Archive for July, 2010

Friday Favorite: GlutenFreeda’s Gluten-Free Burritos

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Yes that’s right… you read the heading correctly! Gluteen-Free Burritos!

I tried these a while back at a trade show and was mesmerized at the thought of actually eating a burrito once again. In fact, I circled my way back to the GlutenFreeda Booth a number of times to get more samples of these burritos, since they are THAT good!

These burritos come in 4 glutenfree-licious varieties: Vegetable Bean and Cheese; Breakfast Beef; Non-Dairy Vegetarian and Chicken & Cheese.

The best part about these burritos is that they are perfect for a quick little meal. My favorite, the Chicken & Cheese, has only 227 calories and 9 grams of protein. Plus, they are made with all natural and organic ingredients; and manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility. And did I mention that they can be microwaved right in their own wrapper, and are ready in mere minutes?

All of these reasons, and mucho more, are why GlutenFreeda’s Gluten-free Burritos are this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite!

WIN-It-Wednesday: John Morrell Worry-Free (Allergen Free) Meats

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Fire-up those grills my friends, and let the parties begin! Sometimes barbeque-time can be a stressful time for those with food allergies since so many hot dogs and sausages are notorious for containing numerous allergens.

But worry no more!

This summer John Morrell has come out with Worry-Free Meat products. The hot dogs, smoked sausage and bologna are free of milk, nuts, soy, fish, eggs and gluten.

These products are great to have on hand during all summer barbeques, since they’re free of so many allergens. I had a small get together a few weekends back and three of the children at my house, each having three different allergies, all were able to enjoy these Worry-Free hot dogs. Cheers to John Morrell!

BeFreeForMe is so excited to have John Morrell’s worry-free meats be the sponsor of this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday… and the prizes are so awesome! With even a second BONUS Chance to WIN! Here are the prize details:

TWO Winners’ will each receive… a $10 certificate for the John Morrell Worry-Free Meats of your choice!

A THIRD Bonus Winner will receive a $25 certificate for the John Morrell’s Worry-Free Meats of your choice! But… this winner also has to also be a fan of John Morrell’s Worry-Free Meats on Facebook… PLUS leave a comment on this blog as instructed below. (Click here to become a fan of John Morrell’s Worry-Free Meats on Facebook.)

How do you win?


Reply to this blog and let us know how you make your life less stressful and worry-free. (Me? I talk things through with my Mom or sisters and thing’s just don’t seem as troubling anymore!).

Also, if you want to save some money, make sure you download this $1.00 OFF Coupon for John Morrell’s Worry-Free Products. Also, become a fan on John Morrell’s Facebook page, and while your visiting stop by their Expert Tab and send a note to say hello to me!

All entries must be received by Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good Luck, Be Worry-Free…and, as always…

Be Free!

Summer Meals: It’s time for Fruits & Veggies… Fresh and Exciting!

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Summer is a time when fruits and veggies are in abundance. Backyard gardens are bursting at the seams with the bounty of the good earth, with a new harvest arriving each day. Fruit and vegetables are falling off the vines, ripening to perfection and begging to be picked.

And every day as I am filling up my garden basket with more and more lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries, green beans, zucchini and squash (plus more!) I laugh to myself.  What seemed like a ridiculously small and “definitely not big enough” garden plot last April is now producing enough fruit and veggies to feed a small, but well-fed and health-conscious army.

Not a bad problem for a super-frugal gluten and allergen free gal like me to have.

This abundance of fruits and veggies got me thinking of new ways to incorporate the rewards of my garden into every meal. My mission? To eat and enjoy healthy gluten and allergen free dishes made with as many fruits and vegetables as possible, every single time I prepare a meal, without getting tired of the same old thing day after day.

This mission means that I have to start thinking beyond a boring tossed salad, ho-hum rabbit food and leafy greens drenched in salad dressing. Just like the Kool and the Gang song of the 80’s, I need to makes sure that my summer produce is not only fresh… but also exciting. (And yes… that song is now stuck in my head every time I go into my garden!).

Here are some of my ideas on ways to incorporate and enjoy summer fruits and vegetables throughout the season, while keeping things fresh, exciting and so inviting to me:

Enjoy local flavor: Don’t have your own garden? Visit a local farm stand or farmers market instead. One visit will get you hook on just-picked produce and healthier eating!

Get fruity: Get crazy with your fruits! Toss some sliced peaches on top of a dinner salad; Add a sprinkle of berries to your gluten-free cereal; Make a fruit-smoothie for breakfast… better yet make two, freeze one and enjoy it for an after dinner dessert.

