Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with a Pumpkin Spice Latte

PUMPKIN!  I prepped breakfast the day before...
I stumbled upon Pinterest about a month ago - after I was flattered to discover photos from my first blog, "Living My Dream" at, had been pinned.  I had heard of Pinterest, but did not really understand what it was all about.  I knew it had photos that sometimes inundated my Facebook home page, but that was about it.  Had someone explained it was a site where you could bookmark your favorite articles, recipes and photos - organizing them on "boards" (in folders) however you liked, I would have been hooked sooner!  The bookmark section on my laptop's browser had been insane before the poor thing died on me.  Thanks to Pinterest, I have not done the same to my hubby's PC.

Anyway... earlier this week it began to feel like fall.  That meant one thing.  Pumpkin.  I absolutely LOVE pumpkin.  So, I searched for pumpkin on Pinterest and began a Pumpkin board.  YUM.

I thank this search for helping me find The Oatmeal Artist.  If you are fond of homemade oatmeal, you seriously need to check out Lauren's website.  (Although, you are probably so much cooler than I am that you already knew this site existed with all of its delicious recipes!)

Monday morning I tried the Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal.  I substituted rice milk for the milk and used the 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice suggested.  I only had frozen blueberries on hand, so I added them with the banana.  It was really, really good - not to mention filling!

In my freezer, I had one last cup of homemade pumpkin puree from last fall.  So, I put it in the refrigerator on Monday night to thaw.  Yesterday became a marathon cooking day.  I made tomato soup, The Daring Cooks September Challenge (you'll have to wait to hear about that one!), gluten-free beef broth from Gluten-Free Quick and Easy by Carol Fenster, cooked a roast on the Traeger, and I used my cup of pumpkin puree to make 4 different recipes!

The pumpkin dishes were all prepped to make for breakfast this morning.  My hubby enjoyed a home cooked meal rather than his usual bowl of cereal!

In one Corningware French White 16-ounce dish (I love these, as they are microwave, oven and freezer safe and they have lids), I combined the liquid ingredients for The Oatmeal Artist's Basic Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal.  In a second dish, I combined the liquid ingredients for the Pumpkin Spice Latte Oatmeal recipe.  In two separate containers, I combined the oats and seasonings.  This morning, I combined the wet and dry ingredients and baked them.  (In the future, I will mix all of the ingredients together.  I don't think it will hurt for the oats to absorb some of the moisture overnight.)


Oh - if math is not your strong point and you are making a single batch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte Baked Oatmeal, you would use 8 teaspoons (or 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) of milk and the same amount of coffee.  (There are 48 teaspoons in one cup, so 16 teaspoons in 1/3 cup.  Half of that is 8 teaspoons, and there are 3 teaspoons in a Tablespoon - so 8 teaspoons = 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons.)
Pumpkin Milk for Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe found at
Thanks to Pinterest, I also stumbled upon a recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Latte at  I made the Pumpkin Milk yesterday (using rice milk to keep it dairy-free) and made these for my hubby and I this morning.  I did not have pumpkin pie spice (GASP!  As a pumpkin lover, this must be some sort of crime), so I used Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus I had on hand (it added cinnamon and orange flavors to the traditional pumpkin pie spice - if I remember correctly.) 

It turned out to be a bit too much cinnamon for my hubby, but he drank the whole cup!  I'll have to try it again with pumpkin pie spice and add a touch more maple syrup at my hubby's request.  He also pointed out that the spices do not all blend and/or dissolve.  Some settle in the bottom of the cup.  I read the recipe, so it was no surprise to me.  He still drank the whole cup!  I made a half cup for myself (as I am limiting my coffee consumption) and was too full from my oatmeal to finish my latte.  So, I poured the remains into an ice cube tray and froze them.  Later, I plan to blend them with more rice milk for a homemade Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino.  It sounds delicious!  This would probably be incredible with a nice wallop of homemade whipped cream, but with amazing dairy-free recipes like these, giving up dairy is quite a bit easier.  (I'll try whipped coconut milk once I can add coconut back into my diet.)

Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal from The Oatmeal Artist

Each of these recipes required 1/4-cup of pumpkin puree.  So, I used the last of my puree to make Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal using another Oatmeal Artist recipe.  This was my FAVORITE recipe!  Don't get me wrong, the baked pumpkin oatmeal was amazing and the baked pumpkin spice latte recipe was great, but this recipe tasted like dessert!  Again, I made it with rice milk to keep it dairy-free.  I also made the mistake of sampling this last night.  It did not survive long enough to be my breakfast tomorrow morning.  As my eldest (nicknamed Monkey) pointed out, it's a good thing it is almost pumpkin season!  (I have plans for the Cinderella Pumpkin growing in my yard!)

Now, I have tried mixing overnight recipes in half-pint mason jars and they just never fit.  So, I mixed this one in a pint-sized jar.  It looks a bit large for the job, but it worked out perfectly.

Let me just say, my youngest (nicknamed Mutt at his request), only likes instant oatmeal.  He has snubbed every homemade oatmeal I have made.  Until now.  He said he would eat this if I heated it up a bit.  (That being said, he has not yet sampled the baked oatmeal recipes I made this morning, but I saved a bit of each for he and his brother to sample.)  I'll make a comment later to let you know their opinions.

I am so thankful for the Internet and for creative cooks that are willing to share their creations!

Homemade Tomato Soup

Better Homes and Gardens Fresh Tomato Soup
The mornings and evenings are getting chilly and last night the moon was full and huge.  My boys register for school today.  In short, it is beginning to feel like fall.

Yesterday, I picked some tomatoes from our garden and tried the Fresh Tomato Soup recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I also found a copy of the recipe on-line.  In my cookbook, it calls for cilantro or parsley.  I used some of the fresh basil growing on my kitchen counter - so, I smiled when I discovered the on-line recipe actually suggests cilantro or basil.

My boys decided this would be great with a grilled cheese sandwich (even the picky eater!)

My husband felt it was a bit bland.  That may be because I did not have any chicken bouillon granules, so I substituted Gaylord Hauser Vegetable Broth.  I like this veggie broth, but it does not have as much salt as bouillon.

The only hot sauce I could find was Blair's After Death Sauce - from a gift pack of hot sauces I gave to my husband for Christmas.  I only used two tiny drops and the flavor was wonderful without the soup being too hot for my picky eater.

This soup will definitely be made again in our home!  (I even put some in a jar and froze it to see how it holds up.  If it turns out well, I will be making a bigger patch, freezing it in individual portions as suggested for lunches on 100 Days of Real Food.) 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Almond Butter Chia Pudding

Almond Butter Chia Pudding
Through The Daring Kitchen, I stumbled across Shelley's blog, C Mom Cook.  Her recipes looked amazing - and they were dairy-free, so I had to follow her blog.  (Had to - it was a compulsion.  Take a peek and you may feel the same.)

Yesterday, I read Shelley's post from Monday about Chia Pudding.  Her recipe was inspired by and slightly adapted from Katie's Chi Chi Chi Chia post on her blog, Betcha Can't Eat Just One.  (And Katie has a label for pumpkin recipes, so you know I just have to follow her blog now!)

I am beginning the 5th week of my doctor's 6 week diet - eliminating a slew of foods I normally eat.  This list includes chocolate, coconut, and agave.  But, I really wanted to try this pudding and was sure I could make something work.

I opted to substitute almond butter for the cocoa powder and maple syrup for the agave.  I am still adjusting to almond butter.  The pudding did not taste bad, but my boys were both right, it was not very sweet.  I did not want to add more syrup, so I sliced a banana and stirred it in after the pudding chilled.  (It was devoured before I could take a picture.  Oops!)

