tinyB chocolate {Review}

tinyB chocolate

Brigadeiro – Brazil’s national dessert, a truffle which you will find at all of the major Brazilian celebrations.

tinyB chocolates are hand made in San Francisco at a family-owned artisanal company. The owners of tinyB chocolates are not themselves gluten-free, however their quest to make the tastiest, highest-quality chocolate just so happens to be naturally gluten-free! Here is a one minute video that shares the story behind tinyB chocolates: https://vimeo.com/141495718

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I was sent a box of 15 chocolates to review which included the following flavors: coconut and cream, dark chocolate, dark chocolate and almond, pistachio, and milk chocolate. These are not dairy free (they are made with cream) and I tried a small piece of each flavor and shared with the family (who are HUGE chocolate fans!). Bryan’s mum tried the milk chocolate first and her only comment was “perfection”. They are the creamiest truffles I have ever tasted, perfect balance of flavors and texture. I loved them all and it is really hard for me to pick a favorite out of these five flavors. In addition to the flavors I received, there are an additional five flavors that are available upon request which include: dark chocolate mint, Brazilian coffee and chocolate, passion fruit and white chocolate curls, raspberry and white chocolate, and spicy dark chocolate.

A box of the tinyB brigadeiros would make a lovely gift for a birthday, celebration, party favors, or hostess gift! You can order different size boxes on their website.

Be sure to check out tinyB chocolates on social media as well:

Thank you again for the incredible samples! These are out of this world delicious.

*I received samples from tinyB chocolates – all comments and opinions are 100% my own.

Chocolate & Coffee Mini Cupcakes {37 Cooks & Lock-N-Load Java Challenge}

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As mentioned in my previous post I am doing a food challenge for 37 Cooks and Lock-N-Load Java. Please head on over to that post to learn more about Lock-N-Load Java, what they stand for, who they support, and why and also to learn more about the challenge.

For my second entry I made rich mini chocolate cupcakes with a mocha cream cheese frosting. I made them mini so I wouldn’t feel so guilty on my journey to getting in shape. I’ll also be bringing these into school so I will not be tempted at home! But they are so dang tasty, it is kind of dangerous to have them hanging out for another day.

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes

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Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes:

Organic granulated sugar                                          1/4 cup

Sucanat                                                                      1/2 cup

High Quality Gluten-Free Flour Blend                         3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

(if your blend does not have xanthan gum already incorporated in it add a scant 1/2 teaspoon)

Unsweetened Cocoa Powder                                      1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons

Baking Powder (gluten-free)                                       3/4 teaspoons

Baking Soda (gluten-free)                                           3/4 teaspoon

Salt, Kosher                                                                1/2 teaspoon

Sniper Choice, ground                                                1/4 teaspoon

Double Barrel Black, ground                                       1/4 teaspoon

Egg, Large                                                                  1 each

Soy Milk (unsweetened)                                             1/2 cup

Canola Oil                                                                   1/4 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Method of Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • In a large mixing bowl add all dry ingredients (organic granulated sugar, sucanat, gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if required), cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee grounds). Mix well.
  • Add in egg, soy milk, canola oil, vanilla, and hot coffee.
  • Whisk until well combined, but do not over mix.
  • Line a 24 cup mini cupcake tin or a 12 cup regular cupcake tin with paper liners.
  • Fill each tin 3/4 the way.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes (for mini cupcakes, and 28-30 minutes for regular cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cook in pan for five minutes and then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack until completely cooled. Frost with a mocha cream cheese frosting (recipe below).

Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting

Hot Brewed Coffee*                                                     1/2 cup

(*hot brewed coffee – brewed with half snipers choice and half double barrel black)

Sucanat                                                                       2 teaspoons

Cream Cheese, 1/3 fat                                                8 ounces (room temperature)

Organic Powdered Sugar                                           1/2 cup

Vanilla Extract, Pure                                                   1/2 teaspoon

Method of Preparation

  • In a small sauce pan add coffee and sucanat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer until reduced by half. (You are looking for a thick syrup to coat the back of a spoon).
  • Set aside and let cool.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer add softened cream cheese and turn mixer on to low. Add in powdered sugar and mix until incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla extract and mocha syrup, mix on medium-low until incorporated.
  • Spread on cupcakes and enjoy.

If you have someone that isn’t a huge coffee person (this has a very rich coffee flavor) then reserve a small amount of the cream cheese frosting and then add in the mocha syrup and use that for their cupcakes (pictured above).

