Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Yummiest Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

I found out I was gluten intollerant after starting my cake & cupcake design business ( How in the world was I ever going to enjoy a delicious homemade treat again? Well, since becoming gluten free, I have found many delicious recipes for sweet treats, including cookies, brownies and cheesecakes, but the perfect cake seemed to be more elusive. The results were either spongey or dense and fudgelike. This was not the texture I was looking for. I wanted a recipe that could fool the biggest cake connoiseur (possibly me, lol). Recently, I found a recipe that looked like it had potential. I played with it, tweaked it a bit, and...SUCCESS!!! Perfect, dark, chocolatey goodness :)


6 layer gluten free chocolate cake
w/ salted caramel buttercream

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup warm water
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter and rice flour two 8" metal cake pans, or one 9x13". Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large metal mixing bowl to be used with a hand mixer), combine all liquid ingredients and lightly blend. With mixer off, add in all dry ingredients at once, then turn the mixer on to low and mix for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, and bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and flip the pans over on the cooling rack to release the cakes. Allow to cool completely, then slice into layers (or not) and frost with your favourite gluten free frosting recipe. I recently made a salted caramel buttercream (pictured), which was the perfect foil to the rich darkness of this cake.

Makes 1 generously sized layer cake :)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Okanagan Cherry Crumble

I live in the Okanagan Valley, a beautiful region of southern interior BC, full of fruit trees and ample amounts of fresh produce every summer. Last week we were lucky enough to be given cherries by two different families, and I myself had picked up a bag of Ranier cherries (the yellow ones, grown in BC, but created in Washington state, hence the name). What to do with this abundace of fruit? Well, we could only eat so many fresh cherries, so I made a crumble with my favourite gluten free crumble topping.

Oats themselves are gluten free, but are prone to cross contamination, as they are often processed in the same facility. I buy Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats, but any gluten free oats will work, just make sure they are not the quick cooking variety!


4 cups cherries, pitted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. minute tapioca
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 drops almond extract

2 cups oats, gluten free
1 cup sugar, brown
1/4 cup all purpose gluten free flour blend (available in the natural foods aisle of most major grocery stores)
1/4 cup white rice flour
1 Tbsp. potato starch
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed



Preheat oven to 350 F.

Gently combine the first 5 ingredients (cherries, etc.) in a medium sized bowl, then scrape contents into a 9x13" baking/casserole dish. Set aside.

In separate bowl, combine oats, sugar, flour, white rice flour, potato starch, salt and nutmeg. Whisk to combine, then cut in cubed butter with a pastry blender (as pictured) or two butter knives, until butter is the size of small peas. Sprinkle entire mixture over the fruit, and bake 45-60 minutes, or until topping is browned and fruit mixture is bubbling around the edges.

Cool to room temperature (or serve warm if you like), and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 8-10.

*I must admit, by the time I remembered to photograph the finished product, it was completely gone! What can I say, my family loves their fruit crumbles :)

**I also use this topping for my other fruit crumbles, but for apples, peaches, rhubarb and many other fruit, I add a tsp. of ground cinnamon and increase the nutmeg to a 1/2 tsp.

The crumble, right before baking

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beef Stroganoff :)

It's been an unusually rainy summertime where I live. One day the sky is a beautiful blue, and the next day, it's grey. One day we are barbequeing, the next day all we want is a warm casserole or soup. We tend to go a little overboard, sometimes, on the amount of meat and vegetables we grill on those few sunny days. Overly enthusiastic, I suppose! So this week I found myself with a large leftover steak in my fridge, and a rainy day on hand.
Leftover steak isn't so tasty just eaten as steak. It works best cooked into some other dish, such as fajitas or stir fry...or beef Stroganoff! Beef Stroganoff is one of my favourite classic comfort foods, and I have sucessfully re-interpreted it as a gluten free meal for my family. Now, you can make it for yours as well.


454g bag gluten free pasta, such as brown rice fusilli

1/4 medium sweet onion, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
10 medium button mushrooms (or criminis), sliced
8 oz leftover steak or roast beef
1 baby dill pickle (or 5 minis), minced
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. sea salt
pinch thyme
1/2 c. beef stock (read labels if using commercial!)
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. whipping cream
1/4 c. pasta water
salt and pepper to taste


Prepare gluten free pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

In a large sautee pan, over medium-high heat, cook the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the cooked beef to the skillet, and sautee until browned. Then add in the mushrooms and cook until soft and slightly browned. Sprinkle in the minced pickle, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour in the beef stock, turn the heat to low, then cover with a lid and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes. After the meat mixture has simmered, add in the sour cream and heavy cream, and allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta, and if necessary, thin with some of the reserved pasta water.
Sprinkle with chopped chives or fresh thyme to garnish.

This hearty dish is wonderful served with a fresh, green salad tossed in olive oil and red wine vinegar.

serves 4

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BBQ Pork & Mango Summer Rolls

It's June, which means summer is here, and so is barbeque season! (Though, I grill year round, wearing my snow boots on the deck in January to grill a steak or ribs). This time around I thought I would grill a beautiful pork tenderloin, fresh from my butcher. Pork tenderloin grills up as fast as a chicken breast and lends itself to a myriad of flavours. But what could I do to make it more exciting than just slicing it and serving it to my family with grilled veggies and potatoes? How about summer rolls!

