Archive for January, 2009

Gluten Free Items Being Considered at Star Bucks?

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Should we all start thanking our lucky stars? Is there more to Starbucks than a good cup of joe for celiacs and the gluten free everywhere?  How about the dairy, soy and nut avoiders too? Should Starbucks include other allergen free products in new item introductions as well?

According to a Starbucks blog post, they are considering offering some gluten free food options in their stores. Click here to read the article posting on Starbucks blog.

Knowing that there is more strength in numbers than a triple grande expresso, I thought it would be a great idea to pool all of our ideas & comments here on this post, and I would compile and submit them to the new product innovators over at Starbucks.


According to the information they posted they want to know:

• What specific gluten-free products would you like to see in our stores?

• Would you prefer to see it individually packaged or unpackaged?

• How would you like to learn we have gluten-free products? For example, would you like to see it on a sign or would you prefer the barista tell you?

• Where would you like to see gluten-free products in the store; in the pastry case or placed elsewhere?

• The ingredient costs of gluten-free products tend to be higher, so would you understand if we charged more for the gluten-free version?

Please help support our celaic and food allergic community and cause! Reply to this post today and I will submit all comments together as the strong demographic we are!

We are celiac and the food allergic … hear us roar!
Be Free!

Oh, Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

One of the things I crave the most since being gluten free are english muffins.

The kind that has creeks and crevices that grabs a hold of the melted butter. The kind that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The kind that looks and tastes like an English muffin and not like a crumbly cake disguised into an English muffin shape.

I found my beloved muffins … not on Drury Lane but at Joan’s GF Great Bakes.   

These English muffins are not only gluten free, but dairy free, egg free and soy free.

Hello Muffin Man!

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).

The NFCA’s 2009 Gluten-Free Lifestyle Webinar Series Begins: Wednesday – January 21, 2009, 3:00 PM – EST

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Introducing the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness’ Gluten-free Lifestyle Webinar Series, beginning Wednesday January 21, 2009, sponsored by Blue Diamond Growers Nut-thin Crackers.

Kathleen Reale, Founder of, a celiac and food marketing veteran for 25 years, has been asked to speak on saving money on a gluten free diet. Her presentation,: “The Gluten Free Diet: How to Save Money with Sense, Savvy and Savings”, includes information on why gluten free products cost more money, general gluten free shopping tips, how to save money where & when you shop, and how to find coupons and savings while shopping.

Hosting the webinar is Nancy Baker, the Director of Education for the NFCA & the author of GREAT (Gluten-free Resources Education Awareness Training). Nancy is a fellow celiac, and has two children that are celiacs also.  

Other presenters include Mary Schluckebier, the Executive Director of the Celiac Sprue Association (CSA). The CSA is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individuals with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis worldwide through education, research and support. Mary herself is a celiac, and has been for many years. She also numerous family members with celiac disease.  Mary will be educating us about finding gluten free products and explain some of the basics of a gluten free diet. Her segment is interesting and engaging!

The last presenter is Linda Simon, who is a Registered Dietician & personal chef, Founder of, a featured columnist for the NFCA Newsletter and a presenter and trainer for the GREAT Program. Linda will be walking us through making a delicious recipe made out of Blue Diamond Crackers… this is a segment you do not want to miss!

Bring your questions (and appetite!) and please join us by clicking on the link below!

Register Now! >>>

Overview of the webinar is:

Gluten-Free Lifestyle Webinar Series: Gluten-free Common Sense�
1.       The basics of the gluten-free diet – Nancy Baker, NFCA
2.       Finding gluten-free products – Mary Schluckebier, CSA
3.       Fresh and Common Ingredients- Nancy Baker, NFCA
4.       Using coupons on a specialty diet – Kathleen Reale, Be Free For Me
5.       Cooking tips – Nancy Baker, NFCA
6.       Cooking with crackers – Linda Simon RD, Gluten-free Kitchen Therapy
7.       Questions

Italian Food: Beyond a Noodle

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

When I was about 6 years old, I remember going to my great grandparent’s – Nonna and Boone’s – house in New Bedford for a big Italian feast on Sunday afternoons.

