Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cool down Treats: Egg & Nut Free Round-up

It's HOT outside.  And Inside too.  I don't know about you, but here where I live it has been record breaking hot.  It wouldn't be so bad if we had air conditioning, but like the majority of people here we do not.  We were fortunate to find a small portable air conditioning unit so we can at least cool down one room in the house.  The stores were selling out of AC units.  I keep looking at the forecast hoping to see some glimmer of hope of cooler temperatures, but we are booked solid for the next week and beyond of high temperatures.  Just thinking about it makes me tired.  When it's so hot like this I have no motivation to do anything, especially cooking! (Bowl of cereal for dinner? Ok. Sounds good.)  So here is a round up of egg and nut free treats to help keep you cool this summer:

 

First up is my all time favorite vanilla ice cream.  It does require some stovetop cooking, but it is totally worth it for the texture.  It is quite adaptable too.  You can add chopped up cookie pieces or candy to it.

 

If you're not feeling that ambitious, here is an extremely simple and easy vanilla ice cream recipe that is also egg free.

Homemade Drumsticks - easy to make using your favorite ice cream and toppings! 

You can get fancy and use either of those vanilla ice cream recipes to make these homemade drumsticks.  Typically drumsticks have peanuts on them, but in place of peanuts you can use sprinkles, or even crushed rice krispie cereal (my personal favorite) for a crunch bar type topping.  Check out the instructions for these drumsticks at Crazy for Crust.


I've had my eye on this recipe for awhile but have yet to try it.  It sure looks good and it's already egg free.  Check out this recipe for old fashioned ice cream sandwiches at Brown Eyed Baker.

Creamy homemade roasted strawberry cheesecake ice cream recipe from @bakedbyrachel 

This recipe for roasted strawberry cheesecake ice cream is soooo good!  I've made it twice now.  Already egg free, the recipe is at Baked By Rachel.

Homemade Fudgsicles

We made these homemade fudsicles just a few weeks ago.  So chocolatey and so much better than store bought.  Check out Baking Bites for the recipe.

Similar but different from the fudgsicles are these pudding pops.  They come together super quick.  We made an Oreo and a banana chocolate variation.  Both Tasty!


Swirlstix
Lastly, if you have no desire to cook and want something you can be sure is safe, we really like Philly Swirl Popsicles.  No worry about nuts are eggs.

Hope you can keep cool this summer!  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Egg Free Strawberry Shortcake Cake

I'm raising the white flag here. I have lost count of the number of recipes and attempts I have made to get a good egg free WHITE cake. I can get yellow cake but white cake just seems to depend on too many eggs. So I'm throwing in the towel (for now) and settling with a boxed cake mix.

You've probably seen recipes like this before. All you need is two ingredients: a boxed cake mix and a can of soda.

You will cry this is so easy. It'll probably take you longer to read this post than it will to make this cake. 

I'm not really a fan of boxed cake mixes in general. I take pride in being able to make things from scratch.  But here, it totally works. This would work with any cake mix but I chose Betty Crocker White Cake mix and 1-1/2 cups of club soda. (a 12 oz can of lemon-line soda works too). You can bake it as a cake or a cupcakes. I chose to do a strawberry shortcake! (Yum!) 


Egg Free Strawberry Shortcake Cake
From Egg Free Bakery

For the cake:
1 box white cake mix
1-1/2 cups club soda or 12 oz can lemon lime soda 

For the cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1 pint of strawberries

In a bowl combine cake mix and soda. Stir until no lumps remain. Grease and flour two 8 inch round cake pans. Divide cake batter equally between the two pans. Bake according to directions on cake mix box, checking a few minutes earlier for doneness. When done, remove from oven and let cool in pan a few minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cake is completely cooled and you're ready to assemble, in a bowl combine heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries. 

Place one of the cakes on a plate. Top with half of the whipped cream and half of the berries. Gently place second cake on top of strawberry layer (you may need to dollop a few spoonfuls of cream on the strawberries to help the second cake stick) top with remaining cream and strawberries. May store in fridge for a few hours. It is best served soon after assembling. Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Quick kitchen tip: how to cut a bell pepper


have to laugh at myself when I think back to when I was in college and newly married learning how to cook. The meals I made! It's embarrassing. I think I made a dish one time that had spaghetti, cream of mushroom soup and olives. ( I gag even thinking about it).
Even learning how to properly cut and store certain fruits and vegetables. Avocados took me awhile to figure out. I remember trying to peel an avocado once and about sliced my finger off. It's life changing really when you learn a simple way to cut fruits and vegetables. (Also life changing when you have quality knives)
Today I'm sharing a mini tutorial on how to cut bell peppers. I'm sure I'm not the first one to come up with this, but seriously I didn't start cutting my peppers this way until a couple years ago.