Chia Seed Benefits and Risks

Huh.  I planned to find a great link touting all of the wonderful benefits of eating chia seeds and I stumbled upon sights warning of side effects.  My curiosity got the best of me.  I found some info at the website.  However, I found the info at seed guides far more informative.  

I encourage you to check out the sites above.  Below, I tried to summarize what I learned...  but I may not have caught all of the info.

There are a ton of benefits to eating chia seeds.  Check out the benefits here

As for the side-effects... the following information was paraphrased from and

You should limit the amount of these seeds you consume (for adults it sounds like 2 Tbsp. per day should be the limit - less for children.) 

Pregnant or nursing?  You should avoid chia seeds.
High triglyceride levels?  I recommend checking with your doctor.  Although other websites indicate chia seeds may lower triglyceride levels and raise HDL levels, states that some types of chia seeds actually raise triglyceride levels. (This may be due to the high alpha-linolenic acid levels.)   According to webmd, you should only use chia called "Salba," as it does not significantly increase triglycerides.  
Hemophiliac? On blood thinners?  On an aspirin regimen? Preparing for a surgery? Check with your doctor first.  The omega-3's in the chia seeds can cause the blood to thin. 
High risk for prostate cancer? Check with your doctor first.  High levels of alpha-linolenic acid may increase your risk with this type of cancer. (According to webmd, the jury is out on this as studies have shown increased risk and no changes in the risk - but they recommend avoiding alpha-linolenic acid supplements.)
Low blood pressure? Ask your doctor first.  Some research indicates you should steer clear of chia seeds as they could drastically lower your blood pressure.
Take B17 supplements? Adding chia seeds to your diet could cause an overdose.
Allergic to mustard or mustard seed?  High protein levels in chia seeds can contribute to allergic reactions in some people.  Sounds like the risk is higher with allergies to mustard seed.

Almond Butter Chia Pudding

Almond Butter Chia Pudding (Dairy-Free) - Please Read Chia Seed Benefits & Risks 1st.

3/4 - 1 cup almond milk (I used original, unsweetened)*
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 banana (optional)

  1. Blend together almond milk, almond butter, and maple syrup.  (I used our immersion blender with the tall cup it came with.)
  2. Stir-in chia seeds.  Bananas may be diced and added at this point.  Or if you do not want them to brown at all, wait until the pudding has chilled.
  3. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  4. If desired, add sliced or diced banana.  
  5. Enjoy!
*NOTE: The longer the pudding chills, the more liquid the chia seeds will absorb.  I used 3/4 cup almond milk and it was perfect an hour later.  If you plan to chill overnight, you may prefer to use closer to 1 cup of almond milk.

I look forward to trying more varieties of this delicious dairy-free "pudding."

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

National Creamsicle Day - Dairy Free Orange Cream Pops

Dairy-Free Orange Cream Pop

Well, today I should be posting about the incredibly yummy Daring Cooks Challenge for August.  However, I am waiting until I finish this restrictive 6-week diet my doctor has me on to make that incredibly delicious dish.  It will be so much better with onions and garlic, I am sure!

Today, I was fiddling around, looking on-line for some fun lunch ideas to surprise the boys with once school starts up in a couple of weeks.  I remembered a co-worker once telling me there is a National Food Day nearly every day of the year and I thought it would be fun to incorporate a few of those into the school lunches.  I googled National Food Days (I do love Internet search engines!) and discovered this American Food Holiday list stating today was National Creamsicle Day.

My boys thought I was teasing when I told them, and here is why...

