Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dairy free mac-n-cheese

The cookbooks I've recently purchased are all chock full of recipes for mac-n-cheese, vegan mac-n-cheese, and let me tell you I've not been thrilled with any of the ones I've looked at. I have come to realized that most vegan dairy products have been created by folks that have probably never actually tasted real dairy products. So I decided to get into "test kitchen" mode and make my own. Happily it turned out really nice, the only item I'd change is to use regular pasta next time. I happened to use GF pasta with this one, not sure why it was in my pantry - I'd probably purchased it to test it out for work.

Happy cooking!

Heather's Mac-n-Cheese
- 2c plain soy milk
- 2 tsp corn starch

- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp nutritional yeast

- 1 tbsp Earth Balance spread (dairy free margarine)

- 1 1/2c non-dairy cheddar shreds (I am loving Daiya brand, it actually tastes like cheddar cheese)
- 1/2c non-dairy mozzarella shreds (Daiya brand was used)

- 1tsp onion powder
- 1/3c flour

Cook elbow noodles per package directions, rinse and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350'

Mix the soy milk, corn starch, onion powder & nutritional yeast.
Bring to a boil, stir constantly until bubbly. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Melt spread into the above mixture

Add in non-dairy shreds, until they all melt.
Then add in onion powder, flour and more salt & pepper to taste

Add in cooked noodles, put in greased baking dish
Top with bread crumbs (I've been using Ian's brand as they're dairy free)
Spray crumbs with non-stick spray

Cook covered for 25 minutes
Uncover, cook for 20 minutes

You can reheat leftovers, but be cautious reheating in the microwave. Non-dairy shreds don't do microwave heat well - so put it on a low setting and heat in small increments to re-heat for later.

** This is a kid tested recipe. My daughter is happily taste testing all my dairy free cooking and went back for seconds of this dish.

My new nut free - dairy free (sigh) life

For readers that have been following me since the beginning you know that I have periodically written and posted about foods free of allergens as my nephew has had serious food allergies since birth.

I've always technically had food allergies, however when I was last officially tested back in the early 90's none of my food allergies were serious enough to stop me from eating things I liked even if I was allergic to them. Well flash forward a few years and I'm now having problems myself. Yep - you got it. Before the holidays I'd been feeling run down, like something was just off (if you have food allergies you know what I'm talking about, if you don't consider yourself very lucky). So imagine my shock & surprise when I eat one (yes 1) cookie from my cookie swap in early December, and less than 10 minutes later I develop a blister on my tongue, a burn on the roof of my mouth, the sides of my tongue swell up and my whole mouth becomes itchy. Walnuts.

So after finally calling an allergist to start the process for re-testing, I am now having to eat 100% nut free - dairy free until after my appointment in February. I also have to carry Benadryl with me at all times should I end up with another nut reaction.

This means that not only can I not eat actual nuts, but I have to be cautious of any product that is processed on shared equipment or in a facility that processes nuts. This has meant a massive re-structure of my personal kitchen, and dang it but unless I know it's an allergen free store bought product I can't even eat it. I stupidly nibbled on some cooked bacon at work two weeks ago, only to rush back up to my office and grab the Benadryl  because I'd eaten food that had been cross contaminated with nuts. Yes, in my very own commercial kitchen at work. Face palm.

I have jumped into this challenge head first. I've already purchased 6 new cookbooks, and thanks to my sister Laurel and my friend Michelle (owner of Sweet Alexis Bakery - a fabulous allergy friendly bakery in the next town over - they ship, check it out) I have a large list of nut free/dairy free store bought products that are now filling the kitchen at home.

Why the cookbooks you ask? Well, readers... I can't eat out - you heard me right. The queen of take out and delivery has been officially benched for the time being.

So thank you for reading as I head into a new direction (not sure if it's temporary or permanent) with my food blog.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Submitted by Erin

1c packed brown sugar
¾ c shortening (Erin used lard)
1/4c molasses
1 egg

2 1/4c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
½ tsp clove, ground
¼ tsp salt

Granulated sugar

Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses & egg.
Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, clove, ginger, salt. Cover & refrigerate for about an hour.

Pre-heat oven to 375’. Shape dough by round teaspoonful balls. Dip top of ball into sugar. Place ball sugar side up, on lightly greased cookie sheet – about 3 inches apart.

Bake 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are set. Remove from cookie sheets immediately.

Yield – about 4 dozen

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mexican Chocolate Brownie Cookie

NOTE:: this was actually submitted in 2012 but never got loaded up onto the blog, my bad!!

Submitted by Emily over at the Pig & Quill

1 box brownie mix (19.5 oz or so - preferred: Ghiradelli)
2 large eggs
1/3 cup veggie oil
1 tsp (or more) cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment, silpat or lightly grease.

Mix all ingredients above until just incorporated/mix is moistened.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on pans 2 inches apart.

Bake 7-8 minutes until cookies are set at edges and just set in the middle.

Cool 1-2 minutes on sheets, then transfer to cooling racks. Devour!

(Those are the technical instructions. The simple ones are preheat, mix, drop, bake, eat.)

Also REALLY good with chopped candied ginger added -- and fantastic for making into ice cream sandwiches!

Russian Tea Cookies


Submitted by Mary (photo is Mary’s but recipe is from Doug Peterson, 2012 exchange)

1c butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2c sifted powdered sugar + extra for rolling
2c flour
¼ tsp salt
1c finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla then gradually add the 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, beating until light and fluffy.

Sift the flour, measure, then sift again with the salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture. Add the pecans and mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly using the bottom of a glass

Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are very lightly browned.

Remove the cookies from the baking sheets and roll in powdered sugar while still hot.

Cool on wire racks and roll cookies again in powdered sugar before serving.

Once they are completely cooled, cookies may be stored in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

Friday, December 19, 2014

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie

NOTE:: this was actually submitted in 2012 but never got loaded up onto the blog, my bad!!

Submitted by Jessica R.

1/2c butter or margarine
2c sugar
1/2c milk
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2c creamy peanut butter (or chunky but is seems to make a more crumbly dry cookie)
2 tsp vanilla
3 -3 1/2c dry quick-cooking oats

Add the first four ingredients into a 4-quart sauce pan.
Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute.
Remove from heat.

Add peanut butter into the hot mixture and stir until melted.
Add in vanilla. (almond extract is good also, but I only use 1/2 teaspoon almond and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla).
Mix in the oats and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.
Let cool until set.

*Please remember that even if you do follow the recipe exactly, it doesn't always turn out just right. I have had these not set up for me AND be hard and dry. But most of the time, the recipe is just right. I have also found that it makes a difference if you use quick cooking oats or old fashioned. In my experience it takes more old fashioned oats than quick cooking and I like the texture of the quick cooking better. When you make it a few hundred times like I have you learn a couple of things:) Also, Chunky peanut butter tends to make them more dry and crumbly.