A Look Inside Pure Delicious

A Look Inside Pure Delicious

by Heather Christo, Pure Delicious

Reprinted from Pure Delicious by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books/Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Heather Christo

When you have a child with food allergies or eating restrictions, it is important to put things in perspective. The mental, physical, and emotional health of your child are at stake. If it had been just me who was diagnosed, I might have pushed it under the rug and gone on about my business in mediocre health rather than disrupt my whole family’s way of life.

But now, armed with the knowledge that making such significant changes would actually help us to grow together as a healthy and cohesive unit, I would never make that choice. And whether it is all of you who choose to eat this way, or just you catering to your children who have allergies, set the example. Not only is it healthier physically, it’s easier emotionally when the family works and eats together as a team. Can you imagine how it would feel for your kids to watch their parents eating foods that not only make them sick, but that are so hard for them to give up? Trust me, it will mean everything to them to know they have partners in learning how to eat safely and, just as important, learning to advocate for themselves.

For the first few months after my diagnosis, I hid behind my children’s needs, embarrassed to speak up on my own behalf or deal with the judgment of others, especially since I’d been a naysayer for all those years. But four months into the transition, I got incredibly sick after failing to divulge my allergies at a work function. I dragged my swollen, ravaged body back home expecting to fall into bed. Instead, I had an epiphany. Just as important as teaching my children the right foods to eat is showing them that they can and should be honest and open about what they need. Hiding something you can’t help or acting embarrassed about it is not the behavior I want to model for them. Taking control of their own health and figuring out how to make the best of a difficult situation is what I want them to take away from this.

There are so many ways kids benefit when their parents cook at home. Not only does it establish routine (which is comforting), but it allows the kids to be involved in caring for their own health and learning skills that will stand them in good stead forever. Look for opportunities for them to help out, to learn valuable life lessons (even if only by osmosis), and to practice counting and dexterity. Kids get a much better understanding of where their food comes from and how life is feeding life when they see the “before” (piles of fresh veggies, herbs, and greens, or bowls of flour and stir-ins) become the “after” (steaming soups and flaky baked treats). Consider, too, that every aroma wafting from the kitchen is a life memory in the making. Just try to tell me that the smell of apples and cinnamon cooking or tomato sauce simmering doesn’t immediately press your nostalgia button.

Also, a great tip: Not long after the girls were diagnosed, we realized how difficult it was for them to remember everything (it takes a while for young children to get the hang of things). One very helpful solution was that we purchased them old-fashioned medical ID bracelets. On one side we wrote, “I have severe food allergies!” On the other side (albeit in very small print), we listed the foods that they are not to eat. This accomplished two things: If they were with an adult who was unsure about what to feed them, they could simply read the bracelet, and it also seemed to make some of the more dubious adults take things more seriously.


Preparation 10 minutes Cook time 4 hours Servings 4 to 6

I love to make this on days when I am working from home or on lazy Sundays when we stick close to the couch. Use cuts like chuck roast, round roast, rump roast, top round, etc., which will hold up well to the long slow braise getting extra tender in the process. The best thing about this is that you can let it cook all day while you get other things done.

4 pounds beef stew meat

Kosher salt

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

2 bay leaves

8 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 cups quartered white button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms

4 large carrots, cut into bite-size chunks

4 cups russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks

1⁄4 cup cornstarch mixed with

1⁄4 cup water

11⁄2 cups frozen peas

1 cup unsweetened coconut cream

1. Generously sprinkle the beef chunks with salt.

2. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat. Add half the meat and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the browned meat to a bowl. Add the remaining meat to the pot and cook until browned on all sides, then transfer the meat to the bowl.

3. In the same pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring until the onion is very soft and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

4. Return the meat to the pot and add the bay leaves, broth, vinegar, and 2 cups water. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the stew for 3 hours.

5. Give the stew a good stir and add the mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 to 60 minutes more, until the carrots and potatoes are tender.

6. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and the peas and cook, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid has thickened.

7. Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut cream. Season with salt and serve hot.


Preparation 10 minutes Cook time 27 minutes Servings 4 to 6

I love this dish so much. I am not usually the biggest fan of cooked carrots, but this totally changed my mind. I mean, when you are dealing with crispy bacon and spicy harissa paste mixed with sweet honey, it’s hard to complain. And the beautiful colors of these rainbow carrots just made it all the more exciting to “eat with my eyes.” A lovely side dish at any meal, and a great way to get people excited about eating their veggies!

3 bunches whole carrots (I use rainbow carrots)

4 thick-cut uncured bacon slices, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons harissa

3 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and set aside.

2. In a heavy pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until the bacon is crispy and the fat has rendered, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a bowl, leaving the rendered fat in the pan.

3. Add the olive oil, garlic, harissa, and honey to the pan with the bacon fat and whisk over medium heat to create a thick sauce, simmering for just 1 minute.

4. Pour the sauce over the carrots on the baking sheet. Toss the carrots to coat and then sprinkle with salt.

5. Roast the carrots for 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and top them with all the sauce and little cooked bits still on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the carrots with the crispy bacon pieces and serve immediately.

Garlic is not only highly nutritious, supplying us with great amounts of manganese, vitamin B6, C, and selenium, but it is also known to boost our immune system and have positive effects on blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol.


Preparation 10 minutes Cook time 90 minutes Servings 12

Sorry, Grandma Grace—your fruit crisp was a beloved family recipe, but I have to admit I like this updated version even better. The coconut oil makes the topping especially crisp, and because I bake the whole thing for a long time, the fruit filling is lusciously tender. You can make this with fresh or frozen fruit, so it’s practical, too. When blackberries are in season, they’re my go-to fruit, but readily available Granny Smith apples are a great option any time of year. If you use apples or pears, peel them and very thinly slice them for best results.


1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup granulated beet sugar

3 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 cup coconut oil


8 cups fresh or frozen fruit

2 tablespoons granulated beet sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.
  • To make the crisp topping: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, sugar, and oats. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the coconut oil into the dry ingredients until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, sprinkle the fruit with the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Spread the fruit in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the crisp topping.
  • Bake for about 90 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

About the Author:
Heather Christo is a formally trained chef, caterer, and the voice behind the popular food blog, as well as a permanent contributor to Her recipes and food photography have been featured in many national magazines and television shows. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two young daughters.

About the Book:
Pure Delicious features more than 150 recipes that are free of the eight major allergens (gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and cane sugar) but that are still hearty, family-friendly, and, as promised in the title, utterly delicious. Purchase your copy here.