Mashed Potatoes and Meal Planning

First let us start with mashed potatoes. I have missed them. The creaminess from the butter and the milk. Mmm. Almond milk really can’t do this very well. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t cut it for me. This time I went a little crazy and it was delicious! I used red potatoes and boiled them with a sprig of rosemary and oregano and lots of salt. I then sautéed an onion with some more rosemary and oregano and salt and added it to the potatoes with a little almond milk and some “butter”. I was in heaven! G was in heaven too. Out of all of my kids he is my potato lover. S doesn’t mind them and B could probably never have another and not care. Both of them LOVE sweet potatoes though. This will definitely be on the menu for G and I more often!!

As for the meal planning. Ughh. I plan my meals out every 2 weeks. I try and think up breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I use to love meal planning and than cheese and cream was removed from my life and now I dread it just a little. Part of me realizes how much of those two items we ate and I’m a little appalled. It was definitely not in moderation! In moving to the dairy/soy free diet, we have also moved to a cleaner eating diet. Soy is in almost every processed food item we use to buy. It is crazy to me what all soy can be found it. Everything from bread to vegetable oil to crackers to soup has soy in some form in it. We are now so much better at actually looking at the ingredients of what we eat instead of just the name. However, because of that and our food budget, I now dread sitting down and figuring out what to eat. I posted on Facebook this time around and got some great ideas from friends that I am going to try out this 2 weeks. I would also like to say that without Pinterest out food life would be spaghetti, tacos and bbq chicken. I’m going to try some new stuff and we will see how it goes. Stay tuned for either some positive or not so positive reviews from my food critics who give it straight every time!

Rosemary and Oregano Dairy free Mashed Potatoes

8 red potatoes

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 sprigs fresh oregano

2 garlic cloves

almond milk

1 tablespoon butter (I use Earth Balance dairy/soy free spread)

salt

Directions:

Fill pot with water and salt generously. Bring to boil. Add potatoes (peeled and cubed) to water with 1 sprig each of rosemary and oregano. When potatoes are done strain and keep herbs aside. Dice onion into small pieces and chop rosemary and oregano (including ones from pot) finely. Mince garlic. Add onion, herbs and garlic to heated pan with olive oil. Sautee until soft. Add to potatoes with almond milk (add small amounts until you get the consistency you desire) and butter. Mash well and serve!

French Toast with Pinapple Syrup

Oh My Word! We had French Toast for lunch and I wanted to make something to go with or on it. Unfortunately I forgot to pick up bacon at the store so, I had to do some thinking. We’ve had some frozen pineapple in the freezer and after looking at different ideas on Pinterest I came up with this sauce that was AMAZING! Like I’m licking the plate amazing! I asked my husband if he wanted some on his and he made a face and said no. Well he tried some and actually told me “I was wrong”. That’s how good this stuff is! Unfortunately only Steven, G and I are up to eating. All three kids were feeling so bad we skipped church and put them down for naps at 9:30AM. S woke up from her feeling a little better and B woke up a little later not feeling good at all. G slept for over 3 hours! He was able to get 1 1/2 slices down. B is back asleep on the couch and S ate a few bites and is now cuddled with me on the recliner. I’m hoping after a good night sleep they will all be better tomorrow morning.

French Toast:

Bread- We use Rudi’s bread if I haven’t made any. I love the sourdough but they were all out so I got the Country White.

8 eggs

3/4 cup milk (We use unsweetened almond milk)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Earth Balance Soy/Dairy free butter or Olive Oil spray for pan

Pineapple Topping:

Half a bag of frozen pineapple

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons Earth Balance soy/dairy free butter

For the French Toast- whisk eggs and add milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Heat pan over slightly over medium heat and add butter/spray.  Soak bread slices in egg mix and place in pan (Don’t soak for too long or the bread will fall apart.) Cook until brown on each side.

For the topping- Place pineapple and half the brown sugar in a saucepan over medium until thawed. Add the rest of the brown sugar and orange juice and bring to a boil. Keep at a boil for 3-4 min and add butter than boil for 3-4 more min.

Add topping to French toast and enjoy as is or add a little maple syrup. The topping is sweet enough on it’s own in my opinion! I also cut the kids into sticks to dip. They loved it! Hope you all enjoy!

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I’m back! Dairy, soy and peanut free chinese food!

So I’m back! Took a little break, but I’ve been trying lots of new recipes :). One of our new favorites as a family is egg rolls and lo mein. Since G is allergic to soy as well as dairy we have pretty much given up on Chinese food. It has been very sad and Steven, S and I have really been wanting some lately. I decided to do a little research and have been trying out different soy substitutes. There have been many um…well…not so great substitutes. Finally I took a little from here and there and got a version that we like (recipe to follow)!

I’ve done a few things with it, but hands down the favorite was egg rolls and vegetable lo mein. B loves to “roll, roll, roll” some egg rolls! S likes to be a big helper also! I found a recipe and worked it up a little. Since we had ground pork in the egg rolls, I have been serving it with vegetable lo mein. Steven would prefer it to be “meat” lo mein, but I’m cooking on a budget, so 1 meat per meal is all I’ve got. Here are a few pictures of the meal as it is being made and the recipes to go with it!

Egg Rolls:

Egg Roll wrappers

1 pound ground pork

2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

4 cups cabbage

2/3 cup shredded carrots

1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon water (paste to hold egg roll together)

canola oil for frying

Directions:

Cook ground pork and add 2 teaspoons each garlic and ginger to meat. Shred cabbage and carrots. The first time I used Napa cabbage and didn’t worry about cooking it slightly before. This time I used green cabbage and sautéed it with the carrots and 1/2 teaspoon each of the ginger and garlic. Mix all together and salt to taste.

Pour oil into pot and heat on medium high.

Add 1/3 cup of mix to middle of egg roll wrap. Fold both sides in and pull top down. and roll down. Add some flour paste to the bottom corner and press to egg roll to “glue” together.

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Once you have “roll, roll, rolled” everything, check and see if the oil is ready. I normally drop a small drip of water off my fingers. If it bubbles immediately it is ready, if not wait a few min. When the oil is ready, carefully drop the egg roll into the pot. I use tongs to make sure I’m not splattered. When it starts to look brown on the bottom flip them over. Now this is not as easy as you might think. Some flip and stay that way. In my experience most try and flip back over. It’s annoying, but you get the hang of it eventually!

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They will only take a couple min. About 2 on the first side and 1 on the other. Once you are all done frying, you end of with a yummy plate full of

IMG_7157EGG ROLLS!! B completely devoured his and will most likely ask for another for lunch tomorrow! These would be great to freeze and have on hand for quick lunches and snacks. You could reheat in the oven or microwave. Be sure to cover with a paper towel in the microwave though.

Now for the Vegetable Lo Mein!

2 servings lo mein noodles (my brand comes with 4 servings separated in the pack)

1 broccoli head

1/2 cabbage shredded

2/3 cup shredded carrots

1/2 chicken broth

soy sauce substitute

sesame seed oil

salt and pepper

Cut up broccoli, cabbage and carrots and place in pan over med heat with 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Cook for 2-3 min and add chicken broth. Lower to med-low and allow to cook until soft and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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You could really add any veggies you want to this. I wanted some sugar snap peas for it but they were out at the commissary. Some mushrooms would be yummy to and would be some nice meaty texture. Steven and S aren’t big on them, but maybe next time I add some for me and the boys and just keep them big enough to pick out!

Follow the directions on the lo mein package. Mine take around 3 min to cook! Love fast noodles 🙂

While your veggies are cooking this is a great time to make your soy sauce.

Soy Sauce Substitute

3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chicken stock

1 Tablespoon Sherry cooking wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons molasses

Combine all and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 min until reduced in half.

Most recipes use beef stock, but I think the taste is better with chicken. That is completely up to you and whatever stock you have available will do the trick.

When veggies, sauce and noodles are done. Combine and salt to taste. IMG_7163The kids thought it was great! Egg rolls are a great way to get the whole family involved in cooking. Hope you enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie and Bellpeppers

So I forgot to mention that I made a dairy-free pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I was nervous because a few weeks ago (before we decided to go dairy-free ) I made a pumpkin pie for my husband because it is one of his favorites. I was also nervous because it used coconut milk and my husband despises coconut. Any coconut at all. He has never met any that he likes. The pie went over well. I did add too much clove to it so I think maybe next time I will avoid it altogether just to see how that goes.

The biggest fan of the pumpkin pie by far was G. He was very upset when I stopped giving him bites! The part that made me the happiest is that he got to eat it period! He has been adding more and more table food to his diet and is slowly getting tired of baby food. He loves eating fresh steamed green beans. He gums the insides out and throws it on the ground, banging on his tray and yelling for more when its done. 🙂 I love that he gets to be involved in our dinner, without me feeding him the whole time! He enjoyed dinner tonight which made it 2/5 of a success!

Tonight’s dinner was a creation on the fly of things that needed to be used in my fridge.

Chicken with Peppers and Onions

  • 1 pound chicken breasts cut in thin slices
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs margarine
  • 2 Tbs vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons cumin

1. Heat 2 Tbs oil in pan.  Place onions and garlic in pan and cook for 3-4 min than add peppers. Cook for 5 min than add margarine and vegetable stock and 1 tsp cumin. Cook for a few minutes until peppers are soft. Remove into side bowl.

2. Place 2 Tbs oil in pan and add chicken. Cook through and then add 1 tsp cumin. When completely cooked add veggies back in.

I made a Boil in the Bag of brown rice and added into the mix. You could always put it over noodles or even as a sub.

When I said it was 2/5 of a success, it’s because Steven requested that from now on there not be green bell peppers which seemed to echo B’s thoughts also since it was the only thing left in his bowl and S requested no peppers at all! B surprised me the most tonight though when he ate raw red bell pepper while I was cooking! I hope yall enjoy it as much as I did!

 

A Dairy Free Thanksgiving!

So we officially had our first dairy-free Thanksgiving and…it was a huge success!!  We are not big fans of turkey around here so we substituted the big bird for some steak and shrimp! We also had corn on the cob (B’s favorite food!), green beans, sweet potato casserole and stuffing.  My biggest accomplishment was homemade rolls which ended up being a huge hit with our guests. Everyone was very happy regardless of the fact that there wasn’t any butter or milk in sight! I was thrilled to achieve my Thanksgiving goal!

The rest of the day was just as nice! Our guests hung out being entertained by our children. They are at their best when they have  an audience to perform for! The best part for me was the end when the kids went to sleep without fuss or fight and Steven and I got to watch a movie together!

Today has been lounging and munching on leftovers. B has been grabbing shrimp from the fridge and bringing it to us to peel for him 🙂 We decided to forgo the Friday shopping this year. Part of me is dying not to grab some awesome deals but it’s been fun to hang out in our pajamas playing tea party and tractors. Right now S and B are jumping around outside expending energy and G is asleep for his afternoon nap!Steven is reheating chili from earlier this week and nothing has been done.

Tomorrow is pictures and cleaning up the 2nd floor of the house! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and got the deals they wanted!

Shopping, Flats and Pizza

Today our family, like everyone else it would seem, went shopping for Thanksgiving! This Thanksgiving is a little more different, a little more special and a little more stressful! We are staying here in GA and our family isn’t going to be able to make it which makes me sad. It is also our first Thanksgiving going dairy-free! The stressful part is having guests that aren’t family over, especially with all new recipes!

Our shopping trip was interrupted when our car caught a screw in the tire. We ended up on the side of the highway with my husband changing to the spare and than a trip to get it patched. Which made our second trip to Sam’s Club.  It made for a long day!

Once we finally got home it was time to make a quick dinner. Emphasis on quick! Tonight’s meal had me a little worried. We have yet to try the dairy-free cheese so this was a monumental occasion! We had Chicken BBQ Pizza! Here is the recipe!

Chicken BBQ Pita Pizza

  • Olive Oil
  • Chicken strips
  • Garlic Powder
  • Whole Wheat Pita
  • BBQ sauce of choice
  • Daiya Cheddar Cheese shreds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook chicken in olive oil with garlic powder to taste. Place BBQ sauce on pitas then chicken and cheese. Cook until cheese is melted.

Hope you enjoy this super fast pizza as much as we did. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Chili, Cornbread and New Pajamas!

So today we picked up Steven from school for a little while and I always try to make something more than sandwiches as lunch for him. My culinary achievement for today was some yummy chili and some even yummier cornbread! The chili is my own recipe but the cornbread is from my new favorite site www.godairyfree.org and was super easy and quick! First my chili recipe!

Chunky Bean and Beef Chilli

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  •  1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 basil leaves, chopped
  • 8 oregano leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (drained)
  • 1 can of black beans (drained)
  • 1 can of red kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can northern beans (drained)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (I use the kind flavored with basil and oregano)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup veggie stock

Brown meat in pot. Then throw everything in the pot with meat and season with salt and pepper to taste. I let mine simmer on low while I make the cornbread. The liquid will start to evaporate so if you prefer a more liquid chili you will need to add a little more stock towards the end!

