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!