A Belated Father’s Day Family Barbecue: The Boys Help Make Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis

Andy was away on his annual fishing trip with ‘the boys’ Father’s Day weekend so our Father’s Day celebration was detained a week.

Andy’s sister hosted a Father’s Day Family Barbecue this past Sunday, inviting their parents, her three children, their ‘friends’ and our family…for a total of 12.

My sister-in-law called me this past week to confirm the menu:

Pork Ribs baked in the oven then barbecued…I brought a mustard free barbecue sauce for Michael’s ribs.
Pierogis…I brought Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis for Michael as her Pierogis contain dairy and eggs…click here for the post.
-plain carrots
-Andy’s mom baked a Blueberry and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie…as her pastry contains egg…Michael chose Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Dairy Free Vanilla Icing.
-I also brought Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick for all to enjoy.

Packaged allergy friendly food to take to our Father's Day Family Dinner hosted by my sister-in-law

Here are all the goodies that I brought:

-a cutting board and knife in a shield for the bread
-a pot to boil the pierogis in and a bowl to contain them
-a large spoon to scoop out the pierogis
-the frozen pierogis travelled in the cooler with freezer packs
-missing is my Bodum Bistro Sauce Pot for transporting Michael’s mustard free barbecue sauce. I like it because the lid holds a silicone brush which goes right back into the container so there is less risk of cross-contamination by putting it down somewhere.

The boys have been at me to make their favourite Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis for some time now…I thought this would be the perfect time for them to learn how to make them.

A bowl of Dairy and Egg Free Pierogi made by Michael and his friends

Pierogis are not difficult to make…but they are time-consuming. I like to split the steps into two days:

Day 1:

Michael peeled and boiled the potatoes.
Refrigerated potato water for pierogi dough the next day.
Michael mashed the potatoes and added the Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and pepper to create the filling.
Covered and refrigerated potato filling for the next day.

Day 2:

I heated the reserved potato water while the boys measured the ingredients for the pierogi dough.
After the dough had time to rest for 30 minutes…the boys started to roll out pieces of dough to fill with the potato filling.
Pierogis were frozen on cookie sheets and transferred into freezer bags…setting aside enough to be boiled up for dinner.

Tale of Events

Michael ended up taking control of the pierogi making after his father showed him how he remembered watching his father make pierogis…rolling out the dough and cutting out circles.

Matthew and Michael rolling, cutting and filling Dairy and Egg Free PierogisMatthew didn’t like getting his hands all floury so Michael convinced him to be in charge of rolling out the dough and cutting the circles while Michael filled and sealed the pierogis.

I left them to sort it all out. From the other room, I could hear Michael’s encouraging words…”You’ve got the fun part…cutting out the circles.” Adding in,  “Whatever you do…do not start in the middle…start out here at the edge.” 

Dairy and Egg Free Pierogid made by Michael and Matthew

With admiration in his voice, I heard Michael state to Matthew…“We’re making pierogis!”

Learning how to cook/bake in general, let alone with food allergies is a life skill…basic cooking skills seem to be getting lost in this ‘fast food’ world.

I aim to take a stab at sharing the basic cooking skills my mother taught me with my boys…expanding upon them with the basic allergy cooking skills that I have learned along the way. 

My starting point…teaching my boys how to make some of their favourite allergy friendly dishes.

Wish me luck!

P.S. You’ll never believe what happened as I sat writing this post…I looked out the window to see two of my boys’ neighbourhood friends walking to our front door. I called out to Michael, “William and Victoria are here.” Michael’s response, “I know. They are here to help make the pierogis.”

William, Victoria and Michael making Dairy and Egg Free PIerogis

How awesome is that!

P.S.  Michael shared some of his Dairy and Egg Free Pierogis at the family dinner…all were impressed. Even Grandpa…’King of the Pierogis’…was curious to know what was in the potato filling and how we could make the dough without any egg!

I am curious to know:

Are allergic youth learning to cook for themselves at home or are they relying on parents or ‘processed allergy friendly food’?
Are allergic youth interested in learning basic allergy cooking skills? Would they sign up for a course if it were offered?


