Category: Menu Ideas

Dairy-free chocolate chips option!

We went to Costco and found bulk chocolate chips there.  They are Kirkland’s brand and contain NO dairy!!!  That said, they were manufactured on equipment that may contain dairy products.  We have had no adverse reactions with them and are so happy to have found a more economical way to make dairy-free chocolate chip cookies.  We have also found some dairy-free ones at Save Mart out west that have no cross-contamination.

Dairy-free and Soy-free Protein Shake

I’ve started working out again and wanted to find a dairy-free and soy-free protein shake (as we have both allergies in our home). I found vanilla flavored Hemp Protein powder, and despite its color, found it quite tasty. Here’s the recipe I used:

8 oz. Rice Milk OR Almond Milk
2+ T Hemp Protein Powder
1 frozen banana
1/4 c blueberries or strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1 tsp. vanilla (optional)
Blend all the ingredients except for the ice together. Add ice one cube at a time until you reach desired consistency. This is a great post-workout shake as well as an energy shake. Warning…the Hemp Protein powder is GREEN and your shake will look like it came from the movie Shrek! My kids, however, liked this perk:) Although it is a little bit powdery, I find it quite enjoyable and not too different from other protein shakes.
(I’ve posted this earlier, but another quick protein shake is to take pasteurized egg whites (1/4-1/3 c) and mix them with orange juice, pineapple juice, or berry juice. You can even blend in a banana and ice, if desired.)

What solid food can I feed my baby?

Someone asked me what solid food they could feed their babies who were intolerant to milk/dairy. Here’s what I shared with her:

This is a list of foods to introduce to your baby with recommended ages that I got from one of my cookbooks (“Set For Life”):

0 – 6 months – breast milk, formula, or goat’s milk

7-8 months – cereals (brown rice, millet, oatmeal, barley) You can buy the Gerber-type baby cereal and mix it with water and applesauce to flavor it, or you can make your own (healthier, but not fortified with iron). Make the cereal by putting the whole grain into the blender until it’s a fine meal consistency. This cereal cooks in minutes using about a one tablespoon of the grain to one-third cup water.

8-10 months – in addition to the cereals, add vegetables and fruits, such as: squash, carrots, potatoes, green beans, peas, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, applesauce (unsweetened), bananas, peaches, pears, etc. These items are easy to cook up and mash or puree in the blender. I’ve also tried Cheerios later on as a finger food, and my babies have loved chewing and sucking on them with no problems.

10-11 months – add cooked eggs and legumes (NOTE: My oldest son was allergic to both eggs and milk, so if you are worried about that, then wait to introduce the eggs until you see an allergist or until they are 1 year old.) Black beans might make a nice finger food. Just rinse, heat, and serve, otherwise, mash up to a fine consistency.

11-12 months – add lean meats (cut up really small or pureed) and bread, cubed or diced

A few things that we did were when my kids were old enough, I gave them little bits of what we were eating for dinner (provided you are making dairy-free dinners). If we had steamed veggies, then I pureed some for them or let them try a couple of peas. If I had chicken, then I would puree or cut up a little bit for them to try (when they were older or could chew okay). To grind foods up quickly, I used a baby food grinder (like this: That said, a blender or food processor can work just as well, just add a little bit of water if it’s dry. You could also try brown rice on the side either ground up or see how they do. I have some free recipes (like a dairy-free chocolate cake for the 1st birthday:)) on my website: and also on my blog.

As far as the teething biscuits go, I found these recipes, but haven’t tried them yet:

Although I love whole wheat, I would wait until your babies are 1 year old before introducing it if you are worried about other food allergies. Stick with oats and rice. The same goes for strawberries, peanuts, honey, fish, etc.

Here are a few “meal” ideas that you could let them taste as soon as they are old enough or can chew well enough:

Chicken with rice and steamed veggies (make sure you flavor your chicken dairy-free or just salt and pepper theirs…you can boil the chicken and it will be tender.)
Cooked Macaroni Noodles with tomato-based spaghetti sauce and hamburger (you may have to cut this up; also the tomato sauce is a little bit acidic, so you’ll have to see how they do. You could also offer plain pasta cut up very small.)
Oat pancakes with blueberry syrup (diced really small to try as a finger food. If you’re worried about wheat allergy, then use white flour. If you don’t have oat milk available, you can use rice milk or make your own.)
Turkey (cut up small) with peas and a baked potato, mashed up
Chicken ‘n rice soup (you’d have to make sure that everything is cut up really small, or puree it in the blender)
Chicken Pot Pie (a little more of a complex meal)
Shepherd’s Pie (another more complex meal)

Your babies will be just fine with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. They really don’t need anything complicated at this point. Just try adding a new food every week and see how they do. Good luck!!!


Dairy-free Halloween Tips

I know that Halloween has already passed, but I wanted to post what we did for Halloween to make it fun AND safe for my kids.

1. I purchased extra candy that was dairy-free. I let the kids go door to door and accept the candy given. When they got home, I went through all their candy and sorted out the dairy-free candy and the non-dairy-free candy. I then let them trade for dairy-free candy. This way they didn’t feel left out or excluded and still had fun. Some neighbors know of our allergy and were very kind to provide something extra special for my kids:) I love great neighbors!!! (Note: Due to too many dental bills, I keep their candy up high and give them a little bit each day. At this rate, we may never get through it!!! Maybe I’ll send some with my husband to work:))

2. Make meal time fun! For our Halloween festivities, we celebrated the entire day. (I LOVE Saturdays!!!) Here was our menu:

Breakfast: Pumpkin Pancakes with chopped pecans and Apple Spice Syrup (found in my cookbook:

Lunch: Tomato Soup (“blood”), Bone Breadsticks, Fingers (carrots with hummus and almonds as finger nails), Spiders (cucumber slices with pretzel sticks stuck on with hummus), Swamp Juice (green Kiwi/Strawberry Juice with swedish fish)

Dinner: Toes (hot dogs with ketchup as toe nails), Monkey Brains (potato salad), Salad, and Water

Dessert: Dairy-free Chocolate cupcakes with fun decorations (recipe on my website)

Other ideas: “Teeth” – apple slices cut in teeth shapes stuck together with peanut butter, “Bats” – baby carrots with lettuce wings, grape tomato head stuck together with toothpicks.

3. Focus on the fun of dressing up and making fun family memories! For costumes, I made a Mario and Luigi costume for my boys. My daughter was Princess Leia. We also had a bee and a spiderman (store bought). We carved pumpkins and played the Bone game (we cut out a skeleton and hid the different pieces). We also watched some Disney Halloween short movies on You Tube. Overall it was a great day!!!

Protein post-workout drink options

As I’ve been looking for more ways to increase my protein (without dairy and soy), I have run across a few options for a quick post-workout drink.

1. 1/4-1/3 c egg whites (you can buy pasteurized egg whites for safety) + 1 c orange juice or pineapple juice. Blend together. You can add fresh fruit and ice to make a thicker drink (banana, strawberries, blueberries, etc.)
2. Buy a pea, hemp, or rice based protein mix from a health food store or online at

Quick and healthy dairy-free snack ideas

Here is a list of some balanced snacks that are healthy and dairy-free (with a protein and a produce and sometimes a whole grain):

– 1/4 c almonds with a fruit smoothie and toast, if desired
– Chicken salad with Triscuits and veggie sticks
– Apple slices dipped in peanut butter
– Kashi Bar (granola…check for dairy!!!) with grapes
– Deli-meat roll-up, veggies dipped in hummus, and fruit
– 1/4 c walnuts with apples and celery (or make a Waldorf salad)
– Fruit smoothie with a scoop of dairy-free protein powder added
– 1/4 cup cashews with 3 c popcorn and grapes
– Hummus and Triscuits, 1/4 c nuts, fresh fruit
– Beef Jerky with fresh fruit or natural fruit leather

Even though there are dairy allergies, it is still possible to eat a balanced meal:) If you have any more quick snack ideas, feel free to post them here!!!!

Quick and portable LUNCH ideas that are dairy-free!

Here is a list of some quick and easy lunch ideas that are dairy-free and balanced (including a whole grain, produce, and protein). Keep in mind that we do not have any nut allergies, and that I am aware that many children who have dairy allergies are also allergic to nuts. Also, ALWAYS double check the labels to ensure that they are dairy-free!!! To make these meals portable, I use little tupperware containers (there are so many sizes now) or ziplock bags. I typically drink water with all my meals, but you can also get 100% juice boxes to go with them. You can also add dried fruit or nuts.

