Dairy Free Fruit Dip


I am so excited about this post! I was so excited about this recipe I was even sending texts about it to other dairy intolerant family members.  Move over cream cheese dips -this is Dairy Free Fruit Dip!

Earlier this year I was getting our family ready for a mini-Super Bowl Party at our house for just the four of us.   My beloved Green Bay Packers weren’t in the game so I was way more interested in the food than the football.   In years past I’d made a cream-cheese based fruit dip and strawberries for game days, but decided to experiment a little so Colin could eat our party treats.   I mixed up some marshmallow crème, coconut milk vanilla yogurt, a bit of powdered sugar, and vanilla.  I whipped it together with hand held mixer and decided it could be even better with a little lemon zest and lemon juice.  The result was a delicious fruit dip that everyone in our family loved.  My husband he said he preferred it to the old cream cheese based one.   The texture of the dip was great and didn’t get runny like my coconut whip cream does after standing a while.  I can even see myself using it as a frosting substitute for Colin’s birthday treats.

Do yourself a favor and try this dip!

Here is the yogurt I used but feel free to experiment if you have a dairy free yogurt you like.  I’d go with vanilla or plain yogurt.  Try adding a little vanilla extract into the recipe if you use plain yogurt.



Dairy Free Fruit Dip


7 0z Marshmallow crème (also known as marshmallow fluff. It comes in a jar)

6 oz. Vanilla flavored coconut yogurt  (if you can only get plain -add more sugar and vanilla to the recipe)

2 tablespoons Powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

Zest of half of a small lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Mix all ingredients together with a hand blender or whisk.  Serve with fruit for dipping.





Soy and Dairy free pizza


I love pizza.  Having to go dairy and soy free is really tough when it comes to pizza, since pizza just isn’t the same without the cheese.  Foregoing cheese meant losing one of our favorite foods, but also our family lost the convenience of an easy dinner, which sometimes feels worse.  There is no more “Oh dear, we are short on time! Let’s just order a pizza.”  That line of thought in our house is now “Let’s have pancakes because Mom is out of ideas.”

But really I couldn’t live entirely without pizza so I had a few options:

Order a cheese free pizza from a store and take our chances –

We rarely do this due to cross contamination fears.  A few times we have ordered a cheese free pizza from Papa Johns, but didn’t feed it to Colin.  It was just okay.  Unless I order a ton of toppings, it doesn’t feel worth the money.  Papa John’s allergy information is here  and some FAQ here but we couldn’t be 100% sure everything was free of soybean oil (soy category is unclear).   I have heard good things about Mellow Mushroom (thanks Karyna), which I saw in Florida but didn’t get a chance to try  They have a really helpful and easy to use allergy friendly meal planner.  If anyone else has info on pizza from big chain stores to share, please comment below!

Making my own pizza with fake cheeses

There are several fake cheeses in the vegan section of our grocery store and at Whole Foods.  The only one I found that does not contain casein, a milk protein, is the brand Daiya.  We tried Daiya with an open mind, hoping it could at least be a melty standby I would get used to, but I could never get over the flavor.  Both the yellow and white versions were awful, in my opinion.  If I’d never tasted cheese before maybe I could have eaten it.  Somebody must like it since they keep selling it, but no one in our house was willing to eat it a second time.

Make my own pizza without cheese

Is this really pizza if it has no cheese?  At our house it is called “Colin Pizza.”   Simply- any pizza made without cheese is Colin Pizza.   In the last two years I have made a lot of “Colin Pizza” for myself and for Colin.   We have a “Make Your Own Pizza Night” once a week at our house.  I make a large batch of dough and let the kids help shape and top their own portion with a little help.  It is actually pretty fast, a good use of any leftovers and I can cater to everyone’s dietary wants and needs.  The key to cheeseless pizza is the toppings.  You have consider moisture and flavor.  Cheese brings a lot of moisture, fat and salt to the pizza party so you need to add ingredients that will help fill in those voids.  I think moisture is the most important one.  Once I figured this out, I was much happier with my cheese free pizzas.  I add fresh tomatoes, extra sauce, a hearty drizzle of olive oil or flavored oil or dashes of a nice balsamic vinegar after cooking.  But flavor is really important too.  I’ve found that if I add a lot of toppings, like sausage, musroom, onion, green pepper, extra tomato sauce,  fresh tomato and italian seasoning, I don’t usually miss the cheese much since there is a lot to keep my taste buds busy.  If I use some leftover roasted chicken (which is bland), I add sundried tomatoes and marinated artichoke hearts to punch up the flavor.  Experimenting is great so think outside the pizza box (bad pun I know).

