Archive for December, 2011

Friday Favorite: Gold’s Prepared Horseradish

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

This is the time of year for appetizers. And my favorite? Shrimp Cocktail. Any way you look at it, this appetizer is a winner hands down. Between it being the perfect finger-food (no utensils required here), low in calories and nutritionally sound it is a real crowd pleaser.

But for those of us with celiac disease and on a gluten-free diet, the “cocktail sauce” can be the culprit since it can include hidden gluten and other allergens. That is why I make my own cocktail sauce. And my secret ingredient… Gold’s Prepared Horseradish.

Gold’s is manufactured by the fourth generation of a  family has been providing quality OU certified Kosher products for almost 80 years, and has quite an extensive list of gluten-free products they manufacturer as well.

My recipe for cocktail sauce is simple and you can find it here. And since prepared horseradish has less than five calories in a one teaspoon, along with virtually no fat and tons of flavor, I plan on using it as my secret ingredient in many recipes for the coming New Year.

Tons of flavor, little to no calories and tons of ways to incorporate into recipes are the reasons this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Gold’s Prepared Horseradish. Cheers & Congratulations!

WIN-It-Wednesday: “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread” Cookbook by Laurie Sadowski

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

If you are looking for recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free breads look no further… “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread” cookbook is here!

Laurie Sadowski, a food enthusiast with celiac disease (who is also a vegan) wrote this cookbook to share her collection of  delicious and tasty bread recipes available for those with celiac disease, dairy allergies, egg allergies, and also a vegan-life style, ADHD and autism.

What I like the most about this cookbook is the variety of bread recipes that are offered. They range from the sweet (Banana-Nut Monkey Bread or Baked Peach Fritters with Lemon Glaze, anyone?), to the savory (the Sun-Dried Tomato Focaccia with Shallots & Herbs will be tried the next time I make a big Italian pasta supper), and the comforting & basic (Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, Cinnamon-Swirled Sweet Potato Bread and the Olive Oil Biscuits with Roasted Garlic , Rosemary & Hempseed are all delicious!).

I especially like this cookbook because the recipes do not require the use of a bread-maker… which means the recipes can be enjoyed by everyone – no special equipment required.

And for those of you looking to increase your protein and fiber intake or put a healthy spin to your gluten-free and allergen-free bread there are a variety of recipes in this cookbook that include quinoa, flaxseed, sorghum, millet and buckwheat.

This “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread” Cookbook by Laurie Sadowski is the perfect answer to those that mistakenly believe that they can no longer “eat bread” after being diagnosed with celiac disease and other food allergies.

All of the delicious recipes and tons of useful info regarding gluten-free and allergen-free bread baking (like Dairy free substitutions for milk and butter; nutritional content and calorie comparison of gluten-free flours; and tips and techniques baking gluten, egg and dairy free) are the reasons I am so excited that “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread” Cookbook is the sponsor of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday contest for the next two weeks.

One (1) winners will be randomly selected to win a copy of the cookbook  from the entries received before Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, January 4 and Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter two times to win!

How can you win?
Easy!

Reply to this blog and let us know your favorite way to enjoy gluten and allergen free bread  (Me? I have a tie! I love gluten-free focaccia dipped into a good quality herbed olive oil OR  hot Banana Bread smothered with melted butter… LOVE!)

Good luck, remember the best thing since sliced bread is gluten and allergen free bread  … and as always.
Be Free!

Note: Want to order this cookbook? Check out this link on Amazon.com: The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free

Gluten-Free Crackling Chocolate Crackers: Made with Glutino Table Crackers & Kinnikinnick Graham Crumbs

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Whoever said that gluten-free crackers are boring and bland, needs to try this sweet decadent dessert using Glutino Gluten-Free Table Crackers.

As of now, gluten free crackers  have been used for only cheese, dips, and spreads – but now they are making a debut into desserts! Welcome deliciousness!

