Rachael Ray: Hi, Elisabeth. How cute are you sitting up on the counter? You look so happy in your kitchen. Do you spend a lot of time cooking in here with the family?
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: Thanks, Rach. Our kitchen is a place where the kids always feel welcome. My daughter, Grace, is 4, and she loves helping me cook. It takes longer and is a bit messier when she's involved, but we have fun.
RR: Even if they're still itty-bitties, it's great that you're exposing them to the process of cooking. That's how you end up with non-picky eaters. Do your children like everything?
EH: Grace eats anything, but my son, Taylor, is picky. He actually throws his food at me -- it's like I'm playing defense with him. Maybe it means he'll be an NFL great like his father [ESPN analyst and former quarterback Tim Hasselbeck], but I'd prefer if he threw a ball and not his blackberries.
RR: Maybe he'll win a Heisman with that arm! So, I love that your book, The G-Free Diet, isn't just about cooking at home, but also about how you're gluten-free in every part of your life.
EH: When I discovered I had celiac disease seven years ago, I was afraid to eat anything and was sick for a long time. The book is a guide to living with a gluten allergy. It covers everything -- how to order in a restaurant, how to make food for friends, and suggestions for preparing lunches for kids.
RR: When I was grocery-shopping the other day, I was amazed at how many gluten-free products are on the shelves. Are you surprised at how far we've come?
EH: Oh, yes. I grew up in a big Italian family, and recently my grandmother was giving me her meatball and sauce recipe. When she got to the part about adding breadcrumbs, she looked up at me and said, "Elisabeth, you can add whatever you want here." I thought, if my Italian grandmother can understand being G-free, anyone can.
RR: That's sweet. Italian families use bread to mop up everything. It's like a fourth utensil -- fork, spoon, knife and bread. So, I see a lot of Greek yogurt in your fridge. It's one of my favorite snacks -- it's delish.
EH: I like it because you can make it into anything you want it to be, so we always keep a stash on hand.
RR: Yeah, I make marinades and dips out of it. Well, if you could throw a dream dinner party, who would you invite?
EH: I'd ask Paul Simon and the entire cast of Disney characters -- it'd be good for the kids to see Mickey eating his vegetables! I'd also love to have the women's Olympic gymnastics team over so I can take credit for the meal that leads to a gold-medal-winning performance.
Elisabeth's Top Three Gluten-Free Tips
1. Keep a section of your pantry G-free. You won't have to rummage though your family's snacks when a craving strikes.
2. Double-stock and label as G-free any food that you spread on piece of bread: cream cheese, peanut butter, honey, jelly -- anything that a knife would go in. This way, you avoid any potential contact with gluten.
3. Eat together as a family. Serve pasta or bread alongside a G-free entrée so no one will feel left out or deprived.