September 29, 2014

Better-Than-Ding-Dongs Cake


I found this fab-looking Ding Dong Cake recipe on Chocolate, Chocolate and More and knew that I had to try it. We had some family over this past weekend so I decided to use the extra company as an excuse to whip up a large and decadent cake.


 It. Was. Amazing. 


I had to take a bite for the picture. Someone had to do it.
The only thing I would change (besides the gluten free adjustments, of course!) is the name. Who came up with the name of Ding Dong anyway?

I'm thinking a more appropriate name for this one would be..."Better-Than-A-Ding-Dong" Cake, or maybe"We-Put-Oreos-To-Shame" CakeBetter yet, how about "Hostess-Could-Go-Out-Of-Business-Again-And-We-Wouldn't-Care" Cake. Something like that.

My gorgeous sister-in-law.
Yes, we ate the cake before dinner.



And no, we're not at all sorry.

 Next time we might skip the dinner altogether.

BETTER-THAN-DING-DONGS CAKE
thereislifeafterwheat.blogspot.com
*gluten free *soy free *nut free
Pantry to Table in: A few hours ;)
Makes: 1 2-layer cake
Notes:
  • My flour mix works soooo well for cakes, I highly recommend it!
  • That being said, Jules gf flour mix works wonders as a thickening agent, so I highly recommend it for the filling. If you can, buy a bag and use it for this recipe, sauces, and gravies. She also has an amazing-looking gf pretzel recipe I'm aching to try.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
3 ounces semi sweet baking chocolate or chocolate chips (I used baking)
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups sugar
Add 1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum if your flour mix doesn't have any already
4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (sea salt is best)
For the Filling:
5 T Jules GF flour (If you don't have this, substitute corn starch-but Jules flour works the very best!)
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter, softened (I used real, salted, butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
For the Ganache
1 (12 oz) bag semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 T butter

Instructions:
For the Cake
  1. Chop chocolate into pieces the size of chocolate chips and put chocolate into a medium bowl.
  2. Pour hot water over chocolate and let sit about 2 minutes, until chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Stir until all melted chocolate is incorporated into the water. Set aside.
  4. In bowl of stand mixer (if you don't have one, just use your regular bowl and hand mixer), Whip whole eggs with whisk attachment about 3 minutes until very frothy.
  5. Add canola oil, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix briefly to combine.
  6. Add flour mix, sugar, xanthan gum if needed (only if your flour mix doesn't have any added), baking soda, baking powder, and salt and mix on medium speed using paddle attachment for 3 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 325.
  8. While oven is preheating, spray two 9" round cake pans with cooking spray or generously grease. Use your pans to trace two 9" circles on parchment paper and cut them out. Place one on the bottom of the inside of each of your greased pan, and lightly spray with cooking spray. This will make removing your cakes a lot easier!
  9. Pour batter into pans, about 2/3 full. I had enough batter to make two mini loaf pans as well. If I would have used all the batter for the cake, it would have overflowed, so only fill 2/3 full!
  10. Bake cake for 30-40 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Watch the cake carefully, it's much better if it's moist!
  11. Let cake cool for 30 minutes in the pan before inverting onto cooling racks. Peel the parchment paper off the cakes and let cool completely (I covered with a light towel and cooled overnight)
For the Filling
  1. Measure Jules flour mix (or cornstarch) into a medium saucepan.
  2. Gradually add milk, whisking as you go, until mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.
  3. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick like a roux. It should be like a really thick, slightly sticky pudding. This should take about 5 minutes or so. Add vanilla.
  4. Scrape mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cool.
  5. In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar with whisk attachment about 8 minutes, until smooth and very fluffy. Add milk/flour mixture and whisk another 5 minutes or so on high, scraping sides often, until it is no longer grainy. It should be creamy and fairly light.
  6. Scrape the mounded top off one of the 9" cakes, so that  it is flat. and place it on a rack over a wax paper or foil-lined cookie sheet.
  7. Spread filling evenly over this cake, and invert the other cake over the filling so the rounded top is upside down. Press down gently.
For the Ganache
  1. Put chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat cream and butter over medium heat just until boiling. Be careful not to scorch.
  3. Pour cream over chocolate chips and let sit for a few minutes.
  4. Stir together well until mixture resembles a thick chocolate sauce, all chocolate is melted, and all ingredients are combined.
  5. Slowly pour ganache right over your cake. It will spread over the cake as you pour, but you may have to smooth it out a little with a spatula so the ganache will run down the sides.
  6. Let sit for about 4 hours.
  7. When ganache is set, you can (carefully) remove the cake to a serving platter, slice and serve.
  8. Store leftovers (if there are any!) in the fridge.

September 25, 2014

Chocolate Chunk Cookies-Pioneer Woman Style

I am so excited to share this recipe!

I've searched the internet (and all my cookbooks) far and wide to bring you fabulous gluten-free folk THE best chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I happened to find it in the most likely spot too. If you haven't heard of The Pioneer Woman (gasp), then you've really been missing out. She posts amazing recipes that are almost as fun to read as they are to eat. If you are familiar with Ree Drummond (Pioneer Woman), then you know how good her recipes are. Either way, you should be equally anxious to try out my gluten-free-knockoff of one of her best cookie recipes. I found it floating around FB a while back and gave it a shot last weekend with Cup4Cup flour.

Making cookies is pretty much the only time I stray from my homemade flour mix. Cup4Cup simply turns out too good of a gluten-free cookie, so I always keep a bag on hand just for that purpose. If you try using a different flour, let me know how it turns out for you! But if you can manage to get some Cup4Cup, I can pretty much guarantee that your cookies will turn out the best.

The flavor of these cookies is just so good. I tried to put it in more eloquent wording than that, but that pretty much sums it up. Try them for yourself and you'll see what I mean.

Don't be intimidated by the slightly longer list of instructions. I finished dinner before the rest of my fam and had them in the oven by the time every one else had cleaned their plates. It's all well worth it, I promise.

And don't skip the browned butter part, it's what makes the cookie!

I should post a warning though. This is not your average chocolate chip cookie! Unless you have superhuman willpower, you won't be able to stop at 1. Really, go make these.

Here's the link to the original

CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES
(PIONEER WOMAN STYLE)
thereislifeafterwheat.blogspot.com
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
*gluten free *soy free
Pantry to Table in: 1 hour
Makes: about 3 dozen
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (salted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I always sue Cup4Cup for cookies)
1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (dark chocolate is amazing in these)
1/2 cup chopped pecans optional

Instructions:

  1. Set out 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter to soften.
  2. Brown other 1/2 cup (1 stick!) butter in a small pan:
    • Heat butter over medium heat until melted.
    • Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until butter turns a golden brown color on the bottom. Watch it closely, as there is little time between browned butter and burned butter. Just before it is done, you will smell a nutty aroma.
    • Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. I put mine in the fridge for about 20 and it was cool enough.
  3. Mix butter and sugars in a stand mixer (or use hand mixer) 1 or 2 minutes until creamy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and, again, mix well.
  5. Add browned butter, and mix thoroughly. Be sure to scrape all the brown flecks into the bowl,
  6. Add baking soda and flour mix and mix 30 seconds. Dough should be a thick, spoonable consistency. It will be slightly thinner than your average cookie dough-you should be able to almost roll it into balls.
  7. Spoon onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 3 inches apart. Use 1-2 T dough, depending on what size you want your cookies.
  8. Place cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. I put mine in the deep freeze for 10 minutes.
  9. Preheat oven to 375.
  10. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes. They should be fairly browned on the bottom.
  11. Let cool if you have the willpower to do so.
  12. Store in an airtight container. These were great the next day, too. They were gone shortly thereafter :)

September 20, 2014

Pork Carnitas

This is an incredible easy meal, and it is soooo delicious. I'm not a really a lover of pork, but I eat this stuff right out of the pan. It's that good. It is so tender and juicy and the crispy edges are divine.  It pairs nicely with coconut rice or Cafe Rio style rice and black beans.

Get creative with this one! You can roll it up burrito style, serve it over tortilla chips and top with cheese, green onions, olives, lettuce and salsa for nachos. Or pile it on a bed of lettuce with your favorite toppings and some cilantro ranch dressing (my favorite option for sure!)  It's one of my favorite meals for those crazy days we all have because it's a comfort food and it's also quick and easy to serve.

