Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing



Have you missed me?  I missed you very much and I hope to be back on a regular schedule of sharing recipes and updates a little more frequently than I have this past year.

I have been a little busy with Finnley and family.  Our little bundle of joy arrived 3 weeks early and she is such a joy to have in our lives.  With each child I always wonder if I will have enough... enough love and time, to share with one more little person.  I am amazed at how the universe seems to make room in your life for both--time and love--to be shared in abundance.



I had been on bed rest for the prior two weeks due to pre-eclampsia.  I was ready to have Finnley with our family at home in our arms.  On Thursday (9-19) I went to the doctor and with my current high blood pressure symptoms they told me I needed to be back at the hospital at 5pm--we were having a baby!

I thought I was ready--and I was--but then I felt not ready...LOL For a brief moment I was scared, nervous and excited all at the same time. I just wanted to hold her in my arms and kiss her sweet cheeks. I wanted to know that everything was okay. I needed to hear her cry and feel her next to me.

14 hours later she came into the world and we were all thrilled. She weighed 6lbs. 2 oz. and measured 18 inches long. Her little legs never stopped kicking--just like when she was inside of me. The nurses all joked that she might be a soccer player or dancer.

I stayed in the hospital for two days and came home full of energy. With the help of my hubby and older kids we have managed to get plenty of sleep and rest. I am anxious to get back to a schedule and start exercising again.


I gained 23 pounds during this pregnancy and have lost most of it...I am down to the final 8 pounds.  I have to think that my gluten free diet helped with the weight gain and also with the weight loss after she was born.  My other pregnancies I gained 50 pounds and it took me a long time to drop the weight.





One thing that I have been better about this time around is drinking lots of water. I have also increased the amount of vegetables and protein that I am eating.  I still indulge in a gluten free snack or treat once in a while but only on rare occasions.

My Mom makes a wonderful warm spinach salad with bacon dressing that I remember as a young adult. She still makes this for special occasions. Well, I think this is a special occasion and I made it this past week. I added a few of my own additions, like the apple pieces and toasted almond slivers, but that is because I wanted to add some crunch and a bit of sweetness to the tart dressing.

I want to say thank you to everyone that has continued to support this blog and follow along the past two years.  It has been a joy to share recipes, memories and photographs with each of you.  I will do my best to keep posting but my number one priority is and will always be my family.  This precious time I have with my new baby will go by so fast that I want to cherish each moment, each smell, every kiss and sweet smile that she choses to share with me.  



Recipe:  Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

1 Large container of spinach
3 hard boiled eggs, diced small or sliced
6 slices of bacon, diced and fried
1/4 cup of red onion, chopped small
1 small red apple, chopped small
1/4 cup toasted almonds or pecans

Dressing:

grease of fried bacon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of honey
salt and pepper to taste

Have bacon fried and eggs boiled.

In a large skillet with the bacon grease and heat turned off, add the dressing ingredients. With a whisk, blend well.  If the bacon grease has become solid, then warm until just melted.  When the grease gets too hot it will wilt your spinach.  The flavor will be the same but presentation may not be appealing.

 You want the dressing warm, not hot.

Right before you are ready to serve, toss the spinach with the warm dressing. It takes just a minute for the dressing and bacon dressing to be tossed together.  Do not turn the heat on for this or you will end up sautĂ©ing your salad.

Add the remaining ingredients to your salad and serve immediately.






Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies

This is my favorite spatula and the handle is broken. My family has been threatened more times than I like to admit about the consequences of throwing this away.  I love the metal paddle because it is perfect for cookies and pancakes.  My biggest fear is when guest come and help with the dishes--they always want to trash this precious kitchen tool.

Have you missed me?  I have missed you.  My life seems to be moving without much time to breathe or slow down.  Summer schedules have taken over my life with running two teenagers to work and back and chauffeuring Isabella to her many camps, classes and play dates.

Making a baby is tiring, exhausting to be exact.  I know it sounds like an excuse to nap all day but I am sure feeling (kicking and all) the process this time around.

My taste buds are all off. I am still cooking and trying to stay active in the kitchen but  I will be the first to admit that we have eaten out way too often over the last few months.  I have spent time remaking the recipes on the blog to "test" them one more time.  My family has enjoyed revisiting some of their favorite meals without wondering what "new" cooking experience they will encounter at the dinner table each night.  LOL

When I sit in front of my keyboard I don't know what to write--baby brain, I guess.  I have felt a waves of emotion, thoughts and ideas over the last 6 months but, to be honest, they have been challenging thoughts.

Thoughts that have brought me down at times, made me question a few things, had me in tears other times and down right depressing.  I don't like to write about these things but maybe I should---who knows.

I was recently told that I like my life to be "fairy gardens" and " cat pictures".  This was in response to me unfriending  someone on Facebook.  I was accused of not wanting to have adult conversations.  I laughed.  This person did not know me and her statements were purely her opinions based on my personal Facebook updates.  In part she is right--I do like my life to be filled with things that make me smile, cheer others up and share a positive message.  My childhood was rough--it sucked to be quite honest.  I became who I am because of those challenges and have chosen to become someone better because of it and not let those things define me.  I don't want to be bitter, upset, a victim or focus on negative things.  I choose to see life with a smile, peace in my heart and with an abundance of joy towards other.  I spent most of my youth worrying about the opinions of others and letting fear be my beacon.  I have not lived this way for a very long time and don't intend to go back to that lifestyle--EVER.  For this reason, I have found myself in a place of not wanting to write my true feelings in blog post and updates.  I have waited for the time when I felt good and my thoughts were not percolating with random ideas.  Sometimes we need the time to refocus and regenerate ourselves to a higher place.  These past few months were necessary for me to slow down and regroup.  I find that if I listen to the small inner voice and accept the council it pays off in the end--I did and I feel good.


I am starting my 7th month of pregnancy and still have only bought a handful of items.  I am not sure if this is normal or not with your fourth child.

My Mom is shocked and might even be a bit worried for her latest grandchild.  I honestly don't feel the rush like I did when I was 28 with my first baby to have the nursery complete.  Finnley (her name) will be our fourth child and I am pretty sure I know how to do this.  The first few months she will eat, sleep and dirty a diaper or two.

Her needs will be simple and I want to keep things simple for myself too.   I don't want to over spend on all of the things that we will use for a month or two and then have to store.  Our home is small and I am trying to be very particular about the items I bring into our house, after all, they will be a part of the furnishings for a while.

Our goal of living on the road in two years is still in the planning stages.  We have already done this once and I know that many of the things we purchase now will be sold later at a huge estate sale.  I am shopping consignment stores and yard sales.  Doing it this way takes more time because it has to be safe, the right price and in good shape.  I like looking for the perfect deal.  We will be buying two things brand new though: a car seat and crib (and no I have not bought either of them yet--LOL)



If it sounds like I am rambling, it is probably because I am.  I have a lot to say but don't want to bore you with all of the details so I will get to the recipe of these soft and chocolaty cookies.

I make these for my family when we need a quick "cocoa" fix.  They are cake-like and make the perfect dunking cookie.  Oh yeah--it helps that you check if you have milk before you make them.  LOL  My kids were so mad the last time because our milk bottles were empty.  How can you eat cookies without an ice cold glass of milk?

An emergency store run was made and the troops were once again happy.  I hope you enjoy this snippet into my life over the last few months and I will try to be better about keeping the blog up to date with recipes and updates on family, travel and Finnley.


Recipe: Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies
Makes 24-30 cookies depending on cookie scoop used.

1/2 cup almond meal (purchased at Traders Joe or make yourself)
1/4 cup tapioca starch (can also be called flour)
1/4 cup super fine white rice flour (purchased at Asian market)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
7 tablespoons butter, soft
1 large egg
2 teaspoons coffee grounds ( I use the grounds from one of my Keurig cups)
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and whisk to blend.

In a medium bowl add butter and sugar, beat until butter is light yellow in color.  Add coffee grounds, egg and milk.  Combine well.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.

Using a cookie scoop, space cookies 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes.

Transfer to a cooking wire rack.  Serve while still warm or store in a sealed container for later.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

301. Beehive Sugar Cookies #spon


UPDATE:  I won!  I recieved a Kitchen Aid mixer and a year supply of sugar.  Thank you In The Raw.



I have been a busy little bee preparing for Eat Write Retreat this year.  I have been given the opportunity to try a new product by In the Raw.  It is a natural sweetener made from Monk Fruit.  We were asked to use their product in a sugar cookie recipe and then post a picture of our design and work. A winner will be selected--how fun is that? I have never entered a contest before.

All I can say is that icing a sugar cookie is a lot of work especially when it has not been done before.   I was really nervous to use icing as a decorating medium.  My attempts in the past have primarily used royal icing and a small tip to decorate cookies in a swirly pattern, nothing that required outlining, flooding and then enhancing.

I  chose a beehive/bee cookie because I love bees.  I find that they represent hard work and beauty.  While serving in Utah as a quilt guild president for the Heber Valley Quilters I did a whole theme around bees.  Bee-cause it was so fun to create fun "bee words" for each months goals and as women we could relate to a busy hive at home with family.

I have included the cookie recipe from In the Raw but I also have a delicious gluten free sugar cookie that I use when baking for myself (I am the only one that requires no wheat in my family).  You can find that recipe HERE.

Recipe: Sugar Cookie 
Adapted from In the Raw

Makes 24--4inch cookies (amount will vary depending on cookie cutters used)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
2/3 cups sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup Monk Fruit In the Raw Bakers Bag

Icing--recipe below
Cookie Cutters--beehive and bee
Food coloring--favorite yellow and black
decorating tips--#1, #2. #3. #4 and #5 (these sizes helped with the outlining, flooding and dotting)

In a medium bowl, combined the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together until light yellow.

Add vanilla and egg plus one egg yolk.  Combine until well blended.

Stir in Monk Fruit sweetener.  Slowly add dry ingredients from medium bowl.

Dough should rest for 3 hours to overnight.  Place cookie dough on a piece of plastic wrap and tightly seal.  I kept mine in the fridge overnight and made the cookies the next morning.

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Remove cookie dough from refrigerator and cut in half.  Using a bit of flour and your rolling pin, roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Dip cookie cutter into flour and cut shapes place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes for a large cookie.  My bees did not take as long because of their size. 

Remove and let completely cool on wire rack before icing and decorating.

These can be stored up to three days before decorating in a sealed container or bag.

Recipe: Icing

1 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
1 T. milk
1 T. light corn syrup
quick squeeze of lemon juice

Combine ingredients together in small bowl and whisk well.  This will be used for the outlining of the cookie. Add coloring if desired.

Put a small amount into a icing bag with #4 tip and outline your cookie.

To flood cookie, thin icing with a few more drops of milk.  Add icing to a new bag with #4 tip and fill the inside of your outlined cookie or design.

Let cookie sit for 1 hour for icing to set.

Finish decorating cookie with your favorite design.

Store cookies in sealed container or baggie.







Tuesday, May 14, 2013

290. Gluten Free Blueberry Streusel Muffins


2020 UPDATE: I made this today using Pamela's Gluten-Free Baking Mix with almond flour. They turned out great. I will leave the original recipe but include the quantity for Pamela's flour.


Blueberry muffins are a family favorite in our home.  We look forward to blueberry season in our neck of the woods each year.

What I enjoy the most about these muffins is the streusel topping--the crunchy, sweet nuggets add the right amount of texture to the soft muffin.  I love them when they are warm on the first day.  They do reheat in the microwave well too.

The blueberries are perfect when they are at their best: sweet and plump.  I have only used fresh berries to make these so I do not know how frozen blueberries would work.  If you try them, please leave me a comment and let me know so I can update the recipe for others.


Recipe: Gluten Free Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Makes 12 muffins

1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup white rice flour, fine (see note below)
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
* To make them not gluten free substitute the above flours with 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour.
UPDATE:  You can use the ingredients above OR use Pamela's Gluten-Free Baking Mix. Exchange for 2.5 cups of the mix.

