It Worked :)

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The second Red Velvet attempt was amazing.  🙂

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For my first Red Velvet attempt I used a recipe from a gluten free site and wasn’t happy with the results.  For this one I decided to do like I’ve done with the majority of my gluten free baking…use my own (Mema’s) recipe and just sub gluten free flour.  I used my flour blend.  It was perfect.  Since I was only doing a test run I made a single pan (cut in half for two layers).  To store it I cut it in half and stacked it…making four layers.  I liked it that way the best and will make it four layer for my actual birthday cake.  When I make the real cake next month I’m going to do a full dedicated post with the recipe and some tricks I used.  🙂

Some other eats from the weekend…did anybody else get sucked into the Breaking Bad marathon this weekend…all 62 episodes over the course of 4 days? 

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Frito Pie.  Mex-asagna / Cheese Rice and Beans.

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I don’t think I’ve talked about this before but awhile back I got a tortilla press and I love it.  I got it at Walmart for $13.  I’ve yet to end up with a perfectly round tortilla but the press does ensure each tortilla is the same thickness all the way thru.  This was my first batch using my own flour blend and it worked great.  🙂

I’m sorry that my cooking is really repetitive right now.  I think I’ve got my flour blend where I want it (I’ve stop tweaking it) so now I’m testing it on all my ‘mainstays’ to make sure it performs in different recipes.  It’s been a fascinating process for me but I imagine it’s boring for y’all to look at.

I’m trying another batch of English Muffins tonight and cookies later in the week then I should have a good idea if it’s a keeper or not.   Thanks so much for hanging with me through my testing process.  🙂

Mid Week Pic Dump

I got glutened and it’s lingered into this week so combined with the iron issue I still haven’t been all that creative with the eats.  Today I was finally feeling better.

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Cute little fall scarecrow couple for the yard.  Aren’t they adorable?  🙂

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Egg poacher for this…

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Second English muffin attempt.  Still needs tweaking but look at the holes I got in one side of this one.  🙂

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Still playing with my flour blend.  I am this close.  🙂

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Flour blend test mini banana muffins.  Look at the rise I got on this batch.

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Keeping with the ‘fall’ theme…let me introduce y’all to one of my favorite kitchen things.  A butter bell.  You’ve met Alto-Janylvia and Carmalita…well I call her Bella the butter belle.  🙂

I’ve written before about how I never touch margarine or any soy based oils.  With a butter bell you fill the base (to a line) with water and then put your softened butter into the bell.  Sit the bell inside the base and then you can leave it on your counter or in a cabinet and you always have softened butter.  Because of our heat I can only keep her out from fall thru spring.  Even with air conditioning.  For some reason during the hottest months it won’t go more than a couple days without starting to mold.  The rest of the year it can go a week at a time without changing the water (I change the water every 4 or 5 days).  I hate it when I have to put her up and soften butter in the microwave when I never remember to take it out.

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Mama Lupiac asked me to make her a batch of Monster Cookies with M&M’s.  I kept a small amount out and instead of M&M’s I added butterscotch chips / cinnamon chips / caramel bits.  They were so delicious.  I’m going to make a whole batch using this combination sometime next month.

That’s all the interesting stuff this week so far.  Tonight I’m going to try round two of the red velvet cake.  Wish me luck.  🙂

Martha Would Be So Proud

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I love Martha Stewart.  I playfully talk about her like we’re besties from the old country.  Never mind the fact that she could be my mother…or grandma in Arkansas. 😉

Certain people in my life often call me Martha as a playful insult when I’m being all anal perfectionist.  I just tell ’em I know they mean it as an insult but I totally hear it as a compliment.  🙂

When I’m cooking and it doesn’t turn out the way it should I’ll announce that Martha would be so disappointed.  Conversely (and thus the title of this post) if things turn out ‘right’ I say she’d be proud.

A few weeks ago she told me …ya know just moi…not the million other people reading her site 😉 that it was time to start cooking with fall apples.  When the queen of good things tells you to cook some apples…you go out and get some apples.  🙂

One of the fall recipes she put up this month was this Apple Fritter Rings recipe.

