Archive for July, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Strawberry Salsa… Crossing the Culinary Line

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Sometimes you gotta shake things up a bit. Go a little crazy in the kitchen, and create a gluten-free dish that gets you saying “Wow!” in replacement of “Why?” This Sweet & Spicy Strawberry Salsa will show you that crossing the culinary-line set in some kitchens is indeed worth the risk.

This recipe is packed with summer fruits and veggies. I dug in and polished off the bowl scooping it up with gluten-free Sea Salt riceworks, the perfect chip for this salsa,   but it is also delicious as a topping for fresh grilled seafood or chicken.

Take all the baby-steps you need – but take the risk to cross the culinary line in your kitchen, and welcome in the Wonderful World of WOW. Enjoy!

Sweet & Spicy Strawberry Salsa

About one (1) pint of fresh strawberries (hulled and sliced)
1 medium sized mild Italian pepper (or use a hotter variety – such as a jalapeno, poblano, etc. to kick-up the heat a notch)
3 heaping tablespoons chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons red onions, chopped fine
3 scallions, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lime
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste (I used sea salt and fresh cracked pepper)

Prepare all the ingredients and combine in a large bowl. Cover tightly and refrigerate to chill.

Serve scooped with your favorite gluten-free chips or as a topping over grilled seafood/chicken/tofu.

Serves 6-8

Friday Favorite: Wild Thyme Marinades

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

This week’s Friday Favorite, Wild Thyme Chili Ginger Honey Marinade, was introduced to me by one of my old college buddies that knows me too well.

I have never been a huge fan of salmon, but my friend convinced me that her gluten-free preparation of a salmon steak would result in a slightly spicy, yet sweet, moist and almost caramelized salmon steak that would melt in my mouth and have me adding the dish to me weekday supper repertoire.

And as with any good friend she knows me better than I sometimes know myself, and she was right.

The Wild Thyme Chili Ginger Honey Marinade is a must have in any busy gluten-free kitchen.  After checking out the Wild Thyme website I discovered that they also have more gluten-free items, including two more marinades: New Orleans Creole and Tropical Mango Lime (can’t wait to try this one with blackened scallops); and also salad refreshers and dipping sauces.

It’s important to note that although this marinade is a bit pricier than others I have bought, a little goes a long, long way… so just one bottle can be used  for many gluten-free meals.

Full of flavor, ease of use and making me a lover of salmon are all the reasons why this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Wild Thyme’s Chili Ginger Honey Marinade. Cheers!

To buy this marinade on, click on this link: Wild Thymes Chili Ginger Honey Marinade

WIN-It-Wednesday: The Simply Bar

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Hey everyone – Happy Wednesday! It’s that time again where everyone hopes that Lady Luck is on their side! This WIN-It-Wednesday contest on is sponsored by The Simply Bar – one of my latest and greatest finds when it comes to gluten-free bars.

The Simple Bars are simply put…  Simple! Being gluten-free, I need to read labels all the time. And I love it when a product’s ingredient list read like my grocery list: A list that includes ingredients that I am familiar with and usually are in my cabinets. Ingredients like rice, cocoa, cinnamon, coconut, organic agave nectar, raisins and organic canola oil. Ahhhh… Simplicity!

Good easy eating. Simply put.

Other important reasons why I love these gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan bars are that they pack a protein punch (and I mean pack… 16 grams per bar!) and lack the sugar and empty calories that many snacks afford.  These bars are low-glycemic too – a must for anyone looking to steer clear of empty calories.

The Simply Bar has less that 160 calories per bar and fills me up until my next meal. My favorite flavor is the Cocoa & Coffee, but the other tasty flavors they come in are: Cocoa & Raspberry, Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Cinnamon, and Lemon & Coconut (I do like the Lemon & Coconut as a morning snack though).

The Simply Bar has graciously offered four… YES, four! …winners a BOX of their bars (15 bars per box). Each winner can pick the flavor they would like to win.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us what simplicity means to you. Me? Simplicity is less “clutter” in my schedule… using time wisely and making the time to enjoy the little things in my (sometimes crazy) life.  =)

Two (2) winners will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and two (2)  more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, August 3 and Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

Good luck, Keep it Simple … and as always,
Be Free!

