Sunday, June 28, 2015

Apple Streusel Scones (Gluten Free)

Yes. I'm trying more gluten free recipes.
My niece asked me to make her something gluten free when she came home for a visit. I initially tried to find a gluten free muffin recipe but all the ones I could find used those funky, expensive ingredients that I just don't use enough to warrant buying them. (xanthan gum, guar gum, etc...)
I searched around and found several "scone" recipes that I could work with. I put scone in quotation marks because it's not a traditional scone. I find when I'm making anything gluten free the textures are usually completely different from "regular". 
That being said.... these are very tasty and although I thought they were going to be dry and crumbly because they looked a little dry and crumbly - they are actually moist and just the perfect amount of crumbly. 
Kenzie loved them. So.... I'm counting it as a win. 

Apple Streusel Scones (Gluten Free)

2 Tbsp almond flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp Skor bits

1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 apple, grated
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the streusel ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, sugar, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, stir together the egg, apple, and vanilla.

Stir the apple mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Spoon onto prepared cookie sheet (I did 6 palm-sized scones but you could make them smaller if you wanted to.)
Sprinkle generously with the streusel and lightly press down.

Bake at 350 for 15 - 20 minutes, under golden brown and appears "dry".  Remove from heat and let cool on cookie sheet for at least 15 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely. 

Also fabulous warm. 
From start to finish in about half an hour. Not too shabby.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dragon Cake

My daughter just had her 19th birthday.
How does that even happen. Seriously. She cannot be 19. 

Anyway. Let's not dwell too long on how old that makes me. 
Let's move on to cake.
Cake is good.
I made her a gluten free banana bundt cake as she is currently gluten free but to make this cake you could make any flavor - you just have to bake it in a bundt pan.
Jo and I got the idea from a pin on Pinterest that lead us to
Be sure to pop over there for more photos of the step-by-step and different ideas of what you can use to make the cake. (Link HERE)

Dragon Cake
(Inspired by

1 bundt cake (any flavor)
2 small donuts
2 large donuts
6 to 8 round, mounded cookies
1 - 2 cans of vanilla frosting
food coloring
 8 - 10 sugar wafer cookies
chocolate melting wafers
2 - 3 red Starburst candies
2 - 3 orange Starburst candies
6 - 7 yellow Starburst candies
1 regular sized marshmallow
2 m&m candies

I would really advise you to click HERE to see the how-to on cutting the bundt cake. It is super easy but, unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it. did though so pop over HERE
FYI - You will need a large jelly roll pan or a similar sized tray to place the cake on. 
Then you want to cut the small donuts in half. These will be the legs.
The large donuts will be the head.
The round/mounded cookies will be the snout. (FYI - used "2 long chocolate covered snacks, such as Yodels or Ho Hos")  See photo below for how to assemble.

You can use a bit of frosting to stick things together if you need to. Once you have these pieces in place you can cover the entire thing in a coating of frosting. We bought vanilla frosting and used food coloring to tint it purple as Kenzie loves purple. Don't worry about making it smooth - it's a dragon, it's supposed to be bumpy.
We also decorated the cookie tray with a little green frosting for grass and some Oreo crumbs for dirt. (In order to get the Oreo crumbs to stick to the pan and not slide right off when it was moved, we very lightly sprayed a paper towel with cooking spray and dabbed it on the places we wanted the crumbs to stick. Of course, this is optional!
Claws - You will notice the yellow claws in the photo below. Those are made by microwaving a yellow Starburst for about 5 seconds - just to make it pliable - cut it into 3 equal pieces and roll each piece into a banana shape. You need 1 Starburst for each leg - so 4 in total. 

