Friday Favorite: Panera’s Tuscan Style Chicken Soup

February 20th, 2014

Brrr…. Baby, it’s cold outside! That is why I love to have a hot, steaming bowl of soup for lunch on the days were the wind is whipping, the temperature is dipping and my tummy is itching for a tasty and warm gluten-free treat.

I was thrilled to find Panera’s Tuscan Style Chicken Soup at my local BJ’s Wholesale Club this past week. Packaged in two (2) convenient 20-ounce containers per package, this soup was a bargain compared to the prices that you pay at a restaurant.

The soup is packed with chunks of chicken, white beans, spinach and onions… all simmered in a Tuscan-style tomato based broth. Delicious!

Hot and tasty soup all in the convenience of your own home or office is the reason why this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Panera’s Tuscan Style Chicken Soup. Cheers! Video: How To Make a Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

February 12th, 2014
If you are looking for a perfect gluten-free dessert to make this Valentine Day, look no further than this video and instructions on how to make a Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake that all your sweeties will love!

It seems that Red Velvet bake goods… cakes, cookies, donuts and more… has become all the rage over the past few years. But trying to find gluten-free versions of these treats could put you in a rage yourself.

So fret no more my little Valentines.

Now you can make one of these rich, creamy, and ever so pretty cakes right in your very own kitchen.

How sweet is that?

Want to print out the recipe? Check out this link in the’s Recipe Section.

Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake — powered by ehow

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

February 11th, 2014

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!

Friday Favorite: Chia Bars by Health Warrior

February 6th, 2014

Looking for a quick gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free snack? Need a quick mid-morning pick-me-up that is vegan and high in Omega-3’s? If the answer is yes… you need to check out Chia Bars from Health Warrier.

These bars are small, about 2.5” x 2”, but don’t let the size fool you. Chia, you see, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. So these little bars really pack a punch when it comes to nutrition and making you feel full and satisfied.

I love that these Health Warrior Chia Bars are also only 100 calories each, 100% natural and contain 1000 milligrams of Omeaga-3’s. They are also Certified Gluten-Free. The bars come in several  flavors too… Acai Berry, Coconut, Banana Nut, Coffee, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and my favorite, Apple Cinnamon.

Another bonus… Health Warrior also sells their own chia seeds so you can make your own chia-licious recipes. Some of my favorite recipes you need to try include this Chia Banana Breakfast Bowl and these Health Warrior Banana Nut Muffins.

For being a tasty and feel-good- about-yourself snack option is why this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Health Warrior Chia Bars. Congratulations!

Note: Want to buy Health Warrior Chia Bars? Check out their link on where to buy on their website.

Friday Favorite: Joyce Chen Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce

January 30th, 2014

Making authentic Chinese dishes gluten-free use to be hard for me. Why? It seemed that there was always an ingredient that I couldn’t use in a dish since it wasn’t gluten-free. That’s why I was thrilled to find Joyce Chen’s Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce.

Hoisin Sauce is usually used in Chinese cooking as a glaze or a sauce to add a kick of flavor. This thick, powerful sauce is both sweet and salty. I love the way it adds a boost of flavor when added to homemade Chinese dishes.

Some of the recipes that I enjoy using this gluten-free hoisin sauce in include my Nutty Sesame Chicken Nuggets and my Cashew Chicken.

Joyce Chen gets this week’s Friday Favorite honors for making authentic Chinese cooking at home a snap! Congratulations!

Win-It-Wednesday: Cybele’s Free-To-Eat Cookies – Free of Gluten and the TOP 8 Allergens!

January 28th, 2014

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and my thoughts keep wandering to sweet treats. Treats that can be enjoyed on a cold winter’s day with a cup of hot tea or cocoa… and yes, treats that can be enjoyed without a worry in the world.

And thanks to Cybele’s Free-To-Eat Cookies everyone on a gluten-free diet or those that are concerned with the top 8 allergens – Dairy, Eggs, Wheat, Soy, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish and Shellfish – can enjoy a soft and sweet treat this Valentine’s Day… or any day… worry free.

These cookies are made by a mom of a food allergic family, Cybele Pascal (on a side note… Cybele is a remarkable woman! Make sure you check out Cybele’s blog for some delicious recipes and her “Allergen-Free Bakers Handbook” cookbook for some great allergen-free baking tips and recipes!) The cookies are also vegan – and come in three flavors: Chocolate Chunk Brownie, Chocolate Chip, and my favorite, Oatmeal Raisin. Cybele’s Cookies are also baked in a dedicated gluten-free and allergy-friendly facility.

O.K. – I know by now many of you are also thinking that these cookies must be free of flavor too. But, a-ha, you are wrong my friends. These cookies are soft (like, really, really soft… which I love), moist, full of raisins, chocolate chips & chunks and all the other fixins’. So they are a perfect worry-free, tasty treat for those on a gluten-free diet, celiac disease, or with food allergies. But beware! The non-gluten-free and non-food-allergic peeps in your household will be gobbling them up too… they are just that good.

For being able to enjoy a super tasty cookie that is worry free when it comes to gluten and allergens, is the reason why I am so very excited to have Cybele’s Free-To-Eat Cookies sponsor this Win-It-Wednesday on

Two (2) lucky winners will each receive a prize-pack containing one each of Cybele’s Chocolate Chip & Cybele’s Chocolate Chunk Brownie Free-To-Eat Cookies. One (1) winner will be randomly selected from all comments/entries received before Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST) and one (1) more winner will be randomly selected from all comments/entries received between Wednesday, February 5 and Tuesday, February 11, 2014. So make sure you enter TWO TIMES to win!

