Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good news for our family= bad news for the blog

Poor neglected blog.

Must of the people who read this blog already know the good news that has caused me to leave this poor blog hanging in the breeze, but for the few of you who don't know I should probably share. :)

In late May of last year we got some super terrific news. After blood testing and a milk challenge in our allergist's office we discovered that my daughter has totally outgrown her milk allergy! Immune systems are pretty interesting and changeable things. This is true for everyone, but is especially true in children. She went from contract reactive and severe reaction at 11 months to out grown allergy in about 8 months. We feel very blessed and lucky.

She still has her egg allergy, but her numbers and skin test are tracking down for that also so we are hopeful that in time she will out grow that allergy as well.

So, since we are no longer vegans who eat meat, this blog has been pretty neglected. I am going to maintain it because I think there is some good information for moms just starting to go dairy/egg free but the updates will likely be few and far between.

Thank you to everyone who has been a help to our family as we navigated (and continue to navigate) allergy land.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup dairy free margarine
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milled flax seed + 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. In a small bowl whisk flax seed with water until cloudy.
  4. In another bowl with an electric mixer cream margarine, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in flax seed mixture. Beat in flour mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by level tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets and bake for 11-13 minutes.
Resulting cookie is soft and crumbly. Mmmm.

Sorry this blog is so neglected. I should probably write an update post with our good news as to why it has been a ghost town around here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mini Meatloafs

I adapted this from a Kraft Magazine. They are pretty tasty and freeze well so you could easily make a double batch.

  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 package (12 oz) Brownberry stuffing
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup dairy free BBQ Sauce (I use Kroger brand usually)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Mix meat, stuffing mix, water and the seasoning until well blended.
  3. Press evenly into 12 medium muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Spread ketchup over the tops.
  5. Bake 30 min. or until meatloaves are cooked through (160°F).

Chicken Fried Rice

  • cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped, green and white parts
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice, regular or instant, kept hot
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce


  1. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Off heat, recoat skillet with cooking spray and place back over medium-high heat. Add scallions and garlic; saute 2 minutes. Add chicken; saute until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in cooked brown rice, peas and soy sauce; cook until heated through, stirring once or twice, about 1 minute. Makes 6 servings.

French Country Casserole

I make this a lot because it is super-duper easy. It makes a double batch and I usually freeze half.

  • 1 lb kielbasa, cooked,halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 (16 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 small onions, separated into rings
  • 1/2 cup red wine or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  1. Saute Onion and garlic til soft.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; transfer to an ungreased 3-quart baking dish.
  3. Cover and bake at 375ºF for 60 to 70 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Teriyaki Sticky Chicken


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light teriyaki sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, teriyaki sauce and mustard
  3. Spray and 8X8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  4. Place 1/2 of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Place the chicken breasts on top of the sauce and cover the chicken with the remaining sauce. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is done and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Divide any sauce that is in the dish evenly over each piece of chicken.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New mom primer for dairy elimination 102- Eating out

So now your kitchen is stocked, but you have a lunch date with your best friend tomorrow. Where and what can you eat?

I suppose I should start with a disclaimer. Don't take my word for everything. I would never purposefully point you toward a dish with hidden dairy, but ingredients at restaurants have been known to change from time to time and today's dairy free hamburger bun could be tomorrow's epi-pen experience, should a supplier/recipe change. Double check me. I am providing links (when I can) for a reason!

My first advice is to inform the waitress you have an allergy. Some restaurants have an allergy chart that a manager will bring to your table. Regardless, the waitress needs to know so that she can inform the cooks.

I will start with standards for almost any restaurant. Out on a fancy date? The restaurant you picked does not have an allergy menu? Order a nice steak! Be very explicit that you want no butter on the steak. Sides can be tricky. You safest bet is a vegetable/potato with no butter, but that isn't exactly delicious. You can resolve this by either BYOfB(fake butter) or asking for a cup of salsa/ketchup/dairy free vinaigrette or vinegar and oil. If you are getting a potato be sure you request that the potato was not baked with butter in the foil.

