Dairy-Free Ranch Dip

I have a problem with writing down recipes.  My dad and his new wife came to our house for Thanksgiving.  My step-mom (that sounds weird! But what else do I call her? My dad’s sweet new wife.) also has a dairy allergy and she was asking me for recipes.  Umm…well, even the recipes I have, I don’t really follow.  I’m hoping this blog will help me to write down recipes, measure ingredients, and get a little organized.



I Hate Stuffing (here’s a recipe!)

My mother always had a bag of bread crusts, ends, odd pieces that she saved in the freezer.  Some of this bread was made into bread crumbs, yeah, cheap and cheerful!  Some of this bread was destined to be stuffing, filling a turkey carcass or baked in a casserole dish.  Either way it was slimy, onion-y, sage-y, nastiness.  No stuffing, no thank you!  Stovetop is not any better.  Yuck!  Until…

My sister invited the family to her house for a big holiday dinner.  And she made her mother-in-law’s cornbread stuffing.  To be polite a took a tiny bit on my plate.  Wonder of wonders.  It was good.  It was yummy!  I would have seconds and leftovers, please! Now, I make this stuffing every Thanksgiving and every Christmas.


Pear Pie! Another Fall Favorite!

Bartlett Pear Pie

Bartlett Pear Pie

I grew up in Southern Oregon which is famous for Ta Da! Pears!  Or it used to be anyway.  Most people have heard of Harry and David’s, right?  There is one in almost every outlet mall I have ever been to.  When I was a kid Harry and David’s was a small catalog company.  It was locally owned, many people in the valley would get extra work during the holidays answering phones or packing baskets.  We often went to the Harry and David fruit stand.  Back then it was a warehouse with big sliding doors on one wall.  There were bins of ‘second’ pears, little plastic wrapped trays of dried fruit with a plastic two-pronged fork and an almond filled date in the middle, lopsided or cracked cheesecakes and anything else that was left over or not nice enough for the catalog.  We went there because my mom could get a great deal.
I grew up eating pears that were grown a few miles from my house and canned in my kitchen.  Our grape juice came from grapes my grandmother grew.  Apple sauce came from the apple trees in our back yard.  What does this have to do with pear pie?  I have no idea!  Anyway…

It is FALL!  This is the end of the Bartlett pear season.  And I made one last pear pie to celebrate!pies

I also made a Chicken Pot Pie.  (recipe later)

A Dairy-Free Thanksgiving

I am an adult with a dairy allergy.  The doctors told my mom that I would grow out of my allergy by the time I was two, then four or six.  When I was ten we had Christmas at my grandma’s house.  She set out See’s Candies and I ate several.  My mother chided me and we waited for me to be horribly sick, but it didn’t happen.  For the next few years I ate ice cream in obscene amounts, cheesecake at every opportunity and entire pizzas.  When I was in high school I started to notice that if I ate dairy when I had a cold, I would feel worse.  Then in college if I had dairy when I felt well I would start to get cold symptoms.  At the age of 20 the party was over.  I was hoping that it was a ten-year cycle, but I’ve been 29 for several years now and cheesecake is still just a memory.  The good thing is that I really learned to cook on my own dairy-free.  I know several adults who have developed allergies in adulthood or they are learning cook for kids with allergies and it is so difficult to relearn how to shop, and how to cook.  I wish there was more I could do to help.  Holidays are always hard with those of us with allergies.  My mom always packed food for me when I was a kid and I think that is the best option for little ones.  I usually eat before parties.  This girl cannot live on fruit salad alone!  But if I eat before we go, there is almost always something I can nibble on so I look like I’m eating.  I don’t want to put more pressure on a holiday hostess! (STS)

I am going to post several recipes that I use every holiday season.  The first and most important recipe is Mashed Potatoes!  What else from the Idaho Housewife!  I have never actually measured my ingredients for mashed potatoes so I hope this recipe works out.

For Holiday Feast size use 5 lbs of potatoes, 1 1/2 sticks of margarine and enough coconut milk and/or chicken broth to make them the consistency that your family prefers.  Season with salt and a dash of pepper.


