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Mashed Potatoes

I have a question. Does anyone here have a good recipe for Mashed Potatoes? I usually make them with soy milk and plenty of butter. However, with my husband needing to have foods with less butter/margarine/fat, I have found that my mashed potatoes are terrible! I don’t think broth would be great for a limited cholesterol diet, right? But when I use soy milk and half a stick of butter they are dry as can be. Almost ashy dry! This has always been a problem when i cook with soy milk. For whatver reason, soy milk is just dry? But I always compensated with butter. Now what can I do?

TRY THIS! Enjoy Life Foods – Eat Freely

Enjoy Life Foods is a small business that makes a big impression. Their factory is a dedicated facility free of wheat, gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish! They are also free of casein, potato, sesame and sulfites! There are no artificial ingredients, trans fats or GMO’s in their products, and they are certified Kosher and Vegan(except the bagels), as well as being certified Gluten free! All their foods are routinely batch tested for gluten, casein and soy proteins. Their products taste great and they are not badly priced either!

I contacted the company a few weeks ago to learn more about them and obtain samples for the purpose of this review. I was impressed with Enjoy Life’s willingness to talk with me and answer any questions that I had and the information they mailed to me was very helpful. They even sent me a brochure about food allergies and common ingredients to avoid! Enjoy Life and their employees truly know about each product, how it is manufactured, and what we, as consumers need from them in order to feel safe eating their foods. They are happy to answer questions and it does not take 2 hours and 6 people to answer what questions you may have!

I was able to sample their Mountain Mambo Not Nuts Trail Mix, Beach Bash Not Nuts Trail Mix, Sunbutter Crunch Snack Bar, Cocoa Loco Snack Bars and their chocolate chips. Out of these products, the most impressive and most popular at my house was the trail mix! I have rated the items on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being the worst, 10 being the best, and 5 being average.

**10** Mountain Mambo Not Nuts Trail Mix – I have to give this mix a scaled 10! This mix is made without nuts, dairy, soy or gluten. It is a mix of sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, raisins, apples, chocolate chips and cranberries. The very best thing about it? The fruits are soft and tasty, the pumpkin seeds and sunflower kernels aren’t chewy or grainy and the chocolate chips add a sweet flavor that brings this mix together very nicely! It is better than any trail mix I have ever tasted and I did not miss the nuts! My six year old doesn’t even like trail mix but he loved this stuff! We went through an entire 6 ounce package in one day! I had several people with nut allergies and without taste this as well, and it has always gotten a scaled 10! It isn’t hard to eat, it tastes great and it’s healthy! The MSRP on this is $3.49.

**10** Beach Bash Not Nuts Trail Mix – Again, this gets a scaled 10 from us! Another great trail mix that definitely doesn’t need nuts to taste good! This mix contains sunflower kernels, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, and apricots. I am partial to pineapple and apricots in trail mix, so out of the two different trail mixes, this is my hands down favorite! Even without chocolate chips, this makes a great snack. The package is great too because it zips closed when you are done snacking! Great for sporting event snacks and all day outings! The MSRP on these is $3.79 for a 6 ounce bag.

**10** Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips – We are rating these at a scaled 10 because at $3.49 MSRP for a 10 ounce bag, they run a lower in price than many other dairy free chip manufacturers and they taste great! They do not have any after taste, and they work well as Ice cream toppings, trail mix addition, among other things. They bake into breads and cookies wonderfully as well! They are gluten, dairy and soy free, making them a great, budget friendly alternative for food allergic families!

**9** Cocoa Loco Snack Bars – These get a scaled 9! They are very good with a chocolaty taste that my six year old loved and a lot of people thought was delicious! However, I did get some comments about a grainy texture that turned a few people away from these snack bars. It was described as a dry oatmeal texture that made some just not want to eat it. That does not take the rating down much however because for an MSRP of 4.29 for a box of 5 bars, these are priced fairly and healthy. My six year old ate these and loved them, and these passed the picky eater test with him!

**8** Sunbutter Crunch Snack Bar – These get a scaled 8 in my house! I am unfamiliar with the taste of sunbutter, as are the rest of the people in my house so I cannot judge the flavor. My six year old ate them and seemed to like them, but did not ask for them once they were gone. Based on that fact, along with the common “grainy texture” they were rated with an 8. However, this is supposed to be a crunchy bar, and without that texture, I am not so sure “crunch” could be in the product name, and there are many who love this particular bar! I would say you should try it yourself to determine your own preference for sunbutter!

So, that about wraps up my review this week! Enjoy Life Food’s have impressed me with in so many ways! They treat their customers with respect and understanding, their food is terrific, and their prices are budget friendly! It has truly been wonderful to speak with them and I look forward to trying newer products in the future!

A Mothers Day Challenge!

Some people are car junkies. They will come home with the sorriest looking piece of junk, it doesn’t run, and swear they will fix it up. Two years later it will still be in your garage, either completely restored and for sale, or in the same shape it was in when it was brought home.

I am an appliance junkie. I love kitchen appliances. Some of you may be wondering, “What does this have to do with food allergies?” It has a lot to do with food allergies! I bake a lot because my son is allergic to dairy! I also make a lot of my mixes from scratch! It is so much nicer to do these things with the proper equipment! Don’t you agree? I hope after you read this you will take a moment to comment and tell me what you wish you had in your kitchen!