Enjoy

Be sure to check out both 37 Cooks (find us on Facebook and Twitter) to see what everyone else created and Lock-N-Load Java (you can also find them on Facebook)

Fudgesicles {Homemade}

(My monster fudgesicle – gluten and dairy free! Happy Summer)

I’m always up for making things at home (beef jerky, granola bars, ice tea, etc.). I know there is convenience in buying many of these things, but I rather enjoy making things at home. One it’s a challenge for me, two I know exactly what is going into my food. I love making gallons of ice tea at home because I can control the amount of sugar (or honey, or agave) that goes into my tea. It is truly amazing how much can be found in a gallon of store-bought ice tea.

We don’t buy much ice cream at the store and I don’t ever make it only because I do not have an ice cream maker. Oh, how I wish I had one. Instead I make pops. We bought two packages of Monster Popsicle Molds (I found mine at Marshall’s/T.J. Maxx) which can be purchased from Amazon.com. We love these little things, maybe it brings out the inner kid in both of us, but they just make me laugh. I’ve taken regular juice and frozen it in these to make juice pops in the past and this works out rather well. You can even throw in some chunks of frozen fruit that you might have (I’m a fan of pineapple juice pops with chunks of pineapple and mango in them!).

Last night I was searching online for new recipes and came across one for homemade fudcesicles from one of my favorite blogs Baked By Rachel. Rachel’s recipe was an adaptation from Comfy Belly. I read through the simple ingredients and instructions and was a bit sad when I realized I didn’t have any milk in the house. I don’t normally have regular milk in the house because after so many years of thinking I was lactose intolerant (and Bryan really is lactose intolerant) the taste and smell of regular milk just make my stomach turn. I always have either soy, hemp, nut, or rice milk on hand though. I wasn’t sure if this would work out the same but I was pleasantly surprised today when I tried one! Woo Hoo – homemade fudgesicles made with chocolate hazelnut milk and agave nectar were a success!

The chocolate hazelnut milk I used in this recipe is both gluten-free and dairy-free. I also used this in my Samoa Rice Pudding recipe. These little pops are great during these warm days. The recipe below filled seven of the monster popsicle molds with a little extra left over that I just threw in a small ramekin and froze – if you do not have pops you can pour the mixture into ramekins and freeze for at least four hours (comes out like chocolate Italian ice!!! so good). The pops should be frozen for at least 12-12 hours before removing from the molds.

(In the freezer – don’t these molds just make you smile? The purple ones remind me of Leela from Futurama- see image below)

Fudgesicles (Gluten Free and Dairy Free)

Ingredients (serves 7)

1C milk – of your choice. I used chocolate hazelnut milk however you could use regular milk, soy, nut, etc.
1C water
1/2C agave nectar or honey (you could even do half and half)
1/4C cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat combine all ingredients. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes just until all ingredients are combined and well blended. Remove from heat, and set aside for at least 15 minutes or until the mixture has reached room temperature.
  2. In the meantime you can prep your molds. If you do not have popsicle molds you can pour the mixture into ramekins and freeze for at least four hours (comes out like chocolate Italian ice!!! so good)
  3. For easier pouring I followed Rachel’s note and I transferred my liquid to a large glass measuring cup and filled my molds that way.
  4. If using molds, put the tops on them (with the stick end) and place in the freezer freeze for at least 4 hours but freezing over night is much better.
  5. If using ramekins freeze for at least 4 hours but again freezing over night is much better.
  6. To release the pops from the molds dip them in a glass filled with warm water for 5-7 seconds to help release them. Pull straight up.
  7. Enjoy!

(Leela – Futurama, one of our favorite shows)

Whenever Bars (Pamela’s Products) Review and Giveaway!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 10:20 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winners are Karin A. and Cathi (please check your e-mails)!   Congratulations to you both and thank you to all who entered.

Have you heard of or tried the new Whenever Bars that Pamela’s Products released in October? I was asked if I wanted to give them a try – of course I said yes, I love Pamela’s Products! Plus with school I am always on the go and always looking for quick, delicious, convenient and gluten-free items to throw in my bag – these bars meet all of those requirements.  I actually ate these as breakfast bars and they are absolutely delicious.

The bars come in four different flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice.  At first I wasn’t so sure about the Oat Raisin Walnut Spice because I’m not a huge fan of raisins but they ended up being one of my favorites.  The flavor combinations that Pamela’s Products have created are perfect.  I especially loved the Oat Blueberry Lemon…delicious! I also really enjoyed the addition of the chia seeds in them.

The bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, low in sodium and cholesterol, and are sweetened (primarily) with agave nectar and coconut sugar. Each box contains 6 (six) individually wrapped bars.

I’ve also included the press-release that was sent to me.  I think you will all really enjoy these bars.  Great to send with your kiddos to school, purse, brief case, or school bag (if  you are in school like I am).  The bars were filling and satisfying.

