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Nourished Food Blogger Conference Recap

by Sarena Shasteen in Featured Articles, Gluten Free, Health
First, I want to start off by saying what an absolute privilege it was to go to Nourished as a representative for Bob’s Red Mill. I felt incredibly honored to be asked to share Bob’s Red Mill Products with others and talk about all things great about a company I love! Thank you for trusting me with your brand!

Now, let’s talk about Nourished. If you’ve ever been to a blog conference before you know that they can be hit or miss with how the sessions and presenters can come across. Nourished was a huge hit in my opinion. You could tell that the people who put this together put so much thought into the event and it really felt like a group of people coming together for a similar cause—to nourish each other.

This blogging event was really like no other that I had been to. There were so many people there that don’t even have blogs. They were there to get information on how to fuel themselves, their children or other loved ones that live with dietary restrictions. I loved that this was not a popularity contest and just a sharing event!

My first impression when I walked down the hall to my session was absolute amazement. There was a table with coffee, tea and dairy free creamer options. Oh my goodness, I was on cloud nine that day. I think I made about 5 different coffee drinks just to enjoy all the vanilla, chocolate and plain options I had! I guess even as adults we love having our treat options!

While I wanted to sit in on all the different sessions, I had to pick the best one that fit me for each of them- so tough! The first session I sat in on was Creating a Strong Blog Brand with Mary Fran Wiley. I loved her approach to branding and finding your voice. While I’m very established in writing about my family’s adventures in healthy eating with food allergies and intolerances, it’s always great to learn more about how you come across to your readers, as well as better ways to connect with others. She talked about not being afraid to be different and let your personality come through. Mary Fran had us write down 10 words that described us. That was hard, but I left the session with a new found idea of myself, as well as how to convey my message!

The next session I sat in on was Savvy Recipe Development with Karen Morgan of Blackbird Bakery. Karen spoke about a lot of things that I had already discovered in my own baking adventures. Being a trained chef and baker, I have experimented a lot with different products and techniques. The biggest take home information I got and wanted to share with all of you is to master the basics. I could not agree with this more. If you have a great foundation for the basics, then you can start to experiment and create new recipes! Karen talked about guar gum versus xanthan gum, which I really liked hearing about since I don’t know much about guar gum. I’ve always used xanthan gum, but now I’m excited to start playing with guar gum. I learned that it’s higher in fiber and keeps baked goods moist for longer than xanthan gum. Sounds like a perfect gluten free baking product to me! I also wanted to share that agar agar is a great alternative to either guar gum or xanthan gum. It’s always great to have options to play around with in the kitchen. Another key piece that I share on my site and Karen shared as well is to use some kind of acid like vinegar in your gluten free baking to help keep the leaveners (baking soda and baking powder) working. A new piece of information I learned though is that not all store bought buttermilks are gluten free. I make my own since we are dairy free here, but please be sure to read your labels carefully.

My third session of choice was {how to} Maximize Your Brand Partnerships with Ann Lee, Director of Nutritional Services from Schar and Lauren Lucille Vassar of The Celiac Diva. I like to think I’m doing ok with this (hello Bob’s Red Mill!). I LOVED this presentation. These two seriously love working together and you could feel the energy they shared with working together for a common cause. My take home here was that when looking for a brand to partner with, you have to have a common ground that you work for and you have to be passionate about that product. Be willing to offer suggestions on how to work together as well.

Next came lunch. I wish I had pictures to share because they put together the most amazing spread from salads to sandwiches to gourmet foods- all the way to desserts. It was a feast fest. Not only was the food amazing, the company was equally incredible. Everyone was so incredibly kind and willing to introduce themselves to chat. I met some incredible people during this time that I can already tell will turn into lifelong friendships.

The forth session I sat in on was Food Photography Made Simple with Cara Lyons. Cara was incredibly sweet and gave honest simple answers to making better food pictures. She offered personal experience and product suggestions that she uses and loves. I loved her suggestion of painting boards from a local hardware store for basic backgrounds. This session definitely motivated me to work more on my photography!

Last, but not least, was the session on How to Grow Your Blog Though Social Media with Melissa Jennings from Stockpiling Moms and Suzanne Florek founder of Salty Fig. I found this session extremely insightful since I’m not the best at all aspects of social media. They shared so many tips and tricks for maximizing your site exposure. They mentioned asking a question at the end of every blog post to get feedback and create some conversation. I know I do this some, but it depends on the topic I’m discussing. Adding social media buttons to your header and the end of your posts was a great tip too so people can connect with you more on many levels.

The keynote speaker to close the evening was Cybele Pascal of Allergen-Free Cuisine. She spoke with heart and really focused on how we, as a community, are here for each other. We all have a common need to learn more about allergen free cooking to nourish ourselves and/or a loved one.

All in all, the sessions were extraordinarily informative and, again, the speakers were extremely giving with their information. I really enjoyed feeling so close to the dietary restricted community! We enjoyed a happy hour after the conference that included treats and drinks along with goodie bags to take away with us. This was an incredible event and I feel extremely honored to have represented Bob’s Red Mill!

This wonderful recap comes from Serena, The Non Dairy Queen. Serena has written many wonderful recipes for us before and you can find them here, here, here and here and they’ve all been wonderful- so we were excited, to say the least, when she wanted to help represent us at Nourished. You can find more about Sarena on her blog, The Non Dairy Queen.
About The Author
Sarena Shasteen Google: Sarena Shasteen
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6 Responses to “Nourished Food Blogger Conference Recap”

  1. I TRIED TO PURCHASE SOME OF YOUR CORN MEAL AT A LOCAL STORE IN MY SEARCH FOR NON-GMO MEAL. I RECEIVED MUCH VERBAL ASSURANCE BUT NO PROOF THAT YOUR MEAL WAS IN FACT NON-GMO. YOUR WEB SITE NOWHERE MENTIONS GMO. NO ASSURANCE EQUALS NO SALE.

  2. Agreeing with Toni above. I’m looking thru this site trying to figure out whether your products are GMO-free. This post is the only one I find that even mentions the subject. As you aren’t listed at nongmoproject.org, I suppose that you’re unable to avoid gmo in your products. Or has “our” government set up some prohibition against putting this information in text?

    • At Bob’s Red Mill, we have made a commitment to purchase only non-GMO grains. All of our products are made from ingredients that were grown from identity-preserved, non-GMO seed. For more information about our GMO policy, please call our customer service team: 1-800-349-2173.

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