Tag Archives: dairy-free

Dairy-Free, Dye-Free Fall Frosting

91vwsqbattl-_sy679_A little natural Halloween pearl for the curious, adventurous baker.

If you need to color some frosting a rich yellow or orange without artificial food coloring, try a dab or two of red palm shortening–and you’ll also pack in a smidge of vitamin E.

You’ll have to be willing to play with it though. My family made some cut-out cookies for our pumpkin carving night last week. I mixed together for the frosting: Spectrum “All Vegetable” palm shortening at room temperature (this is white and is not truly “vegetable shortening,” but palm shortening), powdered sugar, vanilla, and a dab of Nutiva’s red palm oil (which is a solid at room temperature) for color.

The ratios depend on how thick you’d like your frosting, how sweet, and the color you’re aiming for. My ratio was approximately 1 cup of Spectrum’s (white) “all vegetable” palm shortening to 1 cup of powdered sugar to 1 teaspoon of vanilla to about 2 tablespoons of red palm oil. All estimates. It will need played with. Taste as you add more red palm oil so that you don’t pick up any unwanted off-flavors associated with unrefined red palm oil. Mix with an electric mixer. This could be thinned by adding your choice of alternative milk.

Please note that there is controversy regarding palm-derived oils and the destructive clearing of land for palm plantations and displacement and endangerment of native animals.

Sustainable palm products do not completely eliminate these issues, but it is an important step at preserving land and animals while continuing the livelihood of the local people who rely on production.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Terri

 

Three Days of Thanksgiving: Perfect Maple Pecan Pie and Pressed Pie Crust in a Pinch

Simply 100% pecan perfection!  Definite yum factor of “awesome!”  If you haven’t made pecan pie with maple syrup, you must try it!  Both pecans and maple syrup are native to the United States–pecans from the Southeast and maple syrup from the Northeast.  Maple syrup and pecans just go together.  I love this pie.

The only question left unanswered:  “Should I chop the pecans or leave them whole?” Try it both ways.  They’ll both be good.

As a bonus, I’ve also shared my pie crust recipe.  It’s kind of unique.  It is not a roll-out recipe, and it is really so much fun to make with kids.

pecanpie4_picmonkeyed

 

Perfect Maple Pecan Pie 

1 9” pie shell, unbaked 

2 cups of maple syrup

8 ounces (2 cups) of pecans (whole, chopped, or halved–your preference)

1 tablespoon of tapioca flour or arrowroot flour

3 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons of olive oil

 

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. It will get very frothy, so adjust the heat to make sure that it does not boil over. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Set aside.
  3.  In a small bowl, mix the pecans and tapioca flour together well.  Set aside.
  4.  In a large bowl, combine and beat together the reduced maple syrup, eggs, vanilla, salt, and  oil until well mixed.
  5.  Add the pecans and stir well.
  6.  Pour into the unbaked pie shell and bake for 15 minutes at 375˚F.
  7.  Reduce heat to 350˚F and bake for 20 minutes.
  8.  Let cool before serving.

The above recipe is in the Bite-Sized Guide I wrote up for Molly Green Magazine.  But I have a bonus recipe to share in case you forgot the pie shell!

Pressed Pie Crust in a Pinch

This is a fast, easy way to make a delicious pie crust.  My mom is known for her pies and especially her flaky crust recipe.  Humorously, the woman who gave her the pie crust recipe long ago was quite embarrassed about the recipe, because it’s not a roll-out crust.  She made my mom promise to never tell anyone where the recipe came from!  Crazy!  This adaption to gluten-free loses none of the simplicity but does lose some of the flakiness.  However, I still like it better than a store-bought crust.  It’s a GREAT recipe to do with kids because it’s so easy!

