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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

A review and recipe from Eat Dairy Free by Alisa Fleming -

My friend, Alisa Fleming from Go Dairy Free, has written a comprehensive book for people who eat dairy free. Not only are these recipes dairy-free, but most have been tested with gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free options, too.

I have really been enjoying cooking from this cookbook. I made a batch of the Rich Thai Dip, but I omitted the sesame oil, because I know that some of our Welcoming Kitchen readers need to avoid sesame. I also used sunflower seed butter to keep it nut-free. It was delicious. The tip about steaming the sweet potatoes instead of baking them made this dip a lot quicker to prepare, too.

My family has been enjoying the Cowgirl Cookies in their lunches, and I can't wait to try the Roasted Carrot Bisque. There are so many recipes in here that are solidly delicious. It launches today, so I recommend that you run out and get a copy of Eat Dairy Free.

Rich Thai Dip with Broccoli Trees from Eat Dairy Free by Alisa Fleming 
Makes 6 Servings 

From Alisa: While I truly enjoy this savory, sweet, and spicy thick dip with steamed broccoli, it also goes nicely with bell pepper strips, baby carrots, snap peas, or blanched cauliflower. 

  • 3 or 4 broccoli crowns 
  • 1/2 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (see Sweet Potato Tips below) 
  • 6 tablespoons creamy unsalted almond butter (use sunflower seed or pumpkin seed butter for nut free) 
  • 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice or rice vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons non-GMO soy sauce, wheat-free tamari (for gluten free), or coconut aminos (for soy free) 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or loosely packed brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil 
  • 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger 
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • Water or unsweetened plain dairy-free milk beverage, as needed 
1. Cut the broccoli into stalks and steam for 3 to 5 minutes. For dipping purposes, broccoli stalks that are relatively crisp-tender work best. 
2. Put the sweet potato, nut butter, 2 tablespoons lime juice or vinegar, soy sauce, sweetener, oil, ginger, and crushed red pepper in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste, and if desired, blend in the remaining 1/2 tablespoon lime juice or rice vinegar. 
3. Serve the dip immediately with the steamed broccoli stalks, or cover and refrigerate it for 1 hour to thicken before serving. If it becomes too thick, whisk in water or milk beverage, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin. 
4. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

Sweet Potato Tips: To cook whole sweet potatoes, peel and cut them into 1/2-inch disks, then steam for about 15 minutes. Steaming preserves more of the flavor and nutrients than boiling. For a super-fast dip, you can use canned sweet potato puree. If you don’t have sweet potatoes or sweet potato puree on hand, squash, carrot, or pumpkin puree makes a tasty substitute. 

Credit for this Recipe: This recipe is reprinted with permissions from Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets by Alisa Fleming (BenBella Books, 2018). Photo by Nicole Axworthy.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Date Sauce or Spread - (gluten-free, food-allergy friendly)

I love homemade gifts for the holidays. I make a variety of craft gifts (jewelry, belts and soap) and food gifts, too. I like to give tins of cookies and candies to friends and neighbors. A gift that I'm giving this year is homemade Chocolate Date Spread. It's delicious, different and a little healthier than most goodies from this time of year. 

Coffee really takes chocolate flavor up a notch, so I soak the dates in coffee instead of water to soften them in this recipe. I have a high-speed blender, and it really makes a smooth paste, but a food processor or standard blender will also work.

Vegan Chocolate Date Sauce or Spread - (gluten-free, food-allergy friendly)

You can spread this Chocolate Date Spread on cookies, graham crackers, or toast. If you heat it, it becomes a luscious chocolate sauce to dip fruit or pour over ice cream.

Pack the sauce into clean jars and refrigerate it until gifting. Make sure your recipients know that it needs to stay refrigerated upon receipt. It will stay good in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Vegan Chocolate Date Sauce or Spread - (gluten-free, food-allergy friendly)

Chocolate Date Spread or Sauce (vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, nondairy)

Makes approximately 3/4 cup of sauce


  1. Soak dates for one hour in coffee.
  2. Puree all ingredients together in food processor or blender

Saturday, December 2, 2017


I have a confession. Even though I sometimes write out a shopping list, I often don't, and when I do, I frequently leave it at home. That means that I end up buying more of some things than I need. 