Spice it up: Use fresh herbs to season and flavor your food. A sprinkle of chopped cilantro gives a boring chicken breast a southwestern flair; Rosemary sprigs chopped and tossed with olive oil and potatoes gives instant sophistication and complexity to an unexpected side dish. Fresh herbs are often the secret ingredient some dishes crave. Think fresh herbs instead of salt and pepper to healthily season any gluten and allergen free recipe.

Beyond butter: Those with  a dairy allergy or intolerance need to skip butter altogether, but even those that can indulge, should look beyond the butter dish when in comes to seasoning vegetables. Try spraying olive oil or balsamic dressing on fresh steamed veggies. Better yet, try white balsamic vinegar instead of regular balsamic vinegar to enjoy a milder and cleaner flavor.

Build a salad with a base of lower calorie options and work your way up: If you want to enjoy tons and tons of fresh vegetables, make sure that you base the bulk of your meals around the lowest calorie ingredients, and then sparingly incorporate the higher calorie add-ins. Some example? Build a salad using fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and other fresh picked produce, then sprinkle with lactose-free cheeses, nuts (if nut allergies are not an issue), and gluten-free croutons; or, steam some fresh picked zucchini and summer squash, top with chopped basil and a dusting of Parmesan cheese.

Make it a meal deal:
Fresh produce and fruit can be the main course of any meal, if you add in a bit of protein to tie-it all together. Some options to add to your steamed dinner veggie platter include meat, seafood, cheeses and beans.

It’s in the presentation:
All salads don’t have to be tossed. All vegetables don’t have to be diced and boiled before serving. Try serving your salad “salad-bar style” on a large platter – let your family pick-and-choose the topping they want on their own individual salads; Use the grill to cook a zucchini that is halved lengthwise and brushed with olive oil, cracked pepper and fresh herbs.

Get creative: Use fresh seasonal vegetables in unexpected ways. In a veggie omelet for a healthy breakfast, or even dinner; chop up tons of summer vegetables for a wide assortment of toppings on a taco salad.

Friday Favorite: Pacific Natural Foods Simply Tea

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

This time of year when the weather is hot, and the afternoons get lazy, I like to grab a glass of fresh-brewed, chilled and iced tea.

But sometimes, my days get crazy and I don’t have the time to brew a pitcher early in the morning to have it chilled and ready-to-pour when my afternoon break time rolls around.

That is why I am so glad I discovered Pacific Natural Foods Simply Tea, a convenient tea that is clean, crisp and ready to be poured.

The best part about Pacific Natural Foods Simply Tea is that it tastes just like the real fresh brewed tea I make myself. Plus it is organic, and is from Fair Trade Certified green tea. A great source of antioxidants, this tea comes in five great gluten-free flavors: Unsweetened, Peach, Kiwi Mango, Wild Berry, and Tangerine. Normally, I would reach for the unsweetened tea, but in my favorite is the Peach – which tastes like fresh brewed tea with a hint of juicy garden fresh peaches.

I also like that the Simply Tea comes in an eco-friendly aseptic packaging that doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opening. Plus, it locks out air and light for added freshness. This way, just in case you don’t drink this refreshing tea all in one sitting, you’ll always get a more flavorful, fresher tasting tea.

Fresh, full-of-flavor, and just like real home-brewed, but without the hassle, are all the reasons why Pacific Natural Foods Simply Tea is BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite.

WIN-It-Wednesday: “Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free”

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet that you need quick and easy to understand answers? Do you wish that for once a doctor and dietitian were partners in helping you solve problems and issues concerning the gluten-free lifestyle?

Well fret no more my gluten-free friends! Dr. Daniel Leffler, MD, MS and Melinda Dennis, MS, RD and LDN have teamed up and co-authored a new book published by the (AGA). American Gastroenterological Association“Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free” is packed with usable and must-know information about living and thriving on a gluten-free diet.

In their book, Dr. Leffler and Ms. Dennis, both from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, have teamed up with over 50 international experts on celiac disease that share stories of patients who have questions or problems related to celiac and gluten-related disorders.

Even though I read this book while laying on the Rhode Island beachside, the wealth of knowledge and useful information included in this book made me feel as if I were attending an international celiac conference, where each contributor on the agenda speaks about engaging and important information about celiac disease in easy-to-understand terminology.

If you want to get a sneak-peak and listen to Dr. Leffler speak about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet click on this link to hear an audio-post of the webinar featuring Dr. Leffler that was hosted by riceworks Brown Rice Crisps.

Also, to get a copy of the book “Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free” click here to order your copy. It really is a great addition to any gluten-free or celiac personal library.

Good information from fantastic contributors all compiled into one fabulous book are all reasons why I am so happy to have the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and “Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free” be this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor on

Two (Yes, 2!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members will receive a free copy of the book, “Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting & Thriving Gluten Free”.

How can you win?


