Archive for September, 2010

Friday Favorite: Glow Gluten Free Cookies

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Some Gluten-Free cookies can be ho-hum. Tasteless, not worth the calories, and let’s face it… a true disappointment.

Funny how one cookie can make a gluten free gal like me smile (or should I say Glow!) from ear-to-ear. The cookie I am speaking of? Glow Gluten Free Ginger Snaps, this week’s Friday Favorite on

Full of fresh, spicy ginger and with just the right sweetness, this cookie is one of my favorites for dipping into my afternoon tea. Baked with natural and organic ingredients in a certified gluten free bakery, these cookies will never, ever again have you pining for the glutenous and dairy-full cookies you once knew.

I love the Glow Gluten Free website too. Clicking and reading through the pages almost makes you feel… dare I say it… Happy to be gluten-free! Just like their cookies, the website is snappy, fun, fresh and tasty.

Jill, the founder of Glow Gluten Free is a fellow celiac, along with her daughter, Stella. Her diagnosis prompted her to seek out the most perfect and scrumptious gluten-free cookie recipe she could bake-up. That is how Glow Gluten-Free was founded. I love entrepreneurial stories like this.

And with her positive spirit instead of making lemonade out of lemons; Jill made cookies out of garbanzo beans! Gotta love it!

Cheers, Jill! And Congratulations on being chosen as this week’s Friday Favorite on

WIN-to-Wednesday: Little Bay Baking Mixes

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Fall is here. Leaves are falling. Soft blankets are being tossed onto beds, and comforting fragrances such as apples, spices, cinnamon and pumpkin are wafting through households everywhere.

Fall is just a great time to enjoy your family, kitchens warmed by goods in the oven, and the joy of baking your favorite gluten-free goodies. But to be honest, I don’t have the time to bake all of my gluten-free goodies from scratch.

This is when I reach for Little Bay Baking products. I like the Little Bay Baking mixes since all the gluten-free flours are already combined, and all you need to do is add a few ingredients to make the moistest, sweet bread, cakes and cookies …and Whoopie Pies!  No fuss, no mess… and no need to mix 5 or 6 types of gluten-free flours. Plus, all of the Little Bay Baking products, when made according to the package directions, are free of casein and lactose.

Also make sure to check out the recipes on the Little Bay Baking website. These recipes show fantastic ways to make family-favorites out of their baking mixes, including: Apple & Spice Bars and Peanut Butter Cookies out of their Cookie Bar Mix; Blueberry Buckle and Pineapple Upside Down Cake out of their Waffle & Donut Mix; and  Whoopie Pies, Snickerdoodles, or Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Lemon Glaze out of their Vanilla Cake Mix.

Convenience, ease of use, versatility and made-from-scratch taste are all the reasons I am so excited Little Bay Baking is the sponsor of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesdays for the next two weeks.

Little Bay Baking has graciously offered a total of six (YES 6!) Prize Packages full of their delicious baking mixes. The first week we will pick three (3) winners and the Prize Package will include: a Pumpkin Bread Mix, Corn Bread Mix and a Cookie Bar Mix. The second week we will pick three winners and the Prize Package will include: Ginger Bread Cookie Mix, Yellow Cake Mix, and the Waffle/Donut Hole Mix.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and let us know the one thing you love about the change of seasons (Mine? Taking long walks in the cool weather so I can take the time and focus my attention on relishing the vivid fall colors… all the while kicking up the leaves under my feet!)

Six randomly picked winners will be chosen as winners. Three winners will be selected from all entries posted before Tuesday, 10/06/10 12 midnight EST; and three winners will be selected from the entries posted between Wednesday, 10/07/10 and Tuesday, 10/12/10 midnight EST.

Enter EACH WEEK to increase your chances of WINNING!

Good luck, cherish the changes in the seasons and in your life… and as always…

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Van’s Gluten, Dairy & Egg Free Waffles

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

For many a donut may be a go-to breakfast. But for a lot of celiacs, including myself, Van’s waffles are the go-to breakfast staple of choice. Made of whole grains, flavored with fruit juice, full of flavor, and light & fluffy Van’s are a sure hit with kids and adults alike.

What I love the most about Van’s is the way they think beyond the basic waffle by offering tons of gluten-free varieties. Any waffle house would be jealous of their line-up.

