Saturday, October 27, 2012

Homemade Applesauce:

My grandma used to make the best applesauce ever!
I always loved whenever her and mom would make it
and then freeze it to have all year.
Unfortunately, there was no recipe.
So I went on a hunt looking for a good applesauce recipe
 and this one turned out super yummy and extremely easy.
We all really enjoyed it and I hope you like it as well!

8 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 tblsp. lemon juice
1/2 - 1 cup sugar

Place apples in a large saucepan. Add enough water to just barely cover the apples. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until apples are very tender, stirring occasionally. Place in a blender, or use an immersion blender right in the pan to mash the apples to your preference - smooth or chunky. Add lemon juice and sugar. Taste to see if you need more will depend on the kind of apple you use and how sweet you want it to be. Add more as needed. Cook and stir for another 3-5 minutes on low, to allow the sugar to dissolve and the flavors to blend. You can serve immediately, let cool a little or let cool completely.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two-Tone Brownies:

My whole family would just about rather eat cookie dough than the cookie itself!!
My sister came across this recipe and decided to try it out!
We were afraid it would be too sweet, but it really wasn't.
They tasted super yummy and were very fun! Hope you give them a try!

Two-Tone Fudge Brownies Recipe

1 batch Brownies, click here for my easy recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tblsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 cup chocolate chips

Prepare brownies according to directions in a 9x13 pan. Bake and allow to completely cool.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add flour and xanthan gum and mix until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Using two spoons or a cookie baller, drop dough all across the top of the brownies. Use an offset spatula and spread the dough out evenly. Cut into squares. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

-The original recipe called for 3/4 cup chopped walnuts in the brownies...we didn't care for this, so we omitted them, but if you would like them, feel free to add them in!!!
-Make sure your brownies are completely cooled, because if they aren't, you will tear them all up when you spread the dough out.
-These don't have to chill for a certain amount of time, but they are best if they can chill for maybe an hour at least before you serve them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apple Coffee Cake:

We have a ton of apples right now,
and I am SO enjoying find things to do with them!
I was looking through apple recipes, and came across this cake.
It sounded good, so I gave it a try and it turned out great!
I'm not a coffee drinker, but they told me it would be great for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
I did eat it for breakfast and it was good, so I can vouch for that part! 
I hope you give it a try!

Picture of Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze Recipe

1 stick (8 tblsp.) butter, softened slightly
1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 & 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 & 1/2 cups apples, peeled and chopped

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, soda, cinnamon and salt. Add 1/3 of the flour mix to the butter mixture and mix well. Add 1/3 of the sour cream. Repeat both steps two more times until the flour and sour cream are gone. Add the vanilla and mix well. Stir in the apples. Pour into a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish.

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tblsp. butter, softened

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let cool 10 minutes before moving on to the next step.

Brown Sugar Glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tblsp. water

Mix all together in a small dish and drizzle over warm cake. Serve or let cool completely. Chill leftovers.

-You don't want the apples to be too small, but you want them to be slightly smaller than bite size, so that when  you get a bite of apple you also get some cake with it!!!
-The brown sugar glaze was good, but I think next time I make it, I will let it cool a little while longer and then use this powder sugar glaze instead of the brown sugar glaze:
1/2 cup powder sugar
1 tblsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Monday, October 15, 2012

Banana Bread Muffins:

This is my grandma's recipe and I always think of her when I make it! The chocolate chips were something we added to the original recipe later on, but I'm sure that grandma would have approved 100%!!!! They are really easy and delicious! You could make it in a loaf pan, if you wanted, but we prefer to make most bread items in muffin tins. This is another thing from grandma! She used to make muffins all the time! It's good too, because it totally ensures that the center gets done without the outside burning! Hope you like the recipe!

4 large ripe bananas
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey (or 1 cup sugar)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 cup chocolate chips, optional

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add eggs, oil and honey (or sugar). Mix together well. Add flour, xanthan gum, soda and salt. Mix just until everything is moist. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts, if desired. Fill paper muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve or remove from muffin tin and place on a clean dish towel. Cover with another towel. Place in an airtight container, when completely cooled, and store in the refrigerator.

-You can mix the nuts in the batter, or you can sprinkle them on top. My sister has braces, so she can't eat nuts right now, so I sprinkle them on top of half the muffins, use my fingers to stick them to the batter and them bake them!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Betty Crocker GF Mixes:

Some of you may have tried the Betty Crocker GF Mixes before,
but if you haven't I thought I would share my take on them!!   

#1. I LOVE them!
#2. They are a little (okay, a lot) expensive :(

We try to keep at least one on hand, because it's nice to have.
We don't use them all the time, but they are nice.

We aren't fond of the cookie or the brownie mix. They might be "ok" if you are used to using boxed mixes for that kind of stuff, but we have NEVER done that, so we weren't at all impressed with them. We decided the recipes we have for those things were much better. The cakes, however, are really good.

You can purchase these at Walmart, Martins and other grocery stores. Like I said before, they are expensivee, but if you've been eating gluten-free for any amount of time, then you should know by now that gluten-free products ARE expensive. That's just how it is!!

