Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Healthier Tex-Mex Corned Beef Hash (Dairy-Free)

One of my food challenges that my trainer has for me is to come up with new breakfast ideas that incorporate protein and veggies, is low in sugar, and has no grain involved. It’s tough because most of my breakfast go-to’s involve grain or fruit. Though most people would consider my choices healthy, they haven’t been helping in my efforts to get back down to my ideal weight, which is about 15 pounds away.

MamaSoph_CBeefHashRawI love corned beef. It was a grown-up discovery and not something I grew up on, but it was an instant love. My daughter loves corned beef, too, which is strange because she doesn’t like boiled beef.

In any case, I had made some corned beef in my slow-cooker recently and had some leftovers, along with fingerling potatoes. I thought why not add some vegetables and make it into a Tex-Mex corned beef hash skillet with a fried egg on top. To make it Tex-Mex, I served it with medium-spicy salsa, and it was so good, I didn’t mind the vegetables that happened to be there. ;-P

What I like most about this dish is that it keeps me full with the protein and fiber. Plus, I’m getting some veggies in without too much effort.

Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Healthier Tex-Mex Corned Beef Hash (Dairy-Free, Grain-Free)
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Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Dairy-Free Lasagna

The Princess is not a fan of meat sauce for spaghetti, but when it’s in lasagna, that’s another story. She can literally finish half a pan in one sitting. Lately she’s been in a lasagna feeding binge, requesting it for dinner each week. I’d like to believe it’s due to my culinary prowess, but she could also be undergoing a growth spurt.

One of the challenges in being a dairy-free household is finding substitutions for ingredients that are not readily accessible. I keep telling myself to stock up when I see a sale on our favorite dairy-free staples or happen to find a hard-to-find ingredient, but sometimes I forget my good intentions. This has been the case for Tofutti’s Ricotta.

Yesterday, when the Princess requested lasagna for dinner, I ended up having to wing it because my go-to store didn’t have any Tofutti’s Ricotta in stock. I used firm tofu that I had on hand, nutritional yeast, and Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese.

Fortunately, it turned out fine. Evidence—Princess was inches from licking her plate.

Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Dairy-Free Lasagna

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Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Turkey Taco

The Princess likes her meat, but it has gotten to the point that I can’t look at a slab of steak, package of ground beef, or chicken with an inward cringe and muttering “not again.”

When the nutritionist at my health club recommended that I look toward increasing my protein intake and decreasing my carbs, I was feeling bummed out. Gimme bread and pasta; I can give up meat. She explained that carbs create sugar roller coasters which make me crave more carbs, and if I really wanted to work on losing weight and getting fit, I need to rebalance what I eat so I have more protein, healthy fats, and less of the carbs. Plus, I need protein to help build the muscles which will help burn the fat.

Armed with this info, I gave myself a cooking challenge to use ground turkey, a protein source that we don’t usually have at home.

I decided to make my own turkey taco using ground turkey, and it turned out great. I even had it for lunch in a salad today without tortilla. Surprisingly enough, I found myself not craving sweets during my usual 2 to 3 pm window. Go figure—the nutritionist might be on to something.

Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Turkey Taco (dairy-free)
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Recipe: Grandma Lee’s Hobak Jook (Kabocha Squash Porridge with Mochi)

Grandma Lee's Kabocha Squash Soup

Grandma Lee’s Kabocha Squash Soup

Jook, otherwise known as Korean porridge or congee, is a major staple in Korean cuisine. It is often served for breakfast or when someone is sick and needs something comforting and easy to digest. Because of the labor involved in its preparation—between the chopping, stirring, and constant attention to make sure things don’t burn—one can consider it a food of love.

Hobak jook, or kabocha squash porridge, is an example of Korean food with medicinal properties. It helps people who are dealing with fluid-retention, and it is also good for weight control. 

I like hobak jook for its slightly sweet and tummy-comforting taste. It’s sweeter than butternut squash but not quite as sweet as a sweet potato or yam. Some people like it with black beans, but I prefer it with mochi (rice dumplings). Weight watchers might opt for the black beans instead of the mochi, or omit both altogether and just enjoy it as a comforting fall/winter soup.

This recipe is very quick and easy to prepare. Continue reading

Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Lemon Blueberry Loaf (Dairy-Free)

Mama Sophia's Dairy-Free Lemon Blueberry Loaf

Mama Sophia’s Dairy-free Lemon Blueberry Loaf

I never knew this until recently, but HB really likes sweet loafs. I myself have always been more partial to the easy-to-serve, smaller-portioned muffins/cupcakes, or the unique-shaped bundts. Don’t get me started on bread pudding…mama mia!

HB found a recipe that he wanted me to try out, Sweet Pea’s Kitchen’s Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf. The result—a rich, moist, tart and sweet treat reminiscent of bread pudding.

I’ve modified the recipe slightly: replaced the dairy products with dairy-free products, reduced the amount of sugar used, and opted not to use the lemon glaze because the loaf seemed sweet enough with the lemon syrup by itself.

Mama Sophia’s Dairy-Free Lemon Blueberry Loaf Recipe

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Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Lazy Person’s Cinnamon Rolls (Dairy-free, Egg-free)

I have a weakness for cinnamon rolls, but don’t have the time or stamina to make them from scratch. It is still one of my fantasies to wake up one morning, inspired, energized, and ready to fill the house with the scent of rising cinnamon rolls made from beginning to end by my very own hands.

Earlier this week I figured out a quick and easy way to make dairy-free cinnamon rolls using Pillsbury Place and Bake Crescent Rounds and some cinnamon sugar, and then topping it off with my Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese Frosting. We can’t have the traditional Pillsbury cinnamon rolls because of the dairy, but I think this version tastes better anyway.

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Recipe: Mama Sophia’s Carrot Muffin for the Reluctant Veggie Eaters

Like many parents, I often worry about whether or not my child eats enough vegetables. Although I’d like to consider potatoes as part of the vegetable family, they’re really more in the bread group since they’re mostly starchy. I do know she’s fond of peas, edamame, corn, and my stir-fry green beans, and she has even been known to eat a bit of steamed broccoli. But lately, the only kind of veggies she seems interested in are Veggie Booty and Veggie Stix, which really don’t count.

I thought of being sneaky and putting some frozen spinach in her fruit smoothie, but she’d always catch me taking out the bag from the freezer, which would nix Operation Veggie-Sneak. But then I remembered two Easters ago when I made my carrot muffins with the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese frosting, and they were a hit. Perhaps it’s time to make it again. Continue reading