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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

SUPER SEEDS: The Complete Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Chia, Flax, Hemp, Quinoa & Amaranth

I am so excited for you all to see the beauty that is SUPER SEEDS! I can say that since I had nothing to do with the gorgeous photos or super-cute design. All of the recipes are vegan, almost all are either gluten-free or have a gluten-free option, and almost all have a nut-free and soy-free option, too.

This week I whipped up a batch of the brownies from SUPER SEEDS. They use chia as the egg replacer, and I since I almost always have some on hand, it was easy to indulge our desire for a sweet treat.

Seeing that container of brownies sitting on my counter gave me an irresistible urge to transform those chocolatey treats into an ice cream. With a container of light coconut milk in the pantry and my ice cream maker ready to go, we were enjoying this delicious ice cream for dessert in just a couple of hours!

Vegan, gluten-free Brownie Ice Cream from Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in a lidded container, and fluff with it a fork every half hour or so, until it's frozen.

Since you don't have the SUPER SEEDS brownie recipe yet (though you can pre-order the book, so you're ready as soon as it ships), you can use the one from Welcoming Kitchen.

Vegan, gluten-free, allergy-safe brownie ice cream?  Now that's something to scream about!

Brownies & Cream Ice Cream (vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free)
Makes 4 servings

  • 1 14-ounce can of light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice or coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 1/2 cups brownie chunks

  1. Combine all ingredients except brownies in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir over heat until sugar is completely dissolved (2 or 3 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat, pour into a non-reactive bowl, and chill in refrigerator for an hour (or more.)
  4. Prepare according to ice cream maker's directions.
  5. Add brownie chunks in last couple of minutes of freezing.
  6. Ice cream will have a soft-serve consistency straight from the machine.  For firmer ice cream, chill in the freezer for another hour or two. 
Happy Cooking!

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


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer is here, and it's time for cool treats. One of my favorite ways to dress up ice cream is to puree some fruit and turn it into a sundae!  Any fruit can work beautifully in this. Try pureed peaches with vanilla ice cream or raspberries with chocolate. Add spices or liqueurs to jazz things up.

Dairy-Free Fruit Sundae 

(Makes 4 Sundaes)

1 cup hulled strawberries
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 pint strawberry coconut milk ice cream (or another flavor)
1/4 cup coconut flakes

In a blender, puree strawberries and pineapple.  (Or use other fruit of your choosing.)
In a dry skillet over medium heat, toss coconut flakes until very lightly toasted, approximately one or two minutes.
In a glass or dessert dish, spread a layer of sauce, add a couple of scoops of ice cream, and top with flaked coconut.
Happy Cooking!

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I used to work in a building that housed a senior citizen center. There were chess classes, discussion and exercise groups and Scrabble tournaments. I got to know a lot of wonderful people at the center. One of my favorites was a woman named Helen. She was funny and smart and had a super-sunny personality. She also was a phenomenal baker. She introduced me to some of my lasting favorites, including pineapple upside cake.

Pineapples have been pretty affordable lately at my market. I couldn't resist giving Pineapple Upside Down Cake a Welcoming Kitchen makeover. This cake is gluten-free, vegan and free of the top 8 allergens. I also made a couple of other adjustments. I used succulent fresh pineapple sliced super thin instead of canned pineapple, I left out the dye-filled maraschino cherries, and enhanced the tropical beauty by using coconut milk.

You can freeze the leftover coconut milk for later use or sub out a different non-dairy milk, if you prefer. Also, I used brown sugar and evaporated cane juice to keep it more the way I remembered it. If you prefer coconut palm sugar, you could sub it for both of the sugars.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, allergen-free)
Makes 8 slices

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or coconut palm sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, gently melted
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups (gluten-free) oat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice or coconut palm sugar)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (light is ok)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cover the bottom of a springform pan with a piece of parchment paper. Snap the sides onto the pan.
  3. Spread melted coconut oil over the bottom of the parchment-covered pan. Also, oil the sides a little.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar over the bottom of the pan. Lay pineapple in a single layer on top of brown sugar.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  6. Mix in applesauce, coconut milk and vanilla.
  7. Stir apple cider vinegar into batter.
  8. Spread batter over pineapple.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  10. Remove cake and set on a cooling rack.  Loosen sides of cake pan. Let cool 10 minutes.
  11. Remove sides of pan.  Invert cake onto a serving plate.  
Happy Cooking!

