We are eight days away from Christmas and I am one bag of Dum Dums suckers away from being DONE with my Christmas shopping.  Literally, I have to purchase a bag of suckers to fill the remaining space in my child’s stocking and then I can finally relax.

Well…relax is a relative term.

In my last post I was gushing about ice cube tray truffles and how easy and delicious they are.  I decided I would make a platter of them to take to my office Christmas luncheon, and while I was at the craft store for some other things I found this silicone gingerbread man treat mold.


I will admit now that I know NOTHING about using silicone molds.  I read the label on this particular one and it mentioned something about being freezable, so I thought, THIS WOULD MAKE THE CUTEST LITTLE TRUFFLES!

Unfortunately I’ll never know whether or not this mold produces the cutest little truffles.  The last batch I made didn’t set–at all–and I still don’t know which wrong turn I took that ruined them.  The first two batches I made using the ice cube trays turned out fabulous.  Here’s what I did differently with this latest batch:

  • I used the silicone treat mold rather than the ice cube tray
  • I used caramel sundae topping as filling instead of cookie butter
  • I used milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate
  • I thinned out the melted chocolate using rice milk instead of full-fat coconut milk

It could be any one of those things, or all of those things, and maybe someone can tell me but I should know better than to pretend to know what I’m doing when it comes to cooking.

In other kitchen-related news, I’ve been in a bit of a cooking funk lately.  Without being able to use dairy or eggs, paired with the world’s pickiest husband and a toddler who hates something today that she loved yesterday, it feels sometimes like we eat the same thing over and over.  I finally told my husband that once a week I’m going to cook something I know he won’t like, to try and mix it up a bit for me and Emily, and he can eat cereal on that night if he so chooses.  I’ve also been brainstorming my own recipes to try and break out of the funk.

On top of it all, I’m trying to eat a little healthier these days.  It was the wrong time of year to commit to such a crazy idea, but I am FIFTEEN pounds heavier now than I was before I got pregnant.  Some nights I consider serving bowls of frozen peas for dinner.  And yes, my daughter would eat that.


The chocolate is strong with this one

My toddler is a true chocoholic, much like her mama.  On the one hand it’s great because who doesn’t like having a chocolate buddy, but on the other hand it poses a challenge because most things chocolate also contain dairy.

For dessert on Thanksgiving I tried out a 3-Ingredient Dairy Free Fudge from the Pretty Bee.  It didn’t set as well as I’d hoped but popping it in the freezer helped in a pinch.  Emily LOVED it.  The best part was that it took five minutes to prepare.

Last weekend I took it a step further and made ice cube tray truffles.  If you’ve never seen these, they’re little truffle-like candies you make using ice cube trays.  I studied a few different tutorials and combined the steps/methods from several of them, but in a nutshell here’s what I did.  I melted dairy-free chocolate over the stovetop and filled each “cube” of an ice cube tray about 1/3 of the way with the melted chocolate.  Then I dropped a small dollop (about 1-1.5 tsp) of cookie butter into each cube, and then I filled them the rest of the way with more chocolate.  I put them in the freezer for several hours and took them out to thaw about ten minutes before serving.


Keep in mind it was pretty dark chocolate, being dairy-free and all, but Emily took one bite and immediately demanded more.  She ate two full ice-cube sized truffles and sobbed furiously when I cut her off because her bedtime was right around the corner.


The truffles, like the fudge, were a five-minute project.  I’m going to make more this week to give out as Christmas gifts and I plan to fill them with a variety of things, like caramel sauce and almond butter.

Clearly I’ve spent a lot of time cooking with chocolate lately.  I’ve considered making some vegan sugar cookies to decorate for Christmas but I tend to ruin them even when they’re not vegan so I’m still on the fence.

As if cooking from scratch daily and working full time and being a rockstar allergy mom all wasn’t enough, I recently opened an Etsy shop and also launched the Idaho Food Fighters Facebook page.  My husband just got sucked back into the Candy Crush realm and I refuse to go down with him, so I’m trying to be more productive instead.  *Laughs maniacally as I drink another pot of coffee*

And is anyone else floored by the fact there are only 15 days left until Christmas?  My shopping is DONE (it’s a Christmas miracle!) but I still have to wrap everything….or rather, I still have to double-wrap everything because the toddler is anything but gentle with the gifts currently under the tree.

Hope you all have a great week ahead of you!  If you have any good vegan sugar cookie recipes, send them my way.  I promise I’ll try not to ruin them.

