Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie- Chipster Topped Brownies

This week's TWD was chosen by Beth at Supplicious. When I first read the choice I was thinking, wow two of my favorite things together... brownies and cookies! How could this go wrong?? Then I started reading the actual recipe, and realized... holy cow... this is a heart attack in a pan. 3 1/2 sticks of butter, are you kidding me?? good god.. eek!! Forgive me, you know I love my sweets... really I do, but I also would like to keep my arteries in tack... if you know what I mean.

I made my usual substitutes for the flour... 2 part Brown or white rice flour, then 1 part tapioca flour, 1 part potato starch and some added
xanthan gum. I also used semi- sweet chips for the cookies.. as it was what I had on hand. I only baked this for 55 minutes, and honestly I think it could have used an additional 15 more. It seemed to be TOO gooey, and undercooked. I can't believe I am about to say this... but this sweet was TOO rich for my taste. GASP!! (I know, try to not fall over.) It was good, but I think I like cookies and brownies separate and not together. However, it was certainly fun to give it a go & I am, of course, looking forward to trying more Dorie recipes in June! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

I have a problem... when I get bored, I bake. Clearly a serious issue... but hey there are worse problems right?! ;-) I have been seeing several different versions of this muffin recipe all over the web, and had to give it a shot. I am a berry addict, and just am digging lemons big time lately. I of course, made this gluten free... with several substitutes ... yogurt instead of milk, egg beaters for eggs, extra lemon zest. These were very yummy, on the denser side for a muffin... but delightful regardless.


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour ( I used 1cup brown rice flour, and then split 3/4 with tapioca flour and potato starch.. with 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1/2 cup Egg beaters (or 2 large eggs)
1/2 cup low fat yogurt ( I used Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a muffin tray with baking spray then set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the blueberries. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, oil, lemon zest and the lemon juice. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until blended; do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the muffin tray then top with additional blueberries and sprinkle raw sugar on each muffin.
Bake for about 20-23 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm slathered in butter. Enjoy.

**On a side note & totally "un-muffin" related... I had to post this photo of my basil that is readily growing. Isn't it gorgeous?? I can't tell you how good it smells, it is really taunting me.. I am just going to have to go home, pluck some of those yummy leaves tonight and whip up something delicious! Hooray for summer!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie- Fresh Mango Bread

After a month of chocolate packed recipes for Tuesdays with Dorie, this recipe was a very refreshing change! Fresh Mango Bread, chosen by Kelly of Baking with the Boys , was a perfect summer bread. I am a major sucker for fresh fruit and veggies at this time of year, but to be honest... I generally steer away from Mangos simply because they are SUCH a bear to cut. Love the taste, hate the mess.

For my gluten free substitutes, this week I used 1 1/2cups brown rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 cup potato starch & a very generous teaspoon of xanthan gum. I left out the raisins (not a big fan) and used lemon zest instead of lime. I had to tent the bread after 1/2 an hour... as you can see the edges were already getting overcooked....ACK!! Next time I would add more cinnamon and ginger.... as I think it could have used a bit more spice.

This recipe really was splendid, and my coworkers devoured it in under an hour so I would call that a success. Thanks Kelly for a great choice! Check out her awesome blog... she also posted a lightened up version of the recipe which looks fab!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cucumber Salad

This cucumber salad is another new favorite side of mine that I just had to share this morning. (forgive me, I can not for the life of me remember where I found this... from some beautiful blogger out there no doubt.. ) It is super easy and light. Not to mention, fresh veggies and fruit are just some of my favorite things right now...

2 large cucumber, 1 peeled & one unpeeled.. cut into chunks
1/3 to 1/2 of a medium red onion, diced fine, to taste
2 large tomatoes- I used some yummy yellow ones.

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon good tasting olive oil
2 teaspoons light agave nectar, or more to taste
A tiny pinch of sea salt, or to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a large bowl combine the cut and sliced cucumbers with the diced onion and tomato.
Whisk the dressing and pour over salad. Gently toss to coat. Cover and chill at least an hour before serving.

