pumpkin donuts and cleveland.

Today my son didn’t have school. In the middle of the week? Yep. So I got up ahead of him, fired up the mini donut maker and whipped up some pumpkin spice donuts. I snapped this picture, just as he popped out of his room looking for breakfast.

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After we ate our stack, it was off to the West Side Market to pick up some necessities for the week, and for a special dinner this week. Someone is turning seventeen in a few days, and always asks for beef stew. When I was down at the market, I realized for the thousandth time just how lucky we are to have such a treasure in our city. It was bustling with school kids on a field trip, women with shopping trolleys gathering produce, old men discussing the price of lamb. We picked up some beef, potatoes, carrots, fruit, and some jerky from the stand now famous because the President shopped there just last week.

And while I’m on the topic of Cleveland, you should check out a fellow blogger who’s running a fantastic contest this week: http://www.clevelandsaplum.com/

I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’m going to be the winner!

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here comes fall, pumpkin scones.

I’ve been away for a while, sorry about that…but I’ve been under the weather. I have another genetic condition, hemochromatosis, and due to some oversights by people who should have been more careful I ended up very exhausted for the past six weeks.

But, I’m slowly feeling better…and better means baking!

Fall always brings pumpkin flavored goodies. My favorite is these delicious scones. They smell delicious coming out of the oven and are the perfect treat with a cup of coffee (or a pot of tea) while you curl up on the sofa with a good movie, a good read, or a good friend.

this day needs some chocolate. (brownies)

 

Summer is ending. This means changes. Back to a ‘routine’ (not my favorite). Days are getting shorter, soon the leaves will fall. The plants on our very happy balcony garden are starting to fade.

 

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I had a very revealing dream last night where it was very clear that, although things do change, and have drastically changed in my recent past…there is still unfinished business that I haven’t dealt with. The recurring theme is that I’m still not in the driver’s seat of my own life. Or, in the case of last night’s dream…I’m trying to drive a bus from a passenger seat. So, as I try to figure out how to climb into that driver’s seat, I’ll soothe my sudden chocolate craving with these delicious cocoa brownies.

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gluten free cocoa brownies

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Switch to paddle attachment. and drizzle in the melted butter to incorporate. Slow the mixer down, scoop in the dry ingredients until just wet. Don’t over mix.

Pour the batter into a buttered square pan and bake for 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it’s done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to dig in before they’re mostly cooled!

Makes 9 large brownies.

 

adapted from alton brown’s cocoa brownie recipe.

 

 

comforting cornbread.

 

It used to be when I was turning the corner of recovering from something, be it a migraine, or a bout of the flu, or a bad personal experience,  I knew I was getting better when I would have a craving for one thing. Spaghetti and meat sauce from a certain local Italian eatery. I realize now I craved that particular combination from that particular place, because that meat sauce was the closest thing to what my Grandma would make for us when she visited; simmering in the yellow cast iron dutch oven on our stove for hours. It was truly my original comfort food, and it’s local take-out replacement stepped in when my grandma was no longer with us.

Although spaghetti is no longer an option for me, the comfort food craving apparently did not get the memo. I would suffer through the longing for the warm slippery noodles smothered in the steaming, meat laden, spicy sauce, often substituting with lesser grade replacements as we, in the gluten-free world, do. (quinoa pasta, anyone?)

But then one recent post-migraine morning, I had the strangest feeling. My body was sending me a whole new message. It wanted cornbread. Not just any cornbread. It wanted my gluten free cornbread. Somewhere, I thought I heard angels singing.

 

This time I adapted my recipe to the ingredients I had on hand.

Gluten Free Blueberry Yogurt Cornbread

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tablespoons sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup blueberry yogurt (I used noosa)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend

2/3 cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 425°F. Combine oil and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, until creamy. Add eggs; mix well. Blend in yogurt and milk. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients. Beat just until mixed.

Pour into greased 9″ round or square cake pan.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Perfectly comforting cornbread.

ginger lemonade.


Lately I find myself craving ginger in any form. I think it started when we bought a juicer and I discovered the wonders of orange/carrot/ginger juice (a must have now on a daily basis) The spiciness of the ginger adds a refreshing zing and helps settle my stomach as well.
Last night I whipped up some ginger syrup, so today I could make some ginger lemonade.

Ginger Syrup:

1 cup rough chopped, scrubbed, ginger root.
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

place all ingredients in medium saucepan, bring to a boil. simmer for one hour. strain.

Ginger Lemonade:

Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3-4 Tbls. ginger syrup
8 ounces water
ice

Shake all ingredients in a mason jar until well chilled. Adjust syrup to taste. (I used 4 Tbls., but I like it zesty)

Drink on your balcony.

short (bread) weekend.

