Archive for November, 2009

Celiac Disease Impacts Our Society

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

This article hit the nail on the head when it comes to celiac disease (as well as food allergies). The writer details how schools, restaurants and supermarkets everywhere are changing their ways and making it easier for those with celiac disease and food allergies to cope, exist and even become joyful when it comes to the simple things in life.

This article actually made me smile. It’s proof that I am not the only one that does a “happy dance” in a supermarket aisle when a new “gluten free” or “allergen free” food is found, or how “hugging a box of gluten free Chex Mix” seems like a totally normal thing to do.

Hey, gluten-free happiness is contagious… and I’m glad it’s being spread along.

Canned Pumpkin Shortage: Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Friday, November 20th, 2009

When I heard yesterday that Eggo Waffles were in short supply due to flooding damage at one of their manufacturing facilities and repairs to another, my heart, honestly, didn’t even waffle.

I’m loving my Van’s Gluten-free Waffles; and as long as those Eggo-eating folks lego of my Van’s, and don’t leave them in short supply – my gluten free world is good.

But today I heard that canned pumpkin is now in short supply. This, my friends, causes a bit of gluten-free concern, since the Pumpkin Pie is one of the best all-around, gluten-free Thanksgiving desserts.
Pumpkin Pie can be a quick and easy dessert to make gluten-free, especially if you buy a pre-made gluten free pie crust. Pumpkin Pie is also an “I made this from scratch” masterpiece if you decide to tackle making your own gluten-free pie crust.

But what to do if you have no canned pumpkin? No worries. As long as you have access to a sweet pumpkin, the kind found in most grocery store’s produce departments, you can make your own pumpkin puree.

Watch out Libby’s.

Sugar pumpkins, or often called pie pumpkins, are different than the traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkins. First off, sugar pumpkins taste better than traditional jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Also, sugar pumpkins are more “meaty” on the inside, with a thicker pulp-filled shell; while jack-o-lantern pumpkins are hollower.

Making pumpkin puree as a substitute to canned pumpkin is as simple as baking a butternut squash. Below is a quick and easy recipe for making homemade pumpkin puree:


Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut a medium-sized sugar pumpkin into small 3”-4” pieces, remove seeds and pith. In a large baking dish, place the pumpkin pieces skin side up in about ¼” to ½” of water.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake the pumpkin for about 1 hour or until soft. Let cool; then carefully peel away the skin and discard. Place the pumpkin pulp in a bowl and mash with a potato masher, or pulse in a food processor, being careful not to over process.

Friday Favorite: Coffee-mate Creamer

Friday, November 20th, 2009

I have recently been making my own coffee each day to save money …and time, since I don’t need to stop at the coffee shop.

Plus, there’s something nice about brewing your own pot of coffee and leisurely enjoying your morning, while sipping a cup of fresh joe.

But I have to admit I am no coffee-shop barista. Nor do I have the time each morning to even attempt to whip up my flavored, mocha, cappuccino, fancied-up brews that are effortlessly presented to me at my local coffee-shop.

That is why I reach for Coffee-mate liquid creamer.

Coffee-mate has come a long way. It’s almost as if the Coffee-mate of my past has undergone a glamorous make-over.

Not just a powdery mixture anymore, my favorite is the Coffee-mate Hazelnut liquid reduced-fat creamer. On the back of the bottle it is clearly marked gluten-free and lactose-free.

Plus, if you visit the Coffee-mate website, you can sign-up to get some great coupons.

Relaxing, easy, delicious, time-saving and money-saving. Ode to good cup of coffee!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Gluten Free Everyday Cookbook

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

For all of you who read my review of the “Gluten Free Everyday Cookbook”, by Robert Landolphi, and put it on your Holiday Wish List, you are thankfully in luck!

This must-have cookbook will be the sponsor of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday for the next TWO Wednesday’s (this week, 11/18 and next week, 11/25). Each week TWO (For a total of FOUR) members will win a copy of this fantastically easy and delicious gluten-free cookbook. All recipes I have tried so far have been phenominal… recipes such as Tri-Spiced Onion Rings with Horseradish Dipping Sauce, and Cayenne Dusted Chicken Nuggets.

How can you WIN? Easy!

Reply to this blog and tell us what you are thankful for in your gluten-free and/or allergen-free life (Me? A 100% gluten-free Thanksgiving, hosted by Mom & Dad, that I will enjoy with my whole family, even my sister from the West Coast… I can’t wait!).

All entries for the first week’s contest must be received by: Tuesday, November 24 at 12:00 Midnight EST.

All entries for the second week’s contest must be received by: Tuesday, December 1 at 12:00 Midnight EST.

And, Yes! You can share and enter twice – one entry for each week’s contest.


Good luck, be thankful, and, as always…

Be Free!

Cookbook Review: “Gluten Free Everyday Cookbook” by Robert M. Landolphi

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

When I was notified by Relish Magazine, America’s largest food magazine that is distributed exclusively through newspapers, that they wanted me to review the “Gluten Free Everyday Cookbook” by Robert Landolphi, I was ecstatic.

