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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Gluten-free Vegan Sunflower Pate & Book Review

As I've said before, one of the fun parts of writing this blog is being introduced to new products and people. 

Recently, I was fortunate to be offered an opportunity to read the new novel, Off the Reservation by Glen Merzer. Off the Reservation is the first book from a new publishing house, Vivid Thoughts Press.

This novel tells the story of a Congressman, Evan Gorgoni, who decides to run for President. They asked me to review it, because Gorgoni is a vegan, and vegan themes run through the book. There are also 20 recipes in the back of the book that Glen's wife, Joanna Samorow-Merzer created. The recipes reflect meals that the Congressman and/or his family enjoy throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this book. I'm a lover of fiction. I like to be swept away by a story, and Off the Reservation really brought me into this crazy presidential campaign. I loved how Congressman Gorgoni tried to run an honest campaign, talking about the challenges facing our country as he sees them without throwing out a lot of fake promises and platitudes.

I read this around the holidays, and this book was just what I needed -- a little escape from all the to-do list activities that come around then.

The publisher is generously sharing one of the delicious-sounding vegan recipes from the book with us.

Sunflower Pate (recipe by Joanna Samorow-Merzer as featured in Off the Reservation).
vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free
Serves 10 as appetizer

  • 1 medium-to-large raw yellow-skin potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped 
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

In the food processor, chop the sunflower seeds coarsely. Add the remaining ingredients and process into a smooth consistency. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper (to avoid use of oil). Pour in the mixture and bake uncovered for 1 hour or until golden brown. Let cool to thicken before cutting into slices and serving. 

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.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili from Super Seeds - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

My new year started out with a bang! I was fortunate to get to share some healthy cooking with WGN TV on New Year's Day.  I made Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili from Super Seeds. This recipe is truly one of my favorites. It's quick to come together, it's nutritious, and it's really delicious. In case you didn't get to see it, I'm sharing the recipe here, too. Also, here's a link to my segment.

Super Seeds by Kim Lutz

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili from Super Seeds- Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili (from Super Seeds: The Complete Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Chia, Quinoa, Flax, Hemp & Amaranth)

Makes 6 Servings


1 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium onions, cut into medium dice (approximately 3 cups)

3 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, ribs and seeds removed, minced

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into medium dice

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (3 cups)

1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 ¾ cups cooked black beans)

1 cup prepared quinoa


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, and sweet potato. Saute approximately 5 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until heated through. 

    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, December 30, 2014

Vegan, Gluten-free Recipes for New Year
Cucumber Chickpea Salad

I have really done it up this holiday season. Lots of treats, plenty of cocktails and very little self-control.

Should I keep the party going in the new year?

Should I craft a list of foods/ingredients that are now permanently off my menu?

Or might there be a third way?

Vegan, Gluten-free Recipes for New Year
Slow Cooker Vegan Soup

I don't do very well with the absolutes of resolutions. I might be able to cut sweets with refined sugar out for a month (a pretty good goal for this sugar-loving lady), but I think I'd rather approach the new year from a positive perspective, rather than a negative.

Vegan, Gluten-free Recipes for New Year
Blueberry Coffee Cake from Super Seeds

  • I will eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. 
  • I will include my little friends, the super seeds (quinoa, flax, hemp, amaranth and chia) into my diet on a regular basis. 
  • I will look to naturally sweet fruit to enliven my desserts (which I need to have!) and fragrant herbal teas to provide my afternoons with a treat.
Vegan, Gluten-free Recipes for New Year
Cocoa Dusted Pepitas

What will you do to ensure that you are eating healthfully in 2015? 

Shared with What's Cooking Wednesdays!

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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seeds are Super, Chicagoan’s cookbook shows


Hemp Seed Hummus

Hemp seeds stand in for tahini in a party-pleasing hummus. | Reprinted with permission from Super Seeds © 2014 by Kim Lutz, Sterling Publishing Co.  Photography by Bill Milne

We often hear that seeds are packed with nutrients. We want to include them in our diets, and often wonder what to use where.

Well, Chicagoan Kim Lutz provides a wealth of answers in her cookbook “Super Seeds” (Sterling Publishing, $14.95).

Head Shot Kim Lutz

Lutz’s name may sound familiar. She is the Kim behind Kim’s Welcoming Kitchen, a site popular for its allergy-free, gluten-free, and vegan recipes.

She starts with a quick primer on the good points of each of the seeds — chia, quinoa, flax, hemp and amaranth . For instance, did you know the vitamins in them all can contribute to shiny hair and good skin?

Because they are natural pairs, Lutz includes in her more than 75 recipes several for salads and smoothies that include them. But then she includes chilis, patties, soups and desserts where the seeds share the spotlight.

There are things you don’t often see, such as heating up a taco-flavored stuffed avocado. That intrigues me.

Super Seeds Cover

She also includes other recipes that can be used with the seeds, such as a DIY spice mix for taco flavoring (instead of those in the package) and a recipe for a richer broth that doesn’t rely on cream.

Throughout the book she sprinkles in little facts about seeds and other ingredients as well as tips about usage. There are a lot of solid tips for people wanting to embrace seeds in their diets in ways I hadn’t particularly considered.  (I liked her easy method for making flour.)

It’s party time, so I thought Lutz’s recipe for a hummus that uses hemp seeds instead of tahini would be a good choice. Those of you with sesame seed allergies will appreciate her take on hummus. And for those of you who don’t, just serve this without blabbing about the ingredient switchup. Your guests will find a fresh and intriguing dip.


