Thursday, November 18, 2010

I love cranberry sauce.  I adore the chunky, homemade tart/sweet ruby-red cranberry sauce that's bubbling in saucepans all over America in November (not so much the jellied, in-the-can variety).  I usually make it with diced oranges and orange juice, but this time I wanted to make something a little different.  This time, I diced up a pear and a couple of apples and cooked them up with my cranberries in some apple cider and spices.

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Sauce - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

The next question...what to use for a sweetener?  In a world of alternative sweeteners, I'm still drawn to the simplicity of evaporated cane juice.  Don't get me wrong, I have found room in my heart and stomach for maple syrup, fruit juice and juice concentrates, and agave nectar.  My cabinets and recipes are rich with turbinado sugar and molasses, but this week I bought my first package of coconut palm sugar.

Coconut palm sugar, the nectar of the coconut palm blossom, is all the rage in certain healthier eating circles.  I wanted to give it a try.  It's lovely.  It has a rich flavor, and so far, is easy to work with.  I bought a package of granulated coconut palm sugar, but it can come in a paste or a block that you grate yourself, too, I think.  I baked with it, and it held up great.  I wanted to cook with it, too, so I came up with this chunky cranberry sauce.  It tasted super-Thanksgiving-y.  If you don't have any coconut palm sugar, you can use evaporated cane juice or other sugar in its place.

We shared this recipe as part of Gluten-free Friday, Wellness Weekend and  Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays; please check out the other yummy entries.

Apple, Pear and Cranberry Sauce - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Apple, Pear, and Cranberry Sauce

1 1/2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup diced apples
1 cup diced pears
3 cups fresh cranberries (1 12-ounce package)

In a medium saucepan, heat apple cider over medium flame.
Add coconut palm sugar and spices, stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Add fruit, cook at a high simmer; the cranberries will pop after a few minutes.
Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sauce will thicken as it cools.

Happy Cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!

My new book,  Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Family time's good, but sometimes I just need to have a little one-on-one time with my guys.   We like to go on dates.  Today, school was on a break, and Casey and I planned a little date.  He got some gift cards for Barnes and Noble for his birthday, and they were burning a hole in his pocket.

Casey picked out his purchases pretty quickly, so we had time to stop by the Starbuck's for a drink.  When your kid's got food allergies, it's often easiest to have a juice or something when you're out, rather than worry about food.  Not today!

What did we see when we were paying for our books and drinks?  Lucy's cookies.  I asked Casey if he wanted some cookies, and he looked at me strangely.  (Pretty much saying, "Are you crazy?" with his eyes.)  I asked him again, and he said yes.

When we got to the table, he scrutinized the package.  Not only are they gluten-free, but important for Casey, these crunchy, yummy cookies are peanut-, tree nut-, dairy- and egg-free.  The package is so well labeled that it might have said, "Cookies for Casey" on the label.

His smile while he was munching on cookies and reading his books was not only the highlight of the date, but possibly of the week.

Thank you, Lucy's, for making yummy cookies that my boy could enjoy, and thank you Starbuck's for carrying them.  It is such a gift for us to have this kind of normal experience.  While others might take having a snack at a cafe for granted, we sure don't. 

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Since Casey was diagnosed with food allergies and asthma over seven years ago, we have had plenty of ups and downs.  This week, we struggled with scary asthma and the roller coaster that prednisone brings to a little body.  On the up side, as has happened so many times over the past several years, there was a huge outpouring of concern and love for our boy.  It is amazingly heart warming to know that we are surrounded by people who want to help make Casey's life better.  I want to provide that support to others when I can.

Today, a mom called me to talk about our recipes, her son's allergies, and a great cause.  I am so happy to have the opportunity to help spread the word about the R.F.E.D. Foundation fundraiser coming up in Chicago this next Sunday.  Although most people think about anaphylactic allergies, there are other kinds of allergies.  The R.F.E.D. Foundation seeks to promote research and provide support for families living with eosinophilic conditions.  In the case of the mom who called me, her son has swelling of the esophagus when he is exposed to his food allergies.

If you would like more information about the R.F.E.D. Foundation or their upcoming event, visit their site at

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan