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Friday, 8 December 2017

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

I decided to make a GF pumpkin spice layer cake as an extra Thanksgiving dessert for one of my daughters who doesn't like pie unless it's a chocolate pie. But, I wanted something a little different in look and shape to accompany the pies.  My daughter LOVED this.  So much so, I made it the following week for a family dinner.  It's remarkably easy, but because of the layering, it has a fancy look.  A fun dessert that's delicious and looks beautiful.  Enjoy! 
Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake
Serving a slice of pumpkin spice layer cake. Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a metal baking pan, approximately 10" x 10" or 11" x 11" in size, with parchment paper.

Mix in a large bowl (It is important to mix dry ingredients first in gluten-free cooking, or you will end up with inconsistencies in the batter):
3/4 cup Kristin's gluten-free flour mix
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice + pinch of cloves (OR 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp ginger, pinch of cloves)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Add, and mix in thoroughly:
1/2 cup oil (I love avocado oil, but any cooking oil will work)
2/3 - 3/4 cup sugar

Add and mix in until nice and smooth:
2 eggs
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned pumpkin or homemade pumpkin puree will work)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (vanilla bean paste is best)

Pour into your parchment-paper lined metal baking pan (approx. 10" x 10" or 11" x 11").  Smooth top of batter.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes, until nicely browned on top.  Cool completely in pan.  Once cooled, slice cake into three even pieces.  Frost and layer as follows:

Beat the following by hand OR in a mixer until nice and smooth:
2 Tbsp butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract
1-2 tsp milk, added slowly, until desired thickness

Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of each third of pumpkin cake.  Carefully pick up and layer the cakes on top of each other on a serving dish. *I find using two spatulas works well to pick up each piece of cake* 

Chill frosted cake 2-3 hours, or overnight before serving.  This cake slices best when it's chilled completely.  Slice with a serrated knife when serving.   Enjoy!     

Monday, 27 November 2017

Delicious Garlic-Herb Shrimp

This recipe isn't for the faint at heart.  You have to like two things: garlic and shrimp.  If you do, you're in luck!  I've made this a few times and it's delicious fresh or after it's rested overnight allowing the flavors to really mesh together.  You could serve it over salad or in a sandwich.  It was a perfect post-Thanksgiving meal. Enjoy!
Garlic-Herb Shrimp Gluten-Free
Shrimp served alongside a spinach salad for a flavorful, light lunch. 

Delicious Garlic-Herb Shrimp

Mix together:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
~6-7 cloves garlic, minced (about 3/4 of a bulb)
1-2 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
1-2 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
dash turmeric
dash salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon
dash of Tabasco (optional)

Mix in 2 lbs cooked jumbo shrimp (peeled, deveined, tails off).

Refrigerate 1-2 hours, then serve!  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

My Favorite Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes!

We happily celebrate Thanksgiving in our house - twice. Thank you Canada and US for allowing us to celebrate both in October AND November.  We're twice as grateful (and probably twice as rolly-polly, too).   In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving #2, here's a list of a bunch of my favorite recipes that I enjoy choosing from for Thanksgiving meals!  Sometimes it's nice to just have them all in one location!  Happy cooking!!! 
Some happy eaters, ready for pie!  (left to right, chocolate, pumpkin-maple, lemon meringue, coconut cream, apple galette, maple tart, pumpkin spice cake in the center) *This is from Thanksgiving #2*
Gluten-free Delicious Thanksgiving Desserts - the best part, right? (lemon meringue, apple galette, chocolate, and pumpkin pies!) *Thanksgiving #1*

My Favorite Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes!

