Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Savory Dijon Ham Muffins

Hams are a great buy. They're big and provide tons of leftovers. But then you find yourself wondering what to do with those leftovers. Well, you can make all sorts of things, including soup, fried rice, a casserole, a breakfast bake or these muffins.

I adapted a recipe I found over at Food.com -- the site formally known as Recipezaar. The muffins are great for breakfast, brunch, as a side to a cup of soup or even as an afternoon snack. Try serving them with a little apricot jam. I know it sounds a little weird, but it's good! (Think about it: Baked hams are often basted with apricot jam.)

Savory Dijon Ham Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup rice milk
1/2 cup canola oil
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup cooked ham, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, dry mustard, salt, baking soda and ground cloves.

In another bowl, combine the eggs, rice milk, oil and Dijon mustard; combine the wet and dry mixtures, stirring until just moistened; fold in ham.

Fill nonstick or paper-lined muffin tins, approximately three-quarters full; bake 20-25 minutes or until muffins test done.

Cool in pan five minutes, then remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Asian Cabbage Slaw

I was at the store recently and decided the napa cabbage looked really good, so I bought some and brought it home. But then I was left with the question: "What should I do with this cabbage?"

I've used napa cabbage in the past for a favorite salad, but that recipe had soy in it and wouldn't work now. So, I started to search the internet. I ended up slightly adapting this recipe from good ol' Martha Stewart and Everyday Food. It's a great side for grilled chicken or pork. You know you can never go wrong with one of Martha's recipes!

Asian Cabbage Slaw

2 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 small head shredded napa or green cabbage
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 grated carrot
1/2 fresh jalapeno, minced, optional

In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, rice vinegar, oil and sugar; season with salt and whisk.

To dressing, add the cabbage, cilantro leaves, green onions, carrot and jalapeno, if using, and toss to combine.

Tip: If you've never used napa cabbage before, don't be scared by the tiny black dots you often see on its leaves. That's normal!

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So blessed

When people find out I'm on a dairy- and soy-free diet, their reactions are usually pretty similar: "Oh my! I could never live without milk! How do you do it? That must be soooooo hard!"

I usually reply with: "Yes, it's hard at times, but I'm used to it. And I know it could be so much worse. I feel so blessed that it's only dairy and soy protein and that I'm able to continue nursing my baby."

There are many wonderful mamas out there who have reduced their diets to practically nothing for months, if not years, in order to nurse their babies. And there are many wonderful mamas who have tried so hard to nurse their babies, but it just didn't work out. Thankfully, there are elemental formulas available for these babies, but the expense is so high and most health insurance plans won't cover the formulas.

I was contacted by one of these wonderful mamas, Melody, and she shared her 19-month-old son Andrew's story with me. He suffers from eosinophilic esophigitis and is unable to eat anything other than Neocate formula. The expense for their family is daunting, and Melody is in the process of lobbying her state representatives to pass a law that would require health insurance providers in Wisconsin to cover the costs of elemental formulas. You can learn more about their story by watching this video that aired on their local news station.

It would be wonderful if all insurance companies covered elemental formula! If you happen to live in Wisconsin, please consider contacting your legislators and encourage them to get behind this law. I know Melody and her family would truly appreciate it!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Cookies & Cream Rice Crispy Bars

Rice crispy bars are the perfect summertime treat. No oven. No stove. It's all done in the microwave in only a few minutes, and cleanup is a breeze.

You can vary the bars so easily with different types of cereal, marshmallows and add-ins -- such as Oreos!

I adapted this recipe from Picky Palate for a get-together with some friends. Kids and adults gobbled them up!

Cookies & Cream Rice Crispy Bars

4 tbsp. MSPI-friendly margarine
4 cups mini marshmallows or 40 large marshmallows
8 cups rice crispy cereal
12 MSPI-friendly Oreo cookies (or more if you like a lot!), lightly crushed
cooking spray
1/4 cup MSPI-friendly chocolate chips
1-2 tsp. shortening

Place margarine and marshmallows into a large microwavable bowl. Microwave for a few minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until marshmallows melt and combine with margarine. Remove bowl and stir in cereal and Oreos.

