Friday, July 27, 2012

Salad with Quinoa and Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Blueberry Quinoa Salad with Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

When the farmer's market is bursting with gorgeous produce, the question becomes, "What should we get this time?"

Luckily, I had my two sons along this past week to help choose what goodies would make the trip home with us.

We settled on blueberries, corn on the cob, zucchini, melon, tomatoes and kale and a beautiful jar of handmade blueberry spread.

The tough choices start the minute you get home, though.   What to eat first?

After munching on melon, I threw together a salad that didn't feature my salad standbys -- tomatoes, avocado and onion.  Instead, I went for the crunchy and sweet pairing of fresh corn cut right off the cob and super-sweet blueberries.

Where I usually turn to beans to provide some protein in my main-dish salads, this time I went with quinoa and toasted pepitas.

To top it all off, I made a quick dressing that combined blueberry spread and balsamic vinegar to perfection.

Blueberry Quinoa Salad
Makes 2 good-sized salads

Ingredients: (Measurements are approximate.)
Mixed lettuces
3-4 basil leaves, chiffonade (roll the leaves together and thinly slice)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 -1/2 cup blueberries
Corn cut from one cob
3 tablespoons toasted pepitas (heat them for a minute or two in a dry skillet over medium heat)
1 tablespoon all-fruit blueberry spread
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

In a small bowl, whisk together blueberry spread and vinegar.
In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients.
Toss with dressing.

Happy Cooking!

Monday, July 23, 2012

chocolate sweet potato ice cream
Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream (No Churn)

If you spend any time looking at food on the Internet -- or all your time, it seems, if you're me! -- you've seen the 2, 3, or 4 ingredient no churn ice cream made from frozen bananas.  This recipe or a variation is popping up all over blogs and websites, not mention taking over Pinterest! 

My sister made this yesterday, and my kids loved it.  It was creamy and sweet and ice creamy.  

So, what's the problem?

Bananas are the only fruit that I can't stand.  It's not like a little bit of dislike.  It's full-on disdain.  When people say, "Taste this ____, you can't even taste the bananas."  I can.  And I don't like it.  Whatever the ____ is.

However, I was starting to feel left out of a hot new trend.  What could the banana-averse crowd do?  How about sweet potatoes?  They work in my chocolate shake, maybe they could work here, too.

I baked up three sweet potatoes until they were soft through.  Then I removed the skins, sliced them thin and froze them.  

From there it was into the food processor with some sunflower seed butter, cocoa and a little non-dairy milk to thin it out. (I used So Delicious vanilla coconut milk beverage.)  

Evan had two bowls, including dipping strawberries in it, for breakfast.  Casey had a big bowl, and I did, too.  Steve was not as a big a fan.

Although the banana version is probably preferred by many folks, the sweet potato vegan chocolate ice cream  had a great consistency and flavor.  We will definitely make it again.  (Plus in my mind, it's always a bonus if you can start the day with a vegetable.)

I shared this recipe at Gluten-free Fridays, Eat, Make, Grow, Allergy Friendly Friday, Allergy Free Wednesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Four Ingredient Chocolate Ice Cream (with Sweet Potatoes)
Makes 6 servings


3 baked sweet potatoes
3-4 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
2-3 tablespoons cocoa
4-6 tablespoons non-dairy milk beverage


Peel and thinly slice sweet potatoes.
Freeze in a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Once frozen, transfer sweet potato slices in batches to food processor.  Add enough of the nondairy milk (a tablespoon or so per batch) to make the sweet potatoes smooth and ice creamy.
Transfer all sweet potato mixture back to the food processor and add sunflower seed butter and cocoa.  Process until thoroughly combined.  Eat like soft serve immediately or freeze for later.

Suggestion:  Freeze extra portions in muffin papers, then transfer the frozen ice cream "muffins" to a freezer safe container.  Thaw each serving as needed. 

Happy Cooking!

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vegan Stir Fry

The folks at the new food company, Citizen Chef, sent me a sample of one of their new meal kits to try.  Citizen Chef is a San Francisco-based company that makes three different meal kits, available presently in the Bay Area.  

Each of the meal kits contains prepped veggies, a quick-cooking grain (for the GF options, they use parboiled brown rice), and a sauce.  You can either make it the way it is or add a suggested protein.  Each prepared kit makes two to three servings.

