Thursday, December 31, 2009

it's the end of the year already?

I've been MIA for some time lately. I've had a whole lot of things going on in my personal life and I've not spent much time in the kitchen. Not to say I haven't been cooking and baking, b/c I have, but I've not been creating my own recipes. :( My divorce will be finalized in just a couple of weeks and that has taken a lot of my energy. I'm doing well...adjusting to single life well and making healthy choices for my life. It's hard to cook for just one person, so I've been snacking a lot and eating a lot of sandwiches (on Kinnikinnick's Tapioca Hamburger Buns, which are amazing, btw).

Yesterday I decided I needed some pecans. Not just your average roasted or even honey roasted pecans but those really delicious cinnamon-sugary ones you can get at Hockey games or fairs/festivals? They are usually still hot too when you get them! Yeah, I love them to pieces. I've seen them called cinnamon glazed nuts or german nuts. Whatever you call them, they are good and deserve to be eaten whenever they are desired!

So New Years Eve is here and 2010 has potential to be amazing. I'm excited about what it has to bring. And to usher in 2010, I have nuts!

Cinnamon Pecans

1/4 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
4 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Vanilla
3-4 cups Pecan halves (as desired)

(warning, be ready with strong arms, you'll be stirring for a long time!)

Put Butter, Sugar, Cinnamon and Vanilla into a large sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly so it doesn't burn. Mixture will begin to boil softly and thicken after 10-15's a slow process to keep it just hot enough that it doesn't burn but not so hot that you can't get it all done in time. Continue stirring and add pecans once it's boiling softly and thickening. Mixture will appear sticky as you stir in the pecans. Stir over heat until most of the "sticky" is gone. Immediately remove from heat and continue to stir for another 5-10 minutes. Pecans will begin to separate from one another and start to look dry. Spoon pecans off into a large heat safe bowl and continue to stir until nuts are mostly separated.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Such exciting events!

One of my favorite websites is It's hilarious. It's a website that tells the stories of cakes-gone-wrong. It's all in good fun and it's an awesome site.

The author/editor of the site, Jen, has gotten a book deal and she is on a book signing tour. This past weekend she and her husband were in Dallas for the signing. Specifically in Plano! Woohoo!

I made plans to attend because that is fun...and I wanted to support the site.

At each stop they hold a cake wreck replica contest, aka wreckplica contest, and I knew I HAD to enter. I went thru the pictures and stories of some of the "classic wrecks" and choose a delightfully horrible CCC.

MY wreckplica turned out very similar (as it was supposed to)

Jen, and some of the professional bakers she had on hand, picked out 3 of the wrecks as the winners. Then the 1st place winner is chosen by popular "clap" vote.

My cake wreckplica was chosen as one of the top 3 winners. Popular vote selected one of the other 3 as the 1st place winner but I was the 1st runner up!

It was fun making such a terrible cake. It was fun winning and I got a hand crafted carrot jockey necklace as my prize!

My cake wreckplica was gluten free and vegan.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

breakfast pizza

I got the idea of making a breakfast pizza the other night while sleeping. I was dreaming of the deliciousness as I frequently dream about pizza. It continues to be the one food I cannot make like it's full-gluten cousin.

I still enjoy the pizza I do make, but I remember the difference in flavor, texture and greasiness! I have been able to make or buy every other food (that I've wanted) to bake up just like it's gluten'd cousin, but pizza eludes me.

Well, I used the delicious Kinnikinnick square pizza crusts, brushed them with a little melted butter, added (all pre-cooked) scrambled eggs, potatoes, red and green peppers, onions and topped it off with grated cheese.

Cooked it at 425 for about 10 minutes and it was so delicious!

Definitely going to make this again!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


So, remember how I raved about the Tostitos Bite Sized Gold chips a while back? Well, Tostitos stopped making/selling them due to slow sales and that still makes me sad because they truly are the best chip ever made, but that's a whole other story and I'd rather talk about chips and not how sad that made me. :)

A few weeks ago I did a focus group study for Tostito's which required me to host a couple events, take pictures and video's of me talking about the events and the food I serve and how it makes me feel to do those things. Since I have girls over pretty regularly for Girls Nights in and craft nights, they felt like I was a good consumer to talk with further about all types of food products.

So today a group of executives from Tostito's came to my house to talk about food and gatherings and people and how it makes us (consumers and those who host events) feel about pre-packaged foods and home made foods and a bunch of other stuff about food and events. It was really cool to get to talk to them about Tostitos since I eat them so often!

I mentioned that I miss the Gold's and that they are/were the best chip ever made and the guy sitting to my left started agreeing with me. Turns out he invented that chip! I got to meet the guy who invented, designed and created the best chip on the planet! Unfortunately for me that doesn't change that Tostito'=s is still not making and selling them any longer. But it was still cool to get to meet the guy who was responsible for the best chip ever. Turns out his team is also responsible for the really good new Been & Cheese Queso Dip (i can't remember the exact name) on the market too. It's really good. TRY IT! You must try it because I want them to keep making it. It's gluten free and it's good.

