At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Cheesy Potato Casserole (Soy, Egg, Fish and Nut-Free, Can Be Wheat-Free)

I think my favorite combination of all time is probably cheese and potatoes.  My Aunt Lisa gave me a recipe for Cheesy Potato Casserole, and it was and is divine!  However, it wasn't very allergy friendly.  I made it my mission to change that.  This is the result.  It is delicious!  Cheesy, potato-y and just the right amount of crunch on top.  Oh, yah!  Heaven!  This recipe is also soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), egg, fish and nut-free, and can be wheat-free (see variations).  (Note: You could probably also try making this milk-free, but it would be a bit tricky as the majority of the ingredients are dairy-based.  If you want to try it, feel free to sub dairy-free butter and dairy-free plain yogurt for the butter and sour cream in this recipe and let me know how it turns out!)

Cheesy Potato Casserole
1/2 Cup plus 3 Tablespoons full-fat, salted butter

3 Tablespoons soy-free flour (unbleached white or white whole wheat would work well)

1 Tablespoon parsley flakes

1 teaspoon onion salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 Cups soy-free chicken stock

1 Cup sour cream

1 bag (32 oz.) southern-style hash browns or 4 cups small cubed raw potatoes (you want about 1/2 inch dice at largest) 

1 (16 oz.) bag soy-free shredded cheese or 2 to 3 Cups of soy-free cheese, shredded (American, Cheddar, Mexican blend, CoJack - use your favorite or a mix of 2 or 3)

1/4 Cup full-fat, salted butter, melted

1 Cup soy-free cornflakes, crushed (That's 1 Cup AFTER crushing, not before)

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
  3. Add flour and spices to the melted butter; stir and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chicken stock to the butter mixture in the sauce pan, mix well, and heat the mixture until bubbly; remove from heat.
  5. When the bubbling stops, add the mixture to a large bowl with the sour cream and mix well.
  6. Add the remaining 1 stick of butter, hash browns and cheese to the bowl and mix well. (Note: How much cheese you use if you shred your own is up to you.)
  7. Pour mixture into a 9x13 glass pan and bake in the prepared oven for 45 minutes.
  8. While the potatoes are baking, mix the crushed cornflakes with the 1/4 Cup melted butter in a small bowl and set aside until the 45 minutes is up and then top the potatoes evenly with the cornflakes mixture.
  9. Return the potatoes back to the oven and bake until the potatoes are to desired tenderness.  This can range from 15 minutes to another 45 minutes depending how tender you like your potatoes.
Makes 12 generous servings or up to 24 smaller servings.  Serve hot or warm.  Store leftovers in the fridge.

Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when making variations.):
  • Wheat-Free: Use a gluten-free baking mix in place of the flour.  I recommend using either King Arthur Flour's Gluten Free Baking Mix or Krusteaz Gluten Free Flour.  Both can replace the flour at a 1:1 ratio (i.e. 1 Cup mix = 1 Cup flour), and taste great!  You can also use cornstarch in place of the flour if you wish.
  • Other topping ideas: You can use wheat flakes, potato chips, corn chips, Ritz crackers, saltine crackers or anything similar to that in place of the cornflakes.  You can also leave the topping off, but I highly recommend keeping it as it gives the potatoes a nice crunch. 

This is definitely a crowd pleaser!  It's perfect for potlucks and get-togethers!

(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Monthly Milestones 2016 {3}

Today is the third Monthly Milestones of 2016.  If you want to share a milestone post, just leave a comment below with a link to your milestone post, and I'll pop over and visit it and leave a comment, and hopefully some of my other readers will, too. :)  Normally, Monthly Milestones, where I will be giving you updates on how I am doing physically, mentally, etc., will go live on the first Saturday of every month, though sometimes I may be a day early or late depending on circumstances.

Here is how I am doing as of today:

Me as of today, March 5, 2016, at 227.5 lbs.

  1. My weight went up a little!  Now, I can't be too upset about this as my weight had gone up a whole lot more than 1 lb. over the course of the month, and I did lose 4 1/2 lbs. in the last week.  I know my weight had gone up because I was eating way too much pre-made food along with a lot more sugar than normal, and last week I changed that, so here's hoping that I can keep that up, and my weight will continue to go down.
  2. I can't believe it is March!  I will admit it - I'm thrilled that it is now March and that it appears that warmer weather is coming and planning on staying.  I get tired of cold and snow by mid-January, so I am more than ready to welcome green grass, chirping birds and flowers again. :)
  3. We're still plugging away with our new lifestyle choices.  We should be able to get back into more of a walking schedule now that the weather is getting better.  We've also been able to do some swimming/walking in the water at a local pool that offers dollar nights a few days a week.  Hopefully we'll be able to continue that.  It's been a great thing for me especially.
  4. I have no further information on the cause of my health issues, and we've been dealing with other health news in the family.  As I mentioned last month, my health has been a bit insane lately.  The last week or two, I've felt better than I have in a long time.  I think the episodes (for lack of a better term) have subsided for now (at least the physical ones), though I have no idea how long it will last.  I feel like I've had a bit more issues with memory/focus in the last few weeks, however, though the physical issues have been much better.  I am hopeful that my the neurologist that I will see in late April (sooner if there is a cancellation) will help me find some of the answers I seek in this matter.  Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated as we go on this journey with my health.  Thank  you!

    I also found out last month that 2 of my 3 kiddos are also positive for one copy of the Factor V Leiden mutation, so they will have to see a hematologist to see if there are any form of preventative measures we should be taking since they can't take a baby aspirin like I can.  I'm glad that we know now so that we can take precautions if they need surgeries in future or medical care for other things.  I hate that they will have to deal with the knowledge that a blood clot is more likely for them, but at least they can be prepared for it.  Knowing is half the battle, as they say.

    Also, I'd ask that you be in prayer for some unspoken health issues I don't feel at liberty to discuss at this time happening in my family.  I appreciate it greatly as there could be nothing going on to something more serious going on.  Thanks so much!
  5. We appreciate your prayers as we make some important decisions as a family.  Due to my unknown health status among other reasons, we need to make some decisions about various things in the next few months.  We appreciate your prayers very much.  Our lifestyle may be in for some very big changes, and we need to prepare for that the best we can without jumping the gun too much.  Thanks so much for all the support and prayers for us through this.  They mean the world!
  6. Blog updates have stalled, though posting has increased!  My system to add posts to this blog and Natural and Free at least once a month is still going well.  I'd like to do more than that, but my current health status is making that difficult, and I've finding that I am back to having a serious lack of time for now.  We'll see how it goes!  I may still be able to surprise you with some crazy awesome updates sooner than later. ;)  Stay tuned! :D

That's about it for now.  How are you doing?  Are you reaching your goals?  Have you tried something new?  Come up with a new recipe?  I hope all is going well with you, and I hope you will leave a comment sharing your thoughts and/or milestones (with a link to your post, if you wish).  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)