PORK CARNITAS
*gluten free *soy free *dairy free
Pantry to Table in: 8-10 hours
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients:
2 lb. boneless pork roast
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth (I used reduced sodium)
1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Instructions:
  1. Place pork roast in crock pot.
  2. Pour chicken broth over the roast and sprinkle with pepper.
  3. Cook on low at least 6 hours. 8-10 is preferable as your roast will be more tender.
  4. If you have time, shred the pork 1-2 hours before serving, add cilantro, and continue to cook on low.
  5. 15 minutes before serving, drain the shredded pork and spread it out in a 9x13" metal baking pan, or on a cookie sheet. I lined mine with foil for easy clean up! The meat shouldn't be piled higher than 2 inches for even browning.
  6. Move your oven rack to a high position that is just under the heating element. Broil on high 5-10 minutes, until the pork on top begins to get crispy. Watch it very carefully so as not to burn it or dry it out. 
  7. Remove from the oven and serve on tortillas, lettuce, or tortilla chips!

September 14, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Dump Cake


Pumpkin Pie Dump Cake.
If you haven't eaten a dump cake, or (heaven forbid) heard of a dump cake, you've really missed out in life. But no worries, I've got you covered. Gluten Free style.
I've been eyeing this lovely version I spotted on The Country Cook for a while now, and decided to give it a test run last night. The trickiest part was the cake mix.

Confession: I'm much too cheap to buy a boxed gluten free cake mix.

I've always just made my own from scratch and they've turned out amazing (Click here, here, or here for the recipes). But a dump cake must have a cake mix. I searched the web and decided to use a modified version of a home made cake mix recipe over at The Gluten-Free Home Maker.

Below is the combined effort of these two recipes, with a gluten free makeover. The whole family enjoyed it, but when we had more tonight after it had been in the fridge, it was even better. It is pretty rich, so we served it in smaller pieces than you would a regular cake. I also thought the topping was a bit too thick, so I adjusted the recipe accordingly.

 As an added bonus, making this recipe gave me a good excuse to buy Reddi-Whip. You know, the kind of whipped cream you can squirt right into your mouth without even using a spoon? Yeah, that stuff.

PUMPKIN PIE DUMP CAKE
*gluten free *soy free
Pantry to Table in: about 2 hours
Serves: 20
Notes:
  • You have 2 options for the spice cake mix since I haven't seen any gluten free spice cake mixes at the store. 
    1. Whisk 1/4 tsp cinnamon and scant 1/4 tsp allspice into a gluten free yellow cake mix.
    2. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup gluten free flour mix, 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon and scant 1/4 tsp allspice. Add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum if using a flour mix that doesn't have any added.

Ingredients:
3 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie mix)
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Gluten free spice cake mix (see notes above)
1 cup butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs thoroughly.
  3. Add pumpkin puree, milk, sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk until will combined.
  4. Pour pumpkin mixture into a well greased 13x9" glass pan.
  5. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over the top.
  6. Drizzle butter evenly over cake mix. You want the butter to be touching pretty much all of the cake mix, otherwise you will have spots of dry cake mix (which obviously doesn't taste as good!), so use a spoon or ladle if you need to, to get a nice even coat.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, The topping should be a golden brown and the pumpkin will still be a little "jiggly" as the original recipe put it, but will set as it cools. If you insert a knife in the center, it should come out with hardly any pumpkin on it. Cool for at least 1/2 hour before cutting/serving. Some people may like it warm, I personally liked it best once it had been refrigerated.





September 13, 2014

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal



Oatmeal is my favorite breakfast. I'm new to the steel cut oat craze, but we recently tried a recipe, made a few tweaks, and found we really like it. This is a good one because you can start it, finish getting ready for the day, and it's done when you're ready to eat breakfast. More stores are carrying gluten free steel cut oats, so just browse your cereal or baking aisles and you should be able to find some.
I adapted this recipe from Alton Brown at Food Network

BROWN SUGAR & CINNAMON STEEL CUT OATMEAL
thereislifeafterwheat.blogspot.com
*gluten free *soy free *can be dairy free
Pantry to Table in: 30 minutes
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
1 tsp butter (or canola oil if making dairy free)
1/2 cup gluten free steel cut oats
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup milk (use almond milk if making dairy free)
1 T brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:
  1. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add oats and heat, stirring occasionally, until oats are lightly browned. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add water, stir, and cover.
  4. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Do not remove the lid or stir.
  5. Add milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon, replace lid, and simmer about 5 more minutes until the oatmeal is done. Steel cut oatmeal still has a bit of a crunch to it when it is done.
  6. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon and sugar if you want, add a little extra milk if you like it that way.
  7. Variations:
    • Top with berries, drizzle a little cream over the top, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
    • Replace the brown sugar and cinnamon with a little maple syrup, 
    • Omit brown sugar and cinnamon and add 1/8 tsp vanilla and 1 T white sugar after it's done cooking.
    • Reduce brown sugar to 1/2 T, top each bowl of oatmeal with sliced bananas, and drizzle with 1 tsp honey.

