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Showing posts from 2012

Let's Talk about Turkeys

Every year, I have a hard time remembering what an awesome price for turkey is around Thanksgiving. I purchased a turkey last year and didn't cook him up until last night. I didn't intend to have him sitting in my freezer all year, but waited too long and then didn't want to have the oven on for 4 hours during summer when my AC was working so hard. So, yesterday it was. And we enjoyed the smell and tastes of Thanksgiving.
Last year, I paid 88 cents/lb for this Butterball turkey. I remember purchasing it at Target and choosing the name brand over the less expensive store brand because of some promo, I think I got a discount on stuffing or gravy or something. I don't quite remember.
Last week Frys had their turkeys for 79 cents/lb. I am curious to be reminded again this year what a good price for turkeys is. And maybe they won't be as cheap as years past, who knows. Most of all, I wanted this to record what prices I have seen so in future years, I can compare and kn…

Linguine Meatball Meal

I make meatballs with lean ground beef, 1 egg, Italian seasonings and a dash of garlic salt (optional: bread crumbs). I cook them in a skillet over Medium heat with a bit of olive oil.  Add the meatballs to the cooked and strained pasta. Add some olive oil or Italian salad dressing, some dried basil, fresh baby spinach leaves and chopped fresh tomatoes. The heat from the pasta and meatballs will slightly wilt the spinach and tomatoes, but not cook them.  Enjoy warm. 

Whole Grain Breaded Catfish - with a Gluten Free Option

I've breaded catfish before and we really enjoy it. I have always cut the fish up in bite-size pieces before breading it, but that tends to be quite time consuming, so this time I breaded the entire filet. The other change I made was using oat and wheat flours along with corn meal, lemon pepper and garlic salt to make the meal more nutritious. It was quick and delicious.

First, in a small bowl, mix about a 1/4 cup of each: oat flour wheat flour (or a gluten free flour) corn meal
Sprinkle in about a tsp of lemon pepper and a dash of garlic salt. Mix well.
Lightly beat 1-2 eggs in another bowl. Dip raw fish filet into egg mixture. Set the egg-coated filet on a large plate. Spoon the breading over the filet and pat. Keep the spoon dry so it can be re-used for the breading.

Place breaded side down into a skillet with about 1 T heated olive oil (Med-High heat) and bread the other side. Flip in about 3-4 minutes and cook on lower temperature until cooked through (firm inside and browned…

Little Snack Mix

I had the munchies and I wanted something slightly healthy but with some flavor. So, I started my rummage through the pantry and added a handful here and a handful there until I had this:

So, the mini marshmallows didn't really assist in the "healthy" part of this snack, but I saw them in the pantry and couldn't resist. My fault for even having them! 
Walnuts Sliced Almonds Shredded Coconut Dried Cranberries And of course, the marshmallows.
Loved it!

Green Smoothies For Everyone!

I thought green smoothies were gross, until I actually tried one! My mom converted me over to the green way and I love making them for my family. And I do, for everyone from age 9 months to almost 30. :)

Each of these four "smoothies" have the same basic ingredients with a few simple alterations.
First, I threw into my Ninja: 4 big handfuls of spinach leaves 1 carrot 1 apple 2 bananas 2 peaches 1 scoop orange juice concentrate About 1/4-1/2 cup water
I blended that all up and dumped some into the baby's bowl.
Then, in the Ninja, I added: almond milk ice cubes
Blended that all up and dumped a glass full for my husband.
Then, back in the Ninja, I added: Vanilla yogurt
And then I poured the two cups for me and my 3 year-old. For baby, I added some dry baby cereal flakes to thicken it enough to spoon feed. We all enjoyed them, and our bodies said "thank you"

Cooking with Quinoa

So, I've just finally gotten used to saying quinoa correctly (keen-wa) instead of reading it phonetically. What an achievement. And now I'm on to experimenting more ways to cook with this awesome grain-like seed.
This meal was AWESOME. Not too hard to accomplish with salmon.

Here's how I made the quinoa.
In a small saucepan, combine: 1 cup dry quinoa 2 cups water 1 T chicken boulion 1 T olive oil about 10 shakes of basil :) 1/4 of a white onion, diced
Boil until moisture is all absorbed, about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in fresh chopped ingredients, such as: corn, tomato and cilantro

Other possible additions: black beans, green onion, bell pepper
Serve warm, topped with perfectly ripe diced avocado if you have one.

Peach Applesauce - Using Dehydrated Apples

Three good reasons to make this applesauce:
Fast & Easy
Healthy - No sugar!

Place dehydrated apples into a bowl or directly into your food processor or blender if it can hold a high level of water. Cover the dried apples in water and soak for 5-10 minutes. Pour most of the water into a large cup for use later.  Blend the soaked apples until smooth, adding the soak water as needed to achieve the thickness you desire. Add ripe peaches (I left the skins on) and blend until smooth. Refrigerate and enjoy cold.
Homemade applesauce doubles as baby food in our house, but everyone gets to enjoy it too.

