Archive for November, 2010

WIN-It-Wednesday: The Book “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?” PLUS a Jam-Packed Gluten-Free Gift Pack… A Gigantic Glu-TEN Free Giveaway!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

ONE MORE WEEK TO WIN! Enter again between Wednesday, 12/8 and Wednesday 12/15 for a SECOND CHANCE TO WIN! Double your chances of being the winner on BeFreeForMe and enter again… today!

~ Be Free! Kathleen

This week’s WIN-It-Wednesday on BeFreeForMe is a Gigantic Glu-TEN Free Giveway! BeFreeForMe, as well as, nine other gluten/allergen free bloggers (see the list below), are each hosting a giveaway of the book, “Mommy, was it Celiac Disease?” signed by the author Katie Chalmers, PLUS a jam-packed holiday gift bag loaded with tons of gluten-free goodies and treats!

So lucky for everyone out there in gluten-free cyber-land you have exactly TEN chances of winning this “Gluten-Free Holiday Giveaway Galore x10!” This is what I call Glu-TEN Free Madness!

The book “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?” is a perfect holiday gift. It is a one-of-a-kind book so gracefully & eloquently written by Katie Chalmers, a mom who has celiac disease, along with her daughter, Morgan. They were both diagnosed with the disease a little over 2 years ago, and since that time they have learned to embrace, and make the best, out of living gluten-free. Make sure you check out their page on facebook.

The book explains what celiac disease and the gluten free diet entails 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.

Along with the signed copy of this book, the second part of this prize pack is a gift bag loaded with gluten-free foods including products from Mary’s Gone Crackers, Snyder’s of Hanover, Chebe, Bob’s Sweet Stripes, Nature’s Path, Schar’s and Pamela Products; as well as some fun giveaways including Holiday pencils, erasers and note pad, a stuffed teddy bear, and a plastic snowman cereal bowl perfect for your favorite gluten-free cereal. Wheww… that’s a LOT of gluten-free goodness that great for gifting*!

How can you WIN?

Reply to this blog between now and December 15, 2010 (10 PM EST), and tell us your favorite holiday gift growing up as a child (Me? A walking doll! I loved her!).

Note: Also make sure you enter to win one of the 9 other prizes on my fellow gluten-free blogger’s sites (Let them know that BeFreeForMe sent you over!). The blogs are: Accustomed Chaos, Adventures of a GF Mom, Celiac Family, Gluten Free Betsy, Gluten Free Easily (gfe), Gluten Free is Life/, Gluten Free Philly, Gluten Free Taste of Home, and Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

Good Luck, remember to often look at the world through the eyes of a child, and, as always…

Be Free!


Contest Rules (From “Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?”):
•    All 10 of these contests are open to residents of the USA. Only the Accustomed Chaos and Gluten Free Easily contests are also
open to Canadian residents.
•    All 10 contests begin on Wed. Dec. 1, 2010 and will end on Wed. Dec. 15, 2010 at 10pm EST.
•    Entry requirements will vary between bloggers. Please follow their directions to enter.
•    Entrants can only win once total within all 10 giveaways. If anyone is chosen more than once as a winner, another winner will be chosen so everyone only wins once.
•    One winner per household.
•    Winners with valid entries will be selected at random. The winners will be announced and notified via email and must reply within 24 hours to claim. Otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen, in order that all prizes will arrive before Christmas. So please remember to check your email on Dec.16th.
•    If any of the 10 prizes do not arrive before Christmas because of any unforeseen holiday mail rush problems, the USPS, Katie Chalmers and hosting bloggers will not be held accountable.
* Note: Prize pack contents may vary.

Gingerbread: Your New Allergen-Free & Gluten-Free Holiday Tradition

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

As the holiday’s approach, visions of gingerbread – not sugar plums – are dancing in my head. The sweetness of the sugar, mated with the tangy spice of the ginger, make this one of my favorite gluten-free holiday desserts.

And thankfully, those with food allergies or on a gluten-free diet can also enjoy the tradition of making, decorating and, most importantly, eating, these traditional holiday sweets.

