Archive for September, 2009

WIN-It-Wednesday: Divvies – Nut, Egg & Dairy Free Treats!

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Some things in life are meant to be shared… A big bucket of popcorn, a chocolate bar, a batch of cookies, or a handful of brightly colored, sweet jelly beans.

Yup – these are the sweet things in life. The things that are meant to be divvied up amongst family & friends.

That’s why I’m so excited to share the news about Divvies. They make popcorn, cookies, chocolate bars, novelty candies and baking chips – all Nut, Egg and Dairy Free!

All of Divvies products are just screaming out to be shared! With a smile on my face, I enjoyed all the gluten-free products that Divvies sent my way – and then I got second smile after seeing the beams on the faces with those I shared with.  Sharing with Divvies gives the old adage, “One for you, two for me…” a whole new meaning.

I love the 3-gallon and 5-gallon popcorn bins – they are just the right size to feed a crowd, like a bunch of teenagers at a sleep-over, or a birthday party for a troop of little ones. The popcorn bins also come complete with scoop (no worries about dirty little fingers!) and individual festive bags for everyone that is sharing in on the treat.

Another one of my favorites from Divvies are the fun chocolates. Anyone that knows me, especially my sisters, recognize that I am a stickler when it comes to sharing my chocolate bars. That’s why the portion breaks on the Divvie’s bars made me smile with chocolate-glee! Two-thirds for me… One-third for you!

With Divvies the allergen-free everywhere can sit back and enjoy worry-free. All of Divvies cookies, popcorn and cupcakes (not including sprinkles and frosting) are made in the company’s-own dedicated facility where no peanuts, tree nuts, milk or eggs enter the doors. And Divvies uses ingredients that are certified allergen-free. Divvies candies, frosting, and sprinkles are certified by their manufacturers to be peanut-, tree nut-, milk-, egg-free, and sesame-free and are packaged in Divvies Bakery. Divvies conducts routine testing to minimize the risk of any cross-contamination in their certified allergen-free ingredients.

Items that are gluten-free include the chocolate bars, chocolate baking chips, novelty candies and two types of the popcorn (Kettle Corn & Carmel). Please note however that the Divvies products are not manufactured in a designated gluten-free facility.

Divvies is sponsoring this week’s BeFreeForMe WIN-IT-Wednesday. They are offering prizes to TWO (yes…2!) LUCKY WINNERS! The first prize is a S’morg gift box* that is all wrapped-up pretty with a big bow and jammed packed with chocolate caramel popcorn, caramel popcorn, a Divvine Chocolate BingGo bar, a peppermint & chocolate BingGo bar, super stars gummy candies, blue rock candy, and five two-packs of chocolate chip cookies. The second prize is a 3-gallon tub of the popcorn of the winner’s choice (Kettle Corn, Carmel or Chocolate Carmel)!

How can you WIN!


Reply to this blog and tell us how you share every day in your life. (Me? I share my thoughts on this blog, my smiles to strangers on my daily walks, and hugs to the ones I love). All entries must be received by 12:00 midnight EST on Sunday, October 4, 2009.

Good luck, share daily… and as always…

Be Free!


* Please note that all items in this prize package are not gluten-free! So, if you win, and are on a gluten-free diet, you’ll have to divvie it up between all of your food allergic buds!

“The Gluten-free Diet: What Everyone Needs to Know” Handouts & Audio Link

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

For those of you who did not have a chance to tune into riceworks teleseminar with dieticians Shelley Case & Tricia Ryan, here’s your chance to check out all of the tremendous wealth of information that was shared!

The teleseminar, “The Gluten-free Diet: What Everyone Needs to Know”, answered questions that were submitted via email. It was a great source of information for gluten-free newbies and old-pros alike. Some of the questions answered included clarifying the difference between an allergy, intolerance and celiac disease; discussing whether oats are off-limits on a gluten-free diet; explanations about gluten-free labeling; as well as sharing many great gluten-free / celiac disease resources.

The teleseminar was so popular that they are planning many more in the near future. I can’t wait to see what ricework’s lines up for the next teleseminar!

To check out the information featured in “The Gluten-free Diet: What Everyone Needs to Know” teleseminar check-out the links below:

Medical Facts
Contains a definition on celiac disease; the prevalence, symptoms, associated conditions and treatment.

Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet
Discusses gluten-free food labeling, nutritional concerns and a listing of gluten-free resources.

Gluten-Free Guidelines
Includes the concerns of cross-contamination, and listing of foods that are safe to eat and not safe to eat while on a gluten-free diet.

Also, if you want to listen to the actual audio of the program a link has been added to the and websites.

Friday Favorite: Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Anything quick and easy, plus tasty, is good for me! That’s why this week’s Friday Favorite is Pamela’s Products Baking & Pancake Mix.

A bag of this mix should be a staple in any gluten-free cabinet.

The absolute beauty of this gluten-free mix is that it can be made into anything… cookies, crepes, waffles, pancakes, muffins, breads and cakes… and more.

In fact this mix is so versatile it kinda reminds me of the Bisquick for the gluten-free set! This mix really can make it all – all the while making you look like the Queen of Gluten-Free Baking.

