Welcome to Ellie’s Dairy-free Kitchen | Features

Marketing manager by day, lactose-intolerant food blogger at lunch and dinner. Meet Traverse City-based Instagram food guru, Ellie Kebler.
By Ross Boissoneau | Aug. 14, 2021

While living in the nation’s capital and finishing her master’s degree from Georgetown University, Ellie Kebler had an idea.

She would leave Washington, D.C., move to a place she’d never been before and, while working full-time at a law firm, write about food.  

Her big lifestyle change wasn’t a whim. It was, in part, a logical response to the rest of the world turning upside down. “When COVID hit, I needed a creative outlet. So I started a [food] blog,” she says.

The angle of the blog stemmed from a health issue Kebler had developed as a young adult: lactose intolerance. Typically, the onset of the dairy allergy starts in childhood. Many outgrow it. Kebler’s situation was the reverse, but hers came with the usual variety of symptoms: difficulty breathing, rashes, nausea. Since she had long been researching dairy-free recipes, as well as modifying those that weren’t, she had developed dozens of her own dairy-free recipes.

The move from Washington, D.C., to Traverse City in particular, was somewhat due to fate. The pandemic had prompted the Michigan native to return to her home state, where she had a job offer from Herzel Law that allowed her to choose between two locations: the firm’s headquarters in Detroit or a satellite office in Traverse City. Though the St. Johns’s native had never visited Traverse City, living and working in a small northern town sounded more appealing than in the big city.

Given the state of the world and nature of Kebler’s work, she’s able to work primarily from home. She devotes most of her day to her digital marketing work for Herzel Law. “At 8am, I start work for my marketing. At 4, I start to create a recipe or bake. During my lunch hour, I shoot photos,” she says. 

Creating a recipe is a four- to six-hour process. What are her favorites? Perhaps not surprisingly given her packed schedule, it’s those that require the least cleanup. “I love one-bowl recipes,” Kebler says. 

Not only are all her recipes dairy-free; many are gluten-free or vegan as well. She says she has become a regular at places like Oryana, though she notes that things like almond milk (her go-to milk substitute), vegan butter, and gluten-free flour are now commonplace at most grocery stores. “I drink almond milk, but I’ve also had coconut milk, soy, cashew.” When looking for dairy substitutes, she recommends those which have the fewest number of ingredients. “A lot of them have a lot of additives. Simply Almond is a great alternative,” she says.

Kebler says while she enjoys cooking, she finds baking more appealing. “I’m more a baker than a cook,” she admits. 

Asked what her goal is for the blog, Kebler says she loves her marketing work but would love it if her food blog became a full-time gig.

Is that even possible? Well, her food blog at Elliesdairyfreekitchen.com continues to attract visitors, and she has 3,000 followers on Instagram. Whatever the end game turns out to be, she’s pleased to be able to offer those who like her have food allergies options for cookies, entrees, and snacks. And she promises there’s more to come as she continues to create.

“I’m happy to be a resource,” she says.

To follow Ellie and find more of her recipes (two tested and wholly approved await below!), go to elliesdairyfreekitchen.com and subscribe to her free newsletter or search “Ellie’s Dairy Free Kitchen” on Instagram. 

Ellie’s Edible Cookie Dough
“One of my weaknesses in life is leaving some of the cookie dough at the bottom of the mixing bowl after scooping all of them. I think one of life’s greatest pleasures is raw cookie dough. My mom used to tell me how bad it is to eat with raw egg in it, yet I still did.

I was craving raw cookie dough last night after a long ride back to my apartment from my parents’ house, and when I woke up this morning I was determined to make a vegan, paleo, coincidentally gluten-free, and dairy-free version. With the help of Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour and Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips I was able to do it.

This edible cookie dough takes all of five minutes. It is kid-friendly, significant other-friendly, and most importantly, a guilt-free treat to get you through this week. We all know we need it.”

Ingredients
3/4 cup almond flour

1.5 tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1.5 tbsp coconut oil (room temp)

1.5 tbsp almond milk

1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips 

Instructions
1. In a medium size bowl combine the almond flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and coconut oil. Combine well.

2. Add in your almond milk and fold in chocolate chips!


Ellie’s Vegan Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

“I always make my baked goods with almond milk, simply because it is what I have on hand. However, if you are not vegan or dairy-free you can use any milk you prefer … I hate baking with eggs. I just am not an egg girl. I find that often among a lot of bakers. Applesauce is my go-to ingredient to replace egg. However, if you don’t have applesauce, you can directly sub in yogurt or mashed bananas.”

Ingredients
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbsp cocoa powder
(“I use Dutch cocoa flour. It gives it a richer and darker flavor.”)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup almond milk

1/4 cup olive oil (canola, vegetable, or avocado work, too)

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup chocolate chips (“I always use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. This is my go-to brand.”)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In a medium bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, add the almond milk, olive oil, sugar, brown sugar, and applesauce. Mix to combine. Add in your dry ingredients and mix together. Do not over-combine.

4. Fold in your chocolate chips. I also added some to the top of my muffins once in pan!

5. Fill a muffin pan with 5 muffin liners and fill with batter to the brim. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. 


6. Bake your muffins for 20 minutes or until fully cooked through. Avoid opening the oven so that your muffins do not deflate. Just check them with the oven light. 


7. Remove and serve warm.