I need to add these to my Amazon wish list!

The extremely generous and wonderful people over at Pamela’s Products has offered the following prize package to TWO of my readers!

1 Box – Oat Blueberry Lemon Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Cranberry Almond Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut Whenever Bars

1 Box – Oat Raisin Walnut Spice Whenever Bars

1 Package Baking & Pancake Mix

To enter to win one of two prize packages scroll to the bottom of the post to see the entry rules!

NEW GLUTEN-FREE WHENEVER BARS FROM PAMELA’S

MAKE ON-THE-GO SNACKING EASY AND HEALTHY

Nuts, Fruit, Chia Seeds and Chocolate Make These Bars a Standout

UKIAH, Calif. – October 12, 2011 – Setting the gold standard in gluten-free baking since 1988, Pamela’s Products is launching a new line of snack bars inspired by their loyal customers. Whenever Bars are soft and chewy, gluten-free, whole grain bars that are as delicious as they are healthy and convenient.

Pamela’s gluten-free certified Whenever Bars come in four delicious flavors: Oat Blueberry Lemon, Oat Cranberry Almond, Oat Chocolate Chip Coconut and Oat Raisin Walnut Spice. The line is making its way to store shelves nationwide with an SRP of $4.99 per box, five bars per box and they are also available on Amazon.com.

“Whenever Bars are our first on-the-go gluten-free snack,” said President and Founder Pamela Giusto-Sorrells, a third generation natural foods entrepreneur and baker. “I wanted to create a great tasting snack that anybody can enjoy wherever, whenever. They’re made with simple, real ingredients such as cranberries, blueberries, raisins and dark chocolate so you’ll feel satisfied, not hungry, after you eat one.”

Only the highest quality ingredients are used in Pamela’s Whenever Bars, including gluten-free oats, almonds and walnuts. The addition of chia seeds gives the bars a significant Omega 3 essential fatty acids and dietary fiber boost. They’re also non-dairy, low in sodium and cholesterol, and lightly sweetened primarily with agave and coconut sugar. With nine grams of whole grains per serving, the bars meet the Whole Grain Council’s requirements for wholesome grain servings and include the council’s stamp on their packaging.

If anybody knows what it takes to produce a great tasting gluten-free product that everyone can enjoy, it’s Giusto-Sorrells. She’s honed her gluten-free baking expertise with delicious, simple, wholesome ingredients and a lot of patience during her more than 20 years in the business.

About Pamela’s Products

Since 1988, Pamela’s Products has created some of the best-selling gluten free products on the market, including Traditional, Organic and Simplebites Cookies, Biscotti, Baking Mixes and Ready-to-Eat cakes, found in natural food and grocery stores throughout North America, as well as online. For additional information about Pamela’s Products, including recipes, baking and allergy information, visit www.pamelasproducts.com.

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The two winners will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using random.org – the winners will have 24 hours to respond via e-mail with their contact information.  If I do not hear back within the allotted time frame, another winner will be chosen. The prize package will be shipped directly to the winners from Pamela’s Products. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and come back here to leave a comment  letting me know which bars you would like to try the most. (Mandatory)

2) Head on over to Pamela’s Products website and let me know which of the recipes listed on the Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix you would try first. (Mandatory)

3) Like Pamela’s Products on Facebook (Optional)

4) Follow Pamela’s Products on Twitter (Optional)

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (Optional)

All of the opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  Pamela’s Products generously supplied me with samples to review and are sponsoring this giveaway to two lucky readers! Photos and log are courtesy of Pamela’s Products.  

Good luck to all who enter!

Dolcetti Cookies {Review & Giveaway}

Updated 12/5/11 – 7:46 am – Congratulation To Cindy and Meghan – You’ve won the giveaway!  Be sure to check your e-mails.

Updated 12/5/11 – 5:00 am Giveaway has ended – winners will be announced and contacted via e-mail on 12/5/2011! Thank you to all who entered – don’t forget to enter the other two giveaways going on right now! Best of luck to all who enter those too.

Have you heard of these cookies yet?  If not, let me introduce you to some extremely delicious little treats from Dolcetti Cookies (find them on Facebook!) that are made from ground nuts and free from: wheat, gluten, dairy, cholesterol, preservatives, oils, artificial ingredients, soy products, and trans fats! I fell in love with Dolcetti cookies from the first bite.  Absolutely delicious – especially if you are like myself and love nuts. If I had to pick one of the five flavors as being my favorite…it would probably be the macadamia and coconut Dolcetti’s. You can taste the little hit of lime zest in them.  Yum!

