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.

 

Soy Free Halloween Candy

My first blog on candy was at Easter, and you can read more about that candy list by click here. Since then, I have become much pickier about what I eat and have had several instances where companies were not as transparent about their ingredients as they should have been.

As always, keep in mind that everyone is different in their reactions to the same product, and product ingredients can change at any time.

HalloweenCandy2014

Surf Sweets

Surf Sweets declares on their website that they are soy free and also free of several other allergens which they list on their website. They make gummies, jelly beans, sour gummies, and fruit rings. Their peach rings and jelly beans are my favorite! I find them most often at Whole Foods.

YumEarth Organics

YumEarth Organics was the first brand of soy free candy that I found, and I actually found it at TJ Maxx. (side note: If you have a TJ Maxx in your area, take a look a their food section! I have found a lot of soy free products and health foods there.) I have also seen the candy at Whole Foods, and there are likely others as well.  They make pops, fruit snacks, gummy bears, sour beans, and candy drops. You can find an allergen chart on their website that lists common allergens and which ones are found in their products. Soy is included in this chart, and none of their products contain soy.

Enjoy Life

Enjoy Life is free from the top 8 allergens and makes chocolate chips, cookies, bars, seed & fruit mixes and more. I especially love their Gingerbread Spice cookies. I have seen Enjoy Life products in many grocery stores, and this is a great brand not only for Halloween but for every day use.

Theo Chocolate

Some folks with soy allergy given the OK by their doctors to eat soy lecithin, but for those of us that are not, it is very difficult to find chocolate. While I am uncertain as to whether every Theo Chocolate product is soy free, the bars that I have eaten did not contain soy ingredients. Their products are also organic. I LOVE their chocolate, but it is very rich chocolate, so some kids (and adults) may not prefer it. I buy my Theo Chocolate at Whole Foods, but I have seen their products in other stores as well. I have seen some folks use Erewhon graham crackers (soy free), soy free marshmallows (not sure of what brand), and Theo Chocolate to make smores.

Calling all Soyvivors: What other soy free candies have you found? Please leave your suggestions in the comments below!

The Next Chapter: AllerCoach Training

While I have dealt with food allergies for many years, my soy allergy diagnosis in February was the most life-altering experience I have ever had. At first, I was spending 60-80 hours per week researching, learning to cook all over again, and calling manufacturers about products. I was working part-time and I realized that there were so many people out there that were working full-time and/or trying to raise a family (some of which also had food allergies.)

I have said that finding my soy allergy was the worst thing that has ever happened to me and the best thing that has ever happened to me. The miraculous transformation that took place in my mind, body, and spirit is mind-blowing. I believe that this experience combined with over 10 years of experience in teaching, training and student development has led me to find my calling: helping others navigate their own special dietary restrictions and find their way to transformation.

After a lot of research and consideration, I am very excited to be participating in the 14 week Food Allergy Gal AllerCoach School and am already in my second week of training.

Beginning in January of next year, I will be launching my own business as an independent coach and consultant to support those with food allergies and special dietary needs. I will not be a medical professional or dietician, but I will be someone who has been there and can help clients with everything from advocacy to meal planning and shopping. For more information on the program and what AllerCoaches provide, please click here.

I plan to continue my blog, so stay tuned for more information later this year! I am also on Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, and Facebook.

Recipe: Soy Free Chicken Peas and Pasta

Sometimes my job requires me to work long 16-hour days due to events, so I like finding dishes that I can make the night before to eat for dinner and then reheat for lunch/dinner the next day. This dish makes great comfort food and also a good hearty meal for days when you are on the go. As usual, because of acid reflux, I substitute real onion for onion flakes.

chickenpeas

Chicken, Peas and Pasta

8 chicken tenderloins

1 package of frozen peas

1 package of Tinkyada brown rice pasta (I prefer the spinach pasta)

1 package of shiitake mushrooms, chopped (optional)

1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream

Spices: garlic powder, pepper, onion flakes

Olive Oil or Coconut Oil

Shredded parmesan cheese (topping)

Cook pasta according to package directions. In a separate, deep skillet, cook chicken on medium, about 6-7 minutes on each side with garlic powder, pepper, and onion flakes. About 2-3 minutes before chicken is done, add shiitake mushrooms while defrosting peas. Add peas when defrosted. When all ingredients are warm, add 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream depending on how much sauce you would like. Continue to cook on medium heat until cream is bubbling. Reduce heat to simmer until sauce is desired consistency, about 3-5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and stir. Serve topped with parmesan cheese.

