Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday: Quickly Cool Soup

With lots of little mouths in our household, we've tried many ways of quickly cooling down hot soup. Stick the bowl in the freezer for a few minutes, pile in a few (or many) ice cubes, dish out those bowls 10 minutes before it's time to sit for dinner...there are a lot of ways to get to the goal of perfectly warm-but-not-scalding soup.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Gel dessert Product Review

In our family, we have committed to avoiding artificial food coloring as much as is possible.  But, I'll be honest, I miss Jello, and so do a few of my children. It's such an easy treat to whip up, and perfect for sore throats.  One day, in the "natural" section of our grocery store, I saw "Jel Dessert" calling to me from the shelf! I purchased a box of strawberry flavor, and we tested it at home. 

Pros:  No artificial food coloring, gluten free, GMO free, kosher parve, and vegan!  (The vegan label is important to us simply because we know the product will be free from dairy and eggs!) The Strawberry Jel actually tasted like real strawberries!  There wasn't a chemical "fake" aftertaste. What an awesome bonus to give children fruit flavored dessert that actually tastes the fruit! There are only two steps to making the Jel, heat the water, stir in the powder. You can't get any simpler than that! The Jel also set very quickly, which is a plus when there are children anxiously waiting for it to be ready. 

Cons: No company phone number to contact, no website, no way to ask specific questions regarding allergens or manufacturing processes. There is an email for the distributor on the box, but no other contact information to be found on packaging or online.
Really, in this technological era, I can't imagine why this is! (If anyone can provided contact information, please share in the comments!) The only other con, which was a split vote in our house, is that the Jel dessert didn't set as firmly as it's artificial counterpart. Some preferred the softer texture and others wanted a firmer set. I am curious as to what would happen if I reduced the water, and I'll probably try that next time. 

Bottom Line: My 11 year old son, who is not usually a fan of gelatin desserts declared that this was "way better than regular Jello." The rest of the jury gave their thumbs up, and asked when we could have it again. We're all looking forward to trying the other flavors! I'll be stocking a few boxes in the pantry for special occasions and sore throats.

Don't forget to check out my cookbooks on Amazon!

 As always, from The Allergy Safe Kitchen, I wish you "Good Cooking, and Safe Eating"!
Monday, March 23, 2015

Breakfast Sushi

We have become slightly obsessed (I like to think endearingly so), with a new kitchen gadget, the Sushi Quik!. You can read my official review HERE.  We have been making sushi for lunch, sushi for snack, sushi for dinner...but what  about sushi for breakfast?

Neither my 11 year old nor I are huge "breakfast food" fans.  We're not into cereal, toast, etc. We are an egg free home, so omelets are also a no-go. He and I are most likely to be eating reheated dinner for breakfast, so the two of us put our heads together to come up with a way to use our Sushi Quik for breakfast!  

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Sushi Quik" Product Review

I first found a Youtube video about Sushi Quik when I did a Google search for "how to make sushi."  My 11 year old, son has been begging me to teach him how to make sushi.  He has multiple food allergies, and anytime he wants to learn a specific skill in the kitchen, I make sure to teach him.  (Click here to learn more about my philosophy on why children with food allergies should learn to cook.) I received the product for review, and we have had a blast using it! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SunButter "Tagalongs"

Sometimes, I get a wee bit nostalgic when I see families all around us reveling in the delivery of their Girl Scout Cookies.  My two childhood favorites were Thin Mints (click HERE for my version), and Tagalongs.  Shortbread and peanut butter, all covered in chocolate....when I close my eyes and think about it, I'm back in my mom's kitchen, climbing on the counter to reach that box of creamy deliciousness. Food memories are powerful, aren't they?

Fast forward to today, when Girl Scout cookies do not fit in with our food allergy lifestyle, and of course, I have taken on the challenge to create an allergy friendly edition of my favorites. After several versions, and many willing taste-testers, I am happy to share my recipe for SunButter Tagalongs! 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pork "Ropa Vieja"

Picture this: It was a chilly morning, I had defrosted 2 pork loins and had no meal plan for them. I was casually scrolling down my Instagram feed, (Whaaat?!  You don't follow me on Instagram yet? Click here and follow!) and lo and behold, there appeared Clinton Kelly's Ropa Vieja slow cooker recipe. Jackpot. My little guy is allergic to beef, which the recipe calls for, but I was pretty sure I could achieve familial culinary satisfaction by using pork. I was right! As it bubbled away in the slow cooker, children would wander in, drooling, and ask hopefully "Is that dinner?" 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kitchen Tip Tuesday! How to Ripen Avocados

Stuck with a rock hard avocado, but really want to make guacamole for your weekend get-together?  (gasp) Will they ripen in time?! Never fear! 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Creamy Spicy Chickpea and Tomato Soup

Soup can be such a hearty meal, full of veggies and nutrition.  It feeds the belly and warms the soul. Perfect for lunch, dinner, and in a mug for a mid-afternoon snack. I love soup. I love soup in all four seasons. I love the love that homemade soup connotes. But enough about my deep affection for soup! 

The original "inspiration" recipe for this allergy friendly version morphed into a four-version-tasting-supper for my family. The recipe in this post is the winning version, which my children have dubbed "Creamy Spicy." (There was also "Creamy Mild," "Broth-y Mild," and "Broth-y Spicy.") My mother wanted me to call it "Chickpea Surprise," because she (as a passionate chickpea hater) was shocked that she loved this soup! The chickpeas simply give the soup a creamy texture without dairy.