Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

We just wrapped up a rockin’ Barbie birthday party yesterday for our SG. She turns five next Saturday, but since her birthday always falls around Thanksgiving, we usually celebrate it a week early. All this to say I’m behind the ball for Thanksgiving prep because I was busy preparing for her party.

This morning has been my catch up time. Here’s what is on the menu for this Thanksgiving. And y’all, I better get to getting! The fam has agreed to a dairy, egg, beef & pork gelatin free Thanksgiving but that means I make it all. I gladly do it because it means I can relax around the safe food and know that my daughter won’t react to cross contamination. Totally worth it!

Menu for Thanksgiving 2015

Cutlets

Gravy  (I omit the onion now and add 2 teaspoons of onion powder- makes the gravy smoother.)

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Simmered Fresh Green Beans (Rinse beans.  Snap off ends.  Snap beans in half.  In a pan, cover beans with vegetable broth.  Sprinkle some garlic powder, onion powder & Adobo seasoning.  Simmer until tender.)

Arroz con Gandules (No recipe yet.  My mom is going to teach me how this week!)

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

Pumpkin Pie with Coco Whip

Cherry Pie and/or Apple Pie (I hope to make both.)

Buckeyes (If I have time and energy left!)

And if I can find an easy vegan carrot cake recipe, I’d love to make that. Does anyone have a good and safe carrot cake recipe to share?

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!  I hope you have a wonderful and safe day filled with love!

Above are the cutlets and gravy, dinner rolls, and cherry and apple pie.

“Ranch Chicken” Pizza: Dairy & Egg Free

Yummy!

Yummy!

I have decided that Friday nights are now pizza nights. It’s fun to create traditions and oh yeah, it makes menu planning that much easier!!!

It also means that I have to get creative or we will eat the same pizza every week.

This week I tried my hand at creating a “ranch chicken” pizza.

The quotation marks are because:

The ranch is homemade and dairy and egg free

and

I’m not really using chicken. I’m using Hillary’s Veggie Bites for the chicken.

I found Hillary’s Veggie Bites a few months ago, called about the facilities (dairy & egg free!), bought them and let the veggie bites sit in the freezer for a few months. Why? Introducing new foods to SG is super stressful. She was fine with them. As a matter of fact- she LOVES them. However, she refuses to let me call them veggie bites. She calls them nuggets.

They have a great crunch to them (kind of like Ian’s chicken nuggets.) So the lightbulb went off in my head. No need to use real chicken. Just sub the crispy, crunchy veggie bites!

Here’s how I made our pizza.

Ranch Chicken Pizza:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pizza crust (I use this recipe. I cut the recipe in half, throw it in the bread maker and use the dough setting and make 4 thin crust pizzas from half the recipe. Also, you can have two thicker crust pizzas from half this recipe.)
  • 1 recipe of homemade ranch (Click here to see how I make homemade ranch)
  • 9-12 Hillary’s Veggie Bites
  • 2 chopped green onions
  • Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

Directions:

  1. Prepare and pre-bake homemade pizza crust at 415 for 4-5 minutes.  (See link in ingredients)
  2. Bake Hillary’s Veggie Bites. (takes 20 minutes)
  3. Prepare safe homemade ranch dressing.  (See link in ingredients)
  4. Spoon ranch dressing on pre-baked pizza crust. Eyeball it.  I didn’t use all of my ranch dressing.
  5. Sprinkle the Daiya mozzarella shreds on the pizza. Use more or less Daiya according to your preference.
  6. Sprinkle the green onions on the pizza.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and everything is bubbly.
  8. Cut veggie bites to bite sized pieces. Add to pizza.
  9. Sprinkle Frank’s Red Hot Sauce for the grown ups (or brave kids.)
  10. Serve extra ranch on the side as a dip for the pizza or sprinkle more ranch on top of the pizza.
Ready to go in the oven

Ready to go in the oven

Bake until it looks like this.  It took about 7 minutes with my oven.

Bake until it looks like this. It took about 7 minutes with my oven.

Add the "Chicken"...HIllary's Veggie Bites!

Add the “Chicken”…Hillary’s Veggie Bites!

Add Frank's Red Hot Sauce if you dare...

