Monday, May 07, 2012

Gluten, Corn, and Soy free Red Velvet Cake

Attack of the women with giant hands!!

Just kidding! These are called Baby Bananas!
Cake. So many people have there own ideas as to what makes the best cake. Some like white, others chocolate. Butter cream frosting, whip frosting, cream cheese frosting. So many options, so many opinions. What is your favorite?

One thing most people can agree to is how delicious red velvet cake is. Am I right?

Red velvet cake is actually a light chocolate cake dyed with red food coloring. Usually best paired with a tangy cream cheese frosting.

Gluten-free Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 3/4 c. Canola Oil
1 1/2 c. Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
1 c. Sorghum flour
1 c. Millet flour
1/2 c. Tapioca Starch
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Corn-free Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 c. Buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 bottle Red Food Coloring
1/4 c. Dutch Cocoa Powder

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Combine all the dry ingredients.

3. Combine oil and sugar in a stand mixer for about a minute on medium.

4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

5. With the mixer on medium, add the flour alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mix.

6. Turn off mixer, then add cocoa powder, vanilla, and food coloring. Mix until thoroughly combined, scrape the sides and bottom to make sure the food coloring  completely dyes the entire batch.

7. I normally pour these into panettone papers that I buy online at Kerekes, but you can use cupcake cups or even bake into a two tiered round cake, just adjust the baking times. For cupcakes bake for about 25 minutes. The cakes are done when a  toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Traveling with Allergies + My trip to Oahu

Hey everyone!

The beach our house was on in Laie. Those are my feet.

I just recently got back from a trip to Oahu, Hawaii. It was simultaneously the best, worst, and first big vacation of my life! Before this trip I had never been on a plane before, so i was super excited! We stayed on the North Shore in a small town called Laie.

The plane was smaller then I thought!
One thing I would recommend, if you are visiting Oahu, only stay in a resort. We rented a vacation home and let's just say, we had some unwelcome guests. Nuff said. The island has several nice resorts. We stayed at the Disney Aulani Resort for a couple of days. The facilities where incredible! It was gorgeous, clean, and so accommodating. There were several pools, a stream you floated on in inner tubes, and two different water slides. You even had the option to go to the lagoon with white sand if you wanted to. Unlimited fresh clean towels, ice water provided pool side, even DVDs and games you can bring back to your room. It was the epitome of relaxing.

Due to our families many food allergies, our vacation took a little more planning then some others might. In order to continue a rotation diet, it was necessary for us to bring along frozen servings of different dishes and baked goods. At first we thought it would be easier to ship the food over frozen, but we soon found out that would cost about $300 to ship three day to Hawaii.Yikes! That's just a little bit steep. So instead we bought a Styrofoam cooler from the UPS store, filled it with the food, added four pounds of dry ice, and checked it on our flight. This cost about $60 total including the cooler and dry ice. If you choose to go this route, here are a few tips:
  • Get a note from your doctor. This sped along security checks exponentially.
  • Make sure to get to the airport early. Special arrangements take extra time.
  • Check the amount of dry ice allowed at your airport. At the time of our flight, the TSA allowed under 5 pounds of dry ice per shipment. We used 3.75 pounds and this kept our cooler frozen solid for 22 hours. We even had some left over!
  • Check a small suitcase full of your families favorite foods. We brought Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks, made ahead bread mixes in Ziploc baggies, agave nectar, a bread pan, candy, seasonings, dried fruit chips, as well as regular chips. This makes it easier to organize regular meals with things you can pick up at the local stores.
Once in Hawaii, we made sure wherever we stayed had a full kitchen. First at the house we stayed at on the North Shore, then again at the Disney Resort Aulani. This way we were able to bake bread, as well keep food costs down. Our meals where typically burgers, BBQ steak, BBQ chicken and fish. Simple and easy to clean up. After all, nobody wants to dishes while on vacation!

Of course we ate at a few restaurants. Again, when it comes to eating out, a little bit of planning goes a long way. We first went to an upscale americana restaurant called Mac 24/7. This place was so amazing! My mom has very specific allergies, so she was worried about eating here. No need! They where totally accommodating. She ended up having steamed rice, fried eggs, and a mimosa. Someone else at our table ordered pancakes, but not just any pancakes. These were 3 14 inch pancakes done Elvis style with bacon, banana, and peanut butter drizzle! Needless to say she didn't finish them.

We also tried The Monterey Bay Canners restaurant. A fish restaurant with a dive feel, this is definitely a locals place. The staff couldn't have been nicer! The manager even went in the back and brought a raw potato out so we could see exactly what kind of potatoes where in a certain dish. Above and beyond! The simplest dish was the best. Steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and Yukon gold potatoes smothered in melted Parmesan cheese. Yum!

One thing this trip proved to me is that no matter how many allergies you have or where you are in your health journey, never count your self out. A few years ago my mom thought she wouldn't ever be able to spend the night away from the house. Now we are planning our next trip. Always look ahead! Things get better. Be brave. Aloha!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pomegranate Red Onion Burgers

With multiple food allergies, many have lost significant flavors from their lives. A member of my family is allergic to garlic, chili's, and all pepper. This poses great difficulties when your trying to flavor things. Something I have found useful are fruits. Many times fruit purees or juices can lend a sweetness or a tang to things.

