Bank-based brand formerly known as Explore Asian, has partnered with Southeast Texas Food Bank to provide warm, healthy meals for thousands of people impacted by the natural disaster. 

Known for its organic, plant-based noodles and other pasta products, Explore Cuisine donated more than 3,500 gluten-free instant meals to the food bank. The effort ensures that people with food allergies and intolerances can enjoy a hot meal, along with others.

In a public statement, Explore Cuisine’s founder Joe Spronz said his company is committed to helping people in Texas through their time of need.

“We pride ourselves on being a company that gives back through our Food to Thrive Foundation, but are always looking for additional ways to help people where we can. We are proud to donate nutritious meals to ensure that the victims of Hurricane Harvey are being well fed,” he said.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Free to taste

The Gluten Free Festival at ShopRite of Medford, gave shoppers an opportunity to sample some of the celiac-friendly food products available in the store. The event was free to attend.

During Saturday's festival, shoppers were presented with vendor tables placed throughout the store. Tastings, take-home samples, manufacturer coupons and informational pamphlets were accessible to anyone interested in gluten-free foods.

Photo credit: Gluten Free Garden State
I spoke with the representative from Cabot creamery, among others, and found our talk to be helpful in choosing dairy products. Cabot also offered easy recipes to take home, which are always useful.

On the downside, there was at least one vendor (and possibly two) offering samples of food that was NOT gluten-free. And it would be so easy for someone tasting to not realize the bread, offered with a sample of olive oil, was off limits. To his credit, the vendor representative did tell me before I put the bread in my mouth that it wasn't gluten-free, but there was no sign or other indication otherwise.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

GFGS Community Calendar: Tastes of fall 2017

Autumn offers great opportunities for New Jersey’s gluten-free community to sample and socialize with multiple food expositions happening in the region. Education and information are provided, along with the introductions of new food products. Mark your calendars!

Saturday, Sept. 9: Empowering Our Gluten Free Kids: Managing the Social Challenges of Growing Up gluten-Free, 10 am-12 pm, at Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley (250 Old Hook Rd.) in Westwood. Hosted by Generation GF NorthernNew Jersey, a Gluten Intolerance Group program for children and their families, the event offers fun activities for kids, as well as opportunities for children to discuss their feelings about the gluten-free lifestyle. A licensed clinical social worker will lead the discussion, and food samples will be available. Email GenerationGF.NorthernNJ@gluten.org to register.

Sunday, Sept. 10: SouthJersey Celiacs, Chapter 9 of the National Celiac Association, Meeting, 2 pm, at Virtua Memorial Health Center (401 Young Ave.) in Moorestown. The support group meets monthly in Conference rooms 155A and 155B, and welcomes new members. This month kicks of a new year for the chapter and officers will collect annual dues.

Saturday, Sept. 16: Gluten Free Festival, 11 am-3 pm, at ShopRite of Medford (208 Route 70 East) in Medford. In honor of Celiac Awareness Day, ShopRite offers a free tasting event that showcases various gluten-free items available in the store. Retail dieticians on staff will be available for consultation.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

More for the gluten-free community to enjoy

The Gluten Free Garden State blog is back!

And we're getting ready to return to the annual Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Secaucus, Oct. 14-15. This will be our fifth year in attendance and third as an official blogger for the expo.
As a self-imposed rule, we only promote products, restaurants and events that we believe in. This expo is certainly at the top of our list of events for tasting gluten-free and allergy friendly foods and learning more about the companies that make them.

At the Meadowlands Exposition Center, the Expo features gluten-free food vendors. Typically, many offer samples of their products, while others provide coupons, discounts, and giveaways. Many items can be purchased on site too. For people just starting out on a gluten-free diet, its a great introduction to what's available in stores. Veteran celiacs and food allergy sufferers enjoy the Expo simply for its ability to provide a room full of safe foods, which is a unique experience.

Tickets should be purchased in advance through this link. Until Sept. 13, you can receive a 30% discount on Expo tickets with the promo code EARLYBIRD. Through Oct. 13, a 20% discount on tickets is available with the promo code ADVANCE.

A chance to receive a free ticket also is available through this blog.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 10, 2015

GFGS Community Calendar: October 2015

As a service to our regular readers and the Celiac community at large, Gluten Free Garden State has started an ongoing list of upcoming events of interest. We will feature local happenings, as well as national events open to the public. The calendar will appear on the second Saturday of each month. Links will be posted to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtages #GFSked and #celiacsavethedate.

