6 Easy Homemade Mixes for the Pantry: Dairy & Egg Free

There’s news of another recall involving spice mixes. Scary, isn’t it?

I try to make as much as I can from scratch. That includes spice mixes, premade pancake and muffin mixes, ranch dry mix and more.

Here are a few of the homemade mixes I have in my pantry.

1. Homemade Taco Mix
(from 100 Days of Real Food)
It’s easy to throw together with just 4 ingredients! I even made some as gifts this Christmas. This mix is very versatile and can help with other meals other than just tacos! (I feel a taco mix recipe post brewing…) 🙂

2. Dry Ranch Mix
(from Once A Month Meals)
I washed a jelly jar and use that to store this yummy dry mix. It has been very helpful for me to have the directions on a label on the back of the jar with the directions on how to make the dressing. This is another very versatile mix and it can jazz up many recipes. (Hmmm… a what to do with dry ranch mix post is also a-brewing…) 🙂

Click here to go to my “Recipe Substitutions” page for the links to the homemade taco mix and dry ranch mix recipes.

3. Homemade Popcorn Spice Mix
I keep recipes of my Dragon’s Breath popcorn seasoning in a little Glad plastic bowl. It makes movie night a snap. I just make the popcorn from scratch in the microwave with some olive oil. I sprinkle on the seasoning mix and voila! Easy and quick homemade popcorn.

4. Pancake Mix
(from Once A Month Meals)

5. Muffin Mix
Once this is mixed, it only needs two wet ingredients to make a batch of muffins! It’s just AS EASY TO PREPARE AS THE PACKAGED MUFFIN MIXES FROM THE STORE! 🙂 I love this recipe because it has ground flax. I also omit the vanilla because I use vanilla almond milk. In my latest batch, I cut the sugar back to 1.5 cups for the entire dry mix and the muffins still tasted great. I also use frozen blueberries as my add in. We use Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips for special occasions.

6. Wacky Cake Mix
I currently have a bag of all the dry ingredients for a chocolate wacky cake mix bagged and ready to go. In the link above, I’ve included how to also make this a vanilla cake. It’s more yellow in color than a white cake. Who needs boxed cake mix when you have this homemade goodness waiting and ready?

It helps to slowly stock your pantry with homemade mixes. Mix a batch a day of something from this list and in less than a week you’ll have some homemade yumminess ready to go at your fingertips. If you’re really motivated, take an hour and prepare these homemade mixes all at once. None of it is hard- it just takes a little time. The spice mixes are super easy to throw together. I’d suggest starting with the taco seasoning. Then the dry ranch mix and then the popcorn seasoning. The others require more time- maybe a max of 10 minutes each! That’s not bad at all.

Safe Dry Ranch Mix and Homemade Ranch Dressing

Safe Dry Ranch Mix and Homemade Ranch Dressing

These directions on the jar make whipping up this dressing a breeze.

These directions on the jar make whipping up this dressing a breeze.

Popcorn Seasoning, Homemade Taco Seasoning & Homemade Ranch Mix

Popcorn Seasoning, Homemade Taco Seasoning & Homemade Ranch Mix

Pancake Mix

Pancake Mix

Vegan Muffin Mix

Vegan Muffin Mix

On a side note, I’m trying to make these mixes look cuter. I’m in the process of buying glass jars and trying to figure out how to print cute labels.

Do you have any homemade mixes to share? Please share and link in the comments below. Thanks!

Most Read Posts in 2014

Top 2014 Posts

Thanks for sharing in our journey and reading my ramblings. My hope is to spread food allergy awareness, share food allergy friendly recipes and let others know they are not alone in living with food allergies. There is hope! We can do this together!!!

Happy New Year to you, my dear sweet readers! I pray you have a wonderful, safe and blessed 2015!

Here are the top posts read in 2014 from my little blog:

1. Chicken Drumsticks: Cook it Once, Use it Three Ways

2. Sopa de Arroz con Pollo (Chicken & Rice Soup)

3. 16 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners!

