Dairy Free Creamy Potato Soup

Last week I was squeezing in some last-minute shopping before the first big snowstorm of the season moved in. It was scheduled to start mid-afternoon and become really heavy during the rush hour. Which meant that my poor hubby would have a couple of hours of working and driving in the snow before he came home for the day. And to make matters worse, the snow was bringing with it some super cold temperatures. We were looking at -10 °F with the wind chill! We are used to winter in PA, but not that kind of winter. So while I was grocery shopping, I decided what we needed for supper that night was a warm and hearty pot of creamy potato soup. I love creamy potato soup! I grew up eating it every winter. To me, a bowl of creamy potato soup says "comfort". I thought that would be the perfect supper for a snowy, cold winter night. And then my husband could take leftover soup with him to work the next day as he worked in the subzero temps. I also knew that I had some potatoes at home that were starting to sprout so I really needed to do something with them soon. Making soup was the perfect choice.

When I make potato soup, we usually eat it plain. Occasionally we will top it with some shredded cheese or sour cream. But in light of the weather, I decided to bump up the toppings a little more and sprang for some bacon and green onions while I was at the store. Just to make supper a little extra special.

To make my soup, I start by sautéing some onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Then I add the potatoes with just enough water to cover them. And salt; don't forget to add the salt while you are cooking the potatoes. If you forget to add the salt while boiling the potatoes, you will never be able to add enough salt later when you are cooking or eating them. The same is true of when you make mashed potatoes. Always add the salt to the water and then boil the potatoes. Then later you will only need to season with a little salt.

Once the water comes to a boil, turn back the heat, cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft. Then mash the potatoes with a hand masher until most, but not all of the potatoes are mashed. Then I add a little cornstarch to thicken, some almond milk to get the desired consistency and a little salt and pepper to taste. You could add a little butter now if you wanted to. Then heat up the soup until it starts to bubble again. And then it's done.

I think the olive oil that the soup is started with is enough fat to add flavor to the soup. I find that when I do add butter, I don't even notice the difference. So you don't need to add butter, especially if you want to make it dairy free. I also choose to use unsweetened almond milk instead of cow's milk. We don't drink cow's milk anymore because we don't think it is necessary, so we use almond milk in place of cow's milk. If you use almond milk, it is a delicious way to make a creamy and tasty dairy free soup.

All that is left is to dish it up and decided what toppings you want, if you decide to add toppings. It is a delicious soup without the toppings because of the hearty flavor of the potatoes, onion and garlic. But toppings make it a little extra special. And sometimes after a hard day's work in the cold and snow, all you need is a little extra special.

Dairy Free Creamy Potato Soup

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium to large onion, diced

4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

@ 3 pounds (or 7-8 medium and large) golden potatoes, washed, peeled, diced and rinsed

water, enough to cover potatoes in stock pot (@ 5 cups of water, depends on the amount of potatoes)

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed into an equal amount of cold water, stir to dissolve clumps

1-2 c. unsweetened almond milk (depends on how thick or soupy you like your soup and how much water you added)

dash of salt, if needed

black pepper, to taste

 

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot. Add onion and garlic. Sauté over medium high heat until soft. Add potatoes and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium to medium-low, cover and simmer until potatoes are softened and can be easily pierced with a fork, approximately 10-15 minutes.

Remove from heat and semi-smash most of the potatoes with a hand masher. You want about half of the potatoes roughly mashed and the other half in whole pieces. Put pot back on the burner and turn back on to low heat. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Stir mixture through all the soup. Add almond milk, salt and pepper. Heat soup until bubbly again, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

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Fluffy Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pancakes

20131026-092644.jpgAwhile back I posted a review for King Arthur's Flour Gluten Free Pancake mix and I said how much my family and I loved the mix. And that is still true; it is a delicious pancake mix! But I wanted to be able to make my own "from scratch" pancakes, like I used to make before having to go gluten-free. So after much experimenting and after more than a few duds, which my supportive husband and kids ate (at least most of them, there were a few that even the dog didn't want to eat). :D Finally, I came up with this version of the recipe and it has been a hit ever since. Whew! And do you know what is the best thing about this recipe? It doesn't take any longer to make these than it does to make pancakes from a mix.

At last, quick and tasty from scratch pancakes again! I hope your family enjoys these gluten-free, dairy free pancakes as much as mine does.

 

Fluffy Gluten Free and Dairy Free Pancakes

2 c. Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour20131026-092604.jpg

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. corn starch

1 tsp. xanthan gum

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg (Yes, nutmeg. Trust me!)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 eggs

2 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. vanilla

 

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl; whisk to mix. Add the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined. There will be a few lumps still. That's okay; you don't want to overmix your pancake batter or else you will end up with tough pancakes. That is true for any kind of pancakes. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes while you heat your griddle to 350 degree F.

Once the griddle is hot, lightly spray it with cooking spray and pour on the batter. Use 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the batter. This will give you uniform, medium-sized pancakes. Cook the pancakes until the tops are slightly set with a few bubbles rising to the top and the edges are cooked; then flip to second side. This takes about 4 minutes. Cook on second side until the edges are completely set and the bottom is golden brown. This takes about 3 minutes. The top will spring back when lightly pressed with your finger when the pancakes are done. Try to flip your pancakes only once. Overhandling pancakes will make them tough also.

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Top with warm maple syrup and enjoy!

 

Variations:

We love to make these into blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes too. To make these variation, make the pancake batter according to the recipe. Then after you pour the batter onto the griddle, sprinkle blueberries or chocolate chips on pancakes. Then continue to cook the pancakes according to the recipe. The chocolate chip pancakes will take the same amount to time to cook, but the blueberry pancakes will take a little longer, especially if you are using cold or frozen blueberries. You are still looking for the same signs of doneness; however, it will take a bit longer. But it is SO worth it!! Blueberry pancakes are my personal favorite!

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

20130105-175114.jpgYou know that butternut squash that has been sitting on your counter for a while? The one that you grew for the first time or saw at the farmer's market or store and decided to buy for the first time, but now that you have it, you aren't sure what to do with it. This recipe is a great use for that lonely squash. This soup is creamy, filling, and comforting. Perfect for this time of year! This is another one of my husband, Ron's recipes. He likes to make a big pot of this soup on Sundays for his lunches during the coming week. It is a great option for a quick and healthy lunch on the go.

Butternut squash has become his favorite squash. He is planning on growing a lot of it this summer. In addition to the great taste, some other reasons Ron loves this squash is because it is easy to grow and it stores really well. Making it a great choice to grow for the purpose of storing and using over the winter months.

It's January; chances are where you live, it's cold outside or at least colder than you probably like. This is the perfect time to try out a new soup recipe. Why not try this one and make a pot of creamy, hot soup that not only is delicious, but also serves up a healthy dose of vegetables?

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 yams, peeled and chopped

1 butternut squash, peel with vegetable peeler, slice in half, remove seeds, and cut into large chunks

3 tbsp. butter or 2 tbsp. olive oil

12-16 c. stock, chicken or vegetable, more for a thinner soup and less for a thicker soup

salt and pepper, to taste

Method

1. Prep all the vegetables first, peeling and chopping.

2. Heat oil in a 8 quart stock pot then add the vegetables. Vegetables for Creamy Butternut Squash Soup3. Sauté until all the vegetables are soften, for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Cover vegetables with stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until vegetable as very soft.

 

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5. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor.

 

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Makes 4-6 servings.

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Chocolate Cake

This recipe became a staple in my house when our diet was drastically altered because of my son's food allergies. It is a delicious chocolate cake that is made without any eggs, butter or milk. Sometimes it is called "Wacky Cake"  and it originated during World War II when there were rations on certain foods and products. The cake is so easy to make, using just a bowl and spoon and the result is a moist and delicious cake. Even though my son grew out of his food allergies, I still frequently bake this cake for my family because we like it so much. It makes a one layer 9 inch cake which is the perfect amount for my family since we're able to eat it before it gets stale. There are lots of versions of Wacky Cake but I prefer this one because it uses less sugar, cocoa and oil than other versions. Once you try this cake and see how easy it is to make and how good it taste, I think that it will become a staple in your house too. Chocolate Cake (adapted from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cold water

1/2 c. cold black coffee

1/3 c. canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. white vinegar

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 8x8x2 inch square pan, a round 9 inch pan or a muffin tin.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until completely mixed together. Push the flour mixture to the outside edges of the bowl, creating a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the water, coffee, oil, vanilla and vinegar to the well. Using a large spoon, stir together the wet and dry ingredient just until they are combined.

Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes for the square and round pans, or for 20 minutes for cupcakes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack. The cake is delicious served just as it is, or you can sift some powdered sugar over the top right before serving.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutritional information:

147 Calories

6 g. fat

0 g. saturated fat

0 mg. cholesterol

205 mg. sodium

23 g. carbohydrates

1 g. fiber

12 g. sugar

2 g. protein

Bean Enchiladas

As I mentioned in a previous post, I created this recipe for Bean Enchiladas when my son was younger and had many food allergies, including beef, chicken and dairy. This recipe is so easy to make and it's lighter than traditional beef enchiladas. I used to make the recipe from the side of the enchilada sauce can which called for two cans of enchilada sauce, one for the filling and one to top the enciladas. While those were tasty, the amount of sodium from the sauce alone was quite a lot. Now I just use one can of sauce for the topping. For the filling, I use a can of tomato sauce with no added salt, along with some of my Taco Seasoning in place of the can of enchilada sauce. For the rest of the filling, I use beans instead of ground beef. That cuts down on the fat and saturated fat and increases the amount of fiber. I've used different kinds of beans depending on what I have on hand but the combination of black beans and navy beans is by far my favorite. Now that we're not dealing with food allergies anymore, I add some cheese to our enchiladas but the cheese could easily be left out and that was how we ate them for a year. Now that we have the choice I like to add some cheese. Of course, if you are on a diet you can save 73 calories, 6 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat by leaving the cheese off. I also like to roll the filling in whole wheat tortillas instead of white flour tortillas. The final result is tasty Mexican dish that is lighter than before.  