My dream appliance (nope, I don’t have it in my kitchen) is the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5 Quart 325 Watt Stand Mixer Model no. KSM150PSWH. This thing can do everything and it sure is pretty! But here’s the thing. I can’t convince my husband that he should buy it for me for Mothers Day! How did he convince me that that piece of crap in the garage was an antique? Guess I am just gullible! Well, back to my original point, The KitchenAid Artisan Mixer has so many attachments, it is almost ridiculous! There are sausage stuffers, can openers, ice cream makers etcetera etcetera! All of these things can be attached to this mixer! I get warm fuzzies just thinking about making dairy free pizza crust and still having use of my arm afterwards! But alas, I am not an argumentative person, and cannot convince my wonderful husband to buy it!

So I have decided to try something out! I want to do a challenge for all my readers! The winner will receive one box of Enjoy Life Snack Bars! These snack bars are delicious and wheat, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish free! They are made in a dedicated gluten/nut free factory as well! The challenge is to convince my husband to get me this mixer for Mothers Day! I know what your thinking…..”What if he just isn’t convinced?” That’s ok. But the person who can send me the best argument, which I will be sharing with my husband, will win. IF my husband DOES find your argument convincing, and DOES buy me this mixer, I will toss I an extra package of Enjoy Life Snack Bars! Winners will be announced on May 15th here on the site, so please check back for the results! The only “fine print” stipulation here is that I must receive more than 5 responses! You can email your quality response to me at bella214@cox.net but please toss a comment in on this site so others can see what the response count is! The deadline is May 10th and all arguments should be made as if you were talking to my husband! His name is Chris! Also keep in mind, that this mixer CAN be purchased for 150.00 – 199.00, so it isn’t only price that he needs convincing on!

The Loaf stops here?

A few days ago, a friend of Damian’s gave us an Amish Friendship Bread starter. I of course asked immediately about dairy content, and she said she didn’t realize but yes it had dairy in it. I really wanted to do this with Damian though, so at midnight I was knee deep in Google links searching for the Amish Friendship Bread starter recipe. I found it, printed it, and noted what substitutes I would need to make this. Then I got to thinking and here is where the trouble began.

I wanted to make something Damian could share with his friends. Then I thought it would be nice if he could share it with his food allergic friends. The trouble with this is all his friends have different allergies. So I would have to make it a dairy, egg, corn, gluten, peanut, tree nut and soy free Amish Friendship bread Starter. HA! I have a hard time cooking dairy free! Not to mention how much it would cost to make a bread like this.

Anyway, the thought that something as simple as a loaf of bread was separating us depressed me. When I shared my thoughts with my husband he just shook his head. He pointed out that it looked like this bread was never going to be made. I was perturbed with this attitude and instantly wanted to know why he would think such a thing.

He replied “You set out to make Amish Friendship Bread and somehow ended up trying to make super bread! Stick with what you know!” I knew immediately that he was right and he was right about the bread not being made too. It has been a week now and I still have not made this phantom bread. In my defense, I did forget to get dry yeast so I can’t make it until I get some.

Anyway, I did learn something from this experience. I was disappointed because I felt like we food allergy sufferers were “seperated by a simple loaf of bread”, but that isn’t entirely true. While we may not be able to safely pass an Amish Friendship Bread recipe to each other, it seems that is exactly what binds us as a community. We share many thing, but food isn’t usually one of them, and we all accept this as a condition to our condition (no pun intended).

So this weekend I am determined to make this bread. It will only be dairy free, and I will post the recipe here as dairy free, but I won’t feel guilty doing it.

I know that my son will someday, hopefully, appreciate the extra effort it took to make a special version of Amish Friendship Bread just so he could enjoy it with his non-allergic friends. I guess I could at least make it gluten free too. I have heard that Fleishmanns makes a gluten free yeast. But then I would need flour too and……Here I go thinking again…..

Try this! Road’s End 123 Macaroni and Chreese

I always hesitate to try anything that is supposed to be imitate Macaroni and Cheese, be free of allergens and taste good. A friend gave us this to try and we aren’t sorry we did. Road’s End 123 Macaroni and Chreese is vegan, certified organic and free of dairy, casein, eggs, and nuts. They also make Gluten and wheat free versions.

It comes boxed much the same way Kraft does. It has the package of powered “chreese” and then the noodles. The noodles are mini numbers, shaped perfectly. They do not lose their shape or turn to mush when you cook them either! Damian enjoyed being able to play number games while he ate. The box is also recyclable, which my little EPA man thought was awesome!

The instructions say you should combine milk or milk substitute with the “chreese” then pour it into the pot and stir while it heats, then add the boiled noodles. The “chreese” tends to be pasty, but it does not smell bad, as a lot of them do. It also didn’t seem to have much flavor. It didn’t taste bad, it just didn’t taste like anything. Adding a little seasoning solved that problem though and while I probably wouldn’t make a habit of eating this, my son LOVES it! It is also great when you add chopped broccoli and/or ham!

Overall, I would say that while this wasn’t full of flavor, it did not smell bad or taste bad so it makes the “Book of Brags” for us! In fact, I think I will make the Road’s End Alfredo style Macaroni & Chreese with broccoli now! My son loves this stuff! For information about Road’s End products, visit Road’s End Organics Website. This product may also be available at Navan Foods, when the store opens in Virginia Beach in May.