Finding balance with food, movement, and community for my (dairy-free) family.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Blueberry Muffins (Soaked and Dairy-Free)

As much as I want my kids to be eating more vegetables, my push for more veggie consumption has made me realize that I really enjoy eating grains.  But, I know grains are not the most nutrient-dense food, so if we're going to eat them I want them to be the very best grains they can be:  whole grains, preferably soaked or sprouted.  (Soaking whole grains for 12ish hours with an acidic liquid in a warm place increases available nutrients and improves digestion.  See Amanda Rose's phytic acid web site for more information.)

I found this great basic recipe for Basic Soaked Muffins at  I replaced the milk with coconut milk beverage; it already calls for coconut oil which is my preferred non-dairy fat.  We added a whole cup of blueberries (of which big brother has become a big fan).

They are fabulous muffins--moist and lightly sweet.  They were a big hit all around and made for a nicely balanced breakfast served with scrambled eggs.  Hmm . . . after scouring my picture files, it appears I neglected to snap a photo of this blueberry yumminess.

Stay-tuned for a delicious spicy pumpkin variation on this muffin recipe!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Non-Dairy Mock-Mac & Cheese

We've been trying all sorts of experimental fruit and veggie concoctions for breakfast lately, but, sadly, I've been too swamped to blog.   Having this blog here helps push me to stay focused on our food reforms, but I'm lousy at finding time to actually get here and write out what we're doing!  

Anyhow, by request, a non-dairy recipe that has no veggies in it whatsoever, but is nice comfort-food when transitioning to a non-dairy diet.    My husband was quite disappointed with this the first time we made it because he was hoping for a super-gooey-cheesy replica of the homemade macaroni and cheese dish we made in a former life, and this didn't live up to what he had in mind.  However, it's now one of his favorite comfort meals.  

It's not going to fool a child accustomed to a Kraft Mac&Cheese.  I prefer to think of it as pasta and sauce so as not to put too high an expectation on it's cheesy qualities.  

Traditional Macaroni and Cheez
From the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak

2 ½ cups dry elbow macaroni
2 T olive oil
1/3 C flour
½ tsp dry mustard
Pinch of cayenne
1 ¾ cups plain nondairy milk (we like coconut milk beverage or hemp milk best for this), heated
½ C nutritional yeast flakes*
salt and pepper
½ cup packed whole-grain bread crumbs
Optional:  diced ham

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Grease an 8 inch square baking dish. 
  • Cook noodles according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, over medium heat, heat oil.  
  • When oil is hot, stir in flour, mustard and cayenne.  
  • Gradually add heated milk while stirring.
  • Cook 2-4 more minutes until the sauce is the consistency of thick cream.
  • Remove pan from heat and add nutritional yeast flakes, mixing well.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  • Stir in macaroni and the optional diced ham.
  • Pour into greased baking dish.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs (if using). 
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes prior to serving.  

*Nutritional yeast flakes are available at health food stores.  They have a cheddar-ish flavor (at least to some on who hasn't had cheddar cheese for a few years).  They are a mustard yellow color.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Why Eat Cereal When You Can Have Crust-Free Dairy-Free Mini-Quiche?

After making green eggs, I had half a bag of baby spinach to use up, so I decided to try a suggestion from my friend Laura (whose children, incidentally, are the best veggie-eaters I've ever met) and experiment with crust-free quiche as a breakfast food in which to smuggle some vegetables.

Papa Bear saw me prepping ingredients last night and I told him what I was planning.  His response:  "You know, normal people let their kids eat cereal for breakfast."

Quiche in my well-loved over-sized muffin pan.
My kids are dairy-intolerant, so I browsed a number of quiche recipes and noticed some common proportions of ingredients and devised my own little recipe.  May I just say:  yum!  I really enjoyed these.

Kid Reviews
Baby Brother (age 1) gobbled it up.

Sis (nearly age 3)  helped me make these, which I always hope will make her more interested in eating new food, but doesn't actually seem to.  She took one bite, said she liked it, and then ate her toast and wouldn't take a second bite of the quiche.

