Win-It-Wednesday: “Gluten-Free 101 – The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking” Cookbook by Carol Fenster

Yes…  I am a gluten-free food-junkie. I love cooking shows, trying my hand at new dishes, exploring gluten-free cooking blogs, obsessing over gluten-free Pinterest posts, discovering the baking & cookbook sections of my favorite bookstore and planning my gluten-free meals weeks in advance.

And, of course, I have my favorite chefs: Those chefs that have taught me the gluten-free way from the start, and continue to inspire me to dig deeper into gluten-free baking and cooking with confidence, creativity and encouragement.  And one of my favorite chefs? Carol Fenster.

Carol is a gluten-free baking and cooking legend. So when I heard that she had come out with another gluten-free cookbook, the “Gluten-Free 101 – The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free”, this gluten-free junkie jumped for joy.

Carol Fenster, is the author of many 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, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes and 100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes. Carol also consults worldwide and speaks frequently at national conferences. Carol Fenster is one-of-a-kind. Her talent and culinary expertise encourages me and has made me feel confident in the kitchen while cooking and baking gluten-free. (Note: Make sure you follow Carol on her blog

Not only is the Gluten-Free 101 Cookbook full of delicious recipes (Oven-Fried Chicken and a Mexican Casserole, anyone?) that the whole family will love, it is also an essential kitchen must-have that is packed with gluten-free basic 101 information & resources that will get any celiac or gluten-sensitive newbie off to the right start on their healthy and delicious gluten-free lifestyle.

A new cookbook, from my favorite chef, that’s full of delicious recipes and informative advice are all the reasons why I am so thrilled that this week’s WIN-It-Wednesday on is sponsored by Carol Fenster – the author of  “Gluten-Free 101 Cookbook… The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking”.

How can you win?

Reply to this blog and tell us a little pointer, piece of advice or inspirational tidbit you would pass along to someone that just got diagnosed with celiac disease to help them troubleshoot and thrive with their new lifestyle (or if you are just diagnosed, something you would love to learn about). My tidbit? If celiac disease runs in your family… Get everyone tested! Symptoms or no symptoms!

A total of TWO BeFreeForMe members will be selected to win Carol Fenster’s new “Gluten-Free 101” Cookbook.  One (1) winner will be randomly selected from the entries received before Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST, and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected to win from the entries received between Wednesday, February 19 and Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 11:59PM EST. SO – make sure you enter to win two times!

Good luck, remember the gluten-free lifestyle 101’s… and as always,
Be Free!

P.S. Want more of Carol Fenster? Make sure you follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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52 Responses to “Win-It-Wednesday: “Gluten-Free 101 – The Essential Beginner’s Guide to Easy Gluten-Free Cooking” Cookbook by Carol Fenster”

  1. Michelle Breton Says:

    When my daughter was diagnosed, I gave myself permission to use as many prepackaged gluten free foods as necessary to get us over the transition. Now we hardly buy any. She eats lots of fruit and other whole foods and we bake our own treats. It DOES get easier!

  2. Danielle B Says:

    Every time I meet a newly diagnosed Celiac, I tell them where they can get yummy gluten free food around where I live. I’m fortunate enough that there are many stores that carry gluten free products in my community, and there’s even a store that has only gluten free products 😀

  3. cindy w. Says:

    My suggestion for newly diagnosed celiacs is to subscribe to blogs such as yours. I have found reading them to be very helpful. I like to learn about new products – that taste good – so I don’t waste my money. I have also found many wonderful recipes on blogs. I really appreciate all the work bloggers put in to help others. (:

  4. elaine Says:

    My son has just been diagnosed gluten free, this is just perfect timing, please, I would be honored to win!

  5. Sue Says:

    Relax, its not the end of the world. There are lots to foods to choose from. I have felt so much better since the switch. Take it as a challenge and embrace the new lifestyle.

  6. Linda Williams Says:

    Carol’s sorghum flour blend is more nutritious than one based on white rice and the more GF whole grains you eat, the better you will feel.

  7. Lyne Lacroix Says:

    All the girls in my family have celiac disease and one good pointer is : When cooking use the same recipes you have always used before your diagnosis and just replace ingredients with gluten free product. (example flour and pasta etc)

  8. mary Says:

    Advice for a newly diagnosed GF’er: Calm down. Overcome the fear. Realize that millions have gone before you to pave the way to an easy transition of LIVING gluten free. Embrace blogs like this and thousands of others that will answer any question you could possibly have. And, welcome to the Celiac/gluten free community of people who are living life to its fullest!!

  9. Karen Ingraham Says:

    My suggestion is to buy new wooden spoons and plastic utensils, mark them GF with a permanent ink marker and store them in a separate drawer designated as a gluten-free area, to avoid cross-contamination and grief.

