GF Chocolate Chip Cookies, Anyone?

So long wearisome Wednesday.  Hello, thrilling Thursday! Do I really think my Thursday will be that exciting?  Well, yes.  Yes, I do.  I’ll be spending my day with Ms. Vivid T, traveling around the state, looking for adventures.  Any time spent alongside Vivid T is time well spent – thrilling time well spent, in fact.  Exciting.  Mind-blowing.  Awesome.  That’s what best friends are all about.

Mmm...and they're gluten free!

You wanna know what else best friends are all about?  Sharing recipes.  You and I are friends aren’t we?  I thought so.  That’s why I’m going to share this new recipe of mine with you!


Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Ginger Lemon Girl’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1/4 cup Crisco Vegetable Shortening (no trans fats!)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used family made!)
  • 1/4 cup organic raw cane sugar 
  • 2 T cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup King Arthur Flour GF Flour Mix
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 small handful GF chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli bittersweet chocolate pieces)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together Crisco and sugars until well combined (will look gritty). 
  3. Add applesauce and vanilla. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda.
  5.  Slowly add flour mixture to Crisco mixture (a bit at a time). 
  6. Mix in chocolate chips. 
  7. Line a cookie sheet with a silpat-like mat or parchment paper (I use a pink silicone mat like this one.   
  8. Place eight spoonfuls of dough (approximately one tablespoon each) onto the mat about 2 inches apart.  
  9. Bake 9-11 minutes**
  10. Set the tray on a cooling rack and allow the cookies to cool for 20 – 30 minutes.***
  11. Store cookies in an airtight container.****

TIPS:

*I used Mott’s original sweetened applesauce. The cookies were incredibly sweet.  I’d suggest using unsweetened applesauce.       

**I have an AWFUL oven, so cooking time may vary – your best bet is to watch the first batch closely and remove when edges and top begin to brown.

***The cookies will be very soft and crumbly until they cool.  So let them cool – completely.  I mean it.  Think of this as an exercise in practicing patience.  You can do it.   

****My cookies only lasted a few days before they were gone.  But! They were just as delicious, if not more so, on day 3 and day 4 and day 5 as they were fresh out of the oven.  

Fresh from the oven goodness.

Look at that melted chocolate.  You can see how quickly the cookies mysteriously disappeared.  I think there might be six left on this plate… there were eleven maybe thirty minutes before this photo.  Where did they go?  Oh, Dustin, I didn’t see you come in.  What’s that you’ve got there in your hand?  A cookie?  Oh, sorry – four cookies, my mistake.  Yep.  He ate nearly the whole plate.  I had to remind him that I cannot eat his cookies – the delicious Pepperidge Farm Milanos and Chocolate Chunk ones he teases me with after dinner.  I can eat these.  Therefore,  MY cookies.  Yes, I am being the cookie nazi here.  I want a god damn cookie to eat, okay? Got it?  Now that that’s settled, I want to show you my happy pigs.

They hang right in front of my workspace, adding color to the blah, white walls.  They look so content.  I’m sure they’re showing their satisfaction with my improving kitchen skills.  Right. That’s it.  I love my little piggy tools.  A little bit of piggy magic goes into each of my kitchen adventures.  You can find your own piggy helpers here.

I suggest you display them on the wall.  They’re way too cute to hide in a drawer.  You’ll be more likely to use them that way too.  Well, that can be said for me at least.  When they were tucked away in the utensil drawer, I never once used them.  I hung them on the wall and use them all the time.

 

Moving on from the Piggy Wiggy gadgets.  I want to hear from any of you that choose to make up the cookies above.  I’m still working on my cookie skills, so any advice is appreciated!  Too gritty?  Too sweet?  Too crumbly?  Too crunchy?  Let me know!

I wish you a Thrilling Thursday.  Get out there, look for adventure.  Enrich your life.

Ciao!

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Good Morning Sunshine!

Buon giorno!

Another wonderful morning here in the Green Mountain state.  Sun is out, temperatures are cool and the wind is softly rustling the bushes beyond the window. Beautiful. Serene. Perfect.

