Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mexican Chocolate Bark

It has been a chocolate-filled day. 6 hours of making chocolate bark for friends and family. My thumbs feel about to fall off. The skin on my fingers is raw from shelling pistachios. And I learned the hard way that when trying to break bark, one must not press on it with their thumbs, but rather, use fingers or palms. How I learned this? I suppose I have my super cute, but horribly long nails to thank for this experience. I leaned the slab of bark against the edge of the pan, and pressed both of my thumbs against it to try and break the chocolate. As the chocolate broke, the pressure went all into my nails, literally ripping part of my fingernails off. It was a horribly painful experience. So, please, do not repeat this! Use fingers, not nails!

Here is a picture of the beautiful finished product:

The dairy free version for my cousin and myself:

Un-melting the chocolate in the conveniently large freezer that is my backyard:

Here are the super cute takeout boxes we packaged the chocolate in for friends and family:

Mexican Chocolate Bark
1/2 c shelled pistachios, chopped a bit
1/3 c shelled pumpkin seeds
1 12-oz bag chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon plus a few pinches for garnish
3/4 tsp ancho chili powder plus a few pinches for garnish
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch salt

Prepare a flat baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper (can I just say that I LOVE parchment paper! It is amazing for cookies! See more rave reviews in my next post of sugar cookies).
Toast pistachios for 1 minute in a dry skillet preheated to med-high heat. Set aside. In the same skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds for 1 minute. Add to pistachios.
Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
Add all but a handful of the nuts to the chocolate. Add vanilla, spices (except garnish pinches), and salt. Stir to combine.
Spread over pan, and smooth until even. Sprinkle reserved nuts on top, and press in slightly. Sprinkle the pinches of spices over the top of the chocolate. Allow to cool in refrigerator (or out in the backyard) for about half an hour. Break into pieces. Enjoy!

Here are the super cute "Night Before Christmas Kits" we gave to friends and family, each including a box of the chocolate bark:

Favorite Cheats

So, as much as I love baking, I don't always have the time for it. I thought I'd post the most amazing dessert that I made last month for Hannah's birthday. Everybody loved it. It was very hard to tell them all that I hadn't actually created this on my own. Yes, I'd had help. But it sure was good :) We went to a work party last night, where I brought some cupcakes made with the rest of the cake batter, so I thought I'd post the pictures of the cake. I forgot to take pictures of the cupcakes though. The cake mix made enough for 15 cupcakes and this cake. The frosting made enough to cover the cake liberally. YUM!

Namaste Chocolate Cake with Pamela's Dark Chocolate Frosting

Yellow Pancakes

This recipe is so yummy! I've never had pancakes w/ a lemon flavor to them, and I am definitely a fan! Thanks Leigh Anne !

Yellow Pancakes

1/4 c egg white substitute
1/4 cup almond/soy milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp GF flour
1 tsp olive oil
Powdered sugar and lemon juice

Mix together, egg whites, milk, vanilla, flour and melted butter. Heat a small frying pan over medium heat, and spray w/ cooking spray. When the pan is heated, pour half the batter into the pan. Cook until set and no longer runny. Turn pancake over and cook 1 minute more. Repeat w/ remaining batter. Sprinkle lemon juice and powdered sugar on top.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sweet Potato Cornbread

I got this amazing recipe from Karina over at Gluten Free Goddess (
Luke has said that this recipe totally tastes the same as regular "gluten food". I was very nervous about him trying it, as he is such a traditional eater. But he loved it!
BTW, you've probably noticed the little orange chunks in the bread. That is because I didn't quite puree my sweet potato. I just threw a couple in the microwave, cooked for a few minutes, scooped out the pulp, and mashed it with a fork. I think next time I will try and boil them, then use an electric mixer to mash them better.