It was one of those perfect weather weekends. One not to be missed. We had the good fortune of being invited to a lovely party down by the lake, where we enjoyed the sunset with refreshing cocktails and great food.

The weekend was way too short, as I fear the summer will be, isn’t it always?

I had some coconut and a lime staring at me on Sunday, seeming to ask; “may we please marry some butter , sugar and flour?” and so they did.

Recipe:

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose gluten free flour blend
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of lime zest
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) of cold, unsalted butter, cut into tiny bits.
1 cup of toasted, sweetened coconut

Toast the coconut: Preheat the oven to 350F.

Place the coconut onto a cookie sheet and spread it out to form an even layer. Put the coconut in the oven and bake it for about 5-7 minutes or until it just starts to turn brown, stirring as needed. Be careful. Once it changes color, it will burn fast. Remove the toasted coconut from the oven and set it aside to cool. Leave the oven at 350F.

Line an 8×8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Have the edges of the foil fold over the edges slightly for easy removal.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine the sugar and lime zest. Using your fingers, work the lime zest into the sugar until it becomes moist and fragrant. Add the flour, and salt. Stir to combine. Sprinkle the cut-up butter over the dry ingredients. stir the butter into the flour mixture with the paddle attachment until barely incorporated. Don’t over beat. You want the mixture to resemble coarse, wet sand.

Pour the dough into the prepared pan and press it firmly down into an even layer. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are gold and the top is slightly brown.
Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.

I think it’s a match made in Heaven. Enjoy.

a carnival and some blueberries.

This weekend started out like any other, no real fun plans; until I remembered that within walking distance of our new apartment was the annual city carnival.

Funnel cakes! (no!)

Beer tent! (no!)

Corn Dogs! (no!)

But we could ride the ferris wheel…eat kettle corn and have some fresh lemonade, all of which we did. After we walked the (longer than I remembered) walk home, we watched  “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” which was interupted by the carnival’s fireworks display that we could view from our balcony. perfect.

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This morning I woke up and decided to use up the quart of blueberries I had in the fridge, by making some vanilla-blueberry scones. They were a sweet ending to a delightful weekend. I hope your weekend was just as nice.

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this tropical heat calls for some coconut.

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I’ve been holed up in my cement tower (aka my 4th floor apartment, which thankfully includes all the air conditioning my little bones can handle) but there’s a rumor going around that it’s hot out. I actually verified this by stepping out onto my balcony to water the plants. Tropical is how I would describe it. Which got me craving coconut drinks…..

Alas, I whipped up some coconut cream scones instead.

They hit the spot. For the moment, anyway.

(available in my shop should you, too, have the craving)

those happy toaster treats.

My daughter, who also has a gluten allergy, sent me a text a few weeks ago with many very sad-faced emoticons. She just had to endure the torture of toasting a brown sugar-cinnamon pop tart for the child she is babysitting for. Toast it, and then not be able to eat it. At one point in her life these were a mainstay in her diet; after school, late night, in the car on the way to gymnastics, toasted, un-toasted, on a plate, or  straight from the thin foil wrapping. But not for the past year and a half. So I promised her I’d make her some and we’d be able to enjoy the delicious sugary filling wrapped in some (even better and flakier) gluten-free  (and dairy free) pastry.

No more sad emoticons after these yummy treats!

(ps. I’ll be offering these in my etsy shop shortly. if you’re interested in ordering from me, or in wholesale ordering please feel free to email me @ twodaisiesbakery (at) gmail.com)

the graduation party.

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My son graduated from college this month, and in the midst of everything going on we threw together a lovely little party. It was a relaxed, casual gathering with close friends and family and good food.

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I served my grandma’s ‘famous’ bbq chicken, which is an oil and vinegar based marinade with lots of pepper and poultry seasoning in it. It was so great to hear the boys comment on the food, and ask “where it came from”, as they had been to many ‘pizza and deli tray’ parties before this one. I think they were rather impressed with the homey goodness before them…which aslo included my mom’s broccoli salad, potato salad, a lentil/arugula salad and a white bean salad.

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A big hit was the drinks in mason jars (an idea pinned a billion times on Pinterest, I know) but really a big hit, and super practical, it turned out. We made watermelon/ginger/lime/vodka coolers and then had vodka-free ones for the kiddies. Also, in the house fridge for “special guests” I had a higher end cocktail….but don’t tell anyone.

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Of course a party wouldn’t be a party without treats, and I had plenty. In addition to these yummy devils food cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting (which no one knew were gluten free) I had three different hand pies; cherry, blueberry and peach. (I think I’ll do a whole separate post on those, they were a lot of work and turned out adorable!)

It was a great night….I didn’t even realize how exhausted I was until it was all over.

Now, on to the summer!