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


Friday, May 16, 2014

My Gentle Barn Book Review by Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

I am a person with small dreams. I am content working for someone else (for the past 11 years, a non-profit that works with homeless women and victims of domestic violence, WINGS). Although I support big causes, I do it in little ways. I make a donation, I volunteer, I host a mini-fundraiser.

Maybe that's why I am so awed by other people's big accomplishments. I cannot even begin to fathom how you would go from an idea to a huge organization.

That is exactly what Ellie Laks did with The Gentle Barn, an animal rescue sanctuary that couples caring for animals with outreach programs for at-risk youth. How did she get to the point that she has saved so many animals and reached the hearts of hundreds of children?

She spells out her journey in her memoir, My Gentle Barn. When faced with adversity, whether personal, financial or even catastrophic, Ellie continued on her journey one step at a time to build a place of peace and caring. I am glad that she did.

If you want to learn more about Ellie's journey to create The Gentle Barn, her book will show you. If you want a story about how one person's dream can be transformed into a reality that affects the lives of many, her book will do that, too.

Required FTC discosure: I received a copy of My Gentle Barn to review. I received no other compensation, and any opinions are my own.

Happy Cooking!

Find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Freedom Foods, allergen-free, gluten-free cereal

When my son, Casey, was first diagnosed with food allergies about 10 years ago, trying to figure out what packaged foods might work for us was a real challenge. Today, that job is so much easier (not to mention tastier)! There are more and more companies catering to folks with food allergies and intolerances, and the products out there -- from cereal to yogurt to cookies -- get better all the time.

Freedom Foods, a cereal company from Australia, contacted me to tell me that their cereal line is now available in the United States. They sent me 6 kinds of allergy-safe cereal to try. 
  • Tropic Os
  • Maple Crunch
  • Pro-Teen Crunch
  • Ancient Grain Flakes
  • Corn Flakes
  • Rice Flakes

Their contamination-prevention policies are really fantastic. They explain it in great detail on their website, but basically they control what goes into their cereals from field to box, and they test along the way to be sure it's safe. All of the cereals are free from gluten, wheat, nuts, soy, eggs, dairy and sesame.

We ate the cereals for breakfast and I worked with them a bit in the kitchen. They are not overly sweet, which I appreciated and the flakes were really crunchy. They were all pretty popular, and we ended up going through all of the boxes without leaving any behind. The Tropic Os were not a huge hit, but my family doesn't really care for fruit-flavored cereal, so it might have been just due to preference.

I couldn't just leave it at cereal and non-dairy milk! I had to give them a little workout in the kitchen. I tried to make a natural rice crispy treat with the Rice Flakes. That didn't work out too well, as the cereal got soggy.

Crispy Rice and Coconut Chocolate Cups, gluten-free & vegan

These Crispy Rice and Coconut Chocolate Cups, though, were fantastic! They are crunchy and chocolaty with just a hint of toasted coconut goodness. If Freedom Foods hasn't made its way to your town yet, you could make these with any crispy rice cereal.

Crispy Rice and Coconut Chocolate Cups (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free)
Makes 18 candies 

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups Rice Flakes cereal (or crisp rice cereal)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  1. In a dry pan over medium heat, lightly toast coconut flakes until lightly golden and fragrant (a minute or two).
  2. Mix coconut with cereal.
  3. In a small pot, melt chocolate chips over medium heat, stirring continuously until halfway melted. Turn off heat and continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted.  
  4. Mix cereal mixture into chocolate. Stir to coat.
  5. Drop mixture by the tablespoon into candy papers.
  6. Refrigerate for at least one hour to harden.
Disclosure: I received 6 boxes of cereal for review and no other compensation. The opinions are my own.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Did you ever get a treat in the mail that was even better than you had hoped? That is exactly how I feel about my copy of The Blender Girl Cookbook by Tess Masters. Not only does it contain 100 easy, healthy gluten-free and vegan recipes, but it is chock full of tips, information, advice and Tess' warm personality.

