Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Ramadan, Recently Discovered, Snacks, Sweets, Uncategorized

Costco Haul: June 2017

When I first heard of the big box stores that sold bulk items, I immediately thought that those stores existed only for business owners or rich people. Then I moved to California when I got married. I became my husband’s plus one (+1) to his Costco account. Since you only get one extra Costco membership card without any additional fees, I felt honored to have access to this store. I couldn’t wait to see what products were sold and what was the big deal (literally and figuratively). Once inside I immediately noticed how there is something for everyone in this huge store. If you are newbie shopper or a frequent shopper at Costco, it can get overwhelming.  I want to spotlight some items that you may not have noticed.

1. Organic non-dairy milk. As you know, an Allergic Halal Foodie is dairy free. Most likely you will drink non-dairy milk when eating your cookies. There is a lot of allergy safe cookie eating in an Allergic Halal Foodie’s life, so why not save time and money by buying your dairy-free beverage at Costco. It has a long shelf life, too.

2. Organic dates. With Ramadan this month, this item is a handy addition to your Costco shopping list. They’re organic and delicious. It is sunnah for the fasting Muslim to break their fast with dates and water. Not interested in sunnah practices of breaking your fast with dates, you have plenty of ways to eat dates like this homemade Twix bar that uses the dates for the caramel. Yum!

3. Organic maple syrup. The uses of maple syrup is vast. In addition to using it to drizzle onto homemade dairy free Belgian waffles, I like to use it for quick allergy friendly barbeque (equal parts of ketchup and maple syrup) and teriyaki (equal parts of soy sauce and maple syrup) sauces. Yes, it is really that simple to make those 2 sauces.

4. Halal Lamb Roast. Sometimes you can’t or don’t want to make an extra trip to your halal butcher. Alternatively, Costco has halal meat! It doesn’t get any sweeter than that…

5. Organic pasta. Most “gourmet” pastas have egg. Costco has an organic pack of pasta that is egg-free. True foodies know that there are endless options with pasta meals. 

Standard
Dinner, Lunch, Uncategorized

Mac & Cheese Haul

Sometimes you don’t want to make something from scratch. Macaroni and cheese is one of those dishes that is typically made from scratch and has a distinct homemade taste. This distinct taste of this classic dish can be made dairy-free without skimping on the deliciousness.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other. In this case, you can have both. Justifiable if you want to cheat a little bit, but not with the flavor or risk of eating something that tastes horrible. 

Here are the various “not-from-scratch” dairy-free Mac & Cheese options that exist and meet the Allergic Halal Foodie standards:

Daiya Macaroni & Cheese. This is a great option because you don’t have to melt the cheese. This mac & cheese box includes the uncooked pasta and cheese sauce packet. The cheese sauce is extremely cheesy, eliminating the work of adding dairy-free butter, dairy-free milk, and any other extra cooking steps. Just boil the pasta and add the cheese sauce and you’re done! You do have the option to use their elbow pasta included or swap it out for your own preferred pasta shape. Decisions, decisions…

Earth Balance Macaroni & Cheese is a nice choice for boxed mac and cheese. You can use their dairy-free butter, too, for the recipe.

Amy’s Frozen Macaroni & Cheese is great because all you need is a microwave and patience of about five minutes. It makes it to the top of the list because of pure convenience.  They also use Daiya cheese, which is a plus and adds to the familiar great taste. The extra special bonus with frozen dairy-free mac and cheese is that you can quickly turn it into baked dairy-free mac & cheese by putting it into the oven in an oven safe dish. Dare to sprinkle some bread crumbs on top beforehand and you might be amazed with the quality results.

Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese is a product in their line of products that is vegan and dairy-free. It comes with an already cheesy sauce included with the uncooked pasta. This line includes a gluten free option, too. 

For some variety you can cook some halal ground beef with tomatoes or in a marinara sauce and add it to your boxed dairy-free mac and cheese of choice. It will become your beef and cheesy mac, beeferoni, mac and cheese with beef, beef chili mac and cheese without the beans, etc (or whatever is your preferred name for the dish). It all adds up to tasty halal food for the allergic foodie.

Standard
Dinner, Lunch, Uncategorized

Eid ul Adha Lamb Leftovers

Eid ul Adha is synonomous with several things, but it is most notably associated with lamb. Eid ul Adha literally translates into the celebration of the sacrifice (referring to the sacrifice that Ibrahim a.s. almost made with his son). If you have celebrated this holiday, you will have purchased a whole halal lamb that was slaughtered the day of Eid. Presumably you have given a third of the lamb meat to the needy, a third of the lamb meat for friends and extended family, and the keep the remaining third of the lamb meat for yourself. Wherever you get your 1/3 lamb, that portion is still a nice amount of lamb. 

Lamb meat not going away anytime soon? Want to diversify the menu while not quickly getting tired lamb? Here are some lamb dishes (dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, seafood-free) to add to your menu while your lamb supply is high:

Lamb and chickpea curry – This recipe uses dairy-free coconut milk. 

Dibi sogo – This simple lamb meat and onions meal is without the yogurt marinade and can be paired with anything or eaten alone.

Lamb chops ratatouille – This classic lamb chop recipe is made to look like an expensive restaurant style meal at home.

Rosemary and garlic lamb shoulder with mashed vegetables  – Make sure to check out how to make dairy-free mashed veggies. 

Parsi salli boti – This recipe doesn’t skimp on the variety of spices and the nice surprise is the dried apricot!

