Sunday, March 3, 2013

cake balls!

I have always, always wanted to make cake balls. In recent years cake balls and cake pops have definitely become very trendy. Everywhere you go these days, you can find some combination of cake, frosting, and chocolate all rolled up into a convenient, bite-sized ball. I have to say, prior to going gluten free, I was a big fan of cake balls. They are a seriously amazing invention for those of us who have an incredible sweet-tooth (such as yours truly). They're incredibly sweet, and simply adorable. The only problem is, finding gluten-free baked goods, especially GOOD gluten-free baked goods can be a challenge. Part of the reason for starting this blog was to combat just that. I am determined to prove that gluten free baking doesn't have to mean, dry, crumbly, and flavorless. Honestly, I know that I'm my biggest fan! But without the baking success that I've had, my deprived sweet-tooth would go crazy.

Cake balls are have been somewhat of my holy grail. While they seem relatively easy to make, there are a lot of steps, and have always seemed hard to make. I think it would be easier if I could use a box mix cake, or a pre-made cake, but I definitely don't have that luxury. The cakes that I make are always made from scratch, and that definitely makes them special and delicious. I've made plenty a cupcake, but the other week, I finally took the cake ball plunge. I have to say, they were not as hard as I thought that would be, just time consuming. But, they were totally worth it. I want to make them again and definitely work on my decorating skills. But for now, I recommend making them! They are SO sweet and SO good; I promise, your sweet tooth will thank you.

note: this cake recipe is what I call a "cocoa velvet" cake- essentially red velvet cake without the red! You can half this recipe if you like, it makes a LOT of cake balls!

Cocoa Velvet Chocolate Covered Cake Balls

1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 1/4 cups gf flour mix
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups butter cream frosting
20 oz dark or semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp butter
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda at set aside
Beat the eggs into the butter mixture one at a time, and then add the vanilla
 Beat in the flour mixture alternatively with the buttermilk (starting and ending with the dry ingredients)
Pour batter evenly into a 9x13 greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes
Allow cake to cool fully
After it has cooled, use a fork and crumble the cake into a large bowl
Add the frosting to the crumbled cake and mix well to combine
Using your hands, roll the cake into golf ball sized balls and place on a lined baking sheet
Place the sheet into your fridge and allow the balls to cool for at least an hour
Bring 1-2 inches of water to a simmer over low heat in a sauce pot
Put the chocolate and butter into a glass or metal bowl, and place the bowl over the pot
Melt the chocolate until smooth
Remove the balls from the fridge, and dip each one into the chocolate mixture, one at a time
Roll around until fully coated and remove with a spoon
Place back onto the lined baking sheet and cool in the fridge for another hour
Once the chocolate has hardened, enjoy, finally!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

easy winter dinner

I think it is great to have go-to recipes. I love coming home to cook dinner, but the hardest part is that after a long day, all I want is a delicious meal but sometimes I just don't have the energy (and if you've learned anything from my blog, its that I likely don't have a lot of frozen meals hanging out in my freezer). I love cooking all of the time, but sometimes at the end of the day I need to make something quick and easy. My best go-to recipes involve a lot of produce (duh), and a lot of flavor. I love making brown rice bowls filled with greens and feta or quinoa pasta topped with a ton of veggies. Usually I start with veggies and a grain, and go from there. I always have a ton of grains in my apartment, since they stay very well and are perfect in a pinch. Having dried goods in my pantry make weeknight dinners a snap to throw together.

The other night I was in the mood for something just a little different. These days, the farmers market definitely has slim pickins. While you can still find apples and a lot of root vegetables, there is little else available this time of year. One thing that I've been buying on a regular basis is cabbage. Cabbage is so delicious and amazing in salads. It is incredibly fresh right now, despite the incredible cold! Something else that I have been finding are brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts remind me of little mini-cabbages, and a totally underrated vegetable. Everyone as a child hates them, but I honestly think that its because people don't cook them the right way. This is a brussels sprout recipe that proves the stereotype wrong. It is a great quick recipe to whip up on a cold winter night, and incredibly filling. The ingredient combo is amazing, and I definitely recommend making it. It will take no time to put together after a long day, and is delicious!