While I was pining and ogling over gluten-FULL cookies recipes found in a magazine, I decided to attempt making one of these recipes with a gluten-free twist.

The result? Our very own Gluten-Free Crackling Chocolate Crackers – a no-bake recipe (perfect when your oven is packed with other baked goods), that is a mix of sweetness and saltiness, and loved by both the gluten-free and non-gluten free folks.  They are simple to make and made with products from two of our Friday Favorite gluten-free brands: Glutino & Kinnikinnick.

For the crispy, nutty topping we sprinkled the tops with Heath Bits o’ Brickle Toffee Bits (we called Hershey’s and they confirmed this item is indeed gluten-free), but you could always sprinkle the tops with crushed Glutino crackers too.

These Gluten-Free Crackling Chocolate Crackers are also great for gifting … we’ve been bundling them up in tins and have been gifting all week!
Enjoy!


Gluten-Free Crackling Chocolate Crackers

The beauty of this recipe is that it is a no-bake dessert, that is great for gifting. If a nut-allergy is a concern, omit the toffee topping and use crushed gluten-free pretzels instead.

One 4.4-ounce package of Glutino Gluten-Free Table Crackers (Check label for allergens)
1 cup of Kinnikinnick Graham Crumbs (Check label for allergens)
1 cup of dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 stick of butter, plus enough to lightly grease the cookie sheets
1/3 cup of light cream
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 ½ tablespoon shortening or butter
1 8-ounce package of Hershey’s Heath Bits o’ Brittle Toffee Bits (check label for allergens)

Place the Glutino Gluten-Free Table Crackers in a single layer on a lightly greased cookie sheet. You will need 2-3 sheets. If that crackers are broken, that is o.k.

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the Kinnikinnick Graham Cracker Crumbs, brown sugar, the stick of butter (cut into pieces), and the light cream. Stir until the brown sugar dissolves, butter melts and the mixture is well blended and starts to boil. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to stir for another 6-7 minutes – being careful not to scorch the mixture. Spoon over the crackers, and using the back of the spoon spread evenly. Place the crackers in the refrigerator until cooled – about ½ to 1 hour.

Next, melt the dark chocolate chips and the shortening in a small saucepan, making sure you keep stirring to prevent scorching. Once melted, remove the crackers from the refrigerator and evenly spoon the melted chocolate over the crackers.

Immediately sprinkle the toffee pieces over the crackers. Refrigerate for several hours to overnight.

Break into bite sized pieces. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Yields: 2-3 dozen pieces.

Recipe adapted from: Better Homes & Gardens, 100 Best Cookies

Want to buy the Glutino Table Crackers and the Kinnikinnick Graham Cracker Crumbs? Check out these links:
Glutino Gluten Free Table Crackers, 4.4 oz
Kinnikinnick Crumbs – Graham Style Gluten Free, 10.5000-Ounce (Pack of 3)

Gluten-Free Christmas Songs

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Getting silly the other day, and listening to Christmas songs for the hundredth-thousandth time, I decided it would be fun to make up my own gluten-free lyrics to some of my favorites. Call me silly, call be crazy… but I guarantee you that some of these words will be stuck in your head right through the holidays! Enjoy!

The Gluten-Free Ride with You
(To the tune of “Sleigh Ride’)

Just hear that change purse jingling,
ring ting tingling too
Yes it is more than double
When grocery shopping for you.

Just when you think you’re falling
A friend is calling “You too?”
Come on, we’re birds of a feather
There plenty of others like you.

Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
let’s go, Let’s look what we know,
Like who needs wheat in our dough!
Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap,
it’s grand, our foods are not bland,
We’re gliding along with a long
list of gluten-free favorite brands.

Outlooks are nice and rosy
and comfy cozy are we
We’re all in this together
like two birds of a feather would be
Let’s take that road before us
and eat a muffin or two
It is a lovely diet and I
love all the sharing with you!