Cookie Cake, and Yummy Frosting

I'm so happy with how this cookie cake turned out.

Here's how I did it.
I used this recipe for the cookie cake and I just made a few minor alterations. 
Cream together in a large bowl: 1/2 cup Smart Balance Light butter (no-dairy) 1/2 cup butter flavored shortening 1 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Add and use electric mixer to get it really creamy: 2 eggs 2 tsps vanilla
Add: 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt
(I reserved some of the dough before adding chocolate for my husband, since he does not react well to it. I decided to make the ears for him. So I shaped some kitty ears with just plain dough.) Fold in mini M&M's or chocolate chips. Shape dough into a large circle on parchment paper on a baking sheet. (I forgot to use parchment paper and I regretted it later when it stuck to the pan.) Also, try to stay about an inch away from the edges (which I didn't do very well).
Bake at 300 degrees F for about 30 minutes or until set and barel…

Enjoy Each "Baby" Bite

Making nutritious baby food. Simple, cost effective, satisfying.
Today I used 2 small yams, a handful of fresh baby spinach and 1/3 of a large banana.  It made 5 full containers of baby food with a few teaspoons extra. It took me about 15 minutes from start to finish.
Peel, chop and boil the yams until tender.

Strain yams, reserve most of the water to use later if needed.  Toss yams into your food processor. I love my Ninja.

Once you achieve the consistency you desire, place into small containers. I use cleaned out baby food containers and jars. I only filled 2 containers and left the rest of the yam mush in my Ninja to add additional ingredients to.

Like fresh baby spinach. (I added some of the reserved boil water here.)

And then for the last 2 containers I added a 1/3 of a large banana to the mix. 

And placed the leftovers right into her bowl for lunch. I mixed it with some baby oatmeal cereal.
And she approves. :)

So, I now have 3 varieties of baby food to chose from in my fridge.

Mexican Style Rice

I always think it's funny when I discover how easy it is to make some things from scratch. Especially the things that I have depended on Rice A Roni for all these years.
One such example, is Mexican or Spanish Rice. I have always used the box rice mixes to make these, until a wise woman taught me otherwise.

So, here's how I make it now.

In a sauce pan, combine and brown over medium/high heat for about 4-6 minutes:
1 cup white rice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
1-2 stalks celery, cut small

Add water and one can of diced tomatoes (with liquid) to equal 2 1/2 cups liquid total.
Add any seasonings if desired (garlic, salt, red pepper, chili powder).
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all moisture is absorbed.
Stir and Serve.

I'm aware that this photo below is NOT dairy free, but I thought it looked so visually appealing, I couldn't help putting it on here.


These are so full of flavor. They are not the quickest meal to prepare, but well worth the effort.

My friend Erin gave me her family recipe for Red Enchilada Sauce and it is simple and delicious.

In a small saucepan, combine and heat for 5 minutes:
2 Tbsp flour (or 1 Tbsp cornstarch)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp beef bullion
2 cups water (or canned bean juice)
3 Tbsp oil

Prepare the filling. I put all the filling ingredients together in a bowl or on my cutting plate. The following ingredients are some ideas of what can go in them: Meat (chicken, beef, ground beef, ground turkey, pork) Beans (pinto, black, kidney) Veggies (corn, cilantro, bell pepper, onion, finely chopped zucchini)
In a large oven dish, cover a large tortilla with the prepared sauce on both sides (by either dipping it in or pouring some sauce over and rubbing around with a spoon.) Then, place some of the filling in the center of the tortilla and roll it up and place in the pan with the…
Crispy Onions: A crunchy alternative to croutons. We just discovered them and tried them out.

Also, one of our favorite non-dairy dressings, Ken's Sweet Vidalia Onion. 

Whole Grain Banana Nut Bread

I doubled this recipe in one of a few efforts to rid my freezer of nearly 45 bananas. My doubled batch made one regular loaf, one small loaf and 23 standard muffins. They turned out PERFECT!

How to make Whole Grain Banana Nut Bread:

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl:
1 cup all purpose flour (I use unbleached)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

In a separate bowl, combine:
2 eggs, beaten
5-6 ripe, mashed bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Add wet mixture to dry mixture in large bowl and stir just until moistened. Fold in 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional). Pour batter into lightly oiled pan(s) and bake at 350 degrees F.

Bake Time:
Regular loaf, 9x5x3" - bake for 55-60 minutes
Small loaf, 4 1/2x2 1/2x1 1/2" - 30-35 minutes
Standard Muffins - 15-20 minutes

Notes: *You can use all white flour or half white and half wheat too. 
*If you are using frozen banana…

Wild Rice

Wild rice is one of my favorite types of rice. Here's how I usually make it.

In a saucepan over high heat, mix:
2 cups dry wild rice
4 1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Chicken Bullion
Seasonings to taste: Italian seasonings, salt, garlic, basil, etc.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 30-40 minutes. It is done when all the water is gone and the rice is tender.
In the photo above, I mixed in black beans and cooked bacon pieces with some leftover wild rice.
I get my wild rice blend from Sprouts Farmers Market bulk foods.

Granola Bites

These are fun to make and healthily yummy. Winner!

Mix together: 1 cup oats 1 cup coconut flakes (toasted or not) 1/2 cup peanut butter 1/2 cup ground flaxseed 1/3 cup honey Optional: 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Chill in the fridge for about a half an hour, then shape into balls. Store airtight in the fridge or freezer.

Cinnamon Sugar Bread

We love cinnamon around here, especially when it is in cahoots with sugar... and soft bread right out of the oven. So, here is an alteration to this recipe to make Cinnamon Sugar Bread!

In a large bowl, stir together well:
2 and 3/4 cups flour (all purpose or mix in some whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
1-2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon

Add and stir:
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Stir until it resembles dough and then knead the dough until it is smooth. If it is sticking to your hands, add a few pinches of flour. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow to rise for 20 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Punch down dough and place on a baking/cookie sheet. Spread out the dough to achieve a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Brush the top with melted butter or margarine (Smart Balance Light has no dairy) and then sprinkle ample amounts of Cinnamon/sugar all over the top. (O…

Family Dinners

Since it's birth, this blog has been all recipes and ideas of how to cook and bake delicious foods without milk products. Although my husband can't eat dairy foods, the rest of us in the family can, so I often make a meal that includes some dairy for us and another dairy-free variety for him.  Such as pizza...
Because his pizza doesn't include any cheese, it gets more yummy toppings piled on to compensate. 
So, if you are cooking for a family, not everyone has to go without dairy. There are ways to split up the meal and make special accommodations for the non-dairy types in the group. 
And I have to mention that the pizza shown above was the MOST AMAZING PIZZA I have made so far. And that is thanks to some recent adjustments to my Focaccia bread recipe that I use for the crust. It is so full of flavor, soft and thick. Perfect! More about making your own pizza sauce here.

Using Mayonaise: Cream-like sauce

I thought this idea was a little weird at first, just because of my past feelings about mayonaise. But mayonaise gives a nice creamy-like touch to pasta dishes and the meal still remains dairy-free.

 This dish is whole wheat penne pasta, cooked shrimp and asparagus. The "sauce" is created by stirring in about 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil mayo, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1-2 Tablespoons Italian salad dressing (check for dairy ingredients), garlic salt, Italian seasoning blend and Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb seasonings to taste.

Black Bean Soup

I used this recipe as the inspiration for my black bean soup. I made a few alterations, mainly cooking my own black beans rather than using canned beans. Also, for dairy-free eaters, no sour cream. I also used the chicken broth that I made last year that was in my freezer. And I altered the garnish for the top. I made my simple garnish out of green onion, cilantro and lime juice.

Ingredients ·6 slices bacon, chopped ·1 large onion, diced ·3 cloves garlic, minced ·2 cups chicken broth ·pinch of dried oregano ·pinch of cayenne pepper ·1/2 teaspoon ground cumin ·salt to taste ·2 (14.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained ·14 1/2 fluid ounces water ·1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper · ·Garnish:

Oatmeal Yummies

These oatmeal cookies have a little extra goodness, in the forms of oat flour, cranberries, walnuts and optional chocolate chips. Perfectly chewy and full of flavor, and even better, some nutrition in there too.

In a large bowl, beat together until smooth: 3/4 cup butter/margarine (Smart Balance = no dairy) 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla
Add and mix well: 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup unbleached all purpose and 1/2 cup oat flour) 1 tsp baking soda 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt (optional)
Stir in: 3 cups oats (quick or rolled, I prefer quick) 1 cup dried cranberries 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts chocolate chips (optional)
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, cool and eat!

Cinnamon Rolls!

My first attempt at making cinnamon rolls and I am so pleased! They were easier than I expected and delicious as anticipated.

This recipe makes about 20 large cinnamon rolls. Mix together in a large bowl: 2 1/2 cups warm water 1 1/2 T yeast 1 T salt 1/3 cup white sugar
Add and mix in: 1 egg 1/3 cup oil 7 cups flour (add a little at a time)
Knead the dough until smooth and let rise in a warm place for about 10 minutes. Roll out the dough using a rolling pin trying to get it into a rectangular shape, about  1/2-1 inch thick. Spread melted butter (Smart Balance) all over rolled out dough and sprinkle lots of cinnamon sugar and optional walnuts, raisins, cranraisins, etc.
Roll it up and pinch off the ends. Cut the roll into about 1 inch pieces using clean dental floss.  Here are the cinnamon rolls before baking:

Bake on a cookie sheet or baking pan for about 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
I made some without nuts and some with.

Icing:  Almond milk (just enough to achieve drizzling consistency) 1/2 pound powd…