Tag Archive | dairy-free

Quick and Easy Stovetop Baked Apples (and eight ways to use them!)

Before I start on the baked apples, let’s talk about husbands.

I have learned a few things about the husband species in the last five years. I’d venture to say I’m even an expert. Don’t tell Todd, though. He gets uncomfortable when he thinks people have him figured out.

Anyways, here are some things about husbands.

  1. You will use up more bar soap, toothpaste, and hot sauce than you ever, ever thought was possible in a household when you have one.
  2. Husbands are way happier when they have “adventures.” It’s not cool to call them “adventures,” though. They masquerade as trips to “get some light bulbs,” “pick up a milkshake,” and “look at prices of ______ “(fill in the blank with any random object). Basically, husbands are roamers, and hunters. They do not like to be kept as domestic pets. They must get out, and be free, and roam around. It is best to let them.
  3. Husbands love to give compliments, but sometimes they need prompting.

Today, for instance, I called out: “Todd, come in here and see how frugal and wonderful I am. See, I didn’t want to buy berries this week for oatmeal, so I’m baking up these delicious apples to give the boys for breakfast. Aren’t I amazing? Aren’t you so glad you married me?”

Todd fervently agreed that he did, in fact, have excellent taste in selecting a spouse. Although he thought I needed to work on humility.


Anyway, if you’ve got a few apples lying around, you, too, can be woman of the year by whipping them into amazing-ness. Now is the perfect time, when they are so cheap!


Here are the things you need:


  • 3-4 apples
  • cinnamon to taste
  •  T brown sugar (might not even be necessary!)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 c water
  • Peel, core, and slice apples very thinly. It’s okay if they have a little bit of peel remaining. I like tasting a bit of peel every now and then, and it adds fiber. 🙂
  • Add the apples and the water to a sauce pan, cover, and turn on high. When it begins to bubble, turn it down to to medium.
  • Stir every 3-4 minutes and watch for apples to reach your desired level of tenderness. I like them slightly firmer than apple pie texture.
  • When they’re done, add your cinnamon and brown sugar.

And as promised, here are eight different ways to use these apples:

  1. Mixed into oatmeal with coconut oil stirred in. This tastes like dessert.
  2. As a topping for a frozen waffle. This, with an egg on the side, is a breakfast of champions for a mom. (When I make an apple for myself, I don’t even add the sugar and I don’t miss it!)
  3. Spooned onto the top of a sizzling pancake, then flip. Yum!
  4. With a spoonful of yogurt for a snack.
  5. Topped with (coconut?) ice cream for a company-worthy dessert. For company, I’d do cherries or cranberries instead of the raisins!
  6. Inside a Pillsbury crescent roll and then baked. (Yes, I know these Pillsbury rolls are the devil. I learned recently that they are {suspiciously} dairy-free, so I reserve them for a special treat for my little Sam, once in a blue moon. We all need a special treat every once in a while, right?)
  7. As a topping for pork chops. I made a Rachel Ray recipe along these lines.
  8. As a side for any toasty fall meal! Like applesauce, but gourmet!




Banana Bread – yummy, easy, allergy-friendly

One of the most special birthday presents I got this year was a steaming loaf of banana bread. It was extra special because it was dairy and egg free (so I could share it with my little Sam), and because it was made by my sister, who at the time had a two-month-old, and a sick toddler. Wow, she must really love me! 🙂

Julie has the “Midas touch” of cooking. Anything she makes tastes like it was made by Paula Deen. I was doubtful I could re-create her bread, but dare I say, I almost did! I adapted it slightly and made it into muffins.

This recipe is much simpler than any other banana loaf I’ve made, but tastes equally delicious. I’d recommend it to anyone. What a great gift this would be to a new mom eating dairy-free! (Or a new mom! Or a mom!)

My sister based her recipe on this one.


Like how I put the flour in the sifter so you wouldn’t forget that step? And ps, those bananas are the perfect amount of ripe for banana bread!

  • 1/3 cup shortening, butter, or, my choice, coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, minus 2 T
  • 1 3/4 cup sifted flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1/4 applesauce (can be omitted – I used because my bananas were small, for additional moisture)


  • 2 T white sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon


Lightly grease and flour 8x4x3 loaf pan or one muffin tin. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas well with a fork.

Cream together coconut oil and sugar. In separate bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into coconut oil mixture, alternating with mashed bananas and applesauce. Mix until smooth. Pour into pan.

Sprinkle batter with cinnamon and sugar mixture. My mom says to let it sit and let the sugar melt into the batter for 10 minutes or so and then bake. Trust me on this one – she’s right. My husband says the sugar topping is the best part. Go figure.