1 cup of gluten-free flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)

Pinch of salt

Milk alternative, 3 tablespoons

Olive oil (see below for amount, it’s kind of unusual)

  1.  Place the gluten-free flour in a medium-sized bowl with the pinch of salt.
  2.  The next step is kind of strange.  Read closely:  In a 1/2 cup sized measuring cup, place three tablespoons of milk alternative.  Then, in the exact same measuring cup with the milk alternative STILL in there, add olive oil to fill the cup up to the 1/2 cup mark.
  3. Add the milk/oil mixture to the gluten-free flour.  Mix well with a fork and then use your hands to mix it even better and form a nice dough.
  4. Break off little bits of the dough and scatter all around the edges of the pie plate and in the middle of the plate.
  5. Use your fingers and hands to smash together all those little balls you put in there.  And also to push the dough up high up and over the edge so you can flute it.  Press and press until the dough has no holes or gaps.
  6. Then, pinch the edges to make a nice little flute as seen in my photo.
  7. Fill with filling and bake!

SUPER EASY!  And fun!

Family “gustar report”:  The whole family approves!

Wishing you a joyous and content holiday.

Terri

Three Days of Thanksgiving: Green Bean Casserole with Crunchy Onions

A bit of mushroom soup (homemade, of course).  Some green beans (home canned, if you have ’em).  And some hand-cut French fried onions.  (My kids call them onions from heaven.)  And Thanksgiving can proceed.  Right?  No cans needed!

If someone in your family needs to eliminate gluten, dairy, or preservatives, and they are very sad about giving up traditional Thanksgiving foods, then this recipe is for them.  It’s a little extra work, but love always is.  That’s what makes it special.

Take a look…

greenbeancasserole1

Does it look like you remember?

Traditional-Style Green Bean Casserole

Topping:

  • 3 smallish onions, sliced very thinly
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt, divided use
  • 1 ½ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • Pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

Casserole:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1 cup of fresh, finely chopped Portabella mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca or arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 cups cooked and drained green beans

French fried onion topping:

  1. For the topping, mix together in a medium-sized bowl the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, and ½ teaspoon salt.  Soak the onions in the mixture for an hour.  Stir occasionally.
  2.  Mix together Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large baggie.
  3.  Drain the onions well in a strainer and place in the baggie and shake to coat well.  Try very hard to break up clumps so all the rings are mostly coated.
  4.  Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized saucepan until an onion dropped in sizzles and spatters.  If your oil isn’t hot enough, you’ll have goopy mess.  If it’s too hot, you’ll burn the delectable rings.  Use enough olive oil to come up to 1-2 inches high in the pan.  You may need to periodically add more, always waiting for the oil to return to the proper temperature.
  5. When the oil is hot enough, fry the onions in single-layer batches until they are light golden- brown.  
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions to a paper-towel lined plate.  Set aside.

For the casserole:

  1. Saute the onion and mushrooms in olive oil over low heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with tapioca starch (or arrowroot) and stir.
  3. Add the chicken stock and stir until it just reaches a boil.  Remove from heat.
  4. Add in the coconut milk, salt, and pepper.  The mixture should be thick like soup.
  5. Place green beans in a large bowl, pour mushroom mixture over, and mix well.
  6. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
  7. Cover with French fried onions and bake an additional 10 more minutes.  If using stored French fried onions (see below), you may need to bake longer, until the rings are just crisped up again.

Variations and information:

  • Canned green beans work well here.  No worries!
  • To save time: make the French fried onions ahead of time, storing them in a single-layer in the refrigerator on a paper-towel lined plate until needed for the casserole.
  • Use more green beans if you like your green bean casserole less soupy and less moist.  Eyeball it.  Maybe 5 cups.
  • I haven’t tried, but I’ll bet this will work with other gluten-free flours.  Mix up your own for 100% homemade!
  • Add a little garlic and/or onion powder into the soup mixture if you’d like.
  • Add a little cashew cream to the green bean mixture to make it richer.  (A recipe is in the Molly Green e-cookbook I worked on.)
  • I haven’t tried it, but you could try using the GF flour to thicken the soup rather than arrowroot or tapioca–but no guarantees since I haven’t tried it!

