Thursday, September 30, 2010

Gluten Free Pumpkins

So- I went ahead and tried to shake up the recipe for the Gluten Free Banana Cake.... 

Introducing: Gluten Free Pumpkins!

I just substituted Pumpkin for the Bananas.
And added some "Pumpkin Pie Spice" - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves.
Easy Peasy.  (Click HERE for link to the banana recipe.)

I mixed it up and poured it into the Petal Tray (one of my favorites!!!)
Baked about 20 minutes. (I think! Until slightly browning on the top.)

 After removing them from the tray, I placed them on my Roul'Pat 
                                                   (on special the month of October 2010!)

Next, I made stems for my little punkins! 
I just purchased a pack of caramels and sliced each one in half.
I use my Demarle Difference Paring Knife- slices right through!
I took each caramel piece and shaped it with my fingers... 
                stretching it out a little and curving it just a tad. 

Then, I whipped up a quick glaze..... 
      powdered sugar, milk, vanilla (or whatever sounds good to you!)

If you want it show up more, 
   you can choose more of a frosting or a caramel sauce or even white chocolate ganache! 
 (ooooh... What about taking those cinnamon chips and making ganache with that? yum!)

I drizzled each pumpkin with glaze and pushed a stem into the center. 

They were a big hit- even with the gluten-eating crowd!

Happy Fall!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gluten Free Banana Almond Cake

I promised I would share the recipe for the awesome gluten-free cake I made....

Gluten Free Banana Almond Bundt Cake.... yum!

It was so moist and delicious.
You know how many gluten free recipes taste, well, gluten free? This was tasted amazing! The bananas added great texture and the almond flavor was a great addition.

Well- here is the scoop:
I got the recipe from a great website Gluten Free Goddess.

Check out her site (click HERE) for lots of great information and recipes. 

I am thinking about replacing the bananas with some of the zucchini that is overflowing my garden. I will let you know how it goes.

I wonder if it would work with pumpkin.... hmmmm. I better get baking!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Neighbor's Garden Stew

The other day, my generous neighbor kept passing veggies over the fence... garlic, potatoes, onion, carrots, cabbage. Yum!

So I got right to work on dinner.... Garden Stew.
I grabbed my Large Round Mold and placed in on my Perforated Baking Sheet.
I threw in some Stew Meat (from our share of the cow we bought.)
I was hoping to add some Beef Stock- but the cupboards were bare. Instead, I splashed on some Worcestershire sauce.
Threw in the fresh potatoes, carrots, onion, a little garlic and added some red pepper. Seasoned with salt and pepper.

I topped it off with the Octagonal Silpat.
Threw it in the oven at lunch time at 200 degrees.
By dinner time.... Yum!

My kindergarten daughter said, "Mommy, why did it have to cook so long?"
I explained that when meat cooks slowly on a low heat, it is nice and tender... which means it is easier to chew. She got a big grin and took a bite. After chewing and swallowing she said, "Thank you Mommy for doing that! It IS easy to chew!"

Fresh ingredients. Inexpensive meal. Happy family!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Microwave Kettle Corn

Oh Microwave Mondays- I bet you thought I had forgotten you. But alas, no.
 I have been dreaming of this post the last two weeks.

There is one recipe that people ask me about more than any other.... and this is it!
Microwave Kettle Corn! (cue the applause track)

Have you ever checked out the ingredient list on those microwave popcorn bags?
Well, let me just say this.... the following recipe has no chemicals. You can actually pronounce ALL the ingredients! Not only that, but it is much cheaper! And even better.... my kids LOVE it!

So- natural, cheaper, and yummier! Ready for it?

First, gather up your Large Round Mold and Octagonal Silpat.

1. Pour in 1/3 cup sugar and 3 Tablespoons water in the Large Round Mold. Swirl around until mixed together.
(Of course, I use my Magnetic Measuring Trio- my fave!)

Pop in your microwave for 2 minutes.
Mixture will be bubbling.

2. Then add 1/3 cup popcorn kernals. Carefully swirl around to cover kernals with hot syrup. Cover with Octagonal Silpat and microwave for 2-4 minutes.

In my microwave I have to stop it just under 4 minutes. The kernals will still be popping. But if I let it go the full four minutes, some will burn.

 Note: most people burn it the first time. Just dump it out and try again!!! You'll get it!

3. Carefully remove Silpat. Open away from you so steam will escape.
Stir and salt. Enjoy!!

Thanks to Shelley Hart for submitting the recipe in the Beginnings and Endings Cookbook!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Bars

Have I told you about my new favorite cookbooks?

The Gathering of Friends cookbooks by Michelle Huxtable.
They are gorgeous! EVERY recipe has a picture!!

One of my favorite chapters in Volume Two is "Enchanting Desserts."
Page after page of delicious looking treats. I just had to get testing!

