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I am starting celiac disease awareness month off with a post about an exchange student with celiac disease seeking a host family. Every year, the agencies that place exchange students in the United States have a number of students diagnosed with celiac disease. These students require extra planning to ensure their dietary needs can be managed while attending high school.

My family and I have hosted two exchange students, one with celiac disease and one without and find it to be a very rewarding experience. This particular student, Asia, is from Italy and is working with the Council On International Educational Exchange (CIEE). She is scheduled to arrive in August/September and will attend high school for the full school year (10 months).

Asia is used to preparing her own gluten-free food, but of course it would be much easier if she could live with a family who follows the same type of diet. CIEE needs to place Asia with a family who understands her dietary needs and could fully support her during her exchange program.

In additional to English, Asia speaks four languages, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. She is a lover of sports and very athletic. In her spare time, she volunteers at a hospice facility and has a sister and brother.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about our program and how they can host Asia for the 2017-18 school year please contact Megan at 207-553-4258 or medwards@ciee.org for more information.


Bezoria, the healthy fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant, opened a second location in Alpharetta across the street from Avalon. Everything is fresh, never frozen, and made in-house. And there are plenty of gluten-free options, including shawarma, chicken kefta, lamb kefta, falafel and customizable bowls with a basmati rice base. Because they make pita sandwiches, ask them to get condiments from the back and not off the line. They have plenty of vegetarian options too, like the falafel, spiced cauliflower, tomato and cucumber salad and much more.IMG_9266

Only available at the Buckhead Bon Glaze, shaved ice in a variety of flavors. All flavors are handmade daily with natural ingredients. And they are open until 8pm weekdays! Stop by their take away window for a cool treat.

The Chick-fil-A at Avalon in Alpharetta is open, but you might miss it if you don’t know what to look for. The brick building looks like a bank, not a typical Chick-fil-A store, that is located just pass The Container Store.

Jeni’s Ice Cream is open at Avalon in Alpharetta and the lines are out the door. Ice creams are labeled ‘gluten free’, if applicable, and they will use a clean scoop and new container upon request. Their ice cream sandwiches are gluten free too!

Luvo, Inc. is launching new Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese. The gluten-free dish consists of brown rice noodles, a creamy cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese sauce, roasted cauliflower crumbles and a panko style topping made with rice flour and pea protein. Providing 11 grams of protein and 55 grams of whole grains, the frozen meal is nut-free and vegetarian. C9jT4dCXkAAygfe




b4ff7651b40ae42c60772e52ad136f16Papa John’s is testing a Gluten-Free Crust is made with Ancient Grains, specifically sorghum, teff, amaranth and quinoa, in locations across Los Angeles, Phoenix, St. Louis, Houston and Nashville. The new crust is never frozen and took the Papa John’s R&D team more than a year to develop. The crust is made with gluten-free ingredients, but the pizza will be prepared and cooked along side wheat-based pizzas making it unsafe for those looking to avoid cross contact with wheat. Just what the gluten-free community needs, another gluten-free product made for fad dieters.

Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads is opening its patio in style with an all-day patio-opening party on Saturday, May 6 featuring sangria priced at $5/glass or $25/carafe, and $5 small plates plus live music at 7 p.m. Party goers can register to win a $100 Rize gift card. Here’s the May 1-7 lineup of daily specials leading up to the May 6th party:

  • Monday, buy one pizza, get the second one free (equal or lesser price).
  • Tuesday, buy an adult entrée (pizza, full salad or pasta) and receive a Kids Meal free (kids 10 and under); one Kids Meal per one adult entrée.
  • Girls Night Out Wednesday features $5 small plates and $5 sangria from 5 p.m. until close.
  • Trivia Night Thursday, enjoy a trivia competition from 8-10 p.m.
  • Date Night Friday gifts guests with one free small plate with the purchase of a sangria, beer or wine after 5 p.m. Limit one per person.
  • Saturday, all-day patio kick-off party. Rize
  • Brunch Sunday introduces a new brunch menu, available from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., featuring house-made frittata, breakfast pizza, mimosas and sangria.



