5 Dairy Free Recipes I’d Actually Make Again

Dairy Free Mexican Quinoa One Pan Dish

Today officially marks one month since I’ve been dairy free. I’ll save you the the full (and not so pleasant) details on why I started down this path, but suffice to say a mix of my doctor’s urging and me finally deciding I didn’t have many other options to live a normal, healthy life led me to decide on February 1, 2015 to try going dairy free.

Dairy free means different things to different people, but for me it means doing my best to avoid any and all dairy and milk proteins. I’m sure I’ve slipped up here or there unintentionally on additives like casein, but there’s only been one time where I truly felt the side effects of accidental dairy in my food. I’m lucky in that I’m not allergic to dairy, I just have enough of an intolerance that my body much prefers living this way.

In my first month, I set out to go cold turkey. No slowly cutting anything out. No trying to be just lactose free. If I was going to try being dairy free, I was going to go the whole nine yards right away. I also told myself I wanted to avoid dairy substitutes in the first month. After buying Go Dairy Free (probably the best known book on how to start living DF), I learned it’s sometimes easier to adjust if you don’t try substitutes. If your body is craving cheese, faux cheese isn’t really going to do the trick and will only intensify the cravings.

Speaking of cravings – I really haven’t had that many. Surprisingly, this former cheese lover hasn’t really craved cheese. However, in the first 15 days or so, I found myself craving a lot of sugar. Apparently this was my body reacting to having removed all of the milk sugars in my body. As such, I started seeking out dairy free (and sometimes vegan) dessert options. If you’re local to St. Louis, Whisk Bakery is a must-try!

Go Dairy Free recommends a few key cuisines that are generally pretty dairy free naturally, including a lot of Asian. I started looking for recipes online that were dairy free just by chance. I needed to learn how to cook without relying on cheese for everything.

One month in, I can tell you it was hard but not as hard as I thought. Eating out was certainly the hardest as I found myself Googling how to make sourdough bread, what’s in Starbursts and more. I’m slowly learning more and more what I can and cannot eat, but I’m not sure eating out will ever be a breeze.

I love to cook so eating at home more isn’t a tough thing for me. But now I find myself in constant search of dairy free recipes that hit the spot when you’re craving something specific.

These five recipes are ones that I found online (all recipes are sourced below) and would make again. All of these are recipes that my dairy-loving husband Bill ate and would likely eat again.

1. Honey Sriarcha Chicken

Recipe found at Creme de la Crumb Blog.

This easy Chinese-inspired chicken dish was super easy, even if it did dirty three dishes once you make rice. The sauce came together so beautifully, I might make the sauce for other dishes in the future!

The only downside to this dish was it left me wanting some crab rangoon on the side – a remnant of my dairy lifestyle.

Honey Sriarcha Chicken | Style Every Day

2. Paleo Crockpot Jambalaya Soup

Recipe originally from Life as a Plate blog.

Bill was the first to note that jambalaya really shouldn’t be soup. However, I ended up tweaking this recipe as I went and accidentally left out the chicken, shrimp and tomatoes. I made half a batch and added about 4 – 5 cups of rice at the end which made for a delicious, spicy, although slightly runny stew. With a little bread for dipping, this was divine!

Crockpot Jambalaya Soup | Style Every Day

3. Blueberry Swirl Muffins

Recipe originally from Bob’s Red Mill.

During the first days of my sugar cravings, I wanted nothing more than a huge Starbucks blueberry muffin. I found these and they definitely hit the spot! The two downfalls to these were that Slider also loved them (and ate a few) and that they make a mess of your muffin tins.

Blueberry Swirl Muffins Dairy Free

4. Lemon Spinach Pesto Linguine

Recipe originally from Milk Free Mom blog.

Repeat after me: Nutritional yeast isn’t as scary as it looks. In fact, it takes wonderful!

This recipe was another that surprised me when it actually came together. I ended up using fresh spinach linguine in addition to the spinach pesto. The nutritional yeast added both the nut and cheese flavors you want in a pesto.

Dairy Free Spinach Pesto Linguine


5. One Pan Mexican Quinoa

Recipe (and photo) originally from Damn Delicious Blog.

I love a one pan meal because it saves on dishes and makes leftovers easy. This was true to the original author’s name in every way! My only complaint/edit would be that I would add the avocado on top of each dish individually so it makes for better leftovers.

Dairy Free Mexican Quinoa One Pan Dish



Introducing #SliderTheGreyt

Slider Greyhound Electric Slide Selfie

Slider Greyhound Electric Slide sphinx

There’s no sense in creating a big lead up to the heart of this post. Bill and I adopted a dog. His name is Slider. Or actually, his legal name is Electric Slide but, no he doesn’t know the dance, and he only answers to Slider. When he wants to.

As long as I’ve known Bill (we’re into our ninth year of knowing each other), I’ve mentioned I’d love to own a dog. I’m sure at the beginning of our relationship (most of those nine years), Bill would ignore the comment and move on. Knowing him, he probably avoided the topic all together. Bill has never been a dog person.

If you ask him, he has fond memories of a shelter beagle named Pound Puppy that he had for several years as a child. However, most of what he remembers is, “He was a great rabbit dog.” That’s not really the glowing endorsement for the kind of animal I want living in my house.

Slider Greyhound Electric Slide Nap

As Bill and I’s relationship grew ever-more serious, I continued to bring up the dog issue. It was never a fight but I dropped a fair amount of not-so-subtle hints that I would love to own a dog over eight years. Who wouldn’t want to own a dog?

In fact, Bill would tell me, he wouldn’t. Not in the slightest.

However, I’m nothing if not persistent. I’m not going to lie. I had to really talk him into this whole situation. I mean beg and plead my way into it.

Slider Greyhound Electric Slide Christmas

One Sunday afternoon, as Bill and I were lying in bed reading and talking, I decided to bring it up again. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone/thing greet you each night when you arrived at home? Wouldn’t it be fun to have a dog to go on walks and hikes with?

You might not be surprised to learn Bill told me a flat out no to all of those. But somehow, after an hour or so, I convinced Bill to at least consider looking for a dog. Lots of compromises were made along the way. I really wanted a beagle. After having owned one before, Bill was adamant that a beagle was off the table. Something about too much howling.

You can read more about how we landed on a greyhound and eventually Sider on Bill’s blog but that takes us back to the beginning.

We adopted a greyhound named Slider.

Slider Greyhound Electric Slide Beaver

Bill has written at length about some of his, less savory, characteristics. I’d like to tell my side.

Slider is goofy. Slider is stubborn. Slider is 100 percent a hoarder (I never said Bill’s side was untruthful!).

He’s also super sweet and cuddly and can’t get enough of me. Oh yeah, he likes Bill enough too.

Slider Greyhound Electric Slide Selfie

Praying for Ferguson

Black Lives Matter - Ferguson Missouri Prayer March

Black Lives Matter - Ferguson Missouri Prayer March

My heart has been incredibly heavy this week as I take in all of the events happening just north of my beloved city in Ferguson, Missouri. Since the tragic news of Michael Brown’s death on Sunday, I’ve spent most waking hours trying to learn, read and consume any and all information on the ever-changing situation in this small community in North St. Louis County.

To be honest, I’ve been heartbroken. I’ve been angry. And I’ve been scared.

I’ve been heartbroken over the loss of life and the reality of a region torn apart by issues that have long festered just below the surface.

I’ve been angry over the senseless violence, the way in which demonstrators have been treated and the misunderstanding, anger and hatred shown toward others by those in our community.

I’ve been scared. So scared. Scared for those in Ferguson. Scared for the journalists (including my husband) putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure transparency. Scared for the children whose lives have been forever altered by their surroundings. Scared for protestors, police officers, elected officials and volunteers. And scared for myself and our city. Scared of the reality that we all could have been working to better race relations in our city but instead chose to look the other way while injustices took place right in front of us.