It wasn't difficult to choose my first experiment.... Peanut Butter Bars.
I just can't get enough chocolate and peanut butter. Seriously!

So, I "gathered" my "friends" (aka- my three kids!) and got to work!

After taking turns mixing all the yummy ingredients, my friends loved patting the mixture into the Deep Flexipat.

(I think they also loved licking their hands on their way to the sink to wash them!)

Next- into the oven for only 15 minutes! Now that is my kind of cooking!

Then we plopped on some spoonfuls of peanut butter and sprinkled on some chocolate chips.

After they melted, I spread them around with my Heat Resistant Spatula. My friends could hardly contain their excitement!
Finally.... we were able to cut the bars and sample them. I just love how easily they come out of the Deep Flexipat!
Sorry no pictures of my friends' chocolaty faces. But you can imagine...

So, about the recipe....
I am not sure if I can legally reprint it. I think I can if I cite the source, but I just need to check it all out. Stayed tuned for an update.

For now,  if you want the recipe, you can send me a message or email and I can contact you.
Or.... just buy your own cookbook! You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Extreme Makover- Baby Steps Edition

Sometimes I want to do an Extreme Makeover on my cooking. You know, throw out everything with food coloring and high fructose corn syrup and buy every "organic" product I can find.

Well, sometimes my pocketbook does not support such an extreme move. Other times, my family's palette does not support it.

I have found that Baby Steps work best for me.

Today's Baby Step:
Take an everyday recipe and make subtle changes to make it healthier. 

Since I neglected my garden and ended up with two HUGE zucchinis, I was itching to use them! I chose to make a standard Zucchini Muffin recipe and just switch it up a little. I used part whole wheat flour and part agave nectar for sweetener.

Mini Zucchini Muffins
3 eggs, beaten
1 c. oil (could use applesauce- I didn't have any today!)
1 c. sugar
3/4 c agave nectar
2 c. shredded zucchini
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (or less)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place Mini Muffin tray on Perforated Baking Sheet
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
Scoop into muffin tray
Bake for 20 minutes.

Oh yeah- I made a concoction of flour, cinnamon, a tad of brown sugar and a tad butter. I sprinkled on top of each muffin before baking. (You could add nuts to that too!! yum!)

 Sorry no pictures... my family and the teachers at school ate them all before I snapped any pics!
 (That's a good sign!)


Monday, September 6, 2010

Family Meal Time

Yesterday, I heard a news clip encouraging families to sit around the table and have family meal time! It sounds likes the old standard family dinner is making a comeback!

I looked around and found some research from the University of Florida (which also cited some research from Columbia University.)

Here are some highlights:
Their research suggests that the trend is an increase in family meal times in the last few years!

I personally think that the economy has impacted this trend. It is much cheaper to eat at home than treat a family of four to a dinner out. People are eager to learn new tips and tricks to make it easier to enjoy a meal together.

My favorite quote, "Although trying to get the family together for a family meal is very challenging, the benefits appear to outweigh the costs."

Benefits to family meal time:
1. Family Togetherness
2. Communication
3. Well-being
4. Nutrition

How to get started:
1. Make family meal time a priority
2. Start small (start with twice a week and increase frequency as you are able.)
3.  Make it fun
4. Eliminate distractions like TV, phones, texting, etc.
5. Model good manners

Check out the full report here and contact me for helps and tips. I would LOVE to help you figure out how to make family meal time work for you!

Happy Family Meal Time!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blueberry Apple Upside Down Cake

Tried this one yesterday.

Blueberry Apple Upside Down Cake
in the Sunflower Mold. 

Liked it!

I used frozen blueberries I picked at Willamette Valley Fruit Company.
Check them out!

 Here is the recipe (including some changes I suggest.)

 Blueberry Apple Upside Down Cake

1/4 butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I suggest more like a 1/4 cup. It was really sweet)
1/4 cup honey

2 Gala apples peeled and sliced into 1/4inch slices
1 cup blueberries (I used much less- mostly for decoration)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract (as my daughter says, "I love Valinna!")

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place Sunflower Mold on Perforated Baking Sheet
Place 1/4 cup butter in Sunflower Mold and place in oven until butter melts.
Sprinkle with brown sugar.
Drizzle with honey.
Arrange apples in the pan (I just mimicked the sunflower shape.)
Add blueberries to accent and more one top as desired.

2. Beat sugar and 1/2 cup butter until blended.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing until well blended after each.

3. Stir together flour and baking powder.
Add to sugar mixture alternately with milk.
Beat until well blended after each addition.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour over apples & blueberries.

4. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes
      (or until a toothpick inserted
       in the center comes out clean.)
Cool in pan 10 minutes.
Invert onto serving plate.
Enjoy- yum yum!!