Thursday, June 30, 2011

My 30th Birthday Cake -- S'mores Cake

I wasn't going to post my birthday cake, because it's kind of sad looking.  It did turn out cuter than I thought, but I tried to put it together to quickly and it kind of fell apart.  The chocolate covered up most of it, but still, it made me sad.  And then, I got sick for my birthday and couldn't fully enjoy the cake, so yeah, oh well.  I decided if I wrap a cake in chocolate again, I'm using semi-sweet chips or dark chocolate.  I used milk chocolate (Enjoy Like Rice Milk Chocolate Bars) with this cake and the combination of that with the marshmallow fluff frosting was almost too much.  It was good, but you couldn't eat very much, not nearly was much as you'd want to eat.


S'mores Cake

Graham Cracker Cake
1 cup dairy free margarine
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup gf graham cracker crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick Smoreables )
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cup dairy-free milk (I use So Delicious Original Coconut Milk)
1 cup dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Directions
Grease to 9" round cake pans and preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs, one at a time and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Add the flour mixture to the margarine mixture, alternating with the milk.

Once mixture has come together, mix on high for 2 minutes.  Fold in chocolate chips and pour into the two greased cake pans.  Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow cakes to cool in cake pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely before frosting. Layer cakes with Marshmallow Fluff frosting (recipe also below, doubled from the cupcake recipe) and finish frosting the entire cake. 

For the chocolate 'wrap' around the cake, measure around the circumference of the cake and add about another 1", cut a piece of  foil or parchment paper that length and the desired height.  Lay the paper over some more parchment paper or foil (that is larger, to keep your counters clean). Melt ~1 cup of dairy free chocolate and cover the entire cut length of parchment paper with a thin layer of the chocolate.  Allow to cool until it is starting to set, but still soft and flexible.  Carefully peel the chocolate covered paper off and press it against the sides of the cake, keeping it in line with the bottom of the cake.  Place the cake in a the fridge until the chocolate is set, then peel off the paper.  For a jagged looking top (like mine) break off pieces from around the top.

Finish topping the cake with graham cracker crumbs, chocolate shavings, marshmallows, etc.


Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
1 cup palm oil shortening
1 cup dairy free margarine
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2  7oz containers marshmallow fluff

Mix together shortening, butter and sugar and fold in marshmallow fluff.

This post is featured on Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strawberry Limeade

This week in our basket we got quite a few limes and some strawberries, too.  My family can down the strawberries quite easily, but limes takes a little more creativity.  If its just a few limes, I will easily use those up in my cooking, but when its a dozen...I know its time for some drinks. :)  This is a perfect summertime drink, its bright, cheery, and refreshing.

Strawberry Limeade

2 cups quartered strawberries
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
4 cups cold water
3/4 cup sugar


Directions

Blend together strawberries and lime juice in a blender or food processer.  In a pitcher mix together the strawberry-lime puree with the water and sugar and chill until ready to serve.

This post is featured on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Gluten-Free Wednesday, and Seasonal Sunday.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekly Menu (6/26/11-7/2/11)

Weekly Menu (6/26/11-7/2/11)
Breakfasts: Daily choices are typically between:

Lunches: Sandwiches, leftovers, and fresh fruits and veggies. :)

Dinners:

Sunday:
Monday:
  • Crepes filled with :
    • Peanut Butter and Strawberries
    • Teriyaki leftovers and Fresh Spinach
    • Ham and Eggs
  • Carrot and celery sticks with ranch dressing

Tuesday:
  • Grilled Pork Chops
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Apple Slices
  • Salad
Wednesday (It's my birthday....the big 3-0!)
  • I'm decided to not cook for my birthday...I already know its going to be a stressful day that day at work, and Wednesday nights I spend with the youth in my church at their midweek activity, so I'm not going to add to my stress by cooking...
  • Juniper Take Out
  • My Birthday cake: A S'mores cake...if it tastes good you'll see it on the blog. :)

Thursday
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Tomato Soup
  • Carrot sticks and apple slices
Friday
  • Italian sausage frittata
  • Breadsticks
  • Salad
Saturday

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mexican Coleslaw

This is an easy side dish, or topping for tacos (I love it both on my beef and my fish tacos). And you can add in whatever you have on hand. :)


Mexican Coleslaw

3/4 cup salsa (see recipe below, or follow link and scroll down)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
1 medium bell pepper, diced (I used 3 very small peppers)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Toss ingredients together and chill before serving.  You could add in whatever ingredients you like, if I had mangoes I would have added those in.

