Festive Ham and Dairy Free Scallop Potatoes

IMG_4425Years ago we were away over Christmas for the first time ever, well not including university years or when we went somewhere else to visit. This was the first time we were not somewhere spending Christmas with other family or friends. We were in Australia, part of our 3 month stint back in 2007, and the beginning of a love affair with the Aussies (cause as you know we’ve been back since to Australia and there’s talk of going again).

This was the first time that we as a family were in a place where they was no family or friends to visit or stay with. We had no traditions that we had to uphold (not that there is anything wrong with traditions, everyone calls me a very traditional gal. I love them and uphold many, but there are times to break from or form new traditions) and no particular place that we needed to be. We were in Tasmania, the only island state in Australia, staying in Launceston at a lovely place called the Penny Royal Apartments (which are refurbished historical buildings turned into apartment accommodations). It was a lovely place.

Bris Tas and Melbourne (244)

Penny Royal Apartments

For Christmas, we kept it low key, enjoying a nice dinner on Christmas Eve and preparations for Santa Claus, with our paper tree and actual socks hung up for stockings. Christmas morning was even simpler with a present from Santa, some goodies in our stockings and a nice breakfast of french toast. Matthew was 4, and was super happy with his little Tonka trucks from Santa Claus and his few small gifts from us.

Bris Tas and Melbourne (246)We went to the beach for the day, we came back and went to a Christmas buffet at another local hotel. No one had to cook the big meal, no fuss, no muss, relaxing, easy. Simple. It was so nice because we got to spend time with each other, it was not about the toys and gifts, or the big Christmas dinner. There was no stress to have things perfect or a timeline to abide by. It was cool, it was authentic and was one of the best Christmases I have ever enjoyed.

Bris Tas and Melbourne (247)When we returned from Australia we decided to shift our focus, and make Christmas about the things we really want, which we had identified as being together, enjoying each other’s company, it didn’t matter what we were going to do. So we simplified things, we ordered pizza on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day we had turkey crepes (a fabulous dish made with leftover turkey, that is not only delicious but simple and can be made ahead of time, reducing time in the kitchen on Christmas Day). We still had a nice meal and used the nice dishes, we still exchanged gifts, but now no one was stuck in the kitchen all day making dinner. Which for was usually just us anyway and was all over in about 20 minutes. Now I make the big meal 2-3 weeks earlier, chop and freeze the turkey and toss the crepes together on Christmas day, takes maybe 30 minutes.

That being said I do love the spread at Christmas and I still love all the traditional items on the menu, like turkey and stuffing, ham and potatoes, with all the dressings. So I usually do a bigger meal a little bit before Christmas, when I have more time, less things competing for my time and can afford a day in the kitchen.

The beach Christmas Day 2007

The beach Christmas Day 2007

In fact just this past weekend I decided to make a ham and scallop potatoes, often a favorite on many Christmas dinner tables. I was so excited because this was the first time that I was making the scallop potatoes dairy free. I love scallop potatoes but for some reason since going dairy free I thought I couldn’t make them, that adjusting the recipe would be too complicated. I have no idea why I thought this, but for some reason the other day this ‘block’ lifted and I decided I could do it and what I would do. I knew exactly what I was going to do and what substitutes I was going to try.

Oh my goodness! The potatoes turned out so well. They were absolutely fabulous and I couldn’t believe that I had waited so long to adjust this recipe, or that I thought I couldn’t! It was really quite simple and easy (and in case you haven’t noticed I like simple and easy).

The ham was fabulous as well, I use my own mix to glaze and flavour the ham, though I have discovered that it is near impossible to find a ham that is not cured with sugar of some kind (at the moment anyway, I believe that will come). I ended up buying one from the local butcher, no hormones, no steriods, grain fed, but still cured in a brine that did contain a little bit of sugar, though the butcher assured me that it was much less than what you would find in the local grocery store. Rounded out with a nice green salad it was a fabulous meal and one that we all enjoyed. It was the first time the twins had scallop potatoes and though Luke rejected them because they looked different, once he tasted them, he gobbled them up.

So if you’re doing the Christmas spread this year and want to try a dairy free scallop potato recipe (you may have a lactose intolerant aunt who you can finally make a dish for) or have decided to keep it more simple (you could make the slow cooker version of these potatoes), enjoy yourselves, remember what is most important to you and make that your focus, when you do Christmas day will be perfect no matter what.

Glazed Ham

dry mustardIMG_4424

coconut sugar

water

In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together to make a smooth paste. Be careful not to add too much water as you do not want it runny. Amounts of mustard and coconut sugar depend on preference for sweetness and tart, as well as size of ham. Spread mixture over ham. Place in covered roaster and roast for 2 hours at 350F for a 3.5 kg ham (increase or decrease cooking time according to size).

Scallop Potatoes

4 tbsp. Earth Balance vegan spread

4 tbsp. flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

2 c. coconut milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage, slightly thinner than regular coconut milk)

6 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly slicedIMG_4430

1 large onion, thinly sliced in rings

*optional 1/2 c. Daiya dairy free cheddar

In a medium saucepan melt Earth Balance. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Add coconut milk and stir. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. If adding cheese stir into sauce.

