Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes {37 Cooks & Good Cook}

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I love being a part of both 37 Cooks and Good Cook Blogger/Kitchen Experts – and I love that they have combined forces for this event. Each of the 37 Cooks received the following items from Good Cook as part of the recipe challenge: Pineapple Corer/Slicer, Mixing Bowl, Spatula, and Chopping Mats. We then had a choice of one of the following items to play around with: Nonstick Round 9″ Cake Pan (Set of 2 for layer cakes), 13″ x 9″ Nonstick Covered Cake Pan, Dessert Bar Pan, or 4-Cup Loaf Pan. I ended up choosing the dessert bar pan because I thought that would be pretty versatile.

This was no ordinary challenge though – this was the Good Cook Potluck Pantry Challenge. The key word in that name is PANTRY, meaning we had to cook or bake with whatever we had in our pantry (including fridge) and not buy anything at the store. Thankfully my pantry is pretty well stocked and happened to have a fresh pineapple on hand! We had to use two of the Good Cook items – one from the core items received and the second item was whichever pan we choose.

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I knew right away that I wanted to make pineapple upside down cakes – this was my favorite cake growing up because it did not have frosting on it! I kid you not…to this day I still do not really like frosting unless it’s my own frosting which I do not sweeten much. My sweet tooth is not that strong I guess. This goes perfectly with a little dollop of lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream. Even though I chose to do a sweet recipe, this pan can be used for so much more than desserts – you can bake cornbread, risotto (yes risotto squares!), meatloaf, etc. The possibilities are pretty endless – you just need to be creative.

I used the following items to create my Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes: Pineapple Corer/Slicer, Spatula, Chopping Mats, and Dessert Bar Pan – I loved using the pineapple corer/slicer – super easy to use, say good-bye to canned pineapple rings!

The recipe is below however, here are a few substitutions that can be made:

  • If you are not gluten-free feel free to use a “regular” cake mix
  • The recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free – the picture does show whipped cream but you can omit that.
  • Don’t like pineapple? Use a different fruit…raspberries, cherries, etc.
  • I used earth balance sticks – feel free to use whatever butter or butter alternative you want…I haven’t tried anything besides this and butter so I can not guarantee any results

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes


Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions (use the spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often if using a stand mixer)
  3. Evenly divide up the 2-3 tablespoons of earth balance into the 12 wells of the dessert pan
  4. Place pan in preheated oven to melt the butter – once melted remove from oven and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly into the wells of the pan
  5. Top the brown sugar and melted butter with one 1/2 chunk of pineapple and 1 natural maraschino cherry (halved or whole is fine)
  6. Pour in prepared cake batter evenly into wells of pan – leave about 1/4 inch room to let the cake rise in the oven
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Remove from oven and using a heatproof serving plate or cutting board upside down onto pan,  turn plate and pan over.
  9. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake; remove pan.
  10. Cool 30 minutes.
  11. Can be served either warm or cool with either ice cream (dairy free alternatives available), or whipped cream (or coconut cream)
  12. Store covered in refrigerator.

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Good Cook provided us with these products free of charge – all opinions are 100% my own.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

I am very excited to be part of second annual The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap started up last year by Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen. This event brings together hundreds of bloggers from all over to be “Secret Santa” to one another by baking and sending cookies. This year they partnered with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a national non-profit organization committed to funding new therapies used in the fight against pediatric cancer and OXO (who will match donations up to $100,000.00! Read more about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and how you can donate to Cookies for Kid’s Cancer on their website.

I was given the names of three lovely bloggers: Desiree of The Unconventional Kitchen, Lesley of Chef Lesley Palmer, and Heather of A Sweet Simple Life. I decided to go to the little book that my aunt, sister, and I made a few years back of my grandmother’s recipes and convert her chocolate chip cookie to be gluten-free. Who doesn’t love a classic chocolate chip cookie? I know I do. Just in case there were any nut allergies I left out the chopped nuts but feel free to add those in.


In return for baking a dozen cookies for each of my three matches, I was also sent cookies from three other bloggers! All of the cookies were delicious. The three bloggers that I received cookies from are Alicia of Alicia Carlson Photography: Food. Family. Life, Karen of FabGrandma, and Gina of Health Love and Chocolate.