Irony can be mighty fun sometimes!  Last week, my 13-year-old (Mutt), told me we should make Jell-o popsicles.  That afternoon, I began skimming through a book by Reader's Digest that I picked up at the library called, Homemade: How to Make Hundreds of Everyday Products Fast, Fresh, and More Naturally.  Guess what I found?  A recipe for Orange Cream Pops using orange gelatin.  (Ironic, right?)  I LOVE orange creamsicles and feared I would have to give them up forever.  Maybe not!  I picked up the ingredients last Thursday and Mutt and I finally made them last night.  However, we started the project so late, they would not be ready until today.  And then this afternoon, I discovered it was National Creamsicle Day.  My boys thought I was joking.  Little did they know... *grins*

I even found an article with a little bit Creamsicle history published August 14, 2012 on  Just CLICK HERE to read it - there is even a "grown-up" recipe included!

Of the four of us, only Monkey can have milk.  So, I adapted the recipe.  I did not want to break any copyright laws by sharing the recipe from the book, so I did another Internet search.  Taste of Home has the exact same recipe listed on their website.  You can find it by clicking HERE.  My recipe is modified to exclude dairy.

Dairy-Free Orange Cream Pops


  • 1 package (3 ounces) orange gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) vanilla almond milk yogurt (or your favorite dairy-free vanilla yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or your favorite dairy-free milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 paper cups or Popsicle molds (3 ounces each)
  • 10 Popsicle sticks (if using cups)


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in hot water and stir until dissolved.  Allow it to cool to room temperature (we let it sit on the counter for about an hour.)
  2. Whisk in almond milk, almond milk yogurt and vanilla until all ingredients are well combined and smooth.
  3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.  OR fill paper cups.  You can put foil or plastic wrap over the tops of the cups and stick the popsicle sticks through to hold the stick straight and freeze until firm.  OR you can freeze the cups for about 2 hours and then insert the popsicle sticks so they will stand straight.
We had a fair amount of the mixture remaining after filling our popsicle molds (which were a fun gift to the boys from their Aunt a few years ago.)  Luckily, we found 3 paper cups stashed away in the cupboard.  I did not have any popsicle sticks, but I found exactly 3 plastic spoons in the silverware drawer.
Dairy-Free Orange Cream Pop in a Cup
The boys declared these a definite "Make Again" treat!  (And I added the Reader's Digest Homemade book to my wish-list!)

Friday, August 2, 2013

July 2013 Daring Bakers' Challenge: Eenie Meenie Miney Moe!

Potato Rösti
In a "celebration" of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

And that truly was the challenge!  If you do not believe me, go to the recipe archives on The Daring Kitchen website (just click here) and try to decide for yourself!

In my case, my choices were severely limited, so it made the decision a ton easier.  My doctor has me on an restrictive diet to see if we can figure out if it is a food that has been making me sick - well, another food in addition to dairy.  So, no dairy, no gluten, no soy, no honey, no onions, no garlic, no beans, no fruits with pits; well, the list goes on, but you get the picture.

Here were our only guidelines for the challenge:

Mandatory Items: You must choose at least 1 past Daring Baker or Daring Cook challenge and recreate it by the reveal date.

Variations: Only variations are allowed are those specified in the challenges.
That's it.. all other rules/regulations/tips/tricks/notes/etc. will be found in each challenge - as will each printable file.
Have fun kids! Smile xoxo

Flipping Frying Patties!!!

My choice became a no-brainer when I stumbled across a recipe for Potato Rösti in the February 2012 Daring Cooks' Challenge: Flipping Frying Patties!!!   Click here to find the challenge and the recipe.

Not only could I eat all of the ingredients, but my husband and I had not eaten rösti since we left Switzerland in 1997.  We had always purchased it in a pouch and cooked it up.  I had never made it from scratch.  And, I had already added gluten-free schnitzel to our menu for the week.  Rösti was the PERFECT addition.  It was also a wonderful surprise for my husband.  The boys had never tried it, and I am happy to say, even the pickiest eater enjoyed it.  Success. Yes!
Potato Rösti
Lisa, I loved the challenge - thank you so much!

If you would like to see the other wonderful creations, just click here.  Or, do a google search using the first paragraph of this post to find other bloggers describing their adventures with this delicious challenge!