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'Dairy Cliff' Averted

'Dairy Cliff' Averted



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The fiscal cliff deal also prevents doubling the price of milk

Wikimedia Commons/ Stefan Kuhn

Milk

As negotiations to avert the "fiscal cliff" ramped into high gear, one bill that was up for renewal, the Farm Bill, was getting a long look. The expired 2008 bill provided farmers with food stamps, subsidies, disaster aid, and protection from price increases. If we'd gone over the cliff, no new bill would have been put into place, meaning that the current dairy program would have lapsed. The result? $7 gallons of milk.

Thankfully, portions of the 2008 bill have been extended, including the provision that keeps milk prices down. The stripped-down bill doesn’t include energy subsidies or disaster aid, however, according to HuffPo.

Bickering over how much of the bill should be extended brought the negotiations down to the wire. Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committee chairmen announced Sunday that the entire bill would be extended, but the House GOP, looking at a potential $1 billion price tag, balked at the idea.

With the prospect of higher milk prices looming, though, they came together and passed the stripped-down bill. It’s not perfect, but it will at least save us some pain in the dairy aisle.


HUFFPOST HILL - Ruined Holiday Cliff Not Averted

America is rapidly approaching the cliff cliff, the moment when Congress finally averts our growing number of cliffs. Dr. Ruth said politicians opposed to compromise are probably bad in bed, shattering our view of Chuck Grassley. And President Obama will appear on Meet the Press to discuss the fiscal cliff negotiations, though no word on whether David Gregory will be allowed to conduct the interview from his prison cell. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Friday, December 28th, 2012:

PRESIDENTIAL COUNCIL ON FISCAL FITNESS - The top four congressional leaders met with President Obama today in hopes of achieving a last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff and allow Washington to get on with the business of creating another manufactured crisis. Speaking to reporters in the White House Briefing Room after the meeting, President Obama called the gathering "good and constructive" and said he is "modestly optimistic" a deal will be reached. He added that Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are working on an agreement, confirming that the ball is in the Senate's court. During the meeting, Speaker John Boehner reportedly insisted that a deal must originate in the upper chamber. If the Senate leaders cannot come to an agreement, Obama said, he would ask Reid to hold an up-or-down vote on a short term measure that would extend unemployment insurance, maintain tax rates for incomes under $250,000 and establish a framework for a longer term agreement next year. Earlier, Reid, speaking on the Senate floor, said there was "not a lot of hilarity in the meeting," meaning Nancy Pelosi likely kept her famously hilarious Aristocrats jokes to herself. He also said the Senate would reconvene Sunday at 1:00 pm, presumably to give a day or so to hammer out some kind of agreement that could be voted on.

@mpoindc: President Obama will appear exclusively on @meetthepress this Sunday, as was just announced on the @NBCNews special report.

Piping hot CW, just out of the oven: "Hill aides on both sides of the ledger said they could envision support for a scaled-down proposal that included tax rates extended for income under $400,000, no change to the estate tax, an extension of unemployment insurance, no money for infrastructure and no resolution to the impending debt ceiling standoff. What would happen with the $1 trillion or so in sequestration cuts set to kick in on Jan. 1, 2013 and take place over the course of ten years was unclear" [HuffPost's Sam Stein and Jen Bendery]

@jamespmanley: Pro tip: I love the guy, but senator reid usually looks downcast

HOT AIR UPDATE: BIG DAY FOR FILIBUSTER REFORM - Sens. John McCain and Carl Levin briefed their caucuses and reporters on their counter proposal to filibuster reform, which they're offering as a "standing order" rather than an actual rules change. A standing order only requires 60 votes rather than 67 and would expire at the end of the next Congress. It's mostly a handshake agreement, but would also eliminate the filibuster on the motion to proceed, streamline some nominations, and give Republicans what they've been asking for on amendments -- the freedom to offer Viagra-related measures on whatever they want. As they say in the newspapers, it's not clear why Reid would be willing to accept something that makes the situation, in an important way, worse for him rather than better. Emerging from a caucus meeting today, several Democrats said it seemed pretty clear that there are 51 votes for doing something more dramatic than what Reid wants. Lamar Alexander, part of the group of eight that eschews the gang label, said what we need is better behavior. "We have so many new members of the Senate, about half of the senators have never seen the Senate work properly because they've only been here five or six years," Alexander said. "So we're trying to get back to the days when the motion to proceed wasn't used to block so many bills and when the majority leader allowed senators to offer almost any amendment. Most of that has to be established by practice, by good behavior, rather than by changing the rules."

