Flourless Chocolate Cake for gfe’s Two-Year Blogiversary (imagine two candles!)
Something you probably don’t know about me is I have a thing for calendars. I absolutely love a good calendar. Luckily, Mr. GFE shares my passion. In fact, he says that’s how you can tell if a diner or a family-style restaurant is a good one … by the number of calendars from local businesses on their walls. He said it shows that the local businessmen frequent the restaurant and offer up a calendar to the owners at the end of the year in gratitude for all the good meals they’ve been served. Oh, he also says you can tell if such a restaurant is good by the number of pick-up trucks in the parking lot. So if he sees a lot of pickup trucks, we stop, then we look at the calendars behind the counter, and finally, I survey the menu for gluten-free options. So far this method has worked well for us over the years, even after going gluten free. Anyway, we have calendars everywhere in our house. In the kitchen alone, there are four. Plus, there’s one in the hall, two in the living room, another in our bedroom, and one in our guest room/computer room. I have a daily perpetual inspirational calendar on my end table in the living room near where I hang out with my laptop. There’s usually even a calendar in the bathroom, too, and we both have more calendars at our places of work. All of our calendars cover various subjects and many are gifts each year from family members and friends.
This year I received the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die wall calendar from one of my best friends, Kathi. I’ve got a spot just perfect for it and I’ve already been drooling over the photos and dreaming of more travel adventures. Previously, Kathi gave me the book by the same title and the journal. I’m not really one to journal (blogging is as close as I come to that, and it’s pretty close!), but I do love to use the journal to take notes on trips to share in future blog posts, although I’m still always behind on those. Kathi also gave me the tiny Women’s Wit Calendar that one can stick on the refrigerator or set on a desk. Each day a different quote is shared from a famous woman. Of coure, I had to flip through and read some of them. Most are just entertainment; some are truly inspiring. I also received a Charles Wysocki Americana wall calendar. Wysocki’s calendar is on my wish list every year. Each month, I find myself uplifted by the simple, beautiful, and often whimsical portrayals of life. A friend who is a passionate nature photographer made a desk calendar of her best photos using Snapfish’s services. With black and white backgrounds and her stunning photographs of lotus blossoms, magnolia leaves, rose blooms, and more, this calendar will spiff up my desk and brighten my day. I order four Virginia Wildlife Calendars each year—one for my father, one for us at home, and one for each of us at work. We can see the sunrise and sunset info, low tides and high tides, see what’s happening in the local wildlife world (on January 10, the deer will start losing their antlers and on the 15th great horned owls and bald eagles begin nesting), see full moons (waxing and waning), and, of course, enjoy gorgeous wildlife photos.
But the calendar that suits today the best is a perpetual calendar that my husband’s buddy gave him many years ago. It’s a little flip calendar with a quote or inspirational saying done in calligraphy. Admittedly, at the time, it seemed like an odd gift from one guy to another, but it’s given us joy and/or cause for reflection daily, year after year. Yesterday’s message seemed appropriate for my 2-year blogiversary here at gfe. I already shared the message on my personal Facebook page, but want to repeat it here.
“Merry is a word for Christmas. Happy is a word for New Year. Thanks is a word for all year.”
The most important word in that quote is “thanks” … thanks to all of you for being gfe readers. While I can ramble on in my posts here at gfe (as evidenced by my sharing on calendars!), reply to comments here and have some great exchanges, get on my gluten-free soapbox on my gfe Facebook page (or just share the latest day in and day out), and do some rapid fire tweeting from time to time, it’s harder for me to put into words what gfe means to me and what all of you—who make connections with me here and elsewhere—mean to me. I truly hope that you know how much I appreciate you from all those exchanges and interactions, but, again, thanks … so very much.
As far as the 2-year blogiversary itself, I still can’t believe it … where did the time go? It’s been a very good 2 years, but in many ways, I feel like gfe is just getting warmed up. My intent with gfe has been to spread the word on living gluten free easily—gfe. I think that living gfe has happened for some, but more folks need to know that one can live gfe by focusing on whole, real foods; some mainstream foods that are gluten free; and just a few gluten-free specialty products. Following that approach, one can make simple, but wonderful recipes and meals, that don’t break the budget, that keep one healthy, and, basically, just keep life saner. I still get emails and messages weekly from folks who have just been diagnosed as celiac or gluten intolerant who tell me they can’t afford to eat gluten free or they can’t handle eating gluten free. I know that following the gfe approach can solve both issues because I also hear from folks who are following the gfe approach and consider it a lifesaver. They tell me they are finally enjoying food again and focusing on what they can eat versus what they cannot, that they are finally enjoying the holidays with their families, that they are no longer worried that they will be able to afford their gluten-free food, and much more. I am humbled by your feedback and just the fact that you are here! Please continue to tell people about gfe. If you’re like me, you’d like others to avoid any heartaches that you’ve had to go through on your gluten-free path. And, even those who aren’t gluten free can benefit from following the gfe approach. But enough, already, I want to wish all of you the happiest of new years! I lift a virtual “glass of cheer” to each of you. May 2011 bring you hugs, health, and happiness! All of those truly do go together.
Finally, the 25 Days of Christmas event is complete. It took me the 31 days of December (plus time today) to do it and there were some glitches along the way, but it was fun and I hope you enjoyed it. All the links are shown below and include a variety of posts. Several posts went up in the last few days, so please make sure you didn’t miss any. By the time this is posted, only one giveaway will remain open, but it’s a fantastic one from Elana’s Pantry with cookbooks, tote bags, and even a cool Elana’s Pantry t-shirt (I hope the winner wears a size medium!). Check out all below. For the first part of 2011, I’ll be getting back to some basics here at gfe to better serve our new readers and as a refresher for the rest of us. As always stay tuned–thanks! More news: The winners of Steph O’Dea’s (A Year of Slow Cooking) great new cookbook, More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow (200 brand new, budget-friendly recipes), have been posted here.
Day 1 – Gluten-Free Holiday Giveaway Galore x 10—Giveaway of the new book, Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?, plus gluten-free treats and fun stuff. (Although giveaway has ended; you can still order Katie’s new book here. )
Day 6 — Nutiva Products (Coconut, Hemp x 2, & Chia) Review and Giveaway (Giveaway has ended.)
Day 7 — Reindeer Antlers Punch for Share Our Holiday Table (You can still give and feed a child.)
Day 11 — Kitchen Table Bakers Crisps Review and Giveaway (Giveaway has ended.)
Day 13 — The Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods & Desserts Cookbook Review and Giveaway (Giveaway has ended.)
Day 17 — Review and Giveaway of Ricki Heller’s Desserts Without Compromise (Giveaway has ended.)
Day 18 — An Unexpected Christmas Blessing
Day 20 — Review: Oskri Organic Bars
Day 21 — Giveaway of Stephanie O’Dea’s More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow Cookbook (Giveaway has ended.)
Day 23 — Review: Handy Gluten-Free Crab Cakes
Day 24 — Giveaway of Elana’s Pantry Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbooks, Totes, and T-Shirt (Giveaway ends Friday, January 7, at midnight.)