First rinse your pepper. 

Next, notice the natural lines in the pepper? We're going to use those lines as guides to slice off sections. Like so:

A cut here...

Turn and a cut there...
Continue around the pepper cutting off sections.

Viola! Done. Stem out, deseeded and membranes removed- no mess. Now you can cut those large sections into strips or chunks.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

For Chocolate Lovers Only

WARNING:   THIS ICE CREAM IS FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS ONLY!!

I don't believe there is such a thing as "too chocolatey".  But apparently for the casual chocolate eater, there is. This stuff is for the serious chocolate craving.  I'm so thrilled to be able to make homemade ice cream that is nut and egg free. I bought a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker a couple years ago and have not regretted it.  We use it all the time, especially in the summer time!

This recipe I'm sharing with you today comes from Jeni's Splendid Ice cream at home (another life changing find) via David Lebovitz.  The only addition I made was adding crushed chocolate cookie pieces.  (Because it just wasn't enough chocolate for me I suppose)

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Egg Free Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie Pieces
From Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home, via David Lebovitz

1 cup whole milk
4 teaspoons corn starch
1 cup  heavy cream
1 cup evaporated milk 
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, natural or Dutch-process (I used Dutch-process)
3 ounces  bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semi-sweet Baker's Chocolate Bar)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
6-8 Chocolate cookies (such as Oreos, cream filling removed and cookies crushed), optional
 
In a small bowl combine cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the milk.  Combine remaining milk, heavy cream, evaporated milk, sugar and corn syrup in a sauce pan.  Bring to a moderate bowl.  Sift cocoa powder and add to boiling mixture.  Boil 4 minutes.  Add cornstarch slurry (you'll want to mix it together again before adding).  Boil and stir one more minutes.  Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate, salt and vanilla extract. Transfer ice cream mixture to a ziploc bag and seal.  Fill a large bowl with ice water and submerge sealed bag into ice bath to cool for about 30 minutes, adding more ice as needed.  Pour ice cream into ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer directions.  Add crushed cookie pieces during last few minutes of churning if desired.  For best results, transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze until firm before serving.  Yield: 1 quart of ice cream


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Egg free Soft Pretzels

Eek!   I've been having these random moments of freaking out!  My hubs and I are celebrating our 10 year anniversary this summer.  We are taking off to Hawaii next week!!  Just the two of us.  I am so stinking excited.  I can't believe it's actually happening.  It will be my first time going to Hawaii.  And first time leaving the kids longer than overnight. (I'm a little nervous about that) It's all so surreal and exciting.  Lots to do this next week though.
 
So my sister sent me a text a couple weeks ago showing me some homemade pretzels she made and I've been craving them ever since! Making homemade pretzels isn't really that hard.  (Shaping them.  Maybe.  I could use a little more practice on that front)  I used these as a spring board for dinner one night and turned it into a cheese fondue night with these pretzels, sausage, broccoli and apple slices.  Yum!

All I had to do to make these egg free was omit the egg wash.  They still browned beautifully and tasted excellent.


Egg Free Soft Pretzels
From Mel's Kitchen Cafe, adapted Egg Free by Egg Free Bakery

1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup milk, warmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 - 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups hot water + 1/2 cup baking soda for dipping
Coarse, kosher salt for sprinkling
3 tablespoons butter, melted 
 
Heat water and milk in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave until warm but not too hot.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together 2 cups flour, yeast and salt.  With mixer running, slowly pour in water and milk mixture and vegetable oil.  Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Let knead 3-4 minutes.  Lightly grease bowl and let dough rise covered until doubles in size 45 minutes to one hour.  Punch down down and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Roll each piece of dough into a long rope and twist into a pretzel shape.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. In another bowl heat water until hot.  Mix in baking soda until dissolved.  Dip each pretzel in hot water mixture and return to baking sheet.  (you may to reshape pretzels a little).  Sprinkle each pretzel with salt.  Let pretzels rest 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Bake pretzels for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.  (use ALL the butter! Yum!) Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack.  Let cool and serve while still warm.  Serve as it or with your favorite dipping sauce (marinara or cheese are tasty!) Yield 8 pretzels

 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Recipes I'm Loving Lately

I love Pinterest.