Barbecued Chicken Fajitas

Tired of the ‘hum drum’ rotation of pasta, potatoes, rice and quinoa…I decided to switch up our dinner for something that everyone could make their own…Barbecued Chicken Fajitas.

Michael's Barbecued Chicken Fajita

Fajitas are fun because everyone can make up their own unique creation.

With a simple base of marinated chicken…the fixings were a ‘mix match’ of summer offerings…guacamole, corn salad, salsa, lettuce, and cheddar cheese (Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds if you have a dairy allergy)…

Toppings for Barbequed Chicken Fajitas, side salad, carrots and cucumber slices

were some of the toppings I had on hand…

Barbecued Chicken sliced with warmed tortillas for fajitas

to add to the barbecued chicken and warmed up tortillas. (microwaved on high for 25 seconds covered with paper towel)

With a side salad and nacho chips with salsa…the boys, my mom, sister-in-law and I were all set to create our ‘masterpieces’!

As I had set out grated cheddar cheese as an option (Michael has a dairy allergy)…Michael was the first to put together his fajita in order to eliminate any cross-contamination of the cheese with the other toppings.

Michael's Barbecued Chicken Fajita with salsa and lettuce

Michael opted for the simplicity of just lettuce and salsa.

If food allergens are present at a meal…I always have the rule that Michael serves himself first. Good thing…in this case, with the cheddar cheese…it was amazing how quickly everything seemed to get cross-contaminated with ‘bits of cheese’.

I misjudged the appetites of these growing boys as Michael would have loved to have had another fajita…lesson learned.

The recipe for the marinade for the chicken comes from The Globe and Mail from May 16, 2012…Grilled Chicken Tacos. Click here for the recipe.

Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs was a nice change…better priced too!

Everyone enjoyed the fun of putting together their own Barbecued Chicken Fajita!

The beauty of fajitas is the many varieties of toppings that one can come up with…what are your favourite toppings?

Michael’s Daiya Chedder Style Shreds Grilled Sandwich

The other day, it was a ‘madhouse’ in the kitchen as the boys (all four) decided to all partake in the making of their lunches.

Bacon was cooking, Michael had his Grilled Daiya Sandwiches on the go, with slices of his Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick sliced up to share with his cousins and brother for Bacon and Lettuce Sandwiches.

There have been a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches being made lately, for the three boys without a dairy allergy. The other day, my youngest nephew asked Michael, “Do you wish you could have a grilled cheese sandwich?” Well, that got the ‘ball rolling’…turns out Michael can!

Grilled Daiya Cheddar Style Shred Sandwich

Slicing Michael’s Dairy, Egg, Soy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick into thin slices, spreading the outside with Becel’s Vegan Margarine, filling the inside with Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds  the sandwiches were placed in a hot pan to toast.

Daiya Cheddar Style Shred Sandwich grilling in a pan

The result…a crispy crust with a ‘melted cheese’ filling perfect for dipping in some ketchup…just like the other boys!

Enjoying Daiya Cheddar Style Shred Sandwiches with ketchup

So on this crazy lunch making day, my youngest nephew, intrigued with Michael’s Grilled Daiya Sandwich, inquired, “Can I try some?” So Michael made enough sandwiches to share with his youngest cousin. “This is good!”, he announced to everyone.

My youngest nephew enjoying a Daiya Cheddar Style Shred Grilled Sandwich

Michael was so pleased. “Really! Did it taste like a real grilled cheese?”, he asked. “Kinda”, his cousin answered, as he gobbled up the rest of his sandwich.

Now there is talk about making Dairy Free Macaroni and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds …these Kraft Dinner lovers are sure to enjoy our version!

P.S. I am on the search for the latest Daiya product…Daiya Cheddar Style Wedges! Ready to slice for sandwiches without the need to cook them. Cheddar, Jack and Jalapeno Garlic Havarti…yummy! Imagine the possibilities! Has anyone found and tried them yet?

Allergy Friendly Chicken Fajita’s

I love Chicken Fajita’s!

Especially, when they are allergy friendly for the whole family to enjoy!

allergen friendly chicken fajitas

Simple healthy ingredients easily prepared and arranged together to create your own unique, sumptuous, finger lickin’ bite after bite Fajita.

I knew this would be the perfect dinner to put together, in a pinch, after a day of travelling to our ski vacation in Stowe, Vermont.

Preparing and freezing the marinade at home, and bringing along our favourite President’s Choice tortillas and medium salsa, saved us time and money.

All I needed to purchase was the peppers, onions and shredded cheddar cheese. There was no Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds or Tofutti Sour Supreme for Michael to try in his Fajita.

What a shame!

I bought cheddar cheese already shredded and in a ziplock package to save making a cheesy mess and to keep the cheese constrained. Andy also added it to his sandwiches at lunch. We didn’t bother with sour cream…we figured we could do without as this was the only meal needing it.

This recipe is my neighbour and friend, Linda’s, family favourite.

Allergen Friendly Chicken Fajita’s

1 lb of chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts sliced into strips
any colour pepper sliced into strips
an onion sliced into strips


1/4 cup of fresh lime juice
(Linda’s tip: microwave limes for 20 sec then roll on counter before slicing and juicing= more juice)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I purchase Spectrum Naturals Organic which is caramel free)
2 tbsp soy sauce (I purchase President’s Choice Soy Sauce which is caramel free)
1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
1 tbsp chili powder

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, pour over chicken and marinade for at least 2 hours or more.
In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of canola oil and saute the pepper and onion strips until softened. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the chicken strips and marinade to the heated saucepan and cook until chicken is no longer pink inside.
Add the pepper and onion strips to the pan to reheat.

chicken fajita filling sauteeing in pan

Warm tortillas in between paper towel on a plate in the microwave until warmed.

You are now ready to create your one of a kind Chicken Fajita with shredded cheese or Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds, salsa, shredded lettuce, sour cream or Tofutti Sour Supreme and extra hot sauce if you have any…we did not.

Wrap it all up…and enjoy!

Tip 1: If you want your marinade a little spicier add 1/2 tsp of hot pepper flakes.
Tip 2: Marinade can be frozen with our without the chicken strips for an easy go-to supper.
Tip 3: At home, I make rice to go along with the Chicken Fajita’s. Matthew doesn’t usually put his meat in the tortilla…as we didn’t have rice he tried it with the tortilla and surprised himself by liking it! Michael likes to add the rice to his tortilla. Go figure!

P.S. I am thinking this will be perfect meal to marinade, freeze and then take to the cottage!

Question 1: Do you have go-to meals that you like to make ahead and bring when you are travelling?

Question 2: How do you handle travelling with food allergies? Do you eat out or book a place with a kitchenette and cook your own meals?

I would love to hear your stories of travelling with food allergies.

Celebrating Our Ukrainian Heritage: Egg and Dairy Free Daiya Cheese Pierogies

One of my husband’s favourite meals growing up was Pierogies, Cabbage Rolls and Meat on a Stick.(a recipe I am hoping to master and post about soon)

dairy free daiya pierogi, roasted beets, steamed brocolli and a cabbage roll

My father-in-law’s parents immigrated from the Ukraine to Canada before he was born. He was raised in Northern Canada on his mother’s Ukrainian cooking, learning to speak Ukrainian along with French and English.

With his parents passing, his ability to converse in Ukrainian waned…however, his love for his mother’s Ukrainian dishes lived on.

My father-in-law is the Pierogi King!

my father-in-law...the pierogi king

New Year’s Day found us on the road home from our visit with my brother’s family. We stopped in at my in-laws to wish them a Happy New Year. My father-in-law was busy whipping up batches of pierogies. A sampling was packaged up to add to our supper.

Over the years, my father-in-laws pierogies have been the most sought after dish at any family gathering. Not so for my boys…Matthew, who can eat them, wouldn’t and claimed he didn’t like them…Michael, who couldn’t eat them due to his dairy allergy, would look longingly at them, wishing he could try them.

It is only just lately, that Matthew’s curiousity has got the better of him and he has been asking to sample a pierogi…much to his delight he has ‘seen the light’ and is now a pierogi convert!

All the more reason for me to put my thinking cap on and work out an adaption.

Bringing them home that night was yet another reminder…but wait…I could adapt them…what if I used Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds for the cheese and Earth Balance Butttery Vegan Sticks for the butter?

The next morning found me out and about picking up potatoes and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds…I had enough Earth BalanceButtery Vegan Sticks.

I found a recipe for Pierogy Dough at Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine. Click here for the Potato Water Dough (8) recipe.

I figured out a recipe for the potato filling from what I knew my father-in-law put in his pierogies and the starting point of measurements from a family friend’s Ukrainian family recipe… then just tasted for any adjustments.

May I present to you…a thing of beauty…Egg and Dairy Free Daiya Pierogies!

bowl of dairy free daiya pierogies

Egg and Dairy Free Daiya Pierogies

Potato Filling Ingredients

10 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Sticks, more for coating in bowl
1 cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
freshly ground pepper to taste
reserve 2 cups of potato water for dough

Tip: For a soy free version use Earth Balance Soy Free Natural Spread.

Follow recipe for dough from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen and International Cuisine, Potato Water Dough (8). (link above)

Tip 1: I kneaded the dough until it was nice and soft and then wrapped tightly in Saran wrap to rest.

Potato Filling

Thinly slice potatoes and place in a large pot. Fill with water to just cover the potatoes with a 1 tsp of kosher salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer until fork tender. Drain water, reserving 2 cups of potato water in a liquid measure for dough.

Mash potatoes in pot. Stir in the Earth Balance and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds and pepper to taste.

potatoes with earth balance and daiya cheddar style shreds for pierogies

Once the dough has rested, take a small tablespoon size of dough and using your fingers, spread out the dough in a circle. Place on a well floured mat and roll out nice and thin. Scoop out a couple of tablespoons of potato filling and place in the middle of the rolled out dough. Pull the dough up and over the filling and seal the dough.

stages of putting together a dairy free daiya pierogi

Place the pierogi on a floured tea towel and continue.

dairy free daiya pierogies on a tea towel

Be liberal with your use of flour…helps with the sealing of the pierogi.

a finished dairy free daiya pierogi

Tip 1: Be sure to seal your pierogies well so there will be no leaking of potato filling in the water.

Tip 2: Only cook what you will eat that day and the next. The rest can be frozen on a cookie sheet and then transferred to freezer bags.

Cooking the Pierogies

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add a few pierogies at a time. They have finished cooking when they float to the top of the water. Place in a large bowl with Earth Balance…add enough to keep the pierogies from sticking together…you be the judge.


enjoying a bite of a dairy free daiya pierogi

I had to come back later for this photo as we were so hungry I forgot to take any extra pictures…it was a pierogi feast…they were soooooo good!)

I cooked up way too many pierogies…perfect for leftovers the next night…Bacon and Onion Fried Pierogies anyone?

Bacon and Onion Egg and Dairy Free Fried Pierogies

a plate of bacon and onion fried pierogies, dough balls and steamed carrots

In a fry pan, add 5 slices of diced bacon and a diced small onion. Cook until starting to crisp. Add in the leftover pierogies and toss to warm up with the bacon and onion. You may need to add a bit more Earth Balance.

dairy free daiya pierogies frying in a pan with diced bacon and onion


enjoying a bite of a dairy free daiya bacon and onion fried pierogi

What do you do with any leftover pierogi dough? My father-in-law would say makeDough Balls.

Egg and Dairy Free Dough Balls

Michael rolled out tablespoon sized dough pieces.

pierogi dough rolled out for dough balls

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and toss in all the dough pieces. When they have risen to the top they are cooked. Place in a bowl with Earth Balance and toss to cover.

cooked dough balls in a bowl with earth balance


Here is how the boys rated the pierogies:

Michael liked the Dough Balls, then the Bacon and Onion Fried Pierogies and then the Original Pierogies.

