Apple? Cheddar? Bacon? Together? Yes!

Yes, I was excited when I read the title of the recipe too. Those three yummy tastes in one loaf of bread? It’s too good to be true.

I had no intention of making this today. I had two other things lined up for the oven in preparation for tomorrow. But I made the mistake of browsing Pinterest this morning and I just couldn’t resist adding this to the menu too. The popover recipe (which I’ll show ya below) only makes six. So this will augment that so everyone gets their fill of carbs.

DSC_5333

DSC_5346

DSC_5337

So here are those popovers I mentioned above. I love popovers. I don’t know why it took me so long to bake my own, but I’ve been hooked ever since. So easy! And delicious. And addictive. These were supposed to feature four different herbs, but fresh chive and dill were the only ones I had. I haven’t tried them yet since we’re saving them for tomorrow, but they smell divine. So they can’t taste bad, right?

DSC_5315

DSC_5319

DSC_5316

In the spirit of working backward here, which seemed necessary so that I could feature the bacon-oriented food at the beginning of the post, this was where I started this afternoon. Dev asked for apple pie for dessert. Poking around on Pinterest (yes, again), I discovered this clever take that seemed a bit more fun. And possibly less bothersome when it comes to crusts and such. Also, Grandpa is diabetic and I wanted an option with less sugar, and this seemed like it would work nicely.

So I give you…the making of gluten-free apple pie crostatas.

DSC_5287

DSC_5311

DSC_5330

And now that the baking is finally done, I’m going to relax and enjoy this spring weather. Wishing you and your family a happy Easter!

Now for the cinnamon rolls

You know how you realize something is probably not good for you, but it looks so tasty, that you decide to go ahead and make it anyway? That’s where I was with these cinnamon rolls.

I’ve never made cinnamon rolls before. I haven’t eaten that many either, to be honest. Most of the bakeries near me bake up versions that are as big as your head. I tend to be a more modest eater of baked goods.

But I saw a photo on Pinterest and it just called to me. The recipe seemed pretty straightforward too. So there ya go…I had to do it.

DSC_5016
DSC_5019

I got a bit discouraged at this point when I realized I now had to roll all of this dough up into a log. I was right to be wary, too, since the dimensions I’d been instructed to roll to made for some pretty thing dough. Dev walked by when I was in the midst of it and about to give up and said, “You’re doing great, Mama!” So I persisted and grabbed dough from the ends to cover all of the spots where the brown sugar was tumbling out.

DSC_5020-2

And that’s why my log looks a little, um, homely. I figured no one would really care about the appearance if they actually tasted good.

DSC_5027-2DSC_5028DSC_5033DSC_5038DSC_5044

And they did! Taste good, that is. Not just good. Really good. I had to make myself stop picking at them while they were cooling.

Of course, just because they’re gluten-free doesn’t mean they’re better for you. Uh-uh. These clocked in at more than 400 calories each. So I’ve been trolling around for some alternative recipes that might make me feel a bit less guilty. But I don’t really regret trying this out. Especially when Dev requested one for breakfast the next day.

DSC_5052

Kiss us, we’re Irish

devcollage

We are waiting, sort of patiently, for spring to arrive. I think this past winter (it’s officially spring, so I think I’m allowed to put it in the past, cold temps withstanding) will be one for the record books. Well, at least I hope it will. If I have that to look forward to for the next winter season, I’m seriously contemplating moving the entire family south. Forever!

OK…drama’s over.

St. Patty’s Day is a spring-oriented holiday, yes? Our neighbors had a gathering and I made these strange-looking mint cheesecake cups. They weren’t a big hit. Because if you saw these next to some perfectly decorated, decadent-looking brownies, you’d probably choose the brownies. But I promise…they taste pretty good. Mine didn’t look nearly as nice as the ones on the blog where I got the recipe. I believe some extra spinning in the food processor might be called for next time.

DSC_4964

Also, these are vegan cheesecake cups and made with only natural sugars. Unlike the cinnamon rolls I made yesterday (with photos to come), which came out to 440 calories per roll! So good, but so full of sugar. I’ve been a sugar fiend for my entire life and my attempt to reduce my intake is genuine, but not an easy feat. I know I feel better when I eat less of it, though, so the cinnamon rolls will be a rare treat.

I didn’t take the irish soda bread to the party. For two reasons. One, it’s gluten-free and I’m the only one who in that circle who needs to eat that way. The other reason is that it turned out so well that I kinda wanted to keep it to myself. So I did! (Well, I did share with my husband. The kid didn’t really care one way or the other. ) I found another recipe last week that I’m also going to try. This one has raisins. It sounds pretty temping too.