4. Food Allergy Awareness: My Mommy Confessions

5. Basic Dairy & Egg Free Breakfasts

6. The Freezer is my Best Friend Part 4: Refried Beans & Freezer Burritos

7. 15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: Part 4

8. 15 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners: (July 1st- July 15, 2014)

9. How to have a Dairy & Egg Free Birthday Party

10. Grab ‘n Go Snacks (Dairy & Egg Free!)

20 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Menu Plan

It was so relaxing for me to sit down and plan out this menu plan. A few years ago, I never would have made that statement!!!

After our stressful vacation, it feels good to sit down and get back into our safe and comfy routine.

By the way, isn’t this graphic amazing?  My brother is a very talented graphic design artist and is responsible for graphic designs on my blog.  Thanks brother!  I will use this menu plan graphic in all of my upcoming menus.  I’m so excited!!!

Here’s our menu plan for the last few days of December and the first half of January.  I’m always adding new recipes (thanks Pinterest!) and mixing in our old favorites.

Speaking of favorites, I’m currently obsessed with pineapple fried rice. You’ll see that twice on this menu served three times. I could eat it for dinner everyday! And it’s meatless to boot. At least my version is.

I digress.

This menu has a mix of chicken, pork, turkey and meatless meals (beans and veggies as the main protein source).

I hope this helps. Maybe one day I’ll have enough energy to even make a coordinating grocery list. But not anytime soon.  🙂

I share these menus to help other families like ours out there. Meal planning can be a challenge with a special diet.

Just for fun, here’s a pic of my set up for menu planning and getting this post typed up. I love Coke with my homemade Dragon’s Breath Popcorn. It’s the perfect snack for this menu planning blogger mommy!

How I menu plan

How I menu plan

1. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches (Make these awesome homemade dinner rolls, using vegan butter and non-dairy milk. Use dough setting on bread machine.  Follow directions for baking.  Once baked, cut rolls in half, add cooked chicken, top with safe bbq sauce) & Oven Roasted Carrots

2. Taco Pizza Rolls (use homemade pizza crust, use homemade taco seasoning from 100 Days of Real Food, ground turkey breast, & Daiya cheese)

3. Pineapple Fried Rice (omit ham, use only 1/2 cup pineapple & liquid aminos for soy sauce)

4. Lemony Chicken Stir Fry with Asparagus

5. Black Bean Chili & Cornbread

6. Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Sweet Potatoes & Steam in a bag Broccoli

7. BBQ Chicken Pizza

8. Flex Meal

9. Vegan Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cakes, Homemade Dinner Rolls (See link from day one & make double batch for use in Day 10) & Sautéed Zucchini

10. Ranch Turkey Burgers made small enough to fit the Homemade Dinner Rolls from Day 9 (use 2 Tbs homemade ranch mix for ranch packet sub), French Fries & Fruit Salad

11. Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast, Roasted Carrots & Baked Potatoes (Bake enough potatoes for day 12, too)

12. Garlic Chicken, Baked Potatoes from Day 11 & Grilled Asparagus

13. Chicken Nachos (use leftover chicken from day 12 & Daiya cheese)

14. Pineapple Fried Rice (see day 3 for link)

15. Leftover Pineapple Fried Rice

16. Veggie Spaghetti

17. Ranch Pork Chops (make safe ranch dressing using link on day 10, dip chops on both sides in ranch, coat with panko bread crumbs & bake), Earth Balance Vegan “Cheddar” Flavor Mac and Cheese, & Steamed Spinach

18. Easy Chicken Tacos (use homemade taco seasoning using link from day 2)

19. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

20. Vegetable Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

Here are a few photos of the foods in my menu plan.  Enjoy!

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Homemade Dinner Rolls

Ranch Turkey Burger

Ranch Turkey Burger

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham.  I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!

Pineapple Fried Rice with Ham. I now omit the ham and it tastes just as good!

Vacationing with Food Allergies: Disney World

Disney Receipt

This post has been brewing for over a year. I wanted to write about our first trip with SG to Disney World last year.