Blueberry, Apple Cinnamon, Buckwheat, the basic Totally Natural, Flax and the kid-sized (or for me, snack-sized) Minis please anyone on a gluten-free diet. Important to note is that all these waffles are dairy & egg free too.

My favorite? The Totally Natural waffle smeared with a healthy glob of fresh blueberry preserves. To me this breakfast is my delicious, healthy and of course, gluten-free substitute to a not-so- missed jelly donut.

WIN-It-Wednesday: “Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” by Katie Chalmers

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Understanding celiac disease is tough enough for adults, never mind for children.

Coming to grips that you can’t ever again eat the bread, pizza and beer that you’ve known, and loved, all your life takes a lot for an adult to accept and embrace. But thankfully, most adults realize that the gluten-free lifestyle is not the end of the world. In fact I, and many others, have discovered living the celiac lifestyle is actually a way to look at the sunny side of life.

But how can you explain eating gluten-free and celiac disease to a child whose whole world is centered around pizza parties at school, a best-friends birthday party, or favorite foods that include chicken nuggets and onion rings? How can a child look at the sunny side of being gluten-free?

Enter the book: “Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” by Katie Chalmers.

This one-of-a-kind book is gracefully & eloquently written by a Mom who has celiac disease. Both the author, Katie Chalmers and her daughter, Morgan, were diagnosed with celiac disease a little over 2 years ago. Since that time they have learned to embrace, and make the best, out of living gluten-free.

The book encompasses what celiac disease and the gluten free diet entail in language that children can understand, all the while encouraging dialogue for additional questions. A must-have for any child with celiac disease, this book is also a must-read for any elementary school story hour that has child with celiac disease in the classroom.

I like that  “Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” empathizes the positive, rather than the negative, attributes of a gluten-free diet. However, in no way does this book sugar-coat this disease. Instead “Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” puts a positive spin on a serious subject that many children may find difficult to understand and accept.

All these reasons are why I am so very excited that “Mommy, What Is Celiac Disease?” by Katie Chalmers is this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor on

Five (yes 5!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members will receive a copy of the book.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and let us know how you look at the sunny side of being gluten-free. (Me? Reading labels because of my celiac diagnosis has made me more conscious & aware of the ingredients in the foods I eat, which has resulted in me and my family eating a lot healthier across the board!)

All entries must be received by Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 12 midnight EST.

Good luck, Keep the sunny side up… and as always,

Be Free!

P.S. Want to learn more? Follow Katie on Facebook and find out more, as well as purchase, her book on her website.

Celebrate National Play-Doh Day: Gluten & Allergen Free!

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

A slow smile crept across my face this morning when I read that today was National Play-Doh Day.

And what a perfect Play-Doh Day it is on this dismal & misty Saturday here in New England.

Play-doh brings back such fond memories. We were never the type of family that had all the contraptions they sold that twisted and formed Play-Doh into some animal creature, jewelry, or food product.

Nope – good old fashioned creativity was required in our house.

My two sisters & I would keep busy for hours, while we kneeled on the chairs at the kitchen table, mixing and blending colors to make psychedelic Play-Doh twists and rolls, using Mom’s rolling pin, potato masher and spatulas to whip-up the best creations ever molded out of this marvelous, molding clay.

But unfortunately, kids that have celiac disease and food allergies are unable to use the traditional store-bought Play-Doh brand since it contains gluten – it’s primary ingredient is wheat flour.

That is why I am glad that there are companies out there that make gluten and allergen free play dough. These companies include Aroma Dough (Gluten-free), Soy-Yer Dough (Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Nut Free – plus they have an option for Soy Free if you check that off as a preference during check-out) and Colorations (Gluten, Nut, Egg, Dairy, Casein Free) or get real creative and make some gluten-free Play-Doh yourself by using this gluten-free play dough recipe found on the Celiac Sprue Association website.

So celebrate National Play-Doh Day gluten & allergen free! Pull up a kitchen chair, dig out the rolling pins and potato mashers, use your imagination and get the creativity flowing this afternoon!

Friday Favorite: R.W. Garcia 5 Seed Tellicherry Cracked Pepper Crackers

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

When I first saw these crackers my first thought was, “What the heck is a tellicherry?”

