I’m not actually vegan but…..

Hey Everyone!

I have never gone vegan or vegetarian, and I have never claimed to have adopted either of these lifestyle’s / eating styles / diets.

There are times (especially when I go out somewhere) when I do choose vegan options, and my favorite bakery is gluten free & vegan.

Let me break it down for you, if I had my way, I would eat like every other “normal” / “mainstream” human being in the western world, who can eat ice cream, cheese, pizza, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and anything I wanted.

That all changed for me when I was 23. I had spent one horrible weekend with a nasty stomach bug, and it changed my life as I knew it.

Up to that point my only real food aversion was that I didn’t and still don’t like the smell or taste of beef.

After I had that bug, I quickly figured out that my body wouldn’t tolerate any amount of dairy, no matter how small (even the slightest traces left behind from washing dishes makes me sick). I also learned over the course of the next couple of years (by the time I was 25) that I had milder sensitivities to eggs (I can forget about scrambled or hard boiled eggs, those have the same effect as dairy), though I found if they are in baked goods, I can get away with it on occasion. Gluten does bother me a bit, but not so bad I can’t enjoy some bread, as long as it is dairy free and I enjoy it in limited quantities.

Though I have wondered if I had milk sensitivities before the bug, as there were a few times in college that I wonder about. It just wasn’t bad enough if it was, to put two and two together. Though, now, years later it does make me wonder.

The eggs and dairy issues are why I choose vegan when I am out, unless I go somewhere I am familiar with and know what I can order. If not, I usually end up with a salad.

I still love chicken, fish, venison, and a little bit of lamb on a rare occasion. I also love honey.

I couldn’t go completely vegan by choice, I would only do it if I was forced to because my body couldn’t tolerate the foods.

I really do miss yogurt, ice cream and cheese. Don’t get me started on how much I miss Tillamook Cheese.

I also have no ethical, moral or religious objections to eating animal products, and I definitely don’t object to others who want to eat meat and animal byproducts.

At the same time, if you choose to be vegan or vegetarian, you are perfectly welcome to do so, just don’t be judging my life, diet and lifestyle and I won’t judge yours.

Preparing For the Ladies Retreat

Hey Everyone!

So, I am going to be attending a ladies retreat this weekend, and I have been slowly preparing for it over the past couple of weeks.

last week I had picked up what I am going to be giving as gifts.

Today I ran errands to pick up the dry goods for what I will be using in part for meals for myself and the food intolerance friendly breakfast I am making for Saturday morning. I am also going to bake up a batch of gluten free vegan muffins Friday morning before I leave, to take with me.

While I did a test run of the gluten free and dairy free egg casserole I am planning on making, I also spent the time to do up the tea and sugar free sweetener bags I am giving as gifts.

I love doing all this crafty Homemaking stuff. I enjoy doing things for others and using all the creative ideas I get to bless others.

Beings that I have food intolerances myself, I can understand and relate to others who also have food intolerances. Being able to cook for myself and others who have food intolerances is a passion of mine, besides loving to cook in general.

DIY Gluten Free Dairy Free Pizza

Hey Everyone!

I had been wanting some gluten free and dairy free pizza for a few days now. I finally got around to making some today.

I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and the grocery store to get what I needed to make my pizza and gluten free and dairy free Cherry Brownies.

I used the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust for my pizza. I had sprinkled corn meal on the pan I was going to use to bake my pizza on, I then used olive oil instead of pizza sauce. I topped my pizza with Jimmy Dean Maple ground sausage that I got most of the way cooked before I drained it and put it in my pizza. I then also topped it with a red pepper I had diced up, as well as diced tomatoes, sliced olives and spinach, and then baked it. It turned out great for my first attempt at making my own gluten free and dairy free pizza.

I also had been kind of craving cherry brownies, so while I was out I had picked up a package of the Bob’s Red Mill gluten free brownie mix, as well as dairy free butter alternative (in the stick form), and maraschino cherries. I added some diced up cherries and some of the cherry juice to my brownie batter. It took forever (like an hour and a half) to actually get done….. but they taste good and that’s what matters.

While I was at Bob’s Red Mill, I had also picked up a shortbread pan, so if I want to make gluten free dairy free shortbread cookies, and I don’t want to take the time to make round cookies and use my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp, I can put the dough in the shortbread pan and bake it that way.

Today I was totally in a cooking, baking and errands kind of mood. It was a gorgeous day, more like early spring (like late March / Early April) than still the dead of winter that is typical for early February. It got up to 60 degrees (Fahrenheit) / 15 – 16 degrees (Celsius) today. The Daffodils are starting to come up and bloom.

It’s time for Pumpkin

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday after I got home from work I felt like baking. Beings that I didn’t have to work today, I had the time to bake.

Now that autumn is finally here, as well as the fact that I love pumpkin food, and the weather is cool enough to actually warrant baking, I am back in my element. I love cooking and baking.

A couple weekends ago I made split pea soup, and this past weekend I made Chili.

Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, pumpkin scents, pumpkin food, hot tea, the changing colors of leaves, I love the fall colors anyway.

I am actually excited that summer is over, and on to cooler weather.

Fall Has to Be Coming

Hey Everyone!

Saturday, I had gone to Bob’s Red Mill and picked up some more flours to make up the brown rice flour mix I use for gluten free baking. I also got a package of the gluten free Shortbread Cookie mix.

Yesterday I had baked my Shortbread cookies, for being gluten free & vegan they turned out amazing. I had used my Scottish Thistle cookie stamp on them prior to baking them.

I had also cooked up some chicken yesterday, but I needed that for dinner. Cooking for dinner isn’t always the most interesting.

This summer, the wildfire smoke has been so bad. It hasn’t been just one wildfire that has been causing our air to be at an unhealthy level quite a bit, and our skies to look like the photo above. It has also been a very hot summer, the hottest since at least 2009.

While I was out and about for my job interviews today, I noticed that quite a few trees were turning already. I have been over this heat all summer, and I am so ready for cooler weather. The stores and nature (despite the heat and wildfire smoke), is leading me to believe that autumn is coming, and soon.

Dairy Free and Gluten Free from Scratch

Hey Everyone!

The last few days have been extremely rainy, and wet. I didn’t feel like going anywhere, so I had spent yesterday, at home, in the kitchen.

Yesterday I had whipped up a batch of Gluten Free & Dairy Free cinnamon rolls, which turned out amazingly. They tasted as good as I remember regular cinnamon rolls tasting. I had added pecan pieces in with the cinnamon filling before rolling them up. The recipe I used called for regular milk, but I substituted that with Coconut Milk, and use earth balance olive oil spread instead of butter.

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Beings I was in the cooking & baking mood yesterday, and also needed dinner, I made up a pot of lentil soup. I used a package of Bob’s Red Mill lentils, as well as a couple cans of Heinz organic canned tomatoes, in additions to the spices and chicken broth (most of it was Organic as well) that I used. I also added a couple of sausages, that didn’t have have preservatives, nitrates or nitrites in them. I have been on a lentil kick lately. I had made Mujedra a few weeks ago, then couple weeks ago I made some lentils, and now I made Lentil soup. Lentils are supposed to be good for you, and are something that I have liked, apparently since I was little.

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Making cinnamon rolls and lentil soup tool up most of my day yesterday. Even though what I made yesterday was bit overly complicated or difficult, it was time consuming. Baking cinnamon rolls and lentil soup in the same day, definitely gave me a greater appreciation, for what women had to do even a couple generations ago, let alone back in the day where they didn’t have grocery stores or supermarkets, and had to cook three full meals a day from scratch, yet also look after the kids, tend a garden, do laundry, and all the other house work. No wonder families who lived on farms and homesteads typically had a lot of kids.

