Curried Coconut Chicken

This recipe is so delicious!  It might just be my favorite meal ever.  I have a very old, simple, stackable rice steamer that makes the best rice.  You fill the individual metal cups half full of rice, then fill to the brim with water. Steam for about 20 minutes (you really can’t overcook it, so I usually just steam until the entree part is finished) and you have beautiful, fluffy rice. The other nice thing about using the steamer for the rice is that you can throw some veggies in the steamer also to cook alongside the rice.  For Indian dishes I prefer to use Jasmine or Basmati rice.  I always rinse my rice until the water runs clear before putting it in the steamer. This recipe is from Allrecipes.

Curried Coconut Chicken

yields not enough.  Once you try it you will wish you had made more!

pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed, diced tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons sugar
1 head bok choy, chopped and steamed (optional)
carrots, chopped and steamed (optional)
cauliflower, chopped and steamed (optional)
peas, added very close to the end of cooking so they don’t get mushy
Jasmine or Basmati rice, steamed

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Heat oil, curry powder, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat for five minutes. Stir in onions, and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken, tossing lightly to coat with curry oil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in center and juices run clear.

Pour coconut milk, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar into the pan, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.

Steam the rice and optional veggies while the curry is simmering.

Dairy and Soy Free Baked Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal recipe is delicious warmed up with milk or even as a cold snack bar. It’s a very versatile recipe.  I’ve found that I like it best with nuts and berries added to it, but they are optional.

Baked Oatmeal

yields 12-15 bars

pinch of ground cloves

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 cups fresh or frozen berries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.  In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients and pour into a 13×9 baking dish.  Bake 40 minutes.

Cashew Mac and Cheese

Vegan recipes are a good start when searching for dairy free foods.  This spin on an old classic from Minimalist Baker was delicious – especially when mixed into some chili.  Nothing says comfort food like chili mac! This recipe would also be great with some bacon and/or chicken mixed into it.  I did suggest only starting with vegan recipes right?  We don’t necessarily need to finish vegan.

Cashew Mac and Cheese

yields 4 servings

10 ounces large macaroni shells
1/2 white onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours or overnight, then drained
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 4-ounce can diced chills (scoop half into the sauce, reserve half for the finished mac n cheese)
Optional: 1 cup tortilla chips, fresh cilantro for topping

If topping with tortilla chips, crush chips into fine crumbs and add to a baking pan lined with parchment paper or foil. Spritz with olive or canola oil, sprinkle with salt and stir, then bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Boil macaroni according to package instructions.

In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, sautee onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, stir and cook until soft and fragrant – about 7 minutes. Set aside.

Add onions and garlic to a blender with remaining ingredients, omitting the tortilla chips and adding only half of the green chilies. Blend until smooth, using the “liquify” setting if you have it to get it really smooth. Otherwise just blend for up to a minute, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth and creamy.

Drain the noodles, set aside and cover (with a towel). To the same pot you boiled the noodles in, add the cashew cheese and cook on low stirring frequently until slightly thickened.

Add the macaroni noodles to the cheese, along with the remaining green chilies and stir. Serve immediately, topping with crushed toasted tortilla chips and cilantro (optional).



Dairy Soy Free Beef Stroganoff

This recipe is adapted from A Whole New Twist. I made it using regular egg noodles and it was quite yummy! I did not miss the dairy in this dish.

Dairy Free Beef Stroganoff

  • 2 Tbs Earth Balance dairy/soy free butter
  • 2 lbs stew beef cut into bite-size pieces (chuck works well)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 8 oz package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbs paprika
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ½ cup cashew sour cream
  • ¼ cup fresh chives chopped
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley chopped
  • spiral egg noodles

Preheat oven to 350°

Salt and pepper the beef to taste.  Heat a dutch oven and melt 1/2 TBS butter in the hot pot.  Brown half the beef and set aside.  Melt another 1/2 TBS butter and brown the rest of the beef.  Set aside. Add another 1/2 TBS butter and sautee the mushrooms, onions and garlic.

Add beef broth, red wine, worcestershire , tomato paste, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and dill to the pot, and stir to incorporate. Return the browned beef to the pot and stir. Turn heat to high, and bring mixture to a boil. Once mixture boils, turn off the burner, cover pot, and transfer to the oven to braise the beef. Cook in the oven for 1 and ½ hours. Remove pot to the stovetop, simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, to reduce liquid.  Add cashew sour cream and chives, and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Boil the egg noodles while you are simmering the stroganoff. Serve over spiral egg noodles, garnish with parsley.

Cashew Sour Cream

When you’re on a dairy free diet, sometimes it’s nice to be able to eat things that remind you of some of your old dairy favorites.  And sometimes you need that creaminess to fill a hole in certain recipes.  Here’s a dairy free version of sour cream.  Is it exactly like sour cream? No.  But it is nice and creamy and tangy and really not a bad alternative.

Cashew Sour Cream

yields about 1 cup

1 cup raw cashews (not roasted or salted)
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 small lemon

Cover cashews with water and soak overnight.  Pour off all the water and place nuts, salt, vinegar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup cold water in a food processor.  Puree 3-4 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Refrigerate in and airtight container for up to a week.

Dill Potato Salad

The Best Dill Potato SaladI went to a party last summer and had the best potato salad I had ever tasted so I begged the chef for her recipe.  I’ve altered it a little bit to make it dairy free (the original version included a cup of shredded cheddar cheese).  And if you really want to make it taste out of this world, use homemade mayo!

Bacon and Dill Potato Salad

Dill Potato Salad

yields 1 large bowl

2-3 lb bag Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup homemade mayo
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
As much crispy bacon as you like (I use at least half a package), crumbled
6 hard boiled eggs (2-3 chopped, the rest cut in wedges to garnish)
1 TBS fresh dill, chopped
2 scallions, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Clean potatoes and cut into bite sized chunks. Cover with 1 inch of salted water and simmer over med high heat 8-12 minutes, until you can pierce with a fork but the potatoes still hold together.  Rinse under cold water.  In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients except the egg garnish.  Stir together until well coated. Add the garnish on top.

Dill on an Herb Rocker

I use lots of fresh herbs in my cooking so I get a lot of use out of this herb rocker.  I find it much easier to chop them using this rocker than a knife and cutting board.

Dill Potato Salad

Perfect for summer picnics and BBQ’s (although who am I kidding, I make this recipe year round!) Enjoy!

Homemade Beef Bouillon Cubes

There is soy protein in bouillon cubes which you definitely need to avoid if you’re on a soy free diet.  There is a product called Better Than Bouillon that you could try.  But it is also easy, inexpensive and delicious to make your own bouillon cubes.  This is what I do to make mine.

Beef Bouillon Cubes

yields 24 cubes

3 cups minced celery
3 cups minced carrots
2 onions, minced
2 TBS salt (or less if you prefer)
1/2 lb ground beef
2-3 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook, covered, over low heat for 1 hour.  Remove the bay leaves and place remaining contents into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.  Once frozen, transfer cubes to freezer bag and store in the freezer.


Homemade Mayo

Homemade mayoAll commercially made mayo is made with soy oil, so if you’re eliminating soy from your diet you will want to make your own mayo.  And once you taste your own homemade mayo you might never go back to buying mayo again!  I slightly altered this recipe from Allrecipes and came up with what is the best mayo I have ever tasted!  Making mayo can be a little bit finicky and requires lots of patience.  You need to add the oil VERY slowly to get it to emulsify.  If it doesn’t work the first time and ends up making an oily mess, use the oily mess as the oil in another batch. I’ve tried making it in the food processor, but found that because of the small initial volume that a regular blender worked better.

Garlic Mayo

yields about 2 cups

2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk (the fresher the better, room temperature)
1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 TBS champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white sugar
1 1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup garlic infused olive oil

Pour egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and sugar into the blender.

With the blender running continuously, start adding the oil VERY slowly, to start the emulsion process. Add 10 to 15% of the oil at this time. The first addition should be small and gradual. Wait about 30 second between additions.

As the mayo starts to thicken you can pour the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the machine at this point, but pause every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed. Add about 50% of the oil at this time.

Then continue until the remaining 1 1/2 cups of oil are incorporated. You may not need to use all the remaining oil at this time.

Stop the machine and check the mayonnaise for taste and consistency. Adjust the seasonings and, if the mayonnaise is very thick, process in additional drops of lemon juice, vinegar or warm water to thin.

Transfer the finished mayonnaise to a bowl or jar and store in the refrigerator. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for a good week. The fresher the eggs used, the longer the mayonnaise will keep.