Being a gluten-free foodie, blogger and recipe developer, I’m constantly checking-out cookbooks and recipes that sneak their way across my desk, and kitchen counter. Plus, sharing my expert opinion (aka: appetite)  on a new gluten-free cookbook is near and dear to both my heart, and my stomach.

Read my review on Relish’s website, and check out some of my favorite recipes from the “Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook” in BeFreeForMe’s recipe section (Tri-Spiced Onion Rings with Horseradish Dipping Sauce, Cayenne-Dusted Chicken Nuggets and Pumpkin Nut Mufins).

This cookbook is a must-have for anyone that needs quick and easy gluten-free meals!

Gluten-Free Everday Cookbook, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing can be found on

Friday Favorite: Sweetriot

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

I need my chocolate fix. But I don’t consider myself a true chocoholic since I only need “just a little bit” to get my fix.

That’s when I reach into the side pocket of my purse and grab what I call my “bit o’ fix” –  Sweetriot gluten and dairy free dark cacao “peaces” that are dunked in dark chocolate.

I also like that fact that they are packed in cute little recyclable and reusable tins that sport artwork by emerging artists.

And the taste! These tiny peaces truly amaze me. They are so very, very small – yet the all natural and healthy ingredients make popping one in your mouth seem as if you’ve had your chocolate bar fix… without the guilt.

I’m not sure how the Sweetriot gang does it. How they can make something so small, taste so big. And at only 1-2 calories per fix I get to peace-out all day.

Love, Peace and Chocolate!

And as always…

Be Free!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Dragonfly Organix

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

This week’s WIN-It-Wednesday’s sponsor is Dragonfly Organix, a product that I discovered about a month ago at the Natural Product Expo in Boston. After sampling, munching and tasting my way through the numerous aisles of gluten-free food products, I decided to roll-on over to the non-food aisles of the show to explore and discover any interesting & new products.


After trying the Dragonfly Organiz hand sanitizer, I was hooked. The hand sanitizer has no alcohol, is fast-drying, non-sticky, and leaves my hands feels soft – not dried out – which is very important since I have been washing and sanitizing my hands like crazy over the past few weeks in hopes of keeping any flu or cold at bay!


Along with the hand sanitizer, Dragonfly Organix also makes other personal cleaning items like eye glass cleaner and jewelry cleaner. They also make tons of home cleaning products; like glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaners and stain removers. All their items are all natural and contain no ammonia, phosphates, glycol ether or phthalate.


Better still, Dragonfly Organix plant-derived formulations provide no harmful residue, unpleasant odors or vapors. Likewise, these non-toxic & biodegradable products are a safe way to get some powerful cleaning action that is safe around kids or pets.


Dragonfly Organix is “free of stuff” that none of us needs!


That’s why I am most happy to announce that Dragonfly Organix is the sponsor of this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday! One lucky BeFreeForMe member is going to win the Dragonfly Organix, “Green your Home” gift basket (a $39.95 value!); which includes:

• Dragonfly Organix Hand Sanitizer – 1.7oz
• Dragonfly Organix Odor Eliminator – 2 oz
• Dragonfly Organix Eyeglass Cleaner -2 oz
• Glitz Jewelry Shiner – 2 oz. (for all that holiday jewelry!)
• Dragonfly Organix Stain Remover – 24 oz
• Dragonfly Organix Glass and Shiny Cleaner – 24 oz
• Dragonfly Organix No-Rinse Floor Cleaner – 24 oz
• Dragonfly Organix All- Purpose Cleaner – 24 oz

How can you WIN?


Reply to this blog and tell us how you make the world a better place to live by keeping it greener, cleaner or by recycling. (Me? I always use my reusable shopping bags, and collect rainwater to water my garden).

I am so excited to see all the entries so I can pick-up some more green living tips! All winners will be chosen at random and be a member. All entries must be received by Sunday, 11/15/09 at midnight EST.

Be grateful of the earth, Be Green… and as always…

Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: My Child Was Diagnosed with Celiac Disease… Now What?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Q. My child was just diagnosed with celiac disease and learning about the gluten-free diet is overwhelming. Where do I begin and what resources are available to help us?

A.  Learning about celiac disease and how to eliminate gluten can be very challenging for both the child and family, especially in the beginning. Start slow and take it one day at a time! “One of the most important and effective steps you can take to equip your child to live gluten-free is to empower them with good self-esteem and the skills needed to make independent gluten-free food choices in and out of the home” says dietitian Nancy Patin Falini. “Instill in your child the appeal of being unique while dispelling the myth of needing to be like everybody else.” Fortunately there are many resources and groups that can help you on this new gluten-free journey…

See a Registered Dietitian
The first essential step is to consult a registered dietitian with expertise in celiac disease. The dietitian will do a complete nutritional assessment, provide detailed information about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, as well as develop an individualized meal plan. Practical information about label reading, shopping, recipes, substitutions, preventing cross contamination, eating away from home and traveling will also be covered in the initial and follow-up visits. To locate American dietitians specializing in celiac disease see The Canadian Celiac Association has a list of celiac chapters that have dietitian advisors. Contact the local celiac group at