They couldn't tell me too much but I know they have some great things in the works and I'm happy to say I'll definitely be on the look-out.

Today was a good day!

Friday, August 14, 2009

I had a dream

From what I can remember I haven't had one of these dreams for a long time...back when gluten free was still new to me.

I was sitting with friends and eating pizza. I had eaten half a slice and took a big bite of the crust only to realize I was eating regular gluten pizza! I set the slice down and almost spit out the offending crust but didn't because it was good and I'd already eaten half a slice of pizza...gluten and all. But I did stop eating any more. And I woke up frazzled that I'd done it somehow without remembering my intolerance to gluten.

Dreammoods says that dreaming of eating pizza indicated abundance, choices and variety. OR it might indicate that you are feeling deprived of something.

I think the latter part of that description is accurate and that there is NO symoblism in my dream. I feel deprived of yummy, delicious, greasy, salty pizza.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

evaluation time

While grocery shopping I ran across some gluten free chicken nuggets! This is almost an impossibility to find and I was very excited about it. Even though I don't eat meat (I have always kind of disliked meat) I wanted to try them and see how they were.

The box says they are fully cooked and just need to be heated, either in the microwave or oven. I always choose the oven unless it's going to be a long time because the breading turns out much crispier.

So I baked them for 12 minutes in a 425 oven.

They were ok. Not great as they are pressed chicken shapes and not cut chicken breasts, but they are gluten free and that is nice. The breading got really crispy and delicious and I imagine that I'd enjoy them a lot with bbq sauce (it's my preferred sauce).

Anyway, all in all, they are good. Definitely not great b/c of the pressed meat stuff, but the flavor was good, the breading was awesome and they are gluten free! I'd recommend if you are gluten free and love chicken nuggets, but they aren't going to be a staple in my kitchen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Taking some "baking" time off

For the next week or two I am not going to be baking goodies.

I hope to still write about GF foods, just not cupcakes, cookies and other deserts. I find deserts so much more exciting, but we'll see how I do.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

boston cream pie!

I read several baking blogs and one, Cupcake Takes the Cake, mentioned some Boston Cream Pie cupcakes the other day and reading about them made me decide that I NEEDED to make some that are gluten free! I've always loved boston cream pie and it's been years since I've had a slice.

Obviously going gluten free has made eating baked goods from restaurants or bakeries practically impossible since there aren't any dedicated gluten free ones around me...There used to be one in my neighborhood, but it closed down a couple weeks ago.

I've always assumed it was really hard to make so it just stayed in the very back of my mind laying dormant until the time came that I was prepared to tackle such a "complicated" desert.

I used the quotes around the word complicated because this is one of the easiest desert that I could make. It's not hard at all! Who knew?!?!

I used the new Betty Crocker GF Yellow Cake mix for my cupcakes and some bavarian cream filling that I bought from my local cake decorating shop. I piped it right in thru the top of the cupcakes and then covered with a delicious chocolate ganache topping made from 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream heated to melting and whisked until thick and completely mixed.


Friday, July 17, 2009

I've been thinking...

I've been thinking lately about how much I love Kinnikinnick's products and wondering if anyone has bothered to tell them that I am their #1 fan.

I have their blog on my reader and today they updated with info on their new pancake mix and some feedback they've been getting.

Guess what?! They Know!

They found my flickr where I posted pictures of their hamburger bun and gave them a review on flickr. That review wasn't as thorough as I do on here, but they found it. In it, I claimed myself as their biggest fan. in the world.

I'm glad they know, not that it really makes any difference, but I think everyone should know who their biggest fan is. :)

It should come as no surprise that I finally bought a loaf of gluten free bread and it was by Kinnikinnick. I chose the Tapioca Rice loaf. The bread is thinly sliced and defrosts really quick in the microwave, though I bet I could store it in the fridge and not have to mess with defrosting. It didn't even crumble (like other GF breads) when I slathered thick peanut butter on it! It's soft and delicious!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


If the people at Kinnikinnick don't already know it, they need to be told: I am their number one fan. Without a doubt.

After years of eating gluten free, I've finally had a gluten free bread that is GOOD!!!

At my local Kroger, I've been eyeballing the Kinnikinnick Tapioca Rice Hamburger buns but have had such a hard time finding gluten free vegetarian burgers that I've not bought them...till now. Amy's has started making a gluten free vegan burger that my local Kroger also started carrying and I bought it along with the Kinnikinnick's hamburger buns.

Got home and heated them both up and made myself an old-fashioned cheese burger!


The buns come uncut.

But once defrosted and cut open are filled with beautiful air-pockets, often missing from GF bread products. (there's my vegan-patty with cheese and mustard waiting to be placed on the bun).

a cheese burger like none I've ever had! I think it's my FIRST gluten free vegetarian burger and I really liked it!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vegan cupcakes

For today's festivities (going to a friends house for swimming and fireworks-watching) I decided to bring cupcakes. Big surprise, right?

