Dairy Free Biscuits and Gravy

Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy

Lounging around on Sunday morning watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, seeing Guy sampling the most amazing, intricate breakfasts, meanwhile having baking soda and eggs in my fridge was a struggle. I racked my brain and realized I had almond milk, baking supplies and some deer sausage in my deep freeze meaning I could make sausage gravy and biscuits, without cow!

I found this recipe from Sunshine Recipes and couldn’t wait to try it! I took a few liberties with the recipe, like adding sausage to my gravy and changing the oil amount so I will post my adapted recipe below and you can find the original at the link above.

Being allergic to dairy, this is a dish I have never made, and have never really enjoyed. I was thrilled that I was not only able to make this, but that it tasted as good as when my mother-in-law makes it and I get my one little spoonful!

Dairy Free Biscuits & Gravy

Ingredients

BISCUIT INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup plain almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp organic refined coconut oil

 GRAVY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp organic refined coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain almond milk, unsweetened
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1lb Venison Sausage

Instructions

Biscuit Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together the almond milk and lemon juice, set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil, gently mixing with a spoon after each tablespoon. The flour should resemble sand when all the oil is mixed properly.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in the almond milk mixture while stirring with a spoon until just combined. The dough will be sticky.
  4. Lightly flour a flat surface, and turn the dough onto the flour. Dust some flour on top of the dough and turn the dough GENTLY onto itself 5-6 times, no kneading required. Form into a 1-inch thick disk. Cut the biscuits out of the dough using a glass or biscuit cutter (there should be 6-8 biscuits). Place the biscuits on a prepared baking sheet, just touching at the edges.
  5. Make a divot in the center of each biscuit, and brush tops with melted coconut oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Serve with white gravy, or jelly and enjoy!

Gravy Directions

  1. In a saucepan over low/medium heat, melt the coconut oil. When melted, whisk in the flour. Slowly pour in the almond milk, whisking as you do so. Allow the mixture to bubble and whisk until desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a separate saucepan cook sausage until browned. Stir into gravy and serve with biscuits.

Makeup Must-Haves-Color Paint Shadow

Welcome to our new series, makeup must-haves! I will be highlighting different makeup finds that will be a must have for your vanity. These reviews are not paid, but are my honest to goodness favorite products to use in my routine and on any makeup clients.

This week’s product is a new release of an old favorite of mine that was discontinued several years ago. This is Make Up For Ever’s Aqua XL Color Paint Shadow ($25), an update to Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Cream that was originally created for Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘O’. The downfall of the old Aqua Cream was its delivery in a cream shadow pot which had a tendency to dry out over time. The new Aqua XL Color Paint Shadow is in a tube, protecting the product from outside air and keeping the product from drying.

Color Paint Shadow comes in a wild 20 shades including 12 matte, 4 shimmer and 4 satin. The colors range from an everyday ‘Iridescent Warm Beige’ to the bold ‘Matte Red’.

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I purchased the ‘I-50 Iridescent Warm Beige’ and ‘L-54 – Lustrous Taupe’ to take with me to Lake Powell, UT in late June. I was beyond ecstatic to see this back on the shelf at Sephora because I know how well it worked. Our trip to Lake Powell was very fun, but VERY hot. Our highest high was 117º so keeping moisturizer on your face was tough, let alone trying to keep eyeshadow on, but the Color Paint Shadow did the trick! 

I placed the ‘I-50’ on my lid to my brow bone and also as a highlighter on my cheeks and the ‘L-54’ in my crease. The shadow amazingly stayed on not only through the extreme heat, but through swimming, snorkeling, jet skiing, and hot (because it was unavoidable) yoga. While I’m not the prissiest girl when I’m camping on a houseboat, it is nice to have something on your eyes in our ten days on the water.

The best thing about this product, when I get back to my normal routine, I use it as my eyeshadow primer and it really does have a 24 hour waterproof wear! I’m thrilled to see this product back and better than ever!

What’s In My Lunch Box?