Cannellini Bean Mash

Living gluten free can bring many challenges to ones diet. Among those (at least for me) is getting enough fiber in my diet since I can no longer eat wheat grains. One of my new favorite blogs The Nutrionista is a huge supporter of beans. Now I have never, ever in my life been a bean fan. Aside from a highly embarrassing incident (when I was 15 & working for a catering company) where I tripped and accidentally dumped a vat of baked beans on a very large man in a speedo @ a 4th of July pool party (true story... oy, you can't make this stuff up people) I hadn't had much exposure to them. (no pun intended.. ha)

So with some encouragement from Nutrionista, I jumped in.. gave this recipe a shot and now I am converted! WOAAAAAA.. I have been missing out, this is a fabulous side dish! A very similar consistency to mashed potatoes, but way more nutritious. Packed with protein and fiber, this is definitely one of my new favorite side dishes. It is terrific served hot or cold!

Cannellini Bean Mash
makes 4-6 Servings

*2 15oz cans Cannellini Beans
* half an onion, diced
* as much fresh basil as you would like (to taste) chopped
* two cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
* about 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
* olive oil

* saute the onions in olive oil until they start to become translucent
* add garlic, basil and beans
* cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the beans are tender.
*transfer mixture to a bowl, mash beans and add Parmesan as you mash
* add salt and pepper to taste
*serve... works hot & cold!

Easy Brownies- a quick sugar fix

Do you ever have those days where sugar just speaks to you? You walk by the donuts in your office & they start calling you "PSST.. yea I'm talking to you.. come over here and eat me.. I have 900 calories and 300 grams of fat, but I taste really good". ha! Opps, um yea maybe that's a personal issue... But lets just say I have been a good girl all week, busted my butt at the gym every day, stuck to my healthy eating and darn it.. I was having a major sugar craving last night. And wouldn't you know, I had seen these on Tastespotting yesterday and happened to have all the ingredients that the recipe called for. It was fate, no? ;)

These brownies were a breeze to make, and very decadent! I made them gluten free of course, and used mini muffin pans. They were the perfect sweet to soothe my inner sugar beast, and comfort me as I cried my way thru the season finale of Greys Anatomy (good grief!!). So the next time you need a quick sugar fix... make these, you won't be sorry. :)

Best Brownies
All Recipes

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter*
1 cup sugar*
2 eggs*
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1/4c brown rice flour, 1/8c potato starch, 1/8 tapioca flour & 1/2tsp xanthan gum)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp butter, softened*
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 inch square pan (or 10 cups of a muffin pan). In a large saucepan melt stick of butter. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat in cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Do not over cook. (20 minutes if you are using mini-muffin pans)

To make the frosting: Combine 3 tbsp butter, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

Makes 16 brownies in 8 inch square pan or 24 individual brownies in mini muffin pans.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Attitude of Gratitude Award

Wow, so I have received my first blogging award.. how fun! Thank you Erin, you absolutely made my day last week and brought a huge smile to my face. (Sorry it has taken me so darn'd long to get this posted... my job is getting in the way of my blogging life. Hmph ;-) ) I have completely loved being part of the food blogging world and my adventures with the TWD group. Even in my moments of failure... I have learned so much & learned even more from my fellow bloggers!

Now this is a non-food related quote, but in the spirit of gratitude I thought I would post it. It is a quote from the movie Benjamin Buttons. About life... how absolutely spectacular it is, how we have so much opportunity to learn from others and that we should make the most of every moment. Now that is something to be truly grateful for!

