Monday, November 26, 2012

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies Recipe

My daughter is becoming happier and happier to help me in the kitchen, especially when she gets to decide  what we are making.  Last month, my daughter requested that we make sugar cookies, because she really wanted to be able to decorate them with frosting and sprinkles.  We had been so busy, that I really did not feel like making the cookies from scratch.  So, I decided to try using Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix.  

I was pleasantly surprised with the way the cookies turned out.  The dough was easy to roll out using the parchment paper.  The dough held together well.  My kids were able to transfer the pre-cooked cookies from our counter to the cookie sheet without them breaking.  When cooked, the cookies were soft and chewy.  The were sturdy enough to frost, but not too hard.  We are definitely going to be making these again soon with our new Chanukah cookie cutters.  Here is the recipe I used.

Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Recipe

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together.  Add egg and vanilla extract and beat together.  Add Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix and beat until it forms into a dough.  Wrap dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  (We left it in the fridge for 1 hour, because we had to pick up my son from school.)

When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper until the dough is ~1/2-inch thick. Cut out whatever cookie shapes you like and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Leave space between the cookies, because they will spread.  Bake for approximately 12-15 minutes.  The edges should be light brown.  Let cookies cool slightly and use spatula to remove from cookie sheet.

When the cookies are completely cooled, you can decorate the cookies any way you choose.  I used a store bought vanilla frosting, because that is what my children requested.  Then we decorated the cookies with colored and chocolate sprinkles.  Here are a few samples of what we made.  

I hope you enjoy making these cookies with the people you love.  Enjoy!

<3 Cassidy

Monday, September 17, 2012

Gluten Free Noodle Pudding (Kigel) Recipe

L'Shannah Tova!  Happy Rosh Hashanah!  Today is the first day of the Jewish new year.  Since I was little, my mother always made kigel for Rosh Hashanah.  What is kigel, you ask?  Kigel is a traditional noodle pudding.  I have heard it called kugel, but that is not how my mother and grandmother said it.  Actually, my husband calls it kugel, but I joke with him that I do not understand this word.  I only make kigel!

This recipe was passed down from my grandmother.  There are numerous sweet and savory kigel recipes, but I have never tasted one that even compares to this.  So, here is my gluten free version of my grandmother's kigel.
Grandma Taube's Kigel

8 oz gluten free linguine noodle, broken into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs
16 oz cottage cheese
1 pint sour cream
Crushed walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the box.  While the noodles are cooking, grease casserole dish with Pam.  When the noodles are cooked, drain the water and place them back into the pot you used to cook them.  Add the sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, eggs, cottage cheese, and sour cream.  Mix all of the ingredients together and pour into the greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and crushed walnuts.  Put it in the oven and bake it for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the topped is nicely browned.  (I baked it for only 60 minutes in my convection oven.)  Then shut off the oven, and let the kigel stay in the oven for 1 more hour.  Then remove from the oven and serve.  This kigel can be served warm or at room temperature. 

This kigel turned out amazingly well.  The broken linguine noodles worked well substituting for broad noodles.  It tasted just like it did when I was a child.  My husband was impressed that this recipe was gluten free.  It is a great dish to serve for a holiday meal, and it is easy to travel with for a pot luck dinner.  I would be proud to serve this to anyone.  I hope you enjoy!

<3 Cassidy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gluten Free Guitar Cake

This weekend was my son's 7th birthday.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  He is kind, smart, and a hard worker.  He started 1st grade earlier this month, and he is loving every moment of it.  He proudly told me that he does not miss me at all while he is at school for the whole day, and that makes me so happy.  He should be enjoying school.  He is in the second year of a wonderful Spanish immersion program.  He is learning so many amazing things.  He has a wonderful teacher who loves using music as a teaching tool.  And he is making some lasting friendships.  And he knows that I will be there to pick him up when the day is done.

This year I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, and he said that he wanted to celebrate with his friends from school.  So, we picked a local park, and we invited all of his classmates and a few other friends  from our community.  I really wanted to keep the party simple, because my son says that it is not a birthday without celebrating with your friends.  We had snacks of fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers, and lunch meat.  We also had cupcakes!  I made 58 regular cupcakes, and I ordered a dozen gluten free chocolate salted caramel cupcakes from Ruby Cakes Bakery.  (I am fortunate that I am just gluten intolerant.  I can use flour in my kitchen, and I will be fine as long as I do not ingest it.)  I loved spending the morning while my kids were in school making cupcakes, frosting them, and dipping them in sprinkles.  My kitchen felt so alive, and I knew that I was just getting started.

As I has previously talked about, I like to make themed cakes for my kids.  This summer, my son decided that he wanted to learn how to play the guitar.  Since he is so young, we decided to talk to some of our friends who play instruments.  We were told that he is young, but if he has interest, it would be worth looking into lessons for him.  So, we went to a local guitar store to get more information, and left with an electric guitar, amp, and signed up for guitar lessons once a week.  We were so impressed with how the owners of the guitar store listened to my son, and set him up with a program that is doable and fun for a 7 year old.  Since, my son is now enamored by the guitar, he asked for a guitar cake.  I found this template on the Parenting magazine website.  This is how I made the cake.

Gluten Free Guitar Cake

1- 9-inch round cake
1- 8-inch round cake
16 oz can chocolate frosting
16 oz can vanilla frosting
Yellow food coloring
1 box gluten free chocolate-coated wafer cookies (I used the brand Glutino)
2 large marshmallows
4 gluten free pretzel sticks (I used Snyder's gluten free pretzels)
8 yellow m&m's

I made the same chocolate cake batter I made for my daughter's unicorn cake.  Make sure to use different pans, because this recipe needs 2 different sizes of cake pans.  Once the cakes are cooled, remove them from their pans, and cut a 2 and 3/4 inch curved cut from an edge of the 9-inch cake.  Place the cakes next to each other on a large serving platter or a piece of sturdy cardboard covered with aluminum foil.  Secure the cakes with a little chocolate frosting.  Place the cakes in the freezer for an hour, so the cakes will be easier to frost.