I thought these would go great with a cup of tea so the other night I made a cup of vanilla tea and had two cookies to go along with it. (the serving size is two cookies, but I’m going to admit that it is extremely hard to just eat two of these.  I could probably eat the whole bag.) This little tea and cookie snack made me think of my Grandma Lu, she always has a cup of tea at night with something “sweet”, which usually means a cookie of some sort.  I think these would be a perfect gift for her (and she’s not even gluten-free).

These cookies are inspired by an old Italian recipe, and instead of using flours the creators of Dolcetti instead used finely ground nuts.  Here is a little blurb from their website:

We have come up with our own method of milling nuts without heating them, to obtain a smooth and nutritious dough.  Our process does not require any added oils or fats.  In fact, Dolcetti are completely flourless and dairy free. We believe in creating cookies with a very short list of ingredients, and the best part is that you will recognize them all. Finally, Dolcetti do NOT contain any:

WHEAT – GLUTEN – DAIRY – CHOLESTEROL – PRESERVATIVES – OILS
ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS – SOY PRODUCTS – TRANS FATS

We use only the finest quality ingredients and our cookies are baked daily.

These delicious soft baked nut cookies come in five delicious flavors:

Almond Dolcetti: A soft and light cookie with delicate almond flavor, accented with fresh grated orange zest… A fan favorite

Ingredients: Blanched California almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, pure almond extract, fresh grated orange zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Pistachio Dolcetti: From a very old Sicilian tradition, a cookie with a very distinguished flavor, a unique and delectable experience.

Ingredients: Roasted California pistachios, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, honey, fresh orange zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Macadamia Coconut Dolcetti: Take a bite, close your eyes and you’re in paradise.

Ingredients: Roasted macadamias, almonds, evaporated cane juice, shredded coconut, fresh egg whites, honey, fresh lime zest, aluminum-free baking powder

Hazelnut Chocolate Dolcetti: The most decadent of all our flavors, rich hazelnuts are combined with the finest quality Belgian dark chocolate for the most classic pairing…It’s love at first bite.

Ingredients: Roasted hazelnuts, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, 63% dark chocolate (cocoa, caner sugar, cocoa butter), honey, aluminum-free baking powder

Peanut Chocolate Dolcetti: Our take on an American classic, fresh roasted peanuts combined with semi sweet chocolate and a dash of sea salt give this famous cookie a new personality.

Ingredients: Roasted peanuts, almonds, evaporated cane juice, fresh egg whites, honey, aluminum free baking powder, sea salt

Dolcetti is based out of Oakland, CA and you can find their cookies in the following places if you are local:

Or you can order online at: www.dolcetticookies.com – minimum 3 bags, and you can use any combination of flavors to meet that three bag minimum!

Daniele – the owner of Dolcetti Cookies has kindly offered a giveaway for two of my readers!  See below for how to enter. Contest ends on December 4th, 2011 at midnight. Two winners will be drawn using random.org and cookies will be shipped directly from Daniele at Dolcetti Cookies. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

1) Visit Dolcetti Cookies and leave a comment saying which cookie(s) you would like to try most (Mandatory)

2) Like Dolcetti Cookies on Facebook – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so

3) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so – if you already Like CCGF leave a comment saying so.

4) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter – then come back here and leave a comment saying you did so – if you already follow CCGF leave a comment saying so.

Thank you Daniele for the delicious cookies and for sponsoring this giveaway!

(All photos courtesy of Dolcetti Cookies www.dolcetticookies.com)

Stonewall Kitchen – Gluten Free and Delicious (Review)

In the last few months Stonewall Kitchen has rolled out some gluten-free products and they are absolutely delicious.  I have always been a fan of Stonewall Kitchens products, especially before being diagnosed with celiac disease.  They have always had the best jams, sauces, dips and mixes so when I heard that they were coming out with gluten-free mixes I got very excited.  I wasn’t sure how they would taste compared to their regular mixes but they exceeded my expectations.

I was sent some complimentary gluten-free mixes form Stonewall Kitchen to try.  They sent me their Chocolate Brownie Mix, Chocolate Cupcakes and Pancake/Waffle Mix.  Of course I started with the cupcake mix which comes with a chocolate frosting mix in the box.  The cupcakes mix has a hint of coffee too it, which balanced very well with the chocolate flavor, not too over powering.  The cupcakes were very flavorful and moist and the frosting was just perfect, not too sweet and the perfect amount to cover all of the cupcakes.  These cupcakes were so good you couldn’t tell that they were gluten-free – no one could!

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Don’t these look amazing?)

