Wednesday, July 2, 2014

S'more Cups, please!



In a former life, the one before I had my third child and still had a little extra time on my hands, I was a Pampered Chef Consultant.  Of all the pyramid-marketing-sell-in-your-home businesses, I knew Pampered Chef was for me because I loved to cook, and bake, and teach other people how to do the same, Pampered Chef was the perfect fit for me.

After my third child was born, several things happened at "home", so we moved from our little house in Phoenix, back to near my parents.  All of my Pampered Chef tools came with me.  ALL of them.  And I love them.  This recipe can obviously be made without Pampered Chef tools, but it is a delicious summer treat.

Since it is NOT my own recipe, or I didn't really alter anything other than using gluten-free ingredients, I do not want to take credit for it, so I'm linking it, here.

Pampered Chef S'more Cups

For the Grahm Crackers, I used Kinnickinnick S'morables, 1 whole box.  I used Walmart's Great Value Regular Sized Marshmallows, used 24*. For the chocolate, I used Aldi's Choceur Chocolate Large bars, 2 of them.  Butter and Powdered Sugar were Giant Brands.

The Pampered Chef recipe recommends using the LARGE Marshmallows, I didn't have them, that's why I used normal sized ones, it worked JUST FINE.

The picture above IS the ones I made, not the Pampered Chef Picture.

This will make summer more fun, and more delicious.  I promise!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

MexiBlack Beans

I do not have pictures of this one, the two times I've made it, my family has eaten it so fast I have not had a chance to take a picture.  It would be a flurry of hands and an empty pan.

The first time I made it, it was quite the fluke, but I decided to try again to see if it was really as good as we all thought, or just a mistake.

VERY important to check your ingredients and make sure that they are GLUTEN FREE, I know versions of these are not.  PLEASE make sure you check.  The first time I made the recipe, I used Nature's Promise Black Beans and Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles.  Tonight, I used Aldi's Dakota Brand Black Beans and their Taco Rio brand of Diced Tomatoes & Green chiles.  I will say the Aldi version was spicier.


MexiBlack Beans

2 Cans Black Beans, drained (but DO NOT RINSE)
1 Can Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles, undrained
1 Tbs Dried Minced Onion*
1 Tsp Dried Minced Garlic*
*I like to use Tastefully Simple Onion Onion & Garlic Garlic - It is processed in a facility that processes wheat.  When discussing with my rep she did say that they clean the lines, but they don't guarantee gluten free ness.  Since I'm doing this by choice and not by medical necessity, I take the risk, you do not need to!

Place beans in a sturdy pan, add diced tomatoes and green chiles (do not drain them).  Add minced garlic and minced onion.  Bring to a boil and return to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until beans thicken and the garlic/onions absorb the liquid.  Let stand covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Wonderful topped with cheese and sour cream! :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pizzelles



Pizzelles.  Every year, my step-mother's ex-mother-in-law would make pizzelles for Christmas.  (Did you follow that?).  Long family story, but my step-mother ended up being the one taking care of her in her end days.  I'll call her Grandma S for today.  Grandma S. would come over every Christmas eve, and she would bring two things with her, egg nog and pizzelles.  Her eggnog was NOT for children (and depending on how much she imbibed while making the eggnog was in direct correlation with the level of her voice and the amount of laughter that would ensue for the evening).  She made two types of pizzelles, Anise & Vanilla/Almond.  I'm not much of a licorice person, so I did not always care for the anise ones, for a few years she made them with vanilla extract and just used the anise seeds, I liked them rather than straight on anise ones.  The Vanilla Almond were AMAZING. I would easily down 4 or 5 (cough cough dozen) before arriving at my parents house (in my later years, it was my job to pick up Grandma S. from her apartment on Christmas Eve).

From that time till now (yes, going on over 25 years), I'd always wanted to learn how to make pizzelles.  They sounded difficult, especially since they only happened once a year!  Fast forward to two weeks ago when a kind soul on Freecycle listed a Pizzelle Iron available, picked up from her front porch.  I had to.  And, of course, I did.

And, for the average homeschooler, there is no greater holiday that Evaluations and The Last Day of School.  Today, is that day for us.  I thought the pizzelles would be a fitting bribe for our evaluator (not that she needs them, but I love baking, and she usually loves my treats, so I decided this was as good a reason as any to experiment).

