A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Check out my recently released cookbook

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Monday
Nov112013

Lexie's Kitchen: Favorite Snacks

Some really swell companies have been leaving samples of their product at my front door and I thought I'd better pull my hand out of the chip bag and get to writing a post about them—and trust me, if I don't like a product, I don't write about it. Oh yes, and opinions expressed here are my own. I am not claiming these to be the healthiest snack options, but they sure are convenient (and tasty) for grabbing on the go. Tee hee!

1 Candice Foods sent a sample of each of their bars and for being gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, corn-free and nut-free—they were quite tasty. The base of Candice Foods bars is a mixture of sunflower seeds and crispy rice—agave being one of the ingredients (not my first choice in sweeteners but ...). The bars come in 7 flavors—my favorites were Mocha Java and Mint Chocolate. The founder of Candice Foods is the mother of three children with life-threatening allergies to tree nuts, so you can bet she takes food allergies, and her product, very seriously. Candice Foods Protein Bars are available for purchase from their online store.

2 Cave Man Bars. This grab-and-go, nut and seed-packed snack is one my husband recently discovered at our local King Soopers/Kroger store (BTW I admire this mega chain for embracing gluten-free and organic foods). The Maple Nut bar packs 7 grams of sugar—I try to keep my snacks under 5—but I'm not going to fret it because, after all, the bars are certified gluten-free (not always easy to find). Cave Man Bars are manufactured in a facility that also processes tree nuts, soy, peanut, milk, and egg. Oddly they make the claim to be "Paleo Friendly" but use evaporated cane syrup and brown rice syrup as sweeteners. Hmmmm ... not sure if that counts as "Paleo." But the Paleo bandwagon seems to be the one to be on right now and Cave Man Bars don't want to miss out on the action.

3 Pomegranates. We love pomegranates! They are a pure, unadulterated food—and are in season. Here's an easy way to de-seed a pomegranate and whip up a festive "candy" using the arils.

4 Real Foods Rice Thins. Okay gang, I think I am speaking for 97.5% of the population when I say rice cakes are for the birds. Seriously, they're akin to cardboard! These thinner rice cakes are no exception, but here's why I like them … they are much easier to munch on than the thicker rice cakes AND they actually make a good PB&J (or Sunbutter&J) sandwich. I made one this morning, tucked it into my purse, and by noon the moisture from the jelly had softened the cake a tad and rocked it as a "bread" free PB&J sandwich. These skinny boys (about 1/3 the thickness of regular rice cakes) are gluten-free and non-GMO. They're rather tasteless and like a black dress, it's all in how you dress 'em up.

5 Way Better Tortilla Chips. Saving the best for last, you must try these! I especially loved Sweet Chili. Eating them I thought "healthier Doritos!" The seasonal offering of Punkin Cranberry was pretty yummy, too. I preferred the Black Bean Tortilla Chips to the Multi-Grain—they packed more flavor. Way Better chips are different in that the grains and seeds (broccoli, daikon radish, chia, etc) used to make the chips are sprouted—increasing their nutrients and allowing the body to better absorb them (but hey, we’re talkin’ snack food here not green smoothie, so does it really matter?). I will be serving these over the holidays for sure! Way Better chips are certified gluten free, non-GMO, kosher and vegan. Oh and a tip for ensuring you don't eat the entire bag—toss a handful of chips into a bowl along with some nuts. The nuts offer way more nutrition and will satiate.

So there you have it. You know what we've been snackin' on. How about you?

Thursday
Nov072013

Potluck Peace of Mind

The holiday season is swiftly approaching. There will be office parties, dinners with friends, and family potlucks.

To ensure you, your family, and your friends are dipping into dishes that are safe, it is always a good idea to label what your contribution is "free of."

One way to identify "safe" foods is to dish them up using clearly marked food allergy serving spoons! This little measure goes a long way in helping to prevent cross-contamination, which for many, can be a very serious matter.

From the moment I grasped it in my hand, I was in love with my "Gluten-Free" spoon. It goes with me to every potluck, and I can't tell you how many people have commented on how beautiful and, more importantly, how helpful it is. 

The folks behind The Food Allergy Kitchenware Company understand food allergies, as they live with them everyday in their own home. Their aim is to help make meals and family time the warm and loving experience it should be—without the extra worry.

These serving spoons are:

  • Dishwasher Safe
  • Solid Stainless Steel
  • Come in Gluten-Free and Peanut-Free Designs
  • Great for Everyday and Holidays
  • Super for Gift Giving

Now through the end of December receive 10% off your order when you use the code SPOON. SHIPPING IS FREE on orders of 2 or more spoons. Holiday gift wrapping is available for $3.

Tuesday
Nov052013

Meat Lover's Roasted Brussels Sprouts

 

How is your Thanksgiving menu coming along? Still deciding on what veggies you'll serve? Well, here's one you'll want to consider.

Done right, Brussels sprouts are divine. And when paired with bacon—oh my! When paired with bacon AND sausage—oh, my, MY! I'll wager now that there won't be a meat-eatin' picky eater who will pass this dish up at the great feast.

To further dress up this roasted veggie dish, I've thrown in baby bella mushrooms and lovely broccoli Romanesco—that beautiful, sea urchin-looking, lime green kin of cauliflower. If you can't find broccoli Romanesco, just substitute with additional Brussels sprouts.