This book delivers on its promise for "super-easy" and "super-healthy" recipes. I had friends over yesterday at the last minute to celebrate a friend's new baby (the beautiful Eden). I needed a company-worthy dish that came together quickly and that wouldn't burn the baby if we dropped some on her head! I whipped up the watermelon gazpacho from The Blender Girl Cookbook, and it was delightful. It was fresh and summery and made the lunch feel like a party.

Each of the recipes is gluten-free and vegan (so egg, dairy and animal-free), but nuts and soy are present in a fair number of the recipes. I think the book is still worthwhile, even with those allergies, though, because there is so much information that will be helpful to anyone interested in healthy eating, and there are many recipes that will work regardless of restriction.

Did I mention that this book is GORGEOUS? 
My soup turned out beautiful, but I could not come close to capturing is prettiness like the picture in the book does, so I'm going to show you that one (with permission, of course)!
Photo Credit: Anson Smart

This recipe for Watermelon Gazpacho is provided courtesy of Tess Masters and The Blender Girl Cookbook.

watermelon gazpacho is the bomb!

The name says it all. Gazpacho rocks, and this concoction delivers a surprising taste

explosion with every spoonful. A happy blend of sweet and spicy, the flavors in this

chilled first course or main mellow nicely with time. In fact, the change in flavor

is quite pronounced. This is particularly true of the onion. Like a fabulous sangria

(see page 174), this soup is better the next day. But, it’s delicious a few hours after

preparing, so don’t feel like you have to wait beyond the three-hour chill.

  • serves 8 as a starter, 6 as a main
  • 4 cups (640g) roughly chopped seedless watermelon, plus 6 cups (960g) diced
  • 2 cups (300g) diced tomato
  • 1 cup (145g) peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup (70g) diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons diced red onion, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced green serrano chile, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon natural salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Put the 4 cups of chopped watermelon into your blender and puree on high for 30 to 60 seconds,until liquefied. Pour into a serving bowl. 

Add the 6 cups of diced watermelon and all the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine well. Tweak flavors to taste (you may want more onion, lime juice, chile, or salt).

Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but preferably 12 to 24 hours to allow the flavors to fuse and the vibrant red color to develop. Before serving, tweak flavors again (if it’s too spicy, add some lime juice). Pass additional lime juice and salt at the table.

Some of my other favorites from this book are: 
  • Ginger Apple Pear Butter
  • If You're Chilly Grab Some Chili 
  •  Cheerful Chimichurri Bowl
  • Pineapple Vanilla Sangria
Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

gluten-free, vegan roasted tomatoes with spinach pasta

I am a fan of fresh, bright flavors when the spring comes. In winter, I'm all about soups and stews, but just like my sweaters, I need to put them away now.

This pasta has delicious, straight-forward flavors, and it tastes amazing. I know it's simple, but sometimes you don't need a lot of flash for something to be really special. 

You can also use fresh herbs, but I think the dried herbs soften up nicely with the juices from the tomatoes and make a special "sauce." Keep the seeds in the tomatoes, because they contribute to a more tomato-y flavor.
Pasta with Herb Roasted Tomatoes and Spinach
Serves 2
  • Pasta cooked according to package directions (I used rice noodles, but your favorite pasta will work well.)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons if using fresh)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons if using fresh)
  • sprinkling of sea salt
  • fresh-ground pepper to taste
  • Approximately 4 cups of spinach washed and stems removed
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Cut tomatoes in quarters and then cut each quarter in half.
3. Toss tomatoes in half the olive oil.
4. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle herbs over the tomatoes.
5. Bake for 20 minutes.
6. In a small skillet, heat remaining olive oil.  Saute spinach until wilted, stirring constantly.
7. To serve, top prepared noodles with half the spinach and the tomatoes.  Mix it together so the juice from the tomatoes coats the pasta.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Curried Greens photo from 12 Terrific Detox Recipes courtesy of Stephanie Weaver.