Family “gustar” report:  It scores a 6 out of 6.  Even the baby gets in on the action!  My husband says the fresh mushrooms make it the best.  My kids love the onion rings.  But there’s NEVER green bean casserole left.

There’s more recipes like this in the Molly Green Bite-Sized guide (e-cookbook) I helped put together for Molly Green Magazine.  I’ll be bringing you two more recipes in this little Three Days of Thanksgiving!  Then, I won’t bother your in-box for a while.  I hope you have a great day!

Terri

Paprika Chicken: Sure to Please and Super Easy

Our family really loves this recipe. It is very quick to make and super easy. It can be made dairy-free by using olive oil  in place of the butter. It is good for when you want something that is easy but still very yummy! 😉

paprika chicken

PAPRIKA CHICKEN

(Served four with leftovers.)

2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips or use the pre-cut “tenderloins”
1/4-1/2 cup melted butter or olive oil
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon
Paprika (or smoked paprika), 1 teaspoon
Oregano, 1-2 teaspoons

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).

2.  Place the chicken in a 9X11 pan.   (Don’t be afraid to cram ’em in there.)

3.  Drizzle the chicken with either melted butter or olive oil.

4.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano.

5.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until juices run clear when the chicken is pressed down with a fork.

Serve alongside a side of potatoes or sweet potatoes or rice or squash and something beautifully green.

Family “gustar” report:  100% success rate.  Everybody approved.  Super delicious and super easy.  If you want to make it even better, then consider pounding your chicken.  But this adds a little more mess, work, and time.  I am in fifth grade, and I make this for the family myself.

Warmest wishes for health and happiness from our kitchen to yours–from our family to yours!

~~Mary and Terri

Molly Green Magazine Published Twenty Tips I Wrote Up To Help Families With Diet Change

 

 

“Is this Your New Year’s Resolution?  Tips to Transition to a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lifestyle,” an excerpt from Molly Green Magazine

(an article by Terri Fites)

“. . . Expect resistance and outside cheating. There may be fits, pouting, defiance, and outside cheating. Failure, both intentional and unintentional, will occur. Be prepared to regroup, identify chinks in the plan, and get back on track. Remember how manyMG 1 times you had (have) to tell your kids to say “please” before they actually did (do) it!

Recognize the difference between an allergy and intolerance/sensitivity.

Tell kids what symptoms you’re watching for so they can recognize when they disappear or worsen in response to diet. Kids with uncomfortable symptoms like stuffy noses, sneezing, coughing, constipation, upset stomachs, headaches, eczema, reflux, and trouble focusing often will self-regulate their diets once they get to feeling better . . .”

Click HERE for the FULL ARTICLE.

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Molly Green MagazineIf you’re interested, I wrote an article for Molly Green Magazine, a magazine all about the home:  homeschooling, homemaking, home industry, and homesteading.  Titled “Tips to Transition to a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Diet,” my article highlights what I learned as I transitioned my food-sensitive family to a whole foods, gluten-free, and dairy-free diet.  I do not get paid to write; it is a hobby I enjoy.  I just thought if you were struggling to pull your family along to better, whole foods eating, and working through some food elimination, you might enjoy the article.  (And I don’t think it’s fair to blog readers or magazine readers to replicate material verbatim.)  My kids and I did not really come willingly to this lifestyle, but even they can now admit that they feel better.  You can get this magazine edition for free.  There are some other great articles in there, too, which actually tie right in with the theme of this blog (nutrition, homeschooling, families, etc):

  • Cilantro/Coriander: One Plant with Many Applications
  • Why My Husband and I Still Hold Hands
  • Cultivating Talent and Passion in Children
  • Could You Grow Your Own Food in a Crisis?
  • Basic Hive Protection (about bees)
  • The Emotions of Butchering
  • Meal Planning 101: How to Get It Done
  • Fighting the Winter Blues

Molly Green Magazine 2I believe the editor told me they were going to make my article from Molly Green Magazine into a one-page lay out that may be hung on the refrigerator, in case that’s something that would interest you.  Although its title suggests that I’m simply interested in gluten-free and dairy-free changes, you’ll know from reading my blog that that is not the case.  So many of the health ailments of our society are directly linked to poor nutrition.  I focus on getting people to eat whole foods, lots of vegetables and fruits, and then watching out for side effects of foods, adjusting things as needed.