DSC_4985

More potatoes and a candle

Since my last potato post, we went on a vacation. But I’ll go against my instincts of posting in chronological order and share today’s meal first. Because it was super easy to make and super delicious.

Red potatoes + sweet potatoes = potato goat cheese gratin. The original recipe called for squash, but my two guys aren’t keen on that particular vegetable. So I improvised. I used a big 13 x 9 dish and we hardly had any leftovers. So a good choice, I’d say! I paired it with grilled chicken and fruit. And followed it with the chocolate goodness below Start scrollin’!

DSC_4930 DSC_4932 DSC_4935

Mousse!

I love mousse. Lots.

This one’s made with tofu. My only beef (food pun) is that it turned out crumbly. That may be operator/chef error. But the taste was delectably awesome. And with his birthday just a couple of days away, Dev decided to make this his first birthday treat by plopping in a Lego candle.

DSC_4939 DSC_4941 DSC_4947

Mr. Potato, I love you!

DSC_4756

I made a mistake the other day that was one of those awesome I’m-glad-I-made-that-mistake mistakes.

You’ve had them, right?

I wanted to make a pizza with potatoes on it. With goat cheese. Doesn’t that sound gooooood? So I was going to roast the potatoes and then bake up the pizza.

Didn’t work. The potatoes started to burn. Ack! Panic! So I grabbed the tray from the oven and tried to rescue the unburned ones. I popped one of the browned potato slices in my mouth and…

Oh.

My.

Goodness.

A potato chip that tasted FAR, FAR better than the potato chips you get in a bag. Why on earth had I never tried this before? Just a little bit of olive oil and some sea salt and I was smitten. Completely and utterly smitten.

Since we have a big ol’ bag of potatoes on the counter right now, tonight I decided to make potato chips on purpose. And, yes, it was the same deliciousness as before. One potato for Devin, one for me. Happy, happy, joy, joy!DSC_4758

Costco love = super-tasty donuts

DSC_4708

I love Costco.

Before we joined, a friend of mine used to go on and on and on about how much she loved Costco. And it drove me nuts.

“Shut up about Costco!” I wanted to yell. (But I didn’t. Because I love her and that might just have hurt her feelings.)

And now? I totally get it. Two summers ago I found a skort there for $9.99 that ended up being my season staple. Last year they brought back the same brand and style and I bought four more.

What else? Big containers of feta cheese, Amylu’s chicken sausage 4-pack (even though the gouda usually squirts out while eating dinner and nails a fellow family member in the eye), Baking Essentials gluten-free bread, G.H. Cretors Chicago-style mix in gigantic bags (which last about three days, tops, in our house), Starbucks Refreshers by the case and random stuff that pops up that you didn’t know you needed. And books. Reasonably priced books.

As I was perusing the book section just a couple of weeks ago, I came across Against All Grain, a book I’d heard about from the author’s website. (I have plenty of her recipes pinned on my GF boards.) It was just $19.97, which seemed a pretty decent price for a book that seemed to have a lot of tasty recipes within.

And as soon as I bought a couple of items that I was lacking, I mixed up these DONUTS. (She spells them doughnuts, but I’ve always been a fan of the shorter version.)

When I mentioned trying the recipe, Dev was thrilled of course. But I wasn’t sure if he’d like them. He’s a big glazed-donut fan, and these are more akin to cake donuts. I shouldn’t have worried, though, because he loved them. As you can see below. (The chocolate frosting probably didn’t hurt.)

DSC_4677
DSC_4700
DSC_4690
DSC_4712

I had canned pumpkin coconut milk leftover from the recipe. I was determined not to let them go to waste. So I used the coconut milk in a peanut chicken recipe. And then I found a great use for the pumpkin. Another tasty treat – pumpkin chocolate chip oat bars!

These, too, were awesome. Which might lead you to believe that pumpkin is a fine ingredient to bake with. I’d certainly agree.

DSC_4724
DSC_4718
DSC_4722

The baking was from January, but these nachos I actually made today. (I can’t remember the last time I snapped a photo and blogged about it in the same day, much less the same week!)

These nachos are definitely a bit unorthodox. (And for some reason I only make nachos on Super Bowl Sunday. Must remedy that!) Yes, there are tortilla chips. And salsa (although I use pineapple salsa). And chicken. And cheese. The typical shredded Mexican cheeses and FETA. Because feta rocks, as I mentioned above in my Costco rundown. There is also spinach and one of my favorite ingredients – pineapple tidbits. (They perfectly complemented the salsa, of course.) So it ends up a sweet-salty taste treat.