Quinoa with Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Almonds, and Parmesan

1/4 cup dry quinoa
1 1/2 cup shaved brussels sprouts (if you can't find shaved brussels sprouts in a bag, you can buy regular sprouts and cut them into thin strips)
1 tsp olive oil
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 tbsp parmesan cheese (grated)

quick, easy, delicious!

Bring quinoa and 1/2 cup water to boil, bring down to a simmer, season with salt, pepper, and garlic, and cover
Cook quinoa for 15 minutes on low or until fluffy
In a pan cook brussels sprouts with olive oil for about 6 minutes or until they just begin to crisp
Toss quinoa with brussels sprouts and almonds, and top with cheese

give brussels a try<3

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Just a quick post to keep your belly's full and happy during this snowy weekend! I really find nothing better over a cold snowy weekend than cooking. Friday night, as the snow fell, my boyfriend and cooking partner in crime made us a phenomenal dinner. While I whipped up a quick cabbage salad (cabbage is in season and really delicious- try it in your next salad!), he was hard at work over the stove and oven. He oven roasted a whole head of garlic until the garlic was soft, sweet, and delicious, roasted a roasted red pepper over an open flame, and pitted and chopped some amazing cured olives. In the end, our dinner was warm and delicious. Finished off with white wine, fresh grated cheese, and a little lemon, the pasta was amazing. I also baked an amazing birthday cake, but look for that in a post to come!

A few weeks ago, my friends at work were celebrating a co-workers birthday. I work in a small enough office that we all like to do something special for each other when birthdays roll around. We often bring in each others favorite snacks and find the time to leave our desks for 15 minutes to celebrate (crazy!) I also love taking birthdays as an opportunity to try and bake something new. I've had a lot of success with my peanut butter recipes in the past with my friends at work, so I figured I'd give it a whirl again. I've also been dying to make a shortbread. If you can remember back, I attempted a shortbread at the very beginning of my blogging extravaganza, and it did not turn out so well. That being said, my gf baking skills have grown since then, and this shortbread came out amazingly well. I would definitely try the recipe, and feel free to take your own spin on it (you don't need all of the fancy stuff on top)! I am definitely looking forward to making another shortbread soon!

Peanut Butter Shortbread with Chocolate and Honey Roasted Peanuts

1 stick of room temp butter (8 oz)
3/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup gf flour mix (ap flour would work well here too)
3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
3 tbsp honey roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips


toppings, part1

toppings, part 2

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla until well combined
Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix to combine
Spread the dough into a greased 9x9 baking dish
Top the dough with 3/4 cup chocolate chips, spreading evenly and pressing lightly into the dough, and place in the oven for 15 minutes
Once the dough begins to brown, remove the shortbread, top with peanuts and extra chocolate chips, and allow to cool before cutting and serving!


Monday, January 28, 2013

going greek

Greek food is one of my absolute favorites. The fresh herbs, amazing fish, roasted vegetables, and salty briney cheese and olives are just so delicious. A few of my favorite restaurants in my neighborhood are Greek restaurants. You just absolutely can not go wrong with Greek food. These days, you can easily make Greek food on your own, and find some delicious ingredients at your supermarket. Greek food is not only delicious, but also very healthy. You've heard it time and time again, the Mediterranean diet is one of champions. Apparently, those who live in the Mediterranean, eating lots of fresh, healthy foods are doing it right. So who am I to protest that?