CARDIN BREAKS RANKS, JOINS FILIBUSTER OPPONENTS - Ben Cardin, whose class of '06 colleagues are among the leaders of the filibuster reform movement, spent the day huddling in Jon Kyl's office trying to kill it. We asked him why. He said it came down to judges -- he and Barbara Mikulski, he said, are at risk of losing judges who've already been nominated but are stuck in the muck of the confirmation process.

Dennis Kucinich wrote a "what a wild crazy journey it's been" email/yearbook note to the press: "Dear Members of the Press, It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our nation together in our mutual pursuit of truth and understanding. While I will not be returning to the 113th session of the House of Representatives, I will continue to be active. Beginning January 3, 2013 media inquiries should be directed to [Omitted here so we'll just say "[email protected]"]. I wish you all the best in 2013 and beyond. Sincerely, Dennis Kucinich Member of Congress."

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Debi Ogg of Tulsa, Okla. lost her job handling collections for an electric company in May. Her state-funded unemployment insurance lasted until the beginning of December, and then Ogg switched over to federal benefits, which are supposed to last 14 weeks in Oklahoma. But when Ogg filed her weekly claim earlier this month, she was told she would not receive 14 weeks after all. "That was the first I knew of it," Ogg said. "And then about two weeks after that, we got a letter saying there would be no more benefits after Dec. 29." Now Ogg is paying close attention to Congress. She is one of more than 2 million Americans the National Employment Law Project estimates will stop receiving benefits after Saturday, when federal unemployment benefits will almost certainly go away because Congress has not reauthorized them. Ogg, 60, said lawmakers seem indifferent to the practical impact the fiscal cliff is already having on some people. "I think they could have made their decision a long time ago, but it's just a power-play type of thing," Ogg said. "I think they've lost touch with how it affects people getting up and going to the grocery store, or sitting down to pay their bills." Ogg said she bought Christmas presents this year for her grandchildren, but not for their parents or her own parents. "Everybody fully understood," she said. [HuffPost]

Does somebody keep forwarding you this newsletter? Get your own copy. It's free! Sign up here. Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to [email protected] Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

WALL STREET NOT FAZED BY FISCAL CLIFF - Traders appear to less sensitive to the impending economic crisis than the women they dumped their beers on last Saturday at The Growler on Stone Street ( "C'mon, Nate, our Uber is here "). Zach Carter: "Over the past month, financial investors and speculators have largely shrugged off federal lawmakers' inability to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, despite loud warnings in Beltway circles that failure to reach a deal would cause economic calamity. Although markets have seen some modest hiccups, stock prices have been roughly flat for December, preserving the steady gains of the previous 11 months of 2012. The reaction to U.S. Treasury bonds has been similarly muted. On Thursday, the interest rate on 10-year bonds was 1.74 percent, up slightly from 1.62 percent at the beginning of the month. The interest rate on Treasury bonds measures how risky investors perceive American debt to be. High rates mean investors believe the debt to be risky, and are demanding greater return for their money. Low rates mean investors think the debt is safe. So far, lawmakers' failure to reach a deal has not caused a crisis of investor confidence in the government's ability to pay its bills." [HuffPost]

Americans, however, seem to have noticed: "An online HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday found that 51 percent of Americans thought a fiscal cliff deal was not very or not at all likely, up from 36 percent in late November. Only 8 percent thought a deal was very likely." [HuffPost's Ariel Edwards-Levy]

In our inbox: "Tell Congressional leaders, President Barack Obama, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that an alcohol excise tax increase of $182.5 billion over ten years is a major step back from the edge of the fiscal cliff." Booooooo. ::burp::

