Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake in a mug!

Ok, so I had a sweet craving the other night, and not having many options, I tried this out, and it was really good! I found a recipe online for a cake in a mug kind of thing, an revamped it a little and I really liked it. One thing I have found is many gluten free desserts call for so much sugar, like this one, a whole whopping 3 TBSP! I mean that is in one serving.....and I just couldn't bring myself to use that much so I used just 1 TBSP (still feeling guilty). I grew up on homemade shortcake, and it was never super sweet so I figured it should be fine and it was. Eventually I will find some other way to substitute, but like my previous post, I am still in that "going Gluten free starvation mode" so I guess  I just haven't had the patience yet.

Above you will see in my picture (I know, not the best pic, I just shot it with my phone really fast) that I used a ramekin instead of a to each his own, they both work great. I want to mention also, this is an individual serving, but I think it can be two servings. I am usually full half way through eating it and save the rest for later.

So, here we go....grab a 12 oz mug or ramekin and a small mixing bowl:

Add to mug/ramekin:
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP sugar
and melt in microwave about 30 seconds, stir until blended

Whisk in separate mixing bowl:
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP gluten free flour mix
3/8 tsp gluten free baking powder
pinch of salt

Make a well in flour mixture and pour in:
3 1/2 TBSP Almond milk
1/8 tsp vanilla

Mix until blended, then add the oil/sugar mixture and stir until blended.
Pour a little batter into mug/ramekin (which will be pre-oiled from your sugar oil mixture!) put your strawberries on top, then top with remaining batter (see pic below)

This is when you put in the microwave for about 120 seconds. If center isn't set you can do another 10 seconds until it is done. We are talking maybe 5 minutes total for a sweet treat. 
Take it out, let it cool a tad, and enjoy!
Oh, and I did this with blueberries the other day as well.....soooo good!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Gluten Free powerballs

So, here is an oldie but goody. I just LOVE powerballs and so do my kids. School is back in session and these are perfect before, during, and after school treats! My son doesn't like to eat super early so these are great to throw in his bag for school. I'm always trying to make him take a banana or something, but these are packed full of goodness, they are great. (and great for mom who needs a pick me up here or there during the day as well!)

I used about: 1 cup Gluten Free Oats,  1/3 cup ground flax seed, 1/3 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut, 3 TBSP virgin organic coconut oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 TBSP honey, 1/2 cup gluten free peanut butter, 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, and 1 1/2 TBSP chia seeds
Now above I put "I used about" because that's just it, there really isn't a set amount  you have to go by. You just need to have the right ratio of wet-to-dry ingredients for binding purposes. 

 Put all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Start mixing....
until well blended.....
scoop with cookie scoop onto parchment (or you can use a spoon if you don't have a scoop and roll into balls) I let them sit for about 30 minutes.
These power balls were still pretty soft and sticky, so I put some more of the flake coconut in a baggie, dropped a few balls in....

....and shook until coated.

Now see how long they last!

Monday, August 17, 2015

To Gluten or not to Gluten……

So, I have been suffering from digestion issues for many years now. Even before I became a Pastry Chef, I had been through the ringer with different test ordered by my GI doctor. Never in my life did I think I would actually consider giving up gluten…..and I would find it to be the bane of my existence.

I actually became much worse than usual this last year. In a doctor’s appointment recently my doctor suggested I try going Gluten Free for at least 2 weeks and see if it made any difference.  Now I have had doctors/nurses mention this before, but I’m like, no way, how in the world can I make that work? I’m a Pastry Chef, and not to mention, bread has been a staple in my diet my whole life.  I mean Ha really, that is just a bad joke!

Within two days of omitting gluten from my diet completely,  I noticed a difference. I had one night where gluten sneaked into one of my recipes (still learning how much gluten is in everything!) and the next day I was so sick to my stomach and just downright miserable.  I was keeping a food diary to see what helped and so I could jot down the recipes I tried and what I liked, and didn’t, or what my family liked as well. I highly recommend doing this if you try a gluten free trial. It is the only way I knew what I had eaten the day before that made me sick. It was soy sauce, by the way, I had no idea wheat was in soy sauce! I also want to mention, my mental clarity picked up, as well as my fatigue is slowly dissipating. My daily yawning quota  seems to have been cut in half!

