Enjoy food, enjoy travel and enjoy life. Your listening to Travel Gluten Free by Elikqitie.
This is episode six my interview with Laura Huffman from Vivian's Live Again. Hello fans this is Elikqitie and I hope you are back for another episode. My episode six is an interview with Laura Huffman. Laura Huffman is actually the owner of Vivian's Live Again. The thing I love about Laura when I found out my interview with her is most people who have a business with or anything that is associated with gluten free are gluten free and they have their business or their podcasts like myself or their blog because they want to share their experiences, recipes with other people. Well, amazingly enough, Laura has an entire business with gluten free, dairy free and Vegan foods and she is none of the above. She can eat everything, but the reason she started this business was because at her church there were people who are gluten free and dairy free and they would stop coming to their like church functions where they would have food because as you and I know, it's a real bummer to go to a function and be like, oh, I can eat the salad with no salad dressing, and that's what was happening at her church and she saw a real need to make food that everybody could eat. So that's how she got started and I'm going to leave the rest to my interview. Stay tuned, listen in to this awesome interview. You're going to love her as much as I did. This is Laura Huffman from Vivian's Live Again.
Hey, Travel Gluten Free friends this is Elikqitie and today we are here again at my gluten free world expo, broadcasting live, but not really live from the show so we don't have a live feed going on, but we are broadcasting live from the show. It's so exciting to be a part of this expo and I've met some really great people at the expo today. My next guest is I feel one of the best gluten free food purveyors in the community. She also provides food that not only is really good and really tasty but it's really easy to take on trips cause as you know our podcast is Travel Gluten Free and so I have taken her food on trips with me in my luggage and over airplanes like in camping. So it's really good tasting food to bring with you on your travels for sure. So my guest today is Laura Huffman. She is the owner of Vivian's Live Again and she grew up in a home where the food philosophy was about food should always taste good and bring people together. She feels like love is one of the most important nutrients in food. I have to agree with her on that for sure, and she started actually cooking gluten free for friends at church who are gluten, and dairy free. She is actually not gluten free or dairy free.
She can eat whatever she wants to, but I feel like this is really one of the amazing parts of my guest that she does this out of a need, but it's not because of her need of being gluten free or dairy free, it's because she was cooking for her friends because they would not come to functions with food, which we can relate to if you are gluten free or dairy free or you have a food intolerance because it's really a bummer to come to a function with food and you can't eat anything, or you can eat very small amounts of the things that are there or you're really afraid to because you're afraid to get contaminated with it. So she didn't want her friends to miss out on the love of the food. So she invented cream of mushroom soup so that the church ladies could cook recipes they knew, but make it for everyone but it was gluten free and dairy free. It also turned out, she said that she was good at creating gluten free foods and dairy free foods. So she ended up making it into a business. She feels her greatest business success is when she makes it possible for families and friends to eat together. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce my guest, Laura Huffman. Laura, welcome to travel gluten free podcast. Thank you. I'm glad to be here. I am so excited you were here today because you were one of my top people on my list I wanted to talk to. So thank you so much for making time. Oh you're welcome, my pleasure.
Laura one of the first questions I wanted to ask you is I think it's really amazing that you are not gluten free but you have this really great business that's gluten and dairy free and I don't know, you probably know this from talking to people, but dairy free or dairy intolerance, goes along hand in hand with gluten intolerance and so to make a product that's both dairy free and gluten free, it's, it's great cause I can just go in my pantry and reach for like your tomato soup on like the cold winter day and not have to worry about my stomach getting upset because it has dairy or gluten or anything that I can't tolerate in it. Tell me more about how you started when you started making these things for your friends. How did that really grow and how did your friends start to like come to realize that you were really good cook and making gluten free and dairy free free food? So I didn't realize that those two things went together first, but we had a person that was celiac and we had a teenage girl that was severely allergic to dairy and so I just needed to do those to allergens but then as I met more people and learned more, I found that they do go together often and I was happy that I can help that population. Then it just, I just learned how to make things creamy without the milk and what flavors to use and then as I started going out and sharing that with people, when I saw how much need there was, I thought I can do a business for this and I can get it into more people's hands and then as I met with people that were so grateful and oh, there's no more my food, your food at the dinner table, oh, thanksgiving works for us again. I just thought this is great and I like to listen to people's complaints and about what they can't have and then try to make a product for it. That's awesome.