When you are ready to frost, spoon 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting into a bowl.  Spoon 1/2 cup of the chocolate frosting into another small bowl.  Reserve these for later*  Add 2 teaspoons of chocolate frosting and a few drops of yellow food coloring to the remaining vanilla frosting.  Blend it well, until it looks beige.  Then take the cake out of the freezer.  Spread the sides of the cake with the remaining chocolate frosting.  Then spread the top of the cake with the beige frosting.  Place a canning jar rim on the smaller round cake to make an outline for the guitar's sound hole.  Pipe the chocolate frosting inside the canning rim to form a circle.

For the neck, arrange a row of 8 chocolate-coated wafer cookies above the top of the cake for the guitar neck.  Spread some chocolate frosting on top of this row.  Add another layer of chocolate wafers, and then spread chocolate frosting on top.  Place one of the chocolate-coated wafer cookies onto the lower third of the cake (underneath the sound hole).  Pipe 4 lines of un-tinted vanilla frosting from the top of the neck to the chocolate wafer near the bottom of the cake.  These will be the guitar strings.  Add the yellow M&M's to the end of each guitar string.  Cut 2 marshmallows in half and stick a pretzel in each one.  Stick the 2 pretzels with marshmallows into either side of the guitar neck.

Then serve this to the special birthday boy or girl!

*Cook's Notes:  I use a Dessert Decorator by Wilton, so I put the reserved frosting in a bowl until I can put it in my decoration tool.  If you do not have one of them, you can use sandwich-sized plastic bags.  When you are ready to use the frosting, snip off the the corner of the bag and pipe the frosting where you want it to go.  

<3 Cassidy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins Recipe

As much as I hate to admit this, my kids love pop tarts.  They would be happy to eat them every morning, but they do not fill up their tummies.  When my son went to Kindergarten last year, I made up the rule that pop tarts were only allowed as snacks or on the weekends.  He grumbled a little, but he gave up on that pretty quickly.  My son ended up eating bagels, eggs, or cereal, and it seemed to satisfy him longer.  Fast forward to a year later, and I am going through this with my daughter who started Kindergarten this week.  She is very stubborn and is morning the loss of the pop tarts for breakfast.  So, I decided that I would make muffins to give my kids something special in the morning.  My first attempt this week was blueberry muffins.  I got some blueberries at our local Farmer's Market, so I thought that that was a good place to start.  Here is my recipe.  

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest, dried
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 cup fresh blueberries
Cinnamon and sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place muffin papers in the muffin pan and set it aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, honey, eggs, and vanilla.  Then add the baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and almond flour.  Mix together again until everything is well combined.  Pour the blueberries into the batter, and gently stir them until they are blended well.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin pan.  I was able to get 11 muffins out of this batter.  Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over the muffins, and then place in the oven.  Cook for 28 minutes or until a knitting needle comes out clean when inserted into a muffin.  Remove from the oven and let cool.  Then serve.

These muffins turned out wonderfully.  They were moist and lightly sweetened.  I am not a big fan of blueberry muffins, but I thought these were delicious.  My kids devoured them every morning before school last week.  Unfortunately, they were so delicious that they were all eaten before I could take a picture.  I hope you enjoy!  

<3 Cassidy


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Gluten Free Peach and Blueberry Crisp Recipe

Hooray!  It's peach season.  My children and I picked some peaches at our local Farmer's Market on Thursday.  They are sweet and juicy, and we cannot seem to get enough of them.  We have been eating them by themselves, but tonight we had a special friend come over for dinner.  Whenever she comes over, we like to have a scrumptious dessert to serve.  Since the peaches have been so yummy, I decided that I wanted to make a peach crisp.  When I was looking in the fridge for the peaches, I saw that we still had some blueberries from the same Farmer's Market trip.  So, I decided to throw them in as well.  Here is my recipe.

Peach and Blueberry Crisp

6 peaches
1 cup blueberries
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

2 cups gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I sprayed my baking dish with Pam, but I am not sure that it is absolutely necessary.

Pit the 6 peaches, and cut them into bite size pieces.  Put them in a medium bowl.  Add 1 cup of blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar.  Mix these ingredients together, and pour them into the baking dish.  Place baking dish on a lined cookie sheet to keep your oven clean in case the juices overflow from the baking dish.

Rinse out the medium bowl and pat it dry.  Add the gluten free oats, tapioca starch, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the melted butter and mix together again until the topping is crumbly.

Pat the topping onto the filling, and bake in the oven for 60 minutes.  When the topping is browned, and the fruit is soft when you stick a knitting need in it, it is done.  Take it out of the oven and let it cool.  Serve it by itself or with a scoop of ice cream.  YUMMY!

This crisp was an amazing, and I would be proud to serve this to anyone who stopped by.  The fruit just melted in my mouth, and I loved the crispness of the topping.  I might try this topping with other seasonal fruits too.  Hope you enjoy sharing this recipe with your loved ones as well.

<3 Cassidy      

Friday, August 31, 2012

Almond Flour Waffles Recipe

It is always fun to turn your day upside down by eating breakfast for dinner.  That is what we decided to make for dinner tonight.  My kids wanted pancakes and bacon.  I have already talked about how my husband makes really good pancakes.  Tonight, he even made a bunny face pancake for our daughter with chocolate chips for the eyes, nose, and mouth.

The only thing is, I really like waffles better.  So, we decided to make both tonight!  A couple years ago, a few of my friends got together and bought me a waffle-maker.  I love it!  I have used it to make waffles from a mix, but tonight I tried to make waffles from scratch.  Here is my recipe.

Almond Flour Waffles

4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the waffle-maker until the ready light comes on.

While the waffle-maker is warming up, start making the waffle batter.  In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs, vanilla, and honey.  Then add the almond flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Mix all of the ingredients together.

When the waffle-maker is ready, spray the insides of the waffle-maker with Pam to keep the waffle from sticking.  Then using the scoop that came with the waffle-maker, pour some of the batter into the waffle-maker.  (The scoop is about 1/2 cup, but it will depend on your waffle-maker how much you should use.)  Close the lid, and wait for the waffle to cook.  When the waffle is fully cooked, take it out and place it on a plate.  Repeat with the rest of the batter, but be sure to spray the waffle iron before you pour on new batter.