– Whole wheat tortilla with peanut butter and sliced banana rolled into a wrap (so simple, tasty, and satisfying!)
– Chicken salad (cooked, finely chopped chicken with dairy-free mayonnaise – you can use the canned chicken), 6 Triscuits (I LOVE the flavored kind…olive oil and cracked pepper, fire roasted tomato, rosemary and olive oil…), Veggie sticks and hummus as dip
– Black beans or refried beans, whole wheat tortilla, salsa, and lettuce with a side of fruit
– Whole wheat tortilla with hummus, sliced turkey or chicken, lettuce or baby spinach, and tomato or salsa rolled into a wrap (These wraps came in very handy on a picnic, and I was amazed at how tasty the hummus was used instead of mayonnaise. I pre-made them and put them into ziplock bags. I then had water and little natural applesauce cups with disposable plastic spoons. These worked perfectly at the park and were filling.)
– Calzone or empanada (kind of like a pizza pocket without the cheese…I like to make them ahead of time and freeze them for a quick meal. If making the empanadas, put some of the spaghetti sauce on the inside so that it’s not as messy), Salad or veggie sticks
– Whole wheat bread (I like using the little Arnold’s rounds as a special treat. They are a fun shape and you can make a sandwich with them or make a quick pizza using sauce and any toppings you want), Tuna or Egg Salad, carrots and grapes
– Chili (in a tupperware) and cornbread (make your own, dairy-free)
– Pasta served with a spaghetti meat sauce with a fruit or vegetable on the side
– Classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fruit or veggie sticks

If you have any more quick lunch ideas, please feel free to post them here! The more, the merrier!!!

Top 5 Ways to Have a Balanced Diet Without Dairy PLUS cooking tips


Milk often fills an important nutritional
niche. It’s rich in protein, vitamins and
minerals, and many toddlers will drink milk
even when they’re not enthusiastic about
solid foods. Many families worry about
staying healthy and maintaining adequate
nutrition when they remove dairy products
from the diet. Happily, though, all the
beneficial components of milk are found in a
variety of common foods. Read on to learn
how to balance your milk-free diet.

1. Protein
Adults and teens require fifty to sixty grams
of protein daily. Children’s needs range from
nine to 34 grams, depending on age. People
who eat meat even infrequently are likely to
far exceed their minimum protein needs. Six
ounces of lean ground beef has over 45
grams of protein. It’s not difficult for
vegetarians to get enough, either. Great
vegetarian sources of protein include:
• Tofu (ten grams per serving);
• Legumes like kidney beans,
chickpeas, or nuts (seven to nine
grams per serving);
• Eggs (six grams per egg);
• Whole grains (quinoa has thirteen
grams per serving; wheat and oats
have six each)

2. Calcium
Calcium is a vital mineral for building bone
mass, and milk is a rich source. Adult
women have the highest calcium needs, at
1,000 to 1,500 mg per day, while children
require between 500 and 1,300 mg. There
are two ways to replace dairy calcium in the
diet. The first is to eat foods that have been
supplemented with calcium or to take
supplements. The second is to eat nondairy
foods that are especially high in calcium.
Here is a list of some good sources of
Calcium (Amount needed to consume listed
first; mg of calcium received listed second):
Fortified Rice Milk – 1 c – 300 mg
Fortified Apple Juice – 1 c – 300-350 mg
Calcium-fortified soymilk – 1 c – 350 mg
Calcium-fortified orange juice – 1 c – 350 mg
Oatmeal made with alt. milk – 1 c – 300 mg
Calcium-fortified cereal – 1 oz. – 200-300 mg
Collards, cooked – 1 c – 266 mg
Spinach – 1 c – 291 mg
Blackstrap molasses – 1 Tbsp. – 172 mg
Turnip greens, cooked – ½ c – 124 mg
Cowpeas, cooked – ½ c – 106 mg
Kale, cooked – 1 c – 90 mg
Broccoli, cooked – 1 c – 71 mg
Other veggies and most fruit – 1 c -10-60 mg
(List given by Anne Gibbens’ nutritionist,

