Slide 1 Title Here

This is slide 1 description.

Slide 2 Title Here

This is slide 2 description.

Slide 3 Title Here

This is slide 3 description.

Slide 4 Title Here

This is slide 4 description.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Massaged Kale Salad with Hemp Seeds from Super Seeds
Photo credit: Bill Milne

While cold weather calls for soup, warm weather sings out for salads. Cool, crunchy, nourishing salad.

This Massaged Kale Salad from Super Seeds is a lovely canvas on which to add the colors of spring and summer -- sliced fruit and vegetables add interest to this delicious and filling salad. How about adding some sliced strawberries, mango or nectarine, blueberries or pineapple chunks, or orange peppers and cucumbers? Delicious! And the hemp seeds add some protein along with their nutty earthiness. Yum!

Super Seeds is full of recipes that are quick to put together and summer friendly. Now's a great time to pick up a copy so you're ready for summer potlucks, al fresco dinners and cool breakfasts.
Massaged Kale Salad with Hemp Seeds from Super Seeds

Massaged Kale Salad (reprinted from Super Seeds)
Makes 2 servings

You can add any vegetables or fruits that you like to make this basic kale salad more complex. There is nothing basic, however, about kale’s superfood nutrition profile, and its chewy, earthy taste makes it an exciting alternative to ordinary salad greens. This salad pairs beautifully with lasagna and makes a great meal to serve when you have company— it’s easy to pull together so that you can spend more time with your guests.


  • 4 cups raw kale, center ribs and stems removed, and torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces
    (or use 4 cups baby kale) 
  • Juice of ½ lemon 
  • 3 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds  
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped  
  • ½ ripe avocado, cut into medium dice 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a large bowl, combine kale and lemon juice.
2. Massage the kale with your bare hands for several minutes, until the leaves are much
more tender. (If you’re using baby kale, you can massage the leaves just enough to coat
with lemon juice, as they are already tender.)
3. Set aside for 1 hour or longer.
4. In a dry skillet, toast hemp seeds over medium heat for 1 minute.
5. Toss together all ingredients and serve.

If you have Super Seeds and you're enjoying it, would you please help me get it to more people by leaving a review on Amazon? Thanks so much if you can!

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Growing Up with Food Allergies: Dairy Food Allergy Food Challenge

I wrote this post five years ago as my son got ready for his first food allergy food challenge. We have since had several challenges with mixed results. As part of my Growing Up with Food Allergies series, I want to update our experiences about food challenges, finding an allergist who fits well with our family and what it's like when your child fails a challenge. Before that, though, I think it's good to see where we were before we even started this journey.

After years of blood tests, my seven-year-old son is eligible for a food allergy food challenge. Great news, right? I would have thought that this would have been only a source of excitement for us. I was unprepared for the anxiety that all of us, including my son, feel about it.

For those of you who don't know what a food challenge is, here's a little nutshell explanation. Every year my son gets a blood test to determine the amount of allergy antibodies in his system. When the number falls below 2, he is eligible for a food challenge. In the challenge, he will be given increasing amounts of the food that he has been allergic to (in our case, the challenge will be cows' milk). The challenge happens in the doctor's office in case he has an allergic reaction. If he does, he is still allergic and has to continue avoiding. If he makes it through the challenge with no reaction, he is believed to no longer be allergic. However, if he passes the challenge, he will need to eat a serving of cows' milk (cheese, yogurt, milk, etc.) at least every other week. So, to me it seems like it's not that he's no longer allergic so much as that the allergy has changed, since if you're not allergic, you don't have to follow these same rules.

An allergy to cows' milk is pretty scary since little kids are so messy. We have worried every time kids eat ice cream and drip near him, and we worry that some child will spill his milk at lunch. Passing the food challenge would eliminate those worries. The world would be a lot less dangerous for him. Also, he could eat foods (like crackers) that are made on the same equipment that is used to manufacture foods that contain milk. That would be great.