Serve the waffles with your favorite toppings.  Tonight I used maple syrup, but I also like to top my waffles with ice cream.  I remember my mother always having waffles and ice cream when my brother Jon came home to visit.  What are your favorite toppings?

<3 Cassidy

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Gluten Free Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

Tonight we went to dinner at a friend's house, and we all brought appetizers.  One friend brought a bean and guacamole dip and chips, which was absolutely amazing.  Another friend brought beet hummus, which also was spectacular.  The host made homemade bread (which I was unable to eat) and an almond,honey,chocolate mixture to spread on the bread.  This was so amazing that I ate it by the spoonful.  I hope that they will share that recipe soon, so I can share it with all of you.

As you can tell, the people that come to this dinner are very good cooks.  So, I have to try to keep up with their culinary expertise.  When I am unsure about what to make, I think about some of the recipes my mother made as a child.  One of the appetizers I remember fondly was cocktail meatballs.  My mother brought it to parties and served it with toothpicks.  It was always fun eating something with toothpicks.  I remember that I always had to grab some of these early, because there were never any left.  So, I decided to make it for tonight.  I adapted the recipe my mother made when I was younger to make it gluten free.

Cocktail Meatballs

1lb ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 small onion, grated or 2 tbsp dried minced onion
3/4 tsp salt
Dash of pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup Heinz chili sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp lemon juice

Combine the ground beef, egg, almond flour, grated onion, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Then mix everything together well using your hands.  Form the mixture into 1-inch balls.  You should get between 25-30 meatballs.

In a skillet, combine the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice.  Simmer it on low until it is a smooth consistency, stirring constantly.  Add meatballs gently and simmer for 1 hour.  Then serve.

Tonight I decided that 1lb of ground beef was not enough to bring to our dinner, so I tripled this recipe.  No, this is not a typo.  I made 3lbs of meatballs, but we took home only roughly 5 meatballs.  So, I would say that this recipe was a huge success.

Cook's Notes:  This recipe can also be made using a crockpot.  You combine the meat make the meatballs the same way I stated above, however you place them in the crockpot.  Then you mix the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice in a skillet.  Stir it constantly until the mixture is smooth.  Then pour it over meatballs and cook it on low for 4-5 hours.  It is just as delicious cooking it this way, so do what is easier for you and your family.

I hope you enjoy making it to bring to an appetizer party or for a fun dinner of appetizers at home.

<3 Cassidy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Potato Salad Recipe

My husband is a professor at a local college in town, and he has a few students who work for him during the summer.  One of the things that people miss when being away from home is a home cooked meal.  So, we try to invite his students over once during the summer to thank them for all of their hard work.  The summer is quickly coming to a close, so we realized that we needed to invite them over soon.  So, we decided to have a cookout.  My husband grilled hamburgers, and I made salad and potato salad.  I have been making this particular potato salad since we were newlyweds.  My husband really likes this version, so he specifically requested it for the cookout.  Here is my recipe.

Potato Salad

2.5lbs red potatoes
3 eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 small green pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Cut the potatoes into cubes, and place them in a large pot.  Cover the potatoes with water, and bring the water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, turn on your timer for 15-20 minutes.  Cook the potatoes until they are tender.  Drain them in a colander, and pour them into a large bowl.  Set them aside to cool.

While you are boiling the potatoes, you will need to be hard-boiling the eggs.  Place the eggs in a small pot with a cover, and fill the pot wither water until the eggs are covered.  Cover the pot with it's cover and bring the water to a boil.  Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the stove.  Leave the eggs in the pot, with the burner off, for 15 minutes.  Then remove the eggs from the water and let them cool until you can touch them.  Once they are cool to the touch, you can peel and chop them and add them to the potatoes.

Mix in the mayonnaise, onion, green onion, and pepper.  Season with salt and pepper and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate the potato salad for several hours or overnight.

The students really enjoyed the cookout.  The weather was beautiful, and the bugs even stayed away for most of the meal.  We ended our meal with yummy brownies.  We are looking forward to doing it again next year.  

<3 Cassidy

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bruschetta Recipe

It is time again for our monthly Friends' Dinner.  My friend Krista hosted, and she decided to make it a night of appetizers.  I was super excited, because appetizers are so much fun.  Krista made a spinach artichoke dip, and she had many different kinds of fruits and veggies.  My addition to the evening was bruschetta and gluten free bread.  Jillian, another friend of ours, made a Vegetarian 5 Layer Dip.  She has recently started started a blog called a Food Filled Life.  She has a large variety of recipes, and I recommend you checking it out.  Here is my recipe.

Gluten Free Bruschetta

2- 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained
Medium handful of chopped, fresh basil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
large pinch of salt

Pour 2 cans of tomatoes into a large mixing bowl.  Then add the basil and garlic and mix together.  Finally, add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.  Mix until all of the ingredients are blended well.  Place in the refrigerator for an hour or overnight so the flavors blend together.  Then serve with gluten free bread or french bread if your guests are not gluten free. 

My friends really enjoyed this recipe, and I hope you will enjoy it too!

<3 Cassidy

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gluten Free Unicorn Birthday Cake

I really enjoy making special birthday cakes for my family.  I have posted about my adventures in a previous post, and you can see some of my other cakes I have made.  This year is my daughter's 5th birthday.  This is a big birthday for us, because she is starting Kindergarten in the fall.  She is my youngest, and it feels like just yesterday we brought her home from the hospital.  So, I asked her what kind of cake she wanted for her birthday.  She has become fascinated with unicorns lately, so she asked if she could have a unicorn cake.  I searched online and found this on the Parenting magazine website.  The website was pretty detailed in it's descriptions, but I modified it slightly to make it gluten free and more to my daughter's specifications.

This is how I created my Gluten Free Unicorn cake.  First, I made a 2 chocolate cakes inspired by Elana's Pantry almond flour cookbook.  Here is my recipe.

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup honey
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then, take out an 8-inch square pan and an 8-inch round pie pan and coat them with Crisco, so the cakes will not stick to the pan.  