Next up were the brownies (not in the same day!) and I have said many times before I’m not a huge brownie fan but slowly I am becoming one.  I decided to make some peanut butter brownies with this mix.  I made the brownies according to the package and poured the mix into a prepared pan.  I then I took about 1/4 – 1/2 cup peanut butter and softened it a bit in the microwave, then dropped tablespoons of peanut butter onto the prepared brownie mix and using a sharp knife made figure eights to incorporate the peanut butter into the brownie mix and baked according to the package instructions.  Absolutely delicious.  I love chocolate and peanut butter together and these brownies came out perfect. I had to give most of them away so I wouldn’t eat them all:)

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died.  Imagine them with peanut butter, little squares of heaven)

When we had our great friends Warren and Joyce up one weekend I thought instead of going out to eat for breakfast we would have them over, I would make a big meal and then we would be off on our little adventure.  Perfect time to try the pancake mix…most people wouldn’t want to try a new product when you are having guests over especially if they aren’t gluten-free.  But, seeing as we both enjoyed the cupcakes and brownies so much I had confidence in the pancakes as well.  Talk about delicious and fluffy pancakes, wow are these good.  Bryan who absolutely loves the pancakes I make with the gluten-free Bisquick loved these even more.  They have a slight hint of sweetness also.  I can’t wait to make some waffles next with this mix. Everyone loved these and we didn’t have any left overs.

(this photo is from stonewall kitchen’s website – sadly I lost my photos when my phone died. Perfect pancakes, delicious, fluffy and a little bit of sweetness so less syrup)

If you haven’t tried Stonewall Kitchen’s new gluten-free mixes you really should.  You can order them online and also check your local stores for them.  I honestly don’t think you will be disappointed.  In addition to the three mixes I reviewed above they also have a chocolate chip cookie mix and a vanilla cupcake/frosting mix. Stonewall kitchen got it right with these mixes.  I’ll be sure to let you know if they come out with anything else that is gluten-free.  Well done Stonewall Kitchen – fantastic job on making these mixes and keeping the prices reasonable to your normal mixes.

Making Snacks At Home

Before we go grocery shopping I start by getting out that weeks ads to see what is on sale, and then try to plan meals around that.  I also look at the coupons we have, new ones that have come in and also search online for them (at first Bryan made fun of me and my coupon clipping but once he saw how much I save each time he’s pretty thankful) I then make a list of all the items we need and next to it I write what the sale is and at which store, I also write if we have a coupon for it.  For the most part we try out best to stick to the list as best we can, but every now and then we find a thing or two that we really want and that is usually a snack or two.  Well actually it is mostly Bryan that finds these things because for me it is a bit harder to find gluten-free snacks.

He will usually grab some cinnamon buns, beef jerky or corn muffins, all of which I love but sadly can’t find gluten-free options in the stores so I decided that I could learn to make a few snack items at home.  I’ve made cinnamon buns and corn muffins/bread before and they came out great.  I hadn’t attempted to make beef jerky or granola bars and those are two things I have been wanting to attempt for a while, so I finally did.

Making snacks at home is easy, a great way to control what you and your family are consuming but also it is a great way to save money!

Beef Jerky

Bryan and I both love beef jerky and we usually buy him a bag of it but its gone in one sitting!  Before moving back east I bought a great cookbook “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It And Other Cooking Projects” by Karen Solomon.  Including in the cookbook are recipes to make your own bacon, cheese, marshmallows, limoncello and so much more.  The recipe calls for very lean top sirloin or flank steak, I choose the flank steak because at BJ’s you can get two pounds for the same price, if not less than one pound of flank steak at our local grocery store!

I used the recipe listed in the cookbook just as a guideline and made it gluten-free and adjusted the ingredients to our spice level.  My recipe is below – I checked their website and they don’t have the beef jerky recipe listed so I can’t link to it, however you should really buy this book, you will love it!

Gluten Free Beef Jerky


2 pounds lean flank steak (remove every bit of fat from the meat!  this is very important-if you leave the fat on it will like go rancid!)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce

4 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (you can adjust this to your taste level, we really like heat)

Advanced Prep: Freeze steak for 30 minutes – this will help with the slicing. Line two sheet pans with foil and oil (canola or gluten-free cooking spray) two racks.  Place one rack in each of the pans, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees – if your oven doesn’t go that low, set it to the lowest temp that it will and leave the oven door cracked open an inch or two, or use a wooden spoon to keep it ajar.

Remove steak from freezer, and make sure that all the fat has been removed (see note above).  Thinly slice steak 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces.

In a large bowl mix together salt, gluten-free soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Add meat and let marinade in the refrigerator for two hours (or over night).

Lay the meat on the racks in a single layer, but don’t let them touch or over lap.