I love all types of ginger bread. The soft spicy cakes and breads, which are great for brunches and desserts; as well as the “hard” type of gingerbread and is typically known for constructing gingerbread men, decorated with allergen-free icing, chocolate chips, small candies… and, let’s not forget the gumdrop buttons! (Need Recipes? Check these out! Spicy Gluten-Free Cake recipe, an Allergen-free Gingerbread Man recipe, and a Gluten-free Gingerbread Man recipe).

Decorating gingerbread men and houses is also a great holiday project for the little ones to get involved in. So, turn on those ovens, get out those baking pans and start baking your new gluten-free holiday tradition!

Friday Favorite: Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks, made by the makers of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans, are a healthier snack alternative that are made with 100% natural fruit juices and real fruit flavors.

I discovered these pop-in-your-mouth-full-of-goodness snacks last month at a trade show, and have been hooked ever since.

Naturally gluten-free and fat-free, a snack sized bag has only 220 calories. These fruit shaped bite-sized jelly-like snacks come in 6 flavors: Orange, Strawberry, Apple, Cherry, Lemon and Berry.

Good tasting snacks that are fun to eat are the reasons why Jelly Belly Fruit Snacks are awarded this weeks Friday Favorite on

WIN-It-Wednesday: Gluten-Free Book-Bundle from Carol Fenster & Shelley Case

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

O.K. Everyone… “THE HOLIDAYS” are here! Yes, my friends, the never-ending summer full of steamy days and the beautiful crisp autumn afternoons full of color-bursting foliage are just bygone memories.

It’s time to dust off those relish dishes, dig out those pumpkin bread loaf pans, and put on your thinking caps to start planning the most delicious, memorable and gluten-free Holiday meals of all time!

But where do you start?

If you’re like me, you know what kind of gluten-free meal you want to cook: the kind that has everyone asking, or rather begging, for the recipes before they leave the gathering.

But wouldn’t it be nice to get help creating these masterpiece holiday meals with your own personal dietitian and culinary experts? And how about ones that are both world-renowned authorities on gluten-free cooking and living?  Well… thanks to two remarkable ladies, Carol Fenster, author of numerous gluten-free recipe books, including Gluten-Free Quick & Easy, 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes, Gluten-Free 101, and 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes; and Shelley Case, author of  “The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” – you can have them both… right in your very own kitchen through their best-selling books on gluten-free living and cooking.

Last weekend I was able to spend some time with both Shelley and Carol at the American Dietetic Association conference. We spoke about ways that we could make holiday cooking, baking and gift-giving easier for those on a gluten-free diet, as well as those folks that have celiacs on their Holiday guest & shopping lists. Along with a few other features and ideas that will be coming on BeFreeForMe in the coming weeks, Shelley & Carol also graciously offered to sponsor this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday.

So, if you need to find out a way to thicken that Thanksgiving gravy; need a recipe to make gluten-free ginger bread with a snap, or have a wish to make Santa cookies from a new recipe this Christmas Eve, look no further than  Carol and Shelley, two world-renowned gluten-free authors and experts here to help.

Although this prize package is nice enough to pass along as a gift, and you may plan on doing so, you’ll probably want to keep it for yourself once you see the information and recipes packed in both of them.

For this week’s Win-It-Wednesday prize-package, Carol and Shelley have graciously offered a total of six (YES 6!) prize packages. Each prize pack will include “The Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide” by Shelley Case and a copy of   “100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes” Cookbook by Carol Fenster.

How can you win?


Reply to this blog and let us know the one thing you are thankful for that not too many people know about (Mine? Talking with my Mom on the phone just so we can report in on the little things happening in our lives).

Six (yes … 6!) randomly selected winners will be chosen as winners. Three winners will be selected from all entries posted before Tuesday, 11/23/10 midnight EST; and three winners will be selected from the entries posted between Wednesday, 11/24/10 and Tuesday, 11/30/10 midnight EST.

Enter EACH WEEK to increase your chances of WINNING!

Good luck, be ever so thankful – even for the little things… and as always…

Be Free!

