Monday, January 27, 2014

Gluten Free Red Velvet Brownie Bites

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                        Red Velvet Brownie Bites

     I just noticed that I have been baking with a theme, RED, well I had no Valentine desserts to share until I started baking these.  There are a lot of Holidays you really don't need to make a dessert for, but this is one that you can't ignore.  I had pinned this on Pinterest a while ago and decided, this would be perfect for a party or any place you needed to share with a group; plus for a bonus it had my favorite ingredient in it CHOCOLATE!!!!  These are easy to make, taste delicious and look so great on a platter! 
     Now if you have been following me, I wanted to share how my Cruise to the Caribbean was and show some pictures.  We took a big family cruise on The Holland America, Nieuw Amsterdam  to the Eastern Caribbean.  This was my 2nd Cruise since being diagnosed with Celiacs, it was a good experience!!



This is the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos, the beach was GORGEOUS, white sands and warm turquoise waters!  My idea of heaven!

     The meals were excellent, try not to notice I had two Lobster tails!  I had alerted the ship and staff to my food allergy when  I booked us , then I made fast friends with our server and the Head Sui Chef on the Lido deck, so that if there was anything I questioned or needed they knew who I was, and took such EXCELLENT care of me!!

     This beautiful landscape is on the lawn of El Moro Fort in Puerto Rico,  this was amazing to visit!  We have been to Puerto Rico twice, and I loved it just as much the second time if not more....it's a Vacation for the eyes and the people are so kind and welcoming!
                                                                                   


     The desserts on the ship are mostly pre-made by Kinnikinnick, their bread and pasta is also the same.  I'm not a fan of pre-made desserts so, I tried one, then asked one night if they had any Flourless Chocolate Cakes, and low and behold this little beauty showed up at dinner the next night! YESSS...this was so wonderful!! So, I asked for it the next night and had 2, because I had been on Dessert rations( I put myself on) this was so good, I would have skipped dinner and just had the cake!



     This is Half Moon Cay, Holland America's Private Island, they feed you there, it's awesome.  They were very careful, not one time on the cruise did I ever get contaminated!!  There was a Caribbean party one night late, and I was very sad that I would just get to sit and watch everyone eat, because I had missed dinner.  They found me a great fish dinner, and my friend the Sui Chef saw me BEFORE  the party and asked if he could get me some desserts from the back, it really made my night and made me feel included in the festivities!!  My family was so jealous of me for once!








I hope this helps you to feel hopeful about venturing out, and traveling.  Happy Baking, Natalie




Ingredients-
Adapted from, tasteandtellblog.com
-1 cup butter softened
-1 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
-1/2 cup cocoa(I use dark, so the red doesn't show up in the pic well)
-1/8 tsp salt
-1 TBS red food coloring
-1 TBS Buttermilk
-2 large eggs
-1 1/4 cups Pamela's Bread flour mix

 Cream Cheese Frosting-
-4oz room temp Cream Cheese
-1/4 cup butter softened
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1/4 tsp vanilla

To make-bowl and big spoon
-put the butter in a sauce pot or a microwave safe bowl, I used the bowl, melt the butter(not boiling, just melted) then add the sugar and stir into the butter.
-Next add the vanilla, cocoa, salt, food coloring and buttermilk. stir them all together.
-Lastly add the eggs, then carefully fold in the flour, just make sure you have no flour left on the edges.  It is a pretty thick batter.


Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Spray the pans with Pam spray. There are 2 options, either you can make mini sized or regular muffin sized.  If you want to do Mini size, then use a 1TB measuring spoon, exactly.  If you want a regular sized muffin pan, then use 2 TBS in the pan.  They both bake for 13 min.  Let them cool for a few minutes, then poke a small indent into the middle of them, so you can fill it with the Cream Cheese Frosting later.
    Whichever size you do, they taste awesome but you get more if you do the mini's...I'm not exactly sure how many because I had to throw a bunch away in the trail and error period! I'm thinking 36.




These are a few of my favorite things this week! Family



My nephew's Jake and Matt and my niece Kortney
My little family, who aren't so little anymore!

Brayden and Brooklyn, the two biggest cheeses!


