Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Carina Bean Creations

Check out my lil sister's new blog!  I told her she should do it and like all little sisters should, she listened to her big sister. :-)  She has a great love for baking, but unfortunately has a gluten intolerance, so she's had to really search for good gluten-free recipes.  I've tried her stuff...its deeeee-lish!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

German Sweet Chocolate Cake

Wow, can you believe 2 posts in a week?  I haven't done that for months!  Like I said in my last post, we recently found out that my son is allergic to wheat, milk, & peanuts, so we've been looking for tasty alternatives to what we're used to.  And I'm not willing to compromise good taste in the process.  I'm determined that eating allergy-free can be just as good as eating normal, so I'm on the hunt for good recipes.  This one was introduced to me by my little sis.  She has a gluten intolerance, so she has a little more experience in the gluten-free world.  She's been on the hunt for tasty gluten-free goodness and stumbled across this.  The original recipe is from the back of the Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate Bar box.  She simply substituted the flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour and I would go further and substitute the buttermilk with any non-dairy milk (soy, rice, almond, coconut) with vinegar added.  So far it really is the BEST gluten-free, dairy-free cake I've tested so far.  I honestly can't tell the difference.

  • 1 pkg (4oz) Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 c flour (for gluten-free, use 2 c Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour...we've only used Bob's Red Mill brand so far)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened (if making dairy-free, use 1 c dairy-free substitute...we've used Nucoa dairy-free margarine)
  • 2 c sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla (make sure its gluten-free...vanilla w/alcohol can contain alcohol w/gluten in it, so watch out)
  • 1 c buttermilk (dairy free option: 1 c milk substitute (soy, rice, coconut, almond milk) plus 1 Tbsp vinegar...let it sit for 10 minutes to sour up a little)
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare pans.  If using cake pans, cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; grease sides of pans.  If using cupcake tins, place cupcake paper cups in tins.

Microwave chocolate and water in large microwavable bowl on high for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.  Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition.

Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.  Gently stir into batter.  Pour evenly into prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Immediately run small metal spatula around cake layers.  Cool in pans for 15 minutes; remove layers from pans to wire racks.  Discard wax paper.  Cool cake layers completely.  Frost & enjoy!

Makes 16 servings.

Dairy Free Whipped Cream

I can't believe its been SO long since I last posted...okay, maybe I can believe it.  In the last couple of months I've had a baby (now making my husband I proud parents of 3 very busy boys!), started homeschooling my oldest son, and, well lots more has been going on, but those are my biggest distractions these days.  A month or so ago we had our 2 oldest sons tested for food allergies, in which we discovered my oldest was allergic to just about everything.  Poor kid!  The major culprits were wheat, milk, and peanuts.  So our way of eating is going through quite a metamorphosis these days.  In some ways its more challenging than I thought and in others its actually easier.  I am finding it a lot easier for him to adjust then it would be for myself or my husband.  While I think most of the prepackaged cookies and breads and such are pretty much nasty, he loves them.  Go figure.  For once in his life he's actually being easy about something :-)  But through all of the hard work, its been worth it!  He feels better and acts so much better.  The point of my whole rambling is that my recipes may be changing a bit.  Not necessarily entirely, but be on the lookout for new gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, and even some vegan recipes.  

To start off with, I've found that coconuts are my new best friend.  It can be really healthy for you.  Coconut oil is a great alternative to other oils in baking and cooking.  Coconut milk can be substituted for milk in lots of stuff.  Although its more expensive, coconut milk yogurt and ice cream are tasty alternatives.  But if you make it yourself (I'll post when I try it), then it won't be so expensive.  Curries with coconut milk are always wonderful.  You can even make coconut flour (and coconut milk) from unsweetened coconut flakes (haven't tried it yet, but looks tasty).  Recently we tried out whipped cream using coconut milk.  It was actually tasty!  My son LOVED it and better yet we all liked it!  Try it out!

PS...if you don't like coconut flavor, you can still use coconut milk and oil in recipes (usually you can't taste it), but I wouldn't recommend this recipe or yogurt or ice cream made from coconut milk!

