Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chocolate Cake Mix

Sometimes I wish I had a cake mix.  I know there are some available out there, but I can't justify spending the extra money when I can do it myself.  From time to time I need to come up with a dessert fast and mixes are just so easy.  I am working on making a few dry mixes to keep in the pantry for when I'm in a pinch.  I am going to do chocolate, yellow, white, and maybe a couple cookie mixes.  First off is chocolate cake (at my daughters request) because we have a birthday party to attend tonight.  This recipe makes a big batch (9x13 pan or  two 9"rounds) so you may want to half the recipe.

Cake Mix
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda

On the bag, you will see, I wrote the wet ingredients on there that will need to be added.

Wet Ingredients
2 cups water
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla 
2 Tbsp. Vinegar

So when you are ready to make the cake, mix the wet and dry ingredients until combined.  Be careful not to over stir.  Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan and bake at 375*F for 25 minutes.

I am using the chocolate frosting recipe from the smore's cake today but in a pinch I also have some cherry brook kitchen frosting in the pantry.  I guess I should add some frosting mixes to my list as well.  

On a side note, are your ready for Easter?  This year my daughter really wanted to dye eggs.  She was begging and even said " I promise I won't eat them!"  I just couldn't do it though, so instead we came to a compromise.  Paper mache eggs.  I mixed one cup flour with 5 cups water and brought it to a boil on the stove top until it was thick then left it to cool.  We blew up balloons and dipped some torn up tissue paper in the glue and ended up with these.  

I will be cutting out the balloons and we will fill them with smarties and finally cover the holes with the leftover material. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Pumpkin Shake

Happy Tuesday everyone!  My daughter has been having weird reactions to the high pollen levels this year, and I'm pretty sure it's affecting her eating.  One of the few things she has been more than happy to eat this week is oats.  I found a recipe over at chocolate covered katie for oatmeal raisin cookies that are free of the top 8 allergens.  I haven't made these yet, but they are next in line after we finish the pink lemonade cupcakes.

healthy oatmeal cookies

I also found a recipe for a smoothie called Pumpkin Pie Monster over at Oh She Glows.  In her recipe she uses almond milk, but just use your choice of milk substitute and it can be adapted for almost anyone.  My daughter has been losing weight this spring also, so I am adding some flax meal to her smoothies to try to gain some back.


Hope you all are having a great week.  See you on Saturday.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Look what I made tonight!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I HATE leavening!  Baking without eggs is so doable, but before I make a recipe I have to decide, is the egg for leavening or binding.  Sometimes it needs both, like tonight.  If you recall from last week I found pink lemonade frosting at the store.  Pillsbury also made a cake mix to go with their new frosting but I couldn't use it.  Time to experiment.  

I found a recipe on and it already had baking soda in it along with lemonade concentrate.
Well, if you don't know this, baking soda and lemon juice can be used to replace egg when used for leavening.  So I figured why not just increase the baking soda and omit the eggs.  Well, now that I tried it, I learned that the eggs in this original recipe were for binding and the baking soda for the leavening.  How did I remedy this in attempt number two?  I reduced the baking soda back to original and added 1/4 cup applesauce, said a prayer, and crossed my fingers.  It worked!

This recipe is quick to throw together.  I had it mixed and in the tins by the time the oven was preheated.  Just remember because we are using baking soda and lemon, you have to get it combined quickly and if you over stir the cakes won't rise.  It really is simple though.  Here's the recipe.  It makes one dozen cupcakes.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. canola oil
1/3 c. frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed ( I used minute maid)
1/4 c. buttermilk replacement ( 1/4 c. soy milk + 1/2 tsp. vinegar and let it sit 5 min)

Preheat oven to 350 and combine the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Pour wet ingredients on top and stir until combined.  Spoon the batter into paper lined cupcake tins, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake for 16-18 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack and then frost and enjoy.  