I cleaned out an old spice container and put in my cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle easily. Glad I took a picture of the craftiest DIY thing I’ve done all year.

For bread, bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean. For muffins, bake 18-20 minutes.

Adaptions: Add 1/2 c chocolate chips to mixed batter, or 1/2 c fresh blueberries. Yum!

D.F.D.F. {Dairy-Free Delicious Food} : Chicken Pot Pie

Welcome to the first installment of DFDF!! Dairy Free Delicious Food! Although all my food is dairy-free, I came up with this cool new acronym. I can’t really decide if it’s actually cool, or 5th grade cool. Maybe I secretly know the answer to that…:)

Anyway, today’s tasty recipe is down-home chicken pot pie! Here’s how I make it. Of course if you’re not omitting dairy, tweak the recipe accordingly (as us dairy-free cooks have to do with all those other recipes!)


  •  5-6 small potatoes (cut into dice-sized pieces)
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • one onion, chopped
  • couple stalks of celery, chopped
  • some broccoli (I was in a healthy mood), chopped
  • butter/butter substitute
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (not shown)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • pre-made pie crust (Pillsbury is dairy-free.)
  • bay leaf
  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken (not shown)
  • TB of flour (not shown)

I know, I know… my ingredient lists are starting to look like a fraternity’s yearbook photo with all these “not showns.” I’ll work on it.


So what I do first is wash, chop, and saute all the vegetables in olive oil. Make sure the potatoes are diced in small pieces, so they are thoroughly cooked. I like to get really nice color on them, but not let them be too mushy, as they will cook in the oven as well. (Maybe saute for 10-15 minutes?) Again, test the potatoes and make sure they are slightly soft.

Now you need to get that creamy, pot-pie feeling for the inside. What I do is clear a hole in the pot, melt the butter (TB or so), and then add the flour. I mix up the melted butter and flour so it’s not clumpy.

Just imagine all that blurriness is steam. I’m pretty sure it is, but it might be butter on the lens. Who knows. Now we need to add the liquid – chicken broth and milk. Then you just let it simmer for a bit.

You may need to add a little more liquid. Keep in mind that it will thicken in the oven, so make sure it’s not too dry before you bake it. Then pour it in a pan. Since you apparently have way too much time on your hands and need a 3rd child around, make a cool criss-cross crust. I think it’s actually called “lattice pie crust.”

Hey, stop laughing at my lattices.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges.

Let cool for a really long time before you serve to little ones. They don’t forgive you if they burn their tongues. Enjoy! D.F.D.F., right!

what we eat around here: allergy-friendly foods

good thing vanilla is allergy-friendly! 🙂

I have a really sweet neighbor friend, Christie, who asked me recently, “What snacks do ya’ll (she’s from the south:) ) eat? I’d love to know what some safe foods are for Sam!”

I thought I’d put together this list, for anyone as kind as Christie who wants to host a playgroup, bring a safe snack to preschool, have a friend over who has food allergies, offer safe candy at birthday parties, etc. etc.

If you are a parent of an allergic kid, I’m sure you’ll double-check the ingredients or call the company to verify, especially if your child’s allergy is severe. Unfortunately, companies do change ingredients or warnings from time to time.

The following products do not contain milk, egg or peanut. Also, the products are not manufactured on lines with these items, OR provide an extremely thorough sanitation and allergen testing process. In other words, they’re careful enough for me. (Which is pretty careful.)

So here are some safe foods for dairy, egg, and peanut allergies! This list is not extensive, but gives you a good idea. I’ve noted the ones that I know are free of the top 8 allergens (wheat, peanut, nut, egg, milk, soy, shellfish, fish)

Main Dish Items:

  • Tyson Chicken Nuggets
  • Nature’s Own Wheat Bread (double-check ingredients, some varieties not safe)
  • Mueller’s pasta varieties
  • Jones Dairy Farm sausage (free of top 8)
  • Hormel Natural Choice lunchmeat (free of top 8)
  • Hebrew National hot dogs, plain
  • Ian’s chicken nuggets and french fries (free of top 8)
  • Daiya cheese substitute