SO MANY CLIFFS - Congress is starting to feel a bit like an REI commercial. NBC News: "Overlooked in the fiscal cliff debate is the looming 'dairy cliff.'. A gallon of milk now costs an average of $3.65. But that price could soar to $6 or even $8 a gallon without a new farm bill. The reason? One part of the Farm Bill controls the dairy market. Without it, pricing would go back to an outdated law put in place during the Truman era. The government would be required to buy dairy products based on 1949 production costs, when milking was done by hand. That would double today's price. Farmers would lose incentive to sell directly to producers and prices in the grocery store would skyrocket. Unlike the fiscal cliff and dairy cliff, the 'retail cliff' isn't the result of a dysfunctional Congress. More than 14,000 East Coast and Gulf Coast dockworkers are threatening to go on strike Sunday. That could cost the economy billions of dollars. Goods such as flat screen televisions, sneakers and clothing would sit idle at ports, or get rerouted -- a costly proposition for retailers who would likely pass the cost on to consumers. The 15 ports involved in the labor dispute move more than 100 million tons of goods each year, or about 40% of the nation's containerized cargo traffic." [NBC]

President Obama's reelection wasn't just brought about by scruffy, tech-savvy, home brewing hipsters and awkward, air-punching campaign managers, it was also the product of a lot of ladies, as this list points out.

KERRY TELLS PRIMARY TO GO JUMP IN A LAKE, ENDORSES MARKEY FOR SENATE - Along with a growing list of establishment endorsements, Ed Markey has a lot more money than his would-be primary challengers, so unless Nomar Garciaparra mates with a Dunkin' Donuts breakfast sandwich, and that delicious child runs for the vacant seat as a Democrat, the nomination is probably Markey's. Luke Johnson: "Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) endorsed Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Friday to replace him in the Senate. The endorsement came one day after Markey had announced his candidacy, making him the prohibitive frontrunner in a Democratic primary race to succeed Kerry following his likely Senate confirmation as secretary of state. 'While I began last week to formally step out of politics and it's very important that I respect the apolitical nature of the post I hope to soon occupy, as Massachusetts' senior senator today and as a colleague of Ed Markey's for 28 years, I'm excited to learn of and support his decision to run for the United States Senate,' said Kerry in a statement." [HuffPost]

@JillDLawrence: John Kerry, Vicki Kennedy, DSCC chair Michael Bennet back Markey. Who's left? @barackobama? @elizabethforma? Dominoes falling fast #MASEN

CONGRESS SUCKS, YO - Amanda Terkel: "According to a Huffington Post review of all the bills that hit President Barack Obama's desk this session, Obama has signed 219 bills passed by the 112th Congress into law. With less than a week to go in the year, there are currently another 20 bills pending presidential action. In comparison, the last Congress passed 383 bills, while the one before it passed 460. The 104th Congress (1995-1996) currently holds the ignominious distinction of being the least productive session of Congress, according to the U.S. House Clerk's Office, which has records going back to 1947. Just 333 bills became law during that two-year period, meaning the 112th Congress needs to send nearly 100 more bills to Obama's desk in the next few days if it wants to avoid going down in history -- an unlikely prospect, considering that both chambers are squarely focused on averting the "fiscal cliff" before the new year. The 112th Congress has done far less than the 80th Congress (1947-1948), which President Harry Truman infamously dubbed the 'Do-Nothing Congress.' Those lawmakers passed 906 bills that became law." [HuffPost]

War on Christmas the week when you're supposed to go home and catch up with your high school friends: "The House and Senate have held numerous pro forma sessions during the week between Christmas and New Year over the years, and in 1995 during a major budget battle. But the last time they held roll call votes that week, before Thursday, was during the second session of the 91st Congress, in 1970, amid a large spending fight and a filibuster over financing for a supersonic transport plane." [NYT]

HOUSE DEMOCRATS TO INTRODUCE HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINE BAN - Which aims to reduce the slaughter of innocent children, so naturally the GOP will block it and/or add an amendment that requires people in wheelchairs and/or women's healthcare service providers to be pushed off of the NRA headquarters' roof. Sam Stein: "House Democrats will introduce legislation to ban the production of high-capacity magazines on the first day of the next congressional session, the office of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), one of the lawmakers sponsoring the bill, told The Huffington Postbackers are hopeful, noting that a ban on high-capacity magazines. would be a smaller concession for gun-rights advocates than a broader assault weapons ban." [HuffPost]

HOUSE AMENDS TRAVEL RULES - So just be a little bit more careful next time that AIPAC lobbyist ferries you to an urgent meeting in Tel Aviv in El Al first class. Roll Call: "The House Ethics Committee announced on Thursday that it has adopted new regulations for accepting privately financed congressional travel, including heightened disclosure requirements and earlier approval deadlines. The deadline for submitting pre-travel authorization forms to the committee will now be 30 days prior to departure instead of two weeks. New certification forms will require additional information about trip sponsors for increased transparency. Sponsors will be responsible for filling out the post-travel disclosure forms that will be filed by traveling members and staffers. There are also more explicit definitions of travel-related terms in the new guidance issued by the committee." [Roll Call]

We're all snowflakes, political edition: "As the incoming class of congressmen prepare to take the oath office, one Republican newcomer has already come out against the National Rifle Association's proposal to place armed guards at every school and signaled his openness to discussing a set of gun control measures. Rep.-elect Chris Stewart (R-Utah), an end times novelist supported by pundit Glenn Beck, cruised to victory in November in his deeply red district, after receiving high marks and a small donation from the NRA. In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune this week, however, Stewart said that the gun control discussion was one that he was willing to have in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre." [HuffPost's Nick Wing]

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Peter the Pheasant is the most stubborn pheasant that ever was.

COMFORT FOOD

- This 24/7 live stream of pointer puppies is why we're glad the Mayans were wrong. [http://bit.ly/V74fFQ]

- Transforming a Henri Rousseau painting into a 3D world for a commercial. [http://bit.ly/VE2e2c]

- Who knew you could skip a golf ball across water like a flat rock? [http://chzb.gr/WKkKc8]

- Remember "Prison Break"? Neither do we. But these two cats sure do. [http://huff.to/V9cdhY]

@AskDrRuth: Members of Congress who can't compromise probably aren't good lovers. Sex requires give and take.

@ElaheIzadi: Modestly Optimistic is the title of my forthcoming memoir.

@stefanjbecket: So now the nation turns to the Senate, the world's quickest and most efficient legislative body.


'Dairy cliff' possible without new farm bill

Milk prices could double if Congress fails to pass a new farm bill by the end of the year. MPR reports without action from federal lawmakers a 1949 law will take effect -- giving farmers the option to sell dairy products at a significantly higher price than current prices.

"It sounds good to a farmer to get that much money but long term for the industry would not be good," said Dave Buck, vice president of the board of directors of the Minnesota Milk Producers Association. "That big of a price increase that quickly would turn off a lot of consumers."

Bob Cropp, dairy marketing professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, says it would take several months before prices spike at the supermarket.

President Obama and congressional leaders are also struggling to fix the dreaded "fiscal cliff" -- a combination of spending cuts and tax increases that will take effect in January if a new budget deal isn&apost reached.

The Star Tribune notes 12,000 unemployed Minnesotans will also lose their extended federal unemployment insurance benefits unless Congress acts before Dec. 31.


Congress Averts 'Dairy Cliff'

WASHINGTON—The fiscal-cliff bill that cleared Congress Tuesday includes a measure to avert the "dairy cliff," a sharp rise in consumer prices for milk that could have been triggered by the expiration of the 2008 farm bill.

A nine-month extension of the farm bill was added to the fiscal-cliff package before it passed the Senate in the early hours Tuesday the House cleared the bill Tuesday night.

The measure avoids the automatic revival of a 1949 law that would require the federal government to buy dairy products using a formula that would set a floor price for milk that is double the current market prices—a scenario that could have doubled the price consumers pay at the supermarket.

The extension of the 2008 farm bill is intended to give lawmakers an opportunity to reach agreement on a new five-year bill, which has been a contentious issue, particularly in the House.

The temporary farm fix also continues most subsidy programs for corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, cotton, and other crops until Sept. 30, 2013.


Deal will prevent spike in milk prices

Portions of the federal farm bill were extended through September as part of the fiscal cliff deal Congress and the President just reached.

That means consumers can breathe a sigh of relief because milk prices won’t double this year after all: The extension includes language to keep milk prices from rising.

But some Illinois farmers are not so happy. The deal excludes other provisions like energy and disaster aid for farmers.

“What’s lost is an opportunity to fine-tune farm programs so they work well for both farmers and taxpayers,” said Adam Nielsen, who’s Director of National Legislation and Policy Development at the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Nielsen said a different proposal that was in the U.S. House would have saved the country $35 billion over the next 10 years, while also helping Illinois farmers. That proposed bill would have curtailed farm subsidies, but improved crop insurance. Some Illinois farmers say that’s more important, especially in light of Illinois’ recent drought.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, said she considers the slimmed-down extension of the expired farm bill to be “Mitch McConnell’s version of a farm bill.” She said the Senate Republican leader from Kentucky forced bargainers to accept the version of the farm bill that appeared in the deal.

McConnell spokesman Michael Brumas responded: “Sen. McConnell put forward a bipartisan, responsible solution that averted the dairy cliff and provided certainty to farmers for the next year without costing taxpayers a dime.”

Just a day earlier, Stabenow said leaders from both parties on the House and Senate agriculture committees had agreed to extend the entire farm bill. Stabenow and House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., announced they had agreed on a last-minute move that would extend the whole bill and replace dairy programs that expired at midnight Tuesday. Expiration of those dairy programs would likely mean higher milk prices at the grocery store within just a few weeks.

But the House GOP had not endorsed that extension agreement. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Sunday that extending the entire bill through September, including disaster assistance for farmers affected by drought, could cost more than $1 billion this budget year.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pushed back on passage of a new five-year farm bill for months, saying there were not enough votes to bring it to the House floor after the House Agriculture Committee approved it in July. The Senate passed its version in June. The bill, generally passed every five years, includes food stamps, farm subsidies and other help for rural areas.

But the prospect of higher milk prices prompted some action. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said Americans faced the prospect of paying $7 for a gallon of milk if the current dairy program lapsed and the government returned to a 1948 formula for calculating milk price supports.

Extending the entire agriculture bill would include an overhaul of dairy programs, which was in both the Senate and House committee bills. Those programs included a voluntary insurance program for dairy producers, and those who chose that program also would have to participate in a market stabilization program that could dictate production cuts when oversupply drives down prices — which hasn’t gone over well with Boehner.

In July, he called the existing dairy program “Soviet-style” and said the new program would make it even worse. Large food companies that process and use dairy products have backed Boehner, saying the program could limit milk supplies and increase their costs.

One of the reasons Boehner has balked at bringing up a farm bill is disagreement among House Republicans over how much money should be cut from food stamps, which make up roughly 80 percent of the half-trillion-dollar bill’s cost over five years. Ag Chairman Lucas has unsuccessfully pushed his leadership for months to move on the legislation despite the disagreement over food aid.


Is the averted “Tomato Cliff” our new mountain to climb?

While the produce industry averted the so called Tomato Cliff, the resulting agreement is tantamount to a mountain and all parties in the supply chain will have an uphill battle thanks to the law of unintended consequences.

Picture the Arab oil embargo in the 1970’s which put undue and unexpected stress on the energy markets leading to a devastating economic situation called stagflation. The similar price stress caused in the tomato market could lead to the same cutbacks in consumption, in both the short- and long-term.

A recent Nielson study reported that fresh purchases were 60% of Asian and 53% of European household food expenditures. In US households, however, fresh purchases were merely 30% of total food dollars, with high commodity prices to blame. The new tomato agreement artificially raises one commodity’s price, potentially sending those customers away from tomatoes and away from fresh.

Hybrid automobiles, wind turbines and LED light bulbs all took aim at rising oil prices starting in the 1970’s and continuing today. Could carrots, kale and kumquats all take aim at tomatoes for market share? Diminishing demand could be an unintended consequence of artificially high commodity prices. The mountain keeps getting taller…


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Food & Money

Recently I was teaching a nutrition class to food bank clients and after introducing MyPlate asked them how they meal plan to ensure balanced meals. One client explained that he simply did not have the money to plan out meals in the traditional manner but based his meals around items from the food bank. We then spent some time sharing ideas and clever ways to build easy, affordable and healthy meals around a few staple foods. The exercise was a useful reminder that while some of us can decide exactly what type of meals we want to eat (ie. what am I in the mood for?), others must work with what is available.