In the coming month, there's a grocery store festival in Evesham, a tasting party in Westfield, and support groups in Long Branch and Voorhees, among many other events in New Jersey and surrounding areas. 

Around the Garden State

Saturday, Oct. 17: Gluten Free Festival at ShopRite of Marlton, 10 am-2pm, 307 West Route 70 in Evesham. The free, in-store festival features registered dietitians to answer questions, educational information, shopping tips and meal ideas.

Saturday, Oct. 24: Savor the Flavor Gluten-Free Tasting Party at Patricia & Paul: Artisans of Fine Oils and Balsamics (20 Elm St.) in Westfield, 7:30-9:30 pm; Meet-Up with the Celiacs of Central NJ group. The store will be closed to the public for this private event. Cost is $25. Join and/or register for the party online through the group's Meet-Up page.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A One-Stop Gluten-Free Tour of the Garden State


The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo in Secaucus is done for 2015, and we're already looking forward to next year.

(BTW, it'll be held Oct. 15-16, 2016. Mark your calendars NOW.)

We've attended enough gluten-free expositions to know what to expect, in general. There are many vendors offering on-the-spot tastings of their wares and some provide take-home samples to try later. There are beauty products, travel companies and medical professionals, all looking to serve the gluten-free community. And it works.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

GFGS Community Calendar: September 2015

As a service to our regular readers and the Celiac community at large, Gluten Free Garden State has started an ongoing list of upcoming events of interest. We will feature local happenings, as well as national events open to the public. The calendar will appear on the second Saturday of each month. Links will be posted to Facebook and Twitter using the hashtages #GFSked and #celiacsavethedate.


Around the Garden State

TODAY, Sept. 12: Gluten Free Festival at ShopRite of Medford, 11 am-3 pm; Held throughout the grocery store (208 Route 70 East), the second annual event will feature samples of more than 60 gluten-free foods. No cost to attend.

Sunday, Sept. 13: Celiac Sprue Association, Southern New Jersey Chapter meeting, 2-4:30 pm, Hope Church (500 Centennial Blvd., Voorhees); This month's meeting was pushed back one week, due to the Labor Day holiday. It will be held in the church's Meeting Place building. New members welcome.   

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Local Gluten Free Festival is back


ShopRite of Medford is hosting its second annual Gluten Free Festival on Saturday, Sept. 12.

Held throughout the store, from 11 am to 3 pm, the event will featurs samples of more than 60 gluten-free foods. There is no cost to attend.

This family attended last year's festival, not knowing what to expect, and left viewing it as a small expo. Many familiar players were represented, including Schar, GardenLites and Enjoy Life foods, and everything offered for tasting was available for purchase (of course).

Friday, August 28, 2015

New products, old favorites coming to NJ expo

It's that time of year again. To some, the most wonderful time of year.

I'm talking, of course, about the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo.

This year's event will be held Saturday, Oct. 3 and Sunday, Oct. 4, 10 am to 4 pm both days, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus. Its a whirlwind of vendors, offering samples of their wares, selling products and sending visitors off with swag. Whether your on a gluten-free diet or a diet free of the eight most common allergens, including peanuts, there's a cornucopia of options for you.
I've been to more than a few of these types of events over the past five years or so, and every one is exciting. Since being diagnosed with celiac disease in 1998, the gluten-free/allergen-free industries have come a very long way. Those who are newly diagnosed and dealing with daily frustrations will be thrilled to find an entire exposition hall full of foods they can eat. That was me at my first expo. It's still me.

According to organizers, there are many returning vendors, including Schar, Udi's, Enjoy Life, Garden Lites and Luce's Gluten Free Artisan Breads, and some newcomers, like Cheerios, WHOs Gluten Free and the Minute rice company.

My recap of last year's roster of new products can be read here

The two-day event also features seminars and information sessions relating to gluten-free or allergen-free diets, as well as celiac disease. (And during last year's event, there was even a marriage proposal!)

To buy tickets or learn more about the expo, visit the organizers website: www.gfafexpo.com

Through Sept. 2, the expo is offering 30% off tickets. But first, try for a free ticket by entering the Gluten Free Garden State raffle:

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 21, 2015

Schooled at the Alumni Grill

The Alumni Grill is my new go-to place for quick, summer eats in Wildwood.

Located on Pacific Avenue, just a couple of blocks from Mariner's Landing on the boardwalk, the Alumni offers a decent gluten-free menu in a fun, school-themed atmosphere. For gluten-free foods, it relies on a dedicated fryer from April 1 to Sept. 28. (It has only limited hours during the off-season, during which the dedicated fryer is not used.)