Wings - To make the dragon's wings you will need to melt the candy melts in a ziplock baggie in the microwave. (We did 20 second intervals, squishing the bag after each interval until they were smooth) Draw 2 wing shapes on a piece of parchment paper then flip the paper over.
Trace the outline of the wing by snipping a small corner off the bag and piping the melted chocolate around the outline. Fill in the wing with the remainder of the chocolate. Repeat with the second wing.
Place wings in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to solidify and become firm. 
Once the wings are firm you can finish decorating your dragon. Gently press the wings right behind the dragon's head.
Eyes - cut marshmallow in half. Place a small bit of icing where you would like the pupil to go. Press an M&M candy onto the icing. Place the marshmallow at the front of the dragon's head.
Eye Brows - Cut a sugar wafer cookie in half. Then cut one half on the diagonal so you have 2 short triangles. Dab a bit of icing on the back of each triangle and press onto dragon head above the eyes.
Spikes - cut wafer cookies on the diagonal so you have a triangle. Place along dragon's back as spikes, starting with on the head and working your way back. You want about 6 - 8 spikes.
Fire - Heat Starburst candies, one at a time, in the microwave for about 5 seconds or so. Just enough to make pliable. Roll the Starburst into a long "snake" then wrap it around a chopstick or something similar. Chill in fridge for about 5 minutes, until hardened. Carefully slide off chopstick and place in front of dragon's snout. Repeat with yellow, orange, and red Starbursts until you figure you have enough "flames". 

There is the top view. 
You can make your dragon any color you like with any color wings that you like. 
You can also decorate the tray any way you like... or not decorate it at all. 
Be sure to stop by (link HERE) to see their dragon!
Along with the icing we used some store bought icing flowers and some caramel "rocks" so everything on the dragon and tray was completely edible. 

It helps to have a few extra wafer cookies and a few extra melting wafers in case you break a few of the spikes or in case the wings break. 
It may seem a bit complicated but it really is fairly simple. Just be patient and take your time. 
Kenzie loved it. 

Yeah, she is wearing a tiara and funky glasses and a "birthday diva" pin. That may have been at my insistence. Although the girl does like bling. 
Happy Birthday Kenzie. You may be officially an adult now but you will always be my baby. 
Looking for some fun and fabulous linky parties?
Be sure to check these out - Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons,

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Butter Tart Ice Cream

I was starting to think about things I could make to celebrate Canada Day this year when I happened upon an article in the Canadian Living 40th Anniversary Magazine (July 2015).
Now... we all know butter tarts are in the top 5 Canadian foods of all time. 
Don't argue.
But to take the the humble butter tart and turn it into an amazing ice cream... I mean...... *boom* mind blown. This is a beyond brilliant idea!
Last year we turned another Canadian favorite - the Nanaimo Bar - into an amazing ice cream. (You can check that out HERE!) 
Seriously. You need to try them if you haven't. Then come back here and make this ice cream.
Canada Day is coming. You should be prepared.

Butter Tart Ice Cream
(Adapted From Canadian Living Magazine, July 2015)

Ice cream
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups half & half cream
1 vanilla bean

Butter Tart Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup currants

Crust Pieces
1 cup Shortbread Cookies, broken up

Prepare ice cream - Place egg yolks in a large saucepan.

Whisk in the sugar until well combined. Whisk in the 1 3/4 cup whipping cream and the half & half.
Cut the vanilla bean in half, lengthwise, and scrape out seeds. Place seeds into the cream mixture and whisk well. (Discard bean pod or reserve for another use.)
Place pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon - about 10 to 15 minutes. (**Do not boil the mixture**)
Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled - at least 2 hours, up to overnight. (If you are going to leave it overnight then cover it in the fridge)
Once custard is chilling you can prepare the butter tart filling.
Prepare filling - In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar and butter until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved - about 4 minutes. 
Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup whipping cream and the currants. Stir until smooth then scrape into a bowl.

Let cool to room temp. (You can chill for about 30 minutes to speed this up.) 
When the ice cream mixture has chilled for at least 2 hours you can transfer it to an ice cream machine and process it according to manufacturer's directions.
When it has been processed - layer half of the ice cream into an 8 inch square cake pan. Drizzle (or drop by the teaspoon full) half of the butter tart mixture over the ice cream. 
Take your shortbread cookies - 

And break up enough of the cookies into small pieces that you have about 1 cup - 

Sprinkle half of the broken cookies over the ice cream.
Repeat the layers one more time - ice cream, butter tart filling, cookies.

Freeze until solid - at least 4 to 6 hours.

Enjoy its butter tart-y goodness.

Let's go in for a closer look, shall we?

It really does taste like a butter tart. The creamy vanilla bean custard is a really nice partner to the sweet caramel filling. And can we talk about how awesome the shortbread pieces are? 
They are.
I was just thinking I should whip up some butter tarts to have with this butter tart ice cream.
That would be even more brilliant.

Be sure to stop by Carole's Chatter for tons of tasty links!! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

PB&J Donuts

I've always enjoyed making yeast bread. There is just something so satisfying about seeing your dough rise, the smell that fills the house, and the taste of the bread when it is warm and fresh from the oven. One thing I have never attempted to make, before this very moment, was yeast donuts.
Probably because I'm not a huge fan of deep frying. It freaks me out..... all that hot oil....
Anyway, I have made cake donuts which were delicious but, as we all know, they are just not the same as yeast donuts. 
I put aside my hot oil fears when I came across a peanut butter and jelly donut recipe over at Baker By Nature (link HERE) You seriously HAVE TO go see her amazing photographs. You will want to lick the screen.
Well.... I wanted to. I knew I had to have them. 

PB&J Donuts
(Ever-so-slightly edited from Baker By Nature)

2 pkgs active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup hot water (110 - 115 degrees)
3/4 cup hot milk (110 - 115 degrees)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
3 - 4 cups flour

about 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
about 1/4 cup jelly (I used grape)
1 egg white, beaten

Oil for frying

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Let sit and foam up, about 5 minutes.
While the yeast is foaming, whisk the butter into the heated milk until butter has melted. Whisk in the sugar, egg and egg yolk, and salt. When it has been 5 minutes, whisk the yeast into the milk mixture.
Stir in enough of the flour to form a soft dough. (Start with 2 cups and keep adding 1/4 cup at a time until dough comes together.)
Place dough in greased bowl.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour. (TIP - I like to turn my oven on to preheat for about 1 minutes then shut it off. This warms the oven up a little and you can let your dough rise in the oven.)

After an hour, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured work surface. 
Divide the dough in half. Return half to the bowl and cover it. 
Roll the other half out to about the thickness of your baby finger (~1/4 inch). Cut out as many circles of dough as will fit using a 2 to 3 inch cookie cutter.
Place 1/2 tsp of jelly and 1/2 tsp of peanut butter in the center of half of the circles.

Dip your finger in the beaten egg white and spread the egg white around the edges of the circles. Top the PB&J halves with the other halves and pinch very firmly to seal the edges.
Re-roll the scraps of dough and cut out more circles. 
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough.

Cover the donuts with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

When dough has doubled, pour enough oil to deep fry (I used about 3 cups, I think) into a large pot.
Heat oil to 360 degrees.
Fry the doughnuts, a few at a time, for about 1 - 2 minutes per each side - they should be golden brown.
Scoop the doughnuts from the oil onto paper towel to drain. When still warm, roll the doughnuts in extra sugar. 

If you have any extra bits of dough you can fry them up to! (I made donut holes!)

Repeat the process until all your donuts are cooked!
Oooooh....look at the mystery that is a PB&J donut....

Maybe you need another look...

These were like eating air.
Seriously. So fluffy and light.
P.S. - I believe I got 20 donuts plus a generous amount of donut holes from this recipe. 
Be sure to visit Baker By Nature for the original recipe and to see some pics that will make you swoon. 
Looking for some fabulous links to more food and crafting fun? Check out these amazing sites -

Sunday, June 7, 2015

No Bake Butterscotch Coconut Bar

I'm all about finding recipes that take very little effort yet result in a fantabulous treat.
Take these butterscotch coconut bars, for example.
They are no bake (huge win as the temperature here is just about bazillion degrees), they are crunchy yet chewy, and the flavors are going to blow your mind. 
Just like that. 
I found the original version of this in our mom's Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares Cookbook that she's had since the 90's. If you don't own this book.... you really need to find it. So Many Awesome Squares. 
Anyway, I made a few little tweaks to fit what I had on hand and it resulted in one of the best bars ever. I've made it for several functions so far and everyone has loved it!
Give it a try - from start to finish in about 15 minutes. That's it. For realz. 

