Mac and Cheese!

14 12 2011

Oh man. I am SO EXCITED about this post!  I have been wanting to make mac and cheese for some time now, and always feared cooking with Lactaid milk (since it’s a little altered) where milk was a main ingredient.

However, my good friend Beth recommended this recipe to me (which we found on Pinterest, I think).  It’s a one pot recipe, which made it that much more appealing.  I decided to give it a try, and boy am I glad I did!  The nutmeg and mustard powder in this dish give it a great earthy flavor, and it cooks up in about 25 minutes, which is super easy.  Plus, the Lactaid milk worked out really well in the dish.

For the cheese, I did about 3/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese and 1/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese.  Both have a really low lactose content, so they typically don’t bother my stomach/digestion too much.  I’ve made the dish twice in the past month.  The first time I steamed up some broccoli at the same time that I cooked the mac and cheese, and the second time I heated up some brussel sprouts that I had in the freezer.  Both were great additions to the meal and really filled it out.  I always like to have vegetables in my meals, especially  when it’s dinner, so it was a nice complement to the dish.

The second time around I used large shells, but I think I would recommend using elbows or similar sized pasta.  The large shells were just too large, I think.

Here are some pictures.  I highly recommend making this if you get a chance!

Happy eating!





How I Get By: Milk

15 01 2011

In this series of posts, I’ll take you past the food that I can eat and that I make, and a little more in depth into my life and how I get by.  I have a few topics to write about, so stay tuned for more!

Milk is one of the things that I miss the most.  I used drink a gallon a week by myself when I was younger, up until I became lactose intolerant as soon as I went to college.  Here’s a few things that I do to get by.

As far as milk goes, I’ve found that most lactose-free milks are a good substitute.  I’ve always liked whole milk, so I normally buy the whole milk, but can sometimes have the 2% lactose free milk.  Coupons.com normally has come coupons for Lactaid brand milk so if I’m at ShopRite I’ll get that, but lately I go to Halo Farms, the local market, and buy their lactose-free milk there.  It’s cheaper than Lactaid and I love supporting the local economy.  They have whole, 2%, and skim versions.  I use lactose-free milk as a substitute in baking as well .. as far as I can see, it hasn’t changed the consistency of anything I make, but I still have a lot of discovering to do.

My most recent discovery has been the brand SO Delicious. It was recommended to me by a colleague who has a son with multiple food allergies.  The difficulty that I often run into is that I’m allergic to milk and soy, and many milk substitutes are soy.  SO Delicious offers a few yogurts that are made with coconut milk, and after a few trials and errors, I found three flavors that I like – raspberry, strawberry, and strawberry banana.  They taste pretty good and although they run a little more than traditional yogurt ($1.99/ea. at Whole Foods), the ability to eat yogurt again like a ‘real person’ is really great.

The last thing I do is carry these Lactaid pills with me everywhere.  You can never be too careful, and sometimes my body is much more intolerant of milk.  I think it is very possible to live a dairy-free lifestyle and don’t like to rely on medicine to be able to eat.  However, I keep these pills on me just in case, because sometimes I just can’t resist a great slice of pizza.  Lactaid pills aren’t foolproof, though; sometimes I’ll take a pill and still get sick, which is why I normally air on the side of staying away from all dairy.

Overall, I still miss milk a lot, and there are still some substitutes that don’t exist, like regular yogurt, cream, and some really good gouda cheese (my favorite).  Life is all about adjustments, though, and maybe one day I’ll be able to enjoy milk again!

Happy eating!





How I Get By: Budgets

6 01 2011

In this series of posts, I’ll take you past the food that I can eat and that I make, and a little more in depth into my life and how I get by.  I have a few topics to write about, so stay tuned for more!

Budgeting is really important in my life, and here are some of the ways that I continue to cut corners.