So, what's there to be anxious about? Well, plenty, actually. The odds are slightly better than 50% that he'll pass. Those aren't the greatest of odds. He's worried that he's going to get sick when he is exposed to his allergen. (Since we've hammered this into his head for years, that's not shocking.) They just don't know enough about how people outgrow allergies to give us better odds than that.

Also, my children and I are vegans. He was very upset at the idea of eating cows' milk. For us, though, his health and safety are our biggest concerns. We have told him that it is up to him if he passes the challenge if he wants to continue being a vegan or if he wants to eat cows' milk. He would have to eat the one serving every other week, though, even if he chooses to remain vegan. We would treat that serving as his "medicine" to keep him healthy.

The nurse practitioner at our allergist's office was amazing. She took lots of time to talk with me about our concerns. She advised us in how best to talk to our boy about the challenge, and she helped us help him make the decision to go ahead and give it a try.

Our appointment is set for the end of January. We're keeping our fingers crossed until then!

Have you or your child ever had a food allergy food challenge? How did it go? 

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vegan, Gluten-free No Bake Granola Bars from Dreena Burton's Plant-Powered Families

Friends help make your life easier, sweeter, better. 

Dreena Burton is just such a friend to any vegan family. She has written five vegan cookbooks that are filled with delicious whole-foods based recipes that can take you from everyday meals through special occasions. She also is the creator of the wonderful website, Plant-Powered Kitchen.

Vegan, Gluten-free No Bake Granola Bars from Dreena Burton's Plant-Powered Families

Dreena's newest book, Plant-Powered Families, takes her care for vegan families to a whole new level. Not only does the book contain over 100 family-friendly recipes, but she also talks families new to plant-based eating through issues including how to stock your kitchen, how to create meals that meet the nutrition needs of growing children and satisfy even picky palates, and she provides menu plans, too.

Even if your family doesn't eat wholly plant-based, this is a wonderful resource. The recipes are easy and tasty. They use whole foods, minimal oils and added sugars. Because the book is vegan, it's a great tool for egg- and/or dairy-allergic families. Also, many of the recipes are gluten-free or have a gluten-free option. There are options to keep things nut-free, too.

Dreena and her publisher, BenBella Books, are sharing her recipe for No-Bake Granola Bars. They are also giving away a copy of Plant-Powered Families to one of our readers. (Enter the giveaway below the recipe.)
Vegan, Gluten-free No Bake Granola Bars from Dreena Burton's Plant-Powered Families
Photo by Nicole Axworthy from Plant-Powered Families used with permission.


No-Bake Granola Bars (from Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton, BenBella Books 2015)

Makes 8–10 bars or 16 squares

These bars are perfect for school lunches because they are nut-free and pack very well. Plus, they are pretty simple to put together!

1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 packed cup coconut butter (see note) (Coconut Butter instructions here.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup oat flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
11/2 cups natural brown rice crisp cereal
3 tablespoons nondairy chocolate chips (optional)

Line an 8" × 8" pan with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan over medium/medium-low heat, add the brown rice syrup, coconut butter, vanilla extract, sea salt, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined and the coconut butter has melted. Add the rolled oats, and stir through, allowing to cook for 2–3 minutes in the low heat. Add the oat flour and shredded coconut, and stir through.

Remove the pot from the stove. Swiftly stir in the cereal and transfer the mixture to prepared pan. Press mixture evenly into the pan (using a nonstick spatula or piece of parchment paper).

Wait just a minute, and then sprinkle on the chocolate chips and press those into the base. Refrigerate until fully chilled (at least 1/2 hour), then cut in squares or bars.

Coconut Butter Note: Coconut butter works well here because it is so dense and helps bind the bars. Because coconut is not botanically a nut, these are also perfect for school lunches.

However, if you want to substitute a nut butter, choose one that is very dense, like cashew butter.

