Out With The Old, In With The New!

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Vegetable Pakora Lunch

Quite yummy but maybe being a bit overshadowed by those gorgeous organic strawberries…

I am quickly learning that until our house sells, I pretty much cannot commit to a whole heck of a lot. I kind of just have to wake up and greet the day and whatever happens, happens. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to make plans. You would think I would learn. Ha!

Last night I had visions of a glorious day in the kitchen baking and frosting sugar cookies and trying to see if I could come up with a savory pumpkin boule. I convinced myself, and then posted it on Facebook (pretty much jinxing myself) that I was going to get up, take the dogs on a beautiful walk and then spend the entire day in the kitchen doing basically whatever I pleased.

I managed the walk, which was nice. But never got around to the baking. This morning my husband “parted ways” with our realtor. There were a lot of valid reasons but the icing on the cake was that we had an open house two days in a row last weekend and they listed our house in the local newspaper at the wrong price. Yep. And of course the deadline was Friday so it couldn’t be changed or cancelled. So we spent the only two days my husband was home carting animals back and forth and waiting for the open houses to be over. And guess how many people showed up? Zilch. Zero. Nada. No big surprise since the price was wrong and we weren’t even catering to people in our price range. It was quite frustrating and actually made me want to just sit in a heap and cry…or strangle someone. I did neither. We sucked it up and dealt with our weekend like big people. But it wasn’t easy.

So! Out with the old and in with the new! We hired a new Realtor who started working for us immediately. The house will be back on the market on Friday.

I meet with our new Realtor tomorrow so he can take pictures of the house and I can fill out all of the necessary paperwork. Instead of sugar cookies and beautiful pumpkin bread dancing through my head, I had to don work gloves and clean the house and mow the lawn. Oh well, such is life. My expanding hips probably didn’t need sugar cookies and bread anyway…

I did manage to make myself some lunch. I don’t typically buy pre-packaged foods… but have you been down the frozen isles in Trader Joe’s?  H-O-L-Y   C-O-W…how I envy those of you who can eat whatever you please. It’s probably a good thing that I can’t eat 98% of what they sell or I would be gorging myself on perogi, lasagna, cheese tamales, baby frozen quiche, death by chocolate cake, cheese cake, and all kinds of frozen little delights I’ve never even heard of. I did happen to run across one thing I could try. Vegetable Pakoras. They are basically vegetable fritters but with an Indian kick. They are quite yummy and made for a very nice and quick lunch!

They are vegan and as far as I could tell from the ingredient list, gluten-free. However, they are processed in a plant with other gluten items. So if you are that sensitive…I would steer clear. So far I feel fine, but I will be sure to let you know in the morning if I wake up stiff and headachey.

I was also able to finally find real buffalo mozzarella at Trader Joe’s! I was so thrilled I was sad that I was shopping by myself and there was no one there to jump up and down with me. I think I actually gasped out loud when I saw it tucked in among the goat cheese containers. However, I did refrain from jumping up and down. I surprised my husband with a pepperoni pizza lunch the first day he was back in town.

The buffalo milk didn’t bother my stomach at all, tasted wonderful, and melted like regular mozzarella cheese. It was heavenly.

Well, as I sit here eating a rather dull dinner and dreaming of pizza (a plate of black re-fried beans with Daiya cheese and Tabasco) …I still have bathrooms to clean and it’s already 7:45. I wanted to check in with you all and make sure you knew I hadn’t forgotten about you.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! ~ April

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

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Ahhhh…comfort food.

It’s been raining here for what seems like years.

I think we’ve only had one full day of sun in something like 4 or 5 weeks.

I’m still in winter comfort food mode.

Can you blame me?

Some people think it’s the end of their world when they’ve been diagnosed with food allergies. Being dairy free and gluten-free isn’t really all that difficult. It can be done, and it can be done well. You don’t have to deprive yourself of all of the comfort foods life has to offer. Scalloped potatoes are definitely one of those comfort foods I would certainly hate to say goodbye to forever and now I don’t have to.

If you have a favorite holiday food or special side dish that you can no longer “have” because of allergy limitations, get creative. Carve out a little time in your schedule once every couple of weeks to experiment with your favorite dish. Do some research, use the original recipe as a starting point for measurements, etc. This recipe is adapted from Food Network Magazine’s recipe for Mini Scalloped Potatoes. I used it as a starting point so that I would have a balance between the solids and liquids. Then, I added garlic, green onion, thyme, paprika, bacon, sheep’s milk cheese and exchanged the dairy ingredients to non-dairy ingredients. It’s really just as easy as that.

 

Living allergen free does mean that a little more work and patience is required on your part. But it certainly does not mean that you will need to learn to be happy with less tasty and satisfying meals. These scalloped potatoes are 100% dairy and gluten-free. Perfect alongside your upcoming Easter ham.

Individual Scalloped Potatoes

About 1 Tablespoon Dairy Free Butter, melted for the ramekins

1 1/4 Cups Daiya Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese

1/2 Cup Dairy Free (Vegan) Parmesan Cheese

About 2 Tablespoons Sheep’s Milk Cheese, crumbled

(Next time I would also add Manchego…)

1 Green Onion, finely chopped

1 Large Clove Garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, finely chopped

About 1 Tablespoon Crisp Bacon, crumbled (if you have it leftover from breakfast)

1 1/2 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, (4 to 5 mini ones) sliced about 1/8 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon Paprika

A Healthy Pinch of Kosher Salt

Several Grinds of Pepper

1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Creamer

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously brush ramekins (I used 3 oversized, their recipe calls for 6 – 6-8 ounce ramekins) with the melted butter and set aside. I don’t think it would quite fill an 8×8 baking dish though. If you plan to have it with a holiday meal, I would double the recipe.

Combine the vegan cheddar, vegan parmesan, sheep’s milk cheese, onion, garlic, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper, and potatoes in a medium bowl.

Divide half of this mixture among the ramekins, arranging the potatoes around each ramekin and distributing the cheese mixture as evenly as possible. Top with half of the non-dairy cream.

Repeat with the remaining potato and cheese mixture and cream. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove tin foil, increase oven temperature to 425, and bake for another 20 minutes.

Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.