Baking, Uncategorized

Dairy-Free Pie Crust

Pie crust is a versatile ingredient in so many recipes- pot pie, pumpkin pie, quiche, and the list goes on! Who doesn’t enjoy a good pie crust? I particularly love this recipe because of the addition of vinegar. I dislike sweet pie crusts, especially paired with a sweet filling. The slight zing of the vinegar makes everything I put in the pie crust delicious!

My family has used this pie crust for my whole life- and I know why! It’s flakey, delicious, and cheap to make. Best of all, it is dairy-free!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Whisk the flour and salt together.
  3. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour mixture with a fork until the shortening is about pea size. Be sure to not work it too much, otherwise it will turn into a strange clump of dough and won’t be flakey.
  4. Crack the egg into a liquid measuring cup and add the vinegar. Beat it slightly, then fill up to the 1 cup line with water.
  5. Pour the liquid slowly into the flour and shortening mixture and stir until it becomes a dough. It might be slightly crumbly, but that is normal. You might be tempted to add more liquid, but I promise it’s enough! Try not to stir it too much or the pie crust will become tough.
  6. Dump the dough out onto the floured counter (Or some parchment paper) and roll it out to the size and shape of your pie tin. It should make three or four 8-9 inch pie crusts. The more times you roll it out, the tougher it becomes.
  7. Place the pie crusts into greased pie tins and poke holes with a fork all over the crust. If you have dry beans or baking weights add them on top of parchment paper and place them in the pie crust for the first 10 minutes of baking. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let the pie crusts cool and fill with your favorite filling. In these pictures, I chose to use banana cream filling! Yum!

Side notes:

  • As I said, the more you mess with the dough, the tougher it will become. I try to roll out each individual pie crust only once and fold the extra dough down into the pie crust to make pretty edges.
  • One of my family’s favorite ways to use the last bits and pieces of pie dough is to place them on cookie sheets and liberally sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar and then bake them for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. A delicious way to use up leftover dough! (And it pairs wonderfully with warm homemade pudding!)
Breakfast

Lactose-Free German Pancakes

Breakfast foods are so versatile- they make Saturday mornings memorable, bring friends together for a late brunch, or make dinner quick and easy. Even though we don’t have kids, we still have plenty of days when I come home exhausted and don’t want to make a true dinner- so we have breakfast for dinner at least once a week.

One of our favorite things to eat for breakfast (or dinner) is German Pancakes. They have six eggs in them, which is three times the amount I put into normal pancakes, so I like to think that we get some protein in under all that syrup.

I prefer to bake the German pancakes in my cast-iron skillet, but it’s perfectly fine to bake it in a 9×13 glass pan too.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of lactose-free milk
  • 4 Tablespoons of lactose-free melted butter, plus 2-4 tablespoons more for melting in the pan
  • 1-2 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of flour
  • One thinly sliced apple (Optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the 9-inch cast-iron pan or the 9×13 pan into the oven.
  2. Place all of the ingredients except for the flour into a blender.
  3. Then add the flour.
  4. Blend together until smooth, scrape down the sides of the blender, and blend again for a few more seconds.
  5. Add the 2-4 tablespoons of butter into the preheated pan and let it melt. It should only take a few seconds.
  6. Pour the blended mixture into the pan and bake for 15-18 minutes. The edges of the German pancakes should be golden brown and puffed past the sides of the pan.
  7. Top with maple syrup and sautéed apples (optional).

Side Notes:

  • You can mix everything in a bowl with a whisk, of course, but the texture isn’t as smooth without the blender.
  • I prefer baking German pancakes in a high-sided cast iron skillet because it turns out thicker and has a custard-like consistency, but they are delicious no matter what you bake it in!
  • I like to put apple slices on the bottom of the pan and bake the German pancakes on top, but my husband doesn’t like the texture. So I sautéed the apples until soft in some Ghee, honey, and a little cinnamon to top my German pancakes. Delicious!
  • If you are wondering where I get my lactose-free butter and milk, I have recipes on how to make your own on the blog.
Lactose-Free Dairy

Easy DIY Lactose-Free Milk

This is less of a recipe and more of a life hack to save money- and your stomach! Milk is used in so many ways that it’s hard to cut out of my diet. My husband prefers me to use milk over milk alternatives when baking, and truthfully, so do I.

Of course, I enjoy a good bowl of cereal with some chocolate almond milk, but it’s hard to convince my husband that almond milk is tasty.

So I turn to lactose-free milk instead of dairy alternatives but it gets expensive. That’s why I decided to make it myself. It’s super easy and cheaper!

Now I don’t have to worry about buying two kinds of milk every week for my husband and me. Such a relief!