Vegetable or Fruit Platters - just go with what you love and arrange it nicely.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
My Dad's Favorite Shrimp Dip
Steamed Artichokes w/ butter

A spread for a small Thanksgiving - rolls, cranberry-pumpkin bread, tomatoes & fresh basil (thanks to my neighbor, turkey, gravy, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce). Yum! *Thanksgiving #1*
If only I'd taken the picture BEFORE we had all served ourselves. But it was too tempting to dig in!  *Thanksgiving #2 - how were we still hungry after Thanksgiving#1?*

Main Dishes:
Turkey, Turkey Stock/Broth & Gravy (I like to season, butter, and bake at 425 F in a straight-forward manner. I like to season according to my chicken recipe here - I just tripled it for the turkey, and basted a few times during cooking.  I also made it in a pan with a rack the turkey sat on and used the drippings for a gravy, made from that same chicken recipe, just quadrupled!). 
Homemade Cornbread Stuffing Recipe and/or Cornbread with honey butter
My New Favorite Versatile Rolls Recipe
Julie's Brown Bread
Mashed Potatoes (boil, drain, and mash with butter, milk, salt & pepper)
Sweet Potatoes (boil, drain, and mash with butter, milk, salt & pepper, and other herbs, if desired - like rosemary, oregano)
Au Gratin Potatoes
Pumpkin Soup OR Butternut Squash Soup
Cranberry-Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Pumpkin Swirl Bread
Our Family Punch Recipe (great for all ages!)

Little arms awaiting the pies!  Plus fresh fruit and some yummy meringues my neighbor brought along. Yum!  Here we have an apple galette, lemon meringue pie, pumpkin pie, and chocolate pudding pie. 

Apple Galette or Crumble-topped Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie OR Pumpkin Squares
Lemon Meringue Pie
Chocolate Pudding Pie - make and cook a buttermilk pastry pie crust. Fill with rich & creamy chocolate pudding made with 1/4 - 1/2 cup less milk.  Press plastic wrap to top of pudding, and let cool/refrigerate until serving.  
Fabulous Coconut Cream Pie
Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie
Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie
Peach Galette
Blueberry-Plum Galette
Apple Crisp
Blueberry Crisp
Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Apple Muffins

Another shot of dessert - because it's our favorite!  *Thanksgiving #1*

Monday, 6 November 2017

Crispy-topped Peach Cobbler (My Quick Version)

This yummy crispy-topped peach cobbler is based off Zilpha's Peach Cobbler recipe, the grandmother of a family friend.  Zilpha used fresh peaches and quite a bit of extra sugar, but I tweaked it a bit to make a recipe perfect for the peach slices canned in water or extra-light syrup.  Still delicious and packed with the flavors and crispy topping Zilpha intended. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Peach Cobbler
Fresh peach cobbler, ready to eat! 

Peach Cobbler/Crisp
Makes one 8 x 8 pan

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In an 8 x 8 glass pan, combine the following:
48 oz/ 1.4 liters/ 6 cups canned peach slices, drained (use peaches canned in water or extra-light syrup)  OR peel and slice ~3-4 fresh, ripe peaches
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together in a large bowl (if you want a lighter topping, make half the amount listed here - it'll work perfectly well, too!):
1 cup Kristin's Gluten-free Flour Mix
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Add, chopping in with a pastry cutter until you have a crumbly topping:
3 Tbsp butter, chilled
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Sprinkle the crumb topping over the prepared peaches.  Bake at 350 F for ~50 minutes, until topping is browning.  Serve hot or warm!

This peach cobbler is so flavorful, it can be served alone - no ice cream or whipped cream needed!  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Peach Cobbler
A peach cobbler made with the larger amount of crumb topping - for a juicier cobbler, make 1/2 the topping. Either way it's delicious!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Pumpkin Granola Cookies

I love making things with fresh pumpkin puree.  I actually have found that you can cook other fall squash like acorn squash or turban squash and use it just like pumpkin puree, too!  Kind of fun, and helpful if you're having a hard time finding the sweeter pie pumpkins.  (Plus, they tend to be available nearly year-round).   These cookies combine some of my favorite things - pumpkin, coconut, cranberries, and a touch of cinnamon!  I wanted something a little more granola-bar like, but that still had a large amount of pumpkin in the actual batter.  These are ideal! You could even shape them into little granola bar shapes, if you like! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Fresh Pumpkin granola cookies - filled with pumpkin, oats, coconut and cranberries. Yum! 

Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Makes ~36

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients:
1 1/4 cup oats (make sure they're GF if celiac or sensitive)
3/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 - 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

In a large bowl or mixer, beat together:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or 100% canned pumpkin)
1/3 - 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Add dry ingredients and mix, just until combined.

Add and mix in:
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Scoop 1 Tbsp scoops onto parchment-lined cookie sheets.  12 per sheet.  Flatten a bit with your palm (yes, it's a little sticky).
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Scoop and flatten. They don't spread much, so you can put more than normal on a tray. 

 Bake at 350 F for 12-13 minutes, until cookies are just browned at the edges.  Let rest on the pan for 3-5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Great warm or cooled.  Once cooled, these freeze perfectly - so you can make them in advance and have them for breakfast or snacks!  Enjoy!
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
Let them rest a few minutes on the tray before removing to your cooling rack. 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Vietnamese-style Fried Spring Rolls - gluten-free with homemade dipping sauce

Fried spring rolls always seem like something to dream of eating, unless you can find ones made with rice wrappers and fried in a designated gluten-free fryer. I've only ever found them at a couple of Vietnamese restaurants and they are delicious!  However, sometimes I want to be able to make and eat them at home.   After many attempts, I finally figured out the trick!  They need to be wrapped tightly, but most importantly, they need to have time sitting and drying in the refrigerator.  Any damp spots on the outer edges of your rice wrapper will be weak and liable to break while frying.  This recipe takes some preparation, but mostly you need to make the filling and roll up your spring rolls well in advance, so they'll have time to dry thoroughly before you fry them up! Enjoy!!!!
GF Fried Spring Rolls
Freshly wrapped spring rolls, ready for drying and then frying! 
Yes, these tasted like restaurant-style friend spring rolls! Yum! 

Fried Spring Rolls
Makes ~24 fried spring rolls (yes, you can halve the recipe!)

This recipe requires time for preparation, cooling, and drying.  Make sure you prepare the meat/vegetable filling early so it can cool.  Once you fill/wrap your spring rolls, you'll want them to dry in the the refrigerator ~2 hours before frying to alleviate stickiness upon cooking. 

In a large frying pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat:
1 Tbsp avocado oil (or oil of your choice)

Add and cook 2-3 minutes:
2-3 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed thoroughly
2 bunches green onions (~12 stalks), thinly sliced
salt & pepper (just enough to sprinkle/grind over the top)

Add, stirring until pork is cooked thoroughly (a few minutes):
3/4 lb ground pork

Add and cook 1 minute:
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
6-7 cloves garlic, minced

Add and cook 1 minute, then remove from heat:
2-3 Tbsp Bragg's soy seasoning (or GF soy sauce)
1 tsp agave or 1 tsp sugar

Put pork/vegetable mixture into refrigerator and allow to cool at least 1 hour.
Freshly made filling. 

Fill a large pot 1/4 - 1/2 with water and bring to a boil.
Boil 1/3 pkg of rice vermicelli noodles + 2 tsp salt for 5 minutes.  Drain and place noodles in a bowl.

Have a tea kettle of hot/boiling water readily available for preparing spring rolls.

Fill a plate with boiling water.  Quickly dip spring roll wrapper (rice wrapper) in hot/boiling water.   Place wrapper on a fresh plate, and quickly fill with a small handful of noodles and small spoonful of pork/vegetable filling.  Wrap the spring roll by tightly wrapping one half, folding in both sides, then fully rolling (like a burrito or egg roll).
A dollop of rice noodles and filling in the center of a dampened rice wrapper. 
Roll up one side, then tuck in the two outer edges.  Then you can roll it up the rest of the way.  

Place your freshly wrapped spring roll on a plastic-wrap lined pan or cutting board (one that will fit into the refrigerator).   Repeat with as many spring rolls as you like, changing out the water regularly so you are using very hot water.  You have filling to make ~25-30 - *the extra filling is great mixed with the noodles, or served atop noodles if you don't want to make a huge number of spring rolls.

Let spring rolls dry in the refrigerator 1 hour.  Flip them all over, and let them continue to dry on the other side for 1 hour (or longer).  *This is a key part of making these fried spring rolls.  If you don't let them dry, they'll break/burst during frying.

Spring rolls, partway through drying, being rolled over. 

Heat frying oil in deep-fryer to ~350-360 F.   Carefully place a spring roll into the oil.  Let it cook briefly, before rolling it over, to allow that side to cook briefly.  This will help remove the stickiness from the outer sides of the rice wrapper.  Carefully repeat, until you have 3 rolls cooking.   If the rolls touch before they have a chance to cook a little, they can stick together.  Not the end of the world, since they're still edible, but you don't end up with nice individual spring rolls.

Cook each roll approximately 3 minutes, until just browning.  The edges will be nice and crispy.  Remove to paper towel-lined pan or plate.

Serve hot, alongside dipping sauce of your choice, or the mix together the following dipping sauce:

Delicious fried spring roll dipping sauce: 

Mix together the following:
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbsp Bragg's soy seasoning (or GF soy sauce)
1-2 tsp agave
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic-chili sauce


Sunday, 15 October 2017

BBQ Spareribs

BBQ ribs are one of those meals that takes a bit of advanced planning, but it is well worth the effort.  You can whip this together in the morning before work and it'll be ready to devour upon your return.  The method of prepping ribs in this recipe (removing the membrane, broiling and slow-cooking) was taught to me by some good friends while we lived in England. As these friends hailed from Oklahoma, land of BBQ, I can confidently say that they knew their BBQ ribs.  You'll find that broiling and slow-cooking as directed here will result in wonderfully tender, tasty, and utterly delicious barbeque ribs.  Enjoy!

BBQ Spareribs
Serves 4-6

Turn your oven on to broil.

Prepare your ribs:
1) You will want 1-2 racks of spareribs (the ones I usually get are called pork back ribs, you can use beef ribs as well).  You will want around 12 bones w/ meat. 
2) There is a thin membrane on the back side of the ribs, along the bone. Use a knife or something to get under the membrane.  Once you get a bit of the membrane separated, you should be able to pull it all off.  (Note about the membrane: It's okay to leave it on, but if you remove it, it lets more of the taste get into the ribs during cooking - here's a good link for removing the membrane).

Place the ribs on a cookie sheet lined lined with foil. 
Rub the ribs with the following:
4 - 6 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Wrap the ribs tightly in foil, double-wrapping, if needed.  Broil for 5-7 minutes on each side.  Unwrap and cut the ribs into piece sizes with 2-3 bones each.  Place them in the crockpot with BBQ from below. 

While ribs are broiling, put the following into your crock pot one of the two BBQ sauce options:
Option 1: 
1 chopped onion
2 - 3 cups honey BBQ sauce (or your favorite BBQ sauce)
2 Tbsp maple syrup


Option 2: 
1/2 onion, diced (optional)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar2 cups canned tomato sauce (plus 1-2 tsp salt if you're using low-salt tomatoes) OR 2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp hot sauce (I use a locally made habanero sauce, which adds a nice kick - adjust depending on how spicy you want your sauce).  2 Tbsp worcestershire sauce2 Tbsp GF soy sauce (Bragg's works well)2 Tbsp dark molasses4 tsp dry mustard2/3 cup sucanat sugar OR brown sugarground pepper, to taste (optional)

Once you've put ribs in sauce, mix gently to coat with sauce mixture.  
Cook on low 8 hours OR cook on high 4-5 hours.  They’ll be deliciously tender and ready to eat!  They melt off the bones.