I love a good summer roll. They are a burst of delicious, portable, fresh flavour. Typically, they consist of rice noodles, thai basil, cucumber and steamed shrimp, dipped into peanut sauce. I wanted to change this up a little. I had a ripe mango lying around, as well as a bottle of gluten-free teriyaki and the pork loin, and thus bbq pork & mango summer rolls!


the assembled ingredients

1 pork tenderloin
1/4 c. gluten free teriyaki sauce

2 c. cooked vermicelli rice noodles (follow pkg. directions!)
1/2 c. bean sprouts
1/2 c. mixed lettuce leaves (such as spring mix)
1 mini cucumber, cut into thin spears
1 mango, cut into spears
2 tbsp. Thai basil
8 large rice wraps

gluten free peanut sauce (for dipping)


ready to roll

Begin by preheating your barbeque to high. Place the tenderloin on the preheated grill, close the lid and turn the heat down to medium. After 8 minutes, flip the loin over, and baste with teriyaki sauce. Repeat after another 8 minutes. Then repeat basting every 5 minutes or so until the pork is just barely cooked through and firm to the touch (the entire cooking time should be less than 30 minutes). Let rest 10-20 minutes in the refridgerator, then thinly slice. Set aside.

Boil a kettle full of water and pour into a shallow pan. This will be used to dip and soften the rice wraps.

Assemble all prepped ingredients and ready a clean counter or prep surface.

Working one at a time, dip the rice wraps into the water for 5 seconds, carefully removing to ensure the wrap stays flat. Place the softened wrap on your prep surface (I like to have two wraps ready to fill at a time before rolling).

Place 1/4 c. of cooked noodles on the wrap in a rectangular shape towards the back half. Then top noodles with approx. 1 tbsp. of bean sprouts, a few lettuce leaves and 3-4 thin slices of pork tenderloin. Layer on a cucumber spear, and a couple of mango spears, as pictured.
Finish with a sprinkle of chopped Thai basil.

To roll, fold the bottom of the wrap over the filling, then fold in each side and roll the entire roll over until closed (the rice wrap will be sticky enough to seal itself). This is the same method you would use to wrap a burrito.

Slice in half on the diagonal or leave whole, and serve with your favourite gluten free peanut sauce.

Makes 8 rolls, with some pork left over for another day :)

These wraps are great served immediately, or wrap individually in plastic wrap and refridgerate for up to 24 hrs.

Enjoy !

the delicious finished product

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deliciously Easy Hummus

I was at the grocery store the other day, and had a typical (for me) hummus craving. I love it. Hummus has so much flavour, a creamy texture, and is so good for you with the chickpeas, garlic, sesame paste and olive oil. Mmmm.
I made my way to the deli section, and noticed one brand advertising itself as gluten-free. Now, knowing what I know about hummus, it never occured to me that it would be anything BUT gluten-free. Sure enough, as I scanned the ingredient list of the brand I would normally buy...allergy information: may contain traces of wheat! I suppose this is because it is processed in a facility that produces other items containing wheat, as none of the ingredients themslelves posed an immediate threat.
It started me thinking, yes the premade deli hummus is convenient, but for $5 I buy roughly a cup. A can of chickpeas is .88 cents (dried are even cheaper!), garlic, tahini, lemon, etc. is all relatively inexpensive, and they all make more than one batch of hummus. I totaled it up in my head and for around $10 I could buy all of the ingredients, and make roughly 10 cups of hummus (3x my recipe).
I own a food processor, have the skill set (easy), and would prefer gluten and preservative free anyhow, so why not just make it myself? In fact, why HADN'T I ever just made it myself? I can't answer that question, other than to suppose it was purely convenience. One thing I know for sure though, I will never feel the need to buy it again!
Here is my recipe, so you never have to feel that need either...

a small portion of my yummy hummus, drizzled w/
extra virgin olive oil...and waiting to be eaten!!!


1 can chickpeas (approx. 2 cups), drained and rinsed
1 tsp. sea salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2/3 c. tahini (sesame seed paste)
1 tsp. toasted sesame seed oil
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2-3/4 c. water, depending on desired consistency
additional sea salt to taste
extra virgin olive oil


Combine garlic, salt, tahini, sesame oil, lemon juice, cayenne and 1/2 c. of water in food processor, and process until smooth.
Add in the chickpeas, and continue to process until well blended. Add additional salt to taste, and additional water to thin, if necessary. Process another minute or two, until lighter in colour and very smooth.

Scoop into a airtight container and store for up to one week or serve immediately (though it tastes better the second day, once the flavours have had a chance to meld).
Before serving, drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of paprika, if you like.

Serve as a spread on sandwiches and pitas, or as a dip for crudite, crackers, and (my favourite) sweet potato chips.

Makes approximately 3 1/2 cups.