Add the almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda into are large bowl.  Combine until it is mixed well.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mix together the honey, eggs, and vanilla extract.  I used a stand mixer for this part, so I am sure that all of the ingredients are mixed together well.  Pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients.  Mix it all together until it is well blended.  Then divide the batter between a 8-inch square pan and an 8-inch round pie pan.  (I scoop the batter into the pans using a measuring cup, so that I could split the batter more evenly.  It does not matter the size, it is helpful for me to see that my scoops are even between pans.)  

Bake in the oven for ~25 minutes.  Take out and let cool.  I put the cakes in the freezer overnight to harden them a little to help with the frosting process the next day. 

When you are ready to start decorating the cake, these are the ingredients you will need.

1 sugar cone
1 pink jelly bean
1 green round candy (I used an M&M, and I made the unicorn have the same eye color as my daughter.)
Vanilla frosting*
Red licorice*
Course purple decorating sugar
Course silver decorating sugar
Course red decorating sugar

You will also need a large platter, and I did not have one that was large enough.  So, I cut out a large flat piece of cardboard from a box in our garage.  Then I covered it in aluminum foil, and I used duct tape to secure the foil on the back of the cardboard.  It worked perfectly, and it was less expensive than buying a new large platter.

Once you have all of your ingredients, it is time to trim the cake.  There is a great template on how to cut the unicorn shape, and I highly recommend that you go to the website to see this.  When you are done trimming,    arrange the unicorn on the platter as shown on the template.

Next, you will need to cover the cone in vanilla frosting.  Then cut open the sugar cone on the backside, so that the open end fits well against the side of the cake by the ears.  When it is placed correctly, it will look like a horn coming directly out of the cake.  Then sprinkle silver sprinkles on the cone to make it look like it is sparkly.

Spread most of the frosting on the cake and make it smooth.  Press the pink jelly bean for the unicorn's nostril.  Press a green M&M for the unicorn's eye.  Cut the licorice into 3-inch strips and arrange then on the back of the unicorn's head and in-between the unicorn's ears to represent it's mane.  Pipe on a little smile for the unicorn and sprinkle some red sugar for the lips.  Sprinkle purple sprinkles over the whole unicorn to make it seem more magical.

Then serve to a wide-eyed birthday girl who thinks that you are the most amazing mother in the world to create such a special and perfect cake.  And make sure to take pictures, because the moment will be all too brief. 

* Cook's notes:  I doubled the frosting recipe, so there would be plenty of frosting to cover the cake.  I did not use gluten free licorice, because the rest of my family is not gluten free.  However, there are a few brands who make a licorice that is gluten free.  


<3 Cassidy

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gluten Free Steak Marinade Recipe

Today is my daughter's 5th birthday, and she is my carnivore.  She loves to eat meat, especially steak.  So, guess what we are having for dinner?  Steak.....and corn!  In our family, I marinate the steak, and my husband cooks it on the grill.  I frequently end up cooking the corn, because my kids prefer when we cook the corn in the microwave.  (My husband and I prefer to cook the corn on the grill, but the kids outweigh us when we are making it specifically for them.)  

Our marinade is sweet and simple.  We have used it on different cuts of beef, and it always complements it well.  It is loosely based on a recipe that my brother uses, and his children call it "Daddy's special sauce."  We always enjoyed it when we visited him, so we came up with our own version.  Here it is.

Steak Marinade

2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar

Mix all of the ingredients together in a Ziploc bag.  Marinate the steak in this mixture for at least 30 minutes.  Continue brushing the marinade over steak while grilling.


<3 Cassidy  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Today I made a gluten free Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe.  It was really simple to make, and it was really delicious.  I found many different ways to make this recipe online, and this is my version.   I am also thinking about adding some dried fruit next time I make them.  That will hopefully add another layer of deliciousness to these amazing muffins.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
3 cups almond flour, firmly packed
1 rounded teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place muffin liners into the muffin tins and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a stand mixer.  Then add the coconut oil, honey, milk, and vanilla extract.  Mix together and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour and baking soda.  Then add all of the wet ingredients and combine until it is well mixed.  Then add the chocolate chips, and stir until the chips are spread throughout the batter.

Using an ice cream scoop, spoon about one scoop into the muffin tins.  Each cup should be about 3/4 the way full.  I was able to get 14 muffins out of this batter.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the knitting needle stuck in the center of a cupcake comes out clear.

I tried one of these muffins fresh from the oven, and it was amazing.  The muffin was moist, and the chocolate chips were melted.  It hit the spot.  I am looking forward to having one for breakfast tomorrow morning.  

 I hope you enjoy this making this recipe.

<3 Cassidy  

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gluten Free Spring Pea Dip Recipe

We went to a friend's house this evening to have a casual dinner, so our children could spend some time together.  Our friends had dinner covered, so we brought some appetizers.  We bought a veggie tray at Albertson's and I made my Pea Dip.  I found this recipe from Good Housekeeping last summer, and I have made this for many pot luck events since.  This pea dip is a beautiful addition to the table.  The bright green color of the peas can add color to your table presentation.  Plus, it is light and summery, and it can help channel summertime, even though the weather in the Pacific NW hasn't caught up yet.  This dip can be made with spring peas from your garden, but our peas were not ready.  Thankfully, we always have frozen peas, and this recipe works well with either fresh or frozen peas.  Here is my version of the Spring Pea Dip.

Gluten Free Spring Pea Dip

2 cups fresh peas shelled from the pod or 2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 inches of water in a quart saucepan over high heat.  Once it is boiling, add the peas and return to boil.    Reduce heat to medium and cover.  Cook the peas for 3 minutes or until the peas are tender.  Drain the peas  in a colander and then rinse with cold water to stop the peas from cooking anymore. Once peas are completely drained, pour the peas into the food processor with the knife blade attachment.  Add the mint and salt and puree.  Add the ricotta cheese and Parmesan and mix again.  

Transfer to a small bowl and serve with vegetables or a gluten free cracker.  If you are not ready to serve, cover tightly and refrigerate.  


<3 Cassidy

Friday, June 29, 2012

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Pancakes Recipe

Even though the kids had pancakes this past weekend at the Lion's Club Pancake Breakfast, they still wanted to have pancakes for dinner one day this week.  When I asked both of my children why they wanted  to have pancakes again, they said because their daddy makes the best pancakes.  I have to agree with that, but there is a caveat.  My husband puts chocolate chips in the batter and he makes the pancakes into fun shapes.  He has made bunny faces, teddy bears, and even a lightsaber.

