Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rhubarb Cake

The original recipe that inspired this cake was actually a recipe for a strawberry cake, but when I saw the picture on Pinterest, I assumed it was rhubarb.

The strawberry version, I'm sure, is delicious, but I decided to try it with rhubarb since I've got lots of that growing in my garden.

My recipe looked something like this:


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 eggs
3 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I used a flour mixture from Williams-Sonoma)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. plain yogurt
About 2 cups rhubarb, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.

Toss the rhubarb with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Gently mix into the batter.

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cauliflower pizza

A friend at work gave me this recipe. She said it was a great way to make an easy, gluten-free pizza crust.

I was a little skeptical when she said the crust was made from cauliflower, but it really is a good recipe. Not only does the crust contain cauliflower, but there's also cheese baked into it, which makes it gooey and delicious. I was worried about the crust holding together, put it really does -- maybe not enough to pick up a slice of pizza and eat it, but it worked just fine with a fork and knife.

I highly recommend this one:


1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower (directions below)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt

To "Rice" the Cauliflower:

Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Place in food processor and pulse until it looks like grain.

Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes.

(One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. I chopped up my left-over cauliflower and roasted it in the oven with some olive oil and garlic. Yum!)

To Make the Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir.

Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

The inspiration for my toppings came from something I found on Pinterest. I skipped the poblano pepper, and instead sauteed zucchini, corn, garlic and red onion. (I didn't add the milk or egg or anything). I also added some sliced yellow pepper and topped it all with fresh dill and cheddar cheese. After the pie came out of the oven, I added some chopped tomatoes. Good stuff!

The veggies have arrived

On Friday, I picked up my second batch of farm-fresh vegetables.

This summer I signed up for a CSA share from a near-by farm. If you're not familiar with Community Supported Agriculture, the basics of it are people buy shares of a farm and then throughout the growing season receive vegetables as they come in to season.

Our first two shipments of vegetables have been mostly salad greens with some kale and chard. Last week I ate all my veggies as fresh salads, and I'll likely do the same this week.

A while back I decided to quit buying salad dressing. Basically, I was in the store, reading the ingredients on a bottle, checking for gluten, and decided store-bought dressing has way too  many ingredients in it to be healthy, plus it's expensive. I'd rather just drizzle a little oil and vinegar on my salad.

Recently though, I've started experimenting with making my own salad dressing. This week's newsletter from the farm included this salad dressing recipe, which I can promise is delicious.


3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch dill, chopped

Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy on salad or as a dip.

The dressing recipe came with this salad recipe, which I haven't tried yet, but look forward to:


1 large head or bag of lettuce
1 can black olives, halved
1/2 to 1cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup shredded chard
3-5 green onions, chopped (or a 1/2 a red onion thinly sliced)
1 can or 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans and/or
2-3 chicken breasts, marinated with Greek marinade, grilled, then sliced and placed on top of salad (optional)

Homemade spaghetti sauce

A couple weeks ago I wrote a story about how much sodium we, as Americans, eat.

I try very hard to eat a healthy diet. Part of that is limiting how much packaged food I eat. Because I don't eat gluten, a lot of packaged food is out anyway. But as I was reporting my sodium story, I realized one spot I could probably cut back on my salt in take is canned spaghetti sauce. It's not like I eat it every day, but I usually have a jar or two in the pantry because it makes a quick easy meal.

I was telling my mom about all this, and she suggested making a batch of this recipe from Cooking Light. It makes a bunch of marinara sauce, which I then froze in smaller quantities -- pretty much like having a jar of sauce in the cupboard.


3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onion (about 3 medium)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 (28-ounce) cans no-salt-added crushed tomatoes (I couldn't find crushed, so I used diced and one can of sauce)

Heat oil in a large pot oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Cheesecake bars

I made these cheesecake bars one time last summer and decided to make them again recently for a friends birthday.

The recipe, from Cooking Light, calls for fresh cherries, which are used to make what is basically a jam. I decided to skip that step and just buy some jam instead. Last time I used blackberry jam, but this time I found cherry jam and used that instead. Here's the original Cooking Light recipe, and here's my version:


4 1/2 ounces gluten-free flour mixture (about 1 cup. I used sorghum, brown rice and tapioca)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3 1/2 teaspoons ice water
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
Cherry or other flavored jam (about one small jar, depending on how much you like)
Preheat oven to 350°.

Line an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper. (I use a small rectangular glass pan).

Place flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse 2 times to combine. Add chilled butter, and drizzle with ice water. Pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish (mixture will be crumbly). Press mixture into bottom of dish.

Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Place cream cheese and remaining ingredients in food processor; process until smooth.

Spoon cream cheese mixture over cooled crust; spread evenly. Dollop cherry mixture over cream cheese mixture, and swirl together with a knife.

Bake at 325° for 36 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill at least 3 hours.

Theses are good bars. My only problem with them is that I can't get them to turn out too pretty. I don't like to serve them in the pan because of the parchment paper, but I think they look kind of messy all cut up on a plate. (That's why there's no picture). Oh well, at least they taste good.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wedding shower tea party: Chicken salad cups

My Aunt Barb found this Cooking Light recipe for chicken salad. (We're a Cooking Light family). We made a few tweaks and ours looked something like this:


1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup red grapes, halved
7 tablespoons (about 2 ounces) coarsely chopped almonds
One head butter leaf lettuce

Poach the chicken in a dutch oven or large frying pan. Once cooked through, allow chicken to cool completely.

Wedding shower tea party: Flower cupcakes

Yet another Pinterest recipe.

The inspiration photo
Actually, it was just a photo - no recipe attached to it, but I thought it was perfect for a party where we were giving out potted flowers as party favors.

I asked Emily what kind of cupcakes she would like and she thought chocolate zucchini would be fitting. We used this recipe from my Aunt Bettsy:


1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 3/4 cup sugar

Cream these together.  Add:

2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups grated zucchini
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Fill muffin cups, lined with paper liners, about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

The frosting recipe came from good ol' Betty Crocker:


3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup stick margarine or butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
2-3 Tbsp milk

Mix all ingredients except milk in bowl.  Stir in milk until smooth and spreadable.

The hardest part of the project was finding green candy for the flower's leaves. We ended up buying just about every kind of green candy we could find. I think what worked best though, was Apple O's, cut into quarters.

For the flowers, we did a mixture of lollipops (I wanted Dum-Dums, but could only find Blow-Pops) and salt water taffy inserted on a lollipop stick.

Wedding shower tea party: fruit salad

Cooking Light photo
Doesn't that look good?

I found this recipe on Pinterest also. It had some kind of funky ingredients for a fruit salad (basil and olive oil), but the photo just looked so good. Plus, it was a Cooking Light recipe, and Cooking Light never leads me astray.


1 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Dash of salt
1 package fresh blueberries 
1 pound fresh strawberries, halved
large ripe peaches or nectarines, cut into wedges
1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves, chopped 

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 25 minutes). Add oil and salt to pan, stirring with a whisk. Let stand 2 minutes.

Combine berries and peach in a large bowl. Add juice mixture, stirring gently. Sprinkle with basil.