Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vegan Crispy Snack
Today when I was running with my dog, I fell and hurt my thumb.  It's pretty sore, so please forgive me if this post is pretty brief.

I have been working on relatively healthy snacks this week.  I've worked on a black bean brownie (not there yet) and a couple of other toss-in-the-lunchbox snacks.

The one that worked best was influenced by Energy Bites from Smashed Peas and Carrots.  That recipe on its own is a good one (though I prefer a vegan sweetener).  Of course, I kept playing around with it, and this is the tasty result of that kitchen fun.

Getting back to my thumb, I was really hurting today, so my fantastic sons, Casey and Evan, made the treats today.  We hope you like them as much as we do.

We shared this recipe with the new blog hop event, Allergy-free Wednesdays, hosted by our good friend, Tessa the Domestic Diva.  Please hop over to check out lots of good recipes and to be introduced to Tessa, a blogger I think you'll love!

Crispy Treats
Makes 2 dozen

1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (GF)
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
1/3 cup date paste (medjool dates pureed with water, or soaked in hot water, then pureed)
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup allergen-free chocolate chips (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.
Chill for at least 20 minutes.
Form into balls, an inch to an inch-and-a-half across.
Store in a container in the refrigerator.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

 This is a two-part post.  First, something serious, then a fun payoff.

Have you seen the new video by Robert Kenner, the filmmaker of Food, Inc.?  He made a film highlighting the issues surrounding the movement to label genetically engineered food.  If you haven't seen it yet, here it is.  If you want to learn what you can do, visit Just Label It.

Now, the fun part ...

Our beloved Bears are not doing anything this post-season, but that doesn't mean that there's not lots of football fun to be had in the next few weeks.  (Of course, it will be much more fun next year when it's the Bears going all the way!)

Back in the fall, I created a menu for a Game Day Party for VegNews' website, and they did an interview with me about tips to make your Game Day spread a welcoming one.

If you're looking for ideas of what to serve at your party this year, give some of these recipes a try.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's been a busy time for Welcoming Kitchen!  So many good things are going on.

I'd like to let you know about some stuff that's happening (in no particular order).

1) We got a great review in the informative magazine, Living Without's March issue.  The issue is jam packed with information and recipes, too!

2) The Vegetarian Resource Group gave us a wonderful review in their magazine, Vegetarian Journal.

3) I started as a regular contributor to The Balanced Platter, the new cover-all-the-bases website for people who are living gluten-free.

4) I started working on my first post as a regular contributor to VegNews' website.  My first post will go up in February and will feature new recipes for a board-game party menu.

Now, for the giveaways!

I am so excited that Welcoming Kitchen was adopted by Sea Maiden, the author of the dynamite site, The Book of Yum, for her Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event.  She reviewed the Welcoming Kitchen book and site, and she is giving away a copy of Welcoming Kitchen to a lucky reader.  Please stop over to The Book of Yum and leave Sea a comment for a chance to win a copy of our book!

Our friend, Elizabeth Pantley, author of the No-Cry parenting series is hosting another giveaway, too.  You can enter until January 31, 2012 for a chance to win a complete set of the No-Cry books, including the new book, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution and a whole set of the cookbooks featured in that book, including Welcoming Kitchen.

I've also got a long list of recipes I'm working on, so we should have good stuff going on all over the place!

Thank you for all of your support.  I hope that it is a good year for all of us!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I got another Christmas gift yesterday.  Well .... kind of.

Every year, I end up making too much food for the holidays.  Doesn't everyone?

I have an open house on Christmas Eve where I serve a casual menu of appetizers, cookies, and chili.  I always make a lot of chili (my crockpot was almost overflowing!), so that I have some leftover.

On Christmas morning, my sister and her family along with my parents and mother-in-law all come around for presents and muffins and fruit. I was in charge of the fruit this year, and I made a too-big fruit salad.

Lucky for me, I froze the extra fruit and chili -- not together, of course--for a later date.

That later date was yesterday.

First the fruit.  I had frozen pineapple, pear and apple chunks along with kiwi slices.  I blended up some kale and apple juice, tossed in the frozen fruit and added some rice milk.  We had a lovely green smoothie for breakfast that everyone slurped up.

Next, the chili.  I re-invisioned the cheeseburger pie of my childhood.  (Clearly, I ate quite a bit differently then.)  I topped a veggie-infused polenta with chili and cheddar-flavored Daiya vegan cheese shreds and ended up with a new dinner favorite.  We served it with slices of avocado, and you could add some plain-flavored coconut yogurt to really jazz it up.  It made for a yummy, homey one-dish supper.

I used the soup base that I wrote about on The Balanced Platter last week as the cooking medium for the polenta, but you could use broth or water or rice milk instead if you don't have any handy.

Now, the only thing I have left in my freezer from the holidays is a small container of cookies that I can toss into a lunchbox or use as an after-dinner sweet for the boys.

Chili Polenta Pie
Makes 4 servings

3 cups soup base (or broth, water or rice milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups prepared chili (I used the chili recipe from Welcoming Kitchen, of course!)
1 cup cheddar-flavored Daiya vegan cheese shreds (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.
Lightly oil a deep-dish pie plate (You could probably get it all to fit in a regular pie plate, but I used a deep dish one.)
Bring the soup base, olive oil and salt and pepper to a boil.
Slowly whisk in cornmeal, and reduce heat to low.
Whisk regularly, though not constantly, until polenta has thickened up so that it will only slowly return to the side of the pan when you scrape it into the middle, about 20 minutes.
Spread prepared polenta into pie plate.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Spread chili over polenta crust and top with cheese.
Bake for another 20 minutes.

Happy Cooking!

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