Friday, January 17, 2014

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cookies

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                             Red Velvet Cookies

     I was on a nightly Pinterest cruise, when I came across this recipe, I love cookies, and I thought how GREAT would this be for a child who has a School Valentine's Day party!?  These fun cookies can be made the day before, wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a cute ribbon; then every little child will feel that their treat is just as good (if not better ) as the store bought treats all of the other children will be eating for the party!
     I am always looking for desserts that make an impact, when I'm asked to bring a dessert.  I have found, that I won over my nieces and nephew's, by having foods that look pretty, and fun to eat....the better it looks the less they care if it's GF or not, they just want to TRY it; once I get them trying things they will ask when I'm making my next dessert and they don't care what is in it, this is when I know I am doing something right!!  I have made some really ugly but tasty desserts, the poor neighbors and family get them.  My only GOAL is to make desserts that I hope people like, and to make baking easy and enjoyable for all of us again. 
      Someday, being Gluten Free won't make us seem like Circus Freaks, and we won't have to give a giant explanation at every dinner party and restaurant, until then, I will keep baking and I hope you will too.  Happy Baking, Natalie   



Ingredients:
Adapted from- Eat Cake for Dinner
-1/2 cup butter
-1/3 cup +2 TBS sugar 
-1/3 cup + 2 TBS brown sugar
-1 large egg
-1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
-1 TBS red food coloring (I use food gels)
-4 TBS Buttermilk
-1/3 cup cocoa
-1 1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/2- 1cup white chocolate chips(depending on what you like, I did a 1/2, but next time I would do 1 cup)
-3 oz. room temperature cream cheese cut into chunks
-1 1/2 cups +2 TBS Pamela's Bread flour
 
Directions-
-Cream together the butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, then add vanilla and red food coloring
-Next add buttermilk, baking soda, salt and cocoa, mix them well and scrape down the sides
-Then add your egg, mix it in, then add the flour and make sure it is all mixed well, scrape the sides bottom.
-Lastly add the Vanilla chips, mix, then at the very end add the cream cheese chunks a piece or two at a time and mix lightly, then add more and repeat.  (you want a little cream cheese to show) 

Bake in a 375 degree oven, for 10-12 min, this makes about 28.   Make sure and spray your pan with Pam, I found the cookies to have a nice crisp edge and a soft chewy middle.  If you like a crispier cookie, bake for 12-13 minutes.  They stayed fresh for 4 days in a sealed container, they didn't last any longer, they were eaten.  

Here is my favorite thing this week, but actually always! I made these cookies, the same time as the Nutella Cheesecake! AUUHHH, this has not been good for my waist line, lets just say I helped eat both, and I couldn't give it away FAST enough!!  I'll just keep working it off, so I can keep eating Dessert! :-)
 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Gluten Free Nutella Cheesecake Bars

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                        Nutella Cheesecake Bars

     Ok, so here we go again; I found another way to feed my Nutella OBSESSION.....oh my goodness, and right when I just started the New Year with a Resolution to be a healthier,better version of myself!  Which means, make the treats and keep giving them AWAY, but nooo, I had to make a Cheesecake which I love, with Nutella, the deadliest of ALL temptations for me!! Seriously, as I was cutting the bars, I was licking the knife....ooohh, this is so bad!  So, I called all the neighbors and begged them to take the Cheesecake and the cookies I made last night. (I had to, or I would have taken a fork to the pan!)
      I was trying to find a fantastic recipe that would temp the taste buds for Valentines Day.  We all know how hard it will be to go to out to dinner , so I thought it would be nice to have a special treat at home already made, for yourself or loved ones.  Let me just say, this is a WINNER, there is nothing that tastes GF about it! I know it will be it hit in anyone's book, especially if you love Nutella like I do.  My daughter who doesn't like Cheesecake, said she really liked it, only because it tasted mostly like Nutella! ( It tastes like Cheesecake) I hope you like it, I appreciate all of the questions and comments from everyone.  Thanks for all of your support, and Happy Baking, Natalie


Ingredients:
Adapted from-Tide and Thyme
Crust-
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 cups crushed chocolate GF cookies of your choice( I use the Pamela's)
 -4 TBS butter melted

For Filling-
-16 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
-2 large eggs ( room temp)
-1/2 cup nutella
-1 tsp Pure vanilla
-1 /4 cup Heavy Cream + 3 TBS 


