cooking with dairy allergies on a tight grocery budget. need ideas please. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 03-11-2011, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i recently had to cut dairy out of my diet because of dd's allergies, and i've lost all of my go-to cheap casserole recipes. other than spending a fortune on groceries or only eating chicken soup every day, does anyone have some good cheap dairy-free recipes? i eat meat, so i don't need vegetarian recipes per se (i call my new diet "vegan with a side of bacon" :P), just some things that i can cook cheaply, from simple ingredients, that don't involve butter or cheese or cream or cream of chicken/mushroom. i really don't have room in my budget to use fancy ingredients and dairy substitutes (and most of those have casein in them so i can't eat them anyways). i do get tofu and soymilk through WIC, but i have not had luck yet with trying to substitute those in sauces and casseroles. how do others handle food allergies on a budget? am i doomed to chicken soup?


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#2 of 31 Old 03-11-2011, 08:37 PM
 
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- Chili (just beans or with meat if you can afford it)

- Pasta and sauce (tomato sauce, meat sauce, pesto, etc)

- Any affordable meat with a side of veggies and/or salad and/or rice

- Indian curries!  Big time!  Some recipes call for yogourt, but there are a million that don't.  The base of curry is tomato and onion and spices (you also might add garlic and/or ginger).  Then add whatever you want.  It could be a bit of meat stretched out with potatoes.  Or you could make dahl (lentils) or chickpeas for super cheap.  And there are tons of veg curries.  YUM!

- Stir-fry (tofu and veg or meat and veg)

 

I think the more you cook from scratch the cheaper it'll be, generally speaking.  When good sales come on take advantage and stock up your freezer/pantry on things that are usually more pricey (like meat, for ex.).  Make huge batches of sauces when the ingredients are in season (tomatoes for tomato sauce, basil for pesto, etc) and freeze a bunch.  Try to buy in bulk.   

 

Re. dairy substitutes... are you able to get any other milk substitutes through WIC or just soymilk?  If it's possible you might want to try almond milk, coconut milk and rice milk to see if one appeals to you more than soymilk.  I'm not crazy about the taste of soymilk myself and find it's best "disguised" in baked goods.  Try it in pancakes or muffins.

 

Besides that I'd say that you'd do well to look at some Vegan recipes online (or check out some Vegan cookbooks from your library) to get ideas.  Not every meal needs to have meat (in my opinion anyway, and I am a meat-eater), and you might discover some great new tastes.

 


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#3 of 31 Old 03-11-2011, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks!!

 

i know there are so many things i could be cooking, just needed some help brainstorming. about 90% of my diet involved dairy, so suddenly having to cut all of it out sort of threw me for a loop. stir fry is a great idea, especially since i'm getting free tofu. i can only get soymilk with the WIC, but i don't mind the taste. i bought a couple cans of coconut milk to try. this will definitely make me expand my cooking skills. i'm pretty handy with a casserole or croc-pot meal, but have never made my own bread or tomato sauce. i'm trying to view this as an adventure and not a curse.


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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We have dairy allergies here too, and are vegetarian, and two family members are also gluten free. Some fav products and snacks for the dairy free child are:

 

Roman Meal bread

Scrambled eggs -- just don't add the milk when scrambling them

Tostadas- just omit cheese-- still tasty with all the trimmings

Mashed potatoes- substitute soy milk

Smart Balance Lite butter spread- dairy free and still tastes good and good for you

Ritz crackers

Aunt Jemima Pancakes Original Mix- works just fine with soymilk

Trader Joes has some mini dark chocolate bars that are diary free and good

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup is dairy free and tasty in soymilk

 

Hope that gives you some ideas!

 

 

 


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#5 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 08:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamadiamond View Post

 i'm trying to view this as an adventure and not a curse.


I think that's a great outlook!  This is a chance to expand your repertoire.  There's so much great food out there, but it's easy to get locked into the same old recipes (at least for me anyway).

 

I got dh a bread-making book for Christmas and since then he's been baking all our bread.  It's really very simple - not the daunting task I would have expected.  And tomato sauce is dead simple.  You can make it with fresh tomatoes or canned - it doesn't matter.  I imagine if you Googled "tomato sauce recipes" you'd probably get a million hits!  I never use a recipe myself.  I just fry up onion and garlic, add the tomatoes (with maybe some tomato paste to thicken it up), add salt and pepper and whatever herbs (oregano, basil and thyme are pretty standard).  Then let it simmer for a good long while.  Easy!

 

Re. tofu you can also crumble it into sauces. 

 

 

 


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#6 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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It does get easier and I don't really find it any more expensive.

