Archive for November, 2012

Friday Favorite: Gerbs Pumpkin Seeds

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I love to top my salad with crispy, crunchy tidbits that give a plain salad a punch of flavor. I usually use dried cranberries, crispy tortilla chip crumbs, or sliced almonds.But recently I found my all time favorite crunchy topping… Gerbs Pumpkin Seeds.

These dry roasted, gluten-free pumpkin seeds are great to add an unexpected crunch to a otherwise boring salad. I also love to grab a handful and snack away. They would also be perfect used in a gluten-free “trail mix” recipe.

Deliciously addictive and full of crunchy flavor are the reasons why this week’s Friday Favorite on is awarded to Gerbs Pumpkin Seeds. Congratulations!

Win-It-Wednesday: Best Kitchen Pulses Gift Pack

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

With the Holidays here we’re all thinking about baking up a storm. Cookies, cakes, pies and loaves – but since they need to be made gluten-free…alternative flours need to be discovered and explored.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free flour that is higher in protein, fiber and rich in micronutrients (including iron, calcium, magnesium and B Vitamins) than most any other gluten-free flour, look no further than Best Kitchen Pulse Flours. And if you’re like me, any way that I can incorporate healthier alternatives into my life the better!

Other bonuses are that Best pulses are natural, non-GMO, certified-organic and kosher.

I was unfamiliar with pulse flours until Shelley Case introduced them to me a few years back. Shelley explained to me that pulses (also known as legumes) include all types of dried peas & beans, lentils and chickpeas. Frequently overlooked in the gluten-free diet, 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, sodium and have a low-glycemic index.

Pulse Flours are simply pulses ground up into flour. I like that Best Kitchen’s offers Whole Chickpea and Whole Pea Flours – not split, like so many others. The benefit of Whole Flours is that they include the “seed coat”, or the outer husk of the pulses, which contain 90% of the fiber and are loaded with antioxidants. Another bonus: Baking with Whole Flours also gives baked goods more “body” than Split Flours.

All these healthy and flavorful reasons are why I am so glad that Best Kitchen Pulses are this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday sponsor on Best Kitchen Pulses will provide four (Yes….4!) LUCKY BeFreeForMe members a gift pack of gluten-free flours and fibers, just in time for holiday baking! The gift pack includes:

~ Best Cooking Pulses Apron
~ Best Whole Yellow Pea Flour (1kg)
~ Best Chickpea Flour (1kg)
~ Best Green Split Pea Flour (1kg)
~ Best Pea Fiber (1kg)
~ Naked Yumpeez – roasted split peas shaker (I love to snack on these… or include in baking as a nut substitute, or as a salad topper)

How can you WIN?

Reply to this blog and tell us how you incorporate healthy ways into your life (Me? I try to take a nice brisk walk at lunchtime… gets me some exercise, and reduces stress levels!). Four (4) winners will be randomly chosen from entries received before Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 12:00 midnight EST; and two (2) more winners will be randomly chosen from entries received between Wednesday, December 5 and Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 12:00 midnight EST.

Good Luck, sneak in the healthy alternatives in life whenever possible, as always…
Be Free!

Want some recipes using Best Kitchen Pulses? Check out these links:

Apple Crisp

Banana Chocolate Muffins

Chocolate Muffins

Friday Favorite: Pamela’s Whenever Bars (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

If you’re like me and need a bar on hand for “whenever” I might need it – you’ll love Pamela’s Whenever Bars.

These bars are super moist, and taste like they are homemade. I love that the consistency is cookie-like, but are low in cholesterol, are a good source of fiber & whole grains and have no trans fat. Another bonus is that these bars are sweetened with agave and coconut sugar.

Kid (and adult!) approved… Pamela’s Whenever Bars are perfect “whenever”… including breakfast and snacking.

My favorite variety is the Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut (they have just the right amount of coconut!), but other yummy flavors include: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond and Oat Raisin Almond Spice (some PERFECT varieties for a breakfast on the go!)

Congratulations Pamela’s for being recognized as this week’s Friday Favorite on!

Ask Shelley Case: Surviving the Holiday Season… Gluten-Free

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Question: The holidays are here and I’m concerned about how to tackle all the parties and get-togethers with my new gluten-free lifestyle. I’m feeling overwhelmed! Do you have any tips, ideas and recipes for me?


The holiday season can be overwhelming for many that are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The normal day-to-day consistency of preparing and eating foods that you know are gluten-free and safe from contamination can be disrupted by the parties, get-togethers and holiday traditions that focus around food and eating. It is no wonder that many on special diet feel overwhelmed.

It is important that you first recognize and are aware that during the holidays you are at a greater risk of encountering a social situation that makes eating gluten or allergen-free challenging. But by using your day-to-day tactics of safe eating, and applying them to the situation at hand, you can eliminate any uncomfortable feelings, emotional issues and the chance of ingesting gluten.

