Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Will and the Riley family.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches

I have been craving an ice cream sandwich since I don't even know when. The only kind I have been able to find is Julie's Organic and GluteenFreeda ice cream sandwiches in lemon. Well I haven't wanted lemon ones so I never bought them. 

I finally found the traditional ones but ended up not getting them because I wasn't going home and they would have melted. 

When I went back for them-they were sold out! I decided to just go ahead and try the lemon ones. Well I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that they were delicious! 

The cookies are very light and not too crunchy. The frozen yogurt was great too and not too tart. 

I'm still hoping to find the traditional chocolate and vanilla but in the mean time these certainly do the trick!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free German Chocolate Cake Bars

 Do you have any recipes that are from really random places? I have a bunch. One of my favorites is for German Chocolate Coconut Bars. I first found the recipe in a Hannaford flyer we received in the mail. I'm not sure what inspired me to make them, but I am so glad I did!

The base of the bars is a cake mix with butter and eggs mixed in and pressed into a bar pan. On top of that you layer sweetened condensed milk, an egg, coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips to get a delicious German chocolate-y dessert. 

The recipe is also very flexible. I make mine gluten-free, dairy-free, and I use walnuts in place of pecans. For the cake mix, feel free to substitute a store-bought gluten-free cake mix, or whip one up yourself. I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen for a chocolate cake, substituting Jules Gluten-Free Flour for the gluten-full stuff.

For the sweetened condensed milk, I simmered almond milk down and let it completely cool.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free German Chocolate Cake Bars 

1 german chocolate cake mix (or a regular chocolate cake mix works as well)
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 large eggs
1 can sweetened condense milk (14 oz) or the same amount of reduced almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*. Pour cake mix into large bowl; cut in butter or margarine and mix 1 of the eggs until crumbly. Using wax paper or clean fingers, press this into the bottom of an ungreased 13 x 9 bar pan.

Combine sweetened condensed (or almond) milk, the 1 remaing egg, and vanilla; beat well. Stir in 1 cup of the coconut, nuts, and ½ cup of the chocolate chips. Spread mixture over cake mix in bar pan. 

Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips and coconut over top. (I usually add a little more coconut and chocolate chips than the recipe calls for)

Bake in pan for 30-32 minutes, or until center is almost set. The center will firm up when cool. Once cool, cut into bars. Enjoy!

Help Give Gabe the Puppy a Pain-Free Life

This past month we made the decision to adopt the most adorable pup, Tori a Sharpei mix, from a rescue in PA called Paws n'Time, website here.. They are a fantastic organization who helps dogs most in need, taking in special needs pets, and pets from high-kill shelters in the South.

They currently caring for a super adorable shepherd mix named Gabe. He had a tough start to life, he was purposly hit by a car twice, which caused bone damage that is resulting in severe pain that requires expensive orthopedic surgery.

During the holiday time, I like to make donations to causes I believe in - this year my support is going towards this adorable pup to give him a pain-free life. I ask that you please consider give a percentage of your holiday charity to Gabe's cause. To read more about him, or donate, please visit his You Caring Site: here.

Gabe's Adopt-A-Pet listing can be found Here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Quote of the Day

Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, but in certain biscuits, lights of day, smells, textures of carpet.
--Alain de Botton 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Quote of the Day

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”
--Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Ten-Minute-Prep Turkey

Did you know turkeys go on sale after Thanksgiving? I didn't either until we stopped by Stop & Shop last Friday. We got a 15 pound turkey for $9!

I don't know what all the fuss is about turkeys, they are really quite easy to make. Take your turkey and empty the cavity of all the things it comes with; neck, gizzards, weird plastic ties. Take half a stick of softened butter and mix in a tablespoon each of diced, fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme. Smother the turkey and pop it in the oven until the little popper comes up! If it starts getting too brown, cover with foil. Ours took about 3 hours and was SO good!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to Make Dairy-Free Whipped Cream

This Thanksgiving we incorporated a few dairy-free dishes in the melee. I made a dairy-free chocolate cream pie and pumpkin pie. Of course we needed whipped cream to go along with them so I had to find a way to make whipped cream, without the cream.
This is actually quite good and has a very similar consistency to whipped cream. I purchased my Thai Kitchen coconut milk from Fresh Market, it was on sale 2 for $5. I also saw a Whole Foods store brand coconut milk for $2.40 if you want to shop around.

Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1 heaping tablespoon of sugar (confectionery or granulated okay)
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Prior to making whipped cream, refrigerate the coconut milk, bowl, and whisk attachment.
Be sure to open can of coconut milk upside down, as coconut fat will be at the top of the can.
Pour out the clear liquid from the can into a separate bowl, and scoop the coconut solid fat into your chilled mixing bowl.
Add sugar and vanilla and whip into peaks.
Be sure to taste it, and you can add sugar and vanilla as you like.

Keep chilled, will last for a couple of days covered and refrigerated.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Gluten-Free Apple Pie Recipe

This Thanksgiving I set out to make an apple pie. My Mom kindly offered to try making the dough in advance with a gluten-free flour mix to speed up the process. Well as we soon found out, regular recipes do not always convert exactly when substituting gluten-free flour.

The first attempt merely resulted in sandy flour that wouldn't hold its shape to save its little pie life. We tossed that version. On my next try, the same thing happened. The paste and Crisco just weren't enough to bring the gluten-free flour together. I decided to just keeping adding the ice cold water until a dough ball formed. Well I was in luck! With maybe 1 cup of cold water I was able to form a cohesive dough ball that was capable of being rolled out.

Here is the recipe for a regular pie crust. To make gluten-free, use a gluten-free flour mix and continue adding cold water until a cohesive dough ball forms. For me it took nearly a cup of water. Good luck!

Rita's Pie Crust
2 cups flour
2/3 cups Crisco
1/4 cup ice cold water*

Measure out crisco and put in freezer to get cold but not frozen.
Mix 1/3 cup of flour (taken from the initial 2 cups) with the 1/4 cup cold water  (no ice chips) to make a paste.
Cut the 2/3 cup of Crisco with the remaining flour until you create pea-sized lumps.
Mix the paste with the crisco/flour mixture until combined into ball. It will be a little crumbly but will easily form a ball.
Split dough into two balls, one for bottom of pie and one for the cover. Roll out and use as any other pie crust.

My apple pies forever have come out SO watery and I never had any idea why. Recently I looked at the recipe on the cinnamon we buy and it included corn starch to thicken up the water that leave the apples. Well it was brilliant and my pie came out NOT watery!

Apple Pie Filling
8-10 apples (I like a mix of granny smith and mackintosh or Cortland)
3/4-1 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet you like your pie)
2 table spoons corn starch
2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Cut up apples and place in a large mixing bowl.
Mix dry ingredients together in small bowl and then mix with apple.
Place in pie shell. Cover with second pie crust and crimp edges. Cut a few small slits on top of pie to relase steam.
Brush pie with milk, or beat egg to brown crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 375 for 30 minutes. If pie is getting too brown cover with tin foil.