I think it's time for a little update on my journey to a dairy-free diet. In the beginning, it was hard. I missed my milk and my inches-think layer of cheese on nearly any dinner I ate (except of fish). But I have tasted my way through a number of milk substitutes (I still use oat milk as a plain beverage, with cereal, and in pancakes, scones, etc. and rice milk for baking, cooking, and hot chocolate), have learned to taste the actual food again (not only the cheese on it), and generally have been doing pretty well with my new diet. I have found dairy-free ice cream in the supermarket (it's not nearly as expensive as I thought and comes in a large variety of flavors not only on soy milk but also on rice and almond milk basis), and identified the coffee shops in town who would make my mocha with rice milk (unfortunately, most coffee shops only have soy milk as an alternative, and that doesn't work for me either).
I've had some slips so far, but only minor ones. Revisit this scene from a recent trip to the mall with Subway sandwiches for dinner:
I go and order a foot-long sandwich for Richard and me to share (and of course a kid-size one for Lily)
Richard: Is there cheese on this sandwich?
Richard: And you're eating it?
Me: Yes... (thinking: Is he telling me I'm too fat and I should skip the cheese??)
Richard: You know that's dairy, right??
Me: Oh.. *facepalm* (removing the cheese slices from my sandwich and handing them over to Richard)
"Is there dairy in that?" has become my MAQ (most asked question) recently, so I know now that Jack In The Box's Kona Iced Coffee contains dairy, but MacDonald's Iced Coffee is dairy-free. I have experimented a lot using milk substitutes in my favorite recipes, and so far it always worked out. It even adds some interesting flavor notes sometimes (pancakes with rice milk anyone??), and even my non-dairy-hypersensitive friends had no complaints about it.
Sometimes, however, I was simply forced to change recipes completely. A couple of weeks ago I made potato salad for our D&D group, and simply had to make a separate portion for me without sour cream (if anyone knows any substitutes for that, let me know!!), but just the mustard, olive oil, and vinegar worked well too!
At the moment, I still miss yogurt a lot, since I have not yet found any substitute for that (I have found soy yogurt, but again, soy is not an option for me). My snack options are therefore quite limited, and unfortunately I have oftentimes chosen sweets rather than more sensible snacks (fruit) to make up for it, but I'll try to do better. A cup full of frozen raspberries are really a treat, full of vitamins and antioxidants, and low in calories!!
For anyone interested, here's the recipe for my dairy-free breakfast scones (they are quick to make and taste yummy!)
2 cups of flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/2 cup of margarine (1 stick)
1/2 cup of oat or rice milk
Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder; cut in margarine and work in with fingers or a spatula; add raisins (I just toss in a couple of hand-full) and mix in; add milk, work it in and knead a few times; divide dough in two parts, form two balls; place balls on baking sheet and flatten them to disks.
Bake at 400F for 10 minutes.
Tips: this recipe is good for variations! Use orange juice instead of the milk, and blueberries (fresh or frozen), dried cherries or cranberries instead of the raisins, etc. It's all up to your imagination (thank you to my friend Linda, who came up with those variations!)