Here are a few tips to make your holidays happy and healthy:

Redesign It! Have a favorite stuffing recipe from your Aunty Ruth? A beloved apple pie from your grandma? Redesign it to be gluten-free! Many recipes can be substituted cup-for-cup with gluten-free all-purpose flour, or can be tweaked to become gluten-free by eliminating or substituting ingredients. Other tips for converting recipes to be gluten-free can be found here in my blog post “Converting Recipes to Gluten & Dairy Free”.

A Rule of Thumb: Not Even a Crumb! During the holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Years, there are so many scrumptious temptations. However, celiac disease requires a lifetime commitment to a gluten-free diet. When hostesses or family members offer you a dish that is off-limits politely remind them of your food restrictions. We’ve all encountered those family members, friends or co-workers that just don’t get it and try to tell us “just one bite won’t hurt”.

If this happens stand your ground and remind yourself of this: Your health is more important than hurting someone’s feelings.

Plan Ahead: Before going to a sit-down holiday dinner contact the hostess. Explain in the simplest of terms the food restrictions that you have. Ask what the main-course will be, and suggest any easy ways to make your serving be gluten-free. An example of this would be to eliminate a sauce or roux on a piece of meat, to prepare a single chicken breast without any stuffing, or to prepare a dinner salad with no croutons or dressing.

Many folks that have celiac disease, food intolerances or allergies tell me that they feel they are inconveniencing hosts by calling ahead of time to discuss their allergies. I tell these people to put themselves in the hostess place, and to ask themselves this: Wouldn’t you, as a hostess, rather know ahead of time of any guest’s food restrictions? By contacting the host ahead of time you prevent them from having to scramble last minute to accommodate you, or even worse, to have them feel awkward about not having any suitable alternatives and having you sit and watch everyone else eat. Remember – Most hosts want to know to ahead of time of any food restrictions, and are more than willing to accommodate you!

BYOD – Bring Your Own Dish: When attending holiday open-houses and get-togethers, bring a dish to the party. This way you know that there is at least one dish you can eat. Also, make sure that you bring a copy of the recipe – others may love your dish so much they’ll want a copy! Another tip: I always bring my own serving utensil for my dish too. It helps to prevent people using the same serving spoon with other dishes that my contain gluten.

Here are some delicious holiday recipe ideas:

Glazed Chicken with Rosemary & Golden Raisins Tossed with Wild Rice

Brown Rice Salad with Toasted Almonds, Grapes & Curry Lemon Zest

Herbed Brown Rice & Mushrooms

NY Times Recipes for Stuffing

Appetizers, Main Dishes, Sides, Desserts, Baking Treats, Food Gifts from Canadian Living Magazine

A Catered Affair: When attending a banquet or holiday function at a restaurant contact the host of the get-together, and let them know that you would like to contact the catering department and/or chef several days ahead of time and to explain your dietary restrictions.

And last, and most important…

Always say a gracious “Thank You”: A thank-you note, telephone call or email to the host and/or catering department for accommodating your special dietary needs is all greatly appreciated.

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:

NFCA Gluten-Free Holiday Recipe Contest… Grand Prize of $500!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Looking for some extra holiday cash? How does $500.00 sound?

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is hosting a Gluten-Free Holiday Recipe Contest with a Grand Prize of $500 cash. The contest is sponsored by Crunchmaster.

To enter this contest is easy… and fun! All you need to do is send an original gluten-free recipe to along with a photo of the recipe (if you have one). Also be sure to include your full name, title of the recipe, ingredients and directions.

The recipe you submit must be made with a Crunchmaster product (These crackers work great as a crust or as breading) or pair well with a Crunchmaster product (such as a recipe for a dip). And of course, the recipe must be gluten-free.

The deadline to enter is Sunday, November 25, 2012 and the Grand Prize winner will be announced on Friday, November 30, 2012. For full details, including runner-up prizes, visit

Get out your aprons and submit your recipe today!

BONUS: Click this link to get a coupon for Crunchmaster crackers!

Friday Favorite: Enjoy Life Mega Chunks Semi-Sweet Chocolate

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

‘Tis the season to bake! Get out those mixing bowls, measuring cups, beaters, blenders and whisks… and fire up those ovens!

But if you’re concerned with food allergies and celiac disease, baking can become a bit more of challenge. That is why I love the Enjoy Life brand chocolate baking products.

The Enjoy Life products are all free of gluten and the 8 most common allergens, including dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. So they are perfect for all kinds of allergen-free holiday baking.

My favorite Enjoy Life baking chocolate is the Mega-Chunks – big, chunky, pure chocolate chunks that are perfect in my favorite allergen-free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe – or even eaten right out of the bag for a quick little morsel “hit” of chocolate when those chocolate cravings strike… and just a little chunk will do ya.

Thanks Enjoy Life Foods for making holiday baking so much easier, and delicious, while cooking gluten and allergen free! For this is awarding you this week’s Friday Favorite on! Cheers!

