Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Top Three Favorite Allergen-Free Holiday Treats

A friend on Facebook brought up the subject of Holiday baking and it made me think I should catch up with this blog by doing a quick post with three of my favorite holiday cookie recipes. I never cared about baking before being diagnosed with multiple food allergies and most of the year I do not do much of it, but Winter in Portland isn't the same without some fresh baked goodies to share. Obviously, if you do not have food allergies or sensitivities, these will be easy to make with regular ingredients.

Happy Eating!

1) Rice Krispie Treats
Easy to do using a butter substitute like Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread and gluten-free crispy rice cereal (there are several good brands, like Erewhon and Nature's Path). Thankfully most marshmallows are okay for me to eat! I make these throughout the year and everyone loves them.

Here's a fun blog post with an easy to follow recipe and visual comparison between the two cereals by "Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom": Gluten Free Rice "Krispie" Treats

2) Ginger Molasses Cookies
My favorite cookie pre-allergies was always Snickerdoodles. Huge cookies with a crackly sugared outside and soft inside, they would make me swoon. I still love Snickerdoodles and the blog that has this and the next recipe has a recipe that is very good here, but these Ginger Molasses Cookies blew my socks off so hard that they're now my favorite cold-weather all-purpose cookie. I love them so much that I don't even want to share with anyone else!

The only substitution I had to make to this recipe was to use powdered egg replacer. The cookies turned out looking almost EXACTLY like the photo and they were so good when eaten warm.

3) German Jam Sandwich Cookies (Hildebrochen)
Another "Beyond the Wheat" cookie recipe (she did 12 different cookie recipes for Christmas last year!) that is astoundingly tasty. This is a little more labor intensive, but the ingredients couldn't be simpler. These were good the day of, but even better the day after. They keep very well and I'm sure would freeze great if you can hold off devouring them long enough to do so! I did half with an all fruit black raspberry seedless jam and half with an all fruit apricot jam and both were very tasty, though the raspberry was my favorite. The glazing of powdered sugar really helped finish these little cookies off, but I only glazed the tops.

I had to substitute both the butter and the eggs in this, but had zero difficulties. The biggest key to success with these cookies is to let the dough chill long enough before rolling it out. Two hours minimum! The first time I made these I did not cut out the center on the top cookie; the second time I did and it made the cookies much prettier. Either way they're very tasty.

Note: I used Pamela's Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix for my 2009 holiday baking, but I've since decided that I cannot tolerate the powdered buttermilk in this mix, so I'll be trying out other mixes this holiday season. I have a feeling that Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour will be the most affordable option that also bakes up well and there's the bonus of them being a really awesome local company!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mild Green Chicken Curry on Rice

Until the last year or so, I had really no true understanding or awareness of what
"curry" was. Then, with all the foods I loved disappearing off my menu I was encouraged to look into other cuisine traditions for
options. Curry quickly became a favorite, though I doubt if I'll ever be making my own curry spice mixes from scratch or delving very far i
nto the hotter curry options. I am quite the wuss when it comes to "hot spice" and the kids don't tolerate it well either.

I really like mild yellow and mild green curries with coconut milk, which I guess makes them more of a Thai tradition than Indian. I don't pretend to be an expert and t
he following recipe will likely make some purists gasp in horror, but we love it, it's reasonably healthy, very filling and tastes amazingly rich and delicious.


Most curry dishes are a bit labor intensive the first few times, especially if you have numerous vegetables that need to be chopped, but they're always well worth the effort. As usual, I never really measure anything, so I'm guesstimating on the measurements and never do anything the same way twice, but with curry dishes that's part of the fun. Here's my newest favorite curry combination.

Mild Green Chicken Curry (6-8 servings)

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp flavorless cooking oil (corn, canola, etc...not olive)
  • 2 Tbsp Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste (http://www.thaikitchen.com/Products/Sauces-and-Pastes/Green-Curry-Paste.aspx)
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 large carrots, cut in half length-ways and then sliced into half rounds that are about 1/4" thick or thinner
  • 1/4 cup sherry or white wine
  • 1 pound deboned raw chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 can of pineapple & juice (chunks or niblets in juice, not syrup)
  • 2 Tbsp cup sugar
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp "Chinese Five Spice" seasoning
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. In a large (4qt+) heavy lidded pot, heat oil, curry paste, onion and garlic over medium-high heat until garlic starts to brown.
  2. Add carrots and sherry (or wine or a little broth), stir well and cover with lid, reducing heat to medium and cook for about five minutes.
  3. Add chicken, stirring to coat chicken with curry mixture and cook covered for another three minutes, then add all the rest of the ingredients, stirring frequently to make sure everything is incorporated.
  4. Cover and increase heat to medium-high and cook for about fifteen minutes, then remove lid and cook for another twenty on medium-low to let the liquid reduce, stirring frequently.
  5. Serve over hot jasmine or basmati rice.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gimme some mustard, honey!

Growing up, I always ALWAYS hated mustard. There wasn't a thing anyone could do to get me to eat it; just the smell made me irate! Then, I was diagnosed with all these food intolerances/allergies and suddenly, the list of condiments that I loved that I could still enjoy shrunk severely. Much to my chagrin, many mustards were 100% safe for me to eat and, desperate as I was, I figured I should give them a chance. I still won't eat run of the mill bright yellow mustard, but honey mustard is firmly on my list of wonderful things to put on food.

Here's something I whipped up tonight for dinner without any planning at all (or measuring!), just using what I had on hand. It turned out great and I'll definitely be making it again.

MsChristy's Happy Honey Mustard Shrimp & Chicken

Ingredients: (Please note, these are my best guesses on amounts, as I rarely measure while I'm cooking up something in a hurry!)
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1/2 lb raw peeled shrimp (thawed, if bought frozen)
  • 5 Tbsp cooking sherry or white wine
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp honey mustard
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey (I like it sweet, so I used 2 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp molasses
  • dash chili powder (more if you like it spicy)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • dash garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Instructions:
  1. In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and 3 Tbsp sherry (reserve the other 2 Tbs for step 2); mix in minced garlic and diced onion. Cook for a few minutes to soften onion slightly, then lay chicken pieces in single layer on top. Cook for about five minutes until perimeter of chicken turns white, then turn each piece of chicken over. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder if desired.
  2. While chicken cooks, in a small dish mix all the remaining ingredients, including the 2 Tbsp sherry not used in step 1, EXCEPT for the shrimp.
  3. When chicken is white all the way through, pour the sauce mix over the chicken, making sure all pieces are evenly coated on both sides. Cover with lid or aluminum foil and decrease heat to medium, cooking for five minutes.
  4. When sauce is bubbling and has reduced slightly, add shrimp and stir in to coat with sauce. Cover and cook for another five minutes or until all shrimp is pink.
  5. Remove from heat and serve over jasmine rice with lightly seasoned steamed vegetables.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Bread Experiment - FINISHED

This bread experiment is inspired by my new favorite cooking website: Hilah Cooking. Last month Hilah Johnson posted a video with a new way to make bread that she had learned from a 2006 article posted on the New York Times Online. The article is about minimalist bread making and goes into quite a lot of detail in regards to the science behind this method; to boil it all down, instead of kneading the dough time does all the work.

Hilah's recipe and video can be found here and since she uses regular wheat flour, I had to wonder if it would work with gluten-free flour. Creating the perfect loaf of gluten-free flour is one of my main cooking quests, and a lot of other people have asked Hilah if it will work with gluten-free flour; I'm doing a good thing for everyone!

So that's the experiment! Will update with each step:

Step One:
May 7th 9:20 PM

In a large mixing bowl: Mix 1 pkg Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Mix (19 oz bag, 1 loaf) with a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of yeast (included in the bread mix), 1-1/2 tsp salt and 2-1/4 cups warm water in a mixing bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel and set aside.


Step Two:
May 8th 3:20 PM

After a lovely time at the eye doctor's getting fitted for new glasses, we got home just in time for step two of the bread experiment. The only catch? My eyes are completely dilated, so getting nice clear photos was a bit tricky. Also, I punched the dough a bit too hard and hit my knuckles against the bottom of the glass mixing bowl. Ouch!