Let It Go
(To the tune of Let it Snow)

Oh, the diet at first is frightful,
But the food can be delightful,
And since we can’t eat most dough,
Let it go, let it go, let it go.

Gluten free won’t ever be stopping,
But you can eat that corn for popping;
In time you’ll be in the know,
Let it go, let it go, let it go.

When we finally start eatin’ right,
For us gluten-free is the norm;
Checking labels before each bite,
No gluten we need to confirm.

New foods we are now buying,
And, my gluten, we are good-bye-ing,
Now it’s easy to say “no-no”.
Let it go, let it go, let it go.

It’s Great to Find a Gluten-Free Beer
(To the tune of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year)

It’s great to find a gluten-free beer.
With most stores not selling,
but everyone telling you,
“Be of good cheer,”
It’s great to find a gluten-free beer.

There’ll be parties for hosting,
Now you will be toasting and
cheering while you’re in the know.
There’ll be gluten-free stories and
tales of the horrors of baked goods so
long, long ago.

It’s great to find a gluten-free beer.
There’ll be beer mugs a ‘flowing
and you will be knowing,
that glutens not here!
It’s great to find a gluten-free beer!


Here Comes Gluten-Free
(To the tune of Here Comes Santa Claus)

Here comes Gluten-Free!
Here comes Gluten-Free!
Good-bye all the pain!
Udi’s and Rudi’s and all the others
With all the gluten-free grains.
Bells are ringing, we’re all singing;
My doc finally got it right.
Count your blessings and say your prayers,
‘Cause Gluten-Free feels alright.

Friday Favorite: Oskri Fig Bar

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

If you’re looking for a snack bar that is good for you, and just as nutritious as a good piece of fruit, look no further!

I found the ultimate fruit in a bar! Oskri Fig Bars.

I love the simplicity of these bars. The only ingredient = Figs.

These bars are naturally sweet and packed with flavor. Perfect for adults and kids. I love the fact that they have only 131 calories, 5.3 grams of protein and also only 1 gram of fat. They are also gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free and vegan. This bar is a generous size and fills me up too.

They are the perfect bar to throw in your bag, and have as a snack while on the go.

Simple perfection is the reason the Oskri Fig Bars receives this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com. Congratulations!

These bars are also found on Amazon.com and qualify for Super-Saver Shipping. You can find them here: Oskri Fig Bars

WIN-It-Wednesday: Newman’s Own Salsa (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free & More!)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

I love my nachos. My friends come over, any time of year, any time of day (well, almost!) and we make up our nachos. We love our smothered with all the good stuff…. melted Cheese (or a good non-dairy substitute), sliced black olives, jalapeno slices, black beans, guacamole and of course… Salsa. And our favorite salsa? Newman’s Own.

An although Newman’s Own Salsa comes in a variety of flavors – including the basic Mild, Medium and Hot, our favorites are the more off-beat salsa varieties, including Tequila Lime, Black Bean & Corn, Roasted Garlic, Mango, Peach and our all-time favorite Pineapple.

And the best part about these salsas is that they are SO GOOD paired with other foods – as a topping, a marinade and as a dip. An example is using the all-time favorite Pineapple Salsa spooned over a nice char-grilled piece of swordfish topped with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro, or the Peach Salsa mixed well with a teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar and used as a marinade for boneless chicken breasts. And a must try is the Black Bean and Corn Salsa over a Western Omelet… out of this world!

These delicious salsas are also gluten-free, dairy free, egg free, peanut / tree nut free, fish / shell fish free and soy bean free. Plus, you can add MSG and sulfite free to the list as well. Check out all of the allergen info on these Newman’s Own Salsa here.

The next two week’s WIN-It-Wednesday prizes on BeFreeForMe are variety packs of three (3) Newman’s Own Salsas! There will be FOUR (Yes… 4!) winners total… 2 each week. Two (2) winners will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, December 20, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST, and two (2) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

How can you win?
Easy!

