Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best and the Rest of 2009

Happy New Year!

I've been mulling the people, places, and things that have made my gluten-free life more bearable this year. I call it the Best and the Rest because, well, there are so many to name -- and they're all great. And yeah. This is a long list.

So in words, links and pictures, I'd like to present the first-ever

Ging Recommends! The Best and The Rest of 2009

I'd like to start with people, and at the top of my list, at 1. and 2. are my "Gluten Free Gurlz" -- Lori Pocock (on left) and Jennifer D. Harris (aka JGF).

These women have been such a wonderful addition to my life. I've really gotten to know them this year, and we've had great times at the Atlanta Gluten-Free Vendor Fair, and at brunch at the Four Seasons. And other places in between.

But the best of 2009 starts with these two GF friends. And OH, the things we have planned for 2010!

And trust me, folks, you're going to be hearing A LOT about and from Jennifer Harris in 2010.

Jennifer is also the GF Product Specialist at Return to Eden in Atlanta. Visit her when you're in town. A tour by Jennifer is worth your time, and worth the trip.

The rest of these people really rocked my world with their friendship AND their products this year.I feel a gluten-free kinship and fellowship with them all.

Marilyn Santulli and American Gra-Frutti

Everything Marilyn Santulli produces at American Gra-Frutti is product with integrity and lots of gluten-free love. I have to say I have my favorites -- Peppermint Creams, the It's Not Fruitcake, and also the They'll Never Know cake.

But my favorite product is the luscious Peachtree Pimento cheese spread! Here it is with another favorite of the year, Udi's Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread. Grilled.

Eric Larsen and the fine folks at Starfish Gluten-Free.

I love the battered cod, but more than that, I love the spirit and heart of this company. Eric Larsen has become and email/Facebook friend, and I'm glad I know him. And I'm always glad to reccomend this wonderful product.

And next year? Shrimp and tilapia. Can't wait.

Jill Brack and GLOW Gluten Free

Why I love GLOW and Jill Brack is simple: A heart for the community. She is one of the products featured in the first gluten-free food bank. Her generosity is amazing. Her cookies are better than home-made cookies. Win win. (see post below this for more).

Shelley Ritchie of Moondance Heavenly Desserts.

Shelley's from Georgia, and she's trying very hard to get into Whole Foods. I've been trying to help. She has THE BEST, period, bar none, brownies in the world.

They look like this

but taste...heavenly. And they're available through Gluten Free Mall.

The Best Gluten-Free Places of 2009:

1. Denver, Colorado, is the best gluten-free place on earth. It starts that this is the home my GF brother-from-another-mother, GF Steve! I truly cherish his insight and friendship and love. I can't wait to go to Denver to meet him and The Artist this August. While our friendship has grown from our blogs, it has transcended those blogs.

Also in Denver is perhaps the most important product I found this year -- Udi's Gluten Free. It wins the GF GOLD AWARD of 2009 in my book.

Because of Udi's, I will never have to settle for mediocre gluten-free bread again. Ever. The fact that the lovely Heather Collins at Udi's made me the Southeast Super Here (complete with cape) means I will do anything to get Udi's in a GF person's pantry. Seriously. I even went to stores in Tampa this break with Udi's to get the word out about their fine breads, muffins, and pizza crust. Udi's is Da Place. and Da Bomb.

Check out that sandwich above...wish I could show you my pizza I'm making for dinner.

Also in Denver is a special woman named Gluten-Free Dee, Dee Valdez.

She is the instigator of the first ever gluten-free food bank in Loveland, Colorado. She has inspired me to try to found one of these in my community, in middle Georgia, and in Atlanta. I know I will have great guidance and love with this. What a loving, giving spirit. So inspirational.

So yeah, I wanna go to Denver and take all of you with me!

And finally, the rest for 2009

Shoutouts to:

Gluten Free Gobsmacked author Kate Chan and the chicklet. How happy am I? Aunt Ging says hey!

The Atlanta Metro Celiacs
and Middle Georgia GIG

Chef James Harris at Harrah's Atlantic City

Lee Tobin and the Whole Foods GF Bakehouse

GFMeals from Your Dinner Secrets (Pork cutlets!)

Nebo Restaurant in Boston


Coconut Bliss

Blue Moon Pizza in Smyrna, Georgia

Outback in Roswell, Ga.

Sally's Bakery on Roswell Road

and of course,

My sweet Randy


to Lobster, the original GF food, anywhere

Much love, and here's to 2010.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Who needs a cookie swap? I've got GLOW!

