Sunday, July 28, 2013


Need a fast, easy, yet impressive dessert? Wow your friends and family with this! It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to prepare, but no one has to know. You can often find these on the dessert menu at Italian restaurants. I like them with mini chocolate chips, but you could make many variations - try chopped pistachios, sprinkles, or caramel.

3 purchased cannoli shells (available in many supermarkets or specialty food stores)
8 oz marscapone cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Prepare the filling... In a medium bowl, mix the marscapone and 1/4 cup of powdered sugar until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large ziplock bag or pastry bag. Snip off one corner of the bag and squeeze some filling into each side of each cannoli shell. Sprinkle the edges of each cannoli with mini chocolate chips (or pistachios or sprinkles or whatever you like). 


I served some whipped cream along side my cannoli and garnished with a few raspberries. You could use purchased whipped cream or use my favorite recipe for honey-infused whipped cream.

I haven't attempted to make the shells from scratch yet... maybe someday. I'll be sure to share it when I do! For now... Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baked Zucchini Fries

Ever had fried zucchini sticks? There's a great little burger joint in Long Beach, California named Paul's. It's a family favorite! You walk up to the window to order and then find a seat under the green umbrellas to enjoy your burger - only outside seating all year - love California! One of the best things on the menu (in my opinion) is the fried zucchini... shaped like french fries, sticks of zucchini dipped in batter, and fried until crispy & golden. They serve them with delicious ranch dressing. This recipe is way more healthy because it's baked, but these zucchini fries are delicious.

Baked Zucchini Fries
2 zucchini, cut into sticks
1/4 cup flour (you can use cornstarch or gluten-free all purpose flour if desired)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place flour in a large plastic ziplock bag. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs. In a second shallow bowl, mix the bread crumbs, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Toss the cut zucchini into the bag, seal, and shake to coat the zucchini with the flour. Dip each floured zucchini stick into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture. You may need to press some of the mixture onto toe zucchini to make it stick. Carefully place breaded zucchini onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Server with your favorite ranch dressing or dip.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lemon Blueberry Scones

Mmmmmm.... I love fresh scones and the combination of lemon and blueberry. These are so delightful in the summer too. We enjoyed them for breakfast recently with just some fresh blackberries and strawberries to boost our fruit intake to start the day. You could serve them with a little tea too!... Maybe iced tea for a hot summer morning?


Lemon Blueberry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter, diced
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

for the glaze...
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold diced butter and cut in, using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles a course meal. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and cream. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture all at once and gently blend with a large spoon until the dough just comes together. Carefully fold in the blueberries. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop dollops of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, brush tops with a little cream, and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake shortcakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze... In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and half of the lemon juice until smooth. Add more lemon juice to thin or more powdered sugar to thicken as desired.

Use a knife or offset spatula to spread some glaze on each scone, allowing the glaze to dip a little. Sprinkle lemon zest on top of each glazed scone.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake with Honey Whipped Cream and Lavender

It's strawberry season! And what better way to enjoy fresh strawberries than a good old fashioned strawberry shortcake?! I based this delicious summer-time dessert on a traditional shortcake, using a cream scone for the cake and then added a little something special by using honey whipped cream and some fresh lavender from my herb garden. If you don't have lavender, you could also try fresh basil. That would also be divine, I'm sure. I beg you to be a little adventurous and try one of the herbs - it adds just a hint of extra flavor that makes it unique.

This recipe makes about 8 individual shortcakes.

Strawberry Shortcake with Honey Whipped Cream and Lavender
for the shortcakes...
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter, diced
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
powdered sugar for garnish, optional

for the strawberries...
1 pound fresh strawberries, stems removed, sliced
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh chopped lavender, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish

for the whipped cream...
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey

Combine the sliced strawberries, sugar, and chopped lavender in a medium bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the cold diced butter and cut in, using a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles a course meal. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and cream. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture all at once and gently blend with a large spoon until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough onto a flat, floured work surface and kneed a few times. Pat the dough to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Use a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter (or a the floured rim of a drinking glass if you don't have a cookie cutter) to cut out rounds of the dough. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, brush tops with a little cream, and sprinkle with sugar.


Bake shortcakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until just golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream until soft peaks start to form. Drizzle in the honey and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To assemble, slice each shortcake in half (creating a top and bottom). Layer strawberries and whipped cream on top of the bottom half of the shortcake. Top with the second half of the shortcake and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with a sprig of lavender if desired.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gluten-Free Fruit Tart

This fruit tart is a little involved, but it's sooooooo worth it. You'll never know it's gluten-free! The crust is a bit like a sugar cookie. I love the fresh fruit (I think it's perfect for breakfast or dessert).


Gluten-Free Fuit Tart
for the crust...
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons tapioca flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour, plus more for dusting
6 tablespoons millet flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan (or guar) gum
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, diced
1 egg, beaten

for the filling...
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur (or 2 teaspoons almond extract)

fresh fruits for topping...
strawberries, halved
kiwi, peeled and sliced
mandarin oranges

(2 hours to 2 days in advance) make the dough for the crust...
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand-held electric mixer), combine the flours, cornstarch, salt, xanthan, and powdered sugar. Mix on low speed to blend. Add the butter and continue to mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg and mix on medium-high until the dough turns in on itself. Turn out the dough onto a surface dusted with rice flour and knead for several turns. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

(up to 12 hours in advance) make the filling...
In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolk mixture on high speed until thickened enough that a slowly dissolving ribbon forms on the surface when the beaters are lifted.

