Monday, December 31, 2012

Corn is Evil... And I Don't Care (Today)

I am well aware of the evils of Monsanto and their products and practices. I just need corn syrup sometimes.  I wish I had an alternate option. I also wish Monsanto was different.

We do not eat corn here.  My son and daughter are allergic and I am digestively intolerant.  I recognize the important role corn has in the diets of many wheat allergic or gluten intolerant people. Evil or not, sometimes we have to use it.


1/2 cup Very Vanilla Soymilk
1/4 light or dark corn syrup
1 egg replacer egg
1-1/2 cup GF baking mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
Dash of salt
1/2 sugar
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup cold margarine cut into 8 pieces

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour an 8" square cake pan.

In a small bowl, combine the milk, corn syrup and egg replacer.  In your mixer bowl combine the baking mix, baking powder and salt.  Add the sugars and mix on low to combine.  Add the margarine one square at a time while mixing on low.  After all the pieces are incorporated, the mixture will be clumpy (like when making biscuits).

Slowly add the soymilk, corn syrup, egg replacer mixture mixing well after each addition.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl and mix once more time.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and center is set.

While the cake is baking, prepare the topping.

1/3 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/3 cup GF baking mix
3 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons Very Vanilla Soymilk
2 tablespoons melted margarine.
Optional - 1/3 cup chopped nuts or flaked coconut

Combine the above.

After removing cake from the oven, increase the oven temperature to 400.

Slowly pour the topping over the top of the hot cake adding a little bit at a time.  Return to oven and bake for 7-10 minutes or until the topping is all bubbling.

Cut in pan and serve warm.  I imagine this would taste excellent with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Breakfast Carrot Cake

Yesterday, after successfully hunting down a 20's style dress for Len to wear to a murder mystery party tonight, crashing on the couch was necessary!

We were watching a classic Good Eats episodes and Alton Brown pointed out how a carrot cake is really a giant carrot muffin by the way it is assembled (add wet ingredients to dry) and, therefore, is a breakfast food.  While he was able to make the cream cheese frosting, I am not.  I think a classic cinnamon bun glaze would work too but I do not need all that extra sugar and carbs and calories!  Besides, this cake is so moist it doesn't need anything added to it!

Below is Alton's recipe, doctored for vegan and gluten free eaters.

Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

2-1/2 cups GF baking mix
1-1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
(I am not an adventurous eater and tend to stick with what I KNOW I can have.  You may add 1/4 teaspoon All Spice and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg here.)
1-1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon maple syrup
3/4 cup Very Vanilla Soymilk
Mix together 3 ounces melted margarine and 3 ounces vegetable oil
1 egg replacer egg

Put the shredded carrots in a large bowl.  Add the baking mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and other spices mentioned above if you are using them.  Toss until all the carrots are coated with dry ingredients.  Make a little well in the middle too.

In your food processor or blender or a medium bowl and immersion hand blender, combine the sugars, soymilk, and egg replacer egg.  While blending, slowly add the melted margarine and oil combo until completely incorporated.

Pour the wet ingredients into the well you made in the carrot mixture.  Stir only enough to make all the dry ingredients wet.

Pour into your prepared pan.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Reduce heat and bake at 325 for 15 more minutes or until knife in center comes out clean and cake is pulling away from sides of pan slightly.

Cool in pan 5 minutes.  Gently jostle the pan to make sure cake is not sticking to bottom.  I usually have to run a knife along the inside circle of the Bundt pan.  Turn out onto serving dish.

Tastes great warm...  even without any frosting!

Creamy Snowy Bean and Ham Soup

Staying in the kitchen today... my favorite place to be! Since there is a pretty dusting of snow on the ground today, I am going to make cannellini (aka white beans) soup for the boys with the Christmas ham leftovers and the hambone.

Did you know that spelling 'hambone', using all your letters on Words With Friends, as the first word played will get you A LOT of points? So many points that your opponent will quit the game?  Don't hate the player, hate the game!

Ham and/or hambone (1 cup diced ham)
6 cups water (you can do half chicken broth if desired)
1 cup plain Soymilk or cream
1 cup shredded carrots
1 diced onion or some leeks
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash of garlic
Dash of turmeric
You can add salt too but be careful since ham can be salty already.
2 cans of cannellini beans (reserve until end)

Put the above, EXCEPT the beans, in 5qt Dutch oven. Gently bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until veggies are tender.  You will want to cover and simmer for a couple hours if you are using a hambone to allow the natural fat and larger bits of ham to work their magic into the soup. Stir occassionally, flipping the bone over too.

