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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.


Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad with Lemon Balsamic

Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad from

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve taken a month hiatus from blogging for the first time in years, and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things with some healthy, simple, and delicious dairy-free recipes.

The month long break wasn’t intentional; December came at me like a charging bull, and it was keep up or get trampled. I think I might have gotten stepped on a few times.

During November, I finally finished the first part of one of the biggest goals of my life: to write a novel. I did it with the encouragement and motivation of NaNoWriMo, and I successfully completed 50,000 more words, adding to my start of 26,000. I now have a full-length fiction novel under my belt, with a great plot, ending, fully developed characters and everything.

After that, the onslaught of everything else in my life I postponed came at me, plus a series of other things. I put the novel on hold for a bit so I could catch my breath. I intend to start the rewrite now that I can breathe, but the whole catching my breath part lasted much longer than I expected.

The holidays are always busy, but the biggest time consumer this month was our move to a new apartment and the horrible cold I caught that resulted…from the stress of moving…before a strict time deadline…on the coldest day of the year.

On top of all that, I had to unpack and set up the whole apartment–you can guess how long that took! I just remember the painful task of searching in box after box for tea, honey, and a mug. My husband was amazing and took care of me so nicely, bringing me medicine, orange juice, and flowers. Thankfully, he didn’t even get sick.

Now I finally have my new kitchen set up the way I want it, my refrigerator full, and I’ve even started cooking.

I got some awesome new photography equipment for Christmas, so as soon as I learn how to use it properly, my pictures will get better and better! For this particular recipe, I used my brand new tripod, reflector, and remote for the first time. 

Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad from

I’m starting this year off with one of my favorite salad combinations. I’ve never posted a salad before, but I’m trying to stay healthy by eating fresh, raw, colorful veggies. Soup and salad is the way to go right now.

This simple spinach salad is packed full of omega 3s and antioxidants. There’s nothing quite better than the light tasting yet flavorful combination of lemon olive oil with fruit-infused balsamic vinegar. I used fig-infused balsamic to be exact.

Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad from

Store-bought salad dressings are a thing of the past for me! This salad has no added salt and makes you wonder how you could ever have eaten that iceberg lettuce and cheese combination with ranch. Would you like some lettuce with your fat?

Just kidding, if I could eat dairy I totally would. But this spinach salad is seriously delicious. It’s crisp, refreshing, and super healthy. Pair with a steaming bowl of soup.

Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad from

Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dressing
Serves 1
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  1. 2 cups raw spinach, washed and drained
  2. 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces
  3. 1/4 cub dried, sweetened cranberries
  4. 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  7. 1 tablespoon lemon infused olive oil
  8. 1 tablespoon fruit infused balsamic vinegar
  1. In a medium size bowl with a lid, add spinach, walnuts, cranberries, chia seeds, pepper, and nutritional yeast. Close the lid tightly and shake until the ingredients are mixed.
  2. Transfer onto a large salad plate and drizzle on lemon olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add more to taste, along with salt and pepper if you desire. Don't you feel so healthy?
don't miss dairy

Cranberry, Walnut, and Chia Seed Spinach Salad from

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No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from
Want to try something amazing? Trust me when I say, there is nothing healthy tasting about these incredible and incredibly healthy pumpkin pie bites.

My go-to pumpkin pie recipes have undergone many changes over the years, adapting to my dietary restrictions and taste preferences. But this year I thought I’d go all out and make a dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan pumpkin pie. I did some research to see if this was possible.

It was very possible.

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

The trick was what recipe to trust, choose, and how to adapt it. I found a lot of raw pie crust recipes made with dates, and, unfortunately, I am not the biggest fan of dates, so they are not a usual ingredient I buy. Not wanting to make a special trip to the store just for dates, I found a recipe on for no-bake pumpkin walnut pie—date free—and decided to adapt it to fit the ingredients in my kitchen.

During my research I saw so many complicated no-bake raw crusts. They called for all kinds of nuts and ingredients. I just kept thinking about how simple a raw crust should be. I mean, anything can be crumbled and made into a crust! (It just needs to taste awesome)

So I simplified the crust into three ingredients, an idea I found on walnuts, maple syrup, and vanilla. It’s a treat in itself! It’s technically not raw, but there is no baking involved. I was eating this before I could turn it into a crust. I thought this combination would be pretty sticky, but it’s actually not. It’s smooth and buttery. Nevertheless, I still greased the bottoms of my mini cheesecake pan for easier removal.

