Hello all and I hope you are having a great week. For the last couple of months I have been on a very strict diet prescribed by my doctor. It is essentially a Paleo diet with a few other restrictions. Because of my celiac disease and after pregnancy, I needed to take the time to heal my gut and get my body back to normal. I have done this diet in this past and it takes major will power in order to succeed, especially when everyone around you is eating normally. I have my motives and they keep me going. To add to my already complicated diet, I have also chosen to go mostly vegan with the exception of chicken and eggs. A few days ago my husband and I watched the documentary Cowspiracy on Netflix. Watching this movie truly blew my mind away and made me want to make some adjustments to what I was feeding my family and myself. My husband and I agreed that it wouldn’t be very hard to get rid of all meat but chicken and rid our diet of all dairies. We already drink almond milk as it is, so our only major issue would be cheese. I made a stop at whole foods and bought all the vegan/gluten free food I could find. To our surprise the vegan cheese tasted just as good, if not better than normal cheese. As a baker this new diet will be a challenge but I love being challenged in the kitchen. From here on out I will be making not only gluten free but dairy free baked goods as well. One recipe that has gotten me through over and over again is the following recipe for chocolate chip cookies. If you have not picked up the cookbook Clean Eating With a Dirty Mind then you must buy it right away and add it to your collection. Everything I have made from this cookbook has been amazing and all of the recipes are paleo, gluten free, and dairy free.

 

On another note OneHOPE has added a few wines to their collection as well. One being a San Luis Obispo Reserve Pinot Noir with every purchase going to educate 375 people on how they can help save endangered animals, which is a cause that is so close to my heart. The other two are new bubbles that they came out with for the holiday season approaching. The first is a North Coast reserve sparkling Rose and the other is a North Coast reserve sparkling brut. Bubbles are my favorite so you better believe that as soon as my doctor gives me the ok I will be popping one of these two. Make sure you get yours through the OneHOPE tab.

 

Thanks for following!

Enjoy and Cheers

 

Recipe for Cookies 

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 7 to 10 min

Ready in: 30 min

Yield: 18 cookies

2 cups sifted fine-ground blanched almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup raw honey

¼ cup melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg, room temp

1 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life vegan minis)

1.     Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.     In a large mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir together using a fork until well combined.

3.     In a separate medium sized bowl, combine the honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and egg. Beat with a hand mixer set on low speed until smooth. Add the honey mixture to the flour mixture and beat on low until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4.     Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough evenly onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart, about 9 per sheet. If using only one baking sheet, refrigerate the remaining dough until ready to bake.

5.     Bake each sheet separately for 7 to 10 minutes or until the tops and edges of the cookies are lightly browned. Remove the parchment or baking mat from the baking sheet and let the cookies cool slightly before using a spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack. Store covered at room temp for up to 3 days. 

 

 

I hope everyone is having an awesome summer. It’s been a while since I have made a blog post, we have had quiet a busy summer and I have been even busier baking. I have baked for 30-year birthday parties to 30-year anniversary parties to baby showers, and more. Our weekends have been filled with lots of fun activities and we continue to be busy through August. Needless to say that blog posts have not been on my mind lately, but I am here to reassure all of my followers that I am back at it and blog posts will be more often in the future.

On another note, is everyone enjoying the start to the Olympics? Last night we of course, with a majority of the world, watched the opening ceremony. My favorite part of the ceremony was the message on global warming. I love that Rio made a point of including this surreal issue into their performance. Global warming is real and present and people need to do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint and help save this planet that we call home.

For as long as I can remember I have loved watching the Olympics and not until I started competitively swimming when I was nine years old did I really relate and appreciate the hard work and dedication of these athletes. The swimmers back then became my heroes. One of which was Michael Phelps whose first Olympic debut was when I was ten years old. All the girls on my team fell in lust with this man and now we are seeing him swim in his fifth Olympics in Rio. Although I didn’t have the determination like my fellow teammates who went on to compete in college and beyond, swimming was still a huge piece of my heart and my life. I swam for nine years until my final race at the end of my senior year of high school. I will never forget my dad sitting me down before I was about to walk to the block and telling me to give it my all, this was it as far as my swimming career went and not to hold back. I swam my heart out, won my heat, and got my all around best time. I crawled out of the pool and fell into my dad’s arms and cried. I retired my suits and never raced again. Watching the Olympics brings back all those beautiful memories that swimming has given me and this time I get to enjoy watching with my little one. In honor of the Olympics being in Rio, Brazil I want to share this recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread from Simply Recipes. Be careful, these are seriously dangerously delicious. They don’t last long in my household.

Enjoy and Go USA!

 

Ingredients

    1 egg*

    1/3 cup olive oil

    2/3 cup milk

    1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca flour

    1/2 cup (packed, about 66 grams) grated cheese, your preference, we get good results with feta cheese (no need to grate), or fresh farmer's cheese (if using fresh farmer's cheese, you may want to add another 1/2 teaspoon of salt)

            1 teaspoon of salt (or more to taste)

 

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread a little olive oil around the insides of each well of a mini-muffin tin.

2 Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth. You may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the blender so that everything gets blended well. At this point you can store the batter in the refrigerator for up to a week.

3 Pour batter into prepared mini-muffin tin, not quite to the top; leave about 1/8 inch from the top.

4 Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until all puffy and just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for a few minutes.

 

 

SSSHHHHAAAAARK!!!!! Are you all enjoying Shark Week as much as my family is? More than 2 million people enjoy the annual drama that is Shark Week each year and in my household we have dedicated this entire week to shark activities. We started the kickoff to Shark Week with a shark sensory bath for our little one. We dyed the water blue and added toy sharks that I bought off amazon, as well as some blue floating balls and a toy bath boat. Needless to say this was a hit and a great way to start off our Shark Week. The next day I printed off a few coloring templates of sharks for our boy to color, which he loved every second of and you can also print off here. The following day I surprised him with a fun shark board book called Shark Bite, which we read to him every night the rest of the week. Next we had bought this totally awesome remote control swimming shark balloon. I think my husband and I had more fun with this one than our little guy. You can find the shark balloon on amazon. Last night we sat down as a family and watched Shark Tale after dinner. To finalize our Shark Week we are making these adorable shark cupcakes from Cupcakes and Cashmere to eat while enjoying the final days of this annual summer family tradition.

I don’t think people understand just how essential sharks are to our oceans and to our planet. Sharks have survived 400 million years and they could be gone in the next 40. Sharks are often classified as being scary and aggressive. However, you’re more likely to get killed by a coconut or a vending machine than a shark, and there are 440 known species, all with their own unique behaviors. Did you know that we kill more than 50 million sharks each year as by-catch in our tuna and other commercial fishing industries? In the absence of sharks, entire ecosystems will collapse. We cannot let this happen and I ask you all to please do your part especially this week in helping save these extraordinary creatures.

·      Start by checking your cosmetics and vitamins for shark oil, shark cartilage, and non-vegetable squalene.

·      Next cut back on your seafood intake, especially tuna and shark meat.

·      Lastly ask FedEX to stop shipping shark fins by clicking on this link http://racingextinction.tumblr.com/post/132502675986/call-out-fedex.

There is no Shark Week without sharks. Please help to save them. 

 

Resource

 

I hope you all had a great fathers day weekend and are enjoying this beautiful first day of summer. My husband and I spent the weekend with my parents taking our little one on his first ever camping trip. It was so nice to spend time with family and to get out in nature. As we are coming to an end of the longest day of the year, we sat out on our back patio and enjoyed the most beautiful sunset. Colors of purples and shades of oranges lit up the summer sky. Out of everywhere I have ever been in the world, there is nothing that compares to a desert sunset. We plan on sitting around our fire pit this evening and reveling in the strawberry moon to salute this perfect first day of summer. This event only occurs once every seventy years. It is when the summer solstice and the full moon fall on the same day.  The name comes the Algonquin tribes, which interpreted it as a signal to gather ripening fruit, according to the Old Farmers Almanac. In honor of this signal I am going to leave you with a yummy recipe from What The Fork for strawberry shortcake to honor the strawberry moon. Pair this recipe with a bottle of ONEHOPE Chardonnay.

 

Enjoy everyone and happy summer!

 

 

Ingredients

 

For the biscuits

   2 C gluten free all-purpose flour

   1 tsp xanthan gum

   1 tsp fine sea salt

   2 1/2 tsp baking powder

   6 Tbsp butter, cold and cubed

   1 C milk

 

For the Strawberries

   1 lb. strawberries, hulled and quartered

   2 Tbsp granulated sugar

 

For the Whipped Cream

   1 C heavy whipping cream

   2 Tbsp granulated sugar

   1 tsp vanilla extract

 

To Make the Strawberries

   Mix the strawberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl and let sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

 

To make the biscuits:

   Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

   Sift and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt and baking powder. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is smaller than the size of peas.

   Mix in the milk until completely incorporated. The mixture will be a bit wet and sticky.

   Use a spoon or large scoop to drop the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet into 2 rows of 4. Bake the biscuits at 425 degrees for 10-14 minutes or until done in the center. Mine were done in 12 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature.

 

To Make the Whipped Cream:

   Use an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract together. Beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the shortcakes, split a biscuit in half, top with strawberries and whipped cream. Place the top half of the biscuit on top and cover with additional strawberries and whipped cream.

What a very busy week last week, filled with lots and lots of baking! On Wednesday I threw my first ever Cupcakes and Cabernet event. We tasted twelve different ONEHOPE wines and paired seven of them with gluten free cupcakes. It was a successful and super fun event to say the least. If you are interested in hosting an event make sure to shoot me an email or click on my ONEHOPE tab and click on the link to schedule, as I would love to showcase what ONEHOPE has to offer!  Along with my party I also baked some delicious gluten free/dairy free cake pops for a sweet little girl.

I ended the week with my husband’s birthday cake. Every year he requests my famous German chocolate gluten free cake. This cake contains a lot of parts and is quite time consuming. Every year I ask him if he wants to mix it up with a different recipe, yet every year he is adamant about his German chocolate... anything for the love of my life! We spent the weekend taking our camper out for the first time with some of our friends to celebrate his birthday. It was so much fun after all the hard work we have put into renovating our camper this winter.  It was a blast to actually get to take her out and use her!

