hey, sunshine.

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this morning we had to be up at (early enough to capture this stunning sunrise) to get to yet another doctor’s appointment. (it’s been one of those weeks.)

since we were up, though, we made the most of it. we stopped at a local bakery and grabbed some treats; headed down to the Cleveland Metroparks and enjoyed the best time of year here, which is the beautiful month of September.

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felt a little like a fairy, traipsing about in this loveliness.

“If I had a day that I could give you
I’d give to you the day just like today

If I had a song that I could sing for you
I’d sing a song to make you feel this way”

john denver said it best.

All images © 2013-2016 Jeannie M. Starks / two daisies life

let’s bake a cake.

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gluten free white velvet birthday cake.

for a special boy turning nine

  • 2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose gluten free flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening; I used solid Crisco (at room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons good quality vanilla extract (if you want a pure white cake, use clear vanilla extract)
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (at room temperature)
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. Grease and flour 2 eight inch round cake pans and line the bottom with 2 circles of parchment paper. (for this cake I used one larger pan)
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the vegetable oil, shortening, sugar and vanilla. Beat well at high speed with whisk attachment until light and fluffy
  4. Beat the eggs in one at a time.
  5. Fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.
  6. I always add dry ingredients in three divisions and liquid ingredients in 2 divisions. End the additions with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the batter. As soon as it has no lumps in the batter, pour into the two prepared 9 inch cake pans.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.

frost with dairy free marshmallow frosting:

  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tarter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water

In a small saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer or when a teaspoonful of the mixture dropped into ice water forms a soft ball that holds its shape when cool.

Whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract to soft peaks in a large bowl. Keeping the mixer on medium high speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the egg white bowl in a thin stream. Continue to whip the frosting until it forms stiff peaks.

Frost your cake immediately while it is still slightly warm, this is much easier as it gets sticky when it cools.

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serve to a happy birthday boy (or girl).

begin, again.

 

 

balcony

new balcony.
new apartment.
kitchen

new kitchen and new ideas in mind….stay tuned for updates.

baking

 

(and, as always: find us on etsy and on facebook for your immediate gluten free needs)

facing the cold with photography and chocolate cake.

 

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We’ve been lucky so far this year in Ohio with the weather, but this week we got hit with some f-f-f-freezing cold.

So, what’s a good Cleveland girl to do? Go to the beach, of course.

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I wasn’t going to pass up the sunny day, even though it was only 14 degrees out, to get some stunning ice waves and driftwood photos.

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I spent the weekend preparing a gluten free cake for an order, and updating my etsy shop with a few new listings. I’m really excited about my new Cakes in Tins listing, which enables me to effectively ship individual cakes anywhere in the US. Hop over to etsy and take a peek, and just think of the possibilities!

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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.

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!

cherry crunch and recipe books.

I’ve been making this dessert since I was in high school. I imagine the recipe was cut from the inside of the Land O’Lakes butter box, taped to my mom’s recipe book, and then I swiped it when I moved out, and taped it to my well-worn recipe book. do people even use recipe books any more? I remember my grandma’s, in her lovely cursive script, simple delicious recipes that even if you followed her directions they would not yield the same results. there was always something missing. I was told recently that it is the “oil from the chef’s hand” that gives each dish it’s unique taste. and that’s why my grandma’s spaghetti sauce will never taste like grandma’s now that she’s gone.

my mom had her recipe book, given to her by grandma around her wedding day. more hand written recipes that would be handed down. I tried to keep up the tradition, creating my own book after I was married. I would copy recipes that I loved, paste tried and true dishes from magazines into the pages of a spiral bound book that was given to me early in my married life. I still have that book, held together now with a rubberband, bursting with scraps of paper and clippings. but I find myself relying more and more on technology; on my ipad and my laptop for recipes. overloaded bookmarks,  Pinterest loaded with recipes and wonderful food blogs.

but, then again, I have to think if one day the internet collapses (hey, it could happen!) I’ll always have that rubberband-bound recipe book filled with delightful meals and treats from years past.

 

*ps. I make it just as above but substitute a gluten-free flour blend for the AP flour.