Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie (no one will know)

There are few things worse than well-meaning people screwing up perfectly good recipes, trying to make them “safe” for someone with a food allergy–but not knowing how.

We’re talking vanilla-flavored coconut milk in “dairy-free mashed potatoes” (whyyyyyy?!?!)

If a food doesn’t taste good to someone without the food allergy, you know it doesn’t taste good for the person with the allergy, either. 

So don’t do that.

Especially not to pie.

There’s no need.

You can make a perfectly good pumpkin pie without any dairy, and no one will know.

Here’s how:

dairy-free pumpkin pie.

dairy-free pumpkin pie.

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1.5cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned coconut milk ( Taste of Thai)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2TBSP Earth Balance Soy- free, Dairy-free shortening ( or coconut oil)
1/2 cup HOT canned coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
one 9″ pie shell (below)

Combine pumpkin, corn syrup, eggs and 1/2 cup coconut milk.

Stir shortening into 1/2 cup hot coconut milk ( heating 40 sec in microwave is fine)

Combine brown sugar, salt, spices. Mix until well blended.

Combine all three mixtures. Pour into prepared pie plate. Bake in hot oven at 425 for 15 minutes on lowest rack with pie protector to keep edges from burning.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 35-45 minutes, until knife inserted comes out ( mostly) clean. Set for two hours before serving. For best results, cool for two hours, then refrigerate overnight before serving.

1.25 flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
1/3 cup soy- free dairy- free Earth Balance ( or coconut oil)
4 or 5 TBSP ice water

Put several ice cubes in a cup, fill with water, let sit while preparing rest of recipe.

Mix flour, sugar, salt. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or fork until pea sized balls form. Add one TBSP of ice water at a time, cutting in. Form ball, wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.


The Dairy-Free Fridge

One of the most difficult parts of learning about my dairy allergy  (we’re talking anything that comes from udders) was figuring out just what the heck to eat. Because, dairy. It’s in everything:

*Taco seasoning (and almost all seasonings)

*Processed meats (used as a texturing agent and not labeled). If it isn’t kosher, or specifically labeled as whey/casein-free, don’t touch it.

*Bouillon (And most pre-made stocks and broths)

* Some enriched flours (enriched with whey…whyyyyyy??)

*Almost all probiotics are grown in dairy before being extracted and combined in other foods

*Just about anything that comes in a box. Or bag. Or wrapper. Or anywhere but your own mixing bowls.

Luckily, (as you know from reading this blog the last several years…) we already ate a lot of whole foods and made most things from scratch, so we could adjust recipes and eat vegan when in doubt. But man, how do you adjust recipes? Which fake milk do you use? What replaces butter, really? Or…cheese?

It’s overwhelming to have to be constantly on guard for an ingredient that is so common. And to have to explain daily, at any meal that is not at home, that no, you’re not lactose intolerant.

No, you can’t just pop a pill (though you do have an epi pen you could use… which is not at all the same thing)

No, you really can’t just have a little bit.

No, that “non-dairy” margarine, sour cream or coffee creamer is not safe.

No, you can’t eat anything off that cutting board that someone sliced cheese on.

No, non-dairy is not the same as dairy-free.

(“Non-dairy,” like Cool Whip, Coffee Mate and Margarines are low in lactose and totally cool for lactose intolerant folks. Because that’s their customer base. However, “non dairy” products can and often do still contain whey and casein–dairy proteins– which cause the allergic reaction)

So, if you’re new to dairy-free living, first check out this blog: http://www.godairyfree.org

And then buy these products. Because nothing is worse than trying new allergy-friendly alternatives and being disgusted by them. It’s depressing and reminds you that you can’t eat cheese. So save yourself the money and hassle and just buy the good stuff from Day 1.

As always, please check the ingredients on labels before purchasing. Some items are manufactured in different facilities by region and consequently some items that are dairy-free on the West Coast are not in the South, etc. And sometimes companies change recipes…

The good stuff:

Fake Coffee Creamer: So Delicious (any flavor, really.)

You can still have coffee! yay!

You can still have coffee! yay!

Fake Cheese: Diaya. Any flavor.

The provolone is darn good. So is the cheddar. And the Jack. And the mozzarella. It doesn’t smell right, but it melts and tastes good. Just don’t eat it straight. That will be disappointing. Also, don’t even bother with the cream cheese. More on that below.

It melts!

It melts!

Fake Butter: Earth Balance

It comes in soy-free, too.  And if not Earth Balance, then go with plain old organic coconut oil.  Earth balance has a butter flavor that is very nice. Coconut oil is good for you, but lacks that butter flavor.

Tastes like butter, melts like butter, bakes like butter. But it won't send you to the ER like butter.

Tastes like butter, melts like butter, bakes like butter. But it won’t send you to the ER like butter.

Fake Sour Cream: Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream .

Let’s just say it’s not a star attraction, but makes a great supporting character in tacos, etc.

good when it hides under some salsa.

good when it hides under some salsa.

Fake Milk: So Delicious Coconut Milk Original

Works perfectly, flawlessly, in baking. Thai Kitchen canned coconut milk is perfect for high-temp cooking and baking (pumpkin pie, soups).  And Kirkland brand soy milk (Costco/plain flavor) is what we use to make our own ranch dressing. We use the vanilla flavor for chai lattes. Back away from the hemp, rice and almond milks. They’re gross.

Milk? Who needs milk for baking when you've got this?

Milk? Who needs milk for baking when you’ve got this?

Fake Cream Cheese:…

No. There is none. Sorry.