This week we’re gong to make it easy on you (being the Holiday’s and all)…. Just reply to this blog and tell us what flavor of the Newman’s Own Salsa sounds the best to you. How easy is that!

Good luck, remember to keep the spice in your salsa of life… and as always.
Be Free!

Ask Shelley Case: Sweet Holiday Gluten-Free Treats… with a Healthy Twist!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Question:
Since being on the gluten-free diet, I have been careful about trying to eat more nutritious. Do you have any ideas on making gluten-free desserts more nutritionally sound? The Holidays are coming soon… help!

Answer:
The holidays are here and it is the perfect time to enjoy festivities, fun and food with family & friends! This is also the time of year that we tend to eat more sweets and desserts.

Thankfully for those on a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of recipes for brownies, cookies,  cakes,  muffins, and sweet breads in cookbooks and on the web that are made with nutritious gluten-free flours, grains, nuts and even beans.

Here are a few of my tips on making your holiday desserts healthier without sacrificing taste…Enjoy!

Get fruity: Some of my favorite gluten-free dessert recipes that include fruits:
Baked Apples with Raisins and Goat Cheese
Fruit Pudding

Figs & Pears in Honey

Use your bean: Believe it or not, black beans, as well as other pulses (aka legumes) make the most moist, chewy and delicious gluten-free brownies as well as other sweet treats! Pulses include all types of dried peas & beans, lentils and chickpeas.  Frequently overlooked, pulses are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods. They are high in fiber, protein, B vitamins (especially folate), and a variety of minerals-plus they are low in fat and sodium. Talk about sneaking good health into a dessert that everyone will love. You have to try these recipes to believe how good these sweets are!
Black Bean Brownies with Espresso Granache
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Apple Crisp

Peanut butter favorites: If peanut allergies are not an issue, peanut butter is high in protein and loved by “kids” of all ages. These Peanut Butter cookies are made with only three ingredients. Perfect for when the cupboards are bare and cookies are needed in a jiff!
Peanut Butter Quickie Cookies


Oats for good health:
Pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats are a perfect ingredient for making cookies and cakes for the holidays. If you can’t find gluten-free oats in your local market, you can find them on-line from Cream Hill Estates.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
Fruit Flan
Oatmeal-Berry Bars


Go Nuts:
Try using ground almonds or almond flour, in your baked goods when nut allergies are not a concern. This sweet flour alternative is perfect for desserts and is very nutritious and high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients such as vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. For more on baking with almonds check out my past blog post, Using Almonds in Gluten-Free Baking & Cooking – A Healthy Addition. Try this moist and fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe from Carol Fenster… you won’t be disappointed!

Ask Shelley Case is a feature of BeFreeForMe.com. 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: GlutenFreeDiet.ca

Friday Favorite: Sol Cuisine

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

This week’s Friday Favorite goes to a company that makes some of my favorite vegetarian AND gluten free products… Sol Cuisine.

I’ve had many BeFreeForMe members ask me what ‘veggie burgers’ and other meatless (aka: soy based) burgers, sausage, etc. are gluten-free AND vegetarian. For those of you that have been searching for such products, you know that they can be very hard to come by.

Well, I have fantastic news! All of you vegetarian and gluten-free friends (and even those of you looking to go “meatless” every so often) your search is over! Some of the products made by Sol Cuisine are exactly what you are looking for.

My favorite products are the Spicy Black Bean Burger (SO delicious, packed with protein and ONLY 90 CALORIES!) and the Organic Veggie Crumbles (So easy & perfect for recipes or with gluten-free sauce served over pasta).

These products are really fantastic tasting. I even had some of my meat-loving family members try them unknowingly and they loved (asked for seconds-love) the “meat sauce” and had no idea… Obviously, not until now – when they read this blog! ;)

I love the fact that the Sol Cuisine products are also easy to find in local grocers. (Want to find a store need you? Check out this link).