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Topping

1/3 cup white rice or use the equivalent of Pamela's GF mix
3 teaspoons tapioca starch
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons soft butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cup cake/muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients: almond meal, white rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder and nutmeg.  Stir with wire whisk until well combined, set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter.  Blend on medium speed until butter is light in color.

Add eggs one at a time and blend in.  Add vanilla and milk.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine.

Add blueberries and gently fold them in. If you over stir the batter the blueberries will break apart and turn your muffins purple.

Add batter to liners. Fill to the top;  it is okay if they are a little over full.

To make topping: Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.  Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly (see picture below).

Add topping generously to the top of each uncooked muffin (see picture below).


Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch.  Remove and transfer to wire rack and let cool.




NOTE:  I buy my white and brown rice flour at an Asian Market called H Mart.  The flour is blended finer than most major brands.  This can be ordered on line if you don't have access to a store near you. It does make a difference in the texture of your baked goods.


Written by Sherron Watson


Monday, May 13, 2013

Bacon Potato Pancake with Toasted Corn Salsa



Imagine my excitement when I received a huge box delivered to my doorstep.  It was like Christmas all over again.  I opened it up to discover that I had been sent some pretty amazing things: an assortment of potatoes from Potatoes Goodness Unearthed and supplies from OXO to help me with my amazing potato appetizer.

At the end of this month I will be attending my first conference in Philadelphia, Eat Write Retreat. As part of the participants we have a variety of opportunities before the conference to get involved.  This was one such event: a mystery ingredient used to create an amazing appetizer recipe.

It took me about two weeks to finalize what I would be making.  I had a few ideas but kept coming back to a potato pancake.  I wanted to make something that I would want for an appetizer and this is something that I love.  I have topped my bacon potato pancake with a creamy avocado sauce and toasted corn salsa.

All I can say is that my family thought it was pretty amazing!

The bacon and potato paired together is always a home run in my book.  I love avocados and thought the green highlighted the corn relish and was an excellent sauce for the pancake.  The corn salsa offers a bit of crunch and texture to the appetizer.

When I make mashed potatoes at home, my kids always want corn to go along with them.  They enjoy the combination of corn and potatoes together and in some way, this was how the dish came together.

My kids are a huge influence in how I cook.  They have strong opinions about flavors and textures.  They have never been afraid to share their thoughts on any dish I have created.

My favorite part about the box I received in the mail was a nifty sheet of facts about the varieties of potatoes on the market.  I always knew that certain potatoes tasted better with certain dishes but I never went in search of this information.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a laminated sheet that gave me hints and ideas, along with a recipe, that would better assist me in finding the perfect potato to use in any recipe.

For this recipe, based on what I read, I used the YELLOWS.   They are buttery and creamy.  Two words that I definitely wanted to use in describing my Bacon Potato Pancake.

I hope that you will enjoy this appetizer as much as we did--the kids are already asking me for it again!

**Disclosure: I was provided with an assortment of potatoes to try along with a variety of OXO products.  My opinions are my own and I have willing given honest feed back to both products.

Bacon Potato Pancake with Toasted Corn Salsa

Makes 12-2inch pancakes

5 slices of bacon, cooked
1.5 lbs. of yellow potatoes, diced
1/4 cup green onions, diced
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
1 egg
1/4 cup all purpose flour (white rice flour for gluten free)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt to taste (1-2 teaspoons)
Avocado Cream--recipe below
Grilled Corn Salsa--recipe below

In a large pot add diced potatoes and fill with water until just above potatoes.  You do not need to peel them unless you don't want the peel on your potatoes. When potatoes are done (they can be split with a fork) DRAIN the water.  Let potatoes dry out for a minute or two.

Fry up your bacon and cut into small pieces.  Save the grease and use this for frying up the potato pancakes.  I always keep my bacon grease so I do have extra if I need more while frying up the pancakes.

In a medium size bowl, combine bacon pieces, green onion, cheese, egg, flour, salt and pepper.

Using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the bowl with the other ingredients.  Stir to combine. The consistency will be very thick. I used an ice cream scoop to portion my pancakes.

