I truly want to report that I’m loving not cooking with dairy. But I can’t. The truth is that I love cheese and dairy so much that I am eating it out at every opportunity. Burritos with sour cream and cheese. Enchiladas. Nachos. Grilled cheese. During canning season I tend to order out more food than normal because my kitchen is such a chaos of big cooking projects that I don’t have the space or time to make regular meals. And I make sure that every meal I eat out is full of dairy.
I resent my challenge sometimes. I have been tempted to chuck it in and just buy some yogurt and cheese. I have been eating these huge breakfasts of eggs and tomato and avocado and buckets of ketchup – and I want to have a lighter breakfast routine. I could have one egg on one piece of toast, obviously, but when making eggs I seem to need to go all the way. When I eat cereal for breakfast I can just eat a bowl and be done. Or a bowl of yogurt with fruit – this is a light breakfast I love to eat. Soy yogurt? No way. Soy or almond or coconut or oat or rice milk on my cereal? No thank you!
When I was a kid we sometimes ate granola with apple juice instead of milk and I might try doing that.
I’ve also been wanting to bake some kind of breakfast bar and even have the ingredients on hand. The truth is – I don’t love baking. I have to drag my feet to bake things so relying on home baked breakfast bars for breakfast doesn’t seem like a great plan.
I like oatmeal but I like it with some milk.
The food I’ve been making at home that’s dairy free is good, there’s no question about it. The point of the challenge was to come up with a strong repertoire of dairy free meals that I could easily make and get excited about. When cheese and milk and yogurt are in the house I will nearly always turn to those ingredients in some way. Not having them around forces me to be more creative. But even when I’m making good dairy free meals I never stop wishing I had dairy around. I never stop wanting dairy. Now I understand how meat eaters feel when they give up meat and they can like vegetarian meals but never stop wanting meat.
The best dairy free dishes so far:
The navy bean, green bean, mushroom, zucchini salad with thinly sliced red onion and dressed in balsamic vinegar dressing – the raw onions weren’t good for my mom but Philip and I loved this bean salad. I made it so it could be eaten by itself or over a bed of lettuce. The mushrooms and beans and zuchs were caramelized which I believe added depth of flavor and made them prettier.
Navy bean and sundried tomato spread – I didn’t have any of this on bread (I only tasted it with a spoon) but my mom and Philip devoured it and declared it a great success. I will be posting a recipe for this when I have the time to make it again. It had in it: navy beans, sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice, thyme, salt, pepper.
But the very best thing I’ve made I made the other evening and my people ate it ALL so fast. I was lucky I got even one little bowl of it myself.
Mexican style pasta salad – sauteed onions, Hungarian wax peppers, zucchini, green beans, and fresh corn with wheat rotini pasta dressed with a cilantro/lime dressing (olive oil, lime juice, red wine vinegar, salt pepper, garlic, and cilantro – blended until thick). It was amazing. I plan to get a recipe for this up as well. Because I really want you to try it.
I know this challenge is good for me. In spite of eating cheese out more often than I normally would – there are a few days every week when I eat no dairy. That hasn’t happened for years. Not having it in the house means I’m not eating it for every snack. Though I’ve lost zero weight from eating less cheese, I know it’s good for my body to ease the dairy intake. I’ve considered ending this challenge because it’s just too hard and I love dairy too much, but I’m going to keep going. It’s only been a month. One month. The fact that I’m finding this so hard is indication that there’s a lot more to learn from continuing to do it.
A few of my friends said that when they stopped eating dairy it eventually didn’t even taste good to them. A long time ago I gave up all dairy for one month. I made it the entire month and I have to say that cheese tasted better than ever when I had it again. I think my DNA is made of cheese.