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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.

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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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Blueberry Cashew “Cream Cheese”

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com
Last month I had the pleasure of trying a delicious cashew cream parfait made by a friend on a weekend getaway to Santa Barbara. It was light-tasting, creamy, and delicious. I must say, I was reluctant to embark on the cashew cream experience, but it does open up a new world of dairy-free possibilities. 

One drawback to cashew recipes is prep time. Depending on what you make, it can take days to complete. Cashews usually require soaking, a high powered blender, and patience, and this blueberry cream cheese recipe is no exception. I do have a few options, though, for those who like to take the faster route.

Either way, the result is this: a soft and sweet cashew spread in a delectable shade of purple, perfect for topping bagels or even spreading on cakes. 

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

For a firm cream cheese, like you would normally buy in a block at the grocery store, you have a few options. The simplest is straining the cream cheese after processing in a cheesecloth overnight.

Do this before adding any extra flavors to the cream cheese but after you add the salt, lemon juice, and vinegar. I do this by fitting the cheese cloth over a bowl, large cup, or pitcher with a rubber band and setting the cream cheese on top.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Plain cashew cream before straining.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

For a firmer cream cheese, strain using a cheesecloth positioned with a rubber band over a tall cup like this.

Make sure to cover the exposed cashew cream with plastic wrap to avoid it drying out. You can leave on the countertop or in the refrigerator overnight or up to 24 hours. Extra liquid will drip to the bottom of the bowl, leaving you with a firm, shapeable cream cheese base. There’s so much you can do with this, like adding different flavors or even shaping into a cheese ball.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Set the cashew cream into the cheesecloth and cover with plastic wrap. Allow liquid to drip overnight or up to 24 hours. I put mine in the fridge.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

This one I let drip for about 16 hours. The liquid will collect at the bottom.

Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

Finished cashew cream cheese, ready to be eaten, mixed with seasonings, or shaped into a cheese ball.

A faster option for a firmer cream cheese is to add 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil or a thickener such as tapioca flour or xanathan gum (found in your local Whole Foods store) to your cashew cream, along with your flavor additives, then refrigerate. This will affect the taste, however.

The easiest option is to skip the thickening, which will result in a soft and fluffy cream cheese. It will have more of a whipped cream consistency–still thick enough  to spread on a bagel yet thin enough to spread on a crumbly biscuit or muffin. The softer version of the cream cheese is pictured. Make it your own and enjoy! 

If you do, share it on Instagram with #dontmissdairy. I’d love to see your version! Sharing dairy free recipes is so inspiring to others with lactose intolerance!

Blueberry Cashew "Cream Cheese"
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  2. fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon
  3. 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar*
  4. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. 1 cup frozen blueberries
  7. 2 tablespoons white sugar
Instructions
  1. To soak cashews, place in a medium bowl and add water until just covered. Allow to sit overnight, or at least 8 hours. Strain the liquid and rinse the cashews well.
  2. In a high powered blender, add soaked cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and water. Blend until you achieve a smooth consistency, scraping the sides to incorporate. If necessary you can add more water 1 tablespoon at a time, but this will thin your final product. For a firmer cream cheese, strain in a cheesecloth overnight. For a faster, softer cream cheese, move on to the next step.
  3. In a small saucepan, simmer frozen blueberries and white sugar over low heat for about 10 minutes. Liquid should be so much reduced it is almost all evaporated. Remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix cashew cream cheese and blueberry reduction until combined. Add a quick thickener if desired, such as melted coconut oil.** You can also add more sugar to taste. Refrigerate for at least four hours to cool and firm. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Notes
  1. *Optional (Gives it that tangy cream cheese flavor. If you don't like the slight taste of apple cider vinegar, you can omit)
  2. **Blend with 1 tablespoon coconut oil for a quick firmer cream cheese option.
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
Blueberry Cashew Cream Cheese from dontmissdairy.com

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