Paleo Shamrock Shake

Oh, hi.

I know I haven’t posted in a while.  I’m sorry.  It’s not you, it’s me.

I’ve been busy, and my health has needed more tweaking, and I have been lazy about my diet and haven’t been making as many things from scratch.  I’ll try to do better!

Right now I just really wanted to share this recipe from Primally Inspired.  Even though St. Patrick’s Day was on Sunday, and it’s sort of irrelevant at this point.

I didn’t even bother taking a decent picture of it, so here is one from my iPhone with a terrible vintage filter:

Shamrock Shake with a terrible vintage filter.

I made this for dinner last night, because I had a huge carb-heavy lunch and I was too lazy to make a real dinner after pilates.  And it was awesome.  So:

Paleo-ish Shamrock Shake – Single Serving Edition

    • 3/4 cup unsweetened Coconut Dream
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp raw honey
    • 1/2 cup ice cubes
    • 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/3 tsp peppermint extract

Blend.

Notes:

The original recipe called for a can of coconut milk.  I didn’t want anything that heavy, so I used Coconut Dream.  Real coconut milk would be creamier.  I also toned down the peppermint extract because I thought it was too strong, but if you’re into that sort of thing then use 1/2 tsp.

Burnt Cookies

Well, I’m 0 for 2 with cookies this week.

Which is too bad, because I really wanted to make a post about paleo chocolate chip cookies.

It was my own stupid fault, because I’ve made these cookies many times with great success, but today I am hungover and when the timer beeped I just went “urghlhggglhnnnnnn,” until my boyfriend announced: “I smell burning.”

So I’m not going to post about my paleo chocolate chip cookies.  But I am going to link you to this really awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe from my friend Free.  She made a batch for me for my birthday, and they were glorious.

Nothing I Make Ever Looks Like the Picture

There’s nothing I enjoy more than spending a bunch of time and using a ton of expensive ingredients, only to end up with a shameful embarrassment of a food.  I have decided to post these failures more often, because if the internet can’t laugh at me, who will?

This past weekend, I was invited to a “cookie party” and decided to bake grain free gingerbread cookies.  The recipe? Paleo Gingerbread Cookies by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason from The Food Lovers Kitchen. If you haven’t seen their cookbook, Make it Paleo, you should check it out, because it’s a great book full of amazing photography.

These are their gingerbread cookies:

© The Food Lovers Kitchen

Cute, right?

My first mistake was probably using blackstrap molasses.  The batter was very dark and sticky, and it was almost impossible to cut out shapes.

Not chocolate.

I had to keep it in the fridge for much longer than the recipe said, but the batter was still warming up too fast when I rolled it out, so I could only get 1 or 2 hilariously deformed shapes out of it before it turned into the mush pictured above.

My boyfriend had the brilliant idea of covering the rolled out batter with ice packs, and only uncovering small parts at a time to cut shapes.  It worked very well, and I was able to get several disfigured men into the oven.

Then I burnt them.

I mean, seriously, what is this?

“SOMEBODY LOVE ME.”

One of my friends pointed out that this is basically the botched Ecce Homo painting of gingerbread cookies.  Although, it did taste like it probably would have tasted good if it weren’t burnt.  (That’s right, I ate it.)

In summary, let’s compare:

ORIGINAL.

Potato Jesus Cookie

MINE.

I’m basically Martha Stewart you guys.

Instagram Party + Lemon Orange Frosting

On Wednesday, my boyfriend turned 30 (!).  We had a party last night.

1 & 4: I trimmed my basil plants and had no idea what to do with the trimmings, so I shoved them in mason jars and spent the whole night asking people, “wanna smell my basil?”

2 & 3: Dan made taco dip – we counted 7 layers.  It included homemade guacamole, homemade salsa verde (which was SO GOOD it’s almost a shame he put it in a dip), and lettuce from my garden.  I love saying that.  Lettuce.  From my garden.

5 & 8: I made sangria. I am no sangria expert, but it was delicious!

6 & 7:  These cupcakes… omnomnom.  They are Gluten-Free GoddessVanilla Cupcakes topped with That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had (note: it is).  I would like to point out that even though I made a gluten-filled cake, everyone went for the gluten-free cupcakes.  “They taste normal!” was the most common response.

