Back to the Roots Mushroom Garden


Look what I just got in the mail!  A Back to the Roots Grow your own Mushroom Garden! I’m so excited to try it out.  According to the folks at Back to the Roots, this  Easy-to-Grow Mushroom Garden, now lets anyone grow up to 1 1/2 lbs of gourmet oyster mushrooms in as little as 10 days…right out of the little brown box! Just set on a windowsill, mist twice a day, and watch them pop right out by day 7! The soil inside is composed entirely of recycled coffee grounds – a safe & sustainable soil for the mushrooms. What a great family/kids/school project (they love the 10 days part!), and also fab for those who just love fresh, sustainable, and locally grown food!  I’ll be posting pics on day 7 and thereafter so you can check out the mushrooms I grow.

And here’s the good part. I’ll be doing a giveaway of one of these lovely boxes.  Leave me a comment below telling me how you like to use mushrooms, or how you might use this cool project, and you’ll be entered into the drawing. I’ll announce the winner of the giveaway one week from today.  Get your spores on!

Allergy Free Cream of Mushroom Soup


Allergy-Friendly Cream of Mushroom Soup (no dairy, eggs, gluten, or soy)


A few months ago, a reader asked me to come up with an allergen-free version of her favorite baked casserole, which was dependant on Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. I told her to sit tight, I’d get to it, and made a mental note to come up with a substitute for condensed soup. So when “alleycat” challenged me to come up with Cream of Mushroom Soup on my Food Allergy Recipe Challenge over at Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Daily, I jumped at the opportunity to work on two requests at once.

I guess I bargained that on some subconscious level, I’d been working on the recipe for several months already. Thankfully, I was right, and the soup is truly delicious. The challenge here was to replicate the creaminess of cream (and oftentimes, egg yolks) that cream of mushroom soup is dependent upon. Also, I needed to find an alternative to all-purpose wheat flour, which is the traditional thickening agent. Luckily, tapioca starch/flour is a great gluten-free thickener, and quick-cooking tapioca can create the richness, and texture of the cream and eggs. I left this recipe kid-friendly in flavor, but if you like, feel free to top off each bowl with a Tablespoon of dry sherry, and a sprig of fresh thyme. (more…)