Archive for the ‘Money Saving Tips’ Category

3 Things You Should Know Before Filing for a Gluten-Free Food Tax Deduction

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

It is that taxing time of year again, my fellow citizens. That grueling task of tax preparation – and collecting all of those receipts, files, documents and statements.  And every year, without a doubt, I say to myself, “I hope I got everything”.

And if you’re like me – a “love-to-save-in-any-way-possible” type of person – you’ll love the info in this document: “3 Things You Should Know Before Filing for a Gluten-Free Food Tax Deduction”.

This document prepared by The National Foundation of Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a must read. In fact, not only is it a must read, but it is also a “must forward along” to your accountant or tax preparer to see if you are able to deduct for gluten-free food on your taxes.  And even if you aren’t eligible for the deduction, be a good citizen and forward along to fellow-celiacs that may benefit. =)

Thanks, NFCA for making tax time a bit less… well…. taxing!

FREE PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wrap Coupon

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

To all of you gluten-free lovers of PF Chang’s… Here is a gluten-FREE Chicken Lettuce Wrap Freebie!

PF Chang’s is offering all of their Facebook Fans an offer to download a FREE order of their Chicken Lettuce Wrap with any food or drink purchase during the month of July in celebration of their 18-year anniversary celebration.

If you want to become a fan of PF Chang’s on Facebook and download this coupon… CLICK HERE (Note: You must have a Facebook account and become a Fan / Like  PF Chang’s in order to take advantage of this deal).

PF Chang’s also commented on their Facebook page that this offer will be available to print and redeem the entire month of July 2011, and there is no limit on the number of offers to be issued. However, each person can only redeem the offer once. Click here to find a PF Chang’s location near you. Note: Unfortunately the app to download the coupon for the free Chicken Lettuce Wraps is not accessible on Facebook mobile or smart phones.

I love PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. But, I’m sure I’ll love them even more when they’re FREE!

P.S. While you’re on Facebook becoming a fan of PF Chang’s… Become a fan of BeFreeForMe too! =)

Also, want to try to make PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps at home? Then check out this recipe on BeFreeForMe.com.

The Perfect 10-Day Fix: The Livefreeda $229 Starter Kit

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

I am currently planning a visit with my parents this winter in Bonita Springs, Florida (YES…. I have had ENOUGH of this New England Snow!). And for those like me on a gluten-free diet planning the trip involves more that making airlines reservations and packing-up bathing suits and warm weather clothes.  I also have to be concerned with planning what I am going to eat once I get there. But now, instead of packing up gluten-free foods, or shipping it down ahead of time (and spending tons of shipping fees), LiveFreeda has come to our rescue!

LiveFreeda has just come out with a Starter Kit that includes 10 full days of great tasting gluten-free products, like Amy’s Enchiladas, Applegate Chicken Nuggets, Gluten-Freeda oatmeal, and Udi’s Multigrain bread. In total there are about 23 items for anytime of day… breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and snacks.

These kits are not only great for those who are traveling, going to camp, or students – they are also great for those who have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and don’t know where to start; a nutritionist or dietician who needs to refer a easy-to-follow “starter plan” for someone just new to the gluten-free diet; or even someone who has been on the gluten-free diet for awhile, but needs about a weeks worth of convenient meals due to a upcoming hectic schedule.

The Livefreeda Starter Kit contains a range of products that can be integrated with your regular meal planning to provide you with ten full meals, lunches, breakfasts and snacks.

The meals are also between 1500-1800 calories per day and are shipped for free – just a couple of extra bonuses worth mentioning.

Looking for Good Gluten-Free Food at a Discount? Kinnikinnick Opens On-Line Clearance Section!

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

When I was a little girl my Mom used to take me and my sisters on her weekly trip to the Wonderbread Bakery Outlet Store to stock up on breads, English muffins and the occasional box of Twinkies, Suzy Q’s, or (my all-time favorite) Ho-Ho’s.  Even though I was just a very little girl the site of the huge white building covered in primary colored polka-dots and the smell of bread once inside is still vivid in my mind. Every visit created a sort of circus-like fun environment… full of deals and deliciousness.

But since being diagnosed with celiac disease and being on a gluten-free diet, the hopes of ever visiting an Outlet store that sells yummy breads and sweets has been a distant past. That is why I was so very, very excited when I stumbled upon the newly opened on-line Clearance Center on the Kinnikinnick website.