It is two weeks into January.  If you have failed, IT IS OKAY.  Do not use that chip as an excuse to throw away a perfectly good mug.  Get back to work.  One day at a time.  And weave that into strings of days at a time.  And eventually, create a masterpiece diet just for you to last a whole lifetime.  DON’T GIVE UP.  If you do, CPAP machines, multiple prescriptions, and a more and more sedentary life await you.

~~Terri

 

A Twist on Zuppa Toscana

Sopa ToscanaThis is a good soup, a twist from an Olive Garden recipe, Zuppa Toscana.  It is fantastic.   My family loves it.  I took it to a get-together, and the nice guest sitting next to me didn’t know I had made it.  I was tickled when he said at least a couple of times, “This is good sausage soup.”  That, along with another guest’s recipe request told me this soup is a crowd pleaser.

Take this soup to your New Year’s gathering or cook it up simply for a New Day!

I have made this soup with both potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The potato is my family’s favorite, but they also like the sweet potato version too!  So don’t be afraid to substitute.  Using squash would taste good too, but you will lose the “comfort” texture the starchy potatoes and sweet potatoes offer.  In addition, look for the sausage with the least ingredients.  This is often difficult to find, so when I find it, I stock up in bulk.  Lastly, I use homemade broth because it tastes so good and I know exactly what is in it.  Making broth is not hard at all.  It mostly just requires us to step outside of our comfort zone.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound sausage, browned and drained
5 slices of bacon, browned, reserve drippings
1 onion, diced
3-5 cloves of garlic
6 medium potatoes
Broth, chicken or beef, variable but approximately 9 cups (about 2 quarts)
Spinach or kale, about 2 cups chopped finely (either one is great)
2 teaspoons parsley, dried
1 teaspoon rosemary, dried, broken into small bits/crumbled
2 teaspoons basil, dried
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2-1 teaspoon)

1.  Brown sausage.  Drain drippings.  They will not be needed.  Reserve sausage and set aside.
2.  While sausage is browning, scrub and slice potatoes thinly, like you would for fried potatoes.  It’s up to you if you want skins on or off.  I can give you pros and cons to both ways health-wise.
3.  Brown bacon.  When crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4.  In bacon pan and drippings, saute the chopped onion until golden brown.  Mince, press, or chop the garlic into the browning onions.  Saute a little.  Transfer onions and garlic to your soup pot.
5.  Add the sliced potatoes.
6.  Cover potatoes, onions, and garlic with broth.  Do not use all of the broth.  Use enough to cover and boil potatoes.
7.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender and even a little bit mushy.
8.  While the soup is cooking, clean and chop the greens.  If I use kale, I remove the thick stems before using.
9.  Smash some of the potatoes to make the soup thicker.  Add more broth to make the soup the consistency you want!  Do you want it soupy or more stew-like?
10.  Add the dried parsley, basil, and rosemary.
11.  Season with salt and pepper.  (Taste before adding much salt.  Certain broths are already salty!)
12.  Finally, add the chopped kale or spinach.  Remove from heat.

Family “gustar” report:  Every man, woman, and child goes for seconds on this one.  Bingo.

Added bonus:  I’ve found some Brewer’s yeast to add to soups.  It packs a huge B vitamin punch!  As I’ve observed some diet logs, I’ve seen that even in people with good intake of vegetables and meats, there is still a low intake of B vitamins!  Brewer’s yeast has kind of a cheese-like flavor suggestion and merges well in some recipes.  This is one of them.

Have a great day!

Terri

I Fell Off of the Wagon

wpid-IMAG0263-1.jpgSo you fell off of the wagon?  So?  We all do, and then we let the experience fester like a pimple on our face.  We see it and feel it and pick at it.  We think our whole face is one big pimple.  We just can’t stop touching it and picking it.  How did that pimple get so big and crazy?  It started as just a tiny little red thing…

You fell off of the wagon.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Why?

Because you had old cronies around for a visit?  Uh-huh.  That’s the way it works.  Because you got tired and everybody at work is doing it?  Yep.  Because you ran out of time and it was faster?  You betcha’.  Because you allowed yourself one bite of your problem food?  (If you don’t have a problem food or substance– or two or three, you don’t understand.  Some of us just have to swear some things “off limits” or be okay with knowing we will eat/use them to excess with just one bite/use.  For some of us, moderation is not an option.)

If you try to change your diet, you WILL fall off of the wagon sometime.  All those experts, Paleo Mom, Robb Wolfe, Mark Sisson, Dr. Mercola, Steve and Jordan, Dr. Terry Wahls, Elaine Gottschall, and Dallas and Melissa.  Oh, heck, Dr. Oz.  You’ve heard of him.  They all fell off of the wagon.

I’ve read of a couple of people who say they didn’t fall off of the wagon, and I think that’s absolutely great.  They have expressed extreme success with their health and eating.  I give them a standing ovation.

But to you and I, I give my heartfelt encouragement.  I give my camaraderie.  My affection and empathy.  To you I give my hand.  My e-mail.  My comments section.  (But not a medical diagnosis or treatment plan.)  This path is hard.  Your challenger faces you at every street corner, every social function, every family member’s house, every children’s event, and every store.  Your failure is only a bite away.

I feel sorry for you.  I feel sorry that you can’t eat the way other people eat.  (But you know most of them shouldn’t be eating it either. Geesh.  Why can’t they help you out a little?  You’re just asking them to give up bread, pizza, and tortilla chips in show of support.)  I am sorry your body said, “I can’t do this.  This food you’re feeding me…it is not working out.  You keep going this way, I will fall apart on you.  I will try not to, but I will not be able to stop it.  You keep feeding me the same empty food and keep asking me to come up with brilliant ideas, energy for a jog, libido for the spouse, patience for the kids…”

I ask you.  I beg you.  I implore you.  Keep your focus.  Every day.  All day.  Ever diligent.  You will fall off the wagon, but you WILL hold onto the reins.  That is NOT the same as failing.  Ever.  As you keep holding onto the reins, remember to pull back on them and slow the horses.  Slow those horses and get back on your wagon.  It’s your darn wagon, and with trial and error, you CAN learn to control it.  But not if you quit.

So what.  You had a bad day.  It turned it to two or maybe even 7-10 days.  Perhaps it has been the last five years bad.  It’s okay.  Promise me you’ll start in the morning.  I’ll even let you finish that jar of almond butter that you added some honey, vanilla, and salt to.  But start.  You have to keep starting, learning from your mistakes, and keep trying.

You may think it’s just extra weight, but really, it is function.  Weight is a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Headaches are a sign that your body is not functioning right.  Chronic allergic rhinitis is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Being underweight is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Bloating is a sign your body is not functioning right.  Aside from your doctor’s check-ups, you MUST look at food as a culprit for dysfunction.

And if you’re a mom endeavoring to change not only your own eating, but those habits of your children, I am cheering for you even more.  If I can do it, you can do it.  You can do it.  I won’t ask you to more than I can do.  (But I used to–my poor diabetics and cardiac patients…)

Terri

Followup post:  Keep That Wagon Rolling:  My Less-Than-Expert Diet Tricks

Related Posts:   Grain-Free DietsGAPS, SCD, Paleo, Whole30, and Primal Diets, Choosing to Move Forward With the Plan, Eating out, Ditch the Word “Healthy”, How to Choose Honest Food, Tip Number 1 to Help Restore Health