If you’re like me…the only kind of apple fritter you’re familiar with is the delicious apple-y / yeast-y / sticky fried dough concoction you used to get at Shipley’s before you recieved your diagnosis from h3ll.

Well it turns out this version is actually the traditional Apple Fritter and I thought it would make a nice ‘first day of fall’ treat.  🙂

You can find the recipe here.

I followed the recipe subbing Cup4Cup for the flour and I also put a little squiggle of Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Icing on it.  Didn’t need it at all…I just wanted some icing. 😉 

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These were good but not “Oh my gosh I can’t wait to make these again” good.

With the first couple rings the apples came out way too hard.  They were hot all the way through just hard.  So for the rest I heated the apple rings in the microwave for about one and a half minutes before dipping in the batter and frying.  They came out perfectly soft.

I would use this batter again but next time I’d chunk up the apples, mix into the batter and just do drop ‘fritters’.  Less work and all the same flavors.  🙂

Also picked up two of my favorite fall ingredients today at Walmart

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Whoever invented Caramel Bits should win some kind of world peace award or something.  🙂 

I’m excited to start recreating gluten free versions of some of my favorite fall / winter recipes.

One thing you will not see here though is pumpkin.  It seems like fall pumpkin recipes are an unspoken requirement for food bloggers but I must be some kind of freak because I cannot stand pumpkin…anything.  I hope y’all don’t kick me out of the club. 😉

Happy first day of fall.  🙂

It was this or Barry Manilow…you’re welcome.  😉

Rainy Day Casserole

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We had a rare sight today…rain…all evening long…which made it the perfect kind of day for a Chicken Dorito Casserole.  🙂

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I made me a separate mini pan so I could add extra spice and more chicken than chips (still trying to really push the iron).  I ate it with an avocado.

It’s so simple and quick to make.

Doritos (or any kind / flavor of sturdy chip)

Chicken (any kind even a premade rotisserie one if you don’t have to worry about gluten)

Creamy Cheese Sauce  (pre gluten free that would have been a can of cream of chicken soup plus Velveeta)

Now I have to make my own Cream of Chicken type base:

1/4 cup of Cream

1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth

2 tbsp Corn Starch 

Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Onion Powder.

I thickened that then stirred in Velveeta (to taste).  Use any melt-y cheese you like.  Yes, I eat Velveeta and don’t care if y’all think that’s white trash.  😉 

Layer Doritos and Chicken.

Poor sauce over.

Bake at 350* about 15 – 20 minutes.

Sprinkle a small layer of grated cheese over and bake til brown and bubbly.

Quick and easy.  🙂

Perfect rainy day musical accompaniment?  Sinatra of course.  🙂

 

Pizza Update

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I didn’t have a post planned today but made this for lunch and wanted to share / update.

A while back I made this pizza and said the next time I made it I wanted to use a cast iron pan.

Today I followed the recipe exactly but cooked it in this pan (cast iron comal).

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This dough has a really nice ‘feel’ for gluten free dough.  I wish I’d gotten my edges a little cleaner.  🙂

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I’ve had (and made) chewy / thick pizza before and I’ve done thin / crispy pizza before.  I’ve never had thin and chewy in the same pizza.  That’s how this turned out.  It had a very nice crispy bottom and then the inside…while not thick at all…had a nice chew.

The recipe is meant to be a deep dish pizza but obviously I made it thinner because of my pan size.  Maybe y’all are used to crispy and chewy pizza but I wasn’t so I just had to share.  🙂

My eats this week are kind of boring.  It turned out that my bruising isn’t blood thinner related.  It’s iron related so I’m eating boring or repetitive beef based meals plus plain spinach juices.  Nothing really blog worthy.  (Pizza was beef and pepperoni.)  I have some more interesting eats planned for the weekend.