Dry the meat in an oven for 5-7 hours.  Check for doneness for the first time around 5 hours.  The jerky shouldn’t be brittle but should be able to be torn into strings and not look raw in the inside.

Allow jerky to cool completely and enjoy!

Store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

Granola Bars

I love granola bars, but since going gluten-free I haven’t had one, and I’ve really missed them.  They are the perfect take along snack.  I’ll be making more of these when it comes time for school.  They are super easy to make and you can add in pretty much anything you like.  I think next time I might add in some peanut butter chips.

Gluten-Free/Allergy Free Granola Bars

The recipe listed below is from Martha Stewart’s website.  I did a few little tweaks to the recipe and they are noted in red below.

Makes about 16 bars

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oatmeal (I used 3 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats)
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free crisp-rice cereal (I didn’t have any so I omitted them)
  • 1/2 cup mini gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey

Directions

  1. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; line baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Place oatmeal and rice cereal in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, oil, and honey. Place over medium-high heat; bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to oatmeal mixture; stir until oatmeal mixture is fully coated and well combined.
  4. Evenly pour oatmeal mixture into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with chocolate chips. When mixture is cool enough to touch, press down into pan. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 (1-by-4-inch) bars. Granola bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week, and frozen up to six months.
From The Martha Stewart Show, April 2010

*I would recommend following the directions – I got distracted when making these and ended up adding some of the chocolate chips in with the oats and when I poured the liquid over it they all melted so it became chocolate granola bars. Woops – I mean they still came out pretty good.  I would also suggest that if you have the gluten-free crisp rice cereal, use it.  Also Martha’s photo is WAY better than mine!

Hope you enjoy these two homemade snacks!



EvaRuth’s Wheat Free/Gluten Free Bakery

We live on Aquidneck Island in Rhode Island and around us we have limited options for gluten-free items.  There is one specialty grocery store near us, but we can’t afford to shop there very often, but if there is something specific that I need for a recipe, I would go there first.  Over the past six months we have realized that shopping at just one store for groceries isn’t going to cut it, you need to go to at least two…and if you want any form of gluten-free baked good, well you are pretty much out of luck and have to make it yourself.  Which I don’t really mind but somedays I want someone else to bake it for me.

About a month or so ago I was searching for a gluten free bakery or anything of the sort around me, thinking that like all my previous searchings I would come up with nothing, or if I did find something it would be about 45 minutes away.  To my surprise there was a gluten-free bakery, EvaRuth’s not that far from us!! Yesterday Bryan and I had an afternoon date to the movies and an early dinner but before we headed there we stopped over at the bakery to check it out.  It is located on Aquidneck Ave in Middletown, RI, located behind a little shopping center.

EvaRuth’s is owned and operated by Ruth herself.  Ruth is a very kind and inviting woman who also has celiac disease.  Here is a little information from her website about her and EvaRuth’s:

EvaRuth’s Foods, Inc. is owned and operated by Eva Ruth Flynn, CEO. The mission of EvaRuth’s is to create delicious wheat-free and gluten-free desserts that are convenient to eat and capable of satisfying even the choosiest of customers.

In 1995 Ruth was added to the ever-growing population of people diagnosed with celiac sprue disease. She experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding authentic tasting gluten-free desserts. So combining her love for business with her love for cooking, Ruth dedicated herself to creating true-tasting GF cookies, cakes, muffins, and brownies and the company from which they are sold. Prior to owning and operating EvaRuth’s, Ruth worked as the New England cardiovascular sales representative for GE Medical Systems.

EvaRuth’s is what is called an “old fashion bakery” which simply means, if they don’t have any seats, sell drinks and don’t offer you a fork/knife they don’t have to charge sales tax!! How awesome is that?  Well it gets better…They offer a great selection of freshly baked wheat free, gluten-free and many dairy free options: Cupcakes, Muffins, Scones, Cookies, Brownies and yes fresh-baked Bread. They also make cakes and pies that you can order. I was in love. I had the opportunity to taste some of EvaRuth’s Italian Garlic Herb bread, Pumpkin Muffin (dairy free!), Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Scone and I bought a Cranberry Muffin to take home with me.

 

The Italian Garlic Bread (they also had available yesterday some tomato herb bread and white bread) is very delicious and super moist.  Ruth said that all the breads slice well and are good as is for about 3-4 days or you can pre-slice it and freeze it like that. Next up with the pumpkin muffin – fresh out of the oven and perfectly flavored, not too over powering of pumpkin but just perfect, very moist and you could still taste the cinnamon, so good.  The Chocolate Chip and Cranberry scone was great too, I really enjoyed the combination of the two flavors.

