It was almost a year ago when I was first in touch with Hallie Klecker, the author of the beautiful blog Daily Bites and The Pure Kitchen to start testing recipes for her book. I was excited to test them – Hallie’s blog was full of delicious, easy-to-make, wholesome recipes. Long ago I’d fallen in love with her carrot cake bites, and I knew only tasty things could come from this book!
But it’s most exciting to see the final product. This is Hallie’s first book, and it couldn’t be more wonderful. In addition to 100 gluten-free, dairy-free recipes, she guides the reader on how to transition to a more wholesome, pure way of living that can result in relief of a lot of nagging health issues and pave the way for a healthier life – without a lot of clutter, confusion, and junk. She suggests planning, and gives ideas of healthy pantry staples and kitchen utensils to use. While it might sound like a lot, the entire process is extremely approachable. Hallie has a wonderful way of making everything seem simpler and easier.
That approachability doesn’t stop with her recipes. Many gluten-free and dairy-free recipes list tons of ingredients. I’ve been guilty of this – I have a very well-stocked pantry and so for me, it’s nothing to grab just one more spice or ingredient to make my dish “perfect”. This sometimes results in a really long list of ingredients! In The Pure Kitchen, however, Hallie has a perfect balance of flavor and restraint. She carefully selects her ingredients, never including more than necessary, and the end result is a delicious, clean, pure dish.
Case in point: Dark Chocolate Brownie Balls. These are simple, and require no cooking. They only require a handful of ingredients, and in much less time than it would take you to make brownies (even those old brownies from a box!), you could have healthier, delicious brownie balls like these. They aren’t overly sweet, are full of dark chocolate goodness, and really satisfy that brownie craving in a small bite.
If chocolate’s not your thing, then she has another no-bake treat that is just as simple to make: Peanut Butter Freezer Treats. These little balls include peanut butter, applesauce, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips (which you can exclude if you’d like), and raisins, rolled and frozen. She describes them as a cross between peanut butter ice cream, chocolate fudge, caramel candies, and date balls. After trying them, I can totally agree. You can keep these babies out of sight, and grab one out of the freezer for a sweet treat that satisfies without a ton of sugar or empty calories.
Hallie does more than just dessert, however. She has a lovely slow cooker recipe, perfect for a weeknight. I made her Slow Cooker Indian Chicken, throwing everything into the crock for my slow cooker the night before, sticking it in the refrigerator, so I would only have to pull it out and turn it on before I left for work that morning. It smelled delicious when I walked in the door that evening, and within 15-20 minutes, dinner was ready. I call that a success. I did opt to make mine with a cauliflower “rice” instead of quinoa, but I can imagine quinoa would do an excellent job of soaking up the sauce, which was a definite highlight of this dish.
Regardless of whether you are new to gluten and dairy-free eating or have been cooking this way for years, The Pure Kitchen is definitely a resource to have at your disposal. I know I’ll return to this book time and time again.
Slow Cooker Indian Chicken with Quinoa, reprinted with permission from Hallie Klecker, The Pure Kitchen
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered (I left mine whole so I could fish them out more easily – I’m the only mushroom-lover in the house)
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (About 1 1/4 pounds)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup canned coconut milk (full fat)
2 teaspoons arrowroot starch
1/3 cup raisins or dried currants (I used raisins)
1 1/4 cups quinoa
2 1/2 cups water
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Place the bell pepper, carrots, onion, and mushrooms in the bottom of a large slow cooker. Rub the chicken thighs with the curry powder, garlic powder, and salt. Arrange on top of the vegetables. Pour the broth over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and arrowroot starch to combine. Stir the mixture into the chicken and vegetables along with the currants. Use 2 forks to shred up the chicken thighs in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover and continue to cook on low for 30 minutes or on high for 15 minutes.
While the chicken finishes cooking, make the quinoa: bring the quinoa and water to boil in a medium pot over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook untilthe water is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy, about 15 minutes.
Serve the chicken and vegetables over the quinoa. Garnish with the cilantro.