Friday, September 24, 2010

Tomorrow is a big day in the ATL!

Don't forget - THE gluten-free event of the year (in the South) is tomorrow in Norcross. If you're in the Atlanta area and are living gluten-free for any reason, there is no place else to be except this amazing show! Stop by my table (in the front hall) and say hello if you attend. And remember to come VERY hungry!

In addition to selling all the Triumph Dining items and Shelley Case's must-have book, I'll also have some cute t-shirts and hats at my table. The $10 shirts are Hanes Beefy-T's and I have just a few of each (adult) size S-XXL. The $5 hats are embroidered with the slogan "Just say NO to gluten!". If you buy both the price is only $12 - what a deal! *cash and check only for all items.  

For more info on the local vendors that will be exhibiting, check out this post.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whole Foods improves gluten-free tag system

Since we buy most of our gluten-free items at Natural Foods Warehouse, we rarely go to Whole Foods anymore. However, there are a few things that I have to buy at Whole Foods. Most of them are available at Return to Eden, but that store is not on my beaten path anymore. 

Below are a few things I noticed during our last visit to Whole Foods:
  • The gluten-free labeled kettle corn I found up in TN is now sold at Whole Foods. Since I had auxiliary stock of the snack at home, I didn't catch the price.
  • The only FRESH gluten-free pasta I've ever found in the ATL is a life changing product. It's stocked at the Duluth store near the shredded cheese - kind of behind the olive bar. Read the label carefully as only two of the pastas from RP's Pasta are gluten-free.
  • Both the regular and spicy versions of Peachtree Pimento spreads from Agra-Frutti are sold at WF and both are fabulous! (and I don't even like spicy food)   
  • The gluten-free pretzel's from Snyder's are giving Glutino a run for their money. I like to use the braided type of pretzels for my Chex mix so I'll stick with Glutino for that. However, for a pretzel stick with a buttery flavor, Snyder's offering can't be beat. Here is a review of the snack that debuted back in May. 
Whole Foods has greatly improved their gluten-free shelf tag system. It's by no means perfect, but they are trying to do better. In the past I've been able to locate tons of gluten-free labeled items that did not sport the gluten-free shelf tag. On our last visit there, only a few things were not tagged. We were not in the store long so I didn't inspect every section, but I noticed how many more gluten-free tags they had up in the areas I looked around at. In most cases, the tags were not put up not because the items were new to the store. Kudos to Whole Foods for trying to improve the shopping experience of those that like shopping there and need gluten-free wares. Now if they could only do something about those high prices....

While it's true that no shelf tag system is perfect (customers might knock tags off the shelf when reaching for something even in the best tagged stores), Whole Foods has definitely been the worst in the area about not tagging their gluten-free items for quite a while. In fact, the first batch of tags they ordered didn't work so they had to scrap those and start over, making the stores in this area the last to have such tags. I've not changed my mind about Whole Foods and still think they are "too big for their britches" and don't think anyone at their headquarters understands what the term "customer service" means, but I do want to give them their due when they try and improve something that matters to people in our market. Anyone who enjoys shopping at the store should have an easier time of it. At least, they should in the Atlanta area.

     
         

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gluten-free find of the week / 10-20-10

Over the past couple of years, I've been able to try a couple - possibly three - gluten-free beef jerkys. Most mainstream brands of these items contain regular soy sauce which contains wheat. I forgot to write down the brands I tried in the past, but do know I didn't care for any of them enough to buy twice. Shelton's makes some gluten-free jerky but I've not tried any from that line before.

It helps me avoid making the same mistake twice if I write down items I like - and don't - so I can keep track of it all. Nothing is more aggravating that coming home with something I forgot I already tried and didn't like. When I taste it again, the previous taste test comes back to me clearly. Ugh...I don't want to think about how much money I've wasted doing that.

While shopping at my fave store Natural Foods Warehouse (Duluth) recently, I was already checking out when I turned around and noticed a display of jerky. Just for the heck of it, I went over to read the ingredients and was tickled to find the words "gluten free" right on the front of the bag. Luckily, the check out person  had not completed ringing my stuff up yet so I threw a bag of jerky on the counter. I don't always like having to count on something like tuna or peanut butter for protein when I get caught in a jam when traveling. A good tasting gluten-free jerky would give me another option for such times.