8/16 - Ferguson Missouri Prayer MarchPhoto via Katrina Drew

Saturday, I finally made it out to Ferguson for the first time all week (and for the sake of full transparency and honesty with myself, the first time in my entire life despite living only 20 minutes away for the past two years). My friend and associate pastor, Rev. Katrina Drew, and I joined a community of neighbors and clergy as we prayed for those affected by all that is taking place.

Led by Rev. Jesse Jackson, we were encouraged to visit with those around Canfield Green Apartments and listen to their stories. Sit with them in prayer. Let them know that we care about them and want to do anything we can to help them get through these times of trial.

Rev. Katrina Drew, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rachael Powell

We spoke with a group of four 20-something men, who despite being around my age, seemed so young to have to live amongst such heartache and tragedy. They spoke of their frustrations over needing to leave for work 90 minutes early to make their way through the crowds and their concerns over a few wrongdoers shedding negative media attention on all young black men living in the area. Two of the men had just moved to the area two weeks before Michael Brown was shot. The part of the visit that struck me the most was the way they all said the same thing when asked how we could better serve them. “Be here. Listen to us. Spend time getting to know us.”

If being present with residents and neighbors is the largest obstacle we face toward improving the divide that separates our city, why haven’t we done so? What is stopping us from getting to know those from different walks of life? What stopped us from visiting Ferguson and Canfield Green Apartments before now? If I’m honest with myself, what has stopped me has been heartbreak, anger and fear.

8/16 - Ferguson Missouri Prayer MarchPhoto via Katrina Drew

The Perfect City Pool

Cortona at Forest Park

Cortona at Forest Park
As a city girl, you all know how much I love the concrete jungle of downtown, streetscapes of urban neighborhoods and lush greenery of Tower Grove and Forest Parks. But what’s a city girl to do when the temps hit the upper 90s and all you want is a pool day?

Well, it turns out there is an urban oasis in the city featuring one of (if not the best) pool in town. The brand new complex Cortona at Forest Park recently opened its doors to new residents and to a few local bloggers to check out the space. All I can say is wow.

Although I was dressed for cocktails, all I wanted was my bathing suit and a salty marg.

Once we were done gawking at the pool, we peeked inside and were wowed again. If you’re looking for a fabulous getaway in the heart of St. Louis City, I highly recommend you check out Cortona.

Cortona STLIf you want to take a look at this lovely space for yourself, join me for ALIVE Magazine’s Hot List party at Cortona on May 31st! I’m one of the hosts this year so grab me for an Instagram selfie if you see me there!

Cortona STL Blogger Pool PartyAll of these blogger babes will be on hand for the party!

If you’re debating what to wear, don’t miss some tips from myself and four other fashionable STL bloggers on ALIVE’s blog!

Drinking My Way Through Portland In The Rain

Downtown Portland, OR
Downtown Portland, OR

One of my favorite parts of Portland was all of the beer. Yes, beer.

There are so many fantastic breweries in and around downtown Portland, all well set up for sampling your way through their wares.

DSC_0243We went to Hair of the Dog (pictured above), Lucky Labrador (great for sitting around, drinking beer and playing board games all at once!) and Cascade Brewing (I surprisingly loved their sour beers).

Although the actual brewery is about two hours from Portland, we even stopped Rogue Brewery’s retail store. Rogue is one of my all-time favorite breweries so when we came across the store I had to buy a t-shirt.

Rogue Brewery PortlandThe only downside to wandering around the city and taking in the amazing streetscapes is the rain. Seriously. In April it rains like every day. An umbrella and light jacket are required if you plan to stay dry at all. Just do it.

Portland Fashion and StyleTop: H&M | Vest: Forever21 | Umbrella: Borrowed from my friend who lives there! | Bag: Kate Spade | Jeans: INC from Macy’s | Booties: ShoeMint

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