According to TonetoATL, Sprouts Farmers Market opened their 15th Atlanta area location Wednesday at the new Tucker Meridian shopping center in Tucker. The Phoenix-based chain plans to open their next Atlanta location June 28th in Woodstock. Since entering the Atlanta market in 2014, Sprouts has opened stores from Peachtree City to Snellville and Peachtree Corners to Morningside.

Whole Foods private label brand 365 Everday Value just released PB&J Bites. According to the company, this strawberry filled peanut butter snack goes best with milk or yogurt – kinda like cereal. Portable, bite-size, crunch peanut butter and jelly sammies for the win! C-LdsQhXkAAEQ0s


Sprouts Farmers Market is my go-to, one-stop shopping destination. I am probably there two to three times a week taking advantage of sales and special offers. So, being invited to attend an interactive cooking demo at Cook’s Warehouse hosted by Sprouts Farmers Market by the Atlanta Food Bloggers Society was definitely a yes, even on a school night! Especially when it is being taught by Food Network’s Chef Tregaye FraserC-QwxVLW0AARrxu C-Q14P1W0AAHlrR

Chef Tregaye has an impressive resume as the winner of season 12 of The Next Food Network Star. Chef Tregaye co-hosts “The Kitchen Sink” on Food Network and she is also the winner and two time competitor of Cutthroat Kitchen and Guy’s Grocery Games. She is a very relatable person with a positive attitude who knows how to personalize the cooking experience whether you are in the room, or watching her on television. She is definitely a pistol who is always on fleek!

Chef Tregaye showed us how to prepare her signature shrimp grit cake, jicama salad, and two types of lettuce wrapped fish tacos (mahi mahi and cod). She made it look so easy and threw in some great tips to cut down on meal preparation time. Then, we broke into teams and made fish tacos knowing that Chef Tregaye would be choosing the winner. The competition was on and our team of four had a great time preparing fish two ways and using the pico salsa, black bean and corn guacamole, and sriracha and chipotle mayo to top them. Our plating was gorgeous and we ended up winning. Chef Tregaye said our tacos were like ‘a party in her mouth’. 20170424_200004 20170424_200034

All of the ingredients came from Sprouts Farmers Market and as a bonus we got to take home the unused produce and other products. Each attendee received a $100 gift card to Sprouts and a Sprouts bag filled with their latest products. 20170424_201420 20170424_201001

I had a fabulous time and learned not to be afraid to cook fish now that I have two cooking methods under my belt. Thank you to Cook’s Warehouse, Sprouts Farmers Market and Chef Tregaye for such a fun event.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review; however I did receive a store gift card. In no way did it influence my opinions and views, which are derived from my personal experience.


I’ll take my dinner without a side of sarcasm, thanks

I have been struggling with how to share a bizarre and upsetting situation that happened after dining at a restaurant in Norcross. I recently learned that the chef and owner openly mocks gluten-free diners calling them offensive names. The same chef also sent me a harassing message through Facebook. Said chef was responding to my Tweet ‘I wish there were more gluten-free choices on the menu.’ Instead of offering any level of customer service, the chef questioned my premise, aggressively with shouty capital letters. Here is the exchange:

Saw your comments somewhere about more gluten free choices at NF. Not sure I understand. There are two pasta dishes and we serve bread. Literally EVERY OTHER ITEM on the menu is gluten free. Please clarify. Thanks.

Here is my reply:

Many of the small plates have gluten components like the pork belly BLT, the dumpling on the octopus, bread crumbs in crab cake, clam chowder thickened with wheat flour, breading on the fish for the fish and chips. Everything is fried in a shared fryer with wheat and unsafe (that is normal). Most kitchens don’t have the space to dedicate a fryer, so fried food is usually unsafe.

He replied:

You’re right. I will work on that. Thanks for your feedback.

