Archive for April, 2011

Friday Favorite: GlutenFreeda Gluten-Free Pizza Wraps

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I love quick and easy, hand-held, grab-on-the-go mini-meals. While rushing from here to there, these types of meals fit best into my lifestyle.

My “bars” (as I fondly like to call them) are great, but sometimes I feel like more. Something that is more like a meal… rather than a snack.

That is why I was thrilled to discover GlutenFreeda’s Gluten-free Pizza Wraps. These portable, no-mess wraps are stuffed with all-time favorite pizza toppings; including, Three Cheese, Italian Sausage, and my favorite, Pesto Chicken.

With less than 240 calories each, these wraps are even less calories than some of favorite bars and supply more protein (14-15 grams of protein per wrap).

Because of their easy prep (easily microwaved) and eat in-hand convenience, these new GlutenFreeda Pizza Wraps take this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday Favorite honor!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Hope Paige Design’s Medical Alert Bracelets

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I wear one. I wear it all the time. I never take it off. I’d never leave home without it.

What am I talking about? My medical alert bracelet.

I wear my medical alert bracelet because I am allergic to penicillin and sulfur drugs. My allergy is so bad that I become anaphylactic if I take even a small amount of either of these two drugs. I learned my lesson the hard way after having the scare of my life, and a trip to the emergency room that I, or my family, will never forget.

My anaphylactic reaction to these drugs is the same reactions many have that are allergic to various food allergies; nut allergies, peanut allergies, shellfish allergies – plus more. There are also other conditions where people should wear medical alert jewelry including: autism, diabetes, dementia, taking certain medicines like Coumadin or Warfarin, heart disease, arrhythmias, pacemakers, asthma, or children with special needs.

That’s why it astonishes me that so many adults and children with food allergies don’t wear medical alert bracelets.

Medical alert bracelets “talk” when you or your child can’t. “The mistakes that we see when there are reactions in school often have to do with dropping the guard because of lack of education…” said Dr. Scott Sicherer, a professor at pediatrics at Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center. “[Have] the child wear medical identification jewelry to keep that in mind.”

My thoughts? If you would tell an emergency room doctor about any condition you or your child have – a medical alert bracelet should be worn with that info on it.

Hope Paige Designs is a company that makes medical alert jewelry and medical identification bracelets that aren’t just functional, but fashionable too. After checking out the Hope Paige website you’ll see that medical alert bracelets have come a long, long way. Say goodbye to the ugly, super huge, cheapo, old-man looking, “one-style and size-fits-all” medical alert bracelets that have been worn for years and touted on flyers stuffed in a “take one” holder on every pharmacy counter in the country.

Hello Hope Paige! The company that makes medical alert bracelets fashionable and fun.

Hope Paige has medical alert bracelets that will appeal to kids, tweens, teens, 20-somethings, Moms, business-people and everyone in-between! I like the fact that Hope Paige designs “gets it”. No one wants to wear a gawd-awful looking piece of jewelry that draws unneeded attention to their condition.

This is especially true with children. It’s hard enough for kids having food allergies, diabetes, or other conditions that may make them feel different. Throwing a clunky medical bracelet on top of that doesn’t make things easier… but Hope Paige changes that. Their focus is on fashion and finding a way to add function without sacrificing the “hipness” and fashion of the bracelet. Hope Paige Designs provide a medical alert bracelet that’s stylish for kids and doesn’t even look medical –  so that kid’s can be more comfortable in their own skin.

Some of the most popular (and my favorite!) medical alert bracelets sold by Hope Paige include the thin and thick black rubber bands, thin pink rubber bracelets, Pandora style bracelets, rope knot bracelets and stainless steel heart link bracelet. Hope Paige Designs also offers free engraving with every bracelet ordered.

The next two (2) weeks WIN-It-Wednesday’s on is sponsored by Hope Paige Designs. They are offering two (Yes…2!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members a chance to win the medical alert bracelet of your choice! One winner will be selected from all entries received before Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 11:59PM EST. The second winner will be selected between all entries received between Wednesday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 11:59PM EST.

How can you win? Easy! Check out the Hope Paige Design’s website, reply to this blog and tell us what bracelet you would want to win!

Good luck, be safe…yet fashionable… and as always,

Be Free!

Betty’s Boston Cream Pie: Gluten-Free & Wicked Good (Thanks Betty Crocker!)