September 12, 2014

Swiss chard: Nature's Superfood

Talk about a food powerhouse! Swiss chard is amazingly good for you.

It's loaded with protein, fiber, vitamin K, antioxidants, and so much more. For a full nutritional workup, check out this Livestrong article.

Swiss chard has all other veggies beat in taste. I love this stuff! That being said, some people are hesitant to try chard, or have tried it and haven't liked it. It is somewhat similar to spinach, but it's definitely got it's own flavor and texture. There is more than one way to cook it, and if you find the way you like best, I really think you will like it, so give it another shot!

Not only that, but in my opinion, it's the most visually appealing vegetable out there-look at the beautiful color of those leaves! We tried growing some in our garden this year and it was by far the easiest and most successful plant. It only takes about a month for a seed to grow to a full-size plant, and you can plant it early in the season so you'll be harvesting all summer long.

So now that you're sold on this superfood, try one of the recipes below!

How to select swiss chard:

  • The larger the leaves, the more likely you are to get more stringy stalks. For best quality, select the bunch with smaller leaves. 
  • If you grow your own, harvest by cutting the stalks 1" above the ground with a knife or kitchen shears. You can harvest these when the leaves are only 2 or 3 inches tall and serve them in salad or toss them in smoothies. Or you can wait until the leaves are 6-10" tall and cook them.


Ideas for Preparing Swiss Chard:

  • Add to pan-fried chicken along with your other favorite veggies (squash, potatoes, corn, etc) and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • Finely chop and saute and add to scrambled eggs.
  • Or use one of the recipes below!


SAUTEED CHARD WITH SEA SALT & PEPPER
thereislifeafterwheat.blogspot.com
*gluten free *soy free *egg free *dairy free
Pantry to Table in: 15 minutes
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
1 T olive oil
6-8 cups chopped swiss chard (any variety)
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
  1. Prepare chard by washing thoroughly. Remove stems if you want. Some people like them (me!) and some people don't. If leaving them on, cut off the very ends (where they were harvested) Chop into large sections.I just lay the leaves horizontally and slice in 2" sections.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. If you don't have one, use the largest pan you have and adjust the recipe if needed.
  3. Add chard to pan and stir every 1-2 minutes. Do not cover. Chard will cook down a LOT. You want the leaves to get a bit crispy, but not burn. If they aren't getting crispy, turn up the heat a bit. They should cook for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the leaves and how big your pan is.
  4. When the chard is slightly crispy and cooked down to about 1 cup, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. You can also sprinkle a little parmesan on if that's your thing.

STEAMED CHARD WITH A SPLASH OF LEMON
thereislifeafterwheat.blogspot.com
*gluten free *soy free *egg free *dairy free
Pantry to Table in:20-30 minutes
Serves: 3
Ingredients:
8-10 cups chopped swiss chard (any variety)
Lemon juice to taste (I use about a teaspon)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
  1. Bring water to boil in a pan with a steamer, or just a large pot.
  2. Prepare chard by washing thoroughly. Remove stems if you want. Some people like them (me!) and some people don't. If leaving them on, cut off the very ends (where they were harvested) Chop into large sections.I just lay the leaves horizontally and slice in 2" sections.
  3. Steam or boil chard, with lid on, about 20 minutes until it is very limp and soft. Drain.
  4. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir to combine.







September 8, 2014

Southwestern Relish


Looking for a little more excitement in your life? This is a very versatile side that can be the perfect addition to just about any meal, appetizer, or snack.
The possibilities are endless. Serve on hamburgers or hot dogs, as a dip for tortilla chips, on your favorite sandwich, as a veggie dip, over grilled chicken, salmon, or steak. Or, if you're like me, you can just eat it by the spoonful :) Enjoy!

SOUTHWESTERN RELISH
*gluten free *dairy free *soy free *egg free
Pantry to Table in: 5-10 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped tomato
1/2 cup finely chopped avocado
2 T very finely chopped jalepeno, seeds removed, optional
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp lime juice
salt/pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and stir gently until evenly distributed. 
  2. Yep, that's it!