I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. When I was younger, I used to read aloud to my stuffed animals, chastising them for whispering during the page turns. Teaching was always my passion…still is.
But then came food.
When I got to college, I barely knew how to cook. My mom recalls a story where I called her once, asking how to microwave ramen. That’s right, I didn’t even know how to cook it in the microwave. In my defense, though, the instructions on the package only tell you how to cook it on the stove.
Then I met boyf.
Being a poor college student, I took to baking him treats instead of buying him gifts for various occasions. The look on his face as he took a bite was priceless; he was so full of love and appreciation while his mouth was so full of cake. I knew then that I wanted to try more recipes, more delicious items I could make for him.
I began to try out my recipes on my family, too. My mom made (and still does) the best reactions: gasping, sighing, a variety of mmmm noises, and saying how “terrific” and “amazing” my desserts are, no matter what they tasted like. She also needed to tell everyone about what I made, and made everyone taste it.
I started small, using box mixes and pre-made ingredients. My favorite was my famous ice cream pie: pre-made graham cracker crust filled with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. My go-to was Cherry Garcia, with fresh, sliced cherries on top. It was very Sandra Lee of me.
A year or two later, I discovered I was severely lactose and dairy intolerant. Womp womp. Box mixes and store-bought items were now off limits, and I struggled to find ways to eat desserts that didn’t make me immediately sick.
I took to baking my own items from scratch, and found that I loved not only the physical process of baking, but that also the desserts tasted so much better than store bought treats. Even when I did find a supermarket confection that was dairy free, it tasted so processed when compared to my goods. To this day, my tasters say that the dairy-free treats make them feel lighter than the full-milk, full-fat ones.
I became fascinated with substituting non-dairy milks and butters into regular recipes, trying my hand at all sorts of challenging delicacies. Some crashed and burned (non-dairy pudding never really sets correctly) and some were great successes! (See my website for my most successful items…all available for purchase!)
I have pledged to live my life dairy free for over 2 years now, and every day is a journey in substitution-I want mac and cheese, but I don’t want to eat too much soy (most dairy-free cheese is made of soy). I am craving ice cream, but non-dairy ice cream is expensive, and Whole Foods is far away. Hot chocolate sounds amazing on a cold, winter day, but the Swiss Miss packets contain milk.
I started this blog to chronicle my dairy-free life. Yes, most of this will be mostly about baking, my trials and tribulations as a lactose intolerant baker. You’ll see a lot of my cats, Munch and Wally. My students call me a crazy cat lady, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate. You’ll see boyf from time to time, a wonderful souz chef, sounding board and brain-stormer for all things dairy free, and a great encourager of my culinary endeavors. Welcome to my life. I’m excited to share my world with you.