Cupcakes, etc.

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Gluten-free cupcakes. Never before have I succeeded in making a batch that hasn’t deflated, tasted like salt or burned. I think that my failure has been trying to adapt gluten-filled recipes with gluten-free ingredients, which does not factor in the differences in consistency or form.

Today I took an easier route, going online to find cupcake recipes based on Betty Crocker’s Gluten-Free Bisquick. I found a pretty simple recipe, and here it is, with some of my additions:

1 1/2 cups of gluten free bisquick

1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup apple sauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix ’em all together, pour them into the cupcake pan (making 14 individual cupcakes) and bake them for 18 minutes. Let them cool, and then in a separate bowl, create the frosting:

Slowly combine 2 1/2 cups of powered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of butter. I also recommend adding gluten-free instant chai tea latte mix to make the frosting taste like Christmas spice and happiness.

After the cupcakes cool, frost them and enjoy! In the future, I would add a little less butter to the frosting, and more powered sugar to improve the consistency.

Chicken Marsala

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Eating spicy food—Indian marsala, in particular—is such a flavorful escape from the humdrum of the day. Chicken marsala, with its hot and filling consistency, always seems to hit the spot when you’re in the mood for a big dinner. While there are various frozen gluten-free marsala options that aren’t all that bad, nothing can beat fresh food, right?

Today I tried out a fresh recipe for ground chicken marsala that turned out pretty well.

I began by frying up a pound of lean ground chicken over medium-high heat for 15 minutes.

Next, I added diced zucchini and chopped red onion (just what I had on hand), along with about 2 tablespoons of cool water. I continued to heat these ingredients for 10 more minutes, before adding a touch of magic, and the crux of the dish: 1.5 cups of pre-made Patak Simmer Sauce: Tikka Masala Curry.

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I found this brand at Cost Plus World Market (one of the coolest places to spend 20 minutes wandering around the world when you can’t actually leave the country—it’s a fantastic international import chain store based out of the West Coast). It was only $3.99 and could easily be used for 2-3 dishes before running out. While this is a red curry, you can also easily find various green curries at Cost Plus, although I do really recommend the Patak gluten-free brand.

After simmering the concoction for an additional 10 minutes, it was ready to be devoured! I served the marsala on a bed of delicate baby spinach and a side of crunchy gluten-free Rudi’s multigrain toast to soak up extra curry sauce.

Try it for yourself for a filling dish with a kick!

My Tortilla Romance

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I’m from the Southwest, and consequently, quesadillas are my soul food! One of my least favorite aspects of living gluten-free is the absence of soft, fresh flour tortillas. I grew up eating rolled tortillas, laden with raw honey and peanut butter. It can’t get much better than that! Hence, cutting tortillas out of my diet over the past few years has been a bit depressing. Thankfully, gluten-free flour tortillas have increased in quality by leaps and bounds recently.

For good gluten-free tortilla options, I recommend checking out Whole Food’s refrigerated bread area, where they have an excellent selection of breads and tortillas by Rudi’s Bakery. Rudi’s bread products are fresh, and do not have the grainy or chalky consistency that many other gluten-free products have.

For lunch the other day, I wanted something comforting but also light. I decided to make a gluten-free quesadilla, using Rudi’s spinach tortilla and cheddar cheese.

I began by gently heating the tortilla and a teaspoon of butter in a fly pan, before topping the tortilla with the grated cheese. On the side, I added a black bean and corn salad—perfect for beating the summer heat.

The salad was composed of: 1 can of corn, 1 can of black beans, 2 small chopped roma tomatoes, 3 tablespoons of lime juice, 3 sprigs of sparsely, a bit of salt and pepper.

Voila! A simple, fast, and light lunch, perfectly complimented with a cold glass of iced tea. I highly recommend it!

When in doubt, get the special.

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Found these delicious buggers at Gourmet Girls Gluten Free in Tucson, Arizona.

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast. In fact, I am so much of a fanatic that I could probably eat breakfast three times a day. There’s just that special something about drinking fresh coffee, having a warm plate of carbs in front of you, and knowing that you still have the whole day to go that is simply inspiring.

One of the best breakfast combinations in my opinion is pretty straightforward: Pancakes + coffee + sunshine = a brilliant day.

This morning, I went to only the best (and one of the few) gluten-free cafes in Tucson, Arizona. Gourmet Gluten Free Girls was hosting a special: cherry pancakes. However, we’re not talking about your average flapjacks here. These light, fluffy pancakes arrived rolled in homemade cherry pie-like filling, and topped with fresh whipped cream. Not only did these pancakes look beautiful, but they tasted sweet and simple. In fact, if you didn’t know that they were gluten-free, I swear that you would never have even guessed it.

The moral of today’s story: be bold and brave. Go hard or go home. GET SPECIAL OF THE DAY.