Last week one of my closest friends came over for dinner. She and I always cook up delicious dinners together. We love re-creating our favorite restaurant dishes, and trying new recipes as well. When I asked her what we should make, she sent me a recipe for Greek quinoa burgers. Greek+Quinoa...what is not to love? If you haven't caught on by now, I love quinoa- a delicious "grain" (actually in the nut and berry family), quinoa has amazing flavor and texture, and is packed with protein! I was super excited to take this recipe and make it our own. Modifying to make it gluten free friendly, and using the ingredients that we had on hand, we made a delicious dinner together! I hope you enjoy these burgers, they were incredibly easy to put together and very delicious. Have a friend over and get your hands messy making these burgers!

Greek Quinoa Burgers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

1 cup quinoa
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
8 scallions (greens and whites), thinly sliced
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 large egg
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, chopped
1 splash lime or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste


Bring 1 cup quinoa to boil with 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper, and bring down to a simmer
Cover the pot and allow quinoa to cook on low for 15 minutes or until fluffy
Grate, or food process your carrots until they are shredded
Combine carrots, scallion, beans, and feta with the quinoa. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and garlic; Taste before you add your egg!!
Add in the egg and food process (or use a stick blender) the burger mixture
Heat a sauce pan to medium high and add olive oil to the pan
With your hands, form 1/3 inch thick pattys and press them flat into the pan
Cook on either side for about 6 minutes or until they brown
Allow to cool on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, juice, salt and pepper
Stir to combine and top your burger with your sauce!

Enjoy! We served ours over a simple salad of arugula, peppers, and avocado!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

after a long of my favorite classic combos

After a long hiatus, it is great to say, blogging is back! Thank you to all of my wonderful family and friends who have continued to bug me about new posts. I know it's been awhile, but unfortunately work and future aspirations of grad school have been occupying all of my free time. That being said, I'm back and ready for action. Needless to say my baking and cooking has not ceased during the very busy past few months (thank goodness), and I have been storing up just a few recipes to share with all of you. Now that my blog is back in action, keep checking for new regular posts--lots of yummy sweets to fill your belly during the cold months!!

One of the wonderful things that I do with friends is have little dinner parties. I know I've talked about this before, but I absolutely love having friends over for dinner, or going to a friends apartment with a few dishes in hand. I ALWAYS volunteer for dessert, along usually with another dish, because it's just impossible for me to a. not want to make an amazing new dessert, and b. not want to eat dessert, and not everyone makes gluten free desserts. Plus, tasting along the way and having leftovers is never a bad idea in my opinion!

One of my favorite Halloween candies from when I was younger is butterfingers. Both my sister and I really like anything with peanut butter (who doesn't love Reece's?!), and butterfingers are an amazing blend of crispy crunchy peanut-buttery goodness, coated in chocolate. As you all know, I make a lot of recipes with this flavor combo, but this one was seriously a winner. I wanted to bring back the flavors and texture of this amazing childhood candy memory, and I found a delicious, easy, and gluten free way to do it! I hope you enjoy, and hopefully you'll see some other candy bar-recreations soon on the blog. Happy eating and reading, look for many more posts, soon to come!!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Butterfinger Bars

4 tbsp unsalted butter (or margarine would work fine here)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
crunchy, peanut buttery


Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add peanut butter, agave, and sugar and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until melted and smooth
Stir the cornflakes into the peanut butter mixture, and add vanilla. Stir until just combined
Spoon the coated cornflakes onto the prepared pan and smooth over the top
Place a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water and add the chocolate chips
Heat chocolate until just melted and spread over the top of the cornflakes
Sprinkle the top of the dish with peanuts and chill for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares and eating!

it's good to be back

Saturday, November 10, 2012

healthy chips

Needless to say, there was a lot of baking and snacking that happened during the hurricane. I recently read a New York Times article about the "Sandy 5"; the 5 pounds that everyone gained thanks to Sandy. And, if we're being honest, I'm sure even if we didn't all gain 5 pounds, we were definitely all storing up for our storm hibernation. Be it from nerves, boredom, or lack of healthy food around, there was a lot of snacking happening during the storm. 