Idea: Try some of these flavor variations:
  • Raisin-spice: Stir in 3–4 tablespoons raisins, omit the chips, increase the cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon, and add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon of allspice.
  • Cranberry–pumpkin seed: Stir in 3–4 tablespoons of dried cranberries and substitute pumpkin seeds for the coconut.
  • Cocoa-hemp: Substitute 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds for the coconut, and add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder (when mixing in the oat flour). Keep the chocolate chips, oh yes!
Want more? Enter to win your own copy of Plant-Powered Families!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to try some more recipes from Plant-Powered Families while waiting to get your own copy?

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Lemon Squeezer offer from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Note: The code has been reactivated. Once I hear that the codes have all been used, I'll take the post down again.

I love lemon!

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is my lemon squeezer. It extracts all of the juice so easily making it a joy to whip up lemony treats and drinks.

Kitchen Frontier is offering a special coupon code to 50 Kim's Welcoming Kitchen readers letting you get one of their stainless steel lemon squeezers (worth $18.50) for just $1. If you have Amazon Prime, your shipping will be free, too. Otherwise, there will be a shipping charge.

To get the offer follow these steps:
*Kitchen Frontier Exclusive  - 50 Lemon Squeezers Giveaway $1 (Reg. $18.50)

  1.     Click here, enter your email to get the coupon code.
  2.     Click here, add to cart.
  3.     Enter the coupon to get it for $1. If it doesn't work it means the deal is finished.
  4.     Shipping is FREE for Amazon Prime members. Otherwise it's not free.
Want some lemon ideas?
Disclosure: I received a Kitchen Frontier lemon squeezer to review on Amazon.

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.  


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Egg Substitutes or Egg Replacers on Kim's Welcoming Kitchen
Chickens enjoying the good life at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

How can you replace eggs in your baking?

This question, a common one for vegans or folks living with an egg allergy, is becoming relevant even to people who usually eat eggs. Why?

Aside from the animal welfare concerns that are an ongoing issue in the egg-laying industry, due to the bird flu, millions of egg-laying hens have been killed resulting in an increase in egg prices.

What are some easy, whole foods, plant-based ways to replace eggs in your baking recipes?

Each of these options is a substitute for one egg in a recipe:

  • 1/4 cup applesauce plus 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 tablespoon chia seed plus 3 tablespoons water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal plus 3 tablespoons water, stir and let sit for 10 minutes
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin or pumpkin puree.
All of the baking recipes on this site use one of these options. Please feel free to explore the cookies, muffins and cakes here to get started baking egg free.

Some recipes to try:
Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Make Your Own Coconut Butter from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen
Coconut Butter ready for spreading!

Don't you love it when you figure out an easy way to save lots of money?

If so, you're going to love this post. Have you tried coconut butter? It's a lovely, creamy, coconutty spread that you can use to bake with or spread on toast or create delicious compound "butters."

Coconut butter is not the same thing as coconut oil. Coconut butter is made from flaked coconut and includes the fiber and other nutrients that exist in the coconut. It is fuller bodied than coconut oil, so although you can substitute them sometimes for each other, they are not the same and will give different results.

The downside to coconut butter is that it is pricey. 

Lucky for us, it's easy to make our own coconut butter using unsweetened flaked coconut and a food processor.

  • The most important thing to know is that you need to use a significant quantity of coconut for this to work. I originally tried it with a smaller amount of coconut (approximately 1 cup), and it never turned into the butter I was hoping for.
  • Another thing to note is that it takes some time and patience. I'm used to using my food processor to cut down on chopping time and think of it as a tool that I use for seconds, rather than minutes. This can take 15 to 20 minutes depending on your weather, how much coconut you're using and other factors.

Once you know those tips, it couldn't be easier.

Put 3-4 cups of unsweetened flaked (not shredded) coconut into the bowl of your food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade.
Make Your Own Coconut Butter from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Let the processor run for 5 minutes. The coconut at this point should look almost sand-like. Scrape down the sides if needed.