Since there is so little buttermilk called for in this recipe I think that you might be able to just substitute any milk of your choice.  But then again, I did make collapsed cupcakes once tonight.  I will try it with rice milk next time and update the page.  That way it could be a soy free cake as well.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Plentils, granola bars, and Raspberry Breakfast Bars

I found a new product from enjoy life this week.  They are called Plentils and I will be running out to purchase some as soon as our store gets some in.  From what I understand, they are like chips, but are made from lentils, and come in flavors like margherita pizza and dill and sour cream.  check them out at

Next up are some chocolate chip granola bars from Lauren at Laurens Latest.  The only modifications you will need to  make are substitute the butter with earth balance, fleishman's, or whatever dairy free margarine you use.  Also make sure to use safe chocolate chips like enjoy life or divvies.  Hope you enjoy them.  They look great.

granola bars 6

Finally, from Smitten Kitchen, I found a raspberry breakfast bar.  I'm planning to make these with strawberry as my daughter won't touch raspberries.  Here's the link.  The only changes here would be to switch out the butter with a "safe" margarine (see list above) and if you have a wheat allergy, I bet your gf blend would work well too.

raspberry crumb bars

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hummingbird Cake and Iced coffee

Who wants to guess what I had for supper tonight?  If you said cake and iced coffee you would be correct.  I got this cake recipe from my friend Letosha, then tweaked it a tiny bit.  I had never heard of Hummingbird cake but let me tell you it is now in the running for my most favorite cake ever!

When I worked, every morning I would pick up an iced mocha on my way to work.  It turned into a very expensive and unhealthy habit.  Do you know many of these are 300+ calories.  Yikes!  I'm going to share my recipe, but realize that it isn't an exact duplicate.  It is, however, allergy free.

 Here's what you need.  Instant coffee, cocoa, sugar, vanilla, and milk sub.  In the bottom of my 16 oz cup I put 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. coca, and 2 packets instant coffee.  I then fill it halfway with hot water and stir until everything is dissolved.  I fill the top half of the cup with rice or soy milk and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Top off with a bit of ice and enjoy! 

Now, on to the hummingbird cake.  Like I said, this cake is really good.  I mean, you need to make it.  One other thing that is great about this cake is that it can be completely free of the top 8 allergens.  I had a friend make it wheat free, while I made mine with it.  both cakes are super moist and good enough to eat without frosting.  I am going to share the recipe I made, then in parenthesis I will show the wheat free substitution.  I will also give a soy free frosting option as well.

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups flour (or 3 cups gf flour blend, we used Bob's red mill)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 c. chopped banana
8oz can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 c. applesauce
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
(3/4 tsp. xanthan gum if using flour blend)
Preheat your oven to 350*F and grease and flour two 9 inch pans.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon ( and xanthan gum if going wheat free). In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, pineapple, applesauce, and vanilla.  Incorporate the banana.  Finally, mix in the dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Pour half into each pan.  The mixture is pretty thick and I had to use my spoon to spread it out.  Just try to make it as even as you can.  It took my cakes 25 minutes to bake.  Once done, let them cool for in pan for10 minutes then flip them onto wire racks to finish.  I took the lazy way out tonight and used Pillsbury cream cheese frosting (contains soy) but this cake is really good on its own.  I bet if you needed a soy free option it would be excellent with a glaze.  Just mix 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar with 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk of your choice.  I am doing the glaze next time for sure.  Hope you like it.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The hummingbird cake almost didn't happen tonight because of a new discovery.  I was all set to make it and had already made sure I had all my ingredients but then  I was walking through the store this afternoon and found this

I got home and started looking around the kitchen and didn't have all the ingredient to make a lemonade cake.  Oh well, I guess we will all have to wait until next week.  In the end, I'm glad I made the hummingbird cake because I'm pretty sure nothing can top it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patties Day!

Hey everyone.  I realize I have a tendency to be disorganized and, as I have said before, I am quite the procrastinator.  What I am going to try to do is post a recipe I have found online that is already "safe" for us on Tuesdays.  Then over the weekend I will share my recipe for the week.  Sound good?