Last night, just as I was ready to post, the lights went out, the TV flashed off and the dishwasher silenced.  Ok, so the power went out, no big deal.  Happens occasionally.  So I waited.  It wasn’t coming back on.  The sun was setting and I was running out of daylight.  There were no candles in the house – we used them up. I had only a keychain flashlight to lead the way.  I grabbed a magazine and headed outside.  I read until the words blended with the background.  I sat there in the darkness, brainstorming what to do next.  I called CVPS.  Estimated time of returned power?  10 p.m.  So much for a stir-fry. It’d either be PB&J’s or grilling for dinner.  I am not a griller, but I certainly wanted more than a peanut butter sandwich.  Dustin is the professional behind our grilled masterpieces, but with him at work, and my stomach grumbling, I was going to have to grill myself.  I struggled a bit, but was finally able to heat up the coals and slap on the chicken (seasoned even!).  Somehow, in the dark, I managed to cut up carrots, cucumbers, and onions without injury.  I threw in a handful of spinach and a bunch of pea shoots – tossed it all in balsamic vinegar and topped with the grilled chicken.  Scrumptious.  A glass of syrah and the meal was complete.

I’ve never had to sit through a power-outage with minimal to no light. Candles, lanterns or daylight have always been available.  I was surprised to find it refreshing.  Dustin came home, we dined in the computer’s glow, then sat on the couch, in the dark, listening to music from the ipod’s itty bitty speaker.  Side by side, we listened to one another, to the sounds of the music, to the cars clamoring by.  Beautiful. Serene. Perfect.

Blue Skies, Smiling at Me.

Note: This post was intended for yesterday afternoon (4/16) , but the power went out right as I was about to post, so, here it is now for your enjoyment!

Hello!

What a warm and sunny April day.  I woke up to rays of sun seeping through the shades, warming the sheets.  What a peaceful, cozy moment.  Then the alarm sounded.  Ughhh.  Really?  Really Oy vey.

I finally dragged myself up out of bed and downstairs to greet my morning’s best friend, the beautiful Mr. Keurig.  I really do consider him  a great friend.  I’ve gotten Dustin hooked on this Mr. K too.  Not only does this wondrous machine brew a delicious cup of a wide variety of coffees, but also drips out a delicious hot chocolate.  This is particularly satisfying when that cocoa falls right into a mug of steaming hot Breakfast in Bed coffee.  One mug of this concoction and he was a believer.  I like to add  a splash of almond milk to mine… and oh boy am I in heaven then.  Okay, it’s not that good, but first thing in the morning, after getting an earful of “braynk braynk braynk braynk?” It’s pretty damn delicious.

But  today, I did not add any cocoa. I left that for Dustin.  Instead, I enjoyed the flavors of Wolfgang Puck’s Breakfast in Bed blend on its own.  Then came breakfast.  I’ve been all about the rice cakes lately.  Lightly salted Quaker cakes to be exact.  Add a teaspoon of peanut butter and mmm, mmm, mmm! Yeah, yeah, I’m exaggerating again.  But! I really do enjoy this for breakfast.  Add a piece of fruit and you have a solid breakfast – fats, proteins, carbs – complete.

Don’t you worry though, lunch gets much more exciting.  I love sandwiches, so discovering my inability to eat gluten has greatly decreased the number of sandwiches I have eaten lately.  I have always enjoyed making them, and consider myself a sandwich artisan. Dustin, my good-natured boyfriend, has kindly let me craft his lunches nearly every day, every week.  This way, I still gain some satisfaction from these lunchtime necessities.  I can inhale the aromas of the fresh veggies, the aged cheese, and the hearty proteins.  I can delicately stack them to show off their beauty and to enhance their flavors.  *Sigh*  I do wish I could have a sandwich.

Today’s special was an unusual sandwich, chosen to use up the ingredients in the fridge.  A Ball Park beef frank, thinly sliced and pan fried, topped with crisp maple bacon, fresh baby spinach, aged provolone, and finished with a swirl of mayonnaise, all placed inside a toasted stoneground wheat roll.  Talk about a gourmet hotdog sandwich!  Dustin seemed to enjoy it.

The sandwich pictured at left is NOT today’s creation, rather a brunch sandwich from the other day.  I tried my best to plate it well.  Still figuring out the whole plating thing.  Haven’t quite figured it out yet.  This sandwich was a classic fried egg sandwich with american cheese, smoked bacon, and mayo then cooked on the griddle as if making a grilled cheese.  I chose to serve it with a dish of apple sauce, sprinkled with cinnamon, and a glass of orange juice.