Homemade mayo and ingredients

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats

This recipe is copied from the Hungry Curious blog, which is a great place to visit for more recipe ideas.  I’m recopying it here because you have to click around a bit on their site to put the recipe together so I’d like to have it in one place.  I made a batch last week and it turned out amazingly good!  I actually think it’s easier to make than regular rice crispy treats because without the marshmallow it’s not as sticky/messy.  And I think it tastes even better than regular rice crispy treats too!

Salted Caramel Rice Crispy Treats (Dairy/Soy Free)

8-12 bars or cups

1/3 cup unsalted almond butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Slightly rounded 1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups rice crispy cereal

Whisk together all ingredients except rice crispies in a pan over medium heat until everything is fully combined and the edges start to bubble. Continue to whisk over heat for an additional 2-4 minutes, then stir in rice crispies until cereal is evenly coated. Press mixture into a square pan and cut into bars, or form into cups using a cupcake tin.


Dairy and Soy Free Diet

The first couple days after the birth of each of my kids was filled with lots of sleepy, contented, new baby snuggles.  But fairly quickly we progressed to hours upon hours of inconsolable screaming, projectile vomitting, bloody stool, and constipation.  The pediatrician I was seeing after I had my oldest told me that she had colic and that it would eventually pass.  And not to worry about the vomiting, it was just a “laundry issue.”  Thankfully I followed my parental intuition and realized that we were dealing with something a lot more serious than having to do several loads of laundry a day (she was constantly puking all over herself and us).  I did some research and discovered that dairy and soy intolerance is quite common in newborn babies.  The dairy and soy proteins that I was consuming were being passed to my baby in my breast milk.  And so, as difficult as it was, I eliminated dairy and soy from my diet.  It took about a week for the proteins that she was having trouble digesting to clear out of my system, but once they did the result was astounding!  My once colicky baby turned into an angel baby.  She was so calm and happy, the puking completely stopped (she didn’t even spit up anymore), and her diapers looked normal again – no more blood!  Now this would be a pretty difficult diet to adhere to, say, to lose weight (which was a really nice byproduct of the diet.  The baby weight melted right off of me!) But the realization that if I cheated on the diet then my baby was going to be screaming in pain for several days was a fantastic motivator!

The diet mostly consisted of eating fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and meats.  If you start looking at labels you will quickly realize that there’s soy in just about all processed foods these days. Many processed foods contain milk too, often referred to as casein, whey, butter, or cheese on a label. There are several products that I heavily depended on while on this diet.

  • Earth Balance dairy/soy free butter substitute
  • natural peanut butter (still double check the label, but most don’t have soy)
  • Better Than Bouillon (you can also make your own, which I will discuss in a later post)
  • almond milk
  • coconut milk and coconut milk based treats like yogurt and ice cream
  • some of the bread from Panera (and other local bakeries, or made my own)
    • my favorite dairy/soy free loaf from Panera is the sun dried tomato basil
    • not all of it is safe, you need to check the allergen listing
  • extra crispy chicken and coleslaw from KFC (sometimes when you’re on a super healthy diet you just feel like a little fast food)
  • nutritional yeast (common vegan trick that tastes a bit like cheese)
  • avocados (really good alternative on sandwiches to replace the creaminess of cheese)
  • Enjoy Life allergy friendly chocolate chips/chocolate chunks

Some items I like to keep on hand for snacks:

  • hummus and carrots
  • hard boiled eggs
  • potato chips (check the label)
  • dill pickles
  • granola
  • trail mix with mixed nuts and dried fruit
  • pretzels
  • baked oatmeal

The other secret to being successful on this diet is to really plan ahead with meals.  I would usually make a big pot of chili or soup on Sunday and could eat leftovers of that throughout the week if I was in a pinch.  The last thing you want is to find yourself hungry and have no safe, easy options to eat.

If you find yourself with a colicky baby (especially if the crying is accompanied by crazy amounts of spit up and worrisome diapers) I’d really encourage you to try eliminating dairy and soy from your diet.  And as hard as I know it is, you need to eliminate for at least 2 weeks to start with to give it enough time for the proteins to clear out of your system and your baby’s before you can really tell if the diet is helping.  It is so rewarding being able to nourish your baby without having to resort to the expensive and gross tasting/smelling specialty allergen formulas.  You can do it!