This week I have been thinking of St. Patties Day.   I looked at some corned beef at the store, but what are all those ingredients anyways?  I stumbled upon Alton Brown's 10 day brine corned beef on food network and will be trying it next year since there's not enough time left now.  Here's the link.  Sorry no pic.

Since there will be no corned beef this year I am opting for cabbage rolls.  I found a recipe from Nikki at Pennies on a Platter that I'm going to try.  These look pretty good, minus the raisins, and I will use tofutti sour supreme for the sour cream.  
Stuffed Cabbage 3

There is so much green involved in the holiday that we have to have something as well.  Katie over at chocolate covered Katie so kindly provided me with a shamrock shake.  I have found so many great things on her page.  You really should check it out if you haven't yet.  I would also recommend you try it with the veggies included.  You really can't taste them and it is so good for you.

We've talked corned beef, cabbage, and shamrocks.  What's left but rainbows, of course!  I made a rainbow cake for my daughters birthday last year and it was a hit.  I followed the directions from omnomicon to get the rainbow effect.   We can't use omnomicon's recipe though, for lots of reasons.  Below I will share the recipe I used.  I'm not sure where my birthday pics are so I borrowed this one from their page.

Simple White Cake  
This makes one 9" cake, so you will need to make two for the rainbow cake. 

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. earth balance margarine
3 tsp. ener-g egg replacer + 4 Tbsp. warm water
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 c. milk sub. (I used rice milk)

Preheat oven to 350*F and grease your 9 inch pan.  Cream the butter and sugar, add in the egg replacer, milk substitute, and vanilla, stirring until combined.  Incorporate the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth.  Now  for the rainbow cake follow the omnomicon directions for batter prep.  Once you have the batter in their pans, bake for about 30 minutes.  

For the frosting we used pillsbury funfetti white frosting and I turned it purple.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My favorite brownies!

I shouldn't admit this, but I made a batch of these brownies on Friday to post but they all got eaten before I took a picture.  I can't post about my favorite brownies without a picture, so I made more.  The other brownies are WAY healthier, and have far less sugar, but these are really really good.

1/2 c. margarine ( I used blue bonnet light)
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. mini chocolate chips (enjoy life)

Preheat oven to 375*F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.  Melt the margarine in a medium mixing bowl, add in both sugars, the applesauce, and vanilla.  Once combined, add in the dry ingredients, and stir until combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips and pour the mixture into your pan.  It is very thick and you will have to spread it with your spoon.  Just try to make it as even as you can.  Bake for about 18 minutes if you want cake like brownies, less if you are looking for fudgy.  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Onion Rings, Curly Fries, and a Sweet Suprise

Well, it's been a long day at my house.  Today I spent 5 hours in the car going to asthma clinic and back.  Got home just in time to make a late dinner, get showers done and send my daughter off to bed.  Now, what I should be doing is cleaning the kitchen and making a breakfast dish for my husbands brunch at work tomorrow.  Instead, it is 9 pm and there are three pages open on my browser.  Blogger, Facebook, and Pinterest.  What can I say, I guess I'm really good at procrastinating!  I wanted to share a couple of recipes that I came across.  These are not sweets but I decided they count as indulgences.

First of are these curly fries by Devin Alexander.  To say they are delicious would be an understatement.  These were the first white potato I could get my daughter to eat.  I do have the tool to make the curls, but if you don't, just cut them into strips like regular fries or chunk them.  I have done it each way and it really doesn't matter.  The recipe is here.  For the egg replacement I used ener-g egg replacer, stirred it up and let it sit a little while to thicken.
Arbys22 300x260 Skinny Snacks: Tastes Like Arbys Curly Fries

I love onion rings!  Occasionally I was buying the Ian's brand onion rings and they are OK.  It's just that I don't want to pay five bucks for a small bag of rings.  I was pointed in the direction of the post punk kitchen by a member of the food allergies group on Facebook when I was looking for an onion ring recipe.  They are really good, and baked, so just like the curly fries these rings are lower in fat than their original counterparts.  Here is the link

Well, now that I have sufficiently wasted more time I guess I better go make something for tomorrows brunch.  I'm tired and have decided to take the easy way out with these blueberry turnovers.  I will use soy milk in the glaze and have heard that you can use it to replace the egg wash as well, so that's my plan.