Catching Up


Between a nasty sinus infection, a cat who decided to develop asthma, and a huge project at work, finding time to blog was next to impossible.  But here I am.  I made it.  Let’s catch up!

Muffins (Baked Milk Challenge): The muffin game is still going strong over here.  Emily won’t touch a bowl of oatmeal, but she LOVES oatmeal muffins.  My last three batches have all been variations of oatmeal muffins.  Emily BEGS for her “muffies” and it’s hard because she’s only allowed one every couple of days.  We’ll have to do this until January and then we’ll retest her IgE levels.  In the meantime, she likes to “help” me bake.


Cooking: YOU GUYS, I’ve finally started cooking pork chops!  First I followed this recipe for Glazed Pork Chops, and last night I used Shake & Bake (shhhhh…).  My hubs is grateful to be eating something that’s not chicken, and Emily appears to be a big fan of pork.  YAS.

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Other shenanigans: I’m plotting a ginormous organizing spree at home.  (Side note: Since when is “ginormous” considered an actual, proper word? I think I missed a memo.)  I have a list of small projects that will hopefully make life in a small house more tolerable.  I started a Pinterest board for home organization and I’ve got items in my Target and Amazon carts stacking up.  It’ll be a ridiculous amount of work but worth it in the long run!  I’ll be taking before and after photos and I’ll be sure to share my favorite organizational hacks.

Lastly:  Let’s talk cheese.  Or, “cheese.”  I have a handful of vegan “cheese” recipes to try for Emily, but since my last two cashew-based cheese attempts were flops, I’m emotionally scarred and I’m afraid of trying again.  We recently tried Heidi Ho, a plant-based “cheese” I found at Whole Foods, and both Emily and I enjoyed it but it’s so…damn…expensive and it doesn’t have a long shelf life.  I’m not ready to admit defeat yet, so I’m gearing up to try a new vegan cheese recipe.  If you have one that you think is foolproof (remember who you’re dealing with here), please share!

So there’s a few weeks worth of stuff crammed into a 400-word post.  Now that my cat and I are both breathing again, I’m hoping to be back here this weekend.


Lately little miss Emily has been all about apple EVERYTHING.  Apple sauce, apple juice, apple slices, and even pineapple because it has the word “apple” in it.  She eats enough apple I’m pretty sure her skin is slowly turning into an apple peel.

So I found this recipe for Pork with Buttered Apples and thought it seemed pretty perfect.  I’ve had a pork tenderloin sitting in my freezer for a few weeks and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it anyhow.

I did have to substitute a “buttery spread” for the butter for Emily, and that part was fine…no big deal.  Where this recipe went terribly wrong for me was the pork.

The recipe says I should “cook the pork, turning occasionally” until browned, and then to cover and simmer on low heat until cooked through–15 to 20 minutes.  That is exactly what I did, but after 20 minutes was the pork cooked through?

No.  Nooooooope.

In fact, it was still raw and dark pink inside, registering a temp of just barely 100 degrees.  By then the apples were done and the rice I’d made as a side was done, and I could tell the pork was far from being edible.  Meanwhile, my hangry toddler wandered back and forth between the living room and the kitchen, shouting, “Eat?  Eat?  Eat?  Eat?”

Clearly I needed a plan B.  I had purchased a turkey kielbasa that I was going to use in a pasta dish, but last night’s dinner needed it even more.  I was a little worried that turkey and apples wouldn’t make the best pairing, but it was either give it a shot or have rice and apples for dinner.  I sliced the kielbasa and tossed it in the pan with the buttery remnants from the apples while I let the rice cool.  Once the kielbasa was browned, I added the apples back in and called it a done deal.

The verdict:  Turkey kielbasa and apples actually taste great together, and my husband and toddler both thought it was fantastic.  CRISIS AVERTED.


So where did I go wrong with the pork tenderloin?  I honestly don’t know.  My hunch is that I was supposed to slice it prior to cooking, but the recipe doesn’t give that instruction so I’d hate to make that assumption.  All I know is that next time, I’m not cooking it on the stovetop.  That sucker took almost an hour to cook all the way through.

At least not all of my kitchen ventures this week have been failures.  I made some seriously wicked chocolate chocolate chip muffins for Emily’s baked milk challenge.  My modifications:

  • I subbed a flax egg for the real egg
  • I added four tablespoons of powdered milk to the wet ingredients to make the milk-per-muffin measurement meet Emily’s needs
  • I omitted the nuts (choking hazard)


I could LIVE off of these muffins, they are so delicious!  I think Emily enjoyed them, too.  😉