Posts Tagged ‘dairy free’

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Galatians 1:3-5 NIV

Happy December!

This is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the cool weather, the anticipation if snow, the lights, the pine tree and baking smells, the music! I always start wanting Christmas music around mid-November, but (to keep it special) I make myself wait to play any until the day after Thanksgiving. Now the Christmas music plays from any speaker near me, Christmas gift projects are piling up at my various workstations, and I have an ambitious baking list to which I keep adding new recipes! It’s Christmastime, huzzah!!!

This year, I am reading a book called “25 Days, 26 Ways to Make This Your Best Christmas Ever.” I already Love this season, but this book has added to my enjoyment and given me new ways to celebrate! So, throughout this month I plan to share some of the many ideas piling up around my house!

The point of the “25 days, 26 ways” book is to bring back the JOY of the Christmas season to those who have lost it, and to enhance it for others. In each chapter, the author, Ace Collins, takes a different tradition or aspect of the holiday season and shares some of its history, and ways to be more focused, intentional, and worshipful with that topic.

One great suggestion is to start on December 1st reading one chapter of Luke each day. Luke has 24 chapters, which makes it the perfect Christmas season study! This study of our Savior’s life, teachings, death and resurrection is a good reminder of what we should be focusing on, both at this season and all year round: How can we show God’s grace to those around us? How can we spread peace?

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…”

Simple Christmas Cheeseball

This cheeseball itself may not spread peace, but it could be called a peaceful spread! It is very easy to put together (which will help you be a peaceful party host), and is Dairy Free, which will definitely help your dairy-allergic guests feel more peaceful at your Christmas party!

Start with my “Basic Cheese” recipe, which you can find in my post entitled “A Promise Fulfilled” (and reposted below).

The Basic Cheese
1 cup raw cashews
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup of water, divided
lemon or lime juice
garlic powder
onion powder
½ red bell pepper (this is for taste and color, but is optional)

Grind the cashews in your blender or food processor. While they disintegrate, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup of cold water. After it gels, pour in ½ cup of hot water and stir until the gelatin melts. Add this melted mixture to the nuts and blend to mix. Add the juice of ½ a lemon or lime. Next, add ½ of a red bell pepper, chopped into chunks. Blend until smooth, then add the other spices to taste. When the seasoning is perfect, pour into a shallow container and place in the refrigerator solidify.

Once it is solid, you can make the cheeseball!

You will need:
2 cans of salmon or tuna in water
About 1 tsp liquid smoke
Nuts of your choice (I usually use pistachios or smoked almonds), smashed (not into powder, but small chunks) (optional)
Dried chives or parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper, optional

In a medium bowl or plate, combine the nuts and chives or parsley (if using) and set aside.

Put the solidified cheese (it will be soft, but not runny. Kind of like velveeta, or jello) in a larger bowl and mash it up a bit with a fork or potato masher. Drain the salmon or tuna and add to the cheese. Add the liquid smoke (to taste. This stuff is strong, so if you haven’t used it before, go lightly. I usually use about two capfuls.)

Keep mashing and mixing it all up. (Hands work well for this job, although it gets kind of messy!).

At first it will seem like you are not making any progress, but do not despair! Keep going! Your persistence will be rewarded! Eventually all the ingredients will combine into a lovely paste. Taste it to check the seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Use your hands (or spoons or spatulas) to form the mixture into one large ball, or two smaller ones (or a bunch of bite sized balls!).

Roll the balls in the nuts, place on a dish and refrigerate until serving. You can serve this right away, but it is better if it has a little time in the fridge to firm up.

If you are a nut-free person, just leave off the nuts. Or, roll in sunflower seeds, or crushed crackers or chips.




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Happy day after Valentine’s Day!

It is interesting to me how different people choose to deal with a day devoted to love. Among my unattached friends, some ignore the day altogether, others have parties with other singles, and some sit at home being sad. A few “celebrate” anti-romance by making “Singles Awareness” cards, sarcastic messages with a black, black, and more black color scheme, in an attempt to assuage depression with humor.