I have had some trouble with the link for the turnovers so if it doesn't go to the recipe, her page has a search bar so just type in blueberry turnover and you will be there.  Happy eating!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Neapolitan Cupcakes

I had a request from a family member this week for a dairy free cupcake so I checked here first and realized I have only posted two cupcake recipes.  I saw a neapolitan bunt cake from Julia that looked good.  I don't know if you remember, she also made the s'mores cake I  converted a while back.  YUM!  Well, since I was supposed to be making cupcakes I converted her recipe and made them into cupcakes.  I also used chocolate frosting, because I can never get enough chocolate, and did a few with lemon glaze.  They were really good both ways but the chocolate was a bit overpowering.  The lemon allowed the strawberry to come through a bit more.  Of course, you could use the strawberry glaze as well. Hope you like them.

OK, first off I needed 3 mixing bowls, 3 cereal bowls, and 6 mugs to make this so make sure the dishes are done!  Because there are 3 batters involved I mixed the dry ingredients in the mixing bowls, the wet in the cereal bowls, and used one mug for egg replacer and the other mug for the buttermilk replacement (soymilk + vinegar).  I probably used more dishes than I really had to but let me tell you, having everything measured out before hand let me mix the batters and get them into the pan quickly.  Since the vanilla and strawberry cakes both use baking powder and vinegar, the batter stiffens up and you have to get them in relatively soon after mixing.

Strawberry Cake
1 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. ener-g egg replacer + 4 Tbsp water
1/2 c. canola oil
1/2 c. strawberry puree ( I thawed some frozen ones and blended them)
1/4 c. soymilk + 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar (let sit for 5 min.)
1 tsp. red food coloring ( if you want the pink color)

Vanilla Cake
2/3 c. sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flour

1/4 c. canola oil
1 1/2 tsp. ener-g egg replacer + 2 Tbsp water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. soymilk + 1 Tbsp. vinegar (let sit 5 min)

Chocolate Cake
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. ener-g egg replacer + 2 Tbsp water
1/2 c. soymilk + 1 Tbsp. vinegar (let sit 5 min)
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. canola oil

Preheat your oven to 350* F and line two muffin pans with papers.  The first thing I did was get all my ingredients ready, like I talked about above.  Then I mixed all the chocolate cake ingredients until there were no lumps left in the batter, and put a spoonful into the bottom of each tin.  I then mixed all the strawberry ingredients and plopped a spoonful in the middle of the chocolate.  It spread out on its own, so just give it a second.  Finally, I mixed the vanilla and placed a  spoonful on top of the strawberry.  I baked mine for 19 minutes.  Next time I make these I am going to fill the muffin tins vanilla first, followed by strawberry, then chocolate because the chocolate batter is the heaviest and I think it will sink in and make a swirl.  Anyhow, it will taste the same either way.

I have three options for frosting, so take your pick, or do like me and use them all.  Here they are

Strawberry Glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. strawberry puree
milk substitute

Mix the powdered sugar and strawberry puree.  Add in just enough milk sub. (soy, rice, whatev) to get the right consistency.  I dipped my cupcakes into the glaze.

Lemon Glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
splash of lemon juice

Pour the powdered sugar into a bowl and add in the lemon juice a little at a time until you get to the consistency of a glaze.  Dip the tops of your cakes into the glaze.

Chocolate Frosting
4 Tbsp. earth balance buttery spread
1/2 c. soy or rice milk
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 lb. bag of powdered sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder

Mix all the ingredients by spoon until it is thick, then with an electric mixer to get all the lumps out.

I used a sandwich bag and cut the corner off to put on the frosting because I was in a hurry.  When my husband came home he pointed out the frosting had taken on a less than appetizing appearance.  If you live on a farm you know what he was referring to so I apologize and promise no more Ziploc frosting.