So one of the things, so what is your background in cooking? like do you have any formal training in cooking or do you, did you learn like as a child from your mom, like how did you receive your cooking training so to speak? My mom was a home Ec teacher and so she did the science of food and we talked about why things work. So I had a pretty good background. I was a medical technologist and I worked in a hospital lab so I was familiar with science. I was also familiar with medical things. When after I made my first soup for the first church activity and it worked and I decided maybe I should do this as a business too. I quickly realized that I do really have the power I wanted. I didn't have enough food science even though I had basic science, I didn't have enough food science. I joined the Institute of food technologists and I felt so inadequate. I was on their website. Oh well they even let a person like me and but it said anyone interested in food so I thought I don't care if they let me if this website goes with my name, I'm in it and I started reading their magazine and listening to webinars to kind of teach myself about food science so that I would have more power to create things. I knew. It's pretty neat because when you hear a lot about people who are like really good at just making food from the ground up so to speak, a lot of them are self-trained like you don't like you get people who are chefs obviously in they're firmly chained but a lot of people who are just self-trained are really good at making food. I'm really curious person and so I want to know why things work and once I know why things work, I'm free to transfer those things into other foods.
So when you're making products for your, for your Vivian's live again line, how do you decide which products to make gluten free? How do you decide what your next product is going to be? That's kind of a, sometimes there are variations of things that I already have, like a different flavor soup or a different kind of muffin. I also listen at expos like this, meetings to what people are having problems with and then I start investigating and experimenting with things that they have complained about. Also, I may find something. I purchased a company called Tree Street Grains because I had discovered that he knew how to make a hundred percent whole grain flour that actually worked. I tried his products today, they were just off the charts good and I'm really excited about all the things that I can do with his flour and since I got his company, I've learned some secrets about gluten free whole grain, and so now I'm kind of in a whole grain kick because a lot of gluten free bread kind of products and baked goods are frankly empty calories. Right there, just mostly rice flour and they don't fill you up and they, they're not good for you you miss a lot of B vitamins and minerals because you're not having wheat flour that's fortified and so that's kind of my project right now is to expand that whole grain. Well, I think that whole grain goes really well with your soups and your other things that you have in your line.
I see from looking at your website and so if you're, interested, definitely check out Laura's website. It's Vivian's Live Again.com and she has some really great recipes on there, but she also has her catalog which features her on the go section, which I totally love. All of her products on here are in packages that are, are they aluminum pack, aluminum foil packages? They are mylar, mylar yeah and so they are heat resistant. Correct. Is it mylar heat resistant? They're not super heat resistant. Like those little single serving size are so perfect for trips and things. But I would not leave them in a hot car. Are most of your product line in single serving packages? or no, they're actually mostly not in single serving pouches I actually made those. I was supposed to demo at a place that I couldn't get electricity and so I thought, how can I still sample this without electricity? and I looked and I found that small packaging and made single serves and then it turned out people just wanted those to take along. And you can also, even if you don't get a single serving package, it's, you can take, and I've done this too is you take, it's like the one package, it says creamy Alfredo sauce mix it makes 17 servings. So you just use what you need and you measure it out and then you just package up the rest and seal it in a container and you can just use it for later. Yes. And the baked goods, like the new muffins we have, they freeze well so you can freeze them and put them in your lunch and or take them on a day trip and yeah, and it's nice. One of the things I use because I am the only person in my household is I will freeze things and like put them in a bag and save them for later and so I can just take them out as I need them.
This is a fun on the go with our new pancakes that are whole grain. You make the pancakes and then with the leftovers, once they're cool, you turn them into sandwiches and I like to wrap them in Saran wrap and then put them in a baggie and then you take them out in the morning, put them in your lunchbox, they're thawed by lunchtime you've got an uncrustable and it's whole grain so it's filling and tastes good I think they are especially good with peanut butter and honey, just that whole grain flavor with the peanut butter and honey we are nutella if you want to go on a date with us. Yeah, yeah, yeah Nutella good on everything and it's gluten free. But anyway, so yeah, I see you guys have your Nine Grain gluten free Flour Blend and your gluten free whole grain pancake mix on your website as well.
We did want to ask you about social media posts, so on your Facebook page and if you want to visit her Facebook page it is facebook.com // PG // wheat free nutrition videos. Oh, I'm on her wheat free nutrition videos but if you look at @wheat free nutrition on Facebook, you will find Vivian's Live Again and I saw you had some videos on here and one of them was your whipped topping and some fun things to do with your whipped topping so tell us some ideas that you have cause your whipped topping is dairy free and it's really good.