According to the Kinnikinnick blog, “Throughout the year, we often find ourselves with what is known as “short dated” and “run end” product. Short dated product is product that is still is within its best before date, but too close to the date for us to sell to our distributors. Run End products are partial cases left over at the end of a product batch. We end up with a freezer-full of odds and ends. Our solution is to offer these cases to our direct customers at a minimum 25% discount.”

Yeah for celiacs everywhere looking for a good deal!

Also, it is important to note that many of the Kinnikinnick items are not only gluten-free, but also free of nuts, dairy, and eggs. The Kinnikinnick website clearly marks each products allergens.

Although there are some terms & conditions to be aware of when buying off the Clearance Center (i.e. product sold by the case only and items are sold while quantities last) there are some great deals to be found. When I last looked there were some favorites in this clearance center, including Cinnamon Sugar Waffles, as well as Fudge KinniTOOS Crème Cookies both available at a substantial discount.

Welcome again to the deals and deliciousness!

Tax Deduction Guide for the Gluten-Free / Allergen-Free Diet

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Right now the holiday season is in full-swing, fun is in the air and good-times are being had by all. But before we know it, the decorations and gifts will be packed away, we’ll have rung in the New Year, and the holiday season will turn into tax season with a blink of the eye.

That is why I was so intrigued when I found this article on the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) website on how to deduct the costs of a medically required specialized diet on your tax returns. It’s a great resource that lists information, forms and IRS guidelines for you, and your accountant or tax preparer. Thanks NFCA for providing us with information such as this!

This article highlights the  key points such as having a note from your doctor stating that you need to be on a gluten-free / allergen-free diet, making sure that you keep your receipts, and determining the amount that is deductible. In addition to these key points I also have a few tips to assist in deducting food costs on tax returns:

- Highlight the items on your receipts after each shopping trip: Most supermarkets abbreviate the description of the items bought. That is why it is so important to note the items that you can deduct by highlighting each deductible item after each shopping trip. Otherwise, you’ll be scratching your head right before tax time, pawing through receipts and trying to remember what items are tax-deductible.

- Keep a spreadsheet of the costs of the “regular” items: I know that Lean Cuisine frozen meals cost about $4.96 per unit on Amazon.com, which I noted on my “Regular Food Cost” spreadsheet.  Now, whenever I buy a gluten-free frozen meal I use the difference from this “base-line” cost to determine the tax deductible amount.  This spreadsheet prevents me from having to search for the price after my next shopping trip. As an example, my favorite gluten-free frozen meal, Lillian’s Healthy Gourmet cost about $7.99 per unit. That is a difference of about $3.00 – the tax deductible amount.

- Keep all receipts for food in one place: I have a big manila envelope on my desk in my kitchen. Whenever, I go to the grocery store, natural food store, or even order food products on-line, I put the highlighted receipt in this envelope.  At the end of the year, during tax-prep time this solves the dilemma of searching for receipts.

- Plan ahead & reap the benefits: Make sure that you start the organization of this “tallying” of deductible amounts before the New Year begins. Be ready to go for January 1 of next year! Make sure that you set up an appointment with your accountant or tax preparer to discuss these deductions with them.

Eventually, saving & tallying your food receipts will be second-nature. Another benefit? You will start to see trends and unknowingly track where the best gluten-free and allergen-free food deals are!

Allergen-Free Ice Cream Social: Scoops, Sprinkles and Smiles!

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

In the crazy and hazy days of mid-August most of us enjoy a scoop of good ice cream. Our favorite flavors topped with sprinkles, or mixed in with our favorite allergen or gluten free add-in’s make the whole ice cream experience something to scream about.

But often times, when a food allergy, intolerance or celiac disease is involved a trip to the local ice cream parlor can turn into a plain old vanilla type of experience. Plus, the cost of treating a family to ice cream can be another reason to scream.

That is why I love to host my own ice cream parlor style Ice Cream Socials. As with anything you make, bake or cook at home, versus dining out, you have complete control over what food is on the menu, and also how it is prepared and served.

The concept of having an ice cream social is simple. Just remember to keep the any items you serve at the ice cream social away from all other items that impose an allergy concern (i.e. keep the nuts, on a completely different counter top, or better yet, omit them completely, if nut-allergies are a concern), also make sure that you prevent any cross-contamination issues, by providing separate serving spoons or ice cream scoops for every item served.

When planning your Ice Cream Social, make sure you have a large enough area to set up “salad bar” style. The idea is to have your guests mix and match their toppings based upon their tastes and allergens. Have the guest form a line “buffet style” to serve themselves. Here are a few pointers to make your ice Cream Social a screaming success:

Take Orders: Consult your guests to find out if they are concerned with any food allergies prior to choosing what ingredients will become part of your ice cream buffet. Also, make sure you keep the labels and packaging in case someone wants to read the items ingredients.

Start with the Basics: Select a few type of basic ice creams to serve, or non-dairy ice cream, if a dairy allergy or intolerance is an issue. Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry & Coffee, are good choices. Some of my favorite types of gluten-free ice cream include Edy’s and Hood, which also makes a Lactaid Ice Cream, which is free of lactose too. Also, a really good dairy-free ice cream is Rice Dream. Whatever type you choose, set it out a few minutes before serving for easier scooping.

Mix-ins: Next start with the mix-ins. Gluten free cookies from Glutino or Allergen free cookies from Home Free are great cookie mix-in choices. I also love the Cinnamon riceworks brown Rice Crisps as mix in’s too – plus they are full of fiber! Other mix-in ideas include M&M’s, jelly beans, gum balls or Skittles. Mix it up and get creative!

Topping: toppings can include, traditional sprinkles (or jimmies), candy, nuts (if nut allergies are not a concern), whip cream, hot fudge, caramel, popcorn,  marshmallow fluff, gluten free cereal, shredded coconut, fruit (canned, frozen or fresh), and of course… maraschino cherries!

Think outside of the bowl: Let your guests make Ice Cream Sodas, Root Beer Floats, cones and milkshakes too, by supplying a blender, tall glasses, straws, gluten and allergen free ice cream cones, milk (soy milk, if dairy is an issue) and root beer.

Menu: Some people, especially kids, may get overwhelmed trying to figure out what kind of sundae to make. This is when you can help out! Make up some “recipes” for suggested sundae ideas on index cards, and scatter them along the sundae making table.

Some of my favorite sundae concoctions?

Pina Colada = Vanilla Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + Canned Pineapple + Shredded Coconut

Snickers = Chocolate Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + Caramel Sauce + Hot Fudge + Peanuts

Classic Banana Split =  One scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + One scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + One scoop of Strawberry Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + Banana + Caramel Sauce + Hot Fudge Sauce + Frozen Strawberries (thawed with juices) + whipped cream + nuts (optional, omit for nut free)

Cherry Crisp = Vanilla Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) +  Canned Pie Cherries + dollops of cooked gluten-free oatmeal + sprinkle of cinnamon

Triple Chocolate Brownie = Chocolate Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + Gluten-free Chocolate Brownie (heated) + Hot Fudge + whipped cream (optional) + Chocolate sprinkles

Classic Hot Fudge = Vanilla Ice Cream (or dairy free substitute) + Hot fudge sauce + whipped cream + chopped walnuts (optional, omit for nut-free) = maraschino cherry

What is your favorite kind of ice cream, and ways to enjoy it?

Enter To WIN! Sweet Solutions for Valentine’s Day: Cherrybrook Kitchen & Shelley Case Giveaway (plus $1.50 OFF!)

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Cherrybrook Kitchen, the Sweet Solution for Food Allergies, and Shelley Case the author of “The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” has teamed up to offer BeFreeForMe members a chance to win one of five super sweet solution gift-packs!

The gift-pack includes a copy of “The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” . This book has been my bible when it comes to seeking solutions to living gluten-free. It is a must-have for anyone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease.

Also included is a Cherrybrook Kitchen variety pack with six all-natural baking mixes & ready-to-eat cookies that are free of gluten, dairy, peanuts, nuts & eggs! Plus they are vegan, kosher, contain no artificial colors or flavors and they are Feingold Association approved. The six products in the variety pack are: yellow cake mix, chocolate cake mix, pancake & waffle mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, chocolate frosting mix and ready-to-eat vanilla graham cookies.

And just to sweeten the deal even more, Cherrybrook Kitchen is including these bonus items in the prize pack: Two (one blue and one pink) Cup-a-Cake cupcake holders, unique containers that will hold a frosted cupcake in such a way that the cupcake will not move within the container if jiggled or turned upside down; a 28-ounce Cherrybrook Kitchen water bottle, plus a copy of Kyle Dine’s CD, “ You Must Be Nuts” the first music CD that is dedicated to helping children with food allergies by delivering upbeat and catchy music that encourages them to learn about dealing with food allergies in a fun way!

