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don't miss dairy

Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Creamy Candy Cane Cocktail

Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail from dontmissdairy.com

The holidays are the best time to try those creamy cocktail recipes. I haven’t been able to find a dairy-free creamy liquor, so I concocted my own.

With a crushed candy cane rim, vanilla soy milk, vodka, and schnapps, this pepperminty cocktail is a sweet and satisfying after dinner treat.

Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail from dontmissdairy.com

I hope you enjoy it this holiday, maybe with some vegan whipped cream and a candy cane dipped in your glass.

This Christmas we are staying in California, rather than joining the travel craze and venturing to the cold east coast. Though I’m not going to lie, I miss the winter season around the holidays. There is something about Christmas and cold weather and snow that goes so well together. 

I’ll miss the cozy fires my dad makes and the excitement of opening presents with my family. It will be sad not to be able to see their faces when they unwrap my gifts.

But Eric and I have created our own little traditions out here in sunny California over the years. We still put up a live tree (although I wouldn’t exactly call our current tree alive), hang up stockings decorated with puff paints, and wrap presents for each other to have surprises on Christmas morning.

Christmas Tree

We wrap little bones and treats for Mia, who loves opening gifts, especially if there’s something chicken flavored inside.

The best part of the day is the time to relax, to enjoy the time together without the stress of work and daily demands. Christmas is a time for giving and spending time with the people we love. And I love my little family.

Merry Christmas!

Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail from dontmissdairy.com

Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1 candy cane, crushed
  2. 3 oz sweetened vanilla soy milk
  3. 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  4. 1 oz vanilla vodka
  5. 1 tablespoon vanilla syrup
  6. ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Unwrap candy cane and place in a ziploc bag. Crush with a mallet or rolling pin and pour candy cane bits onto a small plate. On a second small plate, pour a little bit of vanilla vodka. Dip rim of martini glass in the vodka and then in the crushed candy canes to line.
  2. In a martini shaker, add soy milk, schnapps, vodka, vanilla syrup, and a few ice cubes. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into martini glass.
Notes
  1. I used Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk and Torani Vanilla Syrup.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail from dontmissdairy.com

Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail from dontmissdairy.com

Creamy Dairy-Free Candy Cane Cocktail from dontmissdairy.com

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Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

For the past three Novembers, cooking for Thanksgiving has been very last minute and a lot harder. I was reluctant to even get into the holiday spirit until December 1st.

I’ll tell you why, and I’ll also tell you why this year is different. But first, the recipe to look forward to at the end of this post:

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

Have you ever heard of this little thing called NaNoWriMo? It’s short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s true, I am an aspiring novelist. I have been since I was in middle school, although practicality and life always got in the way of trying to achieve my dream.

Then I heard of this NaNoWriMo thing: a non-profit organization that challenges you to write an entire novel in November. 50,000 words that is. In thirty days.

The first year I heard of it I thought maybe I’d give it a shot. I toyed with the idea. I wrote down some stories that had been fighting for recognition in the back of my mind. 

But I never went through with it. Maybe I was just focused on other things. 

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

The year after that, 2012, I put my foot down. I was going to do it. But when I picked my story and sat down to write, I had a huge wake up call. Writing 50,000 words is hard. Writing them well is even harder. I had an embarrassing collection of 25,000 words by the end of the month.

But last year, that was when I finally did it. I wrote 50,000 words, adding to my previous attempt at the same story for a total of 78,000 words. I had written a novel. Check one box off the bucket list.

The problem was, it was absolutely horrible. I spent the next year going back to it again and again, editing and editing and trying to make it readable.

I don’t regret all this time spent editing. It was a major learning experience. Because this year when November came around, I found my writing to be majorly improved. 

Not only have I written 45,000 words before Thanksgiving, but I’ve also kept my apartment clean, gotten into the holiday spirit, and have even kept up a regular social schedule, along with posting blog entries and doing my day job. To be so much more improved has been a huge confidence booster. It is true that hard work pays off. 

I’m looking at a really great story right now, one that I am not reluctant to share unedited. One that I am in love with. And here I am comfortably posting another recipe, with Thanksgiving only days away. 