Bean Enchiladas

1 (15 1/2 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed well

1 (15 1/2 oz.) can of navy beans, drained and rinsed well

1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce, no salt added

4 tsp. taco seasoning

6 whole wheat tortillas

1 (10 oz.) can of enchilada sauce, mild

Optional- 4 oz. shredded cheese (cheddar, longhorn or something similar), half for the filling and half for the topping

 

Optional toppings:

lettuce

tomatoes

sour cream

salsa

 

Canned beans have a lot of sodium in the sauce so make sure that you rinse your beans very well. Then in a large bowl, mix together the beans, tomato sauce and taco seasoning. Fill tortillas with the bean mixture and cheese, if you are using some. Roll up the tortillas and place in a lightly greased 13x9 pan with the seam side facing down. Pour the enchilada sauce over top of the tortillas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the enchiladas. Cover with tin foil and bake in a 350°F oven for about 20-25 minutes until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Serve topped with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa, if you wish.

Makes 6 enchiladas.

Bean Enchiladas and Roasted Potatoes

 

Tip: Add shredded cheese and sour cream for the family members that can have dairy; however, the enchiladas are delicious without the cheese or sour cream.

Nutritional information for 1 enchilada with cheese:

358 Calories

8 g. fat

4 g. saturated fat

3 mg. cholesterol

1003 mg. sodium

53 g. carbohydrates

12 g. fiber

5.5 g. sugar

16.5 g. protein

Flaxseed Waffles

These waffles were created when my infant son was diagnosed with food allergies. He was allergic to dairy, eggs, soy, corn, nuts, beef, chicken and seafood. Since he was allergic to so many things, I had to get creative and create some recipes that he could handle . Three years later, his allergies are gone but these flaxseed waffles have continued to be a weekly staple in our house. My family likes to eat them with spreadable fruit or pure maple syrup. Pure maple syrup cost more than regular pancake/waffle syrup but you do not need to use as much because it is sweeter tasting. And the best reason to use maple syrup is that it does not contain any artificial ingredients. This waffle recipe is healthier and lighter than a traditional waffle recipe since it does not have the saturated fat from the butter or the cholesterol from the eggs. And these waffles have more flavor too! The nutty flaxseed, the sweet vanilla and the spicy cinnamon add to the depth of flavor of these waffles. It also has the added benefits of flaxseed. Flaxseed is a wonderful little seed that has been linked to preventing diabetes, heart disease and cancer. It has three components that make it so healthy: Omega-3 essential fatty acids, lignans and fiber. Having flaxseed waffles for breakfast is a delicious way to start your day off!

Flaxseed Waffles

2 tbsp. whole flaxseed, milled up right before using (or you could use 3 tbsp. premilled flaxseed, I prefer to buy whole flaxseed and grind them myself right before I use it, that way none of the nutritional value of the flaxseed is lost. I use a coffee grinder to mill up my flaxseed.)

2 1/4 c. water, divided (3/4 c. and 1 1/2 c.)

1/2 canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. unbleached all purpose flour

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the flaxseed with 3/4 cup of water in a food processor. Blend together until the mixture resembles the consistency of egg whites, approximately 1-2 minutes. Add the oil, the vanilla and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water. Blend for 1 minute so that the water and oil combine with the flaxseed mixture. Add the remaining dry ingredients and pulse just to combine the ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and pulse a couple of seconds longer. You don’t want to overwork the batter once the flour has been added or else the waffles will be tough. Mix just long enough to combine all the ingredients together.

Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes while the waffle iron heats up. Once the waffle iron is heated, spray it with cooking spray and pour on some of the batter. Bake until the steaming slows, or approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Serve the waffles warm. You can keep the waffles warm while you make the whole batch by placing them in a oven set to the warm setting or about 180 degrees. Leftover waffles can easily be reheated in a toaster or toaster oven for breakfast another day. It depends on the size of your waffle maker but mine makes 10 4 inch by 5 inch rectangular waffles.

UPDATE: added the nutritional information for this recipe on 2/21/2011.

Per waffle:

200 Calories

12.5 g fat

1 g saturated fat

0 mg cholesterol

275 mg sodium

18 g carbohydrates

1 g fiber

2 g sugar

3 g protein