Catching Up and Moving Forward

First, I want to thank Triumph Dining and all of you who took time to vote in their 2012 Best of Gluten-Free Awards. Almost 10,000 people voted and in the end, I was voted a Runner Up for Best Gluten-Free Blog. That distinction is really amazing—thank you so very much! The fact that I shared the runner up spot with one of my very favorites, Karina, Gluten-Free Goddess, is even more amazing. There were even more favorites of mine in the listing to choose from, so again, thanks to all who voted for me for this honor! You can see all the winners and runners up on Triumph’s 2012 Best of Gluten-Free Awards site.

Have you noted the winners of the last two gfe giveaways? For the NuNaturals stevia products and Elizabeth Barbone’s new gluten-free cookbook, How to Cook Gluten Free: Over 150 Recipes That Really Work? The posts have been updated (here and here, respectively) to show the winners and those gfe readers have been contacted. Thanks again to all who entered! I’ll talk a little bit more on future giveaways in a minute.

Now it’s time for a year four end-of-first-quarter adjustment if you will. Say what? Allow me to explain. From “day one” when I started my blog on the last day of 2008, my mission has been to educate folks on gluten issues and show all how eating gluten free can be easy if you focus on “real” foods versus processed and specialty foods. Yes, that’s exactly what’s stated for my gluten free easily approach on my sidebar. To achieve my gfe mission, I set out to share my simple gfe recipes (the ones that are super easy to make and taste wonderful to everyone and others that I’ve created to work for those who are intolerant of more than gluten), personal stories (personal stories have the power to diagnose, validate, encourage, and much more), and finally discussion posts (like does eating gluten free have to be more expensive? is it normal to grieve gluten and can you get past that grieving? what can I do to recover after being “glutened”? and tell me again why I should live gfe?).

Those categories of posts are the most important to me and, per your feedback, also to you. Yet I’ve made so many other commitments with events, reviews, giveaways, and such that I’ve gotten away from those “core” posts. I’ve gotten away too much. Way too much. I often have a queue of blog posts that I want to share, but I simply can’t because I’ve got to do posts “x, y, and z” first, so the posts that come from my heart get pushed to the back of the agenda. That occurrence is going to change. There will still be reviews of cookbooks and resource books that I find valuable, but there will be far fewer product reviews and giveaways. Although relatively speaking there are few such reviews that I agree to do to begin with and such posts look simple enough, they are time consuming and, again, take away from my work on my other priorities. Plus there are numerous gluten-free blogs and websites that already share that kind of information. In the future, I’ll be more likely to share such “reviews” in brief mentions via other forums.

Speaking of those other forums … what else is going to change? Well, you’re likely to see me less on social media. When I first started gfe, I was excited about every post that I shared, because I was focusing on only the three areas I just shared and gfe was my whole focus. I didn’t have a Twitter account. I didn’t have a Facebook account. I didn’t have a Pinterest account, etc. Yes, I’ve come to really enjoy the communities of folks I interact with via social media and I like to touch base with all of you in various spots online and still will, especially since as I just stated some information is better shared in those forums (like “Buy One Get One” quarts of Tropical Traditions coconut oil and $10 off $40 first-time orders (or $5 off under $40 orders) at iHerb when using my affiliate code, LUT179). I also love to gather info from those forums, so you’ll still see me on them quite often, but gfe will be my main activity hub for sharing info that I think is valuable. (You’ll even see some of that type of sharing in this post.) If you don’t want to miss out on anything here on gfe, be sure to sign up for email updates or updates by RSS/reader.

Another heads up:  Before I move on to my new / “old” approach, I have to do some “spring cleaning.” So you’ll want to stay tuned for reviews and giveaways, culminating in another gfe Extreme Giveaway at the end of the week. Stay on top of these posts because they may be posted “back to back” and the turnaround on these giveaways will be quick!

Next week, I’ll be hosting one of my gfe exclusive events. It’s one of my favorites actually, March Muffin Madness. I love a good muffin! Look for all types of muffins throughout the last week of that other March Madness event. (Son’s college team is out of the running, so admittedly, I’m not too excited on that one.) Each day there will be a gfe-sponsored giveaway of items that will help you with your muffin baking … some good stuff … that’s all I’m saying—hehe! There will even be a linky at the conclusion of the event for you bloggers to share your best gluten-free muffin recipes. Grab the badge and spread the word on March Muffin Madness!