I used the Vegan recipe I found online a while back and modified it for Gluten Free.

This is the recipe I used:
1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Baking Flour (same amt of regular flour if not GF)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (omit if not GF)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup ice cold water (must be ice cold for proper reactions to take place)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons lemon juice (does not taste lemon-y, but gives proper acidity for baking soda to react with)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Sift flour, sugar, soda, salt and Xanthan Gum together in a bowl until very light and airy..about 3 times.

In a separate container combine oil, cold water and vanilla.

Add wet to dry (except lemon juice) and stir until well mixed.

Then add the lemon juice and stir quickly pour into prepared pan (or muffin cups)

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tests done with toothpick (or 14-17 for cupcakes).

It rises extremely well and is light, fluffy, moist and rich at the same time.

Makes 12-14 cupcakes and they are really really good.

Then I filled them with Chocolate Bavarian Cream and topped them with just a little simple buttercream frosting...just white as I didn't have enough to do red, white & blue.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

my favorite cookies

One day growing up my mom brought out a recipe for Monster Cookies. I'd never heard of them before but they contained all the things i LOVE:
chocolate chips
peanut butter
How could this cookie possibly go wrong?

Since becoming gluten free, I've not had these cookies...I've never found any certified gluten free oatmeal to try it with. But recently at a health food store in a tiny town in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I ran across a huge bag of certified GF oatmeal...I bought it!

Today I was thinking about those delicious cookies and how much I loved them (pre gf-diet) and started looking up recipes. Turns out that most of the recipes floating around the internet do not contain any flour whatsoever so it's a really easy recipe and with certified GF Oatmeal, it's "naturally" gluten free!

These are good cookies, but it's definitely not the recipe I'm going to call my go-to-monster cookie recipe. I kinda flubbed it up tonight and used too much corn syrup...the recipe is right, I just used the wrong amount. lol. I'll try this recipe again with the right amount of corn syrup and maybe it'll become a favorite.

For tonight, these are delicious and I am so glad to have them.

Monster Cookies
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter flavor Crisco
2 eggs
1 cup creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 cup Certified Gluten Free Oats
1/2 cup (or more to taste) M & M's
1/2 cup (or more to taste) Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream sugars and shortening together until well mixed. Beat in eggs, peanut butter and corn syrup. Mix in baking soda, baking powder and vanilla. Fold in oats, m&m's and chocolate chips.

Spoon onto greased cookie sheet in 1 tablespoon sized amounts (I like smallish cookies). Bake for 7-9 minutes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Test 2: Betty Crocker GF Brownies

The directions on the box call for 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) and 2 eggs.

The butter should be soft, but not melted. I mixed all the ingredients and stirred until all the mix was wet and all the butter/eggs incorporated. The batter was really thick (and tasty). :)

The box doesn't show times for making muffins or mini muffins, but I was out of town this weekend with 16 other people and knew that a regular pan of brownies wouldn't be enough, so I made 2 boxes of the mix into mini-muffins.

I placed mini liners into the pans, spooned tablespoon sized dollops into them and baked them at 350 for 15 minutes. They turned out delicious. The very centers were really gooey and the edges chewy and yum! I suppose I could have baked then 1 more minute, but they were good as they were.

I spooned a little Cream Cheese Frosting on the tops of them because I think brownies are always good with cream cheese frosting. I wanted to drizzle melted caramel over the tops too but I didn't have any caramels to melt. Anyway, they were still delicious and I left some without frosting for the brownie purists out there.

Betty Crocker definitely has GF figured out. These brownies were really good. And the next day, they are still really good.

In a few weeks/months I'll try test out the cake...right now I'm really baked out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

RE-Test 1: Betty Crocker GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

RE-TEST! I was so bothered by the results last night, knowing that Betty Crocker has higher standards than the results I was getting, that I decided to open the 2nd box and give the cookies another try.

This time I used butter and stuck with only 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

The dough was thick and crumbly just like the box said it would be. I contribute that more to the butter than the vanilla.

I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I didn't realize the impact butter vs margarine has on GF cookies. As a matter of fact, the reason I used margarine last night was that I had read some reviews that the cookies spread a lot and margarine doesn't cause as much spreading as butter. Boy did that backfire!!!

Lesson learned: in GF cooking, margarine causes less cohesion of ingredients. if recipe calls for BUTTER, use it and don't substitute with margarine.

I spooned 1 tablespoon size spaced 2 inches apart on baking sheet and baked for 8 minutes. Turned out great! Very cookie like. Very tasty and didn't crumble into a gazillion pieces like last nights batch did.

If you follow the instructions exactly, these make excellent cookies. Quick to mix up, quick to bake and tastes good too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Test 1: Betty Crocker GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

The directions on the box call for 1/2 cup butter (I used margarine), 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 2).