Fresh Salsa

4 C. fresh chopped tomatoes
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/3 C cilantro chopped
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbsp lime juice

Directions
Mix all together and refrigerate.  Note: I actually blend up half of it in a blender to make more of a sauce (mainly because my family does not like chunks in their salsa) and I used the blended portion to make the sauce for the tacos.

This post is featured on Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, and Real Food Weekly.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Weekly Menu (6/19/11-6/25/11)

Weekly Menu (6/12/11-6/18/11)
Breakfasts: Daily choices are typically between:
Lunches: Sandwiches, leftovers, and fresh fruits and veggies. :)

Dinners:

Sunday:
  • Beef Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, and Celery
  • Homemade Rolls (I have some in the freezer)
  • Corn
  • Salad
Monday:
  • Tacos using the leftover roast meat
  • Fresh Salsa
  • Mexican Cole Slaw
  • Apple Slices

Tuesday:
  • Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Chips
  • Cantalope
Wednesday
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Cantalope
  • Salad

Thursday
  • Breakfast: One-eyed Sandwiches
  • Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • Pineapple and apple slices
Friday
  • Pizza
  • Salad
  • Pineapple
Saturday (We are going to be at my Mom's during the day for our family reunion, so I'm hoping we'll be plenty pooped that we won't need anything much for dinner)
  • Sandwiches, leftovers, or even cereal :)
  • whatever fruit we get that day in our Bountiful Basket.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

I know just by the title of this, someone will comment and tell me that root beer isn't gluten-free.  I know that at least A&W, Barq's, and Mug rootbeers are gluten-free.  If the question with rootbeer is because of the caramel coloring, I know that US and Canada based companies do not use wheat in making the caramel coloring (you can read about it in Shelley Case's Gluten Free Diet), so it is in fact gluten-free.

Also McCormick actually states if there is wheat or gluten in any of their products (you can see their statement here), so their rootbeer concentrate is gluten-free, as well.  Sorry, I went off on rootbeer, but I just wanted to put out fires before they started.

I saw this recipe on Better Homes and Garden and knew that it had to be in my queue of things to convert and try.  They are different, you have to remind yourself before you take that first bite that it is root beer flavored, because your brain is going to try to think chocolate or gingerbread or spice or about any normal cupcake flavor over root beer.  But once you take that first bite, it is pretty good, and a lot like a root beer float.  I used ice cream in the frosting, if you don't want to, you could use vanilla flavored non-dairy milk or creamer instead.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes


2 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dairy free margarine, softened
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon McCormick root beer concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups A&W root beer

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line twenty four muffin cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl stir together flour blend, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl beat margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed until combined. Scrape sides of bowl; beat on medium speed about 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy.

3.Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in root beer extract and vanilla.

4. Alternately add flour mixture and root beer to margarine mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.

5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3s full.

6. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in muffin cups on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin cups. Cool completely on wire racks.

7. Pipe or spread Float Frosting over cupcakes.

Float Frosting

1/4 cup dairy-free margarine, softened
3/4  cup Purely Decadent Vanilla Bean Icecream (made with Coconut Milk), softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

In a large bowl better butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add in 1/2 cup of the ice cream and the vanilla.  Gradually add in the 4 cups of powdered sugar.  If necessary, add more ice cream to reach the right consistency. (Or if your frosting is perfect, eat the left over ice cream). :)

This post is featured on Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A taste of things to come

Sorry, I haven't posted too many recipes lately.  I was in Boston for a week, and I have spent the rest of my very little free time experimenting with Betty Crocker mixes for the Betty Crocker Baker's Challenge.  I'm so excited about some of these recipes, so eventually you'll see the recipes...but until then you can at least see pictures of them. Here are a few, I'll keep adding more throughout the month as I create more:

 Gingerbread Cupcakes with Pumpkin-Citrus Frosting

 Pumpkin Hazelnut Cake with Spiced Yogurt Frosting

Old Fashioned Bacon Corn Muffins

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boston Restaurants

This past week I have been in Boston.  I had a training out there for work and brought my hubby along to sight see with me. We flew out Sunday morning and arrived back late yesterday (Saturday). It was a lot of fun, we saw a lot of sights, I got trained for work, and I DIDN'T GET SICK ONCE!!! At least not from the food, I got dizzy from looking out the Prudential Building (yes, I have issues with heights), and a little sick by the end of the airplane ride back to Salt Lake (it was bumpy), but nothing from the food I ate. :) So below is my review from all of the places that we ate.  Monday through Thurdsay I spent in the training at the manufacturer's facility. They provided breakfast and lunch from their cafeteria--I ate mixed fruit and hard boiled eggs for every breakfast and salad for every lunch. That was my allergy friendly option. :)

We stayed at the Colonnade, which was actually really, pretty nice, especially for its location.  It's right across from the Prudential Center and next to Copley Place there in Back Bay.  We were surrounded by restaurant choices and sites to see.  And there was a Shaw's grocery store, literally right across the street from us.  It was perfect.