I also wanted to share this frosting recipe.  Every year, Dan demands a boring white cake from a box.  I’ve offered to bake something from scratch, but no, it has to come from a box.  He agreed that I could make the frosting, so last year we came up with this together (I mixed, he taste tested).  Then we lost the recipe, and we were sad.  A few weeks ago, Dan found it (in his recipe book… fancy that) and it’s exactly as yummy as we both remembered.

Lemon Orange Frosting

3 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp butter
3-4 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
About 2.5 cups icing sugar

  1. Add orange zest to butter and mix with a hand mixer until creamy.
  2. Add 3tbsp lemon juice.  Slowly add icing sugar while mixing until you achieve the desired consistency, adding more lemon juice if desired.

It makes enough to cover a 13×9″ cake.

Donuts 2.0

Everyone likes my Gluten-Free Baked Sprinkle Donuts, especially my gluten-eating friends (who once requested that I bake them while drunk at a party, which I did, and they were glorious).

However, I feel like since I stopped eating gluten, I’ve been relying too heavily on Silvana‘s All-Purpose Flour mix from Cooking for Isaiah.  It’s an awesome mix, but I’ve been really wanting to experiment with different flours, and to try ones that are higher in protein and fiber than rice flour.

Especially since I have accumulated a ridiculous amount of flours:

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Baked Donuts
Yield: 10 donuts

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 cup golden cane sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup original almond milk (or other milk substitute)
1 egg
4 Tbsp Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  3. In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together almond milk, egg, Earth Balance, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix until it is well blended and feels warm to the touch (do not overheat).
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  5. Put the batter into donut pans.  (I use my finger; some people prefer to pipe the batter into the pans.)
  6. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry and just before the donuts start browning.
  7. Cool and decorate!

Topping

1/2 cup icing sugar
2 Tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Shredded coconut

  1. Mix icing sugar, milk, and vanilla extract into a paste.  Dip donuts in glaze.  Cover with coconut.
I also made some with red sugar, which was a terrible idea because the sugar just melted and now I think the donuts are too sweet.  But oh well.

I was really happy with how the donuts turned out.  They are very moist and delicious!  I definitely want to start using coconut flour in more things.

 

Vitamix: Day 8 / Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream

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I was going to make pesto for a late dinner after Dan got home from his hockey game.  Except he went to the grocery store and they had no basil, so we just whipped up a quick stir fry instead.

And then I totally cheated, I made basically the same thing as I made on Friday.  Except this time it was strawberry chocolate ice cream. Strawberries instead of raspberries, dark chocolate almond milk instead of regular, and 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips added.  Delicious!

Vitamix: Day 7 / Yesterday

At 6:30pm on Friday I was sitting at my desk, singing along to Christmas music, just having finished creating and ordering a bunch of Christmas presents, after a long day of laundry, chores, and running errands.  And I suddenly realized… hey, it’s 6:30pm and I’M STILL AWAKE.  Not one single nap all day!

It feels like my energy is increasing every day.  I suspect it’s at least partially because I’ve been actually putting effort into what I eat.  (Also, Vitamix.)

I’ve been really trying to pull myself out of the vicious cycle I mentioned a few days ago.  Not only that, I’m actually getting excited about being in the kitchen and preparing food again.  I’m not eating the same 3-4 things because I’m too tired to think of and/or prepare anything else.  Or worse, skipping meals because I just don’t feel like making food.

On Friday night, I went to the Movember gala in Toronto with some friends.

I only had one small drink and we left early (11pm-ish), but I wasn’t in bed until around 1:30am.  I could hardly get out of bed on Saturday.  I was WRECKED.  My doctor told me the most important thing I need to do is go to bed, get up, and have meals at the same time every day.  That’s what I was doing all week, and it was working. It’s amazing how throwing off my schedule by a few hours completely undid everything.

All day yesterday, I dragged myself around like a zombie.  It felt like all of my limbs were too heavy for my body and I just wanted to go to bed and sleep for the whole day.

And I couldn’t think of anything to make in my Vitamix aside from my morning smoothie that didn’t involve a walk to the grocery store for ingredients.  I did make apple sauce because I needed some for a recipe.