The dough was about the consistency of thick cake batter, but according to the box directions, it should be thick and crumbly. I know I measured the margarine correctly. Could 1 extra teaspoon of vanilla really make this big of a difference? It's never affected my baked goods in this way before...even in GF baking. I'm puzzled.

Moving on, I followed the instructions dropping a tablespoon per cookie spaced 2 inches apart on my baking sheet and baked for 8 minutes. 6 cookies.

The cookies spread out flat and the very edges were crispy with the middles being done and soft. Trying to remove them from the cookie sheet was a problem. Even though I used a nonstick pan, the cookies stuck. One fell apart completely coming off the pan.

After cooling they did not hold together well. They are very crumbly and I believe it to be a lack of binding gum in the ingredients. Some people don't believe Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum is necessary in a cookie, but I definitely believe it would have helped this 1st batch.

Taste Test: flavor is great! Texture is poor but I contribute that to the dough consistency prior to cooking...dough is too wet to make a good cookie texture. Plan to re-examine texture in batch 2.

2nd batch of 6 cookies:
Chilled dough in refrigerator for one hour then scooped out 1 tablespoon cookies spaced 2 inches apart. Baked for 8 minutes. Reasoning on chilling dough: Gluten Free flours tend to absorb more liquid than their gluten-d counterparts. Since my dough seemed a bit viscous, I thought it might help to give the dough time to absorb whatever moisture was making it that way and thicken up a bit before cooking.

Upon removing from the oven, they looked about the same as first batch but seemed to spread just a tad less. They were just as difficult to remove from the baking sheet and after letting them cool actually fell apart MORE than the first batch.

Taste test, re-test texture: taste great, texture poorest of all. This is not eating a cookie, but more like going to a crumb festival. :(

3rd batch of 6 cookies:
Added 2 tablespoon Sweet Rice Flour and 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum to remaining dough. Dough was much more thick, but still not as dry as the box indicated it would be. I felt like the consistency was close to the GF cookie dough that I make from scratch. I Scooped 1 tablespoon cookies spaced 2 inches apart and baked for 8 minutes.

This batch fluffed up on the baking sheet. That is due to the Xanthan Gum...but they stuck together and were totally cohesive. And they were really easy to remove from the cookie sheet.

They were a bit cakelike but tasted really good. Edges and middle were equally soft.

Next time, I suppose I'll stick with 1T vanilla extract and use butter instead of margarine and see if that makes them bake as the box describes. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Betty Crocker

I keep reading about all the people who have found and tried the new Betty Crocker Gluten Free mixes. I see all the reviews and they all seem great. I'm curious how it compares to Kinnikinnick mixes but am convinced that Betty Crocker has high enough standards to make it "good" as opposed to just "acceptable". (So many of the gluten free mixes out there are barely edible. Sure, they are gluten free but that does not guaranty quality.)

So, this morning when I woke up I had an email from telling me that the Betty Crocker GF mixes were now available for purchase online. I knew that they were supposed to be in stores as of June 1st, but their website said they weren't in any stores within 50 miles of me.

I decided that the site might be wrong and it was worth investigating. Grocery list in hand, I started at my regular grocery store: Kroger. They have a good GF/natural/allergen free section and I'm able to get almost everything I ever want from there. I did all my grocery shopping and then went to that aisle I always avoid: the baking aisle. Sure enough right in the middle of the Betty Crocker mixes they stood!

I was overjoyed! 3 of the 4 new mixes were in stock at my normal grocery store! I quickly stuffed 2 cookie mixes, 2 brownie mixes and 1 cake mix into my cart and went to check out.

And I had thought I'd have to stop at 4 other specialty stores in hopes of finding them.

Wednesday I'll make the cookies for the Girls Night In at my house when we've hired a Airbrush Tanner lady to come and tan us! I will report back on the cookies soon! And the brownies too!


Friday, June 12, 2009

gluten free wedding cake!!

It was good. Really good. People knew it was gluten free because they watched me make it, but they thought it tasted "normal". Decorating it was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and I've learned to do that stringy scalloping thing pretty well now. It tasted amazing and was light, fluffy and moist.

Cake mix by Kinnikinnick, whom I cannot say enough about. I love them. EVERYTHING they make is amazing. honest.

Everything else was made from scratch and all decorating was done by me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

pre-wedding excitment!

I'm leaving today for the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia for my sister's wedding this weekend. I'm very excited about seeing her and Patrick again. They are super people.

I will, of course, take a trillion-billion pictures of the whole weekend, including the cake/s. My laptop has a card reader slot and if I can get internet while there, I'll try to upload the pics to flickr each day. Hopefully that will work out. :)

My hope is to not get gluten-ed while's always my biggest problem with eating in my non-regular spots, but I am bringing a bunch of safe foods and am going to eat mostly fruits and vegetables b/c I know they are safe. Plus I know the cakes will be safe since I'm making them (helping with the grooms cake).

