Gourmet Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

It sure is hard being a food blogger’s kid!

I need to remind my kids constantly how lucky they are that baking and making unique eats is daily enjoyment in our house.

Yesterday we made these. If you aren’t salivating, you should be. So rich, so creamy, so delish!

I followed the Raw Chocolate PB Cups recipe from Sarah @ The Sweet Life but did cheat and use semi-sweet chocolate chips & homemade pb. Still ooey-gooey goodness! Next time I think I’ll try sprinkling the top chocolate with a tiny pinch of sea salt prior to freezing. The contrasting taste of salt & sweet would make these sublime! (I used 1 & 1/4 cup of choc chips and was able to make 16 cups. Make sure to reserve enough chocolate for the top layer!)

These would make a great surprise treat after school!

Enjoy ~



Spelt Cornbread Muffins

When it comes to gluten free & egg yolk less baking, there are lots more failures than successes, it seems. At least in my kitchen there are! This past weekend I managed to glue the waffle maker stuck, no joke, when I tried to make yolk-less waffles!

But recently, I have had lots of luck replacing whole wheat pastry flour with a mixture of spelt & tapioca flours.



These cornbread muffins were so delightful after numerous failures in the kitchen. They have a tender crumb, are moist, and have great corn flavor. I found the recipe in a vegan cookbook, as I’ve decided baking egg-yolk-less would be easiest if I simply followed vegan recipes. This is from Isa Does It and will be a recipe I use frequently. The only difference I made was substituting spelt & tapioca flour for the whole wheat pastry flour she calls for.

Tips & Tricks ~
I am just guessing here…but I think baking these directly in the muffin pans sans muffin liners is what creates the crust you are seeking in corn muffins. If you oil the pan well, you should have no problem in the clean-up! Use white (or sometimes called light) spelt flour to have a less dense muffin.

Spelt Cornbread Muffins
1 cup almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup + 2 tsp white spelt flour
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
1 cup self rising corn meal
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 cup corn kernels (optional & if using frozen, thaw first)

Preheat the oven to 350degrees. Lightly coat a 12 cup muffin pan with canola oil or cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar, setting aside for atleast 2 minutes to curdle.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the small bowl of milk, stir in the melted coconut oil and applesauce. Make a well in the bottom of the dry ingredients. Pour liquid ingredients into the well of dry ingredients. Mix together the dry & wet ingredients just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Be careful to not overmix as this minimizes how much muffins rise.

Fill muffin pans with batter and bake in preheated oven for approximately 18 minutes. Remove from oven and insert a spoon around the edges to help muffins be easily removed.


Enjoy! And may we all have more successes in the kitchen this week than failures!




Sweet Italian Lasagna

I’ve wanted a great, not just decent, spaghetti sauce for ages and have finally crafted one that we love! What’s even better is that I also tried it in a lasagna and the gluten free noodles (Tinkyada) held up perfectly! I was so surprised because the few times I’ve tried rice spaghetti, they became pure mush. But these rice lasagna noodles were fantastic!

The sauce is thick, flavorful, and uses the tomatoes I canned last summer. I am always excited to use tomatoes from my own garden! If you don’t have home canned tomatoes, no worries, just use whole tomatoes with their juice.



Tips & Tricks ~ I personally cannot stand the fatty oil that sausage produces. So using paper towels, I continually wipe away the oil in the pan as it appears. This way you aren’t cooking the sausage in the oil. For a faster cooking time, substitute the stew meat with 1lb of ground beef. You won’t have the great texture that stew meat provides but will be able to use the sauce almost immediately. Just taste after 20 minutes of simmering to see if flavors have melded enough. Also, seasoning with a tiny bit of salt & pepper a few times while simmering creates a more flavorful sauce. If you wait till the very end to add salt – you end up with a recognizable ‘salty’ taste.

Inspiration for these recipes came from Gluten Free Recipe Box

Spaghetti Sauce

1 lb beef stew meat, cut into bite size pieces
1 lb sweet italian sausage
1 cup chopped sweet onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1/2 tbsp dried tarragon
12 oz tomato paste
8 oz tomato sauce
32 oz homemade canned tomatoes or whole tomatoes with juices
1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1-2 cups water
olive oil
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper

In a large dutch oven, cook ground sausage until browned. Remove sausage from pan and set aside in a separate bowl. Wipe pan down to remove excess oil and lightly brown the bite size pieces of stew meat. Once browned, remove stew meat from pan, adding to the bowl of ground sausage.

Wipe dutch oven down again, and heat two teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sprinkle with a pinch or two of kosher salt. Saute onions, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until turning soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic, tomato paste, and dried herbs; sauteing for an additional minute. Add meat back to dutch oven and then add all other ingredients, through the bay leaf, and add 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground pepper. Stir well and if the sauce looks too thick, add up to 2 cups of water. 

Bring sauce to a slow simmer and cook for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until stew meat is tender.

Yields: ~ 8 cups sauce

Lasagna Recipe

Tips & Tricks ~ This is a great dish to have kids help with! They can grate the cheese & sprinkle it over the lasagna, pour the sauce where needed, and of course, be in charge of the lasagna noodles. And you’ll be left with 1 or 2 extra noodles…kids love to eat these!
Using fresh herbs in the ricotta is my secret ingredient for this lasagna. The herbs provide a fresh vibrant taste to the lasagna that you can’t replicate with dried herbs. I’ve also found that the less sauce you use, the better. This allows for a more firm set of the lasagna. But no fears if you use more – it might be a bit runny but still as delicious.  And any hard cheese (such as Gouda) can be exchanged for the Parmesan.