As you can see from my past few posts (and spoiler!!! we also made home-made ravioli, to be posted soon!), I was doing a lot of baking before and during Sandy. Fortunately and unfortunately, we were stuck in our apartment for awhile, and we did lots of good eating during that time. My hurricane cookies and walnut streusel bread got us through, filling our tummies with love, but I figured I should make a healthy snack while I was at it. Since I had no where to go, and a fridge full of ingredients that would surely go bad once we lost power, our kitchen was on cooking overload. And while we definitely wanted comfort food and snacks throughout the storm, I tried to put a healthy spin on the things we were making.

This recipe is delicious and fool-proof. If you can turn on your oven, you can make this! It is an incredible alternative to other kinds of chips and snack foods, and can be made in under 30 minutes, what could be better?! The next time you're stuck inside with people you love, make them some yummy, and even healthy, treats!

salty, crunchy, chips!

Kale chips

2 cups of kale
garlic salt
non-stick cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees
Tear your kale into bite size pieces
Spread your kale onto a sprayed cookie sheet, and be sure that the kale is not overlapping at all (if your kale overlaps, it will not crisp up)
Spray the kale with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper
Bake your kale for 25 minutes or until kale becomes crispy
(be sure to store in an air tight container or else the kale will not stay crispy)


adventures in bread

The good news? We baked and cooked a ton during the hurricane. The bad news? Our cooking fun ended on Monday when our power went out. Fortunately, we were very lucky and only lost power for the week. So many in New York and New Jersey lost homes and loved ones. While the week was stressful and crazy, we made it through safely. For those who lost people and places they love, my thoughts go out to you. My next few posts are all recipes that were created during the hurricane. My roommate, boyfriend, and I all hunkered down together for a long few days. We played many games, had a talent show, and made some delicious foods, which kept our bellies full during the storm.

I talked in a recent post about how much I love fall and fall foods. And as I said, one of the things I want to bake more this fall is bread. I have basically no experience baking bread, but now that I eat gluten free, buying bread has become much more difficult, so I've been inspired to bake my own. And, I figured the storm was the perfect time to make some. Making bread proved to be a great idea; it was easy to make, delicious, and lasted us awhile. And, after our fridge went out and we couldn't really cook, it made the perfect breakfast.

This recipe was adapted from one of my all time favorite cooking magazines, Cooking Light. Cooking Light does an incredible job at making delicious and healthy recipes, without sacrificing the good things that go into cooking or making any crazy substitutions. As much as I try to cook and bake healthy foods, I am not a fan of using substitutes like splenda or other sweeteners, as some light-recipes recommend. Cooking Light always has awesome recipes that don't taste "light." My mom and I have drawn inspiration from the magazine and their online recipe archive for years. Just like baking something gluten free is always more satisfying when you can't tell its gluten free, baking something healthy is definitely more satisfying when you can't tell it is healthy! Try this bread out, you won't be able to tell it is light or gluten free!

yum, yum.

Walnut Streusel Bread
**adapted from Cooking Light**

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats (you can use regular here too)
1 tbsp gf flour mix (you can use ap flour here instead)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts

2 cups gf flour mix (you can use ap flour here instead)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fat free buttermilk


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
To prepare streusel,  combine brown sugar, oats, 1 tbsp flour, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl
Add butter to streusel dry ingredients and stir well to combine
Stir nuts into streusel and set aside
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl
In a separate bowl, mix together butter and granulated sugar on medium high until well combined
Add eggs to the wet ingredients one at a time, followed by vanilla
Turn your mixer down to a low speed and add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients
Mix until just combined
Pour half of your batter into a 9x5 inch loaf pan, coated with cooking spray
Sprinkle half of streusel mix evenly over batter
Top with remaining batter, and swirl a tooth pick back and forth through the bread, reaching to the bottom of the pan
Sprinkle remaining streusel on top of batter
Bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean from the center
Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely on wire rack

the finished product.