Lauren (Lauren David Style) is offering an Allergy-Free Survival Kit. The kit itself, although valued at over $100, is free, but there is a $19.95 shipping and handling charge. (Lauren states that no profit is made on this charge.) So you’ll want to check out the contents and other info via the link to see if this would be a worthwhile expenditure for you. While you’re checking out Lauren’s site, be sure to read her review of my friend Alisa’s Go Dairy Free resource book. Alisa was one of the first folks to do a remote presentation to my support group several years ago. In my opinion and that of many others, Alisa remains the foremost expert on living dairy free and now I’m lucky enough to call her a dear friend “in real life” (IRL).

Be sure to check out Alisa’s recent review of Healthier Without Wheat. As she states, and many of us know, there’s a big “crossover” between gluten and dairy intolerances. You’ll find lots of gluten-free, dairy-free recipes both on her Go Dairy Free site and her Alisa Cooks blog. In fact, you’ll see Alisa quite a few other places online, too. Her recipes are wonderful!

Do you need gluten-free meal ideas? Maybe you’re new to living gluten free or just in a meal rut. Every week, Heidi (Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom) shares her menu plan along with other thoughts on her mind and a Gluten-Free 101 tutorial (this past week’s menu plan included info on ready-made chicken broth). Heidi’s family eats more than “just gluten free” these days, but she always shares links to recipes that are only gluten free as well. Linda (The Gluten-Free Homemaker) also shares what her family has enjoyed for meals from the previous week. Here’s her latest “after the fact” listing. Finally, each week a number of terrific gluten-free bloggers participate in the Gluten-Free Menu Swap. The overall event is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family, but each week a different blogger hosts and chooses the theme. This week, Wendy (Celiacs in the House) is the hostess and she selected Cookbook Inspiration as the theme. Head over to her blog to see all the folks participating and which cookbooks they looked to for inspiration.

blogging event, Celiacs in the House, Wendy Kaho Wendy’s own series, In My Gluten-Free Kitchen, will go on throughout this entire year. I think this event is one of the most enjoyable blog series in a long while, whether one is gluten free or not. Who doesn’t want to peek into others’ kitchens? You’ll see the kitchens of gluten-free bloggers you know and those you haven’t yet met. You’ll see big kitchens, small kitchens, and average-sized kitchens. Do these kitchens look like yours? Are they basic and cozy? Are they high tech with all the gizmos? Every kitchen is different, of course, and all of them offer a glimpse into that blogger’s “real life.” These posts offer design ideas, storage tips, menu planning ideas, and much more. The latest kitchen and the ideas shared by the featured blogger are fascinating to me—it’s Kristin Celeste’s Intentional Minimalist Kitchen. I think you’ll be as excited about Kristin’s ideas as I am. Many thanks to Wendy for creating this series!

Speaking of “in real life” again, we had my IRL gluten-free support group meeting Tuesday night. The food theme was pizza and green food (the latter to belatedly honor St. Patrick’s Day, of course). So that’s also our food theme for our next GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group, which will take place on Tuesday, April 3rd.  At that time, plan on sharing what you’re bringing to our meeting in a comment or via the linky. Plus, I’ll share the presentation from our meeting and a related giveaway. Hope to see you then, and if you want to get a better idea on how The GFE Virtual Gluten-Free Support Group works, you can check out last month’s meeting here. But basically all you have to do is show up each month. Like my IRL support group, there are no dues and no commitments … just a bunch of folks coming together to share great info and wonderful, safe food, as well as lend an ear …or a hug, or both. Hey, that last line also pretty much sums up my entire mission for gfe. Hope that’s one you can support and that you will be here with us for all that’s ahead!


Not just gf, but gfe!

Full Disclosure/Disclaimer: This post may contain one or more affiliate links. If you purchase through them, your cost will always be the same, but I will receive a small commission. Thanks for the support! Read the full disclaimer here.


39 Responses to “Catching Up and Moving Forward”

  1. Vicky on March 22nd, 2012 5:49 pm


    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 12:16 pm

      Hi Vicky–Thanks so much! Happy Sunday! :-)


  2. Melissa @ glutenfreeforgood on March 22nd, 2012 5:54 pm

    Wow, Shirley! What a great and deserving honor for you! Heartfelt congratulations!!

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 12:17 pm

      Hey Melissa–Your words are so very much appreciated! Thank you, dear! :-)


  3. Amber on March 22nd, 2012 9:50 pm

    Hi Shirley,

    First off, a well deserved congratulations! You work so hard for all of us! So awesome!!

    I like how you are getting back to your “core.” And I can definitely see how things get a little derailed with a growing blog. I look forward to more of your gluten free recipes for sure!!

    And also looking forward to April 3rd and the next Virtual Support Group!

    Oh, and muffin madness (so much fun)!

