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