We were so excited. We heard great things about Disney and food allergies. We stayed at Port Orleans resort with Disney in December 2013 and bought their meal plan- the one with one quick service meal and one sit down meal a day. We made our meal reservations with our special dietary requests and were thrilled to safely eat out.  We spoke to the chefs every single time.

But still… SG broke out in hives. Every. Single. Meal. It was horrible! The worst was when she had a hamburger. At that time, we didn’t know about her beef allergy, so we know that was most likely the reason behind her allergic reaction. At the other non-beef meals, she broke out in 3 to 5 hives. It wasn’t a major reaction, but a reaction never the less. And any hives on her stress me out and put me on edge= Not relaxing. Not magical.

I even cried talking to the chef at our resort’s restaurant. I cried because I was stressed out and just wanted something SAFE for my child to eat.

Disney tried, but failed us.

The rides, however, were magical! We quickly developed a system to keep SG safe. I went first with a baby wipe in my hand. I wiped down the lap bars and seats as I got on the ride. Then the Huzz and SG joined me. The second we were off the ride, we’d all wipe our hands with baby wipes. SG did great at the theme parks. No hives from rides!!!

Fast forward to October of 2014. We decided the problem last year was the food at Disney. We decided to try Disney again in December 2014.  To be safe, we decided to get a room with a full kitchen so I could cook all of our dinners. We would bring a safe lunch and safe snacks for SG in the parks. We would eat lunch at the park, but all grown ups would need to eat dairy and egg free to keep SG safe. She ate her safe packed lunch and a special dessert snack (Skittles one day and a Cocoa Loco bar the next.) We snacked on safe snacks I brought and ate dinner in our villa. That part was great.

Here’s where the HUGE problem was. We checked into our “deep cleaned” room at Old Key West Resort and immediately started wiping down every surface. Even though we had requested a deep clean and had supposedly received it, our room just wasn’t up to par. There was some red sauce splattered on several white wood surfaces on the kitchen chairs. There were more red splashes on the side of the fridge. There were white droplets of some food (milk? ice cream?) on the side of the kitchen island. Clearly, we needed to clean it all again.

I told SG (she’s 4) to not touch anything while we wiped everything down. She started touching surfaces as any excited 4 year old would do at a Disney resort. And within 30 minutes, had hives on her face and eyes and a bright red neck. I was terrified and thought this was “the time I was gonna have to Epi her.” She didn’t ingest any dairy, though, so we gave her Benadryl, gave her a quick shower, and then the hives started calming down. All of this within about an hour of checking in to our “relaxing and magical vacation.”

SIGH.

I broke down and cried, y’all. I was so upset. I emailed our travel agent, who was equally appalled at the lack of deep cleaning and she was upset SG had an allergic reaction. She notified the resort. The managers came to our room. We talked and I cried again as I explained to them what happened and tried to stress that even though they claimed our room was deep cleaned, I saw plenty of food “leftovers” in the room.

The manager offered to have the upholstery steam cleaned the next day while we were at Hollywood Studios. That night, we had all of the furniture covered in clean white sheets and towels.

The next day, we came back to freshly steam cleaned sofas, chairs and kitchen chairs. I appreciate that. Really, I do. We still covered it all in new sheets, though, just to be safe.

The managers even had this set up for SG when we returned from Hollywood Studios. SG loved her gifts!

The managers had this as a surprise for SG after she broke out in hives from the room.  She loved these gifts!

SG’s surprise from the managers after she broke out in hives from the room. She loved these gifts!

After the first night, SG didn’t have any more reactions.

I can’t tell you how stressful it was to start off vacation with our daughter having hives and almost taking a trip to the emergency room.

I know tons of food allergy families safely dine at Disney World and have had great experiences. We are two for two at not being completely safe at Disney. Our time in the theme parks and meeting princesses has been the highlight of our visits. The first year the food was the problem. The second year the room was the problem. Yikes.

My princess meeting Merida.  One of her favorite moments from our trip.