Here's what you do and this is where not having gluten in the flour really shows up:
  1. Uncover dough; it should have risen quite a lot and if you used plastic wrap, there should be condensation inside...it's a very moist and sticky dough. Next - PUNCH IT! But wait, be gentle, because this dough is softer than gluten dough, so there's very little resistance to your mighty fist and slamming your fist into a glass bowl is a pretty good way to hurt yourself.

  2. Sprinkle flour on a clean surface, like a counter-top or cutting board; turn dough out onto the floured surface, sprinkle liberally with more flour, then as best as you can, fold it over onto itself at least twice. The dough will be EXTREMELY STICKY, so don't be surprised if your hand ends up being covered in dough.

  3. Sprinkle corn meal onto a clean plate or other shallow dish (maybe do this before you get covered in dough) and transfer dough onto the cornmeal. I ended up doing this twice because I changed my mind about which dish to use for step four, so my dough has cornmeal on both sides. Shape as best as you can.

  4. Cover with plastic wrap and towel again and let it rest for two and a half hours.
At this point my expectations are not very high, but I'm still hopeful. Even recipes designed for gluten-free flours end up with dough that really doesn't look like what we think of when we think "bread", so there's a chance that the process will still work despite the ugly dough situation.


Step Three
May 8th 6:30 PM

Two and a half hours later (or there abouts) the dough should be nicely risen. Following the original recipe, I preheated the oven to 450 degrees, placing the only round lidded oven-safe baking dish I have (I really really NEED a cast iron dutch oven) inside to heat up. When the oven was fully heated, I removed the baking dish and put the dough inside it, covered it with the lid and then put it back in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. It's this stage that makes the crust so deliciously crackly, thanks to the steaming action that's occurring within the lidded dish.

At 30 minutes, the lid came off and baked for another 15 minutes. Since this was my first attempt, I tried to follow the instructions are closely as possible, but supposedly you can make a pretty wide range of adjustments and still get a perfect loaf of bread every time.

After the forty-five minutes of cooking, out of the oven it came and I promptly turned the entire dish over onto a cutting board to release the bread and...

IT STUCK! It took Garen coming in and using the flexible spatula (he has more height and better leverage for such things) to pry the bread loose. Finally we got it out and it was VERY pretty looking. Nice crackly looking crust, great smell, and it looked quite done.

As with most baked goods, a cooling time is required before cutting, so I let it sit for 15 minutes on the wooden cutting board and then cut it in half; unfortunately it was still a little
sticky in the middle near the bottom. Next time I think I will lower the cooking temperature to 400 and bake it for 45 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered to see if that works better.
Garen and I shared a slice out of the middle and despite the sticky part it tasted great! One thing I would love to find is a lidded cast iron loaf pan, since the main reason I make gluten-free bread is to be able to make myself sandwiches during the week for lunch and a round loaf is a bit harder to slice up right for that use.

In summary: Yes, this recipe DOES work for gluten-free flour and the fact that there's zero kneading involved is a huge plus. The dish you cook the bread in really does make the most difference, so choose something heavy with a tight fitting lid. Try cooking the gluten-free version longer on a lower temperature; the gluten-free dough is almost always going to be more dense to start with. If you're not entirely sure that the dough will release easily, a bit of cooking spray or oil should help prevent serious sticking; otherwise use a flexible metal spatula to pry it loose.

Tonight I also made a wonderful gluten-free pizza using Daiya vegan cheese and that recipe will be coming soon! Here's the finished product of both the pizza and the bread.
Happy Eating!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Best Roasted Chicken EVER

For Thanksgiving last year, I decided that I was going to brine the turkey based on a recipe I found with photo instructions that seemed easy enough to follow. I'd heard from many people that brined turkeys were the best and wow, were they right! Thanksgiving was going to be even more awesome than before, despite the serious lack of dairy, gluten, eggs and pork.

Then I started thinking about how rarely I make a whole turkey. Would it work on just a turkey breast? Yes, it does, though obviously the quantities must be adjusted. That started me thinking about chickens...how much better would a whole roasted chicken taste if it were brined first?

Let's just say that when I roast a chicken, it's always brined now. There is no comparison.


Part One: How to Brine a Whole Chicken

Ingredients:
  • 1/4-1/2 cup coarse Kosher salt**
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 package Fresh Poultry Herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) or 2 Tbsp dried poultry herbs or herbs you love, fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)
  • Stock Pot (needs to be large enough for a whole chicken to submerge completely)
  • Ice Cubes (about 2 trays worth)
  • Whole THAWED chicken (3-5 pounds, rinsed with cavity cleaned out thoroughly; discard giblets and neck; pat chicken dry with paper towels; extremely important that the entire chicken is COMPLETELY THAWED first)
Instructions:
  1. Place stock pot on large burner of stove, turn on high and add these ingredients: water, salt, herbs, pepper, molasses, brown sugar.
  2. Stir until combined and heat to a boil.
  3. Turn off heat and steep, with lid on, for approximately half an hour.
  4. Stir well, then add ice, stirring until most of the ice is melted or let it sit for another ten-twenty minutes. The water needs to be less than room temperature before the chicken goes in.
  5. Add whole chicken, breast side down and angled towards bottom (feet up!) until it is completely submerged; add additional cold water if needed and put the lid on.
  6. Place entire stock pot in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours; the longer the chicken rests in the water, the stronger the flavor.
  7. Remove chicken and either roast, grill, or cook in a rotisserie cooker. You could probably also go ahead and cut the chicken up and use in pieces if you really want to...I hate cutting up raw chicken, so if I want chicken pieces I buy them already cut up. It's a lot easier to take a chicken apart after it's cooked, anyhow. Discard brining solution.
**Salt content- I do not have figures on how much of the salt used ends up in the meat; most of it is discarded and my partner, who has high blood pressure, has not had any problems from eating brined foods. Please check with your doctor if you are on a sodium-restricted diet before using this recipe!


Part Two: Roasting a Whole Chicken

I have two pans I use for roasting chicken; one is a basic clear glass 9x13 baking dish and the other is a large roasting pan with rack. I've used both and each have their good points and bad. MOST of the time I use the glass dish because a single chicken in my huge roasting pan is a real waste of energy and it's harder to clean up! Also, it makes for a dryer chicken, which some people prefer, especially if you're really watching fat calories and you want the fat to drain completely away from the chicken.

For this, I'm going to show you how to use a glass 9x13 baking dish.
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take the recently brined chicken out of the brining solution and place breast-side down in center of a 9x13 glass baking dish. Pour 1-2 cups of cold water in bottom of dish (this keeps the breast from sticking and keeps it nice and moist while also pulling the fat away).
  3. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and other seasonings/herbs as desired.Cook in preheated oven for 60 minutes on center rack.
  4. Remove from oven and flip chicken over so that breast-side is now facing up. Season as in step 3. Add more water if needed.
  5. Return to oven and cook for another 45-60 minutes, using a meat thermometer to determine internal temperature has reached recommended levels (I usually shoot for temps between 140 and 165 in the breast, which means the dark meat is almost always 10-20 degrees higher; check here for FSIS recommendations on safe chicken handling and cooking.)
  6. Remove from oven and let chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before carving up. We usually have one meal with fresh roasted chicken then use the rest for lunches and other meals after I de-bone the entire chicken. If you like to make soups, save the carcass to make broth!

Leftover Roasted Chicken Meal Ideas:

  1. Chicken tacos, burritos or enchiladas - shred chicken, season to taste with pepper, paprika, chili powder and cumin cook with white beans; use appropriate type of tortilla and toppings
  2. Chicken, rice/quinoa/pasta/potatoes and steamed vegetables, either mixed together (to make chicken go further) or served separately
  3. Chicken chowder, soup or stew (another good way to stretch a small amount of chicken further)
  4. Chicken salad or salad with chicken
  5. BBQ Chicken (I like Bull's Eye Barbeque Sauce in the "Sweet and Tangy" flavor...free of high fructose corn syrup and free of gluten, soy, eggs and dairy) served with corn on the cob and coleslaw made with Brianna's Poppyseed Dressing instead of mayo; buns/bread for those who can have it.Chicken Mac 'n Cheeze using Daiya Vegan Cheese and Ancient Harvest Quinoa Elbow Macaroni

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hilah's Fish Tacos


My new favorite cooking site is Hilah Cooking. Hilah Johnson is a musician, comedian, actress living in Austin, Texas, and just a few months ago she decided to start up an internet-based cooking show. The videos are hysterically funny, the recipes are easy and so far all the ones I've tried have turned out great.

While at the grocery store today, we bought a big bag of frozen tilapia filets (we've been trying to eat more fish) and Garen and I looked at each other and said, "Hilah's Fish Tacos!" We had watched that episode the other night together and laughed ourselves silly, but more importantly they looked scrumptious. So then we had to buy all the stuff for the "toppins'", which is basically gussied up coleslaw, along with some other toppings like tomato and avocado. I love making all the people in the Fred Meyer's self-service checkout line glare in ire when we have lots of produce to manually punch in to the kiosk!

The preparation was pretty straightforward and would have been easier if the sink hadn't had dirty dishes in it or the dishwasher had been emptied or the cast iron skillet had been cleaned, but once I got all the counters cleared off and things rolling, it went pretty quickly.

Here's the link to the video and recipe: http://hilahcooking.com/fish-tacos/

And seriously O. M. G. The video made these look good enough to try, but they REALLY exceeded my expectations and the bonus awesome thing (from my point of view at least) is that it's super easy to adapt for those of us with weird food issues like allergies or intolerances.

Changes I made:
  1. I didn't have anise seed, so I left that out and added a little authentic Hungarian paprika instead (my dad picked up a huge 8 oz bag of REAL paprika during his last trip to Hungary and it is AWESOME).
  2. I can't have mayo, so I split the toppin' into two bowls, one with mayo (for the man & boy) and one with an egg and dairy-free creamy poppyseed dressing for myself. I love this dressing so much: http://www.briannassaladdressing.com/flavors/poppy-seed.html
  3. I also left out the jalapeƱo, cause I DON'T like it spicy (neither does the 9 year old, who ate seconds) and I used sweet onion.
  4. We sliced up avocado and tomatoes, added a bit of salsa and served it up with corn on the cob.
For the first time ever I used Hilah's method of heating up corn tortillas by placing them directly on the cooking element on the stove-top; Garen said, while we were watching the video, that his mom used to do the exact same thing and it looked like it worked, so I figured why not! It worked like a charm with the heat at medium, though I used tongs to turn them, since I am so prone to burning myself.

I really can't think of any other changes I would make to this recipe and we will definitely be making this again and frequently.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Daiya Vegan Cheese Review

Last month I started hearing of this new cheese-substitute that was not only vegan, but also free of casein (which is the protein in dairy that I cannot digest) AND soy AND all the other primary food allergens. I did some quick research and discovered that yes, it did exist and the reviews were excellent...one blogger claimed that it would turn the vegan community on its collective head! Well, I'm not vegan, but when it comes to everything but meat, I might as well be, so I got excited. REALLY excited. Then I learned there was a vegan convenience store here in Portland (unsurprising) who had gotten their first shipment in of Daiya Vegan Cheese. Garen swung by while shopping for bike parts and because he loves me a lot, bought the last bag of mozzarella style shreds. Thankfully he didn't have to hurt any vegans in the process. When he brought it home, I immediately thought...PIZZA!

A few days passed and I hadn't yet felt like making pizza, but I found the Daiya Cheddar Shreds at Whole Foods when I stopped in for my bi-monthly Earth Balance purchase. They also had some of the new So Delicious Coconut yogurt in flavors that Fred Meyer's didn't carry and of course I had to grab some Original Tings on my way out; I honestly only meant to get one thing, but it's kind of nice to have so many more options now.

