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Friday, January 15, 2016

Pantry Prep & Product Testing

Once I’d started doing research – the next step was to clear out special pantry space just for me. I’ve been able to find plenty of allergy safe foods out there, but it was going to come to blows if the hubs or the kid decided to eat any of my newly acquired “safe” foods. I cleared out two shelves our previous snack cupboard, and labeled them with my favorite blue tape.

I managed to find quite a few items (thank you Nabisco & Quaker) that were allergy safe for me. Yes, I can hear some of you… “but there are partially hydrogenated oils in those!” And to you I say “yep” and I’m okay with that. I’m picking my battles. It’s hard enough to finds foods without dairy or nuts, I just can’t be eliminating hydrogenated oils right now too. I work and have a family – I just don’t have that much time in my days to be making EVERYTHING from scratch. Life is all about compromises right? This is the one I’m currently making. Not to mention I’d go broke buying everything at Whole Foods. So Go ME!

The following are products that I purchased and taste tested on my own. I have not received any compensation from any of the companies I’m mentioning below.

Enjoy Life – wow – can I just say wow! At the start of this whole experience I was having a very down evening, you know the kind, full on “whoa is me” type thinking. Then I remembered my mom had given me a package of Enjoy Life’s Mega Chunks. These are the nummiest chips. And if you’ve managed to survive the shock of removing dairy from your diet, you wont even notice a taste difference between these and semi-sweet chips. Granted they’re not milk chocolate, but hey – it’s chocolate and I’ll take anything I can get!

Another one of my favorite new food finds is by Earth Balance – a vegan white cheddar mac-n-cheese. I know! Mac-n-cheesee!!! I’ve never been a lover of home made mac-n-cheese, absolutely adore the boxed mac with powder sauce. Don’t judge. I was over the top happy to discover this little blue box. You can find it at your local Whole Foods, but if you’re okay with having foods shipped to you – you can find better prices on Amazon. Prime shipping anyone?? I have also been trying out various brands/flavors of dairy free milk. I can’t do the nut milks obviously, but have been trying out different brands of soy milk and even this Oat Milk by Pacific – yum, yum, yum. I have also had to learn to tolerate the flavor of nutritional yeast – it is used in a wide variety of savory dairy free “cheese” recipes. Still not exactly my favorite, but after a year of eating it in other things I’ve learned to tolerate the flavor.

The only company I’m not happy with, that is pictured below, is Bob’s Red Mill. Unfortunately every one of their products is processed on shared equipment with tree nuts. Every single one! And they put the warning in a really strange location on the label – I ended up returning almost everything in this picture.

 Another one of my happier finds are the Daiya shreds. As you can see in the pictures below, I purchased quite a few vegan cheeses. Daiya by far has the best flavor of shredded cheese. It also melts nicely and isn’t too oily once it’s melted. The Follow Your Heart shreds didn’t have as nice a cheddar flavor and I really did not care for the Go Veggie slices – and don’t try to melt those either. Not a good idea.

I also tried out both the Daiya and Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds – Daiya was the clear winner again on this flavor. The quesadilla used Follow Your Heart, you can see that it’s a bit glossy from oil. I have noticed after using these shreds for a year now that you have to keep a close eye on the package after you open it. They get moldy faster than actual shredded cheese. I even tried shredding some actual goat cheese but sadly it didn’t go well. I have the same reactions to the proteins in the goat milk as I do to the proteins in cows milk.


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