My princess meeting Merida. One of her favorite moments from our trip.

Anyway, I wanted to share how our trips to Disney panned out.

My daughter loved her Disney visit. No matter the obstacles, I’m grateful we were able to give her that gift two years in a row.

But for now, I think I am done with vacations. They really stress me out.

Note:  Lots of food allergy families have had great success dining at Disney restaurants.  I applaud Disney for being so food allergy aware.

Our daughter is obviously contact reactive, with RAST numbers off the chart.  Still, we try to provide her with every opportunity to have a “normal” childhood.  Having fun at Disney has been checked off of our list.

Yummy Christmas Recipes: Dairy & Egg Free

The only thing I've done so far- make amazing fudge!

The only thing I’ve done so far- make amazing fudge!

Hiya. Merry (almost) Christmas friends! We have been quite the busy bees with vacation, traveling from Iowa to South Carolina to Florida and so on!

Things finally settled down for literally, like, ONE day and now we’re ramping up for Christmas.

This year, we’re trying something different. The Huzz’s family always had their big meal on Christmas Eve. Growing up, my family always had the BIG meal on Christmas day. (Seriously, y’all, my mom cooked and baked for days!!! Her spread is crazy big!) This year, we are going to follow in the tradition of the Huzz’s side and have our big meal on Christmas Eve.

Here’s what we plan to make. Click on the colored words to follow the links to the recipes.

And by the way, it’s 8:30 pm on December 23rd and I’ve only accomplished ONE THING on this list…yeah, I better get to getting!

Christmas Dinner and Treats:

Mojo Crockpot Chicken (Click here to see how to make homemade mojo marinade. There’s not a recipe for this one. I’m making it up. I’ll put the chicken in the crockpot. Pour the mojo on a whole chicken. Probably throw in a chopped onion, some adobo seasoning, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and oregano. Cook on low for 8 hours.)

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Grilled Asparagus (Rinse asparagus, snap off ends, season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill on medium on grill pan until tender.)

Balsamic Roasted Baby Carrots

Classic Dinner Rolls (Sub non-dairy milk and vegan butter. Use the bread machine to make dough on dough setting.)

Gluten Free and Dairy Free Fudge (I used SO Delicious boxed Culinary Coconut Milk Lite.  This is the one recipe I’ve made so far.  I’ve only licked the spoon and it was AMAZING!)

Buckeyes (Use vegan butter and Enjoy Life chocolate chips)

Vegan Sugar Cookies with Easy Royal Icing (We decided not to use food coloring.  Our cookies will just be decorated with white icing.  And maybe a few sprinkles!)

Pumpkin Pie with Coco Whip from SO Delicious

Easy Cinnamon Roll Recipe for breakfast on Christmas morning (I have a cinnamon sensitivity so I’m omitting the cinnamon.  I might sub allspice but most likely I’ll add brown sugar instead of the cinnamon or allspice.)

That’s our safe menu plan.

This Christmas, we’ve been teaching SG that Christmas is not about getting gifts or Santa.

In our house, we’re trying to focus on the ultimate gift, the gift of a precious babe born into this world to save us from our sins.  God gave us the ultimate gift of Jesus, which is why our little family celebrates Christmas.

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

Luke 2:10-11

We hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.  I wish you all a safe and wonderful day together filled with lots of safe food!

Arroz con Pollo (Chicken & Rice)

Arroz con pollo. Puerto Rican comfort food at its finest! I absolutely love digging into a bowl of this homemade goodness. I promise you will, too!

Before attempting this, I highly recommend purchasing a “caldero”. It’s what we use to make our Puerto Rican rice dishes. Click here to see the one I have.  It kind of felt like a rite of passage when my parents gave me my caldero.  I felt like an official grown up!

I also recommend making a homemade batch of sofrito (link below).  If you don’t want to make it homemade, Goya makes a jarred sofrito and jarred recaito.  I do not know if they are dairy and egg free, though, because I always make my own.  Either jarred version works in this recipe.  However, homemade sofrito is easy and always better!

Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 raw chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • oregano
  • salt
  • pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • Adobo seasoning (I use the one with the red cap)
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • 3 c uncooked white rice, rinsed
  • 2.5 c chicken broth
  • 6 oz tomato sauce
  • 3 cubes sofrito (click here for the sofrito recipe)
  • Lots of green olives
  • 2 Tbsp olive juice

Directions:

  1. Season chicken in a bowl with adobo, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder & onion powder. Add a drizzle of olive oil & a splash of lemon juice. Mix well.
  2. Heat the caldero to medium heat with a thin layer of olive oil. Add the seasoned chicken. Cook for maybe 1-2 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  3. Add the 3 cups of rinsed rice, chicken broth, sofrito cubes, olives, tomato sauce, olive juice and add a good sprinkle of garlic powder.  Stir.
  4. Bring to a boil. Stir. Cover. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 20 minutes. Use a pronged fork to stir the rice. If the rice is still hard, sprinkle a little water over it if needed and cook another 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with Black Beans (recipe coming soon)

NOTE: Do not use a spatula or spoon to stir the rice. It can make the rice mushy.

Arroz con Pollo topped with Puerto Rican style black beans

Arroz con Pollo Topped with Puerto Rican Style Black Beans

If it isn’t perfect the first time, keep trying and tweaking this recipe.  My mom actually doesn’t have a  written recipe.  It’s another taste and see recipe.  I have worked with her to get a basic written recipe (thanks Mom!) and I have tweaked it to work for us from there.

I hope you enjoy the sabor (flavor) of this Latin dish.

3 Affordable (and Adorable!) Homemade Gift Ideas

Christmas is almost here. I can hardly believe it! Seriously, this year has FLOWN by!

This year, I’m trying to focus on meaningful and homemade gifts. Here are a few of my favorite gifts to give.

1. Homemade Dry Shampoo
Since writing the original dry shampoo post, I’ve found a way to make this gift adorable. I found spice jars for $1. I tossed the spicy hole filled shaker thing in the trash. I don’t need it for this. I fill the jar with my homemade dry shampoo. I ordered small round labels from vistaprint.com and put a cute “Dry Shampoo” label on each lid. I buy inexpensive make up brushes for $1 and include that along with the dry shampoo. The gift is too cute for words. I personally love my dry shampoo and use it weekly. I think it’s a great little gift!

Homemade Dry Shampoo

Homemade Dry Shampoo

A practical and pretty gift!

A practical and pretty gift!

2. Homemade Taco Seasoning
I use this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food. It’s super easy to make and only has 4 ingredients! I found these super cute little mason jars from Target for $1.99 each. Each jar holds 3-4 batches of this recipe. I printed a little label on colored card stock. I used a business card template only to keep the size small and played with it a few times to get the font the right size. I cut it and punched a hole and attached it to the spice jar with some twine. (The twine was a clearance deal at Target- I think I paid 45 cents for it!)

Doesn’t everybody make tacos?

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Handmade Label

Handmade Label

Back of Mason Jar

Back of Mason Jar

Inside the Jar

Inside the Jar

3. Homemade Pumpkin Bread Mix
I love pumpkin bread! I premix my dry ingredients and store them in empty and cleaned giant olive jars. I could use that jar with a pretty handmade label or splurge and buy a cute and new jar. Fill the jar with the dry ingredients. Make a label on card stock including “Homemade Pumpkin Bread Mix” along with the directions. Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/2 c canola oil, 3 Tbsp of maple syrup & 3 Tbsp water. Add dry mix. Bake for 45-50 minutes for large loaf.

As a gift, the jarred dry mix would look adorable with a can or box of pumpkin puree and a mini maple syrup bottle. I haven’t yet given this as a gift, so I don’t have a photo to share yet. But here’s what the glass jar of dry mix and a box of pumpkin look like together… precious!

Just needs a pretty label

Just needs a pretty label

These gifts are easy to make, useful, affordable and just plain adorable! Merry Christmas and happy gift giving!