The Gluten-Free Diet: The Newest “(Don’t Get) It-Diet”

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Yesterday I had lunch at PF Chang’s in my local mall. Jammed packed with tons of shoppers off from work and school for Veteran’s Day, there was a 20 minute wait for a table. Luckily a couple had just left the bar, and I was able to grab one of the two side-by-side seats they vacated.

As I settled into place, I envisioned the mouth-watering Lettuce Wraps & spicy General Tsao like-chicken I was soon to devour. Glancing up at the TV, I caught the tail end of CNN showing a clip of that Carnival Cruise boat docking in California, packed with those poor folks that had nothing to eat for the past several days except for Pop Tarts & Spam. Guiltily, my soon to eat feast felt that much more sacred.

Suddenly a gal impeccable dressed in Burberry and made-up like a run-way model, barged her way into the empty seat next to mine all the while wrestling with several shopping bags bearing the names of Gucci, Juicy Couture and Louis Vuitton.

As she plunked herself down, she loudly and immediately asked the bartender to change the TV station to “anything but the news” since, “she never watches it because it’s so depressing”. Her commanding presence had that TV channel changed in no time flat.

Suddenly that 20 minute wait for a table didn’t seem like the eternity in which my much craved lunch was surely about to become.

As I ordered my gluten-free meal, Ms. Gucci squealed in delight proclaiming “O’ma Godddd! I’m on that new ‘It-Diet’ too! Just like Gwyneth and all those others in California!”

Thinking that maybe, just maybe, it might be worth trying to explain, I clarified that I was on the gluten-free diet, not because it was the new “It Diet” but because I had something called celiac sprue disease. In a flash, Ms. Gucci backed her stool away from me as if I had some kind of catchy flesh-eating disease that if contracted may keep her penned-up and away from the mall for months. Although I was grateful for the extra elbow room in such tight quarters, I kept my composure, and in my most simple and childlike language I could muster, I assured her that celiac disease  is not catchy, and further went on to explained that the “cure” was a life-long adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. I also explained that those with celiac disease can’t eat anything with gluten, even the things you wouldn’t imagine would, but do; things like the regular soy sauce served at most restaurants.

It was then that she let me know that she and “hundreds of her friends” just don’t eat things that have “real gluten” in them… things like bagels, pizza, pasta, cakes and cookies.

Really? I mean… Really?

It was then I realized that this whole deal of the gluten-free diet being the “It Diet” really should be called the “Don’t Get It” diet.

After finishing up my lunch, in which (thankfully) Ms. Gucci was so enthralled with texting on her newest smartphone that we didn’t find the need to converse any longer, I gathered up my shopping bags from Sears and JC Penney, and bid my goodbyes to my haphazard dining companion.

But before leaving, I decided to mention to Ms. Gucci today’s newest “It Diet”. A new diet that surely she hadn’t heard about yet. A diet that has been covered by every news station. The newest diet craze that thousand of folks in California have just discovered. Yup… the “Pop Tart & Spam” diet.  I told her to give it a try, and leave the gluten-free diet to those of us who “get it”.

Friday Favorite: PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Slightly spicy gluten-free chicken served with a side of cool lettuce cups and an array of Asian-influenced gluten-free sauces are the oh-so-good reasons this week’s BeFreeForMe Favorite Friday goes to this famous gluten-free dish offered at PF Chang restaurants.

Featured as an appetizer, yet filling & good-enough for the main course, I haven’t meant anyone… gluten-free or not…  that doesn’t just love this dish, one of the many offered on PF Chang’s Gluten-Free Menu.

These Chicken Lettuce Wraps are the type of dish you try, and then, immediately after leaving the restaurant, start planning your next visit.

So, needless to say, this Friday Favorite is a wrap… PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Didi Davis Sugar Blends

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Whoever says that eating a gluten-free diet isn’t sweet hasn’t yet tried DiDi Davis Food Sugar Blends.

These sugar blends work miracles on any kind of gluten and allergen free foods. In essence these sugar blends are like a magical “Pixie Dust” that can make even an amateur cook or baker into a world renowned master chef or patisserie.