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

In Boston there are certain foods & drinks that are a huge part of our heritage and history. And the sweetest of all? The official dessert of Massachusetts, the Boston Cream Pie.

But being on a gluten-free diet, I need to resort to baking my own sweet custard filled and chocolate glazed disk of sweetness… right in my own kitchen. But by the time, I make the cake, make the cream filling and then whip up the chocolate glaze I’ve ending up spending hours in the kitchen, and most of my day is gone.

That is why I am so excited to share this recipe for a super-easy Gluten-Free Boston Cream Pie. Made with Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix, Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding and a one-saucepan super quick chocolate glaze. I guarantee you can have this dessert on the table in no time. And said like a true Bostonian… it’s wicked, wicked good.

Wicked Good Gluten-Free Boston Cream Pie

1 package of Betty Crocker Vanilla Cake Mix (Check label for allergens)
Note: To make the cake you need ½ cup butter (softened), 1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla, 2 eggs and ½ cup of milk or butter)

1 5.1-oune package of Jell-O Instant Pudding & Pie Filling (Check label for allergens)
Note: To make the pudding you need 3 cups cold milk

4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter (or substitute)
2-3 teaspoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 ½ cups Confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Check label for allergens)

Make the cake according to package directions, baking in two 8-9” cake pans. Let the cakes cool before removing from the pan. (Note: Short on time? You can make the cake a day ahead, if needed).

Prepare the pudding mix according to package directions. Allow to set.

While the pudding is setting, prepare the glaze. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring the water, corn syrup and butter to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cornstarch and the cocoa powder. Next add the Confectioners sugar and the vanilla, and whisk until well blended.

Place one of the cakes on a large cake plate, and evenly spread the pudding on top. Next, set the second cake on top. With a spoon, drizzle half of the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, letting the glaze drizzle down the sides of the cake.

Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving – and serve with the additional chocolate glaze for additional drizzling.

Serves 1 to 10… depending on portions   =)

Friday Favorite: Alouette Light Spreadable Cheese

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

This week’s Friday Favorite is all about spreading gluten-free love. Alouette style.

A longtime favorite, I recently discovered that Alouette Spreadable Cheese not only come in a “light” version (50 calories / 4 g fat per 2 tablespoon serving) but it is also gluten-free.

After this discovery, my first thought was to start spreading this gluten-free love!

This spreadable cheese is perfect on gluten-free crackers, celery and carrot sticks, baked potatoes, and my favorite, used as a spread on a smoked turkey and fresh veggie sandwich, as a replacement for fattening (and boooorrring!) mayonnaise.

The Alouette Light Spreadable Cheese comes in two flavors: Cucumber Dill or Garlic & Herb, (the Garlic & Herb is the one that I LOVE as a sandwich spread).

Great for dipping, as a sandwich spread or even by the spoonful… we think you’ll love this weeks Friday Favorite honoree on!

Rudi’s ‘Unbelievably Good’ Gluten-Free Recipe Contest… Check It Out!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

I love good old fashioned competition. Especially when it has to do with cooking that’s involves delicious gluten-free foods!

In case you haven’t heard, Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery is hosting a recipe contest and is inviting all of their Facebook fans to submit their most delicious gluten-free recipe using any one of the Rudi’s gluten-free products (bread, hot dog rolls and hamburger rolls).

Once a recipe is submitted, other Facebook fans will do the voting, which ends on June 6th.

The prize? The ten fans that have submitted one of the top ten recipes will receive a $250 gift card from William-Sonoma, Rudi’s products and giveaways and (here’s the really exciting part….) move onto the next round of judging!

The next round of judging is done not by your peers, but a line-up of chef’s, Rudi’s executives and other in the gluten-free community. These judges will select three finalists from the top ten who will win a trip to beautiful Boulder, Colorado from June 23 to 26 – to compete in a gluten-free cook-off!

Then the exciting grand prize! The grand prize winner of Rudi’s Gluten-free Bakery’s recipe contest will get to star in an episode of the Alternative Appetites (National Foundation for Celiac Awareness) cooking show (watch out Rachael Raye!), and will also be featured in a national Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery advertisement.