Layer half of prepared potatoes and onions in large (2.5 quart) casserole dish, alternating a layer of potatoes, a layer of onion. Pour half the sauce over potatoes and onion. Layer the rest of the potatoes and onions the same way, then pour the rest of the sauce over top.

Bake covered at 350 F for 50 minutes. Remove cover and bake 15 minutes more to brown slightly. Potatoes should be tender, sauce warm and bubbling.

Serves 6

Holiday Delights Sugar and Dairy Free Egg Nog

One of the many things I love about Christmas is the fun holiday drinks you can have. Things like hot apple cider, Christmas Jones, Angels Delight and my favorite Egg Nog. It is a rich creamy drink that you can have virgin style or add a dash of rum if you like. Either way it is delicious, especially if you sprinkle a little nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

Only available at Christmas, as soon as it came out in the stores I would buy it – sometimes as early as October – to enjoy and savour my first cup. Matthew also really likes egg nog and was asking me to buy some for him as soon as he saw it in the store. Unfortunately egg nog has the two things our family doesn’t consume anymore, dairy and sugar; therefore I was in a bit of a quandary. Some things I could live without, I did not want egg nog to be one of them! So I went on a hunt for one that would meet our needs. There had to be one out there.

There are quite a few non-dairy options out there, Vita-soy makes a Holly Nog from soy milk, as does Earth Balance, Silk and So-Delicious (coconut milk) as well as nogs with almond milk. I even discovered a rice milk egg nog made by Rice Dream. But though these are all great dairy free options they are still sweetened with evaporated cane sugar, which we can’t have; we needed one with a natural sweetener.

Since I couldn’t find one in the stores,  I came home and hopped online to see what recipes I could find on the internet. (I love the internet it has opened up a whole new world for me and I often wonder how we ever got along without it). My preference was an egg nog made with almond milk so that is what I looked for; and I found 3 really good recipes that I have made and we all tried.

The first one I found on Incredible Smoothies, a website founded by Tracy Russell who eats a high raw vegan diet. She has all kinds of great smoothie recipes on her site. The recipe for egg nog, I really liked as it does not contain eggs, (which I was concerned about for the twins as egg nog usually contains raw eggs), and it was all made in the blender, sweetened with frozen bananas! It was fast, easy, simple and delicious!

The second recipe I found on Healthful Pursuit by Leanne Vogel, who shares recipes, travel, food and life experiences on her site. This recipe for egg nog contains egg yolks as well as coconut milk, but is cooked on the stove. At first I thought that this would not turn out so well as I thought “Warm egg nog? Really?” but it turned out to also be delicious! And the fact that it was cooked on the stove eliminated my concern about the twins having raw eggs, so they could have it too. It was also really good warm. Leanne says you can let it cool and enjoy it, but I found due to the coconut milk, it congealed in little chunks when it cooled, and though not bad you had small pieces of coconut milk in your egg nog. I have leftovers in the fridge that I will be heating up for sure when I enjoy it.

The last one I recently discovered this week, is completely vegan and is the new front runner for our favorite. Courtesy of SPUD (I love these guys but that’s a whole other post), a local & organic grocery delivery service, this egg nog recipe is creamy, delicious and super easy – just add all the ingredients to your blend and mix. Check out their recipe here.

The kids enjoyed both recipes too. Matthew’s favorite was the one from Incredible Smoothies, I really liked the one from Healthful Pursuit (I found it a little bit creamer and lighter) and the twins, well they liked both and didn’t seem to favor one or the other (they are so easy to please those two 🙂

Dairy free egg nog with almond milk

The only downside with the stove top recipe is you end up with leftover egg whites and unless you have something to use them for they end up going to waste.

Either way we now have 3 delicious, dairy free, sugar free egg nog options, which even John tasted and said is “Way better than the store bought stuff.” And we can easily make them at home whenever we like, and as much as we like 🙂

So if you’re looking for a non dairy egg nog that you can make yourself or simply wish to try something new, these recipes are great (and they also happen to be gluten free as well). Once you’ve tried them come back and comment letting us know what your favorite is, or if you’ve found another egg nog recipe that you like and are willing to share!

Have fun and enjoy that glass of egg nog!

Raw Vegan Egg Nog with Almond Milk

1 1/4 c. plain almond milk (you can make your own almond milk, it’s super easy)

2 frozen bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

dash of clove

dash of sea salt

1 date (soaked for 10 minutes)

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a blender. Start on low speed and move up to high. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds until mixture is smooth. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.

Almond Nog

4 egg yolks

2 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk

1-400 ml can of coconut milk

1/4 c. coconut palm sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch all spice

Separat the eggs and place the egg yolks in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat bringing mixture to a simmer. Once simmering reduce heat to low.

Slowly add 1/4 c. of the hot liquid to the egg yolks in a bowl, whisking continuously. Continue adding liquid to the egg yolks until you’ve added 1 cup, then transfer new mixture to saucepan. Turn heat back up to medium and simmer for 4 minutes, whisking continuously.

Remove from heat and serve immediately or put into a mason jar and refrigerate.

Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.

*note recipes have been reposted with permission of the original authors


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