 

Some dinners we've had recently:

grilled chicken, rice, roasted veggies

hamburgers and fries

pancakes

french toast

fried eggs and toast

steak

panini's

pizza

chimichangas

roast, mashed potatoes, carrots

 

 

You can make casseroles, it just takes some different thinking.  I use chicken broth for mashed potatoes and pretty much anything that needs a creamy type sauce. Like casseroles.  I've had a lot of luck with vegan recipes.  Some we add a little meat to, some we eat without. 

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#7 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone! this is really giving me good ideas and helping me feel like i can do this without breaking the bank :)


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#8 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 04:51 PM
 
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I think veganizing recipes is one of the easiest things to do. There are vegan alternatives to nearly every non-vegan item - often times they can be homemade for cheaply. There is no reason why you can't eat the same things (casseroles, for example) you currently eat, just with the vegan alternative. If you google up a storm, you can find "cheesey sauce", "buttermilk", "butter" etc. etc. I def. don't recommend vegan block cheese or slices or anything, because they are all repulsive (that's a fact, too, not an opinion lol ;P) but cheese sauces made with nutritional yeast are good for casseroles, enchiladas, even pizza :)

 

Good luck!

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#9 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i've found some recipes for vegan cream cheese and cheese sauce, and they look good and do-able, but they involve nutritional yeast and cashews and other items that are out of my price range. when i can afford it, i'll definitely be trying vegan subs of all my favorite dishes, but for now i can't swing the ingredients.


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#10 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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We are dairy free, as well, because of an allergy.   I budget $100 a week for 5 people. 

 

I focus mostly on naturally dairy free meals.  Asian meals (especially Thai, Chinese, Korean), Cajun meals, and what we call "separate meals" in my house (meat, starch, veggie) are all naturally dairy free.  That's a good starting place.  I've also looked up kosher meals, as they are either dairy or meat, never together.

 

I do use some dairy subs (such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk), but I look for sales and coupons, and I frequently get these cheaper or as cheap as cow milk.  I make sauces for casseroles out of fake milk, as well as some out of just chicken broth/bouillon with water. 

 

Mayonnaise is a great creamy substitute for me.  Egg salad is good, as well as tuna salad, chicken salad, and ranch dressing made with mayo.  It gives me a creamy flavor\/texture that I like.  Most sorbets are dairy free.  Coffee is my big thing, and I vary between alternative milks and powdered non-dairy creamer.  Cheap store brand biscuits are sometimes dairy free (not-healthy, but definitely cheap), as is Jiffy pie and pizza crust.  I use dairy free margarine as well, and I catch sales on it every so often. 

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I have been lactose intolerant for nearly 10 years now.  I never tried to use dairy substiutes EXCEPT for a dairy free butter i feel i cant live without ...and that one is a budget buster for me...

some of our staples:

fried brown rice

chicken cutlets

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#12 of 31 Old 03-12-2011, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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mayonaise! i hadn't thought of that! it has the right texture, so i could probably sub that in and monkey around with my casseroles until it worked. mayo and chicken broth might come close to cream of chicken. :)


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#13 of 31 Old 03-13-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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Do you have a store with bulk bins? Our budget is super tight as well ($125 for two weeks, feeding 4 people) and we are able to buy these items mostly because the bulk bins. You can just get a small amount and it ends up being pretty reasonable, vs. those individual packages. I've never used cashews for dairy subs, but I know those recipes exist. The cheese sauce one I use is pretty simple - just flour, nutritional yeast, seasonings. And it only calls for 1/4 c nooch, so price wise, it's cheaper than cheese ;)
 

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Originally Posted by mamadiamond View Post

 

i've found some recipes for vegan cream cheese and cheese sauce, and they look good and do-able, but they involve nutritional yeast and cashews and other items that are out of my price range. when i can afford it, i'll definitely be trying vegan subs of all my favorite dishes, but for now i can't swing the ingredients.



 

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We are dairy free, and have a tight budget. I stockpile using coupons, and buy meat when it is super cheap to freeze it for future use. Most of my grocery budget each week goes to fresh produce and keeping up my stockpile, and I keep it under $100 a week for a family of 4. Here are some meals we've had lately:

Spaghetti & meatballs

Red beans & rice

Dairy free lasagna and stuffed shells (use tofu to make vegan ricotta)

Roasted chicken w/ mashed potatoes & green beans

pizza (just make it without cheese and load up on toppings)

Tacos

chicken & dumplings

BBQ pulled chicken

meatloaf (I make mini ones in muffin tins)

beef stew

 

We do a lot of Asian recipes, too. Stir fries, teriyaki chicken, fried rice, curries w/ coconut milk.