Sunday night, once we got into town, we were starving.  We had just eaten snacks on the plane that I brought along in my purse, so we were ready for a substantial meal. The Prudential Center has a Legal Sea Foods and I knew that they had a gluten-free menu, so we went there.  As soon as I told them I was gluten and dairy intolerant, they got me the gf menu and some gluten-free rolls. I was quite excited about the rolls, they were pretty good, too.  I ordered the Chef's Platter which had shrimp, scallops, and the chef's choice of three fish, I got the salmon, swordfish, and tuna. I had broccoli and brown rice with it. I literally cleaned my plate, it was quite good and they knew exactly how to handle someone with food intolerances/allergies.

After my training on Monday, we headed out for an early dinner (my salad didn't feel me up, and my hubby didn't have anything to eat since 10:30, it was now like 4:30, yes, our bodies were not adjusted to the 2 hour time change). We went down a couple of blocks to b.good, it's like a fast food restaurant, that has high quality, handmade food...it's good. :) And they have Udi's gluten-free buns!  I got a Cousin Oliver gluten-free turkey burger with sweet potato fries. Here's their menu, their menu online doesn't talk about the gluten-free buns, but under ingredients on their site, it lists the ingredients for the gf buns...and when we walked in they had a sign right on their menu that said "We had GF Buns".  Just to note, they also have a sign that says not to modify how the burgers are made (you have like six choices, mine was cousin oliver), and most of those choices have cheese...I'm sure they would make an exception to someone that has food intolerances, but it's just easier to choose from the choices that don't have cheese. My choice was a basic burger with lettuce, onion, tomato and pickles, exactly what I was craving. :) The sweet potato fries were addicting, like they always are, and my husband even started eating them off my plate. So, it was definitely a good meal, and not bad price either, I think it was under $10 a plate.

Later that night, my hubby was hungry again, yes, our schedules were totally off.  I said we could go get him a cheesecake across the street at the Cheesecake Factory, he decided he wanted to sit down and have a whole meal there...I was nervous. I hadn't checked much into the Cheesecake Factory, but I had read mixed reviews, and their menu is a little overwhelming. Our server wasn't much help.  He said there was a manager (who is supposed to come out and take care of me, since I have food intolerances) that has a gluten intolerance and he'd ask him what would be good to get.  Now, ideally, that manager would come out and show me himself, but I never saw a manager that whole evening, he simply told the server what would be good and the server told me, but anyone in the situation knows, that having a messanger doesn't always work.  This server was not the best in relaying things and it made me nervous, so I stuck with something as simple as possible: I got the arugula salad with lemon juice and olive oil, golden raisins, and almonds, and the edamame, both from the small plates and snacks section of the menu.  Both were excellent, but I really doubt that I'd go back to the Cheesecake Factory, if the choice was up to me.

Tuesday evening we went out with the entire training group to Atlantic Fish, the nice thing about this meal, is it was paid for (including my hubby's tab) by the trainer. We started out with a gigantic shellfish platter that had lobster, crab, oysters, littleneck clams, and shrimp.  I tried raw oysters for the first time ever, so I can say that I have, decided against trying the littlenecks, but I did indulge in the lobster, crab and shrimp.  The shrimp were the biggest I think I've ever seen, but they were so good.  The lobster was definitely the best that I've ever had, and the crab as well.  I definitely filled up with just the appetizers.  They were very accommodating there, the top section on there menu if perfect for people with food intolerances, because you choose how it's cooked. Both the server and the managers made sure that I felt confident in my choices and I really love restaurants that do that. I ordered the grilled tuna with basmati rice and grilled asparagus. The tuna was amazing, I never have had fresh tuna steaks before this trip, but I'm a tuna convert, I love it. The basmati rice, wasn't fantastic, I make better at home, but combining it with the asparagus and tuna worked out well.  Really, this restaurant is a great choice, and I would definitely go there again, if I get back out to Boston.

Wednesday, we'd thought we'd walk over to the Museum of Fine Arts...it was a longer walk than we had thought, and after walking through the museum for 2 hours, we were totally exhausted and starving.  Halfway back to the hotel we stopped at Uno Chicago Grill.  I know we ate at yet another chain restaurant, but we were exhausted, hungry, and I knew that they had a gluten-free menu.  And, it is so exciting to see pizza on a gf menu, so that is exactly what I got--the gluten free veggie pizza without cheese.  I also got a frozen raspberry lime rickey, which was so amazingly delicious and refreshing. :) They were so good here, the manager (like they are supposed to) came out and made sure everything was fine, brought out the food, and check in again later.  And the pizza was delicious, it is a thin crispy crust and I devoured the entire thing. :)

Thursday, we went to the New England Aquarium, to Mike's Pastry over in the north end so my hubby could try a cannoli, then through Faneuil Hall/Quincy Marketplace. Once, again we were pooped and hungry, so we went a couple of blocks over to Newbury Street and found Joe's American Grill and Bar.  They have gluten-free pasta, pizza, and buns for their burgers. I kept it simple, I really wanted prime rib, so that's what I got, prime rib and a baked potato. They made sure to not put au jus on my plate or butter, so I was happy. The chef was the one who actually delivered my food, and the manager checked on us...I really appreciate the restaurants that take this seriously.

Friday, the training was over and we had the entire day to explore Boston.  We had breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, Brasserie Jo, and I had the fresh fruit salad.  It was great, but it was just a fruit salad.  The only reason for coming here, was so my hubby could have a hot breakfast.  I think in the future, I would just get something at the grocery store across the street.

The morning was spent touring Fenway Park, after the tour, we headed a couple blocks down from the park to Burton's Grill.  They have a fantastic gluten-free menu and I ended up getting the Haddock Sandwich with fries (no tartar sauce or coleslaw).  They were the ones that actually pointed out that their tartar sauce and coleslaw were not dairy free, so that was really nice that they caught that.  And that haddock was amazing, it's dredged in corn flour and fried--oh how I wanted that! :)  They have a nice light and chewy bun, too, so it was an amazing sandwich...and the fries were so good, and it was so nice to have fries at a restaurant! I absolutely loved that meal.

For dinner Friday night, we went over to Newbury Street again and went to Papa Razzi.  They have gluten-free pasta and pizza dough, making it actually possible to have Italian for dinner. I originally ordered their risotto of the day, but had stressed the gluten and dairy thing enough, that the server checked to make sure it was okay, and it wasn't, they cook their risotto with butter.  So I ended up having a chicken and broccoli pasta dish.  It was simple and a little bland, but I was eating pasta in a restaurant and that was nice. The dessert made it all worth it...I actually got to have dessert.  Being both gluten and dairy intolerant, all desserts are crossed off the list, usually.  Papa Razzi has Sorbetto and I tried all three flavors (one scoop of each): raspberry, lemon, and mango...and it was so nice to have something sweet. :)

Saturday was our last day in Boston, and it was raining.  We went to Brasserie Jo for breakfast again.  I got the mixed seasonal berries.  And once again, it was nothing special, just convenient.  If not for the rain, I may have convinced my hubby to go to the grocery store instead, oh well.

We finally ventured out in the rain towards lunchtime and thought to try out Cheer's, the original one that they based the TV series on.  I got the bunless burger, which comes with a caesar salad, and the waitress was good about checking the ingredients on the dressing for me.  There is parmesan cheese in the caesar dressing, just so you know.  I got my bunless burger with a garden salad instead, with oil and vinegar to top it. It wasn't anything fantastic, the burger was decent, but not phenomenal. But we went there, to say we've been there.  Honestly, I probably wouldn't go again.

On the flight home, we ate snacks that I packed (jerky, pistachios, gf nut bars, etc), and ate a quick bite at home before totally collapsing in our bed.  I definitely feel more confident about traveling now, but you do have to do your homework before going.  All of these restaurants, I looked at prior to eating at.  It's easy to find ones that have gluten-free options, I started my googling 'gluten-free restaurants in Boston', then narrowed the field to ones that were either by my hotel or the sites that we were planning on seeing.

I do have to say, no matter how successful a trip is, it is really nice to be home again. :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekly Menu (6/12/11-6/18/11)

I'm heading home today from Boston, and I'm tired. And I know I'm going to be even more tired by the time I get home. So hopefully this week's menu will be simple enough for me to handle. :)

Here's the week's plan for meals:

Weekly Menu (6/12/11-6/18/11)
Breakfasts: Daily choices are typically between:


Lunches: Sandwiches, leftovers, and once I get to the store I'll have fresh fruits and veggies. :)

Dinners:

Sunday:
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Corn Bread (testing out a new recipe that I'm working on)
Monday:
  • Chicken or Pork Tamales from the Tamale man
  • Nachos
  • Mandarin Oranges

Tuesday:
  • Sweet Pork
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Basmati Rice
  • Strawberries or Apple Slices
Wednesday
  • Spaghetti with italian sausage
  • Breadsticks
  • Salad
Thursday
  • Breakfast--probably one-eyed sandwiches
  • Sausage
  • Hashbrowns
  • Strawberries
Friday
  • Hamburgers
  • Oven Fries
  • Apple Slices
Saturday
  • Corn Dogs
  • Chips
  • Apple Slices or whatever fruit I happen to buy :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weekly Menu (6/5/11-6/11/11)

I'm heading to Boston early Sunday morning for a business trip and my hubby is joining me.  Our little ones are going to stay with my parents, so this week's menu is going to be different. Traveling with food intolerances changes everything, I've been researching places to eat, closest supermarkets, buying goodies to take along, etc.  But not only that, I've been prepping food for my boys to have at Grandma's as well.  So we'll start with my little ones weekly plan, it's not a rigid plan, but I've prepped stuff, so my mom has plenty of ideas for the entire week.


Breakfast:
Cinnamon Chex
Honeynut Chex
Reese's Puffs (My boys haven't had any reaction to these, so I let them have them every once in a while)
Fruity Pebbles
Trix
Udi's Chocolate Muffins
Banana Muffins
One-Eyed Sandwiches
GF Bisquick Pancakes

Lunch:
Sandwiches using Udi's bread: PB&J, grilled cheese (with Daiya cheese for my little one), ham, etc
Hot dogs (my boys prefer them without buns, always have)
Corn dogs (I prepped these and froze them this week, so all my mom has to do is reheat them)
Chicken nuggets (prepped these, too, so once again my mom just has to reheat)
muffins
along with fruits and veggies, etc.

Dinner:
Tacos
Hot Dogs
Pizza (I prepped the pizza crust, so they can just be topped and heated in the oven)
Grilled Chicken
Breakfast (one-eyed sandwiches, pancakes, scrambled eggs, etc)
along with fruits and veggies, etc. 

Snacks:
fruit snacks
dry cereal
apples and peanut butter
bananas
strawberries
 
For my hubby and I, well mostly me, because my husband can eat anything, I'm packing an assortment of Larabars, Enjoy Life Caramel Apple Chewy Bars, Nature Valley Nut Crunch Bars, Pistachios, raisins, and Jerky. My purse will be stocked, so I know I will have something to eat during the actual trip to Boston.
I've also researched where the closest grocery stores are to my hotel: there's a Trader Joe's a couple of blocks one way, and a Shaw's one block the other way, so I'm set there.

My breakfasts and lunches are provided by the company, but I spoke with the training director already and made sure that they would have options that would meet my needs. (I'm still keeping food in my purse, just in case). So, it's just dinners that I really need to worry about and I've gathered a list of easily 24 restaurants that post a gluten-free menu online and are in close proximity to either our hotel or the sites we are planning to visit...so, I think I'm set.


Wish me luck! And have a fantastic week!

Rainbow Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

I have been wanting to make these cupcakes for ages and finally had the chance to do it...now I probably won't be motivated to ever do it again, it was a lot of work.  Everyone loved them, but when I make it again, it will be in cake not cupcake form. :)
 
For the cupcakes, I used Cybele Pascal's Vanilla Cupcake recipe from The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook. I then divided the batter into 6 equal portions. I used McCormick Food Coloring drops to color each portion a different color.  For purple the ratio of red and blue of 5:1, with about 18 drops total. For orange, the ratio for red and yellow was 2:3, with 20 drops total.  The other colors used about 20 drops each to color the batter.

To create the rainbow look, start with purple and add ~1 teaspoon into each cupcake cup, follow with blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.  Yes, it takes time. :)  Follow the recipes instructions for baking.  Once cooled frost with the Marshmallow Fluff frosting and sprinkle with gold sugar sprinkles. (I used Betty Crocker)
Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
1 cup palm oil shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 7oz container marshmallow fluff

Mix together shortening and sugar and fold in marshmallow fluff.

This post is featured on Cybele Pascal's Allergy Friendly Friday.