Today I’ve borrowed another recipe from a wonderful site by Lyndsay Homme called Milk Free Mom. Make sure and check it out as she has so much useful information for anyone trying to cook or even buy dairy-free products. Thanks Lyndsay!
I adapted this recipe from my Coconut Chocolate Chip Banana Breadwith two small changes, and it’s just as delicious as the original. It’s sweet, easy to prepare, and the whole family will love it.
makes 16 thin slices, 8 large
1/2 cup of your favorite dairy free milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance), softened
2 cups whole wheat flour (white or gluten free will work too)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips (we used Amanda’s Own Confections)
1/2 cup flake coconut
In a small cup, mix your milk and the vinegar together. Let it sit for 5 minutes while you follow the rest of the preparations, so that the milk curdles a bit.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease your loaf pan, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together your margarine and sugar until well combined and smooth. To that mixture, add your flour, baking powder, and baking soda.Give it a good mixing with a fork to combine it well. Next, add your pumpkin, milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup coconut. Mix well until smooth. Gently fold in 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips. Scoop the mixture into your prepared loaf pan, and top with the remaining chips and coconut. Press the chips and coconut down a bit to help them stick. If you’re baking in a glass loaf pan, you’ll want to bake the loaf for about 50 mins. A tin pan will take 5 or 10 minutes less, so keep an eye on it and be sure to test the middle to confirm that it’s done. Let it rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and enjoy!
Yes, I know that’s a strange title. But this week I’m going to take a moment and talk about one way that Southerners help each other. You could call it one of the Southern small acts of kindness: Chicken Stew.
Southerners love to cook and eat. A favorite meal of many is a chicken stew made of chicken, onions, potatoes, macaroni, tomatoes, and corn. During the spring and fall especially in the South, on any given Saturday, you can find what I like to call “Chicken Stew Fundraisers.” In fact, I have three I plan to buy from in March alone. All three are attempts by friends and relatives to help pay for doctor bills incurred from a serious medical condition. Two are ladies dealing with cancer and one is a lady needing a kidney transplant.
At a typical chicken stew fundraiser, Friday night is spent cutting up potatoes and onions, cooking and deboning chicken and then cutting the chicken up for the stew. The potatoes and onions are soaked in water overnight and in the morning ready to add.
Chicken stew is usually cooked in large, black kettles holding anywhere from 15 to 30 gallons. You can use wood for the fire or propane. The pots sit on a metal stand with the fire under it and chicken broth and chicken are added first. The potatoes, onions and corn are added next. Most people soak the macaroni in a separate bowl before adding to cause it to swell. The tomatoes are added last along with plenty of salt and pepper. It is then stirred with a long wooden paddle until ready to eat. Some people add ketchup for taste or ground-up saltine crackers or instant mashed potatoes to thicken the stew.
People usually hear about the stew by word of mouth, a well-placed sign at a convenience store or by buying a ticket. Gallon jugs are brought to the site of the sale and filled accordingly. Many times a bake sale is also sponsored at the same time, so you end up with your main meal and dessert. All for a good cause. Below is my husband, Danny’s chicken stew recipe.
Makes 20 gallons
25 pounds of potatoes, cubed
5 pounds of onions, diced
15-20 pounds chicken leg quarters, cooked, deboned and broth saved
2 gallons crushed tomatoes
4 large cans of tomato sauce
2 gallons corn
3 pounds of elbow macaroni
Pour chicken broth in large black kettle and add chicken. Cook. Then add potatoes, onions, and corn. Cook. Soak macaroni in water until swelled, then pour off water. Add to stew. Cook. Add tomatoes last. Salt and pepper to taste.
As promised here is an inside look of The Guardian’s Promise.
Near En Gedi, Judah 835 BC
Ari’s heart hammered in his chest as the horses thundered toward the groves. Instinct had him reaching for where his sword should have been, a sword he had discarded years ago when he’d traded his life of a warrior for that of a bond servant. He’d been a fool to leave his weapons hidden away when danger lurked close at hand, but he could not very well play the servant dressed as a soldier.
It would do no good to dwell on this lack of foresight, even if it had almost got him killed years ago. Instead, he picked up a curved lava stone and prepared for battle.
He peered around the corner. The queen’s soldiers brought their mounts to a halt on the dusty pathway, their eyes trained in the distance. Ari followed their line of sight and inhaled a sharp breath.
Sh’mira, his master’s daughter, stood at the edge of the grove. She cradled a white flower in her palm, her nose mere inches from the petals with her eyes closed.
