Friday, April 29, 2011

Dairy-Free Chip Cookies and The Beginning of a New Adventure…


Dairy Free? Can in really be done? I mean… can it REALLY be done with someone like me? A month or two ago, I would have told you ABSOLUTELY NOT, but I have found a few gems a long the way that have really helped out. Rice Milk is one of them!

Alternative milks I like (in this order):

  • Flax Milk is my favorite, but it is newer and hard to find. It tastes really good- vanilla flavored… Mmmmm! And it has that Omega 3 that is really good for you. They enrich these milks, so they have just as much calcium as a glass of cow’s milk- which I think is pretty cool.
  • I also really like Rice Milk- the flavor isn’t too strong, but it does taste like rice. My husband didn’t like any of them until he tasted this, but he love rice, so there you have it.
  • I also like Coconut Milk- it was so good in cereal!

However, I’m not as big a fan of Almond or Soy Milk- which are much easier to find. I just didn’t care for the flavor as much, but that is just my two bits on the subject. Why Dairy Free?, you may be asking. My husband and daughter have had a couple health issues, and we’ve found out they might have a food allergy/irritation to dairy, so I’ve just been trying to cook most of our meals without. I have been surprised at the difference- we have all felt better. My husbands stomach pains have decreased and my daughters issues are almost gone! It is hard, I still haven’t completely gotten rid of the cheese and yogurt- those have been the hardest, but we’ve found that the low fat kinds seem to cause the worst reactions.

ANYWAY- enough about all that- I did try out these cookies I found on the side of the Rice Dream carton. They were pretty good. I like the maple syrup flavor in them—although I don’t know how “healthy” that was with all the high fructose corn syrup… oh well, I guess you win some and you loose some. :) It reminds me a little bit of the guy I saw using one of those aluminum water containers to “help the environment” and I watched him open a plastic water bottle, pour it in, and toss it…Hmmmm…I guess you just do the best you can and just hope to yourself you are making a difference. Maybe you just feel a little less guilty anyway. :)

Huey's Chip Cookies (Rice Dream)

Makes 12 large cookies or 3 dozen small cookies

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 cup carob or chocolate chips (I used mini dark chocolate chips.)
  • 1/2 cup Rice Dream Classic Original or Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Drop by scoop or spoon onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake 10 - 20 minutes (depending on size) until edges begin to brown.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blueberry Muffins with Crumble Topping


Yes… you are absolutely right, I will admit that I make a lot of muffins. I can’t help it. I just REALLY like muffins. They always sound good and almost always taste good… especially blueberry muffins… ESPECIALLY THESE BLUEBERRY MUFFINS! Mmmmm. So good. I promise! I have made so many different recipes for blueberry muffins—Emily’s To Die for Blueberry Muffins (from whence came the crumble topping for these, and which I embarrassingly posted twice, I just found out), The Best Blueberry Muffins I Ever Made, Sour Cream Blueberry Bread, Bacon Blueberry Scones, and Good Morning Blueberry Bran Muffins. Can you tell I really like blueberries—and really super-duper like blueberry muffins? :) The first two recipes are my favorites, but I think this one takes the cake…or the muffin in this case, or at least ties with the other two, especially with the addition of crumble topping. A wondrous way to start the day!

Blueberry Muffins (Susanna Tee, 1 Mix, 100 Muffins)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I did half wheat, half white- seems to be a good balance, a little more substance, but not too heavy.)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • heaping 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • scant 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 T oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of 1 lemon (I cannot emphasize enough what a difference this little secret weapon makes! Totally transforms a typical blueberry muffin- don’t leave it out, and if you don’t have lemon, use orange, maybe even lime… it just needs that citrus kick.)

Preheat oven to 400 and grease or line 12 muffin cups. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and blueberries.

Lightly beat the eggs in separate bowl, then beat in the milk, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the beaten liquid ingredients. Stir gently until just combined- do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into muffin cups. (Sprinkle on your crumble topping now before baking, if you are adding that.) Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until well risen, golden brown, and firm to the touch.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Crumble Topping: (Pretty easy to mix together, and worth the extra 5 minutes!)

Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lion House Porcupine Meatballs


I just haven’t had quite the same motivation in the kitchen with this baby taking away some of my appetite and desire to cook (not to mention the heartburn :), so it is a good thing I have sweet friends with good recipes! I mentioned my dilemma to my friend Jackie, and she e-mailed me this yummy recipe. She was saying she likes this one because after you prepare, you just let it simmer for an hour and you don’t have to worry about it so much. I tired it out and really liked it. I have to admit I was nervous that it might just taste like tomato soup, but was surprised at the yummy unique flavor. My husband did the stirring because I had to leave for a bit, and not that I’m complaining, but they didn’t quite look as much like meatballs afterwards :) but they still tasted great and they weren’t burned, so thanks hubby. And thanks Jackie for motivating me to get dinner on the table. :) Keep ‘em comin’ friends!