Add Frank’s Red Hot Sauce if you dare…

Notes:

  • This makes 1 pizza.
  • I make a half recipe of the pizza crust and make 4 thin crust pizzas. We use two crusts per meal/pizza night. I freeze the other two crusts for the next week. This saves me time and work every other week.
  • You can sub real chicken, store bought ranch for the veggie bites, and real mozzarella cheese if your diet allows.

This was a winner in our house and is sure to make more appearances in our Friday night pizza rotation.

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!

Homemade Ranch Mashed Potatoes: Dairy & Egg Free

I’ve tried lots of different recipes for dairy free mashed potatoes. Most were okay, but I couldn’t find the perfect recipe. SG has never liked any of my attempts… until I tried my hand at homemade ranch mashed potatoes! To be honest, she loved them the first time I made them and then didn’t like them when I made them again tonight. Oh, four year olds!!!

However, the Huzz and I really LIKE these mashed potatoes, or “mashies” as we called them growing up. (Remember mashies, Tracy & Josh???)

I do make my own ranch dressing. Click here to read how to make dairy and egg free ranch dressing. You’ll need to make it for this recipe. To speed up making ranch dressing, I keep several recipes of ranch mix premixed and ready to go in a clean jelly jar.

Also, I read on a blog somewhere that yukon gold potatoes are the best for dairy free mashed potatoes. I have no idea if that is true or not, but I tried it for this recipe instead of my usual russet potatoes and it tasted good.

Homemade Ranch Mashed Potatoes:

Ingredients:
4-6 Medium to Large Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 Tablespoons of non-dairy milk (I used my half and half sub)
8 Tablespoons of Homemade Ranch Dressing
1.5 small spoons of Vegan Butter (I used a regular small spoon)

Directions:
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Drain water and return potatoes to hot pot. Mash potatoes.
2. Add non-dairy milk, ranch dressing & vegan butter. Stir until mixed.
3. Serve and enjoy.

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

Ranch Mashed Potatoes

By the way, I’ve never been a good photographer. My pics aren’t the greatest- I know. I do have a new camera and am still kind of clueless on how to take good photographs. I’m working on it! 🙂

Dairy & Egg Free Chicken Salad- Oh My!

Chicken Salad

Y’all, I have about a million ideas bouncing around in this little head of mine for this little blog of mine, and I just haven’t been able to sit down and get them all out.

But this, this was worth me slowing down for and sharing. (I’ve got to be more consistent with my posts!)

I’ve made “safe” chicken salad twice now. Oh my. It is SO GOOD!

Before this recipe, I had never made chicken salad so I turned to my favorite place to look when I don’t know how to make something- Once A Month Meals.

Here’s how I put my spin on it and made it safe for us.

Dairy & Egg Free Chicken Salad:
(Adapted from this recipe at Once A Month Meals)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Serve on bread as a sandwich or with lettuce for a low carb version.

Here’s what ours looks like. Yum!

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken Salad Sandwich

I made this yesterday and to make it even more delicious, I made homemade bread! Click here for my bread recipe.

Enjoy!

Meat & “Cheesy Ranch” Rollup

Have y’all visited Once A Month Meals yet? Here’s their website:

onceamonthmeals.com

They have amazing recipes and they are all freezer friendly. Y’all know how much I love my freezer. It’s my best friend!

I saw a recipe on their site yesterday and I just had to try it right away. With modifications, of course!

Click here for the original recipe.

Here is how I made a dairy and egg free version of the Ham & Cheese Rollup.  Let’s call it Meat and “Cheesy Ranch” Rollup, though, because I think it will be just as yummy with shredded or cubed cooked chicken. I also omitted the broccoli, the healthiest part of the recipe. Feel free to add some broccoli or any other veggie you think will pare well with the ingredients.

This recipe calls for ranch dressing. And y’all! I made dairy and egg free ranch for the first time ever!!! And it was good! (This pic is not that great, but still, you get to see it. Doesn’t it look like ranch?)

Dairy & Egg Free Ranch!

Dairy & Egg Free Ranch!

So here is how we enjoyed a meat and “cheesy ranch” rollup kind of calzone looking thingamajig.