Upon arriving home I was truly saddened to hear of the tragedy that happened in Orlando. A lot of people close to my heart are part of the LGBTQ community and I couldn’t imagine if this were to happen to any of them. My heart breaks for those that lost loved ones and those affected by this terrible catastrophe. ONEHOPE offers a bottle of Sparkling Brut can be purchased in a rainbow sparkly bottle, with a portion of the proceeds from this bottle going to provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Buy a bottle and drink to all those who lost their lives on that Sunday morning! I’m also going to leave you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own rainbow cupcakes to pair with you bottle of sparkling brut. 

Enjoy, Cheers, and Keep life sweet!

 

 

Rainbow cupcakes

I have personally made these many times and love how they turn out.

 

Supplies

Piping bags

Gel food coloring: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple

Gluten free vanilla cupcake batter

Buttercream frosting

Rainbow sprinkles

 

1.     Divde your batter into six different bowls.

2.     In each bowl apply food coloring until you get the color you are looking for

3.     Fill each colored bowl into an individual piping bag.

4.     Start with red and fill each baking cup bottom with red, repeat with each color and layer the batter

5.     Bake according to recipe

6.     Pipe buttercream frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with rainbow sprinkles.

 

*This tutorial is super easy and super cute. I have used these cupcakes in the past for seventies themed parties and they were a hit.

Aloha From hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii and thanks for visiting my new site! I have spent the last few days renovating my site and educating myself on all things ONEHOPE as well as relaxing on the beach and hanging with a turtle, playing with my little one in the pool and showing off his swim skills we have been working on the last few months, eating some yummy sushi, visiting a waterfall, and doing a family hike along the coast amongst other things. Although I technically don't get a "vacation" per say, because my job is a mommy, it sure is nice to have a few helping hands around and to escape our day to day routine. Tonight my husband and I are doing a sunset zip line and Friday we have a dive scheduled, which I am super excited about as you all know how much I love the ocean. To toast to this family vacation I will leave you all with this yummy recipe for coconut cupcakes from Simply Gluten Free and a recipe from Something New for Dinner for tropical sangria using ONEHOPE Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy, Cheers, and Keep life sweet! 

Gluten Free Coconut Cupcake Recipe

Ingredients

Cupcakes

¾ cup coconut flour
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup coconut oil
¾ cup Organic Blue Agave
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
¼ cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut flakes

Frosting

½ cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound Organic Powdered sugar
4 – 6 tablespoon coconut milk
1½ cups unsweetened coconut chips or flaked coconut

Directions

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, salt, and baking soda until the coconut flour is no longer lumpy. In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the coconut oil and agave for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the extracts and beat well to combine. Add half of the flour mixture, then the coconut milk and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Beat until combined and not lumpy. With a spatula scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl to ensure all the ingredients are properly combined. Fold in the coconut flakes. Divide the mixture between the prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.

Frosting

In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the coconut oil with the extracts to combine. Add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time and blend after each addition. The mixture may look clumpy, this is ok. Add the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches desired consistency – you want it similar to butter cream frosting. Continue to beat for 2 minutes.

Frost the cupcakes generously and top with the coconut chips or flakes. It is best to keep the cupcakes in the fridge if not serving immediately but take them out about 10 minutes before serving to take the chill off for best results.

Servings

This gluten free recipe makes 12 cupcakes

Tropical sangria with passionfruit

 Prep time:  10 mins Total time:  10 mins Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Ataulfo mangos or 1 Haden mango, cubed
  • 8 strawberries, sliced + 2 for garnish
  • 2 passion fruits
  • 1 bottle ONEHOPE sauvignon blanc
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup white rum
  • ¼ cup superfine sugar
  • Sparkling water
  • Mint sprigs

Instructions

  1. Put mango cubes and sliced strawberries in a pitcher. Cut the passion fruit in half and scoop the seeds into the pitcher.
  2. Add wine, pineapple juice, rum and sugar. Stir gently to combine and taste. Adjust sugar as needed. Cover and put in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. To serve, fill glasses with ice. Pour in sangria with a little fruit. Top with sparkling water and garnish with strawberries and a sprig of mint.

Birthday Girl

Yesterday was my birthday and although I love a day that is all about me, this year I did something a little different. Instead of spending the day at the spa or shopping, which I would typically do on my birthday, I decided to make it a day about giving to others. I spent the whole day doing 27 (because that's how old I am) random acts of kindness and managed to do them all. By the end of the day I felt so accomplished for completing all of them and so good thinking about all the people I had helped to brighten their day or even more, changed their life! As Mark Twain said "Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

