Have you found yourself forgoing those treasured sweet treats because of gluten intolerance? Have a special someone who wants a gluten-free birthday cake? Look no further! Based in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a small perfectly-picturesque town in the shadow of big city Cleveland, 1-2-3 Gluten Free is one of the fastest “rising” brands serving up a line of customizable and sugar-free baking mixes and fortified flours for the gluten-free baker.

What inspired mompreneur and CEO Kimberlee Ullner was her personal and family history of celiac disease and other gluten intolerances. She experienced first-hand the need for healthy products that were not in the marketplace.  So she stepped up to meet that demand, resulting in a company grounded in high standards and values, and her desire to bring excellent gluten-free products to the people who need them most.

The Inspiration

Kim Ullner has been creating variations of gluten-free foods for years because she and several family members have celiac disease, including her sister and her sister’s children. After several medical procedures and an eventual diagnosis by Dr. Cynthia Rudert, a celiac specialist practicing in Atlanta, Georgia, Kim changed her diet and joined a celiac support group. As her health improved she spent more time in her kitchen crafting recipes that were not just free of gluten, but delicious as well.

The Start-up

Kim’s extensive line of gluten-free baking products were first shared with her family and celiac support group. From plastic baggies with test mixes to finished cakes and other goodies, they tasted and tested their way through all her creations, gave feedback for the recipes, and eventually suggested Kim start a business. She took their advice and located a facility that would help create her products. Then she hit the trade show circuit with her products….and people loved them!

With help from her parents, Kim operated the business for nearly five years while she also worked a full-time job as a corporate lawyer. In 2007, following the adoption of her two children, she quit her day job and set a commitment to live frugally from her savings for five years so her company could grow to meet the market’s exploding demand for gluten-free products. Kim now has the good fortune of being a stay-at-home while running her family business with international distribution focused on excellence and quality.

The Production

With “top quality products at a fair price” as her mantra, she listens to her customers so that what she creates meets their health and taste needs, and is what she would want for her own family, too. To honor her commitment to quality, her production facility is BRC Certified, which includes the global standards for transparency and traceability all the way along the supply chain.

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What sets 1-2-3 Gluten Free apart from other companies is the customizable nature of th mixes. With more concern now about sugar consumption, she offers a line of sugar-free baking mixes that allow home cooks to add their own preferred sweetener. They are all free of known allergens, gluten, corn, and soy. In Kim’s own words, “I would be furious if I were given a product that had gluten in it and I wasn’t aware. We are neurotically careful about it.” 100% of the ingredients are grown and manufactured in the U.S. by reputable suppliers who follow strict requirements that track and certify all the way back to the grower. It’s a paper trail that leads directly to the source. That’s a commitment her customers can “bake” on.

Bonus: Kim Ullner’s Cooking Tips 

Because Kim is an avid cook, we asked her for a few baking tips that may be unknown to most home cooks. First and foremost, as a mom of now 7 year-old twins she recommends cooking with your children or grandkids. Sure, messes are made, but it’s a great way for them to learn self-confidence, to learn how to take care of themselves, and to try new things.

They’re also learning these handy little tricks:

One, when you’re making muffins, use an ice cream scoop to fill the pan. The muffins all end up the same size, and they finish baking at the same time. Of course, everything looks pretty as well.

Second, when baking with honey, lightly coat the scoop with an oil spray before you measure out the honey. If you do, the honey will slip right out.

Third, if you crack an egg and end up with tiny shell pieces in the bowl, take the bigger piece of egg and use it to pull out the shells. The bigger piece attracts the broken pieces to it and makes it a simple matter to get them out.

And last, cleaning your blender really can be a breeze. After pouring the mixture into your baking pan, fill blender container half way with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Stick it back on the base, and turn it on….don’t forget that lid, though! Your blender will be clean in no time. We think this tip really takes the cake!

You can find her products at wholesale prices here.

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