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Zucchini Gingerbread Muffins!! Gluten-free!

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Since it is harvest time and zucchini is a bumper crop this year, I thought I would share a recipe to use up all those lovely green zucchini.

Image courtesy of www.kamloopsparents.com
Image courtesy of www.kamloopsparents.com

Zucchini Gingerbread Muffins

Dry Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour (or all-purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps ground ginger
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

2/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of shredded zucchini
zest and juice of one orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups.  Mix all dry ingredients together well.  Mix all wet ingredients together well.  Combine the two together and mix until just combined. Fill muffin cups.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool and enjoy.  I hope you like this tasty use of fresh zucchini.  Cheers, Michele

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes!! Delicious and Healthy Recipe!

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I saw a recipe on Pinterest that inspired me to create this recipe.  I made up a batch today and they are delicious.

Gluten-free Chocolate Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 large cans (1080mL) of chickpeas rinsed and drained
6 eggs
1 cup maple syrup
2 tsps baking soda
1 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted and cooled butter or coconut oil
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp grated orange peel

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth.  Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups and spoon batter into cups, filling to the top.  Bake for 22-25 minutes until a tester comes clean.  Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack.  Enjoy.  Cheers, Michele

Almond Cake!! A Gluten-Free Recipe From My Aunt Jackie and America’s Test Kitchen!

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My Aunt Jackie made this recipe recently for a group of her friends, it was a big hit and she was kind enough to share it with me. She served it with the Orange Creme Fraiche that she shared the recipe for as well.  I have modified the recipe slightly to make it completely gluten-free.

Almond Cake

1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup of sliced almonds, toasted

3/4 cups of gluten-free flour mix

3/4 tsp Xanthan gum

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups of plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 tsp grated lemon peel

3/4 tsp of almond extract

5 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup of vegetable oil

Place rack into middle position in oven.  Preheat to 300 degrees F.  Grease a nine-inch round pan and line with parchment paper.

Place 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds, gluten-free flour, Xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a food processor.  Pulse 10 – 15 times until almonds are finely ground.  Remove from food processor and place in bowl.  Place eggs, 1 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon peel and almond extract in food processor.  Process for 2 minutes til pale yellow.  With processor running, pour melted butter and oil into feed chute.  Then remove the lid of the food processor, add the almond mixture and pulse til combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

With remaining lemon peel and sugar, mix together until well combined.  Sprinkle extra 1/3 cup of sliced almonds over cake followed by lemon peel and sugar mixture.  Place pan in oven and bake for 40 minutes, rotate pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes til tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes.  Then loosen edges with a paring knife and turn cake onto cooling tray and remove parchment paper.  Allow to cool fully.  Serve with Orange Creme Fraiche.

Orange Creme Fraiche

2 oranges

1 cup Creme Fraiche

2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 tsp salt

Take the zest off one orange, place in mixing bowl with Creme Fraiche, sugar and salt.  Cut the peel and pith off the two oranges and cut the fruit sections off the membranes.  Mix into the Creme Fraiche mixture and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving with cooled Almond Cake.  Enjoy.  Cheers, Michele

The Whiskey Creamsicle!! An Original Cocktail Recipe!

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Since it is Friday and a good day to enjoy a drink and relax after a hard week of school or work, here is another delicious potent potable by my resident cocktail mixologist, my daughter Katie.  This will kick you in the buttocks, so sip it sensibly.

The Whiskey Creamsicle

1 1/2 oz good Whiskey or reduce to your taste

1 oz Galliano

1/2 oz of either Cherry Gin or Cherry Brandy

1/2 can Lemon or Orange Soda, preferably San Pellegrino or a good natural lemon or orange soda.

dash of bitters

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add alcohol and shake.  Pour it into a tall glass and top it off with half a can of orange or lemon soda. Add a dash of bitters, preferably black currant bitters if you can get them.  Serve and enjoy sensibly or not according to your preference.  Remember your poor choices from imbibing this drink are yours and yours alone.  I take no responsibility other than the earlier disclaimer about the potency of this drink. Enjoy! Cheers, Michele

Mini Chocolate Fondues!! A Great Recipe With Fruit!