We're all busy. I'm not saying anything you don't live with all day long. 

As much as I love looking through a beautiful cookbook filled with endless possibilities ... and I do love that, I am ever so grateful to find the short, but sweet, e-book series Stephanie Weaver has produced. Hopefully, you know Stephanie from her delectable, but healthy, blog Recipe Renovator. If not, you should hop over there right after you finish reading about her e-books! On her website, Stephanie takes favorite dishes and transforms them into a healthier version of themselves. Who couldn't use a little more healthy deliciousness in their lives?

Stephanie has created a really wonderful series of electronic cookbooks. Her series, called 12 Terrific, each features 12 perfect recipes on a central theme. (Though her low-sodium condiments book actually boasts 20 recipes.) Not only that, but each recipe is accompanied by a beautiful photo. 

Some of the titles in the series include:
 I reached out to Stephanie because I wanted to review one of her terrific books for you. I just couldn't pick one, though, because what I really love is all of them! I think you will, too. I figured it was better to just tell you about the series, so you could discover them yourself.

Required Disclosure: I have received some of these e-books from Stephanie Weaver, but the opinions here are my own.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cooking Vegetables with a Sous Vide Supreme, Potato Salad

I have been having a good time trying out my Sous Vide Supreme. After I made the Orange and Cinnamon Butternut Squash, I thought I'd give potatoes a try. 

I am not a fan of traditional potato salad. It's just not my thing.  I do, however, love the idea of creamy, toothsome, potatoes blended with other tasty ingredients. The roasted potato salad in Welcoming Kitchen is one of my favorite bring-along summer dishes.

Potatoes in the Sous Vide Supreme seemed like the ideal way to make potato salad. You don't risk over-boiling the potatoes and ending up with water-logged, mushy bites. I was right! I ended up with potato chunks with just the right texture. Fork tender, but still with a bit of bite. They were a blank canvas on which I could add any flavors I wanted, instead of having to work with the roasted flavor of oven-baked potatoes.

For this potato dish, I kept it simple. I cooked potatoes with red onion, jalapeno peppers and olive oil. Salt and pepper were the only condiments. I served it warm. It was lovely.

For a cold potato salad, I would toss it with a dash of red wine vinegar or a fancy herb vinegar.

This potato salad/dish is one more example of how a Sous Vide Supreme can work beautifully in vegetarian cooking.

Potatoes with Jalapenos and Red Onion
Serves 4-6

  • 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed 1-inch
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, small dice (more seeds = spicier, fewer seeds = milder)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Add all ingredients in cooking bag.
  2. Shake to combine.
  3. Vacuum seal.
  4. Cook in Sous Vide Supreme at 183F for one hour.
  5. If serving cold, put bag in refrigerator.
  6. Toss with a splash of red wine vinegar or herb vinegar before serving, if desired.
 Note: If you do not have a Sous Vide, you can parboil the potato chunks. Then, saute the jalapenos and onion in olive oil until soft, and then add the potatoes until cooked to desired tenderness.

 Required disclosure: I received a Sous Vide Supreme to create 3 recipes. The opinions are my own, and I received no other compensation.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sous Vide vegetarian cooking

Have you heard about the Sous Vide water oven?  Maybe you've seen one on a cooking show, or you know that they are used in some of the finest restaurant kitchens.  The makers of Sous Vide sent me one of their new Sous Vide Supreme water ovens.  This compact appliance is just the right size for home cooks.

The funny thing about getting this cool gadget was other people's reactions. Almost every person I told about it said, "But that's for cooking meat!" I understand that it is a fine method for cooking meat, but obviously, that was not what interested me about it.

The Sous Vide Supreme cooks food that's been vacuum-packed in sub-boiling water. This keeps the color, natural sugars, and vitamins intact while keeping the texture fork-tender without being mushy. This excited me to get cooking with my new water oven.

