Archive for the ‘Money Saving Tips’ Category

Getting Dressed Up: Gluten & Allergen Free Dressings on a Budget!

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Let’s face it – getting dressed up makes everything just a little extra special. Today, being a glorious spring day, I decided to wear a sundress that I bought at the end of last season. Although, the dress is not at all fancy or formal, I’ve gotten three compliments about looking nice and asking what the occasion was. All because I kicked the way I dress up a notch or two. 

This got me thinking that “dressing up” can make an ordinary day extraordinary. Just as a fancy vinaigrette dressing with fresh herbs, fine vinegars and oils can make a regular old tossed salad, well… something special too.

In honor of springtime, loving salads, fitting into last year’s sundress and sometimes getting bored with my ordinary stand-by dressings, we decided to feature recipes next week for salad dressings and vinaigrettes. All low-cost alternatives to the store bought stuff.

We look forward to having you visit us daily and enjoy the recipes too. Oh and don’t worry, casual dress is okay.

Cold Stone Creamery: FREE “Like It” Size Ice Cream / Gluten & Allergen Free Listing

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Now here’s something to scream about!

On Sunday, May 10 from noon until 10 PM, my local Cold Stone Creamery will be offering a FREE “Like It” size ice cream (with one mix-in) to all Moms when they visit with their child!

Please note that all stores are not participating in this promotion! So look up your local store by using the Cold Stone Creamery location finder, and call your local store to find out if they are participating in this FREE Ice Cream offer for Mom’s!  

What I like best about Cold Stone Creamery is that they are aware of gluten and food allergies. Check out the chart on their website listing allergens.

Also, if you opt for the mix-ins – It is smart to ask that your ice cream is mixed with CLEAN Spades, and have it mixed in a clean plastic bowl rather than on the mixing stone. For severe allergies, ask to have your ice cream scooped from new ice cream tubs from the back freezer.

Does anyone else know of any good ice cream stores that are aware of allergens in their products? If so, let us know by responding to this post!

Uno, Dos, Tres! Three Cheers For Uno! $1.00 OFF COUPON for GF Pizza

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Since sending out the $1 OFF coupon  for Uno Gluten-Free Pizza on Friday to all BeFreeForMe members, I have received many member emails telling me they were excited about visiting their local Uno Chicago Grill to try out the gluten-free pizza.

All weekend I’ve been so excited – hoping that the members visiting Uno Chicago Grill for the first time for their gluten-free pizza will get as giddy and excited as I did. It is such a fantastic feeling to go into a national restaurant chain known for its pizza and actually be able to order one gluten free… it’s hard to explain, but it was very emotional! Cheers to Uno’s! Finally a national chain really, really “get’s it”!

I was also pleasantly delighted that the Manager of the Uno restaurant took a vested interest in me, my pizza – but most important my health. When he asked me if “everything was o.k.” with my gluten-free meal, I knew he was there to answer any questions, or quell any disbeliefs that this round disk of crunchy crust, sweet sauce and gooey cheese was indeed fair game for this gluten-free gal to truly enjoy. 

And truly enjoy I did. My original intent was to eat half and bring the second half home for leftovers. That never happened.

Honestly, I don’t think that I ever enjoyed a pepperoni pizza as much as I did that night.

And… maybe, just maybe, it was just me, a celiac excited that gluten-free pizza was available on a national restaurant chains “regular menu” but I swear that Pepperoni Pizza was smiling back at me…

Marconi Infused Oils

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

This week I am featuring recipes using one of my all time favorite products, Marconi Infused Oils. Since being diagnosed with celiac, I always keep a small 1.75 ounce bottle of an infused oil in my bag – it is great for when I eat out and need a flavorful salad dressing or need to spice up a piece of plain chicken, or veggies that are lacking and flavorless.

Now with the scare of allergens being found in olive oil (Read more here), it is even more important for those of us with allergies and intolerances to be weary of the olive oil served in restaurants.

Marconi Infused Olive Oils are made by Catania-Spagna Corporation. Their quality assurance program far exceeds industry standards and they pride themselves on superior quality oils.  I have had the pleasure of meeting the close-knit family that runs the company, which is over 100 years old and now has a fourth generation learning the business. They are all passionate about what they do, and it shows in their products.

I just love these infused oils!  They come in five flavors: Rosemary, basil, garlic, oregano & jalapeno (My favs are the rosemary and basil!).  I’ve been told that these products are made by placing herbs in a huge vat of oil for over a month at a time. This allows the herbal flavors to soak right into the oils. This infusion process makes the Marconi oils far superior than the cheaper copy-cat and less flavorful “flavored” oils. 

When I asked them if I, their biggest fan around, could feature the recipes found on their website on they were thrilled!  They wanted to offer the members special savings so for a limited time all purchases made through the Catania website will be 10% OFF when using the coupon code “Marconi” at check-out. Give them a try! But watch out – you may become addicted like me!
Use Coupon Code: Marconi

Valentine Day Ideas… Free of Gluten & Allergens!

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Who needs a red velvet heart stuffed with gluten and allergen-ridden chocolates? There are so many “gifts” to share with your sweetie that are free of gluten and allergens,  jam-packed with fun… and economical too! Here are just a few of BeFreeForMe’s favorites… what are some of yours?


1.) Room Service: Serve your sweetie breakfast in bed… heart-shaped gluten free pancakes anyone?


2.) Is a mini-adventure in order? Take a road trip… take a drive to nowhere! You’ll never know where you’ll end up!  Make sure you take a gluten and allergen free picnic lunch with you. Leave the GPS behind!


3.) The Big Screen at Home: Rent a romantic movie, grab a warm blanket and make some popcorn. Try a romantic-comedy and share a laugh together too!


4.) Make a Heart Sing: Make a gift of CD love songs or songs that bring back sweet memories. Pop it in the CD player of her car… instant smiles while driving the miles!


5.) Let’s get Physical!: Go bowling, sledding or ice skating. Live in a warm climate? Find an indoor ice skating rink with public skate time. Bring along some allergen free snacks and hot chocolate!

6.) The Game of Love: Have a marathon of playing board or card games – and let your sweetie win! Make tons of gluten free and allergen free snacks and invite another couple.


7.) Sweets for the Sweethearts: Go out for a gluten free ice cream!  Dilly Bar Anyone?


8.) Let me count thy ways… Make your own Valentine Day card. Include 10 things that made you first fall in love, and are still in love, with your sweetheart.

The Comfort of Food

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

When things didn’t go just right, when my and my sister’s days were full of sniffles and childhood worries, our Mom would make us our favorite suppers that made everything good again.

My Mom’s magical comfort foods were (and still are to this day) chicken soup and rice pudding. Luckily for us, these classics are naturally gluten free, and no changes needed to be made to these recipes after my, and other family members, diagnosis of celiac disease.

One of the top trends in cooking during this new economy is the comeback of comfort foods – and it is no wonder. Not only is it more economical to eat at home, it also makes sense to simplify our crazy worlds and reach back to the basics. Basics like returning to home cooking, holding close the simple suppers shared as a family, or remembering the childhood excitement knowing that your favorite meal is being served for supper that night. All little things that make us treasure good food; plus all the good that comes from it.

In general, Gluten free and allergen free foods are a lot like comfort foods: simple, straightforward and uncomplicated. Just basic good food that makes you feel good – inside and out. Nothing fancy, nothing pretentious. Treasured.

What are your gluten and allergy free comfort foods that make you cuddly warm, happy and full?

1,000 Places To Eat At Before You Die – Nominate Now!

Monday, January 26th, 2009

For my birthday last week, I received the book “1,000 Places To See Before You Die” (by Patricia Schultz – Workman Publishing).

Wanting to jump in headfirst and start planning on places to visit, I decided to look up the local spots that are must-sees and found a restaurant located in Essex, Massachusetts – Woodman’s of Essex. It is noted as “the ultimate Massachusetts clam shack”.

The write-up in the book looked fabulous, so I pulled up their website, and to my excitement found that almost their whole menu is gluten free!  Smiles across the menu board for all of us celiac’s dying to sink our teeth into the flagship “Chubby Original Fried Clams” … described as fruity, sweet, buttery and smooth… Gluten free glee for me!

This got me thinking that it would be awesome to have a gluten free and allergy free version of this list: “1,000 Places To Eat At Before You Die”.

So, dig in…  Reply to this blog and tell us about your favorite restaurant (a local pub, pizza place, or national chain – anywhere where you can eat can be nominated!), why you like it (extraordinary menu items, gluten free / allergen free menus, service) and where it is located. I am getting hungry thinking about this list already!