My sister, brother and father are all also allergic to wheat (sister hasn't been tested for celiacs yet but plans to once she has medical insurance again)...anyway, that is why I'm doing the cakes, so that we can all enjoy them without feeling sick afterwards. I'm the only one who is currently on the gluten free diet and plan to make a wedding cake so good no one knows it's also GF!

Monday, June 1, 2009


Pasta: The Long-Forgotten Food of the Gluten Intolerant

When finding out that I'd have to forgo grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti forever I cried. I loved bread & pasta and hated that I'd have to let them both go from my diet.

That reminds me of a funny story. Several years ago when Steve and I were dating, we went to an Italian restaurant. We were trying to eat pretty healthy so we both ordered the "build your own" bowl of pasta. I think I ordered the whole wheat pasta with bolognese sauce, garlic, broccoli and fresh mozzarella. It still sounds good to me just thinking about it.

They started us out with a bowl of olive oil with cracked black pepper and a big loaf of a dark brown herb bread. We ate the entire loaf in just a few minutes and then the server brought out another. Remembering that we were trying to eat "healthy" we decided to have just one piece of the second loaf and then stop eating it!

Several minutes passed and we still didn't have our meals yet but that delicious bread was just sitting there on the table in front of us, hot, steaming, and smelling amazing. I reached for it and Steve (willpower of steel!) stopped me. He reminded me once again about how many calories are in bread and that we really had already had more than we should have had all day.

He was right and I hated it b/c I wanted it. More time passed and I decided it didn't matter...that I wanted the bread. I reached for it and Steve said to me something like, "no, really christy our food will be here in just a minute". He was trying so hard to keep me from sabotaging my own healthy desires. It stilled me for a moment but then I just reached, unthinkingly, towards the bread again.

That's when he struck. Fast as lightening his hand reached the bread first and picked up the entire loaf. In one fluid movement it fell to the floor and his shoe smooshed it...and in the same movement he picked it up and put the now squashed loaf back on the bread plate.

I was shocked. Laughing and shocked. Obviously I couldn't eat it now and it totally did the trick. He stepped on the bread! stepped on it!! and it was the funniest thing ever. I don't think anyone in the restaurant saw or knew what had just happened but I'm sure the server wondered, when bussing the table, why the bread was completely flattened...and not in the "holding it so i can cut it and smashed it" kind of way.

We laughed until our food came and then laughed about it again. Even still, whenever we know we've eaten our share of something but are having faulty willpower, we'll offer to "step on it" for the each other.

There haven't been many times since then that we've had Italian food. I found out sometime after that that I'm allergic to wheat and must go on the GF diet.

I've a recipe for pasta sauce that is straight up awesome. Everyone loves it. I love it. It's something I miss being able to cook.

The rice based GF pasta's fall apart and turn into little bitty mushy bits no matter how "al dente" you try to cook them. The corn ones taste ok, but still not like regular pasta. I've had potato pasta which is good, but is almost impossible to find.

Today I tried Quinoa pasta. I wasn't sure what to expect and was hoping it wasn't worse than the rice pastas...

It wasn't at all! It was freaking awesome. If you've ever had a full gluten vegetable pasta, it tastes just like that. The texture was firm and it didn't turn to mush even when I overcooked it slightly (it cooked fast). It tasted good! I was really happy.

Maybe I'll start making my pasta sauce more often again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I cannot say it enough: Kinnikinnick is AWESOME.

I've bought a ton of their mixes online and even shipping from canada is totally reasonable and prompt. Their mixes are THE best gluten free mixes ever made. I completely state that as an indisputable fact...regardless that it's actually my's a fact now.

Love them. seriously.

So I'm doing my sis's wedding cake and I've been somewhat unsatisfied with the cake mixes and cake recipe's I've found online and at my specialty GF stores and aisles. Kinnikinnick's cake mix wins. I baked the chocolate cake the other day and send some home with May (my friend) to eat and share with her boyfriend. He tasted it and thought it was regular cake...couldn't tell it was gluten free! to me that says WIN all over it. It was deliciously moist and has such a great flavor and texture.

I am totally excited about making this cake for my sister. She's going to love it.

cupcake preview

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Starbucks Gluten-Free Valencia Orange Cake

I have a friend who works at one of the Starbucks in my area. She brought me one of the new GF cakes that they are starting to sell. Not all Starbucks have begun selling them and some Starbucks don't understand that they MUST be served in their individual packaging in order to protect from cross contamination!

Anyway, she brought it to me and I tried it tonight. It was pretty good. It was very moist and VERY orange-y. I would not have liked it if it didn't have the slivered almonds on top. That really made it just right. I would have liked it even better if the orange flavor was slightly lower and if there was almond extract in the cake, but all in all, it was good.

It's nice to know that a major restaurant chain is taking measures to allow people with gluten intolerance.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

apple muffins

Apple Muffins

preheat oven to 350.