Didi Davis Food Sugar Blends are a must have in gluten and allergen free kitchens. Boring gluten-free sugar cookies, coffee cakes, or even first courses jump to life when sprinkled with a little love, courtesy of DiDi Davis Foods.

Want to add a splash of citrus to blueberry muffins? Sprinkle on some Lemon or Mojito Sugar Blend. Is your salmon getting bored and baked to pieces? Dash on Orange Ginger Sugar Blend for an Asian-influenced ginger-packed sweetness.

And for a topping for good old yogurt or cottage cheese (or even as a topping for toast smeared with peanut butter and sliced bananas) start your breakfast off on the sweeter side with a dusting of the Espresso Sugar Blend. For dinner? Enjoy a caramelized glaze on chicken breasts by sprinkling on the Curry blend (or any other of the sugar blends) and serve with a side dish of  sweet potatoes or butternut squash sprinkled with the Spiced Gold Sugar Blend that is bursting with a holiday influenced experience of cinnamon, all-spice, clove and ginger. Delicious!

Created with a base of natural sugar from Hawaii and infused with natural spices and essences, these DiDi Davis Sugar Blends add sweetness and tantalizing flavors to most any cooked gluten and allergen free dishes or baked goods. I also like the way that these sugars look when sprinkled on food. The sparkly and transparent crystals are such a pretty addition when sprinkled on muffins, scones and loaves. It truly is a magical Pixie Dust!

All these fabulous sugar blend creations are why I am so very excited that DiDi Davis Food is this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor.

Three (Yes 3!) Lucky BeFreeForMe members will win a Didi Davis Food Sugar Blend Collection, which consists of a sampler pack of the six sugar blends mentioned above.

How can you WIN?

Reply to this blog and tell us which of the sugar blends listed above sound the best to you… as well as how you would use it. (Me? I would love to try the Mojito Blend sprinkled over Lime Gelato!). All entries must be received by Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good Luck, remember to sprinkle a little sweetness around each and every day, and… as always…

Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: Quinoa – A Healthy Alternative for Gluten-Free Dining

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Question: Since going gluten-free I’ve discovered quinoa and I love it! Can you tell me more about quinoa, as well as different ways to enjoy it?

Answer: Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) has been consumed for thousands of years in South America and was a staple of the Incas, who called it “the mother grain.” It is not actually a grain but the seed of a broad-leafed plant from the Chenopodiaceae family which is a close relative of the weed, lamb’s quarters. There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa, ranging in color from white to red and purple to black. Many varieties are now grown in North America. The plant stalks grow three to six feet high, containing clusters of seeds near the top of the stalk. The seed looks like a cross between sesame seed and millet. Quinoa seeds are naturally covered with saponin, an extremely bitter resin-like substance which protects it from birds and insects. To be edible the saponin must be removed. Some companies specially process the quinoa to remove this bitter coating, making it pan-ready and fast cooking. Quinoa is sold in several forms. Listed below are some of these forms, and ways to enjoy them!

Quinoa Seed:

• Can be used as a side dish instead of potatoes or rice or in salads, pilafs, stuffings, casseroles and puddings, as well as a thickener for soups, chili and stews.

• Rinse the quinoa in cold water and drain. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of liquid to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

• Can also be cooked in the microwave using a round 2-quart microwave-safe casserole or bowl. Combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water, cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 10-12 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. Remove from microwave, stir once and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

Quinoa Flakes:

• Can be eaten as an instant hot breakfast cereal. Add 1/3 cup of flakes to 1 cup of boiling water and boil for 1½ -2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add chopped nuts and dried fruits and sprinkle with brown sugar. Can also be cooked in the microwave. Combine flakes and water in a medium-to-Iarge microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 -2 1/2 minutes. Stir before serving.

• Quinoa flakes are available in plain and various flavors (contains flaked quinoa, dried fruits, nuts or seeds, sugar and spices).
• Substitute quinoa flakes for up to 1/3 of the gluten-free flour in a cookie, muffin or bread recipe.
• Can also be added to pancakes and waffles.

