Friday, December 30, 2011

Resolution Update!

Wow – hard to believe that 2011 is over!   2011 was a year of challenges & obstacles, celebrations & smiles! Coming to the end, I look back and I learned a lot and was lucky enough to be surrounded by lots of wonderful things and people!

2011 New Years Resolutions Post -  http://www.dairyfreebetty.com/2011/01/its-new-year.html 

UPDATE

being more positive (seeing the opportunity in everything) – I have fallen into a pattern of just automatically going negative with most things…  no more!  - DONE!!  I’m very happy with life right now, and am trying to live by the quote “Life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful”

---More yoga!! Nope – I’ve gone to a class or 2, but never got the yoga bug.

---Maybe run a 5km race?  Nope – I’ve been loving Zumba and other classes at our gym lately – I have gone for a run or 2 this year (hehe)

---Make more healthy foods!  Yes, although this has been a challenge.  I have been trying my best to eat whole foods (but those damn ketchup chips always sneak in)!! 

---BE PRESENTThis is a hard one.  I try to recognize good things on a daily basis…

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This year has been a challenging one, but I am SO happy with life these days.  I haven’t been blogging because I am out enjoying life!

I’ll be working on a recap of the year for the next few days!  Lots has happened & lots of good recipes have been made!

Also I am looking for blogging inspiration, so if you have any suggestions please let me know!!  I’m up for a challenge!

 

Jessica

Sunday, December 18, 2011

What was baked!

Hey guys!

Can you believe it’s almost Christmas?  Time flies when you are having fun!!  This has been a whirlwind kind of week.  My husband finished his masters degree on Tuesday (YAY), I had a surprise party for him Friday, tonight is my Christmas party and the hubby’s parents are coming to stay with us for a week – so as you can imagine, life is busy (but wonderful)…

I’ve had a few emails regarding surviving over the holidays being dairy free.  I highly recommend taking a look at my Dairy Free Survival Guide for ideas and also my post, Challenges of Being Dairy Free is a great one with tips for what to do where!   These posts and a few more can always been found at the top of my blog under Dairy Free Resources. Smile 

Moving on – I have been terrible at taking food photos – so bear with me.    I wanted to compile a list of all the things that I baked this Christmas!!

Ready?

  • Mama Pea’s No Bake Snowball Cookies – easy, fast and gooey!  I love them, the hubby thought they were too oatmeal.
  • Dandelions on the Wall’s – Allergy Free Fudge. (OMG). So good! Made two batches – one I melted some peanut butter and swirled in and the second I added super finely ground espresso beans!  SOOOOOOOOo good!!
  • Made a double batch of the Chocolate Love Affair Cookies!
  • Oh She Glow’s Egg Nog Biscotti’s – which have become a favourite around here!
  • Haven’t’ made these yet, but I may!!  Of course sub the butter for either DF butter or coconut oil! Low Fat Gingerbread Cookies.
  • I also made Caramel Chocolate Goodies.  Super easy caramel recipe – I have used it for a few things including – turtles (caramel and chocolate covered pecans) and caramel popcorn with peanuts and peanut clusters!!  Best Caramel Recipe I’ve found!
  • Still on the list to make – probably for Christmas dinner - Sinless Sticky Toffee Pecan Pudding!!  Droooooooooooool.    Funny story – before becoming dairy free and when I lived in Calgary, I often went for “dinner” at Earls, and actually only would eat a sticky toffee pudding…  It was warm and drippy and had a caramel lattice on top that was crunchy and sticky – such a great combo!!
  • Peanut Butter Cups – of course!!  I had one of my Special Olympics girls say they were the best peanut butter cups EVERRRRRRR!!  hehe Smile 

I baked 2 other kinds of cookies – a gingersnap and a banana snicker doodle -  they were just ok though and I want to only give you the best of the best!!

What are you/did you bake this Christmas?

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Nog… Dairy Free Nog…

Hiya loves!

Want to know something interesting?  I’ve never gotten the whole “egg nog” thing!   Like most people, I try it every year and never really understand the excitement.   Until this year.

I have bought tons of soy nog – and I have thrown it away every time.   Then I decided I wanted to make Oh She Glows Egg Nog Biscotti's (which are incredible FYI)… so I bought this.

