Archive for April, 2010

Gluten & Allergy-Free Food Day at the Boston Globe?

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Last Wednesday, April 7th, must have been gluten-free / food allergy day for the Boston Globe.

In this daily issue there were two articles on gluten-free and food-allergic living. I was both shocked and thrilled to find them both!

The articles touched upon how the educational sector and big businesses are realizing the need to adapt their strategies in order to assist those with food allergies, gluten-intolerances or celiac disease.

The first article details the ways that colleges are responding to the challenge of students with food allergies or celiac disease.  I was diagnosed with celiac disease after graduating from college, but I have to imagine that the college years must be the hardest for anyone being on a restricted diet. However, this article explains how colleges are assisting students with food intolerances. Some ways that colleges are catering to these students include supplying small kitchenettes stocked-full of convenient gluten and allergen-free meals, as well as having chefs and dieticians assist these students with meal planning and preparation.

The article is interesting, especially for those involved in applying for and making college enrollment decisions.

The second article was the about the new gluten-free baking mixes and flours that Norwich, Vermont based King Arthur Flour has introduced. This interesting article details how King Arthur developed their gluten-free product line (which includes multipurpose flour, cake, brownie, pizza crust and cookie mixes) “basically by trial and error”. The article also states that the King Arthur test kitchen is working on developing a higher fiber gluten-free product in the near future. Something I am looking forward to trying.

Do you often find articles on celiac disease and food allergies in your local newspaper? If so, please share any articles that you find by commenting below and including a link to the article. We all love reading new and interesting articles… so let’s keep sharing!

Friday Favorite: Garden Lites Souffles

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

When I’m “good” and have a tossed salad for lunch, I sometimes need a little extra “something” on the side.

And I found a new product that fits the bill perfectly… Garden Lites Frozen Souffles. Gluten, lactose and nut free these soufflés are  pockets of scrumptious veggies puffed to perfection.

Packed with tons of vegetables, egg whites and just the right amount of spices, these soufflés have only all natural ingredients and microwave in just minutes. They come in 6 flavors (Broccoli, Roasted Vegetable, Zucchini, Spinach, Cauliflower and Butternut Squash).

Best yet… most of the Garden Lites soufflés are only 140 calories and 15 grams of fat (the Butternut Squash soufflé is the only one that has 180 calories and 0 grams of fat).

My favorite is the gluten-free Roasted Vegetable Souffle; and complemented with a tossed salad the combo is like a garden party right on my lunch table.

And with only 2 Weight Watchers point per serving, my new motto is “A soufflé a day, and the weight won’t stay”!

All these healthy, delicious, low-calorie and low-fat reasons are why this week’s Friday Favorite goes to Garden Lites Souffles. Enjoy!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Didi Davis Food’s – Salt Blend Collection

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I’ve been told by many that cooking gluten and allergen free is boring and bland. For those of you in this vanilla-frame-of-mind, I invite you to give Didi Davis Foods Blended Finishing Salts a shake. 

Created from Flor de Sal (a moist Portuguese sea salt) and fresh herbs, these salt blends add flare, crunch and piazza to any fresh and cooked gluten and allergen free dishes.

I love using natural sea salt on my foods, because of it’s briny, strong and earthy taste compared to regular white table salt. Plus, because of the fuller flavor in sea salt, I use way less salt in my dishes as well. 

Didi Davis’ finishing salts can work wonders on any dish. One small sprinkle can craft even the most novice cook into a gourmet chef.  For recipe and usage ideas you can also check out Didi Davis Food blog, appropriately named, The Salty Dog blog.

Some of the blends that these finishing salts come in are: Fennel Thyme Salt, which is great on oven poached salmon; Porcini Salt, wonderful used in gluten-free broths and gravies; Sagemary Salt, a blend of sage & rosemary and my personal favorite; Caraway Salt, perfect accompanied over sweet Italian sausage tossed with olive oil over penne pasta; Vanilla Salt, a sweet addition when speckled over in-season buttered corn-on-the-cob; Sumac Pepper Salt, ideal as a topping for fresh seasonal steamed vegetables; Aleppo Chile Salt, to flavor for chili and tacos, and Smoked Spicy Paprika Salt, great over smoked beef and charcoal grilled burgers.

All these fabulous salt blend creations are why I am so very excited that DiDi Davis’ Foods is this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor.

Two (Yes 2!) Lucky BeFreeForMe members will win a Didi Davis Food Salt Blend Collection, which consists of a sampler pack of the eight salt blends listed above.

How can you WIN?

