Monday, June 24, 2013

Red, White and Blue Watermelon Cake (Gluten-Free)

My aunt shared with me the idea to use a seedless watermelon as the "cake" part of a frosted cake, instead of the usual flour-egg-sugar-butter filling.  I was intrigued, so I gave it a whirl.  Here's how it turned out:

Not bad, eh?

Want to make one for your Fourth of July celebration?  It's pretty simple, you just need to keep a couple tips in mind (tips are "**-ed").

Red, White and Blue Watermelon Cake (Gluten-Free)

1 seedless watermelon
1 can all natural-whipped cream (or any light dairy, soy or coconut frosting)
shredded coconut (optional)

First, wash and dry your watermelon.  Using a cutting board inside a rimmed tray (will cut down on your watermelon "juice" dripping everywhere), slice off each end of the watermelon:

Next, stand the watermelon upright and following the curve of the watermelon, slice off the sides:

Trim up the watermelon so no rind or pith (the white stuff inside the rind) remains:

 **This is important:  place the watermelon in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to overnight so that it is very cool before you "frost" it.  Before placing in the refrigerator, cut in half crosswise, so you have a more workable size:

Place the chilled watermelon on a platter and begin to spray with whipped cream, **immediately before you serve it.  Whipped cream doesn't stay fluffy for long, but other frostings and creams do:

Completely cover the watermelon:

Smooth the cream:

Decorate with blueberries (I did a patriotic star, but the sky's the limit!):

Serve and sprinkle with a bit of shredded coconut (optional):

Serves 8.

This was a fun and different dessert!  You can certainly use other creams or frostings instead of whipped cream, so you could make this vegan or dairy free.

Life is sweet,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Seven Super Summer No-Cook (or little cook) Dinners

It's a busy summer week here in Sweet Peaville, and when time is short and the weather is hot, who wants to be cooking over a hot stove?'
Here are 7 Super Summer No-Cook (or little cook) Dinners!




Life is sweet, especially in the summertime...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Easy Hash Brown Waffles

Did you know you can use your waffle maker to cook things other than just waffles?

Check out this recipe, which I've using regularly for weeks now.  The pictures below are of russet potatoes, but next up on our agenda, Sweet Potato Hash Brown Waffles.

Easy Hash Brown Waffles

1 large russet potato
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided use
1 egg

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
cooking spray

Using a food processor or grater, grate the unpeeled potato and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Place in a colander and allow to drain, about 10 minutes:


Gently press the potato against the bottom of the colander as to remove any extra moisture.

Plug in waffle maker to preheat.

In a medium bowl, combine the remaining salt, egg, pepper, paprika and onion powder:

Add the grated potato and stir to combine:

Once the waffle maker is fully preheated, spray it with cooking spray and spread the mixture evenly on the waffle maker surface:

Close and cook 13-15 minutes.  Check the waffles.  If they are fully cooked to your desired brownness, serve and enjoy!

A drizzle of ketchup makes these hash brown waffles extra delicious!

Serves 4.

Life is sweet,

Monday, June 10, 2013

Homemade Gluten Free Pancake Mix

Happy Summer Vacation!  Need a fun summer activity for you and your family?  How about some kitchen fun?

Here's an easy recipe to make homemade Gluten Free Pancake Mix.  I mixed some up before a recent family trip so we could have a fun breakfast at Grandma's house!

You can mix this up in baggies, or double or triple a batch to have on hand.  If you double or triple the batch, use approximately 2 cups of the dry mixture per the wet ingredients.

Gluten Free Pancake Mix

2 cups gluten-free flour (or use 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour and 1/2 cup potato starch)
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large bowl mix the flour:

Add the sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon:

Stir well with a whisk:

Fill a plastic zipped bag with the mix and write the remaining ingredients on front:

Once you are ready to use, you will need:

1 cup butter milk  
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, rice or almond) mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the liquid in ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well to fully combine.  Add the entire pancake mix.  Stir until just combined.

Let sit for 3-4 minutes.

Preheat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat.

Pour enough to make a 4 inch round pancake.  Cook until bubbles begin to form on top.  Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes.

Makes 24 - 4 inch pancakes.

Life is sweet,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Really Good Grilled Fish

When I try and develop a name for a new recipe, I usually start with the ingredients and choose a few that are prominent and voila: a name.

This recipe is such a good blend of flavors, I could have named it Lemon, Apricot, Dijon, Soy, Pepper and Garlic Grilled Fish, but I opted for a simpler option:

Really Good Grilled Fish.

Marinate the fish and then baste it with the sauce when it begins to cook.  You'll have a slightly sweet, fruity yet tangy fish that is a great combination of flavors.

Really Good Grilled Fish

1-2 pounds firm white fish (we used cod, but orange roughy, flounder, tilapia or others would work)
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apricot preserves     
2 tablespoons light soy sauce (use gluten-free if you need to make it GF)
juice of 1/2 the lemon
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Rinse and pat dry your fish and place in a dish in which it can marinate.  Sprinkle with the lemon zest.  

In a jar, combine the remaining ingredients, shake well, and pour over the fish:

Spread the marinade so it covers all the fish:

Let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.  

Preheat your grill.  Line the grill with heavy duty foil that has holes punched in it (to allow the juices to escape) or a grill pan.  Spray the foil or grill pan with cooking spray.

Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, basting with the leftover sauce when you begin the grilling.

Fish is done when it is opaque and it flakes when a fork is gently pressed into it:


Serves 4 with one pound of fish, 8 with two pounds.

Life is sweet,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Sweet Cantaloupe, Basil and Mint Salad

With every changing season comes a different reason I love to be in the kitchen. 

In the autumn, cooking a hot pot of soup warms up the kitchen on those first chilly days; in the winter, baking with cinnamon or vanilla can transform a dreary, cold afternoon into a special afternoon.

Right now, I am loving all the fresh herbs and spring plants coming into season in our garden, and using them in recipes like this.

This recipe uses fresh ground pepper and olive oil as a foil to the sweet cantaloupe.  Wondering how it tastes to put salt, pepper and olive oil on your fruit?  It's delicious.  Really.

I've also tried this with pineapple, and it's a toss-up as to which I try them both!

Sweet Cantaloupe, Basil and Mint Salad

1 ripe cantaloupe
1-2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
1-2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
a drizzle of olive oil (about 1-2 teaspoons)

First, dice the cantaloupe.  

Here's an easy technique:  first, slice off the top and bottom of the fruit and stand it upright to remove the peel:

 Next, slice it in half, remove the seeds and then thinly slice each half:

 Then cut lengthwise to create little cubes:


Toss the cantaloupe, mint and basil together in a bowl.  If you aren't sure if everyone will enjoy this recipe and want to keep some of the cantaloupe plain, you can do little individual servings:

 Sprinkle salt and pepper (just a pinch) over the fruit and then add just a dab of olive oil:


 Mix and enjoy!

If you do a large bowl, this will serve 8-10 people.

Life is sweet,