This is disturbing on two fronts. One, because the chef doesn’t seem to understand what gluten is, and two, because he has forgotten that he is in the hospitality industry. How does his confrontational approach directed at a patron solve the issue or make me feel welcomed to dine there again? Thanking me for my feedback after yelling at me feels like such a cop out. And there hasn’t been a peep out of him since the exchange.

I have celiac disease and understand that dining at a restaurant that doesn’t serve dedicated gluten free cuisine comes with a risk. I also know that those who falsely claim to have an allergy to an ingredient when they don’t is frustrating to chefs; however, until the next trendy ‘diet’ comes along, the restaurant community (and the gluten-free community) have to deal with this challenge.

As a restaurant consultant, I urge staff to treat all gluten-free/allergen-free orders the same by following safe handling protocols. It isn’t up to the staff or the chef to judge why the patron is ordering the way they are, rather it is their responsibility to accommodate them with a safe meal to the best of their ability.

Shouldn’t a professional chef be able to handle allergy requests without complaining and openly mocking those who have no choice but to follow a gluten-free diet? How does this behavior affect the staff’s ability to take food allergies/intolerance seriously? Gluten-free diners shouldn’t have to wonder if they are being judged when placing an order and we shouldn’t be treated with such disrespect or contempt either.

The restaurant industry need to understand that the gluten-free diet is the only ‘treatment’ for the millions who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It is a genetic autoimmune disease that chose us, not the other way around. We are forced to live a gluten-free lifestyle indefinitely and will gravitate toward restaurants that can and are willing to accommodate our dietary needs without sarcasm.

For this reason, I am sharing the name of the restaurant and the chef, so you have the knowledge and the choice of dining at his establishment. The chef is Jay Swift of Noble Fin.


Hop City owner Kraig Torres opened Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar at Alpharetta’s Avalon on Thursday, April 13th. The two-story space features a dog-friendly patio and a convenient to-go window to take advantage of Avalon’s open-carry policy. Yes, they are all about wheat-based beers, but they do have a few gluten-free offerings: Urban Tree Classic Cider, Treehorn Apple Cider, and Argus Cidery Ginger Perry. No bottled gluten-free beer as of yet, but hopefully that will change. 

Chicken Salad Chick will open its first Newnan location at Ashley Park later this year. The Auburn, Alabama-based restaurant, sells 12 different flavors of chicken salad and a selection of salads and sides. While they do not offer gluten-free bread, all of the chicken salad is gluten free and can be served by the scoop or taken to-go by the pound. Ask them to pull from sealed chicken salad containers not on the prep area using a clean scoop after changing their gloves.

TonetoAtl reports that Flippin’ Pizza NY Pies & Slices plans to open their first Atlanta area location next week in Roswell. The pizza franchise will open in a 2,400 square foot space in the Kroger anchored Coleman Village shopping center on Marietta Highway. Operators Manita Amin and Tulaib Faizy are opening the new restaurant and reportedly have plans for as many as four more metro locations in the coming years. The restaurant will celebrate their grand opening next Thursday April 27 with free slices, sodas, raffles and other giveaways from 3:30-7:30pm.  Flippin’ Pies offers 10″ gluten free pizzas which start at about $9.50. There isn’t any information about their gluten-free offerings on the website, so ask many questions before ordering.


Chef Savannah Sasser is the new executive chef at Hampton + Hudson. Her spring menu features an array of ne_MG_9964w items with more vegan and gluten-free options including breads from local allergen-free bakery Pure Knead. All gluten-free options are marked on the menu. The crew at Hampton + Hudson is very accommodating and can customize dishes for gluten-free customers. May 7th marks the first vegan supper at Hampton + Hudson with vegan/gluten-free options too. Make a reservation fast, before it fills up!

Mediterranea has started serving lunch Wednesdays – Fridays from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. This all gluten-free restaurant has a menu full of tempting choices for appetizers, soups, and entrees. They also have a full bar and expansive wine list. And they baked all of their breads and sweet treats fresh daily. The focaccia is fantastic. Mediterranea lunch



n&G truck photoNectar, an Atlanta-based Healthy Lifestyle Cafe, has partnered with Georgia Tech students and faculty to provide healthier options made with local ingredients on campus. Handcrafted smoothies, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free hot pressed sandwiches, soups and salads fill the menu. Pure Knead’s allergen-friendly breads will be used to prepare gluten-free sandwiches. Nectar at Georgia Tech is located at 315 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322. Nectar will be open from Monday – Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. The Nectar food truck will also be on campus two times a week.

Papi’s Cuban & Caribbean Grill has its safe handling procedures in order and then some. I attended an opening event and was unsure what I could eat. After speaking with one of the managers, I learned that many of the marinades contain gluten and proteins tend to be pre-marinated. So, a plate was made for me in the back. My food was delicious and the care taken to prepare it exceeded expectations. We will definitely be back to try out everything listed below: 

  • Appetizers and Sides: white rice, yucca con mojo, chicken wings plain, (no French fries or sauce).
  • Salads: steak, chicken and shrimp made on the grill with only salt, black pepper, and oil. No croutons and only oil and vinegar dressing. (no mango dressing)
  • Papi’s Specialties: any of the following protein choices not pre-marinated and cooked on the flat top with only oil, salt, and black pepper can be combined with an appetizer, sides, or salad. The proteins are steak and onions, chicken and onions, tilapia fillet, pangasio fillet, shrimp, vegetables, or eggs (for breakfast).

Check out the April/May paleo specials at Table & Main in Roswell. Every Wednesday features a paleo dish.

  • Apr 19th Riverview Farms Pork Loin, cauliflower and garlic mash, spring onion, rainbow chard
  • Apr 26th Smoked Pork Breakfast Sausage Scotch Egg, chili maple syrup, saute of rainbow chard in strawberry veal demi
  • May 3rd Brasstown Beef and Bacon Meatloaf, whipped parsnip and garlic green beans
  • May 10th Cajun Braised Rabbit Gumbo with dirty cauliflower “rice”
  • May 17th Pan Seared Red Fish, pickled clam, squash and zucchini ribbons, tomato water

Have a safe and tasty weekend!


The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo-Atlanta  (GFAF Expo)  is coming back for another run at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The expo is taking place May 20 – 21 and is a wonderful opportunity to try samples from more than 100 vendors, engage with business owners, and find new gluten-free products. I have been selected to be an Official GFAF Blogger, so follow me on Instagram/GFGoToGuide for an opportunity to win tickets.


Anyone attending this year’s expo will find a day jam-packed with speakers, complimentary samples and product coupons. Every product for sample and sale is gluten free and many vendors also offer vegan, casein-free, dairy-free, nut-free and soy-free products. That’s right, it is a safe environment where you can try all the food, unless you avoid additional allergens.

After looking over the vendor list, I am most excited to try: BFree’s sweet potato wraps, Geefree’s puff pastry, Kinnikinnick’s soft yeast donuts, protein waffles from Honey Stinger, cornbread from Magnolia Bread Company, and the non-dairy frozen bites from Perfectly Free. I am glad that local companies Marilyn’s Gluten Free Gourmet, No Gluten Inc. and Pure Knead will be on hand with their products too. True Food Kitchen and Maggiano’s Little Italy will be handing out samples of their gluten-free fare, so be sure to come hungry.

Buy your tickets early to bypass the long line at the door. Who am I going to see there?

Where and When?
Cobb Galleria Centre–Exhibit Hall A
Two Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, Georgia 30339
(Free Parking)
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Saturday, May 20th
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 21st

What Is Included with Expo Ticket?