I remember the aroma of fresh garlic, basil, olive oil and simmering sauce as soon as the front door was opened. I remember too many people packed around a too small table, sitting on mismatched chairs, drinking Chianti from mismatched glasses. I remember the eating, the talking, the laughing.

When I first got diagnosed with celiac disease, reminiscences such as these surfaced hard. I realized that food was an influential and powerful memory-maker. The taste, the smell, the laughter, the smiles.  At that time, I decided to put my memories-in-motion and come up with some Italian inspired dishes that would make Nonna and Boone proud.

Cooking allergy free and gluten free traditional Italian dishes is much easier than imagined. Good rustic, traditional Italian food goes beyond a glutenized noodle.

Some of the most flavorful Italian staple pantry items are gluten and allergy free. Some of these must-haves include:

– Arborio Rice: An Italian short-grain, high starch rice that is used to make risotto, a versatile creamy rice dish that can be flavored with any type of meats, fish, vegetables, and spices. Perfect for those that need to eat gluten free or allergen free. My Dad makes the best risotto – and got the recipe from Nonna and Boone.

– Polenta: A staple of Northern Italy, it is made of cornmeal. Free of gluten and most common allergens, it has a soft, moist and – dare I say – “breadlike” texture. It can be served so many ways – soft or hard – and flavored in the same manner as risotto. I make my own to guarantee it is gluten and allergen free.

– Roasted Red Peppers: You can roast them yourself, or purchase them jarred for quick and easy cooking. I put them on antipastos, grilled chicken and egg dishes.

– Olives: I love olives. I love them on everything – but especially in all my Italian cooking recipes. I go crazy at supermarket olive bars. Olives: The perfect gluten free finger food.

– Olive Oil: I use olive oil daily. I spritz it on my salad; I use it instead of butter on steamed veggies and I coat my pans with it before cooking anything. My favorite olive oils are Marconi brand flavored oils made by Catania-Spagnia. They come in many flavors: Rosemary, Oregano, Garlic, Basil and Jalapeno. Explore them all!  

Put your memories-in-motion. Explore those happy memories. Dig up those traditional family recipes, tweek them to make them gluten & allergy free and share them. Share them with your children, husband, wife, friends, neices, nephews, and all of us here at BeFreeForMe.  


Eat. Talk. Laugh… Gluten & allergy free!

My New Year Reinventions

Thursday, January 1st, 2009


 “We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” 

~Ellen Goodman


For my New Year’s (and my birthday – December 31!) resolutions this year I decided not to set unrealistic promises of things that I am, or I am not, going to do. Instead I have decided to follow the advice of American journalist, Ellen Goodman and try to find ways to better myself – to reinvent myself. 

Instead of having New Year resolutions, I am having New Year reinventions.

My first step was to reexamine the potential of what I am capable of; the possibility of what I can be.

I decided that instead of running the Boston Marathon, something that has been reappearing on my “must-do list” after my celiac diagnosis lifestyle change, I have instead committed to make a conscience effort to put exercise and physical activity daily into my busy schedule. A daily walk will be good for my soul too.

And while taking that daily walk I can listen to podcasts on the latest news about the gluten free market, celiac disease and food allergies. A much better alternative to making the impossible resolution to read the piles and piles of periodicals, and e-newsletters that accumulates on my desk and inbox. Recycle bin here I come!

Rather than promising to enroll in cooking classes – something that is nearly impossible to do considering my more than crazy schedule, I am instead going to expand my family’s daily menu offerings to include many, many innovative, interesting, ethnic, allergy free and gluten free recipes. My own kitchen will become my very own classroom!

It’s exciting to think about the possibility and potential of promises I can keep.

What are your reinventions for the New Year?

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