Standard
Dinner, Lunch, Snacks, The Food Allergies, Uncategorized

National French Fries Day


All self-proclaimed Foodies love eating great food. We’re not in the habit of making up holidays around food. We truly appreciate food daily. However, I would be doing a disservice to Foodies everywhere if I didn’t inform you (albeit late in the day) that July 13th is French Fries Day. This day does not mean we have a green light to eat French Fries all day long. Because we can eat fries all day long any day of the year, I just want to discuss the history of the French Fry. The French Fry didn’t even orignate from France. A very long time ago, the Belgians fried small pieces of potatoes when their small fish that they typically fried was not accessible to fry (sounds like an Allergic Halal Foodie move finding substitutions for your food “restrictions”).  English speaking folks saw and heard this and thought it was French language and cuisine and thus we have the name, French Fry.

The relevance for an Allergic Halal Foodie is that not all French Fries from real potatoes are edible. I say real potatoes because not all French Fries are from 100% potatoes.  Watch a video here of partial potato French Fries.  Are McDonald’s fries halal? No, because of the non-halal beef that is included in their fries. What type of oil were the fries fried in and what was previously fried in that same oil are questions to ask before you grab your bottle of ketchup, or vegan aioli, or vegan mayo, or halal chili, or…

Standard
Dinner, Ramadan, Uncategorized

Ramadan Iftar Menu

There are a plethora of choices for the fasting Allergic Halal Foodie to eat for Iftar. Below are a few starters:

  • Dates. It is sunnah to break your fast with dates and water. Dates are a superfood and water is hydrating. 
  • Stuffed grape leaves with halal ground beef or lamb. Rice and meat wrapped in grape leaves sounds simple, yet deliciously meets the protein, carb, and veggie requirement. Make sure to use a dairy-free butter if you’re making these on your own or always inquire about the ingredients with the chef.
  • Soup. This is a easy dish with a wide range of options. Throw in water, seasoning, olive oil, veggies, and a protein of choice and you have a savory meal for Iftar. Hard pressed for ideas, here is a twist on a classic chicken soup recipe. 
  • Rice and beans. This a heavier dish than you think. It is a staple in my maternal heritage. The beans alone  provide a great source of fiber and protein, but go ahead and add your choice of additional protein like chicken or meat.
  • Kebabs. Pair with salad, couscous, bread, and even some plaintains and you’ll have a complete meal. If you’re not making the kebabs at home, make sure to ask the chef if the chicken or meat was marinated in yogurt.
    Standard
    Dinner, Lunch, Snacks

    Fried Chicken Bites

    Who doesn’t love fried chicken?!?! If you have dairy or egg allergies, you are used to hearing fried chicken recipes using egg or buttermilk as a binding agent for the flour coating. Even the store-bought fried chicken or restaurants have allergens that keep me away. Believe me, I have looked and am always looking for convenient and good food! Hence my solution is to make it myself. I discovered that cooking up this halal, dairy-free, egg-free dish when I’m craving fried chicken was my best option. This super easy recipe can be easily paired with anything or nothing and it is still delicious. Watch out because you might find yourself eating this more frequently than expected (Ok, maybe that’s just me…).  

    Ingredients:

    Raw boneless and skinless chicken breasts

    Flour

    Soy milk (or any dairy-free milk)

    Salt (and/or optional multi-seasoning)

    Oil

    Preparation:

    Cut up the chicken breast into small pieces of your size preference. Season the chicken pieces to your taste.  Put flour into one bowl with a dash of salt and stir. Put soy milk (or any dairy-free milk of choice) into another bowl. Pour oil into a frying pan and heat up the oil in the frying pan on your stovetop. Dip each of the chicken pieces into the dairy-free milk then dip into the flour. Dip each chicken piece again into the dairy-free milk and then dip each piece again into the flour. Shake off excess flour of each piece and then place each chicken piece into the hot oil. Fry on each side evenly. When each side has reached the desirable shade of brown, remove from the fried chicken pieces from the hot oil, placing the fried chicken pieces onto a plate with a towel to catch any oil underneath. Then towel blot the top of all chicken pieces to absorb any excess oil. 

    This doesn’t taste as delicious when it is reheated in the oven. Tastes best when eaten hot, but then again there usually aren’t leftovers to reheat when you make these chicken bites…
      
     

    Standard
    Dinner, Lunch, Recently Discovered

    Dairy-free mozzarella cheese

    I love cheese. I could blame the lasting effects of French colonization and its influence on my heritage or it could just simply be that foods taste so good with cheese. I do have dairy cheese in my house, but because of the allergies in my household, I always stock dairy-free cheese. Which one is best? There are so many choices for dairy-free cheese. I know, because I have purchased and tried most of them. I usually buy Daiya’s dairy-free cheese products. They have a variety of styles  (shredded, slices, block, wedges, etc) and flavors (mozzarella, cheddar, provolone, etc). I typically purchase Daiya products at Whole Foods, but when I saw that Trader Joe’s now sells a dairy-free mozzarella shredded cheese for less than $3.50, I was elated! I still buy Daiya products (which are never less than $5), but love the idea that a convenient, cheaper option exists.

    It was almost hidden. I regularly frequent Trader Joe’s and I am always on the lookout for new and edible products. I even check different Trader Joe’s locations, as they tend to stock based on customer demand. Initially, I always only noticed that they have a soy-cheese alternative block style, but it isn’t dairy-free. It has dairy in it. This dairy-free shredded mozzarella package is located among the other packages of dairy cheese shreds.

    I use it in a variety of ways like for pizza, manicotti, salad toppings, lasagna, even Alfredo sauce when I don’t have dairy-free parmesan cheese in stock. Enjoy!

      

    Standard