Friday, November 14, 2014

Truffles, truffles and more truffles.....


Pumpkin truffles

Truffles....bite-sized pieces of amazingness!

I find baking a fun challenge, especially baking gluten-free.  There is something about baking that is thrilling when it is my first time trying something.  It is like I want to be able to prove that I can make something amazing, specifically when it is gluten-free.  You know the reactions you get at parties after you divulge the piece of information that you are gluten-free....either people feel bad for you, or people don't believe you, and just roll their eyes at you, or they even try to explain why it isn't really necessary. And that's ok.  You know why....because people will be so shocked with how good these little bite-sized treats are, they won't care if you are gluten-free or not, they will just want more!

Hot chocolate peppermint truffles

I got the idea to make the pumpkin truffles after a neighborhood children's Halloween parade.  There was a bake sale, and while I usually don't even approach the table, because I know I am not going to be able to eat anything, I decided to take a look, and I saw some adorable little cookie pumpkins.  It listed the ingredients, and while it looked safe to eat, I decided not to risk it, but couldn't wait to look it up when I got home.

White chocolate peppermint truffles

The closest thing I could find were Brazilian brigadeiro, which are little truffles popular at Brazilian parties.  I couldn't wait, I had to try them that night.  The ingredients are simple - sweetened condensed milk (one of the greatest inventions ever!), pumpkin, butter and sugar.  And, wow did they taste delicious. It is impossible to stop at one.  They are the perfect treat to bring to a party!

I couldn't stop there.  With the holidays around the corner and my love for peppermint, I was determined to make a wintery equivalent.

One key thing to keep in mind while making these truffles - you must stir!  And not stop.  So, put on some good music, a good TV show - you will be stirring until they are done.  It doesn't take long, but you can't walk away.  Don't walk away!  You don't want any stickage on the bottom of the saucepan.  Just keep stirring, and you will be pleased you did.


Pumpkin Truffles

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 tablespoon butter
dash of cinnamon
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1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
whole cloves (optional)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly;

Stir for about 20-25 minutes until it thickens, and all comes together in a kind of pumpkin blob;

Remove from heat, and place in a glass bowl to cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes;

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl;

When the pumpkin mixture is chilled, lightly wet your hands and use a teaspoon to scoop up a ball and roll in your hands, and then roll in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Add a clove stem if you would like (but remind people not to eat them);

Place in small paper candy cups.


Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Truffles

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup chocolate powder
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
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1/3 cup candy cane sugar (recipe)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly;

Stir for about 15 minutes until it thickens, and all comes together in a chocolate blob;

Remove from heat, and place in a glass bowl to cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes;

Place the candy cane sugar in a small bowl;

When the chocolate mixture is chilled, lightly wet your hands and use a teaspoon to scoop up a ball and roll in your hands, and then roll in the peppermint;

Place in small paper candy cups.


White Chocolate Peppermint Truffles

8 ounces white chocolate
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream

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1/3 cup candy cane sugar (recipe)


Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly;

Stir for about 10 minutes until it thickens;


Remove from heat, and place in a glass bowl to cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes;

Place the candy cane sugar in a small bowl;

When the chocolate mixture is chilled, lightly wet your hands and use a teaspoon to scoop up a ball and roll in your hands, and then roll in the peppermint;

Place in small paper candy cups.


These are just 3 examples, but I think it would be really fun to try out different toppings - coconut, almonds, pistachios, pretty sugar toppings, the possibilities are endless.  Making an assortment over the holidays would be a great teacher or hostess gift.

Or, if you are really brave, have a truffle making party with friends!



Candy Cane Sugar



Candy Cane sugar.  It is the condiment of the holidays, and can be used on so much...hot chocolate, cookies, peppermint bark, sprinkle it on popcorn, ice cream...I mean really, peppermint is pretty good on a lot of things!

It is so simple that I am going to make this post just as simple as candy cane sugar.

You buy old school red and white candy canes.  

Unwrap them.

Put them in a food processor. 

Turn on until it gets to a consistency you like. I like finely ground. (If you have children or pets around, be warned, it gets loud!)



Put the "sugar" in a well-sealed jar.  Any moisture will make it all stick together.

