Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gluten-free, Vegan Cream of Amaranth Cereal

Probably everyone has their fall-back foods.  You know, those foods or ingredients that you always have on hand.  Those products that you can rely on when you don't know what you're going to put together for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

For a lot of folks who eat from a more limited range, rice has been filling a lot of holes.  Dairy-free folks like the more hypo-allergenic nature of rice milk.  Gluten-free friends might eat rice pasta, rice crackers or bake with all-purpose flour blends that rely on rice.

And though it's kind of a 70s stereotype, vegans really do eat a lot of rice and beans.

Now, there's news that there might be issues with rice.  Arsenic issues, to be specific.  The FDA is working on guidelines for acceptable levels of arsenic in food, but they won't be ready for a while.  Consumer Reports found higher than expected levels of arsenic in all rice products that they tested.  There are tons of resources out there that can explain the situation better than I can, so I'll leave that to the experts. 

 For some ideas about how to limit the arsenic in your food, you can start with the Environmental Working Group (a source I trust) and Dr. Vikki Petersen, another strong voice in the allergy/nutrition community.

What have we been doing in our house?  We still eat rice, but we're also following the guidelines that suggest diversifying our grains.

Not only will that limit our arsenic, it will increase our consumption of other good-for-you foods.  Kinda like making lemonade out of lemons, right?  (If you're tossing those lemons into a quinoa salad!)

Our breakfast this morning highlights one of these changes.

Vegan, Gluten-free Cream of Amaranth Cereal
Cream of Amaranth Cereal Before Adding Coconut Milk

I made a Cream of Amaranth porridge instead of serving a rice-based cold cereal.  We served it up with coconut milk beverage instead of rice milk.  Easy peasy changes, and really delicious. (For more on amaranth, check out this post.)

This porridge is quite versatile.  It would work well with any of the fixin's you usually serve up with your oatmeal.  (How about Hemp Heart Oatmeal or Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal?)

Have you made changes to your diet because of the news about rice and arsenic?  

I shared this recipe with Wellness Weekend, Allergy-Free Wednesday and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Cream of Amaranth Cereal
Makes 4 servings

1 cup amaranth
3 cups water
maple syrup or other sweetener to taste
sprinkle of cinnamon
coconut milk beverage to taste 

Combine amaranth and water in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.  
Simmer for approximately 20 to 25 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Let sit for a couple of minutes.
Spoon amaranth into bowls, drizzle with syrup, sprinkle with cinnamon.
Add desired amount of coconut milk beverage and stir.

Happy Cooking!

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Easiest Way to Turn Pie Pumpkin into Pumpkin Puree - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

If you read this blog at all, you know that I LOVE pumpkin.  Just can't get enough of it.  Sometimes I use canned pumpkin puree.  It's easy, it's easily available.  I can keep a few cans in my pantry for whenever I need a fix of muffins, cookies, pudding or pie.

Sometimes, though, I'd rather go straight to the source.  I have tried cooking pie pumpkins many different ways.  A lot of folks suggest cooking it halved on an oiled baking pan.  I find this lends a roasted flavor that might work for some applications (like soup), but not for others (like pie).
How to make pumpkin puree from a pie pumpkin.
The flesh pulls away from the pumpkin once it's cooked.

Although I frequently bake winter squash whole, I never thought about doing that with a small pie pumpkin.  It worked perfectly!  Nothing could be easier, too.  The flesh pulls away from the shell once it's cooked, so it is simple to scrape out, and it's buttery soft so it's easy to mash.

How to make pumpkin puree from a pie pumpkin.

I shared this recipe with Eat, Make, Grow and Allergy Free Wednesday.

Fresh Pumpkin Puree
Makes approximately 2 cups of puree depending on the size of the pumpkin

1 pie pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400.
Wash the outside of the pumpkin.
Pierce the pumpkin with a sharp knife in several places.
Bake for approximately one hour.  (Smaller ones might need only 45 minutes to be done.)
Once it cools enough to handle, cut the pumpkin in half.
Scoop out and discard the seeds.
Scoop the flesh into a bowl.
Mash with a potato masher. 

Happy Cooking!

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

 Welcoming Kitchen is nominated as a Top Food Allergy Mom Blog at Circle of Moms, please vote daily until October 17.  Thanks so much!

Thick Smoothie for a Complete Meal - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Recently, I got an email from Katherine of greenthickies.comShe invited me (and you) to take part in a 7-day challenge to replace one or more meals a day for one week with a thick smoothie that she calls "green thickies."

Although I frequently drink smoothies for breakfast, I was intrigued by the idea of this kind of more substantial smoothie that is a complete meal and could easily stand in for any meal, even dinner.

So, this morning I gave it a try.  I made a heartier smoothie that uses oats and hemp seeds to make it thick, creamy and super-nutritious.

If you're interested in checking out the challenge, you can find more information here

If you want to try a tasty and filling smoothie, this is what I did. 

I shared this with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Thick Green Smoothie
Makes a blenderful

a large bunch of kale (I used the organic Lacinto kale from Trader Joe's.)
enough fruit juice to blend the kale into a puree
frozen mango chunks
frozen pineapple
frozen blueberries
generous sprinkle of shelled hemp seeds
large handful of rolled oats (I used Trader Joe's gluten-free oats.)
non-dairy milk

Blend kale with fruit juice until kale is pureed.
Add remaining ingredients and blend.

Note:  I don't give ingredient amounts, because it is flexible. 

Happy Cooking!

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

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Vegan, gluten-free vegetable soup
Our soup from the other day.  So delicious!

Today on The Balanced Platter, I write about my love of soup (and include links for several soup recipes). 

Soup can be so easy to throw together.  This week, I made a soup using up the balance of a can of pumpkin puree, diced tomatoes, onions, carrots, quinoa, Great Northern beans, kale and some bullion cubes with enough water to make it soupy. 

I threw it together, popped it on the stove, then helped my kids with their homework.  Once homework was done, so was the soup.  (An added bonus -- my house smelled great!)

How do you like to make soup?

Happy Cooking!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan, Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting

Looking for a birthday party menu that's quick to come together, but definitely tasty?

The recipes I put together for VegNews allow for stress-free party prep and stress-free party going, since all of the recipes are free of the top-8 allergens, are vegan, and are gluten-free.

Vegan Taquitos with Salsa

Check out the recipes for sweet and salty kettle corn, crispy taquitos, and chocolate chip cupcakes with a super-easy chocolate frosting over at VegNews.  

Happy Cooking!

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