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.
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!