Pour into a 9×13-inch baking dish that's been coated with cooking spray. Coat your hands with cooking spray and press and smooth treats into dish.

Place chocolate chips in small dish with 1 teaspoon shortening. Microwave for a few minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chocolate melts. Add in more shortening, if needed, until chocolate reaches a drizzling consistency. Drizzle melted chocolate over top of treats and let cool. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Turkey and Bean Burrito Burgers

Who doesn't love a juicy burger? You can never go wrong with the old standby of a beef hamburger, but every once in a while I like to change things up a bit.

I saw the original recipe on "30 Minute Meals" and knew I just had to make it. The next time you're in the mood for a burger and Mexican at the same time, you'll have to give this one a try!

Turkey and Bean Burrito Burgers

1 cup prepared white or brown rice
1 lb. ground turkey
1 (15-oz.) can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. cumin
1-1/2 tsp. coriander (or 1 tsp. oregano will work, too)
1 tbsp. grill seasoning, such as Montreal Seasoning from McCormick
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 ripe avocados
1/2 lime, juiced
4 lettuce leaves
1 ripe tomato, sliced
4 MSPI-friendly hamburger buns

Combine rice, meat and beans with spices and grill seasoning. Form four big patties from the meat and bean mixture then heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook patties 7 to 8 minutes on each side.

While burgers cook, mash avocados in a small bowl. Sprinkle with lime juice and add salt to taste.
Place burgers on buns with lettuce and tomato and top with mashed avocado.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Non-Dairy Ice Cream

My super friend Laura just stopped by my house a few hours ago bearing two containers of homemade non-dairy ice cream. The kids and I didn't waste any time digging in -- as you can see from the photo above of JD!

The chocolate ice cream was surprisingly creamy for a non-dairy version, and the strawberry ice cream reminded me of a sorbet -- so cool and refreshing!

Laura also sent me her recipes, which were adapted from Elana's Pantry. I immediately put my ice cream maker's canister in the freezer. I'm going to be making my own batches of this yummy stuff all summer long!

Do you have an ice cream maker? If you don't, then these recipes will make you want to go get one. Pronto!

Non-Dairy Chocolate Ice Cream

2 cups rice milk
1/3 cup cocoa
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl. Add milk and vanilla, stirring together until sugar dissolves. Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Makes 1 quart.

Non-Dairy Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
2 cups rice milk
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients together in a blender or processor. Blend to desired smoothness.

Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Makes 1 quart.

Tip: To make the ice cream even richer and creamier, substitute coconut milk for the rice milk. Make other flavors of ice cream by substituting your favorite fruit for the strawberries. Wouldn't mango be fabulous?!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

South of the Border Pasta Salad

Summer is all about picnics and backyard barbecues with friends, family and neighbors. If we're hosting the get-together, then I have no problems making sure there's something for me to eat, but what to do when someone else is in charge of food? Instead of trying to explain my dietary restrictions to the host, I just offer to provide a few items.

I like to bring along a side dish and a dessert. Pasta salads are the perfect summer side dish, because they are quite hardy. If the main dish isn't MSPI-friendly, then I can load up on my pasta salad and not starve!

We headed over to our neighbors' house for the Fourth of July. They were serving tacos, so this pasta salad, which was adapted from Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations, was a perfect accompaniment.

South of the Border Pasta Salad

1 lb. rotini (corkscrew) pasta, cooked and rinsed under cold water
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1-1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Toss together first eight ingredients in a large bowl. For the dressing, place the rest of the ingredients into a jar. Put lid on top and shake well before pouring onto pasta salad. Stir everything together.

Cover and chill salad in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes