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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Win a Clearly Filtered Water Pitcher, $69.95 value



For someone who writes recipes, maybe surprisingly, I use a fair amount of convenience foods. Even though I like to make my own pasta sauce, I almost always have a jar or two of sauce in my pantry. The same goes for refried beans. Life with busy schedules and juggling jobs, means sometimes (often) I need a little help wherever I can find it.

Even though I buy packaged non-dairy milk (and there is an ever-increasing variety available!), I am thrilled that I can always make some healthy, protein-rich hemp milk whenever I need it for a recipe or for my coffee or tea or to add to cereal or oatmeal.

Combine hemp hearts or hemp seeds with water to make your own hemp milk.
Shelled hemp seeds and water combine to make do-it-yourself hemp milk.



Making your own hemp milk could not be easier! All you need are shelled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts, as they are sometimes called) and water. Then you blend them together. That's it. You can add some sweetener like agave or maple syrup and a pinch of salt for taste. You can filter it through a nut bag or coffee-filter-lined strainer for texture. For basic hemp milk, though, all you need is hemp seeds and water. I used hemp milk all the time while I was writing the recipes for Super Seeds. It's packed with nutrition from the hemp seeds -- fiber, protein, iron, magnesium and zinc -- and it's creamy, easy-to-use and delicious. 

Check back for a recipe for Strawberry Hemp Milk (or Pink Milk) in a few days. 

Basic Hemp Milk
Makes approximately 6 cups

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 5 to 6 cups water 
  • Optional: agave, maple syrup, coconut nectar, pinch of salt

Preparation:
  1. Blend all ingredients.
  2. Strain if desired.

If your water has a distinctive taste, though, you are going to want to use filtered water. The folks from ClearlyFiltered sent me a water filter pitcher to try. I really like this pitcher. According to the company, the filter will last for up to 200 gallons, unlike the 26 or 40 gallons that other brands can filter. Their literature also states that ClearlyFiltered can eliminate almost all chlorine, fluoride, lead, mercury, & chromium 6.

I love that you don't have to remember to change the filter all the time. I also love that I can offer one of these pitchers to one lucky reader! The folks at ClearlyFiltered sent me two pitchers. One to try and one to giveaway. This giveaway is only for readers from the United States or Canada, sorry!



a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
I received two ClearlyFiltered water pitchers from the company; one for my consideration and one I am giving away. Any opinions are my own.  

Happy Cooking!
Kim

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.  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Have you ever had a friend who makes you want to be a better version of yourself?

I have a friend like that. My friend Stacy Snyder, the no-BS mama behind the awesome parenting blog, Parent Unplugged, makes me want to be a braver version of myself. When I see her face life head-on, she makes me want to try new things, too. 

On my road to living life more bravely, I participated in a live storytelling event at Martyrs' in Chicago. This is an incredible music club (and I have been to a whole lot of music venues). They book awesome acts, have a great stage and a really cool vibe. 

Kate Hill, one of the owners of Martyrs' is a creative and community-building force. She and a partner, Dee, have put together a new live storytelling monthly event called Louder Than A Mom. They asked me to tell a story, and I took a deep breath, and worked on one that fit the theme of summer camp or summer vacation.

I thought I'd take a break from food and share it with you. 


Happy Cooking!
Kim

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.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Glutenfree, Nutfree Chickpea Hemp Vegan Burgers
These tender burgers don't need many ingredients to taste delicious.


We just got back from a family vacation that involved a 14-hour drive. That equates to a whole lot of not-so-great-for-you food if you're in my family.

After indulging on vacation, and then eating a lot of easy food on the road, I really needed something fresh (but easy, I'm still unpacking!) that I could feed my guys.

These burgers use one of my favorite ingredients, hemp seeds for their nutty flavor, high protein content and lots and lots of nutrients. (They are one of the seeds featured in my new book, SUPER SEEDS.) They get a freshness punch from parsley and rolled oats (gluten-free if you need it) helps hold them together.

I served these tender burgers with a baked potato and some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. You could also wrap them in a lettuce leaf or tortilla or serve them on your favorite bun.

I hope you're enjoying easy-going days and tasty treats this summer!

Chickpea Hemp Vegan Burgers (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free)
Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed or 1 3/4 cups cooked
  • 2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds (or hemp hearts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats or old-fashioned oats (gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
Preparation:
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft, but not brown (a couple of minutes).
  3. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients including sauteed vegetables until blended together. The beans should still have some texture, but there shouldn't be any whole beans left. Don't wipe out skillet.
  4. Reheat skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Form bean mixture into four patties.
  6. Cook on each side until brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side. 
Happy Cooking!
Kim


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, July 25, 2014


Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary





Pigs! Chickens! Goats! Cows!

On our summer trip, my family and I visited the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. While were there, we learned a lot about the hardships faced by farm animals, and we got to meet and pet and play with some pretty amazing characters!

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary



Our tour guide, Scott, taught us a lot about the suffering farm animals face in our modern animal agriculture system. We saw veal crates, hen cages and other artifacts. We learned about the strong bond between mother animals and their babies (did you know that a mother hen can communicate with her chick while its still inside the egg?!), and the relationships among animals. Seeing the hens playing together and the goats hanging out together and the cows nuzzling each other was one of the best parts of the tour.

My favorite part of the experience was interacting with the animals. Right when we got there, we were greeted by two goats who were just hanging out. There were chickens and turkeys walking around. Once the tour started, though, that's when we really got to meet some of the feathered and furry residents of the sanctuary.

Woodstock Animal Sanctuary




It turns out, pigs LOVE to get their bellies rubbed. 




Our trip was full of beautiful and exciting experiences, but both of my boys will tell anyone who asks that visiting Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary was the high point of the vacation. If you find yourself in upstate New York, I strongly urge you to visit. If you want to donate to a good cause, check 'em out for that, too!

Happy Cooking!
Kim


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. 

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

Ingredients:
  • 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

Preparation:
  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!
Kim

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)

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

Preparation:
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!
Kim

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

Ingredients:
  • 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

Preparation:
  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!
Kim

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!
Kim

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 

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

Preparation:
  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!
Kim

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!
Kim

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
Ingredients:
  • 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
Preparation:
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!
Kim

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!
Kim

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