Here are my tips for homemade pizza.

  • Dough – My #1 is definitely Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast.   This yeast has directions on the back for an easy dough with no rest time.  You mix it up and it is ready to go.  The yeast is formulated so the dough won’t spring back while rolling or shaping it.  It has good flavor and makes weeknight pizza night a cinch so I keep 3-4 sleeves of this stuff around.  The Fleischmann website has lots of good info on making pizza dough, materials and FAQ if you are new to the dough making process.  If you prefer using regular yeast, my favorite recipe is from the website Lauren’s Latest.  The  “Fail Proof Pizza Dough” recipe does need rest time, so you have to plan ahead, but the end result has great flavor and gets nice and crispy.  The pictures are great and walk you through the process with ease.  For any dough you use though, roll it out a bit thinner than you think you need to the first time you try it.  Remember, it will puff up as it bakes.
  • Sauce – Any good spaghetti or marinara sauce makes a decent pizza sauce at our house.  I always have jars of Prego Traditional (made with canola oil) on hand.
  • Materials –  I use a pizza stone for my pizza when I can, letting it heat up in the oven during the preheating cycle.  For the kids’ pizzas I put the dough on a Silpat and onto a cookie sheet.  No silpat?  Grease up a cookie sheet really well with olive oil.
  • Procedure–  Unless you own a pizza peel, make sure to have your dough where you want it before you add toppings.  I learned the hard way- making it all on the counter and then having to try to move a floppy mess to a pan.  Avoid that mistake!   While my pizza stone is heating up in the oven I am shaping my dough on a slightly floured board and prepping ALL toppings.   When the pizza stone is hot I take it from the oven, put it on the stove top, lay the dough on the pizza stone carefully and then VERY quickly add all the toppings.  For my kids I skip the dangerous pizza stone.  I put their dough on the silpat/pan and let them top the dough before I put it in the oven.
  • Cooking Time –  At 425 degrees F our pizzas take 8-10 minutes.
  • Toppings – For me I try to use leftovers or plan to have a little of this and that leftover from chopping ingredients to make pizza night easier. Here are my favorites

-Olive oil and garlic powder base, top with leftover steak, fresh spinach, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic and finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar

-BBQ Chicken Pizza – BBQ sauce base, chicken, onion, corn and black beans

-Tomato sauce or olive oil base, top with lots of fresh tomato,  garlic basil and finish with olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Balsamic is good on this too.

– Tomato sauce base, top with Sausage or turkey pepperoni, mushroom, onion, green pepper, italian seasoning

-Olive oil and garlic powder base, leftover chicken, sundried tomato, marinated artichoke, minced leeks/shallots, a little salt

  • Topping for kids –   For kids like mine who have lots of food sensitivities, try topping their pizza with whatever veggies they can eat, regardless of how odd it may sound to you .  Colin used to have steamed carrots and corn on his.   For a long time it was just pizza dough and tomato sauce.  It didn’t sound great to me but he thought it was heaven since it was something new.  Colin’s current favorite is a heavy tomato sauce base (for moisture) with chopped up turkey or chicken meat/lunchmeat, and minced mushroom, peppers and onions.   Note- he wouldn’t eat any of those veggies if they were bigger sizes, but when I mince them he will eat them on pizza.  He hates fresh tomato but will eat tomato sauce.  Crazy kid.  So don’t be afraid to experiment and cut veggies very small so they will cook and soften.