Big Brother (age 5) ate one bite and said he did not like it.  I was actually really thrilled that he was willing to take a single bite.  I suggested he wait until it cooled off a bit and then try again--which, to my surprise, he did. He still didn't like it.  I suggested we add a little salt and pepper and try one more bite--he agreed, still didn't like it.  Although he only had three bits, his uncharacteristic cheerful cooperation in sampling multiple bites makes me think that with some adjusting this dish has a chance of succeeding with him.

Next Time . . .
I need to include meat as my kids love sausage and ham and the inclusion of either would motivate them to try it. I think I need to start with fewer veggies to ease them into the idea.  If I can get them to accept the mini-quiches, then I can gradually increase and vary the veggie content.  I think I'll try very small pieces of broccoli next time as we've had success with Big Brother eating broccoli at dinner time if it's very tender.

So here's the recipe as I made it this morning:

Dairy-Free Spinach and Tomato Crust-Free Mini-Quiche
5 ounces baby spinach
1 teaspoon of coconut oil (or other healthy fat)
3 eggs
1 cup hemp milk (or other milk substitute)
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes *
1/4 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt (I will increase this next time)
1/4 of a tomato, diced

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease muffin pan.

2.  Wash and dry the spinach.  I chopped mine up just to be sure there would be no large unwieldy bites for the kids to reject.

3.  Melt coconut oil in skillet and then add spinach, cooking on high heat for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted and bright green.

4. Divide cooked spinach and place into each muffin (hmm . . . what word goes here? "cup" perhaps?  I'm going with "cup").  I used a larger than standard size muffin pan, so only made 4 mini-quiche.  In a standard size muffin pan, this would probably yield 6 mini-quiche.

5.  Whisk together eggs, hemp milk, nutritional yeast flakes, mustard and salt.

6.  Pour egg mixture on top of the spinach in each muffin cup.

7.  Sprinkle diced tomato on top of each quiche.

8.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let rest 5-15 minutes before removing and serving.

*Nutritional yeast flakes are available at health food stores.  They have a cheddar-ish sort of flavor to them (at least they seem to if you are some one who hasn't actually eaten cheddar cheese in years).  We use them to make a mock-macaroni and cheese dish, so I thought they'd be a nice inclusion here since most quiche recipes call for cheese.  If you can tolerate dairy, I'd skip this and just sprinkle in cheese.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thank You Dr. Seuss for Making Green Eggs Cool

Bless Dr. Suess for laying the groundwork to introduce green eggs as a breakfast food.  After Dr. Seuss week at preschool, Big Brother wanted me to make him some green eggs and ham.  I have no way to make ham green--but eggs I can do.

I used the recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld and with one pound of baby spinach to five-ish eggs, it made dark green swamp eggs--which, shockingly, Big Brother actually ate.  He didn't eat a lot, but some, and he requested that I make them again.

I found the spinach flavor a bit overwhelming and so have added some additional seasoning--either Greek seasoning or seasoning salt--and cut back on the spinach.  Both kids will actually eat these when hungry:  oh, the power of Dr. Seuess!

It's not the most visually appealing meal and it there's no deception because the puree is definitely not hidden. Here's the recipe for my version:

Green Eggs
2 teaspoons coconut oil or other healthy fat
5 oz baby spinach, washed and drained
3 tablespoons coconut milk beverage (or other milk alternative)
5 eggs
salt to taste

Seasoning salt (beware MSG in some of these)
Greek Seasoning

1.  Melt one teaspoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add spinach and turn heat up to high.  Cook, stirring frequently until the spinach has wilted.  Add the milk and cook 1-2 more minutes as the milk evaporates.

2.  Puree spinach in a blender--I use my immersion blender for this.

3.  Whisk together the eggs, spinach puree, salt and seasoning salt or Greek seasoning if desired

3.  Melt another teaspoon of oil in the skillet over medium heat.  Add the egg and puree mixture and drop the heat to low.  Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Looking for a green egg option that is a little less swamp-like?  Check out these delicious Guacamole Eggs.