October 20, 2016


EJ - CCCC (22)October’s flavors for the #ImprovCookingChallenge are curry and carrots. Curry is not an ingredient our family uses much, however. I tried a batch of crackers where I toasted spices & ground our own curry powder; but alas, they taste so overwhelmingly of corriander and will probably sit on the counter until thrown on the compost heap…EJ - CCCC (1)
For the next batch I decided to add a flavor which often is used along with curry dishes: coconut! EJ - CCCC (7)
Coconut flour is normally difficult to work with because it soaks up whatever liquid might be in a recipe. (I so wish to forget the first coconut flour baked donuts I attempted…) This property, though, is a plus when it comes to working with raw carrots & crackers.EJ - CCCC (10)
You might wonder at the lack of salt in my recipe. Because the hubs is supposed to be low-sodium, I decided to add just a hint of it for a topper. You certainly could add it to the dough if you desired. The smoked sesame seeds add such an interesting flavor dimension to the cracker.EJ - CCCC
I don’t believe these will make it to the compost pile…EJ - CCCC (25)
In fact, the crumbs are being scooped into mouths right now!EJ - CCCCrecipe
Check out the following links for more carrot & curry recipes:

October 19, 2016

GF Red Velvet Cheesecake

EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecake (46)Well, today is my final post for #Choctoberfest2016 … BTW – Did you enter the Rafflecopter drawing for the prize pack worth $350? (The drawing was extended to October 22nd because of weather/transportation/shipping issues related to Hurricane Matthew…) 14441212_996776515089_3185670107435955211_n
I’m pretty sure I saved the best for last!EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecake (27)
This cheesecake…
EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecake (34)OH!MY!
Let’s start with the crust:
stir together
  • 2 c. almond meal
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. honey
Prepare the bottom (parchment or butter) of 9” springform. Combine ingredients until crumbly. Press firmly into pan.EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecakecrustFor the cheesecake:
in the mixer
  • 24 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 11/2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c. Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 T. baking cocoa mixed with 2 oz. red food coloring
  • 1 t. white vinegar with 1/4 t. baking soda
Cream the sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in the remaining ingredients just until everything is well-combined. Scrape batter onto prepared crust. Bake in pre-heated 350° oven for ten minutes, then reduce temperature to 300°. Bake for 75 minutes, or until firm in the center. Turn oven off, but let the cheesecake stand in there for 30 minutes. Remove to rack & let cool completely. Cover & chill in refrigerator while making the Ermine Icing.
EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecake.jpgYou absolutely can not top a cheesecake with cream cheese frosting! And you should never, really, top a red velvet anything with something other than the traditional boiled milk icing. (The gentle cocoa flavor just gets too overwhelmed…) Trust me on this. {end rant Winking smile}
for the icing:
  • 3 T. gf flour (I used this)
  • 2 T. arrowroot starch
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk the flour & starch into the milk. Heat until it simmers, stirring constantly until it becomes thick like pudding. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Pour into a bowl & cover surface with plastic wrap and cool completely.
In the mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light & fluffy. Beat for five minutes.
While the mixer is running (medium speed) add the cooled milk mixture about a quarter cup at a time. Beat until mixture is light & fluffy and resembles whipped cream. Top cheesecake and refrigerate.EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecakeErmine
The next time I attempt this cheesecake (and, there will be a next time!) I will probably add more cocoa. The chocolate flavor disappeared behind the cream cheese… But I had no complaints from the taste-testers.EJ-gfRedVelvetCheesecake (44)
Check out the #Choctoberfest links below:

October 14, 2016

German Chocolate Cake Pops, gluten-free


EJ-gfGermanChocCakePop (adapted from gluten-free girl)

14441212_996776515089_3185670107435955211_nOn this fourth recipe for #Choctoberfest I decided I would try something along the lines of my grandma’s favorite cake, which was German Chocolate. But one slice was always a little bit too much sticky sweetness for me; so I decided I would turn it into a cute little round “cakelet” one can pop into one’s mouth.


for the cake:

Whisk together in mixing bowl:

  • 2½ c. gf flour blend
  • 1½ t. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 c. sugar
  • ½ c. baking cocoa
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 t. baking soda

In separate bowl combine:

  • 2/3 c. coconut oil
  • 2 t. vinegar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 c. cold water

Pour this liquid into the flour mixture and beat for about a minute. Scrape the batter into greased pan(s) and bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for 35-40 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Let cake cool completely.

to make the pops:

Add 1 c. brown sugar to 1 c. cream, heating only to dissolve sugar. Let cool.EJ-gfGermanChocCakePop (5) Crumble cake into mixing bowl. Add 1 cup dried coconut flakes, 1 small box (instant) chocolate pudding and the sugar/cream mixture. Stir on low until well combined. Roll into balls and chill to firm. (makes about 5 dozen)EJ-gfGermanChocCakePop (13)

Melt 12 oz. milk chocolate with 1½ t. coconut oil in double boiler. In a separate dish combine 1 c. chopped pecans with 1 c. dried coconut flakes.EJ-gfGermanChocCakePopdip

Dip tip of candy stick into chocolate and insert in cake balls. Chill until set.EJ-gfGermanChocCakePop (14)Dip balls into chocolate and then in the coconut/pecan mixture. Chill until set.EJ-gfGermanChocCakePop (20)

Make sure you check out all those delicious #Choctoberfest recipes below:

October 12, 2016

GF Mexican Chocolate Churros

EJ--MexChocChur (23)Well, have you entered the Rafflecopter giveaway for #Choctoberfest2016 yet? You should probably do that here right now! The sponsors have some great prizes they would love to send you…14441212_996776515089_3185670107435955211_n
This is the third day of our chocolate celebration, so I wanted to try something to put a little “pep” into the middle of your week. The subtle cayenne addition will wake your mouth up! (But you can soothe it with our luscious dairy-free caramel sauce, if you’d like…)
Gluten-Free Mexican Chocolate Churros
Whisk together in mixing bowl:
    • 1 c. gf flour
    • 1/2 c. arrowroot starch
    • 2 T. baking cocoa powder
    • 2 t. cinnamon
    • 1/4 t. cayenne
    • 1/2 t. espresso powder
Heat to rolling boil in microwave-safe cup:
    • 1 c. water
    • 1/2 c. butter
    • 2 T. brown sugar
    • 1/4 t. kosher salt
Pour boiling liquid ingredients onto dry ingredients, add 1/2 t. almond extract and beat until smooth. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating until the dough is shiny after each addition. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Pipe 6-inch length of dough into 350° oil, and fry both sides. Drain excess oil and dredge in 1/2 c. Demerara sugar mixed with 1 t. cinnamon. Serve immediately.EJ--MexChocChur (4)Our gluten-free churro batter was a little too thin to pipe with the star tip, so we had to improvise with a ribbon shape using this wonderful little Wilton candy-melt tool:20161012_130203
Dairy-free Caramel Sauce  (adapted from a Silk® recipe)
Stir together in saucepan:
    • 1 c. sugar
    • 1/4 c. water
    • 1/4 t. lime juice (to inhibit crystallization)
Heat on medium for about 15 minutes without stirring, or until the mixture turns amber. Remove from heat and stir in:
    • 1/2 c. Silk® Coconutmilk (watch out! it will bubble up – just keep stirring until smooth.)
  • 2 T. coconut oil
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
Stir to combine, then serve immediately.20161012_130303
The churros taste so wonderful on their own – but when you dip them in that caramel sauce… ohhhhhhhhhh!
Thank you for joining us today! Make sure you check out some more #Choctoberfest recipes by following the links below:

October 11, 2016

GF Lucky Jack® Wacky Cake

luckywackyWell, here we are – 2nd day of #Choctoberfest and I promised you a simple cake. (Oh, by the way, did you enter that Rafflecopter to win prizes from our sponsors? You can find it here.)14441212_996776515089_3185670107435955211_n

Wacky Cake was developed during the Depression when often you couldn’t afford to use eggs or milk in your desserts. I’m always amazed at how deliciously moist this cake can be – and even more so because I made this one with gluten-free flour!110Also impressive is the fact that you don’t dirty any extra utensils. I just used an 8x8 glass dish & a fork (aside from measuring cups & spoons, that is…)

You’ll need to pre-heat your oven to 350°. Into the dish (don’t even need to grease it!) you’re going to measure:

You could sift this all together, but I just dumped it in & mixed carefully (that dish might not be as deep as you think…) with a dinner fork. After it’s thoroughly blended, you’ll need to make three holes, or “wells,” in the powder.

Into the first you will put 1 t. Kahlúa (mine is home-made, leftover from Christmas gifts…) and in the second you’ll pour 1/3 c. coconut oil (melted) and 1 T. vinegar goes in the last. (Don’t be surprised if that one fizzes a bit with the presence of the soda.) Lastly, you will pour one cup of Lucky Jack® Double Black over all the ingredients. (Unfortunately, I’m afraid you’ll just have to drink the remaining 2 oz.)112

Carefully stir until everything is completely combined. Pop it in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a pick comes out clean. Let cool.115(mine cracked a bit… No worries! We’ll soon cover that up!)

119While your cake is baking, measure out 2 T. whipping cream and dissolve 1 t. instant coffee crystals.119 After the cake has cooled, pour 2 c. cold whipping cream, 3 T. honey and the dissolved instant coffee into the Blendtec (or food processor, or mixer, or metal bowl with French whisk…)120Seriously, 5 or 6 seconds on “high” gave me luscious Honey Java Whipped Cream. (Please ignore that finger-swipe strange crease, I have no idea how it got in there!)126Toss a dollop on a slice of cake and you’re ready for a tea coffee party!

Check out all of today’s #Choctoberfest recipe links below:

October 10, 2016


madmaxish (21)Long, long time ago, when my baby boys were born, I had hopes and dreams of nurturing three members of a boys’ choir…
exor even a concert pianist.
The good Lord knew I would’ve been so puffed up with pride thinking my musical genes created this wünderkind trio…easter3boyzHe instead gave me the usual reluctant students who refused to practice unless threatened with dire video-game grounding.
…that is, until the two younger ones discovered competition percussion!alecNow our middle child is a student at Grand Canyon University.AlecHe is a member of the Thundering Heard Pep Band.
So Friday night was the school’s annual Midnight Madness (which celebrates the NCAA rule on first open basketball practice) The theme this year was the “APOCALOPES” (refering to the fourth & last year of D-1 probation!)tshirt
My son asked me way back during band camp if I would come up with a Mad Max-ish/Steam Punk-ish costume for the night. So, over the next few months I shopped Goodwill, and came up with a plan which included a steam punk-ished up rubberband bazooka:guna steam punk-ished up pair of welding goggles from Harbor Freight:gogglesa Silhouette-cut ‘Lopes Rising temporary tribal tattoo:madmaxish (10)and his big brother’s work boots…madmaxish (22)All in all it was a good look for him madmaxish (26)“LOPES UP”madmaxish (27)
But this is what we saw of him from the parents’ section…madmaxish (32)
…except for the many times the cameras caught him on the big screens!madmaxish (33)He’s the one playing First Bass (smallest upright drum) at the end of his row.
Hopefully you can catch a glimpse of him in this video of their show: