Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Plenty of Plentils To Go Around - Enjoy Life Foods Sampling

What a great bunch of free samples I received this time form Enjoy Life Foods! They just look all happy and buddy-buddy, don't they? These are crunchy lentil chips that come in 4 flavors- Garlic & Parmesan, Light Sea Salt, Dill & Sour Cream and Margherita Pizza. Unlike some other lentil-based chips that are out there, Plentils are free of wheat, egg, dairy, soy, peanuts, fish, tree nuts and shellfish. And in our house, this means no worries.

I do want to mention that when I received these, I noticed that one of the ingredients listed was maltodextrin. This put up a red flag for me as an allergy mom because we are so programmed to fish out allergens hidden under other titles. So for me, my immediate thought was malto = milk. I quickly Googled it and I found that maltodextrin is usually made from rice, corn, or potato starch and is produced by cooking down the starch. Just to be on the safe side, I emailed the representative at Enjoy Life Foods who promptly responded with "Just as with the rest of our products, these are dairy free, so no worries!". And with this, I moved forward!

This time, I decided to go deep undercover and be sneaky..... I am always so quick to force-feed my latest food concoctions into people's mouths. This time, I laid low and played it cool. I happened to be invited over to a party and offered to bring a pick food. Perfect! But you can't just show up with a bag or two of chips (kind of tacky). So I tried to keep it simple and healthy. I chopped up some
carrots and celery and I whipped up a fast black bean dip and placed some handfuls of the Light Sea Salt and Garlic & Parmesan Plentils onto the plate. Off we went to see how it would go. A few people asked "Hey, what are these?" and others just munched but all in all, I would say they were received very well.

Recipe for Black Bean Dip:
1 Can Black Beans, rinsed (or) 1 cup of black beans, soaked and cooked
2-3 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil (may need to add more depending on the consistency)
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
Sea salt to taste
Lemon Juice as needed

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and puree. If the beans are too thick, add a tiny bit more oil or a splash of lemon juice. Refrigerate leftovers.

The Margherita Pizza chips were a whole, different ballgame. Usually when I get samples, I put them away so I can figure out what kind of recipe to use it for and then I let everyone eat them. This time, the bag was opened and I think I was allowed to have two chips from the entire bag. I've heard of this phenomena in other parts of the world where the young scavenge for food and hoard it, leaving the others in the pack to die of starvation but never have I seen it so close to home. It would be days until I had the strength to get back into my kitchen and try some new recipes. The agony!

After my brush with alienation, I bounced back. I decided to try making a dairy-free dip using the Dill & Sour Cream Plentils. Why not? If it was awful, I would just save it for my husband (snicker, snicker). I decided to make only a small amount in case it was a disaster. Using my mini-chopper, I crushed up some of the Dill & Sour Cream Plentils and mixed it with just enough Follow Your Heart Grapeseed Vegenaise. And why not get some lentils in there to get some extra protein while you are snacking? It was a bit thicker than the regular chip dip but I have to admit, it tasted pretty darn close!

Dairy-Free Dill & Sour Cream Dip
Desired amount of Enjoy Life Foods Dill & Sour Cream Plentils Chips
Follow Your Heart Grapeseed Vegenaise

Using a mini chopper, grind the chips into a fine powder. Mix in the Vegenaise until you have reached the desired consistency. (This dip will be thicker than a dairy-based dip.) Use up leftovers within a day or two since the Vegenaise begins to separate and gets oily.

Somehow, by the grace of God, I still had some Plentils leftover. I could have given them to the children but then I remembered the horrible incident with the Margherita Pizza chips! My brain began to buzz. I had chicken and I had tilapia and I was in a cooking groove. My husband came home to a dinner with two main courses and both were well-liked and very easy to make.

I decided to go with the grinding idea and I breaded the chicken and the fish to make some very delightful, dairy-free, gluten free dinners. For the chicken, I used the Garlic & Parmesan Plentils.

Awesome Allergy-Friendly Chicken
2 Chicken Breasts, washed                           
2 Tablespoons Follow Your Heart Grapeseed Vegenaise
1/2 Cup Enjoy Life Foods Garlic & Parmesan Plentils Chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, coat the chicken breast with the Vegenaise so that it's completely covered.

Using a mini chopper, grind the Plentils into a fine powder. Cover the coated chicken breasts and place them into a casserole dish with sides (chicken will splatter a tiny bit). Bake in the oven until there is no pink and the juice runs clear. Enjoy!

For the fish, I also used the's my newest go-to coater for frying foods. I didn't completely coat the fish, I simply topped it with a nice mixture. It was tasty though!

Dairy-Free Dill & Sour Cream Tilapia Fillets
3 Tilapia
2 Tablespoons Follow Your Heart Grapeseed Vegenaise
2 Cups Enjoy Life Foods Dill & Sour Cream Plentils Chips
1/2 A Lemon

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the tilapia fillets into a shallow baking dish. Place the Vegenaise on top of the fillets, smoothing them evenly on top of the fish.

Using a mini chopper, grind the Plentils. You can grind them into a powder or you can choose to leave them with some larger pieces, both will be fine.

Sprinkle on top of the fish and add a few dashes of paprika. Finish by squeezing fresh lemon over the top and bake until the fish flakes with a fork.

All in all, I have to say that there has never been a product from Enjoy Life Foods that our family has not liked. They are all great tasting and the fact that I know that their products never contain any foods that could harm my son is even better. After all, sampling is great and finding great snacks is wonderful but a safe food that is healthy and your allergic child likes is priceless.

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