Using the bacon grease, add this to a new frying pan and fry your potato pancakes until they are golden brown.  Remove to a wire rack.

Top with avocado cream and grilled corn salsa.

Avocado Cream

Makes 2 cups

2 ripe avocados
1/2 lime
1/2 cup sour cream
salt to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Combine avocado, sour cream, juice of half a lime, salt, garlic powder and onion powder into a small bowl.  Mash with fork, and then whip until smooth with wire whisk.  You can use a food processor if your kitchen has one, mine does not.

Toasted Corn Salsa

**Fresh grilled corn can be used if you prefer

1(14.5) can yellow corn, drained well
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons orange bell pepper, diced small
1/4 cup red onion, diced small
1 teaspoon light olive oil
1 lime
salt to taste

To grill canned corn I used my small cast iron pan.  Heat pan until very hot.  Add corn and toast on all sides, stirring frequently so it does not burn.

Remove once it has a nice brown color.

In a medium bowl, add corn and the remaining ingredients.

Serve hot or cold.


Written by Sherron Watson











Monday, May 6, 2013

Reno Omelette Mix



This recipe for Reno Omelet is one that my family would serve in their restaurants. We were known for our huge 6 egg omeletes.  Many patrons would share because, lets face it, 6 eggs is a lot to eat.  On rare occasions we would be met by a challenger who would eat the entire omelet, the hash browns, toast and 10 cups of coffee.  These were usually men who spent their days behind the wheel of a logging truck.

We lived in the hills of Oregon and the logging industry was still very active and a huge part of my town growing up.  These are sweet memories of riding my bikes along the logging roads with my cousins and family.  These roads are all closed down now because the mills are no longer functioning.

On our menu, we had a variety of omelets to choose from: Denver, Seafood, Reno and The Spanish are just a few.  This is by far my favorite.  I love the combination of pork and the different cuts of meat.  I also like the red tomato base sauce.  Combine this with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream and you will eat like a king or queen.

This recipe makes a large amount.  This is great because you can freeze half for a later time or eat it in a week like my family does.  We don't tire of this at all.

The sausage that I recommend in the list of ingredients is purchased at Whole Foods in their meat section. The reason I am making note of this is because they are large.  I would say 1.5 inches by 6-7 inches long.  If you purchase sausage that is not this size then you would want to make some adjustments.

I also don't make 6 egg omelets at my home.  I use 2 eggs, slightly whisked and poured into a hot cast iron pan that has a bit of melted butter in the bottom.  You can also use a non stick or omelet pan to make your eggs.

I like a dry omelet,  this means that I cook one side and then flip it so that my omelet does not have any runny eggs (I don't like this at all).  At this time I will add my cheese and warmed Reno mix then top with sour cream. Flip the right side over the fixings and slide to a plate. You can top the omelet with more cheese and sour cream too.

I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe that is wonderful for breakfast, lunch or dinner!




Reno Omelet Mix

1 large chorizo sausage-cooked and sliced
1 cup of ham- diced and cooked
2 large pork sausages-cooked and sliced
6 slices of bacon-cooked and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large onion--sliced
3 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain
1  (14 oz) can of tomato sauce


After all your meat is cooked, diced and sliced add this to a large stock pot. Add sliced onion.  Let the onions and meat cook together on medium heat until the onions are soft.  Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Let simmer and then portion up and freeze or refrigerate.  I usually let this simmer on low for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Warm before serving in omelet if not using right away.

I like this omelet served with Sharp Cheddar Cheese and sour cream. 


To make omelet: See above.



Tuesday, April 30, 2013

299. Sweet and Savory Grilled Cheese



I love how a sandwich can resonate with so many generations and bring back such fond memories.  A grilled cheese is one such sandwich.  I remember as a kid visiting my grandparents and being served a grilled cheese with a bowl of soup for lunch.  As a young adult recently married, many years ago, I often wanted the comfort of this sandwich when I was ill and far away from family.  It just reminded me of home.