How can you win one of these five (5) super sweet solution prize packs?

Easy!

Reply to this blog and tell us what solution, answer or discovery you have found since being gluten or allergen-free. (Me? Meeting someone else with celiac disease or food allergies turns a stranger into a friend!)

All entries must be received by Valentine’s Day – Sunday, 02-14-10 at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good luck, seek out sweet solutions… and as always,

Be Free!

P.S. Bonus! Until 02-28-10 enter coupon code BEFREE at check-out and get $1.50 OFF each Cherrybrook Kitchen item… now is the time to give these yummy products a try!

Allergies in Play-dough – Make your own (and save dough too!)

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

On rainy summer afternoons, there is no better way to keep the kids occupied by having them get creative and lose themselves in the traditional childhood craft item, play-dough. But as most parents know, what ends up in their child’s hands have a way of ending up in their mouths -  which can become a serious cause of concern for children with food allergies or celiac disease.

That is why I was so excited when I ran across this excellent review of play-dough from Clara Ogren with the Baltimore Gluten-Free Examiner.

In this review Clara lists some of the gluten free and allergen free brands of play-dough that are available, as well as specifics on each type reviewed. All are gluten-free and many are also free of dairy, egg, soy, nuts, fish and shellfish; as well as fragrances, artificial colors and dyes. Check out each brands website to see which play-dough fits your specific allergen(s) or intolerance(s).

I also found a deal at Discount School Supply on the Colorations brand of play-dough, which at $22.97 for 5 ½ pounds was the best deal of all of the types that Clara reviewed. The deal that is being offered is 10% OFF your whole order by using coupon code: TENOFFEV at checkout. Please note that this special expires on Monday, August 3rd – so use it today! They also carry gluten-free and allergen-free paint, too.

Another way to save is to make your own gluten and allergen free play dough. And as a bonus, making play dough also becomes another activity to enjoy with your children on rainy afternoons! There are four recipes that Clara features in her blog – so check them out!

Have fun! And as always… play nice and be free!

FREE Coupon for a Box of Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Baking Mixes… Try them for FREE!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS OFFER IS NO LONGER BEING OFFERED BY GENERAL MILLS!

IT WAS BEING OFFERED FOR A LIMITED TIME AND HAS NOW EXPIRED! Sorry!

General Mills is offering a FREE coupon for any one of their new Betty Crocker gluten-free baking mixes!

To redeem your free box, call General Mill’s customer service number at: 1-800-446-1898, which is the same number listed on the Betty Crocker boxes. Then, at the main menu press “4”.

The representative will then ask for your zip code, and if you / your household is gluten-free or limiting gluten, where you normally shop for gluten-free foods, and your address. General Mills promises not to sell or share this info.

According to General Mills, this offer is good until further notice. EXPIRED! The coupon will be sent to your home from General Mills within 2-3 weeks. It is good for one (1) box of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Baking Mixes (There are four types: Yellow or devil food cake mixes, Chocolate Chip Cookies or Brownie Mix – Read my reviews to see which ones I liked the best!)

Enjoy! And, as always… Be Free!

FREE PASTRY at Starbucks – Tomorrow, July 21st (HURRY before they run out… or are discontinued!)

Monday, July 20th, 2009

For those of you that haven’t tried the new gluten-free Orange Valencia Cake at Starbucks, this is the chance to try it for FREE (with the purchase of selected beverages)! Print your coupon and present it to the barista upon ordering. On another note, these cakes are being discontinued soon, and replaced with Kind Fruit and Nut Bars, as seen on Nancy Lapid’s blog at About.com.

This deal is good tomorrow morning, 07/21/09, in participating US stores from opening until 10:30 AM.

Make sure you read all the fine print at the bottom of the coupon. Most important, the Starbucks at airports, travel plaza and Barnes & Nobel cafes will not be participating. It also notes that supplies are limited. So bring your gluten-free appetites early to the Starbucks closest to you!

Let us know what you think of the Gluten-free Orange Valencia Cakes once you try them… will you be sad to see them go? Will a nut and fruit bar satisfy your sweet tooth?


Be Free For Me Blog is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).