My favorite use of Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix? The pancake recipe, which is on the bag of the mix, as well as Pamela’s website.  

Why do I love these pancakes so much that I made them this week’s Friday Favorite? Well, they are delicious, convenient and practical! On Sunday Mornings I make up a batch of the batter and cook-up a dozen or so silver-dollar pancakes. I then place 2 to 3 of the cooked pancakes in individual freezer bags and toss them in the freezer. During the crazy weekday mornings, I grab a single-serve bag out of the freezer, pop the pancakes into the toaster, and enjoy… all with no mixing, fussing or pans to wash!

Perfect! =)

WIN-It-Wednesday: NuGo Free Bars!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

This week we are revisiting one of the most popular WIN-It-Wednesday’s yet!

The reason NuGO Free bars are so popular is that they are gluten free, soy free and dairy free – yet still taste like a real treat!

We all know that bars are a stand-by snack for those on a gluten-free diet, or with special dietary requirements or allergens, and NuGo Free’s certified gluten free bars are one of my favorites.

With tons of fiber (5 grams per bar), protein (10 grams per bar) and healthy ingredients, NuGo Free bars are delicious & nourishing. But what it truly amazing is that the NuGo Bars are ONLY 3 points for those watching their weight!

My favorite flavors are the Carrot Cake which is perfect for a breakfast on the run; Dark Chocolate Trail Mix, a perfect afternoon snack; and Dark Chocolate Crunch, just as yummy as any dessert.

NuGO Free bars are also 100% natural, vegan, OU Pareve plus layered with luscious, REAL dark chocolate (Say YUM!) or drizzled with a touch of sweet icing. 

NuGo wants to give away a mixed box (12 bars) of their NuGo Free bars to a LUCKY BeFreeForMe MEMBER! (Note: You must be a BeFreeForMe member to win!)

How can you win?


Tell us what makes you feel… FREE! (What makes me feel free? Being able to laugh at myself for some of the silly things I admittedly do!)

Good Luck, Be Silly once in awhile,  and as always…

Be Free!

New England Celiac Conference – October 3rd, 2009

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I want to spread the word about the New England Celiac Conference that taking place in Marlboro, Massachusetts on Saturday, October 3, 2009 from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

The Healthy Villi Support Group and the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are sponsoring this fantastic event.   The conference features speakers, workshops, cooking demos, vendor sampling and product sales.

I have been asked to speak at the conference and will be providing a workshop on “Saving Money while Shopping Gluten Free” – besides being excited about speaking, I can’t wait to meet you all “face to face”! Other speakers include physicians that will be speaking about managing celiac disease, what is involved in participating in celiac research and a newly diagnosed workshop. There are also many cooking workshops.

I have been an attendee at the Healthy Villi meetings in the past, but this larger, regional conference is going to be the biggest and most interactive yet!

And don’t worry about toting along your gluten-free snacks … Along with a delicious 100%  gluten-free lunch and snack breaks, there will also be vendor tables that will showcase tons of gluten free samples and info!

I hope to meet as many BeFreeForMe members at the conference as possible!  Note: Marlboro, Massachusetts is right on Route 495, and just exits away from the Route 495 / Route 90 (Mass Pike) interchange. It is a quick and easy ride from Western Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

For more information and to register, checkout the Healthy Villi website or the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center website.

I hope to see all you Northeastern celiacs in Marlboro on October 3rd!
Be Free!

Abracadabra: Presto Pesto

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

This time of year, I am always scrambling to salvage anything and everything I can out of my garden before the bitter frosts come nipping at the late season vegetables. A frost so daring and bold that even flings with an Indian Summer, the strongest picket fence lined with heavy duty chicken wire, and my clinging thoughts of summer, can’t keep it at bay. 

Moving quickly through my overgrown vegetable plot with my garden shears in hand, I begin to feel like a bargain shopper during the last 10 minutes of a farmers market. Working my way through each and every row, I clip & stock pile everything and anything I can.

One of the largest crops at every summer end is the herbs. What once started out as tiny sprigs of green, are now fragrant bushes screaming out, “Use Me!”

What I have found to be the most magical use of an abundance of herbs, which also allows me to enjoy them year round, is pesto. Although “basic” pesto usually consists of basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and pine nuts, it is easy to change the ingredients slightly to adapt to different food allergens. Shaking up the recipe can also add even more flavor and zip to the sometime bland gluten and allergen free menus.

Some of my most favorite uses of pesto include tossing it with fresh tomatoes and hot pasta; adding a bit more olive oil, along with fresh cracked pepper and drizzling it over salad greens for a quick and easy salad dressing; and smothered over fresh fish and vegetables before grilling or broiling.

For more pesto pointers and recipe ideas see the article “Pesto Pointers for the Gluten and Allergen Free” on

Friday Favorite: Crunchies All-Natural Fruit & Veggie Snacks

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Sometime I want a crunchy snack, but want to shy away from higher calorie chips & crackers.

That’s when I grab a handful of Crunchies, gluten and allergen free fruits and veggies that are made through a unique freeze-drying process.