I cannot eat traditional Pizzelles anymore, gluten and all that.  So, I tried it with GF flour.  It was so stinking yummy, I might actually dream about these.  The possibilities are endless, and the flavor combinations?  Not to mention to make ice cream cones or waffle bowls?  Oh please!  Thank goodness it's summer and I have a reason to celebrate!

Oh, and they were NOT difficult AT ALL.  I don't know why people wait for Christmas to make them.  I sure won't.  In fact, I might make more later today.  Yum.

Pizzelles

1 1/2 Cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (use your favorite)
2 tsp Baking Powder
3 large eggs
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 tsp Almond Extract
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
Powdered Sugar for dusting

In a medium bowl, whisk together GF Flour and baking soda.

Melt butter, add in extracts and mix well.

Start preheating your pizzelle iron (yes, necessary evil! You must use a pizzelle iron!).

In a mixer, beat together eggs and sugar for about 2 to 3 minutes until it's light yellow and it appears that all the sugar is dissolved into the eggs.

On a low speed, slowly drizzle in butter/extract mixture.  Add dry mixture and mix until just combined.  The batter will be thick and sticky.

Follow amount directions for your pizzelle iron - mine did well with my 1 1/2 TBS Cookie Scoop.  Follow your makers directions for cooking the pizzelles.  (Mine is a cheapy cheapy Toastmaster one, each cookie took about 1 to 2 minutes).  Remove from iron with a rubber spatula and allow to cool.

Dust with powdered sugar.





Sunday, May 11, 2014

Aldi adds a Gluten-free Line - Live Gfree



My other blog is all about Aldi Markets.  I love Aldi.  It's so inexpensive, so easy to shop.  Since going back to gluten-free, it's been fairly easy to continue to shop there because they clearly label their foods that are gluten-free.  I like that a lot.  If it doesn't have the label, I don't buy it.

Last week, I made a simple pulled pork using Aldi's Bar-b-que sauce and half of a pork loin roast.  My family RAVED over it.  It was soooo easy, and sooooo cheap!  And it was soooooo gluten-free!

Well, when I hit the store this week, what do my wondering eyes do I see?  A full gluten-free line.  Granted, it is a "special buy" which means that they are test-marketing it.  The most popular products will likely be added to their full time line up in the next year.  I've purchased one of everything to give them a try, and already sent a letter to Aldi corporate to thank them for trying it out.

Anyway, I was THRILLED and wanted to share the news with all of you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Banana Fritters



I've been growing weary of my Banana Walnut Muffins (which I often alter and add mini chocolate chips instead of walnuts!).  I've been making them frequently when I have overripe bananas.  I just could not face making another batch today on my normal Tuesday cooking day.  I had two very large, very overripe bananas (you'll see the recipe calls for 3 medium, these two would have been 3 medium).  I went in search of something different to do with them.

Below is an adapted recipe from an Everyday with Rachael Ray for Banana Fritters.  If you are not gluten-free, follow her recipe, no need for modifications.

Another recommendation I have is to heat up the oil while you are preparing the batter.  If left to sit too long, the batter really GROWS! :)  The recipe calls for a lot of baking powder.  I thought it was too much at first, but, it makes sense with how light and airy these turn out!

The other alteration I made was using powdered sugar to finish vs. granulated.  I prefer this to add some sweetness.  I do believe that these would also make delicious pancakes!

BANANA FRITTERS

1 Cup GF Flour Blend
2 Tbs Baking Powder (confirm it's a GF one, not all are!)
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbs Brown Sugar (I used only two, if you like sweeter, you could add more)
1/2 Cup Half & Half
1 egg, beaten
3 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
Vegetable oil for frying
Powdered Sugar

In a pot, start 1" of Vegetable Oil warming to 365 degrees (I used unrefined coconut oil, not extra virgin).

In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.  Whisk in half & half and egg.  Stir in mashed banana.

Drop tablespoons full of batter into oil, frying in batches.  I put about 3 in at a time as I was using a small pot.  Flip them over with you can see the browning on the edges.  Allow to finish frying.  Remove from oil and drain.

While the fritters are still hot, dust liberally with powdered sugar, this will allow the sugar to melt and become like a glaze on the fritters.