Quinoa Flour:

•  A tan-colored flour with a slightly nutty, strong flavor so best combined with other gluten-free flours.
• Can be used in a variety of baked items, especially in highly spiced or flavored products.

Quinoa Pasta:

• Quinoa is combined with corn or rice and is available in a variety of shapes.
• Cooks in 5-9 minutes.

Nutritional Information on Quinoa:

• Quinoa contains more high-quality protein than any other grain or cereal. The quality of this protein compares very closely to that of dried skimmed milk. Quinoa is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. It is also a source of calcium, B vitamins and dietary fiber.

References: Northern Quinoa Corporation, Quinoa Corporation

Friday Favorite: Vita CoCo Coconut Water

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

According to the Vita CoCo website, Vita Coco is an all-natural, super-hydrating, fat-free, cholesterol-free, nutrient-packed, potassium-stacked, mega-electrolyte, coconut super water. But to me, it is just a simply delicious and refreshing gluten-free beverage.

Perfect for post-workouts, this coconut water has the ability to hydrate you… fast.

Coconut water has tons of healthy benefits, including having more potassium than 2 bananas and than 15 times the potassium of sports drinks. Vita Coco also comes in five flavors; Pure, Peach & Mango, Pineapple, Acai & Pom, and my favorite, Tangerine.

Good, clean and refreshing hydrating goodness is the reason why this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday Favorite goes to Vita Coco Coconut Water. Go nuts!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Food Should Taste Good

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

This week’s WIN-It-Wednesday is sponsored by a company that believes in good food – and their name reflects their commitment… Food Should Taste Good!

Food Should Taste Good sponsored a WIN-It-Wednesday in the past and it turned out to be one of our most popular blog posts yet! If you are not yet familiar with the products offered by Food Should Taste Good you must check out their website and give their chips a try.

And besides Food Should Taste Good sponsoring another WIN-It-Wednesday on BeFreeForMe, do you want to hear something else really, really good? For a limited time, Food Should Taste Good is giving away 100,000 bags of their chips to those that sign-up on their Facebook page. So sign-up now, spread the word and share the “good word”!

No “woulda, coulda, shoulda” on getting around to trying these chips. Food Should Taste Good chips are  super good and they’re making it so easy for all BeFreeForMe members to snag a FREE BAG! Make sure you become a Fan of Food Should Taste Good on Facebook, and get a coupon for your free bag today! (Click the “Free Bag” tab, the fourth one over, at the top of their Facebook page from a computer… not a smart phone… to snag the bag).

Food Should Taste Good fabulous chip flavors are packed with unique and sophisticated ingredients. The variety of flavors… from sweet, to spicy, to savory… makes snack time a good fun time! These wholesome flavorful chips, made with all natural ingredients, capture the great flavors by cooking them INSIDE their chips. Ingenious!

Some of the more interesting chip flavors that Food Should Taste Good offers are: Olive (perfect with tapenades), Chocolate (smothered in apple sauce or cinnamon cream cheese), Lime (guacamole anyone?), The Works (the ultimate dipper… hummus? sour cream? the kitchen sink?) and, my favorite… Sweet Potato (eaten plain or crumbled on top of a fresh garden salad).

Besides the knock your socks off varieties, that all pair well with all kinds of dips, spreads and tapenades, Food Should Taste Good is also certified gluten free, dairy/lactose free (all flavors – except for the cheddar!), cholesterol and trans fat free, MSG free and also made with non-genetically modified ingredients. Plus, all the chips are certified vegan (except for the cheddar).

Good taste, good variety, good for you, and just plain old good ingredients, are all the good reasons why I am so excited that Food Should Taste Good is this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday giveaway on Three (Yes 3!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members will win a Food Should Taste Good reusable shopping bag jam packed with a variety of Food Should Taste Good chips, notepads, pens and other good goodies!

How can you win?


Reply to this blog and tell us your favorite Food Should Taste Good variety or the flavor you would like to try most. I know… it sound too good to be true!

All entries must be received by Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 12:00 midnight EST.

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