Breakfast

Dairy-Free Waffles

The great debate: Pancakes or waffles?

My husband is a huge fan of waffles and is apathetic towards pancakes. I love both! It’s so easy to customize waffles by adding oats, chocolate, or fresh fruit. I particularly enjoy adding ground flax seed for a little extra protein.

The great thing about waffles is that the waffle pattern is perfectly made to catch melted butter and maple syrup. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water!

Of course, every family has their waffle recipe. I particularly like this one because it is quick to mix together and has a great flavor and texture!

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of milk of your choice (almond milk makes it a bit harder to brown the waffle- I like using coconut milk or a couple teaspoons of powdered coconut milk and water)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (Optional- I like to add some sugar to help the waffles crisp up)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of add-ins: chocolate chips, blueberries, pecans, etc.

Directions:

  1. Mix milk, eggs, vanilla, and oil together.
  2. Add flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and ground flax seed.
  3. Mix until just combined. If you mix too much it will turn tough. It’s ok if there are lumps.
  4. Cook in a hot waffle iron, top with butter and syrup, and enjoy!
Baking, Lactose-Free Dairy, Uncategorized

Lactose-Intolerant Friendly Chocolate Chip Ranking

If you are like me, chocolate is a versatile (and delicious) pantry staple. I always have chocolate chips in my cupboard in case I have an urge to make some chocolate chip cookies or I want to try my hand at tempering some chocolate to make truffles for a party.

Being lactose-intolerant can make it difficult to find chocolate chips that are smooth, decadent, AND friendly to my stomach. I went to a couple different local grocery stores near me and grabbed the options they had for chocolate chips that didn’t have dairy in the ingredients.

I tried out 9 different chocolate chips. Four of them are from Guittard at varying percentages of cocoa and two of them are from Simple Truth Organic. I was curious to see how the recipes varied between the types of chocolate. You might be surprised to know what I thought!

I evaluated them right out of the bag and then later in an oatmeal cookie. I chose to bake them in an oatmeal cookie for the mild flavor so the chocolate chips would stand out.

My verdict:

  1. Guittard – 55%: hard chip texture, nice light cocoa flavor, lightly sweetened, very nice vanilla flavor. BAKED: Smooth after being baked, good amount of presence without being overbearing. A good amount of bitter and sweet.
  2. Guittard 46%: Buttery texture in the mouth, sweet without causing a toothache. BAKED: Sweeter than the other chips, but a stronger chocolate flavor. Still not too sweet, which I appreciate in a cookie.
  3. Guittard 48%: Also buttery smooth, pleasantly sweet, prominent vanilla flavor. BAKED: Has a richer flavor than expected for its percentage. Since the chips are bigger, it is a good amount of chocolate in a bite. I thought these would be my favorite, but after comparing them all… maybe I like the 55% or 46% better?
  4. Guittard 63%: Harder chip texture, doesn’t melt as easily on the tongue, robust cocoa flavor and very lightly sweetened. BAKED: Doesn’t have as powerful of a presence as others. I like the level of cocoa.
  5. Kroger’s Private Selection 62% cacao: Harder texture of chip, deep cocoa flavor and sweeter than the Guittard 63%. BAKED: Lighter flavor than the Ghirardelli, but I prefer it in a cookie. It is just as of a rich flavor, but not as bitter.
  6. Ghirardelli 60% cacao (contains milkfat): Very smooth chip, more buttery on the tongue, not very sweet. BAKED: Almost an oily texture? Nice dark flavor, but not so dark that it overpowers the cookie. After baked, they are even more velvety and smooth than before. Not my favorite chip- a little too bitter for me. Not sure why they taste more bitter than the 62% and 63%- maybe the vanilla they used?
  7. Simple Truth Organic- semi sweet: Typical level of sweetness for a regular chocolate chip, no bitter flavor, soft with a nice chew. BAKED: Not super sweet, has a weird tang to it? Almost fruity? Not my favorite.
  8. Simple Truth Organic- allergy friendly: They are sweeter than Enjoy Life, true semi-sweet, has a bizarre bitter flavor. BAKED: Barely any flavor when inside a cookie- no recognizable chocolate flavor- I can feel the texture of the chips, but it it overpowered by the mild cookie flavor
  9. Enjoy Life- semi sweet mini chips: Instantly starts melting on the tongue, it has a bitter flavor- potentially from the vanilla? Not very sweet for a semi-sweet chip. BAKED: Very light flavor- can barely taste it in the cookie. It has a very fruity aftertaste. There is a slightly funky flavor that I can’t identify.

