Monday, December 31, 2012

Triple Chocolate Dairy Free "Cheese"cake

Since it's not cheese, it's more like chocolate pie, but the texture is like cheesecake and it's delicious! Who cares if it's not the real thing? All I can think of while eating this is: mmmm chocolatey goodness!

This recipe uses the brand Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese and Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream. It's name is up to its product that's for sure. It has no cholesterol and no lactose, so it's better for you, and it tastes great, too. I used full fat coconut milk for the chocolate topping--this is not a low fat dessert!

1 package Annie's Chocolate Graham Bunnies, crushed to crumbs
1/4 cup Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread, softened

Filling:1/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
2 tubs Toffuti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 tub Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, mix crushed cookies and butter alternative together until well combined. Press firmly into a nonstick, greased pie dish or springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes then allow to cool while reducing oven temperature to 325.

2. For filling, warm coconut milk in the microwave. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips and stir until melted. Reheat in 10 second increments to fully melt if needed.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar in a large bowl until blended. Add cocoa powder and mix.

4. Mix in the eggs until just blended, do not overbeat. Then with a spoon or spatula stir in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla. Pour mixture into the baked cookie crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until center has set and cheesecake is level.



5. Remove cheesecake from oven and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, prepare your chocolate topping. Melt the rest of the chocolate chips in the coconut milk as directed in step two. Pour the chocolate mixture overtop of the cheesecake, covering evenly. Put in the refrigerator to set and cool. Once the chocolate topping is hardened, it is ready to serve! It will melt in your mouth!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dairy Free Quiche with Ham and Kale

How else can I use this leftover ham from Christmas dinner? I've made ham and cheese crescent rolls, pasta carbonara, mac'n'cheese with ham, and had ham and eggs--all dairy free of course. For breakfast today, let's try a dairy free ham and cheese quiche. I have green beans, lettuce, and kale in the fridge. Kale wins! I made a wonderful gluten free pasta dish with it last night.

I love having some extra time around Christmas to come up with delicious recipes. This year I tried out a couple dairy free cheesecakes and the final result was a delectable triple chocolate cheesecake that I need to post soon. Some other dairy free snacks we had for our Christmas feast were buffalo chicken dip with tortilla chips and onion dip made with Toffuti Better Than Sour Cream, served with pretzels. Both of these I am happy to announce were big hits among my dairy eating friends.

I didn't go all out this feast like I did for Thanksgiving; in fact, I felt like a horrible hostess. I was so tired this year that all I did was make the snacks and cheesecake. Eric made the ham on his own, and each guest brought a dish. I even forgot to make the crescent rolls I had bought (hence the ham and cheese crescent rolls above) and never served the coffee and hot chocolate. At least I can safely say everyone had enough champagne to drink. I proceeded to sleep in for three days after Christmas.

This recipe calls for all of my favorite dairy free goodies. Silk Nog, the soy alternative to egg nog, is dairy and egg free, but it still contains the perfect blend of spices to flavor a good quiche. If you are looking for soy free, try SO Delicious Nog, which is made of coconut. I always recommend Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk to cook with if you choose something else. You can find these items at your local grocery store. Daiya Chedder Style Shreds are a key ingredient in my buffalo chicken dip, as well as this quiche. Daiya is a soy and dairy free cheese alternative made from tapioca. I usually find it at Whole Foods.


1 refrigerated pie crust
2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chopped ham
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese alternative (I used Daiya Shreds found at Whole Foods)
4 eggs
1 cup Silk Nog (or other dairy milk alternative)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Let the pie crust sit out to adjust to room temperature for at least 15 minutes, then mold it into a 9inch pie dish. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large heated skillet, add olive oil, onions, kale, 1/4 teaspoons of salt and pepper, and onion powder. Cook over medium heat until onions and kale are tender, about five minutes.

3. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then add Silk Nog, curry powder, salt, and pepper and whisk until blended.

4. Layer the ingredients into the pie dish in this order: ham, onion and kale mixture, and shredded cheese alternative. Pour the egg mixture over the top so that all ingredients are evenly covered.

5. Bake for 40 minutes or until center of the quiche is cooked through. Hopefully the ham is all used up!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole was always my favorite dish around the holidays. If you can't handle condensed soup anymore, or are looking for a vegan version of this casserole, here is a great recipe using almond milk and slivered almonds. I served this for Thanksgiving and it was a big hit, although I have spruced it up since then with a few alterations.


1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups sweetened almond milk
1/3 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 14oz bags frozen green beans, rinsed under water to thaw
1/3 cup slivered raw almonds
1 container french fried onions


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a nonstick skillet, melt Smart Balance over medium heat. Add diced onions and sauté until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, combine vegetable broth and almond milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat but do not boil.

3. Mix the cornstarch and water together in a separate bowl. Slowly add to milk/broth mixture, stirring constantly. The mixture will begin to thicken.