After about 90 minutes, remove the bone and pick any meat off it and return those to the pot.

Add two 15 ounce cans of cannellini beans and stir until heated through.   Combine 1/4 cup GF baking mix with 3 tablespoons melted margarine, stir into soup and continue to stir until the soup thickens (5-8 minutes).

My cats are hovering around the stove hoping for a tasty nugget! It does smell great in here. Between the smoky ham and the carrot cake I made today, it smells like a holiday!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Don't Judge a Cake By Its Looks

A golden little banana cake with a tasty, sweet ribbon of chocolate in the middle.  It may look ordinary but there is a surprise inside!

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a Bundt pan.

2 cups GF baking mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 medium ripe banana
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup Very Vanilla Soymilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 chocolate chips

Combine the baking mix, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixer bowl.  In a separate bowl, mash the banana and mix in the sugar, soymilk and oil.

Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Ladle in half the cake batter.  Place the chocolate chips in a row along the middle of the cake batter.  Spoon the remain batter over the chocolate chips and smooth the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden.

Zyliss Julianne Peeler

Tried my new Julianne peeler today to make hash browns. SO COOL!

I was a little nervous because I read people have injured themselves and said it was difficult to use. NOT!

I had also read to use a fork to steady the vegetable you are going to peel.  I did that.  The peeler glided easily through the potatoes without incident.  At first it looked like it was making big sheets of potato but then you just touch them and see they are tiny strips.

Fried them up and will eat with leftover carrots. Len eating hers with pancakes and the boys having burgers.

Don't be afraid. Just do it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Crispy Instant Spud Sugar Cookies

These little delights puff up and get crispy!  They are a bit fussy with the rolling in sugar and flattening but worth it!

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment.
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups GF baking mix
1-1/2 cups potato flakes (Whole Foods brand is nothin but potatoes)
Splash of vanilla Soymilk enough to make a dough you can shape with your hands
Sugar for rolling

Combine the sugars and margarine in electric mixer. Add the baking mix, baking soda, salt and potato flakes and stir to combine.  Drizzle in the Soymilk until the dough is just moist enough to roll with hands.

Roll into 1" balls.  Roll them in sugar and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment.  Flatten slightly with hands.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes until they puff and edges slightly brown.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snap, Crackle, Pop and Sing Bars

I got home from work today to find Len recording music with her sweet singing friend.  What a great way to end a long work day! The week is just draaaagging...

Some music to put a little sway to my spatula is a welcome change to a ringing phone and dinging doorbell and inspired me to try something new.

I tried Gluten Free Rice Krispies a few days ago and they seem to agree with me! How awesome is that?!?!  Here is a twist on Rice Krispie Treats that uses no marshmallows.

6 cups GF Rice Krispies
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup margarine, cut into pieces
1-3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Generously grease 13x9 pan preferably one with a lid.

Pour GF Rice Krispies into a large bowl.

In microwave safe bowl, heat corn syrup and margarine until warm and margarine starts to melt.  Add  chocolate chips and stir.  Heat at 10 second intervals and stir until smooth. Pour over the cereal.  Toss to coat all the cereal evenly then spread into prepared pan.

Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut and enjoy. Store these in the fridge.

These sort of remind me of Little Debbie Star Crunch bars. Oh man... to eat like a kid again would be so sweet!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Winter Break Banana Pumpkin Bread

Len and her roomie got to our house yesterday looking like corpses!  Not eating enough, not sleeping enough, finals week, packing and cleaning to get out by noon yesterday...they needed to crash and they did!  They actually went to Oak Brook to shop and had to come right back home.  They felt too sick to shop!  If you don't know these girls, you won't know how tired they must have been to not have enough drive to shop!

I will let them sleep right up until it is time to go to the airport later.

I figured some breakfast with healthy things inside may put a little color back in their faces.   I am feeling nearly 100% myself so far today too.  I am so getting a flu shot from now on. I have not been that sick for a very long time and don't want to be ever again!

This bread is perfect for this morning.  No noisy mixer needed!  I don't have to disturb the peace.  And the long baking time gives me plenty of time to get my shower out of the way before anyone else is awake.

1 cup sugar with 1 tablespoon maple syrup mixed together
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted margarine
1 egg replacer egg
1/2 can of pumpkin (8 ounces total)
1 large mashed banana
2 tablespoons Very Vanilla Soymilk
1-3/4 cup GF baking mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 and grease loaf pan.

In medium/large bowl, mix together 1 cup sugar and the maple syrup.  Add the other sugar and egg replacer. Add pumpkin, banana, and soymilk.  Mix with whisk until well blended.  Mix your dry ingredients in small bowl and add to wet ingredients.  Whisk well until well blended.

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until knife comes out clean in center of loaf.

Cool in pan 10 minutes then remove to wire rack. Cool completely before slicing with serrated knife.

Smells like Christmas in here!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sick sick sick #2

Endless coughing.  Head pounding. Pain everywhere.  Racing heart.  Flu making me sad. Sad sad sad.

Luckily some hot Bragg's Liquid Aminos in a mug is easing my cough. Like gluten free broth.

Big D was sick first.  Hopefully, Bub doesn't get this.  It is awful.  Len is done with classes and will be home Saturday.  I will have to scrub this place before she gets here.  I hope I am able to.  Too weak.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sweetness on a Stick

Watching Food Network and Cooking Channel is really dangerous.  There are so many things I want to make since I can't just go buy them.  Today I am taking a successful cake recipe and combining it with a new fudge-y icing recipe to make cake pops!  It will be messy, fun, and (hopefully) delicious.

Top these in a variety of ways for a colorful, smile inducing effect.

Speedy Yellow Cake

1/2  cup margarine, softened
1-1/2 cups GF baking mix
3/4  cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg replacer mix
3/4  cup Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk

Combine everything except the soymilk and "eggs" in a mixer. Then, add half the soymilk and the egg replacer.  Mix well. Add the rest of the soymilk and mix until smooth.

Bake at 375 in greased and floured 8" square pan or one round cake pan 25-30 minutes.     Allow to cool enough to be able to touch it.  Now get in there with your hands and wreck it!  Break it into little pieces.  

While your cake is baking, in a small saucepan combine the following:

1/2 granulated cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa 
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons Very Vanilla Soymilk

Gently melt the above ingredients over medium heating stirring it.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  Cool slightly and beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes.    Add the cake pieces to this and mix until combined.

Prepare a place to rest your cake balls (foiled counter top, cookie sheet).  Form the dough into firm balls the size of a good lollipop...  like a Tootsie Pop size, not a Dum Dum size.  Line them up as you go.  

To make the glue that holds the stick in place and the shell of the pop that is also the vehicle for toppings, melt 3/4 cup chocolate chips.

Dip the pop sticks in the melted chocolate and stick the lollipop sticks into the cake balls.

Refrigerate for an hour.

Reheat the melted chocolate until runny again and dip your cake pops into the shell, helping cover the cake with a spoon or small off-set spatula.  Sprinkle or roll in colored sugars, chopped nuts, cocoa nibs, sprinkles, non-perils, crushed candy bars, toasted coconut, or really whatever you like immediately after coating them!

When topping is firm eat and enjoy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Naan Envy

Big D has been ordering from this new Indian bistro in town and loving it. We had some friends over last night because we knew they would enjoy it too. I am sitting there smelling all the delicious things they ordered sipping water and eating Stax. Those chips weren't cutting it for me!

I am, hello, making soup today. Not a big shock. I am putting potatoes in it today though. I figured Bub would have some when he is back from school today and before he goes to the zoo with his GF. They have a holiday lights display in the evenings at the zoo here.

I figured naan would go well with soup. What bread doesn't go we'll with soup?

Traditionally, there is yogurt in naan but since yogurt is not on my list of things I can eat, I have made some changes to the recipe.

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm plain soymilk, 110 degrees
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Combine the above in a small bowl and allow to sit until it foams.

In a large bowl (mixer), combine the following:

4 cups GF baking mix
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

To the dry ingredients add:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
The yeast mixture
1/4 cup plain Soymilk (this replaces the yogurt)

If you eat any type of yogurt, vegan or other, you can add 4 tablespoons instead of the Soymilk.

Mix in electric mixture until crumbly. You may need to add tiny amounts of Soymilk to get the dough to come together. When it is still crumbly but all bits moist, squeeze the dough together with your hands in the bowl. Once you have a solid piece of dough, work it on a lightly floured surface until smooth. It won't be elastic but you can get it smooth pretty good gluten free or not.

Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and rise in warm place approximately 45 minutes. Grease two cookie sheets or jelly roll pans.

Divide dough into 6 pieces. Shape each piece with your hands the into ovals by first making a ball of dough then pressing it outward gently.

Move your oven rack to the top. Preheat broiler a few minutes. Broil the naan 2-3 minutes per side until brown and puffed. I rotated my pans half way through on each side for even browning. Flip them with tongs. The bread will puff in the middle as it cooks.

The restaurant gave them really dark, charring on the naan last night from the clay oven they slap the bread onto there. It sticks to the side of the oven as it cooks when authentic. Can't really do that here. .. but I wish I could! I can't get that char with indoor cooking.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Stewed Chicken Satay

Still trying to make meals for the boys even though I don't eat them. I will at least share rice with carrots and some cauliflower tonight.

Here is an easy one pot dinner.

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons Bragg's or soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
Chili powder
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter

Melt the margarine, Bragg's and sugar in medium fry pan.  When its good and hot and the sugar turns bubbly and starts to caramelize, add the thighs.  Brown on each side over medium heat.

Add the other spices and water.  Reduce heat to low and cover and simmer until chicken is done. The longer the more tender it will be.

Remove the lid and stir in the peanut butter. Put the lid back onto allow peanut butter to melt. Remove lid and increase heat to medium. Continue stirring until the peanut butter is completely incorporated. If I had some green onions, I would throw some in here!

Serve over rice and veggies.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Salmon Fillets

Since it is so warm here in Chicago right now (not liking it much), why not use the grill.  Cold weather doesn't usually stop us from grilling or frying outside.  Gotta eat right?

I had a cedar grill plank in the cabinet and some salmon in the freezer.

Wet the plank and set it on top of a fairly long piece of aluminum foil.  Place the fillets on top of the plank.  Generously season with salt and pepper.  Shake on a little garlic and just a whisper of ginger.

In a little bowl, mix together 1 teaspoon agave nectar, 1/2 teaspoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce. Pour over the seasoned fillets.  Close the foil around the top sealing well.  Next, seal the sides well too.  Just push them down and pinch the foil onto itself.

Place on the heated grill, close lid and cook for about 15 minutes.  We have a gas grill handy all year round and that is what I'm using today.  You could cook this in the oven as well.

Making some baby Yukon golds in the oven to go with the fish for the boys and to go with some carrots for me!

Crunchy Topped Pumpkin Muffins

I know there are a lot of muffin recipes on this blog but what can I say? I love muffins! They are easy to make. They are easily shared. They are easily frozen. They are easily packed to go. They are easy to eat too!

Preheat oven to 400. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.


1 egg replacer egg
1/2 cup Very Vanilla Soymilk
1/2 can pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
1-3/4 cups GF baking mix
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix the wet ingredients in large bowl until smooth. Add the dry ingredients until just moistened. It will be lumpy. Remember the tip for adding just a dribble of Soymilk to the dry areas without over mixing the whole bowl. Fill muffin cups.


1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 chopped nuts

Combine topping ingredients until crumbly. Top the muffins generously. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Lazy Sunday Cinnamon Bread

The perfect Sunday for me is spent at home, all day. I'm the first one awake. I make some coffee and start baking. Most Sundays, I take a shower and put PJ's back on or some other loungewear type clothes. I ban regular pants on Sunday!


2 cups GF baking mix
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Coke mixed with enough Very Vanilla Soymilk to make 1 cup
1/3 cup melted margarine
2 egg replacer eggs

Grease and flour bottom only of 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all the bread ingredients at low speed for 2 minutes in medium bowl.


2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine

Combine topping ingredients with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of bread loaf. Use a knife to swirl the topping into the bread a bit.

Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Finals Week!

Bringing my busy busy, extra class load carrying, x-tet performing, cold calling working, baby, some soup and bread bowls today.  She could use the vitamins and fluids! I can't give her sleep but I can give her rest when she would have been cooking.

She and some friends are going to CSO for a Shostakovich performance tonight. She loves that Shosti! I am not a huge fan of classical music but I do like his stuff too.  Not too flowery.

I can appreciate a good meal made by someone else and fresh bread too... Damn dignity dog! What a treat!