Archive for August, 2009

Friday Favorite: Brianna’s Salad Dressings

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I eat tons of salads. I know that there are plenty of other gluten and allergen free meal options out there, but salads are my old stand-by for the main course when I just don’t feel like cooking.

Many salads can be ho-hum, as boring as iceberg lettuce can get. But I am a true-believer that a good salad dressing can spruce up any salad green.

That’s why Brianna’s Salad Dressings are my pick for this week’s Friday Favorite.

Brianna’s comes in flavors such as Rich Poppy Seed (My all-time favorite. Is it possible to be addicted to salad dressing?), Champagne Caper Vinaigrette and Rich Santa Fe Blend

The Brianna’s website also, has some fantastic recipes that are worth checking out. Many are gluten and allergen free, and others can be easily adapted to be.

All of the dressings are nut free, vegetarian and have no MSG added; and MOST are free of gluten & lactose. To find out specifics on each individual type of dressing send an email to

Send Brianna’s an email today… Because salads don’t have to be boring!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Shelley Cases New Book (PLUS… a bonus FREE teleseminar with Shelley!)

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

After getting diagnosed with celiac disease I had tons of questions. Some of the questions I “figured out” for myself by searching the internet and reading books, such as the Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, written by Shelley Case.

But another fantastic way to learn more about the gluten-free diet – from the basics of celiac disease, ways to manage a new diagnosis, ideas for new & fresh menu ideas, or to get the comradely support that we all need to get by on a day-to-day basis – is to share and have conversations with others that live the gluten-free lifestyle.

That’s why I was thrilled when I heard that and riceworks is sponsoring a teleseminar featuring a Q&A session with Shelley Case. (Note: A teleseminar is a discussion conducted via the telephone during which Shelley will answer questions emailed to her.)

Shelley’s book a “Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” has been my bible since I was diagnosed with celiac disease years ago. Shelley’s knowledge on celiac disease, real-life solutions to the obstacles I’ve faced, and her no-nonsense approach to explaining the ins-and-outs of the gluten-free diet has made her book the go-to with all my gluten-free questions.

And to think now we can all have Shelley’s (who is also a registered dietician!) one-on-one’s attention to answer all of our questions “in person” is so very awesome!   

The teleseminar, Gluten Free Diet: What Everyone Needs to Know!”  is scheduled for this coming Monday night, August 31st at 8:30 PM EST.

When I emailed Shelley to find out the details on this teleseminar, I also asked if she wanted to donate a couple of her best selling books, “Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide”  for this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday, since it was such a popular giveaway a few months back. So – the prize this week are TWO copies (one copy for two winners) of the newest edition of the “Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide”.

How can You WIN?


Reply to this blog and tell us if you could ask Shelley Case ANY question about the gluten-free diet what would your question be?

All entries must be received by Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 12:00 Midnight.

REMEMBER… replying to this blog DOES NOT register you to the teleseminar! You must click on the link below to register (and ask your question to Shelley).

Register Me For Shelley Case’s Teleseminar!


I look forward to “seeing you all” and hearing our questions answered by Shelley during the teleseminar this coming Monday night!


See you then!

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Valley Fresh 100% Natural White Chicken

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Quick and easy is the name of the game for me. That is why this week’s pick for the Friday Favorite is Valley Fresh canned chicken breast.

The only ingredients are: White chicken, water and sea salt. 

When things get hectic I want to reach for a few “go to” pantry items that are staples in my cabinet. No cooking and prepping involved, Valley Fresh chicken is my quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Gluten and allergen free the website has lots of recipe ideas. 

So simple. Yet such a life saver!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Dogswell & Catswell Pet Snacks

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Attending a Natural Food Expo last fall, I ran across Dogswell and Catswell pet jerky treats that are not only gluten-free, but also free of corn, soy and other allergens.  

Chatting with the down-to-earth, dog and cat loving representatives at the Dogswell / Catswell booth about our pets and their products, I also learned that they also offer dry food, canned food and biscuits that are all made from natural meat and poultry with absolutely no added hormones, processed gluten, and no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives; and these products are free of wheat, corn, soy, and flour. 

When I was asked if I wanted to take a few gluten-free jerky samples home for Sadie Maie, my incredibly sweet Boxer, I happily took them. 

Before then I was “treating” Sadie with highly-glutenized, processed and junk-foodie type snacks that were no treat for me to even touch, since they were made, dusted and treated with gluten. I know, I know… I was a bad!

When I gave Sadie her first Dogswell jerky she loved it! I thought she may have become a junk-food-doggie and turn her nose up to the healthiness of these snacks, but not so! Since finding Dogswell jerkies, Sadie Maie and I both love treat time – gluten-free!

Dogswell jerky dog treats come in six varieties: Vitality, Happy Hips, Shape Up, Breathies, Mellow Mut and Happy Heart. The Catswell Jerky Treats come in four varieties: Vitakitty, and also the Happy Hips, Shape Up and Breathies.

Dogswell / Catswell is happy to be the sponsor of this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday! THREE (Yes… 3!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe dog &/or cat members (and their “lucky peoples”!) will win one of THREE (3) gift baskets full of Dogswell / Catswell jerky treats!

How can your pooch or kitty win?


Tell me your dog or cats name, what breed (if any or if known) and one truly amazing thing they do that keeps you smiling, sane, happy, and all-around… healthy! (Me? My pups name is Sadie Maie, she is a Boxer and she twists her body into a tortellini shape, and runs sideways while wiggling her bottom, and I swear she smiles & laughs while doing it!)

All entries must be received by Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 12 midnight EST.

Good luck, and as always…


Be Free! (Woof-Meow!)

Kathleen (& Sadie Maie)

Favorite Friday: Drew’s All Natural Dressings

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

There are a few gluten-free go-to items that I keep on hand at all times. These items are usually ones that are versatile and can be used meal-after-meal, in many different recipes and ways.

Drew’s All Natural Salad Dressings are one of these items.

Not only are many of Drew’s dressings free of gluten and dairy; they are also free of sweeteners, trans fats, ingredients grown from GMO seeds, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

They also use the freshest natural and organic ingredients, and the highest quality, expeller-pressed oils.

The taste is fabulous and you can tell that Drew and his staff put extra TLC into the products they make.

What I like the best about these dressings is that I read the list of ingredient, and I have them all right in my own kitchen cupboards, or out in my vegetable garden. Pretty cool, huh?

My favorite dressing is the Garlic Italian. My sister turned me on to using it as a marinade for chicken and seafood. Now I go through it by the bucket-full! It is also fabulous used in omelets and over steamed vegetables. A close second favorite is the Kalamata Olive & Caper. It is so creamy and is unique in flavor… it is a must try!

The extra versatility and the TLC is what made Drew’s All Natural Dressing my pick for this week’s Favorite Friday!

WIN-It-Wednesday: GoPicnic… Meals-on-the-Go!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Being gluten or allergen free means that you always have to think ahead. Just like Shelley Case said in her “Ask Shelley Case” column yesterday, we must follow the Girl Scout’s motto and “Be Prepared”.

But as Shelley knows, it can often be tough.

On most days I can barely get myself out the door on time. I can’t think one step ahead, never mind two meals ahead.

When life gets a tad bit crazy, planning meals-on-the-go becomes no picnic. That’s why I was so excited when Shelley directed us to GoPicnic, quick and easy meals on-the-go, as a healthy and nutritious snack or meal options.

I am doubly-thrilled that GoPicnic offered to be this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor! Check out the GoPicnic website, and you will see why I am loving these products. More of a meal than an energy-bar, plus not needing refrigeration, these ready-to-eat GoPicnic tapas-type meals are the Go-To for the Super Mom, Super Kid, Super Jetsetter or Super Executive!

They have something for (almost) everyone. They offer gluten-free, kosher, nut-free, vegetarian, halal, soy-free, egg-free, fish & shellfish-free products that appeal to the kids (think Lunchables for the gluten and allergy free set) and for the adults (Think stashing in your glove compartment or briefcase for those times you need a quick & easy meal in a jiff).

For this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday prize, GoPicnic is offering THREE lucky BeFreeForMe members a Family Gluten-Free Variety Pack ! These packs consist of the following ready-to-eat meals:

• AnywhereBreak: Contains 16g of protein! Gluten-Free, No Fish & Shellfish ingredients.
• ZestyBreak: Contains 13g of dietary fiber & 32g of protein! Gluten Free & No Fish & Shellfish ingredients.
• ExploreMunch: Gluten Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, No Refined Sugars, Packaged in peanut-free facilities.
• SportsMunch: Gluten-Free, Soy-free, Egg-free, Fish & Shellfish-Free
• SafariMunch: Vegetarian, Halal, Gluten-free, Soy-Free, Egg-Free, Fish & Shellfish-Free

How Can You Win?!


Reply to this blog post and tell us when you would need the GoPicnic meals the most (Me? I could really use one tomorrow during my Jury Duty! What if I get chosen? WHAT will I eat for lunch?!)

All entries must be received by Sunday, August 16, 2009 at 12:00 midnight EST.

BONUS:  GoPicnic is offering BeFreeForMe members 20% OFF all orders by entering the coupon code: BEFREE at checkout through Sunday, 8/16/09! Check out their mailing list for future offers too!