    All in all, Shirley, it sounds like you are finding a balance and this is always good practice in life. :-)

    Have a great weekend!


    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 12:58 pm

      Hi Amber–You are always so very, very generous to me—thank you! A little more to go before I can be back at my core, but it’s comign and it feels good. :-)

      I think balance is a bit of a misnomer as when we are pefectly balanced, we could be sitting still … which doesn’t make for much of a life. So I’ve decided that balance is the art of feeling pretty good while constantly moving forward, and eliminating the things (when possible) that don’t allow one to do that. ;-) I’m always a “work in progress”!

      It’s been a good weekend here. Hope yours has been, too! And oh, yeah, muffins. Soon. :-) xo,

      • Amber on March 25th, 2012 1:26 pm

        I agree Shirley!

        Here’s one of my favorite quotes that I try and live by:


        It does not mean to be in a place
        where there is no noise, trouble or
        hard work. It means to be in the midst
        of those things and still be calm in your heart.



        • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 4:25 pm

          Amber, I’ve read that one before and love it. Thanks so much for sharing it with me again! Now I can save it in my Quotes file. Yes, I have one here on my laptop; one on our desktop; and one on my work computer, too. LOL I do like my inspirational quotes, don’t I? ;-)


  4. Ina Gawne on March 23rd, 2012 9:32 am

    Congratulations Shirley – that is so awesome – and an award very much deserved! Yeahhhhhh for GFE!

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:14 pm

      Thank you, Ina. It’s always an odd feeling to share any accolades about one’s self, but as I stated, I am truly honored and I appreciate everyone’s support of me and gfe! :-)


  5. Heidi on March 23rd, 2012 10:05 am

    So proud of you Shirley and I could not agree with you more…the reviews and giveaways can take too much time away from the more important – and useful – stuff that we are most passionate about. Kudos to you from getting back to your roots!

    So much great information shared here today and I agree about Wendy’s kitchen series, who doesn’t love sneaking a peek into other people’s kitchens?

    Thanks for the link love, I really appreciate it. Now if I can just figure out how to get my site from crashing 3+ times a day! (Another one of “those” behind-the-scenes blogger things that keep us from doing what we love most).


    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:18 pm

      Awww, Heidi, your words make me get all mushy … thank you! Gotta finish my “spring cleaning” pronto to get back to those roots! ;-)

      Oh, no, on your site crashing! I knew it was taking a while to load, but didn’t know about that problem. Yikes! Fingers crossed that it’s all resolved now, dear.


  6. Peter Bronski on March 23rd, 2012 11:42 am

    Hi Shirley… Congrats on being named runner up for your blog! Well deserved! Have a great weekend.


    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:29 pm

      Hi Pete–Thank you so much! Awards are kind of a funny thing. One is honored beyond words to receive such recognition, but one also thinks about the many others who are left out. There are truly so many gluten-free blogs who deserve recognition, including No Gluten, No Problem. I know your and Kelli’s blog has been recognized as one of the best in the past and I am sure it will be in the future. All of us and our blogs are needed as we all bring different things to the gluten-free table. :-)

      All the best,

      • Peter Bronski on March 27th, 2012 7:50 am

        Hi Shirley… You’re absolutely right when you say there are many GF blogs that deserve recognition. And it’s great to see when they are in fact recognized. Savor your recognition! (As I’m sure you are) And yes, we all do bring different things to the literal and metaphorical table. What a benefit for the GF community, where people can find blogs that match their sensibilities and needs. Keep up the fabulous work that you do!

        Cheers, Pete

        • Shirley on March 30th, 2012 9:24 pm

          Thanks again, Pete. Truly.


  7. Cheryl on March 23rd, 2012 12:32 pm

    Many congrats on such a well deserved honor! Personally, I love the “real life” stories from the heart best, and could take or leave the giveaways. Glad that you’re able to make this be what you most will enjoy, and I look forward to all the new fun posts!

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:33 pm

      Thanks, Cheryl … both for the congratulations and for the feedback! Blogging IS so much fun when one only shares the stuff that inspires one, fires one up, makes one joyful, etc. :-)


  8. Linda on March 23rd, 2012 12:57 pm

    Congrats on being the runner up. I saw that last week, but haven’t congratulated you yet. March Muffin Madness sounds like fun, and I love that button.

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:42 pm

      Hi Linda–Thanks so much! :-) There were actually three runners up … me, Karina, and Triumph Dining’s own blog.

