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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Salted Caramel Frosting - made with homemade caramels

A wonderfully tasty salted caramel frosting - made with fresh, homemade caramels/sauce.  It's tasty with vanilla or chocolate cake.
Salted Caramel Frosting
Salted Caramel Frosting over cake made with my Vanilla Cupcake recipe

Salted Caramel Frosting: 

Make a small batch of homemade caramels:
Homemade Caramels: 

Butter one 8"x8" pan.

In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, combine:
2 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup whipping/heavy cream
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
pinch salt, plus an extra pinch (or two good cranks with a salt grinder)

Cook until caramel reaches ~225-230 F on a candy thermometer.  Immediately remove from heat and mix in:
3/4 tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract

Pour caramels into buttered 8 x 8 pan and set on wire rack to cool.  You can make the frosting while these are still warm, but not hot.

Mix together, heating briefly briefly, if caramels have been allowed to cool. (You can heat 30 - 60 seconds in the microwave)
1/2 pan caramels (with an extra crank/pinch of fresh ground salt, heated to 225-230 F)
1/2 cup whipping/heavy cream

You'll want the caramel mixture to be a bit warm, but not hot, for it beat well into the other ingredients.

Beat in a mixer, starting slowly and building to medium to medium-high speed:
1 cup salted butter, softened
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
caramels & whipping cream, from above

Let frosting beat for 2-3 minutes, then add extra powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.    You'll want it nice and fluffy, but not runny and not stiff.  It's okay if there are chunks of caramel that get stuck to your beaters - just leave them out when you're using the frosting (though you can eat them).  If you beat this A LOT, then you'll end up with a very fluffy frosting, thanks to the added whipping cream.
Very well whipped frosting.

This frosting tastes amazing on vanilla cupcakes.  It has a flavor reminiscent of penuche fudge (my favorite).  And, it is perfect in a chocolate layer cake, or on top of chocolate cupcakes, too! 

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Herb and Lemon Baked Cod or Salmon

Happy New Year! I'll start the year off with a healthier dish - one we all love. The nice thing about making simple salmon or cod in this way is it's both aesthetically pleasing, and the lemon keeps the fish nice and moist during cooking.  I love the flavor of fresh dill, chives and lemon on the fish.  For a little extra flavor, you can add a sprinkling of thinly sliced red onion or minced garlic.  Great served with a salad or rice.  Enjoy!
Salmon and cod, ready for baking! 
Fresh out of the oven, and ready to eat! 

Herb and Lemon Baked Cod or Salmon


Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line baking pan with aluminum foil, turning up the sides to avoid drips spreading around the pan.

Place slices of salmon or cod on the foil-lined pan.  You can make as much or little of this recipe as you need.  The above pan is a 9x13 pan, and served 6.   

Sprinkle the top of the fish with the following:
fresh dill, diced
fresh chives, minced
salt & pepper

Drizzle the tops of the fish with:
lemon-infused olive oil (regular olive oil works, too, but the lemon-infused adds a richer flavor)

Top fish with thin slices of fresh lemon.

Bake at 400 F for ~16 - 20 minutes until thoroughly cooked.  This depends on the thickness/cuts of fish - check with a fork if it's flaking in the thickest part.  (Thicker/wider pieces may need a few extra minutes and thinner/narrow pieces will be more like the 16 minute time-frame).

Fresh baked fish is wonderful served alongside a fresh salad or with rice or potatoes.  

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bake

Alliteration at it's finest.  A healthy, breakfast bake that's tasty, too!  I am always looking for breakfast meals that I can make in advance.  I also actively search our recipes that don't use dairy (although I find butter to be not a problem - and if it is, just replace it with your favorite oil).  This breakfast bake can be made to eat on the day, but it's also great cooked in advanced - you can bake, cool, slice, and freeze.  Easy breakfasts or snacks during the day!  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bake
A fresh slice of blueberry banana breakfast bake, ready to eat! 

Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bake
Makes one pie-dish size breakfast bake - serves about 8

Beat well, until nice and frothy:
2 small, overripe bananas
1/3 cup organic sugar
3 eggs

Add and mix thoroughly:
1 cup canned coconut milk (mix together the thick/liquid parts (can easily be done if you heat it all a little))
1 tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract
6 Tbsp melted butter

Add, mixing until well combined:
3/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Fold in:
1 - 1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Pour into a buttered pie dish.  Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.  This stores perfectly in the refrigerator and you can reheat pieces any time!  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bake
Freshly made blueberry breakfast bake! 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Real Pumpkin Donut Holes!!!

Delicious hot, gluten-free pumpkin donut holes, made with lots of freshly baked (or canned) pumpkin puree!  These were a huge hit among all the family and friends that enjoyed them together.  I was grateful the recipe made so many, so we had a few extras.  For us, it's the time of year when we celebrate Hanukkah by frying anything and everything. (Maybe not everything, but it's a fun excuse to make and eat fried foods.  Our favorite savory food to make is  latkes (potato pancakes).  They're delicious served with homemade applesauce or sour cream.  I love stacking them with smoked salmon and a dollop of sour cream.  But, it's also fun to make donut holes, too!  These are a fun late fall/early winter treat!  Enjoy! 
Pumpkin Donut Holes

Real Pumpkin Donut Holes!!!
makes ~60 donut holes

I love to bake my own pumpkins, for that extra fresh pumpkin taste.  You can bake similar-style squash, like acorn squash, if pie pumpkins aren't available anymore. 

Whisk together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 - 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Start heating 1" Avocado Oil (or other frying oil of your choice, but this makes the MOST delicious crisp edges on the donut holes) in a high-sided frying pan over medium to medium-high heat OR in a deep-fryer.  *I aim for 350F to 360F*

I have fallen in love with a small deep-fryer that I have now.  I find it eliminates a good deal of mess.  I tend to strain and then re-use frying oil several times, just adding extra oil as needed, particularly if frying non-meat/fish items like donuts.  I'll use this again for Navajo tacoshand-held fruit fry pies samosas,  and even latkes (potato pancakes)

Add to your dry ingredients, and mix in thoroughly until smooth:
1/4 cup oil (i like avocado oil, but any will do)
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (fresh, homemade or canned 100% pumpkin)
4 eggs

Mix with a spoon until thoroughly combined.  Let rest 5-10 minutes.

Line 1 cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper to place donuts after cooling a bit and/or rolling in cinnamon-sugar.  Line 1 cookie sheet with a double layer of paper towel to place cooked donuts to drain.

Prepare a small bowl of cinnamon sugar to roll donuts after frying:
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon 

Use a small (1 Tbsp) sized cookie scoop to scoop pumpkin batter into the hot oil.

Let the pumpkin donut holes cook until browned on one side before flipping to the other side. (Often, I find they mostly flip themselves).  I usually give them about two minutes per side.  A lighter brown will give you a softer donut hole and a darker brown will give you a more crispy donut.  I prefer a darker brown.

Remove donuts to paper towel-lined pan to drain/cool.   Repeat with remaining batter.

When pumpkin donut holes have cooled enough for you to touch but are still hot, roll donuts in cinnamon-sugar and place on parchment paper or foil-lined pan OR transfer directly to foil or parchment-lined pan to eat later.
Pumpkin Donut Holes
This tray was packed with donut holes by the end of frying. Yum!
donut holes in cinnamon sugar
Pumpking donut holes are delicious rolled in cinnamon-sugar

Enjoy!!!

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!

Appetizers:
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. 

Desserts:
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*