Good Luck, and as always…
Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: Quick & Nutritious Snack Ideas

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Question: I’m always on the run and often end up grabbing chips or a chocolate bar for a snack. Can you help with some quick and nutritious gluten-free snack ideas?


When eating on the run it’s not always easy to find safe and healthy gluten-free options. But if you follow the Girl Scout motto – “Be Prepared” and plan ahead, healthy snacking is possible. Make sure your kitchen, car, workplace, briefcase, gym bag or back pack is always stocked with a variety of gluten-free items. With the growing number of gluten-free products on the market today, as well as many naturally gluten-free foods, snacking on the go can be both healthy and enjoyable. Remember to choose snacks from the different food groups- fruits and vegetables; grain products; meat and alternatives; and milk and milk products. Also many snacks can be a combination of several food groups. Here are some ideas…

Fruits and Vegetables

– Fresh or canned fruit (packed in water or fruit juice)
– Dried fruits (apricots, blueberries, cranberries, figs, raisins)
– Fruit or vegetable juices
– Frozen fruit juice bars (store-bought or homemade)
– Veggies and dip (made with yogurt/herbs or low fat GF salad dressing)
– Edamame beans (microwavable single serve)

Grain Products

– GF cereal (e.g., GF Chex, Enjoy Life Perky O’s, Glutino Cereal O’s) in zip lock bags
– GF muffin (use a GF mix or make from scratch made with a combination of nutritious flours such as almond, bean, brown rice, Montina ™, mesquite, quinoa, sorghum, teff. Include banana, pumpkin, pineapple, carrot, dried fruits and/or nuts)
– Air popped or low fat microwave popcorn
– GF granola (homemade or store bought – e.g., Bakery On Main, Enjoy Life)

Meat and Alternatives

– Nuts
– Cheese string
– Hard boiled egg
– Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower)
– GF deli meat

Milk and Milk Products

– Yogurt (plain or fruit flavored)
– Low fat milk
– Chocolate milk or hot chocolate (check to make sure there is no wheat starch or barley malt flavoring)
– Yogurt drinks
– String cheese or hard cheese
– GF puddings

Food Group Combinations

– Fruit smoothie (fresh, frozen or canned fruit; yogurt, milk or dried milk powder; crushed ice; optional – honey, sugar, or sugar substitute)
– Chex Almond Apple Bars
– Hummus and GF crackers (e.g., Blue Diamond Nut Thins, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Edward and Son’s Exotic Rice Toast, Glutino Crackers, Ener-G Crackers)
– Low fat cottage cheese or yogurt with fruit
– GF trail mix (e.g., GF Chex cereal, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, GF pretzels)
– GF crackers and nut/seed butters (e.g., almond, cashew, peanut butter, sesame seed, sunflower)
– GF corn tortilla chips, grated low fat cheddar cheese and salsa
– Ants on a log (nut or seed butter on celery with raisins)
– GF snack bars (dried fruits, nuts, seeds, GF cereals) e.g.,  Bumble Bar, Enjoy Life, EnviroKidz Crispy Rice Bars, Glutino, Kind Bars, Larabar, Orgran, PurFit.
– Avocado and Bean Dip with veggies or GF crackers
– GF soups (e.g.,Amy’s Kitchen, Health Valley, Imagine, Kettle Cuisine[frozen, microwavable single serve], Orgran soup for cups, Pacific Foods, Taste Adventure)
– GoPicnic shelf stable snack boxes (contain a variety of single serve snacks)


Many of the above ideas are from Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide- Revised and Expanded Edition, Shelley Case, RD, Case Nutrition Consulting Inc, 2008

Note: Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case is a Registered Dietitian, Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.

Gluten and Allergen Free Cooking on Primetime Cooking Shows!

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Whenever food allergies or gluten-free lifestyles are mentioned on TV it brings more awareness and justification to the lifestyles that millions of people, like you and me, are living everyday. Hearing the words gluten-free or allergen-free on TV, especially on cooking-themed shows, gets me so excited that “our” lifestyles are getting more main stream every day!

But just in case you are not glued to the TV set, the following summaries and links bring you up to date on the latest buzz and recipes that makes gluten-free and allergen-free living a prime time event! 