Friday Favorite: GoGo squeeZ Apple Sauce

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Looking for a quick squeeze that’s gluten & allergen-free – but full of fruity goodness? Look no further than GoGo Squeez Applesauce on the go.

These ingenious little pouches of unsweetened apple sauce are perfect for little tikes (Note: the website states the GoGo squeeZ pack has a small cap that makes it unsuitable for unsupervised children under 36 months. For kids under 3, they recommend that you remove the cap and keep it away from your child) but also are handy-dandy low-cal snacks  for the “big kids” too.

They also come in five yummy flavors: Apple-Apple, Apple-Banana, Apple-Cinnamon, Apple-Strawberry and Apple-Peach.

I threw a couple of these ice cold pouches into my beach cooler last week and was able to enjoy a 100% fruit snack without the fuss of a spoon or mess. All this – plus they are gluten and allergen-free too.

So if you’re looking for a little squeeze in your life, check out this week’s BeFreeForMe Friday Favorite – GoGo squeeZ applesauce on the go!

Want to buy? Check out this link on and take advantage of FREE Super-Saver Shipping too! GoGo Squeez appleapple, Applesauce on the Go, 3.2-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 48)

Friday Favorite: Lean On Me Baking Company Quiches

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

This week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe goes to yet another one of my favorite “go-to” items… Lean on Me Baking Company Quiches.

These single-serve crustless quiches are one of my favorite quick & easy, and low-calorie breakfasts. They come in four varieties: Spinach & Swiss, Broccoli & Cheddar, Mushroom & Swiss, and my favorite; Tomato, Basil, Onion & Mozzarella. I like these quiches for my morning meal, but they’d also be perfect for lunch paired with a side tossed salad.

And the best part about these quiches, gals? They are just 3 points in Weight Watchers! (See Calculator Chart to the right).

Lean on Me Baking Company was founded by Steven Leyva, an award-winning baker who has been honored for his high quality cheesecakes, breads, quiches, cakes and other desserts and baked goods.

Over five years ago, Steven recognized the need to offer great tasting alternatives for people with Celiac disease, diabetes, hypertension, gluten allergies and other dietary restrictions. So Steven transformed his proven recipes to create a one of a kind line of reduced fat, sugar free and gluten-free product line.

Lean on Me Baking Company also makes a line of gluten-free cheesecakes (Original, Blueberry, Chocolate Dipped and Marble) and cakes (Carrot and Chocolate Mousse) and, according to their website, will soon be coming out with some new products including Cookies, Brownies, Frozen Cookie Dough and Cupcakes.

Find a store near you that sells Lean On Me Baking Company products by clicking this link.

Thanks Lean On Me Baking Company for making such delicious, quick, easy (and low-calorie) gluten-free quiches! And congratulations on being awarded this week’s Friday Favorite on

WIN-It-Wednesday: “125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes” Cookbook by Carol Fenster

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

The summer is here, the gardens are giving us plenty and we are all looking for some tasty and delicious gluten-free recipes to use up the excess tomatoes, squashes, peppers and herbs that are bursting out of the garden gates.

That’s why I was so excited when I received a copy of Carol Fenster’s new cookbook, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes: Quick and Delicious Mouthwatering Dishes for the Healthy Cook along with 2 extra copies to be awarded to two lucky BeFreeForMe members for this WIN-It-Wednesday.

Before I tell you about the cookbook, let me tell you about Carol Fenster, the author of this and many other gluten-free cookbooks that are a life-line in my kitchen. Carol is one of the foremost experts on gluten-free cooking and the author of several popular gluten-free cookbooks including: Gluten-Free Quick & Easy, 1000 Gluten-Free Recipes, Gluten-Free 101, and 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes. Carol also consults worldwide and speaks frequently at national conferences. Carol Fenster is one-of-a-kind. I only wish I had her talent and culinary expertise. (Note: Make sure you follow Carol on her blog

Now…let me tell you a little about this cookbook, the prize that two lucky BeFreeForMe winners will claim after this WIN-It-Wednesday contest ends. 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes: Quick and Delicious Mouthwatering Dishes for the Healthy Cook Cookbook will be a staple for anyone that is following a gluten-free and a vegetarian lifestyles. I personally am not a “full-time” vegetarian, but understand the importance and strive to make vegetables, fruits, gluten-free grains and tofu the “main course” of many of the meals that I make for myself and my family.

I figure if I can make more meals with vegetables without missing meat AND the meals taste delicious… why not? This cookbook has given me tons of ideas and recipes to get me on this track of healthy eating. (Smothered Bean Burrito with Green Chili Salsa or Old-Fashioned Vegetable Pot Pie with Savory Pastry Crust, anyone?)

All these delicious reasons and recipes are why I am thrilled that this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday on is sponsored by Carol Fenster – the author of “125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes”.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us what vegetable you’d like to discover more recipes for. (Me? Eggplants. I love them… but sometimes, I’m not sure what to do with them besides the basic Parmesan.)

A total of TWO BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win the “125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes” Cookbook. One (1) winner will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, July 20 and Tuesday, July 27, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

Good luck, remember to eat your veggies… and as always,
Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: A Behind the Scenes Look with Shelley Case – Gluten-Free Dietitian & Author

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Question: I really enjoy the Ask Shelley Case column on BeFreeForMe every month. Can you tell me a little bit more about Shelley?

When this question was asked by a BeFreeForMe member I decided it would be great to put on my best “Barbara Walters-esque reporting cap” and interview Shelley to find out more about her life outside of work; her education and background; and any future plans to help the celiac community. During my conversations with Shelley I was astounded by her enthusiasm, commitment, devotion, but most of all, the passion that she has for the celiac community.

Shelley’s book, Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, (which I affectionately call “My Gluten-Free Map”) is now in it’s recently released and wildly successful fourth edition, so I was thrilled to find out what Shelley has in store for us with her future endeavors.

Thanks to Shelley for sharing so much with me and I hope you all enjoy the compilation of my conversations with her.  Shelley ended our interview by commenting that she “looks forward to continuing on this gluten-free journey” with each and every one of us.

And with this I replied back, “I and the rest of the gluten-free community are looking forward to the rest of the ride, especially with you leading the way.”


Be Free!
Kathleen Reale
Founder /


Where do you live? Can you tell us something about it?

I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Our province is north of Montana and North Dakota.  Regina’s population is about 250,000 people. We are the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Our provincial motto is “Land of the Living Skies”. You can see forever because the southern half of the province is flat and we have the most gorgeous sunsets. Because I love to take pictures, I am always getting great sunset shots right off of our deck. (BeFreeForMe Note: Check out the photograph below that Shelley took of one of these beautiful sunsets!)

Where did you go to school to train to become a dietitian and what degrees did you obtain?

I attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, a city 150 miles north of Regina, and received my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics in 1980.  One year before I graduated I received my “Mrs.” degree! (I met my husband the very first day at U of S and 3 years later – between midterms and Christmas exams- got married in Regina. Two days after the wedding it was back to the books).  In the fall of 1980 my husband and I moved to Winnipeg where I did my 1 year dietetic internship at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba- the province east of Saskatchewan.

When did you decide / discover you wanted to help the gluten-free community and why?

