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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