You may notice that one half of this dish of nachos contains pepperoni. That was a special ingredient to please the 9-year-old. He was indeed pleased.
DSC_4749
DSC_4746

Chocolate chip yumminess

DSC_4626

Amazon delivered my 5-lb. bag of almond flour today.

On the back of said bag of flour was a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Looking through the ingredients I was happy to note that I had everything I needed to make them. So why not, right?

So, so glad that I did. These were guuuuuud!

I ate four.

Really.

It was sad. But not sad, too, because I found another go-to recipe. One which also passed muster with the kiddo, who was a little confused by how soft they were, but otherwise pleased. (These are rather “oily” in consistency when you bake them and they have to set for a bit after you take them out of the oven in order to firm up. I brought Dev his when they were still warm and soft.)

DSC_4653 DSC_4647

And then Nick started goofing around in the kitchen. So I had to include him in the post. DSC_4662

The kitchen has been my friend lately

DSC_4615

I’m not quite sure how my psyche decides when it’s OK with things and when it’s not. There are some days when coming up with a meal just seems like so much effort. And others when it seems to flow perfectly.

These past few weeks my psyche has been good to me. I’ve come across recipes in magazines or on Pinterest and just gone and tackled them. (It helps if you go with options where you have all of the ingredients already on hand.)

The holiday baking was easy and fun. The holiday meals were too – can you say turkey chili and cornbread for Christmas dinner? And tasty sloppy joes for NYE? (Slow cooking counts as cooking as far as I’m concerned.)

The last two days put my resolve to the test, though. We’ve been snowed in. Polar Vortex. -30 below windchills. 9+ inches of the white stuff. No way in h-e-double toothpicks was I going to attempt a trip to the grocery store. And yet I managed to feed my family pretty well.

The first “trapped in our home” evening I mixed up the fixin’s for turkey burgers and Scott grilled them up. Yesterday I made honey garlic chicken, which Devin insisted tasted just like sloppy joes and then requested a bun to go with it, and pineapple rice. And today it was pizza.

Made with the same crust from a previous post.

This is my third time using this recipe. And with good reason. It’s super tasty – and easy! I wasn’t feeling rushed today so I went ahead and documented tonight’s pizza, beginning with the caramelized onions.

DSC_4574

DSC_4576

DSC_4577

A few minutes after I got the onions browning, the smoke detector went off. The one my husband installed IN THE KITCHEN. (This is an on-going argument in our home and I’ll leave it at that.) Since the smoke wasn’t going to dissipate quickly, I had to cut the process short so they didn’t do quite what I wanted them to do. But they worked.

I love the proofing part of baking. You don’t get that a whole lot with gluten-free breads. It’s nice to smell that yeasty smell. And watch it bubbling. DSC_4582

DSC_4584

DSC_4593

DSC_4594

The dough isn’t super sticky with this crust so I just use a bit of brown rice flour on my fingers to press it into the pan.DSC_4597

Here’s the split-personality pizza baking in the oven. Which side do you think belongs to the 9-year-old? (Although he does share with dad, who always nabs a piece of each.)DSC_4599

DSC_4602

With pretty much every holiday, I whip up a fruit salad. And this year we made sure to grab a pomegranate to join the cast. We’ve been gorging on the seeds since Christmas so I topped tonight’s pile o’ fruit with some more. They’re amazingly addictive!DSC_4609

My plate. Filled to the brim! I went with what we had available in the refrigerator, of course. The onions from above, mini bell peppers, spinach, kalamata olives, feta cheese and pine nuts.DSC_4613

Dev got bacon and pineapple – and was pretty geeked about it. He’s a huge bacon fan so these donuts are next up on my list. Hopefully this weekend!DSC_4612

So how was your holiday?

DSC_4522

Ours was pretty sweet. Hee.

No, really. It was quiet, relaxing and rather lovely. I come from an itty-bitty family (just me and my mom) and Scott’s family is spread all over the country. So our celebrations are pretty small and low-key.

I was a little more inclined to bake this year now that I’m more comfortable with the gluten-free flours and methods. Although some of these, such as the chocolaty delights you see below, are just naturally gluten-free – and naturally sinful.

These Faux-Rango Mints were AWESOME. I’ve had a few Frangos in my time (five years in Chicago) and this was an excellent reproduction. Devin crushed the candy canes and sprinkled them on top so I could dip them quickly before the chocolate hardened.