If I had to pick one thing that makes the most impact for me to have  successful week is meal prep. I usually spend Saturday shopping and Sunday cooking. I try my best to look at my week and make things as easy as possible. I know that if I have healthy meals and snacks ready that I don’t have to think about, I am much more likely to stick to my nutrition goals. It doesn’t bother me too much to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch every day. My days at work are busy enough that if I get breakfast and lunch in on time, I am doing really good. I do get a bit bored eating the same thing for dinner when I have more time to sit and enjoy what is in front of me. All of this food costs me about $6.00. It always makes me feel good that I am feeding myself real, healthy food and saving money at the same time. If I tried to go out for these things every day, I would spend more than $20 per day, that is a difference of $70 per week! More on my weeknight dinners later…For today: here is what is in my lunch box this week:

 

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  1. Coffee Mug – My Kleen Kanteen keeps my coffee warm for hours if I get busy and forget about it. This saves me money and time (when I remember to make it before I head out the door).
  2. Smoothie – My green smoothies get made the night before and put into a Blender Bottle. The less I have to do in the morning, the more likely I am to get to the gym before work!
  3. Lunch – Made and packed on Sunday. I try to measure everything so I end up with the right amount of food. When I do this for two, I measure the right amounts for each of us. This week is shredded chicken with a little sugar free BBQ sauce, roasted sweet potatoes with chili powder and green beans.
  4. Snacks – Strawberries & Peanut Butter Protein Balls.
  5. My Cute Owl Lunch Box! It really is the little things sometimes. This one has served me well for over five years. I am on the hunt for a new one, but haven’t found the right thing yet.

Now I am ready to run out the door prepared for success to start the week! What are the strategies you use for success? Have a wonderful week!

Kelly

Breakfast for a week! Amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter smoothies!

Kelly is religious about her green smoothie prep. I like to do something similar, but I haven’t gotten past green in the green drinks. I do however like chocolate and peanut butter in mine!

The tasks are simple and similar to Kelly’s.

I like to line up 5 Rubbermaid containers half cup size (Please comment on what else you can use these for!) along with the blender. This will yield 5 extra meals and one for the moment!20170625_121307

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Whey protein powder (or plant, meat or egg protein, if you can’t do whey)
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1/3-1/2 banana
  • 1/4 c. frozen raspberries
  • 1 tsp golden flaxseed
  • Pinch of cinnamon, ginger, cayenne

Ice

1/2 c. coffee or water

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Smoothie Ingredients

Start with the whey and measure into each container and follow with the first items and finish off with the spices. Freeze the containers. When you are ready to use (and for the blender pak), put ice and coffee or water in the blender and whirr! Start slow, gradually increase the speed. If necessary, add a little more water.

20170625_121327Serve. If you’re on the run use your favorite to go mug. If you like to indulge yourself,, I  as I do, serve in your Fav Costco wine glass. The flax doesn’t stick and it’s easy to clean.

My fitness pal says it is 252 calories. Not bad to start the day! And you won’t have a mid-morning slump! Or enjoy for lunch or snack to add a little fruit and protein to your day.

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Peanut Butter Protein Balls

If you are anything like me, I am always looking for ways to make things that will save me time during the week. I always need something quick to grab that will also keep me on track with my goals. This is one of those fun easy ideas that has saved me more times than I can count. These are sweet, salty and a great way to satisfy a snack craving or give you a quick burst of energy before a workout or when you are dragging your way through the afternoon. What are your favorite snacks?

PEANUT BUTTER PROTEIN BALLS

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1 Cup Rolled Oats

1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Shavings

1 T Chia Seeds

1 t Coarse Salt (I like pink, grey or Kosher)

1 ¼ Cup Natural Peanut Butter (I usually use Justin’s smooth, but use your favorite!)

½ Cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff!)

3-4 T Unsweetened Dried Bing Cherries

½ T Vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (oats, coconut, chia, and salt). Add peanut butter, maple syrup, cherries and vanilla and mix well. Divide the mixture into 12-24 balls. (I tend to like making them smaller so I can manage the portions). Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!

~Kelly

 

 

Need a quick and easy dinner? Try Sole!

Whole foods had a sale on dover sole, and it looked fresher than any other in the case, so I picked some up. I hadn’t had sole in twenty years, so I was excited to try it. I had to come up with a quick dinner and since the filets are thin it cooks quickly. Don’t get over-sole-d (sorry!), though, you don’t really need a full half pound per person. I used about 2/3 lb for two.

Filet of sole used to be on menus all the time, the intro to fish dishes since it didn’t taste “fishy”. It was one of my first big attempts at fancy dinner back in the 70’s. I think the recipe was from Simca’s Cuisine or Mastering the Art of French cooking. Julia Child or her partner in crime created it and it was sole wrapped around spinach. I don’t think I have ever had more dishes in my life. Including Thanksgiving.