A Tip:
Whenever I make a cake mix, I always add one package of Dream Whip to the mix.
 I did this with wheat-based cake mixes and have still done it with gluten-free cake mixes. It keeps things moist and really flavorful. It doesn't change the flavor of the cake in any way...just makes it better!
I get this at Walmart. It's in the same section as the gelatin.
I'm sure you can find it at other grocery stores as well.

So I hope you give the mixes a try. If for no other reason, but to support companies who are trying to make life a little easier for us!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Slow-Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken:

Many of you may have seen this recipe or even made it before.
I have been seeing it all over (especially on Pinterest).
It sounded so good and we finally had all the ingredients on hand to make it!
I thought it was very easy and yummy!
I served it over pasta, but you could serve it over rice or mashed potatoes if you wanted.
Hope you like it! It's a great fall food!

Creamy Italian Chicken Recipe

4 chicken breasts, thawed
1 pkg. dry zesty italian dressing mix
1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 ( 10-3/4 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup (Click here for the Gluten-Free equivalent)
Cooked Pasta, Rice or Potatoes

Place chicken in a greased slow-cooker. Sprinkle with italian dressing mix. In a small saucepan, combine the cream cheese and cream of chicken soup over medium heat, stirring constantly until well combined. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low at least 4 hours or until chicken is done. You can leave it in longer than that, just make sure it gets at least 4 hours. You can serve it as is, or shred or cube the chicken. Make sure you stir to combine everything before you serve it!

-This was great just like it was, but I think you could personalize it a little bit to your preference. I think some mushrooms would be awesome in this, and my dad said he thought it would be great with some salad shrimp. Some peas would be good too, I think. So have fun and make it your own!
-This recipe is very easy to double or triple, depending on how many you need to feed. I doubled the recipe for my family (7 people) and we had a little leftover.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Syrup:

This syrup is so easy and absolutely delicious!!
It tastes so much like fall and Thanksgiving and I will be making this A LOT!!!
I made a whole batch of it, which is kind of a lot, and then kept it in the refrigerator.
Then I poured it in a microwave safe dish and and heated it up for about a minute.
Super easy and amazing - I hope you try it out!!

1/2  stick of butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie mix
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (if you used pumpkin pie filling, omit the cinnamon)

Place in a saucepan or microwave safe dish and heat until butter is melted, whisking often. Serve over pancakes or waffles. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Slow-Cooker Fried Apples:

My dad's favorite restaurant is Cracker Barrel, and whereas we rarely eat out,
if we go on a trip or something, we will most likely eat at Cracker Barrel.
And they have some yummy food that is gluten-free, too, so that's another reason we go there!
Anyways, probably my favorite thing at Cracker Barrel, is their fried apples. They are just SO good!
I have tried making different recipes a few times and they were usually good, but not GREAT.
When I came across this recipe, it sounded good and we had apples to use, so I decided to give it a try.
They didn't taste exactly like Cracker Barrel's, but they were awfully close and SOOO yummy!
I even heated up some of the leftovers for breakfast the next day and they were still amazing!
Since they are made in the crockpot, it's too easy, so I hope you give them a try!
Whether for breakfast, a side dish, or dessert....these are perfect!

-Sorry for the not so fabulous picture! They really taste amazing though!-

8 cups sliced apples, peeled and cut into eighths
2 tblsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tblsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
6 tblsp. butter, melted

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with some non-stick cooking spray and add the apples. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat all the apples. In a small bowl, combine sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Sprinkle of apples. Drizzle with melted butter. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or until tender. If the syrup is too watery, I remove the lid and continue to cook for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow excess water to evaporate and the sauce will thicken then. Serve as is, with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream!

-I used gala apples, but you could use any apple you want probably. I would not recommend Golden Delicious, though, because they are just too soft. They would cook down to sauce before you knew it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Bars & Amazing Chocolate Frosting:

Chocolate and Peanut Butter just go TOO well together!
I mean, if they didn't taste so good together, it would make it a lot easier not to eat them!!
But they do, so I guess we'll just have to deal with it, right?
It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

These are really easy and tasted super yummy!! They are pretty rich, so you'll want to cut them small,
but I hope you give them a try!

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 cups peanut butter
2 cups oats (not instant)
2 cups flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 tblsp. cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and 1 cup of peanut butter; mix well. Add the oats, flour, xanthan gum, soda and salt. Mix well. Spread evenly in a greased jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and set. Remove from the oven and spread the reserved 1/2 cup peanut butter over the whole thing. Refrigerate about 1 hour, or until peanut butter is hardened. Meanwhile, whisked the frosting ingredients together until no lumps appear, adding more milk, one drop at a time until it's a nice spreadable consistency (a hand mixer would work great for this, but I don't have one, so I just used a whisk and a spatula). Spread over the peanut butter layer. You can cut and serve or cover and keep refrigerated until ready to serve!

-This makes a large batch....I was taking them to a potluck dinner, so it worked out fine, but if I was just making them for my family, I would cut the recipe in half.
-The frosting is so easy and good, I'm sure you could use it on other things as well!