This unique process, which removes 97% of the moisture from the fruit and veggies, contributes to the crunchy texture, all the while retaining many of the nutritious enzymes that are lost through traditional heat drying.

I discovered Crunchies last year at the Natural Food Expo in Boston – and I am looking forward to visiting them again this year too!

Some of the varieties they have are: Strawberries, Blueberries, Mango, Mixed Fruit, Very Berry, Salted Edamame or Edamame Crunchies, or Roasted Veggies.

My favorites though are the Corn Snacks and the Tropical Fruit Mix.

They come in zip-top resealable sharing sized bag or single-serve lunch box / on-the-go sized servings! (Note: there is currently a Lunch Box packs – Buy 2 for $17.99 and get one free!)

WIN-It-Wednesday: National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Goodie Bags!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding for celiac disease that will advance research, education and screening amongst medical professionals, children, and adults on a gluten free diet.

I had the pleasure of meeting Alice Bast, the Executive Director of the NFCA, and her team last fall at a seminar that educated pharmacists about gluten; specifically, what gluten is and how it can be hidden in different OTC and prescription medicines.

When I first met Alice and her team I couldn’t help but notice they shared my enthusiasm on educating everybody (and anybody!) about celiac disease and making sure celiacs everywhere have the tools to live a happy and healthy life… gluten-free.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, or you haven’t visited in some time, visit the NFCA website. It’s new design is user friendly, and full of information for those just starting out on a gluten-free diet, as well as the seasoned gluten-free’er.

My favorite sections of the NFCA website? The Resource section which has support for patients and their families, food & recipes, plus more. Another section to explorer is the News section which showcases a “recipe of the week”, videos and current news and articles on celiac disease. And last, while you’re at it, check out the Events section of the NFCA website to see if there are any support meetings or fundraisers in your area that may be of interest to you – after all sharing with each other is crucial in learning more about the celiac lifestyle and supporting each other.

For this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday, the NFCA has graciously offered five (YES 5!) Goodie Bags full of fun NFCA goodies! Contents of the goodie bag may include such items as celiac logoed coffee mugs, sticky notes, and celiac awareness ribbon magnets (I have one on the back of my car showing I am a supporter of celiac disease awareness!). Also included with the fun little goodies will be a book, either a gluten-free cookbook OR an educational resource book on celiac disease, the winners can pick which type of book they would like.

How can you win?


Reply to this blog and ask one questions about celiac disease / the gluten free diet that you need to know OR share one pointer/tip you would give someone who just got diagnosed with celiac disease today. (Mine? Try to “embrace” the gluten-free lifestyle… really wrap your arms around it and learn as much as you can, and make sure you have fantastic fun trying new foods you never knew existed!)

Five randomly picked winners will be chosen as winners. All entries must be posted by Sunday, 09/19/09 at 12:00 Midnight EST.

Good luck! And as always…

Be Free!

Don’t Judge a Veggie by It’s Cover… New Study Reports that Vegetables are not as Nutritious as they were in the 1950’s

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

They may look a whole lot shiner, blemish-free and prettier, but the USDA says the vegetables of today are packed with far less nutrients than their counterparts 50 years ago. Yup – according to the Natural Food Merchandiser – the USDA reports that store-bought vegetables are not as good for you as they were 40-50 years ago, which were packed with far more nutrients back then than they are now.

Why? The crops of today are often bred for size and color, and not nutrients. It seems that crops today are designed to survive 1,000 mile road trips and as a result, their nutritional value has sacrificed.

Is this a reason to start planning your Spring 2010 garden? Or a reason to stake out claims in community garden initiatives or co-ops? More important, do we all need to start taking vitamin supplements to stave off flu symptoms this coming winter?

Being allergen and gluten-free I eat tons of vegetables.

I don’t know about you all, but give me back the dings, blemishes and scars of my veggies – and while you’re at it, give me back the nutrients too.

Friday Favorite: Glutenfreeda’s Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Now that fall has official begun, the leisurely mornings of poking around, reading the daily paper on the front porch with a cup of coffee, and nonchalantly deciding what’s for breakfast is over. Sorry folks!

But I recently made a great find with Glutenfreeda’s INSTANT Oatmeal! It is quick, easy and delicious – and perfect for these crazy early September mornings!

This instant oatmeal is made with certified gluten free oats, organic maple syrup and all natural ingredients. But what I like best about them is that they all contain flax, which boosts up the nutritional content and keeps me just a bit more satisfied until lunch time rolls around.

The flavors Glutenfreeda offers are: Maple Raisin with Flax; Banana Maple with Flax (which is my fav); Apple Cinnamon with Flax. Each box has 6 packages of oatmeal in each.

Can’t decide what flavor you may want to try? Get the variety pack that offers 2 of each of the 3 flavors.

They are perfect for a quick breakfast – just microwave for 2 minutes with water. Easy, simple and gluten free! That is why Glutenfreeda’s Instant Oatmeal got my vote for this week’s Favorite Friday!

(Note: Many celiacs question if oats are safe to eat. To find out more on this read this article written by Shelley Case –

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