If you have a dairy free pizza idea or topping combination you like, I would love to hear from you!


A quick and terrible photo before eating it- One slice of tomato, basil, garlic and olive oil. The other slice is BBQ sauce, red onion, corn, and chicken

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – Dairy/Soy/Wheat Free


It is hard for me to resist these little beauties.  Really hard.  They are so so good I have to put them out of sight or else I find an excuse to grab another one.  It seems I can have a little bit of dairy free chocolate in my diet, just a little, so I have to practice some major self-control when I go into the kitchen.  When I eat these cookies I don’t find myself thinking about what they are missing (butter) like I do with a lot of non-dairy sweets.  I do find myself delighted that something so delicious is so healthy, for a dessert item.  Although they are not a health food, these cookies aren’t full of fat, processed sugar or white flour.

And I’m not the only one who likes them.  These cookies even passed the “Non-Dieter” test.  I pulled out my Tupperware container full of these cookies at our Mothers Day BBQ.  The cookies were a hit and I got several requests for the recipe.  That says a lot people!  It is hard to pull off a good butter-free-chocolate-chip-cookie-like food but this one does it.

I found the basic recipe for this cookie when looking through a collection of Paleo diet recipes.  If you haven’t heard of the Paleo diet, it is also known as the caveman diet.  I’ve just recently learned of it and from what I understand, people on this diet try to eat as a caveman would, eating fruits, vegetables, meats and avoiding processed sugar, all grains, dairy and soy.  Almond flour is used in place of regular white flour in baked goods.  I’m not trying to follow a Paleo diet, just happen to almost be on it anyway with the food limitations we have, but finding a large collection of new dairy/soy free recipes has been great.

While perusing some Paleo recipes, I found a recipe for almond butter cookies in an article on “How to Have a Paleo Cheat Day.”  (There are a few other good looking recipes I haven’t tried yet.)  I didn’t have almond butter but I had some natural peanut butter and so I made them as Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.   So if you can’t use peanut butter,  try using  almond butter.

PS- Usually I’m a batter person.  I taste batters to check the flavors and I like the batters for cookies/cake more than the end result.  This was the total opposite.  I really didn’t like the batter at all.  While the first batch cooked I was betting I would have to throw the whole experiment away.  So glad I didn’t!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 cups Almond Flour

1/2 cup peanut butter – I used a natural peanut butter that was a bit chunky or use almond butter if you don’t do peanuts

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tsp salt – If your peanut butter has no salt in it I would bump this up to 3/4 tsp.

2 cups Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips or other dairy/soy free chocolate chips


Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake 8-12 min at 375 degrees F.

Food Network Magazine April Has Lots Of Dairy/Soy Free Recipes

Food Network Magazine - April 2013

Food Network Magazine – April 2013

Just got my Food Network Magazine in the mail this last week.  I get overly excited when this magazine arrives.  It really is one of the few “splurges” for myself and provides me with a lot of cooking inspiration.

Recently the magazine and I had a falling out.  Last month was the CHEESE issue.  Yes, cheese.  When I already couldn’t partake in all the Valentines day goodies, Food Network had to salt the wound by making it cheese month.  I couldn’t handle seeing all the things I couldnt’ eat so I put that one away to read another time.   Luckily the Food Network magazine production staff has redeemed themselves with the April 2013 issue.

The April issue is a cache of dairy and soy free recipes.  I’m guessing they directed this issue more toward the folks celebrating Passover since its not a huge Easter eggstravaganza issue.   There is a section on flourless cakes, some made with matzo.  Like this Lemon Coconut Matzo jelly roll.   They also have a flourless carrot bundt cake that is dairy and soy free.  Maybe they are making nice with the dairy free crowd alienated by the last issue.  Whatever the motivation, on top of two delicious looking dairy and soy free cakes, I’ve counted at least 15 other recipes I could make.  There are loads more that I could easily substitute some oil in for butter or leave off the “finishing” cheese sprinkled on top.

So basically,if you need some new dairy and soy free ideas I’d highly recommend checking out this issue before it is gone from the newsstands.  As I try things I will be sure to post them here!

Dairy and Soy Free Easter/Spring Lunch Ideas

Happy First Day of Spring!  It sure doesn’t feel like spring here but I’ve got springtime cooking on my mind.

I have two Easter celebrations to cook for this year and so I’ve been busy Googling recipes.  Both get togethers are closer to lunchtime than brunch so I’m looking for some new ideas.   Lunch ideas are hard for me on a regular day, let alone for guests.  I haven’t narrowed the menu down just yet, but I thought I would share the ideas I’m considering.  I’ve tried a few of these recipes but haven’t blogged about them.  The rest are new things I’ve not made before but most have reviews you can check out.  I know it might seem strange to post things I haven’t cooked yet, but hopefully it can save you some time searching the Internet if you need an Easter meal idea.  After Easter I will post what I ended up making and share my own reviews!

Springtime Lunch Menu Ideas


Main Course



Manischewitz Marble Cake

Just wanted to do a quick review while Colin is napping.  I made a box of the Manischewitz Marble Cake mix, just the regular variety, not the extra moist which contains carrageenan.  I just put the chocolate batter in one part so I could eat the non-chocolate side.  Oh my goodness! It is moist and delicious and tastes like cake!  (If you’ve been following my blog, you know finding dairy/soy free cake mix that tastes good is quite a challenge!)   It contains wheat and potato starch.  The whole list is here: http://www.manischewitz.com/assets/images/nut_Marble_Cake.jpg.  You just need eggs and water to make the batter.

This stuff is expensive.  $5 for a teeny tiny pan, but I still went out and bought 4 more boxes of it.  My hope is that I will be able use it for Colin’s birthday or other dessert laden holidays if potato is a success.  If nothing else, I will eat it. I’m debating trying to make it into tiny cupcakes to see if it works in cupcake form.

It is my understanding that like Easter candy, these box mixes are only around right now for Passover.  I would highly recommend checking them out before they are gone!

http://www.manischewitz.com/passovercakemixesandsweetsproducts.html – click on individual products to get ingredient lists!

-And I swear I’m not affiliated with Manischewitz in any way, just very excited to find something fast and easy that tastes like real cake!





One Bowl Apple Crumble Pie and Dairy/Soy Free Pie Crust


Thanksgiving isn’t complete without a dessert.  Although I often am nervous about bringing my dairy free creations to family gatherings, I know one family dinner guest list includes several people who avoid dairy so I will be bringing a dairy-soy free apple pie.

I made this apple pie a few weeks back for my husband and kids after we went to the apple orchard.  It was a big hit.  Although I prefer to share recipes that don’t need expensive substitutes/butter replacers, this recipe definitely needs one for the crumble topping.  The good news is you can make a very decent pie crust with things you probably have around the house.

In the past I’ve made pie crusts by substituting the butter in recipes with Spectrum shortening or Earth Balance Soy Free Spread.  These came out fine but I have another crust recipe that bypasses the expensive ingredients, chilling time in the fridge and extra mess.   I make an oil based crust that you don’t have to roll out, but it will still hold a shaped edge for pretty pies.  I use canola oil for sweet pies and a light olive oil for savory applications like a quiche crust.  I make my crust with half whole-wheat pastry flour for the nutritional benefits and the nutty taste, but all-purpose flour will probably be fine if you don’t have that.  I want to note that I cannot find the original source for this recipe to give credit where it is due. I jotted an oil crust recipe down next to a pie filling recipe some time ago and tinkered with it a bit.  Like many things, I get inspiration somewhere and often adapt it to fit allergy needs and my family’s taste buds.  So thanks to whoever originally came up with this idea!

