“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

First off, I want to thank everyone who came to visit me last night at my booth during Afterglow. I had many great conversations with the lot of you and it was great to be able to share what I know about living dairy free, and very encouraging to have so many people excited to try my recipes.

Those who attended last night’s event got a bit of a preview that you folks have not yet been privy to, a few days ago I made Panko Crusted Stuffed Meatballs and posted a picture on both Facebook and Twitter. That resulted in several people asking for the recipe and I decided to include it in those featured at my booth.

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Since some of you were geographically unable to attend, and others either couldn’t make it out or the rain killed their copy of the recipe, I’ve uploaded a PDF version of the pamphlet I handed out with all three recipes included. Simply click the link and you’ll have access to them in all their glory. Tony’s Recipes – Afterglow

I look forward to hearing feedback from those who give these recipes a go and, as always, if you’d like to send me an e-mail with pictures of your creation and a write up on what you did, I would love to post them on here. My goal for this blog is to replicate the atmosphere found when sitting with a group of friends in the kitchen, swapping recipes.

Happy Cooking!

Failure is success if we learn from it. – Malcolm Forbes

My mother always made the best Mac & Cheese growing up, and I would request it regularly. But when you develop both IBS and an intolerance to dairy, your diet gets tweaked ever so slightly.

I can no longer eat pasta, one of the joys of IBS is everyone reacts to it differently and the triggers are different for everyone. I have no problems with bread, or wheat, or flour, gluten is not my enemy. But for some reason Pasta just does not agree with me. So I just considered Mac & Cheese to be a write off. I figured I had eaten my last one long ago and didn’t even savour it because I had no idea it was my last hurrah.

Over time I found some pasta alternatives, there’s brown rice pasta, corn pasta, rice vermicelli, udon noodles, and one made of bean sprouts and peas that is white raw, but cooks clear. When you’re not warned about something like that it can catch you off guard pretty quick!

Finding an alternative to run of the mill pasta was easy, as the first one I tried didn’t taste like cardboard. I wasn’t so lucky with an alternative to cheese.

I tried many different types of dairy free cheese and none of them tasted anywhere close, some claimed they “melted” but they didn’t. They ended up with a film over top and just molten particle board tasting lava underneath. I had almost given up, I thought I had tried them all, with no success, but then I noticed Daiya for the first time as I passed by it in the deli. It wasn’t with the other dairy free or vegan cheeses, but around the corner with the “normal” cheese, so I hadn’t paid it much attention. I saw those magic “Dairy Free” words, and tossed it in the cart. When I got home I also noticed the claim that it “melts and stretches”, but took it with a grain of salt. Fast forward to a year or two later, and there is always at least two bags of the shredded in my fridge. It is the best alternative I have found, it DOES melt, it DOES stretch, & most of all IT TASTES LIKE CHEESE!

To me it’s a wonder product, it was a game changer for me, it was with this product that I realized being dairy free wasn’t all that horrible, there were work arounds and they tasted great.

It’s because of Daiya cheese that I’ve been able to make a lot of the recipes that are on this blog, including the one I’m about to share.

I’ve obviously had to tweak the recipe a bit as far as ingredients go, I’ve also added some stuff too because I can never leave well enough alone, this is Mac & Cheese 2.0

The zucchini is something that, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have in my fridge. However, the always fantastic Susie Jimenez sent out a battle cry to pick up a new vegetable, you normally wouldn’t cook with, and incorporate it into your night’s meal. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t have figured out just how awesome zucchini is and how much it added to this recipe. I suggest you all give her a follow on Twitter, she’s got some great ideas!

Side Note: If you want to make this dish vegan, all you have to do is omit the bread crumbs and chicken, also use the vegan margarine that Becel has.

The Goods

  • 8×8 pan
  • 1 3/4 cups macaroni (brown rice pasta)
  • 2 tsp margarine (olive oil or vegan becel)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • bread crumbs (omit for vegan)
  • Daiya Dairy Free Mozzarella or Cheddar style shreds
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 4-5 mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1-2 small chicken breasts (omit for vegan)
  • curry powder
  • sea salt & herbs

I tend to cook the chicken in the afternoon so that its cooked when I’m prepared to get everything else ready. Just very simply chop it up into chunks, season it lightly as you wish, over the dish in tinfoil and cook it at 350 for 30 minutes.

Put the pasta in a pot with some salt, water and a little bit of olive oil to keep it from clumping.