Make Your Own Coconut Butter from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

In another 5 minutes, the coconut will start releasing its fat, so it might feel almost dough-like. Mine created a ball for a bit before it broke back down. Scrape down the sides if needed.

Make Your Own Coconut Butter from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

In another 5 to 10 minutes, you'll have a luscious, thick liquid. Pour it into a glass jar, cover and store for up to 2-3 months. If it hardens up, you can soften it in a warm water bath.

3 cups of unsweetened flaked coconut became approximately 3/4 cup of Coconut Butter.

You're going to be glad you know how to make Coconut Butter for my next post!
Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tomatillo Pineapple Guacamole from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Cinco de Mayo calls for spicy salsa, cold margaritas and lots of creamy guacamole!

This guacamole adds some fruity sparkle to my favorite creamy dip. Serve it with chips or veggies, on top of salad, or on a baked potato or veggie burger.

Tomatillo Pineapple Guacamole (vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free)


  • 1 cup coarsely chopped tomatillo
  •  1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced 
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped red onion
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pineapple (fresh if possible, or rinsed canned or thawed frozen)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (or parsley if you don't like cilantro)
  • 1 avocado

  1. In a food processor, add tomatillos and jalapeño and pulse until finely chopped. 
  2. Add red onion, pineapple, salt, and cilantro and pulse until combined, but still slightly chunky.
  3. Cut avocado in half lengthwise, remove pit and scoop out flesh into a medium bowl.
  4. Mash avocado with a fork or potato masher.
  5. Mix in chopped vegetables/fruit.
  6. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Frosted Lemon Cookies, Vegan, Gluten-free, Allergen-free

Winter desserts can be heavier, filling, warming.

Spring calls for something else. Something lighter. Something fresh tasting.

These lemon cookies fit the bill for a lovely spring treat. Not only do they have the sweet-tart deliciousness you expect from a lemon cookie, but they have a slight flavor of coconut from the coconut oil that marries beautifully with these pretty sweets.

This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons  of vanilla flavored coconut yogurt. You can eat the remaining yogurt from the container or freeze it for later. It will be good for at least 3 months in the freezer. Thaw before using.

Iced Lemon Cookies (Gluten-free, Vegan, Allergen-free)
Makes 36 cookies


For the cookies:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder, divided
1-1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons vanilla coconut yogurt
Zest of a 1/2 lemon
Powdered sugar for dusting work surface and rolling pin

For the frosting:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla coconut yogurt
Zest of a 1/2 lemon
1 cup powdered sugar


  1. For cookies, in a large bowl, thoroughly combine coconut oil and sugar. 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine applesauce with 1/4 teaspoon baking powder then add to coconut oil mixture. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, brown rice flour, remaining 1 teaspoon baking powder, and salt. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet, then mix in yogurt, lemon juice and lemon zest. 
  4. Shape dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap or store in a covered container, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. 
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and top a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dust work surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll dough out to 1/8-inch thick and cut with cookie cutters. On prepared baking sheet, place cookies and bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool completely before frosting. 
  6. For the frosting, in a food processor or bowl, combine coconut oil and yogurt. Add lemon zest and powdered sugar and blend until smooth.
  7. Frost each cookie with an offset spatula or knife. 
Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Vegan, Gluten-free Rice and Bean Veggie Soup

Today is Earth Day. 

What could be better than a day dedicated to reminding us to care for the very planet that cares for us?

This makes us think about what can we do to make a difference? Obviously, we can walk or bike instead of driving, turn off lights in empty rooms, lower our thermostats in the winter, etc. 

What about food?

  • We can buy food that is sustainably raised. I look for organic, bio-dynamic and sustainable labels on my food when I can. I shop at Farmer's Markets whenever possible to meet the farmers who are growing my food.
  • I look to the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 to inform my purchases about pesticide loads in produce. 
  • I eat a plant-based diet. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "According to a new report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation."
Some people think that eating a plant-based or vegan diet can be really hard, especially for busy families. There are plenty of recipes here and all over the Internet that show how easy it can be to eat vegan, whether for a meal here or there, or all the time.

When I'm busy, I love to throw together a nourishing delicious soup that can feed us for dinner and get packed in thermal containers for lunches over the next day or two.

This one is a variation of a dish I make all fall, winter and spring. This week, I used pre-chopped veggies from Trader Joe's, other times I use what's plentiful at the Farmer's Market.
Vegan, Gluten-free Rice and Bean Veggie Soup
Top your thickened soup the next day with fresh tomatoes.

Throw Together Rice and Bean Soup (vegan, gluten-free, food allergen free)
Makes approximately 10 servings

  • 5 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, cabbage, broccoli, celery, green pepper, red pepper, etc.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 3/4 cups cooked beans)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 2 vegan gluten-free bullion cubes
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8-10 cups water (depending on desired thickness)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
  4. Soup will thicken as it sits. Eat it as a stew the next day or thin with more water.
  5. Refrigerate uneaten portions for 3-4 days, or freeze for 3 months.

Welcoming Kitchen by Kim Lutz

To help us celebrate Earth Day, we have a giveaway!

Our friends at Lundberg Family Farms are providing one lucky reader with a bag of Biodynamic Rice and a $30 Whole Foods gift card, I'm throwing in a signed copy of Welcoming Kitchen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Required FTC disclosure: I received 2 gift cards and 2 bags of rice from Lundberg Farms (one to keep and one to giveaway). I did not receive any other compensation for this post.

This recipe was shared with Allergy Free Wednesday!

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.   

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PlantPure Nation Cookbook -- A Vegan Cookbook Review
Caribbean Quinoa Bowl recipe below.  Photo credit Brian Olson.

Twelve years ago I transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a purely plant-based diet (a vegan diet). I did this for my son, who was allergic to dairy and eggs, but I continue to follow a vegan diet for myself. My experience with going vegan included an increase in good health. My cholesterol went down and my lifelong asthma pretty much disappeared. I have maintained these health gains over the years. 

Because I have had such a great experience with changing my diet, I was really excited to receive a copy of a new vegan cookbook, The PlantPure Nation Cookbook. This cookbook is a companion to a new film, PlantPure Nation. The book and the film document the changes that people experience when they transition to a plant-based diet using the Jumpstart program created by Kim Campbell and her husband Nelson Campbell (son of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, coauthor of The China Study). 

The PlantPure Nation Cookbook is a great starting point for anyone who wants to try a plant-based diet for the first time. It contains over 150 easy-to-follow recipes that will ease you into eating familiar foods that just happen to be plant-based. The book also has helpful on how to stock your pantry and some highlights from the film. Many of the recipes include gluten, soy and/or nuts, so it might not be the best fit for someone with multiple food allergies or intolerances.

Check out the trailer for this movie, then visit the PlantPure Nation website to see how you can support getting the word out! 

Caribbean Quinoa Bowl (courtesy of PlantPure Nation Cookbook by Kim Campbell, BenBella Press)
This recipe is easy to make for any meal. Black beans, salsa, and pineapple give it a sweet Mexican flavor.

½ cup quinoa
1 cup water
4 cups chopped kale
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup salsa (medium heat)
½ cup diced pineapple (fresh, canned, or frozen)
¾ cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup diced avocado
¼ cup sliced green onions

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes

1. Rinse the quinoa, which can have a bitter taste if not rinsed thoroughly. Add the quinoa and the water to a pot, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. Lightly steam the kale until bright green. Add to the bowl with quinoa.

3. Add the beans, cumin, chili powder, salt, salsa, pineapple, and corn. Toss until the ingredients are well mixed.

4. Top with the avocado and green onions and serve immediately.

Want more plant-based recipes? I've got hundreds here to get you started, plus more in my books.