I never thought I'd say that.  I never wanted to say that.  I was all anti-pinterest when it first came out but now I use it all the time.  I wanted to highlight a few gems I've found.  Recipes that were put in "the tried and true file".  Check them out!





Creamy Chicken and Rice Recipe (a one-pot meal). You’ll be going back for refills! @NatashasKitchen

Have you seen this one before?  Creamy Skillet Chicken and Rice from Natasha's Kitchen
Growing up, one of my favorite comfort foods was Chicken and Rice.  Except my mom baked hers in the oven and used canned cream of chicken soup.  I like this dish because 1- it's all cooked in the same pan 2- it comes together pretty quickly and 3- it's so delicious.  Creamy, but not heavy.  
*Couple of notes:  definitely use chicken thighs in the recipe.  And  if you are like me and don't cook with wine, I used apple juice as a substitute.
 
One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta - The easiest and creamiest pasta made in a single pot - even the pasta gets cooked right in the pan! How easy is that?

One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta (aka my new best dinner friend) from damndelicious
Another one pot quick and easy meal THAT MY KIDS WILL EAT!! and with picky eaters like mine, that is saying something!  I usually beef it up with some grilled sliced chicken.  This is my go-to on busy nights when I need something quick!

Southwest Chicken and Rice Casserole

Another quick and easy dinner?  This Southwest Chicken Skillet from Budget Bytes comes together really quick.  I usually serve it with tortilla chips.  
Note:  Because of my boy's allergy to legumes, I add the beans last, only for mom and dad after I've dished out the kiddos.

 

Ever heard of Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad?  I don't really do the whole Jell-O salad thing.  But growing up I had my fair share believe me.  This tasty Strawberry Pretzel Parfait from Diply takes the idea of the Jell-O salad and uses the flavors for a refreshing twist on a breakfast parfait.  I think I ate one of these every day for like 2 weeks.

*Note:  One thing I did differently was I toasted the pretzels, butter and cinnamon in the oven for like 10 minutes.

Classic Tomato Soup 

Though it's not really "soup season" right now, I love this Classic Tomato Soup recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Tomato Soup with a hot grilled cheese is yet another comfort food for me.  The travesty here is that I am the only one in my house who likes tomato soup.  More for me I guess.  I portioned them into single servings and froze to pull out for lunches on drizzly cold winter days.

 
I know you've seen this one.  Homemade Magic Shell?  It's been around for ages but we finally tested it out last weekend.  It was so fun and such a delicious touch to our ice cream cones.  Two Ingredients.  Super easy.  Check it out at whipperberry.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nut Free Magic Cookie Bars

You've probably seen these before.  Surprisingly this was the first time I had actually made them myself. I told the kids these were called "Magic Cookie Bars".  Naturally they wanted to know why they were called "Magic!"

Me:  "I dunno.  Maybe it's because they are so tasty that they disappear so quickly-- like magic"

My 4 year old takes a bite.  Closes her eyes.  Opens them.

4 year old:  "MOM!  You were WRONG!"

Me:  "Why's that?"

4 year old: "These cookies aren't magic!  I took a taste and it DIDN'T disappear!"

It wouldn't be the first time that I've been wrong about something.  :)  

The thing I love about this recipe is how easily it comes together.  No mixing.  Just layer after layer and boom it's in the oven.  Like magic.  (maybe THAT'S why they are called magic bars??)



Nut Free Magic Cookie Bars
From Eaglebrand.com
Adapted by Egg Free Bakery

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tbsp butter, melted
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips (I use Guittard Chips)
1-1/3 cup flaked coconut

Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil extending over the edges of the pan.  Lightly grease with cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together melted butter and graham crackers crumbs in a bowl.  Press mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.  Pour sweetened condensed milk over top of the crust and evenly sprinkle remaining ingredients on top.  Lightly press down toppings.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool completely before lifting bars out of pan.  Slice into squares or diamonds and devour serve.

*Variation:
In place of chocolate and butterscotch chips, use 1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup dried craisins.