As a new graduate dietitian in 1981, I was excited to finally enter the workforce after five challenging years of university and internship. My passion, which continues to this day, was to be able to help people eat nutritiously and improve their overall health and well-being. In my first job at a large outpatient diabetes and diet education center I was responsible for counseling children and adults with various conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cystic fibrosis, food allergies and gastrointestinal disorders, including celiac disease. I was well prepared to counsel individuals with many different problems, however celiac disease was definitely not one of them! Never having seen anyone with celiac disease during internship, and receiving only minimal information in one nutrition class at university, left me ill-prepared. The day I was to counsel my first patient with celiac disease, I remember scrambling to find any relevant information about the disease itself and especially about the gluten-free diet. The little information I did find was out of date and of little use. Realizing I needed help, I contacted the local celiac support group in Regina, Saskatchewan, which welcomed me and taught me so much about the disease and diet, and provided me with some basic materials for counseling future patients. After attending several meetings, I was asked to be their dietitian adviser. I accepted the position and, over time, my knowledge of the disease and diet grew. Ten years later I was invited to become a member of the Canadian Celiac Association Professional Advisory Board, a position I have held ever since. I find working in the gluten-free world so exciting and rewarding.

How did you come up with the idea of writing a book on the gluten-free diet?

Every patient that I saw with celiac disease always wanted very specific and practical information on food labeling and ingredients; names of  gluten-free companies/products and where to find them; recipes; meal planning suggestions; tips for eating out; how to prevent cross-contamination and other gluten-free diet resources. However, such information was usually only available from many different pamphlets, books, manuals and other sources, which meant that the patient had a pile of loose papers to take home after the counseling sessions! In addition to educating patients, I often got calls from other dietitians around the province, seeking information, as they too felt their knowledge of the disease and diet was inadequate. It soon became apparent that there was a real need for a more comprehensive resource, for both health professionals and patients, on celiac disease. This was the birth of the idea for the Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide.

Tell us more about the book saga?

In 1997 I left a very rewarding career at the hospital to pursue a dream of starting nutrition consulting business. In 1999 I decided to get serious about turning this gluten-free resource idea into a reality and dedicated the next two years to researching and writing my first book – Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. It was self-published in May 2001. The next big hurdle was letting health professionals and individuals with celiac disease know about the resource. Without the backing of a large publishing house, it required creative promotional strategies on a shoestring budget. As the book became better known, positive feedback from individuals with celiac disease and from dietitians was very encouraging. News about the book continued to spread and more of my consulting time was being devoted to celiac disease. Being the marketing representative, shipper and accountant, as well as author and speaker has given me a new appreciation for the role of authors and publishers, and even more for the importance of accurate up-to-date resources for those with celiac disease.

The gluten-free world continues to grow in both the number of individuals being diagnosed and the products and resources available in the  marketplace. These changes have necessitated many revisions to the Gluten-Free Diet to include more information to meet this huge demand. I have now done 4 editions and 9 printings of the book.

On a completely different note, with the recent Royal visit by Will and Kate to Canada and the USA, I understand you have also have had a connection to the  British Royalty. Tell us more.

I received the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award in 1976 from Prince Philip (Queen Elizabeth’s husband) at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario. In addition to talking to Prince Philip, his son Andrew was also on the stage to see each of us get our award. The 1976 Olympics in Montreal also had the yachting competition in Kingston so security was very tight. Prior to getting to go to Kingston, my dad and I had to go to the RCMP in Regina and get our fingerprints taken and pass the security check!  One interesting side note- the award ceremony was originally supposed to be on the Royal Yacht but was changed at the last minute to the College because the politicians ending up having a dinner on the Yacht with the Royal couple.

I was also very honored to receive the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal from the Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor at Government House in Regina. It was given in recognition for my contributions to the celiac community and dedication to educating health professionals and individuals with celiac disease in Canada and the USA.

When you are not busy speaking, writing, consulting, counseling clients and doing media interviews, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love playing piano and keyboard. When I am not traveling, I play in our worship band at church. Taking photos is another hobby I enjoy, along with scrapbooking when I get a chance.

What final thoughts about your work in the gluten-free community would you like to leave our readers?

Thirty years ago I never would have dreamed that I would be a dietitian specializing in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, let alone be the author of a national best-seller or being interviewed by Matt Lauer on the NBC Today Show. Rather ironic for a dietitian from Saskatchewan, the province known as the “bread basket of the world.” So, for everyone out there with an idea or dream – pursue it, work hard and never give up. Who knows where you may end up!

