Saturday, February 25, 2012


Back in the day ... before I was married and had kids, my girlfriends and I would go out for weekend brunch.  With nowhere in particular to be, we could wait in line for a table at our favorite restaurant, linger over coffee and gobble up delicious comfort food while reliving the highlights of the night before.

Wow!  Times have changed.  I don't have hours on end to spend gossiping with my buddies, while we decide what fun adventure to undertake next.

I still love comfort food, though.  One of my favorite Southern brunch dishes was cheese grits.  I have made them a few time since my single days, but not too often.  A chef friend dropped off a box of amaranth the other day with a note: "Try this!  It's a super food!" 

I had not cooked with amaranth before, though I've been thinking about it since it's a gluten-free "grain" (like quinoa, not a true grain, but similar to cook), and it's loaded with nutrition.  My gift got me thinking.  What would I like to make first?

Nutritious cheesy grits!

Using amaranth resulted in a creamy, yet textured dish that I loved.  I actually ate the whole pot myself, only allowing my guys to taste it!  Whether you avoid corn or are looking for a way to provide a little more protein in a side dish, this amaranth grits alternative will please you, I think.

We shared this with Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love and  Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

How have you used amaranth?

Cheesy Amaranth
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk)
dash of salt
1 cup of amaranth, rinsed
1/2 cup vegan cheddar-flavor cheese alternative (I used Daiya cheddar shreds.)

Preparation:
Bring non-dairy milk and salt to a boil.
Add rinsed amaranth, stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add cheese and stir until it's thoroughly melted.

Happy Cooking!
Kim

Monday, February 20, 2012

Looking for a fun night ... in?




VegNews online is featuring a menu I put together for a game night get-together.  

What could be better than friends, food and a sweet dessert?

For dinner, I created a Green and White Chili with the tangy kick of tequila, lime zest and tomatillos.  Like everything here at Welcoming Kitchen, of course it's allergen-free, gluten-free and vegan!  Serve the chili over baked sweet potatoes and garnished with cilantro for a filling, colorful meal.

Finish your meal up with sundaes topped with a salty/sweet pear caramel sauce made with coconut milk and healthy coconut oil. Yum!

We shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
We also shared it with Allergy Friendly Fridays and Wellness Weekend.

Monday, February 6, 2012

 Oh, love!  Oh, Valentine's Day!  Oh, Treats and Sweets!

I welcome any opportunity to celebrate, and getting to celebrate the ones I love?  Woo-hoo!


Even, I, though, get that if you're going to go all out for the heart-y holiday, some of your treats should be not too sugary.


For my sweet treats, I'll be making Rolling Pin Sugar Cookies and Strawberry Chocolate Chunk Mini Muffins.  I might even make a candy or two!

Refined Sugar Free Rice Pudding
Date-Sweetened Vanilla Rice Pudding and Strawberry Parfaits



To start the day off, though, I'll be cooking up this dessert for breakfast that's got some goodness to it.  It's pretty, it's creamy, and it's sweetened only with dates and a little agave nectar.  This might even edge out some of my old favorites!

I am a fan of rice puddings.  In fact, one of my favorite recipes from Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes is the Coconut Rice Pudding.  It's naturally allergen-free, and it is so versatile. 

We shared this recipe with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays , Allergy Friendly Fridays , Wellness WeekendAllergy-Friendly Lunchbox Love, and Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Vanilla Rice Pudding and Strawberry Parfaits

Makes 3-4 parfaits (depending on the size of your glass)
For the Rice Pudding

Ingredients:

2 cups nondairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage)
1/2 cup date paste (medjool dates soaked in boiling water, and pureed with enough of the soaking water to make a paste)
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup arborio rice, rinsed

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325.
In a medium saucepan, bring nondairy milk, date paste, vanilla and salt to a boil.
Stir in rice, cover and move to oven.
Bake covered for one hour.

For the Strawberry Sauce
(Note: If you want a sauce with a thinner consistency, use more water; if you want it to be more like chunky fruit, use a little less.)

Ingredients:

20-24 strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon agave nectar

Preparation:

Bring ingredients to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 1/2 hour or until the strawberries are easily broken up with the back of a spoon.
Chill.

To assemble the parfaits:
Starting with strawberry sauce, alternate layers of sauce and pudding in a clear glass.

Happy Cooking! (and Happy Valentine's Day!)
Kim

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

If you like this blog, would you please vote for Welcoming Kitchen as a top Vegan/Vegetarian Mom Blog over at Circle of Moms?   

We linked this post to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert and Dogs.

It's February, and even if you're experiencing strangely warm weather as we are here in the Midwest, this time of year calls out for comfort food.  

I had this desire for warm-the-soul food in mind when I was writing my post for The Balanced Platter this month. Could there be a way to make a tasty, versatile vegetarian meatball that is not only vegan, but also soy-free and gluten-free?


Oh yes!  This veggie meatball tastes great on its own, but really shines when you pair it up with a favorite sauce or gravy. 

Want to learn how to make it?  Check out my post with the recipe at The Balanced Platter.  While you're there, enter to win a terrific baking package prize!

Happy Cooking!
Kim