Sorry to you guys in the US – I don’t think you guys get this?  Anyways I am loving it heated up!! It’s SO good and so festive!!  It’s cheap too – I bought it for $2.99 I believe?

You could always use my recipe from last year…

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As mentioned I used it for Oh She Glow’s Egg Nog Biscotti's this is her picture since I banned all my biscotti’s to the freezer for Christmas!  Thank you Angela for the permission to use it! Smile 

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Another great Egg Nog recipe in blog land that looks tasty?  Leanne from Healthy Pursuit  posted this recipe for Egg Nog Smoothie with 1 minute vanilla whip.

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Also on facebook there were a few suggestions as well!!

Zen Zero (my favourite raw/vegan place in the Comox Valley) sells this - 8oz almond milk, 4oz carrot juice, 2 dates and 1/8tsp both nutmeg and cinnamon blended with ice. It is shockingly delicious!!  (Maurissa – once again – must come visit!)

Karen suggested this recipe - Matrioshka Egg Nog

Stephanie from Dairy Free Diva suggested this recipe - More of a to taste thing.... 1 1/2 c Unsweetened almond milk, heavy pinch freshly grated nutmeg, pinch cinnamon, a good squeeze of agave nectar or honey, and a drop of vanilla. Froth with an aerolatte wand  or in a blender and enjoy :)

 

Do you have a favourite dairy free egg nog?  Do tell!!!  (feel free to link drop!)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dairy Free Christmas Treats

Hey everyone!!  Finally a post from me!    I apologize for not posting, but I have only been cooking 1x per week due to my work schedule (working nights) and our busy weekends! 

I’m starting my holiday baking though, which reminded me of a few treats I made last year when I was writing for Our Big Earth!

Here you go!!  I will try to post more baking – as I am obsessed with this caramel recipe and I’m trying to make lots of Christmas caramel treats!

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It’s amazing that the store shelves have been stocked with Christmas decorations for a month now, and that Christmas is just around the bend, which means it’s a perfect time to start Christmas baking!  

As many of you know, if you don’t bake or make treats that means you probably won’t get any treats at Christmas. Every treat laid out beautifully at family and friend’s homes that you can’t touch. For me baked goods don’t call my name as much as chocolate does! One of my favourite Christmas treats were my Grandma’s chocolate covered dried fruit and nuts, oh the horror when I couldn’t even have a single bite!

If you are dairy-free or vegan I know you feel my pain. But I have a bunch of great alternatives for you this holiday season! Each one of these is very fast to make, cheap, gluten-free and make fantastic gifts. I don’t often go anywhere over the holidays without a plate of these goodies and they are typically the first ones to disappear (I promise I’m not the only one eating them!) All the goodies can be frozen, to pull out before guests arrive.

After a few years of buying very expensive dairy free chocolate, I was ecstatic to find out that President’s Choice, “The Decedent” chocolate chips are dairy-free. They have a great rich chocolate flavour, and are the chocolate that I use in all the recipes.  I also buy a 10lb box of chocolate chips at Costco – and they are dairy free and tasty!

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Peanut Butter Cups

These little beauties are a favourite around our house. Also last year they won a Christmas baking contest! They are so simple, yet so tasty!

• 1 cup chocolate chips
• 1 TBSP coconut oil (optional, but adds to the flavours)
• 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
• 1/2 cup icing sugar
• Mini cupcake liners (Dollar store often has fun holiday themed ones!)

-Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler until smooth.

-Mix peanut butter and icing sugar together to form a dough. If dough is sticky to touch, add extra icing sugar.

-Add a bit of melted chocolate to cupcake liner. Tap on counter until chocolate fills bottom of liner.

-Once all liners are full, put into fridge or freezer until solid.

-Once chocolate is solid, take a dime size amount of peanut butter dough and roll into a ball, then flatten.

-Add to liner; keep the peanut butter dough away from the corners of the liner.

-Cover with a bit of melted chocolate – tap until peanut butter is covered.

-Return to fridge/freezer until harden.

Fruit and Nut Bark

• 1/2 cup toasted, unsalted nuts (can be assorted), pistachios look beautiful!
• 1/2 cup dried fruit (chopping into small pieces )
• 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
• 1 TBSP coconut oil

-Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler.

-Once melted, mix nuts and dried fruit into chocolate mixture.

-Pour onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet

-Smooth until 1 inch thick

-Place in fridge or freeze until solid

-Break into assorted sized pieces and serve slightly chilled

Marshmallow Snowflakes

Great recipe for left over chocolate!! Looks beautiful on a plate with other goodies.

-Dip marshmallows into melted chocolate and roll in coconut.

-Place on parchment lined baking sheet and place in fridge until chocolate is solid.

Chai Tea Candied Nuts

I have made this recipe with a few different flavours of spice including chilli pepper, cinnamon, curry and they are all delicious but this is my favourite and most festive! Plus your house smells amazing while cooking!

• 3 tea chai tea bags (or more if you like more spice)
• 3 cups unsalted, raw nuts (I used almonds and pecans)
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 tsp. earth balance butter (or butter of choice)

-Break open chai tea bags, pour chai into coffee grinder or spice mill to grind into a powder.

-Add nuts, water, sugar, butter and chai tea into a pan.

-Turn stove to medium heat and stir nut mixture until the liquid has dissolved and nuts are caramelized.

-Stir constantly to prevent burning.

-Transfer onto a parchment lined pan and put into fridge until cooled.

-Break apart once cooled.

Hope you enjoyed these!!  I will have more for you soon – I promise!

Jessica signature.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dairy Free Cookie Recipe Swap

Hey guys!  Stephanie at Dairy Free Omnivore emailed me with this awesome idea to do a Dairy Free Cookie Swap!  Christmas is a fun time get stuff in the mail, especially dairy free recipes!!  Please read below for more details! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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As a special Dairy Free Christmas event, Stephanie @ Dairy Free Omnivore and I have decided to do a Dairy Free and Vegan Blogger cookie recipe swap! But, we're going to do it a little differently.

We are going to trade recipes, instead of cookies.  Each participant will pick their favourite dairy free/vegan Christmas cookie recipe and mail it in a card to the person they are assigned.  The recipient will make the cookies and post the recipe on their blog, linking back to the sender.

If you want to include the cookies with your recipe you can!  Everyone likes to get goodies, but you don't have to send the cookies too if you don't want to.  

This is to not only share recipes, but to connect us as a Dairy Free community. 

If you are interested, you can email your mailing address to Stephanie at dairyfreeomnivore@gmail.com , or email myself at dairyfreebetty@hotmail.com

If you have other food allergies, such as nuts or gluten, please include that in your email so we can pass that info along:-)

Please send your address to us by Dec. 3rd so we can organize the addresses. 
Please send your recipe to your assigned recipient by Dec. 15th

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Thank you Stephanie for organizing this!! What a great idea!!  This is open to anyone that is dairy free or vegan that has a blog!! 

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

DYI Body Products

Hey guys!

Been forever, but I’m still alive!!  I hope you are on facebook because even though I don’t do posts, I try to pop in with tips or quick recipes or just to say HI!!

Pintrest has stole my heart once again – I LOVE it, it’s so inspiring!!  I’ve been on the look out for DYI body products and found some good ones I thought I’d try!

I found a few great ones on there but this was my favorite.

Homemade Baby Wipes/Makeup wipes – Ok… confession.  I HATE (yes mom, I said hate) splashing water on my face – I don’t know why?  And that leads to me not liking to wash my face often – which leads to not taking my make up off at night (I know bad bad bad)…  This “recipe” answered my prayers!   It not only takes off make up and is incredibly cheap but it also leaves your face feeling moisturised!   And' it’s easy peasy!

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The rest of them are some of my favourites!

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Body Scrub

#1) My favourite body scrub is sugar or coarse salt or a mixture of the two with equal parts olive oil.  You can add in your favourite essential oils too! I love lemon grass/lavender mixture!   Rub onto your dry skin before turning on the water in the shower, it exfoliates and moisturizes at the same time!

#2) This one is messy, but your skin will be happy afterwards!   After your morning coffee, take the grounds and add a pinch of cinnamon and then scrub away (not good on your face).  You can thank me later!! Winking smile 

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Bath Salts

1 cup Epsom salts + 1/2 tsp. ginger, + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon + 1/2 tsp. nutmeg = chai bath salts! (delish!)

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DYI face mask.

Honey – yup that’s it!  It’s messy, but your skin will sing afterwards!

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Do you have a favourite natural body treatment?  Please share either here or on facebook! 

Jessica signature

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegan Moroccan Stew

Another recipe from my Our Big Earth days!!  This one is AWESOME!!

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When it comes to fall cooking, I think pumpkin, butternut squash, warm apple pie and steaming sweet potatoes. Smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, curry, chilli powder, cumin and ginger fill the air. Just thinking about these ingredients makes me feel warmer and wanting to curl up with a good book and a comfy blanket!

This cozy dinner recipe!  Just like a good book, this is a meal to warm up with.

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Moroccan Stew

Serves 4 very hungry people or 6 not so hungry!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 – 2 green peppers – seeded and chopped into 1” chunks
  • 3 cups sweet potato – peel left on
  • 1 cup onion – chopped
  • 1 cup grated carrot*
  • 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic – minced
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger*
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 3 tsp. peanut butter (optional)
  • Raisins (I usually leave this out and serve in a dish, as many people dislike raisins)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish. Or if you are a cilantro fan like we are, feel free to add a whole bunch of cilantro, reserving some for a topping.

Directions:

1. Toast spices at the bottom of your soup pot in a little bit of oil, stirring often to prevent burning. This step will add a richer element to the stew. *Optional, if you are making a quick dinner.

2. Add in garlic, green peppers, ginger and onion. Stir to coat with spices. Sauté for 2 minutes.

3. Up next, add your 3 cups vegetable broth, sweet potato, carrots, tomatoes (including juice) and chickpeas.

4. Cook until sweet potato becomes very soft (about 20 minutes)

5. Just before serving add in peanut butter and raisins, mix until it gets creamy!

6. Top with fresh, chopped cilantro.

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Recipe alternatives:

  • Could be served over rice, couscous, quinoa or just eaten alone
  • Can use pita, poppadum's or roti for dipping
  • To make it more “picky eater friendly”, you could make up the stew, excluding chickpeas (I have to do this at my house), peanut butter, raisins, cilantro. Serve these ingredients in small bowls on the side, so each person can customize their own meal.
  • For the non-spice lovers – exclude chilli powder and be sure your curry powder is of the mild variety.
  • Great recipe for freezing

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*I am lazy with the carrots, and I just pop them into the food processor, and it’s done in about 30 seconds, with no grated fingers anywhere!
*Tip regarding ginger. Buy a large knob of ginger, wash thoroughly and toss in freezer. This makes it much easier to grate, and you will always have ginger on hand. No need to peel, especially if it’s organic, the skin has extra nutrients.

Hope you enjoyed!! I like this with a little extra PB and raisins! Must make again soon!

Jessica signature

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Like it, Love it–Dairy Free Treats Vlog Post

Hey guys,

So I made you a “Vlog” post today!!  I have a cold so don’t mind my snuffly sounding voice!!

I rounded up a bunch of new to me treats that I LOVE, LIKE or am not a fan of!!   Hope you enjoy the video!

Here is the link to the Navitas Naturals website too for more info on the yummy products!

Please let me know what products you are LOVING right now (dairy free of course!)

Jessica signature

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mom’s Oat Bran Muffins Revised

First off – DFB is close to hitting a pretty incredible milestone – 750 page views away from 100,000!!!! That is SO crazy – blows my mind and totally humbles me. 

Thank you, thank you!

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Moving on………

Awhile back I posted a recipe for my FAVORITE muffins in the whole wide world!  My mom always made them and they are so tasty, but they weren’t dairy free (and they had shortening in them).  She had made them dairy free a couple of times but now they are off travelling for 6 months, so I had to revise them for myself…

Long story short… this is what I came up with and they are fantastic!

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Mom’s OAT BRAN MUFFINS
(with Dairy Free Betty alterations)

300 DEGREES FOR 20 MINUTES
MAKES 45 MEDIUM MUFFINS

2 CUPS BOILING WATER
2 CUPS BRAN
PUT IN A BOWL 1 AND LET SOAK

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5 CUPS FLOUR

5 TSP BAKING SODA
1 TSP SALT
PUT IN BOWL 2 TOGETHER

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3/4 CUP SMASHED BANANA

1/4 CUP OIL (I used grape seed)

2-3 CUPS SUGAR – BROWN & WHITE MIXED
4 EGGS (Vegan Option – 4 TBSP chia with 8 TBSP water)
4 CUPS ALMOND MILK + 4 TBSP VINGEAR
4 CUPS OATS

1 TBSP PUMPKIN PIE SPICE  (I like them spicy)

4 PEELED AND LARGE GRATED CARROTS + 1/4 CUP MULBERRIES (I ran out of dried fruit)


other options - 2 CUPS RAISINS OR ASSORTED OTHER THINGS
IE: SHREDDED CARROT, BANANA, DRIED APRICOT ETC.
Into bowl # 3

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MIXED ALL INGREDIENTS TOGETHER AND BAKE

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Hope you enjoy!!