  1. We (because my little bug tagged along as mommy's sidekick all day) started bright and early in the morning by driving to my mom's house before she left for her busy day and delivered her flowers and a thank you card, because it's her day also. She has been the greatest mom for 27 years.
  2. Next we went through the Starbucks drive through and bought a coffee for the car behind us.
  3. While at Starbucks I bought 4 tall coffees, their was a homeless man asking for money in the parking lot and I gave him a coffee with a few dollars.
  4. We took the remainder of the coffees to our security guards in the community where I live.
  5. Next, we went to the bagel shop where they carry the yummiest gluten free bagels. I left a hefty tip in the tip jar their for the sweetest employee.
  6. I'm not sure if this counts, but I think it should. A gal at the bagel shop noticed my shirt that said birthday girl. She asked if I was doing anything fun for my birthday and I had told her about my 27 random acts of kindness. She was so inspired that she asked if she could steal the idea and do it for her upcoming birthday.
  7. Next we stopped by my husbands office and brought him his favorite bagel sandwich with a love note inside the bag.
  8. While at the office, we brought a rose to every girl who worked their to brighten their day.
  9. After the office we headed to the humane society. I had bags of dog food and cat food to donate and I thought my little bug could play with the kitties. They weren't open when we had arrived and two men were sitting out front of the building waiting for them to open the doors. I started talking to them and one guy was there to pick up dog food and cat food for his pets. I asked him if he just wanted to take my bags so he didn't have to wait. He was beyond grateful and I could tell it had clearly made his day.
  10. Since the man had taken our dog and cat food we left a bag of dog toys at the front door of the humane society building.
  11. Next we headed to Target. We collected all of the carts in the parking lot.
  12. Then we hid dollar bills in the dollar section. RAK 9
  13. This is one of my favorites of the day. At the checkout at Target I had purchased a ten dollar gift card and after the cashier had given me my receipt I had given her the gift card right back, she thanked me and started crying.
  14. Everywhere we had gone we had gone into the restroom and posted sticky notes on the mirrors that said "you are beautiful".
  15. After target we headed to the hospital, we brought a box of cupcakes to the nurses at the postpartum section of the hospital. These ladies were absolutely incredible when I had my C section and we were there for 3 days.
  16. I also brought a vase of flowers with me and asked one of the nurses to give it to a mommy who really needs to be cheered up.
  17. Throughout the day I made a conscious effort to smile at everyone I came across. Especially in the hospital, I think people really appreciated a smile.
  18. In the parking garage we walked around and stuck sticking notes that said "have a wonderful day" on cars as well as a rose on the windshield. I noticed a woman walking to her car on the phone, completely weeping. She went to her car just to grab something and walked right back towards the hospital. I ran over there and gave her my last rose and placed it on her windshield. RAK 8
  19. We headed home and I made sure to run out and leave my mailman a chocolate bar and a note that said "thanks for all your handwork." After he dropped off my mail he wrote me a note that said"thank you".
  20. After lunch and a nap, we headed to the fire department. We brought the firemen some cookies and thanked them for their service. They let Peyton sit in one of the fire trucks and gave him a sticker and coloring book. RAK 7
  21. We headed to the gas station at the bottom of our hill, there they have a red box and we taped a bag of microwave popcorn to the screen.
  22. Next we headed to the park. While at target we bought bubbles in the dollar section and had hid them all over the playground for kiddos to find.
  23. Since earth day is on Friday. We had bought a tree at home depot and got our hands dirty and  planted it at the park.RAK 4
  24. Next we collected all the trash we had could find. It was so sad to me the amount of plastic bottles around the basketball court.
  25. Throughout the day I made a conscious effort to be a curtious driver. This was big for me, as I am constantly in a hurry and have bad road rage.
  26. While at my birthday dinner with my family, I gave the hostess a comment on the beautiful color of her hair.
  27. Lastly, I had made my own birthday cake and I left a nice comment on the blog that had inspired my cake to let her know how lovely it was and how much I appreciated her sharing her tutorial.

It was definitely a lot of work but I am so glad I did it. It felt so good to spend a day that's supposed to be all about me and make it about others.

Here are the recipes for the cake I had made. This is a day of cake, as I had made this the day before and ate it the day after and it was very dry. I think if I had eaten it the day I had made it, it would have been perfect.

RAK 1

Enjoy!

Sponge Cake from Food.com

1 cup sugar 3 tablespoons water 4 eggs, separated 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla 1 1⁄2 cups cornflour, make sure it is gluten-free (cornstarch) 1 teaspoon baking powder, gluten-free 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Coat 2 spring form pans with baking spray, then line with baking paper. The baking spray helps keep the paper from moving around.
  2. In a microwave bowl or small saucepan, place the sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Stir every now and then to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Slowly drizzle in the hot sugar mixture with the mixer running. Then beat really hard for 3 minutes. Mix in egg yolks and vanilla.
  4. Sift together cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Carefully fold these into the egg mixture. Pour into prepared pans.
  5. Bake 18-20 minutes. As soon as you remove them from the oven, drop the pans from knee height, square on the floor - seriously! This is a strange sponge making trick that 'shocks' the cake and stops it from deflating.
  6. Then immediatly turn sponges out onto a wire rack or baking paper to cool upside down.

To finish cake:

1/2 cup elderflower syrup

  • I brushed this all over the sponge cake

Edible flower

1 egg white

sugar

  • brush each flower with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar

10 tbsp powdered sugar

1/2 cup elderflower syrup

  • To make the frosting, slowly mix the syrup with the powdered sugar

For the whole tutorial visit Peonylim

 

 

 