Congratulations Sol Cuisine for making such  unbelievably great tasting and easily available vegetarian AND gluten-free products… and for also being selected as this week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe.com!

How to Keep Your Spices the Nicest: McCormick Date Checker. How Old Are YOUR spices?

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

I love my spices. My gluten-free cooking depends on them. A little cilantro here. Tarragon there. A sprinkle of sesame seeds and a dash of dill. Shake on some sage and add sassy it up with cinnamon.

But often I buy some random spice for a gluten-free recipe, use it once, place it in my spice rack and forget about it. Then time goes by. And time goes by. Until I come across another recipe that includes another teaspoon of that random spice… you know the ones… Anise, Caraway Seeds, Mace, or Mustard… the ones stuffed in the back of your spice cabinet. One of those spices that you use every so often.

And I think to myself, “How old is this?

Well, McCormick’s to the rescue! On the McCormick’s website they now have a tool to check the date of all the McCormick spices in your spice rack. The tool is easy and quick to use. First off  there are a few basic rules: If you have a spice that is in a tin (except for black pepper) or made in Baltimore, MD it is at least 15 years old… so toss it.  Next, check the spice bottle for a use by date, and it there is none, type the code at the bottom of the spice bottom into the “Fresh Tester” calculator to find out how old the spice is.

The McCormick website also gives tips on how long spices last, and other tips to make sure your spices are fresh… Is the color vibrant? Is the aroma strong? The website also gives tips on how to store spices: Store spices in a tightly-capped container and keep them away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight. Replace their lids right after use.

The McCormick website is full of tips, tidbits, useful info and delicious recipes. Give your food a flavorful favor and check out the McCormick website. It’s worth it…  but only after you check all the dates in your spice cabinet!

Friday Favorite: “Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food” by Sam Mogannam & Dabney Gough

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This week’s Friday Favorite on BeFreeForMe is presented to one of the all-time best books I’ve ever received. Although let me mention…  this is not one of those book that you read like a novel. Instead it is one of those “keeper books” that become dog-eared, flipped through, perused, referenced and depended upon for years and years to come. This is one of those books that become a permanent fixture on your kitchen counter.

This book is a sort of chronicle of each and every department, from the grocery aisles to the wine section, of one of the most popular, fan-based and followed supermarkets in the country, Bi-Rite Markets.

The book is co-written by Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough.  A team that produces the perfect combination of Sam’s food-entrepreneurial brilliance blended with Dabney’s foodie-genius culinary mastermind.

This book takes you through each department of a grocery store, aisle-by-aisle, answering the questions that we all wonder at some point or another: Q: How do I pick the sweetest peaches? A: The dark spot on fruit are areas of concentrated sugars – not a bruise!; Q: Tips for cooking any meat? A: Some pointers are to let the meat come to room temperature and season well with salt & pepper just before cooking, and lubricate your cooking surface with a neutral oil, like grapeseed oil.

Also, included in this cookbook is close to 100 recipes, many of them dishes that are featured in Bi-Rite’s in-house kitchen. I found that many of these recipes are gluten-free and allergen-free (or can be easily modified to be so). Some of my favorites? Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pistachios and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette; or the Apple, Pear Spinach Salad with Walnuts & Blue Cheese. All delicious.

This book is a keeper. Paging through it gets you excited about shopping, the food you eat, and cooking. It gets you wishing you had a neighborhood market owned by a guy like Sam, and a BFF (Best-Friend Foodie) like Dabney. Cheers to the two of you and a job well done!

All these reasons are why this week’s Favorite Friday goes to “Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food”. (Note: Want to get this book for yourself ? Or how about for a perfect gift idea? A hard-cover book for less than $20… Bonus!) Check out this link here on Amazon.com and take advantage of the Super-Saver FREE Shipping!  “Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food” by Sam Mogannam & Dabney Gough


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