Slice up the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms and toss them in a frying pan with some olive oil and some Sea Salt & Herbs and once the veggies start to get some colour, toss in the chucks of chicken. Keep it at a low-medium temperature and let it cook, while keeping an eye on it, and get everything else ready.

In a small microwavable bowl, melt the margarine then, in a larger bowl, whisk it together with the flour, almond milk, salt, pepper, and curry. Now the curry is a recent addition, and we loved it! For those who aren’t familiar with it, you don’t need a lot of curry for big flavour, so be careful not to make it too spicy. We use a yellow curry and keep adding it in bit by bit to avoid a mishap.

The veggies and chicken will be done before your pasta, so feel free to transfer them from the stove to the 8×8 pan. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, rinse it off, and drain a second time. Then add it into the pan with your other goodies. This is where the cheese comes into play. I didn’t put an amount on the list of ingredients for the simple fact that it all comes down to preference, we like it quite cheesy. Put your desired amount of cheese and mix it all together, and pour in your liquid. After everything is in the pan, give it another mix to make sure everything is coated, sprinkle on a layer of bread crumbs and some more cheese and into the oven it goes @ 350 for 30 minutes. The cheese and bread crumbs crisp up and everything else cooks perfectly to the point where it all melts in your mouth.

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Once again, if you try this, please send me an e-mail with pictures and any revamps to the recipe you’ve made. My next entry will be Barbara‘s take on the Breakfast Pizza =)

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Considering I told everyone I would update with more fun stuff yesterday, I felt that today was a good day to do it. Not that I thought it would be a good laugh to get all your hopes up, but yesterday was my dad’s birthday and it was a jam packed day of running around and cooking.

In an effort not to forget things, I’m going to jump back to where my last post and move forward. That means you’ll have to read all about it before you find out the AWESOME gift I got for my dad. I mean, you could just scroll to the end, but then you’d be cheating yourself out of a good read now, wouldn’t you?

I had gotten up much earlier than my other cohorts, so I was chatting with Josh and Emily (@JoshLyonsPhotos & @Emily_Ellyn on Twitter) about food, and Josh’s band Fell on Deaf Ears (definitely suggest checking them out!)

Emily had posted a photo of some amazing cupcake on Facebook andwhen I shared it, Sara, my houseguest, commented that we should have cupcakes for breakfast, then she came upstairs. My brain immediately started working and within a few minutes I had a recipe MOSTLY figured out in my head. I told Sara that her wish was granted and we’d be making Breakfast Cupcakes.

The Good Stuff

  • asparagus, cooked (follow recipe below)
  • leftover Make Ahead Potato, or some sort of potato (hashbrowns, mashed, fried)
  • 7-8 eggs depending on how many other ingredients make it into the muffin tins
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 coloured pepper
  • 1-3 stalks of green onion
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • Sea Salt and Herbs

So, the asparagus (pronounced Ass-Par-Agus forevermore, due to Sam’s dad). I have a very simple method and it turns out consistently tasty. set the oven to 400, lay the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil being a bit more generous in coating the tip (adds awesome crunch) and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper. I prefer using a coarse grinder for both S & P as I find it kicks up the taste a bit. Then it’s just a simple 15 minutes in the oven and you are off to the races.

This is a fairly simple recipe and great for making while still half asleep or while the coffee you’re drinking works its way into your blood stream.

the onion and peppers get a quick fry in a pan with some olive oil. Leave the green onions aside as they have more flavour going in raw.

The potato goes into the muffin tin first, to cover maybe 1/4 of the tin. Once again, the Make Ahead potatoes from the previous post work splendidly as a base and depending on the size of the group you served with it initially.

cut the asparagus halfway up the stalk and stick it in the middle of the potato so the tip sticks out like a flagpole once everything is added into the tin. You may need to poke a hole in the potato and then fill it back in around the asparagus.

The eggs and fried veg mixture can be mixed together in a bowl and poured into the tins evenly. Then sprinkle the green onion and cheese over top of each one and it’s into the oven at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.

it should end up looking something like this:

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Sam missed out on the initial creation and consumption as she was working. Once we did the dishes, we took the leftovers to her, which means we each had three AND all the asparagus we had left over. good hearty breakfast.

The downside to missing a few days of blogging is the events in between photos becomes a bit blurry….OH! Nevermind, I remember.

I could delete the above sentence, but then you may feel less involved in the process, and we can’t have that.

Sara, B, and I decided to buy some outdoorsy stuff since we were already at Walmart (Sam works there). We got a football, dog frisbee (they were cheaper), and a bocce ball set. We spent the bulk of the day at the soccer field playing and getting burnt by the giant fiery orb in the sky, all in all a great afternoon.