Anyway, I write all this because I have decided to start blogging again, but it is going to be centered around Gluten Free ideas, recipes, and how to cook for a family of 5 when you have to go gluten free. That is not the easiest task by the way, when there are those family favorites, that you just can’t take away from everyone just because you can’t have them.  But it is quite a task when you are the cook, and tasting while cooking plays a huge part, so it makes it a little more difficult when you can’t taste what your cooking if it has gluten in it.

I have always looked for the healthier way to bake/cook, but this is a whole new ball game. Let me tell you, Gluten Free does not always mean “healthy” and I have learned some of the unhealthy Gluten Free foods I am allowed, so lets just say I am on a mission! If you try going gluten free, one thing I will warn is you will feel hungry all of the time, at least that is what I am experiencing right now. I have read more about it, and it is almost like your body is going through a detox from gluten.  If you have done a sugar detox, you know what it can do. Well it can kind of be like that. Some articles I have read talk about “the storm before the calm” For some people it can take a few days to recover from the detox and you can have all sorts of symptoms until you feel better, but then it is so worth it and you feel  great! I will tell you, except for the hunger and maybe being a little extra achey, I haven’t had any horrible side effects.

Now, I did read that for some people, this hunger can last up to 3 months. I have basically adapted the 6 (or so) small meals (or snacks) a day thing. I may feel like I’m starving, but then when I go to eat something, a handful of nuts, grapes, cheese,  just a simple little snack eases  off the hunger. So, although you want to eat all the time, you are not eating too much. Although, it is easy to grab the wrong thing when your starving because there are so many processed GF snacks out there (including potato chips!) So that is my goal, yummy gluten free foods that my family will love and that I won’t feel  guilty eating, and neither will you! Recipes soon to follow…..

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Making babies!

So, I can't even count how many times I have come into my blog to post, and now have some half written blog post saved in my file because something always comes up, and I keep trying to get back to it, but just haven't finished yet! I had some heart healthy kitchen staples that I was going to have posted for Valentines week, but then, well, life just happened, and my kids needed goodies made for parties, valentines made (I did post those!) and between practices, then with wrestling tournaments to go to, time just got away. I'm pretty sure my profile states I have three kids, so any of you moms reading this, I know you understand :0)

So, anyway, I had orders to get done, and I thought I would just throw in a fun post of what I was doing today.....
Making babies!
 I know, I know, your probably like.....

But, seriously, one of my favorite little fondant figures I make are these sweet little babies. 

These are made of fondant/gumpaste and have such intricate detail, and are adorable for baby showers, birthdays, and more. I custom make these, and one of my customers order wants diapers on a few of them, so I have to go make some cute little diapers to cover their bottoms. As you can see, I am half way done, so I have to get back to work! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I mustache you a question.....

I mustache you a you love valentines day?? I do!.... so rolling on with this weeks valentines theme, here are my daughters valentines we are finally finishing up! Soooo cute and super easy!

These are a mix of lips and mustaches, attached to a sucker so when they suck on them you will see their glitter lips or glitter-stache! 

Here is what you need:
~piece of card stock or heavy paper to trace
~foam paper, color of choice. which sticky backing

Step one- draw your mustache and lips on your card stock paper and cut shapes out.
Step two- trace shapes on the back of the foam, on the sticky paper side
Step three- cut shapes out
Step four- have your child write their valentines names on the paper part on the back
Step five- poke a hole in the middle and put the sucker stick through
Oh, and once they are done with their sucker, they can peel off the backing and still wear the lips or mustache!

We had such a mustach-tic time making these!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

You color my world Valentine!

So Valentines day is 3 days away, so I thought it would be fun to show you some valentine ideas for your kiddos. We LOVE making homemade valentines, well, I should say my girls and I love to. My oldest is past that stage now! I didn't get pics of all the steps,  but it is super easy.