DSC_4530

Had to insert  a couple of pics of my kiddo, who helped with the baking, but was basically so wired about the holiday that it was hard to get him to sit still for long.

two

The biggest surprise of the baking adventures were these cookies. Snowy Lemon Cookies. I made them for Dev because he’s crazy about lemons. I’m a chocolate girl and can’t really relate to the lemony love, but when I took a bite of one of these, I was smitten. So. Good. Make them. I command you.

DSC_4532

DSC_4537

This was another lemony recipe that sounded up his alley, although I’m not tickled with how they turned out. I’ve probably eaten maybe one lemon square in my life so I’m not familiar with the texture, but these were kind of gloppy. You basically had to eat them with a fork. And once the kiddo grabbed his fork, he announced that they were delicious. Way too lemony for me, though. Potently lemon. Pucker-up lemon.

DSC_4544

That wasn’t the only Rice Krispies recipe we tackled. Dev’s plan for Santa (in whom he still seems to believe, even though just a couple of years ago he seemed to be doubting the whole shebang) was to serve up Rice Krispies trees. Decorated with neon-green icing and cinnamon candies. And because he imagined that Santa might be a bit famished after all that sleigh-driving, he left him three. Between these and the lemon cookies – oh, and let’s face it, the mints – I was riding a sugar high for a couple of days. In the spirit of the holiday, of course!

DSC_4553

DSC_4558

Holy butter, Batman!

DSC_4496

I kind of knew better. I pinned these cookies a while back, but I’ve been avoiding them. Why? Because there are 18 tablespoons of butter in the cookie and the frosting combined. Ay-yi-yi!

Before I had to give up gluten, my favorite recipe source was Cooking Light. I like to eat good food, but I prefer it to be the healthier version of that food when possible.

What I’ve found with many gluten-free recipes is that they retain the tasty nature of wheat by dosing the wheat-less version with plenty of sugar. Or butter, in this case. Whatever flour you use is going to taste darn good when paired with lots of chocolate chips or other tempting ingredients.

And that’s fine. There are many people who bake up delicious stuff that would never ever appear in Cooking Light. The food tastes great and everyone should indulge sometimes.

I guess, though, that I’m on the hunt for the gluten-free version of my favorite magazine. And I haven’t yet found it. I did discover some other GF bakers/chefs who have blogs and are focused more on creating more healthful options, but some of the ingredient lists on those are enormous – and intimidating.

I really don’t mean to demonize these cookies. They’re sugar cookies with icing. A typical holiday treat. And they’re darn good. I just think next time around I’m going to try to find a lighter version. Because it’s amazingly hard to resist eating the extra frosting when it tastes so yummy!

DSC_4499DSC_4504

Baking and bothersome cats

Let’s start with the cats, shall we?

It’s the holiday season. We have a new kitten. You can see where this is going right?

He’s only climbed into the tree once, thankfully. He knocks down just one ornament a day. Only two of them have broken so far. (Thank you, Crazy Glue.) He starts from the farthest point, runs super fast, and slides right into the base of the tree. So the gifts have been relocated. As has the tree skirt.

If only it were him, though. The 14-year-old really should know better. I moved the gifts to a bench in the corner and she keeps climbing all over them. And she and the other “adult” cat in our house have both started chewing – and swallowing – the decorative ribbon. Which is not meant to be chewed and swallowed. The stinkers.

Innocent? I think not.
DSC_4404

The senior citizen climbs right up.
DSC_4471

And then they tried to engage in a fight in the midst of the gifts.
DSC_4476

He’s been pretty good.
DSC_4444

And now to the baking…

For Thanksgiving we cooked up cornbread stuffing, sweet potato casserole, popovers and this pie, which I could have eaten by myself in a single sitting (so yummy!). I sadly have no photos of that pie. I don’t have many photos of that day because I was scrambling around so much that the camera was hardly touched. But it was good stuff!

DSC_4429

DSC_4437

The banana bread below looks good, doesn’t it? Well, I didn’t love it. It called for coconut oil, which I’ve been baking with a lot since the gluten-free change. But it came out kind of greasy. So I’m sharing the nice-looking photo and I shall pretend that I made the best banana bread ever.
DSC_4425

These, on the other hand, did not fail. They, in fact, got the thumbs-up from my kiddo, who is slightly afraid of gluten-free baking. (Maybe because of things like the banana bread incident?) Truffle cookies with Kisses. Nom, nom, nom!DSC_4461 DSC_4458 DSC_4457