Archive for March, 2013

Friday Favorite: Van’s Snack Bars

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

When someone says “Van’s Natural Foods” my mind automatically thinks “waffles!” But since trying their new snack bars my love for Van’s has moved beyond breakfast.

Van’s now makes gluten-free snack bars. They come in three great flavors: Cranberry Almond, Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Chocolate.

These bars are chewy, tasty and ready to eat for snack time, or any other time, you’re looking for a quick and easy snack on the run.

I really like the Cranberry Almond bar for a mid-morning snack, and the other two chocolate varieties for a sweet anytime snack.

Packed with gluten-free whole grains & fiber, these baked snacks are a must try.

Cheers and many thanks to Van’s Natural Foods. There’s no waffling about it. These snack bars are keepers! Congrats!

WIN-It-Wednesday: Starfish Gluten-Free Seafood

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

When people ask me what food I miss the most since going gluten-free one of the things that pops into my mind are fish & chips.

Ahhh… the memories. Nicely battered, browned and crispy on the outside with a delicate, white and flaky fish on the inside. These memories bring me back to when I was growing up. We had fish and chips on most Fridays, and always during the Lenten season. It was a sort of tradition, and a weekly staple. But since being on a gluten-free diet most anything that is labeled as “crispy” and “battered” have been off limits, and battered fish has been a distance delicious memory of yesteryear. That is why I was more than thrilled when I found gluten-free Starfish seafood.

Starfish makes a wide assortment of all natural gluten-free seafood items. They offer the battered cod, halibut and haddock that fit the bill when you are looking for a traditional just-as-you-remember battered fish; as well as their two newest items – gluten-free fish sticks (deep skinned Pollock fillets from the MSC certified fishery) in a delicious & crunchy Panko breading, and a Parmesan encrusted Pacific cod (also from the MSC certified fishery).

These all-natural and wild-harvested fish are gluten-free, soy-free, milk-free, peanut-free, egg-free “ready-for-your-oven” fish are all delicious. And coming from a gal that grew-up on Cape Cod I have discriminating tastes when it comes to my seafood!

So being the seafood lover that I am, I was more than thrilled that Starfish is the Win-It-Wednesday sponsor on BeFreeForMe for the next two weeks.

One (1) winner will be randomly selected to win a prize pack of Five (yes… 5!) FREE product coupons from all entries received before Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, March 27 and Tuesday, April 2, 2012 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter two times to win!

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and let us know what Starfish gluten-free seafood item looks the best to you. (Me? My beloved battered cod for my fish and chips!) or what seafood item you miss the most since being gluten-free.

Good luck, remember to thank your lucky star(fish) that there is tasty gluten-free fish items to enjoy … and as always …

Be Free!

Want to find out more? Follow Starfish on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday Favorite: Vigilant Eats Organic Superfood Cereal

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

It’s not very often that I love, love, love a product. The kind of love that I want to sing my praises from the highest rooftop.

A product that has ingredients, packaging, ease of prep, and most important, a taste that I love.

And Vigilant Eats Organic Superfood Cereal has it all.

This organic cereal is also (certified) gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and has no additives, preservatives or refined sugar. It is also Non-GMO certified, and is vegan certified too.

The cereal comes ready-to-eat in a cardboard cup. The prep is easy too. Just add a little bit of cold water (no boiling required!) and mix with the portable spoon that is included in the package. And Voila! Breakfast is served!

A hefty portion at 3-ounces, this gluten-free cereal is filling and delicious. My favorite variety is the Coconut Maple Vanilla – and no wonder since coconut, maple and vanilla rank up there when it comes to three of my favorite foods (and scents!).

Other delicious flavors are Goji Cacao, Espresso Maca Mulberry, and Maca Double Chocolate.

A congratulatory shout-out from the highest rooftop to Vigilant Eats on being awarded this week’s Friday Favorite on!

Friday Favorite: Virgil’s All-Natural Root Beer

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

I love a good root beer. But I’m not one to drink tons of soda, usually because all of the chemicals and stuff. That’s why I was so excited to find Virgil’s All Natural Root Beer.

Virgil’s Root Beer is a micro-brewed, unlike most all other root beers out there. Virgil’s root beer is really brewed. In fact Virgil’s says that they are what Ben & Jerry’s is to ice cream, what Dom Perignon is to champagne. And you know what? They are absolutely correct. Their root beer is one-of-a-kind deliciousness.

Virgil’s is also gluten-free, is made with all natural herbs and spices (vanilla from Madagascar? Cinnamon from Ceylon? Or clove from Indonesia, anyone?), and it comes in some fabulous flavors including Cream Soda, Black Cherry Cream Soda, Orange Cream Soda, Real Cola and Dr. Better.

All these all-natural, delicious and refreshing reasons are why Virgil’s Root Beer is awarded this week’s Friday Favorite on Congratulations!

P.S. Speaking of Ben & Jerry’s… how good would a root beer float be with Virgil’s Root Beer and a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream? Yum!

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

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

If you’re looking for some awesome recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free cakes & cookies you have to check out Laurie Sadowski’s newest cookbook “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes & Cookies”.

Laurie Sadowski, a food enthusiast with celiac disease (who is also a vegan) wrote this cookbook to share with us her sweet side of baking. Her newest cookbook is a collection of to-die-for cakes, cookies, bars and squares – all of which are perfect for those with celiac disease / a gluten-free lifestyle, dairy allergies, egg allergies, and also a vegan-life style, ADHD and autism.

