Monday, September 24, 2012

Gluten-free, Vegan Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Parfait
Vegan, Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Parfait

Certain flavors gleefully shout out, "Fall is here!"

Pumpkin and cinnamon definitely top that list for me.  I am not satisfied limiting this taste combination to Thanksgiving pumpkin pie (from Welcoming Kitchen, of course).  This autumn, we will indulge in Autumn Pumpkin Muffins from the Welcoming Kitchen cookbook and slather No-Cook Pumpkin Butter on all sorts of goodies.  We also will enjoy Pumpkin Pear Crisp and Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, but I needed one more way to bring these flavors into my breakfast routine.

Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Parfaits were quick to put together and eaten up even more swiftly this morning.  My family felt they got to have a treat to start their day, but I knew that it was full of goodness -- non-dairy yogurt, applesauce for sweetness, pumpkin and hemp hearts.


I shared this recipe with Eat, Make GrowWellness Weekend, Allergy-Free WednesdaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Parfaits
Makes 3-4 parfaits (depending on glass size)

2 cups vanilla non-dairy yogurt (coconut yogurt is a nice soy-free option)
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (canned is fine, but not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds)

In a blender, combine all ingredients, but hemp hearts.
In a dry skillet, lightly toast hemp hearts over medium flame until fragrant, about a minute or two.
In glasses, layer yogurt and hemp hearts, starting and ending with yogurt.

Happy Cooking!

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

gluten-free vegan red wine chocolate cake
Gluten-free, Vegan Red Wine Chocolate Cake

I live in Chicago, and we are in the middle of a teachers' strike.  Since my husband is a teacher, and my sister --with whom I share a building-- is a teacher, and I have two school-aged children, this is a stressful time for us.  

I am so very proud of my husband, sister, and all of the wonderful teachers who live and work in Chicago.  My kids and I are out on the picket line supporting the teachers who make our neighborhood school one of the best in the state.  With that said, though, I have been enjoying a not-so-healthy, but somewhat comforting diet, that highlights chocolate cake and red wine.

My good friend said, you should make your red wine cake!  It combines them both in one dish!  Oh yeah ... good idea!

I first wrote about this cake for the amazing website that celebrates all things vegan and gluten-free.  I thought it was definitely time to bring it to my own site.  In addition to providing a little comfort to a stressed-out mama, it makes a lovely dinner party dessert!  

If you are interested in some information about the strike and what's at stake, this article is really helpful.

I shared this post with Gluten-free Friday, Allergy-free WednesdaySlightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Totally Talented Tuesdays.

Chocolate Red Wine Cake Inspired by Smitten Kitchen
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin is good, but not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, divided
  • 6 tablespoons soy-free Earth Balance
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegan white sugar
  • ¾ cup vegan red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used King Arthur brand.)
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon all-spice
  • extra Earth Balance and cocoa to prepare the pan
  • powdered sugar and cinnamon to dust on top
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Prepare pan by greasing with Earth Balance and dusting with cocoa. Shake out extra cocoa powder. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine pumpkin and ½ teaspoon baking powder.
  4. Add Earth Balance and sugars, and cream together.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, mix until thoroughly combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top might still look pretty moist.
  8. Cool in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes, then out of pan until thoroughly cool.
  9. Dust cake with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Happy Cooking!

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

Friday, September 7, 2012

Being a blogger has definitely introduced me to some new products and experiences that I wouldn't have had access to otherwise.  Last night, I got to attend a preview of a new movie, thanks to my friends at Circle of Moms.  Not only did they invite me and a friend to see the new movie, Won't Back Down, before it's in theaters, but they gave me a gift card to help offset the costs associated with a night out.

I normally pass up any opportunity that does not fit within the scope of what I regularly write about, so I was unsure about taking them up on their offer.  I watched the preview, though, and saw that the theme of the movie fits in with what I do, so I went.  

Like so many food-allergy moms, I became a fierce mama bear when my son was diagnosed with this dangerous health condition.  I immersed myself in learning all that I could, both about food allergies and also about what I could do to make his life easier. To make his life better.  I have fought the school bureaucracy to ensure his safety, and I have worked with friends and coaches and teachers to educate them and enlist their aid in keeping him healthy and included.

The story of the movie, Won't Back Down, is the story of two moms who become fierce advocates for their children's welfare, too.  Their challenge is a different one than the one I face, but their zeal in protecting their children hit home.  When confronted with a failing school, these moms do everything they can to improve their children's lives.  Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis play the women who lead the effort to "take over" their school.  Not surprisingly, they were both wonderful.

I was saddened, however, at how simplistic the movie made the extremely complicated issue of schools that don't meet expectations.  The movie has a very black-and-white way of addressing what's wrong with education today and who's to blame, rather than portraying the extraordinarily complex factors that contribute to challenges facing impoverished urban schools.  

The primary villain in the movie is the teachers' union.  (Should a movie about teaching really have a villain?)  Admittedly, this is a raw nerve for me right now.  I live in Chicago, and there is a very real possibility that our teachers will go on strike on Monday for the first time in 25 years.  I stand with our teachers and their demands for a fair contract and better conditions in which to effectively teach our children.  

Also, both my husband and my sister are Chicago public school teachers.  They devote a great deal of time, emotion, and money to help their children have the best experiences at school as they can provide.  Just like thousands of other teachers all around the country, they have invested in furthering their education in their respective teaching fields.

There is a trend today to blame teachers, and the unions who protect their rights, when schools aren't succeeding.  In my opinion, that is a shame.  These are the people who are putting themselves out there trying to make things better.  Trying to reach our children.  Trying to do the best with sometimes limited resources and in challenging environments.  We could be spending that same divisive energy looking for ways to better support our teachers, our schools, our parents and children, and our communities.  

My friend and I came away from the movie liking the women who Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis portrayed, but feeling fairly manipulated by the movie itself. 

As I mentioned, I was compensated for giving a review, but the opinions in this post are my own.

Thank you,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Back to school time makes me newly energized in my lunchbox options.  I try to think up new snacks that will fuel my kids' busy days.  The only way that food can actually sustain my kids through school and swimming and playing and soccer is if they eat it.

My Chocolate Chip Oat Bars that are featured on today's The Balanced Platter are ideal lunchbox fare.  They are packed with whole grain oats, flaxseed meal and pepitas with naturally sweet maple syrup and some treat-worthy chocolate chips.

Though I'm still a little bit mourning summer, these treats make me say, "Bring on the Fall."

Check out the recipe at The Balanced Platter

Happy Cooking!

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