Apples in a blender.  That doesn’t count.  (Plus I ended up using store bought applesauce in my recipe anyway.)  So, no Vitamix recipe yesterday.  I suck.

Speaking of recipes, ugh.

My friend’s birthday party was last night and I wanted to make cookies.  I’ve been wanting to try more stuff from the BabyCakes cookbooks, so I picked Sugar Cookies from BabyCakes Covers the Classics.

I have Erin McKenna’s original cookbook as well, and I’m really sad to admit that I haven’t been overly impressed with either.  I bought them because there are such rave reviews about the bakery, and the pictures in the books are AMAZING (I’m shallow and easily distracted by pretty things), but so far I’ve made a handful of things and none of them have turned out.  I don’t know if it’s because I suck at baking (although, as of today, 56% of Amazon reviews for her first book and 43% for the second book are 3 stars or lower, so it’s not just me), but it’s really frustrating, especially when ingredients are so expensive.

She uses a lot of coconut oil.  A LOT.  At $30 per jar and 3/4 cups of coconut oil in a recipe, that’s a lot of money to waste.

Anyway, Lori cookies.  For Lori’s birthday.

The recipe was fairly easy, but it took more than a few tries to get the hang of cutting out shapes because the dough was so soft.  Overall, everything seemed good until I took the cookies out of the oven.  They just tasted gross.  My boyfriend said “there’s no sweetness to them.”  I thought they tasted like bland cardboard.  He suggested I make a glaze, so I quickly whipped something up and dunked the cookies.

Then they just tasted like gross cookies covered in sugar, on top of looking like they were prepared by a five-year-old.  At that point, there was no time left so I just brought them to the party anyway.  The birthday girl herself said they tasted salty; her husband said they didn’t even taste like cookies.  Everyone agreed they were not good.

I really wanted to try making cinnamon buns and ice cream cake and all sorts of things from her books, but I’m not sure if I should even bother.  I am a big giant baby when it comes to being disappointed.

How do you deal with baking failures?

Vitamix: Day 6 / Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream

It’s 2°C and I was walking around outside in the cold all afternoon, so ice cream.

What?  Nevermind.

I tried the vanilla ice cream from the Vitamix book, but it came out tasting like… nothing.  Ice. Probably because the main ingredient is ice.  So I decided to use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.

Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream
Makes 1 serving. 

1 1/4 cup raspberries
A few squares of extra dark chocolate (I used about 1tbsp total)
2 tbsp almond milk
Sweetener to taste (if you want – I didn’t use any)

Mix everything in the blender.  Top with chocolate chips (optional but highly awesome).

I have eaten so much fruit since I bought my Vitamix it’s crazy.

Gluten Free Angel Food Cake & Boiled Icing Recipe

My family celebrates “fake” holidays now, since we aren’t always in the same city for the real ones.  Sunday was Fake Jen’s Birthday (me!), and it was glorious.

On Saturday, my boyfriend and I went to Whole Foods to see if I could find some flours I’ve been looking for (Garbanzo-Fava and Arrowroot).  I haven’t been there since one of my friends worked there when I was in university.  IT WAS MAGICAL.  So expensive, but full of food I can eat.  They even had samples of fresh gluten-free bread from a local bakery, Aidan’s.  I was skeptical, having tasted other gluten-free “bread”, but this one was delicious!  I bought 2 loaves of bread and a bunch of supplies to make chili.  And $30 of raw coconut oil, but we don’t have to talk about that.

On Sunday, I went to my parents’ place and my mom and I made Angel Food Cake.  My grandma used to make this with boiled icing when I was a kid.  It was my favourite, but I haven’t had it since before she died, so at least 7 years.  We found a gluten-free recipe and my mom dug up my grandma’s old icing recipe.

The cake recipe calls for a 10″ tube pan.  That’s TEN inches.  So if you happen to have taken possession of your grandma’s old angel food cake pan, measure it because it might be only 9″ and then this will happen:

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
Adapted from this recipe.