Ok, I’ll move beyond sandwiches (for the moment, at least!).  Remember that seafood stir-fry I mentioned a few days ago?  Pretty successful.  Check out Grace Young’s Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge if interested in recipe information.

I found out I’m not a huge fan of cooked green peppers, so I might substitute in red ones next time.  And the shrimp tails… what a hassle.  Next time?  Peeling those suckers off before putting ’em in the wok.  I’m also not a big cilantro lover, but the limited amount in this recipe really complemented the Jamaican rum and soy sauce.  This was definitely worth trying, but was too expensive and time-consuming for the end result.   This will cross our tables again, but not for a while.  Maybe mid-summer.  The rum cocktail that accompanied the meal, however?  Delicious!  Definitely a keeper of a recipe.



Myer’s Sharkbite, adapted from Myer’s Jamaican Rum

  •  1 1/4 oz Jamaican rum (dark)
  • Orange Juice 
  • Ice
  • Grenadine
  1. Pour the rum over the ice.
  2. Fill glass with orange juice (I used Tropicana Pure Premium with some pulp).
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon grenadine (a splash more for a sweeter drink).
  4. Squeeze a bit of lime from the wedge over the drink and  use to garnish the glass.

Tonight (if the power comes back on), we will be trying an Emily-crafted chicken stir-fry with pea shoots and carrots.

Pictures and feedback of that soon to come!

It’s been awhile…

Hey there!

How was your Easter weekend? Filled with colored eggs and bunnies? Ham dinners, family, and friends? Or maybe just chocolate and jelly beans galore?  My own was shared with family – a delicious meal (a product of collaboration with the whole clan), jelly beans, and colored eggs filled with treats.  My contribution to the plethora of food – a chocolate devil’s food cake (gluten-free) and a pear pie (also gluten-free).  Boy were they tasty.



The chocolate cake was so moist, so sweet, and the best part of all?  It tasted like cake! I used a Gluten 1-2-3 devils food cake flour mixture added 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup organic cane sugar, 5 T butter, 5 T Crisco shortening, 4 eggs, and 1 1/2 C almond milk soured with 1 1/2 T lime juice.  I baked for about 33 minutes in 2 9″ round pans at 350°F.  To frost, I creamed two sticks of Pulgra butter with 3 1/2 C of confectioners sugar, added 1/3 C vanilla almond milk and one T vanilla extract.  This particular cake was shaped into a bunny and was then topped with shredded coconut and jellybeans to honor the holiday.  Follow the link below for instructions to build the bunny cake.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/easter-bunny-cake-recipe/index.html



The pear pie used 6 small pears, peeled, cored and sliced (exactly as you’d do for an apple filling). The pears were tossed with cane sugar, cinnamon, and lime juice – I added the sugar and cinnamon to taste… if you like high-spice pies, add more, for less spice, add less.  I place this mixture in the fridge for four hours to really let the juices start flowing.  I used a Glutino pie crust mix, following the box directions, and poured the pear mixture into the crust.  I topped this with a second pie crust (though you could make a lattice crust if you prefer).  The filling is very similar to apple pie, though the crust was very very crumbly.

Overall, Easter baking was successful.  My time in the kitchen was a little rough – batter covered the walls, the metal blender beaters wrapped around each other, destroying the machine, and coffee spilled all over my pants.  But! I made it through and was able to enjoy a delicious cake and pie to make up for the morning disaster.

I’m going to continue the new recipes tonight with Chinese Trinidadian Stir-Fried Shrimp with Rum (a Grace Young creation).  Served over rice with a sweet Jamaican rum drink to wash it down – sounds pretty amazing to me.  I’ll post pictures if I remember to take them!

Enjoy your week!

Ciao!

What happened to the sun?!

Good Morning!

Long time no see.  I woke up expecting sun and warmth.  Instead, I got a sky full of clouds and 36 degrees.  Not my kind of Thursday.  I’ve been promised by the weather people that the skies will clear, the sun will shine, and the temperature will rise, all within the next two minutes… I think the weather people are a little misguided.