Now for the cornbread. I used the Basic Cornbread recipe and it was a hit with my hardest customer, my husband. He loves cornbread and he loved this one too! G enjoyed the chili and cornbread as much as everyone else! Most of it ended up n the chair but he did have fun!

After taking Steven back we decided to stop by the park on base. It is huge and the kids love it! They will play for hours and cry when it’s time to leave 🙂 I enjoy it because I get to hang out with other moms and have some adult conversation! The kids have been down with runny noses and coughs from the weather so they haven’t been able to go out and play much and everyone is suffering from it! We were out there for almost 3 hours and had tons of fun!

We came home and watched some Netflix and got their new pajamas from their grandparents on! S was super excited about it because her Nan knows her so well that she got her one with a baby doll gown attached! Here is a picture of the three of them…this was picture number 127 by the way!

Naming Turkeys!

So there is nothing better in Princess S’s eyes than a craft! Especially a holiday craft! She is super excited that her Nan, Pops, CC, Bubba Bean, and Kayla (my family in Virginia) is coming to visit for Thanksgiving! She decided it was the day to make the turkey place cards we picked up at the store! After getting them all assembled she asked me “what are we naming the turkeys?” I had to laugh! She was very serious. After I explained exactly what place cards are for she was confused again only this time it was as to why we would need to know each others names! I told her it was just a fun thing to do. She accepted that !  Here are a pictures of her turkeys! It isn’t a great shot but my actual camera cord is in the jumble of what moving boxes are left! So this is from my phone!

Just waiting for their names!

Well I am off to finish cleaning the kitchen before bed! And just in case you were wondering the pumpkin muffins went over well! B has been munching on them all day! G even got to eat some and loved it 🙂 He made a huge mess though with most of it on his face not in his mouth! I am happy though to have another success in the dairy-free world!

A dairy free shopping trip and some new recipes!

So this weekend marked our very first dairy free shopping trip! I was a little overwhelmed by the cost of some of the dairy free options available. However, because of that I am happier with the amount of  fresh produce our meals contain! We tried a new recipe tonight. I got it from the www.GoDairyFree.org website. Alisa Fleming is the author of Go Dairy Free which is an awesome book about living dairy free and includes lots of recipes I can’t wait to try!

Tonight we had Quick Sun-Dried Tomato and Broccoli Penne. We actually added chicken to it. A lot of the recipes she suggest using are vegan and you just add protein to it! The kids loved it! The best part in my opinion was G being able to “eat” some because I knew everything was safe!

He was very intrigued by the broccoli!

But then he just decided to eat it!

After the kiddos were tucked in I also made the Low Fat Roasted Butternut Squash Muffins, only I chose the option to use pumpkin because I that’s what I had! I tried one and they are amazing! The kids will love it for breakfast and it only has 1/2 cup of sugar in the whole thing so I feel better about them eating it than cereal! We will have to see how they feel about it. I am pretty sure it was the first time I ever baked anything without butter in it! I can’t wait to try out some more recipes this week!

Hello world!

So today begins our newest adventure…being dairy free! We are currently on the parenting and army life adventure as well! We (me-brooke and my husband-steven) have 3 beautiful bambinos. S is our princess who just turned 5, B is our farmer in training who is 19 months and G, our little surprise and the reason for a dairy free life is 6 months. For those of yall doing math yes that makes them 13 months apart…did you see the word surprise in his description?!? They all are smart, amazing, mischievous, and Trouble with a capital T! They make life a little crazy and a ton of fun!

This is S making her pumpkin cookies!

Here is B in his stylin new John Deere overalls!

And last but not least, G!

As mentioned before we are also in the Army! My husband recently joined and is training right now in Augusta,GA. Since is he will be here until next year, our family decided to come down from Virginia with him! It has been a bumpy ride for sure! He left 4 weeks after G was born and we didn’t get to see him for 13 weeks. But we are all together now!

That leaves the third adventure. Dairy free living. When G was 2 months old he started formula and could keep nothing down. Now that didn’t keep my little linebacker from gaining any weight which threw the doctors for a loop. Eventually after many many different types of formula we discovered he is allergic to milk and either allergic or intolerant to soy. Now that he is 6 months he is starting to want to eat some real foods but I realized so much of what we eat has dairy. He also scoots along after big sis and bro trying to get their drinks. He got B’s yesterday, drank a little before I could grab it and proceeded to vomit repeatedly. That is when we decided dairy free as a family was the best option. If he grows out of it we may reconvene but for now the choice has been made!
I decided to do this blog to document the ups and downs of all our adventures! I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I do!