If you are like me, you need a nice glass of milk with just-out-of-the-oven cookies. Now you can have that creamy milk without worrying about paying more than you actually need to!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gallon of milk
  • 2-4 tablets/ drops/ caplets of lactase

Directions:

  1. Take 2-4 tablets/ caplets/ drops of lactase and put them into your milk. Shake the milk well and let it sit for at least 24 hours. If needed, let the milk remain in the fridge for up to 4 days before using.

Side Notes:

  • This recipe does need you to know how sensitive you are to lactose. If I put two tablets of lactase into a gallon of milk, I can use it within 24 hours. But other people might need to wait 3 or 4 days before using it.
  • If you use lactase tablets, I recommend crushing them up before putting them into the milk. If you use caplets, I would open the caplet and put the powder directly into the milk. I haven’t used lactase drops before, but I know that you can buy them on Amazon. Let me know if you use them and what your experience is like!
  • On occasion we see some funky clumps of milk, but it has never bothered us. I am guessing it has to do with something the tablets or caplets have in them. If this would bother you, I would recommend buying the lactase droplets instead. (Although I don’t know if it eliminates the lumps because I haven’t used them before.)

Uncategorized

Homemade Dairy-free Granola

Granola is a versatile breakfast item. You can add it to a smoothie bowl, a bowl of yogurt, or have it with milk. I really enjoy Green Valley’s lactose-free vanilla yogurt or some chocolate almond milk to go with a bowl of granola to add some protein.

I like to have granola on hand because it makes breakfast quick and easy. My husband likes quick breakfasts that he doesn’t have to cook, so this works perfect! I also like knowing exactly what we are eating for breakfast. A tad healthier than [Your Favorite Brand-Name Cereal], right?

My mother-in-law was kind enough to share the original recipe with me when my husband started asking for me to make it. I have tweaked it over time to fit what we like- and that’s the beauty of this recipe! It is easy to customize to fit your taste and diet.

When I made this granola I decided to go with larger pieces of coconut, a couple teaspoons of cinnamon, and sliced almonds to customize it. However you choose to customize it, I hope you enjoy it!

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 7 cups of quick or rolled oats (I like a mix)
  • 1-2 cups of shredded coconut
  • 1-2 cups of ground flax seed, wheat flour, chia seeds, quinoa, and anything else you want to add! I generally add 1 cup of flax seed and make up the other cup with the other seeds and grains I happen to have in my pantry.
  • 1-2 cups of your preferred nuts (optional)- I like pecans, walnuts, and almonds.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup honey- I suggest using local honey because local beekeepers are more likely to treat their bees well and the honey tastes better too!
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oil of your choice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • Raisins or other dried fruit (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix the oats, shredded coconut, seeds and optional nuts into a large bowl.

3. Add honey, brown sugar, oil, water, and vanilla into a saucepan.

4. Set the stove to medium heat and let the mixture simmer until the sugar and honey are dissolved, stirring occasionally.

5. Pour the hot mixture into the large bowl with the oat mixture. Stir it until everything is coated evenly.

6. Scoop the mixture onto two large jelly-roll size baking pans and spread it out thinly. Don’t press it into the pan or it will turn into weird granola bars.

7. Place your two pans into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes take the pans out and give them a good stir. Move the top pan to the bottom rack and vice versa to make sure they are cooking equally.

8. Repeat the last step another three to five times or until the granola takes on a golden color and everything starts separating and being less clumpy. It won’t get very crispy until it has cooled, so don’t bake it for too long or it might burn!

9. After the granola has cooled, add dried fruit. I personally don’t like the flavor of baked dried fruit as it tends to get harder and slightly burnt, so I omit it until this step.

Side Notes

  • I generally use vegetable oil because I usually have it on hand, but coconut oil, ghee, or avocado oil all should work as well. I don’t know the exchange between vegetable oil and the others, but I am sure it is a quick Google search away.
  • I haven’t tried maple syrup or coconut sugar in this recipe yet, but I am sure it would be delicious! It would be easy to make a maple almond granola with real maple syrup. Mmmm!
  • It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour for the granola to bake. It depends on what you added, the moisture in the air, and if you are wearing your lucky socks. But seriously, granola is hard to mess up. The only way I have messed it up before was by burning it because I was trying to get it extra crispy. Oops!
  • Have you tentatively taken your granola out of the oven for fear it will burn only to find that it isn’t quite crispy enough? Never fear! You can put it back in a 350 degree oven for another 5-10 minutes to crisp it up. It’s okay to do this even if the granola has cooled.
Uncategorized

