Monday, March 29, 2010

Allergy-Free Easter Treats on WGN's Lunch Break

You heard it here! We have been asked to cook on WGN's Lunch Break this week!!!
Kim is going to be preparing some delicious and simple allergy-free treats this Friday, 
April 2nd in the noon hour! We are really excited to be given this amazing opportunity!  
Kim is brave enough to go on TV without me this time and I am so proud of her!

Be sure to tune in! It is a national viewing so you will be able to see it all 
around the country and not just in the Chicago area!!

Way to go Kim!!

Happy Cooking!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Celebrate the spring Holidays Even with Food Allergies -

Springtime delights me!  My boys and I look for signs of spring every day, and each day we find new ones.  When you live in the frozen Midwest, each new crocus, tree bud or returning bird is really exciting!

The holidays that lots of folks celebrate in the spring can at first seem challenging if you live with food allergies or restrictions.  With a little creative thinking (and a quality recipe or two) you, too, can have your cake and eat it too (both figuratively and literally, pardon the pun!).

If your family celebrates Passover, wheat-free or gluten-free matzo can seem like the first challenge you must surmount.  No worries!  There are plenty of gluten-free options for your family.

If your family celebrates Easter, you need a safe alternative to Easter eggs.  Our family leaves out baskets filled with empty plastic eggs (they're reusable year after year) that the Easter bunny fills and hides.  He fills them with stickers, tattoos, little toys and chalk or markers.  The kids find the baskets filled with books, small toys and sometimes an Enjoy Life candy bar or other safe candy.

Since dyeing eggs isn't an option in our home (for oh-so-many reasons -- allergies, veganism, etc.), we make all sorts of spring-time decorations.  We might decorate paper eggs with stickers and markers, or we might draw nests with robin's eggs.  We also will probably start some seeds that we can plant outside once we're sure that it's not going to frost again.  We focus on the spring/renewal aspects of our celebrations.  When we do that  we see that there is so much we can do to relish this exciting season.

But, seriously, what's a celebration without great things to eat?  We'll make our own candy (like the sunflower seed butter cups and pepita cups posted earlier), and we'll have a holiday brunch with Brunch Hash and Crispy Apple Crisp.  Here are some other great vegan, gluten-free, and food allergy-friendly treats.

However you celebrate the season, we wish you a glorious spring!

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Gazing into my crystal ball, I see a future filled with ripe, luscious fruits.  That future has a name ... SUMMER!  OK, I know that summer is still a ways off, but I thought I'd whip up a fruity dessert using frozen fruit just to keep my skills up.  (Or maybe it was just that we wanted a sweet/tart, smooth/crunchy, warm/cold taste sensation.)  Luckily, we have a wide range of organic fruit available in our grocery store.  Adding peaches in with the berries really added a nice textural element.
Mixed Fruit Cobbler (vegan, gluten-free, food allergy friendly) -

Mixed Fruit Cobbler
Serves 8

1 cup gluten-free oat flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons soy-free non-hydrogenated vegan buttery spread (like soy-free Earth Balance) 
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar, divided
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
6 1/2 cups fruit (peaches, blackberries and blueberries, combined)
2 tablespoons tapioca starch

Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, combine oat flour, brown rice flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Whisk together well and set aside.
Beat buttery spread and 3/4 cup turbinado sugar.
Add rice milk and vanilla, blend well.
Add flour mixture, blend well.
Set batter aside.
In large baking dish, combine fruit with 1/4 cup turbinado sugar and tapioca starch.
Drop batter by the spoonful over fruit mixture.
Sprinkle batter with 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar.
Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until fruit is bubbly and cake batter is cooked through.
Top with vanilla non-dairy ice cream.

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

After a week or so of battling a stomach bug, my family is finally on the mend.  To celebrate, I wanted to whip up something tasty (not that ginger ale isn't delicious, but ...), but easy.  This two-potato soup couldn't be easier.

An added bonus... both of my boys devoured it without even a word of complaint!

Whip this up for one of your last soups of the season.

Two-potato Soup - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Two-Potato Soup
 Serves 8

5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
10 Yukon Gold potatoes
3 vegan gluten-free bullion cubes
fresh-ground pepper to taste
Splash of rice milk

Cut potatoes into chunks.
Add to a large stock pot with bullion and pepper.
Add water to cover potatoes.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender, approximately 30 minutes.
Once potatoes are tender, transfer to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pot), and blend until smooth.
Add rice milk until desired consistency.

If you refrigerate unused portions, thin with a little more rice milk before reheating.

Happy Cooking

p.s.  Now that we're back on our feet, I'll get back to my chia trials.  I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Here's a sneak peak of a fantastic recipe from our upcoming Welcoming Kitchen book due out next spring.  This recipe is a great example of Welcoming Kitchen cooking ... Even when you are living with dietary restrictions, you can still enjoy delicious treats!
I'm going to make these easy, yummy candies during  the mid-day news on WGN-TV (Chicago) as part of their Lunch Break series on April 2.  

(Note:  Since some commercially available sunflower seed butter is made on shared equipment with soy, you can make your own if you need to by grinding lightly toasted sunflower seeds in a food processor.  Add a little canola oil if you need a smoother consistency.)

We shared this recipe as part of the 2012 Valentine's Day Bake-off over at Fork and Beans!

Chocolate-Sunflower Seed Butter Cups

Makes 24

1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter

Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners.
In a food processor, combine rice cereal and sunflower seed butter.  Blend together until cereal is completely broken down.
In a small saucepan, heat chocolate chips over medium heat, stirring continuously, until chocolate is half-way melted. 
Remove from heat and continue stirring until completely melted.
Spread 1 1/2 teaspoons melted chocolate into each muffin paper.
Top chocolate with 1 teaspoon sunflower seed butter mixture.
Top each candy with 1 1/2 teaspoons melted chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
Keep candies in the refrigerator before serving, as the chocolate will begin to melt in a warmer room.

Happy Cooking!

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