Cranberry Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats {Gluten Free}

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Cranberry Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats {Gluten Free}
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
(white or dark chocolate/regular or mini)
6 cups Nature’s Path Rice Crisp cereal
(we like to combine Koala Crisp Cereal and Rice Crisp Cereal)
3/4 cup dry cranberries

Method
Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
In a large pan on the stovetop, melt the butter over low heat.
Add the marshmallows.
Stir until the mixture is melted, hot, and smooth.
Add the vanilla.
Add the chocolate chips, rice cereal, and cranberries.
Stir until the cereal is uniformly combined with the marshmallow mixture.
Add mixture to the buttered pan.
Evenly distribute the mixture and press it down into the pan with buttered fingers, a piece of waxed paper, or a spatula.
Let cool and cut into squares.

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Apple Streusel Muffins {Gluten Free}

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Apple Streusel Muffins {Gluten Free}
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup rice milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped apple and/or any fruit you choose

Topping
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons soft butter

Method
Preheat oven to 350˚.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and gently whisk together until combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl combine topping ingredients and set aside for later.
Slowly mix in oil, eggs, milk and vanilla to large dry ingredient bowl.
Once mix is just combined fold in chopped fruit.
Fill greased or tinned muffin pan(s) with batter 3/4 full.
Bake for 10 minutes, pull out and add topping to each muffin.
Bake for about 8 minutes more until muffin seems springy to the light touch.
Remove from oven and let stand for a least 5 minutes on wire rack.
Remove from muffin tins and allow to further cool on rack.
Serve and enjoy!

Note: makes about 16 regular muffins

Four Bean Baked Beans

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Four Bean Baked Beans

8 bacon slices
1 onion (optional)
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 Tablespoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dark molasses
15 ounces red kidney beans
15 ounces black beans
15 ounces northern beans
15 ounces pinto beans
1 stalk celery, minced
1/4 cup bell pepper, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
(We use Wright’s All natural Hickory Seasoning Liquid Smoke)

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cook bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat until crisp.
Using tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Crumble bacon and reserve.
Add onion and garlic (if using) and cook and medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Add dry mustard and thyme and stir 1 minute. Mix in tomato paste, vinegar, molasses, bacon, liquid smoke, all beans and a little water (if needed).
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover pot and bake bean mixture as long as desired (45 minutes on up to 8 hours), stirring occasionally and adding more water if mixture seems dry.
We love to bake this a day ahead for 8 hours, refrigerate overnight and then reheat for 45 minutes before serving.

Notes:
This recipe can be made garlic and onion free and still tastes delicious!
Serves 4 to 6.

Four Bean Baked Beans before the big mix and bake.

Avocado Dip

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Avocado Dip
3 medium avocados
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon cumin

Method
Cut the avocados in half
Remove the pits, reserving 1 to a medium bowl.
Scoop avocado meat into bowl with pit.
Gently mash avocados with a spoon.
Add lemon juice, salt, chili and cumin.
Stir lightly to combine.
Serve immediately and enjoy.

Waffles {Gluten Free}

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Waffles {Gluten Free}
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk (we use rice milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flax meal (optional)

Method
Mix all ingredients together with a whisk.
Pour into preheated oiled waffle iron, in batches.
Eat or cool on wire racks to store in refrigerator or to freeze later.

Notes:
Add a bit more milk if too thick or a bit of rice flour if too runny.
Can be made without eggs, if necessary; just add a little more liquid to make up for them.

Rhubarb Crumble Muffins {Gluten Free}

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Rhubarb Crumble Muffins
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup rice milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb, apple and/or any fruit you choose

Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons soft butter

Method
Preheat oven to 350˚.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and gently whisk together until combined.
Make a well in the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl combine topping ingredients and set aside for later.
Slowly mix in oil, eggs, milk and vanilla to large dry ingredient bowl.
Once mix is just combined fold in chopped fruit.
Fill greased or tinned muffin pan(s) with batter 3/4 full.
Bake for 10 minutes, pull out and add topping to each muffin.
Bake for about 8 minutes more until muffin seems springy to the light touch.
Remove from oven and let stand for a least 5 minutes on wire rack.
Remove from muffin tins and allow to further cool on rack.
Serve and enjoy!

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

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We recently visited Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. The Zoo happened to be celebrating the 1st Birthday of their two tiger cubs, Bima and Mali.

Bima enjoying his 1st Birthday Treat

It was a gorgeous day of celebration and our girls had so much fun discovering all the wonderful zoo animal ambassadors. Serissa especially enjoyed the walk through Budgie Aviary.

Serissa watching the Budgies do their thing.

Please visit our Flickr Photo Page to view all our photos from our lovely day at the Zoo.

The Gamble Family at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins {Gluten Free}

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Dark Chocolate Chip Muffins {Gluten Free}

1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus dark chocolate chips

Method
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.
Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
Fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
Coat muffin cups with cooking spray; fill three-fourths full with batter.
Bake at 350° for 12-16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Serissa loves Chocolate just as much as her Mommy!

Fresh Strawberry Cake {Gluten Free}

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Fresh Strawberry Cake {Gluten Free}
2 cups gluten-free flour
(we used a combination of brown rice flour & sweet sorghum flour)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 ounces strawberry gelatin
(we use Better Bowls Gelatin Dessert Mix)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2/3 cup oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (16 ounce) container fresh organic strawberries (pureed)

Method
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
Slowly add oil, eggs, vanilla and mix at a medium speed for 2 minutes.
Then gently fold in the strawberries.
Pour into two greased 9-inch pans or (2) 12-cup cupcake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (35 minutes for a 9×13 pan; 20 minutes for cupcakes).
Let cake(s) stand in pan for 5 minutes.
Then turn out onto cooling racks until fully cool.
Frost with whatever frosting you choose.

*Note: We frosted ours with homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting and topped with Fresh Organic Strawberries

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
1/2 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons butter, softened

Method
Combine all ingredients in bowl.
Beat at low speed to mix.
Beat at high speed until smooth and fluffy, approximately 5-10 minutes.
If too stiff, beat in a few drops of water.

Serissa enjoying her Strawberry Cupcake in honor of her Auntie's 30th Birthday

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake {Gluten Free}

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Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake {Gluten Free}

Crust
1 cup (5oz) finely ground graham crackers or cookies (we use gluten free cookies)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Sauce
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar

Cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 packages (32 ounces total) cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

Pot of boiling water, for the roasting pan

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

Place a 9″ spring form pan onto a double layer of wide aluminum foil or use a high-sided cake pan.
If using a spring form pan wrap up the sides of the pan to make it water tight. You don’t want any foil seams or edges on the bottom or low on the sides of the pan, or water may creep in while it is baking.

Combine the graham crackers or cookies, 2 tablespoons sugar and the melted butter in a large bowl and mix.
Firmly press the crumbs into the bottom of your cake pan. We find that a flat bottomed pint glass is useful for pressing the crumbs evenly and tightly into the pan.

Bake the crust until set, roughly 10 minutes and then allow it to cool on a wire rack.

Reduce your oven’s temperature to 325°F.

Purée the raspberries and then strain out the seeds and any solids.
Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the strained puree.
Pour into a small sauce pan and bring the raspberry sauce to a bare simmer over medium low heat.
Reduce the sauce for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened slightly and then set aside to cool.

In the bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy (roughly 3 minutes).
Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a slow steady stream.
Beat in the salt and vanilla and then on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at at time.
Adding the next after the first has been incorporated.
Take care not to over mix as the eggs can trap air in the batter and this leads to all sorts of cheesecake trouble.

Once you’ve mixed in the last egg, pour the batter into your prepared crust.
Dot the top of the batter with drops of the raspberry sauce and with a knife or wooden skewer, swirl the surface of the batter to create the marbled effect.
Reserve the remaining sauce for garnishing later.

Set the cake into a large roasting pan and place into the oven.
Carefully ladle the boiling water into the roasting pan.
Fill the pan no higher than the lowest edge of the foil, or you run the risk of baking a cheesecake soup.

Bake until the cake is puffy and set but the center is still has a slight wobble.
This will take approximately 65 minutes.

If your oven tends to brown your cheesecake, lightly tent the pan with foil.

Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Transfer the cake to the refrigerator and allow to chill overnight (or a minimum of 6 hours).

To serve, run a knife around the edge of the cake to release from the pan and remove the spring form collar.