1 2/3 cup egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup + 2tbsp corn starch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together potato starch, corn starch and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla.
  4. Beat on high speed with electric mixer until mixture is stiff and stands in peaks, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not over beat.
  5. Reduce the speed to medium-high and sprinkle in the 1 cup of sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, for about 1 minute.
  6. Put mixer on lowest speed and slowly add the sifted flour and sugar mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, carefully pour out the mixture into an ungreased 10″ tube pan.  Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. Invert and suspend the pan and let cool completely.

Inverting is the tricky part.  My grandma used to balance the lip of the pan on 2 Coke cans, but since our cake basically exploded out the top of the pan we needed something that wouldn’t touch the cake.  We ended up using a paper towel holder:

Which was great until I turned around and this happened:

You can also use:

  • The neck of a bottle
  • Clothes pins clipped around the edge of the pan

Boiled Icing Recipe

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt in a saucepan; stir until well blended. Boil slowly without stirring until mixture will spin a long thread when a little is dropped from a spoon (hold the spoon high above saucepan), or it reaches 238 – 242 degrees F (114 – 117 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer until they are stiff, but still moist. Pour hot syrup slowly over egg whites while beating. Continue until mixture is very fluffy, and will hold its shape. Add vanilla, and beat until blended.

The icing was PERFECT.  As soon as I ate some I had a massive flashback to my childhood.

The cake was good too, despite the “too small pan” fiasco.  When we covered it with icing, you couldn’t even tell there was a destroyed pile of angel food cake underneath!

Yum.  Fake birthday: successful.

Gluten-Free Profiteroles with Cream Filling & Chocolate Sauce

OVERDUE UPDATE!

I didn’t quite solve my profiterole dilemma, but I did spend all day last Sunday making profiteroles for my mom’s birthday dinner, and they were a huge hit!

My brother:  “I thought they would suck!  But they were awesome!”  I also heard the words “better than the ones in Italy”.  You hear that, gluten-free naysayers?  BETTER THAN THE ONES IN ITALY MADE BY A LEGIT ITALIAN CHEF WITH AN OLD FAMILY RECIPE.

My mom went back for thirds, yelled “DON’T JUDGE ME”, and declared profiteroles to be her new birthday tradition.  So I’d say they were well worth the effort!

Everyone said they liked the gluten-free shells because they were thicker than the ones in Italy.  I was worried that not being light & fluffy was going to be a problem, but apparently it was a bonus.

I ended up going with a modified version of this recipe for the choux pastry, and the Italian chef’s recipe for the cream.  The cream recipe made WAY TOO MUCH.  Way, way too much.  I tripled the pastry recipe, and I still had a buttload of cream leftover.  But I’m going to post the full recipe in all its glory (mostly because it calls for 5 egg yolks) – modify it as you wish.

Choux Pastry

1/2 cup all purpose flour (I used Silvana‘s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend, which you can find here.)
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Egg Wash Glaze

1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  3. Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about a minute or two).
  4. Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed for 1 or 2 minutes to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm slowly add the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick sticky paste.
  5. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart.
  6. Beat together the egg and salt for the glaze. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside.  Poke a hole in each pastry with a skewer.  Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

Here is the cream recipe.  Remember, you will probably want to adjust it unless you want a huge container full of cream leftovers in your fridge (on second thought, that sounds pretty delicious).

Cream Filling

1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour
5 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 3/4 cups whipping cream

  1. Whisk the sugar and flour together in a pot.  Stir in egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in milk.
  2. Put on low-medium heat.  Whisk constantly until thick.
  3. Transfer the custard to a large bowl and place in the fridge until it is cold (about 2 hours; you can also put it in the freezer to speed things up).
  4. Once it’s cold, beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks.
  6. Add the whipped cream to the custard mixture.  Beat again until everything is smooth and creamy.

To fill the pastry:

  1. Poke a small hole in each pastry.  (Since my pastries didn’t dry out on the inside as much as they should have, I used a wooden skewer and kind of wiggled it around to pull out some of the insides.)
  2. Use a piping bag to fill each pastry with cream filling.

Melt chocolate of your choice over the profiteroles to serve.

The next day, since there was so much cream left over, my mom poured extra cream over the leftover profiteroles before adding the melted chocolate on top. It was amazing and delicious.