I’m amazed and truly blessed to have the opportunity to be involved in such an incredible field, meeting so many wonderful individuals with the  disease, along with health professionals and those in government and food industry from the USA, Canada and around the world, who are working so hard to improve the lives of people with gluten sensitivity. The Canadian Celiac Association’s motto “Together We’re Better” is a worthy ideal. I look forward to working together with you and continuing on this challenging gluten-free journey!

BeFreeForMe Note: Many thanks to Shelley for sharing these thoughts, views and inspiration to all of us in the gluten-free community! ~KR

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:

Friday Favorite: Belgioioso Mozzarella Cheese

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

When summer is here, I can’t help but want to whip-up good gluten-free dishes with fresh from the garden ingredients. Fresh herbs, vegetables and some good quality olive oil make a fantastic salad – but throw in some fresh Mozzarella Cheese and I have myself a meal.

One of my favorite mozzarella cheeses is made by Belgioioso. My favorite recipe using this cheese is simple – Cubed mozzarella and fresh tomatoes, thin slivers of fresh basil leaves, all tossed with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. So simple –  but so yummy.

The Belgioioso website also suggests other ways to enjoy their mozzarella including marinating their Fresh Mozzarella balls or cubes in minced garlic, fresh chopped basil, fresh chopped oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper and white wine vinegar for at least three hours then serving as a part of your antipasto platter; or topping a roast beef sandwich with roasted red peppers and a slice of their fresh mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil. Yum. This sounds like a delicious sandwich using my gluten-free bread.

According to the Belgioioso website all of their products are gluten-free. So dig in this summer and toss a little mozzarella in with your fresh garden vegetables.

Congratulations Belgioioso Cheese for being chosen as this week’s BeFreeForMe’s Friday Favorite!

FREE PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wrap Coupon

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

To all of you gluten-free lovers of PF Chang’s… Here is a gluten-FREE Chicken Lettuce Wrap Freebie!

PF Chang’s is offering all of their Facebook Fans an offer to download a FREE order of their Chicken Lettuce Wrap with any food or drink purchase during the month of July in celebration of their 18-year anniversary celebration.

If you want to become a fan of PF Chang’s on Facebook and download this coupon… CLICK HERE (Note: You must have a Facebook account and become a Fan / Like  PF Chang’s in order to take advantage of this deal).

PF Chang’s also commented on their Facebook page that this offer will be available to print and redeem the entire month of July 2011, and there is no limit on the number of offers to be issued. However, each person can only redeem the offer once. Click here to find a PF Chang’s location near you. Note: Unfortunately the app to download the coupon for the free Chicken Lettuce Wraps is not accessible on Facebook mobile or smart phones.

I love PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps. But, I’m sure I’ll love them even more when they’re FREE!

P.S. While you’re on Facebook becoming a fan of PF Chang’s… Become a fan of BeFreeForMe too! =)

Also, want to try to make PF Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps at home? Then check out this recipe on

BYOC: Bring Your Own Cone – My Gluten-Free Ice Cream at Dairy Queen

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Summer is here my friends and it’s time for the lazy, hazy and crazy days of summer. And what would summer be without ice cream?

But those of us on a gluten-free diet understand that ice cream in a boring little cup is, well…. just that…boring. There’s something to be said for ice cream that is licked, slurped and thoroughly enjoyed from a good old fashioned ice cream cone. Cups just can’t stand up to a cone.

That is why I bought my own gluten-free ice cream cones on and bring my own cone to my local Dairy Queen for a soft-serve treat that is so very, very, very much appreciated by this ice-cream-loving-gluten-free gal.

For those of you who weren’t aware, Dairy Queen soft-serve ice cream is gluten-free and they also have an extensive list of gluten-free treats. Note: If ordering a Blizzard make sure they know ahead of time you’re gluten-free so they can clean the equipment  to avoid any cross-contamination.

By now I’m sure my local Dairy Queen employees knows me as “the girl that brings her own gluten-free ice cream cone”. But to me I’m just one happy gluten-free gal… taking life one single lick at a time.

Be Free For Me Blog is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).