the first dessert I baked for my then-fiance was red velvet cake, and he was hooked...I love to cook, and my 3 daughters are following in my footsteps. This is a collection of recipes that we love. Feel free to comment - good, bad, indifferent - if you try any, let me know how they turn out.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gluten Free Zucchini Chocolate Cake

I am eating gluten free these days, plus I was given a handful of huge zucchini, so cake of course came to mind!  I found a recipe that referred to them as brownies (link below), but the texture is definitely cake-like. 2 out of 3 children really liked it - I think it is delicious. I omitted the icing, and it was still great. It is a fudgy cake, great for snacking, or it would be fantastic with ice cream! 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil, applesauce to make 1/3 cup
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. shredded zucchini
  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour (mine is from Trader Joe's)
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Mix all together well and pour into a 9x13 greased pan. Bake for 25-30 mins at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once cooled you can make the frosting:
  • 6 T. butter
  • 6 T. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
On the stovetop, mix together the butter, milk, and sugar. Heat together until the mixture boils. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips. Pour over the brownies and let it cool before you cut.
adapted from here

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the original Nestle Tollhouse recipe - putting it here so my girlies can find it easily:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Notes: we rarely include nuts
             if I want it to have more dough than chips, I'll make 1 1/2 the recipe and just 2 cups chips

from Nestle

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pumpkin Dip - with orange zest

We love pumpkin anything, and I remembered a dip we had last year at Thanksgiving, from Trader Joe's - creamy, lots of spices, great with ginger snaps. I found a recipe online and played with it a little bit, and the result was amazing- I don't remember the previous dip having an additional orange flavor, and I thought it was a wonderful combination. I served it with ginger snaps and apple slices (tossed with orange juice to prevent browning, since we took the dish to a party).

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened ( used Neufchatel cheese)
1 1/4- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, to taste
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon orange zest

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and orange zest until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving.

Serve with ginger snaps, apple slices, graham crackers, pear slices- the dip itself is gluten-free.

Adapted from allrecipes

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fluffy Pancakes

This is the best recipe for pancakes - light and fluffy, even when using half white whole wheat flour. Adapted from allrecipes

1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use half white whole wheat)
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
**It is really good with blueberry sauce - either with fresh berries, corn starch, water and sugar; for a simpler approach, dilute a can of blueberry pie filling with hot water and heat through. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mixed Berry Mini-Muffins

Before I had children, we lived next to a wonderful neighbor who was also an amazing cook, along with being very organized: she made monthly menus, did freezer-cooking; anything to help with the busyness of being a mom of 3. This is one of her recipes, which comes from Taste of Home. They are originally blueberry muffins, but we use frozen mixed berries, and I love the combination of sweet and tart. It really does make 7 dozen mini-muffins, which are great to stock the freezer for busy mornings. I wondered about the small amount of baking soda & powder, but they turned out fine. 


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or soured milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups all purpose flour (I used half white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh or frozen berries
Additional sugar, optional


In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in blueberries (batter will be thick).

Fill greased or paper-lined miniature muffin cups with about a tablespoon of batter. Sprinkle with sugar if desired. Bake at 375* (350* for dark non-stick pans) for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 7 dozen.

adapted from: Taste of Home

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gluten-Free Banana Bread (made with rice flour)

In a world of baked goods consisting of wheat flour, when that's all you know, gluten-free baking can be quite a challenge. One of my daughters is experimenting with this dietary change, and it has been a few weeks of research, trial-and-much-error, but we're learning. Since this is new thing, and it is not mandated by the doctor or anything, I didn't want to spend a large amount of money on ingredients. Hence, a banana bread recipe made with rice flour. Which I made myself. How to Make Rice Flour

The bread turned out surprisingly good. I had my doubts - I love to bake, and expect the crumb, texture and appearance of wheat-based baked goods. It's different, but a good thing - there is a bite to it; the taste was fantastic, and so far the girls approve. I put my changes in bold: 

Rice Flour Banana Bread
makes 2 loaves + 12 mini-muffins

1/3 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 tablespoons buttermilk (I used soured milk)
1 teaspoon lemon extract (I used vanilla extract)
2 cups brown rice flour or 2 cups rice flour (I used white rice)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 cup toasted coconut (I put this in half of the items)


Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Stir in buttermilk and (lemon) extract and mix well.
Combine rice flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and add to the butter mixture.
Stir in bananas and coconut and mix well.
Spoon the mixture into two greased mini loaf pans (5 1/2 by 3 inches). I had enough extra batter to make 12 mini-muffins, too. 
Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
Cool in pans 2 minutes, then turn out and cool completely. Adapted from here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Greek-Style Pork Chops or Chicken

I am trying out new recipes to add to our usual meals - this is from Cooking Light, several years ago - it is a pork chop recipe, but I decided to make it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I was delicious!


2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano                
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts) 
3/4 cup plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (I used dried) 
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 cups diced plum tomatoes (about 2 medium)
1 cup diced seeded cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
Cooking spray
  1.  Combine 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, oregano, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and garlic in a zip-top plastic bag. Add meat to bag, and seal. Marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature, turning after 10 minutes. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon oil, yogurt, 1 tablespoon dill, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Cover and chill. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. Sprinkle tomato mixture with 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss to combine.
  2.  Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove meat from bag, and discard marinade. Add meat to pan, and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until no longer pink inside.  Remove from pan, and let stand for 2 minutes. Place 3/4 cup tomato mixture on each of 4 plates, and top each serving with 1 chop or breast and about 3 tablespoons yogurt mixture.
Adapted from: Cooking Light