1 box of gluten free lasagna noodles (strongly recommend Tinkyada)
3 cups of spaghetti sauce
8 oz ricotta
fresh rosemary & oregano chopped (apprx 4tbsp total)
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gouda cheese
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350degrees.

Bring large pot of water to boil, adding a tbsp of oil and a tsp of salt. Add lasagna noodles, cooking for 10 minutes and then drain.

While lasagna boils, in a small bowl stir together the ricotta with fresh herbs and a dash of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill.

Using olive oil, ‘grease’ sides  and top surface area of lasagna pan.

Add a little sauce to the bottom of your baking dish. You don’t want a lot of sauce on the bottom, just a thin covering – primarily of the sauce versus the meat. Spread 1 layer of lasagna noodles and then using a spatula spoon/spread a thin layer of ricotta over the noodles. You may need to use your fingers to spread it all over. Sprinkle with mozzarella and a few sprinkles of the grated Parmesan. Now add another layer of spaghetti sauce, noodles, ricotta and cheeses. Repeat layers until you have a final bit of sauce on top which you cover with the last of your mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, until cheese is nice & bubbly and browned all over.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting.




Wheat, oh wheat, what have you done to me?

Good morning! I am writing this at 6:07am. Wow, such a bright start to the morning. Many of you may be on the computer this early on a regular basis, but trust me….I am not. But my little Stella likes to wake at 5:45 just about every morning. Normally, I fight this for about 30 minutes. But this morning, I just went ahead and got up at the crack of dawn. If anyone has some magic tricks up their sleeves of how to get her to sleep in, I’d love to know!

But I digress, already! Kiddos’ wake up times is not what I am trying to write about.

So if you’ve known me for longer than 5 minutes there is a very good chance that you’ve heard about my “delicate stomach” and if you are unfortunately a close friend or a family member, then you’ve probably been tortured by listening to me try to diagnose my problem myself. And if you’re one of my sisters or my husband…well, let’s just say they are probably beyond THRILLED that I’ve finally found what is making my stomach not a very happy camper.

It’s wheat ya’ll. Or to actually be much more specific, it’s gluten that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. So drumroll here….I am going Gluten Free!

I’ve been GF for a week now (how awesome is it, that we gluten intolerance people have a cool abbreviation to stick to our name!) and I’ve already seen a big improvement, and I’m hoping I will continue to see more improvements…like maybe the mild acne that drives me crazy will clear up too?

Now, to why I thought YOU wanted to know all about my stomach issues… I am hoping that there are some readers out there who can help point me in the direction of tried & true, trusted & knowledgeable books, blogs, and cookbooks that’ll help me get creative when cooking & baking.

I’ve already checked a gozillan GF cookbooks out at the library, THANK GOD for libraries. And I’ve been looking at quite a few blogs. But I’m not kidding myself…I’m not the first person out there with this….so I know there are plenty of you who know which books are the most helpful and which blogs have the best tasting GF recipes.

Thanks for taking the time to help a ‘new to GF’ girl out! I really appreciate it!!!



Au revoir summer 2012

Today’s the first day of pre-school and our oldest one, Dale Esau, is starting 4K!

And, I’ve learned some VERY shocking news…Next year, we’ll have to be at elementary school by 7:25AM! Are you serious? I guess that means my half sleeping on the couch from 6:30-8:30ishhh is probably not going to be happening so much in 2013. Therefore, I need to really appreciate these lazy morning hours, while I have ’em!

This summer we’ve had our share of lazy morning (okay, okay….all day) hours! We’ve been busy enjoying all the things summer brings… like popsicles, icecream, kettle corn at the farmer’s market, jaunts to the beach and pool, and playing tourists in our town.

So I wanted to share some photos with ya’ll of what we’ve been up to. I know I’ve posted extremely little and I’ve missed it. But there was just so much fun to be had with the computer turned off, that sometimes it was too hard to turn the computer on. This business of summer is winding down with our re-entrance into school and schedules, so here’s to hoping I’ll be blogging more often.

Sharing…is there anything more precious between siblings?

Road trip enthusiasm!

Inspecting dirt for worms, seriously…what we spent every single day doing this summer!

Catching fish together…the crazy outfit on DE is a make-shift trash bag poncho!

I’ve pickled probably 16 pints of okra so far and am hoping to put some more up this week. I LOVE pickled okra!

Berry Licious Lime Yogurt Popsicles

For the first time ever, I was able to can tomatoes from our garden!

Dale Esau planted these, unbeknownst to me, when I was working on another part of the garden. It was a pretty cool surprise to see them sprout and flourish. Since he planted them, they were his favorite veggie to eat all summer!

Chocolate Toffee Cupcakes for my birthday!!!

I cannot wait!!! to share with ya’ll this granola bar recipe. It is so delish, so addictive, and so gluten free!!!

Is there anything else that says summer better?

I hope you & yours had a fantastic summer!!! Here’s to being thankful for football season, falling leaves, pumpkins, and relishing this last year of sleepy mornings on the couch!