Yes. And it's actually free of all the eight major allergens. So it's free soy free egg free, nut free, all of those free. There's important things that nobody can eat anymore. Yeah. and, and I got the idea for that one from listening to people who had multiple allergies complain about there was no whipped topping. I thought there must be a way and I tried at that and failed and I would put it down for a while and then pick it back up at ingredient shows I'd asked for help to sales people of these food companies that sell ingredients would say, well you could try this, but with skepticism in their voice, like they didn't think they could do it. I saw a little tiny ad replay at for an egg replacer and I thought eggs whip, I'm going to try this. And so I did that and it worked nice. So I'm really proud of that because the food industry told me I couldn't do it. Yeah, that idea, and I did that's the best like self fulfilling It's like when someone tells you you can't do it and then you just show everybody that you can.
So what are some things that you like to use your whipped topping on? So it's good just on everything off of the spoon. You can flavor it with other things. Like I think chocolate is especially good that you can put a couple of tablespoons of chocolate syrup. Well, I've used just cocoa powder. Oh, okay and stirred it in. One thing you can do is you can make some gluten free cookies and make the topping and then either just leave it vanilla or you can stir in like peppermint chips to make it peppermint put it between some chocolate cookies and freeze it and then it's like an ice cream sandwich. Oh, that sounds really good. You can use it as a sauce kind of for a fruit salad. You can kid friendly you can stir in a couple of like half a package of Kool Aid of whatever flavor and then put it on fruit. So kids like that a lot. So you can use your whipped topping recipe in any as a substitute for any whipped topping. Yeah, that you can. Oh Nice. As they're like, I didn't, I haven't tried it on a lot of things yet, but I'm super excited to try that out more. Yeah.
Another question I wanted to ask you, gluten free stuff for some people it's a fad because they just like to try it out. What percent of people you supply food to do you estimate are gluten free? Like do you think that most of your people you supply food for are gluten free or do some people just eat like buy your food because it just tastes really good and they like it because it's portable. There is a little bit of that. I get some that aren't gluten free that like it because it is portable. There are some who buy it like older people like it because they don't want to make a whole casserole anymore. They like their recipes that since it's a mix they can, you don't have to use a whole can they can make half a casserole. I get some people who don't like what's in canned soup and they'll try mine instead. Some like the flavors better. I did the mushroom soup to a pretty close match to a Campbell's cream of soup but I didn't like the chicken. It's okay in things but just stand alone I thought it needed some help. So it's not an exact match on that one because I didn't like Campbell's and I think food should taste good and it didn't taste that good to me.
Well actually I love your for those of you who live outside of Utah, there's a popular food here called Hawaiian Haystacks, which I'm sure you're familiar with and so what you do is you get rice and then you put chicken down on it but you really use cream of chicken soup, and so I use your cream of chicken soup to make it so because I can still make Hawaiian haystacks now. And then you put like all sorts of toppings on like peppers and oranges and whatever you want to put on it and it's like Asian, like Asian style toppings and Hawaiian style toppings. And so I love it because I can still eat my Hawaiian haystacks, which is a great teenager food as well. So I appreciate that you did make that chicken the cream of chicken soup i love it, it's actually one of my favorites. Yeah it's our most popular item.
So how often, so I know you just acquired the new business. It has the, the multigrain products. And how often besides acquiring that new business, how often do you modify the the items that you sell? I usually try to come out with at least one new product a year, and sometimes it's more than that, sometimes less but you know, on average one new thing a year. And so what are some of your favorite things that you like that you have in your product time? The chicken gravy is always good because it's so fast everyone likes it, kids like it. Quick Dinner, the, I'm really having fun with these whole grain products and I really like them and with the flour you can make a killer Graham cracker. We really like those at our house. I loved your Graham crackers over there they were so good. Yeah. So you can use those as a Graham cracker pie crust too oh nice. And they freeze well, and you can get some convenience out of freezing them to make it when you have time and pull it out of the freezer later.
So just explain to my guests that are listening to your show, well if you want to make one of your products like your soups or your whipped topping, like what do you need to add to make your, to make your products. So most of them are just add water. The soups are all just add water, heat 'em up, bring 'em to a boil. Except for the tomato it doesn't have to boil so that makes it especially good for traveling because you just stir it into hot water. The muffin and baking mixes you need water, eggs, and oil, egg replacements do work well. If your egg free pretty much like a cake mix. And if your egg free, can you also just take out the eggs all together and use those products as well? I don't know. I haven't, I've tried to egg substitutes but I haven't tried, no eggs completely Okay. So that might be something we can, my listeners could try and experiment with for sure cause I'm always experimenting with food. Yeah, Yeah they might not be as tall. Super well with flax and flax also increases the shelf life of breads if you put flax in it. Oh I did not know that. Yeah. If you use a flax egg replacement it will extend your shelf life. So what egg replacement do you like to use? Like what's your favorite? I almost always use flax and that's a new product that we'll be having soon. I'm doing, it's just like ground flax seed. Yes. But the flax I've found is ground ultra fine it worked. The finer it's ground, the better it works. That makes sense because the surface area on the flax, that will be our next product to add. Oh that sounds really great. I'm really excited about getting some of your stuff cause I haven't gone really shopping today cause it's pretty much just sitting at my booth but I definitely wanna come over and grab some things from you for sure today.