Lion House Porcupine Meatballs
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 c uncooked rice
1/4 c chopped onion
1/4 c water
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
1 can tomato soup (condensed)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 c water

*Combing beef, rice, onion, 1/4 cup water, salt, and pepper. Shape into one inch balls. Set aside. Blend soup and chili powder. Stir in 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil. Add meatballs. Cover and simmer gently for one hour. Stir occasionally. Makes about 6 servings.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quick and Easy Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting PLUS a Self-Rising Flour Recipe




I’m coming out of “birthday central” at our house. We have three right in a row (soon to be almost four, because I’m due with another little one in a month), and my daughter was the only one who actually ended up with a “cake”. I made little girly cupcakes for her party. She requested “Pink Lola Frosting” (Charlie and Lola is one of our all-time favorites, so here is a link to a cute Charlie and Lola birthday episode that I highly recommend watching—I dare say I enjoy them just as much, if not more then my kiddos… just a little confession. :) I got this great Mom and Me Cookbook a while back for kids. It is so cute and simple and kids have fun helping because it is so visual. I had to have something to put that “Pink Frosting” on, and this ended up being just as “Quick and Easy” as it boasts to be. :) Better than a cake mix and dare I say, just about as easy. I added just a bit of lemon juice to have it go with the Lemon Frosting I made. Ended up being a tasty little Spring-Time Birthday Cupcake! Wish you could have made it to the party. :)

Lyd’s Tip: It’s easy to make something look fancier with a slice of fruit. Just kind of dresses things up and makes it look special. I would recommend waiting until you are ready to serve though if you are doing a wet fruit like a strawberry- it got a little soggy and wet on the frosting. I also thought the sprinkles would be fun, but by the time I served them, they had bled onto the strawberry and it didn’t look quite so “pretty” but the kids didn’t seem to mind. :)

Quick and Easy Cupcakes (Annabel Karmel, Mom and Me Cookbook)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (Don’t panic- it’s ok if you don’t have it, just scroll down and I’ve included an easy recipe for self-rising flour.)

Preheat oven to 350. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat together until the mixture is smooth and slightly lighter in color.

Line a muffin pan with muffin papers and half-fill each paper with the cupcake batter.

Bake the cakes. You can tell they are done when they have risen up, are golden in color, and spring back into shape when pressed.

Lemon Frosting

(I came across this recipe last summer when I made Lime cupcakes for my sister’s birthday and it is totally my favorite frosting recipe! (As you can see, I subbed Lime for Lemon this time.) It is the first time you actually REALLY want to eat the frosting right off the top- so yummy. Be warned though, it makes a huge batch- I made 24 cupcakes, and I still had almost half a bag left… which isn’t really a problem. :) I made a very creative, yummy fruit dip with it by adding a bit of cream cheese and yogurt, but I think it is best in frosting form.)

  • 3/4 - cup Butter, softened
  • 6 - cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 - teaspoon salt
  • 1 - Tablespoon half and half or milk
  • 1 - teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lime peel (I zested 2 times) (I used Lemon zest.)
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice (the juice of 2 limes) (I used Lemon juice.)
  • 2 - Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup butter at medium speed until creamy.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt alternately with half & half and 1 teaspoon vanilla, lime peel and juice, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
  • Stir in corn syrup.
  • Frost cupcakes. (I scooped all my frosting into a zip-lock bag, got air out and sealed tightly. Then I cut about 1/4 inch off the end and piped icing out in a circle starting on the outside of the cupcake and moving into the center. I garnished with a strawberry slice.

    Self Rising Flour (

  • For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Mix to combine.
  • Saturday, April 16, 2011

    Healthy Oat & Prune Muffins


    Hey- it’s Muffin Monday… or wait, Saturday. :) You won’t feel one bit of guilt eating these healthy muffins. They were surprisingly tasty too! The prunes are actually pretty good in them- they add some moisture. They mix up fast too, which is always nice. A healthy breakfast or snack!

    Healthy Oat & Prune Muffins (Susanna Tee, 1 Mix, 100 Muffins)

    • 1 cup of all purpose flour (I went ahead and did whole wheat, why not if we’re thinking healthy?)
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • heaping 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    • scant 2 cups rolled oats
    • heaping 3/4 cup pitted prunes chopped
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 cup milk
    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.

    2. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with cases.

    3. Sift together the flour and the baking powder and then stir in the sugar, oats and prunes.

    4. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl and then add the milk, oil, vanilla extract.

    5. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

    6. Stir gently until just combined, do not over mix.

    7. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch.

    8. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then remove to wire rack and allow to cool completely.


    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    Homemade Tartar Sauce


    My hubby took me out for fish and chips on my birthday. It was so good! I was inspired by the yummy tartar sauce- that is most definitely an acquired taste for me. When I was little, I was not interested at all, but now I could just spoon it out and eat it alone. :) Anyway- we recently had some crab cakes, and I felt like they needed that yummy tartar sauce, so I did some hunting and found a pretty good recipe. I love small raw onions- also probably an acquired taste (I feel a little like a rough pirate-like character embracing such a strong, rugged veggie). I just love the crunch, and when they are finely chopped, I don’t think they are too strong or overpowering… and least, I like to think that, but my onion breath might suggest otherwise. :)

    Lyd’s Tip: I must say that “1 quart of mayo” is a lot. You’ll probably want to cut this one down. (What a great area to sub some plain yogurt- cheaper and better for you- I wouldn’t swap it straight across though.) I made a smaller batch, and I still had a lot left over. I was wondering what to do with it, but then I started thinking about how it might work well for tuna fish sandwiches. It was been awesome! A great flavor and you just add the tuna and a little bit of this sauce and you are good to go. These extra few ingredient kick it up a notch, and the kids really liked it.

    Tartar Sauce (

    • 1 quart mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1 cup diced onion
    • 1 cup finely chopped dill pickle

    In a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, onion, and dill pickle. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to a glass or plastic container with a tight lid and refrigerate.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Asian Marinated Steak



    I wanted to make a nice Asian meal for Doug a while back… ok Valentine’s Day, I think it was—I know, I’m a little behind on some of my posts. :) Anyway, I ended up cooking up these yummy steaks- this recipe was for flank steaks, and I can’t remember what cut this was, but it wasn’t that. They still tasted good and I used my “George Forman” to grill them up. They had a yummy flavor, and I mixed up some yummy Asian veggies to go on the side- I used broccoli, zucchini, peppers, carrots, and onions, and I flavored it with teriyaki sauce and thickened it with a bit of cornstarch—nothing too fancy, but it made a great side dish with the steaks.
    Asian Marinated Steak (
    • 1/4 c low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tsp liquid honey
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 2 tsp lemon zest
    • 2 minced cloves garlic
    • 1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
    • pinch crushed chili flakes
    • 1 lb beef flank steak
    How to make it
    • Mix all ingredients in a Ziploc baggie.
    • Add steak and turn to coat.
    • Refrigerate 24 hours.
    • Bring out meat from fridge, let stand 30 minutes.
    • Pat steak dry, place under broiler or on hot grill 4 minutes a side.
    • Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    Cheesy Beef and Pasta Skillet


    This is a nice quick one for a busy night—it seems like I can never get enough of those… even for the nights that I’m not that busy. :) I love that on the Kraft site, I can just plug in a couple ingredients I might have and they can generate a recipe for me. I didn’t have VELVEETA cheese, so I just ended up leaving that out and sprinkling grated cheese on at the end. It was pretty tasty.

    Cheesy Beef and Pasta Skillet (

    • 1/2 lb. extra lean ground beef
    • 1/2 cup chopped onions
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1 cup penne pasta, uncooked
    • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (I used red bell peppers, because that is what I had on hand.)
    • 2 oz. VELVEETA 2% Milk Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

    Make It

    COOK meat with onions, cumin and chili powder in large skillet on medium-high heat 5 min. or until meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

    ADD tomatoes, water, pasta and peppers; stir. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover. Simmer 18 to 20 min. or until pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

    STIR in VELVEETA; cook 2 min. or until melted, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro.

    Kraft Kitchens Tips

    Add 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper along with the onions, cumin and chili powder.

    Substitute a green bell pepper for the yellow pepper.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Strawberry Mango Lime Syrup


    I’m just coming out of three birthday’s in a row, so I’ve got some catching up to do!

    Is Strawberry-Mango combination truly such a novelty? (I search and could not find!) What a pair they make! I basically had to make this syrup recipe up. It was delicious! Now you can thank me tomorrow morning for this priceless little invention as you are spooning it over your warm pancakes. :)

    Strawberry Mango Lime Syrup (By Lyd)

    • 4 cups chopped ripe mango, from 2 (1-pound) mangoes
    • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 and 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
    • 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • pinch of cinnamon

    In a small pot, stir cool water and cornstarch together until well mixed. Turn on heat to medium. Add sugar, lime and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add fruit. Don’t over cook the fruit—unless you like it that way- I just like mine a little fresher.


    Lyd’s Confession:

    I have never properly cut up a mango before, so I turned to good old YouTube for a tutorial… thought I would share in case you are in the same boat. :)