Kitchen Think: The National Restaurant Show Is Set “Free”


Mama’s exhausted… four days walking around the National Restaurant Show will do that to you. This year’s show really showcased all things “free.” If you’re gluten, egg, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, preservative, sugar, nut or soy free… it’s morning in America.

Remember when hypoallergenic products used to taste like… nothing? Not any more. Here’s a sampling of some of the things that I discovered, sampled and loved. (And for a fantastic guide to even MORE gluten free products (and restaurants!), check out the Gluten Gurus website.)

Here we go…

SasaPops Artisan Frozen Pops

• I know there a gazillion frozen fruit bars on the market, but SasaPops Artisan Frozen Pops really knocked my socks off. They’re made with three ingredients: fruit, purified water and organic sugar. They’re dairy free and gluten free and come in refreshingly different flavors like Raspberry Lychee Lemon Drop and Calamansi (Tropical Lime). They make them in a mini ¾ ounce size… just the right amount of sweet treat.

Raaw Juices

• The folks over at Miami-based Raaw Fresh Juices are really on to something. The eclectically flavored juices, like Pineapple Cucumber, are all gluten, sugar and preservative free. They’re also Non-GMO verified, vegan AND Kosher. Oh, did I mention they TASTE DELICIOUS??? The kids even loved the Passion Fruit Wheatgrass (something that healthy usually has them running for the door).

HomeFree Gluten Free Vanilla Mini Cookies

HomeFree has come up with a gluten-free, nut-free cookie that actually tastes like a cookie. Their Vanilla Mini Cookies and Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies are egg and dairy free and come in perfect portion-size snack paks. They’re also certified organic, vegan and Non-GMO verified.

Funley's Stix In The Mud

• Portion control is a huge issue, especially when you’re eating something as yummy-pie as Funley’s All Natural Stix In The Mud cookies. That’s why they’ve individually wrapped these chocolate clusters that are not only free of high fructose corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives, but also come in three different flavors.

Pamela's Products Chocolate Brownie Mix

Pamela’s Products aren’t new to the “free” party (they’ve been around for more than 20 years) but I’ve never experienced their amazing Chocolate Brownie Mix. You’d never guess it’s gluten free and dairy free. I got a single-serve sample packet and let Sistie whip it up in the microwave (it’s that easy). Wow…

You can see where my heart lies: in the sweet stuff! But there was also a huge range of allergen-free cheeses, soups, pastas, meats, pizzas, sauces and salsas. I’ll write about those in the coming weeks.

Pamela's Products Chocolate Brownie in a Cup... by Sistie!




I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: