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Eat Dairy Free

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One of the best things I get to do for work is recipe testing. It’s so much fun to get to experiment with lots of new recipes and ingredients. I get to cook at home in my own kitchen for my job! My job on the Internet. This was not a career option my college professors mentioned in the 90s.

For the past few years, one of the projects I’ve been helping with is Alisa Fleming’s new cookbook, Eat Dairy FreeEat Dairy Free is full of family-friendly dairy free recipes that also have gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and egg-free options. There are many, many recipes in this cookbook that were liked by ALL of our children, which is miraculous. I especially appreciate how Alisa manages to sneak extra nutrition into so many of her recipes, even the snacks and treats, without it being obvious to kids. Or spouses.

Anyway, it’s fun to share a bit of what I get to do working at Go Dairy Free and to recommend a really great dairy-free cookbook!

Merry Christmas!

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Merry, merry Christmas to you! 

I hope you enjoy a relaxing break with lots of fun food and family time.

Here are some Christmas ideas if you still need them.

This is a lovely, easy holiday breakfast.

Here’s a great cookie icing.

This is a festive fruit side dish.

Here are some last-minute gift ideas.

And the photo above is of a favorite Christmas cookie of ours, photographed with my new camera! I’m so excited.

Wishing you all the best in the coming year.

Dairy-Free Halloween Dinners

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Many years ago, I made dairy-free Mummy Dogs for the kids for Halloween dinner, so of course some sort of silly Halloween dinner became “tradition.” Sometimes the main dish is simple (see: Mummy Dogs), and sometimes it’s more complex. Here are links to a few of our favorites, with notes on dairy-free adaptations. Of course they don’t look much like the original recipe photos, but the kids still think they’re fun. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!

Bloody Baked Rats (pictured above)

Instead of making meatloaf, I made a simple dairy-free meatball mixture for the rats using ground turkey, Panko bread crumbs, egg, and Italian seasoning and used dairy-free pasta sauce for the “blood.”

Jack O’ Lantern Pot Pie

Jack O’ Lantern Pot Pie

Make your favorite dairy-free chicken pot pie recipe and cut a Jack O’ Lantern face in the top crust. Or, buy your favorite dairy-free frozen pot pie and do the same.

Pasta with Eyeballs

Egg white eyeballs–nailed it

 

String cheese eyeballs

The original recipe calls for slices of string cheese for the whites of the eyes. I used hard boiled egg whites for those who can’t eat dairy. And our grocery was out of spinach fettuccine, so I used multicolored fusilli. Nailed it. 

Mummy Dogs

Use dairy-free hot dogs and crescent rolls. Omit the cheese.

 

Summertime, and This Smoothie is Easy

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Every year I think I remember how quickly summer goes by and just how little I’ll get done while everyone is home, and every year I forget. Each day goes by so quickly, with barely enough time to get basic items checked off my list. 

That doesn’t mean I don’t outsource a lot of my school-year jobs to the kids, though. Cooking seems to be the task everyone volunteers for first… laundry is last. The nine-year old is especially interested in kitchen work this summer. She makes these smoothies almost every morning for herself and anyone else who is interested. I’m sure we’ll branch out into more exotic flavors at some point, but simple works for us right now.

Summer used to be my least favorite season, but now I love it. I love these wide-open days with these growing, changing kids. It’s the best. Hope you are enjoying summer, too. Cheers!

Easy Chocolate Smoothie
An easy, kid-friendly smoothie for summer mornings or school mornings
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  2. 1 1/2 frozen bananas
  3. 1 T. creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Makes two medium smoothies or one extra-large smoothie.
Notes
  1. You can use another dairy-free chocolate milk and/or nut butter if desired.
No Whey, Mama http://nowheymama.com/

Dairy-Free Vanilla Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

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We had another birthday here last week, which means Eli is eleven. (What.) He once again requested ninjabread men for his school birthday treat. So this was the sixth and final year of me spending the night before his birthday hunched over the dining table frosting three dozen of those little buggers darlings. 