And at the end of the program all the recipes that were submitted will be added to the Rudi’s Gluten-Free website recipe sections –so we can all have at our fingertips (by easily typing on our keyboards!) another great resource of tried-and-trued gluten-free recipes!

I plan on submitting a recipe… are you? Reply to this blog and let us know if you enter to win so your BeFreeForMe friends can check out your recipe and vote!

Be Free!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Moondance Dessert’s Gluten-Free Cookies

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

You’d think I was asking for the moon trying to find a delicious, chewy and melt in your mouth gluten-free cookie. That was until I tried the new Moondance gluten-free cookies!

Watch out cookie lovers… Moondance Gluten-Free Desserts has done it again!

The ever so sweet line-up of absolutely delicious gluten-free desserts continues over at Moondance with the addition of their three new gluten-free cookies: Mexican Wedding Cookie – a tender butter cookie loaded with ground pecans and coated with powdered sugar; Chocolate Crinkle – a rich, fudgy chocolate cookie coated with powdered sugar; and Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar – a chewy blond brownie bar loaded with mini chocolate chips (my favorite!).

And I promise… these new Moondance cookies will bring you to the moon and back again.

Made in a gluten-free facility by Shelley Ritchie, who was diagnosed with a wheat and gluten allergy several years ago, this gal knows how to bake! After not being able to find truly decadent gluten-free desserts and with her frustrations building, Shelley decided to perfect her own recipes into a magical gluten-free line of products.

Besides these new cookies, some of the other products offered in the Moondance line are Chewy Fudge or Walnut Brownies; or the Moondance Cheesecakes, some of the flavors include the Classic Cheesecake, Raspberry Ribbon Cheesecake or my favorite the Butter Toffee Cheesecake (made with handmade butter toffee crumbles – YUM!). All of the cheesecakes are made with a shortbread pecan crust. Watch out Cheesecake Factory!

These cheesecakes are the PERFECT dessert for your Easter Gathering!

Prepare yourself by unbuckling your belt and re-adjust it a few notches, and enter to win this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Win-It-Wednesday sponsored by the amazingly decadent Moondance Heavenly Desserts. Four (Yes 4!) Lucky BeFreeForMe members will win an assortment of the three types of new cookies. Two (2) winners will be randomly selected from entries received before Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 – 12 midnight EST and another two (2) winners will be selected from entries received between Wednesday, April 20th and Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 – 12 midnight EST.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us what is so heavenly in your life that it brings you to the moon… and back again! (Me? Finding new gluten/allergen free products that are yummy and star gazing with the guy I love on clear crisp evenings). And it you’d like let us know which Moondance cookie sounds the most divine to you!

Good Luck, take note of the magical things in your life… and as always,
Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: The Facts on Flax – Incorporating Flax Into a Gluten-Free Diet

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I’ve heard a lot about flax and my doctor suggested I add some into my gluten-free diet. Can you tell me more about it, and how I can incorporate it into my diet?

Flax is a flat, oval seed with a pointed tip – about the size of a sesame seed. It is widely grown across the Canadian prairies and northern USA.  Some varieties of flax are grown for human food consumption while other varieties are used to produce fiber for industrial purposes (e.g., linoleum flooring, linen clothing). The brown and yellow flax seeds grown for human consumption are both very similar in their nutritional composition. Flax is available as an oil, whole seed or ground flax seed (also known as milled flax seed). Grinding ensures that all seeds are broken up, enabling the nutrients present to be absorbed by the body. Ground flax seed can be purchased in vacuum-sealed packages on store shelves or in plastic bags found in the refrigeration section. Whole flax seed can also be ground in a coffee grinder, food processor or blender to the consistency of finely ground coffee.

How to Incorporate Flax in Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking:

Time for an oil change: Flax oil is versatile and easy to use in gluten-free cooking. It is best used in cold foods such as fruit smoothies and salad dressings. It is not recommended for frying as it breaks down when exposed to high temperatures. The oil can also be drizzled over cooked gluten-free pasta!

Flax is a winner for breakfast, lunch or dinner: Whole flax seed and ground flax seed have a light, nutty flavor which becomes more robust if the flax is roasted. Whole and ground flax seed can be used in a wide variety of foods such as muffins, breads, pancakes, waffles, cookies, fruit cobblers, hot cereals, casseroles, meat loaf, burgers, stew, spaghetti sauce, rice dishes and salads. And don’t forget dessert! Mix ground flax in fruit smoothies, yogurt, pudding, cottage cheese, and even ice cream and frozen yogurt.