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stew:

 

stew meat

broth

carrots

celery

potatoes

barley


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#16 of 31 Old 03-14-2011, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for even more great ideas! i feel so much more confident than when i first posted that i can do this and have fun with it :)


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#17 of 31 Old 03-22-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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My DH is allergic to Why, Lactose, and Casin so basically all dairy. He's so allergic that I have to read ingredient list for Sodium Casinate, Lactic acid, and Whey powder. I have a link bookmarked at home (on work computer, subbing this thread to remind me to post it tonight) to a website all about dairy free eating. Almond milk is a great liquid milk sub, not sure on the cost...


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#18 of 31 Old 03-23-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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Dairy free here as well, I substitute rice milk in most recipes. I buy vanilla rice milk or coconut milk for baking. I use coconut oil in place of butter. I switched to the earth balance brand of margarine, not my favorite but comes in handy for making frosting and when I want something on my bagel.

 

I bake most of my bread by scratch, which helps- french bread is super easy but good and you can make french toast with it.

 

I have purchased the non dairy sour cream and cream cheese and they are just *eh* but nice when I am feeling left out- like having dip and veggies. Now cheese is a different matter. I miss cheese. I tried the rice cheeses and they are very blah to me.

 

Once I find a brand that I like it makes shopping easier. I have tried to find substitutes for as many of my favorite things as possible though or I feel resentful.

 

 

 

 


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#19 of 31 Old 03-23-2011, 11:10 PM
 
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Here's the link I was talking about above. http://www.godairyfree.org/ great website!


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#20 of 31 Old 03-24-2011, 07:55 PM
 
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lol!! I was going to suggest the same link!

 

Btw, if a muffin recipe doesn't ask to cream the butter with sugar, you can sub the butter with coconut oil or other oil


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#21 of 31 Old 03-28-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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vegan+meat=paleo

try www.paleofood.com for a zillion recipes that fit the bill. also look on google for budget/cheap/inexpensive paleo recipes~there are a myriad of pretty blogs with recipes you would love.

another one: www.paleo-recipes.com

good luck!!

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#22 of 31 Old 03-28-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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I am going to make dairy-free chicken pot pie tonight. Very down-home, but my DH loves it.

 

I put leftover chicken and some par-cooked veggies into a pot. Then I make a gravy out of 1-2 T flour mixed with 1-2 T of Earth Balance margarine and a bit of salt. Make a roue with this and then add a cup or so of chicken broth. Stir it with a whisk and bring it to a boil. When it's thickened, I put it over the chicken chunks and veggies. Then I put a pie crust over it and bake for about 20 minutes (?) at 375 F.

 

I tend to just throw things together but I think the amounts and time/temp are pretty close. Just keep an eye on it. I use only one pie crust - give the good flavor without as much fat.

 

Otherwise, I just bake using rice milk instead of milk. In scrambled eggs, I add a bit of water which seems to make it fluffy. I make (or order out) Mexican food with the cheese left off. I have become accustomed to pizza without cheese, but sometimes it needs a bit of salt sprinkled on it to make up for the salt in the cheese.

 

It was a bit hard going dairy-free at first, but now I don't miss it at all. It helps that I actually have an aversion to it now because it makes me not feel so well.

 

One thing I would like is beef stroganoff. I may try this with either coconut milk or maybe with fake sour cream. I find the fake cream cheese and sour cream to be good.

 

Good luck.


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#23 of 31 Old 07-29-2011, 04:17 AM
 
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Good ideas here. I have been dairy-free for 18 years. I think it's cheaper. Bake with water instead of milk (add a pinch of baking soda if it isn't quite right).

 

For sauces, try coconut milk or a small amount of arrowroot as a thickener. Some people use cornstarch or tapioca with good success.

 

When making soup, put a portion of it in the blender, then add it back into the soup for creaminess - or cream up the whole soup (mushroom?) and use in casseroles. Or if you have a hand-held blender stick, put it right in the soup pot and cream up a bit.

 

Silken tofu adds creaminess to smoothies and other things.

 

I like Earth Balance margarine, though it's not cheap - there are cheaper margarines, of course.

 

If you crave cheese, try hummus, Soy Boy tofu-lin, or fermented foods.

 

There are some good dairy-free ice creams for treats - can be used instead of whipped cream with shortcake, etc.

 

In frying, use oil or pan drippings (bacon fat!) instead of butter.

 

You'll get used to it.  Seriously, I think your budget will shrink a bit.  Dairy is expensive.


