Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Banoffee Pie

I know I haven't shared a recipe in over a week, but I have several saved up for you! The first one I'm going to share is this amazing pie....

Now, I'm not sure I've shared this little bit of information before, but I don't really like bananas. I love banana bread or banana muffins, but I just don't enjoy eating a fresh banana. Well, this dessert changed that completely. I may not pick up a banana for a snack any time soon (I'd rather enjoy an apple or berries or grapes), but I will certainly eat fresh banana in a pie like this any time. Banoffee Pie: banana + toffee... luscious!

I got this recipe from Eating Well magazine. It's a bit healthier than most banoffee pie recipes. My version was gluten-free too (but you don't have to make it gluten-free). It's not too hard to make, just be sure to make the toffee in advance because it requires about 2 hours in the oven.


Banoffee Pie
2 cans (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
pinch sea salt
1 cup graham cracker crumbs*
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 bananas, sliced
1 1/2 cups cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

* I used gluten-free graham crackers, but if you don't have an allergy to gluten or wheat, you can just use normal graham crackers (it should take about 7 whole graham crackers to make a cup of graham cracker crumbs). I place graham crackers in a large ziplock bag and press a rolling pin over the bag to crush the crackers.

To make the toffee, pour the sweetened condensed milk into a glass pie dish or other shallow baking dish. Stir in a pinch of sea salt and cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Place the dish into a roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven at 425 degrees. Add hot water to the roasting pan to about 1/2 way up the side of the pie dish. Bake for about 2 hours or until lightly browned, adding more hot water to the roasting pan as needed. When the toffee is browned, remove from oven and stir until smooth. You can store the toffee covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

To make the crust, combine the graham crackers and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press the mixture into a 9-inch tart pan or pie pan. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

To make the whipped cream, use an electric mixer on high speed to whip the cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl.  Continue whipping until the cream forms stiff peaks.

To assemble the whole thing... spread about 2/3 of the toffee on the crust. Arrange the sliced bananas on top of the toffee. Top with the whipped cream. 

Place about 1/2 cup of the toffee into a small bowl and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until thinned. Drizzle the toffee on top of the whipped cream.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Raspberry Marscarpone Cookies

Our local market (Uptown Grocery) often has samples on weekends. This is not a good situation for me... I'm pretty sure I have "SUCKER" written on my forehead. I get pulled in to just about every new thing to try and want to buy just about every sample I'm offered. I'm a marketing expert's dream. Recently at the market, one of the sample offerings were these simple little cookies topped with marscarpone cheese and a single raspberry. I was hooked instantly. These are so easy to put together. But don't let the simplicity of this dessert fool you... They are lusciously delicious. 

Raspberry Marscarpone Cookies
1 package Keebler Dark Chocolate Fudge Stripe cookies
1 package Marscarpone* cheese
1 cup fresh raspberries

Top each cookie with a layer of the cheese. Top the cheese with two or three fresh raspberries. Enjoy!!

Marscarpone is a soft, creamy, mild cheese. It's slightly sweet. You should be able to find it in the specialty cheese section of your market. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Quinoa with Bacon and Almonds

If you haven't tried quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) yet, make this recipe. Or if you have tried quinoa, you'll definitely want to make it this way next time. A little shallot, bacon, almonds, and fresh herbs add lots of delicious flavor to this side dish. Quinoa is one of those "super foods" full of good stuff like protein, fiber, amino acids, calcium, and iron! So eat up!!

Quinoa with Bacon and Almonds
1/3 cup chopped or slivered almonds
2 slices bacon
1 small shallot, minced
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
3-4 sage leaves, minced
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Toast the almonds either in a 350 degree oven or in a skillet on the stove. Spread the almonds on a pie plate in the oven until golden brown (about 5 minutes) or in a skillet over medium heat (about 5 minutes). Let cool. 