After I found out that I was pregnant, my husband and I talked about some important traditions that we wanted to continue with our family.  One of them was that my husband wanted to be able to make chocolate pancakes, and he wanted to eventually do it with our children.  He remembered how it was his job to give a "chip alert" when the pancakes seemed low on chocolate chips.  So, he practiced.  My husband's parents even bought us a brand new griddle, so he could perfect his pancake making skills.  Fast forward almost 7 years, and my husband has perfected making a variety of pancakes.  He has made regular pancakes, high fiber pancakes, and even gluten free pancakes.   Now we decided to try almond flour pancakes.  I based my recipe from The Nourishing Home blog.  Since this was our first try, my husband did not make this batter into shapes.  We will have to try again when we are more familiar with this type of batter.  Here is our recipe.  

Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Pancakes

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk or 1/4 cup of milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice*
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the griddle to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.  Then set it aside.

Next, you will need to separate all 3 eggs.  Place the egg whites in a medium sized mixing bowl and set it aside.  Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter to the egg yolks and mix together using a mixer.  It is really important to make sure that the butter is cool to the touch, because you don't want any of the egg yolk to get cooked.  As you are mixing, add the buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla to the yolk mixture.  Once everything is mixed well, mix in the dry ingredients that have been set aside.  Make sure that there are no lumps in the batter, and then set aside.

Attach the medium bowl with egg whites to the mixer and clean whisk attachment.  Whisk the egg whites rapidly until they are a foamy consistently.  It should take about 1-2 minutes.  Then add the foamy egg whites to the batter and mix together slowly and carefully with the whisk.  You do not want to beat them too much, because they can lose the air that you added to the egg white to help the fluffiness of the pancakes.

Once the batter has been combined well, add some chocolate chips to the batter.  You can decide how chocolaty you want the pancakes.  Plus you can always add more chocolate chips are you are making the pancakes.            

Grease the griddle with canola oil or coconut oil.  Once the griddle is hot, ladle spoonfuls of the batter onto the griddle.  The pancakes should be about the size of a silver dollar.  (My husband uses 1/4 cup measure and fills it halfway with pancake batter.)  Cook the pancakes for a couple of minutes until the edges dry out a little.  The batter should begin to bubble a little bit when it is ready to flip.  Carefully flip the pancake and cook for a few more minutes.  Both sides should be browned, but not over-cooked.  (Once you have successfully cooked one pancake, it is important for the official tasters of your house to taste the pancakes.  Then you know if you are doing it correctly.)  

Serve the pancakes hot off with griddle with pure maple syrup.  You can make sausage or bacon as a side dish, but it is not necessary.

*Cook's Notes:  I used 1/4 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, because I do not regularly keep buttermilk in the house.

After you make these pancakes, I hope your loved ones will tell you, like our's did, that this is the best meal ever.  Enjoy!

<3 Cassidy  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Gluten Free Coconut Chicken Recipe

Gluten Free Coconut Chicken

2 lbs chicken tenders, slightly pounded
1 cup almond flour
2 eggs
1 cup shredded coconut
Canola oil
Apricot jam

Since you are handling raw chicken, it is important to set up all of our supplies before you handle any of the food.  You will need 2 shallow dishes and a plate.  Place the almond flour and coconut in one dish and mix it together.  Beat the eggs in another bowl.  Set out a large skillet and canola oil as well.  

Take one chicken tender and coat it in the egg.  Then coat it in the almond flour/coconut mixture.  Place the coated chicken tender on a plate and then repeat until all of the tenders have been coated.  

In a large skillet, heat a thin layer of canola oil on a medium heat.  Fry in batches until deep golden in color, 3-4 minutes on each side.  I serve the coconut chicken with some apricot jam.  It is super tasty, and it is really simple.

This is one of my family's favorite recipes.  It is inspired from a Rachael Ray recipe, but I adapted it so that it is gluten free.  I have also made this recipe with Fiber One cereal crumbs.  No matter how I make it, it is so good!  I hope you and your family like it too.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gluten Free Mock Kisir Recipe

Tonight some of my friend's came over for a belated birthday celebration.  I decided to have a Middle Eastern theme, so we had baba ganoush, hummus, olives, and kebobs (beef, red peppers, pineapple, peppers, mushrooms and grape tomatoes).  We marinated the stew meat in Italian dressing for a couple of hours.  The Italian dressing tenderized the meat, so that it was less chewy and very delicious.

I wanted to make a Turkish dish called kisir.  Kisir is a traditional sidedish made with bulgur wheat, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, parsley, mint lots of lemon juice, and lots of olive oil.  A tomato paste is used to help give it the beautiful reddish color.  Unfortunately, I could not use bulgur, because it is not gluten free.  So, I chose to substitute quinoa.  Even though this is not really kisir, it has some of the same flavors.  It is a good substitution for someone who likes the same flavors that kisir provides, but it is gluten free.  Here is my recipe.

Gluten Free Mock Kisir 

2 cups of quinoa

2 cups of water or broth
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup olive oil
6 green onions- finely chopped
2 small onions- finely chopped
2 cucumbers- finely chopped
2 green peppers- finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp cumin
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 teaspoon dried dill
salt to taste
2 tomatoes, finely chopped

Put the quinoa in a medium saucepan and cover it with water or broth.  (I used vegetable broth, because we had a vegetarian join us for the dinner party.  You can use chicken broth as well.)  Add the tomato paste and mix together well.  Bring the quinoa mixture to a simmer, and then cook until it is soft.  It should take about about 15-20 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the onions, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, and dill.  Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and a few pinches of salt.  Mix well and let the veggie mixture sit for a few minutes for the salt to dissolve and the flavors to blend.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Pour the cooked quinoa into the veggie mixture, mix well, and serve.

My friend at See Mommy Do It made a wonderful dessert to end our evening.  She used her amazing almond cake as layers topped with whip cream and strawberries.  It was absolutely delicious.  Thank you Krista for ending our evening so sweetly!