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

I just want to say to follow your dreams. It’s going to be hard. There are going to be things in the way. And maybe you won’t get it on the first go. But keep trying. Eventually, practice may not make perfect, but it will get you farther than you ever thought possible, even in your darkest moments of despair. Three years ago, writing a novel was a daunting task. But now? 50,000 words in a month? No biggie. I got this.

And just to prove it, here’s a deliciously thick and fluffy smoothie with a tart, creamy finish, made from the Thanksgiving dinner ingredients you already have in your kitchen, to help get you into the holiday spirit, too. 

Happy NaNoWriMo! Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie
Serves 1
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup raw cranberries, rinsed and drained
  2. 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  3. 1 cup vanilla soy milk
  4. 1/4 cup walnuts
  5. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  6. dash allspice
  7. dash cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Pumpkin Cranberry Smoothie from dontmissdairy.com

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Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

This recipe has quickly become one of my fall favorites.  What’s more fall than squash? Add apples and spices and you have the ultimate fall inspired meal.

I first tried squash curry at the annual Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. It was slathered over a steaming baked potato and was oh so amazing. I had it again this year and couldn’t wait to make it myself at home.

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

Eric and I went this October, of course. It was our 5th Pumpkin Festival! Neither of us can believe we’ve lived in California this long. It’s always the same routine:

We start out bright and early to get in line for pumpkin pancakes, homemade by the kids at Half Moon Bay High School. They are only served from 7-10am and the line gets long, so you must get there early.

After stuffing ourselves full of pancakes and sausage, we walk around and view the art, which always includes glass pumpkins. Main Street gets crowded fast, so we like to accomplish this as soon as possible.

This year they offered some new, tempting drinks. We had jack-o-tinis along with the typical pumpkin ale brewed by Half Moon Bay Brewery specifically for this festival.

And no pumpkin festival would be complete without seeing the giant pumpkins. This year’s winner weighed in at a record 2,058 pounds.

Runner Up Pumpkins from Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival dontmissdairy.com

Before we head home along the winding mountain roads, we always stop at  Bob’s Pumpkin Patch to get a couple of pumpkins to carve for Halloween. 

It’s a great annual tradition and I hope you get to check it out one day! Just remember to go early for the best experience. I mean like get-there-by-7am-early.  Trust me.

Bob's Pumpkin Patch Half Moon Bay, California from dontmissdairy.com

The first time I made this curry it was absolutely delicious. The second time I made it I decided it needed apples. There’s just something about the combination of squash and spices that goes so well with sweet apples. That being said, you can make this dish with or without them. Just don’t forget the wine!

Certainly the hardest part about this recipe is cutting the squash. It is helpful if you microwave the whole squash for a few minutes. It softens it up a bit. Be very careful.

I hope you enjoy this fall inspired meal. Please share on Instagram with #dontmissdairy if you make it!

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
  2. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 package firm tofu, cubed
  3. 1 large apple (or two small apples), peeled, cored, and chopped
  4. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  5. 1 tablespoon garlic infused oil (optional)
  6. 3 tablespoons curry powder
  7. 1 can full fat coconut milk
  8. 1/2 cup water
  9. 1/4 cup white wine
  10. 1/4 teaspoon cardamon
  11. 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  12. 1 large cinnamon stick
  13. fresh basil
Instructions
  1. After peeling your squash, carefully and patiently remove the ends and cut in half with a large, sharp knife. Scoop the seeds and set aside.* Chop squash into bite size cubes. Also prep chicken (or tofu) and apples before cooking.
  2. Heat olive and garlic oil in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. If using chicken, add the chicken to the pan and sear 1-2 minutes, until no longer pink on each side. If using tofu, add the tofu after adding liquid.
  3. Add butternut squash to pan, stirring to combine, and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add white wine, curry powder, cardamon, sea salt and cook for up to one minute.
  5. Slowly pour in coconut milk, stirring to combine. Add apples and cinnamon stick. Add water, stirring well. May add more or less water depending on desired thinness. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Curry will be done when squash is soft. Add basil last, cooking for up to 1 minute only. Remove from heat. Salt to taste. Serve over your favorite rice.
Notes
  1. *Rinse, dry and roast butternut squash seeds in olive oil and sea salt at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes. They make a great snack or garnish for your curry.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Butternut Squash Curry with Apples and Basil from dontmissdairy.com

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