2 large apples, chopped into TINY pieces (or food processor to chop into ultra fine pieces...or grated apples, but not applesauce or apple puree)
3 cups Pamela's Baking Mix
4 eggs
2 Tbspn vanilla extract
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup water
2 good strong dashes of cinnamon

Mix all together, really really well. Spoon into greased muffin cups and bake at 350 for 17 minutes.

makes REALLY good muffins. Lightly sweet. Good apple flavor.

I didn't even peel my apples, just cored them and put them into the chopper. Would probably also be good with coarse sugar sprinkled on top with an extra little bit of cinnamon.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

kinnikinnick is at it again

One of the food items I served at my party the other night was pizza. Gluten Free of course. I had been eyeing Kinnikinnick's pizza crust in the freezer section of my grocery for months and thought this would be a good chance to give it a try. Every other product of theirs that I've tried is simply amazing and "normal" that I hoped this would be as well.

It was magnificent! I prefer very thin crust pizza but this was delicious. It wasn't a bit grainy, like rice flour can sometimes be. It had a good solid crust on the bottom and was moist without being wet in the middle. Where the pizza sauce lay on it, it was good, not gooey like I've had before, but really perfect.

I love you Kinnikinnick for making such amazing GF products.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

my sister's upcoming wedding and testing out ideas

I'm making the wedding cake for my sister's wedding in June. We've chosen a 5" cake for her and Patrick and individual wedding cakes for the attendees. My sister has left almost everything up to my judgement as far as the cakes go. My first thought was to do basic cupcakes but I wanted something more substantial. My second thought was to use my new popover pan and end up with larger cupcakes that could be filled and decorated like a regular cake, but popovers are kind of conical shaped and that might look strange. My third thought was to use soup cans. I know it sounds bizarre but it works really great and keeps me from having to buy several 3" cake pans and cooking all day to get the number of cakes I need.

cupcake, popover, can-cake

My friends are so sweet to let me test cake recipes and decoration ideas on them. My friend Kim just had a birthday on Sunday so a few of the girls are coming over tonight and we are having a little party for her and an excuse to get the girls together and hang out. I'm using all the opportunities I have to make cakes and practice my decorating skills.

I'll update with a picture of the cupcakes as soon as I get a good picture of them with the Royal Icing flowers placed on top. Rumors tell me that Royal Icing breaks down on buttercream so I don't want them sitting there too long before the party...just in case. (Photo at very top) Here's a photo of them pre-flower.

ok, so I tossed out the popover idea because of how awesome the can-cake turned out and because the popover sides were so angled. Using the can-cake, I divided it in half and put a layer of buttercream frosting and then did the basic white frosting be decorated from there.

This isn't the exact way I want to decorate my sister's guest cakes, but it's cute and it worked for this one and matches the cupcakes.

I like how this angle looks, just wish I hadn't created so many angles on the round cake sides. :) I'm being perfectionistic again.

and here's another angle of the can-cake on top of the cupcake stand with the cupcakes


Remember the cookie cake I just made? Well, turns out it probably makes better cookies than cookie-cakes...It was just too oily and gritty. If I try this recipe again, I'd cut down the oil by half, add 1 egg (but then it's no longer vegan, your choice) and use a much finer milled almond flour.

So, being unhappy with the cookie, I scraped the frosting off and sent the cookie-cake thru the food processor to turn it into crumbs.

Then I put all those delicious crumbs into a pie plate for a crust. Would it become a cheesecake or a fruit pie? Could I make anything else with the ingredients I have currently? So checking the pantry and refrigerator, I realized I'd have to grocery shop in order to make any type of pie. And I had some sugar free pudding that was begging to be added to the pie.

So after the grocery store, I made up 2 types of sugar free pudding: Chocolate and White chocolate. I added the white chocolate into the pie crust first and then topped it with the chocolate. Let sit for 3 hours in fridge and viola! Pudding Pie!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Elana's Pantry has some amazing gluten free recipes and I recommend people try them!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven to 350.

2 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients together. In separate bowl mix grapeseed oil, agave nectar and vanilla and stir. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. Add chocolate chips.

Scoop onto prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 350.

I made a couple changes to the cookies I made: 2 cups Almond flour and 1/2 cup white rice flour. Also I pressed the entire batch of cookie dough into an 8" square brownie pan to make a cookie cake...The dough rises a bit, and since I've not cut into the cookie cake yet, I'm not 100% sure the inside is cooked. I probably could have used a larger pan and spread the batter slightly thinner.

It smells wonderful and I love cookie cakes with the shell border. It tastes good, but the almond flour I used (Bob's Redmill Almond Meal/Flour) is definitely more of a MEAL than can see the grainy almonds in the image and I think I'd prefer a more finely ground flour for this cookie.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

chocolate chip cookies!

They are so good.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Nestle Tollhouse recipe

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup real butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbspn vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/4 cup white rice flour
1 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
2 cups chocolate chips (+ - as desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soften butter and blend with shortening and sugars. Add vanilla and eggs.

In a separate bowl, mix soda, powder, corn flour, potato flour, tapioca starch, white rice flour and xanthan gum. Using a whisk, mix together thoroughly.