Fake Chocolate Chips: Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks 

oh yeah. You can still have chocolate chip cookies. And S'mores. And chocolate-covered strawberries.

oh yeah. You can still have chocolate chip cookies. And S’mores. And chocolate-covered strawberries.

REAL chocolate (With no dairy!): Endangered Species Bug Bites 

Fake Ice cream: So Delicious/Turtle Mountain.

For real. These, too, can be yours.

For real. These, too, can be yours.

The strawberry is a little wonky, but almost all of the other flavors are damn good.

Fake Yogurt:…

Just, don’t. No. It’s all gross and looks like slime.

Bacon: Beeler’s 

Thank goodness we can still have bacon.

Thank goodness we can still have bacon.

See how it is labeled casein-free? It’s safe.

ProBiotics: Good Belly.

Raw sour kraut and kosher sausage. Yum.

Raw sour kraut and kosher sausage. Yum.

Also, raw sour kraut like Bubbies  or Wildbrine. Or just go straight for the kimchi.

Taco Seasoning: Old El Paso

You can still have Mexican food!

You can still have Mexican food!

It is the only brand we’ve found of pre-packaed taco seasoning that does not have dairy

Chicken and Beef Stocks/Broths: Kitchen Basics

It is the only brand we’ve found that does not have dairy. Of course, you can always make your own.

Chocolate Cake Mix (almost any flavor, actually): Duncan Hines.

Have your pick!

Have your pick!


Pre-made frosting: ditto…Duncan Hines

(oddly, even the “milk chocolate” flavors…which should terrify us for other reasons)

RECIPE: Dairy-Free Clam Chowder (my life is complete)

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know my deep love of clam chowder. In fact, the only time I came close to crying when I learned I was allergic to dairy was when I realized that meant I could never have clam chowder again.

Hey, I really like clams. And bacon. And potatoes,celery,onions and carrots.

It was a long, sad, pathetic year before Matt figured out how to make a dairy-free clam chowder that was as good as our old, cream and butter- filled recipe. I knew there was a reason I married him.

We had a few misses and some “something’s missing” versions before getting it right.

And this recipe is right. So, so right.

The only thing that will tell anyone eating it that it’s missing dairy? The color isn’t quite white. Not even close. But one spoonful and no one will care.

AMAZING Dairy Free Clam Chowder

half pound bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces (if you are allergic to dairy, be sure to purchase either locally processed bacon or bacon labeled “casein free”)
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock (if you are allergic to dairy, be aware that chicken stock, bullion and base almost always contain dairy. The Kitchen Basics brand of stocks and broth is safe. Or just ake you own veggie stock and use that)
2 (10 ounce) cans chopped clams in juice (strain out clams, reserve juice)*
1 cup coconut milk (use canned coconut milk, like Taste of Thai)
2 bay leaves
1 pound baby red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Red wine vinegar to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet or French oven, cook bacon until crispy. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon fat.
In a large pot, heat the reserved 2 tablespoons of bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and saute until softened.
Stir in the flour. Stir for a minute so flour heats through.
Add the chicken stock, the juice from the clams (reserve clams for step 7), coconut milk, bay leaves, and potatoes. Stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender.
Add clams and bacon, cook 2 more minutes.
Season with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with sour dough bread.


And then everything changed

About the same time I “temporarily” closed this blog 14 months ago, I also learned I was allergic to dairy.

Oh. God.

Goodbye cheese.
Goodbye milk.
Goodbye ranch dressing, ice cream, most chocolates and butter.
Goodbye yogurt (yes, even yogurt)
Goodbye store bought bullion and bases and broth.
Goodbye non- kosher meats (seriously.)
Goodbye goat cheese. And sheeps cheese and “moisturizing milk and honey” soap.
Goodbye margarine and sour cream and canned soups.
Goodbye baking and cooking as I knew it.

A lot has happened over the last year, but most importantly, Matt and I have completely relearned how to make food. And make it good. Really good.

So from now on, that’s what you’re gonna find here: dairy-free recipes that taste like you’d expect on this blog.

Dairy-free recipes everyone wants to eat.

I will leave the old ones up, too. Just because I can’t eat them anymore doesn’t mean you can’t. But all the new ones will be completely free of whey and casein.


Recipe: Morning Glory Muffins (dairy-free)

I had never heard of these things until I moved to Twin Falls, Idaho.

There, at Java, were these monstrous brown things with specks of orange. I was afraid; very afraid.

I didn’t spend the $2.25 on one for several years. The first time I even tried it was when it came inside a white “day old” bag, along with a blueberry muffin. But after that day, I was hooked.

I would feed it to my baby; Logan would happily munch on it for the entire stroller ride home from the coffee shop. We went every Saturday and Sunday morning, Logan, Matt and I, to read the paper, see our friends, and wake up to some great coffee and baked goods. I miss that. A lot.

When we moved out here to Va/DC,  I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d miss Idaho, or what I’d miss about it.  I didn’t realize I’d miss our little coffee shop back home or that it would be so hard to replace. I miss Java. Especially on the weekends. But I became just a teeny bit less homesick when I stood in line at our new coffee shop, St. Elmo’s,  and saw Morning Glory muffins in the bakery case for sale.

This place will never be home…but maybe it will be OK after all.

This recipe was originally created in 1978 by Chef Pam McKinstry on Nantucket Island. It was later published by Gourmet Magazine in 1981, and again featured in Gourmet ten years later as one of the publication’s 25 favorite recipes of all time. For more about the recipe, click here:  Recipe:

This recipe is already dairy-free.

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

3/4 cup Earthbound Farm Organic Raisins

1 large organic apple, peeled and grated

1 cup (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained

2 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Sift or whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts, and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and blend well.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with muffin cups, filling each to the brim. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling