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Friday, April 28, 2017

Vegan Blueberry Muffin Mug Cake (GF and Food-allergy Friendly) - www.welcomingkitchen.com



Why have a breakfast rut, when it's so easy to pull together a quick mug cake? I love the convenience of throwing a few ingredients together and coming out with something special that mug cakes provide.
This Blueberry Muffin Mug Cake is vegan, gluten-free and food allergy-friendly, because it is free of the top-8 allergens. You can make as many or as few as you need, as each is a single serving -- no leftovers!
While fresh blueberries are hit or miss at the grocery store where I live right now, when I don't have fresh, I can use frozen. I hope you enjoy this quick treat! 

Vegan Blueberry Muffin Mug Cake (GF and Food-allergy Friendly) - www.welcomingkitchen.com



Vegan Blueberry Muffin Mug Cake (Gluten-free, Food Allergy Safe, Nut Free, Refined Sugar Free) 

Ingredients: 
  • 5 tablespoons oat flour (gluten-free if necessary) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce 
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup 
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh or frozen blueberries 

Preparation: 
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a microwave-safe mug or small bowl. 
  2. Add applesauce, syrup and vanilla, and stir until well combined. 
  3. Stir in blueberries. 
  4. Microwave for one minute, 15 seconds. 
  5. The cake should look moist, but if there is still liquid-y batter on the edges, cook for another 15 to 30 seconds. 
  6. Let sit for two minutes before enjoying. 
*Note: I have not tried this particular mug cake in an oven, but my guess is it will work if you bake it in a single-serve oven-safe bowl at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean when the cake is finished baking.

Happy Cooking!
Kim

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)
is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Super Seeds and Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.



Friday, April 7, 2017

Simple Chocolate Pudding (vegan, GF, and food-allergy friendly) - www.welcomingkitchen.com



I love dessert. I come from a long line of dessert lovers. I believe in a little (or not so little) something sweet at the end of the day.

That doesn't mean that my sweet has to be full of junk. No way. This Simple Vegan Chocolate Pudding uses just a few wholesome ingredients and blends up in a jiffy if you already have baked sweet potatoes in your fridge. (Which I almost always do!) This vegan, gluten-free, and food allergy friendly chocolate pudding might even fall into the healthier dessert category. If you don't have a baked sweet potato, you can substitute canned sweet potato or even canned pumpkin for a similar effect -- though it might be a little thinner.


I'm a huge fan of So Delicious coconut milk yogurts. We buy the big containers of vanilla and smaller containers of the other flavors for whenever anyone wants a snack. The vanilla on its own can be a treat, but by adding a little sweet body with the sweet potato and some chocolaty loveliness and warming it all up with a bit of cinnamon, you have a real dessert.

Don't you want some?


Simple Chocolate Pudding (vegan, GF, and food-allergy friendly) - www.welcomingkitchen.com




Simple Vegan Chocolate Pudding (serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup baked sweet potato, skin removed and smashed with a fork
  • 1 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt (I like the So Delicious coconut milk kind.)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt


Preparation:

  1. Blend all ingredients.
  2. Pour into dishes and serve.

If you have extra baked sweet potato on hand, you can use it in my Chocolate Shake or Chocolate Sweet Potato Ice Cream.


Happy Cooking!
Kim

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)
is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Super Seeds and Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Wild Rice and Carrots from The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver
Recipe photography copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar


I know a thing or two about changing your diet for health reasons. As I've written before, when I changed to a vegan diet, my life-long asthma dramatically improved, my high cholesterol came into normal ranges, and I overall felt better. My son has had to change his diet to accommodate his food allergies.

Wild Rice and Carrots from The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver
Recipe photography copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar


My friend, Stephanie Weaver, has also had to change her diet to accommodate her health issues, too. She has researched -- very thoroughly -- the best diet to provide relief for symptoms related to migraine, vertigo and Meniere's disease.


Stephanie has written a thoroughly researched guidebook to help people living with these ailments feel better. This is a holistic approach to symptom relief. She has tips, plans, research, recipes and advice all geared toward living a life with fewer headaches.

I love that this book isn't just focused on eating, but really looks at all aspects of your life. She talks about meditation, sleep, stress, and self-care. Stephanie also helps you prepare to "fail." We all know that mistakes happen, and she urges a proactive approach so that you're ready when you slip up on the diet.

If you or someone you love lives with migraines (or the related issues), I urge you to check out this book. Stephanie's book is not vegan, but is definitely adaptable for a a plant-based diet.

Stephanie generously shares her recipe for Wild Rice with Carrots with us. I had this for lunch today, and it was delicious! 


Reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Plan, copyright 2016 Stephanie Weaver. Published by Surrey Books, an imprint of Agate Publishing, Inc. 



Wild Rice and Carrots
Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 15 minutesCooking time: 55 minutesPassive time: 10 minutes
Many people haven’t tried wild rice, which is a nutritious grass that grows only in North America. It’s harvested by hand using canoes, and often its purchase supports the Native American cooperatives who produce it. It has an earthy, hearty flavor. If you’re not sure you’ll like it, bring a measuring cup to a natural foods store and buy just 1 cup from the bulk bin to make this recipe. I think I’ll make you a fan. One tester called this “hearty, unique, and easy.”


2 cups (500 mL) filtered water or vegetable stock
1 cup (150g) wild rice, rinsed and drained
2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 ribs celery, finely minced
1 handful fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Budget friendly: Very

1. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, combine the filtered water and rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on for at least 10 minutes.
2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the rice, parsley, and black pepper. Cook 1 minute more until everything is warmed through.
3. Serve right away or refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days.
Cooks’ Note: Wild rice is only grown in North America and may not be available overseas. You could substitute a hearty brown rice instead. I wash the parsley, then roll it up in a clean kitchen towel to help absorb extra moisture. Finely chop just before adding to the recipe.
Per serving: 6g protein, 35g carbohydrates, 4g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 54mg sodium, 381mg potassium, 4g fiber

Stephanie’s Spice Star: Freshly ground black peppercorns

If you’re used to ground black pepper in the shaker, you’re probably used to stale black pepper. Try buying a pepper grinder and a small amount of whole black peppercorns. You’ll be amazed at the zippy kick it adds to dishes. In addition, fresh spices are more likely to include beneficial phytonutrients, which add additional nutrition to your meal.


Happy Cooking!
Kim

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)
is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Super Seeds and Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Passing a Nut Food Allergy Challenge - Welcoming Kitchen



For years, my son had to avoid all tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and dairy. We spent so much time telling him how to be safe. How to avoid his allergens. What could happen if he was exposed to something he's allergic to. What he should do.
Then he passed his peanut challenge. Over the next few years, he has passed challenges for almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts.

He failed his challenge for walnuts. Luckily we were in the doctor's office where they quickly administered Benadryl, prednisone and epinepherine. Needless to say, it was very scary.

So .... it's complicated. Like a lot of doctors, our allergist recommends eating those nuts that he passed every week to ensure that he remains not allergic. He also has to strictly avoid walnuts and pecans.

When you've told your child over and over that he can't eat nuts, and then you need him to eat them regularly, what do you do?

For some kids, they are happy to start eating peanut butter or nuts, but for lots of kids, it's more complicated. They often don't like the taste or texture of these foods that they've never had before. 

Here are some tips that might help keep the peace while you find a new way forward in the kitchen.

  1. Find companies that give clear allergen information. For our family, So Delicious Dairy Free is a game changer. They have a lengthy, informative allergen statement on every product. They make delicious cashew and almond-based milks, ice creams and treats. I know that my son is getting the nuts he needs to eat and not the ones he can't.
  2. Talk to your doctor about how nuts need to be labeled for safe consumption in your family. For us, if there's not a warning that says made with other tree nuts, our allergist has given the go ahead. We are able to get cashews, almonds and hazelnuts that don't have a mixed tree nut warning on them. I then bake them into granola, cookies or other treats. I also make my own non-dairy milk or cream by soaking them and blending them. (Almond milk needs to be strained through cheesecloth, a nut bag or through a coffee filter. Cashew milk is fine to use unstrained.)
  3. We buy nut butters that have a clear label on them about what nuts are included, and I bake and cook with them.
  4. I buy cereal and snack bars that list the specific nuts that are included in the allergy warning.
  5. My son likes peanut butter-filled pretzels, even though he doesn't like peanuts.
In short, try a wide variety of options. For example, adding some cashew milk to a cream soup gives your child the cashew exposure he might need without making him have to eat nuts that make him nervous. 

As always, the most important thing to do is communicate clearly with your doctor about what is the best strategy for your family.

What have you done after a successful food allergy challenge? Please join the conversation in the comments.

Hey ... Welcoming Kitchen was listed as a Top 40 Food Allergy Blog by Feedspot. That's nice.
 

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Super Seeds and Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Vegan Purple Sweet Potato Smoothie (glutenfree, food allergy friendly)



Have you ever seen such a vibrant smoothie?! What gives it this glorious hue?

Purple Sweet Potatoes!

I love to add veggies to my smoothies -- some of my favorites are spinach, kale and carrots. When I spied purple sweet potatoes at Trader Joe's the other day, I knew I'd love them. I baked a bunch up so I could have a healthy snack whenever I wanted.

This morning, I took one of those baked sweet potatoes that I've been keeping in my fridge and blended it up with some frozen berries for a breakfast that everyone loved.

Purple Sweet Potato Smoothie (vegan, gluten-free, food allergy friendly) - www.welcomingkitchen.com



I chose frozen blueberries and a frozen berry blend to keep the color rich. 