Because of issues with my autistic son's behavioral wanderlust, I didn't feel especially encouraged to attend my GIG's annual holiday cookie swap last weekend.

But thanks to Glow Gluten Free cookies, my cupboard is filled with delicious cookie treats!

I've said many times I'm not a baker -- my Mama, may she rest in peace, was the one who supplied our house with cookies and cakes. She was especially happy during the holidays, when she baked batches of Anise Cookies and Snowballs, and of course, Snickerdoodles for the love of her life, my son, Jeffrey.

Jeffrey loves Snickerdoodles. At first I thought they might be made with Snickers bars, but they're not -- they're a rich sugar cookie, rolled in cinnamon sugar. Sure, I could make them, but not like my Mama. (Jeffrey occasionally sneaks a package of raw dough into his grocery basket...and I baked some a while ago that were delicious.) But I'm no cookie baker.

When Mama died, there was a bag of Snickerdoodles in her freezer, and Jeffrey transported it to our freezer. He parceled out those cookies for about a year, eating them one at a time, about one a week.

I didn't think I could replicate my mother's Snickerdoodles, until a few weeks ago, when Jill Brandt, the lovely person behind Glow Gluten Free cookies, sent me a sampling of her wares. I actually approached her for additional samples -- I'd already purchased two types, the Gingersnap and the Double Chocolate Chip. I've bought both since, and will buy them again. (Hat tip toJGF -- she brought me the Gingersnaps....yummmmmmy!)

But oh, those Snickerdoodles. They're my Mama's Snickerdoodles, but healthier and better than ever.

When they're first out of the box, the Snickerdoodles are crisp. I actually put mine in the microwave for about 8 second, and it was perfectly warm and crispy. But I put them away after one cookie...and I didn't seal them well. But to my surprise, the second day, they were just a tad moister and softer -- exactly like my Mama's.


Now, the unique selling point of Glow Gluten Free is that each cookie has two grams of fiber, is gluten and dairy free, and has 13 grams of carbs and nine grams of sugar. If you go to this page, you'll see ALL the nutritional information about these great cookies.

This Christmas eve, Santa will pull a fast one on Jeffrey. Instead of his leaving cookies for Santa, Santa will be stuffing his stocking with Glow Gluten Free Snickerdoodles, a real taste of home.

Thank you, Jill. You and Glow really have made my holiday season this year!

Much love, and I'm all a GLOW!


The cookie details: Seven per package, and each cookie is a generous serving.
Cost: Around $7 a package

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blue Moon, you knew just what I was there for...

You heard me saying a prayer for...
Glluten-free pizza I could care for

With apologies to Rodgers and Hart (and everyone who recorded it,) I think of that song every time I think of Blue Moon Pizza in Marietta and Vinings (We visited the one just off I-285 at the S. Atlanta Road exit).

A few weeks ago, my Gluten-Free Gurl Jennifer Harris invited me to meet her for lunch at Blue Moon. I'd heard and read the raves for the pizza there, but we were in search of the gluten-free pizza. Jennifer and another of the GFGs, the fabulous Julie Arens of Outback in Roswell, had tried it, and I knew I had to try it, too.

See that beautiful pizza? I gotta say, it is THE BEST gluten-free pizza I've ever had. The. Best. Ever. And I also tried the cheesy bread, which is JGF's favorite there.

The crust was crispy, the meaty toppings fresh, and the whole thing was just amazing...

This is Kelvin!

I met Kelvin Slater, who the proprietor with his wife Mandy, and I congratulated him on the great product. There's a lot of neat stuff about their menu and motive on their beautiful website, too. That's a great feature there about JGF, too!

Blue Moon Pizza's motto is, "life should be less ordinary". The gluten-free pizza sure isn't ordinary -- it's extraordinary.

Much love, and can't wait to go back next weekend!


Here's the hot slice:

The menu: (my gluten-eaters loved it, too. They had a bacon cheeseburger pizza)

2 Great Locations!

Marietta Store:
Phone: 770-984-2444
Fax: 770-818-2496
2359 Windy Hill Rd
Marietta, GA 30067
(1 mile west of I-75) Vinings Store:
Phone: 770-436-4446
Fax 770-436-4406
4600 West Village Place
Smyrna, GA 30080
(South Atlanta Rd. at I-285)

Follow them on Twitter @Bluemoonpizza and tell them Ging sent you!


Sunday, December 6, 2009