SAVINGS: At Woodman’s kids 12 and under eat free all fall & winter, with the purchase of one adult entrée. (Not to be combined with other offers. One kids meal per adult entrée).

DariFree: Love Potion #9 for the Food Allergic & Intolerant

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

I must say that when I think of powdered milk I conjure up these thoughts of being a toddler, being handed a glass and knowing from the first sip that my Mom had run out of the “real stuff” and was pawning off the white watery mixture as the real McCoy.

I dreaded the stuff.

Because of these flashback memories, I must say that I was weary on trying DariFree’s Non-Dairy Milk Alternative at the Natural Food Expo. However, as an attendee that was searching out the best of the best, I had to be courteous and give the stuff a try. I counted to three and like the song goes, “I held my nose, I closed my eyes, I took a drink”.

That’s when it happened…. with a non-milk mustache placed above my colossal smile, I found myself automatically holding out my sample size Dixie cup to the tradeshow booth attendee for a sample of a different flavor.

DariFree had me on the first sip.                  

Not only is DariFree delicious, it is also nutritious – enriched with vitamins and containing as much calcium as milk. And what it doesn’t have in it is even more impressive… DariFree is free of: Gluten, Casein, Lactose, Fat, Soy, Rice, MSG & Protein. The Original flavor is even free of Cholesterol.

Free of 9 different allergens makes this a “love potion” for any food allergic / intolerant… and what’s not to love about that?

On the DariFree web site ( they have deals if you buy the product through them. From the home page, click on the “Home” tab and then click on “Shop Online”.

Quick and Easy Meals for Me: A Girl on the Go! The Best of Natural Product Expo East

Monday, October 27th, 2008

One of the things I hear the most that people miss after getting diagnosed with celiac disease or food allergies is the inability to have a quick, satisfying and healthy meal at their fingertips… the kind of prepared dinner that can be put in the microwave or oven and done in minutes time.

Well… get those microwaves and ovens warmed up! I found some true keepers!

These items are a bit pricey, but then again time is money. I will be on the look-out for specials and coupons for these items for the BeFreeForMe members – so stayed tuned!


Kettle Cuisine Soups: GF (

The Angus Steak Chili with Beans and the Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles is also DF.
Kettle Cuisine is a peanut free facility.
This soup has been an all time favorite of mine for many years! I was so excited to see that Kettle Cuisine has come out with single serving soup cups that are perfect for a gal like me that is always on the go!

The soups come frozen and can be quickly cooked in a microwave for quick and easy lunches or dinners. These are going to be a staple in my freezer all winter long.

My favorite is the Angus Steak Chili with Beans – which is packed not only with tons of protein, but flavor as well. This variety is also dairy free. This chili is a “meal” that satisfies. Coming in a close second is the Grilled Chicken and Corn Chowder. I love its richness and spiciness. The chicken used is also free of chicken antibiotics or growth hormones – which is always a plus with me.


Organic Bistro Whole Life Meals: GF (

I love these meals! What I love the most about them is that they have a “main course” along with two sides which consist of a type of rice and also a veggie. This to me is the composition of the microwavable meals I used to eat prior to my gluten free life.

The only difference is that these meals taste fresh and crisp… unlike any other frozen glutenized meal.

Organic Bistro meals are not only easy to prepare and have eight delicious gluten free varieties they are also all natural and use only organic ingredients that are rich in fiber, whole grains, lean protein, omega 3 fats, vitamins and minerals.

The varieties offered are: Wild Salmon, Ginger Chicken, Savory Turkey, Sockeye Salmon Cake, Chicken Citron, Spiced Chicken Morocco, Jamaican Shrimp Cake and Pasta Pattanesca.

With variety like that and a taste that will blow anyone away it is hard to believe these meals are gluten free. Enjoy!

COUPON / SPECIAL OFFER: As well as being found in the freezer case of your local retailer, you can also purchase them direct from Organic Bistro from their website. Currently there is a special savings of $6.00 off the purchase of six entrees.


Twin Hens Beef Pot Pie: GF, NF, SF, FF (

These are the type of pies you would make yourself if you had the time. The polenta crust adds a nice change to a traditional, usually non-gluten free, classic. All ingredients in this pie are items that you have in your kitchen.

