Tuesday, August 31, 2010

While most of the country is back at school, we still have another week, since we don't start until after Labor Day.  I'm glad to have a little extra time.  I'm not quite ready for our really great summer to be over.  I know that fall brings its own joys, but I'm still loving having my guys home with me with days wide open to fill how we choose.

However ... I am starting to think about school days and trying to start each morning off with a nutritional bang.  That brings me to smoothies.  As I've written before, I love how you can quickly put together a breakfast (or anytime) drink that provides a full glass of good stuff.

This summer, we visited our friends at their summer house.  Liz and her two boys could not have been more gracious hosts.  They had a refrigerator full of food that was safe and delicious for my family.  One of the great things that Liz bought was So Delicious Coconut Milk Kefir.  I had been meaning to give it a try, so this was a great opportunity.  We made smoothies with it, and my boys loved it so much they demanded that we buy more as soon as we came home.

This probiotic-rich beverage is a great smoothie ingredient.  Since I always add a little juice (usually apple juice) for some natural sweetness in my smoothies, the yogurt-y taste of the kefir provides a nice balance.

We've made several kinds of smoothies.  For example, we made an easy chocolatey treat with chocolate kefir, banana, and rice milk.  My favorite smoothie of late has been a blend of vanilla kefir, frozen peaches, cherries, and mango with some rice milk and apple juice.

It's nice to know that even if I'm not emotionally ready for summer to end, I'll be ready for school-day breakfasts!

This post was shared as part of Simply Sugar and Gluten-free's Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.  Please check out the other great recipes.

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First, let me say that I'm sorry that I don't have a new photo to go with this post.

I needed to bring a dish to my step-sister's baby shower.  I knew that it was a barbecue and that I wouldn't eat most of the foods that were being offered, so I wanted to bring something that was a little heartier than just chips and salsa or guacamole.  I also know that I'm often fairly disorganized when getting ready to go out on a Saturday afternoon (or really any time!), so I tried to take an easy route.  This disorganization contributed to the lack of a photo :)

I bought a pico de gallo style salsa, some frozen roasted corn and a can of black beans.  I drained and rinsed the beans and tossed them into the salsa and thawed corn.  I brought along a couple of avocados and a lime.   When we got there, I diced up the avocado, added the juice of the lime, and tossed it all together.  

It was beautiful!  Really ... the colors were great, the texture was nice with the soft avocado and the crisp corn, and it tasted wonderful.  We served it with chips, but honestly, I liked it so much I ate some of it just with my fork.  Everyone raved about it.  I must admit that I felt slightly guilty that it was so easy, but I'm definitely bringing this next time I need to bring an appetizer to a party.

I hope you are all enjoying the end of your summer!

We shared this recipe with Food Allergy Friendly Friday and Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love; please check out the other great recipes!

Happy Cooking!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lovely Lemon Snack Cake (vegan, gluten-free, and allergen-free) - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

As a dessert lover, I think it's a shame to keep cake for special occasions only.  I'm a big fan of snack cakes that you cut into squares and enjoy after dinner on any old Tuesday night.  This cake turned out exactly how I was hoping!  It's moist and lemony and has a nice texture.

The folks at Bob's Red Mill sent me samples of their new gluten-free oat flour and gluten-free quick cooking oats.  I used the GF oat flour for this recipe, and it really turned out great.  Is it completely fooling myself to think that I could serve this as a breakfast treat?  It does have whole-grain oat flour, healthy coconut oil, lemon juice and coconut yogurt.  I know ... it's a stretch, but it would be great as a sweet component of a brunch.

This cake tastes great on its own, or you could dress it up a little with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a drizzle of lemon icing.

Lovely Lemon Snack Cake

1 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar (I used vegan cane sugar.)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk yogurt (plain, vanilla or coconut flavor)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon gluten-free vinegar (white or apple cider)

Preheat oven to 350.
Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan with coconut oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together oat flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine applesauce with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Add sugar, lemon juice, yogurt, coconut oil and vanilla to applesauce mixture.  Mix well.
Add dry ingredients to wet, being careful not to overstir.
Add vinegar to batter, stir to incorporate.
Pour batter into greased pan.
Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, and the cake is a golden brown and set.
Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Happy Cooking!

My new book,  Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life)is available for pre-order now. Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Spicy Black Beans and Rice (gluten-free and vegan)

    If you ask my opinion, summer is fantastic!  I love the heat and playing outside and going to the pool.  Last year, our weather was cool pretty much from June through September.  We couldn't do all of the things that you normally associate with sunny days off from school.  This year, we have sunny skies and warm to hot temperatures.  The boys and I are having a blast!

    The down side to summer is that it's a little more challenging for me to come up with a wide range of dinners.  First, you don't really want to heat up your kitchen, and second, we stay outside a lot longer so I don't have as much time to throw something together.

    What's a summer-lovin' gal to do?  Dress up rice and beans, of course.  What do I mean?  How about brown rice and garbanzo beans tossed with fresh pesto made with basil from the garden.  (I have a great recipe in Welcoming Kitchen coming out this spring.)  Add in some artichoke hearts and fresh, gorgeous tomatoes and you have a filling, nutritious dinner that can be made on the stove top in about 45 minutes.

    Another option to try is to saute farm-fresh corn in a little olive oil and garlic, toss in drained, but not rinsed black beans and combine with brown rice.  Top with chopped fresh tomatoes (how can you not put them on everything?) and some avocado.  If you want your rice and beans to have more zing, you can add some chopped fresh jalapeno in with your corn.

    These are just some ideas to get you started.  Really, you can add any produce that looks great at the farmer's market and fresh herbs you have in your window box and have a great dish with very little effort.  

    I shared this recipe with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

    Happy Cooking!