3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is used in the body to help absorb
dietary calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can
cause serious disorders of the bones like
rickets and osteomalacia. These are very
rare disorders, however, since vitamin D can
be produced naturally by the body upon
exposure to the sun. Ten to 15 minutes per
day of direct sunlight is sufficient to prevent
vitamin D deficiency. Good nondairy
dietary sources of vitamin D include eggs,
fish, oysters, fortified cereals, and cod liver

4. Riboflavin
Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, is one of the Bcomplex
of vitamins vital for processing
carbohydrates in the body. It has recently
become popular as a treatment for migraine
headaches, as it has been clinically shown to
reduce their frequency. While riboflavin is
available in supplement form, it is not
particularly difficult to get vitamin B2 from
an otherwise well-balanced diet. The RDA
(recommended daily allowance) for
riboflavin is 0.5 mg per thousand calories
eaten on a daily basis. Leafy greens, sweet
potatoes, whole grains, and meat are good
sources. Some cereals and breads are
enriched with riboflavin as well.

5. Phosphorus
Milk is among the richest dietary sources of
phosphorus, a mineral that helps regulate
cell function in the body. It is a major
component of bones and teeth. Meat eaters
should easily get adequate phosphorus in the
diet without dairy; fatty fish, in particular,
are an efficient way to meet your phosphorus
needs. Vegetarians’ best options for
phosphorus are legumes, which are high in
phosphorus but not absorbed as easily in the
body as the phosphorus found in animal
products. Another good source is bread,
especially if the bread has been leavened
with yeast.
Information taken in part from: http://

It has been so much fun adapting recipes
and creating new ones that are dairy-free.
Here are a few tips you can use in adapting
your personal favorites:
• Try substituting rice milk or soymilk for
ordinary cow’s milk or buttermilk (for 1 c
buttermilk use 1 cup soymilk + 1 tsp. lemon
• Use dairy-free margarine or olive oil in
place of butter or regular margarine (Earth
Balance® dairy-free margarine (sold at
health food stores and some grocery stores) is
BY FAR the best dairy-free margarine I’ve
• To substitute 1 can of cream of chicken or
mushroom soup in a recipe, take 1 T dairyfree
margarine and 1 T flour. Melt the dairyfree
margarine in a sauce pan. Add the flour
and whisk together. Slowly add 1 c soymilk
and 1 tsp. chicken bouillon (double check
label). Stir constantly over medium heat
until thick. This makes 1 can of condensed
soup. For cream of mushroom soup, add
chopped mushrooms at the end.
• To substitute a 12 oz. can of evaporated
milk, mix together 1 1/4 c water, 3/4 c + 1
T powdered soymilk and 1 1/2 tsp. dairyfree
margarine. Mix together over medium
heat until dairy-free margarine is melted and
mixture is smooth. Store in fridge. Use in
recipes calling for evaporated milk. (Note: A
lot of powdered soymilk has casein in it.
We’ve been pleased with Better Than Soy®
powdered soymilk.)
• In working with dairy-free cheeses, my
children have not liked any of the brands
we’ve tried. I’ve found it easiest to just go
without at this time. That said, I do
sometimes like using Tofutti’s Better Than
Sour Cream® and Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese.

Gluten and Dairy-Free 72-Hr Kit Food List

My friend Donna sent this to me.  It is a list of food items for a 72-hr emergency kit.  This is a great kit to have on hand in case you lose all power, have to evacuate due to weather conditions, or come across any other emergencies.  Especially with food allergies, emergency shelters will be hard pressed to be able to accommodate your needs (especially if you are also allergic to gluten…I can’t imagine!).  I plan on updating my 72-hr kit this month:)  (Note:  With a dairy-only allergy, you can add things like graham crackers or teddy grahams (double check labels!!!), saltine crackers, dairy-free granola bars and the like, if you want to supplement your food.  You can also substitute soymilk or rice milk for the almond milk.)

Gluten & Dairy Free 72 hour kit (Compiled by J. Dalley)


3 Larabars
1 pkg Lundberg Rice Cakes
1 bag of GF Granola (like Bakery on Main)
4 Beef Jerky
1 Can of Chicken or Tuna
1 box of Mary’s Gone Crackers
2 cans of Dinty Moore Beef Stew
1 can of Hormel Chili
2 Applesauce
2 Canned Fruit
3 Fruit Leather
3 Fruit Roll-up or Fruit Snacks
2 boxes of raisins
2 boxes of Pacific Almond Milk
1 juice box
1 container of Country Time Lemonade
1 jar of Peanut or other Nut Butter
1 small jar of Honey
1 gallon of water
1 Big-E Cup of Eclipse Gum
Condiments: Jelly, Mayo, Mustard, Pickle Relish

Day 1
Breakfast: 1 Larabar, 1 Applesauce
Lunch: 2 Beef Jerky, 1 Canned Fruit
Dinner: 1 can of Beef Stew, 4 crackers
Snack: 1 box of raisins, 1 fruit leather, peanut butter & honey, gum
Drink: Almond Milk, Lemonade/Water

Day 2
Breakfast: 3 Rice Cakes w/ Jelly, GF Granola
Lunch: Chicken Salad w/ crackers
Dinner: Chili, 4 crackers
Snack: 2 fruit roll-up/fruit snacks, peanut butter & honey, gum
Drink: 1 juice box, Lemonade/Water

Day 3
Breakfast: 1 Larabar. 1 Applesauce
Lunch: 2 Beef Jerky, 1 Canned Fruit
Dinner: 1 can of Beef Stew, 4 crackers
Snack, 1 box of raisins, rice cakes with peanut butter & honey, gum
Drink: Almond Milk, Lemonade/Water

Quick list of menu ideas for nursing moms or new allergy families who can’t have dairy products

I just wanted to write out a quick list of dinner ideas that are easy to make that are dairy-free. I know that when I first had to cook without dairy, I was stumped as to what I could make. The more I’ve done it, the easier it became:)

Here goes:

Spaghetti and marinara sauce
Lemon Pepper Chicken with rice and steamed veggies
Teriyaki Chicken
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Chicken ‘n rice soup
Vegetable soup
(Multiple soups and rolls/breadsticks)
BBQ chicken or pork
Grilled salmon
Many varieties of salads with vinaigrette dressing (minus the parmesan or romano cheese — READ LABELS!)
Shepherd’s Pie
Multiple stir-fry dishes
Fresh fruit
Fresh vegetables, raw, steamed, or cooked
Desserts made with dairy-free margarine and soymilk
Baked potatoes topped with chili, salsa, broccoli, vegetable soup, etc.
Steak or roast with vegetables
Hawaiian Haystacks (using cornstarch and chicken broth as base)
Taco Salad (you may have to make your own taco seasoning mix (see recipe below) as many mixes have dairy in them)
Pancakes and muffins made from scratch with soymilk or rice milk
Grilled meat and veggies
Tabbouleh (A yummy Lebanese salad made with cracked wheat or couscous)
Chicken Fajitas or Chicken Tacos (using Italian dressing as marinade, minus the cheese and sour cream)

Snack ideas without milk (ALWAYS double check the label):

Wheat Thins
air-popped or oil popped popcorn (most microwave contains dairy)
fruit & veggies (can use Russian or Catalina dressing to dip veggies in)
Nutter Butters
Teddy Grahams
Tortilla Chips & Salsa or Refried Beans
Cold cereal with Rice or Soymilk (Like Cheerios, Wheat Chex, Corn Chex, Rice Krispies, Crispex, Corn Pops, etc.)
Moonpie Cookies
Skittles, Starburst, Gummy Candy, etc.
Earth Balance dairy-free margarine (sold at Weis and health food stores in my area…this is BY FAR the best dairy-free margarine I’ve tried yet)
Prego Spaghetti Sauces (check label)
Graham Crackers (check labels)
Kaiser rolls and hoagie rolls
Frozen fries
Regular Potato Chips
Pretzels (check label)
Tyson’s chicken nuggets (check label)

***When I had to do egg-free baking, I liked using EnerG Egg Replacer sold at most health food stores***


In a blender, mix together:

1/4 cup dried minced onion flakes
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons salt
4 Tablespoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon oregano
3 teaspoons dried minced garlic
3 teaspoons hot crushed red pepper

Blend all ingredients together until spices well mixed and ground up. Store taco seasoning mix in tight container. 2 Tablespoons equals one commercial package. Use as directed in recipes. To add to hamburger meat, brown one pound ground beef, add 1 Tablespoons taco mix, 1 cup water. Simmer 5 minutes.