Reply to this blog and tell us which of the salt blends listed above sound the best to you… as well as how you would use it. (Me? I would love to try the Vanilla salt over Green Bean Almondine, or the Aleppo Chile Salt in Bloody Marys!). All entries must be received by Tuesday, April 13th at 12:00 midnight EST.  

Good Luck, remember to add lots of spice into your lives (and cooking!), and, as always…

Be Free!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame… Peanut Free!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Being nut-free sometimes means having to forgo some of the simpler things in life.

Things like the excitement of being at a major league baseball park with family and friends on a warm Sunday afternoon.

That is why I was so very, very excited to receive an email from the folks over at the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America– New England Chapter) and Fenway Park announcing 2010 games that will have a designated peanut-free section at this season’s Red Sox games.

And for those that are nut-free fans of teams other than the Red Sox, check out this website from Food Allergy Buzz that lists peanut-free baseball games around the USA and Canada that have peanut-free sections at select ballparks throughout the 2010 season, as well as information about attending these games.

Because the seats are limited at the Fenway Park games, make sure you call right away and find out the availability for the peanut-free sections at the games on May 30th, July 18th and September 19th (at last checking standing room only was available at the 09/19 game).

The contact info to get seats for these games ($75 per person for seats and $25 per person for standing room only) is Mike Lawlor at the Red Sox by email ( or phone: 617-226-6027.

When you contact Mike, please leave the following information,
1. Your Name
2. Phone number(s) where you can be reached day and evening
3. Date of game you want to attend
4. Number of tickets you want
5. Specify Seats or Standing Room. Tell Mike if you will accept Standing Room if all seats are sold out.
On the email your subject line should say: Game Date (the date you want tickets for) – Peanut Friendly
Mike will call you back to confirm your tickets and take your payment by credit card.  Please be patient, it may take him about two weeks to respond to your request.

Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis.  

In an effort to find the safest and most enjoyable area of Fenway Park, Fenway Park has decided to use the Coca-Cola Left Field Pavilion. This is the same section the Red Sox used last year for peanut-allergy-friendly games. This seating area is highlighted by its majestic view of the game and the city, as well as its proximity to the Green Monster. This section will ensure a comfortable visit to Fenway Park with many amenities close by in one of the more private areas of the ballpark.

Enjoy… May the best team win… and as always…
Be Free!

Riceworks “Show Us Your Goodness” Program: 33 Semi-Finalists Chosen

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Many of us have been following the ricework’s Brown Rice Crisps “Show Us Your Goodness” program which will award an inspirational charitable cause a $20,000 grant to assist them in promoting their mission and cause.

Just recently a panel of judges has selected 33 finalists from all of the entries and it is now up to all of us to VOTE for the People’s Pick Award charitable group winner!

I am happy to announce that the Canadian Celiac Association – Vancouver is one of the People Pick’s Finalists! If you want to vote for them… click this link, scroll down to #8 on the list (please note that the list of finalists is in alphabetical order only), and then click on the blue “Vote for this Charity” link.

Some of my other favorite finalists include:

Danny’s Farm – A group that provides vocational training and meaningful employment and volunteer opportunities for adults and teenagers with disabilities, especially autism. (Danny’s Farm is #11 on the Finalist List).

Spoons Across America – Works to influence the eating habits of children through hands-on education that celebrates the connection to local farmers and the important tradition of sharing meals around the family table. (Spoons Across America is #22 on the Finalist List).

A World For Fit Kids – Located in Los Angeles, this group is a leading nonprofit provider of after school physical activity and youth development programs for children and teens. (A world For Fit Kids is #1 on the Finalist List).

Show YOUR goodness… VOTE today for the cause that YOU support! Thank you riceworks, for your support and generosity!

BONUS: Download the $1.00 OFF coupon (USA Coupon and the Canadian Coupon) for riceworks gourmet brown rice crisps too! They are gluten-free and yummy!

Friday Favorites: Easter Candy … Peeps & Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Easter time is candy time… and thankfully two all-time favorite Easter candies are also gluten free (as well as free of other allergens too).

Peeps, the best selling non-chocolate Easter candy for the last decade; and Jelly Bellies, the jelly bean with intense and authentic flavors made for the sophisticated palate, share the honor of this week’s Friday Favorite on

Peeps, which come in 6 fun colors, are gluten-free. They also clearly mark on their labels any of the eight major allergens that may be in the candy (read more here). The peep website is fun and interactive. It has a page of fun peep facts, and more… it is a great website for the kids.

Missing Strawberry Cheesecake, Pina Coladas or Caramel Corn? Or just want a small taste of something sweet without breaking you diet? Than give Jelly Bellies a try! These gluten, peanut and dairy free jelly beans come in over 50 flavors. But beware they are additive!

Enjoy and have a sweet Easter!

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