  • Entry into the vendor fair with over 100 brands
  • Valuable coupons at the vendor booths
  • Samples from the vendors are considered to be gluten free.
  • Discounted products available for purchase
  • Informative classes related to the gluten free and allergen-friendly lifestyle
  • Free reusable bag to carry around goodies
  • Meet your favorite vendors, authors and bloggers



Product Review: Zyliss Control Knives

As a member of the Atlanta Food Bloggers Society, I received a Zyliss Control 4.5″ Paring Knife and a Zyliss Control Chef’s 8″ Knife to put to use. I don’t really enjoy cooking, so when I get the urge, a nice sharp knife comes in handy. The knives I currently have dull easily and slip when being used, so I tend to use paring knives to cut everything. I know, this is not the best plan, but it has been working for years. And it keeps my fingers safe.

When I set out to buy a knife, I feel like there is a missing category with coordinating pricing for reluctant chefs. Why invest in an expensive knife I am intimidated to use? I need a go-to knife, not a fancy chefs knife that will only be used occasionally.

Enter the new line of Control Knives from Zyliss. These knives are different from others I have purchased. How? They are crafted for every day use and incredibly easy to use. They fit in your hand, large or small, with non-slip grips on the handle. The handles are also weighted to give you more control of the knife. I feel like an actual chef when using them – like I can conquer my cooking fears because I have this rad knife.

Anything in my kitchen that can be cut has been. Vegetables, thick sandwiches and even fruit yields beautifully with very little effort. There is no need to press down when the blade goes into the item because its tapered edge is designed for precise cutting.

And the benefits just keep coming. The incredibly sharp blades are made out of German steel and designed not to dull after going in the dishwasher. Yes, they are dishwasher safe! Even better, they have a built-in finger indentation right where I put my index finger (should be thumb) to cut. Maybe I can finally unlearn my bad habit. There is also a touch point on top of the blade for increased leverage and a more controlled rocking motion – no more sore fingers when chopping vegetables. Best of all, these knives are affordable with a 25-year guarantee.

If you are looking for a new knife set that is easy to use, priced right and will last, then this is the brand for you.

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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review; however I did receive two knives at no cost. In no way did it influence my opinions and views, which are derived from my personal experience.


Butcher & Brew is serving up sandwiches and burgers on Pure Knead’s hoagie and hamburger buns. They don’t have a gluten-free menu or a dedicated fryer, but many of their dishes can be modified to be gluten free. I highly recommend the paleo bowl!

Dave & Buster’s is opening its 98th location this May (fourth in Georgia) in Alpharetta. The new site boasts over 34,000 square feet of food, drinks, and entertainment and has an allergen menu with basic, not exciting, options. 

Known for its tavern fare with a Southern flair, HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern is opening a second location in Town Brookhaven this May. The newest restaurant will be located in the former Smash Kitchen & Bar space, bringing tavern specialties, signature cocktails, and an expansive bourbon selection to Brookhaven.

Mediterranea, Atlanta’s newest dedicated gluten-free restaurant, is open for dinner and brunch with baked goods available all day.

Milton's Carrot Cake Can you believe the carrot cake at Milton’s Cuisine is gluten free? Well it is, and it has been in plain view on the menu for a decade. Made with a combination of chickpea and rice flours, this carrot cake is a layered experience containing pineapple and pecans topped with luscious cream cheese frosting. Stop by for a slice ($8) or special order a 12-piece cake that feeds 20-25 for $65. What a perfect addition this would make for your next special occasion, like Easter lunch. (contains dairy, eggs, and soy).