In a small, heavy saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the whisk leaves lines in the custard. Remove from the heat and whisk in the almond meal, butter, and Amaretto until smooth. If not using immediately, cover by pressing plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling. To store, let cool, then refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

prepare the crust...
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap at least 15 minutes before rolling out the dough.

On a smooth work surface dusted with tapioca flour, roll out the dough to fit in a tart pan or pie pan. (I used a round tart pan with a removable bottom.) Carefully place the dough in the tart pan and press dough into the corners. Run a rolling pin over the top of the pan to trip the dough. You can roll extra dough into a long rope and press into the crease of the pan for additional support. Smooth the dough with your fingers. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges just begin to take on color. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Fill the crust... with the prepared filling and smooth with the top of an offset spatula.  Top with fruit (I used kiwi, strawberries, and blackberries, but this would be good with any fruit you like).


recipe slightly adapted from Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free cookbook, by Karen Morgan

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dutch Baby Pancake

Try this for breakfast this weekend... the Dutch Baby Pancake. It's light and airy - a delicious treat! I first heard of this easy breakfast sweet when Emily made it in her 7th grade home economics class. It's quick to make and only uses a few ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Keep it fresh and light for summer by serving it sprinkled with fresh squeezed lemon juice and dusting it with powdered sugar, rather than drowning it in maple syrup.

Dutch Baby Pancake
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
lemon wedges
powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

In the hot oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a cast iron skillet or round cake pan. Remove the pan from the oven and swirl the melted butter around to coat the pan. Set aside.

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and allow to cool slightly. Blend the melted butter, flour, sugar, sat, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a blender (I use my Magic Bullet - it's the perfect size and much less clean up). Blend until completely smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared preheated pan and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until puffed and golden on the edges. It's fun to watch the pancake puff up in the oven!

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with fresh squeezed lemon juice and dust with powdered sugar. Serve right away.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gluten-Free Crab Soufflé

I like to make this soufflé for special occasions (I think I made it around Christmas a couple of times). But this light soufflé is also great for a light summer meal. It really isn't all the complicated to make. Serve it with a simple salad of mixed greens, along with a glass of your favorite white wine, and you have a light, yet luscious meal. Don't wait for a "super special" occasion... turn a weeknight dinner into something special!

Gluten-Free Crab Soufflé
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
4 eggs, separated plus 2 egg whites
2 tablespoons minced shallot (about 1 shallot)
1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup milk
1 cup fresh-cooked lump crabmeat, coarsely torn or chopped

* You don't have to make this gluten-free. If you're not worried about gluten or wheat, go ahead and use regular all purpose flour.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Use 1/2 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 1 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the bottom with the cheese, then turn the dish on its side and tap and turn to coat the sides with cheese.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the 6 egg whites until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the 4 egg yolks until creamy. 

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons butter. When it foams, add the shallots and sauté until translucent. Remove from heat and whisk in the flour, salt, and peppers. Return to heat and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Whisk the egg yolks into the white sauce until well blended. Stir in the crab.

Stir in a large dollop of the egg whites into the crab mixture to lighten it. Using a spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites until combined. Spoon the mixture gently into the prepared baking dish. Bake until the top is puffed and golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Serve immediately. 


recipe from Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining cookbook

Monday, July 15, 2013

Grilled Salmon with Mango Ginger Salsa

This is one of my go-to summer staples... grilled salmon and this delicious salsa. It is incredibly delicious and very healthy - so it won't hurt that bikini body you've worked so hard for this summer. The inspiration for the salsa came from one of the recipes in the P90X nutrition plan booklet. If you still need to work on that bikini body, P90X can help. I'll warn you it's intense and you'll be sore,  but it feels great to get your body moving. Or just stick to your current exercise routine and try this delicious dinner.

Grilled Salmon with Mango Ginger Salsa
2 medium salmon fillets, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper
1 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 cup mango (about 1 mango), peeled and diced
1/2 cup tomato (about 2 roma tomatoes), diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
juice from 1 lime
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the salmon. Salsa can be made a few hours in advance.

Grill the salmon over medium-high heat for about 14 to 15 minutes, flipping half-way through cooking. Top the grilled salmon with a large spoonful of the mango ginger salsa.

Serve with quinoa and vegetables. Try quinoa with bacon and almonds.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Celebrate Independence Day with a dessert that's free from gluten! You won't miss the gluten in these cupcakes. They are sweet and luscious. 


Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

for the frosting...
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
mini chocolate chips for topping (optional)

to make the cupcakes...

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Add flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla and blend using an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in the mini chocolate chips. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*NOTE: If you don't want to make these gluten-free, you could take a short cut and use a yellow cake mix with the mini chocolate chips added.

to make the frosting...

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the powdered sugar and blend on low speed. Next add the flour, salt, milk, and vanilla. Mix on low speed at first. Once combined, increase to medium-high speed and whip until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).

Use a pastry bag or an off-set spatula to frost the cupcakes with the cookie dough frosting. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips if desired.



cupcakes slightly adapted from Deliciously G-Free by Elisabeth Hasselbeck
frosting slightly adapted from