The Golden Valley Natural website has two different types of gluten-free beef jerky listed and each is available in several flavors. There doesn't seem to be a gluten-free product list anywhere on the site, but I could be missing it. In the photo above, the text on the left top says gluten-free, though you can't make it out to well from this website shot. At the store, I bought the Organic Teriyaki Beef and I think it was around $6.50 (the receipt has gone missing). This jerky is hands down the best gluten-free jerky I've tried to date. This will be a staple in my travel foods section in the pantry - no doubt!

Since it's not a liquid, the jerky should get a pass for carry-ons bags at airline security, though I won't get to test that theory until some time next year. In addition to being gluten-free, the jerky is free of a few other things I like to avoid as well:  (I don't even know what erythorbate is, but it sounds like something I should avoid!)  


Certified ORGANIC Beef Jerky /Beef Raised Without Added Hormones or Antibiotics / Gluten-Free / No Preservatives No Added MSG / NO Nitrite / NO Erythorbate / NO Artificial Ingredients / Only Minimally Processed (excerpt from the Golden Natural Valley website)


My husband was running low on lunch stuff last week and took some of my jerky to supplement his meal. He returned home and reported that he really liked it. In fact, I let him finish off the bag over the weekend because he liked it so much!

p.s. My other find of the week was at Publix yesterday. All Progresso soups were 4 for $5 or $1.25 each. That's over a $1 off per can so I bought 10 cans of my favorites including, Chicken and Corn Chowder, Manhattan Clam Chowder, Chicken with Vegetables, Lentil, and Chicken & Cheese Enchilada. For a complete list of the gluten-free options in the line, check out the Live Gluten Freely website. This sale will end soon (if it hasn't already).

 

      
  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Review: glutenfree.com shopping experience

Recently, I was given the opportunity to use the online shopping service at glutenfree.com. I received a $25 gift certificate from the site in exchange for a review of the service. There are many online gluten-free shopping sites - some are easy to navigate and some are not. glutenfree.com is very easy to order from. You can shop by categories such as pasta, crackers, bread, etc. Within minutes of browsing the site, I selected what I wanted to order and checked out. Easy breezy for sure!

I rarely order food online and when I do, I like to avoid paying shipping charges if I can. There is no free shipping at glutenfree.com - or on most gluten-free food websites for that matter. That is the only negative about the site  that would keep me from shopping there regularly. If you have a lot of space to store extra food, using the service from glutenfree.com might be beneficial. As with any such service, the more you order, the lower the shipping charge per item. So, the more you order, the more money you save.

Right after my order was placed, I got a confirmation e-mail regarding my order, another when the order shipped and the order arrived just a couple of days later. I'm not certain where the distribution center is, but that was one of the fastest turn-arounds I've had for online shopping. Exceptions would be when companies overnight frozen food for me to review. 

The items I ordered arrived in perfect condition and I'll be reviewing them on Celiac-Disease.com in the next few weeks. I chose the pricey BiAglut Lasagne (gluten-free egg noodles) because I've not had gluten-free egg noodles before. The other item I ordered was the Graham Style Crumbs from Kinnikinnick. With shipping added in, that was all I could afford to get with my gift certificate. Like I mentioned before, the more you order, the less you'll pay for shipping per item. 

A really nice option at glutenfree.com is the gift certificate feature. Shoppers can send this to a gluten-free person in their life for a birthday, Mother's Day or even holiday gift. Know someone that struggles to buy you something you actually want? Think about sending them this link. Hey - sometimes it helps to be direct. What would you rather get - a sweater you'll have to return or exchange or a gift certificate for gluten-free food? I'll always choose free or discounted gluten-free food over a trip to the mall...lol!

If you want to check out this online shopping service, you can use the code below to save 15% at checkout. This offer is good through 9-30-10. Enjoy! 

glutenfree.com discount code - GFCTJ9


*Special thanks to glutenfree.com for my gift certificate.   
 
  
 
       

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lemon muffins from Udi's are fabulous with or without butter!

Our fave gluten-free muffins from Udi's are the Lemon Streusel ones. There is nothing wrong with the Blueberry muffins in the line, but we much prefer the Lemon version. In fact, at our house, we think the Lemon muffins are some of the best we've had in life, including all gluten versions! After not being able to find the muffins at Natural Foods Warehouse where I shop for most of my gluten-free items for many weeks, I finally found out the Duluth store had dropped the Lemon because there were not moving fast enough. I met the delightful owner of the store on the day I found out about this change. He was nice enough to have someone pick up two packs of Lemon muffins from his Alpharetta store for me.