Want to buy now? Check out these links on

Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy Free, Mini Chips, 10-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)

Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks, 10-Ounce (Pack of 6)

WIN-It-Wednesday: Luna Protein Bars…Gluten-Free with Chocolate-y Goodness!

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

If you’re looking for a nutritious, delicious and chocolate-y gluten-free bar that will fill you up –  look no further my friends. The Luna Protein Bar is it.

Unlike many other gluten-free bars, the Luna Protein Bar, is a great snack that is packed with 12 grams of protein which helps curb your appetite and helps you stay full… for longer.

That is why these bars are perfect for a quick snack on the go, or to rid yourself of a rumbling & hungry belly in-between meals. I also love to grab a Luna Protein Bar before I hit the gym – to give me the energy and sustainability to get me through my workout.

Another bonus is the fantastic chocolate flavors that these bars come in, including my favorites Cookie Dough and Mint Chocolate Chip. They also have additional flavors of: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Chocolate Cherry Almond.

I also love that the Luna Protein Bars contain no GMO’s, no additives and are low GI. Luna Protein Bars are also perfect stocking stuffers – the perfect gift to give all the gluten-free folks in your life.

Under 200 calories per bar, packed with protein and gluten-free are all the reasons I am so excited that Luna Protein Bar’s are this week’s Win-It-Wednesday sponsor on!

A total of four (4) BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win a prize pack that includes a block (12 bars… Yes! Twelve Bars!) of the Luna Protein Bar flavor of their choice. Two winner will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, November 20, 2012  at 11:59 PM EST, and two more winners will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, November 21 and Tuesday, November 27 at 11:59 PM. SO – make sure you enter to win two times to win!

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and let us know what Luna Protein Bar flavor you’d pick if you are selected as a winner. Also, just keeping in the spirit of Thanksgiving tell us one thing you’re thankful for. (Me? The seat warmer in my car on cold New England mornings!)

Good luck, be thankful for the things that are nutritious, delicious, chocolate-y and gluten-free … and as always,

Be Free!

Keep in touch and join me in following Luna Bars on Facebook and Twitter!

Note to Twitter Fans:
Just in time for the Holiday’s Luna Bars is sponsoring a Holiday themed Twitterview with gluten free expert and cookbook author Silvana Nardone that is taking place this Thursday, November 15th at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET.

In this Twitterview, Silvana and LUNA will share holiday tips and recipes to make sure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season as well as take questions from the audience. You can participate and take part in the conversation by tagging tweets with the hashtag #GFHoliday and following @LUNABar and @SilvanaNardone on Twitter.

Friday Favorite: Earthly Choice Easy Quinoa

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

This is the time of year that dinner becomes a real sit down affair. The time of year when dinners are not a grab-&-go-right-off-the-grill event and some actual planning and insight is put into what will be served.

But I know that even with all the planing, mealtimes more than often become rushed, and I get short on time. That is when I reach for a quick and easy dishes that make life so much easier.

One of the newest side dishes I discovered is Earthly Choice Easy Quinoa. This all-natural, organic, gluten-free and tasty side dish can be prepared in about 15 minutes.

Easy Quinoa was developed because folks were searching for and asking Earthly Choice for quick and easy ways to enjoy quinoa, so they listened and developed these great tasting dishes. They all contain vegetables, herbs and spices along with organic quinoa in one convenient package. The flavors are Garden Vegetable, Mediterranean & Vegetable Medley, Sundried Tomato Florentine, Mediterranean, Quinoa & Broccoli, and my favorite, Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil. Worth noting is that Earthly Choice also makes a Quinoa Lentil Soup that is gluten-free too.

A quick, easy and tasty side dish that make my life so much simpler even on a budget ( I buy my Earthly Choice Easy Quinoa at my local grocer for $2.50 per box) are the reasons why this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Earthy Choice Easy Quinoa! Congratulations!

Friday Favorite: Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

I hate admitting this because I feel like a spoiled kid that doesn’t like to share (or worse yet, gasp… a food hoarder) but whenever I buy Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars I greedily hide the boxes in the way, way, way… WAY back of the freezer.


So I don’t have to share.

But today I am redeeming myself in the sharing category by letting all of you know about these wonderful gluten-free treats. I love Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars, and I guarantee that just one delicious bite of these 70 calorie bars will have you too adding to your list another way to enjoy Greek Yogurt… as well as secretly concealing a few boxes away just for yourself too.

Gluten-free Yasso Bars (the name comes from the word “Yassou” which means “Hello” in Greek) are all natural, kosher, fat-free, have 6 grams of protein per bar, contain a good source of calcium, and also contain no corn syrup. They are also made with rBST-free milk. Oh… and as I mentioned before – each bar is only 70 calories each (Yassou to dessert every night!)

Yasso Bars are awarded this week’s Friday Favorite for making such a healthy gluten-free treat and for allowing me…myself, and only non-sharing I… another way to enjoy Greek Yogurt. Congratulations!

P.S. Yasso Bars are found across the country. To find a store near you to purchase, check out the Yasso website.

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