Green Bean and Pasta Salad

I haven’t made this, but my sister Julie, her hubby, and their two-year old loved it. That is good enough for me! She got this recipe from

Julie’s notes: I changed a few things. I make the vinaigrette in the big bowl I’m going to serve in. I use: the juice 1 lemon,  3 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon dijon, 1 tsp honey, salt, pepper. I don’t let the pasta and green beans cool – I put them right into the dressing. Then I add the red beans and the parsley and mix it all up. I don’t add the parmigiana cheese until I’m ready to serve – so you can just use it as a garnish in case of allergies. It doesn’t need the cheese to be delicious. And the two beans plus pasta are very filling – Dan didn’t need anything to go with it.



White Lightning Chili with Mango Avocado Salsa

Todd’s mom made this for us when they visited last. She found the recipe in a magazine…I think Southern Living? The white chili recipe is fairly basic, but this salsa really kicked it up a notch! It was so delicious!


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2T olive oil
  • 4 c cooked shredded chicken
  • 28 oz chicken broth
  • 2 14 oz cans chopped green chilis, undrained
  • 1 packet of white chicken chili seasoning mix (Note: I had never seen or used this before, but they had several varieties at Harris Teeter. If you don’t have it on hand, you could mix salt, sugar, garlic powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste.)
  • 3 cans navy beans, undrained

Instructions: Saute onion and garlic in oil for 5 min. Stir in chicken and next three ingredients with two cans of beans. Coarsely mash the other can of beans and add. Boil and stir often. Cover and reduce heat, then simmmer for 10 min. Serve with mango avocado salsa (recipe below) and cilantro leaves.

Salsa: Cube one avocado, and add one diced fresh mango, 1/2 c diced red onion, 2 T chopped cilantry, and 2 T lime juice. *I thought the fresh onion was a little strong…I might do a little less or even omit. It sure tasted so good on that spicy chili!

Taco Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Taco salad is usually one of those meals where the dairy is conspicuously missing. Not so here! Sam told me, “Mom, I’m really enjoying this!” Too cute! I shred his lettuce quite a bit, but he does eat it!  Make sure to include as many toppings and spices as you can here, and you won’t even miss the cheese!


  • 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • head of romaine lettuce
  • two roma tomatoes
  • two avocados
  • can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • handful of frozen corn
  • two handfuls of cilantro
  • packet of taco seasoning, or a homemade mix similar to this one

Instructions: Wash lettuce and tomatoes. Shred lettuce, chop tomatoes and avocado. Pile all ingredients on lettuce. Brown turkey and when almost done, add your taco seasoning. Put on top of salad.

For the vinaigrette: (recipe adapted from (Note: I did not measure here. I had two hungry little ones. I probably used less sugar and olive oil.)

  • Place lime juice, orange juice, honey, orange zest, and sugar in a large bowl. With a whisk in 1 hand and the oil in another, slowly begin to add the oil until it’s all gone. Season with salt and white pepper, to taste.

Company-Worthy Banana Blueberry Muffins

I have to admit that with an egg-allergy, we don’t do much baking around our house. I had some frozen bananas in my freezer taking up space and I thought I would make some muffins.  **This is my adaptation from a recipe I found online.**  Feel free to customize as you wish!


3 ripe bananas

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. all-natural applesauce

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, divided

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

3/4 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 c. brown sugar

4 tsp. nondairy butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with the oil, applesauce, and sugar.  Mix well.  In a small bowl whisk together the salt, baking soda, 2 c. of flour, and cinnamon (if you would like).  Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture and stir by hand until the two are thoroughly combined.  Fold in the bluberries.

Pour the batter in a greased or lined muffin pan.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 c. flour, the brown sugar, and the nondairy butter.  Use a fork to help the mixture become crumbly.  Sprinkle the crumbs onto the muffins.  Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Toddler Favorites for an allergic diet

As if it’s not hard enough getting toddlers to eat, try having to avoid a few allergens as well! 🙂 Sam is a good eater, but boy, it is a challenge to make sure he gets enough Vitamin D, calcium, protein and fat in his diet. Sam is not allergic to wheat, so he eats a good amount of that. Here are some staples in his diet.

  • Quick cooking oats made with coconut milk
  • Jones Dairy Farm sausage
  • homemade hummus with lots of olive oil, with pretzels or corn chips
  • plain potato chips
  • olive oil – in everything
  • Smart Balance Vegan Blend Butter – ON everything
  • Hormel Natural Choice Ham
  • Nature’s Own Wheat Bread
  • Van’s Frozen Waffles, topped with lots of butter and pure maple syrup
  • Trader Joe’s Snickerdoodles
  • So Delicious Purely Decadent Coconut Ice Cream
  • Rice and Coconut Milk
  • Sunbutter – on bread, pancakes, crackers, bananas
  • Coleman’s Organic Chicken Nuggets
  • Homemade Sweet Potato Fries and Regular Fries
  • Leftover Lunch suggestion: When I serve Sam leftovers, like a soup or stew or pasta or something, I always add a dash more of olive oil. Sometimes if it’s a soup he didn’t love the first time, I crush up ritz crackers. Not the healthiest, but adds fat and flavor, which he can’t get from dairy toppings.
  • avocado – Sam is not a big fan of plain avocado, so I have to mix it in things. If I put it in soup or on a sandwich, he doesn’t notice.