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#24 of 31 Old 09-10-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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My husband and I are both lactose intolerant and we've been dairy-free for about eight years now. Soymilk works just like milk in practically anything. Same thing for margarine (we prefer Earth Balance - it's pricey compared to others, but we consider it one of our splurge items). In savory recipes (pasta sauces and soups) we substitute chicken stock for milk a lot. For most recipes that call for cheese, you can just leave it out without much detriment to the recipe.

 

One of the best cookbooks I own and that gets regular use in our household is the The Milk Free Kitchen: Living Well Without Dairy Products by Beth Kidder. Especially for the baked goods - the Crumb Coffee Cake recipe is incredible. And dairy eating folks never know it's dairy-free unless I tell them. 


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#25 of 31 Old 09-10-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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Don't rule out vegan recipes.  You would be surprised how clever some of those vegans can be ;)  And it is super easy to add a little meat.  or a side of bacon :D

 

Here is my "cream of" recipe.  It is easy and not as cheap as "cream of" soup from a can but its not bad.

 

This equals about 2 cans.  I don't know how it freezes though.

 

10 ounces mushrooms (celery or chicken would also work)

3 cloves garlic, minced (you can sub a cheaper garlic like garlic powder or flakes)
Salt to taste
Fresh pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup vegetable broth (I used bullion cubes and water.  Since you are not vegan chicken stock will work too)
3/4 cup soy creamer (I use silk)

 

Honestly....this would be about the same price as two cans of cream of soup depending on if mushrooms were on sale.....or if you were using celery or leftover chicken.

 

Trim and discard the mushroom stems (and honestly there is no reason you can't use them) and chop the mushrooms into pieces. Spray a non-stick pan with canola oil and heat it. Add the mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are very soft and exude their juices. Whisk the flour into the vegetable broth and add to the mushrooms. Simmer, stirring, until mixture thickens. Add the soy creamer and simmer until thick, about 5 to 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to taste.


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#26 of 31 Old 09-11-2011, 11:50 PM
 
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My current fav. dairy free breakfast is oatmeal with peanut butter and whatever fruit you want to mix in. The PB cools it and makes is so creamy, sort of like milk did.

 

I think cost wise the best plan is to not try to re-create current favorites at this point. They will be "different" no matter what you do, IYKWIM? Maybe try simple, completely dairy dishes for a bit and then experiment with your old favorites at a later date. They probably won't taste as off as if you just had them with dairy.

 

Good luck, dairy free is hard with a traditional American casserole-type diet. I still cheat occasionally, but have found the most success with eating foreign foods (Indian/Japanese, etc) , they are delicious and you don't have to try to sub things for dairy.

 

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#27 of 31 Old 09-14-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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the milk free kitchen has good recipes that taste good

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#28 of 31 Old 09-14-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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We are dairy-, soy-, and corn-free plus profoundly limited gluten (we slip up once in a while).  I've intermittently kept a blog and tagged the entries for specific categories so it can be searched quick.  If you go to the beginning of the blog, there are actually days after days of what we ate.  At some point the blog adds the restrictions of eating under Feingold.  :)

 

http://hereswhatweeat.blogspot.com/

 

But yeah, we don't so much do casseroles for lack of the "cream of" soups.  I'm not sorry, but it was an adjustment.  FWIW, if your LO reacts to dairy there's an 80-85% chance they will also react to soy; so it might be wise to cut BOTH out for 2-3 weeks and then only add one back in.  My son reacted to both, but profoundly differently--so we didn't find out about his soy intolerance until he was nearly 18mo old (vs. dairy at about 5mo).  And it wasn't good... although he recovered well once it was removed.


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Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
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#29 of 31 Old 09-15-2011, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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op here. just wanted to update and thank everyone for all the awesome replies and ideas. we've been dairy and egg free since the spring, and peanut free for a month, and i limit soy. i've been surprised at how that has actually lowered grocery costs rather than raised them like i had expected. once i got a handle on dairy free cooking i can do a lot on the cheap. the real test will be next week when my dh comes home from 7 months of deployment. he's missed all the dairy and egg free-ness so we'll see how he handles it and if i go back to buying a little cow milk for him. but overall i've been spending less on groceries and also eating much healthier. the allergist said the dairy allergy is likely to go away on its own, but i think i may stick with no dairy just because of the benefits i've seen in cost and health. thanks again for the ideas and encouragement!


betsy:  wife to tony, mama to haven (7/6/10), arlo (m/c 1/21/12), and expecting valencia in late december.

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#30 of 31 Old 09-17-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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I use vegan butter and unsweetend plain soymilk easily in recipes and can't tell the difference. CHeese is the hardest thing to replace.


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My boys: S (4) & O (2) & Expecting #3 in Dec. 2011

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