They are perfect to toss in the freezer and then pull out for lunches! 

Jessica signature

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pumpkin Soup with Balsamic & Rosemary Croutons

Hiya!

Hope you all had a fantastic Halloween!!  I’m sure everyone has had their share of treats!?!  Today I’ll bring you something from the vault.   This is THE BEST pumpkin soup I know of! __________________________________________________________________

It is officially fall, there is no denying it now! The air is crisp, the leaves are turning colors, Christmas commercials are beginning to flooding the airwaves and Starbucks has re-launched their infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte. You can’t get much more fall than that! Fall for me is time for the summer clothes to be packed away, time to send the patio furniture to its winter home, and best of all it’s time to start hunting for the perfect pumpkin at the pumpkin patch!

Pumpkins are so versatile; you can make pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin brownies pumpkin curries, and best of all pumpkin soup! Not only are they versatile, pumpkins pack a healthy punch too; 1 cup of pumpkin is around 50 calories, 0 fat and 4 gram of fibre and it has over 100% of your vitamin A.

What’s not to love?

This recipe was graciously given to me from my Mom. She has been making it forever, and anyone that has tried it has fallen in love. It is a definite company pleaser and a great appetizer for a turkey dinner feast. At the bottom of this recipe I also give instructions for using fresh pumpkin, which is a great use for all the creepy jack-o-lanterns leftovers, as well as some gluten and allergy friendly garnishes.

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Pumpkin Carrot Soup with Balsamic and Rosemary Croutons
Makes about 4 cups

• 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
• 3 medium carrots (grated and chopped)
• 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
• 2 green onions (chopped) + 1 extra for garnish (cut on an angle)
• 1 orange or yellow pepper (seeded and chopped into small pieces)
• 1 teaspoons ginger (grated)
• 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (The chicken makes the soup more buttery tasting)
• 1 398ml can of pure pumpkin *
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Sauté green onions, garlic, carrots and peppers in olive oil for about 2 minutes. Add in ginger.

2. Place sautéed mixture in blender – add about 1 cup vegetable stock. Blend until smooth. (This may have to be done in bunches, depending on the size of your blender.

3. Place blender mixture back into pot, and add remaining stock.

4. Add can of pureed pumpkin and stir until mixed together

5. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes or until croutons are complete.

6. Serve with croutons and green onion.

A few options:
- To add sweetness to soup add in _ apple before pureeing
- Add curry powder for an ethnic flare
- Use pumpkin pie spice (all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
- For a protein boost add rinsed and drained canned chickpeas after pureeing
- To make for a complete meal, serve over quinoa
- To use fresh pumpkin – Wash outside of small pumpkin, remove seeds, cut pumpkin into large chunks. Place pumpkin chunks onto a baking pan and roast at 400 degrees until pumpkin is soft and has caramelized. Let pumpkin cool, and scoop flesh out of skin. Add pumpkin flesh to the blender and puree with chicken or vegetable broth until smooth. Add puree to soup.

Balsamic and Rosemary Croutons

• 1/2 French Baguette – or favourite type of bread
• 2 teaspoons olive oil
• 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
• 2 teaspoons dried rosemary.
Preheat over at 350 degrees.
Cut bread up into 1 inch cubes
Drizzle with Olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary*
Stir until all pieces of bread are coated
Put in oven for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring _ way through
Make sure to watch, it will burn quickly
Cook until bread gets crispy

*Alternatives crouton flavours:
- Coconut Oil and curry powder
- Olive oil, cinnamon and sugar (would be fantastic with the apple version of this soup)
- Butter and Garlic

Gluten free garnishes :
- Parsley, chives, dill
- grated cheese
- chopped apple
- cashew cream (soak cashews for 4+ hours and blend with a bit of water or milk of choice until smooth, you can also add fresh herbs or spices for an extra flare)
- crème fresh or sour cream
- toasted pumpkin seeds
- buttered popcorn (yes you heard right, buttered popcorn is awesome on this)

Jessica signature

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Pumpkin Carving!!

So in case you missed it – I did a post yesterday about our celebrations this weekend!  And also shared some links to Dairy Free Halloween Treats!!

Up now is our second annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest!!   Please vote for your favourite!

#1

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Or #2

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Together now

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#2 on the left with glasses and a moustache or #1 on the right with scary eyes and crooked teeth.

We need your votes!!!!!!  You can put them here of facebook! 

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Do you roast pumpkin seeds?

Last night I made some yummy ones.

1 cup pumpkin seeds + 1 tsp. oil of choice + seasonings.

I used nooch, sea salt  and some steak spice!! 

Baked at 350 for about 15 mins, checking and flipping often!

 

But get creative with flavours.

You could do salted curry (1/2 tsp. salt + 1/2 tsp. curry),

Cinnamon sugar (1 tsp. sugar + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon)

Five Spice (Dash of soy sauce + 1/2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice)

I have a bunch of epicure stuff coming today – so I will be using some of my new spices on the left over pumpkin seeds!!

Do you have a favourite flavour?

Jessica signature

PS.  Don’t forget to VOTE!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011

Booo…

Did I scare you?!! 

We had a fun Halloween Weekend!! Friday night we helped friends decorate their house for the 1st Annual Halloween Party!  It was pretty spooky…

Knock knock…

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Recognize that old man?

Yup – that’s what I have to look forward too in 30-40 years…

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We played bobbing for apples..

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Apples on a string (which is hilarious for the record!)

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And a bunch of other games!! It was a great night!!

We never dress up for Halloween, but it was a lot of fun this year!!  Already planning for next year!

Did you dress up or are you tomorrow?   I have to think of something for work – it will likely be nothing fancy since I’ve got a bad cold!! 

 

Halloween for Dairy Free Ghosts and Goblins!

Halloween can feel like a drag for dairy free folk… but don’t forget you can have most of the gummy candies – liquorice, candy corn  and a whole bunch more check out the following links for more dairy free treats!    *remember to check the label just to be sure

Candy my Dairy Free Family Can Enjoy

List of Safe Halloween Candy

And in case you missed it the other day Dairy Free Caramel Apples.

Stay tuned tomorrow or the next day for the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Carving contest!!  I won last year, so the stakes are high this year!!  You can cast your vote!    Plus a few pumpkin seed recipes!!

Jessica signature

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Better Late Than Never…

Well hello!

So glad you enjoyed the Salmon Chowder recipe. It turned out better than I expected and  I really enjoyed the creaminess of it (I miss creamy being dairy free)! 

Well as many of you know, it was Thanksgiving here awhile back – and I have yet to do a post about it!!  I didn’t take tooo many pictures since I was busy cooking, but I thought I’d show you the ones that I did – (and attach some recipes!)

While cooking – I decided to play with my camera a bit, and thought these pears were a great subject!!  I wish their was a better background – but this picture totally makes me say “awwwh”!

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Anyways…

The table was set for 8 of us (and a sweet little baby girl)!!

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Dinner was prepped as much as possible before.

I made homemade cranberry sauce.

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Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of fresh cranberries

1 cup of water (or orange juice for more flavour)

1/2 cup sugar

cinnamon and orange zest to taste

Boil all ingredients for 1/2 hour or until desired consistency!!  It will gel up more once cooled!

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Our friends were in charge of appies, bread, and dessert!

The appie was incredible!!  Artichoke and Green Olive Dip!   I wish I could have eaten more it was awesome, but I was too busy cooking!!  It was gone FAST though!! Smile 

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Then there was the rest of the menu.

Turkey (of course)

2 types of bread pudding – cranberry spice and onion

Stuffing (may have been from a box? I haven’t ever tried to make it from scratch!)

Mashed Potatoes (I used chicken broth instead of milk!)

Sweet Potato Casserole.

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I sort of used Angela’s recipe – but I tweaked it a bunch – it was fantastic!!