  10. Carol Fenster Says:

    Kathleen: Thanks so much and congrats to the lucky winner in advance!

  11. Jeni Says:

    My advise would be to watch out for cross contamination. I have gotten more sick from that than I used to from gluten. Watch utensils, dishes, cutting boards. BEWARE!

  12. Susan M Says:

    I wish that someone had told me that wheatgrass does not have gluten in it and explained what other options were available.

  13. Brenda Says:

    Take it one meal at a time! If you try to figure it all out at once you will overwhelm yourself. And find someone who has been there, you will need the support. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 🙂

  14. Wendy Brazeau Says:

    read the ingredient list…you are going to be shocked at the products
    that contain irritants for a celiac tummy

  15. Gina Says:

    Remember alot of whole natural foods are gluten free and the boxed prepared ones can add on extra calories, so we stick with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats and come up with creative meals.

  16. Forress Says:

    Always read the ingredients when buying things. Even if it is some thing you have bought before. Ingredients will change with out notice.

  17. Carla Says:

    Use your library for cookbooks and books about celiac!

  18. Stacey Says:

    Seek out others, share suggestions, research, research, research! I am amazed at how many people I meet with Celiac Disease and three years ago I myself knew nothing about it. As with any health condition we often don’t share, but once we do we realize how much we have in common with others.

  19. Genie Says:

    Shift your focus to what you can still eat, not what you can’t. Actually make a list starting with foods that are naturally gluten free and continue to add to it as you discover new foods you can still eat. I keep mine on the refrigerator door for easy reference and encouragement.

  20. Celine Girouard Says:

    Having to no longer eat gluten made me realize how much whole foods are healthier. At first, you may have a panic feeling but you will feel so much better!

  21. Celine Girouard Says:

    They have alot of amazing products now. Gluten free flours can be just about as good as regular flour and you can fool your friends and family with your new recipes!

  22. Tammy Says:

    It seems hard at the beginning when you feel so overwhelmed, but it really does get easier! Read as much info on gluten free cooking from cookbooks and blogs as you can and you will be confident that you know what you are doing.

  23. Jess Says:

    My son’s doctor recommended he go gluten free and it was really scary at first because we weren’t sure what he could eat! To make things a little easier and to help us understand what he was going through we all started eating gluten free as much as possible. It made the transition a little easier.

  24. Eileen Says:

    Watch out for cross contamination and read ingredients. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always GF.

  25. Jacqueline Says:

    I don’t have celiac, but I am diabetic and I have diabetic keytone acidosis. And I need to start eating more healthier, not only for me, but for my four boys.

    My niece found out she’s allergic to wheat, so she’s been gluten free. And as she says, it always could be worse. It’s controllable, and it’s the healthier way 🙂 🙂

  26. Karen Says:

    a.) It gets easier b.) Keep it simple (1/2 avocado with lemon juice, salt, and pepper is a nutritious lunch), c.) Always carry your favorite nut or seed in the car/truck for emergencies d.) Have everyone in the house eat gf. If they don’t need to be gf, they can eat what they want away from the house but IN the house, keep it gf. Easier psychologically as well as from a cross contamination issue perspective. e.) Fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, meat, and eggs were always and are gf. Eating GF is NOT more expensive unless you make it that way with pre packaged foods. Processed foods are not healthy, even if they are gf. Eat real whole foods and you will be surprised. f.) Surf blogs and find a few you like and follow them. You’ll get great ideas and feel less alone.

  27. Susan M. Says:

    My suggestion is just to not be afraid of letting others know of your special dietary needs, whether it be relatives, friends, co-workers or serving staff at a local restaurant. You’d be surprised how accommodating most people will try to be if you explain your situation.

  28. sherry Says:

    I have found that eating gluten free can actually be much healthier. There’s not so much temptation to try all the cookies, candies, cakes and pies that are so abundantly available. Instead, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables – and have actually found that I love most of them. So much so, in fact, that I rarely eat gluten free varieties of my old favorite snack foods.

  29. Lori Says:

    Join a local support group. It really was helpful. The encouragement was wonderful. A great resource for local restaurants, recipes, favorite selections at the grocery store, advise, local speakers and more. Local vendors were there selling their fresh baked bread and more. My daughters and I really appreciate how helpful everyone is and it made the transition so smooth for us.

  30. elaine Says:

    I am gluten free and vegan! A cookbook is what I need, a girl can not live off of salads, and I am alone, so making a huge vegan lasagna is out of the question!

  31. Jennifer Long Says:

    My DD has been GF for 10 years. I tell them that it is a lifestyle change. I usually tell them some great GF brands found in our small town. I also will tell them to message me on FB if they have any questions.

  32. Kyna Says:

    That food has come along way, gluten free food no longer taste like cardboard, some foods taste even better than foods with gluten!

