Soy Free Macaroni and Cheese

Need an easy dish for your holiday dinner? This macaroni and cheese recipe is super easy, delicious, and it’s my Mother’s recipe, so I can assure you it’s good! It’s also a great weeknight dinner idea.

 

Maraconi

Soy Free Macaroni and Cheese

One package of pasta (Rice pasta or 100% whole wheat pasta work great and should be soy free.)

2 packages (8 oz) extra sharp cheddar, grated (I use Cabot Seriously Sharp)

Two Eggs (I have found soy free eggs at Whole Foods)

1-2 cups milk as desired(grass fed or unsweetened alternative milk)

Butter (optional-I use Kerrygold grass fed butter)

Boil pasta according to package directions. In a bowl, add egg, milk and optional butter and whisk until blended. In a deep, 8 x 11 baking dish, layer macaroni and cheese without placing top layer of cheese. Pour milk/egg mixture evenly into the dish until the mixture is at least 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the dish. Bake on 350 for 15 minutes. Top with final layer of cheese and bake in five minute increments. You will know that the dish is done when you place a spoon on the side of the dish and the milk mixture is no longer liquid but also not dry either.

Serves 6-8.

 

Holiday Meal Ideas

Maraconi

The holidays are almost here! While it is certainly an exciting time, there are some challenges that anyone with food allergies will be navigating over the next few weeks. I have been having many conversations with family and friends about get-togethers: Should I bring my own food? What are you preparing and what ingredients are you using? What ingredients to I need to substitute to make a dish that is safe for me?

I have three main issues that I am personally dealing with right now:

1. This is my first Thanksgiving without soy, and watching others eat traditional Thanksgiving food that I can no longer eat is more than I can handle at this point in my journey.

2. I am severely allergic to poinsettias (the red flowers you see during the holidays) and cannot go near a grocery store, shopping mall, restaurant or someone’s home that hasĀ  poinsettias. Yep, that means that hubby has to do all the grocery shopping and label reading. (He’s definitely a keeper!!) Side note: poinsettias can sometimes be cross-reactive to latex, so be aware if you are allergic to latex.

3. I have no time to think through how to make alternative dishes with substitute ingredients that are safe for me, not less cook that much food.

The thing is, instead of getting me down, I remind myself constantly that:

The reason why the holidays are important is not because of what is on the plate but because of who is sitting at the table!

I am very excited to be spending time with my family, and I am also very thankful that they are so supportive and also recognize that the food is not what is important. We have decided to have a spaghetti dinner with homemade banana pudding for Thanksgiving. I am supplying the spaghetti sauce (Whole Foods 365 Organic Pasta Sauce), and I will be bringing my own pasta to go with it (Whole Foods 365 Organic Spaghetti.)

Here are some other ideas for Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Meals that everyone can eat. (Place each ingredient in separate bowls with separate spoons, and prepare each ingredient with clean utensils and cooking surfaces.):

  • Build Your Own Tacos (Try Garden of Eatin’ or Bearitos taco shells.)
  • Build Your Own Salad
  • Build Your Own Pasta (With a couple of sauce, pasta and veggie options)
  • Build Your Own Baked Potato or Sweet Potato Bar
  • OR, invite everyone over for a build your own Sundae or Fruit Salad bar. So Delicious and Haagen-Dazs have some soy free ice cream options, although not all are soy free. You could also make delicious banana ice cream from just a couple of ingredients. Google “one ingredient banana ice cream” for ideas.

Calling All Soyvivors: How are you handling the holidays and what are you eating?

 

 

Easy Soy Free Snacks

kale chips

There are lots of easy soy free homemade snacks out there, and my snacks need to be easily stuffed into my lunch bag for work. Here are some of my favorites:

  • A piece of fruit (apples, pears and bananas are especially easy)
  • Cheese slices
  • Fried cheese (take shredded sharp cheddar, sautee dry in a skillet on medium heat until it turns into a crunchy treat.)
  • Kale chips (easy to bake!)
  • Lara Bars
  • Nuts or Seeds(check for cross contact statements)
  • Homemade Granola
  • Smashed avocado with some sea salt and cilantro (serve with chips)
  • Salsa and avocado stirred together and served with chips
  • A slice of toast with nut butter and banana (makes a great sandwich too!)
  • Cucumber slices
  • Carrots
  • A side salad
  • Rice cakes with nut butter

Calling All Soyvivors: What are you favorite snacks?

AllerThrive: Food Allergy Coaching

I am pleased to announce that I am in the process of becoming a certified AllerCoach specializing in managing food allergies and special dietary concerns. I have completed my certification in food allergy management and am in the process of completed the final weeks of my training!

I will be launching my business, AllerThrive: Food Allergy Coaching in January. I will offer many services including (but not limited to):

  • Training and Education
  • Meal Planning
  • Shopping and Label Reading
  • Cooking
  • Dining Out
  • Advocacy
  • Specialities in College and Workplace support

Because many of the benefits of these services are best utilized through in-person meetings, my ideal client will be those living within 2-3 hours of the Greenville, South Carolina area. However, I will consider taking additional clients depending on the circumstances.

If you would like to be placed on my waiting list, please email me at AllerThrive@gmail.com.

To learn more about Food Allergy Gal’s AllerCoach program, please click here.

 

Allergy Alert: This Is Why We Read Labels

justins

I was in Whole Foods today, and as I picked up a jar of my go-to almond butter, Justin’s Classic Almond Butter, I noticed something different. I noticed a “may contain” statement including soy and peanuts. I kept thinking, “surely I haven’t been buying this all along with a may contain statement on it!”

Then I started to remember that I had seen some of my fellow Soyvivors talking about their use of Justin’s almond butter and knew that something was wrong. I went back to the shelf and noticed that one of the classic almond butter containers had a may contain statement and one of them did not. I checked the expiration dates, and the container with the may contain statement had an expiration date that was a month longer than the container without it.

I had lots of questions swirling through my mind. Did Justin’s Almond Butter always potentially contain soy, or did they change equipment? What caused them to suddenly start putting this statement on their labels?

Either way, I will be switching brands. I happily found some 356 brand almond butter, and hopefully Whole Foods will be more consistent with their labeling.

This is why Soyvivors or any other food allergy thriver should read product labels every single time. You never know when equipment, ingredients, or manufacturers will change their mind about their priorities and their products.

Soy Free Slow Cooker Recipe: Chicken With Cream of Mushroom

It’s Fall again, and I love to use the slow cooker in cooler months. I can make meals in bulk that freeze well for days when I am too busy to cook. I usually cook an whole container of brown rice and freeze in 1 cup servings for later use as well. As always, read your labels carefully as they can change at any time, and note that some folks report issues with eating chickens that have been fed soy.

Many people swear by browning your meat before placing it in the crock pot, but I think that defeats the purpose of a quick and easy meal with little clean-up. Also, make sure that once you start the crock pot, you do not take off the lid until it is done. I have read that every time you take off the lid, it adds 20-30 minutes of cooking time to the slow cooker.

It’s also super easy to make your own cream of mushroom if you have an extra couple of minutes. You really just need some milk or heavy cream, sliced mushrooms, some spices, and a little soy free flour in case you need to thicken the sauce. Just add it to the crock pot, and voila!

Slow Cooker Chicken With Mushroom Gravy

16 pieces chicken tenderloins

1 cup mushrooms (you can use any mushroom here, but I use shiitake)

2 containers 12 oz. Pacific Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup

12 oz. milk (more milk if you want more gravy, but it may be thin)

Onion Flakes, Garlic Powder, Salt, Pepper to Taste

I also add: Penzey’s Old World Seasoning (1 tsp) and a pinch of Penzey’s Berbere

2 cups Brown Rice (pasta is also great)

Place all ingredients except rice in crock pot and cook on high for four hours. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Serve or freezer in individual servings.

Makes 6-8 servings. Great side dishes include spinach or english peas (be careful of other legumes if you haven’t tested them.)

Enjoy!

 

 

Review: Tasterie Mail-Order Allergy Friendly Treats

Tasterie

If you have been anywhere on the web, you have seen advertisements for mail order companies that will send you a box of gourmet foods each month directly to your home. While they look delicious and seem tempting, anyone with food allergies knows that there could be lots of potential problems with a subscription to one of these services. Not only do most of them not offer allergy-friendly options, but you do not have much control over what is sent to you each month.

About four months ago, I found Tasterie, a company founded by a pediatrician mom of a child with food allergies. There are a few options to choose from in your monthly package: Top 8 Allergy; Gluten & Wheat Allergy; Gluten, Wheat & Dairy Allergy; or Nut Allergy.

At first, I kept trying to convince myself that it was a frivolous expense. Eventually I came to realize that food allergies can take a lot of the “surprise” and fun out of your food, and I wanted to get some of that fun back into my life. I subscribed to the Top 8 Allergy box.

I have to say that I was excited when my package arrived. It was great to see real foods that I could actually eat, and the great part was that none of it was in my local stores. I was really seeing treats in my box that I would not have found anywhere else, and that was exciting.

My Tasterie box helped me to realize that there are a lot of options out there that are waiting to be discovered.

According to Tasterie’s website, the company goes to great lengths to find allergy friendly products, but as far as ingredients go, there were still a few items on the label that concerned me. I would say that they worried me not because I did not trust Tasterie, but because I know how many times companies have given out wrong information about their products. I did try to reach out through Facebook and ask some questions about a few items, but I did not receive a reply.

I have been receiving my box for about four months now, and I have received an assortment of cookies, chips, sweets, pastas, and drinks. Baking mixes have included muffins, pizza dough, cakes, and cookies. You also receive product information and a recipe with each box. Everything I have tried is delicious and I have not had any problems with any of the products so far. As always, everyone is different and it is always best to reach out to the manufacturer if you have any concerns.

I now look forward to my Tasterie box each month, and every time I open my box throughout the month, it gives me joy. Tasterie is an expense, but if you are looking to add some variety and surprise to your food, I would highly recommend it.