Enjoy.  Rachael Ray's recipe says this serves 6.  Not the way I eat them, it doesn't!!!! :)  LOL!!!  ENJOY!!!!!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Baked Cinnamon Cake Donuts



Let's face it, I love a good donut.  I cannot lie.  I might be Homer Simpson.  I don't necessarily drool over donuts, but I could very easily.  The local GF Bakery has lovely donuts, they're fried.  I have no patience for frying anything.  I'm more of a baker.

Recently while reading a magazine, I noticed a recipe for a baked cinnamon donut.  Sigh.  Called for real flour.  Started my brain churning.  My wonderful friend, Amy, gave me a donut pan and a long-john pan for Christmas.  So, I had the hardware.  It's making the software work that's the key.

Now, if you're looking for dense cake donuts, this is not that recipe.  If you're looking for light and fluffy yeast donuts, this is not that recipe.  If you're looking for something in the shape of a donut with a light and fluffy texture, this is the donut for YOU!  (and for me, I loved them!!!!)  When you let them cool, the exterior gets a sticky/crunchy outside with a soft fluffy inside.  I enjoyed that very much.  Even better, drip frosting over them.  Or douse them in butter and then cinnamon sugar.  The donut part itself is not overly sweet.

As with anything, confirm your sources for your ingredients are gluten-free.  I choose to use a lot of items from Aldi because they are clearly labeled when they are truly gluten-free.

Baked Cinnamon Cake Donuts

2 Cups GF Flour Blend (use your personal favorite here)
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Tbs Baking Powder
1 Tsp Xanthan Gum
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 Cup Whole Milk
2 Tbs Unsalted Butter, melted
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

OPTIONAL:
1 Tub of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting (yep!  Gluten-free!!!)
OR
4 Tbs melted Butter
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tbs Cinnamon

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together egg, milk, butter and vanilla extract.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients (also known as the "muffin method", thank you AB).  Mix until combined, do not over mix.

Gently spoon into a donut pan or long-john pan.  Bake for 17-19 minutes (long-johns will take 25 minutes or more) until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, I melted about 1/4 cup or so of the Betty Crocker in a bowl for 8 seconds and gently spooned over the cooled donuts.  This will allow it to cool as a thick glaze on top.

Enjoy!!!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gluten-free Waffles - KAF Recipe Review

Hey there folks, how are you doing out there in GF world?

I know.  Homemade GF Waffles.  Why make something GF when they really aren't that expensive out there in the "real" world.  Well, convenience aside, I do like being in control of the ingredients that go into my food, and with all the "styrofoam in our food" scares lately, I thought I'd give waffles a try.  That and my amazing husband, who gave me a Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler for Christmas,  also got me the waffle plates, and quite frankly, I was DYING to try them out!!!

Since re-entering the GF world, I've gotten a little braver again.  Decided to make my own flour blend. Grateful for a local store that does bulk foods, I was able to spend about $20 and make a HUGE batch of gluten free flour.  Here's my breakdown, and so far, it's worked very nicely in all my recipes:

EQUAL PARTS
White Rice Flour (I got one that was extra milled, so less gritty)
Brown Rice Flour
Sweet White Sorghum Flour
Tapioca Starch

I did 6 cups of each and mixed well.

Some of the recipes out there added Xanthan Gum, I prefer to add mine per recipe, when mixed in a flour like this, you can never really be sure that you getting the correct amount.  I follow the rule of thumb of 1/2 tsp per cup in a "breadier" or "cakier" type recipe.

Armed with my new flour, my Griddler fitted with waffle plates, and my whisk, I set out to make the perfect waffle.  Ooooops, I need a recipe!!!!  In comes King Arthur Flour - you know, the flour people who now sell a GF flour??? - they had one!  The  KAF GF Pancake & Waffle Recipe was easy to follow and worked like a charm! Thanks KAF!!!

I doubled their recipe for them so that I would have some to freeze.  In my Griddler "waffle iron" it made 5 4-waffle flats.  So, basically, 20 individual waffles.  I did freeze them flat after cutting apart and I warm them up in my toaster.  They are SO, SO, SO good, and so much better than store bought!

The were light and fluffy in all the right places, crispy and crunch in all the right places, and doused with a good syrup OR slathered in crunchy peanut butter, they just satisfy that waffle urge.

Give them a try, I believe you won't be disappointed!