Start adding it to everything!


candy cane popcorn

hot chocolate peppermint truffles (recipe)

white chocolate peppermint truffles (recipe)



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Easy Peasy Refrigerated Oats




Who doesn't like easy and yummy? I am all about easy and yummy!  And here it is - refrigerated oats....there is no cooking involved....no cooking! How does this work?  Just mix a few items together, let them sit overnight, and viola!  You have breakfast, a snack, or even dessert ready to go!  I have really enjoyed these over the summer, but I will definitely continue to make these year-round.  I can't take credit for being the mastermind who came up with this sensational jar-sized snack, but as usual, I look at a bunch of recipes, and come up with my own.

These are individual 8-ounce servings, and work perfectly in small Ball jars.  I choose the plastic ones, they are cute, and I can take them to the pool.  You can buy plastic lids that fit specially on the glass version which is nice too.

I like preparing these at night, and then they are ready the next day as soon as I need a snack, and before I go for a handful of chips.  I like that these are full of fiber and protein, so they keep me going for a couple of hours.  Being gluten-free, and for the most part vegetarian, it can be really difficult to get protein throughout the day, and this solves that question.

One ingredient I love is chai seeds, one of today's "superfoods". They act as a thickener and are full of nutritious fiber and protein. And let's not forget, two words....chai pet.

The following recipe is for maple blueberry oats, but you can try any combination. I love blueberries, so this is my favorite, but I have also replaced the blueberries with raspberries and strawberries.  For my daughter, I replaced the blueberries with bananas, and the maple syrup with Nutella. She absolutely loved it. You could use cocoa powder, peanut butter, mango, agave, coconut, the possibilities are endless...

Maple Blueberry Refrigerated Oats
(recipe is for one 8-ounce jar serving)

1/3 cup uncooked old-fashioned gluten-free oats

2 teaspoons chia seeds
1/3 cup milk (I like to use almond milk)

1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh, washed blueberries

Combine the first 5 ingredients directly in the jar, cover and shake;

Add the blueberries, cover and shake again gently;

Place in the fridge overnight, and enjoy the next day!

I like to make several at once, and leave them in the fridge up to 3 days.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Perfect Omelette


This post isn't necessarily targeted just for those who are gluten-free, this little tidbit of advice is applicable to anyone who likes omelettes - like me!  I like to consider myself pretty decent in the kitchen, I can usually make things happen with yummy results, but I have never been able to master an omelette, it would always turn out to resemble more of a ....scramble, after trying to cook it forever on the stove.  I could never get one to stay together and look like they do in a restaurant.  It really was a complete mystery to me.  I can make a pavlova work no problem, but an omelette, that was apparently beyond my capabilities.

Then the other day, I heard a secret and I will share it...because it was miraculous, and best of all...it worked!  I made an omelette (pictured above), that actually stayed together and I wouldn't be embarrassed serving to guests.  I guess all of these years I have been doing it wrong...I would whisk two eggs with some milk, and the result was never pretty.

The secret ingredient - sour cream.

I would never have thought of it, but it worked.  I whisked two eggs with a spoonful of sour cream, poured into a heated omelette pan, added my toppings, which happened to be spring onions, spinach and Parmesan.  It flipped easily and came out of the pan in one piece.  It was guest-worthy!  I would take a guess that Greek yogurt would work just as well as sour cream.

It might seem silly to have an entire post dedicated to the worthiness of an omelette that can remain intact, but being that I didn't know how to do this until I was 40 (ok, 41, but who's counting), is a pretty big deal in my book.

Happy breakfasting!


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Black Bean Flourless Brownies



Yes, you read that correctly.  Beans and chocolate.  All right, all right, all right!  Bizarre combo...maybe.  Does it work..absolutely!  For the cynics....there will be no bean flavor in this chocolatey goodness.  My daughter gobbled these up, and when I tried to tell her I made them using black beans, she laughed and thought I was joking.

You might be skeptical, but I promise you, you will not be disappointed, and you will amaze your friends!  Just don't tell them until after they try them.

Black Bean Flourless Brownies

1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
2 eggs
3 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
handful of chocolate chips for topping


Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish;

Place all ingredients, except the chocolate chips in a food processor, and blend until smooth;

Pour batter into greased baking dish, and top with chocolate chips;

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean from the center;

Let cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before serving.



Don't say I didn't warn you. These brownies are yum!