The company founders are two busy Moms’ that are also professionally trained chefs. These pies simplify the family meal during busy times!


Helen’s Kitchen Indian & Asian Meals: GF, DF (
These meals are also free of meat, MSG & GMO’s. 

I usually don’t go for Indian or Asian entrees, but the organic ingredients and blend of flavorful spices had me hooked on Helen’s Kitchen’s Thai Red Curry and Indian Curry meals.

Both these meals are certified organic. They are also high in fiber and protein; as well as contain no MSG, trans-fat or GMO’s.

The Thai Red Curry is also low in fat and cholesterol, which was a bonus. The rice used in this dish is a brown basmati rice which I like a lot better than the white sticky rice usually associated with asian meals.

The Indian Curry Meal had just enough curry-spiciness and was not overwhelming by any means.

I was pleasantly surprised after trying both of these frozen and easy-to-prepare entrees. I am excited to include these meals on my lunch menu agenda!

The Best Energy Bars in Boston… with COUPONS! Natural Product Expo East 2008

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008


There were so many bars that I checked out at the Natural Product Expo East over the past few days but a few really stood out as real keepers… the kind that you buy stashes of and keep in your glove compartment, desk drawers or brief cases. Keep in mind that these bars are marketed to adults (for the most part).  Kid-friendly bars will be blogged about later this week.


As well as my all time favorites, ThinkThin and Lara Bar (see my Bar Junkie blog post), these new contenders are must tries & must haves for the die-hard Bar Junkie like myself:




NuGo Free Bars:  GF, DF, SF, FF

These bars are not coming out until November 1st – but line up folks and start waiting for them now! Why do I like these bars? Let me list thy reasons:


– Gluten, Dairy, Soy and Fish Free. Vegan and Kosher.
– Only 3 Weight Watchers points (for those counters!)
– Low glycemic.
– Three yummy flavors: Dark Chocolate Trail Mix, Dark Chocolate Crunch, and Carrot Cake


The oats used in the bars are also certified to be gluten free. These bars also use REAL chocolate! NuGo says they are the only nutritional bar in the industry that do so…Hello antioxidant benefits!
Snack away all!


COUPON OFFER / SAVINGS for NuGo Bars: Currently there is a 10% off coupon code on the NuGo website for current products only. Email them – tell them you read about their bars on BeFreeForMe and ask if there will be a coupon code for their new NuGo Free Bars! 




Enjoy Life boom Choco boom Bars: GF, NF, DF, SF, FF

These NEW bars from Enjoy Life are booming with flavor! Rich, creamy and chocolaty… and these snacks are also free of allergens!


These bars will satisfy chocoholics of all ages. I would say they were good for your kid’s lunch buckets, but I think they would also make a good “eat-them-all-yourself-in-the-car- on-the-way-home-from-the-grocery-store” snack too.


Available in three flavors: Dairy Free Rice Milk, Dairy Free Rice Milk with Crispy Rice, Dark Chocolate. My fav? Dark Chocolate.
Chocoholics rejoice and “Enjoy Life”!


COUPON OFFER / SAVINGS for boom Choco boom Bars: Check out the Enjoy Life website for a 75¢ OFF coupon for the new boom Choco boom Bars!




Bakery on Main’s Gluten Free Granola Snack Bar: GF, DF, FF

Three yummy flavors (Cranberry Maple nut, Extreme Trail Mix and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip) make these bars appealing both morning, afternoon and evening.


Bonus: cholesterol free, trans fat free, casein free… and DELICIOUS!


Give them a try and experience granola once again – 2008 style!


COUPON OFFER / SAVINGS for any Bakery on Main item: Join the “Eat better – Live better” club on the Bakery on Main website and receive a $1.50 off any product coupon sent to your inbox within 24-48 hours!




MarcoNutrient Gluten Free Bars: GF, DF, SF, FF 


Made with all organic ingredients, these bars are also egg free, have no trans fats, additives, preservatives or hydrogenated oils.


Come in three unique flavors: Cashew Butter, Peanut Protein and Tahini Date.


Their tagline is “Positively Delicious!” You’ll have no doubt how they thought that up after tasting one of these bars. 


COUPON OFFER / SAVINGS for MacroNutrient products: For savings…. Go to the MacroNutrient website, pull down the “product” menu, go to “Marcotreat of the Month” and save away!


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