Are you a blogger that wants to participate in next years event? Visit this link to fill out the contact form to receive information when the event gets closer!


Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Inspired by my grandmother’s chocolate chip cookie recipe that I re-worked to be gluten-free.


2 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (I used a mock version of Cup4Cup from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your all-purpose flour already contains this)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼  teaspoon grey salt (kosher, table, etc. is also fine)

¾ cup dark brown sugar (I used wholesome sweeteners)

¼ cup white sugar (I used wholesome sweeteners)

2 sticks/1 cup butter – cold, cut into cubes

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (make sure this is gluten-free)

1 ½ cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk, or dark – whatever you like the best)

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Method of Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat (do not grease either one)
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, xanthan gum (IF needed), baking soda, and salt – whisk to combine. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or large glass bowl if using a hand mixer), add the sugars and mix on low to combine well.
  5. Add the cold butter and mix on low until combined – do not over mix.
  6. Add two eggs and vanilla extract, mix until combined – do not over mix.
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture into the sugar and butter mixture while on low-speed.
  8. Just when everything is incorporated, turn the mixer off and add in the chocolate chips and nuts (optional).
  9. You can mix with a wooden spoon to incorporate the chocolate chips and nuts (optional) or you can mix it with your hand…that is my preferred method.
  10. Using a tablespoon scoop out cookie dough and place onto prepared baking sheets. If using a large baking sheet you should be able to fit 12 cookies – these do not spread that much.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes and cool immediately on a wire rack.

 Makes about 40 cookies! Perfect for the holidays!




Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Fall is here! My favorite time of year. At school we have a Starbucks on each campus I see everyone enjoying the pumpkin muffins, pumpkin coffees etc. and it drives me crazy that I can just run in and grab one of those delicious looking muffins with the cream cheese on them…you know the ones I’m talking about!

I am always stuck for breakfast ideas during the week because I’m usually up by 4am and out of the house by 5 so making a big breakfast or anything just doesn’t work for me. I needed something new, something besides my lovely quinoa muffins, which are delicious but its time to mix it up a bit.

So here is my attempt at those beautiful looking pumpkin muffins that you are seeing out right now – we should all be able to enjoy the lovely tastes of the fall, gluten-free or not. I gave one of these to a co-worker and she said you can’t tell they are gluten-free so I’m going to say that this was a success! These are super moist and delicious. I think it has just the right amount of spice to it.

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Agave Cream Cheese Filling


1 Cup Brown Rice Flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/3 Cup Potato Starch (Bob’s Red Mill)

2 Tablespoons plus 2 Teaspoons of Tapioca Starch (Bob’s Red Mill)

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

3/4 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

3/4 Teaspoon Allspice

1/2 Teaspoon fine Sea Salt

2 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

1/4 Cup Almond or Soy Milk

1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin (Fresh or Canned – not the pumpkin pie filling if you use can)

Maple Cream Cheese Filling

4 Ounces 1/3 Fat Cream Cheese – room temperature

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

1 Tablespoon Maple Agave Nectar (Wholesome Sweeteners)

Method of Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350•
  • Line a cupcake pan or muffin pan with liners and set aside
  • In a bowl add brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt – mix until well combined.
  • In another bowl add the Sugar and Eggs and mix until smooth.
  • Add the oil, milk, and pumpkin puree – mix until very smooth.
  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet slowly and mix until fully blended.
  • Fill each muffin liner about 3/4 of the way with the pumpkin mixture, set aside.
  • For the filling: In a stand mixer (or small bowl and use an electric hand mixer) add the cream cheese and beat until smooth – about 1 minute.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and beat well.
  • Finish by adding the maple agave nectar and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  • Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin tin – you can leave it as it is, or press them down a bit, or even add a little bit more pumpkin over the cream cheese. Either way you do it, its delicious!
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with just a few crumbs on it.
  • Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  • Enjoy!
  • Store in the refrigerator!

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut and Almonds

I really wanted to try my hand at making homemade ice cream so I asked my stepmummy if I could borrow her ice cream maker…thankfully she said yes! Keeping Bryan in mind (even though he was gone all summer) I thought I would try making some coconut milk ice cream, I figured I should experiment and do some taste testing before I make some for him…makes sense right? My neighbor Lisa has become my taste taster in Bryans absence. Lisa rather enjoyed the recipe below and would probably have eaten the entire container that night. I told her I will make her another batch soon.