I was excited when Kitchen PLAY invited me to participate in 30 Days of Grilled Cheese and that Land O'Lakes® Deli Cheese would be our cheese of choice.  Why my excitement?  Two reasons:  creamy and delicious.  This cheese melts to a creamy texture in your favorite grilled cheese sandwich and the flavor is, well, delicious.  I also like that you can buy it freshly sliced from your deli.  This gives you the choice of buying just the right amount and you can even mix the flavors.  Land O’Lakes has yellow and white Deli American Cheese and a wonderful 4 Cheese Italian Blend. They are both creamy and delicious for grilled cheese sandwiches! 

So what makes the perfect grilled cheese sandwich?  I bet we would each have our own list of the combination of flavors we would enjoy the most.  I am going to share mine with you today.  I love the combination of flavors that you get when a cheese tray is ordered: fruit, cheese and meat.  I wanted to combine these flavors into a sandwich.



I enjoy a sandwich that has a bit of sweet combined with a hint of tart; crunch with a smooth texture; warm and cold tones.  I look forward to every bite being filled with flavor, textures and maybe even a bit of a surprise.  I like to use bread that has a rustic look to it, like French or sourdough.  The holes in the bread allow steam to rise through it and melt your cheese.  I also like to use smaller loaves so that as your grilled cheese sandwich builds to a certain height it is easier to hold in your hands.  If it gets too big then things start falling out and slipping all over the place—that just will not do, in my opinion.
  

Recipe:  Sweet and Savory Grilled Cheese

¼ cup of sliced red onions
1 teaspoon of butter
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, any flavor
2 slices of your favorite rustic bread
4 slices of Black Forest ham
2-3 slices of Land O Lakes® Deli American Cheese
4 strawberries, sliced
Honey or Dijon mustard
¼ cup Arugula greens
Butter, to grill bread

·      In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add onions.  Let brown for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add balsamic vinegar and let cook an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

· Lightly butter each slice of bread on one side and add to hot skillet. Top each slice of bread with a piece of cheese and let melt. In a separate part of the pan, add the ham with another slice of cheese. This allows the ham to be warm and more cheese to be added to your sandwich.

·      When the cheese has melted, on one side, add the Dijon mustard and ham.  Then add the slice strawberries, Arugula,  and grilled red onions. Top with the last piece of toasted bread.

·      Gently press down on the top piece of bread to allow the ingredients to hold together.  Remove from heat and serve immediately.

If you need a gluten free bread recipe, I have one that would work great for this sandwich.  The recipe can be found HERE.

Written by Sherron Watson

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flourless Chocolate Cake



I am always amazed when I make a recipe and it does not have any flour in it. Isn't flour in all baked goods? I grew up with this idea and only discovered in the last few years that there are wonderful desserts that do not include any flour. This makes me happy.

What I love the most about this delicious cake is that it has a crunchy top with a moist and fudge-like texture. It will melt in your mouth.

You will notice that I made this cake in an 8 inch spring foam pan (the original recipe calls for a 9 inch-if you have this size use it or leave a little bit of batter out of the 8 inch) , I had a little bit of batter left over and tried it in an oven proof ramekin that I like to use for individually sized portions--it worked wonderfully!

I was able to slide a knife around the outer edge and the mini cake came right out and I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. DELICIOUS!


For those that have been wondering where I have been (it has been a while since I last posted) I have been consumed with my pregnancy.  I finally am through the first three months and feeling some what human again.  I won't lie-it was rough.  The morning sickness that lasted all day--did me in.  It was all I could do to get through the day with homeschooling Isabella and keeping up with the family.

Thankfully I have a very supportive family and they helped a ton!  I am feeling so much better and in my 4th month.  I cannot believe the time has gone by so fast already.  Before I know it a baby will be here.

Finding out that you are pregnant at 45 is always a bit of a shock but an even larger shock for those around you--especially your teenage kids!  LOL  They have been great about the whole thing. I honestly don't feel 45 and my body is holding up well.   I do feel tired and I worry about gaining too much weight--so far I am holding at a 6 pound gain in 4 months--as you know, they say the older you get the harder the pounds are to come off.   I have been riding my bike and walking every week.  

I can't say enough how happy I am for this new little blessing in our family.  He or she will keep us young at heart and I love that Isabella will have a sibling closer to her age.