      March Muffin Madness … thanks regarding the button! I think I may have forgotten to mention that Lexie did that for me. I love it, too! I’ll need “right down to the wire”—the final game date—for the “real” March Madness to do my “spring cleaning” and get in my muffin recipes. ;-)


  9. SunnyB @ andloveittoo on March 23rd, 2012 1:03 pm

    Congratulations Shirley! I look forward to your many exciting events and hope to still “see” you around no matter what.


    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:43 pm

      Hey Sunny–Thanks, dear! When I think about it, I’m not sure that others will see that much difference. It may just be me who sees and appreciates the difference in gfe the most. ;-)


  10. Donna on March 23rd, 2012 3:18 pm

    You are deserving of an award. Your blog is so information packed it takes me forever to go through all the links.I love your recipes and I can live without the give-aways. I loved the first support group meeting – again more information. Keep up the good work!

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 1:46 pm

      Wow, Donna … thank you! :-) I will do my best to continue to earn such lovely feedback from you. And our next GFE VSG will be here soon! ;-)


  11. Donna Strickler on March 23rd, 2012 3:52 pm

    Hi Shirley – congratulations on being a runner up – it is well deserved. You bring so much to us, and I agree with many above that the info you impart is much more important than the giveaways (although I love my Almond Flour cookbook :-)). Have a great weekend, Donna

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 2:48 pm

      Hi Donna–Thanks so much, dear! :-) To be clear, I won’t stop doing reviews of cookbooks and resource books that I find valuable and want to share with my readers ;-) Last, I’m so happy that you are enjoying Elana’s wonderful first cookbook! :-)

      Happy Sunday!

  12. Alisa on March 23rd, 2012 5:56 pm

    I for one am happy for springing back to the “old” and making it new again! If that makes any sense at all :)

    Thank you for the sweet words! You are always too kind Shirley.

    Looking forward to more GFE!

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 3:15 pm

      Hey Alisa–Well, “old” to “new” makes perfect sense to me! ;-) I only say what’s true, dear … you know that! :-)

      Thanks as always for your encouraging feedback!

  13. InTolerant Chef on March 23rd, 2012 6:49 pm

    How fantastic Shirley! So lovely for you with all the hard work you do for everyone else, congratulations indeed. x o x

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 3:43 pm

      Hey ITC–Thank you so very much, dear! :-)


  14. Zoe on March 23rd, 2012 7:22 pm

    Hey, Shirley – big congrats! And kudos to you for your blogging and social media regime. I can’t imagine you not on Twitter, although I think by the time I got to know you, you were already pretty established. :)

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 4:08 pm

      Zoe–I appreciate all your words, dear! We’ll see if I can hold true to my plans/commitment. So far, so good, even though I’m still clearing out “the old.” All good stuff. ;-)


  15. Sharon Baridon on March 24th, 2012 12:14 pm

    Shirley, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! It is like Christmas when I see your email in my inbox!!! I read and reread and then take notes (sometimes I can be geekish that way). I don’t want to miss anything!!! XOXO! With Blessing, Namaste!

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 4:10 pm

      Oh, Sharon, you are the absolute sweetest! What a lovely thing to say! :-) And I just love “geekish” readers. ;-)

      Thanks so much, dear! xo,

  16. Cindy W. on March 24th, 2012 1:05 pm

    Congratulations on your award, Shirley. Well deserved! I am very grateful for all the time you spend sharing info with all of us. Let me preface this by saying I want you to do whatever fits best for your life and your goals. I find the reviews of products to be very helpful for a few reasons. It alerts us to new products out there or products that I never knew were gf. One of the hardest things I found about going gf is adjusting to the higher costs of gf products. I am on a limited budget so wasting money on something that doesn’t taste good is very upsetting to me. I had a 4 pack of bagels in my freezer for 7 months when first diagnosed that I wouldn’t throw out because of the money I spent. (: But I didn’t want to eat them. I know – I’m weird.(I finally threw out the last 2). So I hope even if you don’t do reviews you will still share with us products that you have enjoyed because it is helpful information for some of us. Most importantly, keep sharing your fabulous spirit and great info.

    • Shirley on March 25th, 2012 4:19 pm

      Hi Cindy–Thank you, dear! :-) I think that you are not alone in needing that help on products. Since I use so few, when I do positively mention a product in the future, you’ll know that it’s one I really liked. I’m assuming you are not on Facebook? I will still share product reviews via brief mentions there on my gfe page.

      Thanks again for being a loyal gfe reader and all your kind words, today and always. Hugs,

  17. Diane-thewholegang on March 26th, 2012 2:35 pm

    Shirley congratulations on your Best of GF award. You totally Rock!

    • Shirley on March 30th, 2012 9:24 pm

      Thank you, Diane! Your words are very much appreciated. :-)


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