This quinoa was an excellent substitution to this dish.  The mock kisir still had a lemony taste, but all of the fresh vegetables kept it light delicious.  It balanced our kebobs nicely.  You could also eat this as a main dish.    It is great to take with you as a lunch to work or school.  Enjoy!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Gluten Free Tapas Night

Last weekend we went to a friend's house for our monthly family get-together.  This month our host decided to have a Spanish theme, meaning that we would have tapas and other traditional Spanish dishes.  Our host made some amazing paella and served a variety of Spanish cheeses with crackers.  My contributions to the festivities were a spinach with chickpeas tapas and sangria.  

The spinach with chickpeas is a vegetable rich tapas that is served with bread or crackers, but it can also be eaten alongside a main dish.  My recipe was inspired from Eating Well.    

Spinach and Chickpeas

2lbs spinach
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1-19 oz can garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth*

Rinse the spinach in a colander and let it drain.  Then place half the spinach in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Using tongs, toss the spinach as it begins to wilt.  Continue adding remaining spinach until it is all added and wilted.  It should take about 6-8 minutes.  Pour spinach back into the colander and drain again.  Let it cool slightly, and run a knife roughly through the wilted spinach.

Once the wilted spinach is out of the saucepan, heat about 1 tablespoon, or one turn of the pan, of olive oil at medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is tender and lightly browned.  Keep stirring the onions, so they will not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.  This should take about 8-10 minutes.  Add the garbanzo beans, thyme, oregano, cumin, salt, and paprika and stir all together to combine.  Then use a potato masher to roughly mash the chickpeas.  Stir all of this together again and cook for 3 more minutes.  Add the raisins and broth and mix it together.  Return the chopped spinach to the saucepan and gently combine.  Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand about 10 minutes.  

Drizzle the spinach with chickpeas with olive oil, about 2 tablespoons, before serving.  Then put it in a serving bowl and serve alongside crackers or toasted bread.  You can also serve this with a main dish such as paella.  It went nicely being served as an appetizer or side dish.  My husband really liked eating it with crackers, and my friends were asking for the recipe.  I am very happy about the results.

* Cook's notes:  I chose to use vegetable broth, because some of the members of our group are vegetarians.  It is really important to remember to remember to use vegetable broth if you are making this for vegetarians.  Unfortunately, it is very easy for us carnivores to automatically use chicken broth in a recipe.  I had to consciously remind myself to buy vegetable broth at the store.  I know that our friends appreciated us remembering to make something that they could enjoy too.  

I also made sangria.  I chose to make an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version of the sangria.  The impetus for the non-alcoholic sangria was my friend who is expecting a new bundle of joy at the end of the year.  She loves sangria, but she is unable to have the alcohol at the moment.  She did not want me to go through the hassle for just her, so I said it was for the children too.  Thankfully, she really liked the recipe.  The kids did not like the fruit floating in the juice, but they did like the taste of it.  I based my recipe after reading a blog from the Sweet Pea Chef.

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

3 cups grape juice
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange, thinly sliced
1 apple
3 cups ginger ale

Thinly slice 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 1 orange.  Core 1 apple and chop it into 1/2 inch cubes.  You do not need to peel any of the fruit.  The peel adds beautiful, bright colors in the glass.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  (You can leave it in the fridge overnight to allow the flavors to combine.)  Prior to serving, add the ginger ale and stir together.  Since we brought the sangria to a friend's house, we added a little ice to keep it cool.  I would recommend filling some ice cube trays with some of the sangria, and putting them in the freezer.  Once they are completely frozen, you can use this to keep it cold so that it does not taste watered down.

Lastly, I made a traditional sangria.  I looked at a variety of recipes from The Food Network website, and this is my recipe.

Traditional Sangria 

2 bottles chilled, dry red wine, like Rioja
1 cup brandy
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
2 oranges
2 lemons
3 limes
2 apples
2 cups ginger ale

In a large bowl, combine the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar.  Stir until the sugar completely dissolved.  Thinly slice 2 oranges, 2 lemons, and 3 limes.  Core 2 apples and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes.  You do not need to peel any of the fruit.  The peel adds beautiful, bright colors in the glass.  Add all of the fruit into the large bowl and refrigerate for a couple of hours.  Once it is well chilled, take it out of the refrigerator and add the ginger ale.  Serve in glasses over ice.

The traditional sangria was sweet and refreshing.  We drank it as we watched the children play in the backyard.  It was such a relaxing evening.  I hope that you will try these recipes with the ones you love.  Enjoy!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gluten Free Rainbow Cupcakes Recipe

This past weekend, we attended a picnic to celebrate the end of the Religious School year.  The Parents' Club supplied the usual picnic supplies of hot dogs, veggie burgers, rolls, and condiments.  Everyone else brought side dishes to share.  We made a cabbage slaw with apples and walnuts recipe from Whole Foods that was so simple and refreshing.  I will share my version of this recipe in another post.

I also wanted to make sure that there was a dessert for the people who were gluten free.   So, I decided to make some gluten free cupcakes.  I asked my children if they would prefer rainbow cupcakes or confetti cupcakes.  The children chose rainbow cupcakes.  I had seen a lot of rainbow cake recipes on Pinterest, but I had never tried it before.  I made rainbow cupcakes based on a vanilla cupcake recipe from Elana's Pantry book, "The Gluten Free Almond Cookbook."  Here is my recipe.

Gluten Free Rainbow Cupcakes

4 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they are pale yellow.  Then whisk in the grapeseed oil, honey, vanilla extract, and lemon juice.  Set aside.

In a cold medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are in stiff peaks.  Gently fold the eggs whites into the egg yolk mixture.  Set aside.

In an another medium bowl, combine the almond flour, salt, and baking soda.  Then gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.

Divide the batter into 6 different small bowls.  In the first bowl, add 18 drops of red food coloring and mix together.  In the second bowl, add 15 drops of yellow food coloring and mix together.  In the third bowl, add 15 drops of blue food coloring and mix together.  In the fourth bowl, add 15 drops of green food coloring and mix together.  In the fifth bowl, add 10 red and 6 blue drops of food coloring to make purple and mix together.  In the sixth bowl, add 12 drops of yellow and 5 drops of red to make orange and mix together.