Veggies for kids

After school my oldest was whining about a snack.  The only fruit she had eaten all day was applesauce and I was planning on grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  Hmm, who wants a smoothie?  Both of my girls asked for a chocolate pudding smoothie.  It contains no pudding, but I have served it for dessert in little cups with spoons.  I have also made these smoothies to serve with burgers and fries.  My kids will gladly gobble up kale (only) if they don’t know what they are eating!

It is Still FALL, Right?


Warm, spicy chai and a pumpkin muffin with maple cream cheese.  I love Fall!  I love the leaves and the rainy weather.  I LOVE Thanksgiving!  A holiday to give thanks to God for all that He has done for us.  And we celebrate with a feast! Fantastic!  What is happening to Thanksgiving?  People in my neighborhood have been putting up Christmas lights for the last couple of weeks.  Down came the spiders and Jack-o-lanterns and up went the lights and the blow-up Santa.  What about Thanksgiving?  What about Fall?  I would guess that Americans don’t really like Thanksgiving.  We like food, but not if we have to make it.  And being grateful for anything is a foreign concept.  I am an American, I am entitled to everything, I don’t have to thank anyone, I don’t have to work for anything…(I wasn’t planning on a rant about the problems with this country, just Christmas lights in November.)  Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving?  Because our pious forefathers celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday.  No trees or lights or presents and definitely no drinking and feasting.  That is what Thanksgiving is for.  I love Christmas, but I don’t want to celebrate it for 2 months!  What is special about that?  So, I will celebrate Fall and Thanksgiving!  We will have turkey, potatoes, cranberries, white wine, apple cider, and chai and pumpkin everything!  Hooray for Fall!

Chai “Recipe”

Heat almond milk and 1 tablespoon of honey, add Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea bag.  Steep for at least 2 minutes.  Take a deep breath and enjoy!

Week 2 Workout Challenge

Who was the dope that said starting your day out right sets you up to make good decisions for the rest of the day?  Maybe that was just a Nutri-grain bar commercial.  This is my second week of exercising and drinking green smoothies in the morning and I have gained 3 pounds.  Apparently, I feel that since I exercised for 15 minutes in the morning I am entitled to a couple of hamburgers, large fries and a large Coke for lunch.  I don’t think that is the way it is supposed to work.  Maybe as I go along I’ll feel better and look better and make healthier decisions.  Stupid scale. I DON’T BELIEVE YOU! So there!

A Clean Pantry! Woo Hoo!

I spent half the day Saturday organizing my pantry and my desk.  I looked at pictures of organized pantries on Pinterest and there is no way that those are real pantries in people’s houses.  They must be photo shoots for some organizing magazine or from professional organizer brochures or people who have no kids, don’t cook and  spend all their time organizing their pantry.  Is it necessary to put all of my sugars and flours in matching glass canisters with fancy labels?  Should I pour all of my vinegar and oils into vintage flip-top bottles?  Wallpaper the shelf backs?  Put my potatoes in wire baskets?  No!  But if I had the money to hire someone to do it for me I sure would!  I have always wanted a house that looked like it came out of Better Homes and Gardens, but I just don’t get it.  Decorating is a mystery to me.  It’s like fashion, I can watch shows and look at magazines, but I can’t figure out how to look like those people.  And I don’t mean the starving, walking stick-people aspect, I mean the clothes.  I am a woman, I am creative and crafty, artistic even, but interior design and decorating are completely beyond me.  I know it doesn’t take money alone.  I have seen regular people with lovely homes and I don’t know a lot of rich people, but their homes were lovely too, but I’m sure there are rich people with ugly homes.  Wait, I have seen houses on TV that were huge and expensive and UGLY.  So, it’s not just me.  Maybe I’ll use this blog to have a little adventure in decorating.  Or maybe I’ll try to get my recipes organized, my exercise regulated, my menus printed every month, my nails manicured and my skin and body care regimens written down.  Yes, that seems like that should keep me busy.  Maybe when my kids are in college I’ll take an adult-ed class in interior design.  Good plan.