The reason I needed the muffins was due to a last minute road trip - and because I'd not had any in almost two months. We packed some muffins in a cooler and hit the highway. I left the muffins on the counter overnight as usual. The next morning I heated up the muffins and then found out that there was no butter in the house we were at. This is a house that always has butter and where I feel comfortable opening a new stick just for me, due to cross contamination issues. The owner of the house did not buy the fake butter in the fridge - which was not Earth Balance (I've heard that was the best brand). Whatever the oddly colored spread was, it was nothing like real food so we ate our beloved muffins plain. I'm happy to report that the Udi's Lemon Streusel muffins were exquisite even without butter!

Since quitting my job last year, it's hard for me to get to R2E (where the whole Udi's line is sold) and I surely can't get to the NFW location in Alpharetta for my beloved muffins. I still have six of them left so I am set for a while. I find it odd that the Lemon muffins outsell the Blueberry - at least they do at the store we shop at. I think we must have somewhat peculiar tastes and that is certainly a hindrance at times.
 
           

   

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shaun's Restaurant hosts monthly "celiac dinners"

Most people who are gluten-free in the ATL know about the gluten-free weekends at Shaun's Restaurant. Located in the Inman Park area of Atlanta, Shaun's offers a casual atmosphere with a touch of sophistication thrown in for good measure. I've heard the French fries there are the best in the ATL, but as they are not fried in a gluten-fryer, I've not been able to sample them myself. The fries are cooked in duck fat so I'm thinking they are probably live up to their reputation. Shaun's serves the excellent gluten-free beers from Belgium made by Green's and has an impressive wine list.  

The next "celiac dinner" weekend starts this Friday, September 17th and runs through Sunday, the 19th. Please note that you can always order a gluten-free meal at Shaun's. When possible, dishes will be modified to be gluten-free. The last time we went to Shaun's, my husband and I fought over the Vidalia onion soup we intended to share. The amazing soup is not always available, but it made our top 5 (restaurant) soup list - including soups with and without gluten. Yes, it's that fabulous!

The event details below were sent to me via Shaun's PR contact. If we didn't already have a busy weekend planned, I might have to go down just for the gluten-free focaccia. I think I know who makes the bread and if I'm right, it will be outstanding and good enough to fool any glutenoid!  

   gluten free menu weekend of september 17, 18, & 19

1st course
white gazpacho, scuppernongs

2nd course
prosciutto san danielle with gluten free focaccia, wilted radicchio,
burst tomato vinaigrette

Entrée
steen’s cane syrup marinated duck, ginger, sweet potato, endive

Dessert
vanilla panna cotta, fresh cherry sorbet

$45 food only

*If you haven't been to Shaun's newest place, YEAH! BURGER, you might want to give it a try. Read this post to find out why. 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Atlanta's GF Vendor Fair is just around the corner!

Remember everyone - the most amazing gluten-free event of the year (in the entire Southeast) is just two weeks away. The AMC Gluten-Free Vendor Fair is September 26th in Norcross, GA. There is a $5 charge to attend (payable in cash only) and unlike previous events here, there are amazing speakers and even a cooking class by Jules of Jules Gluten Free!*. If someone wanted to try everything sampled at the event and had to buy it all themselves, the cost would be in the hundreds of dollars so it's an incredible value, to say the least!

I'll be selling the line of fabulous products from Triumph Dining, Shelley Case's amazing must have book and some cute t-shirts and hats. More details about that coming next week. For now, please read all about the wonderful event here.

*Cooking class not included in admission and is a pre-paid event requiring online registration. You can find details about the class here

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Udi's products on the horizon!

Anyone who hasn't tried Udi's gluten-free bread yet is seriously missing out. I still have to pinch myself when I enjoy a gluten-free sandwich (on Udi's bread) at Jason's Deli....it's simply a dream come true! 
The team at Udi's gluten-free is working hard on some new products. While my vote is for the buns to roll out first, it doesn't look like that's going to happen as other things are being introduced first. Either way, the buns will arrive eventually and that will be a wonderful day - whenever it comes! 


Here are the items on the horizon for Udi's Gluten-Free:

  • Cinnamon Raisin and Whole Grain Bagels
  • New Muffins including a Bran Muffin
  • Hamburger Buns & Hot Dog Buns
  • Dinner rolls
  • A new bread
Check out this video for more information. Remember, the Udi's breads and plain bagels are at most Publix stores now. Thanks to the gang at Udi's for making all our lives more beaudiful! (their word - not mine...lol!) Thanks to Jillian at Udi's for this exciting news! 

No omelet for brunch...seriously?!

When visiting in-laws recently, we went to brunch in Chattanooga, TN.  Since brunch is typically pretty easy to manage gluten-free (I've...