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.   

Monday, March 30, 2015

Birthday Parties and Food Allergies + Vegan, GF Cupcakes

When I first learned that my son had food allergies, one of the things that really worried me was birthday parties.

Over the past 12 years, though, I've learned a lot about birthday parties and special diets. Not only does my son have multiple food allergies, but both of my children are vegan, and that can make birthday parties a little complicated for both of them.

Here are 10 things I've learned about birthday parties and food allergies (or other special diets):

1. Birthday parties are about so much more than food. Of course there's cake and lots of times pizza, but the real fun has nothing to do with food. There are games or bowling or laser tag or arts & crafts -- you get the picture. Emphasize the fun, not the food.

2. You don't have to accept every invitation. If the party's not a good fit for you, you can always celebrate your friend separately. When my kids were little, they got invited to some parties at Chuck E. Cheese. Given a dairy allergy, we just figured a place with cheese in its name would cause all of us a bit more stress than we needed. We arranged for a fun playdate at another time to celebrate our buddy.

3. Be sure to bring any medicines your child needs. Epi-pens and inhalers are standard party-going supplies for us! 

4. If your child is younger, you can ask if you can stay. My son wasn't comfortable going to a party by himself when he was younger, so I brought along a book and stayed out of the way until he felt confident enough to navigate food and social situations on his own.

5. Communicate. Make sure that the hosts know about your child's allergies. Let them know you'll be sending an alternative snack. Show your child and the hosts what your snack container looks like and where any rescue medications are stored. Ask your host if she knows what to do in an emergency and if she needs to know how to give an Epi-pen.

6. Follow the Golden Rule. Make sure that you ask your guests when you're the host about any diet issues and provide welcoming options.

7. All things pass. Birthday parties for older kids aren't so formal. It's much more about hanging out with your friends than actual parties, which makes it so much easier.

8. Pack your own safe food. If there's going to be pizza, bring your own slice. If there's going to be cake, bring a cupcake. It's never been a big deal for our kids to bring their own treats if the cake's not safe.

9. Share a recipe if your friends are looking to make something safe. Make sure they understand about the need to prevent cross-contamination, too.

10. Say "Thank you." It takes a village to keep our kids safe, and we should never take the extra effort for granted. I am so incredibly fortunate to live in a community who care as much about my children's safety and inclusion as I do. 

Birthday Parties and Food Allergies + Vegan, GF Cupcakes

In case you need a recipe for cupcakes, I have several in Welcoming Kitchen and Super Seeds, and here's a favorite from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen.

Happy Birthday Cupcakes (vegan, gluten-free, food allergy friendly)

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or other neutral oil
  • 1//2 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, canola oil, applesauce and vanilla.
  4. Mix dry ingredients into wet.
  5. Stir apple cider vinegar into batter.
  6. Pour batter into an oiled standard muffin pan.
  7. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Happy Cooking!

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.   

Friday, March 13, 2015

Traveling with Food Allergies: Tips from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen
Taking it on the road with food allergies.

Over the years, new families are dealing with food allergies and others are finding my blog for the first time. I love sharing recipes with my readers, but I also think that it is important to share some of the experience I've gained as a mom with a food-allergic child.

I am going to launch a series of food allergy posts that will run a couple per month over the next several months. Some are posts that I've written in the past that I hope might find a new audience, and some are new. Over the years, we've had mixed experiences with food challenges, finding the right allergist, traveling, sleep overs, field trips and more. 

I hope that you will add your experiences through comments on the post or on the Welcoming Kitchen Facebook page. We can all learn together.

Here is the first post in the series:

We just got back from a trip across the country.  Two boys, one dog, one mom and one dad.

When we started on this food allergy journey, I would have been totally freaked out about having to travel with such restrictions.  Seven years later, it's old hat.

A few tips and tricks I've learned along the way made it a lot easier for us to have a great trip, and maybe they'll help you, too.

1) Plan, plan and plan (and make lists)!  When you know that you can't just stop at the rest stop and pick up a quick bite, you have to think about what you'll need before hand and get it all ready.  Write it down!  Shop, cook, and use your freezer to spread out the work.

2) Bring a variety of snacks -- sweet and savory-- and drinks so that you don't have to munch on the same old trail mix for hour after hour.

3) Take advantage of help when it's available.  

Traveling with Food Allergies: Tips from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen
Cookies are a fun treat in the car!

How do these tips translate into a real-life vacation?

The first part is obvious.  Write down what foods, drinks and medications you need to make your travel enjoyable and safe.  Then, write down shopping lists divided by store, so that you get all the ingredients you need in one shopping trip.  Make sure you have all the medications you are going to need.  For us, that's not just EpiPens and Benadryl, but allergy medicines and inhalers, too.

We also pack our own soap and shampoo, even when we're going to a hotel or family member's house that will have them.  When you have a nut or milk allergy, fancy soaps can be dangerous!

The second part is fun.  Part of the joy of traveling by car is eating stuff you wouldn't normally get to enjoy with such abandon!  For this trip, I baked zucchini muffins and blueberry muffins.  I baked them in papers so they'd travel better, then wrapped them in sets of four in aluminum foil and popped those in freezer-safe bags.  I froze the muffins as I made them, so that I wouldn't have to be overwhelmed with work at the last minute.

I also baked up a double batch of granola.  I made little sandwiches with Sunbutter and jelly and others with hummus.  I bought some chips and dry cereal and juice boxes.  We had non-dairy milk boxes and coconut waters for the grown-ups.  We had grapes and apples.  We also got squeezable pouches of apple sauce and apple/banana sauce and fruit leathers.

Each boy got a snack pack, which was his own bag filled with little bags of the snacky-type foods.  That way, they got to have a little control over what they ate and when.  I gave out the muffins in the morning and the sandwiches at lunch time.

The third part is crucial.  We look for help from hotels that we stay at.  Whenever possible, we choose hotels that have a refrigerator and a microwave when we're going to be there for more than one day.   This does not have to be a big, extravagant hotel.  Last summer we stayed at a Holiday Inn Express with a kitchenette that worked out great.   On this trip, we stayed one night at the beginning of our trip and one night at the end at a little motel near my mother-in-law's and it had fridge.  I could unpack my cooler and the ice pack and re-chill everything while we slept.

Traveling with Food Allergies: Tips from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen
Fruit is a safe and readily available snack on the road.

We ate dinner at my mother-in-law's house.  She was not comfortable buying all the food we would need for dinner, as she doesn't have the experience we have in reading labels.  So, we brought pasta and sauce and cookies with us, and she provided salad and fruit--foods she could feel confident providing.

Before we left, I emailed my sister-in-law with a short shopping list.  I listed brand names of the basic foods I would need to get my family started when we arrived in Virginia.  This was a life saver.  After traveling for two days, I didn't have to jump in the car again to go grocery shopping.  My boys had Beanadillas (refried beans, Daiya and tortillas) for dinner with fruit and more of the cookies I had baked in Chicago.  Later, we were able to go shopping together, so that we could make meals that would work for everyone.

That just left the return trip.  Again, my sister-in-law took me shopping and hung out with me while I baked more muffins (zucchini and apple pie) and made more sandwiches.  I also made a Mexican Lasagna for us to take with us to my mother-in-law's on the way back.

We really had a wonderful vacation, and I can tell you that I didn't worry about food at all.  I have followed these tips for short trips to hotels, car trips, plane travel, and camping. 

All it takes is being prepared and asking for help.  (Shameless plug--a copy of Welcoming Kitchen also came in handy!)

Please share any tips you find helpful in the comments.

Happy Cooking!

This post was shared with Allergy Free Wednesday.

My new book, SUPER SEEDS, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.