Recently I found a bottle of pomegranate molasses. It's sweet, slightly tangy, and has a robust back flavor. I thought it would be great paired with a robust meat like beef. Then . . . light bulb! A burger.

I mixed ground beef, diced red onion, salt and pomegranate molasses to create a sweet, caramelized goodness. Top with a slice of Havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a schmear of homemade mayo.

Pomegranate Red Onion Cheeseburger
Makes 2 burgers

8 oz Ground Beef, preferably free range and organic
2 Tbs Red Onion, diced
3 Tbs Pomegranate Molasses
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

1. Combine the beef, onion, molasses, and salt. Separate into 2 and press into 1 inch thick patties.

2. Heat a non-stick pan with a small amount of oil. Add patties and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. The top and bottom will have a caramelized crust. When done, place directly on to bun or bread pre-smeared with mayo. If you sit this on a plate, as it cools it will stick badly.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Back to the Start

Hey everyone!

I wanted to talk to you about something today. You may have noticed I have been absent lately. Don't worry. I've still been baking, it's just with the dim light preventing pictures being crystal clear, and life being filled with dull sickness and doctor's appointments. I have not exactly been pushed to post the things I have been baking here for you all. I know. I know. This is awful.

So here is my plan. I have decided to post things I like. Stuff I have found on the Internet. Articles I've enjoyed. Beauty, health, craft, art, animals. Anything truly my heart desires in hopes that you will enjoy it. I start this now. My hope is that with this new development you will get to know me better and learn some new things!

I found this amazing commercial the other day. Have you seen it? It's for Chipotle restaurant, which I happen to love! It fully embraces what I believe about eating local, cutting big business out of our food production. Eating the way our great-great-grandparents ate.

Tell me what do you think? Does local, organic eating effect us? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Zander's Gluten free Pup-kin Muffins

I know most of you have seen and or heard me mention my dog.

This is Zander. He is a Golden Doodle which means a standard white poodle was intentionally bred with a golden retriever. He is 6 years old. He is very big and has super long legs. His eyebrows are as expressive as Groucho Marx.

How cute!
Him when his hair is longer.
See what I mean about the eyebrows?
His favorite toy.
He loves to curl up into a tiny ball.

Zander had a small problem however. He started licking his paws. Sometimes for an hour at a time. At first we thought it was an OCD kind of thing so we would tell him "Off!". We taught him that whenever we say "Off!" he is to not touch or spit out anything he has near his mouth. So he would stop licking for five minutes, then start again. This went on until he realized that whenever we saw him licking we would tell him to stop. So he got smart. Zander started hiding behind things. The couch, a wall, in a nook, so we wouldn't see him licking. Told you he was smart.

Then he got an ear infection so we took him to the vet and decided to ask about the licking. The vet said that it could be allergies. Apparently when dogs get allergies they don't have a runny nose or itchy, watery eyes. Instead they lick their paws! We felt so bad! This whole time we where telling him "off!", while he felt like he was crawling out of his skin. Poor baby!

So the vet gave him a cortisone shot and said that would last for 3 months but the itching would probably start again in two weeks. It did and he was miserable. So we decided to try and find out what he was allergic to.

Now zander is an inside dog. He gets exercised inside in the winter, and only goes outside to go potty.  Also it was raining so no air born allergies like pollen could be gettin' him. So we started doing research and found the one thing he was eating that was exacerbating his symptoms. Gluten! That's right. He truly is our dog!

So we switched out his food for a gluten free kind. We liked Taste of the Wild: High Prairie Canine formula. Here's what the site says:

"A grain-free formula with sweet potatoes and peas provides highly digestible energy for your active dog. Made with real roasted meats, this formula offers a taste sensation like no other. Supplemented with fruits and vegetables, this hearty formula delivers natural antioxidants to help give your friend a healthy lifestyle. Your dog craves a taste of the wild. Go ahead and give him one.

High Prairie Canine Formula

with Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison

  • Grain-Free
  • Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison
  • Optimal Amino Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Omega Fatty Acid Blend
  • Digestive Support System
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Berry Blend
  • Tomatoes & Tomato Pomace
  • No Corn, No Soy
  • Chelated Minerals
 Zander loves it! And it smells so much fresher than the dog food he was eating before.

We also found that giving your dog allergy medicine helps with the seasonal allergy part. So we needed something that we could put a couple of pills into. I know a lot of people use cheese, but dogs can be sensitive to dairy. Plus it causes mucus. So I decided, "Hey I bake allergy free for a living. I will just bake something for him."

It couldn't be a bone, though I baked him some of those. It needed to be soft and big enough to hide a pill in. So I created a doggy muffin. Enjoy!

Zander's "Pup"kin Muffins
Makes about 30 mini muffins

312 grams Brown Rice Flour
2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 cup Apple Sauce
1 Egg
1 cup Pumpkin, solidly packed
1/4 cup Honey

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

2. Mix all the dry in a large bowl.

3. Mix all wet in a smaller bowl.

4. Add wet to dry and mix until combined.
5. Scoop into mini muffin cups, pre-lined.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

It took forever to get him to just lick it. He wanted to eat it so bad!

He just had to give them a high-five!

Also just so you know, this is Zander's couch. We got it specially made for him. It's big enough that me and my sister can both sit on it.

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