All I can say is-life is good!  Enjoy every day.




Recipe:  Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Gastronomers Guide

8 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of butter
1 tablespoon instant coffee grounds
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper-bottom and sides. Spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl add egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form.

In a medium bowl, add egg yolks and beat until pale (4 minutes). Add sugar and continue to mix for 3 more minutes.

Place a large heat proof bowl over a simmering pot of water and melt chocolate chips and butter; add instant coffee grounds and salt, combine well.  Let chocolate cool slightly.

Slowly pour cooled chocolate into egg yolk mixture. 

Add egg yolk/chocolate mixture to egg whites and fold until no streaks of white remain.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.

Let cool slightly and remove springform pan.

Yields: 8-10 slices





Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chicken Divan #SundaySupper #BudgetFriendly


For Sunday Supper this week we are sharing Budget Friendly dishes.  Chicken Divan is one of my favorite dishes for several reasons.  I grew up eating this dish but we did not know it by this fancy name.  We called it Chicken and Broccoli with Miracle Whip.  I was a kid of the 70s/80s and Miracle Whip was a big deal at our house.  In fact it was an us against them issue often: the mayonnaise lovers against the Miracle Whip die hards.  

The issue was constant, especially when it came time to make tuna fish, sandwiches of any kind or casseroles.

I kind of got off track...oops!

The other reason this dish is a favorite is because I can easily use up the extra chicken from a previous meal and the extra crown of broccoli I always over buy.  It never fails. I know that my family will eat one crown but I always buy two.  Someday I will learn.

I have to be honest and get this off my chest.  Orange cheese and yellow curry sauce do not photograph well. I have tried on numerous occasions with this casserole and have been a bit disappointed with the results.  Today I am just going for it and hoping that you can see beyond the "color" scare that is staring back you in the pictures.



I know that someone will ask me if they can substitute something else for the Miracle Whip.  I am going to say no if you want it to taste like mine.  I have tried.  I have tried in the past to make something that tasted similar and not use the Miracle Whip.  It just is not the same.  If you have any suggestions that have worked for you, I would love to hear them.

You will notice that I make my own creamy "soup" mix instead of using the standard 2 cans of cream of chicken soup.  This is a personal preference and you can make the switch if you don't want to try the homemade version.  Please do what is easiest for you and your family.

The recipes that we are sharing for Sunday Supper can be found at the end of this post along with some information about a conference that is being held in July.  It will be our first gathering with lots of speakers and fun!  Check out the link.

Recipe:  Chicken Divan

2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup or recipe for Creamy soup (recipe below)
3 medium sized chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 large crown of broccoli, steamed
1 cup of Miracle Whip
pinch of salt
3 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of yellow Curry powder
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded

Recipe for Creamy Chicken Soup
Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of flour or rice flour
1 cup of whole milk
1 cup of chicken broth

Melt Butter, add flour.  Cook for one minute.  Add milk and broth.  Cook and stir until thickened.

Remove from stove and let cool.  Use this whole recipe in the Chicken Divan recipe.

Store in fridge for one week.

To make Casserole:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9X13 baking dish or equivalent, add cooked chicken pieces.  Add broccoli florets.


In a medium size bowl combine soup (canned or homemade), lemon juice, Miracle Whip, pinch of salt and curry powder.  Stir well.

Add the sauce to the top of the broccoli.

Top the casserole with shredded cheese.

If you would like to add a breadcrumb or panko topping you may.  Take 1/2 cup panko or bread crumbs and combine with 2 teaspoons of butter. Sprinkle over shredded cheese.

Bake casserole for 30 minutes.  Remove and serve.  Sometimes we serve this with rice.



Starters, Soups, and Salads
Main
Sides
Drinks and Desserts
How do you cut back on food expense? Do you grow your own vegetables or cook more at home? Buy in bulk? Share your secrets in the comments below…
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.
Announcing the Food & Wine Conference sponsored by Sunday Supper!It’s being held July 19th – 21st in beautiful, sunny Orlando, FL. It’s a must for food bloggers. Check it out by clicking here → Food & Wine Conference

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