No Bake Butterscotch Coconut Bar
(Slightly adapted from Company's Coming 150 Delicious Squares Cookbook)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups coconut, shredded
1 cup pecans, chopped fine
3 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
3 Tbsp Bird's Eye Custard Powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 - 4 Tbsp milk

Lightly spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray, set aside.
Prepare base - In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and butterscotch chips - stirring constantly. Stir in the vanilla, eggs, coconut, pecans, and graham cracker crumbs until well mixed.
Scrape mixture in prepared pan.

Using your fingers (or a spatula), press mixture firmly and evenly in pan.

Place in freezer while you prepare the icing.
Prepare icing - In a small mixing bowl, stir together the softened butter, icing sugar, custard powder, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp of the milk. You may need to add a bit more milk to get it to a spreadable consistency. 

Remove the base from the freezer and drop the icing by spoonfuls over the base.

Using a butter knife, gently spread the icing evenly over the base. 

Chill until ready to serve. (Can be served right away but is better if it can sit for a while.)

Note - Just in case you are one of those people that don't like butterscotch chips (really?....really?...) you can make this with chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or pretty much any kind of flavored chip out there. Super easy peasy.
Oh yes.... if you can't find the custard powder then you could just use vanilla pudding powder. It's not going to taste quite the same and it's not going to have that pretty yellow color BUT it will work in a pinch. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Skinny Lasagna Soup

I think it's pretty obvious we enjoy throwing veggies into our lasagna. 
What I decided to try this time was taking a delicious, albeit not terribly diet friendly full fat Lasagna Soup and turning it into something healthier yet still ridiculously tasty. 
I replaced the noodles with "zoodles" - which are spiralized zucchini noodles. (Which really do have a noodle feel. It's crazy!) I then used lean ground turkey, lots of veggies, and "light" cheese and managed to get this down to a really, really, really lovely nutritional count per serving. (According to Myfitnesspal) One serving (recipe makes 8) is: 
190 calories, 7 carbs, 9 fat, 20 protein, 1 fiber. 
P.S. - One serving is approx 2 cups. Which is a lot. Seriously. Very filling. 

Skinny Lasagna Soup

1 cup light ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded, partly skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

2 medium zucchini

1 lb lean ground turkey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, finely diced
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley
salt & pepper
dash of hot sauce
4 Tbsp tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 - 3 bay leaves

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the ricotta, mozza, and parmesan. Place in fridge until ready to serve soup.
Take your 2 zucchini and spiralize them. (If you don't have a spiralizer then do your best to slice the zucchini into very thin, very skinny slices to mock noodles. You can simply cut the zucchini into chunks but this won't make your soup very noodle-y. ) Set them aside while you prepare the soup.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir the turkey, garlic, and onions. 

When turkey is no longer pink, add in the oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, salt & pepper and dash of hot sauce. Stir well.
Stir in the tomato paste until well mixed. 
Add in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or so. 
After 30 minutes, add in the zucchini noodles.

Gently stir in. Simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes more. You just need to make sure the zucchini is heated through, you don't want to over cook it. 
Spoon into serving bowls.

Top with approx 2 heaping spoonfuls of the cheese mixture.

Let sit for a minute or two to get all melty, stir, then enjoy.

So lasagna-y.
For only 190 calories.
Whaaat whaat!
If you have leftovers simply refrigerate the soup and the cheese separately. When ready to eat, heat up the soup in the microwave (or on the stove top), then top with the cheese mixture. 
This would go perfectly with a nice crusty piece of garlic toast, IMO. 

Be sure to stop by and check out this fab linky parties - Feeding Big, My Turn For Us, Nap Time Is My Time, Carole's Chatter