Join a Celiac Support Group
A number of national celiac support groups and their local chapters offer information and have regular meetings to help individuals and family members. For links to the American and Canadian groups see
There is a special support group for parents, families and friends of kids with celiac disease or gluten intolerance called R.O.C.K. (Raising our celiac kids). It was founded by Danna Korn after her son was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1991. For more information or to locate a R.O.C.K. group near you, contact

Seek out Practical Resources
The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by dietitian Shelley Case is a 368 page book filled with detailed information about the gluten-free diet. It includes a listing of foods and ingredients allowed, to avoid and question; gluten-free labeling regulations; as well as meal plans, recipes, cooking hints, substitutions, nutrition information, cross contamination, eating out, over 3100 gluten-free specialty products, a directory of more than 270 companies, listing of cookbooks, books, websites and other helpful resources. See

Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy, Gluten-Free Children by Danna Korn provides parents with advice and specific strategies on how to deal with the diagnosis, cope with emotional challenges, and help their child develop a positive attitude. Includes practical information on menu planning, shopping, food preparation, recipes and eating outside the home (e.g., birthdays, restaurants, camps, vacations). Available from

Dietitian Nancy Patin Falini’s Gluten-Free Friends: An Activity Book for Kids is an illustrated book for children ages 4-11 years. The book features two friendly kids who explain what gluten is, describe how gluten makes them sick and which foods to avoid, and how to make healthy food choices. Easy-to-follow instructions for parents and caregivers help guide children through learning activities and explore their thoughts and feelings about gluten-free living.  Available from

Children’s Hospital Boston has developed a 2 hour DVD entitled Raising Your Celiac Child: Guidelines for a Gluten-Free Life. It includes 12 interactive modules with practical advice on celiac disease, lifestyle management and emotional support. See

Three other wonderful illustrated story books for children are:
• No More Cupcakes & Tummy Aches: A Story for Parents and Their Celiac Children to Share by Jax Peters Lowell
• Eating Gluten-Free with Emily: A Story for Children with Celiac Disease by Bonne Kruszka
• How I Eat Without Wheat by Karen Fine

Sheri Sanderson has written a cookbook for kids called Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Foods for Kids. Features 150 family-tested recipes, general food preparation tips, baking substitutes, as well as an overview of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, tips for dealing with daycare and schools, and resources.
Wheat-free Gluten-Free Cookbook for Kids and Busy Adults by Connie Sarros has 198 easy recipes along with a chapter devoted to safe kitchen craft projects for kids of all ages. See

The American Celiac Disease Alliance has practical guidelines and resources to help families navigate the school lunch program. See

Food allergies, sensitivities and celiac disease can be tough on a kid. Childhood traditions like trading sandwiches in the lunchroom, celebrating classroom holidays with cookies and treats, and sharing birthday cake with friends are often off-limits or require diligent oversight in order to be safe. Whether managing their unique needs leaves kids feeling isolated or helps them build self-confidence has a lot to do with how they are taught to view their situation.

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. Visit Shelley and more glute-free tips at:

Friday Favorite: Yumpeez

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

This weeks Friday favorite is yet another snack. Snack time is a fun time, but can often be challenging due to food allergies.

I discovered Yumpeez about one year ago, and have been a fan since. These roasted veggie snacks, are made of, you guessed it… Peas!

Crispy, crunchy and best eaten by the handful, these high protein peas, cleverly disguised as a snack, are an unexpected nut-free, peanut-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free and high fiber snack.

I also like that these snacks are low fat and low-cal.

Yumpeez are available in two flavors: Dill pickle and Barbeque. My favorite is the Dill Pickle; it has just enough pucker to pack a punch and make an everyday pea something super special.

Available in 1.1 ounce snacking-sized bags on

WIN-It-Wednesday: Yumnuts… Can you say “yum”?

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Sometimes you have to take a look at the yummy side of life.

That’s what the folks over at Yumnuts did when they developed their line of jumbo dry-roasted cashews that are topped with lip-smacking & finger-lickin’ spices, coatings and seasonings.

Yumnuts are ingenious.

With no added oils, cholesterol, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, trans fat, artificial flavors, or gluten, these snacks are a smart snack; Especially when you are looking for a little sweetness, or spiciness, to kick your mid-day snack up a notch or two.

Most flavored nuts are oiled or battered (i.e. full of gluten), but not Yumnuts. These nuts are handled with care. Slow roasted in small batches. Made with yum in mind.

According to Yumnuts website their motto is: “To get people saying ‘yum’ again.” That’s remembering to laugh, following their passions, enjoying the little things, chasing those dreams. Yup… all the yummy simple things in life.

That is why I am nuts over this WIN-It-Wednesday’s prize: A gift box packed with one of each of the Yumnut Varieties (Chocolate, Honey, Sea Salt, Spicy Cajun, Chili Lime, Toasted Coconut) and a Yumnut tee-shirt.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us how you embrace the “yum” in life (Me? Meeting up with my friends, and vowing we will do it more often… and then we do!)

All winners will be picked at random and must be BeFreeForMe members. Entries must be posted by Sunday, November 8, 2009 at 12:00 Midnight EST.

Be Yummy. Be Nutty. And as always…

Be Free!

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