There were soda biscuits and fresh bread brought by friends too!

I also made a salad, roasted veggies and pan fried Brussels sprouts!

I’m sure I am missing something – but it was quite the feast!

For dessert (no picture Sad smile) a friend made a vegan blackberry and a vegan pumpkin pie!! (I don’t like pie – but the blackberry was to die for!).

It was a fantastic night with fantastic friends!

 

Thanksgiving is such a great time – it’s always fun to  have a big group of people enjoying a big huge meal!!

 

Also as promised – I finally got some picture of the Northern Lights – they are very rare around here (I’d never seen them before)!! Thank you to Y. for these pics!   We were at an end of summer beach fire and all of a sudden the sky lit up!

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Northern Lights

Beautiful hey? I’d never seen anything like it!!

Hope your day is going fantastic!! 

More recipes coming from me next week!

Jessica signature

PS.  Dairy Free Caramel Apple Recipe?  Yes please!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Oh So West Coast Salmon Chowder

A post from my days of writing at Our Big Earth!!  Don’t mind the holidays reference, but enjoy this recipe!

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The holidays have come and gone and everyone has already been back to school and work for a week. It’s also this time of year that people are in the final stages of the “turkey hangover,” also know as; hot turkey sandwich, turkey soup and stew and any other turkey flavoured meal overload, and they are ready for something completely different.

We are so lucky as Vancouver Islanders, to be surrounded by the beautiful ocean and all the goodies it provides us, so this recipe is quite fitting for all of us, West Coasters!

I created this recipe after trying to find some good dairy-free corn chowder recipes. I found a few OK-sounding recipes, but nothing that really stood out to me. I decided to go to my kitchen and I play around with different flavours until this creamy delight was born!

This recipe is a beautiful fusion of West Coast Canadian flavour and Asian richness! It has the creaminess of regular corn chowder, but with the sweetness of coconut milk and the little kick of curry. It’s great for the crock pot or to make as quick dinner (provided the salmon is pre cooked). With all of our snow fall warnings and below zero temperatures, this chowder will warm up the coldest toes and noses in town!

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Oh So West Coast Salmon Corn Chowder

2 slices of bacon – diced
1/2 yellow onion – diced
2 cloves garlic – diced
1 lb. salmon filet (no bones)
1 celery stalk – diced
3 medium sized yellow potatoes – skin left on cubed 1 inch cubes
8 asparagus stems – diced
4 cups chicken, veggie or fish stock
1 can cream corn
1/2 cup whole corn kernels
1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
1/2 tsp. curry powder (or to taste)
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Season salmon with salt and pepper and cook until just flaky, set aside.

2. Sauté bacon, onions, garlic, celery, asparagus and curry powder together in a large pot until bacon is crispy and onions are translucent.

3. Add stock and potatoes – cook until potatoes are soft.
Totally optional, but if you want your chowder a little less chunky – use potato masher and mash together ingredients in pot until desired consistency.

4. Add in creamed corn, corn kernels, coconut milk, and stir until combined.

5.  Just before serving, flake salmon into chowder, checking for bones.

6. Add in parsley, and salt and pepper and cook until salmon is warmed.

Serve steaming hot in a big bowl, with a nice glass of white wine and some great crusty bread and you have yourself a soul warming, “oh so west coast” meal, perfect for a chilly evening.

Alternative Ideas:

  • Can use chicken, shrimp/prawns, smoked salmon, BBQ salmon or canned salmon.
  • Add hot sauce for more of a kick!
  • Serve in a sour dough bread bowl for a fun alternative!
  • Substitute coconut milk for heavy cream for a more authentic corn chowder taste.
  • Substitute curry powder for fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil.
  • For a vegan version, omit bacon and salmon and add more potatoes, asparagus, corn, celery and onions.

Notes:

For the crock-pot version –cook salmon and set aside and sauté bacon, onions, garlic, celery, asparagus and curry powder together in a pan until bacon is crispy and onions are translucent, transfer to crock-pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and set on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.

Since my hubby to be isn’t a fan of chowder, and this makes far more than I can eat, I put cooled chowder into mason jars and gave them to friends for a tasty dinner.

Although I haven’t tried it myself, you could probably freeze this recipe for a quick dinner, just be sure to stir it well as coconut milk has a tendency to separate after being thawed.

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