Hope y’all are having a good week.  🙂

In honor of the pizza let’s go with this oldie but goodie today.  🙂

Cookies and Memories + Weekend Pics

Today would have been my Meme’s birthday so in honor of her this post is mostly about cookies.  🙂

Meme

My favorite picture of us.

In our family she was known for her Chocolate Chip Cookies (aka Meme Cookies) and they’re actually the first thing I ever remember ‘cooking’.  I was probably 4.  She had this little yellow and black stool in the kitchen and I would stand on it and ‘help’ her measure stuff / break the eggs / etc then she’d give me the bowl and let me stick my hands in it and mix everything together.  At that age it was really more like just playing with a sticky mess but it’s where my love of cooking started.

No matter how old we were she would always have those cookies waiting for us when we’d visit.  Sitting in the exact same spot on the counter in a funky pink Tupperware bowl.  When I was in my 20’s Mama Lupiac accidentally sat the bowl on a stove burner and it caught on fire.  I sat down and cried.  They both looked at me like I’d lost my mind.  Meme said “that bowl was a hundred years old it needed to go”.  No Meme, it was way more than just an old bowl.  🙂 

I would never share the family recipe so instead I’m going to share two recipes that have turned out perfectly gluten free.

Meme Sylvia was also a beautician.  In the 80’s the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe urban legend started making it’s way around and one of her regulars brought in a copy of the story / recipe.  I was in high school by this time and cooking on my own but once again I found myself in her kitchen…baking these mythical $250 cookies with her.  While they never replaced her infamous ‘Meme Cookies’ they did instantly become a family favorite.

The original recipe makes over a 100 cookies.  Not willing use that much of my precious Cup4Cup on something that may or may not work I halved the recipe and made a few tweaks.  Here’s a link to the original recipe / story and my version is at the end of this post.

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They turned out perfectly and no one could tell they were gluten free. 

I made those a while back (I’ve actually made them multiple times gluten free now).  They require using the mixer…and something to grind the oats…and grating the chocolate…and chopping pecans (if you don’t buy them chopped).

But this weekend I wanted to do something simple and basic for ‘her’.  A recipe that only needed bowls and spoons and hands…like her cookies.  I chose well.  🙂   I’d been playing around with my own mock Cup4Cup again…more on that soon 🙂…so I used it in this recipe.

I used a Martha Stewart recipe that can be found here.

She says to cream the butter / sugar in a mixer for 5 minutes but that’s completely unnecessary.  Our grandmothers were making cookies for 100’s of years with nothing but bowls and their hands.  🙂

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I can’t recommend this recipe highly enough.  They were exactly as described…crispy and chewy.  Everyone loved them.  I think they will be my go-to simple cookie from now on.  🙂  

A few food pics from the weekend.

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Mama Lupiac’s fried chicken made with Cup4Cup.  🙂

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Homemade Yogurt.

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Juice for the week.  I’m juicing every day now and still love love love these little Ball freezer jars.  They are so perfect for freezing straight juice (just spinach no added stuff).

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First attempt at English Muffins.  They need a little work before I can share.

Skipping Motown Monday today and rollin’ with Meme’s fav…Elvis.  🙂

Happy Birthday, Meme.  I love you and miss you more than ever.  I know we would have had so much fun creating gluten free stuff together…radio blaring and flour all over the place.  🙂 

Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

2 sticks softened Butter

8 oz  Cup4Cup flour 

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 cup White Sugar

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup of Instant Oats – blended to a fine powder.  (Measure out one cup of oats THEN blend to a powder.)

1/2 cup whole Instant Oats (don’t blend)

12 oz. Chocolate Chips

1.2 tsp. Salt

2 Hershey Bars (grated)

2 Eggs

1 tsp. Baking Powder

Nuts  (I only used one small packet of finely chopped pecans you can see it in the pic above.)

1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream the butter and sugars.

Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy.

Mix together flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda.   Add to butter / sugar / egg mixture.

Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts.