Add dry to wet ingredients and mix completely. Stir in chocolate chips.

Scoop in tablespoon sized drops to cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

I've been making a lot of flour tortilla's these past few days...Most attempts have been ultra small batches of test recipes I've created with varying results. None have been as good as that very first attempt I made a few weeks ago and even those weren't quite as I remember gluten-filled flour tortilla's to be. So I grabbed a recipe off the LivingWithout site to try out.

I still had to modify their recipe (linked above) a bit b/c I don't have any fava bean flour...I just did a straight replacement with Teff flour. I don't know much about Teff or Fava Bean flour, so I don't know if that's a fair substitution, but it worked out. They are good. Definitely better than my latest recipe-fail, these are soft, flexible and they taste...well, I can't place the taste, but they are good. Still not what I remember regular flour tortillas to taste like, but pretty good, nonetheless.

The recipe says it makes 6-8 tortillas and instead of rolling them out, I used my tortilla press. My tortillas might have been thinner than the recipe recommends but they turned out just fine, so use your tortilla press too. If you don't have a tortilla press, get your little buns over to La Michoacana and pick one up! They are less than $20 and fresh handmade tortillas are SO much better than store tortillas.

Anyway, yeah, my tortillas were probably thinner than the recipe called for. No worries though, they draw in a little and thicken when cooked. I ended up with 13 tortillas. Steve and I split and tested the left over tortilla just to make sure it was good!

With 12 tortillas, I double ziplock bagged 6 of them and stuck them into the freezer for some other day and the remaining 6 into a ziplock bag for the next 3 days. I'm pretty certain that the Texas Motor Speedway (working for Chevy at the Nascar races this weekend) isn't going to offer gluten-free foods, so I'll be packing sandwiches for lunch.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

chocolate and peanut butter!

What two things go together better than chocolate and peanut butter? I cannot think of anything. They are perfect together.

what better for a chocolate cupcake than to be filled with peanut butter?

mmmmm, mmmm.

This recipe should make 8 regular cupcakes or 6 large ones...or just cram all the batter into 6 regular cupcake tins and let them rise and fall over the top. It's still good.

1 cup Pamela's Baking Mix
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
3 Tbspn cocoa powder
(sift together till well mixed)
2 Tbspn vegetable oil
3 Tbspn cold water
1 egg
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbspn Vanilla extract

sift dry ingredients together to mix. add all wet ingredients and stir well (mixer if desired, but I just hand mixed)

pour batter into cupcake liners or directly into greased cupcake pan.

Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

now, here's the fun part, After the cupcakes have cooled just a bit, using a pastry bag with a #21 star tip, fill with peanut butter. Stab that tip right into the very center top of the cupcakes about half an inch down and squeeze out about a tablespoon of peanut butter right into the cupcake...slowly pulling the tip towards the surface of the cupcake (still filling). Then top the cupcake with chocolate frosting. I imagine some chocolate or peanut butter pieces/sprinkles would be adorable right on top of that, but I didn't have any.

It's delicious!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gluten Free Kneads

Gluten Free Kneads is a company based out of Austin TX who makes DELICIOUS pizza crusts! I'd never used their crusts before but I was at Central Market (a HEB store) and saw a pack of 2 10" crusts in the freezer section where the other gluten free items are located. I grabbed a pack b/c Steve and I both LOVE thin crust pizza and these looked great. They were thin, without looking like they'd crumble apart when is a problem with a lot of GF pizza crusts.

I made cheese pizza for lunch today and it was REALLY good. it's less greasy than I remember take-out pizza being, but thats AOK! That means its healthier.

Speaking of healthier pizza. GFK's pizza crust contains Teff flour which is a very high protein flour. It's delicious and crispy and not mushy (like some) and it made an excellent pizza!!

I'm really happy with this crust and it will definitely become my go-to pizza crust.

Friday, March 13, 2009

flour tortilla

Not your typical flour tortilla as these are made with Pamela's Baking Mix.

I have made corn tortilla's before using masa harina and water and they make up so fast and easy. I've always known that flour tortilla's were a lot more complicated, but I can't remember any recipes for them and I've grown tired of the rice tortillas I've been eating...they are good, just a bit dry and chewey for sandwiches.

I'm really starting to LOVE the Pamela's Baking Mix for just about's a little pricey ($16/4lb) but I have been using it in normal recipes as my 'flour' and reducing the other leavening ingredients accordingly and it's working...that's really handy and quite frankly, easier than mixing my own flours.

So, back on topic, I grabbed my bag of 'flour', the margarine an the coconut milk out of the fridge.

I warmed the coconut milk in the microwave so that it thinned out...about 15 seconds on high and stirred thoroughly. Set aside.

2 Tablespoons margarine
3/4 cup 'flour'
coconut milk, as needed for consistency
The baking mix already has the leavening and salt added, so its not necessary to add them.