  • Can of Whole Fat (NOT low-fat) Coconut Milk
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla (optional)
Refrigerate the coconut milk for a minimum of 4 hours...I'd recommend at least overnight, if not for a couple days.  DO NOT shake can!  After it has been refrigerated for preferably a couple of days, open the can.  You will find that all the fat will have risen to the top with the liquid at the bottom.  For this recipe you will not the liquid, so scoop out all of the coconut fat and place into a medium-sized mixing bowl (you can discard the liquid or save it to drink or use in smoothies or something)

With a mixer, blend the coconut on high speed.  After a few minutes it will start to get fluffy.  Gradually add sugar and vanilla (optional) to taste.  Continue mixing until it becomes very light and creamy, much like regular whipped cream.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Broccoli-Bacon Salad

I FINALLY made something new for a change!  I apologize for the extremely long delay in posts.  This was my toughest pregnancy and now that my little guy is here, having 3 kids has thrown me quite for a loop.  But now that he's 2 months now, life is starting to get back to normal...somewhat anyway.  4th of July weekend we went on a little hike and had a picnic.  We had delicious sandwiches with turkey, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  For a side we had this broccoli-bacon salad.  I think I originally found it here.  It was good!  My kids LOVE of their it was the perfect thing for our little picnic!

(photo borrowed from here)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise (I just used regular since thats what I had)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (again, I didn't go low fat with this either)
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 cups finely chopped broccoli crowns
  • 1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, rinsed & chopped
  • 3 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 3 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
Whisk garlic, mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl.  Add broccoli, water chestnuts, bacon, cranberries, and pepper; stir to coat with the dressing.

Serves 6.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bakerella Goes Pixar

Bakerella has done it again - she just keeps on coming up with genius cake pop ideas!  My kids (especially my middle child) would LOVE any and all of these!  And seeing as they're planning on going to see Toy Story 3 tomorrow, I thought it only appropriate to share these links with you!  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Reason for my Absence

This little guy is why I've been away for so long...

(can you believe he's only 1 day old here??)

Our BIG boy finally arrived this week, weighing in at 9 lbs, 11 oz! He's the reason for my lack of cooking in these past 9+ months. I'm excited to get back to making yummy things...just as soon as I'm back on my feet again!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today being St. Patrick's Day, I, of course, had to make something somewhat festive. When I was a kid my mom would make everything green. She would make cookies and bread and dye the dough green, so we'd have green sandwiches and green cookies. In the morning she'd dye the milk green (those were the powdered milk days, so it only made the milk even nastier than it already was - why is it that no matter how cold powdered milk is, it always tastes like warm milk? Ug...gross!). Then for dinner we'd always have corned beef and hash. I'm not such a corned beef fan, so I avoid it at all costs (much to my husband's dismay!). So this year I pretty much made the same thing as last year, switching things up a little. The jigglers were green this year and I bought bread rather than made it. I didn't like the Irish Soda bread much, so I was going to attempt some Beer Bread (Sprite works great in replacing the beer!), but didn't end up having the time. So here's my menu:

For Dinner:
For Dessert:
  • Pistachio pudding with homemade whipped cream

Here's the recipes for Colcannon & Homemade Ginger Ale:

(photo and recipe via Martha Stewart)
  • 1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 savoy cabbage, tripped pale-green leaves finely shredded (4 cups)
  • 1 leek, pale-green and white parts only, cut into 1/2" dice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt
Preheat broiler. Peel and quarter potatoes, and place in a medium saucepan; add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to saucepan. Mash with a potato masher or pass through a ricer; cover pan to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, combine cabbage, leek, milk, 2 Tbsp butter, and nutmeg; season with salt. Cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cabbage and leek is soft but not browned, about 15 minutes. Stir into potatoes.

Spread mixture in an 8" square baking dish. Make a small well in the center, and place under the broiler until lightly browned on top, about 5 minutes.

Remove from broiler. Place remaining 2 Tbsp butter in well. Serve immediately, spooning melted butter from well onto each serving, if desired.

Homemade Ginger Ale

(photo & recipe via Berlin's Whimsy)
  • 2 cups rough chopped fresh ginger (about 3 large pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Large bottle of sparkling water
  • Fresh limes (each beverage requires one half)
To make the Ginger Syrup Mix:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the water and ginger pieces until barely simmering. Simmer for five minutes, turn off heat, cover and let steep for one hour. Drain the ginger water over a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup. Discard the ginger pieces. Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan, add the sugar and gently heat this mixture until the sugar dissolves. Let cool and store this Ginger Syrup in the fridge.

To make a Ginger Ale:

In each tall glass, add ice, 2 parts ginger syrup, 1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice, 3 parts sparkling water. Stir and taste. Adjust amounts to your liking (I added more sparkling water).