Friday, February 22, 2013

On Cooking + Baking Dairy Free

It's been just over a month since I went dairy free for my son who we discovered has a dairy intolerance. Since then I have also cut out eggs and beef. Just FYI, cutting out eggs makes cutting out dairy seem easy breezy! I've more or less had to adopt a Vegan diet except that I still eat chicken and fish. So, that's not very Vegan. I'm sure there's a name for it? Anyway, the truth is I haven't been 100% in the whole deal. We've gone out to eat with family and friends in the last few weeks and I've let things slide a bit. Benjamin hasn't had a flare up or anything but I don't want to take any chances. I'm hoping that if I'm more vigilant now that he'll eventually grow out of it as so many children do.

Growing up I was a very picky eater. It wasn't until a few years ago, really, that I opened up about eating. I realized I didn't even know that I didn't like something because I was too afraid to even try it! And then there is the issue of never really having cooked before. Save for a few favorite meals and baked goods from a box I just never tried. The funny thing is I love food. Being a photographer I have always loved and appreciated food photography. I've been following food blogs and collecting recipes for years. Recently I started accumulating dairy free recipes over on Pinterest. If you haven't been using Pinterest to find new and interesting things to cook or ways present food (hello, party hostess!) then you're missing out!

This week I buckled down and chose some simple recipes to begin with. You'll notice that my dinner meal photographs are taken with my iPhone. I just don't know the trick to taking good nighttime photographs of food using natural light. Or at least natural looking light and not the yellow that the kitchen/living room lights project. But I digress. I'm not sure how often I'll do this - it may become a regular feature here, it may not - but I decided to post my efforts with links to the recipe if they're available, as well as any changes I've made to make them work for us. As always, thanks for reading!

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Chips & Apple Pie Dip by The Peach Kitchen. Could not be a more simple dish to make and super yummy too! I could eat these chips all day long. I guess I should have paid more attention to the name of the dip because after eating it I felt it would be better suited as pie filling. Duh, Joleen. A little too sweet for me to use as a dip but am going to make this filling sometime when I make these mini apple pies.
This is one of those aforementioned favorite, easy dishes I've been making for years. I use Trader Joe's Frozen Organic Brown Rice, fresh green and red bell peppers, and organic boneless chicken. I normally marinate in Bragg's Liquid Aminos, of which I am a huge fan, but I haven't been able to find any at either TJ's or Publix [I've since been referred to Kroger and Whole Foods] so I picked up a stir fry mix (I can't recall which, sorry.)

This baked oatmeal by Deliciously Ella is one of my favorite things I've ever made! It smells divine and is absolutely delish. The only changes that I made to her recipe was to use about a cup and a half of blueberries (vs. one), dried cranberries instead of raisins, and a tablespoon of brown sugar instead of agave syrup. I'm already salivating over the possibilities with this simple, nutritious breakfast. Peaches and honey! Citrus! The possibilities are endless and I foresee a baked oatmeal obsession coming on.
15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta by oh she glows. We had this for dinner last night and I really liked it! The recipe calls for 1-3 cloves of garlic. I used 2 this time but in the future will probably only use 1. I love how simple (sensing a theme here?) and quick this meal was. I was able to prepare, cook, and scarf it down in about 20 minutes flat. Just in time for my baby to start screaming that he was hungry too! Gotta love growth spurts.
Peanut Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies found on Recipe Newz. I had to cross out one of the "peanuts" because I didn't have an peanut butter chips. I made these for my husband (I like the sound of that. My husband.) because I know he likes oatmeal cookies and peanut butter. Neither of us could recall having PB oatmeal cookies in the past. Apparently, if I had they weren't very noteworthy. I liked these cookies enough. Maybe the PB chips would have made more of a difference but they weren't peanut buttery enough for my liking. Also, I'm just getting to know our oven and had to cook these for quite a bit longer than the recipe called for.

Edited to add:
Ok, so I already published this post earlier today.. BUT! I just made these egg and dairy free cupcakes and had to share! You may be wondering why this little cupcake would have me jumping up in down in excitement?! I have been craving cupcakes like crazy and I just can't believe I made these from scratch and they're actually GOOD! Haha. 

So, let me tell you about them. It was really hard to find a cake recipe that was both dairy and egg free but I found this one at Milk Allergy Mom and only altered it slightly with what I had here to make vanilla cupcakes. After all was said and done here was my recipe:

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar (A little secret. I used balsamic vinaigrette. HA! No lie. It was all I had. I was worried they'd come out tasting like a crouton. *wink*)
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup cold water

Directions: Coat muffin tray really well with coconut oil. Combine ingredients and pour evenly into tin. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. 
Lemon Buttercream Frosting: I know when you're brand new at cooking and baking like I am you're not really supposed to fudge it and make stuff up along the way but I'm not the most conventional person (duh) and like to take such liberties. I couldn't find a frosting recipe that would work for me (based on the ingredients in my cupboard) so I read several and gave it a shot. 

1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup "butter" (I use a non dairy spread)
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon
1 med lemon grated (zest)
1/2 med lemon, squeezed (juice)

Directions: Beat coconut oil, "butter", vanilla, lemon (all three types) until smooth. Slowly mix in confectioners sugar and beat until light and fluffy. 

In order to give you an accurate "review" I had to eat two cupcakes. The first one was with frosting and the second without because I wanted to really taste the cake. The frosting is *very* lemony, which I like but you may want to tone down a bit if you don't love lemon. The cake was moist and fluffy and I couldn't even taste a hint of the vinaigrette. Teehee. I could definitely taste the "whole wheat" flour and I think that overpowered the vanilla but I liked it. Overall, I think they're really quite tasty and will definitely make them again!

If you know of any great dairy/egg/beef free recipes or an amazing food blog, please share!!

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