I tried the Thai Sesame Stir Fry.  I couldn't make it for my family, because it is manufactured on shared equipment with wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy and shellfish, so it wouldn't be safe for my son.  (This also means that it wouldn't be safe for someone who needs to be gluten-free for celiac or gluten intolerance reasons.)  

My husband and I ate the stir fry with the suggested addition of tofu, since we are vegan, and we eat soy. The directions were easy to follow, and it really did cook in the promised 15 minutes.  It was pretty tasty, too.  It was nice to be able to throw together a convenience food that was healthy.

My conclusion?  I'm glad there are options for folks who are looking to eat healthy, but need to rely on convenience foods (as I do sometimes!), but it isn't a good fit for my food-allergic family.

Would you pay a little extra for convenience?

Happy Cooking!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mango Pineapple (and Carrot) Smoothie - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

I have a confession.

I do not have it all together.  Lately, it's not even close.  

My house has become so disorganized that I have had to resort to a several list system.  (And I'm using the word "system" very loosely here.)  I need to list all the housekeeping chores that I've let slide plus put all the work and blogging and other stuff I need to do on another list.  I have to tell people about the lists to keep myself honest. I find plenty of time to go to the pool, but I haven't been finding any time to dust.  

Why am I telling you this?

Because I think I give a false impression of what's going on around here.  People ask me sometimes how do I keep my job, parent, and write blog posts, articles and work on books.  The real answer is that I frequently get stuff done at the 11th hour.  I also don't get everything done that I should.  It's probably the same where you are.  Some stuff gets done well, some gets done adequately, and some things just aren't getting done.

What does that have to do with a smoothie?  

I'm lucky that one part of my work (writing recipes) necessitates that I make food to feed my kids.  It's a two-for-one!  When it was broiling this past week, my air conditioning broke.  It was really hot in our house.  Luckily, I had some frozen fruit, tossed in a couple of carrots (for veggie goodness), some apple juice for sweetness and non-dairy milk for creaminess.  We drank our breakfast, and I got to take a picture of its orange loveliness and call it work!

I shared this with Allergy-free Wednesday.

Mango Pineapple Smoothie 

Ingredients: (Measurements are approximate.)

1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup frozen mango
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 1 cup apple juice
1 to 2 cups non-dairy milk (depending on desired consistency)


Blend all ingredients until smooth.  (I used my Vitamix Blender high-powered blender.  If you don't have a high-powered blender, first grate the carrots as finely as possible in a food processor or blender.)

Happy Cooking!

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

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Black Bean Cakes
vegan black bean cakes on a bed of greens topped with salsa

Who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when it's hot outside?

Not me.  

However, I still have to provide dinner for my family.  With summer fun (swimming, beach, bicycling, etc.), my boys use up a ton of energy.  So, my quick forays into the kitchen have to yield results that are going to fuel them up.  The black bean burgers that I have featured today on The Balanced Platter, definitely fit the bill.

The recipe is a favorite of mine from my book, Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen and Gluten-free Vegan Recipes.  You can follow the recipe to make burgers, or make them smaller like my friend Sarah does to make appetizer-sized black bean cakes.

Stay cool my friends!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Chocolate Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free, food-allergy friendly) -

Chia seed puddings are all the rage this summer.  

Of course, I had to jump on the bandwagon.  Chia seeds and I have become good friends.  

  • I use chia seeds as an egg replacer in baked goods.
  • I toss a couple tablespoons into my smoothies to make them creamier and more nutritious.
  • I have used them to thicken up fruit syrups.

So, of course, I had to give chia pudding a go.

My pudding combines some of my favorite things:  chocolate (or cocoa to be more exact), coconut milk yogurt, sunflower seed butter and chia seeds.  

That makes this pudding treat enough for dessert, but nutritious enough for breakfast.  Protein rich pudding, that's also dairy-free?  Not too shabby!

Chocolate Chia Pudding (vegan, gluten-free, food-allergy friendly) -

Chocolate Sunflower Seed Butter Chia Pudding
Makes 4 Servings


1 16-ounce container of vanilla flavored coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious.)
2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chia seeds


Blend all ingredients together.
Spoon into glasses.
Refrigerate at least one hour. 
If you want a smoother pudding, use ground chia seeds instead of whole.

Happy Cooking!