The next step is to evenly distribute each color into all of the muffin cups.  I started with the red colored batter.  Using a regular sized spoon, I scooped a spoonful of the batter into as many muffin cups as I could.*  When I finished the red bowl, I moved onto the yellow bowl and did the same thing.  I repeated this until all of the batter had been added to the muffin cups.

Then I baked the cupcakes for about 20 minutes, until the tops were lightly browned or a metal knitting needle inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool in the muffin pan for 30 minutes.

2 oz softened butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Using a stand mixer, whisk the softened butter until it is creamy.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, and mix them together at a low speed for 1 minute.  Then increase the speed to medium for about 6 minutes or until it is light and fluffy.

Once the cupcakes are cool, spread the vanilla frosting over each cupcake.  Then dip the tops of the cupcake into a tub of rainbow sprinkles.  The cupcakes are then ready to serve.  Enjoy!

*Cooks notes:  I tried to divide the batter evenly before adding the food coloring, but I was not perfect.  Some colors seemed to fill more cups than others.  I did not care if all of the cupcakes were identical, but you can choose to be more meticulous with dividing the batter and spreading out each color.  

I am really happy about how these cupcakes turned out.  Many people were surprised to know that they were gluten free.  Even though the frosting was really sweet, the cupcake was not overly sweet.  It balanced out the sweetness factor nicely.  Adults and children both really liked them.  Next time you need something to brighten up the festivities, these cupcakes will hit the spot.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day

I had an amazing Mother's Day!  My husband and children spoiled me with homemade surprises, an afternoon of letterboxing, and amazing food.  First, my children gave me the presents they made.  They were so proud of their crafts.  Then my husband made an omelet with feta and spinach.  My husband did not use a specific recipe.  He heated a little olive oil in the bottom of a medium skillet and then added some garlic.  He cooked the garlic until it was slightly brown, and then added the spinach.  He cooked the spinach until it was slightly wilted.  Then he added 4 beaten eggs and a little milk to the skillet pan.  He cooked the eggs until they were mostly set.  Then he added some feta cheese and cooked for another minute or two.  Then my husband folded over the omelet and cooked it for a minute or two on each side.  The omelet was so delicious.  The feta added a little bit of saltiness to the omelet, and the spinach was delicious.  My husband served this alongside with bacon and coffee.  

Once all of our bellies were full, we went letterboxing at a local State Park.  Letterboxing is like a treasure hunt, and we love doing it as a family.  Since we planned to arrive at the park around lunchtime, we decided to pack a picnic lunch.  We had hard salami, cheese, hazelnut crackers, strawberries, pineapple, and sweet peppers.  The weather was beautiful, and the lunch was delicious.

We worked up an appetite walking around the park, so my husband cooked a  tri-tip steak on the grill.  We served that alongside corn on the cob.  This is one of my family's favorite summertime meals, and it was so nice to have it on Mother's Day.  Then we finished it with carrot cake inspired by Elana's Pantry.  Everyone helped a little in making this cake, which always makes it seem so much better.  This is our recipe.

Gluten Free Carrot Cake

3 cups almond flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/4 cup honey
5 large eggs
8 large carrots, grated
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Then grease 2 9 inch cake pans with grapeseed oil and dust with almond flour.*

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Set this aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk the grapessed oil, honey, and eggs together.  Add the wet ingredients to the almond flour mixture, and then combine thoroughly.  Then fold in the carrots, raisins, and walnuts.  

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cake pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a knitting needle or toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans for one hour.  Remove them from the pans and frost, then serve. 

When the cakes first came out of the oven, there were a lot of lumps.  The batter did not smooth out as it cooked, because there were a lot of carrots in this recipe.  We were concerned that the cake would not taste as good because of this.  Thankfully, we were wrong.  The carrot cake was moist and not too sweet  There were just the right amount of raisins and walnuts that balanced well with the carrots.  We used cream cheese frosting, which complements the carrot cake well.  This carrot cake provided a wonderful ending for a wonderful day.   

*Cooks notes- It is really important to coat the cakes pans with a good amount of grapeseed oil, because almond flour tends to stick when baked.  

I hope you enjoy sharing this carrot cake with someone you love!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gluten Free Mediterranean Chicken Recipe

I have trouble finding chicken breast recipes that I enjoy.  I prefer eating dark meat, which I have always found to be more moist.  Therefore, I am pretty picky when it comes to cooking chicken breasts.  I have tried many methods of cooking chicken, and this is one of my favorite recipes.  I got it a couple of years ago from You've Got Supper.  It is simple, but the Mediterranean ingredients make it a little more interesting.  We make it for ourselves frequently, but I think it is unique enough to serve it to guests.  The chicken remains moist during the cooking process, and the Mediterranean flavors liven up a plain meal.  I especially like that my family can cook this recipe together.  Here is my adaptation.
Mediterranean Chicken

1 lb chicken tenders
14oz diced tomatoes, drained
14oz can quartered artichoke hearts
8 large kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 oz feta cheese
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine drained diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, and feta in a medium sized bowl.  Add the olive oil and oregano and mix well.  Set aside.

Cut a 12 inch square piece of aluminum foil.  You can also use parchment paper for this.  I chose to use aluminum foil, because my children were helping me make dinner.  My son was able to rip the aluminum foil off the roll for me, while my hands were dirty from handling the chicken.

Place 2 chicken tenders in the center of a piece of aluminum foil, and spoon some of the tomato mixture on top of the chicken. Then move it onto a rimmed baking sheet.  You will need to seal the aluminum foil before you cook, but I recommend that that step should not be completed until the end.  This allows me the ability to move the toppings around if they have not been placed evenly, especially since my special little helpers enjoy spooning the tomato mixture on top of the chicken.  Repeat until all of the chicken tenders and tomato mixture are gone.

Fold the aluminum foil around the chicken and tomato mixture to form a packet.  Bake the chicken in the oven for 22 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.

While the chicken is cooking, I usually make pasta to go with it.  Since I do not eat many grains, I do not make a starch to go with this recipe for me.  I just eat a salad along with it.  However, I make traditional pasta to serve along side this for my husband and kids.  They like it better, and they do not have trouble with gluten.  I do think that the gluten free pasta would go very well with this recipe.