4. Once thickened, add garlic powder, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper, stirring well to combine. Quickly follow by adding onions and green beans, stirring into mixture to coat evenly. Lastly, add half the container of french fried onions and slivered almonds, folding into mixture until evenly combined.

5. Transfer mixture into a square casserole dish and top with remaining french fried onions. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until onions are lightly browned.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers Casserole

Here's an easy, dairy free way to use up leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, and vegetables. If you used the recipe for Dairy Free, Fat Free Mashed Potatoes, you're already set to make this recipe dairy free.

Reheat your leftover mashed potatoes using a few splashes of vegetable broth or chicken broth at a time, microwaving in 1 minute intervals, then mashing with a fork until soft again and easy to spread.

My gravy was just turkey drippings thickened with cornstarch, but it solidifies when refrigerated  so I microwaved about a cup of this until liquified again.

I used green beans and carrots in this recipe, but you can use any leftover vegetables, especially peas, corn, carrots, and green beans. If they are large just chop them up before adding them to the dish.

The measurements can be adjusted depending on how much leftovers you have. Just judge it as 1 part turkey, 1 part gravy, 2 parts vegetables, and 3 parts mashed potatoes. I added the paprika mostly for color, and the thyme to flavor the vegetables which were not cooked. If your vegetables are already flavored, you may not need any spices, salt, or pepper. It's like a Thanksgiving version of Shepherd's pie!


1 cup cooked turkey, chopped
2 cups mixed vegetables
1/2 cup-1 cup turkey gravy
3 cups mashed potatoes or more
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp thyme (optional)
sea salt and black pepper to taste


1. Reheat your mashed potatoes and gravy until potatoes are soft to spread and gravy can be poured. Add chopped turkey, vegetables, salt, pepper, and thyme to a deep 8x8 casserole dish and mix together.

2. Pour half the gravy into the vegetables and mix. Then pour remaining gravy to fill in the space until turkey and vegetables are just covered.

3. Dollop mashed potatoes on top of the gravy mixture, and spread until fully covered and flat. The thickness of the mashed potatoes really depends on how much you want to use, and how deep your dish is. Once spread until smooth, you want to fluff the potatoes so that the tops get a little crispy in the oven. You can use a fork to rough it up or make a pretty design by carving into the smooth potato surface. Sprinkle with paprika.

4. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until hot. Set the oven to broil, and broil for 3 minutes or until the tips of the potatoes get a little bit browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve.

For dessert, leftover cranberry sauce mixed with cool whip--yum!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spicy Roasted Almonds, Pecans, &Walnuts

This was one of the first recipes my husband and I ever made together in our first kitchen. Since then it's been a favorite. It goes great as a snack to munch on before holiday dinners, and we usually make it for Thanksgiving. It's not my recipe, but since I'm making it this Thanksgiving, I'd like to share it with everyone. You'll get a big batch out of this, so it's great to share with a lot of guests. Use raw nuts that are unseasoned. I used dried oregano from my own garden. Smoked paprika is best and can be bought at Whole Foods, but if it's too hard to find, regular paprika can also be used. They are addicting!


2 cups whole almonds
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, toss the nuts with olive oil.

2. In a small bowl, combine red pepper, rosemary, oregano, smoked paprika, black pepper, and sea salt. Slowly sprinkle the mixture over the nuts, tossing to coat.

3. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before serving them in your favorite holiday dish.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Simple Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are beautiful to photograph. The rich red color reminds me of Christmas decorations like holly berries and poinsettias, complete with pine trees and snow. It's not snowing in California, but we are still getting into the holidays. Thanksgiving is almost here, and cranberry sauce's tart, yet sweet flavor goes great with turkey. Eat it on hot sliced turkey, or cold on a leftover turkey sandwich. It stays for weeks in the fridge. I spiced mine up a bit and added some orange zest for a citrusy flavor. Cranberry sauce is so easy to make out of fresh cranberries, I won't buy the canned stuff ever again.

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 tsp allspice

1. Mix water and sugar together in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

2. Add cranberries, return liquid to a boil and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Skins will pop and it will begin to convert to a jam consistency.

3. Remove from heat and add zest and allspice. Cool to room temperature to serve. The sauce will thicken upon standing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Delicious Dairy Free, Fat Free Mashed Potatoes

Why didn't I make these before? Adding mayo and Smart Balance to mashed potatoes tastes delicious and is a great dairy free option, but it adds a lot of fat. A healthier option to try for your Thanksgiving feast is this recipe right here. It has so much flavor! Use vegetable broth to make it vegan. Serves 13-15 people.

12 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 1/2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1/2-1 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp salt (optional)

1. Cover peeled, cubed potatoes with desired broth in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer 12-15 minutes or until tender. Try testing with a fork for softness. The potato cube should break apart easily.

3. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of broth.

4. With a hand masher or electric mixer, mash potatoes with 1/4 to 1/2 cup reserved broth, adding a little at a time. Be careful not to overdo it or the potatoes could be too moist.