Remembering The Lady In Red

grandmaThis weekend we celebrated the life of one of the most amazing, caring, smart, independent, thoughtful, funny, hard working women I know….my grandma. Although this weekend was emotional to say the least, it was so wonderful to get together with our family and friends and share our most cherished memories of this incredible human being. Her favorite color was red and if you knew her, you could definitely tell from the lipstick on her lips, the nail polish on her hands and toes, and the car she drove, not to mention most of her appliances and her favorite outfits were all red. In honor of her most beloved color, everyone wore red to the festivity. It was so beautiful to hear the sweet words of just a few of the lives of people that she had touched. She had taught me so much in life and even in the afterlife she still has managed to teach me, as this weekend I learned how short life is and how important it is to be a friend and to be kind and to love with all you have, to leave memories with people that they will want to talk about forever, and just how important family is. There was nothing my grandma loved more than her family. All the vacation time she ever had was spent with her family because that was what made her the happiest. My grandma is a huge influence in me wanting to be a baker. The kitchen was where she flourished. She loved to cook and loved to bake and she passed that down through the generations that followed her. She is most famous for her apple cake, which she promised was going to make me famous one day. This cake has been present in nearly every family get together; in pastry school I used this recipe as the dessert in our restaurant for a week. I haven’t willed myself to make an apple cake since her passing, but when I do I know my grandma will be watching to make sure I don’t mess it up. I want to share this precious recipe with all of you. This cake is quite time consuming so make sure you allow enough time to make it properly.

Enjoy

Ingredients:

2 cups Sugar

1 ¼ sticks Butter, softened

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Nutmeg

2 tsp. Baking soda

¾ tsp. Salt

2 cups cup4cup gluten free flour

¼ cup Walnuts, chopped and toasted

4 Granny smith apples

Procedure:

  1. Prep Bundt cake pans with flour and butter
  2. Toast walnuts and chop
  3. Sift dry ingredients
  4. Mix sugar and butter
  5. Add eggs and spices
  6. Add flour, batter must be really stiff
  7. Fold in cut apples and walnuts
  8. Bake 350F for 30 min.

grandma post

 

Hoppy Easter

As a kid we used to visit our family in Arizona for Easter and there, we would celebrate all the spring birthdays in our family which included mine as I am an April baby. This was my memory of Easter as a child. The Easter bunny wasn’t such a big deal, it was more of being with family and when we weren’t in Arizona we would attend church in our Sunday best. Fortunately I was able to visit my Arizona family this last week under different circumstances, but it was nice to reminisce my childhood during this holiday with them. I have to say that my all time favorite easter was when my grandma surprised me with a real bunny, his name was snugs and I had him up until my parents adopted a dog who loved to torment the poor thing and we had to give him up. The last few years Easter has kind of taken a back seat and we haven’t done much, but this year with our little one on the move, Easter has a whole new meaning. Yesterday we took him on his first egg hunt with all the grandparents in attendance of course and took him to see the Easter bunny, which he wasn’t very fond of. We dyed eggs, which he absolutely loved and then started throwing them like they were baseballs and breaking the shells. This morning we had a special brunch with our families at our house and we did another small Easter egg hunt in our backyard. Easter has transformed for us to creating memoires for our boy and making the holidays as special as we can for him. This year for Easter I made GF Easter nest cheesecakes. I found this recipe from an advertisement for Philadelphia Cream Cheese, although I made some adjustments and didn’t even use Philadelphia cream cheese, they turned out pretty yummy.

easter cheescake.JPG

  • 1 cup gluten free graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut, toasted
  • speckled M&MS

To Make

 

  • Heat oven to 325°F.
  • Mix Gluten Free graham crumbs, 2 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin cups.
  • Beat cream cheese, vanilla and remaining sugar with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Spoon over crusts.
  • Bake 25 to 30 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate
  • Top each cheesecake with 1 Tbsp. coconut; shape to resemble bird's nest. Fill with
  • M&M eggs.

Happy Easter Everyone!!

Here are some pictures of our table and my little Easter Bunny.

easter2016

easter2016 pic2

 

St. Patricks Day

Tomorrow is St Patricks Day, so make sure you wear green, and although I may not be st patricks dayIrish, I like to reflect on and acknowledge just how very lucky I am! I have been blessed with so much in this life and am so truly fortunate, that my list could end up in a book. So, if you aren't celebrating your heritage or even if you are, take a moment tomorrow to reflect on how lucky you are. There are so many people in the world who look at just surviving as being lucky. And the fact that a lot of us are fed, clothed, loved, healthy, and have a roof over our head should consider that as being lucky. My utmost favorite thing to bake is bread, and when I found out I was celiac this is what devastated me the most. I thought that my passion of being a bread baker had been crushed and I had to take another route as a baker. Little did I know that baking gluten free bread is just as fun. I will be making this yummy GF Irish Soda Bread from The Peaceful Haven to go along with my bangers and mash (my husband isn't a fan of corned beef and cabbage) and gluten free omission green beer. I will make sure to post a picture of my finished product on my Instagram page @bakercam19.

Enjoy everyone and Happy St. Patricks Day!

irish soda bread

Photo Credit

GLUTEN FREE IRISH SODA BREAD

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free flour mix

2 tsp. xatham gum

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 stick of room temperature butter (1/2 cup) or ghee

2 eggs

3/4 cup milk or unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 TBS. raw honey

1 cup of currants or raisins

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Dump all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until all the ingredients all well combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.