Sweet Potato Cornbread
Equivalent of 3 eggs in Egg Beaters (since my IBS diet recommends I avoid yolks)
1/2 c veggie oil (although I used 1/4 c oil and 1/4 c applesauce - also b/c of IBS diet)
3/4 c sweet potato puree
3/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
A pinch each nutmeg, ginger, ground cloves
1 c cornmeal
1 c featherlight flour mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 good pinches of salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8 baking dish, and dust with cornmeal.
Whisk eggs in large mixer. Add oil and applesauce. Add sweet potato and whisk well.
Add sugar, vanilla and spices. Whisk to combine
Pour dry ingredients on top of wet ingredients, and mix together with a wooden spoon.
Pour batter into baking dish.
Bake for 45 minutes, until firm and golden. Check with a knife or tooth pick to see if done (will come out clean).
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool until able to cut.
Sooooo good!
Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

This recipe is so good! I got the recipe from "A Year of CrockPotting,"( and used the ingredients she posted, however, followed the cooking instructions from "Kalyn's Kitchen" (
I really enjoyed the flavor of this soup. It was a great way to use up that leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Luke liked this soup better w/ extra chicken broth added (not a huge fan of the balsamic vinegar). He also was weirded out by the wild rice, and requested that next time it be made w/ regular white rice.
The only problem with this soup is that it was the last thing I ate on the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving. And thanks to someone at our Thanksgiving dinner, I spent the wee hours of Monday morning hugging my toilet (stomach flu). So, even though I had made a huge batch of this soup, I was only able to eat it on Sunday for lunch and dinner. I spent the next 3 days in bed, eating flax rolls and drinking lots of tea.
So, my advice is, don't eat this if you are going to be sick in the middle of the night. Cuz then you won't be able to enjoy the leftovers. And will have to file this recipe away until next Thanksgiving when your stomach doesn't churn at the thought of eating it again.
But I promise, it really is good!

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup
2 c cooked turkey, shredded
8 c chicken broth
2/3 c uncooked wild rice
about 1 tsp onion powder
1 c chopped carrots
1 tsp sage
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 c spinach leaves
Put broth, rice, onion powder,carrots and sage into a large pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and turn heat down. Cover. Allow to simmer 1/2 hr.
Add turkey and spinach, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for another half hour. Stir in vinegar to taste, and serve.
Really good when served w/ GF bread!

Thanksgiving 2008

So, playing catch-up here :) I have been super busy and haven't taken time to post anything lately.

Here's what I did for Thanksgiving:
-Wed night - threw a 6 lb turkey breast into the crock pot, added 1 c chicken broth, some sage, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cooked it all night long.
-Thurs morning - took the turkey out of the crock (which meant, picking up the bones, as the meat fell right off of them).
- Made turkey gravy w/ the leftover broth.
- Made this amazing Lemon Cream Coffeecake to bring for dessert

(see recipe here: )

- Went shooting with Luke, his dad, and his brother (Photos of that experience here: )
-Came home and tried to warm up after going shooting
- Baked these fabulous rolls, along w/ stuffing (forgot to take a picture of that)

- Took the gravy, stuffing, and rolls over to the in-laws and proceeded to pig out, enjoying my very gluten/dairy free feast! Everyone really liked the coffeecake as well.
- Another gluten free success!

I think I've posted the recipe before for Laurie's Flax Bread (, but here it is again! With my own adaptations, of course.

Gluten Free Flax Bread
2 1/4 c featherlight flour mix
1/4 c ground flax seed
2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
The equivalent of 3 eggs in Ener-G egg replacer
1 c warm almond/hazelnut milk
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp vinegar

Combine flour, flax, xanthan, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, combine milk and yeast. Let foam for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine egg replacer, oil, agave, honey, and vinegar.
Add milk/yeast, and mix.
Add dry ingredients, and mix on medium for 4 minutes.
Pour into a greased bread pan, and let rise 30 minutes.**
Preheat oven to 350F, and bake for 40 minutes.

**Here, I changed the recipe a bit. I used half the batter to make a dozen rolls, by spooning dough into a muffin tin. I then spread the rest of the dough into an 8x8 baking dish. I let everything rise about 20 minutes, then baked for about half an hour (checking frequently).
The rolls were awesome! I had turkey and gravy "sandwiches" for the rest of the weekend!
The other half of the bread made some killer stuffing. Sooooo good!