The apple pie recipe comes from a recipe I found on allrecipes.com. I tweaked both the ingredients and construction a bit to fit my diet and make it a one bowl deal.  That is one bowl, including the making of the pie crust.  Yay! (I’m always looking for a way to use less dishes.)  To make the apple filling for the pie I like to use an apple-corer-peeler-slicer to speed up the process but you can definitely do it by hand if you have to or wish to have chunkier apple pieces.  Just make sure you adjust your baking time to compensate for the larger pieces of apple.    To test for doneness I often sneak a piece of apple out of the pie edge and see if it is cooked through.  If you see thickly bubbling juices, that is another good sign.   If the top of the pie is getting too brown and the apples need more time to cook, just throw a piece of foil over the top of the pie while it continues to cook.  Be sure to cool your pie completely before slicing.

Here is the pie crust recipe by itself if you just want to use the crust, but see the apple pie recipe below for how to make the pie crust and pie using just one bowl.

Easy Dairy and Soy Free Pie Crust

2/3 cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)

2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons water

1/8 teaspoon butter flavor (very optional)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)


Mix the oil, sugar, salt, water and butter flavoring, if using, together in a large bowl.  Add in the flours and stir until combined. Press dough directly into pan.

One Bowl Apple Crumble Pie

Ingredients for easy pie crust (see above)

5 cups apples peeled cored and thinly sliced

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons arrowroot starch  (or cornstarch)

Topping Ingredients:

1/3 cup white sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

6 tablespoons butter replacer like Earth Balance Soy Free Spread


In a large bowl combine the ingredients for the Easy Pie Crust.  Press the dough into a pie pan.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In the same bowl used for the crust (don’t bother washing it), mix apples, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and arrowroot starch.  When the apples are evenly coated, spread the apples evenly in the unbaked pie crust.  Now prepare the topping in the bowl (no, don’t clean it yet.)   Mix the 1/3 cup sugar with the 3/4 cup flour.  Add the butter replacer and stir/mash it with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Top the pie with the mixture- I use a measuring cup to scoop it up and distribute over the apples.   Bake pie for 35 -40 minutes or until the apples are soft.  (I often sneak an apple piece out, cool it slightly and eat it to see if the apples are soft).  Baking time will vary depending on how thinly the apples were sliced.  Cool completely before cutting!

Please forgive the mediocre picture. WordPress mangled/lost this  post twice. Running short on time to get this up before turkey day.

Puffy Sugared Cookies

It was really tough this summer to get to the computer.  Now that Hannah is back in preschool, I have a little more time to get pictures off of my camera and get back to my recipe blogging.  My “free” mornings aren’t all that free since I’m chasing Colin around, but when he naps I can get a few minutes of work done.

The recipe I’m sharing today is the go-to cookie in my house when I want to make a cookie I can eat. I probably make these once a month since everyone in the house likes them.  They are dairy and soy free without needing any expensive butter substitutes.  The recipe is Betty Crocker’s Stir-and-Drop Sugar Cookies.  I’ve named my post “Puffy Sugared Cookies” to give you an idea of the texture of these cookies.  Although Betty Crocker calls them sugar cookies, they aren’t the dense flat ones you put frosting on.  When I make them they come out lighter, puffy and rounded on top.  The cookie itself isnt’ very sweet, it’s the sugar pressed into the top that really makes the cookie. (So don’t skip that step!)

I’ve used regular granulated sugar to decorate the cookies, coloring it first with a drop of food coloring (see below), and I’ve also used sanding sugar, which is a slightly coarser sugar.   In the picture above the yellow cookie is has regular sugar on it and the pink cookie has the decorating sugar.  Although both tasted great, I prefer the look and crunch of the coarser sugar.

Puffy Sugared Cookies


3/4 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup neutral tasting oil, like canola oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

Additional sugar for tops of cookies- I like coarse sugar- the colored types meant for decorating


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and oil.  Then add the baking powder, vanilla, salt, eggs, and flour, mixing between each addition.  The batter will be runny/gooey compared to most cookie batters.

Drop teaspoons of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  I find a disher is very helpful.

Pour the sanding sugar/colored sugar you want to use onto a small plate.  Press a glass very lightly onto a cookie to grease the bottom of the glass, then press into the colored sugar.  Place the glass on the cookie again to deposit the sugar on the top of the cookie.  You don’t need to flatten the cookie, you are just pressing enough to sugar the top.  If the sugar is not sticking to the glass, try wetting the bottom of the glass very slightly with water.  Repeat the sugaring process for all of the cookies.  Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes and enjoy!

* To make your own colored sugar, place a few tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl.  Add one drop of food coloring.  Stir with a spoon.  At first the coloring will ball up and it will look like it won’t combine but keep stirring and mashing the food coloring with the back of the spoon. In a few minutes you will have uniformly colored sugar.

Grilled Banana Delight

Recently my husband and I saw a Food Network special where lots of hosts were grilling and making summery dishes.  A dessert by Bobby Flay featuring grilled bananas caught our eye. We grill at least once a week and I thought it would be great to put the leftover heat of the charcoal to use making dessert.  I was also excited to try this dessert because I saw a good opportunity to use my new coconut whipped cream.

To prepare the bananas for grilling, Bobby Flay did not peel them which is important because the peel gives the banana some support on the grill. He cut them lengthwise so he had two long banana halves.  He brushed both sides with a little oil and grilled them for a few minutes on each side.   Grilling the bananas caramelizes the sugars on the surface of the bananas and makes them hot, which I think brings a new dimension to the fruit.

Bobby finished the bananas with some creme fraiche and maple syrup but I used my homemade coconut whipped cream and sprinkled on an assortment of berries.  Woohoo buddy!   Although the whipped cream lost its volume as it hit the heat, the warm bananas and cool coconut cream were a lovely tropical combination.  It was a perfect summer evening dessert.  What’s more is that in the scheme of desserts, this one isn’t too bad for you.

Grilled Banana Delight

Adapted from Food Network


2 bananas -unpeeled

Canola or other neutral oil

Coconut whipped cream

1 cup fresh berries – raspberries, blueberries, blackberries -whatever you like


Preheat grill or use leftover heat after grilling your dinner.  Make sure the grill grates are clean.  Slice each banana lengthwise.  Brush both sides of the banana halves lightly with oil.  Grill bananas cut side down for 2 minutes.  Turn the over and grill another 2 minutes or so.  Remove bananas from their peels and cut each half in the middle – giving you four banana pieces. Place the bananas on a serving plate and top generously with coconut whipped cream.  Sprinkle with fresh berries and serve immediately.

Angel Food Cake

One of Hannah’s favorite desserts is “strawberry shortcake”.  Really what I make is angel food cake torn into pieces, strawberries sliced over the top, a splash of milk to moisten and sometimes a tiny dollop of whipped cream.  This is how I ate is as a child and I’ve got Hannah hooked on it.  I’ve been buying some store-bought angel food cakes and although they say they are free of any offending ingredients, Colin has repeatedly gotten fussy after I eat them.  My guess is that it is due to contamination on the baking line and so I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I’m not a huge fan of angel food cake.  It usually is too airy and lacking in flavor.  Some I’ve eaten have almost had a bite or metallic taste so it is usually a dessert I would pass on.  However, after making my own I am happy to say that homemade angel food cake is very different from the box or store kind and much much better. Mine was more dense, but in a good way,  and actually tasted like something.  My husband and I were so surprised eating it.  He feels the same way about the typical angel food cake as I do and he really loved the one I made.

To make the cake I followed this recipe.  The only change I made was using a bundt pan (ungreased) instead of a tube pan, since I don’t own one.  For the egg whites I used egg whites from a carton since I had them on hand and it made the prep time really fast.  I let the egg whites beat in the stand mixer while I put the rest of the ingredients together.  My only tip would be to make sure to beat your egg whites long enough.  They need to form stiff peaks to create the volume in the cake.  As soon as the cake came out of the oven I turned it over on top of a beer bottle and let it cool completely.  I ran a knife down the sides and along the inside edge and it came out easily.

This would be great with some blueberries, strawberries and coconut whipped cream this week for the Fourth of July!

For my USA readers- have a happy and safe Fourth of July.  Try to stay cool!