My sole is quick and easy, so don’t worry.

Put about a half cup of flour on a plate. Sprinkle the flour with salt, pepper and paprika.

Heat a pan on medium high heat with a little grapeseed oil, enough to shimmer. Place the coated sole, in the pan taking care not to overcrowd. After a minute or two flip over and cook the other side till just undercooked.

As the filets are finished, remove to a hot dish and keep warm in the oven.

Clean the pan with a paper towel.

Melt one or two tablespoons of butter, swirly in a tablespoon of mustard and a splash of white wine. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of capers.

Put the fish back in the pan to coat with sauce. I used Fallot Dijon Provencale, which is infused with red pepper and garlic. Serve with steamed broccoli or the fancy cauliflower which I used.

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Filet of Sole Dinner

Note: The products are some I like and I didn’t receive compensation or product for those in this post

Celebrate Spring with this Easy Salad

Sometimes you just don’t want a heavy dinner to celebrate with family and friends. Here’s a recent celebration dinner we had when we had an early flight over the Easter. We still wanted to get together and have a nice meal, so we opted for an early dinner featuring salad. It turned into a riff on Salade Nicoise, with Chicken instead of Tuna. Simple, clean and worked remarkably well for six people.

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Here’s how it’s done:

6 chicken breasts

½ lb of bacon, cooked crisp and cut into small pieces

Your favorite Teriyaki sauce

1 Pineapple

1lb haricot verte

1lb asparagus

1lb small mushrooms, halved or quartered

Chopped tomatoes

1 head Romaine

4c arugula

1 small package marble or fingerling potatoes

Olive oil

garlic

½ c blue cheese

½ c goat cheese

Preheat Oven to 375.

Preheat grill when ready to cook chicken.

Early in the day, marinate the 6 chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce (I prefer Soy Vay). Grill the pineapple.

image5Clean the greens and spin in a salad spinner. Wrap in a kitchen towel or paper towels until needed.

Toss cleaned, and quartered mushrooms into 1T olive oil and crush one clove of garlic over the mushrooms and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Put mushrooms in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly dehydrated.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the haricot verte, plunge into ice water to cool and retain it’s color. Drain with strainer, dry and chill.

In the same pot blanch the potatoes until fork tender, drain and chill.

Meanwhile, prepare a mustard vinaigrette:

½ c. Olive Oil

1T Dijon mustard

3T Red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients in a small jar and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a large platter by pouring 1T vinaigrette in the bottom and spreading around with a paper towel. Layer the chopped romaine, top with arugula. Put a quarter of the haricot verte on each corner of the platter, fill in with potatoes, tomatoes (if preferred you can toss the vegies in the dressing first). Slice the chicken and pineapple and serve on the top or the side along with the cheeses.

image1Serve with French bread and good butter.

This turned into a fun and clean eating Easter dinner which can be used for small events throughout Spring and Summer. What could you celebrate with this salad supper?

Beef & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Beef & Sweet Potato Dog Food

If you’re anything like me, you love your furbabies! On and off for years I have been cooking for my Labradors. Now that spring has sprung and allergy season is here, the dogs in our world are especially itchy! Homemade dog food reduces their gluten intake and can help with allergies. It’s also a great place to “hide” medicine if you grind it up and add it to the food!

I try to use the cleanest ingredients for my pet food, so don’t go buying the cheapest, highest fat meat at the store. I also use a lot of wild game meat, typically the meat that is too chewy for people to eat like tendons, leg meat, neck meat etc. When using game meat, make sure to both freeze and cook to a high temperature to kill and parasites that may have been in the animal.

Junior
Junior Supervising

You want the basic breakdown of the food for dogs to be:

  • 30% protein (egg, fish, chicken, beef)
  • 40% carbs (brown rice, sweet potato, chickpeas, oats, etc)
  • 25% fat (chicken fat, pork fat, fish oil, coconut oil, canola oil)

I always try to add supplements like glucosamine, calcium (including egg shells) and for allergies a Claritin (vet recommended).

You will want to make sure that your dog is getting enough calories for their size. Junior is 83lbs and gets 1 ½ cups tightly packed food twice a day.