This is a pretty simple and straight forward recipe. You can feel free to change the add-ins to what ever you would like. I just went with what I had on hand…shredded coconut, cocoa powder, and almonds. This is pretty darn delicious I must say and was very excited about how it turned out. Not too shabby for my fist try! I’m pretty sure I did a happy dance in the kitchen.

Can’t wait to experiment some more. I’m thinking the next attempt with be somewhat tropical inspired.

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream with Toasted Coconut and Almonds

2 cans (14.5 oz each) of Coconut Milk (not light!) – this is usually found in Asian markets or at your grocery store in the international isle

3/4 cup cocoa powder – sifted to remove any lumps

1/2-3/4 cup of sugar – I used a combination of honey and sucanat, both from Wholesome Sweeteners 

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped almonds

3/4 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut

This will yield about 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream – if your ice cream maker is smaller just adjust the ingredients to fit your needs.

  • Always freezer the bowl of your ice cream maker in advance.
  • I like to keep my coconut milk in the refrigerator which speeds up the process a bit. If you have room temp coconut milk be sure to chill the mixture for one hour before adding it to your ice cream maker.
  • In a large bowl mix together the cocoa powder, sugar (honey, sugar, agave, which ever you use), salt, and corn starch.
  • Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract – mix well until all lumps/solids are dissolved. As stated above if you are using room temperature coconut milk, be sure to pop this in the fridge for one hour before proceeding.
  • Please read your ice cream makers instructions, as each can be different for churning and freezing your ice cream. Some ice cream makers suggest running it for 20 minutes and others that I have read suggest 30 minutes. I went by sight to achieve the consistency that I was looking for – this was about 25 minutes.
  • When you have about five minutes left in the churning process add in your chopped almonds and toasted coconuts.
  • For a soft serve consistency enjoy right away or place in an air tight container and freeze. If you do not eat it right away and choose to freeze it, be sure to remove the container about 10 minutes or so before serving. Lisa and I tried it both ways and they were both delicious!
  • Top with toasted coconut and some finely chopped almonds! Enjoy

Again, the chopped almonds and toasted coconut are just suggestions, please feel free to change this up!

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 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


  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)

Samoa Inspired Rice Pudding {Integrale Rice Risotto Challenge}

Thank you all for voting for my Savory Lobster Risotto in the first round of the Integrale Rice Risotto Challenge from I was one of the lucky 10 bloggers who received the most votes and with that I moved on to round two…sweet risotto or rice pudding. This was definitely a challenge for me as I have only made rice pudding once!

I have been thinking about this for a while now on what to make. Did I want to make a “tropical” inspired rice pudding with pineapple and mango?  Then I thought oh maybe a hazelnut rice pudding would be good, but I’m pretty sure that has been done a bunch of times. I looked around my pantry and pulled out the following ingredients: chocolate hazelnut milk, cocoa powder, sugar, shredded coconut, and I also had some left over homemade salted caramel sauce. If you add up all these ingredients what do you get?? Well with the addition of flour you would be able to make some homemade samoa cookies. Why not try that combination and make rice pudding?? I don’t know about you but that is one of my favorite girl scout cookies and since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease I have missed these very much.

For this recipe I had some leftover homemade salted caramel sauce. You could make your own or use whatever you normally use or have on hand.

Please visit my first post for the Intgrale Rice Risotto Challenge to read more about this fantastic rice. Not only did it work well and taste delicious in the Lobster Risotto but it is fantastic when making rice pudding!

Seeing as this makes 4 servings and it is just me right now I figured I would share and not be a pig and eat this all myself. So I shared this with neighbor Lisa whose other half is also away for a bit. She ate half of it right there, and then decided that she should probably stop and actually eat some dinner first. I hope you enjoy this as much as my neighbor did!