When did you realize like after you started your business that you started really having a significant impact on how people, like how people ate that started buying your products? It's mostly when I interact with the public that they come up and tell me like today it's been so fun. Oh I use it all the time, Oh my kids will eat this food, we eat together as a family. People will email me and tell me thank you. And it's fun.
So Laura, if somebody wants to buy your products, where would you direct them to go? Like if they wanted to get your soups or your desserts. And by the way, she also has some really good puddings on as well. So where should they go? They should go if they're in Utah, they're in lots of local grocery stores. There's a few in Idaho. Otherwise you can purchase them on my website Vivian's live again.com or Amazon. My website is cheaper and any order of $20 or more gets free shipping. So it's a pretty low free shipping threshold. I definitely agree with that. I think that's why I had a whole got a whole stack of it the last time just to get the free shipping. But it works because I eat it all at the time. Yeah.
So Laura, tell me a little bit more about your desserts and you're pudding, cause we talked about your whipped topping. So tell me about, your desserts your puddings and how you came about to use those, create those for your product. I didn't realize that pudding didn't set up with non-dairy milk because I'm not dairy free, but I was teaching a class and the ladies were saying something about, Oh I really wish I could have pudding. And I said, well can't you just use like the mix? They're gluten free and dairy free and they, the ladies told me, no it doesn't set up. So I tried different milks and sure enough soy is a little better than the other ones but still didn't set up. And I thought plus some people can't eat soy. Yeah. So I thought this is dumb. I can figure this out and so I did and I put in that one. I needed something that would give it the texture and the feel it needed, but I didn't, i didn't want to put soy in. i didn't want to put a bunch of corn starch, Maltodextrin kind of stuff in it. So we use banana flour. Banana flour, that is interesting. I never thought of, I didn't even know there was banana flour available. Yeah, they make it out of green bananas. Oh that's so cool. That's neat. So it sets up in all non-dairy milks with the exception of rice. Rice has an enzyme in it that makes the starches not gel. You can, if you boil your rice milk first, it will still work. It never gets. Do you have to kill the enzyme in the rice milk first. yeahkind of like Fresh pineapple and Jello just doesn't work very well. But all the other ones that I've ever tried worked great. Wow, that's really interesting.
So what other products would you like to talk about today your desserts and your soups. So is there anything else that you'd like to highlight or tell my listeners about you feel like would really be a good choice for them? I am really excited to bring these whole grain things but just no one is offering that. And even if things are starting to say whole grains, but you look at the ingredient list and the whole grains are right before Xanthan gum, which means there's almost, none of them are there after the starches. So yes they have whole grains but they're not mostly whole grains right cause the ingredient list goes from like the most percentage of what you have in that ingredients to like the least. So Laura, what are your future plans for your business? Like what are your, where are you planning to take your next step? Doing some more allergen free things? Products I'm making now three of our soups have soy in them. But when I saw that that was a problem, I started trying to move away from soy. So most of the things that I've come out recently with don't have soy in them.
What is your ask of my audience? Like what would you like them to do? Would you like them to visit you on social media? I'm most active on Facebook but I'm starting to do more Instagram. When I bought Tree Street Grains, he has a mill, so I'm miil this stuff, the grains fresh, they don't have preservatives or anything in them, but I don't do very big batches at a time. So when you order your flours and your muffin mixes, all those are fresh. Okay, and so on Facebook, I know people can find you at Vivian's live again. And then on Instagram, how can people find you? It's Vivian's live again and quite often when I'm milling I will put on Instagram milling grain today order for super fresh. And then you have your website which has videos live again. And can people also order a bulk from you as well? Like if they're not a store but they have a large family cause we have a lot of large families here in Utah. Yes they can. Or like they're gluten free groups can put an order together and right now I'm just working with my web guy to put together some packages that will be bigger things for families and people who want to order more, kind of maximize the packaging and the shipping so I can give better deals. Awesome. Well thank you so much Laura. I so enjoyed having you here today, so thank you for coming out. My pleasure. Thank you. And thank you for providing people who are, you know, who don't, can't eat gluten and dairy with a really good oh good alternative that's portable because that's really important especially when you're traveling and going places as well. Well thank you. It's been fun.
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