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When my girls were little, it was often a struggle to get them to eat enough fruit.  I would give them each a little dish with the chocolate sauce and a big plate of fruit.  They couldn’t get enough and the fruit got eaten up and they felt like they were getting away with being bad because they were eating chocolate.  I hope you enjoy.

Mini Chocolate Fondues

Pouring dark chocolate

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 Tbsp butter or margarine

3 Tbsp milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

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Fruit

3 oranges peeled and separated into segments

3 bananas peeled and cut into 1 inch slices

3 apples cored and sliced into wedges

1 can of pineapple rings drained and cut into large chunks

1 pint of whole strawberries hulled

1 cantaloupe peeled, seeded and cut up

1 honeydew melon peeled, seeded and cut up

4 kiwis peeled and cut into thick slices

In a microwave proof bowl melt all ingredients and stir til smooth.  Divide up the chocolate sauce in 4 small dishes.  Place dish on a plate and distribute the different fruits evenly amongst the plates.  Eat and enjoy.  Cheers, Michele

The Katie Wallbanger!! An Original Cocktail Recipe!

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Since it is Friday I thought I would share this cocktail recipe to enjoy after a long week of work or school or whatever you have done all week.  My daughter, Kate, is an amateur Cocktail Mixologist and she came up with her own version of a Harvey Wallbanger.

The Katie Wallbanger

1/2 oz of Galliano

1 oz of Vodka

pinch of cinnamon

pinch of good sea salt

sizable pinch of chili flakes

top off with fresh orange juice and ice

You can replace the Galliano and vodka with 1 1/2 oz of vanilla vodka or 1/12 oz of vodka with 1/4 tsp of vanilla.  Mix all ingredients. Rim the cocktail glass with orange juice and spicy sea salt. Pour into cocktail glass and top up with ice and the orange juice.  This recipe makes 1 cocktail.  Increase amounts according to your needs and taste.  Enjoy this delicious take on a Harvey Wallbanger, it is spicy, warm tasting from the cinnamon and just plain delicious.  Cheers, Michele

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Orange Chocolate Frosting!! Gluten-Free Death By Chocolate!

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These delicious all natural Red Velvet Cupcakes are inspired by a recipe in Chatelaine magazine.  They get their dark sinful Red Velvet nature from beets.  As always, I have tweaked the recipe to make it gluten-free and delicious for me.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love the combination of orange and chocolate.  Terry’s Chocolate oranges are a Christmas favourite.  So these cupcakes and their frosting are a nod to that favourite.  Enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Dry Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour mix

1/2 cup good cocoa powder

2 tsp Xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Wet Ingredients:

1 – 398mL can of beets well-drained and rinsed, let sit to dry for 10 minutes

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup milk

1/4  cup of Greek yogurt (milk and yogurt can be replaced by 1 cup of buttermilk)

2 tsp grated orange zest

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line muffin pan with muffin cups or spray with non-stick spray.  Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk.  Mix yogurt, milk and orange zest together in mixing cup til smooth.
In a large food processor, purée beets until very smooth.  Add sugar, oil and chocolate chips, purée for 2 minutes.  Add vanilla, and eggs,  purée again for 30 seconds.  Add dry ingredients and yogurt/milk/zest mixture alternately in two batches until batter is smooth.  Spoon into muffin cups filling 3/4 full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes til tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before taking out of pan and allowing to cool completely before frosting with this decadent Orange Chocolate Frosting.

FN_Ina Garten Chocolate Buttercream
Photo courtesy of Ina Garten

Orange Chocolate Frosting

8 oz good quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

1/2 cup of good cocoa powder

8 – 10 Tbsp milk (this will determine if your frosting is softer or thicker)

2 1/2 Tbsps grated orange peel

1 1/2 cups butter room temperature

3 1/2 – 4 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) (less sugar is for the semi-sweet chocolate, more sugar for the bittersweet)

2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

In a small heavy sauce pan over low heat, melt and stir chocolate, cocoa and milk together until chocolate is melted and all ingredients are combined.  Allow to cool.  In a heavy mixer cream together  butter and sugar until fluffy and light.  Add orange peel, chocolate mixture, vanilla and salt, beat until all combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings of salt and orange.
When cupcakes are completely cooled, ice with this delicious frosting.  Enjoy.  Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.  Cheers, Michele