The class was still fresh in my mind when I sat down to watch Food Stamped, a documentary about a couple that takes "the food stamp challenge" for a week, spending around $1 per meal while trying to eat healthy, well-balanced meals (read a nice review with great food budgeting tips here). The film features Shira Potash, a nutritionist who teaches cooking classes in low-income neighborhoods, and her filmmaker husband Yoav, who appear to be West Coast liberal Jews (not unlike me) with a preference for locally sourced organic foods. They do their shopping at Berkeley Bowl where they quickly learn some tricks to procuring free food. They hoard free samples, buy in bulk, painstakingly compare prices, forego many of their favorite foods, foray into dumpster diving and generally spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about food. For Yoav, in particular, food is always on the brain. He is never fully satisfied after a meal, and at the end of the project when the couple consults with a dietitian about their week's intake we are told that he has not eaten enough calories. Despite all their efforts and nutrition knowledge, they learn that for food stamps to provide the supplemental nutrition they are intended to requires a great deal of thoughtful planning and savvy shopping. Most people lack either the time or the know-how for such an endeavor.

As if that's not enough of a barrier, today the New York Times published a piece about Michael Bailey, a county health worker trying to improve diet and lifestyle habits among low-income residents of Oklahoma City.

And yet, a recent study shows that low-income families cook most of their meals at home and do not obtain them from fast food joints, as is commonly believed. When Share Our Strength released the findings they emphasized that most families are looking for ways to prepare easy, healthy meals for their families. (In another study last year fast food purchases were found to be more common among middle-income Americans.) Their Cooking Matters program aims to do just that, equipping teens, adults and families with the skills and resources to cook on a budget. (Full disclosure: I volunteer with Cooking Matters.)

Source: Share Our Strength

Emergency food programs like food banks, and supplemental programs like SNAP (food stamps) and WIC provide a tremendous net for many Americans. While they help reduce hunger and the anxiety of food insecurity, it is only with additional education and training that they can be effective as nutrition and health promotion programs. To revise the old adage: Give a man a meal and he eats for a day. Teach him how to cook healthy meals on a budget and he can reduce his risk of chronic disease and dependence on the healthcare system for a lifetime. Or something like that.


25 Easy Dairy-Free Treat Recipes from your Pantry

Fudge Bites

I usually feature this recipe around the holidays, but truthfully, we’ve enjoyed them year round. The ones pictured are chocolate peppermint, but you can make them whatever flavor you like.

Gumdrop Bread

Not surprisingly, the bread pictured was baked by kids! But adults can’t resist the sweet nostalgia of this recipe either. Sarah’s family baked it in mini loaves, but you can make a full-size loaf or muffin-style cupcakes, if preferred.

Crackly Vegan Brownies

I love that this recipe uses aquafaba – an oft forgotten pantry ingredient. It’s the liquid from your cans of beans! Plus, these brownies really are dairy-free, egg-free, and yet, fudgy.

Horchata No Churn Ice Cream

Technically, you can make most of our dairy-free ice cream recipes solely with pantry ingredients. But this is one of the few that doesn’t even call for an ice cream maker! Just whip and freeze.

Cookie Dough Dip

Made with chickpeas, nut or seed butter, and oats, this is the ultimate plant-based pantry dessert!

Sweet Potato Cookies

I bet you weren’t expecting sweet potato cookies on this list! I use canned sweet potato puree to make these tender vegan cookies, but have also tested them with pumpkin puree. They might also work well with butternut squash puree.

Wacky Chocolate Cupcakes

This Depression era recipe is a staple in kitchens across the country. It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it’s timeless. If you don’t have buttery sticks on hand for the frosting, you can use shortening. Another option is to make a drizzly icing with powdered sugar and a little water or milk beverage. For less sweet, you can top it with some sweetened nut or seed butter, coconut whip, or the chocolate whip quick recipe that follows.

Chocolate Dairy-Free Whipped Cream

You can enjoy it as a topping, or by the spoonful – I won’t judge. We eat it straight up, or sometimes top it sundae-style.

Stovetop Rice Pudding

So you bought a 50 pound bag of rice – now what? Make dairy-free rice pudding of course! This version is also egg-free and vegan.

These are so much fun to make, and equally enjoyable to devour. It’s a fun little project that isn’t too difficult, and rewards you with treats that taste so much fresher than store-bought.

Baked or No-Bake Strawberry Macaroons

These dairy-less, egg-less macaroon are infused with freeze-dried strawberries for pure flavor. But you can use cocoa powder, another fruit, or make them vanilla-style. They work deliciously no bake (left) and baked (right) sweets. And did I mention that they’re even paleo-friendly?

Popular Moist Pumpkin Bread

I’m not sure why we relinquish pumpkin to the fall. Canned pumpkin puree is something that I like to keep stocked in my pantry year round. And this pumpkin bread tastes delicious, no matter what the weather’s like outside. If you need a gluten-free version, enjoy my Pumpkin Bread for All Recipe.

Homemade Dairy-Free Pop Tarts

These are made from scratch, but aren’t too difficult, and use only non-perishable ingredients. The recipe is for peanut butter and jelly, but you can use whatever fillings you like! It’s also a fun project to make with older kids.

Trail Mix Cookies

Don’t let the wholesome look of these cookies fool you. They definitely belong on this list of dairy-free treat recipes. They’re sweet, chewy, and loaded with leftover ingredients from your pantry.

Chocolate Granola Clusters

These crunchy chocolate cups are one of my favorite easy recipes. You only need three ingredients and a few minutes to make them, but I warn you that they are very addictive! If you don’t have granola on hand, try these Chocolate-Covered Raisin Clusters.

Vegan Spice Cake

This is a delicious classic “snack cake” recipe that is a cinch for anyone to bake, and it has no need for dairy or eggs.

S’mores Crispy Treats

Most crispy treat recipes call for refrigerated butter or margarine, but this butter-less version uses coconut oil!

Almost Classic No Bake Cookies

Most no bake cookies are made with butter, but these are butter-less, sweet, and delicious.

Perfectly Peanut Butter Oat Bars

These started out as a Clif Bar copycat, but they’ve become one of my favorite treats.

Silken Chocolate Mousse

This decadent dessert contains just four ingredients, including melted dairy-free chocolate. If you don’t have chocolate chips on hand, try this Silken Dark Chocolate Pudding instead. It uses cocoa powder.

Cookie Dough Popsicles

If it’s warming up where you’re at, then you’ll want to make this healthier treat. It was a recipe contest winner!

Healthy Raspberry Protein Brownies

You won’t believe the nutrition in these pantry brownies. They’re fruit-sweetened and made with black beans!

White Chocolate Crispy Bars

You wouldn’t guess it from all of these chocolate recipes, but I’m really a vanilla fan. Which is why I love making these from-scratch white chocolate bars. They do use food-grade cocoa butter / cacao butter, which is easy to order online if you don’t already have it on hand.

Sandwich Cookies with Homemade Fillings

Turn ordinary pantry cookies into decadent treats with these quick, homemade mint chocolate chip, lemon, raspberry creme, and maple fillings.

No Bake Chocolate Pecan Crumble Bars

This is a healthier, paleo-friendly dessert that’s made with pecans, dates, and maple syrup!


Special Diet & Ingredient Notes: Peanut Butter Oat Bars

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, tree nut-free, soy-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.

For peanut-free peanut butter oat bars, use almond butter (if tree nuts are okay for you) in place of the peanut butter. For nut-free, use your favorite seed butter. Keep in mind that sunflower seed butter will yield the most “peanutty” results, but it may react with the baking soda to produce a greenish hue. This is totally safe, just not the most appealing!

Since some ingredients can effect the results of these peanut butter oat bars more than others, I thought I would address them:

Peanut Butter: I did use an all-natural peanut butter when creating this recipe – Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Peanut Butter. It is a very soft peanut butter, almost a little runny at room temperature, and quite spreadable when refrigerated.

Dairy-Free Milk: Using just milk alternative or juice can make bars more muffin-like. As mentioned, I use lite coconut milk, which adds just enough liquid and richness to keep the recipe very bar-like, dense and rich. Yet it is a pure ingredient that adds less than .5 gram of fat per bar! In a pinch, you could substitute coconut milk creamer or dairy-free milk beverage.

Sweetener: I test baked goods with both organic brown sugar and coconut sugar, the latter produces a mellower, slightly less sweet flavor. If using coconut sugar, I recommend blending it with the oats and flax seeds into a powder and adding with the dry ingredients. Brown sugar gives a more “classic” taste. If you want to use brown sugar, but want it a little less sweet, just lightly pack the sugar.


Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!

Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.

For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.

Here are some great resources to get you started:

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