Personally, I love Valentine’s Day. Love is so much more than flowers, and chocolate, romance and jewelry. It does not require cards, presents, or a candlelit dinner for two (though those things are nice). Love includes everyone, not just those who are married or dating. We all have people in our lives to whom we can show love.

This day, this month, this year, I encourage you to focus on this kind of love that we can show every day, to every person we meet:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

I have a poster in my room to remind me of this focus. I replaced the words “love” and “it” with my name, thusly:

__________ is patient, __________ is kind. __________ does not envy, __________ does not boast, __________ is not proud. __________ does not dishonor others, __________ is not self-seeking, __________ is not easily angered, __________ keeps no record of wrongs. __________ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. __________ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

Love every day!

I just started my second reading of Eric and Leslie Ludy’s book, When God Writes Your Love Story. I highly recommend any book written by either of the Ludy’s, but this one especially. It has a good message, excellent suggestions, and is very encouraging. (This is my second reading because I raced through it the first time, so eager to see what was next, I didn’t take time to stop and answer the thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter!) If you, like me, are waiting on God to write the next chapter of your love story, this book is for you! Read, enjoy, and relax.

While you read, eat cheesecake. I just made one, with a recipe from Living Without magazine (which is a great magazine, by the way). I replaced the cranberry swirl with raspberry jam and apricot jam (half and half), with great success. Enjoy!


You can find the recipe here: http://www.livingwithout.com/recipes/Dairy-Free-Cranberry-Swirl-Cheesecake-3194-1.html

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Happy birthday to my blog!
It’s about one year old!
I’ve had lots of fun!
And there’s more to come!

Just over one year ago, I started this blog, something I’d been wanting to do for several years. I’m so glad I did–the experience has been quite entertaining! And now it’s time to celebrate!

What better thing for a celebration but cake? Specifically…

Monkey cake!


My mom and I created this particular monkey for my grandpa’s birthday. He (the monkey) is gluten free, dairy free (except for the ears), corn free, soy free, and delicious!

He’s made of:
1 Betty Crocker gluten free vanilla cake mix
2 Kinnikinnick gluten free chocolate doughnuts (ears)
2 chocolate macaroons (eyes)
1 string of raspberry “licorice” (fruit rope)
1 batch of frosting (recipe below)

Gluten free, Dairy free Frosting

1 cup shortening (I use Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (corn free!)
1/4 cup milk (cow, rice, coconut, whatever!)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup cocoa powder (for chocolate frosting)

Mix together shortening and powdered sugar with a stand or hand mixer. Once well mixed, add milk and vanilla (and cocoa, if using) and mix well again. If it’s too dry or stiff, add more milk a little at a time until it looks like you want.

Enjoy, and Celebrate!

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Merry Christmas!

It finally feels like Christmas to me, today. School is out! Vacation is here! We had a dusting of snow earlier this week!

Tonight is my first night off of the Christmas holidays, and what am I doing? Cooking, of course!

Today I made Chex mix and pear jelly! The Chex mix is delightful, and dairy and gluten free! (Just substitute 1/4 cup of olive oil for the butter in the recipe on the box, and add a little extra salt. Tastes just as good, and you don’t have to wait for the butter to melt!)
The jelly is still boiling in the pot, but last time I stirred it, a little got on my finger…it tastes pretty yummy!

Tomorrow: cookies of many kinds! My baking list is ambitious (it always is!), and I may not make it through all of the deliciousness, but it is fun to have many options!

…Hey, I’m back. Thanks for waiting! I had to go jar up the jelly. This is the first time I’ve made jelly! Can you tell I’m a bit excited about it???