Serves 6-8

Soy Free Body Wash Reviews

Body Wash Soy Free Body Wash Reviews

The day after my soy reaction, I took a day to discard everything in my house that contained soy, including bath & body products, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and hand soap. Because those with soy allergy know that soy is really in everything, I basically threw out everything in my house. I noticed that the rash (Keritosis Pilaris aka “chicken skin”) that had plagued me for years despite interventions from my dermatologist was gradually disappearing.

I think it is well worth getting rid of all soy in your home, especially with the dramatic improvements that I found soon after eliminating soy. (I always like to begin a review article with my usual disclaimer: product ingredients can change at any time and may even vary by distributor. When in doubt, always call the manufacturer, and also test a small area of skin before fully using a product.)

I like to switch body washes from time to time, especially since there is some research out there that suggests that some allergies could stem from using the same products or foods too frequently.

Below are my go-to products and when I use them. Note: These reviews are my personal opinions and I do not have any current relationships or agreements with any of these brands.

California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo & Body Wash

California Baby makes lots of great products from sunscreens to body wash to diaper cream. It’s not just for babies, and it’s great for those of us with sensitive skin. Since I also have seasonal allergies, I use California Baby in the heat of Spring and Fall allergy season when I want to be extra careful of fragrance exposure. It’s also great when you are going to be outdoors and don’t want fragrance to attract insects. I have heard that Target carries this brand, although I am not sure if they carry  the fragrance free version. You can also order directly from California Baby’s website or from Amazon.

Hugo Naturals Shower Gel (Vanilla & Sweet Orange or Lavendar)

Hugo Naturals is my go-to brand for reasonably priced soy free bath and body products. They make lip balm, shower gel, hand sanitizer, shampoo/conditioner/gel, deodorant, lotions, and more. I love their vanilla & sweet orange shower gel for morning showers, and their lavender shower gel is great for a relaxing evening shower. If you haven’t tried Hugo Naturals, I highly recommend it!

Acure Unscented Sensitive Skin Body Wash

While Hugo Naturals is my go-to brand for everyday bath & body, Acure is my go-to brand for keeping my face in tip-top shape. Acure is also widely available in specialty and health food stores, so you don’t have to wait on a shipment for their products. While there are soy free makeup brands out there, I have made the decision to go without makeup for the most part as a personal choice for my body. Acure helps my skin look great so that I can skip the makeup. Their unscented body wash is another great choice for pampering your skin.

Calling all Soyvivors: Do you have other favorite soy free brands for body wash? Share in the comments below!

What Does “Soy Free” Really Mean?

When I first found out that I was allergic to soy, I would simply ask, “Is your product soy free?” If the answer was yes, I thought that was all I needed. WRONG.

Companies will not always tell you the truth. Some companies will do everything they can to present their product in the best light, even if that means that they do not tell you everything you need to know about the soy content in their product. In fact, many manufacturers have so many distributors of their products that they do not even know if their ingredients are derived from soy.

Is it because they don’t care that you could have a life-threatening reaction? Probably not. It’s more likely because they have no idea how dangerous it is to avoid fully disclosing the ingredients in their product. It is also likely that they believe they are doing the right thing by following FDA guidelines, which require very little disclosure about the soy content in a product.

I had an issue with a company a few weeks ago that makes widely known and dermatologist- recommended lotions and creams. I had called them a few months ago and they confirmed that their product was soy free. Last week, I emailed them, and they once again confirmed that their product was soy free. Then, I heard from another soyvivor that the same company told her that they could not tell her if the glycerin in the product was derived from soy.

I once again contacted the company, and while they continued to assert that their product was soy free, they also asserted that they could not guarantee that there was no trace amounts of soy and they could not guarantee that their glycerin was not derived from soy.

Bottom line: The term “Soy Free” is not regulated and means nothing, especially when it comes to non-food products.

It reminds me a lot of “organic” food. There are many ways to state that a product is organic, but unless it is certified to be organic, you cannot believe the claim. Unfortunately there are no requirements for labeling a product as “soy free” unless you are considering FDA guidelines, which are in my opinion virtually useless for those allergic to soy.

It is very important to always ask about specific ingredients when you call companies. For more information on calling manufacturers, read this post.