Just looking at these recipes make me want to dig out my baking pans and rolling pin. They range from the decadent (Triple-Chocolate Layer Cake or Two-Bite Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cupcakes, anyone?), to the traditional (comfort foods like New Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake or Autumn Apple Cake with Cider Sauce), to the dinner-party daring desserts  (Molten Lava Mini Cakes with Raspberry Sauce or Hazelnut Biscotti, to name just a couple).

I really like this cookbook because there are also a lot of tips and tricks to make gluten-free baking a success… something we all can use every so often. =)

This “The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes & Cookies” Cookbook by Laurie Sadowski is the perfect answer to those that mistakenly believe that they can no longer enjoy desserts 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 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 Cakes & Cookies” Cookbook is the sponsor of BeFreeForMe’s WIN-It-Wednesday contest for the next two weeks.

One (1) winner will be randomly selected to win a copy of the cookbook from the entries received before Tuesday, March 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, March 13 and Tuesday, March 19, 2012 at 11:59PM. SO – make sure you enter two times to win!

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and let us know your favorite cake and or cookie. (Me? Since being a little girl, I’ve had a love affair with Pecan Sandy Cookies… especially dipped into tea).

Good luck, remember the gluten-free cookie absolutely does not need to crumble =) … and as always …

Be Free!

Note: Want to order this cookbook? Check out this link on The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes & Cookies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free (As of 03/05/13 the cookbook is on special and is only $9.96… and participates with FREE Super Saver Shipping!)

Coming Clean: A Simple Guide to Get You on the Road to Gluten-Free Clean-Eating

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

It seems that everyone you talk to is trying to eat less. Trying to eat less fatty foods. Trying to try to lose weight.

But instead of giving up the low-fat, low-calorie (and, as a result, low-flavor) foods I’ve chosen to become more aware of the foods that I am eating. To make my food choices simpler, and to really “get to know” my food – what is in it, where it came from, how it benefits and fuels my body.

Basically to clean-up my act when it comes to eating.

But I had questions about this buzzword “Clean Eating”. What does clean-eating really mean? Is it easy to follow? Is it expensive? Does clean eating fit into a gluten-free diet?

After a little research, I discovered that eating clean means eating foods that are whole and unprocessed. Foods like whole grains, lean meats, fruits, veggies and any food free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, sugars or trans and saturated fats. In other words – foods that are minimally processed.

Needless, I was thrilled to get an email from Attune Foods with link to their “Eat Clean: Gluten-Free Menu Guide” last month. This guide prepared by Alysa Bajenaru, RD is a great guideline and way to start off a gluten-free clean eating plan.

So… for the last few weeks I have been eating clean thanks to Attune Foods. They’ve come up with several clean eating diet plans specific to different dietary requirements:  A “basic” real food plan (for those with no allergies / intolerances), a vegetarian real food plan, and also a gluten-free real food plan (the plan that I followed).

I found the gluten-free clean eating diet easy to shop for, easy to prepare, and also easy to eat, thanks to the printable shopping list, recipes and tips to keep on track!  In fact I have found a few recipes (and the blogs that they came from!) that are now on my “keepers” list… recipes I will make over and over again.

“Eating clean” is also easier than expected, I think mostly because I am so use to reading labels and not being able to eat many processed foods due to celiac disease. I guess that celiacs are half-way there when it comes to following a clean eating lifestyle.

Some of my favorite recipes included the Colorful Stir Fry (my all-time favorite! ), Meyer Lemon Slow-Cooker Chicken with Sweet Potatoes, Maple Dijon Pork Tenderloin, and making up Breakfast Parfaits layered with Yogurt, Erewhon Buckwheat & Hemp cereal and Blackberries.

Come clean! Go ahead and give the Eat Clean Menu a try! Here are a few of my tips for those who want to follow this real food menu plan:
–    Consider shopping daily if only one or two people will be following the plan. You’ll find that you’ll have leftovers, and may not have to make a dinner each night.
–    Invest in a citrus press (see photo below).  This gadget is my new “must have” gadget! I love, love this thing! The best $10 I ever spent. =) It was a godsend when making the Meyer Lemon Slow Cooker Chick Dish, and came in quite handy for adding a citrus zip into the numerous glasses of water I drank while on the plan. Which leads me to the next tip…
–    Make sure you drink tons of water while on the plan. It helps flush any leftover toxins out of your body, and as an added bonus, it will make your skin glow!
–    As always, read the labels when buying items from the shopping list. Items, such as the almond milk, can contain gluten.
–    Definitely splurge and spend the extra when it comes to buying the grass-feed beef. It makes SUCH a difference in flavor, compared to “regular” beef. The grass-feed beef tastes like beef use to taste when I was younger. It makes such a difference!
–    Don’t feel that you have to buy everything on the shopping list. Improvise and make substitutions! I couldn’t bring myself to spend $11.99 for the hemp hearts, so I passed on them; I bought regular almond butter that cost $5.99, instead of the organic at $13.99; I don’t really like mushrooms, so the cremini mushrooms didn’t make the cut to get into my shopping cart; Use soy yogurt if you have dairy allergies. Feel free to get creative with the recipes and customize them to fit your tastes, budget & allergies.

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