As I stirred the jelly tonight, I was thinking about what I was doing at this time last year. (not Exactly this time…I’m the polar opposite of a numbers genius…just this season). I was a student then, working hard in an online court reporting school, so I was looking forward to a double vacation: no work AND no homework!!! Then I got a phone call, informing me that, due to a change in academic progress requirements, I was being dropped from the court reporting program. Merry Christmas. Without boring you with a long saga of the joys and frustrations of learning machine shorthand, it is hard to explain how frustrating this news was. I spent hours on the phone, talking to strangers far away, trying to convince them to fix the problem, do something different, or at least understand and pretend to care about what a third of their students were going through. (Those of you who know me know how much I enjoyed that stressful experience…) As person after person gave me a resounding, “TOO BAD!” I realized that God must have a different plan for me.

Just after that, a friend sent me an email, one of those forwards that circulates every so often. Usually I just skim through, but this one had a message for me. Somewhere in the middle it said, “When it seems that God is taking something away, you don’t need to try to hang on to it. He is getting your hands empty so He can fill them with something new in His plan for you!”

I decided to be excited, and to look for these new things God was bringing into my life.

I have now been a full year as a free, non-student. As I stirred the jelly some more, and checked on the Chex mix in the oven, I began making a mental list of blessings I have had this year that would not have been possible had I still been in school:

Time to try many new cooking experiments, like pear jelly!
I was able to take an assignment interpreting a week-long overnight outdoor school, which was an incredibly memorable experience! If I had needed to focus on homework, I couldn’t have gone on that trip.
I just bought a new car, which I can afford because I am not having to pay for school.
I got to relax and play in the summer, instead of practicing shorthand all the time!
I have the time and energy to work on a special sign language teaching project with my boss this year, which I am really enjoying!

These are just a few that came quickly to mind. There are many others!

Have you seen the movie, Joseph, King of Dreams? (That seems like a non sequitur, but it isn’t. Trust me.). There is a beautiful song in that show that is one of my favorites. Here are some of the words:

I thought I did what’s best, I thought I had the answers,
I thought I’d found the surest road, but that road brought me here.
So I put up a fight and told you how to help me
And just when I have given up, the truth is coming clear
That you know better than I, you know the way
I’ll let go the need to know why, for you know better than I…

Look it up on YouTube, it’s pretty!

Not only is it pretty, but the message is a good reminder. It is so very easy to get discouraged or sad when things don’t go the way I hoped or planned. It helps me to remember that God is in control, and that His plan is the best one!

My plan for tomorrow is cookie baking! But if God has a different plan, that’s okay. I’m excited to see what He wants me to do!

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Hello my friends! Today we are making macaroni and cheese. Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, artificial colors free! Free of many allergens, but still full of taste. No story, really, just yummy foods.

I will tell you that this cheese recipe is incredibly versatile. It makes a delicious cheeseball, and works great in lasagna and quiche, and on pizza (let it stiffen a bit before putting it on pizza, unless you have a nice, high-edged crust). I’ve even made cheesecake and “cream cheese” frosting with it! It is great on nachos, mixed into chili as a dip, or anywhere else you use melted cheese.

The Basic Cheese
(at my house we call it “Daddy’s Cheese” because he is the dairy-free one, but we are all willing to eat it!)

 1 cup raw cashews

3 packages unflavored gelatin


lemon or lime juice

garlic powder

onion powder


½ red bell pepper (this is for taste and color, but is optional)

Grind the cashews in your blender. While they disintegrate, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup of cold water. After it gels, pour in ½ cup of hot water and stir until the gelatin melts. Add this melted mixture to the blender with the nuts and blend to mix. Add the juice of ½ a lemon or lime. Next, add ½ of a red bell pepper, chopped into chunks. Blend until smooth, then add the other spices to taste. When the seasoning is perfect, pour into a shallow container and place in the refrigerator to solidify. (When solid, this cheese has a “velveeta-like” consistency.)


For a sweet “cream cheese” style:
Omit garlic and onion powders and the red bell pepper.
Add about a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a little sugar (to taste)

For a delightful alfredo sauce:
Omit bell pepper.
Add some oregano, thyme, and basil to the spice mix.

 For a nacho cheese:
Add some cumin and chili powder.
Macaroni and Cheese, Dairy free and Gluten free

Prepare some gluten free pasta, according to its directions.

When it is getting close to done, start the cheese, using the basic directions above (and adding whatever flavors you like best.)

At the point where the recipe tells you to pour the cheese into a container, pour it onto your drained pasta instead!

Eat and enjoy!

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Since the last time I posted, my life has been a swift succession of those two things in the title. Birthdays, the start of a new work/school year, and a few other new things have made for an exciting couple of months filled with God’s blessings.

Celebrations usually mean special food, so these can be difficult for the new gluten-free cook. I know. Our first gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving and Christmas were strange, Strange, STRANGE! However, it can be a LOT of fun to experiment and recreate the old traditional favorites, sans gluten, and to find some new favorites too!

In the past 8 weeks, I have cooked up two gluten-free birthday parties (with quite a few dairy-free choices as well)! Let’s celebrate together!

For my youngest sister’s 14th birthday, we had…

Macaroni and Cheese Gluten-free, Dairy-free


Onion Rings GF/DF and Corn Free

 I forgot to photograph these!  Silly me…

Cheese Sticks GF, with Pepper Jack Cheese–yum!


Cake! GF/DF/Corn Free
Vanilla Cake, covered with hand-painted fondant, with a buttercream elephant


I had a little fun making buttercream fondant figures, too!

A couple weeks later, a good friend of mine celebrated a special birthday with the following…
(It is worth noting that my friend and her family are gluten-eaters, and they enjoyed these gluten-free treats!)

Cupcakes GF/DF, decorated with delectable dairy free buttercream frosting!


Cream Puffs GF, can be made DF

 See recipe below for photos!

Ham and Cheese Bites GF, could be DF with special cheese


Chicken Salad GF, DF and delicious!


Cake inspired by Sleeping Beauty GF/DF


If this cake looks like a mess, yay! I got it right! If you haven’t seen the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty in a while, go watch the scene where Fauna makes Briar Rose’s birthday cake. It’s very entertaining!

The cake is made of Rice Krispy treats (Gluten Free Rice Krispies, of course!), covered in marshmallow fondant, then stuck together with buttercream frosting. The broom is painted marzipan.


What a lot of celebrating we have done lately! God really blessed us with a ton of great recipes, and much success in the kitchen! All the recipes from this post will appear here in the next few weeks, but I’d like to start with my personal favorite. This recipe is great because it is SO easy, and incredibly versatile. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free, Corn-Free Cream Puffs or Éclairs
With a Dairy-Free option!

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter  (or Dairy Free shortening, I like butter flavored Spectrum)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt 
14 Tbsp white rice flour, or your favorite GF flour mix (no xanthan or guar gum needed!)
4 large eggs

In a saucepan, bring water, butter, vanilla and salt to a gentle boil. Add rice flour all at once and stir until mixture is smooth and cohesive.  It will look like this:

Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to a smooth dough between each addition.  When you’re done, it will look like this:

For cream puffs, use a pastry bag to pipe small mounds about 2″ apart, or use two teaspoons and shape into small balls. For éclairs, use a pastry bag and pipe into 4″ logs onto a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure to leave plenty of room between each. (They puff!)  I recommend using a pastry bag to shape your dough–it doesn’t take long, and the results are beautiful!

Before baking:

After baking:

Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes (until slightly brown on top).


Transfer to a wire rack to cool.  As you transfer them, poke a hole in each one with a small paring knife.  This lets excess steam escape and keeps the insides from getting soggy.  It also provies a perfect entry point for piping in filling!

This recipe can be halved. (But why would you want to???)

Note: It is Essential to either line your baking sheet or butter it well. These will stick to the sheet otherwise, and you will lose the bottom half of each one. I recommend parchment or a Silpat—easy cleanup!

1 cup whipping cream 
powdered sugar to taste
Beat together on high speed until stiff. Refrigerate.

For stiffer filling:
1 cup whipping cream
powdered sugar to taste
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, bloomed in 2T cold water, then melted
Beat together cream and sugar until soft peaks form.  Add in melted gelatin and continue to beat until stiff.  Refrigerate until needed.