3. Dump the dough onto a terra cotta baking stone. Shape into a circular mound .

4. Bake for 30-45 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Let sit 30 minutes and then eat with butter! YUM!

Rainy Day

rainy day Today the weather gods paid us a visit and delivered snow and rain for the forecast all day long. These are the kinds of days I want to stay home and snuggle up with my boys on the couch and a cozy blanket with a yummy cup of hot chocolate in my favorite tinker bell coffee mug and watch our favorite movies all day. Unfortunately, it was Monday and our responsibilities and activities for the day took precedent and we weren't able to do any of this, but one can simply dream right? I think this goes for most people, but what is it that is so amazing about the smell of rain after it hits the asphalt. It has to be the greatest smell in the whole world. Fortunately, I was able to cuddle up in bed with my puppy babies and a book and listen to the drops hit the window while my little one was taking his afternoon nap. Ahh.. the simple joys in life. I can't imagine that people, who live where it rains all the time, feel the same about this type of weather as I do. If i were to live in one of those places, then I would never get anything done. I would just want to stay at home and soak up every minute of the wet weather.

Here is a yummy gf hot chocolate recipe from belle of the kitchen for you to save for a rainy day. Aren't these so cute?

rainy day 2

Photo Credit

Ingredients Cupcakes: 2 cups cup4cup flour 2 cups granulated sugar ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 eggs 1 cup buttermilk 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup hot water Buttercream: ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 (7 oz) container marshmallow creme 1 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Toppings and decor: Mini candy canes, cut to fit (see note below) Mini marshmallows Chocolate chips Crushed candy canes Instructions Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well. Add in vanilla, eggs, buttermilk, and vegetable oil mixing until smooth. Pour in hot water and mix well. Batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared cupcake liners, about ⅔ full. Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. To make the frosting, beat softened butter with an electric mixer over medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add in marshmallow creme and beat until combined. Finally add in the powdered sugar and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing until smooth. Top the cooled cupcakes with frosting, then sprinkle each one with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and crushed candy canes. Add a candy cane handle by inserting the hook end of the candy cane into the top-side of each cupcake. Enjoy soon after decorating.

 

Oscar Night

oscar night Its Oscar night and every year my in-laws invite everyone over for a big party to watch the awards show. We print out a sheet for each person with the nominations so that you can make your guess at who is going to win each category. My brother-in-law is a huge film buff and beats us all every year. Half the time I’ve only ever seen a couple of the movies up for an Oscar but he tries to make it to the theaters to see every movie in time for the awards show so that he can give his best opinion. Aside from the CMA awards (I’m a big country fan), the Oscars are really the only other awards show I like to watch and it’s extra special that we make a yearly family event out of it. This will be our little ones second Oscar party and every year he has made a point to look the part in his black tie. If you will be watching the Oscars tonight I suggest you make these fancy black tie strawberries to indulge in while you view all the actors and actresses in their fancy black tie. I have made these strawberries on many occasions. I first learned how to make them in pastry school and since then have made them for bridal showers (the strawberry is the groom), amongst many other events and they are always a big hit.

tuxedo strawberries To make these strawberries you need a dark dipping chocolate as well as a white chocolate. I like to use Wilton’s dipping chocolate but if you are really fancy, you can temper your own coverture chocolate. First wash and dry the strawberries. Then dip each strawberry fully into the white chocolate and let dry. Next dip each strawberry at an angle on either side to make the tux jacket. Let each strawberry completely dry. Cut and make a few parchment bags. Fill a parchment bag with melted chocolate and snip a tiny hole at the end of the bag. Make a bow and a few buttons and voilà , you have a tuxedo strawberry fit to attend your oscar party.

<3 day

valentines heart pic Happy Valentine's Day to you all! This is one of my utmost favorite holidays and it's not just because it's a day to celebrate love, that should be everyday, but it's one of the best baking days of the year! From confections to pastries to share with your loved ones or just to consume yourself, it truly is one of the best holidays when it comes to being a baker. I will never forget when I worked at the casino bakery and Sunday brunch was our time to shine and show the world what we were capable of. Our chef let us have free reign, and my last Sunday before leaving the bakery was Valentine's Day brunch and it was my absolute favorite brunch I had partaken in and the best way to go out from this job. It also helps that my favorite color is pink and Valentine's is of course filled with lots of pink and red. Last Valentine's Day, my husband and I only had our son for just over a month long. I had thrown a big sip and see Valentine's Day party for all of our friends and family to come over and meet our new addition. Unfortunately my husband had to leave half way though the party and work, when he had returned he seemed to have forgotten all about V-Day even though he had been hyping it up all week. I don't really blame him though, becoming a new parent and working hard tends to jumble your mind and you often forget. To make it up to me this year he is taking me to one of my favorite places just the two of us for a fun romantic get away. I'm truly such a lucky girl to have such an amazing man that loves me and spoils me. To all of you with a significant other I hope they spoil you just as much as my hubby spoils me and to those without a significant other, go out and spoil yourself and remember how loved you are in this life even if it's not by a partner, there are plenty of people who love you including me! I fell in love with these Valentine's Day macarons from Sugar and Cloth her video tutorial are as follows and you can find the recipe for these from Veras Cookbook! Make them for the gluten free someone you love! Enjoy everyone and happy Valentine's Day! <3

valentines macarons

https://youtu.be/3uNsGmaUSQE

Super Bowl Celebrating

super bowl 50 Happy Super bowl Sunday everyone! Who is your team this year that you are hoping to win? My family is hoping that the broncos take the victory. We of course are 49er faithful but my husband went to college in Colorado and we think it would be pretty awesome to see Peyton Manning end his career with a win. Every super bowl for the last 4 or 5 years we have competed with our friends in an annual chili cook off. For the past two years we have come in second place and have never taken the win. This year I think I found the recipe that is going to declare us the victors (fingers crossed). I also made my infamous football chocolate covered strawberries to pass around, they are so cute and easy and always a big hit. On top of watching football and judging chili, our amazing hosts find ways to give back. One of my dearest friends works for the girl scouts organization and the money that we bet on for squares and pledges goes to this amazing philanthropy. What kinds of things does your family do on super bowl Sunday? What are the parties like that you attend? Maybe you can find a way to incorporate some of the party traditions that I 've mentioned into your next Super Bowl celebration.