Making three ingredient walnut pie crust from

This is what the crust should look like after processing.

No-bake walnut pie crust from

Pressed walnut crust in mini cheesecake pan.

I made these bites to try something different, and to serve individually at a party. I think this would work very well as a whole pie, and the measurements should be the same.

If you are making pumpkin pie bites versus a whole pie, keep in mind that these are very soft and delicate. Like whipped cream, these delicious, fluffy pie bites will start to soften as soon as they are taken out of the cold.

I did not wrap the bites in paper while making because I wanted to see how pretty they were. But I recommend making these in cupcake liners or individual serving cups unless you are very patient. I made mine in a mini cheesecake pan. I used a butter knife to loosen the pumpkin pie filling from the edges, then pushed them out from underneath very carefully.

To serve them unwrapped, place pumpkin pie bites on a chilled tray or individual plates for immediate serving. Since I was transporting mine, I placed them in tulip parchment liners, which unfold and fold back easily. These could also be frozen for an hour so they become easier to serve, and should have the consistency of ice cream.  Keep them in the freezer longer in an airtight container for frozen pumpkin treats.

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

This is my pumpkin pie bite wrapped in a tulip parchment paper liner. Easy to serve, easy to eat!

For a thick, solid filling, use coconut oil and full fat coconut cream, which stiffens and solidifies upon chilling. Also, make sure you use walnuts for this recipe. The walnuts act as a thickening agent to keep the filling solid. They are also heart healthy!

Maple syrup is apparently healthy for you as well—in moderation. This recipe calls for a small amount of maple syrup, but it goes a long way! These pumpkin pie bites are perfectly sweetened. I served them at a Halloween party, and they were a big hit.

I love creating as many recipes I can that adapt to different dietary restrictions because, hey, I know how it feels.

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

No-Bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites
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For the Crust
  1. 2 cups raw walnuts
  2. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  3. 1 tsp vanilla
For the Filling
  1. 1 can pumpkin (15oz)
  2. 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  3. 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  4. 1 cup full fat coconut cream (the solid part of the canned coconut milk that separates when chilled)
  5. 1/8 cup coconut oil, melted
  6. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  10. 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
For Crust
  1. Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely crumbled. Add syrup and vanilla and pulse until ball forms.
For Filling
  1. Pulse 1/2 cup walnuts in food processor until finely crumbled. Add 4 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla, salt, and all spices then pulse until smooth.
  2. Add pumpkin 1/3 cup at a time to food processor and pulse until well combined.
  3. Transfer pumpkin mixture to medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup full fat coconut cream (leave the clear liquid behind in the can).
  4. At this time, taste and add more sweetener if desired.
  5. For the last step, add melted coconut oil and stir quickly. Once cool it will begin to solidify.
To Complete Pie Bites
  1. Brush 12 cup mini cheesecake pan bottoms with coconut oil or Smart Balance Light. Alternatively, use a 9 inch greased pie pan or paper lined cupcake tin.
  2. Press 3/4 tablespoon (about 2 teaspoons) of walnut mixture into bottom of mini pans to form crusts.
  3. Spoon filling evenly into crusts. There may be a tiny bit left over to snack on. Refrigerate for at least four hours to firm, then pop out of the tins and serve immediately. Filling will soften if not kept refrigerated.
don't miss dairy

No-bake Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bites from

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Spicy Roasted Almonds, Pecans, &Walnuts

This was one of the first recipes my husband and I ever made together in our first kitchen. Since then it’s been a favorite. It goes great as a snack to munch on before holiday dinners, and we usually make it for Thanksgiving. It’s not my recipe, but since I’m making it this Thanksgiving, I’d like to share it with everyone. You’ll get a big batch out of this, so it’s great to share with a lot of guests. Use raw nuts that are unseasoned. I used dried oregano from my own garden. Smoked paprika is best and can be bought at Whole Foods, but if it’s too hard to find, regular paprika can also be used. They are addicting!


2 cups whole almonds
2 cups pecan halves
1 cup walnut halves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, toss the nuts with olive oil.

2. In a small bowl, combine red pepper, rosemary, oregano, smoked paprika, black pepper, and sea salt. Slowly sprinkle the mixture over the nuts, tossing to coat.

3. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool before serving them in your favorite holiday dish.

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