How to Make Homemade Lactose-Free Butter

When I figured out that all of my stomach distress was from lactose, I was pretty devastated. Dairy, especially butter, is one of the main flavors in many recipes. And I looove butter- buttered toast, brown butter blondies. and the list goes on.
 Taking lactase pills is always an option, and I do use them often, but it makes eating far more expensive than I would like it to be. It’s frustrating having to worry about what is in each and every meal I eat. I kept my meals dairy-free for a while, but it is hard to get the right texture and flavor when baking with dairy substitutes. 
 I have looked into buying lactose-free butter, but I don’t have any local options, and shipping it to my house is far too expensive.
 My husband encouraged me to find a way to be able to use actual butter instead of substitutes. I happened to stumble upon a video of how to make butter, and the gears started to turn. I had been adding two pills of lactase to a gallon of milk for a couple of weeks at this point. It was cheaper to have a whole gallon of DIY lactose-free milk and share it with my husband than to have a half-gallon of store-bought lactose-free milk for myself and a gallon of regular milk for my husband. (Do all husbands like milk that much?)

So I started to experiment. I added one or two lactase pills to a half-gallon of cream and let it sit for at least 24 hours in the fridge.  

Then I churned it into butter and I didn’t have any… ahem… issues. It was wonderful to have real, creamy, delicious butter without the unwanted side effects. 

The hard part about this recipe is knowing how much lactase to add. I am generally okay if I put one lactase pill into the half-gallon of cream, but other people who struggle more with lactose may need to add a couple more pills or a couple extra days in the fridge.

Side Notes:
The buttermilk will thicken as it sits in the fridge, but I wouldn’t use it if it has clumps in it. I generally use the buttermilk the week that I make the butter to be safe. I really like making buttermilk biscuits to use it up.  
Making lactose-free butter at home is wonderful and I recommend it- however- please, please take time to understand your body and how lactose-intolerant you are. Even though I would love to be able to tell you the exact amount of lactase to use in this recipe, it is truly up to you and your body. Please be safe!
I have been able to leave the cream in the fridge for up to a week before churning it into butter without any issues. I don’t know that I would let it sit for longer than that.
Smell something kind of sour while churning the cream? Don’t worry, that’s normal. My husband doesn’t like to be in the kitchen when I am making butter because of the smell.
The butter can last up to a month in the fridge and longer in the freezer. I wouldn’t leave the butter out on the counter. Making it at home makes it go bad sooner if you leave it out at room temperature. 


Recipe 

Ingredients:
Half-gallon of heavy whipping cream
1-4 lactase pills 
Tools needed:
Hand-Mixer, Stand-Mixer, or Whisk and Large Bowl
Sieve
Spatula
Jars
Measuring cups
Silicone molds (Optional) 


Directions:
Place one to four lactase pills into the half-gallon of cream and shake it. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours and up to a week.

Whenever you are ready to churn the cream, put it in your mixer and let it churn for 20-45 minutes. It’s easy for me to let it do its own thing in my bosch, but you will want to keep an eye on it if you are using a kitchen aid or a hand mixer. Wipe down the sides of the bowl occassionaly to incorporate all of the cream together. 

It will look like regular whipped cream after a couple of minutes. It will start to thicken and condense as you continue to whip it.

It will gradually take on a lovely light yellow color when it gets closer to being butter. But don’t stop there! Keep going until it completely separates into clumps of smooth yellow butter and watery buttermilk. The buttermilk you get from the store is different from the buttermilk you get from this process. It starts out watery and slowly thickens up in the fridge.

Once it is separated, set out your jar, seive, and funnel. 

Slowly pour the buttermilk through the sieve, trying to keep too much butter from clogging up the sieve.

Once you have the majority of the buttermilk separated out, start taking clumps of the butter and putting them into a smaller separate bowl. Press the butter against the side of the bowl to press the remaining buttermilk out. As you press out the buttermilk, add it to the jar of buttermilk. Then rinse the butter with cold milk. The less buttermilk in the butter, the longer the butter will stay fresh. I generally split my batch of butter into 1/3 of salted butter and 2/3 of unsalted butter. 

I just so happened to have these silicon pumpkin molds that perfectly hold 1/4 cups of butter! I like to measure the unsalted butter into 1/4 cup amounts because it’s easy to take it out of the freezer for recipes when I need it. I have also simply pressed the butter into a 1/4 measuring cup and scooped it out on to a baking tray. I generally let the butter on the tray sit in the freezer for fifteen minutes or until they are firm enough to play into a bag or container without mushing together. I had to wait a bit longer on the butter in the silicone molds so they would come out of the mold nicely.

And voila! You have your own lactose-free butter. Enjoy!