What you need:

~silicone mold with shapes you want them to be (we had ice cube flower molds that we used)
~different color crayons (new or old)
~baking sheet
~construction paper
~Mounting foam circles, or glue dots

~preheat your oven at 250
~Chop up old crayons in little pieces,  pick out your colors carefully so you get the right color contrast you want. (my oldest daughter was very particular about those!)
~have your child fill silicone molds with crayon pieces all the way to the top, they love this part:0) (they will condense down when melting so don't be scared to overfill a little)
~put silicone mold on baking sheet and put in oven for about 15-25 minutes, until completely melted.
~once melted set on counter for about 15 minutes to cool, then in freezer for another 15 minutes
~when you take them out run some warm water over the back of your mold for a minute and then pop them out! Now aren't they adorable!!!

~OK, now the other part is just as easy. Decide what shape you want your paper part to be and cut out your shapes.
~Now write your saying around the edges, for example we chose: "You color my world Valentine!"
~I wrote the sayings for my daughter on the front side, while she signed her name on the back and wrote a note to each of her friends. Make sure to have your child do that before attaching the crayon mold.
~Next, she pulled off the foam mounting circles and stuck them to the back of the crayons, then pulled off backing and stuck them to the paper cutouts.

Simple and easy! Stay tuned for my other daughters valentines: Lips and Mustaches!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gluten Free Coconut Blueberry pancakes

OK, so with the weekend coming I thought a pancake post would be appropriate, especially when that seems to be one of the only times I get the family together to make breakfast. (well not this weekend, we have tournaments all weekend!) But, anyways, this is another oldie but goodie from my old blog, and so I am going to find time to squeeze these in somewhere this weekend. Mmmmm how about breakfast for dinner!

I was super excited the first time I came across coconut flour while shopping for new flour substitutes to try. I love love LOVE basically anything coconut as it is! So, after buying it, I went home and got on the computer and started my research on coconut flour.

OK, so, coconut flour is a soft flour produced from dried coconut meat. Apparently you can make it on your own, but for now i will choose to just purchase it, and not tackle that beast, well, not yet that is! Coconut flour has so many health benefits, being rich in protein and fiber, how can you go wrong :0)

Now here are some things you should know when baking with coconut flour, for one, it is super absorbent. You cannot just substitute coconut flour 1:1 ratio for other wheat or other grain-based flours. You should usually use about 1/4-1/3 cup coconut flour for every 1 cup grain based flour. You will also need to use more eggs, for example, every 1 cup coconut flour you use, you will need to use like 6 beaten eggs in addition to approximately one cup liquid such a coconut milk. I strongly suggest starting out with recipes that people have already used successfully when trying your hand at it at first, instead of just experimenting, as it is not cheap, and you could end up being disappointed, and alot of money down the drain :0(

So, speaking of a well used recipe, the first one I tried was one I found for chocolate chip coconut pancakes online. It looked great so I tried it out and it was good, but  I love blueberries so I took the base of that recipe, and tweaked it some, added blueberries instead of chocolate chips, and it was sooooo yummy! (not to mention, I think the blueberries make it a little more moist) I snapped a picture of the pancakes, and as you can see I am not the best food photographer, but delicious doesn't have to mean pretty :0)

So without further adieu, here is the recipe:

Chef Cher's Gluten Free Coconut blueberry pancakes.

5 eggs separated
5 TBSP coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup almond or coconut milk room temp
2 TBSP Honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 TBSP coconut flour
1 TBSP ground flax seed
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup blueberries
coconut oil cooking spray

Mix melted coconut oil, milk, honey, and vanilla in small bowl. (make sure your milk is room temperature or your coconut oil will seize up)

Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl.

Separate eggs into separate mixing bowls.

Beat egg whites to soft peaks, then beat egg yolks until thick and creamy.

Mix liquid ingredients into egg yolks. Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites.

Whisk dry ingredients into egg mixture.

Spoon about 1/4 cup batter onto preheated pan or griddle.

Sprinkle blueberries on each pancake.

NOW...this is where the patience part comes in...(which I really lack!!)

Give them a few minutes and until they become kind of puffy before your flip. (my first set were quite messy due to my lack of patience!)

Let me know how they turn out for you!