Monday, April 29, 2013

gluten-free, vegan no-bake cookie

If you have food allergies or intolerances, you know that what works for one person, might not work for you.  In our house, when peanuts are not on the menu, we turn to sunflower seed butter to stand in for peanut butter.   In another household, they might turn to a nut butter.

If these are not good options for your family, there is a new product available that might fit the bill for you.  The Sneaky Chef Creamy No-Nut Butter is made from golden peas instead of seeds or nuts.  The people at The Sneaky Chef sent me a jar of No-Nut Butter and a jar of their Smooth Red pasta sauce. (I was not paid for this review, and the opinions are my own.)

Missy Lapine, aka The Sneaky Chef, has made a career out of helping to "hide" healthy foods, like vegetables, in kids' recipes.  Though, I don't do that, I know that some parents think it's easier to improve their kids' diets with the "what you don't know, can't hurt you" philosophy.

Either way, the pasta sauce tasted good on both pasta and pizza, so it was nice to get a little extra oomph when we'd be using a jarred sauce anyway.  (Though I frequently add frozen spinach to my sauce to veg it up.)

The pea butter would make a fine stand-in for peanut butter, though we prefer the texture and flavor of sunflower seed butter, personally.  Also, the pea butter contains sugar and palm oil, and I'd prefer my spread without either of those.

Here is a recipe that you could use if you want to give the No-Nut Butter a try.  It's a tried and true favorite here at our house.

Crispy Treats (gluten-free, vegan no-bake cookies)
Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:
1 cup crispy brown rice cereal (GF)
1/2 cup No Nut Butter or 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)

Preparation:
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!
Kim

Monday, April 8, 2013

Everyone should have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Today, April 8, 2013, food bloggers from around the United States are coming together to bring attention to the crisis of hunger in America.

In a land of plenty, way too many (millions) of Americans do not know where their next meal is coming from.  This must change.

I have been involved in efforts to address hunger from a charitable standpoint for years.  For many years, I worked as a community social worker where one of my responsibilities was to help coordinate, pick up, and distribute food donations to members of our community during the winter holiday season.  For the past year or so, I have been part of a network of volunteers who collect unused, but still edible, food from local restaurants and grocery stores to be distributed through our local food pantry.

I know firsthand how local generosity can help offset hunger to some degree.  Local charity, however, is not enough to address the great need and the causes of it that confront our hungry neighbors. Effective government action is necessary.

The case for why change is needed is made beautifully in the new film, A Place at the Table.  I watched it with tears in my eyes and outrage in my heart.  I strongly urge you to take the time to watch it either through iTunes or Amazon or at a local viewing.  It is powerful.

  • 30% of Americans are food insecure.  (They do not know where their next meal is coming from.)
  • The relative cost of fresh fruits and vegetables has risen 40% in the last 10 years, while the relative cost of processed foods has dropped 40% in the same time period.  Is it any wonder that hunger and obesity are such close cousins?  If empty processed calories are so much more affordable and accessible than nutritious, whole food calories, how could it not be so?
  • 85% of households living with food insecurity have at least one working adult.
  • Farm subsidies overwhelmingly go toward processed-food crops, instead of toward fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  (Because, in part, most of the subsidy goes to giant agribusiness instead of to smaller farmers.) 
What can we do?
We can contact our legislators and demand that food policy actually go toward feeding hungry Americans.  Follow this link to take 30 seconds to have your voice heard. 

For some lower-cost entree ideas, many of which use food pantry staples (rice, beans, canned tomatoes), try these:
Happy Cooking!
Kim

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Vegan, Gluten-free Snack Cake
Coconut Cake with Mandarin Reduction


Whew!  We went from Spring Break directly into a stomach bug here at my house.  I actually wrote a recipe that I was so excited to put up on the blog, but life got in the way -- in a big way!  I'll get my recipe for cocoa-dusted pepitas up on the blog in the next day or so, but until then ....

There's not much better in my mind than a cake that comes together quickly, tastes great and doesn't have to be saved for special occasions.  Today, on The Balanced Platter I put together a round-up of some tried-and-true snack cake recipes.  Head on over to The Balanced Platter to check them out.

Happy Cooking!
Kim

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