Meat Lover's Roasted Brussels Sprouts
 

Ingredients:

4-6 ounces ground gluten-free SPICY PORK SAUSAGE
4-6 ounces gluten-free BACON
1-1/2 pounds BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1/2 pound BROCCOLI ROMANESCO
1/2 pound BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS 
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER

Directions:
  1. In a medium skillet brown sausage until you have some good crispy bits. Transfer to bowl of food processor and pulse until minced. Set aside.
  2. Dice bacon and add to skillet. Cook until crisp, reserving rendered fat. Transfer with slotted spoon to plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  4. Prepare the vegetables; Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Cut in half or quarter. Quarter mushrooms. Detach florets from the head of the broccoli Romanesco.
  5. Toss vegetables, bacon, and sausage in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons reserved bacon fat.
  6. Spread onto baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. 
  7. Bake 35 minutes.
Friday
Oct252013

Easy 5-Ingredient Chicken Broth 

Once you begin making homemade bone broth it's hard to go back to the the storebought stuff ... for two reasons, 1) because it is so easy to make and 2) because it is so good!

Thankfully there is no one right way to make bone broth.

Go traditional with a classic flavor base of mirepoix—a mixture of carrots, onion and celery.

Or take it to a whole new "healing" level as my friend Kim does by adding chicken feet to her Homemade Chicken Bone Broth with Chicken Feet.

Some like broth that's heavy on the garlic, while others like the addition of spicy red pepper flakes. The fun in broth making is found in coming up with your own blend of vegetables, herbs, and spices.

In my own experimentation, I've been working on a broth to use with my One-Pot Asian Noodle recipe and the one I have landed on is lovely! I make it with five ingredients and it produces a delicately flavored golden broth. I especially love that it utilizes those tough leek greens that are tossed out when I make "Cheesy" Potato Leek Soup.

When I first started making bone broth I used a slow cooker or stockpot. Today I use a pressure cooker and I get the job done in 60 minutes versus 6 hours!

5-Ingredient Asian-Inspired Chicken Broth

Ingredients:

2 CHICKEN CARCASSES (from 4-pound chickens)
3 cups roughly chopped green LEEK TOPS (how to clean leeks)
2 inch piece fresh GINGER, unpeeled and sliced 
4 dried SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS
1 tablespoon SALT
WATER

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into pressure cooker pot.
  2. Add enough water to bring level of ingredients up to 2/3 full.
  3. Cover and lock pressure cooker.
  4. Cook on "High Pressure" for 60 minutes.
  5. Use immediate or natural release.
  6. Strain stock and add enough additional water to make 8 cups broth.
  7. Skim fat off top (this is easily done after refrigerating).

Notes:

  1. Don't toss the mushrooms, slice and add them to a soup. They are sooooo good!
  2. All this can be done in a slow cooker (cook on low for 8 hours) or in a stockpot on the stove (simmer gently 3-6 hours) replenising water as needed.

 

Tuesday
Oct222013

Lexie's Favorites: Best Sensory Fidget Toys

1 Sensory Stixx  // 2 Gaiam Hand Therapy Balls // 3 Chewy Tubes // 4 Sensory Brush // 5 Edushape Sensory Balls // 6 Hair Tangle Junior // 7 Banana Stress Toy

Fidget Toys for Sensory Processing Disorders

Aside from issues with certain foods, our Little Man has "definite dysfunction" in a handful of sensory areas.

I am thankful for organizations like the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation that are working to bring awareness to a condition that affects kids and adults alike, and help me better understand my child.

This year it has become apparent that Little Man benefits from carrying a fidget toy in his pocket. It helps to minimize his touching the gelled spikes on Jermiah's head and from hugging the cute little blonde sitting next to him at Circle Time!

With a fidget toy in hand, he receives some of the sensory input he craves.

This week I thought I would share some of his (and my) favorite fidget toys. In addition to offering input, some of these toys work to strengthen little hands, too. 

PRICKLY
Sensory Stixx fidgets offer hand-sized sensory stimulation and draws little attention to itself in order to avoid anxiety from other onlookers. Easily fits in pocket, purse, or book bag and is dishwasher safe.

RESISTANCE
Designed to strengthen fingers and grip, the three different color-coded Gaiam Hand Therapy Balls offer varying resistances and make great fidget toys. My son especially likes the soft purple one. Not for chewers.

CHEWY 
Early on everything went into Little Man's mouth as he sought sensory input. For a time he enjoyed Chewy Tubes. I especially like them for babies and toddlers for their handle grip. These make great teethers, too! 

SOOTHING
We first used this tool for body brushing. Our son now uses it as a pocket fidget as it mimics the texture of hair. This brush is a must-try tool for children or adults with sensory processing challenges. 

BUMPY
These Edushape Sensory Balls are great to hold onto during Circle Time as the size requires two little hands to hold them. Recommended for kiddos who know not to throw them, but quiety hold them. 

HAIRY
The Hair Tangle Jr is twisty, turny, squiggly, and squirmy. It has a unique "hairy" feel that is addictively fun to play with and manipulate. Not for chewers.

SQUISHY
The Banana Stress Toy is a replica of a real banana. It mushes, stretches and could pass for a real banana! My favorite toy by far. Not for chewers.

I wonder if someone you know uses a fidget toy? At school? At work? I'd love to know what works for them.

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