Well, my friends, according to tellicherries, which come from the Malabar Coast of India, are whole extra-large black peppercorns that are left on the vine longer so they develop a deep, rich flavor. They are also considered the finest pepper in the world.

These tellicherrries (I just love that word!) are most definitely what gives the R.W. Garcia 5 Seed Crackers, there flavorful punch.

Made of organic corn, and certified not to contain any GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) or trans-fats these spicy little crunchy gluten-free crackers will surprise your taste-buds and tackle your senses. Whoever said gluten-free eating was bland, has not tried these crackers yet.

And at 140 calories per serving, I can eat them for a crunchy side with a salad or by the handful for a snack.

Give them a try, and give your taste buds a peppery and flavorful treat!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Cabot Cheddar Cheese

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

I love being cheesy. I love my life to be as cheesy as I can get it. The more cheesy my life is – all the better for me.

And although I secretly liked The New Kids on the Block and The Brady Bunch, I don’t mean cheesy in a sappy 1980’s boy band or a sugary-sweet sitcom type-of-way. But what I do mean is cheesy as in a gooey and warm Baked Gluten-Free Macaroni & Cheese, or cheese generously sprinkled on my nachos type-of-way.

And my favorite way to get the most cheesiness in my life… Cabot Creamery.

Cabot Cheddar Cheese is all natural, crafted and aged by the farm-family owners of 90-year-old Cabot Creamery Cooperative without any additives or preservatives. It’s lactose free, gluten free, calcium-rich and delicious, the winner of national and international competitions as “the world’s best cheddar.”

In my book, Cabot is the “Big Cheese” of the world!

Cabot Cheddar Cheese comes in the traditional Sharp, Mild and Extra Sharp varieties (as well as their signature Private Stock Cheddar) and so many yummy flavors like Habanero, Chipotle, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil, Horseradish, Chili-Lime and Tuscan. The flavored cheeses are just screaming to be used in your favorite recipes, and are a great springboard to create your own signature dishes, or use in the tried-and-true recipes featured on Cabot’s website. (Make sure you check out the gluten-free recipes on the Cabot website including the Chicken & Sweet Potato Pie or the Cauliflower Macaroni & Cheese (Fun Note: They even have recipes for your pets on the website… Hey, pooches, including Sadie the Incredible Boxer, love cheese too!)

I never met a Cabot Cheese I didn’t love, but my favorite Cabot Cheese is the 50% Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar. It has all the full-fat flavor, but made with 1.5% milk. I also love that Cabot is a cooperative and owned by 1200 dairy farmers and their families in New England and New York – purchasing Cabot is a great way to support local farms! To find out more about how to support local farms check out this informative website It is such a great cause, so be sure to check it out.

I am excited to announce that Cabot is this week’s sponsor of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday. Being naturally gluten-free and lactose-free make it the perfect cheese for many of BeFreeForMe members – plus the flavors and varieties are fantastic for snacking or cooking.

Cabot Cheese is offering THREE (Yes… 3!) Lucky BeFreeForMe members a 2-pound Gift Box packed with an assortment of Cabot Cheddar Cheeses shipped direct to your home.What a great gift!

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and let us know the flavor of Cabot Cheese that sounds the tastiest to you. Also, feel free to share your favorite cheesiest thing, whether it related to food (Me? Gluten-Free Baked Macaroni & Cheese) or non-food (Me? My beloved classic Partridge Family Fan Club booklet… yes, I still have it!)

All entries must be received by Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 12:00 Midnight EST.
Good Luck, Cheesiness Rules… and as always,
Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: Help with Creating Healthy, Nutritious (& Exciting!) Gluten-Free Meals

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Question: I am on a gluten-free diet and need help with meal planning. Do you have any suggestions on making meal time a bit more exciting by adding more variety? P.S. – Healthy & nutritious ideas are a plus too!

Successful gluten-free meal planning requires a positive attitude, a little creativity and learning how to make substitutions for some ingredients and food items in favorite recipes and menu items. Fortunately, many foods that are naturally gluten-free are also good for you, including plain meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, legumes (dried beans, lentils and peas), nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grain alternatives such as amaranth, buckwheat, corn, flax, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum and teff. In addition, there are numerous gluten-free specialty products (e.g., pasta, breads and baked goods, cereals, sauces, soups) that can be substituted for traditional gluten-containing items.

In the beginning, plan simple meals and snacks with plain foods so you don’t become overwhelmed with the new gluten-free lifestyle. But, once you have mastered the basics gradually incorporate new items and try more complex dishes with multiple ingredients. Have fun! To save time and energy, prepare gluten-free recipe and menu items that everyone can eat rather than having to “cook twice.” Other family members can supplement their meal plan with gluten-containing bread or dessert items if desired.

The trick is to keep an optimistic attitude, be creative, and embrace trying new (and exciting!) foods!

Here are some specific ideas on how to add variety and incorporate more nutritious options into the gluten-free diet:

Breakfast Boosters
If you eat this… Add this… Or try this instead…
Cream of white rice cereal Nuts, seeds, ground flax,dried fruits, or fresh fruit Cream of brown rice, cream of buckwheat, amaranth, rolled oats (pure, uncontaminated gluten-free), quinoa flakes, or teff
Puffed rice or corn cereal Fresh fruit GF granola with nuts, seeds, ground flax, dried fruits
GF white rice bread or bagel Nut butter, cheese, poached egg, or omelet with chopped vegetables GF enriched bread or bagel; or make your own bread and substitute brown rice, ground flax, bean flours, almond flour or Montina TM for some of the white rice, cornstarch, tapioca starch or potato starch
Fruit beverage or fruit drink Fresh or frozen fruit or fruit juice plus yogurt or skim milk powder and ground flax seed to make a fruit smoothie Calcium-fortified juice or 100-percent fruit juice
GF waffle or pancakes with syrup Cottage cheese or yogurt and fruit Substitute almond flour, brown rice, buckwheat, bean flour, ground flax, mesquite flour, oat flour (pure, uncontaminated, gluten-free), quinoa or teff flour for some of the white rice flour.
Crepes made with white rice flour and topped with syrup A filling made with blended ricotta cheese, lemon or orange zest, and small amount of sweetener; a topping of berries, peaches, or other fruit, and maple syrup Substitute almond or bean flour for some of the white rice flour
Fried egg and bacon Low-fat mozzarella or feta cheese, veggies, and GF smoked salmon, turkey, or ham to make an omelet Omega-3 rich egg; use a non-stick pan; try Canadian bacon or low-fat GF turkey or chicken sausage
Power Lunches and Dinners
If you eat this… Add this… Or try this instead…
Chicken rice soup Fresh or frozen vegetables Soups made with lentils, dried beans or peas, vegetables (squash, pumpkin, tomato)
White rice pizza crust, salami and cheese Vegetables such as peppers, onions, zucchini and tomatoes Add some amaranth or brown rice flour to your dough; use low-fat cheese
White rice pasta with butter or margarine Low-fat cheese and vegetables Enriched gluten-free pasta, brown rice, or quinoa pasta; use less butter or margarine
White rice bread sandwiches, butter or margarine, mayonnaise and luncheon meat Sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, shredded carrots GF enriched bread or bagel; low-fat mayonnaise, salsa, or mustard; salmon, tuna. low-fat GF deli meats such as chicken, turkey, pastrami or ham
White rice and meat, fish or chicken Fresh or frozen vegetables Brown rice or a combination of brown, wild, and white rice; quinoa, buckwheat, millet or teff
Baked or mashed potato with butter or margarine Cheese and chopped veggies such as broccoli in the baked potato; milk and grated low-fat cheese in the mashed potato Use yogurt or low-fat sour cream instead of butter or margarine; try a sweet potato for more Vitamin A
Iceberg lettuce salad, GF croutons, cucumbers, and celery with salad dressing Tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, shredded carrots, chickpeas, sunflower seeds Romaine or spinach with strawberries or mandarin oranges, toasted slivered almonds, and/or sesame seeds with a fruit dressing or low-fat salad dressing
Smart Snacks
If you eat this… Add this… Or try this instead…
GF pretzels Unsalted nuts Trail mix with GF granola, dried fruits, nuts and seeds
Rice cakes or rice crackers Cheese (cubes or string), hummus, nut butter with banana or apple slices GF snack bar made with seeds, dried fruits and healthy GF grains (amaranth, flax, quinoa); GF high-fiber snacks made with nuts or seeds
Fried corn chips Salsa and shredded cheese
Celery sticks Peanut butter, cheese spread or low-fat cream cheese with raisins Carrot or turnip sticks, peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli or cauliflower
GF cookie Fresh fruit and a glass of milk or enriched GF dairy substitute Add brown rice, flax or quinoa to the recipe; choose ready-made cookies that are lower in sugar and fat or made with non-hydrogenated oils
GF brownie Mug of warm, steamed milk or enriched GF dairy substitute GF crispy rice square (still not so nutritious, but often less fat)
GF muffin with white rice flour Chopped nuts, mashed banana, dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates); ground flax Pumpkin, pineapple. carrot or banana muffins made with some brown rice flour, almond flour or bean flour.
Full-fat fruit-flavored yogurt Fresh fruit and nuts Plain low-fat yogurt with chopped fruits, nuts and a small amount of sweetener