  33. TXEdie Says:

    A newly diagnosed Celiac can be overwhelmed with the foods that are now forbidden — a good basic gluten-free cookbook allows us to think outside of the pre-packaged food and plain natural vegetables and fruits available. Those additional options makes it much easier. And — after a while — it may seem partly a blessing to have to avoid the gluten-laden cakes/cookies/crackers/gravy/crunchy-fried foods in our past. Gluten-free can taste good and is usually good for you!

  34. Wendy Brazeau Says:

    your body will go through a transformation..a good patient

  35. Michelle Says:

    I have personally found that most corn based gluten free pastas are way better than the rice based varieties. The corn pasta also has a better taste and texture then the rice pastas

  36. Meghan Says:

    There are several apps for smart phones that can be helpful in living a gluten free style. I have used one called GF Groceries and it has been really helpful when grocery shopping.

  37. Julie Shannon Says:

    It does get easier but you should be honest with your family and friends about what foods will not work for you. Learn how to cook and bake all of your favorite items GF:)

  38. Joy Metcalf Says:

    I was just diagnosed 3 weeks ago. I’d love to learn tips on baking as well as ways to keep things exciting.

  39. Kathleen Reale Says:

    Hi Everyone!

    Keep the comments coming… These are all great tidbits of advise and inspiration.

    I love them all!

    Be Free!

  40. Rebecca D Says:

    Advice for a newly diagnosed Celiac: Don’t panic and think that there is nothing in the world that you can eat now besides rice! Seek out products online and in stores, and look for creative gluten free recipes. Also, buying gluten free products can get expensive fast so look for coupons and good deals!

  41. Sharon Says:

    Focus more on fresh foods, fruits and veggies are gluten free. I agree with some other posts in that you need to be more aware of what you can eat, and not get so caught up in what you cannot.

  42. patricia Says:

    When I was first diagnosed I had all my children tested for celiac. Guess what…2 daughters had it and the son is carrying the gene! It is a family affair. So I urge family members to be tested.

  43. cindy w. Says:

    My advice is to educate yourself as much as possible and be willing to help out someone newly diagnosed. It can be overwhelming when first diagnosed so to be able to share your knowledge can be very helpful to someone just starting out.

  44. mary Says:

    Educate yourself, educate your whole family and friends: Celiac’s suffer from an auto immune disease that requires a prescription of eating gluten free to regain their health. It is not that you/they just want to join in on the latest gluten free diet because everyone else has!

  45. Lori Says:

    Read all the labels. Carry snacks with you when you are invited to eat with others. Educate yourself and others around you. Don’t be afraid to mention your allergy at restaurants. Call ahead.

  46. Forress Says:

    Things are a lot better tasting now then what it was years ago when I first got sick and it is easier to find. Things will get better as you go. If you want some really good recipes I have a ton of them. Welcome to the club you will find that there are a lot of us out there. You are not alone.

  47. Susan M. Says:

    For non-perishable items the internet is a great place to find gluten free items that are not stocked in your local stores and if you buy in quantity you can save some money.

  48. Diane Decker Says:

    I have only been diagnosed with celiac disease for one month. While I have always been a decent cook and collected thousands of recipes I never really used, now there is an urgency to learn as quickly as possible to cook great gluten-free food. My life depends on it. My head is stuffed full of information, tips, and techniques from all over the Internet. I need time to assimilate all that info, but I am hungry NOW. I can’t take six months to master the art. I have to cook lunch, and dinner, and breakfast and on and on. I no longer have the luxury of “I don’t feel like cooking” or “let’s go grab a burger”. I live in a very small town in Nebraska. The nearest loaf of gluten free bread outside of my own kitchen is in Lincoln NE, which is twenty miles away. And I’m lucky to live THAT close. Thanks for all your info, and I REALLY need that cookbook.

  49. Sharie Says:

    It’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated. Your head will fill with thoughts that there are no foods you can eat but there are!! You just have to redesign your recipes with pastas you can have and used prepackaged flour mixes while you experiment with making your own blends. We didn’t learn how to cook overnight and we aren’t going to learn how to go GF overnight either, just take baby steps!

  50. Eileen Says:

    Take a deep breath…it is doable and not as hard as you think. Depending on the person, I may suggest just eating whole foods. I will let them borrow my cookbooks, give them suggestions of packaged goods, websites or tried and true recipes. I will usually make them something. We have multiple food allergies so I find just gluten free to be easy now.

  51. sue Says:

    Easiest and quickest thing to do is cook from scratch, veges,meat,fruit. Absolutely no boxed or canned food you’ll be safe.

  52. Kathleen Reale Says:

    Congrats to the winners!

    Lyne from Quebec
    Mary from FL

    Please check your inbox for a confirmation from BeFreeForMe!

    Have fun cooking, and as always…

    Be Free!

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