Friday, June 20, 2014

{Enjoy Life Foods Friday} Our Trip to the #EatFreely Factory

Today is a special edition of {Enjoy Life Foods Friday}! It's all about our trip last week to the factory in Schiller Park, Illinois. 

In today's post, I talk about our trip and awesome day we had with our food allergy friends visiting Enjoy Life, as well as, photos and yummy details about the company themselves.

First, I wanted to start off with something special which is a video of Little Miss and I (yes, a video! Something I have been wanting to do more of and there's no time like the present). Unrehearsed and unedited, lol, so forgive our silliness in some parts. ;) 

As you'll see, Little Miss was nervous at first but turned into a goof ball at the end like she normally is. Love her, silly girl. 

The reason I wanted to share this was to give Little Miss' perspective about Enjoy Life and our trip. Obviously, as parents' we know how great it is to have a company you can rely on for gluten & top 8 allergen free products - but what does that mean to a kid and what did she learn from our trip?

Check it out and see for yourself:  

The day started awesome. Little Miss and I were so happy to be on our way! The night before she said "I can't sleep mom, I'm too excited!" It was so precious to see her so pumped up for our visit to Enjoy Life and see our friends from Vegetarian Mamma & Our Life as an Epi Family

When were about an hour from the factory, I blew a tire on the expressway. Boo! I found a nail, apparently, in the road. 
We wouldn't let it bring us down. Thankfully, I learned about an amazing program called Hoosier Helpers. It's a Good Samaritan program sponsored by State Farm. They offer assistance with flat tires, if you run out of gas, medical emergencies, and minor mechanical problems. Shout out!

It was going to take the tow company 45 minutes but thanks to Hoosier Helpers we were back on the road in 25 minutes. Woo! It made us a little late for our tour, but thankfully our friends and the Enjoy Life team were understanding.  

Once we arrived, I was greeted with big hugs from my little buddy Ben (Cindy of VegetarianMamma's son - love him) right at my car door. They were so sweet to all wait for me to get there to begin! 

We walked in to a sign greeting us, which the kids loved seeing that they were "special guests" that day!

It was so great to see Kasey & Carolyn of Enjoy Life Foods again when we arrived. We were all invited to sit down in the conference room to get acquainted and the kids got to snack on some treats of their choice. They know a way to a food allergy kid's heart, for sure... with chocolate. lol 

After some discussions about the company and factory itself, which they newly expanded (again!) we got our coats and hairnets on so we could begin the tour. 

Little Miss insisted bringing her notebook with her so that she could take notes and draw pictures of what we saw. So cute. 

They take contamination very seriously. Before we could walk into the factory, we all had to wash up and sanitize. We we told workers also had to wash up and change before they could enter for work, as well.

Not only that, you'll see on your packages they note the foods is made in a dedicated gluten & nut free facility. That goes for their front office too! They're not allowed to have gluten or nut products on the premises. I love that they go that extra step to keep everyone safe. 

The kids, and adults for that matter, were immediately captivated by the delicious smells as soon as we entered. A mix of baked goods, cinnamon, and chocolate. I'm hungry just thinking about it!

One of the things that most impressed me was the fact that when they put on their cookie packages "handcrafted cookies" they mean it! There is still a lot of their baking and preparation of the cookies that is done by hand, that also includes the packaging of the cookies and even the sugar on your Snickerdoodle Cookies - it's sprinkled on by hand. That's the extra love and care that goes into Enjoy Life Foods products

Since it was cookie making day in the factory, we got to sample the Double Chocolate Brownie and Snickerdoodle Cookies warm from the ovens. OH-MY-YUM! I have always loved those cookies but warm and fresh? Hello! 

Enjoy Life is growing! For example, they use to only have three ovens and now they've expanded (over time) to NINE. That's awesome! That means more products being made and shipped... and into our bellies. 

Did you know that they also send their cookie boxes through a metal detector? That way they can ensure no metal pieces from the machines, or anywhere else for that matter, may have accidentally invaded your products. For the record, we had no red lights go off while we were there... lol... I just love knowing there's that extra precaution in place! 

Lauren's of Our Life as an Epi Family's littlest guy, Atticus, enjoying his cookie samples. He was so adorable! I think everyone he met that day was invited to his birthday party. ;) 

I think one of the kiddos other favorite areas was seeing the Mini Chips in the bagging process. We all giggled as the kids stood there with jaws dropped watching their beloved chocolate go down the line. They didn't want to leave that area!

Again, the extra care and attention. As those bags of chips come around, someone hand checks each bag to ensure they're sealed properly and okay for shipment.

We also got to see "behind the scenes" where they do in house recipe testing and another area where they will randomly test batches of product to ensure that they meet the Enjoy Life standards for food allergies and safety testing. 

Photo of the crew that day, red hairnets and all! 
Pictured left to right: Keeley McGuire, my Little Miss, Cindy of & her two boys, Lauren of EpiFamily & her two boys, along with her mother (aka "grandma"- who was a great help that day).  

After the tour, the team at Enjoy Life Foods was so wonderful giving each of us a bag of goodies to take home - most of which, not gonna lie, was eaten before we left the factory or even made it home. lol

They also gave us cool t'shirts, which Little Miss insisted on wearing right then, that sport the Eat Freely campaign. 

After the tour, our crew went to Red Robin to enjoy a gluten free & allergy friendly meal all together. 

We gave them a task for sure, everyone had an allergy-specialty meal. It was so wonderful though, dining with friends "who get it" and the kids all behaving and playing so well together. Understanding of one another and they all "felt the same". Just a wonderful day all around.

One the way home, Little Miss told me it was such an awesome day. That she almost forgot she even had food allergies because everyone was just like her! It was just such a calm and comfortable day. As a food allergy parent, you couldn't ask for anything more!


1 comment:

  1. This is so awesome. If we ever go to Illinois, we will add this factory tour to our vacation plans! :)


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