Margarine and flour in a bowl and mash till coarse crumbs. add little bits of the milk and stir. you want a slightly moist but NOT wet or sticky ball to form. kneed for a couple minutes and add flour if it's sticking to your hands.

make into 5 equal sized balls and place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap (or wax paper). flatten with a tortilla press or a rolling pin (or the bottom of a large pan) to a tortilla thickness...a little thicker is easier to handle while it's in this stage.

one at a time put into a DRY frying pan on heat level 3, if electric (medium-low if gas). agitate pan so that it doesn't stick and can slide around in pan a little bit. After 30 seconds, carefully turn over and continue heating. Turn over several times till desired done-ness/brownness.

Place on wet, but squeezed out, papertowels (or wet regular towels). Continue cooking & covering till all are made.

I made mine about the width of a slice of bread and used it as my bread today for a tuna sandwich. It was the first non-corn/rice tortilla sandwich I've had in 2 years and it was awesome. seriously.

May not be the BEST way to make flour tortilla's but it worked for me and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

if you make some, link em! I wanna see yours too. :)

not the best picture, but I ate the others already! LOL

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I am so disappointed in myself. I made the BEST banana bread loaf tonight.

I made it without measuring anything...without even really knowing what I was going to make until I already had about half the ingredients in.

here's what I did and what I was thinking as I did it:
1. hmmm, i would really like a grilled cheese sammich right now. but I can't eat Steve's bread b/c it's got wheat flour and I don't have any bread...and I don't want to use a brown rice tortilla again. it's not the same.
2. I know! I read a blog the other day where somebody made flour tortillas and I think I can make something similar and then have bread for making a sammich.
3. ok, that blog started out with butter and flour being cut in together... ok, thats a decent amount of butter (3 T, maybe, used a fork and didn't measure a damn thing) and 2/3 cup Pamela's Baking Mix.
4. Turn oven on at 350
5. cut it all together till it's a coarse mix.
6. I remember that they added milk and then kneeded a while...Pulled the half and half (no milk at our house) and an egg out of the fridge. cracked the egg into the mixture and poured a little half and half in (1/4 cup-ish)
7. That banana sitting 2 ft away on the counter sure is getting a bit ripe...I'll make banana bread. unwrapped huge banana and threw it in, whole. Used the same fork i've been using all along to mash it up and mix it together.
8. banana bread should be slightly sweet...grabs agave nectar out of pantry and vanilla extract from spice cabinet. poured 2ish T of vanilla in and mixed together. Squeezed agave...maybe 1/2 cup into mix. Mixed together really well.
9. banana bread was looking WAY too wet, so I added 1/3 cup Pamela's Baking Mix and 1 more egg for leavening luck. still using fork, mixed it all together really well.
10. pulled out loaf pan and sprayed liberally with non-stick spray.
11. poured into loaf pan and put in fridge for 10 minutes while oven finished heating up.
12. baked for 45 minutes.

PERFECT banana bread. It is SO good. It's got a crisp crust, but not hard or dry. The inside is very moist and banana-y. It's lightly sweet, but you don't think sweet when you eat it, you think banana bread. It's awesome.

I could just kick myself for not measuring as I did it. Also, no grilled cheese tonight. Maybe I'll actually get around to making the tortilla's tomorrow. LOL

Also, in case I haven't mentioned it before, I LOVE Pamela's baking mix. I use it like regular flour (xcept I know it's already got the baking soda/flour mixed in) and can, almost, use regular recipes. I don't think it's a perfect replication of wheat flour because it does have a lot of nut flour in it that can be tasted, but it's still SO good and awesome.

Friday, March 6, 2009

60 cupcakes!


Who doesn't love cupcakes? Little cup sized cakes. So cute! Isn't everything that comes in a miniature cuter than it's larger counterpart?

Anyway, today's post is NOT gluten free, but these adorable cupcakes aren't for me. I accepted a gig baking and decorating cupcakes for someone's 30th birthday party. Which meant I needed to make a bunch of cupcakes and decorate them. 60 cupcakes to be exact.

12 Vegan cupcakes
24 chocolate cupcakes
24 vanilla cupcakes

The birthday girl told me she wanted them frosted with pink frosting and that she wanted to be able to tell the Vegan ones apart from the regular easily. And she said she wanted purple involved in the decorations. Other than that, she didn't care how I decorated them. The vegan ones have those adorable little white flowers on top and the rest have cute little purple flowers on top.

I'm excited to have a decorating gig already. Shh, don't tell her she is my first.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My gluten free scratch cake was featured in an article about gluten free eating, Celiacs and Autism! A link to the article. The cake recipe isn't the same one I used, but the photo's are mine. :) cool!

I went to my cake decorating class on Saturday in preparation for Tracy's wedding (June) and realized that I am capable of making awesome decorations. I really had a great time, got lots of practice and learned so much!

This is a 10 inch double layer cake. I used 2 Pamela's Classic Vanilla Cake mixes (one for each layer) and made my own frosting. This is an excellent cake mix and I highly recommend it.

gluten free and delicious!