I love being able to take a day and cook and bake my own food from scratch. I didn’t grow up having to be dairy free and gluten free, that all happened once I was an adult. I did grow up spending a fair amount of time out in the kitchen with my mom and her mom (my maternal grandmother) watching them cook and bake from scratch, and learning how to do so myself from being in the kitchen with them. After having to go dairy free and gluten free I was thankful I knew how to cook for myself, as it become more of a necessity. I still enjoy it, and i enjoy figuring out how to make some regular recipes dairy free and gluten free. I am still working on the egg free thing. I can handle eating eggs as long as they are in baked goods, which is a good thing, though I will continue to work to do way more egg free.

Over the past few years, doing more cooking and baking from scratch has become a passion of mine, and learning how to do more, then sharing what I have done with you all, is something I love doing.

Baked Oatmeal

Hey Everyone!

When I was up in Canada visiting my Aunt and Uncle at their house, my aunt had made Baked Oatmeal and it was really good, so I decided to try it for myself, and make Gluten and Dairy Free.

Ingredients:

3 cups quick cooking oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free old fashioned rolled oats)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup blue diamond almond breeze almond coconut milk
1/2 cup earth balance vegan spread melted
additional almond coconut milk for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
2. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients
3. Add in eggs, melted spread, and almond coconut milk, mixing well
4. Pour into a greased small rectangular or large square glass pyrex baking pan
5. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until set.
6. Serve warm with the additional milk

Makes about 9 servings.

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Smoked Paprika Rub

Hey Everyone!

For this week’s recipe, I was kind of at a loss at what to fix for dinner, so I kind of just put this together as it sounded kind of good. For lack of better words, I was uninspired for what spices and herbs to use.

I created this rub using about:

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder

and

1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast.

I mixed the garlic powder, the onion powder and smoked paprika together in a bowl and rubbed it all over the chicken.

I then baked the chicken at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about half an hour.

Tomato Lime and Herb Chicken

024Hey Everyone!

This week’s recipe is Tomato Lime and Herb Chicken. I had picked up a container of fresh herbs in the produce section yesterday while I was at the grocery store, and then added some more to that to make this recipe today. I enjoy coming up with new healthy recipes that are gluten free and dairy free that also taste really good.

016For this recipe I used:

  • 1 lb of free range vegetarian fed boneless skinless chicken thighs from New Seasons
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh time
  • 4 leaves fresh sage
  • about a tablespoon of bottled lime juice
  • about a tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 scallions (little green onions) chopped
  • 4 cherry tomatoes chopped

I preheated the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit

I then chopped up the scallions and tomatoes, and then mixed all the seasonings, lemon juice and olive oil in a small bowl.

I then put the chicken in a glass pyrex that I had lined with foil, and then evenly distributed the seasoning mix across the top of the chicken

I baked the chicken in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes to half an hour, until the chicken was between 170 and 175 degrees farhenahit.

Baked Chicken with Herbs

Hey Everyone!

135I made a delicious Chicken dish this evening. I love chicken, I am also trying to eat healthier, and make the healthy food taste amazing. I had done some grocery shopping on Thursday, while I was at New Seasons and I decided to bake it tonight. I love making food that tastes good that I went to the store and bought for myself. I have always loved cooking, and being able to buy my own ingredients has been a pass time of mine.

I decided to season it with herbs and see how it would turn out. I used free range chicken that is vegetarian fed, no antibiotics or GMO’s.

For this recipe I used:

  • 1 lb of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

I mixed the spices together in a small bowl, added the Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the spices, I then lined a smaller rectangle glass pyrex pan (large enough to hold the chicken) with aluminum foil, and laid the chicken in the pan. I then drizzled the olive oil and spice mixture over the chicken and then rubbed it around on the chicken to evenly coat the chicken with the mixture.

I then baked the chicken in the preheated oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until a meat thermometer read 170 – 175.