I hit my 1 month gluten-free mark yesterday.  4 weeks later and I’m feeling wonderful.  I’ve been researching recipes and brands like crazy.  I want good pizza.  I want to eat good pretzels.  I am getting pretty’ sick of rice, eggs, yogurt and bananas.   I’ve made one box pizza crust (Chebe) that was mediocre.  The flavor was a bit blah, and the dough required a lot of unnecessary ingredients.   I next tried an already frozen dough (Gillian’s).  Highly recommended.  Then I made my own following a random recipe found on the web.  Dustin came into the kitchen afterward as I was washing dishes and exclaimed, “I would eat this pizza in place of regular pizza anytime.”  I guess I have his approval.

Below you’ll find a few photos of the Gillian’s dough pizza – simply topped with sauce (Prego) and cheddar cheese (Cabot).  I also whipped up a honey mustard sauce and mixed it together with the random veggies I found in the crisper.   Quite a tasty little lunch for a Tuesday afternoon.



Honey Mustard Sauce

  • 2T Honey  – (Wild Harvest Organic) 
  • 1T Dijon Mustard
  1. Mix Honey and mustard. 
  2. Enjoy!


TIPS:
Drizzle honey on the plate prior to serving the pizza.  The bits of sweet that were detected with every bite of pizza were a wonderful surprise.

Now I’m off to read a little about Strategic Management.  Sounds like fun?

Enjoy the hopefully-soon-to-be-sunny day!

Gluten-Free Glory

I’ve been gluten-free for almost two weeks, and I’m finding it enjoyable more often than not.  I love kitchen-time, so the need to start crafting my own bread and cookies and such is wonderful.  The next time my wallet gets flooded with money, I will be able to start experimenting with different flours and leavening agents and thickeners.  Until then, I’m sticking with basic, highly reviewed recipes.


Recipe 1: Tapioca Waffles.  Verdict?  Delicious.

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup buttermilk (Kate’s Real Buttermilk)
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Beat egg whites to form stiff peaks, set aside.
  2. Mix egg yolks with buttermilk and oil.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  4. Pour wet mixture into dry and mix.
  5. Fold in egg whites with a rubber spatula.
  6. Bake in an oiled waffle iron.

TIPS:

  • The recipe provided by Ener-G is very bland and makes for an excellent base. I would add some brown sugar or honey to the batter if using the recipe for breakfast waffles, or add some white sugar to the egg whites after stiff peaks develop. 
  • Next time I think I might add some shredded fresh parmesan and garlic for a savory lunch waffle.
  • Cooking for my wee self, 9 waffles was a bit many, but do not fear, I discovered extras can be frozen! Stick them in the freezer and pop in the toaster for breakfast.  

What I’m not finding enjoyable: whipping up treats I think are gluten-free to find out soon after indulging that they aren’t (I’m sorry tummy).

For all of you gluten lovers, these are delicious:


Recipe 2: Peanut butter Applesauce No-Bakes.  Verdict?  Delicious (but if making gf, be sure to use gf oats!)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper, foil, or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, applesauce, milk, and peanut butter. Stirring constantly, cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the oats and continue to stir; cook for 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and immediately drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared pan.
  5. Place pan in refrigerator to cool faster.
  6. Store in an air-tight container in refrigerator.

Now I’m off to open the bottle of Chateau Ste Michelle sitting on the table.  I’ll befriend this lovely merlot as I whip up some blue-cheese mashed potatoes and brown-sugar glazed carrots to go with our Chuck-Eye Roast for dinner.

Happy Saturday evening!

A Little Winter at Last?

A glance out the window this afternoon proved disappointing.  I was promised snow.  Where is it?  I hear the splash of water beneath the tires of the cars passing by as they cruise down 66.  So many cars.  Is it “rush hour” already?  But it’s only 2:45.  Hmm…

 

A closer look out the window increases my disappointment.  It’s drizzly, murky, and gray – far from the white, glistening fluff I expected.  I must be patient.  Maybe it’s coming.

 

In the meantime, I might rid of my disappointment with something that never let’s me down… how about some Endangered Species chocolate?  I hear some dark chocolate with blueberries calling to me right now.  If you’ve never indulged in this particular chocolate, you’re in for a real surprise (and you’re helping support habitats and humanity with every purchase!).  These bars are all-natural and taste incredibly delicious, and to top it off, you can learn all kinds of fun facts from the packaging.

 

With my chocolate in hand and a mug of ginger lemon tea, I think I might sit down and enjoy some “Take Home Chef” on netflix, while I await the snow that’s bound to begin soon (fingers crossed!).