A little lower in price would be a plain hamburger or plain chicken breast with no bun. Same options for sides. I would love to tell you that fries are usually safe, but I can't. Between seasoning salt and weird flavor enhancers and preservatives your best bet is to probably avoid them unless the restaurant brings you the bag they came in and you can read the ingredients label. There is also the issue of cross-contamination if a restaurant fries cheese and fries in the same fryer. Whether or not this bothers you would depend on how allergic your child is.

Lets move onto specifics... I am not listing every last thing that is dairy free, and as I said previously please double check for yourself! Below please find a short list of chain restaurants that provide allergy info online.

McDonald's- Hamburger (with bun), Apple Dippers (no sauce), Chicken Selects, side salad, balsamic vinaigrette. Note: fries have dairy!

Burger King
- Whopper (no mayo for you egg folks!), Chicken fries, normal fries, onion rings, BBQ sauce, French toast sticks, syrup, hash browns.

Taco Bell- Spicy Chx soft taco, hard or soft shell w/ no cheese, cinnamon twists.

Culvers- Chicken Strips, Fries, Sweet and Sour Sauce, lemon ice.

Subway- Quite a bit. White and Wheat are both dairy free. Almost all plain meats are good. No cheese of course.

Papa Johns- Original crust pizza with veggies, pepperoni, and bacon.

Panera Bread- Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich on Country, Low-fat Veg Black Bean, Low-fat Garden Veg Soup.

Chilis- Honey BBQ Ribs, Black beans, veggies with no butter. We go to Chilis a lot because they seem to have an awareness of food allergies that a lot of other restaurants don't. YMMV of course.

A good rule of thumb is when in doubt, don't eat it. Don't assume.

I will be honest, eating out dairy free is not always the most delicious experience in the world. Your table mates will likely not copy your order. However, even if it is something you only do rarely it is a good skill to have in your toolbox.

If you have any favorites I have missed post them!

Friday, April 3, 2009

New mom primer for dairy elimination 101

So you have to cut dairy? That sucks. Big ones.

Give yourself a day or two to sulk and whine, but then realize that it really isn't all that bad.

The good news is if dairy is bothering your nursing baby, once you eliminate dairy from your diet you should see a dramatic change in your baby's happiness/health. Happy baby = happy momma. So let's think of that, not gooey delicious grilled che...

Ooops sorry.

Moving on.

I have only done this for about a year, so I am not the expert that some people are, but I do have a good amount of experience under my belt and I would like to share it with you.

First things first, newbie. You are going to have to get into the habit of label reading pretty darn quick. After recent legislation, allergy information must be printed on food labels. This can be done in 2 ways. Examples of both types of labels can be found here (#10). Be careful! Most companies label at the end, but the ones that label with parenthesis can be easy to mistake as allergy free if all you do is look to the end of a ingredient list.

Next, here is a list of everyday foods that you can consider as part of your diet. Some of these I have already blogged about, but some since you are new, you probably haven't poked around here too much.

Fruit and Veggie- Duh. Pretty much all are good to go as long as they are plain. Be careful for bagged frozen veggies with any type of sauce, or some veggie soups that may use milk to enhance flavor.

Salad Dressings- This one will make me think because we are egg free also so I will have to separate the allergens in my head. Ranch is pretty much always out, although Annie's Organic makes a dairy free version. Anything "creamy" is pretty much out including most Caesar. Anything French, Asian, or Vinaigrette has a higher likelihood of being dairy free, but like anything check your labels.

Bread- This is tricky. Do you love HFCS or not? We usually get Arnold whole wheat white bread. They have a couple other variations that are dairy free also. You can also invest in a bread machine. Beware, the majority of bread has milk so if you just go in with a cart full of kids thinking you will just read labels you will be standing in that bread aisle forever and your kids will have opened 2 boxes of cereal and dropped a glass jar of olives on the floor.

If you don't mind HFCS your cheapest option is Kroger brand white or wheat bread.

Both Arnold and Kroger make dairy free hot dog and hamburger buns.

Cereal- Hot cereals like hard cut oats and oatmeal as good to go as long as they are plain. Some flavored ones are some aren't your brand and label may vary. Cold cereals have a pretty decent selection also. Cheerios, Corn, Rice, and Wheat Chex, Frosted Miniwheats, Alpha-bits, Cinnamon Life, Pops, and I am sure many many other are dairy free. These are the just the kinds my husband has had around the house over the last year. (I keep a virtually dairy free kitchen.) Honey Bunches of Oats has dairy, as do the recent yogurt covered cereals. I am sure there are others on both sides of the dairy coin, but these are the ones I have checked out.

Meat- Anything single ingredient? Once again, probably don't need to tell you, but it's okay. A bit trickier is the deli meat section. I do not buy from the deli. They cut meat and cheese on the same cutter. Cheese pretty much sticks to everything and this is not in my comfort zone. If your baby just has a mild intolerance, though, you might not need to be so selective.

For deli meat we like Hormel Natural Deli Meats. The ham has lactic acid, but it is specifically not from milk. It also has the benefit of having no nitrates so it is just better for you in general.

Cheese- Sorry. There is no alternative I like. I am picky though. Dairy free brands/products I have tried and hated are: Toffuti, Vegan Gourmet, and nutritional yeast. All gross. Vegan Gourmet melts, but it is but rubbery and grainy at the same time. Not worth the calories in my book. Go ahead and try them though, maybe you will like them better then I. Beware Veggie Slices. They are not dairy free.

Candy- Pretty much anything gummy is okay. Starbursts, Skittles, and LifeSavers are A-okay also. I posted about chocolate here. Simple Harvest chocolate chunk granola bars are dairy free and don't make you feel like quite as bad a pig as if you eat a whole dark chocolate bar.

Butter- For straight butter your toast replacement, I use either Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance Spread. The water content in these are different then in regular butter or margarine so I wouldn't recommend them for baking. For occasional baking I use Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine (green package).

Cream Cheese/ Sour Cream- Obviously the original versions of these are out. Tofutti makes a pretty decent replacement for sour cream. I can use it as a condiment on tacos no problem. It also works well in baking or cooking. The cream cheese is not so delicious plain, but it works ok as a replacement in some baking or cooking. (Not cheese cake I have heard.)

Ice cream- As with most things, the tastiest alternatives are not fake ice cream, but frozen desserts that are supposed to be dairy free. My favorite "ice cream" replacer is either Mango or Raspberry Sorbet by Häagen-Dazs. I am not a fan of most of the rice or soy milk ice creams. I have tried most common brands. The only one I like is Tofutti's Wildberry flavor. Rice and soy knock offs usually lack a creaminess that make the replacement not worth it too me. Go ahead and try them though! A lot of people must like them or there wouldn't be so many varieties. Warning for those allergic to eggs also, Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Sorbet contains eggs.

Yogurt- I am admittedly not a yogurt fan so I don't have a lot of help for you in this area. More of a warning. There are a lot of soy yogurts out there, but like soy cheese the majority contain some sort of dairy. I guess they were more aiming for teh lactose intolerant when they developed the products. There are a few vegan soy yogurts, but since I have never seen them at stores I regularily shop at I have not tried them. I hear Trader Joes and Whole Foods both carry them though.

Random Junk- And here is where I post random snacky junk you can eat. Warning I am sure it chocked full of HFCS and trans fat. Should you be feeling over deprived, however, you are free to have a nibble. Most plain potato chips, Pringles light bbq chips, plain baked lays, plain baked tostitos, tortilla chips, Oreos, Newman-Os, a bunch of 100 calorie pack cookies, Ritz Crackers, Premium Crackers, Hummus (not junk but crackers made me think of it), Popsicles, and a lot of other things. You can sift though a general list here.

I could probably keep going for a while, but I will stop there.

Look on the bright side, some people say that dairy free is one of the healthiest ways to eat! (They probably aren't scarfing Oreos and Fritos though.) You will probably be cutting out quite a bit of saturated fat.

If someone asks you if you are getting enough calcium, you can either tell them to mind their own business or tell them how you supplement your diet to get enough in. A list of foods containing calcium can be found here. An adult should shoot for around 1000 mg a day. I take a Target brand dairy free chewable gummy calcium supplement as an insurance policy.

Congrats. If you have made it through this post you are ready to go start your first grocery list and start making your way in the big, wide, dairy free world.

Now go forth and make some milk protein free breast milk!

My daughter is not lactose intolerant

I am going to use my bully pulpit to educate a bit now.

If a baby has an allergy or sensitivity to dairy if is almost never due to lactose intolerance. Lactose is a sugar found in milk. All milk. That includes breast milk. Lactose intolerant people lack an enzyme necessary to breakdown lactose. It is possible for a baby to be lactose intolerant, but this is extremely rare. This would amount to the baby being unable to digest all milk including breast milk. 100 years ago these babies would have died. No amount of cow milk that is removed from a mother's diet would resolve the intolerance. The only option for the very few babies this effects would be elemental formula.

When milk is an issue for an infant it is almost always due to an allergy or intolerance to milk protein. There are over 20 different proteins in milk. Lactoglobulin has been accepted as the major allergen in cow's milk protein intolerance, but any milk protein can potentially cause a reaction to someone allergic to dairy. A milk allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly sees the milk protein as something the body should fight off. Intolerance is similar, only there is typically an irritation involved not a full blown immune response.

So, when your Great Aunt Milly says the allergy must have come from her side because she has a hard time digesting cheese you can smile and nod, but know, yourself, that the two issues are totally separate.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Really really good cookies

I haven't been posting for a while because I really haven't been cooking or baking. Embarrassing to admit as that is. I have been busy with school stuff, and it seems like someone in our house has been sick every week last month.

We have been living off of sandwiches, spaghetti w/jarred sauce, tacos, hot dogs, hashbrown/sausage skillet, and pan fried chicken with Italian dressing for about a month. Boring, but at least all but the hotdogs are homemade. Nothing I think you all probably need the recipe for though. :P

Last weekend, however, I got a bug in my hind quarters to bake cookies. My son is now at an age where he likes to help. So I thought it would be a fun project for us.

I decided to try a new recipe and it was really really good. Definately a keeper.

It is adapted from Vegan with a Vengence

Chocolate Thumprint Cookies

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup soymilk
1 tsp vanilla extract (I used maple becuase I was out.)
1/2 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup sugar
Jam or Peanut butter

Preheat to 350

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda.

2. In a large bowl mix together all the wet ingredients (except the jam) plus the sugar. Add the dry to the wet and mix well.

3. With damp hands, roll 1 Tbsp of dough into a ball and press between your palms into a disk then place on the cookie sheet. If your batter is still too wet to do this add enough flour so that this can be done.

4. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove them from the oven.

5. Press your thumb in the middle of each to make an indent (careful, it's a little hot) and place 1/4 tsp of jam or peanut butter into each indentation.

6. Pop them back into the oven for 6 minutes and viola! Let them sit for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.

Do not eat these right away!!! The jam or peanut butter gets really hot! Not that I would tried to eat one straight out of the oven or anything.

The jam ones of these I made tasted like little rasberry brownie bites. The peanut butter ones were also very good.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ground Beef Stroganoff

We had this last night and it was really really good. It has a creaminess you don't usually get with dairy free.

* 1 large onion, chopped
* 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1tsp corn starch
* 1 can beef broth
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons ketchup
* 1 cup (8 ounces) Tofutti better then sour cream
* Half a regular size box of medium sized pasta shells.

Brown ground beef; drain off excess fat. Add onion, mushrooms, salt, garlic powder, ketchup, and 1/2 can of broth. Cook and stir until onions are soft and liquid has reduced somewhat; Mix 2 tbsp broth with corn starch. While stirring, add remainder of broth to the pan, then add corn starch mixture. Stir in sour cream and heat through. Add cooked pasta and serve.

Friday, February 13, 2009

If your pizza doesn't have cheese can you really call it pizza?

Not really. Cheese-less pizza is just bread with sauce on it. I miss pizza. Others can say what they like, but there truly is no substitute for chewy, melty, delicious cheese. Mmmmm.

Okay, enough pining over what we cannot have, lets move onto what we can have to (semi) fill that craving. Below you will find how to order of make 4 different categories of pizza dairy and egg free!

Carryout- Pre-allergies, we used to order out pizza delivery about twice a month. It was nice to have a night or two off cooking. When we first went dairy free we went a few months without pizza and then one day I was absolutely craving it. I got online and found that, lo and behold, Papa John's crust and sauce is dairy free! Hooray! It is nice to have a delivery option for those days when you need it. I usually order online. There are a lot of coupon codes out there if you do a google search and you can usually get a free or really cheap second pizza with a code. I recommend ordering a marinara dipping sauce or two because the sauce they put on can dry out a bit with no cheese to keep it soft.

Frozen- Amy's Kitchen's Roasted Veggie Pizza. Frozen pizza was one of my fall back, oh crud it is 4:50 and I haven't started dinner yet, dinners. This isn't the best replacement (mostly because my husband wont eat it because of the artichokes) but it tastes pretty good to me and fills the gap. They tend to be kind of expensive for their size, but occasionally you can find them on sale for under 6 dollars. When you tack on I have to buy a regular frozen pizza for my husband it doesn't make sense for me to buy them very often. I usually add olives and sweet corn because I think the toppings are a bit skimpy. Over all, though, the sauce is very tasty and the crust is better then normal frozen pizzas.

Sort of homemade- If you are in the mood to make your own "pizza" you have a couple options. Pillsbury's thin crust pizza dough is dairy free and so are a few pre baked shells at various grocery stores. Add some sauce, some pepperoni, and some olives, bake according to the directions on the can and you are good to go.

Quick and dirty- Lately I have been making "pizza" bagels every so often. They are very simple and actually pretty good. Here is my recipe:

(Serves 2 adults the own bagel and 2 children a half bagel each)

- 3 bagels cut in half
- half a jar of spaghetti sauce
- One small can of chopped black olives
- 3 slices of Canadian bacon chopped into bite sized pieces
-Additional pizza toppings of your choice
- garlic powder
- salt


1. Preheat oven to 4oo degrees
2. Spread each bagel with a liberal amount of sauce
3. Sprinkle toppings on bagel
4. Dollop more sauce on top of the toppings
5. Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt (salt is important since cheese is missing and cheese is salty)
6. Bake for 12-17 minutes (depending on high you mounded your toppings) and serve.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Braised Pork Chops with Onion Gravy


- 3-4 center cut pork chops
- 2 small or 1 large onion, chopped small
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can or 13 oz of chix or veg broth
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
- 1/4 cup warm water


1. Pour chix broth into pan on med high heat.
2. Add onion and garlic.
3. Let cook with lid on until onions are soft, maybe 5-6 minutes.
4. Add pork chops and cover with lid.
5. Let cook 6-8 min on each side. (time will vary on the size of your chops)
6. Take chops out and cover with foil to keep warm.
7. Mix corn starch and water.
8. Add corn starch mixture to your broth and onions, stir as you add to avoid clumps
9. Add chops back to the pan.
10. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Simplest dairy free meal ever that isn't total junk

So, you are running late and everyone wants to eat dinner pretty much immediately.

Mac and cheese? Out.
Grilled cheese? Out.
Omelets? Out.
Hot dogs? In. Sort of.

Hebrew National dogs are dairy free. Not all hot dogs can say this so as always, be sure to read labels. Kroger buns are dairy free also.

So here is my recipe for a easy cooking night.

Boil Hebrew National dogs
Open package of Alexia sweet potato fries and bake according to package.
Nuke a bowl of corn.
Open a jar of non sweetened applesauce.


Monday, February 2, 2009

C is for Cookie

It's good enough for me.

These chocolate chip cookies are pretty darn good. No one need know they are egg and dairy free unless you tell them.

I adapted the recipe from Vegan With a Vengeance, but for some reason hers always came out like crumbly shortbread for me. Nothing wrong with crumbly short bread, but its not what you think of when you want a chocolate chip cookie.

Here is my recipe:
1 cup dairy free margarine
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3-4 Tbsp almond/soy/rice milk
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix the wet ingredients together. Add the dry.
3. Check the consistency. If it is too dry add a bit more "milk" til it is the consistency of your favorite pre-vegan cookie dough.
4. Add chips.
5. Drop rounded teaspoons full on cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
6. Bake for 9-11 minutes.

Chocolate, not just for V-Day

Some times you just need chocolate. Unfortunately, if you are dairy free your chocolate selections are pretty limited.

Your cheapest route would be to chow a handful of FMV (Kroger) brand chocolate chips. Add a few sunflower seeds or almonds and you have a sweet, salty, chocolaty snack. You could even get fancy and melt them down, pour them on a waxed paper, sprinkle with almonds and refrigerate and pretend you are eating a Hershey's bar.

I use FMV in my chocolate chip cookie recipe and they work pretty well.

Tropical Source also makes a vegan chip, and while it is much tastier it is also 4 times the price.

If you think FMV chips taste oddly fibrous and want something smoother a big jump up in quality and still available at Krogers (vs. a health food store) would be Endangered Species Chocolate's Dark Chocolate and Blueberries bar. The blueberries add a bit of sweetness that dark chocolate lacks.

Overall, I still really miss a good milk chocolate. Dark just doesn't do it for me. If anyone has a good replacement email me!!! Or email my husband and tell him to buy me some for Valentines Day. :-P

Rachel Ray was Right Spaghetti

Back when I was working I would regularly watch Rachel Ray when I got home from work to help unwind. She can be a bit much to take sometimes. Her "yummos" and "EVOO" can grate, but in general I like her. I remember one dish she made a couple times (she really seems to make the same dish often with slight variations) was Pasta Puttanesca. She giggled both times about how Puttanesca means "whore" in Italian. While the name is amusing, the thing I found most interesting about the dish was anchovies.

Up until a few weeks ago I had never tried an anchovy. The idea of a whole fish kind of grossed me out. Plus I associated them with cigars because my great grandfather was fond of both.

Now Ms. Ray promised that adding anchovies to my pasta sauce would not make it taste fishy. She told me it would just add "another layer of salty flavor". Mmmm. Salty. I was sold on the idea, but still not willing to risk ruining dinner. Then last November I bought a pack at the store. There they sat up sitting in my cupboard til finally a couple weeks ago I got the nerve to use them.

Pasta for me is really just a cheese delivery system. I rarely would choose to make it now that we are dairy free if it weren't so gosh darn easy. So as I was lamenting my lack of cheese while making spaghetti I decided that I would throw in the anchovies. Who cares if I screw it up? I don't really want to eat it anyway!

As I open the can I almost changed my mind. The little suckers look gross. Whole little dead fishies. They also smell kind of like tuna which I wasn't expecting since Rach promised me they wouldn't taste fishy.

I finished up my sauce with a handful of green olives and served it to my unsuspecting family. I did not mention my fishy addition. My husband and daughter ate it all up! My son had his meat on the side and declined noodles. Once my husband was finished I asked my him if he like it and what he thought I had added. He could not guess and was pretty surprised that it was anchovies. He ate a second helping. So I guess Rachel Ray was right, you can't specifically taste anchovies in tomato sauce.

So without further ado here is my recipe for Rachel Ray was Right Spaghetti (because this is a family blog and calling it Whore Noodles seems wrong)...

- One jar of dairy free spaghetti sauce (I used Ragu onion and garlic)
- One tin of sardines in oil (drained)
- One pound lean ground beef (drained)
- Handful of olives, chopped
- Spaghetti noodles


1. Brown ground beef and drain.
2. Open sardines and dump them in the pan with the beef. Make sure there is enough oil from wither the fish or the beef for the anchovies to dissolve into.
3. Stir the fishies around til they dissolve.
4. Add the jar of sauce and stir.
5. Add the olives.
6. Let everything simmer together for a bit.
7 Either add your cooked noodles to your sauce or serve the sauce over your noodles. I will let you choose. I am not bossy like RR who tells ya to always add the noodles.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Entertaining without (much) cooking

My son recently had a birthday. Along with this birthday came the task of feeding larger the my family sized groups and still including foods my daughter and I (and some of our friends) could eat.

For the first gathering we went with Subway. Subway white bread is milk and egg free. The turkey is safe also. So plain turkey sandwiches on one tray, assorted "normal" meat and cheese sandwiches on an other, plain cheese sandwiches for the vegetarians, a veggie tray to dress the sandwiches and your main course is set. Add plain chips, a fruit salad, and drinks and you have our menu. Not the healthiest, but it is a party.

For our second gathering I picked up a big bucket of extra crispy chicken from KFC (crispy only! original has both egg and milk), made my own mashed potatoes and gravy, poured baked beans in a dish and voila. I was going to add a veggie, but I forgot and I don't think anyone really noticed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Weekly Dairy Free/ Egg Free Dinner Menu Plan 1

Let me preface this by noting the obvious. I am not a gourmet cook. I try to serve relatively balanced, relatively healthy meals, but I also like to take advantage of short cuts when I can. I can make a marinara sauce from scratch, but 9 times out of 10 I find the jarred variety works just fine for me. If you see some of my short cuts and feel like taking the homemade path, feel free! The benefit of making your own stuff, of course, is that you know exactly what is in everything, which can be extra helpful in Allergyland.

When I first started adapting our eating habits to Addie's (and mine until she weans) diet I was kind of lost. Short of plain meat, rice, and fruits and veggies what else could we eat? I searched for menu plans and found a lot of vegan plans, but not willing to give up meat also, I found limited inspiration.

So here is the menu plan I wish I had found after Addie's diagnosis.

I based the plan off of the "give each day a theme" formula. Thank you to the wise mom who shared how that formula system works. Basically, you give each day of the week a theme like "beef", "Mexican", "soup", ect. Then each week you fill in recipes that fit that description.

My formula is as follows: Monday/Crock pot, Tuesday/Chicken, Wednesday/Pork, Thursday/Easy, Friday/Beef, Saturday/Leftovers, Sunday/Soup and or Sandwiches. Future menu plans will follow this formula also.

Lentil and Wild Rice Soup
French bread
Bagged Salad w/ dressing
Fruit of choice

Honey Chicken
Broccoli w/ smart balance light

BLT Salad
Fruit of choice

BBQ Kielbasa
Fruit of Choice

No Fuss Fajitas
Fruit of choice

Fruit of choice
Salad w/ dressing

Campbell's Ham and Split Pea Soup
Fruit of choice

The grocery list for the dinners would look like this:

  • 1 pound round or skirt steak
  • Package of bacon
  • Package of reduced fat turkey kielbasa
  • 2-4 Chicken breasts

  • A dairy free taco seasoning packet
  • Salsa
  • Slivered almonds
  • Paul Newman's reduced fat balsamic vinaigrette
  • Dried lentils
  • 6 oz. package of long grain rice blend w/ spice pack
  • 14 oz can of chick broth
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Wheat germ
  • Honey
  • Dijon mustard
  • Apricot jam
  • Soy sauce
  • Rice
  • "Premium" brand crackers
  • 2 Cans Campbell's Chunky Split Pea Soup

  • Tortillas
  • Dairy free French bread (most bakery sections have this you just have to look around and read labels)

“Dairy” Aisle
  • Tofutti sour cream
  • Almond or soy milk
  • Smart balance light

  • 2 bags shredded lettuce, possibly 3 if you have a salad loving family or older kids who will eat salad
  • Fruit of choice for 7 meals

  • Edamame or peas
  • 10 oz package of frozen veg mix
  • Broccoli
  • Peas

No Fuss Fajitas

What this dish lacks in smokey, grilled goodness it makes up for in ease of preparation. It is another dish that is so easy there really isn't a recipe.

  • A 1 inch thick chuck of beef. We use round steak because it comes in the meat bundle we get from the butcher. (Which by the way is no more expensive then buying your meat at the Evil Empire. Plus you get the benefit of it being fresher since they do the butchering on site. Not to mention you are supporting a local business.)
  • A dairy free taco seasoning packet
  • Tortillas
  • Tofutti sour cream
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Salsa
  1. Place frozen meat in crockpot and sprinkle it with taco seasoning.
  2. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Slice thin against the grain.
  4. Serve on tortillas with condiments.

BLT Salad (minus the t please)

This name is a bit of a misnomer since no one in our house eats raw tomatoes. (Blush.) We all eat them in sauce or in *cough* ketchup form, but no one will eat them in their uncooked state. For me it is a slimy texture issue. That and I think they taste like poison. :P

So, anyways, here is my recipe for BLT salad, minus the "T".

  • Cooked Bacon (2-3 pieces per person)
  • Bagged shredded lettuce
  • Slivered almonds
  • Defrosted edamame or peas
  • Paul Newman's reduced fat balsamic vinaigrette

  1. Um, mix it all up.
Mmm. Bacon.

Lentil and Wild Rice Soup

I got this from a Crockpot cookbook and did some tweaking. You could easily make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock. No meat makes it budget friendly. Dried lentils are pretty inexpensive. If you need to thicken it, mashed potato flakes work well.

  • ½ cup dried lentils sorted and rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 6 oz. package of long grain rice blend w/ spice pack
  • 14 oz can of chick broth
  • 10 oz package of frozen veg mix
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk

1. Cover lentils with water and soak overnight or for 6-8 hours. Drain and discard soaking water.

2. Put all ingredients into slow cooker, including 3 cups fresh water. Mix well

3. Cook on low in a crockpot for 5-8 hours.

BBQ Kielbasa

So simple it really isn't a recipe. Eaten by everyone in the family, which can't be said about a lot of things, however.

  • One package reduced fat turkey kielbasa, cut into bite sized chunks (we use Kroger brand, make sure your brand is dairy free.)
  • About 1/2 cup of bbq sauce (once again, make sure yours is dairy free, many are not, we use Kroger brand.)
  • Water to thin the bbq sauce.

  1. Place kielbasa chunks in skillet. Cook til they start to shrink and get brown.
  2. Cover with bbq sauce. If your sauce is thick, add water.
  3. Serve over french rolls (or whatever dairy free bread you have lying around your house.)

Honey Chicken

This is part of a menu plan. I am going to post all the recipes separately so that they can be searched easier. We tried this last Monday and it is pretty decent. I am not the biggest honey fan and, um, I forgot the soy sauce which I think would have made it much tastier. I am kind of notorious for not following recipes, so I am sure that my mom thinks the fact I have a cooking blog is kind of amusing. Necessity is the mother of invention, and all that...


  • 3 tablespoons wheat germ
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 6 bone-in skinless chicken breast halves (trimmed of fat)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the wheat germ, honey, mustard, apricot jam, and soy sauce until well blended.
  3. Arrange the chicken pieces, bone side down, on a baking sheet.
  4. Spread the wheat germ mixture evenly over the chicken breasts.
  5. Bake until the chicken is opaque throughout and the wheat germ mixture has formed a crust, 35-40 minutes.