Meat & “Cheesy” Ranch Rollup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 recipe of homemade pizza dough (I throw it in the bread maker and use the “dough” setting.)
  • 2 cups of protein (I used cubed ham the first time. Next time I will use cubed chicken. Here’s how I cook and freeze my chicken.)
  • 2 cups of dairy free cheese (We use Daiya cheese. I made one with their “cheddar” shreds and one with the “mozzarella” shreds. The mozzarella one was better and I will only use mozzarella from now on. However, the cheddar was good, too. You decide!)
  • 1/2 cup of homemade dairy and egg free ranch (Use this recipe from OAMM. I used Just Mayo, a vegan mayo, to make it egg free. Click here to read how to find Just Mayo for just a dollar! I also used SO Delicious Original Coconut Milk Creamer for the milk. You can use any unflavored non-dairy milk.)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Split the homemade pizza dough into two equal parts. Flour your surface. Roll out two rectangles. I rolled until the dough seemed thin enough. I honestly don’t have a specific here.
  2. Spread out one cup of the meat and one cup of the cheese leaving a little space around the edges. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of ranch.  Repeat for second rectangular dough.
  3. Roll the pizza dough up like a jelly roll. OAMM has a nice photo showing how to do this. I didn’t take one. Sorry. 🙂
  4. Pinch the edges and squish them up tight. Flip your gigantic log seam side down. (Trust me on this. The first one I baked the seam was facing the side and a bunch of toppings spilled out!)
  5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Mine ended up perfect at 28 minutes.
  6. Slice pieces off as needed and enjoy! I didn’t slice it all at once, which was perfect because we reheated it today for lunch in the oven. It was easier to reheat as a partial giant log instead of leftover slices.

This recipe yielded two generous “logs.”

Here’s what my final product looked like:

Ham, Mozzarella & Ranch Rollup

Ham, Mozzarella & Ranch Rollup

This one was NOT baked seam side down.  Oops!

This one was NOT baked seam side down. Oops!

A little slice of cheesy ranch deliciousness!

A little slice of cheesy ranch deliciousness!

Not pretty, but yummy! And HOMEMADE! Can we just all cheer please? NEVER in my life did I think I would make so many things from scratch. I was domestically challenged. Not so much anymore. 🙂

Anyway, this has inspired me to maybe try this on a smaller scale like hot pockets size. I’d love to have these frozen and ready to go for quick lunches. Maybe I’ll try it soon and I’ll let you know how it works.

In the meantime, break out the bread maker and try this recipe. You won’t regret it!

 

 

Shopping Rush, Soymilk Ice Cream & Necklaces= Fantastic Friday!

Today I’m extra happy. I think I got a little rush from a super duper deal! Plus there are a few other random things from today that have made this a fantastic Friday.

I’m a part of several food allergy online support groups. Yesterday, the topic of Just Mayo, a vegan mayo, came up. We use Just Mayo and recently ran out. Our grocery store was out and we were stuck without any safe mayo.

Enter yesterday’s online discussion… A mom in one of the groups mentioned that Dollar Tree is starting to sell Just Mayo (are you ready?) for ONE DOLLAR! What?!?!

I called around and one of our two local Dollar Trees already has it in stock. I went today and purchased two 8 oz jars of Just Mayo for just $2 total. Ah-mazing!

Amazing Deal of the Week!

Amazing Deal of the Week!

I literally felt a rush when I bought these. Such a score!

Something else is making me happy… safe ice cream. I just devoured this:

Yummy & Safe for Me Treat

Yummy & Safe for Me Treat

Doesn’t it look too good to be true? I crushed up some mini Oreos, used SO Delicious vanilla soymilk ice cream, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup. (I’ve not tested the Hershey’s syrup but many of the moms in my online group have safely given it to their kids. I’ve just not worked up my courage to try it on her yet. That’s a whole ‘nother post- introducing new foods and the anxiety that comes with it!!!)

Our Choice for Soymilk Ice Cream

Our Choice for Soymilk Ice Cream

Anyway, this was my treat. And it made me happy.

The last thing I’m sharing today is my favorite online boutique, Sew Simply Chic. I’m sporting this beautiful handmade necklace today. I NEVER wear costume jewelry because of my nickel allergy. But this, friends, is only fabric and wooden beads. I’m in LOVE with these necklaces. Check out her online store. She also sells amazing scarves.

My Latest Obsession from Sew Simply Chic

My Latest Obsession from Sew Simply Chic

Isn’t this a pretty necklace? It’s such a fun print. It’s making me happy today.

Also, I’m having a dinner with one of my favorite friends tonight… Just the two of us WITHOUT kids. Yeah, I’m excited.

There you have it… my excitement and little happy thoughts for the day.

What has made you happy today?