Reprinted and adapted with permission from: Rate Your Plate, Living Without magazine, Fall 2003, pg. 26. Chart prepared by Shelley Case, RD

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:

Friday Favorite: SO Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

This week’s Friday Favorite goes to a product that is SO tasty, yet SO free of the things that many of us can’t eat!

SO Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt is just what the name says… yogurt made out of Coconut Milk. Besides being delicious and certified gluten-free it is also dairy, lactose, soy, cholesterol & Trans fat free. Plus, as an added bonus it is vegan and contains pre- and probiotics – perfect for digestive health.

I tried So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt in the vanilla flavor and just loved it. It was creamy, dreamy, and just a perfect substitute for regular yogurt in the morning. But don’t let me mislead… this yogurt could also easily become one of my go-to mid-afternoon snacks or decadent desserts. It also comes in Blueberry and Passionate Mango flavors too.  I can’t wait to try those next.

The SO Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt is this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday Favorite for being so wonderfully tasty, creamy and dee-licious without all the allergens! Cheers!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Bakery on Main Granola

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

It’s that time of year again when routines are back in place, alarms are going off every morning, and breakfasts are a must to start each day off on the right foot.

But sometimes finding tasty breakfast ideas that are gluten, dairy and casein free can be a struggle. But with Bakery on Main Granola you can not only find several varieties of granola (and granola bars!) that are not only good tasting, but good for you too.

Made with whole grain gluten-free oats, Bakery On Main’s  granola is free of cholesterol, trans fat, refined sugars, gluten, dairy & casein. It is a crunchy, sweet and flavor-packed granola that is great for breakfast, a mix-in with yogurt, or even eating by the handful.

Bakery On Main also makes granola bars that are great for mid-morning or afternoon snacks. Convenient and crunchy these bars are perfect for lunch boxes, backpacks or brief cases.

My favorite Bakery on Main product is the Fiber Power Granola. I love that this granola has 9 grams of fiber and is still low in fat. It is perfect stirred up in my favorite fat-free Greek yogurt or eaten by the handful for a breakfast or snack on the run. It comes in two flavors Triple Berry and Cinnamon Raisin.

In the past, Bakery on Main invited BeFreeForMe members to sign-up for their monthly savings newsletter to get the most updated coupons & specials, as well as a FREE downloadable $1.50 OFF Coupon. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure you sign up to get this coupon soon… availability may be limited!

And lucky us… Bakery on Main has once again graciously offered to sponsor this weeks WIN-It-Wednesday on!

Three (yes 3!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members will receive a Bakery on Main Gift Set. This gift set consists of a tote bag made from 100% recycled materials, filled with 1.5 ounce gluten free granola snack packs in the Apple Raisin Walnut, Nutty Cranberry Maple and Extreme Fruit & Nut flavors; 2 ounce Fiber Power gluten free granola snack packs in both the Triple Berry and Cinnamon Raisin flavors; and 1.2 ounce gluten free granola bars in the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Cranberry Maple Nut and Extreme Trail Mix. What a prize this is! Perfect for back to school because it includes bars and snack packs which can be a great on-the-go breakfast, easy to pack in a lunchbox, or great for an after school snack.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us how you start your day off on a positive note. (Me? I take Sadie the Boxer for a long walk in the mornings… a perfect way to get some exercise in, clear my head for the day, and spend time with my perfect pooch!)

All entries must be received by Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 12:00 Midnight EST.

Good Luck, Keep positive… and as always,

Be Free!

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