Matthew liked the Original Pierogies, then the Dough Balls and lastly the Bacon and Onion Fried Pierogies.

P.S. Making Pierogies is very time consuming…but well worth the effort put into them. I made half one day and the rest the next day. I highly recommend making them at one time…I left the dough out on the counter and it went all moldy…I had to make another half a batch of dough for the rest of the pierogies…those I froze.

After discussing my faux pas with my in-laws, they recommended making the potato filling the day before and then the dough and the Pierogies the next…never both and certainly not at the same time as making Cabbage Rolls. Ooops!

As my husband said, “Don’t ask me…ask the experts!”

P.P.S The timing for making Dairy Free Daiya Pierogies and Cabbage Rolls is perfect for celebrating Ukrainian Christmas on January 6, 2012.

P.P.P.S. Cabbage rolls will be posted on Friday…my mother-in-law’s specialty! Click here for the link.

P.P.P.P.S. My in-laws just purchased a Black and Decker Bread Maker in the sales and made their first loaf of bread…they substituted in oil for the fat…a healthy choice.

Dairy Free Macaroni and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

There are many dishes that Michael eyes with envy, unable to taste because of his list of multiple food allergies. I try my best at recreating dishes for him that will taste like the original. (It helps when there is allergen free products available to meet our needs.)

Growing up, Michael has always been curious to know…

 “What does Macaroni and Cheese taste like?”

macaroni and daiya cheddar sauce

I was thrilled when I discovered a product that would substitute for the cheddar cheese: Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds. Click here then scroll down to read my search for Daiya.

a package of daiya cheddar style shreds

While searching for a Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese recipe similar to my childhood memories, I came upon another mother who had attempted and achieved recreating her own mother’s Macaroni and Cheese recipe from her childhood. [myaspergersgirl (M.A.G.)]

The first time I made her recipe, I used the dry mustard powder.  Unfortunately, Michael felt tingling on his tongue.  He has never liked mustard. Perhaps a new food allergy? 
Note to self: add dry mustard to list for skin testing.
Update: Michael was just skin tested for mustard and it came out positive.

Second time round (without dry mustard)……..a hit! Creamy, cheesy, goodness!

“I finally know what creamy is. Mmmmmmm”, a smiling Michael exclaimed.

Good enough to fool friends and family too!

I have made some adaptations to the recipe that meet our specific tastes and allergens. Along with the dry mustard, I omitted the bread crumb topping as there were complaints on the ‘crunchy bits’ and reduced the amount of Daiya Cheddar Shreds.

Dairy Free Macaroni and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

rice milk, earth balance, pasta, flour, daiya cheddar style shreds for macaroni and 'cheese'

2 cups macaroni pasta (I like Smart Pasta by Catelli)
2 tbsp dairy free margarine (Earth Balance)
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 cups rice/soy milk (Ryza)
1 1/4 cups Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds

Cook pasta according to package, drain and place in a 9 inch casserole dish.
In a saucepan, heat dairy free margarine on medium low.
Whisk in flour, salt and pepper mixture to create a smooth paste.
Cook a few seconds until bubbly and thickened.
Increase heat to medium.
Slowly add milk whisking constantly until thickened. (let it come to a low boil)
Stir in Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds until melted.
Remove from heat, pour over pasta and stir to combine.

pouring daiya cheddar sauce over macaroniBake at 350F for 20 – 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbling.

bowl of macaroni and daiya cheddar sauceEnjoy!

Michael’s Tip: Great reheated for a snack.

My Tip: I love to add chopped tomatoes, peas or baby spinach to my mac and ‘cheese’ to add some extra goodness.

Always CHECK THE INGREDIENTS before you purchase products.

Have you adapted similar recipes for your own food allergy needs? I’d love to hear about them. Have you tried any of the Daiya products? What have you created?Please share in the comments!

P.S. As always, any products I mention in these posts are my own personal recommendations. No one’s paying me to recommend them. They’re just what has worked for our family. Your own needs and preferences may be different!