So, what did you think? Clearly, I am a fan of Guittard chocolate. The flavor and quality of the chips are unparalleled. I also love that they contain Fair Trade Cocoa and are made in a peanut free facility. I was disappointed by the allergy friendly chips, since I want a chocolate chip to stand out in a cookie. Maybe they would be better in trail mix, if you can get past the strange bitter flavor.

Let me know what brand of chocolate chips are your favorite! I am always excited to find new brands that are lactose-free and dairy-allergy friendly. I hope the list helped narrow down your search for a tasty chocolate chip!

Notes:

The only chocolate chips that are technically dairy-free are the allergy-friendly chips. Otherwise, the chocolate chips most likely were produced in factory with dairy or might have milk fat in them. Ghirardelli always has milk fat in all of their chocolate products. Milk fat doesn’t contain much lactose, so the chocolate chips haven’t bothered me yet. I would make sure to read the backs of the bars and bags from Ghirardelli because they don’t list milk on the list of allergens although it does have milk fat. To all those with milk allergies, please read labels!

Lactose-Free Dairy, Uncategorized

5 Tips for being Lactose-Intolerant

Welcome! You found out you are part of the lactose-intolerant group of uncomfortable stomachs and avoiding dairy. Now what?

When I first found out I was lactose-free, I went completely dairy-free because I didn’t know there were options for lactose-free products and lactase capsules. Now that I have adventured in lactose-free land for a couple years, I have a couple tips and tricks to keep you enjoying food AND having a happy stomach.

First, gauge how lactose-intolerant you are. Everyone has a different body, which means you can handle different levels than other people. I have to be super careful to not have dairy without a lactase pill… or I pay for it in the end.

Second, dairy-free options might be the best option for you. I know that I feel better when I eat less dairy, even if it is lactose-free. There are so many awesome companies that make tasty dairy-free products. Of course, it won’t be what you are used to, but now is a good time as any to broaden your horizons!

Third, Read labels, read labels, read labels. I cannot stress this enough! There are so many products that are lactose-free that don’t advertise it! Do I know why? Nope! But I am in the process of making a mega list of products that are sneakily lactose-free so keep your eyes peeled!

Fourth, ghee is a great substitute for butter when cooking. You get the same great flavor without the lactose. Ghee seems to be more accessible than lactose-free butter in stores, so it’s a great option. (Butter is super easy to make, and I have the recipe to make your own lactose-free butter here.)

Fifth, don’t be afraid to ask people what they put in food. In my opinion, it is better to be safe rather than sorry! Luckily, my family and friends all know, so when I ask if they added dairy, they know I am not being picky. More often than not, people are willing to accommodate you. If lactase works for you, that is another great option for big gatherings. Just remember- your stomach is important, and you need to take care of yourself!

I hope these 5 tips help you on your adventures in navigating food sensitivities. Let me know in the comments if you learned something new or have something to add!

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

Dairy-Free Hot Fudge Sauce

Hot fudge is that lovely chocolatey, silky, rich sauce to top ice cream- but sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the dairy in it. On good days, taking a lactase pill works just fine. Other days, my stomach vetoes dairy.

If you came here for a healthy dairy-free hot fudge recipe… sorry to tell you, but this is the wrong blog! I love having delicious desserts. Dairy-free doesn’t have to mean healthy.

When I found out I was lactose-intolerant, I was devastated! Before then, I had never had dairy-free food, and frankly, I was scared. The trick is finding the right recipes that work with the flavors of the dairy-free ingredients. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of those recipes! Chocolate and coconut work so well together, so why not make a hot fudge sauce with coconut cream?

I took to Pinterest to gather details on what other people have done before me. I found a lovely recipe by SimplyWhisked.com and tweaked it to fit my tastebuds. The hot fudge sauce I created is a darker version made with coconut cream instead of coconut milk. I hope you find this recipe as decadent as I did!

This is easy to mix into a recipe of Nice cream (ice cream made with frozen bananas)- I chose to make a peanut butter Nice cream and mixed the fudge in. I LOVE Tillamook’s peanut butter chocolate ice cream, so I wanted to attempt to replicate it. The recipe is in the works, so it will be on here soon!

Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup canned coconut cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbs of cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of your choice of dairy-free chocolate chips (I used a blend of semi-sweet and dark)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Directions

  1. In preparation, you can either let your can of coconut cream stand upright in the fridge or let it sit upright in your cupboard. If you leave it in the fridge, it is easier to scoop out the top layer of cream. Of course, the whole can is coconut cream, but the creamiest part floats to the top. Scoop the top off until you have the 2/3 cup of coconut cream needed.
  2. Place the coconut cream, brown sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt into a small saucepan- I would sift the cocoa powder into the mixture to avoid any lumps- and heat it on medium heat, stirring often to break up the clumps of chocolate (or cocoa powder- I see ya’ll who don’t have time to sift the cocoa powder.)
  3. Heat it until the mixture is smooth and all the chocolate is melted.
  4. Take it off the heat and let it cool, like a patient person. (I totally snuck a taste test with hopes that my tongue wouldn’t be burned off. Luckily, it wasn’t. If you can’t tell, adrenaline junkie is my middle name.)
  5. You can use it now on some dairy-free ice cream, or you can stick it in the fridge until you want to use it. After a night in the fridge, it turns into a thick, creamy fudge! So you can enjoy it by the spoonful hot OR cold. You can store it in the fridge for four or five days, but you be the judge of it by the smell.

Side Notes:

  • I used a blend of 45% to 60% dark chocolate, so my hot fudge turned out pretty dark- just how I like it! If you prefer milk chocolate, find a dairy-free chocolate brand and experiment with amounts of white, milk, and dark chocolate. Enjoy Life has a couple good options. My favorite kind of chocolate to use is Guittard for the quality and varying percentages of chocolate. From my experience, they have dairy-free chocolate from 45% and on, but read the label before you buy it! From my knowledge, it isn’t dairy allergy friendly, so maybe Enjoy Life or another allergy conscious brand would be a better choice for those with dairy-allergies.
  • This coconut fudge is VERY chocolatey! I wanted it to taste like chocolate with only a hint of coconut on the back of your palate. If you prefer a stronger coconut flavor, I would remove the 2 Tbs of cocoa powder in the recipe.

Uncategorized

Teriyaki Sauce

Japanese food wasn’t familiar to me until I married my husband. His mom lived in Japan for a year and a half and his uncle is from Japan. My in-laws don’t have Japanese food often, but when they do, it is a delicious treat! This recipe is from his uncle, and we prefer it to any store- bought teriyaki sauce.

Asian cuisine is a great way to avoid putting dairy into your diet. There are far more people in Asia who are lactose-intolerant than there are in the United States, so it makes sense that they don’t use as much milk as we do. We have Asian meals two or three times a week. It’s a delicious way to pack in veggies and rice and avoid a grumpy stomach.

Teriyaki sauce is a very simple way to dress up a bowl of rice or some steamed vegetables. My husband and I especially enjoy gyoza with teriyaki sauce. After making a batch of the sauce, we like to keep our teriyaki sauce in a little Snapware container on the top shelf of our fridge so we always have teriyaki sauce to dress up a meal.

Side Notes:

  • The quality of the teriyaki sauce depends on the quality of the soy sauce you buy.
  • This sauce is very strong and a little goes a long way- you probably only need half of a teaspoon for a bowl of rice.
  • I have tried making it with brown sugar and white sugar. Either way, it still turns out delicious!
  • This doesn’t taste like restaurant-style or store-bought teriyaki sauce. It is simple and delicious! Part of the reason I like it so much is because it is a simple recipe of only four ingredients.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic or garlic powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger or ginger powder
  1. Place all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and boil for three to five minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. You can boil the sauce for a few more minutes if you would like a thicker sauce. Be careful to not boil it too much- it could boil down into a weird teriyaki candy or boil over onto your stove. Definitely not the easiest thing to clean off your stove. Not that I know from experience…
  2. Let the sauce cool (or not) and enjoy! This is a super simple way to incorporate some authentic Japanese flavor into meals!
  3. Place the leftovers into an air-tight container and keep in the fridge. It will stay fresh for three to six months.

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!

Uncategorized

Lactose-Free vs. Dairy-Free

Some people don’t think there is a difference between dairy-free and lactose-free, but there is! Lactose-free products are still the dairy we know and love, just without the pesky lactose. Dairy-free alternatives (almond milk, coconut yogurt, nut cheese) are obviously dairy and lactose-free.

Dairy adds flavor, texture, and color to many recipes that just isn’t the same without it. That’s why certain recipes don’t work without the dairy-free counterparts. If I have the option, I use lactose-free products in baking because I prefer it.

Don’t despair if you have a milk allergy! There are still many wonderful ways to use dairy-free alternatives. I like to find recipes that are specifically dairy-free that work with the alternatives rather than using them to replace dairy.

On this blog, you will find a variety of recipes that are either lactose-free or dairy-free. I hope you enjoy learning about the ways to make tasty food and have a happy stomach!