Every fall, I find myself picking up one more can of pumpkin when I'm at the store.
What to do with the extra pumpkin after the pies are all made? Of course, I could save it for next year, but where's the fun in that? 

Instead, I made a delicious bread pudding that uses just a few ingredients and bakes up warm, slightly sweet, and really flavorful. I served it warm with a topping of cool, sweet Coco Whip. 

I had never used sweetened condensed coconut milk before this. It was really nice. It was thick and creamy and sweet with a hint of coconut flavor. 

Note: Use whichever bread you like that fits your dietary needs. Dinner rolls work really nicely for a bread pudding, in my opinion.

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Bread Pudding from Welcoming Kitchen

Pumpkin Coconut Bread Pudding (vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, free of top 8 allergens)
Makes 6 large or 8 smaller servings

  • 8 cups bread cubes (Use the bread of your choice, cut into roughly 1-inch cubes.)
  • 1 15-ounce canned pumpkin
  • 1 can sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 

Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly toast coconut flakes in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant, but not burned.
Tear or cut bread into chunks, 1-2 inches.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, sweetened condensed coconut milk and salt.
Add bread chunks to pumpkin mixture and stir to coat.
Spread in a 9 x 13 inch pan, and top with coconut flakes.
Bake for one hour.

Happy Cooking!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Easiest Way to Turn Pie Pumpkin into Pumpkin Puree - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

If you read this blog at all, you know that I LOVE pumpkin.  Just can't get enough of it.  Sometimes I use canned pumpkin puree.  It's easy, and it's readily available.  I can keep a few cans in my pantry for whenever I need a fix of muffins, cookies, pudding or pie.

Sometimes, though, I'd rather go straight to the source.  I have tried cooking pie pumpkins many different ways.  A lot of folks suggest cooking it halved on an oiled baking pan.  I find this lends a roasted flavor that might work for some applications (like soup), but not for others (like pie).
Pumpkin Pie Puree (vegan, gluten-free, food-allergy friendly) -

The pumpkin pulls away from the shell

Although I frequently bake winter squash whole, I never thought about doing that with a small pie pumpkin.  It worked perfectly!  Nothing could be easier, too.  The flesh pulls away from the shell once it's cooked, so it is simple to scrape out, and it's buttery soft so it's easy to mash. 

Don't limit yourself to just pumpkins, though. You can use the soft flesh of other hard winter squashes in your favorite pumpkin recipes, too. Try butternut, acorn or kabocha if that's what's at your store. Have fun!

Pumpkin Pie Puree (vegan, gluten-free, food-allergy friendly) -

Fresh Pumpkin Puree
Makes approximately 2 cups of puree depending on the size of the pumpkin

1 pie pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400.
Wash the outside of the pumpkin.
Pierce the pumpkin with a sharp knife in several places.
Bake for approximately one hour.  (Smaller ones might need only 45 minutes to be done.)
Once it cools enough to handle, cut the pumpkin in half.
Scoop out and discard the seeds.
Scoop the flesh into a bowl.
Mash with a potato masher. 

Happy Cooking!


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vegan Pumpkin Pie (gluten-free and food allergy friendly) -

The holidays are coming! That means pie. Lots and lots of pie. 

In our family, we make apple pie, pumpkin pie, vegan pumpkin cheesecake and usually another chocolate dessert. At least. Maybe more.

Pumpkin pie is one of those desserts that can seem tricky to make if you need to avoid common allergens. This pie takes out the allergens, but keeps all the creamy, sweet, pumpkin-y delight that makes this pie a must-have on holiday tables. 

You can use this super-easy pie crust for any of your favorite pies. Don't skip the refrigeration step, the pie needs to be cooled off so that it firms up. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie (gluten-free and food allergy friendly) -

Allergen-Free Pumpkin Pie (vegan, gluten-free and free of the top 8 allergens)
Makes 8 servings 

  • ½ cup nondairy creamer (like coconut based) 
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal (ground flax seed) 
  • ½ cup allergen-free nondairy cream cheese
  • ½ cup soy-free buttery spread 
  • 2 cups gluten-free oat flour 
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
  • ½ cup brown sugar 

  1. Preheat oven to 375. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine coconut creamer and flax seed meal. Set aside. 
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese and buttery spread until well combined. Mix flour into cream cheese mixture. 
  4. Knead dough together with clean hands just until blended, do not overwork dough. 
  5. Press into a disk on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. Top with another sheet. Roll dough into a circle at least 10 inches in diameter. 
  6. Remove top piece of paper and place dough into a 9-inch pie plate with the paper on top, then peel off the top paper. It's ok if the dough breaks, just press it together with your fingers until the pie crust is complete. Trim the edges. 
  7. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Set aside. 
  8. In a blender, combine coconut creamer mixture, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. 
  9. Pour pie filling into crust. 
  10. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  11. Cool pie on a cooling rack, and then cover and transfer to refrigerator for at least five hours.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Vegan Date Caramel Sauce (vegan, gluten-free, food-allergy friendly) -

Dates are one of my loves. I keep pitted deglet noor dates in my freezer and grab one or two when I need a sweet treat. I make date paste to use as a sweetener in baked goods and homemade ice creams, too. I also make a killer chocolate sauce with dates that I'll share with you soon.

Dates have a naturally caramel-like flavor. That makes them the ideal choice to blend into a dip for apples or pears (or cookies!).

This Vegan Date Caramel Sauce is so simple and so good, there's no reason not to blend up a batch right away!
Vegan Date Caramel Sauce (vegan, gluten-free, food-allergy friendly) -

Vegan Date Caramel Sauce (vegan, gluten-free, free of top 8 allergens, sugar-free)
Makes approximately 1 cup

  • 1 cup pitted dates (medjool or deglet noor)
  • 2 tablespoons nondairy milk of your choice
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter (I used Sunbutter.)
  • pinch of salt
  1. Soak dates in water to cover for at least one hour.
  2. Drain dates.
  3. Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. 

Happy Cooking!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Apple Cider Donuts (Vegan, Allergen-free, Gluten-free) - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

I started working on Welcoming Kitchen donuts many years ago, when I realized that my at-the-time 5-year-old son had never eaten a donut! Now, we eat yummy chocolate-glazed donuts whenever we need a donut fix. For this fall favorite, we were inspired by a recipe in Food Network's magazine and came up with another great donut to add to our repetoire. You can buy a donut pan online or even at your local craft store. These apple cider donuts have a denser, coffee-cake-like texture, and a yummy, apple-cinnamony flavor.

Vegan Apple Cider Donuts (GF) -

Apple Cider Donuts

Makes 15 donuts


2 medium apples
2 1/2 cups apple cider, divided
3 1/2 cups gluten-free, all-purpose baking mix (like Bob's Red Mill)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, divided
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a standard-size donut pan with shortening.
Rough chop apples (no need to peel them).
Combine apples with 1 1/2 cups apple cider in a small saucepan.
Cook over medium heat, until apples are soft and apple cider is almost completely reduced. This should take about 20 minutes, depending on the size of the apples.
Puree apples in a food processor .
In a medium bowl, combine GF flour, xanthan gum, 1 tablespoon baking powder, baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Whisk together well.
In a large bowl, combine applesauce with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Add sugar, 3 tablespoons shortening and vanilla to applesauce mixture. Blend well.
Combine rice milk with apple cider vinegar. Add to applesauce mixture. Combine well.
One-half at a time, mix dry ingredients into wet.
Mix one cup of the pureed apples into the batter.
Fill donut pan 2/3 full.
Bake 12 - 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a donut comes out clean.
While donuts are baking, heat remaining apple cider in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a high simmer. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup.
Whisk confectioners' sugar into reduced cider.
In a shallow bowl, combine 2 teaspoons cinnamon with granulated sugar.
Remove donuts to a cooling rack.
Dip top half of each donut into the glaze. Let extra glaze drip off.
Spoon cinnamon-sugar over glaze. Shake off excess.

Happy Cooking!