chocolate strawberriesFor my football chocolate strawberries, I washed all the strawberries and patted them dry with a paper towel. I lined a baking sheet with parchment and melted a bag of Wilton's dipping chocolate into a bowl. I dipped the strawberries and scraped the bottoms on the lip of the bowl and set onto parchment baking sheet. After dipping all the strawberries I melted 1/2 a bag of Wilton's white chocolate and filled a parchment bag full and cut a small hole at the tip of the bag and started drawing the lines on the strawberries to make it look like the laces of a football. If you get chocolate feet on your strawberries after they dry, use a warm pairing knife to cut the feet off. Enjoy and go Broncos!

 

Photo credit

Junking Joy

This weekend was filled with so much fun. Aside from baking and being a mommy my next favorite thing to do is Antiquing. Yesterday one of my dear friends and I took a trip to meet my Aunt in northern California and we went on a Junking excursion and found lots of fun treasures. I love the idea of turning what someone would say is a piece of junk, into something beautiful and thinking of that piece of junk that I have acquired and all the life that it’s lived, and who else aside from me has loved it in it’s past. While we were having a fun girls time junking, my amazing husband drove ten hours round trip to pick up our new home away from home, a 1968 forester canned ham trailer. I am absolutely obsessed. I have wanted one of these beauties for quit sometime and this incredible man of mine made it happen for me. The outside is painted white and outlined in a fire engine red. It is so cute and so retro and we can’t wait for the weather to warm up and get our glamping on. I’m already planning a trip to Jo Ann’s this week to start picking out fabrics to decorate the inside and make it extra adorable. This camper is definitely one of my favorite antique treasures thus far. To celebrate our new canned ham camper I am going to leave you with this adorable inspiration picture of retro camper cookies that I found on Pinterest. You can buy a camper cookie cutter to make these cookies from cheapcookiecutters.com. Below I have provided you with a gluten free recipe for sugar cookies from Faithfully Gluten Free and Sweet Ambs has an excellent tutorial and recipe for royal icing. Have fun with these. Decorate them how you would love your dream camper to look.

camper cookies

 

Ingredients 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but good) 2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract 1 large egg 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 1/3 cup white rice flour (200 grams) 2/3 cup tapioca starch (95 grams) 2/3 cup potato starch (not flour) (125 grams) 1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum Instructions

1.In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the softened butter and sugar until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and add the extracts and the egg. Mix just until blended. 2.In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder, rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and xanthan gum. 3.With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix just until the dough comes together. 4.Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, and wrap tightly before refrigerating for at least 1 hour. This will help your butter to solidify and help your cookies to keep their shape while baking. 5.When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. 6.Working with a quarter of the dough at a time, roll the dough to about 3/8-inch thick between two sheets of plastic wrap, dusting with a small amount of sweet rice flour if necessary. Cut to desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheets, leaving 2-inches between cookies. You can re-roll the scraps until all the dough has been used. 7.Bake in preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. The cookies should just barely be turning brown around the edges, and have just a light brown colour on the bottom of the cookie. 8.Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating with icing or storing in an air-tight container.

Here is a picture of our new camper!

new camper

Pie Day

pie post In honor of national pie day on Saturday I want to share a throwback, because it is throwback Thursday,  from a fourth of July wedding I did and would like to share one of my all time favorite pie recipes. Pie is the ultimate comfort food in my opinion and seems to be so underrated as far as desserts go in this world. Pie seems to take a backseat. You don't ever seem to see many dedicated pie shops like you would see cupcakeries and pie is such a classic go to dessert that is loved by most. I believe there is something truly amazing and beautiful about making a pie. When you make the dough from scratch it is a long process because you often times have to let it cool over night, so you have to plan ahead when making your pie. The type of pie and filling you choose can vary from a berry, to an apple, to pumpkin, to a pecan, to a moose, to peach, the list goes on and on. And then the topping you choose can also vary from a whipped cream, a crumble, a lattice, a full dough top, or you can just leave it blank. You can choose to decorate you edges with a braid or even imprint it with a fork. The possibilities are endless,  you can let your creativity flow and the outcome is beautiful and delicious.

My throwback Thursday goes to a beautiful fourth of July wedding I had the honor of, not only attending, but making the cake and 130 cherry pies in a jar. They were incredibly easy to do and adored by all the guests. Pictures are as followed. I also want to share this delectable recipe from Gimme Some Oven. After making this recipe and sharing it between my husband and I, the entire pie was gone in just a day. It is so yummy and so easy to make.

I would love to here some of your favorite types of pies and if you loved this recipe as much as we did. Enjoy everyone and happy pie day!!

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Ingredients:

4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened 1 1/2 cups ultrafine (or you could substitute granulated) sugar 1 tsp. vanilla extract 4 eggs, room temperature (optional) 1/4 tsp. espresso powder 1 fully pre-baked 9-inch pie shell (gluten free homemade recipe or a gluten free shell) 3 cups whipped cream 1 chocolate bar, roughly chopped or shaved or melted into chocolate curls

DIRECTIONS:

Heat chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second intervals, stirring between, until completely melted. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes until it is room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. When melted chocolate has cooled, gradually add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat the mixture on medium-low speed until thoroughly until combined. Add vanilla and beat until combined

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Farewell To Snape

harry potter Are you all still distraught over the fact that Alan Rickman passed away yesterday? I know I sure am. I was just so sad to hear that the beloved yet scary Professor Snape was gone from this world. If you grew up loving Harry Potter as much as I, then I'm sure you feel my pain. To honor his beloved character I'm going to cozy up with my family this weekend and throw a "Farewell to Snape" tribute by watching a Harry Potter marathon. If you plan on joining me then I encourage you to make this yummy recipe for butter beer cupcakes from The Collegiate Baker. These super cute and yummy cupcakes are sure to settle the grief you are enduring. I altered the recipe to make them gluten free friendly by switching out the flour for cup4cup flour. If you don't have this gluten free flour in your pantry, then you need to grab your keys and get in your car and head to Whole Foods immediately or simply log into your amazon account and buy it there. It truly changes your world when it comes to baking gluten free. The flour allows you to directly switch out all purpose flour in essentially any recipe. It's absolutely amazing stuff.

butterbeercupcakes03c

Photo Credit

butterbeer cupcakes

2 cups cup4cup all purpose flour 1 tsp gf baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 cup oil 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 cup butterscotch schnapps 1/2 cup cream soda (I used A&W)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with paper liners. 2. In one bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Careful whisk them together. 3. In another medium-sized bowl, combine both sugars, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until just combined. 4. Add half the dry ingredients, half the butterscotch schnapps, and half the cream soda. Mix well. 5. Add the second half of the dry ingredients, butterscotch schnapps, and cream soda. Mix until incorporated. 6. Transfer cake batter to cupcake pans, filling each liner about 2/3 full. 7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake and it comes out clean. 8. Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. butterscotch schnapps frosting 1 cup butter, room temperature 2 tbsp butterscotch schnapps 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar Yellow sugar sprinkles (optional)

1. Cream butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. 2. Add the butterscotch schnapps and vanilla extract. Mix well.e 3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, starting on the lowest setting until the powdered sugar is mostly combined. Bump up the speed to medium-high. Mix well and scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix for two more minutes. 4. If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Or if the frosting is too thick, add one tablespoon of schnapps at a time until the desired consistency is reached. 5. Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round open tip. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. 6. Sprinkle with yellow sugar sprinkles. white chocolate wings 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted parchment bag Clear sugar sprinkles, optional Parchment paper or wax paper Stencils of wings (here & here)

1. Measure one cup of white chocolate chips and melt them according to the directions on the back of the package. Make sure you use a microwave safe bowl to melt the chocolate. 2. Let the chocolate cool for a minute. While it's cooling, lay the stencils on a flat surface and place a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper over them. You should be able to clearly see the stencils underneath. 3. Transfer white chocolate to parchment bag and snip off a tiny piece of one of the corners. 4. Trace the wings and immediately sprinkle them with the clear sugar sprinkles. If you wait until you've traced all the wings, the chocolate will probably be too hard and the sprinkles won't stick. 5. Transfer the chocolate wings to the refrigerator or freezer for about 10 minutes. They should be solid enough to pick up. 6. Add the wings to the snitch cupcakes and enjoy!

He's One!!

IMG_0278 This has truly been an exciting day but an emotional one at that.There is no greater moment in life than that of becoming a parent and this time last year I experienced that moment and I have been reminiscing of that special time all day long. I will never forget the wave of emotions that washed over me the second I heard his cry. We had gone through such a rough battle and to finally bring this beautiful boy into the world was absolutely incredible. It has truly been the greatest year of our lives. This child has taught us patience, strength, caring, and the meaning of unconditional love. He has brought so much joy into our lives and we are so great full that the universe chose us to be his parents!

Today we threw a proper first birthday bash for our little man. We invited all of our closest family and friends of course and the turnout was astounding to say the least. It is so amazing the love and support that we have from the beautiful people that surround us in our lives. The theme was a football theme relaying to the fact that the playoffs were on today. For dessert (because dessert should always be first) I made gluten free chocolate cupcakes, popcorn boxes, and football chocolate covered strawberries. I made a small smash cake for our little one to go crazy with, but he ended up eating the cake instead of smashing it (I guess he likes mommy's baking). For lunch we had a chili bar equipped with hot dogs, fries, and baked potatoes for our guests to choose to put their chili on, as well as different yummy topping such as: cheese, sour cream, onions, and corn chips. This was super easy to do and the feedback from my guests made me think it was a success. The planning that commenced for this party made me think I was throwing more of a wedding than a birthday but overall it was an incredible day and one we will remember forever. Pictures of our party and the desserts I prepared are following. My advice to parents is to soak up every second of your little ones first year and those that follow. Time definitely flies by way to fast especially when you are having so much fun. If you have any questions on how I made anything please feel free to ask.

Happy first birthday little bug! We love you so much!

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