Along with Ruth yesterday were two students from Johnson & Wales.  The bakery was very clean (which is always nice to see!), everything was measured out on scales to make sure that everything would bake evenly.  Also one of the staff was making a fresh batch of scones, measuring all around the dough with a ruler! I was impressed to say the least.

I had my cranberry muffin for breakfast this morning, and I can’t believe I actually waited until today to eat it.  It looked so pretty and smelled yummy yesterday but I restrained myself. This is probably one of the best gluten-free muffins I have had.  Hands down, awesome.  Fresh cranberries, moist and delicious.  I will definitely be back for more gluten-free goodness and some of that delicious bread.

If you are living around Aquidneck Island and are gluten-free, have a family member who is or are looking for a treat to bring to a friend’s house who is this is the place to go.  EvaRuth’s 796 Aquidneck Ave, Unit D, Middletown, RI 02842 (View Larger Map)

M&M Cookies

Last night we had our first frost of the season! Took the dog out this morning and the cars were all covered and the ground was nice and crunchy – today was a baking day for sure.  In my last post I wrote about living the gluten-free life not only creatively but frugally as well.  Seeing as I am running low on all of my gluten free flours and xanthan gum I was trying to think of something to bake that didn’t require much of those ingredients and was simple to make.  I did some searching online because none of the recipes I have would of worked with what I have in the house.

Bob’s Red Mill has some fantastic recipes on their website and I found a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe by Carol Fenster that sounded pretty dang tasty.  Who doesn’t miss coming home after school and your mom having fresh baked cookies for you?! I know I do.  Seeing as Bryan is at school all day and well, I’m home I thought I would make these for him and seeing as we don’t have any chocolate chips in the house, I decided to use some of his plain M&M’s instead (I have peanut ones, and those are just too darn big for cookies).  These cookies remind me of the ones you would get at the food court in the mall at the cookie stand, crunchy and soft at the same time-they went great with a cup of soy milk!!

M&M Cookies (Chocolate Chip Cookies by Carol Fenster) (GF)

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet or line with parchment paper; set aside.

Stir together the GF baking flour, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter (room temperature, not melted) with granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and egg; scrape sides of bowl frequently. Beat in flour mixture on low speed, mixing thoroughly. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Shape dough into flat disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on baking sheet, or roll into balls if dough is hard to work with. Bake 10-12 minutes on center rack of oven or until lightly browned. Cool 2-3 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Makes 24 cookies.

P.S. – We’ve got some give aways coming up so keep checking back in the next few days!! Trust me you don’t want to miss these:)

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

It’s not chilly here today, its flat-out cold and windy!  I think waking up this morning it was about 42 degrees, I so didn’t want to get out of bed but I knew the house needed to be cleaned and laundry had to be done.  Lately I’ve been feeling like Cinderella – YUCK!  Since moving across the country, I have yet to find a job, even a part-time job and if you know me at all I am a worker, even on vacation or when I am sick I am doing stuff around the house, cooking baking etc, I don’t know how to relax very well.  On a side note, I’m not a fan of Cinderella or many of the Disney princesses – I am more of a Belle and Mulan kind of girl.  Belle was intelligent, she read books and didn’t fall for the dumb-ass and ummm Mulan, ya she saved her country-seriously, what else could you ask for!! Now those are my kind of Disney princesses.

Back to my post:)

Seeing as it was so chilly today, I really had the need to bake something to warm the house up a bit.  We are very determined to not turn our heat on as long as possible.  So to keep putting that dreaded day off, I will be baking and we’ll be using the fire-place.  I have really been craving cupcakes lately.  A few weeks ago I FINALLY found a box of the Betty Crocker Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mix in one of the local grocery stores (it is SO hard to find around here!) so I picked up a box and tried so hard to not use it that day.  Bryan LOVES chocolate, way more than I ever will.  I’m more of a chocolate with something kind of girl (peanut butter cups, chocolate with nuts etc.).  So I thought I would make him a triple chocolate cupcake: chocolate cake, with chocolate chips and chocolate cream cheese frosting – it might be chocolate over load now that I think about it.

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

1 Package of Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Devil’s Food Cake Mix

1 Cup of Water

1 Stick of Butter – Softened

3 Eggs

2 tablespoon Espresso or Strong Brewed Coffee

1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips – I used the DF, GF, NF chips that I also used in my pancakes.

In a stand mixer combine all ingredients and mix on low-speed for 30 seconds to combine.  Mix on medium speed for two additional minutes.  Add chocolate chips and stir with spoon until they are combined in the batter. Scoop into cupcake pans and bake at 350 degrees for 18-23 minutes.