My nominations, in no particular order:

Lynne @ Honeymuffin- not only is she one of my favorite cousins, but she has a great blog and is just as addicted to sweets as I am.
The Nutrionista- fabulous blog that covers health, nutrition and exercise.
Jessica @ Singleton in the Kitchen- a grad student who finds the time to tempt us with many yummy recipes.
Kim @ Scrumptious Photography- her photos are gorgeous and she keeps it real with always with posting nutrition data.
Linda @ Tender Crumb- always TWD blogger that I love to visit, beautiful photos and great recipes.
Pink Stripes- more beautiful photos and fabulous recipes. Wow there are so many talented bloggers out there!
Teanna @ Spork or Foon- Very fun creative recipes!
Mike @ Good Things About Living out West- a very creative TWD who always wows with his presentation.
Pamela @ Cookies with Boys- fabulous recipes!
Karina's Kitchen-Terrific gluten free and vegan recipes.

Your instructions are:
* put the logo on your blog or post
* nominate at least 10 blogs that show an an attitude of gratitude
* link to your nominees within your post
* comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
* share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award
* tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude

I got tagged!

OK, I I’ve been tagged by Erin @ Gluten Free with a Purpose. Normally I am not into these things, but I am a tired girl this Monday morning at work... and am in full procrastination mode. So why not, right? Plus always fun to learn little snippets about your fellow bloggers. :)

#1 What is your current obsession?-summer salads, food blogs (per usual) and beautiful Spring weather!

#2 Which item of clothing do you wear most often? Well since I have to pull myself somewhat together for work everyday, the first thing I do when I get home in the evenings is put on some flip flops and comfy sweats!

#3- What’s for dinner? HMMM GOOD question! Any suggestions, I am searching for some inspiration today. :)

#4- What are you listening to? My CEO dictate some new marketing materials to our graphic designer in one ear, and in the other ear I have Jackopierce playing. They are a band I adored in college, and I saw them play live on Saturday night. They were terrific & it brought back sooo many fantastic memories of my days in Boulder. Couldn't have loved a time in my life more!

#5- Say something about the one who tagged you: Erin is always pointing out fun new gluten free products!

#6-Favorite vacation spot? Maui is always a favorite of mine, the ocean brings me peace or anyplace new.. I am ALWAYS up for a new adventure!

#7-What are you reading right now? Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist By Michael J Fox. His outlook on life is inspiring!

#8- Four words to describe yourself? fun, loyal, loving and loves to cook and bake! Wait was that more than four words?? Opps... maybe I should say "has trouble with directions" ;-)

#9-Guilty pleasure? LOST! Can't get enough of this damn show...

#10- First Spring thing to do? get out and enjoy life with good friends and family!

Tag, you’re it! I’m tagging Lynne @ Honeymuffin

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Beef & Peach Salad with Lime Vinaigrette

There were several days this week where the weather was just spectacular... 80 degree days, bright clear crisp blue skies that make the sprawling green lawns and budding trees look even greener. AHHHH it was just heavenly, and Spring Fever really kicked into high gear for me. Tis the season where I start "jonesin" for summer salads.

This salad was mentioned by one of my favorite new blogs, The Nutritionista. It is a recipe from Real Simple, and it was obscenely good. So good in fact, that my friend and I devoured it like wild animals. I can't wait to make it again!

I made a few adjustments of my own. It calls for watercress, which I love... but couldn't find the day I made it. So I used bibb lettuce and I also used flank steak instead of Roast Beef (it is leaner and I actually enjoy it more).

makes 4-6 servings

2 bunches of watercress, thick stems removed (or any type of lettuce you love)
2 cucumbers, roughly chopped
4 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
1 lb of flank steak- grilled to your liking and cubed
1/4 cup lime juice
1 1/2 tsp sugar
kosher salt and pepper
1 small close garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots

- In a large bowl combine watercress, cucumbers, peaches and beef.
- Pour lime juice into a small bowl and whisk in the sugar & 1/2 tsp salt until dissolved. Add garlic, ginger and 1/4 tsp pepper. Slowly add oil in a steady stream whisking constantly until emulsified. Stir in Shallots.
-Transfer the salad to serving bowl or platter and drizzle vinaigrette over the top.