This recipe and process is not an exact science but you do want to make you’re your dog is getting enough calories/day based on how much exercise they get. Here is a guideline to how much your dog should be eating:

Weight in Lbs Calories/Day
5 185-235
10 305-390
15 415-530
20 515-650
25 600-780
30 700-900
40 860-1100
50 1020-1300
65 1240-1600
80 1450-1870

When I make dog food, I like to make A LOT so my recipe is bulk and will require freezer space. This is the typical mix of food I use after several times that the mix came out too smelly. I don’t like using fish in high quantities because it is higher in price and…fishy. Once we made fish, broccoli, spinach and egg dog food and the animals smelled for weeks. I also avoid using beans because just like in people, they make dogs fart…a lot!

When you’re done cooking, the food should look good enough for you to eat for dinner, it just might need some salt!

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Junior licking the pans!

Beef & Sweet Potato Dog Food

  • 12 lbs ground beef
  • 8 large sweet potatoes
  • 15 large carrots
  • 16-18 cups organic oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oats, you can get a GIANT bag at CostCo)
  • ¼ cup Fish Oil
  • 3 Cups Coconut Oil
  • 1 Bottle of Glucosamine (I buy from Trader Joes because it’s the best price, but you can use anything)
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 18 whole eggs

Set oven to 400º. Start simmering beef, coconut oil, fish oil and peanut butter in extra large pot or a few pots if you don’t have anything big enough. Grate both the sweet potatoes and carrots in your Cuisinart (if you don’t have a food processer, chop both veggies as small as possible). Add grated sweet potatoes and carrots to beef mixture.

Place the eggs, shells included, in Vitamix or Ninja blender and emulsify. It’s important to keep the eggshells for an extra calcium boost. Add Glucosamine and any other solid pills to the eggs and blend. Add egg mixture to beef.

Let the beef and veggie mixture simmer until beef is mostly cooked (about 20-30min). Mix in the oats and transfer to casserole or roasting pans and place in the oven uncovered. Cook for 45 min.

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We used the sink to stir in the oats.

Once cooked, let cool for hours or overnight, then store the appropriate serving size for your dog in Ziploc bags. I typically keep 5-7 days worth of food in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. In the freezer the food keeps for at least 6 months.

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All packaged in Ziploc Sandwich bags

Your furbaby will thank you!

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Puppy Wagner chowing down

English Pea Soup

There is nothing like Spring. Everything seems to come to life overnight. One of the best things here in Colorado are the lilac bushes with beautiful pops of purple and white all over town! As Spring gets into full swing, I like to start bringing new and fresh flavors into my kitchen. We are not quite ready for the farmer’s market, but luckily Trader Joe’s has already shelled peas that were perfect for this soup. It is easily one of the easiest and best things I have made in a long time. Seriously, SO EASY. Inspired by Thomas Keller’s recipe, the color is just beautiful. Keller’s technique for cooking the peas is key here. You boil the peas in water seasoned with lots of salt and sugar. It ends up being almost all of the seasoning for the soup. The Vitamix makes this perfectly smooth and a lovely texture. As you all know, I am a big fan of homemade chicken stock, I replaced the water in the recipe with chicken stock, not necessary, but a little extra depth. The compliment of lemon creme fraiche really brought it to life. This is one that can be served hot or cold. I ate it both ways and it was great either way. If you are planning to serve this as a main course, the recipe serves two, if it is a starter, you could stretch to four servings, but it is easily doubled or tripled. If you use the shelled peas from Trader Joe’s, I think you need 1 bag per person for a meal. Toast up a little garlic toast on the side for a little crunch. I think this would be a great thing for a shower served in pretty vessels. I know this will grace my table again! If you are looking for something new for Spring, give it a try!

 

English Pea Soup

  • 2 10oz. Bags shelled English Peas (or 3 lbs shelled fresh peas or 3 cups frozen peas)
  • 3 quarts water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock, add half a cup to start and more as needed
  • 4 oz. creme fraiche
  • Zest of one lemon, plus 1 TBSP juice
  • drizzle of good quality olive oil (optional)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Pea Shoots or Chive for garnish

Bring water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add half of the peas, and boil for 6-8 minutes for fresh, or 4-5 minutes for frozen, or until tender.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice, and have it standing by when the peas are done cooking. Remove the peas from the pot with a skimmer or slotted spoon, and place them directly into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking, and help preserve their bright color. Return the water to a boil and repeat with the rest of the peas.

Drain the cooked peas from the ice water, and add them to a blender or food processor. Add ½ cup fresh stock or water, and puree until completely smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add more water as needed. If you don’t have a powerful blender, you can pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve. (I did not find this to be necessary with my blender, but it might make a silkier soup). Use a scraper or rubber spatula to press all the liquid through. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. I added fresh cracked pepper at this point. You couldn’t see it, but I think it adds something. If the consistency is too thick, add more water to thin as needed. Optionally, stir in a TBSP or so of good quality olive oil, to enhance the velvety texture of the soup and add flavor.

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Soup can be warmed on the stove, or chilled in the fridge before serving. When you’re ready to serve, whisk together the creme fraiche, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve alongside the soup, or drizzle it over to garnish (you can thin the creme fraiche with a bit more lemon juice, or water, to create a thin enough consistency for drizzling). Serve as is, or garnish with more olive oil & chopped chives or fresh pea sprouts. TA DA! The perfect way to impress your family or guests!

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My Blue Apron Experience

I had the good fortune of being gifted a week of Blue Apron for Christmas this year! I had been interested in trying a meal delivery service like this for a while now. My first impression was really positive. I clicked on the link from my gift email and easily got setup and chose the meals I wanted for the week. My box arrived right on schedule and well packed. It was easy to sift through everything and get it laid out to cook when ready. All of the meals were really tasty! I give Blue Apron credit for coming up with new and interesting meals each week without repeating things.

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The three meals I received were Baked Ricotta Cannelloni, Chipotle Vegetable & Farro Salad and Vegetable Fried Rice Bowls. In all three cases, the instructions were easy to follow and the ingredients were very fresh. I am a pretty practiced cook and the first thing I noticed was that it took me MUCH longer than the estimated times to complete these meals. While that didn’t matter on the days I was cooking, it would have been a bummer after a long day at work. If I had another set of hands, we may have gotten it done quicker. The other thing is that these recipes required ALOT of dishes; more than I think is really necessary. For example, in the vegetable fried rice, the recipe had you roast the cauliflower. While that tasted good with a nuttiness coming from the roasting process, however, if you cooked all of the veggies in one pan (like a wok), you could cut both the time and the dishes. They also wanted you to fry eggs for the top of the dish in a separate pan, which I skipped all together to cut calories, but I have just whisked and then cooked the egg in the same wok as the rest of the meal in my own version. I am certain the texture adds dimension, but as a home cook, I really want a way to find that dimension without making a mess of my entire kitchen. Same with the farro salad, you needed one bowl for the pickling of the shallot and radish, a pan for roasting veggies, pot for farro, bowl for mixing and mice en place bowls for all of the pieces. I have often made giant messes in my kitchen, but these recipes gave me a full dish washer everyday and for just one person, that is a lot to tackle.

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Chipotle Vegetable & Farro Salad

Tucked inside the little bags labeled “Kick Knacks,” were the nutrition facts for these recipes. One things that really surprised me was that the Cannelloni had the least calories at 710 the Farro Salad & Fried Rice were both 760. That is way more calories than I regularly want in a meal. I usually target closer to 500 calories per meal. As I mentioned before, I left some things out to cut some calories.

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Leftover Items – Plenty of Flavor, Less Calories

There were some things that were provided that you really didn’t need to use all of that were really high in calories (ie- sesame oil, cashews, eggs, and extra sauce). Some of those things really add a lot of punch without needing a lot of volume. The Cannelloni really was 2 servings, but I do think the other two recipes will stretch further, so I can save myself on some calories and get an extra couple meals for the week!

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Roasted Vegetable Fried Rice

I will reiterate, I really enjoyed these meals! They gave me a new twist on things I have made in the past and got me cooking things I wouldn’t usually make. I learned to cook farro, which I love and have not made at home before. I can see Blue Apron being a great fit for a couple wanting to try some new things. I think I am a bit critical of recipes to begin with and am usually lucky if I follow it 80%. In these cases, I stuck pretty close to the recipes since I had all the ingredients. I might think about trying this again, but would really prefer something with healthier options.

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Baked Ricotta Cannelloni

I think my favorite was the cannelloni and meyer lemon salad. The salad was the perfect compliment to the pasta dish. It felt fresh and comforting all at the same time. I also think that was the easiest of the recipes, though it did take me about an hour start to finish. Everything was enjoyable and it got me back in the kitchen and inspired again. I loved getting to try it out and may look for another version to compare. Let me know if you have tried it!

~Kelly