He knew she was lost in the fragrance as she was wont to do and completely unaware of her audience.
Hefting an empty pot onto his shoulders, he straightened to his full height. With the lava stone firm in his palm, he stepped out of the shadows and made as if he were about his everyday chores.
Perhaps his presence would discourage the warriors from their wicked intent, for their arrival could result in nothing but evil. Ever since Queen Athaliah had killed most of the royal family near seven years ago-her sons, daughters and grandchildren-the royal guards had terrorized all of Judah. Stories of their infamous conquests had reached even this remote village, putting fear into the hearts and minds of all. A fear that rivaled the fear of the fabled Leviathan and other sea monsters.
A horse snorted. Ari’s feet wobbled on the pebbles as he worked his way toward the grove. He’d never feared a battle before and although his warrior instincts thrummed through his veins, his years out of service shook his confidence. Perhaps, it was the crude scar on his thigh, a reminder of his last encounter with the queen’s men.
“You should not be here alone.”
Mira turned, her lips tight, gaze guarded. “Who are you to tell me such?”
He sat the clay pot to the ground and broke off a dying branch. “A servant looking after his master’s interest.”
“I am a grown woman, able to care for myself.” She jerked a withered limb from its mooring. “Just because I am maimed,,” she bit, “does not mean I’m helpless.”
He dropped his hands to his sides. Her gaze a pool of desert water after a heavy rain. “I did not mean-”
This woman was far from helpless, he knew that.
“Did you not?” She tossed the branch into the pot. “You are forever following me around tending my duties. You would think Father bonded you to be my nurse.”
“I only think to repay your kindness for tending my wounds when I first arrived.”
“For seven years?” She let out a disgruntled sigh and walked farther down the lane.
“It has not been quite that long.” Ari grabbed her arm, turning her back to him. Her cheeks flushed and his warmed at the contact. He released her. Crossing his arms over his chest, he stepped back. He was nearing the end of his sixth year and beginning his seventh with her family, and he’d never touched her. The contact caught him off guard. “If not for you, I would have died. I would not have you meet the same fate.” He tilted his head toward the guards high on their mounts.
She leaned forward, peering around one of the trees, and then straightened. The length of her tresses brushed over his forearm like a feather. The flowery fragrance of henna blossoms tickled his nose. How had he not noticed this about her? Odd, one touch after all these years, and he was suddenly aware of how she smelled.
A whinny from the horse brought his head back to reality. He glanced over his shoulder and bit down on his tongue. The devastation left in the guards’ wake, remained fresh in his mind even after all these years. The young king’s mother had been badly used before they slit her throat. Fortunately, Jehosheba, the boy’s aunt and Tama, Mira’s cousin, who had been serving as a nurse in the palace, had the wits about them to take the babe from his dying mother, giving Judah hope for the future. A truth Mira did not know. “In their eyes, all women, young and old, are helpless.”
Mira’s gaze shifted toward the riders once again. “I will not cower before them.”
Her lack of cowardice was worthy of any warrior. However, it was not courage that fueled her attitude. “Would your pride see your father brokenhearted?”
She sucked in a sharp breath. “I wonder how a man of your wisdom became destitute enough to become a servant.”
The horses’ hooves came closer. “As you know, I repay a debt of kindness. Your father offered me refuge when I was wounded. Come.” He extended his hand toward the small village. “We must get you back within the walls of your home.”
The sound of the muffled clops halted, replaced by the creaking of leather as the men dismounted. Ari’s muscles tensed. He faced the pair of guards and forced his life’s blood to an even rhythm. The men standing before him were the queen’s own personal guards, which meant they were on a mission much higher than destroying altars to God and keeping peace. Had they discovered the child survived?
“Looks like we’ve interrupted two lovers.”
She squeaked. “You dare-”
Ari pierced her with a dark look and shoved her behind his back. He bowed his head. “Forgive my mistress.”
Words clung to the tip of her tongue. Self-control had never been one of her gifts. The blame could be tossed at Ari’s feet for causing her lack of speech. His humility had been replaced with an uncharacteristic bold protec-tiveness leaving her confused. Not to mention the touch on her arm had caused her knees to turn to honey and her toes to curl. Something Esha, the man seeking her hand in marriage, had never caused.
Who was this man who often offended her with his kindness? This man who insisted she was weak and helpless by his actions?
“She’s distraught over the immature crop.” Ari picked a budding green fruit from the tree as if to prove his statement.
