Category Archives: Dairy Free

Blogging about a Blog…Am I getting too meta?

Okay, so I’ve been slacking.

My last blog post was in August.  Today is the third day of October. Yikes.

I wish.

I wish.

…But I’ve been busy!  In the last two months I’ve gotten back to the daily grind of teaching 11th grade English, filled Etsy and other customer orders, had a booth for four days at a carnival where I got to showcase my dairy free delicacies, (more about that later), and then quickly caught a cold!  So, I have a lot to share with you.  Let me work backwards in chronological order.

Today, my Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie was reviewed on a blog called “Confessions of a Northern Belle” .  Let me pause there for a second.

MY pie. Got reviewed.  By a blogger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that’s right.  Now it’s not just my family members who think my stuff is tasty. Other people, whom I’ve never met, like my treats, too!

It all happened by surprise, actually.  “Confessions” author, Caitlin, found me randomly on Etsy.  She recently became dairy free and was looking to see if any desserts could satisfy her sweet tooth while not causing a stir in her stomach.  I was happy to oblige, and promptly sent her a peanut butter pie.

Remember these bad boys?

Remember these bad boys?

She and her husband loved it, and like most people who try my stuff, could not believe it was dairy-free! You should definitely check out the review, and her blog.

Here’s the review in full:

Making Mooves..Without Dairy

Today, I reached a milestone.  My boss at work came to me specifically to tell me a story:

The 9th graders are going on a retreat the first week of school.  They are going to some camp where they can complete ropes courses, get to know one another better, and bond with their new teachers.  One of the ninth grade parents called the principal (my boss), telling him of her son’s severe allergy to dairy and lactose.  She warned the principal that with this upcoming trip, her son could not under any circumstances come into contact with dairy.  My boss was concerned because being a leader of the retreat, one of the fun activities he planned for the trip was to roast marshmallows and make s’mores around a fire.

The principal thought to himself, “what about s’mores is dairy??!” then realizing…GASP-MILK CHOCOLATE!  He was at first disappointed, for in his mind, the student was unable to participate in the activity.  And then it hit him…wait…there’s such a thing as VEGAN chocolate!

My life, every day.

My life, every day.

And here’s where we hit the milestone:  my boss approached me, I believe to A) confirm that there is such a thing as vegan chocolate, B) to ask me where he could find such a product, and C) to check with me to make sure all other s’mores ingredients were dairy free.

Why would I call this a milestone? Because after 2 full years of working at my school and soon to be beginning a third, my principal finally recognizes that I do not consume dairy!

Score one for me.

Score one for me.

You would think that a school in New York City should be allergy friendly, and mine is to an extent.  They always have a vegetarian option for the catered lunch and some of those options are gluten free.  However, I am one of two lactose intolerant staff members in the whole high school, so dairy free options are often forgotten.

There are often welcome back or thank you breakfasts given to staff where all I can eat is the fruit (everything is always covered in cheese or butter).  There are frequent lunch pizza parties where I’m stuck just smelling the cheese and instead eating the salad I brought from home.  There are even the occasional celebratory cupcakes, munchkins, and cookies that I have to politely refuse, even though they would get me through that last hour of the day.  There was even a thank you-end of the year-ice cream social where I had to specifically advocate for myself, asking my principal to get a box of ice pops so I could partake in the celebration.

Though it’s not a huge deal (like okay, just don’t eat that crap anyway), it does feel a little exclusive that there aren’t foods in which I can eat at the place where I work.

Which is why today was a milestone. My boss not only remembered that I was lactose intolerant, but came to me with that story, seeking me out to help.  It’s the little victories.

Do you feel left out because of your dietary restrictions?


Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted

I haven’t posted in a while, but it’s not because I have nothing to write about…I was on vacation!  Every summer my mom rents a beach house down on the Jersey Shore for a week; most of my siblings come for as long as they can, and we all get together and play games, hit the beach, and eat tons of food.  We spent a few years in LBI, and then recently switched to Wildwood for the past two summers.

We just got sharked. #bestphotoever

We just got sharked. #bestphotoever

Speaking of eating tons of food, for our trip, my sister, boyf, and I decided to cook a few dishes to take with us to eat while we were there.  We didn’t want to be stuck eating crap the entire week and made some healthy options to snack on.  We made a delish vegan spinach artichoke dip with nutritional yeast as the cheesy element, homemade bbq sweet potato “chips” (they were a little soft, but still yummy) and a cold quinoa salad.  We also planned on making popcorn as a snack.  Sure, Annie ended up bringing a giant bag of kettle chips from Costco, and boyf and I bought a bag of Old Bay Utz Potato Chips (I couldn’t resist), both of which we finished before the week was out, but I was still proud of us for trying.

dairy free vegan forgoodnesscakes

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip…good hot or cold!

I also thought it would be fun to bake some treats while I was there.  The house we rent has a full kitchen, and I thought it would be nice to have some dairy-free desserts to munch on.  I didn’t want to bake the treats before the trip; I didn’t think they would last that many days, and part of the fun was to bake it while on vacation.  So, I came up with a plan.

I decided on two recipes: my super soft, pillowy cinnamon sugar doughnuts (taken and adapted from Ina Garten’s doughnut recipe), and my tried and true jumbo blueberry muffins (taken and adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction, one of my favorite websites).  I ended up pre-mixing the dry ingredients for each recipe before I left for the trip, putting each mix in a ziploc bag.  I then mixed all the wet ingredients together, except for the eggs and the butter.  I figured I would buy eggs and Earth Balance when I got to Wildwood and would finish the recipe there.  I also decided to do that because the muffin recipe instructed me to cream the eggs and the sugar together, and so therefore I wanted to wait until I was about to bake them.  I put the wet ingredients in water bottles because they had the best seals.  I also packed my doughnut and muffin pans and off I went to vacation!

You've cat to be kitten me with this meme.

You’ve cat to be kitten me with this meme.

The results were delicious.  I realized, however, that the beach house did not have mixing bowl!  So, I had to mix the batter in a large pot.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to mix sticky batter in anything other than a mixing bowl, but it’s hard to get batter out of the bottom of a pot.  The doughnuts were a little soft and sticky, and I wonder if that’s because the wet ingredients sat together for a long period of time? I also was not used to that oven, so who knows.

I could just eat that whole plate right meow.

I could just eat that whole plate right meow.


The muffins were yummy as well.  My mom raved about them, and ate an entire muffin in one sitting (sorry, mom.) The muffins were great also because we were able to have some leftover for the 3 hour drive back to New York.

dairy free

Just bursting with fresh blueberries! What a way to start a morning.

Vacation was great, and I’m so glad I was able to bring my baking with me.  I thought it was going to be a lot of trouble and work, but actually having the pre-mixed dry and wet ingredients really sped the process along.  I might try more pre-mixed things in the future…

About Me

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.

Ramen photo

See? I wasn’t kidding!


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!)

Dairy Free Website

Check out my site for delicious treats 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. 



How cute is this face?!



My First Post!!

Hello dairy-free fanatics!

Today I want to look back at a For Goodness Cakes favorite, a cake that kick-started my love for baking and this whole she-bang: Paula Deen’s Deep Fried Pumpkin Layer Cake with a Cream Cheese and Orange Frosting (see recipe here).  Now regardless of what you think of Paula’s personal beliefs and actions, this. cake. is. amazing.  Just look at that cake. Dripping with delicious deep-fried goodness.

Pumpkin Cake

That’s right…deep fried cake.

I decided to take on this monstrosity of a dessert for boyf’s birthday.  Before this cake, I had made him a few things here and there: slice-and-bake cookies, brownies from a box, and my personal favorite: cupcakes piped in icing that read, “I love you, you bum” (For serious Rocky fans only).


Now I know what you are thinking:

Hey, For Goodness Cakes! None of those items are dairy-free!

And my response is,

woah, there, woah.

All those items were pre-For Goodness Cakes: before my lactose intolerance discovery, before I learned to make treats from scratch, and before my amazing kitties.


Did you know most adult cats are lactose intolerant too?

This was the first real dessert I tried, and the results were worth it. 

Let me break it down for you: First, forget about any calorie count you may have had for the day. This cake will surpass your wildest expectations, and any belt loops you already created. First step: make a pumpkin cake, two layers of moist, fall goodness baked to perfection.  Second: make the orange and cream cheese frosting, creamy and delicious. Third: whip up some good old “fry batter” (as Paula likes to call it), also known as funnel cake batter. Heat up a tub full of oil, soak the cakes in the batter, and drop those babies in to fry.

I remember fearing for my life that day, wondering what sort of splatter-design my third degree burns would take. Paula Deen doesn’t tell you exactly how to fry a large cake without losing layers of skin, so I adapted, assembling the best tools I could find: spatula, tongs, slotted metal spoon, and several oven mitts.

After I fried each layer and let the cakes cool, I assembled the cake, smothering on that amazing cream cheese frosting. Not only was the cake as good as it looked, it was definitely worth the trouble, and almost losing my epidermis.

Note: While this cake was made before I pledged myself to a dairy-free life, it could definitely be adapted to be dairy free with vegan milk, cream cheese, and butter. I would also in the future not use a box cake mix for the pumpkin cake, and instead make my own. Box mixes are for fools.

food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

this is... The Neighborhood

the Story within the Story

Baking my butt(er) off

Brought to you by For Goodness Cakes!

The Cake Crusaders

...on a quest for cake


Definition: Exploration of the world using your nose

she thinks. she says. she writes.


Current & Breaking News | National & World Updates

knit the hell out

More obsessed with each passing stitch.


~savoring the little moments that make life big~

Goan Recipes

Learn about Goan and Indian Recipes

Olive Sundays

Melbourne Food Blog

The Educated Nanny

My experiences as a nanny

Nicole Meadows

Lifestyle blogger with a passion for fitness

Avoiding Neverland

A teacher's reflections on preparing teens for life

Small Food Business

for those who dream big about starting small food businesses