Dairy-Free Ninjabread Men Attack

 

It also means that I’ve been blogging (if you can call it that) and writing on the Internet (sporadically) for ten years. The second post I ever wrote was about Eli’s first birthday party. That is crazytown. I miss those early blogging days.

The birthday boy requested yellow cake with chocolate frosting, which his sister kindly baked for him. Her new go-to yellow cake recipe is this one from Catherine Newman–gently adapted to be dairy free. Katherine frosted it with our favorite chocolate frosting recipe. This is a very easy, sturdy cake that doesn’t crumble or tear when you frost it. *cough*extra moist cake mix*cough* My dad liked it so much, he requested it for his birthday this weekend.

Happy Birthday, Eli.

Dairy-Free Vanilla Cake
A great basic vanilla cake recipe using ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups sugar
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 cup plain almond milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar
  4. 1 cup vegetable oil
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. 2 1/2 cups white flour
  7. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch pan.
  2. Beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until they are thick and creamy, about one minute.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients and beat for a few seconds.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.
  6. Pour the batter in to the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
  7. Let cool before frosting.
Notes
  1. Frost with this frosting recipe: http://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/chocolate-carrot-cake
Adapted from Catherine Newman
Adapted from Catherine Newman
No Whey, Mama http://nowheymama.com/

Dairy-Free Vanilla Doughnuts

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We had a ninth birthday here last week. Among other things, the birthday girl received a doughnut necklace, handmade cards with doughnut drawings, and homemade doughnuts for her birthday breakfast. I think it’s safe to say that people know what she likes.

I bought doughnut pans on a whim, and it’s been really fun to make our own doughnuts at home. This recipe is a favorite because it’s so simple and easy to adapt. And these have to be better than fried doughnuts, right?

Dairy-Free Vanilla Doughnuts
Serves 12
Soft baked cake doughnuts are a dairy-free treat
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 3/4 cup white sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  5. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 3/4 cup almond milk
  8. 2 eggs, beaten
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 1 tablespoon shortening, such as Nutiva
  11. Glaze Ingredients
  12. 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  13. 2 tablespoons hot water
  14. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease two six-count doughnut pans with baking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
  4. In another bowl, stir together the almond milk, eggs, vanilla and shortening.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat together until well blended.
  6. Fill each doughnut cup approximately 3/4 full.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until the doughnuts spring back when touched. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.
  8. Place the doughnuts on a cooling rack.
  9. To make the glaze, blend together the powdered sugar, hot water and almond extract in a small bowl.
  10. Dip the doughnuts in the glaze and then place back on the rack.
  11. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.
  12. Store any unused doughnuts in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. These are also good with a chocolate glaze. To make the chocolate glaze, add 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips to the glaze recipe.
  2. You can also replace the almond extract in the glaze with vanilla extract.
Adapted from Allrecipes
Adapted from Allrecipes
No Whey, Mama http://nowheymama.com/

Fall

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“The Summer has ended

The Summer has ended.

Notice, if you will, the swirling leaves….”–A Year With Frog and Toad

How was your summer? Ours was wonderful. It was great to slow down and enjoy one of the eighteen summers we get with these kiddos. We had so much fun, and I’ve been a whiny girl about school and activities starting up again. Catherine Newman even made peace with the fall before I did this year. What can I say? I miss the kids when they’re in school, and… I miss activity-free evenings.

I’m almost ready to embrace fall. It is the first official day of the season, so I guess it’s time. We visited the apple orchard last week. I bought some mums to replace the begonias on the porch. I also made pumpkin butter and plan to make Oatmeal Apple Butter Bars with apple butter from the orchard. 

If you’re looking for some back-to-school recipe inspiration, Katherine and I recommend Peanut Butter Protein Balls (with nut-free option) for snacks and Freezer Pancakes for busy mornings.

What do you do to celebrate fall?

Thankful

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Photo courtesy of The Empire State Building

I want to take this, the last day of Food Allergy Awareness Month, to say thank you. It has been a wonderful month made especially great by the efforts of Turn it Teal. It was So. Cool. to see the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center turn their lights teal for food allergy awareness right after we’d been to visit New York City. 

There are two people I want to thank this year: Our band director and our middle school principal. They approach food allergies in two different yet successful ways.

Our band director doesn’t know much about food allergies, and, more importantly, doesn’t pretend he knows much about food allergies. I would much rather have someone say, “I don’t understand, I know I don’t understand, and I am happy to do whatever I can to make things safe,” then not speak up and just assume they know what’s going on.

Mr. H has done just that, repeatedly saying, “Sure, whatever you need!” And then giving us whatever we need without question. If he mistakenly arranges something in an unsafe manner, he happily changes things. He just wants his kids with medical issues to be able to participate safely, which we know K. will be able to continue to do for the next four years.

The other person I want to thank is our middle school principal. Mr. C has been K’s principal for three years. Next year she moves to a new school. He has been very involved with K’s needs: picking up safe pizzas and ice cream for class parties for her himself, calling me when an issue arises, talking to the cafeteria staff, etc. He asked for permission to schedule and then run her 504 meeting for the fall because he wants the hand off to go smoothly. He believes, quite correctly, that there are some administrative issues that he can explain to the other principal more clearly than I could. Also, he is invested in her and wants to help things go well with her move to the high school. This level of involvement from an administrator is such a gift. We will miss him very much.

I am thankful for these two men and their commitment to keeping their students safe, each in his own way.

 

 

Vignettes from a School Trip

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We had a wonderful time in NYC and got home without any incidents. We already want to go back!

But I wanted to share some things that happened as an illustration of why I think allergic teenagers still need an adult advocate with them on a big trip like this, where they are at the will of the tour guide company and there is one nurse for 80 kids.

 

The tour guide company wants to try to plan the allergen-safe meals themselves because you are paying a lot of money for their service. You decide to let them try because you know you will be along for the trip. Someone in the office calls you to give a progress report. “I have spent HOURS on the phone tracking down this information. I asked for the ingredients in the meal at the first restaurant and the person on the phone LAUGHED.” She then tells you, in so many words, not to sue them if things go wrong.

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You packed some food but are unable to bring food into many venues due to heightened security. You do not return to the hotel until nighttime each day. You are in a large group and are not able to go off on your own to buy food very often. You make sure to have small prepackaged desserts and some nut butter packets for protein, being very careful of your nut allergic friend and using lots of hand wipes.

***

You have poured over the entire trip schedule making plans for each meal. The very first stop on the interstate is listed as a choice of two restaurants. Your bus pulls up in front of a third choice with nothing else nearby. 

***

You find the manager at the first dinner restaurant and ask if there is dairy in either meat being served to the group. “No. No dairy.”

“You’re sure.”

“Yes.”

“No milk, cheese, butter….”

“Oh yeah, there’s butter in the rib marinade.”

You get a double order of chicken.

***

Because you are in a group of 100 people being served a limited number of choices, the dairy-free options are often gluten-free and vegan as well. Plain roasted vegetable salad is not a big hit. 

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Your small group also includes a nut allergic child, necessitating at least two stops for lunch during free times: one for a nut-free meal and one for a dairy-free meal. These girls have been friends since Kindergarten, and happily coexist eating each other’s allergens.

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Your tour guide often says you need the “gluten free meal” instead of the dairy-free meal, and mistakenly tries to order you a bun-less cheeseburger like the one the gluten-free teen on your trip is eating.

***

Because your meals are prepared separately, your group is often the last one to eat, sometimes having to leave food unfinished. Your chaperon may or may not have lost her mind during the last meal and told you to sit and eat because they aren’t going to leave without you. 🙂

 

These incidents are all par for the course and not worth getting upset over, but I do think they are too much for an eighth grader to deal with alone. Adults sometimes don’t take kids’ concerns as seriously as they should. It pays to have an adult allergy spokesperson who won’t take no for an answer.