PREP, a shared kitchen facility in Atlanta, is expanding with a completion goal of mid-2017. PREP 2 will house (16) dedicated commercial production kitchens ranging in size from 470 – 15,000 square feet. Each unit will have a brand new HVAC system, and would make an ideal space for allergen-friendly product production.  If you are interested in meeting with them to review floor plan options, give them a call at 404-920-4150.
Rize Artisan Pizza + Salads at 6050 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs is having an epic grand opening experience. A date night opp courts Friday night, offering a free small plate with the purchase of sangria, beer or wine after 5 p.m. Snap and share your night’s pic tagged #rizedatenight on Instagram for a chance to win a $100 Rize gift card. Saturday game or practice? Sport your youth or school team apparel on Saturday to receive a free pizza with any purchase. Relax with friends on Sangria Sunday while sipping sangria, $5 a glass or $25 for a carafe, and enjoying $5 small plates from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. A portion of grand opening celebration sales will go to Create Your Dreams, a long-term program providing youth enrichment to nurture the talents and dreams of students living in under served areas of Atlanta.
Starbuck’s new gluten-free smoked Canadian bacon breakfast sandwich is now available at participating stores. The sandwich rolled out March 21st and features cherrywood-smoked Canadian bacon, a peppered egg patty and reduced-fat white cheddar cheese on a gluten-free roll.  It is prepared in a certified gluten-free environment and sealed into its own oven-safe parchment bag. It is also heated and served in this same packaging to prevent cross contact. You can also find Goodie Girl mint slim cookies at participating stores. These chocolatey-coated, crispy mint cookies may remind you of the still popular ‘thin mint’ girl scout cookies enjoyed pre diagnosis.
The Halal Guys opened in Chamblee on January 28th bringing its food-truck cuisine to the burbs. Known for their famous beef gyro sandwiches, chicken-and-rice platters and “secret” white sauce, the menu offers a mix of various American Halal foods, but not all of it is gluten free. The gyro meat contains bread crumbs, but the chicken, rice, falafel, fries, topping, and sauces are gluten free and darn tasty.
You can now find Treehorn Cider at Rathbun’s, Cine Athens in Athens and Muss & Turner’s in Smyrna.  The Coffee Fox in Savannah, ‘Cue Barbecue in Cumming and two more Kroger stores (Briarcliff and Peachtree City) also offer their cider.
Yum Earth partnered with Target for the launch of its new Easter Basket filled with allergen-friendly treats. Each basket includes two sour bean snack packs, two gummy fruit snack packs, two gummy bear snack packs, and five lollipops plus one packet of carrot seeds, three compostable peat pots, three quick soil pods, and an instructional coloring sheet. All of the packaging is bunny themed and all of the products are organic, all natural and quite delicious!  Easter Basket

Being a member of the Atlanta Food Blogger’s Society definitely has its perks. This past weekend we were treated to a day of pampering, mimosas, and outstanding local food. It was an opportunity to do what most women don’t take the time to do – something for themselves. And it put us in an environment other than a restaurant where we could connect with each other.

The day started at the L’Occitane en Provence (L’Occitane) at Avalon in Alpharetta. Just in case you haven’t been to Avalon yet, is an open-air walkable development offering shopping, dining, entertainment, living and working. It is a hub of activity for the community with a children’s activity area, a dog park, and a spa, to name of few of its amenities. What a fitting place for our day to begin.

L’Occitane’s products are sold at more than 2,000 boutiques worldwide and they are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary. We learned that the company supports many communities across the globe. From fighting avoidable blindness worldwide, encouraging economic emancipation for the women of Burkina Faso to setting up funds for lavender in Provence, it continues to be dedicated to improving the lifestyles of those in need.

I could hear the harp music as soon as we entered the gorgeous and inviting store filled with natural products designed to nourish and repair the skin, which is the largest organ on the body. As we sipped mimosas, we were treated to mini hand and facial treatments, and neck, hand, and upper body massages. All of their creations are made with herbs and plant extracts with homeopathic properties that you can actually feel working as they are applied. L’Occitane’s line of almond-based products were the winner for me because they are perfect for those looking to avoid dairy-based products. Ingredient labels are listed in French, English, and braille on each product.

The staff was so accommodating and lovely. To say this was a relaxing and rejuvenating experience is a huge understatement. If they offered a place to take a power nap, that would have been my next stop. Fortunately for you, they schedule private events like this one on Sunday mornings before the store opens at noon, or at a time that will work for your party. And, the organizer gets an incredible ‘gift’ ($150 value) for scheduling the event.