Coupons – I’ve always been a coupon cutter, because my mom was one. When she stopped cutting coupons, I would do it for her and give her the coupons for things that I wanted from the store that week (this was back in high school).  These days I still find a lot of satisfaction from physically cutting coupons, but most of my coupon cutting occurs online.  I utilize a few sites such as coupons.com, redplum.com, smartsource.com, and couponmom.com to find the best coupons.  What’s better is I can choose which coupons I want and most of them are plentiful and available most weeks, so I can cut coupons for things that I actually need.
I keep a coupon file with me when I shop – but the most important thing is to pull coupons that I’m definitely going to be using before I shop so I don’t get too flustered with all the coupons (there are a lot).  Here are coupons I’ve cut online too.

Buying on sale When I grocery shop, I only buy things that are on sale, or if not, the cheapest price.  Store brands are definitely okay, and it certainly pays off to take the time to look at unit prices to bargain shop for the best price.  The two grocery stores that I frequent the most are Shop Rite and Stop and Shop, and both of these stores feature an online weekly circular.  This way I can plan on my shopping trip before I even get to the store to save myself time.  Both stores, actually, also have an ‘online shopping cart’ where you can click links from the online circular, and the site will print out a shopping list for you – it’s even categorized to optimize your trip to the store!  This has certainly helped me in money AND time saving efforts.

Stocking up There is always something at the grocery store that I need in my pantry and will need later.  Chocolate chips, flour, sugar, chicken broth, pasta, butter, bacon .. when these things go on sale, I will normally buy more than I need, so that I don’t have to run out to get it later, and because a lot of dishes I use need ingredients such as these.  By stocking up my pantry with frequently used items, it ensures that I won’t have to rush out to the store and end up spending more money because I didn’t plan ahead.

Keeping track of where the money goes – I budget $150-200 a month for groceries, and for the past two months have fallen under $150.  I use mint.com to keep track of all my finances, and keep close track of where my money goes each week and each month.  Also, I’ve found it really helpful (a little time consuming, but helpful) to go through my shopping list while I’m shopping and keep an estimate of how much money I am spending.  I tend to do one big grocery trip a month (and spend $80-100) and then have small shopping trips after that.  This way I know the bulk of my money is going towards that one trip, and when I plan out my grocery list, I plan accordingly.

Lists! I wouldn’t be able to survive with lists and grocery lists are no different.  Even yesterday I walked into Wegmann’s (which I’ve only been in a handful of times) and completely forgot why I was there because I was so distracted by the complexity of the store.  I ended up wandering for about half an hour before I really had to focus myself to do what I was there to do.  (I didn’t even find what I was looking for, so it was just a waste of time.)  I make grocery lists and bring a pen with me so I can cross off things I found, and only put things on my grocery list that I will use for a meal that I’ve planned for (more on meal planning next week).

Along with using canvas bags (they help the environment AND they save you a tiny bit of money), I cut corners wherever possible.  It’s really rewarding when there’s a “total savings” box at the bottom of your receipts – here are a few of mine:

These are just receipts that I had laying around, too!  I saved $30 in one trip by shopping with my frequent buyers card (which everyone should have) and with coupons.  Think of what this could all do for you!

Happy eating, all!





How I Get By: Nutrients

30 12 2010

In this series of posts, I’ll take you past the food that I can eat and that I make, and a little more in depth into my life and how I get by.  I have a few topics to write about, so stay tuned for more!

When people learn of my food allergies, the most common question I get is whether or not I can successfully eat healthy, and if I get all the nutrients that I need to sustain myself.  The simple answer: no.  I was taking a few vitamins before I went to see my new doctor (including a multi-vitamin) and after some blood tests, it was recommended that I take a few more vitamins.

So for the moment, I take: calcium supplements (Viactiv), One-A-Day Multivitamin, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin E, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin C.  We [my mom and I] thought the multivitamin would take care of stuff I was missing, but since I did the blood tests while I was regularly taking the calcium, multi-vitamin, and vitamin E, it’s obvious I wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed.

So here’s the daily dessert to my lunch or dinner.

And here’s the amount of supplements that I have sitting on my dresser.

Happy eating!