Sorry that there are no pictures.  My husband ate the leftovers before I had a chance to take a picture.  This is such a yummy chicken recipe that even the leftovers do not last long in my house!  I hope you and your family enjoy making this together just like we did.  Enjoy!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Charoset Recipe

Even though Passover has come and gone, I have been thinking about my recipes that were successful and those that were not.  One of the recipes that I use every year is my charoset recipe.  Charoset is an apple-nut mixture that symbolizes the mortar that the Israelites used to attach the bricks together when they were slaves in Egypt.  Charoset is a very important dish during the Passover seder.  

There are many different variations for charoset.  Some recipes are made into a paste while some are made with pieces.  Some recipes contain dried fruit while others do not.  This recipe was given to my mother when I was in middle school, and I have not found one that I like as much.  Here is my recipe.    

Charoset Recipe

6 apples (~1.5 lbs)
6 oz mixed dried fruit, chopped
4 oz dried dates, chopped
4 oz walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup kosher wine

Dice the apples into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a big bowl.*  Add the dried mixed fruit, dried dates, and walnuts.  Then mix all of those ingredients together.  Add the allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the apple-nut mixture and mix together.  Lastly, add the kosher wine.  I used about 3/4 cup of wine, but I always eyeball it.  It is not necessary for this to be an exact measurement.  Then mix together one last time.  It is ready to be served.  

* Cook's Notes:  I have found that it is important to have a really big bowl when you are making this recipe.  There needs to be enough room to mix all of the ingredients together without spilling over the side.  I personally make a mess in the kitchen, so I prefer an over-sized bowl or stockpot.  

Also, I used my fruit and veggie chopper by Progressive to cut the apple for this recipe.  I love many kitchen gadgets, but I have been exceptionally happy with this tool.  It comes with three different blades, and I use all of them.  I have cut many different kinds of fruits and vegetables including:  pickling cucumbers, onion, peppers, and apples.  

I hope you enjoy making this for your next Passover seder.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gluten Free Coffee Cake Recipe for Passover


One of our favorite Passover breakfast treats is a Honey Pecan Swirled Coffee Cake.  It is so yummy, but it is not gluten free.  So, I decided to try to adapt this recipe to be gluten free.  Below is my adaptation of this recipe.  If you want to make the regular version, here it is.  I have made it many times, and it always comes out beautifully.  You can substitute any nuts for the pecans, and I used matzah cake meal instead of plain matzah meal.  The matzah grains are finer in the cake meal, so there is less of a grainy taste for the coffee cake.

Gluten Free Honey Walnut Swirled Coffee Cake

1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup honey
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
6 eggs, separated
1 cup almond flour
6 tablespoons potato starch

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a bundt pan with shortening or oil.  Place a small metal mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer until you are ready to beat the egg whites.  (I have found that this will shorten the amount of time it will take to beat the egg whites into soft peaks.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup honey, walnuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder.  (This does not seems like a large enough volume to put in a medium bowl but you need the space to mix these ingredients together.  It is very sticky, so it is nice to have a larger bowl to prevent overflow.)

In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup honey, egg yolks, almond flour, and potato starch.

Remove the small bowl and whisk from the freezer.  Place the egg white in the bowl and beat until they form soft peaks.  I like using my free-standing mixer, but a handheld mixer will work fine too.  When the egg whites have formed soft peaks, add the whites into the yolk mixture and mix together.  

Spread 1/3 of the batter on the bottom of the bundt pan and then spoon 1/2 of the walnut mixture on top.  Spread another 1/3 of the batter into the pan and top with walnut mixture.  Finish with the last of the batter.  Take a spoon handle, and gently swirl the filling around the batter.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a metal knitting needle comes out clean when inserted near the center.  

Let sit and cool until you can touch the bottom of the pan.  Remove from bundt pan.  Serve warm or room temperature.

I found that this version of the coffee cake stuck to the pan a little more.  I really greased my bundt pan, but it still had trouble coming out of the pan.  I think I might need a new bundt pan.  Even though this did not come out of the pan as I would have liked, the coffee cake was light and fluffy.  It was sweet but not overpowering.  It is something that you could eat during Passover or all year long.  I hope you enjoy making this in your kitchen.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fudge Brownies Recipe for Passover

Passover is a special time where we are supposed to remember what it was like to be a slave in Egypt, and rejoice that were are free.  We are never supposed to forget, so something like this never happens again.  My husband and I feel that this is a very important lesson to teach our children.  So, we try to set this week apart from the rest of the year.  We remove all of the chametz, bread or other leavened foods, from our refrigerator and cupboards.  Since we do not feel the need to throw away perfectly good leavened food, we just put the chametz in our freezer or in the back of the closet.  It remains out of sight until the end of Passover.  We also try to do a whole house cleanse before Passover begins.  It helps remind us how Passover is different from all other nights.

Since there are many foods that we have to abstain from eating, I try to make some special foods that are only made for Passover.  One of those recipes is a special fudge brownie.  It is not gluten free, but it has become a tradition in my family since the kids have been born.  So, I made it for my husband and children.  I am going to make macaroons for me.  I personally feel that I am getting the better end of that deal!

Front Cover

This recipe is from "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking"  by Marcy Goldman (p.298).  I could not find my version of this book at Amazon, but here is a newer edition.

Decadent Fudge Brownies with Glossy Fudge Frosting

2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon coffee
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup matzah cake meal

Glossy Fudge Frosting:
2/3 cup coffee
7 ounces chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 7x11 inch casserole dish.  

Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl.  In a medium sized bowl, mix the sugar and butter together.  Then add the eggs, coffee, cocoa, salt, and matzah cake meal.  Mix all of the ingredients together.

Scoop the batter into the prepared dish.  Then bake for 20-25 minutes.  (The brownies only took 20 minutes in my convection oven).  Do not overbake them.  The brownies should be set and seem dry to the touch, but there should not be crust around the edges.  Then let them cool.

For the frosting, heat the coffee in a small saucepan.  As it comes to a boil, add the chocolate chips and reduce the heat.  Remove the pan from the heat, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Whisk in the softened butter and spread the frosting on top of the cooled brownies.  Cut into squares and serve.

These brownies are really rich, but my family loves them.  I hope you and your loved ones enjoy them as well.