* I think it goes without saying, as this is a gluten-free blog, but make sure to read all your labels and assure that all ingredients are g-free.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Raisin Spice Cookies

I am a picky eater.
Not in the "I only eat chicken!" sense, but in the quality sense. I don't have any place on my plate for "junk" food. I buy good quality meats, free range organic eggs, local ingredients whenever possible. If we can, we grow it ourselves. This doesn't mean we never have a treat though. I own a cake & cupcake company, so treats are a given. I just prefer that we make them ourselves. Real ingredients, nothing artificial.
That became especially important once we realized there was a gluten intolerance in our house. Yes, you can buy gluten-free cookies, but it is much cheaper to make them yourself, and they taste so much better. In fact, I think these taste better than any spice cookie I have ever eaten, gluten-free or not. I'm not alone in that sentiment. I like to test my recipes on my gluten eating friends and family, get their opinions, and THEN tell them they are gluten-free. So many people have pre-concieved notions that gluten-free food is tasteless and strangely textured. That way I get an unbiased opinion, and this one was overwhelmingly positive.

the partially chilled dough


1 cup butter, salted, room temperature
1 cup sugar, granulated
1/2 cup sugar, brown, packed
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup rice flour (I prefer finely ground Thai rice flour for its smooth texture in baking)
2/3 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp. tapioca flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground (fresh, if you have it)
1 pinch cloves, ground
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut or gluten-free oats
2 cups raisins, seedless
4 cups Rice Krispies, gluten-free brown rice variety

Mmm, fresh cookies, straight from the oven


In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, cream the butter with  both sugars, until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and  vanilla, and beat until combined.
In a seperate bowl, whisk together the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, baking powder and soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. On medium speed, beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Then, blend in the coconut or oats, and the raisins. Turn speed down to low and mix in the Rice Krispies, until just combined.
Place the bowl of cookie dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Once the dough is chilled, use 2 spoons (or a handy ice cream scoop, as pictured) to make 2 tbsp. dough balls, and place them in rows of 3x4 on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Chill another 10-12 minutes in the fridge, until firm.
Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer carefully to a cooling rack, until room temperature.
Continue, until all dough balls are baked.

Makes approx. 6 dozen cookies :)

*I like to use two cookie sheets, and have one in the oven baking, while the second cookie filled sheet is in the fridge chilling. This makes the process go much faster.*

These cookies freeze beautifully, in an airtight conatiner, for a month or so. That is, if you can keep them around that long!
The end result, delicious raisin spice cookies :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mmm, Lasagna :)

One of the things I miss most about my life before Celiacs, is pasta. I looove pasta. So when my husband decided he wanted to make lasgana, I thought to myself, "so, I'll just have some frozen chili or something. Again". "You can eat that can't you?", he asked. "Umm, NO!". "Well, can I make it so that you can?" Hmmmm.

I knew gluten-free pasta was available, but had yet to hear anything nice about it. Everything I read said it was mushy and unpleasant. I did some research (which I kinda love to do) and every recipe was recommending the same thing: Tinkyada Brown Rice lasagna noodles. I called a few grocery stores, and finally managed to locate a box, suprisingly (but conveniently) at the smaller grocery store a few blocks away.

We made it up, exactly the same way we would have before. I put it in the oven, set the timer for an hour, told my hubby to check on it and let it rest for 10 minutes before eating, and headed of to yoga.

Thoughts of delicious lasagna danced in my hungry belly during savasana, mingled with worries of mushy, flavourless noodles. I rushed home after class, promptly cut a piece, dug in, and...


the delicious finished product



2 lbs ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, choose)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, sweet, diced
8 mushrooms, button or crimini, sliced
2 jars tomato sauce, good quality or homemade
1 tsp. thyme, dried
1 tsp. oregano, dried
1 big splash red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cheese Mixture:

3 c. baby spinach, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
750 ml cottage cheese (I prefer 2%, but use what you like)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. each salt & freshly ground black pepper

1 box Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna Noodles, uncooked (or your favourite brand, if you have one)
2 c. mozarella, shredded
1/4 c. parmesan, shredded


Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a 9x13x6" rectangular baking dish, preferably with olive oil. Set aside.

In large saucepan, heat olive oil, then sautée meat until cooked through. Add onions and mushrooms, continuing to cook until translucent. Pour in tomato sauce, herbs, vinegar, and salt & pepper. Heat until bubbling, and continue to simmer 10 minutes to allow flavours to combine. Set aside.

In a sautée pan, heat olive oil, then add garlic and chopped spinach. Sautée until the spinach is just wilted and bright green. Combine spinach mixture in a medium mixing bowl with all other cheese filling ingredients. Set aside.

Ladle roughly 2 c. of sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Then lay down 4 UNCOOKED noodles, to fit. Top with 3 more cups of sauce, then 4 more noodles. Spread with cheese mixture, the last 4 noodles and the remaining sauce. Top with the shredded cheese and bake for 50-60 minutes. When the lasagna is brown and bubbly, pull it from the oven and allow it to rest 10-15 minutes. Slice the lasagna into pieces and serve it with your favourite green or caesar salad. Enjoy :)

makes 12-16 servings