Spoon onto pans (I used a tbsp.)  Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let sit on pan for about 5 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

Devour  🙂

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Week in Pics

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This has been a blah week health wise.  I’ve been bruising really bad so I went in today for blood work to test my blood thinner.  I think it’s probably just low iron but have to be sure.

Monday I took the parental unit to the eye Dr for their annual exams.  Ate at Casa.  🙂

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My usual – cheese enchiladas plus Papa Lupiac wanted to blog his plate too.  Tacos and Chalupas.  🙂

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Did y’all know the Chewy Chocolate Supreme cookie at Great American Cookie is gluten free?

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New flour canisters.

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Still playing around with my own flour mix.  For this one I used Sorghum flour in place of brown rice and made mini banana muffins plus 2 tortillas.

It was fine with the muffins because the cinnamon and sour cream masked the horribleness of the flour.  I couldn’t get the taste of just a tiny bite of the tortilla out of my mouth for hours.

Sorghum flour is definitely not for me.  It smelled like grass and tasted like dirt or something worse.  I can’t believe it is classified as a ‘mild’ tasting flour.  How awful must the strong tasting ones be?

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Some of the best meatballs I’ve ever made.   I used…

1/2 pound 93/7 Ground Beef

1 Egg

1/4 cup Bread Crumbs* soaked in a

1/4 cup Milk

1 heaping tsp of Gelatin soaked in

2 tbsp Water

Salt and Pepper

Mixed it all up.  Scooped onto foil lined pan and baked at 350 for about 13 minutes.  (These were mini.)

*For the bread crumbs I used ground up Glutino Garlic Parm Bagel Bites.

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A couple more crusty Rustic rolls.  Look at the airy holes I got in this one.  🙂

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On Papa Lupiac’s side of the family…I was born on my grandparents anniversary so that meant that I always celebrated my family birthday with them.  Mema always made a red velvet cake.  I was spoiled by 28 birthdays with her delicious red velvet cake.  After she passed my red velvet cake came from a bakery.  Last year the bakery completely messed it up so I wasn’t planning on going back there anyway but now that I can’t have wheat flour I will pretty much just have to make my own cake.

So last night I pulled out 3 little mini round pans and mixed up a small batch of cake batter to try.  It was good but not delicious so I will have to keep experimenting to perfect it to gluten free.  Of course by the time I finish testing mini batches I probably won’t even be in the mood for the actual cake next month.

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The usual at Gringo’s after blood work today.  🙂

Let’s go with this Friday Night Football kinda tune for todays song.

Hope y’all have a good weekend.  🙂

Motown Monday Roundup

Weekend in pics.

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Chicken Fried Steak / French Fries / Gravy / Popovers.

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Tunnel of Love Cake.

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Cherry / Pear / Plum / Spinach juice.

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Breakfast for supper.  🙂  Banana Pancakes and an omelet.

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More Rustic Bread.  🙂

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My own flour mix.  I’ve been wanting do this for a while and finally decided to jump in.  I ordered some flours from amazon and found a mock Cup4Cup recipe online.  I mocked the mock.  Cup4Cup doesn’t have sweet rice flour in it but I’ve been adding one spoon to things because I like the texture it adds.

I only made up a two cup batch to try it out.  I tried it for the bread and the pancakes.  The taste and texture was right on but the structure was just a little off…not quite as sturdy if that makes sense.  Cup4Cup has brown rice in it but I’m wanting to make my mix without it because of all the brown rice and arsenic stories.  I’m going to keep tweaking small batches til I find one I love.  Not like or can live with…but love as much as Cup4Cup.

I have a question for those of you who use Xanthan Gum.  How do you store it?  If your options are in a cabinet or in the freezer which would you choose?  It’s so humid here I think I need to put it in the freezer with the flour(s) but I’m not sure.

Hope y’all had a good weekend and happy Motown Monday.  🙂

National Grandparents Day

I was so fortunate to have three of the very best and I miss them more than words could ever say.  🙂

Meme Christening

Meme holding me on my Christening day.  Notice the bright pink outfit.  I would bet money she was wearing some bright purple and green shoes to complete the ensemble. 😉 

Mema and Pappy Christening

Mema and Pappy on my Christening day.  Mema on the other hand would have never worn bright green / purple anything.  🙂 

National Grandparents day was started by a lady named Marian Mc Quade as a way to call attention to the lonely elderly living in nursing homes.  She wanted to encourage children to visit their grandparents and to listen to their life stories.  President Carter enacted National Grandparents Day in 1978.  In the US it is celebrated annually on the first Sunday following Labor Day.

If your grandparents are still with you send them some love today.  Visit them if you can.  Listen to them whether you can be in the same room with them or not.  That’s all they ever really want…time with those they love…but especially the grandkids.  🙂

Make Me Now :)

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If you’re not scared of butter and sugar go make this now.  🙂

Since I was making this for Mama and Papa Lupiac’s anniversary I wanted to make something from the 60’s (when they got married).

Most people call this cake Tunnel of Fudge but we’ve always called it Tunnel of Love.

If you’re not familiar with this cake it was the Pillsbury Bakeoff runner up in 1966.  A Houstonian, Ella Helfrich won second place and $5000.  The cake rescued the Bundt pan from obscurity and was a national fav for years (until people became scared of butter and sugar).  I made this once and the mother of one of my guy friends decided I was going to be her daughter-in-law.  Hey, C…love you.  🙂

tunnel of fudge

The cake called for a Double Dutch frosting mix that Pillsbury stopped making in the 80’s.  After many complaints they reworked the recipe…but anyone who has had the original can tell you that it comes nowhere close to the original.  Here’s the original recipe booklet.

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See how it kind of looks really dry around the ‘tunnel’?  Well that must just be old photo technology because I’ve never had one that came out dry looking like that.  The whole cake was always moist.

I’ve made this many many times in my life (the original and the newer version) but this was the first time gluten free.  I decided to use the original recipe (to keep with the 60’s theme).

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I realize Bakers Joy has flour.  I realized it after I took the pic and had already started mixing everything so I couldn’t retake the pic.  The actual cake pan used was completely safe.  🙂

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I used Jiffy Fudge Frosting in place of the long gone Double Dutch.  I had some oven temp issues (at one point the oven spiked to 475 degrees) but overall it worked.  This cake is very temperamental…but again so very worth it.  If you don’t take it out of the oven early enough you lose the visual tunnel effect.  You still have the extremely gooey moist inside though.

Based on previous cakes there’s not a doubt in my mind that if I’d not had the oven temp issues and had removed it from the oven about 8 minutes earlier I would have had the gooey visual tunnel.   Everyone loved it as is and Mama Lupiac said she actually preferred it since once the ‘tunnel’ runs out of the cake you’re left with a hole.  I’m definitely making this again sometime and aiming to get it out of the oven earlier though and will add it to the pics in this post when I do.

Tunnel of Love Cake

3 sticks softened Butter

1 1/2 cups Sugar 

6 Eggs

2 cups Gluten Free Flour (as always I used Cup4Cup)

2 boxes Jiffy Fudge Frosting 

2 cups Pecans (any nut will work)

Vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour Bundt pan.  (I just butter Crisco’d mine and it worked fine.)

Cream butter and sugar then add eggs one at a time mixing well after each one.  Beat ’til light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.

By hand stir in flour, frosting mix and nuts ’til well-blended.

Spoon batter into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 60 minutes.

Cool 1 1/2 – 2 hours before removing from pan.

You can’t test for doneness with this cake.  You just have to go with your gut (and knowing your oven)  🙂  When it’s done it will pull away from the pan and won’t jiggle when you touch the top.

The original cake didn’t have a frosting on top.  I was worried about dryness with the gluten free version though so I made a ganache with equal parts cream and chocolate chips.  It really wasn’t needed at all.  The cake was ridiculously moist…but it didn’t have nearly enough fat or sugar 😉 …and frosting always makes everything better.

Enjoy.  🙂