In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Add the shallot to the pan and cook, stirring a few times, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the quinoa, stock and sage and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the stock has been absorbed, about 17 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Crumble the bacon into the quinoa. Stir in the chives, parsley and toasted almonds. Season the quinoa with salt and pepper and serve.

We had this with some salmon and vegetables, but you could serve this alone or as a side with just about anything. Try this in place of potatoes or white rice in your next meal.


recipe from

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pecan Butterscotch Cake

I came across this easy cake recipe on a blog I enjoy - She's got some great recipes that are not too intimidating, and each one I've tried has tasted great!! This pecan butterscotch cake is so extremely moist with delicious butterscotch flavor. It's not too heavy for spring or summer, but it would also be delicious in the fall with some warm tea or cider. Actually, you can even use this cake as a sweet breakfast treat. It slightly resembles a very moist coffee cake. It's just all-around fantastic. You could even adapt the recipe to any flavor combination you like - maybe chocolate cake & pudding with hazelnuts and chocolate chips or  a strawberry cake with almonds and white chocolate chips. The possibilities are endless and all delicious! I'd love to hear about what combination you try...

Pecan Butterscotch Cake
1 package (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding
2 cups milk
1 box yellow cake mix (or any flavor you like as suggested above)
1 package (11 oz) butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped pecans

optional glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar blended with 2 tablespoons butter and 1 to 2 teaspoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch cake pan with non-stick spray (I like Baker's Joy). 

In a large bowl, whisk the pudding and milk together using an electric mixer until it starts to thicken. Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes to thicken a bit more. Fold in the cake mix until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly, and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the pecans and butterscotch chips over the batter. Bake for 35 minutes. 

If desired, spread a thin layer or drizzle on the glaze immediately when you remove the cake from the oven, allowing the glaze to melt onto the cake. Cool on a wire rack, cut into squares and serve.



recipe from

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits

These buttermilk biscuits are so light and fluffy, you'll never notice that they are gluten free. Serve them warm with butter and honey. Yum! You could eat them for breakfast, as a snack with tea, with a dinner, or just because... any time of day or night. 


Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter, cold, diced
3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1 cup buttermilk
2 to 3 tablespoons water (if needed)

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients with a whisk to blend. Add the butter and shortening using a pastry cutter or two knives to cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles small peas. 

Stir the buttermilk into the dough until it forms a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon of water (or more if needed). Turn the dough onto a flat, smooth surface that's been dusted with tapioca flour and knead until smooth. Form the dough into a disk 1 inch thick and use a round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter to cut 3-inch biscuits. Arrange the biscuits in an ungreased 9 inch cake pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. 


recipe from Blackbird Bakery cookbook by Karen Morgan

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Beer Bread

I'm not typically successful when it comes to making bread or anything that requires yeast. Maybe I'm just too impatient and can't wait long enough for dough to rise. But this recipe doesn't need any yeast - and the bread is delicious. I'll warn you - it has a significant amount of butter. So it's not extremely healthy, but it tastes sooooooo good. You can whip this up in no time. I promise you won't be sorry.

Beer Bread
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer*
1 stick butter, melted

* I've made this beer bread a few times. The pictures show the beer made with Guiness (a very dark beer). The other beer I've used was lighter (a summer blonde works well). Although I like to drink a dark beer, I think a blonde or red beer works better in this recipe than something dark. But you should experiment and find out what you like best!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper (this is important so the bread comes out of the pan easily). 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the beer using a wooden spoon just until the mixture comes together (don't over mix it).

Pour half of the melted butter in the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Spoon the bread batter into the pan and smooth. Now pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter.

Bake for about 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter (or it's good without extra butter too).


recipe from

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Star Wars Day

Today seemed like the perfect day to share this cake with you. May the 4th has been declared Star Wars Day (not really sure how it became an official day to celebrate Star Wars, but I'm playing along). I made this cake a few months ago to celebrate my friend, Dennis' birthday. May the 4th (force) be with you!