Optional Topping
4 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate
Melt chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water. Stir until smooth.

Allow pastry to cool. Carefully dip each in chocolate to coat the top. When the chocolate has set, fill each with whipped cream either by splitting each in half with a knife or by pressing a round tip of a pastry bag gently through the side and piping full. Once filled, these can be frozen until wanted. (If you can stand not to eat them immediately!)

Other tasty fillings for these lovely shells:

  • Butter and Jam
  • Fruit and Whipped Cream (like shortcake) (Passion Fruit folded into Whipped Cream is lovely!)
  • Egg Salad, Tuna Salad or other savory, even Taco Salad
  • Ricotta cheese, mixed with Meyer lemon juice, zest and a touch of sugar

Do you have a favorite recipe you have converted to be allergy-friendly?

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 “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…”

I am bursting with things to say today! This past week has been so full of culinary adventures and discoveries, I’ve had a hard time deciding which ones to write about today and which I can stand to save for later!

To give you an idea of just how much God blessed this cooking hobby of mine, here’s just a part of my list:

-Dairy free chocolate mousse
-Almond milk shakes
-Fried Chicken

I promise to write about them all, in time!

Today, I’m still thinking about comfort foods, and not forgetting my promise of an easy, homemade chili recipe.

This chili is the product of countless alterations-by-necessity. This makes it excellent for people with food allergies, because you can adapt to fit your specific needs and still end up with a delicious dinner! Sometimes we were missing an ingredient, and improvised with something else. Feel free to experiment!

When we first started making chili, we thickened it with cornstarch. When the need to avoid corn arose, we switched to arrowroot powder. Potato starch or tapioca starch will also work. However, I find that if you fill this up with enough chunky things, it doesn’t really need any thickening at all.

You may notice there are no beans in the recipe. Some of our family are legume-free, so I have never put beans in our chili. Feel free to add some if you like! Before some of us had to avoid corn, we often added frozen corn to replace the “mouth feel” of beans. Corn is tasty, but it’s also good without it.

Now….on to the recipe!

Homemade Chili

2 boxes (8 cups) of broth (chicken or beef, whatever you like)
1-2 cans of chopped tomatoes (I like Italian tomatoes or fire roasted) OR about 4 diced fresh tomatoes
1-2 lbs of meat (hamburger or chicken)
garlic powder
chili powder
cayenne (if you like spicy!)
onion powder

Optional toppings:
diced onion
shredded cheese
sour cream


Cook up the meat in a frying pan. At the same time, warm the broth and tomatoes in a saucepan big enough to hold everything. If you’re using beans, add them now.

When the hamburger is done, drain it and add it to the soup. Now season!

Seasonings are a little tricky, because I never measure…

I usually sprinkle garlic powder and onion powder in a thin layer over the top.
Chili powder depends on your preference, so add some to start–probably about 2 Tablespoons.
Cumin, probably about the same or a little bit more.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Stir well, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Let it cook a little while to warm up, then serve.

If you wish to thicken…
I have thickened successfully with about 1/4 cup cornstarch, tapioca starch, or potato starch. They all work about the same. Arrowroot is another option. Introduce the starch the same way you do for gravy–mix the starch in a bowl or shaker with a bit of cold liquid (broth or water) until smooth, then add to the soup while stirring. Keep warming the soup and stirring (to keep the bottom from burning) until thickened.


PS: You could also add a diced onion to the soup, but I usually save onions and cheese as optional toppings. Or, use salsa instead of diced tomatoes.

This chili is great as a meal by itself, with a side salad and bread or cornbread. Here’s a few other ideas…

“Fiesta” is chili served atop rice and/or corn chips with salad. Similar to “Frito Pie” or taco salad, layer individual bowls with chips, rice, chili, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc.

Chili dogs!

Mix with creamy cheese (a homemade cheese sauce is best!) for a lovely chip dip!

What do you do with chili?

Which recipe would you like to see next?

…to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!”
(Ephesians 3:20)

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