The cheddar shreds didn't last long, in fact the next night for dinner I made myself the BEST mac 'n cheese I've had in a long long time. What made it even better was that I didn't have to worry about getting sick from eating it! Aside from the psychological factor, the Daiya cheddar really did come amazingly close to mimicking real cheese: it melted beautifully without having to be microwaved, it was both gooey and stringy, it tasted fabulous (not like a sharp cheddar, but more of a mix between cheddar, colby and American), it reheated great, and it went on my favorite products list after just one use. When I showed the leftover mac 'n cheese to Garen, he agreed that it looked just like real mac 'n cheese.

While very sad to see the last of the mac 'n cheese, I consoled myself with the fact that I still had the mozzarella shreds to try. This weekend we had both kids, so it seemed to be a good opportunity to try making a pizza with the Daiya cheese while simultaneously resisting the siren call of regular pizza (a hitherto impossible feat).

After preparing the crust, and adding sauce, I sprinkled a light layer of cheese that did end up melting with absolute perfection. The toppings went on next and since the pizza was a Chicago-style, they were super chunky and thick, plus the entire thing needed to bake for 20 minutes. If I had read the website more carefully, I would have seen that it would have been best to add the top layer of cheese half-way through cooking to avoid over-browning. Instead, I layered on the cheese very thickly and baked the pizza for the full 20 minutes, which resulted in a rather un-cheese like top crust. Fortunately, it still tasted great and since I'd layered it on so thick, most of it was just as melty and stringy as the bottom layer. Even Garen and the kids thought it was good! This may make it possible for us to completely stop buying regular pizza. Amazing.

While I'm not sure about Daiya turning the vegan community on its head, I do know that it has added some joy back into my life with its dairy-free deliciousness. I am absolutely certain that this product will continue to grow in popularity and if I had some extra cash, I'd be buying their stock! I give it five stars and it's going on my list of regular Whole Foods purchases. Hopefully they come out with slices and other flavors SOON!

Product Details

Item Name: Daiya Cheddar-Style and Mozzarella-Style Shreds
Company Name: Daiya Foods Inc.
Retail Price: approx $5.50 per 8 oz bag
Pros: taste, texture, overall cheesiness
Cons: unit cost, flavor options

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ingredient Reading FAILURE

One would think after fourteen months of learning to scrutinize every single ingredients list on every single food I put in my mouth, I'd be an expert by now. Unfortunately, even expert ingredient list readers can be tripped up.

Sometimes it's due to things outside of our control, like sudden unannounced product changes. Usually, however, it's our own fault. Life decides to speed up, we get in a hurry, we reach out and grab something we think is something else, then we compound the problem by not catching the mistake until after the package is sitting empty in the trash due to a sudden snack attack.

This tendency to go into autopilot at the grocery store has brought me to my metaphorical knees more than once and it's very much the one thing that continues to plague me, even after all the cravings have passed and that switch in my head has reset so that the foods that really ARE bad for me smell and taste bad.

This time around it was a bag of crisps. We were at the grocery store a couple of weekends ago and I passed by the Riceworks display, remembered I was out and I snagged two bags. What I thought I grabbed were the Sea Salt and Salsa Fresca flavors, as those are the two I can eat (no soy or dairy, all are gluten-free). After sitting down and eating the entire bag Wednesday night, then waking up Thursday and feeling progressively horrible, I stopped and thought about what all I had eaten the day before and spotted the bag in the trash, realizing suddenly that instead of Salsa Fresca, I had bought the Sweet Chili flavor, which is chock full of soy.

The lesson I took from this was to SLOW DOWN and LOOK. The red and green packages obviously invoke traffic signals and they're a good analogy for food intolerances and allergies. That red bag should have screamed STOP to me, but I was in such a hurry that it didn't register...and once it had made it home into the pantry, it was "safe" and my brain completely set it aside for any further consideration. Assuming everything I've bought is safe when I know that I've been getting sloppy is dangerous. Days are lost feeling extremely ill, which then makes everyone around me suffer. If I had a job, that would be lost wages if I had to call in sick.

The hidden blessing to having food intolerances instead of true food allergies is that such a mistake doesn't land me in the hospital with anaphylaxis. Usually it isn't until the next day when every thing's happily landed in my intestinal tract that things start to go very very wrong. While I wouldn't wish this ailment on anyone, I do have to be grateful for that (at least for now).
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