Hemp seeds do double duty in this recipe. First, they take the place of the traditional ingredient in hummus, tahini (some people are allergic to sesame seeds). Second, they bring crucial phytonutrients, including zinc and magnesium, to this tasty, satisfyingly textured dip. It makes a great snack, served with crudites
such as baby carrots, cucumber slices, celery sticks, and strips of crunchy bell peppers. In addition to making superb sandwiches, hummus is also a salad’s
best friend. Try adding a healthy dollop on top of your green salad and you
will have a flavorful, filling meal.

1¾ cups cooked garbanzo beans (or one 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed)
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Reprinted with permission from Super Seeds © 2014 by Kim Lutz, Sterling Publishing Co.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Coffee Blend, and Easy DIY Gift
Dress your homemade coffee blend in a pretty bow with a spoon for a hostess gift!

I like to think of myself as pretty crafty. I enjoy making gifts for family, friends and neighbors during the holidays. There is nothing I like better, though, than a quick-to-come-together gift that everyone loves.

My friend, Karen, is a star at the holidays, because she puts together a coffee blend that everyone looks forward to. Holiday Spice Coffee is a great gift to have on hand, because it takes only minutes to stir up. Put it in some coffee bags, tie it with a big bow, and attach a tablespoon, and you have a gift that will thrill every coffee drinker on your list!

Holiday Coffee Blend, and Easy DIY Gift
You probably will want to keep a bag for yourself, too!

Holiday Spice Coffee

These are the proportions for a pot of coffee.  Make as much as you want to gift, but keep these proportions.


  • 10 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick (Ground cinnamon will clog your pot.)

  1. Mix all ingredients together, and bag up in a sealed coffee bag.
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, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!  

We continued our new tradition (started last year) of "adopting" a turkey from Farm Sanctuary. This is a picture of Gable, the turkey my boys chose to support at this fantastic farmed animal rescue.

Wishing you and yours a love-filled holiday season!

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.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wow! I can't believe how exciting this past month has been. 

The launch of Super Seeds has been filled with joyful moments. I am thrilled that my friends have shared my recipes with their readers, and I want to be sure that you get a full sampling of all that Super Seeds has to offer! 

I wrote Super Seeds so everyone would have the ability to easily up the nutrition in delicious foods just by incorporating these little power-packed ingredients. Flax, chia, hemp, quinoa and amaranth are seeds that add flavor, texture, protein, fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals to everything from soup to dessert! Want to get started? Check out these recipes from Super Seeds

Want to cook more up at home? Enter below to win your own copy of Super Seeds plus a four pound package of Gerbs Raw Super 5 Seed Mix (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds). Gerbs is a fabulous resource for anyone who is looking for healthy seeds, but especially for food allergic customers, because everything they sell is free of the top-8 allergens.

Golden Corn Soup - Super Seeds
Go Dairy Free featured Golden Corn Soup

Pesto Veggie Burgers - Super Seeds
Cooking Quinoa Featured Pesto Veggie Burgers

Blueberry Coffee Cake - Super Seeds

Lemon Basil Quinoa - Super Seeds
Healthy Blender Recipes Featured Lemon Basil Quinoa

Mama Balance Featured Massaged Kale Salad

Hemp Seed Hummus - Super Seeds
Recipe Renovator Featured Hemp Seed Hummus

Granola Cookies - Super Seeds
Go Dairy Free Featured Granola Cookies

Quinoa Lentil Soup - Super Seeds
Photo by Ricki Heller

Enter to win a copy of Super Seeds plus a 4-pound package of Gerbs Super 5 Seed Mix.  (Open to US residents only, sorry!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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, November 17, 2014

 It's that time of year! What can you serve at your Thanksgiving table that will be safe for everyone and taste delicious? Welcoming Kitchen and Super Seeds are both loaded with recipes that will delight your guests.

Here are some good choices from the blog to consider for your welcoming holiday feast.

For appetizer, how about a light dip, like:

Artichoke Lemon Bean Dip or Quick and Creamy Veggie Dip?

Vegan and Glutenfree Thanksgiving Menu

I don't like to fill up too much before the main meal, so a light dip and veggies is the perfect munchy while we're getting started.

For the main event, we like a hearty entree and great sides.

Here are some ideas for your Thanksgiving table:

Mushroom Tartlets with Socca Crust fill the heart of your plate.

Vegan and Glutenfree Thanksgiving Menu
Mushroom Tartlet with a Gluten-free Socca Crust

Vegan and Glutenfree Thanksgiving Menu
Apple, Pear and Cranberry Sauce

 Add some, 

Vegan and Glutenfree Thanksgiving Ideas
Cranberry Clementine Mini Muffins

Finish up with,
To add to the festivities, why not offer a fun beverage?

A pretty, non-alcoholic option is Apple Pomegranate Cider.

For your guests who drink alcohol, I am loving LEAF Vodka. The company sent me two bottles to try: one made with Alaskan Glacial Water and one made with Rocky Mountain Mineral Water. We have had a lot of family parties recently, so there were many tasters of this vodka, and all the vodka drinkers really liked them both.

LEAF sent along a recipe for a holiday-perfect beverage, The Falling Leaf created by Mixologist Juyoung Kang. It's super yummy for this time of year.

Vegan and Glutenfree Thanksgiving Menu

The Falling LEAF

  • 1.5oz LEAF Vodka made with Rocky Mountain Mineral Water
  • 1oz Lime juice
  • 0.5oz Grapefruit juice
  • 1oz Hibiscus syrup (1:1 Hibiscus and simple syrup)
  • Pinch of ground clove
  • Topped off ginger beer 

  1. Put in mixing tin all the ingredients sans ginger beer, add ice and shake vigorously
  2. Strain into a Collins glass, top off with ginger beer, garnish and serve.

Required FTC Disclosure: Global Spirits sent me two bottles of LEAF Vodka to review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are my own.

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.