Reply to this blog and tell us a little pointer, piece of advice or inspirational tidbit you would pass along to someone just diagnosed with celiac disease to help them troubleshoot and thrive with their new lifestyle (or if you are just diagnosed, something you would love to learn about). My tidbit? Don’t worry… trips to the supermarket WILL get shorter as you learn your gluten-free way around supermarkets!

All entries must be received by Tuesday, July 27th at 12:00 midnight.

Good luck, Keep thrivin’… and as always,

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bar

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

I just discovered my new all-time favorite Lara Bar variety: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

Chewy, nutty and sweet, this brand new Lara Bar flavor reminds me of eating rich chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips, drizzled with tons and tons of peanut butter sauce. Although this is not a bar I would eat for breakfast, it is the perfect gluten-free and good-for-you snack when you are looking for something sweet for a mid-day pick-me-up, or after a meal as a substitute gluten-free (and guilt free) dessert.

I love that the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bar has only 4 ingredients: Dates, Peanuts, Chocolate Chips and Salt. A simple snack that truly knocks your socks off.

Simple, pure and tasty snacking. All these sweet reasons are why Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Lara Bar’s are this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday favorite pick.

WIN-It-Wednesday: riceworks Brown Rice Crisps

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

After giving riceworks Brown Rice Crisps a try one year ago, I was hooked after the first chip. Made of brown rice, gluten free, high in fiber and 33% less fat than other salty snacks, I knew I had found a snack that not only tastes good – but I could feel good about eating.

Since that time I have enjoyed Sea Salt riceworks at breakfast with chopped hard-boiled eggs, love the Salsa Fresca riceworks in replacement of boring corn chips in nacho recipes; have finely ground Sweet Chili riceworks to use as a phenomenal breading on boneless chicken breasts, and my favorite secret ricework trick, using a handful of coarsely Cinnamon riceworks as a fiber-packed “mix-in” for vanilla ice cream on these hot summer days (watch out Cold Stone Creamery!).

For me riceworks better… as a snack and for many other creative recipe ideas!

It seems that other folks, some like me on a gluten-free diet as well as others that just like good eats, have found some creative places and ways to eat and use riceworks in their day-to-day snacking and cooking. That’s why riceworks has come up with two great promotions this summer! Each of the programs encourages us to share why riceworks is indeed better… while taking a chance at winning some cash and other fantastic prizes, as well as becoming a published & publicized chef! Check out this audio note to find out more about these promotions.

Following is an overview of each of these two promotions:

How riceworks Better:

Are you throwing a party or event this summer with your family, friends, church group, fund raising organization, or long-lost college buddies? Looking to invite one more person? Well…. Invite riceworks!!

riceworks would love to join you and make your event way more fun. The program is called How riceworks Better. If you tell riceworks about your summer event or gathering you could win $4000 (YES folks… $4000) plus tons of riceworks samples to make your event even more fun than you could possibly imagine.

riceworks Recipeworks:

For those of you that love to cook or have a secret recipe you prepare with riceworks Brown Rice Crisps, this promotion is for you! riceworks is creating a cookbook. They are looking for recipes submitted by 50 would-be foodies authors, like you, to create a one-of-a-kind cookbook in which all proceeds will be donated to charity.

Watch out Julia Child, Jamie Oliver and Rachael Ray! YOU may be on your way to stardom and publication! Share your ricework recipes today on the riceworks Recipeworks website and may the best recipe win!

And if these two promotions and chances to win wasn’t enough fun for one summer, I was thrilled when the folks at riceworks® asked to sponsor the prize package for this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday on BeFreeForMe … and the prizes are so awesome! With even a second BONUS chance to WIN! Here are the details on the prizes:

TWO Winners’ will each receive… One (1) CASE of free riceworks® product (that’s 12 bags!) in the flavor of the winner’s choice, PLUS a $25 gift card for the supermarket of your choice!

A THIRD Winner will receive the same prize as above but this winner has to also be a fan of riceworks on Facebook… PLUS leave a comment on this blog as instructed below. (Click here to become a fan of riceworks on Facebook.)

How do you win?


Reply to this blog and lets us know what flavor of riceworks you would choose if you are picked the winner. Also feel free to let us know your favorite time or way to eat riceworks. (Me? I love the Sweet Chili. I love to use them to scoop up some fresh tuna salad for lunch!)

Also, the contest ends on Tuesday, July 20th at 12 midnight EST  – so enter now and become a fan of riceworks on Facebook too!

Good Luck, Remember to give into the goodness… and as always,

Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: Are there any alcoholic beverages that are gluten-free?

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Question: On hot summer days, many people like to enjoy a cool, refreshing alcoholic beverage. Are there any alcoholic beverages that are gluten-free?

Answer: There has been a lot of misinformation about the gluten-free status of alcohol. The good news is that many alcoholic beverages are gluten-free. So lift up your glass and let’s toast to this good news! Here is the scoop…

Distilled Alcoholic Beverages:

Rye whiskey, scotch whiskey, gin, vodka and bourbon are distilled from a mash of fermented grains. Even though these alcoholic beverages can be derived from a gluten-containing grain, the distillation process removes the gluten from the purified final product, so they are gluten-free. Rum (distilled from sugar cane) and brandy (distilled from wine) are also gluten-free.

However, be aware that some pre-made Bloody Mary and Caesar beverage mixes may contain barley malt flavoring or hydrolyzed wheat protein and are not gluten-free so check the label on these items.

Liqueurs (also known as cordials):

These are made from an infusion of a distilled alcoholic beverage with added sugar and flavoring agents such as nuts, fruits, seeds, flowers or cream. Liqueurs are gluten-free.

Wine (including vermouth, port and sherry):

Wines are made from fermented grapes or other fruits. There are also fortified wines such as vermouth; port and sherry which include an added brandy or another distilled alcohol. All these wines are gluten-free.

Wine Coolers:

Historically most wine coolers were gluten-free as they were made from wine, fruit juice, a carbonated beverage and sugar. However in 1991 the US Congress increased the excise tax on wine so many producers substituted malt (from barley) for the wine. Any malt-based coolers are not gluten-free.


Alcoholic and non-alcoholic ciders are made from apple juice. Sparkling cider is made with apple cider and a carbonated beverage. Most ciders are gluten-free but some brands may use barley in its production and are not gluten-free. The best bet is to check with the manufacturer to determine if they are gluten-free.

Beer, Ale and Lager:

The basic ingredients in beer, ale and lager include malted barley, hops (a type of flower), yeast and water. As this mixture is only fermented and not distilled, it contains varying levels of gluten and must be avoided. However, a variety of gluten-free specialty  beers are now on the market made from various gluten-free grains such as buckwheat, sorghum, millet and rice.

Note: Always remember that although certain alcoholic beverages can be included in a gluten-free diet, it must be consumed responsibly and in moderation!

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 get more gluten-free tips & info at:

This Tuesday (July 13) Your Questions About Celiac Disease and the Gluten Free Diet… Answered!

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Just a quick reminder to everyone to sign up for Dr. Daniel Leffler’s FREE webinar that will take place this TUESDAY night, July 13th.

This week’s webinar is the last of three-part summer series of webinars that are presented by riceworks brown rice crisps and sponsored by

Dr, Daniel Leffler, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Division of Gastroenterology at BIDMC, has just launched his book Real Life with Celiac Disease (I got a sneak peak and it is a great resource!). Join Dr. Leffler this Tuesday July 13th to learn about a wide range of topics from his new book including screening and diagnosis, associated conditions, food allergies and intolerances, complications, nongastrointestinal manifestations, and what the difference is between celiac disease and a gluten intolerance.

This is a great way to learn more about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, lifestyle and living!  

I hope to see you all there!
Be Free!

Blueberries: Full of Memories, Flavor and Health Benefits

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

When I was a little girl, my sisters and I would pile into the car with Mom and drive to the Southeastern shore of Massachusetts to go blueberry picking. The sun was always hot, the air was often steamy and the dragonflies were buzzing.

And while my sisters and I filled our buckets with plump and sweet berries, we sang show tunes at the top of our childlike voices while the heat bugs struggled to provide the perfect pitch and harmony, and the dropping of each dark blue berry into our buckets provided a constant tempo.

The day would be long, but the labor of filling up our buckets would be rewarded with kerchiefs full of sweet berries to share on the long ride home to Cape Cod.

In today’s world I don’t have as much time as I did in my youth to spend an afternoon picking blueberries. Ode to the simpler times. But the memories and the fondness described above encourage a childlike beam to appear on my face when I see native berries, all packed up in the flimsy wooden boxes at my local farm stand.

I also love blueberries because they are so versatile. A sprinkle can be a topping for cereal, yogurt, salads or ice cream; they can make a muffin come to life; they are a welcome addition to a breakfast smoothie and they are delicious snack that can easily be eaten by the handful, especially since one cup of blueberries has only about 80 calories.

Little did my Mom know back-in-the-day that we were out picking one of nature’s “super foods” during those summer days of my youth. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, and vitamin A, C and D. The compounds in blueberries have also been found to fight the bacteria that cause urinary track infections, cancer and aging.

This is the time of year when blueberries are at their peak. I love to take afternoon snack break on the outside front steps of my office and enjoy a handful of these sweet plump berries.

Blueberries are a comfort food to me.

I shut my eyes and let their sweetness take me away to the simpler days of steamy summer Cape Cod afternoons, dragonflies, and heat bugs, all the while humming away show tunes of yesteryear… in total and absolute perfect pitch and harmony.

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