I hated to leave the store, but we were off to lunch at Butcher & Brew in historic downtown Alpharetta, just a mile down the road from Avalon. It is a ‘gastro sports bar’ with indoor and patio seating that opens into the restaurant. Flat screen televisions adorn the walls in a relaxed environment with rustic wood tables and chairs and a bar that spans the length of the restaurant. What happened next put most of us into a food coma, but who is complaining, not me! We were treated to an assortment of starters, protein bowls, sandwiches and sides layered with flavor and textures that you might think wouldn’t go together, but actually created a true party in your mouth.

There isn’t a gluten-free menu, but they do offer Pure Knead’s top eight allergen-friendly breads. I opted for the FFI sandwich with shaved ribeye horseradish mayo and caramelized onion jus on a gluten-free hoagie roll. The generous amount of meat gets its zing from the tangy mayo that manages not to overpower the palate. The jus was so flavorful that I ate it with a spoon and ladled the onions onto the sandwich! The hoagie roll survived being dipped in the jus and was very soft and flavorful. I also enjoyed a paleo bowl with sweet potato, spinach, caramelized onion, red bell pepper, avocado, hard boiled egg, peanut, broccolini, spicy honey mustard, and bacon. It was like eating healthful stir fry where each ingredient tasted like it was cooked individually and then folded together to create the perfect texture. A real winner. Sadly, I didn’t get to try the burger, but with all of my fellow bloggers raving about its drool-worthy flavor, I will definitely be back to get one on a gluten-free hamburger bun.

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We ended the day with over-the-top gift bags from our lovely sponsors: Scout & Molly’s coupons, a candle, lavender bar soap and essential oils; Stirrings “Margarita to Go” with margarita mix and tequila; shea butter hand cream, facial cream and free certificates for a hand massage and mini facial from L’Occitane; and a copy of the latest issue of Dining Out Atlanta magazine.


Thank you Miss Melissa for putting together such a lovely event that nourished the mind, body, and soul. I can’t wait for the one!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, but the meal and services were provided at no cost. In no way did this influence my opinions and views, which are derived from my personal experience.


I love grocery shopping and discovering new products and Sprouts Farmers Market is one of my favorite places to frequent. Whenever I visit my mom in Mesa, a trip to Sprouts is always in order to see what’s new and to shop for essentials while I am in town. Having Sprouts open in Georgia has been such an unexpected treat. So, being invited to attend a smoothie demo at the new Sprouts in West Cobb by the Atlanta Food Bloggers Society was definitely a yes, even on a school night! Especially when the lovely and talented Marisa Moore, registered dietitian, is teaching.

The room was packed with attendees anxious to learn more about creating smoothies. Marisa showed us how to make three healthful smoothies and how to add nutritious boosts using fresh ginger, turmeric, chia seed, matcha, hemp and beet powders, and brain boosters like frozen berries. I really appreciated that she used almond milk and not dairy milk for the smoothies, pointing out that these milks aren’t as high in protein as one might think.

I agree with Marisa that smoothies are a great way to get vegetables into breakfast and they are quite easy to make. Load the light ingredients into the bottom of the blender first and top with heavy ingredients, like ice or frozen bananas, to ensure everything mixes evenly. Make themed smoothies for breakfast like carrot cake, that incorporate your favorite flavors.

Watch out for added sugar when selecting protein powders. Instead, opt to sweeten smoothies with honey, dates, and date sugar, which are low on the glycemic index and won’t spike your blood sugar leaving you craving more instead of feeling full.

In the end, you get the nutritional value that you put into a smoothie, so stick with whole foods and utilize Sprout’s store brand hemp seed, beet and protein powders, fresh produce and fruit.


Thank you Marisa for such an informative demo and for the smoothie recipes. I can’t wait to get blending!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review; however I did receive a store gift card. In no way did it influence my opinions and views, which are derived from my personal experience.