Got an Egg allergy? Take note! Flax can be used as an egg replacer. To replace 1 egg, soak 1 tsp. of ground flax in 1/4 cup boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool before using. Works best in cookie and snack bar recipes.

Cooking Tips When Using Flax:

Add the liquid: When adding ground flax to a recipe extra liquid must be added (e.g., for every 3 tbsp. of flax add 1 tbsp. liquid).

Lower the heat: Baked goods containing ground flax have a chewier texture and tend to brown more rapidly so the temperature may need to be reduced.

How to Store & Handle Flax:

Flax has got a good long life:
Whole flax seed can be stored at room temperature for up to one year.

Chilled & opaque:
Ground flax seed should be stored in a sealed opaque container in the refrigerator or freezer. For optimum freshness, it is best to grind flax seed as you need it, since the natural fats in flax seed go rancid if left exposed to heat or air. Flax oil is very perishable and should be kept refrigerated in an opaque container.

Nutritional Information About Flax:

Take heart – Flax is good for your overall health: Flax has been consumed throughout history for its nutritional and health benefits. It is rich in alpha-linolenic acid (an essential omega-3 fatty acid), fiber (soluble and insoluble) and plant lignans. These components play a role in the maintenance and improvement of general health. Flax helps promote bowel regularity due to its very high fiber content. It may also help protect against coronary heart disease, as well as breast and colon cancer. In addition, autoimmune diseases, like many other chronic diseases, are a disease of inflammation, and flax is being studied for its positive role in immune and inflammatory reactions.

High in fiber:
Whole flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber. In order to gain all the benefits of flax seed, including the omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, protein, vitamins and minerals, it is important to grind the whole flax seed. This improves the bioavailability of these components.

Vitamin and nutrient powerhouse: Flax is very high in iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6 and protein. It is a source of other B vitamins and other nutrients.

I highly suggest that anyone on a gluten-free diet give flax a try and incorporate it into their diets. Check out some of these recipes that include flax in the ingredients list:

Oven-Fried Chicken
High-Fiber Hot Cereal
Crunchy Granola

Check out Flackers®
While speaking on the gluten-free diet at the Natural Products Expo West conference in California in March, I had the chance to visit the exhibit hall and sample many new gluten-free products.  I enjoyed a unique product called Flackers® developed by Dr. Alison Levitt, MD. This large flax seed cracker is made of brown and golden flax seed and tasted great with hummus or peanut butter. Three crackers have 100 calories, 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein and are available in three flavors- savory, dill and rosemary.

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of It is published the second Tuesday of each month. Shelley Case, RD is a Consulting Dietitian, Speaker and Author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Visit Shelley and get more gluten-free tips & info at:

Background information and excerpts taken from the following company publications and websites:
Flax Council of Canada
Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission

Friday Favorite: Wellaby’s Grated Parmesan Mini Crackers

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Looking for a fun snacking cracker that is gluten-free, nut-free (produced in a nut-free facility) and is packed with real cheese? Then check-out Wellaby’s Grated Parmesan Mini Crackers.

These little crispy disks of cheesiness (they contain 24% real cheese!) taste like Cheez-Its…. Only FAR better and FAR healthier! Did I mention that Wellaby’s Grated Parmesan Mini Crackers also contain No MSG,  zero Trans Fats, are GMO free and contain 4 grams of protein per serving?

Watch out Cheez-Its! You’ve met your healthy cheezy match!

These mini crackers are the perfect size for little kid’s hands, as a quick & easy snack for us big kids, or even as a great topping for a steaming cup of fresh soup or chowders.  The tiny size makes them fun  and flexible when it comes to ways to enjoy them.

If you want to try these crackers, Wellaby’s is offering BeFreeForMe members $1.00 OFF for every box of any product when you use coupon code befreeforme at check-out at their on-line store (until 04/30/11). When you’re on the website also make sure you check out Wellaby’s 3-D snacking sensation, Cheese Ups…. Another fun way to enjoy snacking, and 3-D glasses not required!

Offering good tasting gluten and nut-free crackers, along with their fun mini & 3-D shapes are the reasons why Wellaby’s snack crackers get’s this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite honor!

Snack away!

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