We got back and it was back into the kitchen for me. Sara had never had poutine before so we had to rectify that. But, as usual, I couldn’t just make a normal poutine, I had to be difficult.

Back on the 30th I attended a Heritage Party that featured all things Canadian, including poutine. Being lactose intolerant, I made my own and enough for others to try, cooked it all, put it in a casserole dish, and covered it with foil. When we got there it was tossed in the fridge and then into the oven when we were ready to eat. What resulted was the recently dubbed Poutinserole.

I replicated it, and I think it’s a keeper.

The Inner Workings

  • Fries
  • Gravy
  • Daiya Dairy Free Cheese
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Ingenuity

with a bit of olive oil in the pan, & the temp low-medium toss in your fries, and once they thaw, throw on the Sea Salt & Herbs. keep frying them until they get a bit crispy, or your desired fry texture. In a pot bring whatever gravy you’re using to temperature (I used a can of mushroom gravy, which was excellent). Combine the gravy and fries in a casserole dish and then mix in the cheese. Make sure everything is mixed well, then cover the dish with foil and, as per usual 350 for about 18-20 minutes. You’re not cooking anything, you’re basically making it more awesome.

I’m giving you fair warning, Poutinserole is not photogenic, but tastes excellent.

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Baking allows it to be cut into squares and, if you wish, you can add some more gravy drizzled over top.

Given that we did a lot of running and jumping and such we were quite hungry and the Poutinserole takes some doing. As such I had an appetizer in mind that doesn’t take too long to throw together, but tastes like a lot of work went into it.

The Essentials

  • Shrimp (cooked and deveined)
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • Margarine
  • Garlic or Garlic powder (Not Garlic salt)

In a pan, toss in some olive oil on low-medium and once that heats up a bit toss in your shrimp, and once those get comfortable, hit them with a healthy dose of Sea Salt & Herbs, and keep them going on a low-medium temp.

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While they’re in the pan, mix your margarine (or butter if you prefer) with either minced garlic or powder and melt it down, either in a small pot, or microwave (which we opted for). Once it’s liquid pour it over the shrimp and keep tossing it in the pan until they are completely coated.

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Once they get a good coat of garlic butter, plate them and enjoy. Make sure you also have a little bowl of plate for the tails.

The reason for keeping it at a low temp is that these lovelies are already cooked and you are basically heating them up and locking in the flavours you have added.

This is where there I take a bit of a break from cooking as there wasn’t much time, we did a whole lot of running around those few days. Not only that but Sara made us an excellent breakfast one morning and gave me time to get some work done.

You’ll have to ask her what all went into it, but it tasted so friggin’ good!

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What I do know is that the sourdough had some becel underneath a heaping spread of homemade strawberry freezer jam my mother had whipped up the day before.

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Should last us a few days 😉

During the time away from the kitchen we went to Peggy’s Cove

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I get my picture taken with this sign each and every time I go to Peggy’s Cove

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spent another day at the field playing with our new toys, Sam was able to come this time.

(No pictures available)

Sam had to go to work, and we three that remained were way to hot to cook so we went to Waves. We ordered Sweet Potato Fries and Chipotle Mayo to start and I got the same thing I get every time. Chicken Clubhouse without cheese or bacon.

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Waves has the best fries in town, and their sweet potato fries are no exception.

The following day the 4 of us were up early and off to Halifax, Sam and I played tour guide as we hit up the essential shops on Barrington. Renaissance (they sell Chucks), Rock Candy (Rock shop that I can never leave without buying something, Freak Lunchbox (candy store to end all candy stores), & Oddjects (wacky fun shop that can’t be explained unless you visit).

Dad’s birthday was yesterday and I KNEW I could find him something at Rock Candy. For a while, each gift giving event I would give him a Beatle’s CD, then I shot myself in the foot, gave him the gift of all gifts and presented him with the entire Beatles collection in stereo that they released a few years back. Ever since I try to find unique and inventive gifts, sometimes thinking very far outside of the box.

Normally any time you find something related to The Beatles and there are four of them, it’s very simply one for each member of the band. I found a set of four pint glasses with that exact motif, and it just didn’t do it for me. I thought it was too predictable and something I could have picked up anywhere with little to no effort and that, does not, a good gift make. One the other side of the store, under a Misfits alarm clock, I found THE gift. Again a set of four pint glasses, but instead of each being the face of one of the members, each was a different album cover. It was perfect, Beatles related, yet not something you could find anywhere, it was a treasure and would go splendidly with his Jimi Hendrix coffee mug.

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I also got him a M*A*S*H 4077th keychain, because we used to watch it together all the time when I was growing up.

Next we went to Oddjects and I found this black and white polka dot cookie jar that stood on four legs with green and orange leggings and little black boots/shoes with a tag reading $15. I couldn’t see a matching lid anywhere and assumed that was why it was cheaper. Now, my mother has a rather odd cake plate that this would compliment, it was originally given to her as a gag gift and she uses it proudly. As such, I knew the cookie jar was perfect. When I took it to the counter the lady told me it had a lid, I told her I must have missed it. When she went and got it for me, I knew why I missed the lid… It doesn’t match at all, it’s like two different people made the two halves….it’s AWESOME.

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Is this not the best cookie jar you have ever seen?!?!?!!

If you have a better one than this, please post a pic in the comments.

Dad loved the birthday gifts and mom loved the cookie jar and couldn’t stop laughing.

Yesterday was Dad’s birthday, we did it, we made it to yesterday!

We didn’t do much during the day, went downtown, talked to Marc, our tattoo artist. Sam, B, and I made an appointment for Monday (pics to come). Then we went to get donairs, Sam and I told B and Sara that they HAD to get a proper donair while they were here. In Vancouver we never could find one that tasted as good as they do here, with real donair sauce.

I can’t eat them anymore because of IBS and I’ve yet to try to make a Tony Friendly version, but I’m sure it will come.

When we got back from getting donairs I had to start making dinner. It can take a bit of time, but the result is well worth it.

I call them Loaded Chicken Burgers, and they are aptly named.

Components

  • chicken bacon, 7-8 strips diced
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 3/4 a good sized harder apple (not a mac), cubed
  •  3-4 stalks of green onion
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground chicken
  • Daiya dairy free cheese
  • several splashes of italian dressing
  • 2 eggs
  • stove top stuffing
  • cayenne
  • Sea Salt & Herbs
  • 5-6 mushrooms can also be added, we kept them out as Sara’s not a fan

You’ll need two pans for this one. Olive oil in both, low-medium temp, in one pan put the diced chicken bacon and cover the pan with foil. In the other add the onion, pepper, and apple (once again leaving out the green onion).

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Stir both occasionally and cook them down. You’ll be able to tell that both are done when the bacon starts to crisp (chicken bacon is already cooked when you get it) and the apples will still have a bit of crunch to them. The reason for that is the stove top stuffing will steal some of the juice from the burger, and the apple gives it back as it cooks down inside.

Mix the bacon with the veggies and set aside to cool down. In a good sized bowl, add the chicken and green onion, then toss in your veggies and bacon. Get right in there and knead it with your hands, have to make sure its blended well. Afterwards, put the cheese in, followed by the stove top, mix thoroughly, then add the Italian dressing and one egg. Knead again and form a patty freehand. If it looks like it may fall apart as it cooks, add the other egg. Providing it looks solid, don’t bother with the second egg. Sprinkle on the cayenne and Sea Salt & Herbs liberally as it has to reach its way through all the meat.

If you have a burger press, then that’s great and if not, simply eyeball them to the size you’d like.

I have a press and this made 20 1/4 pound burgers.

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Cooking method is up to you as well, it was a beautiful day so we BBQ’d. If the weather isn’t in your favor they fry up really well in a pan.

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That’s it folks, we have reached the end. I hope you all enjoyed our trip through the past couple of days in the kitchen and beyond. Let me know how you like the recipes.

In closing, This is the Sea Salt & Herbs I keep talking about.

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I’m gonna read a book with pictures.

So, my parents left for Greenville, SC yesterday, which means I’m house sitting for the next 10 days. Last night was fairly uneventful, I’ve just been picking away at re-cataloguing my DVDs and Blu-Ray because my database didn’t carry over when I made the switch from PC to Mac. It’s one hell of a process, but I’ve found a very good program that is incredibly user friendly and suits all my needs and beyond.

 

It came time for supper and I wanted to treat myself, do something a bit fancier than usual. This is what I came up with:

One of the many joys of having IBS is that there are things you can’t eat and there is no rhyme or reason to it. I’m not gluten intolerant, I can eat bread just fine, but for one reason or another I can’t eat pasta. I can eat rice, but pasta is a no go. So I’ve come to love rice vermicelli and also this “pasta” which is made from peas and bean sprouts. When uncooked it is white but the noodles cook clear, which is odd when cooking the first time and are unaware.