  • All Fruit and Veggies! Just make sure your knife and cutting surface are clean! (free of top 8)
  • Trader Joe’s Snickerdoodles (free of top 8)
  • Oreos, plain (I know…scary – what’s the white stuff?)
  • Honeymaid Graham Crackers
  • Kraft Marshmellows
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips (available at Target and Earthfare) (free of top 8)
  • Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks (free of top 8)
  • Nabisco Wheat Thins, plain
  • Triscuits, plain
  • Saltines
  • Club and Ritz Crackers, plain
  • Sunbutter and Soynutbutter
  • Rold Gold Pretzel products
  • Teddy Grahams
  • Barnum Brand animal crackers, plain without icing
  • Lay’s plain and BBQ potato chips (free of top 8)
  • Cheerios, plain
  • Rice Chex, original
  • Kix
  • Tostitos corn chips (free of top 8)
  • Fritos corn chips (free of top 8)
  • Del Monte diced peaches/pears (free of top 8)
  • raisins/craisins (free of top 8)
  • individual apple sauce, plain (free of top 8)
  • So Delicious ice cream products (free of top 8)
  • Popsicle Brand popsicles (free of top 8)
  • CherryBrook kitchen baking mixes (brownies, cakes, cookies) (free of top 8)


  • PEZ
  • smarties (free of top 8)
  • Yummy Earth Lollipops and Candies – I can buy these at earthfare
  • Nerds
  • DumDums
  • Jelly Bellies
  • Skittles
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Swedish Fish
  • Dum Dum lollipops (free of top 8)

Don’t Be Afraid of a Raw Naked Chicken! {20 uses for a whole chicken}

image: salsachica (stock.xchng)

I can actually remember the first time I bought a “whole roasting chicken” at the grocery store. It only took 28 years of my life to build up the courage. I felt so mature and culinary, scooching the whole thing in a plastic bag in front of everybody. The part I remember, though, happened later in my kitchen while on the phone with my mom. I was staring at it plopped raw in the sink.

me: Do I rinse it off? Do I put it right in the pan? What do I do with the juice? (Couldn’t bring myself to say “blood.” I was going to try to eat this thing later, after all.)

mom: You can rinse if you want. But you’ll have to reach in there and take out the gizzards. Usually they wrap the gizzards up in the cavity.

(long pause)

me: the what? I have to do what?

That was when I was officially a grown-up, the day I fished plastic-sealed gizzards out of a raw chicken. I had arrived. {ps. WHY do they include shrink-wrapped gizzards in chickens??? Raise your hand if you ever in your life plan on using them. Hmmm. That’s what I thought!!!}

But hang on, I’m not doing such a good job selling you on the whole start-buying-a-whole-chicken thing, am I? Let me start over.

While dealing with the “whole roaster” does have about 3.5 minutes of definite grossness, It Is Well Worth It.

It impresses. It makes the house smell incredible. It’s frugal. It is a blank slate for a million dinners and just as many leftover lunches. And, it is super, super easy (minus the gizzard issue, but we’ll get to that.)

You see, if you make the simple Roasted Chicken in the Crockpot, you not only have one delicious meal, you also have:

  1. delicious leftover chicken for another recipe, and…
  2. a chicken carcass. Which you may be tempted to toss in the trash. For the love of everything good, DON’T!!!! A chicken carcass is a goose that lays the golden eggs! (Weird analogy, Jessica. Just odd.) But it is though! It’s the gift that keeps on giving! (?) Because….You can make homemade chicken broth!!

Doesn’t that just look delicious? It is so easy-cheesy, too. Homemade chicken broth saves you $10+ a month, is lower-sodium, with no-MSG or weird ingredients. Here’s how you make chicken broth.

ingredients. not pictured: chicken carcass. (you’re welcome.)

  • Take all the meat off the whole chicken. Put everything else back in a huge pot. Bones, skin –  everything. Fill the really big pot up with water. Then, add a few carrots, celery, and a large onion, all roughly chopped. Add a bay leaf, a good amount of salt, ground pepper, dried thyme, and some cloves of garlic, roughly chopped. Do you love how my instructions are so incredibly specific?
  • Bring your pot to a boil. Then, lower to a simmer and let it just hang out for 1-2 hours.
  • Take the pan off the heat and let it cool off a while. When it’s warm but not hot, put a strainer on top of a giant bowl and pour your broth over. And ta-da, CHICKEN BROTH! I store mine in containers like these:

I usually end up with about 4 containers of these of broth. Soooo, from just one little chicken, you now have one delicious dinner, leftover chicken meat, chicken broth, and so many possibilities! (super-obvious note: Not saying you can make 20 meals from one chicken. Here are your 20 meal ideas for chicken meat and/or broth! If there is a favorite recipe I use, I linked to it.