Vegan Purple Sweet Potato Smoothie (glutenfree, food allergy friendly)



Purple Sweet Potato Smoothie
Vegan, Gluten-free, Food Allergy Friendly, Sugar-free

Ingredients:
  • Baked and peeled sweet potato
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen berry blend
  • Apple juice
  • Non-dairy milk

Preparation:
  1. Blend together equal parts sweet potato, blueberries and berry blend (mine was blueberries, blackberries and strawberries) with enough apple juice and non-dairy milk to achieve the consistency you prefer.
  2.  You can save extra smoothie in a lidded jar in the refrigerator for one day. Blend with a couple ice cubes to bring it back to smoothie goodness. You can also freeze extra smoothie in ice pop molds for a yummy frozen treat. 
Happy Cooking!
Kim

 

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Super Seeds and Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

Food Allergy Kids and School Inclusion - www.welcomingkitchen.com



I wrote the post below 5 years ago when Casey was in 3rd grade. Now he's in 8th grade and all I can say is, "The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It definitely gets easier when your child is older. They aren't doing arts and crafts using food, and he is better able to negotiate food-related situations. There is the occasional issue of food-allergy teasing or bullying, but overall it's better.

It's not better for little kids who have food allergies and other intolerances, like celiac, though. Recently some friends were talking on Facebook about how difficult it is for their little ones when adults offer them food in school or there is food in the classroom for a class activity or reward. 

I thought it was time to give this conversation a kickstart again. What are your thoughts about inclusion in school? I'd love for you to join the conversation in the comments below or on the Welcoming Kitchen Facebook page. 

Inclusion.

In the context of school what does it mean?

I have been thinking about this for quite a while (probably since my 3rd grader started kindergarten), but especially this week.  This week our school is having an Inclusion Week.  My children are fortunate to attend a public school that is committed to trying to create a welcoming environment for children with all kinds of strengths and challenges.

Food Allergy Kids and School Inclusion - www.welcomingkitchen.com
For Inclusion Week, children made squares indicating what makes them unique; then they were joined into classroom quilts.


I applaud the efforts of the parent volunteers of our Inclusion Committee and our school leaders to focus attention on how we can create an inclusive school community.

How does all of this work when the challenge your child faces is food allergies?

I have written here about concerns about food in the classroom and safety.  Inclusion is a slightly different matter.

If a child is allergic to dairy or is gluten-intolerant, how does he or she feel when a classroom reward for good behavior or achieving a fund-raising goal is a pizza party?  How different would they feel if it was a movie day or extra gym time or playground time?

If children fundraise by having bake sales or selling candy, how does that make the child feel for whom those foods are dangerous?  How might they feel if they were selling non-food items instead?

Why not make a log cabin out of craft sticks and glue instead of pretzels and frosting? 


Every time a family of a food-allergic child has to decide whether to speak up that an activity puts their child at risk or has to bring an alternative when there is food in class highlights the child's challenges and can make that child feel different (maybe not quite so included).

If the family does speak up and request an alternate activity, how does that make the child and his classmates feel when the other classes are enjoying a "treat" that they are denied?  Will the other children in class hope not to be with the food-allergic child in the future, so that they can still have the "treat?"

With food-allergy rates for children around 1 in 12 children, or 2 per classroom, I urge school communities to rethink inclusion as it impacts children with food allergies.  Sometimes food is a necessary part of education.  When it's not, or when there's an easy alternative, we can create a more-inclusive environment for many of our children by sticking with something else.  


Happy Cooking!
Kim

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Super Seeds and Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Airfryer Crispy Smoky Polenta Snacks from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen, vegan, gluten-free, food allergy safe



One of my favorite gifts this year was an AIR FRYER. I LOVE fried food, but never deep-fry anything -- too messy, too bad for you, etc. A kitchen gadget that could give me the feeling of fried food without frying?! Count me in!

I have been having a blast playing with it. I have had some really good successes that I'm excited to share with you (onion rings, cheese sticks, breaded eggplant) and some other attempts that need improvement.

I thought I'd start out the Air Fryer love with a delicious, easy and totally resolution-safe snack. These polenta snacks are crispy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside and really flavorful. I like them plain or with a cup of soup. My son likes to dip them in ketchup.

The proportions here are for one serving. I like to keep the extra polenta in the fridge, so I can cook up a small batch over a few days and enjoy a delicious, hot, fresh treat right when I want it. If you want to cook the whole tube of polenta, just multiply the ingredients by 4.


Airfryer Crispy Smoky Polenta Snacks - www.welcomingkitchen.com





AIR FRYER CRISPY POLENTA SNACKS (vegan, gluten-free, top 8 allergen free)
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 tube of polenta
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


Preparation:

  1. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees (F).
  2. Cut the polenta in 4 equal wedges, and then slice each wedge into approximately 1-inch pieces.
  3. In a lidded container or in a zip-top bag, shake together spices.
  4. Add the polenta slices, and shake to coat.
  5. Cook in the air fryer for 10-12 minutes, shaking once halfway through.

Happy Cooking!