5. Stir in chives, salt, and pepper.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coconut Milk Pumpkin Pie

Last year I made a pumpkin pie out of Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk, but this year I was much more impressed with how it turned out using full fat coconut milk. I made it sugar free as well, using Splenda, although I would recommend using Stevia instead--it's much better for you! Or try making it with Agave syrup. I'm going to try that next time.

I loved how the color turned out--it's looks like it's made with regular milk but it's a bit lighter, unlike the soy milk which makes it darker. And the full fat canned coconut milk has the same consistency as cream so I only needed two eggs. I also used organic pumpkin-go me! Tastes delicious!

1 refrigerated pie crust
3/4 cup sweetner (white sugar, stevia, Splenda, or Agave syrup)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
15oz can pumpkin
12 oz full fat canned coconut milk, shaken

Directions:1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Mold the pie crust into a pie dish and fold excess dough under the edges. Poke holes in the bottom so your beautiful crust doesn't shrink like mine did! (Oops)
3. Mix sugar, salt, and spices in a small bowl until thoroughly blended.

4. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in the pumpkin and then the sugar and spice mixture.

5. Gradually add full fat coconut milk and stir until completely blended. Pour into pie crust.

6. Bake for 15 minutes to set, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 40 minutes. To check if the pie is done, stick a knife through the middle and see if it comes up clean. If there is a layer of pumpkin on it, you may need to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. 

How to Make a Delicious Grilled (Fake) Cheese Sandwich

I made this particular grilled cheese using Trader Joe's Soy Blend of Mozzarella, Jack, and Cheddar Flavors.
Grilled cheese is one of those comfort foods you don't have to lose with lactose intolerance. Fake cheese works surprisingly well as a substitute. The trick is to blend it with other flavors. Some fake cheese options are better than others. I've tried many different kinds of soy cheese or vegan/dairy free cheese alternatives.

One version of sliced cheese singles I can recommend are Veggie Slices. These are soy based, but they do contain milk protein so watch out if you are allergic. They taste terrible on their own but make a great grilled cheese sandwich. I've used them for cold sandwiches but I'd honestly rather do without the fake cheese. This stuff tastes best cooked in something or melted.

If you are looking for vegan and completely dairy free, I always recommend Daiya Shreds. Although for taste, I prefer soy blend cheeses. Two other types I like are Trader Joe's soy mozzarella and shredded soy blend. These are sometimes hard to find in the cheese aisles so look thoroughly. I always find Daiya Shreds and Veggie Slices at Whole Foods.

Other pluses to lactose free cheeses: no cholesterol, less saturated fat, less sodium, and easy to digest.

Adding another filler in your sandwich blends with the fake cheese, making it taste more authentic. I like to add pickles, tomatoes, bacon, or all three to perfectly replicate a dairy grilled cheese sandwich. Get a nice, thick bread, like sourdough, spread on the SmartBalance Light, and honestly, it's hard to tell the difference.

Dairy Free Mac'n'Cheese

Cheese lovers: do you think your body really enjoys all that grease, cholesterol, and hard to digest lactose? Of course not! I know it tastes amazing, but so does my lactose free mac'n'cheese.

Well, I didn't actually use macaroni, but I did use hearty whole wheat penne! Unsweetened almond milk brings this dish to life, along with dairy free Smart Balance Light and lactose free cheese. It has a couple of secret ingredients that you would never have guessed: egg and dry mustard. Topped off with flavorful french fried onions! It will make you wonder if this isn't the real thing. How can I ever miss mac'n'cheese again?

I can recommend a few lactose free cheeses to choose from. Trader Joe's has a shredded soy cheese that's a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and jack flavors. I used that for this dish. It's not vegan and has milk protein in it, so beware if you are allergic to milk protein. It's great if you are just lactose intolerant. Also, Kraft shredded cheeses have little lactose in them, especially the sharp cheddar and parmesan. I'm highly sensitive and can have a little of these, but not a lot. If you are looking for dairy free, soy free, and vegan, then I recommend using Daiya Shreds in cheddar and parmesan.

1 pound pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 egg
4 tablespoons Smart Balance Light (dairy free)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar lactose free cheese (I used Trader Joe's soy cheese blend)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese alternative
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese alternative
1/2 cup to 1 cup french fried onions

1. Cook pasta until firm but not done. Knock off about 2 minutes of cook time. Drain and keep in warm, covered pot.

2. Beat egg in small bowl.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Melt Smart Balance in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Pour in almond milk. Add mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.

6. To temper egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the almond milk sauce into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg.

7. Slowly pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking until smooth. This will create a nice, thick mac'n'cheese.

8. Add lactose free cheese and 1/3 cup of parmesan alternative, stir until melted.

Mmm creamy cheesy goodness.

9. Add sea salt and pepper plus more to taste. You can also add any other spices at this point.

10. Pour cooked pasta into sauce and stir to combine.

11. In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking oil, add pasta and cheese mixture.

12. Top with french fried onions and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese alternative.

13. Bake 5-10 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned. Taste approved by cheese lovers!