Top Chef Masters (Bravo TV)
In the August 5, 2009 episode the chefs were asked to cook for Zooey Deschanel who can’t eat any meat, fish, eggs, dairy, soy or gluten.   The result?  Recipes prepared by the celebrity chefs that look awesome and are fit for company or fancier meals. Many of the recipes are noted as being a challenge to prepare, and contain ingredients that may not fit the bill for an everyday supper. However, they all look super delicious! These recipes include:

Quinoa Pasta with Salsa Verde, Gremolata and Tomatoes

Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Lentil Salad and Cashew Sauce

White Gazpacho with Grapes and Vanilla Oil

Corn Tamales with Chile-Braised Beans, Braised Greens, and Glazed Mushrooms

Strawberry Champagne Soup – Strawberry Rice Ice Cream and Almond Brittle


Emeril Green Episode (Discovery Chanel)
Who doesn’t love a gluten-free pizza party? On July 16, 2009 another mention of gluten-free living and recipe development can be found on an Emeril Green episode, where he makes Italian specialty dishes for a newly diagnosed celiac and her husband. Emeril says he has just the recipes so that this couple will have a pizza party to remember. Some of these unforgettable recipes are:


Italian Salad

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, White and Red Pizzas

Gluten-Free Pasta Primavera


Emeril Green Episode (Discovery Chanel)
Another mention of gluten-free living and recipe development appeared on April 27th, 2009 on another episode of Emeril Green, where he makes New Orleans favorites, san the gluten. The New Orleans Style Pecan Pie looks so good!

Gluten-Free Chicken Etouffee

Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

Skillet Cornbread

New Orleans Style Pecan Pie with Gluten-Free Crust


Martha Stewart Living / The Martha Stewart Show:
There are many mentions of allergen and gluten free recipes in the last year of Living, Martha Stewart’s magazine and cooking show. Make sure you check out the allergen-free Cinnamon Toastie recipe from BabyCakes in NYC, as well as these other noteworthy and yummy recipes including:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Layer Cake

Hazelnut-Vanilla Shortbread

Polenta “French Toast”

Allergen-Free Cinnamon Toasties

Friday Favorite: Edy’s Ice Cream

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

This week’s Friday Favorite is Edy’s Ice Cream, which is a perfect topping to last Friday’s Favorite, gluten-free ice cream cones.

Summertime is the perfect time for cool refreshing ice cream, but often it can be a challenge to determine what brands, and flavors, have particular allergens as well as other dietary needs (low fat, kosher, low sugar, etc.)

That’s why I love Edy’s Ice Cream website’s “Flavor Finder” feature. It allows you to check off what specific dietary attributes you are looking for in an ice cream treat; such as gluten-free, nut-free, kosher and fat free; as well as your specific flavor or add-in preference; some options include with candy pieces, with chocolate chips, with fruit. You then hit a “Find It!” button, and it comes back with a list of ice cream and frozen treats that fit your dietary preferences AND taste buds!

With the Flavor Finder there are so many flavor configurations and not enough days in the summer! Check it out, have fun… and as always…

Be Free!

Also, reply to this post and let us know if you have a certain brand or type of ice cream that you love! We can never have enough ice cream!

WIN-it-Wednesday: Arbonne Pure Swiss Skin Care & Nutrition

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

To date, all of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-it-Wednesday blogs have featured items that have to do with gluten & allergen free FOOD.

That is why I am more than thrilled to have Arbonne Skin Care & Nutrition be the sponsor of this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday!

Being on a gluten-free diet, I have become more aware of the ingredients in the foods, as well as all other products, that I use.

Although the world around me can be complicated and crazy, it seems ironic that my gluten-free lifestyle has made what I eat and use become more simple. Products that are pure, safe and beneficial to me and my well-being.

Which ironically is Arbonnes’s tagline: pure. safe. beneficial.

For those of you that want to stay away from gluten in cosmetics and creams that could be ingested, this product is for you. Almost all of the Arbonne products (except for the women’s vitamins and the natural hormone cream) contain no gluten. They also have a weight loss and nutrition program including shakes, chews and supplements that are also free of gluten, are high in vegetable protein and are also perfect for vegetarians.

An Arbonne representative and manager, Kristina, who is also a celiac and lives the gluten-free lifestyle with her family, has offered TWO LUCKY BeFreeForMe members a gift pack containing the Arbonne SeaSource Detox Spa line of Foaming Sea Salt Scrub and Renewing Body Gelee (Over an $80 value per gift pack!). I’ve tried this Arbonne line of products (as well as other Arbonne products too!) and I love them… and I think you will as well!

How can you win?

EASY! Reply to this post and tell us how you relax and unwind after a long hectic day. (Me? I take a long walk with Sadie Maie, my super-sweet boxer, or hang out on my front porch with a good book.)

Kristina has also generously offered all BeFreeForMe members 20% OFF all Arbonne products until 8/15/09! There is something for everyone from infants to those concerned with anti-aging. To redeem your 20% OFF offer send her an email at:

As an added bonus, Kristina is living the gluten-free lifestyle, and can answer any questions that you may have.

All entries to win must be posted by Sunday, August 9th at 12 midnight EST.

Good Luck and… as always…

Be Free!

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