How Can You Win?


Reply to this blog and tell us which Cybele’s Free To Eat Cookie looks the sweetest to you (Chocolate Chunk Brownie, Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin). Good luck, sweetness to you all this Valentine’s Day, and, as always…

Be Free!

P.S. – Join me and connect with Cybele on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday Favorite: Pacific Foods Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken Soups

January 23rd, 2014

The weather is chilly and it’s a perfect time of year to pop a casserole in the oven and enjoy a piping hot meal at the end of the day.

But many casserole recipes call for a condensed creamed soups… that in the past have been full of gluten and off-limits to those on a gluten-free diet.

But now, those on a gluten-free diet can make casseroles galore… thanks to Pacific Foods and their condensed Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken Soups.

And along with these creamy soups, Pacific Foods makes tons of other products that are gluten-free including gravies, broths, cranberry sauces; and almond, rice and hemp milks.

Need some casserole recipe inspiration? Check out these gluten-free creations: Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole or this King Ranch Casserole (Note: Just be sure that you double check labels and make sure all the ingredients you use in these recipes are gluten-free!)

The reason why Pacific Foods is being selected as this week’s Friday Favorite on is for finally making a product that those a gluten-free diet have been missing! Congratulations and thanks to Pacific Foods for thinking of us gluten-free folks and bringing casseroles back into our lives!

Friday Favorite: Rocky Mountain Popcorn

January 16th, 2014

O.K…. I’m back on my popcorn kick! And once again, I am loving some crazy popcorn flavors that have your taste buds singing while crunching and munching one of my favorite all-time snacks.

A gluten-fre snack sensation, Rocky Mountain Jalapeno with White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn, has my heart and, as a result,  is also being recognized as this week’s Friday Favorite.

This all-natural gluten-free popcorn is also nut-free, non-GMO and a whole grain snack – so basically you can feel good snacking on these little gems!

Rocky Mountain Popcorn also comes in other delicious flavors such as Cinnamon Sugar, Southwest Cheddar, Caramel, Kettle Corn, White Cheddar, Naked and Butter… and of course, my all-time favorite, the Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese.

For being a whole grain snack that pops with flavor, this week’s Friday Favorite on is awarded to Rocky Mountain Popcorn. Congratulations!

Win-It-Wednesday: Soothie Suckers Herbal Remedies

January 14th, 2014

It’s that time of year again. Yup… the time of the dreaded sniffles, coughs, chills, runny noses, sore throats and more.  But this year is different because I have decided to tackle the colds that usually run rampant through my household before the first sniffle ever starts.

Welcome… Soothie Suckers!

Soothie Suckers are a great tasting, pre­measured herbal remedies that helps you fight the cold season. They are designed for children, but are perfect for anyone from the age of 2 to 92. Because the formulas are blended especially with children in mind, they use gentle herbs rather than harsh chemicals, over the counter drugs or antibiotics. Soothie Suckers come in two formulas. One helps support the immune system and the other the upper respiratory system, which means they assist in preventing colds… not just relieving the symptoms.

Made by a Mom (Marietta) for her young daughter (Esther), Soothie Suckers are made with the love, caring and understanding that only the best, all-natural ingredients are the way to go when it comes to helping your kids stay, and get, healthy. Soothie Suckers can now be found at select retailers and on-line at and (I love it when a woman-owned Mom business thrives!).  Also, make sure that you check out Marietta’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for Soothie Suckers!

Soothie Suckers are also free from allergens… including gluten, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, fish and shellfish.

Another thing to love is that these proprietary, all-natural herbal formulas are packaged in kid-friendly ice pop pouches (how fun!) and come in two natural flavors, grape and orange (my favorite!). And take your pick… these pouches can be served frozen, or at room temperature… whatever your fancy.

And remember… although Soothie Suckers are made with kid’s in mind, they are perfect for adults too. =)

All these reasons are why I am so excited that Soothie Suckers is the sponsor of this Win-It-Wednesday on

Four (yes, 4!) winners will each receive a prize pack of Soothie Suckers. Two (2) of the winners will be randomly selected from all comments / entries received before Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST), and two (2) more winners will be selected from all comments / entries received between Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM (EST) and Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST).

How Can You Win?


Reply to this blog and tell us which Soothie Sucker looks the best to you (immune support or upper respiratory support). Also please feel free to share how you make yourself or your family “feel good” when you do get a cold or sniffles (Me? Bundled up in soft, warm blankets with hot tea & honey).

Good luck, keep well and cold free, and, as always…

Be Free!

Friday Favorite: Suzie’s Whole Grain Thin Cakes

January 9th, 2014

Any product that is a quick and easy substitute for bread is always a hit with me. That is why I am raving about Suzie’s Whole Grain Thin Cakes.

Made of lightly salted brown rice these all-natural puffed crackers, are perfectly shaped (square!) for a gluten-free “sandwich”. They are also perfect for a quick appetizer. Use your creativity and top them with some flavorful combinations. Some ideas? Goat cheese, basil & roasted red peppers; or  spinach, olives and a pesto drizzle.

At only about 15 calories per cracker, these thin cakes are the perfect way to enjoy all your favorite sandwich stuffings, plus more! I also love that these gluten-free brown rice crackers are fat free, contains no sugar, sodium or cholesterol and are also free of trans fat.

All these reasons are why this week’s Friday Favorite is awarded to Suzie’s Whole Grain Thin Cakes! Cheers and congratulations!

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