The sauce is just Hunts mushroom and basil sauce that I put Daiya dairy free cheese in while cooking so it melted all throughout. The meat is extra lean ground chicken with onion, mushroom, and orange pepper and seasoned with cayenne and a chicken seasoning medley. I cooked the chicken on it’s own on low for about 15 minutes, then added the veggies and cooked it for another 15-20, all the juice mixed in the pan and infused the meat, it turned out excellent.

I had a lot leftover so I packed it all up, cleaned the kitchen and retired to the basement for the eve.

Today Sam wanted to know what was for lunch and I didn’t just want to plate the same thing over again, so I took some rice paper out of the cupboard, grabbed the leftovers and ended up with this

we put some of the cold noodles and chicken in the rice paper and then reheated the sauce. Rather than pour the sauce all over everything, we put it in a bowl and used it for dipping. The fact that everything in the rice paper was cold made all the flavours inside come out full force, and it contrasted nicely with the heat of the sauce.

all in all a fairly successful meal since it made two different dishes with enough left over to attempt a third this evening. =)

 

We’re going to make the best of this glorious summer day and go do a mini photo shoot with our newly acquired ShirtPunch shirts.

 

This is my cat in a bag

You keep eating your hand and you’re not gonna be hungry for lunch… – John Bender

Today is the day I finally get caught up on The Voice AU. I’ve loved it since the beginning and while I love the American version, and the performers/coaches I must say I think, as a show/competition, I prefer the Australian as it seems a lot more raw.

That’s not to say I don’t still listen to Jamar, Lindsey, Juliet, Jamie, The Shields Brothers and the rest of the pack because I do, and have purchased all I could on Itunes. But I find, as with most Americanized competitions, it very quickly becomes a matter of who will get the highest ratings rather than who performs the best and I believe that Australia has got it figured out. As each round goes by, whether I like the decision or not, I know it’s the right move made by the coaches. There were countless decisions made on the US version, most of them “Xtina”‘s that made me question if I would tune in the following week.

If you get the chance, check out these amazing artists from both shows, because they will very quickly become your new faves

Now that I’ve lost some readers/insulted some people we’ll be moving right along.

When I bought my Panini Press a few years go, I found a way to use it for practically every meal and it lost some of the mystique that it held. As such, it became much less an appliance and much more a professional toe stubber.

Up until today I’ve been using it only as a glorified toaster for the past 12 months, today all that changed.

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I took all of this wonderful, some of it cooked, some raw and crunchy and turned it into this

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The Goods

1 tortilla

choice of spread

1-2 mushrooms, sliced

1 green onion, diced

deli meat of your choice and preferential amount, chopped

1 slice tomato, cubed

1-2 leaves of lettuce, chopped

1 slice cucumber, cubed

grated cheese

Put a little olive oil (butter if you prefer) in a pan on low to medium heat and toss in the mushroom.

Once the colour starts to change, throw in the green onion.

When it is almost cooked, add in the deli meat to brown it slightly and soak up the flavours.

cube and chop lettuce, tomato, and cucumber respectively

put spread of your choice of spread on tortilla.

add the ingredients from the pan to the tortilla, followed by the cold items and sprinkle cheese over top.

fold and grill, making sure to only grill until the marks are present otherwise your cold items lose their crunch.

Hopefully people are enjoying the recipes, as they are fairly low cost and can be done with a low skill set, something for everyone =)

If you keep reading them I’ll keep posting them.

About the biggest pair you ever seen, dingleberry! – Jay

Today has been spent waiting at outpatients, in the kitchen, and also putting up wall hangings. All in all it was rather eventful.

Made a great little casserole, just sort of appeared in my mind, I threw together the ingredients and tossed it in the oven for 30 minutes at 350.

Yes, it tasted just as good as it looks and only took roughly 10 minutes of prep. A great meal when you have things to do, but need to get breakfast/lunch/dinner on the table.

recipe can be made available for anyone who would like it.

*Edit*

since I’ve already been asked twice, here it is.

8×8 pan
1/4 orange pepper
2 green onions
chicken/pork/bacon/whatever (I used all natural hot dogs)
9 eggs
4 circles cut from your bread of choice
grated cheese
Dice the first 3 ingredients and place in the bottom of the pan.
Beat the eggs in a bowl.
cut 4 circles out of your choice of bread with a cookie cutter or rim of a glass.
dip the bread circles in the egg and set aside on wax paper.
pour eggs into the pan.
place bread circles in the four corners of pan.
cover bread with cheese.
sprinkle cheese over remainder as you see fit.
cook for 30 minutes at 350.

Thanks for reading, and carry on being awesome.