Black Bean Hummus

I love the Black Bean Hummus from Brixx Pizza. My husband claims this is better. I don’t know about that, but it is very good. I served it with corn chips.


2 cans black beans, rinsed

1/2 c olive oil

4-5 cloves crushed garlic

salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together in food processor or blender. Be sure to use lots of garlic – that is the only flavor besides the beans! Also, if it still seems thick, add more olive oil. It should be creamy. Enjoy!

Braised White Beans

We first had these in a Greek restaurant called “Zoe’s Kitchen.” My sister figured out a way to duplicate the amazing white beans they make. These are finger-lickin good. You need a few hours to let them simmer.


4 cans white beans (great northern) drained but not rinsed

4 cloves garlic

1 onion

fresh rosemary, 1-2 sprig

1/4 c. olive oil plus 2 T

salt and pepper

chicken broth, about 1 cup


I used my ceramic Dutch oven pot so I could saute, boil, and bake in the same pot. If you don’t have an oven-proof pan, you will need several different pots. Begin by drizzling the pan with the 2 T of olive oil. Saute the onion with 1/2 t salt until soft, 5 minutes. Add the pressed garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 min. Then add the unrinsed beans, chicken stock, rosemary and 1/4 c olive oil. Cook on high until bubbly. Then turn the heat way down and simmer with the lid on for a nice long time. Keep your eye on it – you may need to add more chicken broth if starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. After an hour or so, use a potato masher (or spoon) to mash some of the beans, maybe half. Season with salt and pepper. Stir, and place in a 300 degree oven for another hour or so. Enjoy with corn chips, pitas, over brown rice, or out of the bowl!

Allergy-friendly party food!

We did a lot of entertaining and hosting over the holidays. My goal for food was to make things that were allergy-friendly for my son Sam, but also DELICIOUS and special for the holidays. I think I succeeded! Since Sam is the only one of us eating allergy-free, I also included one “regular” item (usually something with cheese :). I just tried to pick something that wouldn’t involve a lot of mess to make or eat, since I don’t want milk all over the place for Sam’s sake! The allergy-friendly items were a big hit, though! Here are some of my choices for appetizers and meals suitable for everyone. Recipes coming soon if they are not linked!


Trader Joe’s Meal: White Lightning Chili

One of the (many) perks to our new house is that it’s 10 minutes from Trader Joe’s. I found this recipe on this blog which features Trader Joe’s foods in their recipes. We all loved it. Todd asked me to make it again soon. As she references, it is a tad on the spicy side for kids. Sam never mentioned it though. Before I served his, I added 1T of PLAIN coconut milk, avocado slices, and a handful of ritz-type crackers to cut the spice a bit. He literally ate the entire bowl! Be sure to have plenty of avocado on hand for toppings if you are omitting dairy. Oh, another note…I know this is health-food heresy, but I am not the biggest quinoa fan. I substituted 2/3 c of brown rice and added another cup of broth, but followed her recipe. I would definitely do that again.

White Lightning Chili

1 1-lb container of Just Chicken (or 4 cups of cooked and shredded chicken) cut into bite size chunks
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 15-oz can White Kidney Beans (Cannellini Beans), drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Pinto Beans, drained and rinsed
1 13.75-oz jar Corn and Chile Salsa
Optional: Shredded cheese for garnish

1.) Pour the broth into a medium or large pot.  Add the quinoa (make sure quinoa is rinsed and drained).  Bring to a boil.
2.) Add the remaining ingredients (making sure beans are rinsed and drained) and return to a boil.  Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Dairy-free creamy baked pasta

Every once in a while, I get a hunger that only baked pasta can satisfy. I wanted to make something really flavorful and hearty, obviously without dairy. This dish was delicious! I did add a four-cheese blend on top for Todd and me before baking. Sam liked his right off the stove! If I were eating the dairy-free, I think I would have blended bread crumbs with melted butter and salt and pepper to sprinkle on the top before baking.


Box of rigatoni – rice pasta if you wish

1 1/2 sausages in casings

olive oil

colored peppers (I used half of a red and half of an orange), large dices

one onion, cut into small dices

1/2 c PLAIN (not vanilla) coconut milk

crushed red pepper, dried basil, and dried oregano

3-4 cloves of garlic

jar spaghetti sauce

1/3 c plain tomato sauce


Cook pasta according to box directions. In non-stick skillet heat 1 T olive oil. Add peppers and onions. Cook for a minute or two. Remove sausage from casings and add to pan, using wooden spoon to form crumbles as you cook. When the sausage is almost done, add the garlic, minced, and salt, pepper, dried basil and dried oregano. I was very generous in the amounts…it had a lot of spice! Let the spices cook for one minute. Then stir in the jarred sauce and tomato sauce, when that is heated through, stir in the coconut milk. Pour this into a baking dish. Add bread crumbs if you wish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. It was so rich and delicious!