Let cool for four minutes in the cupcake pan(s) then remove and cool completely on a cooling rack.  Top with chocolate cream cheese frosting (see recipe below) and serve!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Butter (1 stick) – softened

6 oz Cream Cheese – softened

1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – Sifted

1 cup Powdered Sugar – Sifted

1 tablespoon Espresso or Strong Brewed Coffee

In the bowl of a stand mixer mix butter and cream cheese until they are well combined.  Turn mixer off and add the remaining ingredients and mix on low-speed until combined.  Turn mixer to medium speed and mix for an additional minute.

These are super chocolaty!!

Almond Joy Chocolate Bark – Elana’s Pantry

I truly love all of the recipes I have tried from Elana’s Pantry.  This woman is amazing!!  Her recipes are simple yet filled with flavor.  She posted this recipe not that long ago and today was the second time I made it.  Actually today I made a double batch of it!!  Everyone that has tried it loves it.  Best part…its only 3 ingredients!!  Who does that not appeal to??

Almond Joy Chocolate Bark – Elana’s Pantry

1 ½ cups dark chocolate 73%
½ cup almonds, toasted
¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (toasted at 350° for 6-8 minutes)

  1. Melt chocolate over very low heat
  2. Pour chocolate into a parchment lined 8×8 inch baking dish
  3. Scatter almonds and 3 tablespoons of coconut over chocolate
  4. Using a spatula spread the mixture evenly back and forth to  ½ inch thickness
  5. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of coconut on top of mixture
  6. Place bark in fridge for 2 hours to set
  7. Break into square bars
  8. Serve

Coconut Macaroons by Elana’s Pantry

I truly love the recipes on Elana’s Pantry. They are tasty and easy to do. Today I made Elana’s Pantry’s Coconut Macaroons and they are awesome. The only alteration I made to the recipe was I topped it with some melted chocolate. I’ll be honest, it’s really hard not to eat these all tonight. I’ve had about three little ones already and could continue to eat them. You should all give these a try.

Gluten Free Coconut Macaroons
6 egg whites
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups shredded coconut

  1. In a mixing bowl whisk egg whites and salt until stiff
  2. Fold in agave, vanilla and coconut
  3. Drop batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet, one rounded tablespoonful at a time
  4. Pinch each macaroon at the top (like a kiss)
  5. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned
  6. Serve

Coconut Cream-Cheese Squares

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I found this on Tropical Traditions website when I first ordered their Coconut Flour.  I was a little skeptical about making them because the Coconut flour is very dense and I’m not used to baking/cooking with it yet.  But these turned out great.  I didn’t have coconut oil so I just used canola oil. I added a chocolate topping to them too.

Coconut Cream Cheese Squares:

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees F. Brush pan with coconut oil.

Beat butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Mix until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat well. Add sugar gradually, continue mixing. Add coconut flour and vanilla; beat until well blended.

Pour batter into a 11×7 inches rectangular pan (pre-greased, see above.)

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Cool the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Chocolate Topping:

1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

1 tablespoon of Butter cut in fours

1 table spoon of water

Add all ingredients to a microwave safe bowl.  Melt together in 30 second intervals, until completely melted.  Spread evenly over the top of the lightly cooled squares.  Once chocolate and squares have cooled completely, cut and enjoy.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting

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The cupcake recipe is from Bob’s Red Mill.  I was on the hunt for a new cupcake recipe and didn’t find too much right away.   I went on Bob’s Red Mill site and looked to see if he had any and found this chocolate cake recipe instead.  I figured why not just make cupcakes out of this cake recipe.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting

1-1/2 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
3/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Milk (cow, soy or rice)
1/3 cup Butter, Margarine or Shortening
1 large Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
3/4 cup warm brewed Coffee

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Line a cupcake pan with paper lingers. Set aside. Place all ingredients, except coffee, in large bowl and blend with electric mixer. Add coffee and mix until thoroughly blended. Pour into prepared cupcake pan and bake for 20 minutes minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Serves 16.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

4oz butter softened

4oz cream cheese softened

2 cups powder sugar divided

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

~In large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese with electric mixer
~Switch the mixer to low speed and add the powder sugar one cup at a time ~Mix until smooth and creamy, add cinnamon
~Beat in the vanilla extract

(I really do heart cupcakes!)

Happy Birthday Lisa

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Last night we went out to celebrate Lisa’s 30th birthday at the Swiss Bistro in Carmel.  After dinner we headed back to my place for some cake and ice cream.I used the Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Cake Mix (which by the way is wicked good!!) with a little home made cream cheese frosting colored purple, just for her.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4oz butter softened
4oz cream cheese softened
2 cups powder sugar divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

~In large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese with electric mixer
~Switch the mixer to low speed and add the powder sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy
~Beat in the vanilla extract