2013-07-19 Fabulous Friday Finds

What happens when Mary Kate and her neighbors run out of tomato stakes
What happens when Mary Kate and her neighbors run out of tomato stakes

And it’s Friday once again, which is sad because it means my (Denise’s) vacation is over, but we do have some good links for you.

I did a stay-vacation, which means I’ve been messing around with reorganizing and trying out some new stuff. I purged the apartment of food that had corn and wheat in them and which my husband wouldn’t cook or eat on his own. It was fairly depressing as to how much food I gave away, but the good news is that I cleared out an entire kitchen cabinet so I’ll now have a spot to store all the canning I’m doing. In other news, I did an onion challenge this past Saturday, and if I had a reaction, it was so mild, that I’m not sure that it was related, so I will likely be re-challenging it just to be sure one way or the other. On a scale of 1 to 10, if the symptom I had was the result of the onion, it was a .05 on the scale, compared to my other big reaction allergens, soft-shell crab at a 10, milk at a 9, corn at an 8, and wheat at a 3.

One thing I found out is that Enjoy Life Chocolate chips are a no-no for people with corn allergies, because apparently they sprinkle corn starch on them before packaging, which was reported on a corn allergy group I’ve joined on Facebook.  I tried to finish off the bag we had here (I know, I know, but I didn’t want to waste chocolate, that’s like violating a natural law or something), and noticed I started having some symptoms again, more acne on my face, and blisters on my feet.  So I checked out Pinterest and found this recipe for making your own “chocolate”.  It’s pretty good, but I think I’m going to monkey with it, and maybe replace the honey with a brown sugar syrup to give it a more caramel flavor, using this recipe to make a corn-free “corn syrup” replacement, and add some cashew milk and additional cocoa butter to try to do a milk chocolate.  I’ll report back when I do it.

Also found a fascinating tip from King Arthur Flour (don’t look at the recipe because it’s torture, unless you can still eat most of the ingredients), about how to dry fresh herbs in the microwave in 30 seconds. This is brilliant for me, because I’m one of those people who buys fresh herbs for a recipe, and then thinks that I’m going to put them in a blender and freeze the extra in ice cubes, but it’s a hassle so I never get around to it, and then the herbs go bad and I throw them out. So if I could nuke them quickly and dry them, I think I might actually do that.

And lastly, in the why didn’t I think of that column, I found this article from Real Simple that says that most Mason jars can be used a blender jars on most standard blenders, as most detachable blender blade assemblies will screw right on to the Mason jar. I tried it with my Cuisinart and a Ball quart jar and it screwed on with no problem.  I think this would be awesome for doing salad dressings or sauces, you could blend, invert the jar and take the blade assembly off, and put a cap on and store it in the fridge, with no mess and fewer dishes to do.

How about something only sort of food-related? I have been part of the smart phone world since April (Mary Kate, not Denise, who’s been with current technology for decades), and while I prefer most of my lists on paper, I’ve found the memo function on my phone useful for making grocery lists while out and about. But I couldn’t cross things off. I’m hoping that I’ve found a possible solution in this app. I’m still learning it. (I use GTasks, mostly because it syncs with my task list on my Google Tasks, but it looks like yours does too. Maybe I’ll check it out to see if I like it better – D)

I’m having a bit of a love affair with pistachios again, and think that these lime pistachio cereal bars sound like a great snack. Bonus? They are not baked.

This recipe does require heat, but it’s cold when served — strawberry sorbet with caramelized peaches. I never much liked peaches, but then I grilled them. Now peaches are awesome.

Hope you’re all having a good week. Find anything cool to share?

    4 comments

    1. Thanks for a great and helpful blog post, and thanks for trying our Enjoy Life chocolate chips. For purposes of clarification, we do not sprinkle corn starch on our product prior to packaging. That said, we are unable to guarantee that the product is corn-free due to issues in the ingredient and packaging supply chain. We believe the misunderstanding regarding the corn starch comes from the fact that we have stated in the past that corn starch is used often during the final steps of production of food-grade latex gloves, which our production workers wear, and some of this powder might be in our facility.

      We take corn allergies very seriously. While we can’t guarantee that corn is not in our facility, we do our best to be as transparent as possible as it relates to corn. Along those lines, we have created a “corn matrix” to better identify which of our ingredients might have corn contact. We hope you and your readers will find this helpful. You can view the matrix here:

      http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/our_lifestyle/allergy_friendly_cornmatrix.php

      Thanks again for the great work that you do in raising the awareness of food allergies. We continue to strive to better serve the needs of those people who live their daily lives with corn allergies.

      Joel Warady
      Chief Sales & Marketing Officer
      Enjoy Life Foods

    2. Joel,

      Thank you so much for the clarification, and for the information in the matrix. This is very helpful! I wish that other companies would take your lead and provide this information for their products as well. I understand the difficulty that you would face in trying to source corn-free and safe packaging and gloves, as corn is in everything, and frankly, I’m having the very same difficulty. Of the seven positive scratch tests results (in addition to my other nine confirmed food allergies) that I am in the process of confirming with elimination diet and challenges, I would have preferred to end up confirming an allergy to every single one of the other positive results (wheat, potato, onion, celery, chicken and lobster) instead of being allergic to corn because of the difficulty in avoiding it in our food supply through the actual ingredients or packaging or process.

      I loved your chocolate chips, and I ate a lot of them for the last three or so years, until the corn allergy reared its ugly head. Although my information about the corn starch was incorrect, I did have a mild reaction to them and the symptoms for my corn allergy are fairly specific in comparison to the others (I only break out in blisters on my feet from corn). It appears from your information that it may have been the result of accidental cross contamination. But I do very highly recommend your chocolate chips to anyone who doesn’t have a corn allergy. They are yummy!

      Thanks again for your information, and thanks for reading our blog! We will provide your link for the corn matrix in our next Fabulous Friday Finds and correct the information about the chocolate chips in that post, just for the people who might not read the comments.

    Talk to us.