Samoa Rice Pudding (Serves 4)


1 cup Integrale Rice

3 cups water

1/4 cup sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners)

1  cup chocolate hazelnut milk (I use Pacific Natural Foods)

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 cup toasted coconut + 2 Tablespoons (divided)

1/4 cup caramel sauce + 2 Tablespoons (divided)

pinch of salt

Method Of Preparation:

1. Do NOT rinse the rice. You want the starch to remain, it will help thicken when the milk is added

2. In a medium sized pot add the 3 cups of water and 1 cup of Integrale Rice – bring to a boil

3. Reduce heat to medium, cook until water is absorbed (time varies so keep an eye on it and stir often to prevent sticking)

4. In a small pot add chocolate hazelnut milk, cocoa powder, sugar, 1/4 cup toasted coconut, and 1/4 cup caramel sauce, heat over medium heat

5. Once the rice has absorbed the water, add the warm chocolate hazelnut milk mixture

6. Stir and cook until liquid is mostly absorbed

7. In a small bowl add the remaining toasted coconut and caramel sauce

8. Mix well and set aside

9. Once pudding is finished serve either warm or cool – garnish with the coconut and caramel mixture and drizzle with a little caramel sauce as a garnish

Good luck to the other 9 bloggers! The DelGrosso Food Blog,ChezWhat?, The Upstart Kitchen, The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, Food for Thought, Oh Cake, Great Outdoors Cooking, Discojing, Cookistry

(I was provided a box of Integral Rice free of charge from to try and review)

Berry Cornbread Muffins

For me breakfast is the hardest meal of the day. For starters, I get up at 4:00 am and I just can’t eat that early, so I normally take something with me and eat it on my way to campus. My breakfasts usually consist of a Greek yogurt or a scone that I have baked.  This is also the only meal that I get jealous of people with out celiac disease, because they could eat just about anything they wanted for breakfast. We with celiac do not have the convince of stopping at Starbucks (which we have two on campus) to grab something quick to eat.

Making eggs, or pancakes in the morning is just not an option.  It would take too long, can’t really eat it on the go, and I would take the risk of making too much noise and waking up Bryan who gets to sleep in a few hours before he needs to head off to class. Stocking up on pre-made gluten-free items like bagels is also out of the question as we just can’t afford that. So I am on the hunt for new breakfast recipes that I can make on the weekends and have for the school week.

As I looked at the ingredients I had in the house: all-purpose flour blend, corn meal, frozen raspberries, various gluten-free flours, and an orange I thought why not try to make some cornbread muffins for breakfast. Thankfully it was a success! They are mighty delicious and you could use whatever berries you happen to have, fresh or frozen in this recipe. We tend to have a decent supply of frozen fruit on hand – they make tasty and healthy snacks and we love to make smoothies with then.

We are also cutting back on our sugar intake – so the amount in the recipe below is not a lot at all, however you can feel free to add 1/2 cup of sugar instead of the 1/4 the recipe calls for if you wish for a slightly sweeter muffin. I really wanted to taste the corn and berries in this, however I did sprinkle on a little bit of Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi (love this stuff), for that “coffee shop” look to the muffins.

I think these muffins will be a very satisfying breakfast – they are filling but still fluffy and moist.

Berry Cornbread Muffins

1 Cup Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Corn Flour

3/4 Cup Corn Meal

1/2 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum (only if your mix does not have it already)

1/4 Cup of Sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners Natural Cane Sugar from Malawi)

4 Teaspoons of Baking Powder (make sure it is gluten-free)

1/4 Teaspoon of Salt

Zest of one Orange (reserve some to sprinkle on top after removed from the oven) – You could also use lemon zest.

1/4 Cup Egg Beaters (Or 1 Large Egg)

1 Cup Soy Milk (Almond or other nut milk would work just fine)

1/4 Cup Canola Oil

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract (pure if possible)

1 Cup of Frozen or Fresh Berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)


  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  4. Slowly add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Do not over mix the batter, as it will result in tough muffins.
  6. Gently fold in the berries.
  7. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  8. Scoop the batter evenly into each paper lined muffin cup.
  9. Optional – Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a little bit of the Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  11. Insert a toothpick into the center of the muffins, if it comes out clean or will little stuck to it, the muffins are done.
  12. Optional – Sprinkle with reserved zest
  13. Cool in the pan for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  14. May be eaten warm with a little butter, honey, or agave  if you wish.