 Directions: 8x8 Pan
Crust-
-Either use a food processor or pound it to death in a gallon Ziploc bag like I did, until it was really fine.
- Next add the butter and the sugar and mix well in a bowl.
-Spray the bottom of the pan then line it with Parchment Paper(make sure it is in the corners, well)
-Lastly press the crust into the bottom and up the sides a little. 
-Bake at 325* for 12 min. Then cool completely
    
 

 Cheesecake-
-Mix the cream cheese and eggs together until smooth
-Next add the vanilla and the 1/4 cup of heavy cream until incorporated
-Now split the cream cheese mix in half, set aside 1/2 half in a separate bowl.
-Now with the half left in the mixer add the 3TBS Heavy Cream and 1/2 cup Nutella and mix well, Scrape the sides down
-Now add the plain Cheesecake mix carefully onto the crust, if you spread it too much the crust comes up, then add the Nutella Cheesecake mix and spread it as evenly as possible across the top   
*Now toss this baby in the oven on the MIDDLE RACK,   AT 350 Degrees for 45 minutes,or until the middle has a slight jiggle and the edges crack.  Make sure to cool completely, or overnight works best..Then keep covered in the Refrigerator. I don't know how long it will last, it only made it a day here.
 
  This is one of my very FAVORITE  things, and I didn't even know I liked it until just a few years ago.  I see the commercials where they put it on toast, that I do not like, but baked, with strawberries and just licking it off the spoon works for me!  Hey, what's not too love!? The BEST part is, it's GF!!
                                                                                              
                                                                                                                       

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gluten Free Mini Banana Cream Pies

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 Mini Banana Cream Pies-           
The pictures are horrendous, but the pies are individual servings of tasty goodness! These came about on Christmas Day, I was told to bring  a dessert to share    with 40 plus people.   All of my relatives, this is how a picture of how the nieces and nephew's turns out, it looks like a Circus!  At least it's a fairly cute Circus! 




My very FAVORITE thing about the holidays are lights!  I wish everywhere I went, I saw  twinkle lights, lighting a path down the sidewalks, lining the building  and dripping from trees like stars in the sky.  If by chance we could have some soft snow falling,  a sleigh with horses gliding by some carolers singing in the early 1900's garb you'd have my fantasy Christmas!!  Hey, a girl can dream!  Now on to the easy peasy recipe.  Happy Baking, Natalie

Ingredients:
-2 cups crushed Graham Crackers( I pureed them in the processor)
-1/3 cup sugar
-4 TB melted butter
-24 cupcake cups
-1 (8oz)brick cream cheese softened (room temp) 
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-2 jello 3.4 oz Banana pudding (make ahead and put in the fridge)
-1 to 2 large bananas depending on how bananaeee you like it!
-spray whip is easiest!


To make-
1-mix together the graham crumbs, butter and sugar in a bowl.  Stir until mixed well.
2- I used a 1TBS measuring spoon to scoop out the graham mix into each cupcake cup, it rounded out the bottom and pushed up the sided and made a perfect bowl.
3- Bake for 10 min at 350 degrees (or until a golden brown color)
4- whip your cream cheese and 1/4 cup powdered sugar together until smooth, then add your pudding and beat until they are both thick and creamy. (this is so good!) 
5- chop up the bananas, then stir them in and  carefully add them to your crust.  Top however you like, then eat.   Keep them refrigerated, the crust will soften after after 2 days, but we ate it for 4, it was still tasty!!! 
 Just a word of CAUTION*** take  the crust out of the pans BEFORE you put your creamy filling in them, or you will end up wearing one, when you try and pull them out!! They will break, Yikes!!!  Lesson learned here, so you don't have to.
 
 

 


This week I want to share with you a few of my favorite People, I can't show you all of them (some pull  faces in pictures and make it impossible to post a picture they like!)  I love my family so much and I really appreciate all the love and support from my husband and kids.  They all have try everything I make whether they want to or not, and considering none of them are GF they have learned to love Gluten Free desserts!          
 I love you, Natalie
 








My kids Alex and Brayden, Dax and Brooks  sneaking soda, my niece the little Brook's wanting to take a selfie, and my brother in law Mike cutting a Christmas tree!