“Your mistress, you say?” The taller of the two soldiers stepped forward and pushed Ari aside. He lifted his fingers and touched her hair.
Bile churned in her stomach. It was squashed when Ari grasped the guard’s wrist and stepped back in front of her. Protecting her like a shield. The shorter of the two soldiers placed his hand on the hilt of his sword even as he took a step back.
The man laughed. “You are bold, slave.”
“Servant. I am a servant.” He dropped the soldier’s wrist. “It is my duty to protect my master’s property. Including his daughter’s virtue.” Ari seemed to grow ten feet taller and two feet wider. His bronzed skin gleamed in the hot sun. His stance and bearing caused both guards to shrink. How had she not noticed how strong and handsome he was? Because he treats you like a crippled beggar.
“If this woman’s virtue is a matter of importance to her father, why does he allow her to venture away from her home alone and without covering her head?”
Mira bit down on her tongue. Her virtue was hers alone, not her father’s. Not any man’s. However, the law said otherwise. A law the guard did not recognize. She arched onto her toes and tried to peer over Ari’s shoulder. His silky black hair lifted on a breeze, tickling her nose and forcing her back to her feet.
Ari shifted, blocking more of her view. “Forgive me, we were under the belief God’s Law no longer matters.”
Laughter erupted from both the guards. “You are correct, slave. God is dead. The queen’s law rules this land, along with the wooden idols she worships.”
Hidden behind his back she couldn’t see much, but she could see the tick in Ari’s jaw, feel the heat emanating from his skin, the controlled anger exuding with each of his measured breaths. She knew he did not approve of Queen Athaliah’s worship of idols made by men, knew he continued to worship God and keep His commands.
A low rumble vibrated from Ari. “Her-”
She fisted Ari’s tunic in her hands, halting his words.
“Her father, my master is expecting us.”
Mira relaxed her hold on his garment but kept her fingers pressed against his back. His solid presence brought her comfort in the midst of danger, and for once she was thankful for his interference.
“Your master can wait.” The guard reached around Ari and grabbed ahold of her wrist.
Last week Jennifer shared her dairy free peanut butter cookies and it reminded me of the absolutely best cookie recipe, hands down, that I’ve ever come across. They are rich and gooey just like chocolate chip cookies were meant to be. And since it’s gluten free and dairy free, it makes this recipe even better.
*1 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
*1 cup brown sugar
*1 tsp. baking soda
*1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
*1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together in a large mixing bowl the peanut butter, brown sugar, egg, baking soda and vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon by the tablespoon full onto parchment paper-line cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. For crispier cookies bake longer.
Make sure all ingredients are gluten free and have not been contaminated by other members of the household. You never know who’s eating out of the peanut butter jar.
Not sure where the original recipe derived from, it came through a nutritional loop through the college I was attending.
Yields 26 cookies
Calories from fat: 140
Total fat: 16g
Sodium: 210 mg
Dietary fiber: 2g
I challenge you to make these cookies. Your family will love you while they melt in their mouths.
I felt overwhelmed with little money and little confidence as I set out to do an entire month of book signings on the military bases in the area. It was cold and the roads were dangerous. I wanted to make a quality table where people would feel warm and welcome.
A couple of friends provided ideas and projects with the materials to put them together, then one of them came to my home Thanksgiving weekend and helped me fill my gift bags with lots of love; a coffee mug, tea bags, candy canes, and book marks!
The book marks were the most special things because my publisher had made them up for me and they were specially designed to go with my novel, Vapors. I didn’t expect them and talented lady that she is, she drew them up in front of me on her computer. I was amazed as she asked me what I thought of this or that design and then she hit a button and said, “Let’s go pick them up!”
I couldn’t believe my ears. I floundered as I tried to tell her I didn’t have the small amount of cash needed to pay for them, let alone her design. She laughed, “Silly, it’s my Christmas present to you!”
That may sound rather small but to me it was one of the most wonderful presents in the world. I was blessed to give a message of love to everyone who walked by even if they didn’t purchase a copy. They did love and accept the bookmarks. Thank you Jan and De Nyse for all the love you gave to me last Christmas.
Here is my all-time favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, made without dairy, of course.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup light Blue Bonnet margarine (its dairy-free)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Thoroughly cream butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg and vanilla with mixer. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture with spoon. Shape into one inch balls; roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet and criss-cross with fork. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes; don’t overbake. Serves 4 dozen.