One of the first foods I tried was butternut squash. I frequently roast it, or bake it and mash it. I wanted to see how the texture would marry with bright flavors. Cooking the squash in my Sous Vide Supreme kept the color vivid, the texture tender, but not mushy, and the flavor with my light seasoning was sunny and warm.

sous vide butternut squash vegetable recipe
Dicing the squash was all the effort required for this dish!

It really was easy to use the Sous Vide Supreme. I peeled and chopped my squash. Then I vacuum sealed it in a food-grade bag. Set the oven to 183 degrees Fahrenheit, and dropped in the bag. An hour later, it was hot and ready to eat. One of the bonuses of this kind of cooking is that you can cook several batches at once, and freeze the packages for later use. As a busy mom, that's pretty appealing.

Despite the reactions I got, I can tell you that the Sous Vide Supreme is a useful tool in vegetarian cooking. 

sous vide vegetarian recipe butternut squash

Sous Vide Butternut Squash
Serves 4

  • 3 cups medium diced butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4  to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  1. Peel and dice butternut squash.
  2. Preheat Sous Vide Supreme to 183F.
  3. Add squash to bag.
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
  5. Shake to distribute.
  6. Vacuum seal the bag.
  7. Cook for 1 hour.
 Required disclosure: I received a Sous Vide Supreme to create 3 recipes. The opinions are my own, and I received no other compensation.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ranch Dressing, food allergy, soyfree, glutenfree, vegan, dairyfree

This has been a winter for the record books where I live. Snow. Freezing Cold. Repeat.

I confess, this has not made me crave salads. It has, in too many instances, crave chocolate and red wine. 

Even I cannot live -- or hope to thrive -- on chocolate and red wine alone.  (Though my Red Wine Chocolate Cake is pretty perfect melding of the two!)

Sometimes a girl needs to eat some vegetables.

How could I bring my desire for comfort food to some fresh greens?

Ranch Dressing! How to make it Welcoming Kitchen-friendly was the question.  I needed to make a ranch dressing that is vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free and that includes soy-free.

You might be asking ... Can you really have a creamy, rich ranch dressing without dairy?
Of course!

I had a jar of Soy-free Vegenaise that the folks from Follow Your Heart wanted me to try. Its cool, creamy deliciousness makes a great vegan mayonnaise alternative. That seemed a good starting point. Mix in some of my favorite creamy ingredient -- non-dairy yogurt -- and I just needed to add some herby goodness.

I added a dollop to a baked potato and mixed in some fresh baby spinach. I loved this lunch so much, I ate it for the next few days.

Vegan, Soy-free Ranch Dressing
Makes slightly more than 1/2 cup


  • 1 6-ounce container plain-flavored coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious brand.)
  • 1/4 cup Soy-free Vegenaise (or other vegan mayonnaise)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill

Combine all ingredients.  
Store in sealed container for up to one week.

Disclosure: I received a jar of Soy-free Vegenaise from Follow Your Heart for review. All opinions are my own. I received no other compensation.

Happy Cooking!

Find more tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

food allergy candy, glutenfree, vegan Valentine candy
It's February. 

February means Valentine's Day. Right?

Grocery stores are filled with big red hearts filled with candy. What can you do if that's not the right treat for your sweet?

Maybe you need something allergen-free.
Maybe you want something more natural.
Maybe you need a vegan or gluten-free treat.

What can you give?

How about Surf Sweets Organic Fruity Hearts?
The Surf Sweets company sent me their gummy heart-shaped candies to review. We loved them. They are tangy sweet, chewy, and super cute.

We all tried them as an early Valentine's treat yesterday. They were a hit. When I was shopping this weekend, I saw nice size bags of them at Whole Foods. 

Allergen-free, gluten-free, vegan Valentine
Vanilla Rice Pudding and Strawberry Parfaits

Want to make your own treats? Here are some ideas:

Surf Sweets sent me Organic Fruity Hearts to try and review, but all opinions are my own.
Happy Cooking!

Find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.