  1. Your roasted rotisserie chicken dinner. Of course, you could also cook your whole chicken in the oven, in which case you would want to use this recipe. But the thing is, no matter how wonderful a cook the Barefoot Contessa is, she is not standing in your kitchen with you, and thus, cannot help you determine if the poultry is fully cooked. I will leave it at that, and not tell you about the time I hosted my sister and brother-in-law to serve them roast chicken. I just won’t tell you about that time. So I recommend the crockpot method. It is literally foolproof. As long as you don’t forget to turn the crockpot on in the morning. (Who would do that?? Hmmm.) All you have to do is open the chicken plastic, take out the you-know-whats, plop the chicken in the crockpot, cover with spices, cook for 8 hours. Viola. Rotisserie Chicken. I recommend serving this with some homemade mashed potatoes, apple sauce, and a spinach salad. Or french fries and biscuits. You choose. So now here are 20 more recipes to use up your chicken broth and/or leftover chicken!
  2. chicken enchiladas
  3. white chicken chili
  4. roasted chicken paninis (ask my cousin Molly for a recipe, and I bet she got it from Giada deLaurentis.)
  5. buffalo chicken pizza
  6. Chicken, avocado, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and lime mayonnaise sandwiches (I made that up. Very tricky. Just add all the ingredients I just listed.)
  7. chicken pot pie  – the world’s most perfect comfort food
  8. chicken enchilada soup
  9. chicken mexican casserole (surprisingly really good, even without the cheese)
  10. chicken fried rice (no one in the whole world makes it as good as my sister Julie. Recipe, Julie??)
  11. Baked Chicken Taquitos
  12. Carmelized Onion and Chicken Tostadas
  13. Black Bean soup
  14. Risotto
  15. French Onion soup
  16. Ham and Bean soup
  17. Potato Corn Chowder (thanks to my friend Katie for this suggestion)
  18. Katie’s Mexican Stew (hey, thanks for that one, too, Kate!)
  19. Southwestern Chicken Salad with cilantro vinegarette
  20. Simple, sweet, and spicy chicken wraps

Whew! I am chickened out! You’re welcome!! 🙂

cozy, crispy, easy fall treat!

I’ll be honest. I am not the biggest “fall” fan. I hate Halloween, I hate being cold, I hate losing my tan, and I don’t care who you are, wool sweaters are not “cozy.” They are itchy.

However, there are two redeeming things about fall. 1. the food. 2. Even I was getting sick of the 1,284-degree weather.

So back to the food. Today was rainy, cold, dark…don’t days like that just make you want to make Picnic Roast and Apple Crisp? What’s that?? You don’t know what Picnic Roast is?!? Do you not have a Polish uncle who made you picnic roast? Poor you. It’s the epitome of polish yumminess: hot dogs, bacon, cabbage, potatoes. Dollap some ketchup on the top and…yum!

I know my inbox will be flooded tomorrow with requests for that recipe.

In the meantime, here’s my dessert one. I wanted a pie, but didn’t feel like making a crust. So apple crisp seemed perfect. I based my recipe on this one; I thought the baking soda/powder was weird, and, wow , 1+ cups of sugar seemed a little much. I’d make it again my way.


  • 6 granny smith apples (if your apples are not tart to taste, be sure to add tsp. of lemon juice)
  • tsp. cinnamin
  • T white sugar
  • T flour
  • dash nutmeg
  • handful of dried cranberries
  • cup of quick oats
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 butter, melted (I used dairy free) or coconut oil


Peel and slice apples. The thinner the better. Add to sliced apples the next 5 ingredients (don’t do the oats). In separate bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, and melted butter. Grease a pie pan and put apple mixture in first, topping with oat mixture. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 45-50 minutes.  Bet it would be great with vanilla ice cream.

Southwest-topped Sweet Potatoes

I owe my friend Katie for this idea. I’m can’t believe I’ve never thought of it before! I was surprised how completely delicious and satisfying it was! My boys devoured it, and even my husband said he thought it was delicious and asked me to make it again! So there you have it! 🙂


  • sweet potatoes (one for each person)
  • can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • frozen corn (not shown)
  • 1/4 lb of ground turkey or beef (I only used a little meat and it still tasted delicious)
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • toppings: butter, avocado, hot sauce, lime, cheese

Bake the sweet potatoes as you normally would. Scrub them, poke holes, baked completely. In a skillet, heat oil and cook meat. Add generous amounts of spices and salt, and then the rinsed black beans, and finally, the frozen corn. Allow this to cook through so the flavors meld. Slice open the potato and top with butter. Then add a sprinkle of salt and your bean mixture. Top with your choice of toppings. The avocado especially is delish!